July 31, 2015 archive

12 Angry Men.

I’ve been on a jury.

Someone claimed someone else had run their truck up and down the side of their car, which was parked, and had not only damaged the car but also injured them (because they were in the car at the time) and left them with a permanent disability for which they were seeking damages from the insurance company of the truck driver.

I have never before (and never since) been treated to a fantasy based on such a transparently thin tissue of lies.

Oh, this is definitely one of those ‘both sides do it’ real life experiences that have no satisfactory resolutions.  Both the injured party and truck driver claimed they were ‘inspecting a construction site’.  At 1 am.  In a section of town notorious for street drug dealing.  Right.  I was born, but it wasn’t yesterday.

While the plaintiff (the injured party seeking damages) set out to confuse us with photos of the damaged car artfully posed between 2 total wrecks that had absolutely no relation to the case at all, they did in fact show tire marks that clearly matched the tires on the truck in question (which were not common).

The defendant claimed, of course, that it wasn’t him and besides he had taken off from the encounter in the 180 degree opposite direction than the plaintiff said.  This was indisputably contradicted by the pictures which definitively showed the direction of the impact (tire marks, duh).

To counter this the defense, which is to say the insurance company, brought in an ‘expert’- a retired State Police Officer who had been in charge of Accident Investigation for (mumblety) years.

And he flat out lied to us on the jury.

I glanced around at my fellows and found no indication that it had even registered which I soon found was entirely true.

We had sat on this case for 3 weeks which is unusually long in a civil action for damages and when we got to the jury room I was the lone hold out for the plaintiff.

‘But he lied,’ said I.  ‘Look, I can prove it!’

Nope.  They bought it hook line and sinker.  The Officer was an expert, and who was I?  Just some guy prolonging the agony in a forgone conclusion.

It’s not exactly my finest hour or twelve.  I held out for a day and a half, but the truth was that the plaintiff’s case fell completely apart on it’s second leg- damages.  There was no proof at all that he had actually been in the car when it was struck AND, since he was already 30% permanently disabled, it was hard to argue based on a shyster (made their living by testifying) Chiropractor’s (on my list of Voodoo right after Economics, Mormonism, and Scientology) testimony that there had been an increase.

So I relented with conditions that I’m sure were promptly ignored but it reinforced a lesson I’d learned a long, long time ago-

Policemen lie, under oath, as easily as they breathe.  How can you tell?  Their lips are moving.

What brings this up?

Officers at Sam DuBose scene involved in death of another unarmed black man

by Ryan Felton and Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

Friday 31 July 2015 15.22 EDT

In court documents obtained by the Guardian and filed by Brinson’s family in a civil suit against UC police and the hospital, all seven officers are accused of using excessive force and “acted with deliberate indifference to the serious medical and security needs of Mr Brinson”.

According to the lawsuit, before Brinson was placed in restraints he “repeatedly yelled that slavery was over and he repeatedly pleaded not to be shackled and not to be treated like a slave”.

The documents named University of Cincinnati officers Eric Weibel and Phillip Kidd – the same men who, in a formal report, supported officer Ray Tensing’s claim that he was “dragged” by DuBose’s vehicle on 19 July.

Tensing’s account that he was “dragged” was used as justification for the lethal use of force. It was later dismissed as an attempt to mislead investigators and as “making an excuse for the purposeful killing of another person” by the Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph Deters, who charged Tensing with murder on Wednesday.

Weibel and Kidd?  Do you really need to ask?

No charges for additional Cincinnati police officers

By Amanda Sakuma, MSNBC

07/31/15 01:53 PM

A grand jury has decided to not indict additional Cincinnati police officers involved in the investigation into the death of an unarmed black man who was shot in the head during a routine traffic stop earlier this month, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced Friday.

Kidd and Lindenschmidt were on the scene moments later, guns drawn as Tensing reaches into the car to kill the engine. In additional body camera footage, the officers are heard claiming they saw Tensing be pulled by the car.

“Did you see him being dragged?” a responding officer asks.

“Yes,” University of Cincinnati officer Phillip Kidd says.

In the incident report, Officer Eric Weibel wrote that “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord drag Officer Tensing, and that he witnessed Officer Tensing fire a single shot.”


Any Excuse for Another War

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since the accord with Iran over its nuclear program, the airways have been awash with calls for Congress to squash deal, demanding a “better deal.” Most of that is coming from the pro-Israel lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The agreement is also opposed by pro-Israel Christian organizations. While sounding like they want peace, behind the scenes they are actually pushing for a war with Iran. That fact was revealed by The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald:

The fanatical Israel-devoted group Christians United for Israel, which calls itself “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members,” yesterday held an off-the-record call to formulate strategies for defeating the pending nuclear deal with Iran. The star of the show was the Wall Street Journal’s longtime foreign affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor Bret Stephens, who spoke for roughly 30 minutes. A recording of this call was provided to The Intercept and is posted here.

Stephens, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post from 2002 to 2004 (where he anointed Paul Wolfowitz “Man of the (Jewish) Year”), is essentially a standard-issue neocon and warmonger, which is why his mentality is worth hearing. He begins the strategy call with an attempt to sound rational and sober, but becomes increasingly unhinged and hysterical as he progresses. [..]

If the Iran deal is defeated in the U.S., what’s the alternative? The relatively honest neocons admit, as Norm Podhoretz did today in Stephens’ paper, that the alternative is the one they really seek: full-on war with Iran. Here is Stephens’ attempt to answer to that question:

   Look, there is an argument – and I am sometimes tempted by it – that if Congress were to reject this deal and then Iran were to start enriching uranium at huge rates once again, that President Obama would simply sit on his hands out of spite. That’s an option. Knowing the way this President operates, it doesn’t entirely surprise me. That being said, because this deal is effectively giving Iran a legal as well as a covert pathway to the bomb, I would still prefer that. At least it gives the next president more options than he does [sic] now.

This argument is just bizarre. Obama isn’t leaving office until January, 2017: 1 1/2 years away. Neocons have continuously claimed that Iran’s “breakout” time for developing nuclear weapons was measured in months – at the most a year away. If you actually believe that, and really think that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons (a claim negated by the U.S.’s own intelligence analysis), how could you be content to purposely wait 1 1/2 years?

The answer to that question illustrates why the surface “debate” over the Iran deal is so illusory and pointless: as usual with neocons, they are being deceitful about their actual intent. They don’t want a “better deal”: at least not one that’s plausible. They want to keep Iran isolated and demonized and ultimately to depose its leadership through war or other means of aggression. They hate the Iran deal precisely because it’s likely to avert that aggression and normalize the world’s relations with that country, making the war they’ve long craved much less likely.

These people are unhinged supporters of Israel and the Saudis. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are vehemently opposed to the Iran deal because they want the US to fight their war with Iran for them. The more the US talks with Iran the less likely it is that they and their fanatical supporters will get their war.  

The Breakfast Club (Our Times Have Come)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Ranger 7 beams lunar pictures; France’s Marquis de Lafayette makes his name in the American Revolution; Thomas Eagleton withdraws as George McGovern’s running mate; Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.

Marquis de Lafayette

On This Day In History July 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

July 31 is the 212th day of the year (213th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 153 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1948, the Broadway musical “Brigadoon” closed after 581 performances. It originally opened on March 13, 1947 at the Ziegfeld Theater. It was directed by Robert Lewis and choreographed by Agnes de Mille. Ms. De Mille won the Tony Award for Best Choreography. The show was had several revival and the movie starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse premiered in 1954.

Brigadoon is a musical with a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. Songs from the musical, such as “Almost Like Being in Love” have become standards.

It tells the story of a mysterious Scottish village that appears for only one day every hundred years, though to the villagers, the passing of each century seems no longer than one night. The enchantment is viewed by them as a blessing rather than a curse, for it saved the village from destruction. According to their covenant with God, no one from Brigadoon may ever leave, or the enchantment will be broken and the site and all its inhabitants will disappear into the mist forever. Two American tourists, lost in the Scottish Highlands, stumble upon the village just as a wedding is about to be celebrated, and their arrival has serious implications for the village’s inhabitants.

Late Night Karaoke

The Daily/Nightly Show (The Force Awakens)


Reagan’s Eyesocket

Gay Eureka Springs

Next week’s guests-

Thursday is of course Jon Stewart’s last episode as host.

There is a near certain probability J.J. Abrams will be on to talk about Mission Impossible which if I haven’t mentioned it before I find entirely derivative and uninspired, the acting terrible and wooden, and the action sequences cliched and boring; only some of which was true about the original TV version.

Now I’d be just as happy if J.J. would talk about his uncredited writing for the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode, The Drill, but I suspect most of you would find the topic a little arcane.  What I would like to find out about (and I suspect most of you also) is the Disney reboot of Star Wars due for ek’smas, The Force Awakens.

Thinning the Herd

Tonightly we will be talking about Sam DuBose and Plantation Weddings with our panel Robin Thede, Ed Helms, and BIG K.R.I.T..

You stop being racist and I’ll stop talking about it.

The real news below.