Don’t touch that dial: on police cameras

There was an ‘incident’ in the USA where a police camera documented police officers planting evidence. They had forgotten something about their police camera:

apparently, these cameras always keep the last thirty seconds, and when activated, keep that plus further footage. Thus the officer thought he was controlling when recording started, but inadvertently captured the previous thirty seconds as well.

Unfortunately, it appears to this blogger that police frequently get off either very lightly or scot-free. The Forcillo case in Toronto is going back on appeal.

Here’s what I think the rules should be for police cameras:

  • always on.
  • always streamed to cloud storage which is audited daily for no gaps.
  • always available to all parties in cases of possible police action being questionable.
  • always directly identifiable as to what officer is wearing the source of footage.

In an ideal world, all officers appearing on police camera would be automatically identified. Chip implant? Facial recognition? Permanent log of who was where?

Police forces will scream that this puts them at a disadvantage. I beg to disagree:

  • Police are armed, can make arrests, have a lot of discretionary power.
  • Full disclosure of police actions will create, eventually, public trust.
  • Officers who cannot earn public trust should not be armed nor badged.

Comments, anyone? Anyone willing to put their real eMail and make a real comment here?
That’s today’s dumb question.

Pete Seeger and Donald Trump

Here is a hotlink to a YouTube (sound only) recording of Pete Seeger: Last Train to Nuremberg. You may wonder what this has to do with anything.

I saw this performed live in a taping of the Tommy Hunter show, decades ago. Seeger came out and said something like: “I’m going to play some songs for you, and we’re going to ignore all these technical people milling about.” He did, and they did. At one point some twit kept saying, ‘cut, Pete,’ and he didn’t.

Seeger played and sang Last Train to Nuremberg, explaining that he, in all honesty, played this song in every engagement. Simple as that.

Of course the Pete Seeger segment of the Tommy Hunter Show was short, and omitted the protest song. Of course.

Nuremberg was (you maybe knew this already) the site of war criminal trials. Listen to the song a few times; it’s free: Seeger’s song tells us that we are all complicit. Simple as that.

Donald Trump got elected. We are all complicit. Simple as that.

Donald Trump will tear the USA apart. We are all complicit. Simple as that.

The American magazine Atlantic has a couple of articles (among many) about this.

I expect readers of this blog to click on hotlinks and think for themselves. I’ll content myself with one quote from each, emphasis mine:

The trick here is that the administration and this shadow government are one and the same. Even as the public government sputters, other elements of the Trump administration are quietly remaking the nation’s regulatory landscape, especially on the environment and criminal justice.

The 45th president, Donald Trump, might pose the gravest threat to the constitutional order since the 37th. Of course, he might not. Perhaps we’ll get Grown-up Trump, an unorthodox and controversial president who, whatever one may think of his policies and personality, proves to be responsible and effective as a chief executive. But we might get Infantile Trump, an undisciplined narcissist who throws tantrums and governs haphazardly. Or perhaps, worse yet, we’ll get Strongman Trump, who turns out to have been telegraphing his real intentions when, during the campaign, he spread innuendo and misinformation, winked at political violence, and proposed multiple violations of the Constitution and basic decency. Quite probably we’ll get some combination of all three (and possibly others).

The Atlantic rejected my poems decades ago. I once owned an issue which dealt with the gun used in a massacre in the USA. (Loaned the mag and lost it. Damn!) Atlantic is a very fine magazine and I have no reason to trumpet it. No special interest. They don’t like me.

Pete Seeger is deceased. If you click on the hotlink at left, you’ll find out what else he did as a protest songwriter/singer.

Donald Trump is very much alive. If you google search for Trump News, you’ll see his/our latest folly.

We are all culpible. If we let this go on.

OK, dumb question?

What will you (personally) do about this?

 

One Big Wheel

This is a metaphor.

We are watching a circus performer on a flat stage riding a unicycle. It’s a bit unsteady, to say the least. Help or advice are not accepted. Balancing corrections are happening all the time. Almost random changes of direction seem to be built into this situation.

Now the performer announces that he’s the biggest wheel rider, ever. The wheel expands to match his ego. Stability does not improve.

This post is under ‘Person of Interest’ category. It does include a dumb question.

Can you guess who the Big Wheel rider is? Will he fall off?

NAFTA and ‘renegotiation’

NAFTA is not a trade agreement. It is an owners’ agreement.

NAFTA allows the means of production to be moved to wherever labour is cheaper, environmental controls laxer, taxation slacker, or even corruption more lucrative.

The move of Canadian jobs to Mexico was predicted. The subsequent moves to China, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, etc etc were predicted.

NAFTA benefits large corporations and by direct effect, their top executives: those in the bonus pool.

Don’t expect major concessions from these corporate executives. They are not altruistic. They are not nationalistic. They fancy themselves as being an independent species, superior to the mere peons who work for them, and customers who chase the lowest price.

Expect the POTUS to do a lot of in-USA manufacturing posturing. Don’t expect him to get many concessions from his loyal Wall Street ‘friends.’

You were scrolling for the dumb question? Here it is.

What do you think? Are you as cynical as this blogger?

Peach in sediment?

Speech impediment.

I remember the one time Daffy Duck was permitted to appear with Donald. He made a comment about not working again, with some one with a speech impediment.

Here is a thoughtful article about How Trump Could Get Fired. This from The New Yorker. This is a long and careful article. If you can’t read, tough. No easy summaries here.

And, what would you expect to say reacting to the possibility of impeachment? That it would make you fame records? Have a look here.

I’ll give a few quotes, latter reference first. As always, emphasis mine:

“Everywhere I go, people tell me that if I am impeached, they’re going to watch it,” he said. “The ratings are going to be through the roof.” He said that he expected his impeachment ratings to be “many, many times” the size of the audience for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, in 1998. “It’s not even going to be close,” Trump said. “The ratings for Bill Clinton’s impeachment were a joke.”

If you wondered about Trump’s understanding of impeachment, here’s another quote from the same source: (emphasis mine, as always)

Asked about the recent impeachment of the former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Trump said, “Did anyone even watch that one? That was Korea. Nobody cares.” As for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, he said, “I didn’t hear about that one. I don’t follow Brazil. I like Argentina. I saw ‘Evita’ many, many times. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a great job. Millions and millions of people loved it. But that was a Broadway show, not an impeachment.”

Now let’s go to our earlier ‘how Trump could get fired’ from The New Yorker.

Michael Flynn, who resigned as Trump’s national-security adviser after acknowledging that he lied about his contact with Russia’s Ambassador, is seeking immunity in exchange for speaking with federal investigators, raising the prospect that he could reveal other undisclosed contacts, or a broader conspiracy.

 Is trump a peach in sediment? Or do we both have a speech impediment? That’s the dumb question.

James Comey: symptom of ??

Here you will find a UK page on the firing of FBI Director James Comey. By, of course, POTUS Donald Trump.

I will content myself with a few observations. You can read the article by clicking the above hotlink.

Insiders think Comey was fired because he was closing in on Trump and Trump associates with connections to Russia.

Trump said Comey was fired because he messed up the handling of Hilary Clinton’s private eMail server. I won’t bother doing the search, but you can check out this claim: at the time, Trump praised Comey for damaging Hilary.

Comey asked for more resources, and went from weekly to daily updates.

Some commentators and newspapers, including The New York Times, have suggested the President disposed of Mr Comey in a frantic bid to prevent his own impeachment.
That is a quote.

The Pledge of Allegiance has had several small tweaks, as you can find in Wikipedia. Here is one version:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Unfortunately, when I say it in my head, I hear the ending as:

libertine justice, for all?

For American readers: are you feeling a growing sense of unease here?

For Trump supporters, is there any conceivable evidence that would shake your undying support for your current President?

For readers (not many, eh?) in other countries, does the current ‘stability’ of the USA let you sleep soundly?

What does it mean when a President fires the head of an agency investigating: questions about his associates, his election (was it manipulated by the Russians), and his former National Security Advisor?

Comey went gentle into that good night. Here’s a final quote:

Mr Comey has not given any interviews since his dismissal, but said in a farewell letter to his colleagues at the FBI: “I have long believed that a president can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend any time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done.”

A final dumb question: do you think Comey is going to be silent forever?

Physics Question

The electromagnetic force works at all distances. Here’s something I’d like to have explained.

This page (there are lots) explains that, say, two electrons, will repel each other, and change course, by exchanging a photon.

I have two electrons whose trajectories are antiparallel. Their mutual repulsion will bend their trajectories, especially at closest approach.

No matter how far apart the electrons are.

My electrons are one light year apart. Now for the tough / dumb questions:

  • Are the photons emitted simultaneously? If so, is this action at a distance communicating faster than light?
  • It takes a year for each photon to reach its target. Does it ‘aim ahead?’
  • The (vector) energy change of each electron is small, so the photons must carry very little energy. How large is their equivalent wavelength?

Serious (or really funny) answers only, please.

For once, then something (???)

The title refers to a poem by Robert Frost. You can have a look for free.

What I’d really like you to read is a BBC News page about Donald Trump.

He’s considering renewing something like the Glass-Steagall act. This was, perhaps, the last piece of legislation to be removed (in 1999) that led to the crash of 2008.

Paradoxically, while on the campaign trail, Trump threatened to revoke Dodd-Frank, which was put in by Obama to fix things a bit during the crisis.

You can read the BBC page for yourself; I’ll content myself with quotes, emphasis mine:

Mr McDonald said there are good political reasons why the president might want to take a tough line on the banking industry. “The average little guy loves to hear this, so he’s going to score points with his base and it may not hurt him politically at all because it may not get done,” he said.

Dodd-Frank was designed in part to protect consumer banking operations from riskier investment banking business. Among other provisions, it required banks keep money in reserve at levels the president has said he thinks are onerous on smaller operations.

Finally, on this administration’s ability to promise, measure, and deliver:

Earlier, US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin said he believed the American economy could be growing at a rate of three percent within two years, thanks to the administrations proposed tax reforms. On the campaign trail Trump promised growth of 4% a year. The economy is currently growing at a rate of 0.7%.

Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something?

That’s the dumb question.

Evil and Corruption

Invulnerability corrupts. Power can convey invulnerability, and thus is often credited with corruption of individuals. However, the H.G.Wells story, The Invisible Man, had an intro which pointed out that the invisible man wasn’t specially powerful, but he could get away with things – was in a sense invulnerable, not liable to be taken to account for his actions.

Invulnerability corrupts.

Evil is, imho, the exercise of power without oversight. For a normal individual, that oversight is called conscience. However, many powerful forces in a society are controlled not by the consciences of individuals, but by oversight bodies charged with reining in those powers.

There are checks and balances within governments. Sometimes.

Between powerful coalitions, nations being an example, power versus oversight becomes a challenge for diplomacy. Carrot and stick, deal and threat, gift and sanction.

North Korea is a scary example of power challenging diplomacy.

So is the United States of America under President Donald J Trump. Large bomb in Afghanistan. Missiles in Syria. Trade threats. Walls. Discrimination.

Now for the dumb questions:

  • Is Trump invulnerable?
  • Does that slightly scare you?

Have a nice day.

Jeff Sessions: a message, eh?

Here you will find a bbc news article about Jeff Sessions and his complaint.

I will tease you with a few quotes. Emphasis mine.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power,” he said on The Mark Levin Show.

Senator Mazie Hirono shared an image of the unanimous Senate vote that confirmed Judge Waston, which “includes a ‘yea’ vote” from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect,” Senator Brian Schatz continued.

“Please don’t dis[respect] Hawaii as it gives us papaya, coffee, helicopter parts and the last competent president,” another continued.

One Illinois resident added: “We should let @jeffsessions know that New Mexico is a state too. Otherwise the wall might get built in the wrong place.”

Now for the dumb questions. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Has Trump turned much of the US government into a say-anything thoughtless herd?

Does Jeff Sessions know who he is and who he voted for?

Does any of this matter, at least in the rule-by-twitter era?