The #FreddieGray trials

From The Wall Street Journal:

Baltimore Officer Acquitted of All Charges in Freddie Gray Trial

Prosecutors fail to secure conviction in fourth trial involving 2015 death of black man in a police van

By Scott Calvert | Updated July 18, 2016 3:35 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE—A judge on Monday acquitted police Lt. Brian Rice of manslaughter and all other charges in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray , another defeat for prosecutors who have yet to secure a conviction after trying four of the six officers charged in the high-profile case.

Circuit Judge Barry Williams (Maryland State Archives, via The Baltimore Sun.)

Circuit Judge Barry Williams also found Lt. Rice not guilty of reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. The judge earlier dismissed an assault charge, and prosecutors dropped a second misconduct count. Lt. Rice elected to have the judge decide the case rather than a jury.

Lt. Rice, 42 years old, is the highest ranking of the six officers charged in the case. A medical examiner found Mr. Gray died of a severe spinal cord injury he sustained in a police van after his arrest for allegedly possessing an illegal knife.

Mr. Gray’s death sparked protests and rioting that spurred Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to activate the National Guard, and the case helped fuel a national debate over policing in minority communities. The 25-year-old Mr. Gray was black, as are three officers charged in the case. The other three are white, including Lt. Rice. All six pleaded not guilty.

There’s more at the link.

A lot of people are referring to the prosecution’s record here as 0-4. Given that the first trial ended with a hung jury, perhaps 0-3-1 would be more accurate, but the facts are stark: in four trials, there have been three acquittals and one no verdict. The three acquittals came in “bench” trials, trials in which the defendants waived their right to a jury trial, preferring to have the judge determine their guilt or innocence, and in all three, Judge Williams determined that the prosecution failed to prove that the defendants had committed any crimes. Perhaps it’s time to consider whether all of the charges were the result not of a sound investigation, but political zealotry.

The Atlantic is not exactly a right-wing publication:

Can the Baltimore Prosecutor Win Her Case?

A law professor says Marilyn Mosby may have overcharged officers in Freddie Gray’s death, but that’s common with ordinary defendants.

David A. Graham | May 6, 2015

Marilyn Mosby’s press conference Friday shocked residents of Baltimore and everyone else watching protests over Freddie Gray’s death. Barely 24 hours after police had completed their investigation into the death of the 25-year-old black man in police custody, the Baltimore City state’s attorney announced a strong slate of charges against the six officers involved. It wasn’t just the speed (Mosby said her office had begun investigations the day after Gray’s arrest, and six days before his death) but the charges: second-degree depraved-heart murder against one officer, with the others facing a mix of manslaughter, assault, misconduct, and false imprisonment.

The decision was met with jubilation in West Baltimore, where protestors had rioted just four nights before. But almost immediately, critics began to second-guess Mosby, who’s been on the job for just a few months. Were her charges politically motivated, or perhaps calculated to calm protests? Had she overcharged the officers, picking unfair charges, or ones she couldn’t win? Did she move too fast to charge the officers?

The answer to some of those questions is probably yes, says David Jaros, an associate professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law: There’s good reason to think that Mosby was driven by political considerations, and it’s quite possible that the charges she filed against the officers are stronger than she can get a conviction for. While that’s cause for concern, it’s also absolutely typical in criminal cases involving defendants who aren’t police, Jaros says. Prosecutors commonly overcharge, they don’t always wait for a thorough investigation, and they are susceptible to outside influence.

There’s more at the link, and Professor Jaros is not exactly supportive of the police officers. Rather, he is saying that Mrs Mosby moved too quickly, pressing charges which seemed to him to be very difficult to prove.

Translation: the prosecutor was engaged in the legal version of mob violence. She didn’t proceed with caution and calm, but acted too quickly to try to forestall more protests. The charges in the Gray cases, like the charges against George Zimmerman, were driven by politics, not by the actual evidence. Now, even The Baltimore Sun is saying that it’s time for Mrs Mosby to move on, that the judge has thrice rebuked the prosecution for presenting poor cases, failing to present evidence that the police officers tried so far committed any crimes.

Public Grants for Female-Owned Businesses

Can You Get a Public Grant For Your Female Owned Business?

Have you recently become the proud owner of a new small business? Or are you a woman who is researching grants to see if she can qualify for one under existing laws? If so, you will want to be fully up to speed regarding existing grants and the laws that regulate them. Once you are aware of your various choices, you can make an informed decision regarding your options. This could lead to an exciting opportunity for you to finally become the smart and savvy business woman of your dreams. If you’re ready to become a successful entrepreneur like Sara Blakely, or a community leader like Mary Hayashi, a grant could be your ultimate path to success.

How Can Receiving A Grant Help You To Go Into Business?

Grants are a far better source of startup cash than a loan from a bank or other lending institution. For one thing, you don’t have to pay back the money you receive from a grant. However, this shouldn’t be looked upon as an opportunity to score “free and clear money.” There will certainly be a certain amount of stipulations attached to the grant you receive in order to ensure that you make use of the money in the manner prescribed. The nature of these stipulations will depend on the sort of grant you receive as well as where you get the grant from.

What Is The Process Involved In Qualifying For A Grant?

The process that you have to go through in order to successfully qualify for a grant will naturally vary from location to location, as well as with the institution that is granting the money. However, there are a few general guidelines that most people who apply for a grant should expect to have to follow. You will need to do the appropriate research to make sure that you meet the general application and compliance guidelines. You will also need to make multiple applications for grants, since you will be competing with a host of other hopeful entrepreneurs. Your application will not be the only one.

Never Take Your Chances of Receiving Money For Granted

One thing you should absolutely never do is take your chances of receiving money for granted. You should always have multiple balls in the air and be ready to drop one of them in favor of floating another. The application process for a grant can last for weeks, if not months. During this time, you will need to explore other options for getting the assistance you require to make your dream of owning a successful business come true. Don’t spend your money unwisely while waiting for a grant that may or may never come in.

Rule 5 Blogging: Working for a living!

It’s the weekend again, and time for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging, for which he should be severely criticized! Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Kate Bosworth in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Click any photo to enlarge.

Sgt. Jennifer L. Ramsey, explosive ordnance disposal technician with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 looks on as Royal Australian Air Force Sgt. Adam Griffiths, senior non-commissioned officer for operations at the Delamere Range Facility inspects the results of a cutting line-charge detonation on a practice bomb at the DRF Sept. 28. The practice bomb is being cut in half to be mounted and used as a training aid.

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The terrorist attack in France

If Da’ish wanted Donald Trump to win the election, they couldn’t do any better than this:

Nice, France, truck attack kills 73, official tells French TV

By Ralph Ellis and Steve Almasy, CNN | Updated 7:30 PM ET, Thu July 14, 2016

CNN)At least 73 people were killed Thursday night when a large truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, the Nice prosecutor’s office said, according to French media.
The driver pointed his tractor-trailer into the crowd and accelerated, mowing bodies over. The driver was shot to death, authorities said. At least 100 people were injured, authorities said.

Here are the latest developments in the tragedy:

  • The attack in Nice, France, began when an occupant of the truck shot into the crowd and then drove for 2 kilometers along the pavement of the Boulevard des Anglais, the main street in Nice, regional President Christian Estrosi told CNN affiliate BFM-TV. He said police later found firearms, explosives and grenades in the truck.
  • Anti-terror prosecutors have joined the investigation, according to BFMTV, citing the Prosecutor’s office.
  • Preliminary information from French officials is that there was one individual in the truck, according to a U.S. law enforcement official briefed on the attack. The individual, a male, was killed by police and it does not appear there was any gunfire from the truck, according to the official.

There’s more at the original. But the obvious result, should the driver of the truck be identified as Muslim, especially a Muslim immigrant, will be Marine Le Pen in France and Donald Trump gaining in the polls.

I have previously stated that I am not a Trump supporter, but we do need somebody who will say that enough is enough, that we have to do something really radical like actually fight the Islamists.

From Around the Blogroll

After the assassinations of five police officers in Dallas, I would have thought that the left would have had enough fornicating sense to curtail this stuff. Apparently, I was giving their intelligence too much credit:

Dozens Arrested as Protests Against Police Violence Continue

Phil Helsel and Elisha Fieldstadt and Matthew Grimson and The Associated Press: Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dozens of protesters were arrested and several police were injured Saturday night as tense protests over police force against African-Americans continued across the nation.

Police used smoke bombs to clear demonstrators blocking Interstate 94 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, late Saturday, while more than 30 people were arrested in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Both cities continue reel after the deaths of two black men at the hands of white officers last week.

In Saint Paul, protesters chanted the name of Philando Castile, 32, who was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer in Falcon Heights on Wednesday.

Police said on Twitter that people on an overpass were “throwing objects at officers, dumping liquid on officers” and others were throwing rocks and a construction material called rebar. Police also said a molotov cocktail was thrown at officers.

Police were heard telling the crowd, “leave the interstate now or you’ll be subject to a use of force” shortly after 10:30 p.m. Police blamed “aggressors” for throwing rocks and other objects at officers, and said police were using “marking rounds.”

There’s more at the original, but the article mentions, without defining it, “a construction material called rebar.” Rebar is short for reinforcing bar, and it is a piece of hard steel, with a patterned surface, to be embedded in concrete to increase a structure’s tensile strength. It comes in varying diameters and lengths, and may have a sharp end if it has been cut with bolt cutters. Throwing a piece of rebar at someone is an assault with a deadly weapon, because a piece of flying rebar, if it hits a victim right, can be lethal.

In the recent cases where civilians were killed by police officers, the officers have all been identified, and standard investigation procedures are being followed. If the officers used deadly force improperly, they’re going to be punished. So, why are the “Black Lives Matter” and other leftist groups continuing with the protests? It’s simple: deep down, they are glad that five white officers were killed. Oh, what passes for their leadership will deny that, but there were plenty of instances of celebratory tweets and the like.

We saw this garbage before, during the protests after Officer Darren Wilson killed wannabe thug Michael Brown: protesters not just demonstrating peacefully, but blocking interstate highways, rioting and looting, and destroying stores and automobiles, mostly in their own neighborhoods. I have a difficult time imagining that the people caught up in an hour long traffic jam are going to have a lot of sympathy for the protesters who blocked the highway, and I can’t quite see how burning down the places of employment in black neighborhoods helps black Americans get out of poverty.

So, #BlackLivesMatter, huh? We are seeing these protests, across the nation, over two black men killed by white police officers, in two separate incidents. In both cases, the officers have been identified, and are under investigation. Yet, on the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, four people were killed and 62 more wounded by gunfire, and the #BlackLivesMatter protesters don’t care in the slightest. Why? The simple truth is that #BlackLivesMatter only when a black person is killed by a white man; if the killers are also black, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Those killings get little more press than a page nine paragraph, if that.

The professional media, that bastion of American liberalism, don’t care about black-on-black violence, but they do care when a cute white girl gets killed. The Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s ‘newspaper of record,’ might not publish much about the black-on-black killings in the City of Brotherly Love, but on their website, which routinely deletes most of the less popular stories, there are still 25 links to the 2009 murder of Rian Thal, and a Google search for “Rian Thal” returned 2870 hits. The media were willing to play up a case in which the killers were black, over something as typical as a drug deal gone bad, because one of the victims was a cute white girl.

Our professional media are the ones telling us that only certain lives matter. And all the left are doing is to increase Donald Trump’s chances in the November election.

And now, on to the blogroll!

Rule 5 Blogging: Norwegians!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Kathrine Sørland in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

Today, soldiers from Norway; click photos to enlarge.

Norwegian Army, girl-camp. A recruiting-happening for women.

Norwegian Army, girl-camp. A recruiting-happening for women.

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How the professional media try to distort the truth

From Reuters:

Imprisoned U.S. soldier Manning hospitalized in Kansas

(Reuters) – U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning,1 imprisoned for handing over classified files to pro-transparency site WikiLeaks, was hospitalized, her (sic) attorney said on Wednesday, after media reports that Manning had attempted to commit suicide.

The Army confirmed Manning, 28, who was born male but identifies as a woman, had been released back into custody from the hospital, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio said. Manning’s medical condition was not released.

Manning was taken to a hospital near the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, early on Tuesday, U.S. Army spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber said.

CNN, citing Seiber and an unnamed official, reported that she (sic) was taken to a hospital after an apparent attempt to take her (sic) own life.

“Reports of Chelsea’s suicide attempt are unconfirmed,” Strangio wrote on Twitter. “We just know that she (sic) was taken to the hospital and are trying to learn more.”

There more to the story, but in every instance, Reuters, and the CNN story it Reuters cited, incorrectly and improperly refer to Mr Manning with the feminine pronouns. Let me be clear here: it does not matter how Mr Manning identifies himself, he was born male, he grew up male, and he is physically male. He is not, and never will be, female, regardless of how many hormones he takes, and in spite of whatever surgical mutilation he undergoes in the future.

The reason is obvious: the professional media are attempting to persuade the American people, subtly, surreptitiously, under-the-radar, that the ‘transgendered’ really can become what they say they want to be, rather than what they actually are.

Now, why would Mr Manning attempt to commit suicide, if that’s what he did? The Obama Administration has formally lifted the common sense ban on ‘transgendered’ service members serving openly, and if that wouldn’t affect Mr Manning personally, he should be happy for it.

As for me, I sincerely hope that Mr Manning has to serve every last day of his too-short 35 year sentence, and then goes to his eternal reward the day before he is scheduled to be released.

The study, commissioned by the Pentagon, estimates that between 30 and 140 new hormone treatments a year could be initiated by transgender service members. In addition, there may be 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries utilized a year among active service members.

As a result, U.S. military healthcare costs are expected to increase between $2.4 million and $8.4 million — or a 0.13% increase.

Carter said gender reassignment surgery and other treatment deemed “medically necessary” by a physician may be covered in as soon as 90 days.

Not only would such surgeries cost the taxpayers money, but such would render the service members non-deployable, at least temporarily. Our military exists to defend our country and provide an action arm for American foreign policy; it is utter madness to accept, knowingly, recruits who will become unable to perform their duties for extended periods of time.

But, then again, utter madness is what the Obama Administration is all about.

  1. Mr Manning applied for, and was granted, a legal name change; under orders from the Obama Administration, the government chose not to contest Bradley Manning’s petition. It is, regrettably, proper to refer to Mr Manning as ‘Chelsea.’

The New York Times: ‘The peasants are revolting!’

Thanks to William Teach, I found this gem from the editors of The New York Times:

Freedom, Fireworks and Brexit


By The Editorial Board: July 4, 2016

This year, the commemoration of the break with the British Empire on the Fourth of July is particularly rich in material for mulling the state of democracy and trans-Atlantic relations.

Those who voted for Britain to leave the European Union, and their admirers in the United States and Europe, will no doubt aver that this is a similar break with an unresponsive, alien power and a bold bid by a free people to take control of their destiny. As Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party in France, wrote recently in The Times, “The decision that the people of Britain have just made was indeed an act of courage — the courage of a people who embrace their freedom.”

The trouble with that argument, like many others advanced by the Leave crowd in Britain — as well as by Donald Trump’s nativist legions in the United States and by the xenophobic parties across Europe — is that it’s wrong.

The “Brussels” against which British voters rebelled is not the “absolute Despotism” that the authors of the Declaration of Independence broke with, but a bureaucracy answerable to 28 contentious governments that has never constrained British sovereignty in defense or fiscal policy, or in dealing with refugees from outside the E.U. And as the Britons will soon realize to their regret, they benefited handsomely from participating in a large common market.

All that has been amply chronicled, along with the real motives behind the Leave vote (and the politically analogous Trump phenomenon): the sense among older, provincial, white voters that they are somehow being marginalized by globalization; a nostalgia for a simpler and often mythical past.

The Kindle download is free!

There’s more at the link, including the usual attack on Donald Trump, and the Times’ editorial board show their typical bias: the patricians are simply better and wiser than the plebeians, and therefore it is their wisdom which should, and must, prevail. That idea is hardly new: Plato expressed the same concept in his Republic, with the first class, the philosopher-kings, as the rulers. Philosophers, Plato held, were the only people who truly had access to “ideas,” as expressed in his theory of ideas, more commonly known as his theory of forms. Being the wisest people in existence, while philosophers could still err, the probability that they would make mistakes was less than that of the common man.

The next class in Plato’s ideal republic were the soldiers, who would enforce the rule of the philosophers. Plato lived during the first century of Athenian democracy, but Athenian democracy was still the ‘democracy’ only of male citizens — slaves were not considered citizens — and at times property ownership requirements were in place. Plato, in effect, was looking at Athenian democracy as the rule of the better people — male citizens — and restricting in more by looking only to the rule of the best of the best, the philosophers, excluding the carpenters and shop keepers and the like.

The patricians hold that the UK benefited more from membership in the EU than they would by leaving it, and, perhaps for the patricians themselves, they were right. But it is very apparent that the majority of the public disagreed; perhaps the plebeians saw less benefit to themselves than did the patricians. Perhaps not being part of the ruling class, the plebeians saw only the disadvantages accrue to themselves.

While we were in Italy, we saw many buildings flying both the Italian and European Union flags.  I'm guessing that such wasn't quite as common in the United Kingdom. Click to enlarge.

While we were in Italy, we saw many buildings flying both the Italian and European Union flags. I’m guessing that such wasn’t quite as common in the United Kingdom. Click to enlarge.

We saw this happen here, 240 years ago. Had the colonies remained part of the British empire, it is very likely that, at least for the then foreseeable future, the colonies would have been more prosperous than they would be after eight years of ruinous war and separation from His Majesty. There were many loyalists in the colonies, you know, people who believed that the revolution was a mistake. But perhaps, just perhaps, the ideas of freedom from His Majesty’s government outweighed arguments of economic uncertainty for many patriots.

For the patricians of today, the idea of a larger, greater, more encompassing government, culminating in a single world government, makes perfect sense, but it seems that, for the plebeians, such is not so desirable. We aren’t seeing any popularly-based greater, larger government movements, but separatist movements exist all across the world. The common people do not want government further away from themselves; they want government closer and more accountable. London is too far away for many of the people of the United Kingdom, but it is nevertheless closer than Brussels.

I neither supported nor opposed the BrExit; it really didn’t matter to me, being neither an Englishman nor an EU citizen. But the vote demonstrated to me that the political phenomenon that Donald Trump has seized is not limited to our shores: the Leave people were voting to make their government theirs again, and not something ruled by Angela Merkel, who has achieved by diplomacy a German rule greater than der Führer ever did by force of arms.

Were the BrExit voters right? Of course they were, all of them, regardless of how they voted, because they were voting for the position which seemed wiser to them, individually. That is the essence of democracy, that, in the end, political power rests with the people. Chancellor Merkel opposed the calling of the referendum in the first place, because she simply did not believe that the plebeians ought to be allowed to decide such a thing, but, then again, the patricians never do.

Rule 5 Blogging: American soldiers for Independence Day!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Megan Fox in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude.

After two weeks in Italy, I was tempted to do a third week of Italian soldiers. Unlike the United States, and our posse comitatus law, Italy has absolutely no problems with posting soldiers, armed soldiers, armed with semi-automatic rifles soldiers, at all sorts of public places, male and female soldiers alike. There were two really pretty female soldiers patrolling near our departure gate at the Milan airport on Friday, but I had my camera already packed in my checked luggage, and they don’t particularly want people taking photos of them anyway.

However, tomorrow is our Independence Day, and there’s no way I wasn’t going to celebrate the American soldier this weekend.

1LT Ashley White-Stumpf Photo: U.S. Army Special Operations Command. 1LT White-Stumpf was killed in action, serving our country in Afghanistan. Click to enlarge.

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This IS NOT A POLL. It is a Sense of the Mood Of the Readers

I for one truly expect NOTHING to come of the Hillary Clinton FBI Probe.  The only one getting a “Probe” is us as it has been for the Jan 21 too long ago to want to remember this NIGHTMARE.  My feeling, and it was solidified with the UN guy all of a sudden having a home accident and BUBBA’s “Courteous” stop to visit the head of the Loretta Lynch Mob at an ALLEGED CHANCE MEETING in Pa-Hoe-Nicks (An old ad said instead of Phoenix.)  So, as the Inauguration is planned for Hillary next January, what are your feelings, other THAN NUMB?