This video from the USA says about itself:
Baltimore Residents Demand Legislative Action to End Police Impunity
24 November 2014
In light of revelations of brutality by Baltimore police officers, residents, attorneys and current and former law enforcement offer testimony on whether the Maryland legislature should repeal key components of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
By Bart F. Cranston in New Jersey in the USA:
Reports on police, CIA are troubling
12:05 a.m. EST December 30, 2014
As we pass from 2014 to 2015, I find three events of the past month very disturbing and frightening for the future of our nation.
First, the refusal of grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, to indict white police officers in cases involving the deaths of unarmed young black men. I’m not saying these two officers are guilty of any specific crime, but they should have been indicted and put on trial, where a jury could have heard evidence provided by both prosecutors and the defense in an open public forum.
Several serious questions have arisen in the Ferguson case, about the prosecutor’s conduct of presenting evidence to the grand jury regarding incorrect information about Missouri state law and the calling of at least one witness who even the prosecutor now admits lied to the grand jury.
I believe in future cases involving police officers and unarmed victims, a special prosecutor should be appointed by the state Attorney General who has no ax to grind in any particular case.
Second, the Senate report on the use of torture on suspected terrorists by the CIA in the years after the attacks of 9/11 disturbed me greatly. I believe the United States of America is a nation that should never, under any circumstances, use torture to obtain information from anyone. When we do so, we are no better than countries or terrorist groups that we condemn.
Not only are these techniques immoral and illegal, but experts agree that they do not in most cases reveal accurate information.
America is a much better nation than one that tortures. Thankfully, President Barack Obama has ended these torture policies, to his credit. I would also remind defenders of these horrendous acts of torture that after World War II, Japanese soldiers who tortured American prisoners of war using the same tactics, most prominently waterboarding, were tried and convicted of war crimes.
Lastly, I find it appalling that Congress has passed a $1.1 trillion approbations bill to prevent another disastrous government shutdown. I have no problem with keeping the government open for business, but at what cost?
Republicans somehow managed to include in this bill several provisions that are disastrous to our economic and political well-being. I find it most disturbing that many Democrats in Congress and even Obama, who I usually support, have gone along with the pro-banker, pro-lobbyist and anti-American-worker provisions of this so-called compromise bill.
According to the provisions of this bill, workers may lose a portion of their earned pensions, wealthy contributors may now donate 10 times the former amount permitted to the political parties national committees and, by far the worst provision of this new compromise spending bill — lobbied for by Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase — repeals a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act.
It now allows big banks to engage in high-risk investments, which will be backed by government — or should I say taxpayers’ — money. That’s a tactic which led to the 2008 financial collapse. Do we really want to see this happen again? Obviously, Congress and even the president seem to be willing to risk the possibility of a future financial collapse.
At least one bit of sanity has emerged in the last few days of December. I am referring to the announcement by Obama that the United States will again establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and open other avenues of cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba.
This is a change in U.S. policy that is long overdue. Obama should be praised for this realistic approach to dealing with a nation that no longer poses any threat to U.S. national security.
Hopefully, the new year of 2015 will be prosperous and happy for all. Maybe, but I’m not very optimistic, politicians from both parties will begin to work for the common good and general welfare of all Americans — not only for the wealthy and influential.
The writer lives in Westmont.