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Orlando cops stop only black state attorney; it was perfectly legal so what is her problem?

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It would be interesting to find out if Ayala was ever stopped before, and if it was by white, or African-American officers.

The Orlando police department pulled over Aramis Ayala, the only black state attorney elected in Florida’s history. The stop was incident-free, professional, courteous, and quick.

It was also completely lawful. Here’s the video, from the Orlando PD.

“Although the traffic stop appears to be consistent with Florida law,” Ayala told CNN. “[My] goal is to have a constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community.”

There was no evidence in the video of personal disrespect.

As expected, the Orlando Police Department defended its officers–what they needed defense from is unclear.

The Orlando Police Department allows the running of tags “for official business only,” a practice “done routinely on patrol,” the agency said in a statement.

“In regards to the video, which was released by the Orlando Police Department last month, the officers stated the tag did not come back as registered to any vehicle. As you can see in the video, the window tint was dark, and officers would not have been able to tell who, or how many people, were in the vehicle,” the agency said.

The Tampa Bay Times checked with a local attorney, who said “I didn’t see anything wrong.” He added:

…If had to defend the case, he would have a hard time there was any type of discrimination against Ayala. He said the briefness of the interaction, as well as the explanation of the stop, shows that the officers acted reasonably, and previous U.S. Supreme Court cases have held it’s “objectively reasonable” for officers to run tags.

“It would be very difficult for me to argue that this was an illegal stop,” he said.

So, legally–and Ayala is a lawyer–there was nothing wrong. So Ayala must be referring to something else. Something deeper.

I believe the deeper thing is African-Americans being stopped for no reason, no allegation of wrongdoing, and approached by officers in their car. There’s a moment of uncertainty there. Is this going to go well or poorly? Is this going to be a Philando Castile situation?

The police are also dealing with their own private internal debate. A nondescript car with a tag that comes back “blank.” It could have been a computer data glitch. It could have been something nefarious. Police never know–it’s a hazard of the job.

“What was the tag run for?” Ayala asked. And that’s routine. Legally, police have every right to pull anyone over for anything dealing with their license plate and registration. If the color doesn’t match, or the officer thinks the tag has been moved to a different vehicle, or there are warrants on the owner, they can stop someone.

(In an aside, the officer’s “really dark” window comment was unnecessary and likely spoken out of fear of being accused of an illegal stop. Better to have too many reasons, but in this case, he had more than enough.)

No harm no foul.

But there is always potential harm, and a potential foul. Say, for instance, Ayala was armed and her pistol became visible while she was handing her license over. State attorney or not, officers might have a reason to be spooked. Or should they?

The experience of African-Americans in America dealing with police (especially white police) officers is one of tension. Sometimes imperceivable, sometimes in-your-face. I think it’s right for Ayala to work with officers, and with the African-American community, to reduce that tension.

But is she doing that, or just taking advantage of a situation that was bound to eventually happen in her job. It would be interesting to find out if Ayala was ever stopped before, and if it was by white, or African-American officers.

Her stated goal of a “constructive and mutually respectful relationship between law enforcement and the community” is one we should all agree with. That there have been instances where that relationship has been neither constructive nor mutually respectful is beyond argument.

Ayala said, “I look forward to sitting down to have an open dialogue with the Chief of Orlando Police Department regarding how this incident impacts that goal.”

But why didn’t Ayala tell CNN that she also wanted to sit down with her community in an open conversation? She handled the stop well, but many in a similar situation might react poorly.

In her 2016 campaign for the 9th Judicial Circuit State Attorney position, Ayala told Orlando-Rising,

As a state attorney, I will be serving the entire circuit. We live in a very multi-cultural community,” she said. “I want to be the best candidate.”

Also, this:

Ayala is basing her campaign in part on her belief that the Office of the State Attorney needs to do more than prosecute criminals, it needs to step out into the community and be a voice, an advocate and a bridge to close any gaps between people and police.

It seems “the people” aren’t the ones she feels need a bridge.

In the end, maybe Ayala needs to accept two things: that stopping vehicles for a variety of reasons and with a diversity of drivers and uncertainty is a hazard of their job; and that having a confidential registration might get her stopped–that’s a hazard of her job.

It would be better if Ayala used the influence of her position in the African-American community in addition to her hinting that the problem is all on law enforcement’s end.

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Democrats

Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck arrested after third overdose at his residence

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Democratic mega-donor Ed Buck arrested after third overdose at his residence

When a second man died at Ed Buck’s home last year, we called on him to be investigated and arrested. But, as predicted, he was not. Now that a third man was overdosed but did not die, police have an eyewitness to the Democratic mega-donor’s penchant for injecting men with methamphetamine. Now, he’s been arrested.

Buck was arrested late Tuesday night and will be charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office with running a “drug den” in which people come and exchange favors, likely sexual, for access to Buck’s drugs. Democrats who have received money from him in the past are scrambling to distance themselves from the progressive California “hero.”

Jasmyne Cannick, an activist and show personality who has been calling for Buck’s arrest from the beginning, could barely contain her excitement over the news.

Other Twitter reactions were as expected… harsh:

As Ed Buck prepares to face the judge Wednesday, those who have been calling for justice against this powerful man, such as Jasmyne Cannick, finally have hope that he will face the music for his alleged crimes against so many.

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Foreign Affairs

The Israel elections, explained for Americans

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The Israel elections explained for Americans

Many Americans are unfamiliar with how the Israeli elections work and what it takes to “win” them. Today’s election is no exception with many Americans simply waiting for the end results (which technically could be weeks away) or not having a concern about them at all. As noted before, these elections will have as big of an impact on our foreign policy as any foreign elections can have.

So, how do they work? Who won? What happens next? Let’s take a look at some answers…

Israelis vote for parties, not candidates

The first big deviation from America’s system of government is that Members of the Knesset (MKs) are selected by the parties, not the people. The people vote for the parties, and those parties are given seats in the Knesset based on their percentage of the vote. The threshold is currently 3.25% to get some of the 120 Knesset seats. Those below the threshold do not get a seat, which is important for the last election in April and Tuesday’s election. More on that later.

The two major parties – the conservative Likud Party and the center-left Blue and White Party – only make up about one-fourth to one-third of the voting population. The next tier of parties are the centrist Yisrael Beitenu Party and the Israeli-Arab coalition of parties, the United Arab List, which is considered to be generally to the left in policies despite holding conservative Muslim values socially. The other parties fight to get whatever seats are left over.

Party leaders are chosen to fill the MK seats as well as cabinet positions, with the party most likely to form a coalition government chosen by the President.

Forming a coalition government

61 MKs are necessary to support a Prime Minister and form a government. Since no single party has every had more than 50% of the vote, a coalition of like-minded parties join together to recommend one leader as Prime Minister.

In April, Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition because Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu Party refused to stay in the conservative coalition because they wanted to pull protections for orthodox Jews from having to serve in the military. Other members of the coalition wouldn’t budge. Instead of risking the baton being passed to Benny Gantz and the center-left Blue and White Party, Netanyahu called for new elections, which is what happened Tuesday.

Exit polls indicate they’re in the same boat with neither Likud nor Blue and White able to form a government without Yisrael Beitenu, which seems to have expanded their seat count. Netanyahu had hopes the smaller conservative parties could have broken the threshold and given him a few extra votes for a conservative government. Gantz hoped the Blue and White would have a decisive victory and claim more seats than Likud, potentially giving them the floor even if his coalition was smaller. It looks as if neither happened.

Liberman is calling for a centrist unity government, but there are challenges that may prevent this. Likud would have to abandon the members of their conservative Zionist coalition by removing the protections against military service requirements for ultra-orthodox Jews. Blue and White has indicated they would not form a unity government as long as Netanyahu was leading Likud.

Unless things are very different from the exit polls, some very tenacious negotiations are ahead behind the scenes.

One way to avoid stalemate

With Likud and Blue and White both needing Yisrael Beitenu’s seats to form a government, it would seem likely that both sides will be making offers. But there’s another option. If Likud’s coalition is close enough, they can go to individual MKs and seek defections in exchange for positions. This may seem like a hard option for conservatives as it would mean inserting progress-minded people into positions of power, but their coalition is insufficient to form a government otherwise.

It’s inconceivable that a single issue about protections for the ultra-orthodox would make the militant Lieberman essentially crown Gantz as Prime Minister, but that may be the case. This is why it’s important for Netanyahu, if he’s chosen to form the government, to act quickly. There will be pressure on members of his own party to dump him and form a unity government with Gantz and Lieberman, and while they have claimed to be loyal to their leader, the risk of losing power overall may sway them.

It’s time for Netanyahu to take decisive action and pull together 61 MKs before his grasp of his party and his nation slips away. It could be disastrous for Israel with an aggressive Iran, emboldened, Hezbollah, and unruly Gaza if Gantz is put in charge.

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Democrats

Conservatives need Elizabeth Warren to win the Democratic nomination

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Conservatives need Elizabeth Warren to win the Democratic nomination

In politics, the idea of killing two birds with one stone is highly sought after. There are a ton of birds in DC, and knocking off more than one with a single action saves time, money, and energy. For conservatives, the two birds we need to knock off are the Democratic candidate who will eventually take on the President in the general election and the rising embrace of socialism among those who believe the Democratic establishment is done.

Beating either Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren would do the trick. But as the Sanders campaign seems to be sinking, the Warren campaign is surging. So it’s time for us to focus our efforts on learning everything we can about Warren and her policies in hopes she can win the nomination.

If former Vice President Joe Biden gets the nomination, President Trump should have no problem beating him. But doing so will only invigorate the radical progressives in the Democratic Party who believe their guy, Sanders, should have won in 2016. They believe the Democratic Establishment stole the election for Hillary Clinton. They will believe the same thing if Warren is beaten this year by Biden.

Sanders’ defeat to the Establishment launched the current popularity of socialism. A Warren defeat at the hands of Biden would make the socialist movement even stronger for 2024. But if President Trump crushes Warren, as he almost certainly would, then the socialists can no longer claim they were cheated. They won’t be able to play victim to the Democratic Establishment. They will have put up their chosen candidate and lost fair and square.

Socialism, as a result, will die in the political womb that it’s currently in.

Some fear Warren’s credentials and her ability to galvanize the people with her speeches. But as long as she’s promoting Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, and other radical policy proposals, she should be summarily trampled on by the lucid electorate in 2020. There’s no need to fear Warren. If anything, the only thing we should fear are the sheep who could fall for her sales pitch. If hat happens and Warren were to win in 2020, then America will get what it deserves for allowing the sheep to be led to the slaughter. As for the rest of us, we will be busy trying to rebuild after the debacle.

As much as I don’t like the prospects of a nation under a President Warren, I’m confident enough in the President’s campaign and the awareness of the American people to recognize the existential threat her policies represent.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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