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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

 
Biggest scandal of 2015?

by digby

I think the revelation that President Barack Obama is a secret furry has to be it:



He seemed like such a regular suburban dad too ..



Cheers everybody!












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Conservative strategery, feature not bug edition

by digby

Late Godfather of the conservative movement Paul Weyrich said it right up front:
"I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

That's from this piece by Rick Perlstein about the differences between conservative and liberal strategy. We libs are "process" people who believe that getting everyone to agree to a common set of rules will deliver the best results for everyone. Conservatives are "goals" people who believe that the end justifies the means. We come at civilization from very different angles.

Perlstein elaborated:

We Americans love to cite the “political spectrum” as the best way to classify ideologies. The metaphor is incorrect: it implies symmetry. But left and right today are not opposites. They are different species. It has to do with core principles. To put it abstractly, the right always has in mind a prescriptive vision of its ideal future world—a normative vision. Unlike the left (at least since Karl Marx neglected to include an actual description of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” within the 2,500 pages of Das Kapital), conservatives have always known what the world would look like after their revolution: hearth, home, church, a businessman’s republic. The dominant strain of the American left, on the other hand, certainly since the decline of the socialist left, fetishizes fairness, openness, and diversity. (Liberals have no problem with home, hearth, and church in themselves; they just see them as one viable life-style option among many.) If the stakes for liberals are fair procedures, the stakes for conservatives are last things: either humanity trends toward Grace, or it hurtles toward Armageddon.

It's about the way we think.

I have, in recent years, rejected some of this proceduralism because I think it's often become a liberal dodge, especially when it comes to war and peace. Just because our government officials dotted the Is and crossed the Ts doesn't make a war just or smart. And simply legalizing immoral acts doesn't make them moral. I think liberals tend to get so lost in our fair procedures sometimes that we forget what it is we're using those procedures to accomplish.

As we observe the new GOP congress do battle with the lame duck Democratic president in anticipation of a presidential election, we should probably keep all that in mind ...










 
I have no idea what I'm doing so put me in charge

by digby

Kevin Drum flags this quote from Jonah Goldberg in which he "explains" why Hillary Clinton supporters might be attacking Jim Webb without her instructions:
She’s created an infrastructure. The incentives are in place. The culture exists. It’s a bit analogous to Lois Lerner at the IRS. She didn’t need to be told by the White House to target conservative groups. She simply knew what she had to do.
I have no idea what he's talking about with either Clinton or Lerner. I have seen very little evidence that the White House has a culture of political revenge that allows subordinates to act on their own volition. And sure, Clinton supporters may attack her rivals. It's a political campaign.  It's what they do. I don't think there's anything  corrupt or even unusual about that.

But I can think of a certain super macho conservative leader who takes pride in ruling with an iron fist whose closest staff members were revealed explicitly instructing people to use the power of the governor's office to exact revenge on political enemies. That would be Chris Christie, of course, the bullying alpha-male who managed to fend off accusations of being a bullying alpha-male by pleading that he didn't know nothin' about birthing no babies and that his staff hurt his feelings by doing exactly what anyone would have expected Chris Christie to want them to do.

Political leaders throwing their staff members into oncoming traffic to get themselves off the hook is nothing new, of course. In fact, it's pretty much the norm.  But when someone whose entire reputation rests on his take-charge attitude and tough guy image pleads that his closet advisors were out of control and he had no idea what was going on, it should make you wonder just what in the hell the guy brings to the table besides his big mouth.


*One last chance to donate to the holiday fundraiser ...






 
It looks as though the big, bad gummint has some friends

by digby

... and here I thought they were all about fighting government tyranny.  Turns out they want to fight us. Surprise:

It’s Time To Play Cowboys and Communists

Posted by Bob Owens on December 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

A Durham, NC police officer filling out reports in his squad car Thursday night was targeted for assassination in much the same way NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were murdered in Brooklyn less than a week before. Fortunately, officer J.T. West picked up movement in his rear-view mirror and was able to bail out of this vehicle as one of the thugs fired six shots, one of which struck the marked police cruiser’s door on the driver’s side. It was another attempted assassination of a police officer, all but buried by the media.

Sunday night in Dade City, Florida, two Pasco County deputies sitting in separate squad cars came under fire from a volley of shots. The officers never saw their attackers, but residents report seeing a small dark car with tinted windows leaving the area.

Also last night, in Los Angeles, a pair of suspects opened fire on on an LAPD officeras he sat in his cruiser. The officer was not hit and one of the suspects, along with the rifle, was recovered at the scene. the other suspect is considered armed and dangerous and on the lose.

The attacks are intensifying, and they are no accident. We are now engaged in an emerging low-grade civil war, where people who hate the United States of America and all that it stands for are attempting to destroy the very fabric of our nation by targeting law enforcement officers for isolation and execution.

It is their sincere belief—honed by domestic terrorists from the 1960s-early 1980s that have an inordinate amount of power in federal, state, and local politics—that a nation stripped of effective local law enforcement is a nation easy stripped of law and order… and perhaps more easily “remade” under strict centralized control.

The Agitators

Most of us had never before heard of these self-described “social justice warriors,” a term most of us first heard as agitators descended upon Ferguson, Missouri in an attempt to turn strong-arm robbery suspect and attempted cop-killer Michael Brown into a martyr and rallying point.

Let’s be perfectly clear: Michael Brown was a common violent criminal, high out of his mind when he attacked Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson not once, but twice.

Three autopsies and a mountain of forensic evidence proved the “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra to be an abject lie, but the mix of spoiled middle-class progressives, black nationalists, jihadist recruiters, Prius-driving university Marxists, La Raza separatists, professional communists, community organizers, anarchists, race-baiting agitators, and opportunistic common criminals simply don’t care about facts. They care about creating and exploiting anger to attack capitalism and our Constitution and wrest power and control for themselves.

Their narrative of continual oppression and serial injustice is far more important than the truth that the United States was designed to be the freest nation ever conceived. They only thinly hide their desire to control and oppress others.

The lies, and the rage, and the false cries of oppression have continued through the justified shooting deaths of Kajieme Powell (who attacked St. Louis officers with a knife), Vonderitt Myers, Jr. (who shot at a St. Louis police officer at least three timesbefore he killed in a hail of return fire), and most recently Antonio Martin, the simpering idiot and repeat criminal who attempted to assassinate a Berkeley, Missouri officer just days after the attack that killed Ramos and Liu in Brooklyn, but who was too dumb to work the safety on a Hi-Point pistol carried in the wrong hand.

This string of attempted, escalating, (and sometimes regrettably successful) cop killings is a part of a low-intensity civil war on the very fabric of our society.

The goal of these attacks is two-fold.

They intend to isolate officers and make them feel as if they are under siege, putting them in a bunker mentality, severing them from the communities they serve and protect. They hope to make some officers quite and reduce the effectiveness of police forces so that they can rage and riot without opposition, pushing ever closer to the revolution against our government and way of life that that is their goal.

Quite frankly, this appears to be the explicit goal of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who reportedly uttered a seething “f**k you,” under his breath to the hundreds of officers who turned their backs to him after his overt support of his fellow communists led to officers Ramos and Liu being assassinated.

These toxins permeate Washington, DC as well. You’ll note that the President Of the United States is bravely golfing his away across Hawaii at the moment, having had his staffers issue a minimal statement about the deaths of officers Ramos and Liu as he strayed on the green. The White House has not a word about the attempted police assassinations since. Mentored by communist domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, Obama no doubt feels quite pleased as his fellow community organizers Sharpton and Farrakkan turn radicals to arms against the police. The progressive Congressional Black Caucus has likewise championed these radicals, while cravenly going silent once their encouragement of violence spilled blood.

Likewise, out-going Attorney General Eric Holder, himself a racial radical in his own right, has done much to fuel animosity towards local law enforcement, and little to keep the peace.

Most of the media are likewise complicit, at every level. The possibility of a revolution excites and invigorates them. Posters of Mao and Che occupy the cubicles of reporters in far too many news rooms. Their coverage lionizes criminals as martyrs, excuses unreasoning hate, and portrays those seeking to recruit violent converts and destroy communities as “activists,” telling you what you need to know about their warped views and skewed allegiances.

The Americans

Against these agitators, tinpot despots, common criminals, university radicals, attempted assassins, community organizers, propagandists, and usurpers are you, the good and decent people of the United States who still believe in our Constitution. While many of you believe that the current government and political parties may be rotten and perhaps irredeemable, you also believe that our core American values and beliefs are worth defending against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

This is a Constitution worth defending.

As these radicals continue to target our law enforcement officers, keep in mind that they are targeting your communities and your families by extension. They wish to break down everything than makes the United States exceptional, in order to remake it as yet another pale and fading state where the government rules subjects. They hope to weaken law enforcement, in order to subjugate you.

If that is the life you desire, do nothing. Allow the agitators and usurpers, the communists and racial nationalists and anarchists to pick apart and rip through our unique national fabric.

However…

If, my friends, you would like to preserve and restore liberty you must decide, today, what you will tolerate.

You must determine how much more you are going to tolerate as they attempt to destroy this nation from the inside.

You must determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order for your children and grandchildren to remain free.

I ask you to stand your ground, my proud fellow American citizens. Keep your weapons oiled, your bores bright, and your magazines loaded. Pledge to protect those who protect us.

We do not want war, but we will not surrender our liberty to rabble who crave the chains of tyranny, or who dream of lording over free men.

Will you choose to be Sons of Liberty, or sons of Obama?

The writer of that call to arms isn't all that fringy.

And people thought I was nuts when I said the right wing was hardly a revolutionary anti-government force. They are authoritarians. With guns.  I'm afraid that a "pledge to protect those who protect us" gives away the game.

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*This post will stay at the top of the page for a while.  Please scroll down for newer material.

A turning point?

by digby










Thanks so much everyone for participating in this year's holiday fundraiser. I'm always blown away by your thoughtfulness and generosity.

I think we are in for a lot of very heavy discussion in 2015 about our role as citizens and how our society is going to deal with the questions of authority, freedom, inequality and justice that are bubbling up and threatening to boil over. It could be a turning point --- or maybe just a moment to take stock. We will try our best here at Hullabaloo to read and think and write about all these things in the coming year in ways that will make it easier for all of us to understand the world just a little bit better. Maybe we'll even have some ideas about what to do about it all.

I hope you'll join us.













 

What's left of our schools once the Midas cult moves on?

by Tom Sullivan

What happens to America and its children once investment gurus decide the K-12 market is no longer the place to invest money? When education is no longer the Big Enchilada? When they dump their charter schools back on the states? Or raze them to build condos?

Those who have followed the school deform movement know that standing just behind parents expressing genuine concern for their children are investors. Millionaires and billionaires are targeting public education for the same reason banksters pimped mortgage loans. For the same reason Wall Street tried to privatize Social Security. For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks.

What is the largest portion of the budget in all 50 states?

As I wrote after the Center for Media and Democracy posted online a trove of ALEC documents:

The impulse among conservatives to privatize everything involving public expenditures – schools included – is no longer just about shrinking government, lowering their taxes and eliminating funding sources for their political competitors. Now it’s about their opportunity costs, potential profits lost to not-for-profit public-sector competitors. It’s bad enough that government “picks their pockets” to educate other people’s children. But it’s unforgivable that they’re not getting a piece of the action. Now they want to turn public education into private profits too.

But first, the "risk takers" must remove anyone that stands between them and that steady, recession-proof, government-guaranteed stream of public tax dollars. Teachers, and state and local boards of education, for example. The Midas cult won't stop until it turns our daughters and our sons into gold, and maybe not then. If there is anything more addictive than wealth, it's the power it brings.

Henry Giroux has been writing about that power for some time. He is back this week at Truthout with "Barbarians at the Gates: Authoritarianism and the Assault on Public Education." Giroux writes:

Equality, justice and the search for truth no longer define the mission of public education. Economic policies that benefit the bankers, corporations and the financial elite result in massive inequities in wealth, income and power and increasingly determine how the US public views both public education and the needs of young people.

The shortsightedness of the investor class is as stunning as its avarice. And its fickleness. Once the Great Eye looks elsewhere, what will remain of public education and public infrastructure past generations paid for in taxes and sweat to make America a world power? Once demolished, how will we rebuild when the Midas cult inevitably moves on to its next shiny, new investment opportunity? Of these "dangerous times," Giroux continues:

The struggle for public education as a crucial civic resource and public good must continue through the large-scale organizing of teachers and labor unions, students and groups outside of education who are also struggling against a range of injustices. The struggle over public education cannot be removed from wider struggles against student debt, funding for public goods, the elimination of massive inequalities in wealth and power, the elimination of the military-industrial-security state, the abolition of police brutality, and the eradication of the punishing-mass incarceration state, among other struggles. These struggles all share underlying interests in restoring and reclaiming a notion of radical democracy that puts power in the hands of the people rather than in the hands of the ruling elites. They also intersect around the need to elevate social needs over the narrow interests of the market and those elites who benefit from the financialization of society.

Because what the privatization of public education is leading to, Giroux believes, is "a new form of authoritarianism," a democracy stripped of agency, a kind of "totalitarianism with elections." It is a betrayal of the founders' vision, one we are meant to forget. As I have written before:

John Adams (a tea party favorite) wrote in 1785, “The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

To that purpose, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (passed under the Articles of Confederation prior to ratification of the U.S. Constitution) called for new states formed from what is now the American Midwest to encourage “schools and the means of education,” and the Enabling Act of 1802 signed by President Thomas Jefferson ... required — as a condition of statehood — the establishment of schools and public roads, funded in part by the sale of public lands. Enabling acts for later states followed the 1802 template, establishing permanent funds for public schools, federal lands for state buildings, state universities and public works projects (canals, irrigation, etc.), and are reflected in state constitutions from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The practice continued up to and including the enabling act for the admission of Hawaii in 1959 as America’s 50th state, for example (emphasis added):

(f) The lands granted to the State of Hawaii by subsection (b) of this section and public lands retained by the United States under subsections (c) and (d) and later conveyed to the State under subsection (e), together with the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of any such lands and the income therefrom, shall be held by said State as a public trust for the support of the public schools and other public educational institutions, for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians, as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended, for the development of farm and home ownership on as widespread a basis as possible for the making of public improvements, and for the provision of lands for public use. Such lands, proceeds, and income shall be managed and disposed of for one or more of the foregoing purposes in such manner as the constitution and laws of said State may provide, and their use for any other object shall constitute a breach of trust for which suit may be brought by the United States. The schools and other educational institutions supported, in whole or in part out of such public trust shall forever remain under the exclusive control of said State; and no part of the proceeds or income from the lands granted under this Act shall be used for the support of any sectarian or denominational school, college, or university.

Just a half-century ago, that is what America valued, and what we believed in. That centuries-old tradition and American birthright is now being plundered by people whose threadbare code seems to be, "Well, a man’s got to believe something, and I believe I’ll have another million."



It's annual holiday fundraiser time. Your support is very much appreciated.













Tuesday, December 30, 2014

 
All too predictable

by digby

Who was it that said this the other day?
Conservatives like Brownback see capitalism as a sacred, supernatural force and believe that their angry market God requires human sacrifice in order to be appeased. When the suffering abates, as it always does eventually, they will feel sanctified and emerge with their beliefs in suffering (for others) as a purification ritual intact. "See, I told you it would work!"

I think we need to find a way to deal with that cycle of credit and blame before we will ever be able to deal with the larger cycles of capitalism in any rational way. Somebody's got to inform the human sacrifices that these high priests of capitalism are charlatans.

Oh right. It was me.

Well lookee here:

Grover Norquist would like Republicans to shut up about how bad the economy is, and instead take credit for the recovery.

The prominent anti-tax crusader hasn't turned into a bullhorn for President Barack Obama's economic policies; he still thinks they're a drag on jobs and wages. But he's also grown critical of his fellow Republicans for making poor strategic and messaging decisions on several key issues. Rather than tying the economic recovery to spending cuts ushered in by the sequester and to the continuation of 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts, he said, some in the party have insisted their own leaders fumbled those items.

Don't worry Grover. Before it's all over the Republicans will all be patting themselves on the back for saving the country from another depression. It's what they do. The GOP presidential candidate will run on tax cuts and slashing spending. After all it will be morning in America and you deserve to get some of your hard earned money back.

The Republicans mess everything up, Democrats do their dirty work and cut spending and enact painful "reforms" then the Republicans take credit for it, turn into Santa Claus and roll back into power promising free money for everyone. It happens over and over again.








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Dispatch from torture nation, year end wrap up

by digby

I've been writing for a long time about "compliance" and the idea that police have a right to inflict terrible pain in order to make people instantly obey their orders. I think there's something wrong with this. I understand that we have given police he authority to arrest people and sometimes that requires them to physically restrain non-compliant citizens. But what we've been seeing in recent years is the idea that anything but instant obeisance is cause for the use of tasers, many times under the bogus rationale that an officer "felt" he or she was in danger. To fail to instantly respond is taken as a threat requiring pain compliance.

The problems with this attitude have been well documented here and elsewhere. Elderly people with dementia are being killed with electro-shock. Small children are being disciplined with electro-shock. The mentally ill, the deaf and those suffering from epilepsy are being tortured because they cannot understand, hera or respond to police orders. Average citizens are being tortured on the side of the highway, in their homes, everywhere for failing to understand that when a police officer stops them they are not allowed to speak or react in any way lest they be shot through with electricity.

All these people live under the assumption that their rights exist whether they are talking to a police officer or are in custody. This is not true in any practical sense. When a police officer stops you in America they believe you must submit immediately --- and if you feel your rights were violated you can get a lawyer and take it up with a judge. In that moment they do not exist. (And needless to say, the way police are coddled by the justice system your chances of getting justice in any altercation with them are fairly nil.)

This is the way police are behaving toward citizens of all races throughout America. Police are torturing citizens into compliance.

But too many young black men do not even get the taser. They are just shot dead. And in circumstances where the taser, if it were used for something other than torture, was supposed to be used --- where the alternative would be deadly force.

This is a piece I wrote in the aftermath of the Michael Brown and  Kajieme Powell shooting:

This is what tasers are good for

by digby

I've written many, many posts about the dangers of tasers being used as a torture device to obtain instant compliance as a convenience for the police. (I just wrote one today for Salon.) But I have been reluctant to call for the total banning of tasers for one reason: if they are used as they were designed to be used, that is, in place of bullets in cases where officers might otherwise use lethal force, they would be an extremely useful tool in the law enforcement toolbox. Unfortunately, they are far more often used simply as a "clean" way to inflict pain on subjects who are arguing or ignoring police orders. That is not a life and death situation and impatient cops casually using electro-shock, usually within no more than a few seconds, is an authoritarian control mechanism not a life-saving alternative to deadly force.

This is what tasers are supposed to be used for:

We may never really know what happened in the three minutes between when Michael Brown was stopped for jaywalking and when he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson.

But we do know what happened on Tuesday during the 23 seconds between when St. Louis police arrived and when 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was shot and killed on Riverview Blvd. We know because police released the video. Powell walks around the sidewalk and a small grass embankment. He ignores police warnings to drop his knife. He advances on police at a normal speed, his arms swinging at his sides. And he is shot nine times, including while on the ground.

I forced myself to watch it even though it makes me sick. And this situation was an excellent example of where police could have used the taser gun instead of a real gun. He was close enough to hit easily and he had a knife which would have required him to be a lot closer to the police to inflict harm on them. That is a situation in which it makes sense to use a taser. 

It's harder to say in the Michael Brown case because the accounts we've heard indicate that the stop was for something very minor from which the officer could have just moved on instead of escalating it. Common sense says that the confrontation should have never happened at all. But even if it had been a reasonable confrontation and Brown went for the weapon, the fact that he had walked away and was unarmed argues for the use of the taser over the gun.

Tasers should be a very useful tool. But until police agencies start putting them in the same category as a deadly weapon (which they can be) and train officers to use them only in cases where they would otherwise feel obliged to use a gun, tasers are going to be used as torture devices rather than replacements for the use of guns in self-defense. 

With the proper training police wouldn't be torturing and killing citizens with tasers. But they could have been used in the Powell case for sure and probably in the Brown case and two young men would be alive today. It's not the tools that are the problem. It's the way they're used.
A couple of days later:

If tasers aren't for use in place of deadly force what are they for?

by digby

I've written a couple of things about tasers this week, one on Salon in which I questioned their use as torture devices for cops' convenience and one here where I explained why I don't think they should be banned. I explained that while they are often misused, if they were deployed only in situations where lethal force would be the only other option, they would be a very useful tool in the toolbox. I raised the Powell killing in St. Louis as an example of how they should be used.

Well, I think I'm changing my mind.  From what I gather on the internet, a lot of police and other experts believe that tasers cannot be used in situations where a citizen is wielding a knife or otherwise seems violent because there is no guarantee that a taser will stop them. Therefore, the protocol is to use deadly force in any situation where they feel threatened. The St. Louis police chief was quoted on CNN saying "Tasers aren't 100%. That's what guns are for."

And that means the only use for tasers is to force compliance of unarmed citizens with the use of 50,000 volts of electricity --- which is torture. Like this:
In police reports and in the document charging Hulett, the officers said they told Hulett he was under arrest on the bus before hitting him with the Taser. But in a video of the incident, no such statement can be heard.

Schiano said he reviewed all the available evidence, including the bus video, but found nothing to corroborate the officers' statements that they told Hulett before tasering him that he was under arrest.

"I listened closely and I didn't hear it," [District Attorney]Schiano said outside the courtroom. "I can't speak for them. That's for them to answer." 
Hulett was charged with disorderly conduct by intending to cause annoyance and alarm by obstructing vehicular traffic.

"He wasn't obstructing any traffic," Schiano said. "He was on the bus. As I see the video, he was just trying to go home or wherever he was trying to go."

And if there was no disorderly conduct, there was no reason to arrest him, Schiano said. So the resisting arrest charge was also improper, he said.

The video, taken from a security camera above the driver's seat, shows the officers lifting Hulett's shirt then hitting him with the Taser after warning him that it's coming.

Hulett then falls as the officers, Sgt. William Galvin Jr. and Officer William Coleman, move him off the bus. They drag Hulett away from the bus and one of the officers stands over him as Hulett lies on the pavement.

Hulett, who says a back condition makes it difficult to sit while riding a bus, suffered a broken hip in the incident, according to hospital records. 
"You want it again?" the officer yells repeatedly at Hulett in the video.

Galvin then grabs Hulett's right foot and drags him about 10 feet along the pavement. 
Hulett, 35, suffered a broken left hip in the incident, according to medical records from Upstate Medical University.

In his news release today, Fitzpatrick said he was concerned about the timing of a use of force report filed by the police department. It was dated Aug. 1, three months after the incident and just hours after a story about the case was published in The Post-Standard and on Syracuse.com.

That report said the officers were justified in the force they used.
or this:

McFarland hurt himself June 30, 2009, in a fall at his Woodacre home. His wife called 911, but when paramedics arrived, McFarland refused to be taken to a hospital and signed forms declining medical assistance.

Sheriff's Deputies Justin Zebb and Erin Mittenthal arrived at the home shortly thereafter "without consent and without a warrant," said McFarland's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Deputies are automatically dispatched to most medical calls.

County officials said McFarland made a comment to the deputies about shooting himself. His attorneys have said an embarrassed McFarland was joking about his fall.

After McFarland ordered the deputies to "get out of (the) house," Zebb pulled out his Taser and told McFarland to come with him to the hospital, the suit said.

When McFarland got up from his sofa, the deputy shocked him several times.

Marin County paid that man over a million dollars in damages. Most people, however, don't have these altercations filmed and even if they do cops are usually found to be justified. This man had the means to get a good lawyer. 

The only good reason for cops to have tasers is to use them in place of lethal force. If the only legitimate use for these weapons is to torture citizens into compliance then they need to be banned.


Update:  For a thorough rundown of everything done wrong in the Powell shooting this piece gets to it all. Yes, they could have tasered him.

I bring all this up again because I think that it's all related to the militarization of police. Instead of billy clubs we rely on "antiseptic" hi-tech weapons which, instead of replacing deadly force as they are allegedly designed to do, are legalizing and sanctioning torture as a legitimate police tactic. Meanwhile, the killings continue.

This is not freedom.








 
"Law and Order" gets renewed for another season

by digby

This story from Max Blumenthal at Alternet about the NYPD private chat boards and their plans for protests by and for police is pretty chilling. It shouldn't surprise anyone to see that Republicans are right in the middle of all this exploiting the heated atmosphere.  "Law and order" was a GOP slogan long before it was a TV show. It's been one of their  prime movers for decades. And race is always at the heart of it.

I urge you to read the whole thing, but here's an example:
NYPD Officers, In Their Own Words

On Thee Rant, a popular chat site known to be an online watercooler for active duty and retired NYPD officers, commenters fret about possible ambushes by black gang members, obsess over radical leftists, organize boycotts of chain stores and a Chipotle outlet they deem “anti-cop,” and hatch plots to target protest leaders. While the forum attracts a disproportionate number of cops with a proclivity for outrageous hyperventilation, it also offers a rare look at the unvarnished views of the retired police activists and old guard officers mobilizing against the mayor.

As veteran NYPD observer Len Levitt wrote of the forum, officers “are often so constricted by the department that Thee Rant is often their only outlet. That’s good, until it isn’t.”

In comment threads, de Blasio is routinely referred to as “Kaiser Wilhelm,” a derisive reference to his birth name, Warren Wilhelm Jr. Police resentment of de Blasio has simmered since his campaign for mayor, when he ran against Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk policies. The anti-de Blasio sentiment grew during the early months of his term, as he wrangled with the Policemen's Benevolent Association (PBA) over police salaries and dropped a Bloomberg appeal of a federal lawsuit that found NYPD officers unfairly targeted people of color with stop-and-frisk tactics.

But nothing fueled NYPD outrage like de Blasio’s relationship with Al Sharpton. When the mayor hired a former Sharpton aide, Rachel Noerdlinger, as the chief of staff to his wife, Chirlane McCray, then defended Noerdlinger against a torrent of bad press for her relationship with an ex-convict and her son’s Facebook postings referring to cops as “pigs,” NYPD anger exploded.

On a Thee Rant forum, commenters homed in on Noerdlinger’s race (she is black) and her gender. While one commenter described her as “a weed soaked cum dumpster low life POS,” another officer wrote of her and her partner: “The bit-ch will be bugging mofo's ass, if she hasn't done so already, about making nigge-r noise in court and he will begin clobbering her, and then junior will jump in and snap his neck!”

“They're born N I _ _ E R S , live like N I _ _ E R S and usually die like N I _ _ E R S,” a police commenter added. His language was typical of commentary appearing on the forum whenever Noerdlinger's name was mentioned.

When de Blasio remarked this month that he had instructed his son, Dante, to use extra caution when engaging with cops, Thee Rant commenters lit up the chat boards. In a typically lurid thread, a Thee Rant commenter made light of the struggle de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, has waged with substance abuse. “Somebody should slip her a ‘hot bag,’” a fellow officer who called himself Thisroundsoneme replied, suggesting a cop plant drugs on her to frame her for possession.

A Staten Island grand jury’s refusal to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for strangling Eric Garner to death was not only a cause for celebration at Thee Rant, but an excuse for a new wave of racist tirades. “F u c k Black America, their equal or worse than whites, when speaking of Racism…" wrote Eddie R, a forum commenter. “F u c k Diversity, it's not working and never will work…”

“The latinos are about 24 percent of the population as opposed to the 13 percent that negroes comprise. Perhaps that is why our 'brethren of color' are using any excuse to act up,” another NYPD commenter added.

When the killing of Ramos and Liu was first reported, Thee Rant commenters leapt to blame de Blasio, and for the first time, focused their loathing on Bratton. “Allowing these savage animals to get away with the SHYT they are is the reason this happened. The blood is on your hands Mr Mayor and You Police Commissioner Bratton,” a forum member declared, foreshadowing remarks by the PBA’s Lynch.
[...]
As the demonstrations against police brutality spread, some Thee Rant commenters vowed to target protest organizers like Jose LaSalle, an activist with Copwatch who documents police abuses in the Bronx. “Jose hates white people!” wrote a commenter who identified himself as a former member of the NYPD and went by the handle, Retirednutjob. “What a shock! Why don't he go back to Puerto Rico? Go harass the Police down there Jose and see what happens!”

The ex-cop went on to post what he said was LaSalle’s home phone number and suggested a campaign to force him out of his job with the New York City Parks Department. “Come on we are a powerful force of retired investigators and private eyes and various other sources, lets start following and watching these !%@% stirrers it cant be that hard to find dirt and discredit these azzholes,” Baysidedet clamored.

I'm sure that doesn't represent all cops. But it's ugly and should be completely unacceptable in any police department in America in 2014. Clearly it isn't.

Read the whole article to get peek inside a certain faction of the New York police department. It's clear these people are racists, no doubt about it. They also believe they should be above the law because their job is important. In that regard they are a lot like Wall Street traders and bankers who also think they are too important to be held to the prosaic restrictions that are applied to the average people.

This comes from a social system that exalts certain symbols --- uniforms and money. They feel as if they are better than the rest of the citizenry because we treat them as if they are. Maybe we should stop doing that.


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An NYPD work stoppage?

by digby


This is from the New York Post so take it with a grain of salt:
It’s not a slowdown — it’s a virtual work stoppage.

NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety, The Post has learned.

The dramatic drop comes as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio plan to hold an emergency summit on Tuesday with the heads of the five police unions to try to close the widening rift between cops and the administration.

The unprecedented meeting is being held at the new Police Academy in Queens at 2 p.m., sources said.

Angry union leaders have ordered drastic measures for their members since the Dec. 20 assassination of two NYPD cops in a patrol car, including that two units respond to every call.
It has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show.
Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.
Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.

Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.
Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

The Post obtained the numbers hours after revealing that cops were turning a blind eye to some minor crimes and making arrests only “when they have to” since the execution-style shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

I'm not sure what they hope to achieve. Their list of grievances seems to be that the mayor hurt their feelings and they don't get no respect. Their demands are that the mayor should apologise (and perhaps resign) protests against police should be banned and the police department should be permanently shielded from all criticism. I don't think that's very realistic.

I continue to be stunned at these police officers' lack of maturity and professionalism. I understand that they're upset at both the protests and the shootings of their fellows in NYC and that's fine. But their antics in the face of criticism proves in living color what we see in so many individual incidents: they don't just want respect, they want submission. They will brook no discussion and accept no accountability, have no use for psychology or patience because the weapons in their holsters should be sufficient to gain instant compliance.  We cannot call ourselves a free society as long as that is the case.

We've allowed police militarization and the "us vs them" attitude that go with that to become the norm without any discussion. The debate over police use of force, whether it be beating with a baton, electo-shock, an illegal choke hold or a hail of bullets is long overdue.

Update: Ta-Nahesi Coates makes a good point:






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Education: Testing the testers
by Tom Sullivan
As someone pointed out the other day, in some circles increased oversight of the police and the military is deemed improper and/or unpatriotic, yet other public employees are fair game. Public school teachers, for instance. Even as tests required under No Child Left Behind come under fire, teachers themselves face increased screening tests using "Big Data, 'Moneyball'-style" tools. As Politico reports, "Prices vary widely, from $5,000 for a small district to $500,000 for a large district, depending on the product."
Are they useful, or just another opportunity for investors to turn kids into cash?
The new screening tools slice and dice aspiring teachers into dozens of data points, from their SAT scores to their appreciation for art to their ability to complete geometric patterns. All that data is then fed into an algorithm that spits out a score predicting the likelihood that each candidate will become an effective teacher — or, at least, will be able to raise students’ math and reading scores.
The tools seek to cut through hiring biases that favor "geographic proximity" or "teachers with last names starting with the letters A through G" because résumés get alphabetized. But critics contend there is no magic formula for revealing who makes the best teacher.
“The search for a formula ... just isn’t realistic, at least not at the present time,” said Gerardo González, dean of the School of Education at Indiana University.
González said he fears that the formula approach, which he calls “reductionist,” will scare bright young people away from the teaching profession at a time when many education colleges already report declining enrollments.
Plus, from what I hear on the ground, teachers fed up with increased bureaucratic micromanagement are leaving the profession, or considering it. With educational versions of Omni Consumer Products flexing their political muscles, that may be the goal. Politico continues:
Another screening tool, Paragon K12, which is sold by Hanover Research, produces an overall score for each applicant, known as the Student Achievement Index. It aims to quantify how likely it is that the candidate will boost student test scores.
Districts using the tool also get a breakdown of each applicant’s performance on measures of general intelligence, extrovertedness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and emotional stability, among others.
You wonder how the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association would respond to the increased scrutiny.


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Monday, December 29, 2014

 
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I do it so you don't have to

by digby









All this discussion over the past few months about Americans' relationship to government authorities, whether it be the federal agencies or the local police, has reminded me just how important the internet has become to our democracy. Whether it's social media or access to a variety of news sources and opinion, it makes it more possible than ever for us to be informed citizens. All you kids out there who think this is a silly observation can't imagine what it was like before when all you had was corporate mass media. (Also too: get off my lawn.)

I don't know how much blogs contribute to that but I think they still have a place. For all the information and organizational capability we have, we still have limited time to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the real from the propaganda. Independent bloggers can help do that.

I spend many hours a day reading and writing about news and politics. And I hope that is helpful to my readers who have busy lives and other responsibilities and just need a touchstone to keep them aware of the zeitgeist and how someone who shares their values is interpreting it. After all this time you know how I think and how I approach the world and I hope you continue to stop by and check out my analysis and observation of whatever's going on from time to time if only to measure it against your own impressions.

I plan to keep this blog going. I've invested years in this homely little project and I love doing it as much today as I did in the first few months. But I am only able to do that because of your support. Thank you so much for making that possible. I will always do my best to make it worth your while.








 
It's time to play Guess The Village Scion

by digby
YN: Where did you go to high school?

RW: I actually did five years of high school. Two years at Georgetown Day School here in town, and then I decided I wanted to become a hockey player, so I went up to boarding school, repeated my sophomore year. It’s a normal thing usually to do in boarding school, so I did three years at Hotchkiss up in Connecticut.

YN: So you obviously grew up — your father was the son of immigrants — you grew up fairly privileged and went to a really quality high school and then a boarding school. Do you think that’s impacted that political philosophy at all, just even being around other people who are generally more privileged?

RW: So, at the boarding school they were definitely more conservative. A lot of the sons of Wall Street and daughters of Wall Street type of people. But Georgetown Day School was uber-liberal. You’re calling your teachers by their first names there. In my class, you have Zach Beauchamp who was at TPM [Talking Points Memo] for a while. It’s a very liberal school. So I don’t think it influenced my politics in the sense of it influenced my understanding of the world, it influenced what I read and the people I was talking to ... but if GDS impacted my politics, I’d be a liberal right now.

YN: When you were at GDS, did you already consider yourself a conservative?

RW: I don’t think I had a leaning when I was there, really. I think I was too young, really. It wasn’t until I got to Hotchkiss. And then Haverford College is uber-liberal as well.

YN: Were you politically active in college?

RW: No, I volunteered for the McCain campaign when I was in college. I voted Republican when I was in college. But there wasn’t even a college Republican club on my campus. That club didn’t even exist. I think they’ve started it since I’ve left. I was not, though, doing debates with Democrats.

A Bush perhaps? The son of a powerful lobbyist?

Sadly no. That's Fox's "liberal" commentator Juan Williams' son.



You'll enjoy this, I'm sure:

YN: ... Another way to get at the question is, what’s been your first-hand observation of your dad’s political views? He was at NPR. He certainly has never identified as a conservative.

RW: No, no, no. My dad — I would call him a blue-dog Dem if I had to classify it. He definitely is more liberal than I am. But I think it has to do with his life story. He was an immigrant from Panama, came here when he was 3, grew up in the projects of New York.

He really found opportunity through scholarships to schools, so he sees the value of having a social safety net. And then he sees the good that the government can do in his eyes, but he still thinks you have to work to take advantage of it and to make the most of it. That’s why I think he’s supportive of things like Obamacare or having welfare and that kind of stuff. So he lives his American dream in that, and I think seeing him achieve his American dream made me be conservative because I think there’s a lot of personal responsibility that leads to that, that leads to success.

And I think that it’s not a bad thing to have a social safety net — I think it’s important — but I think that having one that is too big does not push people to be the best they can be, does not encourage success in the way that I think is important. And I think his parents played a large role in encouraging him to have personal responsibility and personal drive.

He seems to think his "success" in life is due to his sense of personal responsibility. If he had any kind of safety net (like say, rich celebrity parents) who knows what kind of failure he'd become? Lulz...

I don't think it's possible to be less self-aware.








 
A quote from a presidential candidate

by digby

Via Roy:

The president “hasn’t projected enough strength and hasn’t shown a priority to the national defense. That is something that, were I in charge, I would.”

Rick Perry? Dick Cheney?

Nope. That's Senator Rand Paul.

Just saying.

Speaking of Roy, do yourself a favor and click over to read the first installment of the Year in Bullshit. You won't regret it.









 
And they have a different word for everything too!

by digby

This is the most watched cable news network in the nation:




During breaking coverage of missing Flight QZ8501, Kooiman asked former FAA spokesperson Scott Brenner if the “real reason” the plane had disappeared was because of the “different way other countries train their pilots.”

“Even when we think about temperature, it’s Fahrenheit or Celsius,” she pointed out. “It’s kilometers or miles. You know, everything about their training could be similar, but different.”


Brenner, however, said that the major difference between international pilots and U.S. pilots was the reliance on automatic pilot.

“And a lot of that… is because a lot of crashes are due to pilot error,” he explained. “So, if you try and eliminate any potential risk, you try and eliminate the pilot’s ability to make incorrect inputs into the aircraft.”

“It’s not just a difference in the way that we measure things?” Kooiman replied. “Is it not as safe in that part of the world? Because our viewers may be thinking, ‘International travel, is it safe? Is it not safe?’”

Then they talked about how American pilots fly their planes while foreign pilots all rely on auto-pilot. (Needless to say, that's total nonsense. too.)

And then, this:

Co-host Charles Payne added that many of the recent international incidents could have occurred because foreign pilots did not have a “cowboy attitude” like American pilots.

Right, you want a "cowboy" piloting your airliner. You know, like this one:












 
The revolutionaries of evunthelibrul you-know-what

by digby

A TNR writer remembers:
Over the last century, TNR did not always live up to this original promise. In the 1930s, under editors who admired central economic planning, it sometimes veered toward an unthinking defense of Joseph Stalin. A decade later, publisher Michael Straight, son of the original owners and briefly a member of the famous Cambridge University ring of Soviet spies, turned it over to former Vice President Henry Wallace to serve as the organ of his left-wing third party presidential campaign. By the early 1970s, under owner Gil Harrison, it had relapsed into a boringly reliable liberalism. “If I had wanted a New Republic editorial,” I heard the philosopher Robert Nozick remark in 1973, after a particularly predictable Rosh Hashanah sermon, “I would have bought a copy.”

Under Peretz, a Harvard lecturer who bought TNR in 1974, the magazine moved away from conventional postwar liberalism. Contrary to what the critics have charged however, it did not simply move to the right. Peretz and most of his editors indeed believed that conventional liberalism had grown stale and ineffective. But few of them had any real sympathy for Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party — the most prominent of those who did, Charles Krauthammer, soon left to become a fixture of the conservative commentariat. Mostly, they longed for a new, regenerated liberalism that could compete more effectively with Reagan. In the spring of 1983, the magazine ran a cover story by Henry Fairlie (a brilliant and famously hard-drinking British journalist who periodically took up residence in TNR’s Washington offices) declaring that the Democratic Party needed to lose the 1984 election. Longtime liberal subscribers recoiled with horror. But Fairlie wanted a defeat that would shock a sclerotic party into reform and recovery, not a Republican triumph. In fact, the essay did a good job laying out the path that Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council would follow on the way to the election of 1992.
How inspiring.

As Corey Robin archly observes:

When The New Republic makes this argument from the right, TNR-style liberals like David Bell, writing in the LA Review of Books above, welcome it as a healthy dose of clear-eyed realism.

When leftists make this sort of argument from the left, TNR-style liberals like Sean Wilentz, murmuring darkly of “left-wing utopianism,” invoke Dostoevsky.

I also blame the Village, which is always running at least a decade, if not two, behind the times. When Peretz took over they undoubtedly were still clinging to the 1930s version and by the 1990s had moved up to the 1970s. The New Republic had been a centrist publication for a very long time even as the political establishment continued to use it as their avatar of liberalism, noting how remarkable it was every time they noticed that it was actually promoting centrism.

But we knew that. Robin's point is more on target and it's something I hadn't thought of before. These "reformers"  thought it was good idea to let Reagan stay in office in order to "shock" the sclerotic Democratic Party into making what they believed to be necessary changes. How revolutionary of them. For all the caterwauling about lefties being nihilistic and destructive when they refuse to enthusiastically embrace the status quo etc, etc., it seems such tactics are ok as long as such a challenge comes from the right. Of course they are ...



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Protesters aren't giving up

by digby


Not that anyone noticed, but LA had a very large protest this past week-end

Just thought I'd mention it since the regular media forgot what with all the focus on the streets of NYC and the non-stop propaganda insisting that protests must stop.

Carry on ...



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Accountability and obeisance

by Tom Sullivan

While munching on vegetarian everything at a Harmonic Convergence potluck in 1987, people quietly fled the kitchen when a friend and I (two engineers) began discussing the military's propensity for buying guns that can't shoot straight and amphibious vehicles that sink. It was one thing for lefties to oppose Pentagon spending, and quite another to besmirch your white-vinyl soul by knowing anything about it. The Atlantic has in its current issue an article about a rifle the Pentagon is still buying, one designed over a half century ago.

For James Fallows, lack of accountability for the military in both performance and procurement stems from the Washington-like bubble we insist the military inhabit. As Fallows begins in his latest for the Atlantic, "[W]e love the troops, but we’d rather not think about them." With less than one percent of Americans at risk under fire, "Fewer and fewer people know anyone in the military. It’s become just too easy to go to war.” On the history of that disconnectedness, Fallows writes:

If I were writing such a history now, I would call it Chickenhawk Nation, based on the derisive term for those eager to go to war, as long as someone else is going. It would be the story of a country willing to do anything for its military except take it seriously.

Much as we discussed in that kitchen conversation 30 years ago, military procurement is still a problem fraught with political machinations. There is a lot of money at stake in maintaining a global empire, and it persists unchecked even as we cut spending at home, you know, for food (SNAP). As I wrote in 2012:

Just for comparison, the Pentagon had a “base” budget of $515 billion in 2009 to staff and maintain 545,000 facilities at 5,300 sites both in the United States and around the globe (not including tens of billions in GWOT supplementals and other off-budget and “black” budget costs). Thus, it is not easy to determine how much all U.S. security agencies spend on defense annually, nor to separate out how much the Pentagon alone spends just to maintain the offshore portion of our global empire. But drawing on various sources, assumptions, and the fact that one-quarter of U.S. troops are stationed abroad, the Institute for Policy Studies estimated the 2009 costs of our overseas operations (wars included) at $250 billion annually “to maintain troops, equipment, fleets, and bases overseas.”

Fallows continues on that process:

... such is the dysfunction and corruption of the budgeting process that even as spending levels rise, the Pentagon faces simultaneous crises in funding for maintenance, training, pensions, and veterans’ care. “We’re buying the wrong things, and paying too much for them,” Charles A. Stevenson, a onetime staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former professor at the National War College, told me. “We’re spending so much on people that we don’t have the hardware, which is becoming more expensive anyway. We are flatlining R&D.”

The latter half of Fallows' piece examines the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. That it is insanely over budget and wracked with technical issues should come as no surprise. One wonders how many joints were involved in its conception.

Fallows also looks at how our relationship to the military has changed since WWII when 10 percent of Americans were serving in it. As we have become more disconnected from the military, we have fallen into rote “'salute to the heroes' gestures that do more for the civilian public’s self-esteem than for the troops’." That disconnectedness leads to a lack of accountability. Lincoln removed generals for military failings. We remove them for personal foibles.

But what Fallows does not address is whether the disconnectedness and lack of accountability he describes — combined with our nagging economic uncertainty and fear-flogging by the press — fosters tolerance for growing authoritarianism. Or at least a deference to it. The same unquestioning, knee-jerk obeisance we're supposed to give "our troops" seems now to extend to the police as well. In light of the recent police shooting incidents and the reaction of the NYPD, it seems police now expect demand obeisance and immunity from accountability.









Sunday, December 28, 2014

 
The GOP crazy train left the station long ago

by digby

So GQ came up with a list of 20 craziest politicians and 17 of them were Republicans. (The 3 Democrats were Hank Johnson, Joe Biden and Sheila Jackson-Lee.) Whateves.

Needless to say the rightwingers are very, very upset. So the New York Post came up with it's own list of crazy politicians who they see as being in the mode of Louis Gohmert and Steve King:

Chris Hughes, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Gruver, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Samantha Power, Steve Israel, Marty Landrieu, Wendy Davis, Bernie Sanders, Kay Hagan, Barbara Lee and Mark Udall.
Except for the fact that some of them aren't politicians it's an excellent list of total wacko-bird freaks. In Bizarroworld.

The truth is that there are a lot of things for which you can criticize Democrats, including some of those on that list. You can read all about it on this blog. Competing with Republicans to be the conductor of the crazy train? I'm afraid not.

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When is Giuliani time going to be over?

by digby

Why is he on our TVs?



"When I reflect on all the police officers turning their back, I don't know, I guess as an ex-mayor, I feel uncomfortable about that, you turn your back on the mayor," Giuliani explained. "On the other hand, I think at this point I have to say, he's bringing it on himself. He should have apologized."

"He should have apologized, not for the murder -- he's not responsible for the murder, he shouldn't resign, he's been elected by the people -- but he did create an atmosphere of anti-police bias and feeling for a long, long time," the former mayor continued. "It's time to say, 'Maybe I had the wrong perception of my police department. First of all, my police department is not a white police department. Everybody's a minority in the New York City Police Department.'"

Giuliani admitted that the "feeling" de Blasio had created about the NYPD had not contributed to the recent murder of two officers, but he said that the mayor had made people think that "police officers are in the main racist."

De Blasio has spoken out about how he felt that he had to give his his biracial son, Dante, special instructions about hot to behave during encounters with police because of his skin color. But Giuliani said that white children were also given the same instructions by their parents.

"We're not talking about the South in the 1960s. We're talking about guys that grew up next to an Asian kid, next to a black kid, next to a white kid. Everybody's familiar with it, we all play football with each other," Giuliani insisted. "This is not what he has allowed to be created when he made all those statements about his son."


Oh shut your pie-hole and read this:

Innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 5 million times since 2002, and that black and Latino communities continue to be the overwhelming target of these tactics. Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports:

In 2002, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 97,296 times.
80,176 were totally innocent (82 percent).

In 2003, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 160,851 times.
140,442 were totally innocent (87 percent).
77,704 were black (54 percent).
44,581 were Latino (31 percent).
17,623 were white (12 percent).
83,499 were aged 14-24 (55 percent).

In 2004, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 313,523 times.
278,933 were totally innocent (89 percent).
155,033 were black (55 percent).
89,937 were Latino (32 percent).
28,913 were white (10 percent).
152,196 were aged 14-24 (52 percent).

In 2005, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 398,191 times.
352,348 were totally innocent (89 percent).
196,570 were black (54 percent).
115,088 were Latino (32 percent).
40,713 were white (11 percent).
189,854 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).

In 2006, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 506,491 times.
457,163 were totally innocent (90 percent).
267,468 were black (53 percent).
147,862 were Latino (29 percent).
53,500 were white (11 percent).
247,691 were aged 14-24 (50 percent).

In 2007, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 472,096 times.
410,936 were totally innocent (87 percent).
243,766 were black (54 percent).
141,868 were Latino (31 percent).
52,887 were white (12 percent).
223,783 were aged 14-24 (48 percent).

In 2008, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 540,302 times.
474,387 were totally innocent (88 percent).
275,588 were black (53 percent).
168,475 were Latino (32 percent).
57,650 were white (11 percent).
263,408 were aged 14-24 (49 percent).

In 2009, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 581,168 times.
510,742 were totally innocent (88 percent).
310,611 were black (55 percent).
180,055 were Latino (32 percent).
53,601 were white (10 percent).
289,602 were aged 14-24 (50 percent).

In 2010, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 601,285 times.
518,849 were totally innocent (86 percent).
315,083 were black (54 percent).
189,326 were Latino (33 percent).
54,810 were white (9 percent).
295,902 were aged 14-24 (49 percent)

In 2011, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 685,724 times.
605,328 were totally innocent (88 percent).
350,743 were black (53 percent).
223,740 were Latino (34 percent).
61,805 were white (9 percent).
341,581 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).

In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times
473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent).
284,229 were black (55 percent).
165,140 were Latino (32 percent).
50,366 were white (10 percent).

In 2013, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 191,558 times.
169,252 were totally innocent (88 percent).
104,958 were black (56 percent).
55,191 were Latino (29 percent).
20,877 were white (11 percent).

During the first three-quarters of 2014, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 38,456 times.
31,661 were totally innocent (82 percent).
20,683 were black (54 percent).
10,483 were Latino (27 percent).
4,590 were white (12 percent).

Now take a look at this:


I think we can all see the problem here, can't we? And why anyone who is black or hispanic or has a bi-racial or multi-racial loved one might be concerned?

Giuliani is a very typical white, wingnut authoritarian who sees absolutely nothing wrong with harassing innocent citizens of color. Anyone who questions it is an un-American cop-hater. And for the past few days, he and others like him have been pontificating virtually unopposed on television.

*The holiday fundraiser continues through the end of the year. Thank you, thank you to all who have contributed so far.  I am very grateful for you support.

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