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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Torture Report And More On The Protests Of Racialized Policing Across America

I'll start by saying that the Torture Report released by the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is very heartening to see. It took a while for Dianne Feinstein to get all the pieces together due to the +Central Intelligence Agency continually stonewalling the investigation, which took a particularly nasty public turn back in the lame duck session of the 112th Congress in 2012, in addition to around this time in 2013. Still it's good that it's released, and that its contents that are public give the rest of us a clearer picture as to what the CIA did in the time frame from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 to George W. Bush's exit from office in January 2009. While I haven't read it yet, what I do know is that from seeing articles published on it is that the CIA went to Bush and Dick Cheney with this plan from before the attacks, and in the aftermath, got the clearance to go about implementing the "enhanced interrogation techniques" and using it on figures such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed. The fact is that these techniques were not only useless in obtaining any credible information for breaking up attacks, they destroyed our credibility across the world as now we can't get any information on anything unless someone chooses to give us the information voluntarily.

As for the protests, luckily the craziness in Berkeley seems to be dying down (as in no one getting on the interstate freeways). Still, it's lucky enough that Berkeley Police and Police from around the Bay Area are working together to help facilitate the protests so that they can go about peacefully. One key note to these protests turning into riots, most of the anarchists taking part are actually not from the Bay Area and/or from the Berkeley area itself. Most I think are coming here from the Central Valley, primarily around Fresno, just to start trouble for the sheer heck of it. Then again, this is not a huge surprise, come to think of it. Since many in the Valley areas have no real love for the Bay Area, and in particular both San Francisco and Berkeley, due to what many of them see as a sinner's haven of Liberalism that must be destroyed at all costs.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Berkeley's Up In Flames

Somehow the title to this post is a bit too hitched with irony. The question: when is Berkeley not up in flames? It's called the People's Republic of Bizzerkeley for a reason, and this weekend put that reason on full display. This isn't to hate on Berkeley, as it's a sign that its agitatingly activistic nature is about to return to fight an old battle, racism (more specifically racial oppression, discrimination, segregation & persecution). Then again, this has come in a much different than when Jim Crow was still in force.

In Berkeley, riots on both Saturday and Sunday literally destroyed the downtown along Shattuck Avenue. I feel for the merchants who are victims through property damage, just like I'm 100% behind the cause of the protesters in bringing some form of judiciary reform. However, rioting won't do anything except give rogue cops the excuse they need to justify using excessive force. My advice to the protesters is: don't fall for their trap by going completely conquers! I can say that I was amazed at how disruptive, but not destructive, the protests were last night. I feel bad for the commuters who were stuck in traffic on I-80 or idling +Amtrak trains on the Capitol Corridor line, due to protesters blocking either the freeway or the tracks. It's just a matter of keeping an eye out for the Police response in Berkeley, and hope that Berkeley police won't employ the same tactics they did on Saturday. At the same time, hopefully the protesters will be more watchful for opportunistic anarchists looking to hijack their cause.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Eric Holder's Announcement For Holding Local And State Law Enforcement Accountable To The Fed And Its Impact On Racial Profiling

I'll start by saying that it's about time the Justice Department announced a new crackdown on the various local and state law enforcement agencies to see how they're using federal funds and retired military equipment when "protecting and serving" our communities. I don't think it will take the Attorney General, +Eric Holder, very long to figure out that racism and White supremacy is ripe in several local and state police departments around the nation.

The fact that racism ties into how law enforcement officials do their jobs and who they target to enforce upon. More likely than not, their center of enforcement tends to be around communities of color rather than White people. Don't be so surprised, this is actually very common. It's because of the pre-conceived notion that people of color (particularly Blacks and Spanish-speakers) are all criminals waiting for someone to arrest them. For the Black community in particular, it's especially difficult for them to voice their own innocence due to having a judiciary heavily rigged against them as +PoliticusUSA explains in this article about Michael "Mike" Brown's extrajudicial execution by Darren Wilson and the sham-trial meant to cover the case up. It's not just Mike Brown who's a victim of this White supremacist mentality that's enveloped many of our nation's law enforcement agencies, think of Trayvon Martin back in 2012, when George Zimmerman shot him dead after appointing himself judge, jury and executioner along with cop to enforce the law. This is beyond absurd, that this passes for legal law-enforcement or self-defense to shoot dead unarmed young Black men.

As for Eric Holder's announcement, via +The White House, it focuses on 3 key concepts:

  1. Creating a taskforce to better understand the problem of racial profiling in law enforcement and putting an end to it with new community-oriented policing (good place to start by getting the community involved with the police in keeping everyone safe).
  2. Stronger oversight and other reforms as needed to keep a profile of how local and state law enforcement agencies use federal resources to do their jobs, especially when it involves retired military equipment (very commendable as this has been a lacking factor going back to at least the George W. Bush Administration at the very earliest, via the PATRIOT ACT).
  3. Body cameras mandated to be worn by cops (by far the most sensible solution, as it would help to give an unblinking eye to anything that happens between citizens and law-enforcement officers).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Lives Don't Matter? Yeah, Right! They Matter Just As Much As White Lives!

I really can't understand how the +GOP and its various right-wing cohorts are continuing to paint the picture of Black lives not mattering at all, and that the best kind of African American is a dead African American. What the heck is this thought process doing in one of our nation's two major political parties? Really? Is it that sickening to many of the right that Blacks should have equal rights to Whites and that Black lives do matter?

This is not to say that the whole Right-Wing is racist, as it's not. I know plenty of conservatives that are actually not that into the whole dog-whistle style of politics. However, there are plenty of folks on the right that are seeking to install White supremacy. I'm talking figures like +Ted Nugent and +Sarah Palin. I want everyone to see something, that +Dennis Kucinich posted on his Twitter feed. It speaks volumes as to why we need to keep pushing to end the terrible legacy of Jim Crow and racism in America. Don't be under any illusions that the +GOP will look for any means to repeal any and all civil rights legislation, because they will.

This is precisely why I've said in some previous posts about my concerns with the Koch Brothers and others from the far-right controlling the Republican National Committee, it's because I, like many in this country, am seeing the implementation of the platform of the +John Birch Society and also the reimplementation of the old +Confederacy on a national scale, not just in the South. This is scaring me to no end, and I'm sure it's scaring many of you as well.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson & The Need For Judicial Reform

I'll start off by saying that I'm by no means shocked or surprised to see that the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri voted the way it did. I'd say given Darren Wilson's status as a police officer made the likelihood of him being let off with no consequences that much more feasible.

That being said, I think there was a major misjustice that took place. First off, from what I read on +Addicting Info+PoliticusUSA+Raw Story, and Forward Progressives, the Ferguson Police Department lied about the trajectory that Darren Wilson's gunfire took when he fatally shot Michael Brown. The fatal shots travelled a full 148 feet (about 45 meters), instead of the 35 or so stated by the Department. However, that's not the part that pisses me off though. What really gets me infuriated is that Mike Brown's family can never have closure for the fact that certain groups, such as the +Ku Klux Klan, decided to insert themselves into the case just to see another African American family needlessly suffer. Additionally, I find it infuriating to know that Darren Wilson was running threats against other Black residents in Ferguson, and that he's spilled the fact that he has ties to the KKK. It makes me think that the lack of accountability is another means for upholding White supremacism, which really has no place in our lives. I find that the people sworn to uphold the law in Ferguson obfuscated their duty to do so.

I feel for Michael Brown's parents, and I want them to know that I not only share their pain, but extend to them my love and wishes that they find peace. They should not have to continue to deal with the hell after their son's senseless murder, and I think it's a sign of strength that they're giving back to the community that has rallied around them in their time of great pain.

Michael, Sr. was right to call only for peaceful protests following the Grand Jury's decision, and to make the case that rioting will not make anyone's voices heard. I don't hold the Governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, accountable for the failings, but I do hold the St. Louis County government accountable for its failure to address the underlying tensions surrounding the use of racial profiling at both the city and county levels by police.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Republicans & Jim Crow's Likely Return

At the moment, I only see the Republicans trying to revive Jim Crow in order to win elections. If you look very carefully at what the Republicans are doing with their majorities in various state legislatures is the same and/or similar actions taken by the Democrats in the South. That's what makes the Republicans' maneuvers so infuriating, the fact that they're old tactics which used to happen in the past.

Now let's be very clear, not all Republicans are these reactionary, White-Supremacist, variety. Most are actually fairly reasonable, and would be more than willing to do what's necessary to move this country forward. But the ones largely calling the shots at this point are from the reactionary, White-Supremacist faction (aka, +The Tea Party). I mean think about it, how many times have you heard various individuals, and/or the faction itself, make all kinds of racist, homophobic, etc, remarks? I'd say several, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I can only see this trend getting worse over time before it gets better.

I'd say once +Barack Obama leaves office in 2017, do not expect a Democrat to return to the Presidency for a good while. I'm saying this because of the various Voter ID laws (which are unconstitutional on the grounds that they're poll taxes) and their impact on likely constituent groups who would likely vote Democratic.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Katie Cole's New Single

I listened to +Katie Cole's new track Shout, and it's very well-done. You can find Shout here. Listen to it, as she really shouts while singing to give the cover some I'd say very well-enhanced dramatics. Props to her for creativity, and I think that +Tears For Fears would likely agree on that. It's also heartening for me to see where she's placing purchases of Shout+Susan G. Komen® Foundation for researching a cure for breast cancer. It's worthwhile, knowing that someone very close to her suffered this terrible disease.

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