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Saturday, December 27, 2014

President Obama and North Korea

I need to praise +Barack Obama  in the starkest of terms as his response to what could be a string of cyberattacks from North Korea has been measured and swift. I'm not surprised in the least that the North Koreans would have threatened to retaliate against us for not bowing down to their will and for even daring to defy them by going on to watch the film +THE INTERVIEW. Consdering The Interview, it's a stupid movie, and in my opinion, not the greatest use of either +Seth Rogen or +James Franco's talents. Not only that, I found the humor too uncomfortable, but nonetheless indiscriminatory.

As for Kim Jong-Un, attempting to start nuclear warfare with the world's second-biggest stockpile of such weaponry is military suicide. I can't attest to Kim's sanity, and I won't bother. That's for experts well above my level of education (BA for a History Major with a Russian Minor). However, I will say from my History background that decisions by state actors to attack states bigger than their own rarely come out successful. Perhaps the best examples are Japan attacking America and Germany attacking the Soviet Union during WWII. Think about the end results for both countries, and this will explain why Kim's nihilism at this point will come back to bite him in the butt.

I'm not saying that Obama should threaten Kim with nuclear weapons, as I think that would only feed Kim's ego of himself as being a strong leader. However, Obama should make the point to Kim that continued provocative acts and actions could possibly lead to more severe consequences. Of course, such warnings and promises only lead to threats in return, which continues this tension cycle.

Only now, Kim's really upped the ante by plowing through a racist slur towards Obama. The only question I have is, why? If his point is too insult our president to the point that open season-like nuclear warfare ensues, that's not going to be the result. I think the Foreign (State) Department's response was appropriately measured, but it won't do much in terms of resolving the crisis.

Article Credit: +ABC News 

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).

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