To give you some perspective on how militarized and trigger happy our police departments are here in America, Darren Wilson, who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown six to eight times, fired more bullets than the entire British police force did last year.
That comes from the Economist, which also reports that "are around 100 times less likely to be shot by a police officer than Americans."
Well, that of course is because all Brits are middle-aged women who look like Margaret Thatcher sitting in cottages and drinking tea ... right?
Wrong. Britain is the home of immigrants from all over the world and in large quantities and often in the large cities. There's plenty of friction. There just isn't the urge to... horrify. That may be one of the reasons their security services are hopping to, thanks to the news that the chief beheader in the Foley killing is likely a Brit.
So sure... there's a serious potential for violence in Britain, given the growing ethnic mixture. They just handle it better. Or is it that America measures success by the number of kills?
Throughout their careers, Bill and Hillary Clinton have shown a willingness to remember, and punish, political betrayals. In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter sent some of the Cuban refugees who had arrived in the United States as part of the Mariel boatlift to Arkansas. Held in prison-like conditions, the detainees rioted and some escaped, which ensured Clinton’s reelection defeat as Arkansas governor. As Carl Bernstein details in A Woman in Charge, the Clintons retaliated more than a decade later by refusing to give anyone in Carter’s inner circle a job in the Clinton White House. In their book HRC, Jonathan Allen and Aimee Parnes note that in 2012, Bill Clinton repeatedly intervened in Democratic primaries to help candidates who had backed Hillary against rivals who had backed Barack Obama—thus reminding Democrats that opposing Hillary carries a price.
According to Bob Boorstin, who ran communications for Hillary’s health-care task force, when Hillary is slighted, “she gets angry, and she remembers it forever.” When people prove loyal, by contrast, they reap rewards. As Allen and Parnes put it, “Loyalty, for better and worse, has been the defining trait of Hillary and her tightly woven inner circle, from her days as first lady through the Senate and State.” ...PeterBeinart,Atlantic
Talk about "widening gyre"! We are now at a place where "just" killing doesn't satisfy the killer. We need to "horrify."
Sometimes the horrifying is deliberate -- vide the beheading of James Foley. Already we have grown accustomed to videos of beheadings.
We are nearing the same point with our death penalty, with our militarized and often brutal law enforcement shown 24/7, the four or five additional bullets fired from Wilson's gun and the abandoning of Brown's body in the street, and our toleration of the execution of Michael Worthington -- a longer, more torturous death than Foley's, horrifying as well as killing.
So ISIS is just another symptom of a growing breakdown in communities. What we're seeing daily now is the "widening gyre" -- a hellish force that isn't limited to one far-off part of our world.
The voice of Foley’s black-hooded executioner is heard in the video; he appears to have a British accent. This has alarmed many in the United Kingdom, including its security services, which have become increasingly aware that they have a problem on their hands. Last year, two British converts to Islam publicly beheaded Lee Rigby, an off-duty British serviceman, in a London suburb. Hundreds of British and other European citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq and joined in ISIS’s depredations.
A feature of the group’s psychopathic campaign to establish a Muslim caliphate in the Middle East is that these volunteer killers upload their atrocities to the Internet. Not long ago, an Australian jihadi filmed his young son holding a man’s sawed-off head. There have also been webcasts of mass executions of Shiites, seen as apostates by the Sunni extremists of ISIS; of crucifixions; and of fatal stonings of women. The brutality goes on and on. Freed and encouraged to kill and to horrify, it seems, many people will do so, even people raised in Western democracies. ...JonLeeAnderson,NewYorker
I guess this is serious, but I'm laughing. The military have been so un-American for so long (oh, I don't know... Abu Ghraib? Gitmo?) that there's nothing particularly new here. Except maybe that it's horribly funny.
The U.S. military is banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked government secrets.
According to multiple military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information. The ban appears to apply to all employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news outlets in the past after leaks of classified information.
A directive issued to military staff at one location last week, obtained by The Intercept, threatens that any employees caught viewing classified material in the public domain will face “long term security issues.” It suggests that the call to prohibit employees from viewing the website was made by senior officials over concerns about a “potential new leaker” of secret documents. ...TheIntercept
Oh, right. The Intercept is where that dangerous Glenn Greenwald hangs out. Must not let our boys and girls get their heads turned by the notions of freedom and human rights.
Seriously, though, do we want a military that's uninformed and seen by its own commanders as unable to cope with news from America?
Any day now, the out-of-town protesters —including the Tibetan monks — will leave Ferguson. The network television cameras and news correspondents will fly back to Washington and New York. Another crisis will pop up somewhere in the world, and the cycle will repeat: Journalists will swoop in, tell a bundle of stories, and drive a short-lived national conversation. Politicians will head to a gaggle of microphones and deliver statements that may or may not lead to substantive change.
Well, of course, the people will be punished for protesting. That's what. Residents of Ferguson are already worried, scared.
For the city of Ferguson, the tensions fueling the protests will continue. Ferguson police will regain full authority, free from the watchful eyes of the National Guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Residents are right to be fearful. ...StephenGray,WaPo
Once the media get bored with Ferguson, do we also sling our backpacks back on and take off for the next shooting? Or do we behave like allies, like fellow Americans, standing up for reform in Ferguson?
The most obvious policy question is how to reverse the militarization of local law enforcement agencies. That there is now broad public awareness of this issue is one silver lining of the Ferguson episode. Beyond this, there must be safe spaces to acknowledge and positively address the cocktail of issues facing young men of color. At the White House on Monday, President Obama acknowledged some of these issues, including racial profiling, unequal criminal sentencing, and disproportionate discipline in schools. As a result, he said, young black men “are left behind and seen only as objects of fear.” ...StephenGray,WaPo
There's a lot of work to be done. Is America -- that's you and me, not just some government agency we can saddle with the job -- up for it? Can't we at least protect the protesters, many of whom are now potential victims of resentful law enforcement?
St. Louis -- well, the entire state of Missouri -- appears to not give a damn about Michael Brown. That's clear when you take a look at the education he was offered.
Before his death at the hands of a white police officer, Michael Brown had graduated from Normandy High School – a school whose academic standards and finances were so poor that it had been declared "unaccredited" by Missouri state education authorities.
Inequality in education – and efforts to block students transferring from impoverished, predominantly black school districts into those wealthier white ones – were a focus of local resentment even before Brown’s killing.
"Is there going to be metal detectors? We're not talking about the Normandy school district losing accreditation because of their buildings, their structures, or their teachers," said Beth Cirami, a parent who spoke at a forum held by Francis Howell last July. "We are talking about violent behavior that is going to be coming in with my first-grader, my third-grader and my middle-schooler." ...AlJazeera
Brown was condemned to being a non-person in Missouri before he was born.
The Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — has endured so many near-death experiences that digging into the details of still another effort to demolish it is admittedly not an inviting prospect. (My own reaction, I confess, to hearing some months back about the latest legal challenge — this one aimed at the supposed effect of a single word in the 900-page statute — was something along the lines of “wake me when it’s over.”)
But stay with me, because this latest round, catapulted onto the Supreme Court’s docket earlier this month by the same forces that brought us the failed Commerce Clause attack two years ago, opens a window on raw judicial politics so extreme that the saga so far would be funny if the potential consequences weren’t so serious.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that there is anything wrong with turning to the courts to achieve what politics won’t deliver; we all know that litigation is politics by other means. (Think school desegregation. Think reproductive rights. Think, perhaps, same-sex marriage.) Nor is the creativity and determination of the Affordable Care Act’s opponents any great revelation — not after they came within a hairsbreadth of getting the law’s individual mandate thrown out on a constitutional theory that would have been laughed out of court not too many years ago.
You can't be all that unpopular with the current Supreme Court if most of the justices turn up at a party in your honor. Nonetheless, Linda Greenhouse lights into the Supreme Court -- and pretty much the entire conservative judicial establishment -- for its ongoing, shameless use of the courts for political wanking, naked, and always on the front pages.
Granted, she is primarily a legal scholar. But she operates, intellectually as well morally, far beyond their reach. And she's remarkably clear about the trouble we're in.
You wouldn't have caught me ever -- in the years Microsoft has been in business (I had a computer long before then) -- saying "thank you" to that software producer and echt Kapitalista. They got some points for elements of their operating systems. But once Windows 8 turned up-- the operating system from hell -- I was back in what I hear is a protest crowd the size of Ferguson's and then some.
But now Mircrosoft has gone and done something at once sensible and provocative. They have pulled away from ALEC, according to Talking Points Memo. That doesn't make up for the grunge that is Windows 8. But it helps.
The golden rules of police procedure that need to be reiterated and, above all, enforced, are:
Outfitting the police with video cams.
Making sure the cameras are used consistently.
And making the video -- all of it -- public record.
Really. It's so simple. Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post:
One policy that would go a long way toward achieving those three objectives is what defense attorney Scott Greenfield calls the missing video presumption. Currently, the courts generally treat important video that goes missing as a harmless mistake. They assume no ill will on the part of police. If you discover that the police were or should have been recording an encounter that would vindicate you of criminal charges or prove that the police violated your rights, and that video goes missing, you’re simply out of luck.
Under the missing video presumption, if under the policy agency’s police there should have been video and there isn’t, then the courts will assume that the video corroborates the party opposing the police, be it a criminal defendant or the plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit. The state could still get over the presumption by presenting other evidence, such as witnesses, medical reports, and so on. But if it’s the police officer’s word against his antagonist’s, there should be video to validate one side or the other, and that video mysteriously goes missing while in police custody, the police should have to pay a penalty in court. Otherwise, there’s just too strong an incentive for vindicating video to be leaked and for incriminating video to disappear. ...WaPo
While Americans are divided about the merits of the specific charges levelled against Perry, there is near-unanimous agreement that imprisoning politicians for ninety-nine years is an idea worth exploring further, a poll released on Monday indicates.
According to the poll, eighty-seven per cent of voters from both parties agreed that sending politicians to prison for such a lengthy period would “solve a lot of problems” and “make the country safer.” ...AndyBorowitz,NewYorker