Don't miss Jade Yuan's "19 observations" at Daily Intel. Among them:
Most of those guys selling T-shirts outside the funeral that caused MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee to send an astonished and outraged tweet weren’t profiteers. One vendor, Reggie Jones, came from Charlotte and has been in Ferguson for a week, asking $10 but taking as little as $5 and donating the proceeds to the family. Yashua Anton, 42, who was selling “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” shirts in a pinstripe suite, had come from Chicago, where he runs a printing business catering to Historically Black Colleges. ...DailyIntel
The US military have been watching the Israel Defense Forces' actions in Gaza and find them unnecessarily brutal. Much of their criticism boils down to disgust:
“Listen, we know what it’s like to kill civilians in war,” said the senior U.S. officer. “Hell, we even put it on the front pages. We call it collateral damage. We absolutely try to minimize it, because we know it turns people against you. Killing civilians is a sure prescription for defeat. But that’s not what the IDF did in Shujaiya on July 21. Human shields? C’mon, just own up to it.” ...AlJazeera
The indiscriminate bombardment is, in the end, inexcusable. Israel has become the brute, the bully.
The Al Jazeera analysis sums up the Pentagon's view:
Senior U.S. officers who are familiar with the battle and Israeli artillery operations, which are modeled on U.S. doctrine, assessed that, based on the rate of artillery fire into Shujaiya overnight Sunday, IDF commanders weren’t precisely targeting Palestinian military formations, as much as laying down an indiscriminate barrage aimed at “cratering” the neighborhood. The cratering operation was designed to collapse the Hamas tunnels discovered when IDF ground units came under fire in the neighborhood. Initially, said the senior U.S. military officer who spoke with me about the military summaries of IDF operations, Israel’s artillery had used “suppressing fire to protect their forward units, but then poured in everything they had — in a kind of walking barrage. Suppressing fire is perfectly defensible — a walking barrage isn’t.” ...AlJazeera
Israel is held, much as we are, in the grip of rightwing haters. Hatred -- a tortured "love" of country -- blinds them to the real harm they are doing to their own nation, much as the American right is doing.
Looks that way -- perhaps most notably in Wisconsin, a state where straight Republicans are being replaced by their twisted, extremist brethren. Alec McGillis, writing in the New Republic, describes the reach of Scott Walker's dirty politics in that state.
...The district, northwest of Milwaukee, has been represented for nearly half a century by only two men, both of whom were standard bearers for a brand of moderate Republicanism that has all but vanished from the landscape. The latter of the two, Tom Petri, is retiring after 35 years in office, and the Republican primary earlier this month to replace him was won, very narrowly, by Glenn Grothman, a proudly polarizing state senator ... considered by many to be the most radically conservative member of the Wisconsin legislature. The seat is solidly Republican and the Democratic challenger had only $42,000 in his account as of late July, so odds are that Grothman will take over for Petri in January and thereby pull off one of the most dramatic discontinuities in the annals of Congress. ...NewRepublic
The "proudly polarizing" Mr. Grothman is known as the guy who hates Kwanzaa -- among other things. McGillis quotes the Daily Beast:
A short list of Grothman’s most controversial moments would include his attack on Kwanzaa as an anti-Christian attempt by “white left-wingers...to shove [the holiday] down black people’s throats in an effort to divide Americans,” his opposition to equal pay for women, his belief that Martin Luther King Jr. Day shouldn’t be a holiday, and his advocacy for a seven-day workweek. That doesn’t even touch on his forays into social issues, like attacking Planned Parenthood as racist or when, explaining his opposition to a law to protect gay students from bullying, he recalled his high school years with nostalgia by saying, “Homosexuality was not on anybody’s radar and that’s a good thing.” ...DailyBeast,NewRepublic
And on and on... In other words, a knuckledragger of the most intolerant variety.
Wisconsin used to be proud of its old Republicans, the Republicans who actually worked for, not against, the people of Wisconsin. But Grothman, like so many of his ilk, seems to be motivated by hatred-- by a vision tumbrels laden with decent and tolerant Wisconsinites sacrificed to serve willful ignorance, greed and intolerance.
Or so it would appear. When Ferguson's police chief was questioned about the number of bullets Officer Darren Wilson shot at Michael Brown seemed vague and dismissive. A recording of the event by a bystander hints at several more shots than the original six.
Evidence shows that the officer’s weapon went off inside the car, according to law enforcement officials. The witnesses say that Mr. Brown then fled and that Officer Wilson got out of his car and fired at him as Mr. Brown was running away. At some point, those witnesses said, Mr. Brown turned around and was facing Officer Wilson when the officer fired the final shots.
One of those witnesses, Michael T. Brady, a janitor who lives near the scene of the shooting, said in an interview that Mr. Brown was bent over when one of the shots hit him in the head. “The officer lets out three more shots at him,” Mr. Brady said. “The second one goes into his head as he was bending down.” ...NYT
Times reporters spoke with the lawyer for the unidentified owner of the videocam.
Ms. Blumenthal said she did not know what precisely the new recording would reveal to investigators. “What I do know happened, just from the evidence, is that there was a pause,” Ms. Blumenthal, of Blumenthal & Blumenthal, said in an interview in her small offices in north St. Louis County. “So, at some point, the shooter stopped momentarily and then resumed shooting. What the rationale or reasoning is, I have no way to know.” ...NYT
Whether Darren Wilson is guilty of outright murder or not, the current Supreme Court has made sure he won't be held fully accountable for the crime. In an editorial, the dean of the UC Irvine law school examines recent Supreme Court rulings showing that the Supreme Court "protects bad cops."
In recent years, the court has made it very difficult, and often impossible, to hold police officers and the governments that employ them accountable for civil rights violations. This undermines the ability to deter illegal police behavior and leaves victims without compensation. When the police kill or injure innocent people, the victims rarely have recourse.
The most recent court ruling that favored the police was Plumhoff v. Rickard, decided on May 27, which found that even egregious police conduct is not “excessive force” in violation of the Constitution. ...NYT
Cherminsky examines a series of copsucker (my word, not his) Court decisions and concludes that "taken together, these rulings have a powerful effect. They mean that the officer who shot Michael Brown -- and the City of Ferguson -- will most likely never be held accountable in court.
One could be forgiven for concluding that the police -- nationwide -- are as corrupt and trigger-happy as they appear to be. Raw Story describes an outright murder by police in Walmart in Dayton.
John Crawford III died Aug. 5 after police were called to Walmart in Beavercreek, near Dayton, by another shopper who reported a man carrying what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle.
The 22-year-old Crawford was instead carrying an unpackaged MK-177 (.177 caliber) BB/pellet rifle he picked up in the store’s toy department.
Police claim Crawford ignored their commands to drop the weapon, and the former Marine who called in the report and witnessed the shooting said Crawford “looked like he was going to go violently.”
But attorney Michael Wright said surveillance video from the incident, which Ohio’s attorney general allowed him to watch with Crawford’s family, contradicted those accounts.
“John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said.
The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police. ...RawStory
The price we pay for the health care of the victims of gun violence -- the price we the public have to ante up -- amounts to about half a billion. But that's just a start.
It's also worth remembering that the total costs of gun violence extend well beyond the price of associated hospital visits. The total cost of gun violence, which includes the societal cost, has been estimated at more than $170 billion annually. "A lot of costs aren't even included in this, like the costs after people leave the hospital," Howell said. "Basically, you're paying for them, even if indirectly." ...Wonkblog,WaPo
The National Rifle Association is a non-profit. They pay no taxes. But that doesn't mean they can't be sued for their share of the costs. We could start fantasizing right now about where the saved money could go -- plus, of course, what we net through the law suit. Education?
Once a month during the late 1970s, Amy Richardson received an envelope with a little extra cash to help her family make ends meet.
At the time, she was earning a modest living running a beauty parlor out of the front of her home in Dauphin [Manitoba], a farming community on the Canadian prairie.
Her husband, employed by a local phone company, struggled with heart problems and couldn’t always work. They had three children living at home.
“It helped you cope with unexpected things,” Richardson recalled of the monthly payments. “They came month to month, and you told them how much you made, and they gave you a certain amount.”
Richardson, now 87 and living in a senior home in Dauphin, is among those who benefited from a landmark social experiment in Canada. From 1974 to 1979, the federal and provincial governments gave money to every person and family in Dauphin below the poverty line.
Under the program, called Mincome, about 1,000 families received monthly checks. Now people are looking back to see whether it worked, as the idea of a guaranteed basic income has enjoyed a resurgence, particularly in Switzerland, which has scheduled a nonbinding referendum on the issue in the fall, and elsewhere in Europe.
‘It helped you cope with unexpected things. They came month to month, and you told them how much you made, and they gave you a certain amount.’
It's simple, quick, unintrusive, and humane.
Uganda and India recently completed pilot projects, with positive results. In Canada a group of activists is planning a campaign to drum up support. And in the United States, there is some support for the idea coming from both sides of ideological spectrum.