Jul 21, 2014

"Operation Protective Edge": Protect Israeli Military Advantage Over The Ill-Equipped Jihadi Palestinians

Source: http://johnbatchelorshow.com/schedule/2013/03/21
In the latest flare up in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) chose that the weeks of air bombardment had softened up the Gaza defenses enough to begin a ground incursion for the sake of "defending Israel." Israeli civilians protected by the fruits of Reagan's dream of Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI though also referred to as Star Wars) in the contemporary incarnation of Iron Dome, were free to go about life with little changes other than occasional and overly cautious alert of incoming rockets and to remain in shelter or go to a bomb shelter. I categorize this as overly cautious for two reasons, first that there has not been any civilian deaths on the Israeli side this year (with the exception a civilian working within an IDF base); secondly the rockets that currently justify this incursion has been claimed by Israel as the central cause and that it has been non-stop for years therefore the Iron Dome has been a smashing success in defending the civilian Israeli population. If the Hamas rockets have been non-stop for the years, and only increased in number in the recent weeks in response to Palestinian boy being immolated by Israelis and then followed by the immolution victim's American cousin beaten to a pulp by Israelis (caught on tape) because he attended a peaceful rally opposed to his cousin being burnt to death.

It can not be denied that the Jihadi Militants of Hamas are violent thugs, but that Israel currently has appropriate countermeasures for Hamas' rockets and has been implementing those countermeasures for years can also not be denied. The rationale for the current incursion and spate of Palestinian non-combatant deaths is that the Israeli civilian population is in danger, though not yet victim to actual violence, the hypothetical scenario where the Iron Dome fails to protect the Israeli civilian population seems to be falsely equalized to the actual death toll in Gaza. Rather than Israel being satisfied with tenuous stalemate (where Hamas flings hundreds of rockets at Iron Dome to no avail), Israel has elected to escalate the conflict and and to kill non-combatants who have no where to go within the densely populated Gaza Strip. While Israel justifies the 450+ deaths to Hamas' use of "human shields" would be akin to Eco terrorists intending to bomb David Koch's Park Avenue apartment but demolitioning Spanish Harlem instead only to justify the fact that David Koch engineered his proximity to those in Spanish Harlem as a defense. Other than those who blindly defend Israel, the rest of the world can see through the twisted argument and the culpability of the civilian deaths are exactly upon those that commit the action of bombing and shooting missiles and not the Hamas flailing against Israel's Iron Dome.

Every action has repercussions, and yes Hamas' rocket attacks make them one of the bad guys in the conflict, but it doesn't relinquish Israel of accountability of its actions and the deaths it wrought on a population that despite most warmongers' assumptions aren't in fact all Hamas militants.


Jul 8, 2014

If you get caught with small amounts of marijuana better be in Brooklyn

Newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has stated going forward prosecutions of low-level marijuana possession will cease due to giving more resources and higher priority of prosecuting other crimes. NYPD police commissioner Bill Bradley has stated that would not affect NYPD policy of arresting individuals with less than an ounce of marijuana in Brooklyn; basically the NYPD is fully aware that they will be wasting beat cops time and therefore tax-payer money to harass Brooklynites all for the cause of keeping up the appearances in the futile "War on Drugs."

For those that think this policy change is going to turn Brooklyn into The Wire's Hampsterdam, fret not, since leniency will only be granted to those without a criminal record and no violent charges that coincided with the arrest. What was the impetus for this policy change? Last year over two thirds of the marijuana possession arrests were dismissed by the judge (at least those that met the criteria DA Thompson has set as policy going forward). If a vast majority of those arrests weren't ever going to get convictions, why put forward the limited resources of the DA office to prosecute victim-less crimes? I believe we are going to be on the verge for some prosecutor seeking out jury nullification for low level marijuana possession charges akin to what actually occurred during the Prohibition Era. What will the ever increasing militarized police do when fewer and fewer of their arrests get prosecuted or when the prosecutor seeks out jury nullifications?

The question you may have is that if carrying 1-2 ounces of marijuana is the law, then why does the local prosecutor get the ability to not enforce the law? It is because since the late 1970's it is legal in New York State to carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana as long as it not openly carried. So the police seeking to meet their quotas or arrest goals (stop & frisk is intrinsically tied to these bunk arrests) beat cops routinely demand their suspicionless stop & frisk victims to turn out their pockets which if they are in possession of a joint to comply with the cop's demand they have to break the law, which is the reason that it is NYPD policy not to reach into the pockets since that would not incriminate the targeted individuals.

Jul 3, 2014

US Postal Service: Not Just Constitutionally Required But Also Capable Of Enabling Radical Social Changes

Since the implementation of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act (which was a direct response to a labor strike of the previous year) the United States Post Office has been essentially spun-off as independent quasi-public corporation having zero operational funds coming from the federal taxpayer (at least after the transitional period ending with the 1984 fiscal year) and entirely dependent on the fees from services provided. Despite being cleaved from any additional revenues from the government while obligated to continue providing service to rural parts of the country that are not self sufficient, the postal rate for 1st class mail has remained so remarkably low that it has been a deterrent to for-profit enterprises to enter the market to compete; UPS and FedEx do offer letter delivery starting at $8.61 and $7.32 respectively compared to USPS' 49 cent stamp and an additional 2 days for the USPS to deliver. Currently the USPS's operational losses can be exclusively attributed to Postal Accountability & Enhancement Act of 2006 passed by the the lame duck Republican Congress that imposed a 75 year pension liability; meaning that before future USPS employees are even born, their first decade of pension has already been paid for, a financial herculean task that no enterprise (governmental or for-profit) should ever be expected to accomplish. And yet the USPS with shrinking their own headcount through attrition and possibly stopping personal mail service on Saturdays (while initiating Sunday package delivery for Amazon in a few metropolitan areas) has been successful to be on a trajectory to fully fund the 75 year pension liability in the coming decade. Imagine if the USPS was allowed to return to a normal 30-40 year pension liability they would be left with billions of dollars in excess and no longer have impending budgetary sword of damocles hanging over their head.

Let me bring your attention to following verbiage from the Postal Reorganization Act:
Sec 101
(a) The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress and supported by the People. The Postal Service shall have its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people.
(d) Postal rates shall be established to apportion the costs of all postal operations to all users of the mail on a fair and equitable basis

The combination of both of these parts to the Section 101 of the explanatory intentions of the Act, that the USPS operational budget shall come from postage fees alone and that it is obligated to "provide personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people", we could solve the issue of Net Neutrality and spark a new economic revolution akin to the Industrial Revolution. I would propose to take the billions of that which has been sequestered to fund the ridiculous 75 year pension to be freed up and allowed to build the infrastructure needed for the USPS to begin offering internet service wirelessly as a Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP). Having the USPS operating as a WISP would be aligned with the intentions of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act, as the correspondence is the intended purpose of the USPS and though contemporaneously was exclusive to the physical paper-centric correspondence, the USPS is not shackled to that limited definition of communication which is the bedrock of an informed electorate within a democracy. What I am envisioning is a municipal wifi except on a national level, that unlike the municipal wifi projects would be paid for by the end users instead of through ad revenue and local government taxes.

While providing competition to traditional internet service providers (ISP) that are currently biting at the bit to impose slow lanes to their customers, having the USPS entering the market would create a floor as far as maintaining net neutrality and allowing their users to freely browse the web without being slowed down when interacting with private ISPs non-preferential content (think of Comcast slowing their customers' traffic whenever they browsed other than subsidiary NBC/Universal content on the web). With the pseudo government agency, the USPS, operating the WISP the private providers would still retain the market differentiator of having their users' privacy as a priority possibly baking into their service end-to-end encryption and faster speeds of hard lines and fiber to the curb than the USPS' WISP. The freeform nature of the Internet would be retained with a critical mass of consumers guaranteed access to all of the internet, and have the positive effect of either forcing the hand of the for-profit ISPS to continue net-neutrality policy or possibly that the slow-lanes be so cheap that people would possibly patronize both services.

Jul 2, 2014

IDC's State Senators Switching Sides, So It Must Be Election Time Again

The following is an excerpt from an email WFP sent June 26th (a week after NYS legislative session ended) claiming victory due to the IDC joining with the Democrats in the State Senate:

Sean,
BIG NEWS: the Independent Democratic Conference in the New York state Senate is breaking with the Republicans to form a new progressive majority coalition with the Senate Democrats!This is huge. Republican control in the state Senate has been the biggest roadblock to every progressive goal, from public financing of elections to raising the minimum wage to the Women's Equality Act. With this new coalition, the Republicans should be headed back to the minority.


But even with the IDC on our side, we still need to win in November. At this point, we'd be holding on to the majority by a thread -- a projected one-seat margin. We can't afford to lose a single seat.
There are three progressive Democrats in swing districts elected with the help of Obama's 2012 wave. Holding those seats will take real work. There are also three formerly Republican held open-seats that could be ripe pick-up opportunities to expand the majority.

So what does victory look like according to WFP? State Senators that caucused with obstructing Republicans while in session switch sides yet again to feign loyalty to avoid primaries and the only repercussion for being fairweather friends, why having their primary opponents lose financial support and be left free to switch back to the Republicans after the election.

In a state that often is pejoratively referred to a being liberal, the so-called liberal elected officials bear a striking resemblance to the Washington Generals with Republicans standing in for the Harlem Globetrotters. Liberal alternative candidates being outmaneuvered to ensure the intentionally-losing-on-policy Democrats remain to pantomime putting up fight for progressive values that they so reflexively betray. Majority of the voters of New York State voted against Republicans in the general election of 2012, and the Republican majority only existed by a handful of State Senators who ran as Democrats but then crossed the aisle as naked-opportunists.  

Leader of the IDC, State Senator Klein apparently is not very good at math as the NY Daily News reported him saying "Klein said it's not enough just having a Democratic majority. It's key to elect Democrats who support a more progressive agenda. A push to strengthen the state's abortion laws wouldn't pass currently because the Dems don't have the sufficient 32 votes." There are currently 5 IDC State Senators, 29 Republican State Senators, and 29 Democratic State Senators, so to state their wasn't enough Senators precludes the 5 IDC Senators is farcical at best. Were the IDC to remain with the GOP majority, while intending to wait  for the Democrats to take 4 or more seats from the GOP, why would the Democratic conference welcome back the IDC backstabbers? Why would the Democratic Party ever trust the IDC State Senators and withdrawal support of their primary opponents? Doing either would invite ever quicker dismissal of values the rank-and-file Democrats hold and the average voter is promised as the central motivation for voting Democratic in November.