Nov 17, 2015

Dick Cheney is more responsible for #ParisAttacks than Saddam Hussein was for 9/11

Cheney is more responsible for November 13th Paris Attacks
than Saddam Hussein was for September 11th Attacks

Back in 2003, the Bush administration was biting at the bit to invade Iraq, even repeatedly conflating Iraq with the September 11th attacks. This push to invade the Baathist dictatorship that up until their invasion into Kuwait, the US counted as one of its regional allies, was spearheaded by the individuals that called themselves Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in 1997 which called for wholesale regime change in places that had significant energy resources. That wasn't explicitly stated but the countries that were targeted all had proven petroleum reserves or natural gas deposits, so not too far fetched of me to extrapolate that conclusion. It was however explicitly stated that the New American Century would come at the barrel of a gun and not some 'mamby-pamby' diplomacy, the priority of the military would become the ultimate view for American foreign affairs according to PNAC

Anyhow, PNAC members included Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Elliott Abrams, Bill Bennett, Jeb Bush, and future Vice President and heavy of the Bush administration Dick Cheney. To go over the laundry list of things that lead up the catastrophe that was the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation is tedious, so I will forgo that and presume that you know that Dick Cheney had considerable influence in pushing for the invasion of Iraq and regime change there. A lot of the persuasive arguments made by the administration was tying the Hussein regime with the 9/11 terrorist attacks from such questionable sources as informant "Curveball" who provided information about Iraqi weapons program under duress of a mock execution, and after the fact was revealed to be whole cloth lies that were known to be lies by both the US and UK governments. One of the governments advocating against invading Iraq was the French, whose Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said "we believe that military intervention would be the worst solution" and he was right it turned out. The French also refused to allow UK and US to use French airspace to their airforces for the invasion, which received derision by the "Freedom Fries" crowd and those conservatives that poured out French wine to demonstrate how much they disagree with the French.

Then the Iraq invasion happened, the Baathist party members were removed from the military (which was nearly all officers and plenty of enlisted), the civil government was in disarray as Shia and Sunni started taking revenge on each other and the Kurds sought out as much autonomy and independence as they could squeeze out of the government in Baghdad and allowed by the US military setting up a long term occupation. After eight years of war, insurrection, indiscriminate violence, and massive loss of lives mostly by Iraqi civilians, the Sunni insurgency became well trained and nearly professional but due to the demographics could not hold much territory in the Shia dominated region. The Iraqi army, and national police were defenders of the nation only by name, when de facto they were quite parochial in their responsibilities. When the US formally departed in the fall of 2011, the Iraq Civil War had gotten into full swing. From the Iraq Civil War and the Arab Spring Uprising in neighboring Syria ISIS/ISIL/Daesh arose, and it would be difficult to say that the Iraq Civil War would have occurred without the American invasion and occupation thereby the offshoot of ISIS would never have been born without the American invasion. Without Dick Cheney and other PNAC members pushing for a military invasion of Iraq, there would have been no ISIS attack on Paris this past weekend.

I admit that this an indirect path of responsibility, but Cheney is far more culpable of the Paris terrorist attacks than Saddam Hussein who had no foreknowledge nor any connection with al Queda before or after September 11th of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Oct 29, 2015

Questions Not Asked In the CNBC GOP Debate

Q: Mr. Trump, you threw out Jose Ramos for asking a question out of turn, that question was how would remove 11 million human beings from the country?

Q: Dr. Carson, you described that the Holocaust could have been avoided had the Jews of Europe only had access to guns. In a scenario where 11 million individuals are being forcibly removed from the country, and they have access to guns wouldn't this bring about your imagined scenario to life in modern America?

Q: Ms. Fiorina, you were fired from HP with much fanfare and a golden parachute, then lost a landslide election in California, are simply failing upwards in your run for president?

Q: Governor Bush, your family's reputation and name is seen as your greatest asset, and yet other than fundraisers you have not utilized your brother the lone living 2 term Republican president. If his electoral success and his presidency is not to be emulated why not, if it is then why not campaign with your brother?

Q: Governor Christie, has your bi-partisan success with a Democratic controlled state legislature was entirely based on your negotiating skills why did your political appointees and underlings carry out political retribution (for example the George Washington Bridge traffic study and Sandy Recovery funds being withheld)? If they did all of this without your consent or knowledge, how is the American public supposed to be confident that you could lead or have knowledge of what is going on within the Federal government?

Q: Senator Rubio, early in your Senate career it was reported that you problems with personal finances, purchasing luxury cars and a $80,000 boat, all awhile covering expenses with Florida Republican Party funds and credit cards. Why should the American people believe that you would be a good steward of the public treasury when you have troubled personal finances?

Q: Senator Cruz, if President Obama were born in Kenya and not Hawaii, in your opinion would that negate his claim to being a legitimate president? If so why would still be eligible to become president being born in Canada to an American mother and non-American father (just as Obama parentage is)?

Q: Governor Huckabee, the U.S. Constitution explicitly states there can not be any religious tests and the 1st Amendment states that the government shall not establish a religion. How do square this with your stated belief that America is a Christian nation and that religious freedom can mean that elected officials can ignore law if it conflicts with sincerely held beliefs (such Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis)?

Q: Senator Rand Paul, is Edward Snowden a patriot that committed a crime for the greater good of informing the American public or merely a criminal that stole classified materials and weakened national security?

Q: Governor Pataki, Governor Gilmore, Senator Santorum, etc al, when are you going to drop out of the race?

Oct 24, 2015

Common Core: If Obama is against it will conservatives be for it?

Conservatives are against Common Core because it represents a top-down takeover of schools and in essence a national curriculum for schools that traditionally have been locally controlled since time immemorial.

Liberals oppose Common Core because it is often used as a cudgel against the teachers' union and along with non-unionized charter schools are able to break the backs of collective bargaining for one of the largest (by membership) unions in the country. Common Core also is a commodization of children's education that are in turn  seen as profit centers for private testing companies like Pearson, and parents don't appreciate their kids being turned into products.

So now the Obama administration has admitted that there is currently too much of an emphasis on testing, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said “But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’m in with educators who are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction.” Quite the reversal on testing. Now that Common Core in most forms will be tampered down, and remove the force of law of implementing Common Core nationwide, will conservatives applaud the move or simply reject it out of hand because of it's coming from Obama? The teachers' union has already declared this a minor victory, will liberals relent in criticizing the watered down version of Common Core and continue to redress their concerns about testing only now towards their state capitols instead?

Sep 7, 2015

4 time declared bankruptcy Trump, may make unkempt promise to support GOP nominee.

“I don’t make commitments and break them,” Mr. Trump said after speaking at an event here hosted by local chambers of commerce. If he violates the contract, he said, “they should sue. I would go before the court and say, ‘I’m guilty.’ ”

This is a patently false statement by the Donald, since bankruptcies are intrinsically a violation of a contract, and were he truthful he would have to admit that if it suited him, he retains the right to run as a independent candidate regardless of any stated "commitment" he has made otherwise. The loophole that he most likely will use to justify his independent presidential run is the caveat that the RNC will treat him fair, whatever that is supposed to mean. Subjective determination of fair treatment is in the eye of the beholder, and Trump can easily rationalize going back on his word just as he went back on his word with creditors and investors each of the 4 times Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy.

Aug 16, 2015

Insensitive #BlueLivesMatter NYPD Fundraiser Held On Anniversary Of Mike Brown's Death

What were the Staten Island Yankees supposed to do, wait till there was a day that didn't have an unarmed black person die at the hands of law enforcement? There simply no day that that doesn't occur.

Embedded image permalink

Jun 23, 2015

deBlasio Over Delivers To NYPD, Undercuts His Promise To Voters

In deBlasio's 2013 campaign there were implicit promises made regarding police reform and an implicit promise with Dante deBlasio being the face of the most effective campaign ad, that Bill deBlasio would be a mayor that understands and empathize with people of color. His recent turn around on policing and a double down on Commissioner Bratton's and PBA President Pat Lynch's desire to turn the city's open society (nearly anarchistic culture) into a police state with unchallengeable and criticism-free police officers.

In a democratic and free society, the individuals not only has a right to challenge authorities but an obligation to constructively criticize authority and those that implement the policies that were supposed to the will of the people in the first place. If the people demand that the local constables harrass and bully their youth, then constables should follow that course. On the other hand if the only the privileged want the unprivileged to be harassed indiscriminately the unprivileged have the right to redressed their concerns to their government through their elected representatives, which is the intrinsic campaign promise deBlasio ran and won with in 2013.

deBlasio may be campaigning nationally on a income inequality message, but this most recent reversal is undercutting whatever progressive cred he may have had as a candidate. I would also want to remind everyone that it was deBlasio and his campaign manager Emma Wolfe that strong armed robbed the WFP nomination on behest of Cuomo despite never intending to hold Cuomo to his promise to deliver the State Senate back into Democratic control; as Cuomo had already promised Senate Majority leader that he would retain the Senate chamber.

Jun 17, 2015

US Determined To Poke The Russian Bear

The American military seems to want to instigate an aggressive Russian response. When the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Warsaw was scrapped, the western democracies promised not to encroach on the Russian federation; within a decade NATO began including former Warsaw Pact nations and former Soviet Union Republics into the military alliance whose purpose of existing was to prevent Soviet domination.

The former Soviet Republics should have formed an independent mutual defense alliance that didn't rely on Russia nor the Western democracies. NATO, with its raison d'etre becoming obsolete, should have been scrapped along with its cold war nemesis the Warsaw Pact.

Rather than have peace through strength, NATO lead by American Chicken Hawks, are determined to have a pissing match with a belligerent nation in possession of thermonuclear weapons.

U.S. Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in East Europe

Jun 9, 2015

2 Out of 3 Texas Cases Led To Mass Murder; The One that Had Zero Death Toll Is The Only Case With Police Tossing Citizens Like Rag Dolls.

Waco Texas saw a conclave of criminal biker gangs that led to the deaths of 9 people. The aftermath, the participants of the fatal brawl were calmly placed together and were free to use their cell phones; number of body slams by the arresting officers zero.

Teenager "borrowed" a pick up truck illegally packed a bunch of friends into flatbed of said truck drank alcohol to excess then got behind the wheel and killed 4 people from the inevitable underaged drunk driving accident; number of body slams by the arresting officers zero.

Teenager hosts a pool party at her family's condo shared pool, 2 adults start a fight with teenagers (according to witnesses) and McKinney police officers arrive to bring "law and order" to the pool party well after the fight had been resolved and ended. Cpl. Casebolt runs through the dispersed crowd of invited party goers like bull in a China shop, eventually body slamming 15 year old girl to the sidewalk for no apparent reason. The same bikini clad girl can be seen wandering past the manic police officer confused to what was occurring earlier in the video. Some apologists have defended Cpl. Casebolt and claimed he was "endangered", because a ten year veteran police officer is no matched for a girl in a bathing suit.


May 30, 2015

Pataki, Revitalizing Republican Moderation?

Does Pataki have what it takes to forgo Iowa and South Carolina (with its far more socially conservative primary voters) and win a New Hampshire Republican primary? Certainly this strategy is far wiser than Giuliani's 2008 banking on Florida with it's expensive media markets compared to retail politics of New Hampshire to pivot to a path to nomination. The downside of course being that New Hampshire is going to be crowded with 20 or more presidential candidates also hoping that they can make a miracle out of better than expected results in the first primary of the nation.

Jeb Bush with enough dough to choke an elephant doesn't need to win New Hampshire just as his father and brother lost the state before him lost it and went on to garner the nomination. Pataki doesn't have that same war chest, and will absolutely need to win New Hampshire if he has any shot of remaining viable in later states' primaries. Of course Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and others are also depending on New Hampshire for the same vault to lead the pack. Pataki doesn't have any other path to nomination other than an outright win in New Hampshire, unlike the others who could come in 2nd and build momentum from there.

Hilary Clinton being moderate (as in acceptable to big business) Democrat, can give populist rhetoric to win in the general but govern as a defender of the status quo. Pataki, may well be the better general election candidate with socially tolerant views and focus on common sense reforms of the government, but those general election assets are huge primary liabilities. Presidential elections cannot be jerrymandered like House districts and aren't going to be decided by paid advertising (since there is nearly unlimited earned media nationally) like in US Senate races, so the party that continues to pander to the angry white-man will find itself on the losing end of national elections. Pataki-esque moderation may be the GOP's saving grace, if they are willing to grab it.

George Pataki Adds a Socially Liberal Voice to the Race for the G.O.P. Nomination

Apr 12, 2015

Walter Scott Killed With Ironic Soundtrack, But That's "What's It Like"

From the dash cam just prior to the murder of Walter Scott, Everlast's "What It's Like" can be heard coming from Scott's car. The song, which in each verse has a parable of the downtrodden, could have an updated version that includes Walter Scott's own end. It could gone something like this:

Walter was toolin' around town in his whip
and having a warrant for his ass
All until the dead beat dad made a run,
then a uniformed thug drew his gun,
Law enforcement supposed to be getting child support,
how the hell is this supposed support Walter's son
Clearly I'm not even a proficient song lyricist, but you can get the idea how Walter Scott being in an impossible situation and suffering from poor life choices received wholly disproportionate punishment for those poor choices. Walter Scott should have been arrested, very likely have his car impounded and sold at auction to cover for the child support payments missed; but should absolutely still be alive to 'bitch and moan' about his situation and not six feet under.

Apr 3, 2015

Government Governing the Least Is Best; Except In Indiana

In the past couple of weeks the Indiana's Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) has shown a division not just between inclusionary liberals and exclusionary conservatives, but also among conservatives that hold to the principle of limited government and those who will toss the principle aside for the convenience of escaping civil liabilities of prejudicial business practices. The defenders of the Indiana RFRA, will point to the federal statute, or Connecticut statute (only being compared due to that state's governor barring of state travel to Indiana) that is similar in name but not spirit and differs in letter where it counts from the Indiana's RFRA variant. If the differences were innocuous as the defenders claim, then why wouldn't they protest against a redundant legislation? If the differences are innocuous then what is the purpose of the law, and why won't the limited government conservatives come out and chastise the Big Government conservatives? Is it not so, that the government that governs the least governs the best, or that only the least number of laws that are absolutely necessary should be passed and enforced? Where are the tri-corner hats claiming that the what happens between a customer and a business should stay between a customer and a business and no more bail outs for businesses reckless liabilities even if they were discriminatory business practices? Sec 9 of the Indiana RFRA clearly stated that an individual that was "substantially burdened or likely to be substantially burdened" could invoke their RFRA rights as a defense in any lawsuit or binding arbitration. The amended statute included clear anti-discrimination language, which in essence voids section 9 for being used as a defense in civil lawsuits making the whole legislative effort by Governor Mike Pence futile, so I ask again where are the small government conservatives pointing out the superfluous nature of the Indiana RFRA? Even if the liability shield for discriminatory businesses remained shouldn't the small government conservatives still have joined the big government liberals in protesting this law as unnecessary?

The reason why there isn't an open schism among conservatives regarding this social issue or a bevy other conservative social issues is that the conservative establishment knows that social issues are for the hoi polloi that are being hoodwinked by the big business to distract them so that they don't find common interest with the fellow wage slaves and demand a diffusion of power away from corporate boardrooms and back into family's living rooms. As Lyndon Johnson so aptly said fifty years ago "If you can convince the lowest white man that he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket." In this case, if you can convince a believer to be judgmental and prejudicial towards others he won't notice that his pockets are being picked clean by a supposedly fellow believer.

Mar 31, 2015

If.Then.Fund and the 28th Amendment

Prof. Laurence Lessig had come up with a proposal, an alternative campaign finance structure, that would set forth a $50 tax credit to every registered voter. The tax credit could only be used to contribute to a candidate's campaign. En masse 149 million registered voters would finance all elections with the $7.4 billions of contributions (if all of the tax credit was expended), making the funding of electoral campaigns fully decentralized and democratized without any individual supporting a candidate involuntarily. This would have the following benefits: elected officials would no longer be beholden to the billionaire & multimillionaire donors that currently fund their campaigns for office, elected officials would be responsive to constituents as their will would need to be heeded to garner their contributions, Super PACs-Corporations-legal entities of all sorts will be returned the sidelines of our republic, and candidates that aren't wealthy or have social network of wealthy individuals would have access to being representing their fellow citizens. The downside, or my interpretation of a downside, for this campaign finance proposal is that every elected official and wannabe elected official would be a tornado of self-promotional pandering flacks, still not resolved to bring the needed solutions to their constituents.

I came across, a start-up that is seeking to amplify the influence of small donors and couple the votes of Congress with campaign contributions. Below are quotes from their 'about' page to give an idea of what they are trying to achieve

Shaping the next Congress

Your donations go toward the reelection campaign of current members of Congress when they vote the way you want, or toward their next general election opponent if they vote the other way. helps you “keep ’em in” or “throw ’em out” in the next election, shaping the make-up of the next Congress to be more aligned with your views.

Targeting real outcomes

Instead of making an aspirationation donation to a candidate, campaign contributions made here on are based on what legislators actually do, not what they say they will do. routes your contributions to members of Congress who vote the way you want and to the opponents of those who do not. By being targeted, your contributions will be more effective at supporting candidates with similar views to your own.

So the next improvement on both these ideas, in my humble opinion is to combine them. Imagine if each bill was tied to the elected official's campaign coffers and everyone of his constituents were involved in expressing their opinion about their legislator's vote. When legislation came up that was fully innocuous (renaming a post office) there would be no contributions from constituents coming in and their wouldn't be a partisan divide, but when a bill such as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), or NY SAFE Act (NY State's controversial gun-control legislation) the constituents would make their voice heard and put their buck (more likely quarter due to the number opportunities to contribute) where their mouth is. Through multiple pieces of legislation, the campaign coffers would either fill up for the elected official or they would be empty with a war chest filled for his general election opponent, this wouldn't dictate explicitly the results of the election but the more contributions his constituents receive the more mailers, radio ads, and TV ads they will be able to pay for to explain their votes and their vision.

A platform like could be implemented in such away that each registered voter could check into the service and see what votes are coming infront of their elected officials with a rationale for why the elected official is voting the way they are voting along with statements from the sponsor of legislation and declared opposition of the legislation. As constituents aren't obligated to participate, just as they aren't obligated to vote, they only participate when they support or oppose legislation that they are animated by an issue. This would have the benefit that elected officials could differ with a majority of their constituents occasionally if it were a matter of principle but the elected official couldn't deviate too often without being assured that his/her re-election will go down in flames.

I would add an additional restriction to Lessig's proposal, and that would be to limit contributions from constituents of candidates and elected officials only; banning out of state and out of district contributions is essential from preventing outside influence. So in case an issue that is explicitly local gets twisted into a national issue, as in the recent "World Trade Mosque" which was approved by the local community board but opposed by millions of people that would never set foot in Manhattan but would have contributed towards the opposition and yet never would have had skin in the game. Decisions being made by those that have skin in the game is the point of democracy (and capitalism too if one were to read the Father of Capitalism Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations).

Modern electoral campaigns have a need for paid-for staff in most cases and at minimum postage and printing costs for mailers to deliver the candidate's message to prospective voters. Current modus oprendi is that a vast majority of campaigns' funding comes from the ever slimmest of the population; the rarest of individuals that have discretionary funds to pay for these campaigns aren't equally distributed and aren't in large part trying to exert their political will but instead attempting to gain economic advantages that can be categorized as 'rent seeking' or 'crony capitalism'. To transform the current status to the desired goal would require a Constitutional Amendment, but states could set up campaign finance regimes such as this prior to a Constitutional Amendment barring non-constituents from funding campaigns. Though there would still remain outside funding, the publicly finance campaigns would be available only to those that forgo outside funding as is the case in Arizona and Maine's Clean Elections. Having the additional benefit that some amount of funding would be available for any challenger to run against the incumbent would create an incentive for challenging every incumbent instead of as it is now that a vast majority of elected officials are never challenged
in their general election. This form of public finance would also have the benefit that the constituents would be empowered over their elected representatives so that their will be carried out; the intended purpose of representative republic and a democratic form of governance. This also sidesteps the legitimate and often stated criticism of public finance: "why should my tax dollars go towards a candidate I disagree with, or not even going to vote for?" Tax dollars would be distributed exactly in proportion to the level of support of the constituents, though if the constituents changed their mind regarding the legislation (or several pieces of legislation) then they would have financially supported a candidate that they by election day won't support with a vote.

With a two-party system this form of public financing would also provide the ability to fund 3rd party legislative candidates. For example, the NY SAFE Act State Senator intends to vote in favor of the gun control law, his constituents that oppose gun control but also both major parties can assign a portion of their credit to support the Libertarian candidate whomever that turns out to be in following election. The Libertarian Party Committee is then able to recruit a candidate with the knowledge that they will have at minimum such-and-such amount of money that the constituents contributed in opposition to the incumbent State Senator. A similar scenario could be made for a State Senator who voted against NY SAFE Act and could pledge their funds for the Green Party opponent.

In New York State there is odd trait within electoral laws known as Fusion balloting, where a candidate can be on the ballot multiple times and the aggregated votes received across all party lines determine the total vote count. Republican candidates routinely receive the Conservative Party ballot line along with the Republican Party line; as does Democratic party vote totals are often supplemented with the Working Families Party votes. The question arises how does one deal with funds that are assigned by constituents to oppose a sitting Republican legislator and intended for a Conservative Party opponent which turns out to be the same Senator our constituent opposes or a Democratic legislator with constituent intending to support an opposing Working Families Party (WFP) candidate? Though there is no simple answer, I would let such funds roll over from election to election until a candidate that opposed the major party candidate. I put this caveat forward in the likely scenario that a incumbent who is too moderate for the Conservative Party supporter or WFP supporter leaves office the local minor party doesn't simply get to subsidized the major party candidate who is now running for an open seat. Though discussing these minor details, I must admit I'm not as attached to these particular reforms as much as the funding of the opposition of the major party and reducing the effect of non-constituent funding.

In the case of the Governor, the ability of constituents (any registered voter of the state) to demonstrate their support of opposition of a bill would be able to fund either 'signing the bill into law' or 'vetoing the bill' again with some mechanism to fund opposition candidates in the next general election. In the 2014 election of Andrew Cuomo, this would have tied WFP's hands in attempting to saber rattle progressive opposition to get a better deal negotiated with the governor. Threats to raise up an alternative candidate as a means to bolster the party coffers would not be an empty threat anymore, after such a reform at least, since all the funds raised in opposition to the incumbent ro establishment candidate would be committed to an alternative candidate.

Feel free to critique, comment and add to the idea below.

Mar 26, 2015

Complaints Regarding Ferguson Were Unmerited And It Is A Cesspool Of Racism? WTF

Ferguson And Benghazi's Troubling Parallels

Earlier this week, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen attempted equivocate the conservative delusional belief there was a scandal associated with the September 11th 2012 attack on American diplomatic post in Benghazi and the systemic often violent interaction between police officers and the communities of color they are sworn to protect. 22 other Diplomatic outposts throughout the Arabic speaking world were alerted to possible threats to security on September 11th's 12 year anniversary, and the disloyal opposition party chose to be opportunistic on a tragedy that had actually played itself out ten times under George W. Bush while he was in office. But to stipulate that the people of color and their allies who are outraged that police routinely overstep their duties of enforcing the law and become bullies with badges is not the same as an internationally held belief throughout the Arabic world that America is the "Great Satan" and routinely has American consulates under attack. The facts be damned is what is central to anyone that finds some especially scandalous about the handling of the September 11th 2012 attack on Benghazi, this I agree with Cohen, to also believe that the scandal of the American police nationwide frequently escalate situations into violence is not fact-based fully detached from reality. Below are a couple excerpts from Cohen's article that I find contradictory:
Did the Justice Department later find that Ferguson’s police force was a cesspool of racism, incompetence and corruption? Yes. 
A grand jury studied what happened and did not indict Wilson. Eric Holder’s Justice Department reached the same conclusion. Let me offer another conclusion: If Brown was not criminally shot because he was black, then possibly the cop was accused because he was white. Who was the stereotyped individual here?
The emphasis on Cohen's 'if'' was my own, as I believe that the St. Louis county prosecutor Robert McCulloch sought to exonerate Officer Darren Wilson with a landslide of extraneous evidence and witnesses that were not qualified nor vetted by Mr. McCulloch, and was characterized by Cohen's colleagues at the Washington Post as being an unusual approach in the Darren Wilson grand jury process. McCulloch also heavily relied upon Witness #40 who he later admitted "clearly wasn't present when this occurred", the only witness that  corroborated Officer Wilson's testimony based her entire testimony on media reports of what Darren Wilson claimed had occurred. Ferguson is the shorthand of the outrage left, while the Benghazi is the stand-in for those on the right? Except the rage targeted around Benghazi had the investigation carried out by exactly the people that wanted to claim some horrible calamity that would make President Obama (better yet Secretary of State Clinton) culpable, the Republican controlled House of Representatives concluded that all wished upon claims of malfeasance were unfounded. The targeted rage of the left that police routinely and criminally culpability treat unarmed people of color with a disproportionate level of force that goes unchecked because those responsible for prosecuting do not wish to punish law enforcement officers of any act of violence, resulting in McCulloch in St Louis and Donovan in Staten Island doing whatever was within their power to fail in getting an indictment from a grand jury. Grand juries not returning an indictment are rare, rarer still are those possibly being indicted testifying to the grand jury as if they are cooperating witnesses. If that sort of privilege was extended as matter a of common practice then we would never see anyone but those that confess to their crimes be indicted!

Cohen falls into the extremely lazy and prevalent practice of punditry and self-appointed intelligentsia claiming that both left and right are equally guilty in an attempt to be neutral. If sports reporters were ever to follow political "opinion makers" such as Washington Post columnists, we would never know who won football games or if basketball players beat the shot clock since we would have sports columnists interview both sides and declare that they both had a "great game" and that both sides "did the best they could" along with other pablum that fills locker room post game interviews. Neutrality isn't the goal and nor does it serve the reading audience and the general public; neutrality is not a synonym for objectivity. Objectivity is able to provide context to a narrative, neutrality is banal and is offensive in exactly how it tries not to challenge of offend the general public with new facts.  New facts, are going to be offensive to those that have gotten cozy with their demonstratively wrong old "facts", and it is up to those employed by the news media to offend the people want to desperately hold onto their moldy old-erroneous-perspective regardless to how the world has changed or even if the world had never been congruent with their worldview.

Mar 14, 2015

America is totally against those Arabs who behead... oh not those Arabs they are our friends

Universally reported ISIS (Da'ish) atrocities against humanity have been justifiably condemn, while uniformed Iraqi military units are taking up the same methods as Da'ish get willful ignorance treatment when those methods are carried out by American trained and supplied military.
U.S.-trained and armed Iraqi military units, the key to the American strategy against ISIS, are under investigation for committing some of the same atrocities as the terror group, American and Iraqi officials told ABC News. Some Iraqi units have already been cut off from U.S. assistance over "credible" human rights violations, according to a senior military official on the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

The investigation, being conducted by the Iraqi government, was launched after officials were confronted with numerous allegations of “war crimes,” based in part on dozens of ghastly videos and still photos that appear to show uniformed soldiers from some of Iraq's most elite units and militia members massacring civilians, torturing and executing prisoners, and displaying severed heads.

Maybe the eternal "war on terror" should be acknowledged as futile, and that our allies in Iraq and Saudi Arabia commits violent acts that we find reprehensible when Da'ish the same actions (Saudi Arabia beheads all of their capital punishment prisoners and Iraqi servicemen using social media to promote their acts of violence) mainstream media are comfortable remaining quiet about our allies' atrocities. Since the nomenclature of "war on terror" is intrinsically tied to the method and not on a particular ideology,  unlike wars against nation-states or fascism, terrorism is a method of violence intentionally targeting non-combatants. So we are rightfully appalled when we hear of Da'ish killing men, women and children of Kurdish descent

Feb 19, 2015

Response to "Truth about Charter Schools"

"they are explicitly denied some funding streams, like facilities funding, made available to district schools" So the 9 out of 45 charter schools that are being relocated out of public schools were doing fundraising to pay $0 rent? What facilities funding do they need if charter schools aren't paying rent?

"They educate some of our most challenging students, the vast majority of
them low-income, black and Latino. They are open to all applicants,
with seats determined by random lottery." Charter schools gets to filter out the most challenging students, those without family structure concerned enough to apply for the lottery.

"proof of what can happen when you smartly unleash innovation within a system that, thanks in no small part to a rigid teachers’ union contract," so the only means of succeeding is breaking the backs of unions? So the egalitarian and democratic need to have everyone educated
regardless of ability to pay can't be delivered by employees as long as
they have a say in their own workplace? Democracy is great, except in the workplace according to Josh Greenman.

The space that the charter schools were using as class rooms, you know the art, music, & other non-classrooms, they displaced public school children from their art and music facilities so there was significant draw back to students, just the ones that weren't in the charter schools. On second thought both are harmed by duplicating the bureaucracy of school administration and hampering art & music education of both segments of the student population.

What innovation can be transferred into the public schools system at-large? If charter schools were acting as they were intended to, as experimental educational policies that would benefit the greater school system, that previous question could be answered and the charter schools have self evident value to all students, currently they are not. When charter schools are used merely to undercut a unionized workforce, and educational benefits stem from culling students with family backgrounds that place value on education enough to enter the school lottery, then their raison d'etre is non-existent. Pointing out that there are outside funding sources for district schools just as there is for charter schools leaves me with the question: What is differentiating factor why donors contribute to charter schools instead of the public schools other than political philosophy? If someone is hellbent to privatize all functions of government, contributing to charter schools is an efficient means to get the camel's nose under the tent to an American expected government service. Charter schools should unionize, if they were creative in their contract maybe using project labor agreements (PLA) over the school year, and then deliver innovative educational solutions the so-called opponents of charter schools would either dissipate or have unfounded objections to charter schools. If in this hypothetical situation where charter schools tackle resolving both unionized workforce and policy solutions to our educational system, while receiving the same support from private sources, then my accusation that the charter school movement is entirely a stalking horse for plutocratic sycophants is unfounded; but in the case that a charter school can't raise funds for a democratic workplace then that would prove my accusation. And to avoid any benefit from prejudicing student body of charter schools, NYC should implement a charter school draft of all non-special needs students so the students with families that do not speak English at home and are domicile and nutritional insecure are included in the charter school experiment, since the leaders of these charter schools are run "remarkably well" despite being "complex and unique organizations" I'm sure they can handled that.

Feb 4, 2015

"Democratic Nominating Convention" or "No Sleep Till Brooklyn"

New York City Attempting to Gain Hillary A "Home Field" Advantage

If there was any question about whether or not Hillary was going to run for president in 2016, or more pedestrian of a question whether or not Brooklyn would host the nominating convention. The answer can be deduced from the following news stories:
Real estate insiders were thrilled at the idea of hosting Clinton HQ, and said the location makes perfect sense for a national campaign.
"There are 13 subway lines and 15 bus lines serving the neighborhood," said Tucker Reed, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. "Nearly 60,000 college students that could provide an army of campaign volunteers, and when the DNC convention comes to Barclays Center, headquarters would be blocks away."

Juxtaposed that with the visit from DNC Chairwoman in visiting  possible host cities of the 2016 Nominating Convention.
New York City Hosts DNC Chairwoman for 2016 Brooklyn Convention Bid
The de Blasio administration announced Thursday that it had raised roughly $20 million toward its $100 million target for the event, which would cost an estimated $140 million.
City officials also announced a group of 10 committee co-chairs, which included Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Ursula Burns, the chairman and chief executive of Xerox Corp.
Just as the party establishment in 2004 selected the host city to be in Boston for the establishment's favored candidate and eventual nominee John Kerry, it appears likely that the nominating convention will be hosted within a mile of the likely campaign headquarters of the party's favored presidential candidate: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is of course highly desirable for Ratner Properties to land both Clinton's National HQ and the DNC convention in their properties. Having Goldman Sachs, Xerox, American Express, and the SEIU 1199 behind the effort to get DNC convention to be hosted in Brooklyn coincidentally will also be bankrolling Clinton's presidential campaign. 

Not sure of the preposition choice was the Wall Street Journal reporter Mara Gay or Mayor deBlasio's, but no one grew up IN Long Island, people grew up ON Long Island
“I’m going to be spending time with her and updating her on our effort,” he said of the Florida congresswoman. “She obviously knows New York City quite well,” Mr. de Blasio added, noting that she grew up in Long Island.

Jan 15, 2015

Church, A Gun, Lesbians, and Death: How Is This Not The Biggest News Story in the Mainstream NEWS?

So if I were asked what elements being included in a news narrative would be so tantalizing that no American news director would (out of reflex) not run with, I would include guns, young attractive lesbians and some very accessible form of Christianity, maybe even include a popular sport figure. And yet this past week has had exactly that but without the sports figure; in a beyond the pale scenario a lesbian's funeral was abruptly terminated by a pastor due to a slide show that dared to include a picture of the dead woman proposing to her wife (whom she had 2 children with) making the tragedy of the 33 year old Vanessa Collier's death while cleaning her hand gun or possible suicide, that much more tragic.

So what theological critique would this pastor have with a family of 2 female parents to 2 female children, self-evident that this family was if not loving certainly monogamous and stable with the purpose of raising children? If it is Biblical critique based on Leviticus then  does this pastor also want to ban pork and shell fish? If the criticism is based on the epistles to the Romans, then is the pastor also against passing judgement (which is far more enumerated by St. Paul than the tacit admonishment giving to the practice of same sex flings) on a same-sex couple, clearly not since judgement was passed when the pastor decided to throw the funeral out of the church like they were money changers.

Again I am at a loss on why this isn't the scandal de jour, I understand the Parisian terrorist attacks are far more urgent but no telegenic grieving lesbian widow who owns guns?!?


Jan 9, 2015

Racism and the Law: Spirit of the Law for Most and Equality for None

The overwhelming belief that racism can be cured through regulations and statutory cures is a liberal/progressive ideal, while the opposing worldview that regulations and overbearing laws are contrary to liberty and are intrinsically tyrannical. It could very well be that both perspectives are wrong. Racism may not have a cure available in the law, no matter how ingenious and wise the law is crafted to be, while the freedom to being racist carries with it the tyranny that that perspective actually despises.

The following is a quote from a book review that proposes the liberal white agenda of civil rights being partially responsible with the current Prison-Industrial-Complex:
This is the fundamental thesis of Murakawa’s book: legal civil rights and the American carceral state are built on the same conceptions of race, the state and their relationship. As liberals believe that racism is first and foremost a question of individual bias, they imagine racism can be overcome by removing the discretion of (potentially racist) individuals within government through a set of well-crafted laws and rules. If obviously discriminatory laws can be struck down, and judges, statesmen or administrators aren’t allowed to give reign to their racism, then the system should achieve racially just outcomes. But even putting aside the fact that a removal of individual discretion is impossible, such a conception of “fairness” applies just as easily to producing sentencing minimums as school desegregation.How White Liberals Used Civil Rights Create More Prisons

This is an article from the New Republic that profiles the current NYPD work slow down in response to #BlackLivesMatter protests and the killing of two police officers in Brooklyn back on December 20th:

Many of the offenses police have tacitly declared legal are considered quality-of-life (QOL) infractions. Those follow the broken window strategy, a policing philosophy that has been widely discredited since its heyday in Rudy Giuliani's mayoralty. QOL meets small transgressions with arrests and finesa way, it's thought, to nip more substantial crimes in the bud. Perhaps because QOL policing grants cops near-unlimited discretion in determining whom to sanction, its penalties fall disproportionately on people of color. Between 2001 and 2013, the New York Daily News found, more than 80 percent of the 7.3 million people penalized for these infractions were black or Latino. The vast majority of African Americans and Latinos in all walks of life feel like they're treated unfairly by law enforcement, and consider police discrimination the most endemic form of societal mistreatment. It's unfairbrutalracist, and financially burdensome, and it often follows such small transgressions as jaywalking, skipping $2.50 subway fares or merely irritating police.  NYPD Work Slowdown Being Celebrated New Yorkers of Color

Comparing the two different implementations of criminal justice, one that removes discretion under guises of making it impossible to have one set of laws for people of color and another for whites and the other that provides absolute discretion to the beat cop, provides an anecdotal example how neither is a step closer to alleviating racism from the criminal justice system. No matter how impartial the law may be the individuals that are the cogs within the criminal justice system all get to do their bit to tip the scale towards their own bias. On the other hand, letting the wisdom of the individual rule supreme will lead to confirmation bias where any citizen that for whatever reason is not relate-able to those cogs of the criminal justice system get harsher treatments. This isn't merely a racial prejudice being played out in both scenarios, but a powerless versus powerful prejudice as the NYPD officers are now more likely than not non-white. Though it may very well be a demonstration of how flexible the classification of 'white' is in contemporary America as the term begins to become inclusive to 2nd generation (and further) South Americans, Caribbean-Americans, East and South Asians. We may even forgo the nomenclature of 'white' and replace it with 'middle class' or some other term that won't be so exclusive to race; this is a problem that the term 'white' didn't have when it excluded Irish, Southern Europeans, and Slavs in the first half of the last century and second half of the 19th century.

But I digress, to return to concept of racial prejudice or racial indifference being codified in the law or race being overtly absent from the law entirely, it is quite impossible to eliminate what is in the hearts of individuals through legislation. Either setting the terms of racial tolerance in stone or intentionally ignoring race and hoping that it would resolve it self, would do little to progressing what the society as a whole knows to be their Truth. It may be that their Truth is that they do not interact more than tacitly on a daily basis with someone of another culture, race, religion, etc, so they can only base their reality of what the people that they never interact with on a substantial level, on media representations or the most memorable (and likely worst) interaction with a member of that demographic. Since the most innocuous actions are neither memorable nor dramatic, no matter what the law says, we as human beings will revert to our tribalistic caveman minds and feel uncomfortable to whatever we are not regularly exposed to. So as much as those that wish it would all work itself out, the criminal justice system actually reimposes much of the racial prejudices on the society as a whole and all the cogs of the criminal justice system participating in the system. Simply saying "If it was purely a market based society, we wouldn't have segregation because there wouldn't be a government to enforce Jim Crow Laws" are deluding themselves, just as much as those that say "If we struck just the right balance in law and police regulations, we would eliminate racism altogether from society." It will take a cultural shift and a transformation of the human heart throughout society that will weaken racism to the point of insignificance, this has already begun but not in earnest. Those of white or middle-class privilege still play the 'good block/bad block' within metropolises, or denoting shared entitlement towards individuals of color with a toothless decree of "well, you are basically white anyway" blissfully unaware that their black-friend will not get to skate by police harassment because they are "one of the good ones," but that is by definition the white privilege. To be privileged to lead a life that is blissfully unaware of the dangers that exist in parallel to the swaths of society not already in receipt of an universal pass to be assumed innocent; presumed guilty with legal statutory so thick that it could choke a horse means that we are all acting outside of the law at some point or another and yet only those of color get slapped with the book for those misdemeanors.

In the TV series The Wire, Deputy of Operations Rawls (the series' go to hardass for everything) demands of one of his intradepartmental snitches to find something that the protagonist cop is doing against policy. The snitch replies, "But he's not doing anything wrong." Which riles up Rawls to respond with "With this big book of regs, and you can't find anything that he has done wrong?!? If you can't find something that he has done wrong then you shouldn't even call yourself real police!" In this vein, communities of color are held to the 'letter of the law', where the law is written in such a way that it is impossible to lead a life without some minor offense and the majority of those with middle-class privilege receives the 'spirit of the law' treatment and then turns around with genuine incredulity that if cops are arresting these people of color they must have been doing something wrong.

So what is the solution to this paradox that can't be ignored and worked out on itself nor legislated away?