Wednesday, December 31, 2014

rule of law: we know that "fair and uniform application" ends at the tribal boundaries...,

theatlantic |  The right should greet it with the skepticism they'd typically summon for a rally on behalf of government workers as they seek higher pay, new work rules, and more generous benefits. What's unfolding in New York City is, at its core, a public-employee union using overheated rhetoric and emotional appeals to rile public employees into insubordination. The implied threat to the city's elected leadership and electorate is clear: Cede leverage to the police in the course of negotiating labor agreements or risk an armed, organized army rebelling against civilian control. Such tactics would infuriate the right if deployed by any bureaucracy save law enforcement opposing a left-of-center mayor.

It ought to infuriate them now. Instead, too many are permitting themselves to be baited into viewing discord in New York City through the distorting lens of the culture war, so much so that Al Sharpton's name keeps coming up as if he's at the center of all this. Poppycock. Credit savvy police union misdirection. They're turning conservatives into their useful idiots. If the NYPD succeeds in bullying de Blasio into submission, the most likely consequence will be a labor contract that cedes too much to union negotiators, whether unsustainable pensions of the sort that plague local finances all over the U.S., work rules that prevent police commanders from running the department efficiently, or arbitration rules that prevent the worst cops from being fired. Meanwhile, Al Sharpton will be fine no matter what happens. Will the law-and-order right remain blinded by tribalism or grasp the real stakes before it's too late? Look to National Review and City Journal before laying odds.  Fist tap Arnach.

what would charles koch do?

HuffPo |  Charles Koch, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Koch Industries and leading conservative mega-donor, has set his sights on a new goal: reforming America's criminal justice system. 

In an interview with The Wichita Eagle published Saturday, Koch said his own experiences in courts -- including the time a federal grand jury indicted Koch Industries on 97 counts of environmental crimes in 2000 -- prompted him to study the justice system at both the state and federal level. In that particular case, centered on a Koch Petroleum Group refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, prosecutors eventually dropped all but one of the charges after the corporation agreed to pay a settlement.

According to Koch's chief counsel Mark Holden, the case made the billionaire industrialist wonder "how the little guy who doesn't have Koch’s resources deals with prosecutions like that," the Eagle reports.

Koch and his brother David have gained notoriety as the bankrollers of Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group that backs candidates who favor slashing taxes and shrinking government. But the brothers have also quietly backed criminal justice reform for years, and sponsored a forum on the issue earlier this year. Charles Koch said he plans to ramp up his reform efforts in 2015.

"Over the next year, we are going to be pushing the issues key to this, which need a lot of work in this country," Koch told the Eagle. "And that would be freedom of speech, cronyism and how that relates to opportunities for the disadvantaged."

start firing overseer thugs for insubordination and violating their oaths...,

NYTimes |  Let’s review the actions that Mr. de Blasio’s harshest critics say have driven the police to such extremes.
  1. He campaigned on ending the unconstitutional use of “stop-and-frisk” tactics, which victimized hundreds of thousands of innocent young black and Latino men.
  2. He called for creating an inspector general for the department and ending racial profiling.
  3. After Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was killed by a swarm of cops on Staten Island, he convened a meeting with the police commissioner, William Bratton, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, giving Mr. Sharpton greater prominence than police defenders thought he should have had because Mr. Sharpton is a firebrand with an unsavory past.
  4. He said after the Garner killing that he had told his biracial son, Dante, to “take special care” in encounters with the police.
  5. He generally condoned the peaceful protests for police reform — while condemning those who incited or committed violence — and cited a tagline of the movement: “Black lives matter.”
The list of grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators. The falling murder rate, the increased resources for the department, the end of quota-based policing, which the police union despised, the mayor’s commitment to “broken-windows” policing — none of that matters, because many cops have latched on to the narrative that they are hated, with the mayor orchestrating the hate.

It’s a false narrative. Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court. He hired a proven reformer, Mr. Bratton, who had achieved with the Los Angeles Police Department what needs doing in New York. The furor that has gripped the city since the Garner killing has been a complicated mess. But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:

1. Don’t violate the Constitution.
2. Don’t kill unarmed people.

To that we can add:

3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around.

tried to end the year on a high-note, but these knuckleheads pulled me back!!!

nydailynews |  Off the table was any talk of the contentious contract negotiations between the NYPD and the city, sources said.

The Justice League NYC, one of the groups behind the citywide protests, tweeted that de Blasio and the union leaders “should be discussing ending broken windows policing.”

That police strategy is backed by the mayor and Bratton, but critics say it unfairly targets minorities and the poor. Cops were trying to bust Garner on July 17 for peddling untaxed cigarettes when he died.

De Blasio has taken heat for expressing sympathy for protesters demonstrating against the Garner decision and embracing Sharpton, a frequent police critic.

He also angered many rank-and-file officers by revealing that he told his son Dante, who is biracial, to be wary around police officers.

“Instead of saying that while you may be unhappy with the grand jury, you have to respect the decision, he went with ‘200 years of racism’ and advising his son, Dante, not to trust us,” Lynch’s spokesman, Al O’Leary, told Bloomberg News before the meeting.

“If you’re not out there wearing a bulletproof vest, you cannot appreciate the betrayal they feel by those words.”

visiting scholar constructive feedback sums up...,

None of this is surprising.

Here is where I stand today after observing the last 3 US Presidents and how the news media and "THE TEAM" of operatives who operate upon with the two 'Dung Producing Party Animals":
  • AMERICAN HEGEMONIC SUPREMACY goes unchallenged, NOT (just) because there is no equal and opposite opposing forces in the world to "check it" but MOSTLY because of the domestic political "proxy battles" which go on - which functionally limit protest or animate it - with regard to WHO is in power.
  • I keep focused on international news so I don't get caught up any longer in this scheme.
  • YES I supported the Iraq War because I was caught up in the "Fight The Critics" scheme.
  • Today I see clearly that THE US GOVERNMENT REMAINS CONSISTENT IN ITS ACTIONS - while the people (American) divide themselves into factions
Today the US "economy" is said to be strong.

Look at the international press and note that mostly every other nation is suffering and on the brink of recession (especially the "Oil Producing States" and they are being forced to make massive government spending cuts/ layoffs).

The USA has the power of the "US Federal Reserve System" which used a $3.5 trillion credit card to produce FAKE MONEY to keep the US economy going - all the while the IMF/World Bank forced "austerity measures" in other nations who don't have the fiscal power to print fake money without suffering from INFLATIONARY FORCES.

The only way this smoke and mirror scheme is going to be address - so that 330 million Americans don't get isolated from the travails of the billions of other people in the world is to force "IMF-like" controls upon the domestic US fiscal policy - to reflect the $18 trillion in debt that the USA is able to abstract.

This is not an "Anti-American" stance. It is an acknowledgment that other nations without the same power are caught up in the wake that American and European policies produce. The worst thing they are doing is allowing their citizens to become NET CONSUMERS, further deleveraging their ability to achieve "Self-Determination".

Military Power / Fiscal Power / Foreign Policy Sanctions / Intelligence Agency Insurgency / Cultural Colonialism / Consumerism - are different sides of the very same cube.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

necropolitics: operation ghetto storm

operationghettostorm |  2012 Annual Report on the extrajudicial killing of 313 Black people by police, security guards and vigilantes  

The Report exposes how every 28 hours someone inside the United States, employed or protected by the U.S. government kills a Black child, woman or man.

These state-sanctioned killings are the casualties of what we call  "Operation Ghetto Storm," a perpetual war to invade, occupy and pacify Black communities-- much like the U.S. invades and occupies the Middle East.

"Operation Ghetto Storm" written by Arlene Eisen, with preface by Kali Akuno, is published by the Malcolm X Grassroots Committee. It is also available, with other important resources at

Read the Report, talk about it, take action.

necropolitics: after scrutiny, cia mandate is untouched...,

NYTimes |  But the scathing report the Senate Intelligence Committee delivered this month is unlikely to significantly change the role the C.I.A. now plays in running America’s secret wars. A number of factors — from steadfast backing by Congress and the White House to strong public support for clandestine operations — ensure that an agency that has been ascendant since President Obama came into office is not likely to see its mission diminished, either during his waning years in the White House or for some time after that.

The Church Committee’s revelations about the abuses committed by the intelligence community — and a parallel House investigation led by Representative Otis G. Pike of New York — came at the end of America’s wrenching military involvement in Vietnam, and during a period of détente with the Soviet Union. The disclosures of C.I.A. assassination schemes and spying on Vietnam War protesters fueled a post-Watergate fury among many Americans who had grown cynical about secret plots hatched in Washington.

The grim details, shocking at the time, led to a gutting of the agency’s ranks and a ban on assassinations, imposed by President Gerald R. Ford. They also led to the creation of the congressional intelligence committees and a requirement that the C.I.A. regularly report its covert activities to the oversight panels.

By contrast, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recent report on C.I.A. excesses since the Sept. 11 attacks arrived in the midst of renewed fears of global terrorism, the rise of the Islamic State and grisly beheading videos of American hostages.

Loch K. Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia and a former Church Committee investigator, said that the committee did its work “in a semi-benign period of international affairs.”
“There wasn’t the same kind of fear in the air,” he said.

A CBS News poll released last week found that though 69 percent of those asked consider waterboarding to be torture, 49 percent think that brutal interrogation methods are sometimes justified. More than half, 57 percent, believe that the tactics are at least sometimes effective in producing valuable intelligence to help stop terrorist attacks.

Senator Angus King, a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that Hollywood depictions of torture have distorted the public’s view of its efficacy.

“Every week, Jack Bauer saves civilization by torturing someone, and it works,” said Mr. King, the independent from Maine, referring to the lead character of the television show “24.”

Mr. King said that he was initially skeptical about the need to release the torture report, but when he spent five straight evenings reading it in a secure room on Capitol Hill he decided that the C.I.A. abuses needed a public airing.

“It went from interest, to a sick feeling, to disgust, and finally to anger,” he said.

But the Obama administration has made clear that it has no plans to make anyone legally accountable for the practices described by the C.I.A. as enhanced interrogation techniques and the Intelligence Committee as torture.

necropolitics: resources need not even be involved...,

michaelparenti |   For ten years, US and NATO forces waged a campaign to dismember Yugoslavia, including 78 days of round-the-clock aerial attacks in 1999 that killed or injured upwards of six thousand people. Drawing on a wide range of published and unpublished material (mostly Western sources) and observations gathered from his visit to Yugoslavia in 1999 shortly after the bombings, Michael Parenti challenges the mainstream media demonization of Yugoslavia and the Serbs, and uncovers the real goals behind Western talk of “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “democracy.” 
To Kill A Nation reveals a decade-long disinformation campaign waged by Western leaders and NATO officials in their pursuit of free-market “reforms.” The political and economic destabilization of the former Yugoslavia continues today, Parenti shows, as does the forced privatization and Third Worldization of the entire region. 


Monday, December 29, 2014

necropolitics: pinker ignores the megadeath we inflict on others unfortunate enough to live on resources we covet

prospect |  “Today we take it for granted that war happens in smaller, poorer and more backward countries,” Steven Pinker writes in his new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: the Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes. The celebrated Harvard professor of psychology is discussing what he calls “the Long Peace”: the period since the end of the second world war in which “the great powers, and developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another.” As a result of “this blessed state of affairs,” he notes, “two entire categories of war—the imperial war to acquire colonies, and the colonial war to keep them—no longer exist.” Now and then there have been minor conflicts. “To be sure, [the super-powers] occasionally fought each other’s smaller allies and stoked proxy wars among their client states.” But these episodes do not diminish Pinker’s enthusiasm about the Long Peace. Chronic warfare is only to be expected in backward parts of the world. “Tribal, civil, private, slave-raiding, imperial, and colonial wars have inflamed the territories of the developing world for millennia.” In more civilised zones, war has all but disappeared. There is nothing inevitable in the process; major wars could break out again, even among the great powers. But the change in human affairs that has occurred is fundamental. “An underlying shift that supports predictions about the future,” the Long Peace points to a world in which violence is in steady decline.

A sceptical reader might wonder whether the outbreak of peace in developed countries and endemic conflict in less fortunate lands might not be somehow connected. Was the immense violence that ravaged southeast Asia after 1945 a result of immemorial backwardness in the region? Or was a subtle and refined civilisation wrecked by world war and the aftermath of decades of neo-colonial conflict—as Norman Lewis intimated would happen in his prophetic account of his travels in the region, A Dragon Apparent (1951)? It is true that the second world war was followed by over 40 years of peace in North America and Europe—even if for the eastern half of the continent it was a peace that rested on Soviet conquest. But there was no peace between the powers that had emerged as rivals from the global conflict.

In much the same way that rich societies exported their pollution to developing countries, the societies of the highly-developed world exported their conflicts. They were at war with one another the entire time—not only in Indo-China but in other parts of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. The Korean war, the Chinese invasion of Tibet, British counter-insurgency warfare in Malaya and Kenya, the abortive Franco-British invasion of Suez, the Angolan civil war, decades of civil war in the Congo and Guatemala, the Six Day War, the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet-Afghan war—these are only some of the armed conflicts through which the great powers pursued their rivalries while avoiding direct war with each other. When the end of the Cold War removed the Soviet Union from the scene, war did not end. It continued in the first Gulf war, the Balkan wars, Chechnya, the Iraq war and in Afghanistan and Kashmir, among other conflicts. Taken together these conflicts add up to a formidable sum of violence. For Pinker they are minor, peripheral and hardly worth mentioning. The real story, for him, is the outbreak of peace in advanced societies, a shift that augurs an unprecedented transformation in human affairs.
While Pinker makes a great show of relying on evidence—the 700-odd pages of this bulky treatise are stuffed with impressive-looking graphs and statistics—his argument that violence is on the way out does not, in the end, rest on scientific investigation.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

necropolitics: rule of law: them bad apples is the POINT | In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.
The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.
Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action. To put it in a nutshell: The authorities created the police in response to large, defiant crowds. That’s
— strikes in England,
— riots in the Northern US,
— and the threat of slave insurrections in the South.
So the police are a response to crowds, not to crime.
I will be focusing a lot on who these crowds were, how they became such a challenge. We’ll see that one difficulty for the rulers, besides the growth of social polarization in the cities, was the breakdown of old methods of personal supervision of the working population. In these decades, the state stepped in to fill the social breach.
We’ll see that, in the North, the invention of the police was just one part of a state effort to manage and shape the workforce on a day-to-day basis. Governments also expanded their systems of poor relief in order to regulate the labor market, and they developed the system of public education to regulate workers’ minds. I will connect those points to police work later on, but mostly I’ll be focusing on how the police developed in London, New York, Charleston (South Carolina), and Philadelphia.

aggression in the lives of individuals, nations, and species...,

socialethology |  Political scientists admit the fact that the shy and peaceful nations stood to lose during territorial competition, just as the fractions which exhibit weakness and insufficient incisiveness stand to lose during competitions for power. On a political or geopolitical level, those who use the tool of violence and pressure have a higher chance of reaching their goals, and a force which has political power can be combated, usually, only by another force which is fiercer. On a historical scale, the global dominance of the Occident itself must be understood as a function of the capacity of the Westerners to impose themselves through violence [2].

On the other side, according to the Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, the fall and the conquest of the Roman Empire happened because of the pacification of the most Rome’s population, which had lived in luxury and laziness for a couple of centuries, so that it would not be able, eventually, to resist the blows of extremely aggressive barbarian hoards. The bravest Romans were being recruited in the professional army and they often died without leaving offspring in Roma; instead, many weak, lazy and peaceful individuals stayed in towns, individuals who had promoted the culture of subordination and pacifism. The genes of these people had a larger distribution, as well as their habits. Thus, in a couple of centuries, somehow paradoxically for a Rome that had conquered the world through boldness and sword, the number of the Romans who were used to a life which was dependent on luxury and non-violence has essentially exceeded the number of the Romans that had  a combative spirit. There took place something that Frost terms as “genetic pacification” of a population – a phenomenon that proved to be fatal for the empire in the conditions of foreign invasions [Frost,
With all the vulnerabilities that Frost’s theory contains, the emphasis that the author lays on the defensive state of a nation is interesting. Non-violence, as a spirit and tradition, besides being very useful for the development of a society in times of stability, proved to be a handicap during a crisis, in a period when violence equals success. Thanks to the communities, the nations and the states that showed a combative character and got engaged in endless fights, violence and aggressiveness remained, as behavioral states, up to now; the aggression stepped from prehistory into history. The American sociologist Charles Tilly has argued, in his writings, that “war made the state, and the state made war” and that the aggression is the only way in which a nation can survive and perpetuate itself throughout history. These states and nations, which were capable of developing and sustaining great armies, have dominated on a geopolitical level, while the weakly militarized nations, as well as the ones with a low demography, were conquered and destroyed or absorbed by the others [Tilly, 1985].
Political scientists admit the fact that the shy and peaceful nations stood to lose during territorial competition, just as the fractions which exhibit weakness and insufficient incisiveness stand to lose during competitions for power. On a political or geopolitical level, those who use the tool of violence and pressure have a higher chance of reaching their goals, and a force which has political power can be combated, usually, only by another force which is fiercer. On a historical scale, the global dominance of the Occident itself must be understood as a function of the capacity of the Westerners to impose themselves through violence [2]. On the other side, according to the Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, the fall and the conquest of the Roman Empire happened because of the pacification of the most Rome’s population, which had lived in luxury and laziness for a couple of centuries, so that it would not be able, eventually, to resist the blows of extremely aggressive barbarian hoards. The bravest Romans were being recruited in the professional army and they often died without leaving offspring in Roma; instead, many weak, lazy and peaceful individuals stayed in towns, individuals who had promoted the culture of subordination and pacifism. The genes of these people had a larger distribution, as well as their habits. Thus, in a couple of centuries, somehow paradoxically for a Rome that had conquered the world through boldness and sword, the number of the Romans who were used to a life which was dependent on luxury and non-violence has essentially exceeded the number of the Romans that had a combative spirit. There took place something that Frost terms as “genetic pacification” of a population – a phenomenon that proved to be fatal for the empire in the conditions of foreign invasions [Frost, 2010]. With all the vulnerabilities that Frost’s theory contains, the emphasis that the author lays on the defensive state of a nation is interesting. Non-violence, as a spirit and tradition, besides being very useful for the development of a society in times of stability, proved to be a handicap during a crisis, in a period when violence equals success. Thanks to the communities, the nations and the states that showed a combative character and got engaged in endless fights, violence and aggressiveness remained, as behavioral states, up to now; the aggression stepped from prehistory into history. The American sociologist Charles Tilly has argued, in his writings, that “war made the state, and the state made war” and that the aggression is the only way in which a nation can survive and perpetuate itself throughout history. These states and nations, which were capable of developing and sustaining great armies, have dominated on a geopolitical level, while the weakly militarized nations, as well as the ones with a low demography, were conquered and destroyed or absorbed by the others [Tilly, 1985].
See more:
Copyright © Dorian Furtuna

the moral side of violence?

physorg |   Fiske and Rai say that — aside from a small number of psychopaths — people rarely commit violent acts with evil intentions.

To the extent that their heinous behavior can be understood, murders, wife beaters, gang bangers and other violent criminals are acting out of a breakdown of morals, right? Not so fast, say social scientists from UCLA and Northwestern University.

In a new book, Alan Page Fiske and Tage Shakti Rai ascribe most acts of to a truly surprising impulse: the desire to do the right thing.

"When someone does something to hurt themselves or other people, or to kill somebody, they usually do so because they think they have to," explained Fiske, a UCLA professor of anthropology and lead author of "Virtuous Violence," which is being published Jan. 15 by Cambridge University Press. "They think they should do it, that it's the right thing to do, that they ought to do it and that it's morally necessary."

Co-author Rai said killings and physical attacks are often committed in retribution for wrongs—real or perceived—or as an effort to teach lessons and instill obedience or, amazingly, an attempt to rectify a relationship that in the 's mind has gone awry and cannot be corrected in any other way.

"We're not talking just about the way perpetrators excuse or justify their behavior afterwards," said Rai, Fiske's former graduate student at UCLA and now a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. "We're talking about what motivates them to do it in the first place.
"When we say that violence is morally motivated, we mean that it is so in the mind of the perpetrator. We don't mean that we think that violence is good."

never mind the headlines, we've never lived in such peaceful times....,

slate |  It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold? Last year Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before a Senate committee that the world is “more dangerous than it has ever been.” This past fall, Michael Ignatieff wrote of “the tectonic plates of a world order that are being pushed apart by the volcanic upward pressure of violence and hatred.” Two months ago, the New York Times columnist Roger Cohen lamented, “Many people I talk to, and not only over dinner, have never previously felt so uneasy about the state of the world. … The search is on for someone to dispel foreboding and embody, again, the hope of the world.”

As troubling as the recent headlines have been, these lamentations need a second look. It’s hard to believe we are in greater danger today than we were during the two world wars, or during other perils such as the periodic nuclear confrontations during the Cold War, the numerous conflicts in Africa and Asia that each claimed millions of lives, or the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that threatened to choke the flow of oil through the Persian Gulf and cripple the world’s economy.

How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times. All the more so when billions of smartphones turn a fifth of the world’s population into crime reporters and war correspondents.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

necropolitics: how the iraq war began in panama

nacla |  In the mythology of American militarism that has taken hold since George W. Bush’s disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, his father, George H.W. Bush, is often held up as a paragon of prudence—especially when compared to the later reckless lunacy of Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. After all, their agenda held that it was the messianic duty of the United States to rid the world not just of “evil-doers” but “evil” itself. In contrast, Bush Senior, we are told, recognized the limits of American power. He was a realist and his circumscribed Gulf War was a “war of necessity” where his son’s 2003 invasion of Iraq was a catastrophic “war of choice.” But it was H.W. who first rolled out a “freedom agenda” to legitimize the illegal invasion of Panama.

Likewise, the moderation of George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Colin Powell, has often been contrasted favorably with the rashness of the neocons in the post-9/11 years. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989, however, Powell was hot for getting Noriega. In discussions leading up to the invasion, he advocated forcefully for military action, believing it offered an opportunity to try out what would later become known as “the Powell Doctrine.” Meant to ensure that there would never again be another Vietnam or any kind of American military defeat, that doctrine was to rely on a set of test questions for any potential operation involving ground troops that would limit military operations to defined objectives. Among them were: Is the action in response to a direct threat to national security? Do we have a clear goal? Is there an exit strategy?

It was Powell who first let the new style of American war go to his head and pushed for a more exalted name to brand the war with, one that undermined the very idea of those “limits” he was theoretically trying to establish. Following Pentagon practice, the operational plan to capture Noriega was to go by the meaningless name of “Blue Spoon.” That, Powell wrote in My American Journey, was “hardly a rousing call to arms…[So] we kicked around a number of ideas and finally settled on...Just Cause. Along with the inspirational ring, I liked something else about it. Even our severest critics would have to utter ‘Just Cause’ while denouncing us.”

Since the pursuit of justice is infinite, it’s hard to see what your exit strategy is once you claim it as your “cause.” Remember, George W. Bush’s original name for his Global War on Terror was to be the less-than-modest Operation Infinite Justice

Powell says he hesitated on the eve of the invasion, wondering if it really was the best course of action, but let out a “whoop and a holler” when he learned that Noriega had been found. A new Panamanian president had already been sworn in at Fort Clayton, a U.S. military base in the Canal Zone, hours before the invasion began.

Here’s the lesson Powell took from Panama: the invasion, he wrote, confirmed all his “convictions over the preceding twenty years, since the days of doubt over Vietnam. Have a clear political objective and stick to it. Use all the force necessary, and do not apologize for going in big if that is what it takes...As I write these words, almost six years after Just Cause, Mr. Noriega, convicted on the drug charges contained in the indictments, sits in an American prison cell. Panama has a new security force, and the country is still a democracy.”

That assessment was made in 1995. From a later vantage point, history’s judgment is not so sanguine. As George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations, Thomas Pickering said about Operation Just Cause: “Having used force in Panama...there was a propensity in Washington to think that force could provide a result more rapidly, more effectively, more surgically than diplomacy.” The easy capture of Noriega meant "the notion that the international community had to be engaged...was ignored."

"Iraq in 2003 was all of that shortsightedness in spades,” Pickering said. “We were going to do it all ourselves." And we did.

The road to Baghdad, in other words, ran through Panama City. It was George H.W. Bush’s invasion of that small, poor country 25 years ago that inaugurated the age of preemptive unilateralism, using “democracy” and “freedom” as both justifications for war and a branding opportunity.

Friday, December 26, 2014

rule of law: what if the watcher was being watched...

Huffington Post | The Berkeley, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot a black teenager on Tuesday was issued a body camera earlier that night, but wasn't wearing it at the time of the shooting. The dashboard camera in his police cruiser also was not activated.
On Wednesday, St. Louis County Chief of Police Jon Belmar said that the officer -- who is still unnamed, but was described as a white 34-year-old and six-year veteran of the police force -- was responding to reports of a theft at a Mobil station when he confronted 18-year-old Antonio Martin and another person. Belmar said Martin "produced a pistol with his arm straight out, pointing at the officer," at which point the officer responded by firing three shots at Martin, striking him once and killing him. The person with Martin then fled.
Surveillance footage from the Mobil station has been released, and appears to show a person in the background -- said to be Martin -- raising his arm in the direction of a police cruiser and officer. The camera seems to be too far away from the incident, however, for anything to be to determined conclusively from the video.
Video captured by a body camera or dashboard camera likely would have been able to reveal more details about the incident. Belmar said the car's dashboard camera wasn't activated because the cruiser's emergency lights hadn't been turned on at the time, which would have automatically triggered the recording.
At a later press conference on Wednesday, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said he wasn't concerned that the officer hadn't turned on his body camera. He noted that the equipment is new for the town's police department and that officers haven't received full training yet.
"In the future and when we get well trained, there will be a severe penalty for an officer who does not turn [their body camera] on," Hoskins said.
Body cameras are frequently cited as a key way to bring transparency to interactions between law enforcement and civilians, especially in the wake of the police killings of Michael Brown and other unarmed individuals who died in encounters that weren't recorded. One frequently cited pilot program in Rialto, California, found that between 2012 and 2013, in the first year of the city using police cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent.

rule of law: watching the watchers keeps extrajudicial actions in line

Phys Org | As President Obama pledges investment in body-worn-camera technology for police officers, researchers say cameras induce 'self-awareness' that can prevent unacceptable uses-of-force seen to have tragic consequences in the US over the past year—from New York to Ferguson—but warn that cameras have implications for prosecution and data storage.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge's Institute of Criminology (IoC) have now published the first full scientific study of the landmark crime experiment they conducted on policing with body-worn-cameras in Rialto, California in 2012—the results of which have been cited by police departments around the world as justification for rolling out this technology.
The experiment showed that evidence capture is just one output of body-worn video, and the technology is perhaps most effective at actually preventing escalation during police-public interactions: whether that's abusive behaviour towards police or unnecessary use-of-force by police.
The researchers say the knowledge that events are being recorded creates "self-awareness" in all participants during police interactions. This is the critical component that turns body-worn video into a 'preventative treatment': causing individuals to modify their behaviour in response to an awareness of 'third-party' surveillance by cameras acting as a proxy for legal courts—as well as courts of public opinion—should unacceptable behaviour take place.

rule of law: living in the idea of the thing rather than in the fact of the thing...,

thenation |  Colbert held a unique key to the riddle of modern conservatism: How do they keep getting away with it? Why have so many conservatives turned into such small-minded haters and deniers of science, of reality? Voters tend to disagree with their actual policies, so why do they keep voting for them?

We liberals keep banging our heads against the wall of their illogic, and in frustration sputter the only explanation we can think of: “They’re… they’re… they’re INSANE!”

Instead of trying the key from the outside, as most critics of the right must, Colbert jiggled it from the inside, counterfeit though his key was. By inhabiting their heads via a character, Colbert could demonstrate, four nights a week, how right-wing psychology works.

And so in his last “Formidable Opponent” segment, the rabid-right Stephen said that America would never torture. The more moderate Stephen countered that the Senate report proves it does. To which the first Stephen replies, “Oh, I’m not talking about the actual country. I’m talking about the idea of America. The idea of America would never torture….And that, my friend, is why I choose to live in the idea of America.”

Standing just feet from President George W. Bush, Colbert, the character, said:
We’re not so different, he and I. We get it. We’re not brainiacs on the nerd patrol. We’re not members of the factinista. We go straight from the gut, right sir?…
The greatest thing about this man is he’s steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man’s beliefs never will.
But Colbert bit most deeply into the attending Beltway journalists, who famously found him unfunny:
Over the last five years you people were so good—over tax cuts, WMD intelligence, the effect of global warming. We Americans didn’t want to know, and you had the courtesy not to try to find out. Those were good times, as far as we knew.
But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works: the president makes decisions. He’s the Decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put them through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you’ve got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know—fiction!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

rule of law: can't get a job, can't vote, merry christmas baby....,

libertariannews |  If you’ve ever wondered about this question, then this 2010 study is for you!

About 25% of the total US adult black population has a felony, while 6.5% of adult non-blacks have a felony conviction. About 8.6% of the adult population has a felony conviction.

Florida is a particularly egregious police state.  35% of adult blacks in Florida have felony conviction, 14% of the total adult population in Florida have a felony conviction.

About 20 million people have a felony conviction in Amerika.  That works out to about 1 in 12 adult Americans.

Note, those numbers are for 2010.  Looking at the growth rate trajectory, we are probably up to around 24 million people today in 2014 with a felony conviction. This means we are probably pushing 10% of the adult population today.

One other thing to consider is that a large number of would-be felonies are plead down to misdemeanors, so the actual total number of people who were caught committing a felonious act is undoubtedly much higher than these numbers portray.

If no criminals took a plea deal, and all felonies were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, the entire US criminal justice system would implode within a year.  Over 95% of federal cases never go to trial.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

does occupy 2.0 (blacklivesmatter) have clearly discernable leaders?

WaPo |  THE LEADERS of a protest movement against excessive police force are weighing their next steps, The Post’s Wesley Lowery reported this week. The assessment follows both greater success than anticipated in triggering rallies across the nation and some backlash that blamed the protests (baselessly, in our view) for last weekend’s slayings of two New York City police officers .

As the leaders consider their next moves, we hope they do not lose sight of an early achievement, which will require attention to bring it to fruition. One test of any social movement is its power to inspire legislation. By that measure, the protests that followed the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner already demonstrated strength. Before adjourning, Congress adopted and sent to President Obama a significant bill that could help provide a crucial missing ingredient for reform: accurate information.

The Death in Custody Reporting Act would give state and local law enforcement agencies incentives to report to the Justice Department all deaths of people, for any cause, while they are under arrest, in the process of being arrested, detained or incarcerated. Agencies that want to retain federal funding would have to fill out a brief form for each case, including the name, age, gender and race of the deceased, along with a short explanation of the circumstances. While the statute would cover nonviolent deaths, and even deaths from illness, as well as violent ones, the main hope is that it will enable data-crunchers to analyze patterns in the use of force and thereby spot potentially unjustifiable trends at particular departments. 

To be sure, the measure is not exactly brand-new. A version passed in 2000 but expired in 2006; in only three of those years did the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics have authority to require quarterly reports — a requirement with which compliance was less than total. Since then, voluntary reporting has continued but also has proven spotty. A recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that nearly 45 percent of the justifiable homicides tallied by the nation’s 105 largest police departments went unreported to the FBI between 2007 and 2012. Florida and New York, two of the largest states in the country, accounted for 290 of 580 missing cases analyzed by the paper.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

necropolitics: cia torturers manipulated the white house and stl overseer-in-charge manipulated the grand jury?

ap |  "Many St. Louis-area residents believe - and there is at least some evidence to suggest - that Mr. McCulloch manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted," May wrote.

She said in an interview that McCulloch should have removed himself from the case at the outset.
"I don't believe he followed proper procedures when he presented evidence to the grand jury," May said. "To me, he was working for the defendant in this case and not the victim."

Critics had called for McCulloch to either step aside or for Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor, citing concerns about whether McCulloch could fairly oversee the case. McCulloch's father was a police officer killed in the line of duty by a black assailant in the 1960s.

McCulloch said immediately after the announcement that the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms and other issues. He said he assigned prosecutors in his office to present evidence, rather than himself, because he was "fully aware of unfounded but growing concern that the investigation might not be fair."

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III and others expressed anger that of the hundreds of National Guard troops dispatched to the St. Louis region on Nov. 24, none were in Ferguson as the announcement was made.

No timetable has been set for the legislative committee's investigation, and it wasn't clear if the committee would consider investigating McCulloch. A message left with Schaefer was not immediately returned.

necropolitics: torture definitely killed many times more americans than it hypothetically saved...,

nuclearrisk |  The release yesterday of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the use of what the CIA has called “enhanced interrogation techniques” drew predictable partisan responses, with many Democrats condemning the use of torture and Republicans saying that extraordinary times necessitated extraordinary means to protect American lives. But lost in the noise is an important question: Did these enhanced interrogation techniques play a role in killing thousands of Americans? Here’s why I believe that happened:

Colin Powell’s February 2003 speech to the UN was a key element in the Bush administration’s building public support for its invasion of Iraq. There was just one problem. Powell’s contention that “Iraq provided training in these weapons [of mass destruction] to al Qaeda,” was based on false information obtained by torture. Two years later, in a Barbara Walters interview, when Powell was asked if that speech will tarnish his record, he replied:
Of course it will. It’s a blot. I’m the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff at the time, sees his own participation in crafting that speech in even harsher terms:
My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life. I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That’s not a very comforting thing.

Monday, December 22, 2014

necropolitics: the flower of american womanhood revealed (that was quick)

cryptocomb |  South Garland (Texas) High School alumni have been keeping tabs on their classmates for reunion purposes:

Interestingly, her 1981 and 1982 yearbooks have been posted online. Photo attachments above contain visuals of her from 30 years ago.

Bikowsky’s last known address was in Alexandria which I believe sold in 2012. You will see that she is referenced in the alumni list as living in that city, and as holding a second surname, Silverstein.
It appears that Bikowsky, who got her BA from UPenn, may have married a gentleman she met at Tufts University’s Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy in the late 80′s. His name is David Silverstein.

Both are graduates of the Fletcher School. You will note that in a 1991 article on terrorism for “The Heritage Foundation”, Silvestein references Bikowsky’s unpublished Masters thesis: 

Access to this unpublished thesis would require at least some greater degree of access.

Silverstein has gone on to be deeply involved in formulating foreign, defense, and national security policy. He is currently a director and media talking head with two neo-conservative “think tanks” on, mostly, Middle East matters – “ASMEA” and the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies”. Should his relationship to Bikowsky be confirmed, its hard to imagine how his ideas have not trickled into Bikowsky’s mind, and consequently, the CIA’s business practices.

i cry another crocodile tear for your dispossession

Telegraph | GCHQ has lost track of some of the most dangerous crime lords and has had to abort surveillance on others after Edward Snowden revealed their tactics, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The spy agency has suffered “significant” damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organised criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor.
Intelligence officers are now blind to more than a quarter of the activities of the UK’s most harmful crime gangs after they changed their communications methods in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
One major drug smuggling gang has been able to continue flooding the UK with Class A narcotics unimpeded for the last year after changing their operations.
More intense tracking of others has either been abandoned or not started because of fears the tactics are now too easy to spot and will force the criminals to “go dark” and be lost sight of completely.
Communication companies are also hampering the efforts of GCHQ by refusing to hand over evidence on the likes of drug smugglers or fraudsters because they do not pose a “direct threat to life”.
Spy bosses had already warned that the Snowden leaks, revealed in a series of articles published by the Guardian newspaper, had seriously affected their efforts to track terrorists.
But the Daily Telegraph can reveal the scale of the harm it has also done to GCHQ’s other duty – to combat serious and organised crime

necropolitics: that didn't take long - former boston overseer superintendent links policing protests to ISIS and terrorism

necropolitics vs. non-violent negroe-politics only killers and killing shape the field of political power

newsmax |  "What happened yesterday was an assassination, which we haven't had since 1988 with Officer [Edward] Byrne," Giuliani said on Fox and Friends Sunday, speaking of a young police officer who was murdered while on duty. "We have not had an assassination murder like this in a long, long time."

There no question from the words of killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley that the killings were connected to the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri, said Giuliani. The two officers were shot at about 3 p.m. while sitting in their marked car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn after Brinsley posted messages on Instagram saying he was going to kill police officers.

Brinsley also wounded his girlfriend in a shooting in Baltimore before driving to New York and ambushing the officers.

"It could be connected in an insane way, but it's not unfair to create a connection between these two things," said Giuliani. "And it's certainly true that we have been treated to about three to four months of propaganda about how the police are the enemy. [About how] the police are the problem. [About how] they are the major problem between the police and the black community."

Giuliani said such statements and protests are propaganda because the police departments interactions with communities are a "reaction, it's not the cause."

And the "cause" was why officers Liu and Ramos were in Brooklyn on Saturday, where they were murdered.

"They were moved from one precinct to another because there was more crime in that precinct," said Giuliani. "They were there to protect the lives in this particular case of black people in that neighborhood. And the reality is that the problem here is citizen crime."

In inner cities, the problem is black crime, and in other places, "it can be white crime," said the former mayor. "The problem here is not police interaction. The police shooting a young black man, if that happens one to two percent of the time, that's a lot."

But, Giuliani said, "a black man shooting another black man is 92 percent of the time."

Sunday, December 21, 2014

necropolitics: with the federal narcotics badge he could legally enter any country wearing guns and carrying drugs...,

necropolitics: overseer union president and criminal former commissioner rabid dogs desperately in need of a short, short leash...,

csmonitor |  Between the visceral points of concern for police violence and concern for police safety are many difficult questions – honest questions about latent racism, and honest questions about out-of-control violence in some communities. Nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass said people who wished to reach racial harmony without asking tough questions are "people who want crops without plowing the ground."

Officers Liu and Ramos were not the face of that debate. They had nothing to do with Brown or Garner or the tide of events into which they were eventually swept.

But perhaps now they will be that face.

If Garner and Brown came to symbolize to a part of America the need to address the sometimes-dehumanizing way in which blacks are viewed, then perhaps Liu and Ramos will come symbolize what police have done right, and how much they are called to sacrifice to keep others safe.
Said some Twitter users, perhaps it's not #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter, but both.

I was unaware this track Kerik had gotten out of jail for post 9/11 stealing..., but Fox News put this offal on the air, as well.

necropolitics: hypersegregation concentrates and normalizes social pathologies

physorg |  In the past five decades, the meaning of single motherhood has changed dramatically, McLanahan and Jencks write. Single mothers today are far less likely than their predecessors to have ever been married. Now, single motherhood usually occurs earlier in a child's life, or even at the very beginning. It is not uncommon for women to be single when their first child is born. Also, the high rate of partner turnover during a mother's peak fertility years means that children now experience multiple men entering and exiting their lives.

"Both the departure of a father and the arrival of a mother's new partner disrupt family routines and are stressful for most children, regardless of whether the father was married to the mother or just living with her," said McLanahan, director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "Likewise, this shift to never-married motherhood has probably weakened the economic and emotional ties between children and their absent fathers."

Another change is that unmarried motherhood has spread fastest among mothers who have not completed college. For blacks, the number of children living with a mother who lacks a high school diploma has increased from 56 percent in 1980 to 66 percent in 2010. For whites, the percentage of children whose mothers lack a degree has remained essentially unchanged, hovering at around 18 percent between 1980 and 2010.

The official poverty rate in 2013 among all families with children was 40 percent if the family was headed by an unmarried mother and only 8 percent if the family was headed by a married couple. Among blacks, the rates were 46 percent in single-mother families and 12 percent in married-parent families. Among Hispanics, the figures were 47 percent and 18 percent, and among whites the rates were 32 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

necropolitics: only killers and killing shape the fields of power in which our elected sovereigns operate...,

firstrebuttal |  Ron Paul wrote an eye opening article recently about some legislation that was just signed in Congress, namely H. Res. 758.  In the article Dr. Paul explains the purpose of the resolution.  It’s not a new law but provides a basis of facts that will be relied on for future action.  So essentially the resolution purports that Russia behaved badly in various ways and by way of signing H. Res. 758 each congressman was indicating their agreement that the propositions contained therein are factual.  Now just because a group of obnoxiously arrogant A-holes stand around in a tax-revenue financed chamber and say “yeah” to several assertions does not make those assertions factual, but here in the United Orwellian States of America it kinda does.  Because those assertions that were voted to be fact (similar to the First Council of Nicaea) will now be written as factual history and taught to our children as having happened that way.  The very same way we all attained our ideas of American superiority.

The dishonesty and ignorance it creates is reason enough not to do such things, however, the real stinker of it is, as Dr. Paul so clearly points out, the sole purpose of H. Res. 758 is simply a pouring of the legal  foundation for something much more substantive.  You see this is how wars begin.  And the wheels for this particular war have been in motion for many years now.  We’ve been told our actions heretofore are simply a necessary response to the Ukraine situation.  However, those who can objectively look at the Ukraine situation will realize the US sponsored coup in Ukraine was simply a spark to light the fuse of a much larger detonation.

Now I understand many at this point are thinking “yep another conspiracy theory, why can’t it ever just be the US government thinks what they are doing is best for Americans”?  And it can, it just never is anymore and perhaps ever was.  Lies are told and public opinion is manipulated.  For war must be every bit good theatre in the press, as good strategy on the ground.  It is the theatre that makes war so ugly.  Fighting a war for what one believes in is unfortunate and brutal but fighting for lies and deceit to an end that benefits only those telling the lies is a type of ugliness most of us cannot comprehend.  It is only in the world ruled by sociopaths where such things can happen.  Allow me to offer some facts many don’t know about how it came to be that we invaded Iraq and Syria as the truth is still very much hidden from common knowledge.