Monday, June 22, 2020

The Resurrection Of Christ Cathedral


wikipedia |  According to the official website, "the church was designed in a monumental Russian style, organically incorporating modern architectural approaches and innovations unique to the Orthodox church creation". The facades of the building are finished with metal, the arches are glazed. The walls of the church, decorated with murals, include battle scenes from military history and scripture texts. The decoration of the lower (small) church is made of ceramics and is decorated with Gzhel painting, with pieces of glass smalt used in the manufacture of mosaic panels. The central apse dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ is made in the form of a metal relief. The decoration of the church, the icon and the iconostasis (icon wall) are made of copper with enamels, as was done on the marching military icons. The image of the Saviour-Not-Made-by-Hands in the central dome of the church is the largest image of the Christ's face executed in mosaic.

Glass mosaics

Stained glass mosaics in the cathedral's vault feature various Red Army orders, accompanied by their respected ribbons that denote their class. Many of the orders display the faces of prominent military leaders from the Imperial Russian Army. The following orders are depicted in the mosaics: The Order of Alexander Nevsky (First Class), Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky (First Class), Order of Ushakov (First Class), Order of Nakhimov (First Class), Order of Suvorov (First Class), Order of Kutuzov (First Class), Order of Victory, Order of the Red Banner, Order of the Red Star, and the Order of the Patriotic War (First Class).


Some of the sizes are symbolic. The height of the church along with the cross is 95 meters. The diameter of the drum of the main dome is 19.45 meters, symbolizing the year when the Great Patriotic War ended – 1945. The height of the belfry is 75 meters, a reference to the 75 years that passed in 2020 since the end of World War II. The height of the small dome is 14.18 meters – 1418 days and nights hostilities lasted in Great Patriotic War. The area of the church complex is 11,000 m². The capacity of the interior of the church is up to 6,000 people.


The bells are made at the Voronezh Foundry. The decoration of the bells repeats ornaments decorating the cathedral. The bells reflect the theme of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, icons of patrons of the Russian Army. The main bell-evangelist was decorated with bas-reliefs depicting key events of the Great Patriotic War. Work on the manufacture of bells was carried out for six months. The ensemble weighs more than 20 tons, it includes 18 bells, the largest of which weighs 10 tons.[7] 17 of the 18 bells are dedicated to the types and arms of the troops. On the one hand the emblem is applied to the bell, on the other, the image of the patron saint.[7] On 23 August 2019, bells are set on the belfry of the cathedral.


On 15 November 2019, a 80-ton central dome was erected on the cathedral, the height and diameter of which are 12 meters.[8] In total, the cathedral has six domes, four of which are identical, each of which weighs 34 tons, the central one is the largest and one is on the belfry. The design has a high alloy steel frame with a strength factor from 300 to 1500 years.

Main icon

The central icon of the Main Church of the Russian Armed Forces is the "Holy Saviour" in the main dome. The Icon of the Savior Not Made by Hands is a canonical image of the Holy Face of Jesus Christ, miraculously imprinted on a piece of material and transmitted by the Saviour himself to King Abgar V of Osroene. The face on the icon surrounds the images of the Most Holy Mother of God of Kazan, of Vladimir, of Smolensk and of Tikhvin, placed on artistic reliefs that depict significant events in the history of the Russian state. In the ark, which invariably accompanies the icon, there are eight particles of holy patrons: the great martyr George the Victorious, St. Andrew the First-Called, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, St. Sergius of Radonezh, the great martyr Barbara, the apostle Peter, the great martyr Panteleimon the Healer, and also Fyodor Ushakov, the righteous commander of the Black Sea Fleet and one of the most revered saints in the fleet.

The image of the Savior is placed in a bronze fold and weighs about 100 kg. The icon itself without a fold has dimensions of about 98 × 84 × 10 cm.'

The Empire Of The North

gatestoneinstitute |  Moscow sent a spectacular message last month to the world's other Arctic powers: Russia is determined to dominate the region. Russian transport aircraft, breaking the record for the highest altitude jump ever, parachuted a group of their Spetsnaz (Special Forces) over the Arctic from a height of almost 33,000 feet (Mt. Everest is 29,000 feet). Russian paratroops then executed a military exercise operation before reassembling at the Nagurskoye base, the northernmost military facility in Russia.

Any rival's attempt to catch up and surpass Moscow's head start in the Arctic is unlikely to succeed. Russia has a geopolitical advantage in that its sovereign land abuts over half of the Arctic's territorial waters. Historically, Russia's czars and commissars were frustrated in their attempts to secure warm-water ports, which would have benefited commerce and military force projection. Now, with environmental warming and subsequent accelerating ice-melt in the Arctic Ocean, Moscow appears poised to control the newest maritime corridor, "the Northeast Passage." This waterway will unite Russian Europe with Russia's Far East provinces adjacent to Pacific waters. The "Northeast Passage" could shorten the transshipment of goods from Asian countries to Europe by two weeks, rather than shipping goods through the Suez Canal route.

For centuries, ships could navigate only sections of the Arctic a few months of the year. If present climatic warming trends continue, however, and probably even if they do not, Russia seems to be expecting exclusively to exploit the region's vast energy, mineral and fishing resources, at least within the legal limits of its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone beyond its land borders.
Russia's northwestern Arctic territory of the Kola Peninsula accounts for large portions of the country's nickel and copper output, as does Norilsk in East Siberia. The Arctic region also accounts for most of Russia's tin extraction. Russian mining centers within the Arctic Circle produce valuable minerals, such as diamonds in the Yakutia Republic in Russia's Far East, as well as palladium, platinum, selenium and cobalt. Probably the most famous minerals are the area's legendary gold deposits in the Kolyma area.

Russia's claim of exclusivity, or at least its special ties, to the Arctic are of long-standing. Moscow first claimed sovereignty over all the islands in the Arctic Sea north of its Eurasian land mass as early as 1926, and repeated this claim in 1928 and again in 1950. Russia's claim of sovereign control of these islands, along with its nearly 25,000 kilometers of Arctic coastline, is considered part of the country's historical patrimony and, therefore, its ownership supposedly non-negotiable.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

5/24/14: The Spook Who Sat By The Door Is No More REDUX

WaPo |  Sam Greenlee was underappreciated, disgruntled, professionally disemboweled and perpetually agitated.

NewYorker |  Ivan Dixon’s 1973 film, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” which is playing at Metrograph from Friday through Sunday (it’s also on DVD and streaming), is a political fiction, based on a novel by Sam Greenlee, about the first black man in the C.I.A. After leaving the agency, the agent, Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) moves to Chicago, and puts his training in guerrilla warfare to use: he organizes a group of black gang members and Vietnam War veterans into a fighting force and leads a violent uprising against the police, the National Guard, and the city government. The film’s radical premise was noticed outside of Hollywood: produced independently, the film was completed and released by United Artists, but it was pulled from theatres soon after its release. Its prints were destroyed; the negative was stored under another title; and Greenlee (who died in 2014) claimed that the F.B.I. was involved in its disappearance, citing visits from agents to theatre owners who were told to pull the movie from screens. (No official documentation of these demands has emerged.)

On these grounds alone, a viewing of “The Spook Who Sat By the Door” would be a matter of urgent curiosity. But the movie is also a distinctive and accomplished work of art, no mere artifact of the times but an enduring experience. A supreme aspect of the art of movies is tone—the sensory climate of a movie, which depends on the style and mood of performance as much as the plot and the dialogue, the visual compositions as well as the locations, costumes, and décor, the editing and the music (often a sticking point), all of which are aligned with—and sharpen and focus—the ideas that the movie embodies. Dixon—who starred in one of the greatest of all independent films, Michael Roemer’s “Nothing But a Man,” from 1964 (and then spent five years on “Hogan’s Heroes”)—begins with a tone bordering on sketch-like satire that soon crystallizes into a sharp edge of restrained precision. A senator (a white man, played by Joseph Mascolo) campaigning for reëlection finds that he needs the black vote and decides to criticize the C.I.A. for having no black agents. Even in his office, the senator speaks in a pompous, stentorian voice seemingly inflated to a constant podium bluster.

8/16/13 Loss of Professional and Managerial Classes REDUX

nih | The gap between Whites and Blacks in levels of violence has animated a prolonged and controversial debate in public health and the social sciences. Our study reveals that over 60% of this gap is explained by immigration status, marriage, length of residence, verbal/reading ability, impulsivity, and neighborhood context. If we focus on odds ratios rather than raw coefficients, 70% of the gap is explained. Of all factors, neighborhood context was the most important source of the gap reduction and constitutional differences the least important.

We acknowledge the harsh and often justified criticism that tests of intelligence have endured, but we would emphasize 2 facts from our findings. First, measured verbal/reading ability, along with impulsivity/hyperactivity, predicted violence, in keeping with a long line of prior research. Second, however, neither factor accounted for much in the way of racial or ethnic disparities in violence. Whatever the ultimate validity of the constitutional difference argument, the main conclusion is that its efficacy as an explainer of race and violence is weak.

Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Blacks are segregated by neighborhood and thus differentially exposed to key risk and protective factors, an essential ingredient to understanding the Black–White disparity in violence. The race-related neighborhood features predicting violence are percentage professional/managerial workers, moral/legal cynicism, and the concentration of immigration. We found no systematic evidence that neighborhood- or individual-level predictors of violence interacted with race/ ethnicity. The relationships we observed thus appeared to be generally robust across racial/ ethnic groups. We also found no significant racial or ethnic disparities in trajectories of change in violence.
Similar to the arguments made by William Julius Wilson in The Truly Disadvantaged,these results imply that generic interventions to improve neighborhood conditions may reduce the racial gap in violence. Policies such as housing vouchers to aid the poor in securing residence in middle-class neighborhoods may achieve the most effective results in bringing down the long-standing racial disparities in violence. Policies to increase home ownership and hence stability of residence may also reduce disparities (see model 3, Table 2 [triangle]).

Family social conditions matter as well. Our data show that parents being married, but not family configuration per se, is a salient factor predicting both the lower probability of violence and a significant reduction in the Black–White gap in violence. The tendency in past debates on Black families has been either to pathologize female-headed households as a singular risk factor or to emphasize the presence of extended kin as a protective factor. Yet neither factor predicts violence in our data. Rather, being reared in married-parent households is the distinguishing factor for children, supporting recent work on the social influence of marriage and calls for renewed attention to the labor-market contexts that support stable marriages among the poor.

Although the original gap in violence between Whites and Latinos was smaller than that between Whites and Blacks, our analysis nonetheless explained the entire gap in violence between Whites and Latino ethnic groups. The lower rate of violence among Mexican Americans compared with Whites was explained by a combination of married parents, living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of immigrants, and individual immigrant status. The contextual effect of concentrated immigration was robust, holding up even after a host of factors, including the immigrant status of the person, were taken into account.

The limitations of our study raise issues for future research. Perhaps most important is the need to replicate the results in cities other than Chicago. The mechanisms explaining the apparent benefits to those living in areas of concentrated immigration need to be further addressed, and we look to future research to examine Black–White differences in rates of violence that remain unexplained. As with any nonexperimental research, it is also possible we left out key risk factors correlated with race or ethnicity. Still, to overturn our results any such factors would have to be correlated with neighborhood characteristics and uncorrelated with the dozen-plus individual and family background measures, an unlikely scenario. Even controlling for the criminality of parents did not diminish the effects of neighborhood characteristics. Finally, it is possible that family characteristics associated with violence, such as marital status, were themselves affected by neighborhood residence. If so, our analysis would mostly likely have underestimated the association between neighborhood conditions and violence.

We conclude that the large racial/ethnic disparities in violence found in American cities are not immutable. Indeed, they are largely social in nature and therefore amenable to change.

What Blaxploitation Could Have Been....,

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Derek Chauvin Is Going To Beat That Murder Charge...,

medium |  There are six crucial pieces of information — six facts — that have been largely omitted from discussion on the Chauvin’s conduct. Taken together, they likely exonerate the officer of a murder charge. Rather than indicating illegal and excessive force, they instead show an officer who rigidly followed the procedures deemed appropriate by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The evidence points to the MPD and the local political establishment, rather than the individual officer, as ultimately responsible for George Floyd’s death.
These six facts are as follows:
  1. George Floyd was experiencing cardiopulmonary and psychological distress minutes before he was placed on the ground, let alone had a knee to his neck.
  2. The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) allows the use of neck restraint on suspects who actively resist arrest, and George Floyd actively resisted arrest on two occasions, including immediately prior to neck restraint being used.
  3. The officers were recorded on their body cams assessing George Floyd as suffering from “excited delirium syndrome” (ExDS), a condition which the MPD considers an extreme threat to both the officers and the suspect. A white paper used by the MPD acknowledges that ExDS suspects may die irrespective of force involved. The officers’ response to this situation was in line with MPD guidelines for ExDS.
  4. Restraining the suspect on his or her abdomen (prone restraint) is a common tactic in ExDS situations, and the white paper used by the MPD instructs the officers to control the suspect until paramedics arrive.
  5. Floyd’s autopsy revealed a potentially lethal concoction of drugs — not just a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, but also methamphetamine. Together with his history of drug abuse and two serious heart conditions, Floyd’s condition was exceptionally and unusually fragile.
  6. Chauvin’s neck restraint is unlikely to have exerted a dangerous amount of force to Floyd’s neck. Floyd is shown on video able to lift his head and neck, and a robust study on double-knee restraints showed a median force exertion of approximately approximately 105lbs.
Let’s be clear: the actions of Chauvin and the other officers were absolutely wrong. But they were also in line with MPD rules and procedures for the condition which they determined was George Floyd was suffering from. An act that would normally be considered a clear and heinous abuse of force, such as a knee-to-neck restraint on a suspect suffering from pulmonary distress, can be legitimatized if there are overriding concerns not known to bystanders but known to the officers. In the case of George Floyd, the overriding concern was that he was suffering from ExDS, given a number of relevant facts known to the officers. This was not known to the bystanders, who only saw a man with pulmonary distress pinned down with a knee on his neck. While the officers may still be found guilty of manslaughter, the probability of a guilty verdict for the murder charge is low, and the public should be aware of this well in advance of the verdict.

While we should pursue justice for George Floyd, we should be absolutely sure that we are pursuing justice against his real killers. A careful examination of the evidence points to the procedures and rules of the MPD, rather than the police officers following these procedures and rules, as the real killers of George Floyd. If anyone murdered George Floyd, it was the MPD and the local political establishment. This is why Attorney General Keith Ellison has expressed how difficult a conviction will be.

Derek Chauvin Will Get $1.5 Million In Pension Benefits Whether Convicted Or Not...,

NYPost |  Fired Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin could still receive more than $1.5 million in pension benefits during his retirement years — even if he is convicted in the killing of George Floyd, according to a new report.

Chauvin, 44, was booted from the force and charged with second-degree murder, but could still cash in because Minnesota, unlike some other states, does not allow for the forfeiture of pensions for employees convicted of felony crimes related to their work, CNN reported.

The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association confirmed to the network that Chauvin, who had worked for the department since 2001, would remain eligible to file for his partially taxpayer-funded pension as early as age 50, though it would not specify the specific amount he would receive, the network reported.

Employees terminated voluntarily or for cause are eligible for future benefits unless they choose to forfeit them and receive a refund of all contributions made during their employment, according to the association.

“Neither our board nor our staff have the discretion to increase, decrease, deny or revoke benefits,” a spokeswoman told CNN. “Any changes to current law would need to be done through the legislative process.”

Chauvin’s attorney declined to comment to the network.

American Police Violence Toward Blacks Is A Subset Of Its Violence Toward Americans

quillette |  Tony Timpa was 32 years old when he died at the hands of the Dallas police in August 2016. He suffered from mental health difficulties and was unarmed. He wasn’t resisting arrest. He had called the cops from a parking lot while intoxicated because he thought he might be a danger to himself. By the time law enforcement arrived, he had already been handcuffed by the security guards of a store nearby. Even so, the police officers made him lie face down on the grass, and one of them pressed a knee into his back. He remained in this position for 13 minutes until he suffocated. During the harrowing recording of his final moments, he can be heard pleading for his life. A grand jury indictment of the officers involved was overturned.

Not many people have seen this video, however, and that may have something to do with the fact that Timpa was white. During the protests and agonizing discussions about police brutality that have followed the death of George Floyd under remarkably similar circumstances, it is too seldom acknowledged that white men are regularly killed by the cops as well, and that occasionally the cops responsible are black (as it happens, one of the Dallas police officers at the scene of Timpa’s death was an African American). There seems to be a widespread assumption that, under similar circumstances, white cops kill black people but not white people, and that this disparity is either the product of naked racism or underlying racist bias that emerges under pressure. Plenty of evidence indicates, however, that racism is less important to understanding police behavior than is commonly supposed.

Timpa was, of course, just one case and might be dismissed as an anomaly. On the other hand, we are told that what happened to George Floyd is what happens to black people “all the time.” But because the killing of black suspects by white police officers receives more media attention and elicits more outrage, such instances leave us vulnerable to the availability heuristic—a cognitive bias that leads us to form judgements about the prevalence of phenomena based on the readiness with which we can recall examples. Had Tony Timpa been black, we would all likely know his name by now. Had George Floyd been white, his name would likely be a footnote, briefly reported in Minneapolis local news and quickly forgotten. In fact, white people are victims of police mistreatment “all the time” too. And just as the Timpa case tragically parallels the Floyd one, there are countless episodes paralleling those we hear about involving black people.

Friday, June 19, 2020

What You Call Meritocracy Probably Really Isn't...,

ipsnews |  Since the 1960s, many institutions, the world over, have embraced the notion of meritocracy. With post-Cold War neoliberal ideologies enabling growing wealth concentration, the rich, the privileged and their apologists invoke variants of ‘meritocracy’ to legitimize economic inequality. 

Instead, corporations and other social institutions, which used to be run by hereditary elites, increasingly recruit and promote on the bases of qualifications, ability, competence and performance. Meritocracy is thus supposed to democratize and level society. 

Ironically, British sociologist Michael Young pejoratively coined the term meritocracy in his 1958 dystopian satire, The Rise of the Meritocracy. With his intended criticism rejected as no longer relevant, the term is now used in the English language without the negative connotations Young intended. 

It has been uncritically embraced by supporters of a social philosophy of meritocracy in which influence is supposedly distributed according to the intellectual ability and achievement of individuals. 

Many appreciate meritocracy’s two core virtues. First, the meritocratic elite is presumed to be more capable and effective as their status, income and wealth are due to their ability, rather than their family connections. 

Second, ‘opening up’ the elite supposedly on the bases of individual capacities and capabilities is believed to be consistent with and complementary to ‘fair competition’. They may claim the moral high ground by invoking ‘equality of opportunity’, but are usually careful to stress that ‘equality of outcome’ is to be eschewed at all cost. 

As Yale Law School Professor Daniel Markovits argues in The Meritocracy Trap, unlike the hereditary elites preceding them, meritocratic elites must often work long and hard, e.g., in medicine, finance or consulting, to enhance their own privileges, and to pass them on to their children, siblings and other close relatives, friends and allies.

Gaming meritocracy
Meritocracy is supposed to function best when an insecure ‘middle class’ constantly strives to secure, preserve and augment their income, status and other privileges by maximizing returns to their exclusive education. But access to elite education – that enables a few of modest circumstances to climb the social ladder – waxes and wanes. 

Most middle class families cannot afford the privileged education that wealth can buy, while most ordinary, government financed and run schools have fallen further behind exclusive elite schools, including some funded with public money. In recent decades, the resources gap between better and poorer public schools has also been growing. 

Elite universities and private schools still provide training and socialization, mainly to children of the wealthy, privileged and connected. Huge endowments, obscure admissions policies and tax exemption allow elite US private universities to spend much more than publicly funded institutions.
Meanwhile, technological and social changes have transformed the labour force and economies greatly increasing economic returns to the cognitive, ascriptive and other attributes as well as credentials of ‘the best’ institutions, especially universities and professional guilds, which effectively remain exclusive and elitist.

As ‘meritocrats’ captured growing shares of the education pies, the purported value of ‘schooling’ increased, legitimized by the bogus notion of ‘human capital’. While meritocracy transformed elites over time, it has also increasingly inhibited, not promoted social mobility.

The New Normal Must Address And Repeal The Replacement Negroe Program

campusreform |  Amid nationwide calls for more diversity initiatives at universities, one professor argues that these types of programs fail to address the real issues and ultimately harm minority students.

In a recent interview, Henry Louis Taylor Jr., professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo, said the focus on “inclusion and diversity” on college campuses has been an excuse to avoid any actual confrontation of race issues. Taylor says that the primary issue of the century is race, and argues that society needs to bring more attention to how different organizations handle issues of race and racism.

He says this should be done by bringing these topics to the forefront.

According to Taylor, universities have “replaced conversations around race with conversations around inclusion and diversity, which shifts the conversation and issue away so that we don’t have to deal with all of those complex issues that are related to grappling and dealing with race."

Taylor claims that the move toward “inclusion and diversity” at universities “has been nothing more than a smokescreen to marginalize the discussions of race and, in particular, the issues facing African Americans."

“There are these predominantly white science departments and medical centers that years later still have no or very few black folks or Puerto Ricans,” said Taylor. “And this is one of the reasons the anger is so deep." Taylor states that as a result of the current situations, people are having their voices be heard by bodies of government. The spread of the coronavirus and the recent protests have us “caught in this kind of purgatory” by showing all “people across the racial divide...the commonalities of pain and misery."

 According to the professor, the coronavirus crisis created the perfect storm for the types of change he believes is necessary.

“COVID-19 has snatched the mask off of America the beautiful, and revealed disfigurement as a characteristic of this country,” said Taylor. “It’s created a common experience of people across the racial divide that allowed them to see the commonalities of pain and misery.

“So we won’t go back to the old world. We have a vision, that’s what they’re talking about — saying that enough is enough,” he explained

Taylor told Campus Reform that certain university diversity efforts have increased enrollment of international students on college campuses, there has been an unnoticed decrease of black students.

“The inclusion and diversity framework, in practice, pushed issues concerning black and brown people to the margin as they became increasingly abstract.  In some places, people were even calling for ideological diversity,” Taylor told Campus Reform.

Taylor added that college campuses’ diversity efforts actually harm the very people they are meant to aid, saying that “the rise of international students made it easier to hide the disappearance of Blacks on college campuses, along with Latinxs.”

You Thought They ACTUALLY WANTED Us All To Be Critical Thinkers?

jonathanturley |  We have yet another teacher suspended or put on leave for merely expressing her opinion of Black Lives Matter on her personal Facebook page.  After Tiffany Riley wrote that she does not agree with the BLM, the Mount Ascutney School Board held an emergency meeting to declare that it is “uniformly appalled” by the exercise of free speech and Superintendent David Baker assured the public that they would be working on “mutually agreed upon severance package.”  The case magnifies concerns over the free speech rights of teachers on social media or in their private lives.

As we have previously discussed (with an Oregon professor and a Rutgers professor), there remains an uncertain line in what language is protected for teachers in their private lives. There were also controversies at the University of California and Boston University, where there have been criticism of such a double standard, even in the face of criminal conduct. There were also such an incident at the University of London involving Bahar Mustafa as well as one involving a University of Pennsylvania professor. Some intolerant statements against students are deemed free speech while others are deemed hate speech or the basis for university action. There is a lack of consistency or uniformity in these actions which turn on the specific groups left aggrieved by out-of-school comments.  There is also a tolerance of faculty and students tearing down fliers and stopping the speech of conservatives.  Indeed, even faculty who assaulted pro-life advocates was supported by faculty and lionized for her activism.

Most recently, we discussed the effort to remove one of the country’s most distinguished economists from his position because Harald Uhlig, the senior editor of the Journal of Political Economy,  criticized Black Lives Matter and Cornell Law School professor William A. Jacobson is reportedly facing demands that he be fired because he wrote a blog about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Police Work For The Ruling Elite - PERIOD!

WSWS |  It is now just over three weeks since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd set off mass protests throughout the United States and around the world. The political representatives of the ruling class have responded with, on the one hand, brute force and threats of military repression, and, on the other hand, pledges of “reform” and “accountability.”

Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order that would embed more social workers and mental health professionals with the police, create a national database to track officers fired or convicted for using excessive force, and ban chokeholds, with the exception, as the president explained, of “when an officer’s life is at risk.”

Trump announced his executive order in an address before police officers filled with calls for “law and order” and denunciations of protesters. Trump’s caveat on chokeholds leaves the window wide open for the continued use of the deadly practice, since police officers routinely claim that they fear for their lives when they grievously wound or kill someone.

The Democrats have offered up their own slate of cosmetic changes largely mirroring Trump’s, including banning chokeholds and creating a national database of abusive officers, while also explicitly rejecting the demand, popular among protestors, to “defund” the police. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee, has called for $300 million in additional federal funding to shore up police departments across the country, while Senator Bernie Sanders has said that cops need to be paid higher salaries.

Such measures will amount to less than nothing. They might as well propose to change the color of police uniforms. Inevitably, “reforms” from these representatives of the ruling class will end up strengthening the police as an oppressive apparatus of the state.

The promise of police reform has repeatedly been offered up by the ruling class as a supposed solution to excessive violence. In the aftermath of the urban rebellions of the 1960s, the Democrats claimed that more black police officers on the beat, more black police chiefs overseeing forces and more black mayors would solve the problem.

Half a century later, African Americans account for more than 13 percent of police officers, an overrepresentation compared to the population as a whole. Black police chiefs head departments across the country, and cities large and small have elected black mayors. In the last decade, the introduction of police vehicle dash cams and body cameras has been offered up as yet another panacea.

And yet the killing and abuse continue, and indeed have escalated.

What is absent from all of the media commentary on police violence, let alone the statements from bourgeois politicians, is any examination of what the police are and their relationship to capitalist society.

Black Lives Matter Movement Is Mimetic Cover For A Neoliberal Program

nonsite |  Black Lives Matter sentiment is essentially a militant expression of racial liberalism. Such expressions are not a threat but rather a bulwark to the neoliberal project that has obliterated the social wage, gutted public sector employment and worker pensions, undermined collective bargaining and union power, and rolled out an expansive carceral apparatus, all developments that have adversely affected black workers and communities. Sure, some activists are calling for defunding police departments and de-carceration, but as a popular slogan, Black Lives Matter is a cry for full recognition within the established terms of liberal democratic capitalism. And the ruling class agrees.
During the so-called Black Out Tuesday social media event, corporate giants like Walmart and Amazon widely condemned the killing of George Floyd and other policing excesses. Gestural anti-racism was already evident at Amazon, which flew the red, black and green black liberation flag over its Seattle headquarters this past February. The world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos even took the time to respond personally to customer upset that Amazon expressed sympathy with the George Floyd protestors. “‘Black lives matter’ doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter,” the Amazon CEO wrote, “I have a 20-year-old son, and I simply don’t worry that he might be choked to death while being detained one day. It’s not something I worry about. Black parents can’t say the same.” Bezos also pledged $10 million in support of “social justice organizations,” i.e., the ACLU Foundation, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Equal Justice Initiative, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the NAACP, the National Bar Association, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Urban League, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the United Negro College Fund, and Year Up. The leadership of Warner, Sony Music and Walmart each committed $100 million to similar organizations. The protests have provided a public relations windfall for Bezos and his ilk. Only weeks before George Floyd’s killing, Amazon, Instacart, GrubHub and other delivery-based firms, which became crucial for commodity circulation during the national shelter-in-place, faced mounting pressure from labor activists over their inadequate protections, low wages, lack of health benefits and other working conditions. Corporate anti-racism is the perfect egress from these labor conflicts. Black lives matter to the front office, as long as they don’t demand a living wage, personal protective equipment and quality health care.

Perhaps the most important point in Reed’s 2016 essay is his insistence that Black Lives Matter, and cognate notions like the New Jim Crow are empirically and analytically wrong and advance an equally wrong-headed set of solutions. He does not deny the fact of racial disparity in criminal justice but points us towards a deeper causation and the need for more fulsome political interventions.

Racism alone cannot fully explain the expansive carceral power in our midst, which, as Reed notes, is “the product of an approach to policing that emerges from an imperative to contain and suppress the pockets of economically marginal and sub-employed working-class populations produced by revanchist capitalism.” Most Americans have now rejected the worst instances of police abuse, but not the institution of policing, nor the consumer society it services. As we should know too well by now, white guilt and black outrage have limited political currency, and neither has ever been a sustainable basis for building the kind of popular and legislative majorities needed to actually contest entrenched power in any meaningful way.

The Need For Cheap Labor Comes First - Racism Is N-1 Moralizing For Softheads

theamericanconservative |  Lincoln’s legacy as the Great Emancipator has survived the century and a half since then largely intact. But there have been cracks in this image, mostly caused by questioning academics who decried him as an overt white supremacist. This view eventually entered the mainstream when Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote misleadingly in her lead essay to the “1619 Project” that Lincoln “opposed black equality.”

Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated. Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln’s appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time.

Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee—and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going.
The main idea driving the “1619 Project” and so much of recent scholarship is that the United States of America originated in slavery and white supremacy. These were its true founding ideals. Racism, Hannah-Jones writes, is in our DNA.

Such arguments don’t make any sense, as the historian Barbara Fields clairvoyantly argued in a groundbreaking essay from 1990. Why would Virginia planters in the 17th century import black people purely out of hate? No, Fields countered, the planters were driven by a real need for dependable workers who would toil on their cotton, rice, and tobacco fields for little to no pay. 

Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can’t pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.)
After 1776 everything changed. Suddenly the new republic claimed that “all men are created equal”—and yet there were millions of slaves who still couldn’t enjoy this equality. Racism helped to square our founding ideals with the brute reality of continued chattel slavery: Black people simply weren’t men.

But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren’t truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all.
Always remember Barbara Fields’s formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss.

The true cause of the Civil War—and it bears constant repeating for all the doubters—was whether slavery would expand its reach or whether “free labor” would reign supreme. The latter was the dominant ideology of the North: Free laborers are independent, self-reliant, and eventually achieve economic security and independence by the sweat of their brow. It’s the American Dream.
But if that is so, then the Civil War ended in a tie—and its underlying conflict was never really settled.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Pay Attention: Grown Folks Talking..., (not the beta in the video)

theorganicprepper |  Does that stuff look familiar? It should because we’re more than three-quarters of the way through this escalation.

The thing that makes this technique so effective is that the causes themselves are not unjust. They are things that would rightly anger any reasonable, compassionate human being.

Most white people don’t want to see people of other races suffer indignities and violence based on the color of their skin. (I say “most” because there are always outliers and extremists.) Most Americans in general do not want to see police brutality. They don’t want to see families split up or people imprisoned for decades for victimless crimes.

Let me be perfectly clear when I say that it is not unreasonable or wrong to be outraged and want things to change. I hate some of the things I’ve seen our government and police officers do and have written about these misdeeds for years.

But this article isn’t about whether or not our anger is justified. It is an assessment of a playbook.
All of this outrage over injustice forms the foundation of something that can be used against us. The agitation has been building up for years – far longer than President Trump has been in office – so as much as people love to hate him, he isn’t the cause of all this. But he’s certainly not making things go any more smoothly.

Everything I’m writing about today is about how our government in the past has encouraged a resistance in other countries, and how a resistance is being nurtured here in the United States right now.

So what does it take to cause people to be angry enough to resist?
Resistance generally begins with the desire of individuals to remove intolerable conditions imposed by an unpopular regime or occupying power. Feelings of opposition toward the governing authority and hatred of existing conditions that conflict with the individual’s values, interests, aspirations, and way of life spread from the individual to his family, close friends, and neighbors. As a result, an entire community may possess an obsessive hatred for the established authority. Initially, this hatred will manifest as sporadic, spontaneous nonviolent and violent acts of resistance by the people toward authority. As the discontent grows, natural leaders, such as former military personnel, clergymen, local office holders, and neighborhood representatives, emerge to channel this discontent into organized resistance that promotes its growth. The population must believe they have nothing to lose, or more to gain. (source)
There can be more than one resistance going on at a time, too. Currently, everything that is in the news is about the resistance that has sprung up over the death of George Floyd. A few months ago, it was about the sanctuary cities in Virginia standing up against state legislators.

Resistance organizations have been around for years: Black Lives Matter, the NRA, Antifa, the Boogaloo movement, the Black Bloc, the Gun Owners of America. I’m just listing off examples of organizations here, not passing judgment whether they’re good or bad. I’ll bet that most people who join do so because of their own deeply held beliefs. They sincerely feel they’re doing the right thing and have the best of intentions.

Who Is Funding And Orchestrating Protest Movement Logistics?

unz |  “The logistical capabilities of antifa+ are also impressive. They can move people around the country with ease, position pallet loads of new brick, 55 gallon new trash cans of frozen water bottles and other debris suitable for throwing on gridded patterns around cities in a well thought out distribution pattern. Who pays for this? Who plans this? Who coordinates these plans and gives “execute orders?” 

Antifa+ can create massive propaganda campaigns that fit their agenda. These campaigns are fully supported by the MSM and by many in the Congressional Democratic Party. The present meme of “Defund the Police” is an example. This appeared miraculously, and simultaneously across the country. I am impressed. Yesterday the frat boy type who is mayor of Minneapolis was booed out of a mass meeting of radicals in that fair city because he refused to endorse abolishing the police force. Gutting the civil police forces has long been a major goal of the far left, but now, they have the ability to create mass hysteria over it when they have an excuse.” (“My take on the present situation”, Sic Semper Tyrannis)

Colonel Lang is not the only one to marvel at Antifa’s “logistical capabilities”. The United States has never experienced two weeks of sustained protests in hundreds of its cities at the same time. It’s beyond suspicious, it points to extensive coordination with groups across the country, a comprehensive media strategy (that probably preceded the killing of George Floyd), a sizable presence on social media (to put people on the street), and agents provocateur whose task is to incite violence, loot and create mayhem. 

None of this has anything to do with racial justice or police brutality. America is being destabilized and sacked for other purposes altogether. This a destabilization campaign similar to the CIA’s color revolutions designed to topple the regime (Trump), install a puppet government (Biden), impose “shock therapy” on the economy pushing tens of millions of Americans into homelessness and destitution, and leave behind a broken, smoldering shell of a country easily controlled by Federal shock troops and wealthy globalist mandarins. Here’s a short excerpt from an article by Kurt Nimmo at his excellent blog “Another Day in the Empire”:
“The BLM represents the forefront of an effort to divide Americans along racial and political lines, thus keeping race and identity-based barbarians safely away from more critical issues of importance to the elite, most crucially a free hand to plunder and ransack natural resources, minerals, crude oil, and impoverish billions of people whom the ruling elite consider unproductive useless eaters and a hindrance to the drive to dominate, steal, and murder….
It is sad to say BLM serves the elite by ignoring or remaining ignorant of the main problem—boundless predation by a neoliberal criminal project that considers all—black, white, yellow, brown—as expliotable and dispensable serfs.” (“2 Million Arab Lives Don’t Matter“, Kurt Nimmo, Another Day in the Empire)
The protest movement is the mask that conceals the maneuvering of elites. The real target of this operation is the Constitutional Republic itself. Having succeeded in using the Lockdown to push the economy into severe recession, the globalists are now inciting a fratricidal war that will weaken the opposition and prepare the country for a new authoritarian order.

ZBellion: In 2018 The Pentagon Planned A Scenario To "Fight The Future"

theintercept |  In the face of protests composed largely of young people, the presence of America’s military on the streets of major cities has been a controversial development. But this isn’t the first time that Generation Z — those born after 1996 — has popped up on the Pentagon’s radar.

Documents obtained by The Intercept via the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a Pentagon war game, called the 2018 Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program, or JLASS, offered a scenario in which members of Generation Z, driven by malaise and discontent, launch a “Zbellion” in America in the mid-2020s.

The Zbellion plot was a small part of JLASS 2018, which also featured scenarios involving Islamist militants in Africa, anti-capitalist extremists, and ISIS successors. The war game was conducted by students and faculty from the U.S. military’s war colleges, the training grounds for prospective generals and admirals. While it is explicitly not a national intelligence estimate, the war game, which covers the future through early 2028, is “intended to reflect a plausible depiction of major trends and influences in the world regions,” according to the more than 200 pages of documents.

According to the scenario, many members of Gen Z — psychologically scarred in their youth by 9/11 and the Great Recession, crushed by college debt, and disenchanted with their employment options — have given up on their hopes for a good life and believe the system is rigged against them. Here’s how the origins of the uprising are described:
Both the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Great Recession greatly influenced the attitudes of this generation in the United states, and resulted in a feeling of unsettlement and insecurity among Gen Z. Although Millennials experienced these events during their coming of age, Gen Z lived through them as part of their childhood, affecting their realism and world view … many found themselves stuck with excessive college debt when they discovered employment options did not meet their expectations. Gen Z are often described as seeking independence and opportunity but are also among the least likely to believe there is such a thing as the “American Dream,” and that the “system is rigged” against them. Frequently seeing themselves as agents for social change, they crave fulfillment and excitement in their job to help “move the world forward.” Despite the technological proficiency they possess, Gen Z actually prefer person-to-person contact as opposed to online interaction. They describe themselves as being involved in their virtual and physical communities, and as having rejected excessive consumerism.
In early 2025, a cadre of these disaffected Zoomers launch a protest movement. Beginning in “parks, rallies, protests, and coffee shops” — first in Seattle; then New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; and Austin — a group known as Zbellion begins a “global cyber campaign to expose injustice and corruption and to support causes it deem[s] beneficial.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

5th Most Dangerous Kansas City Wastes As Much Per Capita On Policing As Chicago

Infographic: How Much Do U.S. Cities Spend On Policing? | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

kansascity |  The four largest cities in the metro area will spend over $400 million on law enforcement this year. That doesn’t count the millions spent on courts, prosecutors and jails. Just the men and women in blue.

Naturally, Kansas City, Missouri, spends the most, having the largest population and the most law enforcement needs. No single division within city government gets more financial support than the police department.

The KCPD is budgeted to get $273 million this fiscal year, which amounts to 16 percent of the city’s $1.7 billion budget. That works out to about $554 for each of the estimated 492,000 people who were living within the city limits at last count.

That’s more than twice the per capita amount that suburban Overland Park spends on its police department and four times more than the citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, pay for police protection in a city whose population is only slightly less than Kansas City’s.

As with any police department or private business, for that matter, most of the KCPD’s budget goes to pay the salaries and benefits of its personnel, roughly 1,400 sworn officers and 600 civilian workers.

The fire department is second with 1,300 employees, followed by the water department.
Just under a quarter of the police budget goes toward paying the health insurance and pension obligations the city owes to employees and retirees.

From a program standpoint, about $100 million supports the patrol bureau, which includes all those cops you see driving down the streets responding to calls for service and enforcing traffic laws.
About $41 million underwrites investigations, of which just under a third is aimed at vice and narcotics crimes, another third to investigate violent crimes and the rest to cover other investigations and underwrite the cost of the crime lab.

Large amounts of the budget go for support services, like vehicle maintenance and the computer network.

Yet even with a quarter-billion-dollar-plus budget, the police department could always use more to keep up with all the demands placed upon it, said Nathan Garrett, one of the four members of the five-member board of police commissioners appointed by the governor that sets department policy. By state statute, the mayor of Kansas City has the fifth vote.

Read more here:

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"I Voted For Barack Obama Twice And Still Got Teargassed!!!"

WaPo | Even amid the coronavirus pandemic and orders that kept millions at home for weeks, police shot and killed 463 people through the first week of June — 49 more than the same period in 2019. In May, police shot and killed 110 people, the most in any one month since The Post began tracking such incidents.

The year-over-year consistency has confounded those who have spent decades studying the issue.
“It is difficult to explain why we haven’t seen significant fluctuations in the shooting from year to year,” former Charlotte police chief Darrel Stephens said. “There’s been significant investments that have been made in de-escalation training. There’s been a lot of work.”

The overwhelming majority of people killed are armed. Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white. Most of these shootings draw little or no attention beyond a news story.

Some become flash points in the country’s ongoing reckoning about race and police. The ones prompting the loudest outcries often involve people who are black, unarmed, or both, shootings that have led to the harshest scrutiny of police.

Since The Post began tracking the shootings, black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates — both in terms of overall shootings and the shootings of unarmed Americans. The number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, but whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people.

The 1994 Biden Crime Bill Flooded Cities With Militarized Policing

truthout |  The unending killing of Black people at the hands of police forces, and the sustained, relentless and highly visible police violence inflicted on protesters represent a grave and immediate national crisis. 

The Justice in Policing Act put forth by House Democrats attempts to address this moment, but falls frighteningly short. We will not see any end to this crisis until the federal government reckons with one of its most important roles in fueling police violence: money. 

There are aspects of the Justice in Policing Act, including ending qualified immunity and establishing a federal registry of police misconduct, that are not harmful. But the myriad ways in which it provides additional funds and legitimacy towards the current system of policing — whether through trainings, standards, data collection or accreditation programs — is neither responsive to the demands of the millions of people taking to the streets in protest, nor to the simple reality of what federal interventions would be most impactful — and most needed. 

To begin, Congress must grapple with an uncomfortable truth: By sending billions of federal dollars to local policing over the last 25 years, it has helped precipitate the policing crisis that we find ourselves in today. 

In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which established the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. The program was designed to incentivize state and local law enforcement agencies to purchase new equipment, develop and distribute new technologies, and ultimately increase the number of officers deployed throughout the United States. After an initial appropriation of $8.8 billion between 1995 and 2000, the COPS Program has granted over $14 billion to state and local governments since its establishment.
The program was successful in its mission — especially in flooding communities with policing.