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Bob McCulloch Should Be Disbarred

So Darrin Wilson’s attorney, I mean ‘prosecutor’ Bob McCulloch admits that he put people in front of the grand jury who he knew were lying. Here’s an interview he did with a local talk show host:

 

17:00 is the point where McCulloch tells us that witness #40 was a lying sack of crap. He knew he couldn’t have done this at trial. The lying jurors (like #40, who wasn’t even there) would have been ripped to shreds on cross examined during the course of a trial, and therefore never would have been called to testify. Wilson’s preposterous testimony would actually have received some cross examination at trial. He threw as much garbage at the grand jury as he could find because he knew that the lack of scrutiny would confuse and misdirect the grand jury.

At some point, the host asks him if the grand jury took the testimony of witness #40 seriously. He responds by making a claim that he can’t possibly make. He said that they definitely didn’t take her testimony seriously. He can’t know what they thought of any piece of evidence put before them because no one is allowed to be in the grand jury room when they’re deliberating.

This proceeding was a joke, and McCulloch should be disbarred.

Anyone who genuinely believes that Wilson didn’t do anything wrong should agree with me because he’s never going to be seen as an innocent person, given the level of shadiness with which this proceeding was conducted. McCulloch just told the world that this grand jury proceeding was a joke. If Wilson did nothing wrong, he should be able to go through the same justice system that everyone else goes through with the confidence of an innocent man. Innocent people should be confident that cross examination is their friend. It doesn’t matter which side of this you fall on, if your opinion is earnestly held, we should all agree that what Bob McCulloch did here neither proved nor disproved a damned thing. 

He’s never going to be an innocent man until he does.

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Republicans: A Party Of The People

It’s shutdown time again kiddies! But fear not, because we’re close to accepting a republican proposal to avoid all of that ugliness. I wanted to share some of the awesomeness that republicans are insisting on extorting in exchange for keeping the fucking country running for a few more months (cause they’re doing us a favor here).

We’re going to basically eliminate a provision of Dodd-Frank that requires banks separate their trades of financial derivatives from their consumer services. This means that republicans want to go back to federally insuring fucking JP Morgan Chase from any big losses they suffer on their roulette wheel of derivatives gambling.

YAY more bailouts!

They want to raise caps on campaign donations from $32,400 to $324,000 because the people have spoken and we obviously all want to see more lobbyist money piped into our elections. Here’s how the New York Times describes the impact:

Donors could write checks to the new accounts three times as large as the contributions normally allowed to party committees. Initial calculations suggested that the bill would expand the amount that any one person could donate to party committees to more than $777,000 each year from what is now a maximum of $97,200.

WHEW! Thank god that heavy burden of campaign contribution caps has been lifted from the average American’s shoulders. Here’s the great part of that provision; no one wants to take credit for inserting it into the budget bill. But all you need to do, is look at public statements regarding campaign finance to know that is was definitely a republican.

YAY oligarchy! 

Another provision says that no local or federal funds can be used to “to enact any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution”. So fuck your vote, marijuana is going to remain illegal regardless of what the people have voted for.

YAY states rights!

The republicans insist on more spending ($1.46 billion) on planes that the DOD doesn’t want (15 EA-18G).

YAY fiscal responsibility!

I’m going to need some help here: who does this sound good to?

Here’s your chance to offer up an opinion without being asked for a shred of evidence to back it up. Take advantage of it republicans and help us all out.

Who wants to give Boeing more of your money in the form of corporate welfare for planes that don’t work, and that DOD doesn’t want?

Who thinks that raising campaign contributions is going to help you?

Who here is interested in paying for another bailout?

What part of this is beneficial to you personally?

And lastly, what does your party stand for? Can you tell me? I need to know what you’re voting for because frankly, I’m at a loss here and I need some help.

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A Shining, Torturing City Upon A Hill

I read through the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture yesterday. I’m sure you all read plenty of stories telling you that it was all much more appalling than we had previously thought. I decided that I’m going to do this a little differently than how everyone else covered it. I was shocked appalled, and fascinated while reading it so I’m going to give you actual snippets from the report so that you can experience for yourselves, what I experienced when reading it. My comments are going to be relatively short.

The summary broke down their conclusions into different areas which they numbered. I will go through each section in the order the report presents it.

#1: The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.

For example, according to CIA records, seven of the 39 CIA detainees known to have been subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence while in CIA custody.* CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were usually subjected to the techniques immediately after being rendered to CIA custody. Other detainees provided significant accurate intelligence prior to, or without having been subjected to these techniques.

While being subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and afterwards, multiple CIA detainees fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence. Detainees provided fabricated information on critical intelligence issues, including the terrorist threats which the CIA identified as its highest priorities.

That pretty much speaks for itself.

#2: The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

The Committee reviewed 20 of the most frequent and prominent examples of purported counterterrorism successes that the CIA has attributed to the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques, and found them to be wrong in fundamental respects. In some cases, there was no relationship between the cited counterterrorism success and any information provided by detainees during or after the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. In the remaining cases, the CIA inaccurately claimed that specific, otherwise unavailable information was acquired from a CIA detainee "as a result" of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, when in fact the information was either: (1) corroborative of information already available to the CIA or other elements of the U.S. Intelligence Community from sources other than the CIA detainee, and was therefore not "otherwise unavailable"; or (2) acquired from the CIA detainee prior to the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. The examples provided by the CIA included numerous factual inaccuracies.

That also speaks for itself. The CIA knew this wasn’t working, and took the proactive step of creating the illusion of efficacy.

#3: The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.

Beginning with the CIA’s first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, and continuing with numerous others, the CIA applied its enhanced interrogation techniques with significant repetition for days or weeks at a time. Interrogation techniques such as slaps and "wallings" (slamming detainees against a wall) were used in combination, frequently concurrent with sleep deprivation and nudity. Records do not support CIA representations that the CIA initially used an "an open, non- threatening approach,"^ or that interrogations began with the "least coercive technique possible"^ and escalated to more coercive techniques only as necessary.

The waterboarding technique was physically harmful, inducing convulsions and vomiting. Abu Zubaydah, for example, became "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth." Internal CIA records describe the water boarding of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad as evolving into a "series of near drownings." 

Contrary to CIA representations to the Department of Justice, the CIA instructed personnel that the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah would take "precedence" over his medical care,^ resulting in the deterioration of a bullet wound Abu Zubaydah incurred during his capture. In at least two other cases, the CIA used its enhanced interrogation techniques despite warnings from CIA medical personnel that the techniques could exacerbate physical injuries. CIA medical personnel treated at least one detainee for swelling in order to allow the continued use of standing sleep deprivation.

At least five CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity.

 Here’s where I have a lot to interject in the form of additional information and some background on Abu Zubaydah. Ali Soufan was an FBI interrogator who had Zubaydah before the CIA took him. Zubaydah wasn’t like all of the other "#2 guys" that the Bush administration bragged about having captured. He actually knew some shit, and he was actually a high level operative in Al Qaeda. Ali Soufan used traditional interrogation techniques that have been proven to work since WWII. He treated detainees like humans with respect and dignity. He earned their trust by taking them out for pizza, and bringing one diabetic detainee some sugar-free cookies. We did this with the Nazis and got actionable intelligence by treating them to steak dinners.

Soufan interrogated Zubaydah from March – June 2002 (the torture began in August). While Soufan was interrogating Zubaydah, he got the single most important piece of information about 9/11: Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was the mastermind. It was because of that interrogation that we started looking for KSM. I’ve read copious amounts of information about 9/11 from a myriad of different sources including George Tenet, Dick Cheney, Ali Soufan, and Terry McDermott and Josh Meyers’ reporting. Yeah, I read Dick Cheney’s painful autobiography so that you didn’t have to. Here’s what most people don’t know about 9/11: Bin Laden had almost nothing to do with it beyond financing and some recruitment. KSM wasn’t even a member of Al Qaeda. They were not working closely together. KSM planned and executed every aspect of 9/11. We didn’t have his name until over 6 months after the attack, when Ali Soufan got it out of Abu Zubaydah by treating him like a human being. Once the torture began, Zubaydah never offered up another piece of information that was worth a damned. Who knows what else we could have learned from him, had the Bush administration not had their heads shoved so far up their asses.

Back to the report.

One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because "we can never let the world know what I have done to you."^ CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families— to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to "cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat."^

Threatening women and children. That’s what the US became on Bush’s watch. Is it me, or is it impossible to tell the difference between "the good guys" and "the bad guys" here? That’s the part of the report that disgusted me the most. 

 

#5: The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

From 2002 to 2007, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) within the Department of Justice relied on CIA representations regarding: (1) the conditions of confinement for detainees, (2) the application of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, (3) the physical effects of the techniques on detainees, and(4)the effectiveness of the techniques. Those representations were inaccurate in material respects.

The Department of Justice did not conduct independent analysis or verification of the information it received from the CIA. The department warned, however, that if the facts provided by the CIA were to change, its legal conclusions might not apply. When the CIA determined that information it had provided to the Department of Justice was incorrect, the CIA rarely informed the department.

That bolded and italicized is the part that jumped out at me. The whole report was written in a way that lays all the blame in the lap of the CIA as if they were a rogue operation secretly behaving badly, and that no one had a clue what was happening. I say that’s complete bullshit. Every arm of the Bush administration from DOJ to the OLC (office of legal council) took the CIA at their word on everything. There was comically little oversight, and that could only have been by design.

Back to #5.

The OLC determined that "under the current circumstances, necessity or self- defense may justify interrogation methods that might violate" the criminal prohibition against torture.

On the same day, a second OLC opinion approved, for the first time, the use of 10 specific coercive interrogation techniques against Abu Zubaydah—subsequently referred to as the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation techniques." The OLC relied on inaccurate CIA representations about Abu Zubaydah’s status in al-Qa’ida and the interrogation team’s "certain[ty]" that Abu Zubaydah was withholding information about planned terrorist attacks. The CIA’s representations to the OLC about the techniques were also inconsistent with how the techniques would later be applied.

In March 2005, the CIA submitted to the Department of Justice various examples of the "effectiveness" of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques that were inaccurate. OLC memoranda signed on May 30, 2005, and July 20, 2007, relied on these representations, determining that the techniques were legal in part because they produced "specific, actionable intelHgence" and "substantial quantities of otherwise unavailable intelligence" that saved lives.

Again, the lack of any interest in looking at what the CIA was doing was comical and unbelievable (as in, not to be believed).

#6: The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

The CIA did not brief the leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques until September 2002, after the techniques had been approved and used. The CIA did not respond to Chairman Bob Graham’s requests for additional information in 2002, noting in its own internal communications that he would be leaving the Committee in January 2003. The CIA subsequently resisted efforts by Vice Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV, to investigate the program, including by refusing in 2006 to provide requested documents to the full Committee.

The CIA restricted access to information about the program from members of the Committee beyond the chairman and vice chairman until September 6, 2006, the day the president publicly acknowledged the program, by which time 117 of the 119 known detainees had already entered CIA custody. Until then, the CIA had declined to answer questions from other Committee members that related to CIA interrogation activities.

Prior to September 6, 2006, the CIA provided inaccurate information to the leadership of the Committee.

After multiple senators had been critical of the program and written letters expressing concerns to CIA Director Michael Hayden, Director Hayden nonetheless told a meeting of foreign ambassadors to the United States that every Committee member was "fully briefed," and that "[t]his is not CIA’s program. This is not the President’s program. This is America’s program."^^ The CIA also provided inaccurate information describing the views of U.S. senators about the program to the Department of Justice.

A year after being briefed on the program, the House and Senate Conference Committee considering the Fiscal Year 2008 Intelligence Authorization bill voted to limit the CIA to using only interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual. That legislation was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in February 2008, and was vetoed by President Bush on March 8, 2008.

And there it is. Even when all of that plausible deniability the Bush Administration so carefully crafted evaporated, they insisted the program continue, despite the fact that they knew it didn’t work. And still, this report basically leaves the administration out of all of the CIA’s ostensibly totally fucking independent malfeasance. Riiiight.

And the whole next section of the report is dedicated to doing just that.

#7: The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.

The CIA provided extensive amounts of inaccurate and incomplete information related to the operation and effectiveness of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program to the White House, the National Security Council principals, and their staffs. This prevented an accurate and complete understanding of the program by Executive Branch officials, thereby impeding oversight and decision-making.

According to CIA records, no CIA officer, up to and including CIA Directors George Tenet and Porter Goss, briefed the president on the specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006. By that time, 38 of the 39 detainees identified as having been subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques had already been subjected to the techniques. The CIA did not inform the president or vice president of the location of CIA detention facilities other than Country

Oh, so the Bush administration were just hapless rubes?

But here’s the next paragraph:

At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defense – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on program specifics until September 2003. An internal CIA email from July 2003 noted that "… the WH [White House] is extremely concerned [Secretary] Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on." Deputy Secretary of State Armitage complained that he and Secretary Powell were "cut out" of the National Security Council coordination process.

Yeah, not so much with the hapless rube routine.

#10: The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA’s Office of Public Affairs and senior CIA officials coordinated to share classified information on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program to select members of the media to counter public criticism, shape public opinion, and avoid potential congressional action to restrict the CIA’s detention and inteiTogationauthorities and budget. These disclosures occurred when the program was a classified covert action program, and before the CIA had briefed the full Committee membership on the program.

The deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center wrote to a colleague in 2005, shortly before being interviewed by a media outlet, that "we either get out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond the media. [C]ongress reads it, cuts our authorities, messes up our budget… we either put out our story or we get eaten. [T]here is no middle ground."^ The same CIA officer explained to a colleague that "when the [Washington Post]/[New York Times quotes ‘senior intelligence official,’ it’s us… authorized and directed by opa [CIA’s Office of Public Affairs].

Remember, congress did exactly that in 2008, and Bush vetoed their decision. I find it hard to believe that these leaks were entirely the doing of members of the CIA. I could be wrong, but that really doesn’t sound right to me.

#11: The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.

On September 17, 2001, the President signed a covert action Memorandum of Notification (MON) granting the CIA unprecedented counterterrorism authorities, including the authority to covertly capture and detain individuals "posing a continuing, serious threat of violence or death to U.S. persons and interests or planning terrorist activities." The MON made no reference to interrogations or coercive interrogation techniques.

That would be republican style small government.

#12: The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.

On November, 2002,a detainee who had been held partially nude and chained to a concrete floor died from suspected hypothermia at the facility.

At the time, no single unit at CIA Headquarters had clear responsibility for CIA detention and interrogation operations. In interviews conducted in 2003 with the Office of Inspector General, CIA’s leadership and senior attorneys acknowledged that they had little or no awareness of operations at COBALT, and some believed that enhanced interrogation techniques were not used there.

So now there’s a corpse for which no one appears to be responsible, and no one is asking questions? Curious.

Back to section 12.

Numerous CIA officers had serious documented personal and professional problems—including histories of violence and records of abusive treatment of others—that should have called into question their suitability to participate in the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, their employment with the CIA, and their continued access to classified information. In nearly all cases, these problems were known to the CIA prior to the assignment of these officers to detention and interrogation positions.

This is actually the culture that the Bush administration created within the CIA when Bush appointed Porter Goss to be their Director. At the time, Goss himself said, "I’m not qualified for the CIA." I take that back- this was the culture the Bush administration created throughout the federal government. Remember the horsey lawyer who was put in charge of federal emergency management? You know, the one who was doing a "heckuva job"? This incompetence way systemic and started at the very top (Dick Cheney). 

#13: Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.

 

The CIA contracted with two psychologists to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations. The psychologists’ prior experience was at the U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. Neither psychologist had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise.

On the CIA’s behalf, the contract psychologists developed theories of interrogation based on "learned helplessness,"^^ and developed the list of enhanced inteiTogation techniques that was approved for use against Abu Zubaydah and subsequent CIA detainees. The psychologists personally conducted interrogations of some of the CIA’s most significant detainees using these techniques. They also evaluated whether detainees’ psychological state allowed for the continued use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, including some detainees whom they were themselves interrogating or had interrogated. The psychologists carried out inherently governmental functions, such as acting as liaison between the CIA and foreign intelligence services, assessing the effectiveness of the interrogation program, and participating in the interrogation of detainees in held in foreign government custody.

In 2005, the psychologists formed a company specifically for the purpose of conducting their work with the CIA. Shortly thereafter, the CIA outsourced virtually all aspects of the program.

In 2006, the value of the CIA’s base contract with the company formed by the psychologists with all options exercised was in excess of $180 million; the contractors received $81 million prior to the contract’s termination in 2009. In 2007, the CIA provided a multi-year indemnification agreement to protect the company and its employees from legal liability arising out of the program. The CIA has since paid out more than $1 million pursuant to the agreement.

What can I possibly add to that except that, the incompetence that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place didn’t end on 9/11.

The Bush administration suffered from ideologically driven tunnel vision before, during, and after 9/11. We know that Richard Clarke repeatedly and emphatically warned the administration about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda from the moment that Bush was sworn in. Remember, Clarke worked under Reagan, Poppy Bush, and Clinton. He was there when republicans were screaming "no war for Monica’ in 1998 when Clinton tried to kill Bin Laden. He was there when the first terrorist attack happened at the World Trade Center. This is somebody who should have been taken very seriously. He says that they were so obsessed with Saddam, that they dismissed what he had to say entirely. In addition to Clarke’s warnings, the CIA had sent five PDBs (presidential daily briefs) warning that Bin Laden was planning another attack. That famous August 6th 2001 brief wasn’t the first one warning about Bin Laden. It was the last in a series of five that started in the spring of 2001.

The Bush administration suffered from incompetence and arrogance all the way through the last day of that miserable 8 years the world had to endure.

Don’t anyone tell you that this report says that this was entirely a CIA problem. They accidentally included some information that tells me exactly the opposite. The plausible deniability that was baked into this program to shield the administration for any culpability created a monster that any rational person could have seen coming. Those assholes turned Reagan’s "shining city upon a hill" into a terrorist nation that threatens women and children.

And if you’re one of those assholes who claims that Obama has shredded the constitution, you can go fuck yourself. You don’t care about your country at all. You’re an idiot rooting for a sports team and no one should take you seriously.            

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Death By Cop Is An Epidemic In America

I’ve been getting some push back lately in regard to my copious police brutality posts. To be clear, there wouldn’t be copious posts if there weren’t copious instances of brutality, but that’s too obvious a point. I get a lot of "not all cops are bad" comments with really no data or effort made to show me anything at all. So I thought I would put together some numbers to help us take a really close look on what’s going on here. After all, maybe we don’t actually have a rash of homicidal cops. Maybe social media is blowing the situation out of proportion.

Let’s examine. A good place to start would be to look at violent crime. Do we have more violent criminals necessitating more instances of lethal self defense from cops? Not so much. Violent crime has actually been going down for over two decades now.

Murder/manslaughter – down

Forcible rape – down

Robbery – down

Aggravated assault – down

Property crime – down

So crime is down, down, down straight across the board. Well that’s weird. Maybe more cops are getting killed despite the fact crime is down, and that’s why they seem to be shooting their guns so frequently? Negative. 2013 brought us the lowest number of cops killed (as a result of a felonious act) in fifty years. That data goes up to 2012. The number of cops killed during a felonious act in 2013 was twenty seven. Twenty seven? All year? All across the country? That doesn’t really seem like enough to create the twitchy cop syndrome we seem to be witnessing lately, does it? Even cops reporting their own numbers on cops being shot in the line of duty is way down from previous years. Here’s a visual to help you understand the crime to cop homicide trend;

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 12.30.42 PM

 

Wanna know what else is down? Gun ownership. These cops are not facing the meanest streets ever.

Hey cop apologists, feel free to esplain this away.  Go ahead, I’m listening.

Maybe it just seems like cops are shooting a lot of people because these stories spread like wildfire thanks to social media It’s possible that it feels more frequent than it actually is, right? Here’s where this all gets tricky. We don’t really know how many people cops kill every year because no one is really counting. I posted a meme yesterday that cites 409 deaths by cop in 2014.

1939814_10153587804821393_3154399975340556791_n

 

This number comes from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. I have news for the commenters who didn’t like it; it’s way below the actual number. The reporting has some major issues like ambiguity on how "justifiable" and "unjustifiable" are determined, and the fact that it’s based on self reporting from the states. Only 750 out of over 17,000 law enforcement agencies report their numbers. Think about that for a minute. 400 homicides by cop from just .44% of agencies reporting. If you think that the lack of accurate data on this is an accident, I have a decaying bridge in America to sell you. This information is nearly impossible to collect by design.

There are a few different efforts being made out there to gather the information by crowd sourcing it. How pathetic is that? Seriously, we have to resort to reporting each one of these when we hear about them and entering the website set up to do what our law enforcement officials won’t? What does that tell you about the FBI’s official number? Some of these crowd sourcing efforts have come up with more than 1,000 per year.

To recap, 27 dead cops and at least (remember, that’s just what Googling turned up) 1,000 civilians killed by cops. If you don’t think there’s a problem here, it’s because you don’t want to see it.

Here’s a really fucking disturbing article I found. You know how some people like to deflect whatever is being said about murder by saying, "gang violence" or "black on black crime"?  I actually had a douchebag purporting to be a cop show up on my Facebook page saying that. The Salt Lake City Tribune looked at the cause of homicides in Utah. The #1 highest instances of homicide in Utah is from intimate partners killing each other. Wanna wager a guess on what the #2 highest instance of homicide is? Gangs? Nope. It would be death by cop.

What do you have to say to that, cop apologists? Do you want to tell me how I’m being hyperbolic and one sided again?

In the tradition of Law And Order, I will now move from the criminal act to the court proceedings. And in order to do that, I must offer up more sketchy information that isn’t collected through any official procedural means. A researcher named David Packman (not the one from the podcast) compiled a database of police brutality reports. I know what the cop apologists are going to say, "a complaint doesn’t necessarily mean it happened." That’s true. It’s also true that police brutality is often not reported. Take the case of Daniel Holtzclaw for example. This motherfucker is on trial for sexually assaulting thirteen women (that we know of). This predator was smart because he preyed on most powerless group of women in the country; black women with criminal records. He was sailing along, raping women with impunity until one day in June when he fucked up and assaulted a woman who didn’t feel powerless. Up until he fucked with the wrong woman, there were no reports. By the way, officer motherfucker is on paid leave, sitting at his parents with a monitoring device around his ankle, waiting for his trial to begin. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I hope he’s got a big 4k tv to watch the rape porn collection I’m positive he owns on. His family and friends are out there calling the victims drug addicts and scumbags. Classy. I digress. Packman found 4,861 unique reports of misconduct involving 6,613 officers (354 of which were chiefs or sheriffs) in 2010. Those brutality allegations resulted in 247 fatalities. The total cost to taxpayers for settling these law suits is an estimated $346,512,800 for just one year.

Now let’s look at convictions. From April 2009 through to the end of 2010, Packman tallied 8,300 allegations of misconduct involving 11,000 cops. Of those, a mere 33% resulted in conviction and a paltry 12% resulted in incarceration. Let me put that into perspective for you by comparing it to conviction and incarceration rates for everyone else;

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 8.42.16 AM

Huh. That seems like a pretty big disparity but then again, so does paid leave and an ankle monitor for thirty five counts of sexual assault.

Please tell me again that these victims of killer cops shouldn’t have committed crimes in the first place. Go ahead. Here’s what else you should feel free to to ahead and do;

  • Dismiss my data because you don’t like it, without even bothering to provide your own data.
  • Ask rhetorical and leading questions that you can’t be fucked to answer, in order to make a point that you can’t make. Not only is that a lame tactic, but it makes me do the research for you, which is why I wrote this post (you’re welcome).
  • Give me anecdotes that can’t be proved, and only relay what one person thinks they saw during a single point in time. Cause that’s way more valuable than someone else’s painstakingly compiled data.

We have a problem here, and it needs to be addressed. Is every cop a bad cop? Not even remotely, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a giant problem on our hands. For every killer cop story I post, there are exponentially more cops on that guy’s force covering for him. A blind, deaf, and mute cop isn’t a good cop just because he’s not doing the beating, raping, or killing.

They’re not all bad, but there are way more bad cops out there than what we’re aware of.                              

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First World Jihadists

Remember when the whole Bill Maher /Sam Harris thing exploded a few weeks ago? You know, when Harris and Maher called Islam "the mother of bad ideas". Their point was that Islam is an inherently more violent religion than any of the others. Fortunately, we had Ben Affleck present to be the voice of reason. My contribution to that whole kerfuffle was one that I’ve been making for years; you can’t compare third world Muslims to first world Christians and think that you’re making an intellectually honest assessment. I brought up The Crusades and The Spanish Inquisition because comparing Christians then to middle eastern Muslims today is a more reasonable and fair comparison. Those points in time were when each religion was losing the modernity and enlightenment race so that’s more of an apples to apples comparison.  When Christians were the primitive religion, they were savages to the tune of slaughtering millions. Now that the Christian dominated western world is winning the modernity race, it’s Muslims who are behaving the way Christians did when they were in the same evolutionary (societally speaking) position.

Slapping the ‘violent’ label on Muslims when we’re the ones who have been going to the middle east and meddling in their business for decades is a little absurd. We set Iran back a hundred years when we tried to install our guy as their prime minister. Iran was well on their way to secularism when we foisted the Shah on them so that we could get their oil. For some reason that no one could have seen coming, they weren’t super excited about the western world picking their leaders for them. Enter the Ayatollahs. We did that. Baghdad used to be a very cosmopolitan city until we decided they needed some American style democracy. Or were we stopping a mushroom cloud? I always get confused. Anyway, we turned it into the primitive hellhole it is today. Lebanon was also a beautiful city. It’s too bad we keep letting Israel bomb the shit out of it every ten years. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We’re responsible for a lot of killing in the middle east, and we didn’t even do it because we have convictions. We did it for oil. How is greed better than religious fundamentalism? I actually have more respect for the whackadoodles than I do for the oligarchs.  

We’re the ones who keep going over there to take their stuff. They never fucked with us before we started doing that. When you’re fighting a much better armed opponent, you have to resort to primitive tactics like IEDs and beheading videos because you don’t have tanks, drones, and missiles to work with with.

So a fair comparison isn’t being made by Maher and Harris. I’ve always said that the best way to deal with Afghanistan is to carpet bomb the country with iPhones. I’m not kidding. Modernity always eradicates (not entirely, but mostly) religious extremism. Think about it, if you already have an iPhone you really don’t have as much to pray for as someone without electricity. My Afghanistan solution would have been much simpler, cheaper, and more effective than what we’ve been doing. It’s really a two point plan. We have our pharmaceutical companies sign contracts with the warlords to buy all of the heroin. That gives the warlords income stability and therefore less to kill over. We have an oxy habit to maintain so why not create a win/win situation? Then, we carpet bomb the country with mobile technology. We could strike a deal with Apple, Google, and Samsung to buy a billion dollars worth of tech in exchange for their moving more jobs back to the US. Another win/win. Only after those two steps have been taken, do we go in and build a few key infrastructure components by hiring as much Afghani labor as we can. We don’t build cities or schools because they should do that. No, we give them what even we don’t have; universal broadband coverage. More big contracts for US companies. And in exchange for the billion dollar Afghanistan contract, Comcast would have to agree to capping their market share in the US to 10% of all households. This would clear the path to get some more players in the telecom game. And then we leave with the confidence that the iPhone will defeat the jihadists because we know that it will.

How do we know? Because I’m finally getting to the point of this piece. I came across this article in The Telegraph yesterday. It was funny and it proved me right on what I’ve been saying all along so naturally, I had to share. The article was about French jihadists who went to join the fight in Syria. We’ve seen small numbers of vulnerable whackadoodles from the US, UK, France, and a few other countries go and join the fight because they were radicalized enough to think this was a good idea. Why just a few? IPhones (stick with me, I’m getting there). This article was about letters some of those wannabe jihadists wrote to their families at home. They’re high-larious! It appears that jihad isn’t turning out to be all they hoped it would be. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the letters;

I’ve basically done nothing except hand out clothes and food. I also help clean weapons and transport dead bodies from the front. Winter’s arrived here. It’s begun to get really hard.

I’m fed up. They make me do the washing up.

I guess they didn’t realize that even terrorists need clean underwear, and that the underwear won’t clean itself.  

They want to send me to the front, but I don’t know how to fight.

And last but not least, my favorite;

I’m fed up. My iPod doesn’t work any more here. I have to come back. 

And there it is. The embodiment of an argument I’ve been making for years from a batshit crazy used-to-wannabe jihadist. 

And then there were other issues they hadn’t thought out, like the fact that their children born in Syria would not be French citizens. Oh no! No universal health coverage and baguettes?

You should read the article, there’s more there that I’m not going to get into. Proving myself right is all that needs discussing on this blog! But in all seriousness, Maher and Harris were completely wrong because their tunnel vision inhibited their critical thinking in this instance. You can’t just look at the factors that support your conclusion without looking for outliers. There are always outliers. A good conclusion consists of looking at all of the outliers and determining if the preponderance of the evidence points in one direction. Take climate science for example. There was an outlier having to do with tree rings or something (I forget, but you can look it up). Why was it an outlier? Because there are a thousand pieces of evidence that point in a different direction. That doesn’t mean that you deny that the tree ring evidence exists. It means that you keep looking for evidence and weigh what you gather proportionally. It should be weighted at 1000 to 1 until you get something to change that to a 1000 to 2 or 1001 to 1 ratio.

But you don’t disregard that which is inconvenient for your opinion. And you can’t ever assume that there is no evidence contradicting your point because there most certainly is. Whether it’s studying science or a crime scene, something is always going to point in another direction. Life is never neat or tidy the way we keep insisting on framing it. Critical thinking involves proactively looking for the contradictions.

The evidence that Maher and Harris either haven’t looked at, or ignored is at least (much more, in my opinion) as compelling as the evidence they cite. And now I have a very unhappy Frenchman in Syria with a dead iPod to prove it.

 

 

 

          

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Rosa’s Fight Still Isn’t Over

Today is the 59th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ famous refusal to give up her seat on the bus. A lot of people don’t know this, but she didn’t spontaneously do this. She actually served as secretary for the local branch of the NAACP. She was part of an organized group, and the event was planned. On the first day of her trial on December 5, 1955, the black community began their boycott of the buses, which they kept up for 381 days.

For over year, 40,000 people walked to work, carpooled, and did whatever they had to do to earn a living without taking a bus. They comprised 75% of all the bus riders in Montgomery.

On June 5, 1956, a Montgomery federal court ruled that any law requiring racially segregated seating on buses were in violation the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Montgomery, what with being Montgomery and all, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which upheld the lower court’s decision on December 20, 1956. The buses were integrated on December 21, 1956.


If that’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is. It’s too bad that this day has a Darren Wilson shaped cloud hanging over it. 

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