Monday, December 22, 2014

people oppose brutality, against civilians- AND POLICE.

gang members are now targeting and killing police.

invoking eric garner.

these gang members are taking advantage of garner, his family and tens of thousands of peaceful marchers.  they have nothing to do with the protests, they're just violent parasites looking for excuses to do harm.

they're doing harm to the police, harm to eric garner, his family and their supporters; and they're also doing harm to all young brown men and boys.  its because of violent gangs that police look with suspicion at all young men of color.

gangs are such a big part of the whole tangled problem. but gangs exist because of poverty, dangerous living conditions, poor education, lack of jobs, absent parents, prison culture...  in environments like this gangs appear to offer opportunity and protection, and all humans gravitate to opportunity and protection.

the nyc police union leader is blaming the mayor, who fears for his own biracial son, and dared to publicly say so. the union leader's accusations are aggravating a terrible situation and really misdirecting blame.  unhelpful, inflammatory, in the face of huge societal challenges.

mayor de blasio should have expressed more support for rank and file police in his comments, in fact i'm appalled that he failed to. pretty bad leadership. but union president patrick lynch actually said the mayor had "blood on his hands." and followed this up with nearly threatening language. in a time of such high tensions and civil unrest need we now fear some suggestible deranged person might target the mayor?

i oppose excessive force and selective unlawful search and seizure, but i don't blame police.  i just hate the policy of unequal treatment, and the few overly aggressive people in uniform who abuse their power.  the incidents of brutality almost always involve a confluence of bad policy, bad training and bad apples.  but the last is an exception; most nyc police are honorable, brave public servants doing a very hard job.  inadequate training and poor policies outside their control make their hard job harder.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

police lives matter! don't shoot! is the whole world blind?

no! no! police lives matter.

people on all sides of the recent turmoil are devastated  over the assassination of officers rafael ramos and wenjian liu.

oh baltimore, ain't it hard...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

it was great to see protest and hear there'd been civil disobedience in annapolis yesterday.  after all, the men who owned all these big brick houses made that possible, by generally endorsing (and in some cases signing) the constitution and the bill of rights.  they weren't really expecting freedom to assemble to apply to people of african descent, but 200 so years later it does!

sometimes it's easy to get depressed about the way things are in this country and the world; but there are at least two times i get excited about america- when i vote, and when i witness or participate in protest.  that's when I'm reminded of the great possibilities for people of this country.

the protest in annapolis was gentle, warm and hopeful. the participants did not express any criticism  of local police but gathered in solidarity with national complaints.  the police chief and other local officials joined the march, in fact.

once in a while, in a democracy, people have to endure a nuisance because others have the freedom to protest their living hell.

it's telling that so many ignoble (snarky) comments were made on (local paper) the capitol's coverage of the march.  for anyone who questions the need for pushback, this comments thread should explain a lot.  ironically a number of the commenters reference their second amendment rights while complaining about the first amendment freedom exercised by the protesters.  "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." what redress do the st patricks parade, military parades or fourth of july celebrations seek? bad analogy. that point aside, there's a pretty accurate description of the situation here.

the verdigris man peering down on the crowd is chief justice roger taney, the judge who issued the dread scott decision. his finding, that people with african heritage could not be american citizens,  spurred the civil war and is considered to be the worst decision issued in the history of the supreme court.

this was the culmination of the march.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

did we get info through torture?

did we get info through torture?

even if we did is the end result worth it?

i say no.

false information obtained under torture was one of the reasons we went to war in iraq. a war that caused hundreds of thousands of horrible deaths; it's end result is the empowerment of our nascently nuclear enemy iran.  iran is our enemy because of other violent cia blunders made in the mid 20th century.  how lasting the damage caused by these episodes of deadly mischief can be.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

torture report

was the disastrous iraq war a result of botched interrogations under torture?

prisoners under torture were asked questions such as "what are the links between al qaeda and iraq?" the man under torture, al liby, of course figured out he needed to invent some links.

it's peculiar to hear chris matthews on air, apparently trying to figure out if he's pro or con torture.  he always plays the gadfly but he sounded actually confused on the issue?  and why did the crawl say 20 prisoners were tortured. 20!? that is a grossly misleading description of the report and the numbers who were abused.  what a lame shlocky show. (i just happened to watch it tonight- obviously i got annoyed)

"its always existed," he says "why does it exist if it doesn't serve a purpose" (paraphrase)

the answer is it does serve a purpose- intimidation.

not information.

torture will never disappear, because it very effectively serves to intimidate.   despots, terrorists and authoritarian repressive governments will find it a useful tool.  everyone knows that- we learned it on school playgrounds. but it doesn't get reliable information.

it's odd to watch "experts" wrestle with issues any simple minded layman understands.  just shows how fake some of these tv debates are i guess.

the people who did this are war criminals who've brought shame on the home of the brave. the use of torture degrades and weakens our american democracy.  it gives justification to our enemies. and alienates our allies. it's illegal and immoral and it doesn't stop terrorists. we've abrogated the geneva conventions but that doesn't mean those who did it can't be arrested,  international agents may someday have our home grown pinochets in custody. ok, probably not, shame.

jihadis are pretty blasé about torture, they are more worried about cartoonists, so i doubt that they are going to explode in renewed violent outrage, but the report may spur extremist recruitment.  i blame the perpetrators, not the messengers.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

wow tonight's protests are so exciting and inspiring! how i wish i was in new york to participate and witness.  i know I'm always going on about occupy wall street but these new protests, especially what I'm seeing in new york, seem to be following the occupy style in many ways. young, vital, diverse. peaceful, flexible, no preplanned permitted demonstrations, not the usual suspects. warm hearted, sincere, patriotic. and they even do the mike check communication technique.  i imagine many of the people who were in the streets during occupy are out there tonight.  as i write I'm watching (tv) the first large scale arrests of the protesters in new york. some were caught off guard in times square; some are deliberate acts of civil disobedience- noncompliant nonviolent seated protesters blocking traffic and expecting arrest.

id like to slightly amend my emotional post last night.  I've seen some of the newly released footage of the incident. i said garner's hands were up.  having seen more of the videos, he may have simply been putting his hands up to avoid being cuffed. if so, he made a mistake when he did not comply. it was a dangerous move but it should not have been a deadly one.  he wasn't aggressive. 6 professional well trained police should not have almost immediately escalated the situation. they should not have jumped immediately to violent physical force. their response was so out of proportion to the transgression.

worse than that is the callous treatment he received after he collapsed, repeating over and over again, i can't breathe.  it sorta looked like the cops and emts just considered it his problem, brought on by his bad behavior, not theirs.  emts rescued my own mom less than a month ago, (why I'm not in new york) they got oxygen to her within a minute.  when i look at the video of the police, emts and eric garner its so obvious he's not getting treatment. the emt leans over him saying something like "wake up, c'mon now, work with us" heal yourself you malingerer.

i reiterate, i believe this weird contempt stems from the dehumanization necessary to carry out the illegal searches and seizures required by stop and frisk. it gives police of all ethnicities the idea that its ok to disrespect and disregard people of african descent. i know policing is tough, dangerous and often scary and police make mistakes. better policies, training and leadership could have saved
this life and others.

this man was known to police for selling cigarettes. it's common in new york that someone comes into a bar walks through and discretely offers cigarettes for sale.  they buy them in bulk in states that have a low tobacco tax and then go from bar to bar in the east village or any nabe and sell them.  cheaper than elsewhere. squads of 6 cops are handling this?! with deadly force?!  please, nypd- serve me by protecting me from violent crime, not a guy selling cigarettes, one at a time, to support his family!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

i can't breathe. staten island killing.

ok this is awful. and i am horrified.

as i see it the killing in ferguson was nebulous. we don't know what happened even though it seems so wrong.

the one in new york is very clear.  we see the poor man killed on video over and over again.

i wish i was back in harlem. if i was i'd be out in the streets. peacefully.

garner said 11 times "i can't breathe!" he was just selling cigarettes, for god's sake. he was unarmed. he was putting his hands up.

why would 6 police tackle and abuse a man with his hands up who was just talking to them?  let alone kill him. this is appalling and it comes from stop and frisk.  stop and frisk encourages police to look at every black man as a raging beast. even a cornered unarmed man with his hands up who merely had the effrontery to speak to them. stop and frisk is disgusting and illegal.  it's been illegal for over 200 years.

here's what the constitution says about stop and frisk:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

i greatly admire the bravery of those police who stick to their vow to protect and serve. but i always think it means they will protect and serve people.  the police who killed a man for selling cigarettes were protecting bodegas and tax collection. i would like to see them protect human life over corner stores, and serve human life over a few dollars of tax revenue.

update:apparently plain clothes police are surreptitiously marching among the protesters in new york. like what happened at occupy wall street.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

marion barry rip

i shook his hand once at perry's sushi, also r i p, i think.

i was having drinks with the hairy stripper.

the mayor was glad handing his way through the hip adams morgan restaurant.  he shook my hand but barely glanced my way; his twinkly eyes were riveted on anne, the mischievous, blond, hairy stripper.

i was the manager of an adams morgan shop and anne was an employee.  we used to hang out together. it was dc in the 80s. it seemed like everyone, not just the mayor, was doing a lot of coke. that's just how it was.

anne had applied for a job and i hired her.  she was a  ballet dancer but moonlighted at a gentleman's club- the good guys. she was constantly urging us all to go down there and see her work.  but i never did. at that time she was conventionally groomed, not at all hirsute.

but she often didn't show up for work in the shop, and gradually she seemed more and more strung out. i started urging her to take a break from the nightlife, make extra money some other way- teach dance or something, something that would help boost her health and self respect; it was naive of me, but...

then one day she came into the store: "i've been listening to everything you've been saying! and i'm going to do it!"


"i'm going to stop shaving my legs and armpits and if the guys don't like it they can go f--k themselves!!!"

well, i don't know how she extrapolated that from what i had said, but i guess it was her own personal feminist statement.

she meant it.  she stopped shaving and...

...became even more popular at the club! so much so that she didn't need a day job anymore.

she was starting to look slightly weather beaten at a young age, but she was vivacious and men were always drawn to her. not the least, washington dc's "mayor for life." marion barry.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

i try not to opine on this blog but...

while I'm on the soapbox, I'm so glad that our president is finally free to to be at least a fraction of the visionary he appeared to be when he first ran for the office

like wyatt earp at last he's facing intimidation with guns blazing, and after 6 years under the heel of republicans in the house he's finally free of electoral pressures and finally free to act.

i support his initiative because economists agree it benefits our american economy.  I'm delighted that's possible while also helping individual people. it brings a several million strong underground economy into the legitimate world and allows that block to be a spur to new business catering to these new tax paying workers.

and its also politically shrewd, generous to his party, 'cause those millions may now feel loyalty to democrats.

the others, who oxymoronically* call themselves "right," are concurrently trying to figure out how to exploit the  latin american voting block.  that's why they are so angry that the president will now get credit for protecting

*i use the term as william f buckley did- inherent contradiction.

Friday, November 21, 2014


assuming officer wilson will not be indicted, does anyone else think it would be irresponsible to announce the findings at night?  friday night?!

better to announce it in the early morning? monday morning?