Wednesday, August 27, 2014

rule of law: sitting president of the cbc an utter disgrace and total business incompetent...,

newsinkansas |  U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s struggle to pay off a loan for a car wash business hasn’t gone away. 

On Tuesday, the Jackson County court clerk issued a wage garnishment order against Cleaver’s employer — the U.S. House — on behalf of Bank of America. The order instructs the House to withhold part of Cleaver’s salary to help repay more than $1.3 million he and his wife now owe the bank.

It’s the second time the bank has asked the court to garnish Cleaver’s wages for the debt, first incurred more than a decade ago. The bank’s first garnishment was processed in July.
Garnishment is a relatively common practice in debt cases, experts say. In a garnishment, a creditor asks a court to collect money from a third party to satisfy claims against a debtor.
“A garnishment is one of several devices available to a party that has a judgment, to collect that judgment,” said Kansas City lawyer F. Coulter deVries.

But garnishing the wages of a sitting congressman appears to be rare.

In 2012, part of the congressional wages of then-congressman Joe Walsh were withheld to satisfy claims of back child support, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The newspaper also quoted a House spokesman as saying child support payments had been withheld “over the years” from other members’ checks, but no specifics were provided.

It’s not publicly known how often congressional wages have been garnished for a loan debt.
Payroll services for House members are provided by the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. A spokeswoman for the office declined to comment on the garnishment of Cleaver’s wages or the general history of garnishments in the House.

The press office of the House Committee on Administration also declined to comment.
Cleaver’s office issued a statement: “As the congressman and Mrs. Cleaver have repeatedly said, for almost two years now, they are working with Bank of America to meet their financial obligations, in a broad spectrum of ways, and that hasn’t changed.”

Cleaver, a Democrat, is a candidate for re-election to Missouri’s 5th District House seat this year.
He earns $174,000 a year as a congressman. In his last financial disclosure, Cleaver also claimed annual income of $21,976 from a pension agreement with the city of Kansas City and $9,664 from the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The disclosure covers 2012, so it doesn’t include Cleaver’s debt related to the car wash. His net worth that year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, was between $348,012 and $1,019,999.
A spokesman for Bank of America also declined to comment on the garnishment request, as did the bank’s Kansas City lawyer.

Tuesday’s orders also involved the employer of Dianne Cleaver, the congressman’s spouse. She is also considered liable for the $1.3 million debt. She works for Urban Neighborhood Initiative Inc.
The amount of money potentially withheld from Cleaver’s House paycheck to satisfy the garnishment isn’t clear. In general, federal law limits the amount that can be garnished to 25 percent of a debtor’s net wages or salary.

rule of law: slave leasing capital misery designs and exports modes of human bondage

pitch |  On the cover of Ingram's last month was a man named Steve Mitchem. The business publication was honoring him with one of its "Local Heroes" awards for philanthropic contributions — Mitchem has given $160,000 to the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City over the past three years.

Mitchem has led an interesting life. He moved to Kansas City in the early 1980s to pursue graduate studies at Nazarene Theological Seminary. He then worked as a traveling evangelist for two years before settling in locally as a full-time minister at the Church of the Nazarene. In 1990, Mitchem went secular, at least professionally. He retired as a minister and joined Tivol, the luxury jewelry company, as an associate at its retail space on the Country Club Plaza. He rose through the ranks and was named president of Tivol in 2005.

Here in Kansas City, that's a powerful, and surely quite lucrative, gig. Yet Mitchem left Tivol two years after being appointed to the post. A story at the time in JCK, a trade publication covering the jewelry industry, reported that he was resigning to "join his son in his loan business."

About that loan business: Technically it is dozens of separate companies, with many different names, but it adds up to one of the largest online payday-lending operations based in Kansas City, according to several individuals with ties to the industry.

"Steve was working down at Tivol on the Plaza, and these payday guys kept coming in every other month and buying Rolexes," a source tells The Pitch. "He figured out that they were basically printing money doing their online-lending businesses, and he wanted in on it. So first, he set his son up in the business. Then he quit Tivol and joined him."

Filings with the secretary of state's offices in Missouri and Kansas, plus a couple of lawsuits, help back up that account. In December 2006, Mitchem's son, Josh Mitchem, filed articles of incorporation in Missouri for a company called Platinum B Services. In 2012, Dustin McDaniel, the attorney general of Arkansas, brought a lawsuit against that company and PDL Support LLC, another company controlled by Josh Mitchem.

In the suit, McDaniel alleged that Josh Mitchem and his companies controlled a variety of LLCs, purportedly based in the West Indies federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, that were engaged in lending over the Internet to Arkansas citizens at interest rates as high as 644 percent. Arkansas law caps rates on consumer loans at 17 percent.

"The purpose of these LLCs is to make it appear as if the Defendants are not the actual payday lenders and to otherwise shield Defendants from liability from lawsuits such as the one brought by the Attorney General in this case," the lawsuit states. "The Defendants make the decisions concerning all lending operations from their offices in the Kansas City, MO area."

rule of law: misery ground zero for extreme usury - another form of "poor peoples tax"...,

pitch |  On October 25 of this year, a man named Del Kimball was served papers at his home in Mission Hills. The following day, Kimball's business partner, Sam Furseth, was also served in Mission Hills.

Kimball and Furseth head up a variety of online payday-lending operations, many of which are based in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, at 908 Baltimore. True to industry form, the names of these outfits are countless and constantly in flux. There's LTS Management (of which Furseth is listed as president on LinkedIn). There's Glacier Marketing. There also are DMS Marketing and the Loan Shop Online. Each is part of a turnkey business that markets, funds, lends and collects on payday loans.

Not a lot of sunlight finds its way into 908 Baltimore. Workers are prohibited from speaking with the media. No sign hangs outside the building.
"It's because the owners are afraid of shootings and retribution for their collection practices," says a former employee. "They keep everything as private as possible. There's no relationship between upper management and the rest of the staff."

Most people who operate and finance payday-loan businesses — whether brick-and-mortar shops, such as the ones seen on every other street corner on the East Side of Kansas City, or online companies like Kimball and Furseth's — have an elevator pitch prepared about the social utility of their services. The gist is that they're giving people access to credit that they can't get anywhere else.
Say your car breaks down. You need to fix it so you can get to work, but you don't get paid for another 10 days. A bank won't give you a short-term loan to fix your car. Nor will any government agency. So you take out a $500 payday loan against the check coming to you in 10 days. When that check arrives, the payday lender gets $575 from you. It's a high interest rate, but it got you out of a jam — assuming you settle that $575 right away.

But many borrowers can't or don't get out from under their payday debts as soon as the next check comes, and the knock against such loans is that they trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. Defenders of the industry tend to dismiss such instances as aberrations. But according to a July 2012 company overview from online-lending operation Evergreen Capital Partners LLC, repeat customers are one of its "competitive differentiators."

Kimball is the CEO of Evergreen Capital Partners, and Furseth is the president. They split ownership 50-50. The overview indicates that 174 people were employed by the company in July 2012. Its online loans range in size from $100 to $800, the overview states, with fees set between $15 and $60 per $100 borrowed.

"On average, repeat customers account for 40-50% of the Company's annual loans," the overview reads. "The Company's average customer will borrow ~$1200 (~3 loans) and repay ~$2350 over a 4-year timeframe. Margins on loans to repeat customers average 150% higher than loans to new customers."

To translate: The average person who takes out a loan from Kimball and Furseth ends up paying back double what he or she initially borrowed. Factor in the 500,000 loans that Evergreen Capital Partners says it has issued since its inception, and a picture emerges: Operators and investors can get pretty rich with a business model like this.

missouri residents use payday loans twice as much as the national average...,

pitch |  The new money started announcing itself at St. Ann sometime around 2008.

"It was most obvious at the school auctions," says one member of the Prairie Village Catholic church. (Like many people interviewed for this story, this source did not want to be identified by name.) "You'd see these cliques of people pulling up in limos, acting wild, dropping a lot of money on exotic two-week vacations and the other lavish items up for bidding. Or all of a sudden so-and-so has a brand-new Range Rover. Or so-and-so family is moving into some giant Mission Hills mansion. And you see it enough times and you start to go, 'Where is this money coming from?'

"And on one hand, it's St. Ann — this is a school and a church that serves Mission Hills and Prairie Village," the member continues. "You expect to see nice cars in the parking lot. But there was something so sudden and loud about this. It was this bizarre explosion of really extreme wealth."
Word trickled out: Some members of the church had become mixed up in the online payday-loan industry.

Payday lenders advertise their loans as short-term, emergency solutions. But every credible study of the industry has found that the high interest rates and fees these outfits charge are designed to turn the loans into long-term debt burdens on the borrowers. These parishioners were involved in various business interests that enjoy astronomical profits by lending to borrowers at interest rates that commonly reach unholy heights of 700 percent.

St. Ann's pastor, the Rev. Keith Lunsford, joined the parish in 2009, after replacing Monsignor Vincent Krische, who retired. "I don't have any firsthand knowledge of anybody at St. Ann involved in the payday-loan industry," Lunsford tells The Pitch.

But according to a number of people The Pitch contacted for this story, the presence of families who have amassed tremendous wealth through their involvement in online payday lending was, and continues to be, a taboo topic and a source of tension in the parish.

"It presented a moral conundrum for St. Ann," says a different parishioner. "Because there was all this money coming into the church through donations and through the auctions and, I mean, it was huge money. And gradually everybody realized that it was money that, if you trace it back to its root, came from poor people who were being taken advantage of, who were being charged crazy interest rates. So there were a lot of behind-closed-doors, hushed-tones conversations happening about it. People on the finance committee and the school board were talking about the morality of taking that money. But in the end, I think they just looked the other way." (Last year, the church reached an $8 million capital campaign goal to fund extensive renovations. It does not disclose specific donations.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

approved responses to the civil unrest in ferguson

rule of law: bad apples? the whole rotten barrel depends on levying and enforcing a "poor peoples tax"!

WaPo | The structure of policing in these small St. Louis communities, as in many places in the United States, is innately combustible.

Officers rarely stay in the same police force for a long time, much less for an entire career. This means police and residents are typically strangers to one another — and not simply from different social, ethnic or racial backgrounds.

Ferguson is an example of a police department staffed predominantly with white officers, many of whom live far away from, and often fail to establish trust with, the predominantly black communities they serve. Policing can become a tense, racially charged, fearful and potentially violent series of interactions. Distrust becomes institutionalized, as much a part of the local infrastructure as the sewers and power lines.

A newly released report by a nonprofit group of lawyers identifies Ferguson as a city that gets much of its revenue from fines generated by police in mundane citations against residents — what the group calls a poor-people’s tax.

The civil unrest that followed the shooting of Michael Brown suggests a deeper problem with the city’s police department, said Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina professor of criminology who has studied police shootings for decades.

“In order for a police department to weather a storm like that, it has to have social capital. And this police department didn’t have social capital in that community,” he said.

rule of law: ferguson overseer who strong-armed reporter hog-tied and assaulted a twelve year old...,

HuffPo | A Ferguson police officer who helped detain a journalist in a McDonald's earlier this month is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit because he allegedly hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mail at the end of his driveway.

According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he'd been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.

Then, the officers "became confrontational" and intimidated the child, the lawsuit claims. "Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground," it says. The boy was shirtless at the time, and allegedly "suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body."

The 12-year-old was transferred to a medical facility for treatment, but the lawsuit says Cosma and the other officer reported the incident as "assault of a law enforcement officer third degree” and “resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop."

Jefferson County prosecutors "refused to issue a juvenile case" against the young child, the suit says.
The allegations against Cosma were made in September 2012, shortly after he was introduced as a new officer at a Ferguson City Council meeting. Jefferson County is south of Ferguson.

Captain Ron Arnhart of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, who is a candidate for sheriff, did not respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment on the circumstances of Cosma's departure. Neither Ferguson police spokesman Tom Zoll nor Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson responded to requests for comment.

rule of law: shooting at and pistol-whipping children SOP with Ferguson overseers...,

HuffPo |  He resigned from St. Louis city police under a cloud of suspicion. Missouri tried to make sure he couldn't walk the beat. But one officer with a history of allegations of hitting children found a willing employer in the Ferguson Police Department.

The saga of Eddie Boyd III underlines the troubles surrounding Ferguson's tiny police force, which has been engulfed in controversy ever since one of its officers shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.

In a city where the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white cop has revealed profound racial tensions, Boyd's story represents an anomaly: he is one of just three African-American police officers in a department of 53.

But that doesn't mean he's an exception in other ways. Citing Boyd and other examples, critics claim that Ferguson and the St. Louis area in general have serious problems with police accountability.

Monday, August 25, 2014

it's really hard to unsee the "rule of law" as the extended phenotype of oppression...,

commondreams |  In Gaza, we see yet another example of the law’s injustice. At least 250 Palestinians were arrested during Israel’s ground operation in Gaza, many of whom were charged with “belonging to an illegal organization”—which, according to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, generally refers to Palestinian political parties, especially but not only Hamas. Others are undergoing interrogation and have been denied access to a lawyer.

At least 15 of those arrested and later released were held under the “Unlawful Combatants Law.” Providing even less protection than administrative detention orders, this law allows the detention of Gazans for an unlimited period of time without charge or trial, in violation of international human rights norms. Enacted by the Israeli Knesset in 2002, the Unlawful Combatants Law embodies some of the many practices shared between Israel and the United States, which codified its own legal definition of “unlawful combatants” who could be indefinitely detained under the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The death and destruction inflicted on the Palestinian people in recent weeks, part of what Israeli historian Ilan Pappé has referred to as Israel’s policy of “incremental genocide,” is one reminder that incarceration and more overt forms of violence are not mutually exclusive.

The Israeli government also employs a variety of other tools to repress and dispossess the Palestinian population. These include forced evictions, land grabs and other forms of ethnic cleansing, the denial of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, significant monetary and military support for settlements, and apartheid policies and practices—including the “community-shattering” separation wall and the system of checkpoints and permits restricting the free movement of Palestinians.

Mass Incarceration in the Land of the Free
On the other side of the globe, the burgeoning U.S. prison population now comprises a quarter of all the prisoners in the world.

Close to 70 percent of all people in U.S. incarceration, moreover, are people of color. As Adam Gopnik observed in The New Yorker, “there are more black men in the grip of the [U.S.] criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery” on the eve of the civil war.

Over the past three decades, the U.S. prison population has quadrupled. This is in large part a result of the “war on drugs.” Since the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was passed, incarceration for nonviolent offenses dramatically increased—disproportionately impacting poor black people. “Relegated to a second-class status” by their experience with prison, notes legal scholar Michelle Alexander, an inordinate number of black men have once again become “disenfranchised,” losing the right to vote, to serve on juries, and to be free of legal discrimination in regards to employment, education, and access to public services.

This exponential increase in incarceration has accompanied the unprecedented rise in the detention of undocumented immigrants as well as the growth of the prison-industrial complex, demonstrating the salience of the political economy of incarceration. These developments are rooted in the socio-economic changes of the post-industrial era and the retrenchment of social safety net programs that occurred in the United States from the 1980s forward, paralleled by the spread of the neoliberal economic paradigm to the Global South. As the scholar and social justice activist Angela Davis has highlighted, prisons were central to the government’s strategy of addressing the structural violence “produced by the deindustrialization, lack of jobs,” and “lack of education” that has characterized this era, impacting poor people of color in particular.

how did he get to be an overseer?

NYTimes | As a teenager, Darren Wilson lived in St. Peters, Mo., a mostly white city of 54,000 about 20 miles west of Ferguson, where his environment was chaotic. He was the eldest of three children of Tonya Dee Durso, who, records show, carried out financial crimes, including against Sandra Lee Finney, who lived across the street and had believed they were friends.

“It’s a terrible thing that has happened now, but he did have a troubled childhood,” Ms. Finney said in an interview, adding that Officer Wilson’s family had somewhat awkwardly stayed in the neighborhood — moving just one door down — even after his mother was convicted of stealing and forgery in 2001.

After her bank informed her that it was freezing her accounts, Ms. Finney said she learned that numerous credit cards had been opened in her name, her mail was being stolen, her phones were secretly forwarded across the street, and the thief had managed to obtain her driver’s license and a copy of the key to her front door. Among the purchases: tens of thousands of dollars of candles; home decorations; furniture; clothes, including some from American Eagle Outfitters, which Ms. Finney says was Officer Wilson’s favorite store at the time; and hockey gear.

“All the while, she’d come over and sit at my kitchen table to chat and say how she would help me with this terrible thing that was happening to us,” Ms. Finney said of Ms. Durso, whom she described as a thin, blonde woman who seemed upper-middle class. “What hurt me more than all of it was what she did to those kids.”

Ms. Durso pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation. Not long after, in 2002, when Officer Wilson was a sophomore in high school, Ms. Durso died at age 35 and one of his stepfathers was granted guardianship until he finished high school. An obituary cited natural causes.

Years later, Ms. Finney said she was stunned when she saw her former neighbor appear outside the old house in a police uniform. “My husband and I thought, ‘How did he get to be a police officer?’ ”

After attending the police academy, Officer Wilson began work in Jennings, another suburb, in June 2009. Robert Orr, the former chief of the Jennings Police Department, said he had no recollection of Officer Wilson and had to call the mayor last week to jog his memory. “Sure enough, the mayor said he was one of ours,” Mr. Orr said. “That must mean he never got in any trouble, because that’s when they usually came to me.”

Yet Officer Wilson’s formative experiences in policing came in a department that wrestled historically with issues of racial tension, mismanagement and turmoil. During Officer Wilson’s brief tenure, another officer was fired for a wrongful shooting, and a lieutenant was accused of stealing federal funds. In 2011, in the wake of federal and state investigations into the misuse of grant money, the department closed, and the city entered into a contract to be policed by the county. The department was found to have used grant money to pay overtime for D.W.I. checkpoints that never took place.

ferguson and beheadings...,

psychologytoday |  In the modern world we cannot depend on blind evolutionary forces to ensure cooperation. We long ago left the savannah and the world of bands and clans constantly competing and fighting with one another. In the modern world we need to find a way for “the group” to be defined as all of us. And in the modern world, we need to confront the selfish forces that divide us.

The problem is that this presents an extraordinary challenge to us all psychologically speaking.
If we care about each other, then it hurts to see others suffer. If we defend against that hurt selfishly such as by defining people as “other” (and thus not in our group, and not to be treated humanely) then our ability to maintain a modern, diversified, interconnected world is harmed.

A series of recent studies in my lab and other contextual behavioral science laboratories around the world helps us see the specific shape of the challenge we face. My former student, Roger Vilardaga (now at the University of Washington), has named this model the “Flexible Connectedness” model. It claims that caring about others requires three skills:1
  1. You have to be able to take the perspective of others.
  2. You have to have empathy.
  3. You have to not run away when it is hard.
Taking another person’s perspective means you know a bit of what it might be like to look out from behind their eyes. In our research we measure that in a very geeky way using an experimental task but the kinds of questions used in the task are easy to understand. When he was four, I trained my son in some of the perspective-taking basics while driving around in my car. “Stevie” I said, “If I were you and you were me what would you be looking at right now?” He would pause and say, correctly, “the road.” The ability to come up with answers like that across time, place, and person and their combination is what the task measures (the equivalent of Stevie being asked, “Now I’m driving but yesterday I was asleep.  If I were you and you were me and today were yesterday and yesterday were today what would you be looking at right now?”)

That skill is how we can begin to answer the questions I asked at the beginning of this article. But it is only skill one.

By empathy I just mean the ability to feel what others might feel in a particular situation. I don’t mean agreement or sympathy necessarily – we can feel the anger of a zealot without agreeing with it or personally buying into its dictates. This skill goes beyond merely knowing another’s point of view. It includes understanding the emotional impact deeply enough to feel that impact.

These two skills sound simple—and in an intellectual sense they are—but it is the third feature of flexible connectedness that shows what a challenge these simple skills can bring in the modern world.
You have to have the ability to feel pain without avoidance or an easy escape into judgment. You have to sit inside the horror, sadness, anger, or loneliness and not run away—opening up to emotions and thoughts as emotions and thoughts, not as what they declare themselves to be.

Again, I invite you to reconsider the questions I opened with. For some, seeing things through the eyes of victim or killer may feel “overwhelming” or “unacceptable”, so we shut them down consequently reducing our ability to relate to people as people.

own-race and own-age biases facilitate visual awareness of faces under interocular suppression

frontiersin |  The detection of a face in a visual scene is the first stage in the face processing hierarchy. Although all subsequent, more elaborate face processing depends on the initial detection of a face, surprisingly little is known about the perceptual mechanisms underlying face detection. Recent evidence suggests that relatively hard-wired face detection mechanisms are broadly tuned to all face-like visual patterns as long as they respect the typical spatial configuration of the eyes above the mouth. Here, we qualify this notion by showing that face detection mechanisms are also sensitive to face shape and facial surface reflectance properties. We used continuous flash suppression (CFS) to render faces invisible at the beginning of a trial and measured the time upright and inverted faces needed to break into awareness. Young Caucasian adult observers were presented with faces from their own race or from another race (race experiment) and with faces from their own age group or from another age group (age experiment). Faces matching the observers’ own race and age group were detected more quickly. Moreover, the advantage of upright over inverted faces in overcoming CFS, i.e., the face inversion effect (FIE), was larger for own-race and own-age faces. These results demonstrate that differences in face shape and surface reflectance influence access to awareness and configural face processing at the initial detection stage. Although we did not collect data from observers of another race or age group, these findings are a first indication that face detection mechanisms are shaped by visual experience with faces from one’s own social group. Such experience-based fine-tuning of face detection mechanisms may equip in-group faces with a competitive advantage for access to conscious awareness.

smdh - this week in wackness...,

chris rock - how not to get your ass kicked by the police

last week tonight with john oliver

Sunday, August 24, 2014

in "lethal situations" under the "rule of law" your mileage will very definitely vary...,

newappsblog |  Only a couple of weeks after the Ferguson shooting, and only about three miles away, St. Louis police shot and killed another black man, Kajieme Powell, after he apparently shoplifted from a convenience store.  The details of what happened in Ferguson are in dispute, which has allowed the law and order crowd to defend putting six bullets into unarmed Mike Brown – two into his head – as a proportional act of self-defense.

No such ambiguity exists in the Powell case.  The police released cellphone video yesterday, and it is absolutely chilling.  Powell emerges from the convenience store with a pair of canned drinks.  He seems a little confused – puts them down, paces around, and so on.  Then the police show up in a white SUV, and jump out, guns drawn (already! They decide to escalate before even arriving at the scene).  Powell backs away, says “just shoot me” a couple of times, climbs up on a retaining wall, takes a couple of steps in the direction of the police… and then they shoot him dead.  Total time between the police arrival and his death? About 15 seconds.

The video, of course, completely contradicts the police department’s story about a drawn knife and aggression on Powell’s part.  When confronted with the contradiction, the police chief replied that “in a lethal situation, they used lethal force.”  The only thing harder to understand from that video clip than why killing Powell was justified by the situation is how anyone can continue to deny that the problem is structural.  I am not accusing the officers or the police chief of lying.  It’s much, much worse than that: I’d be pretty sure they really did think their lives were in immediate danger.

To put it differently: Clive Bundy is alive today, and was not shot even though he and his supporters repeatedly pointed guns at police.  Kajieme Powell and Mike Brown and Eric Garner and a lot of other people are not.  It turns out that you get your white privilege even if you deny the sovereignty of the federal government.

in the light of ferguson "rule of law" not a good look...,

HuffPo |  Wearing a Bushnell camo hat, Jeremy Arnold held up a black poster with a single blue line taped across it to show his support for Darren Wilson and other police officers.

As for the man he shot to death? Michael Brown, Arnold said, "got exactly what he deserved."

Arnold said he traveled from Fairview Heights, Illinois, for the Wilson event at Barney's Sports Pub here on Saturday. It was a public unveiling of sorts for the Support Darren Wilson Facebook page, which has garnered thousands of online followers and helped raise more than $200,000 for the Ferguson police officer. Not all of the dozens gathered at the pub shared sentiments as blunt as Arnold's. But they did seem united in the sense that Wilson, not Brown, is the real victim.

Wilson's supporters also agreed that the media is a perpetrator. Between chowing on free hot dogs and drinking beers -- with a DJ playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" adding to the party atmosphere -- few seemed to stop talking about the ways Wilson has been misrepresented and maligned.

"It takes two sides to every story, and I think he has gotten such a bad rap," said Sharon, one of the many people who only offered to give a first name or no name at all.

"Sharon Stone," a friend quipped, before hurriedly leading her away with the admonition that she shouldn't talk to reporters, because they "twist your words around."

anyone watching is getting quite the education about "the legal system" in america....,

TPM |  A Ferguson, Mo. official was having none of Fox News host Sean Hannity's attempt to "educate" her on police brutality Wednesday night.

Hannity kicked off an interview with Democratic committeewoman Patricia Bynes by pointing out that she was not present when black teenager Michael Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by a white police officer on Aug. 9.

"You were not there. So you don't know if this case is about police brutality, do you?" he asked.
"No, I do know that this case is about police brutality," Bynes said. "We're talking about excessive force here. There is no way that a young man that is unarmed should have two shots in his head. That's a little excessive. That's what we mean when we say police brutality--"

"Let me educate you, committeewoman," Hannity cut in. 

"No, I don't need your kind of education," Bynes shot back.

"Let me educate you about the legal system in America," the Fox host continued over Bynes. "You can try to talk over me, but let me tell you in our system of justice a person is innocent until proven guilty."

The rest of their roughly four minute exchange followed the same pattern of interruptions, with Bynes complaining that Hannity had cut her microphone off at one point because she challenged him.
She then rolled her eyes when Hannity insisted she can't be sure whether Brown's shooting constituted police brutality.

"Legally let me educate you again," Hannity said later. "If [Brown] was charging at the police officer, the police officer, by law, that would be defined as justifiable use of force. You're aware of that, right, committeewoman?"

"I'm very much aware of that," Bynes responded. "But there's no way an unarmed man should have two shots in his head and four in his body. So you keep wanting to talk over the facts, but I think you need the education here."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

aaaawwwwww shit, thetan-clear ain't no joke?

wikipedia |  In 1977, Louis Farrakhan rejected Warith Deen Mohammed's leadership and re-established the Nation of Islam on the original model. He took over the Nation of Islam's headquarter Temple, Mosque Maryam (Mosque #2), which is located in Chicago. Its official newspaper is The Final Call. The Nation of Islam does not publish its membership numbers; in 2007, the core membership was estimated between 20,000 and 50,000, but their following was believed to be larger.[9] Most of the members are in the United States, but there are minority communities in other countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Since 2010, under Farrakhan, members have been strongly encouraged to study Dianetics, and the Nation currently claims it has trained 1055 Auditors.[10]

Written lessons from 1930 to 1934 were passed from W. Fard Muhammad to his student, Elijah Muhammad. These were collected and entitled The Supreme Wisdom. The Nation of Islam continues to teach its followers that the present world society is segmented into three distinct categories. They teach that from a general perspective, 85% of the population are the "deaf, dumb and blind" masses of the people who "are easily led in the wrong direction and hard to lead in the right direction". Those 85% of the masses are said to be manipulated by 10% of the people. Those 10% rich "slave-makers" are said to manipulate the 85% masses of the people through ignorance, the skillful use of religious doctrine, and the mass media.

The third group is referred to as the 5% "poor righteous teachers" of the people of the world, who know the truth of the manipulation of the 85% masses of the people by the 10%. The 5% "righteous teachers" are at constant struggle and war with the 10% to reach and "free the minds" of the masses of the people.[28]

why most white people won't speak out against racism

Racism is an element, a large element of the system of elite control. Racism’s connections to the Power Elite (i.e. economic oppression, ‘divide and conquer’ strategy) should be revealed in order to better understand how folks who fervently believe themselves not racist, may be unconsciously abetting the functions of racism as it serves the Elite. The original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was not racist, which in part made their philosophy and community services and actions so powerful and dangerous to the Elite’s establishment that rested largely on racism’s effects on individuals’ (of all races) consciousness.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal secuics, Hoover hoped to diminish the Party's threat to the general power structure of the U.S., or evrity of the country",[10] and he supervised an extensive program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment, and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members, and drain the organization of resources and manpower. Through these tacten maintain its influence as a strong undercurrent.

After the Panthers were killed, a huge gap was felt in the communities where they lived, and in a short time, the Elite’s approved purveyor of Black Power,
The Nation of Islam, moved in and set up programs and local shops like bakeries and grocers. But the Nation of Islam was nothing like the Black Panthers. They brought hatred with them and the tenor of community race relations where they operated changed drastically.  In addition, the Ford Foundation funded race studies programs began at colleges and universities nationwide. On the street, the NOI and in the universities the Cathedral. The street and the academy had been most effectively and inexpensively divided and conquered. These are living memory political realities. They are real examples of the control exerted by the Elite on what folks think, how they think, how they're perceived and how interacted with.

The bottom-up, communitarian socialism practiced by the Black Panther party and boldly demonstrated for all to see was their crime – empowering the community at the local level - will always be perceived by the power elite as a crime.

The Elite benefit from top-down socialism where they, via corporations and government, control the means of production and the GDP, and fulfill every need of every human to the Elite’s own profit advantage. The Left has been convinced by manufactured consent that top-down socialism is an ideal worth striving for. Bit by bit, the make-believe Left has abetted Elite plans for total control to be brought to fruition.

One of the tactical cornerstones of the consolidating elite is “divide and conquer.” This applies in particular to the psychological capture of individuals and hence whole populations through organized religions, and political “party” maneuvering of governments. People or groups that would rise in dissent to oppose the rulers are effectively stymied by their inability to effectively organize collective bottom-up resistance. This is a very effective tactic because all factions or groups are then pitted against one another to argue about secondary issues like religion or politics, rather than attacking the economic control and ownership of the groups – which of course - is identical across all political and religious factions. The “good guys” and “bad guys” are both economic slaves to the consolidating elite.

We the People should be aware of this singular economic control mechanism regardless of personal religious or political preferences.

court oks barring high IQ's for overseers...,

abcnews |  A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city. 

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s decision that the city did not discriminate against Robert Jordan because the same standards were applied to everyone who took the test. 

“This kind of puts an official face on discrimination in America against people of a certain class,” Jordan said today from his Waterford home. “I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else.” 

He said he does not plan to take any further legal action. 

Jordan, a 49-year-old college graduate, took the exam in 1996 and scored 33 points, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. But New London police interviewed only candidates who scored 20 to 27, on the theory that those who scored too high could get bored with police work and leave soon after undergoing costly training. 

Most Cops Just Above Normal The average score nationally for police officers is 21 to 22, the equivalent of an IQ of 104, or just a little above average. 

Jordan alleged his rejection from the police force was discrimination. He sued the city, saying his civil rights were violated because he was denied equal protection under the law. 

But the U.S. District Court found that New London had “shown a rational basis for the policy.” In a ruling dated Aug. 23, the 2nd Circuit agreed. The court said the policy might be unwise but was a rational way to reduce job turnover. 

Jordan has worked as a prison guard since he took the test.

Friday, August 22, 2014

lawyer up all you want, but no vengeance no peace...,

politico |  After police in Kenosha, Wis., shot my 21-year-old son to death outside his house ten years ago — and then immediately cleared themselves of all wrongdoing — an African-American man approached me and said: “If they can shoot a white boy like a dog, imagine what we’ve been going through.”

I could imagine it all too easily, just as the rest of the country has been seeing it all too clearly in the terrible images coming from Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the killing of Michael Brown. On Friday, after a week of angry protests, the police in Ferguson finally identified the officer implicated in Brown's shooting, although the circumstances still remain unclear.

I have known the name of the policeman who killed my son, Michael, for ten years. And he is still working on the force in Kenosha.

Yes, there is good reason to think that many of these unjustifiable homicides by police across the country are racially motivated. But there is a lot more than that going on here. Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. Because if a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy — that was my son, Michael — can be shot in the head under a street light with his hands cuffed behind his back, in front of five eyewitnesses (including his mother and sister), and his father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew in three wars for his country — that’s me — and I still couldn’t get anything done about it, then Joe the plumber and Javier the roofer aren’t going to be able to do anything about it either.

media treats white criminals (including murderers) better than it treats black victims

HuffPo |  On the afternoon of Aug. 9, a police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Details remain in dispute. Eyewitnesses have said that Brown was compliant with police and was shot while he had his hands up. Police maintain that the 18-year-old had assaulted an officer and was reaching for the officer's gun. One thing clear, however, is that Brown's death follows a disturbingly common trend of black men being killed, often while unarmed and at the hands of police officers, security guards and vigilantes.

After news of Brown's death broke, media-watchers carefully followed the narratives that news outlets began crafting about the teenager and the incident that claimed his life. Wary of the controversy surrounding the media's depiction of Trayvon Martin -- the Florida teen killed in a high-profile case that led to the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman -- people on Twitter wondered, "If they gunned me down, which picture would they use?" Using the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, users posted side-by-side photos, demonstrating the power that news outlets wield in portraying victims based on images they select.

On Monday, Twitter user LordSWVP tweeted out a photo driving home another point: Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.

News reports often headline claims from police or other officials that appear unsympathetic or dismissive of black victims. Other times, the headlines seem to suggest that black victims are to blame for their own deaths, engaging in what critics sometimes allege is a form of character assassination. When contrasted with media portrayal of white suspects and accused murderers, the differences are more striking. News outlets often choose to run headlines that exhibit an air of disbelief at an alleged white killer's supposed actions. Sometimes, they appear to go out of their way to boost the suspect's character, carrying quotes from relatives or acquaintances that often paint even alleged murderers in a positive light.

b.s. on overseer wilson's broken eye-orbital...,

dailykos | This story just came out in the past two days. It has repeatedly been used as a cudgel by the racist assholes people defending the cop's killing of Michael Brown. This raises MANY questions ...
The claim is that during the alleged struggle through the open window of the police cruiser, Michael hit the officer in the eye so hard that it broke the bone and caused him to almost go unconscious.

Q - How was Michael Brown able to generate so much power in a punch as to break the officers eye socket when his movements were constrained by the tight quarters inside the cruiser window?

Q - Why was no mention made of this injury until ten days after the shooting? We know that the FPD and SLC prosecutor were throwing everything out there they could find in their efforts to demonize Michael Brown and defend officer Wilson. If his injuries were as bad as they claim, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have been parading photos of his battered face all over the TV machine.

Q - In the autopsy report, the doctor claimed that there were no indications on Michael Brown's body of a physical struggle. Unless the doctor is quite incompetent, one would expect that this analysis included an examination of Michael's hands. If he had hit the cop so hard as to break his eye orbital, one would expect to see trauma to his hand and knuckles. No such trauma was reported.

Q - According to a timeline of the incident, there was an ambulance there within a few minutes as it was responding to another call in the area. While it was reported that they stopped to assess Michael Brown, there is no mention of them providing any sort of medical assistance to Wilson.

Q - In Piaget Crenshaw's video of the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Wilson can be seen wandering around the crime scene and conversing with officers. If he was truly so badly injured it should be apparent in how he appears in the video. His face looked clean, and his demeanor was not that of someone who was severely injured. No attention was being given by any of those present to his supposed injuries.

Q - Far from being attended to and taken to the hospital for care - things one would reasonable expect in such circumstances - officer Wilson DRIVES away in his cruiser. For a man who was moments ago almost knocked unconscious, this seems unreasonable as well. Why would the other officers allow him to drive if he had just undergone such a traumatic experience?

So anyway, in considering all of the available evidence, I highly doubt that Michael Brown broke officer Wilson's eye orbital. But rather, I suspect that IF he indeed has this injury, it is the result of him getting good and drunk and asking one of his cop buddies to punch him in the face to give him an alibi. The timing and other circumstances make this a much more plausible theory than what is being presented on FOX News.

Update as of 1:25 PM PST
First, in answer to those concerned that this diary is speculative and/or does not help the situation ... Yes, it is speculative. So what? In the absence of reliable facts and with the kind of unsubstantiated claims coming from the right wing echo chamber, I think some push-back is warranted.
Second, another question has occurred to me which I believe is quite significant ...

Q - If they were struggling for the officer's gun, and Michael hit him so hard as to almost knock him unconscious, how is it that Michael - a big, strong young man who was NOT nearly unconscious - failed to get his gun from him? It just doesn't sound reasonable.

the dog catcher protects and serves better than these serial-killing STL overseers...,

slate | The St. Louis Police Department's release of video showing the Tuesday killing of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell by two officers has set off discussion of whether the decision to shoot Powell was justified. Initial police accounts of the incident said that Powell was holding a knife in an "overhand grip," had moved to within 3 or 4 feet of responding officers, and was acting erratically. The Huffington Post writes that the video "appears at odds" with that account:

... the newly released cell phone footage undermines the statement, showing Powell approaching the cops, but not coming as close as was reported, with his hands at his side. The officers began shooting within 15 seconds of their arrival, hitting Powell with a barrage of bullets.
In the video, several other people are standing near Powell and don't appear to be obviously in fear for their lives. Officers pull their vehicle up close to him and begin shooting soon after getting out of their car with guns drawn. Writes Vox:
The footage is horrifying to watch, in part for the speed with which it turns from comic to tragic. It begins with a man chuckling over Powell's erratic — but seemingly harmless — behavior. Seconds later, Powell is dead.
On the other side of the argument, it's inarguable that Powell refused officers' orders to drop his knife and then moved toward them. A source told CNN's Jake Tapper that police act under the assumption that a suspect armed with a knife standing within 20 feet will be able to wound them if their weapons are not already drawn:

holding notsee leaders accountable for their heinous acts of aggression...,

quietmike |  Last summer, Inder Comar, Esq. filed a lawsuit against the Bush Administration on behalf of Iraqi refugee plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh. It is a noble attempt to hold the Bush Administration accountable for war crimes and a case that Quiet Mike has been following from the beginning.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice, who is defending the six Bush Administration officials, responded to the lawsuit by requesting that the case be dismissed. The Bush tribe is claiming that the planning of the war occurred within the scope of their employment and therefore they have immunity.

Rather than dismissing the case, the Judge asked for additional information. So Mr. Comar filed a 2nd amended complaint back in June. The amended complaint provides more details about the planning of the Iraq war and when it started.

Comar’s evidence, shows the Bush/Cheney team started planning the invasion of Iraq as far back as 1997. The amended complaint also explains that the war was motivated by personal enrichment and the war was a “crime of aggression.”

Thursday, August 21, 2014

if a riot is the voice of the unheard, a beheading is __________________?

salon |  “Is this performance art, at this time, about what it looks like to be out of touch with one’s constituents?” MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry asked a panel of guests on her Sunday program.
“They’re so out of touch,” public radio host Marc Steiner responded. “I mean police brutality and racist attacks against black citizens and people of color are universal in this country. But these folks are so out of touch, they don’t even know how to fake it…. The governor can’t do it. None of them can do it.”

“They’ve never had to,” author Jelani Cobb pointed out. And he’s right—as numerous people have pointed out recently. Ferguson is supermajority black, but its police force is overwhelmingly white, as is its city council. While  some—most notably the renowned MonkeyCage blog—have elucidated the structural forces at work, producing very low black voter turnout in the local, non-partisan, off-year elections (widespread “reforms” of the Progressive Era, during which voter participation fell significantly), Cobb’s recent reporting for the New Yorker took a more critical angle.

First, he took note of the role of felony Missouri’s felon-disfranchisement laws. One local explained, “If you’re a student in one of the black schools here and you get into a fight you’ll probably get arrested and charged with assault. We have kids here who are barred from voting before they’re even old enough to register.” Next, he pointed out that blacks were actually losing ground in terms of political leadership:
Ferguson had, instead, recently seen two highly visible African-American public officials lose their jobs. Two weeks before Brown was shot, Charles Dooley, an African-American who has served as St. Louis County Executive for a decade, lost a bitter primary election to Steve Stenger, a white county councilman, in a race that, whatever the merits of the candidates, was seen as racially divisive. Stenger lobbed allegations of financial mismanagement and incompetence, and worse. Bob McCulloch, the county prosecutor appeared in an ad for Stenger, associating Dooley with corruption; McCulloch would also be responsible for determining whether to charge Darren Wilson. In December, the largely white Ferguson-Florissant school board fired Art McCoy, the superintendent, who is African-American.
As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, McCoy’s firing was as shrouded in secrecy as Michael Brown’s killing. Nor was McCulloch’s racial animosity in electioneering anomalous either. Back in 2006, Missouri was ground zero in the GOP’s spurious voter fraud allegations which lay at the heart of the U.S. Attorneys firing scandal. Perhaps most notably, just five days before the election, Bradley Schlozman, then interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, announced indictments against four voter-registration workers—a move contradicting the DOJ’s own guidelines that such actions “”must await the end of the election.”  In short, Republican politics in Missouri have not simply relied on passive racial resentments, rather, they have actively stirred them up.  Such behavior only makes sense in a framework of racial isolation, and hostility.

With all that in mind, it’s easy to follow Cobb’s continuing line of thought on the “Melissa Harris-Perry Show,” as he said, “Being there, the impression you get is that these people remind you of those southern towns in the 1960s who had no idea how their actions looked on television. The television was the thing that made segregation untenable. Because the rest of the world could see and say, ‘This looks barbaric.’”

“ I don’t think that the people here have any sense of how this looks in the broader spectrum, and talking to people in the community about that, and they say, ‘Well, they’ve never had to. If they have control over the power system here, the structure here, who are they accountable to?’ So they’ve never even had to go through the pantomime of accountability before.”

the sins of the fathers on overseer wilson's head...,

NYTimes |  The violence on the streets of Ferguson, Mo., abated on Tuesday night, but hundreds of peaceful protesters continue to gather each day to demand justice in the case of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot by a white police officer on Aug. 9. Now it’s up to local and federal officials to show that they are aggressively pursuing that demand. They have a long way to go.

Justice is a process, and it won’t necessarily result in the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who fired the fatal shots, as many of the demonstrators say they want. Witness accounts differ sharply on the events leading to the shooting, and it’s impossible to predict whether the grand jury that began hearing evidence on Wednesday will indict Mr. Wilson. But those in charge have an obligation to demonstrate fairness at every step, and that means there cannot be even a hint of bias in the process.
For that reason, the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, Robert McCulloch, needs to step aside or be replaced in this case with a special prosecutor by Gov. Jay Nixon. Mr. McCulloch’s parents worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed on the job in 1964 by a black suspect while helping another officer. Last week, he gratuitously criticized Mr. Nixon’s decision to put state police officers in charge of the response to the unrest.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that after a shooting in 2000, when two detectives shot two unarmed black men in the town next to Ferguson, Mr. McCulloch failed to bring any independent evidence to the grand jury. He claimed that “every witness” testified that the detectives were defending themselves, but secret grand jury tapes showed that several witnesses did not do so. When the grand jury chose not to indict, he said he supported the decision. That’s why many black elected officials — including Charlie Dooley, the executive of St. Louis County, where Ferguson is — have called for a special prosecutor in the Brown case, and more than 70,000 people have signed an online petition to that effect.

The community will almost certainly reject a decision not to indict Mr. Wilson if the grand jury is led by Mr. McCulloch, but his office has already begun presenting evidence to the 12-person jury (which includes three African-Americans). Mr. McCulloch said Wednesday that the governor should “man up” and make a decision about who will conduct the prosecution before it proceeds too far. Despite the widespread pleas that he should do so, Mr. Nixon has said he does not intend to replace Mr. McCulloch.

The prosecutor and local police departments have shown a disdain for the public with their reluctance to release the evidence they have. For the better part of a week, they refused to release Mr. Wilson’s name or record, and they would not release the 911 tapes or full details of the county autopsy report. The Brown family commissioned its own autopsy, and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. ordered a federal autopsy.

overseer wilson should have been arrested on august 9th...,

salon |  As numerous commentators have already noted, American police have undergone a massive transformation in recent decades. Militarized police departments are on the rise, with no sign of this trend slowing any time soon. It started with the war on drugs in the ’80s, followed by the now-famous “1033 Program,” a federal program that allows the military to sell discount weapons, supplies and munitions to local police departments, capped off finally by a massive infusion of new resources following the Sept. 11 attacks. (And while the 1033 program has earned the bulk of the attention, it’s important to note that it’s “only” provided local cops with $4.3 billion in new supplies, a number dwarfed by the $34 billion the Department of Homeland Security has provided since 9/11.)

There are plenty of great explainers that you can read about how all of this came to be; the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald recently provided a useful summary, as did Amanda Taub for Vox. But even if these accounts do nothing to change your perception of the police today, one must ask: Where does it end? At what point do cops become so weaponized, so hostile to their citizenry and shielded from responsibility or blame that our suspicions of the institution gain merit? And crucially — who gets to decide?

“Not All Cops Are Bad” is a meaningless concept when taken to its logical conclusion
There are clearly limits to the formulation that “not all cops are bad,” and almost everyone would agree that individual “goodness” can become irrelevant when an individual’s actions are in service of a corrupt institution. That American police forces aren’t nearly as amoral as, say, the Gestapo (the secret police of Nazi Germany) is a question of degree, not one of kind. Once we allow that “Not all cops are bad” can’t possibly apply to the Gestapo in any meaningful way, we tacitly acknowledge that there are limits to the formulation more generally. (If comparing American cops to the Gestapo seems hyperbolic, that’s the point.) Whether or not those limits have already been reached by U.S. police departments is irrelevant here. After all, some might find the abuses highlighted by the press in recent years to be not especially extreme or unacceptable given the difficulty of the profession and the enormous challenge of making snap judgments regarding lethal force … but surely, plenty of residents of Ferguson would disagree. Saying “not all cops are bad,” then, becomes dangerously close to saying “people like me get to determine when the conduct of police officers has become bad enough to merit our attention and concern, but people like you don’t.”

The people saying “not all cops are bad” usually aren’t the ones being victimized by “good cops”  Recently, 125 people came together in Missouri to support Darren Wilson. One hundred and twenty-four of them were white.

overseergofuckyourself ray albers suspended for assault with a deadly weapon....,

mediaite |  If you’ve followed Ferguson coverage at all this week, you’re likely aware of video showing an officer pointing his rifle directly at unarmed protestors while threatening “I will fucking kill you!” When reporters and protestors demanded he give his name and badge number, he responded with an ever-so-subtle “Go fuck yourself!” The Missouri branch of the American Civil Liberties Union was rightfully incensed by such pitifully poor cop work that they submitted a letter to Missouri Highway Patrol demanding that Officer Go Fuck Yourself be removed from duty in Ferguson: