Vanilla suburbs can't police chocolate streets without capricious decision making

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While the Oscar Grant slaying represents man's quintessential inhumanity towards man and the race division that invariably accompanies it there is an additional more tangible sociological consequence. The city is bled of essential financial resources. The city of Oakland will pay nearly $650,000 for Officer Hector Jimenez's fatal shooting of unarmed drunk driving suspect Mack Woodfox III in July of 2008. John Burriss is going to push hard to take the BART Police for the kitten caboodle as well.

The city would save a load of cash if they hired with the partial aim of making the force reflect the citizens. In other words more Black police officers should patrol Black neighborhoods. Sorry to be so glum but there is still much too much hatred in the vanilla suburbs to ask their residents to patrol chocolate inner-city streets.



Sotomayor—reverse racist or whitewashed?

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During the past eight years the United States’ democratic lens has been severely refracted by the myopic dogma of the Bush administration (or Badministration). The institution of the Patriot Act, a declaration of preemptive war on Afghanistan, unilaterally declaring war on Iraq, blatantly disregarding the perils of Katrina victims, spying on citizens, and torture aren’t exactly positive examples of democratic process. To the contrary, the people’s vote against the Republican Party in 2006 and their vote for Barack Obama in 2008 are clear representations of the public’s sagacious recognition for the necessity of social reform. Yet despite their nominal devotion to civil service, there exists many public officials who defiantly stand in contradistinction to the same citizenry they profess to represent.

So when Newt Gingrich and his capricious socio-political ideologues fallaciously label Sonia Sotomayor a “reverse racist” in the face of majority public support I am not surprised. On the other hand I am intrigued by the ease with which such a fallacious and damaging notion can be caromed throughout the dynamic world of digital media and the lack of consequence to public image that would—and should be— marshaled by entrusted journalists to confront the promulgators of that notion. To be clear, racist is a politically ominous pejorative. But to employ the transitive verb reverse as an accompaniment to the afore-mentioned label brings a welcomed clarity to the extreme views of Sotomayor’s accusers. Perhaps Webster can shed a little more light on the subject.

Reverse: opposite or contrary to a previous or normal condition, that which is directly opposite or contrary

The operative word here is directly—directly opposite. To be a “reverse racist” you must be the direct opposite of a “normal” racist. Those who are peddling this birdbrained tag are making the accusation merely based on the fact that Sotomayor is a non-white. They are simpleminded. Now, racism as you know is the belief that there are significant innate differences between people groups which produce a superiority of a single group. Historically the group in question has been white men but I’m most interested in the actions that resulted from this obtuse ideology. The problem is that when you or I attempt to rightly divide the historical and present, systemic representations of racism— Newt and friends trivialize this unusually serious issue by means of politicization. But our focus is on the operative phrase in our definition—directly opposite. To determine what Sotomayor would have to accomplish in order to be truly defined as a “reverse racist” we must first identify the persona of racism and its historical and current impact upon society.

We easily identify racism’s persona by reviewing the treatment of African Americans by white male supremacists. These men practiced American chattel slavery during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Can you imagine being challenged to a race to financial autonomy—a race in which your competitor says, “There’s just one catch.”

“What’s that” you say.

“I get a two year head start” your opponent replies. Well, if you’re a person of color—if you’re black you don’t have to imagine. “Previous/normal” racists challenged you to a human race but cheated you out of not 2 but 200 years. White women were cheated for quite some time too—though they obviously enjoyed exponentially more comforts than blacks. The point is that over two centuries of free labor directly resulted in the development of white wealth. Then in 1865 slavery “ended” and African Americans were free to compete. The problem was they had no sweat suit, no sneakers, not even transportation to get to the stadium where the human race was being hosted. And they still had 200 years to make up.

Those two centuries of free labor encapsulate the irony that enables ignorant shock jocks to compare President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination to the hypothetical placement of former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke, on the bench. And that’s not an isolated imbecilic oratorical incident. Former congressman Tom Tancredo, whose moral and civic compasses are obviously guided by caprice, had this accusation for Sotomayor.

If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is, from my point of view anyway, nothing more than a Latino — it’s a counterpart — a Latino KKK without the hoods or the nooses.

Reader, this is a man who either has no regard for world history or is willfully ignorant of it. There is no Latino counterpart to the KKK. There is no Latino counterpart to American chattel slavery. There is no Latino counterpart to the remnants of that slavery— present day institutionalized racism. To assert otherwise is to revert to a sociologically injurious pathology of denial of white racism and its extraordinarily destructive impact on humanity. And I say humanity—not blacks—because oppression has a tremendously different, yet equally damaging, impact on the oppressor as it has on the oppressed.

Ms. Sonia Sotomayor has rejected 78 of 96 discrimination claims. That stat alone implies that, if anything, she is whitewashed. But she certainly isn’t the personification of this suddenly popular oxymoronic confabulation “reverse racist.”



Pelosi Says CIA Misled Her On Waterboarding Use

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This is huge! Madam Speaker is accusing the CIA of lying in a briefing. Isn't that illegal? Boehner says that all of the Dems were aware of the torture. Either way, someone needs to be in prison.
clipped from www.npr.org
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA and Bush administration of misleading her about waterboarding detainees

"To the contrary ... we were told explicitly that waterboarding was not being used," she told reporters, referring to a formal CIA briefing she received in the fall of 2002.

an official at the CIA neither disputed nor accepted the California Democrat's statements.

House Republican Leader John Boehner dismissed Pelosi's account.

"They were well aware that they had been used, and it seems to me that they want to have it both ways. You can't have it both ways."
CIA records show Pelosi attended only one briefing — the one in the fall of 2002 where she says she was told that waterboarding had not been used.

"They misrepresented every step of the way, and they don't want that focus on them, so they try to turn the attention on us," she said.

Pelosi accused the CIA of being misleading during that session by explicitly telling her that waterboarding was not used.
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Goldman Sachs settles bad Mass. loans

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Call your state attorney generals and demand that they follow Martha Coakley's lead. If you don't we'll never get our money back from the bank robbers.

Goldman Sachs agreed to spend about $50 million to write down loans for Goldman mortgage-holders in Massachusetts.
the state of Massachusetts announced a settlement with investment giant Goldman Sachs over the firm's role in the foreclosure crisis. It appears to be the first settlement of its kind, though likely not the last as the state goes after investment banks that knew the loans were bad and bought them anyway.
Goldman will spend about $50 million to write down loans for about 700 homeowners whose mortgages are held by Goldman.
Goldman Sachs
Martha Coakley has been agressive at going after the players in the subprime debacle. Interestingly, not a lot of other states have been following her lead.
Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley started investigating the foreclosure crisis

MARTHA COAKLEY: We've made the determination, and our courts have agreed, that many of these loans were unfair. They were destined to fail at the inception.

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Bob Schieffer proves he's a square penned journalist every time he "interviews" Dick Cheney

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Cheney has gone on record several times accusing the Obama administration of diminishing the safety of the United States. He argues that “harsh interrogation” techniques and the “terrorist surveillance program” saved thousands perhaps even hundreds of thousands of lives. However, how many of our lives are potentially compromised when a leader bends the law as he sees fit as opposed to following the law as prescribed by the people? We need only to review any one of the infamous medieval inquisitions to discover how dreadful the long arm of law can be when interpreted by the few and not agreed upon by the many. The ruthless pragmatist president Barack Obama thoughtfully replies to Cheney’s accusations;
“We have rejected the false choice between our security and our ideals by closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and banning torture without exception.”
A sentiment all law abiding citizens can agree with.


Oakland’s $80 million shortfall tempts city council to employ hired guns

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In an effort to mitigate crime and cut costs Oakland City Council has decided to hire a private armed security force to patrol troublesome neighborhoods. City Council member Ignacio De La Fuente is a leading advocate for this increasingly popular solution. Despite the initial savings a private law enforcement agency presents to the debt laden city this solution is not without fault.

International Services Inc. was Oakland's primary candidate. However, their questionable background forced the city to end all negotiations. The following is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal.

Ousama Karawia, founder of the Torrance, Calif., company, and two of its vice presidents were accused last week by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office of defrauding the state of California out of more than $9 million in workers compensation. The suspects were arrested last week after a three month investigation, said Jane Robinson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

Undeterred by the ISI's public record the City Council continues to explore alternative private guard solutions. De La Fuente said, "There is still a very serious need for security in some of our more crime-plagued areas."

Oakland is en route to join numerous other cities that are tempted to use public money to pay private guards to perform public services. According to The Washington Post "The more than 1 million contract security officers, and an equal number of guards estimated to work directly for U.S. corporations, dwarf the nearly 700,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States."

Just as the military in Iraq was supplemented by Blackwater, and other private military firms, so US City Councils are supplementing domestic law enforcement with private security agencies. Some say this is a recent development. History would disagree. Private law enforcement solutions are a return to the Old West. It's 1881 and Sherrif Pat Garret has just deputized Wyatt Earp to catch Billy the Kid and his gang of Rustlers. The problem with this approach to crime of course is that Wyatt Earp is himself an ex-con.

Unlike rookie US soldiers Blackwater agents often have marred pasts unbeknownst to superior officers. They are not subjected to the background checks that a soldier endures. Your local police also endure an extensive background investigation prior to beginning their career as an officer. Yet George Holland Sr., lead attorney for the Oakland chapter of the NAACP might argue that even the police vetting process is not dynamic enough. He said, "Oakland, unfortunately, has had a history of treating the African-American community unfairly. The community has a great distrust for police officers because they feel they can't be punished."

If the city introduces another law enforcement entity with more lenient background requirements, less training, an equal or greater amount of bias, and fewer legal accountability tools than the OPD—the already broken relationship between citizen and law will be further exacerbated.

The violence in Oakland has been steadily declining since the fourth quarter of 2008. If the city, citizens and politicians alike, wishes to further diminish crime in this grand old city we must take a creative, cutting edge approach. Hired guns didn't work in medieval warfare and they won't work in the age of information either. Dr. Christine Gardiner of the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at University of California, Irvine would certainly agree.

"There are so many factors that affect both the economy and crime, that you can't get a causal link," Gardiner said. "It's a lot more complex than that. Crime rate is not a function of one particular thing, and the number of police per resident or population is not really related to the incidence of crime – there are neighborhood, area factors that go into it."



Progressive Examiner

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Mapping torture authors and co-signers

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Double-click on boxes with plus signs to expand, or click the tool bar at left for more options. Single-click anywhere in the map then select reset to return to original view.

John Yoo and Jay Bybee are the hottest legal co-signers to the infamous torture memos. Take a look at various other connections and supporters in the map below.




Worried about AIG Bonuses? Get a load of the taxpayer subsidies for banks and corps.

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An IPS study of compensation levels in 2007 found that the top 50 investment fund managers took home 19,000 times as much as typical workers earned.

Here's another IPS study regarding taxpayer's lasting relationships with bailed out banks. Apparently we've been bailing out these corporations long before November 2008.

Makes you want your money back, huh?

Sadly, even if Big Brother recouped AIG bonuses tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies remain for economic terrorist banks and insurance corporations to bask in. The above report includes a chart that identifies taxpayer subsidies for executive splurge and the various reforms now pending in Congress that speak to these problems.



AIG’S Bogus Bonuses

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I'd like to take this time to extend my deepest gratitude to ordinary pundits all over the political spectrum for their predictable reporting on the current global economic crisis. Every time a critical story unfolds, their "in depth commentary" always serves as a rough draft for mine. Take this entry for example. There I was in bed at eleven o'clock pm but unable to sleep. After reading ten of those "in depth commentaries" regarding the AIG "retention" bonus ignominy I found myself more puzzled than informed. Thankfully, the humdrum work of those left, right, and centrist square penned journalists served as the impetus for the very piece you are reading right now.

Anyway, since I couldn't sleep I decided to take notes from the talking heads, spin-misters, and corporate journalists. If you're attentive you'll notice that all of these quadrangles are telling us the same thing.

  • Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson should not have initiated the bailout in the first place (ah—duh!)
  • Current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is mismanaging the recovery plan and, as an ex-republican, is sympathetic to the banks as opposed to the people
    • leftist speechifying
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is incompetent
    • I found this to be the consensus across the partisan board
  • Senator Charles Grassley said that AIG's officers should "commit suicide"
    • No comment

My opinion on the above is quite frankly who cares. The bottom line is the following:

  • We're in a global recession (Problem)
  • We need a multifaceted global solution (Reality)
  • A host of perpetrators must be identified and imprisoned (Accountability and enforcement)
    • Who knows, that may be enough people with enough money to pay our way out of this hole (Optimism)
  • Obligatory regulations need to be enacted and enforced to ensure this amount of fiscal tomfoolery doesn't happen again (Accountability via monetary policy)

When choosing your fights, you must choose wisely. Even if government prevailed in court we the people would lose because the court fees would exceed the cost of AIG bonuses. Instead of spending the next ten years in court over a measly $165, $170, $250 million (in the context of hundreds of billions, 100+ million is 'measly'), or whatever the actual figure is; congress should attempt to place stern stipulations on AIG's next $45 billion in recovery money and tax the stuffing out of bailed out bank bonuses. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are attempting to redirect their bonus money into increased salaries for their top employees in hopes of thwarting public and congressional scrutiny. So you best believe AIG's bonus buffoonery will not be an isolated incident.