Mairav Zonzsein, an American-Israeli journalist, writes:
Israeli society has been unable and unwilling to overcome an exclusivist ethno-religious nationalism that privileges Jewish citizens and is represented politically by the religious settler movement and the increasingly conservative secular right. Israel’s liberal, progressive forces remain weak in the face of a robust economy that profits from occupation while international inaction reinforces the status quo. In their attempt to juggle being both Jewish and democratic, most Israelis are choosing the former at the expense of the latter.
This has allowed the us-versus-them mentality to bleed into Israeli Jewish society. “Us” no longer refers to any Jewish citizen, and “them” to any Palestinian. Now, “us” means all those who defend the status quo of occupation and settlement expansion, including many Christian evangelicals and Republicans in America. And “them” means anyone who tries to challenge that status quo, whether a rabbi, a dissenting Israeli soldier or the president of the United States.
Perhaps this shouldn’t come as a shock. For most of Israel’s existence, the majority of Israelis have allowed the state, in the name of Jewish sovereignty and security, to violate Palestinians’ basic human rights — including access to water and the freedom of movement and assembly. The state has killed unarmed protesters and then failed to carry out investigations; it has allowed settlers and soldiers to act with impunity; and it has systematically discriminated against non-Jewish citizens. After so many years of repressing those who stand in the way, the transition to targeting “one of your own” isn’t so difficult. Now it is the few Jewish Israelis who speak the language of human rights who are branded as enemies.
Zeev Sternhell, a political scientist and an expert on fascism, believes that “radical nationalism” and the “erosion of Enlightenment values” have reached new heights in Israel. “To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason,” he told Haaretz. Mr. Sternhell has experienced Jewish extremist violence firsthand; in 2008, a settler planted a bomb in his home that wounded him.
On Thursday afternoon, a sun-burnt and probably blistered former Israeli soldier will arrive at Federal Parliament to deliver a petition in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for the right of Palestinians to self determination.
University of Wollongong academic Marcelo Svirsky will have walked for 10 days over 300 gruelling kilometres from Sydney to Canberra with a petition to draw the attention of federal MPs to the critical predicament of the Palestinian people in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The petition asks the Australian Government to honour its obligations under international law through boycott, divestment and sanctions of states, institutions and companies which facilitate Israel’s illegal, discriminatory and cruel policies towards Palestinians.
Marcelo explains his campaigning as ”using my love of walking for one of the world’s most socially just causes. Only international pressure by civil society, based on non-violent means of boycott can change the balance of power and eventually bring Israel to compromise.
“This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments….We see frequently the vices and follies of the powerful much less despised than the poverty and weakness of the innocent.”—Adam Smith (via azspot)
[Adam] Basford, an Air Force veteran who regarded himself to be a peace officer rather than a law enforcer, had patrolled a violent neighborhood riven with gang-related violence. On many occasions prior to August 18, he had called for backup, only to find – as he did that night – that no help was forthcoming.This wasn’t just because Basford’s fellow officers were afraid, but because he had violated the unwritten but binding rules of police solidarity by speaking out against routine misconduct and abuse within the department.
Basford had just finished an administrative call when he heard gunshots and saw an armed man later identified as Cardenas racing through the neighborhood. Basford pursued Cardenas into a nearby yard, overtaking him when the suspect failed to clear a fence.
“I didn’t want to draw my gun, because there was a young girl just a few feet away,” Basford recalled to Pro Libertate. “Cardenas took a swing at me, and missed. I took his back while the two of us were still on our feet. He reached for my lapel microphone and broke it, then said he was going to kill me and that nobody would find my body.”
“[The other cops] heard me get shot,” Basford recounted to me. “They heard me scream for assistance. They were just two blocks away – but they were fifteen minutes from the end of their shift, and they went back to the station instead of coming to my aid.” Basford would find out later that the bike patrol officers “didn’t think the overtime would be approved.”
Hyeonseo Lee had to learn two languages, lie to immigration officials, bribe border police in Laos, beg officials at a South Korean embassy, and rely on the kindness of strangers to finally free herself and her family from North Korea. This twelve minute TED talk is worth your time.
Comments like this are part of the reason I was never able to relate to modern American Conservatism as a political ideology. The idea that the President shouldn’t need to consult Congress on foreign policy matters strikes me as a subplot of the “Strong Leader” paradigm that many Conservative opinion leaders talk about. And this obsession with the President being a “Strong Leader” is toxic. It is even more toxic when a “Strong Leader” is defined as a person who dictates U.S. foreign policy unilaterally. It’s an idea that is as scary as it is incoherent from a legal standpoint.
What is strange about Erickson’s comment is that he criticized Obama elsewhere for exceeding the Constitutional limits of Executive Power. He has railed against the Obama administration taking unilateral action under the Affordable Care Act. But apparently Erickson has no concern about the President unilaterally sending American troops to other countries without Congressional authorization.
It’s possible that Erickson was using “foreign policy” to refer strictly to diplomatic relations with other countries. But that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The term “foreign policy” encompasses military action. That necessarily includes things like dropping bombs on countries the U.S. government doesn’t like. And given that Erickson made this statement in the same paragraph that he mentions ISIS, it sure seems like he’s not just talking about diplomacy here. To wit, here is the whole paragraph I took the above quote from:
The past six years have seen the undoing of almost seventy years of gains abroad. Foreign policy is the one area the President does not have to rely on Congress. The inter-party fighting should not matter. But China is rattling its sabers, Russia has crossed into Ukraine, anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe, ISIS is cutting off American heads, commercial airliners are missing in Libya, and the list goes on.
What exactly is the U.S. President supposed to do about all this? The President realistically only has three coercive foreign policy tools at his disposal: the bully pulpit, economic sanctions, and war. The Obama administration has already declared economic sanctions against Russia. What else should it do? The Ukraine is an independent state where many of the residents are sympathetic to Russia and welcome Russia’s involvement in the region. There is little the Obama Administration can realistically do here unless they want to start a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine—a war in which a number of Ukrainians would probably fight against the U.S.
The Obama administrations options with China are also few in number. There is basically nothing that can be done against China because (a) they have a large, capable military, (b) the U.S. economy benefits handsomely from Chinese commerce, and (c) the Chinese government is a sizable creditor of the U.S. treasury. Any drastic measures taken against the Chinese government would inevitably double back and bite the U.S. in the ass, because both countries are, at this point, heavily invested in one another’s future.
Here is the bottom line: the President cannot Constitutionally declare a war. Only Congress can. It is unfortunately true that Congress has not actually declared war on another country for a long time. It is also true that numerous Presidents of both parties have deployed U.S. military forces into war zones without Congressional approval. But that does not change the fact that under Article I, § 8, cl. 11 of the U.S. Constitution, not a single American soldier ought to be anywhere near the middle east without Congressional authorization. Erick Erickson’s fear of ISIS does not change the wording of the Constitution he claims to revere. Nor does it make his tacit approval of the atrocious piece of legislation known as the AUMF any more coherent when measured against Article I of that same Constitution.
Erick Erickson wants a President who will “keep him safe and get out of his way.” Fair enough. But from where I stand, the “Strong Leader” Erick Erickson wants in the White House is someone who will ignore Congress on foreign policy, and isn’t afraid to start wars—and not just with powerless third-world nations and isolated dictators—but wars with countries that are large and powerful enough that a large-scale armed conflict would be a catastrophic event (e.g. China, Russia).
That makes me feel less safe. I want a leader who is extraordinarily hesitant to go to war. I’m tired of the U.S. leaking blood and treasure from its pores to bomb other countries. I’m also tired of the boondoggles and unintended consequences that seem to accompany every recent attempt by the U.S. to militarily intervene in other countries’ affairs. And none of this is to suggest that I think the Democratic party or the Obama administration are angels. But if Erick Erickson’s version of the President is any indication of what the modern American Conservative movement deems to be a competent leader, I want no part of it.
In this post by Law Professor Doug Berman, he explains that state-sanctioned marijuana businesses who attempt to file for bankruptcy are being thrown out of federal court because their businesses violate the Controlled Substances Act:
A U.S. bankruptcy judge has dismissed the case of a Denver marijuana business owner, saying that although his activities are legal under Colorado law, he is violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. In dismissing the case, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver by Frank Anthony Arenas, Judge Howard Tallman said he realizes the “result is devastating for the debtor.”
The Arenas case is at least the second such one involving a marijuana business tossed out of bankruptcy court in Colorado. At least two others have been dismissed in California. Tallman made a similar decision in a 2012 case involving Rent-Rite Super Kegs West Ltd, a company that operated a warehouse partially rented to a tenant cultivating marijuana.
Berman quotes one of the judges who dismissed these petitions, who points out that it’s impossible to appoint a trustee to manage the debtor’s assets without the court forcing the trustee to violate the Controlled Substances Act:
[Judge Tallman] alludes to the contradictions that dueling marijuana laws pose to liquidating assets and distributing the proceeds among creditors. The trustee can’t take control of assets or liquidate the inventory without running afoul of federal law, he said. Nor can the debtors convert the case to Chapter 13, which would allow them to pay off debts over time because the plan would be funded “from profits of an ongoing criminal activity under federal law” and involve the trustee in distribution of funds derived from violation of the law.
In other words, every new marijuana business being started in Colorado and Washington will be denied bankruptcy protection in federal court unless the Controlled Substances Act is amended. Another unforeseen consequence of drug prohibition.
Yes, you are reading that right. A man used his twitter account to make a call for the military to support a revolution “when the time comes” because the President of the United States saluted a marine while holding a cup in his sixth year in office.
This one is amazing too:
@DailyCaller@BarrieNJHe has no reason to salute back. He hates the military or he wouldn’t be sending 3k to their Ebola death.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The hatred harbored by the President of the United States for the U.S. military is made manifest by the fact that he has hatched a nefarious plan to kill off all of America’s armed forces by sending them all to their Ebola death.
How can democracy fail with a discourse like this?
It’s almost comical to see yet another article describing a White shooter in apologetic terms, while Black victims of police shootings are almost always described as troublemakers.
A heavily armed White male in Pennsylvania shot two police officers in cold blood, and NBC wrote an article with a headline describing him as an “easy-going guy.” Meanwhile, a completely unarmed Black teenager gets shot by a police officer under questionable circumstances in Missouri, and he gets described as "no angel" who "dabbled in drugs and alcohol" by the New York Times.
“There is a tendency to judge the actions of those with the least amount of power the same as those with more power and then ask, “Isn’t that what equality means?” It’s a clever rhetorical evasion of the issue. Equality is the goal, but to pretend that we actually exist as equals right now is to ignore reality. Like it or not, we all carry history with us in our personal interactions.”—Mychal Denzel Smith. Smith’s comments are being made in the context of domestic violence, but I think this quote has a universal quality to it that applies to many other contexts as well, political, personal, and otherwise.
“Do we really want this to be the new normal of the way we interact with the world? Do we want to be doing this all over the world, forever, indefinitely, in counterterrorism campaigns that go on indefinitely and that we don’t call war, just adding new countries to the list of where we do this stuff, every year, year after year…when does it ever stop?”—Rachel Maddow
I was looking around my son’s pre-k classroom this morning and noticed that, this week, all the kids made little versions of themselves using paper plates for their heads, googly eyes, and string for mouths. They’re all hanging up on a bulletin board.
Apparently the teachers asked each kid what they’re “best at” and then they wrote little sentences for each kid. My son’s is pretty predictable; he says he’s the best train track builder. He’s right; he’s become very good at building elaborate train sets with his wooden railway track pieces and he’ll play with his trains for hours, by himself or with others. Other kids in the class say they are the best bike rider or baseball player or dancer. It’s all very cute.
One boy, one of my son’s four self-described “best buddies,” said he was the best friend. Kudos to this kid’s parents; they’re doing an awesome job.
LTMC: I have a friend who is a single mom with a 6-year old. When her daughter was five, my friend had to explain to her daughter what cancer was because my friend was going in for surgery to get HPV cells removed from her cervix. They were at the hospital one day and saw kids with cancer, and her daughter noticed the kids were bald. Her daughter asked why those kids didn’t have hair, and my friend explained to her daughter that sometimes cancer makes you bald while the doctors try to make you better.
Her daughter’s response? ”That’s not fair. Mommy, I have lots of hair. I want to give it to the kids with cancer so their friends won’t make fun of them. Can I do that?”
Let’s just say we spent all day cleaning up the feels.
A former U.S. Army captain, Carson decried the nation’s “meddlesome, haphazard and dangerous interventionist foreign policy; our failed and unconstitutional drug war; NSA domestic spying; militarized police forces and the erosion of our civil liberties.” He accused Edmond of talking about lower taxes while proposing spending hikes rather than spending cuts, then accused Beyer of ignoring the problem of the national debt altogether.
The largest predatory dinosaur to walk this earth wasn’t the T. rex. It was Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a 50-foot long creature with powerful jaws and a solid, spiny sail on its back that dwelled in Northern Africa 95 million years ago. But even though paleontologists have known about this particular dinosaur for almost a century, its true form has only just been revealed.
This is “the first water-adapted non-avian dinosaur on record,” said University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno in a press conference yesterday. Sereno is part of a team of researchers that was finally able to reconstruct Spinosaurus in full using newly discovered fossils and information gathered from the dinosaur’s initial discoverer, a German paleontologist named Ernst Stromer. According to their reconstruction, published today inScience, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was a gigantic fish-eating, water-paddling marvel; one that, in Sereno’s words, was “a chimera — half duck, half crocodile.”
On the anniversary of 9/11, we should recommit ourselves to ensuring that we don’t allow fear to determine our public policy choices. We should learn the unmistakable lesson of the past 12 years: that trading liberty for more security is a false choice that leads us down a dark path. As Justice Brennan said in 1988:
For as adamant as my country has been about civil liberties during peacetime, it has a long history of failing to preserve civil liberties when it perceived its national security threatened. This series of failures is particularly frustrating in that it appears to result not from informed and rational decisions that protecting civil liberties would expose the United States to unacceptable security risks, but rather from the episodic nature of our security crises. After each perceived security crises ended, the United States has remorsefully realized that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. but it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis came along.
Let us recommit ourselves to not making this error again. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
Yesterday, I wrote about how punishing Ray Rice’s domestic violence transgressions by cancelling his contract and (effectively) blacklisting him from the NFL may not be in the best interests of the victim, Janay Palmer.
Today, Janay took to social media to write about how she feels about the way people are reacting to her situation:
I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is a [sic] horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!
Janay’s response, and our reaction to it, brings up a broader debate about how much we should respect the agency of domestic violence victims. A lot of people with good intentions treat domestic violence victims as if they are effectively mentally incapacitated. Battered Spouse Syndrome is regularly used in both social science literature and courtroom litigation to deny domestic violence victims agency over their lives. They are deemed to be the victims of a psychosis called "learned helplessness." Prosecutors regularly use this diagnosis to force victims to testify against their abusers against the victim’s wishes. Judges often deny bond to the offending partner and throw them in jail, again, against the victim’s wishes. Concerned activists call for harsher punishments and softer evidence standards, making it easier to convict abusers and extract victims from their situation. That a particular victim may protest and resist intervention is simply viewed as further evidence of mental incapacity.
Battered Spouse Syndrome has been challenged by a number of observers in recent years, due in no small part to its denial of victim agency. For example, Mary Ann Dutton from George Washington University notes that this Syndrome is “vague,” and tends to overlook the fact that (1) there is not one single cause of domestic violence, (2) not all victims’s reactions to domestic violence fit the “Battered Spouse” model, and (3) many victims have unique needs and circumstances that are not served by the “Battered Spouse” model. As Dutton notes, actual real-world data suggests that “battered women’s reactions to violence and abuse vary,” and it’s not safe to assume that every woman who chooses to stay with their abuser is doing so because they have Battered Spouse Syndrome. As Dutton notes, “[a] particular battered woman’s reactions may or may not meet criteria to warrant a clinical diagnosis.”
Nonetheless, a lot of us probably believe that Janay Palmer is nothing short of insane for choosing to stay with a man that hit her hard enough to make her lose consciousness in an elevator. I personally cannot imagine a situation in which I would stay romantically involved with someone after suffering the type of violence that Janay Palmer suffered.
But I’m not Janay Palmer. None of us are. And it’s pretty clear by now that if we actually respected Janay Palmer’s wishes, Ray Rice would still be playing football for the Ravens, as much as that chafes our innate sense of justice.
This is probably an unsatisfying answer for a lot of people, because it feels like a “do-nothing” response. It feels like Ray Rice would be getting let off the hook for something that is beyond question absolutely awful. It’s frustrating to think that there’s no way to punish Ray Rice without hurting Janay Palmer, indirectly or otherwise.
But the bottom line is that Janay Palmer is the victim here, not us. And as much as it may confuse or bewilder us, she is screaming from the rooftops that she wants everyone to leave her and her husband alone. I think Ray Rice is a scumbag for what he’s done, but I also don’t want Janay Palmer to suffer more than she already has. And if punishing Ray Rice will cause Janay even more pain—and she’s telling us pretty clearly that is is—then maybe that’s not the best way to address the situation.
Recently, video surfaced of Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice knocking out cold his then-fiance, Janay Palmer in an elevator. Ray Rice was given a 2-game suspension, which many people decried as far too lenient. Some critics pointed out that other NFL players have received year-long suspensions for smoking marijuana, which most people would agree is much, much less awful than nearly killing your fiance in an elevator.
The Baltimore Ravens, perhaps taking advantage of a morality clause in Ray Rice’s contract, have now announced that they are terminating Ray Rice’s contract. They were no doubt motivated by the backlash and outrage over what many feel was an incredibly lenient 2-game suspension for an unquestionably criminal act.
While Ray Rice’s actions against his wife are terrible, I would like to suggest that terminating Ray Rice is not in Janay Palmer’s best interests. In fact, terminating Ray Rice is probably worse for Janay Palmer’s welfare than if Ray Rice were allowed to continue playing football.
Domestic Violence is a complicated issue. Victims often continue to rely on the abusive partner for emotional and financial support after the violence subsides. This means that authorities are often forced to choose between punishing the offender, or being lenient so that the offender can continue to provide support for the victim. Punishing the abuser by incarcerating them or taking away their means of generating income can often make the victim’s situation worse. One prosecutor who deals with domestic violence cases put it this way:
Sometimes these women don’t have the best jobs and they don’t have a lot of opportunities. If the man’s working and supporting their children and then gets arrested and the paycheck stops coming in, these women have a very hard time financially. They are forced to get a some [sic] job waitressing tables, and then whose [sic] going to watch the kids? I’ve had victims come in that have been honest and say, “Look, he’s paying the rent, I can’t afford to not have him around.”
A judge who deals with domestic violence cases in his courtroom (at the link above) agreed:
Victims often tell me that their abuser is their families’ only source of food and money. If they pursue the case, they realize that he may be going to jail and then hell lose his job, and they need to make ends meet so they come to me and say they will not cooperate.
Janay Palmer married Ray Rice a month after Rice knocked her out in an elevator. She appeared beside Ray Rice when he apologized at a press conference, and is still married to him today. The fact that she chose to remain with Ray Rice after a brutal assault suggests that at a bare minimum, she is still relying on Ray Rice for the financial benefits that flow from his contract with the NFL. Terminating Ray Rice doesn’t just hurt Ray Rice. It hurts Janay Palmer as well.
Does this mean Ray Rice should go unpunished for brutally assaulting Janay Palmer? Not necessarily. But the question of what Ray Rice’s “punishment” should actually look like is not as simple as terminating his contract and throwing him in jail. In cases involving domestic violence, it has to be remembered that harshly punishing the abuser is not always in the best interests of the victim. Often times, you cannot punish the abuser without making the victim’s situation worse. If Janay Palmer chooses to remain married to Ray Rice, then punishing him by removing his livelihood hurts her as well. It may feel right to us that Ray Rice is getting his contract revoked, but Janay Palmer is the one who has to deal with the consequences, not us.
“Here’s your Week 1 insight: Beware of running backs playing in hot weather. When the temperature is above 80 degrees, the top 32 RBs from 2013 average 26% fewer fantasy points than their historical weekly average. Check your weather reports and plan accordingly!”—And this is why I love fantasy football. Who the hell even keeps *track* of this stuff?
Another Journalist Dies, But Military Intervention Is No Solution
With the apparent death of another journalist at the hands of ISIS, it seems like a good time to reflect on what these executions are actually intended to achieve, and how world governments should respond to it.
Sensational violence is a tool used by extremist groups to draw large countries into guerrilla-style conflicts that they historically cannot win. Asymmetrical warfare is the bailiwick of non-state actors. It is why the U.S. lost in Vietnam, Russia lost in Afghanistan, and why despite spending billions of dollars and over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither peace nor political stability have been achieved in either country. It is the same reason why rockets continue to rain down on Israel despite decades of military attempts to route militants out of Gaza, and also why the British government was unable to bring the IRA to heel through its military might alone.
American military involvement will serve as an accelerant to and a prolonger of this Iraqi civil war. American bombs, bullets and dollars will further strengthen the bond between Sunnis and extremist groups like ISIS, increasing Sunni desperation by intensifying their backs to the wall dilemma and justifying the propaganda and rhetoric of ISIS: a narrative of a Western campaign of international subjugation enacted through Shia, Kurdish and Iraqi ethnic minority puppets. Further, such American support will strengthen the resolve of the al-Maliki government not to reform and not to address Sunni grievances. With the renewed backing of American might and money, al-Maliki’s government will feel no need to restore a balance of power in Iraq and will continue a policy of disenfranchisement and marginalization of the Sunni population and leadership. Only by withholding support to al-Maliki’s government, and not by sending advisers, tomahawk missiles or cash, will there be a reason for al-Maliki’s government to negotiate and seek peace.
The Iraqi and Kurdish militaries are fighting ISIS, but peace will only be achieved in Iraq when Sunnis are given a meaningful opportunity to participate in Iraq’s Democratic institutions. Until that happens, groups like ISIS will always be able to take advantage of the resentment of oppressed political minorities in order to create an atmosphere of instability and violence. Extremism breeds in places where political oppression and poverty are rampant. Give people access to public institutions, and lift them up economically, and groups like ISIS begin to atrophy and die for lack of a receptive audience. Extremists still exist in wealthy countries, but they don’t have enough resources or influence to conquer and lord over an entire jurisdiction. That alone is sufficient to show the effectiveness of economic prosperity and political enfranchisement over military solutions, which can never succeed at stamping out extremist movements without a political solution that enfranchises people and lifts them out of the desperate economic conditions that so often serve as a breeding ground for radical violent movements.
Israeli officials and advocates often ask critics of their foreign policy “what would you do if you had rockets raining down on you?” This question has a tendency to stump people who aren’t prepared for it. John Jackson at +972, however, has provided an excellent response by drawing a parallel to the conduct of the British Government during the worst years of IRA violence:
During the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland, civilian deaths were caused by the British Army, the Loyalists and Republican paramilitaries. But for the purpose of answering the Israeli question it is useful to look at the major bombing campaigns by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that took place across England. These campaigns were far more destructive than anything coming out of Gaza. There were approximately 10,000 bomb attacks during the conflict – about 16,000 if you include failed attempts. A significant proportion of them were on English soil.
A time bomb was detonated at Brighton’s Grand Hotel, where Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet were staying for the Conservative Party conference. Thatcher narrowly escaped death, five people were killed (including an MP) and 31 injured. The Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, his grandson and three others were blown up while fishing off the coast of Ireland. In Manchester city center a 3,300-pound bomb caused £1.1 billion (today’s value) in damage and injured 212 people. The Bishopsgate bombing in the city of London cost £350 million to repair and injured 44 people. And, as those of us who lived through those times will remember, there were numerous bombs in pubs and shops, on high streets and shopping centers, in train stations and on the London underground. The thousands of rockets fired by Hamas over the last month have killed six civilians in Israel, along with 64 soldiers, while the IDF has killed 2,104 Palestinians, including at least 500 children.
Despite the effectiveness of the IRA campaign, it would have been politically inconceivable and morally unjustifiable for the Royal Air Force to bomb the streets and homes of the republican communities in North or West Belfast – the communities from which the IRA came and amongst which it lived. It would have been unacceptable in Britain and, indeed, to the U.S. government at the time. The British army and intelligence services did terrible things in Northern Ireland, but such a wholesale massacre of civilians would have been unconscionable. The answer to the question of what would you do? In Britain’s case at least, faced with a destructive bombing campaign, it did not respond by sending in warplanes to bomb schools, hospitals or terraced houses.
Scores of brutality lawsuits are filed against the Philadelphia Police Department every year. But it’s unusual for an officer, a sergeant no less, to make those charges.
In a suit filed Monday, Sgt. Brandon Ruff did just that.
Ruff claims he was roughed up by seven officers from the 35th District when he attempted to anonymously turn in three handguns at the precinct. Ruff, who says he suffered two sprained wrists and two sprained shoulders in the fracas, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
Ruff, an eight-year veteran assigned to the 16th precinct, said the acts of the 35th District officers “were committed willfully, wantonly, maliciously, intentionally, outrageously, deliberately and/or by conduct so egregious as to shock the conscience.”
The City of Philadelphia, he said in his civil suit, encourages and is deliberately indifferent to the abuse of police powers. Among other accusations, Ruff claims the city tolerates officers who misrepresent facts in order to establish probable cause, and allows officers to have persons falsely arrested or maliciously prosecuted. He also asserts the city permits the continued employment of officers who are psychologically or emotionally unfit to serve.
“An incredible paper came out this year [which was] the largest empirical study of policy decisions made by our government in the history of political science. What they found was when the preferences of economic elites, and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact on public policy…Madison in Federalist 52 said we would be given a government that would be “dependent on the people alone,” which he explained in Federalist 57 would be “not the rich more than the poor.” That promise has been broken in our tradition.”—Lawrence Lessig
With regard to the one state solution post, do you think the areas under Palestinian control would be economically viable as part of a two state solution?
The primary factor for economic viability in a two-state solution involves Israeli control over airspace, water, and land borders of the Palestinian state. If Palestinians were allowed to (1) trade freelyamongst themselves and their neighbors, and (2) develop their land without it repeatedlybeingdestroyed by the Israeli government, then Palestinian territories would be very economically viable. But so long as we have a situation where the Israeli government gets to decide who or what is allowed into the Palestinian territories, and is also allowed virtually unrestricted authority to destroy Palestinian infrastructure in the name of national security, then a Palestinian state will never be independently economically viable.
I’m not trying to suggest that Israel doesn’t have valid security concerns about what crosses the border with Palestinian territories, or militant operations within them. However, restricting access to consumer goods and repeatedly destroying Palestinian infrastructure is counterproductive from a security standpoint for Israel: people living in the Palestinian territories feel oppressed because Israel is denying them access to the consumer goods necessary for them to thrive, and also destroying their livelihood. This creates political resentment towards Israel, which breeds support for militancy and extremism. So in order for any long-term peace to ever be established, Israel has to be willing to lift trade restrictions, stop blowing up Palestinian infrastructure in a counterproductive effort to fight militants, and give Palestinians complete andunexceptional sovereignty over their putative state. Anything less will simply be the same emperor in new clothes.
The State of Israel should annex Judea and Samaria and grant full citizenship to all Palestinians. Demography is not a numerical predestination, it is an expression of the joie de vivre of the nation. When a nation is happy, its number of children grows, that’s why I’m not scared of demography. Whoever can’t live with Arabs is not a partner of mine.
I trust the Arab public in Israel, it has proved itself. I have no fear of a bi-national state, the solution is not B-class citizens nor high fences. It is a simple and humane solution, Palestinians must be granted full rights and should vote for the Knesset. Whoever truly wants peace, should agree to accept more Arab citizens to his state, and whoever is part of the State of Israel whose borders need to be between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for many reasons, needs to be a citizen with full rights and obligations.
There is no question that this solution would be a more peaceful resolution if the majority of Palestinians were willing to go along with it. This is also refreshing to hear from an Israeli nationalist who no doubt wants Israel to maintain its character as a Jewish nation. In the past, this has meant nothing less than discrimination against Arabs and outright refusal of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Annexing both the West Bank and Gaza would create a sort of de facto Right of Return, and quite possibly create the dreaded demographic threat to Israel’s Jewish majority, which many feel is necessary to maintaining Israel’s character as a Jewish state.
The problem with this particular one-state solution, however, is that it forces millions of people to accept the sovereignty of a nation that has been oppressing them for decades. Politically speaking, it’s not very feasible. In order for a one-state solution to have any chance of working, in my opinion, the new bi-national state would have to be a new state built from the ground up with a bi-national identity. Everybody will have to feel like they are on equal footing. It can’t merely be a state for Jews that tolerates non-Jews, but a state built for everyone that lives there. Simply annexing the West Bank and Gaza, and granting Palestinians full citizenship (whether they want it or not) would probably lead to an open revolt. Palestinians have to feel that they are not being ruled or conquered, but being given a genuine right to self-determination in the new state. Without accounting for this reality, a one-state solution will never work.
Another example of how the failure to hold police accountable for misconduct robs taxpayers of millions of dollars:
Seven Philadelphia police narcotics officers at the center of a federal corruption probe are also named in scores of civil lawsuits that add more claims of thievery, intimidation and brutality to those described in their criminal indictments, according to court records.
The potential financial impact of these suits, along with any others that may be filed, could expose the City of Philadelphia to millions of dollars in damages or settlements.
Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, John Speiser, Michael Spicer, Linwood Norman and Perry Betts allegedly formed an out-of-control band of rogue officers who conducted illegal stops and searches as pretext to rob people, particularly those they believed to be drug dealers, according to the indictment filed last month. Jeffrey Walker, who is named in the indictment but charged separately, has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his role.
Those same officers are the subjects of at least 81 pending federal lawsuits filed between November 2011 and this month, according to a search of court records. At least 78 of the suits also name the City of Philadelphia as a defendant, claiming the police department’s alleged failure to properly train, supervise or discipline officers fostered a culture of indifference to constitutional rights.
78 different federal lawsuits naming the city. The taxpayers of the city stand to lose millions as a result of police misconduct.
I know so many people who think they’re taxes are too high, but always seem to give police the benefit of the doubt when they come under scrutiny in the media. What they don’t realize is that the cost of bad policing comes directly out of their pocket. If they really care about their tax burden, they should also care about holding police accountable when they screw up. Bad policing is costing them money.
A Georgia man died after police shocked him with a Taser as many as 13 times because he said he was too tired to walk due to a foot chase, his attorney said this week.
At a press conference on Tuesday, attorney Chris Stewart said that police records showed that East Point officers had discharged their Tasers 13 times to make Gregory Towns, who was handcuffed, get up and walk.
“This is a direct violation of their own rules,” Stewart explained, according to WSB-TV. “You cannot use a Taser to escort or prod a subject.”
“They used their Tasers as a cattle prod on Mr. Towns.”
Stewart said that he pieced together what led up to Towns’ April 11 death using official city records and eyewitness accounts.
“He wasn’t cursing. He wasn’t being abusive. He was saying, ‘I’m tired,’” the attorney pointed out.
Taser logs showed that Sgt. Marcus Eberhart fired his Taser 10 times, and officer Howard Weems pulled the trigger three times. However, the logs did not indicate how many times the Taser made contact with Towns.
In all, records indicated a total shock time of 47 seconds. Stewart called the situation “indefensible.”
Autopsy results obtained by WSB-TV showed that Towns’ death was ruled a homicide because the Taser shocks — combined with physical activity and heart disease — contributed to his death.
But Police Benevolent Association lawyers representing Weems continued to insist that the officer’s actions did not cause Towns to die.
Attorney Dale Preiser issued a statement saying that the “use of drive stun to gain compliance is permitted under federal and Georgia law.”
Stewart said that he would file a lawsuit against the city this week.
“Every person of color in this country has faced an indignity, from the ridiculous, to the grotesque, to the sometimes fatal, at some point in—I’m gonna say the last couple of hours—because of their skin color. We live in New York City, a “liberal bastion.” Recently we sent a producer and a correspondent to a building in this liberal bastion. The producer—White—dressed in what can only be described as homeless elf attire, and a pretty strong 5 o’clock-from-the-previous-week shadow, strode confidently into the building, preceding our humble correspondent—a gentleman of color—dressed resplendently in a tailored suit. Who do you think was stopped? Let me give you a hint: the Black guy. And that shit happens all the time. All of it. Race is there, and it is constant. And you’re tired of hearing about it? Imagine how exhausting it must be living it.”—John Stewart
I hate headlines like this. The kid pled guilty to misdemeanor trespass and criminal mischief, and did his time. He hasn’t done anything since except miss a meeting with his probation officer. There’s plenty of people with unpaid parking tickets who are also “wanted” by the state, but we’re not assassinating their character on national news websites.
A few days ago some 300 Holocaust survivors placedan ad in the New York Timescondemning the massacre in Gaza. My colleague from Local Call, John Brown, has selected a few of the responseson Facebookthat Israelis posted in response to the ad.
I’ve translated a few from John’s selection:
David Cohen: Those aren’t Holocaust survivors those are probably collaborators with the Nazis.
Shmulik Halphon: He’s invited to go back to Auschwitz.
Itzik Levy: These are survivors who were Kapos. Leftist traitors. That’s why they live abroad and not in the Jewish State.
Vitali Guttman: Enough, they should die already. They survived the Holocaust only to do another Holocaust to Israel in global public opinion?
Meir Dahan: Now wonder that Hitler murdered 6 million Jews because of people like you you’re not even Jews you’re disgusting people a disgrace to humanity and so are your offspring you are trash.
Asher Solomon: It’s a shame Hitler didn’t finish the job.
Katy Morali: Holocaust survivors who think like this are invited to go die in the gas chambers.
Yafa Ashraf: Shitty Ashkenazis you are the Nazis.
The fact that there are Jews who can say this about other Jews—particularly Jews who actually endured what is generally regarded as the most catastrophic event in Jewish history—will never cease to cause me to shake my head.
Victor White was patted down twice, hands cuffed behind his back, yet somehow, he still managed to produce a gun in the back of a police cruiser and shoot himself in the back, according to the police report. The coroner’s report contradicts the police report, and says he shot himself in the chest. Nonetheless, the coroner still ruled it a suicide, because it was possible that due to his “body habitus,” Victor White could have theoretically manipulated a gun and shot himself from the front. White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue. What a surprise.
This may actually be the most facially suspect police report and autopsy I’ve ever seen. The parents should bring a § 1983 claim. There’s more than enough evidence here for a jury to award damages. There’s a clear 4th amendment excessive force claim to be made here, a 14th amendment Due Process claim, and also potentially an 8th amendment “cruel & unusual” claim as well. So qualified immunity won’t prevent the suit from going forward.