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.
Via Melissa on Twitter, here is a report written by the Arch City Defenders, a public defender office in the St. Louis area. It states that the population of Ferguson is 21,203 residents, and in 2013, the “Ferguson Municipal Court disposed of 24,532 warrants and 12,018 cases, or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.” Here is a screen grab of the relevant page of the report:
Ferguson is 67% Black, but most of its police force is mostly White. I can’t imagine how this might cause a problematic racial dynamic to emerge in such a heavily policed community.
According to CNN, Officer Wilson did not fracture his eye socket, as Fox News and others have reported:
Two days ago, Fox News ran an anonymously sourced story claiming that Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri police officer identified as the shooter of Michael Brown, suffered “severe facial injuries” including a broken eye socket during the altercations.
Now, CNN is saying that story is false. Here are tweets by producer Julian Cummings:
This is especially relevant to my recent discussion of The Gateway Pundit’s irresponsible reporting about Officer Wilson’s alleged injury, who continues to claim that Wilson did suffer a fractured eye socket, citing to a Washington Post article which mentions a “family friend” of Officer Wilson as the source. And since the WaPo article confirms what The Gateway Pundit believes to be true, WaPo is obviously the more credible source, right?
The fair and balanced thing to do in a situation like this is to simply point out that there are conflicting reports from different sources, which there clearly are. And if it turns out that the CNN source is right, I’m sure The Gateway Pundit will do a follow-up post retracting his original statement. I’m sure he’ll get right on that.
The Gateway Pundit (hereafter TGP) has published a post discussing the orbital bone fracture that Darren Wilson allegedly suffered in his altercation with Michael Brown. In that post, TGP includes an image of a CT-Scan showing an orbital bone fracture, which is displayed in a manner that makes it easy to assume that it’s a picture of Officer Darren Wilson’s head. House-of-gnar explains:
I saw [the image] and couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve seen it before but then I remembered, I saw it in a slideshow in an Anatomy and Physiology lab last spring, we were talking about how the body registers pain on a cellular level. These blogs most likely got the image from the reputable Jim Hoft.
Here’s the alleged CT scan of officer Darren Wilson:
Look at the bottom right corner, what could that be that’s blurred out ?
Noooooo. Supposedly these pics have been in circulation on the web since around 2007. That means either :
a) Darren Wilson is a time traveler
b) Darren Wilson went to the University of Iowa for a CT scan.
c) My professor was a time traveler
d) Jim Hoft and the Ferguson PD are being *gasps* deceptive and dishonest.
If you look at TGP’s blog post, it doesn’t ever actually say that this is Darren Wilson’s CT-Scan. But it’s placed in a way that could easily make a reasonable person assume that it was. TGP should have made it clear that this was an example of an orbital fracture, and not a CT-Scan of Darren Wilson’s head. TGP’s failure to do so is either a negligent oversight, or simply bad faith attempt to manipulate the reader. Evidence of the latter is shown in the fact that TGP appears to have purposefully scribbled out the date stamp in the lower right corner showing that this photo is from the Univ. of Iowa. And given that basically all of TGP’s coverage of this issue to date has involved disclosing only information which is favorable to the Ferguson PD and Officer Wilson, it’s hard not to assume that TGP was being intentionally dishonest here. Which, you know, is something you probably shouldn’t do if you actually care about reporting the truth.
Monica Singh rejected several marriage proposals from her “friend,” so he retaliated by throwing acid at her, melting away features of her face and causing permanent damage. Monica’s story is not unique. Despite new, stronger legislation in India and Pakistan to protect women from this crime, very few cases actually come to prosecution. Some NGOs even say acid attacks are on the rise. So how should these laws be enforced, and will they actually deter acid violence from happening?
At the link, the following infographic is shown:
As you can see, many countries have past very strong laws against acid attacks. But enforcement of these laws is inconsistent, according to activists in the affected countries. At the link, some suggest efforts to root out public corruption. Others say that the culture must change to reflect the value of women’s lives. A change in culture would motivate police officers (who are themselves members of the society they police) to take these attacks more seriously when they do occur.
I have always felt that acid attacks on women in certain South Asian and Middle Eastern countries are one of the most horrific crimes against the person one can conceive of. The pain, the scarring, the life-long disfigurement, the amount of physical and psychological suffering these women endure is unimaginable. And in many cases, it seems to happen for no other reason than the hurt feelings of a man. I hope to live long enough to see this terrible phenomenon become a rarity, or preferably, an artifact of the past.
Holder recounted to the group of 50 how he was stopped in New Jersey twice, accused of speeding as officers searched his car.
“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” he said.
Holder also recalled how he and his cousin were stopped in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., while heading to a movie, and his cousin started “mouthing off.”
“I’m like, ‘This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.’ I’m angry and upset. We negotiate the whole thing and we walk to our movie,” the attorney general said. “At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid. I was a federal prosecutor. I worked at the United States Department of Justice. So I’ve confronted this myself.”
Fans of the "Culture of Poverty" thesis like to say that Black people wouldn’t be harassed by police so often if they didn’t “sag their jeans” or “dress like thugs.” But the fact is that you can be a high-ranking, suit-wearing, law-degree-having professional, and cops will still target you. It may be the case that Holder was actually speeding when he was pulled over. But consider this: I am a White male and I’ve been pulled over by police numerous times in my life for traffic violations, including speeding. I’ve been pulled over by city cops, county cops, and state cops. On most of these occasions, I was dressed casually, and my car was a mess. Do you want to know how many times my car has been searched by police?
There are a lot of strange responses pouring out of the tubes of the internet regarding Michael Brown’s shooting and the protests in Ferguson (e.g. “Police have difficult jobs!; “Black-on-Black Crime!”; “What about White victims!?”; “But he might have robbed a convenience store!”; etc.). Tensions have begun to ease, but this story will no doubt continue to be a visible as the investigation into Michael Brown’s death continues. So I have decided to put together a list of talking points to address some of the stranger criticisms I’ve seen. Please feel free to use this post as a resource to talk to people who don’t seem to understand why people got upset about Michael Brown’s Death, or about the official response to the Ferguson protests.
"It’s About Race"
People are upset about Michael Brown’s death because there is a well-studied, documented tendency for police to resort to lethal force more quickly and more frequently against Black suspects than they do against similarly situated White suspects. At the previous link, Law Professor Cynthia Lee states that “[a]lthough Blacks represent approximately 13 percent of the population in the United States, in [some] parts of the country they constitute 60 to 85 percent of the victims of police shootings.” In practice, this means that White kids who do something stupid in America are more likely to be given an opportunity to go through the system, learn from their mistakes, and move on with their life. Black kids who do something stupid, on the other hand, are more likely to be seriously injured or killed by police. That’s why people are upset. So even if it’s true that Michael Brown stole cigars from a convenience store, people still have a right to be angry.
"It’s About Double Standards"
Some have deemed it appropriate to bring up “Black-on-Black” crime when discussing Michael Brown. ”Black-on-Black” crime has nothing to do with Michael Brown’s shooting. He was shot by a police officer, not a private citizen. This is relevant because, as indicated above, there ample evidence that police officers are more likely to use lethal force against Black suspects than White suspects. Furthermore, to the extent that it couldbe relevant, there is no unique “Black-on-Black” crime epidemic. 86% of homicides against White victims involved White perpetrators, while 94% of Black homicides involve Black perpetrators. In other words, the vast majority of violent crime is intra-racial. There is nothing uniquely remarkable about “Black-on-Black” crime. This is a double standard that people apply to Black communities because the media chooses to portray Black-on-Black violence as a unique problem, despite the fact that White homicide victims are also likely to be killed by a White perpetrator.
At this point some may deem it relevant to bring up the fact that Black intra-racial homicides occur at a greater per capita rate than White intra-racial homicides. While this is true, it’s still not relevant to Michael Brown’s shooting. Again, we’re talking about a police shooting, where there are different variables at play. The circumstances under which police initiate violence against a private citizen are often different than the circumstances under which private citizens initiate violence against each other.
But to the extent that it could be relevant, the higher rate of violence in Black communities is largely a function of structural poverty, which is often caused by aggressive law enforcement of fine-bearing violations in poor communities, and also by the economic incentives created by the Drug War. Aggressive enforcement of fine-bearing violations drains drains economic capital from poor communities, while aggressive enforcement and punishment of non-violent drug offenses destroys economic opportunity. This creates a vicious cycle in poor communities, where the stigma of a criminal conviction can make it difficult to find adequate employment. This in turn creates a situation where criminal activity is often the only way out of poverty for many residents of poor communities, or to make ends meet on a short-term basis during periods of extended unemployment. One former drug dealer put it this way:
Well.. I’m 24, i sell drugs (prescriptions are my specialty) and its because I lost a good job, i have a 3 week old daughter, a wife (who doesn’t make shit) and a house- if I don’t sell, i loose it all. its not about an ‘ipod or sneakers’ its about paying bills, and buying formula…
Since participants in the drug market obviously cannot rely on the police or the courts to enforce their commercial exchanges, they must resort to violence. As a practical matter, this means a lot of people wind up getting shot, since there is no system for determining civil liability, or legal tools to enforce economic obligations. In civil society, violence is diffused by a civil court system that offers dispute resolution by allowing uninterested third parties to determine questions of fact, and provide common standards by which to resolve disputes. In the underground drug market, this system of dispute resolution is off-limits. So every dispute must instead be solved with the threat of violence, which has predictable consequences.
This type of aggressive policing, which creates this underground economy is not practiced in most majority-White communities. Drug enforcement in particular tends to be focused in poor Black communities, despite the fact that surveys show that Whites and Blacks use illicit drugs at similar rates. If suburban White communities were having economic capital drained by aggressive enforcement of fine-bearing violations, and economic opportunities denied by the criminal records which accompany aggressive law enforcement, you would probably see a similar increase in the per capita rate of violent crime in many White communities as well. But typically, this only happens in poor Black communities, so its poor Black communities where these dynamics play out. In other words, the higher rate of per capita violent crime in poor Black communities is a result of external forces being exerted on them by aggressive law enforcementpractices in their communities. It has much less to do with “Black culture” and much more to do with the economic incentives which aggressive law enforcement in Black communities has created.
But again, this really isn’t relevant to Michael Brown’s shooting. So let’s move on.
"It’s About The Lack Of Consequences"
While police may have a rough job, they are also rarely held accountable when they break the law or violate peoples’ rights. One person who studied officer-involved shootings in the State of Wisconsin found that “In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, we could not find a single ruling by a police department, an inquest or a police commission that a shooting was unjustified.” In New Jersey, Internal Affairs Divisions were recently found to dismiss 99% of all complaints against police officers. A study of the Chicago police department published in 2008 found that “the odds are two in 1000 that a Chicago police officer will receive any meaningful discipline as a result of being charged with abusing a civilian,” or 0.2%.
Police are often protected from criminal liability because prosecutors are afraid to alienate themselves from the police force. Police can also escape civil liability for their actions through something called Qualified Immunity. This is a legal doctrine created by the U.S. Supreme Court which allows a judge to provide public officials with immunity from lawsuits in situations where a Constitutional right is not “clearly established,” and a “reasonably prudent official” wouldn’t have known they were violating the Constitution.
Many former police officers have written about how common it is for police to look the other way when other officers break the law or violate someone’s rights. Here is Mike Quinn, a retired Minneapolis police officer with 23 years of experience in law enforcement:
"In a nationally representative telephone survey of 925 randomly selected American police officers from 121 departments, 52.4 percent of the officers agreed, ‘it is not unusual for a police officer to turn a blind eye to improper conduct by other officers.” In that same study, 61 percent disagreed with the statement “Police officers always report serious criminal violations invoving abuse of authority by fellow officers.” A surprising 6 in 10 (60 percent) indicated that police officers do not always report even serious criminal violations that involve the abuse of authority by fellow officers. (Walking With the Devil, p. 4).”
"Cops lie…as any defense attorney (or candid supervisor or chief) will attest, a good deal of "bad lying" goes on in police work, by cops who don’t seem to know the meaning of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…Senior officers and peers were always making sure we “got our stories straight.”…I don’t remember actually lying on the stand. ButI do remember composing some “creative” arrest reports.” (Breaking Rank, p. 129, 133).
"The Office of Professional Standards (OPS) documented a trend when dealing with complaints of official misconduct and excessive-force beefs lodged by the general public that increased over the years. This trend favors cops…David Fogel, the chief administrator of OPS, said in a 1987 memo: "The troops love OPS. It actually operates to immunize police from internal discipline, increases their overtime, leads to an enormous ‘paper storm,’ and has institutionalized lying. I have come ot the conclusion that OPS gives the appearance of formal justice but actually helps to institutionalize subterfuge and injustice.” (Brotherhood of Corruption, p. 286–87).
So while police may have a tough job, there is plenty of evidence that police have relative impunity for their mistakes and bad acts. Most police can expect to be held accountable for precisely none of their bad decisions. This lack of accountability upsets a lot of people, and is compounding the anger that many residents feel over what happened in Ferguson.
"It’s About The Media"
The national media have created a very inaccurate picture of what’s actually happening in Ferguson. If you only follow national media outlets, you’d probably think that Ferguson is a “war zone” rife with violence and looting. Nothing could be further from the truth. A private security contractor named Asymmetrical Solutions was recently hired by a professional journalist to escort the latter into Ferguson. At the request of the journalist, Asymmetrical Solutions recorded their observations of the situation in Ferguson on its website:
In our time inside the Ferguson area, we came into ancillary contact with numerous demonstrators and protestors who did not seem to have any commitment to violence or chaos, but only wanted to peacefully have their opinion heard or report on the matters at hand. It seems a few bad actors are being treated as the whole.
The overwhelming majority of the protests have been peaceful. Furthermore, many of the more gruesome injuries police have inflicted on protesters have not been covered by national news outlets. Which brings me to my next point.
"It’s About The Disproportionate Response"
The reaction to protests has demonstrated the problem with a militarized police force: violence often begets more violence. When Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson came to Ferguson, he did not have an APC, or tear gas, or an assault rifle. He came in his regular uniform, and said that he would walk with the protesters to ensure both their safety and the safety of those around him. Overnight, tensions eased. But local police could not resist breaking out the tear gas and the armored vehicles once more, which unsurprisingly, led to more clashes with protesters, and more violence clashes with protesters.
At this point, some may point out the fact that the protesters are breaking a recently-imposed curfew, and the police are required to enforce the curfew by getting the protesters to disperse. This brings me to my next point.
"It’s About Undermining The Foundation Of Democracy"
All of this is offensive to Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. Journalists should never be afraid to cover a news story because they are afraid of being arrested, injured, or killed by law enforcement. Businesses should never be forced to close by police officers on the whims of law enforcement. And law-abiding citizens should be able to come and go as they please, regardless of what time it is. I should not be penalized from enjoying my liberty so that the job of police can be made a little easier. The entire point of having police in the first place is to preserve the social benefits of civil society by enforcing the laws which have been put in place to preserve those benefits. When the authorities begin using police power to deny those benefits to law-abiding citizens, they are undermining the Social Contract in a very fundamental way.
People are upset about Michael Brown’s death because it fits into a pattern of cases where police resort to lethal force more quickly against Black citizens than they do against White citizens. They are upset because the media has selectively leaked portions of a surveillance tape that purports to show Michael brown robbing a convenience store, yet nobody has positively identified the person in the video as Michael Brown. People are upset because this shooting takes place against the backdrop of a culture of impunity within law enforcement institutions across America, where even obvious, admitted misconduct is often met with a brief suspension at most. People are upset because the police response to the protests has been overwhelming and excessive, and has actually encouraged more violence by making some of the protesters feel like they’re being oppressed and prevented from exercising their rights. People are upset because the national media outlets are painting an inaccurate picture of the situation in Ferguson, which has led many people to assume that most of the protesters are violent criminals, which is not the case. People are also upset because journalists are being arrested, tear-gassed, and various undemocratic strategies have been used to try to quell the protests, including a unilaterally imposed curfew and a no-fly zone.
So there are a lot of good reasons why people are upset. When all the pieces fall into place, we may come to learn that Michael Brown did attack Officer Wilson, and that he used lethal force against Brown because Officer Wilson feared for his life. But that hasn’t stopped numerous people from making unfounded assumptions about who Michael Brown is, what he has done, or what the motivations of the Officer who shot him were. State prosecutors are getting ready to present evidence to a Grand Jury. The fact that they even agreed to seek an indictment is enough to suggest that there’s probable cause to proceed against Officer Wilson for at least a negligent homicide. But it is extremely important to remember that prosecutors may not have bothered to do this if it wasn’t for the public reaction to Michael Brown’s shooting. More often than not, widespread protests are what it takes for victims of police shootings—especially Black victims—to even get their foot in the door of the justice system, much less a conviction. If the protests have served no other purpose, they have motivated the authorities to take a serious look at whether Officer Wilson actually did anything wrong, which may not have happened in the absence of these protests.
“No one in Israel really talks about the killing of innocent Palestinians anymore. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us. …I’ve been writing for years about what this country is turning into before my eyes. The total lack of empathy for suffering on the other side is a result of deeply ingrained racism. In my eyes the Israeli response, or shall I say the lack of it, to the recent massacres in Gaza is the epitome of the unraveling of Israeli society over the past decade.”—Ami Kaufman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried last week to hide from cabinet ministers the draft of a cease-fire agreement drawn up by Egypt. A senior Israeli official said that during last Thursday evening’s cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman confronted Netanyahu, showing him the copy of the Egyptian proposal that he, Lieberman, had received, and demanded an explanation.
The Israeli official said Lieberman surprised Netanyahu with this revelation. This was the first that the other cabinet ministers had heard that Israel had received a draft cease-fire agreement from the Egyptians, and they demanded copies of their own so they could review it.
A stormy atmosphere ensued and Netanyahu found himself on the defensive. The official said Netanyahu told the cabinet members that it was only a proposal, one of many that had been updated again and again in previous days.
"I didn’t say ‘yes’ to this draft and for now we do not accept it," he told the ministers. At one point Netanyahu exited the cabinet meeting to speak with some visiting mayors from the south. That get-together was to last only a few minutes, yet Netanyahu stretched it out to more than an hour. Eventually Lieberman and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon lost their patience and left the cabinet meeting. It was decided to adjourn and continue the following morning.
When the ministers entered the cabinet room Friday morning, Netanyahu had no choice but to present the Egyptian proposal to them. He told the cabinet members that he was rejecting it because it did not answer Israel’s security demands.
And of course by security demands, Netanyahu means permanent military control and jurisdiction over Palestinian territory, which he wants even under a 2-state solution. So now, he hides ceasefire proposals from his cabinet, and has a negotiating position which is acceptable to precisely no one on the Palestinian side. It’s hard to see how anyone could seriously suggest this man is devoted to peace.
Why Darren Wilson Likely Won't Be Prosecuted For Shooting Michael Brown
The investigation of Michael Brown’s shooting is still ongoing. But there are a couple recent developments which suggest that Darren Wilson will probably not be prosecuted, or if he is, he will very likely be acquitted.
The Blaze is reporting that, according to a local St. Louis reporter, there are more than a dozen witnesses who are corroborating Darren Wilson’s version of events. The Gateway Pundit is also now claiming that, according to two local St. Louis sources, Darren Wilson suffered a fractured orbital bone during his confrontation with Michael Brown.
I don’t know if either of these things are true. The Ferguson police department has been discredited more than once recently, and there’s no way to verify The Gateway Pundit’s sources. It also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that they wouldn’t have disclosed Wilson’s injuries at the press conference where they identified Darren Wilson as the shooter. So both of these reports seem a little suspect.
But if it turns out that both of these things are true, then in my opinion, the prospects of prosecuting Darren Wilson are very slim.
The question here, for legal purposes, is not whether Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and killed him. There is no dispute that this occurred. The question is whether Officer Darren Wilson found himself in circumstances which provided a legal privilege to use lethal force on Michael Brown. For police officers, this generally extends to any situation in which they reasonably believe that a suspect is creating an imminent threat of serious injury or death to themselves or a third party. Such a privilege would be an affirmative defense to any criminal homicide charge.
Even if the case went to court, a dozen corroborating witnesses and a fractured orbital bone is reasonable doubt in a case like this. Even if we could magically remove the institutional racism of the criminal justice system, and the tendency for juries to forgive even blatant police misconduct, no fair-minded jury would convict someone of criminal homicide in a case where justification of lethal force is an issue, and they have documented injuries showing signs of struggle along with a dozen eyewitnesses confirming the defendant’s version of the story. Pile the institutional racism and jury-based police sympathy back on, and you have a fairly effective cocktail for inoculating Darren Wilson against prosecution.
Again, the investigation is still ongoing, and we may discover that the Ferguson police department is (once again) not being completely honest. We may also discover that Darren Wilson does not actually have a fractured orbital bone (again, why wouldn’t the Ferguson PD have released this information sooner if that’s true?). But if both of these things turn out to be true, it is highly unlikely that Darren Wilson will be prosecuted for shooting Michael Brown, absent a figurative smoking gun that hasn’t been released yet.
Not too long ago, I suggested that Israel may have triggered the Third Intifada with Operation Protective Edge. Here is more evidence of that being the case:
I have just returned from a work visit to Ramallah. I am very concerned and disturbed by what I heard from friends and colleagues there. The calm appearance of the city hides the sizzling bubbling under the surface. The West Bankis on the verge of explosion.
As an illustration of what I’ve heard from people I spoke with, on the way home I listened to some Palestinian popular radio stations. All of the songs were full of praise for Hamas and al-Qassam Brigades – “let’s hit Tel Aviv with our rockets” and much worse . It was horrible to hear the drums of war and battle calls on the radio.
I was told that scenes that haven’t appeared for years since the intifada are now all over Ramallah, Bethlehem and throughout the West Bank – street gangs of masked men with weapons calling for young people to join the Al Aqsa Brigades and other battalions – “revenge for the death of our brothers and sisters in Gaza, we are all Gaza, we are all-Qassam Brigades.”
There is no more talk of peace and two states. The discussions on the street and in the cafes are all about the end of the ceasefire and the renewal of war in Gaza. They say the Jews’ war is not against Hamas, it is against all Palestinians, and the Qassam Brigades are the only ones fighting the Zionists, who want to kill all the Palestinians.
Abbas is described almost as a public enemy. Every day, Mohammed Dahlan transmits calls against Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, from the Gulf. Dahlan and other important Fatah leaders in the West Bank are calling on Palestinian security forces to stop the security coordination with Israel and use their weapons against Israel instead. There are calls to attack settlements and to kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Back in May, after another round of peace negotiations collapsed, a frustrated U.S. diplomat blamed Israeli officials for the impasse and told the Israeli press that “I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress.” It is a sad reflection of the current state of affairs that this observation appears primed to be an accurate prediction of the future, rather than just a frustrated peace negotiator venting his frustration.
“In 129 years since police and fire commissions were created in the state of Wisconsin, we could not find a single ruling by a police department, an inquest or a police commission that a shooting was unjustified…The problem over many decades, in other words, was a near-total lack of accountability for wrongdoing; and if police on duty believe they can get away with almost anything, they will act accordingly. As a military pilot, I knew that if law professionals investigated police-related deaths like, say, the way that the National Transportation Safety Board investigated aviation mishaps, police-related deaths would be at an all time low.”—Michael Bell
Before Zaida Ramos joined Cooperative Home Care Associates, she was raising her daughter on public assistance, shuttling between dead-end office jobs, and not making ends meet. “I earned in a week what my family spent in a day,” she recalled.
After 17 years as a home health aide at Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), the largest worker-owned co-op in the United States, Ramos recently celebrated her daughter’s college graduation. She’s paying half of her son’s tuition at a Catholic school, and she’s a worker-owner in a business where she enjoys flexible hours, steady earnings, health and dental insurance, plus an annual share in the profits. She’s not rich, she says, “but I’m financially independent. I belong to a union, and I have a chance to make a difference.”
“[W]hen compared with other groups, African American protesters are more likely to draw police presence and that once police are present they are more likely to make arrests, use force and violence, and use force and violence in combination with arrests at African American protest events.”—
A 91-year-old Dutch man who was declared a Righteous Among the Nations for saving a Jew during the German occupation on Thursday returned his medal and certificate because six of his relatives were killed by an Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip last month.
In 2011, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum declared Henk Zanoli and his late mother, Johana Zanoli-Smit, Righteous Among the Nations for having saved a Jewish child, Elhanan Pinto, during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Pinto, born in 1932, was hidden by the Zanoli family from the spring of 1943 until the Allies liberated Holland in 1945. His parents perished in Nazi death camps.
“Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” he wrote.
“The great- great grandchildren of my mother have lost their [Palestinian] grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli army … For me to hold on to the honour granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza at the hands of the State of Israel.”
I think one of the saddest things about Robin Williams dying is the fact that he was as likable off-screen as he was on the stage. Many celebrities cultivate a positive public image for the sake of appearances, but when the cameras are off, they turn into douchebags. You can’t find a single bad word about this guy anywhere. Everybody who knew him says that Robin Williams was a very kind-hearted, down-to-earth guy and extremely nice to everyone around him. We didn’t just lose a great talent, but a great human being.
Highway Patrol officers — wearing no SWAT gear — arrived in Ferguson late Thursday afternoon. Cheers greeted the announcement by the head of the patrol, Capt. Ron Johnson, over a megaphone that he and his officers were “going to march with you.”
Johnson told reporters: “I understand the anger and fear the residents of Ferguson are feeling, and our police officers will respect both of them.”
Missouri Governor puts highway patrol in charge of Ferguson (X)
It’s amazing how they were able to survive the “angry mob” and even walk among them without riot gear. Could it be possible that listening to and validating black people’s concerns over the anti-black police force could actually do some good? Could treating them like real live human beings instead of insulting, threatening, terrifying, and assaulting them can actually make a difference?
Robin Williams was sober but struggling with early stages of Parkinson’s Disease at the time of his death, his wife said Thursday.
“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid,” his wife Susan Schneider said in a statement.
“Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.
“Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.
“It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”
A handful of people on Twitter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and one at The Washington Post were outraged last night that libertarians weren’t criticizing the militarized police forces in Ferguson. Paul Waldman at The Post wrote:
Senator Rand Paul, right now America’s most prominent libertarian (yes, I know, some don’t consider him a real libertarian), hasn’t said anything about the case — no public comments, no news releases, nothing on Twitter, nothing on Facebook. I contacted his office just to make sure that I hadn’t missed anything, and a press staffer told me they have no statement at this time. I also called the office of Rep. Justin Amash, known as the purest libertarian in the House, and got the same answer: he hasn’t said anything about it, and they have no statement to make. How about mustachioed libertarian TV personality John Stossel? Just a couple of weeks ago he was writing about the militarization of the police. He hasn’t said a peep about Ferguson.
Waldman’s argument, then, rests on the silence of Rand Paul and John Stossel. I agree that Paul should have issued a statement but considering he represents Kentucky and not Missouri, he’s not necessarily obligated to do so. [edit: Time published an editorial by Rand Paul on police militarization this afternoon] As for Stossel: give me a break, nobody cares what he thinks.
LTMC: It’s pretty silly to suggest that Libertarians aren’t upset about what’s happening in Ferguson. The police represent the very thing that Libertarians arguably complain about most: the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of violence in civil society. Abuse of that authority is public enemy #1 in the Libertarian worldview.
We call upon the citizens of the United States to rise up and stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. They are currently fighting for their right to peacefully protest. The media will have you believe that these protesters are looters and criminals. This is certainly not the case. As we’ve seen tonight with our own eyes, the police began preemptively striking the protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bangs. We’ve seen journalists assaulted and arrested, targeted by tear gas and rubber bullets, and told to turn off their cameras and move away or be subject to arrest. We witnessed as police threatened demonstrators to DISPERSE AND RETURN TO THEIR HOMES, and then firing tear gas in people’s own yards.
We cannot sit still and watch this happen. It is our time to get off our chairs, turn off the TV, and make ourselves heard. Let us all stand in solidarity with Mike Brown, the people of Ferguson, and every single person that was brutality murdered by so-called authority.
Anonymous plans to assist with protests by leaving our keyboards and going on the ground with the people. Our collective will join those who demonstrate on the streets. ***DAY OF RAGE, AUGUST 14TH 2014*** ________________________________________________________________________________________________ CITIES (Hours correspond with local time for each city): ________________________________________ CHICAGO - 6:00PM (Richard J Daley Center, 50 W Washington St, Chicago, Illinois 60602) DETROIT - 7:00PM (Hart Plaza, One Hart Plaza, Detroit, Michigan 48226) NEW YORK - 7:00PM (Lower Manhattan: Union Square; Upper Manhattan: By Morningside Park entrance @ 123 Street and Morningside in Harlem; Brooklyn: Fulton Park in Bed-Stuy; Queens: Baisely Pond Park, Jamaica, New York 11436) WASHINGTON D.C. - 7:00PM (Malcolm X Park, Washington, District of Columbia 20009) BOSTON - 7:00PM (INSIDE BOSTON COMMON near the corner of Beacon St and Park St in front of the Massachusetts State House) LOS ANGELES - 4:00PM (LEIMERT PLAZA PARK 4395 Leimert Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008) NEW ORLEANS - 6:00PM (Lafayette Square, New Orleans, LA 70130) (If your city is not mentioned, now is the time to organize.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________ *=+*+=Wear red ribbons or arm bands to show your support.=+*=+* #StandWithFerguson #OpFerguson Expect Everyone.
Hacktivist group Anonymous is making strides in their stated mission to award justice to Michael Brown and victims of police brutality overall.
As part of “Operation Ferguson,” the cyber activist group has leaked the St. Louis County police dispatch audio recording from August 9, 2014, the day Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.
To this day the offending officer remains unnamed by Ferguson brass. However Anonymous has stated they are very close to confirming the officer’s identification and they have plans to tweet the information once it is obtained.
The recording was posted by @TheAnonMessage, a twitter account connected with Anonymous. The group promises an ongoing review of those recordings.
Discussion over the incident can be heard at about 10 minutes in. @TheAnonMessage has live tweeted their commentary as they review the tapes. They found the officer called for crowd control first, before any mention of a shooting was made. The police did not get word of the shooting until it was reported by the news.
I showed my husband (an MP in the military) the video. He says that it was wrong for the following (and not just obvious) reasons:
With that much distance between the police and the protesters (and it wasn’t a riot, mind you), an officer should have come and given a proclamation telling the crowd to disperse because without a permit, it was illegal to protest there. The police in Ferguson failed to do this.
If the crowd didn’t disperse, a shield formation should have gathered to begin to push back the crowd. No physical contact should be made. If someone becomes violent, a gap would open in the wall, the protester would be taken in, zip-tied and handed off. The police in Ferguson failed to do this.
If the protest became a riot, and a violent one, then a few canisters of tear gas are to be used. What was used in the video was beyond excessive. An area should never be saturated like that. The police in Ferguson failed to do this.
Rubber bullets are to be used in a violent riot. Not a peaceful protest. The police in Ferguson failed to do this.
He says that at this point, the National Guard should be brought in because the police are out of control and what happened in this video was totally unacceptable and wrong.
Fuck the police in Ferguson. This is barbaric.
LTMC: When even other law enforcement officials are saying the force used was excessive, I think it’s safe to say the force used was excessive.
Alright, i’m gonna sit down and basically explain the situation in this ask so everyone of my followers knows why i’m so pissed.
Michael Brown, a 17 - 18 year old african american boy was unlawfully shot (8-10 times supposedly) by police in St Louis, Missouri on saturday, august 9th, 2014. He was unarmed, and had done nothing to attract suspicion other than the fact that he was black. His body was left in the street for 4 hours. (beware: somewhat graphic image linked)
There are several claims from witnesses (see: Dorian Johnson’s account and video [HIGHLY RECOMMEND READING UP ON HIS ACCOUNT, ITS VERY SPECIFIC] — Brown’s friend who experienced the situation first hand, La’Toya Cash and Phillip Walker— Ferguson residents nearby the incident), that fall together in generally close claims. However, the only one who’s claim seems out of place is the police officer’s who shot Brown. Who, by the way, is put off on paid administrative leave AND who’s name remained under anonymity for his safety (However, attorney Benjamin Crump is looking for a way to force release his name). He claims that Brown began to wrestle the officer for his gun and tried attacking him after he told Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson (22) to “get the f*ck on the sidewalk”.
According to Johnson, after a minor confrontation on the officer’s part where he grabbed Brown by the neck and then by the shirt, the officer pulled his gun on Brown and shot him at point blank range on the right side of his body. Brown and Johnson were able to get away briefly and started running. However, Brown was shot in the back, supposedly disabling him from getting very far. He turned around with his arms in the air and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!” By this point, Brown and the officer were face to face as the cop shot him several times in the face and chest until he was finally dead. Johnson ran to his apartment and by the sound of his account, seemingly had some sort of panic attack. Later he emerged from his home to see Brown still laying in the streets. People were gathered with their cellphones, screaming at the police.
Numerous rumors are sweeping around such as Brown stealing candy from a QuickTrip, the store he emerged from calling the cops on him, Brown reaching for a gun, Brown attacking the cop first, ect. But these have all been debunked. (I know a lot of these have been debunked, but im having a hard time finding sources. if anyone could help out and link some legit ones id be SO grateful)
The event in and of itself was terrible, but now it has escalated beyond belief. Around 100 or more people, mostly black, went to the police station to protest peacefully. Things quickly turned bad as martial law got involved and authorities were bringing in K9s, tanks, heavy artillery, ect. The heavy police presence only made things worse as riots began to break out and looting and vandalism started. [ x ] [ x ] [ x ]
Now, as of very recently, the media has been banned from Ferguson. There is also a No-Fly zone above Ferguson for the reason of “ TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES ” as said on the Federal Aviation Commission’s website. Cop cars are lined up on the borders to prevent people from entering/leaving. Media outlets are being threatened with arrest. It completely violates our amendments and everything.
It’s becoming increasingly scary and difficult to find out whats going on over there. I’m afraid this is all the information I have, though. If anybody else knows anything about the situation, please feel free to add on or correct any mistakes i’ve made as i’m no expert on writing these things.
And as a personal favor, i’d really appreciate anyone to give this a reblog in order to spread the word. I think it’s a shame that this is going on in our own country yet so few people know about it. Help me make this topic huge and get this as much attention as possible.
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”—David Foster Wallace
By now you know that Robin Williams has committed suicide, but I’m not here to talk about him. He’s gone, and you’re still here, and suicidal thoughts are so common among our readers and writers that our message board has a hidden section where moderators can coordinate responses to suicide threats. And in case you’re wondering, no, that’s not a joke — I remember the first time John tracked down a guy’s location and got an ambulance dispatched to his house. Then we all sat there, at 4 in the morning, waiting to hear if they got there in time (they did).
Because Cracked is driven by an army of aspiring comedy writer freelancers, the message boards are full of a certain personality type. And while I don’t know what percentage of funny people suffer from depression, from a rough survey of the ones I know and work with, I’d say it’s approximately “all of them.” So when I hear some naive soul say, “Wow, how could a wacky guy like [insert famous dead comedian here] just [insert method of early self-destruction here]? He was always joking around and having a great time!” my only response is a blank stare…
…[C]omedy, of any sort, is usually a byproduct of a tumor that grows on the human soul. If you know a really funny person who isn’t tortured and broken inside, I’d say A) they’ve just successfully hidden it from you, B) their fucked-uppedness is buried so deep down that even they’re in denial about it, or C) they’re just some kind of a mystical creature I can’t begin to understand. I’m not saying anything science doesn’t already know, by the way. Find a comedian, and you’ll usually find somebody who had a shitty childhood.
jakke said: Going to respectfully suggest that you *don’t* have the ability to infer the state of someone else’s mental health from their media appearances and eventual death? So not sure the connection to Robin Williams is justified here.
It’s definitely true that I don’ t know for sure if he was clinically depressed. And it’s also true that not every person who commits suicide is clinically depressed. That being said, his publicist has stated that he was “battling severe depression,” and a lot of other accounts of his life that I’ve read also suggested as much (his lifelong battle with drug addiction certainly doesn’t help). So it seemed like a worthwhile connection to make, based on the statements of his publicist and others who knew him over the years.
I think there’s another aspect to his death that’s worth talking about too. When I heard that Robin Williams died, I told my roommate that while I was very, very upset about it (and I still am, his art enriched my life quite a bit over the years), I was also not surprised that he may have ended his own life. If he was severely depressed, as his publicist has suggested, it would place him in a familiar mold for entertainers and comedians, who tend to be more susceptible to chronic depression than the general population. Conan O’Brien once said (in an interview that I can no longer find for the life of me) that you need self-hate to be funny. Which makes a lot of sense. Much of the best, most compelling art comes from a place of pain or sadness. Comedians spend their entire lives pointing out the absurd underneath everyday life. And I don’t think that’s something you can shut off. It must weigh heavily on people after awhile to constantly see the world through that lens. I suspect (though I have no way of knowing for sure) that this contributed to Robin WIlliams’ depression, as it has for many others in his profession.