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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 39,502

About Me

Blocked on Twitter by that rat bastard fuck @ggreenwald

Journal Archives

The Meaning of the Ferguson Riots

The St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict the white police officer who in August shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, would have generated widespread anger and disappointment in any case. But the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, who is widely viewed in the minority community as being in the pockets of the police, made matters infinitely worse by handling this sensitive investigation in the worst possible way.

First, he refused to step aside in favor of a special prosecutor who could have been appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri. He further undermined public confidence by taking a highly unorthodox approach to the grand jury proceeding. Instead of conducting an investigation and then presenting the case and a recommendation of charges to the grand jury, his office shifted its job to the grand jury. It made no recommendation on whether to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, but left it to the jurors to wade through masses of evidence to determine whether there was probable cause to file charges against Officer Wilson for Mr. Brown’s killing.

Under ordinary circumstances, grand jury hearings can be concluded within days. The proceeding in this case lasted an astonishing three months. And since grand jury proceedings are held in secret, the drawn-out process fanned suspicions that Mr. McCulloch was deliberately carrying on a trial out of public view, for the express purpose of exonerating Officer Wilson.

If all this weren’t bad enough, Mr. McCulloch took a reckless approach to announcing the grand jury’s finding. After delaying the announcement all day, he finally made it late in the evening, when darkness had placed law enforcement agencies at a serious disadvantage as they tried to control the angry crowds that had been drawn into the streets by news that the verdict was coming. Mr. McCulloch’s announcement sounded more like a defense of Officer Wilson than a neutral summary of the facts that had led the grand jury to its conclusion.

For the black community of Ferguson, the killing of Michael Brown was the last straw in a long train of abuses that they have suffered daily at the hands of the local police. News accounts have strongly suggested, for example, that the police in St. Louis County’s many municipalities systematically target poor and minority citizens for street and traffic stops — partly to generate fines — which has the effect of both bankrupting and criminalizing whole communities.

In this context, the police are justifiably seen as an alien, occupying force that is synonymous with state-sponsored abuse.

The case resonated across the country — in New York City, Chicago and Oakland — because the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast. This point was underscored last month in a grim report by ProPublica, showing that young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk — 21 times greater — of being shot dead by police than young white men. These statistics reflect the fact that many police officers see black men as expendable figures on the urban landscape, not quite human beings.

We get a flavor of this in Officer Wilson’s grand jury testimony, when he describes Michael Brown, as he was being shot, as a soulless behemoth who was “almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.”

President Barack Obama was on the mark last night when he said, “We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson, this is an issue for America.” The rioting that scarred the streets of St. Louis County — and the outrage that continues to reverberate across the country — underlines this inescapable point. It shows once again that distrust of law enforcement presents a grave danger to the civic fabric of the United States.


Who wants to play Bingo tonight?

CNN International versus CNN Domestic

I've been begging for years for some kind of movement to just eliminate the domestic and make the international the "New" CNN

Bob McCulloch: Prosecutor or defense attorney for Darren Wilson?

There are plenty of questions swirling around St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in the wake of the grand jury's decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. McCulloch's performance last night in announcing the decision prompted some great ones from Mark Sumner, but let's back up a few months to the basic decision by McCulloch in taking this to the grand jury, and how he presented the case there. As more information comes out, it looks more and more like the very unusual process McCulloch kicked off was intended to get the result he wanted—no indictment.

Let's start with McCulloch's refusal to step aside in this case. The people in and around Ferguson gave a vote of no confidence, in effect, to McCulloch when 70,000 of them signed a petition demanding that he recuse himself. McCulloch's history is problematic, at best, and his alignment with the cops unquestioned. His father was a cop, who was killed in the line of duty by an African-American person. When the county police clearly were overreacting in handling the protests immediately following the killing, and Gov. Jay Nixon called in the state highway patrol to try to calm the situation down, McCulloch loudly and publicly criticized him for "denigrat the men and women of the county police." McCulloch's bias going into this grand jury proceeding was unquestioned, certainly in the community, and his refusal to step aside guaranteed that there would be a high level of distrust in the proceedings.

As for the proceedings, they were highly unusual and in the view of at least these two legal experts, deeply flawed. The lawyers, St. Louis University law professor Susan McGraugh and Jerryl T. Christmas, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in St. Louis lay out their problems in interviews with Phillip Johnson, a "filmmaker, writer community engager." First and foremost, McCulloch's decision to present every bit of evidence he had—with no culling and no presentation—to the grand jury was a strong signal he was trying to avoid a prosecution. A prosecutor normally gives the grand jury only the evidence necessary to establish probable cause. Then McCulloch allowed Wilson four full hours to present his testimony, an opportunity McGraugh says is never allowed her criminal suspects. In summary:

In October, the Washington Post reported a number of leaks in the case, nearly all in support of Wilson's story. The leaks seemed like such a transparent attempt to influence public opinion that the Justice Department said, "There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case." The DOJ itself has also had leaks indicating that Wilson would not face civil rights charges.
Then there's Wilson's testimony. Missouri law gives deference to police when they say that they were in fear for their lives in a police-involved killing. Wilson had four hours to present his case—his unbelievable and hyperbolic case—that the unarmed teenager turned into some sort of monster before his very eyes. Four hours.


So riddle me this...

Every cop in the city mobilized, almost every national guardsman in the state, over 100 imported FBI agents, etc. and Ferguson STILL imploded last night??

Of course what the media will never mention is that keeping order, and protecting lives/property was never their true objective; it was just to make sure the chaos was controlled and contained without spreading to the so-called "decent" neighborhoods...

So what message is sent here? "We're more than happy to sit and watch you burn your own neighborhood to the ground in front of a national TV audience, but once you break the boundary all bets are off!"

Stephanopoulos won the lottery...

ABC's George Stephanopoulos first-in-line for Darren Wilson interview

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos is currently poised to land the first interview with Darren Wilson, the Missouri police officer whose fate will be decided following the announcement of a grand jury ruling on Monday night, industry sources told POLITICO.

Members of the media who were jockeying for the first sit-down with Wilson were recently told that Stephanopoulos, the chief anchor and chief political correspondent for ABC, had won rights to the interview. That agreement is subject to change: Wilson could decide to forego interviews altogether and, if he is indicted, will not be able to give an interview. Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August, and has not been seen in public since the shooting.

As Brian Stelter reported over the weekend, Stephanopoulos, NBC’s Matt Lauer, CBS’ Scott Pelley and CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Don Lemon all held off-the-record meetings with Wilson in an effort to land the first interview. CBS' “60 Minutes” had been in “especially hot pursuit” of locking down the interview, according to Stelter's report. Off-the-record introductions are a routine part of the television booking process.

ABC News spokesperson Julie Townsend did not respond to a request for comment regarding the interview.

Why the Surveillance State Lives On

Why the Surveillance State Lives On
The Snowden revelations have fizzled politically, and reform isn’t coming any time soon.

Once upon a time, Glenn Greenwald was a lonely voice in the blogging wilderness, and Edward Snowden was an isolated functionary at the heart of the American national-security state. Then everything seemed to change at once. Snowden, who was desperate to tell his fellow Americans of the evils of NSA surveillance, revealed his secrets to Greenwald, Congress erupted, the entire world got angry, and Greenwald won a Pulitzer and a fat media contract from a billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar while Snowden became the most famous exile in the world.

Now it looks very much like Greenwald is becoming a voice in the blogging wilderness again, and Snowden is watching from Moscow, once again isolated, as his explosive revelations fizzle out politically. On Tuesday, led by Republicans voting en masse, the U.S. Senate defeated a motion to vote on the USA Freedom Act, which would have curbed the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records. The new, harder-line Republican Congress coming in January doesn’t seem likely to pass the bill either, to the point where Greenwald lamented in blog post Wednesday that it was “self-evidently moronic” to rely on the U.S. government to fix the U.S. government. “Governments don’t walk around trying to figure out how to limit their own power, and that’s particularly true of empires,” he wrote. “The entire system in D.C. is designed at its core to prevent real reform. This Congress is not going to enact anything resembling fundamental limits on the NSA’s powers of mass surveillance.”

Nor does Greenwald think that the courts, especially the Supreme Court, will do the trick, despite a Dec. 2013 district court ruling against the NSA’s phone-data collection program: “When it comes to placing real limits on the NSA, I place almost as little faith in the judiciary as I do in the Congress and executive branch.” As for the noble libertarian entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, they’re also dealing falsely with us, Greenwald said. The big internet companies deliberately supported a watered-down bill “to point to something called ‘reform’ so they can trick hundreds of millions of current and future users around the world into believing that their communications are now safe if they use Facebook, Google, Skype and the rest,” he wrote.

Of course, by “the entire system in DC” and America’s entire private sector Greenwald is suggesting that pretty much everybody—the whole republic—is failing him and isn’t going to deliver the changes he believes are necessary. That’s a bit of an odd conclusion, considering that Snowden and Greenwald were, not long ago, waxing triumphant about the way their revelations were changing the conversation. Their fundamental premise: If only people could be awakened to the horrific extent of the national-security state, they could be depended upon to act on their own. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” Snowden told Barton Gellman of the Washington Post in December of last year. “As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. … All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.”

But “society” doesn’t appear now to be pushing much for change, and the “public” seems to have spoken on Nov. 4, the first time the nation had gone to the federal ballot box since the Snowden revelations broke. One of the less-noted messages out of the midterm election was that virtually every NSA supporter was re-elected handily, and some of the most vociferous proponents of tighter restrictions on surveillance, like Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), lost in surprising upsets. Even more to the point, an issue that only a year ago had Congress in an uproar—with members getting earfuls about NSA intrusions at constituent town meetings—was almost a complete no-show issue in the election, the first to be held since the Snowden revelations. Very few candidates brought the NSA up...


Ed...Glenn...You two had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you systematically pissed it away...Bravo...

(I'm assuming their motivation and ultimate goal was reform; but if their goal was simply to enrich themselves, then they have been wildly successful)

More from ol' Grandstandin' Rand:

WASHINGTON — Senator Rand Paul is calling for a declaration of war against the Islamic State, a move that promises to shake up the debate over the military campaign in Iraq and Syria as President Obama prepares to ask Congress to grant him formal authority to use force.

Mr. Paul, a likely presidential candidate who has emerged as one of the Republican Party’s most cautious voices on military intervention, offered a very circumscribed definition of war in his proposal, which he outlined in an interview on Saturday. He would, for instance, limit the duration of military action to one year and significantly restrict the use of ground forces.

Unlike other resolutions circulating on Capitol Hill that would give the president various degrees of authority to use force against Islamic militants, Mr. Paul would take the extra step of declaring war — something Congress has not done since World War II.

The president has said he will ask Congress for the explicit authority to fight the Islamic State, though administration officials have insisted that he has the legal power to continue the current campaign. That position has rankled many in Congress who are concerned that the White House has been waging war without the proper oversight or accountability.


Any of the Randoids care to chime in?

Fired US Nuclear Forces Commander Allegedly Made Counterfeit Poker Chips

Source: Business Insider

WASHINGTON (AP) — The admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to a criminal investigative report obtained by The Associated Press.

Although Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina's removal as deputy head of U.S. Strategic Command was announced earlier this year, evidence of his possible role in manufacturing the counterfeit chips has not previously been revealed. Investigators said they found his DNA on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter genuine $1 poker chips to make them look like $500 chips. Nor had the Navy disclosed how extensively he gambled.

The records obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act show Giardina was a habitual poker player, spending a total of 1,096 hours — or an average of 15 hours per week — at the tables at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the 18 months before being caught using three phony chips in June 2013.

He was such a familiar figure at the casino, across the Missouri River from his office near Omaha, Nebraska, that some there knew him as "Navy Tim." But they may not have known he was a three-star admiral and second-in-charge at Strategic Command, the military's nuclear war-fighting headquarters. Strategic Command also plays key roles in missile defense, cyberdefense, space operations and other functions.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/fired-us-nuclear-forces-commander-allegedly-broke-the-law-to-feed-his-gambling-addiction-2014-11


I've heard of degenerate gamblers, and I know there isn't a hell of a lot to do in Omaha with your free time, but seriously...This guy needed to get a new hobby...

Statistical breakdown of Snowden's leaks:

Note: These graphs account for the lowest and highest possible estimates of the number of files Snowden stole...Neither Greenwald nor Snowden have ever disclosed the exact number, only that it's supposedly way more than the Guardian, and way less than the DoD top estimate...
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