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friendly_iconoclast

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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 12:47 PM
Number of posts: 10,317

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ACLU: Local Police in Florida Acting Like They’re the CIA (But They’re Not)

https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/local-police-florida-acting-theyre-cia-theyre-not

Local Police in Florida Acting Like They’re the CIA (But They’re Not)
03/25/2014


By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:00am

The City of Sunrise, Florida, tried to take a page from the CIA’s anti-transparency playbook last week when it responded to an ACLU public records request about its use of powerful cell phone location tracking gear by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents. And the state police are trying to get in on the act as well. We have written about the federal government’s abuse of this tactic—called a “Glomar” response—before, but local law enforcement’s adoption of the ploy reaches a new level of absurdity. In this case, the response is not only a violation of Florida law, but is also fatally undermined by records the Sunrise Police Department has already posted online.

A few weeks ago, the ACLU sent public records requests to 36 state and local Florida law enforcement agencies seeking information about their use of “cell site simulator” surveillance devices known as “Stingrays.” We were partly motivated by the discovery that the Tallahassee Police Department had argued in court to permanently seal court records discussing its Stingray use, apparently in deference to a nondisclosure agreement with the device’s manufacturer. That’s pretty offensive, but at least the new Tallahassee police chief has promised to investigate his department’s practices. The City of Sunrise’s position might be even more galling.

Today we sent a reply letter to Sunrise, explaining that it’s bad enough that the Glomar response has no basis under Florida law. Government agencies are required to respond to a public records request by searching for and releasing relevant documents, or explaining why individual documents fall within one of the narrow statutory exemptions to disclosure. Refusing to even confirm whether records exist violates the letter and spirit of the Florida Public Records Act.

But even more embarrassing for the city is that the Sunrise Police Department has already publicly acknowledged that it owns at least one Stingray. A document posted on the city’s public website reveals that in March 2013 the Police Department investigated purchasing a $65,000 upgrade to its existing Stingray device, as well as other related technology and services. (See here for an explanation of the abbreviations found on this form). An agency cannot acknowledge a fact in one context, but then refuse to confirm or deny the same information in response to a public records request. Sunrise’s response might be laughable if it weren’t such a bald violation of government transparency laws.


The receipt can be found here (PDF file):

http://dms.sunrisefl.gov/public/AttachmentViewer.ashx?AttachmentID=10781&ItemID=3408
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Mar 26, 2014, 02:51 PM (0 replies)

Better inform the Inquisition. They'll know just what to do with those heretics!



Really, though- thanks for posting that. You learn something new every day-
I was unaware that the principle of 'ex cathedra' applied to Presidential nominations:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility#Ex_cathedra


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Mar 24, 2014, 05:59 PM (1 replies)

Gun controllers attempt to suppress a Democratic fundraiser...

...for closely-run races in states where an antigun candidate wouldn't stand a chance.

The next time someone extolls any of the mentioned groups, or claims that support
for gun control and support for the Democratic Party are one and the same, show them this:

http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/gun-control-groups-urge-cancellation-of-hollywood-fundraiser-for-mark-begich-and-mark-pryor-1201141065/



Almost a year ago, in the aftermath of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., a number of entertainment industry activists decried a vote that prevented the Senate from moving forward background check legislation. Some vowed to withhold support from Democrats who voted “No,” including Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), both of whom are in the midst of tough reelection races...


...In a letter sent to Cindy Horn on Wednesday afternoon, the groups urged her to cancel the fundraiser, or, in the alternative, that they instead raise funds for Senate candidates in tough races who voted for the background checks, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

The groups, including Women Against Gun Violence, the California Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Violence Prevention Coalition and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, wrote to Horn that “when Senators from far-flung places come to California to fuel their campaigns, we hope that you will remind them that you’re not their personal ATM. You have a right to ask why they deserve their support...

...The groups asked in their letter, ”Is ‘Democrat’ merely a box on a ballot, to be checked at any cost?


I'd say yes. I'd even go further, and say that anyone and any organization who'd work towards a goal that would help Republicans defeat Democrats isn't progressive and shouldn't be supported at DU

The text of the letter can be found here:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101512826

"Gun Activists Demand Cancellation of Hollywood Fundraiser"

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 10:36 PM (15 replies)

Sticking with the associational fallacy, eh? Fine

For the sake of argument, I'll accept that for the moment and not declare
that you've completely sold out your previously stated principles for partisan reasons...





Since that's the way you roll, here's a few other things you will need
to do without:

Government-run health insurance, workers compensation, and Social Security-
all started by the ultra-conservative Otto von Bismarck

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Socialism_%28Germany%29#Bismarck.27s_social_legislation

Health Insurance Bill of 1883

The first bill that had success was the Health Insurance bill, which was passed in 1883. The program was considered the least important from Bismarck's point of view and the least politically troublesome. The program was established to provide health care for the largest segment of the German workers. The health service was established on a local basis, with the cost divided between employers and the employed. The employers contributed one-third, the workers the rest. The minimum payments for medical treatment and sick pay for up to 13 weeks were legally fixed. The individual local health bureaus were administered by a committee elected by the members of each bureau, and this move had the unintended effect of establishing a majority representation for the workers on account of their large financial contribution. This worked to the advantage of the Social Democrats who, through heavy worker membership, achieved their first small foothold in public administration.

Accident Insurance Bill of 1884

Bismarck's government had to submit three draft bills before it could get one passed by the Reichstag in 1884. Bismarck had originally proposed that the Federal Government should pay a portion of the accident insurance contribution to show the willingness of the German government to lessen the hardship experienced by the German workers as a means of weaning them away from the various left-wing parties, most importantly the Social Democrats. The National Liberals took this program to be an expression of State Socialism, which they were strongly against. The Centre Party was afraid of the expansion of federal power at the expense of states' rights. As a result, the only way the program could be passed at all was for the entire expense to be underwritten by the employers. To facilitate this, Bismarck arranged for the administration of this program to be placed in the hands of “Der Arbeitgeberverband in den beruflichen Korporationen”, “the organization of employers in occupational corporations”. This organization established central and bureaucratic insurance offices on the federal, and in some cases the state, level to perform the actual administration. The program kicked in to replace the health insurance program as of the 14th week. It paid for medical treatment and a Pension of up to two-thirds of earned wages if the worker was fully disabled. This program was expanded in 1886 to include agricultural workers.

Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889

The old-age pension program, financed by a tax on workers, was designed to provide a pension annuity for workers who reached the age of 70. At the time, the life expectancy for the average Prussian was 45, although this reflects the high infant mortality of the era, and retired workers could expect to live until 70 years. Unlike accident insurance and health insurance, this program covered industrial, agrarian, artisans and servants from the start. Also, unlike the other two programs, the principle that the federal government should contribute a portion of the underwriting cost, with the other two portions prorated accordingly, was accepted without question. The disability insurance program was intended to be used by those permanently disabled. This time, the state supervised the programs directly.


High-speed dedicated passenger rail- because it originated in fascist Japan
and the Third Reich. No Acela for you!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail#Early_research

Early German high-speed network

On May 15, 1933, the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft company introduced the diesel-powered "Fliegender Hamburger" in regular service between Hamburg and Berlin (286 km), thereby establishing the fastest regular service in the world, with a regular top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph).
This train was a streamlined multi-powered unit, albeit diesel, and used Jakobs bogies some 47 years before the advent of the TGV.

Following the success of the Hamburg line, the steam-powered Henschel-Wegmann Train was developed and introduced in June 1936 for service from Berlin to Dresden, with a regular top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph).
Further development allowed the usage of these "Fliegenden Züge" (flying trains) on a rail network across Germany. The "Diesel-Schnelltriebwagen-Netz" had been in the planning since 1934 but it never reached its envisaged size.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henschel-Wegmann_Train

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C5%8Dkaid%C5%8D_Shinkansen#History

History

The Tokaido Shinkansen line was originally conceived in 1940 as a 150 km/h (93 mph) dedicated railway between Tokyo and Shimonoseki, which would have been 50% faster than the fastest express train of the time. The beginning of World War II stalled the project in its early planning stages, although a few tunnels were dug that were later used in the Shinkansen route. Since the line goes through Japan's three largest metropolitan areas, it is the most heavily travelled of all Shinkansen routes.


You'll be supporting a revival of the ban on LBTQ people in the military as well,
because Barry Goldwater-*and* Dick Cheney!:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/barry-goldwater.html

Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable
By Barry M. Goldwater

The following is a transcript of Barry Goldwater's commentary on the military gay ban that appeared this week in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

After more than 50 years in the military and politics, I am still amazed to see how upset people can get over nothing. Lifting the ban on gays in the military isn't exactly nothing, but it's pretty damned close

Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar. They'll still be serving long after we're all dead and buried. That should not surprise anyone.

But most Americans should be shocked to know that while the country's economy is going down the tubes, the military has wasted half a billion dollars over the past decade chasing down gays and running them out of the armed services.

It's no great secret that military studies have proved again and again that there's no valid reason for keeping the ban on gays. Some thought gays were crasy, but then found that wasn't true. then they decided that gays were a security risk, but again the Department of Defense decided that wasn't so-in fact, one study by the Navy in 1956 that was never made public found gays to be good security risks. Even Larry Korb, President Reagan's man in charge of implementing the Pentagon ban on gays, now admits that it was a dumb idea. No wonder my friend Dick Cheney, secretary of defense under President Bush, called it "a bit of an old chestnut"...


Wind power because Ted Kennedy opposed it. and so does his nephew Robert F., Junior.

The plebs in southeast MA get to breathe the emissions of a rather dirty coal-fired plant...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brayton_Point_Power_Station

... for a few more years thanks to the actions of Ted and allies like Bill Koch

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=115x224904

Energy Magnate Koch Funds New Anti-Cape Wind Group


http://www.democraticunderground.com/112755930

Koch Brother Wages 12-Year Fight Over Wind Farm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/us/koch-brother-wages-12-year-fight-over-wind-farm.html?pagewanted=all


http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/10/19/environment-utilities-operations-capewin-idUSN1930289620071019?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews&rpc=22&sp=true


Cape Cod Commission denies Cape Wind application

NEW YORK Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:34am EDT

(Reuters) - The Cape Cod Commission in Massachusetts Thursday denied Cape Wind's application to bury electric cables needed to connect its proposed 420-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Nantucket Sound to the state power grid.

Cape Wind said in a release that it would challenge the Commission decision. The Cape Cod Commission is a local organization created by the state in 1990 to manage growth and protect Cape Cod's natural resources.

Sen. Ted Kennedy and many residents who own coastal property from where they could see the wind turbines on a clear day oppose the project along with some environmental groups concerned about disrupting the patterns of migratory birds and the potential effect on local sea life.

The project's supporters, who include other environmental groups, meanwhile claim it would provide renewable energy, improve air quality, lower electricity costs and increase the reliability of the power grid.


Your 'explanation' of this last one should be most amusing...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Mar 16, 2014, 07:21 PM (1 replies)

Cellphone spying technology being used throughout Northern California

http://www.news10.net/story/news/investigations/watchdog/2014/03/06/cellphone-spying-technology-used-throughout-northern-california/6144949/


Michael Bott, and Thom Jensen, News10 2:25 a.m. EST March 7, 2014

At least seven law enforcement agencies in California are using controversial technology that allows them to secretly collect data from cellphones and track people, News10 has learned.

Hundreds of pages of documents, from grant applications to purchase orders, show that the technology has been here for years and it's been used in dozens of arrests. In Oakland, a device called a StingRay allows police to track people and collect real-time data from every cell phone within a certain radius. The city's Targeted Enforcement Task Force II used a Stingray to make 19 arrests in 2009, according to an Oakland Police Criminal Investigation Division report.

StingRays are being paid for mostly by Homeland Security grant money distributed by the California Emergency Management Agency, under programs such as the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) or the State Homeland Security Program (SHSP). Grant applications from several agencies show local law enforcement are justifying the purchase of StingRay technology as an anti-terrorism tool, but it's being used to apprehend and prosecute suspects in routine crimes, from robberies to homicides.

None of the 19 arrests made using the StingRay in Oakland in 2009 were related to terrorism.



Added on edit: A spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation says that StingRays can also capture
the content of phone calls:

http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/03/13/129328/

...Can you start off by explaining more about what kind of information the StingRay can gather? Can it eavesdrop on actual conversations?

It can capture conversation. There have been some assurances that these specific sorts of StingRays being used by local law enforcement aren’t doing that, but we do know that they have the capability of doing so.

They also have the capability of capturing the metadata or the information about how you communicate. And in these specific instances of local law enforcement using them, they’re using that information to pinpoint the person’s location.

It’s my understanding that this technology is being used by some law enforcement without a warrant. An Oakland Police Department spokesperson told me in an email that prior to 2009 no warrant was required — but that now, depending on how it’s being used, a search warrant may or may not be required. What’s your understanding of how often warrants are being obtained?

That’s a big question mark because there’s a lot of secrecy surrounding the use of these devices. I’m not quite sure why the shift in 2009, and I’m encouraged that they claim they are using search warrants today, but I will note that there has been some concern revealed through public records requests that the ACLU of Northern California did, that some federal court officials, some federal judges, were concerned that law enforcement requesting orders to use these devices weren’t being completely forthright with the judges. That they were in fact using StingRays to get some of this information. And so, again, there’s a lot of uncertainty about it. They certainly should be using a search warrant, because these devices capture very rich, detailed and intimate information about a person’s location and how they communicate and who they communicate with, and also have the capability to catch the actual content of conversation






Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Mar 15, 2014, 06:49 PM (3 replies)

Reason #43 gun controllers fail: They believe their own PR

I saw this over at the Palace of Ideological Purity:

"Can the US gun lobby be made to misfire through social media?"

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12626033

It got three recommendations. Intrigued, I followed the link to the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/mar/08/us-gun-lobby-social-media-nra

The discerning reader will notice several things wrong with this 'Strength Through Networking'
opus:


Can the US gun lobby be made to misfire through social media?

Three campaigning groups tell SXSW how they’re using social media to take on the NRA and others


(The fact that they chose a music festival in Texas, of all places, speaks volumes...)

Gun control campaigners are making greater use of social media to organise their supporters across the US, in an effort to digitally disrupt better-funded pro-gun lobbying groups like the NRA.


(Wot? Either their founder and sixteenth richest person in the world
http://www.forbes.com/profile/michael-bloomberg/
isn't coming through for them- or someone is lying...)

Three groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – came together at the SXSW conference in Austin to discuss their digital strategies.

The first two of those groups may have well-known figureheads – politicians Michael Bloomberg and Gabrielle Giffords respectively – but they are also working hard to spark grassroots online campaigns for supporters to press for changes to state and federal gun laws.


(Only a rude base toter winger would be so churlish as to point out that they are outnumbered
ca. 20:1 by the NRA- and the NRA costs money to join, while the controller groups are free...)

“The problem here is that there are more guns in the United States than there are people. That’s not necessarily a problem in itself, but our laws are letting far too many of those guns fall into the wrong hands,” said Glaze, setting the scene for the groups’ digital efforts...


The eleven people watching that didn't exactly seem fired up with enthusiasm:

"The gun control panel at SXSW"



The prohibitionists should be careful they don't dislocate something patting themselves on the back

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Mar 10, 2014, 03:05 PM (8 replies)

"Shall-issue" is being challenged in Massachusetts

And not a moment too soon, says I:

http://www.wbur.org/2014/03/04/mass-gun-permit-rules-vary

In Mass., Gun Permit Standards Vary By Location
By Fred Bever March 4, 2014 Updated Mar 04, 2:30 pm

BOSTON — As the Legislature takes up reforms to the state’s gun control laws, policymakers are taking a close look at the authority local police chiefs exercise over gun permits.

While some lawmakers want to expand that authority, courts are raising new legal questions about whether it may be too arbitrary — and even unconstitutional...

Hill challenged the license denial in light of a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, which established an individual right to bear arms in cases of confrontation.

Superior Court Judge Richard Moses relied on state law, though, when he found that the license denial was arbitrary, and ordered the police chief to issue it. Still, Judge Moses also repeatedly referenced the federal Heller decision, and Collins, the counsel for the police chief association, says that may be a signal the issue isn’t decided.


http://suffolklawreview.org/driscoll-firearms/

Who Is Armed, and by What Authority? An Examination of the Likely Impact of Massachusetts Firearm Regulations After McDonald and Heller

by Brian Driscoll
January-17-2012

Category: Notes, Number 1, Print Edition, Volume 45

Article XVII of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights guarantees a right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC)—Massachusetts’s highest court—has interpreted article XVII as preserving a right to keep and bear arms in connection with service in the militia. Because the SJC’s interpretation of article XVII does not protect an individual right to keep or bear arms, the court has granted the Massachusetts General Court—the state’s legislative body—wide leeway to craft a broad range of regulations governing gun ownership in Massachusetts. In response, the General Court has enacted a comprehensive regulatory scheme for controlling and licensing firearm ownership in the Commonwealth.

Although many citizens have challenged Massachusetts’s gun laws as infringing upon their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the SJC has consistently upheld the laws because, until recently, the Second Amendment did not apply to the states. The United States Supreme Court’s reticence to incorporate the Second Amendment to apply to the states, coupled with the SJC’s interpretation of article XVII, resulted in the routine failure of challenges to the Massachusetts regulatory scheme. After District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, however, it appears that “the times they are a changin’.” Because of this new definition of the Second Amendment’s scope of protection, several Massachusetts firearm laws may not survive constitutional challenges in the post-McDonald world. This Note will analyze the impact that these opinions will likely have on the Massachusetts gun regulation landscape. The Note examines a small sampling of laws, including safe-storage requirements, discretionary licensing, and discretionary license restrictions, all of which will almost certainly be subject to constitutional challenges in the near future.

Part II.A of this Note will outline the history of firearm regulation in Massachusetts, beginning with the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Part II.B will highlight the laws most vulnerable to challenges after McDonald. Although discussed at length in Part II.B, a brief introduction to some of these vulnerable regulations may be useful at this point. Massachusetts has a discretionary licensing system. A licensing authority—usually the chief of police in each municipality—has the authority to exercise his or her discretion and deny an otherwise qualified applicant if the licensing authority believes that the applicant is not “suitable.” A law allowing the discretionary denial of a fundamental right based on undefined notions of suitability, while passing constitutional muster under article XVII, will not likely survive constitutional scrutiny under the Second Amendment following the amendment’s incorporation after McDonald. . .

http://suffolklawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/4-Driscoll_Note_PDF.pdf


IMO, the as-current interpretation of Article XVII in Massachusetts violates the Fourteenth
Amendment as well as the Second.

It's always amused me that the same people who defend Massachusetts' "may-issue" gun
laws would have an aneurysm if some authority figure denied a parade or demonstration
permit due to lack of 'suitability'


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 02:25 PM (54 replies)

Project Morpheus (prototype lunar lander) Free Flight 8 video

The Morpheus vehicles use liquid methane/liquid oxygen propulsion, which
delivers a higher specific impulse and is less toxic than the fuel/oxidizer used in
the Apollo-era Descent Propulsion System


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 12:08 AM (1 replies)

ACLU: Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked

https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/police-hide-use-cell-phone-tracker-courts-because


03/03/2014

Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked
By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:01am

It appears that at least one police department in Florida has failed to tell judges about its use of a cell phone tracking device because the department got the device on loan and promised the manufacturer to keep it all under wraps. But when police use invasive surveillance equipment to surreptitiously sweep up information about the locations and communications of large numbers of people, court oversight and public debate are essential. The devices, likely made by the Florida-based Harris Corporation, are called “stingrays,” and unfortunately this is not the first time the government has tried to hide their use...

...Also known as “cell site simulators,” stingrays impersonate cell phone towers, prompting phones within range to reveal their precise locations and information about all of the calls and text messages they send and receive. When in use, stingrays sweep up information about innocent people and criminal suspects alike.

The power of stingrays, and the lengths to which police will go to conceal their use, are demonstrated by an ongoing case in Florida, State v. Thomas. As revealed in a recent opinion of a Florida appeals court, Tallahassee police used an unnamed device — almost certainly a stingray — to track a stolen cell phone to a suspect’s apartment. (The case’s association with stingrays was first pointed out by CNET’s Declan McCullagh in January). They then knocked on the door, asked permission to enter and, when the suspect’s girlfriend refused, forced their way inside, conducted a search, and arrested the suspect in his home. Police opted not to get warrants authorizing either their use of the stingray or the apartment search. Incredibly, this was apparently because they had signed a nondisclosure agreement with the company that gave them the device. The police seem to have interpreted the agreement to bar them even from revealing their use of stingrays to judges, who we usually rely on to provide oversight of police investigations.

When the suspect’s lawyer tried to ask police how they tracked the phone to his client’s house, the government refused to answer. A judge eventually forced the government to explain its conduct to the lawyer, but only after closing the courtroom to the public and sealing the transcript of the proceedings so the public and the press could never read it. Only later, when the case was heard on appeal, did the most jaw-dropping fact leak out. As two judges noted during the oral argument, as of 2010 the Tallahassee Police Department had used stingrays a staggering 200 times without ever disclosing their use to a judge to get a warrant.


Per the article, the ACLU is righteously attempting to find out about police use of
this secret surveillance technique

'Stingrays" are also discussed here:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12525208

http://www.laweekly.com/2013-01-24/news/stingray-LAPD-spying-21-terrorism-tool-against-citizens/


LAPD Spied on 21 Using StingRay Anti-Terrorism Tool
Mimicking a cellphone tower, it bypasses checks and balances
by Jon Campbell Thursday, Jan 24 2013
Comments

A secretive cellphone spy device known as StingRay, intended to fight terrorism, was used in far more routine LAPD criminal investigations 21 times in a four-month period during 2012, apparently without the courts' knowledge that the technology probes the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same neighborhood as suspected terrorists.

According to records released to the First Amendment Coalition under the California Public Records Act, StingRay, which allows police to track mobile phones in real time, was tapped for more than 13 percent of the 155 "cellular phone investigation cases" that Los Angeles police conducted between June and September last year.

As L.A. Weekly first reported in September, LAPD purchased StingRay technology sometime around 2006 with federal Department of Homeland Security funds. The original DHS grant documents said it was intended for "regional terrorism investigations."...

...But the newly released LAPD records show something markedly different: StingRays are being deployed for burglary, drug and murder investigations.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Mar 4, 2014, 01:18 AM (0 replies)

IOW, neoliberalism. Walter Benn Michaels explained it in "Let Them Eat Diversity":

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/01/let-them-eat-diversity/

(emphasis added)

Walter Benn Michaels: The differentiation between left and right neoliberalism doesn’t really undermine the way it which it is deeply unified in its commitment to competitive markets and to the state’s role in maintaining competitive markets. For me the distinction is that “left neoliberals” are people who don’t understand themselves as neoliberals. They think that their commitments to anti-racism, to anti-sexism, to anti-homophobia constitute a critique of neoliberalism. But if you look at the history of the idea of neoliberalism you can see fairly quickly that neoliberalism arises as a kind of commitment precisely to those things....

...Stalin famously won the argument but lost the war over whether there could be socialism in one country, but no one has ever been under the impression for more than a millisecond that there could be neoliberalism in only one country. An easy way to look at this would be to say that the conditions of mobility of labor and mobility of capital have since World War II required an extraordinary upsurge in immigration. The foreign born population in the U.S today is something like 38 million people, which is roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland. This is a function of matching the mobility of capital with the mobility of labor, and when you begin to produce these massive multi-racial or multi-national or as we would call them today multi-cultural workforces, you obviously need technologies to manage these work forces.

In the U.S. this all began in a kind of powerful way with the Immigration Act of 1965, which in effect repudiated the explicit racism of the Immigration Act of the 1924 and replaced it with largely neoliberal criteria. Before, whether you could come to the U.S. was based almost entirely on racial or, to use the then-preferred term, “national” criteria. I believe that, for example, the quota on Indian immigration to the U.S. in 1925 was 100. I don’t know the figure on Indian immigration to the U.S. since 1965 off-hand, but 100 is probably about an hour and a half of that in a given year. The anti-racism that involves is obviously a good thing, but it was enacted above all to admit people who benefited the economy of the U.S. They are often sort of high-end labor, doctors, lawyers, and businessmen of various kinds. The Asian immigration of the 70s and 80s involved a high proportion of people who had upper and upper-middle class status in their countries of origin and who quickly resumed that middle and upper middle class status in the U.S. While at the same time we’ve had this increased immigration from Mexico, people from the lower-end of the economy, filling jobs that otherwise cannot be filled—or at least not filled at the price capital would prefer to pay. So there is a certain sense in which the internationalism intrinsic to the neoliberal process requires a form of anti-racism and indeed neoliberalism has made very good use of the particular form we’ve evolved, multiculturalism, in two ways.

First, there isn’t a single US corporation that doesn’t have an HR office committed to respecting the differences between cultures, to making sure that your culture is respected whether or not your standard of living is. And, second, multiculturalism and diversity more generally are even more effective as a legitimizing tool, because they suggest that the ultimate goal of social justice in a neoliberal economy is not that there should be less difference between the rich and the poor—indeed the rule in neoliberal economies is that the difference between the rich and the poor gets wider rather than shrinks—but that no culture should be treated invidiously and that it’s basically OK if economic differences widen as long as the increasingly successful elites come to look like the increasingly unsuccessful non-elites. So the model of social justice is not that the rich don’t make as much and the poor make more, the model of social justice is that the rich make whatever they make, but an appropriate percentage of them are minorities or women. That’s a long answer to your question, but it is a serious question and the essence of the answer is precisely that internationalization, the new mobility of both capital and labor, has produced a contemporary anti-racism that functions as a legitimization of capital rather than as resistance or even critique.


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 01:48 AM (2 replies)
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