Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 13,165
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 13,165
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Why is it that Democrats, regardless of how progressive they talk before their election, so often fail to follow-through, leaving progressive voters stunned and disillusioned?
In particular, I'm thinking of the blatent ongoing GOP/Rovian election fraud going on during this election cycle, when we've had 6+ years of supposedly "progressive" Democrats in the WH, DoJ and FEC. I'm thinking of Guantanamo still being open, and the shameful way that torture has become a mainstay for our defense and intelligence agencies. I'm thinking of how most of the Wall St. Banksters who broke the economy to line their own pockets are still walking free with OUR money in their Cayman Islands bank accounts. You get my drift.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Thu Oct 30, 2014, 10:53 PM (55 replies)
Recent 20 Minute TED Talk by Glenn Greenwald on why it is a canard to say
"I have nothing to hide, so I don't care about my privacy"
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Wed Oct 29, 2014, 03:59 PM (26 replies)
This really pisses me off. It's like a rude slap in the face to Colorado voters, who recently legalized recreational weed. WTF is the DEA thinking? This is so backward, so NOT what is needed or wanted by We The People, so egregious it stinks to high heaven.
I certainly hope this shit stops at the federal level once Holder steps down.
DEA, Denver Police Raid Multiple Marijuana Grow Operations
10/28/2014 3:41 pm EDT * Matt Ferner * HuffPo
Federal agents along with local Denver police conducted multiple raids on marijuana growing operations around Colorado's capital city Tuesday morning.
The Denver Police Department declined to speak about the details of Tuesday's raids, citing an ongoing investigation, but tweeted this statement:
The Denver Post reported that the operation involved the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Denver Police Department and the Colorado Attorney General's Office.
"It's a very large and successful investigation," James Gothe, DEA group supervisor in Denver, told The Denver Post. "We're assisting."
Tak Landrock of Denver's Fox31 reported that cars, cash and marijuana plants were seized at six locations in Denver.
Calls to the DEA and the Colorado Attorney General's Office were not immediately returned.
It remains unclear why the police action was conducted and whether the marijuana grow operations targeted were illegal sites or state-licensed businesses.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Tue Oct 28, 2014, 04:39 PM (37 replies)
Remember the movie Serpico, starring Al Pacino? This guy is the guy Al was playing in that circa 1972 movie; and he has a LOT to say, 4 full pages worth, and it's well worth the effort to read it. I'm now rewatching the movie, just to get the full-meal deal.
The Police Are Still Out of Control
I should know.
By FRANK SERPICO * Politico * October 23, 2014
In the opening scene of the 1973 movie “Serpico,” I am shot in the face—or to be more accurate, the character of Frank Serpico, played by Al Pacino, is shot in the face. Even today it’s very difficult for me to watch those scenes, which depict in a very realistic and terrifying way what actually happened to me on Feb. 3, 1971. I had recently been transferred to the Narcotics division of the New York City Police Department, and we were moving in on a drug dealer on the fourth floor of a walk-up tenement in a Hispanic section of Brooklyn. The police officer backing me up instructed me (since I spoke Spanish) to just get the apartment door open “and leave the rest to us.”
One officer was standing to my left on the landing no more than eight feet away, with his gun drawn; the other officer was to my right rear on the stairwell, also with his gun drawn. When the door opened, I pushed my way in and snapped the chain. The suspect slammed the door closed on me, wedging in my head and right shoulder and arm. I couldn’t move, but I aimed my snub-nose Smith & Wesson revolver at the perp (the movie version unfortunately goes a little Hollywood here, and has Pacino struggling and failing to raise a much-larger 9-millimeter automatic). From behind me no help came. At that moment my anger got the better of me. I made the almost fatal mistake of taking my eye off the perp and screaming to the officer on my left: “What the hell you waiting for? Give me a hand!” I turned back to face a gun blast in my face. I had cocked my weapon and fired back at him almost in the same instant, probably as reflex action, striking him. (He was later captured.)
When I regained consciousness, I was on my back in a pool of blood trying to assess the damage from the gunshot wound in my cheek. Was this a case of small entry, big exit, as often happens with bullets? Was the back of my head missing? I heard a voice saying, “Don’ worry, you be all right, you be all right,” and when I opened my eyes I saw an old Hispanic man looking down at me like Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan. My “backup” was nowhere in sight. They hadn’t even called for assistance—I never heard the famed “Code 1013,” meaning “Officer Down.” They didn’t call an ambulance either, I later learned; the old man did. One patrol car responded to investigate, and realizing I was a narcotics officer rushed me to a nearby hospital (one of the officers who drove me that night said, “If I knew it was him, I would have left him there to bleed to death,” I learned later).
The next time I saw my “back-up” officers was when one of them came to the hospital to bring me my watch. I said, “What the hell am I going to do with a watch? What I needed was a back-up. Where were you?” He said, “Fuck you,” and left. Both my “back-ups” were later awarded medals for saving my life. I still don’t know exactly what happened on that day. There was never any real investigation. But years later, Patrick Murphy, who was police commissioner at the time, was giving a speech at one of my alma maters, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and I confronted him. I said, “My name is Frank Serpico, and I’ve been carrying a bullet in my head for over 35 years, and you, Mr. Murphy, are the man I hold responsible. You were the man who was brought as commissioner to take up the cause that I began — rooting out corruption. You could have protected me; instead you put me in harm’s way. What have you got to say?” He hung his head, and had no answer.
Even now, I do not know for certain why I was left trapped in that door by my fellow police officers.
Whole 4 Page Article Here: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/10/the-police-are-still-out-of-control-112160.html#.VE8EO1ZH1FI
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Oct 27, 2014, 11:04 PM (3 replies)
Nobel Peace Prize Winners Urge Obama To Release CIA Torture Report
The Huffington Post * By Alana Horowitz * October 26, 2014
Twelve Nobel Peace Prize winners penned an open letter to President Barack Obama urging his administration to release a U.S. Senate report on the CIA's use of torture.
In the letter, released Sunday night on TheCommunity.com, the laureates asked for "full disclosure to the American people of the extent and use of torture and rendition by American soldiers, operatives, and contractors, as well as the authorization of torture and rendition by American officials." The letter also pushed for a clear plan for the closing of Guantanamo Bay and other international sites where the U.S. has engaged in torture.
The letter was signed by José Ramos-Horta, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, F.W. De Klerk, Leymah Gbowee, Muhammad Yunus, John Hume, Bishop Carlos X. Belo, Betty Williams, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Jody Williams, Oscar Arias Sanchez and Mohammad ElBaradei The laureates spoke out sharply against any use of torture, but said that the U.S.' tactics were particularly troubling.
"In recent decades, by accepting the flagrant use of torture and other violations of international law in the name of combating terrorism, American leaders have eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend," they said. "They have again set an example that will be followed by others; only now, it is one that will be used to justify the use of torture by regimes around the world, including against American soldiers in foreign lands. In losing their way, they have made us all vulnerable."
The letter urged Obama to better adhere to the policies set forth by the UN Convention against Torture and the Geneva Convention.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Oct 27, 2014, 03:01 PM (15 replies)
On CNN, as "the analysis" of the electoral landscape in 2014 elections.
Implying of course that Dems and ReThugs are "equally complicit" and hopelessly so.
Gag me with a spoon.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Fri Oct 24, 2014, 08:47 PM (22 replies)
Does anyone even know, is Blackwater (or it's alias) still on the public dole? This article says it was during Obama's first term, but is not clear about whether they're presently being hired to do the military's dirty work.
BLACKWATER FOUNDER REMAINS FREE AND RICH WHILE HIS FORMER EMPLOYEES GO DOWN ON MURDER CHARGES
BY JEREMY SCAHILL * Buzzflash * Oct. 22, 2014
The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The jury is still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts, according to the Associated Press. A fifth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, had already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors in the case against his former colleagues. The trial lasted ten weeks and the jury has been in deliberations for 28 days.
The incident for which the men were tried was the single largest known massacre of Iraqi civilians at the hands of private U.S. security contractors. Known as “Baghdad’s bloody Sunday,” operatives from Blackwater gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians at a crowded intersection at Nisour Square on September 16, 2007. The company, founded by secretive right-wing Christian supremacist Erik Prince, pictured above, had deep ties to the Bush Administration and served as a sort of neoconservative Praetorian Guard for a borderless war launched in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
While Barack Obama pledged to reign in mercenary forces when he was a senator, once he became president he continued to employ a massive shadow army of private contractors. Blackwater — despite numerous scandals, congressional investigations, FBI probes and documented killings of civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan — remained a central part of the Obama administration’s global war machine throughout his first term in office.
Just as with the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib, it is only the low level foot-soldiers of Blackwater that are being held accountable. Prince and other top Blackwater executives continue to reap profits from the mercenary and private intelligence industries. Prince now has a new company, Frontier Services Group, which he founded with substantial investment from Chinese enterprises and which focuses on opportunities in Africa. Prince recently suggested that his forces at Blackwater could have confronted Ebola and ISIS. “If the administration cannot rally the political nerve or funding to send adequate active duty ground forces to answer the call, let the private sector finish the job,” he wrote.
None of the U.S. officials from the Bush and Obama administrations who unleashed Blackwater and other mercenary forces across the globe are being forced to answer for their role in creating the conditions for the Nisour Square shootings and other deadly incidents involving private contractors. Just as the main architect of the CIA interrogation program, Jose Rodriguez, is on a book tour for his propagandistic love letter to torture, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives, so too is Erik Prince pushing his own revisionist memoir, Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Wed Oct 22, 2014, 04:17 PM (13 replies)
Sometimes on DU -- when things seem so hopelessly amiss with our corporate oligarchy in the USA -- there is a collective "sigh" and the question gets asked: "WTF can we DO?". The specter of mass surveillance (much of it by PRIVATE corporations), M$M merely regurgitating what corporations and the shadow government tells them, private prisons filled with minorities, Citizens United wholesale buying of elections by big-money, etc. and it all seems so irreversible, so hopeless.
This article deals head-on with this reality. It is 3 pages long, so you may want to bookmark for later.
The Imperative of Revolt
Posted on Oct 19, 2014 * Chris Hedges * Truthdig
TORONTO—I met with Sheldon S. Wolin in Salem, Ore., and John Ralston Saul in Toronto and asked the two political philosophers the same question. If, as Saul has written, we have undergone a corporate coup d’état and now live under a species of corporate dictatorship that Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism,” if the internal mechanisms that once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible remain ineffective, if corporate power retains its chokehold on our economy and governance, including our legislative bodies, judiciary and systems of information, and if these corporate forces are able to use the security and surveillance apparatus and militarized police forces to criminalize dissent, how will change occur and what will it look like?
Wolin, who wrote the books “Politics and Vision” and “Democracy Incorporated,” and Saul, who wrote “Voltaire’s Bastards” and “The Unconscious Civilization,” see democratic rituals and institutions, especially in the United States, as largely a facade for unchecked global corporate power. Wolin and Saul excoriate academics, intellectuals and journalists, charging they have abrogated their calling to expose abuses of power and give voice to social criticism; they instead function as echo chambers for elites, courtiers and corporate systems managers. Neither believes the current economic system is sustainable. And each calls for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.
“If you continue to go down the wrong road, at a certain point something happens,” Saul said during our meeting Wednesday in Toronto, where he lives. “At a certain point when the financial system is wrong it falls apart. And it did. And it will fall apart again.”
“The collapse started in 1973,” Saul continued. “There were a series of sequential collapses afterwards. The fascinating thing is that between 1850 and 1970 we put in place all sorts of mechanisms to stop collapses which we can call liberalism, social democracy or Red Toryism. It was an understanding that we can’t have boom-and-bust cycles. We can’t have poverty-stricken people. We can’t have starvation. The reason today’s collapses are not leading to what happened in the 18th century and the 19th century is because all these safety nets, although under attack, are still in place. But each time we have a collapse we come out of it stripping more of the protection away. At a certain point we will find ourselves back in the pre-protection period. At that point we will get a collapse that will be incredibly dramatic. I have no idea what it will look like. A revolution from the left? A revolution from the right? Is it violence followed by state violence? Is it the collapse of the last meaningful edges of democracy? Is it a sudden decision by a critical mass of people that they are not going to take it anymore?”
“You need a professional or elite class devoted to profound change,” Saul said. “If you want to get power you have to be able to hold it. And you have to be able to hold it long enough to change the direction. The neoconservatives understood this. They have always been Bolsheviks. They are the Bolsheviks of the right. Their methodology is the methodology of the Bolsheviks. They took over political parties by internal coups d’état. They worked out, scientifically, what things they needed to do and in what order to change the structures of power. They have done it stage by stage. And we are living the result of that. The liberals sat around writing incomprehensible laws and boring policy papers. They were unwilling to engage in the real fight that was won by a minute group of extremists.”
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Mon Oct 20, 2014, 07:39 PM (1 replies)
Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture
By CHARLIE SAVAGE * OCT. 18, 2014 * NYTimes
WASHINGTON — When the Bush administration revealed in 2005 that it was secretly interpreting a treaty ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to C.I.A. and military prisons overseas, Barack Obama, then a newly elected Democratic senator from Illinois, joined in a bipartisan protest.
Mr. Obama supported legislation to make it clear that American officials were legally barred from using cruelty anywhere in the world. And in a Senate speech, he said enacting such a statute “acknowledges and confirms existing obligations” under the treaty, the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders, according to officials who discussed the deliberations on the condition of anonymity.
The administration must decide on its stance on the treaty by next month, when it sends a delegation to Geneva to appear before the Committee Against Torture, a United Nations panel that monitors compliance with the treaty. That presentation will be the first during Mr. Obama’s presidency.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sun Oct 19, 2014, 02:12 PM (131 replies)
finding something that really IS newly posted is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Posted by 99th_Monkey | Sat Oct 18, 2014, 11:37 PM (2 replies)