November 15, 2017
Military Takeover NOT!

Following the address we made on November 13, 2017, which we believe our main broadcaster, the Fox Entertainment Group, was directed not to publicize, the situation in our country has moved to another level. Firstly, we wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the United States of America and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.

As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy. To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same individuals to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere to the civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that.

To the generality of the people of the United States of America we urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual. Our wish is that you enjoy your rights and freedoms and that we return our country to a dispensation that allows for investment, development and prosperity that we all fought for and for which many of our citizens paid the supreme sacrifice.

To political parties we urge you to discourage your members from engaging in violent behavior. To the youth we call upon you to realize that the future of this country is yours. Do not be enticed with dirty coins of silver. Be disciplined and remain committed to the ethos and values of this great nation.

To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government. What the Department of Defense is actually doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in a violent conflict.

To members of the defense forces, all leave is canceled and you all are to return to your barracks with immediate effect. To the other Security Services: We urge you to cooperate for the good of our country. Let it be clear that we intend to address the human security threats in our country. Therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 03:29 PM
July 07, 2017
Tough Guys and a Gal

“I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” the so-called “president” said last year. You could tell what a really really tough guy he was, couldn't you? It must have broken his heart back when a crippling but mercifully short-lived attack of bone spurs kept him out of the Vietnam war. No doubt he was recalling those early agonies when he later told another campaign audience, “Don’t tell me it doesn’t work — torture works. Believe me, it works.”

So naturally he named another tough guy, a Tea Party congressman from Kansas named Mike Pompeo, to head the CIA. And Pompeo, a big fan of waterboarding himself, has just picked as his top deputy one Gina Haspel. Ms. Haspel had gained in-house fame of a sort by running a secret CIA jail in Thailand where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times before his torturers finally decided he had nothing useful to tell. She later ordered the destruction of the videotapes and recordings of his torture.

So here we are back again to those wondrous worlds of yesteryear — the Inquisition, the Nazi death camps, the gulag, the Salem Witch trials, the Crucifixion, the Roman Circus. And Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, both draft dodgers like the so-called "president."

Before we get too excited, though, let's examine again the testimony of a man who knows, as Trump and King and Pompeo and Haspel never will, the truth about waterboarding. Not only is it torture, it is what you try after other forms of torture haven’t worked. (I first posted M. Alleg’s story in 2006. Fat lot of good it did then and a fat lot it will do now. But still…)

The following is from a 1958 book called The Question. The author, a French newspaper editor in Algeria named Henri Alleg, had already resisted a month of hideous torture at the hands of his own country’s paratroopers, including electric shock and having his testicles burned. The worst, inflicted only when all else had failed, was yet to come…


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A few moments later L— came into the room. Twenty-five years old, short, sunburnt, pomaded hair, small forehead. He came up to me, smiling, and said, “Ah! So you’re the customer? Come with me…”

L— now laid on the ground a black plank, sweating with humidity, polluted and sticky with vomit left, no doubt, by previous “customers.”

I lay down on the plank. L— , with the help of another man, attached me by the wrists and ankles with leather straps fixed to the wood…

Together they picked up the plank to which I was attached and carried me into the kitchen. Once there, they rested the top of the plank, where my head was, against the sink. L— fixed a rubber tube to the metal tap which shone just above my face. He wrapped my head in a rag, while Captain D— said: “Put a wedge in his mouth.”

With the rag already over my face, L— held my nose. He tried to jam a piece of wood between my lips in such a way that I could not close my mouth or spit out the tube. When everything was ready, he said to me: “When you want to talk, all you have to do is move your fingers.”

And he turned on the tap. The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could.

But I couldn’t hold on for more than a few moments. I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me. In spite of myself, the fingers of both my hands shook uncontrollably,

“That’s it! He’s going to talk,” said a voice.

The water stopped running and they took away the rag. I was able to breathe. In the gloom, I saw the lieutenants and the captain, who, with a cigarette between his lips, was hitting my stomach with his fist to make me throw out the water I had swallowed. Befuddled by the air I was breathing, I hardly felt the blows.

“Well, then?” I remained silent. “He’s playing games with us. Put his head under again!”

This time I clenched my fists, forcing the nails into my palm. I had decided I was not going to move my fingers again. It was better to die of asphyxia right away. I feared to undergo again that terrible moment when I had felt myself losing consciousness, while at the same time I was fighting with all my might not to die.

I did not move my hands, but three times I again experienced this insupportable agony. In extremis, they let me get my breath back while I threw up the water.

The last time, I lost consciousness.

M. Alleg never broke under the torture and was sent away to ten years in prison, from which he escaped and fled to Czechoslovakia.
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:06 PM
April 11, 2017
Listen Up, Chicago, Baltimore, etc., etc.

From The Hartford Courant:

…Officers waited for an officer trained in crisis intervention to go to the apartment with them, police said. When they did, they brought a protective shield and special guns that shoot bean bags. When they arrived, they heard noises coming from inside. Concerned the suspect might be injured, they opened the door but didn’t go inside, police said.

Van suddenly emerged from a hallway with a large butcher knife in his right hand and brass knuckles in his left, they said. Crisis intervention officers tried to calm him by talking to him, but Van ignored them, police said. He also ignored police commands to drop the weapons.

He then advanced toward the officers with the knife and knuckles, and an officer fired a bean bag round at him, police said. Van eventually dropped the weapons and was placed in handcuffs, they said. Deputy Chief Brian Foley attributed the officers’ calm, thought-out response to their training.

See? Now was that so hard?

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 01:21 PM
February 20, 2017
Who’s the Snowflake Now?

At The Guardian yesterday Arwa Mahdawi explained her theory of populist correctness which, in contrast to political correctness seen across the political spectrum, comes pretty much exclusively from the alt-right.

From the gender-neutral ashes of political correctness a new sort of PC culture has risen. You could call it populist correctness: a virulent policing of language and stifling of debate that is rapidly and perniciously insinuating itself into daily life in Trump’s America and Brexit Britain.

Stifling debate has sometimes worked to bring down a society, though one could argue that both the US and the UK have traditions of public debate that are old and deep enough to withstand some pushing from the authoritarian right. The so-called alt-right, a name chosen to obscure the white supremacy and racism, is thankfully not the entirety of the right wing; there are many on that side of the spectrum who sincerely believe in small government and big corporations as representing the salvation of us all. At the moment, though, it’s the alt-right that has the floor, and they’re not the type to relinquish the floor voluntarily. But far more of us are repelled than attracted by their presentation, and I predict that what might look solid right now will come crashing down around the players, who after all are carrying toolboxes bereft of anything other than their own egos. They are fragile and threaten unexpectedly to explode.

As well as silencing opposing opinions by branding them elitist, populist correctness works to rebrand ideas, creating a new vocabulary for a new world order. The right prides itself on being straight-talking, on calling a spade a spade, but when it comes to calling a Nazi a Nazi or a racist a racist — well then, things are more vague. They are the “alt-right”, please. Use unacceptable terminology and they will get very angry indeed.

But what’s this? I thought an easily triggered outrage button was the preserve of politically correct liberals? From the vitriol the right heaps on “sensitive snowflakes”, you’d think they have skins as thick as elephants. Far from it: nobody is offended by quite such a wide range of banal things as conservatives. Everything from insufficiently Christmassy Starbucks coffee cups to Budweiser ads to Kermit the Frog’s lack of trousers seems to cause an outpouring of outrage. And, while jokes about minorities or women may be considered just banter, don’t even try joking about white people — that’s reverse-racism! Indeed, many triggered rightwingers recently deleted their Netflix accounts in protest against a new comedy show called Dear White People.

These folks seem to need a safe space.


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Posted by Chuck Dupree at 04:31 PM
February 01, 2017
The Execution of Justice

Our corrupt and vicious criminal justice system is one of the many actually important problems ignored in last year’s trivia-heavy presidential campaign. Here, then, are talking points that the 2020 candidates will no doubt find useful. Just kidding.

The primary reason for wrongful conviction is that the success indicator for police, prosecutor, and judge is conviction, not justice. Crimes are solved by wrongful convictions. High conviction rates boost the careers of prosecutors, and high profile convictions boost their political careers. The key to rapid and numerous convictions is the plea bargain.

And plea bargains suit judges as they keep the court docket clear. Today 97% of felony cases are settled with a plea bargain. This means police evidence and a prosecutor’s case are tested only three times out of 100. When the evidence and case are tested in court, the test confronts a vast array of prosecutorial misconduct, such as suborned perjury and the withholding of exculpatory evidence. In America, everything is loaded against Justice.

In a plea bargain police do not have to present evidence, prosecutors do not have to bring a case, and judges do not have to pay attention to the case and be troubled by a growing backlog as trials consume days and weeks.

In a plea bargain the defendant, innocent or guilty, is told that he can plead to this or that offence, which carries a lighter sentence than the crime that allegedly has actually occurred and on which the defendant is arrested, or the defendant can go to trial where he will face more serious charges that carry much harsher penalties. As it has become routine for police to falsify evidence, for prosecutors to suborn perjury and withhold exculpatory evidence, for jurors naively to trust police and prosecutors, and for judges to look the other way, attorneys advise defendants to accept a plea deal. In other words, no one expects a fair trial or for real evidence to play a role in the outcome.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 03:14 PM
April 23, 2016
Satire is Dead

From The Onion:

In the case of the Baltimore shooting, however, the bureau took the unusual step of deeming part of that case a “bad shoot” in agents’ parlance. But the group did not fault the two agents who killed Mr. Harrison. Instead, it chastised only the agent who shot the tire, recommending that the agent be suspended for a day without pay, according to documents obtained by The Times in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The review group’s reasoning was that the bureau’s policy on using lethal force forbids firing a gun to disable a vehicle, and it concluded that this had been the agent’s motive in shooting the tire. But the same policy permits firing a gun to protect people from danger, and the panel decided that the two agents who shot Mr. Harrison were trying to keep him from driving into bystanders.

Only it isn’t, sadly, from The Onion at all. It’s from The New York Times.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:54 PM
February 22, 2016
Calling All Nerds

Is this indeed true? The long history of FBI incompetence leads me to suspect it is, but hey, what do I know? Do you know?

So here is what is true.

Apple could have recovered information from the phone had the Apple ID passcode not been changed under orders from the FBI, Apple said. If the phone was taken to a location where it recognized the Wi-Fi network, such as the San Bernardino shooters’ home, it could have easily been backed up to the cloud. The FBI then lied about whose incompetence lead to the mistake.

In other words, while the FBI is demanding massive changes in how Apple protects your privacy, none of those change would even be necessary if anyone on the government side understood how iCloud works. And these guys want us to believe we can trust them with our data, and indeed, our freedom.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:48 PM
December 06, 2015
No Cassandras Please!

If there’s anything the Boomers have reliably bequeathed to succeeding generations, it’s the awareness of the fragility of life. And not life in general, the kind that’s easy to feel bad about the loss of, but your own personal copy, the one that matters to you. Growing up in the time of duck-and-cover videos, experiencing the crushing of the American dream with the assassinations of people who might have led us toward if not peace then at least less conflict, watching every new hope for the future gunned down on television, each death blamed on a lone nut with absolutely no connection to anyone in power, seeing images every night on Cronkite or Huntley/Brinkley of our soldiers slogging through tropical mud for reasons nobody understood: but most of all, being aware that the number of nuclear missiles in the world was such that were even a subset to be fired the result would be rubble, pretty much world-wide. That your physical ass was in the hands of people whacked enough to think that made sense. That your life could end in an instant, along with those of everyone you knew.

Nowadays, that end comes in a more personalized package. No longer does your entire city incinerate alongside you; now it’s just you and your coworkers, fellow restaurant- or concert-goers, or transit passengers. What we have is basically the democratization of the power of violence, which the nation-state has greedily claimed for its own from the moment of its inception. In fact that unitary right was almost its legitimization, given the incessant warring and destruction of the later Middle Ages up to the time when it became possible to forge artillery reliable enough to deploy in sieges. And with the easy availability of military-style weaponry around the world and most especially here in the US, it is inevitable not only that more San Bernadinos will happen but that worse is to come. Given the Senate’s craven refusal to prohibit watch-listed terrorists from buying guns, and the number of soldiers who have been trained in counterinsurgency techniques, it’s impossible to imagine that we’ve seen anything approaching peak terrorism.

Complicating the search for solutions is the purely gut-level response of much of the population, who as a result demand that the US do exactly what the terrorists are hoping we’ll do and as in Ted Cruz’s brilliantly creative formulation carpet-bomb them. How one might carpet-bomb a few tens of thousands of fighters amongst a population of millions, the lot spread among cities and rural areas across as many as ten countries, the good Senator and nobody else can explain because it’s a completely ridiculous concept. Yet this passes for reasoned debate in GOP circles!

In the end, though, this really is a clash of civilizations. Or perhaps more aptly it is a clash of civilization with the resistance to same. On the one side are fundamentalists everywhere, from Al-Raqqa to Alaska, for whom every interaction with anyone unlike themselves provokes the fear of learning something and is thus an excuse for violence. For such folks life is, or at least ought to be, black and white, good and evil, prescribed and forbidden. On the other side are relativists around the world, rarely concentrated enough to run a country by any system other than oligarchy, who see nuance and understand that judgments must be made rather than rules subscribed to. Civilization depends on nuance, but the human animal has evolved to promote superstition and fear. As a well-known movie Senator often said, we stand today at a crossroads… But we’ll muddle through, I imagine, much as we have over the last half-century, by daily denial of what we all know to be true: given our choices as a polis, at any moment someone might burst into the room clad in Kevlar, carrying assault weapons, and spraying bullets in our direction. And there’s very little we can do about it.

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Posted by Chuck Dupree at 11:58 PM
November 12, 2015
Your Tax Dollars at Work

This is from We Meant Well. A pdf of the complete report is here.

Shaker Aamer was just released, after 13 years in captivity, from Guantanamo, and returned to Britain. His wife lives there, and he has permanent residence there. He was never charged with anything by the United States, simply kept. Here is what was done to him over the course of his 13 years at Gitmo.

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Are you proud to be an American yet?
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 06:22 PM
August 31, 2015
Just a Suggestion…

…for the Ferguson police department and any others facing the loss of their principal revenue stream — shaking down African Americans on phony charges. From Al Jazeera:

Police investigating Thailand’s deadliest bombing issued arrest warrants on Monday for two suspects — then congratulated themselves on an earlier arrest, and said they would give themselves the money offered as a reward…

The police congratulated themselves on Monday for making the arrest, and said they would give themselves an $84,000 reward, though the man has not been charged — let alone convicted — and may not be the prime suspect.

The reward was originally offered to the public for tips leading to the arrest of suspects, but National Police Chief Somyot Poompanmoung said he was taking the unusual step of redirecting the cash to highlight that Thailand’s police are good at their job.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 01:04 PM
July 03, 2015
Surprise, Surprise!

From The Guardian:

The six police officers involved in Gray’s arrest have been indicted by a grand jury. All six face charges of reckless endangerment, defined in Maryland law as “engaging in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another” and punishable by five years in prison.

Caesar Goodson, driver of the van, faces a charge of second-degree murder. Four of the officers are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The van carrying Gray had a surveillance camera, according to Rawlings-Blake. The camera was not working at the time of Gray’s injury.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:15 PM
April 28, 2015
Action Beats Reaction

From The Economist:

Second, cops think that the public underestimates the threats to their life — and why the use of force is sometimes necessary. Most of the officers I interviewed say that guns poison policing in America. “They’re literally everywhere,” says one. “And the problem with dealing with guns is that if I’m talking to you and you’ve got a gun, action always beats reaction.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:08 PM
April 06, 2015
Your Tax Dollars at Work

More on the TSA’s “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques” which bemused me at the airport a little while ago. The picture shows the sweaty palm check. I am proud to be an American. Aren’t you?

The $900 million (!) program, Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, employs behavior detection officers trained to identify passengers who exhibit behaviors that TSA believes could be linked to would-be terrorists. But in one five-week period at a major international airport in the United States in 2007, the year the program started, only about 4 percent of the passengers who were referred to secondary screening or law enforcement by behavior detection officers were arrested, and nearly 90 percent of those arrests were for being in the country illegally, according to a TSA document obtained by The Intercept

One senior homeland security official said the behavior checklist could work, but TSA’s behavior detection officers have not been properly trained to use it. “My guess is most of them wouldn’t have stopped bin Laden if he walked through their lane,” the official said.

Nothing in the SPOT records suggests that any of those arrested were associated with terrorist activity.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 01:24 PM
March 31, 2015
Palmar Hyperhidrosis

Last week in the Hartford airport I watched a TSA agent run some kind of swab over each palm of the man behind me in the security line — just a standard-issue sandy-haired young Anglo-Saxon type, no beard or weird skull cap. What was the agent looking for? Naturally I didn’t ask. Maybe he’d take it wrong, do a palm-swab on me just to show the wise guy to mind his own business. God knows what he might find. You don’t want to mess with the war on terror.

But just yesterday, in one of those incredible coincidences that could only happen in real life, I came across this possible answer on the internet:

Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points.

These are just a few of the suspicious signs that the Transportation Security Administration directs its officers to look out for — and score — in airport travelers, according to a confidential TSA document obtained exclusively by The Intercept


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:48 PM
March 07, 2015
Here Scum de Judge

From The Guardian, another specimen of human filth from post-racist America:

The judge in Ferguson, Missouri, who is accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself and colleagues while inflicting a punishing regime of fines and fees on the city’s residents, also owes more than $170,000 in unpaid taxes.

Ronald J. Brockmeyer, whose court allegedly jailed impoverished defendants unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars, has a string of outstanding debts to the US government dating back to 2007, according to tax filings obtained by the Guardian from authorities in Missouri.

Brockmeyer, 70, was this week singled out by Department of Justice investigators as being a driving force behind Ferguson’s strategy of using its municipal court to aggressively generate revenues. The policy has been blamed for a breakdown in relations between the city’s overwhelmingly white authorities and residents, two-thirds of whom are African American.

Investigators found Brockmeyer had boasted of creating a range of new court fees, “many of which are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful”. A city councilman opposing the judge’s reappointment was warned “switching judges would/could lead to loss of revenue”.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:40 PM
December 11, 2014
Torture Reasoning

Here is a commenter on The Dish, defending waterboarding:

Hot irons are not the same as slapping someone or verbal threats of physical punishment. Plain and simple. Loud music and cold-water immersion are not the same as wrenching off toe nails. We aren’t talking nuance; we are talking intellectual honesty and reasoned examination. It may be ugly, and it make be torture, but there are levels, degrees, etc., of abuse and pretending otherwise is effective only when preaching to the choir.

And here is Long Island Republican Congressman Peter T. King, a piece of rough trade if ever there was one:

“I don’t believe these are torture at all. For instance, waterboarding, there were medical personnel present during the whole time. It creates tremendous discomfort – there’s no doubt about it. It creates tremendous fear, but the fact is there was no lasting damage to these people and we got information from them, which is very helpful. … We’re not talking about anyone being burned or stabbed or cut or anything like that. We’re talking about people being made to stand in awkward positions, have water put into their nose and into their mouth. Nobody suffered any lasting injuries from this.”
And here is me, on September 14, 2006. I repost it now to remind us of the exact nature of the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, Addington, Libby, Tenet, Bybee, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Yoo and the many others in a chain of command that stretched directly from the Oval Office to the secret overseas torture chambers of the CIA. None of these criminals will ever be brought to trial, the way they do it in Chile or Argentina or Germany or Cambodia. We’re the world’s greatest democracy, and we’re below that kind of thing.
Since the torturer Bush won’t tell us specifically what he has done, let’s turn to somebody to whom it was done half a century ago. This is from a 1958 book called The Question. The author, a French newspaper editor in Algeria named Henri Alleg, had already resisted a month of hideous torture at the hands of his own country’s paratroopers, including electric shock and having his testicles burned. The worst, inflicted only when all else had failed, was yet to come:

A few moments later L— came into the room. Twenty-five years old, short, sunburnt, pomaded hair, small forehead. He came up to me, smiling, and said, “Ah! So you’re the customer? Come with me…”

L— now laid on the ground a black plank, sweating with humidity, polluted and sticky with vomit left, no doubt, by previous “customers.”

I lay down on the plank. L— , with the help of another man, attached me by the wrists and ankles with leather straps fixed to the wood…

Together they picked up he plank to which I was attached and carried me into the kitchen. Once there, they rested the top of the plank, where my head was, against the sink. L— fixed a rubber tube to the metal tap which shone just above my face. He wrapped my head in a rag, while Captain D— said: “Put a wedge in his mouth.”

With the rag already over my face, L— held my nose. He tried to jam a piece of wood between my lips in such a way that I could not close my mouth or spit out the tube. When everything was ready, he said to me: “When you want to talk, all you have to do is move your fingers.”

And he turned on the tap. The rag was soaked rapidly. Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. But for a while I could still breathe in some small gulps of air. I tried, by contracting my throat, to take in as little water as possible and to resist suffocation by keeping air in my lungs for as long as I could.

But I couldn’t hold on for more than a few moments. I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me. In spite of myself, the fingers of both my hands shook uncontrollably,

“That’s it! He’s going to talk,” said a voice.

The water stopped running and they took away the rag. I was able to breathe. In the gloom, I saw the lieutenants and the captain, who, with a cigarette between his lips, was hitting my stomach with his fist to make me throw out the water I had swallowed. Befuddled by the air I was breathing, I hardly felt the blows.

“Well, then?” I remained silent. “He’s playing games with us. Put his head under again!”

This time I clenched my fists, forcing the nails into my palm. I had decided I was not going to move my fingers again. It was better to die of asphyxia right away. I feared to undergo again that terrible moment when I had felt myself losing consciousness, while at the same time I was fighting with all my might not to die.

I did not move my hands, but three times I again experienced this insupportable agony. In extremis, they let me get my breath back while I threw up the water.

The last time, I lost consciousness.

M. Alleg, shown below in a 2004 photo, never broke under the torture and was sent away to ten years in prison, from which he escaped and fled to Czechoslovakia.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 03:10 PM
November 30, 2014
The Unalterable Other

Michael Eric Dyson’s piece in today’s New York Times is the most perceptive and persuasive thing I’ve seen yet on the Ferguson murder. Excerpt:

Bill Cosby didn’t invent the politics of respectability — the belief that good behavior and stern chiding will cure black ills and uplift black people and convince white people that we’re human and worthy of respect. But he certainly gave it a vernacular swagger that has since been polished by Barack Obama. The president has lectured black folk about our moral shortcomings before cheering audiences at college commencements and civil rights conventions. And yet his themes are shopworn and mix the innocuous and the insidious: pull your pants up, stop making racial excuses for failure, stop complaining about racism, turn off the television and the video games and study, don’t feed your kids fried chicken for breakfast, be a good father.

As big a fan as he is of respectability politics, Mr. Obama is the most eloquent reminder that they don’t work, that no matter how smart, sophisticated or upstanding one is, and no matter how much chastising black people pleases white ears, the suspicions about black identity persist. Despite his accomplishments and charisma, he is for millions the unalterable “other” of national life, the opposite of what they mean when they think of America.

Barack Obama, like Michael Brown, is changed before our eyes into a monstrous thing that lacks humanity: a monkey, a cipher, a black hole that kills light. One might expect the ultimate target of this black otherness to have sympathy for its lesser targets, who also have lesser standing and lesser protection, like the people in Ferguson, in Ohio, in New York, in Florida, and all around the country, who can’t keep their unarmed children from being cut down in the street by callous cops who leave their bodies to stiffen into rigor mortis in the presence of horrified onlookers…

He has employed a twin strategy: the “heroic explicit,” in which he deliberately and clearly assails black moral failure and poor cultural habits, and the “noble implicit,” in which he avoids linking whites to social distress or pathology and speaks in the broadest terms possible, in grammar both tentative and tortured, about the problems we all confront. It’s an effort that hinges on false equivalencies between black and white and the mistaken identification of effect for cause.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:21 PM
October 29, 2014
Self Defense, Ferguson Style

From The Economist:

The official autopsy report, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, indicates that Brown was shot at close range, which seems to support Mr Wilson’s assertion that Brown reached for his gun. It also seems to back up his testimony that Brown first ran from the vehicle, defying the officer’s command to stop, and then turned around and charged him. Brown’s blood was found on the gun, on Mr Wilson’s uniform as well as inside the car, which also supports Mr Wilson’s claim that the confrontation took place at short range and that he was acting in self-defense. Half a dozen witnesses also provided testimony supporting Mr Wilson’s view of the events.

Once again, great attention is paid here to any evidence that a shot was fired in the car, as if this supported the policeman’s story that Brown was reaching for his gun. The unspoken assumption is that Brown wanted that gun in order to shoot the cop. How likely is that?

A jaywalker runs from a cop seated in a patrol car, door closed and window open. The suspect stops, turns, and “charges the vehicle,” presumably having been struck in mid flight by the thought that it ought to be easy to haul a cop out through a car window and teach him a good lesson by beating him to a bloody pulp in front of dozens of witnesses. However the victim’s gun turns out to be in his hand instead of out of reach on his right hip.

Why was Wilson’s gun out? Why not? Wouldn’t any officer slap leather if a jaywalker with a big mouth ran away from a patrol car? Case after case after case, here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, has demonstrated that running away from a cop calls for immediate application of the death penalty.

Brown seems to have forgotten this. What an idiot.

Does improbability creep into this version here and there? Then let’s try another one.

Brown runs. Wilson shouts at him to stop. Brown stops and returns. Arriving at the vehicle he sees the gun in Wilson’s hand. Brown, being a black man, makes the reasonable assumption that Wilson, being a white cop, is about to shoot him. In self defense, he goes for the gun and is shot in the hand.

That so many media accounts treat the presence of powder residue and blood inside the car as an indication Brown was trying to shoot the cop is astonishing. Well, no, I guess it isn’t.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 03:42 PM
September 20, 2014
Your Daily Anus

Today’s award is shared equally between Judge Thomas Keith in Peoria, Illinois, and that city’s mayor, Jim Ardis. In 140 words:

A Swat team burst into Elliott’s house in Peoria looking for the source of a parody Twitter feed that had upset the town’s mayor by poking fun at him. “My identity as mayor was stolen,” he said after he dispatched the police… A Peoria judge ruled that the police were entitled to raid the house under the town’s “false personation” law which makes it illegal to pass yourself off as a public official. Judge Thomas Keith found that police had probable cause to believe they would find materials relevant to the Twitter feed such as computers or flash drives used to create it. It is not known whether he now regrets his decision to send in the Swat team. One measure of its success is that there is no longer one parody feed ridiculing Ardis on Twitter — there are 15.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:52 PM
September 16, 2014
Your Daily Dipshit

From the New York Times:

On Fox News on Monday, a county sheriff in Texas said he had received reports that Qurans and Muslim clothing had been found on smuggling routes. He said that was evidence that Muslims had been smuggled into the United States.

“If they show their ugly head in our area, we’ll send them to hell,” said the sheriff, Gary Painter, of Midland County. “I would like for them to hit them so hard and so often that every time they hear a propeller on a plane or a jet aircraft engine that they urinate down both legs. When you do that, then you’ve accomplished a lot.”

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:05 PM
August 25, 2014
Move Along, Folks, Nothing to See Here

Were you expecting great things from the man President Obama charged with getting at the truth of Michael Brown’s death by cop? As I wrote a couple of weeks back, don’t hold your breath. Some more reasons why:

As the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1993 to 1997, Holder was in charge of policing the local police. When police violence spiraled out of control, he did little to protect Washington residents from rampaging lawmen.

The number of killings by Washington police doubled from 1988 to 1995, the year 16 civilians died from officer gunfire. Police shot and killed people at a higher rate than any other major city police department, as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post investigation revealed. The Post reported that “Holder said he did not detect a pattern of problematic police shootings and could not recall the specifics of cases he personally reviewed.” Holder declared: “I can’t honestly say I saw anything that was excessive…”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 11:44 AM
August 12, 2014
Don’t Hold Your Breath

Here’s the Attorney General, in theory the boss of an FBI which has never once found any of its own agents guilty in the deaths of the hundreds of people they have shot to death over the years, vowing to get to the bottom of the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri:

In Washington, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said Monday that the episode “deserves a fulsome review.” He added, “Aggressively pursuing investigations such as this is critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Here’s the dictionary definition of fulsome:

Complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree: they are almost embarrassingly fulsome in their appreciation.
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 04:35 PM
United Police States of America

It’s worse than I thought, and I thought it was pretty bad. See this from John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute:

The number of violent crimes in the country is down substantially, the lowest rate in 40 years, while the number of Americans being jailed for nonviolent crimes, such as driving with a suspended license, are skyrocketing…

As with most things, if you want to know the real motives behind any government program, follow the money trail. When you dig down far enough, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, you quickly find that those who profit from Americans being arrested are none other than the police who arrest them, the courts which try them, the prisons which incarcerate them, and the corporations, which manufacture the weapons and equipment used by police, build and run the prisons, and profit from the cheap prison labor…

Second, there’s the profit-incentive for states to lock up large numbers of Americans in private prisons. Just as police departments have quotas for how many tickets are issued and arrests made per month — a number tied directly to revenue — states now have quotas to meet for how many Americans go to jail. Having outsourced their inmate population to private prisons run by corporations such as Corrections Corp of America and the GEO Group, ostensibly as a way to save money, increasing numbers of states have contracted to keep their prisons at 90% to 100% capacity. This profit-driven form of mass punishment has, in turn, given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep the money flowing and their privately run prisons full. No wonder the United States has the largest prison population in the world…

What some Americans may not have realized, however, is that America’s economy has come to depend in large part on prison labor. “Prison labor reportedly produces 100 percent of military helmets, shirts, pants, tents, bags, canteens, and a variety of other equipment. Prison labor makes circuit boards for IBM, Texas Instruments, and Dell. Many McDonald's uniforms are sewn by inmates. Other corporations — Microsoft, Victoria's Secret, Boeing, Motorola, Compaq, Revlon, and Kmart — also benefit from prison labor.” The resulting prison labor industries, which rely on cheap, almost free labor, are doing as much to put the average American out of work as the outsourcing of jobs to China and India.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 04:03 PM
July 31, 2014
How We Forgive Our Debtors

As a people we are vicious, vengeful, ignorant, callous and most of all cowardly. What else could account for the Dickensian criminal “justice” system we permit to exist? Excerpted from We Meant Well:

…Debtors’ prisons in the U.S. were declared unconstitutional, but states have re-implemented them anyway. A person locked up can’t earn money to pay the debt. And most significantly, it ends up costing many jurisdictions more money to punish someone for not paying than they would have “spent” just forgetting the debt. So why do states do this? To be fair, many states do not, and some that do often try and work out some sort of payment plan first. OK, good enough.

Now this may all be for the best. On the streets, nobody is overly concerned about providing food, medical care and shelter to poor people; outside they’re lazy, don’t want to work, nip at the public tit and all. Why, it would be socialism to help them after all. However, inside the prison system they all get food, medical and dental care, all tucked in a warm bed. Our society is apparently more ready to care for a criminal than for a citizen down on his luck.

The reality in America is that far too many people go to jail as punishment for not paying the fees and court costs incurred finding them already guilty of something else. One is left with a tough conclusion: we are more and more a crude, course society on path towards some sort of feudalism, where the rich (if ever brought to court at all) pay their money and walk out, while poor people are punished for no valid reason. We as a society want to set examples, clear the streets of our lowers, punish those who aren’t able to pay the government for giving them their day in court. That’s who we are now. And you better pay your bills…


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:37 PM
July 27, 2014
Make Thug Cops Pay

From The Third Degree, published in 1969 by Arno Press. The period referenced is the 1920s:

Policemen in Boston must pay their own fines and judgments when convicted or sued for lawlessness. There is a benefit fund for policemen’s widows and orphans and for policemen injured in the performance of their duties. but there is no protective fund maintained out of dues and contributions which can be used for judgments or fines…The policeman’s money liability is said to create a frame of mind that stands in the way of false arrest or the use of club or fist.

This simple measure from the past (along with today’s smartphones) would take all the fun out of police brutality.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 07:45 PM
June 10, 2014
Officer Friendly Mans Up

Extracts from yesterday’s New York Times:

Neenah’s police chief, Kevin E. Wilkinson, said he understood the concern. At first, he thought the anti-mine truck was too big. But the department’s old armored car could not withstand high-powered gunfire, he said.

“I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough…’ ”

The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.

In South Carolina, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s website features its SWAT team, dressed in black with guns drawn, flanking an armored vehicle that looks like a tank and has a mounted .50-caliber gun. Capt. Chris Cowan, a department spokesman, said the vehicle “allows the department to stay in step with the criminals who are arming themselves more heavily every day…”

I’ve written about Sonny Lee before, but the law enforcement community apparently wasn’t listening. So here goes again.

Back in the late 1950s I was a police reporter in Arlington County, Virginia, across the river from Washington. Sonny Lee was a short, wide, solid, crew-cut detective sergeant, the department’s go-to guy if you needed a brawl broken up or a door kicked down before the man inside succeeded in beating his wife to death. One day I asked him if he had ever had occasion to draw his gun.

“Hell, no,” Sonny said. “A man needs a gun to do this job, he’s in the wrong line of work.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:54 PM
May 27, 2014
Our Broken Fiddle

Poking through the archives I just came across this post from January 2 of 2003. Unfortunately it remains relevant, and so I put it up again:


Could That Shining City
On the Hill Be Helsinki?

For your contemplation, I offer this story by Warren Hoge in today’s New York Times. It is on the front page where it ought to get all our attention, but won’t.

This is because we were raised to withstand all evidence that ours might not actually be in every respect the noblest nation ever to bathe God’s little green footstool in such supernal effulgence.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at Finland’s system of criminal justice, as Mr. Hoge has…

All done? Interesting stuff, but it would never work here, would it? For one thing Finland is full of Finns, and the United States is full of Americans.

But aren’t those Finns pretty similar to us genetically?, you ask. After all, Doctor Science, aren’t they Christians? Lutherans or something?

Actually, children, religious faith is one of many things that are not genetically determined. Let’s look for others in the story. Did you notice where Mr. Hoge says Finland has “a relatively classless culture with a Scandinavian belief in the benevolence of the state and a trust in its civic institutions?”

No genetic marker for these disorders has been discovered so far either, and we scientists are in pretty general agreement than none ever will be. We say, instead, that such conditions and attitudes grow out of our “culture.”

Okay, enough with the Doctor Science.

I once heard a political consultant describe American democracy as “that system in which you give the people what they want, and you give it to ’em good.”

So think of our culture as a violin, and our politicians as musicians. Any one of them might think he could get better sounds out of a clarinet or a flute, but that isn’t what we’ve given him to play. The only thing that can come out is fiddle music.

And so we ourselves have actually chosen a society with shameful extremes of poverty and immense wealth. We have chosen untrustworthy civic institutions. We have chosen a state that is no more benevolent than it absolutely has to be in order to avoid revolution.

These are the things we demand or permit — it comes to the same thing in practice — on November the fifth of every even year. Because we are this kind of stupid, we have 702 Americans out of every 100,000 in jail. Because the Finns aren’t, they have 52.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 07:28 PM
May 23, 2014
The FBI Gets Its Man

Have I been asleep for the last week, or did this fascinating Boston Globe story die at birth? If the latter, why? Isn’t the unnecessary killing of a man by an incompetent FBI agent a matter of considerable public concern, particularly since it occurred during the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing? Shouldn’t we be mildly interested in why this fool was hired by the FBI in the first place? And wouldn’t we all like to know how he was able to retire from the Oakland police department at the age of 31 on a lifetime disability pension of $52,000 a year? And then go to work a few years later for the FBI, not previously known to have a soft spot in its flinty heart for the disabled?

It isn’t often that we can get behind the Bureau’s redactions and no comments for a good look at how its fabled crimebusters actually work. For more on how pretty it ain’t, go here.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:34 PM
May 15, 2014
Reasonable Torture

From The Pasadena Star-News of February 18, 2013, this touching story:

SAN FRANCISCO — On a May day in 2009, Vaughn Walker was going through one of his weekly routines as a federal judge, reviewing a stack of new lawsuits assigned to his San Francisco chambers, when one case caught his eye: Perry v. Schwarzenegger…

It did not take long for the veteran chief judge, himself quietly but openly in a longtime gay relationship with a doctor, to realize that he had inherited the legal challenge to Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The silver-haired judge with the iconoclast’s reputation would be center stage in the gay marriage controversy.

“That’s when I had the ‘Oh my!’ moment,” Walker said during an interview last week…

Walker, after conducting an unprecedented trial, in 2010 declared the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, saying the law had no social justification and singled out same-sex couples for discrimination.

In 1997 a group of environmental protestors locked themselves together in the office of Republican Congressman Frank Riggs in Eureka, California. When they would not leave, police sprayed a solution of hot pepper into the eyes of four women, and then swabbed it directly on their eyeballs with Q-tips. Other sheriff’s deputies filmed the torture, for later use in a training film.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker later dismissed a suit for damages brought by the torture victims. He held that Eureka police had used “reasonable force” on the locked and helpless protesters.

But just suppose the judge’s own eyeballs had once been reasonably forced into a longtime spray relationship with hot pepper? Would that too, back in 1997, have triggered an “Oh, my! moment” in the chambers of the silver-haired iconoclast?


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 09:46 PM
March 26, 2014
We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ License to Kill

Charles Pierce at Esquire asks:

Is there some kind of employee of the month deal going on at the FBI? Just today, they've busted a California state senator and the mayor of Charlotte, as well as raiding the offices of an state assemblyman in New York?

More likely these obviously well-coordinated news dumps showing Your FBI at Work in War and Peace were planned as distractions. They follow on the heels of two equally well-coordinated news dumps: yesterday’s release of self-exonerating investigations into the FBI’s bungled killing of Ibragim Todashev last May in Orlando:

He hurled a coffee table at the FBI agent’s head, armed himself with a 5-foot metal pole and then charged at another officer, according to more than 100 pages of investigative reports released Tuesday by State Attorney Jeff Ashton.

In a letter written to FBI Director James Comey, Ashton stated: “My conclusion, based upon the facts presented to me in this investigation, is that the actions of the special agent of the FBI were justified in self defense and in defense of another.”

Curiously enough, Comey’s own investigation had come to the same reassuring conclusion. As the FBI has done after every one of the last 150 shootings by its agents. And will continue to do after every one of the next 150.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 06:59 PM
January 28, 2014
I Didn’t Expect It Would Be So Good

Wow, this is a bit spooky: the Turkish prime minister made a speech as a hologram broadcast into an arena. Is this, as Ed Kilgore asks, the new wave for leaders, or at least those in power? Especially those whose physical safety might be an issue?


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Posted by Chuck Dupree at 03:52 PM
December 14, 2013
Nothing Gets The Adrenaline Going…

…like a 78-year-old woman. More news from the United Police States of America. Read the whole piece by Emily DePrang from which this is excerpted.

Four of the fired officers were also indicted for misdemeanor official oppression. One was found not guilty — an all-white jury decided in May 2012 that Andrew Blomberg was not stomping on Holley’s hands but was trying to lift them with the back of his foot — one was found guilty and the other two pleaded no contest. All three received probation.

To Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, those former cops are the real victims. “If Chad Holley had been in school and not burglarizing a house,” he told me, “those officers would still be in this department.”

I asked Hunt how often the Chad Holley scenario — one suspect, multiple officers and “a question about force”— happens.

Hunt, who was a Houston patrol officer for 18 years, replied, “That happens a lot. And I can tell you—myself, two paramedics, my old partner and another police officer were in a similar type thing with a 78-year-old woman on a scene one time. And if that had been videotaped, I can only imagine what people would have thought we were doing to this person. All’s we were trying to do was make sure that her knife was gone and she was handcuffed. … But yeah, a lot of times, when you’ve got a citizen that’s fighting with officers, it may take seven, eight, nine officers to subdue that person. The adrenaline’s going, and it can be bad.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:11 PM
December 03, 2013
News from the Civilized World

Al Jazeera reports:

Police in Iceland said Monday they shot dead a gunman — the first time armed police have killed someone in the nation's history…

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 12:07 PM
November 19, 2013
OK, So It’s Unconstitutional…

…but it makes up for that by being useless:

[FISA court judge John] Bates’ heavily redacted opinion suggests that the collection of the internet and email metadata from Americans in bulk provided only minimal relevant information to FBI for generating terrorism investigation leads, the entire purpose of the program. Bates questioned, as a “threshold concern”, the government’s willingness to represent its activities to the Fisa court it cites as the principal check on its surveillance powers.
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 06:33 PM
Keeping Good Company

We’re Number One again! Aren’t you proud?

Juvenile life without parole is banned in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by every single country in the world except three: Somalia, South Sudan and the United States. In Somalia and South Sudan, there are no known cases of people serving a life without parole sentence for a crime committed as a minor. In the U.S., there were around 2,500 as of 2008, according to a Human Rights Watch tally.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:58 PM
October 24, 2013
You Gotta Be Kidding, Right?

Wrong:

Former University of California, Davis policeman John Pike, who stirred public outrage by pepper-spraying peaceful student protesters during a 2011 sit-in against tuition hikes, has been awarded just over $38,000 in worker's compensation from the university for what Pike called psychiatric damage.

The ex-officer said he suffered mental distress after receiving more than 17,000 angry or threatening emails, 10,000 text messages and hundreds of letters when the video of the pepper-spraying went viral…

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Pike had earned more than $110,000 from his job in 2010, citing a database of state worker salaries from the last year for which figures are available.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 01:26 PM
September 11, 2013
The Great Misdiagnosis

Jim Wright at Stonekettle explores the true legacy of 9/11 in the excerpt below. As a nation, we have responded to the tragedy like a man stricken with lung cancer who chooses to self-medicate with two packs of Marlboros, taken daily.

…Since 911, an entire generation has been born and grown to self-awareness. Those young Americans have never known their nation at peace.

They have never known a nation that is not divided … They have never had a single day where they weren’t told to hate their neighbors and to report them if they don’t seem patriotic enough … They have never lived a single day in a nation that wasn’t bent to the terrible business of revenge.

They have never known a nation that didn’t roil in fear and cringe in terror every single day … They have never flown on an airplane without having been treated like a criminal … They have never checked out a book from the library without having been subject to secret scrutiny.

They never sent an unmonitored email or made an unmonitored phone call … They have never lived in a house that isn’t subject to unwarranted search … They have never had the right to redress or legal challenge when their name is placed on secret lists — and in point of fact, they don’t even have the right to know if their name is on that list at all.

They have never lived in a nation where they have the right to confront their accuser and demand proof of more than just suspicion … They have never lived without the threat, however unlikely, of being disappeared … They have never lived in a nation that didn’t regard the torture of human beings as an acceptable option.

This new generation has lived under the shadow of those falling towers every single minute of every single day since the moment they were born.

The terrorists didn’t do that to them.

We did.
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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 01:02 PM
September 09, 2013
Our Boys in Blue

First take a look at the video below, full-screen if you can. Have you seen it before? Probably not. And yet there was a time, some 20 years ago, when a similar video, of the beating of Rodney King, transfixed the entire nation. The only substantial difference between the King tape and the one below is that the Los Angeles police didn’t have Tasers. They had to torture their captive the old-fashioned way, with clubs and fists and boots. Those were primitive days…

It used to be that to torture a prisoner with electricity was a cumbersome process, requiring an electrical connection or a generator. Building on the principle of the cattle prod, however, science soon brought us the miracle of the portable taser, so that today any torturer in blue can deal out agonizing pain or death whenever and wherever the occasion presents itself. (“Death,” you say? Isn’t that going a little far? Not at all. Just this summer, just in Connecticut, police have Tasered two men to death. That brings our total to 13 since 2005.)

Here’s what happened to the Long Beach victim in the video, a 46-year-old man named Porfirio Santos-Lopez:

He underwent surgery at Long Beach Memorial Hospital for injuries sustained in the confrontation. “They broke two bones in his right arm. They collapsed his lung on the left side. He has two cuts on his right leg, a cut on his left, a cut on his head,” Santos-Lopez’ wife, Lee Ann Hernandez, said.

None of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on leave. No charges have been filed against Santos-Lopez.

Another difference between the torture of King and the torture of Lopez is the presence of a crowd in the latter case. The Long Beach police knew they were on camera. Cell phones were everywhere. People were shouting at the cowards to stop their torture. The cowards were indifferent. They knew, this being America, that they would never be punished. We just love our boys in blue all to pieces, as long as they confine their torture to the torturable classes. You’re never going to see John Yoo or Bernie Madoff on the ground, jerking and screaming.



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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 04:38 PM
August 27, 2013
I’m Shocked, Shocked…

…to find that spying is going on in here:

The employees even had a code name for the practice — “Love-int” — meaning the gathering of intelligence on their partners.

Dianne Feinstein, a senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, said the NSA told her committee about a set of “isolated cases” that have occurred about once a year for the last 10 years. The spying was not within the US, and was carried out when one of the lovers was abroad.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 09:55 AM
August 22, 2013
Wanted by the FBI: Ratfinks

Here’s the FBI again, pissing in our national punchbowl again. Now if only they could figure out some way to strip citizenship from any American who refused to rat out his neighbors… Think how happy we would all be then — curled up in the fetal position, all safe and snug under our own little beds.

It cites the case of Hassan Razmara, an Iranian national and green card holder who applied for citizenship in 2007. Razmana attended an Iranian mosque in West Covina, California, which was surveilled by the FBI. In 2008, the mosque’s imam was convicted of fraud, filing false tax returns and violating the US economic embargo against Iran. In early 2009, after passing the naturalisation exam, Razmana attended his second interview, to find an FBI agent present, who asked questions about the mosque and the imam.

Soon afterwards, the agent called him and told him he would expedite his naturalisation case if he would be an informant for the agency. He declined. Four years later, his application for citizenship — which should take six months — is still pending because of “additional background checks.”


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 10:33 AM
August 21, 2013
United Snoops of America

Just came across this post from October of 2002:

This is the logo for the proposed Office of Homeland Security. No doubt it will be hissed and booed to death shortly, which will be too bad. Unlike most logos, this one says it all. (Come to think of it, though, the text loses something in translation. Heimat Sicherheit sounds more natural.)


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And sure enough, it was hissed and booed to death in favor of:


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 06:10 PM
August 20, 2013
Kombat Kops

Here, via Naked Capitalism, is a Marine colonel on how to build a police state right under our cop-loving and soldier-sniffing eyes:

My best friend, who’s a SWAT officer in Nashua, who came to Iraq with me to train the Iraqi police, sent me an email with a picture of him in the media on the streets of Watertown, MA wearing the exact same combat gear that we had in Iraq, only it was a different color. And the way we do things in the military, it’s called task organization: You take a command, and then you attach units to it in order to accomplish the mission. What’s happening is that Homeland Security is pre-staging gear, equipment, consistent: What they’re trying to do is use standardized vehicles, standardized equipment. I saw a picture in the Boston Globe during the Marathon Bombing where there was a state police officer — Actually, there were two officers. They both had identical helmets, flak jackets, weapons, everything I wore in Iraq, only it was all blue. The officer on one side had a big patch on his back that said “MASSACHUSETTS STATE POLICE.” Another officer next to him, his patch said “BOSTON POLICE.”

And so what we’re doing here, and let’s not kid about it, we’re building a domestic army and we’re shrinking the military because the government is afraid of its own citizens. The last time more than ten terrorists were in the same place at one time was September 11, and all these vehicles in the world wouldn’t have prevented it, nor would it have helped anybody. So, I don’t know where we’re going to use this many vehicles and this many troops; Concord is just one little cog in the wheel. We’re building an Army over here and I can’t believe that people aren’t seeing it. Is everybody blind?


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 05:30 PM
August 18, 2013
Osama Bin Laden Wins Again

By all means read this whole, terrifying article in the New York Times by Todd Miller. An individual presenting with the same symptoms as our nation would be diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and confined appropriately.

In 2012, a majority of the more than 364,000 people arrested by Border Patrol agents nationwide were migrant workers crossing the border. Agents did not capture or arrest a single international terrorist.…

The Border Patrol buildup in the aftermath of 9/11 was unparalleled. In the 10-year period following 9/11, the United States spent a staggering $90 billion on border enforcement.

In 2012, the Migration Policy Institute reported that immigration and border enforcement spending totaled almost $18 billion. That is 24 percent more than the $14.4 billion combined budgets in the last fiscal year of the F.B.I., the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives…

Almost one-third of all agents have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s no wonder that more and more people in the 100-mile zone from across the political spectrum view the Border Patrol as an occupying army.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at 02:28 PM