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Four important articles. More opportunities to get angry, and put America on path to reform.

15 March 2012

Summary:  While the news media lulls us into a stupor, the world moves on.  Two Three Four articles from the front lines deserve your attention.   Every day we slide towards ruin and tyranny, an ugly combination.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.
— From George Orwell’s 1984

… At that moment, the lawsuit charges, the chief had his boot on Officer Schoolcraft’s face.”
— From the New York Times (see #4 below)

Contents

  1. Fred Reed explains why we’re losing
  2. America begins to give in to its dark side: “Obama’s personal role in a journalist’s imprisonment”
  3. Virginia hides DNA evidence that exonerates inmates
  4. Our title story, our militarized police run wild
  5. Conclusion

(1)  Fred Reed explains why we’re losing

Spinning Business as Usual“, Fred Reed (perhaps America’s sole remaining true guru), 13 March 2012 — Every day it becomes clearer that our wars will not end well for America.  Conclusion:

If you suggest that such behavior isn’t a real good idea, the hardnosed will say, what the hell, tell them to get over it, we’ve got a war to fight. Thing is, Afghan men are as hard as any who ever lived, and they take mistreatment of their women seriously. They take the murder of their children for fun seriously. A horizontal butt-stroke to the face of someone’s wife means that you aren’t going to win your war. Pissing on Afghan dead, kicking their doors in at three in the morning, kill teams sportively murdering civilians, all the things that boot camp makes inevitable—they all mean you are not going to win your war.

Even Republicans can tire of killing, or conceivably can. But it is not just the weariness of Americans with endless war that threatens the Pentagon. The Afghans hate the United States, and their soldiers have begun killing US troops. The Pakis, furious at American intervention and random killing with those fun new drones, are at the point of revolt. The atrocities will continue because, after all the medals and stories of heroism at the O-club, the high-fives and the teary-eyed tributes to the fallen, atrocities are what armies do.

When you have trained men to behave in a certain way, don’t be surprised when they do.

An American assumes the position

(2)  America begins to give in to its dark side

Slowly we become more like the Empire in Star Wars than anything the Founders imagined.  This describes another big step by America towards the Dark Side (anyone pushing Yemen into barbarism is seriously evil): “Obama’s personal role in a journalist’s imprisonment“, Glenn Greenberg, Salon, 13 March 2012.  It’s more evidence that Glenn Greenwald’s column at Salon belongs near the top of every American’s reading (above the reports of stenographers pretending to be journalists writing at the husks of our newspapers.  Excerpt (emphasis in the original):

Despite that important journalism — or, more accurately, because of it — Shaye is now in prison, thanks largely to President Obama himself. For the past two years, Shaye has been arrested, beaten, and held in solitary confinement by the security forces of Saleh, America’s obedient tyrant. In January, 2011, he was convicted in a Yemeni court of terrorism-related charges — alleging that he was not a reporter covering Al Qaeda but a mouthpiece for it — in a proceeding widely condemned by human rights groups around the world.

“There are strong indications that the charges against [Shaye] are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about US collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, told Scahill. The Yemen expert, Johnsen, added: “There is no publicly available evidence to suggest that Abdulelah was anything other than a journalist attempting to do his job.”

Shaye’s real crime is that he reported facts that the U.S. government and its Yemeni client regime wanted suppressed. But while the imprisonment of this journalist was ignored in the U.S, it became a significant controversy in Yemen. Numerous Yemeni tribal leaders, sheiks and activist groups agitated for his release, and in response, President Saleh, as the Yemeni press reported, had a pardon drawn up for him and was ready to sign it. That came to a halt when President Obama intervened. According to the White House’s own summary of Obama’s February 3, 2011, call with Saleh, “President Obama expressed concern over the release of Abd-Ilah al-Shai.” The administration has repeatedly refused to present any evidence that Shaye is anything other than a reporter,


(3)  Virginia hides DNA evidence that exonerates inmates

The Exoneration of Bennett Barbour“, Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 12 March 2012 — “Virginia knows it has DNA evidence that may prove the innocence of dozens of men convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Men just like Barbour. So why won’t the state say who they are?”  Excerpt:

In September 2004, Mark Warner, then Virginia’s governor, ordered a random audit of 31 old criminal cases after a vast trove of biological evidence was discovered lying around in old case files saved by state forensic serologists. The testing of those 31 samples led to the exonerations of two convicted rapists. Warner, embarrassed by the revelations, then ordered in late 2005 that every sample obtained between 1973 and 1988 be rechecked. It amounted to thousands of files.

… Now in its seventh year, the cost of the project hovers at $5 million. Nobody has any idea exactly how the Virginia Department of Forensics has conducted its work. Indeed, no one knows much about the specifics of the crime lab’s work at all. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, the state located approximately 800 biological samples of DNA that could be tested. Of those, only 214 were in sufficient condition to yield accurate results. Among these, more than 70 people — one commonly cited figure is 79 — appear to have been excluded as the perpetrators of a crime.

But the state’s authorities did not move quickly to suspend these sentences or contact the individuals or families involved. They did not publicize their findings. Indeed, they denied Freedom of Information Act requests that would have shed light on the problem. Rather, Virginia state officials appears to have devised a system of notifying current and former convicts that is almost guaranteed to lead to the fewest number of exonerations.

… Whatever the percentage of error on the part of Virginia’s criminal justice system, one thing is certain: Only a handful of the falsely convicted have received the exonerations they deserve. Since DNA retesting began in Virginia, two people have been formally exonerated and another, who is dead, was cleared of a rape he didn’t commit. When Barbour’s paperwork is processed, he will be only the fourth person to be exonerated, despite the fact that the state is aware of scores of others who may be innocent.

(update) For more information about our broken our forensics science apparatus:

Few aspects of our criminal justice system demonstrate its irrationality as do forensic experts.  Underpaid, overworked, under-regulated — they are the opposite of the picture painted on TV (e.g., CSI and its clones, NCIS).  Yet these exaggerated but confident opinions by government-sponsored experts, relying on what are often little more than urban legends, send people to jail — unless they have the money to hire opposing experts.  For the rich it’s a contest of forensic gladiators; for the poor it’s kangaroo court.

  1. Forensic Science: The Need for Regulation“, Randolph N. Jonakait, Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Spring 1991
  2. Forensic Science: Oxymoron?“, Donald Kennedy, Science, 5 December 2003
  3. “”How to Improve Forensic Science“, Roger Koppl, European Journal of Law and Economics, 2005
  4. Forensic Science: Grand Goals, Tragic Flaws, and Judicial Gatekeeping” by Jane Campbell Moriarty and Michael J. Saks, Judges’ Journal, Fall 2005
  5. Forensic Entomology: Myths Busted!“, Forensic Magazine, October/November 2006
  6. CSI for Real: How to Improve Forensic Science“, Roger Koppl, Reason Foundation, 1 December 2007
  7. The CSI Effect: Popular Fiction About Forensic Science Affects Public Expectations About Real Forensic Science“, N. J. Schweitzer and Michael J. Saks (Arizona State U), Jurimetrics, Spring 2007
  8. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward“, National Academies of Science, 2009 — “With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, however, no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.”
  9. Trial by Fire – Did Texas execute an innocent man?“, David Grann, New Yorker, 7 September 2009
  10. CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics“, Popular Mechanics, 18 December 2009 — “Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. PM takes an in-depth look at the shaky science that has put innocent people behind bars.”
  11. Agents’ Secrets, The News & Observer, a series of reports in August 2010 — Horrific revelations about the NC State Bureau of Investigation (the State’s crime laboratory).
  12. Scathing SBI audit says 230 cases tainted by shoddy investigations“, The News & Observer, 19 August 2010 — More revelations.


(4)  Our title story, our militarized police run wild

An Officer Had Backup: Secret Tapes“, New York Times, 13 March 2012 — Red emphasis added.  Excerpt:

One night in October 2009, a team of police officers, led by a deputy chief, raided the home of a police officer named Adrian Schoolcraft, and dragged him out of his bed and to the psychiatric emergency room at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. He was held for six days in a locked ward. No judge was involved. There was no hearing.

The decision to take him to the hospital was made solely by armed men who happened to be his superior officers in the Police Department with a vested interest in shutting him up.

… Told he was going to be suspended, the officer said that they should write him up. … The inspector and the chief said he was acting irrationally, and the chief ordered him handcuffed. As he was brought to the floor, a small recorder was discovered in his clothing.

“Recording devices, and everything else,” Chief Marino said. “So he’s playing a game here. Cute.” In fact, another recorder, on a bookshelf, was still running. “It didn’t have to be like this,” Chief Marino is heard saying.

At that moment, the lawsuit charges, the chief had his boot on Officer Schoolcraft’s face.

(5)  Conclusion

If you are not angry, then mourn for America.  Or get angry.  Events have proven that nothing else will push us towards reform.  Not reason.  Not respect for our history.  Not a memory of our Christian heritage (for those that have such).  Not our values.

For more information:  look around the FM website.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Lee Wood permalink
    15 March 2012 4:53 am

    News commentary concerning the murder of 16 civilians by one American soldier is described as an isolated incident, as a soldier with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) cleared for active duty, as not what the US military is ‘all about’; as the murder of men, women and children, and as something that will ‘probably continue during the course of war’.
    First, it is not the murder of men, women and children – it’s the murder of 8 or 9 Children, fewer women, and still fewer Afghan men. Putting men first gives it the air of acceptability within this, our country where we are so-called privileged not to have our boys, our military, our soldiers, our kill team killed. It’s horrible and causes tears if our boys are killed in action of murdering others, but it’s okay to murder those others because they are foreign, different, deserve to be killed as men, women, and children who might kill our boys that have American PRIVILIGE, and are fighting to liberate us from over priced gasoline. So, just wipe them out. However, this wasn’t MEN, women, and children with emphasis on MEN and almost no notice of CHILDREN. Why has the story been changed from 8 or 9 murdered and burned CHILDREN, 5 women, and 3 men? Because the slaughter of CHILDREN is unacceptable to the general American public, and therefore, the story must be changed to make it acceptable. It’s psychological warfare propaganda programming waged against the irregular forces of American people, war against the 99%ers of American Citizens and tax payers. It’s propaganda warfare that discounts and discriminates against the intelligence of the American people at the pain of the Afghan people. It is totally insulting; and it exposes the twin edge of the war swords as against the Afghan people, and against the American people – you and me. It exposes how far the military and the 1%ers will actually go with their colonialism, imperialism, and slavery of you, me, and the Afghan people. After all, it was this similar structure that slaughtered 100,000,000 Native Americans, people of Indigenous Nations. One hundred million people murdered – that’s genocide. It’s like Hitler copied USA motives, tactics, and despicable actions. Shameful!
    Obama stated that ‘This is not what America is about’. So, what is America about, Mr. Puppet President? ‘This is not what America’s Military is about’. Either someone is keeping volumes of information, or videos away from you, or you are lying to the American people as another propaganda ploy, as another discount and disrespect to the American people, and to the World. How can you give these bold faced lies without returning your Nobel Peace Prize? Are they threatening to kill you and your family, or are you also profiting with blood money?
    These happenings occur ALL THE TIME, so it can’t be an isolated event! Isolated events happen occasionally, NOT ALL THE DAMNED TIME!!! Why are you lying Mr. PUPPET President? Oh, you want to get reelected, and it doesn’t make any difference how much blood of Children, Women, and Men is on your hands. You should really be ashamed of yourself, and your family (daughters and wife) should both be ashamed of you and of themselves for your lies, deceptions, enslavements, mass murders, genocide, and blood money.
    Shame, that’s right – Shame belongs to you and your family, and to all Americans – EXCEPT, of course the few, the coward, and the post traumatic stress disordered massive number of Manchurian Candidates created by the Slavocracy running wild in America and throughout the world. And, yet the US military stated that it knew the soldier in question had TBI, and yet the US Military is not to blame? Not to blame for these murders, not to blame for drone murders, not to blame for US Nazi kill teams, not to blame for throwing candy in front of children and running over, killing them with RPG trucks when these little darlings retrieve retrive these sweets. And, we can’t forget the ‘golden stream’ urination Christian Baptisisms on dead Afghan men, can we? Can we? Can you? Can the USA Military? Can the US National Elections?
    Is it any wonder that school children are bullied on a daily basis, and that some of those children refuse to take it any longer, come to school, and murder their bullying class mates? Is it any wonder that men beat-up women in this country on a regular basis? That women are called sluts and whores and work without comparable pay for comparable work? Are these not examples of bullies like we see constantly, not rarely, but constantly with the US Military via the Rich and Super Rich 1%er networks?
    Is it any wonder that totally disproportionate numbers and percentages of young black children (there’s that word again – Children) are stopped, searched, arrested, jailed, and imprisoned. Que bono, who benefits? Can the arrest and imprisonment of Black and Latino CHILDREN in America be compared to the well targeted murder of Afghan CHILDREN? Parallels are direct!
    Is it any wonder that Latino migrant workers are being enslaved, bullied, jailed, murdered, and imprisoned across the country. Is it any wonder that this Disunited States of Israel can bully and commit genocide against Palestine and other Middle Eastern nations and peoples? Is it any wonder that well over 2.35 million mostly minority Americans are imprisoned across this Land of the Slave and the Brave, that another 5 or 6 million citizens are either on probation or parole or have completely dropped out of the American Night Mare, that 5 to 8 million prisoner family members languish in poverty and despair without their imprisoned/enslaved family members? No, absolutely not, it is no wonder whatsoever, it is a given that the US Military and Police implement these values; and that these values produce the US Military and Police.
    Two weeks before this massacre, (during the heat of both Israel’s demands that we attack Iran, and the US Military’s burning of several Korans) I talked with a PTSD Vietnam Vet, and he told me (with great authority) that “the entire Middle East needs to be nuked”; that “everyone there needs to be killed, and that th place should be turned ORANGE with radiation”! This man is SICK. This country is SICK! The US Military is SICK, and we can easily see the results and similarities in both DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN WARS!
    We, The people, both here and there, us 99%ers are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We don’t like bullies, we don’t like Fascists, we don’t like genocide, we don’t like blood for oil, we oppose slavery and the modern Slavocracy, and these slave punishments “that would disgrace a nation of savages”.

    • Bluestocking permalink
      15 March 2012 2:57 pm

      Why has the story been changed from 8 or 9 murdered and burned CHILDREN, 5 women, and 3 men? Because the slaughter of CHILDREN is unacceptable to the general American public, and therefore, the story must be changed to make it acceptable. It’s psychological warfare propaganda programming waged against the irregular forces of American people, war against the 99%ers of American Citizens and tax payers. It’s propaganda warfare that discounts and discriminates against the intelligence of the American people at the pain of the Afghan people. It is totally insulting; and it exposes the twin edge of the war swords as against the Afghan people, and against the American people – you and me.

      Indeed…which is one of the reasons why a growing percentage of the American people (including me) do not trust the mainstream media anymore — and those Americans who still trust it should not. Both the government and the mainstream media are increasingly coming under the control of large corporations who seem determined to do everything in their power to change the rules of the game whenever and however they please. It really is very Orwellian, although perhaps more like “Animal Farm” than “1984.”

      Of course, the savage irony of this is that the reason why the Founding Fathers felt it important to include freedom of press in the First Amendment alongside freedom of speech and freedom of assembly is because they understood very well how important the press is to the freedom of a society. They understood that people who are uninformed or misinformed are prevented from making the most beneficial choices for themselves because they do not have access to all (or perhaps any) of the information which they need in order to weigh that choice and are as a result more vulnerable to manipulation. The less choice people really have, the less free they are. The Founding Fathers also knew that freedom also entails responsibility…and unfortunately, not only have most of the people in the mainstream media apparently chosen to renege on their responsibility, they’ve evidently decided that they don’t really need freedom of the press that badly. Instead of watchdogs, most of the people in the mainstream media appear to have become corporate and governmental lapdogs who function as flacks rather than hacks…the upshot of this being that they run the risk of becoming little more than propaganda merchants, the capitalist version of the so-called “journalists” who used to work for Tass in the former Soviet Union. To make matters worse, the possibility cannot be ruled out that this is intentional…that the American people’s faith in the mainstream media has been and is being deliberately undermined or sabotaged in an attempt to keep ordinary Americans (AKA the 99%) ignorant or misinformed so that we become easier to control.

    • 15 March 2012 5:37 pm

      Oh man, Lee, what a great rant.

      “I talked with a PTSD Vietnam Vet, and he told me (with great authority) that “the entire Middle East needs to be nuked”; that “everyone there needs to be killed, and that th place should be turned ORANGE with radiation”! This man is SICK. This country is SICK!”

      I see this online in the comments in news forums, and even in some of my never-been-in-the-military friends. This crazy, fevered blood lust. The Muslim-child slaughtering soldier may not be the typical American, but his actions reflect the words that I’m seeing all over the net. I don’t know how many people feel this way, and maybe more do than admit it? It’s not good. I hate to think what it’s going to be like if we have another decade of war.

  2. 15 March 2012 5:25 am

    Barack Obama really reminds me of O’Brien from “1984.” It’s disturbing and more than a bit sad, but I can’t shake the feeling. I first really started to notice the similarities when Bradley Manning’s treatment in pre-trial detention was regularly in the news. This case in Yemen has the same basic dynamics.

    It would be one thing if this official sadism were being orchestrated by an openly vicious or unhinged official. It would be much more in character coming from, say, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, or Rahm Emmanuel. Coming from Obama, it’s jarring because in his interactions with others he appears instinctively and genuinely decent and gracious.

    The left’s loyalty to Obama despite his viciousness in cases including these is just another data point convincing me that George Washington was absolutely right about the dangers of political parties. The amount of sheer stupidity that they’ve cultivated in the electorate is damning.

    • 15 March 2012 5:35 am

      Aliensinthefamily,

      I agree.

      Also disturbing are the parallels, in FAR milder form, with the NAZI’s in the 1920s. It’s like we’re living in a space-time pocket that violates Godwin’s Law (that’s certainly a confused metaphor, but still clear). The difference is that we appear to be unaware of the drift, whereas I think they were. Of course our far milder case makes it easier to ignore the symptoms.

    • Bluestocking permalink
      15 March 2012 3:04 pm

      “The difference is that we appear to be unaware of the drift, whereas I think they were. Of course our far milder case makes it easier to ignore the symptoms.”

      You’ve heard the old proverb about how you boil a frog, haven’t you? I’ve been using that metaphor a lot for almost ten years now. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that the meaty aroma beginning to drift over the country from the direction of DC ain’t pork…

    • 16 March 2012 12:48 am

      The “boiling frog” metaphor applies well to our situation. It’s important to remember that in fact frogs are smarter, and will jump out of even slowly heating water. See the links cited at Wikipedia.

  3. OldSkeptic permalink
    15 March 2012 12:12 pm

    “The boot”:

    It doesn’t have to be that way and shame on the US (or any other) military who goes along with that. In the end our militaries have to defend our fundamental values. And if they can’t do that then they have no purpose: I’ll give you an example, from Field Marshal Montgomery, hated by the US generals (not the troops though) , far more hated by the Germans, respected by the Russians. After the end of the European war Germany was split into 4 zones, British, US, French and USSR.

    We all read about the USSR Zone (later East Germany) and how bad it was, the French zone was, though not quite as bad, really bad as well, an awful lot of German POWs died in their concentration (sorry POW) camps. Monty was in charge of the most populous (20 million people) and industrialsed Zone. The US was still flirting with the Morgenthau Plan, to turn Germany into a farmland. The French and USSR agreed. Fortunately the UK didn’t, thanks to the great John Maynard Keynes, who made his name firstly in his book Economic Consequences of the Peace {1919} about the destructive effects of the WW1 Reparations. If only he had been listened too then WW2 probably would not have happened (nexus of money and war writ large).

    The British had far better plans for Germany, but on the immediate aftermath of the war the first couple of year were critical. Fortunately Monty was there: example (which should be required reading for all young officers): Message 3 to the German people in the British Zone, 15 July 1945 (shortened):

    Two months have passed since Germany surrendered … Members of the German armed forces have been sorted out by trades and occupation, many thousands have been discharged to work on the land and in other spheres and this will continue … My officers have been active in their endeavours to arrange that the German population have adequate food and housing, and are kept free from disease … The first stage in the rehabilitation of Germany is under way. I am now going to proceed with the second stage of the British policy.

    In this stage it is my intention that you shall have the freedom to get down to your own way of life: subject only to the provisions of military security. I will help you eradicate the Allies of Nazism, past and future: these are idleness, boredom and fear of the future. Instead I want to give you ‘hope’. I will restore freedom of the Press; this will be done by stages.

    You may have Trade Unions. You may hold public meetings and discussions. I am anxious that you should talk over your problems among yourselves, and generally set on foot measures to help yourselves … Political activities will be allowed; the object of those, for the present, will be towards an orderly and well governed Zone. Voluntary organisations would be encouraged, fraternization rules relaxed.

    … The coming winter may be a difficult time, there is much to mend and put right, and time is short. We are faced with the possibility of a shortage of food, a shortage of coal, insufficient accommodation, and inadequate services of transportation and distribution. It is well that you should realise this now. I will do all I can to get the population of the British Zone through the coming winter in good style. But you, the German people, must plan for these contingencies now; you must work to help yourselves. I will continue to see that you are all kept informed by radio, and by the newspapers, of how we are progressing. I will give you German news as well as foreign news.

    US General Adcock (Asst CoS for Civil Affairs) write a memo to Eisenhower urging him to can it (god know how of course, the British were in charge of that area and the US had nothing to do with it). Fortunately Eisenhower (as I always said; a great Supreme Commander whatever his inadequacies as a direct military commander and boy was he inadequate often at that), agreed with Monty and only asked him to delay his statement until the US drew up its own one so that they could be released at similar times.

    So, funny little Monty, the hard General, the General that scared the Germans, had more basic humanity (and belief in freedom and democracy) in him than so many other people (the same man that wanted more food for Belgians earlier in the War when no one else gave a crap). He was a true warrior in that he actually fought and delivered on his beliefs of a better society. .. And how many now (in basically any military) could say the same? Even more sadly the British don’t even know their proud history at that time. Broke, bankrupt even, it still fought for a reconstructed Germany.

    Propaganda is not just about the spin on current issues, it is about re-writing the past. And the US and USSR were/are the masters of that. Nowadays Monty is written off (Paton the Hero?, tell that to his troops) and JMK has been demonised into a term of abuse: “Keynesianism’ is a now a hated term.

    “Three light or four lights Picard”?

    • 15 March 2012 1:28 pm

      Montgomery: “hated by the Germans … the General that scared the Germans”

      An easy winner for funniest comment of the thread. And a nice demonstration of how propaganda shapes people’s perceptions, with effects echoing down history — even generations later.

      Any quotes from Germans supporting this statement? Not by soldiers, historians and reporters on our side telling us what the Germans thought. The German’s were scared by the Allied war machine that surrounded them, with its vast superiority in every material dimension. Not so much scared by the Allies generals, however.

  4. Mikyo permalink
    15 March 2012 7:23 pm

    We still have judgement here, that we but teach
    Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
    To plague th’inventor. This even-handed justice
    Commends th’ingredience of our poisoned chalice
    To our own lips.

  5. kdogeod permalink
    16 March 2012 12:31 am

    I like your [scrapebook] picture of the IJN or IJA occupying a much closer and larger country with similar effects we see today in our occupation. I grew up looking at pictures in a similar scrapbook of IJN/IJA pictures as well as the Chinese method of dealing with their “drug war”….which was much more “capitial” related than US (pun intended). Wish I had a recorded for the first-hand accounts that went with some of the pictures. Nuf said…that generation that fought the duration as volunteers not drafted…would really be angry with the effects of our lastest ventures. I think most of the folks who served because of draft cards are slowly getting angry. I don’t think those Reagan Democrats realized how the Southern Strategy and Starve the Beast political operations would drive a wedge in the Third Republics center of gravity… we are broke with similar defects of the IJA/IJN/EMPEROR/PEOPLE disconnects……wow to think three decades ago we Decided to bail out Chrylser and bankrupt the Soviets with SDI…we seem to havelost a strategic [morale-boyd] compass

  6. Whirlwind permalink
    16 March 2012 4:38 am

    Suprised you didnt mention anything about the skyrocketing oil prices and peak oil. Thats getting America mad well maybe not peak oil but its probably around the corner.

    • 16 March 2012 5:04 am

      That’s because it is not peak oil. Stockpiling is a rational response to the rising tensions in the Middle East, which increases prices. There are over 800 million cars and light trucks in the world, putting a little more in each tank could absorb a full day’s oil output. Plus nations topping up their strategic reserves, businesses topping up their storage, and refineries boosting their stockpiles.

      You see peak oil and other disasters every day. I suggest finding some other source of entertainment, or medication (whichever is appropriate).

  7. 16 March 2012 7:37 am

    More information about our broken forensic science apparatus

    Few aspects of our criminal justice system demonstrate its irrationality as do forensic experts. Underpaid, overworked, under-regulated — they are the opposite of the picture painted on TV (e.g., CSI and its clones, NCIS). Yet these exaggerated but confident opinions by government-sponsored experts, relying on what are often little more than urban legends, send people to jail — unless they have the money to hire opposing experts. For the rich it’s a contest of forensic gladiators; for the poor it’s kangaroo court.

    1. Forensic Science: The Need for Regulation“, Randolph N. Jonakait, Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Spring 1991
    2. Forensic Science: Oxymoron?“, Donald Kennedy, Science, 5 December 2003
    3. “”How to Improve Forensic Science“, Roger Koppl, European Journal of Law and Economics, 2005
    4. Forensic Science: Grand Goals, Tragic Flaws, and Judicial Gatekeeping” by Jane Campbell Moriarty and Michael J. Saks, Judges’ Journal, Fall 2005
    5. Forensic Entomology: Myths Busted!“, Forensic Magazine, October/November 2006
    6. CSI for Real: How to Improve Forensic Science“, Roger Koppl, Reason Foundation, 1 December 2007
    7. The CSI Effect: Popular Fiction About Forensic Science Affects Public Expectations About Real Forensic Science“, N. J. Schweitzer and Michael J. Saks (Arizona State U), Jurimetrics, Spring 2007
    8. Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward“, National Academies of Science, 2009 — “With the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, however, no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.”
    9. Trial by Fire – Did Texas execute an innocent man?“, David Grann, New Yorker, 7 September 2009
    10. CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics“, Popular Mechanics, 18 December 2009 — “Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire. PM takes an in-depth look at the shaky science that has put innocent people behind bars.”
    11. Agents’ Secrets, The News & Observer, a series of reports in August 2010 — Horrific revelations about the NC State Bureau of Investigation (the State’s crime laboratory).
    12. Scathing SBI audit says 230 cases tainted by shoddy investigations“, The News & Observer, 19 August 2010 — More revelations.
  8. “The fact is that deep down, many Americans really want to be subjects" permalink
    21 March 2012 3:49 am

    On the imprisoned Yemeni journalist“, Glenn Greenwald, Salon, 15 March 2012 — Excerpt:

    It’s the Awlaki assassaination all over again, and it’s the crux of authoritarianism everywhere it’s found in the world: if President Obama wants someone punished or killed as a Terrorist, I’m willing to believe the person must be a Terrorist and don’t need to see any evidence of it because I know my Leader is Good and I trust him.

    As Digby recently observed, after posting a great Tom Tomorrow cartoon on the willingness of progressives like this to accept and defend these absues from Obama: “The fact is that deep down, many Americans really want to be subjects.” They just want their benevolent tyrant to be a sophisticated, East Coast-sounding, eloquent orator — just like conservatives wanted theirs to be a swaggering, evangelical Christian cowboy — because those tribal familiarities ensure that your leader will be exempt from the universal corruption of vast emperor-like powers exercised in the dark (I want this person assassinated; I want this person imprisoned; I will not account to anyone for my decrees, etc.). I can’t tell you how many times during the Bush years I heard this from conservatives: you’re paranoid if you think Bush would do evil things because he’s a good man.

    As Scahill summarized this mindset last night: “Trust But Don’t Verify. Don’t Question Authority. Speak Power to Truth.”

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