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Police Killed vs. Killed by Police: a Statistical Perspective

By: wendydavis Monday September 29, 2014 2:16 pm

(not Norman Rockwell, by Anthony Freda)

Underlying the convictions of reflexive proponents and/or apologists of police killing citizens is often the assumption that being a cop is sincerely fraught with the danger of death in the line of duty.  Even here at FDL I’ve read a few comments that say if a cop is facing ‘an armed person,’ he should shoot, never mind that many of the alleged weapons often turned out to be cell phones, rather obvious toy guns, once even a spoon, a wallet, or in the case of John Crawford, an unloaded BB gun he’d taken off the Beavercreek Walmart shelf and was holding while chatting on his cell phone.  Many of the victims killed by cops in the past several years indeed had weapons of some sort, but were not ‘brandished toward police’ as so many cops testi-lied in their reports.

Sure, being a cop can be a dangerous profession, but far less dangerous statistically than most people imagine.  Consider the flip side: that cops’ abject fear of blacks, Latinos/Latinas, and the mentally ill (read: the other), often leads to completely unwarranted executions in far too many cases.  It’s the same reaction of rage over a person being either unwilling, or more importantly, unable to follow police orders that has led to so many summary executions.  An email friend who’s been involved in several states with police brutality and assassinations over multiple decades posits that perhaps 90% of recent episodes did not have to result in death of a ‘suspect.’  Whether or not that number is correct, clearly it’s closer to the truth than law enforcement would ever admit.

Two nights ago in Ferguson, MO, two cops were injured by gunshot; one claimed to be investigating a robbery at a local community center when one of two suspects ran away, and one turned, and shot him in his upper arm (AP had reported earlier that the cop was a female).  The story is evolving, and now it’s turned out it was only one alleged would-be thief, who has yet to be apprehended.  So, we’ll see if they recover bullets, see if his lapel camera was on or off, or what.  Missing evidence implicating police culpability or accountability is so prevalent that it seems baked into the system by now.


A Good End Date for the New War: Today

By: David Swanson Monday September 29, 2014 12:46 pm


What I’ve seen of public events, demonstrations, and protests of the latest U.S. war — just like the larger and more immediately effective public resistance 12 months ago — has been aimed, remarkably enough, at ending the war and opposing the policies of those engaging in it, and first among them the U.S. President.

What I’ve seen of inside-the-Beltway-style peace lobby groups’ strategy has been aimed, predictably enough, at setting a good end date for the new war and barring the use of U.S. ground troops.

Both approaches are represented by voluminous discussions on listserves, so I feel like I know a good sample of each far more intimately than I might ideally wish. They parallel rejection and support of lesser-evil voting, and are largely made by those who reject and accept the importance of lesser-evil voting. However, many who accept lesser-evilism in the polling booth do not accept it here. And I think they have a point.

If you vote for a decent candidate and he or she loses, an argument can be made that you’ve “wasted” your vote. But if you advocate for an immediate end to a war, and a Congress that is hearing from the President that the war should last three years, bans continuation of the war beyond a year-and-a-half, then an argument can be made that you helped frame the compromise. In any case, it would be difficult to make a persuasive case that your activism was wasted. If, on the other hand, you found out that some Congress members were interested in a 1-year limit, and you lobbied for just that, and then Congress enacted a 2-year limit, what could you be said to have accomplished?

Here’s my basic contention: Congress knows how to compromise. We don’t have to pre-compromise for them. (How’d that work out on healthcare?) (How’d that ever work out?) And when we do pre-compromise for them (such as the time AFSCME banned “single-payer” signs from “public option” rallies, so as to simulate public demand for what “progressive” Congress members were pretending to already want) we give significant support and respectability to some serious outrages (such as privatized for-profit health insurance, but also such as bombing Iraq yet again and bombing the opposite side in Syria that was to be bombed a year ago and while arming that same side, which — if we’re honest about it — is madness.

How many years of madness will be best, is an insane question. It’s not a question around which to organize protests, demonstrations, nonviolent actions, lobbying, education, communication, or any other sort of movement building.

But isn’t 2 years of war better than 3? And how are you going to get Congress members to limit it to 2 years if you’ve called them lunatics?

Ukraine – The rise of a US supported Fascist State

By: operationmindcrime Monday September 29, 2014 11:50 am

As the so called ‘ Cease Fire”, that never was, continues to go on, new Ukraine is showing it’s true fascist colours to the world. The following video and link show that Ukrainian children are being indoctrinated into far right fascist ideology. The first video, taken a few weeks ago, shows small children singing Nationalist far right anthems while holding the flag of the Right Sektor who worship WW2 nazi collaborator Stephen Bandera whose battalions killed 80,000 Poles and Jews on behalf of Adolf Hitler in WW2.

This second link shows teenage army cadets also holding a Right Sektor flag.

When We’re All Musteites

By: David Swanson Monday September 29, 2014 8:55 am

We won’t necessarily know what a Musteite is, but I’m inclined to think it would help if we did. I’m using the word to mean “having a certain affinity for the politics of A.J. Muste.”

I had people tell me I was a Musteite when I had at best the vaguest notion of who A.J. Muste had been. I could tell it was a compliment, and from the context I took it to mean that I was someone who wanted to end war. I guess I sort of brushed that off as not much of a compliment. Why should it be considered either particularly praiseworthy or outlandishly radical to want to end war? When someone wants to utterly and completely end rape or child abuse or slavery or some other evil, we don’t call them extremist radicals or praise them as saints. Why is war different?

The possibility that war might not be different, that it might be wholly abolished, could very well be a thought that I picked up third-hand from A.J. Muste, as so many of us have picked up so much from him, whether we know it or not. His influence is all over our notions of labor and organizing and civil rights and peace activism. His new biography, American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century by Leilah Danielson is well worth reading, and has given me a new affection for Muste despite the book’s own rather affection-free approach.

Martin Luther King Jr. told an earlier Muste biographer, Nat Hentoff, “The current emphasis on nonviolent direct action in the race relations field is due more to A.J. than to anyone else in the country.” It is also widely acknowledged that without Muste there would not have been formed such a broad coalition against the war on Vietnam. Activists in India have called him “the American Gandhi.”

The American Gandhi was born in 1885 and immigrated with his family at age 6 from Holland to Michigan. He studied in Holland, Michigan, the same town that we read about in the first few pages of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, and at a college later heavily funded by the Prince Family, from which Blackwater sprang. The stories of both Muste and Prince begin with Dutch Calvinism and end up as wildly apart as imaginable. At the risk of offending Christian admirers of either man, I think neither story — and neither life — would have suffered had the religion been left out.

Muste would have disagreed with me, of course, as some form of religion was central to his thinking during much of his life.

How We Win on Climate Change

By: solartopia Monday September 29, 2014 8:39 am

Peoples Climate March

By Harvey Wasserman

Okay, so we had this historic march a little while ago. It was….

…joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming…and in many ways turning point.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.

It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.

We are our species’ ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.

We are also part of a mighty activist stream that’s campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.

We’ve endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.

Our hard-earned commitment to non-violence allows for a calm internal space and the great power that emerges from it.  So in a diverse movement of good people with very strong opinions, we are learning to cut each other plenty of slack.

But how do we now build on this?  What do we do next?

William deBuys: Love Affair in the Back Country

By: Tom Engelhardt Monday September 29, 2014 7:43 am

This article originally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Without visiting it, the eighteenth-century French natural scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, propounded the theory that the New World was an inferior creation, its species but degenerate versions of European ones. “There is no North American animal comparable to the elephant: no giraffes, lions, or hippopotami,” he wrote. “All animals are smaller… Everything shrinks under a ‘niggardly sky and unprolific land.’” Thomas Jefferson, then-ambassador to Paris, was so incensed that he dispatched a revolutionary war hero and 20 soldiers to New Hampshire to bag a large moose and had it shipped to Buffon. So when Charles Wilson Peale uncovered the giant bones of an antediluvian creature he called a “mammoth” (a mastodon, as it turned out), it was a patriotic moment. No traces of such a giant animal had previously been found on Earth.  Americans clearly had bigger and better to offer than anything a European naturalist could point to. And for all anyone knew, somewhere out in the territories, in that great wilderness still to be explored, such beasts perhaps still roamed.

In the same spirit, while America had no great buildings or cathedrals, the country had something so much more magnificent than the most awesome of Europe’s places of worship. It had nature’s architecture, its “cathedrals,” in a wilderness unmatched in its wonders.

That was one remarkable American tradition. I represented another. Sometime in the spring or early summer of 1962, I decided to light out for the wilderness. Keep in mind that I was a kid for whom the wilderness was New York City’s Central Park and the wilds were the suburbs.  So it was an adventurous, if not daft, thing to do. My best friend and I took our bikes, boarded a train, and headed for Bear Mountain a couple of hours away. So many years later, I have no clue how the idea lodged in our heads or why, for the first serious biking trip of our lives, we chose a place quite openly labeled a “mountain.” Did we have no concept of “uphill,” having grown up in a remarkably flat coastal city? All I remember is that it wasn’t long before we found ourselves wrung out at the side of the road, wondering how we would ever get anywhere near our prospective campground. As so often happens, however, we were saved by the kindness of strangers. Someone took pity on us, stopped his truck or van, tossed our bikes into the back, and drove us to our destination.

We were finally in the cathedral of the woods. That night, we pitched our little tent, made a fire, managed to be scared by a bobcat whose glowing eyes we caught in the beam of our flashlight, and finally retired to sleep on ground crisscrossed by roots, only to be attacked by some giant, truly fearsome bug. (Think Mothra!) Yes, it’s true: in that cathedral I was praying for deliverance as the sun came up.

And don’t even get me started on the beach in California, years later, where I woke up sopping wet from the ocean dew, or the thousands of hopping bugs that advanced on my sleeping bag on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, or that night in a ditch at the side of some road in a scruffy backland when no one would pick up two young hitchhikers. As you’ll see today, TomDispatch regular William deBuys is quite a different kind of American. In fact, at this very moment, he’s on a raft joyously heading down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

And here’s the thing: as someone who wouldn’t be caught dead sleeping one more night in the wild, I genuinely celebrate deBuys and his ilk, who have had such a hand in ensuring that the great natural cathedrals of our American world will be there (we hope) for generations yet to come. His celebration of American nature, based on his own youthful experience lighting out for the territories, ranks among the special pleasures of what I’ve published at TomDispatch. Tom

The Wilderness Act Turns 50
Celebrating the Great Laws of 1964
By William deBuys

Let us now praise famous laws and the year that begat them: 1964.

The first thing to know about 1964 was that, although it occurred in the 1960s, it wasn’t part of “the Sixties.” The bellbottoms, flower power, LSD, and craziness came later, beginning about 1967 and extending into the early 1970s. Trust me: I was there, and I don’t remember much; so by the dictum variously attributed to Grace Slick, Dennis Hopper, and others (that if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t part of them), I must really have been there.

1964 was a revolutionary year.

Of Terrorists and Referendums

By: Deena Stryker Monday September 29, 2014 6:57 am

What a convenient word ‘terrorist’ has become! Until 9/11 the word was reserved for anarchist types in long black coats who set off bombs in public or assassinated heads of state. But when the World Trade Center was brought down the word became a convenient designation for any individual who showed any sign of opposition to any government anywhere, democratically elected or not.

It’s nothing short of a miracle that the Occupiers were not dubbed terrorists, although some language came pretty close, as I recall. Even so, the word was handily picked up by Mubarak before his downfall, then by Assad – legitimately – and is now applied by Poroshenko to an entire swath of the country he purports to govern.

The banalization of the word ‘terrorist’ goes hand in hand with a sudden rash of referendums: the mainly Russian speaking majority in Crimea held a successful one to secede from Ukraine, the Scots had a failed one to secede from Great Britain, Catalonia will hold one soon. Egyptians, once again safely governed by a military man, overwhelmingly approved their new constitution in a referendum, even after the judicial system condemned hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood ‘terrorists’ to death. Governments rarely make use of referendums, however that of multi-lingual Switzerland held no fewer than seven this year with more to come.

Is there a link between these two phenomena?  I think so: leaving out the Swiss tradition, both point to a disintegration of the liberal-parliamentary nation state system and its replace-ment by global fascism. Though purporting to hold aloft the ancient principles upon which the nation-state rests, globaliza-tion signals the end of the nation-state as an entity regulated by laws applicable to all, its sole task now being to pass laws dictated by corporations for their sole benefit.

In a message that appalls citizens but seeks to reassure the stock market, the US and its allies have announced a long war against ISIS. In reality, this is a three-way standoff between fascism, its magic bullet, and an opposition that has yet to realize that ISIS – the most shocking of all terrorists whose followers behead single individuals (as opposed to a machine obliterating three thousand) – created to save the Western economy, will be kept alive as long as that crisis is deep, because there has never been a referendum about war.

Over Easy: Monday Science

By: BoxTurtle Monday September 29, 2014 4:36 am

Might as well smoke, I’d rather die from tobacco than Plutonium

Good Morning All!

Been almost 4 weeks since we’ve had rain here.Good for the crops drying before harvest, but for my new trees not so much. Have to hump water to the odd c0rners of my yard because the hose won’t reach. First World Problems. *sigh*

Speaking of First World Problems, Fukushima Update:

More studies confirming that our radiation exposure safety limits are way too high. And not really calculated properly anyway. Ingesting hot stuff, as opposed to just being exposed to the radiation, seems to impact at way lower levels and accumulate. The alpha emitters they don’t really track seem to be the worst offenders here.

In depth stories about what happened at the plant after the accident. It certainly does NOT make TEPCO look good. And it makes it clear the workers who stayed were working well beyond human limits.

There was an incursion at reactor #3, just as I and others have been saying. An incursion is a polite way of saying “Uncontrolled nuclear fission reaction”.  #3 is the only reactor that suffered this and the only reactor running MOX. They’re actually saying what people outside the nuclear industry are saying: MOX fuel makes an incursion in a meltdown MUCH more likely.

This is a surprise: FLORIDA, of all places, gets the biggest hit of Fuku radiation in the world outside of Japan.

Time magazine reports on a recent visit to Fuku. The scary part to me is the impression I get that it’s all a bunch of robo-humans wandering around lost without direction. Less than 10% of the people onsite are actual TEPCO employees and the TEPCO employees are not permitted to talk to the contractors.

One of Japan’s reprocessing plants is to be scrapped. This is good, unless you’re a Nuke industry trying to reuse spent fuel.

Small towns in Japan are busy taking steps to ensure that their land won’t be used as storage for hot waste.  This is a real threat to the JG’s plans, as they MUST find places to store the waste in order to maintain the illusion of a cleanup. Why not use the grounds of current Nuke plants? Well,  most of them are located near the coast or large rivers to provide water for the plants.

Japan now has 47 tons of Plutonium that it cannot use and that amount is increasing. It takes about 11 lbs of Pu to make a bomb.

New record cold: 200 Nanokelven. This is going to enable mush more detailed study of Bose-Einstein condensates, where matter behaves like waves rather than matter.

This is NOT what we wanted to find. Greenland’s ice sheet is MUCH more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought.

The addition of a gold micronet can increase solar cell efficiency by 10%.

Water on earth is older than the sun. Somewhere, somebody will use this as evidence to support intelligent design.

Boxturtle  (The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we CAN imagine)