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Saturday art by flower

By: wendydavis Saturday September 13, 2014 7:20 am

Papaver Somniferum

The cruel world is raging, and our attention to the myriad details can become excruciatingly painful and depressing. And yet, we often choose to keep bearing witness to it, chronicling it, and providing sane narrative around it…that we might create a better world in its place.

We all must be seeking out our tried and true antidotes to it lest we go screaming into the night (even if that sometimes that may actually help..). Other than music, I usually turn to the natural world of night skies, critters that visit here, and of course…flowers.

Our garden now is wee since it’s all we can care for, but my goodness, this year it grew as though it knew how much we depended on its beauty, simple Life Force and fecundity to sustain us.

You’ll notice that I have a particular penchant not only for certain flowers, but for their reproductive systems, for many of which I’ve provided close-ups so that we all might get lost in them for a time, then…remember them as representing the sublime beauty of their propagation, which after all…is the one common genetic mandate all life forms.

In their centers you may see mandalas, Greek temples with Corinthian columns, ancient Celtic stone circles,  labyrinths festooned with colors and art alluring to bees; glowing centers one wants to kneel in reverence and awe before; sometimes waving venus flytrap fingers beckoning you (and other visitors) in, modern art that you’d love to hang on your walls, hypnotic arrangements of colors and textures you’ll get lost in; stamens and sigma crusted in glorious pollens of varied colors…well, they really are just magnificent sex organs, aren’t they? The fecundity of life.  Georgia O’Keefe showed the world what they were, didn’t she?   And her paintings delighted millions of us as we celebrated by way of her reverent guidance. During the day, the deep end of morning glory tunnels is always white light tinged with (perhaps imagined) gold; a light so bright that it can cause one to almost feel that the rapture of enlightenment is just there for the asking…

As in so many areas, we’ve seen few bees and butterflies over the past five years or more, so when I’m able to, I do feature them, as they are crucial to many plant species’ making of fruit or flower. I’m sure there are duplicates, sorting them gets confusing. The white sacred datura relatives, Datura Inoxia, thrill me to the core. They’re night-blooming, also called moonflowers, and the blossoms fold their tents after a few hours in the sun. The Nasturtiums are not only edible, but gorgeous and varied unimaginably; their lily pad leaves are heavenly, and just now have started to vine! The Snapdragons are the plumpest and most prolific ever, and I’ve made whole bouquets with them, along with the all-pale-green Bells of Ireland.  There are inner plate dahlias, delphiniums with ‘bees’ (their sex organs are whole other flowers), morning glories, cosmos, squash blossoms, ah…you’ll recognize most of them.

Anyway, enjoy the slideshow, and let it restore you in some small measure. If you’d like to download any for your own use, please do so. I’ll include the link to the stills, and if you click on one, it’ll open in a new window. In the lower right-hand corner, there is an underlined down arrow. When given a choice, do choose ‘original size’, as the resolution will be the highest available tiff (in most cases).

Here’s the flower slideshow. These are the stills.

I’d put up my birds and four-leggeds slideshow some weeks ago, but had forgot to include the stills (link here). Help yourselves; some are half-fold card sizes, many not.

It is possible to embed the shows, but the photos seem to look rather garish that way, so I’ve chosen this way. I hope you enjoy them.


Breaking: Ferguson Protesters Shut Down I-70 at Rush Hour

By: wendydavis Wednesday September 10, 2014 1:27 pm

Yahoo!  They haven’t healed; they mean bidness!  Oh, these darlings!

Urban Shield: Because Cops Can Never Have Too Much Protection from the Disposable Rabble

By: wendydavis Sunday September 7, 2014 2:06 pm

One might be tempted to believe that DHS and the PTB expect an insurrection to quash, or something…  and today I almost used the term ‘Pigs’, because the killings by cops just keep on rolling at an ever-accelerating rate.

Below the video:

‘Urban Shield is an annual training event for 150 local,
state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies
hosted by the Alameda County Sheriffs Department. Vendors
promote the latest in law enforcement technologies. This
includes automatic, and semi automatic weapons .

Surveillance drones, and non lethal crowd control weapons. Officers engage in 54 training scenarios in cities throughout the bay area. Urban shield is cleverly billed as a first responders training, for fire departments and emergency response teams.  A majority of the 7 plus million dollar funding from the Department of Homeland security carries an emphasis on law enforcement. Particularly counter terrorism training. Fire and safety training becomes an anti terrorism training to contain an anarchist bomber, and a standard police search for a criminal, becomes a manhunt for an extremist.

The weapons being showcased are military grade weapons that have already been used on battlefields in, Iraq,and Afghanistan. The training is done by international human rights violators; Israel, China, Brazil, and others. On September 5th 2014 the people are invited to gather at Park Blvd Plaze, On Park Blvd and Ivy. @11:30am. There are two events taking place in conjunction with one another, but both related by Urban Shield, and the IDF training that American police are receiving.’

Over 30 SWAT teams and some Marines participated, among others.

This giddy nine-minute video was made by Combat Sports Programming Network (CSPN, get it?) from inside the conference. Bring an airsick bag.

This is Urban Shield’s website; none of the videos worked for me, but ‘Top Performers in 2013’ and ‘Supporting Members’ are on the right sidebar. Yum.

Yes, several hundred protestors indeed shut down Broadway for several hours, and kept people out of the Marriott Hotel, where the festivities have been taking place, for about two hours.

NBCbayareanews.com reports that Oakland Mayor Jean Kwan says that the disaster preparedness conference and training exercise that drew protests Friday evening’ won’t be held there next year.  This was the second year that it was, and the eighth for Alameda County.

‘Quan said that in the wake of a controversial police shooting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri last month that drew a heavy-handed police response, Oakland officials have fielded questions about police use of military-style hardware.

“It’s important to note that OPD has no military surplus hardware at all, and no fully-automatic weapons,” she said.’

The vendors inside had been busy since September 4, and for the past two days, ‘training exercises’ have been poppin’ all over the city, including BART and the Golden Gate.

Mother Jones journalist Shane Bauer has been covering events and products at the conference; some of his Twitter pics and captions are in the article at the link.  I’ll embed a few others on his Twitter account, or link to the captions.

You will no doubt have pity for the poor, poor, Po-Po’s, as they show you how beleaguered they truly are, and why they must fight back against ‘We, the Rabble’.

“The guy selling this told me to remember, “We are the flock, not the wolves.”

Loads of hardware, including Drones for Cops, portable ‘results in 90 minutes’ DNA machines, and even…softwear!

(One wag asked in the comments: “Is that a person surrendering, with their hands up on the shirt on the right?”

And boy, howdy, are they racists:

Boots Riley Pwns Fox 8, Delivers Labor Day Message; & #Fightfor15 Nationwide Strikes

By: wendydavis Friday September 5, 2014 8:56 am

Boots appeared briefly (ahem) to talk about his band the Coup ahead of their appearance at the Lakewood Music Festival in Cleveland.  Note the subtitles, but no: they are not just translating the Alien Commie himself.  Torn Tights Woman: is that a fashion statement, or was her cat just happy to see her?

Ooopsie…  Boots laid out his truth, the truth,  even.  Frozen smile indicating: “You.did.not.just.say.that.” (Who yelled what into her earwig???)  Immediately afterward:

Boots’ de facto Labor Day message from Cleveland in a minute and a half:

As he said, this was just after he and the Coup had performed ‘We got the guillotine’ at the show.  Put on yer dancin’ shoes, ‘n turn it up!

Here he is on RT (12 minutes) expanding on the need for a widespread radical militant workers’ movement that can leverage Worker and People power to defeat the Capitalist Machine, i.e., stopping their institutions from functioning.

No, #FightFor15 and #StrikeFastFood didn’t shut down any joints with the nationwide one-day strikes yesterday, nor have the Walmart Supply chain strikes, but oh, may these actions multiply and build and eventually sting the capitalist class where it burns most: their wallets. Step by step, action by action…as with protesting police brutality, it lets others know that they have a right to demand justice, so inspire others to join in.

From CommonDreams.org:  Nearly 500 Hundred Arrested as Fast-Food Workers Rise Up:

Counting Deadly Encounters with Police

By: wendydavis Wednesday September 3, 2014 4:15 pm

(by Anthony Freda)

The world is burning and bleeding, both literally and figuratively, and there’s no place to hide, at least for us. Bloody wars, bloodthirsty rapacious greedy guts capitalists run the table with impunity … cops are killing our brothers and sisters in staggering numbers … some say three a day since Michael Brown’s life was snuffed out on August 9. How will it end if we don’t bring enough pressure on our rulers to end it? It won’t, of course. The almost total lack of trials or guilty verdicts tells the next cop that he or she will get away with their crimes. Yes, police departments are paying out plenty of wrongful death awards, but it’s of small concern to them.

‘Military defense’ and ‘Serve and Protect’ are hideous oxymorons, and both will lead us to our doom unless we can manage to turn the page, and create a more just and better world.  Can we?  Will we?  The world is careening out of control, isn’t it?

Bless all the folks at #NoToNato in Cardiff, and we wish them well.  Bless all those who have protested Killer Kops so diligently and courageously.  But in order to make any great strides in stopping the killing, we need information on the cases, in other words, a true nationwide data base.  From there we can follow cases as to charges filed, indictments or not, plea deals, trials when they miraculously happen, and of course: verdicts.

Recently I’d come across notifications on Twitter that efforts are underway to crowd-source killings by cops, especially in light of the fact that the FBI/DOJ’s count of ‘400 between 2003-2009, most all justifiable’ was criminally Pffffft.  ‘No one has ever given us the funds to create a database, so it’s all done voluntarily,’ they whine.  Well, in another case of apparent de facto ‘optional law’, it turns out that we should all take note of Techdirt.com’s ‘Federal Law Ordering US Attorney General To Gather Data On Police Excessive Force Has Been Ignored For 20 Years’.

One of the reasons we don’t have data on police use of excessive force is because compiling this information relies on law enforcement agencies being forthcoming about these incidents. Generally speaking, it takes FOIA requests and lawsuits to obtain any data gathered by individual police departments. This shouldn’t be the case. In fact, as AllGov reports, this lack of data violates a federal law.

In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Among its provisions was the order that “the Attorney General shall, through appropriate means, acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.” The Justice Department was also required to publish an annual report on the data collected.

And…that’s pretty much the last anyone heard of that. The work of collecting the data was shuffled off to the International Association for Chiefs of Police, which made a few efforts at collecting data and put together a report in 2001, but has produced nothing since.

Unsurprisingly, law enforcement agencies don’t want to talk about it, and the entity in charge of compiling the data seems entirely uninterested in doing the job. Even if the data was collected as the statute requires, much of it would still be questionable. For one, it relies on self-reporting by entities that see zero benefit in exposing their officers’ wrongdoing. For another, excessive force incidents previously recorded may turn out to be ‘justified’ later, either by internal investigations or via the judicial system. (my bold)

All of which leads us to believe that it’s down to the citizenry to make the counts, construct the data bases.  The man who seems to have been at the task the longest published his ‘What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings’at Gawker.com; meet D. Brian Burghart:

His site is Fatal encounters with Police.org; (this is his Twitter account).  This is his  ‘Why FE exists’, which explains how he chose this missio.  The Tools page shows databases, how to make request submissions for data, uploading, and their spreadsheet.  ‘How to help’ is on another tab.  Here is his race map, the major caveat being:

This top map shows the fatal encounters that have made it to the database indicating race. Too often journalists don’t include the race of the person killed by police because it’s considered unethical to report it unless it’s germane to the report. Race is always germane in matters of use of deadly force  Sigh; yes it is.

But the most complete website is on Facebook: Killed by Police’, and the anonymous proprietor of the site has tallied 1496 corporate news reports of people killed by police in the US since May 1, 2013.  He doesn’t differentiate whether cops were on or off duty, doesn’t consider whether the killings may have been ‘justifiable’ or not, he just collects the reports, which he admits is by no means comprehensive.  Does it matter if they are on duty if they kill someone?  I’ve been having a discussion with a friend about that (he says ‘Not one jot’), and considering that they’re trained to be thugs, maybe it doesn’t.  Do they believe they’ll still be immune from prosecution?  Possibly; although in the instance fivethirtyeight.com referenced, the cop IS being prosecuted.

But additionally, Reuben Fischer-Baum and Al Johri at fivethirtyeight.com have joined the search to create a more complete picture, and have created a spread sheet of 1439 of the killings so far.  They explain a few of the limits in the compilation, the great value, and analyzed 146 of the links, some of which aren’t available to all of us due to Facebook filters or some such.  Then they did the math, and found that:

Incontrovertible Proof Russia Invaded Ukraine and Putin Stole Crimea

By: wendydavis Monday September 1, 2014 10:00 am
Putin Power ( Freakshow , freakingnews entry )

‘Putin Power’, by Vipez. flickr cc

You may be wondering at my about-face on this issue, so please allow me to explain the confluence of events that brought me here.  Recently I was given a whopping prescription for Xanax in aid of my nearly constant anxiety and insomnia. Coincidentally, last night I was visited by the Spirit of Labor Day Yet to Come.  She communicated with me telepathically the message that I had it all wrong, and urged me to reach out to touch her hand, and she would take me on a virtual tour of the blogosphere to prove the point and re-educate me, and erase the many propaganda engrams that had been planted and grown in my brain.

Bemused and rather disdainful of her belief that her mission would be successful, nevertheless, I held her hand, and we whoooshed off on her tour.  In the end, I understood, and hope you will as well, as I put The Evidence before you.  Mind you, I’m unable to reconstruct the order in which she showed me all of this, given that it was easy to be distracted by the rush of images and words she presented for my perusal.

Killer Kop Kleinert Trial Started this Week in Austin

By: wendydavis Thursday August 28, 2014 10:03 am

For the first time in at least a decade, a Killer Kop was indicted in Austin for the extrajudicial murder of a person of color. Okay, the charge is actually manslaughter, but still, it’s a Good Thing, considering that so few cops are ever charged, indicted, or found guilty if they almost miraculously had been. Pre-trial motions are underway, but you’d scarcely know it by the lack of coverage.

The grand jury indicted Charles Kleinert on May 12, ruling: “… that Kleinert:

“did then and there recklessly cause the death of Larry Jackson by striking and by attempting to strike Larry Jackson with the defendant’s hand while holding a loaded firearm.  The indictment also said that Kleinert created a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” in his attempt to seize Jackson while holding a loaded firearm.” Manslaughter is a second degree felony. If found guilty, Kleinert faces prison time of 2-20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. More on that strangely worded indictment later.

15,000 March Across Staten Island to Protest Eric Garner’s Murder by Police

By: wendydavis Saturday August 23, 2014 1:45 pm

The protest was billed as #WeWillNotGoBack.  Apparently neither Mayor Bill de Blasio nor Public Advocate Letitia James were expected to attend today’s events.

People gathered early, taking buses and ferries to Staten Island.  The march began close to noon eastern at the site of Eric Garner’s murder by police.  Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, suffered from asthma and was unarmed when he was stopped by police on July 17 in Staten Island for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.

After resisting arrest, Garner was placed in a chokehold — an illegal tactic — by white NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo and can be heard, in a cellphone video, screaming “I can’t breathe!” several times as he was forced to the ground and handcuffed.

The confrontation led to his death a short time later. The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and NYPD officers Pantaleo and Justin Damico have been reassigned during the investigation.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan plans to present evidence to a grand jury next month.