Friday, August 22, 2014

Saturday Satire: Days of Our Lives

Military Planning
Copyright © 2014 Universal Press Syndicate
Conan O'Brien: "Disneyworld has become a popular location for Republican fundraisers. A favorite activity is to ride through It's a Small World and deport most of the dolls."
"Yesterday was Bill Clinton's birthday. Hillary yelled surprise, and out of habit, Bill yelled, 'I can explain."
David Letterman: "Rick Perry, what a good-looking guy he is. As a requirement for being a Republican candidate for president, you have to look good in a mug shot. I hope this doesn't ruin his chances of being our next dumb president from Texas."
Ferguson Police
Cagle Cartoons
Rick Perry Mug Shot
Copyright © 2014 Universal Press Syndicate
Equal Justice
Copyright © 2014 Universal Press Syndicate
Jimmy Fallon: "People are still fighting about immigration. Congress is suing the president. I'm not saying things are bad, but the Middle East just sent diplomats to negotiate peace in OUR country."
"To commemorate the 25th anniversary of 'Field of Dreams,' the Iowa State Fair is displaying a 200-pound butter sculpture of Kevin Costner. Or as Paula Deen put it, 'If you build it . . . I will come.'"

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Did the US Err in Undertaking the ‘Battle for the Heart of the Internet’?

By Yuxiao Li
As the Internet levels the global playing field, let’s hope our thinking process doesn’t also get leveled.
Translated By Dagny Dukach
29 July 2014

Edited by Helaine Schweitzer

China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)
According to a Russian media report, the U.S. Department of Defense invested at least $20 million to research “Internet content control” in an effort to ultimately influence the attitudes and opinions of netizens. The Department of Defense joined with American Internet companies to implement “content viewing restrictions” that affect more than 700,000 Internet users for a specific period of time. The restrictions would allow one part of the population to receive only good news, and another part of the population to receive only bad news. Some dubbed this the “battle for the heart of the Internet.”
More than a few people were rather shocked that the U.S. Department of Defense would use netizens as lab rats. The experiment was led by the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which, in fact, developed the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, the forerunner to the Internet.
America’s contribution to the Internet has been huge. In 2011, when the U.S. proposed an international cyberspace strategy, and especially when the U.S. proposed to guarantee the free flow of online information worldwide, many people and communities defended this American concept, finding it stunningly re-assuring. There was an unparalleled level of moral certainty! As such, when the U.S. began criticizing Chinese cyberattacks and Internet regulation policies; some countries — especially America’s allies — emerged, sounding a chorus of indignation and injustice in support of the American position, and when China and Russia proposed the notion of Internet sovereignty at the United Nations, it was feared that some nations would interpret this proposal as one meant to isolate the Internet and move backward, and even many domestic scholars protested.
Over the last few years, the Chinese Internet has not been lacking in the number of people with questionable morals, and it is not uncommon to find Thick Darkness* and Human Flesh Search Engines**, yet no one criticizes America because doing so would amount to no more than Internet propaganda, and would strangle the symbol of progress and freedom. Anyone doing so would be abhorred by everyone, but when that American Snowden disclosed proof that the U.S. had long been monitoring the entire world, many were stunned. The Chinese government had actually been right! Those who had originally criticized China discovered that the U.S. government had, in fact, been more thorough, and then were forced to remain silent. Look for yourself.
The U.S. opposes Internet sovereignty, but still declares that the data on the servers of every American company are the property of the government; the U.S. declares that it will protect the free flow of information, and yet, it attempts to control the content seen by netizens; the U.S. claims that the attempted entry of Chinese network equipment companies into America poses a national security threat, and yet, we are constantly hearing about how Apple and other giant American companies have installed "back doors" in their products that enable them to extract information from ordinary users.
How can this be? It seems like people should be indignant about this! But has the U.S. made a mistake? America is protecting its own national interests. While developing Internet technology, it is protecting its own safety. It is ensuring the strength of its control in the face of ever changing global networking applications and innovations. While promoting the Internet’s global contributions, the U.S. also gets all sorts of things in return. Is any of this a mistake? Perhaps, there is a double standard; perhaps, there is hypocrisy, but the crucial point is that we ourselves must see with discerning eyes, and only in this way can we make any clear determination.
The objective of the U.S. Department of Defense's ARPA is to protect America’s global technological superiority while keeping in check the hidden technologies that threaten the United States. It would seem that we still do not have such an institution, and thus, maybe from the U.S. perspective, we have also erred in that we are so convinced and so willing to accept the concepts that others have given us — that we have forgotten what we ought to have. We have forgotten how to protect ourselves and to determine what we should rely on for future development despite our incessant boasting about the thousands of years of our civilization. On the online front, it seems that we are indulging in premature celebration about the production of massive information flow and new innovations. As the Internet levels the global playing field, let’s hope our thinking process doesn’t also get leveled. From the American point of view, the U.S. has not erred, but we must act correctly!
*Translator's note: Refers to the Thick Black Theory proposed by Li Zongwu in 1911, which suggested that politicians would gain power by being thick (thick-skinned, shameless) and black (dark, ruthless).
**Translator's note: Refers to the practice of crowdsourcing via Internet media to identify and expose individuals or government corruption to public humiliation.


Translated at Watching America

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ferguson’s Citizen’s Can Fire The Whole Police Force

From  Walt starr

Although Missouri does not have statewide recall provisions under the law, there are provisions for doing so at the local level.

Missourians do not have the right of statewide recall. However, the right of local recall is available in:

    Cities defined as Class 3 cities. A Class 3 City is defined as a city with a population between 3,000 and 29,999.
    Cities that operate under their own city charter, if the specific city charter allows for recall.

The recall process that applies to Class 3 cities in Missouri is governed by MRS §77.650 and 78.260.


    Recall may not commence during first 6 months in office
    Grounds for recall must be stated, and must include misconduct in office, incompetence, and failure to perform duties prescribed by law.
    60 days is allowed for collecting signatures.
    Signatures equal to 25% of the registered voters in the city must be collected.

The issue of the nearly all white police force is not one without an ability to correct. This is not some issue where the people have no power. In fact, this is a completely political issue and as DailyKos has aptly demonstrated for more than a decade, any political problem has a political solution.

Given the demographics of Ferguson, the people have the power to fire the entire city council, the mayor, the city manager, the chief of police, and to replace them with officers more capable who will fire the entire police force and replace them with individuals interested in serving and protecting the citizenry of Ferguson.

This process can be accomplished entirely within a period of just over six months.

Join me after the Orange Gnochi for the process to get rid of the police force and replace it with a more representative police force.

With a population of about 21,135, Ferguson is a Class 3 city. We must now turn to the Ferguson charter for more information.

First, let's examine the governing body of Ferguson:


Section 3.1 Powers vested

Except as this charter provides otherwise, all powers of the city shall be vested in the council. The council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the city by law.

Section 3.2 Composition, Eligibility, Election and Terms

3.2.1 Composition

The council shall consist of seven persons. One, known as Mayor, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city as a whole. The remaining six, known as Council Members, shall be elected by the qualified voters of their respective wards as provided in Article VII.

So, the city council and the mayor are the top governing body, but there's another important position we need to examine:

Section 4.1 Qualifications: Term of Office

The city manager shall be chosen by the council on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications with special reference to experience in or knowledge of municipal administration. The city manager may or may not be a resident of the city or the state at the time of selection, but shall reside within the city during the tenure of office. The city manager shall be appointed for an indefinite term, subject to removal as herein provided, and shall devote full time to the duties of the office, except with special permission by council. The city manager may reside outside the city while in office only with the approval of the council.

So this position is defined under the City Charter of Ferguson, MO. Why is this position so important to us here? What's the big deal?
Section 4.4 Powers and Duties

The city manager shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the council for the proper administration of the affairs of the city. To that end, the city manager shall have power and be required to:

a) Appoint, and when necessary for the good of the service, remove all officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise provided in this charter and except as the manager may authorize the head of a department or office to appoint and remove subordinates in the department or office; provided, however, that the City Council may remove the City Attorney upon the affirmative vote of five members of the Council. Preference shall be given in making appointments to residents of the City of Ferguson when their qualifications are at least equal to those of any other applicant.

That's a hell of a lot of power for one appointed position, and there are even more powers given this appointee. How do we get rid of such a powerful person and put somebody in who will hire the right people to serve the community?
Section 4.5 Procedure for Removal

The city manager may be suspended by a resolution which has received an affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the council. This resolution shall set forth the reasons for the manager's suspension and proposed removal and may suspend the city manager for a period not exceeding forty-five days. A copy of such resolution shall be served immediately upon the city manager. The city manager shall have fifteen days in which to reply in writing, and if so requested in the reply, shall be afforded a public hearing not earlier than ten days nor later than fifteen days after the hearing is requested; the resolution for suspension shall be made public ten days prior to the hearing.

After the public hearing is requested, and after full consideration, the council by majority vote of its members may adopt a final resolution of removal. The manager shall continue to receive salary and benefits until the effective date of a final resolution of removal or other termination date as subject to contractual agreement.

The action of the council in suspending or removing the manager shall not be subject to review by any court or agency.

So we're right back to that governing body, the city council and the mayor. And we know they do not represent the interests of the majority or the people of Ferguson.

Now let's look at one more position...


Sec. 33-16. Created; commanding officer.

There is hereby created a department of the city government to be known as the police department, the commanding officer of which shall be the chief of police.

That's the guy. How does he get there?

Sec. 2-251. Police department; director; officers.

(a) The director of the police department shall be chief of police. The chief of police shall be appointed by the city manager on the basis of his administrative abilities and his qualifications as a law enforcement officer.

So according to the City Charter, the city manager has the power to fire and hire the Chief of Police who is solely responsible for hiring and firing police officers.

So to get the proper Chief of Police, the people of Ferguson need the proper City Manager.

And to get the proper City Manager, the people of Ferguson needs the proper City Council and Mayor.

Which gets back to the point from the opening of this diary.

In the last Ferguson city council election, turnout was 12%. Amongst African Americans, that number was 6%.

Is it any wonder there's a single African American on the city council?

So what does the Ferguson City Charter say is the power to reverse this?


8.1.3 Recall

The qualified voters of the city shall have the power to initiate the recall of any appointed or elected council member or elected mayor and to dismiss or retain such council member or mayor by a city election. No council member or mayor shall be subject to recall within six months of induction into office nor during the last six months of the term. If retained in office by a recall election, the council member or mayor shall not be subject to recall within a period of six months thereafter.

The people of Ferguson have the absolute power to remove the ENTIRE city council and the mayor, and to do so within six months. They can then put into place a city council that will appoint a city manager who will fire the Chief of Police and replace that Chief with a Chief of Police who will replace the ENTIRE FORCE.

And they have more than enough numbers to make it all happen.

They just have to organize, register, and sign the petitions for recall.

The people have all the power in this. They just don't realize it.


Original Posting To Daily Kos on Tuesday, August 19,2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday Night In Ferguson

Police officers react to the movements of a rowdy group of demonstrators during protests in reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown near Ferguson, Missouri August 18, 2014. Police fired tear gas and stun grenades at protesters in Ferguson, Missouri on M

Overnight, violence once again erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, as protests over the police killing of an unarmed teenager continued. And here's how it's being reported across America:

An evening of peaceful demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday against the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown descended into another night of chaos with police coming "under heavy gunfire" and leading to the arrest of more than two dozen people.
And to be sure, among the thousands who have protested the killing of Michael Brown, there have been a few who are there for less than noble purposes. But the fact is, over and over it was clearly shown that there were instances of massive, disproportionate responses from the police. And too often, the media was not—could not—tell that story:
Officials established a media zone — an area designated by crime-scene tape — on West Florissant Avenue near the turmoil last week. The “pen” is designed to enable journalists to view officials’ response to the protesters and rioters, and to offer a central spot for news updates. Reporters were told they risked arrest if they left the designated area.

So, how is that official response reporting working out?

#Ferguson Capt Johnson just said to @JakeTapper 'we didnt use tear gas, just smokebombs'.Tapper: 'Yes you did,we got gassed'.Capt: ok we did

So, called out on lying once, but ...

Step outside of the media zone for some on the spot reporting from a residential neighborhood outside the protest area by TWiB's Elon James White, as he and his group are pinned down by police as tear gas and rubber bullets are flying. Says White:

Doesn't even look they're aiming it at protesters … they're just gassing neighborhoods ... It was like they were trying to exterminate roaches ... If they see a human being, they throw a gas canister.
You won't be reading that in USA Today.

Bottom line?

#Ferguson cops think everyone except for them is the problem. First protesters, then "outside agitators," now the media.

  Posted by Daily Kos Editors on Tue Aug 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ferguson: When The Police Become The Military

By Joan McCarter 

Screenshot of tweet from Brendan Friedman

If the photographs emerging from Ferguson, Missouri, look like some foreign war zone to you, you're not alone. Plenty of former soldiers are seeing it, too.

I don't know how it was in IRQ and AFG, but in Bosnia we had less firepower while on patrol than the cops in #Ferguson

FWIW I led foot patrols in downtown Baquba, #Iraq in 2005-06 w/less firepower than #Ferguson PD (excl fire spt) @CaptainAwwsum @AthertonKD

Paul Szoldra compares his experience in Afghanistan to what he's seeing out of Ferguson:

While serving as a U.S. Marine on patrol in Afghanistan, we wore desert camouflage to blend in with our surroundings, carried rifles to shoot back when under enemy attack, and drove around in armored vehicles to ward off roadside bombs.

We looked intimidating, but all of our vehicles and equipment had a clear purpose for combat against enemy forces. So why is this same gear being used on our city streets? […]

In Afghanistan, we patrolled in big, armored trucks. We wore uniforms that conveyed the message, "We are a military force, and we are in control right now." Many Afghans saw us as occupiers.

And now we see some of our police officers in this same way. "The militarization of law enforcement is counter-productive to domestic policing and needs to stop," tweeted Andrew Exum, a former Army infantry officer.

The same gear is being used on American streets because a monster was created in the defense industry and the monster must be fed. Since 1996, "the Department of Defense has transferred $4.3 billion in military equipment to local and state police through the 1033 program." Then the equipment was intended to help fight the war on drugs. With that much firepower in the hands of local police, it was only a matter of time before they began to be used in such obscene excess against Americans.

7:59 AM PT:

@joanmccarter My troops were never as well equipped, nor as poorly trained or disciplined as they are. This is something else.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Aug 14, 2014
Also republished by Daily Kos.