Monday, March 23, 2015
So I finally got a chance to take in the Apple Watch presentation. If you are a person concerned with Black folks, then Apple's presentation went a long way in showing our collective problem. Opening front and center was China. Tim Cook has said how China is an extremely important country for Apple. In fact I believe that a very large percentage of Apple's profits now comes from China. It is definitely the case that China represents probably the largest revenue growth for that Company. All kinds of Chinese folks disregarding the pollution to buy and fawn over Apple products. And this isn't to get on Apple's case. Many companies that had formerly been single mindedly focused on the US and western Europe have been looking to up their China presence. Think about it. China used to be known for bicycles. The "sick man of Asia" was well behind the "leading" powers. It had a revolution and all that stuff. China grew up and got very modern in a lot of places and boasts a middle class that is the size of well the entire population of the US. Then we have Africa. Africa makes it's presence in the Apple presentation as the place well off (and well intentioned) white people go to Do Good(tm). Even though there is a middle class with disposable incomes some of which are spent on Apple products (see those unfortunates blown up in a Kenyan mall). They don't make an appearance in the Apple presentation anywhere. The message is clear to those who are paying attention: Africa and Africans aren't a market for Apple (or others) it is a marketing tool! So there we have mothers in need of medical treatment that can only be gotten by the do gooding white woman with an Apple Watch (The fathers apparently are living that crystal stair life). She runs marathons and otherwise stays fit with Apple's stuff in order to help the needy Africans who apparently are incapable of helping themselves other than doing what the foreign do gooder tells them should be done. There have been previous Apple adverts with a similar theme. Even with an African doing the do gooding. But still it is a story of the poor and destitute of Africa being a marketing prop for the latest Apple iDevice. If Apple thought of Africa and Africans as a market rather than a marketing tool, it would feature those middle class and up Africans who use their products in scenes that are clearly Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, etc. Hell, it could shoot some material in the Caribbean. I assure Apple that there are DJ's in Jamaica and elsewhere who use Apple computers. Hell, If Apple wanted to discuss fitness, particularly running, why didn't they go and get one of the MANY African and African descended runners? Mo Farrah, Meb Keflezighi, Usain Bolt, Mary Keitany. Many of these athletes also are a part of charities or could discuss how their winnings go to develop their hometowns. But again. It is clear that the poor and needy in Africa are a marketing tool and the African is not a market. But that brings us back to China. Why was China front and center? Because it is financially relevant. Africa is not. For all it's problems, whether it be pollution, human rights or a form of government some don't like, China has made itself into a country to be dealt with respectfully by businesses. And most importantly it isn't an international charity case. And this is key for black folks. If we really want folks to respect us as equals. If we really want people to see us as valuable neighbors and clients, we have to stop being charity cases. Like China and the Chinese we need to make a great leap forward. Minus the purge...however tempting that might be.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Long ago I wrote a piece about Tim Wise, because I felt that he doth speaketh too much on behalf of black folks. Tim Wise has apparently not learned much since then.
Think we are stretching the truth? Tim Wise clarified “My point is that the people who go looking for danger and ‘excitement’ are overwhelmingly privileged white men, and if you have evidence I’m wrong present it…jesus christ, find me evidence that low income folks of color go looking for death defying shit like this.”Yes, there is a standing joke among black folks that certain things are "white folks crazy shit". It's a funny joke until you realize that the reason why places like, oh say, America exists is because white folks did their crazy "hey lets go THAT way instead of THIS way" attitude. Black folks unfortunately use the "that's what white folks do" in order to keep themselves from doing new and improved stuff. It actually stunts their development as a group.
Paul Gottinger joins Paul Urie in the camp of Total Idiots (tm). What has landed him there? Come follow me. I'm going to begin near the end because when I read what I will quote I new that Counterpunch has basically allowed the children to run the place:
Since 1976 there has been 1,403 people convicted of a crime, sentenced to the death penalty, and then executed. This number is only slightly larger than the number of Americans killed by cops LAST YEAR ALONE. Imagine if ISIS, or Black gangs were killing at this scale. What would the country’s reaction be?The total idiocy of this statement is beyond belief. You would think a grade school kid with absolutely no knowledge of how the world works wrote that. I don't know how many people ISIS has killed in the past year but I do know Boko Haram has killed 10,000 in 2014. I suppose black lives in Nigeria taken by other blacks don't really matter. And if we put ISIS in the same group as Al-Qaeda then we'd have to include 9-11, London, Spain, and that total goes beyond 1403. But you know, you can't speak on that without being an "Islamophobe". As for black gang members, exactly what rock did Paul come from under to not know that black gang members have left a swath of death in black communities for decades. Their total is FAR more than 1403. In fact, over 6000 black people were murdered in 2011 (cited source: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-1) Also why does Paul act as if every person who has been shot and killed by a police officer was innocent? Has Paul never heard of justifiable homicide? Does he think that police do not have the same rights as anyone else to defend their lives with deadly force if necessary? One could begin to take Paul seriously if he actually separated out justifiable homicides from straight criminal killings. But his failure to do so means he cannot be allowed at the adult table. So with that, Paul Gottinger, with a straight face acts as if the biggest danger to black lives are the police. This is the highest form of Tom foolery I've seen this week. The Ghost does not deal in Tom foolery and Counterpunch needs to rid its ranks of people who engage in it too. As for the actual subject of his post:
According to friends of Robinson, he was tripping on hallucinogenic drugs the night he was shot. One of the calls to the police came from friends wanting help for Robinson.Does Paul have any idea how dangerous a person who is high on hallucinogenic drugs can be? If you're lucky they think you're a cute little animal. If you're very unlucky they think you are their mortal enemy and will try to kill you. Nobody knows exactly what went on in the premises. That's why we have what are called investigations. You'd think that after the repeated collapse of the Ferguson incident that folks like Paul would be very careful about making assumptions about facts they do not have. You'd also think that Paul would remind the reader that the deceased was awaiting trial for armed robbery. Like that's not relevant. In all seriousness, If the "friends' knew that Robinson wasn't a threat (something the responding police officer cannot know), why did they bother to call the police? Why not wait for him to come down off his high? Oh, their friend was out of control and THEY felt threatened and didn't consider that someone who DOESN'T know Robinson from the next Harry would have even more reason to feel threatened. Bright people we're dealing with here. Anyway more Foolery:
In 2007 Kenny shot and killed a drunk man holding a pellet gun. His punishment? He earned the Medal of Valor, the department’s highest honor.Because police should stop whatever THEY are doing whenever a suspect points a gun at them. In all seriousness, what kind of fantasy world do people like Paul live in where the police are to assume that guns pointed at them are of the non-lethal type? Why does Paul insult our intelligence when we know that one should never, ever, point a gun, or something that can be mistook for a gun at someone who is literally licensed to kill. So with these inane comments Paul Gottinger joins Rob Urie in the club of Total Idiots(tm).
Sunday, March 15, 2015
While this guy is talking about the Soviet Union (pre Berlin Wall falling). Many of the things he is speaking of, the concepts, are currently ongoing. For example, his discussion of "facts not mattering" is shown in the case of Michael Brown which I discussed at length in a previous posting. Furthermore when we see how certain ideas are censored to the extent that people literally try to destroy the lives of those they disapprove of, is also in line with concepts discussed in the video. Lastly, when we see the disturbing trend of academics seriously putting for the idea that due process (for certain crimes) including the idea that one is considered innocent until proven guilty, should be abandoned we see that this fellow is right on track. Watch and remember this was in the 80's.
Friday, March 13, 2015
Over the past year or so as I've become more and more careful about my analyses of events and sources of information, places I used to go to for information and views are failing to pass even the most basic integrity tests. I understand that opinion pieces are not scholarly journal entries. It is unlikely that such pieces are going to be accompanied by charts, graphs and heavily footnoted. Indeed I have to say that there are times here where I don't even bother with images or links to references because I've already established the factual basis of my claims in other posts on the subject matter. The reader, if so moved can search the over 10 years of posts to check the references if they like. When you provide absolute proof of your points you gain a reputation for accuracy and generally you can be allowed such leeway. However when one habitually gets actual facts wrong then your credibility is shot and your readership becomes less informed if not misinformed. Other readers will simply stop tuning in. I'm going to cite two recent examples of this phenomenon: Counterpunch. I used to follow Counterpunch religiously. During the Bush years there were a lot of hard hitting pieces. Then Obama got elected and a lot of the regular people posted there basically lost their minds. It got even worse when Cockburn passed. But the worst came when the Michael Brown incident occurred. The number of posts on that publication in which people asserted as fact information that was completely contradicted by the available evidence was, to me, shocking. A person might be entitled to their own opinions but one certainly does not have the right to up and make up "facts" in order to support some fantasy one wishes was the case. I also would expect that the persons who run the website would exercise some editorial control in the form of fact checking. I'm not saying they should endorse or censor a particular piece, but rather they should either not publish pieces with obvious factual inaccuracies until they are corrected by the author or they should note at the head or tail of the piece that x,y and z statements are incorrect. If the writer want's to commit reputation suicide by misrepresenting the facts, let them, no need for Counterpunch to put the knife to their own throats as well. So long after the facts of the Michael Brown shooting have been on public display I see this by Ishmael Reed who I have become so disappointed in that I do not even bother to get upset when he once again makes dumb claims:
When the report about the misconduct of the Ferguson police was issued, CNN was able to find two black men to defend the Ferguson police. One accused the Attorney General Holder of carrying on a vendetta against the force. Maybe Mark O’Mara, another CNN regular, wasn’t available. He was George Zimmerman’s Attorney. He promoted false information about Michael Brown and intimidated the white women on the Zimmerman jury by raising the specter of the black rapist.There are a lot of black people who are bright enough to read the document created by the DOJ and then gather evidence to see what is and is not supported by the facts. I know that in far too many black circles such behavior is considered "not black" and "selling out" . Oh well. I would call that, being honest. So for example, we find that Ferguson PD's arrest rates are on par with the county and state. We also find that the arrests rates, and use of dogs are also concurrent with the level of violent crimes (which bring about the dogs and cuffs) committed by black folks in the city, county and state. Last weekI asked the readership what was conspicuously absent from the DOJ report. If you answered that the data of criminal conviction rates by race you won the prize. You see, unless you have an idea as to who is doing what and at what rate, you cannot discuss whether something is "disproportionate". As for the court using tickets as revenue generation, firstly how is it people haven't figured this out nation wide? Look. The national speed limit was put into place for the reasons of saving fuel during the OPEC embargo. Once that was lifted, speed limits stayed in place. Why? The go to answer was "safety" but it really wasn't that. It apparently never occurred to people that most people on highways are doing at least 10MPH *over* the speed limit and in many cases 15-20MPH. You try doing the speed limit on the southern portions of the NJ Turnpike or I95 in Conn. and see how many people blow by you. The fact is that if you are doing the speed limit on most highways, YOU are a safety hazard because people have to slow down for you. So why is it that even though the majority of the population has voted with their right foot and travel at speeds in excess of the so called "safe" speed limit, do the states continue to ticket people for speeding? Revenue. Firstly they do it because the federal government will withhold DOT monies from the states that fail to enforce the speed limit and the various towns that these highways cut through get a cut of revenue generated from speeding tickets. So by and large, the entire country's speeding ticket racket is just that, a racket. So how is it that Ferguson's is more egregious than anyone else's? Because the ones caught with infractions are reflective of the general population. Also nowhere is it discussed that Ferguson, having transitioned from a 95%+ white, middle class neighborhood unto a 70%+ black neighborhood with over 30% of it's residents in section 8 housing, has a rapidly decreasing tax revenue. What do little, near broke towns do when their population cannot support their municipal government? They use tickets to generate income. Some towns make their own main street a speed trap and write tickets to hapless drivers passing through. Since it appears that most people with money simply bypass Ferguson, that option isn't available. Does that mean Ferguson should prey on their citizens for revenue? Nope. But I wouldn't call it racist. AS for the "expensive" tickets. Let me give a personal example: Many years ago I got a parking ticket that I thought I didn't deserve. So I decided I wouldn't pay it. I got letters from the city. I tossed 'em. Then I got a letter from the DMV. My license was suspended. Oh and the fine was now $1,000. So I had to take my butt to the local DMV. Pay a huge fine upstairs, then stand in line downstairs to get my license back. Mind you, I COULD have also gotten a ticket on the way to the DMV since I was rolling on a suspended license. All of that could have been avoided by either paying the fine or at a minimum contacting the city by the date due. Fortunately I *had* the revenue to pay that fine. Do you think I'm going to let that happen again? I'm certain that the report of a police officer making a false claim of an out taillight is true. I've had it done to me. Shouldn't happen but I'm certain that happens across the country and not just to black folks. The point being that just like the water shut offs in Detroit, when we look deeper into the situation we will inevitably find that the majority of cases were absolutely valid regardless of how much bellyaching the complainant does. And this is what is missing from the discussion. The report relied on some fantasy that the various racial populations in Ferguson and elsewhere do the same things at the same rates. The data simply does not support such an assumption. And the "two blacks" noted by Reed are one of many who know this. As for Holder. He did in fact have a vendetta. The report about Ferguson reminded me of the Ken Starr prosecution of Clinton. When they couldn't get Clinton on what they wanted to get him on, they just kept digging and digging until they could get something. Similarly when they couldn't get Wilson they turned on the city. Soon after Michael Brown made headlines, Holder, the top law enforcement agent in the land, took a trip to Ferguson and declared that there should be a trial. That the top law dawg would issue such a biased (and biasing) statement when no information had been out was the lowest point of his employment. That he went around talking about how he was a "black man" as if that was relevant for his job was another. Could you imagine a white AG going to the place where a white person got killed by a black person and said "I'm a white man..I got you"? It's one thing if it's a "wink and nod" understanding. It's an entirely different thing to up and declare your bias in public. As for this:
Maybe Mark O’Mara, another CNN regular, wasn’t available. He was George Zimmerman’s Attorney. He promoted false information about Michael BrownI'm not entirely clear as to the purpose of this. What "false information" is Reed referring to? He speaks of it as if it's a known fact. Cause the only "false information" out there about Brown was that he had his hands up and that he didn't assault the officer. Reed (or Counterpunch, I'm not sure) uses this as his evidence: For example:
On August 9, 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed Michael Brown in his eye and in the top of his skull and the Barack Obama Justice Department (*link DOJ) thinks that is not a problem, having officially stated that the shooting was justified. They also designated as “not credible” the people who witnessed the killing and stated for the record that Brown posed no danger to Wilson. The only witness they felt worthy of regard was the killer cop.If you didn't know better, and apparently that includes a LOT of people. You would think that Wilson just walked up on Brown and shot him in the eye and head just because he was black and walking in the street. If you do know better you recognize that paragraph for the shit representation that it is. Simply put, there is no excuse for such a paragraph to have even made it onto the website. The author of the site is presumed literate and therefore could read the GJ report that is widely available to the public which makes it very clear what actually happened. We know from that report that Brown, having just robbed a store and assaulted its owners (not even mentioned in BAR, 'cause it apparently doesn't matter) decided he didn't like how Wilson was speaking to him and decided to punch Wilson in the face repeatedly and tried to shoot him with his gun. None of that was mentioned by BAR. Again, none of that seems to matter. Brown then decided to flee, and after hearing at least one shot stops and goes back towards Wilson. The trajectory of bullets show a bent over Brown consistent with a charging person. I suppose that BAR would also like for us to imagine that after shooting Brown, Wilson, without anyone noticing, dipped his gun in Brown's blood and returned to his vehicle to smear it on the door in order to complete the cover up. I mean, we know how these devils do right? Lets be clear here, such shit-tastic writing as presented in BAR on more than one occasion has gotten at least three people killed. Two police officers (not even white!) and a Bosnian. I do not quite understand how people like those discussed here, can sleep at night knowing that they have (and continue to) promote false information about Michael Brown and that information has lead directly to dead innocent people. Lastly let me deal with this "unarmed" thing. The other part of this is the media's false narrative that someone who is unarmed is not a threat to someone's life. How many people have been pushed off train platforms and killed? No weapons there. How many people have been severely injured or killed by a single punch or kick to the head? Every time I hear about "unarmed" so and so was shot as if "unarmed" means not a threat I shake my head. I know, and police know full well that an unarmed person can be just as deadly as one who is armed. The only difference that weapons provide, particularly firearms is the ability to wound or kill from a distance. This ability gives those who are less equipped to kill with their hands (either mentally or physically) the ability to do so. But anyone who tells you that so and so was "unarmed" as if that makes much of a difference is telling you that they are a total fool. And you just can't take them seriously.
From the Detroit News:
Kirk Bennett has $10 million to spend on 10 cash-strapped city departments in post-bankruptcy Detroit. There are pressing needs in police, fire and EMS. But supporting services in garbage, lighting and parks ranks high too. And Bennett needs to reach a consensus with 10 classmates for this role-playing exercise in civic engagement during his Wayne State University’s honor course. “We realized how difficult it was. There isn’t enough money, period, and then you have to figure out who gets it even if this little amount of money isn’t going to make an impact. I’m really glad people have to do this for their job,” said Bennett, a 21-year-old Detroiter. That sentiment is at the heart of a community education program underway in Detroit called CitizenDetroit.Scarface Rapped: I never seen a man cry, till I seen that man die. As is usually the case, people who don't run anything have lots of opinions about what should be done and who should pay for it. Then when they get into office (power) and the hard decisions have to be made and folks need to be told "no", then it dawns on people what really goes into the necessary decision making. Inevitably one becomes really impatient dealing with people who think there is a magic money tree (taxes) that you're sitting on that you are withholding just because you want to.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
David Brooks in the NY Times:
One of America’s leading political scientists, Robert Putnam, has just come out with a book called “Our Kids” about the growing chasm between those who live in college-educated America and those who live in high-school-educated America. It’s got a definitive collection of data about this divide. Roughly 10 percent of the children born to college grads grow up in single-parent households. Nearly 70 percent of children born to high school grads do. There are a bunch of charts that look like open scissors. In the 1960s or 1970s, college-educated and noncollege-educated families behaved roughly the same. But since then, behavior patterns have ever more sharply diverged. High-school-educated parents dine with their children less than college-educated parents, read to them less, talk to them less, take them to church less, encourage them less and spend less time engaging in developmental activity.Or you could have read The Bell Curve from cover to cover and gathered the same information. Just goes to show what information you can hide from folks by simply labeling it racist.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Since I was told that the e-mail thing is just some unimportant thing to "get" Hillary, let me state for everyone why this is a "big deal". First and foremost, those who work in the Fed are required by law to have their communications recorded for the purposes of public knowledge (due consideration for classified material). It is how we get to find out if a government official has been "less than truthful" in their statements and actions. There are also security concerns but I'm not addressing that here, since as we've been told, the e-mails from Clinton's private server (no doubt being looked for by hackers world wide) didn't end up in Wikileaks like other "official" and "secure" communiques. What is relevant here is that the public and relevant government entities can *never* know if they have everything. Never. Why? Because as the owners of the server(s) in question, the Clintons or their designated agents can and could have deleted any data from the machine at any time without breaking any laws whatsoever. None of that data would be recoverable. Ever. Since we will never know what, if anything, was ever deleted from that/those machines, we can never know if all relevant e-mails have been disclosed. It is also entirely possible that Clinton used this private system to discuss things with other government (and non-government) personel who ALSO had/have their own private e-mail systems who's data is ONLY viewable via court order or warrant. And prior to such an order or warrant being made, any data destroyed on those systems can be wiped at any time. No, they cannot be charged with obstruction of justice if they have never been put on notice that x data is to be preserved for an investigation. It is also possible that those persons were also directed by Clinton or anyone else, that such communications are to be destroyed after reading in order to not leave a trail (Snapchat anyone?). One might think this is all conspiracy theories, but such "this conversation never happened" actions happen all the time. Lastly as it pertains to Clinton's fitness for office, Personally I'm already done with her and her "isn't it a time for a woman president" line. If the basis of your candidacy is your genitalia then I'm looking elsewhere. But aside from that, with this e-mail thing she has shown that she is of the opinion that even as head of a department certain rules simply do not apply to her. This means that she will take that same attitude to the White House. Now certainly she would not be the first or last person in the White House to have such an attitude, but I would think the public would at least expect that such an attitude not be put on display prior to getting there.
Thursday, March 05, 2015
As I read the Ferguson report something particularly bothersome stood out:
FPD and other law enforcement agencies in St. Louis County use a system of “wanteds” or “stop orders” as a substitute for seeking judicial approval for an arrest warrant. When officers believe a person has committed a crime but are not able to immediately locate that person, they can enter a “wanted” into the statewide law enforcement database, indicating to all other law enforcement agencies that the person should be arrested if located. While wanteds are supposed to be based on probable cause, see FPD General Order 424.01, they operate as an end-run around the judicial system. Instead of swearing out a warrant and seeking judicial authorization from a neutral and detached magistrate, officers make the probable cause determination themselves and circumvent the courts. Officers use wanteds for serious state-level crimes and minor code violations alike, including traffic offenses. FPD command staff express support for the wanted system, extolling the benefits of being able to immediately designate a person for detention. But this expedience carries constitutional risks. If officers enter wanteds into the system on less than probable cause, then the subsequent arrest would violate the Fourth Amendment. Our interviews with command staff and officers indicate that officers do not clearly understand the legal authority necessary to issue a wanted. [My underlines]
At times, FPD officers use wanteds not merely in spite of a lack of probable cause, but because they lack probable cause. In December 2014, a Ferguson detective investigating a shooting emailed a county prosecutor to see if a warrant for a suspect could be obtained, since “a lot of state agencies won’t act on a wanted.” The prosecutor responded stating that although “[c]hances are” the crime was committed by the suspect, “we just don’t have enough for a warrant right now.” The detective responded that he would enter a wanted.This right here should land a LOT of people in jail. There is a constitutional requirement for a warrant. Interactions with the justice system rests on probable cause. For a department to officially implement practices that directly contravene the 4th amendment is extremely problematic. Any and every official that wrote up, signed off on, voted for or were otherwise involved with such a policy ought to removed from office AND brought up on Civil Rights violations.
Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/03/04/us/ferguson-police-department-report.html And then see if you spot the VERY obviously missing material that is extremely relevant to any report of this type.