Saturday, November 22, 2014

Not An Accident

Forget Ferguson. This right here is the real deal.

Unlike Mr. Brown, this guy hadn't just tried to rob a store and assault the manager.

Unlike Mr. Brown, this guy didn't grab up a police officer and grab up that officer's gun.

No. This guy was taking the stairs in a building (something the author does all the time).

The police are saying that this was an accident. This is unacceptable. Unless they can show that there was either a crime in progress or that the police had reason to believe an armed person had entered the stairway after or on the way to commit a crime, there is no reason for this officer to have had his gun drawn and chambered.

Currently there is talk about how he can be fired because he was on probation as a new cop. But this here looks very much like criminally negligent homicide. He was walking in a stairway where unarmed residents come and go. Again. Short recordings that a crime was occurring or that a suspect had fled into the stairwell, this guy should be seeing charges.

A panicked rookie cop in a pitch-black housing project stairwell killed an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the chest as the officer fumbled around in the darkness with a flashlight and a handgun.

The fatal shooting, which officials described as a tragic accident, happened during a vertical patrol late Thursday — months after the superintendent of the Brooklyn development asked NYCHA to fix the stairwell lights

And note:
I shot him accidentally,” the devastated cop confessed to his colleagues. His partner Landau never pulled his weapon from its holster.

Bratton and de Blasio agreed the shooting was a terrible mistake — although Liang had yet to tell his story to police.

Never pulled his weapon. This means there were no suspects that they were looking for or a crime they were responding to. Otherwise Landau would have had his gun drawn covering their back.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Not Surprising In The Least Bit

From RT.com:
He took to the university campus waving an infamous black-and-white flag - the emblem of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL). “ISIS is misunderstood. We just want our own state. Why does America keep bombing us? America and Western imperialism are to blame, not ISIS,” he was shouting in the video released by Fox news on Wednesday

However, the students, who Horowitz says in his blog “clearly have a lot of intellect,” didn’t react at all.

“A couple of thousand students walked by me and not saying anything negative. In fact, there were some positive responses. [It] really blew me away,” he said in an interview with RT. “Not a single person has a negative response. It was completely shocking.”

There was no harsh condemnation of the group and no one mentioned the IS’ beheading of three US citizens.

One passerby nodded towards Horowitz and said, “Good luck.”

And then.
he returned with an Israeli flag, trying to show the ‘tolerance’ of Berkeley students.

However, he received less-than-warm reception as the students started assailing him with hatred.

“F*** Israel,” exclaimed one man, “You’re killing kids,” said another.

“All of Israel are killers,” added a woman.

“That flag you wave is the psychological genocide of this planet. This institution is part of the people who enslaved the whole planet,” one of passerby said in a tirade.

In his RT interview, Horowitz said that one student told him that Israel is “the worst country in Europe,”

I'm not at all surprised by this. There is this disease on the left in which being critical of imperialism means that one cannot also be critical of the actions of those either under imperialism.

When it comes to black folks it is similar. One is free to discuss White Supremacy at length. One may not however discuss the dysfunctional habits of black folks because black folks under White Supremacy have no agency.

Now to be fair, I don't have a foundational problem with ISIS wanting it's own state and engaging in revolution to get to that end. This is how countries and nations have been created and changed throughout history. I do object to the means by which ISIS deals with it's enemies and it's fundamentalism.

Simply put one can condemn the settler state that is Israel AND the actions of ISIS. This is not hard people.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maybe I Missed Something

From the Daily News:
Students at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk and the NAACP slammed Amy Strickland ― a former teacher of the year ― for retweeting an offensive joke apparently mocking interracial couples, WAVY reported.
So, so far a person re-tweeted a tweet without commentary. I don't see what the problem is.
The tweet featured a photo of high school couples posing for a prom photo: Each of the girls were white, and all of the guys were black. The photo’s caption read, “Every white girl’s father’s worst nightmare.”
Which wasn't HER caption. It was the caption on the original photo. So again. I don't see what the problem is.
Students told the school’s principal about their find ― and planned the Monday walkout when the school failed to take action.
So they found a retweet on her page with a caption they considered offensive and ran to the principal to get her in trouble.

So in essence if you retweet a tweet of someone else without commentary YOU are now the author of the original tweet? Really?

“I could have been any one of the boys in the picture,” junior Michael LeMelle told the TV station Monday. “And I really don’t see myself … as anyone’s worst nightmare.”
Ok. That's nice. See so what you do is retweet with a comment to that effect or AT the original tweeter and say "Nah". Problem solved.
On Tuesday, the school board said it was investigating.

But the probe ― which was announced only after the student walkout ― should have launched days ago, activists said.

What is there to investigate. A RT (retweet) without commentary is neither an endorsement or refutation of the original statement. It is merely passing it through your account to your followers (if private) or the public (if public). Anyone else is free to look at or further interact. I note the conspicuous absence of any mention of any commentary by the assistant principal.
While Dillard applauded the students for their peaceful protest, he urged the school to reprimand Strickland and take control of the school
Reprimand her for what? What exactly is there to reprimand her about? They don't like what she retweets? Hello, can we say "prior restraint of speech" (if that is a public school)? They will be lucky if it turns out that they are dealing with yet another white guilt having white person ready to fall down sobbing and apologizing. They will he VERY unlucky if this woman has any backbone and sues the pants and skirts off anyone who touches this case. She will win if she does

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Because They Did Not Believe He Was Armed"

Two officers approached Mr. Gonzalez with their firearms pointed at him and told him to stop. He continued running, and the officers decided not to use lethal force because they did not believe he was armed.
And
The officer put his finger on the trigger of his gun, pointed it at Mr. Gonzalez as he came up the stairs, and told him to stop. But, Mr. Gonzalez continued running and the officer did not shoot because he did not believe Mr. Gonzalez was armed. It was later discovered that Mr. Gonzalez had a knife.
And
“After attempting twice to physically take Gonzalez down but failing to do so because of the size disparity between the two, the officer then attempted to draw her baton but accidentally grabbed her flashlight instead,” the report said. “The officer threw down her flashlight, drew her firearm, and continued to give Gonzalez commands that he ignored.”
Ferguson: Unarmed man shot because he posed a threat to officer.

White House: "Unarmed" man NOT shot because he posed a threat to the president.

One of these scenarios is wrong.

Question: Do any of these people actually have orders to shoot threats? Or do they just talk to them and hope they comply?

Anything Could Happen But The Odds Are...

From Clergy reach out to wary high school students in wake of Brown shooting
How many of you had that thought it could have been me?” said the Rev. Robert White, a St. Louis pastor, to nearly 50 students in the library of East St. Louis High School Thursday.
This is a heavily loaded question. If one is talking about a totally random event like a car running off the road into a sidewalk then INDEED it "could" have been you.

However when an event is determined by the behavior of more than one party, the "coulda been me" argument starts to fall apart. On the one hand in the real of possibility, ANYTHING can happen. But when we analyze situations we often find that the probability falls or rises based on other items. The problem with a lot of common black thought is that race in and of itself mediates certain outcomes with police when they actually do not.

“Tell me,” he said to a girl at a front table. “Why are you saying that could have been you?” “Because I’m black,” Monecia Hudson, a junior, told him. “It really doesn’t make a difference what gender you are. Police — they don’t care who you are. If they feel you’re doing something wrong they’re going to do whatever they feel.”
Let me stop off race and turn to gender. I usually upset certain women when I discuss the issue of women hitting men and men hitting those women back such as what happened recently on the F Train in NYC. A large number of women (and men) are quick to condemn those men who strike back and say that those persons who agree with that support violence against women. My only comment to such persons are as follows: Are you the type who would strike a man (or anyone else for that matter) for any reason other than self defense? If not then why are you supporting those persons who DO strike men (or other people) for reasons other than self-defense? Secondly do YOU engage in such behavior? if not then you have nearly zero chance of finding yourself in such a situation even IF you were involved with a man disposed to striking back.

The result is universal: Silence.

Similar logic works here. Brown is not dead because he is black. He is dead because he acted inappropriately to someone with a firearm who was ALSO a peace officer. Brown would be alive today and likely in jail or probation, if her had done the following:

1) Did not walk down the middle of the street obstructing traffic. 2) Did not attempt to take and use Wilson't firearm even IF Wilson had grabbed Brown up through the car window or "hit him with his car door". 3) Upon running and being fired upon, stopped with his hands WAY over his head, not only to his side as some witnesses stated, 4) Not moved towards to officer but stood still.

With this in mind, the proper question that should have been asked of the students should have been:

How many of you would assault a police officer? How many of you would run away from a police officer after assaulting him? How many of you would disregard an order to stop and continue to move towards an officer you just assaulted?

Seen this way none of the hands should have gone up. And that is the real lesson of "could have been me".

Civilization requires a certain level of responsibility and behaviors. The same way we expect, as we should, a certain level of behavior from police, we should also expect and require a certain level of behavior from citizens.

Back Story: Get It Right LA Times

So while awaiting the grand jury decision the LA Times decided to post a "back story" on the events in Ferguson. Of course there were problems.
St. Louis County grand jury is expected to decide soon whether to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old black man on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., setting off protests and unrest. Here’s what we know about the deadly encounter involving Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson, and what’s likely to happen next.
Well unlike August when he was a "teen" the unfurling narrative still presents the "unarmed" angle. Though anyone with sense knows full well that an "unarmed" person is not the same as a "non-threatening" person. And also never mind that Brown was already on tape assaulting the manager. See, this is what we call the Set Up. The implication here is that Brown is innocent (because he's black) and that Wilson is guilty because he is white and therefore racist.
Wilson has not spoken publicly about what happened, and no direct video of the shooting has surfaced.
Because? Because Ferguson police do not use dash cams or body cams. In most police misconduct (and citizen misconduct) cases, the cameras are turned on after the initial contact. Someone getting stopped by a police officer doesn't cause a camera to be turned on but a cop hitting someone after the stop does. So absent the video (which the ghost thinks should be mandatory for all law enforcement personnel) We have witness statements and forensics. We already know through research that witness statements are not entirely reliable. So forensics gets a higher weighting than "I swore I saw so and so do such and such".
the confrontation began when Wilson, on patrol, spotted Brown and a friend, Dorian Johnson, walking in the street.
Well actually the confrontation started when Wilson, who was called to respond to a report of a strong arm robbery at a convenience store came upon Brown and Johnson walking in the middle of the street obstructing traffic which included a now emergency vehicle. This part is important because "on patrol" implies that Wilson was simply driving around looking for someone to mess with. The actual case shows that Wilson was in a state of high alert trying to get to a scene of a crime. Entirely different mindset.
Wilson “observed the two individuals, he requested that they get out of the roadway. The deceased became belligerent towards Officer Wilson,” the report stated.
"Observed" is standard police speak. Of course he "observed". they were likely in his way as he was responding to the reported crime. "requested" is also police speak. It is likely that he yelled at them. He likely had his siren and/or lights on (though that was never mentioned and would actually be relevant). Of course Wilson would not be 'nice" as he is trying to get to a scene of a reported crime.
"As Officer Wilson attempted to exit out of his patrol vehicle the deceased pushed his door shut and began to struggle with Officer Wilson, during the struggle the Officer’s weapon was un-holstered. The weapon discharged during the struggle.
Of course this leaves out pertinent information such as the fact that AFTER yelling at Brown and Johnson, Wilson continued on to the location of the reported crime. It was AFTER he heard the description of the suspect, and the description matched one of the persons he just yelled at, that he turned around to confront Brown Secondly, by pushing the door onto officer Wilson, Brown committed assault on a peace officer. You'd think that noting that would be relevant to the "back story". Secondly the fact is that the gun discharged twice in the vehicle and that witnesses say that Johnson took off running after the first shot. Which would imply that he could not have seen everything that transpired after that first shot.
Johnson says that when the incident began, Wilson used profanity to tell the young men to get out of the street, hit Brown with his car door while trying to open it, then grabbed Brown by the neck.
So Wilson, sitting in his vehicle, after cussing at Brown, attempted to knock Brown down with his door. Then failing to exit his vehicle, reached out the window to grab up Brown? Do those events even sound right to you. If anything the order would have to have been "Grabbed first, opened door after". And even in that case why would a police officer entrap his arm in a car door window grabbing onto a suspect when he knows he has to lose contact when the door is fully opened? Reader: Try that at home. Get a buddy. Grab him by the neck out your car window and then open the door and see how that works out for you(Convertible owners exempted).
“They’re not wrestling so much as his arm went from his throat to now clenched on his shirt,” Johnson told MSNBC. “It’s like tug of war. He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’”
Lets take this at face value. If Wilson in fact did this, it would be an epic training fail on his part. What purpose does pulling Brown into the driver's side front seat serve for Wilson? Is he gonna shoot Wilson in the head while his head is in the driver's seat? Knock him out with his gun? "Then he heard 'I'm gonna shoot you." He heard who say that? A police officer who is being assaulted WILL say "stop or I'll shoot". Since Wilson was being assaulted it is highly likely that he said something to that effect. Therefore it still cannot be seen as evidence of malice for him to be heard saying "i'll shoot." because we know he's in a scuffle. Secondly, if Wilson was interacting with Brown after realizing that Brown fit the description, that would explain why his gun was unlatched or unholstered when Brown reached for it. Professionals do not unlatch their guns because they KNOW that a 'free" gun is an invitation for an opponent to become armed.
After the first shot wounded Brown, Johnson said, Brown ran and Wilson chased him. Wilson then shot Brown in the back, and Brown stopped, turned with his hands up, and said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!” according to Johnson’s account to MSNBC.
Of course the autopsies (there were 3 done)showed that Brown was not shot in the back. The LA Times should have noted right there and then that Johnson't statement in that regard was false. Secondly, even IF Brown said anything like "I don't have a gun" it does not follow that he is not a threat. He is still obliged to follow all police directions and it is HIGHLY unlikely that Wilson told Brown to walk towards him. Police tell you to lay down on the ground with your hands on your back.
As Wilson stood face-to-face with Brown, the officer shot him several more times, Johnson said.
Of course johnson's testimony was contradicted by other witnesses.
No. Among the earliest details to provoke fury from residents and demonstrators were witnesses’ statements to the media that Brown had his hands raised in surrender when Wilson shot him.
Well they may have thought that was what they saw. So far the leaked GJ evidence and the autopsy indicates that Brown's hands were at his sides, elbows near his hips which is a far cry from hands over his heads claims made by others and which I demonstrated could be indicative of someone attacking someone
One witness, Tiffany Mitchell, told MSNBC that Wilson shot at Brown as he was running away, and Brown’s body jerked as if he had been shot. Mitchell said Brown “turned around and put his hands up, and the officer continued to walk up on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down to the ground.” Another witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave a similar account.
With all due respect to Tiffany Mitchell, her testimony is contradicted by other accounts.

But by all means LA Times, don't let these other witness accounts get in the way of your narrative.

The Washington Post sparked controversy last month when it reported that several black witnesses had provided testimony to the grand jury that largely supported Wilson’s account of events.
Controversy. Why is that controversial? Now THAT would make for a good news story.
After the grand jury’s decision is released, McCulloch’s office has promised to release all evidence and testimony from the proceedings, which are conducted in secret. The prosecutor would have to seek a judge’s approval for such a move, however, and if there is an indictment, some of the information might remain confidential until trial.
If they do release this information then I hope they take every precaution to make sure that the witnesses who spoke truthfully have their identities protected. The reason GJ activities are secret is to protect both the reputations of those under investigation but also to protect the witnesses from retribution.
Missouri law provides wide latitude for police to use deadly force, particularly if the officer believes it’s necessary to protect his or her safety or the safety of others. But that law might not shield Wilson. “If Michael Brown was trying to surrender at the time, that makes this defense not applicable,” Washington University law professor Peter Joy said. “So the question is: Was Michael Brown clearly trying to surrender at the time that the fatal gunshots were fired?”
No, actually the standard is whether Wilson, the accused believed his life was still in danger, not whether someone thinks Brown was surrendering. I'm surprised a law professor misunderstands this point. If the witness statements that Wilson took steps back as Brown stepped towards him, then it goes to show Wilson's belief that he was in danger.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Taxpayer Paid Part of JP Morgan's "Penalty" Because...

The government made sure to not call it a "penalty".
Taibbi noted that $7 billion of the settlement was tax deductible, meaning “American taxpayers coughed up $2.4 billion of this settlement for JP Morgan Chase. An ordinary person, when they suffer a criminal penalty, they cannot deduct that from their taxes… because the government very specifically did not call this a ‘penalty’ in the settlement … that allows the bank to deduct that money, which means all of us get to pay a big chunk of that fine for them. Which is incredible.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Notes On The F Train 'Slap' Video

So yesterday I saw the now infamous F train slap video.

There are a number of things about this video that deserve commentary:

1) Street (or Subway) Harassment: It was only a few weeks ago that we were shown a video of a woman walking around NYC for 10 hours where she was "harassed" by random men. The worst thing that happened to her was that one dude walked beside her as if she was with him and a second one was quite persistent about getting the mute Shoshana to at least say "no thank you".

This guy was apparently minding his own business on a subway while at least 3 young women berated him about his choice of clothing and who proceeded to physically assault him over it. Lets see how long it takes for the regular feminists to spend time discussing the "sense of entitlement" that these women had and how dangerous it can be for a man minding his own business on a train.

2) As I discussed in my lengthy piece about the facts of domestic violence, black women are the leaders of initiators of domestic violence (30%). I said then, as I'll say here, if we want to deal with domestic violence in black communities we have to deal with the women who initiate this violence. These women believe that they have a right to put their hands, feet or objects on men when they are upset and this is unacceptable.

This video shows just how early this sense of entitlement to hit men starts.

3) Equal Treatment: There are people who believe in equality for women and then there are feminists. This video is an epic show of what equality looks like. See, there is this rule that men generally understand. The rule is simple: If you hit someone, expect to be hit back. Therefore it is in your best interest to not hit someone unless you know you can "take them".

This general rule is why inter-male violence is generally low. Men regularly size each other up, particularly on the first meet in order to make a threat assessment. Is he fit? How large is he? How big are his arms? Does he have dominant or passive body language? etc. Women on the other hand given their relative weakness usually default to the "he's a physical danger" pose when confronted with most males. It's assumed he cannot be "taken out" in unarmed conflict. This became codified in cultural norms in that men do not hit women BECAUSE women are weaker. However along with this code is that women do not assault men. The only exceptions that have been allowed have been "emotional outbursts" where women were allowed to slap a man when he upsets her. This code, which is quite sexist, is based on the idea that women, like children, were and are incapable of controlling their emotions (prone to hysterics, a word based on their reproductive organs).

What is happening of late is that many women want the equality without the corresponding responsibility. Equality means that you don't operate under the sexist assumption that women are incapable of controlling their emotions and therefore their arms and hands (or feet). Equality means that you don't hit men when you are upset. equality means if you do hit a man when you're upset, that you expect to be hit back. Any other expectation is one of privilege. Unearned privilege at that.

And this is what we saw in the video. The female initiated the verbal confrontation. She elevated the situation by lashing out at any man that upset her. Then she struck out at man who had made no physical or verbal threats to her.

It is clear to me that Mr. 8 Ball jacket is the victim here. He was not only assaulted by the female (verbally and physically) but other people assaulted him when he retaliated against his assailant. He was minding his business. He shouldn't be wanted for arrest, he should be wanted as a victim of a crime and as a witness against the people who assaulted him on that train.

Of course there are going to be people reading this who think I'm advocating violence against women. This is the usual claptrap of those who seek to excuse and diminish the very real (and documented) violence committed by women against men (and other women). The fact is that the ONLY principled position here is that nobody, male or female is obligated to allow other people to assault them. They are within their rights to "dissuade" anyone who has already assaulted them from continuing to do so. I believe that men and women have equal rights to defend themselves. I believe that women are not children and are quite capable of controlling their bodies. It's high time the rest of society catches up with this.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Recent ACA Court Case

The Ghost is pro Single Payer. I've said a few times that the proper and constitutional way that the federal government to cover everyone, which is and was entirely possible, was to simply amend medicare/medicaid to all citizens and legal residents (illegal immigrants get proper and humane emergency treatment and then a one way ticket home).

But no. Instead we got a 200+ page law that nobody read before voting on that was designed to provide customers to healthcare corporations with the federal government acting as enforcer and collection agency. Something that NEVER should have happened.

So it turns out that since nobody read the law, they didn't notice that little piece of text that said:

“through an exchange established by the state.”
Someone on This Week actually said that sentence didn't mean what it said. Seriously. I think the reason that fellow could even move his mouth to say such nonsense about the law, is because too many people on the left thik that laws mean whatever they think it means at the time rather than what it actually says. For example when the charges were brought against Zimmerman, I pointed out the problem with murder because it requires intent. There was ample evidence in the offering that provided reasonable doubt as far as intent is concerned and therefore Zimmerman should have been charged with criminally negligent homicide with a focus on the totality of the event.

People actually said that I must "be on Zimmerman's side" because to them, the fact that I understood the law and the concept of reasonable doubt, that somehow to be on Trayvon's side I had to disregard what the law says. You don't convict someone of a crime because you think "eh, it's close enough to X". Judges give explicit instructions as to what the law is and how a jury is to look at evidence. Why? Because the language of the law matters.

Another example, a man was tried for shooting up skirt videos in Mass. He was acquitted because the relevant law did not cover what that man did (the mechanics). So even thought the state wanted and perhaps meant that such behavior be deemed criminal, the law as written did not support such a contention. Judges are required to follow the law not what they think or wish the law to be. They cannot legislate from the bench (even thought not a few have been getting away with just that). Legislating comes from a legislative body. Not the executive or the judicial bodies. Which brings us back to the ACA.

The language is very clear to those who understand the English language (something that is apparently becoming a problem....). Lets look at the sentence:

“through an exchange established by the state.”
In this sentence "an exchange" is the object. "Established" is the action. That object is established by "the state". The state is the party that does the action (establishment) of "an exchange" that whatever is gone "though".

Simple English. In the US the "state" or "states" always refers to one of the 50 states. When talking about the federal government, it is referred to as The Fed. Don't believe me? Look at the full text of the ACA

Do a search for "state". It shows up 75 times in the document. Here's a relevant example:

Subtitle C—Medicaid SEC. 1201. FEDERAL FUNDING FOR STATES.
And
AMOUNT OF INCREASE.—Notwithstanding subsection (b), the Federal medical assistance percentage for a State that
See? Fed. State.

Another:

f the number of percentage points by which— ‘‘(I) such Federal medical assistance percentage for the State, is less than
Now look at the actual paragraph that contains the quote in question:
In the event that allotments provided under sec- tion 2104 are insufficient to provide coverage to all chil- dren who are eligible to be targeted low-income children under the State child health plan under this title, a State shall establish procedures to ensure that such children are screened for eligibility for medical assistance under the State plan under title XIX or a waiver of that plan and, if found eligible, enrolled in such plan or a waiver. In the case of such children who, as a result of such screening, are determined to not be eligible for medical assistance under the State plan or a waiver under title XIX, the State shall establish procedures to ensure that the children are enrolled in a qualified health plan that has been certified by the Secretary under subparagraph (C) and is offered through an Exchange established by the State under sec- tion 1311 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For purposes of eligibility for premium assistance for the purchase of a qualified health plan under section 36B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and reduced cost- sharing under section 1402 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, children described in the preceding sentence shall be deemed to be ineligible for coverage under the State child health plan.
See? No mention of the federal government.

The only way this goes in favor of the administration is if a majority of the justices buy the [not]legal argument that the congress "meant" something other than what was written or if they wish to legislate from the bench. If they don't buy the "meant to" argument and decline to legislate from the bench, it should be a unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff. Of course that would mean that either the law would have to be amended, and we know what kind of fight that would be; or the states would have to set up exchanges, particularly if there is a public outcry from those who lose coverage that technically they should have have gotten.

Of course alllllll of this could have been avoided had Obama and his crew passed single payer while the Democrats had the majorities in both houses of Congress. But we know how that went. But now we'll hear them whine about Conservatives this and Republicans that when the total failure was theirs.