Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Friday, February 28, 2014

As Africans Surge to Europe’s Door, Spain Locks Down

Ten years ago Spain spent more than 30 million euros building up the barriers around Melilla and Ceuta, its two enclaves surrounded by Morocco on the northern coast of Africa, which offer the only land borders between the promise of Europe and the despair of Africa. And for a while the investment seemed to work.[my emphasis]
Harsh quote ain' it?
But few had any idea of going home. “I have spent two years traveling by land from Cameroon to here, and almost two years more hiding here in the woods,” said Musa Bankura, 36. “My family has spent all their savings. I can’t go back home now with nothing.”
Question: Is there anything else that this 36 year old and all the others in "despair" Africa could have done in the 4 years this fellow was trying to get to Europe?

Question: What does it say about how we run things that it is preferable to be on the move for 2 years and to camp out at an embassy for another 2 than it is to create an environment where you come from that negates any such desire for such a trip?

Question: Who is to blame if our countries are in such a state that people would rather effectively waste 4 years of their lives trying to get to another country?

Question: Exactly what are the families who were left behind doing in "desperate" Africa?

Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ

Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.
Years ago I told folks we in the US were seeing the development of a police state. I wrote then:
As I said on Twitter; I think a lot of people have an idea about what a police state is based on movies and from dictators in the middle east, etc. They fail to realize to recognize the purpose of a police state is population control. Particularly the control of dissident voices and actions within the population. it is the ability to track citizens against their wishes, and it usually accompanied by claims of security and safety. A soft police state is still a police state.
Yes, I said that in 2011.

A "soft" police state is still a police state. [Update] In regard to the following:

GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans' images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant.
It has long been known in certain circles that the US and Britain use each other to circumvent the rights and laws of the other country. If the NSA is barred from listening to communications it will get the Brits to do it and vice-versa. Old news to those of use who have been paying attention all these years.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Unintended Consequences in Uganda

So if you've watched any TV or read anything in a "news"paper (online or actual print) you know that Uganda just passed a law which makes for stiff penalties for being gay (or being caught in "gay acts"). Now like I said in regards to Arizona's recent brush with legal stupid, one does not (and in this case should not) pass laws for things that can be best handled by individuals with their own personal behavior. However; Uganda in it's apparent fascination with homosexuality has gone and made the situation in that country worse.

In a free country one has free association or not association. You don't like homosexuals then you are free to not deal with them in your private life. Don't befriend none. Don't invite them to your home. etc. Nobody is or should be forced to be around or deal with people they simply do not like, no matter how sane or insane the reasoning. They are free people. But when you decide to pass a law with stiff penalties for free people living their lives you open the door to abuse.

The English-language tabloid Red Pepper published a list this morning of the country's alleged 200 top gay individuals under the headline "Exposed!" just a day after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a sweeping anti-gay bill into law.

"Publishing information about these people certainly puts them at risk in their local communities," said Maria Burnett, Senior Africa Researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Whether or not we're going to see violence, it's a possible byproduct of this bill and the rhetoric politicians have been churning out."

"We haven't seen the large-scale vigilante mob attacks that have marked the last couple of months in Nigeria, but we are certainly concerned that could be the case," Burnett said…

The well-known Ugandans accused in the report included a Catholic priest, a hip-hop star, and an activist.
You see, now a person or organization that has it out for a person simply has to accuse that person of being gay and the legal system is put on them and they risk having mobs of people come after them. So in addition to targeting the stated object of the law it has put the entire citizenry under threat. I'm sure that the legislators who came up with this dumb law never considered that they or anyone else could be blackmailed by anyone who would claim that they have "evidence" that so and so is gay (photoshop is a powerful tool and GIMP is free). And how exactly does one defend oneself against such an accusation?

Silly law created by silly people. I'm sure Uganda has far more important things to deal with.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Occupy Had It All Wrong

Rather than sit down in the financial district, Occupy should have done like this fellow in Ukraine:

It's pretty clear that the US is all for people demanding change with shotguns and bombs. Next time I think those citizens unhappy about things like illegal immigration, bank bailouts, gay marriage or whatever moves them ought to go to the local state houses with guns and knives and let 'em know what you want or else. I'm just saying. If it's good for Ukraine it must be good for America.

A Kalashnikov appears to be the best argument in a debate for Aleksandr Muzychko, an activist of the nationalist "Pravy Sektor" (Right Sector) movement and one of the Maidan's most prominent and controversial leaders.

On Tuesday he came to the Rovno regional parliament, where he threatened the regional MPs with a machine-gun and a number of other weapons as he demanded a decision on granting apartments to the families of protesters who were killed during last week’s violent clashes in central Kiev.

“Who wants to take away my machine-gun? Who wants to take away my gun? Who wants to take away my knives? I dare you!” Muzychko said.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Veto The Arizona Bill and Then....

Let's be clear. It would be a legal fiasco for th Jan Brewer to sign the new legislation allowing private businesses to refuse service to persons based on religious ideology. Just veto it.

There is no need for such a provision because the Constitution and 1964 Civil Rights Act already covers such actions. I know, you the reader are like "huh". Hear me out. First a quick story:

I used to have a web design business. One day I was offered a client, a church. I read the material they wished for me to use to design their site. In it was a rather inflamatory statement about Mohammed being Satan or a demon or something to that effect. While I have my issues with Islam, Comparisons to Satan, I felt, would put me in the middle of religious conflict to which I did not wish to be a part. I declined the work.

See, I declined to do work. The church got someone else to do the work and I decided to not do work for any religious organization. Here's why it was perfectly legal:

No one can make a business produce a work.

Read that again.

Now lets go back at the source of the legislation. I cake maker was asked by a gay couple for a wedding cake. They wanted a cake that was reflective of their "lifestyle" and would therefore have two men (or two women) where a bride and groom would be put. The owner of the business refused to sell them a cake to that specification and therefore declined to do any business with them. That's where he went wrong and where "no one can make a business produce a work" comes in.

The owner of the business could have simply stated that he only produces wedding cakes with brides and grooms on them. If they were interested in such a cake he would gladly sell them one. If that was not satisfactory then he knows of other cake businesses who may have the designs they are looking for.

In other words the cake store owner did not have to decline to serve the potential customer.

Think of it this way: You cannot go to a Ford dealership and demand to be sold a BMW (lets assume they don't also sell BMW's of any kind). Either you buy exactly what they are selling or you go somewhere else. Now there are those who would say "what if he decided that he didn't want to sell a wedding cake to a black couple?"

Same thing applies. He'd have to say with a straight face that he doesn't produce any cakes whatsoever that black people could want. Good luck with that. He might say, he doesn't have "black bride and groom" (or whatever other combination) to put on a cake, which is actually a plausible explanation.

But that is how wedding cake man could have handled the situation and others will have to in the future. Don't refuse service, simply define your business within certain parameters.

Then there is the issue of "private clubs".

By the 1964 Civil Rights Acts, private clubs are allowed to discriminate in any way they please. If a business is so concerned about not serving a certain part of the public, then it can become like BJ's and Costco and become a members only organization. No sales can be done unless you are a member. Membership applications may be open to the public, but membership does not have to be, and no court can do anything about it.

Because these two methods of restricting who one does business with is available to all business owners there is no need for such "written in stone" legislation on the state level.

A Coup By Any Other Name

By openly supporting insurrection by a militant faction in order to subject the Ukranian government to a level of stress that it, and particularly its apparently incapable pres, Yanukovich, were incapable of handling, I think the US crossed something of a Rubicon. It openly and enthusiastically backed a violent putsch against a democratically-elected government it didn’t happen to like. Neo-liberal enthusiasts, it should be noted, splashed across this boundary without even getting their feet wet…except from the dull-witted drooling of Western correspondents apparently besotted by the contrived tire-burning, Molotov-cocktail tossing freedom-fighter narrative layered over the political struggle.[My emphasis]
And be sure, Venezuela is on the hook for the same treatment right now.
The Obama administration’s new-found affection for street riots to overthrow unfriendly elected government will get its next road test in Venezuela. Caracas is starting to look like Kiev. The conservative youth of the private universities are already on the street looking for trouble and the excuse to exercise righteous violence like their ultranationalist brothers in Ukraine.
As they tried before with Hugo Chavez under G.W. Bush.

I wanna see how all those "radical" black folks who had all manner of commentary about Bush, when he was fucking with Chavez, are going to explain themselves now. With their mouths firmly clamped on the Obama phallus I doubt they will object with anything more than the "well if the people want.." commentary that occurred during the Libya coup.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Asking The Wrong Quesion In California

People tell you what they are obsessed about. You just have to let them talk long enough and know how to listen for key statements. You know, things you were supposed to learn in grade school. California would like to bring down the number of deaths by homicide. No problem there. The problem is how they go about it. Which brings us to the point of this post:
What's the best way to minimize the number of guns on California's streets? That's the question confronting gun control supporters after this month's ruling by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down San Diego's restrictions on carrying handguns in public. That case was brought by gun owners who applied for but were denied permits to carry concealed weapons.[My Emphasis]
See. The question really isn't "the best way to minimize the number of guns on California's streets". No it is not.

To rephrase the Merovingian of Matrix fame, to ask about guns on California streets is to ask to means to what? Why? What is the why? Guns do not kill people. Guns are inanimate objects. What is the why? The why is the statement made in the opening paragraph. The wish to bring down homicides.

Next question: Do criminals care one bit about open or conceal carry laws? Do they care about magazine limits? Do they care about assault weapons bans? No. No they do not. Therefore the entire question about open carry is irrelevant isn't it? Law abiding citizens, the vast majority of people in California, whether they conceal a weapon or not have not and will not contribute to homicide by gun rates.

The thing is that there are a lot of people who are quite scared at the sight of a firearm. There are programs for that.

As to the actual problem that California is trying to address, how about they deal with conflict resolution skills starting from young ages? Police reports on gun violence that I have seen have pointed out that most of the conflicts come from anger issues and beefs. So really California has a mental health issue not a gun issue.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Except It's Not "Racial Profiling"

Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights that represented the plaintiffs along with attorneys from the civil rights group Muslim Advocates, said that the ruling was dangerous. He equated it with the now widely discredited US supreme court ruling in 1944, Korematsu v United States, that declared constitutional the blanket internment of Japanese Americans during the second world war.

“The dangerous part is that Martini’s ruling sets no limits on racial profiling of Muslims. You don’t have to deeply unpack this to see that it is wrong,” Azmy said.
Aside from the obviously erroneous comparison since not a single Muslim in the Mosques in question were interred, apprehended, detained or otherwise forcibly manipulated by the NYPD, the fact of the matter is that "Muslim" is not a race.

Whoops.

Normalizing the Abnormal

Julia Baird is on a mission. She wants us to think that something that is an illness is not an illness because stating as much makes certain people feel bad.

Boo hoo.

Transgender men and women are not banned from serving by congressional law, but by military medical codes. These codes classify being transgender as a psychological disorder, which was in line with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III, published in 1980. But the latest edition of the manual, the D.S.M.-5, released last May, replaced “Gender Identity Disorder” with “gender dysphoria.” The point of the change, according to the American Psychiatric Association, was to make it clear that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder.”
Right. So there aren't any civil rights violations but since the folks feel that they are "normal" the rest of us should as well. See the problem is US, not them.

But lets tackle this one right quick. The argument here is that those persons who are born "feeling" they are one gender and "trapped' in the body of another want us to believe that there is a problem with the body and not the brain. The reason for that is that currently there is no way to fix the brain so rather than "deal with it", they do all manner of things to a perfectly healthy and functioning body and then tell us they are "fixed"

Sure. If you want to believe that go right ahead. Why are the rest of us to be subject to their grand delusion?

Seriously though. In what other mental illness do we mangle the body in order to fix the feelings of the client?

This is why I do not accept anyone who tells me they are the opposite of what their genetic gender is. I don't have to accept someone else's idiocy as reality. I see the agenda here. Such logical thinking will be (or is already) considered hate speech. It's a sad state of affairs. People want to tell you up is down and down is up and then want to punish you for refusing to accept such nonsense.

And this whole "being true to themselves" line is stupid. Yourself is your body. All of it. If you seek to mangle it there is a problem and it certainly is not "being true to yourself". But remember, up is down and down is up.

Is Ukraine Drifting Toward Civil War?

Paul Craig Roberts lays it out plainly:
Victoria Nuland, the American neoconservative Assistant Secretary of State, whose agenda is US world hegemony, told the Ukrainians what was in store for them last December 13, but the protesters were too delusional to hear.

In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be “helped” by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy.

Nuland’s audience consisted of all the people who will be enriched by the looting and by connections to a Washington-appointed Ukrainian government. Just look at the large Chevron sign next to which Nuland speaks, and you will know what it is all about.
As I said before the US and EU are the greatest dangers to democracy in the Ukraine.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chauncy DeVega Is Scared A White Person Will Shoot Him. I'm Not.

Chauncey DeVega is quite the paranoid person.

As a black man living in the aftermath of the Dunn and Zimmerman trials (and the data suggesting the racial bias of Stand Your Ground in practice), I am afraid that a white person will use said defense to "reasonably" decide to shoot me because of the color of my skin. A rational actor who is a person of color would choose preemption and "winning" the "game" over "losing" and being shot dead.
I wonder if Chauncey DeVega is in the habit of acting in a way that can be mistaken for threatening by your average citizen ( not police 'cause that's a whole other topic). I wonder if Chauncy is in the habit of cussing out people who ask him to turn his radio down.

But that's not even really important because Chauncey, depending on where he lives has a far greater threat to worry about: Getting shot by a black man.

Oh. I wasn't supposed to say that.

I don't know where Chauncey lives but if he lives in NYC and has done any research into the crime statistics he would know that of 209 homicides in NYC, 68% of them were committed by Black people. 27% of them by "Hispanics" who can be of any race or a mixture of any race. 8% by whites and 3% by Asians.

Lets do the math shall we? 62% of 209 is 129. 27% of 209 is 56. So between "Blacks and Hispanics" 185, or 88% of the homicides were committed by non-whites and non-Asians.

Say Chauncey who exactly should you be afraid of if you live in NY?

Oh. I wasn't supposed to point that out. I've broken the great negro code: Thou shalt not point out when we're fucking up.

61% of the homicide victims were Black and 31% were Hispanic (again can be any race or mixture thereof). That's 92% of the victims being non-white and non-Asian.

Chauncey is scared of who?

Look, if there is one thing that black folks have no business even writing it is that they are scared of being shot by white folks. The statistical odds of a black person being shot by a white person is miniscule compared to the odds that they will be shot by another black person.

What was that line Kool Moe Dee said? Yeah THAT.

Civilization or Barbarism?

Taking the title of Cheik Anta Diop's popular book, we must ask the question when we see this:

What's that, you say?

Oh that's an alleged member of the Seleka fighter who had overthrown the government (ahem…Ukraine) because of course they wanted what they wanted when they wanted it (ahem Ukraine). But this isn't about comparisons to the Ukraine. What this is about is my commentary a few months ago:

So half a globe away, in yet another black populated area of the world, French (read: white) troops are needed to restore "stability". Am I the only African bothered by this? Why is it, time after time, White folks need to be flown in to one of the places that we supposedly "run" in order to restore "stability" (among other things)?
Apparently this behavior occurred right after an alleged ceremony of national unity.

Yeah it looks like that national unity thing is starting off just swell. Let's set our watches to see when the next coup is to start.

"No Power is worth the Cost of Human Lives"

“No power is worth the cost of human lives,” Vladimir Makeyenko, the mayor of Kiev, said in a video appeal to his fellow party members and officers of the Ukrainian security forces."
Ok. How about we revisit the US Civil War and allow the South to secede.

While we're at it, Let's condemn the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt because there were plenty of dead bodies that went along with that one.

And of course we have the entire state of Israel which continues to kill Palestinians to "maintain power".

Shall the US also go and clear things up with the North Koreans? Bodies, bodies and more bodies.

How about this:

Serhiy Liovochkin, who tendered his resignation in late November, just after the first crackdown of the uprising saw police in Kiev’s Independence Square severely beat dozens of students, who had been holding a peaceful all-night vigil for integration with the European Union.
Ok. sure. So cracking down is grounds for removing a democratically elected president?


ABC Entertainment News|ABC Business News

and this:

8.36am / 3.36am ET: Police have used tear gas to remove the last protesters from the park, according to various reports. Josh Harkinson, again, appears closest to the action. He tweeted: The riot police moved in with zip cuffs and teargassed the occupiers in the food tent Then they wrestled them to the ground and cuffed them He then says he was ordered to leave by police, despite saying he was a member of the media. All press had to go a press pen, officers told him. There doesn't appear to be any media access to the final removals of protesters.
Tear gas?

Batons

I say Obama just go and resign. How about it? I mean if police are tear gassing people and shit, the president should just up and resign!

How about this:

New York court upholds eviction of Occupy protesters
Well clearly the justice system is corrupt and so Obama should just resign!

Yup. Clearly by the logic of these folks, Obama and a few judges should be removed from office immediately.

Right? Right?

Cause if the police move to break up a protest the government is definitively illigitimate.

Well if that's not how we do things here in the land where we supposedly hold democracy dear, then why are "we" providing cover for people who are clearly not interested in institutional democracy?

Seriously though, that statement makes no sense. Essentially it means that the mob can simply threaten anyone it pleases in order to get what it wants. Ukarinians will live long enough to regret the road they have walked down. When those bankers get a hold of the Ukraine, they will find out the meaning of IMF and austerity. Wait until they are under the gun of Brussels, where unelected people from various countries can step in and muck about with Ukraine's laws and economics for the interests of the bankers. They will know.

US and EU the Biggest Threats to Democracy in the Ukraine.

Quick set of question for the audience: Do you believe in Democracy? Yes? Ok.

Do you know how a democracy works? No? Ok let me explain:

In a democracy the people vote for their leaders. The leaders take their respective offices and carry out their duties as described in their laws. Sometimes those leaders make decisions that are popular and sometimes they don't. When an elected leader does something so unpopular that the people do not wish to be represented by said person they organize themselves, pick a leader that they wish to replace the discredited one with and then when elections roll around the vote for the new representative. The old one leaves office, the new one comes in and the cycle continues.

Are we clear on that?

Good.

If the EU and the United States believes in democracy, then why are they supporting non-democratic actions in the Ukraine? This is a simple question.

Democracy is not mob violence in the street. Democracy is not setting government buildings alight. Let us be very clear here: Regardless to whether the people or anyone else agrees with Yanukovych's decision to more closely align the Ukraine with Russia or with the EU, it is not proper, at all, to have violence and destruction as a means of protest. Furthermore it is entirely undemocratic to hold street demonstrations demanding the resignation of the duly elected president over such a decision. Particularly since there are mechanisms by which he can be legally and peacefully removed from office: The next election.

It is both immature and anti-democratic to think that because one wants a particular political outcome right now that one is supposed to have it. And it is very, very bad for the EU and the United States to support such immature and anti-democratic actions.

Just last year a single not too sane woman in her car with her child in the backseat was shot to death while acting erratically close to the White House. A government who's security apparatus is willing to shoot a single, unarmed (not counting the vehicle) woman to “condemn” the legitimate use of force by a legitimate government against persons who are credibly attempting a coup is the height of hypocrisy.

I said a very long time ago that by backing and creating “color revolutions” of all kinds across the globe would be a very dangerous thing. As a Pan-Africanist nationalist I know full well the dangers inherent in allowing anti-authority habits to grow in a restive population. Once the idea of organized government is discredited in the minds of the population, no subsequent government is safe from those who think that what they think is better and that they should make the change right now or else.

Most of the post-colonial wars and coups in Africa have been the result of just that kind of thinking. Once you shortcut your way to decision making, everyone else thinks they can do it too.

As it stands the greatest threat to democracy in the Ukraine is not Yanukovych, but the street protestors, the EU and the US. The US should immediately cease and desist with any and all sanctions on the legitimate government representatives of the Ukraine and distance itself from the entire mess until it is resolved between the parties in conflict. The EU and the US have no business interfering with the internal politics of that sovereign nation.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Silly De Blasio Visions of Fairy Zeros

Once again the Mayor who seeks to outlaw that which he doesn't like has declared his vision Zero for NYC. For those unfamiliar with this Vision Zero it is the high on crack cocaine and heron dream of a city with zero traffic fatalities. Yet another example of liberals who simply cannot stand any risk whatsoever, except going to school in the snow, while declaring an emergency but anyway. De Blasio says he has as his model Sweden. So being the, you know, academically inclined person I am, I went to look at what is going on in Sweden

Ten years after initiation of Vision Zero, results have been unimpressive in Norway. "The zero vision has drawn more attention to road safety, but it has not yielded any significant short-term gains so far," a staff engineer at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration said.[9]

Sweden, which initiated Vision Zero, had somewhat better results. Sweden has a long tradition in setting quantitative road traffic safety targets. In the mid-1990s a 10-year target was set at a 50% reduction for 2007. This target was not met; the actual ten-year reduction was 13% to 471 deaths. The target was revised to 50% by 2020 and to 0 deaths by 2050. In 2009 the reduction from 1997 totals was 34.5% to 355 deaths.
And there's a pretty table showing how far from zero Sweden has gotten since 1997.

Yeah, so much for zero. To push this nonsense even further, De Blasio wants to drop the NYC speed limit to 20 MPH from the current 35 mph (where possible). Where possible is of course the issue. There are few places in NYC where one can attain and maintain 35 MPH for very far, particularly during daytime hours. Secondly many of the auto to pedestrian accidents, particularly the ones prompting this Zero nonsense, happened at intersections involving turning vehicles. Let us also note:

27% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved driver failure to yield. Pedestrian-vehicle crashes involving unsafe speeds are twice as deadly as other crashes.
If 27% of fatal pedestrian crashes were the fault of non-yielding drivers, then what were the other 73% caused by? Streets blog tries to change the subject by breaking out "enforceable" vs. unenforcible events:
Crash data analyzed by Transportation Alternatives revealed that most city pedestrians and cyclists killed during a 14-year span died because drivers broke an enforceable traffic law.
But when you look at the actual causes, enforceable or not, pedestrians are the largest contributing factor(30%). Pedestrian activity is the largest predictor of fatalities than any other cause.

But here's the thing. This data is completely contradicted by other data:

Another point from pop center.org:

Pedestrian-vehicle crashes also tend to concentrate at certain places:6 The majority of pedestrian-vehicle crashes (60 percent in urban areas; 67 percent in rural areas) occur at places other than intersections.

Seventy-four percent of pedestrian-vehicle crashes occur where no traffic control exists.
[My emphasis]
70% what?

Where is the usual place where there are "no traffic controls"? That would be between intersections. Meaning, where a pedestrian steps out into the street into oncoming traffic in an attempt to cross a street and avoid going to an inconvenient controlled intersection. Did I make this up?

Pedestrian Behavior Unsafe pedestrian behavior is a major factor in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In a recent study of 7,000 pedestrian-vehicle crashes in Florida, researchers discovered that pedestrians were at fault in 80 percent of these incidents.8 Similarly, in a U.K. study, pedestrian behavior accounted for 90 percent of crashes where vehicle struck a pedestrian.9
Please Mayor De Blasio, explain this to us.

See the real issue are the pedestrians (and to an extent cyclists who think the lights don't apply to them, and I say this as a cyclist. But it is unpopular to blame people for their own actions. Someone else must be at fault. Of course the ones to blame are the 2 and 3 ton vehicles that people apparently think little of before stepping out in front of.

So the solution given by De Blasio is not about educating pedestrians to the risk they pose to themselves every time they jaywalk or walk around absorbed in their phones. It is to slow down the drivers so that when the pedestrian steps in front of them the pedestrian doesn't get killed. If is essentially a shifting of the pedestrian's responsibility to protect themselves onto a third party (the driver). This is much like the feminists who think a drunk man has more responsibility when he has sex with drunk female. He has to account for his and her behavior to his own peril.

Cause you know, Drunken sex is 100% avoidable by every person. Jaywalking accidents are totally avoidable by every pedestrian.

If De Blasio had sense and guts, he would direct the police to enforce the laws as they are. He would instruct the appropriate agencies to look into signage and other changes that may help alleviate the problem. Lastly he would clearly let pedestrians know that it is THEIR responsibility to not step out in front of 2 ton vehicles.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

California cops Taser deaf man for using s aggressive hand signals...

Meister "was removing his own property from the backyard of a friend's home, with the friend's consent" when he was initially confronted by two cops, according to the lawsuit.

"They ended up grabbing his arms and turning him around, and if you do that to a deaf person, it's like gagging them," his lawyer John Burton told the Daily News on Tuesday. "It would be like if I put my hand over your mouth if you try to tell me something."

Meister reflexively pulled his arms away and jumped over a small fence to create space so he could better communicate, Burton said, but Officers Jeffrey Salmon and Jeffrey Tysl apparently took that as an act of aggression.
Well you know those hand gestures can be quite deadly:

*straight face*

14 African Countries Forced by France to Pay Colonial Tax For the Benefits of Slavery and Colonization

Not exactly new information but still worth keeping in mind.
France is quite desperate but active to keep a strong hold on his colonies what ever the cost, no matter what.

In March 2008, former French President Jacques Chirac said:

“Without Africa, France will slide down into the rank of a third [world] power”

Chirac’s predecessor François Mitterand already prophesied in 1957 that:

”Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century”

At this very moment I’m writing this article, 14 african countries are obliged by France, trough a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserve into France central bank under French minister of Finance control. Until now, 2014, Togo and about 13 other african countries still have to pay colonial debt to France. African leaders who refuse are killed or victim of coup. Those who obey are supported and rewarded by France with lavish lifestyle while their people endure extreme poverty, and desperation.
And we here at the Ghost wholly agree with the following sentiment:
It’s up to us as African to free ourselves, without asking for permission, because I still can’t understand for example how 450 french soldiers in Côte d’Ivoire could control a population of 20 millions people!?
Though we understand exactly how 450 French soldiers can control a population of 20 million. When the 20 million value the French more than themselves it's easy to understand.

Stadium Diplomacy or Who's Building Africa?

I recall the often times that people would point to the tall buildings in Africa as evidence that Africans were and are not backwards tree dwellers. The thing was I never until recently asked who was doing all that building. It is an important question when we look at Detroit or any other large black cities. Why is it that Detroit's black population was unable to retain the city which they rested political control of? It's easy to simply say, the white folks left. But really the issue is why did you not pick up where they left off? It's a fair question.

So going back to Africa look at this:

Mozambique's new national stadium, Estádio Nacional do Zimpeto, is on the outskirts of Maputo, not far from the Chinese-built international airport. The Chinese have also overseen the construction of the new parliament building and a new "Palace of Justice" in the last few years. The main institutions through which a sense of Mozambican national life is constructed — the laws of the nation, international departures and arrivals, and its most spectacular public moments of heroism — now take place in Chinese-built structures.
Why are the Chinese building African stadiums, court houses and airports?

No seriously.

Is anybody, anybody at all asking for Nigerians or whomever to come to their country and build anything?

No seriously.

How do you talk about being independent and cannot build your own fucking parliament building?

How do you field a national team for football and NOT be able to finance and build your own stadium?

Wouldn't you think that if you can't afford to, or have the knowledge to contract a stadium that maybe you have more pressing issues than football?

The impact of this most concrete form of soft diplomacy is difficult to assess in terms of hard cash. But there's little doubt about how it is supposed to work. For relatively small outlays — usually well short of $100 million — China constructs a sterile national arena that can be opened with long speeches and presidents in tailored suits kicking balls for the cameras, in return for sweetened access to natural resources, votes at the United Nations and the marginalization of Taiwan. Domestic politicians point to highly visible new infrastructure as evidence of their success as managers of the national development agenda; China and Chinese businesses gain, at the very least, an entrée into the highest circles of government.
Of course.

Here's a suggestion to the African so called "leadership". Pay Chinese (or whomever) to train YOUR people in the various skills and industries needed to build a stadium (including perhaps making the machinery as well) and then build the stadiums, airports, parliament buildings and courthouses yourself?

Similar advise for Detroit. Stop complaining about where the white folks went (and what they took with them) and build and maintain Detroit for and by yourselves. Why this total dependency on other people to do stuff they did for themselves?

That is the question.

Chocolate City: African migrants head for China

Up to 1 million Chinese are estimated to currently call Africa home, but data on the number of Africans in China are scarce. Local media estimate that anything from 20 000 to 200 000 Africans traders are now living in Guangzhou alone - a town in the south of the country, which is so popular with migrants from countries such as Nigeria, Congo and Tanzania that it has been controversially dubbed the ‘Chocolate City’.

Most come to buy wholesale goods ranging from stock cubes to electrical goods, which they sell back home and in the West. The relationship is a purely economic one and cultural tensions run higher here than almost anywhere in the country. Much like the Chinese in Africa, migrants in Guangzhou tend to live in enclaves and have little social association with locals. Taxi drivers often shun African customers and openly decry the local girls who date African men. In one of the worst run-ins to date, a Nigerian man died in police custody in 2012, prompting protests by Africans across the city.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Michael Dunn Trial

I've been following this case but not commenting for various reasons. However; there is one note on the trial that I think needs to be written. The judge instructed the jury as follows:
“If we determine deadly force is justified against one person, is it justified for the others?”

“No,” the judge replied as he read the questions in open court. “Self-defense and use of justifiable deadly force applies separately to each count.”
I'm not sure how the judge (or the law) can actually be read that way. If a group of people confront you and one person takes the "initiative" to punch you in the face, how is it that you cannot be in fear of your life from the entire group? That doesn't make sense.

What the judge's statement says is that in such a case, you ONLY can be in fear of the person who attacked you and should consider the rest of the group as non threatening as a person in his vehicle over a mile away minding his business. That makes no sense.

The only proper instruction is that so long as the victim (or alleged victim) feels that a group is acting in concert that the actions of any one of them warrants fear of deadly harm by any of the others.

Indeed the law already covers this in felony murder. If a group goes to commit a crime and in the commission of that crime a person is killed, then all persons involved, regardless as to whether they pulled the trigger or even had intent that a murder happens would be held liable.

I expect that if Dunn is convicted that those instructions will be a point of contention in the appeal. Edit: Just to be clear: Dunn perjured himself on the stand with his claim that he called "A friend in law enforcement" and that he told his fiance that "they" had a gun. Those two points alone will go against him.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Google teams with Foxconn to build robots that replace human workers

Given the last post about the displacement of human workers and the consequences, as well as my long running commentary on the long term destruction of human labor we have the following:
Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and iPads and many other consumer products, including Android devices, wants to increase the use of automation "at its factories amid challenges of rising labor costs and workplace disputes in China, where it has more than a million workers," the Journal noted. Poor working conditions for Foxconn employees has drawn condemnation, and in one case may have caused a riot that temporarily closed a factory.[My emphasis]
As I have been saying, the reasoning for the increasing use of robots and other forms of automation will be couched in terms of "labor costs" and "safety"
Foxconn's ambition to populate its factories with robots that can assemble electronics projects make the company an ideal testing ground for Google's robotics tech, analysts told the Journal.
And believe that it is not just Foxconn that has that ambition. There will be no patents needed. People will be let go here and there. A hundred at this factory. A thousand at another one. Friday firings when the news is asleep. Nobody notices the little drips, just ask a mechanic who has to tell his customer that there is no oil in the engine. It is then that the owner thinks about the "little bit" of oil that was always sitting in the car park.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dean Baker: Not Too Bright

Dean Baker has a piece in Counterpunch where he dismisses the concern over the very real issue of technology and employment.
Economists are not very good at economics. We know this because we had a huge housing bubble that collapsed, which almost none of them saw.
Actually one does not need to be an economist to see the issue of technology on human employment. This side trip to bash on economists only really shows what Dean is really about. We'll get to that later.
In particular they can be a great source of entertainment. That’s how we should view the story that robots will take all of our jobs and leave most of the population unemployed.
So those of us concerned with a future in which humans do not “work” and therefore do not have a means of getting income which is needed for, well, everything is “entertainment”? Ok.
Remember the story about how the aging of the baby boomers will bankrupt us because we will have too few workers to support the surge of retired baby boomers?

In that story, all of us aging baby boomers will be left waiting around for someone to change our bedpans. But now we are supposed to be worried that we won’t have any work for people to do because the robots will be there to do it faster and cheaper.

Either of these stories could in principle be true, but they cannot both be true. If robots are capable of doing most of the tasks that humans now do, then we don’t have to worry about declining ratios of workers to retirees. We will have plenty of robots to do the work for us.
Well actually these things can both be true. The actual argument about “supporting baby boomers” is about taxes and other social services. Those services cost money and the money that comes from Medicare, medicaid and social security comes out of the paychecks of those who are not retired. You need to have this income to support the retireees who are living longer and may outlive their savings and investments.

The robot argument is about what those not retired people do for a living. Yes the bedpans (and diapers) will be changed, but if a robot does it and not a person, and a robot does not have to be paid and therefore does not pay into social security or pay any taxes whatsoever (does your car pay taxes?) then the system colapses not only do you have less people working but you also have killed your tax base.

So yes, both things can be true.

Alternatively, if we are facing labor shortages because there are too few workers to support a growing population of retirees, then clearly robots will not have taken everyone’s job. At worst we have to worry about one of these problems, but not both.
Dean is merely fixated on his retiree scenario to see the larger picture. The labour shortage, the human labour shortage is the issue. Retirees are a current class of people, the issue with robots (and automation) is that humans will not have a job to retire from. That's the long term argument. It will likely begin with retiring of older workers but it will spread out.
Let’s assume robots are the problem. This would actually not be a new story. The robots might be new, but this is the story of productivity growth that we have dealt with for centuries. Ordinarily we think productivity growth makes us richer, since we can produce more goods or services in every hour of work. This can lead to rising pay and living standards or alternatively more leisure time.

However, the robot story is somewhat different or so its proponents would claim. Robots are supposed to lead to such rapid increases in productivity that there will be no way for all the displaced workers to be reemployed. The problem in this case is not productivity; rather the problem is that all the benefits are going to the owners of the robots.
Well, no. Yes, technology increased productivity but never to the extent of being able to replace all human involvement. Yes, there were disruptions but not the wholesale elimination that is on the horizon. Look at the auto industry. The auto industry produces many many many more cars than it did in the 50s. Yet the labor pool involved continues to shrink. Don't let those reports of new factories fool you. They don't employ anywhere near what they would have in the 1960's. The issue of re-employment goes like this: Where? Once manual labour is dealt the death blow by robots, that's millions of people who simply will not have work to do at all

Dean wants to make this a discussion on who owns the robot, as if people are going to be purchasing robots and sending them to work in their place. No, it's not who owns the robots. It's who owns the business. It has not been the case where people own the business for a long time (outside of farming). In smaller ecomomies, everybody has a hustle. Entrepreneurship is how employment happens. But in a post industrial society the masses are hustle-less. They depend on large companies for employment.

The final frontier of productivity is the elimination of wages. It simply becomes a matter of how long does it take to produce a good rather than how long and how much (for the worker). The robot becomes a fixed cost to obtain and a relatively known cost to maintain. It breaks, it is replaced with another robot with the exact skills needed. Once one has gone automated, it is only a matter of how long and how long's restrictions are the limits of physics.

There also is no evidence that robots and other technological change is responsible for the upward distribution of income in the last three decades.
That may or may not be the case, but it is not relevant whether it is. Once you're no longer paying for human labour those “savings” will go to the business owner because, as we know from slavery, if you own the means of production AND you don't have to pay it a wage, healthcare, etc. you come out ahead. Besides, where does this guy thinks the unpaid labour costs go to? Charity?
But there is a more fundamental problem with this robot-driven inequality story. The owners of the robots won’t directly get rich from owning the machines: robots will presumably be relatively cheap to make. After all, we can have robots make them. If the owners of robots get really rich it will be because the government has given them patent monopolies so that they can collect lots of money from anyone who wants to buy or build a robot.
While it may be the case that a patent war could occur between manufacturers, the fact that those who build, sell and maintain the robots will be making out quite well is simply a matter of economics that the government has little control over (and probably shouldn't). But lets say that patents are not enforced so anyone who can, could make a robot. It still does not address the issue of robots displacing people as units of labor. Just like very few people own any business whatsoever, very few people will own the means of making robots for industrial use. Therefore we're back to humans being displaced.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Antagonize Who?

Camelia Entekhabifard writes in the NY Times:
Last month, a temporary international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program took effect. Many hope that this reflects a changed Iran: one that understands that it can’t endlessly antagonize the West, and is willing to make concessions.
Who is antagonizing who?

See that map? Those are US bases surrounding Iran. Camelia thinks that the readers are idiots. It was the US that decided to overthrow Iran's democratically elected leader. It was the US that funded Saddam Hussein to fight a war with Iran and supplied gas used to kill Iranian soldiers (pretending to this day that it was Saddam's own).

Iran has had it's commercial aircraft shot down. It has had it's money seized in foreign banks. It is under an economic embargo with is in fact an act of war as defined by the UN.

So WHO exactly is antagonizing WHO?

Swiss Immigration Vote Raises Alarm Across Europe

BERLIN — Swiss and European leaders reacted warily on Monday to Swiss voters’ narrow approval of a proposal to limit the number of foreigners allowed to live and work in Switzerland.

A bare majority voted in a referendum on Sunday to cut immigration quotas and require that Swiss nationals be given priority in hiring. The result could have far-reaching implications for relations between Switzerland and the 28-member European Union, of which it is not a member.
[my emphasis]
Why is it "Alarming" that citizens of a sovereign state, created for the benefit of said citizens first and foremost, vote to make sure that the government it created, operates to benefit said citizens first? That isn't alarming. That's common sense.
Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, said Monday that the European Union would have to reconsider its relationship with Switzerland.

“It is a vote that causes concern because it means that Switzerland wants to withdraw into itself,” Mr. Fabius told RTL radio.
Laurent is an idiot. Saying that the duly elected representatives ought to be putting the citizens of it's country first is not "withdrawing into itself". And the Frenchman should watch his mouth. France, a country that does everything it can to make sure it's language isn't "polluted" by other languages should keep silent when citizens vote in the interest of their own country.
Switzerland has one of the highest proportions of foreigners in Europe, amounting to about 27 percent of the country’s population of roughly eight million. Many job seekers have arrived from countries hit hard by the European economic crisis.
27%? And they're surprised at the vote results? 27% is a very high proportion.
The referendum on the changes to the country’s liberal immigration law was a rebuke to the Swiss government, the banking industry and business leaders, who had lobbied against the restrictions, warning that such a move could endanger Switzerland’s prosperity.
By which the business leader's mean their ability to milk the Swiss people of their money. Simple question for the "business leaders" and "bankers" who prosperous was Switzerland before it got 27% immigrant population? And can they show that Switzerland became more prosperous as the immigrant population grew and due to the economic activity of those persons?
The admonitions failed to drown out the warnings of the rightist Swiss People’s Party, which introduced the referendum, saying it was necessary if Switzerland was to retain its identity in the face of immigration.

Immigration has become a polarizing issue across Europe. More prosperous nations are growing worried that their welfare systems cannot handle an influx of workers from the poorer Eastern European countries and some southern member states of the European Union.

Far-right parties with anti-immigrant platforms in France, the Netherlands and Norway have gained strength in recent years, and there have been sharp debates in Britain and Germany over limiting the number of immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania because citizens from those countries gained full access to European Union job markets this year.
In reference to the welfare, one problem that these countries have is that they have stagnant to shrinking populations along with high percentages of older people. Welfare programs rely in tax income to work. And it doesn't make any sense for a country to spend it's welfare monies, planned and created to cater to it's citizens, to cover new people. Imagine if you will that you saved for your retirement and then when you retired you found out you had to support 3 other people out of that. I'm pretty sure you'd be annoyed. In terms of national identity that underscores another issue. Do these countries and their citizens have a right to determine their culture in their own native lands? If you have an increasing population of people who do not share your culture, the language, customs, religion, what is the response to that population? What happens when or if that population does NOT want to conform to the host countries values and ways? I have said many times that the entire reason there are different countries is because there existed at some point a set of people that did not want to live with or like another set and therefore went off and formed their own polity.
The center-right European People’s Party group in the European Parliament, which is the largest group there, took a tough line.

“The free movement of citizens is a core principle of the E.U. Switzerland has a binding bilateral agreement with the E.U. to accept and guarantee free movement for all E.U. citizens,” said a statement by its chairman, Joseph Daul, and its vice chairman, Manfred Weber.
Well if they feel so strongly about it how about they have the places where the Europeans move from pay the countries where their citizens move to for costs incurred for hosting them? Sounds fair to me. If you tell me I have to let someone in my house and eat my food, you should be willing to pay me to do so. If the sending country is unable to cover the costs of it's citizen then the EU should pay the host country itself. After all, if it wants to make a rule, it should be willing to pay for it.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Scandal Bowl: Tar Heels Football, Academic Fraud, and Implicit Racism

Last month a grand jury in Orange County, N.C., indicted Julius Nyang’oro for defrauding UNC by accepting payment for teaching a no-show course on “blacks in North Carolina.” The 19 students in AFAM 280 were current or former members of the Tar Heels football team, allegedly steered to the phantom class by academic advisers who sought to help elite athletes maintain high enough grades to remain eligible for competition. AFAM 280 was one of dozens of courses offered by North Carolina’s African & Afro-American Studies Department, formerly chaired by Nyang’oro, that never actually met, according to investigators. Known for rigorous academics, North Carolina allegedly operated a Potemkin department since the late 1990s.
Ouch. Also:
Willingham also said the tutoring program routinely used the no-show classes in the African studies department to keep athletes eligible to play sports. Investigations led or backed by UNC have found more than 200 confirmed or suspected no-show classes since the mid-1990s, with athletes accounting for nearly half of the enrollment
So does this mean that all of the no-show classes were in the "Afro-American" department? If so, let me say that I am not surprised in the least bit. Outside of a handful of AA studies departments (Cornell's and Princeton's come to mind) a lot of those departments are not taken seriously in the least bit by those universities running them nor by many of the students who take them because they are often taken because they are required "diversity" and "anti-sexism" courses and seen as easy A's.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Howard Morgan

Glaring issue:
Howard Morgan's van was crushed and destroyed without notice or cause before any forensic investigation could be done.

... Howard Morgan was never tested for gun residue to confirm if he even fired a weapon on the morning in question.

The State never produced the actual bullet proof vest worn by one of the officers who claimed to have allegedly taken a shot directly into the vest on the morning in question. The State only produced a replica.
That's a whole lot of reasonable doubt.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Detroit children dying in culture of violence

Remember late last year I wrote about how the murder rate in African-American communities such as Camden and Detroit were essentially acting as population control:
That was a record. Now for the longest time I could not understand the gravity of the murder rate in terms other than it's impact on business, employment and community stress. But now, all late, it has dawned on me how bad this is. If you the reader don't understand, then lets look at it in terms of a school. The average urban school class has 30-35 students. I'm going to go with the smaller number. If you have 67 people killed, it would be like every year, two classes of students simply disappearing.
Now coming from the Detroit News:
Nearly 500 Detroit children have died in homicides since 2000 — an average of nearly three dozen a year.
That's just the children. in 15 years, 500 hundred kids (and their potential kids, and their potential kids) gone.

Poof.

From Michigan Capitol Confidential:

At the high school level, Detroit had 767 high school teachers and 24,466 high school students. That’s a 29 to 1 pupil to teacher ratio.
So high school. 29 students. 500 dead children equals 17 empty classrooms. That's pretty heavy.

Imagine if tomorrow you dropped your kid off to school and when you walked by the classrooms usually bustling with kids, a whole row of them were empty. Two rows? The entire hall of homerooms empty. Get it now?

Infant mortality rate in Detroit rivals areas of Third World

From the Detroit News
Infant mortality is the No. 1 killer of Detroit children; violence is second. In 2011 alone, 130 of the 208 Detroit children who died that year had not yet marked their first birthday.
Violence, as in assault, is the leading killer of black male's from age 15 up to 34. Between the ages of 35 and 44 violence (assault) is the 3rd leading cause of death. After that heart disease and HIV. Thus, when we look at it collectively, completely avoidable deaths (as opposed to accidents, which are by their nature unforeseen) are the leading causes of death for black folks, males in particular. Why do I say that?
he News found that Detroit has more babies born to moms who are under 20, like Gonville, and to single women, than in any other major American city. And often, those young women are not themselves in good health and otherwise ill-equipped to have babies...

Experts blame a confluence of health risks for Detroit’s high infant mortality rate, including inadequate health care, information, support and know-how by young mothers.

Eighty percent of new Detroit mothers are unmarried, compared with 42 percent of all Michigan moms, which may mean they have less support — financial as well as emotional — than women with husbands. Also, the city has more teen moms than any other in America: 18 percent.
Detroit is 87% black so there is no need to guess who that 80% represents. Remember: "I don't need no man"

I remember being told by a woman that by saying that the return of men into the household (particularly for AA families) would probably be a good idea, I was promoting "patriarchy". It seems to me that the statistics show that the "patriarchy" (whatever that is) had far better outcomes for African-American children. I'm certain that the "real" answer will be more state intervention.

We know that if we concentrate medical care on mothers and young babies (this) can have very dramatic impact on infant mortality rates, and so there are some really important pieces of work that are happening but they are not done at a big enough scale,” said McDonald, of the Skillman Foundation.

“We truly need to be very intentional about ... making sure that there is outreach to mothers so that they are not isolated, that there are services wrapped about them and their new babies to make sure that we’re very intentionally going after them. It’s infuriating, because we know we can change the trajectory of these numbers.”
Of course. State intervention.