Category: Justice

Racist, sexist St. Louis County cop suspended – finally!


Domestic violence? “If you don’t like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with…”

Officer Dan Page was outed as a racist extremist after video of his speech at an Oath Keepers meeting went viral Friday…A St. Louis County police officer who pushed CNN’s Don Lemon, a black television host, during live coverage of protests this week in Ferguson, Mo., has been suspended from duty after video of an hour-long racial rant against minority groups, women, liberals and politicians emerged online.

Officer Dan Page spewed the vile rhetoric during an Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles meeting in April, just months before he was tasked with keeping order among a crowd of majority black protesters in Ferguson.

Page’s first spin on live TV went horribly wrong: “Move out of the way, sir. Move!” he can be heard screaming as Lemon tries to do a live stand-up amid the crowd in broad daylight on Monday afternoon, footage from Mediaite shows.

“We’re on national television, so imagine what they’re doing to people when you don’t see it on national television, people who don’t have a voice like we do,” Lemon says as he’s pushed around.

The bizarre rant went viral after Page was on the frontlines of the Ferguson, Mo., protests in his duties as a St. Louis County police officer…And on Friday, Page was relieved of his duties in response to his vile comments raging against hate-crime legislation, the “four sodomites on the Supreme Court,” women and Muslims.

“You’re either gonna go to the ballot box or the bullet box in the next 18 months,” he demands as he decries Missouri’s two Senators.

“Roy Blunt (Republican) and Claire McCaskill (Democrat) won’t even talk to me, they say, ‘you’re an extremist’ and I say, ‘amen!’” the cop raves on video. “And I’m real good with a rifle. My best shot is 1,875 meters, I got me a gold star on that one. You run from me, you’re gonna die tired…”

For as many sensible cops, dedicated to Constitutional rights, that I have known – I’ve confronted dozens more in my lifetime as an activist. Even the otherwise-unemployables who treat their local police department as a safe job with benefits aren’t likely to have encountered anything approaching a high school civics lesson in the course of their job training.

Friends of mine who are serious about law enforcement as a professional career have had to change police departments more than once because a professional attitude, respect for equal justice, is judged unacceptable to the wardheelers and hacks who often float to up to command rank – like toasty turds in a septic tank.

And, please, don’t believe the public accepts the excuses and lies from the Saint Louis County PD that the ideology of this creep just suddenly surfaced. If anything, he’s been working his racist butt off trying to recruit other members of the force into his scumbag cell for years.

Thanks, Mike

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Florida’s ban on same-sex marrriage ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge overturned Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying that 50 years from now it will be seen as “an obvious pretext for discrimination.”

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ordered the state to recognize the marriages of couples who tied the knot in jurisdictions where they could do so legally. But he stayed the order while Florida decides on an appeal.

When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,” Hinkle said. “Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.”

As it was with Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, every kind of bigotry held as just and holy by the ignorant and stupid – this, too, shall pass. The shame belongs to the ethically corrupt who try to profit politically from the continuance of bigoted laws.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, supporters of same-sex marriage have challenged laws across the country and have had an almost unbroken string of legal victories…

Overdue.

Ferguson, Missouri, police arresting and attacking media

Olson arrest
Scott Olson from Getty Images taken away by Missouri highway patrolJoe Raedle/Getty

The thug police force in Ferguson, Missouri, continues wage its campaign against the public it is sworn to defend…

Obviously, the most tragic consequence of their savage brutality was the slaying of unarmed teen Mike Brown, but the police in Ferguson have also tried to light the First Amendment on fire, arresting and attacking reporter after reporter in an attempt to intimidate the media from covering their world.

The list of reporters arrested so far, according to the Poynter Institute:

Ryan Devereaux (The Intercept)

Frank Hermann (Die Welt)

Ansgar Graw (Die Welt)

Lukas Hermsmeier (Die Welt)

Scott Olson (Getty Images)

Robert Klemko (Sports Illustrated)

Rob Crilly (The Telegraph)

Neil Munshi (Financial Times)

Ryan J. Reilly (The Huffington Post)

Wesley Lowery (The Washington Post)

And it’s not going to get better…

I started this – my personal blog – to point out the work of a diminishing breed. Good, professional journalists.

The biggest problems most face are cowardly editors and even more chickenshit owners of their publications. Ownership more and more relegated to narrow-minded profiteers who would confine the Free Press into that intellectual jail called entertainment.

OTOH, you know you must be doing your job when you’re threatened by goon squads pretending to be police.

Reporter calls Obama “greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”


Respect for Freedom of the Press? Same as it ever was.

The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.

Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government…

Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War…

The pursuit of Risen began under the administration of President George W Bush. The Justice Department tried to prosecute him under the Espionage Act for his 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning scoop about the illegal wiretapping of American citizens after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It also targeted him for the revelations in State of War…

Risen is furious at statements from the likes of Obama and the attorney general, Eric Holder, about supporting press freedom – including condemnation of the police in Ferguson, Missouri, for this week arresting journalists reporting on riots there.

Obama and Holder said journalists should not be arrested or harassed for doing their jobs and covering “a story that needs to be told”. In May, Holder said of the Sterling case: “No reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Risen, however, could be behind bars within weeks…

“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistleblowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

I’m certain you’re all keeping up-to-date on this case in the mainstream media and on your local network TV stations, eh?

Rick Perry indicted on two charges of felony corruption

A Travis County grand jury Friday indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two charges related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest.

Grand jurors charged Perry, 64, with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public servant, a third-degree felony. The first charge carries a punishment of 5-99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. The second charge is punishable by 2-10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The indictment stems from Perry’s threat last summer to withhold $7.5 million in state money from Lehmberg’s office unless she step down – a threat he later carried out by vetoing an appropriation in the state budget.

Mary Anne Wiley, General Counsel for Perry, said blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

The special prosecutor in the case, San Antonio attorney Michael McCrum, said he was confident with the strength of the charges filed against Perry.

“There has been an immense amount of work that has gone into my investigation up until this point,” he told reporters after announcing the indictment. “I have interviewed over 40 people who were related in some way to the events that happened.”

He later added: “I looked at the law. I looked at the facts. and I presented everything possible to the grand jury.”

RTFA for all the political brouhaha that immediately followed Perry’s indictment. Everyone knows what sort of opportunist power-hungry liar Rick Perry is. Given the accepted level of corruption in the Confederacy, no one expected him to be indicted.

Funs and games ahead, folks.

“To Serve and Protect” Missouri-style


Click for another view of what peaceful demonstrators faced

Anyone familiar with the history of race and policing in the United States had to suspect from the beginning that the shooting of Michael Brown was not just a tragedy, but a crime. Yet presumption of innocence prevails and sober minds know both the need to wait for an investigation and the reality that we may never really know what happened that fateful Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri. But watching events unfold Wednesday night in the St. Louis suburb, there can be no doubt that what happened on August 13 was an outrage.

The local authorities clearly have no idea what they’re doing, and higher powers from the state or federal government need to intervene before things get even worse.

The arrest of two reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, with whom many of us in Washington, DC, are acquainted was neither the beginning nor the most important part of the outrage, but it drives home in a visceral way the extent to which the situation is being monumentally mishandled.

Police officers, for some unfathomable reason, were pointing guns at unarmed civilians at twilight.

Crowd control is a normal complement to any modern protest. And as I remember well from the late-Giuliani days in New York, crowd control sometimes gets heavy-handed when relationships between the police and the community are strained. But you do crowd control with horses, batons, and shields, not rifles. You point guns at dangerous, violent criminals, not people out for a march…

That sounds about right. There were an awful lot of somebodies who didn’t know better out on the streets of Ferguson last night wielding an awful lot of deadly equipment. Quite a few people have been injured over the past few days by rubber bullets and rough handling (although in a Wednesday press conference, a police spokesperson insisted that no one had been injured during the protests).

Wednesday night’s outing ended for many protestors in a cloud of tear gas. In my experience, these “nonviolent” crowd-control tactics are a good deal more painful than people who’ve never been at the receiving end appreciate. There’s no real reason they should be inflicted on demonstrators who weren’t hurting anyone or even damaging property. We are lucky, to be honest, that nobody’s been killed yet. But somebody who does know better needs to take charge. And soon.

…It is clear at this point that local officials in the town of Ferguson and St. Louis County don’t know what they are doing. Of course people will not be calm while police officers charged with protecting them trample their rights.


What did you learn, today, little girl?

The first person in a demonstration that I saw shot by police was a young woman in her mid-20’s. She was carrying her baby in her arms. She took a bullet in her left arm. That was July 19, 1964 in Harlem, New York. She was shot by a cop who was part of a group trying to prevent anyone from getting to the funeral parlor where the body of James Powell lay – killed by Lt. Thomas Gilligan of the NYPD.

In the aftermath of Powell’s death the people of New York City counted 1 dead, 118 injured, and 465 arrested. Overwhelmingly Black, the uprising counted many Hispanic folks – mostly Puerto Rican, many white demonstrators. Government response was the same as it ever was. There were investigations, Congressional hearings, lots of bullshit discussion – and nothing changed.

Our politicians, our government is as worthless as ever. Courtesy of the technology revolution of the last decade or so more people get to see what happens outside their comfort zone. Perhaps that will prompt more than campaign rhetoric.

Verizon says, “Gee, all the kids do it” — Not a legit defense for data throttling

During a news conference on Friday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler responded to Verizon’s claims that its planned data throttling program is a “widely accepted” practice, saying that an “all the kids do it” argument is not justifiable.

…Wheeler chided Verizon for its defense of an upcoming “network optimization” change, which consisted of pointing fingers at other U.S. cellular providers, calling it an attempt to “reframe the issue.”

“‘All the kids do it’ was never something that worked with me when I was growing up and didn’t work with my kids,” Wheeler said.

In July, Verizon announced plans to slow down data speeds for a select group of high-use subscribers when its 4G LTE network bogs down. The shift is scheduled to take effect in October, when users with grandfathered-in unlimited data plans may see slower than normal data speeds when performing high bandwidth operations like streaming high-definition video.

“My concern in this instance is that it is moving from technology and engineering issues into business issues,” Wheeler said. “Such as choosing between different subscribers based on your economic relationship with them…”

When smartphones first hit market, cellular providers like Verizon and AT&T offered unlimited data plans to help spur on sales. A boom in popularity, largely driven by Apple’s iPhone, left the telcos with an infrastructure poorly equipped to deal with the glut of data-hungry subscribers, which in turn prompted the halt of unlimited plans.

At the time, both Verizon and AT&T let subscribers keep their all-you-can-eat data allotments as long as they continued to pay the same top-tier monthly fee in perpetuity. With faster wireless technology and ever-increasing demands for more data, however, companies have started to throttle speeds for power users…

The creeps who run the American telecom monopoly are stuck in the same business model that’s been around since Ma Bell owned the whole national network. They will give us as little advancing technology as possible while charging every possible penny they can squeeze from mediocre service. Perish the thought they share with little guy start-ups or even medium-size competitors. This applies to Comcast fibre as completely as it does with Verizon’s cell towers.

Which is why Americans get telecom service that barely ranks in the Top 20 in the world. Elsewhere, either nationalized services provide the best that technology has available – because the people deserve it. As in South Korea. Or hardware, copper or fibre, must be leased to others so there will be actual competition. And that’s worked out equally well. As in the UK.

Listening to corporate barons whine about fairness is enough to make Adam Smith rollover in his grave.

Thanks, Mike

Stodgiest outfit on Wall Street agrees inequality is causing slower growth

Income-inequality

Is income inequality holding back the United States economy? A new report argues that it is, that an unequal distribution in incomes is making it harder for the nation to recover from the recession and achieve the kind of growth that was commonplace in decades past.

The report is interesting not because it offers some novel analytical approach or crunches previously unknown data. Rather, it has to do with who produced it, which says a lot about how the discussion over inequality is evolving.

Economists at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services are the authors of the straightforwardly titled “How Increasing Inequality is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, and Possible Ways to Change the Tide.” The fact that S.&P., an apolitical organization that aims to produce reliable research for bond investors and others, is raising alarms about the risks that emerge from income inequality is a small but important sign of how a debate that has been largely confined to the academic world and left-of-center political circles is becoming more mainstream…

Because the affluent tend to save more of what they earn rather than spend it, as more and more of the nation’s income goes to people at the top income brackets, there isn’t enough demand for goods and services to maintain strong growth, and attempts to bridge that gap with debt feed a boom-bust cycle of crises, the report argues. High inequality can feed on itself, as the wealthy use their resources to influence the political system toward policies that help maintain that advantage, like low tax rates on high incomes and low estate taxes, and underinvestment in education and infrastructure…

The report itself does not break any major new analytical or empirical ground. It spends many pages summarizing the findings of various academic and government economists who have studied inequality and its discontents, and stops short of recommending any radical policy changes favored by the likes of Thomas Piketty (who is among those cited).

And the S.&P. researchers are relatively limited in their policy prescriptions, avoiding much discussion of politically explosive debates over marginal tax rates and the scale of the social welfare system. They instead emphasize the usefulness of investing more heavily in education…

Anyone who wants to explain why the United States economy is evolving the way it is needs to at least wrestle with the implications of a more unequal society for the economy as a whole.

Overdue. Response to the problem from the talking heads in the White House has been limited to slogans and talking points. Response from our Do-Nothing-Congress has been to do nothing.

Thanks, Mike