Daily Archive: 06/12/2014

Jun 12 2014

Hellraisers Journal: Deported Union Miners Dumped at Bleak Alkali Sand Dunes Without Food or Water

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.

-Mother Jones

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

Sunday June 12, 1904

Cripple Creek District, Colorado – Deported Miners Dumped Near Kansas Border

Cripple Creek Deportations June 1914

The miners who were herded down the street on Friday by militiamen and Citizens’ Alliance “deputies” and then loaded into railroad cars and deported from the Cripple Creek strike zone, were found near the Kansas border yesterday. The following report comes to us from today’s San Francisco Call:

EXILED MINERS, HUNGRY AND WEARY,

CAMP ON THE COLORADO BORDER

———-

Deported Men Are Taken to the Kansas Line by Troops.

———-

Left on a Bleak Prairie Without Food or Water Supply.

———-

SYRACUSE, Kansas, June 11.-The deported Colorado miners camped at Holly to-night, just across the Colorado line. They were notified to-night that a special train would be sent to take them all to Denver.

HOLLY, Colo., June 11. – With a parting volley of rifle bullets, fired over their heads by the militia and deputies to, warn them to “hike” eastward as fast as their legs could carry them and never again set foot on Colorado soil, ninety-one union miners from the Cripple Creek district were unloaded from a special Santa Fe train on the prairie this morning, one half mile from the Colorado-Kansas State line, and left to shift for themselves. The exiles were disembarked in haste and without ceremony. The guards and deputies were tired out and in ill humor from their long, tedious trip from the Teller County gold camp and were in no mood to extend any special courtesies or kindness to their unfortunate charges.

“Hurry up there, you fellows,” cried Lieutenant Cole, when the train stopped in the midst of the alkali sand dunes that dot the prairie in the vicinity of the eastern part of Powers County near the Kansas line. “We haven’t got any time to waste out here.”

WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER.

And no time was wasted. The special, which consisted of an engine, a combination baggage car and smoker and two day coaches, had no sooner come to a standstill than the car doors were unlocked and thrown open and the order given by Lieutenant Cole for the exiles to leave the train.

“Step lively, you fellows, step lively,” admonished Deputy Benton, who was in command of the civil forces of the expedition, and in less time than it takes to tell it the three cars were emptied of their passengers and the train was started on its way back to La Junta.

The men were dumped out on the cheerless prairie without food or water, for the soldiers and deputies, in their haste to get home, had forgotten to unload the small stock of commissary supplies the train carried when it left Victor yesterday afternoon.

SPIRIT OF MEN BREAKS

The exiles were a cheerless lot, indeed. Without even a light and miles from the nearest habitation, they huddled together in groups on either side of’ the Santa Fe track and discussed their plight. Warned to move eastward, on pain of being rearrested  and severely handled, and notified by the Kansas authorities that they would not be allowed to seek refuge in that State, the spirit of the men broke. Many of them walked  back westward on the railroad to Holly, the Salvation Army colony in Colorado, where the charitable inhabitants provided breakfast for them. Some of them later started to walk to Lamar, Colo.

Sheriff Jack Brady and forty deputies of Hamilton County were at the State line to prevent the deported men entering Kansas.

———-

CLAIMS TO HAVE MURDERERS.

———-

Bell Declares Independence Dynamiters Are In Bullpen.

———-

CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo., June 11.-General Sherman M. Bell to-day made the following statement for publication:

“I have indisputable evidence in my possession which will lead to the conviction of  union men for the murder of non-union miners who were killed in the Independence explosion. We have between thirty-five and forty men in the bullpen who will swing for this crime. We are only waiting to capture three or four men before we tell what our evidence Is.”

SOURCE

The San Francisco Call.

(San Francisco California)

-of June 12, 1904

Ahttp://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1904-06-12/ed-1/seq-22

Image

Miners Being Deported from Cripple Creek District

http://www.rebelgraphics.org/w…

““““““““““““““““““““““““`

Jun 12 2014

Militants March on Baghdad

This week an Al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, seized the Sunni dominated cities of Mosul, Iraq’a second largest city, and Tirkut, Sadaam Hussein’s ancestral home. The militants are now marching on Baghdad and have been reported to be about 100 miles north of Baghdad and have vowed to take the city to “settle accounts.”

Iraq Insurgency: Militants Plan To March On Baghdad After Seizing 2 Key Sunni Cities

The Islamic State aims to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the Iraq-Syria border. It has been able to push deep into parts of the Iraqi Sunni heartland once controlled by U.S. forces because police and military forces melted away after relatively brief clashes.

Two senior intelligence officials told The Associated Press that an armed group led by al-Douri, the Naqshabandi Army, and other Saddam-era military figures joined the Islamic State in the fight. In Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit that was overrun by militants Wednesday, witnesses said fighters raised posters of Saddam and al-Douri. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

The involvement of Saddam-era figures raises the potential to escalate the militants’ campaign to establish an al-Qaida-like enclave into a wider Sunni uprising. That could only further the momentum toward turning Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divisions in to a geographical fragmentation.

The Islamic State issued a triumphalist statement declaring that it would start implementing its strict version of Shariah law in Mosul and other regions it had overrun. It said women should stay in their homes for modesty reasons, warned it would cut off the hands of thieves and told residents to attend daily prayers. It told Sunnis in the military and police to abandon their posts and “repent” or else “face only death.”

In the north, Kurdish security forces took over the strategic northern oil city of Kirkuk after government troops fled.

Iraqi Kurdish forces take Kirkuk as Isis sets its sights on Baghdad

In Kirkuk, truckloads of peshmerga fighters patrolled the streets, but sporadic clashes continued between Kurdish forces and Isis gunmen on the outskirts of the city. A Kurdish minister responsible for regional security forces survived a bomb blast as he drove to the city after visiting peshmerga units in the surrounding region, AFP reported. [..]

About 500,000 people have fled Mosul, home to 2 million, and the surrounding province, many seeking safety in autonomous Kurdistan.

Isis’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said on Thursday that the group’s fighters intended to take the southern cities of Kerbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shia Muslims. [..]

Reports from Iraq have painted a confused picture of a rapidly developing situation with fighting reported in a number of key locations on Wednesday night and on Thursday, including on the outskirts of the city of Samarra, where government officials said Isis fighters had been driven back.

According to Army Staff Lieutenant General Sabah al-Fatlawi, quoted by Agence France-Presse, “elite forces” backed by air strikes pushed back a “fierce attack by Isis fighters who then bypassed the city heading towards Baghdad”.

Complicating the picture of the past few days were emerging suggestions that other Sunni insurgent groups, including Ba’ath nationalists, supporters of the executed Saddam, had played a role in the series of stunning setbacks for the Iraqi military.

The sudden collapse of the Iraqi army has raised international concerns about a rapidly widening regional crisis that has implications for Iraq’s powerful neighbours, Iran and Turkey.

This afternoon President Barack Obama said that he is watching this situation closely and is concerned

Speaking in the Oval Office after meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia, Mr. Obama said: “Iraq’s going to need more help. It’s going to need more help from us, and it’s going to need more help from the international community.”

The president said his national security team was working “around the clock” to determine the most effective aid. The United States, he noted, has given the Iraqi government military equipment and shared intelligence with it. [..]

“I don’t rule out anything,” Mr. Obama said, “because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter.”

The reality: there is very little that Obama can do. This was dumped on his desk when he was elected. The Iraqi government insisted that all American troops leave.

The real shame of it is that the people who created this crisis, George W. Bush and Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney, are war criminals Obama refused to hold accountable. The current crisis lies squarely at their feet and the members of Congress who voted to allow the illegal invasion in 2003.

The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History

by Juan Cole

It is an indictment of the George W. Bush administration, which falsely said it was going into Iraq because of a connection between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. There was none. Ironically, by invading, occupying, weakening and looting Iraq, Bush and Cheney brought al-Qaeda into the country and so weakened it as to allow it actually to take and hold territory in our own time. They put nothing in place of the system they tore down. They destroyed the socialist economy without succeeding in building private firms or commerce. They put in place an electoral system that emphasizes religious and ethnic divisions. They helped provoke a civil war in 2006-2007, and took credit for its subsiding in 2007-2008, attributing it to a troop escalation of 30,000 men (not very plausible). In fact, the Shiite militias won the civil war on the ground, turning Baghdad into a largely Shiite city and expelling many Sunnis to places like Mosul. There are resentments. [..]

I hasten to say that the difficulty Baghdad is having with keeping Mosul is also an indictment of the Saddam Hussein regime (1979-2003), which pioneered the tactic of sectarian rule, basing itself on a Sunni-heavy Baath Party in the center-north and largely neglecting or excluding the Shiite South. Now the Shiites have reversed that strategy, creating a Baghdad-Najaf-Basra power base.

Mosul’s changed circumstances are also an indictment of the irresponsible use to which Sunni fundamentalists in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Oil Gulf are putting their riches. The high petroleum prices, usually over $100 a barrel, of the past few years in a row, have injected trillions of dollars into the Gulf. Some of that money has sloshed into the hands of people who rather admired Usama Bin Laden and who are perfectly willing to fund his clones to take over major cities like Aleppo and Mosul. The vaunted US Treasury Department ability to stop money transfers by people whom Washington does not like has faltered in this case. Is it because Washington is de facto allied with the billionaire Salafis of Kuwait City in Syria, where both want to see the Bashar al-Assad government overthrown and Iran weakened? The descent of the US into deep debt, and the emergence of Gulf states and sovereign wealth funds is a tremendous shift of geopolitical power to Riyadh, Kuwait City and Abu Dhabi, who can now simply buy Egyptian domestic and foreign policy away from Washington. They are also trying to buy a Salafi State of Syria and a Salafi state of northern and western Iraq. [..]

PM Nouri al-Maliki can only get Iraq back by allying with nationalist Sunnis in the north. Otherwise, for him simply brutally to occupy the city with Shiite troops and artillery and aerial bombing will make him look like his neighbor, Bashar al-Assad.

Jun 12 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Ana Marie Cox: Don’t fear the Koch brothers. Fear an election that caters only to billionaires

Forget right or left. Dark money in politics means you’ll never know which ‘independent’ candidate’s views were on the market

Popular sentiment may tie the GOP and the infamous Koch brothers to unregulated campaign financing – while Democrats rail against it – but the post-Citizens United world can’t be understood within the framework of party politics. Citizens United isn’t good for one party and bad for another; it’s good for rich people and bad for everyone else.

The Koch brothers’ place in American politics as the big-spending bogeymen changing electoral outcomes with gobs of cash will find some help this week with the release of the documentary Citizen Koch and the book Big Money (by Politico reporter Ken Vogel), a good portion of which narrates the battle between the Koch brothers and Karl Rove for the soul of the Republican Party, such as it is.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Washington’s Cold Shoulder for Defrauded Students and Soldiers

President Obama signed an executive order Monday limiting student debt payments to 10 percent of their income, telling an audience in the East Room of the White House that he and his wife only paid off their law school loans about 10 years ago.  “This is why I feel so strongly about this,” the president said. “This is why I’m passionate about it.”

We’ll take him at his word, although it means disregarding the principle that says that those who truly feel passionately about something rarely feel the need to declare it. We’re glad he feels so strongly about an issue that is both an economic crisis and a moral challenge.

Diane Ravitch: Vergara Decision Is Latest Attempt to Blame Teachers and Weaken Public Education

Judge Rolf M. Treu, who decided the Vergara case, declared that he was shocked — shocked! — to learn from Professor Raj Chetty and Professor Thomas Kane of Harvard about the enormous harm that one “grossly ineffective” teacher can do to a child’s lifetime earnings or to their academic gains.

How did he define “grossly ineffective” teacher? He didn’t. How did these dreadful teachers get tenure? Clearly, some grossly incompetent principal must have granted it to them. What was the basis — factual or theoretical — that the students would have had high scores if their teachers did not have the right to due process? He didn’t say.

 

John Nichols: Eric Cantor Loses to a Conservative Who Rips Crony Capitalism

The DC-insider storyline about this being a great year for the Republican establishment might need to be rewritten. And the rewrite might even require pundits, Republican chieftains and Democrats who are trying to figure out the politics of 2014 to consider complexities they had not previously entertained.

House majority leader Eric Cantor, the face of the GOP establishment and one of its most prodigious fundraisers, lost his Virginia Republican primary Tuesday to a challenger who promised, “I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful.”

Dave Brat, who defeated the number-two Republican in the House by a 56-44 margin, ripped big business almost as frequently as he did the incumbent. “I am running against Cantor because he does not represent the citizens of the 7th District, but rather large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts and a constant supply of low-wage workers,” declared the challenger.

Cantor dismissed Brat as a “liberal college professor.”

That was false-at least the liberal part.

Wenonah Hauter: Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal a Field Day for Fracking

U.S. and EU negotiators recently began a new round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement. Because the talks are happening behind closed doors, the public is left largely in the dark about the nature of the discussions over a deal also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

So what, exactly, do we know?

Officially, not much. But an EU negotiation position “on raw materials and energy” was leaked to the Huffington Post in May. The text amounts to a wish list of demands from Big Oil and Gas that would lock in any of their investments in fossil fuels in general, and shale gas and fracking in particular.

Article C of the document states that no restrictions should apply to the “exports of energy goods” between the transatlantic trade partners. Any request, for example, for an export license to ship natural gas from the United States to the EU would be approved “automatically.”

That means no questions asked, even if this arrangement could lead to environmental damage from widespread use of fracking, increased gas prices for U.S. consumers, increased import dependency, and other problems.

Ben Wolcott: Austerity and the Employment Rate

In 2010, after an initial round of coordinated stimulus from both wealthy and developing countries, deficit hawks around the world regrouped. Pointing to growing deficits and debt, they demanded that countries reverse course and begin moving toward balanced budgets. The deficit hawks argued that deficit reduction could be accomplished without impairing growth because of the effect it would have in boosting confidence among businesses and consumers.

Many economists argued against this drive towards austerity at the time. They noted and rigorously explained the fallacious logic in the idea that deficit reduction could be expansionary. They also pointed out how fiscal policy had already saved the economy from a second depression and that more stimulus would likely be necessary. However, now we have more than three years of data, so we no longer have to speculate. A simple picture can be worth a thousand words (or in this case, billions).

Jun 12 2014

On This Day In History June 12

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on image to enlarge

June 12 is the 163rd day of the year (164th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 202 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, Virginia adopts George Mason’s Declaration of Rights

The assembled slaveholders of Virginia promised to “the good people of VIRGINIA and their posterity” the equal right to life, liberty and property, with the critical condition that the “people” were white men. These same white men were guaranteed that “all power” would be “vested in, and consequently derived from” them. Should a government fail to represent their common interest, a majority of the same held the right to “reform, alter or abolish” the government.

Drafting and adoption

The Declaration was adopted unanimously by the Fifth Virginia Convention at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 12, 1776 as a separate document from the Constitution of Virginia which was later adopted on June 29, 1776. In 1830, the Declaration of Rights was incorporated within the Virginia State Constitution as Article I, but even before that Virginia’s Declaration of Rights stated that it was ‘”the basis and foundation of government” in Virginia.  A slightly updated version may still be seen in Virginia’s Constitution, making it legally in effect to this day.

It was initially drafted by George Mason circa May 20, 1776; James Madison assisted him with the section on religious freedom. It was later amended by Thomas Ludwell Lee and the Convention to add a section on the right to uniform government (Section 14). Patrick Henry persuaded the Convention to delete a section that would have prohibited bills of attander, arguing that ordinary laws could be ineffective against some terrifying offenders.

Mason based his initial draft on the rights of citizens described in earlier works such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), and the Declaration can be considered the first modern Constitutional protection of individual rights for citizens of North America. It rejected the notion of privileged political classes or hereditary offices such as the members of Parliament and House of Lords described in the English Bill of Rights.

The Declaration consists of sixteen articles on the subject of which rights “pertain to [the people of Virginia]…as the basis and foundation of Government.” In addition to affirming the inherent nature of natural rights to life, liberty, and property, the Declaration both describes a view of Government as the servant of the people, and enumerates various restrictions on governmental power. Thus, the document is unusual in that it not only prescribes legal rights, but it also describes moral principles upon which a government should be run.

Influence

The Virginia Declaration of Rights heavily influenced later documents. Thomas Jefferson is thought to have drawn on it when he drafted the United States Declaration of Independence one month later (July 1776). James Madison was also influenced by the Declaration while drafting the Bill of Rights (completed September 1787, approved 1789), as was the Marquis de Lafayette in voting the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789).

The importance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights is that it was the first constitutional protection of individual rights, rather than protecting just members of Parliament or consisting of simple laws that can be changed as easily as passed.

Jun 12 2014

Nisoor Square

What?  Accountability?

Blackwater on trial over killing of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007

Associated Press

Wednesday 11 June 2014 10.17 EDT

Blackwater founder Erik Prince declared: “I believe we acted appropriately at all times.” The Nisoor Square shootings spelled the death knell for his company. Formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide, the company is under new ownership and Prince is no longer affiliated with it. The company was sold to a group of investors who changed the name to Academi.



In 2009, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina dismissed the case against the Blackwater guards. From the Iraqi government’s perspective, the dismissal was an example of Americans acting above the law. Urbina said government lawyers ignored the advice of senior Justice Department officials by building the criminal case on sworn statements of the guards given under a grant of immunity – meaning the guards’ own statements could not be used against them.

Two years later, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit revived the prosecution, ruling that Urbina had wrongly interpreted the law. The decision gave the Justice Department another chance.

In the upcoming trial, one of the guards, Nicholas Slatten, is charged with first-degree murder. The other three guards – Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard – are charged with voluntary manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and gun charges. Slatten could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, while the other guards face a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years in prison if a defendant is convicted of the gun charge and at least one other charge.

Jun 12 2014

Grace Jones in Today’s Breakfast Club!

 photo harounzebraonesie.jpgWelcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.  

(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it, despite the recent loss of some of our members, disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right?  Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)

This Day in History

This bit was posted at Voices on the Square, The Stars Holllow Gazette, Docudharma, and Daily Kos.

Jun 12 2014

TDS/TCR (Breakfast of Champions)

TDS TCR

No, A ‘Supercomputer’ Did NOT Pass The Turing Test For The First Time And Everyone Should Know Better

by Mike Masnick, TechDirt

Mon, Jun 9th 2014 7:43am

Okay, almost everything about the story is bogus. Let’s dig in:

  1. It’s not a “supercomputer,” it’s a chatbot. It’s a script made to mimic human conversation. There is no intelligence, artificial or not involved. It’s just a chatbot.
  2. Plenty of other chatbots have similarly claimed to have “passed” the Turing test in the past (often with higher ratings). Here’s a story from three years ago about another bot, Cleverbot, “passing” the Turing Test by convincing 59% of judges it was human (much higher than the 33% Eugene Goostman) claims.
  3. It “beat” the Turing test here by “gaming” the rules — by telling people the computer was a 13-year-old boy from Ukraine in order to mentally explain away odd responses.
  4. The “rules” of the Turing test always seem to change. Hell, Turing’s original test was quite different anyway.
  5. As Chris Dixon points out, you don’t get to run a single test with judges that you picked and declare you accomplished something. That’s just not how it’s done. If someone claimed to have created nuclear fusion or cured cancer, you’d wait for some peer review and repeat tests under other circumstances before buying it, right?
  6. The whole concept of the Turing Test itself is kind of a joke. While it’s fun to think about, creating a chatbot that can fool humans is not really the same thing as creating artificial intelligence. Many in the AI world look on the Turing Test as a needless distraction.

Oh, and the biggest red flag of all. The event was organized by Kevin Warwick at Reading University. If you’ve spent any time at all in the tech world, you should automatically have red flags raised around that name. Warwick is somewhat infamous for his ridiculous claims to the press, which gullible reporters repeat without question. He’s been doing it for decades. All the way back in 2000, we were writing about all the ridiculous press he got for claiming to be the world’s first “cyborg” for implanting a chip in his arm. There was even a — since taken down — Kevin Warwick Watch website that mocked and categorized all of his media appearances in which gullible reporters simply repeated all of his nutty claims. Warwick had gone quiet for a while, but back in 2010, we wrote about how his lab was getting bogus press for claiming to have “the first human infected with a computer virus.” The Register has rightly referred to Warwick as both “Captain Cyborg” and a “media strumpet” and has long been chronicling his escapades in exaggerating bogus stories about the intersection of humans and computers for many, many years.

Throwball

The real news below.