Daily Archive: 08/17/2014

Aug 17 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: you are not a piece of crap, and your solidarity work matters by Galtisalie

“Resist much, obey little.”

hello cruel world. take that. and that. and that. leftists look injustice in the eye then look for a stick to poke it with, find lonely leaves of grass, and injustice blinks or maybe winks.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.

You must travel it by yourself.

It is not far. It is within reach.

Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.

Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”

by the end of 1877’s Virgin Soil, Turgenev’s sixth, final, and longest novel, Nejdanov has taken his own life, unwilling to go to prison in Siberia for a cause that has taken everything from him and will not, in his own mind, accept his desire for the beautiful, culminating, like Whitman, in a desire to write poems. ironically, by dying, his most stalwart comrade, the hopelessly in love Mashurina, is deprived of the one thing, Nejdanov, to which she is devoted other than the revolution. desperate for any remembrance of Nejdanov, Mashurina spends a few moments at the end with the blowhard but equally lonely socialist hanger-on Paklin. Paklin, desperate for conversation and relevance, tosses out stupid questions. Mashurina slams the door:


  Paklin pulled himself up.

  “Why, of course … do have some more tea.”

  But Mashurina fixed her dark eyes upon him and said pensively:

  “You don’t happen to have any letter of Nejdanov’s … or his photograph?”

  “I have a photograph and quite a good one too. I believe it’s in the table drawer. I’ll get it in a minute.”

  He began rummaging about in the drawer, while Snandulia went up to Mashurina and with a long, intent look full of sympathy, clasped her hand like a comrade.

  “Here it is!” Paklin exclaimed and handed her the photograph.

  Mashurina thrust it into her pocket quickly, scarcely glancing at it, and without a word of thanks, flushing bright red, she put on her hat and made for the door.

  “Are you going?” Paklin asked. “Where do you live? You might tell me that at any rate.”

  “Wherever I happen to be.”

  “I understand. You don’t want me to know. Tell me at least, are you still working under Vassily Nikolaevitch?”

  “What does it matter to you?” “Or someone else, perhaps Sidor Sidoritch?” Mashurina did not reply.

  “Or is your director some anonymous person?” Mashurina had already stepped across the threshold. “Perhaps it is someone anonymous!”

  She slammed the door.

  Paklin stood for a long time motionless before this closed door.

  “Anonymous Russia!” he said at last.

in some ways, we all have had the door slammed in our face and are left anonymous. more sadly than Mashurina, who at least was on the clearly ascending side of history, we are more like the pathetic Paklin, trying to piece together our own relevance. the oppressors are desperate too, to make us feel that we are on the descending side of history, and oh how it feels that they are right when that door slams yet again.

perhaps tiny is the measure of your impact after so much dedication and sacrifice. perhaps it is a lost job. perhaps it is a beating by yet another dirtbag you feel forced to tolerate because you have no place else to go (you can leave, we will try to help). perhaps it is deep loneliness at the loss of someone good that you loved so much and will never see again. perhaps self-medication has become part of your problem, and those who love you couldn’t take it anymore.

maybe you pull yourself up, and try to reach out:

perhaps it is “just” a diary that few read. perhaps it is a diary that many read but which is soon lost in the vapors before discouraging objective conditions. perhaps it is … you know, and maybe no one else does, your personal objective conditions and how you feel standing before a lifetime of closed doors of one kind or another.

“O Me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;

Of the endless trains of the faithless-of cities fill’d with the foolish;

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light-of the objects mean-of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all-of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest-with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring-What good amid these, O me, O life?”

sometimes all you can do is get up in the morning.

“My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.”

but please do get up in the morning. please. we love and need you tender comrade.

we are penniless. we are broken. we are shattered. children shot. bombs are bursting on our homes. but we shall not be defeated.


Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men-go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families-re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body. The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is already plow’d and manured; others may not know it, but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation. His trust shall master the trust of everything he touches-and shall master all attachment.

Walt Whitman, XV. Preface to “Leaves of Grass,” 1855

Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

Aug 17 2014

Rant of the Week: John Oliver – New York’s Port Authority

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: New York’s Port Authority

Aug 17 2014

Rand Paul must want somebody’s vote

Responding to the recent outrages in Ferguson, Missouri, Rand Paul wrote the words that in most respects look like what you would hope that a Democratic candidate for the office would put forth:

There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement.

Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies-where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement. …

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury-national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture-we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them. …

Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

This, by the way, is what the “inevitable” Democratic candidate for President in 2016 had to say:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Just in case Ms. Clinton decides to say something, here’s a google search on Hillary Clinton + Ferguson, Mo. and here’s on on Hillary Clinton + militarization of police (which also, as of this writing turns up bupkis) to boot.

Rand Paul’s statement is pretty good for a Republican. Sure, it seems politically calculated; you might even think that Rand Paul is willing to play that dirty, dirty trick of calibrating his positions on issues to coincide with what the public wants (rather than what they’ll put up with because the other choice is so reprehensible). His statement falls far short of what one might hope for, though. In describing and assessing the root cause of the problem, Rand pulls out his favorite bugaboo, “Big Government” as the root cause of the problem.  

The root cause of the problem in Ferguson is individual and institutional racism. This racism is empowered and exacerbated by “Big Government” which puts the wrong tools and training in the hands of a group of people who are demonstrably incapable of conforming their behavior to the norms expected of a local police organization:

You can argue about the looting and the brick-throwing. You can argue about what constitutes a race “riot” these days – and why the hell we are seeing teargas every other evening in the suburbs, or Jim Crow-reminiscent police dogs in the year 2014. There are a lot of things worth arguing about now that the world’s eyes are focused on Ferguson, Missouri, a town where two-thirds of the population is black and 50 of the 53 police offers are white, where one of those officers gunned down an unarmed black kid in broad daylight.

But here is something that makes no sense, that is inarguable: Ferguson (population: 21,135) has about 40 robberies per year, a couple of homicides, almost no arson cases and a crime rate only a bit higher than the national average. Indeed, the town’s crime rate was going down as of two years ago, when the last major data is available. Ditto in neighboring St Louis. …

On Saturday night, as people took to the streets to protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the Ferguson Police Department, the chief of which reportedly displays a confederate flag in his home, had this at his disposal:

What is happening in Ferguson is exactly what opponents of the rise in military-style policing across America have long feared: when the feds arm white local cops with weapons of war and their superiors encourage them not to just play dress-up but to use their new war toys, it is inevitable that ordinary citizens – especially citizens of color – will get treated as the enemy. As we’ve seen in Ferguson, when military might comes to Main Street, “hands-up, don’t shoot” quickly turns into a quasi-declaration of war on a grieving community.

The government’s and some local police forces’ response to the Occupy movement also demonstrated why police militarization is a clear and present danger to society and democracy absent a specific racist motivation.

It would be nice to hear any candidate for the Presidency deal with these issues demonstrating insight, speaking in a forthright manner absent hedging and political calculation and putting forward a credible plan to address the problem.

Aug 17 2014

On This Day In History August 17

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.

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

August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 136 days remaining until the end of the year.

The Dakota War of 1862 (also known as the Sioux Uprising, Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow’s War) was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux or Dakota which began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. It ended with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota.

Throughout the late 1850s, treaty violations by the United States and late or unfair annuity payments by Indian agents caused increasing hunger and hardship among the Dakota. Traders with the Dakota previously had demanded that the government give the annuity payments directly to them (introducing the possibility of unfair dealing between the agents and the traders to the exclusion of the Dakota). In mid-1862 the Dakota demanded the annuities directly from their agent, Thomas J. Galbraith. The traders refused to provide any more supplies on credit under those conditions, and negotiations reached an impasse.

On August 17, 1862, four Dakota killed five American settlers while on a hunting expedition. That night a council of Dakota decided to attack settlements throughout the Minnesota River valley to try to drive whites out of the area. There has never been an official report on the number of settlers killed, but estimates range from 400 to 800. It is said that until the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the civilian wartime toll from the Dakota conflict was the highest in U.S. history (excluding those of the Civil War).

Over the next several months, continued battles between the Dakota against settlers and later, the United States Army, ended with the surrender of most of the Dakota bands. By late December 1862, soldiers had taken captive more than a thousand Dakota, who were interned in jails in Minnesota. After trials and sentencing, 38 Dakota were hanged on December 26, 1862, in the largest one-day execution in American history. In April 1863 the rest of the Dakota were expelled from Minnesota to Nebraska and South Dakota. The United States Congress abolished their reservations.

Aug 17 2014

To Protect And Serve

Tiger Beat on the Potomac gets it right.

Violence continues in Ferguson

By BYRON TAU, Politico

8/17/14 9:01 AM EDT

At least one male protester was critically injured in a shooting and was in the hospital fighting for his life, police said in a hastily arranged early Sunday morning press conference.

An additional seven people were arrested in the disorder and mayhem that followed. Police moved along West Florissant Street dressed in riot gear and driving military-style vehicles – a return to the cycle of violence seen earlier in the week.

Police fired tear gas and smoke canisters along the street – though they initially denied that tear gas was used. Under repeated questioning and when confronted with physical evidence of a tear-gas canister, police admitted that they’d used the chemical late in the operation.

Journalists were restricted to a small media pen at the far end of the street and were told they would be risk arrest if they left amid a blanket five-hour curfew declared by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday.

Izvestia swings and… misses.

Police in Ferguson Arrest Protesters Who Defied Curfew

By JULIE BOSMAN and ALAN BLINDER, The New York Times

AUG. 17, 2014

A clash between the protesters and dozens of police officers in riot gear began less than 30 minutes after the curfew took effect and ended about 45 minutes later with the arrest of seven people, all charged with “failure to disperse,” officials said.

The protesters had moved toward the officers – some of whom rode in armored vehicles – and chanted: “We are Mike Brown! We have the right to assemble peacefully!” invoking the name of the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by the Ferguson officer.



Despite an earlier pledge by Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, the state Highway Patrol commander who is overseeing security in Ferguson, the police eventually began firing smoke grenades and some tear gas.

At a news conference about 3 a.m. on Sunday, Captain Johnson explained that some tear gas had been used because the police had learned that armed men were inside a barbecue restaurant. One man with a gun had moved to the middle of the street, Captain Johnson said, but escaped. Another man, who was not identified, was shot by an unknown assailant and taken by companions to a hospital, where he was reported to be in critical condition. A police car was fired upon, the captain added, but it was not immediately clear if it was hit.

Pravda is much better.

One shot, seven arrested as chaos erupts after curfew in Ferguson

By DeNeen L. Brown, Manuel Roig-Franzia and Jerry Markon, Washington Post

August 17 at 6:11 AM

Gun violence, tear gas and armored vehicles marked the first night of a controversial curfew imposed in this St. Louis suburb where the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager has kicked over a cauldron of frustration and anger.



Tear gas was fired, Johnson said, after officers spotted a man with a handgun in the middle of the street. (Lt. John Hotz, a highway patrol spokesman, initially said police used only smoke. Later, he told the Associated Press that police also used tear gas. “Obviously, we’re trying to give them every opportunity to comply with the curfew,” he said.)



Hundreds of protesters stood in the middle of Ferguson’s main avenue under heavy rain early Sunday, minutes after the curfew went into effect.

The crowd chanted, “No justice, no curfew!” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

At 12:41 a.m., police shouted over a loudspeaker: “You are violating a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse or you will be subject to arrest or other actions.”

Some people in the crowd left. Others shouted at the police: “F— you.”

Then came disorder.

At 12:49 a.m., police fired tear gas canisters and devices that produced smoke. Protesters ran. Some were handcuffed. Shots were fired. Police sirens wailed.

By 1:30 a.m., a plume of smoke rose over West Florissant, the street where Brown took some of his final steps. The smell of smoke was in the air. Explosions erupted every 10 minutes or so – more canisters that made loud bangs.

Police in riot gear blocked the entrance to the main road. They held shields and pointed rifles, shouting for people to clear the road. Many dispersed.

Law enforcement officers in black gloves pushed television cameramen out of the street as they tried to capture images of a man with his hands restrained behind his back being led into an idling police van.

“You’re violating the law,” a law enforcement officer said over a loudspeaker.



By 2:45 a.m., the police had succeeded in turning much of Ferguson into a ghost town. A heavy downpour puddled on streets emptied of inhabitants. Two officers ran down Florissant, shedding gas masks without breaking stride. The flashing lights of dozens of police vehicles reflected off of a rain-slicked pavement.

“This is not our community!” an onlooker said. She made a peace sign with her right hand, then talked of “revolution.” She wouldn’t say her name.

A lot of people in Ferguson won’t say their names these days. They’re scared or suspicious or both.



Capt. Johnson said Saturday that the curfew would be enforced through communication, not physical force. “We will be telling people, ‘It’s time to go home,’ ” he said.



Several blocks away, hundreds of officers waited in the shopping center parking lot, which has become their staging area.

Full coverage at The Guardian of course.

Missouri police fire teargas at Ferguson protesters defying curfew

Jon Swaine and Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Sunday 17 August 2014 05.38 EDT

Police in riot gear fired teargas at protesters who defied a Saturday night curfew imposed in the Missouri city of Ferguson, where an unarmed 18-year-old being shot dead by a police officer has been followed by a week of street clashes.

About 200 demonstrators ignored an order to return home at midnight made under a state of emergency declared earlier on Saturday by the state’s governor, Jay Nixon, after rioting and looting returned to the centre of the city on Friday night.



The curfew did not mean a return to military-style policing, Johnson promised. “We won’t enforce it with tanks,” he said. “We won’t enforce it with teargas.”

Ferguson cop who walked middle of road finds critics coming both ways

Jon Swaine and Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Saturday 16 August 2014 22.20 EDT

He was the man who seemed to have pulled Ferguson back from the edge.

After nights of unrest, during which police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protesters who hurled abuse, rocks and occasionally worse, captain Ron Johnson signalled that things had changed by leading a peaceful march of demonstrators through the centre of the town on Thursday.



But the euphoria faded fast. Late on Friday, pockets of rioting brought back the armoured trucks, riot gear and teargas. Later still, after police retreated, small crowds began looting shops, most notably one where Brown allegedly shoplifted cigars before he died.



Some proved even more difficult to win over. As Johnson gave media interviews amid a crowd of protesters on Thursday night, Kesheara Ross, 26, listened to his remarks and snorted.

There would be no meaningful police reform, she predicted. “They’re not going to make any changes. I’ve heard all the same stuff after other shootings.” She gave the captain a withering look. “Uncle Tom-ass brothers.”

Missouri’s days of unrest expose the stark reality of a segregated society

Rory Carroll and Jon Swaine, The Observer

Saturday 16 August 2014 13.01 EDT

“The police don’t like coming here,” said Don Williams, 52, who moved to Vickie Place with his family in 2001. “It was majority white then. Now, almost all black.” The absence of street lighting made everything pitch dark after sunset, intimidating patrols, he said. “We have break-ins but the police barely investigate. They’re not worth nothing.” Opposite the Brown home lives one of the street’s last white residents, Doris McCann, who has lived here for 55 of her 86 years. “It’s a changed neighbourhood. Everyone that’s white moved out,” she lamented.

White flight is a familiar phenomenon in many countries but the use of armoured vehicles and sniper nests in the height of a Missouri summer has exposed the extent and consequences of segregation in America’s heartland.



“I keep my sons shuttered at home because of situations like this. Young black men have targets painted on their backs,” said Kesheara Ross, 26, a protester. “I’ve had a cop call me nigger. This shit’s been going on for years.”



Many critics focused on the military equipment. Under a federal programme the Pentagon has offloaded $4.3bn in surplus gear, much of it from Afghanistan and Iraq, to police the US. As Kara Dansky, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, pointed out, to a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Another factor was racial imbalance: only three of Ferguson’s 53 officers are black (94% white, in other words) and only one of six city councillors is black – a product of disenfranchisement and anaemic political mobilisation in a city where two-thirds of the population is black.



The sense that the worst had passed, however, masked an enduring problem: most of those in uniform inhabit a different realm to the people they are supposed to serve. Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson alluded to this when he said there was “a community that is at odds with us now”. He added: “Apparently there is this undertow that has now bubbled to the surface.”

Ferguson’s mayor, James Knowles, who is also white, defended his police officers – the ones who waded in looking like Robocop on steroids. “I’m sure they’re under a great deal of stress, and though it does not make it OK, they are human, and I can understand their frustrations as well,” Knowles said.



The separation of races should in theory be a fading anachronism given that a black man occupies the White House and black artists suffuse mainstream culture. But half a century after the civil rights movement triumphed, the dream of an integrated multiracial society in this sprawl by the Mississippi is largely dead. As black families moved to nicer areas, exploiting newfound freedom, white neighbours fled. “It was gradual but they all packed up. You’ll find them now in St Charles, Chesterfield, Wildwood, Alton,” said McCann.

Aug 17 2014

The Breakfast Club (Hoist Up the Mainsail)

Welcome 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.

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.png

This Day in History

Breakfast Tunes

Aug 17 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis 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

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D -HI).

The roundtable guests are: Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; Daily Beast contributor Kristen Soltis Anderson; and ABC News Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieefer’s guests are: Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO);  NAACP president Cornell William Brooks; Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson; and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).

His panel guests are Gerald Seib, The Wall Street Journal; Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post; Michael Gerson, The Washington Post; and Peter Baker, The New York Times.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: We bid a long over due farewell to host David Gregory, fondly known for his dancing skills with his erstwhile partner Karl Rove. Sad to say he is only being replaced with NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd who will no doubt continue the tradition of white male right winger nut jobs with their perpetual false talking points.

Guests on “MTP” are: Jay Nixon (D-MO); Rep. John Lewis (D-GA); Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH); and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D).

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO); Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO); and NYPD Police Commissioner and convicted felon Bernard Kerik.

Her panel guests are actor and activist Jesse Williams; CNN Contributor LZ Granderson; and journalist and Political Strategist Tara Wall.

Aug 17 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Dozens defy Missouri curfew in riot-hit Ferguson

 17 August 2014 Last updated at 07:32

 BBC

US police fired smoke bombs and tear gas at a crowd which defied an overnight curfew in Ferguson, where a black teenager was shot dead by police last week.

About 150 protesters refused to disperse before a midnight (05:00 GMT) deadline in the St Louis suburb.

The governor of Missouri has imposed the curfew until 05:00 (10:00 GMT).

The move comes after a week of violent clashes between heavily armed local police and protesters.

Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead on a street in Ferguson on 9 August.

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the main road in Ferguson in poor weather conditions hours before the curfew was due to go into force on Saturday evening.




Sunday’s Headlines:

On race, America has far to go. Ferguson won’t be the last flash point

Iraq crisis: Iraqi minority says massacre of civilians not over yet

Ukraine separatists ‘receive recruits trained in Russia’

China promotes mixed marriages in Tibet as way to achieve ‘unity’

New restrictions in Kenya for travelers amid Ebola fears