Daily Archive: 11/26/2014

Nov 26 2014

No More Water

Ferguson and the brokenness of America’s “Justice” System

Ian Welsh

2014 November 26

At this point, in America, calling the police for anything short of a murder is more likely to make your situation worse than better if you aren’t solidly middle upper class or better, and white.  If you are black or Muslim, you might not even want to call them for murder.

Police can beat your, rape you or kill you, and the odds are very high they will get away with it.  In far too many cases they are nothing but the strongest gang.

The police are so militarized that they amount to a domestic army, stationed in every city.  The civil forfeiture laws, RICO statutes and the cost of an effective defense, plus the removal of most judicial discretion and the fact that the vast majority of cases are plea bargained, not tried, means that for most accused of a crime there is no justice.

The police have huge incentives to charge people with crimes, because they can seize the assets of those charged (well, strictly speaking, they can seize your money without ever charging you, and do.)  For profit prisons and prison guard unions support prosecutors and judges who will imprison more people, not less.   The incentives in the system are almost all towards incarcerating more people and seizing more assets, because that’s how police and prosecutors improve their personal situation.

Prisons are rural support projects where poor whites are paid to lock up poor blacks.

Ferguson: It is Right to Resist, By Any and All Means Necessary

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

Wed, 11/26/2014 – 16:44

The Mass Black Incarceration State, or the New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander calls it, has methodically criminalized a whole people. When Walking, Talking and Breathing While Black is punishable by death – a sentence carried out daily in the United States – then organizing for genuine social transformation is beyond the pale of civil protections. The only defense is a militant people’s movement that exacts its own consequences when the state exercises its claims to, essentially, limitless powers. There must be some kind of payback; otherwise, as we have witnessed over the past 40-plus years, the people succumb to self-destructive diversions, demoralization and despair, while the state steadily expands its machinery of social and physical death.

You know the state is worried when it suddenly starts assuring the oppressed that they have certain, limited rights that will be recognized. President Obama, who early in his first term succeeded in legislatively abolishing due process of law, has responded to the threat of a genuine people’s movement by endorsing peaceful protest – by which he means protest within parameters of time and space and behavior laid down by the very same police against which the grievances are directed. This constitutes “ways of channeling your concerns constructively,” says the president.



Six years into the Age of Obama, it has finally dawned on Black people that Frederick Douglass was right when he said: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.” Douglass did not say: “Power concedes nothing without the consent of the legislature and a nod from Democratic Party hack in the Oval Office.” Had Obama not been sharing the screen with the youth of Ferguson, few would have watched his speech. It has required a mass movement in-the-making to focus Black people’s attention on the war waged against them by the state, rather than living vicariously with the family in the White House.

No sooner had the fires and looting commenced in Ferguson, than Obama henchman Al Sharpton and the entire multigenerational cadre of handkerchief heads and New Age opportunists sprang into action, to delegitimize the youth and funnel Black peoples energies into official channels that go nowhere.

CNN’s Van Jones denounced the “small number of knuckleheads” that “are causing the problem.”

Local Black clergy met with the white mayor of Ferguson and tried to shame the youth involved in Monday night’s rebellion. Then they bowed their heads and asked God to solve the problem, as always.

Congressman William “Lacy” Clay, who misrepresents the district and was among the 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus that opted, back in June, to continue the Pentagon’s transfers of weapons to local police departments, denounced The Race as a whole for the destruction of 12 businesses, the night before. “It hurts me to my heart to see what we have turned into,” he said.



The burned-out businesses, some of them Black-owned, are collateral damage in a grossly asymmetrical struggle – one in which the insurgents must battle a murderous state, a pervasively racist white society, plus the most backward, opportunistic and comprador elements of their own community. It is true that, in a small town like Ferguson, the loss of jobs, investments and amenities associated with these small “martyred” businesses is significant. In comparison, however, the costs inflicted on African Americans by the Black Misleadership Class since the demise of the last mass people’s movement, in the late Sixties, have been catastrophic. Black family wealth is one-twentieth of median white family wealth, the lowest since slavery. Great Black metropolises have been turned into wastelands, bare of employment, affordable housing, recreation, adequate education, cultural enrichment, and even healthy food. One out of every eight prison inmates in the world is an African American – an arguably genocidal outcome arrived at with the full collaboration of much of Black elected officialdom and the preaching class. Absent a fundamental change in power relationships in America – which can only come about through mass action, within and outside the law – the destruction of the Black social and physical environment can only escalate.

By attempting to delegitimize Black youth – who definitely will break the law and destroy property in their enthusiasm for immediate payback as well as lasting change – the Misleaders seek to corral and, ultimately, kill the movement.

In the coming days and months, activists must be diligent in drawing lines between those honest elements that counsel against violence for moral or tactical and strategic reasons, and those who, like Sharpton, Van Jones and Rep. “Lacy” Clay, seek to destroy the budding mass movement by ostracizing and alienating its youthful core.

Nov 26 2014

Turkey Loaf

Yoob a dinkadee a dinkadoo a dinkadee

A dinkadoo a dinkadee a dinkadoo

Morp!  Morp!  Morp!

Us Scandinavian Bachelor Chefs (h/t CompoundF) frequently find ourselves in the position of needing a last minute substitute for real food because planning ahead is not one of our strengths (if it were we probably wouldn’t be Bachelors anymore).

Here’s a recipe that is not too fussy and can be thrown together at the last minute and great expense as a cheap imitation of inferior quality.

You will need-

  • Ground Turkey
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Onion (chopped coarse)
  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Garlic Powder
  • Bell’s Poultry Seasoning
  • An Egg
  • Dry Packaged Instant Turkey Gravy

Optional (of course the more you add the better it will taste)-

  • Walnuts (chopped coarse)
  • Canned Mushrooms (stems and pieces, chopped coarse)

The goal is simple, to create a reasonable taste facsimile of a Turkey dinner with stuffing and gravy without days of defrosting and hours of cooking time.  It is somewhat pricey as ground Turkey often costs as much as ground beef or more.

The primary problems to overcome are cohesion and dryness.  I’m going to recommend what seems like a lot of fat but Turkey is quite a lean meat.  I’ll be working with approximately 2 pounds of Turkey as a base (that’s how much the local Super Market puts in a package), you adjust the other ingredients for taste and volume.

The most labor intensive part of preparation is chopping the onion(s).  Depending on how strong the flavor (in decreasing order- yellow, red, sweet) you’ll want to prepare about half the volume of your meat.  If you use yellow and are sensitive to onions (I am) you may want to saute them a little to take some of the harshness out.

The most time consuming part is the bread.  Toast it a bit (hey, if you have enough time to stale it you most likely don’t need this recipe), smear generously with butter and shake quite a bit of garlic powder on top.  Cube.  You need about 3/4 of the volume of your meat (6 slices or a little more).  Crusty European breads work much better than Balloon breads because the goal (as with meat balls) is to lighten the texture of your finished dish.

Mixing

I put the other ingredients in the bottom of the bowl with the meat on top but I don’t think it makes any difference.  The important thing is not to over mix because the loaf will get gummy and dense.

A cup or more of Dried Cranberries (I like them), Onion, Garlic Toast, 4 Tbls Butter (chopped), Ground Turkey, 1 – 3 Tbls Bell’s Poultry Seasoning (the primary flavor is Sage in case you can’t find it), an Egg or 2 to bind.

Mix gently, completely, and not too long with your fingers.  Now is the time to add your optional ingredients, if using Mushrooms include the liquid too.

Cooking

I like loaf pans, others mound on a sheet.  Grease for clean release.  It leaks a bit so you’ll want a lip to catch the drip.  In any event at least an hour at 325 – 350 until the internal temperature reaches the recommended level for poultry or brown on the top and gray through the thickest part.

Rest 5 – 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy, slice and serve.

Thanksgiving on a stick.

Nov 26 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

Heather Digby Parton: “Something is very, very wrong”: Why Ferguson exposes our system of justice

Like Rodney King and Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown’s treatment is now a symbol of America’s deepest failings

I remember the night the Rodney King video first surfaced on Los Angeles television like it was yesterday.  In those days you didn’t see videos of police beatings unless a news camera happened to catch it  – video cameras were bulky items that people didn’t carry around with them. That footage of those police beating a man mercilessly, grainy and distant as it was, sent a shock wave though this city and in a very short period that shock wave was felt around the world. But at the time I think that most of white America probably either thought that this man must have “deserved” what he got or, if they were appalled by what they saw, believed the justice system could not ignore such vivid evidence and would have to punish these officers. Black America knew better, of course, but they too held out hope that the video proved what they had been saying for years.

We all know how that turned out. [..]

The Michael Brown case is different. And it is because of the way the authorities have responded. From the disrespectful way they left the body of the victim lying in the street to the way the police released the video of Michael Brown in the convenience store as a way to tar his character, to the full military-style response to the protests, they have demeaned the feelings and concerns of the African-American community in Ferguson.

Brittney Cooper: I am utterly undone: My struggle with black rage and fear after Ferguson

I woke up in black skin today — and felt its scourge. After Ferguson, here’s what “rule of law” means to me now

If I have to begin by convincing you that Black Lives Matter, we have all already lost, haven’t we? So let’s not begin there. Let’s begin at the end. At the end there is only Michael Brown Jr.’s dead body, no justice, and weeping and gnashing of teeth.

For his parents, there is only grief.

They are undone. We are undone. I am undone. This is what American democracy coming apart at the seams looks like. Our frayed, tattered edges are showing. The emperors are the only ones who can’t see it. Where can we begin so that we don’t end up here?

Is anyone else tired of wandering in this wilderness? Surely this land of broken promises isn’t what Dr. King had in mind for us.  Hopefully, from the fiery furnace of Ferguson, the floating embers will spark and spread and blaze us a new trail – up out of this madness.

Marcy Wheeler: As Obama Embraces Multi-Fronted War, He Fires Chuck Hagel

In recent days, the press has reported that President Obama signed an order (or on second thought, maybe it’s just an unsigned decision that can’t be FOIAed, so don’t start anything, Jason Leopold) basically halting and partly reversing his plans for withdrawal. [..]

Virtually simultaneously with the decision to permit American forces to be more involved with the Afghan government, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has reversed Hamid Karzai’s ban on night raids – and also renamed them “night operations.” [..]

And now that Obama has made it clear he will spend his Lame Duck continuing – escalating, even – both forever wars he got elected to end, he has fired forced the resignation of the Secretary of Defense he hired to make peace. [..]

Some great reporting from the NYT, getting all three scoops about Obama’s pivot to war.

I’m just hoping someone is reporting out the really important questions: who will be paying for the resumption of the forever war, and how it will be any more successful than the last 13 years?

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Rethinking the Cost of Western Intervention in Ukraine

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, recently cautioned Americans against intervention fatigue: “I think there is too much of ‘Oh, look, this is what intervention has wrought’…. one has to be careful about overdrawing lessons.” Say what? Given the calamities wrought in Iraq, Libya and now Ukraine, one would think that a fundamental rethinking and learning of lessons is long overdue. The United States needs a sober look at the actual costs of supposed good intentions divorced from realism.

Power’s comments come as Ukraine marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the Maidan Square demonstrations in Kiev, surely an occasion for rethinking and changing course. One year after the United States and Europe celebrated the February coup that ousted the corrupt but constitutionally elected president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, liberal and neoconservative interventionists have much to answer for. Crimea has been annexed by Russia. More than 4,000 people have lost their lives in the civil war in Ukraine, with more than 9,000 wounded and nearly a million displaced. This month, the Kiev government acknowledged the de facto partition of Ukraine by announcing it was ending all funding for government services and social benefits including pensions and freezing all bank accounts in the eastern districts that are in revolt. The Ukrainian economy is near collapse with nowhere near the billions needed to rebuild it at hand. How Kiev or the cut-off eastern regions will provide heating and electricity to their beleaguered people as winter approaches remains to be seen.

Zoë Carpenter: This Is the Next Big Fight Between Progressives and the Wall Street Dems

If Burger King has its way, the company will soon leave its Miami headquarters for Canada and enter the coffee-and-donut business. When the fast-food giant announced its intention to buy the Canadian company Tim Hortons in August, it stressed the coffee-and-donuts part of the deal-or, rather, the opportunities for “growth” and “expansion.” But the chance to move to a country with lower corporate tax rates was undoubtedly part of the appeal. Since 2003, more than thirty-five American companies have dodged taxes through similar deals, which are known as “corporate inversions.”

Now the Burger King move is implicated in a fight brewing between some Senate Democrats and President Obama, a clash that throws into relief the split between the party’s Wall Street wing and its progressives. One of the people involved in the deal was Antonio Weiss, a major Democratic fundraiser, the publisher of The Paris Review, and the global head of investment banking at Lazard Ltd, a firm that has put together several major inversion deals. As of November 12, he’s also President Obama’s pick to oversee the domestic financial system-including the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform act, and consumer protection-at the Treasury.

Andrea Palframan: Can a First Nations-led Movement Stop Big Oil?

Can a First Nations-led, people-driven movement really have the power to stop Big Oil?

The folks behind the Pull Together campaign think so. The Pull Together initiative supports First Nations in B.C. who are taking to the courts to stop Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.

Led by the Gitxaala, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli and Haida — nations united in their fierce opposition to tar sands oil endangering their traditional territories — Pull Together’s involvement synchronized with a very active movement against tar sands pipelines in B.C. and community-based opposition Enbridge in particular. The campaign is using a new model of online fundraising that, combined with real-world, grassroots organizing, is delivering solid results.

Nov 26 2014

The Breakfast Club (Silence Kills)

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.

 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg

This Day in History

China enters Korean War; Nazis force half a million Jews into walled ghetto; Nixon’s secretary tries to explain gap on Watergate tapes;

Breakfast Tunes

Nov 26 2014

On This Day In History November 26

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.

November 26 is the 330th day of the year (331st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 35 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1942, Casablanca, a World War II-era drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premieres in New York City; it will go on to become one of the most beloved Hollywood movies in history.

n the film, Bogart played Rick Blaine, a former freedom fighter and the owner of a swanky North African nightclub, who is reunited with the beautiful, enigmatic Ilsa Lund (Bergman), the woman who loved and left him. Directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca opened in theaters across America on January 23, 1943, and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Bogart. It took home three Oscars, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. The film featured a number of now-iconic quotes, including Rick’s line to Ilsa: “Here’s looking at you, kid,” as well as “Round up the usual suspects,” “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Nov 26 2014

What’s Cooking: Getting It Together for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving "Eat Pork" photo 0008_zps26f112b7.gifFor those of you who haven’t realized Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, snap out of it! Time to get on the road, into the grocery store and but the bird. Unless it’s fresh, that is not a frozen boulder, it’s going to take 2 – 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator. If your brining, you’ll need one that’s thawed or fresh at this stage. So. wake up, get thee to the grocery store. NOW!

For those who aren’t doing the big family bash and are spending the evening alone or with one or two others, here are a few recipes from the New York Times for a small scale Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey Cutlets Marsala

If you can’t find turkey cutlets, buy a boneless turkey breast, cut into cutlets then lightly pound them into shape beneath a sheet of plastic wrap.

A Small Thanksgiving Dinner photo 24eat-articleLarge-v2_zpse06ddbe9.jpgTOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

Ingredients

   4 turkey cutlets, approximately 1 1/4 pounds

   Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

   Flour for dusting

   4 tablespoons unsalted butter

   1/4 cup Marsala wine

   1/4 cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium

Preparation

1.    Place the cutlets on a wooden board, and season them aggressively with salt and pepper, then lightly dust them with flour.

2.    Melt the butter in a large sauté or frying pan set over medium-high heat, and when it begins to foam, add the turkey cutlets to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, gently, for 3 minutes a side, being careful not to allow the butter to blacken

3.    When the second side is just about done, pour the Marsala over the cutlets, and allow it to bubble and combine with the butter. Now do the same with a splash or two of the chicken stock. Cook in the pan for 2 or 3 minutes more.

YIELD: 2 servings

Vegetable Risotto

TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

   1/2 ounce dried mushrooms

   6 tablespoons unsalted butter

   5 green leaf lettuce leaves, shredded

   1 leaf of a fennel bulb, finely diced

   1 small onion, finely diced

   1 cup arborio rice

   2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

   Kosher salt

   Nutmeg

Preparation

1.    Put the mushrooms in a bowl, and pour hot water over them. Allow them to steep for 20 minutes, then squeeze them out and mince. Reserve the mushroom broth for another purpose.

2.    Put four cups of water in a pot, and set it over high heat to boil. Keep it hot.

3.    In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, melt 5 tablespoons butter and when it foams, cook the lettuce and fennel until soft. Lift them out of the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of butter if necessary, and cook the onion until translucent. Add the rice, and stir until it is glistening and hot.

4.    Add a cup of the hot water to the mixture, and stir it until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 5 minutes. Add another cup of the water, and stir again until it is absorbed. Add the mushrooms, and stir again, then add a pinch of salt and another half cup of the hot water. When the liquid has been absorbed, taste the rice to see if the grains offer the slightest resistance to your teeth. If not, add the rest of the water, and stir again to combine.

5.    Stir in the lettuce, the fennel, the Parmesan and any remaining butter, then grate nutmeg generously over the mixture.

YIELD 2 servings

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

TOTAL TIME 40 minutes

Ingredients

   3/4 pound fresh brussels sprouts

   2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or bacon fat

   Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

   Red-pepper flakes to taste

Preparation

1.    Preheat oven to 400. Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts, and remove all yellowing exterior leaves. Put the sprouts in a large bowl, and toss with the oil or bacon fat, and season well with salt and pepper.

2.    Pour the sprouts onto a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to brown the vegetables evenly, until crisp on the outside and tender within. Sprinkle a little more salt on them and, if you like, red-pepper flakes.

YIELD 2 servings

All recipes are easily doubled.

Bon appétit