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Sat May 23, 2015 at 06:39 PM PDT

EVERYTHING IS KRISTOL CLEAR

by ATexican

THE WORDLY WISDOM(?) OF WILLIAM KRISTOL

May 20, 2015


"We were right to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein, and to complete the job we should have finished in 1991.
"

March 1, 2003
"Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more throughly than this one by this president."

February 20, 2003
"If we free the people of Iraq, we will be respected in the Arab world... and I think we will be respected around the world."

November 21, 2002
[removing Saddam] "would start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy"

September 18, 2002 column
[the war in Iraq] "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East"

Wrong then; wrong now.  Maybe it is the unbearable weight of those hundreds of thousands of unnecessary death for which he must bear some good measure of responsibility that makes him cling so desperately to his past errors.

Then again, maybe he is just an astoundingly myopic ideologue, entranced by his own ignorance and beguiled by the fact that people will listen or publish whatever drivel pops into his head.

Discuss

The John Birch Society warned us against water fluoridation.  Who knew what was really happening. Reliable sources indicate that recent political doings in the Lone Star State, make it clear that under the guise of fluoridation, the CIA was testing the long-term population effects of the accumulation of low doses of psychedelic drugs.

The experiment has now borne bizarre fruit.  The first inklings came with the formation of The Republic of Texas , a group filled with folks with too much time on their hands who claim Texas never joined The United States.  Then Rick Perry threatened to secede.  Finally, new governor, Greg Abbott, has soothed the fevered breast of the batshit crazy wing nuts in Bastrop who are sure that special operations maneuvers in their area in Texas are a prelude to an armed invasion led by our special forces linked up with the nefarious United Nations. Abbott has ordered Texas State Guard troops to monitor US Army activity to calm those frayed nerves and assure Texans that he too has had his fair share of the spiked water.  Paramilitary groups in Texas have pledged their support in this effort.  Local liquor stores wait anxiously for such an effort to begin.

High-level government sources, who refuse to be named for fear of becoming inexplicable cases of suicide, indicate that the CIA, while quite proud of the result, admits that a clerical error allowed the test to continue for fifteen years, rather than 15 months.  The project monitor originally responsible for the project died under mysterious circumstances.  As his office was cleared, the project files were misplaced, filed under IMAP (Ideas--Mad As Pants).  The error was only discovered when an intern accessed the files while searching for an update on how the CIA was reaping information from the Internet Message Access Protocol.

The plans was originally developed as a potential way of sowing mindless discord among subpopulations in hostile countries. The idea was to make members of these manipulated populations accuse their government of outrageous depredations.  

For example, in Rumania, the government might be accused of breeding vampires.  In Texas, the specter of someone seizing civilian firearms or Jack Daniels is the rough equivalent of such a malicious and stupid charge.  However, Agency observers do note that the long time span required before a ton of folks went squirrelly implies that any later trials might use higher doses or alternative drugs with faster uptake rates.

An Agency press officer read a statement put out by the CIA in which it denies any such link saying, "We would have to be crazy as a sack of frogs to do such a thing."  After ingesting two flying insects with lightning quick flicks of her tongue, the press officer ended the press conference.

Our sources indicate that beverages served at Republican political party coffee klatches in a small upper Midwestern state may be the next testing ground.

Discuss

The following is an excerpt from a public letter written and posted by John C. Blackmon, the president of the Tri-County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 in South Carolina. It was posted after the killing of Walter Scott by a North Charleston officer. (See Al Baker's NYT article of April 18, 2015).

"Do not allow the professional race agitators to seize this moment to advance their often self-serving opinions of what is wrong in South Carolina. Do not allow them to bemoan the lack of trust of police by the minority community. Do not allow them to beat down the hardworking men and women of the Lowcountry’s Law Enforcement."

According John Blackmon's letter, the real problem in North Charleston is those "professional race agitators." The five bullets in Mr. Scott's back are treated as an awkward detail.  The letter contains not a single note of sympathy; it contains no recognition of the humanity of the victim and his family's grief; it contains no recognition of a potential or likely systemic problem; it offers no path to a better future. It identifies the "real" problem as the unfair beat down of South Carolina law enforcement officers by "professional race agitators," no doubt most of whom are a subset of those usual suspects, "outside agitators."

The whispered, or shouted, subtext in police discussions of these recent episodes of publicized police violence similar to that in North Charleston (see Baker article) is that they all occurred because "those" people, the dead or the beaten, didn't obey the commands of police officers. The unacknowledged absurdity in such thinking becomes clear when one recognizes that we have police on the street exactly for the purpose of dealing with people who don't obey the rules.  That is precisely why they are there, and the problem that is their major responsibility. How well and lawfully they meet that responsibility is the real measure of police performance in our society.

In a more general sense, the police union official's letter bizarrely and horribly serves as a disturbing modern example of the southern myth of victimization that was woven during the post Civil War Reconstruction era.  During that violent era (see S. Bodiansky's book, The Bloody Shirt, for detail on South Carolina), southerners successfully pushed the narrative that they were the victims of unscrupulous northerners and irresponsible ex-slaves.  

All the considerable and appalling White violence against Republican governmental officials and ex-slaves was not the issue.  If it did become the issue, that violence was justified and was forced on the perpetrators as the only reasonable response to these groups behavior toward the White population.

John Blackmon's letter rings that same broken, blood-encrusted bell 150 years later.  According to him, the real problem is those "professional race agitators." This is simply the Reconstruction myth of southern victimization with a modern twist. It was a grossly misleading when applied to Reconstruction.  It is self-serving and ultimately self-defeating in this modern version.  The focus on outside "agitators" means that the problem somehow has its genesis outside the world in which it occurred.  Therefore, all that is needed to resolve the problem is for people to forget that it occurred. Successful resolution requires nothing else.

The "blaming the victim" rationale for violence so popular in law enforcement circles (e.g., he ran) literally smacks of Reconstruction rationales for White violence.  The classic refrain in that era was that there would have been no violence if "those people" would have just accepted the right of White Democrats to dominate their behavior, their movements, and their lives.

The letter in question draws from both the worn southern rhetoric of victimization, which police in other regions have enthusiastically embraced, and the out-dated norms of a deeply troubled occupation, street policing. Neither this rhetoric nor these norms offer anyone even the slenderest ray of hope for reform or progress.

The horrors and failures of Reconstruction would only have been avoided by the influence of external national forces. In the same sense, policing in America will only be reformed by the intervention of actors beyond the scope of local law enforcement with its rigid norms of mutual support. Individual citizen videos, CCTV, civilian review boards, the national reporting of violent police encounters, independent prosecutors, and special grand juries serve as our best hopes for change. Events like those in North Charleston too often occur in corners darkened to the rest of the world. No internal light will be sufficient to illuminate and help our society eliminate them.

Discuss

The following is commentary by witnesses for the defense in case where a San Francisco transit police officer pulled his pistol instead of his taser and shot an apprehended suspect in the back.

http://www.policeone.com/...

The "expert witness" for the defense concluded that, “This is is a classic illustration of powerful forces beyond an officer’s conscious awareness that can shape a threatening encounter. These forces may not be readily evident even to unbiased witnesses, but in a matter of seconds they can change the lives of those involved forever.”

From the witness stand, defense “experts” explained how, in their opinions, psychological concepts such as “slips-and-capture errors” and “inattentional blindness,” along with equipment positioning and an absence of stress-inoculation training, became driving factors in the controversial case.”

According to Tulsa police officials, the cops in Tulsa are the real victims.  The officer who shot the alleged perpetrator was a victim of "slips and capture," a junk science theory used to excuse officers from exercising due care in stress situations.  BUT, A local officer had no problem calling this junk science in to defend the officer accused in the shooting.  He indicated that his investigation of the shooting led him to conclude that the deputy committed no crime-- it was an obvious instance of "slips and capture."

This, by the way, is a great defense.  As in, "I didn't mean to shoot my wife during the argument, I was just reaching for a tire iron to shut her up."

As for the officer who said those horrid three words,police officials indicate the officer was a victim of "auditory exclusion," a condition (like tunnel vision) that is sometimes associated with an adrenalin rush. He didn’t know the man was shot, didn’t hear the shot, didn’t hear the man’s screams, so he was just trash talking a perp.  

Weird the way that works, a shot is fired, the victim is screaming he has been shot, but the officer only hears the much softer dying plea that the victim is losing his breath and then responds with casual cruelty.

So, according to Tulsa police officials, the officers are the victims, and the death was just "one of those accidents that happen"--nothing to be done and no one really to blame, except maybe the fates.

Oklahoma has never been a hotbed of progressive thinking or a place where the public demands sensible responses to police or political misconduct.  Somehow, in the last few decades in the prairie states, good sense seems to have gone out the door with the last vestiges of the Democratic Party.  Oklahoma is right there in thick of that pack.

What police officials in Tulsa don't recognize is that they are not trying to sell their tired bullshit to a bunch of red meat Okies whose first response to this tragedy will that the victim "shouldna run."  

These officials are now trying to feed their barnyard crap to a nation armed with 24 hour news channels, commentators who, unlike FOX Noise, often know s**t from shinola, and a public who are learning that cops telling the truth about violent encounters happens about as often as the dish running away with the spoon and the cow jumping over the moon.

Those weak-assed defenses of the indefensible won't save Tulsa police, hopefully, from the nation ridicule and public thrashing they deserve, which might set them on the road to reform.  

As for the trash talker, he needs to be someplace where they can replace his missing empathy and where he doesn't carry a shield and a gun.  

The shooter (For God’s sake, who puts a gun in the hands of a 73 year old insurance executive and sends him out to chase suspects?) gets to have a court decide his fate (probably with a guy on the bench who is just a bit younger and belongs to the same country club).

Discuss

We have somewhere around 500,000 sworn local police officers in this country.  They have literally millions of encounters with citizens every day.  So, when we see a North Charlotte officer kill a fleeing suspect who is no threat or we watch ten officers beat down a suspect who led them on a wild chase, we always hear the chorus of “a few rotten apples.”  We also hear cries that the media ignore all the good things police do and unfairly focus only on a few sensational circumstances of potential wrongdoing.

The claim about the media’s willingness to devour stories of police misconduct is true.  It also misses the point. The media will focus on anything sensational.  They are equal opportunity voyeurs and panderers.   Plane lands safely; it is not news. Plane crashes; it is news.  Pilot safely lands disabled plane and saves passengers; it is news, too. The media will always line up to cover any type of violence or extraordinary police action. Cop makes an uneventful traffic stop; it is not news.  Cop exchanges gunfire with a criminal and stops a bad guy; it hits the news;  cop kills a fleeing suspect; it hits the news.

What is different is the result of covering different types of events.  Cop stops a bad guy; no one holds a demonstration.  Cop, from a department that systematically mistreats men of color, kills a black man, then people may (not always though) hit the streets. That is just the nature of things in our world. Griping about this dynamic and calling it unfair is the rough equivalent of being angry about gravity.

The “rotten apple” argument is different.  To say that almost all police interact peaceably with citizens everyday is true, but it is trivial. The real test of policing in our society is how police handle that small percentage of encounters that are not peaceable.  Unfortunately, what we see of those encounters makes it hard to accept the “rotten apple” argument.  

Why?  Think about the troublesome encounters that have been publicized. In none of those did we see officers try to intervene to protect citizens from other officers.  Whether it is a beating on a New York street, in Detroit, or in the hills in California, we do not see an officer in any of those encounters intervene to protect the citizen.

Does that mean that all cops are brutal.  No, what it means is that the police cultural norm of “us against the world” is bolted down firmly in place.  What does an officer get for bucking other officers’ bad judgment, over-reactions, or callousness?  The simple answer is -- nothing good.  

That, for me, is the most horrifying aspect of all this.  Whether an officer is rotten or not makes no difference.  To other officers, she or he is a member of the tribe, and the tribe protects its own. If an officer behaves badly, viciously, or callously, others officers are more likely to join in than they are to save us from mistreatment.The implications of this unsettling reality bring us to the real question.

How does one intervene in this vicious circle? Only one alternative seems feasible, we must open it up. The only answer is outside observers and investigators.  No restrictions on filming police and ubiquitous dashboard cameras and body cameras are the part of the answer.  These will of course be supplemented by private citizen videos and CCTV footage. Outside investigators, special prosecutors, and grand juries must become the standard way in which charges of police of misconduct will be resolved.

Sadly, all the light that will illuminate and hopefully reform police practices in this country will be shined on the problem from outside the occupation.  Cultural norms and bonds within the occupation make it impossible for the police to shine their own flashlights into the darker corners of their tribal lands and heal their own problems.

Discuss

What is "American Exceptionalism?" At its core, it is the belief that we, as the first "new" nation, threw off the shackles of our European heritage and made ourselves and our nation anew.  

It seems now that our American Exceptionalism has devolved into exceptional gullibility and an exceptional lack of the rudiments of logical thinking in matters of public concern.

I do not expect readers simply to accept my arguments without presenting evidence.  So, I will move along to a few examples.

OBAMA IS NOT AMERICAN-- About 19 percent of Americans (approx 60 million) believe President Obama is probably or definitively not a citizen.

IRAQ HAD WMDs-- 42 percent of Americans (maybe 120 million) believe that we found active WMDs during the invasion.

EVOLUTION-- One-third of Americans (approx 100 million) don't believe in "the theory" of evolution.h

ARMED REVOLUTION-- Roughly 30 percent (96 million) believe that armed revolt may be necessary in the next few years to protect liberties.  Another 60 million weren't sure.

MOON LANDING-- Seven percent of Americans (over 22 million) think the moon landing was faked

To go for broke, here are some poll results on how many Americans accept popular conspiracy theories

http://www.thewire.com/...

116 million believe global warming is a hoax. (I want the list of these folks so I can sell them land on those Alaskan islands that were submerged due to the Arctic melt).

Almost 66 million believe aliens landed in Roswell in 1948. (People in NM are sure they all came from TX in pick-ups pulling trailers ).

Almost 44 million believe in Bigfoot. (However, entrepreneurial attempts to sell Bigfoot repellent to campers have, to date, been quite unsuccessful.)

41 million believe Obama is the antichrist. (Well, there goes the "Johnny Rotten is the Antichrist" fan club's hopes for growth).

Over 12 million Americans believe that Lizard People control American politics (Got to say that this one depends heavily on your definition of Lizard People.  If we are talking Lizard people like Ted Cruz and the Koch brothers, then it is entirely plausible and these proud few are quite perceptive.)

We, as a nation, seem to believe that Exceptionalism means we have a unique right to ignore logic, evidence, and history.  Everybody else must be bound by common sense, the laws of nature, and the rudiments of logic--but we Americans are the exception.

As Robert Dahl put, "politics is but a sideshow in the great circus of life."  What worries me is that now the sideshow clowns and the slick hucksters seem to have abandoned the circus and taken over our 24 hour news channels, talk radio, state government, and the U.S. Congress.  They, their misinformation, and their shameless pandering to ordinary people's fears and misconceptions now dominate far too much of public discourse in this country.

These people do not elevate the public discourse.  Instead, they make a mockery of it, eroding the very foundation of democracy.

Discuss

If guns don't kill people, then why make guns inoperable at NRA convention? [see earlier post by ruscle on 7 April]

Those paying attention will note that no arms on display at the NRA convention will be operable.  This is a very reasonable stance given the likelihood of an accidental discharge or a possible murder-suicide scenario with 70,000 people and thousands of firearms in the same place.  

This action does, however, puts the lie to the NRA's long trumpeted stance that "guns don't kill people."  If guns don't kill people, then why not have fully-functioning firearms on display?  

Only those convention-goers who carry in accord with the law will be allowed to carry in the convention center. In addition, some part of the convention activities (at this point) will be gun-free.

As the NRA recognizes, at its own convention, 'people with guns' do kill people, and one should exercise reasonable precautions when people have access to firearms.

What the NRA and it fellow-travelers don't admit is that they are perfectly willing for people at large to be at risk of injury from an accidental firearm discharge or the intentionally destructive acts of a person with a firearm who is suffering from a mental disorder or anger management problems.  It is only in their own backyard that they believe in reasonable restraints on gun access.

Legislators' questions for NRA reps in hearings.

If guns don't kill people, then why did the NRA require that exhibitors only display inoperable firearms?

If the NRA doesn't believe in background checks and licensing, then why did the NRA restrict carry at the convention to those persons carrying in accord with State laws, which usually require background checks.

If the NRA believes that thousands of operable weapons may present a danger to 70,000 gun enthusiasts, then why don't they support legislation to protect the roughly 320 million Americans from any danger presented by the roughly 300 million operable firearms in civilian hands in the USA?  

Discuss

Proud to sign SB95 protecting life at its most vulnerable stage with bipartisan support

http://www.kansascity.com/...

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation making Kansas the first state to ban a second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

Brownback signed the measure Tuesday in a private ceremony at the governor's residence. A photo posted by his office on Twitter shows him flanked by anti-abortion leaders and large photos of fetuses.

The new law, which takes effect July 1, bans the dilation and evacuation procedure, and redefines the method as "dismemberment abortion."

-----roughly 9 percent of terminations in Kansas involve dilation and evacuation----------

Nationally, 11 percent of poor children (0-18) are uninsured; in Kansas that percentage is 22 (twice the national average)

The proportion of poor children covered by Medicaid nationally is 65 percent; in Kansas that percentage is 35 percent.

I guess folks in Kansas like fetuses more than children.

Discuss

Where should you fire assault rifles?  Who should own machine guns?

Face it, folks love to shoot guns, especially powerful ones!  We can't change that. So, we let them.  Let them (adults only, you nitwits) go to Orlando, or Arizona, or to Tuscaloosa, around the corner, or wherever.  When they are there, let them fire whatever gun the owner can let them use under federal license.  

Let's don't be pikers, let them throw grenades, shoot bazookas, or run a box of ammo thru an old MG-42.  Let them shoot hell out of all the zombie or alien simulations they want. No people targets, please--way bad example.

In fact, theme parks are the only place anyone should have access to assault-style weapons or weapons with high capacity magazines.  Let's treat military style weapons and their accessories the way they deserve to be treated.

They should be treated like we treated dangerous animals in zoos in earlier eras. They are dangerous, so we make sure they stay confined and don't get out of their cages and into public spaces where they might hurt people.

Discuss

Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 08:30 AM PDT

Sherrod Brown for VP? Think About It.

by ATexican

Looking for a rock solid progressive to run with Hillary?

Brown is "the one"

Ohio is always an important swing state and he wins it.
Brown is ranked as one of the eight most liberal Senators by National Journal.
He gets an F from the NRA.
Strong supporter of LGBT rights
Voted against the Iraq War
In 2012, Beat Rove and cronies who tossed mega bucks into campaign (tough race though).
Strong supporter of organized labor.
Fervent enemy of big banks.

Oh, Hillary has proven chops in foreign affairs, Brown is ranking member on Senate Banking and has domestic policy down cold. And, he is articulate, populist, young, and kicks-ass on campaign trail.

Discuss

When the judge struck down part of The Safe Act he noted that the limitations the law set on magazine size were arbitrary.  What is a reasonable size for a firearm magazine for civilian use?  Most gun safety advocates don't like these sorts of issues.  They seem like discussions about arranging the deck chairs on The Titanic.  But, guns are part of the warp and weft of our culture.  So, the issue really becomes -- who gets what guns to take where and when?  That is the topic of this extended diary.

 

Continue Reading

Go to this URL

http://mediamatters.org/...

Video of potential gun buyers learning history of firearms they are considering for purchase.  Every gun owner should see this. Watch it and weep.

Local gun organization is asking for an investigation because some of the guns for sale may violate NY Safe Act standards. The guns were all fake, but can you say "irony?"  Gunners have been attacking the Safe Act since day one.

Also check out organizations website--States United To Prevent Gun Violence.  Hurray for them!

Discuss
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