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The polls closed at 5:00 PM EST, 10:00 PM local time. It will be a few hours before we have any results at all, and the first real bellwether seats will come at around 9:00 PM tonight.

There are two sets of exit polls, one set is literally unbelievable, and it comes from the BBC:

Conservatives          306, 20 short of a majority
Labour                    239
SNP                        58, of Scotland's 59 Seats
Liberal Democrat     10
Plaid Cymru              4
Green                       2
Ukip                         2
Others                    19

With 10 LibDems, and 10 Unionists in Northern Ireland, Cameron would have the numbers he needed to potentially form a government. But in Scotland, in this scenario, the SNP will have taken all but one seat. If that's the case, and the Tories still end up running things, Britain is in trouble. The union itself is in trouble.

At the same time, there might not be the numbers to form a coalition. If the Tories are kept out by the anti-tory votes, if the Lib Dems don't go for a Tory government I can see this resulting in a second general election very, very quickly. I don't know how Labour could form a functional government, as they'd need the votes of almost every other party with the exception of the Tories and UKIP to get anything at all done.

That being said, these numbers are incredibly unlikely. I do not think the SNP did that well. I do not think that they'll take 58 seats. There's a second projection, from YouGov, which I find far more accurate:

CON - 284
LAB - 263
SNP - 48
LDEM - 31
UKIP - 2
GRN - 1

This was done by YouGov, which premiered the system they used during the last election. They build up lists of people that they poll, and when the polls close, they call them. They whip up a demographic sample the moment the calls come back in, and they publish those figures. This was extremely accurate. And this poll matches up well with the previous polls put out by most other pollsters. I don't think there was some extreme jump towards the conservatives in the last 24 hours.

Bellwethers

To tell the UK Wide picture, our first result in a Labor/Tory marginal will be the town of Nuneaton.

I'm actually really upset with the way the Labour party has handled the election in this seat. Standing here for Labour is a 22 year old candidate who defeated a Labour Party insider in for the candidacy entirely by having a massive presence in the local community through volunteer and charity work. Vicky Fowler is a dynamic, progressive young woman and one of the most interesting people running in the entire Labour party. For some mind-boggling reason, they've kept this gem of a candidate sequestered away from cameras and the press.  Fowler is trying to take down Tory Incumbent Marcus Jones.

If this seat falls to Labour, as one of the real battleground seats, then it will tell us just how well the Tories' Jockalypse campaign has gone. In this constituency, they've put up a massive election billboard showing Alex Salmond in a stereotypical burglar's black sweater stealing rolls of cash out of someone's pocket. This has matched the conservative campaign across middle England.

I really wish Fowler well in this seat. She's a young, talented woman who can do a hell of a lot for the British left if she can just get herself elected.

Nuneaton is going to be a squeaker, it and other battleground seats will start to give us a picture of what might happen.

This result is expected at around 9:00 EST.

So too, the first real bellwethers in Scotland will be Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath, along with Rutherglen and Hamilton West. They'll be in around 10:00

Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath is Gordon Brown's old seat. Local polling suggests it will be SNP. Rutherglen and Hamilton West is a Labour seat which is expected to stay Labour.  The results in these seats will tell us just how high the SNP Tsunami will be.

Follow me across the jump, where I'll post data from the first two results shortly.

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Britain has its own sort of corporate, right wing media. In the UK it's newspapers that tend to be partisan, and broadcasters who tend to be a little more balanced. We often have the opposite here, and unfortunately, our sensationalist tendency is hurting UK broadcasting. But that's another story.

So considering how awful the British Press are, I thought it would be fun to describe the SNP using the ruthlessly anti-SNP press. Follow me across the jump, and let's get imbalanced!

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The polling is pretty clear. Neither Labour nor the Tories are expected to get an overall majority. Here's the BBC's election projection for tonight:

The target is 326 seats. That's how many votes are needed in the house of commons to form a government. So when no one party gets that, multiple parties must come together to try and cobble together a government. If after a period of time no government can form, there will be another snap election. I'll explain that in detail on Friday once the vote is counted.

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party of England and Wales have already agreed to cooperate with each other after the election, forming a Progressive Bloc across Britain. Their agreement created what is so far the most iconic image of the 2015 campaign, and one which is pretty indicative of the way things will go after the election:

Leanne Wood (left) Natalie Bennett (Center, Obscured) and Nicola Sturgeon embrace at the end of the leaders' debates. Sturgeon was declared the outright winner in the aftermath, and became the most popular politician in the United Kingdom.
Currently, it looks like the Progressive Bloc, the SNP, Greens of England and Wales, and Plaid Cymru, are set to take a combined 58 seats. Combined with support for Labour from the SDLP, that means that Labour could form a government with only themselves, and support from the Progressive Bloc and the SDLP. Labour will be able to freeze out the Liberal Democrats if it suits their liking, as the Lib Dems have wanted to pull Labour even further to the right on some issues. For what it's worth, I think the polls are pretty accurate here, and I'm fairly certain that this is what we'll be looking at on Friday.

Of course, if things go impossibly well for the SNP and Plaid Cymru, you'll see a Progressive Bloc that includes Six Plaid Cymru seats, 59 SNP seats, and one or two Green Party seats, too. This would give the progressive bloc a total of 66 seats, or 10% of the seats in the House of Commons. Under this formulation, Labour wouldn't need to talk to anyone besides the Progressive Bloc to form a government.

As far as the Irish parties are concerned, the left wing Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) would never support the Tories, saying in their election campaign that they are the only Northern Irish party that can turn back the Tory welfare cuts. The Northern Irish projections currently see the Anti-Tory SDLP and Sinn Fein taking 8 seats in Northern Ireland. Neither would support the Tories under any circumstances, with Sinn Fein refusing to even take seats in the house of commons to vote for anyone, as they see the United Kingdom as a foreign country occupying Ireland. I doubt very seriously that they'd be willing to vote for Miliband either. The DUP is set to take 9 Northern Irish seats. It's the more conservative "Unionist" party, but it has announced that it would be willing to work with both Labour and the Conservatives. So there's no outright loyalty there.

If the polls are right, there are enough votes for Miliband to form a government without even speaking to the Lib Dems, who will no longer have kingmaker status. On this Razor's edge, the Conservatives won't be able to form a majority either, even if the Liberal Democrats deign to work with them. The votes from Northern Ireland will not save the Cameron government. With DUP and Lib Dem votes, the Tories still fall 10 seats short of forming a majority. And there's no guarantee that either party would work with the Tories.

This means that at this point, there is no math by which the Conservatives will be able to maintain their government on Friday. Even if the DUP and the Lib Dems came out to support them, Labour would still be able to cobble together a majority vote of confidence.

By this math, the only way that David Cameron would be able to keep his government is if the Labour party voted to put him in power.

So it looks at this point like we'll be seeing a Labour minority government.

There will be no formal coalition, either, and this is important to understand.

First of all, a coalition would be far too complicated to function. It would be a rainbow coalition of Irish parties. It would mean the SNP being given positions of national authority, and being part of the government.

Most damaging for the SNP and PC, it would mean that their fights with Labour would not be public. It's in their interests to prove to their own constituents that they're standing up for their values, especially when that means that they're standing up against the Labour party, which has drifted towards the right since Blair.

Ultimately it's far more important for the SNP to be able to help their Progressive Bloc allies prove themselves than it is for them to ensure a stable Miliband government. Most especially, they'll want to help back Caroline Lucas, the current Green Party MP. They will want to help her have her voice heard in the house of commons, so that the people of England see a progressive alternative to the Labour Party. A stronger Green party ultimately means a more left wing Britain, which means a stronger economy.

There's been a lot of politicians making claims of doom and gloom, such as Lord Ashdown's claim that the SNP are a "raiding party" who are coming south "to burn Westminster down."

This is ridiculous. It's not in the interests of Scotland, independent or otherwise, to make Westminster any more dysfunctional than it already is. An independent Scotland would rely on England as the largest foreign market for its goods and services. If they wrecked things simply to gain independence, they'd only be hurting their own economy, and wrecking their relationship with their biggest trading partner.

Sturgeon's real plan is much smarter, and much more interesting than some attempt to wreck a political body. Sturgeon wants to fix British Politics.

Over the next few years, you'll see sturgeon lend support to both Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru, and Natalie Bennett of the Green Party of England and Wales. Pasokification has reached Scotland, wiping out the Labour party. It's in the interests of the SNP to encourage Pasokification in England and Wales.

Their long term strategy ultimately will be to show the English and Welsh left that their most progressive options are Plaid Cymru in Wales, and the Green Party in England. As they build an Electoral Alliance in the UK, and help people like Caroline Lucas, the only Green Party MP, prove that they can be effective in government, and prove that they can have a significant effect on the direction of Britain, the British Left can begin to see the Green Party as the best option for a Progressive Anti-Tory vote.

As that happens, the Labour Party would be forced either to return to their historic roots on the left, or die, and see the Green Party take their place as the party of choice for the left.

That's all long term though. In the short term, you'd see the greens growing their influence in the more left wing parts of England, and Plaid Cymru growing their influence in Wales. As that process moves forward you'll see Labour put in a position where it couldn't hope to form a Majority Government at all. You'd see the Tories almost permanently locked out of government as well.

I can't say what would happen to the Liberal Democrats in this circumstance.

But because this is the tactic, it is absolutely not in the interests of the SNP to either "Burn Westminster" by intentionally making it dysfunctional, nor is it in their interest to enter into a formal coalition, where they wouldn't be able to prove to the rest of Britain that there really are other, left wing, progressive options.

If you're wondering why the Labour Party are doing so poorly, check out my coverage from yesterday. I'll have today's podcast with Tom Cheevers of Netroots Radio posted here later.
Discuss
The UK goes to the polls on Thursday to decide who their representatives in parliament will be. It's a tough election, with no party slated in the polls to take an overall majority.

I'll be making a post every single day, with an election Liveblog on Thursday, and a final look at the results on Friday, as the dust settles.

Yesterday, Ed Miliband unveiled a stone plinth into which he'd carved his election pledges. The problem isn't that people don't believe these pledges, though that's also true, the problem is that these pledges either take Britain in the wrong direction at a slower pace, or simply don't go far enough. I'll take you through the Labour party's record in government and opposition, and touch on each of these points.

Essentially, though, the Labour Party has since Blair moved rightward, and now occupies a space significantly to the Right of even the US Democratic party on various vitally important issues.

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The Baltimore Sun made the following claim about the riots on Monday:

The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film "The Purge," about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

The flier included an image of protesters smashing the windshield of a police car Saturday during a march spurred by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this month after being arrested by city police.

They were not alone. Many of the broadcasters made claims that there was some kind of Purge intended for Monday. The Purge was trending on twitter.

Now, I have spent the past week digging through social media posts, and I can find no evidence to support the claim that Baltimore high school students planned any sort of action for Monday. It's not just that I can't find them talking about a purge before the riot started (there's plenty of stuff posted after 3:00 PM) I can't find them making posts about planning anything at all for Monday.

The image tweeted by a number of organizations and described by the Baltimore sun is this one:

I can't find a single account tweeting this image until after 3:00 on Monday.

The Hashtag #Fdl mentioned in the above image does not produce the above image on any social media search engine, nor any image which is even tangentially related to a riot on Monday.

The Hashtag #Purge produces thousands of images from bulimic women talking about food and suicide, but it does not produce any results relevant to a protest from last Monday.

These were only two of around a hundred hashtags and keywords I used to search through Topsy, Gramfeed, and other social media search engines which plug directly into social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, the latter being the place this image allegedly came from. I searched for the Baltimore protests, and then searched through most of the Hashtags used to discuss it.

I found only one image posted to Instagram in Baltimore which mentioned the unrest on Monday before it happened:

The officer at the mall just said it's suppose to start here at mondawmin and go downtown... Tell Everybody.
"The officer at the mall" told people that someone was planning a riot. That is all I could find. A secondhand statement where someone is quoting a supposed "officer." That person could be a security guard, for all we know. This image was posted to Instagram several times before the unrest began.

All we have hear is hearsay and rumor. At this point, this is all the evidence I can find of the allegedly "planned" riot.

In the hours I spent looking through every single Instagram photo I could find from Baltimore last weekend, I did see a lot of food, a lot of memes, and a ton of racism. Things like screengrabs from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" with a caption reading "Welcome to Baltimore." These images were all posted before the unrest, which started at 3:00 PM. After the unrest began, there are a ton of posts mentioning a "Purge" but nothing from before 3:00 PM which would lead me to believe that anything was planned by High School Students.

I did, in my research, find other images relating to a purge:

It was a joke, and was treated as such. At face value it appears to be a call for rioting after the Baltimore/Washington game. No such riots occurred on the date in question.

Someone took that image and made another joke post implying that there would be a purge on Saturday night:

This was not the riot on Monday  the 27th. Nor was this planning for the riot on monday. Nor did the account which posted this image interact with any other accounts in a way that could be considered "planning."

It was another hoax, just like all the rest. It was posted just after Midnight, early Sunday morning.

Snopes has a lot to say about these "purge" rumors.

They've happened quite a lot, and never turned out to be anything other than a joke.

If this unrest was in fact planned, it does not look like High School kids on social media were the ones doing the planning.

But maybe I've just been tricked. Maybe a bunch of high school kids whose Instagram accounts sometimes contain pornography, underage drinking, and marijuana use had the presence of mind to coordinate and universally delete every single image and post they'd made about their dastardly plans for a riot. Maybe they then convinced everyone who responded or reacted to these dastardly plans to go ahead and delete their responses, too. That's not completely impossible.

The laws of physics just might stop working tomorrow. After all, who can know the future? It's not completely impossible, and no one could say for sure.

Baltimore high school students might just be better at operational security than the Navy Seals, whose raid on Osama Bin Laden's headquarters got tweeted by a random witness in Pakistan. Even Seal Team 6 couldn't prevent their covert actions from being outed on social media accidentally. But maybe some Baltimore high schoolers figured out how to leave no electronic trace behind.

If these kids really were planning a riot, then it's extremely likely that images like the one above would have been all over social media, with a ton of angry responses as well.

At this point, I can't find any of that posted before 3:00 PM on Monday. There's a ton of it afterwards.

So let me be extremely clear about what I am saying, and what I am not saying.

What I am saying:

I can't find any evidence of the "Purge" flier allegedly distributed by Baltimore HS kids until after the riot was underway. Nor can I find any evidence of a planned riot. This is all I am saying.

What I am not saying:

I am not accusing anyone of lying or fabricating things. I'm simply saying that I, as someone who works with social media, can't find any evidence of this stuff on social media.

What this means:

If it turns out that these purge rumors were as false as the "credible threat" rumors about gangs, then the stories being told about the Baltimore police having themselves started the riots on Monday begin to look true.

We don't yet know what happened. But there are some very specific questions that need answers.

1. Where does this purge poster come from? Who created it? Who shared it first?

2. Who is the Baltimore sun's source for these purge claims?

3. If the source is the police, then do they have the information I asked for above?

I'm not yet willing to say that the police started this riot, as others are alleging, because I don't have hard evidence of this.

I am also not willing to believe that this riot was started by angry high school kids, who planned it in advance, because I have absolutely no evidence of that either.

I am happy to say that I don't know what happened here until I actually have evidence of what happened. But when there's so little evidence, it makes me think that a lot of other people who are talking about Monday don't know anything either.

I'm going to keep digging, and I'm going to try to do it from an evidence-based perspective. I'm also going to say that if other journalists were using the same evidence-based perspective that I'm using, there would not have been the rush to judgement we saw in the reporting on this topic.

It looks like our lazy, corporate media is happy to line up behind the official police account of the situation, and report this as fact, because it means they don't have to do any actual work.

But I don't know. Maybe the Baltimore Sun has some screenshots of accounts sharing that flier. I sure would like to see the evidence, if this is the case.

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The polls open UK wide in one week. But the most interesting part of the election is happening in Scotland.

Here's a map of Scotland in 2010 along with the most recent Polling projections for Scotland:

Click to Enlarge. Based on latest Ipsos/Mori poll. Map created at May2015.com/seats

The SNP is the Scottish National Party. Their leader, Nicola Sturgeon, is the Elizabeth Warren of the UK. She is the most popular politician, UK wide. She and her party just suffered a crushing defeat in the independence referendum. But today, every single poll shows the trendlines moving in the SNP's direction. They have now eclipsed the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party in the UK, and if current trends continue, they could eclipse the conservatives, and become the UK's second largest party by registered voters/dues paying party members.

My own projections show the SNP taking between 30 seats and 53 seats. I don't think they'll get quite the sweep seen here. This year will be a recalibration for pollsters because of the large number of new voters who registered to take part in IndyRef. I actually expect the Tories to pick up one or two seats, as ideological unionists flee the Labour party like rats from a sinking ship.

But I do expect the withered husk that is the Labour party in Scotland to largely be swept away by an oncoming progressive, anti-colonial wave.

So how the hell did it come to this? How did a party see an absolute rejection of it's core policy only to become the largest party in Scotland?

Read more below.

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Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 08:16 AM PDT

The history of Riots in Baltimore

by OllieGarkey

One of the things that really stuck out in Monday's reporting on the unrest in Baltimore was a statement by Daryll DeSousa, the chief of patrol.

He said in a press briefing that Baltimore was seeing "unprecedented" levels of violence. That's just not true.

You see, Baltimore has a proud history of seeing widespread rioting over the deep divisions between citizens of the city. Maybe not a proud history, but certainly a long one.

The very first riot recorded in Baltimore was in 1807, when a doctor for what would become the University if Maryland School of Medicine saw a school he'd built burned to the ground. A man named John B. Dalvage had built a small operating studio to teach young surgeons about human anatomy through the dissection of Cadavers. A similar riot occurred in New York, in 1788, and like the Maryland riot was carried out by poor whites, whose families bodies were being stolen for medical research.

When the local community heard about this, they freaked out about the desecration of bodies, and were afraid of "Body Snatching" so they burned the school down. Later, the state built a full-on European style operating studio, which included a domed roof with an oculus window to shine natural light onto a cadaver so that students in the stadium-style seating could see what was going on. You can read more about that interesting bit of Baltimore history (including stories of the University of Maryland smuggling bodies to schools in other states in barrels of Whisky) at travel blog

It should be noted that Slaves bodies were often donated, but when simply buried, were a favored target for body snatching. Slaves weren't exactly allowed to join riots and protests over the theft of their families bodies, so the people doing this medical research knew that there would be no repercussions for the theft. Think about that for a moment: the chattel slavery system in the US was so horrific that you couldn't even die to escape the humiliation. Consider too, that even by 1807, Baltimore had a growing population of free Blacks, and you can see where a lot of tension over body snatching came from.

The next riot was probably the most destructive event in the United States prior to the civil war. The Bank Riot of 1835.

On March 29, 1834, the Bank of Maryland failed. This was almost entirely due to fraud, speculation, and corruption on the part of the bank directors. The Maryland public lost millions of dollars, not adjusted for inflation. Millions of 1854 dollars.

The people of Baltimore and Maryland proper waited 17 months for a financial settlement, which never came. Meanwhile the bank directors were still living large in their mansions, their own wealth very well protected. On August 6th, 1835, a small group of angry Baltimoreans threw bricks through the windows of Reverdy Johnson, who was intentionally obstructing the process of providing a financial settlement in order to protect his personal fortune. The Mayor ordered thirty armed horse troopers to guard Johnson's house the next night. They successfully blocked a mob from reaching Johnson's home.

So the mob went to the home of Bank-Director-and-Judge John Glenn, who was helping Johnson obstruct a settlement. Glenn feared for his own wealth, as well, and had an interest in preventing any settlement from going through. The mob partially demolished his home before the horsemen arrived to intervene. There was a tense standoff which lasted the rest of the night. On Sunday, the 9th, the mob returned again, and it had grown to a group of hundreds, if not thousands. They quickly overpowered the guards, and tore down Johnson's home, piling his property in the street, and setting it alight.

With the tacit support of the majority of the population who refused to interfere, or aided the mob, they took complete control of the city of Baltimore, destroying the property of other bank directors, until Revolutionary war hero Sam Smith, then 83, was able to assemble a force of 3,000 militiamen and restore order. Federal troops arrived a few days later, but Smith had things under control.

The leaders of the mob were Jailed, the bank directors were compensated to the tune of $100,000 because of the state's failure to protect their property. Reverdy Johnson went on to become a pro-slavery Senator and US Attorney General under both Zachary Taylor and Millard Filmore. It seems a corrupt banker is exactly who you want becoming chief law enforcement officer in the US. The rigorous enforcement of the "Fugitive Slave Act" by the federal government, as well as the blind eye turned to free blacks being kidnapped into slavery, was in part the doing of Reverdy Johnson, one of the great unknown villains of American History.

Next came the Know-Nothing riot of 1856. And 1857. And 1858. And 1859. Gangs of ethnic nationalist, anti-immigrant lunatics who are the spiritual and political ancestors of the tea party were the main forces involved in this particular series of riots and counter-riots.

The "American Party" as it was called, and the gangs that supported it, were involved in a number of violent confrontations with Democratic Party supporters, who responded to being violently attacked by gangs with an enthusiastic violence of their own. Rioting, assassination, murder, the destruction of ballot boxes and the intimidation of voters continued for four years until the fervor of the Know-Nothings finally petered out.

Remember, the Democratic Party was the pro-slavery, pro-wealth right wing party of this particular era. The Know-Nothings were proto-fascist and ethnic nationalist radicals who were well known for their attacks on Irish Catholics, and Germans of any religious persuasion. It was a scary time in American politics. The Know-Nothings would eventually fold in with the Republican party, to that Party's permanent detriment.

The next riot was carried out by the Democratic party, as well as (as far as we know) Confederate spies. The Riot of 1861 was one of the deadliest riots in American history, and the final spark which set the nation on the path to all-out civil war.

Baltimore had at this time one of the largest populations of free blacks, around 25,000, as well as a huge Abolitionist population, as well as pro-slavery Unionists. In response to the tensions, these groups organized themselves into the "Minutemen," while the Confederate Sympathizers called themselves "National Volunteers."

The tension came to a boil just days after the bloodless battle of Ft Sumter. It began when Pro-Slavery Democrats and Confederate sympathizers attacked the 6th Massachusetts infantry as it was leaving a train station to march to the defense of Washington.  While the battle of Ft Sumter saw no deaths on either side, the Baltimore Riots saw the first deaths of the civil war.

Ambushing the infantry column from alleys and barricades, firing pistols and throwing stones, the Confederate sympathizers killed six Massachusetts infantrymen, and wounded 36. The infantry responded with their rifles and bayonets, killing 12 Confederate Sympathizers, and wounding an unknown number.

Militias at the time were primarily used by states for Union Busting and the restoration of order during times of civil unrest. Some of these soldiers had experience in street fighting, and all of them had the training to deal with it. They very quickly dispersed the crowd, once they'd recovered from the initial attack.

This riot, ultimately, was what propelled North and South into all-out war.

No one had died at Ft Sumter, and so a peaceful resolution was still possible, and still being sought by Lincoln and others. But in the Baltimore Riot, people on both sides had died. The Confederates called it a Massacre. The Unionists an ambush, an act of terrorism. Passions ignited, and the civil war itself began.

Running street battles between Confederates and Minutemen began, until Martial Law was declared and the Maryland militia marched in to restore order. Maryland begged Lincoln not to send any more troops through Baltimore. Which was ridiculous, as Baltimore was the main railway hub by which Washington DC and the south could be reached. There was no way for Union Soldiers to take up defensive positions along the Potomac without crossing through Maryland.

Lincoln started routing soldiers through Annapolis, by Sea hoping to avoid the unrest in Baltimore. The first soldiers to land in order to reach Annapolis Junction were the Massachusetts 8th militia, another veteran militia unit. Both the Mayor of Annapolis and the Governor of Maryland protested, and attempted to stop the soldiers from landing in Annapolis. General Benjamin Butler, the Union commander, responded by saying that he had to land, because his soldiers were hungry. The Mayor responded that no one in his town would sell them anything to eat. Butler responded that Armed men didn't necessarily need to purchase food. The veiled threat ended the standoff.

Eventually, Union troops were marched into Baltimore, and the state officials attempting to prevent the passage of soldiers were arrested, including the entire Baltimore Police Department, who had disabled train lines through Baltimore by order of the Mayor.

Baltimore remained under martial law for the duration of the war. The officials and police were released without charge.

There was rioting in Maryland during the national railroad strike of 1877, which saw riots in New York and Pennsylvania as well, and the destruction of railroad monopoly property. Similarly, there were riots in 1968, after the assassination of MLK. Both periods saw some of the larger and more sustained times of unrest in Baltimore, compared to other parts of the country.

So that's the history of Rioting in Baltimore. There were armed gangs fighting over elections, attacks on deeply corrupt public figures, destruction of body-snatching operations, and a deadly act of civil violence which ultimately started the Civil War.

And yet, in this city which should be famous for some of the worst street violence in American History, and the beginning of the Civil War, the police have the gall to call a few broken windows and a few fires "Unprecedented" levels of violence. This isn't true.

Poverty in Baltimore has always been an extreme problem for the city. From the theft of corpses, to the theft of bank deposits, to the theft of votes, to Union busting, to the discriminatory housing practices of the 20th century and the predatory lending practices of the 21st, Baltimore Maryland has always had the problems which led to the most recent period of unrest. It has always been this way, and the citizens of Baltimore at various points in history, both white and black, have revolted at the situation they've had to deal with.

Knowing this history, and knowing the economic reality of the United States, I don't honestly have a lot of hope that this trend is going to change anytime soon. There are too many deep divisions and disagreements on housing, on taxes, on whether the founders really meant what they said when they put that line about providing for the national welfare in the Constitution. We probably wont agree on these questions any time soon.

But maybe we can all at least agree that the police need to stop murdering young black men. The murder of American children by the state is really something we ought to all come out against.

Discuss

Eternal Hope is right in the contention that military advisers in Ukraine can snowball. We're in a dangerous situation. Obama's focus on diplomacy is the right one, and I have to admit that military advisers make me nervous.

The main issue here is that we have to act for three extremely important reasons: Iran, Pakistan, and India.

Ukraine is the only nation on this planet to willingly give up its nuclear deterrent, in exchange for the promise that they would be perpetually protected from invasion and military attack by the UN, NATO, Russia, and China. Everyone promised Ukraine that they would be protected.

So if we want Iran to be willing to give up its nuclear program, or India or Pakistan, we have to prove that we intend to keep that promise. We have to isolate Russia. We have to respond.

The Diplomatic options, the economic options such as crashing the price of oil, they're working. And there's a worry that in response, Russia will step up its invasion. And let's call this what it is: an invasion. It's one that's happening in a cloak and dagger fashion, but this is nothing new to warfare.

In the 16th to 19th centuries, imperialist powers used proxies for conquest. Famous proxies have included Privateers like Francis Drake, who captured Portuguese and Spanish treasure ships, greatly enriching England. The English reponse was simple: It's not our fault that your navy can't defend itself from our private citizens. If our private citizens attack your navy, shoot back. Sink them. We're not going to war over some crazy privateer we had nothing to do with. Similarly, the East India Company was set up to allow Britain to wage open warfare on every single European power without actually risking an invasion of Britain. The Company was a proxy that allowed for imperial growth without risking an actual war.

Now, the Russians are doing the same thing. They're using proxies so that they have enough plausible deniability to avoid open warfare. It's a chess game.

Nobody has access to good information about what's going on in the region. I will tell you right now that if you don't have spy satellites, AWACs flights, and an intelligence agency feeding you information, you have no idea what's going on in the region.

I don't know if sending advisers is a good idea or a bad one, but considering the even handed, intelligent, and reserved way that our president has been handling Russia, I trust him. Advisers make me extremely nervous, and again, Eternal Hope is right to raise some questions, because this really can get out of hand. We should not allow this to spiral into a Vietnam scenario, and should focus primarily on diplomatic and economic action, because those are far more likely to be successful than any kind of military solution.

But I do have some good news: for once in our recent history, we're actually on the right side.

What we are dealing with is a fascist "Pan-Slavic" ideology. Pan-Slavism had an identical ideological origin to the Pan-Germanism favored by the Nazi party themselves. In the same way that the idea of Großdeutschland declared that Germany had an imperial right to reclaim all land populated by German speakers, pan-slavism declares Russians to be the primary 'mother' Slavic group, with a right to "reclaim" all land populated by Slavic peoples. All other Slavs under this formulation are derivative child races, who need mother Russia to embrace them, bring them the light of the orthodox religion, to bring them education and civilization, and save them from themselves.

In the same way that the Indians and Africans were child races, who needed the white master race to save them from barbarism.

This is the 19th century imperialist ideology that Ukranians are currently fighting. This ideology is so alive right now, you can even see it in the comments here at DailyKos. Allow me to quote one of the most racist things I've ever seen posted here at dailykos, a comment which has at the time of writing 13 upvotes. This should be instructive on imperialist, pan-slavic dogma:

You talk about Ukraine as if it were some unified, cohesive entity. As if, by using the designation "Ukraine" one might carve out, or identify a national "State" apart from the several States that have historically defined what this region actually has been, and still is. The Ukrainian region and culture has never been an independent "Nation" until very recently. It has never had definitive boundaries.

The Western tendency to delineate complex historical realities as simplified "National" boundaries has instigated, and continues to cause many unnecessary conflicts. In the  South-Eastern regions Ukraine, public sympathies clearly align with Russia, and a Socialist idea of government. In Crimea even more so.  Whereas the western and northern parts of the region tend to orient toward Europe and capitalism, with a dash of fascism thrown in for good measure.

There is no such entity as "Ukraine" as an historical, political, unifed entity. A cultural and linguistic entity, yes certainly -- a political, military, and economic entity, no. That has not existed in recent history.

First of all, let's point out the factual inaccuracies here. Ukraine has existed in multiple iterations for centuries. It's been called Kiev, Ruthenia, and a number of other things over its long history. As a cohesive economic and political entity, it existed during most of the 20th century as the Ukrainian SSR, a member state of the soviet union, along with SSRs like Estonia and Kazakhstan. These are nations which have existed for a long time. Like Poland, and every single other nation in Eastern Europe, Ukraine spent some of its time as a conquered subject of a larger empire, and was divided up into pieces at various times by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. Another nation which was similarly conquered was Greece. But nobody will ever say that "Greece does not actually exist, and they all have been fighting Amongst themselves for so long. They aren't a viable state. I mean, look at Crete. And the Ionian Islands were independent once..."

The exact argument being used against Ukraine's right to exist as a nation and as a cohesive group of peoples could easily be used against Greece.

And if you don't believe that this statement is both factually inaccurate and racist, then allow me to edit it slightly.

You talk about India as if it were some unified, cohesive entity. As if, by using the designation "India" one might carve out, or identify a national "State" apart from the several States that have historically defined what this region actually has been, and still is. The Indian region and culture has never been an independent "Nation" until very recently. It has never had definitive boundaries.

There is no such entity as "India" as an historical, political, unifed entity. A cultural and linguistic entity, yes certainly -- a political, military, and economic entity, no. That has not existed in recent history.

This was factually true of India in 1945, and was one of the main justifications used by imperialist powers in their conquest of India. India was such a hellhole, it needed imperial intervention to save the Indians from barbarism and conflict. We had to take up the "White Man's Burden" and save these people from themselves. It was a racist, ideological, economic, imperial expansion on the part of the British Empire that intentionally dehumanized an entire people into non-existence. They aren't viable. They aren't cohesive. They aren't "Really" a country, but a bunch of disparate groups.

And to talk a little more about the extreme racism that exists in Ukraine, we need to talk about Crimea, and the ethnic cleansing which took place there under Russia. The Crimean Tatars and most other non "russian" ethnic groups, including Greeks, were removed from the Crimean peninsula by the Russian military, by force.

Why were they removed? They were accused of having colluded with Fascism. They helped the Nazis, went the argument, so they had to be punished. This was, of course, false, they proudly served in the Red Army. There were entire Tatar regiments. Joseph Stalin recognized Sevastopol as a vitally important port for the Soviet Union, and so he wanted to guarantee that Crimeans would be loyal to Russia, which meant an ethnically Russian population.

But remember that accusation of Fascism? Well, it keeps propping its head up:

Whereas the western and northern parts of the region tend to orient toward Europe and capitalism, with a dash of fascism thrown in for good measure.
In the same way that the Golden Dawn exists in Greece, the EDL and BNP exist in the UK, Ukraine has the same problem that other European nations have: a neo-fascist minority. Despite the fact that these forces in Ukraine are a small minority that exists in every other European country, every single person criticizing Ukraine brings up fascism. That's because this is the justification which was used under the Soviet Union for continuing the racist policies of the Russian empire, or even building upon them. They weren't being racist, they were fighting fascism. Race doesn't exist. We are all Russians together. Anyone talking about race is a fascist attempting to divide all of us, and needs to be punished. Sometimes entire regions are full of fascists, and everyone needs to be punished. Hence the process of ethnic cleansing.

In Crimea, the local Ethnic population of Tatars has recently attempted to return home. Crimea having a largely independent government, those Tatars have dealt with: racist housing policies, where homes they build are cited for code violations and destroyed; racist political policies designed to keep them from being represented in local government; and they have been generally regarded as fanatical muslim neofascist terrorists. White Crimeans view the Tatars in a way that is not entirely dissimilar from how the American South viewed Black Americans in the Jim Crow era. The real reason for their support of Russia is, in addition to ethnic ties, the fact that they don't want the Muslims moving in next door.

Ukraine is probably better off with the extreme racism of the Crimean populists poisoning someone else's democracy. The big losers will continue to be the Crimean Tatars who will deal with the consequences of their homeland becoming an independent Oblast in Russia where the racists get to make even more extreme laws designed to push out the last of the Tatar population.

They're not likely to be murdered, just encouraged to leave with racist laws and regulations. The Crimean Tatars will see economic forces pushing them to move to some other similar ethnic community. There are other Tatar communities, but they're as distinct from each other as Swedes from Norwegians. These are different groups of people we're talking about here. The real hope for them is that they'll be able to move over the border into Ukraine de Facto, and form a long lasting community there.

If they don't do that, they will cease to exist as a people. They survived Stalin's ethnic cleansing, but according to the Tatars themselves, they aren't handling exile well. They're losing their language and their cultural traditions. If they can't return to Crimea, and the white, christian population there wants to kick out the ones who still remain, then they'll need to have a homeland in Ukraine, or they're done as a cohesive ethnic group. They'll wither away, destroyed by racist, imperialist dogma. And the worst part is, there's probably nothing we can do about that.

I can't tell you what's going on today. I can't tell you who is butchering who, or how many civilians have been killed in artillery strikes, or anything else, because there's too much disinformation. I can tell you that it looks to me like the rebels have been routinely targeting civilians indiscriminately with heavy weapons. Hence the Airliner that was shot down. Hence the photos posted to Reddit from a Ukrainian who was woken up by a Russian artillery rocket engine smashing into his apartment's balcony. He was lucky, he said, that it was just the engine, and not the warhead.

I can't tell you what happened today with any sense of certainty. There's too much disinformation.

But I can tell you about the racist, imperialist history that Ukrainians are fighting against. Which says that they're not really a nation, not really an ethnic group, and need Russian masters to civilize them.

For once, we're on the right side.

Yes, we do need to be extremely careful not to get bogged down in a quagmire, because Ukraine could easily make Vietnam look like a Sunday picnic. The heavy weapons just lying around over there were built to take on American armed forces, and there are people alive today who spent their entire adult lives war-gaming "Defend Ukraine from an American/NATO Invasion." This is extremely dangerous, and we've got to be careful. I agree with the post on the community spotlight there.

But can we please have a little bit of perspective on the history of this region, and on the history and ethnic ideology behind Russian Imperial Dogma?

Can we stop pretending that racist, 19th century imperial dogmatism has any place in our modern discourse?

Discuss

Those of you who've been listening to me on Netroots Radio or reading my posts lately know I've been following what David Futrelle calls "The New Misogyny." I've covered Elliot Rodger and the Men's Rights Movement. I try to at least talk to some of the people I'm writing about. Most of the time, this just leads to them screaming at me on twitter, rather than engaging in any actual discussion.

But in covering GamerGate, one woman who considers herself to be a supporter of Gamer Gate was willing to speak to me, while a number of others attempted to just shout me down.

Her name is Liz. And this week, all of her personal details such as name, address, phone number, and similar information on her family, were posted online.

This is not the first time that Liz has been harassed. She's been sent rape threats, death threats, and in at least one instance, someone printed a photo of her, covered it with semen, and tweeted it at her asking if she liked the harasser's "Special blend of herbs and spices."

I don't know if she's okay right now, though I would bet that she's pretty scared. I have no way to contact her.

But what strikes me as so infuriating about all of this is that it does't matter what you believe. If you're a woman, you're going to get harassed by someone online. You could be, as Liz is, a significant voice in support of Gamer Gate, and you will still be harassed. Your beliefs will afford you no protection from the harassers.

This is absolutely disgusting, and it needs to stop. Everyone ought to be able to participate in debate without being threatened as Liz has been. Lizzy F, Randi Harper, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, there are so many names of so many women who are being harassed online, by men. It doesn't matter what they say, or believe, the fact that they're female is enough to make them a target of harassment.

No one is going to send me, a white guy, a snapshot of my picture covered in semen. No one would think to do that. It doesn't carry the same kind of threat, and the same level of objectification, that it does when it's sent to a woman.

They might shout me down. If I piss off the wrong group of trolls, they might Dox me. But they're not going to threaten me with sexual violence. They will however, threaten women I care about. Just look at the threats made against Israel Galvez:

People are quick to politicize this, and point the finger at the other side. Some are blaming gamergate. Gamergate is blaming its opposition. Some in the opposition are  saying that gamergate did it to blame it on the opposition. And down, and down, and down the rabbit hole we go, because many of us can't deal with the fact that there are things we do not know. Conspiracy theories are a better fit for our brains than no theories at all. But in this situation, we simply have no evidence at all about who did this.

We don't know who doxxed Lizzy. We don't know what their motivations were. We don't know if they were, as Liz believed, third party trolls who only want to cause chaos. But we do know that she's been harassed in the past, by people she believed were 3rd party trolls, and we do know that she's been targeted because of her gender.

I hope we find out who did this to Lizzy so that they can be brought to justice for making terroristic threats. So that we can call them out in public, and so that there will be some kind of consequences for the actions they've taken against her.

But while we don't know who attacked her, we do know who's been participating in, and driving the hate mobs that are targeting women who work in the tech industry.

We're going to be writing about them, as well as writing about their victims.

There's so much to talk about here, and none of it is getting much attention, so I've teamed up with fellow blogger Margaret Pless to make sure these stories get covered.

If you or someone you know is being harassed online, there is help. Get in touch with your local authorities, and contact the Crash Override Network at crashoverridenetwork@gmail.com. If you're being threatened with violence, you can reach out to Safe Horizons, who can help find you a safe place to stay. If your address has been released online, you need to call your local police department immediately.
Continue Reading

So there's a situation online called "GamerGate" where a rabid mob of Men's Rights Activists have been going after women in technology simply for having the gall to exist.

The leader of this movement, Eron Gjoni, has been lying to just about everyone.

He claimed that he was not a leader of this event, and was surprised and saddened by the harassment of Quinn.

He claimed that he was a victim of gaslighting, a form of mental and emotional abuse.

He claimed that he was a feminist, and regretted the harassment received by Zoe Quinn.

Meanwhile, Eron Gjoni was engaged in a calculated campaign of harassment and disinformation.

Disinformation designed to cause bloggers who would otherwise comment to hold their tongues, because he falsely made the situation appear to be more complicated than it is.

Stochastic harassment designed to free him of any legal responsibility for the actions of his followers.

To quote the citizen journalist who has broken this story on the actions Gjoni has taken:

1. Eron knowingly promoted his tell-all blog post about Quinn on 4chan, knowing it was likely to cause harassment.

2. Rather than try to quell the harassment (As he might have you believe), Gjoni actually basked in the attention, to try and stir up even more agita against his ex.

3. Once confronted with his actions, Eron tried to distance himself from #gamergate, and move his involvement of Quinn behind the scenes. Unfortunately we have evidence of this string-pulling.

4. Eron’s fight against his restraining order is merely a continuation of the harassment he was already engaging in. If he wins his legal battle he’s likely to post even more private info about Quinn as a reward for his backers.

5. Gjoni has essentially ruined his good name in pursuit of this revenge quest. He knows this, and it makes him bitter that his plans to sideline Quinn in her own industry have backfired so spectacularly.

6. Gjoni sexually harasses women critical of him; especially when caught in a lie or backed into a corner logically. I find this a telling clue about his real attitude about women, although Gjoni claims to be a feminist.

For evidence of all of this, and screenshots of Gjoni in his own words, please read IdleDillettante's post here.

The worst part about all of this is the probably false claims of abuse. Nothing that Gjoni says can be trusted because of the disinformation campaign he has engaged in.

As if men who are victims of abuse didn't have enough stigma about coming forward, now they have to face the question about whether they're an Eron Gjoni, just lying in an attempt to hurt someone else. Do the "Men's Rights" activists who are propping this guy up have any idea how damaging this is for men and boys who are victims of abuse?

They don't care about that, though. All the MRA crowd cares about is defending their right to be sexist asshats.

I thought this story was complicated. That's because I've seen 4chan in action in the past, and I know that sorting the truth from the bullshit can be a daunting task.

A lot of bloggers have been relatively silent because of a calculated disinformation campaign from Gjoni. It's a typical tactic used by the right. When you're in the wrong, muddy the waters, and make the story difficult to talk about. But the truth always comes out eventually.

This story was intentionally crafted to keep as many bloggers on the fence as possible, in order to give Gjoni and his cohorts the capability to act completely unopposed.

I hope that the facts being published now will help everyone who's been stuck on the fence to wade in. I'd like to see Idle Dillettente's post go viral. It deserves to.

Read their entire post here: http://idledillettante.wordpress.com/...

Discuss

Today is Sunday, Dec 7th 2014.

Sunday, Dec 7th, 1941 was 73 years ago, today.

On that day, one of the most brutal wars in human history began. It included the murder and torture of hostages by both sides, human wave attacks, specially designed suicide bomb aircraft, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the internment of civilians in concentration camps, and it ended with the detonation of two nuclear devices, making it the only nuclear war in human history.

There's a lot to be said about the US-Japanese war in the pacific.

But I think today, we ought to listen to what one veteran of that conflict had to say about it, shortly before his death:

Errol Morris: The choice of incendiary bombs, where did that come from?

McNamara: I think the issue is not so much incendiary bombs. I think the issue is: in order to win a war should you kill 100,000 people in one night, by firebombing or any other way? LeMay's answer would be clearly "Yes."

"McNamara, do you mean to say that instead of killing 100,000, burning to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in that one night, we should have burned to death a lesser number or none? And then had our soldiers cross the beaches in Tokyo and been slaughtered in the tens of thousands? Is that what you're proposing? Is that moral? Is that wise?"

Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan? And he went on from Tokyo to firebomb other cities. 58% of Yokohama. Yokohama is roughly the size of Cleveland. 58% of Cleveland destroyed. Tokyo is roughly the size of New York. 51% percent of New York destroyed. 99% of the equivalent of Chattanooga, which was Toyama. 40% of the equivalent of Los Angeles, which was Nagoya. This was all done before the dropping of the nuclear bomb, which by the way was dropped by LeMay's command.

Proportionality should be a guideline in war. Killing 50% to 90% of the people of 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve.

I don't fault Truman for dropping the nuclear bomb. The U.S.—Japanese War was one of the most brutal wars in all of human history ? kamikaze pilots, suicide, unbelievable. What one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time ? and today ? has not really grappled with what are, I'll call it, "the rules of war." Was there a rule then that said you shouldn't bomb, shouldn't kill, shouldn't burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night?

LeMay said, "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?

Is our drone war at all proportional to the goals we are trying to achieve?

Do we even know the end goal of these strikes?

What is our strategy here? What is the purpose of it?

What makes strikes like these immoral if carried out by the Egyptians, but perfectly acceptable if carried out by the United States?

Beyond drones, why are we keeping our nuclear arsenal intact?

The US and Russia are not making nuclear threats, despite the diplomatic tensions over  Ukraine and Moldova. Instead that warfare is being fought economically. So why do we hang on to Nuclear weapons that we can't even properly take care of? Why maintain a massive arsenal of weapons that absolutely cannot be used if we wish to survive as a species?

I don't think that we, as a nation, have answered these questions.

And on days like this, when we remember the beginning of a war, when war came "like a thief in the night" to quote one anti-war senator of the 1940s, I think it's important for us to look at the whole picture. I think it's important to ask ourselves where we are going, and what we have learned.

Discuss

I just spent 30 minutes cleaning crap off of my partner's computer because of a program that I tend to stand by.

I hate Windows Media Player. I hate that it talks to the internet every time I put a CD or DVD in a tray. So I downloaded GomPlayer to be my video player. It's a great program. It plays everything, and it will find the Codecs it needs to download. It doesn't have the privacy invasion aspects that Windows Media Player has.

But they've started bundling malware with their installations. Specifically, a recent update installed MyRadioPlayer, which causes ads to pop up regularly when browsing; it set Chrome to open multiple webpages on launch, all of which were data-mining search engines; and it installed a program called Search Protect, which prevented the user from fixing any of those settings. No matter what you did, you couldn't un-do any of what happened to your computer by changing settings in your browser. Kim tried this a couple of times before asking for help. If you're not someone who's seen this kind of infection before, you're in trouble.

If you looked at your installed programs list, you would not find myradioplayer, or search protect. Looking for search protect in installed programs is step one of every tutorial for removing it. Neither program appears in add-remove programs. You'd have to go into system files, find the damned installations, and manually uninstall them.

This is malware. This is absolutely malware. It's a program that hijacks your browser, will not let you change anything, and installs without your knowledge or permission.

They came bundled with a GomPlayer update.

Bundling is how you end up with MacAffee Security Scan installed on your computer. That's malware that screams at you about how your computer is unprotected, and that the only solution is to buy McAffee. It's malware because it installs without your knowledge or permission, is difficult to remove, and tries to annoy you into buying a product.

Just make sure you read every single line of an installation dialogue, because bundling is how most malware is getting installed these days. It's a severe enough problem that they ought to make bundled software installations illegal, with an exception made for software suites from a single company.

And be wary of GomLab/Gretech products right now. I'm really horrified that an infection this extreme came bundled with software from a company I used to trust.

Discuss
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