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Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:17 AM PDT

Whither the Social Contract?

by CharlesInCharge

A startling new poll was released yesterday by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind:

Poll on whether armed revolution may be necessary

FDU surveyed 863 registered voters nationwide and discovered that 29% believe an armed revolution may be necessary in the next few years to protect 'our' liberties. Buried within those aggregate numbers was an even more startling statistic: 44% of Republicans think an armed rebellion may be necessary. (Somewhat more reassuring, albeit still alarming, 18% of Dems felt that armed revolution may be necessary.)  In other words, more than 2 out of 5 registered Republican voters now thinks armed rebellion may be necessary.

Keep in mind these are not undocumented immigrants or even permanent residents. These are American citizens and registered voters, fully enfranchised within the existing system, who now see violence as a possible solution.

I think we should be very alarmed by this.

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Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 09:39 AM PDT

Whither the Sixth Amendment?

by CharlesInCharge

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. ("Amendment VI" to the U.S. Constitution. Emphasis added)

A couple days ago, I happened upon an article in my home-town rag, The Los Angeles Times. One brief passage in particular about the pre-Miranda interrogation of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev caught my eye:


Until that point, Tsarnaev had been responding to the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, including admitting his role in the bombing, authorities said. A senior congressional aide said Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule. (Emphasis added)

Wait, what?

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Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:54 PM PDT

What is "Blowback"?

by CharlesInCharge is reporting that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing, has confessed from his hospital bed to U.S. interrogators that he and his brother planted the bombs to protest the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This might make a good time to discuss 'blow back' and what it is and is not.

Put bluntly, the Brothers Tsarnaev's bombing attack is not 'blow back'. The attack may indeed be retaliation. But "blow back" has come to mean a particular type of reaction to U.S. foreign policy. Specifically, according to writers like Chalmers Johnson, blow back occurs when the American people are largely kept in the dark about the consequences of America's foreign policy until the inevitable and eminently predictable blow is struck against her. The American people are thus mystified at this display of seeming 'motiveless malignity.'

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A little reminder popped up on my Yahoo Calendar this morning that today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of a mostly unsung American hero: William Lewis Moore.

Moore was killed on April 23, 1963, while walking down a highway in rural Alabama. He was en route to  Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett's office in Jackson, MS to deliver a letter urging the segregationist Barnett to accept racial integration. In the letter, Moore argues that "the white man cannot be truly free himself until all men have their rights."

Moore's body was discovered along that Alabama highway, shot by two .22 caliber bullets, about an hour after he had been interviewed by a reporter from a local radio station. As far as I know, no arrest has ever been made in the case and Moore's killer(s) have never been brought to justice.

Just one among many victims of Southern racial prejudice. But Moore is noteworthy for another reason:

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Author's note: I cross-posted this from my blog (, because I thought and think it is so important. As with my other DKos diaries, I will endeavor to respond to all substantive comments made in good faith (and even most made in bad faith).

I can't believe it. The U.S. Government has announced that it will not immediately read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda warning, invoking the so-called 'Public Safety Exception' as its so-called rationale. This Exception, created by the Rehnquist Court in 1984, allows authorities to question detainees for up to 48 hours about threats to the public or to law enforcement before advising the detainee of his or her various rights, notably the right to remain silent and right to an attorney. Should the detainee speak during this Public Safety Exception period, his or her comments can be admitted into court to be used against him.

OK, sure, you say. The police need to find out if there are any other threats to the public that the detainee knows about and that compelling state interest outweighs the need to keep the detainee fully informed of his rights. What's the problem?

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Being that the Public Safety may be so manifestly threatened by Dzohkhar Tsarnaev, I hereby propose that those who hold him in custody interrogate him to find out about any other devices and or conspirators of which he certainly has knowledge.

The method should proceed as follows. Tsarnaev should be asked once nicely if there are any other bombs. Should Tsarnaev choose to remain silent, a bamboo shoot shall be placed under the fifth fingernail and the question asked again. Each repeated instance of silence should result in yet another bamboo shoot being shoved up under each of the perpetrator's fingernails.

To those who might argue that Tsarnaev will feel great pain and say anything to get his interrogation to stop, I would humbly submit that it is after all Tsarnaev's choice to remain silent. All he has to do to get the interrogation to stop is talk. Why is that so difficult for the faint of heart to understand?

Following the perpetrator's confession that there indeed are other bombs, he must then be asked nicely if there are any other conspirators. Upon his first instance of silence, the perpetrator is to be placed upon an inclined board, his mouth forced open and one quart of water poured down his throat. Further instances of silence shall result in additional quarts of water being poured until the perpetrator confesses all other conspirators.

Again, to those whose conscience might intrude at this point to offer qualms about drowning Tsarnaev or causing him to fear drowning, I would meekly submit that Tsarnaev should have thought of that before endangering the Public Safety. Only those who hate our freedoms could place the welfare of such a scoundrel before the Public Safety.

Furthermore, should Tsarnaev fail to divulge the required information, I propose that medications necessary to his survival be withheld and that he be made fully aware that he will only receive those medications should he cooperate.

It is not torture if the Public Safety demands it. I humbly offer this modest proposal in the interest of promoting the General Welfare of our Republic, both now and in the future.


Shall Tsarnaev be immediately tortured to confess his guilt?

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| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Please allow me to be blunt. After 12 years and umpteen gazillion dollars spent on the eerily Nazi-esque "Homeland Security," we really are not one whit safer than we were on September 10, 2001. The U.S. government and all the local security apparatuses have proven that they are singularly inept when it comes to providing "security." Oh sure, they talk a good game and can easily terrorize innocent grandmothers and tots in baby buggies. They can terrorize non-violent Occupy demonstrators. But when it comes to actually protecting anyone in the 99%? Um, not so much.

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Author's Note: This is my newest essay published on my blog. I am cross-publishing here, because I so value DKos' many contributors and great thinkers and would love to hear your comments and feedback. I will endeavor to respond to all who post substantive replies.

An article I came across last week got me to thinking about epistemology, the sub-discipline of Philosophy that determines what we know and how we come to know it. Turns out voters in Missouri have now granted themselves the right to skip classes and classwork if the subject matter or presentation violates their religious beliefs. I'm not an attorney, but this new law presumably also means that parents who object on religious grounds to their children being taught the principles of natural selection and evolution in Life Sciences classes in public school can pull their children from those classes:

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Author's Note I published this piece on my blog earlier today, but thought people on DKos would enjoy reading it also. I always find the comments here so useful, entertaining, hilarious andor poignant that it should go without saying that I welcome any and all comments. I try conscientiously to respond to all comments of substance made in good faith and will endeavor to do so with this Diary also.

Monday (July 23), I worked for one day at a Tech Support job and emailed the owner yesterday morning early to say I would not be returning. I was feeling quite down about it all day yesterday, mainly because I have been out of work for close to 2 years now and thought I might have finally found a good job. I thought writing about it might help me process what happened so that I can learn from it for the future.

Alas, there were many signs ('red flags') early on that should have alerted me to trouble in paradise. The position had fallen into my lap almost miraculously. I had applied for the position a long time ago, probably through one of the web interfaces that have sprouted like so many mushrooms on the Internet. I may have found the opening on Craigslist, a site I often use, as the company's name was still vaguely familiar to my ear when my phone rang last Thursday. But I did not remember what position I had applied for, a memory lapse that only caused the person calling to laugh. The employer in this case is a company that resells a popular European accounting software package and then supports it after it is installed. The ownermanaging director, a gentleman of middle-eastern descent whom I'll call 'Haroun,' interviewed me personally in his office on Thursday of last week.

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"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." When Charles Dickens wrote those words to begin A Tale of Two Cities, he might have been describing the United States of America in the first two decades of the new millennium. Barack Obama, a black American risen from humble conditions, is President of the United States when just 50 years earlier he would not have even  been allowed to eat at the same lunch counter as many of the whites whose children would subsequently vote for him.

Wow. That is one big WOW!

But . . .

50 years ago it would have been unthinkable that 6 Americans (heirs to the WalMart family fortune) would control as much wealth between them as the bottom 30 million Americans combined. 50 years ago it would have been unthinkable that 1% of the population would control 40% of the wealth of this country and that 10% would control 80% of the wealth. 50 years ago it would have unthinkable that 50 million Americans would be living in poverty.

Wait. Cancel that last statement. Strike a line through it. For the fact is that, 50 years ago, before the advent of LBJ's Great Society programs, 50 million Americans probably did live in poverty. And today, in 2012, 50 million Americans are living in poverty. So some things have not changed much.

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There are times when I really hate Los Angeles. Locked in traffic on the 405 during rush hour, going to a bar or restaurant filled with hipster posers, watching the drivel that passes for local TV news. You can now add to that catalog going to Occupy Los Angeles (OLA) events at Pershing Square downtown. Oh, not because of the occupiers, a valiant group of Children’s Crusaders and ancient 60s hippies, the only groups left in our society with the guts to say the emperor has no clothes.  No, I hate going to Occupy Los Angeles events because the Los Angeles Police Department are, well, pigs. Yeah, the waste of taxpayer dollars involved in the ongoing petty harassment of Occupiers, well it finally starts to get to you. You realize there’s a machine out there, a grinder up of anything decent and human. You might have told yourself the LAPD are simply working class stiffs, 99%ers forced to enforce the will and whim of the 1%ers. You might have said that, until you saw what they did on Saturday. And the LAPD had to retreat, cowardly vermin that they are. But not before they had revealed themselves as the class traitors they are. Every taxpayer in Los Angeles should be seriously pissed off that his or her tax dollars are being wasted.

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I wrote a series of reports about Occupy Los Angeles last fall and winter before the camp was broken up. I hope the following report carries on that tradition. Report continues below the fold.

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