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polarbear4

Thanks, wi58!

polarbear4

A very political tragedy: Today’s horrific fire in London’s Grenfell Tower is a symbol of a deeply unequal United Kingdom

Every time a tragedy occurs, you can rely on a wave of commentators chiding any attempt to “politicize” the situation. With today’s Grenfell Tower fire in West London, those voices were prominent immediately. And no wonder: the atrocity was explicitly political.

In the richest borough of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, people in social housing, many on low incomes, were killed and injured in a fire that could have been prevented or contained. Rather than diverting blame from those responsible, or treating it as an act of nature, our responsibility is to ask why it occurred.

Time and again, residents reported serious concerns about the safety of the building to the management organization, the local council, and the member of parliament (recently unseated in the general election). They were met with silence, and several told me on the scene they were convinced it was because they were poor, living in a rich borough that was determined to socially cleanse the area as part of a gentrifying project.

polarbear4

Posted this yesterday, but it’s a great example of what we could be doing and what I hope the whole world starts doing in response to these kinds of things. Sort of like DAPL. Imagine if we had all converged on Flint, or on the Native American towns that are being swept away due to climate chaos. BLM is a beginning, but I hope we get a robust response effort going.

Of course, they will then infiltrate and perpetuate violence, but hopefully we can out them for that, too, when it happens.

‘We Want Justice’: Prime Minister Forced to Flee as Londoners Protest Deadly Fire

Although I’m nonviolent, I have to admit to a little inner glee, reading that the PM was “forced to flee.”
:O)

polarbear4

Reminder: Conservative Media Outlets Falsely Smeared Philando Castile As A Criminal After His Death

Apparently known as “Mr. Rogers” in his circle, he worked at a school.

The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile has been acquitted, to absolutely no one’s surprise. Despite the fact that Castile had done nothing wrong, he was gunned down during a routine traffic stop by a hypervigilant officer who knew that he works in a country where there is no penalty for impulsively executing a black man at the slightest hint of concern.

Also to no one’s surprise, at the time of Castile’s death conservative media outlets immediately began pushing the narrative that the latest brown-skinned victim of America’s increasingly-militarized police force was a criminal who deserved to be shot. This happens like clockwork, every single time without exception. …

America has a race problem, America has a policing problem, and these can both be addressed if America fixes its social and economic justice problem. If police officers are trained more as social workers than as street infantrymen, more geared toward helping people in trouble than harming them, shootings of the poor, the mentally ill and the other victims of the brutal US Walmart economy will necessarily be reduced. If the weight of that crushing Walmart economy is reduced and increasing America’s insane and immoral prison population ceases to be the prefered means of addressing the problems which necessarily come hand-in-hand with severe income and wealth inequality, tensions between communities and those responsible for maintaining order will necessarily subside.

But your government isn’t doing this for you, America. The power establishment which rules your country is only interested in keeping you fixated on partisan bickering while keeping you disempowered and exploited. Fight that power establishment and restore power to the people so that your nation can finally truly know liberty and justice for all.

orlbucfan

As a long time central Floridian, I can tell you that there is and has been a very strong racial dislike between Afro-Americans, and Hispanics. The victim was black, and the acquitted cop is a Latino. I’m sure this dislike has been exploited by the usual yahoo garbage. Point is: the dislike/racial hatred exists, and has done so for quite sometime. T and R, wi59. Like the $hrill as a Borg image. 🙂

polarbear4

i like that image, too. wonder where wi58 got that. i’ve long said that we think of ourselves as Captain Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard, but we act like the Borg.

polarbear4

Don’t Bern Out.

I do enjoy Rainer’s optimism:

More to the point, berning out won’t stop the human consequences all this will have. It won’t stop millions of more people from being incarcerated. It won’t stop much of the global south from experiencing genocide for the profits of oil and weapons companies. It won’t stop the tens of millions of Americans who are financially insecure as it is from losing their job, homes, or worse in the next economic crash.

What will stop it, or at least stop enough of it to keep society intact through the turbulent times these next few years are sure to be, is millions of ordinary people ignoring all the confusion and uncertainty ofthe political scene and throwing themselves into the fray. You don’t have to agree with your fellow revolutionaries on everything. You don’t have to believe in reforming the Democratic Party, or using elections as a means for change, or the practicality of getting involved in the political system itself-I don’t entirely believe in those things. As long as those who oppose the status quo are doing anything to get their agenda enacted, and doing so with a friendly and open minded attitude towards other rebels who differ from them in approach, the fanatics within the beltway will stand a good chance of failing.

Don’t bern out. No one wants us to more than those who are aiming to come out of this with a luxury doomsday bunker, obscene amounts of the formerly civilized world’s wealth, and the knowledge that they’ve pulled off the greatest heist in human history.

magsview

Thank you polarbear4. A timely reminder that we cannot give up.

polarbear4

Miami Conference Signals Further Militarization of US Policy in Central America

In a high-level meeting Friday, the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will discuss the region’s security with American and Mexican officials. Innocuous enough, you may think. But part of the meeting will be held on a US military base in Miami, Florida ― the headquarters of the US Southern Command, the Pentagon’s regional subsidiary that oversees American military operations throughout Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Under President Donald Trump, the militarization of US foreign policy is about to stretch more deeply into Central America.

Central America policymaking, hardly an open book to begin with, is set to become more secretive. With the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America just days away, there is no official agenda of speakers or publicly listed events and no involvement of civil society organizations, and even press access is extremely limited. What we do know is US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be there, as will Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and of course, General John F. Kelly, the director of Homeland Security and the previous head of SOUTHCOM.

On Thursday, high-level government officials will be joined by a coterie of elite Central American businessmen, invited to the conference by its hosts, the US and Mexico. Trump’s budget envisions a massive cut in US economic assistance to Central America, and officials will apparently be asking the country’s most rapacious and corrupt economic actors to fill the void. …

There are currently more than 80 unique authorizations that allow the Pentagon ― with minimal consultation with the State Department ― to deliver security assistance to foreign nations’ military, police, and paramilitary forces. With development assistance slashed, US diplomacy in the region will more often appear in uniform. …

With fewer resources channeled through traditional means it will be the intelligence liaisons, defense attachés, military group colonels, DEA agents, and other security officials that are empowered to lead US foreign policy. They will be the ones holding and administering the carrots.

In turn, the militarization of US foreign policy can be expected to further shift the balance of political power in Central America toward those nations’ militaries. Civilian governments are weak and fragile and, as the 2009 coup in Honduras showed, still threatened by economic and military elites.

This will likely only exacerbate the root causes of increased violence, devastation, and migration that have plagued a region where what is needed are stronger civilian governments, not ever more powerful militaries. …

Doubling down on global dominance. Honestly, if they’d planned it, they couldn’t have done any better. Years and years of “smiling” austerity, then put in the guy who will “just do it.” Makes me a little ill.

polarbear4

I’m flipping this article on its head because it has a link at the end to ask your House member to vote down arming the Saudis (the Senate failed). It’s Just Foreign Policy using MoveOn.

U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen has never been authorized by Congress. Under the Vietnam Era War Powers Resolution of 1973, a single Member of Congress can force a debate and vote on withdrawing U.S. participation from the Saudi war in Yemen—the conflict that the UN Security Council has just unanimously said should stop immediately to save Yemen from cholera and famine.

Under the Arms Export Control Act, any Senator was able to force a vote on the Saudi arms deal, allowing the Senate to vote on U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade in Yemen. But the only way for House Members to force a vote on the war is to invoke the War Powers Resolution. The last time the House voted on any aspect of U.S. participation in the Saudi war was June 2016, when the House narrowly failed to prohibit the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.

You can urge your Representative to force a House vote on backing the UN cease-fire call to save Yemen from cholera and famine by signing our petition at MoveOn.

On June 15, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire in the conflict between the Saudi-UAE coalition and the Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen. “The U.N. Security Council urged the warring parties in Yemen on Thursday to immediately agree on a cease-fire and keep all ports open for humanitarian aid to confront the threat of famine and the rapid spread of cholera,” AP reported.

magsview

Another thing happening in Miami:

MDPD Wants Extra $12.5 Million for Guns and Armor Over Next Five Years UPDATED

In 2012, Miami-Dade County Police estimated that it would need to spend about $1.36 million per year on weapons, ammo, radar equipment, and armor for the next five years. It ended up spending an average of $2.36 million per year. And now, the department says it wants to spend $2.5 million each year for the next five.

In 2012, Miami-Dade County Police asked for $6.8 million to spend on guns, ammo, radar equipment, armor, and other accessories over five years — about $1.36 million per year. In 2016, Miami-Dade County Police said it needed more money, and received a $4.3 million funding boost to its “prequalification pool” for “law enforcement equipment and supplies,” The department said it needed the extra supplies to boost an “aggressive hiring plan“, but had already burned through the $6.8 million in the pool. Last July 6, the county commission approved that funding bump,  MDPD eventually ended up spending the entirety of its $11.4 million cash-pool over the last five years. That’s an average of $2.28 million per year.

Now, MDPD says it’s spent up that extra $4.3 million, and is now is asking for even more money in that same pool of resources for the next five years.

“As of this date, a majority of these funds have been disbursed for purchases, and our Fiscal Administration Bureau has pending purchases that are projected to consume the balance by the end of the contract term on September 30, 2017,” MDPD spokesperson Alvaro Zabaleta said Friday via email.

This time, the department says it needs a an extra $12.5 million through 2022, nearly twice what it was originally supposed to spend over the last five years, and roughly 10 percent more than it actually spent in that time period. Its yearly spending-average will swell again to $2.5 million per year.

Interestingly, three other departments — Aviation, Corrections, and Parks and Recreation — also asked to double the amount of money they could spend from the prequalification pool. Parks and Recreation says it needs an extra $100,000 for Tasers, pepper spray, and collapsible batons. Corrections also wants more pepper spray and body armor, while Aviation has requested guns, bullets, and cash to fund K9 training aides.

The trends of where taxpayer money is being spent are not looking good.

orlbucfan

Guess the cost of militarization is increasing. Sounds about right in the Dumbshine State.

polarbear4

Becoming more and more obvious that this is oligarchs + hired minions v. the 99%.

magsview

This is about the recent UK election, but could also be said to describe what goes on over on this side of the pond:

Election backlash is about more than gloating

The desire to hold journalists to account for their treatment of Corbyn is not about gloating – even if it looks that way to those now facing the backlash. Harris badly misunderstands and trivialises the current mood, just as he misunderstood the mood of the past two years.

There is real frustration and anger, and it is being directed at individual journalists because there is no one else to vent the rage at. Faceless media corporations have no meaningful presence on Twitter or Facebook. We cannot berate them directly. But we can channel our protests at the corporate media’s employees, those who acted as its spokesmen and women.

Our problem is not that individual journalists reached mistaken conclusions about Corbyn. The concern runs much deeper than that. It is that most journalists, even among the most liberal parts of the media, rejected Corbyn and what he stood for from the outset. Even those who had some sympathy for Corbyn’s politics, like Harris, were easily swayed by their colleagues into abandoning him. And therein lies our grievance. It is not a new grievance; Corbyn’s wholesale abuse simply clarified it for us.

The corporate media earnt its name for a reason. Like other corporations, it has a collective agenda. Its bottom line is support for a political, social and economic environment that is good for corporate profits.

Harris and others at the Guardian did not fail just because they could not foresee how popular Corbyn would prove when put to the electoral test. They failed because it was their role to fail. Whether they understand it or not, they reached their positions of influence in the media either because their imaginative horizons had long ago been so beaten into submission that Corbyn’s success was impossible for them to contemplate or because their defences were so weakened – or maybe their desire to succeed in their organisations so strong – they could not withstand the tide of elite opinion.

Moreover, their failing is not just that they doubted Corbyn; it is that they collectively ridiculed those who thought differently. We were dismissed either as naïve fools or as dangerous subversives.

polarbear4

Indeed. Hoping that I can channel that anger into some avenue where I can know I am actually changing things.

magsview

polarbear4

wow. Monbiot is a gem. Auden, too.

humphrey

The impact of the recent acquittal in Minnesota.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-minnesota-police-protests-idUSKBN1980LD

A protest on a freeway in St. Paul, Minnesota, over the acquittal of a police officer in the slaying of black motorist Philando Castile resulted in the arrest of 18 demonstrators early on Saturday, state police said.

The arrests came hours after St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty on Friday of second-degree manslaughter in 32-year-old Castile’s July 2016 shooting death in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights.

The shooting drew national attention after the victim’s girlfriend live-streamed the bloody aftermath on social media and it led to protests that have fueled debate across the country over police use of force in encounters with minorities.

Protesters held a peaceful demonstration on Friday at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and then about 1,500 converged on Interstate 94 in the city, blocking the freeway, a Minnesota State Patrol spokeswoman said in an email statement.

Authorities repeatedly asked protesters to leave before making 18 arrests shortly after midnight on Saturday, the email statement said. Charges against them are pending for unlawful assembly and other charges, it said.

humphrey

Tim Black gives his thoughts.

polarbear4

Chelsea Manning’s Persevering Spirit Shines In Interview For ABC’s ‘Nightline’

It almost does not matter that the news program applies the same tired approach that most outlets have applied to her story throughout her case. Her conscientiousness transcends the format, which includes being pit against a former NSA deputy director, in order to make the segment “fair” and “objective,” even though this person has no connection to her case whatsoever.

During the section of the interview about the information she released, Manning maintains her resolve. She mentions her superior officers saw the Apache helicopter attack that killed two Reuters journalists and a father of two children. They saw it as “just another incident.”

“We need more means of being able to safely and securely reveal government wrongdoing,” Manning declares.

humphrey

No surprise here.

Benny

Just saw this on FB…

So let’s get this straight. A rabidly anti-gay congressman who recently voted to let mentally ill people have access to guns and who wants to repeal the affordable care act had his life saved by a lesbian when he was shot by a mentally ill person and is currently under hospital care that is being paid for by government-funded health insurance. Sorry, there is way too much irony here to interrupt it with punctuation.

polarbear4

good one. think it will change him?

humphrey

He disagrees with Krauthammer and so do I.

polarbear4

I’m thinking Bernie perhaps got even more credibility by losing (as long as he stays true to his core beliefs), b/c people still see him as on “outsider,” not as a typical hypocritical politician.

It’s easier for them to side with him on health care, social security, and everything else when they ache for those things in their hearts. If he’d won the primary, “socialist, socialist, socialist” would have been beaten into our heads nonstop and those who are more right wing would not have had the space in their minds and hearts to hear him.

Benny

The Kraut (as he is fondly known as in R circles), doesn’t favor SS or Medicare.

And actually, Tri-Care, which does allow for negotiating prices for prescription drugs, is really more what most people want because then the newer drugs, which treat boutique diseases, are more covered.

humphrey

Mike Figueredo is not a Joy Reid fan.

humphrey

It’s about time a politician said this. Of course it was Bernie!

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/338294-sanders-major-reforms-needed-for-lethal-force-involving-black-americans

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Saturday critiqued the “profoundly broken” U.S. criminal justice system, following the acquittal of the Minnesota police officer who shot 32-year-old Philando Castile five times at a traffic stop last year

“Our criminal justice system is profoundly broken and has failed African Americans over and over again,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “We need major reforms including making certain that lethal force is the last response, not the first response.”

Sanders is a vocal advocate of criminal justice reform. Last year Sanders spoke out against Castille’s death, as well as the death of Alton Sterling.

Benny

It’s after midnight, so I can say this with glee:

Happy 75th b-day, Sir Paul McCartney. You rock and I’m pleased there is finally a Beatles channel on XM radio!

orlbucfan

Looking back :-), it’s a real shame the band was in pieces by the time The White Albumn was recorded. I would have killed to see the Beatles do this one live on stage in a bar!! They, as brilliant as they come, were rock ‘n’ rollers to the core. Loud and proud of it, too. I saw Sir Paul several times, and “I Saw Her Standing There” was always a great tune done live. I HATED it when the record was released in 1964. Rec’d for the tune! 🙂

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