Overdue Justice for Ferguson, Missouri

For related articles by Numerian on the Ferguson racial crisis, see America’s Police on Trial, and The Cycle of Fear in Ferguson, Missouri, both posted on the jehoshuathebook.com website.
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The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has released its report on the causes behind the civil disturbances last year in Ferguson, Missouri.  This is a long overdue contribution to the national discussion on race and municipal policing strategies and tactics.  During last year’s protests in Ferguson, several reporters wrote about what appeared to be a side issue: the propensity of the Ferguson city authorities to use the police force and the municipal court as a money-raising mechanism, which relied on harassment to enforce its fines and penalties liberally bestowed upon the African-American population of Ferguson.  This side issue turns out to be the main focus of the Department of Justice report. The report turns attention away from Officer Darren Wilson, who was exonerated by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations, based on what the FBI learned about the shooting of Michael Brown.  The evidence suggests that Officer Wilson was responding reasonably to a threat to his life.  The attention instead turns to the municipal practices in Ferguson which pressured the police department to harass African-Americans as a matter of routine.  City authorities put no constraints on police behavior, and had no concern for community safety standards.  Instead, the police department, and the municipal court system, were turned into profit centers, with business-like monthly targets for revenue generation.  Here is what the report reveals:

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H Clinton and Government Servers

The Republicans are drilling into the issue of whether H Clinton’s government email should have been kept on a personal computer server.

I think this is a valid concern. I didn’t think anyone in government service anywhere was permitted to do this, so the whole idea never crossed my mind before. CBS News said tonight that President Obama signed an order recently (but after Clinton had departed her post at State) requiring the use of official networks and so forth.

I am not sure if there is any connection between that action and H Clinton’s disclosures, but it would not surprise me. Peter Van Buren at Firedoglake points out how unusual it is to have an ex-government official totally in charge of releasing government documents to the government. The nearest example I could think of would be Presidential Libraries withholding papers, but I believe the Library of Congress /National Archives has some hand in vetting them. At it isn’t like Sandy Berger or anybody else stealing from government’s classified documents either. Clinton’s position seems to be different. Very different.

We are in the early stages of this story, so I cannot predict where the evidence will take us; however, the whole situation has a bad smell.

And as to her Presidential aspirations, I think she just ruined them.

U.S. optimistic global trade deal will come into force this year

Reuters, By Krista Hughes, March 4

Washington – The United States expects a global deal to cut customs red tape and streamline import procedures to come into force this year, a senior trade official said on Wednesday.

Mark Linscott, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for World Trade Organization and Multilateral Affairs, said Washington was “pretty confident” the deal agreed in Bali in 2013 would be up and running by year-end.

“It’s quite realistic to expect that the trade facilitation agreement [wikipedia: The “Bali Package”, WTO: Trade Facilitation] can come into force by the end of the year,” he told a Washington International Trade Association event.

[…]

Virginia Brown, director of trade and regulatory reforms at USAID, said the aid agency was ready to work with countries on implementation steps, which in many cases require lawmakers’ approval. “Our bread and butter is drafting that legislation and getting it through the legislative process,” she said.

Republican Outrage at Democratic Personal Attacks

Republicans in Congress are united at denouncing the latest democratic attack on Republicans.

A statement from Speaker Buhner’s Office reads:

Democrats are using Onomatopoeia, alliteration, and bathos to attack prosaic yet grammarless Republicans. We believe this new attack slanders Republicans and especially mocks the Republican Tea Party base. This use of satire and humor is beyond all tenets of civilized debate, and we believe this foul behavior could even lead to a severe and continued attack of sarcasm.

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Blogging 3.0

Quo Vadis again again

Blogging 1.0 often replaced the plethora of special purpose forums that were apparently everywhere.

Blogging 2.0 consisted of some special-purpose sites, but the real blogosphere was comprised of many sites very much like The Agonist: covering a wide range of topics, multiple viewpoints, meaningful (and sometimes heated) discussion, generally outside of and frequently in opposition to the MSM.

It seems to me it’s time to ask, “What will Blogging 3.0 bring?” As has been noted elsewhere, the drop-off in activity is not limited to The Agonist but blogs with a specialized focus are still healthy. Generalized blogs are either attached to some other money-making entity, independently funded or dependent on reader contributions.
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Saudis Said to Aid Israeli Plan to Bomb Iran

Exclusive: As the Obama administration is rushing to complete a nuclear agreement with Iran and reduce regional tensions, the Israeli media is reporting on a deal with Saudi Arabia to let Israeli warplanes transit Saudi airspace en route to bombing Iran, reports Robert Parry.

Consortium News, By Robert Parry, February 25

According to an Israeli media report, Saudi Arabia has agreed to let Israeli warplanes fly over Saudi territory to save fuel while attacking Iranian nuclear sites, the latest indication of how the two former enemies have developed a behind-the-scenes alliance that is reshaping geopolitics in the Middle East.

“The Saudi authorities are completely coordinated with Israel on all matters related to Iran,” a European official in Brussels told Israel’s Channel 2 in a report broadcast on Tuesday and described in other Israeli media outlets.

Riyadh’s only condition was that Israel make some progress in peace talks with the Palestinians, a stipulation that may be mostly cosmetic so the Saudis can save face with other Arab states without really interfering with an Israeli flyover to strike Iran.

Disclosure of this Israeli-Saudi military cooperation comes as the United States and five other world powers rush to finish an agreement with Iran to curtail but not eliminate its nuclear program, which Iran says is only for civilian purposes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to appear before the U.S. Congress on March 3 to undercut President Barack Obama’s negotiations.

The reported Saudi permission for Israeli warplanes to take a shorter route to bomb Iran also suggests that Netanyahu may be laying the groundwork for his own plans to attack the Iranian nuclear sites if the international negotiations are successful. Netanyahu has denounced a possible deal as an “existential threat” to Israel.

Australia’s prime minister has announced a huge national security crackdown

Reuters, By Matt Siegel, February 22

Sydney- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday announced a national security crackdown that could deny welfare payments to people seen as potential threats, strip the passports of those with dual nationality and curb travel overseas.

Abbott, bruised politically and facing pressure for dramatic action after surviving a leadership challenge this month, unveiled the measures in the wake of a hostage siege in a Sydney cafe that left three dead in December.

He said some personal freedoms would have to be curtailed to fight what he called a rapidly growing threat from radical groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt,” Abbott said.

An Unfortunate Death

An Obituary printed in the London Times….

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn’t always fair;
  • And maybe it was my fault.

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Wkend Jukebox: love, oh careless love ?

Need a break from the ice and snow?
… Kleenex handy?
… Ticket to Ride?

Fare well, Agonistas ~nymole

Here’s:
Odetta- Love, oh careless love” – a late version

Merle Haggard: Frankie and Johnny

Patti Smith with Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather”
   at a memorial to her friend Robert Mapplethorpe in France

The Cars, of course: “My Best Friend’s Girl”

or maybe:
The Pretenders: Pack it Up

Ezra Furman: Anything can happen
Neill Young: My Heart

Christian War Crimes Prize

Christian College Gives Torture President Honorary Humanities Degree

Texas Baptists confirm Obama’s comments about Christian crimes

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News [2.18.15]

The American torture president and self-professed Christian, George W. Bush, gratefully accepted an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the Christian-ideology-based University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, on February 11, in a “public” event that was closed to most of the public. The only direct media coverage allowed for the event was by Fox News and the college public relations team.

Even though it might have been headlined as “Christians Honor War Criminal,” there were apparently no national news stories about the former president’s award. Five days after the fact, the Washington-insider publication, the Hill ran a short summary noting that Bush had said, “Evil is evil.” Read More

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