Defund the Police?

Seriously, WTF does that have to do with police brutality?

What kind of hair-brained misdirection is that?

Does anyone think the police are too brutal with domestic violence issues?

So the idiots, who speak before thinking, believe that police are doing too much and, well, they beat people because of their effin’ stress? Give me a break.

The solution to police brutality is three-fold:

  1. Employ a two-strike rule for inappropriate use of force. If a policeman is found using inappropriate force in the arrest and detention of suspects, he is fired for the second offense. I’m not talking excessive force, I’m talking INAPPROPRIATE force. You don’t effin’ handcuff nine year olds. You don’t beat a suspect to give him a fair trial. You subdue people who threaten. You stop violence with violence… but it better be appropriate. A tw0-strike rule that re-sets every five years makes the most sense to me. Everybody has a bad day. Police should have less of them and be accountable when they don’t.
  2. Employ three types of arrest instead of one type: the self-recognizance arrest, the firm arrest, and the hard arrest. Each will have a set of conditions that make it applicable to the violation. Train the public and the police force in the appropriate use of each.
  3. Get rid of the Darth Vader-looking police uniforms and bring back the look of professional law enforcement.
  4. Create a tiered approach to carrying weapons. Not all police officers should carry guns and no police officer under the age of 25 should ever carry a gun. There should be a review of stress situation events faced by the officer before he/she is allowed a gun permit for his/her attained level of police work.

Is that so hard to do?

Yeah, with unions, yeah. But do it any way. The life you save may be your own.

The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

Washington, DC – A broad coalition of activist groups, companies, and online platforms will hold a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA’s mass spying regime on February 11th. Dubbed “The Day We Fight Back”, the day of activism was announced on the eve of the anniversary of the tragic passing of activist and technologist Aaron Swartz. The protest is both in his honor and in celebration of the victory over the Stop Online Piracy Act two years ago this month, which he helped spur.

Participants including Access, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, BoingBoing, Reddit, Mozilla, ThoughtWorks, and more to come, will join potentially millions of Internet users to pressure lawmakers to end mass surveillance — of both Americans and the citizens of the whole world.

On January 11, 2013, Aaron Swartz took his own life. Aaron had a brilliant, inquisitive mind that he employed towards the ends of technology, writing, research, art, and so much more. Near the end of his life, his focus was political activism, in support of civil liberties, democracy, and economic justice.

Aaron sparked and helped guide the movement that would eventually defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act in January 2012. That bill would have destroyed the Internet as we know it, by blocking access to sites that allowed for user-generated content — the very thing that makes the Internet so dynamic.

David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, which he co-founded with Swartz, said: “Today the greatest threat to a free Internet, and broader free society, is the National Security Agency’s mass spying regime. If Aaron were alive he’d be on the front lines, fighting back against these practices that undermine our ability to engage with each other as genuinely free human beings.” According to Roy Singham, Chairman of the global technology company ThoughtWorks, where Aaron was working up until the time of his passing:

“Aaron showed us that being a technologist in the 21st century means taking action to prevent technology from being turned against the public interest. The time is now for the global tribe of technologists to rise up together and defeat mass surveillance.”

According to Josh Levy of Free Press:

“Since the first revelations last summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users have come together online and offline to protest the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs. These programs attack our basic rights to connect and communicate in private, and strike at the foundations of democracy itself. Only a broad movement of activists, organizations and companies can convince Washington to restore these rights.”

Brett Solomon, Executive Director, Access, added:

“Aaron thought in systems. He knew that a free and open internet is a critical prerequisite to preserving our free and open societies. His spirit lives in our belief that where there are threats to this freedom, we will rise to overcome them. On February 11th, we’ll rise against mass surveillance.”

On the day of action, the coalition and the activists it represents make calls and drive emails to lawmakers. Owners of websites will install banners to encourage their visitors to fight back against surveillance, and employees of technology companies will demand that their organizations do the same. Internet users are being asked to develop memes and change their social media avatars to reflect their demands.

Websites and Internet users who want to talk part can visit TheDayWeFightBack.org to sign up for email updates and to register websites to participate. Regular updates will be posted to the site between now and the February 11th day of action.

WHO: Access, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, The Other 98%, BoingBoing, Mozilla, Reddit, ThoughtWorks — and many more to come

WHAT: Day of Action in Opposition to Mass Spying, Honoring Aaron Swartz and SOPA Blackout Anniversary

WHEN: February 11, 2014

HOW INTERNET USERS CAN HELP:

  1. Visit TheDayWeFightBack.org
  2. Sign up to indicate that you’ll participate and receive updates.
  3. Sign up to install widgets on websites encouraging its visitors to fight back against surveillance. (These are being finalized in coming days.)
  4. Use the social media tools on the site to announce your participation.
  5. Develop memes, tools, websites, and do whatever else you can to participate — and encourage others to do the same.

Stealth Biotechnology: A future?

Foreign Affairs has an article this month on Biology’s Brave New World. Given my paranoia and mistrust of governments around the world, it made me wonder which country was developing bio weapons that could be deployed on a population.

I am not talking about terminal bio weapons but something a little more subtle. Perhaps bio weapons that could infect crops, animals, and/or people and reduce their effectiveness to a level that made their contribution to the cycle of life insufficient. Certainly mule strains of any thing could eradicate organisms within a single generation by preventing procreation. But how about low grade infections that slows a person down and reduces his/her productivity?

Imagine a bird flu for Hong Kong or NYC or perhaps even nationally spread influenzas to debilitate an economy.

Yes, I know that this might seem farfetched but so did many other now common weapons. Margaret Atwood’s book Oryx and Crake is about corporations that waged war on each other with bioweapons and new species of animals.Natural humans were doomed by Crake with a pathogen that he turned loose on mankind. This is speculative fiction and depressing in its topic but the point that man will weaponize whatever he can is well made.

Seems to me if we know about it, it probably has already been done. My question is has it been tested on populations? This would not be new ground for the US government if you know what I mean.

 

US Government shuts down people-centered activities only

If the government shuts down all nonessential services and the nonessential services are ‘for the people” then the government has retained all services that serve itself.

Does that make you afraid?

The Government “for the people” has just perished from the earth. I am kind of glad that Abraham Lincoln is no longer around to learn this. Should we re-write history now so that it appears that President Lincoln said “… that this government of the people, by the people, and for itself shall not perish from the face of the earth”?

This government shut down was constructed and carried out to close all “for the people” activities and keep all the “for the government” actions fully staffed.

Snarkily, I have been waiting for President Obama and Speaker Boehner to help serve food in the cafeteria on Capitol Hill plus I was kind of looking forward to the President and the First Lady having a BBQ in their backyard just for themselves.

Imagine the photo shoot and press op:

“President Obama used Kinsgford charcoal in his Weber today to prepare hot dogs and burgers for his family’s dinner. The shutdown has caused problems with staffing the White House kitchens and the President and the First Lady have now taken on the kitchen duties. The first lady’s ‘world renown shapely arms in sleeveless dresses’ are now gracing the White House kitchen sink. The President wears a Wolfgang Puck apron and places dishes in racks to let them air dry.”

No, we don’t get those stories, do we? We get stories about closed parks, memorials, dire warnings that checks will not be sent, while all the funds earmarked for foreign aid are still paid.

So who is sharing your (and my) burden of this government shut down? The furloughed workers. But they will be paid when the shutdown ends. So it is a paid vacation after the fact. How corrupt is a government when it favors its own over all others?

So to all you Statists out there, let me say this: The problem with the government becoming so big that it runs everything: they don’t have any experience. And when they do, they run the country for the government’s benefit rather than ours.

If the civilian government does not get its act together, I fear what comes next.

The Coming Oil Glut?

Hmmmm, hard to say, isn’t it? With the US expected to become a net producer of oil (rather than a net consumer) and the coming boom in African oil in the next ten years coupled with the oil from the MidEast, there had better be ginormous demand for oil else there will be a glut.

I will say this: When Big Oil decides to out muscle all competitors, it certainly does it in a large fashion. Nuclear power is no competitor, hydro is passe, solar has not been born yet, which leaves us with coal and oil and hydrocarbons for decades to come. Who packs more portable, transmittable, and locally usable power in its package than gasoline, diesel, oil, or any of its cousins?

If Africa can work out how to migrate from a tribal-based government to something resembling Asia, Europe, or God forfend, the Middle East, then Africa will be awash with money. And who will Africa buy from? China and India. Non-white countries with no colonial past and no battle space history on the continent.

Africa faces what has come to be called The Resource Curse. Bazillions of Bucks controlled by handfuls of people. This may not be pretty when pirate nations seek to suck the wealth out of these countries. The bloodshed now will be paltry compared to the future unless the nouveaux riche  countries align with older gentlemen countries like the US, China, India, and perhaps Russia.

This will happen in my children’s lifetime. A re-organization of nations and allies and enemies within the next 20 years. Imagine that.

Levin’s Liberty Amendments

Levin’s 11 Proposed Liberty Amendments:

  1. Establish Congressional Term Limits
  2. Repeal the 17th Amendment and Restore the Senate
  3. Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices
  4. Limit Federal Spending
  5.  Limit Federal Taxing
  6. Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
  7. Promote Free Enterprise
  8. Protect Private Property
  9. Grant States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution
  10. Grant States Authority to Check Congress
  11. Protect the Vote

Here are my thoughts on support:

Liberty #1: Partial Support: Twelve years is not enough for term limits. It may have been in 1789 but congressmen/women with less than 12 years under the belt are just not knowledgeable enough to thwart being manipulated by others. Twenty (20) years of Congress is fine and then out of the legislative branch. I can support term limits in the Executive Branch, too. Set them for twenty years and get rid of those lifers in the State Department, National Security, etc.

Liberty #2: Full Support with a twist. Leave the two senators elected by popular vote and add one to be chosen by each state. I can be convinced to add two chosen by the states for the simple reason that government is too complex for one person to understand it and legislate accordingly.

Liberty #3: Partial Support: I agree with the term limits but I don’t support the override of the Supreme Court decisions in Sections 4 thru 8. I prefer instead that 1. Congress shall have the authority to prevent the Supreme Court’s decision from becoming a legal norm by crafting and passing legislation specific to the case within 18 months of the court’s decision, or the case will be considered as settled law, 2. that such corrective legislation crafted by Congress shall be accompanied by the Supreme Court’s legislative analysis and review when presented to the members of both Houses before the final vote on the legislation 3. that the President does not have veto power over the Congressional vote, and 4. that a simple majority of States will have six months after Congress’ 18 month’s period to craft federal legislation to address a Supreme Court ruling and 5. that such legislation receives a three-fifths majority vote within another 6 months to enact it as federal law.

Liberty Amendment #4: Full support with a twist: I want to see the definition of a tax that includes user fees, parking fees, licenses,etc  and all the other fol-de-rol ways of not calling the confiscation of money from a citizen as a tax when it is used towards a federal facility, space, employee, or maintenance aspect of something in the federal domain.

Liberty Amendment #5: No support for this as written. I would support something that says the federal government cannot directly provide income or other means of support to more than 30% of the population with jobs, food, shelter, and clothing; and that it cannot provide more than 15% of the population with indirect support. From federal employees and military through the sick and disabled and contract workers, I want to see 2/3 able-bodied population in a self reliant fashion but I am not sure how that would be crafted.

Liberty Amendment #6: Full Support with a twist: The Federal government can sue State governments for inadequate consumer protections within a States’ commerce.

Liberty Amendment #7: Full Support

Liberty Amendment #8: Full Support

Liberty Amendment # 9: Full Support

Liberty Amendment # 10: Full Support for federal elections with a caveat that photographic evidence is a method and I am not certain that technology methods should be written into a Constitutional amendment. Proof of identification may be photographic, fingerprint, voice ID, retinal prints, DNA analysis, and by affidavit. Modify the wording slightly to make it acceptable for other types of identification, too, and I am fine. Fingerprint scanners seem more appropriate in most instances.

Those are my thoughts about Mr. Levin’s Amendments. I recommend that you read his book.

Syria is on everyone’s mind

First there is this:

MILWAUKEE — Republican Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Sean Duffy said Wednesday that they will vote against military intervention in Syria, and other members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation expressed hesitancy about a strike.

The U.S. and France have accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people, and President Barack Obama has asked Congress to authorize a military strike. The president has said only limited military action is planned.

Duffy, who represents northern Wisconsin, said in a statement that Obama did the right thing by seeking congressional approval, but he didn’t think the president had outlined a “coherent plan to justify American military action.”

“It is not clear who we are fighting with or what we are fighting for,” Duffy said. “Therefore, I do not plan to support the resolution to intervene.”

Sensenbrenner, whose district includes Milwaukee’s western suburbs, said in a statement that Assad’s actions are “reprehensible” but “Congress did not set a red line for military action in Syria — President Obama did. And his plan for military force will not help the Syrian people or promote the freedom or security of the United States.”

Republican Rep. Reid Ribble, who represents northeastern Wisconsin, and Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan, whose district includes Madison, also lean against military action but are keeping open minds, their spokesmen said in emails.

Other members of the delegation were still seeking more information. After attending intelligence briefings by the White House, Democratic Rep. Ron Kind said he remains concerned about the possibility of the U.S. being drawn into a long conflict. Kind said he asked the Obama administration for a national intelligence assessment of what the day after a strike might look like.

“There are many trip wires throughout the region and we could very easily be drawn into a prolonged engagement, not of our choosing or liking, just based on the response in the region,” Kind said.

Kind said he has been speaking with residents in western Wisconsin and “there’s not much enthusiasm about another prolonged military engagement in the Middle East following two long wars this past decade in the same region.”

PHOTO: File - In this June 4, 2013, photo is Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kind says he is undecided about whether the U.S. should take military action in Syria after hearing White House briefings and talking to residents in his district. He said most people he has spoken with are not eager for engagement but also says not taking action also sends a message to Assad and that could be the wrong message. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

File – In this June 4, 2013, photo is Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis on Capitol Hill in Washington. Kind says he is undecided about whether the U.S. should take military action in Syria after hearing White House briefings and talking to residents in his district. He said most people he has spoken with are not eager for engagement but also says not taking action also sends a message to Assad and that could be the wrong message. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

But not taking military action could send “the wrong message,” he said.

“There’s a reason so many countries throughout the world have signed the chemical weapons treaty, because they’ve determined that is a red line, that that cannot be tolerated in the international community,” Kind said.

Among the questions Kind still wants answered is, who gave the order for the attack?

“I think that’s what a lot of members have focused on, including myself,” he said. “Was this a rogue general? Was it Assad himself? And that’s where we’re looking for some greater clarification.”

Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore, who represents the Milwaukee area, said she has “decided to be undecided because I have two awful sorts of choices. And I promised myself I would listen to all the arguments before I made up my mind.”

Moore said a vote on military action is among the most important she can cast and she has been talking to as many people as she can, including peace activists, Jewish groups and Syrians living in the United States.

“I’m concerned about the humanitarian crisis that the use of these chemical weapons has caused,” she said. But she added, she was not concerned about arguments that the U.S. must use force to save face after Assad ignored Obama’s earlier warnings. She said she’s asking, “can we actually have some sort of impact, other than just extracting some sort of revenge for them crossing the red line?”

Staff members for Republican Rep. Tom Petri, whose district includes Oshkosh and Fond du Lac, and Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson said they also remain undecided. Baldwin, a Democrat, and Johnson, a Republican, both released statements saying they were looking for Obama to present a convincing case to the American people for military action.

“The President says Syria ‘presents a serious danger to our national security.’ He must explain what this danger is, and how his plan would reduce it,” Johnson said.

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, who represents the southeastern corner of the state, released a statement saying Obama “has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria.”

“He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America’s security,” Ryan said.

Second, the Reform Party held an email poll of those who are on their list and some of the results were:

1. 47% said Syria had used chem weapons while 40% were unsure

2. 43% said use of chem weapons justifies an international response while 37% said it did not.

3. Remarkably, 45.8% said that somebody else should do something about Syria instead of the US. The feelings expressed were that other Arab countries should be denouncing Syria and taking some action.

This is no slam dunk. Reminds me of kitchen table talk in the 60s when blacks were rioting in their neighborhoods and my relatives said “Who cares as long as it stays there?” Of course, it did not stay there but spilled out everywhere until Dr. King came along and gave the movement direction and guidance.

So the President is in a box, isn’t he? Cannot do nothing and yet cannot do anything either. This places him in a position that he has to pass or punt and he cannot do either and win. So maybe he is trying to let the clock run out…

 

In which I surrender and hope for an escape?

The very fact that Pres Obama, VP Joe Biden, and Sec’y John Kerry say that there is evidence that Sarin gas was used in Syria makes me not want to believe it. Guess who is not saying anything? Chuck Hagel. The Sec Def has been remarkably silent on the issue although what he has said is supportive of the Administration.

So yesterday I heard two things; 1. It will take three weeks to test the UN evidence from Syria before the Sarin results will be known and 2. The US says that it has already tested the evidence and that the results are consistent with Sarin gas.

Who are you going to believe?

John Kerry actually said:

“I can share with you today that blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from East Damascus, from first responders, it has tested positive for signatures of sarin,” Kerry told CNN on Sunday.

“Each day that goes by, this case is even stronger,” he said on the cable network’s State of the Union program.

Please note that it tested positive for “signatures of Sarin”. There is an interesting characteristic of American politics in which when the administration wishes to tell you a lie that it uses words that imply,but do not explicitly state, a fact. I noted that the media is reporting that it tested positive for Sarin gas but that is not what Secy Kerry actually said. I also note that it did not come from the Veep or the Prez or the SecDef Chick Hagel. Why is that?

Do you remember the 16 words “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” This statement places all of the veracity on the British government and no responsibility on American government to determine if it was true. Reminds me of an old canard used by corporate sharks “I’ll lie and you’ll swear to it”.

So now what do I do? Do I accept the US government is telling us the whole truth that residue of Sarin gas was found present in Syria? Or do I say, ya know, maybe our government used weasel words in case the truth is different? And even if the gas is present, does that mean that the Syrian Army used it?

Close only counts in horseshoes, doesn’t it?

I am going to suspend (not withdraw) my critical thinking skills on this and presume that the Obama Administration is telling the truth. Ok, so the Syrian Army used Sarin gas in a raid in neighborhood of Damascus.

Why have we not convinced our allies of this and why do they resist getting involved with Syria? (Except for France, of course, who likes living/hiding underneath America’s skirts during confrontations).

So if it is true that Sarin gas was used, why are we waiting for weeks for Congress to take action? Shouldn’t Exec Branch have been working on that already?

We have a government of lesser men, I fear. And that is why I don’t believe John Kerry and Joe Biden in my heart.

 

Military muscle in the drug war makes me crazy

Sheesh. Does anybody remember the freakin’ Golden Triangle in the Far East?

When you mix the CIA and drugs?

So now when I read:

A covert U.S. operation sending manned aircraft south of the border has helped Mexican police identify, capture and kill some of that country’s most wanted criminals, according to sources.

Under the direction of the Pentagon’s Northern Command, “Operation Lowrider” began in 2011 after the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jamie Zapata.

“It’s been successful in identifying, eliminating and bringing to justice those who brought tons and tons of drugs into the United States,” says Phil Jordan a former DEA Special Agent and director of the agency’s El Paso Intelligence Center.

Unlike drones operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the two prop planes are manned by a subcontractor to Sierra Nevada, a U.S. defense contractor, according to the website vocative.com. Using advanced eavesdropping equipment, “pattern of life” reconnaissance missions expose the schedules and routines of high level traffickers.

…I get a little crazy about this.
I don’t know what the solution is but I do know that using the military to perform like policemen during a drug war is just plain nuts. I like mission specific DEA operations. I like SWAT Team actions for drug arrests. But there is something inherently wrong about using the US military to police the world for drug trafficking.
Perhaps it is because the CIA gets so involved in drug trafficking with impunity that I am bothered by having the one part of the federal government that is supposed to protect me ( the US Military) from being involved in drug activities. Keep drugs away from the US military command operations.

 

 

 

Privacy on the Net: TOR usage doubles

Once you’ve installed Tor’s software on your PC—most often in the form of the Tor browser bundle—the service allows you to surf the web anonymously by encrypting your Internet connection requests and bouncing them between numerous “relay nodes” before finally sending them on to the final destination.

No node knows the identifiable information of any nodes in the chain aside from the ones they’re taking information from and passing information to and., just to be on the safe side, each hop along the way gets a whole new set of encryption keys.

Whoa! That’s very secure!

“The idea is similar to using a twisty, hard-to-follow route in order to throw off somebody who is tailing you—and then periodically erasing your footprints,” explains the Tor website. All the hip-hopping makes for a very secure (yet very slow) browsing experience, assuming you’re smart about your usage habits. It’s also great for bypassing government firewalls.

Tor’s “onion-routing” technology also enables the creation of “hidden services,” or websites that can also hide their server identity from its users and are only accessible while using Tor. This extreme level of anonymity makes the so-called “Onionland” darknet a haven—not only for seedy types, but also for people who want (or need) to stay anonymous, such as political dissidents and whistleblowers—the type of people who may have relied on Lavabit and Silent Mail previously.

Perhaps not the best group of people to be associated with but you will never know them any way.