Tom Carter – World Socialist Web Site

November 13, 2015

With the death toll from police brutality continuing to mount, the US Supreme Court on Monday issued a decision expanding the authoritarian doctrine of “qualified immunity,” which shields police officers from legal accountability. When a civil rights case is summarily dismissed by a judge on the grounds of “qualified immunity,” the case is legally terminated. It never goes to trial before a jury and is never decided on its constitutional merits. In March of 2010, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chadrin Mullenix climbed onto an overpass with a rifle and, disobeying a direct order from his supervisor, fired six shots at a vehicle that the police were pursuing. Mullenix was not in any danger, and his supervisor had told him to wait until other officers tried to stop the car using spike strips. Four shots struck Israel Leija, Jr., killing him and causing the car, which was going 85 miles per hour, to crash. After the shooting, Mullenix boasted to his supervisor, “How’s that for proactive?” Read

Joshua Holland – Are We Training Cops to Be Hyper-Aggressive ‘Warriors’?

November 11, 2015

Race dominated the coverage of the 2014 shooting of John Crawford. Crawford was a young black man gunned down by white cops in a Beaverton Creek, Ohio, Walmart as he talked to his girlfriend on the phone while absentmindedly holding a BB gun he had grabbed from a store shelf. Ohio is an “open-carry” state where it’s perfectly legal to walk around with a loaded AR-15. What got less attention is that less than two weeks before the shooting, the officer who shot Crawford had been trained to respond to “active shooter situations” by shooting first and asking questions later. According to The Guardian, officer Sean Williams and his colleagues were “taught to keep in mind that ‘the suspect wants a body count’ and therefore officers should immediately engage a would-be gunman with ‘speed, surprise and aggressiveness.’” At that training, they were told to imagine that a crazed gunman was threatening their own relatives. Read

Greg Grandin – Kissinger, the Bombardier

November 9, 2015

In April 2014, ESPN published a photograph of an unlikely duo: Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and former national security adviser and secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Yankees-Red Sox season opener. In fleece jackets on a crisp spring day, they were visibly enjoying each other’s company, looking for all the world like a twenty-first-century geopolitical version of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The subtext of their banter, however, wasn’t about sex, but death. As a journalist, Power had made her name as a defender of human rights, winning a Pulitzer Prize for her book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. Having served on the National Security Council before moving on to the U.N., she was considered an influential “liberal hawk” of the Obama era. She was also a leading light among a set of policymakers and intellectuals who believe that American diplomacy should be driven not just by national security and economic concerns but by humanitarian ideals, especially the advancement of democracy and the defense of human rights. Read

What I Learned on My Red State Book Tour

November 9, 2015

I’ve just returned from three weeks in “red” America. It was ostensibly a book tour but I wanted to talk with conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers. I intended to put into practice what I tell my students – that the best way to learn is to talk with people who disagree you. I wanted to learn from red America, and hoped they’d also learn a bit from me (and perhaps also buy my book). But something odd happened. It turned out that many of the conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers I met agreed with much of what I had to say, and I agreed with them. Read

William Boardman – Police Unions Sustain Police Violence Epidemic

November 2, 2015

wo of the biggest police unions in the country are now on record in opposition to free speech. They are on record against constitutionally protected free speech that opposes the epidemic of police violence across America (more than 900 killed by police so far in 2015). The current round of police union intimidation tactics started October 24, after filmmaker Quentin Tarantino spoke briefly to the “Rise Up October” protest, a “Call for a Major National Manifestation Against Police Terror.” The crowd of thousands marched peacefully up Sixth Avenue for two miles and included some 100 families impacted by police violence and killing. Police unions have reacted with violent rhetoric to Tarantino’s brief “speech,” which offered a non-specific truism (here in its entirety): Read

JOSEPH NATOLI – Psychotic Shooters on the Open Frontier of Profit

October 29, 2015

“Each of the Republican candidates for the presidency declared last week that we should deal with school shootings by providing aggressive treatment of people with mental illness — not to alleviate the suffering of the mentally ill, but to protect other people from the mentally ill.” Andrew Solomon, “The Myth of the `Autistic Shooter,’ The New York Delusions are the belief in something that is not true. People who have delusions will continue with their delusions even when shown evidence that contradicts the delusion. That is because, like hallucinations, delusions are “irrational” — the opposite of logic and reason. Since reason does not apply to someone who has a schizophrenic delusion, arguing with it logically gets a person nowhere. Read

Dylan Charles – The 10 Most Critical Things to Consider When Consuming Mainstream News

October 26, 2015

It’s no secret that 90% of American media is owned by just 6 corporate conglomerates, and it’s also no secret that the media is used by political and corporate propagandists as a tool to reach deep into the hearts and minds of the masses.Mainstream newscasts are a staged version of reality, and as world events continue to rise in pitch and fervor, so will the propaganda, so it’s imperative to brush up on critical thinking skills as a defense against falling into group-thinkand mass-hysteria. The great irony here, though, is that it is precisely through the power of media that people will awaken to the deceit happening in the media. By and large the programming that makes it to our eyes and ears is produced to support an agenda, but, even amongst the corporate programs there are genuine voices of reason and truth. So, how do you tell the difference between a voice of truth and voice of deceit? Read

Chapman University’s second annual Survey of American Fears released

October 16, 2015

What Americans fear most in 2015 Chapman University recently completed its second annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears (2015). Each wave of the survey focuses upon what Americans fear, the potential causes of those fears and the consequences of fear. In addition, the comprehensive survey includes extensive background information about respondents, allowing for examinations of how fears vary by different groups. The survey asked respondents about 88 fears across a broad range of categories including fears about the government, crime, the environment, the future, technology, aging, sickness and health; natural and man-made disasters, claustrophobia, clowns and many other personal anxieties; and a host of others. Read

Matt Taibbi – Rupert Murdoch Is Deviant Scum

October 14, 2015

t all comes back to Rupert Murdoch. As multiple recent news stories have proven, the 2016 presidential race is fast becoming a referendum on the News Corp CEO and reigning media gorgon. The two top candidates in the Republican field are a Fox News contributor (Ben Carson opened his Fox career two years ago comparing Obama to Lenin) and a onetime Fox favorite who is fast becoming the network’s archenemy: Donald Trump is the fallen angel in the Fox story, a traitor who’s trying to tempt away Murdoch’s lovingly nurtured stable of idiot viewers by denouncing their favorite “news” network as a false conservative God. Read

Mel Gurtov – Manipulating Reality: Facebook Is Listening to You

October 12, 2015

One thing we have become all too used to is that our reality can be manipulated to create the appearance of something else entirely. Invading another country is defensive, rigged elections are passed off as democracy in action, more guns (or more nuclear weapons) ensure the peace, trade and foreign investment increase jobs at home. Orwellian logic has become commonplace. What I am reporting on here is another kind of manipulation: How Facebook and other social media use the information we for the most part unknowingly provide it—including even words we speak in the privacy of our own homes—to advertise products that we didn’t request and almost certainly don’t want, and pass data on to the government. I am hardly the first to discover this extraordinary capability. A number of other people have expressed their astonishment and anger when they became aware that key words they used in Facebook and Twitter communication, such as messaging, location, and status, as well as in private conversations anywhere in their homes, were being picked up and almost instantly converted into ads. You mention a particular sport and a ticketing agency’s ad appears. You say you would love to drive a Lexus and up
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