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The ThisCantBeHappening! news collective loses a founding member

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young (1951-2014)

 

The ThisCantBeHappening! collective has lost a friend and a perceptive and peerlessly witty analyst of the American political and cultural scene, while Rock& Roll has lost its leading critic. Charles M. Young (Chuck to his friends), has died, following a year and a half of battling an aggressive brain tumor.

When Dave Lindorff decided back in the Spring of 2010, to convert his thiscantbehappening.net blog into a collectively-owned and collectively-run news site, he immediately contacted three friends and journalistic colleagues--John Grant, Linn Washington, Jr. and Chuck Young. All three immediately jumped for the idea. But Chuck's response was classic Young. His lip curling up in a sign that cued a listener that he was about to crack a joke, he said, "Wait, let me get this straight: a newspaper that has no editor? It sounds like a dream come true! Sign me up!"

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!

 

The Justice Option

How To Dissipate the Protest in Ferguson

There was a moment during MSNBC's live coverage of Ferguson, Missouri, Monday night through 2AM Tuesday morning when Chris Hayes and one of his guests conceded the police (now augmented by National Guard troops said to be guarding a police command center) begrudgingly deserved a good grade because -- unlike riots in Newark and Los Angeles -- no one had been killed. This was after cops had "barked" at Hayes and threatened him with macing if he and his camera crew dared again venture "in front of" the police.

It was about this time rumors surfaced that the police were planning to announce Tuesday morning new rules for media on the street. Frustrated police were beginning to take the usual position and blame the media for the persistent protests in Ferguson. Hayes wondered on-air what that might mean; he was concerned what the police would do without cameras covering their actions. Was the media creating disrespect for the police? Or was it the unaddressed murder of an 18-year-old African American manchild?

I've watched an awful lot of cable news over the past week, and Ferguson, Missouri, for me, is an amazing public collision of citizens rights and police power. One of the ironies of Monday night was how critical Shepard Smith of Fox News and a couple of his on-the-street reporters were of the police.

"There's not a bit of professionalism across the street from me," said one of the on-the-street Fox reporters live at around 10:30PM Ferguson time, referring to the gathered cops in military garb and gas masks. "I can't see what's provoking the police." Until that moment, protesters had been ordered only to keep moving -- not to stop and cluster up -- a command one might hear from guards in a volatile prison public area.

Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas JacksonMichael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson

Both MSNBC and Fox felt the police had not been provoked at 10PM Ferguson time when they suddenly collected en-mass in warrior mode and started demanding on loudspeakers for protesters to leave the area. Soon, the flash bang grenades came out, the tear gas, the use of spooky L-RAD sound blasters -- all intended to force protesters to flee. As Hayes pointed out with a chuckle, having gotten a snootful of tear gas and fled himself, as far as clearing a street "this stuff really works."

It seemed clear to me sitting at home as it did to the reporters on the street and to the angry protesters themselves, that the police authorities had decided at 10PM Ferguson time that aggressive police action would begin. A midnight-to-5AM curfew had been lifted, but in effect what they did amounted to the same thing, a midnight curfew as a fact-on-the-ground. Dissipated stragglers could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

This is what has become of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. All of us opposed to the Iraq, Afghanistan and terror wars since 9/11 have seen it grow on our streets for over a decade. It can only be described as a police state of control as to when and how citizens will be permitted to express their First Amendment rights. By now, many of us are very familiar with one of the most absurd elements of this regime: The First Amendment Zone.

Community or Warzone?

Warrior Cops Lose a Round in Missouri

 

On Monday, I decided to spend my evenings flipping back-and-forth between Fox News and MSNBC as the two cable channels dealt with the dueling stories of the United States tiptoeing into a third war in Iraq and the sudden appearance of what appeared to be a police state in a little town outside St Louis. The Ferguson, Missouri story prevailed and has gone from bizarre and dangerous war zone to relief-filled street carnival to complicated human drama with the late addition of a convenience store video.

MSNBC dove headfirst into the Ferguson, Missouri story. An unarmed 18-year-old African American named Michael Brown had been killed by an unnamed police officer. Furious, unarmed African American citizens were confronted with determined cops dressed in camouflage battle fatigues, wearing helmets with plastic face masks, brandishing automatic weapons and backed up by huge, armored-up vehicles topped with officers pointing sniper rifles at them. It was a full-bore manifestation of the militarization of community police equipped by the Pentagon with millions of dollars worth of surplus Iraq and Afghanistan war weaponry. The stated purpose of all this military weaponry in our towns is to fight the War On Terror at the local level. It seemed to aggravate an already terrible situation.

Over at Fox, the heavy focus was on Iraq and ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or in another version, ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (The Levant refers to the eastern end of the Mediterranean, which of course includes Israel.) ISIS in western Iraq has declared itself The New Caliphate. Over and over, Fox showed excruciating video of the desperate Yazidi people trapped on a barren mountain on the edge of the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. US and Kurd forces dropped desperately needed supplies. A US military team was dropped in to assess the situation. Sean Hannity fulminated at his most vigorous trying to establish fundamentalist Islam as the living resurrection of the Nazis from World War Two. President Obama was the cause of everything. George W. Bush was never mentioned. History was absent.

Images from Ferguson, Missouri, and, top right, the murder victim, Michael BrownImages from Ferguson, Missouri, and, top right, the murder victim, Michael Brown
 

Al Sharpton hosts a nightly MSNBC show, but now he was a pumped up political activist on the ground in Ferguson. Fox hit him hard on this, virtually blaming Sharpton for stirring up the unrest, which did include several instances of looting and the burning of a gas station. The visuals from this were reminiscent of 1968, and Fox played them over and over. This despite Sharpton and the dead man's father, Michael Brown Sr., both eloquently begging the crowd to stop the looting and the burning.

In many US communities, cops are the ‘terrorists’

Police Need to Be Demilitarized and Remade as ‘Peace Officers’

 

The apparent murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth who was shot a number of times while he was allegedly on his knees with his hands up in the air, pleading “Don’t shoot, I’m not armed,” is exposing everything that is wrong with policing in the US today.

The Ferguson Police Department, reportedly nearly all white (50 of 53 officers), patrols a St. Louis suburban community that is 70 percent African-American, a situation that is already a recipe for disaster in a nation that is drenched in racism--and all too typical in communities across the country. The Ferguson PD has also been reportedly employing the kind of aggressive policing -- arresting people over minor infractions -- that can quickly escalate into violent confrontations. In this case, it appears Brown’s offense was jay-walking and perhaps talking back to the police officer -- the first being a citation offense, and the second not even illegal.

When this shooting happened, instead of immediately attempting to calm things down, the Ferguson Police Department went all paramilitary, sending massive numbers of up-armed cops in military gear, backed by police dogs, into the community. They also brought in armored vehicles, reportedly equipped with heavy machine guns mounted on top, which at one point were trained on protesters but fortunately not fired. (Hundreds of police departments in communities like Ferguson across the country now have such surplus military equipment, showered on them for free by the US Department of Homeland Security.) Ferguson cops responded to understandable community protests with tear gas and, later, with solid wooden and rubber bullets designed to hurt and injure but not kill (though clearly at close range there is always that danger). Several more people have already been shot by police, leaving them in critical condition.

Adding to community outrage is the refusal by police to release the name of the officer responsible for killing Brown, or even to release the initial report of his autopsy -- both the kind information that would be readily available were the shooter not a police officer.

What’s wrong here? So many things that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Confronting the 'enemy' in Ferguson, Missouri -- an iconic image of militarized police that has gone viral since the police slaying of 18-year-old Mike BrownConfronting the 'enemy' in Ferguson, Missouri -- an iconic image of militarized police that has gone viral since the police slaying of 18-year-old Mike Brown

Avoid bullies and thugs

Beware the World’s Leading War-Monger and Terrorist Organization: the US

 

There’s an old adage that goes: “You can judge a man by the company he keeps.”

If that’s the case, then applying it to nations, the world has to judge the US to be a truly wretched and repugnant country, and should be steering clear of it.

Look at the company we Americans are “keeping” these days:

* In Ukraine, the US is backing a thuggish regime, installed through a bloody coup that overthrew a democratically elected government. That regime, since taking power, been using indescriminately shelling cities, and using fascist thugs re-classified as National Guardsmen to slaughter civilians and separatist rebels in the eastern part of the country. It is also becoming increasingly clear, as even the main English-language newspaper in Malaysia is reporting, that this thuggish regime based in Kiev was likely responsible for the deliberate downing of a Malaysian airline which killed all 283 passengers and crew (though the Obama administration continues to claim, on the basis of no evidence, that it was the separatists’ doing).

* In Israel, we have a government and the ironically named Israeli Defense Force (IDF) slaughtering nearly 2000 Palestinians -- over 400 of them children -- trapped in the massive open-air prison and ghetto called Gaza. For over a month, the IDF has been relentlessly bombing, shelling and rolling tanks and bulldozers over the world’s most crowded prison camp and its 1.8 million people, deliberately shelling schools, hospitals, sewage treatment and water plants, and the only power generating facility, creating an incomprehensible humanitarian crisis. Israel is the single largest recipient of US financial and military aid, and most of the death and destruction in Gaza is the direct result of US-provided arms -- weapons that include flesh-shredding anti-personnel shells and bombs, toxic gas and illegally used white phosphorus incendiary weapons. In fact, the US rushed more such deadly weapons to Israel as the IDF ran its stocks down in this one-sided assault on the walled-in Gaza-wide free-fire kill zone.

* Over in Syria, where the US has been covertly supplying arms to an assortment of fanatic Islamic jihadists intent on overthrowing the dictator Bashar al Assad, we now know that it was those very jihadists, and not the Assad government, that cooly launched a deadly Sarin gas attack on a suburb of Damascus last year, killing hundreds. They did this monstrous crime in an attempt to throw blame on Assad and lure the US into joining the war against his regime -- and came within a day of succeeding. More recently we learn that those jihadists, many of whom were trained by the CIA at secret camps in Jordan, have been stoning women in Syria to death for “adultery,” often forcing local villagers unwilling to participate in such horrors to watch this medieval atrocity.

America's friends at work:A crucified victim of US-trained Syrian jihadis, a Ukrainian bombing raid on Lugansk, an a scene fromAmerica's friends at work: A victim 'crucified' by US-trained Syrian jihadis, a Ukrainian bombing raid on Lugansk, and a scene of IDF slaughter and destruction in Gaza

New poem:

Close the gate

 

Close the gate

I’m tired.
Don’t visit,
I’m not home.
Why should I have to explain?

Now you show up.
I hear your voices.
You come in a group.
You turn on the tap.

I hear the squeak of the faucet.
I hear the water running
Through the pipes.
I go to the door.

There are a lot of you.
Go away.
Can’t you see I’m busy?
I’m working on something.

I can’t be disturbed.
Follow that path
Through the garden.
Close the gate.

none

Is your data and privacy really safe?

Of Russian Hackers and Google Cops

 

The recent news that Russian hackers have the usernames and passwords for over a billion users as well as a half billion email accounts wraps up a week of Internet craziness.

Last week, Google revealed that it had turned into police a Google user who had included child pornography on some of his emails. The company made clear that it had been investigating this guy and that its procedures for doing so "cannot violate the privacy of other users". This week, MicroSoft made a similar announcement about a similar investigation of data stored on its "Cloud" storage system.

Those zeros and ones are yours -- or are they?Those zeros and ones are yours -- or are they?
 

It seems these guys can't refrain from competing in whatever they're into. It also seems that, as usual, these companies are playing an informational shell game when they explain what they're doing and the threat it poses.

Killing Lt. Goldin...and 150 innocents

The IDF’s ‘Hannibal Protocol’ and Two Criminally Insane Governments

 

The sickness of present-day Israel, on display over the past horrible month of the one-sided slaughter of nearly 2000 Palestinians (including over 400 children) in the fenced-in ghetto of Gaza, has finally reached its nadir with the ugly case of the deliberate Israeli Defense Force murder of captured IDF 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.

According to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, once it was determined that Goldin had been captured by Hamas fighters in the Gaza town of Rafah, the IDF initiated what it calls the “Hannibal Protocol” -- the deliberate liquidation of the captive -- to prevent his being used as a hostage to win concessions from Israel in future truce negotiations with the Palestinians. One reason for the almost instantaneous and ruthless Israeli decision to kill Goldin rather than attempt to rescue him, is that this captured soldier had the misfortune of being related to Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, making him a valuable prize indeed for Hamas.

And so began a massive bombardment of the entire residential area where Goldin was captured.

As Haaretz reports in an editorial about this case of deliberate sacrifice of an IDF officer, headlined “What Happened in Rafah?”, the ensuing high-explosive blitz on the area didn’t just kill Goldin, but also indiscriminately killed over 150 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including many women and children. Indeed, the paper states that the IDF “...shelled and bombed houses and their inhabitants indiscriminately, and as they tried to flee homes, hit them with shells and bombs in the streets.” The fatal bombing of a targeted UN-operated school in Rafah, which was condemned by the US government and by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, who called it a “criminal act and a moral outrage,” was part of that Hannibal Protocol action.

Now recall that President Obama was quick to label the Hamas capture of Goldin “barbaric.”

The trouble is, having rather absurdly deployed that term to characterize the capture by Hamas fighters of an Israeli soldier who was at the time reportedly exploring a tunnel and trying to capture or kill enemy fighters, though, what then does Obama -- what indeed does any person -- call the indiscriminate slaughter of 150 civilians in the interest of eliminating one of one’s own captured soldier?

Blown away by the IDF's Operation Hannibal: 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin and a UN school filled with refugees seeking shelterBlown away by the IDF's Operation Hannibal: 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin and a UN school filled with refugees seeking shelter

Yet another step toward a police state

FaceBook Experiments with Manipulating Your Mind

How does the news on the Internet make you feel?

What sounds like a frivolous question, the kind you might be asked in a bar after a few drinks, is actually a profound and powerful one. If the Internet's content can affect your feelings, the manipulation of that content can exert powerful social control.

So for a week in 2012, Facebook, in collaboration with Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco, set out to explore that possibility. It edited the content seen by a select 689,000 of its users, overloading its news feed content with positive news for some users and negative news for others and then studied their posts in reaction without their knowledge.

Just what are they testing? (courtesy TechnewspediaJust what are they testing? (courtesy Technewspedia).

As a result, Facebook learned a lot. According to an abstract of the study, "for people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people's status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred."

And, when news about the study broke last week, Facebook confronted an immediate and powerful push-back from horrified activists and users (and now a couple of governments) who raised some significant questions. Does a company have the right to use its customers as test subjects without their knowledge? Is it ever ethical to change news feed content for any reason?

But the more important issue sits behind those questions. Facebook obviously thought this was okay; it does research on users all the time. And its hunch about the outcome proved correct. So what does it mean when one of the largest information companies on earth, the centerpiece of many people's information experience, practices how to program people through lies?

New Wasichu, Crossing

Announcing a new book by Gary Lindorff

 

New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning.
 

A Silent Spring for the new century? Gary Lindorff’s new book, New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning is, on one level, a bold attempt to disturb the silence of denial that has muted our ability to reverse Schweitzer’s curse quoted by Rachel Carson right at the threshold of her prophetic narrative: “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” Perhaps if we had heeded Rachel Carson’s shot over bow of Western post-industrial “progress” we would not be where we are now. Silent Spring is one of those books that you don’t necessarily have to read anymore because it is in our bones, just like the strontium 90 that was falling with the rain back when Carson was writing. But what good did it do? Maybe that still remains to be seen. .
 
………………………………………………………………………………………………
 

Hello TCBH! readers. I am pleased to announce the publication of a book I have been writing for the last 3 years, spanning the deaths of both of my parents, a period of time fraught with disturbing change and upheaval across the board. I am no longer young but that’s not a bad thing. My heart is strong and, dare I say, wiser. I have read that a heart that reacts unpredictably (or spontaneously) to the emotional climate it finds itself in is a healthy heart. Our heart is not just a pump, it is the organ that gets us through the maze of multiple realities that has become our world. Sure, I use my brain but I have come to depend upon my heart for everything, especially since the head (our heads) seems to be running out of ideas.

New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning, is the distillation of several decades of experience, study and practice in three over-lapping fields of access to certain wellsprings of creativity and transformation: Jungian Psychology, Native American wisdom traditions and shamanism. What is offered here is a way through the ominous darkness of our times. In this work I braid together a colorful, carefully researched, sometimes autobiographical narrative-lifeline that will guide the reader ever deeper into a landscape of dreams, intentionality, revelation and real answers to the problems that we face as human beings. Chapter by chapter the path to the future becomes less metaphorical and more substantial and walkable.

The writing explores certain archetypal themes. One such theme is crossing for spiritual survival. At the same time the reader is equipped to orient him- or herself by a new (or older than old) set of coordinates, facilitating participation in an epic crossing to something more human and more sustainable. Another recurrent theme is the return of the doppelganger or our soulful double, which, it turns out, embodies the template of the undamaged self.
The author and his book (Click on image to go to Amazon page)The author and his book (Click on image to go to Amazon page)

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This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


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Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut