An Epidemic of Brutality: Oakland Filmmaker Feels Police Wrath

Hours after San Francisco Bay Area radio show host J.R. Valrey screened his documentary film about police brutality at a university in Philadelphia daily newspapers in that city carried articles about two separate lawsuits filed against Philly police alleging brutality.

Those lawsuits, filed respectively by a state legislator and a high-profile media commentator (both of whom are black) didn’t surprise Valrey. His travels across America screening his film highlighted for him – again – a reality that governmental officials constantly reject: police brutality is a widespread scourge.

“Police brutality is definitely not ‘isolated incidents’ as officials always say after each new killing or beating by police,” said Valrey, host of the Block Report, a program aired on KPFA-FM, the Pacifica station in the Bay Area.

Democratic Base to Party Leaders: Take That You Smug Bastards!

The Democrats were blown out of the water on Nov. 2.

But it’s not because of the Tea Party, or because of a resurgent Republican majority.

The Democrats deserved to lose because they have long since abandoned whatever principles they had, and more important, they’ve pissed on their most important supporters–the left, real liberals, African Americans, women, unionized workers, and workers in general. So I say hooray, all those groups have struck back!

Barack Obama set this disaster for the party and his presidency in motion before he was even sworn in as president, by choosing Wall Street hacks as his economic advisers in the midst of the worst economic crisis in 75 years, and by choosing as his key political adviser Rahm Emanuel, who famously called progressive critics “fucking retarded,” and who, when warned that the GM bailout plan would hurt the United Autoworkers members who worked there, also famously said “Fuck the UAW!”
Democrats got clobbered for a good reasonDemocrats got clobbered for a good reason

Election Eve: The Search for Human Brains

Santa Cruz — “Are you planning to vote on Tuesday?” I asked.  The food checker at our local natural food store was cheerful and friendly.  But she was a little befuddled by the question. 

“I don’t know where to vote,” she confessed.
“Have you gotten your sample ballot yet?” I asked. 

“No,” she replied.  “I don’t think so.”  She had voted some time back.  Maybe it was for Obama.  She wasn’t sure.  But she couldn’t remember where she had voted, or if it was an absentee ballot.

Election or reefer madness?Election or reefer madness?

Ex-Lax for Bankers? How the Banks Trumped Keynes

Oh, what to do about unemployment?

Try as it might to pump money into the economy and spur hiring, the Fed’s policy ain’t working. Don’t blame Keynes. For the stim to be effective, the cash needs to get to small businesses: the primary source of jobs in our country. Trouble is, the Fed’s counting on banks to circulate the extraordinarily low interest rate money it’s spouting.

The banks are hoarding the dough. In a recent New York Times article, Richard H. Clarida, a Columbia University economist, confirms that “bank lending, much of it to small and medium-size enterprises, has collapsed to an extent unprecedented in previous business cycles and continues to decline more than a year into recovery.”

As a small business owner myself, I can vouch for that.

Rather than take steps to ease the blockage, Fed Chair Ben S. Bernanke’s answer is to shove even more cash into our bloated system, as if making economic foie gras. (It kind of puts a new twist on the pejorative “pig”.) On October 19th, Times reporter Sewell Chan wrote that the Fed is adopting a “radical” move to lower long-term interest rates in a desperate attempt to foster employment. These moves echo Bush era policies that hyped the economy with a potent combo of low interest rates and easy credit. But there’s no easy credit — in fact, far from it.

Ex-Lax for Bankers?Ex-Lax for Bankers?

Obama's War Crimes: An Interview with Dave Lindorff

On Canada’s Freedomain Radio, an interview by Stefan Molyneux:

“As the author of The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), I never thought in my lifetime that I would see a president reach the depth of moral decay and depravity of President George W. Bush, but sad to say, our current president, Barack Obama, has managed to do it, and what makes it worse, as a former Constitutional law professor, he knows better.”

Halloween Fun: Deconstructing Horror

In 1945, as World War Two was winding down, Edmund Wilson wrote two
critical pieces dealing with the mystery novel. He was troubled by the rise in sales of a
form he thought commercial and crude. Indeed, in an earlier article writer about west
coast writers’ “The Boys in the Back Room,” he described James Cain’s work as
“ingenious in tracing from their first beginnings the tangles that gradually tighten
around the necks of the people involved in those bizarre and brutal crimes that figure
in American papers…” (newspapers).

Happy Halloween!Happy Halloween!

When readers wrote him to confirm that there was real literature between the covers
of so-called mystery novels, Wilson gathered up a pile of popular crime fiction by Nero
Wolfe and Earle Stanley Gardner, setting out to evaluate the field in a piece
titled ”Why Do People Read Detective Stories?” He said of Dashiell Hammett’s
The Maltese Falcon that it was “not much above those newspaper picture strips in which you follow from day to day the ups and downs of a strong-jawed hero and a handful of beautiful adventuresses.”

Xbox versus WikiLeaks

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
-Opening line in William Gibson’s Neuromancer

I recently took a tour of Best Buy to see what’s going on in the world of consumer electronics. Technology was on my mind. I had just been reading up on computer hacking and was getting to know a website called 2600.

It was all because of the latest WikiLeaks revelations and some email conversations I’d been having with fellow anti-war veterans about Bradley Manning. the young army intelligence specialist arrested and now imprisoned in Virginia for allegedly releasing the computerized trove of secrets. Some of my antiwar vet allies were finding it difficult to support Manning.

I agree with Daniel Ellsberg that Bradley Manning is an American hero who needs to be supported and defended. His private life is irrelevant. The same goes for the Australian founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.

Whether or not the WikiLeaks revelations put anyone in danger is also irrelevant. It’s a red herring. Those who chose to go to war over other options and those who keep the wars going instead of ending them are the ones putting our soldiers and local Iraqis and Afghans in danger.

Read All About It…Here!

So many things have been happening in the news this week–The NPR Williams firing, the latest Wikileaks leak, Bank mortgage fraud, DU weapons fallout in Fallujah, a sane person running for Texas School Board, the deepening crisis of joblessness — I feel I should offer another perspective on them:

America's Happy-News Media

When I lived in China back in the early 1990s, it was entertaining to read the Chinese newspapers, all of them state-owned. In them, China’s government was always making excellent decisions, the economy was always improving, the leaders of other nations were always praising China’s leaders, and the economic “reform” initiated by that wise elder statesman Deng Xiaoping, was producing a miracle rebirth of the nation.

These stories were jarringly at odds with what I saw when I travelled to the countryside, and found that farmers were being expected to eke out livings for their families on plots of land smaller than the footprint of some Americans’ houses, that baby girls were being abandoned in orphanages when farm families bore a son, because of child-limit policies that made having a girl a big financial burden–especially since the tradition of girls going over to the family of their husband meant that not having a son could be a death sentence for parents in their old age. They were jarringly at odds too, with the misery I witnessed all the time among the tens of millions of rural migrants who flooded cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and other major metropolises looking for contract work, and with the appalling pollution of water and air (when I lived in Xi’an for five months, I could count the number of days I was actually able to see the round circle of the sun in daytime because of the perpetual smog that enveloped the city).

But say one thing about China. People there knew they were being fed a line of crap in their newspapers and on TV.

What Are They Hiding? Obama Administration Defending Black Site Prison at Bagram Airbase

A victory for the government in a federal court in New York City Monday marks another slide deeper into Dick Cheney’s “dark side” for the Obama Administration.

In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been seeking to force the Pentagon to provide information about all captives it is holding at its huge prison facility at Bagram Airbase outside Kabul in Afghanistan, Federal District Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York has issued a summary judgement saying that the government may keep that information secret.

The lingering question is: Why does the US government so adamantly want to hide information about where captives were first taken into military custody, their citizenship, the length of their captivity, and the circumstances under which they were captured?

 Torture USAParwan Prison at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan: Torture USA