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Extremely ominous: Months before Charlottesville violence, minorities were already feeling alienated and excluded

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Jonathan Collins reports in the Washington Post:

The violence in Charlottesville this past weekend — and President Trump’s unwillingness to unequivocally condemn the white nationalist groups behind it — has produced widespread condemnation of these groups and Trump himself.

Although the “alt-right” expresses its views in the guise of “equality” for whites, its prejudice toward minority groups is clear. Thus, the events in Charlottesville represent a clear threat to a variety of racial, ethnic and religious minorities.

But we should not let that threat obscure a more basic reality: Well before the violence in Charlottesville, minority groups were already feeling threatened, alienated and excluded. A newly empowered white nationalist movement may heighten those feelings, but they are hardly new. The implication is that addressing those feelings will require much more than the marginalization of white supremacy.

A unique survey sheds important light on the views of minorities. From Dec. 3, 2016, to Feb. 15, 2017, the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) conducted 10,145 online interviews in five languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese). The sample included larger samples of ethnic minority groups than in traditional surveys: 3,102 African Americans, 3,003 Latinos and 3,006 Asian Americans, as well as 1,034 whites. The sample included registered and unregistered voters in addition to non-citizens, all of whom were recruited through a mix of registered voter listings that could be matched to email addresses as well as opt-in online panels. The data for each racial group are weighted to match 2015 Census data in terms of age, gender, education, nativity, ancestry and voter registration. More detail about the study’s methodology can be found here, and the full questionnaire can be accessed here.

One important question in the survey asked only to African Americans sought to measure whether they perceived an increasing sense of threat from whites: “Since President Obama’s election, do you feel that whites have become more racially discriminatory and angry towards blacks?” The majority of African Americans (57 percent) said yes. Of that majority, almost 60 percent believed that the increase in discrimination and hatred was due to the growing “belief that blacks are advancing more than whites.” Similarly, 71 percent of African Americans believed that discrimination against them as a group was a “very important” factor in explaining disparities in education, income and homeownership between whites and African Americans. The survey did pose these questions immediately following questions about racialized police violence, which could have heightened African Americans’ sense of threat, but a Pew Research Center survey conducted before the election found similar results.

Racial and ethnic minorities were also more likely to  . . .

Continue reading.

I would say this is quite ominous, as is the geographic distribution of hate groups. We are coming to a crossroads.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 August 2017 at 12:54 pm

Wow. Watch this documentary for HBO to get a better feel for the Charlottesville incident

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And in that context, read this report and watch the video.

This may get ugly fast.

And also note “1 in 7 New York City Elementary Students Will Be Homeless, Report Says.” The government is failing the people.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2017 at 3:02 pm

What if the DNC Russian “hack” was really a leak after all? A new report raises questions media and Democrats would rather ignore

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Danielle Ryan is an Irish freelance journalist, writing mostly on geopolitics and media. She is based in Budapest, but has also lived in the U.S., Germany and Russia. She writes in Salon:

Last week the respected left-liberal magazine The Nation published an explosive article that details in great depth the findings of a new report — authored in large part by former U.S. intelligence officers — which claims to present forensic evidence that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016. Instead, the report alleges, the DNC suffered an insider leak, conducted in the Eastern time zone of the United States by someone with physical access to a DNC computer.

This report also claims there is no apparent evidence that the hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 — supposedly based in Romania — hacked the DNC on behalf of the Russian government. There is also no evidence, the report’s authors say, that Guccifer handed documents over to WikiLeaks. Instead, the report says that the evidence and timeline of events suggests that Guccifer may have been conjured up in an attempt to deflect from the embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign that was released just before the Democratic National Convention. The investigators found that some of the “Guccifer” files had been deliberately altered by copying and pasting the text into a “Russianified” word-processing document with Russian-language settings.

If all this is true, these findings would constitute a massive embarrassment for not only the DNC itself but the media, which has breathlessly pushed the Russian hacking narrative for an entire year, almost without question but with little solid evidence to back it up.

You could easily be forgiven for not having heard about this latest development — because, perhaps to avoid potential embarrassment, the media has completely ignored it. Instead, to this point only a few right-wing sites have seen fit to publish follow-ups.

The original piece, authored by former Salon columnist Patrick Lawrence (also known as Patrick L. Smith) appeared in The Nation on Aug. 9. The findings it details are supported by a group of strongly credentialed and well-respected forensic investigators and former NSA and CIA officials. The group call themselves Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, and originally came together in 2003 to protest the use of faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq under President George W. Bush.

As of Aug. 12, the only well-known publications that have followed up on The Nation’s reporting are Breitbart News, the Washington Examiner and New York magazine(which described Lawrence’s article as “too incoherent to even debunk,” and therefore provided no substantial rebuttal). Bloomberg addressed the report in an op-ed by one of its regular columnists.

The silence from mainstream outlets on this is interesting, if for no other reason than the information appears in a highly-regarded liberal magazine with a reputation for vigorous and thorough reporting — not some right-wing fringe conspiracy outlet carrying water for Donald Trump.

Maybe the logic goes that if mainstream journalists leave this untouched, that alone will be enough to discredit it. True believers in the Russian hack narrative can point to Breitbart’s coverage to dismiss this new information without consideration. That is not good enough. Lawrence’s article, and the report behind it, deserves some proper attention.

Let’s back up for a second. Where did this report come from?

As explained by Lawrence, VIPS has been examining available information about the DNC hack and/or leak, but the group lacked access to all the data they needed because intelligence agencies refused to provide it.

One of the VIPS researchers on the DNC case, William Binney — formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis — suggested in an interview with Lawrence that intelligence agencies have been hiding the lack of evidence for Russian hacking behind the claim that they must maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs.

At the same time, other anonymous forensic investigators have been working independently on the DNC case. They recently began sharing their findings via an obscure website called Disobedient Media. One of those anonymous investigators is known as the Forensicator. A man named Skip Folden, an IT executive at IBM for 33 years and a consultant for the FBI, Pentagon and Justice Department, acted as a liaison between VIPS and the Forensicator. Folden and other investigators have examined the evidence, attested to its professionalism, and sent a detailed technical report to the offices of special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. VIPS believes this new evidence fills a “critical gap” in the DNC case. In a memorandum sent to President Trump, VIPS questions why the FBI, CIA and NSA neglected to perform any forensic analysis of the Guccifer documents, which were central to the narrative of Russian hacking.

VIPS states two things with what they describe as a high degree of certainty: There was no Russian hack on July 5, and the metadata from Guccifer’s June 15 document release was “synthetically tainted” with “Russian fingerprints.”

How did the group come to the conclusion that it was a leak, not a hack?

Investigators found that 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded locally on July 5, 2016. The information was downloaded with a memory key or some other portable storage device. The download operation took 87 seconds — meaning the speed of transfer was 22.7 megabytes per second — “a speed that far exceeds an internet capability for a remote hack,” as Lawrence puts it. What’s more, they say, a transoceanic transfer would have been even slower (Guccifer claimed to be working from Romania). . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2017 at 2:06 pm

An ominous step: Justice Dept. Demands Data on Visitors to Anti-Trump Website

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Charlie Savage reports in the NY Times:

The Justice Department is trying to force an internet hosting company to turn over information about everyone who visited a website used to organize protests during President Trump’s inauguration, setting off a new fight over surveillance and privacy limits.

Federal investigators last month persuaded a judge to issue a search warrant to the company, Dreamhost, demanding that it turn over data identifying all the computers that visited its customer’s website and what each visitor viewed or uploaded.

The company says that would result in the disclosure of a large volume of information about people who had nothing to do with the protests. Over 1.3 million requests were made to view pages on the website in the six days after inauguration alone, it said.

Dreamhost is fighting the warrant as unconstitutionally broad.

“In essence, the search warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” two lawyers for Dreamhost, Raymond Aghaian and Chris Ghazarian, wrote in a court motion opposing the demand.

William Miller, a spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in the District of Columbia, provided court filings in the case but declined to comment. The government’s filing declared that Dreamhost “has no legal basis for failing to produce materials in response to the court’s search warrant.”

The fight, which came to light on Monday when Dreamhost published a blog post entitled “We Fight For the Users,” centers on a search warrant for information about a website, disruptj20.org, which served as a clearinghouse for activists seeking to mobilize resistance to Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

The website featured maps to organize blockades of intersections arranged around various themes — like feminism, gay rights, racial justice, climate change, immigrant rights, antiwar, and labor — and tips for legal observers. It offered printable protest signs, many critical of Mr. Trump, and afterward it posted pictures of protests.

Mr. Trump’s inauguration in Washington was the scene of massive protests. The large majority of the thousands of protesters engaged peacefully, some carrying signs and marching and others in civil disobedience, such as participating in sit-ins to block intersections.

But a smaller group of anarchists — sometimes called the “black bloc” of the so-called Antifa, or anti-fascist, movement — protested violently.

Rioting by a small group of anarchists has become common at broader left-wing demonstrations for the past generation, such as during anti-free trade protests outside World Trade Organization talks in Seattle in 1999.

During the Trump inauguration, such protesters broke the windows of shops and bus stop shelters, set a limousine on fire and threw rocks at police in riot gear, who fired tear gas at crowds. One masked man sucker-punched Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist, as he was being interviewed; a video of that assault was widely shared on the internet.

More than 200 people were indicted on felony rioting charges related to property damage and assault during the inauguration.

On July 12, Judge Robert P. Wertheim, who was appointed to the District of Columbia’s superior court in 1981 and retired in 1992but still occasionally hears matters and was on duty that day, signed off on prosecutors’ request for the sweeping search warrant in pursuit of information about people who organized or participated in rioting.

Among other things it demanded that Dreamhost turn over “all records or other information” pertaining to disruptj20.org, including log files showing who visited the website, when, from where, and what they looked at, and all emails related to the website.

Dreamhost balked. And after inconclusive negotiations over the search warrant, the assistant United States attorney handling the matter, John W. Borchert, asked another superior court judge, Lynn Leibovitz, who is overseeing the rioting cases, to order Dreamhost to show cause for why it was not complying.

In court filings, Dreamhost argued among other things, that the demand was unreasonably broad, violating the Fourth Amendment, and could make innocent people afraid to view or communicate with websites containing political content, violating the First Amendment. But the government maintains that those constitutional concerns are inaccurate. . .

Continue reading.

Are the AntiFa crowd false flaggers? Anyone know personally any AntiFa people? Are they actually on the left? or are they just trying to blacken the eye of the Left?

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2017 at 1:49 pm

Killings of Blacks by Whites Are Far More Likely to Be Ruled ‘Justifiable’

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Despite the whiny babies of the Right who maintain that Whites are victims of discrimination (have you looked at group photos of members of Congress and Trump’s staff? there seems to be no shortage of white faces), actual evidence suggests that the victims of discrimination are minorities, the poor, and the elderly. Daniel Lathrop and Anna Flogg report in the NY Times:

When a white person kills a black man in America, the killer often faces no legal consequences.

In one in six of these killings, there is no criminal sanction, according to a new Marshall Project examination of 400,000 homicides committed by civilians between 1980 and 2014. That rate is far higher than ones for homicides involving other combinations of races.

In almost 17 percent of cases when a black man was killed by a non-Hispanic white civilian over the last three decades, the killing was categorized as justifiable, which is the term used when a police officer or a civilian kills someone committing a crime or in self-defense. Over all, the police classify fewer than 2 percent of homicides committed by civilians as justifiable.

The disparity persists across different cities, ages, weapons and relationships between killer and victim.

To understand the gaps, The Marshall Project obtained dozens of data sets from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and examined various combinations of killer and victim. Two types of “justifiable homicide” are noted: “felon killed by private citizen” or “felon killed by police officer.” (In a bit of circular logic, the person killed is presumptively classified as a felon, since the homicide could be justified only if a life was threatened, which is a crime.)

The data were processed to standardize key variables and exclude more than 200,000 cases that lacked essential information or were homicides by the police. The resulting data detail the circumstances of each death: any weapons used; information on the killer’s and victim’s race, age, ethnicity and sex; and how police investigators classify each type of killing (“brawl due to the influence of alcohol,” “sniper attack” or “lover’s triangle,” for example).

Little large-scale research has examined the role of race in “justifiable” homicides that do not involve the police. The data examined by The Marshall Project are more comprehensive and cover a longer time period than other research into the question, much of which has focused on controversial Stand Your Ground laws.

In the United States, the law of self-defense allows civilians to use deadly force in cases where they have a reasonable belief force is necessary to defend themselves or others. How that is construed varies from state to state, but the question often depends on what the killer believed when pulling the trigger.

“If there are factors — even if they’re stereotypes — that lead the defender to believe he’s in danger, that factors in, whether it’s a righteous cause or not,” said Mitch Vilos, a Utah defense lawyer, gun rights advocate and the author of “Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States.”

Self-defense decisions by regular people, much like those involving the police, are made quickly and with imperfect information. As a result, a homicide can be ruled self-defense when the killer faced no actual threat but had a reasonable belief he or she did.

That is where irrational fear can come into play . . .

Continue reading.

Some of the related links in the original story are worth reading.

Later in the article:

The vast majority of killings of whites are committed by other whites, contrary to some folk wisdom, and the overwhelming majority of killings of blacks is by other blacks.

But killings of black males by whites are more than eight times as likely as all others combined to be labeled justifiable, a racial disparity that is hard to explain based solely on the circumstances reported in the police data and one that has persisted for decades.

 

Written by LeisureGuy

15 August 2017 at 10:07 am

Posted in Law, Law Enforcement

Trump considers pardoning Joe Arpaio, and gives a racists a reassuring wink

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Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

Well that didn’t take long. Just hours after President Trump finally brought himself to denounce neo-Nazis and white supremacists, this happened . . .

President Trump told Fox News he is “seriously considering” issuing a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.

Trump told the news outlet during a conversation in Bedminster, N.J., that the pardon could come quickly, perhaps in a matter of days. The news outlet reported the conversation on its website Monday.

“I might do it right away, maybe early this week. I am seriously thinking about it,” Trump said, according to Fox News. He said Arpaio was a “great American patriot” who had “done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration.”

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” Trump said, according to Fox News. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

No? Let’s review Arpaio’s history.

  • In 2011, the Justice Department concluded that Arpaio’s deputies had engaged in the worst pattern of racial profiling that the DOJ had ever investigated.
  •  That report found that Arpaio’s deputies routinely put Spanish-speaking prisoners in solitary confinement as punishment for their inability to speak English.
  • It found that 1 in 5 traffic stops during Arpaio’s immigration sweep’s involved Fourth Amendment violations.
  • It found that Latinos were four to nine times more likely to be pulled over than non-Latinos.
  • It found that Arpaio’s deputies harassed citizens and non-citizens alike based solely on the color of their skin or for speaking Spanish.
  • A 2012 Justice Department report found that “MCSO jail employees frequently refer to Latinos as ‘wetbacks,’ ‘Mexican bitches,’ and ‘stupid Mexicans.’ MCSO supervisors involved in immigration enforcement have expressed anti-Latino bias, in one instance widely distributing an email that included a photograph of a Chihuahua dog dressed in swimming gear with the caption ‘A Rare Photo of a Mexican Navy Seal.’ MCSO and Arpaio’s words and actions set the tone and create a culture of bias that contributes to unlawful actions.
  • Accusations that Arpaio’s deputies continued to harass Latinos were affirmed by another federal judge in 2013. Arpaio then launched an investigation of that judge.
  • That report also found that Arpaio was spending so much time harassing Latinos that his department waneglecting violent crime.
  • Among the crimes Arpaio’s office is alleged to have let languish: sex crimes, particularly those in which the victims were Latino or undocumented immigrants.
  • Consistent with Trump’s longtime racist obsession, back in 2012, Arpaio launched an “investigation” into Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Arpaio claimed he had proof that the document was “definitely fraudulent.”
  • On multiple occasions, federal judges have found that Arpaio’s jails are unconstitutionally inhumane, most notably when it comes to diet, health care and mental health. The vast, vast majority of the people in Arpaio’s jails are being held on suspected immigration violations.
  • Arpaio also re-instituted chain gangs, including for women and juveniles.
  • Arpaio in fact once boasted that his jails were akin to a “concentration camp.”

This isn’t even getting to the countless incidents in which Arpaio has harassed critics, media figures, political opponents and other judges who ruled against him. In 2013 alone, Maricopa County paid out more than $7 million in settlements just to politicians and journalists in Arpaio’s crosshairs. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 August 2017 at 8:42 pm

Can marijuana rescue coal country?

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The issue is health, not jobs. Marijuana, essentially harmless, can substitute for opioids, highly addictive and frequently deadly.

Mark Lynn Ferguson reports in the Washington Post:

Johnsie Gooslin spent Jan. 16, 2015, tending his babies — that’s what he called his marijuana plants. More than 70 of them were growing in a hydroponic system of his own design. Sometimes, he’d stay in his barn for 16 hours straight, perfecting his technique.

That night, he left around 8 o’clock to head home. The moon was waning, down to a sliver, which left the sky as dark as the ridges that lined it. As he pulled away, the lights from his late-model Kia swept across his childhood hollow and his parents’ trailer, which stood just up the road from the barn. He turned onto West Virginia Route 65. Crossing Mingo County, he passed the Delbarton Mine, where he had worked on and off for 14 years before his back gave out. Though Johnsie was built like a linebacker, falling once from a coal truck and twice from end loaders had taken a toll. At 36, his disks were a mess, and sciatica sometimes shot pain to his knees.

Still, he managed to lift the buckets that held his plants; friends sometimes helped. In another part of the barn, they had set up a man cave with a big-screen TV and girlie posters. When they weren’t transplanting and trimming, they played video games and discussed their passion for cultivating pot. None of them had studied marijuana like Johnsie, but they all loved growing, seeing it not just as a hobby or a way to make a buck but as an act of compassion.

“Mostly the people that bought were older men and women, Vietnam veterans and people that’s been hurt,” Johnsie told me. “I mean, to hear them say, ‘You know, ever since I started smoking your pot, I ain’t touched a pain pill … ” He trailed off, shaking his head, but it was clear what he meant. In a state with one of the nation’s highest rates of overdose deaths, most of them opioid-related, it felt good to give people an alternative, one that even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said this year has never caused an overdose fatality.

Minutes after leaving the barn, Johnsie parked in the light of his own trailer, a newly remodeled 14-by-60 that he shared with his wife, Faye, and 14-year-old daughter Bethany. His phone rang. It was a neighbor from Rutherford Branch Road, where the barn stood. Cops were there, asking about him.

Inside, Johnsie dialed his mother. Two officers, she told him, were standing in her living room. She handed the phone to one of them. Though he didn’t have a search warrant for the barn, the officer said he could get one, according to Johnsie. “But,” he said, “I think it would be better if you come and talk to me first.” (This account is based largely on Johnsie’s recollection. Neither arresting officer was permitted to be interviewed for this story, but it is consistent with a description of Johnsie’s case in the 2015 West Virginia State Police Annual Report.)

Johnsie hung up. He’d placed cameras around his building and vented it out the back, but people were packed tight into that narrow hollow. It was only a matter of time before someone figured out what was inside. Turning to his wife, he said, “Look, I’m going up there, and I’m going to jail.”

With Skoal tobacco, his one chemical vice, pressed tightly against his cheek, Johnsie drove back to Rutherford Branch Road, where officers met him outside. “It’s like this. I got your dad. I got a lot of pot on him,” Senior Trooper D.L. Contos told him. This was no surprise. Sam Gooslin had smoked pot for decades, and half of Johnsie’s pot went to him. His dad relied on it to ease pain from lung cancer, a new ailment layered atop others — diabetes, a stroke, four heart attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“He’s a Vietnam veteran,” Johnsie recalls Contos saying. “I respect that. I don’t want to see a veteran go to jail. If you make me go get a search warrant, I’m taking you to jail, and I’m gonna get your dad on felony conspiracy charges because he’s taking the blame on what’s going on up there.”

Johnsie had only one option. He crossed the road and unlocked the barn, opening a series of doors to release a flood of light. The officers paused. One said he had busted hundreds of marijuana operations and had never seen anything like this. For the next two hours, Johnsie walked the officers through his process. He explained the role of the lights and hydroponics; why he placed three plants in a bucket, not one; how he used gibberellic acid to push the plants at just the right time. At the end, he recalls Contos telling him they had to seize his plants, but, referring to Johnsie’s equipment and supplies, he said, “I’m not going to take it away. One day, this might be legal.”

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 August 2017 at 3:18 pm

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