Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feds give Oakland $10 mil for more cops targeting youth

Oakland has won a $10.7 million grant from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, and will be able to hire 25 more cops.
The city intends to use the federal money to put more cops in middle schools and hookers.
The officers will be focused on a community-policing effort at four middle schools in high-crime neighborhoods, as well as working on the twin problems of human trafficking and the prostitution of teenage girls, police Chief Anthony Batts said.
-Inside Bay Area

China claims Asia

The Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily has warned its Asian neighbors to be on guard against the “danger” of feeling they can “do whatever they want” in the region because of the financial support and physical presence of Uncle Sam.
The U.S. set off China’s ire in 2010 when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a regional summit in Hanoi, called resolving the competing claims to the sea “a leading diplomatic priority.” That drew a rebuke from Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who said internationalizing the incident with U.S. involvement “can only make matters worse and more difficult to solve.”

Basically, in response to a US military spending spree in region, the China has claimed Southeast Asia as its bitches.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"I dream of another moment like this."

Goldman Sachs rules the world, and they know the market is toast. Lol.
A trader was on the BBC, speaking the truth, and apparently it was news to the talking heads and the people who aren't plastic-looking-enough-to-be-talking-heads.

Speaking of news vs. the not news, I remember seeing a video from the occupation of Wall Street, and reading some commenter who said that the women were over-reacting to simply being corralled. I thought to myself, they're reacting as if they just got maced. Well, apparently they got peppersprayed, and some dude has posted this great slo-mo breakdown of the incident.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oakland still ridin'

US District Judge Thelton Henderson, who last year threatened OPD with a federal takeover, has ordered the city of Oakland to address its noncompliance with 5 provisions of the historic 2003 Riders settlement.
* The rehiring in March of Officer Hector Jimenez, who was fired after he shot and killed two unarmed suspects within seven months of each other in 2007 and 2008, including a man shot in the back. Jimenez and his attorney fought the firing, and an arbitrator sided with him against the city, forcing the department to return Jimenez to work under the rules of its contract with the police union. He is currently assigned to maintaining the fleet of police vehicles and keeping in-car computers up to date.

* July's "Operation Summer Tune-Up," a four-day crime prevention effort in which police issued 28 parole violations, made 17 arrests and recovered seven guns. Henderson is likely concerned about the connotations of the term "tune-up," widely used as a euphemism for the beating of suspects by police.

* The finding by the internal affairs division that accusations of illegal public strip searches of suspects by police were unfounded, despite a federal judge agreeing with the case made by at least two suspects to whom she awarded more than $100,000 each.

* A special report in August by the federal monitoring team, charged with tracking the OPD's progress in the reforms, which found that in 28 percent of the instances when Oakland officers draw their guns and point them at someone, the person has demonstrated no threat to anyone. In some cases, the monitors said, the person wasn't even a suspect in a crime.

* The process by which the department hires outsiders to stand on boards that evaluate police use-of-force incidents. The details of this issue remained unclear Wednesday.
-Inside Bay Area

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I am Troy Davis

RAND: pot clubs deter crime

RAND of all places, has released a study that medical pot dispensaries actually deter crime.
A new study casts doubt on many law enforcement agencies' assertion that medical marijuana dispensaries contribute to local street crime.

In fact, minor crime rises markedly in surrounding neighborhoods when dispensaries close, at least over the short term, according to a study released Tuesday by the nonpartisan RAND Corp.

"Overall crime increased almost 60 percent in the blocks surrounding closed clinics in the 10 days following their closing," the study said.

Researchers studied crime before and after a large number of dispensaries were shut in Los Angeles and found that incidents, such as break-ins, rose near the closed dispensaries when compared to neighborhoods where dispensaries remained open.

The study suggested several theories for what might drive these results, including the loss of on-site security and surveillance, a reduction in foot traffic, a resurgence in outdoor drug activity and a change in police efforts.

Steph Sherer, executive director of Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, said her organization has reached the same conclusions, but "law enforcement has largely ignored or refuted these findings" as various cities have closed dispensaries, put a moratorium on new ones or banned them altogether.

"Dispensary regulations bring greater oversight and less crime to local communities," she said.
-Inside Bay Area

Maybe that's why law enforcement wants to close them down.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

SFPD tries to shoot fleeing suspect in the back, accidentally shoots two bystanders

Early this morning, cops in San Francisco were chasing a "wanted" suspect and shot at him as he fled. They missed the suspect, but shot two innocent bystanders instead. The suspect did not shoot at the police as he ran away from them, begging the question: why were they trying to kill him in the first place?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The End of Suburbia

Two interesting reads from Yahoo! of all places, although I totally disagree with the title of the quoted article. We've been here for a couple of years now.
In the years following World War II, the United States experienced an unprecedented consumption boom. Anything you could measure was growing. A Rhode Island-sized chunk of land was bulldozed to make new suburbs every single year for decades. America rounded into its present-day shape.

Along the way, there were three inexorable trends at the base of the societal pyramid. First, we plowed more energy into our homes each and every year. We cooled and heated our houses more (sometimes wastefully, sometimes not), brought in more and more appliances, added televisions and computers and phones. Per capita electricity shot up from about 4,000 kilowatt-hours per US resident to over 13,000 kilowatt-hours by the 2000s. Second, we needed more electricity because our houses got huge. The median home size shot up from about 1,500 square feet in the early 1970s to more than 2,200 square feet in the mid-200s. Third, we drove more and more miles every year to get around and between our sprawled-out cities. Back in 1960, Americans drove 0.72 trillion miles. By 2000, that number had reached 2.75 trillion miles. In 2007, vehicle miles traveled hit 3.02 trillion.

Now, though, the relentless growth in those figures is coming to an end. The AP's Jonathan Fahey reported last week that the utility company research consortium, the Electric Power Research Institute, projected that residential electricity demand would drop over the next ten years.
-Yahoo! Finance

NMA Anonymous/BART cartoon

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Philippine Air Force sucks

This isn't really news, but the Philippine Air Force is totally incapable of defending the Philippines.
MANILA - More than three-quarters of Philippine military aircraft are not fit to fly - hampering the country's ability to protect its airspace and territorial waters, the air force said on Sept. 10.

Air force spokesman Miguel Ernesto Okol said the military fleet was in dire straits, backing up a 2010 government audit that found only 91 of the 393 aircraft were "full mission capable".
-Defense News

The Philippine Air Force is composed of several-decades-old hand-me-downs from Uncle Sam (think Korean War-era hunks of junk). In general, the Philippine military is only capable of counter-insurgency (think torturing peasants).
The country has historically just relied on its neo-colonial relationship with the United States for defense, and that has been sufficient. However, now that tensions in the South China Sea have the government talking diplomacy with China, the hawks feel compelled to point out the historically obvious: the Philippines can't fight a war against an external enemy by themselves.
Duh. That's why Manila is talking peace, and that's exactly why Washington DC is talking war. If the Philippines (and other ASEAN nations) really do negotiate treaties with China, there would be less need for half-a-century-old hand-me-downs, and less need for a declining empire as a bodyguard.

Friday, September 9, 2011

RIP Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan, the British man whose murder by police set off several days of rioting and looting throughout the UK in early August, was buried in North London today.
"There is an inquiry underway into what happened to cuae his death, but there have been no results so far."

Duggan, a 29 year-old father of four, was shot twice by police officers who had stopped him while he was riding in a minicab. The police said that he fired first, but the handgun that was allegedly in his possession had not been discharged at the time of the murder. These same lying cops claim that they had been watching him, and knew that he was on his way to avenge the murder of his cousin.
The police who killed Duggan were part of the Specialist Firearms Command (CO19), accompanying officers from Operation Trident, a London Metropolitan police unit that focuses on the black community.

World Revolution Update

UPDATE: Dutchsinse youtube channel back up

Thanks to widespread support for Dutchsinse from real Youtube users, Youtube agreed to review the flagging of dutchsinse's channel and posts, and upon that review, decided that the flagging was unwarranted. His channel has been restored.
Kudos to all the supporters who spoke up, and to Youtube as well, for allowing democracy to run its course.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dutchsinse under attack

Dutchsinse's youtube account has been shut down for "multiple violations of community guidelines AND/OR copyright violations." I am periodically having trouble accessing his website too (actually, only from google).
This is more than a bit ridiculous.
It's so blatant it's scary.
For those of you who don't know who he is, he reviews and analyzes data on weather and volcanic and seismic activity, and he does stuff like this on the regular:

And here comes 9/11.

Are you ready for some football?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dying Detroit Looting Itself

Detroit's automakers were given handouts from the federal government, but the people of Detroit are even worse off. Once the epitome of America's technological advancement and innovative manufacturing, Detroit now relies on looting itself for scrap.
This is collapse.

Friday, September 2, 2011

World Revolution Update

The fraud is about to be finalized

A Huge Housing Bargain -- but Not for You
This column by Roger Arnold originally appeared on RealMoney on Aug. 11

NEW YORK (RealMoney) -- The largest transfer of wealth from the public to private sector is about to begin. The federal government will be bulk-selling the massive portfolio of foreclosed homes now owned by HUD, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to private investors -- vulture funds.
These homes, which are now the property of the U.S. government, the U.S. taxpayer, U.S. citizens collectively, are going to be sold to private investor conglomerates at extraordinarily large discounts to real value.
You and I will not be allowed to participate. These investors will come from the private-equity and hedge-fund community, Goldman Sachs(GS_) and its derivatives, as well as foreign sovereign wealth funds that can bring a billion dollars or more to each transaction.
In the process, these investors will instantaneously become the largest improved real estate owners and landlords in the world. The U.S. taxpayer will get pennies on the dollar for these homes and then be allowed to rent them back at market rates.
On Wednesday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Treasury Department issued a Request for Information (RFI) concerning the disposition of the inventory of foreclosed homes owned by the federal government.
An RFI is ostensibly a way for the federal government to get input from the private sector on how to accomplish the goals laid out in the request. But that's really just a facade, as the RFI was structured by the investors to begin with.
In reality, the RFI is a way for the members of Congress to find out if they can get away with bulk-selling these homes to private companies without incurring the wrath of their constituents, taxpayers and former owners of the properties.
Assuming taxpayers don't push back, the next step will be to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP will be the bid and plan for these homes by investors.
The way to keep taxpayers from pushing back is to structure the RFI so that the real intention, the bulk sales, is masked by feel-good goals, such as stabilizing neighborhoods and increasing the supply of rental properties.
As intended, the mass media are playing their part in classic style. Every major newspaper in the U.S. has run articles discussing the plan as a rental conversion, allowing readers to assume that Fannie, Freddie and HUD will be renting the properties directly to families who need housing. And although there is an allowance for these kinds of rentals, it is a minor political facade to the obvious true goal of bulk-sale privatization of these homes.
The investors in this program have been waiting for this opportunity since the portfolio of homes owned by HUD began to spike in 2007, when foreclosures surged first in the "Rust Belt," principally Ohio and Michigan.
Since then, of course, the systemic collapse of housing has engulfed all of the major urban coastal regions of the U.S., as well as Phoenix and Las Vegas, and caused the homes owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are now under the direct control of the U.S. Treasury Department, to spike as well.
Even before this crisis occurred, HUD, i.e. the U.S. government, was the largest improved real estate owner in the world, because of its portfolio of foreclosed homes, which is classified as "real estate owned" (REO). The entire massive HUD REO Portfolio is quietly managed by a handful of private firms already, a group listed as Management and Marketing Contractors.
These M&M companies are principally owned by and employ former high-ranking government officials from the various germane agencies -- the Treasury, HUD, FHA and others. And they will provide the necessary access to the current government employees who are tasked with bringing this program to fruition. Once the privatization is complete, those government employees will move from their positions, and many will take up new employment at one of the M&Ms or the new vulture funds.
I am not currently aware of any way for retail investors to participate in this process.
It is probable, however, that once the privatization has occurred and the properties are generating rental income for the investors, the initial investors will cash out by forming real estate investment trusts (REITs), real estate operating companies (REOCs) or limited partnerships (LPs) that will be made available to retail investors.
-The Street

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This is how you waste $1.6 billion

I often have to drive down 880 to San Jose for work. For the past few years, I couldn't help but notice the gargantuan Solyndra campus near the county border. Set in a relative lull between two brutal stretches of stop-and-go traffic, I'm usually whizzing by the solar panel manufacturer quickly without taking a good look. What I recall though, is that I'm always amazed by not only how big, but how shiny and ornate the main building is, complete with a fancy water feature that seems to scream, "We're doing quite well, thank you."
Apparently, it was all a lie.
Despite $1.6 billion in funding, half a billion of which came from the American tax-payer, Solyndra has suddenly gone belly up, leaving 1,100 employees out in the cold.
Solyndra was one of about 40 projects funded since 2009 through a U.S. Department of Energy loan program that helped major wind, solar, nuclear and ethanol projects. Together, those projects are expected to create about 60,000 jobs, according to the DOE.

The department on Wednesday defended the Solyndra loan, saying public investment is needed to help U.S. companies keep pace with heavily subsidized Chinese firms.

"The alternative is simply walking off the field and letting the rest of the world pass us by," DOE public affairs director Dan Leistikow wrote in a blog post.
-Inside Bay Area

Uh, so we stayed on the field and got our asses handed to us anyway. Gotta admire that good ol' stubborn American bravado. At least we wasted that money in America, and not in China...