Lair of the Poisonous Scribblers

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Big Brass Blog is a group blog founded in February of 2005 by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend and Melissa McEwan of Shakesville (formerly Shakespeare's Sister). The mission of this collaborative effort is to stand as the premiere forum where strong, enduring voices of Progressivism provide what liberal politics has been missing: the unapologetic, unrelenting voice of liberalism in the darkness visited upon our world by Right-wing extremists, their ruinous policies, and their hypocritical beliefs.

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28 March 2010

The Sovereign's Own and the Dead Preacher

by: Dark Wraith

If you can stomach yet another story of the authoritarian state on parade, try this one from reason.com: Another Senseless Drug War Death.

Nothing all that unusual. Just a 28-year-old Georgia pastor shot during a rather botched arrest of a crack cocaine-dealing girl.

The minister's pregnant wife left to grieve.

Filthy rumors, maybe spread by apologists for the killers. The killers were undercover cops, the regular kind who like to play TV-type Bad-Boyz-Bad-Boyz complete with street clothes, ski-masks, and rather unevident badges during their take-downs of the worst of the worst types like street dealers hawking $50 worth of chemical malignancy.

Read the story and decide for yourself. Did the minister deserve an extrajudicial execution? That's what he got.

And by the way, have you ever seen what a guy with a gut wound looks like while he's dying? You ought to. It's pretty gruesome, what with that kind of pain and all. If the blood comes out black, he might be lucky and die a little faster. One way or the other, though, I'll bet that preacher learned a lesson he'll never forget from those cops.

But, hey, as long as they act under the blanket of the sovereign, the agents of the state who commit outrages to keep us safe simply must escape personal responsibility, personal jeopardy, and the pain of swift, certain, and severe punishment. Those standards are for the commoners, not our masters.

Praise the Lord! (We have to; the preacher can't because he's dead.) We have entered that new era, that new era of hope and change.

I'm sure the preacher would agree.


Cross-posted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· ·
22 April 2009

And the National Guards? Oh, that's right; they're needed for Murder Inc.'s overseas operations.

by: Peter of Lone Tree

NY TIMES:
Obama Signs Volunteer Bill With Nod to Kennedy Era

"The new law authorizes the increase of Americorps to 250,000 positions from 75,000 by the year 2017, increases its education subsidies and creates a reserve of Americorps veterans to mobilize in disaster zones. To begin paying for it, Obama proposed $1.1 billion for Americorps in his budget plan, a 25 percent increase over last year, but Congress still must vote to pay for the expansion."

Gosh, ya' know; what with FEMA, the DHS, and now this, I feel so safe I'm about ready to run through the streets screaming in terr...,er, uh, ecstasy.
19 April 2009

He's twitchin' like a fuckin' chicken

by: Dark Wraith

Below is a YouTube video of a drunken Erie, Pennsylvania, policeman talking about his work. Among other comments he makes during the video, Officer James Cousins II engages in an animated monologue about a murder victim, 31-year-old Rondale Jennings Sr.; specifically, Cousins describes what Jennings looked like as he lay dead on the ground.



According to the Associated Press, officials in the Erie Police Department are trying to get YouTube to pull the video.

Cousins has been suspended with pay while an investigation proceeds. The head of the Erie Police Department, Steve Franklin, is currently refusing to discuss the matter, ostensibly because of the on-going internal review. In the CNN video below, we hear from the mother of the murder victim who was the subject of the law enforcement officer's derisive, graphic monologue.



While this will ultimately be cast as merely an isolated incident involving roguish behavior on the part of a single law enforcement officer, readers are encouraged to consider the possibility that, far from being an aberration, Erie Police Officer James Cousins II represents the pervasive, callous norm of modern police, who consider that their work puts them not only above the rule of law, but apart from the essentials of common human decency.

While Mr. Cousins will likely be punished to one extent or another, citizens should consider that this will happen only because of the unusual circumstance that he was caught on video mocking the suffering and grief of victims and survivors.

Desecrations by law enforcement personnel will continue, just as they have throughout the past. The only difference these days is that police must watch out for the occasional, furtively held video camera capturing them in their moments of glib, if drunken, clarity.


· ·
27 April 2008

NYPD Black

by: Dark Wraith

New Shield for the New York Police Department


With thanks to Minstrel Boy of Harp and Sword for the inspiration, this graphic may be republished with attribute.


· · · · · ·
28 February 2008

Are You Ouite Certain You Have the Uppper Hand?

by: Missouri Mule

As with all good mothers, discipline was important to me. I am against hitting children. My father always said this really annoying but true thing to my mother, and it always pissed her off because it was so true: "If you can't control yourself, you can't control a child."

I think it takes craft and wiles to raise children effectively without creating mutant race of sheep-like-kids who will meekly comply with any command from any adult. Spare me those mealymouthed little "yes ma'am, no sir' robots. We know that they've been literally beaten into submission. I think we also know that they are inwardly seething, and there will be hell to pay one fine day. Look no further than the videos that have recently been floating around the Internet showing them in their current occupation: Police officers.

What I always did with my cubs on the extremely rare occasions when they were acting buttheaded in public: I'd squat down right beside him/her and get right in his/her little ear and say, real low and contained, often through clenched teeth (I've found that just about anything you say through clenched teeth takes on an added tone of pith and import), "You are acting awful, and it's embarrassing me, and if you don't stop on a dime, then in about two seconds I am going to do something that will embarrass you so much, I doubt seriously you'll ever completely recover." Presto! They would immediately revert to the perfect child. I never had to do anything and actually never had any idea of what exactly I would do, if they called my bluff. As luck would have it, it never happened. I figure that, having grown up watching me doing any number of things they considered humiliating when I was in a good mood, they were so terrified when I was in an angry one that the prospect was unthinkable to them.

One only has to witness what can happen when discipline goes awry by watching the brutal behavior of police today.
16 February 2008

Smoke, Mirrors, and the Rule of Law

by: Dark Wraith

The story of the sheriff's deputy videotaped as she dumped a paralyzed man, Brian Sterner, out of his wheelchair and onto the floor at a Tampa detention facility has taken a new turn. The Hillsborough County deputy, Charlette Marshall-Jones, has been charged with one count of felony abuse of a disabled person. She has posted and been released on a $3,500 bond.

In response to this new information offered by commenter Moody Blue at The Dark Wraith Forums, I offer the following response.

Much broader issues are not being addressed concerning that sheriff's deputy who dumped the quadriplegic. Despite the butt-covering apologies, first by Chief Deputy Jose Docobo, who called the deputy's actions "indefensible at every level," and then by Sheriff David Gee, who said he was "personally embarrassed and shocked by the horrific treatment Mr. Sterner received," watching that video tells a starkly different story from the official line that the treatment was outside policy guidelines and contrary to training of the law enforcement personnel of the county.

Those PR-attenuating flaks' drool is without a shred of credibility. That video clearly shows a uniform, well-practiced, pervasive disregard for fundamental human decency. It wasn't just that one woman, the one who poured the quad out of his wheelchair; it was all of those deputies in that office: every one of them stood around with utter dispassion while Sterner hit the floor, then flailed about while the deputies moved in like mechanics about to do a 15-minute Quik-Lube oil change on a car with bad suspension. Those officers did not display even so much as a hint of concern for the venality of the incident in which they were actively, knowingly participating.

Quite tellingly, the video seems to show large windows right behind where the action was occurring. That indicates this was no secretive, furtive act done in a quiet, unobserved place; instead, this was done right where it could be seen, not just by department personnel, but also by civilians.

That renders evidence of a very different story from the one being pumped to the ever-gullible media by the sheriff. He is engaging in mere risk mitigation tactics: he is kicking the low woman on the totem pole for what she was doing as part of a pervasive culture of disrespect—indeed, lawlessness—on the part of yet another law enforcement operation that overwhelmingly deals with the public as if an accusation of a crime is sufficient justification to commence retributive, extra-judicial punishment long before the courts have the opportunity to rubber-stamp the convictions already made accomplished facts by police.

This is the Abu Ghraib story of Lynndie England all over again: a person who was probably not the monster made of her by scandal-swilling journalists who fearlessly hunt the weak and small, but who was, instead, a woman who got sucked into a sexualized, violent, abusive, machismo culture and then got destroyed while the man at the top of the chain of command, President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, and a whole bunch of vicious people below him, including then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, walked away without even so much as a scratch.

It is just sickening; and because it happens over and over again in this modern Medievalism of immune noblemen, the opportunities to be sickened occur with a systematic regularity that defies the bleatings of those who imagine that justice is somehow done by the occasional hanging of the compliant commoner for the sins of the mendacious sovereigns.


The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Crossposted from The Dark Wraith Forums


· · ·
13 December 2007

Feds Take Aim at Al Sharpton

by: Dark Wraith

The Rev. Al SharptonWhile continuing a nearly seven-year run of finding nothing whatsoever about the Bush Administration worthy of sweeping investigations and lightning-fast execution of wide-ranging subpoenas, the Justice Department has issued and executed subpoenas of 2004 Democratic candidate Al Sharpton's financial and business records going all the way back to 2001. Supposedly, this investigation has to do with the Reverand Sharpton's 2004 White House bid, but the subpoenas appear to be very broad, targeting his non-profit and for-profit businesses, personal records, and other documents and effects, as well as nearly a dozen of his assistants who must testify before a federal grand jury.

According to CNN.com, an FBI agent declined to comment, a spokesman for the agency could not be reached, and no one at the Internal Revenue Service would respond.

The New York City-based Sharpton claims he is the target of political retribution; and, while law enforcement authorities typically do not comment extensively on cases at this stage of investigation, the uniform silence by agencies involved in the execution of the subpoenas is somewhat unusual.

Whether or not Sharpton is, indeed, the subject of a political witchhunt, FBI and Treasury Department investigators would be wise not only to avoid answering their telephones, but they might also be well advised to stay off the back streets of New York City.

It's one thing to obfuscated when journalists are involved; it's quite another to say "No comment" to the friends of a New York guy you've just taken down.


The Dark Wraith is glad to see the Justice Department on the job, making America safe from the scourge of rabble-rousing preachers of color.


· · · · ·
30 September 2007

NY Woman misses her flight home - freaks out - is hand cuffed - put in holding cell - and DIES

by: Jersey Cynic

OMFGoddess above!!!!

I know I don't have all the facts - I really hope they have all of this on tape. I'm sure they must.

I think I can relate. I don't fly much, but as a mother of three, if I missed a flight back home (it was still outside the gate ready to go) I know for sure I would be totally irate and be doing a really good freaky deaky dance/jig in the airport. I can just see myself reacting like her. THEN -- throw some handcuffs on me and really watch me lose it.

I don't know. We'll have to see how this unfolds. Supposedly she may have possibly choked herself trying to get the handcuffs over her head.

WHY on earth would you leave a woman in this state alone. Don't you think these "holding cells" would have a two-way mirror? Did they actually just throw her in there, shut the door, and walk away?

WTF?????


Blondesense


· ·
21 August 2007

A Dispute at the Kona Ranch

by: Konagod

Me: What did I go in there to blog about?

txrad: what?

Me: What DID i GO in there to blog about?

txrad: what? Can you speak English?

Me: WHAT DID I GO IN THERE TO BLOG ABOUT? I had something, but when I got there I forgot. Your job is supposed to be recording my thoughts.

txrad: you don't have to yell.

Well, I don't have to blog either, but I NEED TO. And I don't want to have to scrape the bottom-most recesses of my brain to remember what I had to say that was of such prime importance.

OH! I remember now. It was in the New York Times today. You guys read that shitrag, right?

All The News That's Good To Hide. I'm searching. They seem to have forgotten they published it in this morning's paper.

[one shot later]


Found it.

Telltale Isotopes in Marijuana Are Nature’s Tracking Devices

OK, tell me our federal government could not be spending its (our) money more wisely.

I mean, honestly, how many troubles do we have on the domestic front roaming untackled while we spend FUCKING BILLIONS in the Middle East.

{kucinich for president in 2008}

Read this fucking shit, now.
The research, the Marijuana Signature Project, relies on stable isotopes, which are forms of an element like nitrogen or oxygen, that have distinct atomic masses. Long employed in ecological research, stable isotopes are increasingly used for forensic purposes, including investigations into blood doping, arson and trafficking in contraband like drugs and endangered species.


I'm so glad to see our ecological green movement has spawned such evil. Maybe we should keep our research more secret. Contraband.

I would laugh if my heart were not so heavy.
The drug control policy office is betting on stable isotopes to identify unique markers in marijuana, distinguishing it not just by geography but also by its cultivation method — for example, indoor versus outdoor.

“It’s an epidemiological and forensic public health investigation,” said David Murray, chief scientist at the agency and director of its Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center.


They're coming. And they're spending too much money which could be better spent elsewhere. And just let us get high if we want to.
In the marijuana project, Dr. West has found that cannabis plants grown in different regions of the country contain distinct signatures based on the isotopic composition of each region’s water.


If we want to.

Freedom of choice. And, I don't always want to. Again, my choice.

Sorta like VOTING
25 March 2007

Power Run Amuck

by: Debra

Now when you hear the phrase "he's on an FBI watchlist", you realize it means absolutely nothing since it seems that everybody and their brother can be on any one of numerous lists for any reason. Once on, it requires the act of some deity to be removed. Almost half a million people. And counting.
The 80 TIDE analysts get "thousands of messages a day," Travers said, much of the data "fragmentary," "inconsistent" and "sometimes just flat-out wrong." Often the analysts go back to the intelligence agencies for details. "Sometimes you'll get sort of corroborating information," he said, "but many times you're not going to get much. What we use here, rightly or wrongly, is a reasonable-suspicion standard."
Why does that not give me comfort? Maybe because the New York police spent so much time, money and manpower tracking innocent Americans who planned to protest at the Republican Natiional Convention.
From Albuquerque to Montreal, San Francisco to Miami, undercover New York police officers attended meetings of political groups, posing as sympathizers or fellow activists, the records show.

They made friends, shared meals, swapped e-mail messages and then filed daily reports with the department’s Intelligence Division. Other investigators mined Internet sites and chat rooms.

From these operations, run by the department’s “R.N.C. Intelligence Squad,” the police identified a handful of groups and individuals who expressed interest in creating havoc during the convention, as well as some who used Web sites to urge or predict violence.

But potential troublemakers were hardly the only ones to end up in the files. In hundreds of reports stamped “N.Y.P.D. Secret,” the Intelligence Division chronicled the views and plans of people who had no apparent intention of breaking the law, the records show.

These included members of street theater companies, church groups and antiwar organizations, as well as environmentalists and people opposed to the death penalty, globalization and other government policies. Three New York City elected officials were cited in the reports.
Those officials made the mistake of endorsing a Martin Luther King day event, which is how they got on the list. The oversight committee consists of a high (!) police official who must determine that there is at least an indication of illegal activity, which in this case was the date and an event that was cosponsored by several charities that included some of them turban people. Like it is every year. Common sense was obviously never considered but profiling was.

Well, what happens to all this information?
By searching the Internet, investigators identified groups that were making plans for demonstrations. Files were created on their political causes, the criminal records, if any, of the people involved and any plans for civil disobedience or disruptive tactics.

From the field, undercover officers filed daily accounts of their observations on forms known as DD5s that called for descriptions of the gatherings, the leaders and participants, and the groups’ plans.

Inside the police Intelligence Division, daily reports from both the field and the Web were summarized in bullet format. These digests — marked “Secret” — were circulated weekly under the heading “Key Findings.”
Hmm, circulated? We all know that once it gets into one report, it finds its way on to others, such as one of the aforementioned lists that the Washington Post mentioned.
President Bush ordered the intelligence community in 2003 to centralize data on terrorism suspects, and U.S. agencies at home and abroad now send everything they collect to TIDE. It arrives electronically as names to be added or as additional information about people already in the system.
We know from earlier in the article how some of it is processed.
Every night at 10, TIDE dumps an unclassified version of that day's harvest -- names, dates of birth, countries of origin and passport information -- into a database belonging to the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. TIDE's most sensitive information is not included. The FBI adds data about U.S. suspects with no international ties for a combined daily total of 1,000 to 1,500 new names.
Whew! I feel safer already, don't you? Is human nature so predictable that a man who's been dead for sixteen years (my dad) correctly foresaw the rise of a police state? And that the populace would sit back quietly and let it happen? No wonder people believe that Nostradamus stuff.

Fight or flight? That's the question, though I might have to walk if I'm on one of the many lists.

Debsweb
30 November 2006

Mama's New House

by: Konagod

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Incarceration rates for women are outpacing men -- many of them for non-violent drug offenses in our failed "War on Drugs."

A record 7 million people — or one in every 32 American adults — were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.

[...]

Men still far outnumber women in prisons and jails, but the female population is growing faster. Over the past year, the female population in state or federal prison increased 2.6 percent while the number of male inmates rose 1.9 percent. By year's end, 7 percent of all inmates were women. The gender figures do not include inmates in local jails.

"Today's figures fail to capture incarceration's impact on the thousands of children left behind by mothers in prison," Marc Mauer, the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group supporting criminal justice reform, said in a statement. "Misguided policies that create harsher sentences for nonviolent drug offenses are disproportionately responsible for the increasing rates of women in prisons and jails."

From 1995 to 2003, inmates in federal prison for drug offenses have accounted for 49 percent of total prison population growth.

This is insane. The fact that 3.5 million Americans are either in prison, probation, or parole for non-violent actions should serve as a blaring wake-up call to America that we have a seriously unhealthy prison fetish -- at the expense of rehabilition which could help keep these families together for the sake of children involved.

I would be particulary interested in seeing a breakdown of how many inmates are serving time for nothing more than marijuana possession (thanks, Radical Russ!) -- a "crime" in the league of cigarette or alcohol possession, and definitely several notches below certain legal pharmaceutical possessions, with their plethora of unpleasant side effects , dispensed by doctors like peanut M&Ms. I could easily argue that marijuana is actually less harmful (and definitely more "natural") than any of the aforementioned substances, but why bother when others have done the work for me.

Crossposted from konagod

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