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Friday, August 31, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Los Angeles Hundreds dead, no one charged: the uphill battle against Los Angeles police killings

OFF THE WIRE
in Los Angeles

Catherine Walker closed her eyes, pressed her hands over her ears, and tried to escape.

It’s been four months since Los Angeles police killed her son, Grechario Mack, whose death barely made headlines, who did not become a viral hashtag. On a recent afternoon, the 59-year-old mother wore pins with her son’s face and said she was ready to speak. But when the moment came, she could hardly talk.
As relatives recounted the killing around her, she tried to shut out the words describing Mack’s last moments. Eventually, she collapsed in her chair in anguish.
“I couldn’t save my baby,” she cried as someone held her. “When they took my son’s life, they took a part of me.”
Police shot Mack, a 30-year-old father of two, in the middle of a mall on the afternoon of 10 April, as he was holding a kitchen knife and having a mental health crisis. Less than 24 hours later, officers arrived at a park and killed Kenneth Ross Jr, another black resident who struggled with mental illness and was said to be fleeing when police shot him with a military-style rifle.
The two families, brought together by Black Lives Matter the day of Ross’s death, are now channeling their grief into a fight for justice – taking on one of the country’s deadliest police systems, where law enforcement killings of black mentally ill residents are so normalized, families struggle to be heard. They face an uphill battle in the most secretive state in the US for police misconduct, in a region where officers who shoot are never prosecuted.

“Mentally, I can’t even do nothing right now,” said Fouzia Almarou, Ross’s mother. “But I’m gonna stay strong … I want to make sure my son is remembered.”
‘Police don’t have to care’
Police in America kill more people in days than other countries do in years, and Los Angeles law enforcement has repeatedly led the US with its body count, according to The Counted, a Guardian US project that tracked deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

From 2010 to 2014, police in LA county shot 375 people, about one person every five days. Black residents make up 9% of the population, but represented 24% of deaths.

Across the US, the odds are stacked against families who look to courts for justice. Charges are extremely rare and convictions even rarer, with the law widely protecting officers who claim they feared for their lives. In LA, the odds of prosecution are effectively zero.

Since 2000, there have been no charges for the more than 1,500 shootings by police in the county. Since the district attorney Jackie Lacey was elected in 2012, roughly 400 people have been killed by on-duty officers or died in custody, according to Black Lives Matter LA. Lacey even declined to file charges when the chief of the LA police department (LAPD) called for the prosecution of one of his own officers.
“It really greenlights this type of behavior,” said Melina Abdullah, a BLM organizer in LA. “Police don’t have to care about anybody’s life, especially if they’re black or brown or poor.”

Abdullah and other activists are part of the Justice Teams Network, which provides “rapid response” after killings. They go to the scenes, interview witnesses, offer the family assistance with press and funerals, and work to counter the police narratives.

On a recent afternoon, Abdullah took the Guardian to sites of police killings in south LA. One stop was a quiet alley where three years earlier, LAPD officers had killed Redel Jones, a 30-year-old woman who had a kitchen knife and was fleeing police.

Jones, who had struggled on and off with homelessness, loved web design, dancing, cartoon shows, electronic music and rap and had a “brain that was always moving”, said Marcus Vaughn, Jones’s husband, recounting their dream of traveling in a mobile home together.

Headlines, however, reduced her to a “suspect” wanted for a robbery. And two years later, Lacey, the prosecutor, reduced her case to a statistic, clearing the policeman with her standard finding of “lawful self-defense”. The district attorney’s office declined an interview request.

“They did not care about Redel. Her death was one less black person. How are you just gonna kill a woman like she just meant nothing?” said Vaughn, adding that Jones was less than five feet tall and had bipolar disorder and depression, but was not violent. “If she was a short little white woman, they would’ve treated her with so much tenderness.”
Abdullah said she felt an obligation to organize after each killing and a sense of relief when a day passed without a death. Standing near the site of Jones’s killing, she was pained to see a makeshift altar had disappeared and vowed to rebuild it.
Jones didn’t get justice, Abdullah said, but she is hoping her next cases could be different.

‘Your aim was to murder my child’
When Quintus Moore saw a TV report saying LAPD officers had shot someone inside the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw mall, he said he felt sad a man had died for no good reason. Later, it dawned on him that he hadn’t heard from his son since the day before.
After a series of frantic messages to each other, a visit to the mall and a call with the morgue, the family discovered that their worst fears were true: Grechario Mack was the victim.
It was supposed to be a celebratory month for Mack. He had been released from prison on 5 April, five days before the killing, and the family had gathered for a “welcome home” party. Mack had had mental health struggles and past run-ins with the law, and, according to his parents, he was on new medication that was negatively affecting him.
Moore said his son had seemed agitated the morning of his death, and that he might have been paranoid or anxious and holding the knife to feel safe.
The LAPD’s report said Mack appeared to be having a “mental health crisis” and was “aggressively waving a long knife”. Police alleged he ignored commands and “ran in the direction” of patrons, leading to the shooting. Two officers fired at him, according to one report.

Abdullah, the BLM organizer, rushed to the mall, located in a black neighborhood and just a few blocks from Redel Jones’s killing. She said mall employees told her that Mack had been talking to himself and seemed unwell, but was not attacking anyone.
One employee of a nearby store, who declined to give her name, told the Guardian she walked within 10ft of Mack, who did not scare her: “He was just standing there … It wasn’t such a big knife.”
Blurry videos from witnesses captured heavily armed officers surrounding Mack and firing a handful of loud shots. Screams echoed throughout the mall as shoppers ducked for cover and ran. When investigators arrived, he was surrounded by shattered glass.
The county’s autopsy said Mack suffered at least five gunshot wounds, including one in his back just below his head.
“It’s like they got some kind of mandate to kill our black young men,” said Moore, who wears his son’s ashes in a pendant around his neck.
Mack’s mother compared the killing to a lynching: “They only went from the noose to the gun … Who gives them the right to be the executioner and the judge?”

Abdullah helped Mack’s family organize a vigil. There, she met Fouzia Almarou, who had more bad news: police had just shot and killed her son, Kenneth Ross, in a park 10 miles south of the mall, one day after Mack’s killing.
Police have provided few details about the killing in the LA suburb of Gardena. Lt Steve Prendergast told the Guardian that officers were responding to calls of shots fired and ended up chasing Ross, 25, whom they considered a suspect and was “running away from the scene”.

Prendergast said there was a “gun found at the scene”, but he couldn’t say whether Ross owned it or had pointed it. One police report said Ross briefly hid in a bathroom and that police shot him with an AR-15 rifle after he exited. That report said the gun had been in his pocket.
The county’s official autopsy said he was shot multiple times, including in the back.
Almarou said her son, who leaves behind seven younger siblings and a four-year-old son, had bipolar disorder and schizophreniabut was well known to local residents as harmless.
“Why did they shoot him in the back?” she said. “Your aim was to murder my child.”
At the vigil, Almarou ended up finding somecomfort from Mack’s family, who later donated money to Ross’s funeral.

‘We can’t treat mental illness with murder’

California is considered the strictest state in the US for police confidentiality, with policies that have kept misconduct records hidden and, critics say, created a culture that condones excessive force.
“It allows the most abusive officers to continue to operate,” said George Galvis, executive director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, which co-sponsored legislation to increase transparency. Another bill would stipulate that police could only use deadly force when “necessary”, instead of the current “reasonable” standard. The move, he said, would encourage police to treat people of color the way they often respond to white suspects – de-escalate the situation and work to keep them alive.
LAPD has adopted policies meant to encourage police to defuse tense situations, but critics say the reforms aren’t working and aren’t enough.
“We can’t treat mental illness with murder,” said Tabatha Jones Jolivet, another BLM organizer.

Amid calls for prosecution and legislation, it can be hard for families to keep the spotlight on their loved ones’ lives when their story becomes their death.
Mack, known as Chario, was an honor roll student who graduated high school early, his mother said. He loved to fish and was fiercely protective of family. His nine-year-old daughter wrote a tribute saying she would miss piggyback rides and museum trips, adding: “I know that you’re always in my heart.”
Arianna Moore, Mack’s sister, said her brother motivated her to be courageous: “He would tell me, ‘You could do anything you put your mind to.’”
Vaughn, Redel Jones’s husband, said he and their children sometimes struggled to remember what her voice sounded like. His nine-year-old daughter often wakes in the middle of the night shaking after a nightmare watching her mother die. She fears the police.
Ross, an avid skateboarder, was so generous, his mother recalled, that as a child he gave his allowance money to homeless people: “His heart was amazing.”
Ross’s mother said she was a survivor of domestic violence and that her son took care of her.

When times were tough, she said, her son offered the same message of comfort: “You’ll always have me to take care of you.”

California first state to eliminate bail; will free nonviolent suspects within 12 hours

OFF THE WIRE
By | Fox News

Suspects awaiting trial in California will now have their bail eliminated, according to a bill signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.
In lieu of bail, suspects will be gauged under a risk-assessment system, although the details of the program, which will take effect in October 2019, were not immediately clear.
Suspects looking at serious, violent felonies won’t be eligible for release prior to trial but the majority of suspects arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors will be let go within 12 hours of being booked, according to the legislation.
The bill gives officials 24 hours to determine whether other suspects should be released before trial. That time can be extended by 12 hours if necessary.
“Today, California reforms its bail system so that rich and poor alike are treated fairly,” Brown said in a statement, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Brown's signature gives the state's Judicial Council, the policy-making body for California's courts, broad authority to reshape pretrial detention policies.
Each county will use the council's framework as a basis to set its own procedures for deciding whom to release before trial, potentially creating a patchwork system based on where a suspect lives.
Senate Bill 10, the formal title of the legislation, was approved by the legislature earlier this month, according to The Sacramento Bee, but faced significant opposition from the bail industry prior to Brown's signing on Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Commander Duncan's Statement regarding NFL Anthem Issue. Thank you sir as a lifelong member of the VFW I support and appreciate your steadfast dedication to veterans.

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BABE OF THE DAY


Mayans MC Muy Auténtico

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com
http://www.agingrebel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/vultures.jpg
You are about to get FX’s new television show, Mayans MC, shoved down your throat for at least the next month. Whether you like it or not.
Harley-Davidson thinks the era of the motorcycle outlaw is over. Television executives and similar vultures think there is still some good meat left on them bones.
Undomesticated bad men on big, loud scooters, occasionally real but mostly imagined, have been a mirror America has been staring into for the last 71 years. Motorcycle outlaws have by turns been juvenile delinquents; haunted war heroes on Army surplus bikes; the killers who would conquer America as they had conquered Europe; victims of McCarthyism; marauding packs of gang rapists; good drug dealers; the new cowboys; banal and mundane; good hippies; Satanists; bad hippies; baby killers; philanthropists; bad drug dealers; racketeers; the Mafia on wheels; mom and dad; the greatest tee-shirt collectors ever; grandma and grandpa; Hamlet; and now young, hip, angry, hyper violent Latin consumers. Well, maybe Latino.
“Yes sir,” the prospect replies. Not, “Yes, patch holder.” But “Yes sir.” Like the Army.

Authentic

Sons of Anarchy, Kurt Sutter’s previous biker melodrama, was enormously authentic. Ask anybody. Ask the producers. Sons of Anarchy was as close to reality as you could get without actually joining a club yourself. A recurring story line in that long running and beloved show was that there was such a shortage of guns in California that a motorcycle club got into the business of importing them from Ireland. Not Arizona. Ireland. And that show’s apologists defended that artistic choice because what else could a biker show be about? What would be the point of looking at a dozen or so RICO indictments for background and story ideas?
Now the drums tattoo and the pipes blare and the lassies jig in eager anticipation of the debut next week of Mayans MC. Who knows what the future may bring? Bikers who import guns from Ireland through Mexico? Bikers who work for narcos trafficante who wear Italian suits? Bikers who sucker punch civilians at punk concerts?
The “co-creator” of the new show is Elgin James. James was previously described as “mixed race” but is now generally regarded to be a “young Latino filmmaker.” He was raised by “civil rights activists” on a farm. He says his father beat him.

Terrified

“I’d grown up terrified of the world,’ he told The New Yorker. “Nights spent curled in a ball trying to disappear in the crack between my bed and the wall while my mother screamed for my father to stop. The worst thing about a 7-year-old being punched by a grown man is that you become emotionally frozen at that age.”
He became a vegetarian when he was 11-years-old. He introspected on the quads of Antioch College where he got into a “gang fight” and suffered “brain damage.” He moved to Boston where he started a gang called “Fuck Shit Up.” They rat packed and sucker punched random victims at punk concerts. They did it as a business. Bands and promoters paid them to stay away.
What we lacked in numbers we made up for in viciousness,” James later said. He told Debbie Catalano of Soundcheck Magazine, “The founding core of FSU eventually splintered, with a large section moving on to motorcycle gangs like the Outlaws and later the Mongols.”
So there is the biker connection.

Beatdowns

FSU even got its own Gangland episode (below). James became a film maker by video recording some of the beatings and some of the music and releasing the footage as Boston Beat Down and Boston Beat Down II.
He wrote and directed a film called Little Birds in 2009. It is about a couple of girls who run away from home with their skateboards. Sundance loved it. The same year James was convicted of trying to extort a musician and did a year in jail. Ex-convict? Check!
James seems to have been included in Mayans MC because a recurring theme in all his work is over the top violence. He told Variety earlier this month that the artist inside him drinks from the well of “his traumatic upbringing.” All those vegetables. So many vegetables.

Auténtico

“I do know that I have these stories that I have to tell,” James said. “I have this damage inside me that I have to get out. And I don’t want any nice people who are worried about what I’m going to do for society to tell me I can’t tell my story.”
Officially James is on the show because he is Latino or half-Latin or something like that. Two years ago, when FX suggested Sutter collaborate with James on Mayans MC Sutter said it was his decision to recruit James. “I was very aware that a white guy from Jersey shouldn’t be writing a show solely that takes place in a Latino subculture and it’s not because it wasn’t politically correct,” he said. “It was about what made the most sense creatively.”
Today an online magazine called CinemaBlend reported that the new show is important to James – maybe he pronounces it Ha-mez – “simply for allowing the Latino community to have a voice, both on screen and behind the scenes.”
“Ever since I was a kid,” James told CinemaBlend, “I’ve watched black and brown characters on television who just become these criminals, these one-dimensional characters. A lot of the people on Mayans, behind the camera and in front of the camera, grew up in the cycle of poverty and violence and incarceration — I know that I did. This is the first time we get to tell our own stories from inside out, which is incredibly important to me. The first time we get to put a human face to it. I do know that I have these stories I have to tell. I have this damage inside me that I have to get out.”
Eager for more? Open wide! Whether you like it or not.



Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Monday, August 27, 2018

Immigration Games

OFF THE WIRE
agingrebel.com
The Global War on Terror metamorphosed into a Global War on Motorcycle Clubs years ago – mostly because bikers are much easier to spot and arrest than Jihadis. For at least a decade Australia has been a laboratory where American federal police have experimented with ways to equate motorcycle outlaws with the Islamic State.
Three years ago at a secret, police only conference in North Carolina, ATF biker analyst Jeremy Sheetz bragged to a room dressed mostly in blue, “I just came back from Australia. We were assisting them in how to work long term investigations, how to change their laws.”
Australia is a good place to practice subverting the Bill of Rights because Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights.
A couple of recent, small stories illustrate this.

Stevan Utah

An Australian Bandido, scoundrel and former drug dealer who calls himself Steven Utah earned at least $600,000 and became the object of international attention after he decided to become a police informant in 2004. He invited much of the attention. He started giving interviews in 2007 and published a biker memoir titled Dead Man Running in 2008.
Utah claims he was himself betrayed by the Australian Crime Commission in 2006. He says he was almost murdered by his former club brothers and was then forced to flee to Canada.
Utah was granted refugee status by Canada almost a year ago. He had argued that he was forced out of his own country because of “corruption, ineptitude and structural difficulties” within several Australian police agencies. He is widely reported to be the first Australian refugee to be granted asylum by Canada.
This Australian immigrant story grows complicated because, apparently, Utah has run out of money. So he is now suing the Canada Border Services Agency for not granting him asylum sooner – on account of he is one of the English speaking peoples, as Winston Churchill put it. Utah is accusing Canadian officials of leaving his asylum request linger in “legal limbo” for many, long, cold Canadian winters because they did not take it seriously enough; because they didn’t equate living in a country with Bandidos to living in a country run by ISIS.
Utah is seeking $1.35 million for lost wages, presumably as a biker expert, $1 million in general and punitive damages – because when you have to hire lawyers you can always use an extra million – and another $200,000 to compensate him for mental difficulties because all that waiting around in Canada  has messed with his head,

Anonymous French Angel

Meanwhile, a 44-year-old man identified only as a French Hells Angel was taken into custody at Perth Airport by the Australian Border Force last Saturday after his flight from Singapore landed. He was denied entry into the country.
His entry visa was cancelled because his status as a member of his club presented “a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community, or a segment of the community.”
A Border Force spokesman named Rod O’Donnell explained the visa cancellation by saying, “These gangs pose a significant threat to our community and are known to be involved in serious criminal activity including drug trafficking and violent crime. Any non-citizen involved with a criminal organization such as a bikie gang can expect to be identified and targeted by the ABF, have their Australian visa cancelled and then be removed from the country.”
The unnamed man was deported the next day.






With caution, as I do not intend a dialogue, Paladin’s idea about travel and entry/exit seem to me be in error. It is not a privilege to leave or return, travel is a right… It is a right according to law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Declaration_of_Human_Rights By the way, the high cost of passports is, arguably, illegal due to this right. There’s a class-action suit…
Yes, people are properly examined, passports, visas, an all, but this has to follow equitable legal principle…and yes, the law is generally not closely followed, but there you have the discomforting and obvious implication that the Nth State is a criminal organization, eh? One clearly criminal gang setting up in judgement of individuals based of imaginary or secret denouncements and “tips”. One might be tempted to remember the 3erd Reich…
The topic of the essay is given in the first 3 paragraphs…and if I may say so, the topic is the gradual conflation of “terrorism” and “biker” or clubs in the mediaspace, and in law, and in law the cops intend to change (rather an insult to the legislative branch, eh? Some might say that’s treason to the Constitution, but I would say it merely seems like criminal conspiracy to commit a fraud, malfeasance, crimes along those lines.
It may be that the examples the author’s mooted, Mr U and Mr A, are not of absolutely sterling character. Rights must protect everyone equally before the law, or they are something more like what Paladin said… [mere] privilege [extended by a criminal gang} to somebody they “like”. Such as the intrepid Mr U, one might speculate.

To be fair I will note that in my lifetime the term “privilege” has replaced the term “right”…both in language, and also in reality. Now it is a “privilege” to live, as They claim the “right” (in law!) to kill anybody on Earth…can y’all spell “drone”? After they finish conflating turrursts and clubs, how long until they do a job on…well…whodyatink?

BABE OF THE DAY

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Friday, August 24, 2018

'Mayans MC' Counts Down to Season Premiere in New Teaser

OFF THE WIRE
By Allison Schonter
There are still two weeks left before FX debuts its Sons of Anarchy spinoff Mayans MC, but a countdown has already begun.
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the Mayans Motorcycle Club will rev their engines and a post Jax Teller world will descend upon FX, but the series’ Twitter account is helping to build the excitement with a two-week countdown.

 Starring JD Pardo as Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, a new prospect member of the Mayans Motorcycle Club, the second chapter in the Sons of Anarchy saga has already earned rave reviews from critics who have seen he FX drama's first two episodes, including the premiere episode titled “Perro/OC.” While specific details regarding the episodes have been kept under wrap, the series is being praised for capitalizing on the strengths of Sons of Anarchy.
“Both shows bear creator Kurt Sutter’s penchant for graphic violence and gratuitously shirtless studs. But Mayans already feels like a new, albeit comfortably familiar, entity ... Mayans benefits from the richness of its source material, and for Sons fans it’ll fit like a well-worn kutte,” Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin wrote of the series.
Among the “comfortably familiar” aspects of the new series will be several familiar faces from SOA, including Katey Sagal, who played Gemma Teller Morrow on SOA and will appear in a flashback on Mayans MC. Emilio Rivera, who played Mayans MC Oakland president Marcus Alvarez, will also be reprising his role on the spinoff series. However, Charlie Hunnam’s Jax Teller will remain absent from the series, Hunman confirming that Sons of Anarchy “put him [Jax] to rest.”
Set in the same world of Sons of Anarchy, Mayans MC picks up three years after Jax Teller’s death along the California/Mexico border, where EZ Reyes, who is fresh out of prison and now a prospect for the Mayans Motorcycle Club, must carve out his new identity in a town where he was once the golden boy with the American Dream in his grasp.
0commentsStarring alongside Pardo and Rivera will be Edward James Olmos as Felipe Reyes, Michael Irby as Obispo “Bishop” Losa, Sarah Bolger as Emily Thomas, Richard Cabral as Johnny “Coco” Cruz, Antonio Jaramillo as Michael “Riz” Ariza, Danny Pino as Miguel Galindo, Raoul Trujillo as Che "Taza" Romero, and Carla Baratta as Adelita.
Mayans MC premieres its 10-episode first season Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

MAYANS M/C - Romantic Fantasy And Grim Reality

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agingrebel.com
A month before it appears on cable FX’s new biker shoot ‘em up, Mayans MC already looks like a hit.
A hit is a show that can sell a lot of commercials and charge a lot of money for allowing them to appear in the show.
The weekly trade magazine Broadcasting & Cable announced today, in case you hadn’t already noticed, that Mayans MC was the fifth most successfully promoted show for the fall. The research is intended to be read by both production executives and ad buyers. The data was collected by an enterprise called iSpot.tv. Most of it is statistically arcane. At the risk of oversimplification, the research calculated several categories of data including “impressions,” “attention” and the value to the network of each show’s promotional ads. “Impressions” is a measure of how many times a promo for a show has been seen and “attention” measures how many times viewers have watched the promo all the way through.

Number Five Right Now

Overall, Mayans MC came in fifth. It probably would have been higher but its ad campaign is just getting started. In this statistical race it finished behind 90 Day Fiancé on TLC; The Sinner on USA; The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network; and Yellowstone Live on National Geographic. According to Broadcasting & Cable, 160,026,315 viewers have watched promos for Mayans MC, about 92 percent of them paid attention and the value of the airtime to show those commercials, virtually all of it on FX, was $1,529,001.
These numbers are intended to reassure ad buyers and corporate suits that Mayans MC will be a hit. Producer Kurt Sutter’s previous biker drama, Sons of Anarchy, was a hit. Working against the show is Harley-Davidson’s recent conclusion that far fewer people are interested in playing outlaw biker now than a decade ago. Much of Sons of Anarchy’s initial success was built on Sutter’s insistence than that show was more truth than fantasy.

Just A Motorcycle Club

Mayans MC’s truth seems to be that the members of this predominantly Chicano club in Southern California is an organized crime cartel masquerading as a rough and tumble group of public-spirited motorcycle enthusiasts. In the show’s most recent promo, below, a jackass in a bar remarks to a Mayans prospect “That’s a fancy vest you got there. That your badass gang?”
The prospect pauses while the audience gets a look at what goes through his head. The audience sees many quick scenes of Mayans being an astoundingly badass gang. Finally, the prospect humbly and ironically replies, “Just a motorcycle club man.” No doubt, that promo is meant to make its future audience tingle.
Of course the Mayans will be the most violent pack of beasts ever.
Which raises the question of how far out on a limb are Kurt Sutter and FX going to hang the Mongols Motorcycle Club. Sutter’s biker operas are intended to be seen by the general public as romans à clef – true stories with thinly disguised real characters. At least for the first three or four years, until it became a chick show, and when it wasn’t being described as a brilliant reimagining of Hamlet, Sons of Anarchy was a roman à clef about the Hells Angels. The show was intended to give viewers the vicarious experience of being a Hells Angel.

Authenticity

Sutter bragged on it. At the Television Critics Association press tour two months before Sons of Anarchy premiered Sutter said, “I didn’t want to get involved with anything that I felt I could not do authentically and, you know, I can’t mention any organizations, but one of these organizations sort of opened their doors to me, and I got to see it firsthand.” The “organization,” wink, wink, was of course the Angels.
Everybody got that Sons of Anarchy was supposed to be an inside look at the Hells Angels – even federal appeals court judges. In 2014, Ed Carnes who was chief judge of the Eleventh Circuit described a local gang called the Guardians as “a case of life imitating art imitating life.” The Guardians Carnes said, were “inspired by the fictional motorcycle gang in Sons of Anarchy, itself modeled on the real life Hells Angels.”
The very night Sons of Anarchy premiered, on September 3, 2008, at virtually the same moment, the president of the San Francisco charter of the Hells Angeles and, reportedly, an advisor to the show, Mark “Papa” Guardado, died in a street fight with a Mongol named Christopher “Stoney” Ablett. Almost immediately the Sons had a dramatic antagonist “ripped from the headlines.” Sutter called them the Mayans and they were a thinly disguised interpretation of the Mongols.

Reality

Now Sutter and FX are going to do an entire series about the Mayans and it seems logical to wonder what impact this fantastical television program will have on at least three criminal cases pending against the Mongols club or individual members. The cases all accuse the Mongols of being the Mayans in disguise – which in fact is exactly what the network just spent $1,529,001 in one week trying to do.
The first of these cases will be United States v. Mongol Nation. It is now scheduled to begin on October 30, the day Mayans MC’s eighth episode will air. The government’s case against the Mongols, in a nutshell, is that they are really the Mayans.
The second case will be State of California v. David Martinez. That trial is now scheduled for February 2019. Martinez is accused of killing a Pomona, California Swat officer named Shaun Diamond as a Swat team broke into Martinez’ home at four in the morning. The raid was to serve a search warrant. It was, essentially an indicia search. Police, knowing that Martinez was a Mongol, searched his home for evidence that he was a Mongol. Which is to say, the police used their powers to serve a search at four in the morning as a form of punishment. Prosecutors will undoubtedly try to present his membership in his motorcycle club as proof of his guilt.
And, 23 members and alleged associates of the Mongols are facing numerous charges including murder in a federal case in Clarksville, Tennessee. None of those cases have yet been scheduled for trial. But chances are good that Mayans MC will still be alive when there finally are trials.

Jury Tampering Or Art

The romantic fantasy FX is about to present to the world is going to influence all these cases in favor of the prosecution. FX probably won’t address this problem because they will not see it as a problem. Sutter and his fellow conspirators will see the conflation and confusion they create as artistic virtue. Maybe Hollywood will, too. Maybe Sutter will finally win an Emmy.
Maybe after he does somebody will be able to ask him why he decided to make a fantasy set in the grim now instead of a show set in the romantic long ago – when a collection of disprized combat veterans, calloused to violence, not afraid of much except possibly cobras and none of whom expected to live much longer anyway, found each other after Vietnam and decided to start a motorcycle club.
That one wouldn’t confuse jurors about anything that has happened recently. Sutter has talked about making a show something like that.
That’s the one I would have made, And that’s probably just another example of why Sutter makes the big bucks. Instead of you or  me.


BABE OF THE DAY

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

BABE OF THE DAY

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COMMENT !!!!

COMMENT !!!!

THE ONE THING THAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THE DAY THE PHILISTINES NAILED THE HIPPIE TO THE CROSS THAT DAY, THE UNIFORM WORN BY THE ENFORCERS OF THE PHILISTINES. THEY UPGRADED THEIR UNIFORMS FROM SANDLES, SKIRTS, CAPES, AND SWORDS TO BLACK BOOTS, BLUE PANTS AND SHIRTS, BADGES AND GUNS, BULLET PROOF VESTS.

HOWEVER, THE ONE THING THAT HAS CHANGED FOR THE WORSE–IF THAT’S EVEN POSSIBLE– IS THE EVER PRESENT UNDENIABLE “I AM THE KING MOTHER FUCKER, YOU DO AS I SAY OR WE’LL BEAT YOU FUCKING SENSELESS” ATTITUDE THAT MOST COPS APPROACH CITIZENS WITH THESE DAYS.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

“Today In The Information Battlespace”

OFF THE WIRE
https://youtu.be/ET_b78GSBUs
Maria Chapa Lopez, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, above, released an unusually half-assed press release today titled, “Sixteen Individuals, Including Several Members Of The Pagans Motorcycle Club, Charged For Conspiring To Distribute Methamphetamine.”
Think of those sixteen words as a movie logline. For the time being, that is almost all the government is willing to say. Other than that the press release headline is 16 words long, it is hard to find a connection between what seem to be three overlapping cases and the Pagans.
In the press release, the Department of Justice reports the unsealing of three indictments. The multiple indictments are blatant attempts to try some defendant’s multiple times for the same offenses

Indictments

One indictment is a case called USA v. Barbara Caylor-Hernandez, aka “Barb,” aka “Barbie” and others. Barbie’s codefendants in that indictment include Ramiro Fraire-Chavarria, Michael Babin, Melanie Kerr, Keith Simmons, Carla Ray, Spencer Burkard, Robert Foster, Daniel Barbarino, Andrew “Yeti” Shettler, Brian “Sledge” Burt and Lawrence Sann. Everybody except Sann is accused of conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sann only conspired to distribute five grams. They are all facing life in prison except Sann, who could be sentenced to 40 years.
A second indictment charges Keith Kirchoff, Michael “Clutch” Andrews and Shettler with conspiring to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Kirchoff allegedly carried a gun while he allegedly talked about doing his alleged two ounce drug deals.
And, according to the press release, a third indictment has been returned against Cindy Bledsoe, Jason Stringer and Andrews. Bledsoe and Andrews are accused of plotting to get their hands on 50 grams of crank to sell. There is no indication whether this is the same drug plot Andrews is charged with in the second indictment. Stringer is accused of trying to get his hands on five grams of meth.

Pagans

The press release was issued before the third indictment was filed – if there is actually a third indictment. And there is no mention of the Pagans or any other motorcycle club in either of the two filed indictments.
Although the word “Pagans” does not appear a single time in either of the indictments accessible to the public, the press release declares, “According to the indictments, the defendants conspired to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine to individuals and groups in the Middle District of Florida, including to members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, an outlaw motorcycle gang.”
And the headline about the case in this morning’s Daytona Beach News-Journal shouted “Volusia, Flagler, Daytona Pagan’s motorcycle gang members rounded up in federal meth bust.”


John Oliver explains how prosecutors use, or in some cases misuse, their power within our criminal justice system and why it’s important to know whether or not your district attorney is a dog. Connect with Last Week Tonight online... Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens: www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would: http://Facebook.com/LastWeekTonight Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: http://Twitter.com/LastWeekTonight Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once: http://www.hbo.com/lastweektonight

BABE OF THE DAY

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Friday, August 17, 2018

CA - CLETS - Reports tally internal misuse of powerful police data network

OFF THE WIRE
CA - Reports tally internal misuse of powerful police data network
State law enforcement agencies have access to troves of data through a computer network, but state records show employees often improperly use it , resulting in some losing their jobs...
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-greg-moran-staff.h…
For decades, law enforcement officials across California have had access to a powerful computer network that, with a few keystrokes from a desk terminal or patrol car, can access information on any Californian with a drivers license, registered car, parking ticket, restraining order or dozens of other digital records.
The sprawling California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, or CLETS, also gives police access to national databases maintained by the FBI and the neighboring state of Oregon. It’s a little known and widely used police tool — officials estimated it’s used by law enforcement about 2.8 million times every day.
But sometimes law enforcement workers tap into the vast trove of information improperly, breaking the rules about when the detailed information can be properly accessed, according to a batch of records of CLETS misuse held by the state Attorney General and collected by a privacy rights group.
In 2017, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department investigated 19 suspected incidents of misuse of the network by department employees. Records show four were determined to have violated CLETS-use policies: two people received reprimands, one was suspended, and one resigned over the misuse. The other 15 cases resulted in no administrative action taken.
That wasn’t an unusual year. In 2015, there were 22 investigations that resulted in one termination and one suspension. And in 2014, there were 28 investigations that found four violations. Three people resigned; one was fired that year.
The department annually has the largest number of investigations into CLETS misuse of any agency in San Diego, and is one of the highest in the state, the records show.
But exactly what the violations entailed isn’t known: both the one-page form that agencies are required to turn in don’t detail the violations, and the Sheriff’s Department — citing confidentiality of police personnel records — declined to provide details.
In an email response to questions, spokeswoman Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said the department takes CLETS abuse seriously and has a “robust” auditing system that in turn triggers many investigations.
“We stand behind our aggressive approach to monitoring and auditing CLETS use,” she wrote. “The Department is prohibited by law from releasing specific and confidential details of personnel investigations. However, when there is the appearance of misuse, we investigate it.”
The accounting of misuse of the powerful network is the result of a years-long effort by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights organization based on the Bay Area. The organization through annual Public Records Act requests to the state Attorney General has collected misuse reports that every agency that taps into CLETS is required to fill out and submit annually.
The problem was that for years many agencies did not comply. In 2016, for instance, barely more than half of the required agencies submitted reports, according to the foundation.
But earlier this year the Attorney General’s office put its foot down. In April, a bulletin went out that lamented “the increasingly low submissions of misuse reporting” and warning that in the future agencies that don’t file the reports will be subject to sanctions.
The warning worked. This year 98 percent of the roughly 1,500 agencies with access to CLETS filed reports.
And while some employees have been fired or resigned and a handful have been prosecuted, records show that many violations don’t result in any formal action taken against the employee.
Misusing the system can take a variety of forms. It’s broadly defined as obtaining information outside the normal course of police business. Law enforcement are allowed to access the information if it’s required “for the performance of official duties or functions” and if it is okay to do so under state law.
Examples of misuse are things like getting information on a family member, friend or ex-wife, or querying the system to get home address or vehicle registration information for personal use. Other examples of misuse given by the Attorney General include “querying a firearm to determine if it is stolen prior to purchase” and “querying high profile individuals in the media.”
Dave Maass, an investigative researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the higher compliance was a welcome step but more information about how the system was misused was needed.
“For police departments this is like Google,” he said. “It’s what they interact with every day.”
The relatively high number of investigations by the San Diego County sheriff may show a department that is diligent, or one with a chronic problem.
“Is it that there are more things going on in the San Diego Sheriff’s Department? Or are they actually doing a better job of investigating and reporting?” Maass said. “If that’s the case, if San Diego Sheriff’s department is doing a good job, what does that say about the other agencies in San Diego?”
Last year, the San Diego Police Department reported three investigations into misuse, one of which resulted in an administrative action defined only as “Other” — not a resignation, termination, suspension or counseling.
The county Probation Department had three investigations that resulted in one termination. Oceanside Police Department reported a single investigation that resulted in termination. And the San Diego Community College District Police Department reported four investigations, none of which resulted in resignation or termination.
The majority of agencies in the county said they had no instances of misuse of the system in 2017, the records show. And that has been true for nearly every year since 2010.
There have been exceptions, however. In 2012, for example, San Diego Unified School District Police reported 15 misuse investigations. All were closed with no official finding of misuse.
Statewide in 2017 there were 143 violations of the rules for using the system reported by the agencies, Electronic Frontier Foundation records show. From that 22 law enforcement employees were either terminated or resigned as a result of CLETS misuse.

BABE OF THE DAY


What I gathered from doing a quick read of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling...

OFF THE WIRE
 1. Hawaii has a may issue permit system for open carry and conceal carry.
2. Lawsuit challenged this.
3. Court ruled that open carry was protected under the Second Amendment and conceal carry was not protected under the Second Amendment.
4. Permit issuance systems are legal.
5. Hawaii must change their may issue open carry permit system to a shall issue open carry system.

What this means for CA...
This can be used to challenge CA may issue open carry permit system in order to force CA to make it available throughout CA and change it to a shall issue open carry permit system.
Currently, CA may issue open carry permit system...
1. Only available in counties with a population of less than 200,000. (challenge to make it available to all counties). The 2010 US Census showed 30 of the 58 counties in CA had a population of less than 200,000.
2. Only valid in the county it is issued in. (challenge to make it valid throughout CA)
***
We need some people from one or more of the 30 (of the 58) counties with 200K or less people who doesn't have a carry license to apply for a loaded and expose license and get a written denial so their legal counsel or the NRA or CalGuns can challenge the law in court in lieu of the new appeals ruling.
https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2018/07/24/12-17808.pdf

Thursday, August 16, 2018

BABE OF THE DAY

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Heated Helmet Debate Rages On in the Forums

OFF THE WIRE
Whether you choose to wear a helmet or not, sometimes the answer just boils down to freedom of choice.
When it comes to touchy subjects among bikers none elicits more heated arguments than the simple helmet. For some, wearing a helmet is a no-brainer, a choice they make to protect themselves from catastrophic injury. For others, donning a lid simply defeats the purpose of what riding a Harley stands for in the first place. And then there’s a third school of thought, one that goes much deeper than personal choice.
‘I live in rural America and choose mostly not to wear a helmet.
I understand that you can get just as dead in rural areas as you can in major cities.
I also understand you can get just as dead with or without the brain bucket.’
 Engines Society find a helmet debate at HD Forums. And the member’s opinions on the subject are a pretty good reflection on the way society as a whole feels about it. But there are folks out there who aren’t really sure which side of the argument they want to be on. Or if they should even wear a lid. Folks like  Robs2KFLHRCI, who posed a simple question in this thread. Of course, little did he know what kind of firestorm it would start.
    “I am torn between wearing a helmet and not. When I know I will encounter heavy traffic in cities I wear one, but I live in rural America and choose mostly not to wear one. I understand that you can get just as dead in rural areas as you can in major cities. I also understand you can get just as dead with or without the brain bucket. My wife will not ride without hers (rarely rides anyway) and hates that I do not, says she don’t wanna be changing my diapers the rest of my life. I am 6′ tall and at 185 not a huge burly guy, so a helmet makes me look – uhhh weird I guess is my biggest issue. I have considered one of these. I see many bikers wearing helmets and some in full leather even in summer, and I do see some without.

    So, I guess my question is, do you ride helmet-less and if so when?”

    ‘It is your personal choice, but have good health and life insurance.
    My helmet protected me and the insurance bills at last tally are north of $1.6 mil.‘

For folks like Jonesee, the answer touches on some unpleasant personal experiences.

    “Yes I do and there is no doubt it saved my life.

    There are only 2 real reasons riders don’t wear a helmet:

    1) ego/vanity
    2) expression/feeling of freedom

    It is your personal choice, but have good health and life insurance.
    My helmet protected me and the insurance bills at last tally are north of $1.6 mil.“

For some, like Gusotto, the subject hits close to home after enduring a horrible tragedy.

    “Iowa doesn’t have a helmet law but I wear one because I want to. Had a 1st cousin who was the same age as me. MC accident and she hit her head. Been dead 50 years ago now. A lifetime lost. Left behind a one-year-old baby. Interesting because the MC driver had a helmet, she didn’t and he lived.”

Springer, like most folks, knows some people who benefited from wearing one. But he also believes in having the freedom to make that decision.

    “Personally, I believe in freedom of choice as to whether or not a person wears a helmet. On the other hand, I know of some that have had an accident and got a direct hit to the top of their head and it helped them out so they could ride another day. Just something to add to it. be thankful that your wife feels the way she does, some might not.”

Of course, plenty of folks, like  Chekoz77, simply choose to accept the risk.

    “I choose not to wear one. A half helmet won’t do anything unless you tip over at 5 mph, and a full face is just too restrictive. If I had to ride around in a space suit all the time I would probably just drive the car. At least then I could roll the windows down and enjoy the weather.”

After all, riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car, as Skumbum points out.

    “Don’t wear one if I don’t have to. If I’m worried about safety that much then I just won’t ride. I’ve seen people die with and without helmets. What do you think keeps you more safe? A helmet or driving a car?”

Regardless of which side of the fence you reside on when it comes to helmets, there’s one thing we can (mostly) all agree on. And that’s the fact that we should have a choice. Depending on which state you live in, you may or may not enjoy that freedom. And that, my friends, is the biggest problem of all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

This Marine-Made War Documentary Is So Raw The Corps Doesn’t Want You To See It

OFF THE WIRE
     Looking for a great career? Or know another veteran, service member, or military spouse who is? Get started at Hirepurpose.
“Okay buddy, how ya doing today?” a Marine asks as he stands over the body of a dead Afghan man. “You look like you just got fucked.”
A cameraman with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment stands nearby, rolling tape. He zooms in to show the man’s mangled right hand, where a round impacted before entering his torso.
It’s sometime in 2011 in Kajaki, Afghanistan. A scout sniper team has been cleared to take the shot, suspecting the target of being a spotter for Taliban fighters in the area. When the patrol arrives to inspect the body, they find that the now-dead man was a local shopkeeper, and he was unarmed. It’s unclear whether the man, whose killing was cleared under the rules of engagement, was an observer for the Taliban, or an innocent bystander.
“Yup, he lived for a little while, then it went in and fucking hit where his liver woulda been,” a member of the squad says. After the Afghan National Army soldiers attached to the patrol suggest moving the dead man out of sight, the body is rolled up in a rug.
“It’s not good for people to see this,” one U.S. Marine says.

After the patrol, Lance Cpl. Jacob Miles Lagoze, the combat cameraman who filmed the scene, returned to the patrol base to file his daily footage. As a Marine, Lagoze enjoyed the kind of unlimited access journalists rarely get. But as a member of the military, and part of the Marine Corps’ combat camera field — which gathers footage for historical documentation — he was charged with portraying the war, and the Americans who fought it, in a certain light. It wasn’t until he’d been a civilian for a few years and enrolled in Columbia University’s film program in New York that he thought to look back at the hours of footage he’d collected.
In one moment, we see young grunts engaged in heavy combat, carrying wounded comrades to casevac choppers as rounds clap overhead. In the next, they smoke pot from an empty Pringles can that they’ve MacGyvered into a bong.
“When I got back, I didn’t really know what to do with it,” Lagoze, who left the service in 2013, told Task & Purpose. “I had this footage on my computer, sort of like a weird diary, with a lot of fucked up shit — dead civilians, wounded Marines — that never got released.”
He spent two years putting it all together, and the result is Combat Obscura. The hour-long documentary is raw, visceral and candid — offering a rare glimpse of what deployed life was actually like for the Marines and sailors of 1/6. It’s pieced together without a clear narrative arc or voice-over explanation that might tell viewers how to feel about what they’re seeing. It offers no judgments, raises many questions, and provides few outright answers.
“Who are these kids, where do they come from, what is their moral compass at times?” Lagoze asks. “I mean, there’s some rough boys in the Marine Corps, so being able to give people this insider’s perspective is really important to moving forward in understanding this conflict, and what these young kids are out there doing, and what that experience is like.”
Lagoze knows this unfiltered footage will anger the Corps, and possibly draw the ire of some of the Marines he served with, but he says that exposing the reality of that war is worth the risk. And the risks are substantial: The Navy is conducting an investigation into the documentary over concerns about criminal activity it depicts, and the Marine Corps is trying to determine whether or not the service has proprietary ownership of some of the footage used.
Combat Obscura isn’t about “painting these guys as heroes or victims” or “painting this war as an ultimately good thing in the long run,” Lagoze said, adding that it’s about “showing an honest to God depiction that doesn’t cater to either side of the political spectrum, and humanizing these guys and showing, ultimately, the futility of this whole experience.”


The result is one of most genuine looks at what the Forever War was like for those who waged it. Gunfights mingle with moments of extreme honesty, sadness, humor, confusion, rebellion, and boredom. In one moment, we see young grunts engaged in heavy combat, carrying wounded comrades to casevac choppers as rounds clap overhead. In the next, they smoke pot from an empty Pringles can that they’ve MacGyvered into a bong. Later, they pack hash into cigarettes while on patrol.
In other words, Combat Obscura is the flipside of the carefully vetted, promotional videos Lagoze was creating every day as part of the Marine Corps’ vast public relations operation.
The documentary was compiled from footage shot during a seven-month deployment to Kajaki, a swath of hamlets and farmland along the Helmand River where I, too, deployed in 2011 as a combat correspondent attached to 1/6, and sometimes worked alongside Lagoze, taking photos and writing news stories. The film includes clips from Justin Loya, another combat cameraman attached to the unit, as well as helmet-cam footage from infantrymen in the battalion.
Veterans: What do you think of the deployment life shown in Combat Obscura? Does it resonate with experiences of yours? Do you have a story to tell, or concerns to share? Give us your unvarnished thoughts in the comments below or by emailing us.
Lagoze’s warts-and-all approach evolved slowly. In early cuts of the film, he found himself leaving out some of the more troubling scenes. Eventually, he realized he was “self-censoring” the footage — keeping out “the stuff that I felt civilians wouldn’t understand.” Lagoze decided that what was really missing from our understanding of the war was precisely the material that viewers might find hard to watch.
Jacob Miles Lagoze after he was hit by grenade shrapnel in Kajaki, Afghanistan in 2011. Courtesy photo.
“When I finally said ‘fuck it’ and stopped trying to explain the shit and show it for what it is — how gritty and ugly it was — it brought a much more honest feeling about the whole thing, and my memories of it,” he said.
The documentary premiered March 1 at the True/False film festival in Columbia, Missouri. While the audience loved it, the Marine Corps did not.
****
Because the footage was shot while he was on active duty, Lagoze sought clearance last summer from the Pentagon’s Defense Office of Prepublication and Security Review to use it. The Defense Department’s media review process determined that no classified or privileged information was in the the footage they reviewed, according to a DoD statement Lagoze provided to T&P.
However, because of what’s shown in Combat Obscura — Marines smoking hash, for one —  and how the video was obtained, the query was passed to the Corps for a service-level review.
“It was pretty eye-opening and provoking, to say the least,” Lt. Col. Christian Devine, the director of the Marine Corps Entertainment Media Liaison Office, told Task & Purpose.
“We never had to answer this before. This is new territory.”
Devine explained that because of the “possible nature of some alleged criminal activity that’s captured on the segments that we saw,” the Marine Corps promptly flagged the footage for review by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which launched an investigation. On March 6, NCIS declined to provide Task & Purpose with any details on that investigation due to its ongoing nature.
Devine insists the film contains footage that was never approved for release by the service and that only a rough “technical cut of the documentary” was provided for review. The service has also raised the issue of ownership, arguing in a December statement Lagoze provided to T&P that that the footage “was filmed using Marine Corps equipment” and therefore might legally belong to the military.


“All of the video content that was captured in the video segments that we saw were obviously from different cameras, but a lot of the content that he captured — the direct action, the casevac, and the patrols — we believe those were captured on government equipment,” Devine told T&P. “And for him to now use that content and make his own documentary, that’s where we were kind of pulling layers of the onion back, in order to discover: Who actually owns that content?”
The service hasn’t answered the question definitively yet. Lagoze’s case, it turns out, is unprecedented.
“It brought up a lot of questions about the role of the individual service member capturing content and making their own documentary when they’re in a combat zone,” Devine explained. “We never had to answer this before. This is new territory.”
Lagoze insists he has every right to screen his film. “They’re not really saying I can’t show the movie,” Lagoze said. “Obviously they would prefer it not to be shown, but their only legal argument is that they have proprietary ownership because they say I shot it as a combat cameraman with Marine Corps equipment.” Lagoze declined to say how much of the documentary was filmed using service gear.
Whatever the Corps decides, Lagoze remains determined. “Documentaries don’t make any money in general… but it’s definitely worth the fight,” he said. “I did my due diligence. I sent it through the review process through the Pentagon, just to make sure there was nothing classified.”
While his decision to submit this for review has triggered the scrutiny his film and its subjects are now under, Lagoze remained hopeful that the Marine Corps would eventually see the film for what it is — an honest portrayal of deployment to a distant and austere patrol base. “It’s not some kind of anti-military thing,” he said.
****
When you’re a 20-something enlisted Marine at the bottom of the totem pole, waging a counterinsurgency campaign that’s a split between combat and nation-building in a Taliban haven, tidy narratives can be hard to come by. And the questions “What are we doing here? Why? And to what end?” don’t receive ready answers, if they’re even asked. The day-to-day largely equates to stepping off on patrol and thinking let’s see if we’ll get shot at today.


“I’m not trying to simplify or explain that situation,” Lagoze told T&P. “I really want to give it the complexity that it deserves, because war is obviously a lot of different things.”
In that spirit, Combat Obscura can seem confusing to many viewers. It’s meant to be.
Afghanistan “wasn’t simple or black and white,” Lagoze, who received the Purple Heart after he was wounded by a grenade during a firefight on that deployment, told Task & Purpose. “It was funny, it was strange, it was terrifying, and really, just to be able to show it in its full absurdity, I think, is the most powerful way to show it. The vast absurdity of the whole experience dwarfs any narrative you try to create around it.”
In an agonizing scene near the end of the documentary, a Marine is shot in the head and mortally wounded. When the movie abruptly cuts to a Navy corpsman’s ode to Afghanistan, sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells,” the viewer has no idea what to think — especially when you consider that Lagoze was ostensibly deployed as part of the service’s public relations apparatus, what he calls “this weird perpetuation of propaganda.”
“I’m not pissed off about it; that’s not why I’m making this movie,” he said. “But being a cameraman and being out there, you’ve got such incredible access, at the same time that you’re filming the complete polar opposite, which is the PR stuff. But you have all this other stuff that the guys want you to film.”
Lagoze decided that what was really missing from our understanding of the war was precisely the material that viewers might find hard to watch.
But combat cameramen ultimately work for the Corps, not themselves or their buddies downrange, Devine, the Marines’ entertainment liaison, told T&P. “We have an active duty, military member, a combat cameraman, who is ordered to go and support the unit in combat to document their actions in combat,” he said, “and at the same time, puts together his own personal documentary about the combat experience in that unit that is not in concert with our core values whatsoever, and what we expect our Marines to be doing in combat.”
One thing they don’t expect is for deployed Marines to be getting stoned in a warzone — an offense for which the penalties are severe. Loya, the other combat cameraman on that deployment whose footage is included in the film, was separated by the service in 2012 with a Bad Conduct Discharge after testing positive for cannabis while deployed to Kajaki.
Getting high downrange was “really just another kind of rush, I guess,” Loya said. “It was just such a crazy place to find yourself in life — on deployment, in a warzone — and so why not?”
Since Loya is now separated from the Marine Corps, he can’t be disciplined further. But neither, it turns out, can any of the other Marines smoking substances in Combat Obscura. “Unfortunately,” Devine told Task & Purpose, “we are past the statute of limitations for pursuing disciplinary or criminal action” — even though the Corps got NCIS involved.
That said, the service isn’t about to let the documentary pass without comment. “The criminal activity captured in the documentary is inexcusable and selfish, and endangered the security of the Marines in that unit,” Devine said, adding that “the depiction of any DOD personnel or equipment in the film should not be misconstrued as a service endorsement of Mr. Lagoze’s documentary.”
While the Marine Corps might not like it, Lagoze wants viewers to be able to make their own judgments about the young servicemen in his film, knowing full well that they don’t fit the tidy stereotypes of American combat troops.
“People seem to have a very formulaic idea of the uniform,” Lagoze said. “On the right, you’re a hero, a sacrificial lamb, you’re god’s gift to America, and on the left, it’s that you’re probably just naive and too dumb to know what you’re signing up for.”
Now that the documentary is done, Lagoze said he hopes “that people stop looking at us like we’re victims… or part of the greatest generation or something. It was a lot more muddled and complex than that.”
“I think it will be kind of hard for people to watch,” he said. “But sometimes that’s kind of what it has to be.”

James Clark is a staff writer for Task & Purpose. He is a former Marine combat correspondent and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. You can reach him via email at James@taskandpurpose.com. Follow James Clark on Twitter @JamesWClark
james@taskandpurpose.com

Trickle-down economics

Trickle-down economics is a joke told by Will Rodgers. It’s a fallacy and will never work. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickle-down_economics

OFF THE WIRE
Trickle-down economics, also referred to as trickle-down theory, is an economic theory that advocates reducing taxes on businesses and the wealthy in society as a means to stimulate business investment in the short term and benefit society at large in the long term. It is a form of laissez-faire capitalism in general and more specifically supply-side economics. Whereas general supply-side theory favors lowering taxes overall, trickle-down theory more specifically targets taxes on the upper end of the economic spectrum.[1][2]
The term "trickle-down" originated as a joke by humorist Will Rogers and today is often used to criticize economic policies which favor the wealthy or privileged while being framed as good for the average citizen. In recent history, it has been used by critics of supply-side economic policies, such as "Reaganomics". David Stockman, who as Ronald Reagan's budget director championed Reagan's tax cuts at first, later became critical of them and told journalist William Greider that "supply-side economics" is the trickle-down idea:[3][4]
It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,' so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory.
— David Stockman, The Atlantic
Political opponents of the Reagan administration soon seized on this language in an effort to brand the administration as caring only about the wealthy.[citation needed] Multiple studies have found a correlation between trickle-down economics and reduced growth.[5][6][7][8] Trickle-down economics has been widely criticised particularly by left-wing (socialist and social liberal) and moderate politicians and economists, but also some right-wing (conservatism) politicians.

Contents

History and usageEdit

William Jennings Bryan, who criticized trickle-down theory in his Cross of Gold speech in 1896
In 1896, Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan described the concept using the metaphor of a "leak" in his famous Cross of Gold speech:[9][10]
There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.[11]
Humorist Will Rogers jokingly advised in a column in 1932:[12]
This election was lost four and six years ago, not this year. They [Republicans] didn’t start thinking of the old common fellow till just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickles down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands. They saved the big banks, but the little ones went up the flue.
William J. Bennett wrote:
Humorist Will Rogers referred to the theory that cutting taxes for higher earners and businesses was a "trickle down" policy, a term that has stuck over the years.[13]
Presidential speech writer Samuel Rosenman wrote:
The philosophy that had prevailed in Washington since 1921, that the object of government was to provide prosperity for those who lived and worked at the top of the economic pyramid, in the belief that prosperity would trickle down to the bottom of the heap and benefit all.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary notes that the first known use of "trickle-down" as an adjective meaning "relating to or working on the principle of trickle-down theory" was in 1944[14] while the first known use of "trickle-down theory" was in 1954.[15]
After leaving the presidency, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson alleged "Republicans [...] simply don't know how to manage the economy. They're so busy operating the trickle-down theory, giving the richest corporations the biggest break, that the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket".[16]
Speaking on the Senate floor in 1992, Senator Hank Brown (R-Colorado) said: "Mr. President, the trickle-down theory attributed to the Republican Party has never been articulated by President Reagan and has never been articulated by President Bush and has never been advocated by either one of them. One might argue whether trickle down makes any sense or not. To attribute to people who have advocated the opposite in policies is not only inaccurate but poisons the debate on public issues".[17]
Economist Thomas Sowell has written extensively on trickle-down economics and loathes its characterization, citing that supply-side economics has never claimed to work in a "trickle-down" fashion. Rather, the economic theory of reducing marginal tax rates works in precisely the opposite direction: "Workers are always paid first and then profits flow upward later – if at all".[18]

CriticismsEdit

The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that "trickle-down economics" had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name "horse and sparrow theory", writing:
Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: 'If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.'
Galbraith claimed that the horse and sparrow theory was partly to blame for the Panic of 1896.[19] In the 1992 presidential election, independent candidate Ross Perot called trickle-down economics "political voodoo".[20] In the same election during a presidential town hall debate, Bill Clinton said:
What I want you to understand is the national debt is not the only cause of [declining economic conditions in America]. It is because America has not invested in its people. It is because we have not grown. It is because we've had 12 years of trickle-down economics. We've gone from first to twelfth in the world in wages. We've had four years where we’ve produced no private-sector jobs. Most people are working harder for less money than they were making 10 years ago.[21]
In New Zealand, Labour Party Member of Parliament Damien O'Connor has called trickle-down economics "the rich pissing on the poor" in the Labour Party campaign launch video for the 2011 general election.[22]
A 2012 study by the Tax Justice Network indicates that wealth of the super-rich does not trickle down to improve the economy, but it instead tends to be amassed and sheltered in tax havens with a negative effect on the tax bases of the home economy.[8]
In 2013, Pope Francis referred to trickle-down theories (plural) in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with the following statement (No. 54):
Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.[23]
A 2015 paper by researchers for the International Monetary Fund argues that there is no trickle-down effect as the rich get richer:
[I]f the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth.[5]
A 2015 report on policy by economist Pavlina R. Tcherneva described the failings of increasing economic gains of the rich without commensurate participation by the working and middle classes, referring to the problematic policies as "Reagan-style trickle-down economics," and "a trickle-down, financial-sector-driven policy regime".[6]
In the 2016 presidential candidates debate, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of supporting the "most extreme" version of trickle-down economics with his tax plan, calling it "trumped-up trickle-down" as a pun on his name.[24]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Amadeo, Kimberly (April 29, 2017). "Why Trickle Down Economic Works in Theory But Not in Fact". The Balance.
  • Crouse, Eric R. (2013). The Cross and Reaganomics: Conservative Christians Defending Ronald Reagan. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 31.
  • "The Education of David Stockman" by William Greider
  • William Greider. The Education of David Stockman. ISBN 0-525-48010-2
  • Era Dabla-Norris; Kalpana Kochhar; Nujin Suphaphiphat; Frantisek Ricka; Evridiki Tsounta (June 15, 2015). Causes and Consequences of Income Inequality : A Global Perspective. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved June 25, 2015.
  • Tcherneva, Pavlina (March 2015). "When a Rising Tide Sinks Most Boats: Trends in US Income Inequality" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute. Bard College. Retrieved November 25, 2016.
  • "In the Real World of Work and Wages, Trickle-Down Theories Don't Hold Up". The New York Times. April 12, 2007.
  • Heather Stewart (July 21, 2012). "Wealth doesn't trickle down – it just floods offshore, research reveals". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  • Wilson, Thomas Frederick. 1992. The Power "to Coin" Money: The Exercise of Monetary Powers by the Congress. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe. p. 172. ISBN 0873327942
  • Baker, Andrew, David Hudson, and Richard Woodward. 2005. Governing Financial Globalization: International Political Economy and Multi-Level Governance. London; New York: Routledge. p. 26. ISBN 9780203479278
  • Bryan's "Cross of Gold" Speech: Mesmerizing the Masses, historymatters.com
  • "Will Rogers on "trickle up" economics". WiredPen. 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  • Bennett, William J. (2007). America: The Last Best Hope. Harper Collins. p. 78. ISBN 1595551115.
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online edition) entry for "trickle-down." Accessed September 17, 2010.
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online edition) entry for "trickle-down theory." Accessed September 17, 2010.
  • Janos, Leo. "The Last Days of the President". theatlantic.com.
  • Hank Brown. Congressional Record, March 24, 1992.
  • "Tricle Down" Theory and "Tax Cuts for the Rich".
  • Galbraith, John Kenneth (February 4, 1982) "Recession Economics." New York Review of Books Volume 29, Number 1.
  • "The Living Room Candidate - Commercials - 1992 - Trickle Down". www.livingroomcandidate.org. Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  • "Bill Clinton Won 1992 Town Hall Debate By Engaging With One Voter". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  • Chapman, Kate (October 28, 2011). "Labour campaign video harks back to history". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  • "Evangelii Gaudium : Apostolic Exhortation on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World". vatican.va.
  • Further readingEdit