Posts by Rad Geek

We need government cops because private protection forces would be accountable to the powerful and well-connected instead of being accountable to the people.

A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict.

Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.

Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.

Wilson’s case was heard in state court, not federal, so the numbers aren’t directly comparable. Unlike in federal court, most states, including Missouri, allow prosecutors to bring charges via a preliminary hearing in front of a judge instead of through a grand jury indictment. That means many routine cases never go before a grand jury. Still, legal experts agree that, at any level, it is extremely rare for prosecutors to fail to win an indictment.

If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong, said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. It just doesn’t happen.

Cases involving police shootings, however, appear to be an exception. As my colleague Reuben Fischer-Baum has written, we don’t have good data on officer-involved killings. But newspaper accounts suggest, grand juries frequently decline to indict law-enforcement officials. A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings in Houston and other large cities in recent years. In Harris County, Texas, for example, grand juries haven’t indicted a Houston police officer since 2004; in Dallas, grand juries reviewed 81 shootings between 2008 and 2012 and returned just one indictment… .

— Ben Casselman, It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did
FiveThirtyEight (November 24, 2014).

Protesters in Seattle, Washington react to the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson (November 24, 2014)

I’m not invested in indicting Darren Wilson though I understand its (symbolic) import to many people, most especially Mike Brown’s family and friends. Vincent Warren of the Center on Constitutional Rights speaks for many, I think, when he writes:

Without accountability, there can be no rule of law. If Wilson is not indicted, or is under-indicted, the clear message is that it is open season on people of color, that St. Louis has declared that Darren Wilson is not a criminal but that the people who live under the thumbs of the Darren Wilsons of this country are. It would say to the cry that “Black lives matter” that, no, in fact, they do not.

I understand the sentiment that Warren expresses. Yet I don’t believe that an indictment of Wilson would be evidence that black lives do in fact matter to anyone other than black people. Nor do I think his indictment would mean that it was no longer open season on people of color in this country. If we are to take seriously that oppressive policing is not a problem of individual “bad apple” cops then it must follow that a singular indictment will have little to no impact on ending police violence. As I type, I can already feel the impatience and frustration of some who will read these words.

? It feels blasphemous to suggest that one is disinvested from the outcome of the grand jury deliberations. “Don’t you care about accountability for harm caused?” some will ask. “What about justice?” others will accuse. My response is always the same: I am not against indicting killer cops. I just know that indictments won’t and can’t end oppressive policing which is rooted in anti-blackness, social control and containment. Policing is derivative of a broader social justice. It’s impossible for non-oppressive policing to exist in a fundamentally oppressive and unjust society. . . .

The pattern after police killings is all too familiar. Person X is shot & killed. Person X is usually black (or less frequently brown). Community members (sometimes) take to the streets in protest. They are (sometimes) brutally suppressed. The press calls for investigations. Advocates call for reforms suggesting that the current practices and systems are ‘broken’ and/or unjust. There is a (racist) backlash by people who “support” the police. A very few people whisper that the essential nature of policing is oppressive and is not susceptible to any reforms, thus only abolition is realistic. These people are considered heretic by most. I’ve spent years participating in one way or another in this cycle. . . .

— Mariame Kaba, Whether Darren Wilson Is Indicted or Not, the Entire System Is Guilty
In These Times (November 17, 2014).

So, to those in Ferguson, there are ways of channeling your concerns constructively and there are ways of channeling your concerns destructively. . . . Those of you who are watching tonight understand that there’s never an excuse for violence . . . .

— President Barack Obama Remarks by the President After Announcement of the Decision by the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri
November 24, 2014

Barack Obama, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the largest and most heavily armed military force in the world, got onto the television to tell us that there’s never an excuse for violence just as heavily-armed police throughout Ferguson began launching teargas against everyone in sight on the streets. Of course, when he said violence he meant violence by protesters. It is eerily reminiscent of Lyndon Banes Johnson in July 1967, going on national television to announce that We will not endure violence. It matters not by whom it is done or under what slogan or banner, — saying this at the height of the Vietnam War, and on the specific occasion of his decision to send U.S. soldiers and tanks down Woodward Avenue.

The police are irresponsible and unaccountable. That is what makes them the police. Unless we hold them accountable. The law, for its part, will never curtail the racist violence of the law. Only social accountability for police officers, not legal processes, can do that.

The NAACP circulated this image on social media, reading “No more Michael Browns: I support an end to police brutality and militarization.”
You had me at I support an end to police.

Abolish the police.

Also.

Not One More. Not Even One.

In the wake of Obama’s big announcement on expanding deferred-action status, I am glad to see something, anything happening at last on immigration. And I am immensely happy for the families that have been able to sleep a little easier the last couple nights. But after millions deported, this so little too late, and it is not nearly enough.

No one should face deportation. Not the families and not the singles. Not the straight immigrants and not the queer immigrants. Not the hard workers and not the no-account. Not the good immigrants, not the bad immigrants.

It doesn’t matter when you got here and it doesn’t matter whether your parents brought you here or whether you came, on your own, for reasons of your own. It doesn’t matter whether you are pure as the driven snow and it doesn’t matter if you couldn’t pass a criminal background check. It doesn’t matter whether you are a gang member. That is absurd. Nobody should be threatened with being shot at the border, thrown out of their home, turned out of their job, cut off from their life, just because of where they were born.

That is ridiculous: of course people should be left alone, free, to live their own lives, without needing a permission slip from the United States government. No one should be threatened with deportation. Not just 400,000 a year (!), not even one more. No human being is illegal. Not one.

Here is a good analysis of who might be helped by expanding deferred-action, and who the president is still throwing under the bus, in the name of respectability politics:

Shared Article from Autostraddle

Obama Rolls Out Plan For Executive Action On Immigration; The St…

Is the President's plan enough? As long as there are people whose lives and families are in the US remain vulnerable to deportation, is not enough, bu…

Maddie @ autostraddle.com


Advocates for immigrant rights and immigration freedom must keep pushing. We can’t stop; we can’t even slow down. This is an important mile-marker but it is not even a victory so much as a very temporary, and very partial reprieve. The goal is a world without borders, without barriers, without checkpoints or papers, without detention or deportation or citizen-privilege. A world where everyone who moves is an undocumented immigrant, because happily there are no border guards left to demand anyone’s documents, and no immigration enforcers left to police people’s residency or citizenship status.

End international apartheid, now and forever.

Also.

We don’t need no water, let the motherfucker burn

Shared Article from studentsforliberty.org

I’m Just Asking Y’all to Burn It Down

In a recent Students For Liberty blog post, my fellow campus coordinator and close friend, Wade Craig, wrote of how the torch in SFL’s logo represen…

Kelly Kidwell @ studentsforliberty.org


Fire is bright and full of power. Fire is ungovernable and unafraid, passionate and even angry. Perhaps most importantly, fire has no masters. To become truly free, we lovers of liberty need to push for radical, meaningful change. We must channel our inner fire to burn down that which keeps us from living as freely as possible.

Burning it down means freeing oneself from the chains of the State and the culture that allows it to thrive. It means questioning everything, not accepting things as they are, but trying to discover what they should be. Burning it down means challenging oppression, rejecting the idea that people need masters, and taking control of your own life. It means loving fiercely, living virtuously, and speaking out against injustice. Burning it down means taking the rage that you have at those that steal, murder, and enslave without recourse, and channeling that rage into something constructive. It means innovation, learning, and even a little dancing. Burning it down means spreading liberty like wildfire.

Forest fire, though it may seem vicious, is an important ecological process. It destroys the old and the outdated, and makes room for succession forests, which become vibrant ecosystems, full of new life. So too must we destroy the State, eradicate oppression, and make way for complete liberation. The time has come for liberty-lovers to shift their focus from policy-making, getting out the vote, and cautiously stepping towards small government. Let’s burn it down already!

— Kelly Kidwell, I’m Just Asking Y’all to Burn It Down
Students for Liberty Blog (17 November 2014)

National borders are a military, not a natural, phenomenon

National borders are a military phenomenon, not a natural or a social or a cultural one — the product, and also the source, of conquest and war. The nations they circumscribe are political lies, and the fortified frontiers they impose are bloody scars cut across the face of the earth.

Abolish borders. Destroy all nations.

Shared Article from loiter.co

Watch as 1000 years of European borders change

loiter.co


man 5 reformism

Liberals always think that the process of getting their favorite policy enacted is just like this, simple:

$ patch < reform.diff

But that is never how it works. Your reform is not written up in the right format. This will just get you an error message. Actually, what you’re doing is always, necessarily, going to be this:

$ cat reform.txt | nationalism | patriarchy | gender‑binary | racial‑fear | paternalism | party‑politics | plutocratic‑interest | entrenched‑bureaucracy | regulatory‑capture | patch

But what you get at the end of all those filters is always something quite different from what you were hoping for. Or if it was just what you were hoping for, your hopes and dreams are kind of terrible. In either case, it’s questionable whether this actually counts as the more practical approach to social and political change. In either case, you should broaden your horizons. In Anarchy, there is another way.

SEE ALSO

Every border-crossing ought to be reduced to so much hipster ruin porn.

Here’s some things as they can and ought to be.

Shared Article from CityLab

Photographing Europe's Abandoned Border Crossings

After nearly 20 years of passport-free travel in parts of Western and Central Europe, many former checkpoints resemble ghost towns.

citylab.com


Austria/Hungary Nickelsdorf-Hegyeshalom border, Austria/Hungary French/Spanish border crossing Empty Czech/Austrian border post Hungarian border crossing Czech/ Austrian border

People, and liberty, are more important than any nation. We don’t need any military frontiers and we don’t need any guard-posts. Every border ought to be as easy to cross as the street in front of your house or the highway from Auburn to Opelika. Abandon all the checkpoints. Open all the borders. End international apartheid, now and forever.

No Human Being

Actions may be legal, or they may be illegal. Whether they are moral or not is a totally separate question. (When the law is wrong, lawbreaking is the right thing to do.) But while actions may be illegal, people are not. A person’s existence and life and worth aren’t reducible to the papers that they carry or the legal or political status that they have. If you’re talking about people that way, you ought to consider talking about them a different way. Referring to women or men or children or human beings by their legal status alone is dehumanizing and insulting to them; it is also coarsening and brutalizing for the person doing the referring. It encourages the worst in those who do it, and it justifies inhuman reactions toward those that it is done to. No human being is “illegal.”

See also.

Partial victory with SGA unisex restroom resolution

Shared Article from theplainsman.com

SGA passes unisex restroom bill - A week after the Student Gover…

A week after the Student Government Association senate tabled a bill that favored the implementation of unisex restrooms in future buildings on campus…

theplainsman.com


Auburn folks: A follow-up to last week’s article about the unisex restroom bill at Auburn’s SGA: there’s been a partial victory resolution. The important part, I suppose, and the good part, is that the resolution passed and the University will make efforts to improve access to unisex restrooms across campus. The downside is that for reasons best known to them, a number of SGA senators decided to remove references to queer and trans members of the Auburn community from the resolution before they voted for it. But I am glad to see that the bill has been passed.

A week after the Student Government Association senate tabled a bill that favored the implementation of unisex restrooms in future buildings on campus, the senate revisited the matter Monday, Nov. 10 at its weekly meeting.

The bill passed.

India Napier, senator for the College of Veterinary Medicine, who sponsored the bill, cited unisex bathrooms could benefit a variety of people including families and transgender people in last week’s Nov. 3 meeting.

At this senate meeting, a number of students and faculty showed up to voice their concerns and needs for unisex restrooms.

“This bill will not affect a majority of the student body,” said Elizabeth Beasley, sophomore in forestry. “If anything, for the people it would affect, it is probably very important to actually have these be implemented across campus. Most of the unisex restrooms are not available to the students or if they are, they are extremely out of the way.”

The Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Committee’s bill will make it University protocol to implement unisex restrooms in newly constructed buildings across the campus.

. . .

Although Napier said she is happy the bill finally passed, she expressed concern about her fellow SGA senators after they voted to remove Max Zinner, political director of Spectrum, Auburn’s LGBT community, from the bill.

“I am so happy that it passed and that’s all that matters, but I am disappointed with the modifications that were made,” Napier said. “It was clear that the modifications, such as the lack of the gender identity line and the removal of the individual Max Zinner, really indicates that there is a discomfort in regard to gender identity with senators in SGA and that’s something that they’re going to have to deal with, not me.”

— Ben Ruffin, SGA passes unisex restroom bill
The Auburn Plainsman 10 November 2014.

Antifederal Security

Shared Article from Business Insider

FBI Arrests Former SpaceX Employee, Alleging He Ran The 'Deep We…

The site was the deeb web's biggest drug marketplace.

James Cook @ businessinsider.com


O.K., so:

  1. Frak, frak, frak. This is a shame. It’s also a sign of some things we need to get seriously careful about.

  2. We need to talk about new security models for online black markets.

If the Feebs’ bill of particulars is accurate, then it’d seem that there were a lot of unforced errors here. That said, in this case it sounds like a lot of the case was allegedly built either by being in from the start and placing undercovers, or else by starting out with a series of controlled buys and then using their position over time to move on to actually infiltrating the support staff. From the looks of things their campaigns over the last year or so have been pretty aggressive. In either case, this sounds like a good reason to think that part of the security model needs to be working on ways of doing business in other ways — perhaps, in particular, through smaller federated sites and peer-to-peer relationships rather than through single clearing-house servers, — because Tor and Bitcoin at this point are not nearly enough to cope with the threat model.

Auburn: SGA resolution for better access to unisex restrooms

Auburn folks: Spectrum at Auburn sent out this e-mail asking for folks to take a second to write their SGA Senators to vote in favor of an upcoming resolution to improve access to unisex bathrooms on campus for those who need them. A copy of E-mail follows.

Hi everyone,

In case you haven’t heard yet there is currently a resolution making it’s way through the SGA senate regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This is something that Spectrum has been working on for a long time and I probably don’t need to tell you why this would be a good thing for Auburn. If you are a student please contact your senators to express support for the resolution. Contact information for all of the senators can be found here:

http://wp.auburn.edu/sga/branches/senate/

If you have nothing to do on Monday [10 November] at 7:30, you are also encouraged to come to the SGA senate meeting itself and give your own reasons for supporting this resolution during the open floor time.

Here is a letter template that you can use all you need to do is add your name and college. Of course you are free to edit it however you like:


Dear Senators,

My name is (insert name here) and I am a student in (insert college here). I am contacting you to express my support for the resolution regarding the implementation of unisex restrooms. This would help a wide variety of people in our community. This could be anyone from a student in a wheelchair that needs assistance from someone that may not be the same gender as they are to a transgender student who is concerned about being harassed simply for using the restroom. As the Auburn family we must strive to be inclusive. It is also important to note that the way that this resolution is written there is no cost to the student body.

Also, this resolution requests that the interactive campus map be updated with regards to unisex restrooms. Currently the map has a number of inaccuracies and misrepresents the actual number and location of unisex restrooms on campus. I believe this has been brought up with the administration but still nothing has been done. A resolution from the SGA could be the push that is necessary for the map to be updated.

For these reasons, I ask you to vote in favor of the resolution on Monday. Thank you for your time.

In related news, I just sent out more e-mails with the signature “War Eagle” in the last 5 minutes than I have done in the previous 33 years of my life.