Friday, April 24, 2015

Inside The Police State

Police officer Adrian Schoolcraft secretly recorded his supervisors telling officers to manipulate crime statistics and make illegal arrests from 2008 to 2009. The Village Voice series that broke Schoolcraft's story was written by Graham Rayman. Ira Glass narrates the story.

Police Officer Adrian Schoolcraft claims the NYPD cast him as a lunatic because he blew the whistle on supervisors who fudged crime stats and badgered victims trying to report felonies.
"Police Officer Schoolcraft, who worked in the relatively high-crime 81st precinct in Brooklyn, was not a happy camper. Some might call him a malcontent.

In 2009, he began to secretly tape-record precinct roll calls at which commanding officers ordered cops like himself to refuse to take robbery victims’ crime complaints. Cops were also ordered to downgrade felonies — which are serious crimes — to less serious misdemeanors so that the precinct would appear safer than it actually was.

Schoolcraft’s secret tape recordings might well have been ignored, had not the police department then done something shocking.

On Oct. 31, 2009, Schoolcraft left his tour early, saying he felt sick, and returned to his apartment in Queens. A few hours later, a police posse, led by Brooklyn Deputy Chief Michael Marino, entered his apartment and, saying he needed medical help, forcibly brought him to Jamaica Hospital.

Despite his protests, the hospital admitted him and held him for six days. For part of that time, he was kept in its psychiatric ward. ... After six days, Schoolcraft was released from the hospital. He and his father then left the city for upstate Johnstown, where Larry Schoolcraft had grown up.

Meanwhile, Larry Schoolcraft alerted the media to what the department had done to his son.

The Schoolcrafts then hired an attorney, who sued the NYPD in federal court for $50 million, claiming that Adrian’s forced hospitalization was retaliation for his having blown the whistle on his precinct commanders.

Amidst the media’s hue and cry, the department was forced to address Schoolcraft’s allegations about the 81st precinct.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced an internal investigation, which determined that Schoolcraft’s precinct commanders had indeed downgraded crimes. The precinct’s top commanders were all transferred and disciplined. ... This was not merely a crime-reporting problem. Misclassifying crimes has consequences. In Upper Manhattan, as Rayman reported for the Village Voice and notes in his book, police downgraded an attempted rape to “criminal trespassing,” a misdemeanor." ~ Leonard Levitt

For more information read "The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct" by Granham Rayman in The Village Voice.
Source: This American Life: 414: Right to Remain Silent

NSA Threatens National Security

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist. Bruce discusses how the NSA threatens national security by breaking the “trust of the internet” and how to push back against the NSA using technical and legal means. Bruce is interviewed by Scott Horton.
Source: The Scott Horton Show: Bruce Schneier

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Music includes Gil Scott-Heron - Did You Hear What They Said?, Capitol Steps - Who'll Drop a Bomb in Ramadan?, David Rovics - Occupy Wall Street, Capitol Steps - California Gay Men, Lost At Last - Shalom Asalaam, Phil Ochs - I Ain't Marching Anymore, Tears For Fears - Everybody Wants To Rule The World, The Bergerfolk - Masters of War, The dB's - Revolution of the Mind, The Beatles - The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, The Levins - World of Peace, Odetta - Long Time Gone, Joan Baez - Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Marius Constant / Bernard Herrmann - The Twilight Zone

Friday, April 17, 2015

Should The U.N. Admit Palestine As A Full Member State?

Israeli military officials say 20 Palestinians were evicted early on Saturday after the
activists tried to set up a cluster of tents near the village of Al-Tiwaneh,
south of the city of al-Khalil (Hebron), 2013.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has a long history. On November 29, 2012, the General Assembly adopted resolution 67/19 entitled “Status of Palestine in the United Nations” with 138 votes in favor, 9 against and 41 abstentions. The resolution accorded to Palestine non-Member observer State status in the United Nations, marking the first time that the General Assembly considered Palestine to be a State.

After 20 years of failed talks with Israel, can the international community be the only path left to a two-state solution, or have the Palestinians set the peace process back by bypassing negotiations?

For admitting Palestine: Mustafa Barghouthi, former Palestinian National Authority Presidential Candidate and Daniel Levy, former Israeli Government Negotiator & Senior Fellow, New America Foundation

Against admitting Palestine: Dore Gold, former Israeli U.N. Ambassador & Advisor to PM Netanyahu and Aaron David Miller, former U.S. Mideast Negotiator, Advised Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State
Source: intelligence2: The U.N. Should Admit Palestine As A Full Member State

Fighting The Tar Sands Pipeline

Earyn Wheatley (@earyn604) has been involved in the resistance to Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline at #BurnabyMountain. Burnaby Mountain is about 11 miles east of Vancouver, Canada. Earyn talks about the events, indigenous resistance and the many reasons people oppose the project. Earyn was interviewed by Dan Kellar.
Source: Fighting The Tar Sands Pipeline Through Burnaby Mountain

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Music includes Chumbawamba - Jacobs Ladder, Ryan Harvey - 50 Billion More, David Rovics - The War Is Over, Ry Cooder - No Banker Left Behind, Mike Brill - Give Ireland Back To The Irish, David Rovics - Waiting For The Fall, Roy Zimmerman - Vote Republican 2.0, Neil Young - Lets Impeach The President, The Temptations - Ball Of Confusion (That's What The World Is Today), Fabian - Let The Children Sing, Tom Lehrer - Who's Next, Groovy Judy - Peace And Love, The Bobs - Helmet, The Beatles - All You Need Is Love, Cal Tjader - Mambo Macumba, Coleman Hawkins - Stuffy

Friday, April 10, 2015

Who Scares Us And Why

Almost all Americans fall victim to the hype, intensity, and propaganda, that accompanies political panics. Mark Stein examines American political panics over witches, Indians, Masons, Chinese, Socialists, Latinos, Muslims, gay marriage and more. Mark closely examines just what it is that causes us as a country to overreact in the face of widespread and potentially profound changes.

Mark also wrote the screenplay for the film, Housesitter, starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, and Movies-of-the-Week for CBS and NBC, starring Katey Sagal, John Ritter, Teri Garr, and Robert Urich. Mark Stein's plays have been produced off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and at numerous regional theatres including South Coast Repertory, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Manitoba Theatre Centre, L.A.'s Fountain Theatre and the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura, CA. Mark lives in Washington, D.C., where he has taught at Catholic University and American University.
Source: C-Span: Book Discussion on American Panic

Ronald Wright
Surviving Progress

Ronald Wright joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss what can be done to respond to the pressures of progress.

"Progress can do us in, or so argues British historian Wright as he embarks on a lively if meandering journey through the development and demise of ancient civilizations to determine whether our current one is doomed. By reading the "black boxes" left by departed societies (like those of the Easter Islanders, the Sumerians and the Mayans), we can learn to avoid the mistakes that led to their downfall, he suggests. Many of those errors revolve around the plundering of natural resources and the development of social hierarchies that allow elite groups to indulge in over-consumption at the expense of the masses. 

Other errors involve "progress traps," technologies or advances that, like weapons, are initially useful but become dangerous to civilization once fully developed, especially if moral and technical progress diverge. The analogy of civilization as a kind a "pyramid scheme," which, like the sales scheme, thrives only if it grows, is one of several imaginative mnemonic devices Wright uses to round out his argument. 

Today's culprit, he declares, is "market extremism," which has "cross-bred with evangelical messianism to fight intelligent policy on metaphysical grounds." This laissez-faire capitalism, he reasons, will spell the end of the planet, and our civilization, if it is not controlled. 

Wright crafts an entertaining tale of eras gone by, incorporating relevant facts on subjects as diverse as the lifestyles of early hominids and recent patterns of climate change, and demonstrating the holistic importance of natural resources to a society. And if he never specifies exactly what the proper choices for modern civilization are, or how they will bring deliverance from the coming storm, his book will nonetheless convince readers that we are at a crossroads where the right choices can still be made." ~ Publishers Weekly
Source: YouTube: Ronald Wright: Proving Nature Wrong

Download or Play American Panic Part 1
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Download or Play Surviving Progress Part 1
Download or Play Surviving Progress Part 2

Music includes XTC - Melt The Guns, Metric - Succexy, Wildman - Like A Wave, Capitol Steps - It Wasn't Bill, Izzy Smart - Anti-Austerity Protest Song, Capitol Steps - But We Only Have McCain, Crosby / Stills / Nash & Young - Ohio, Terry Gangstad - National Institute of the Blonde, Steve Angrisano - Go Make a Difference, The Specials - Nelson Mandela, Donovan - Universal Soldier, Odetta - Don't Think Twice It's Alright, Gil Scott-Heron - Lady Day and John Coltrane, Hair - Good Morning Starshine, Monty Python - Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, Philip Glass - Powaqqatsi, The Classical Duo - Vivaldi Guitar, Titanic Soundtrack - Nearer My God To Thee

Friday, April 3, 2015

Should Drugs Be Legalized?

Karen Goldstein attends a rally for Florida Attorney General candidate,
Jim Lewis, who is running on a platform of legalizing marijuana on October 12, 2010
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Lewis believes that legalizing the drug will save the state
hundreds of millions of dollars that can be redirected for spending on education,
environment, and other necessary items. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Back in 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs." With $2.5 trillion dollars spent, drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago. Thousands of offenders are successfully diverted to treatment instead of jail. But 22 million Americans still use illegal drugs. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world much of it for drugs.

A US-trained 'jungle commando' disembarks from a Blackhawk helicopter,
while a crop-spraying plane flies past, during an anti-drug operation
in an illegal coca plantation, in 2000, under the US-backed, billion-dollar
Plan Colombia. Photograph: Reuters/Eliana Aponte Eliana Aponte/Reuters
"The war on drugs has been a war on communities of color. The racial disparities are staggering: despite the fact that whites engage in drug offenses at a higher rate than African-Americans, African-Americans are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate that is 10 times greater than that of whites." ~ American Civil Liberties Union

For legalizing drugs: Paul Butler, who is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and Nick Gillespie, who is Editor in Chief of and

Against legalizing drugs: Asa Hutchinson, who is a former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Theodore Dalrymple, who is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Source: intelligence2 Debates: Legalize Drugs

Privacy on the Internet

What can Internet surveillance learn about you? Steve Henn invited a couple computer guys to bug his Internet connection for a week. They discovered what a stranger can learn about you from smart phones and free WiFi.
Source: planet money: Episode 548: Project Eavesdrop

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Music includes Elvis Costello - Tramp the Dirt Down, Michael Franti & Spearhead - Bomb the World, Capitol Steps - Tribute to Hillary, K'naan - Hobaalayow (Hees Soomaali), Chumbawamba - Words Can Save Us, Capitol Steps - Don't Go Fakin' You're Smart, Earth Mama - We Are One, Capitol Steps - Help Me Fake it to the Right, Ryan Harvey - Hudson Valley Rent Strike, David Rovics - Ballad Of A Cluster Bomb, U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday, David Rovics - Evening News, Neil Young - After The Garden, Eels - Hey Man (Now You're Really Living), Eric Clapton - Classical Guitar

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lies and World War

Facts are essential in a democracy. A government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” demands an informed citizenry. Unfortunately, for citizens in the United States and throughout the world, distinguishing between fact and fiction has always been a formidable challenge, often with life-and-death consequences. Those in power habitually seek to control the flow of information, corrupting its content and using lies, distortions, or simple suppression to cover their crimes.

Charles Lewis, a former 60 Minutes producer who founded The Center for Public Integrity, is a MacArthur Fellow and the founding executive editor of the new Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. Charles Lewis is interviewed by David Swanson.
Source: Talk Nation Radio: Charles Lewis on 935 Lies and Media Decline

David Letterman talks to Tim DeChristopher

Tim DeChristopher is an American climate activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising. In December 2008, he protested a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents and taken into custody, eventually serving 21 months in prison.
Source: YouTube: David Letterman - Environmental Activist, Tim DeChristopher

Arun Gandhi
Gandhi's Grandson Warns of World War
Arun Gandhi discusses his new children's book about his grandfather and applies its lessons to the world. Arun warns that we are currently on a path towards a world war. Arun Gandhi is interviewed by David Swanson.
Source: Talk Nation Radio: Gandhi's Grandson Warns of World War III

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Music includes U2 - Peace On Earth, War Warning from Madison, David Rovics - Whoever Wins In November, A Lament on the Calgary Parking Authority - Runs, Capitol Steps - Put Your Cans in the Hand, One World - Freedom for Palestine, Capitol Steps - The Law Office of Zacarias Moussaoui, Don't Sign Up For War, Jackson Browne - The Drums of War, Capitol Steps - Strangers on Your Flight, The Decemberists - 16 Military Wives, John Fogerty - Deja Vu (All Over Again), The Gov - Crystal Blue Persuasion, Imperial Marimba Band - 12th St Rag 1921, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass - Casiino Royale

Friday, March 20, 2015

Was Bush 43 The Worst President Of The Last 50 Years?

Not everyone appreciates George W. Bush's sense of humor as seen in the following quotes.

"You know, I could run for governor and all this but I’m basically a media creation. I’ve never really done anything. I’ve worked for my dad. I worked in the oil industry. But that’s not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office." ~ George W. Bush. In an interview with the Midland Reporter Telegram on July 4, 1989, quoted in Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential (John Wiley and Sons, 2003) by James Moore and Wayne Slater, p. 161.

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." ~ George W. Bush, speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin, (October 18, 2000)

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." ~ George W. Bush, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C. (June 18, 2002).

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." ~ George W. Bush, signing ceremony for a $417bn defense spending bill, 5 August 2004

"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table. (Laughter)" ~ George W. Bush, meeting with E.U. leaders, February 22, 2005

For the motion: Simon Jenkins, journalist and author and Jacob Weisberg, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief of The Slate Group "I had great respect for Bush when he came to power. I liked his courtesy, I liked his moderation, and I liked his concept of humility in America's power projection. I think, tragically, after 9/11, he allowed the politics of fear to get the better of him; he persuaded my prime minister, Tony Blair, to let the politics of fear aid his re-election campaign as well. The politics of fear is the most corrosive of all forms of politics in a democracy." ~ British journalist Simon Jenkins, a columnist for the Guardian and the Sunday Times

"Bush was never up to the job of being president, and it's not a matter of lacking in intelligence; it's a matter of lacking character. Bush wasn't interested enough in policy; he couldn't tolerate challenge or dissent or disagreement; he couldn't open his mind long enough to consider alternatives or admit the possibility that he might sometimes be wrong. He let his righteousness and his arrogance and his anger get the better of him. And in the end, I think what's so damning about Bush and what does make him the worst president of the last 50 years is that these were things within his control." ~ Jacob Weisberg, chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group

Against the motion: William Kristol, Editor of the Weekly Standard and Karl Rove, Fox News Contributor "In the real world, the choices are not, you know, perfection, and ... in the real world, he's made a lot of tough decisions, most of them correct. ... There's no reason not to be critical of Bush, not to disagree with Bush, not to prefer Obama, not to have voted for Gore and Kerry — most people in New York, obviously, have all those views. But to think that he's the worst president in 50 years is just silly." ~ William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and columnist for The New York Times

"I will defend the president, and I will defend the record of the last eight years. Not always successful, but enormously successful over the long term and the long sweep of history." ~ Karl Rove, chief architect of Bush's 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, and Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff from 2001-07

Moderator: John Donvan, author and correspondent for ABC News. This debate was conducted on December 2, 2008.

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Music includes Overstatists - Hello NSA, Capitol Steps - Electile Dysfunction, Judgement At Nuremberg (Movie) - Dr. Janning Explains His Actions, Dave Lippman - Evil Of Access, Peacesong - Baghdad Road, Capitol Steps - School Life Rhapsody, Morgan Heritage - Propaganda, The Oxygen Ponies- The War is Over, Aaron Copland - Hoe-down, Andres Segovia - Tarrega

Friday, March 13, 2015

The End of American Exceptionalism

Andrew Bacevich
"The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. All three share this characteristic: They are of our own making. ... Yet, as events have made plain, the United States is ill prepared to wage a global war of no exits and no deadlines. The sole superpower lacks the resources — economic, political, and military — to support a large-scale, protracted conflict without, at the very least, inflicting severe economic and political damage on itself. American power has limits and is inadequate to the ambitions to which hubris and sanctimony have given rise." ~ Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich is perhaps the only writer to regularly contribute to both the Nation and Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative. Andrew examines the United States’ daunting problem of overexpansion and overconsumption and argues for a return to pragmatism before the damage from such excessiveness becomes irreparable. Andrew calls for respect for power and its limits and an aversion to claims of exceptionalism and skepticism of easy solutions, especially those involving force and a conviction that Americans must live within their means.
Source: Free Library of Philadephia: Andrew Bacevich | The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism

The Collapse of Western Civilization

Science historian Naomi Oreskes joins Steve Curwood to discuss how democracy, the free market and science are all failing humanity and the planet.
Source: living on earth: The Collapse of Western Civilization

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Download or Play Collapse of Western Civilization

Music includes Eric Colville - The End of War, Chicco - Papa Stop the War, James McMurtry - Cheney's Toy, Raffoul - Scars Of Gaza, Capitol Steps - Health Care Trial Balloon, Saul Williams - Pledge Of Resistance, Capitol Steps - Cows Gone Mad, Poison - Something To Believe In, Capitol Steps - Your Statue Needs A Tu-Tu, Anwar al-Sadat, Compassionate Conservatives - Oval Badge Of Ignorance, Creedence Clearwater Revival - Up Around The Bend, David Rovics - Everything Looks The Same, Cisco Houston - Beans Bacon Gravy, Charlie Parker - Hot House

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