- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“There’s a reason why you separate military and police. One fights the enemy of the State. The other serves and protects the People. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the State tend t become the People.” ~ Commander Adama, “Battlestar Galactica” (“WATER”, Season 1 episode 2, at the 28 minute mark.)Pledge to support KPFT by Text: Listeners can now text “GIVE” to 713-526-5738 and they’ll receive a text message back with a link to KPFT’s donation page, with which they can make their pledge on-line at their leisure. MAIN TOPICS: ELECTION DAY TOMORROW, July 14, 2020. IRS July 15 [WEDNESDAY!], Long-Planned and Bigger Than Thought: Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Program, What the police really believe, Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal, DMVs Are Selling Your Data to Private Investigators, MORE. _________________________________________________________________ Make sure you are registered to vote! (Voting and election info are items 1 thru 6. Show information begins after Item 4.) This program was recorded on SUNDAY, JULY 12. If you call in, you will NOT be able to get on the air, so please do not call the call-the show. We love our callers, but unfortunately live call-in is one of the casualties of COVID-19.
- EARLY VOTING HAS ENDED. YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR MAIL-IN BALLOT AND HAVE HOPEFULLY SENT IT IN. BALLOTS MUST BE POSTMARKED BY ELECTION DAY, TOMORROW, July 14, 2020. This election is a runoff, and includes the Democrat who will run for US Senator against John Cornyn. (SAMPLE BALLOT at HarrisVotes.com). CHRIS HOLLINS, HARRIS COUNTY CLERK
- VOTING FAQ
- Make sure you are registered to vote!
- For a personalized, nonpartisan voter guide visit VOTE411.ORG (DO NOT!! go to 411Vote!!)
- If you are denied your right to vote any place at any time at any polling place for any reason, ask for (or demand) a provisional ballot rather than lose your vote.
- HarrisVotes.com (Election Information Line (713) 755-6965), Harris County Clerk
- VOTETEXAS.GOV – Texas Voter Information
- HARRISVOTES.COM – Countywide Voting Center
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- Fill out a declaration at the polls describing a reasonable impediment to obtaining it, and show a copy or original of one of the following supporting forms of ID:
- A government document that shows your name and an address, including your voter registration certificateCurrent utility billBank statement
- Current utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- A certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes your identity (which may include a foreign birth document)
- HARRIS CTY – IDENTIFICATION REQUIRED FOR VOTING: Do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these IDs?
- You may vote early by-mail if
- You are registered to vote and meet one of the following criteria:
- Away from the county of residence on Election Day and during the early voting period;
- Sick or disabled;
- 65 years of age or older on Election Day; or
- Confined in jail, but eligible to vote.
- Make sure you are registered:
- Ann Harris Bennett, Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar
- CHECK REGISTRATION STATUS HERE
- ii) Outside Texas, try Vote.org.
- IRS July 15 [WEDNESDAY!] Tax Deadline For Expats, Trusts, Estates And Corporations, By Ashlea Ebeling, Senior Contributor | FORBES.COM| Apr 9, 2020, 06:54pm EDT
- Long-Planned and Bigger Than Thought: Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Program – Some officials say that a joint American-Israeli strategy is evolving — some might argue regressing — to a series of short-of-war clandestine strikes. By David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Ronen Bergman | NYTIMES.COM | July 10, 2020
- As Iran’s center for advanced nuclear centrifuges lies in charred ruins after an explosion, apparently engineered by Israel, the long-simmering conflict between the United States and Tehran appears to be escalating into a potentially dangerous phase likely to play out during the American presidential election campaign. …
- Two intelligence officials, updated with the damage assessment for the Natanz site recently compiled by the United States and Israel, said it could take the Iranians up to two years to return their nuclear program to the place it was just before the explosion. …
- Although Iran has said little of substance about the explosions, Western officials anticipate some type of retaliation, perhaps against American or allied forces in Iraq, perhaps a renewal of cyberattacks. In the past, those have been directed against American financial institutions, a major Las Vegas casino and a dam in the New York suburbs or, more recently, the water supply system in Israel, which its government considers “critical infrastructure.” …
- Some officials said that a joint American-Israeli strategy was evolving — some might argue regressing — to a series of short-of-war clandestine strikes, aimed at taking out the most prominent generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and setting back Iran’s nuclear facilities.
- The closest the administration has come to describing its strategy of more aggressive pushback came in comments last month from Brian H. Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran. “We have seen historically,” he concluded, “that timidity and weakness invites more Iranian aggression.” …
- The emerging approach is risky, analysts warn, one that over the long term may largely serve to drive Iran’s nuclear program further underground, and thus make it harder to detect.
- But in the short term, American and Israeli officials are betting that Iran will limit its retaliation, as it did after an American drone in January killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, one of Iran’s most important commanders.
- [S]ome American and Israeli officials, and international security analysts, say that Iran may believe that President Trump will lose the November election and that his presumptive Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will want to resurrect some form of the negotiated settlement that the Obama administration reached with Tehran five years ago next week. …
- Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been wary of a sharp military escalation, warning it could further destabilize the Middle East when Mr. Trump has said he hopes to reduce the number of American troops in the region.
- Pentagon officials nervously cited at least two potential flash points that could drag American forces into a military clash with Iran or Iranian-backed proxies in the Persian Gulf region. …
- What the police really believe – Inside the distinctive, largely unknown ideology of American policing — and how it justifies racist violence. By Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) firstname.lastname@example.org | VOX.COM | Jul 7, 2020, 8:10am EDT
- MIKE: I NEED TO SAY BEFORE I BEGIN TO READ THIS ARTICLE THAT I HAVE HEAVILY EXCERPTED IT. The author has written it in first person, which I changed. The article tried to be more nuanced, which I could not do in the time I have. As always, I encourage you to go to my blog post and read the complete article by clicking the link.
- Arthur Rizer is a former police officer and 21-year veteran of the US Army, where he served as a military policeman. Today, he heads the criminal justice program at the R Street Institute, a center-right think tank in DC. And he wants you to know that American policing is even more broken than you think.
- “That whole thing about the bad apple? I hate when people say that,” Rizer [says]. “The bad apple rots the barrel. And until we do something about the rotten barrel, it doesn’t matter how many good f***ing apples you put in.”
- To illustrate the problem, Rizer tells a story about a time he observed a patrol by some officers in Montgomery, Alabama. They were called in to deal with a woman they knew had mental illness; she was flailing around and had cut someone with a broken plant pick. To subdue her, one of the officers body-slammed her against a door. Hard.
- Rizer recalls that Montgomery officers were nervous about being watched during such a violent arrest — until they found out he had once been a cop. They didn’t actually have any problem with what one of them had just done to the woman; in fact, they started laughing about it.
- “It’s one thing to use force and violence to affect an arrest. It’s another thing to find it funny,” he tells me. “It’s just pervasive throughout policing. When I was a police officer and doing these kind of ride-alongs [as a researcher],you see the underbelly of it. And it’s … gross.” …
- Something about the way police relate to the communities they’re tasked with protecting has gone wrong. Officers aren’t just regularly treating people badly; a deep dive into the motivations and beliefs of police reveals that too many believe they are justified in doing so. …
- Police officers across America have adopted a set of beliefs about their work and its role in our society. The tenets of police ideology are not codified or written down, but are nonetheless widely shared in departments around the country.
- The ideology holds that the world is a profoundly dangerous place: Officers are conditioned to see themselves as constantly in danger and that the only way to guarantee survival is to dominate the citizens they’re supposed to protect. The police believe they’re alone in this fight; police ideology holds that officers are under siege by criminals and are not understood or respected by the broader citizenry. These beliefs, combined with widely held racial stereotypes, push officers toward violent and racist behavior during intense and stressful street interactions.
- In that sense, police ideology can help us understand the persistence of officer-involved shootings and the recent brutal suppression of peaceful protests. In a culture where Black people are stereotyped as more threatening, Black communities are terrorized by aggressive policing, with officers acting less like community protectors and more like an occupying army. …
- The danger imperative: In 1998, Georgia sheriff’s deputy Kyle Dinkheller pulled over a middle-aged white man named Andrew Howard Brannan for speeding. Brannan, a Vietnam veteran with PTSD, refused to comply with Dinkheller’s instructions. He got out of the car and started dancing in the middle of the road, singing “Here I am, shoot me” over and over again.
- In the encounter, recorded by the deputy’s dashcam, things then escalate: Brannan charges at Dinkheller; Dinkheller tells him to “get back.” Brannan heads back to the car — only to reemerge with a rifle pointed at Dinkheller. The officer fires first, and misses; Brannan shoots back. In the ensuing firefight, both men are wounded, but Dinkheller far more severely. It ends with Brannan standing over Dinkheller, pointing the rifle at the deputy’s eye. He yells — “Die, f***er!” — and pulls the trigger.
- The dashcam footage of Dinkheller’s killing, widely known among cops as the “Dinkheller video,” is burned into the minds of many American police officers. It is screened in police academies around the country…. Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who killed Philando Castile during a 2016 traffic stop, was shown the Dinkheller video during his training.
- “Every cop knows the name ‘Dinkheller’ — and no one else does,” says Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore police officer who currently teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
- The purpose of the Dinkheller video, and many others like it shown at police academies, is to teach officers that any situation could escalate to violence. Cop killers lurk around every corner.
- It’s true that policing is a relatively dangerous job … According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, about 13 per 100,000 police officers died on the job in 2017. [But] Compare that to farmers (24 deaths per 100,000), truck drivers (26.9 per 100,000), and trash collectors (34.9 per 100,000). [Yet] police academies and field training officers hammer home the risk of violent death to officers again and again. …
- Michael Sierra-Arévalo, a professor at UT-Austin, calls the police obsession with violent death “the danger imperative.” After conducting 1,000 hours of fieldwork and interviews with 94 police officers, he found that the risk of violent death occupies an extraordinary amount of mental space for many officers — far more so than it should, given the objective risks….
- Because officers are hyper-attuned to the risks of attacks, they tend to believe that they must always be prepared to use force against … — sometimes even disproportionate force. Many officers believe that, if they are humiliated or undermined by a civilian, that civilian might be more willing to physically threaten them.
- Scholars of policing call this concept “maintaining the edge,” and it’s a vital reason why officers seem so willing to employ force that appears obviously excessive when captured by body cams and cellphones. …
- A siege mentality: Police officers today tend to see themselves as engaged in a lonely, armed struggle against the criminal element. They are judged by their effectiveness at that task, measured by internal data such as arrest numbers and crime rates in the areas they patrol. Officers believe these efforts are underappreciated by the general public; according to a 2017 Pew report, 86 percent of police believe the public doesn’t really understand the “risks and challenges” involved in their job.
- Rizer, the former officer and R Street researcher, recently conducted a separate large-scale survey of American police officers. One of the questions he asked was whether they would want their children to become police officers. A majority, around 60 percent, said no — for reasons that, in Rizer’s words, “blew me away.”
- “The vast majority of people that said ‘no, I don’t want them to become a police officer’ was because they felt like the public no longer supported them — and that they were ‘at war’ with the public,” he tells me. “There’s a ‘me versus them’ kind of worldview, that we’re not part of this community that we’re patrolling.” …
- Anti-Blackness: … When talking about race in policing and the way it relates to police ideology, there are two related phenomena to think about.
- The first is overt racism. In some police departments, the culture permits a minority of racists on the force to commit brutal acts of racial violence with impunity. …
- The second manifestation of anti-Blackness is more subtle. … [O]fficers perform a dizzying array of stressful tasks for long hours [that] brings out the worst in people. The psychological stressors combine with police ideology and widespread cultural stereotypes to push officers, even ones who don’t hold overtly racist beliefs, to treat Black people as more suspect and more dangerous. It’s not just the officers who are the problem; it’s the society they come from, and the things that society asks them to do.
- While overt racists may be overrepresented on police forces, the average white officer’s beliefs are not all that different from those of the average white person in their local community. According to Goff, tests of racial bias reveal somewhat higher rates of prejudice among officers than the general population, but the effect size tends to be swamped by demographic and regional effects.
- [T]he rising diversity of America’s officer corps should make a real difference. … But scholars caution that diversity will not, on its own, solve policing’s problems. …
- The very nature of policing, both police ideology and the nuts-and-bolts nature of the job, can bring out the worst in people — especially when it comes to deep-seated racial prejudices and stereotypes.
- The problems with ideology and prejudice are dramatically intensified by the demanding nature of the policing profession. … Stress gets to them even off the job; PTSD and marital strife are common problems. It’s a kind of negative feedback loop: The job makes them stressed and nervous, which damages their mental health and personal relationships, which raises their overall level of stress and makes the job even more taxing. …
- Across the United States, we have created a system that makes disproportionate police targeting of Black citizens an inevitability. Officers don’t need to be especially racist as compared to the general population for discrimination to recur over and over; it’s the nature of the police profession, the beliefs that permeate it, and the situations in which officers find themselves that lead them to act in racist ways. …
- Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal – In the debate over freedom versus control of the global network, China was largely correct, and the U.S. was wrong. By Jack Goldsmith, Harvard Law School professor & Andrew Keane Woods, Professor of law at the University of Arizona College of Law | THEATLANTIC.COM/IDEAS | April 25, 2020 (Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET on April 27, 2020.)
- COVID-19 has emboldened American tech platforms to emerge from their defensive crouch. Before the pandemic, they were targets of public outrage … Today, the platforms are proudly collaborating with one another, and following government guidance, to censor harmful information related to the coronavirus. And they are using their prodigious data-collection capacities, in coordination with federal and state governments, to improve contact tracing, quarantine enforcement, and other health measures. As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg recently boasted, “The world has faced pandemics before, but this time we have a new superpower: the ability to gather and share data for good.”
- Civil-rights groups are tolerating these measures—emergency times call for emergency measures—but are also urging a swift return to normal when the virus ebbs. We need “to make sure that, when we’ve made it past this crisis, our country isn’t transformed into a place we don’t want to live,” warns the American Civil Liberties Union’s Jay Stanley. …
- But the “extraordinary” measures we are seeing are not all that extraordinary. Powerful forces were pushing toward greater censorship and surveillance of digital networks long before the coronavirus jumped out of … Wuhan, China, and they will continue to do so once the crisis passes. The practices that American tech platforms have undertaken during the pandemic represent not a break from prior developments, but an acceleration of them.
- … [D]igital surveillance and speech control in the United States already show … similarities to … authoritarian states such as China. Constitutional and cultural differences mean that the private sector, rather than the federal and state governments, currently takes the lead in these practices… But the trend toward greater surveillance and speech control here, and toward the growing involvement of government, is undeniable and likely inexorable.
- In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.
- Beginning in the 1990s, the U.S. government … began promoting nonregulation and American-style freedom of speech as essential features of the internet. This approach assumed that authoritarian states would crumble in the face of digital networks that seemed to have American constitutional values built into them. …
- China quickly became worried about unregulated digital speech—both as a threat to the Communist Party’s control and to the domestic social order more generally. It began building ever more powerful mechanisms of surveillance and control … [In 2009] Other authoritarian nations would follow … [including] Russia, and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation [in] their “agreement on cooperation in the field of international information security.” The agreement presciently warned of a coming “information war,” in which internet platforms would be weaponized in ways that would threaten nations’ “social and political systems.”
- During the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations, the [US] helped secure digital freedoms for people … in authoritarian states. It gave them resources [such as] encryption and filter-evasion products … designed to assist individuals in “circumventing politically motivated censorship,” as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it in 2010. And it openly assisted Twitter and other U.S. tech platforms that seemed to be fueling the Arab Spring.
- In these and so many other ways, the public internet in its first two decades seemed good for open societies and bad for closed ones. But this conventional wisdom turned out to be mostly backwards. China and other authoritarian states became adept at reverse engineering internet architecture to enhance official control over digital networks in their countries and thus over their populations.
- And in recent years, the American public has grown fearful of ubiquitous digital monitoring and has been reeling from the disruptive social effects of digital networks.
- Two events were wake-up calls. The first was Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 about the astonishing extent of secret U.S. government monitoring of digital networks at home and abroad. The U.S. government’s domestic surveillance is legally constrained, especially compared with what authoritarian states do. But this is much less true of private actors. Snowden’s documents gave us a glimpse of the scale of surveillance of our lives by U.S. tech platforms, and made plain how the government accessed privately collected data to serve its national-security needs.
- The second wake-up call was Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. As Barack Obama noted, the most consequential misinformation campaign in modern history was “not particularly sophisticated—this was not some elaborate, complicated espionage scheme.” Russia used a simple phishing attack and a blunt and relatively limited social-media strategy to disrupt the legitimacy of the 2016 election and wreak still-ongoing havoc on the American political system. The episode showed how easily a foreign adversary could exploit the United States’ deep reliance on relatively unregulated digital networks. It also highlighted how legal limitations grounded in the First Amendment (freedom of speech and press) and the Fourth Amendment (privacy) make it hard for the U.S. government to identify, prevent, and respond to malicious cyber operations from abroad.
- These constitutional limits help explain why, since the Russian electoral interference, digital platforms have taken the lead in combatting all manner of unwanted speech on their networks—and, if anything, have increased their surveillance of our lives. But the government has been in the shadows of these developments, nudging them along and exploiting them when it can. …
- DMVs Are Selling Your Data to Private Investigators – You gave them your data in exchange for a driver’s license. DMVs are making tens of millions of dollars selling it, documents obtained by Motherboard show. by Joseph Cox | VICE.COM | Sep 6 2019, 8:09am
- Departments of Motor Vehicles in states around the country are taking drivers’ personal information and selling it to thousands of businesses, including private investigators who spy on people for a profit, Motherboard has learned. DMVs sell the data for an array of approved purposes, such as to insurance or tow companies, but some of them have sold to more nefarious businesses as well. Multiple states have made tens of millions of dollars a year selling data. …
- … Multiple DMVs stressed to Motherboard that they do not sell the photographs from citizens’ driver licenses or social security numbers. …
- … The data sold varies from state to state, but it typically includes a citizen’s name and address. In others, it can also include their nine-digit ZIP code, date of birth, phone number, and email address. …
- … The data selling is not limited to private investigators, however. … Consumer credit reporting company Experian features heavily in the documents obtained by Motherboard, which stretch from 2014 to this year, as does research company LexisNexis. The Delaware DMV has direct access agreements with around 300 different entities, according to one spreadsheet. The Wisconsin DMV has current agreements with over 3100 entities, another shows. Local media outlets in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere have also reported on DMVs selling data to third parties.
- Valerie McGilvrey, a skiptracer who uses various tools and techniques to track down vehicles that need to be repossessed, told Motherboard “with Texas having no repo license and minimum standards, convicted felons can and do access professional databases.” …