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KingCharlemagne's Journal
KingCharlemagne's Journal
April 26, 2015

If Sanders enters the ring, the 2016 primary will get VERY interesting. I just

saw a story datelined yesterday that suggests Sanders is leaning toward entering and running as a Dem.

MSNBC reported that Sen. Sanders is leaning towards running for the Democratic nomination in 2016:

Sen. Bernie Sanders is only days away from making a decision on a 2016 run, and leaning towards yes, according to his top strategist.

“I think we’re coming to the critical moment of truth here. He’s now spent enough time traveling around the country talking to people and feels there is genuinely a large audience of people who are with him,” veteran Democratic strategist Tad Devine, who is advising Sanders, told msnbc.

A formal announcement of his candidacy is expected to occur later in May.

http://www.politicususa.com/2015/04/25/bernie-sanders-run-president.html (Emphasis in original)
March 25, 2015

Sad 50th Anniversary for a Fallen Heroine: Viola Liuzzo (died March 25, 1965)

Folks and comrades:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of a civil rights heroine: Viola Liuzzo. She was shot to death by a group of Alabama Klansmen this day in 1965, while driving back from the airport in Montgomery, AL. She had traveled from Detroit to Selma in response to the inspiration of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the events of Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The KKK assassins were initially acquitted by an all-white jury in the state trial but eventually convicted in federal court on civil rights charges.

Liuzzo's story is fascinating and so sad. The Wiki article gives a good introduction to Liuzzo's life and heroism and briefly discusses the FBI's less-than-stellar response. (One of the four KKK members on the hit squad was a long-standing FBI informant.)

The world is a better place because of Liuzzo's sacrifice.



February 3, 2015

The real debate over vaccinations concerns whom one is going to trust

By way of explanation, my wife is (or used to be) a fan of Oprah Winfrey and tells me that Oprah at one point featured Jenny McCarthy (spouse of Jim Carrey) who popularized anti-vaccination ideas for a broad audience. (As far as my wife knows, although McCarthy has apparently recanted somewhat, Oprah never repudiated McCarthy.) But a lot of people trusted (and still trust) Oprah, maybe as many or more than trust official U.S. government pronouncements. So when Oprah gave a broad platform to an anti-vaccination stand put forward by someone with credibility our celebrity culture confers, it struck at the heart of established science.

I was also reminded yesterday that various demographics in the U.S. may have much legitimate reason to be suspicious of official government pronouncements about the public health. I'm referring to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, carried out by the U.S. Public Health Service from 1932-72 on an unsuspecting and trusting population of black men.

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (/tʌsˈkiːɡiː/) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.


I know that the U.S. has since recognized the wrong it propagated at Tuskegee and attempted to do some acts of penance for it, but I mention it because it seems to me that the vaccination problem being seen in the measles outbreak is as much a matter of trust or loss thereof as it is of willful evil or selfishness.

Government officials should be concerned with trying to restore the public trust in science and scientists and not so much with trying to debate the merits of the science of vaccines. Once trust has been violated or the public's doubt has been engineered, the first order of business I think is not going full-tilt Spock in reaction but instead engaging in non-judgmental dialogue with the objective to restore trust. The people need to be able to trust their government and trust their public officials. Without trust, the land is made fertile for doubt and for the types of behaviors that are now manifesting with the measles outbreak.

Here's my bottom line: the Scientific Method -- observation, hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, new hypothesis -- is the best way to determine scientific truth. The Scientific Method does not observe politics. The Scientific Method has conclusively proven the indisputable values of vaccination for the public. So the government and all scientists should be attempting to educate the people about the non-partisan quality of the Scientific Method and how powerful and rigorous a tool it is and not screeching at people about how stupid or uneducated they are. The first thing that needs to happen is a broad rebirth of trust in science and the scientific community. This may be a tall order for a culture that has given us Tuskegee, 3 Mile Island and Love Canal, but I think it is really important.
January 30, 2015

A real American sniper speaks up (in a 16-minute video clip)

I imagine folks are pretty tired of the arguments over the Chris Kyle bio-pic American Sniper. But Iraq Veterans Against the War published this clip from Lawrence O'Donnell's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to my Facebook feed and it seems important enough to share it.

Sniper Garett Reppenhagen was so disgusted at his service in Iraq that he joined IVAW and started an anti-war blog upon his return from Iraq. In my opinion, Reppenhagen's perspective deserves to be heard and considered by all who have seen the movie or are considering whether to see it. In this clip, Reppenhagen says that he didn't see the same war Kyle did and that the 'truth' requires a larger perspective than Eastwood's hagiography allows.


January 8, 2015

If "Charlie Hebdo" is satire, could someone please explain to me how this cover

satisfies the definition of 'satire'? Maybe it's a French thing, but I just don't see it. Here's how I translate the copy:

White headline text: The Koran is shit
Yellow textbox text: It {the Koran} doesn't stop bullets

From where I sit, this cover does NOT look like satire by any reasonable definition of the term. This cover looks like anti-Muslim hate speech pure and simple. I'm not Muslim but were I Muslim, I would be deeply offended at this cover and unable to see any humor in it whatsoever. (It reminds me a bit of the anti-Jewish depictions cooked up by the Nazis from 1922-39; it has that same dehumanizing caricature flavor to it.)

December 10, 2014

Question for Vietnam Veterans and American Historians: To what extent

was the CIA's torture program of the Bush years pre-figured by the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam?

The Program was designed to identify and "neutralize" (via infiltration, capture, terrorism, torture, and assassination) the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong). The CIA described it as "a set of programs that sought to attack and destroy the political infrastructure of the Viet Cong". The major two components of the program were Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) and regional interrogation centers. PRUs would kill or capture suspected NLF members, as well as civilians who were thought to have information on NLF activities. Many of these people were then taken to interrogation centers where many were tortured in an attempt to gain intelligence on VC activities in the area. The information extracted at the centers was then given to military commanders, who would use it to task the PRU with further capture and assassination missions.

The program was in operation between 1965 and 1972, and similar efforts existed both before and after that period. By 1972, Phoenix operatives had "neutralized" 81,740 suspected NLF operatives, informants and supporters, of whom between 26,000 and 41,000 were killed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Program (Emphasis Added)

Has anyone done any work on this apparent continuity or am I simply imagining the connection(s) between Vietnam\Southeast Asia and Afghanistan\Central Asia?

December 8, 2014

Riverside protesters struck in hit-and-run

Source: ABC News (Los Angeles affiliate)

A Riverside protest over recent police killings in Ferguson, Missouri and New York spun out of control, when a BMW pushed through the crowd and struck a handful of protesters Saturday evening, Riverside police said.

About 50 people were blocking Mission Inn Avenue at about 7 p.m. during the city's Festival of Lights, an annual five-week attraction on Main Street Riverside that includes holiday decorations, lights, an ice skating rink and other entertainment, when the driver plowed through and drove off.


"A guy was just honking at us and honking," protester Mariah McCoy said. "We wouldn't move because we were chanting, and he just sped over and hit me on my leg, but I was able to move before he hit my whole body."

Riverside police were searching for a dark-colored BMW involved in the hit-and-run. A report filed by the victims claimed they had their toes run over, officials said. None of the protesters had any major injuries.

~Continues at link.

Read more: http://abc7.com/news/riverside-protesters-struck-in-hit-and-run/425438/

Other broadcast reports say that protesters got the license plate info of the Nazi-mobile. I hope the Riverside, CA County DA throws the book at the driver for felony assault with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident.

Readers are advised to peruse the comments with caution, as you will see some really puerile right-wing sentiments there.

December 3, 2014

If you still think the decision of the Michael Brown grand jury was fair or just, you really owe it

to yourself to read the FBI witness statement, grand jury testimony and purported 'journal entry' of Witness #40 -- or maybe I should say "so-called Witness #40" -- in volume 15 of the transcript (starting at page 84 with the FBI statement and proceeding to the GJ testimony about 100 pages further on). Supposedly Witness #40 made a 'wrong turn' and ended up on Canfield just in time to see the events go down pretty much exactly as Wilson described them. Only problem is that the FBI got Witness #40 to admit he had lied, made racist statements and gone online to 'refresh' his memories of what he claimed he had witnessed. Oh yeah, and there was no way he could have gotten on to Canfield the way he claimed, probably because MapQuest didn't show that the road he claimed he used was physically blocked to vehicular traffic.


As you read it, remember that this testimony and journal were submitted to the Grand Jury as having some sort of official imprimatur, as having standing as evidence and eyewitness testimony. You cannot make this stuff up. I've referred to this Grand Jury as a 'kangaroo court' before and reading this utter tripe validates my initial assessment and amplifies it.

Here's how the journal entry, purportedly written on August 9 (the day Michael Brown was killed) but only brought to the attention of the Grand Jury the day the witness testified, begins:

Well I’m gonna take my random drive to Florissant. Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks Niggers and start calling them People. Like dad always said you cant fear or hate an entire race cause of what one man did 40 yrs ago.

DA McCulloch and his staff of little Eichmanns allowed this obvious hoax to be submitted to the Grand Jury as evidence and eyewitness testimony. They allowed what they knew or should have known to be perjured testimony to be given to the GJ. So I want to know why the U.S. Dept. of Justice hasn't already indicted McCulloch and his staff for conspiracy to obstruct justice and for conspiracy to violate Michael Brown's civil rights.
December 1, 2014

All NFL players should declare a General Strike until Jeff Roorda steps down

from his position as Executive Director of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and until St. Louis County DA Bob McCulloch recuses himself so that Governor Nixon can appoint a Special Prosecutor with no ties to local law enforcement.

No Justice, No NFL.

It's really that simple.


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