Jasper Journal

Cloud Cukoo Land

by on Mar.26, 2015, under Intelligence / National Security, Politics

The following article by Paul is right on target. I was fuming when he called about the same issues. In his article, he has succinctly indicted this president for his dismantling of a half a century of foreign policy alignments. Further he is presiding over the most inept, arrogant and disastrous team I have ever seen. Is it as bad as Paul discusses? I think it is even worse. Thank you Paul.

Cloud Cuckoo Land

by Paul

Just when you think that the current administration — especially the President — cannot get anymore narcissistic, petulant, arrogant, prone to outright lies, and detached from reality — actions occur to remind you that we have not yet reached the nadir to which this President will stoop. Three examples will suffice.

First, Yemen is on the brink of civil war, with the President of that country escaping by boat from Aden. Saudi Arabia and other unnamed Gulf states are conducting airstrikes against the Houthi rebels, hoping to degrade their capabilities. If ever there were a case of a country sliding into chaos (just as Libya and Syria have done), Yemen is it. Yet the administration, in the person of Press Secretary Josh Earnest, continues to tout Yemen as a success story for its counter-terrorism efforts. If this constitutes a foreign policy success — the hasty evacuation of our Embassy in Sana’a and the in-extremis withdrawal of US troops from a remote airbase — I would hate to see the Administration’s definition of failure. It is almost something from either Alice in Wonderland or 1984.

Second, the news is reporting that the Pentagon has declassified a 1987 study on the capabilities of nuclear-armed powers. The report contains a great amount of detail on Israel’s program, but sections on France, Germany, and other nations are redacted. Can anyone doubt that this is the President’s handiwork as payback for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s actions regarding a nuclear deal with Iran? I am reminded of times in grammar school when a classmate was determined to get even with someone. And then the President answers a press question about Netanyahu by stating that they have a good working relationship. Either the President is knowingly lying, or else he lives in a parallel universe (or, as one Nazi official said of Hitler, in “cloud cuckoo-land”). I am not sure which is worse.

Third, earlier in the week, there were reports that Israel had spied on the Iranian negotiations. And how did we know this? We spied on Israel (whoops!). It was also revealed that the Administration was more upset about the fact that Israel shared this information with Congress than it was with the spying itself. Clearly, the President believes that Congress has no right to examine the deal; he is to be sole arbiter of any treaty. Thank goodness we have some Congressmen and Senators (in both parties) who seem to have enough backbone to demand a review of the agreement.

Within the next two years, this President will have gone very far in dismantling the international security architecture that every President since World War II — Republican or Democrat — has worked hard to maintain. Not only will the United States be worse off, but also so will the rest of the world.

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A Sad Week for America

by on Mar.22, 2015, under Politics

How would I describe president Obama?  Petulant; Vindictive; Arrogant; Anti-Semitic; Narcissistic; Over his head in world affairs; Beholden to the Muslim world. I guess that’s enough for now; But you get the point. This past week he has exhibited all of these traits. Quite a performance. Worse yet, he is leading the country to disaster internationally, betraying our allies, and all for the sake of his ego.

I never thought i would see the day when the President of the United States threatened to blackmail Israel in the UN. Half a century of alliance turned upside down because he is miffed at Netanyahu? Is he for real?  I also believe that in his inner self he is anti Jewish. He worshipped in a church that preached anti semitism for 20 years.  His close friend and advisor the  “Reverend” Al Sharpton has had to retract his anti semitic remarks. His blatantly pro Palestinian actions at the expense of the Jewish state are mind boggling. And his virulent hatred for Benjamin Netanyahu goes beyond political.

We watched  today as yet another brick in his disastrous mideast policy, Yemen, falls to the Iranian backed faction. They are taking over  in Iraq. His New Years message to the Iranians warned them about people like me in this country.  Wait a minute? Aren’t they the worlds biggest supporter of terror? Didnt their ruler just say  “Death to America? ” We should not be begging them for concessions in negotiations. We should be at a position of strength.  This is all very dangerous.

Today we see a  smiling President at a college basketball game as if the world is his oyster and everything is fine. He is playing with fire and his sycophants and defenders all line up behind him.  Wake up America. Congress has to act to stop him. 2016 cant come soon enough.

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Kudos to the Washington Post

by on Mar.21, 2015, under Politics

It is rare that I give credit to socalled mainstream papers these days, but I believe the WQashington Post deserves a great deal of credit for the article below. They make it crystal clear that “Hands up.. Don’t shoot” was a lie, and that people who used it perpetuated that falsehood.This is a great article and should be mandatory reading for all liberal apologists. Thank You WP. Now, lets have some truth-telling about Hillary.

 

Hands up, don’t shoot’ did not happen in Ferguson

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee March 19

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!

This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.

That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.

Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.

Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?

The Facts

“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.

On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.

Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.

Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Others recanted their initial testimonies saying they had heard it through media reports or via social media. A few witnesses said Brown had his hands out to his side with his palms up, as if saying “What?” Others said Brown’s hands were not raised, as he was charging at Wilson. A few said Brown’s hands were “balled up.”

Investigators narrowed down the “hands up” claim to a witness – Witness 128 – who had told his family and neighbors his inaccurate version of events as crowds gathered minutes and hours after the shooting, the report says. Another witness could not confirm what she saw because of her poor vision, but she heard a man running around the apartments along the street where Wilson shot Brown. The man was saying something to the effect of, “The police shot my friend and his hands were up.” The witness said that “quickly became the narrative on the street, and to her frustration, people used it both as an excuse to riot and to create a ‘block party’ atmosphere.”

A key passage from the report:

Investigators tracked down several individuals who, via the aforementioned media, claimed to have witnessed Wilson shooting Brown as Brown held his hands up in clear surrender. All of these purported witnesses, upon being interviewed by law enforcement, acknowledged that they did not actually witness the shooting, but rather repeated what others told them in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. … Witness accounts suggesting that Brown was standing still with his hands raised in an unambiguous signal of surrender when Wilson shot Brown are inconsistent with the physical evidence, are otherwise not credible because of internal inconsistencies, or are not credible because of inconsistencies with other credible evidence. In contrast, Wilson’s account of Brown’s actions, if true, would establish that the shootings were not objectively unreasonable under the relevant Constitutional standards governing an officer’s use of deadly force.

In August 2014, after Brown’s death, members of the Congressional Black Caucus delivered speeches about law enforcement’s excessive use of force against black youth. In December 2014, members again spoke about Ferguson killing and those of three others killed by police between August and Dec. 1, 2014: Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Akai Gurley in Brooklyn and Eric Garner in Staten Island. Four members of Congress– New York Democrats Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke, and Texas Democrats Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green — raised their hands during their speeches in solidarity with the “Hands up, don’t shoot” movement. The grand jury had questioned this characterization by then.

We requested an interview with those members and other caucus leaders, to see if the DOJ report changed their responses to the Brown shooting. Jeffries responded to our request. He noted that during the December 2014 hearing, none of the members used “Hands up, don’t shoot” as a factual analysis of Brown’s shooting. A review of their comments while raising their hands confirms this:

Clarke: “Hands up, don’t shoot. … I first want to once again offer my condolence to the family of Michael Brown, whose efforts to secure justice on behalf of their son were undermined by the decision of the grand jury. The killing of Michael Brown, and attacks by the Ferguson Police Department on protesters, demonstrate an assumption that young women and men who are African American are inherently suspicious — a false assumption with deadly consequences.”
Green: “This has become the new symbol, a new statement — a statement wherein people around the country now are calling to the attention of those who don’t quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate. It will not evaporate. It’s a movement that is going to continue because young people — a new generation — has decided that they’re going to engage themselves in the liberation movement.”
Jeffries: “‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’ is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence — in community, after community, after community, fed up with police violence in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across America.”
Lee: “I also admire the young St. Louis Rams players who raised their hands, to be able to share in the dignity of those young, peaceful protesters. If we don’t affirm non-violence, then who will?”
The same day the DOJ released the shooting report, it also published the results of its investigation into the Ferguson Police Department. This report highlighted systemic exploitation and racial profiling of black residents in Ferguson. Jeffries said that report underscored the importance of the message of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” He said: “The issue of dealing with the police use of excessive force, often directed at unarmed African American men, in the absence of subsequent accountability through the criminal justice system, remains just as important today as it was the day before the Department of Justice report was filed.”

Justin Hansford, St. Louis University professor who has been organizing legal and community advocacy after Brown’s death, said the DOJ report on Brown’s shooting did not prove that Brown never had his hands up at any point during his confrontation with Wilson. The DOJ could not find evidence to conclusively say that he did, which is an important legal distinction, he said.

Hansford said his Facebook profile photo remains an image of “Hands up” because the message is consistent regardless of the positioning of Brown’s hands: “I don’t feel any way that I was somehow duped or tricked or that my picture was based on a lie. I think it is a very symbolic gesture that really speaks to the experiences of a lot of us, a lot of youth of color.”

The Pinocchio Test

Catchy phrases like “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “Black lives matter,” “an unarmed black person is killed every 28 hours” (which we have fact checked) have resulted from protests over the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner. They are emotional messages spread easily, like the “We are 99 percent” mantra of Occupy Wall Street.

We care about facts, how they’re used and the context in which the facts are portrayed. In this case, it is important for us to note that the initial “Hands up, don’t shoot” chant after Brown’s shooting has evolved into a message that is no longer connected solely to the Ferguson event. A series of other fatal shootings by police occurred following Brown’s death, and the “Hands up, don’t shoot” came to symbolize the need to hold law enforcement accountable. And the DOJ report on Ferguson Police Department confirmed the agency systemically profiled black residents.

But we also care about setting the record straight. Investigators have overwhelmingly rejected witness accounts that Brown had his hands up in a surrender before being shot execution-style. The DOJ has concluded Wilson did not know whether Brown was armed, acted out of self-defense and was justified in killing Brown. The majority of witnesses told federal investigators that the initial claims that Brown’s hands were up were not accurate. “Hands up, don’t shoot” did not happen in Brown’s killing, and it is a characterization that deserves Four Pinocchios. Politicians should step carefully if they try to highlight this expression in the future.

Four Pinocchios

 

 

 

 

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