Category: current affairs


blowback in our innercities

October 9th, 2012 — 9:55am

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 From Anaheim to the Windy City, America’s urban centers are steadily and relentlessly beginning to rotate into the gyre of violence and retribution that all too often serves to foment revolution and unrest. And with poverty levels surging to the highest levels since the ’60s, the era of America’s last widespread innercity riots, avoiding more violent demonstrations and protests seems increasingly unlikely.

Over the weekend in Anaheim, California an officer involved shooting devolved into an intensely troubling scene which saw police officers firing rubber bullets and beanbag rounds into an already dispersed crowd of civilians and a police dog attacking a mother and child. And then over the next few hours the situation devolved into further chaos:

Throughout the night, police in multiple marked and unmarked squad cars attempted to control an unruly crowd gathered near the shooting scene. Some cordoned off the intersection at East La Palma Avenue and Anna Drive with the same yellow crime-scene tape used by police where the shooting happened.

Some moved a Dumpster into the intersection and set its trash on fire on at least three separate occasions only to be met with multiple officers who kept responding to move it out of the way of traffic.

About 9:30 p.m., an Anaheim helicopter hovered above the crowd while police on the ground brandished batons and other weapons at the crowd, attempting to keep order.

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Comment » | Chicago, current affairs, domestic terror, drug violence, islamist, legalize marijuana, militant islam, Muslim, organized crime, racial inequality, racial tension, racism, reform, revolution, terrorism, war on drugs

what jihadists want

July 11th, 2012 — 9:14am

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Nidal Malik Hassan may not be alone. At least, not for long. In late June, NPR reported that the FBI has over 100 open investigations into members of the U.S. military who may have ties to Islamic extremists, roughly a dozen of them are considered serious:

The FBI and Department of Defense call these cases “insider threats.” They include not just active and reserve military personnel but also individuals who have access to military facilities such as contractors and close family members with dependent ID cards.

Officials would not provide details about the cases and the FBI would not confirm the numbers, but they did say that cases seen as serious could include, among others things, suspects who seem to be planning an attack or were in touch with “dangerous individuals” who were goading them to attack.

Whether any of these cases will amount to anything remains to be seen, but recruiting people with access to military materiel seems like a logical and potent approach, especially given the predilection of Afghan nationals working with our military overseas to stage attacks against American troops:

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2 comments » | 9/11, After the Arab Spring, al-Qaeda, Arab Spring, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, Egypt, faith, islam, islamist, John Bradley, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Middle East, militant islam, Muslim, news, politics, revolution, terrorism

love is all you need

June 10th, 2012 — 1:38pm

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After the Black September Organization pulled off what’s classically considered the first act of modern terrorism – holding Israel’s Olympic team in Munich hostage while the entire world watched in their living rooms via satellite television repeaters and portable video cameras - the group’s parent organization, the PLO, was faced with a rather troublesome conundrum.

It’s the same problem that our government is now trying to address, as “the Pentagon recently gave a $4.5 million grant to a group of psychologists based at the University of Maryland to conduct a five-year study on not only how to deradicalize militants, but perhaps also find ways to intervene with potential recruits before they sign up.”

Options such as vocational training and financial incentives are being considered, but as usual the Pentagon is flushing money directly down the shitter: neither of those are going to be anywhere near as effective as the solution that was used to dissolve Black September.

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1 comment » | counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, Pentagon, politics, terrorism

it’s the circle of jihad

June 9th, 2012 — 5:18pm

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Many of the groups that eventually coalesce into full-fledged terrorist organizations start off as cut-and-dry insurgences: FARC, the Shining Path, the PLO, and more recently al-Qaeda, which got its start fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan before metastasizing into an international terrorist organization and ideology.

But with all the press that it’s getting, it’s important to keep in mind that the ongoing uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has nothing at all to do with al-Qaeda.  As the dead bodies of women and children begin to pile up underneath hand-wringing UN officials, Syria’s Lebanese neighbors are at least mobilizing to do something about it: dusting off their kalashnikovs and crossing the border to once again fight for their fellow Muslims.

Many of their parents fought against Israeli’s invasion of Lebanon, so it’s no surprise that this generation is ready and willing to put their lives on the line in the what’s just about the most classic justification for jihad you can possibly imagine.

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Comment » | current affairs, domestic terror, islam, news, politics, terrorism

business is booming in the boondocks

June 9th, 2012 — 12:50pm

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Regardless of what the administration’s official take on the nomenclature might be, the War on Terror is not only alive and well – it is growing.  As a brief foreword to the rest of this, it probably wouldn’t hurt to keep in mind that one of al-Qaeda’s principal complaints has always been that American foreign policy has been responsible for killing innocent Muslims for decades, and that our administration recently decided that any military-aged male killed by a drone strike would be considered a militant and not a civilian unless proven otherwise.

So back in early March, an American drone opened a new front in the supposedly defunct War, taking fifteen lives on the Philippine island of Jolo:

Early last month, Tausug villagers on the Southern Philippine island of Jolo heard a buzzing sound not heard before… Within minutes, 15 people lay dead and a community plunged into despair, fear and mourning.

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Comment » | counterinsurgency, current affairs, islam, news, politics, terrorism

back-handing the casbah

June 9th, 2012 — 10:15am

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It would be nice to be able to be surprised about Egypt’s most recent attempt to redefine irony: a mob of hundreds of men attacking and subsequently sexually assaulting a group of women marching to protest the lack of women’s rights in Egypt:

From the ferocity of the assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organized attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement. The attack follows smaller scale assaults on women this week in Tahrir, the epicentre of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year.

Earlier in the week, an Associated Press reporter witnessed around 200 men assault a woman who eventually fainted before men trying to help could reach her.

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Comment » | current affairs, islam, news, politics, terrorism

what’s in a day?

June 8th, 2012 — 6:55pm

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Recent tax data recently led to a select group of families being labeled as “The Fortunate 400.”  But before we look into where that name comes from, let’s consider something real quick.

There are hundreds of people who made more in one day of work than someone who pulls in just over six-figures a year.  Much more in one day.  Five times as much in fact, more in three-hours than he made in a year.  Trying to argue that this is simply what happens in a capitalist economy gets a little bit fuzzy when you consider that although between the 1930s and the 1970s CEO pay increased by a modest four-percent, since the 1970s it has increased eight-fold while employee pay has remained stagnant:

The AFL-CIO reckons that the ratio of chief executive pay to median worker pay rose from 42-1 in 1980 to 343-1 in 2010. The average S&P 500 CEO now makes over $10 million a year, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Comment » | current affairs, news, politics, racial inequality, war on drugs

probably because there’s airconditioning

June 8th, 2012 — 4:28pm

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Marching in the streets of Riyadh probably isn’t all that appealing when the thermometer makes it’s way up towards 110 degrees Fahrenheit most days this time of year, so it makes more than a little sense to stage your political protest where it’s nice and cool: the local mall.

Upset about the political detention of their relatives, family members of some Saudi dissidents took to the aptly-named Sahara Mall to carry out a little old school civil disobedience.

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Comment » | Arab Spring, current affairs, islam, news, politics, Saudi Arabia, terrorism

because we destroyed ourselves

May 25th, 2012 — 11:52am

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As our financial crisis deepens and the schisms between the haves and the have-nots continue to open, American drug laws and the prison system they’ve perpetuated are beginning to gather an increasingly harsh spotlight. But so what. It’s not like the War on Drugs, which started over forty-years ago in 1973, has done anything to increase the growing level of economic disparity in America… right?

A lot happened in 1973.

It was a few years after Nixon slammed the gold window shut, the waning hours of a decapitated Civil Rights movement, and the year we began to disentangle ourselves from Vietnam. But it also marks the genesis of the War on Drugs: the year the Rockefeller Drug Laws were passed. And that same year something funny happened: the income gap between black and white began to widen back out, instead of closing – as it had been up until 1973.

Did the start of the War on Drugs play a significant role in creating our present economic and social realities – where the average black family has eight-cents of wealth for every dollar owned by whites, and a black child is nine-times more likely than a white child to have a parent in prison?

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14 comments » | books, current affairs, domestic terror, news, politics, publishing, racial inequality, terrorism, war on drugs

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