A new report compiled by California State University, San Bernardino finds a dramatic increase in hate crimes in 2015, particularly those targeting Muslims and Arab-Americans. The study compiled data from 20 states, representing over 53% of the national population. Overall hate crimes across the 20 states increased by about five percent. However, hate crimes against Muslims increased by 78%. The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes committed in these 20 states alone (196) is so high that even if no other hate crimes were reported in any other states, it would still signal the highest increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes since shortly after the 9-11 attacks in 2001. Hate crimes against Arab-Americans increased by over 200%, while attacks against transgender individuals increased about 40%, although the researchers warn this could be affected by improvements in data collection. The director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at the university believes the rise may be caused in part by the political discourse in the country, and slight increases are noticed after a candidate makes incendiary comments about the Muslim population. Official statistics for 2015 from the FBI are due to be released in November.
Well, isn't this cute. Talking Points Memo notes that when Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein supped with Putin at a Moscow confab sponsored by Kremlin state media mouthpiece RT in December, also on hand was Donald Trump's military advisor, retired General Mike Flynn. The same Mike Flynn who has called for the "destruction of Raqqa" to defeat ISIS, and boasts that he is "at war with Islam," The Intercept informs us. Yet Stein, in her viral YouTube statement from Red Square during the trip, filled with predictable "anti-war" rhetoric, had not a syllable of criticism either for Flynn or for her Kremlin hosts—who were then (as now) busy bombing the crap out of Syria.
The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) has engaged in tactics that violate the First and Fourth Amendments and numerous anti-discrimination laws, according to a report released by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on Aug. 10. The report is centered on the use of excessive force and illegal stops, seizures and searches, especially within the African American community. Most at fault for the systemic discrimination, the DoJ said, are "deficient policies, training and accountability systems," including the "zero-tolerance" street enforcement. A variety of statistics were used to highlight the problem within the Baltimore force, including a finding that African Americans accounted for over 80% of all BPD vehicle stops, despite white individuals being found with contraband twice as often.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein just announced her running mate as Ajamu Baraka, who she hails as "a powerful, eloquent spokesperson for the transformative, radical agenda whose time has come—an agenda of economic, social, racial, gender, climate, indigenous and immigrant justice." (Politico) Among his touted credentials is that he served on the board of Amnesty International, where he apparently did anti-death penalty work. That is certainly a worthy cred. But it is also hilariously ironic in light of Baraka's vigorous support for what is probably the bloodiest regime on the planet right now: the genocidal dictatorship of Syria's Bashar Assad.
We know we're going to be accused of alarmism, but please follow the logic. First, however self-serving it may be, the accusation of a Russian intelligence hand in the WikiLeaks dump of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee is plausible. Famously, the e-mails reveal DNC staffers pulling for Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders, prompting the resignation of the supposedly neutral body's chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The DNC had apparently been hit by Russian hackers, and Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook is now openly charging that Moscow is trying to boost Donald Trump.
The man who apparently shot dead three police officers before being brought down himself in Baton Rouge on July 17, Gavin Eugene Long, was a former Marine sergeant who went by the online name Cosmo Setepenra. His blog seems to be still online, as well as his YouTube rants in which he made clear that he did not want to be associated with any organized groups, apparently in anticipation of his attack. "I'm affiliated with the spirit of justice: nothing else, nothing more, nothing less," he said in one clip. But the Kansas City Star notes that he filed documents last year with county authorities at his Missouri home declaring himself a "sovereign" affiliated with the "United Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah Mu'ur Nation, Mid-West Washita Tribes." It is a little strange to suddenly see the Washitaw Nation making headlines on NBC, and being mentioned in CNN, the New York Times and the like.
The suspected sniper who killed five police officers and wounded two civilians following a peaceful Black Lives Matter march in Dallas was killed when police deployed an explosives-rigged robot into the parking garage where he was holed up. Police say there were hours of fruitless negotiations before the robot outfitted C4 explosive was sent in. Associated Press said this "appears to be the first time US police have used a robot for lethal purposes. As such, it may represent the latest escalation in the use of remote and semi-autonomous devices by law enforcement." Ironically, the robot was ostensibly procured by the police force for "bomb-disposal" purposes. This apparent first use of a killer robot in domestic policing comes as human rights groups are calling for restrictions on their use in actual warfare.
We've long considered Jill Stein, presidential candidate of the Green Party, too inconsequential to be worth calling out. But we are seeing her stuff being promoted more and more—particularly her calls for Bernie Sanders to ditch the Democrats if (when) he doesn't get the nomination and run with the Greens. See, for instance, the pathetically gushing interview with her on Democracy Now. We doubt Bernie would be so monstrously reckless as to split the anti-Pendejo vote, fortunately. But leave it to Democracy Now's pusillanimous Amy Goodman to not throw Stein a single hard-ball—either about the wisdom of tempting a Pendejo presidency, or about the Green candidate's atrocious politics. Stein is getting this kind of free ride everywhere. Check out this glowing account on AlterNet about Jill's defense of anti-pipeline actvists protesting outside the home of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman. This from the woman whose party is practically a stateside propaganda organ of the Bashar Assad regime, which has serially massacred protest