Morning Links

Monday, December 13th, 2010

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47 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  JS | 

    My guess would be that the government wouldn’t consider you a journalist if they wanted to not consider you a journalist. Along with your thesis about the media not being liberal but statist I found two really amazing articles that back that up.

    Glen Greenwald and Jay Rosen both make the point that there has been a change in the way the big mainstream media view their function, from watchdog for the public to simply uncritically report what the government says:

  2. #2 |  trackerk | 

    You’re in good company then with Dan Rather, 1/2 of Fox News and CNN and all of MSNBC’s staff.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 

    Wilmington, Delaware pays $875,000 to the family of an ex-marine tasered, then shot and killed by a cop while sitting on a porch. The city of course says the settlement is not an admission that the cop did anything wrong.

    It’s pretty cleat the guy was simply executed. The cop should have been brought up on felony charges, but we all know why that didn’t happen.

    The 875K should come directly out of the Police Department’s budget. Otherwise, they have no incentive whatsoever to clean up their act.

    Any trial costs should be born by the cops, too if they had decided to take it to trial. Otherwise, they would have an incentive to mercilessly pursue any case in court, regardless of the possibility of winning it.

  4. #4 |  Michael | 

    Assange downfall was releasing the global warming cables. You don’t screw with the oligarchy trying to extract 14 billion a year from the little people.

  5. #5 |  ChrisD | 

    If Assange really had hacked into US servers (since hacking is his background) instead of merely publishing leaks, would that change anyone’s opinion here about his prosecution? Not sure myself.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    ‘Speaking to reporters recently, State Dept. Assistant Secretary Philip Rowley said that the United States does not consider WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be a “journalist” or “whistleblower.” He insisted that, under US law, he’s to be considered a “political actor.”‘

    That’s it, get the lawyers in there to started altering
    definitions. Massage enough definitions and manufacture trumped up charges
    (preferably based on sweeping WWI-era laws) and you’ve crafted yourself a bona fide criminal. Then raid the NY Times on some health inspection ruse. Let the games begin.

  7. #7 |  Irving Washington | 

    $875K is not a cost of defense settlement.

  8. #8 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I view Assange as three things:
    1. Ninja
    2. An absolute pimp (another compliment)
    3. A hero

    So there’s my bias. Now for a Godwin story.

    Early in WWII a man named Ludwig Berlin leaked to the world that the Germans had set up extermination camps for Jews. He was caught and executed by the Nazis for treason. But to the Nazi victims he was a hero.

    Now here’s the thing: I made all of the above story up to look at what Assange has done thru the lens of a clearly murderous regime (Nazis). Mind = blown!

    So, Chris @ #5, there isn’t anything that Assange could’ve done to change my mind about THE CONTENT OF THE DOCUMENTS AND THE HORRIBLE LIES AND MURDER THE US GOVERNMENT DONE.

    Why is this even an issue for even a small number of people, let alone a majority of the media and population?

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Kudos to Esteban Parra (reporter) for arranging his story thus:

    Witnesses also said Hale did not appear to pose a threat and had just vomited and was shaking violently from the Taser blasts when then-Lt. William Browne shot him in the chest with three .40-caliber rounds. Browne was later promoted to captain.

    Browne was cleared of any wrongdoing in 2007 by the state Attorney General’s Office.

    More of this and readers might stop tongue darting the police. Taser a complying man, put 3 very large rounds into his chest while man convulses, get promoted by police, get cleared by State AG.

  10. #10 |  kahr40 | 

    I’m not sure their isn’t a news outlet whose reporters don’t push a political agenda either directly or indirectly. They all spin the news.

  11. #11 |  thom | 

    Well, the implication is that if he is not a “journalist” then he is not covered by the first amendment? Sounds like you’d better watch your step.

  12. #12 |  Charlie O | 

    Derek Hale was murdered. The cop who murdered him got away with it for two simple reasons. 1) The badge. 2) Derek Hale wore a Pagans patch. In America, that’s enough to get you executed on the streets.

  13. #13 |  albatross | 

    Chris D:

    I think legally, that would be a completely different situation. If Assange had stolen the information himself, he could be extradited and charged on charges of computer crimes. Other people have been extradited to the US from the UK for that sort of crime.

    If he’s simply receiving, verifying, redacting, and publishing leaks, then he’s doing a wholesale version of what the New York Times does retail every time they run an anonymously-sourced national security story.

  14. #14 |  J sub D | 

    Wilmington, Delaware pays $875,000 to the family of an ex-marine tasered, then shot and killed by a cop while sitting on a porch. The city of course says the settlement is not an admission that the cop did anything wrong.

    Don’t read the comments section unless you’re a devotee of cop fellating.

    Telling a woman she farts like a Clydesdale never worked for me.

  15. #15 |  Michael Chaney | 

    The other part you missed in the Derek Hale case is “in front of small children”.

  16. #16 |  Mattocracy | 

    That’s a clever way to get around the constitution. You aren’t press, therefore freedom of press doesn’t apply to you. Just like if you aren’t a US citizens, the constitution doesn’t apply to you and you can be kept in Gitmo forever.

    I’m not sure how someone can call Wikileaks terrorists. They haven’t blown anything up, killed any innocent people, done anythingto strike fear into the hearts of anyone.

    But don’t worry, George W. Obama is in office, and he’s not going to do the same things as B.H. Bush before him.

  17. #17 |  random guy | 


    Don’t you know redefining known terms is how Washington gets things done these days?

    You’re not a Prisoner of War protected by the Geneva convention, you are an “enemy combatant”.
    You’re not being tortured, which is forbidden by US law and international treaties, its just an “enhanced interrogation”.
    It’s not unconstitutional, its “executive privilege”
    Radley isn’t a journalist with first amendment rights, hes just a “political actor”. Wow, if you say that just right it reads like terrorist.

    That is the difference between a nation ruled by laws and an authoritarian bureaucracy. In a nation ruled by laws, words are used to define common principles by which the law can be fairly enforced. For bureaucrats words are just springboards to loopholes. So long as the words they use are different from the laws they sign they can pretend they are acting lawfully while completely ignoring the law. Its a lazy and sophomoric tactic that exposes them for the oppressive small minded brutes they really are.

  18. #18 |  Marty | 

    I’m with #8 Boyd. good post!

    I loved the craigslist ad- I think I’m gonna make an ad looking for the tsa agent who ‘gave me a hand job’ and combine the fun of craigslist with the fun of ridiculing the govt…

  19. #19 |  Cynical in CA | 

    •Your TSA outrage of the day.

    Let’s scrap it and start over.


  20. #20 |  Pete | 

    I think the State Department just said Faux News, MSNBC, etc were not Journalistic Entities.

    I mean, we all knew it anyway, but haha, who would have ever thought the government would do or say something with unintended consequences? Get a camera, this has to be a historic first.

  21. #21 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    I always make the mistake of reading the comments on these stories, under the guise of “know thy enemy”, but I had to quit due to the very real risk of stroke.
    Seriously, what the hell does it take to constitute “wrongdoing”? Further, what does a cop have to do to make a red-blooded law-and-order patriot’s blood boil? Shoot their dog? Shit, I even know some people who would forgive that.
    I get tired of self-described conservatives bowing down to the badge. Here is a murderous agency that transcends constitutionalism, the very teeth of government itself, a lawless domestic standing army against which you have no realistic shot at recourse, and these clowns are more worried about welfare queens.
    Also, yeah, that pickup line never worked for me either. One of these days…

  22. #22 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Continuing from #21:
    I might add that I’m from Salisbury, North Carolina; we’ve had two fatalities in the past month for which a cop was responsible. In one case, a guy came at a cop with a baseball bat; in the other, a guy engaged in hand to hand combat with a cop and was shot three – check ’em, three- times.

    You might also recall the incident wherein a young lady in Salisbury was arrested and charged with RA for filming a cop at a traffic stop. The judge who convicted her was reelected, and the homicidal cops are being praised by a disproportionate segment of the citizenry. Excusing tyranny is bad enough, but condoning two murders for which there will never be justice is despicable.

  23. #23 |  JS | 

    Radley I’m not even gonna ask what you were looking for when you found that craigslist ad. Nope, I don’t even want to know.

  24. #24 |  JS | 

    Mossy don’t you think it’s incredible that our legislators, the only people who can reign cops in, wouldn’t even consider this an issue? That’s what blows me away about the whole thing.

  25. #25 |  Whim | 

    That the mainstream media is very statist was amply demonstrated recently over the TSA “Opt-Out” day on the eve of Thanksgiving.

    ALL the mainstream media, both national and local, repeated the TSA mantra like trained parrots.

    The fact is, NO ONE in the mainstream press is disputing one iota the assertions of the TSA as to what their TSA Agents ACTUALLY view when they are viewing a full-body scan image. NO ONE.

    They simply re-show the same “image” that TSA released long, long ago in RapeScan Version 1.0.

    What version of RapeScan is TSA currently utilizing, and what image do the agents ACTUALLY see?

    Likewise, the mainstream media parrot the TSA assertion that the full-body image scanners are harmless, and they re-echo the TSA line that you receive more x-rays after two minutes of flight at Angels 30.

    Polly Want a Cracker?? Baaaawk.

  26. #26 |  Mario | 

    Regarding the State Department’s assertion that Assange isn’t a journalist, as many people on the Web have been pointing out, and as any student of American history ought to be able to tell you, the “press” referred to in the First Amendment is not restricted to the New York Times, et al.

    The notion of so-called “objective” journalism is a modern invention. (I would say, a modern conceit.) At the time of the writing of the Bill of Rights, and for many years prior to it and after it, all journalism was slanted. Moreover, “the press” was the furthest thing from the conglomerate corporate media of today. It was made up of myriad local, small-time printers running off newspapers and political pamphlets. This is the independent, grass roots network that brought us Paine’s Common Sense and a host of other inflammatory, revolutionary texts.

    The State Department is engaging in a sly bit of context switching. They would like to think that the First Amendment protects “objective journalists.” As inconvenient as that may be to our government, that’s simply not the case.

  27. #27 |  Pablo | 

    #22 Mossy Spaniard–I’m as apalled as anyone by police misconduct but I’ve seen what a baseball bat can do to someone and would not hesitate to classify it as a deadly weapon.

  28. #28 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    @24, JS
    Yeah, it’s infuriating, but I can’t say it’s all that surprising. For one, the legislators who could ostensibly stop this are beholden to the same self-preservation mentality as the cops who enforce their whims. The political class also tends to look askance at opinions that are unfavorable to their goals, since they do a pretty good job of cloaking their misdeeds in the auspices of law and order.

    In our democracy, the pressure to change their minds is only going to be delivered when we pressure our fellow citizens to change their minds. And as long we have the cop-fellators to excuse infringements of liberty, theft of property, and out-and-out murder, there are minimal ways to win this fight.

  29. #29 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    @27, Pablo
    That’s a fair point; the other civilian who got killed by the Salisbury PD was wielding a broken bottle, which also falls in that category. However, in Salisbury, only patrol supervisors are allowed to carry tasers (they’re open to misuse, of course, but they aren’t guns and have an abvious advantage over a nightstick). I don’t know if tasers would disincentivize excessive force or not (no), but the two suspects in question might be alive if they were in common use.

  30. #30 |  Highway | 

    It just dawned on me (maybe I’m slow), but the ‘freedom of the press being only for “the press”‘ thing is directly analogous to the way they’ve been trying to eviscerate the 2nd amendment prior to Heller. Because it says ‘militia’, then obviously that’s all it applies to. And because the 1st amendment says ‘press’ specifically, that’s all it applies to. So now the challenge is to define ‘press’ so narrowly that it’s only the sycophantic media that it applies to, and if they step out of line, then we’ve got this nice hammer to maul them with – having a ‘political agenda’. But as long as they stay on the reservation, hey, we won’t interfere… too much.

  31. #31 |  EH | 

    Yeah, sure, let them run with the “Assange is not a journalist” thing, we’ll see how Roger Ailes like that. And who cares what the State Dept. says? They aren’t the DoJ, but I’ve noticed that a lot in this story: everybody claiming laws to be broken who are not the DoJ.

  32. #32 |  Highway | 

    Mossy Spaniard, I don’t know. It would be up to the police officers in question. Generally, if someone’s using excessive force, I’d think the police would reach for their guns. And a bat and a broken bottle do tend to go in the category of ‘excessive force’ for me.

    Like Pablo said, I’m vehemently against police misconduct, but they do carry guns for a reason, and that reason is that sometimes people do escalate force against them, and it’s not just bank robbers. Even Radley has made the distinction with SWAT teams: There’s a time and place when using a gun defensively is a justifiable action. The problem is that the times are becoming all the time and places are becoming everywhere for some officers, and even worse, there are times where the officers are initiating force, like the Baltimore City cop who shot the other guy at the bar for slapping a woman’s butt, or the guy in that story a while back about the cop who flew off the handle and just executed the guy who was trying to get past him out of his house (sorry, I don’t remember more details about it).

    But maybe the point that needs to come through to PD’s is that if they call everything justified, even when it’s plainly not, then people aren’t going to believe them when it actually IS justified.

  33. #33 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    I think you said it in a cooler, more measured way than I did. Police have the same right to self-defense as we do, and since they’re ostensibly tasked with protecting us from criminal threats, deadly force is sometimes necessary. But I agree with your take on the expansion of what’s “necessary”, and I just get aneurysm-inducingly angry when citizens throw a bone to a cop who has clearly crossed the line.

  34. #34 |  Mario | 

    Highway @ #30

    That’s an excellent analogy, comparing the “legislating by equivocation” of the First Amendment to what people say about the Second Amendment. To wit, the word “militia” meant something very different from what many would have you believe today: it meant every able-bodied man able to carry arms in defense of his country. It was something more akin to today’s volunteer fire departments than to the National Guard.

  35. #35 |  Whim | 

    Radley, you should author a human interest non-fiction book about former Marine Sergeant Derek Hale, who survived two tours in Iraq, but did not survive 3 Taserings and the cold-blooded execution by Wilmington DE police Lt. Brown.

    With what you’ve already documented about the growing militarization of the police, and wrong-door and often just plain wrongful SWAT raids, the book would practically write itself.

    Suggested working title: “Survived the Sunni Triangle 2X but K.I.A. by Wilmington PD”.

    P.S. Wilmington PD Lt. Brown was subsequently promoted to Captain.

    Words cannot express the outrage……

    Maybe you can even work in a thread about how pro-LEO Delaware’s own VP Joe Biden has been his entire career.

  36. #36 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    @35, Whim
    You remember when Biden was addressing a law enforcement group, and started talking about Sotomayor? “She’s got your back”, he said.
    That really should have garnered a lot of outrage, but it didn’t. “She’ll rule against the citizenry in your favor, with minimal to nonexistent exception”. I wouldn’t expect more from the guy who pioneered the ONDCP. I never thought I’d see another sitting executive who rivaled GWB in terms of sheer, tragicomic foolishness, but I was wrong.

  37. #37 |  delta | 

    “They began searching members of the group, including the plaintiffs. An unidentified man told officers he had smoked all the marijuana and took off running with a cop in pursuit, according to the suit. When the cop returned, huffing and puffing from the chase, some spectators at a handball game in the park laughed.”

    That can happen? Why don’t I ever see that on the COPS TV show? I was told no one ever gets away from the superhero police.

  38. #38 |  PW | 

    From the surreal world of the American Police State, a Florida rapper is facing 2 years in prison on a parole violation.

    The “offense” that got him in trouble: he wrote a song called “Kill Me a Cop.”

  39. #39 |  Whim | 

    You’ve got to hand it to Obama: Picking Biden made him virtually assassination proof.

    Joe Biden wasn’t the brightest bulb even before his brain aneurism…..

  40. #40 |  Carl Drega | 

    Calling Hale – a full patch Pagan – “an ex-marine” is bullshit Radley. Then current membership in an ultra violent gang is probably more relevant to the shooting than his former military service isn’t it?

    Being a Pagan is a 24/7 commitment to crime and violence.

  41. #41 |  Rob Robertson | 

    Absolutely, Carl. It’s important to note that the cop shot a member of a violent one-percenter motorcycle gang first and foremost, but there’s still a point to be made in noting that he was an ex-Marine. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were putting a strain on recruitment numbers, standards were lowered in a number of areas and the military was soon awash in white supremacists, neoNazis and other groups who joined in order to get training and (maybe) ship military weapons back home for upcoming race wars. I’m not implying that Derek Hale was a white supremacist, but just the fact that he made the jump from the USMC to the PMC is interesting by itself.

    From Radley’s description I thought he was sitting in a rocking chair with a harmonica and a chaw of tabaccy.

  42. #42 |  MDGuy | 

    After reading the latest TSA outrage I can’t help but think the whole thing is just the Stanford Prison Experiment writ large. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle: the agents of authority push the envelope on just how far they can dehumanize the people caught in their little fiefdom, and the further they push the envelope the more they normalize that interaction and pave the way for ever-more-intrusive search and abuse. I wonder if Americans will finally stand up and declare they’ve had enough when some tin-pot jihadist sneaks a bomb up his ass past TSA and they respond with mandatory rectal examinations for all travelers.

  43. #43 |  derfel cadarn | 

    The TSA and LEOs are all thugs. No redeeming social value.

  44. #44 |  Bob | 

    #40 Carl Drega

    Calling Hale – a full patch Pagan – “an ex-marine” is bullshit Radley. Then current membership in an ultra violent gang is probably more relevant to the shooting than his former military service isn’t it?

    Being a Pagan is a 24/7 commitment to crime and violence.

    And there you have it! See how easy it is for humans to vilify other humans? Let’s just round up the Pagans and gas them down!

    The guy was unarmed, sitting on a porch. The police had no warrant for his arrest. Further, the guy HAD NO ARREST RECORD.

    The police, on the other hand, were all fired up. state police Lt. Patrick Ogden told Browne prior to the killing that guns and drugs were recovered two days earlier during a search warrant at the home where Hale was killed, that Hale was a member of the motorcycle club and that “Mr. Hale had been known to carry firearms.” Hale had a permit from Virginia to carry concealed weapons.

    So even if he WAS armed, (Which he was not) it would have been perfectly legal for him to be.

    See how this works? The Police convince themselves that this guy is the sum of all evil, then ride out LYNCH MOB style and confront him. Tasers fly, guns are drawn, shots are fired. That’s good work, boys!

    But it’s all legal because they’re the boys in blue! The protectors of little children and Unicorns.

  45. #45 |  Carl Drega | 

    “And there you have it! See how easy it is for humans to vilify other humans?”


    to speak ill of; defame; slander.
    Obsolete . to make vile.

    Speaking the truth about his membership in a horribly violent evil group of men – which requires from all its membership that they regularly batter others at a minimum – is not vilification.

    “Let’s just round up the Pagans and gas them down!”

    While unconstitutional, it would certainly be a boon to civil society.

  46. #46 |  Oscar | 

    Re Assange: Consider the positions the government is taking:

    * The First Amendment protections for a free press apply only to “journalists”, not to everyone.

    * The government gets to decide who is a journalist and who isn’t.

    Taken together, these two things would wipe out freedom of speech, since the government can take away your freedom of speech just by asserting you’re not a journalist.

    There’s another idea they’re sneaking in there: the idea that being a “political actor” disqualifies you from First Amendment protection. In other words, they’re saying that the First Amendment doesn’t protect political speech (a complete inversion, since protecting political speech was the primary purpose of that amendment’s free speech protections).

  47. #47 |  ravenshrike | 

    Assange became a political actor the moment he assembled the security file and threatened in a public forum to have it released if anything happened to him. If the threat had been made through private communication things might be different, but the venue he chose for his announcement defined him as a political actor.