Monday, January 16, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

NDAA & You; The Straight Up

Much has been said about the signing of NDAA. There have been wild accusations, on the one hand, and‎ downplaying on the other. There have been doctored video clips posted on the internet, which big name news outfits ran with as gospel, claiming that President Obama personally called for this bill to include the arrest, willy-nilly,  &  infinite detention of, American Citizens on US Soil for no particular reason...

 Even as this dark practical joke was brought to light, the very news agencies that alerted the world about it, in the first place, are oddly silent now. I don't think that's unintentional, of course. There's big money behind both The News, if that's what we're calling it, and politics, alike. One might even suppose that certain 'news men' would enjoy the attention, or any of the spoils there of. But that's not what really matters here.

The language as it stands in sections 1031 & 1033 is ambiguous enough to need to be changed. I repeat, need  to be.

It's not that it actually threatens the freedom & rights of American Citizens on an actual day to day basis, as it has specific language to prevent that, installed at the equally specific request of the Obama administration, in a word:

"The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States."

What could be clearer?

This also deals only and specifically with those the President, himself, has asked to have detained.

"Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war."

So, unless the President gets a slip of paper with your name on it, and you don't happen to be an American Citizen or legal alien (It doesn't apply to either), then you're all good. For now.

Those covered under this Law of War deal are described here, exactly as:

"Section 1031 excerpt:

(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
 (1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
 (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces."

This being the case, I, personally, don't believe Barack Obama is going to start sending in the Marines. Nobody is going to GitMo for wearing a burka in a Facebook modeling shoot.
Christ, the guy who posted his hatred for Obama, including: "...kill that fucken nigger & his monkey children" is still walking around loose somewhere, from what I understand. If not him, why you?

"The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it," Obama wrote in the signing statement.

Of course, there are those who love this shit in any election year.
It's a constitutional debate, they'll say.
The biggest news agencies in the free world just collectively tossed out a lie about the President insisting on the power to put us all in camps, during an election year, and it's coincidence? Not likely.
They don't even have to pick a side. Their ratings are sky rocketing right now, as aneurisms abound.
They're spinning you out, me out, US OUT... just like Wall Street did.
They're betting on either side & both of them, as long as rating shares go up, they DON'T CARE ABOUT THE TRUTH.

Then there's the real issue. The language of sections 1031 & 1033 is ambiguous enough to make 4 star generals, the ACLU, Amnesty International and a lot of other people really fucking nervous. Consider that these questionable words were tamed down from the original bill, authored by, among others, John McCain. I watched him during the debates on this bill, asking why, exactly, we couldn't have the military using predator drones on US citizens in Providence, Rhode Island.
He really didn't understand why not.

So, should this law stand as it is, we're looking at trouble. Not from Obama, although I wish he'd step up to something a little more aggressively, but beyond Obama.  Rick Perry with the power to incarcerate at will? Not good. At all. He'd start gay witch hunts in all of the 57 states (his count, not mine) before sundown. Rick Santorum hasn't really showed his cards, but funny disappearances happen under theocracies.

My point here is this: The language of this bill NEEDS to be changed, and the momentum has begun. It will require a legal process and a hearing by the Supreme court, if Congress can't do it, themselves. But then, they don't have a great accomplishment record right now.

It's also no mystery why this spread so far and generated so much hate in an election year. Because the Media wanted it to. And if you think Wall Street & the GOP don't have a majority of pull there, I wish you the best of luck.
You'll need it.

Link to the entire NDAA is here.
Section 1031 starts on page 361.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chief Serpas' 12 Point Plan; or "I gotta New Toy for Christmas, Kids!"

Chief Serpas' 12 point crime fighting plan has arrived. Coming in through my email, it was a nightmare of jumbled html, and had to be corrected before reposting it here. This, of course, offers little confidence in their new "computerized" crime fighting. Perhaps if they'd just sent it in plain text, it would have been legible.

Then again, while my neighbor was calling the 5th District to report suspicious & threatening activity on her doorstep, as Mitch & Ronal keep pleading with us to do, they referred her back to the General Dispatch number, rather than take the call, even though it's in their district. The General Dispatch number agreed, refusing to do anything about it either, and referring her back to the 5th District. She explained all of this to Sergeant Cutno, at the 5th District, who had answered the phone the first time, telling her to call dispatch. Then she had to wait for him to call back, to see if a unit would ever be sent out.

No amount of computerized equipment is going to make up for the lazy, disinterested apathy of the NOPD at street level. From my own experience, I have immediately been the main suspect anytime I've called them, including while bartending during an armed robbery. Six witnesses (who were there & also robbed) described the robber as short & black, yet they came within seconds of charging me with the robbery, despite these witnesses, and the fact that I'm just over 6 feet, and Caucasian.

There have been at least half a dozen calls made about the street violence on St Claude Avenue (Item # L42745-11), yet none of this 'Laser Precision' has zeroed in on it, to date. My last call to the 5th regarding this issue was answered by laughter for several seconds before a voice said "Hello?" followed by more laughter, and then "5th District...", as though some drunk kids were answering dad's phone. They knew nothing of the events, and told me they couldn't possibly, as "the computers is down." I even emailed the Chief, along with a CC; to Kristin Palmer & Jackie Clarkson. So far? Crickets & dead air. I would suggest that Chief Serpas & Mayor Landrieu apply some high tech Boot to Ass, and get the actual members of the NOPD AWAY from computer screens and other facets of law enforcement that remove them from community interaction. The murder rate has been on a steady climb since the inception of Serpas' 'reign' and the violations of civil rights have not abated one iota since the DOJ report gave a frightening & scathing grade to what is approximately the New Orleans Brute Squad.

For opinions other than my own, one need only read this blog,
( )
to get an idea of how far wrong this department has gone.

Please, take a few seconds and read this notice from the Chief. It sounds for all the world like a geek who got his favorite toy for Christmas, by convincing Mom & Dad it was needed for a School Project, when it's only really gonna be used for fantasy football & porn. Like most technology, in the right hands, it's irreplaceable. But when the homework isn't done and the team is running amok, it's tits on a bull, plain & simple. Trouble is, we're paying for Juniors New Toy, and getting killed in the process, at the highest rate in the land.

Here's Da Chief's Big Notice;

New Orleans Police Department – Public Information Office
Superintendent Serpas Releases 2012 Crime-fighting Strategy

***Plan Attached***
(January 2, 2012)-  Today Superintendent Ronal Serpas released the 2012 Crime-fighting plan for the New Orleans Police Department.

“The new police tactics we announce today, coupled with Mayor Landrieu’s Strategic Command to Reduce Homicides, give us new tools that we need to make a difference in New Orleans,” said Superintendent Serpas 

 The biggest advantage to this new strategy is the department’s ability to focus and zero-in on locations where crime trends are most prevalent, as opposed to covering broader crime areas.  New software acquired last year, which is now in place, enables the NOPD to do this.

“The 2012 refinements released today, expand upon the strength of the NOPD 65 Point Plan to re-build the New Orleans Police department by being able to utilize several state-of-the-art crime analytic software programs purchased and installed throughout 2011”, said Superintendent Serpas.

“What is noteworthy about this plan is that we now have the unparalleled ability to use laser-like focus to fight both major and minor crimes within our community.  Instead of using manpower to cover the large area of , say, a half mile,  we now have the computer intelligence and knowledge to focus at the street level, many times no bigger than four to five square blocks”, Serpas said.

As the technology becomes more familiar with all districts, the department will better understand crime trends and criminal habits, and information will be reviewed and updated to fine-tune policing strategies.

Superintendent Serpas said, “We will routinely produce maps that direct our aggressive, professional and impartial policing in the areas of our city linked by homicides, shootings, guns and drugs in ways that are supported by best practices and evidenced based policing of hot spots models used in other cities.”

“Key to the future of this department is building the professionalism of the men and women who serve with pride and dignity”, Superintendent Serpas said.
“Due to the Mayor’s and City Council’s action on the NOPD’s 2012 budget, which provides stability for planning, we look forward to reviving the Police Officer II, III and IV promotional system in a unique partnership with the Fraternal Order of Police in 2012; promoting critically needed sergeants and lieutenants to ensure that our service is the finest it can be; and, by hiring the first NOPD Training Academy of our administration in early 2012.”

Superintendent Serpas' crimefighting strategy for 2012 is attached.

( Note: While I'm sure it's clever beyond words, this power point presentation re: the New Computer Skills, wouldn't open.)

WWOZ - New Years Music Fail; The New Orleans Old Folks Home

Not to sound like a complaining asshole (cuz that'd be new, right?), but I tuned in to WWOZ for New Years Eve, hoping to hear some great New Orleans music. At first, there was some really trippy brass-hop, and I thought I was in heaven.
It turned out to be 'filler' while they connected to "Irvin Mayfield & the Jazz Playhouse Revue & Special Guests."

 While all of these folks have great histories, the self aggrandizing of saying each other's names, over & over in to the microphone, seemed more like some TV Award Show gone horribly wrong. Whatever their major skill sets, a 12 minute tambourine solo, for New Years, really? Followed by a 15 minute emotive banjo solo? Keep in mind, this was all under the context of the longest, most repetitive version of 'Little Liza Jane' I've ever heard.

 Reaching across the globe, via live streaming internet, from the city voted number one New Years Eve spot in the entire country, this was what the English so lovingly call 'shite'. Considering the vast amount of genuine talent & musical innovation resident in our fair city, never mind the bands like the Soul Rebels, who take traditional brass music to the level of Jimi Hendrix, when fully on, I was beyond disappointed.

I turned the shit OFF.

I'm sorry, but whatever credentials Irvin Mayfield may have in the jazz world, or even only in New Orleans jazz world, this Uncle Tom pandering to the played-to-death carnival hymns of yesterday, including the unbridled selfishness of relentlessly featuring every name of note they could squeeze in, doing the stuff nobody but aging tourists from the musicless suburbs would ever sit through, were certainly diminished, if not destroyed, by this sojourn into blatant commercialism.

Don't get me wrong, here. I WANTED it to be good, if not great. I looked forward to it serving as the musical back drop for my New Years Eve.  But this was not to be. As the Monday Morning of the New Year dawns with our Chief of police bragging, not only about busting some poor 25 year old schlub for possessing a small amount of personal marijuana, but suggesting that he got a dangerous 'future' armed robber off the streets by doing so, I find myself closer to a Stepford/Mayberry in Hell reality than I ever thought possible for the City of New Orleans.

Were it not for the stellar quality embraced by the New Orleans Saints, in both performance & integrity, and the art & music found off of this beaten-to-death path, I would consider the possibility of chucking it all in, here.
But of course, I can't & I won't.

Join me in the following year, if you dare, in going out to see music that MATTERS; from the Soul Rebels to Ratty Scurvics & the Black Market Butchers, or Dr John sitting in with JD Hill at the St Roch Tavern.
Patronize amazing local theater at out-of-the-way places like Allways Lounge & Marigny Theater, the Shadow Box theater or Otter's Backyard Ballroom, rather than more commercial endeavors, like Professional Douche Bag, Pres Kabacoff's, ugly little orange mall.

Like any city, New Orleans has government, police, buildings and roads, and all the other accoutrements that make a city a city. But like all of them, it is the People here who make it what it is. And in that respect, it's pretty fucking amazing.

While WWOZ sells out with the rest of the Jazz & Heritage Foundation (Kid Rock? The Eagles? Really? That's Jazz & Heritage? Or just a money grab...), you don't have to. So rather than suggest yet another boycott of anything, I recommend a more positive approach; Go see the Good Shit. It's everywhere. And it's waiting for ya.

When it comes to the People, the Music, the Art & Lifestyle of New Orleans, never mind the food, it's the Greatest City in the World, in my humble opinion. But, like anything even approaching greatness, there are parasites hanging on. In this case, they are the usual money grubbing promotion shucksters, greedy politicians, crooked developers and thuggish cops. But don't let that stop you.

Gird your loins appropriately, folks, and head on out.
Life in this city is dangerous.
Its complicated.
It's amazing & it's beautiful.
In the final measure, for me, it's the only way to go.

Once you see past the commercials, its an endless ride of brilliant talents of every kind.
There's a whole New Year of New Orleans getting made, right now.
Be a part of it.
Go on out & get some on ya, ya hurd?

Lord David
Skull Club