By Doug Porter
Two New York City policemen were gunned down in cold blood as they sat their patrol car in Brooklyn and Saturday. The gunman had a long history of mental illness and a criminal record to match. He used social media to brag about his murderous intent, saying it was revenge for police injustices.
Cable news networks and social media were all over it. It took about a half hour before I saw the first threats against Rev. Al Sharpton on Facebook. A rep for the NYPD union declared the city a war zone, blaming Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying he had blood on his hands. Former mayor Rudi Giuliani blamed the President and Attorney General. Fox News interspersed film clips of NYC protesters advocating violence with clips of an Al Sharpton speech in Washington.
The usual fear-mongers to wasted no time using these senseless deaths as an opportunity to denigrate those who’ve been protesting police shootings of civilians in recent months. There is, of course, no connection. But look for the nation’s press to back away from reporting on future protests. The taint is in the air, even if the facts don’t support the narrative.
New York Times-– Basic facts of this story.
The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were in the car near Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the shadow of a tall housing project when the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the passenger-side window and assumed a firing stance, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. Mr. Brinsley shot several rounds into the heads and upper bodies of the officers, who never drew their weapons, the authorities said.
Mr. Brinsley, 28, then fled down the street and onto the platform of a nearby subway station, where he killed himself as officers closed in. The police recovered a silver semiautomatic handgun, Mr. Bratton said.
Los Angeles Times on the shooter’s background.
Born into a Muslim family in Brooklyn, Brinsley became a high school dropout with a history of mental health treatment who repeatedly ran afoul of the law across the country, according to officials and court records.
Law enforcement officials said Brinsley had 19 arrests in Georgia and Ohio dating back to August 2004. Even his mother was scared of him, officials said.
Mother Jones–-There is no trend here. Most cop killers are white.
But, while every killing of an officer is a tragedy, it is worth noting, as my colleague Shane Bauer reported in the context of another story, assaults and felony killings of police officers in the US are down sharply over the past two decades. Attention has also been focused on Brinsley’s race, but FBI data shows that, though African Americans are arrested and incarcerated at a higher rate than whites, the majority of assailants who feloniously killed police officers in the past year were white.
Media Matters— The right wing media declined to report on statements from Mayor De Blasio and President Obama condemning violence in recent weeks, while giving top billing to allegations saying they’d encouraged violence.
A December 21 post by National Review Online contributor Andrew McCarthy suggested President Obama and “like-minded radicals” were in part to blame for the murder of the two NYPD officers, claiming their rhetoric signals “that savage acts against police and others are likely to be rationalized and tolerated.”
#BlackLivesMatter Demonstrations Continue
Several thousand protesters took over the Mall of America on Saturday, prompting a scenario eerie similar to Orwell’s 1984 and large video screens issued warnings as police massed nearby. Employees of at least one store walked off the job with their hands up in sympathy for the demonstrators.
There were also demonstrations in Seattle, Riverside, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
In Milwaukee on Monday morning the DA announced that the officer who shot an unarmed Dontre Hamilton 14 times after he resisted arrest will not be charged. The National Guard has already been placed on alert.
Racism, Mission Valley Style
A bi-racial family living in the Courtyard Apartments on Friars Road went to 10News after 200 of their neighbors were informed by anonymous letter saying they were manufacturing meth and selling children in her home.
The letter states, in part:
Dear Fellow Courtyards Neighbor,
A criminal element has been operating out of the unit for nine months. They are a hybrid gang. The main person is a Large White Lady and the other Accomplices are mostly Black Males.
The letter also says the residents are cooking methamphetamine.
LINK: Read the full letter
Renee’s husband is black and so are her three teenage sons. Renee works for the U.S. government, while her husband is employed by the San Diego Unified School District as a coach. She said they both have to undergo strict background and drug tests for work. She said her three boys are track, basketball and football standouts. They are being recruited by colleges across the country.
Dusting Off Stick for San Diego’s Homeless
Lately we’ve hearing about how San Diego is poised to do something serious to address the homeless population. The most recent census indicates there are about 8,500 people living without shelter locally; some homeless advocates argue the number is much higher.
The city government’s latest moves include soliciting proposals for a permanent year-round shelter, a promise of money for private owned housing units, and new software facilitating usage of currently available facilities.
Now that the “carrot” is at least being talked about, the potential for the stick is woven through at weekend UT-San Diego article:
Tristia Bauman, a senior attorney for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, praised San Diego for all its new efforts to help the homeless, particularly the initiatives focused on permanent housing.
But she said the city is making a mistake by reviving the criminal approach.
“San Diego is taking many of the right steps, but they should just keep devoting finances to that,” Bauman said. “Criminalization is not part of the solution because it doesn’t address underlying issues and a criminal record can make it harder to find a job or qualify for subsidized housing.”
Local Albertsons, Von Stores Changing Ownership in 2015
Twenty five local grocery stores will have new branding and management in the next fw months, according to an article in the San Diego Business Journal. The change over is part of a government-required divestment stemming from the pending merger of the Safeway (which owns Vons) and Albertsons chains.
The new owner is Haggen, Inc, based out of Bellingham, Washington.
The transaction includes 17 Albertsons and eight Vons stores in San Diego County. The stores are in San Diego, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Carlsbad, Del Mar, El Cajon, Poway, Santee, San Marcos and Coronado.
After the close of the transaction in early 2015, Haggen will convert all of the acquired Albertsons and Safeway stores to the Haggen banner in phases during the first half of the year. Officials said all Albertsons and Safeway store employees will have the opportunity to become Haggen employees, and the company plans to retain current store management teams.
North Korea: Paper Tiger or…
The Guardian is reporting on North Korea’s latest ratcheting up of rhetoric, which now includes a threat to target the White House.
A Los Angeles Times report on the latest missive from Korean leader Kim Jong Un includes accusations of US government involvement in the making of the film.
LA Times columnist Micheal Hiltzik wrote about a vocal group of scribes saying they aren’t convinced that North Korea is behind the hack of Sony Pictures.
The anti-hacker community isn’t ruling out North Korea. Many also acknowledge that the FBI may have stronger evidence against North Korea that it’s chosen not to make public. It’s also proper to note that disdain for the FBI–indeed, for the government in general–runs deep in this community.
But these experts’ warnings that it may be premature to declare the case closed should be taken seriously. To quote Dr. Krypt3ia again: “Let’s take a step back here and ponder the FBI statement today on colonel mustard in the study with the laptop before we go PEW PEW PEW ok?”
And Saturday Night Live had it’s own perspective on the Sony hack with Mike Myers appearing as the Austin Powers movie character Dr. Evil:
“I’ve preempted this program because I’m furious that Sony Pictures and North Korea have given evil a bad name,” the comedian said
Sex-Trafficking in San Diego and Tijuana
The LA Times Tony Perry reported on how San Diego is becoming a center for gangs trafficking prostitutes around the country.
…an investigation by the FBI and the Sheriff’s Department that led this month to the indictment of 22 suspected gang members and associates on charges of running a multi-state prostitution ring, including seducing underage girls into “the life.”
The defendants recruited about 100 girls and young women by promising a lavish lifestyle and emotional support and plying them with alcohol and drugs, federal prosecutors said. When those tactics failed, the pimps used violence, they added.
The operation was centered in Spring Valley and Lemon Grove in eastern San Diego County, according to the indictment. Many of the underage girls attended schools in the Grossmont Union High School District.
And the Toronto Globe and Mail published a story by local reporter Brooke Binkowski on the Garden House, which serves as a sanctuary in Tijuana for victims of sex-trafficking.
There are now eleven girls like her living there, between nine and 17 years old, and each with a story like Hilda’s. The home provides them with a team of teachers, therapists and cooks. Ms. Tucker, an American citizen born in Mexico, crosses the border daily to oversee the Casa’s workings.
Former Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s 2006 tougher drug-law reforms, combined with ever-tightening U.S. border security, have made the trafficking of women and girls exponentially more profitable, dramatically increasing the need for programs such as Ms. Tucker’s Garden House.
At least 20,000 people are trafficked through Mexico every year, and the vast majority of them are women and girls, said Rosi Orozco, a former member of Mexico’s Congress, who opened a similar shelter in Mexico City. She said some girls are sold to the cartels by their families, often for drug money, while others are kidnapped and prostituted by cartels – one of the many reasons the exact location of La Casa del Jardin is kept a strict secret.
On This Day: 1775 – A Continental naval fleet was organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins 1919 – Amid a widespread strike for union recognition by 395,000 steelworkers, approximately 250 alleged “anarchists,” “communists,” and “labor agitators” were deported to Russia, marking the beginning of the so-called “Red Scare” 1961 – James Davis became the first US soldier to die in Vietnam, while US involvement was still limited to the provision of military advisers.
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