Friday, June 15, 2012

Leahy Says "Stand Up To Hate Crime" - 2

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
On or about this date in 2009 we posted about a federal law concerning hate crime.

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed the congress, went to the president, and was signed into law.

The law makes it easier for federal officials to prosecute hate crimes conducted while an individual is not doing an activity that involves some other federal law, such as voting, which had been required before this law was passed.

Here is the original post's text from Senator Leahy:

Dear [Dredd],

Just last month, a white supremacist opened fire in the National Holocaust Memorial Museum, killing security guard Stephen T. Johns only a few blocks from the Capitol. What a tragedy.

Any hate crime -- even just this one -- would be too many. But in fact, a recent report by the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights found that a hate crime is committed somewhere in America nearly once an hour.

This is a national disgrace. That's why today Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and I introduced the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, long championed by Senator Ted Kennedy, to tackle the scourge of hate crime in America. Our bipartisan legislation has been stalled in Congress for over a decade, but enough is enough: now is the time to finally expand federal enforcement against hate crimes.


...

If passed, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act would strengthen anti-hate crime laws already on the books. Specifically, this long-overdue legislation will:
* Allow federal authorities to more easily investigate and prosecute crimes motivated by race, color, or beliefs;

* Update the law to include crimes motivated by disability status, gender, or sexual orientation; and

* Strengthen federal support for state and local law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of hate-motivated violence.
Over 300 law enforcement, civil rights, religious, and professional organizations from around the country have weighed in, urging the immediate passage of this measure, as have President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Our legislation also enjoys the bipartisan support of Senator Susan Collins, Senator Olympia Snowe, and others in Congress, but some will likely continue to obstruct its passage unless they hear from us.

With the Senate poised to vote on the hate crimes bill, now is the time to speak out.

It's time to finally enact this bipartisan anti-hate crime legislation, but we need to lock down 60 votes to secure its passage. Please e-mail your Senators today.

The number of hate groups in America ballooned by over 50% between 2000 and 2008, during which time Congress repeatedly failed to send Senator Kennedy's Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act to the President's desk. This alarming trend is simply unacceptable in 21st Century America.

With your help we can finally expand federal jurisdiction over hate crime cases, offer federal protection and support to all victims of hate-motivated violence, and ensure justice is served upon those who commit this exceptionally repugnant form of crime.

Sincerely,

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

P.S. The Senate will decide whether or not to include the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill soon, so please e-mail your Senators right now to avert a Republican filibuster!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Memorial of The Unmemorialized - 2


"The Science Of War"
In this series we deal with the threat of nuclear war that all too many in the Plutocracy have not chosen to memorialize or memorize.

Even though it is the main anthropogenic threat to the survival of species, including the human species, the dogs of war are snarling up some trouble.

For some reason the "war on terror", often infamously called "the war on a noun", evidently is not panning out so well for the propaganda engines of the Homeland Plutocracy, nor is it panning out so well for its broader personality, the Private Empire, either.

So it seems that MOMCOM may be punting and going back to try to bring the zombie cold war back:
Russia has repeatedly stated that it would consider an attack on Syria as an attack on its national security. (And Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that if the U.S. invades the sovereignty of countries like Syria, it could lead to nuclear war. And see this.)

Now, Russia is allegedly selling attack helicopters to the Syrian government, and defending the sales because the U.S. is supplying rebels with weapons to fight against the government.

Cold War 2.0. And this time, China may participate.

Of course, Iran and Syria have had a mutual defense pact for years. So war in Syria could well drag Iran into a hot war.
(Washington's Blog, "Cold War 2.0"). In the previous Dredd Blog post we noted the dangers this foreign policy is bringing back:
This is because smoke from the enormous nuclear firestorms created by even a “successful” US nuclear first-strike would cause catastrophic disruption of global climate and massive destruction of the Earth’s protective ozone layer, leading to global famine.

Recent peer-reviewed studies, done by atmospheric scientists Alan Robock (Rutgers), Brian Toon (University of Colorado-Boulder), Richard Turco (UCLA) and colleagues, predict that such an attack would create immense firestorms that would quickly surround the planet with a dense stratospheric smoke layer.

The black smoke would be heated by the sun, lofted like a hot air balloon, and would remain in the stratosphere for at least 10 years. There it would block and prevent a large fraction of sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. The sharp reduction of warming sunlight would rapidly produce global Ice Age weather conditions. This would eliminate or dramatically reduce growing seasons for a decade and would likely cause the starvation of most or all humans.
(A Memorial of The Unmemorialized). The song "Who Let the Dogs Out" now can apply to The Dogs of War, who are barking up the wrong nuclear holocaust.

The previous post in this series is here.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mars: Analyzing Layers of History

Gale Crater Landing Site - Mars
On August 5, 2012, NASA hopes to land the most robust rover ever, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), nicknamed Curiosity, inside the ellipse drawn on the graphic to the left (click to enlarge).

 The graphic detail is of Gale Crater, on the planet Mars.

The mountain inside the crater was not likely formed by the meteorite impact billions of years ago, rather it was more likely formed later by layered deposits over eons of time, most likely when water covered both the crater as well as the area around the crater.

Gale Crater - Overhead View
The graphic photo to the right (click to enlarge) is another view of the crater, also containing the ellipse shaped landing zone (at about 11 o'clock just inside the crater rim).

That landing zone has been shrunk to a much smaller target area recently, because the landing software has been improved, tested, and uploaded to Curiosity.

This photo clearly shows that the mountain area that will be studied is not in the center of the crater.

After the MSL Curiosity lands safely, is checked out, then begins its journey, it will eventually try to follow canyons uphill toward the top of the mountain.

Along the way up the mountain, it will sample layers of deposited material, analyzing them for both their mineral content, as well as indications of how those minerals were deposited.

The scientists conducting the analysis will be able to determine if the material was laid down in water, the salinity and acidity of that water at the time, as well as general environmental conditions that changed the layers over vast amounts of time.

Furthermore, the clay materials near the lowest elevations will be analyzed for organic materials as well as signatures of microbial or other life forms:
"This may be one of the thickest exposed sections of layered sedimentary rocks in the solar system. The rock record preserved in those layers holds stories that are billions of years old -- stories about whether, when, and for how long Mars might have been habitable."
(Strange Attraction ... Gale Crater). One of the main interests Dredd Blog has is the source of the microbial fossils found in meteorites that originated on Mars but later crashed into the Earth.

Some of them have been analyzed by NASA scientists who have concluded that the fossils inside those meteorites are organic, microbial life, which came from Mars.

That is a controversial issue at this time, however, there is a chance that the Curiosity rover will be able to add to the data upon which the controversy is based.

Another controversial issue is the Exploded Planet Hypothesis which says that a planet located between Mars and Jupiter exploded.

It generated meteors which led to cratering on other planets and moons when those meteors became meteorites.

When that planet exploded it left asteroids and comets as residue and debris.

Anyway, the analysis of strata layers on Mars, when compared to eventual analysis of strata layers on Phobos and on the asteroid Vesta, may provide some sort of syncronization that could help to solve these controversial issues.

The following video features the lead geologist of the Curiosity rover exploration program, who explains how the site was chosen, and what they expect to find there.


LOG of video:

0:00:00 Introduction of Dr. Golombek
0:02:10 Dr. Golombek begins
0:04:30 Dry Lakebed on Mars
0:04:50 ~4.5 bn yr old lake
0:05:10 oldest Earth life ~3.9 bn yrs old
0:06:00 rock suggests Earth life may have originated on Mars
0:07:30 water was on surface of mars ~3.8 bn years ago (Burns Formation)
0:09:30 lots of clay across Martian surface indicates liquid, neutral water
0:10:15 about Curiosity rover
0:10:40 minerals in rocks identify how rock formed, and its environment
0:12:00 how Curiosity landing takes place on Mars; needed surface conditions
0:16:00 protecting Mars from Earth "contamination" by rover
0:17:00 how landing site was chosen
0:19:00 final 4 sites / reduced to one eventually
0:23:00 focus on Gale Crater during selection process
0:23:30 landing site near 5 km mound (clay, sulfates,in a layered stack)
0:31:30 sand dunes at edge of landing area have ways to go through them
0:33:20 routes up the mound to clay layer past first "fence"
0:33:40 sulfate layers also accessible past second "fence"
0:34:20 mound canyons probably more difficult but doable
0:37:00 what is Gale landing and mound site going to be like
0:38:00 landing site dusty like Gusev (Spirit rover), mound will be less dusty
0:38:50 bedrock layers are exposed at base of mound, top is very fine dust
0:40:00 landing site has a dry river delta
0:40:50 recent craters at site may have uncovered organic material
0:41:50 simulation of what mound looks like
0:42:40 landing August 5, 2012 ~10:30 pm Pacific Time
0:42:50 could take months to a year to reach the mound from landing site
0:43:15 question session
1:03:03 END

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coup In Military Molded neoCon Dogma - 2

Baghdad Bob
Recent posts here on Dredd Blog have explored the notion of a "coup", because public figures have used that word to explain strange events in foreign and domestic policy.

In the series of posts A Tale of Coup Cities those statements and events that fit into that picture were looked at.

Earlier by several years, on this date in 2009, Dredd Blog had taken a look at the issue before it was being talked about by public officials.

Here is the text of that 2009 post:

Some closely watched the first gulf war during Bush I, and they have compared that mission to the Iraq invasion and endless occupation of Bush II's loose canon years.

Some of those watchers note a distinct change of mind, soul, and spirit in the way the two operations were conducted.

They conclude that something changed U.S. troops from performers in a compassionate coalition during the Bush I war, to the different, torturing, and primarily destructive forces we have seen during Bush II.

My theory is that there was a coup within the U.S. military where neoCon elements gained control over traditional military ideology.

The old doctrine was that the military kept afar from, but subject to, the civilian realm.

That old doctrine was overthrown, and the propaganda ideology reminiscent of despotic regimes we traditionally hold in contempt took over in the old docrtrine's place and stead.

That old traditional military doctrine prefers and relies primarily on convincing a target population through psychological operations, thereby avoiding armed conflict where ever possible.

In the civilian realm that same technique is called diplomacy and mutual cooperation; such as what the United Nations was designed to do.

The coup changed all that for various reasons, and the military took on a renegade spirit, producing what I call the neoCon dogma.

That dogma then infected the republican party with operatives, as it got in bed with or embedded the press.

Operatives were specifically used to interface with and to infiltrate and indoctrinate the party and the press, which ultimately established and promulgated a new public rhetoric and dialogue.

The republican party had been correctly seen as the party which was more susceptible to an overthrow of its moderates, and to a takeover by its extremist elements to replace those moderate elements.

One could say that in some ways the coup was "brilliant" and it worked.

But now with the value of hindsight, we see that the neoCon element has destroyed the U.S. economy, the Iraqi economy, and even the republican party; in the sense that none of them are the same or as healthy as they were before that neoCon dogma came into power.

In hindsight it can be clearly seen that the traditional military doctrine worked better, so now the moderates within the republican party are wondering exactly what happened, and how to fix it.

That is a titanic struggle which is sure to continue for several years, and it should be noted that the neoCons will not go down easily.

Republicans Mike Murphy and Joe Scarborough were talking with Democrat John Dean on Morning Joe (MSNBC), today, about this very issue, which is the focus of a book by Scarborough.

They all agreed that the republican party needs to reject the neoCon dogma and ideology, or it will never be the controlling party again.

But take heed, the republicans will never completely reach that goal until they first realize the source of their party's illness, and then treat it at the source.

The democrats are the ones who need to beware now, because the neoCon elements have set their sights on them, discarding the republicans as the party of their attention.

Note that my use of the term "military" in this post applies not only to those in uniform, but also to those controlled by those in uniform.

In a book review over at Lew Rockwell's website, in the section "The Straussian Love Affair with War", it is pointed out that warmongering is a trait of the Straussian neoCon elements who infiltrated the republican party.

The counter to that Straussian ideology, American tradition, is contrasted in a post The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?

The definition of the word "coup", as I use it in this post, and as the context suggests, is "a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment".

The associated extreme edge phrase "coup d'etat" was not intended nor used because that connotes an illegal change, and since we know hard liners can legally take leadership or lose leadership over the military, a political party, or the federal government, the word "coup" was adequate.

As you can see by perusing that 2009 post above, in terms of "coup", it was less "direct" than the much more recent posts in the Dredd Blog series A Tale of Coup Cities.

That is because those latter posts followed in the wake of much more recent public statements made by public officials.

Those official statements declare unabashedly that both a foreign policy coup, as well as a domestic economic policy coup, have taken place.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Diagnosing The Dogs of War

"difficult for civilians to understand"
The novel The Dogs of War became a candidate in my preliminary reading list.

Then I read this Wikipedia paragraph describing some of the factors of the book:
"The mercenary protagonists, like the protagonist in the author's earlier novel The Day of the Jackal (1971), are professional killers — ruthless, violent men, heroic only in the loosest sense of the word. Thus, they are anti-heroes. Initially introduced as simply killers, as the novel progresses they are gradually shown to adhere to a relatively moral mercenary code; however as the mercenary leader Shannon tries to explain at one point, it is difficult for civilians to understand this.

The story details a geologist's mineral discovery, and the preparations for the attack: soldier recruitment, training, reconnaissance, and the logistics of the coup d'├ętat (buying weapons, transport, payment). Like most of Forsyth's work, the novel is more about the protagonists' occupational tradecraft than their characters. The source of the title, The Dogs of War, is Act III, scene 1, line 270 of Julius Caesar (1599), by William Shakespeare: Cry, 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war."
(The Dogs of War). I decided that I wouldn't read it right now, seeing as how it is nothing more than contemporary history of the kind we read about every day in newspapers and on blogs, or see on the TV news.

So, also having become tired for several decades now of John Wayne movies that have country music theme songs, I decided to look into the psychology of the behavior of "the dogs of war" to try to develop a more academic approach to the subject.

First off, let's dispense with the mythical notion that violence is human nature that can not be changed:
The concept that humanity has a violent and evil core is widespread; it is one of the oldest and most resilient myths about human nature. From historical and philosophical beliefs to current popular and scientific beliefs, the view that a savage and aggressive beast is a central part of our nature permeates public and academic perceptions. Given this view, it is a common assumption that if you strip away the veneer of civilization, the restraints of society and culture, you reveal the primeval state of humanity characterized by aggression and violence.

While there are many reasons for the resilience of this myth, the most powerful one is the simple fact that humans today can and do engage in extreme levels of violence and aggression.
(Is aggression genetic?, emphasis added). One wonders why this myth is perpetuated just about anywhere you go in the U.S.eh?

I was intrigued when I read this about diagnosing human aggression:
There is no psychiatric diagnosis of ‘aggressive behaviour disorder’. Rather, aggressive behaviour may be a symptom of a number of DSM–IV psychiatric diagnoses, including conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, behaviour disorder not otherwise specified, intermittent explosive disorder, impulse control disorder not otherwise specified and some personality disorders. Thus, aggressive behaviour may be related to a very wide range of diagnoses.
(Treatment Interventions). I was even more intrigued when I compared the human diagnosis to the diagnosis of aggression in canines:
In order to treat the problem effectively, it will first be necessary to determine which type of aggression your dog displays: dominance related, fear, possessive, protective and territorial, parental, play, redirected, pain induced, pathophysiological or medical and learned. In many cases more than one form of aggression may be exhibited.
(Diagnosing Aggression In Dogs). I suppose many of the regular Dredd Blog readers would question why these categories exist as they do, because they seem to be related.

Take for instance the canine categories of aggression: "dominance related", "protective and territorial", or "possessive" aggressions:
One of the most common types of aggression seen by veterinary behaviorists is dominance-related aggression. In order to achieve security and cohesiveness within a group or pack, a hierarchy develops. Once a dog develops a position of leadership with a family member (or other dog), any challenge to that dog's leadership may lead to aggression.
...
Possessive aggression may be directed to humans or other pets that approach the dog when it is in possession of something that is highly desirable such as a favorite chew toy, food, or treat. While protecting
possessions may be necessary if an animal is to survive and thrive in the wild, it is unacceptable when directed toward people or other pets in a household.
...
Protective aggression may be exhibited toward people or other animals that approach the pet's property (territorial aggression). Generally people and other animals that are least familiar to the dog, or most unlike the members of the household are the most likely "targets" of territorial aggression. While most forms of territorial aggression are likely to occur on the property, some dogs may protect family members regardless of the location. Territorial aggression can be prevented or minimized with early socialization and good control. Young dogs should be taught to sit and receive a reward as each new person comes to the door.
(ibid, "Diagnosing Aggression In Dogs", emphasis added). These fit the behavior of the MOMCOM warmongers, so why are those diagnoses not classified as human aggressions?

Especially when one realizes who owns the dogs of war, i.e. the 1% - the pet owners, as well as realizing as Smedley did, the purpose for those pets, i.e. the 99%, and why the dogs of war are MOMCOM's best friends.

Then the nature of the aggression comes more readily out of the fog of war and into the light of analysis, as does the route or direction the 99% are herded into via propaganda.

The hope I have to express in this post is similar to the one related to the expert diagnosis of mania discussed in the Dredd Blog post: When You Are Governed By Psychopaths.

I say that because group mania of that sort can morph into serious aggressive behavior:
Extreme mania can lead to aggressive behavior, potentially dangerous risk-taking behaviors, and homicidal acts.
(eMedicine Health). So, do we believe our lying eyes or do we begin to take careful consideration of the reality of national dementia seriously?

Keep on diagnosing in the free world.


The next post in this series is here.