Sunday :: August 17, 2014

Summertime Blues , Contributions Help

Bump and Update: Thanks to everyone who has made a donation to TalkLeft this week. If you haven't yet, and you value the site and the time and effort that goes into it, I'd really appreciate your contribution, in any amount you can afford. After 12 years of daily blogging, I know it's easy to take us for granted, and just assume we'll be continue to be here day after day, but without support, that's unlikely to be the case. Costs are rising and I do not intend to resort to advertising or a paywall. I'll be taking this down Sunday evening, so please give it some thought. And thanks again to those of you who have already donated. I will send individual thank you notes soon. (Original Post below.)

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Another Night of Curfew in Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri is under a second night of curfew.

Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a third autopsy for Michael Brown, at the request of his family. The Washington Post says:

Holder’s announcement, coming one day after revelations that additional FBI agents had been dispatched to Ferguson, was the latest signal that the federal civil rights investigation of Brown’s death is escalating. The federal probe is running parallel to the state investigation, and federal officials had said they were deferring to state officials.

MO Gov. Jay Nixon took the airwaves today and among other things, criticized the release of the alleged robbery video, saying he hadn't known about it.

Highway Patrol officer Ron Johnson spoke at a rally today and addressing Brown's parents, said "I am sorry. I wear this uniform and I should say that I am sorry.”

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Mission Creep to Mission Leap

The U.S. continued air strikes against ISIS today in its effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. According to CENTCOM, on August 15th the U.S. was just using "remotely piloted aircraft." Yesterday, when the strikes began near Irbil and the Mosul dam, CENTCOM said the strikes consisted of "a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft."

Today, according to CENTCOM, the U.S. has now added bombers and attack aircraft:

U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Sunday, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.

Obama today sent a new letter to Congress authorizing the enhanced attacks. [More...]

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Colombian Victims Meet With FARC in Havana

Saturday, for the first time, some victims of the decades of violence in Colombia met directly with FARC members at the Peace Talks in Havana.

The victims told the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Havana that they were listened to by the negotiators with a great deal of respect.

I was glad to see the victims of the right-wing paramilitary groups were also included. Some in Colombia (mostly FARC victims it seems) didn't think it was appropriate but:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay praised the move, calling it unprecedented and a potential model for other countries dealing with issues of justice, peace and reconciliation.


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Saturday :: August 16, 2014

Saturday Night Open Thread

Update: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has joined the protests in Ferguson. He grew up in St. Louis. Here's his verified Twitter feed.

Check out #ISIS Movies, it's trending on Twitter. Some of them are really funny. Both ISIS supporters and haters are participating, as are journalists and analysts.

ISIS (official, not supporters)have given up on Twitter which keeps deleting its accounts. They are now on joindiaspora (list of accounts here.) Don't just get your news from their enemies.

Also check out the new Top 100 Crime Experts to follow on Twitter (and yes, Talkleft is on it.)

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Missouri Gov. Declares State Emergency in Ferguson

The Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. A curfew is in effect until further notice.

The police brought this on themselves. They have bungled every opportunity to resolve public frustration. They are a walking public relations disaster, choosing the wrong path at every turn.

Today, the Justice Department said they asked the police not to release the security camera video from the alleged theft at Ferguson's Wine and Market. [More...]

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Rick Perry Indicted in Texas

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted in Texas on charges of abuse of power.

A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts on Friday, charging that he abused his power last year when he tried to pressure the district attorney here, a Democrat, to step down by threatening to cut off state financing to her office.

The indictment left Mr. Perry, a Republican, the first Texas governor in nearly 100 years to face criminal charges and presented a major roadblock to his presidential ambitions at the very time that he had been showing signs of making a comeback.

Perry's lawyer calls it "partisan theatrics." I wouldn't be surprised if that's true. Shades of Tom DeLay?

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Mission Creep in Iraq? U.S. Air Strikes Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

CENTCOM confirms 9 strikes against ISIS near the Mosul Dam. This is far beyond the limits Obama set. There are no U.S. personnel or interests in needing protection in Mosul or Erbil. ISIS hasn't threatened U.S. interests. Baghdad, where the Embassy has ,personnel is and our interests lie, is 100 miles away. This is a bait and switch, as we all suspected it would be.

Obama authorized air strikes to save the Yazidis. He said further strikes would be allowed to protect American interests and personnel.

Beginning last night at 6 pm, U.S. warplanes struck ISIS in Mosul, in an effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. The Kurds have reportedly retaken the East side of the dam.

"Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam" complex, Major General Abdelrahman Korini told AFP, saying several jihadists had been killed.


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Michael Brown: Latest Police Version

Ferguson police have changed their story again about whether officer Darren Wilson stopped Michael Brown after suspecting him on robbing cigars from a convenience store. At a press conference today, the police chief said Wilson did not stop Brown because he was a robbery suspect but because he was blocking the streets.

The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn’t stop him because he was suspected in a recent robbery, but because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” the city’s police chief said Friday.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters the alleged “robbery does not relate to the initial contact between the officer and Michael Brown.”

After the conference, he told the St Louis Dispatch the officer might have stopped Brown because he saw cigars in his hand and knew there was a robbery.


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Friday :: August 15, 2014

Michael Brown: Redacted Police Reports Released

Ferguson police today released the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown (Darren Wilson, who had been on the force for 6 years with no disciplinary history) and 16 pages of heavily redacted reports (available here) related to Michael Brown.

None of the released reports describe the shooting. Instead, they describe an alleged "strong arm" robbery at a convenience store that occurred shortly before noon on the day Brown was shot and killed. Police also released video images from a surveillance camera inside the store showing a person they say is Brown "towering" over a much shorter person (the store clerk or manager). Brown, according to the report, is 18 years old, 6'4" and 292 pounds. [More...]

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Thursday :: August 14, 2014

Restrain Police, Restrain Their Acquisition of War Weaponry

This version is set to a compelling series of images from the protests and response of the National Guard at Kent State in 1969.

Things haven't changed. They've gotten worse. Radley Balko, author of “Overkill: The Rise of the Warrior Cop:The Militarization of America's Police Forces" testified before Congress in 2007 that swat team raids were up 1500% in the past two decades. [More...]

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Hillary Building Ties With Julian Castro

The Washington Post reports Hillary and Bill Clinton have been cozying up with former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, giving rise to speculation she might tab him as her running mate.

Castro has been a nationally rising star since the 2012 Democratic Convention. (I wrote at the time, "Michelle Obama was good, but hands down, the star of the night was Julian Castro.) In May, Obama nominated him as Secretary of HUD. He will be sworn in on Monday. His twin brother Joaquin is a Texas congressman.

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AQAP Statement in Support of ISIS and Threatening U.S.

In response to U.S. air strikes in Iraq, AQAP (al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) has reportedly issued a statement supporting ISIS and blasting America and Obama, and urging attacks on the U.S.

The statement is titled "In the name of G-d the merciful. Subject: Statement on the US bombing on Iraq."here. It was issued by al Aswirti Media and posted on justpaste.it. You can use Google Translate or Bing Translator to translate (very rough translation, but it's enough to make out the important parts.)

ISIS has still not threatened to attack the U.S. It remains focused on building its Caliphate state in Iraq and Syria, and then in the other Muslim countries in the region. It does not control AQAP. Nor does it control its fanboys sitting behind computers in other countries who post threats to the U.S. [More...]

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Nuri al-Maliki Gives Up, Will Leave Office

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has agreed to leave office.

Maliki ended eight years of often divisive, sectarian rule and endorsed fellow Shi'ite Haider al-Abadi in a televised speech during which he stood next to his successor. Earlier, a leading figure in the Sunni minority told Reuters he had been promised U.S. help to fight the Islamic State militants.

Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi, the Governor of the Anbar province, told Reuters that the U.S. promised air support for its fight against militants.

"Our first goal is the air support. Their technology capability will offer a lot of intelligence information and monitoring of the desert and many things which we are in need of.

"No date was decided but it will be very soon and there will be a presence for the Americans in the western area."

The White House has not confirmed his statements, which were part of conversations he had with diplomats and a Pentagon official. [More...]

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Thursday Open Thread

Time for an open thread, all topics welcome, including TV (as a commenter requested earlier.) Since I've only been watching Senor de Los Cielos this summer, I'm not going to be much help leading that discussion.

Twitter is still zapping the ISIS province accounts, preventing everyone from monitoring their actions. These are the symbols to look for when they come back up, but watch out for imposter accounts.

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