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Monday, June 01, 2015

News on June 1, 2015

NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton supports the overtly aggressive Broken Windows policy in New York City. Polls show that most of the resistance to this policy comes from adults in New York City who are from aged from 18 to 35 years old (according to a Quinnipiac poll saying that 57 of people between 18 and 34 years olds opposed the Broken Windows policy). William Bratton believes that the reason why the youth oppose the Broken Windows policy, because young people didn’t live in 1990 (when the crime rate was higher). This is a silly explanation, but Bratton has promoted this view. Broken Windows deals with an aggressive strategy in policing. It wants to focus on going after even low level offensives like bike riding violations, etc. These actions can cause people to earn a summons to appear in court, and plead guilty or face a judge to experience jail time. This policy has caused unnecessary harassment, trauma, and sometimes the death of human beings. Eric Garner died as a product of this policy (including other people found in Black and Brown communities). This policy has generated revenues, facilitated gentrification, and hasn’t done anything to reduce unaffordable housing across the city. Meanwhile, Bratton and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are in the midst of a campaign to add 1,000 more police officers to the 34,500-strong NYPD for the next fiscal year, beginning on July 1. This is illogical when crime and arrest rates are in decline. We need NYC to have funding for quality of life and community improvement policies like public housing repairs, libraries, and school budgets. The Black Lives Matters Movement has grown and this movement has opposed the Broken Windows policy. The BLM has organized protests in NYC and nationwide. Broken Windows was first enacted in the 1990s. In 1993, only 160,000 summonses were issued. Since then, that number has skyrocketed, peaking in 2005 at 648,638 and dropping to 431,217 by 2013. In that last year, according to a study by the Misdemeanor Justice Project at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, over 250,000 summons--almost 60 percent of the total--were given to people under the age of 35. Most the youth oppose this policy since the youth mostly have been the recipients of it. The Broken Windows policy has been opposed in a higher level as a result of the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many cops regularly occupy poor and oppressed communities not only in America, but worldwide. There is massive police brutality in Brazil, especially in the favelas. We don’t want any innocent person to die. We want a holistic, comprehensive approach in building up our communities and making sure that human beings are safe to live out their own lives as people.

Ultra high definition TV technology continues to evolve and change. On September 11, 2014, satellite operator SES announced the first Ultra HD conditional access-protected broadcast using DVB standards at the IBC show in Amsterdam.  On November 19, 2014, the rock band Linkin Park's concert at Berlin's O2 World Arena was broadcast live in Ultra HD via an Astra 19.2°E satellite. The broadcast was encoded in the UHD 4K standard with the HEVC codec (50 frame per second and a 10 bit color depth), and was a joint enterprise of satellite owner SES, SES Platform Services, and Samsung. The Indian satellite pay TV provider Tata Sky launched UHD service and UHD Set Top Box on January 9, 2015. In May, satellite operator SES announced that Europe's first free-to-air Ultra HD channel (from Germany's shopping channel) will launch in September 2015, broadcast in native Ultra HD via the Astra 19.2°E satellite position. Now, we have 8K resolution or Full Ultra HD (or FUHD). This is the highest ultra-high definition television system in the world to exist in digital television and digital cinematography 8K relates to the horizontal resolution of these formats. They are made up of 8,000 pixels forming the total dimensions of 7680 X 4320. 8K may be the successor of 4K resolution during the future. 1080p is the current mainstream HD standard, with TV manufacturers pushing for 4K to become a new standard by 2017. One advantage of high-resolution displays such as 8K is to have each pixel be indistinguishable from another to the human eye from a much closer distance. On an 8K screen sized 52 inches, this effect would be achieved in a distance of 50.8 cm (20 inches) from the screen, and on a 92 in screen at 91.44 cm (3 feet) away. Another practical purpose of this resolution is in combination with a cropping technique used in film editing. This allows filmmakers to film in a high resolution such as 8K, with a wide lens, or at a farther distance from a potentially dangerous subject, intending to zoom and crop digitally in post-production, a portion of the original image to match a smaller resolution such as the current industry standard for high-definition televisions (1080p, 720p, and 480p).

The 1980’s in New York City was a period of economic and racial turmoil. Ex-Congressman Allard Lowenstein was assassinated by deranged person named Dennis Sweeney. There was the second New York City Transit strike from April 1-11, 1980. The Beatle John Lennon was murdered in front of his home on December 8, 1980. By January 1, 1982, Ed Koch was sworn into his second term as the city’s 105th mayor. Willie Turks in June 22, 1982 was an African American 34-year old MTA worker who was set upon and killed by a white mob in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn. On September 15, 1983, Michael Stewart was beaten into a coma by New York Transit Police officers. Stewart died 13 days later from his injuries at Bellevue Hospital.  On November 24, 1985, after a six-month trial, six officers were acquitted on charges stemming from Stewart's death. On October 29, 1984, 66 year old Eleanor Bumpurs is shot and killed by police as they tried to evict her from her Bronx apartment. Bumpurs was mentally ill. This shooting renewed more debate about police brutality and racism.  In 1987 officer Stephen Sullivan was acquitted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide stemming from the shooting. On December 22, 1984, Bernhard Goetz shoots and kills four unarmed black men on a 2 train on the subway who tried to rob him, generating weeks of headlines and many discussions about crime and vigilantism in the media. Ed Koch still is elected to a third and final term as mayor in a landmark margin on November 5, 1985. He defeated New York City Council President Carol Bellamy. On December 20, 1986, a white mob in Howard Beach, Queens, attacked three African-American men whose car had broken down in the largely white neighborhood. One of the African-American men, Michael Griffith was chased onto Shore Parkway where he is hit and killed by a passing car. The killing prompted several marches through the neighborhood led by Al Sharpton. In April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili was violently raped and beaten while jogging in Central Park. Many young people were falsely accused, convicted, and jailed.  In 2002, after the five had completed their sentences, Matias Reyes – a convicted rapist and murderer serving a life sentence for other crimes – confessed to the crime, after which DNA evidence proved the five teens innocent. In August 23, 1989,  Yusuf Hawkins, an African-American 16-year-old student is set upon and murdered by a white mob in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn in one of the city's worst-ever racial attacks. The city of New York elected David Dinkins as New York City’s first African American mayor in December 29, 1989. He was inaugurated by January 1, 1990. He was once the Manhattan Borough President.

Winston Churchill was so fanatically anti-Communist that he wanted to have a planned invasion of the Soviet Union as early on July 1945, which was before WWII was over. In late May 1945, Josef Stalin ordered Marshall Georgy Zhukov to leave Germany and come to Moscow. Stalin didn’t agree with many of the actions of the British allies. Stalin said that the Soviet forces disarmed the Germans and sent them to prisoners’ camps while the British didn’t do so. The British forces cooperated with the German troops and allowed them to maintain combat capability as a way for them to try to have a conflict with the Soviets. Stalin believed that there were plans to use the German troops later and he said that the British people’s actions violated the inter-governmental agreements that the surrendered German forces were to be immediately disbanded. Soviet intelligence found the text of a secret telegram sent by Winston Churchill to Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery. Montgomery was the commander of the British forces. The telegram instructed Montgomery to collect the weapons and keep them as a way to give them to the Germans in case the Soviet offensive continued. Zhukov received the instructions from Stalin. Zhukov harshly condemned the British activities. He spoke to the Allied Control Council (made up of the Soviet Union, the USA, the UK, and France). He said that world history knew few examples of such treachery and refusal to observe the commitments on the pair of nations that had an allied status. Montgomery at first denied the accusation, but a few years later, he admitted that received the instruction and carried it out. He said that he had no choice, but to follow it as a soldier, which is ludicrous. There was a huge battle in the vicinity of Berlin. Winston Churchill throughout the war viewed the Soviet Union as a threat to the free world. He wanted to stop the Soviet offensive as soon as possible. After Nazi Germany was defeated, Churchill wanted to possibly invade the Soviet Union. He even wanted Berlin to be taken by Anglo-American forces. Churchill wanted Americans to liberate Czechoslovakia and Prague with Austria controlled by all allies on equal terms. Not later than April 1945 Churchill instructed the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to draw up Operation Unthinkable, a code name of two related plans of a conflict between the Western allies and the Soviet Union.  That plan wanted the United States and British Empire to dominate Russia. One hypothetical date for the start of the Allied invasion of Soviet held Europe was planned for July 1, 1945. In the final days of the war against the Hitler’s Germany London started preparations to strike the Soviet Union from behind. The problem was that there was a three to one superiority of the Soviet land forces in Europe and the Middle East. Even the British Chiefs of Staff Committee admitted to this fact. Some wanted German units to balance the forces. The Russian Army was very strong, had a strong leadership, and a strong industry. President Truman was very aggressive toward the Soviets. He told Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov about threatening the Soviet Union with economic sanctions. Truman on May 8, reduced the lend lease supplies of military aid without prior notification. It went as far as the return US ships already on the way to the Soviet Union back to home bases. Some time passed and the order to reduce the land lease was cancelled otherwise the Soviet Union would not have joined the war against Japan, something the United States needed. But the bilateral relationship was damaged. There was a memorandum signed by Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew on May 19, 1945. It said that war with the Soviet Union was inevitable. It wanted a tougher stand against the Soviets. It wanted to promote a war with the Soviets soon before they could recover totally from WWII economically, militarily, and politically.  In August of 1945 (the war with Japan was not over) the map of strategic targets in the USSR and Manchuria was submitted to General L. Groves, the head of US nuclear program. The plan contained the list of the 15 largest cities of the Soviet Union: Moscow, Baku, Novosibirsk, Gorky, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Kuibyshev, Kazan, Saratov, Molotov (Perm), Magnitogorsk, Grozny, Stalinsk (probably Stalino – the contemporary Donetsk) and Nizhny Tagil. The targets were given descriptions: geography, industrial potential and the primary targets to hit. Washington opened a new front. This time it was against its ally. So, even before WWII ended, the Soviet Union was a target of the oligarchs (who made their own commitments with the Soviet Union that they reached at Yalta, Potsdam, and San Francisco conferences) from Washington and London.

There is a huge controversy over the debate on NSA reform. For decades, we see how the NSA has used their police state powers even illegally to monitor human beings. The Congress is discussing in how to deal with Section 215 of the Patriot Act. This section of the anti-liberty Patriot Act was passed in 2001. Afterward, the NSA has used the Patriot Act as a means to use a collection of telephone metadata on every phone call made in the United States. It also authorized other forms of domestic spying. The Senate has debated this issue. President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, heads of the FBI, and other security agencies believe that Section 215 being maintained not expired is a necessity. They feel that Section 215 is a necessary tool in fighting back against terrorist threats. They have used almost apocalyptic rhetoric in speaking about this issue. Obama made several appearances before television cameras to demand action “because it’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.” Lynch said that a failure to act would cause “a serious lapse in our ability to protect the American people.” At a press briefing of three top officials, all unidentified at the insistence of the White House, one said, “What you’re doing, essentially, is you’re playing national security Russian roulette. We have not had to confront addressing the terrorist threat without these authorities, and it’s going to be fraught with unnecessary risk.” This rhetoric is rather extreme. We know that the surveillance powers in Section 215 will affect the American people primarily just like the Patriot Act of a whole. Even a report from the Justice Department’s own Office of Inspector General conceded that the mass collection of data (which is part of Section 215) on telephone metadata has played no role in any terrorism investigation or prosecution. Section 215 also promotes “roving wiretaps” of individuals who change cellphones has been used in only a handful of cases. A provision for wiretaps of so-called “rogue” terrorists or individuals not connected to any organization has never been used at all. Section 215 has been used by the government to promote a surveillance culture where the mass data collection on telecommunications will continue unabated. Regardless of this debate, we know that the NSA continues to spy on the American people regardless. We see the growth of social inequality, police violence, and militarism. This must change. The actions of terrorists are evil, but we should also condemn the evils found in the system that defend the profits of the super rich at the expense of the poor and working class people. The Freedom Act is a bill that makes cosmetic changes in Section 215 while reauthorizing it and placing it on a pseudo-legal foundation. The database of call records would be maintained by the telecommunications companies, rather than directly at NSA headquarters, and the NSA would route its data searches through the telecoms. Many Republicans and many Democrats agree with this surveillance agenda. The NSA and the military intelligence complex will continue in their spying regardless of what happens to Section 215. Whistleblowers have been in exile, and even imprisoned for telling the American people the truth about the massive police state buildup under the guise of “anti-terrorism.” There are thousands of such programs and we want our civil liberties to be defended.

By Timothy

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