The animated Batman
TV series depicted a Gotham City under the watchful eyes of police blimps. And it was cool.
Now we have the real thing
, right here in Baltimore. Not so cool.
The project is called JLENS – or “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.” And you couldn’t come up with a better metaphor for wildly inflated defense contracts, a ponderous Pentagon bureaucracy, and the U.S. surveillance leviathan all in one.
Built by the Raytheon Company, the JLENS blimps operate as a pair. One provides omnipresent high-resolution 360-degree radar coverage up to 340 miles in any direction; the other can focus on specific threats and provide targeting information.
Technically considered aerostats, since they are tethered to mooring stations, these lighter-than-air vehicles will hover at a height of 10,000 feet just off Interstate 95, about 45 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., and about 20 miles from Baltimore. That means they can watch what’s happening from North Carolina to Boston, or an area the size of Texas.
Cost: $2.8 billion.
The right's big lie about the police.
am astonished by the outrageous lies we've heard from the right-wing propagandists. In a direct replay of a tactic familiar to anyone who can recall the civil rights era, the rightists are claiming that outside agitators have whipped up "hysteria" about police abuses.
Conservatives want you to think that the problem has nothing to do with anything that the cops have actually done
. Nope. Conservatives blame agitators like Al Sharpton -- as though Sharpton (who is well-known to have functioned as an FBI stool pigeon) possesses that
kind of sway. Conservatives also blame Obama, as is their wont. Obama once did
have substantial sway over much of the left, but 2014 sure as hell ain't 2008, and Obama-mania is over. Besides, "no-drama Obama" hardly qualifies as any kind of agitator
; he's not even a critic.
You will notice that conservatives keep the focus on controversies involving race. They never address the fact that seizure-happy modern cops have conjured up all kinds of resentment because they now use the citizenry as a revenue-generating machine.
Rudolph Giuliani took this conservative meme to absurd lengths when he claimed that Barack Obama instructed black people to hate the police
. Of course, the president never said any such thing.
(Right-wingers also keep repeating the claim that Obama has gone around the world "apologizing" for America. Does anyone really believe
this nonsensical accusation?)
And then we have this idiot
The poisonous effect of those lies has now manifested itself in the cold-blooded assassination of two NYPD officers.
The highest reaches of American society promulgated these untruths and participated in the mass hysteria.
President Barack Obama announced that blacks were right to believe that the criminal-justice system was often stacked against them. Obama has travelled around the country since then buttressing that message. Eric Holder escalated a long running theme of his tenure as U.S. Attorney General—that the police routinely engaged in racial profiling and needed federal intervention to police properly.
University presidents rushed to show their fealty to the lie.
The article goes on and on like that. The bottom line: Don't blame the cops. Blame the cop-haters. Black people and lefties just have a totally irrational hated of anyone who wears a badge.
What an inane proposition!
to hate the cops -- far from it. Women and men of good will have been forced to become "cop critics" because police behavior keeps getting worse. That's the sitch, plain and simple.
That said, I must confess that I've never had any personal
reason to bear any animosity toward the police. Frankly, I have always gotten along well with most of the law enforcement personnel I've met, and I certainly respect the hazards of their duties. Of course, the treatment I receive from cops probably has something to do with the fact that I'm white, male, no longer young, and usually dressed like a respectable member of the bourgeoisie (even though I'm actually far too poor to be part of that class).
But my own (mostly) benign experiences with the police can't change the fact that, in many places around this nation, their behavior has gotten out of hand.
One of the best articles on this topic you will ever read comes to us from Dakinkat at Skydancing. Although I've always considered her a phenomenal writer, I don't think that she has ever before written with this kind of passion
. She recounts a personal experience which is nothing less than infuriating.
(As many of you know, Kat lives in New Orleans, where police corruption is as traditional as Mardis Gras, gumbo and fast talk. Wasn't there a murder-for-hire operation within the NOPD in the 1990s?)
Again, Rudy Giuliani and others need to know that my feelings towards the police have nothing to do with the President or any politician and my guess it that any one that’s seen what I’ve seen, knows what I know, and been through what I’ve been through thinks similarly . You cannot possibly live within the borders of a large city that is populated with diverse peoples and not really feel this way unless you’re gated up with a lot of privileged white people. Not all police officers are rotten but the system and good cops protect the rotten ones. This makes them accessories and under most criminal laws, it makes you guilty of something. If you think all cops are wonderful, you must live in a suburban enclave with mostly white people where police never ever go or where they only show up when the odd little inconvenience happens. You could not possibly live in place where whites are the minority. You could not possibly live in parts of town where they feel they can get away with anything. You’ve probably never ever lived in a place and time where you’ve been dive bombed by black helicopters and drones and felt like you’ve lived in the middle of a war zone for extended periods of time because of the presence of highly militarized police. I’ve lived in both circumstances. If you don’t think being white gives you a big ol’ pass in the world of policing, then you’ve really lived a very sheltered life.
You really should read the rest. It's a rant, but it's a truly great
Why do so many people rationalize evil deeds done by their leaders? Washington's Blog
offers some remarkable insights into a phenomenon that has long puzzled me. Why do so many talking head "experts" on teevee accept without qualm or question the government's claim that North Korea was behind the Sony hack? (Right now, I'm talking about political
"experts," not computer experts. The tech guys tend to be much more open to the idea that the hacker was a non-state actor.) Why did all respectable pundits immediately accept the claim that Bashar Assad ordered those infamous sarin attacks, even though it always seemed likelier that the rebels
were the ones who used chemical weapons? Why did so many people accept the lie that Saddam was behind 9/11? Why, for that matter, do the makers of elite opinion maintain their quaint faith in the ludicrous findings of the Warren Report?
Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in—a government, company, or marriage—even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, reveals the conditions under which we’re motivated to defend the status quo—a psychological process called “system justification.”
In system justification theory, people are motivated to defend the status quo. There is a need to see it as being good, just and/or legitimate. People not only want to hold a favorable view of themselves and the groups they associate with, but they also hold favorable views of an entire, overarching social system. There is a lot at stake here on an individual psychological level that may not have anything to do with the particular candidate, or government or social issue.
There are consequences for trying to buck the system. What will happen if you try to introduce a different type of political or economic system? You tend to be mocked, marginalized or completely ignored. People need to believe that the systems they believe in are legitimate. But this can cause bias and very dangerous blind spots when it comes to the issue of corruption in these systems.
According to the research, four particular situations significantly increased the likelihood that system justification would occur:
1. When a threat to the system occurred.
2. When one is dependent on the system.
3. When there is no potential escape from the system.
4. When one has low personal control of their lives.
I'll add this. Many of us accept the fabrications told by "the system" because doing so makes our lives much less stressful. Institutional corruption necessitates rebellion, and rebellion involves risk. Rebellion can take many forms -- but all of those forms require labor and sacrifice, and most people would rather not make the effort. We all have troubles of our own: Families to raise, mortgage payments to make, exams to pass, businesses to run. It's easier to rationalize away the evidence of a corrupt social system.