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Bad Policing in the US…Welcome to the Third World

Looks like the reaction to bad cops is the same worldwide…

Cairo Suburb Erupts In Riots After Policeman Kills Man Over Cup Of Tea

A riot erupted in a Cairo suburb on Tuesday after a policeman shot three people after an argument over the price of a cup of tea, killing one of them, the Interior Ministry and witnesses said.

Public anger over allegations of police brutality has been bubbling over the past months, with several incidents spilling over into skirmishes and protests, five years after the ministry’s officers were a major focus of the 2011 uprising.

One of the onlookers held up a bullet casing and accused the police of killing “poor” Egyptians.

A crowd quickly gathered, overturning a police vehicle and beating up another policeman at the scene, said a witness, who did not see the shooting but said he arrived at the scene in the well-to-do neighborhood of Rehab shortly afterwards.

“The Interior Ministry are thugs,” chanted the crowd in a video sent to Reuters by the witness. Around 200 people were in the crowd, according to a Reuters estimate from the footage.

Rights activists say police brutality is widespread in Egypt and that there is a culture of impunity. The Interior Ministry says abuses are isolated and incidents are investigated.

Witnesses said on social media the argument on Tuesday was over the price of a cup of tea, which was confirmed to Reuters by security sources. The video, one of several shared by the witness, showed a man lying still on the floor surrounded by angry onlookers.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that a policeman got into an argument with a vendor over “the price of a drink” and shot him dead, injuring two others in the process.

A judicial source told Reuters the policeman shot the three men with an assault rifle and fled. The victim died from a bullet to the heart, the judicial source said.

“There are clashes between the police and locals. Security forces brought in two riot police vehicles and an armored truck and the victim’s family is here and pelting them with rocks,” said the witness who sent the video and who declined to be named for fear of reprisal.

“Security forces are retreating and promising justice but the crowd is demanding police hand over the killer.”

Anger over perceived police excesses helped fuel the 2011 uprising that ended President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule and began on a Police Day holiday. Since then, police have regained their power and human rights groups say they have returned to their old ways.

Public anger against police has surged again in recent months.

In February, a policeman shot dead a driver in the street in an argument over a fare, prompting hundreds to protest outside the Cairo security directorate. There were also riots in Ismailia and the southern city Luxor over the authorities’ handling of at least three deaths in police custody in a single week in November.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Cuba and Race

The diaspora after the Cuban Revolution actually did the country a huge favor in terms of race relations. Like other places in Latin America and the Islands who got jobs, ownership of import-export franchises, and business opportunities was largely driven by the racial strata of their chief customer (and sometimes occupier) the United States until late in the 60’s. And that meant the lighter and whiter the better.

As such the Cuban population of first generation refugees look nothing like the population on the Island.

Despite protestations to the contrary, including in the American Press – the Revolution did not entirely kill the Devil. It just drove it underground and made it a bit more nefarious.

One of the major issues of rapprochement, either by the US or European countries is who specifically will benefit from the emerging tourism and product marketplaces. And whether the “new invasion” of foreigners will apply or wittingly or unwittingly support the old color structure. I would guess there is some trepidation in welcoming the Cuban-American diaspora back.

The diaspora aren’t going to be real high on the list for either this, or the next Democrat President, because they, alone among Hispanic and Latino groups in the country have been a reliable voting block for Republicans.

Cuba Says It Has Solved Racism. Obama Isn’t So Sure.

President Obama spoke of his Kenyan heritage. He talked about how both the United States and Cuba were built on the backs of slaves from Africa. He mentioned that not very long ago, his parents’ marriage would have been illegal in America, and he urged Cubans to respect the power of protest to bring about equality.

“We want our engagement to help lift up Cubans who are of African descent,” he said, “who have proven there’s nothing they cannot achieve when given the chance.”

Mr. Obama’s speech on Tuesday, in an ornate Spanish colonial-style hall in Havana, was not only strikingly personal. It was also an unusually direct engagement with race, a critical and unresolved issue in Cuban society that the revolution was supposed to have erased.

For many Cubans, Mr. Obama’s comments were striking for their acknowledgment of racism in both countries. His remarks served as a reminder that their particular kinship with him — as reflected in dozens of conversations and responses to his history-making three-day visit this week — involves not just policy, but also identity.

“It’s a revolution,” said Alberto González, 44, a baker who was one of the few Afro-Cubans to attend a discussion with the president about entrepreneurship on Monday. “It’s a revolution for everyone with a background descended from Africa.”

Defensiveness has long hovered over the subject of race, in part because Fidel Castro said shortly after the revolution that racism had been solved, making the subject taboo.

The discomfort, in part, came from pride: Some of the revolution’s most visible achievements involved ending institutionalized segregation, at beach clubs, at schools and in neighborhoods where the homes of wealthy white Cubans who fled were often given to Cubans of color.

Socialized medicine and education also helped create a society more deeply shaped by interracial interactions and marriages than the United States.

And yet, Cuba is no more postracial than anywhere else. Many Afro-Cubans in Cuba and abroad have been quick to point out that the presence of Mr. Obama, the first black president of the United States, only highlights that the Cuban government does not reflect the demographics of their country.

On an island that is around two-thirds black and mixed race, according to a 2007 study by the Cuban economist Esteban Morales Domínguez, the civil and public leadership is about 70 percent white. He also found that most scientists, technicians and university professors, up to 80 percent in some fields, were white.

“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented,” said Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University.

She added that elements of Mr. Obama’s trip reflected some of the same dynamics: The Cuban-Americans traveling with the president were nearly all white, as were the Cuban officials who interacted with him on the island. Indeed, much of the audience for his speech on Tuesday was white.

In that context, the president — along with his wife, daughters and mother-in-law, who joined him on the trip — offers a clear contrast.

“What you see is confirmation of black empowerment, which has generally been denied in Cuban society,” Ms. Casamayor-Cisneros said. “For black Cubans, the mere existence of Obama is unusual and overwhelmingly symbolic.”

Some Afro-Cubans, like the hip-hop artist known as Soandry, linked the president to “what can be achieved in a capitalist system.”

Other Cubans brought up race more directly, without prompting, arguing that because Mr. Obama is African-American, he understands their country.

Mr. González, whose bakery counter is adorned with photographs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, said it was not just the president whom people admire. “Look at that family,” he said, smiling broadly. “Can you imagine? Have you ever seen a more beautiful family?”

The challenge, Mr. González and other Cubans said, is turning that inspiration into something more substantial, starting with a more open conversation about race….Read The Rest Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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For the Well Heeled Trump Prepper – Bullet Resistant Cars

With the escalation of violence spurned in good part by Trump’s rhetoric at Trump Rallies, it is not unreasonable to assume things will get worse.

A Trump election could, in my view, will result in something more akin to Syria, than Hooterville, USA. The reason having to do with the Trump campaign’s close association with groups like Militias and the KKK who have long and bloody histories.Trump’s empowering this subgroup has, and will lead to violence in the streets based on these groups racism and ideology.

This is part of a series I will be doing on “Prepping for Disaster”, which if I get enough positive response I will continue.

The video is a sales video from a company in Texas which builds “Bullet Resistant Cars”. Why not “Bulletproof”? Because there are bullets out there, primarily for use by the Military, which can penetrate over 2″ of hardened steel. If you check on YouTube -you will see people testing bullet variants against “bulletproof glass”, with some success.To defend against such requires something that looks more like an Abrams tank, then any passenger vehicle traversing American roads.

What Texas Armoring Corporation does is upgrade an existing vehicle to survive attack by virtually any round legally available to the public, and non-armor piercing rounds available to terrorists around the world. And they are very good at it. Such an upgrade to an existing vehicle costs about $40k, about the same amount of money it takes to upgrade a street vehicle with an uber-power street kit from people like Calloway or Shelby to make your already ridiculously overpowered Chevy or Ford fire-breathing enough to eat your average $400,000 Ferrari’s lunch. The cost for a TAC armored vehicle  is substantially increased weight – adding another 2,000 lbs to the curb weight. Meaning your gas mileage is going into the toilet, and this isn’t going to work for your average 4 cylinder Toyota or Honda, unless you are willing to wait a half hour for the car to accelerate to highway speed. The windows on these also don’t open due to the thick layered “glass”.

​Stopping bullets dead

To protect against gun violence, experts are testing the limits of just what “bulletproof” really means. Serena Altschul has been watching them at work:

It may look like your average, everyday auto shop, except for one thing: Extreme quality control.

A YouTube video features Trent Kimball, the very confident — and brave — founder and CEO of Texas Armoring Corporation, a San Antonio-based company that turns ordinary cars into rolling fortresses.

“These aren’t bank trucks that we’re talking about,” said Kimball. “These are passenger vehicles that can stop any type of rifle round or handgun, even up to hand grenades, IEDs, those type of explosives.”

But don’t call these vehicles “bulletproof.”

“No, bulletproof does not exist,” Kimball said. “All our vehicles are ‘bullet-resistant.’ It’s not like the movies; the bullets don’t bounce off. It actually catches the bullet. The glass will crack, it’ll splinter, [but] it’s not gonna penetrate.”

Tearing cars down to their skeletons, Kimball and his crew install custom ballistic steel plates and ballistic glass, and then put it all back together as good as new.

The cost to armor a car goes from $40,000 on up, and Kimball says business is good and getting better:

“Economic stress in the world, the economic downturn, terrorism, that type of world that we live in nowadays is good for business, unfortunately.”

So, who needs these armored vehicles? “Our clientele range from heads of state of foreign countries, all the way down to a soccer mom here in the U.S.”

“Protection against kidnapping, protection against assault from an angry soccer parent?” asked Altschul.

“Outside the U.S., it’s mainly protection against kidnapping for ransom. Inside the U.S., they’re usually protecting just against random street crime,” said Kimball.

Detective Michael Levay of the NYPD knows firsthand the value of protection. In 2013 he was shot in his ballistic vest during a routine stop for a minor subway violation.

“The gentleman gets up,” he told Altschul. “He starts walking towards the train car door. I see him reach into his waistband, like, a jerk motion with his hand. He pulls out a gun. First round goes off. It strikes me in my vest.

“When I first got hit, it felt like a ton of bricks,” he said.

“I got hit pretty much dead center of the vest. Thankfully it stopped it. I believe it pierced the vest a little bit, but enough that all I had was pretty much a giant bruise.”

The first commercially-available bullet-resistant vest was invented in 1893 by a Chicago Catholic priest named Casimir Zeglen, who proved his garment worked by having himself shot in front of an audience.

Soon, high-profile people around the world bought the silk-and-steel vest, including the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

But Ferdinand reportedly forgot to wear his vest on June 28, 1914, when an assassin shot and killed him, igniting World War I.

Recent experiments proved Zeglen’s invention could’ve stopped that fateful shot.

Fortunately for Detective Levay, he didn’t forget to put his vest on.

“I know I’m here because the vest saved my life,” he replied. “And I try to be the guy to talk to some of the younger officers, and just, ‘Listen: Take care of yourself. You could get into a dangerous situation. Watch yourself. Watch your partner’s back, and be careful out there.'”

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in Disaster Prep

 

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Even Chinese Are Avoiding “Made in China”

One of the problems with China’s hyper-competitive, poorly regulated manufacturing is product quality and criminal forgery. Most recently seen in America as cheap, poor quality components in Hoverboards causing the products to catch fire while recharging.The number of products containing fake ingredients, including fake food, fake and sometimes poisonous drugs, product counterfeiting on a massive scale, and childen’s toys and china plates containing toxic levels of lead, cadmium, and antimony.

The problem has gotten so bad it has spurned the development of a new retail economy, where Chinese are buying American Made goods through cutout buyers living in America and having the known safe and good quality products shipped to China. An industry which is now a $7.9 billion business and growing exponentially.

When Chinese consumers want Western goods, they turn to these U.S. intermediaries

Jennifer Zhong’s phone buzzes with a message from one of her 4,000 followers on Weibo, a Chinese service similar to Twitter.

A client in China wants to buy a gold Baublebar necklace, but it’s expensive and inconvenient to order products from U.S. websites.

Zhong taps over to another Chinese social network, WeChat, to discuss the transaction, and they settle on a price: $52.

In her downtown Los Angeles apartment, Zhong flips open her laptop and finds the necklace on Baublebar’s website at the sale price of $32. When the package arrives, one of the employees of her online store, Jia Jia Buys It for You, removes the receipt, tears off the tags and repackages it for shipment to China.

Social media-fueled transactions such as these have grown so popular in China that they’ve become an industry known as daigou, a Chinese phrase that means “to buy on behalf of.”

In 2015, luxury daigou purchases were valued at up to $7.6 billion, or nearly half of China’s overall luxury purchases, according to an estimate by Bain and Co., a consulting firm that tracks consumer trends in China.

And in the San Gabriel Valley and other Chinese communities nationwide, immigrants rich and poor have embraced daigou as a way to earn a living at the intersection of the world’s largest economies, reaching for American prosperity by serving China’s wealthy.

The business first took root in 2008, when Chinese milk containing a toxic additive killed at least six infants and sickened hundreds of thousands more.

The scandal created huge demand for overseas milk powder, which quickly became and remains one of daigou‘s most popular products. Quality control scandals for products such as toothpaste, cosmetics and medicine also have motivated Chinese consumers to shop overseas.

But daigou really began to take off in 2011, when Chinese e-commerce platforms such asTaobao gave buyers a platform to grow their business beyond their friends and family, says Charlie Gu, director of China Luxury Advisors, a company that helps high-end brands reach Chinese consumers.

Frustrated by luxury-good counterfeiters, Chinese consumers stepped up their purchases through intermediaries in the U.S., Japan, France, South Korea and other countries.

The rise of Chinese social networks such as Weibo and WeChat also facilitated the person-to-person connections that are daigou‘s lifeblood, Gu says.

And in the U.S. and Southern California, the massive influx of Chinese students at universities and colleges provided the industry with a labor force.

Some entrepreneurs open shipping businesses to facilitate the flow of goods, while Chinese students, tour guides and anyone with contacts in China earn extra income as buyers, lining up Coach purses, Prada bags, Michael Kors shoes and other luxury products that are significantly cheaper in America.

Chinese students, who typically come from middle- to upper-class families that can afford to buy goods overseas, serve as daigou agents for their personal networks. Recommendations expand their networks and increase their revenues.

The person-to-person nature of the business makes it harder for the government to crack down on daigou, which undermines domestic firms by allowing Chinese buyers to avoid higher prices and import taxes.

“The Chinese government can’t tell your friends and family not to buy things for you,” Gu says.

Zhong, 26, came to the U.S. to study at USC and noticed students using daigou to earn extra money.

“This is a business where you can’t really lose money,” she says. “It’s just a matter of how much you want to make.”… Read More Here

 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Great American Rip-Off, News

 

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Steven Colbert and Deray McKesson Interview on White Privilege

Great interview!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Controversy Casting a White MLK in a PLay

Another one off the deep end. Kent University college production of “To The Mountaintop” has cast a white actor to play MLK to the inevitable chorus of protest by both the playwright and some others.

I seriously am not feeling this. First, because those of you familiar with the hottest play on Broadway right now, “Hamilton”…

Where a majority of the main actors are minorities, who play Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Marquis De Lafayette, James Madison – and the music is delivered in Hip-Hop. Black folks and Hispanic folks playing dead white guys who were part of the Founding Fathers of our country.

Having read a lot of MLKs work, I have never seen anything as part of his vision that we should segregate on any basis, including the race of an actor. Nor were the objectives of his work limited to just freedom for black folks. It’s a play, dammit! I would imagine the howls if they put him in blackface…To be more “historically accurate”.

Ohio college production casts white actor as Martin Luther King Jr. in biographical play

Kent University production of Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop featured a white and black actor, which Hall says was ‘disrespectful’ and a ‘disservice’

The casting of a white actor as Martin Luther King in an Ohio university production of Katori Hall’s acclaimed play The Mountaintop was “a disservice to not just Dr King but an entire community”, the playwright has said.

Hall wrote an essay for the African American cultural website the Root on Monday about Kent State University’s production of her play, which dramatizes the night before King was assassinated in 1968.

Hall told the Guardian that director Michael Oatman’s decision to double-cast the six-show production with a black actor and a white actor as King went “deeper than just casting a white man in the role of MLK”.

“I just really feel as though it echoes this pervasive erasure of the black body and the silencing of a black community — theatrically and also, literally, in the world,” she said.

Oatman, who like Hall is black, said in a statement in August promoting the play that he chose a white actor for the production “to explore the issue of racial ownership and authenticity”.

“I didn’t want this to be a stunt, but a true exploration of King’s wish that we all be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin,” Oatman said. “I wanted the contrast … I wanted to see how the words rang differently or indeed the same, coming from two different actors, with two different racial backgrounds.”

Oatman did not respond to a request for comment, but Hall said she had a respectful phone call with the director about a month after he staged the play at the university’s Department of Pan-African Studies’ African Community Theatre from late September to early October.

She said that Oatman did not discuss the decision to use a white actor with her before the play ran and called the decision “disrespectful”.

Hall said she thought that if a director was going to experiment like Oatman did, then they should include a discussion with the audience or create another forum to measure the success of such an exercise.

“With a playwright’s intention being dangerously distorted, Oatman’s experiment proved to be a self-serving and disrespectful directing exercise for a paying audience,” Hall wrote.

Hall learned about Oatman’s decision to use a white actor in the production after the show had closed. She immediately notified her agent, who contacted the theatre licensing service Dramatists Play Service, which then wrote to the university questioning its decision.

Since the Kent State University production ran, Hall has adjusted The Mountaintop’s licensing agreement to say: “Both characters are intended to be played by actors who are African-American or Black. Any other casting choice requires the prior approval of the author.”

She said that the issue of representation is a common discussion topic for theatremakers of color, but rarely gets attention beyond that community. The decision to cast a white man as one of the country’s best known civil rights figures, however, changed that.

“I feel as though a lot of theatermakers were a bit appalled at the choice that the director made – and that it was supported so wholeheartedly by the institution,” Hall said. “So it was really a moment to talk about playwright intention, but to then, beyond that, talk about much bigger issues, about not only being a black artist but also being a black person in America.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2015 in The Definition of Racism

 

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Were the First Americans Black?

Fascinating documentary from the BBC. I doubt anything like this would make American TV.

Research in Brazil now suggests that the earliest settlers in America were not the Native Americans who came from Asia, but another group arriving 30,000 years earlier as part of the migration of people(s) from East Africa which settled parts of South Asia now known as Negritos, and Australia as the “Aborigines”.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Africa, Black History

 

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