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Great news! Will be there. Throughout the world, US capitalist-imperialism is revealing itself as a bloody failed system. At the same time, the desire of the people of the world for a a changed international system is confronting the US with opposition on all sides. The ability of the people of Vietnam to defeat the US military and cause it to turn tail after it shed so much blood, killed so many babies, and left a genocidal history across multiple countries, was crucial but not the beginning. The beginning came when, in 1959, the people of Cuba threw off a US dictatorship right in the face of the empire 90 miles away and as a result have faced a 50 year permanent total war and economic embargo by the US against that country, government and people, without being able to defeat them. The US has proven that the only time it succeeds is with weapons of mass destruction which shatter entire nations and cultures, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with genocidal military dictatorships, such as in Guatemala (the reign of generals), Chile (Pinochet), Iran (the Shah), Nicaragua (Somoza), and so many others. One of the major products of capitalism is its lies (generated in Hollywood and in increasingly monopolistic news rooms across the country) and one of its principal vehicles for its lies is culture - theater, music, art, and literature. Thank goodness we will have this theater and this work -- Marx in Soho -- to begin to confront the lies of capitalist culture. And not just confronting those lies, but confronting them in Spokane, Washington, former home of a genocidal B-52 squadron which killed hundreds of thousands in Vietnam and currently home to a K-135 base which keeps the bloody empire and its global reach refueled, not to mention a key facility in the US torture regime of Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib, i.e., the SERE torture facitlity at Fairchild.
Just a question for Inlander reporters and editors In regard to the Spokane Police Department decision to upgrade its propaganda department and probably move "Officer" and "spokescop" Jennifer DeRuwe out of the light of the cameras: Is it not a relevant, if not interesting, fact, not to mention extremely handy for the Spokane Police Department, that Monique Cotton is married to KHQ-TV anchor Dave Cotton? And just by way of thoughts on the relationshiop between TV police propaganda and the taxpayer paid propaganda departments of police departments, here is an article followed by comments I made last year on the same topic. http://18.104.22.168/blogs/sirens/2012/jan/06/spokane-police-be-cops-saturday/
My high commendations to Will Cruz for pursuing this case and to the Inlander for covering it. The downtown Spokane business community and local law enforcement, with a surprising degree of capitulation on behalf of the City Council, is actively involved in shutting down space for human beings on the streets of Spokane in the name of securing rights for business over people. This is our local version of a global struggle. This shows Will Cruz as a microcosm of that issue. People need to be vigilant, whether the issue is the city´s shelter ordinance, the noise ordinance, the panhandling ordinance, or whatever the next "ordinance" the downtown Chamber of Commerce folks, euphemistically called Greater Spokane Incorporated, may be cooking up. I do want to point out the following about Spokane Police Department´s Officer Erin Blessing, who ticketed Will Cruz and threatened to arrest him, as well as some additional comments about unaccountable and unscrutinized private security personnel downtown. 1) Officer Blessing is closely connected to the Cowles River Park Square empire as are several officers who patrol downtown (Wayne Downing, Shanie Redmon, Blessing, and others). Blessing is also friend on social media of Cowles River Park Square security employee Mark Hrytzik mentioned above. http://socialcam.com/users/xa7goXhm/followers2) Officer Blessing was a very active and very vocal member of the support group for Otto Zehm killer Officer Karl Thompson, including on the Thompson support group I Heart Karl Thompson Facebook page signed onto by at least 83 current Spokane Police Officers who are public supporters of Thompson (please note that SPD Major Frank Scalise, aka Frank Zafiro, was a member of that site but was later removed from it after he became part of the SPD command team and but prior to that site being locked down from public scrutiny). Blessing is likely one of those who gave the now nationally infamous courtroom salute In Yakima when Thompson was found guilty in case of police killing of Otto Zehm. (I say possibly because to my knowledge those officers have not yet been officially named. However, in the following three Spokesman-Review comments, I extracted the 82 Spokane Police Department supports of Thompson - including Blessing - from the Thompson support group Facebook page.) http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jan/13/condon-team-big-on-ideas-and-jargon/?comments#c396343These are just two of the Spokesman-Review comment pages where people documented and discussed Blessing´s posting to the We Heart Karl Thompson Facebook page (not closed to the public). Some of it is disturbing and properly questions whether she should be on the force. (You can search these comments for "Blessing" and find the multiple postings of her Facebook comments regarding Thompson).http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/nov/06/doug-clark-to-those-who-disgraced-the-law-they/?comments#c368277http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/dec/19/judge-denies-thompsons-acquittal-request/3) Blessing was one of two officers (the other was Officer D Schmidt) who responded in surprisingly quick time to River Park Square on 9/10/11 when called by RPS security Jack Lindell and Mark Hrytzik. Hrytzik accused me of "threatening to bash his f**king head in" and I accused Hyrtzik of making a false report. No action was ever taken against me by the SPD. 4) Hrytzik and Lindell in plain-clothes appeared mysteriously lurking in the breezeway at the Federal Building during Saturday´s Global March for Peace in downtown Spokane. In addition to his role as a guard at the Cowles´ River Park Square, Lindell is associated with US Homeland Security and with the international security firm, Inter-Con Security Services, which has a contract at the Federal Building. Lindell (on the left in photo below) and Hrytzik (to Lindell´s right in the cap) were present and photographed at an Occupy-related event in front of River Park Square several months ago alongside SPD and Homeland Security (Customs and Border Enforcement) agents who responded to the scene. http://www.inlander.com/spokane/article-17983-of-politics-and-patrols.html5) People on Spokane street´s downtown - including youth - have a multitude of complaints about the conduct and misconduct of SPD officers and security guards downtown, in particular, those at the Cowles RPS location. Harassment, including harassment with direct or insinuated sexual connotations, is a perception if not a reality frequently voiced by people downtown and which needs to become a matter of immediate and serious scrutiny by City Hall as well as that part of the business community associated with these individuals. If ones needs evidence of concerns regarding downtown private security personnel in the immediate vicinity of the Cowles RPS mall, evidence can be had, for starters, in the cases of the Cowles Spokesman-Review guard convicted of child molestation as well as the case of the Secure Solutions security guard under contract at the US Court House in downtown Spokane who plead guilty to using a high-powered surveillance camera to spy on apartments downtown.http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?ID=11246To be more explicit about the reason for my comments, it is to put the conduct of the Spokane Police Department in downtown area in a broader context of their relationship to the downtown businesses, in particular the exceptionally influential Cowles/Spokesman-Review/River Park Square empire, and to downtown security firms, of which there is an ever expanding proliferation. There appears to be extensive and off-the-books communication and coordination between the SPD and private security, as well as Homeland Security. There are also credible concerns that the SPD shares privileged and confidential information very liberally and improperly with both security firms and the downtown business community. It is also my intent to point out that SPD police officers like Erin Blessing hurt people like Will Cruz in this town. If Will were a different person from the very self-controlled and very intelligent person that he is, his encounter could have ended very differently and tragically. Blessing´s posting to the Karl Thompson Facebook page, referenced in comments by people at the Spokesman-Review in the last two links in #2 above, suggest a person with possible "issues" to say the least. Here is something that points to the dangerous attitude of the SPD towards people, sometimes referred to by officers as "shit bags" - on the streets. http://spokaneracism.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/walk-a-mile-in-my-shoes-everlast-video/
I should have added:Personally, given what the US did to the Marshal Islands and the Marshallese people - dropping the equivalent of 7000 Hiroshimas over the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 - I believe that they should be given US citizenship.http://www.nuclearclaimstribunal.com/Instead they are what is called a "non-qualified alien". This is a legal status but a limited one. People from Palau and Micronesia are in the same status. So are those in TPS (Temporary Protected Status) like Salvadorans and Nicaraguans that fled during the 1980s US wars in those countries, a status that for them has been renewed periodically over many years now. Unfortunately in the case of the Marshallese, what is necessary is reparations and, as we can see with our own native peoples and African-Americans, this country doesn't do reparations because that would require us to admit we made a mistake and we don't do admissions of mistakes because that would require us to admit that we are not the greatest nation on earth and we don't do humble...
I want to avoid saying the article is poorly written because I recognize that the issue is poorly understood. Some of it is terminology. Some of it is the way that the issue has developed in the public mind. It is a shame that the budget cuts fall on the very vulnerable, just as they did when in the dark of a frigidly cold February 2011 the state of Washington cut 5000 families with 10,000 children entirely off cash assistance with little notice and, to be honest, little resistance from politicians. But I think it is important to have this current situation more clearly explained for the sake of being able to argue and discuss it properly. Just a few clarifications about the article. I will be referring to the EAZ manual of DSHS, one of the publicly available manuals used by DSHS Financial Service Specialists (what people usually either call "my caseworker" or "my financial worker"). Just type into google: EAZ manual DSHS to find the manual.(And just as an aside by way of clarification, unless a person is on TANF cash for families and pregnant women in which case they will have an assigned WorkFirst Program Specialist and perhaps also an assigned social worker or unless they have a disability social worker with the ABD (Aged, Blind and Disabled program, formerly GAU) or a few other ´specialized" kinds of cases, no one has a "caseworker" anymore. The pendulum has swung completely the other way and virtually any financial worker can work on virtually any case from anywhere in the state.) 1) The federal food stamp program is called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The state of Washington program created for people that don´t qualify for SNAP but meet requirements for state food assistance is called FAP (Food Assistance Program). FAP is what the Marshalese are getting. This "person" referred to in the article - and I assume that means exactly what it says, i.e., one person - getting $112/month is getting less than the one person maximum grant of $200/month because apparently they have some income. A person with no income from any source would get $200/mo. As of July 1, 2012, that person now getting $112/month under FAP will get $56/month. The person with no income will get $100/month under FAP, instead of the current $200/month. This is the EAZ manual section on FAP with a very thorough description. http://www.dshs.wa.gov/manuals/eaz/sections/FAP.shtml2) The SNAP program and the FAP program both have income standards that determine the amount of food benefits depending on the size of a household. As the EAZ manual shows, a family of 7 with no income or little income (depending on deductions for rent, etc) could receiving a maximum SNAP food benefit of $1052/month. http://www.dshs.wa.gov/manuals/WAC/388-478-0060.shtml That same family of 7, were they Marshallese or another group eligible only for FAP, will qualify for $528/month as of July 2012.This change is certainly a hardship. The originally announced decision was to completely eliminate FAP due to budget problems. Subsequently it was announced - as I recall and understand it - that funds were located to reinstate FAP at a lesser benefit level, i.e., 50% of the federal SNAP benefit level. So the Marshallese only qualify for FAP and as of July 1 it is FAP at a 50% level of what it has been. Only a few states have a FAP type program. Likewise only a few states have a GUA (now ABD) type disability program. Washington has long been at the forefront of social services (higher benefit rates than many states, more expansive coverage, etc). The budget cuts are cutting the heart out of not just the programs but, it seems to me, even some of the defenders of these programs and of the people who receive them.Personally, given what the US did to the Marshal Islands and the Marshallese people - dropping the equivalent of 7000 Hiroshimas over the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 - I believe that they should be given US citizenship. And keep in mind also that as of 1996, as a result of President Clinton´s "end of welfare as we know it", these victims of US nuclear testing are no longer eligible for medical coverage under Medicare. There children are in the state of Washington, but the adults are not.http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122148970If anyone sees that I have explained any of this incorrectly, please feel free to correct me.
It should also be pointed out that Major Scalise can certainly downplay concerns about cooperation between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement stating as he does that, "There is nothing untoward or improper about one cop offering to help another cop, regardless of what uniform either one wears.” Oh yes there is, my dear Major Scalise, if it is an abusive, corrupt, local law enforcement agency like your own that does not know the meaning of its own use of force policies and is now collaborating with an equally abusive federal law enforcement agency that just came down out of the woods to "lend a hand to the boys down their in Spokane since we got nothing better to do". You will ignore the hint of disrespect, Mr. Major, (and share this with the "interim" Chief there), but you and your "cops, regardless of what uniform either one wears" is exactly why we went out and got ourselves an Ombudsman a few years ago. Kapish? Or did you forget losing that battle, Maj. I understand your need to assert yourself as your career winds down and you realize that you have spent your career in a severely tarnished police force that seems bound and determined to continue its abuses and its absolutely incapacity to comprehend that the people are just plain sick and tired of your routine. And we have no intent of rolling over and playing submissive fascist police state citizenry for you or your Border Patrol chums. Your guys may act like you can cooperate with federal law enforcement but we know that the FBI got you on Zehm and with your watchdog Treppiedi gone is probably dying to finally get its hands on some records you have safely stashed away over there. In fact, they still owe us a report on the Zehm matter. And the Department of Justice itself has documented lack of cooperation between the SPD and FBI before the Zehm case even occurred. http://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/dojoig-report-continued-problems-between-fbi-and-other-police-agencies-in-spokane/And of course, we know what happens when the SPD and federal task forces get together. Remember SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga´s grand adventure at a Spokane Valley bar with a couple Sheriff´s deputies that got him fired and removed from a Federal Drug Task Fforce? Yeah, the alleged rape case. Or the July 4, 2007 "near police riot" (as Dr. Tom Jeannot called it) in River Front Park where you guys in conjunction with various police agencies including the regional Joint Terrorism Task Force in this area set up those 17 young people, attacked them, arrested them, and then, when one of the them - Michael Lyons - had the nerve to take you to court, turns out you had withheld for ten months crucial and damning video tape taken by a couple smart-a$$ ex-cops you´d hired and so the judge threw the case out. So now you guys - you abusive, lawless, lying cops (regardless of what uniform one wears) - are running around "not cooperating" with these federal Homeland Security border and immigration officers on routine police business in our neighborhoods and pretending everything is fine?I don´t think so, Mr. Major. Major Scalise, have you been smoking a little reefer or something? No more damage control, Major Scalise, No more blowing hot air while trying to make our Ombudsman look like he is blowing things out of proportion. We have the exact measure of you and your force and we intend to be all over you guys for years to come. With or without an Ombudsman. I didn´t hear you, Major. Kapish? People need to start doing their own questioning, their own investigating, their own freedom of information requests, their own protests. The Spokane Police Department with its 100 plus AR-15s, its Tasers, its pepper sprays, etc., now needs the US Border Patrol with it on routine police stops? What they don´t want to tell you is: They don´t have any choice. We have had this imposed on us and we are going to have remain very vigilant. Major Scalise, if it is not already clear, is on the other side.
The comments by Spokane Police Ombudsman Tim Burns are not in anyway overblown. Major Scalise of the Spokane Police Department is simply doing the sort of damage control one would expect from any high ranking, career police officer for a police department that has gone down in flames after decades of one incident of corruption, abuse, unjustified killing, excessive use of force incident, and you name it. Tim Burns concerns are only a minimal reflection of the concerns of the larger community and I commend him for being on this from the start. It is incumbent upon our entire community to also get out and investigate on their own, document on their own, confront the Border Patrol presence in our community, and protest this at every turn. The recent report by OneAmerica and the University of Washington Center for Human Rights documents “patterns of abuses” by Homeland Security’s Border Patrol in Washington State. These patterns of abuses are already starting in Spokane and the City Council, the Police Ombudsman’s Office, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Gonzaga Law School, the Center for Justice, local churches, and all local media (including the silent as usual NPR-affiliate KPBX/KSFC/KPRX) need to get out in front of this story. The three primary patterns of abuse brought out in the OneAmerica/Center for Human Rights Report are:(quote) In particular, this report calls attention to three interrelated patterns of practice.First, in its own independent operations, the Border Patrol engages in systematic profiling of religious and ethnic minorities.Second, collaboration between Border Patrol and other agencies, including local law enforcement, emergency responders, and the courts, results in a confusing and dangerous fusion where vital services are perceived as immigration enforcement.Third, these first two patterns result in a third: U.S. Border Patrol’s behavior and dangerous partnerships with other agencies have created extensive fear and mistrust, leading to community members’ unwillingness to call 911, access the courts, and even to leave their house to attend worship services or fulfill basic needs. (end quote)article - http://immigrationimpact.com/2012/04/20/report-brings-border-patrol-abuses-to-light-in-washington-state/report - https://www.weareoneamerica.org/sites/weareoneamerica.org/files/REPORT_northernborder-FINAL.pdf
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