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Recent Comments

Re: “Manufacturing Fear

In an article that direclty touches on concerns about the Spokane County Sheriff's Office and its militarization, the article fails to mention even by way of general background information such facts as Knezovich's four years in the U.S. Army. The article also fails to mention the intolerant Ozzie Knezivich, he of the protruding, pouty bottom lip when he is challenged. Or the proud prancing peacock with his chest-tight shirts so brilliantly deflated on the Inlander front cover. Or his reported assault on an attendee at last year's candidates debate at the Northeast Community Center (which I observed and reported to Crime Check the night it occurred). In an article that addresses the bitter dispute between Knezovich and his enemies to the right of his right-wing positions, the article - beyond failing to address all the above points which go to the character of Knezovich as a inadequately stable and mature leader - the article completely fails to mention Knezovich's long sought ambition to run a consolidated, county-wide law enforcement agency (an ambition already partially achieved in the Spokane Valley where one of Knezovich's ranking deputies is the de facto chief). I would have liked to have seen the story include more such pertinent facts.

23 likes, 21 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 08/12/2015 at 9:38 PM

Re: “Another inmate died in the Spokane County Jail

Another failure of the Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich administered system of "justice".

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 07/17/2015 at 7:31 PM

Re: “On a Roll

A slight correction to my comment above. I intended to write "on-air" not "on-line" fundraising drive, though I understand that Spokane Public Radio's on-air fundraising drives also include the option of contributing online. My concern was the $5000 matching grant from BNSF, the subsequent "spots" for BNSF (bought with its "underwriting" dollars), the standard denials by Spokane Public Radio personnel that underwriter money or interests affect or bias their reporting in anyway, and the lack of followup reporting of any substance on the BNSF contamination of Spokane's sole source aquifer, and the multiple impacts of increasing train traffic through Spokane (noise, sleep disruption, fumes, dust, oil and other chemical threats, traffic impacts, etc). While having a journalistic obligation to report objectively on BNSF and other issues of importance, Spokane Public Radio was not only taking BNSF money but also allowing BNSF to publicize itself in a positive and generous context, even as it threatened our aquifer via its diesel refueling station seated over the aquifer and even as it endangered our community with its coal trains and oil trains.

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 05/08/2015 at 9:27 PM

Re: “On a Roll

BSNF's Corruption of Public Radio in Spokane and around the US --

In June 2012, when focus in Spokane was on coal trains shipping Montana and Wyoming coal, much of it to be burned in China from where it recycles back here in mercury tainted rain and catastrophic greenhouse gases, a long evening of debate in Spokane City Council brought a unanimous vote on a non-binding resolution calling for a federal study of the increased shipments through Spokane.

At the same time attentive Spokane area residents were treated to another example of the corrupting and corrosive impact of irresponsible, predatory mega-corporations like BNSF. As public debate raged, Spokane Public Radio (KPBX, KSFC, KPBZ) was engaged in an online fundraising drive and BSNF Foundation was a corporate advertiser (the "public" radio folks call it underwriting), offering up a $5000 matching grant. And for months until perhaps as recently as a year ago Spokane Public Radio gave BNSF prime radio time spots in exchange for its foundation's advertising/underwriting dollars.

Of course, as anyone who has ever talk to anyone in the cult-like environs of the far-flung corporate-sponsored world of NPR-affiliated public radio, of which Spokane Public Radio and its three stations are a proud part, one will always get, as I did from asking the likes of Brian Flick, expressions of horror that anyone would suggest that the "firewall" (their favorite term) between the "newsroom" and the "underwriting" world could ever be breached.

As you go through the linked IRS 990-PF Tax Return of a Private Foundation, you will see a vast array of public radio and TV stations spread the length and width of the country. Apparently the draw of Warren Buffett and BNSF's corporate billions is just too much, more even than the reputation of so-called "public" reporters, journalists and broadcasters or even the sanctity of the "objectivity" they claim so mightily to strive for.

(See http://pdfs.citizenaudit.org/2013_05_PF/26…
2012 Civic Contributions - page 5E / 13 of 46 )

[Just a final reminder, that while Maria Cantwell may be advocating some very limited funding to go up against the massive profits-making and irresponsible machine of Warren Buffett and BSNF, she is a staunch backer of the TPP (just as she voted for NAFTA in 1993) which seeks to put corporations above the law and people.]

David Brookbank
Spokane Socialist Alternative

8 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 05/07/2015 at 10:01 PM

Re: “First round of police race data is in

This study on police and race is immensely crucial for multiple reasons. A major one has to do with the reality of the experience of current Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub in policing. Per his resume, from 2001 to 2002 Straub was the New York City Police Department's Assistant Police Commissioner for Training and for Counter-Terrorism and in that role led all police recruit, in-service, promotional, and executive training for a sworn and civilian members of the NYPD. In the immediate aftermath of this period in which Straub led all NYPD training, the NYPD began its notorious stop-and-frisk policy which grew in numbers (eventually into the millions) of young men of color being racially-profiled, stopped-and-frisked, and arrested. Rather incredibly, Straub went straight from his position with the NYPD to a job consulting to the Mexico City Police for Giuliani, Inc. Straub's history has been too little considered in the two years in which he has been given the benefit of the doubt. The SPD's long and notorious history cannot be reversed by one flawed man and certain not by two years.

The participation of Ed Byrnes in this study inspires confidence and the report acknowledges its short-falllings given the inadequacy of Spokane Police data gathering, though it fails to fully acknowledge the legacy of conquest and racism in the Spokane area.

Finally, one of its most egregious failings is its failure to address definitional issues related to "white" and "Hispanic/Latino" self-identification and officer discretion in categorizing. The issue can be seen in an a 9/3/2000 Spokesman-Review article which found that of counties within a certain size Spokane was the 20th whitest in the US while Cameron County and Hidalgo County, Texas were the whitest in the US. It also states that the population of Yakima County was 91% white. Of course, this has to do with the practice of classifying anyone who self-designates as Hispanic as "White" unless they also designate "Native American" or "Black" or "Asian". Thus the two counties at the southern most point in the continental US - Hidalgo and Cameron Counties, become the two whitest for their size in the US and Yakima becomes at 91% white county. Therefore without the kind of rigor that the Spokane Police Department does not have, the numbers related to Hispanic/Latino populations in this report are not valid.

(Referenced article from the Idaho edition of the Spokesman-Review)

Minorities on the rise Nonwhite populations have grown, but local counties still homogenous
Rob McDonald Staff writer
Publication Date: September 3, 2000
Page: B1 Section: THE HANDLE Edition: IDAHO

Spokane and Kootenai counties may not be the whitest places in the country, but they're close.
Spokane County is in the top 20 for similar-sized counties. Kootenai County is in the top 10.

The U.S. Census Bureau released annual state and county population estimates Wednesday. The figures show that 94 percent of the people in Spokane County are white; Kootenai County is 98 percent white.

However, since 1990, minority communities have shown tremendous growth in the greater Spokane area, according to census estimates from 1990 data. These are not numbers from the Census 2000 effort, which is still preparing its first report, due by Dec. 31. The Hispanic population in Spokane County went up 82 percent. Hispanic and black populations doubled in Kootenai County.

But unlike California, where combined minorities now outnumber whites, minority communities in the Inland Empire are still quite small.

The numbers come as no surprise to Bob Bartlett, director of multicultural education at Gonzaga University. ``I've had students, white and of color, say to me, `This is the whitest place I've ever lived,''' Bartlett said. But the raw numbers don't tell the whole story, Bartlett said. ``It's all a matter of your frame of reference,'' he said. Anyone who comes here can go shopping in a mall, Bartlett said, and be lucky to see more than a few minorities.

But at the same time, during a minority student orientation at Gonzaga this year, a student looked around and noticed the group was bigger than in years past.

Spokane's minority community has grown faster by percentage than the white population. In Spokane County, the number of Hispanic residents grew to 12,733, and Asians grew 57 percent to 10,473. African American and American Indian populations also grew faster than white populations.

In Kootenai County, black and Hispanic groups have doubled, with Asians increasing by 82 percent. The white population also grew by 50 percent, which kept Kootenai County among the most white places in the country.

Ranking the whitest counties in America based on population and size, Spokane is the 1,721 whitest place in this country. Kootenai County is 900th.

In all, 190 U.S. counties were 100 percent white. But that can be misleading because many counties have very low populations, such as Loving County in Texas (population 113), and none of those counties had populations of more than 60,000.

Comparing like-sized counties gives a different perspective. For U.S. counties with populations 300,000 and higher, Spokane is in a tie for the 20th most white county in America with six counties, including Salt Lake County in Utah and Clark County in Washington.

The whitest similar-sized county in America is Hidalgo County, Texas, with a 1999 population of 534,907 that was 99 percent white. It's followed by Cameron County, Texas; Luzerne County, Penn.; Waukesha County, Wisc.; and Westmoreland County, Penn.

Among U.S. counties with populations 100,000 and higher, Kootenai County is tied for ninth with 30 other counties, all at 98 percent. Only one Montana county, Yellowstone County, had a population above 100,000. It is 96 percent white.

Numbers may not lie, but they can be misleading. For example, when guessing which county in Washington state is the most diverse, many people name Yakima, King or Pierce counties. According to the numbers, Ferry County is considered the most racially diverse, with the lowest white population at 80 percent. The Colville Indian reservation is partly in Ferry County. King County is 82 percent white, Pierce is 83 percent, Yakima is 91 percent.

Numbers don't mean everything, but rather are reflections that tell some truth of who is in a community, said Raymond Reyes, co-chair of the Task Force for Race Relations. ``It's not only important who you are, but what you do with who you are. So, OK, we're all white. What are you doing with it?''

Reyes said. Are there non-minority allies working for better understanding and acceptance of minorities? he asked. ``That's why race relations is important,'' Reyes said. ``Whether you are 94 percent white or 50 percent white, what you have to determine is not how white you are, but how human.''

This sidebar appeared with the story: FAST FACT Minority communities Since 1990, minority communities have shown tremendous growth in the greater Spokane area, according to census estimates from 1990 data. The Hispanic population in Spokane County went up 82 percent. Hispanic and black populations doubled in Kootenai County.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 03/19/2015 at 12:20 AM

Re: “Face to face with Spokane's CIA torture architect

Bruce Jessen is prosecutable under US and international law, whether he is an honest, nice and giving human being. It doesn't matter whether or not he is a US citizen, a father of a few children who attended District 81 schools, a psychologist, a member of the US Air Force, a CIA contratista, and an accomplice in torturer, all of which he is. He is prosecutable under US and international law.

And unlike this reporter, Bruce Jessen is a coward, hiding behind CIA secrecy agreements. I challenge Bruce Jessen to come forward and openly describe the role he, James Mitchell, Roger Aldrich and Randall Spivey played in the US crimes during the bloody US Iraq and Afghan fiascos.

(Spivey, former policy chief for SERE's parent organization JPRA, still runs CIA/DOD front organizations - including Center for Personal Protection and Security - out of the American Legion Building at Washington and Riverside in Spokane. Dial Mitchell Jessen Associates' former phone number and you will reach Spivey's operation @ 509-468-4128).

David Brookbank
Spokane Socialist Alternative

7 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 12/20/2014 at 3:02 PM

Re: “Q&A with Seattle venture capitalist, minimum-wage activist and one-percenter Nick Hanauer

My question for Mr. Hanauer, who has declared that $15/hour is too good for Spokane, is about the supposedly amoral nature of capitalism. That amoral nature - encapsulated in Milton Friedman's dictum, "the social responsibility of business is profit" - resulted in Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad building a leaking diesel refueling station over Spokane's sole source aquifer in 2005 and has Hanauer promoting himself in the film "Inequality for All" as a millionaire pillow maker while minimizing his role (in fact not even mentioning it) as board member and venture capitalist for Hood River, Oregon military drone manufacturer Insitu, maker of the world's most deadly drones for the US Air Force and Marines.

Following is my response to Nick Hanauer's "The Pitchforks are coming ... for us Plutocrats" published in Politico, June 2014:

My reaction to Nick Hanauer's "The Pitchforks are coming ... for us Plutocrats" (Politico, June 2014) is similar to my reaction to the movie "Inequality for All", Clintonite Robert Reich's primer on capitalism. That movie clearly documents the cyclical failures of capitalism, despite the spin put on it for Democrats to whom it is pitched. Nick Hanauer is a central figure in that movie.

In the movie as in the article, Hanauer begins by saying that he is an unapologetic capitalist. This piece is essentially a warning to the class with which Hanauer clearly and unapologetically self-identifies - the capitalist class which he hopes and intends to see survive. Hanauer's warning? You are about to kill the goose that laid the golden capitalist egg. Don't.

The other part of this article which disturbs me is Hanauer's incomplete and careful presentation of his personal history. Both in the article and in the movie, Hanauer essentially presents himself as a humble millionaire pillow-maker who has come to the, for him apparently, mind-opening realization that he can only buy so many pillows himself, only so many blue jeans, and only so many Volvos and other consumer products from his fellow capitalists.

Hanauer does mention his relationship with Amazon. But in neither the movie nor the article does he mention that among his venture capitalist endeavors was being on the board of and an early investor in Hood River-based Insitu, Inc., the manufacturer of the most deadly drones in the world for the US Air Force and Marine Corps, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing.

What is even more disturbing about that fact is that in the movie Hanauer makes the absurd and incredible statement that he doesn't really know where his money comes from. Again that is in the context of presenting himself as a humble pillow-making millionaire (as he say here "not the smartest, not the hardest working", just the most opportunist), rather than a drone manufacturing billionaire.

If he doesn't watch it, Hanauer's honesty will result in him taking a pitch fork, not from the 99.99%, but rather from his 0.01% colleagues, who at least as of today seem to be far from being convinced by his true confessions, as far as they go.

Perhaps Hanauer's intentions here are noble but I still find it rather peculiar and find myself scratching my head in large part because of his glossing over his understanding of how capitalist exploitation works and his unmentioned involvement with Insitu. To me, having watched the movie twice with Democrat audiences bubbling over with approval and gushing with hope, it is abundantly clear that this "Inequality for All" construct is part of the liberal-progressive Trojan horse the Democrats are climbing into already in advance of the 2016 US presidential election, the early stages of the campaign for which are already under way.

David Brookbank


2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by DavidBrookbank on 10/02/2014 at 6:30 PM

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