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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).
Spokane Socialist Alternative
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.
I took a large fall from grace after high school in Spokane. I ended up homeless on the streets of Seattle. I was lucky to be a white male from a middle class background with a high school diploma. When things took a turn for the better, society brushed the dirt off me and said essentially, "Get back in there, white boy, we need you." Given my white male status I have failed and been given more than one second chance others would be unlikely to get. Despite Mark Richard, DSP, and the private police forces (euphemistically called private security companies) harassing people in the shadows and in broad daylight, I will continue to reach my hand into my pockets and hand coins and bills to any human being I choose.
Here is a suggestion to help the malcontents like Mark Richard of Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) and his counterparts like Steve Stevens of Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) with their constantly negative voices. It is clear that some of these big prowling dogs of Spokane capitalism like Richard and Stevens are too close to these issues to see straight and objectively. They are, after all, spokespersons and enforcers for elements of Spokane with only one goal in mind, i.e., their own personal wealth, though of course they will always frame it in terms of their purported concerns for the larger community. They are also the ones most antagonistic to anyone interested in anything else -- public spaces, civil rights, compassion in a society in severe crisis -- outside that corporate economic bottom line and "Spokane for profits above people". And they also demand influence and power out of proportion to their numbers, largely based on their money and the sway they hold in our money-corrupted, so-called democratic system.
Both these organizations and their leaders will do themselves and all the rest of us great good by getting some distance from these issues. They can best do this by physically moving themselves and their organizations from of the core of Spokane's downtown and to some area where they can feel safe and sheltered, where they don't feel distressed day after day by the presence of the diversity of ordinary people who visit downtown Spokane and use its facilities and taxpayer-funded streets and sidewalks.
Richard, in particular, with DSP and its very own security operation, Downtown Ambassadors, needs not to be so close to the public that seems to troubled him so profoundly and makes him work so diligently to replace with a better class of "paying customers" for even the most human activities like eating, breathing, walking, sitting, and watching the clouds float by on a beautiful Spokane day. I am sure that Mr. Richard will find many a Spokane property management company more than willing to show him a piece of property or two in some location where he will feel like the people of Spokane are not an ever-present affront to his superior standards.
The fact that Mark Richard can say that he doesn't think that the sit-and-lie ordinance has increased problems at the Plaza is a clear evidence that, despite his physical proximity to the Plaza and the people affect across the downtown core by the sit-and-lie ordinance, he simply does not understand the impact the sit-and-lie ordinance has on ordinary people - long time downtown area employees, out-of-town visitors, shoppers who just take a notion to lean on a planter, and others harassed by police and private police forces. It is also an indicator that, unfortunately, area media and politicians have allowed monied interests and their spokespeople to dominate issues like this and frame them in the religion of the day: business and profit.
Unfortunately we are also seeing not a few "church interests" preaching this same gospel of "corner and convert" or else employ an ordinance and security-enforced approach to chase away the economically poor and politically disenfranchised (often one and the same) from the downtown core. Shape up and clean up or get the hell out. Not very Christian and, when enforced by police and private security, likely unconstitutional. This harassment has been witnessed by many who have then publicly spoken against it in community forums and written about it letters to the editor, as well as organizing and participating in protests of the sit-and-lie ordinance.
What kind of problems have been increased by the attitude of Richard and Stevens and their organizations? Both organizations are the proponents of a 21st century version of discriminatory red-lining, using the sit-and-lie ordinance, panhandling ordinance, and noise ordinance to red-line the downtown core on behalf of business interests. So explicit is the redlining for business that many now habitually refer to the "downtown business core". The red-line is spelled out in ordinances as Division west to Monroe and Maple and 4th Avenue north to Spokane Falls Boulevard. In effect, the red-line zone is larger than that, as evidenced by the radius of patrolling by Richard's Downtown Ambassador security operation and their Green Ford Ranger.
But beyond that, problems certainly have increased in terms of constitutional and civil rights, some of them just awaiting the proper test cases by civil rights attorneys. One example is the anti-personnel noise weapons known as "mosquitos" placed on downtown buildings like the Peyton Building at 10 N. Post Street which contains both US Rep Cathy McMorris Roger's offices and the Federal Defenders' Office. The use of these devices are a rights-violation directed indiscriminately at young people, emitting a disturbing ultrasonic tone frequency intended to drive young people under age 25 from the vicinity. In a variety of instances involving young adults engaged in political action and constitutionally protected speech and assembly, these devices have affected their well-being, including causing headaches and nausea. The "mosquito" at 10 N Post Street can be seen in its small metal cage mounted to the right and above the entrance to the Peyton Building. This location is directly across the street to the east of Stevens' GSI.
As for these private policing operations - like Mark Richard's personal Downtown Ambassadors as well as others like Northwest Protective Services, Phoenix, Kodiak, Securitas, and a plethora of other private security firms - their role in this community and their discriminatory, red-lining tactics and policies need to quickly come under direct public scrutiny, including by the Spokane City Council, the Public Safety committee of the City of Spokane, the Police Ombudsman, the soon-to-be selected Ombudsman Commission, the Center for Justice; the Spokane Police Accountability and Reform Coalition (SPARC), the Department of Justice as part of its ongoing review, and the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA - the outfit DOJ brought to Spokane with them to study the Spokane Police Department and its relationship to this community), NCAAP, the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) and other organizations concerned about policing, civil rights, justice and diversity in Spokane. And of course, the Spokane area media interests, both corporate and community media, need to begin covering this issue.
These everyday more visible and more numerous security firms operate in a nebulous space between community civil rights and the law, a space that the police have consciously abandoned to these private police forces and that the likes of Mark Richard and his Security Ambassadors have occupied with disturbing relish. Though the Downtown Ambassador Fact Sheet 2009 (1) states that they are "not Police", the Fact Sheet makes clear that Richard's DSP views them as police and that they act as police. According to the fact sheet, the Downtown Ambassadors act to "augment the Police", "intervening in all street disturbances", "patrolling 80 blocks of the Business Improvement District" "in a Green Ford Ranger", "increasing police efficiency" to "serve the businesses and patrons of Downtown with all of their security needs" and "ensure that the environment is conducive to business activities and tourism" "through collaborations with the police".
In its most basic form, this privatized policing translates into harassing youth, the homeless, the poor, and those seeing downtown as an area to come to relax and walk or pause to people watch or to meet up with friends or to shop at a level of consumption not of interest to GSI and DSP and their core backers like Bryn West and Claudia Kirkebo. One can observe this harassment most intensely in the areas within a few blocks of the offices of Stevens' GSI and Richard's DSP with its private police force. This "soft policing" is tolerated by Spokane businesses, the Spokane Police Department, the Mayor and the City Council. The fact that Spokane Police have in numerous instances had to intervene to prevent private security companies - including RPS (River Park Square) Security - from harassing and going after community members engaged in constitutionally-protected activity is a clear indicator that these security forces are out of control. In fact, some of their activities constitute vigilantism. And one should not be surprised that someone as extraordinarily controversial as Jack Lindell, who has done security for Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service at the Federal Building through Inter-Con Security (3) and also for River Park Square, has a history doing private policing for Downtown Ambassador (4)
And you may want to immediately download and save the following two DSP documents (1 and 4 below) before they are edited and/or removed from the DSP website:
(1) Downtown Ambassador Fact Sheet - http://www.downtownspokane.org/documents/S…
(2) The Mosquito - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mosquito
(3) Inter- Con Security - http://www.icsecurity.com/
(4) Downtown Ambassador Jack Lindell - http://www.downtownspokane.org/documents/D…
The first link in my last post should be this one from the website Business for A Fair Minimum Wage with multiple reference to research on the benefits of an increased minimum wage. My apologies.
Anonymous red-baiters aside (like muddydog) seek only to muddy the waters of this issue. The most important point to make - -and the reason that such water-muddying cowardly mud dogs have jumped into action on this issue -- is that workers have it in their hands to decide just what they want to do on the issue of minimum wage. By voting, by marching, by organizing, and by defining their own interests as exploited workers unable to provide for the needs of themselves and their families while the 1% get phenomenally wealthy off their labor, workers have it in their power to determine their own futures.
Evidence is abundant that raising the minimum wage is positive for job growth and worker purchasing power. Google "job growth and minimum wage", for example. States that have increase their minimum wage are job creators. The US capitalists have taken massive amounts of money out of the US economy and failed to re-inject it into the system. Putting money directly into the hands of workers via an increase in the minimum wage will put result in those workers, who are also consumers, spending that money for their own and their families needs. And while meeting their own needs as workers and consumers, we will all see more dollars circulating in our local economy, creating more jobs. Facts of past minimum wage increases bear that out.
As for the CBO, the report that muddywaters quotes starts with this sentence: "Increasing the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers. Most of them would receive higher pay that would increase their family’s income, and some of those families would see their income rise above the federal poverty threshold." Beyond those positive effects, any number of analysis of that CBO report make clear that while nominally non-partisan, the CBO report is by no means unaffected by politics.
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