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UC Davis spent $175K to hide pepper spray cop on Google, says report – CNET

Documents reportedly show that the California university hired teams to improve its Google results after a campus police officer pepper-sprayed students and became an Internet meme.

Source: UC Davis spent $175K to hide pepper spray cop on Google, says report – CNET

Controversial World War Two General Mark Clark of South Carolina

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 This African-American combat patrol advanced three miles north of Lucca (furthermost point occupied by American troops) to contact an enemy machine gun nest. Here a bazooka-man cuts loose at the target some 300 yards distant. These American soldiers of the US 5th Army were under the command of General Mark Clark. 09/07/1944 (Photo courtesy of the US National Archives and in the public domain)

 

 

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  US Army General Mark Wayne Clark in 1943.

Among his many decorations is the Purple Heart he received for being seriously wounded in World War One while leading a company of soldiers in battle and the Bronze Star for bravery under enemy fire.

(photo courtesy of US Library of Congress)

General Clark (1896 to 1984) remains a controversial figure in the literature of World War Two. His detractors say he disobeyed orders and allowed tens of thousands of German soldiers to escape because he was so focused on becoming known in history as “the general who liberated Rome,” which he did.

His defenders say his critics are carping, ill-informed, nit-picking dimwits. They point out he was a protegé of Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshal and that many, including General Eisenhower, thought General Clark one of the most brilliant Allied generals of World War Two. Clark was the youngest three-star general in the US Army in World War Two. Suffice it to say, this controversy will continue.

While he was baptized an Episcopalian while a cadet at West Point, his mother was Jewish, hence making Clark Jewish under Rabbinical Law. This would make him one of the few Jewish (by descent) generals in the history of the US. (Source: historian Rick Atkinson).  I mention this because anti-Semitism was very strong in that era and especially in the military and I think it is important for Americans to know there were people of many ethnic groups who contributed to victory in World War Two.

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The Summerall Guards. These young men, all of whom are seniors, comprise the elite silent drill platoon of the Citadel.

From 1954 to 1965, General Clark became the Commandant of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, the city where he subsequently lived after retiring as Commandant of the Citadel. In 1968, while attending the Citadel summer camp, I actually met him.

He walked around the campus from time to time.  He was  well-known to everyone and was an awe-inspiring figure. I recall that he was dressed in the white summer uniform of the US Army which isn’t something one sees very often. He came over to a group of us campers and our counselor, who was a Citadel cadet, came to attention while General Clark shook our hands.

The Citadel summer camp was a good recruiting ground for future Citadel cadets as well as young men interested in joining the military. My mother sent me to this month-long camp thinking it would be fun–it was–and might interest me in a military career. It didn’t.

The lead counselor in our section was from Thailand. This being the height of the Vietnam War,  he would jog with us to breakfast each morning leading us in the following chant, “I want to be an airborne ranger, I want to kill a Vietcong.” In retrospect, since we campers were all eleven or twelve years old, I find this odd but it wasn’t in the context of the times.

To Protect Your Privacy, Give Strangers and Merchants & Facebook This Address

Writes Cyber-security Expert Bruce Schneier in his latest book, Data and Goliath: the Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World (which I highly recommend), when someone who has no business to know asks him for his home address he replies:

“9800 Savage Road, Columbia, MD  20755.  This is, he says, “the address of the National Security Agency.”

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This is a photograph of what the NSA describes as, “Our Utah ‘massive data repository’ [which] is designed to cope with the vast increases in digital data that have accompanied the rise of the global network.”

Uh, what global network would that be? All of them? The entire internet? According to at least half a dozen books and experts the answer is yes.

According the website of the National Security Agency’s Directorate of Domestic Surveillance, a dangerous and out of control division of the already out of control NSA, this “stunning photograph” above comes from their policy of openness and transparency.

As they explain in most condescending manner imaginable: “As proof of our genuine concern for privacy protection, we recently gave permission for several privacy groups to fly their little blimp over our massive data center. We would like to thank these airborne privacy pioneers for the stunning photo below of our impressive facility. By allowing harmless publicity stunts like these, we can have our data and store it too.”

My first reaction: Fuck you. To the author of this revolting tripe, I say you are sinister and evil person with no respect for the Constitution of the United States. You and your slimy co-workers at the NSA aren’t protecting us from the greatest threat to our freedom as American citizens. Why? Because it isn’t ISIS and other terrorists who threaten our liberty the most. It is you and the goons of the National Security Agency. Yes, you at the NSA have become the greatest threat to our liberty and freedom as Americans.

Because of your massive, and often illegal data collection of anything and everything Americans (and everyone else in the world) do, say, write, buy, or travel to, you have stripped us of our rights to privacy under the Constitution. NSA also breaks the laws of the European Union on a regular basis. Then again, as one of the previous 4 star general who commanded the agency said, his motto was, “collect everything.” Note, the the NSA is a “dual hatted” command since the 4 star general who commands this monstrous entity is also the head of US Cyber Command.

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The most chilling US Government photograph I have ever seen. This is the entrance to the massive NSA data storage facility in Utah, the first of three. Read what the sign says below the “welcome message.”

“If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear.” 

This was, by the way, almost exactly word for word what the Nazis kept saying as they established their police state in the Third Reich. You can draw you own conclusion.  

Murder and Serial Killing: American Psycho and our Psycho Society – Part 4

 

Part 1      part 2   Part 3    Part 4

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Christian Bale as the Psycho in American Psycho

There is a reason murder mysteries are one of the most popular genres in both the publishing business and the movie business. Money. Both readers and moviegoers want blood and lots of it. Since we are all capable of killing someone under the right circumstances, we are drawn to entertainments which feature murder and killing.

This is our way of sublimating our own desire to kill. When we are so angry at someone we blurt out, “I could just kill him,” we are expressing the unconscious wish to kill the person, at least according to the Freudians.

FBI statistics on murder expand on this theme. In 2009, according to the FBI, 24.2 percent of murder victims were slain by family members; 53.8 percent were killed by someone they knew (acquaintance, neighbor, friend, boyfriend, etc). Hence 78% of murder victims knew their murderer. It’s why the law makes a distinction between murder in a fit of passion (you come upon your significant other donging or being donged by someone) and premeditated murder or murder with “malice aforethought.”

Only a gossamer thread of civilization separates us from spectators in the Roman Coliseum who watched gladiators fight to the death. Certainly in the years to come watching people fight to the death on television will become a legal entertainment. Just look at the popularity of The Hunger Games and of footage showing our soldiers in combat.

If you don’t agree with me then ponder this: the most watched sport in America is automobile racing. Given the boring nature of the cars going round and round in a circle, you don’t think people are watching it just to see that, do you? Come on, we want to see the car crashes.

[Source: FBI.]

Murder and Serial Killing: American Psycho and our Psycho Society – Part 3

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 Part 1  part 2  Part 3 Part 4

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The outrage over American Psycho was absurd, although given our warped and hypocritical society it was hardly surprising. Far bloodier stories had been eaten up by Americans long before American Psycho was published in 1991. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which invented the genre of slasher movies, was released in 1974 to be followed by Lord knows how many sequels and copycat movies.

Why did Hollywood produce so many bloody slasher movies? Take a look at these numbers. According to the International Movie Data Base: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre cost $83,532 to make and grossed $30,859,000 in the US alone. And remember, this was in the early 1970s, when it cost maybe two dollars to see a first run movie. And a movie like this would not have played in the nicer theaters so admission was probably one dollar. (Your servant was a college student in those days although I never saw the movie because it seemed so moronic.)

Subsequent rental income for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre once videos were invented was $14,221,000. Added to the gross from theater revenue, this is a return on investment exceeding 500%. To paraphrase PT Barnum:

…no one ever went broke presenting stories of blood and gore to the American people.

[Source: IMDB.]

NAZI POWs In America

 

 

German POWs landing Newport News 9.42
German POWs from the Afrika Korps captured in North Africa by British 8th Army debark from a ship in Newport News VA in September of 1942. Great Britain was filled to capacity to with POWs and many had to be sent to Canada, then a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. Under an agreement with the British, the United States agreed to take more than 300,000 German prisoners of war. 

Note the Afrika Korps desert boots and tropical uniforms the men are wearing. At the top right of the photograph standing just inside the hatchway is a British solider, probably a military policeman. They wore red hats but I can’t tell in this photo whether the hat is red.

A great story from the Austin-American Statesman on Camp Hearne, one of the largest POW camps in the USA holding German PWs during WW Two. At that time, the men were designated as PWs and not POWs. They had PW painted on their uniforms.

 

“It started with the surrender of the Afrika Korps in spring 1943, when more than 150,000 soldiers were sent to camps in the U.S. According to the Geneva Convention of 1929, which set international wartime standards for prisoners, POWs had to be moved to a climate similar to where they were captured. The American South was deemed as the most appropriate location.

Because of the availability of space, Texas had more than twice as many camps as any other state, with roughly 78,000 POWs living here by the end of the war. The prisoners, however, didn’t get back home until 1947, two years after the war ended. Camp Hearne was among the biggest camps in Texas, and today, its museum provides the most comprehensive and well-documented display of this part of Texas history.”

 

Austin American Statesman Story on German POWs