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- Chicano Moratorium Press Conference–From the Frontlines of Ferguson
- Government Sanctioned Murder by Cop
- St Louis, Ferguson, Michael Brown and Why I’m Not Surprised
- LinkedIn stats on Chicano/Hispanic/Mexican American/Puerto Rican Studies grads
- Bring Hollywood Home News Release on Outsourcing Legislation
It’s bad enough to die in custody; do they really have to abuse you after your demise? Here’s the latest from a Whistle Blower in the jail system who reports that an inmate in Los Angeles Mens Central Jail Module 4200 hanged himself:
….an inmate in mens central jail LA hung himself yesterday Jan. 29 2014 then when the coroner arrived, they put the body on a stretcher and the body fell off at some point going up the stairs ….
Whistle blowing on Crime in the Suites
Politicians usually rant and rave to get re-elected about “crime in the streets” and write draconian and frequently insane laws to spend taxpayer money willy nilly to do something about it. One of these days I’d like to see them get really serious about white collar crime in the suites, such as Banksterism. Banksters in my book should be treated with laws and sentences that are just as draconian as those targeting so-called street Gangsters.
Recently I’ve seen an uptick in Whistle Blowers responding to my blogs. This is a special thank you to the anonymous person who sent me information recently on Hanmi Bank. I’ve sent the information on to the FBI, Commissioner Jan Lynn Owen of the California Department of Business Oversight (Hanmi is a California State chartered bank), Melissa Schaetz (Senior Consumer Compliance Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco), and Rep. Maxine Waters (my own congressperson who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee).
If you want to blow the whistle on corruption of any sort, I will protect your anonymity to the best of my ability.
Aside from my role as a private investigator which gives my sources a certain degree of protection under Section 7539(a) of the California Business & Professions Code, I also am protected by the immunity conferred by the California Constitution Article I, Section 2(b) and California Evidence Code Section 1070. I am a card carrying member of the Pacific Media Workers Guild Local 39521. I formerly served as the First Vice President of Newspaper Guild Local 39069 under presidents Gary North and Joe Segura. I am criminal justice and legal affairs columnist for CounterPunch Magazine as well as the operator of this Detective’s Diary blog.
So, if you have tips, leaks, evidence, or anything else you want to blow the whistle on, email me at:
Ivan Illich’s Toe
Rodolfo F. Acuña
Other than my stint in the army, the first time I had ever been outside of Los Angeles for more than a week was in the spring of 1971 when I visited Cuernavaca, Mexico for several months. Bored as hell I gravitated to el Centro Intercultural de Documentación (CIDOC) – a think tank founded by that Ivan in 1961. Illich was a guru who warned against the First World’s the imposition of its cultural values on Latin America, founding CIDOC to train priests and nuns to think of themselves as guests and not the saviors of the poor.
Like almost every intellectual hippie of the time, I was anxious to listen to Illich, a radical priest who was in hot water with the Vatican for his criticism of Western culture. Born in Vienna to a Croatian Catholic father and a Sephardic mother, Illich spoke at least eight languages and had a doctorate.
Part of his mystique was that he had worked as parish priest in a poor Puerto Rican New York neighborhood. At 30, he was appointed as the vice rector of the Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Controversy followed him, and he resigned from the priesthood. He had come to the attention of the Vatican through Opus Dei.
Illich’s publication of Deschooling Society (1971), a critical discourse of public education, moved him to the eye of the storm. According to Illich, universal education through schooling was not feasible, and he said de-institutionalizing education was starting point in de-institutionalizing society.
Schools, according to Illich, confused process and substance. Students were “schooled” to confuse teaching with learning, and success with a diploma. According to Illich, they schooled the students’ imagination to accept service in place of value. His solution was to get rid of the myth that bureaucracies guided by scientific knowledge were efficient and benevolent.
Illich called for collaborative learning. Admittedly, Illich’s hyperbole created a storm with approval of libertarians of the right and left who interpreted him they the way they wanted to. The value of Illich was not his theory; he was not a scientist but a thinker, a philosopher. He contributed to awakening the intellectuals’ cultural consciousness to the insidious effects of institutional dependency.
Illich’s dragon was the monopoly of the schools of education that in turn blinded poor people and gave them the illusion that schooling was the answer to their problems. The objective of schooling thus became the acquisition of material goods in order to increase their consumption.
According to Illich, schools served a function similar to that which the established church once played in claiming a monopoly as the repository of society’s myths. Illich distinguished between skill acquisition and humane education. Only by deschooling society would we be able to eliminate hierarchies and the mass production of education.
As an educator I was not enamored with the idea of eliminating schools. I had spent most of the sixties fighting for better access to education for minorities, and for me it was a question of who controlled the schools. Illich’s vision at the time seemed too utopian.
About this time, Illich sauntered into the CIDOC’s courtyard. He was wearing black cotton pants, a white guayabera, and sandals. But the only thing I saw at the time was his big toe; it was enormous. The crowd of a couple of hundred people went wild. “Ibán!” “ee-bán!” They shouted, “Ibán, what is knowledge?”
It all began to come together with his next book Tools for Conviviality (1973), which continued the theme of specialized knowledge and technocratic elites in an industrial society. Illich boldly called for the reconquest of practical knowledge. “The result of much economic development is very often not human flourishing but ‘modernized poverty,’ dependency, and an out-of-control system in which the humans become worn-down mechanical parts.”
Illich attacked the do-gooders and their paternalism. In this book, Illich uses phrases such as “The altar of science,” explaining “Many shamans and herb doctors familiar with local diseases and remedies and trusted by their clients had always had equal or better results.”
According to Illich, “medicine has gone on to define what constitutes disease and its treatment.” Convivial Tools were a means for individuals and communities to take back control over technologies, which had been monopolized by professional elites.
Convivial was defined as the degree of a person’s control over a tool. People controlled a telephone but not television. Building homes was at first a convivial tool, but with the rise elite of housing contractors and strict building codes a person lost the option of building his own house in his spare time.
Ultimately, Illich was concerned with people’s freedom to be creative; he insisted that creative activity required the use of tools, which can be controlled by the individual using them. Her mastery and control of the tools “Tools foster[ed] conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user.”
Over the years I have related more to Tools for Conviviality than Illich’s other works, although my admiration for him has grown. I can think of many theoreticians but very few pure thinkers.
This week I begin another semester. I am often asked how my present students differ from those of forty-four years ago. That’s where Tools for Conviviality comes in. My classes are overwhelmingly first generation university students, three quarters are Latinos, and almost all are working class. Every semester I ask them how many can use a sewing machine, keeping in mind the pedal powered Singer that we had when I was growing up.
When I first asked the question over three-quarters raised their hands. Last semester the number fell to two and that included me. Only two knew how to sew buttons on their shirts or blouses, and none had ever darned a sock. These were all routine when I was growing up.
On some Sundays I go out and watch immigrants hit the garage sales, picking up perfectly good clothes often almost new. A button is missing, or a zipper is jamming. They take the piece of clothing, put a button on it or a zipper, wash, starch and iron it, and give it to relatives back home.
When I was a child we would go downtown and window shop. My aunt would sketch the latest fashions, and if she liked a dress she would buy a pattern and a piece of cloth and make it. Today my students buy a blouse for $35 that they could make for $2.00.
My rumination about Illich’s toe was triggered by a conversation that one of my colleagues had with a part time instructor. Apparently the latter was miffed about our fight with the administration over the privatization of the university. She responded that why make a big deal about it, we could do nothing about it.
The part-time instructor thought of herself as educated, after all she had read Michel Foucault in grad school. But I guess she cannot appreciate or hear the chants of “ee-bán!” or admire his huge toe, and perhaps that is why she does not know the definition of the word struggle.
Every time I come out with a new edition of Occupied America, I feel guilty. The cost of books has gone through the roof. For this edition I wanted to say thank you so I am posting online a 194 page Student/Teacher Manual—or, as I call it, the “Mini-book”—that is over 194 pages. It is designed to accompany Occupied America, it is also meant to guide the students through Chicana/o history as well as periodically refresh their knowledge of the field. The manual also makes Occupied America and the field of Chicana/o history more online friendly for teachers and students. It makes heavy use of the internet. If the hyperlink is down, please email me to Rudy.Acuna@csun.edu. It is available free of charge at http://forchicanachicanostudies.wikispaces.com/Acu%C3%B1a%2C+Occupied+America+Student+Teacher+Guide It is also available on the link for Center for the Study of the Peoples of the Americas (CESPA; http://www.csun.edu/cespa/Acuna%20Manual%20Binder.pdf . It is not much but perhaps it will facilitate more Chicana/o History courses and your learning.
An Inarticulate Defense of Data Collection: It’s not just about prevention
Over and over and over again I hear everybody from President Obama to Senator Dianne Feinstein defending the continued collection of “meta-data” from telephone company records as being justified in that it might just help America prevent or disrupt a terrorist plot in the future. That is a possibility, but with no examples to trot out for the public, people remain skeptical.
Future prevention is by far not the only reason that there is a legitimate reason to collect and maintain meta-data records. From the government’s perspective, it puts a severe crimp into efforts to investigate everything from terrorist actions, to espionage, to organized crime, to cold case murders and other run of the mill felonies if you don’t have access to this data. From the private sector’s perspective, not having a government entity in control of this data limits the potential that this data can be used in an investigation for habeas corpus petitions to free falsely or improperly convicted inmates (perhaps even those facing the death penalty) or even to exercise the average person’s civil due process rights to chase down the assets of dead-beat dads, protect themselves from racketeers, stalkers, and hate crimes, or virtually any other legitimate effort where old records are needed.
The basic problem for the government is that the telephone companies don’t keep their data forever. It’s a pain in the ass to (a) store the data and (b) respond to subpoenas from the government and the private sector for the stored data. It’s not a service that makes them any money and probably is a money loser.
One thing I can’t understand about the media, pundits and other assorted talking heads in this whole debate is why nobody has drawn a parallel to The President’s Analyst, a cult film released December 21, 1967—shortly after its star, James Coburn, had become a founding member of the Peace & Freedom Party (and remained registered PFP until his death). In the plot of the film, it turns out that the telephone company is more dangerous than any government on Earth (from Wikipedia):
Kropotkin arranges a pickup with his trusted CEA colleague Don Masters, but Schaeffer is kidnapped again — this time by The Phone Company (TPC), a far more insidious organization than the FBR or KGB, which has been observing him throughout the film.
Taken to TPC’s headquarters in New Jersey, he is introduced to the head of TPC (Pat Harrington, Jr.), who wants Dr. Schaefer’s help in carrying out their plan. TPC has developed a “modern electronic miracle”, the Cerebrum Communicator (CC), a microelectronic device that can communicate wirelessly with any other CC in the world. Once implanted in the brain, the user need only think of the number of the person they wish to reach, and are instantly connected, thus eliminating the need for The Phone Company’s massive and expensive-to-maintain wired infrastructure. (The operation of the CC is shown in animation that parodies the animated sequences in the Bell Telephone Science Series television programs.)
Conspiracy theorists really ought to resurrect this film immediately to fuel the publics’ paranoid delusions of grandeur.
My blog at http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/09/20/saving-america-for-25%C2%A2/ tells a bit about an investigation into espionage I began in the private sector which was taken over by FBI Counter Intelligence. For reasons that should be obvious, I can’t go into details inasmuch as the investigation is on-going. Consider this: in the private sector I stumble onto a “sleeper agent,” a foreign espionage agent spying on America’s defensive (and I am specific about “defensive” and not “offensive”) capabilities. It is unknown by either the FBI or myself as to how long his espionage activities have gone on in the United States. Should the government not have the capability of checking to see who this person has called since he’s been in the United States?
If you’re answer is no, I’d really like to hear your thinking and your justification. BTW, in this real life situation, the spy is working for a government which executes people for being Gay, flogs women for asserting their rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, tortures and shoots people for demonstrating for free elections; yeah, one of those kinds of regimes.
Some so-called civil libertarians have their
heads up their asses when it comes to the real world
Usually, I agree with the ACLU, but when it comes to their legislative positions on privacy legislation, the organization evinces a class bias against the average criminal defendant who is too poor to pay membership dues to the ACLU. Example: some years ago the ACLU California lobbyists teamed up with the Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police associations to deny access to DMV address information to criminal defense investigators who need to find witnesses, giving police detectives a monopoly on this data to help put people in jail. The ACLU argued in writing that criminal defense investigators have adequate resources to find witnesses and refused to answer questions or debate the issue with me (I challenged their lobbyist to debate the issue in front of ACLU chapters). The fact is that not only does this impede just about any criminal defense investigation, it has a disparate impact upon the most oppressed people, undocumented immigrants, because witnesses to crimes committed by or against them also tend to be undocumented immigrants and it’s super difficult to find those witnesses. Frequently, the only way to find them is through vehicles which they owned even if they did not have driver licenses but because of the ACLU, private defense investigators don’t have access, period (you can’t even subpoena the information).
The debate on whether the government should own and control the data base of telephone company meta-data as opposed to forcing the telephone companies to continue to maintain old data needs to be looked at from the perspective of what the government’s obligations are under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to provide criminal defendants with potentially exculpatory evidence and the Sixth Amendment and the compulsory process clause of the Sixth Amendment. If the government has this data in its own possession, just as the government can use this information to investigate and convict somebody of a crime, so too does it have an obligation to provide access to this data base to criminal defense lawyers and investigators to help exonerate people or at least provide them with a fair trial. Telephone companies are under no constitutional obligation whatsoever to provide criminal defendants or anybody else with potentially exculpatory information that they might just happen to have in their possession; the government is.
The ACLU fought tooth and nail against legislation requiring people arrested but not convicted of crimes to provide DNA samples. Upon my recommendation and that of my criminal defense investigator colleagues then on the legislative committee of the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI), CALI endorsed this legislation not because it would help law enforcement but because it was likely to help the defense free people from wrongful convictions….and we have been proven right. Take the case of James Ochoa: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/nov/02/local/me-wrong2
If, as the ACLU had urged, this data base didn’t even exist, James Ochoa would still be in prison. Just as I predicted this kind of outcome from the practical aspects of the government creating this data base, an unplanned outcome of the government taking over the telephone companies’ meta-data collection may very well be that the private sector is aided in perfectly legitimate investigations to protect the constitution, not void it.
AFRICAN ANTI-LGBTI CRUSADES: THE L.A. CONNECTION
On Monday January 13, 2014 Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a measure which states that “Persons who enter into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union commit an offence and are each liable on conviction to a term of 14 years in prison…” and that “Any person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offence and shall each be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years in prison.” The Nigerian law follows legislation in Uganda which established life in prison for what it calls “aggravated homosexuality” and “years in prison for anyone who counsels or reaches out to homosexuals, a provision that would ensnare rights groups and others providing services to lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people” according to CNN.
These anti-LGBTI laws in Africa are indirectly related to the recent decision of the United Methodist Church in America’s decision to defrock Rev. Frank Schaefer of Pennsylvania for refusing to recant after performing a same-sex wedding for his Gay son and son-in-law.
Several years ago the UMC brought in Adonijah Okechukwu Ogbonnaya as pastor at the Venice United Methodist Church. “Dr. O” as he is called is an Igbo tribe member from Nigeria…..and he’s a religious fanatic who has campaigned all over Africa for anti-LBGTI legislation while throwing LGBTI children out of youth programs at the VUMC, running Latinos out of the VUMC, and apparently colluding with a long time youthful church member to fabricate charges of molestation against another church leader.
Dr. O’s fanaticism does not stop with LGBTI issues. OGBONNAYA has expressed, personally to me, the following beliefs, which indicate nothing short of apocalyptic fanaticism:
In connection with the Igbo tribal belief that they are descendants of ancient Hebrews, he believes that Israel will eventually be destroyed;
“Biafra” must be resurrected through secession from Nigeria;
The survivors of the destruction of Israel will be brought to “Biafra” as their new homeland.
Biafra was the short lived Ibo secessionist state of Nigeria which fought a bloody civil war from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970 (exactly 44 years ago today). Of the 13.5 million population, estimates of civilian casualties of the war are between 1-3 million people. The group that Dr. O has advocated and organized for is described in Wikipedia:
The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) advocates a separate country for the Igbo people of south-eastern Nigeria. They accuse the state of marginalising the Igbo people. MASSOB says it is a peaceful group and advertises a 25-stage plan to achieve its goal peacefully. There are two arms to the government, the Biafra Government in Exile and Biafra Shadow Government. The Nigerian government accuses MASSOB of violence; MASSOB’s leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, was arrested in 2005 and is being detained on treason charges; MASSOB is calling for his release. MASSOB is also championing the release of oil militant Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is facing similar charges. In 2009, The MASSOB launched “the Biafran International Passport” in response to persistent demand by Biafrans in diaspora.
A Los Angeles Weekly report in 2010 on Dr. O noted that:
The church’s new pastor, A. Okechukwu Ogbonnaya, who was appointed in June and moved here from the Chicago area, abruptly ended the youth group’s active participation in Sunday morning services, which had included performing raps and poems to the full congregation about their spiritual journeys.
Then Ogbonnaya, a fiery preacher during his Sunday sermons, forbade the kids from conducting their own service in the sanctuary.
Finally, the pastor locked the youth group out of its nighttime meeting room in the church complex.
Pine says he and other members of the youth group are still gathering, praying and talking — in the darkened Venice church parking lot twice a week.
“To be locked out from a place that I love to go, it felt like getting kicked out of my own home,” says Robert Alvarez, 18, who prays alongside Pine.
According to a former VUMC church official a person utilized by Dr. O to bring allegations of homosexual sexual misconduct was represented as being previously unknown to Dr. O prior to his VUMC assignment. However, the individual identified as having brought the charges against the other church leader turns out to have a record of utilizing Dr. O’s social security number in 2004, 2005, and 2010 in Auburn and Puyallup, Washington, when Dr. O was also living in those cities.
An internal complaint by long time church members to the UMC went nowhere:
With the recent revelations of e-mails between various New Jersey government functionaries and aides of Governor Chris Christie (up to and including his Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly) prosecutors are probably looking at what laws may have been violated. Here’s what the New Jersey Code of Criminal Procedure has to say:
2C:27-5. Retaliation for past official action
A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he harms another by any unlawful act with purpose to retaliate for or on account of the service of another as a public servant.
Arguably Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was retaliated against because of his service as mayor of a New Jersey City. Unlawfully shutting down a bridge in retaliation against him sure sounds like it fits the definition of the crime.
2C:27-12 Crime of corruption of public resources; grading.
1. a. A person commits the crime of corruption of public resources if, with respect to a public resource which is subject to an obligation to be used for a specified purpose or purposes, the person knowingly uses or makes disposition of that public resource or any portion thereof for an unauthorized purpose.
The George Washington Bridge itself was “used” as an instrument by which to retaliate against Mayor Sokolich and against people who’d voted for Barbara Buono for Governor against Chris Christie, based upon the plain language in the emails that have been made public. Again, this statute seems to fit the acts and omissions of Christie’s staff.
2C:29-1. Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function.
a. A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act. This section does not apply to failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.
b. An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of a person for a crime, otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.
This statute speaks for itself and the subsequent efforts of Christie’s aides to cover up the offense fits the element of “obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime….”
One thing that causing the traffic chaos in Fort Lee teaches the world, including Al Qaeda and other terrorists who might have an interest in disrupting America, is that by simply screwing up bridges at the right place and the right time can cost billions of dollars and as we’ve seen, cost lives (like the 91 year old woman who may have died from the delay of EMT response services). During the Vietnam War, a technique of disruption used by some activists was the “stall in.” You get 3 or 4 junk cars the run, stall them in tandem on a downtown freeway interchange and voila: chaos. So now, terrorists need to take a few vehicles onto a bridge, get out, perhaps set them on fire, and walk away. They don’t even have to blow themselves up in the process…and we have the Christie administration to thank for giving them the idea.
We need to start planning for the 150th Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, which will be November 29, 2014. From Wikipedia:
Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! … I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians. … Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.
—- Col. John Milton Chivington
Jis to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What der yer ‘spose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don’t like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I’ve fought ‘em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would.
—- Kit Carson
There was a hero on the American side, Captain Silas Soule, a Kansas Jayhawker and Union Army officer in the Civil War who refused to allow his troops to participate in Chivington’s Massacre. He told the truth at Chivington’s court martial and was later assassinated by Chivington’s friends for his courage.
From goings on at the Talking Stick:
From my FB page:
6:00pm until 2:00am
Partly Cloudy 70°F / 50°F
Friends, cohorts, droogs, and my other assorted riff-raff–I’m going to hang out for NY’s Eve at The Talking Stick Venice 1411 Lincoln Blvd, Venice CA 90291. Come & join me to rock in the New Year!
New Years Eve Party hosted by Liquid Sound
Tue, December 31, 6pm – Wed, January 1, 2014, 2am
Talking Stick Events