Oklahoma Gets Hit With 20 Earthquakes In One Day

In this Nov, 6, 2011 photo, Chad Devereaux examines bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws home in Sparks, Okla., following two earthquakes that hit the area in less than 24 hours.

In this Nov, 6, 2011 photo, Chad Devereaux examines bricks that fell from three sides of his in-laws home in Sparks, Okla., following two earthquakes that hit the area in less than 24 hours. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/SUE OGROCKI

The first question that comes to mind is:  Were there as many (if any) earthquakes before fracking became so prevalent in Oklahoma?  Most companies and Oklahoma officials deny that there’s any correlation for a number of reasons, the main one being profit above all else…

Think Progress

Oklahoma’s Geology Survey recorded an unprecedented 20 small earthquakes across the state on Tuesday, highlighting the dramatic increase of seismic activity that has occurred there as the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing — otherwise known as fracking — has spread across the state.

Though 18 out of the 20 earthquakes that occurred Tuesday were below Magnitude 3, rendering them mostly imperceptible, the largest one registered as a 4.3 near Guthrie, a city of more than 10,000 residents. And while U.S. Geological Survey scientists have said that Oklahoma is historically known as “earthquake country,” they also warn that quakes have been steadily on the rise; from 1978 until 2008, the average rate of earthquakes registering a magnitude of 3.0 or more was only two per year.

“No documented cases of induced seismicity have ever come close to the current earthquake rates or the area over which the earthquakes are occurring,” the Oklahoma Geology Survey said in a recent presentation addressing the alarming increase in quakes. By “induced seismicity,” the OGS is referring to minor earthquakes that are caused by human activity, whether that be fracking, mass removal mining, reservoir impoundment, or geothermal production — anything that could disrupt existing fault lines.

Earthquakes

CREDIT: OKLAHOMA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

One of the most researched human activities that could be causing the dramatic increase in earthquakes is fracking. The process that could be causing the quakes is not the fuel extraction itself, but a process called “wastewater injection,” in which companies take the leftover water used to frack natural gas wells and inject it deep into the ground. Scientists increasingly believe that the large amount of water that is injected into the ground after a well is fracked can change the state of stress on existing fault lines to the point of failure, causing earthquakes.

Cornell University geophysics professor Katie Keranen is the latest researcher to produce a scientific study showing a probable connection between earthquakes wastewater injection, finding in July that the more than 2,500 small earthquakes that have hit Oklahoma in the past five years can be linked to it. Keranen’s study analyzed four prolific wastewater disposal wells in southeast Oklahoma City, which collectively inject approximately four million barrels of wastewater into the ground each month. The research showed that fluid from those wells was migrating along fault lines for miles, and Keranen’s team determined the migration was likely responsible for earthquakes occurring as far as 22 miles away.

The link between earthquakes and wastewater injection from fracking is not definitive. As Jennifer Dlouhy in Fuel Fix notes, the research lacks necessary data on sub-surface pressure, which is rarely accessible.

The OGS says that as it is now, the chances of a large, damaging earthquake happening in Oklahoma are small. However, some scientists have warned that seismic activity stands to get stronger and more dangerous as fracking increases.

“I think ultimately, as fluids propagate and cover a larger space, the likelihood that it could find a larger fault and generate larger seismic events goes up,” Western University earth sciences professor Gail Atkinson said at a Seismological Society of America conference in May.

As of publication Wednesday, five more earthquakes had already occurred in Oklahoma, three of which registered on or above the 3.0 magnitude mark.

REWIND – RYAN TRIES TO REWRITE SHUTDOWN STORY

The Huffington Post

In his new book, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recounts shaking his head in frustration last fall as fellow Republicans sought to use a government shutdown as leverage to gut Obamacare.

“It was a suicide mission,” Ryan writes in The Way Forward, his memoir released Tuesday. “This can’t be the full measure of our party and our movement. If it is, we’re dead and the country is lost.”

Reflecting on the shutdown that Newt Gingrich had led in 1995, Ryan wrote of his worry about repeated missteps: “I saw the damage it did. We couldn’t afford to take a hit like that again — not for a strategy that had no hope of advancing our core principles.”

As is often the case with political memoirs, however, the actual history was far more complicated. Ryan’s office told HuffPost that his co-authorship of an eventual budget deal with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) proves he was against the shutdown.

“Chairman Ryan voted several times both to avoid the shutdown and to restart funding for various parts of the government during the shutdown,” Ryan spokesman Brian Bolduc said in an email.

But during the October 2013 standoff, Ryan didn’t seem like a lawmaker nervous about damaging the party or movement. Instead, he was often obstructive.

In the days after the shutdown began, the House Budget Committee chair advocated tying the government shutdown fight to the federal government’s looming credit default — an idea that only raised the stakes of negotiations and ensured the shutdown would last at least another two weeks. In an Oct. 8 Wall Street Journal op-ed, he suggested reforming entitlements in exchange for raising discretionary spending levels.

Tea Party types weren’t thrilled with the idea since it left intact the president’s health care law, which had been the shutdown’s raison d’etre. But reaction from the press corps was mixed. Some reporters hailed Ryan for starting a dialogue between House Republicans and the White House. Others saw it as a thinly disguised play for conservative policy reforms.

Either way, the shutdown continued. And in the subsequent days, Ryan dug in. The Washington Post reported on Oct. 12 that in a closed-door meeting, he railed against a bipartisan Senate deal to reopen the government, “saying the House could not accept either a debt-limit bill or a government-funding measure that would delay the next fight until the new year.”

“According to two Republicans familiar with the exchange,” the Post reported, “Ryan argued that the House would need those deadlines as ‘leverage’ for delaying the health-care law’s individual mandate and adding a ‘conscience clause’ — allowing employers and insurers to opt out of birth-control coverage if they find it objectionable on moral or religious grounds — and mentioned tax and entitlement goals Ryan had focused on in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.”

With days to go before the debt limit deadline was breached, House Republican leadership ultimately found themselves in a horrible jam, with the public blaming them for keeping the government closed and hurting the economy. Senate Republicans swooped in with a bill to reopen the government, raise the debt limit and provide a framework for future budget talks.

If, as he suggested in his book, Ryan thought the whole episode had been a stain on the GOP’s brand, it would seem logical that he would have jumped to support the one piece of legislation left to end the standoff. But when that Senate bill came to the House floor, he was one of 144 Republicans members who voted no. The bill passed with Democratic support.

“To pay our bills today — and to make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow — we must make a down payment on the debt,” he said. “Today’s legislation won’t help us reduce our fast-growing debt. In fact, it could extend the debt ceiling well into next year, further delaying any action. In my judgment, this isn’t a breakthrough. We’re just kicking the can down the road.”

After the stopgap bill reopened the government, Ryan negotiated a longer-term budget deal with Murray that removed the specter of another government shutdown. That deal actually raised spending levels from sequester levels, though it extended the sequester’s 2 percent cuts to Medicare providers by two years. It included none of the entitlement reforms that Ryan had suggested in his Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Here’s Rick Perry’s Mugshot

New York Magazine Online

Texas governor Rick Perry wasindicted last week on two felony counts of abuse of power. Today, he turned himself in to the Travis County Courthouse so he could be booked, fingerprinted, and have his mugshot taken.

The whole process took about 10 to 15 minutes, and on his way out, Perry stopped to thank the courthouse staff for their professionalism.

Then, he did what every criminal does after being booked: he went and got some ice cream.

Is now a good time to admit I find Glasses Rick Perry kind of hot?

GOP Attacks On Obamacare Fizzle In Key Senate Races

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AP Photo / Evan Vucci

TPM LiveWire

Since the law’s botched rollout last fall, Republicans have been licking their chops over the prospect of riding Obamacare failures to victory in the 2014 elections. But now that the law has recovered and is providing insurance coverage to millions of Americans, issue ads involving the health care law are slowly disappearing in key states like North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas.

In North Carolina, Obamacare was mentioned in 54 percent of issue ads in April; it fell to 27 percent in July, per data from Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

In Louisiana, Obamacare fell to 41 percent of top five issue ads in July; in Arkansas it dropped to 23 percent, according to CMAG. The issue dominated the airwaves in both states in April.

Democrats in these Republican-leaning states — Sens. Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA) and Mark Pryor (AR) all of whom voted for Obamacare — are considered among the most vulnerable this fall. That remains the case whether or not the law is an effective weapon for Republicans. But even as Democratic senators refrain from touting it, due to its unpopularity with conservative voters, Republican strategists are realizing that the issue won’t carry them to victory in the midterm elections.

New Page Added – “Ferguson”

Hi TFC friends,

It appears that Ferguson is the most dominant story in the news these days.  Partly because Congress and the POTUS are on vacation.

Also,  the news abroad has been sidelined considerably even though the Israeli/Gaza conflict continues and ISIS has finally been checked by US and Iraqi forces...

Therefore I’ll be reducing my coverage on Ferguson.  There is a new link at the top of this site listed with 2014 Elections, About Kstreet and Black History.  The link is listed as Ferguson, MO

 

Amnesty International has come to Ferguson

Protesters stretch across the street in Ferguson, Mo., on Sunday. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Associated Press)

For the first time ever, Amnesty International has come to the United States of America…

The Washington Post

In an unusual move, the global rights organization Amnesty International has dispatched a delegation of observers and organizers to Ferguson, Mo., to provide direct support to community members and to observe the police response to protests. The 13-person delegation, which arrived late last week, was the first of its kind deployed by Amnesty within the United States, the organization said.

The St. Louis suburb has been filled with unrest since since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed on Aug. 9 by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. That unrest intensified once again on Sunday, with reports of gunshots prompting law enforcement officials to respond with tear gas.

Overnight, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) announced that he’ll send the National Guard into Ferguson.

Amnesty decided to send a delegation to the city last week — a day after Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director Steven Hawkins sent a letter to law enforcement officials there expressing “deep concern” about Brown’s death and the way in which the police responded to protesters in the following days.

On Saturday, Hawkins criticized Nixon’s decision to impose a mandatory midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew on Ferguson. Nixon on Monday rescinded the curfew, following another night of violence on Sunday and his decision to deploy the Guard.

Jasmine Heiss, an Washington-based campaigner for Amnesty International, was part of the delegation that traveled to Ferguson. Her previous deployment? Palestine.

“What was unprecedented and is unprecedented,” Heiss said of Ferguson, “is the scope of [Amnesty's] mission.” Amnesty’s response in Ferguson, she added, was more akin to the organization’s work during the 2013 protests in Turkey than it was to any previous action the group has taken in the United States.

Amnesty International routinely sends research teams to report on potential human rights abuses during and after crisis situations in the United States, such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. And the group provides ongoing organizational support to certain communities in the U.S. — Hess, for instance, has worked on prisoners’ rights issues in Louisiana.

But this is the first time the organization has sent delegates to support and observe a community in the middle of a crisis.

Heiss, who returned to Washington on Sunday, said the most striking thing she saw during her time in Ferguson was the “overall lack of transparency” from law enforcement.

“Reflecting on our time there, one of the most troubling things is what we didn’t see,” she said, referring to limits placed by law enforcement officials on access to the protests. “When you see this kind of restricting of people protesting … it seems clear that the authorities are using the ill will of some to undermine the rest.”

Some members of the Amnesty delegation, including Heiss, worked as observers during the protests. Others provided direct training and support to the community, including non-violent direct action and “street medic” training.

Heiss is planning to return to Ferguson soon. The Amnesty team, she said, would remain in place in the community until local organizers there determine they are no longer needed.

Rush Limbaugh: Democrats are spreading ‘myth’ that police shoot and kill Black men

Rush Limbaugh (screen capture via ABC News)

Of course he would say that.  Appeasing his base is priority one with Limbaugh and his ilk…

The Raw Story

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh accused Democrats on Monday of drumming up interest in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Missouri for their own gain, Media Matters reported.

“Why is this a story? The myth,” he said. “The myth is that whites who are associated with Republicans, white cops, murder innocent Black kids all the time. And that’s why we need people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the Nation of Islam and whoever out raising money on all this, trying to do something about this never-ending discrimination which never does seem to end, does it? At least the reports never seem to end.”

Limbaugh did not mention a 2013 study that found that on average, police killed a Black man every 28 hours as recently as two years ago. Instead, he accused the media of promoting fatal shootings “even if it’s once a year.”

He also did not mention that, besides the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — which was followed by a non-fatal shooting four days later — officers have also killed Black men inLos Angeles and Ohio this month alone.

“And right behind that you’ll find the Democrat Party, which needs, as we have chronicled and stated I don’t know how many times, a permanent underclass of subservient, poor low-skilled dependents on government voting for them,” he said. “There are lots of them, and if you run out of them, you import them via illegal immigration.”

Listen to Limbaugh’s commentary, as posted by Media Matters.

At Least Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back To Honduras

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona.

A volunteer brings water, food, and diapers to Central-American women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station in Phoenix, Arizona | CREDIT: VALERIA FERNÁNDEZ/ AP

One word…outrageous!  There’s one common denominator between this story and the Ferguson story.  I’m sure it’s not hard to figure out

Think Progress

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Since October 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended about 63,000 unaccompanied children and another 63,000 “family units” (adults and children) at the southern U.S. border. While a steady stream of deported immigrants are flown back to Honduras about three times per week, the United States sent its first planeload of about 40 Honduran mothers and children from this particular wave in mid-July. Those individuals were dropped off in Honduras’ capital San Pedro Sula.

Politicians like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have been keen on expediting the legal process by demanding that immigration judges make a court decision within seven days. But that move could undermine children’s rights by denying due process to children who already don’t understand the courtroom procedures. As Vox found out, one teenage girl told a border agent that she was afraid of being forced into prostitution only after her paperwork had been filed.

According to a United Nations report, at least 58 percent of the children cited “international protection needs” as in they were seeking protection from the international community because their home governments could no longer protect them. And at least 40 percent of apprehended children are eligible for some form of legal relief from removal, a 2012 Vera Institute report found.

Both the U.S. and Honduras governments have allocated funds to help repatriated immigrants stay in Honduras. In June, the White House stated that it would devote $18.5 million to “support community policing and law enforcement efforts to confront gangs and other sources of crime.” And the Honduran First Lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez committed to new governmental programs that are “aimed at improving the lives of those who are sent back and giving others a reason to stay.” Some deportees are rightfully skeptical since the Honduran government hasn’t exactly funded programs meant for repatriated immigrants: Valdete Wileman who runs the Center for Returned Migrants in San Pedro Sula said that the government hardly helps maintain her center.

Still, deportations — and sometimes certain death — will likely not stop. Especially jarring comes recent news out of a New Mexico immigration detention center where multiple lawyers representing women claim that the Honduran consulate is advising immigrants “to forego legal counsel and consent to deportation,” according to a Santa Fe affiliated public radio station.

The ugly history of racist policing in America

Police frisk a man during the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965 | Express/Archive Photos/Getty

FYI…

Vox

he shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri, policeman Darren Wilson has revealed deep anger and frustration among residents of the St. Louis suburb. But Brown’s death, and the protests that have followed it, didn’t happen in a vacuum.

Vox spoke with historian Heather Ann Thompson, a professor at Temple University who writes extensively on 20th-century urban politics and criminal justice and worked on the recent National Research Council report on mass incarceration, to talk about the tense and often hostile history between African Americans and the police in America.

 

Dara Lind: What does history teach us about what’s going on in Ferguson?

Heather Ann Thompson: There are some locally important things about this, and there are some nationally important things. There’s been a lot of attention to the fact that St. Louis did not riot during the 1960s,for example. But St. Louis has always had this very tortured racial history. In July of 1917, there was one of the most brutal riots against African Americans there — scores and scores of white folks attacking blacks simply for being employed in wartime industries. There were indiscriminate attacks and, in effect, lynchings: beatings, hangings of black residents.

So the fact that St. Louis didn’t erupt in the ’60s is almost an anomaly or an outlying story. Because St. Louis does have very tense race relations between whites and blacks, and also between the police and the black community.

detroit national guard civil unrest

This isn’t the first time the National Guard’s been called in against black protesters. (Rolls Press/Popperfoto)

 

This isn’t the first time the National Guard’s been called in against black protesters. (Rolls Press/Popperfoto)

Nationally, it suggests that we haven’t learned nearly enough from our history. Not just 1917, and all the riots that happened in 1919, and 1921 — but, much more specifically, from the ‘60s. Because of course, this is exactly the same issue that generated most of the rebellions of the 1960s. In 1964, exactly 50 years ago, [unrest in] Philadelphia, Rochester, and Harlem were all touched off by the killing of young African Americans. That’s what touches off Harlem. It’s the beating of a young black man that touches off Rochester in ’64. It’s the rumor that a pregnant woman has been killed by the police in Philadelphia in ’64. So in some sense, my reaction to this is: of course. Because until you fundamentally deal with this issue of police accountability in the black community and fair policing in the black community, this is always a possibility.

 

DL: This continuity from the white attacks on black citizens after World War I, to the rioting of disenfranchised African Americans in the 1960s, is interesting. Is there a relationship between those two and between the violence of private white citizens and violence of police?

HT: On the surface they seem unrelated: you’ve got racist white citizens who are attacking blacks in the streets, and then years or decades later, you have the police acting violently in the black community.

“IT’S THE POLICE THAT ARE CALLED OUT WHEN BLACKS TRY TO INTEGRATE WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS”

In response to all those riots in the 1910s and 1920s, civil rights commissions were set up in cities, and there was pressure on both local and federal governments to address white vigilantism and white rioting against blacks. And while it was not particularly effective, it certainly had this censuring quality to it. And then what historians would agree happened is that, in so many cities, the police became the proxy for what the white community wants.

So one of the answers is that police became the front line of the white community — or, at least, the most racially conservative white community. It’s the police that are called out, for example, when blacks try to integrate white neighborhoods. It’s the police that become that body that defends whites in their homes.

cop bobby stick watts riots

Fifty years ago this summer, protests in Rochester brought out aggressive police response. (William Lovelace/Hulton)

DL: How did this play out after the unrest that you mentioned?

HT: We start the war on crime in 1965, which, of course, is very much in response to these urban rebellions. Because politicians decide that protests against things like police brutality are exactly the same thing as crime — that this is disorderly. This is criminal.

And so, police are specifically charged with keeping order and with stopping crime, which has now become synonymous with black behavior in the streets. The police, again, become that entity that polices black boundaries. And I will tell you that one of the most striking things about the media coverage of Ferguson is that they are absolutely doing what they did in the 1960s in terms of the reporting: “This is all about the looters, this is all about black violence.”

 

DL: It certainly seems that even before any looting actually happened in Ferguson, police were anticipating that kind of thing.

HT: Any time that there is urban rebellion, the way that it is spun has everything to do with whether it’s granted legitimacy. Notably, when there was rioting in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, and you saw the police with fire hoses and police dogs, it was very easy for white Northerners, particularly the press, to report that for exactly what it was — which was police violence on black citizens who were protesting. Everyone’s very clear about that. Sheriff Bull Connor is a racist, the police are racist, and that is why it is violent.

But the minute that these protests moved northward, the racial narrative was much more uncomfortable. “Why in the world would blacks be protesting against us good-hearted white folks in the North? And how dare they?” And what it means is that they were demanding too much, and that they were in fact just looking for trouble. So that narrative of who gets to be a legitimate protester shifts dramatically once protests move northward. It’s all about violence, troublemaking, looting, and so forth.

rochester riot army

Northerners sympathized with protesters in Birmingham, but in Rochester they sent in the army. (William Lovelace/Hulton Archive)

DL: What’s the response to a narrative like that?

HT: Even in the 1960s, you’ve got the white and black liberals who are saying, “Calm down, calm down, go home, stop this. Be peaceful.” And the white community, white politicians are desperate for these black politicians to have that kind of legitimacy: “Please go out and entice people to calm down!”

“THEY DON’T HAVE RUBBER BULLETS. IT’S NEVER A FAIR FIGHT.”

Until black life is valued to the same extent white life is by members of law enforcement and by the criminal-justice community, there will be this question of legitimacy of the police and their actions, particularly among black folks who are routinely stopped. And then, people get angry. And then, people do start throwing rocks and bottles. But make no mistake about it: they don’t have rubber bullets. It’s never a fair fight.

DL: What we’ve heard from police officers is that the best way to prevent something like what’s happening in Ferguson is for residents to already trust the police, to have a good relationship during so-called “normal” times — when there isn’t an obvious incident. How has that worked in the past?

HT: It doesn’t work. It isn’t working. It’s the reason why immigrant communities, for example, are terrified to call the police in times when police might be needed — for domestic violence, for times when people have been robbed or been victimized —because the police might then round them up and deport them. There’s no legitimacy. The data is clear that the community knows, firsthand and every day, that the level of policing of black communities is so disproportionate to both the lethalness and the severity of crime that’s taking place.

Most people are not being arrested for raping and robbing, murdering and stealing. It’s this low level, oppressive policing of communities on the basis of marijuana possession. Low-level drug busts. Riding up on people. Throwing them against cars. Not because blacks do drugs more than whites, not because they possess it more, but because that’s where the policing is.

riot police Miami 1989

Riot police in Miami, 1989. (Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty)

DL: How does that specifically relate to what happened in Ferguson?

HT: For Ferguson, it’s much more about the fact that there is an absolute unwillingness to deal with the core issues in American society about equality in the streets: [the principle that] a black citizen and a white citizen really do have equal rights under the laws. Black citizens don’t believe it. They shouldn’t believe it. It’s not true that they have equal rights under the laws. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of innocence. It’s not true that they have the same assumptions of peaceful countenance.

“ON SOME LEVEL, IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE”

And so, Ferguson happens. A kid gets killed. On some level, it doesn’t even matter what the circumstances are around the death. Because all that anyone needs to know is that here is yet another young African-American kid who is going about his business and he’s now dead. Let’s imagine that somehow he was hassling the police. Let’s imagine that. Does that require a death sentence? If the same thing had happened to a suburban teen kid in an elite suburb of St. Louis, would they now be dead? Everybody knows that the answer is no. And thus, the rage.

 

DL: Some protesters in Ferguson are demanding that the police force should reflect the community’s demographics. How essential is it to make police forces more diverse?

HT: In Detroit, in Philadelphia, in Rochester, in Harlem, and all those places [in the 1960s], when you have an all-white police force policing an all-black community, not only is there evidence that policing does not happen justly, but you have the perception and the feeling that you have kind of an occupying army in your community. I think it’s kind of obvious why it’s problematic.

“THE ACT OF POLICING PLACES THE POLICE IN OPPOSITION TO THE COMMUNITY”

But people misunderstand what it takes to actually integrate a police department and what the impact of that is. It’s very difficult to integrate these departments. It took the rebellions of the ‘60s to put pressure on city officials to do that in most cities. In Detroit, however, even though there was a rebellion in ’67, the police force does not really start to get integrated until 1973, when there’s a black mayor. Indeed, he gets elected in large part because he is promising, finally, to rein in the vigilante forces in the police department and to finally integrate. It takes enormous effort to actually integrate a police department. And what seems to have happened is that that has really fallen by the wayside. Many affirmative-action clauses and statutes and pieces of city governance and university governance and certainly private business governance have made it very easy to not abide by integration rule now.

Even if police departments are integrated — certainly this has been proven in Detroit, and in other cities where you have many, many more black police officers — the problem is that police are charged with policing the community and particularly policing the poor black community. The act of policing places the police in opposition to this community. Even if the officers are black, that does not guarantee that there’s going to be smooth police-community relations. Fundamentally, the problem is that there is so much targeted policing in these neighborhoods.

Ron Johnson Ferguson

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol’s softer touch with protesters is “swimming upstream.” (Joe Raedle/Getty)

DL: Have there been any genuinely good policing trends in the last 20 years, or anything that police departments have developed to succeed in building trust with policed communities and policing them less?

HT: I think community policing has merit. The whole origin of community policing, which really comes out of the rebellions of the ‘60s, the pressure on departments to be representative of communities, to actually get out of cars and walk the streets and actually be part of the community — I think that was all good. l think it does have potential.

“THERE’S A MUCH BROADER SENSE OF JUSTICE THAT NEEDS TO BE HAD”

But meanwhile, we started a war on crime where we invested every last dime we had in policing and arresting and criminalizing behavior. Not just any behavior, but criminalizing black behavior. And once every resource went to that, that’s how we go from having a declining prison rate to being the biggest prison populator of the entire globe. That happens because all of this attention and resources go to policing black communities.

 

DL: Has history taught us anything about how communities can successfully demand accountability from police after civil unrest?

HT: Unfortunately, everyone’s immediate response is justice, meaning, “Let’s arrest this cop. Let’s put this cop on trial.” I think that there’s a much broader sense of justice that needs to be had.

For example, there were these killings in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979, known colloquially as the Greensboro Massacre. This was when the police and the Klan kind of clashed with demonstrators, and people got killed, and it’s really just a horrible situation.

They had a truth and reconciliation commission set up to deal with that. It’s a really interesting story. What it resulted in was just pages and pages and tons of documents about what the community felt, and what the hell was going on, and who are these police, and what about the Klan?

Right now everybody’s clamoring for this cop to stand trial and so forth. Is that going to heal? Is that going to change the next kid who gets pulled over and shot? Probably not. The broader question of how communities are policed and how black people are viewed and treated on the streets is fodder for something much more significant that the community needs to engage in.

10 things you need to know today: August 19, 2014

At least 31 protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, last night.

At least 31 protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri, last night. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Week

Obama sends Holder to Ferguson, civilians die fleeing fighting in Ukraine, and more

1. Obama sends Holder to Ferguson
Protesters and police clashed again Monday night in Ferguson, Missouri, despite the arrival ofNational Guard troops. Police came under “heavy gunfire,” said Captain Ron Johnson, who blamed “a tiny minority of law-breakers” for the violence. Two civilians were shot, though not by police, and 31 were arrested. President Obama announced Monday that he was sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson on Wednesday to talk with investigators about the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Holder also will speak with community leaders in a bid to restore peace after 10 days of unrest. [NBC News, The Washington Post]

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2. Civilians killed fleeing heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine
Dozens of Ukrainian civilians were killed Monday when their convoy of buses was hit with rockets and mortar fire as they tried to escape heavy fighting around the besieged rebel-stronghold of Luhansk. The Ukrainian government said some of the victims, who included children, were burned alive in the vehicles. The government blamed pro-Russian separatists. Rebels said soldiers fired the deadly barrage. [USA Today]

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3. Gaza truce extended by another 24 hours
Israel and Hamas agreed Monday to extend their cease-fire by another day to allow peace talks to continue in Egypt. Israel is calling for disarmament of Palestinian militants in Gaza. Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that controls the devastated seaside enclave, is demanding a freer flow of goods into Gaza, reconstruction of a destroyed airport, and other concessions as part of a long-term peace. [Reuters]

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4. Obama says Iraqis have taken back dam from insurgents
President Obama, back from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation for two days of White House crisis meetings, confirmed Monday that U.S. airstrikes had helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces retake the strategically important Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters. Obama said the victory proved that Iraqis could turn back the Sunni extremists, and just in time. “If that dam was breached,” Obama said, “it could have proven catastrophic.” [The New York Times]

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5. Former Senator Jeffords dies at 80
Former Vermont Senator James Jeffords, who single-handedly gave Democrats control of the evenly divided Senate in 2001 by defecting from the GOP, died Monday at a military retirement home. He was 80. Jeffords left the Republican Party and became an independent, but caucused with the Democrats, depriving then-president George W. Bush of a majority and helping Democrats block much of Bush’s agenda. [Reuters]

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6. Robbers take $335,000 from Saudi prince in Paris ambush
Eight gunmen robbed the motorcade of a Saudi Arabian prince in a commando-style ambush in Paris. The royal, whom police declined to identify, was traveling from the Four Seasons Hotel George V — where a “Premiere Room” goes for nearly $2,200 a night — to Le Bourget Airport, which is used by many private jets. The thieves reportedly got away with a suitcase filled with about $335,000. [The New York Times]

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7. WHO urges West African nations to check departing travelers for Ebola
The World Health Organization on Monday urged West African nations affected by Ebola to start screening all people leaving from international airports, sea ports, and major land border crossings. Authorities in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea said they were already checking departing travelers for signs of Ebola infection. WHO, the United Nations’ health agency, has been criticized for not responding faster to the outbreak. [The Associated Press]

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8. Pope gives U.S. airstrikes in Iraq cautious approval
Pope Francis on Monday gave tentative approval to U.S. airstrikes that have helped Kurdish and Iraqi forces make gains against ISIS fighters. The pontiff said it was morally legitimate to use force to stop an aggressor, but that no nation should make that call on its own. Pope Francis also said he was considering traveling to Iraq soon to show support for Iraqis, particularly the country’s Christians. [The Boston Globe]

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9. Poachers kill 100,000 African elephants in three years
Ivory poachers have killed 100,000 elephants — out of a total of 472,000 to 690,000 — in just three years, according to a study published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If the pace continues, the animals could be extinct in 100 years, the researchers estimate. “We are shredding the fabric of elephant society,” lead author George Wittemyer of Colorado State University said. [National Geographic, BBC News]

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10. Ballmer promises Clippers fans NBA titles
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, introduced himself to thousands of fans on Monday, and promised to lead the team to its first NBA title. A 26-year season ticket holder named Michael Marks said it was a relief to have someone with Ballmer’s energy — and wealth — replace former owner Donald Sterling. “He’s going to be like the Steinbrenner of basketball for us,” Marks said. [Los Angeles Times]