The Coming Dark Ages

Canadian sociologist Jane Jacobs, rather an eminent authority, worldwide, on the development of cities [author of what The Encyclopedia calls ” possibly the most influential book on urban planning and cities”], once wrote a book predicting the arrival of a new Dark Age.

That age would come about, Ms Jacobs wrote, not when the Sun failed to shine but when people, just ordinary people, failed to consider doing their jobs.

In Ms Jacobs’ immediate case it was traffic engineers in the Toronto area who did not respond at all to any number of academic studies showing that additional freeways added into an urban environment do not decrease congestion; they just kept planning additional freeways.

But I looked at the bottom of the page, Comrade, and I have seen the present. We are there.
Iraqi youth reacting to US military Bradley fighting vehicle on fire in southeast Baghdad, after it was struck by roadside bomb, according to eyewitnesses. 2 July 2007

To be specific, Your Intrepid Reporter looked at the bottom of the page containing the article referred to, a page from Charlotte’s Oregonian left at the end of the meeting at Random Order Cafe.

News Update

laughingly reads the headline; update? –this is the one and only time I will ever read about this

Prisoners released early. An inmate mistakenly released from a Washington state prison three months early has been charged with shooting and killing a teenager when he should have been locked up, officials said Thursday.

So as far as dating this report, I guess it was the same as the rest of the paper Charlotte left, which had written on it “1 January 2016”.

Jeremaiah Smith, 26, was wrongly released May 14, making him one of as many as 3,200 offenders freed early since 2002 because of a software coding error that

You know, I’ll bet if we checked the fine print of the contract for that software, I bet we’d find language absolving the manufacturer of any legal, cash-on-the-line responsibility for errors arising because of that software. All those overpaid parasites do it.

that miscalculated sentences. Less than two weeks later, he gunned down Ceasar Medina, 17, at a tattoo parlor in Spokane, authorities said. . . . Officials announced last week that prisoners have been mistakenly released since 2002 because of problems calculating sentences. According to documents released by the Department of corrections late Wednesday, the assistant attorney general assigned to the agency wrote in December 2012, after the software error was brought to light that “from a risk-management perspective” a recalculation by hand of hundreds of sentences was “not so urgent” because

— well, actually, who cares “because” ? ? —

because a software reprogramming fix would eventually take care of the issue.

Corrections officials acknowledged this week that the software fix was delayed 16 times and ultimately never done.

You see, it’s the vast mass of working professionals, the ones on whom we depend, for civilization actually to work, to do their jobs. And as Ms Jacobs observed, no one cares any longer to do that.

The October-December 2015 Defense Monitor provides a second example. Two Project on Government Oversight reporters write of the treatment of Lieutenant Colonel Jason Amerine under the headline, “Treatment of War Hero Reveals Broken Military Whistleblower Protection System

Amerine had earlier filed a complaint with the Department of Defense Inspector General, alleging retaliation for his communications with Congress. We filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act request to the [same office] for their investigative report. Even though they are supposed to act as a safeguard for whistle-blowers, we were pessimistic that they would actually help in Amerine’s case. A Project on Government Oversight investigation had previously found [that very same office] refused to release investigative reports that would embarrass high-level officials (Project on Government Oversight, “Probe Finds CIA Honcho Disclosed Top Secret Info to Hollywood,” 4 June 2013), and whistleblowers within the office allege that the office watered down and changed investigative findings to avoid political controversy. . . .

Despite evidence that the Army’s investigation into Amerine was retaliatory and therefore illegal, the flaccid Office of Inspector General failed to [protect a whistleblower; rather, they] provided a summary of their investigation into the Amerine case — concluding that he had not been retaliated against — to the Army, which promptly leaked it to the Washington Post. Yet, the Inspector General refused to provide the report to any Congressional office that requested it, even to staff who had the specific clearances and privacy waivers to receive it.

There it is: this is how the Dark Ages begin.

More whistleblowers seem to be residing among us these days.

This thing was his fucking fault. That general right there avoided all blame,” said “Frank,” — not his real name — of [Maj. Gen. SeanSwindell.

“It sets a really, really bad precedent,” but falls into a broad pattern in the Army: Generals can get away with almost anything.

“I wish the general in charge was prosecuted for this, but that’s my personal opinion. He should be taking ultimate responsibility for it, since he set up the conditions that something like this would happen.”

More disturbing, Frank said he sees the same pattern of self-serving lies and statistics rigging (even inventing targets) to please the chain of command. It’s what happened in Vietnam, with privates, sergeants, captains, majors all reporting body counts as a sign of success, instead of making any meaningful evaluation of whether the United States was winning or losing (because we weren’t). Now, in Afghanistan, it’s number of “targets actioned,” drone hits or false arrests made in raids, that officers try to inflate. It’s the reason we’re losing, Frank feels. He was fed up.

Frank contacted me after reading a New York Times Magazine story, sincerely and skillfully reported from Afghanistan, that said the Afghan army might bear some responsibility for calling in an attack that killed 42 people, burning some alive in their hospital beds. More than that, the story alleges that Afghan security forces harbor suspicion of the charity organization that runs the hospital, Doctors Without Borders, and that might have lead them to “deliberately” target the building.

The army’s own report, according to the Times, includes indicators that the Afghans were partially to blame. Frank fears that the U.S. government is trying to pin blame not just on middle level officers, but also on the Afghan special forces, the Kta Khas (KKA), whose lives were at stake in the firefight.

As for the condition of human morality these days,

An Islamic State jihadist executed his own mother in public after she tried to persuade him to quit, according to new reports.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria from London, said that a number of reliable local sources told it of the killing, which took place on Wednesday.
Activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) also reported the incident.

It said that Ali Saqr al-Qasem, 20, shot his mother, Leena, in the head with an assault rifle in front of a large crowd.

It is believed that Leena, 45, who lived in the town of Tabqa, near the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s capital Raqqa, but was originally from the coast, told her son she wanted to leave and wanted him to come with her.

He reported her to the group. “She was executed under the pretext of ‘inciting her son to leave the Islamic state and escaping together to the outside of Raqqa, and that the Coalition will kill all members of the organisation,” the Observatory reported.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Bradley Manning, Economics, Education, Global, Lloyd Marbet, Permaculture, Police, Scott Fernandez, U.S. Constitution. Bookmark the permalink.

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