I’m not talking about Afghanistan or Iraq, although it would be nice if we had a president that could keep his word about ending these conflicts. No, I speak of the War Between the States, the US Civil War that is still raging on in many states one hundred fifty two years after General Robert …
Donald Trump signed a new executive order that would ban travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days. The refugee resettlement program is banned for 120 days instead of indefinitely. The order no longer includes Iraq, travelers with green cards or valid visas. It also does not include language that prioritized refugee claims from …
Last night, during the debate to confirm racist Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to be US Attorney General, the good Democratic senator from Massachusetts and former Harvard law professor, Elizabeth Warren was silenced when she started reading the late Coretta Scott King letter that opposed Sessions nomination to the federal court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch …
Last night, John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” discussed the disturbing fact that school segregation still exists in America. While the Supreme Court ruled in 1955 Brown v Board of Education that separate was not equal, it was not until 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act that school desegregation actually started. Unfortunately, …
Last week while speaking at the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City, Hillary Clinton called out some Trump supporters saying that half of Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.” She was pointing out in her speech that Trump’s supporters were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” The next day, after criticism from …
During a ten minute interview with Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time,” activist and Academy award winning documentary producer Michael Moore discussed his new film “Where to Invade Next;” how the poisoning of the water supply in Flint, Michigan was a race hate; rips President Barack Obama for drinking the water; and plans with Bill …
Update 1630 1/8/16 These are the drug dealers LePage was referring. Hey @Governor_LePage, which one is D-Money? The middle guy? I think it’s the middle guy https://t.co/khDMA0Wa16 pic.twitter.com/42TQmBMgKq — Nick Wing (@nickpwing) January 8, 2016 Which one is D-Money? Maine’s very bigoted Tea Party Governor Paul LePage went all out racist at a town hall …
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow discussed how Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims proposal is not so different from the other GOP candidates. What will be the new “normal” in the Republican party for minority bashing politics after this campaign is over? She is joined by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
…cause the vandals stole the handle.
A group of graffiti artists (BlakCollectiv), led by Kalkidan Assefa, created an impressive, and legal, mural during Ottawa’s Pride Week honoring transgender women of color who had been murdered during the past year.
On Wednesday night an unknown person or group who were offended by the memorial spray painted over much of the mural and added these sentiments:
ALL COLORS MATTER
ALL LIVES/NO DOUBLE STANDARD/YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
It is one year since a young black man was gunned down by a white police officer on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri for jay walking. Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent cover up of his murder by the police and prosecutor’s office sparked months of demonstrations that were marked by more police brutality and violation of the constitutional rights of the protestors and the press.
Seven months later, the Justice Department cleared the white police officer, Darren Wilson, of civil rights charges. However, in a scathing report the police and the courts routinely demonstrated racial bias and violated the constitutional rights of the black citizens of Ferguson with illegal traffic stops, arrests without reasonable suspicion and excessive fines for minor infractions. Then Attorney General Eric Holder misguidedly thought that this report would effect change. The still mostly white Ferguson city council rejected the report and its reforms. And, as seen by this week’s violence, arrests of reporters and use of excessive police tactics during the demonstrations on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, nothing has changed and once again there is a state of emergency in Ferguson and St. Louis County.
The state of emergency was precipitated by the shooting and critical wounding of an 18 year old black man by undercover police who claim that the young man was firing at them. The officers were not wearing body cameras and unmarked vehicle they were in was not equipped with a dash camera. So there is only their word.
In the original New York Times article, this quote, cited by Esquire‘s Charles Pierce, from State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson, was removed:
“After a year of protest and conversation around police accountability, having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic,” Kayla Reed, a field organizer with the Organization for Black Struggle, said in a statement. State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, whose district includes Ferguson, said on Monday that she was seeking information about the shooting. “I’m just trying to figure out the timeline of events and ensure that police officers are following protocol,” said Ms. Chappelle-Nadal, who has been active in protests here. The shooting, which came toward the end of an otherwise peaceful day, was another vexing turn for activists and the authorities alike. It was the second consecutive night of gunfire on West Florissant Avenue.
There is also the issue of arresting reporters on bogus charges supressing freedom of the press:
Huffington Post, Washington Post Reporters Charged For Doing Journalism In Ferguson (UPDATE)
by Michael Calderone, Huffington Post
“You’d have thought law enforcement authorities would have come to their senses about this incident.”
Reporters from The Huffington Post and Washington Post have been charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer’s performance, a chilling setback for press freedom coming nearly a year after their arrests in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were arrested while working out of a McDonald’s on Aug. 13, 2014, just four days after white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Police claimed the journalists, who were covering the unrest that followed the police killing, didn’t leave the restaurant fast enough. Reilly described a police officer shoving his head against glass during his arrest, while Lowery said an officer pushed him into a soda machine. Both Lowery and Reilly were quickly released and not charged with any crime at the time.
The decision to charge Reilly and Lowery now is especially surprising, given that St. Louis County settled just last week with two other journalists arrested while reporting in Ferguson.
Until recently, Reilly and Lowery believed their incidents with police were long over with. The Huffington Post reported last month that the St. Louis County Police Department filed incident reports in late April describing the two reporters as trespassing in the McDonald’s. Police referred their cases to the St. Louis County counselor’s office, which, given a one-year statute of limitations, had until Thursday to bring charges.
Peaceful, unarmed protesters and reporters doing their jobs are harassed and arrested. Now, the vigilantes have arrived:
Heavily-armed members of a controversial right-wing “patriot” group added an extra dose of unease to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, early Tuesday.
The Oath Keepers organization says its members – all former military, police and first responders – pledge to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
However, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described their presence as “both unnecessary and inflammatory.”
Protesters and police confirmed that a handful of Oath Keepers with what appeared to be assault rifles, bulletproof vest and camouflage gear were seen early Tuesday on the streets of Ferguson, which was under a state of emergency following demonstrations pegged to the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.
Several protesters confronted members of the group, asking why they were allowed to openly carry weapons.
“I’m happy that we’re able to defend ourselves,” one Oath Keeper replied in footage from NBC station KSDK. “It’s been our right for a long time.”
The St. Louis County Police Department said it would consult with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorneys Office about the legalities of the issue.
Missouri allows individuals with concealed weapons permits to openly display firearms, unless it is done in an “angry or threatening manner.”
Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for St. Louis County Police, said he did not believe officers had confronted the Oath Keepers or told to leave.
Holy crap on a pogo stick, protesters are arrested for lawful assembly, two reporters are being railroaded, black men are still being indiscriminately shot by white cops, yet, civilian white men, armed to the teeth are allowed to roam free on the streets of Ferguson, unchallenged by the police or courts. Seriously, nothing has been learned from last year. Not one damned thing.
With the latest incident in Waller County, Texas that ended in the suspicious death of Chicago civil rights activist Sandra Bland three days after she was arrested for a minor traffic infraction, the discussion of racism and brutality by officers in police departments across the United States has again been raised. The account of Ms. Bland’s arrest and death are being questioned by the family, civil rights groups and the media.
Footage has emerged of police allegedly slamming the head of a woman to the ground as she was arrested just days before she committed suicide in jail.
Sandra Bland, a Chicago civil rights activist, was found dead in her cell at Waller County Jail in Texas.
She had been booked three days earlier on grounds of assaulting a public servant after the fraught arrest by the side of a highway, during which she angrily accused officers of harming her.
An autopsy performed a day later classified her death as suicide by hanging – though friends and family have said there is no way Bland would have killed herself.
Bland was part of the #BlackLiveMatter movement and posted videos about civil rights and racism on social media.
In an effort to quell the public outcries for more thorough investigation, Texas authorities released the police car dash-cam video. However, this raised even more questions since the video not only contradicts arresting officer Brian Encina’s written account of the traffic stop and the events that led up to Ms. Bland’s arrest, the video also appears to have been edited which the Texas Department of Public Safety is denying.
In the video, which is more than 52 minutes long, there are several spots in which cars and people disappear and reappear. When it released the video, the Public Safety Department did not mention any editing. The audio ends more than a minute before the video images do.
One of the more conspicuous anomalies comes 25 minutes and five seconds into the video, when a man walks from a truck off screen and then reappears suddenly at the spot where he began walking. The image flutters for a moment before resuming.
There are no breaks in the audio during this time. People are heard talking through the video gaps.
In another spot at 32 minutes and 37 seconds, a white car appears on the right side of the screen and then disappears. A moment later, what appears to be the same car comes back into the frame and turns left. During this time, Encinia is talking about what occurred during the arrest. There are no breaks in his speech.
What look like the same cars keep appearing in the same locations, following their same paths, beginning at 33 minutes and 4 seconds.
Again, the audio continues uninterrupted.
The glitches in the video sparked a wave of skepticism and questions in social media, with many critics arguing that the evidence had been edited.
Ed. Note: The original video in the article was disabled by the user, presumably the Texas Department of Public Safety, who said that a new video would be posted later. This a full, unedited copy of the one that was originally posted.
One of those critics is “Selma” director Ava DuVernay who said in a tweet
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) July 22, 2015
Racism and brutality are ingrained and systemic in many police departments. Worst of all it is condoned and covered-up by those who are charged with oversight of these departments. The host of MSNBC’s “All In” Chris Hayes discussed the problems encountered by former Chicago Independent Police Review Authority Investigator Lorenzo Davis, who was fired from his job for refusing orders to reverse his findings of unjustified shootings by Chicago police officers.
After being confronted on stage at NetRoots Nation in Phoenix, Arizona by “BlackLivesMatters protestors, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for major police reforms after he watched the dash-cam video. While much racism is rooted in economic issues, it is also systemic in our society and the heritage of white supremacy. The battle for equality for blacks and other oppressed minorities is far from over in this country. “BlackLivesMatter. Let’s start making it matter to the criminal justice system and hold these officers of the law accountable for the laws they break.