Dirty Racist Cops … Again

Caron Nazario is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army medical corp, serving in Norfolk, Virginia.  Lieutenant Nazario also happens to be Black and Hispanic.  In December, Lt. Nazario purchased a new SUV and on December 5th, he was driving home from work in said SUV when he saw flashing lights behind him.  Lt. Nazario drove to the nearest well-lighted place, a service station, before pulling over.  He did not speed up or in any way attempt to evade the police car behind him, but rather he slowed down, activated his turn signals, and drove for less than a mile before reaching the service station.  He merely wanted, understandably, to get to a well-lighted area.

Upon stopping, Officer Daniel Crocker, with his gun pointed at Lt. Nazario, ordered him out of the vehicle, by which time a second police officer, Joe Gutierrez, had arrived and also had a gun pointed at him.  Lt. Nazario put his empty hands outside the window, as ordered, to show that officers that he was unarmed, and asked them why they stopped him.  A perfectly valid question, under the circumstances.  The officer repeated the order to exit the vehicle, and Lt. Nazario replied that he was “honestly afraid to get out” his vehicle.  Who wouldn’t be, with two officers holding guns on him?  One officer replied, “Yeah, you should be.”  Just a minute later, Officer Gutierrez told Lt. Nazario that he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a slang expression referring to an execution by electric chair.

After some back and forth, with the officers yelling at him to get out of the vehicle, but also to keep his hands outside the window (ever try opening the car door from inside, with your hands outside the window?), and Lt. Nazario asking why he was being stopped, why he was being treated in such a manner, one of the officers sprayed pepper spray into his face through the open window, jerked his door open, sprayed more pepper spray, kicked him in the knees, and slammed him to the ground.

The officer’s given reason for initiating the traffic stop was that he could not see Lt. Nazario’s license plate, which was clearly visible in the back window, as 30-day plates for new vehicles are typically displayed.  The Lieutenant was released without charges, but this week he filed a lawsuit accusing the two Windsor, Virginia police officers of violating his constitutional rights by holding him at gunpoint, suggesting he was facing execution, assaulting him, and illegally detaining him.  The lawsuit states …

“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority.”

The lawsuit also claims police threatened to end Nazario’s military career if he spoke out about the incident.  The body cam video clearly shows that the temporary license plate was visible through the window of the vehicle.  The body cam video stopped shortly after Lt. Nazario was slammed to the ground.  Gutierrez wrote in his report that his camera stopped recording after it got “compressed” between him and Nazario during a struggle. Nazario also recorded part of the incident from his cellphone.

I watched the video and found it both chilling and sickening.  The beginning is footage from Nazario’s cellphone that he activated when he realized he had guns pointed at him.

I won’t even bother to ask the question, “If Lt. Nazario had been a white man, would the cops have acted similarly?” for we all know the answer to that.  The better question is, “How do we reform policing?  How do we stop these incidents, often leading to murder, from ever happening?”  I wish I knew the answer, but I DO know what’s going to happen if there are many more incidents like this, if there are many more murders of unarmed black men by police, or if Derek Chauvin is let off with naught but a slap on the wrist … there is going to be blood shed in the streets of America.

We the People are sick and tired of having to fear the very group of people whose duty it is to “protect and defend” us.  We the People have made our voices clear … at least those of us who give a damn have … and if our voices alone aren’t enough, then in the words of the great civil rights leader John Lewis …

Why “Defund the Police” will fail

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of Breonna Taylor by police in a horrific case of mistaken identity and police brutality. Our friend Brosephus talks of what must be done to stop these murders by police and that ‘defunding’ police departments alone is not the answer. Thank you, Brosephus, for your timely and wise words.

The Mind of Brosephus

Today marks the one year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death at the hands of the government. Some call it murder, but the legal definition in Kentucky, according to Section 507.020, includes intent in the definition. It will be hard to impossible to improve the officers involved in the homicide of Breonna Taylor went to her apartment with the intent to kill her. That’s why I don’t think any of the officers will ultimately be convicted on any type of murder charge. That’s a different post for a different day though.

In 2020, we had to deal with the deaths of the three people above. All three killings involved active duty or retired law enforcement officers. In light of these and other killings by police, there has been a movement started to defund the police. The idea behind this is to take funding for police and move it towards other…

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Say His Name: George Floyd

Seven jurors were selected this week for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who, on May 25th, 2020 brutally murdered a Black man, George Floyd, by throwing Floyd facedown on the ground, handcuffed, and then keeping his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes.  With only two more jurors to be chosen, I would expect the trial to begin next week.

Keep your eye on this one, folks, for there is so much evidence I don’t see how Chauvin can possibly escape conviction.  But he is white, Mr. Floyd was Black, and this is the United States of Bigotry.

My understanding is that Chauvin’s lawyers plan to try to make the claim that it was not Chauvin’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck that killed him, but rather that drugs were found in his system that led to his death.  ‘Scuse me, but that is the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a long time.  The video plainly shows the truth, that Mr. Floyd was gasping, saying, “I can’t breathe,” while Chauvin kept putting his weight on Floyd’s neck and the other three officers stood by doing not one damn thing.

The coroner’s report indicates that Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death but not that the drugs were the cause of death.  Both the coroner’s report and an independent autopsy report have ruled Mr. Floyd’s death a homicide.  Can’t get much clearer than that.

On Friday, the city of Minneapolis approved a $27 million payment to the family of George Floyd to settle the wrongful death lawsuit brought against the city.  No, it can’t bring him back into his children’s lives, but it will at least ensure those children will have their needs met since their dad can’t be there to take care of them.  Said Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender …

“No amount of money can ever address the intense pain or trauma caused by this death to George Floyd’s family or to the people of our city. Minneapolis has been fundamentally changed by this time of racial reckoning and this city council is united in working together with our community, and the Floyd family to equitably reshape our city of Minneapolis.”

A twist, though.  Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, sought to block any mention of the payout by the city to the Floyd’s family, arguing it would be prejudicial.  Yes, perhaps it would be, but in the most honest way … the city is admitting that it was their officer(s) who murdered Mr. Floyd.  Well, it was … it’s all right there on video for the world to see!  What, is Nelson next going to request that the video not be played in court?  Or, what happens when Nelson realizes that every person on the jury is already aware of the city’s payout, as surely they must be, since it has been widely publicized in the press.  Will Nelson then move to declare a mistrial?

Time after time after time, police officers have gotten by with murdering Black people in this country and not been held accountable.  This time damn well better be different!  Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.  The evidence is plain for all to see.  If he does not go to prison … then there is no justice left in this country.

On a related note …

On March 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.  Once again, the bill passed along partisan lines with two democrats voting against, and one republican voting for, but he later said it was a mistake, that he meant to vote ‘nay’ but accidentally hit the wrong button.  When the bill reaches the Senate, it will no doubt be subjected to a ridiculous filibuster by the republicans and will fail.  Let’s take a look at what these damn fools will be voting against …

The bill would ban chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, establish a national database to track police misconduct and prohibit certain no-knock warrants. It also contains several provisions that would make it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct in civil and criminal court. One proposal long sought by civil rights advocates would change “qualified immunity,” the legal doctrine that shields officers from lawsuits, by lowering the bar for plaintiffs to sue officers for alleged civil rights violations.

Do you see anything … one single thing objectionable in that?  I don’t.  It means that even someone the police are arresting has the right not to be murdered, and it means that police will be held accountable for their actions, just as they should be.  A person in a position of trust must be trustworthy.

Derek Chauvin had 18 complaints on his official record, two of which ended in discipline, including official letters of reprimand. He had been involved in three police shootings, one of which was fatal.  And yet, he was still on the police force and was still allowed to carry a gun … and use his knee to murder a man!  This is why we need the bill to pass in the Senate … Derek Chauvin is the poster boy for bad cops, and he is not alone.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must pass, for if it doesn’t, it will be a thumbs up to every police officer that it’s okay to be a racist, that it’s okay to use excessive force, and that there will be no consequences.  Do your job, Senators!  By the same token, Derek Chauvin must be prosecuted and found guilty, else it will open doors that nobody in their right mind wants to walk through.  Do your job, jury!

Remember the Black Lives Matter protests last summer?  Almost all were peaceful until outside influences intervened, but I’m not sure the same will be true this summer if justice is not done, if Derek Chauvin is found to be above the law because his skin is white.

The Crime Of Being Black

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men.  Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?  And yet … while it’s so easy to say, it seems almost impossible to achieve.  I might have hoped to write a nice Christmas-y post tonight about the joy of the season or some such, but something crossed my radar today that I think is more important right now.

For the second time this month, police in Columbus, Ohio have shot and killed an unarmed Black man.  The first, I hadn’t mentioned here before, as I was waiting for facts.  The story the police officer who shot Casey Goodson tells differs vastly from the story Goodson’s family related, and frankly I find the police version to be rather dubious, at best.

On December 4th, Casey Goodson had a dental appointment.  Afterward, he stopped at a local Subway sandwich shop and picked up sandwiches to take back to his family, a 5-year-old brother and 72-year-old grandmother.  Meanwhile, members of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office were in his neighborhood searching for another Black man.  Mr. Goodson exited his car when he arrived home and, carrying the sandwiches in one hand, inserted his key in the door of his house and as he entered his home, he was shot multiple times in the back and fell onto the kitchen floor.

Goodson has no criminal record and has a permit to carry a gun.  Now, the deputy who shot Goodson, Deputy Jason Meade, claims that Goodson pointed a gun at him, however it is reported that no other officers witnessed the shooting, nor were there any civilian witnesses.  We are told that Meade was not wearing a body cam.  Mr. Goodson was using his key to unlock the door with one hand and carrying a bag of food in the other.  Think about that one.

Because the Sheriff’s Office waited three days before contacting them, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is refusing to accept the case.  At one point, officers said they found a weapon on the ground, but it has not been mentioned since, not even by Meade’s attorney.  I smell a rat … a big, ugly, racist rat.

Fast forward to the day before yesterday, same city, Columbus, Ohio.  Two police officers were responding to a complaint from a neighbor that a vehicle had been left running for some time.  When officers arrived at the home of Andre Maurice Hill, Mr. Hill was coming out of his garage holding a cell phone.  When he saw the officers, he held the cell phone outward so they could see the illuminated screen and understand what he was holding.  Within six seconds, Officer Adam Coy fired his weapon multiple times, hitting Hill, who died an hour later in the hospital.

Officer Coy did have a body cam and the video is available, but he did not turn the audio on until after the shooting.  The second, as yet unnamed officer on the scene, attempted to approach Hill as he lay dying on the ground, but Coy waved him away, and then screamed at Hill to “put your fucking hands out to the side … roll on your stomach, now.”  The man, having been shot multiple times and lying nearly unconscious, dying, is being screamed at to roll over and put his hands out.  Eventually, Coy takes one of Hill’s arms and rolls him onto his back. Though Hill is immobile, Coy does not immediately give him aid.  Oh yeah … that’s compassion, folks!

Columbus mayor, Andrew Ginther has called for the immediate termination of Adam Coy, saying …

“… police values including integrity, compassion and accountability were absent and not on display while Mr Hill lay dying.”

Although Coy is a 17-year veteran of the Columbus’ police force, his tenure has been marked with complaints, including allegations of excessive force.  During a drunk driving stop in October 2012, Coy punched a man, slammed him on the ground, and repeatedly bashed his head into the hood of his car while the man was handcuffed. The incident, witnessed by a college student and Coy’s own dashboard camera, was so bad the victim was awarded a $45,000 settlement from the city.

Coy was relieved of duty, ordered to turn in his gun and badge, and stripped of police powers pending the outcome of investigations. By union contract the officer will still be paid.  He will still be paid … for not even having to show up for work … after murdering an innocent man.  Justice?  I think not.

This, my friends, is what we mean when we say there MUST be nationwide police reform.  These murders, and that is the only way to think of them, are far too common and MUST STOP!  We are told we should respect law enforcement officers … well, respect is earned and is a two-way street.  Police are hired to protect us, and instead they are killing us … with little or no provocation.


Filosofa’s Word will be on a brief Christmas hiatus until Saturday morning.  I have much to do, and as we are sharing Christmas dinner with our dear friends next door, I will be spending Friday in the kitchen!  But I shall return on Saturday morning.  Meanwhile, I’d like to wish you all a peaceful holiday, and I hope you are able to spend it with loved ones, for to me that is the joy of the season … my family & friends. 

Merry-Xmas

“Un-American Propaganda”??? Seriously???

Just a few short years ago, this nation seemed like a sane place.  Sure, we had problems … plenty of them.  But we always thought there were systems and safeguards in place to keep any single person or any branch of government from overstepping their bounds.  Never did we dream, say back in 2010, ten years ago, that one person could make such a power grab that the norms would all be shattered within a single administration.

Today, we realize what fools we were … or at least the majority of us realize it.  A madman was elected with a minority of the vote, and nothing has been right ever since.  The Constitution that every president and member of Congress takes an oath to uphold has been shredded by a president who knows no boundaries, who has been enabled by his sycophants in Congress, in his administration, and yes, even in the Courts.  Where are those ‘checks and balances’?  They are only as good as the people who are tasked with enforcing them.

The latest thing to send me into a fit of temper is Trump’s order to Russell Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to cease the government’s racial sensitivity training.  Trump calls such training “un-American propaganda”.  That’s right, folks … it is un-American to try to teach people not to discriminate, to try to remove the systemic racism that exists within our government and law enforcement community.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  🤬

Does this man understand that Black people are citizens of this nation with the same rights accorded to white people???  Does he understand that we have a huge problem in this nation with racism running rampant throughout our police departments?  Does he realize that we are on the brink of a race war that he will have been responsible for starting?

Trump’s former attorney and ‘fixer’, the man who, for a price, made Trump’s problems such as sexual liaisons just disappear, testified under oath to Congress in February 2019 …

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”

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He is a racist.  Was there ever any doubt?  Cohen went on to cite some examples …

“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. He told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Four decades ago, Trump and his father were sued by the federal government, which accused the Trumps of discriminating against people of colour trying to rent the Trump company’s apartments. Donald Trump was also sued for his mistreatment of black workers in his casinos and, according to a former hotel executive, once said “laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Then there was the Central Park Five case.  A group of African American and Hispanic teens named Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back in 1989 when a white female jogger was attacked and raped.  The five teens were arrested, tried and convicted on false evidence and coerced confessions, and they served prison sentences until 2002 when the real assailant confessed to the crime.  Donald Trump spent $85,000 placing the ads in local papers calling for the five teens to be executed.  Even though the five young men were exonerated, Trump has since repeatedly reiterated the guilty verdict of the men and has refused to back down or admit his mistake.  What if the teens had been white and the victim Black?  I don’t think Trump would have had a word to say about it.

Yes, Donald Trump is a racist, but are we going to allow him to make this nation even more racist than it already is???  How many more George Floyds, Breonna Taylors, Botham Jeans, Atatiana Jeffersons, and Jacob Blakes do we want?  How many more will it take until the thus-far peaceful Black Lives Matter protests turn into an all-out race war?  We have a serious problem with all forms of bigotry in this nation, but particularly racism, and the very person who should be dealing with it, trying to find solutions for the problem and bring the people of this nation together,  is instead pouring fuel on the fire.  It should NOT be his decision to cancel the training that might … just might be a start toward a better understanding between the people of this nation.

Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities.  He is not only a racist, but a misogynist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, and more.  This is a diverse nation with people of every nationality, religion, and ethnicity.  That the nation is led by a person who cannot tolerate any who aren’t white, Christian and male is the ultimate hypocrisy.  Will the people of this nation give him another four years to further our global reputation as a racist nation?  Remember, my friends, we will all carry the stigma of that label, not just those who voted for Trump.  Is this really how we want to be viewed?  Is this really a nation we even want to live in?

Musings From The Rabbit Hole – A ‘Shared National Identity’????

As I am still inhabiting the rabbit hole – I swear, the rabbits are digging it deeper and deeper by the day – I cannot seem to stop my mind from wandering.  Well, in truth, it is aided and abetted by the chaos that would seem to have become the definition of Donald Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office.

One of Trump’s statements I read yesterday set the current train of thought in motion:

“The only path to unity is to rebuild a shared national identity focused on common American values and virtues of which we have plenty.”

I’m not sure what country he thought he was in when he got out of bed and later uttered that inanity on Monday morning, but it is the furthest thing from the truth here in the formerly United States.  A shared national identity?  Who is he kidding?  This country is the most divided it has ever been.  EVER.  On the one side there are those who seem to value “ethnic purity”, who are white-skinned and feel threatened by any who aren’t.  Those who support police killings of unarmed black people.  They applaud taking young children from their parents and keeping them in cages simply because they weren’t born in this country and their skin is not pale.  They support a madman in the White House who basically promises to give preferential treatment to their white-skinned friends & family.

And on the other hand, there are those of us who believe that “All ‘men’ are created equal”, even though the original author of that statement, Thomas Jefferson, had a more narrowly defined view of ‘all men’.  Those of us who understand the significance of “Black Lives Matter”, for far too many in this country seem to think Black people are somehow of lesser value.

And then there are the divisions of wealth.  There are those on the one hand who would argue that the right to earn and keep money supersedes the responsibility to others who are less fortunate.  They eschew higher taxes on the wealthy millionaires and billionaires, put profit ahead of the environment and ahead of people, and have the basic attitude of “I’ve got mine, you go get your own.”

On the other hand, there are those of us who have little, but believe it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our natural resources.  We believe we all have a responsibility to help feed, clothe, educate and provide health care to those who are unable to do so themselves.

I have come to realize that these ideological, humanitarian differences have always existed, but in the past they were tamped down by leaders who understood there is no place for bigotry in this relatively new nation.  Today, though, we have a leader who sees this ideological gap as a wedge that he can use to drive us further apart than ever before, for his own political benefit.  And We the People are letting him do just that.

Much of what divides us seems to have its roots in bigotry of one form or another.  Immigration, guns, religion, abortion, health care, programs to help the poor, climate change, civil rights … all trace their roots back to discriminatory views, whether against Black people, women, LGBT people, immigrants, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, atheists, or other groups.  And it is ripping this nation apart.  No, that is not an exaggeration, not hyperbole … it is a fact.  And we are letting it.

Our politicians feed on the divisions between liberals and conservatives, the wealthy and the poor.  They pour gasoline on the racial unrest that is a logical result of the systemic racism that exists in our police departments.  And Donald Trump, the so-called ‘president’ of this nation, is among the worst, for by his denigration of minorities and immigrants, his refusal to condemn racial killings, his support of white supremacists, he has turned this nation into a tinderbox just waiting for the right spark.  And yet he is the one who says we have “common values and virtues” and that we must work to rebuild a “shared national identity”?

He has done less than nothing to bring the people of this nation together, to help each side understand the other, to find common ground and a meeting of the minds somewhere in the middle.  Instead, he has encouraged violence since before he even took office.  If Hillary Clinton had been inaugurated in 2017, do you think that Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old punk who killed two people last weekend, would have been in Kenosha, Wisconsin, armed with an assault rifle and looking for trouble?  We’ll never know for sure, but probably not, for a President Clinton would almost certainly have followed through with the police reform measures started during the Obama administration.  In fact, in all likelihood, Jacob Blake would not have been shot 7 times in the back by a rogue police officer in Kenosha and there would have been no protests, no violence.

As I sit here pondering, it seems to me that the United States is truly two nations.  Until we learn to respect each other’s opinions, to listen to others, to put away the damn guns and use our brains to solve problems and resolve our disputes, there can be no “shared national identity”.  Can that ever happen?  At the moment, I think not.  A lot of things will have to happen in order for us to resolve our major differences, and it for damn sure is not going to happen with a person like Donald Trump at the helm.  I think it more likely that this nation will actually become multiple nations at the end of the day … if, that is, we don’t continue to be the single worst polluters on the globe, for if we continue down that path, life on this planet will cease to exist and it won’t really matter who had how much money or what colour anybody’s skin was.divisive

Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind – a few thoughts

Our friend Keith, as always, has a clear vision of the chaos in the U.S. today and who is fanning the flames. Thank you, Keith, for summing it up so nicely, as you always do!

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With all due respect to “Ruby Tuesday” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” I chose this song title for my random Tuesday thoughts. “Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind” has the right melancholy feel.

Starting with the last part of the title “Gone with the Wind,” it reminds me that the entertainment world has finally figured out the famous movie and book are racist and poor renditions of the events surrounding the Civil War. We actually discussed this misrepresentation by the movie and book in my World Literature class in 1977. But, propaganda about the war has been around since white slaveowners got poor whites to fight for a more righteous cause of states’ rights than the real one to let them keep slaves.

Remember how states’ rights were cited by the president for delegating his responsibility to fight COVID-19. Yet, states’ rights are less important if he must flex his law and order…

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No Sympathy For A Cold-Blooded Killer

A 17-year-old punk leaves his home in Illinois, travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where there are protests against the police brutality that left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down, and walks up and down the street carrying an assault rifle.  Seventeen years old.  He should be home studying, or working at the local McDonald’s to save for college, but instead he is about to become a cold-blooded killer.  He did not have a permit for the gun, and in fact was too young to obtain one … he was not legally allowed to have that weapon in his possession.

As Kyle Rittenhouse walked down the streets of Kenosha with another armed man, a police officer in an armoured vehicle asked him if he needed some water, then tossed him a bottle of water, saying, “We appreciate you guys, we really do.”  A short time later, Kyle Rittenhouse used his AR-15 to shoot three people, two of whom died.  Since police were all over the place, it only makes sense that he was arrested on the spot, right?  But no … even though at this point, people were shouting to the police that he was the shooter, and even though he walked right up to the police, police officers simply waved him away and told him to get off the streets!  He returned to his home in Antioch, Illinois, a short time later, without any interference from law enforcement in Wisconsin.  He was arrested by Antioch police the following afternoon.

Kyle Rittenhouse would have been shot dead on the spot by police if he had been a black teenager instead of a white one.  But wait … for it gets even worse.

It may have started with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson when, rather than condemning a 17-year-old killer, he attempted to justify it …

“So, are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would? Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour.”

Or perhaps it started with the Facebook post by Arthur Love, a member of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s staff, sympathizing with Rittenhouse, saying in one post …

“I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.”

A “good person”???  Good people do not even own assault weapons, let alone go looking for an excuse to kill!!!  Mr. Love was fired on Saturday, and rightly so.

Wherever and however it started, there is growing support for this 17-year-old murderer, and funds have even been started to help pay his legal fees!  One fundraiser, on a Christian crowdfunding website called Give Send Go, raised more than $65,000 as of last Thursday evening. People have donated $7,460 to the teen through a site called Free Kyle Rittenhouse.

GoFundMe, one of the most popular and widely used crowdfunding websites, has taken down multiple fundraisers for Rittenhouse. GoFundMe spokesperson Angelique McNaughton said Thursday the platform removed the fundraisers because they violated GoFundMe’s terms of service which specifically forbids people from using the platform to raise money for “the implicit or explicit purpose of or involving for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, serious disabilities or diseases, financial crimes or crimes of deception.”

And, according to an article in The Guardian

“Fundraisers, messages of support and celebratory memes for the alleged Kenosha, Wisconsin, mass shooter are being shared widely on Facebook and Instagram, despite the company’s assurance on Wednesday that it was working to enforce its policy banning content that “praises, supports, or represents” mass shooters.

One fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was shared more than 17,700 times on Facebook, including by 291 public groups and pages with more than 3.9m aggregate followers, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned data analytics tool. A second fundraiser garnered 1,698 shares on the platform, including by an additional 17 pages and groups with nearly 400,000 followers.”

I encourage you to read the entire article, for it is truly shocking.

This, perhaps more than anything else, defines what is wrong in this nation today.  That people have empathy for a young punk using an assault weapon to kill people is … well, it just blows my mind.  Personally, I would like to see him tried, convicted, and spend the rest of his life in prison.  I would also like to see his parents pay a price, for it is obvious to me that they failed miserably in raising this child.  Since he was only seventeen, he was legally still under their guardianship, and it seems to me they must share some of the blame.

Rittenhouse claims it was self-defense, but he went there looking for trouble, so the self-defense argument simply does not fly.  How can people support this punk?  How can anyone justify what he did?  Those who can, it seems obvious to me, are people who value their guns more than human life, people who believe in vigilante justice, and people who are, at the core, white supremacists.  They are part of what is wrong in this nation today, and is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Where Is The Real Threat?

This week there has been enough news to boggle the mind, to make one want to hide in a closet until sometime after November 3rd … maybe even until around 2025.  The coronavirus is out of control in the U.S., but we no longer get accurate numbers of new cases because testing has slowed to a crawl.  The shitshow last week put on at our expense by the Republicans was depressing … was naught but an expensive circus with the nastiest clowns ever seen, half of them with the last name “Trump”.  Multiple times during that circus, we were told that only Trump will bring “law and order” to the streets of the nation, but … it is he and his enablers who have created the most disharmony and disunity this nation has seen in more than 100 years.  Robert Reich, a man with much more experience and understanding than most, sums it all up nicely for us, thankfully, for I am too tired to do so today …


The real threats to American law and order are Trump’s craven enablers

The president railed against ‘violent anarchists, agitators and criminals’ but he surrounds himself with lawless lackeys

Robert Reich-4By Robert Reich

One week ago, Rusten Sheskey, a seven-year veteran of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, police department, fired at least seven shots at the back of a Black man named Jacob Blake as he opened his car door, leaving the 29-year-old father of five probably paralyzed from the waist down.

After protests erupted, self-appointed armed militia or vigilante-type individuals rushed to Kenosha, including Kyle Rittenhouse, a white 17-year-old who traveled there and then, appearing on the streets with an AR-15 assault rifle, allegedly killed two people and wounded a third.

This is pure gold for a president without a plan, a party without a platform, and a cult without a purpose other than the abject worship of Donald J Trump.

To be re-elected Trump knows he has to distract the nation from the coronavirus pandemic that he has flagrantly failed to control – leaving more than 180,000 Americans dead, tens of millions jobless and at least 30 million reportedly hungry.

So he’s counting on the reliable Republican dog-whistle. “Your vote,” Trump said in his speech closing the Republican convention Thursday night, “will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens.”

“We will have law and order on the streets of this country,” Vice-President Mike Pence declared the previous evening, warning “you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

Neither Trump nor Pence mentioned the real threats to law and order in America today, such as gun-toting agitators like Rittenhouse, who, perhaps not coincidentally, occupied a front-row seat at a Trump rally in Des Moines in January.

Pence lamented the death of federal officer Dave Patrick Underwood, “shot and killed during the riots in Oakland, California”, earlier this year, implying he was killed by protesters. In fact, Underwood was shot and killed by an adherent of the boogaloo boys, an online extremist movement that’s trying to ignite a race war.

Such groups have found encouragement in a president who sees “very fine people” supporting white supremacy.

The threat also comes from conspiracy theorists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, the recently nominated Republican candidate for Georgia’s 14th congressional district and promoter of QAnon, whose adherents believe Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. Trump has praised Greene as a “future Republican star” and claimed that QAnon followers “love our country”.

And from people like Mary Ann Mendoza, a member of Trump’s campaign advisory board, who was scheduled to speak at the Republican convention until she retweeted an antisemitic rant about a supposed Jewish plan to enslave the world’s peoples and steal their land.

Clearly the threat also comes from hotheaded, often racist police officers who fire bullets into the backs of Black men and women or kneel on their necks so they can’t breathe. Needless to say, there was little mention at the Republican convention of Jacob Blake, and none of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.

And the threat comes from Trump’s own lackeys who have brazenly broken laws to help him attain and keep power. Since Trump promised he would only hire “the best people”, 14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned.

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W Giuliani – who ranted at the Republican convention about rioting and looting in cities with Democratic mayors – has repeatedly met with the pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach, whom American intelligence has determined is “spreading claims about corruption … to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party”.

In addition, federal prosecutors are investigating Giuliani’s business dealings in Ukraine with two men arrested in an alleged campaign finance scheme.

Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, who had been a major Trump campaign donor before taking over the post office, is being sued by six states and the District of Columbia for allegedly seeking to “undermine” the postal service as millions of Americans plan to vote by mail during the pandemic.

Not to forget the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who spoke to the Republican convention while on an official trip to the Middle East, in apparent violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits officials of the executive branch other than the president and vice-president from engaging in partisan politics.

You want the real threat to American law and order? It’s found in these Trump enablers and bottom-dwellers. They are the inevitable excrescence of Trump’s above-the-law, race-baiting, me-first presidency. It is from the likes of them that the rest of America is in serious need of protection.

The Violence Must Stop

Our friend Jeff has written a thoughtful post about the violence happening in Kenosha (and other places) Violence that is largely a result of Donald Trump pouring fuel on a smoldering fire. There is so much anger in this nation, that I don’t know how we stop the violence, but it plays right into Trump’s rhetoric, and if it isn’t stopped, it may be the thing that turns the upcoming election in Trump’s favour. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

I’m fearful of November 3, 2020. The polls are starting to tighten, as expected. And they’re going to tighten even more. While things still look good for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, what’s unfolding on America’s streets as we speak, cannot continue.

Folks, it’s playing right into the current president’s playbook. He has no desire to bring this country together. The violence over the past 48 hours in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after another senseless shooting of an unarmed black man, threatens to hand this election again to the most dangerous president in American history. We cannot let that happen.

The violence has to stop. And while I wish I had a bigger platform to shout from, I’m going to say it as loud as I can. The looting, arson, assaults, and overall anarchy and mayhem are playing across American television screens and social media 24/7. And the current president is exploiting…

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