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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
United States Army Private First Class William K. Nakamura, Medal of Honor recipient
United States Army Private First Class William K. Nakamura, U.S. Medal of Honor recipient, awarded posthumously.
In "The Memorial Day history forgot: The Martyrs of the Race Course," I wrote last year about the not very well known African-American roots of Memorial Day. In recent years, some media attention has been paid to the long history of Black military service—from the Revolutionary War, including Haitians who fought for us, through the civil war, in films like Glory, and the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II—no matter the racism we faced, and still face in this country.  

We hear less about other soldiers of color—Asian, Native American and Latino who died for us, who also faced, and still face discrimination within our shores.

Pictured above is William Kenzo Nakamura (January 21, 1922-July 4, 1944).

He was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.

Nakamura was born in Seattle to Japanese immigrant parents. He is a Nisei, which means that he is a second generation Japanese-American. His family was interned in Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Nakamura volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. This army unit was mostly made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland.

On July 4, 1944, Nakamura was serving as a private first class in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. On that day, near Castellina, Italy, he single-handedly destroyed an enemy machine gun emplacement and later volunteered to cover his unit's withdrawal. He was then killed while attacking another machine gun nest which was firing on his platoon

Follow me below the fold for more of this memorial history.
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Reposted from The Justice Department on Netroots by justiceputnam

Justice Putnam photo Tri City Park Close Up_zpsmdsioxfq.jpg

The Justice Department is on Netroots Sundays 8pm to 9pm Pacific. Powered by Unity Radio Net!

I'm Special Agent DJ Justice; Radio Host and Program Director for Netroots Radio; and I'm manning the dials, spinning the discs, warbling the woofers, putting a slip in your hip and a trip to your hop.

The playlist for Sunday 24 May 15 8pm to 9pm Pacific Edition of The Justice Department: Musique sans Frontieres

 ~~ "The Streets of His Soldier Mind" ~~

1 - War -- "Slippin' Into Darkness"
2 - Sly and The Family Stone -- "Family Affair"
3 - Counting Crows -- "Colorblind"
4 - Living Colour -- "Burned Bridges"
5 - Nina Simone -- "Wild is the Wind"
6 - Michael Franti and Spearhead -- "Soulshine"

Station Break

7 - Alison Krauss -- "Can't Find My Way Home"
8 - Santana -- "Europa"
9 - Miriam Makeba -- "Mbube"
10 - Mamadou Diabaté  -- "Tunga"
11 - Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Castles Made Of Sand"
12 - Dengue Fever -- "Uku"

Who luvs ya, baby?


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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by a2nite

Americans used to have rights. Primarily the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Also we supposedly have the the right to be "secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government" -- "without warrant or probable cause."

It seems in some sections of America however, rogue police officers and the one-sided courts, have effectively made these American Rights -- null and void -- with respect to any common sense understanding of these rights.

It's kind of hard to "pursue happiness" -- when you've just been shot 137 times!

When can police use lethal force against a fleeing suspect? -- April 8, 2015


Can police officers shoot at fleeing individuals?

Only in very narrow circumstances. A seminal 1985 Supreme Court case, Tennessee vs. Garner, held that the police may not shoot at a fleeing person unless the officer reasonably believes that the individual poses a significant physical danger to the officer or others in the community. That means officers are expected to take other, less-deadly action during a foot or car pursuit unless the person being chased is seen as an immediate safety risk.

In other words, a police officer who fires at a fleeing man who a moment earlier murdered a convenience store clerk may have reasonable grounds to argue that the shooting was justified. But if that same robber never fired his own weapon, the officer would likely have a much harder argument.

You don’t shoot fleeing felons. You apprehend them unless there are exigent circumstances -- emergencies -- that require urgent police action to safeguard the community as a whole,” said Greg Gilbertson, a police practices expert and criminal justice professor at Centralia College in Washington state.

Am I creating more of a danger by chasing this person than if I let this person stay at large?” Drago said. “Especially in a vehicle pursuit, is it worth risking everyone on the road to catch this guy?”

Good questions.  When do Police in "hot pursuit" -- become a bigger problem, than the one they are supposedly chasing?

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Reposted from TarheelDem by Denise Oliver Velez

I am going to give in to Denise Oliver Velez's request to turn a comment into a diary.  The aversion to length (TL;DR) is a peculiar modern affliction, but I will make it easier for people who suffer from it primarily because this issue is so important.

Southern segregation prior to the 1960s and automobility was different from segregation outside the South in that it was a matter of legal institutions and enforced with occasional violence.  Being institutional, it was a matter of status and not geography.  In fact, having black workers closeby was an advantage.  The geographical segregation then was widely distributed and on a micro-scale instead of being the huge segregated neighborhoods of the big cities or the concentrated black communities of lesser non-Southern cities.

My wife, who is from Michigan experience the black customers of her grand-dad's garage in Benton Harbor as "shadow people"  and first met a black person face-to-face in a church program at the age of 13.   A good number of my earliest friends growing up had black domestic servants (called "maids") who looked after their employers' children all day -- and that included any friends of those children.  I cannot remember a world without black people in it an close by.  So much so that when in the mid-1970s I moved from Atlanta to Green Bay it took me a while to figure out why the city felt so strange.  You never saw black people on the street, but you occasionally saw a black man or a black family driving a Mercedes.  That's a strange awakening to yet another aspect of racism.

My take on how I unlearned the racism that I have so far unlearned is below the orange curlicue.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Overpass Light Brigade with lights that read
Overpass Light Brigade, "Unlearn Racism"
When the Overpass Light Brigade brought the message of "Unlearn Racism" to Milwaukee, they held up lights on a subject that we are confronted with daily, but are not always sure how to address as individuals. We know that anthropologists and other scientists have made it clear for years that biological "race" exists as only a social construct, but that "racism" is alive and well and none of us are unaffected by the miasma from the racial swamp we breathe in daily.

So many of our efforts are focusing on protesting the more obvious deleterious effects of systemic racism—via protests and legislation—that we don't always have time to have a conversation about what to do about it, person by person. This is what Ricky Sherover-Marcuse called "attitudinal racism."

Because racism is both institutional and attitudinal, effective strategies against it must recognize this dual character. The undoing of institutionalized racism must be accompanied by the unlearning of racists attitudes and beliefs. The unlearning of racists patterns of thought and action must guide the practice of political and social change.

As a black person, I'm always interested in trying to figure out in conversations with my close friends who are not black—what makes them tick? How did they shake off the shackles of ostensible racial superiority and change? What was it in their upbringing, surrounds, faith, ethical teachings, incidents that took place along the road of life that allowed them to scour out racism or at least start the cleansing? Perhaps if more people would talk about how they unlearned racism, it would help direct others onto that path.

Follow me below the fold to begin that conversation.

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Reposted from Steven D by Denise Oliver Velez

Many, many police officers and their supporters are going ape shit very upset at a group of student artists at Westfield High School in New Jersey for daring to exhibit their artwork.  Why?  Because the art in question is based on the theme "Law Enforcement - Police Brutality."  I guess cops can give a punch (or a taser shot, "rough ride" or a bullet) but they can't stand to see any artistic expression of that behavior, symbolic or otherwise.  And so they are lambasting the high school and the student artists whose only crime, as far as I can tell, was using their own life experience of interactions with police to inform what they create.

Artwork depicting scenes of police brutality displayed in a Westfield High School art show has set off a firestorm of comments from police supporters who have called the images "a gross misrepresentation," "ignorant" and "one-sided."

The artwork depicts images of officers with guns drawn, a target on a silhouette with his hands up, a bloodied body stabbed by a police shield and other scenes on a poster board that reads "Law Enforcement - Police Brutality." The silkscreens were part of an annual project where students depict their takes on controversial topics, according to a student.

A storm of protest on social media erupted after the images first appeared on the school's facebook page, with a large number of people calling for the firing of the Superintendent for the school district, Dr. Margaret Dolan.  Here's a screenshot of some of the tamer responses to the exhibit posted on the school's facebook page:

Of course, Fox News couldn't resist covering this story.  Here's Eric Bolling's fair and balanced take on this matter, where he implicitly blamed the teachers at Westfield High for attacking the police, and demanded the exhibit be "taken down."

Superintendent Dolan, as result of this "controversy" posted a response attempting to defuse the criticism from people who posted such comments and attacked the school district for "teaching kids to disrespect the police."  

I am sorry that information that has been passed along via social media and elsewhere has not told the entire story and has led some to believe that we do not respect law enforcement. We do, and we are teaching our students to do the same.
Ironically, it was the kids at the school who chose the subject - not the Superintendent, not their teachers.  They were told that it was their choice to make and that, as one of the students, Kayla related to
"We submitted several different topics of our choice and finally narrowed them down to three - Law Enforcement- Police Brutality, Modern Technology Advances and Gender Equality," said student Kayla McMillan. "The students were allowed to choose either side of the arguments and were told they would not be in trouble for their own opinions."
Welcome to the real world, Kayla, where people will not respect your right to freedom of expression if it upsets their delicate sensibilities.  Obviously, the student artists who created these images didn't do so in a vacuum, nor did their teachers brainwash them to "hate the police."  The reality in America today is that police violence against all citizens, but particularly minority populations, is commonplace, despite falling crime rates.  We've all seen overzealous and violent law enforcement responses to peaceful protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street, and far too many shootings, and other instances of police violence against African Americans and Latinos, many of them unarmed and often while they were already in custody (e.g., Freddy Gray).  

The cops and their supporters can loudly proclaim all they want that these "incidents" are infrequent and represent only a few bad apples.  However, as more stories come out of officially sanctioned abuse and outright torture, such as what occurred in Chicago's infamous Homan Square station, and as more and more people capture video of these brutal outrages (e.g., Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Garner) where innocent people are murdered by cops, the harder it is to defend the police, especially since so many of them remain silent in the face of their fellow officers' open criminality.

Frankly, in this case, the kids got it right.

Reposted from VetGrl by a2nite

Judge O'Donnell just announced his verdict in the Michael Brelo trial.

Not Guilty.

Judge O'Donnell also accepted as proved Brelo's claims of justification regarding the lesser included offenses.

The charges were manslaughter and felonious assault in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams on November 29, 2012.  Brelo was a Cleveland police officer at the time and was one of 13 officers who shot 137 rounds at Russell and Williams.  Background information is available here.

Like any criminal charge, the prosecution was required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Judge O'Donnell found that the prosecution did not meet its burden on the manslaughter charges.  

The prosecution did prove felonious assault, but Brelo was nevertheless acquitted because of his successful assertion of justification as a defense.  Brelo bore the burden of proof on this defense by the lower preponderance of the evidence standard.

A few initial observations:

Judge O'Donnell spent an extraordinary amount of time reading the bases for his verdict. He even left the bench to use the visual aids, talking about specific entry wounds, which were fatal, and their angles of entry.

Regarding Timothy Russell, the judge "found beyond a reasonable doubt that fired a shot that by itself would have caused Russell's death."  He added, however, that voluntary manslaughter additionally requires that Brelo's "shot alone actually caused the death or that it was 'the straw that broke the camel's back,'" meaning that Brelo's shot would have to have exacerbated potentially survivable shots, thus causing the death.  (The judge's discussion regarding Malissa Williams is a bit confusing, requiring a closer reading of the verdict.)

The judge also discussed testimony about the unreasonableness of Brelo's jumping on the hood of the car to fire.  He stated that the law requires him to look at the totality of the circumstances and that, even if that one act was unreasonable (which the judge's view on that needs a closer look) the defense of justification isn't defeated by that one aspect.

More to come. I'm going to look for the decision and transcript.

UPDATE:  You can get the written verdict here. The verdict is the entry at the top of the docket entries at that link.  The document opens as a .tif file and I don't know how to include those in a diary.

UPDATE x2:  For way more detail, see jpmasser's diary here.

Update x3:  Because, yes, we've got to find a way:

Reposted from jpmassar by a2nite

OOPS: Someone put an autoplay video embed in the comments. If you hear audio you can go here and stop the video from playing.


 photo Cleveland-RUSSELL-WILLIAMS_zpstwrr7czd.jpg

Two and a half years ago I penned "Wouldn't 136 bullets have been enough?" detailing the egregious and unjustified deaths of two Clevelanders in a hail of police bullets - chased twenty miles through the streets of that city because their car had backfired and officers thought they had fired a weapon (they had no weapon).

Michael Brelo, the officer who fired the last 15 shots from on top of the car they were driving, was put on trial and today, to few people's surprise, was found not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. The judge (who was also the jury) decided that there was no proof that Brelo had fired the fatal shots.

So now we have uncovered yet another way for police to kill and get away with it: a firing squad. And they don't even have to load one of their guns at random with a blank.

There is little more I can say. Having police fire 137 bullets at innocent, unarmed citizens and there be no consequences is absurd, yet that is the world we live in.

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Reposted from JoanMar by Denise Oliver Velez

    Daily Kos' own ObamaCare guru, Brainwrap, has recently highlighted the story of Luis Lang in a number of posts here, here, here, and here, and on his own website. The story is particularly interesting and noteworthy because Luis Lang is losing his sight but gaining some valuable insight. This is Mr. Lang:


     On Wednesday, the Washington Post explained about Luis Lang to everyone who doesn't have an internet:

Lang’s story has gone wild on the internet, turning him into a symbol of a number of intertwined narratives about the law: How Republican opposition to the Medicaid expansion has created a coverage gap claiming many low income people; how justifiable confusion about the complicated law is fueling anger at it; and so on.

It all started when the Charlotte Observer reported that Lang, 49, a self-employed Republican handyman who has never bought insurance, developed “bleeding in his eyes and a partly detached retina caused by diabetes.” The paper reported that subsequent medical bills quickly ate up his savings, whereupon he turned to the Obamacare exchange. He discovered he earns too little to get a subsidy, yet he might not be able to get on Medicaid because South Carolina has not opted into the Medicaid expansion. He risks falling into the “Medicaid gap.”

The paper reported that his family blamed this on Obamacare, prompting criticism from bloggers and others, combined with a crowd-funding drive for his surgery. In a subsequent interview with Think Progress, Lang said he now thinks opposition to the Medicaid expansion is the culprit, is rethinking his GOP affiliation, and is going to try to get coverage from the law, though he still says he has issues with its implementation and blames both parties:

“Now that I’m looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying — hey, we’re not Republicans!” Lang said….

“I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat. But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness,” Lang said. “They’re blocking policies that could help everyone. I’m in the situation I’m in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one.”….

    He's right that he's not the only one. In fact, there are approximately 250,000 South Carolinians in the "Medicaid Gap." We at Support the Dream Defenders knew this was going to be a problem, so, back in April, we sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Governor Nikki Haley asking her: What are you doing to find out the extent of the damages you are causing? This was her response:


     As you can see, Governor Nikki Haley has pockets empty of fucks to give about Luis Lang or the other 249,999 or so individuals in South Carolina who are one chicken bone or one drunk driver away from personal bankruptcy (or spending the next 20 to 40 years of their lives going to court to explain to the judge why payments for the hospital's bill couldn't be made that month).

     Besides our surprising new ally, Luis Lang, there are other less surprising entities fighting back. One of those fighters is the South Carolina Hospital Association, which stands to lose billions of dollars because Governor Haley wants to be pure (evil). In fact, at the SCHA website, you can sign a petition about Expanding Medicaid in the state. The petition is kind of fun, in a way, as it goes after other big businesses that have received the Governor's largess:

The choice for our future. For decades, our state has doled-out billions of tax credits to companies like BMW and Boeing to grow our economy and enhance the quality of life in South Carolina. We’ve also offered hundreds of millions of dollars to build highways and deepen our ports to build a better future. By accepting the federal dollars offered to our state, the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business projects that the $11.2 billion in new federal dollars will result in 44,000 new jobs. With the positive economic impact and increased health care coverage, the positive return on investment is clear.
    We urge you to sign the petition, or better still, this one from CREDO.  

     Besides all of the other reasons for Medicaid Expansion, including less DEATH, better health, working population able to work more days, fewer bankruptcies, increased jobs, less need for expensive emergency room care, controlling the previously-skyrocketing effects health care had on state and the national budgets, increased revenue from jobs (South Carolina has a state income tax), the Federal Government pays for 100% of the expense until 2016, when it will gradually lower the percentage over time to 90%.

     Here's the problem: South Carolina has seen a huge increase in people who have signed up for traditional Medicaid--and the federal reimbursement rate for that program varies between approximately 50% to 73.05%. As you can see, those numbers are a lot smaller than 100% or 90%. Additionally, many more children are signing up for the Child Health Insurance Program ("CHIP"). These larger numbers will crush the South Carolina budget. As an aside, if the nearly one million children in Texas who are eligible for CHIP, but have not signed up, ever do, Governor Greg Abbott's state will be in dire financial straits. Of course, this acts as a disincentive for red state governments to aggressively seek out children who could use the health care.      

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Fri May 22, 2015 at 01:00 PM PDT

Black Kos, Week In Review

by Black Kos

Marijuana - The Playing Field is not Level

Commentary by Black Kos Editor JoanMar

I don't smoke. I have never lit up a joint in my life. But I know a lot about the good ol'  Mary Jane. I can smell it a mile away. My mother smoked like every day; my father, I have been told, smoked; my older brother smokes, my younger sister smokes (or smoked - she claims she no longer does - I have heard that before), I have had boyfriends who smoked, and I had smelled it on my son's breath a couple times.
I was not going to be my mom, so that meant no smoking and no heavy drinking.

Given all of the above, you may wonder why I am so bothered by seeing that documentary by CNN, Cashing in on the 'green rush.'  The series celebrate (the best word to describe what I saw) the "trailblazers" who are making use of the opportunity provided to them in the wake of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.

I am not merely bothered by what I saw, I found it to be downright obscene. To be fair, those people did not invent the problem. They are merely doing what any true entrepreneur would do. I ain't really mad at them as much as I'm mad at yet another piece of evidence of just how our two-tiered justice system works.

See for yourself:

The idea that these people could be so joyously celebrating their new found wealth, even as hundreds of thousands of people have suffered and continue to suffer for trying to do what they are doing, leaves a nasty taste in my mouth

In talking about their "pioneering" business, the young (white) couple featured in the series, spoke about a conversation they had with their grandmother. Apparently they mischaracterized the nature of their business and then were forced to come clean to grandma. The wife explains that conversation this way:

"She thought we were just your stereotypical drug dealers."  
Stereotypical drug dealers. Who are those, pray tell?
Maybe someone like Vincent Winslow? Let's take a look at his case:
On September 5, 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow watched a plainclothes stranger approach him. Homeless and hungry, on a dark street rife with crime, the 41-year-old African American was anxious to make contact, motivated by one singular need: food.
Police arrested Winslow, drove him to prison, and locked him up. Six months later, a jury found him guilty of distribution of a schedule I substance (marijuana). Three months after that, a judge sentenced him to life imprisonment with hard labor, without the benefit of parole.

For a transaction that involved a whopping $25.00, Mr. Winslow got a life sentence, and with hard labor to boot.
He is just one example of thousands...if not millions. Whether selling or using, African Americans are more likely to be targeted, arrested, and convicted.
Whites and blacks  use marijuana at roughly the same rates; on average, however, blacks are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession, according to a comprehensive 2013 report by the A.C.L.U.
In Iowa, blacks are 8.3 times more likely to be arrested, and in the worst-offending counties in the country, they are up to 30 times more likely to be arrested. The war on drugs aims its firepower overwhelmingly at African-Americans on the street, while white users smoke safely behind closed
Another ACLU report details the long lasting, life-changing effect of being arrested for keeping company with mary jane:
When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, it can have dire collateral consequences that affect their eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations, and immigration status.
It seems to me that there is something sad and downright immoral about how the ganja god has chosen to distribute his/her blessings. In the same state, in the same country, in the same world, some people experiencing great fortune while others are  behind bars for doing the exact same thing. If we can't have a level playing field, at least show a little awareness about what's happening around you.

One law for everyone; those in Buk-in-hamm palace, and those standing in the shadows furtively scratching at the edge of the sumptuous pie.

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Fri May 22, 2015 at 12:03 AM PDT

In Defense of Shaun King

by Steven D

Reposted from Steven D by dopper0189

Let's begin by being honest.  Shaun King is a polarizing figure.  

He has a very specific point of view when it comes to American police forces and their dealings with African Americans, and he is not afraid to express himself is the strongest possible terms.  In short, he's outraged at the overt and covert racism he sees in our society as epitomized by the disproportionate and excessive force used by police forces across the country when it comes to how they deal with people of color.  

And he doesn't sugar coat that outrage, nor does he pull his punches.  On the contrary, compared to other well known and prominent spokespersons on this issue (e.g., Charles Blow of The New York Times or Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic) who are just as outraged but approach the subject in a more measured, intellectual manner, Shaun's writing is the equivalent of "shock and awe."  

I'm not saying that his style is necessarily a good or bad thing, or that Messrs. Blow and Coates are better advocates for the cause of racial justice than Shaun.  But his writing on this issue differs in tone, if not in substance, from many others who advocate for a change in the way our society deals with the issue of racism.  His focus is also narrower (at least here on Daily Kos) because his writing primarily addresses police violence and other abuses suffered by African Americans at the hands of the criminal justice system.

Indeed, if you've ever wandered into the comment threads of Shaun King's posts here at Daily Kos, inevitably you have come across a number of folks who dislike the way in which he covers the rash of police killings, racial profiling, etc. of African Americans, and the utter lack of accountability by police for their wrongful behavior.  Let me list just a few of the typical complaints I've seen whenever I scroll through the comment threads tom one of his posts here at Daily Kos.

1.  The "Click Bait" Argument:

The complaint here is that his titles are sensational, misleading, and exaggerate the facts in order to get people to read his posts.

2.  The "You're Shooting Yourself in the Foot" Argument:

This particular complaint is usually posed by those who say that they are concerned that Shaun's use of overly inflammatory language hurts the "cause" of making people aware of racist police conduct.  In effect, these commenters claim that Shaun's use of the rhetoric of outrage damages the validity of his arguments.  In other words, he turns people off.

3.  The Semantics Argument:

Basically, this boils down to the claim that Shaun gets the "legalese" wrong. It's often espoused by those who claim to be lawyers who say they support Shaun's efforts to call attention to police misconduct regarding minorities, a but who then spend paragraphs explaining why his use a particular word or phrase was inappropriate from a legal standpoint, thus undercutting his credibility.

4.  The "Unprofessional Journalist" Argument:

This claim is one made by people upset that with Shaun over some alleged breach of the proper ethical standards required of journalists.  Generally, its based on the notion that he should be more objective when he writes about these matters and less confrontational and opinionated - more nuanced as they say in his treatment of this subject.  More willing to see "both sides" of the problem.  More balanced.

It's ironic, but almost every objection I've seen to Shaun posts here at Daily Kos can just as easily be made to most of the other front page posters over the years.  

Click bait titles?  Excuse me, but isn't that a Hunter "speciality?"  In fact, most of the front pagers here have at one time or another posted stories with titles that "play to the choir," that "push our buttons," that - yes - seek to draw attention to the post they've written.  It's hardly a new phenomenon.  Major newspapers and magazines have a rich tradition of using headlines to "frame" the story so as to encourage media consumers to want to read what follows.  Many diaries here employ the same tactic to attract readers.  You have the discretion to click on those diaries or not, but singling Shaun out for this particular "sin" is rank hypocrisy in my view.  Daily Kos was built on click bait.

As for being excessively inflammatory? Child please.  Again, this is a political blog, not a news service.  Every day people post diaries, front page stories and comments regarding the outrage du jour.  No one beats them over the head with the way they express themselves, at least not to the extent that they do with Shaun.  Again, let's be honest with ourselves.  That is why many of us come here - to read stories that inflame our passions and reinforce our worldview, stories we can often find no place else.  Not to pick on diarists who cover gay rights, but I don't recall seeing a great deal of concern that stories exposing bigoted conservative Christians were too "mean" or too excessive in their condemnation of said "Christians" or somehow harmful to the cause of LGBT rights in general.

I contend that the majority of the anti- Shaun King sentiment here at DKos is based on the false premise that Shaun represents himself as a journalist.  He's not. He doesn't pretend to be one, either.  Does he cover events such as the Ferguson protests over Michael Brown's death?  Yes, but not as a journalist or a reporter for a major media company.  He covers these events from his own point of view, as a black man and an activist for social justice.  Unlike many "journalists" he doesn't try to hide his bias behind weasel words or false equivalencies.  Agree or disagree with him, but don't use the the claim that he's a not a proper journalist to argue that his message is wrong, or the manner in which he expresses himself not credible.

Shaun is an advocate for his cause.  He's a civil rights activist.  He's never claimed to be a journalist.  He writes and posts to the "front page" at Daily Kos, which is a political blog, not a news outlet, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, etc..  He has an agenda, and he hasn't been shy in telling us about it.  Read what he has to say about himself right here, in this interview by Autumn Alson.

Q: A recent study from PEW,has shown that most whites do not feel that the Michael Brown shooting has raised important racial concerns. This is overwhelmingly different than how most blacks seem to feel. How can you explain this dichotomy?

Shaun: Those numbers were stark, but not surprising. Even though it’s 2014, that study showed that culture and life experiences truly determine how you see the world. For me though, I think it is really about empathy. Because almost no white people have ever been brutalized by the police, they innately see the police very differently. Almost 100% of African Americans can describe a personal negative encounter with the police and this informs their perspective on this case and all others regarding police violence.

Q: Privilege comes up a lot in discussions of race. How can we get white people to understand this concept? How can we get them to accept their privilege without feeling a sense of guilt?

Shaun: Some of how we get all people to understand privilege is simply to tell our story – one story at a time. I try to do that on Twitter and share stories of others I know. You can never truly understand how others feel, but at least being aware is a good start.

It's right there - Shaun tells us he is a story teller, and one with a very different perspective than the majority of people who read this blog and/or participate in the various discussions on diaries and front page posts that address the issue of police violence and racism.  It's a perspective based on his own personal experience of racism that few if any white people in America can truly understand.
The oppression of others by people in power is a very real thing. I’ve experienced it, witnessed it, and fought against it, publicly and privately, for my entire life. That won’t end, but today I want to talk with you about a widespread form of oppression that crushes dreams and ideas at their root, all over the world. Like a firehose to a small candle with a barely flickering flame, the oppression I want to talk about now is the self-inflicted type. It’s in your heart and mind. [...]

... High school in rural Versailles, Kentucky was brutal for me. In middle school I had starred in the school play, was Vice President of the Student Council, had a ton of friends, kept a girlfriend, and was pretty much the happiest 13 year old on earth. High school was a rude awakening for me. I quickly found myself in the middle of decades old racial tensions and became the focus of constant abuse of the resident rednecks of my school. I had half a dozen fights my freshman year, had a jar of tobacco spit thrown on me in the middle of the school day, and came a few feet away from being run over by a pickup truck full of guys who chased me down and nearly mauled me as I walked home from a school dance. I reported it to the school, having saw each guy in the car, but they did nothing about it.

A few months later, a group of guys in the school beat me within a few inches of my life. I missed the next 18 months of school recovering from three spinal surgeries and fractures to my face and ribs. I won’t even try here to explain the depths and extent of my physical and emotional pain, but it was brutal. [...]

The pain and the ugliness of my past impacted me in immeasurable ways, but I refused to be held captive by it.

So far as I can tell the worst thing he's allegedly done is use inflammatory language and hyperbole to criticize the actions of police officers who have killed unarmed black males.  He's angry at the injustice he sees, and he has a right to be angry.  He's never held himself out to be a neutral observer or an objective reporter when it comes to this topic, a topic that so many people in America want to sweep under the rug.  Police violence against black people demonstrates the impact of societal racism at its most basic, brutal and destructive level. People of color experience overt and systemic racism by law enforcement personnel and the criminal justice system in ways that are difficult for many among the majority white population to grasp. I am not going to condemn Shaun for doing his best, as he sees fit, to make the rest of us feel his own outrage at the oppression of people of color by the police.

Shaun King is at heart a muckraker. His goal is to wake people up to what has been an under reported and ongoing atrocity, one to which few major media outlets have ever bothered to devote significant resources because its a story their predominately white readers don't want to hear.  He tells the truth as he sees it, based on the facts he discovers from first hand or secondary sources.  He doesn't parse words, or have an editor review his copy.  You know where he's coming from.  

You can disagree with him all you like.  And criticisms of his posts based on incorrect facts or faulty analysis of those facts is fine by me.  But don't hold him to standards to which hardly anyone else here at Dkos is held because you don't like how he writes about racism.  Don't employ trivial, and to my mind, frivolous arguments, to condemn him and what he has to say.

Frankly, we have far more to be worried about from the media elites than people like Shaun, if you ask me.  You know what type of "reporting" I find outrageous, and more importantly, dangerous?  So-called professional journalists and pundits who pretend to be neutral and unbiased in their reporting, but are the exact opposite.

I'll give you the best example I can off the top of my head - Judith Miller's practice of "journalism" regarding about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in 2002 and 2003.  Her reporting in the NY Times, the single most influential media publication in the country, aided and abetted war criminals.  She reported as fact lies told by key members of the Bush administration to her, lies that directly led to a war of aggression by the American government.  The consequences of her actions?  The deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, Iraqis and Americans combined.  A refugee crisis involving millions more. Trillions of dollars wasted.  A quagmire that continues to threaten the security of the Middle east and our own country.  So much for journalistic ethics and good practices.

Save your outrage for people like Judith Miller.  And if you believe Shaun King is too bombastic, or his writing puts you off, or if you believe his posts are "dangerous" then here's an easy solution for you - don't read him.

Reposted from Chitown Kev by Chitown Kev

And so it goes. Same as it ever was.

And I'm not simply talking about police officers getting away with killing (mostly) young black men but the incessant nitpicking of each and every case searching and not giving a damn about one dead black body piling up after another dead black body.

Of course, I know that each case is individual and argued on its' own merits but the pattern is clear.

American law enforcement seems to have no problem unleashing deadly force on black children and black people.

Samuel Jones at The Grio reminds us that as recently as 2006, The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were increasingly seeking to "infiltrate" law enforcement.

The document that Jones refers to is a 7-page unclassified document published by the FBI.

White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

White supremacists in law enforcement is nothing new of course; in part, the origins of organized police departments in America actually goes back to the slave patrols of colonial times.

One positively chilling aspect of this 2006 FBI report is the description of what white supremacists call "ghost skins."

Since coming to law enforcement attention in late 2004, the term "ghost skins" has gained currency among white supremacists to describe those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.
I don't know who the white supremacists are in the police departments, DA offices, and judge's chambers of this country.

And neither do you.

They have assimilated.

And many of you--us--will be assimilated, at least if I am reading the comment sections of this supposedly progressive blog correctly.

I certainly do not (or should not) need to detail the history of white American police brutality against African Americans and other people of color.

But I do have to ask:

Is this the 21st century America that we want?

Is this the America that we want?

How about this? (yeah, Jon Burge is as disgusting as ever.)

Former convicted Area 2 Police Commander Jon Burge says he finds it “hard to believe” that Chicago’s “political leadership” could “even contemplate giving reparations to human vermin” like the “guilty vicious criminals” he tried to take off the streets.
Fucking animal.

Is this what America wants? Back to The Grio article.

This year, alone, at least seven San Francisco law enforcement officers were suspended after an investigation revealed they exchanged numerous “White Power” communications laden with remarks about “lynching African-Americans and burning crosses.” Three reputed Klan members that served as correction officers were arrested for conspiring to murder a black inmate. At least four Fort Lauderdale police officers were fired after an investigation found that the officers fantasized about killing black suspects.
Apparently so, if this 2014 Gallup Poll is to be believed.

Or at least that what a majority of white Americans seems to want.

Remember, these are the cases that have simply come to light.

How am I supposed to make distinctions whenever I meet a police officer; assimilation is the goal of the "ghost skins," right (assimilation wasn't always necessary mind you but we are post-racial nowadays, right)?

I would think that a progressive community would be at least as concerned about fast tracking some solutions and legislation to halt the spread of white supremacist "peace officers" and police departments as it is about stopping TPP.

Or maybe not.

So...just remember that the next time you clutch your pearls about the next Shaun King diary or you lament about not able to get working, hard-working class white folks to vote Democratic because of a black President or a burnt out CVS...

Remember that you built this.

Remember that you have been (or will be) assimilated.

Because I won't forget it.

I can't afford to.

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