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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.

Discuss

One issue that comes up time and again regarding the out-of-control behavior of police departments across the country is the recycling of bad police officers from one police department to another. Tim Loehmann, the killer of 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, OH, is the poster child of this law enforcement malpractice.

Roger L. Goldman, Professor Emeritus at the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Law & Advocacy at St. Louis University School of Law, has proposed, in an opinion piece at the Guardian, that one thing that states and legislatures can do is to take a more active role in revoking police licenses.

Since 1960, when New Mexico became the first state to get the authority to revoke licenses, a total of 44 states have established commissions that have the authority to issue and revoke licenses, similar to the way lawyers and doctors are regulated. But 25% of the nation’s police officers work in six states – California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island – that don’t have such regulatory bodies. And 16 of the 44 states that do have the power to revoke can only do so if the officer has first been convicted of a crime.

Approximately 30,000 law enforcement officers have had their licenses revoked in the United States. However, an officer who has lost his police license may then work in private security, corrections and other criminal justice occupations, depending on each state’s law. Such ex-officers, who are often armed in their new jobs, have sometimes gone on to commit crimes in their new uniforms.

However, a large percentage of police officers with prior misconduct don’t need to leave policing for good. Many know they can seek jobs with other departments that will knowingly hire them despite the risk of a possible damage suit for wrongful hiring. There are economic reasons why this occurs: many departments can’t afford to pay a decent wage so they hire officers who have previously been fired or resigned in lieu of firing because they know they can pay them less.

Thanks to the Infoboomtube known as Google, I also managed to locate Professor Goldman's  2001 detailed study of the issue, Revocation of Police Officer Certification: A Viable Remedy for Police Misconduct?   One interesting thing that I noted is Goldman's view that citizen review boards are often insufficient to solve the problem
Without a mechanism at the state or national level to remove the certificate of law enforcement officials who engage in such misconduct, it is likely that there will be more such instances of repeated misconduct. Traditional remedies do not address the problem. For example, the exclusionary rule prevents prosecutors from using probative evidence seized from a defendant in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, but it does nothing to punish the officer. Likewise, criminal prosecution of officers is rare, and convincing jurors to convict is extremely difficult. Administrative complaints against the police in front of civilian review boards have been equally ineffective because the department for which the officer works rather than an independent body usually conducts the investigation. Finally, civil damage suits against police officers face the problem of juries, who tend to rule in favor of the police; even if the suit is successful, the officer is often judgment-proof.
The case studies that Goldman cites in his paper are impressive. (I do have to add here that my state of Illinois does seem to have one of the better state laws regarding the decertification of corrupt police officers, yet there was nothing to stop disgusting "human vermin" like Jon Burge or Guantanamo torturer Richard Zuley from committing horrific crimes nor does it seem to have deterred the Chicago Police Department from picking up where Burge and Zuley left off.)

To be sure, Goldman is well aware that revocation of police licenses is only a part of the solution:

States need to move beyond merely revoking licenses of unfit police officers, though. They must enact legislation to disaccredit police departments that do not meet minimum standards, just as failing local school districts can lose accreditation.
The entire oped is well worth a good read.

And given the "rarity" of police misconduct and bad police officers, it may even be necessary.

Discuss

The national movement to raise the minimum wage scored its' biggest victory to date when the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 to raise its' minimum wage to $15.00 by the year 2020 earlier today.

The increase — which the Los Angeles City Council passed in a 14-1 vote — comes as workers across the country are rallying for higher wages, and several large companies, including Facebook and Walmart, have moved to raise their lowest wages. Several other cities, including San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland, Calif., have already approved increases, and dozens more are considering doing the same. In 2014, a number of Republican-leaning states like Alaska and South Dakota also raised their state-level minimum wage by referendum.

The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s work force earns less than $15 an hour.

Simply put, the minimum wage issue is increasingly becoming a winning issue for Democrats; remember, the minimum wage issue won by large margins in referenda even in Republican strongholds.

President Obama has already called for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called for an increase in the minimum wage. While the Clinton campaign has not specified a specific number, Bernie Sanders has called upon President Obama to support an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00.

And even though Hillary Clinton does have some gravitas on the minimum wage issue, her campaign may have some catching up to do w/r/t to the increasing number of grassroots victories on this issue.

UPDATE: The vote by the Los Angeles City Council is only the first step in a detailed process.

The vote sends the measure to the city attorney to prepare a wage ordinance. That ordinance will then go to a council committee and, assuming it passes, to the full council for a final vote and then to Garcetti.

The increases would begin with a wage of $10.50 in July 2016, followed by annual increases to $12, $13.25, $14.25 and then $15. Small businesses and nonprofits would be a year behind. Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees to have an additional year to reach the $15 plateau.

Discuss
Saint Marie-Aphonsine Danil Ghattas, canonized by Pope Francis May 17, 2015.
Sunday in St. Peter's Square in Rome, Pope Francis canonized two 19th century Palestinian nuns, Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Baouardy as saints.

BBC News:

Marie Alphonsine Ghattas and Mariam Bawardy are among four 19th Century nuns who are being canonised by Pope Francis in Rome on Sunday.

At the house of Marie Alphonsine in Ein Karem, Sister Agatha shows around a large tour group of Christian women from Nazareth, in northern Israel.

"Every week parishioners come here," she tells me. "They're very proud of her. She was Palestinian and she started her work here in Palestine.

"She was our first teacher, the first one to educate Arab girls and women. Now, we're continuing her mission and we're famous because of our students."

-----------

At the Carmel Convent in Bethlehem, flags and banners have been put up to celebrate the canonisation of Mariam Bawardy, born in the Galilee.

A mystic, she is said to have carried out many miracles and to have experienced stigmata - wounds representing those suffered by Jesus on the cross.

"She's special because she was very simple, very humble," says Sister Feryal. "This is really the way for being a saint."

The ceremony was attended by approximately 2,000 Palestinian Christians and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom Pope Francis hailed as "an angel of peace."
The Pope made the remark as he presented the Palestinian leader with a medallion.

President Abbas is visiting the Vatican for the canonisation of two 19th-Century Palestinian nuns on Sunday.

His visit came days after the Vatican said it would formally recognise Palestinian statehood in a treaty.

The treaty states that the Holy See favours a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and allows the Vatican to oversee aspects of Roman Catholic life in the areas President Abbas controls.

Mahmoud Abbas with Pope Francis on Sunday.
While the road to canonization for both nuns began under John Paul II (Baouardy) and Benedict XVI (Danil Ghattas), Pope Francis recognized the final miracle necessary for both women to be canonized.

The canonization comes at a time when Palestinian Christians have been emigrating from Palestine at high rates due to both the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to Hamas control of the Gaza Strip. Currently, about 8% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank is Christian, with the majority of them living in Bethlehem.

It is also to be duly noted that for all of the American right wing's concern trolling over the persecution of Christians worldwide, Palestinian Christians are not feeling that concern. At all.

Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem has emphasized that most Christians around the world were silent during Israel's 2002 siege on Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during the Second Intifada, and continue to turn a blind eye to the Israeli occupation's impact on the city's holy sites and Christian communities today.

"The dangerous thing is that the Christian Zionists and the Jewish lobby in this country (U.S.) are entering into an unholy marriage – so to say. The issue is they hate each other but they want to spend time together in the same bed for selfish reasons. Both groups, for their own motives, are not interested in stability and peace in the region," Raheb says on his website.

While the Vatican's treaty with the State of Palestine (the Vatican has actually recognized a Palestinian state since 2013) and the canonization of Ghattas and Bawardy are, to an extent, symbolic gestures, I'm pretty sure that the Pope's gesture to the State of Palestine means a  to Palestinian Christians worldwide (many Palestinian Christians who have emigrated from Palestine live in South America).

And Francis is making it increasingly difficult for me not to like him.

Discuss

The Guardian is reporting that a local Chicago filmmaker, Angel Perez, was interrogated and sexually assaulted at the Chicago Police Department's Homan Square "black site" in October 2012.

(Warning: This description is GRAPHIC)

Spencer Ackerman:

...Perez was handcuffed by his right wrist to a metal bar behind a bench in an interrogation room on the second floor of Homan Square. Behind him were two police officers that a lawsuit Perez recently re-filed identifies as Jorge Lopez and Edmund Zablocki. They had been threatening him with a stint at the infamously violent Cook County jail if he didn’t cooperate.

“They’re gonna think you’re a little sexy bitch in jail,” Perez recalled one of them saying. The lawsuit quotes Lopez: “I hear that a big black nigger dick feels like a gun up your ass.”

Perez claims he was bent over in front of the bench and a piece of detritus. He recalled smelling urine and seeing bloodstains in the room. The police officers pulled his shirt up and slowly moved a metallic object down his bare skin. Then they pulled his pants down.

“He’s talking all this sexual stuff, he’s really getting fucking weird about it, too,” Perez remembered. He began shaking, the beginnings of a panic attack.

“They get down to where they’re gonna insert it, this is where I feel that it’s something around my rear end, and he said some stupid comment and then he jammed it in there and I started jerking and going all crazy – I think I kicked him – and I just go into a full-blown panic attack … The damage it caused, it pretty much swole my rear end like a baboon’s butt.”

Whatever the object was, the police suggested it was the barrel of a handgun. After Perez involuntarily jerked from the penetration, Officer Edmund Zablocki is alleged to have told him: “I almost blew your brains out.”

Perez is the 13th detainee of the Homan Square "black site" (so-called because the Homan Square site was modeled after the notorious CIA's interrogation black sites) that has been interviewed by the Guardian. Perez filed a lawsuit in 2013 but Perez did not know, apparently, that he was detained at the Homan Square site until recently.

Four other detainees of the Homan Square "black site" have joined Perez's lawsuit.

The Chicago Police Department did not respond to The Guardian's list of questions for this story but a police spokesperson did tell the Guardian that Perez's claims were "unfounded"

Mr. Perez was not charged with any crime.

The Guardian has exclusive video at the link to this story.

Discuss

I am so sick of this shit.

Another PO shoots an unarmed black man and gets off.

Following an inquiry by Wisconsin’s state division of criminal investigation [DCI], the Dane County district attorney Ismael Ozanne declined to prosecute Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who responded to a number of 911 calls on6 March reporting Robinson was acting erratically and had allegedly assaulted at least one person in the street outside his shared apartment.

Kenny forced entry to the apartment and fired a fatal volley of bullets striking Robinson in the head, the right arm and the torso. Robinson was unarmed. Sources have told the Guardian the teenager was alone in the apartment and had ingested a large quantity of hallucinogenic mushrooms before the incident. One of the 911 calls on the evening was made by a friend requesting help, sources have said. Police say Robinson had assaulted Kenny and knocked the officer off balance.

And just who are the fucking thugs, exactly?
Discuss

Thu Apr 30, 2015 at 09:33 AM PDT

A Late Morning Rant

by Chitown Kev

For some reason, white people (I know, I know, #not all white people, but for your sake and my blood pressure's sake, PLEASE don't go there) like to think that they know blah people and blah history so well and they forget that Wikipedia is their friend.

Otherwise, they would be able to make the distinction between "nonviolence" (a personal practice) and "nonviolent resistance or nonviolent disobedience" a method and technique of achieving goals.

White folks sure like to call for us blah folks to be "nonviolent" but seem to think that we come by practicing techniques of nonviolent resistance naturally, even and especially as white folks attack black folks violently and repeatedly.

The distinction here is important, in part, because the role of the Nation of Islam in brokering a gang truce in Baltimore in order for unified gangs to kill cops has been brought up.

My own personal philosophies are very far from most things that the Nation of Islam teaches but I will say that I respect them for some of what they do in the community.

And I say pretty much with confidence that with the possible exception of the assassination of El-Hajj Malik Shabazz, I have never known the NOI to be violent in any situation. This Malcolm X quote that has made the round the last few days

is what I understand to be NOI practice.

To be frank with you, on a theoretical level, they probably are justified in going after the cops (as the NOI and others have been at times) but even in those situations, I've always known the NOI to be peaceful.

So as far as nonviolence and nonviolent disobeidence, the only people that white folks need to talk to are the one that they see in the mirror.

Another thing: I have seen far too many nice white progressives justifying their use of the word "thug" by citing the use of the word by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and by President Obama.

I just have to say that it really burns me up when white folks cite their lists of approved negroes to justify saying what they want to say all along but didn't have the courage to say.

In fact, many black people do not approve Of Mayor Rawlings-Blake and President Obama's use of the word even in the context where they may have been trying to use it.

Plus, we blah folks also understand that there are audiences that must be catered to outside of the black community that really want and (it seems) need to hear that word.

Thank you for reading.

Discuss

So, I learned of this Michael Eric Dyson/Cornel West thing in Black Kos last Friday.

My first thought on actually reading "The Ghost of Cornel West" was that this has to be the most acrimonious black intellectual takedown of another black intellectual since...well, Michelle Wallace took on bell hooks?

Folks are talking.

And I mean everywhere.

Chaunceydevega (respectable negro that he is) imagines the West/Dyson fracas as a video game.

Myself, I can't help but be reminded of the Roxanne Wars what with all the responses and the responses to the responses.

I will add that the comment sections of various blogs are equally hilarious. And circular. The occupiers of these various comment section seem to range from Stormfronter types to black nationalists with missing teeth in their afro picks to good-old fashioned Negrotarians.

Truthfully, I don't have much more to add but (lol, there it is)...

Well, there were a couple-two-three items Dyson's original piece that did catch my eye (and none of them have anything to do with Anita Baker).

This:

I shared my three-part formula for discussing Obama before black audiences: Start with love for the man and pride in his epic achievement; focus on the unprecedented acrimony he faces as the nation’s first black executive; and target his missteps and failures. No matter how vehemently I disagree with Obama, I respect him as a man wrestling with an incredibly difficult opportunity to shape history. West looked into my eyes, sighed, and said: “Well, I guess that’s the difference between me and you. I don’t respect the brother at all.”
Well, yes...and to be sure Dyson has "vehemently" disagreed with the President at times.

But even here, Dyson left out a very important exception to this "code." Follow me Behind the Orange Veil...

Continue Reading

Mon Apr 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM PDT

Thank You, Daily Kos

by Chitown Kev

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks to Saturday's fundraiser, I now have a spanking new laptop that will be arriving shortly.

Also...there were some funds leftover after my equipment was purchased. I decided to donate a portion of those funds to earthquake relief efforts in Nepal and to Black Lives Matter.

A Special Thanks to Kossacks JoanMar and peregrine kate for organizing everything from start to finish.

Thank you to everyone who donated whatever funds they had available.

Thank you to all who donated a tip, a rec, and valuable suggestions.

And thank you, most of all, to the entire Daily Kos community. In fact, I feel as if this is more than my community; I feel as if Daily Kos is my home.

And coming from a guy as transient-minded as myself, that's saying something.

Thank you.

I do want to send a special shoutout, too, to Meteor Blades.

Because it's meaningful (at least to me) when someone with infinity mojo  recs most (and maybe all) of my comments that refer to me even thinking about writing something.

And, as I said, y'all have the right to expect and to ask for more posts and diaries from me which reminds me...

Are Daily Kos bumper stickers a thing? I kinda sorta want to use it as an inventory tag, lol.

Peace, everyone!  

Discuss

Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 02:09 PM PST

What The Black Man Wanted

by Chitown Kev

Frederick Douglass
Last Sunday evening, I was treated to a black conservative creature feature.

First, there was Stanford professor Dr. Shelby Steele's appearence with The Atlantic magazine national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates on This Week, reported here at Daily Kos by Egberto Willis.

The most shocking statement from Shelby Steele occurred when George Stephanopoulos asked if government action is not the answer to solve the structural wealth disparity between blacks and whites than what is. "You don't close it," said Shelby Steele. "You don't do anything. You leave it alone. You practice as best as possible a discipline of freedom where your struggle is not for some sort of advantage. But your struggle is for freedom itself. That's what you do."
Pretty much at the same time, I was reading Juan Williams' pig-sh*t shoveling paean to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas published in the Wall Street Journal, which I diaried about in the Tuesday's Chile edition of Black Kos. I noted a quote by Black abolitionist/woman's suffragist Frederick Douglass:
In his dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, a case that preserved the affirmative-action policies of the University of Michigan Law School, he quoted an 1865 speech by Frederick Douglass : “‘What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice.’ . . . Like Douglass, I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators.”
I doubt that Mr. Douglass was referring, specifically, to "the meddling of university administrators" in an 1865 speech; Mr. Douglass probably had more pressing matters that needed his attention. Nevertheless, I looked up the Douglass speech, What The Black Man Wants, and found a sentiment (talking point?) articulated by Dr. Steele on This Week (and explicitly quoted in Clarence Thomas's Grutter v. Bollinger dissent).
Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall.
The specific historical context of Frederick Douglass 1865 (impromptu!) speech before the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, What The Black Man Wants is, in part, the subject of this diary. The other subject of this diary is the use and abuse of the legacy of Frederick Douglass'  by modern conservatives.
Continue Reading

The madness of unnecessary deaths at the hands of those who "serve and protect" acquired a twist of international celebrity Tuesday as the surfing world mourns the death of professional surfer, Ricardo dos Santos, near his home in Brazil.

From Surfer Magazine

Reports flooded social media channels all day with differing accounts of the incident, but it appears that dos Santos was murdered by an off-duty police officer after an altercation during which dos Santos attempted to stop a group of men from openly using drugs in the street. After being shot three times, dos Santos was flown by helicopter to a local hospital. Doctors performed multiple surgeries, but ultimately the blood loss was too severe, despite waves of blood donors, eager to help save dos Santos’ life.

Local police have taken two men into custody—a pair of brothers, 25 and 17-years-old, with the older of the two suspected to have fired on dos Santos, and reported to be the off-duty cop.

Dos Santos was a fearless, world-class tuberider, who captured the surf world’s attention with an incredible performance at the 2012 Billabong Pro, Tahiti, for which he took home the Andy Irons Forever Inspiration Award. He was recently featured in a gorgeous, pristine barrel on the cover of our November, 2014 issue.

Dos Santos is probably best known for dethroning 11-time world champion Kelly Slater  in the 2012 Billabong Pro Tahiti surfing competition, having entered the competition as a wild card. Slater paid a moving tribute to Santos on Instagram.

Can only SMDH at a death so far removed yet, in many ways, so so familiar.

RIP, brother.

Discuss

It's appropriate, I suppose, that the city leadership of Ferguson, MO would say something...anything to calm their citizens (who pay their salaries) but a second clarion call for Ferguson residents to stay home when the sun goes down really won't help matters, I don't think.

"It is our hope that as we continue to work for the well-being of Ferguson, residents will stay home at night, allow peace to settle in, and allow for the justice process to take its course," said the city leadership in a press release.
I guess that you can't very well call it a true "sundown town" when the population of Ferguson is over 70% black but it may as well be if you can't see any of the residents, right?
Discuss
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