Police Arrest 4th Suspect In Black Lives Matter Shooting, No Charges Yet Filed




Police said in the news release that they weren’t seeking any more suspects although the investigation was ongoing with the help of the FBI.

Court records showed one of the men who was arrested called a police officer he knew to confess to shooting the demonstrators.

A search warrant application showed that Scarsella called a Mankato, Minnesota police officer identified only as “Levin,” who was an old high school friend of his, at 1 a.m. Tuesday to confess to the shooting, according to the Star-Tribune. Scarsella told the officer that he went to the protests, sparked by the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, to livestream and then got into a confrontation with demonstrators, according to the newspaper.

Police searched Scarsella’s Bloomington home for white supremacist paraphernalia and found camouflage clothing, ammunition and several firearms, including an AR-15 rifle, according to the warrant obtained by the Star-Tribune.

The four men arrested appeared to connect through 4chan message boards for firearms enthusiasts and racially charged political commentary, according to the newspaper. The Star-Tribune also reported that Gustavsson and Macey were both are students in the gunsmithing and firearms technology program at Pine Technical and Community College.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told the Star-Tribune that an extenstion for prosecutors to file charges against the four men expires at noon Monday. Previously, the newspaper reported that authorities were weighing whether to treat the shooting as a hate crime.

Catherine Thompson

H/t: DB

This is the entire GOP plan: Credibility destroyed after Bush debacle, their only strategy is to scare us

This is the entire GOP plan: Credibility destroyed after Bush debacle, their only strategy is to scare us

(Credit: Zdorov Kirill Vladimirovich via Shutterstock)


Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the so-called “Daddy Party” failed spectacularly on all major adult-male-gender-stereotyped fronts.

On the economic front, its record was terrible, even before it brought us the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression; on the military/national security front, its failure to prevent 9/11—the worst foreign attack on American soil since the War of 1812—was only compounded by its fighting-fire-with-gasoline response, turning both Iraq and Afghanistan into incubators for new generations of jihadists. On the science front, it presided over a widening war on science. In short, the entire framework of the “Daddy Party” construct fell into disrepute by the time Bush left office in 2008.

But now—thanks to the terrorist attacks in Paris—there’s a full-on rush to try to resurrect it. Only of course it’s an incoherent mess, with more focus on spreading fear than countering it. Donald Trump has benefited most on the GOP side, with his quick-draw tough talk, but it was similarly mindless, fact-free tough talk that made such a mess of things post-9/11 in the first place, and this time there’s not even a hint of an actual plan—it’s all just heated bluster, and denouncing Democrats for not frothing at the mouth just like them.

The panic over Syrian refugees is particularly revealing in this regard. Not one American has died at the hands of a refugee either during or since 9/11, although there have been 745,000 of them. Yet, irrational fear of these refugees has defined the only “coherent” policy response the GOP has come up with—both among myth-driven governors and in the shutdown-happy Congress. But when it comes to actually confronting ISIS, they’ve got nothing unified except a PC rampage against Democrats not using the phrase “radical Islam;” aside from that it’s a smorgasbord of proposals ranging from basically endorsing Hillary Clinton’s position (John Kasich) to cutting off their money (Paul and Fiorina) to grandstanding in Congress (Cruz), to reinvading Iraq, with a side of Syria (Bush, Graham and Santorum), to total war (“destroy them”—Carson) or multi-front bellicosity (Trump).

Overall, it skews heavily toward an amped-up front-line war, which is exactly what the terrorists want. It’s what they wanted from the 9/11 attacks, and it’s just what we gave them, and we only got a vastly stronger terrorist enemy as a result. So the “Daddy Party” script is already a proven failure. It’s done. It has no foundation in the adult world of facts, only in infantile, fear-filled imaginations, which is why there’s been so much GOP focus on circulating discredited scare stories.

In fact, the only time that such an all-out-war strategy genuinely has worked in modern American history was World War II—in part because our enemies were ruled by the same kind of flawed hypermasculine ideology, and in part because we made a just peace afterwards with the surviving populations, so that the enmities that led to war in the first place were not reborn.

It’s the remarkable post-war peacemaking process we need to pay far more attention to—and a truly adult attitude, male and/or female, would clearly recognize that. But what stands in our way most dramatically now, like an 800-pound gorilla, is the GOP’s wild-eyed phantasy of omnipotent male power. And if we want to understand that, we need to dig deep into early childhood psychology, exemplified by the work of Melanie Klein, who used that spelling—’phantasy‘ with a ‘ph’ to distinguish unconscious cognition from conscious daydreams. That phantasy world is profoundly dichotomous—me/not-me, omnipotence/powerlessness, bliss/despair, or even terror—and ruled by its own internal logic, confused and contradictory as it may appear to us, that has nothing to do with the outside world, and everything to do with managing imaginary hopes and fears.

As Kleinian therapist Chris Minnick writes, “It is often said that if Freud discovered the ‘child’ in the adult human personality, then Klein discovered the ‘baby’ in Freud’s child.” The tendency for fearful conservatives to posture as strong and attack liberals as weak is sometimes seen as an example of projection, a Freudian defense mechanism where an unwanted feeling or quality is defended against by projecting it onto another. But Klein—discovering the “baby” in Freud’s child—uncovered something more primitive, what she called “projective identification,” which is not directed onto another, but into them, opening the doorway to a much deeper, richer, more complex world of psychodynamic relationships. Minnick’s website contains a wealth of information about Klein’s approach, but before delving into it, it’s helpful to review some other findings first.

I’ve written before about advances in understanding liberal/conservative differences in terms of conservatives’ higher levels of threat sensitivity or “negativity bias” at the physiological level, summarized in the paper “Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology,” by lead author John R. Hibbing of the University of Nebraska. According to this line of research, liberal/conservative differences represent a normal range of human cognition, which has proven itself through evolution.

I quoted part of the paper which advanced the notion that population mixtures of different sensitivity levels had a group adaptive purpose, similar to how “groups of spiders benefit from having a mix of social and asocial members and virtually all species benefit from having individuals with different immune systems.” Consequently, “If this were true, the polarization that afflicts many modern democracies may be a vestige of the mixes of the behaviorally relevant, biological predispositions that worked well in small-scale societies.”

But that doesn’t mean that ideological polarization today is similarly benign, much less helpful. Threat level responses that may be in a normal range when surrounded by a diverse mix of people can quickly become pathologically abnormal if a group is surrounded by others who are equally sensitive to threat, and who feed off of each other’s fears, creating a dynamic based on shared phantasy, rather than any actual real-world threat. Something akin to this is clearly at play in societies where racial or ethnic hysteria breaks out into sustained episodes of mass violence, ethnic cleansing, or genocide, and while political leaders in such situations doubtless posture as strong protectors, their actual base of support is wildly out-of-control fear, fear of a sort that is normally only found in helpless infants who have no ability at all to provide for their own needs.

In America today, this is where “Daddy Party” politics now stands. Which is why Kleinian insights need to be drawn into our discussions in order to fully grasp what’s going on. Gone are the days of actual policies, however deeply flawed they might have been, and we only further confuse ourselves by insisting on trying to understand things in policy terms, when something much darker and more primitive is actually going on.

Minnick’s website is called “Minnick’s Klein Academy: Melanie Klein’s Models for Understanding the BabyCore of Personality,” and a subsection, “The ‘Baby Core’ of the Personality,” takes us right to the heart of what all the “Daddy Party” posturing desperately tries to avoid: “Although most adults behave much of the time in a ‘mature and rational manner,’ ALMOST NOTHING WE ADULTS THINK, FEEL, OR DO IN THE COURSE OF OUR DAILY LIFE IS LEFT UNTOUCHED BY ‘BABY’ STATES OF MIND.” Minnick isn’t normally given to the use of all caps. He really wants to drive that point home. So what are “baby” states of mind? For one thing, they’re something we’d rather not think about:

Being helpless, understanding almost nothing, being utterly dependent on of others for one’s very survival (which depends on these “others’” willingness and capacity to “sacrifice” on behalf of an infant) hardly represents a state of affairs that anyone would stand in line for a chance to experience again.

As a result of this painful state, Minnick notes, there is “a need in early infancy to bring order to the chaos of life outside the womb. This order is achieved by trying to hold ‘good’ experience (i.e. pleasurable) separate and apart from ‘bad’ experience (i.e. painful).” This is where the most basic psychological processes emerge: “This separation leads to a division or partitioning of ‘self’ and ‘objects’ (in psychoanalytic parlance, ‘objects’ refers to people, not things), in which self and object are quite literally divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aspects or ‘parts’.”

This process, commonly referred to as “splitting,” is one of two terms often associated with Klein—along with projective identification. Minnick goes on to say:

This division into ‘parts’ that are generally held separately in the mind, will usually include the evacuation of the ‘bad’ versions of self and object, into the outside world, on a semi-permanent basis, via projective processes, and this whole process will continue to be active throughout the lifespan.

“Projective processes” is Minnick’s preferred alternative for projective identification, which he calls “simultaneously the single most important concept in all of psychoanalysis and simultaneously the most confusing and misunderstood.” In fact, “projective processes” include introjection (imagining another—or aspects of another—inside oneself) as well as projection—or even both, simultaneously.

As Minnick points out, the first example Klein herself ever gave of projective identification was precisely along these lines, in a case of “envious reversal.” Elsewhere he explains:

In this envy driven “role reversal” (or ‘envious reversal’ for shorthand), two processes take place instantaneously and simultaneously. The first is that the projector rids himself of the unwanted baby state, by projecting it into the ‘container’ [the recipient of the projection]. Simultaneously, the projector steals the desirable state of affairs (i.e. some aspect of the “container’s” identity) from the container and takes it in for himself.

Situations like this, in which “the projector’s unconscious motive has a large component of a desire to exchange positions in life with the container,” are “also so common in infancy with mom,” Minnick notes—an indication of their primal power.

Now let’s consider the situation of the “Daddy Party” post-Bush. Everything they once pretended to be had gone bust. The first time since Herbert Hoover that they controlled the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court had ended in utter disaster—disaster so bad that they no longer even knew what conservatism was. On the theory that “conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed,” many conservatives simply stopped counting Bush as one of their own. And yet, although they adopted that conscious dodge, a deeper part of them, subconsciously, could not escape the sting. Which is part of why there was so much animosity toward Obama, and such eagerness to lay blame on him for things that were actually Bush’s responsibility, or the fault of conservatism more broadly, such as rising debt/GDP ratios, a trend dating back to Ronald Reagan.

The fact that Obama tried to reach out and work with conservatives only made matters worse for them at this deeper level of subconscious animosity, intensifying the driving need for an envious reversal. Projecting blame for conservatism’s failures into Obama as the liberal “other” was a move made more difficult by every act he took to try to court cooperation—by including tax cuts as more than one-third of the stimulus, for example.

Such actions by Obama, clashing with their original projections, required more follow-on phantasies to rearticulate the envious reversal. The simplest involved flat-out negating what Obama had done, the more imaginative reinterpreted his actions as deceptive—”setting up Republicans” or conservatives, one way or another. Of course, there was already a phantasy template at hand to help generate these as needed—the birther phantasy, which held that Obama himself was entirely a fraud.

Conservatives had always been comfortable with blacks as other, as containers for their most unwanted projections. But before blacks were demonized, the pattern was initiated with Native Americans. Another Kleinian theorist, Robert Young, has written about racism and projective identification (here and here, for example), noting that “the price of admission into a culture is the acquiring of its projective identifications.” Young cites the example of a 1503 decree by Queen Isabella citing Native Americans’ purported “hard habits of idolatry and cannibalism” as justification for authorizing slavery:

The European charge of cannibalism was unfounded. Harmless and helpful natives were bad-mouthed as wild and bestial, thus legitimating the activities of a master race. The savagery of the conquistadors was projected onto their victims, who could then be seen as subhuman and could be treated in subhuman ways — which they extravagantly were.

A similar dynamic applied to enslaved blacks, regardless of the colonizing power involved. The savagery of conquest was projected into the conquered. However, when situations allowed, there was often a place for a few “respectable” tokens who served a variety of different functions for white slaveholders, and later white leaders who followed them—to endorse their views, make them seem more reasonable, provide pacifying “leadership” for the masses, etc.

Obama was threatening for a number of reasons, not least that he adopted a form of respectability politics, while remaining relatively loyal to the black base, and running as a Democrat, whose policies were anathema to movement conservatives. Hence, at the overt level, he disarmed the demonizing projective processes, particularly in courting conservatives outright—praising Ronald Reagan, inviting Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, reaching out to conservative opinion writers,dining with them within weeks of taking office, etc.—but he would not validate the projection of otherness onto other blacks as a whole, which is a core purpose of the “respectable black” figure. And thus the need to otherize him (and project white evil acts, impulses, phantasies, etc. into him), as blacks had always been otherized, needed to find a new form, a new rationale. Which is precisely what the birtherphantasy did. It said that everything about him was a lie, so nothing he did could make any difference. It invalidated any action he might take, leaving it to be reinterpreted by those who most despised him, without any regard to the facts.

Once established, the core birther phantasy could be applied in any situation. It took the place of a totalizing ideology to unify the conservative base, even as they remained adrift with the wreckage of the “Daddy Party” legacy. But in a sense, this move only made matters worse, deeping the hold of negative partisanship on the GOP. Defeating the monster Obama effectively took over the space where some semblance of a positive policy agenda ought to have been—if only conservatives had a clue what that might be. “Repeal and replace Obamacare”… with what, exactly?Romneycare? Really?

The more obviously hollow the the GOP’s policy side became, while Obama’s wonkish side was increasingly on display, the more compelling the projective dynamic became—all the conservatives’ incoherence, cluelessness and destructive rage were repeatedly projected into their image of him, and the more reasonable he acted, the more adult he tried to be, the more intense their infantile rage became. Nothing made them feel more like helpless infants than seeing Obama act presidential—especially when he reached out to them, inviting a mature response, which they were utterly incapable of, boxed in by their own intricate structure of lies about him, prisoners of their own dark projections.

In 2011, Donald Trump made his first serious play for a presidential run, using birtherism as his calling card. It ended disastrously, when Obama released his long-form birth certificate, and then teased Trump in public at the White House Correspondents dinner, while secretly preparing the raid that killed bin Laden. And yet, some nine months later, more of the GOP base than ever believed in the birtherphantasy. It had absolutely nothing to do with empirical evidence.

Fast-forward to this year, when Trump almost accidentally stumbled onto his new ticket to the top—demonizing immigrants—just one of several topics he vaguely rambled on about, but the one that immediately caught fire, and the one that’s really still dominant in a very real sense, since anti-immigrant policies—this time directed against Syrian refugees—are the only consistent form that GOP anti-ISIS politics has taken since the Paris attacks. This is yet another sign of the “Daddy Party” decay: anti-immigrant phantasies run wild, driving actions by Congress and dozens of governors, but there’s no sign of any coherent anti-terrorist strategy aimed at actually defeating ISIS.

The driving force of anti-immigrant animus is racism, of course. But it’s intensified by the size of the demographics trends involved. After losing the 2012 election, GOP elites saw the need for a work-around, a way to blunt the inevitable political impact, give themselves space and time for repositioning. But the phantasy life of their base simply left no room for that.

Once again, the “Daddy Party” had no actual policies to offer, and it fell back ontophantasy-based fearmongering instead. Also, once again, Obama had played the role of adult, bending over backwards to meet Republicans halfway. Deportations evenreached record highs under him—causing a fair amount of anger from his base. And so, once again, Republicans responded with an envious reversal, painting Obama as eagerly flooding the country with “illegal immigrants,” and utterly denying their own lack of responsible action.

That was the field on which Trump built his phantasy-fueled racist campaign, propped up by his ludicrous claim to be a builder, rather than someone who hiresbuilders, and his equally ludicrous claim that building a 95-story building (there are more than 30) is more difficult than building a 2,000-mile wall (there’s just one).

The situation with fighting ISIS that erupted after the Paris attacks was strikingly similar in several ways. The envious reversal to place blame on Obama moved on two main levels. First, the problem was created by Bush’s invasion of Iraq, but Obama is evil, so he had to be blamed for that. Ergo, erase the fact that Obama was only following Bush’s blueprint when he withdrew forces from Iraq, the thread that’s used to try to shift the blame to him.

Second, last year, after the explosive spread of ISIS, Obama began trying to craft an adult response, balancing the need for military action with the realization that deploying substantial U.S. ground forces was both counterproductive and politically unsustainable. There are problems with Obama’s plan, to be sure. But it is an adult plan, and can be debated as such. In February, after months of delay, Obama asked Congress for authorization of military force to support his plan. Two months later,GOP leaders said forget about it! They didn’t come up with their own counter-plan. They didn’t do anything adult at all. They just—as almost always—did a big fat incoherent nothing.

Here, then, is the substance of the second envious reversal: Obama has a plan, the GOP does not; Obama cares a great deal, and has put a lot of thought and effort into it, the GOP has not. Suddenly, the Paris attacks happen, and it’s envious reversal time: Obama’s the one with no plan, and no interest, no effort fighting ISIS, the GOP—heck, they’re the “Daddy Party,” remember?

Every day it seems there’s a new wave of over-the-top GOP claims, mostly inflating fears and attacking others who won’t do the same. This is not a matter that’s open to debate. It’s not a matter of “opinions may differ.” It’s not even a matter of fact-checking individual fact-claims. It’s not a case-by-case kind of situation. Their entire framework of thinking is grounded in deeply-buried phantasies of helplessness and omniscience; it has no relationship whatever to the real world.

At the Washington Post recently, Daniel Drezner wrote a piece, “Donald Trump is constantly lying.” There’s nothing new about this, of course. He’s been lying constantly all along. But it’s gotten more acute, more noticeable since the Paris attacks. At the conclusion of his piece, Drenzer writes:

Trump has lied so many times about so many things during the past week that it’s difficult to keep track of all of them. But it doesn’t matter whether one focuses on Trump’s attitudes about crime or American Muslims or trade policy. He lies about all of these issues. And he will continue to lie as long as it works for him.

That’s what liars do.

True enough. But it’s not the heart of the matter. Closer to the heart is something Drezner said earlier, that “Trump’s MO on this ever since he’s become a candidate has been a simple five-step plan,” to wit:

  1. Say/tweet/retweet outrageous thing;
  2. Dominate the next news cycle;
  3. Bully the media that focus on the outrageous statement;
  4. Backtrack/claim misinterpretation;
  5. Sustain polling advantage.

In a sense, lying is basic to this—his outrageous statements all flow from lies. But the dynamic itself is much more important for us to focus on. It focus attention on how Trump uses lies—on what he does, rather than what he says. Which, in turn can be described as how he acts out and mobilizes Kleinian phantasies. Make no mistake, he’s a master at it. But he’s not the only one in the game. The entire “Daddy Party” is. Watch what they do, not what they say.

What they do: They couldn’t govern their way out of a paper bag. In fact, they’re really the baby party. All they can do is finger-point and fear-monger. That’s it.

What they say: If they can just pull off one more master envious reversal, convincing everyone it’s the Democrats who are helpless, clueless idiots, then they recapture the White House once again.

We’ve been warned. We’ve seen the “Daddy Party” fail spectacularly. Now, will we really believe it wasn’t them?

H/t: DB



An Officer Has Been Charged With The Murder Of Laquan McDonald. But What About The Cover-Up?



After the first murder charge against an active-duty Chicago police officer in over three decades, the city’s political establishment is eager to move on.

But while Officer Jason Van Dyke could face 20 years or more in prison if convicted of killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald over a year ago without apparent justification, the broader breakdown of the police department and city government’s responsibilities to McDonald and the broader Chicago community threatens to go unpunished.

The whole ugly thing would likely have gotten swept under the rug if journalists had not exposed an autopsy report and video footage that contradict the official narrative about what happened to McDonald. One of those journalists is Jamie Kalven, who emphasized the extensive and toxic cover-up of the killing to the Chicago Reporter on Tuesday.

Instead of taking statements from eyewitnesses, Kalven says, police moved people away from the scene of the killing. They did not take down contact information to ensure they could follow up later, witnesses told the journalist. Cops even went into a nearby fast food store and deleted nearly an hour and a half of security camera footage that may have captured the killing, the local NBC news affiliate reported back in the spring.

After neutralizing the potential for an alternative narrative based on civilian accounts and security camera footage, the police infrastructure offered its own version of events to the public. According to Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden, “none of the officers who responded had a Taser to use on the teen and were trying to detain him long enough for one to arrive.” Camden told the Chicago Tribune that McDonald lunged at the cops, who shot him in self-defense.

The video Kalven helped expose indicates Camden was lying, or at least relaying a story that bears little resemblance to the truth. McDonald is seen jogging and then walking in the middle of a street, roughly parallel to a line of cops and cop cars. He is starting to veer away from the officers when Van Dyke empties a 16-round clip into him in about 15 seconds. Charging documents indicate that 14 of Van Dyke’s shots came while McDonald was already on the ground, and that one of the two fired while the child was standing struck him in the back first.

Van Dyke opened fire just six seconds after exiting his car and just half a minute after his vehicle arrived at the scene, according to prosecutors. Less than a minute passed between Van Dyke’s arrival to a scene where fellow officers were working to contain McDonald and detain him, and when the accused murderer had to stop and reload his service pistol because he’d fired a full clip into McDonald.

Yet the department itself claimed that McDonald died of a single gunshot to the chest, not the 16 shots to the back, legs, arms, chest, and head that Van Dyke actually fired.

The documents also say that no other officers at the scene thought McDonald had done anything threatening toward Van Dyke, corroborating the appearance of events from the dashcam video. But the investigation that produced those statements from Van Dyke’s colleagues began only after reporters challenged the official story.

Today, even with the official story of McDonald’s death in tatters, city officials appear eager to limit the blame to Van Dyke. “One individual needs to be help accountable,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on a conference call with community leaders Monday.

Once Van Dyke is prosecuted, the mayor said, “we can go as a city and begin the process of healing.” That process seems unlikely to include accountability for Van Dyke’s colleagues who abetted the official story about why and how he killed McDonald.

It’s rare for police officers to face professional accountability over misconduct allegations, let alone to be prosecuted for a crime. But its rarer still to see prosecutors, supervisors, or city officials seek broader remedies for the offending officer’s co-conspirators even when video evidence indicates a cover-up. In part that’s because it’s tough to discern between an out-and-out cover-up and a more understandable degree of confusion in the immediate wake of a police killing.

Policework requires officers to arrive at a consistent narrative of events in general, PoliceMisconduct.net managing editor Jonathan Blanks said in an email. “Each case is different, but typically officers sign-off on one another’s official accounts for consistency in any case, whether or not there is misconduct or use of force. This isn’t necessarily malevolent on the part of the officers–consistent accounts build much stronger cases than cases that have conflicting accounts,” Blanks, who has studied policing for years, said.

That baseline dynamic of policework makes it hard for even the most aggressive prosecutor to discern between willful dishonesty and good-faith consensus between officers with different vantage points and recollections.

When a group of Fullerton, CA police officers beat Kelly Thomas to death as he cried out for his father and told his assailants he couldn’t breathe in 2011, city officials initially told reporters that Thomas had actually died of a drug overdose. They also said he’d been violently resisting arrest to such an extent that multiple officers had broken bones. Neither of those claims is true, and Thomas’ father has accused Fullerton officials of intentionally smearing his son’s character in the press to excuse an abuse of force. But the broken bones claim is partially supported by initial medical reports that the officers might have fractures, and an outside review commissioned by the city found officials did not intentionally deceive the public. Two of the officers were charged and later acquitted in Thomas’ death, and the city paid out a multimillion-dollar settlement to Thomas’s father.

After Officer Timothy Loehmann killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, he claimed he’d given the child multiple verbal warnings before shooting him in the chest. Loehmann said Rice, who was holding a toy gun rather than a real weapon, then reached into his waistband. “He gave me no choice, he reached for the gun and there was nothing I could do,” Loehmann told investigators. Prosecutors have commissioned reports from experts siding with Loehmann on the reasonableness of his decision to kill Rice. Video shows he in fact shot Rice less than two seconds after arriving on the scene, and is inconclusive on the claim that Rice reached for something. Prosecutor Timothy McGinty has accused Rice’s family of being out for money rather than justice and generally stalled on deciding whether or not to charge Loehmann in the killing, but investigations have revealed that other officers are not willing to corroborate Loehmann’s claims about yelling multiple warnings prior to shooting Rice.

Sometimes, though, the cover-up question is more clear-cut. Officer Michael Slager spent days telling the world that Walter Scott had tried to take his taser, forcing him to shoot Scott fatally in South Carolina last spring, before a cell phone video exposed that Slager had in fact shot a fleeing Scott repeatedly in the back. The video appears to show Slager dropping his taser near Scott’s body only after killing him. Slager’s police department backed up his story for a matter of days before the truth came out, leading prosecutors to charge the officer with murder.

Video similarly contradicted an initially-widespread narrative in the killing of Sam DuBose by University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing. Tensing and multiple other officers said DuBose’s car had begun to drag Tensing, causing the officer to shoot the driver in self-defense. The video shows the car didn’t start moving until after Tensing put a bullet through DuBose’s head at point-blank range.

Anecdotes don’t satisfy. But there’s almost zero hard data that can shed light on the divide between legitimate officer consensus and willful cover-up. The police misconduct tracking site that Blanks helps run has flagged a small percentage of overall misconduct cases as involving some form of dishonesty by officers, but that’s a broad category.

“Our data is very limited for a number of reasons,” Blanks said. “The so-called Blue Wall of Silence is an informal institutional norm that tends to place officers’ loyalty to one another over professional dedication to justice,” in part because honest officers are afraid of what their coworkers would do to them if they don’t back a colleague’s story. That undermines the quality of the data across the board, and even those incidents where the Blue Wall breaks down can remain out of public view thanks to records laws. “The public is left to trust the administrative mechanisms to mete out officer punishments for violations…without the public eye watching over that you would see in a criminal trial,” Blanks said.


The New York Times Finally Calls Trump What He ACTUALLY Is, And It’s About Time


While conservatives love to complain that the media is somehow run by liberal overlords somewhere, when one actually pays attention to the news being told by media outlets, it actually appears to be quite the opposite. If there’s one thing Republicans are actually good at, it’s controlling the conversation — including, but not limited to, the media.

Many news outlets are still giving Donald Trump the microphone weekly, or rather daily, to spew his rhetoric, hate and nonsense. He was even given the much-coveted spot of hosting Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, and the reason is simple — ratings.

Trump knows what he’s doing, he’s been doing it for decades, and that’s getting ratings and selling things. The product that he is selling currently isn’t a book or a television show, but rather himself, and the media is falling for his schtick hook, line and sinker. Seemingly embracing every horrible thing that comes out of his mouth because it drives ratings.

However, it looks as though at least one media outlet finally called Trump what he is — a liar.

In an article titled “Mr. Trump’s Applause Lies” the New York Times finally called the real estate mogul, and aspiring emperor of the world out on his many lies.

They write:

“In the Republican field, Mr. Trump has distinguished himself as a fastest to dive to the bottom. If it’s a lie too vile utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it, often. It wins him airtime, and retweets go through the roof.

This phenomenon is in fact nothing new. Politicians targeting minorities, foreigners or women have always existed in the culture. And every generation or so, at least one demagogue surfaces to fan those flames.”

The New York Times then points out a number of just flat-out lies and compares the bombastic egomaniac to the likes of former Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, who similarly fanned the flames of prejudice and provocation in the 1950s. He’s one of the main reasons we now have ‘Under God’ and ‘In God We Trust’ all over everything — because of McCarthy’s fear-mongering then. The Times also goes on to compare Trump to the same tactics of George Wallace.

They write:

“Mr. Trump stays at the top of the Republican field, it’s become a full-time job just running down falsehoods like the phony crime statistics he tweeted, which came from a white supremacist group. Yet Mr. Trump is regularly rewarded with free TV time, where he talks right over anyone challenging him, and doubles down when called out on his lies.”

The New York Times is pointing out the truth in the overall media’s allowance of Trump’s lies, nonsense, racist rhetoric and bloviated prose, and good on them for finally doing so.


Watch: Republican Candidate John Kasich Is Fed Up With His Party’s Hate Speech (VIDEO)


At least one member of the GOP seems to be very well aware of the Republican party’s descent into something bordering on Nazism.

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich just released an ad that has to be seen to be believed. It’s based on the famous “First they came for…” quote, attributed to German Pastor Martin Niemöller.

The original statement by Niemoller speaks of the conditions in Nazi Germany, prior to the Second World War.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The ad, which was released on Tuesday, features Col. Tom Moe, a retired Air Force serviceman, and former Vietnam prisoner of war. As the video begins, Col. Moe says “I would like anyone who is listening to consider some thoughts.”

He then goes on to paraphrase the words of Pastor Niemoller.

Watch the video below

Last month Kasich slammed his fellow candidates at a campaign rally in his hometown of Westerville, Ohio.

During his speech he asked, “What’s happened to our party? What’s happened to the conservative movement?”

He told his supporters in no uncertain terms that he is at the end of his rope when it comes to his fellow conservatives.

“I’ve about had it with these people,” he said. “I want you to know I’m fed up. I’m sick and tired of listening to this nonsense and I’m going to have to call it like it is in this race.”

Kasich asked, “Do you know how crazy this election is? We got one candidate that says we ought to abolish Medicaid and Medicare. You ever heard of anything so crazy as that?”

Speaking of Ben Carson’s flat tax proposal, he said, “We got one person saying we ought to have a 10 percent flat tax that will drive up the deficit in this country by trillions of dollars.” He went to ask, “Why don’t we have no taxes? Just get rid of them all, and then a chicken in every pot on top of it,” bringing the Hoover era, and the corresponding Great Depression, to mind.

“We got one guy who says we ought to take 10 or 11 million people … we’re gonna pick them up and we’re gonna take them to the border and scream at them to get out of our country? That’s just crazy,” he said.

After lamenting the descent of his party into complete stupidity and craziness, he remarked to the audience,

“You know, folks, we better be careful that we don’t turn this country over to somebody who’s not capable of running it. Because if we turn this country over to somebody with wild ideas that thinks they can scream and bluster or operate their way to success, it’s my kids who are going to be at risk and your kids and your grandchildren and all of us. So why don’t we grow up?”

Here’s an excerpt from the speech, via NowThis Politics on Facebook.

White U.S. Senator Says Terrorists ‘Look More Like Me’



Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) remains devoted to receiving Syrian refugees and feels they aren’t nearly as big a threat to the United States as another group of people.

“Normally, they look more like me than they look like Middle Easterners,” Brown told Ohio’s WAKR radio. “They are generally white males, who have shot up people in movie theaters and schools.”

Listen below to the full interview with Brown:

White men account for more mass murder cases than radical Islamists in the U.S., according to a Duke Study released in June. Shortly after the shootings in Charleston, S.C. where a white-supremacist entered a black church and killed nine people, a handful of senators pushed for hearings on domestic terrorism.

Out of 750,000 refugees resettled in the U.S., none have tried to commit a terrorist attack on American soil. Two Iraqis and one Uzbek were convicted of trying to plan activities in their native countries.

After a Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Paris attacks though, American governorsrallied to block Syrian refugees — even though a top EU official said that all the attackers identified were European passport holders and the Syrian passport was likely fake.

This Is Why White Supremacists Opened Fire On Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protestors


attribution: NONE


No matter how hateful it often appears, one has to admit that there are many things to be thankful for as an American. The population is not yet being controlled by religious fanatics, some Americans can access medical care, three-quarters of the nation’s children do not go to bed hungry every night, and racist law enforcement officers are only shooting at unarmed African Americans. Maybe African Americans, and groups such as Black Lives Matter, should be especially grateful this Thanksgiving that even though they are inordinately targeted by racially-motivated law enforcement, their Constitution still allows them to peaceably protest the rash of police shootings.

After the events in Ferguson Missouri, it became evident that people of color exercising that basic 1st Amendment “right” to protest is no guarantee they will not get shot. If they protest in Minneapolis Minnesota over another officer-involved shooting, it is not just racists cops to fear, but armed white supremacists likely manifesting the effects of generational indoctrination of racial animus.

On Monday in Minneapolis, a group of white supremacists opened fire on Black Lives Matter protesters assembled in protest of another officer-involved shooting of an African American witnesses say was handcuffed. Five of the protesters were shot and sustained injuries; injuries that law enforcement curiously stressed were “not life-threatening.” Reports in local media announced that the three white male suspects were reported to be “wearing masks and bulletproof vests;” likely an updated version of the KKK’s historic bed-sheet-and-hood uniform.

There is a misconception that it is only the South that supports blatant racism, and although it has been the case since the Civil Rights movement and desegregation, a joint project involving a Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) professor and VCU Libraries shows how the Ku Klux Klan successfully spread its special brand of racial animus towards African Americans nationwide. The result of the project, besides demonstrating the breadth and scope of the Klan’s influence in creating a nation of hateful racists, is a clever little map showing that the “second Klan” spread across all fifty states as opposed to “Reconstruction and Civil Rights Klan” mostly concentrated in the Deep South. The “second Klan” thrived between 1915 and 1940 and African Americans today are feeling the effects in every state in the Union, not just the former Confederacy.

The project shows that unlike the first KKK of Reconstruction and the third Klan of the civil rights era, the second Klan was far more widespread and infected roughly 8 million avidly racist Americans. A digital technologies web applications analyst, Shariq Torres, oversaw creation of the map revealed why no American should be surprised that racial animus toward African Americans is still thriving in all fifty states and spreading into the next generation; regardless of the nation electing Barack Obama twice as President. Torres said,

A lot of times today, talk of racism says this region is bad or that region is bad. No, all of it is bad. And this map shows that. Even after the KKK “disbanded” all those people were still in the community. They became cops, they became judges, they became lawyers, they became teachers. They were all throughout the community. I see it as a very striking example of the sort of institutionalized racism that remains in the country today. This organization’s ideas were so mainstream that people were fine with it. That trickles down to everything else – housing inspectors, cops, policymakers, everything.”

Torres is absolutely right according to sociologists who have noted that since racial animus is a learned trait, it is nearly certain that a majority of those 8 million Americans who became judges, lawyers, politicians and cops produced offspring they programmed to hate of people of color. It is that inculcated racial hatred that Republicans have used to great advantage to keep their base in line and themselves in control.

President Lyndon Johnson once told his press secretary, Bill Moyers, that he understood exactly why inciting racial animus was a successful tool his opponents used to fleece Americans; a tool 21st Century Republicans are using successfully because they are reaping the benefits of over a hundred years of the Klan’s racist conditioning. Johnson said,

”I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” The next time someone wonders why Republican voters reliably vote against their best self-interests, Lyndon Johnson knew the answer 50 years ago because he lived through the Klan’s infectious spread across America.

After white supremacists were finished shooting Black Lives Matter protesters, the president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP Nekima Levy-Pounds said, “I am obviously appalled that white supremacists would open fire on nonviolent, peaceful protesters.” It is telling that Levy-Pounds did not say surprised, just appalled. Another Black Lives Matter protester, Jie Wronski-Riley said he heard what sounded like firecrackers and thought, “surely they’re not shooting human beings.” When the two young black men standing on either side of him were hit and he heard the cries of more wounded people on the ground, “I really understood the danger we were in and what had happened.” Wronski-Riley likely understood in real terms why he was there protesting in the first place; white racists with guns, cops or otherwise, lust to shoot human beings who are African American and peaceably protesting.

Despite all of this country’s problems, no one should be as extraordinarily grateful on Thanksgiving than white folks. Because although they may earn poverty wages, lack access to healthcare and education, risk losing their Social Security pensions, and probably go to bed hungry a few nights a week, at least their race prevents them from being gunned down discriminately. It is something that very few, if any African Americans can say and they can thank the Klan for that unenviable distinction.


Putin Says Russia Ready to Cooperate With U.S. Coalition on ISIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin Meets French President Francois Hollande

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – NOVEMBER,26: Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and French President Francois Hollande (L) attend a joint press conference in the Kremlin on November 26, 2015 in Moscow, Russia. Hollande is having a one-day trip to Moscow. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)


The announcement came after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande

(BEIRUT) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

Putin said after talks with French President Francois Hollande that Russia is open to closer cooperation with both France and the U.S.-led coalition on selecting IS targets.

At the same time, he lashed out at the U.S. over the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, saying the U.S. should have prevented its coalition ally Turkey from making such a move.

He said that Russia will hold “serious consultations” with the U.S. over the incident.

Associated Press

10 things you need to know today: November 26, 2015

AP Photo/Richard Drew


1. Turkey releases tapes to show it warned pilots before downing Russian bomber jet
Turkey released audiotapes Thursday that it said proved that before it shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber it warned the pilots several times to change course, as they were approaching Turkish airspace. Turkey insists it issued several warnings before its warplanes shot at the Russian aircraft Tuesday. With tensions rising between the two nations, Russia, which argues its jet never left Syrian skies, began holding up Turkish goods at its border, citing a possible terrorist threat.

Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press

2. Chicago releases more videos of officer fatally shooting black teen
Chicago officials released four more police dashcam videos Wednesdayshowing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, 16 times on a city street in 2014. The city has now released videos from five of the eight police vehicles that were at the scene. One of the new videos, which were all unexpectedly without audio, came from the squad car that carried Van Dyke, who was charged with murder this week. Protesters marched Wednesdayexpressing anger over police handling of the case and demanding reform.

Source: Chicago Tribune

3. U.S. military blames deadly Afghan hospital strike on human error
A U.S.-led October airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was the result of “human error,” compounded by technical problems, Gen. John Campbell, the top NATO and U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said Wednesday. The intended target was a Taliban command center nearby. The personnel most closely involved in the strike, which killed at least 30 staff members and patients, have been suspended until the case is resolved.

Source: CNN

4. Obama assures Americans Thanksgiving travel is safe
President Obama assured Americans that they were safe as nearly 46.9 million people in the nation set out to travel over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving is the busiest U.S. travel holiday of the year. Authorities have increased security at airports in response to the deadly Paris attacks two weeks ago. New York City is deploying a record number of police officers for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which is expecting record crowds. “We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” Obama said.

Source: Reuters

5. Pope condemns using religion to radicalize young people
Pope Francis on Thursday condemned the radicalization of young people “in the name of religion to sow discord and fear” as he met with religious leaders in Kenya at the start of a three-country Africa tour. Francis called Islamist extremist attacks that have killed thousands in Kenya since 2013 “barbarous.” He urged Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in dialogue while remaining vigilant against terrorists trying to “tear at the very fabric of our societies.”

Source: The Washington Post, NBC News

6. 2015 is the hottest year on record
The World Meteorological Organization announced Wednesday that 2015 is the hottest year on record. NOAA’s chief climate monitor, Deke Arndt, said something “game-changing massive” would have to happen in December “for it not to be a record.” 2015 saw temperatures soar worldwide as a result of a strong El Niño and man-made global warming, with the planet likely having warmed by 1 degree Celsius, an alarming climate change milestone that has been blamed for extreme weather worldwide.

Source: The Associated Press

7. FSU releases depositions on handling of sexual assault allegations
Florida State University on Wednesday released two key officials’ depositions taken as part of a lawsuit by Erica Kinsman, who says the school did not properly investigate when she accused former FSU star quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her in December 2012. Winston was not charged and has countersued. Head coach Jimbo Fisher said he was not aware of the school policy on reporting such allegations. An ex-director of FSU’s victim advocate program said 20 sexual assault allegations were made against FSU football players in nine years.

Source: USA Today, The Associated Press

8. Ex-boxing champion killed in Atlanta robbery
Former world cruiserweight boxing champion O’Neil Bell was killed Wednesday during a robbery in Atlanta. Police said Bell, 40, was getting off a public bus with another person when two men robbed them. After an argument one of the robbers shot Bell in the chest. He died at the scene. The thieves stole the bag of the second victim — who was shot in the hip — and fled. Bell, who was from Jamaica, held four titles over his 13-year career, including the WBA, WBC, and IBF. He retired with a 27-4-1 record.

Source: The Associated Press, New York Daily News

9. West Point bans pillow fights after injuries
West Point on Wednesday banned pillow fights after one on Aug. 20left two dozen freshman cadets with concussions. Six others had other injuries. Pillow fights are a tradition at the U.S. Military Academy, helping new cadets build camaraderie as they start a tough first year. Some of the injured may have been hit with pillowcases stuffed with hard objects. The school’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., said he would “send a clear message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”

Source: The New York Times

10. Casey Kasem’s children sue stepmom over late radio host’s care
Three of the late radio host Casey Kasem’s children and his brother filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against his widow. The lawsuit says Jean Kasem neglected the longtime American Top 40 host’s medical care in his final months, and hastened his death in June 2014 at age 82. Jean Kasem’s attorney did not immediately comment, but a former attorney for the widow said Kasem’s daughter Kerri, who won control over her father’s care in a court fight, sped up his death to cash in on a $2 million insurance policy.

Source: Los Angeles Times