Killer Mike introduces Bernie Sanders

November 25, 2015

Please vote for Bernie Sanders. I’m going to and I hope you do too.

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke charged with First Degree Murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald UPDATED

November 24, 2015

UPDATE: Added the video that was just uploaded to youtube. The sound isn’t working right. Couldn’t hear the gunshots, but McDonald is walking away and no threat to anyone when he was shot.

Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state’s attorney, has announced at a press conference, which is still in progress, that she has charged Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with First Degree Murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on October 20th of last year. The shooting, which was recorded by a dashcam video, will be released for viewing by the public later today or tomorrow

According to Ms. Alvarez, it shows Officer Van Dyke shoot McDonald twice in the upper chest. After McDonald fell to the ground, the officer emptied his 16-shot clip firing repeatedly at McDonald striking him in the scalp, neck, back, both arms, and both legs near the groin. When he ran out of bullets he replaced the empty clip with a new 16-shot clip and took aim. Another officer present prevented him from squeezing off more shots by grabbing his arm and ordering him to stop.

McDonald died on the way to a hospital.

USA Today is reporting,

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese, Jr. ordered Van Dyke be held without bail until at least Monday, when he called on prosecutors to return with the dashcam video from a police squad car that captured footage of Van Dyke shooting McDonald.

“I believe it is pertinent,” Panarese told attorneys Tuesday during the bail hearing.

Van Dyke’s attorney Daniel Herbert said his client feared for his life after police answered a call about a young man who was acting erratically. A Chicago police union official also told reporters soon after the incident that McDonald, who had PCP in his system at the time of his death and was holding a knife with a four-inch blade, lunged at the officer.

Prosecutors told the court the video clearly shows that McDonald was not advancing on Van Dyke, who started firing  six seconds after he got out of his squad car. The shots were fired over 14 to 15 second period. During 13 of the 15 seconds, McDonald was on the ground, prosecutors said.

The City of Chicago offered to settle the case months ago for $5 million even though McDonald’s family had not filed a lawsuit. That should tell you how unjustified and indefensible they regarded the shooting to be.

Although the case was settled, reporters and others pressed the police to release the dashcam video. Police refused. Eventually, they had to sue the city and the police department to force them to release it. After watching the video, Mayor Rahm Emanuel objected to releasing the video because he feared riots. Nevertheless, a Cook County judge ordered the video released no later than tomorrow.

Ms. Alvarez admitted during her press conference that she filed the charge today to beat tomorrow’s deadline. However, she denied that her office had delayed the investigation and she insisted that she had decided a month ago to charge Van Dyke with first degree murder. She said she decided to wait in order to permit the US Department of Justice and the FBI to complete their investigation.

I do not believe that, but I do agree with her charging decision because, based on what she said, the officer was not in imminent danger of being attacked when he fired, none of the officers who were present when Van Dyke arrived drew their guns or believed themselves to be in danger, the knife McDonald carried in his hand was only 3.5 inches long and the blade was folded up in the handle, McDonald did not act aggressively, and Van Dyke shot him 14 times after McDonald fell to the ground and ceased to be any threat at all.

That ain’t self-defense.

(Scroll down in the USA Today link to see the autopsy drawing that shows the entry and exit wounds)



Trump follows Fiorina and Carson down the rabbit hole of Big Lies

November 23, 2015

Big Lies take your breath away. They disqualify. No one should ever vote for a candidate who tells a Big Lie.

Carly Fiorina disappeared down the proverbial rabbit hole of Big Lies while searching for the mythical Planned Parenthood video that she claimed to have seen. Her last words before she disappeared were, “Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ ”

Dahlia Lithwick said,

The enormity of the fabrication surprised me; the fact that nobody had ever seen this extraordinary smoking gun before stunned me; the fact that not one of the journalists moderating the debate followed up on her claim surprised me. The fact that contemporaneous mainstream media reports of the debate—more theater criticism than journalism—failed to fact-check it surprised me. The people who did fact-check it all immediately agreed that it wasn’t true, and yet Fiorina’s word-picture was touted for days as the emotional zenith of the debate.

Ever the hero, Ben Carson took off after Fiorina. Before he disappeared down the rabbit hole of Big Lies, he waved his gifted hands urging everyone to follow him and shouted something about stabbing someone in the belt, hitting his mother with a hammer, the Chinese are in Syria, and he has better sources of intelligence information than the White House. According to Politifact, this is what he said in context about China.

Moderator Maria Bartiromo: “Dr. Carson, you were against putting troops on the ground in Iraq and against a large military force in Afghanistan. Do you support the president’s decision to now put 50 special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan?”

Carson: “Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops, they’re actually able to guide some of the other things that we’re doing there.

“And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way.

“We also must recognize that it’s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.”

Positively brilliant, except the Chinese are not involved in the Syrian conflict and his intelligence sources have denied telling him that. After thoroughly checking the story, Politifact concluded,

In context, Carson’s comments suggested a military presence. That claim appears to be lifted from unconfirmed blog posts and a news report by a Lebanese news site. China and the White House have denied that Chinese troops are in Syria, and experts told us there’s no evidence to the contrary. Even if Carson meant something less than a military presence, China seems to be taking a hands-off approach to the conflict in Syria.

We rate Carson’s claim False.

Not to be outclassed,  Donald Trump took off after Fiorina and Carson this weekend. As he dove head-first into the rabbit hole of Big Lies, he said he saw “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Here is what he said when George Stephanopoulos interviewed him on ABC This Week,

It was on television. I saw it. It was well covered at the time, George. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”

Politifact checked it out,

We looked back at the record to see what we could find about American Muslim celebrations in New Jersey on 9/11. While we found widely broadcast video of people in Palestine celebrating, we found no evidence to back up Trump’s description of events on American soil.

They concluded that the story is an urban myth

We conducted an exhaustive search of newspaper and television transcripts on LexisNexis, looking for reports from September 2001 through December 2001 that made any mention of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks.

Regarding Jersey City, which Trump mentioned specifically, we found two uncorroborated and unsourced mentions.  Neither begins to approach the scale Trump described.

The Associated Press, on Sept. 17, 2001, described “rumors of rooftop celebrations of the attack by Muslims” in Jersey City. But the same report said those rumors were “unfounded.”

The Washington Post, on Sept. 18, 2001, published an article that claimed “law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” The Post story includes no source for this information, and we found no evidence that any of these allegations ever stuck.

A more rampant rumor of Muslim or Arab-Americans cheering the attacks centered around nearby Paterson, N.J. But that turned out to be just a rumor, spawned by chain emails and perpetuated by shock jock Howard Stern’s radio show.

The Star-Ledger reported that as the rumors spread, “Paterson police rushed to South Main Street, the center of the city’s Middle Eastern community.”

“When we got there, they were all in prayer,” Paterson Police Chief Lawrence Spagnola said.

Three percent of New Jersey residents are Muslim — the highest of any state — according to Pew Research Center. Suspected 9/11 terrorists had ties to Jersey City and Paterson. But there is no conclusive evidence that any New Jersey residents celebrated the attacks, and there is no evidence whatsoever of any demonstrations where “thousands and thousands of people” cheered.

Nor is there any evidence Trump saw these events play out in any way, be it on TV or in person. We reached out to Trump’s campaign but didn’t hear back.

These three clowns have been caught lying red-handed. Their lies are BIG Lies they told to win the Republican nomination for president. All three are unfit for public office.

Last, but certainly not least, Trump is demonizing all Muslims for political gain. That is what Hitler did when he demonized the Jews, and just like Hitler did to the Jews, he wants to force all Muslims to register with the federal government.

He has committed an unpardonable sin.

Never ever forget that because innocent lives and possibly your own life or the life of someone you love depends on it.

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls, Get Off Your Ass And Vote

November 22, 2015

Yesterday, I wrote about Donald Trump. He is a demagogue who seeks to bind us with hatred and fear in the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie. We must not let it happen.

Ask Not For Whom The Bell Tolls*

Get Off Your Ass And Vote

Troubled times.

Dangerous times.

Times when the demagogues slither forth

Spitting venom.

Birds flee.

The shore doesn’t look right.

The sea has withdrawn from its embrace

A storm of empty words shades the sun.

A tsunami of hatred and fear is approaching

We can run but we cannot hide.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls

It tolls for me and thee.

Get off your ass and vote!


*John Donne (1572-1631)

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Donald Trump is unfit to be president because he is a demagogue and a racist Islamophobe

November 21, 2015

We are living in dangerous times when economic insecurity, fear and hatred create fertile soil for demagogues to take root and spread. Donald Trump is such a man and he is not alone.

In an OpEd at CNN yesterday, Dean Obeidallah said,

 Shockingly, Trump told Yahoo News that he would consider requiring Muslim-Americans to register with a government database, or worse, mandating that they carry special identification cards that note their faith.
The reaction to this idea, fairly or unfairly, by many on social media, was to accuse Trump of wanting to mimic laws that Nazis had imposed on Jews, including requiring them to wear a gold Star of David on their clothes.
After Trump confirmed that he would set up a database for Muslim-Americans, an NBC reporter asked him point blank: “Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews in Nazi Germany?” A clearly annoyed Trump at first refused to respond, but then told the reporter, “You tell me,” and walked away.

Trump, like most Republicans, is opposed to accepting any Syrian refugees. Contrast his response to the Paris bombings and shootings eight days ago that killed 130 people, for which ISIS claimed credit, to French President Francois Hollande’s affirmation after the attacks that France will not only honor its promise to accept 30,000 Syrian refugees, it will increase that amount.

Meanwhile, to combat a rising tide of Islamophobia in France, many people are planning on participating in a rally in Paris by Muslims against ISIS. Huffington Post is reporting,

At the same time, some French citizens — banned by police order from demonstrations in Paris until Thursday — were expressing their support for French Muslims and Muslims worldwide on social media and organizing interfaith gatherings.

By Sunday, 3,000 people had pledged to attend a multi-faith “Rally with Muslims of France for Peace and National Unity,” scheduled for the end of the week near Paris’ Grand Mosque. Another 6,000 said they were interested in going. Several other gatherings were being organized via Facebook to take place after the demonstration ban, including “I am a Muslim, Daesh [ISIS] Is Not,” and a rally of “Prayers for Paris” — with 13,000 possible attendees as of Sunday afternoon — at the Arc de Triomphe next weekend.

“Terrorism has no religion or nationality,” wrote Grand Mosque demonstration organizer Samia Edd Cardi, a Muslim and tech entrepreneur, on the event’s page, which also gathered atheists and Christians who said they would attend. Cardi did not reply to a message on Facebook from The Huffington Post, and the Grand Mosque of Paris did not return a message requesting information about the event.

At the Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Paris, imams from around the globe are scheduled to gather for a meeting of the World Union of Experts of Islam for Peace and against Violence, which was already planned ahead of the attacks but is now taking on even more urgency. Bishop Pierre Whalon of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe will host the meeting.

“After this heinous attack, we may wish for God to come down and wipe out our enemies. Instead, Christ on the cross, completely powerless at the last, shows us that it is only love that can overcome hatred, evil and even death,” Whalon, who is based in Paris, said in a statement.

And it’s not just Donald Trump who is beating the fear and hate drums. Ben Carson, who has been running neck and neck with Trump in the polls, referred to Syrian refugees a few days ago as “rabid dogs,”and the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would so complicate the process of vetting Syrian refugees as to make it virtually impossible to admit any of them. All but one Republican voted in favor of the bill. 47 Democrats also voted for the bill.

Donal Trump doesn’t just hate Muslims. He also hates Latinos, specifically Mexicans, even though more Mexican illegal immigrants have been returning to Mexico since 2010 rather than entering the United States. Shamefully, Trump and the Republicans continue bleating about a non-existing illegal immigration problem through a supposedly insecure southern border with Mexico. Trump went so far as to claim that Mexico is exporting rapists and murderers into our country. He has promised to round up all the illegals, who are estimated to number around 11 million people, and send them back to Mexico. Then, he’s going to build a fence to keep them out and present the Mexican government with a bill to pay for it.

Whether his cheap theatrics and brazen appeal to fear and hate will prevail remains to be seen.

Update: Add Marco Rubio to the list of Islamophobes. From Think Progress: Rubio Trumps Trump: Shut Down Any Place Muslims Gather To Be ‘Inspired’ — Not Just Mosques

HaHa: more Mexicans are leaving the US compared to entering

November 19, 2015

Here’s another inconvenient fact for the hysterical right wing hate machine to freak out about. The New York Times is reporting today,

More immigrants from Mexico are leaving the United States than coming into the country, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center, a finding that marks the end of the largest wave of immigration from a single country in American history.

The shift marks the first time since immigration from the neighboring nation began to rise in the 1970s that fewer Mexicans came into America than returned home, the Pew report found. The reversal is primarily the result of a steep drop in Mexicans coming into the country.

While the border debate, especially among the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination, has focused on extending walls and expanding other enforcement measures, the Pew report indicates that stepped-up border measures under the Obama administration have already helped significantly in reducing illegal crossings by Mexicans.

Poor things. Here’ something they can blame Obama for, but they dare not do so because the result is something they want.



Ben Carson should withdraw from the race because of his ignorance about foreign policy

November 18, 2015

Ben Carson has demonstrated that he is unqualified to serve as president by doubling down on his erroneous claim that the Chinese are involved in Syria. The New York Times is reporting,

Ben Carson’s remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject, but never more seriously than in the past week, when he wrongly asserted that China had intervened militarily in Syria and then failed, on national television, to name the countries he would call on to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State.

Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.

(emphasis supplied)

The advisers are Duane A. Clarridge, a former CIA official, and Armstrong Williams, a close personal friend. Both men have admitted that despite many intense sessions with Dr. Carson designed to make him smart about foreign policy, he still does not get it.

Given the recent events in Paris and the ongoing devastation in Syria, our country cannot afford a president who doesn’t understand foreign policy.

The time has come for Dr. Carson to withdraw from the race.


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