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The day the Klan messed with the wrong people

This is my favourite story EVER from Daily Kos Community. This took place where I grew up; just about twenty years before my personal experience with the local Klan group.

I can’t stop laughing because when my family told them their sheets made great targets in the dark-we had No idea that they already had experience with that!;-)

This also shows why “armed liberals” isn’t necessarily an oxymoron. I personally believe in, promote and work toward a nonviolent society in all ways. But I also know from first-hand experience that while we live in a violence based society sometimes it can be very handy to show the bullies what time it is-notice how these folks used guns in nonviolent ways to deter violence.

Ps- I must add a caveat to a detail in this story that the KKK ceased to exist PUBLICLY until 1984 because they were definitely active in the county next to Robeson in the 1970’s, though not with big public rallies etc. They operated “underground” through threats and intimidation if individuals and families.

By gjohnsit on Daily Kos Community

“You saw those cars coming, and you knew who those men were. They wanted you to see them. They wanted you to be afraid of them.”
– Lillie McKoy, former mayor of Maxton talking about the KKK

By the mid-1950’s the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum and the KKK decided they had to fight back. Their campaign of terrorism swept through many of the southern states, but largely fell flat in North Carolina.
James W. “Catfish” Cole, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina, decided he was going to change that. Cole was an ordained minister of the Wayside Baptist Church in Summerfield, North Carolina, who regularly preached the Word of God on the radio. His rallies often drew as many as 15,000 people. As Cole told the newspapers: “There’s about 30,000 half-breeds up in Robeson County and we are going to have some cross burnings and scare them up.”

Cole made a critical mistake that couldn’t be avoided by a racist mind – he was completely ignorant of the people he was about to mess with.

Dr. Perry was a black doctor in Monroe, NC, and helped finance a local chapter of the NAACP. One night at a meeting, the word was received that the Klan threatened to blow up Dr. Perry’s house. The meeting broke up and everyone went home to get their guns.

Sipping coffee in Perry’s garage with shotguns across their laps, the men agreed that defending their families was too important to do in haphazard fashion. “We started to really getting organized and setting up, digging foxholes and started getting up ammunition and training guys,” Williams recalled. “In fact, we had started building our own rifle range, and we got our own M-1’s and got our own Mausers and German semi-automatic rifles, and steel helmets. We had everything.”

Many of these men were veterans of WWII and didn’t scare easily. Men guarded the house in rotating shifts and the women of the NAACP set up a telephone warning system.
On October 5, 1957, Catfish Cole organized a huge Klan rally near Monroe. Afterward the decision was made to move on Dr. Perry’s home.

a large, heavily armed Klan motorcade roared out to Dr. Perry’s place, firing their guns at the house and howling at the top of their lungs. The hooded terrorists met a hail of disciplined gunfire from Robert Williams and his men, who fired their weapons from behind sandbag fortifications and earthen entrenchments. Shooting low, they quickly turned the Klan raid into a complete rout. “[Police Chief] Mauney wouldn’t stop them,” B. J. Winfield said later, “and he knew they were coming, because he was in the Klan. When we started firing, they run. We run them out and they started just crying and going on.”

Amazingly no one was killed, but a number of cars were disabled. The following day the Monroe city council held an emergency meeting and passed an ordinance against Klan motorcades.

This setback was a huge embarrassment to Cole and his racist movement. He needed a weaker opponent to abuse and he needed it quick. Cole’s target was a small indian tribe that was marginalized even in the indian community – theLumbee.

The Lumbee had been fighting for official recognition since shortly after the Civil War. Through recorded history they were normally classified as “mulatto” and “free persons of color”. They had always considered themselves indian, but were classified and treated as descendants of blacks. Their eyes and skin were lighter than most indians.
The State of North Carolina recognized them in 1885, but the federal government refused to recognize them as a distinct indian tribe until 1956. The Lumbee Act, which recognized their existence, specifically prohibited the tribe from receiving federal services normally provided to tribes by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Lumbees were living alone in the margins.

On January 13, 1958, the Klan burnt a cross on the lawn of a Lumbee woman because she was living with a white man. The next day it was the lawn of a Lumbee family that had moved into a white community. As the days passed more crosses were burnt while Cole traveled around the area holding rallies and preaching against the evils of “mongrelization” and the loose morals of Lumbee women.
Pleased with the growing hatred he was feeding, he called for a massive Klan rally of 5,000 members on January 18, 1958, at Hayes Pond. The purpose was to remind indians of “their place in the racial order”.

“He said that, did he?” asked Simeon Oxendine, who had flown more than thirty missions against the Germans in World War II and now headed the Lumbee chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Well, we’ll just wait and see.”

“They didn’t differentiate between the Indian and black population. They figured to have their usual show and go home.”
– Stan Knick, director of the UNC-Pembroke Native American Resource Center

In the days leading up to the Hayes Pond rally, Cole had come through town with a loudspeaker on his flat-bed truck, preaching his vile hate for everyone to hear.
Cole wasn’t actually from the county and neither were many of his followers. So it was probably a surprise to Cole when Robeson County sheriff Malcolm McLeod visited Cole in his South Carolina home and “told him that his life would be in danger if he came to Maxton and made the same speech he’d been making.” Cole’s reply: “It sounds like you don’t know how to handle your people. We’re going to come show you.”

The Battle of Hayes Pond

The Fayetteville Observer had gotten word that the Lumbee were planning onattending this rally even if they weren’t invited.

Reese reported that Lumbee leaders, including Neill Lowery and Sanford Locklear, had decided to run the Klan out of the county. Willie Lowery’s barbershop in Pembroke become the Lumbee planning room for the upcoming battle. From there the call went out for volunteers and according to Reese, more than 1,000 Lumbees answered the call.

Another leader was Simeon Oxendine, who had been a waistgunner on a B-17 during WWII. He wasn’t someone you wanted to match up against.

Cole’s big rally was a flop before it even started. The local Klan members sensing the mood of the community stayed away. Instead, only 50 of his most hard-core supporters showed up to hear Cole preach against the evils of mixed marriage on the public address system he had set up on his truck. As the sun was setting they rigged up a floodlight and prepared a tall, wooden cross to burn later.
The sound of a reel-to-reel tape of “Kneel at the cross” poured into the meadow. They wore white hooded robes and carried rifles. The Lumbee, they assumed, were cowering in their homes that night.

“They were talking about blacks, using the ‘n’ word a lot, calling us ‘half-n’s’,” Littleturtle said. “I think their intention was to intimidate us.”

Instead of cowering, the Lumbees had assembled about a mile away. Small groups of armed Lumbee indians, about 500 in total, fanned out across the highway and began to encircle the Klansmen.
As the song finished and the rally was to begin, Sanford Locklear walked up to Cole and began arguing with him. Words became shoves and tempers rose. Neill Lowery had seen enough. He leveled his shotgun at his hip and blasted out the floodlight. The field went dark.

The Lumbees began firing into the air and yelling their warhoops as they charged the field. The nerve of the Klansmen broke and they fell into complete panic.
The Klansmen dropped their guns and scrambled for their cars. Some had brought their wives and children with them, who wailed in fear as dark-faced Lumbee milled around their cars and pointed flashlights at them.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

James Cole, the Grand Dragon himself, was in such a panic that he ran into a nearby swamp, abandoning his wife and “white womanhood” in the process. Cole’s wife, Carolyn, also in a panic, drove her car into a ditch. After a few minutes several Lumbee helped push her car back onto the road.

“The only thing they left behind was their stuff and their families.”
– Littleturtle

The state patrol, led by Sheriff McLeod, had set up camp about a mile away. McLeod intentionally waited until the shooting started because he didn’t want to be accused of defending the Klan by showing up early. He organized his men to search the bushes for Klansmen who were hiding, and then escorted them out of the county.
Afterward the police tossed a couple tear-gas grenades into the field to disperse the crowd. The battle was over.

Four people suffered minor injuries from falling shotgun pellets. One Klansman was arrested for public drunkenness.
One Klansman cursed a Lumbee who was blocking the road. The Lumbee punched him through the open car window.

To the victors go the spoils

The victorious Lumbee had collected the robes and banners that the Klansmen had left behind. They then held their own “Klan parade” through the town of Maxton. Some rode in cars, other marched. The parade ended with a bonfire of Klan material in Pembroke. Catfish Cole was hung in effigy.
The large, captured Klan banner was taken back to the VFW convention in Charlotte, where Lumbee posed in front of it for pictures.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Charlie Warriax and Simeon Oxendine

Newspapers praised the Lumbee and mocked the Klan. James Catfish Cole was prosecuted, convicted, and served a two-year sentence for inciting a riot.
The Klan ceased to exist in Robeson County until 1984.

[Update:] I’ve found two somewhat related stories worth mentioning. One involved a Klan rally in Massachusetts three decades earlier.

in 1924, the largest gathering of the Ku Klux Klan ever held in New England took place at the Agricultural Fairgrounds in Worcester. Klansmen in sheets and hoods, new Knights awaiting a mass induction ceremony, and supporters swelled the crowd to 15,000. The KKK had hired more than 400 “husky guards,” but when the rally ended around midnight, a riot broke out. Klansmen’s cars were stoned, burned, and windows smashed. KKK members were pulled from their cars and beaten. Klansmen called for police protection, but the situation raged out of control for most of the night. The violence after the “Klanvocation” had the desired effect. Membership fell off, and no further public Klan meetings were held in Worcester.

I’ve done some searches but failed to find more information about this event.

Something else that might interest people, did you know that Superman fought against the Klan?


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On not understanding “Charlie:” Why many smart people are getting it wrong

As one of those American liberal intellectuals who got it wrong by believing my local newspaper-i think it’s very worthwhile to share this. Even though I grew up in a household where French was regularly spoken, I have never been to France or heavily exposed to modern French culture.

I’m disturbed by my own train of thought when I saw this magazine as promoting the climate of racism and repression that so many immigrants face in France. As this article points out; it’s all too easy to see ourselves as more open minded than we really are.

On not understanding “Charlie:” Why many smart people are getting it wrong
Jan 11, 2015 12:00pm PST by tekno2600

Many smart people are getting a flawed picture of Charlie Hebdo. They are concluding, based on simplistic and misleading analysis, that many of the magazine covers and cartoons promoted racist views. In fact, as I will show, some of the covers elaborately lampooned racist views of right wing parties, likeFront National, by imitating some of their imagery, inserting snarky comments, and even posting mock party logos next to the images. Therefore, it would be clear to pretty much any French readers that they were making fun of these things. However, people unfamiliar with the details of this rather elaborate satirical humor are now pulling these images off the internet and claiming them as evidence that Charlie Hebdo promoted the very racist views that they were in fact lampooning. So, I think it is important that we set the record straight.

To be clear, I am not giving Charlie Hebdo unqualified support for everything that have ever said (though I would defend their right to say it), but it does look like many of the cartoons are actually saying the exact opposite of the racist, sexist, and/or Islamophobic messages that people unfamiliar with the magazine are claiming.

Here are a few things you may not know. I will start with a little bit of background information. Some people may think that information about people’s personal lives is irrelevant to this issue. I happen to disagree. I think knowing a little about the people involved does matter. If you disagree, fine. You can take this for whatever it’s worth. First,

the deceased editor, Charb, “was a Communist and his girlfriend’s parents were North African.” She is also chair of the French Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Commission.

So, while that information by itself doesn’t prove anything, those facts might at least lead you to ask a few questions about the narrative that Charb is a right wing racist, Islamophobe, and/or misogynist. His partner’s name is Jeannette Bougrab.

However, some people have been pointing to certain images or text on the magazine covers that do look provocative or offensive. Unfortunately, they are often just using google translate to interpret them, because most of the critics don’t appear to be very familiar with French language or culture, much less French political humor or day-to-day controversies. Therefore, I have seen many people proclaiming that the magazine is right wing and racist, when even a simple wikipedia search quickly finds that the magazine’s stated goals were actually to

“[reflect] all components of left wing pluralism.”

So, what is happening here? This takes a bit of analysis and discussion, so let’s take a look below the La grande fleur de Kos et liberté.

First of all, here is a good general discussion of several aspects of the Charlie Hebdo racism controvery.

There are also some good articles here, from Vox:

Charlie Hebdo: Its history, humor, and controversies, explained

Charlie Hebdo and its biting satire, explained in 9 of its most iconic covers

I think many, though perhaps not all, of Charlie Hebdo’s biggest controversies are cases of what I call Onion Fail. You know, like that one time when Iranian state media quoted an article from The Onionthat said Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama, or that other time when North Korean media quoted a story that said Kim Jong-Un Named the Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012. Quoting a satirical magazine is risky business, especially if the magazine is in another language or requires some understanding or the politics or culture of another country. Satire is about mockery. So, clearly, instead of actually praising Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Un, they are actually ridiculing them. Simply reporting a word-for-word translation of these farcical articles is going to get the intended message exactly backwards. You’d think the part about Kim Jong-Un having abs to rival Matthew McConaughey’s would have been a tip off, but alas, one of the truly boundless qualities of the universe is the ability to kiss ass and the willingness to receive it.

Some people counter that even in a satirical magazine, they still know racism when they see it. But, not if the authors are actually saying the opposite of what you think they are saying. Take the often cited example below regarding Boko Haram. This has been claimed as a clear example of racism, but that claim is lacking several logical connections. First of all, the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are not in France receiving “allocs” or family welfare payments, and even if they are eventually rescued from Boko Haram, they are unlikely to ever be in France. Some people have claimed that the French cartoonists are making an anti-immigrant statement by saying, of course they will all end up in France and on welfare. But, that is dubious at best…actually, it’s flat out false. First of all, the girls are from Nigeria (a largely English-speaking) not Nigere (a largely French-speaking country). So, that may be one point of confusion. Some of them may speak French, some may not. Now, of course, not all immigrants to France are French-speaking, though French-speaking Africans would probably have a much easier time of it. But, the idea that they are automatically connected to France or the welfare system doesn’t make much sense.

So, what is the disconnect here? The magazine cover is actually mixing two unrelated stories. This “news mixing” process was a common practice used on Charlie Hebdo covers to create their jokes. Many people are now trying to speculate about the meaning of these cartoons, but their interpretations may not be even close to what the cartoonists intended. To further explain how big this disconnect is, let’s look at some of the discussion coming from a French perspective about what Charlie Hebdo was really saying.

photo Boko3_zps0f850d53.png

Here are a couple of comments from the previously mentioned online discussion forum that make the case that people may be completely misinterpreting the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

“This cover is a double snipe in classical Charlie style, both against Boko Haram and our right wing, NOT against the sex slaves or “welfare queens”. To misunderstand that shows complete ignorance of French press and the left wing / anarchist tradition of Charlie.”

Another commenter echos similar sentiments.

“Charlie Hebdo is known for being left-wing attached and very controversial, and I think they wanted to parody people who criticize “welfare queens” by taking this point-of-view to the absurd, to show that immigrant women in France are more likely to be victims of patriarchy than evil manipulative profiteers.”

Perhaps not everyone agrees with these interpretations, but there does seem to be a general consensus among most of the commenters in this forum who were most familiar with Charlie Hebdo and French politics that the magazine was not a right wing racist publication and that foreigners are in fact misinterpreting these images. As one of them puts it:

“The reality is, Charlie Hebdo is a far left, pro-immigrant publication, of which many contributors have been members of anti-racist organizations.”

As mentioned above, one factor that definitely may contribute to confusion about Charlie’s cartoons is the “news mixing” style frequently employed by the magazine. Often unrelated images are mixed to make a provocative joke. It does not necessarily imply that the two things are equivalent. For example, the following picture show the French Prime Minister, pictured as an ISIS fighter with a knife, preparing to “execute” a cabinet minister who has just been sacked. Obviously, none of this implies that the Prime Minister is literally affiliated with ISIS or that the cabinet minister has been killed. It is just a joke, and it is common in satirical magazines around the world. However, when outside people are unaware of the context, it can be easily misinterpreted.

photo french-govt-isis-parody_zpsa27bb3b8.png

Here is one final example that I think is perhaps the clearest illustration of the point I am trying to make in this diary. This was the image I was referring to in the beginning of the article when I said that Charlie often elaborately lampooned the views of right wing racist parties in France.

As you will see, someone in the Twitterverse has cited the image as an example of racism and has blasted it out under #JeNeSuisPasCharlie. The image shows a cartoon depicting Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who was born in French Guiana, as a monkey. An open an shut case of racism, right? Actually, au contraire.

photo Rassemblementbleuraciste_zpsef56ccf2.png

There are a number of glaring problems with the claim that this anti-racist cartoon is actually pro-racist. First, note that it is drawn by Charb himself. As mentioned in the beginning, his girlfriend was of North African decent and is also chair of the French Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Commission. So, it might seem a little strange for him to be promoting a racist image.

Second, look at what the text says: “Rassemblement Bleu Raciste.” This is a parody of the slogan “Rassemblement Bleu Marine,” which is used by Marine Le Pen’s Front National. Also notice the tricolor flame next to the image. That is a mock up of the party’s logo.

This cartoon came out following a controversy in which a politician from Front National shared a photoshopped image on Facebook that showed the Justice Minister as a monkey. The Charlie cartoon is doing a parody of this and saying Front National is racist. Ironically, some people outside of France are using it to say Charlie Hebdo is racist.

I think there are still many issues that can be discussed regarding Charlie Hebdo, including their tone, tactics, and willingness to offend. Perhaps not everyone agrees with their approach. They often didn’t worry about political correctness or niceties in how they expressed their views. Some of them were of the opinion that to be too politically correct, especially when it comes to making religious figures free of ridicule, would ultimately harm the cherished secular nature of the French state. But, what I think is clear is that many, if not all, of the images I have seen cited as evidence that Charlie is racist are incorrect and have actually gotten the message precisely backwards.

I would like to conclude by honoring free speech, in all it forms, and say that perhaps the Charlie Hebdo massacre is a warning for Americans–and especially liberal Americans–that we may not be quite as free and tolerant as we think. In many ways, freedom of expression is more strongly protected in countries like France. I have relied heavily on discussions from French commentators to write this article and I owe them a debt of gratitude. One of these people, an American who grew up in France, had some particularly insightful commentsthat I would like to excerpt from to provide some closing thoughts:

“I don’t think Americans in particular appreciate how intellectually free French culture is. Their thought is an open space populated by fewer sacred cows.One of the levels of freedom they have that we Americans often don’t is a strong respect for others’ privacy and a tolerance of intellectual independence. They seem tolack the overwhelmingly moralizing, missionary tonethat suffocates American political debate just when it starts to get interesting. Also, you are allowed to defend your opinions without placating others. I feel they do a better job with respectful disagreement. As US culture polarizes and inequality increases here, Americans risk becoming a people ever less capable of this.

Just because we think it offensive and we are not free enough to publish it doesn’t mean it has the intent that weascribe to it, or that in France people should also lack the freedom to publish it.

Perhaps I break with some on the Left when I say this, but if I had to chose between political correctness and free expression, even if it may be offensive, then Je suis Charlie. I’d rather be politically incorrect and even offensive than to be beholden to a moralizing and missionary set of speech restrictions, or to unspoken taboos that certain subjects are off limits.

1:00 PM PT: Looks like the diary made it to the Rec List. Thanks everyone. I look forward to well-informed discussion on this topic. Thanks so much.

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The Charlie Hebdo cartoons no one is showing you.

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons no one is showing you.
Jan 11, 2015 1:05pm PST by ProgNet

Below are cartoons drawn over the past several decades by Cabu, one of the most emblematic cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo (if not the most). Cabu was murdered along with his colleagues this past week. He was 75 years old.

Although no media outlet in the US will show you these images, they can all be found online with a simple Google search.

This cartoon by Cabu criticizes racial profiling, specifically discrimination by the French police against immigrants from North Africa and people of African descent. The caption reads: “No to racist controls [identity checks].”
This cartoon by Cabu depicts and quotes the racist demagogue politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National party (with the eye patch). The caption reads: “We want to be able to go out in the evening without being afraid.” The armed thugs in the background are racist skinheads and their ilk. The cartoon leaves little doubt as to who is afraid.
This cartoon by Cabu depicts young people of color looking at a Christmas display of a toy costume for a CRS, the riot control force of the French National police, which has long been accused of brutality and racism. The critique here is about the normalization of police control and militarization and its negative impact specifically against young people of African descent.
This cartoon by Cabu meant to raise the alarm at the rise in popularity of far-right, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen and her Front National party (founded by her father, the notorious right-wing racist and xenophobic politician Jean-Marie Le Pen). The captions read on the left “Disappointed by Sarkozysm” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Right politics of former French president Sarkozy] and on the right “Disappointed by Hollandism” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Left politics of current French president Hollande.] Marine Le Pen is cast as the “hostess”. A rough translation of her caption would be: “Move it you red, white & blue peckerheads!”
This cartoon by Cabu criticizes the size of the military budgets across Europe. The captions read at the top, “Those clowns that suck the blood of Europe,” and at bottom, “Let’s put the military budgets on a diet!”
This cartoon by Cabu ruthlessly criticizes the French military. The caption reads: “14 Juillet [France’s Independence Day], the killers’ holiday.”

This cartoon by Cabu does not require translation.
This cartoon by Cabu was published in 1979 in the antiwar journal of the Pacifist Union. While this specific image might not have been published in Charlie Hebdo (I don’t have access to their archives), it strikingly conveys Cabu’s lifelong antiwar and anticolonialist politics, which always fit right in at Charlie Hebdo (and were shared by the majority of the journalists and cartoonists there). The caption reads: “France doesn’t have oil, but she has an army!”

1:53 PM PT: Much thanks to everyone who helped put this diary on the Rec List.

2:53 PM PT: I am heartened by the thoughtful comments and the value being placed on learning context and debating in a civil manner at the Top of the Rec List. This is a lesson for me to try to stay true to that ideal when I am confronted with upsetting news on a topic that I am not familiar with.

Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 6:07 PM PT: Charlie Hebdo just released the cover image for their next issue. It speaks for itself. You can see it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 8:21 AM PT: One last update from a message sent to me:

“Take it from a French person who verified : bleu-bites (in the cartoon with Marine Le Pen) simply means rookies, newbies. Un bleu has been a rookie or a new recruit in the army since the 19th century. Bite derives from a slang word ‘bitau’ meaning a new student, the word comes from Switzerland (Genève) ‘bisteau’ for young apprentice.”

Thank you (and the other poster) for the assist in improving the translation of these cartoons.


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Savannah man, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade, dies in restraining chair while in police custody

Savannah man, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade, dies in restraining chair while in police custody
Jan 07, 2015 5:23am PST by Shaun King

On this past New Year’s Day, 22-year-old Matthew Ojibade of Savannah, Georgia, suffered a manic episode resulting from his ongoing struggles with bipolar disorder. His girlfriend called police to help intervene and take him to the hospital. When they arrived, she gave the police his prescription medication, which was noted in the police report, and requested again that he be taken to the hospital.

This quite obviously didn’t happen.According to a report by Channel 3 News in Savannah:

Ojibade was taken to the Chatham County Detention Center that evening. According to the Sheriff’s Office, he fought with deputies during booking – injured several – and had to be restrained. “My understanding was because of his behavior, he was put into a restraining chair and that’s a tool that law enforcement uses – and they’re allowed to use – and even in occasions supposed to use,” says [CNN analyst and former attorney for George Zimmerman] Mark O’Mara.The Sheriff’s Office says Ojibade was checked on twice while isolated – the second found unresponsive. Efforts to resuscitate him failed. … O’Mara says the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy today. The Sheriff’s Department already announced the GBI is investigating the case. O’Mara believes video surveillance from the jail will help in determining what happened.

More questions and thoughts are below the fold.

The statement that has been given by the police, that Matthew “fought with deputies … and had to be restrained” is outrageously vague and raises more questions than answers.

Was he beaten?

Was it filmed?

What injuries did he suffer in the process of being restrained?

Was he given medical attention for his injuries?

What does the autopsy show as his cause of death?

Unfortunately, in the past few months, Matthew is not the first man to die in Savannah police custody. Charles Smith,handcuffed and in the back of a police car, was shot and killed by an officer this past September after they said he found a way out of the vehicle and somehow produced a gun.

In November, the former Chief of Police in Savannah was convicted on federal charges of extortion, gambling, obstruction of justice, and other charges.

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One million adults to lose Food Stamps this year

One million adults to lose Food Stamps this year
Jan 05, 2015 4:16pm PST by gjohnsitComment_large104 135

Here are the first 1 million casualties of the GOP take-over.

Roughly 1 million of the nation’s poorest people will be cut off SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) over the course of 2016, due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on SNAP benefits for unemployed adults aged 18-50 who aren’t disabled or raising minor children. These individuals will lose their food assistance benefits after three months regardless of how hard they are looking for work.

That sounds pretty bad, but the real knee-to-the-groin is a couple paragraphs below.

The loss of this food assistance, which averages approximately $150 to $200 per person per month for this group, will likely cause serious hardship among many. Agriculture Department (USDA) data show that the individuals subject to the three-month limit have average monthly income of approximately 19 percent of the poverty line, and they typically qualify for no other income support.

That’s not 19% below the poverty line.
That’s 19% of the poverty line, or 81%below the poverty line.
These people will go hungry. Period.

Under the 1996 welfare law, adults aged 18-49 who are not physically or mentally unfit for work or caring for a minor child are ineligible for SNAP if they have received three months of SNAP benefits while unemployed during the previous 36 months. Months of SNAP receipt don’t count toward the limit if the individual is working at least half-time, participating in qualifying work or training program activities for at least 20 hours a week, or living in an area with high unemployment where the three-month limit is temporarily waived. When signing the welfare law in 1996, President Clinton singled out this as one of the bill’s most harmful provisions and called for it to be substantially changed.

The reason for so many people losing food stamps is because most states were granted federal waivers during the Great Recession. Those waivers are now expiring.
Kansas and Oklahoma were so eager to cut off food for the poor that they’ve moved to the head of the line. We can see what that did.

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Obama says LeBron James ‘did the right thing,’ encourages more athletes to embrace social issues

Obama says LeBron James ‘did the right thing,’ encourages more athletes to embrace social issues
Dec 19, 2014 6:48am PST by Shaun King

In a recent interview with PeopleMagazine, President Obama expressed his support for athletes being socially conscious and how he’d love to see more of it. Asked how he felt about Lebron James and other athletes wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts to honor Eric Garner in their pre-game warmup, President Obama said:

“You know, I think LeBron did the right thing,” Obama told PEOPLE two days after that Cavaliers-Nets game.”We forget the role that Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell played in raising consciousness,” the president continued.

“We went through a long stretch there where [with] well-paid athletes the notion was: just be quiet and get your endorsements and don’t make waves,” he also said. “LeBron is an example of a young man who has, in his own way and in a respectful way, tried to say, ‘I’m part of this society, too’ and focus attention.”

“I’d like to see more athletes do that,” he added. “Not just around this issue, but around a range of issues.”

At a time where police unions across the country are calling athletes pathetic, ignorant, and demanding apologies for wearing these shirts, it’s very refreshing to see our president stand up for the social consciousness of athletes and even give their actions some historical context.


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How Often are Unarmed Black Men Shot Down By Police? | Frank Vyan Walton

How Often are Unarmed Black Men Shot Down By Police?

Aug 24, 2014 9:26am PDT by Frank Vyan Walton

We stand today, two weeks after the shooting Death of UnarmedJohn Crawford, a week and a half after the Police Shooting Death of Unarmed Michael Brown, about a week after the shooting of Death of Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, in the wake of the Choke-Hold Death of Eric Garner in New York, years after the shooting death of unarmed Sean Bell and Amadour Diallo also in New York, years now after the Shooting Death of Unarmedand Hand-cuffed, Face Down Oscar Grant in Oakland, years after the shooting death of unarmed Kendrec McDade in Pasadena, a decade after the asphyxiation of unarmed Johnny Gammage in Pittsburgh, more decades after the choke-hold police Murder cover-up of Ron Settles in Signal Hill, the Police shooting of Eula Love over a $22 water bill payment in 1979, and of so many others.

We are told these are isolated incidents. We are told that they are simply the Officers procuring their own safety and if only the “suspects” had surrendered or obeyed they would still be alive today.

Every time. In each case. Police never get it wrong. They never make a mistake, are never in a bad mood, have a short temper, may have been overly fearful and may have overreacted. Because in nearly all these cases that’s what we’re initially told by Police sources and their supporters.

“It was a good shoot”.

It’s a familar broken record.

How often does that record get put on in the iPad when Police want to drown out the cries of an outraged public, until they forced to find out what really happened and it’s not anything like the Police initially claimed? How often do Police shoot and kill unarmed suspects who pose no real threat to them? How often does this happen to Black People? How often does it happen to White People? Or anyone?

The truly frightening thing is that we apparently don’t know. We have no idea. Not even a clue. We’ve been tracking the statistics about Crime for decades at individual police agencies and in the FBI Uniform Crime Report, But those reports don’t document exactly when Cops become Murdering Criminals. This fact – which has sparked police riots and racial unrest going all the way back to the 1960’s – is still a mystery.

According to Fivethrityeight.com – no one tracks this.

Efforts to keep track of “justifiable police homicides” are beset by systemic problems. “Nobody that knows anything about the SHR puts credence in the numbers that they call ‘justifiable homicides,’” when used as a proxy for police killings, said David Klinger, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri who specializes in policing and the use of deadly force. And there’s no governmental effort at all to record the number of unjustifiable homicides by police. If Brown’s homicide is found to be unjustifiable, it won’t show up in these statistics.

Is being shot down by a cop in the street something that’s just as likely to happen to White Suspects as a Black person, or do those who’ve sensed a decades long pattern here actually have a point? Why don’t we have this information? Could it be intentional?

If we want to know how many Justifiable Homicides occur by Police or Private Citizens we can get those number easily. This is them.

Justifiable Homicides:
Year Police Citizen
2007 398 252
2008 378 265
2009 414 266
2010 397 285
2011 393 260
2012 409 330

But if we want to know how many Law Enforcement Shootings are “Unjustified” – we get no answer from the FBI. None.

One source, in a report called “Operation Ghetto Storm” says that in 2012 that of the 739 “Justified” shootings shown above from 2012, 313 of them were Black. 44% of them or 136, were unarmed. 27% of them (83) were claimed by Law Enforcement to have Gun at the time of the shooting, but that could not be later confirmed or the “gun” was in fact, a toy or other non-lethal object. 20% of them (62) were confirmed to have been armed with a gun, knife or cutting tool.

This report, which was gathered by searching media reports, obituaries and even facebook pages of deceased persons includes the following table as an example.

91% of the people killed by Police in Chicago in 2012 were Black? 87% in New York? 100% in Saginaw and Rockford? I gotta admit even after focusing on this subject for over 30 years, since Ron Settles was killed, I find that kind of shocking.

The report goes on to say that 47% of these killings (146 cases) occurred not because of the person brandishing a weapon (as noted above less then 30% of them HAD a weapon, or were even thought to have a weapon), it’s because the Officer or Citizen – “felt threatened” and were in “fear”. In only 8% (25 cases) did the suspect fire or discharge a weapon that wounded or killed Police or others while Officers were on the scene.

Only eight (8) Officers were Charged with Murder, Manslaughter or use of excessive force in these case.

Is this report comprehensive? Is it fully accurate? I don’t know, it’s gone through several revisions and updates as none of the data is being officially compiled anywhere and some things can be missed that way.

And it’s not like some in the media haven’t attempted to divine the answer on their own, they have. http://www.colorlines.com/…

This summer ColorLines and The Chicago Reporterconducted a joint national investigation of fatal police shootings in America’s 10 largest cities, each of which had more than 1 million people in 2000. Several striking findings emerged.To begin, African Americans were overrepresented among police shooting victims in every city the publications investigated.

The contrast was particularly noticeable in New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the percentage of black people killed by police was at least double that of their share of the city’s total population.

They analyzed the data from the Ten Largest Cities and in Every City – every single one – had double the number of black shooting victims than their proportion in the population.

And it’s not just happening to Black People.

Starting in 2001, the number of incidents in which Latinos were killed by police in cities with more than 250,000 people rose four consecutive years, from 19 in 2001 to 26 in 2005. The problem was exceptionally acute in Phoenix, which had the highest number of Latinos killed in the country.Despite these persistent problems of disproportionate police force in communities of color, a disturbing lack of accountability plagues several of the cities examined.

In Chicago, for example, an examination of media accounts shows that only one shooting out of the 84 fatal police shootings occurred since 2000 has been found unjustified. Monique Bond, spokeswoman at the Chicago Police Department, said that more than one shooting had been determined to have been outside department guidelines, but could not provide specific numbers.

But it’s not all Bad News.

After five consecutive years of more than 200 reported incidents of fatal police shootings in cities with more than 250,000 people during the early 1990s, the numbers for these cities fell during most of the decade, dropping as low as 138 in 1999 before resuming a general upward climb to 170 in 2003. These figures may be low due to underreporting by some departments to the federal government.Washington, D.C., which had the nation’s highest rate of police shootings during the 1990s, has cut the rate of shootings dramatically through a combination of training and accountability. Others point to a small but growing number of police departments like Los Angeles and Portland, Ore. that are looking not so much at whether the shootings are justified or not, but about the decisions police and supervisors took that led up to the shootings.

And beyond scanning press accounts, which to be honest are incomplete when only focusing on the larger cities, there is some information available on this from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (pdf).

o The most common reason for contact with police in 2008 was being a driver in a traffic stop (44.1%)o Black drivers were about three times as likely as white drivers and about two times as likely as Hispanic drivers to be searched during a traffic stop.

Yet as we all should know, even though Blacks get searched more often during stops – police don’t find more drugs or guns on them.

White New Yorkers make up a small minority of stop-and-frisks, which were 84 percent black and Latino residents. Despite this much higher number of minorities deemed suspicious by police, the likelihood that stopping an African American would find a weapon was half the likelihood of finding one on a white person.

So why then, exactly, are they doing it? If stopping twice the Black people only generates half the guns or drugs, why does this happen?

The table shows that the percentage of Blacks that are arrested during traffic stops is twice (4.7% to 2.4%) as high as White Drivers. And similarly their likelyhood of being ticketed is greater (58% to 53%) – although Latinos top them both at 62% – and their likelyhood of receiving a written warning (14.8% to 17.7%) or a verbal warning (6.0% to 11.2%) are consistently lower.

A similar differential can be seen when it comes to Officer Uses of Force against persons of different Races and Ages.

You can see that consistently from 2002 through 2008 that Black citizens encountering police received threats of force, or use of force at least Three Times More Often than White citizens. Latinos citizens were threatened with force, or had force used on them about Twice as Often.

If we are to use the example provided by Chicago as a rough guide, about 95% of these instances are being deemed “Justified” by the Police but that’s not how the citizens feel about it.

o Among persons who had contact with police in 2008, an estimated 1.4% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, which was not statistically different from the percentages in 2002 (1.5%) and 2005 (1.6%).o A majority of the people who had force used or threatened against them said they felt it was excessive

So I wonder when it comes to that majority who felt that force used against them was “excessive”, would it be accurate to say that black people – who as shown above received about three times the threats and uses of force against them – doth complain too much about it?

Nope, not so much.

The highest complain level is Latinos at 78%, then Whites at 72% and Blacks are Dead Last with only complaining about use of excessive force 70% of the time. Now this may be because they feel their complaints would be falling on deaf ears, and the fact that the percentage of incidents for each group would tend to be the exact inverse tends to bear that out, but I find it also interesting, as noted by fivethirtyeight.com, that the issue that has brought the entire subject up – excessive use of deadly force – isn’t even included in the BJS report.

Wow, ain’t that somethin’?

If the use of kicking, punching, tasering and pointing guns at citizens is felt to be excessive an average of 74% of the time – and is Three Times Higher for Black People – just what would the percentages of unjustified, excessive uses of deadly forcereally be like if we had those numbers?

Could it be as high as 80%, 90%?

Could it be so bad that the obviousness of it all would be plain for all to see? Just how bad is it? Maybe that’s why, with all this number crunching already being provided by the BJS and Police Departments and the FBI – we still don’t have that. one. strategic. figure.

Somehow I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

That’s why we have people marching in the Streets in Ferguson, and Los Angeles, and New York this week. People are marching for the truth. For Justice. What we all used to not cynically laugh and call “the American Way…”

Maybe we should start to solve the problem by defining and quantifying the problem. Then we can measure if things are getting better, or if they’re getting worse, if we’re going the right direction or we’re going the wrong way. Body cams or not, if we don’t have raw data – we don’t really know what’s going on, do we? None of us.

But I think we now have a clue, and it doesn’t look good.


10:59 AM PT: ht to comments. Kyle Wagner from Deadspin is attempting to build his own database of Police Killings withCrowdsourced help.

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from this project is something I’ll never be able to prove, but I’m convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn’t collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.

I’ve been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time.They’ve blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.

The second biggest thing I learned is that bad journalism colludes with police to hide this information. The primary reason for this is that police will cut off information to reporters who tell tales. And a reporter can’t work if he or she can’t talk to sources. It happened to me on almost every level as I advanced this year-long Fatal Encounters series through the News & Review. First they talk; then they stop, then they roadblock.

Not exactly worthy of the “blind trust” of the public, are they?

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Darren Wilson, perfect and sweet vs. the big black demonic super monster

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Darren Wilson, perfect and sweet vs. the big black demonic super monster
Nov 25, 2014 12:46pm PST by Shaun KingComment_large285 158

It’s not often that someone who is being prosecuted gets to testify openly before a grand jury to prevent their own arrest. While legally binding and under oath, grand jury witnesses are not cross-examined and are given great space to meander and opine with their thoughts. Because the primary purpose of a prosecution-led grand jury is to secure a conviction, it’s the standard to typically only present any damning evidence available toward that goal and nothing more.

After a thorough examination of Darren Wilson’s four-hour long open testimonybefore the grand jury, it’s clear that he was well-prepared to paint the narrative of a cordial, helpless, respectable community servant who shockingly found himself up against the biggest, blackest, strongest, demonic super monster he’s ever seen in his life.

Below is an analysis and destruction of that racist narrative which has a deep history known as the big black buck or big black brute.


1. Darren Wilson stated to the grand jury that he was 6 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighed at least 210 pounds. He’s not a small man.

2. The only video we have of Darren Wilson as a Ferguson police officer is of him not being a sweet servant, but a strong bully, who threatens a man who is filming him to “throw your ass in jail” if he didn’t stop filming.

3. Dorian Johnson, who was literally inches away from Mike Brown when Darren Wilson pulled up, has stated from the day Mike Brown was killed that Darren Wilson was vulgar and belligerent, telling them to “get the fuck on the sidewalk” as soon as he pulled up beside them.


Upon seeing Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson, Darren Wilson, driving up in is Tahoe, nicely asks them, “Hey guys, why don’t you walk on the sidewalk?” Dorian Johnson tells him, “We’re almost at our destination.” As friendly as Mr. Rogers, Darren Wilson then asks, according to his testimony, “But what’s wrong with the sidewalk?”


After hearing Officer Darren Wilson, friendly and cordial, armed, in his full-size Chevy Tahoe warmly ask “What’s wrong with the sidewalk?” Mike Brown, in full monster mode, tells him angrily, “Fuck what you have to say.”


According to Darren Wilson, it’s after monster Mike Brown makes the vulgar statement to him that he decides to peacefully drive away down Canfield Drive. After peacefully driving away, Darren Wilson calmly reverses the car and says to Mike Brown, “Hey. Come here for a minute.”


Hearing the warm request of Darren Wilson, Mike Brown looks him in the face and says, “What the fuck are you going to do about it?” and slams the barely open door back on Darren Wilson. Wilson tells monster Mike Brown to back up but, according to Darren Wilson, Mike Brown just stares “to intimidate me or to overpower me…the intense face he had was not what I expected.”

Darren Wilson then attempts to open his door one more time, but monster Mike closes it, and, according to Wilson, Mike Brown ducks and Wilson, as if he himself is somewhere far away states, “I saw him coming into my vehicle.” Strangely Wilson then states, “I turned, so I don’t remember seeing him come at me.”

It gets stranger. Darren Wilson then states that Mike Brown hit him with his right hand with a “full-on-swing.” Then, when asked what hand Mike Brown was holding the Cigarillos in, Darren Wilson states, “They were in his right hand.” As they struggle, Wilson stated in his testimony that Mike Brown moves the Cigarillos from his right hand to his left hand, all while completely dominating Darren Wilson who, not once, claims to have ever put his hands on Mike Brown in a violent manner.

Shockingly, Wilson then states that while Mike Brown fully controlled him, he turns his head, reaches backwards to Dorian Johnson, and says, regarding the Cigarillos, “Here man hold these.”

At this point, Darren Wilson appeared to even shock the prosecutor with his next statement.

Wilson: When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five year old grabbing Hulk Hogan.Attorney: Holding onto what?

Wilson: Hulk Hogan. That’s just how big he felt and how small I felt.

Having first said that Mike Brown was inside of his SUV punching him, Darren Wilson, having just described Mike Brown as having passed Cigarillos to Dorian Johnson, describes Mike Brown as being “six inches away from the door” and not inside of the car. Still at this point, Wilson has said nothing of holding on to Mike, choking Mike, punching Mike—it’s a one-sided battle.


Not wanting to use his gun, Wilson then goes on a very long explanation of how, in the heat of the battle with Mike Brown, he first considered using his mace, but thought that Brown would block it and some would get back on him, then he considered a taser, but he didn’t have one on him, then he considered his baton, but he didn’t think he could get a good swing at Mike, then he considered his flashlight, but it was too far away.

Left with only one option, Darren Wilson draws his gun, points it at Mike Brown, and then states, “Get back or I’m going to shoot you.”


Staring Darren Wilson down, the gun pointing in his face, Mike Brown looks right at Darren Wilson and says, according to Wilson’s testimony, “You are too much of a pussy to shoot me” and boldly grabs the gun. This statement, outrageous on its face, echoes the statement that George Zimmerman saidunarmed teenager Trayvon Martin made to him shortly before he was shot and killed when he said, “You are going to die tonight, motherfucker.”

Stating that he was afraid of the “bigger and stronger” Brown, Darren Wilson then claims that he was afraid one more punch from Mike Brown might actually kill him by stating, “I’ve already taken two to the face and the third one could be fatal.”

Mike Brown, according to Wilson, holds the gun onto Wilson’s leg. Somehow, Wilson is able to get the gun off of his leg from the “bigger and stronger” Brown. Wilson attempts to pull the trigger twice and nothing happens. On the third trigger pull, the gun goes off, glass from a window shatters, it startles Mike Brown, he lets go, backs up, then morphs back into full monster mode. Wilson testified:

And then after he did that, he looked up at me and had the most intense aggressive face. The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.

Then, according to Wilson, Mike Brown charges back at the armed Wilson, punches him again, and after Wilson gets punched again, he fires one more shot at Mike Brown and hits him. According to Wilson, Mike Brown then took off running over 175 feet away from the SUV. After getting 175 feet away, according to Darren Wilson, Mike Brown voluntarily stopped and decided to do what only a superhuman monster would do.

He turns, and when he looked at me, he made like a grunting, like aggravated sound and he starts, he turns and he’s coming back towards me. His first step is coming towards me, he kind of does like a stutter step to start running, when he does that, his left hand goes in a fist and goes to his side, and his right one goes into his shirt, in his waistband, and he starts running at me. I keep telling him to get on the ground, he doesn’t. I shoot a series of shots. I know I hit him at least once.

Inferring that Mike Brown has a gun in his waist that his right hand is holding, Darren Wilson went on to state, “I remember having tunnel vision on his right hand. That’s all. I’m just focusing on that right hand when I’m shooting. I shoot another round of shots. I don’t recall how many it was or if I hit him every time. I know at least once, because he flinched again.”

Finally, according to Darren Wilson, Mike Brown turned up his super-villain instincts just one last time.

At this point, it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots. Like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him. And the face he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even in his way … I remember looking at my sites and firing, all I see is his head, and that’s what I shot … the aggression was gone, the threat was stopped.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the fairy tale of Sweet Darren versus Monster Mike.

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Congress Commits an Act of War Against the Great Sioux Nation


Please click the link below the article to read the comments on Daily Kos site.

Most people may be unaware that Native Nations are Sovereign nations-just like the United States, France, China, Venezuela, Holland etc.

The United States has for many years promoted a legal fiction of “domestic dependent nations”, but this has no meaning in international law, and is only a way to dodge international law and sworn treaty obligations to Native Nations.

Imagine if Canada planned the Keystone XL pipeline to pass through the United States-but did not ask the U.S. permission for the construction?

This is precisely what congressional Republicans have currently voted to do to another country.

On the positive side, the Powers that Were/NWO/Oil Barons Running the U.S. and Canada have frequently underestimated the power and determination of Native Nations resistance to their world despoiling plans.

It would be wonderful if American citizens who recognize the problems with continued “carbon culture” could actively support Native Nations, and join together in our resistance.


Congress Commits an Act of War Against the Great Sioux Nation
Nov 17, 2014 4:18pm PST by Doctor Jazz

When Congress voted to approve the Keystone Pipeline they committed an act of war against the Great Sioux Nation. Apparently they completely forgot to check with the Sioux who live on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, who in February adopted tribal resolutions opposing the Keystone XL project. Or maybe Congress didn’t forget but rather chose to ignore them.

Of course the U.S. government has hardly ever taken Native American concerns seriously, so it would be a surprise if that happened now, but Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota Oyate) Tribal President Scott said his nation has yet to be properly consulted on the project, which would cross through tribal land. Concerns brought to the Department of Interior and to the Department of State have yet to be addressed, he said in a statement.


Congress apparently also neglected to consider possible legal issues like, I don’t know, maybe a treaty or two.

The proposed route of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline crosses directly through Great Sioux Nation (Oceti Sakowin) Treaty lands as defined by both the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties and within the current exterior boundaries of the Rosebud Sioux Reservation and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Tribal president Scott articulated the position of his people quite clearly.

“The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren,” Scott said. “We are outraged at the lack of intergovernmental cooperation. We are a sovereign nation and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people,” he said


Oh, snap!

But wait! The borders of a sovereign nation have never really been an impediment to the ambitions of oil companies and their bought and paid for U.S. government representatives. Until, perhaps, now. This seems like a problem that won’t be going away anytime soon. It gives President Obama all the more moral and legal authority to veto the project if and when it is approved by both houses. And if there happen to be enough turncoat Democrats to override a veto then surely the issue will be taken up in court, probably all the way to the SCOTUS, where it would be hard to imagine Roberts wanting to soil his legacy any further by breaking a treaty with a sovereign nation. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

I end this diary with the words of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate Tribal President Scott of the Great Sioux Nation.

“The Lakota people have always been stewards of this land. We feel it is imperative that we provide safe and responsible alternative energy resources not only to tribal members but to non-tribal members as well. We need to stop focusing and investing in risky fossil fuel projects like TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. We need to start remembering that the earth is our mother and stop polluting her and start taking steps to preserve the land, water, and our grandchildren’s future.”

Tue Nov 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM PT: Thank you all for so many recommends and all the great comments. There are a couple dozen that add valuable content to this debate. Please read the comments.



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Five ugly and uncanny parallels between lynchings and police killings in America

This is harsh and disturbing reading. I apologize to those who are triggered or distressed but I feel it is too important not to share.

For those who also feel exposure of these festering boils on the face on humanity is the best path toward healing them, I also suggest Derrick Jensen’s book “The Culture of Make believe”, which is long, well documented and requires frequent breaks for tears and nausea while reading.

Our history in America is not kind, nor heroic in the traditional way it is so often portrayed. It is depraved, sick and deeply disturbing. But alongside the horrors has always run another element of this land and her people; one more ancient than the U.S., the colonies or anything common to our current national mythology.

This countercurrent is stronger as well as more ancient. In the end it will return to the dominance it held for thousands of years. It will, because we will continue to feed it, follow it and call for others to recognize it.

This is the element of egalitarian society, of fairness and the ideals expressed in the Great Law of Peace.

We must recognize what is wrong in order to heal. But never let the depravity bring despair. Because we are not, nor never have been, a nation solely of colonizers, elites, racists and apologists for such. They use such nightmarish things to maintain dominance precisely because they are so few to our many.

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Five ugly and uncanny parallels between lynchings and police killings in America
Nov 13, 2014 1:42pm PST by Shaun King

It’s hard to think of anything that was uglier in post-slavery America than lynching. From 1882 to 1964, the archives at Tuskegee University documented thatat least 3,445 African Americans were brutally lynched in the United States. While these lynchings are most commonly remembered as hangings from trees, the lynchings in this statisticinclude men, women, and children who were shot, burned, and beaten to death in every tortuous way imaginable. At its core, to be lynched is not a method of killing, but it is to be murdered without due process.

What is often overlooked is that police, during the height of lynching, were complicit in most lynchings. In the bookLynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930, it was determined that 64 percent of lynching victims in the early 20th century were actually seized from jails.

While historical lynchings and modern-day murders at the hands of police have some differences, many of the legal, physical, and emotional parallels are frightening. What follows below the fold are seven troubling similarities between the two.

1. The universal agreement is that the number of lynchings and police murders have both been seriously underreported.

In The Negro Holocaust: Lynching and Race Riots in the United States, 1880-1950, Yale University professor Robert Gibson observed that “in 1914, Tuskegee Institute reported fifty-two lynchings for the year, the Chicago Tribune reported fifty-four, and The Crisis, the official organ of the NAACP, gave the number as seventy-four.”

In the wake of the August 9 shooting death of Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, after consulting every agency available that could provide statistics on police shootings, determined that while the federal government keeps very accurate data of police officers killed in the line of duty, “there is no reliable national data on how many people are shot by police officers each year.”

With all of the data that is publicly available, a recent FBI Annual Uniform Crime Report, as reported by USA Today, determined that killings by police are the highest they’ve been in two decades.

What may be most shocking of all is that the low estimate of people killed by American police in 2013, which is 461 people, doubles the number of people lynched in the very worst year in American history, which was 230 people in 1892.

2. The excuses given to justify lynchings and police killings are tragically bad.

Dennis Hubert, a student at Morehouse College in 1930, was lynched for speaking to a white woman at a public park. She actually had two men with her, but they didn’t like what was said.

Just 14 years old, Emmett Till, in 1955, was lynched for supposedly whistling at a white woman, but even that was never proven.

In 1999, Amadou Diallo, coming home from a hard day of work in New York City,was shot at 41 times by police and killed. The officers said they believed he was going for a gun and that it could’ve gone off. It turned out that Diallo wasn’t the man they were looking for—and that he was only going for his wallet.

Filmed and put on YouTube, Eric Garner, in the summer of 2014, was choked to death by police. He wasn’t even the original reason they were on the scene, but they believed him to be selling loose cigarettes.

John Crawford, a young father of two, was talking on the phone with the mother of his children when police shot and killed him in August 2014, believing him to be a dangerous shooter on the loose inside of the Walmart. As it turned out, Crawford didn’t have a real gun, but a pellet gun from inside of the Walmart, and he had threatened no one.

3. The lynchings and police killings of African Americans are outrageously brutal and excessive.

While one could argue that all homicides are brutal, the deaths that African Americans faced during lynchings or police killings are deprived and heinous. Mark Gado, in his gut-wrenching text,Carnival of Death: Lynching in America, drives this point home:

The actual process of lynching was morbid and incredibly violent. Lynching does not necessarily mean hanging. It often included humiliation, torture, burning, dismemberment and castration. Victims were beaten and whipped, many times in front of large crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Coal tar was frequently used to douse the unfortunate victim prior to setting him afire.Onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities. Pieces of the corpse were taken by onlookers as souvenirs of the event . Such was the case when James Irwin was lynched on January 31, 1930. Irwin was accused of the murder of a white girl in the town of Ocilla, Georgia. Taken into custody by a rampaging mob, his fingers and toes were cut off, his teeth pulled out by pliers and finally he was castrated. It still wasn’t enough. Irwin was then burned alive in front of hundreds of onlookers (Brundage, p. 42). No one was ever punished for this barbaric killing. Black victims were hacked to death, dragged behind cars, burned, beaten, whipped, sometimes shot thousands of times, mutilated; the savagery was astonishing.

Gado goes on to say:

Sensational journalism, then the standard of American news reporting, spared the public no detail no matter how horrible. “The Negro was deprived of his ears, fingers and genital parts of his body. He pleaded pitifully for his life while the mutilation was going on…before the body was cool, it was cut to pieces, the bones crushed into small bits…the Negro’s heart was cut into several pieces, as was also his liver…small pieces of bones went for 25 cents…” (The Springfield Weekly Republican, April 28, 1899). This was an actual description of the lynching of one Sam Holt, accused murderer, who was burned at the stake in Newman, Georgia in April, 1899. Graphic accounts like this were in abundance throughout the South. They served both white and black purposes by adding to the psychological suffering of the African American and empowered the white man to do more.

A full 100 years after Sam Holt was lynched, Amadou Diallo, unarmed and on his front porch, was fired upon 41 times.

Milton Hill, a mentally ill homeless man,was shot at 46 times.

Sean Bell, unarmed and on his way to be married, was shot at 50 times.

Eric Garner, an unarmed father of six who was not resisting arrest, begged for his life and said over and over again that he couldn’t breathe as he was choked to death.

4. Few instances in history exist where people are held truly liable for lynchings or police killings.

In spite of extremely egregious circumstances surrounding all lynchings and many police killings, it is a rare occurrence for the killers to be held liable. While definitive stats are hard to come by, some estimate that over 95 percent of the perpetrators of lynchings or police killings never served a single day in jail. During the days of public lynchings, it was popular for entire families to come and view them. Photos, as seen in the exhibit,Without Sanctuary, were regularly taken of the lynched bodies on display and made into postcards that were sent all over the country. Little legal interest truly existed in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

In modern America, even in extreme cases like the March, 2012 shooting death of high school football star Kendrec McDade, police claimed they heard McDade take multiple shots at them and even saw the flash of the bullets exiting his gun, but it turned out McDade was unarmed. Police were completely exonerated.

The constant exoneration of police who kill unarmed African Americans lends itself to the belief that, like during the time of lynching, little true interest exists in bringing justice to the families of the victims.

5. The character of the men and women who were lynched by mobs or killed by police is assassinated as a sick form of justification for the killing.

In Carnival of Death: Lynching in America, Mark Gado made the following astute observation of how easily and eloquently the guilt and reputation of lynching victims was assessed in the mainstream media of the day:

Newspapers were at least consistent at assessing the guilt of the accused. Of course it mattered less that a legal trial never took place. Reporters wrote inflammatory comments such as “well known as a criminal character to the officers of Clarke County” (The Atlanta Constitution, Feb. 16, 1921), “A Negro Desperado Lynched” (Boston Evening Transcript, July 21, 1886), “The Negro was killed irregularly, but justifiably” (The Chicago Chronicle, June 19, 1897), “unspeakable wretch…no more thought need be given to his death than to that of a dog” (The Indianapolis News, June 19, 1897), “help lynch the brute” (The Intelligencer, October 12, 1911). In this last example, a lynching that took place on October 11, 1911 in Anderson County, South Carolina, the mob was led by State Legislator Joshua Ashley and the editor of the local newspaper. The target of that mob was one Willis Jackson who was accused of attacking a white child. He was hung from a tree upside down and shot numerous times (Tolnay and Beck, p. 26).

Similarly, in 2014, the public reputation of teenager Mike Brown has been smeared over and over again. Brown was a recent high school graduate who was a week away from starting college, and the public editor of the New York Times ultimatelycalled their poor word choice a blunder. In the weeks after his death, it was regularly alleged that Brown had been previously arrested for crimes as serious as murder, and journalists were filing lawsuits to have his juvenile records released. When it was announced that Brown had never been arrested before, no apologies were made and the damage was done.

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