The dashcam video of the police killing of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald was released yesterday after more than a year. The reporter who forced the release of the video was barred from Mayor Emanuel's news conference. The officer charged with first degree murder in the case, Jason Van Dyke, is shown shooting McDonald 16 times, including after the 17-year-old was on the ground. The teen, who according to a toxicology report had traces of PCP in his system, was walking in the street with a 3-inch knife in his hand, but was moving away from the officers and police cars when he was shot. Police had claimed that Van Dyke was in fear for his life when he emptied his gun into McDonald, but the video shows that was not true. Other officers did not see a need for deadly force. After shooting McDonald 16 times, Van Dyke was reloading his gun when another officer told him to hold his fire.
Solid presentation by the former Secretary of State on the need for America to choose resolve over fear.
My Blade column this week responds to the right wing's disgraceful exploitation of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Here's a portion:
As many Americans sang "La Marseillaise" and expressed solidarity with the French after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, Republicans rushed to seize political advantage.
Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee threatened savage bombing campaigns. Cruz, possibly inspired by Herod the Great, promised he would not worry about slaughtering innocents. These holy warriors will say anything to win cheers from the xenophobic, Christianist GOP base, ignoring the spectacular failure of reflexive, ill-targeted militarism in the past. Meanwhile, President Obama's Pentagon quietly took out ISIS leaders in Syria and Libya.
Instead of showing strength amid tragedy, conservatives turned cowardly and demanded that Syrian refugees be turned away lest a jihadist be lurking among them. Never mind the major role America played in creating chaos in Syria, where civilian deaths dwarf those in Paris. On the night of the attacks, ordinary Parisians took stranded strangers into their homes. They displayed more courage than is being asked of Americans. Despite more than half of America's governors absurdly announcing their own harsh immigration policies, refugees face extensive screening procedures.
Muslims across the world have denounced the attacks. Ignoring this hampers the relationships we need to defeat the extremists. Appropriately, many Western leaders have begun using the Arabic acronym for ISIS, "Daesh," which has a mocking connotation. Declaring yourself a caliphate does not make you one.
We must respond to the attacks intelligently and in cooperation with our allies. We cannot simply bomb our way to safety. We cannot wall ourselves off from a world in which we are deeply engaged commercially and culturally, and in which we extensively project ourselves militarily. We cannot prevail unilaterally or by holding ourselves above the rest of the world. We cannot paper over legitimate grievances resulting from our past actions.
#BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson talks to the GLAAD gala in San Francisco on being black and gay, and the power of "coming out of the quiet." Bravo to him. Check out the #CampaignZero policy website created by him and several colleagues.
My Blade column this week (written before Tuesday's election) is now up. While it may be tempting, please do not take my humble musings as a cue to go crashing out of bedroom windows. I only recommend that for deranged candidates who are eager to defeat Satan.
Signorile is spot on. Prop 8 redux, indeed. So many of our allies with deep pockets have a fear of flying, to use a 70s phrase. The bathroom panic lie deserved a powerful, hair-singeing response. I can imagine someone suggesting it at a meeting of overpaid "experts" and being shot down.
We know what Tony Perkins is going to say. What is more scandalous at this point is how our community's and its allies' money is squandered by people afraid of pressing the fight. It's like people still sending money to the Red Cross after $500 million in Haitian relief donations translated to a total of six houses being built. These incompetent people, these wet noodle warriors should be run out of town on a rail, not rewarded. Instead, we'll get more hand-wringing appeals from them saying, "We're not done, send your faith offering now and we'll send you this lovely rosewood crucifix." Sorry, I'm confusing them with religious hucksters.
We need to put our armor on and get ready to fight! No, our rights should not be subject to a popular vote. That's part of it. But when a fight is on, we've got to bring everything we've got to it.
This is good news, especially considering the racial disparities in enforcement about which I testified a year ago.
I am digging way back in my closet to find something purple to wear this evening to show my support for ending bullying. Here's to all who are struggling against it.
The refusal of lawmakers to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country is despicable. This is not new, and it is not the only problem that one of our two major parties refuses to do anything about.
So it turns out nobody from GLLU was available to attend the GLOV meeting tonight because once again all GLLU... http://t.co/DfSMw1vkFR— David Mariner (@DavidMarinerDC) September 25, 2015
David Mariner makes an excellent point. Meanwhile, the Blade reports on the transfer of Officer Justin Markiewicz from GLLU to the Sixth Police District.
My column this week looks at how the GOP is sinking in brainlessness and bile. Here's an excerpt:
Any sufficiently shameless and ambitious politician knows that a smoothly delivered fabrication on live television impresses millions more than will read the next day's refutations. Take Carly Fiorina (please), the never-quite-senator from California with her bag of imaginary business triumphs, whose numbers shot up after her well-delivered zingers at last week's Republican presidential debate.
Never mind that repeated investigations of Benghazi have turned up no sinister actions by Hillary Clinton. Never mind that several state investigations have turned up no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. Carly has to appease the Ignorati (as I dub the right-wing base), so she touts a nonexistent fetus-harvesting video. Just as her $40 million golden parachute cushioned the impact of being sacked by Hewlett Packard, her bump in the polls softened the blow of being called a liar.
The facts don't matter any more. Donald Trump pushes a discredited link between vaccines and autism. Mike Huckabee says the Dred Scott decision remains in effect despite the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Ben Carson says no Muslim should be president, ignoring the Constitution's Article VI prohibition against religious tests for public office. Marco Rubio dubiously claims North Korea has the capacity to hit America with a nuclear weapon. Jeb Bush says, "My brother kept us safe," as if 9/11 never happened. Bobby Jindal (in the "undercard" debate) raises the specter of an influx of terrorists by falsely saying Obama wants to "short-circuit the vetting process" for Syrian refugees. If one lie flops, you move on to the next.
In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.
“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”
Here is the Times editorial condemning the American policy of looking the other way on the child rape occurring on American bases. The Times editors are right: this is unacceptable. It is outrageous beyond words, and it is a crime.
52 years ago today, racist murderers committed an act of domestic terror in Birmingham. (Warning: this powerful recreation by Ava DuVernay from "Selma" is shocking and heartbreaking. It is also a sacred act of remembrance. It begins with MLK's Nobel ceremony 15 months later in Oslo.) Here is to the four little girls.
Former tennis star James Blake was not resisting at all when he was tackled by a plainclothes police officer outside New York's Grand Hyatt Hotel. Why the violent take-down? He has received apologies from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton; this is likely because he spoke out, because he was a well-known person, and because of the above surveillance video.
The officer has been placed on "modified assignment" while the incident is investigated. Naturally, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association has complained about the treatment of the officer, despite his having a lengthy civilian complaint record.
These heavily-armed pseudo-patriots now threaten federal marshals. If these fanatics are not domestic terrorists, who is?