Tag: law enforcement

Joe Walsh issues death threat against President Obama and Black Lives Matter activists

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a screengrab of a death threat made by a former elected official against the current President of the United States. The author of this blog post strongly condemns violence and all threats of violence.


Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who represented parts of the Chicago suburbs for one term from 2011 to 2013, took to Twitter to declare a race war and issue a death threat against President Barack Obama and activists of the Black Lives Matter movement. Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but here is a screengrab of it:

It’s worth noting that the death toll last night’s mass shooting in Dallas, Texas is, as of the writing of this blog post, at five.

Walsh has (rightfully, in my opinion) received a lot of criticism online for threatening to kill the president, with lots of people calling for WIND-AM, a Chicago radio station that employs Walsh as a right-wing talk radio host, to fire Walsh, as well as for the Secret Service, which is legally responsible for protecting the president, to detain Walsh:

Joe Walsh, who was voted out of office in 2012 after repeatedly making vile, rude, and bigoted remarks, declared a race war against America and the values America stands for, and he also threatened to kill President Obama and people who are active in the Black Lives Matter movement, a non-violent movement that seeks reforms to law enforcement and criminal justice practices that are discriminatory against black people. WIND-AM should fire Walsh immediately, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies should detain Walsh, and, if it can be proven that Walsh was plotting to kill anyone, he should be arrested and charged with all appropriate crimes. Walsh is a disgrace to my state and my country.

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BREAKING NEWS: Police officers shot at Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a breaking news event. Information may change rapidly.


Multiple members of the Dallas Police Department (Dallas PD) and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police forces, as well as a 37-year old woman by the name of Shetamia Taylor, were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. Five of the officers who were shot have been killed, and two snipers, whose identities are not known at this time, are believed to be the perpetrators of the attack:

Violence against law enforcement, or, for that matter, any person, is NEVER acceptable. While there is a ton of institutional racism in this country, and it’s true that law enforcement officers have killed black people in situations in which they would not kill a white person (think of the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, LaQuan McDonald, Tony Robinson, Eric Gardner, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castle at the hands of law enforcement), committing acts of violence does not do a damn bit of good to advance the Black Lives Matter cause. The Black Lives Matter cause is a cause that I strongly support, but I absolutely oppose all forms of violence. If you’re going around shooting police officers, you’re just as evil of a person as the police officers who killed people like Alton Sterling and Philando Castle.

While a motive for the shooting of the Dallas police officers is not known at this time, I strongly suspect that someone had every intention of disrupting what, up until the shooting, had been a peaceful protest, in an attempt to make the protesters that did not engage in violence of any form look bad.

Kathleen Vinehout for Governor of Wisconsin? NO WAY!

It’s become public knowledge in Wisconsin political circles that State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) really wants to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018.

However, Vinehout is not a progressive, and, in fact, her views on some political issues are in line with far-right Republicans like Scott Walker.

Prior to being elected to the Wisconsin State Senate, Vinehout was a member of Democrats for Life, an anti-abortion organization. As a Wisconsin State Senator, Vinehout voted with Scott Walker and the gun manufacturers’ lobby for legislation designed to make it easier for off-duty and former police officers to carry out school shootings in Wisconsin public schools. While Vinehout is great on most economic issues and issues related to ending corruption in politics, her views on social issues are very right-wing and more in line with Republicans like Scott Walker.

While I will not move to Wisconsin to run for governor myself, after this year’s general election, I will write a blog post strongly criticizing a second potential Democratic candidate for Governor of Wisconsin. Make no mistake about it, the individual who I will criticize is the embodiment of a Scott Walker Democrat, and, if the individual were to run for governor, the individual would have a lot of support from the Democratic establishment, but I will not provide any more clues as to who the individual is at this time.

The First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwesterner Awards

For the first time ever, this blog will be awarding end-of-the-year awards to several individuals who I consider to be effective at advancing progressive causes during the year, regardless of whether or not one meets the typical criteria of being politically progressive or not. This is the first annual awarding of the Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015. All ProgMid Award winners for this year and years in the future are automatically inducted into the Order of The Progressive Midwesterner.

The award categories for the first ProgMid Awards are as follows:

  • Person of the Year
  • Man of the Year
  • Woman of the Year
  • American of the Year
  • International Person of the Year
  • Group of the Year
  • Athlete of the Year
  • Blogger of the Year
  • Activist of the Year
  • Elected Official of the Year
  • Entertainer of the Year
  • Young Person of the Year

There are two important notes regarding the awards:

  • Many award recipients will receive multiple awards. For example, if the Person of the Year in a given year is a female athlete from Canada, she would win Person of the Year, Woman of the Year, International Person of the Year, and Athlete of the Year.
  • Should multiple people or a group of people win award(s) other than Group of the Year, the plural form of the name(s) of the other award(s) will be used (People, Men, Women, Americans, International People, Athletes, Bloggers, Activists, Elected Officials, Entertainers, and/or Young People).

With that said, I hereby present the First Annual Order of The Progressive Midwestern Awards, for the year 2015!

Person of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Person of the Year is the only open ProgMid Award category.

No person has made a bigger impact on advancing progressive causes in the year 2015 than Bernie Sanders. Bernie, the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont, is currently seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2016 elections, and he has made improving America’s economy a key part of his campaign. Bernie has publicly championed raising the U.S. minimum wage to $15/hour, guaranteeing paid family leave, making college in America truly affordable, breaking up large financial institutions, and many other progressive ideals. Bernie is the ProgMid Person of the Year for 2015.

Man of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Men are eligible for the Man of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is male, Bernie is also the ProgMid Man of the Year for 2015.

Woman of the Year – Rachel Notley

Women are eligible for the Woman of the Year Award.

In Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, Rachel Notley led the Alberta New Democratic Party to a landslide victory in the Alberta legislative general election in May of 2015, and, as a result of the election, Notley became Premier of Alberta. Notley and her party ran on a progressive platform that championed good government, Alberta’s environment, economic justice, and common sense, and they won in a very conservative part of Canada. Notley is the ProgMid Woman of the Year for 2015.

American of the Year – Bernie Sanders

In order for one to be eligible for the American of the Year Award, one must be a United States citizen, United States national, resident of the United States, or some combination thereof.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an American, Bernie is also the ProgMid American of the Year for 2015.

International Person of the Year – Rachel Notley

Those who are not eligible for the American of the Year Award are eligible for the International Person of the Year Award.

Since the Woman of the Year, Rachel Notley, is a Canadian, Notley is also the ProgMid International Person of the Year for 2015.

Group of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

The Group of the Year Award is the only ProgMid Award that is required to be awarded to a group of people.

In response to racism, police brutality, and police shootings of black people in America, the Black Lives Matter movement, a group of progressive activists seeking reform of the criminal justice system and increased accountability of law enforcement in America, has brought the issues of criminal justice reform and law enforcement accountability to the forefront of American politics. Black Lives Matter is the ProgMid Group of the Year for 2015.

Athlete of the Year – Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Professional athletes and individuals primarily known for being amateur athletes (including, but not limited to, collegiate athletes and amateur Olympic athletes) are eligible for the Athlete of the Year Award.

Although one would usually not think of a NASCAR driver as advancing a progressive cause, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. played an important role in building public support for taking down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State House in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. When asked about his thoughts about the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. called the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race” and said that the Confederate flag “belongs in the history books, and that’s about it”. For his condemnation of the Confederate flag, Dale Jr. is the ProgMid Athlete of the Year for 2015.

Blogger of the Year – Kelly Wilz

Those who are an administrator of, editor of, author of, and/or contributor to a blog are eligible for the Blogger of the Year Award.

One of the newest members of the progressive blogosphere is Kelly Wilz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County. Wilz is also the author of the progressive political blog Dissent and Cookies, which launched in May of 2015. As a blogger, Wilz has primarily focused on ending rape culture in America and supporting tenure protections for college professors, both of which are very important causes. Wilz is the 2015 ProgMid Blogger of the Year.

Activists of the Year – The Black Lives Matter Movement

Those who are largely or primarily known for being a political activist are eligible for the Activist of the Year Award.

Since the Group of the Year, the Black Lives Matter movement, is a group of political activists, members of the Black Lives Matter movement are also the 2015 ProgMid Activists of the Year.

Elected Official of the Year – Bernie Sanders

Those who were a public official elected either directly by the people or elected by a body elected by the people (such as the U.S. Electoral College) at any point in the year in which the award is given are eligible for the Elected Official of the Year Award.

Since the Person of the Year, Bernie Sanders, is an incumbent elected official, Bernie is also the 2015 ProgMid Elected Official of the Year.

Entertainer of the Year – Jon Stewart

Those who are entertainers (actors/actresses, comedians/comediennes, musicians, sports announcers, radio show hosts, television show hosts, etc.) are eligible for the Entertainer of the Year Award.

While Jon Stewart left the anchor desk of the Comedy Central news satire program The Daily Show in August of this year, Stewart has not abandoned the first responders who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Stewart passionately advocated for, and won, renewal of federally-funded health care for 9/11 first responders. Stewart is the 2015 ProgMid Entertainer of the Year.

Young Person of the Year – Keanan Sargent

In order to be eligible for the Young Person of the Year Award, one must be less than 18 years of age on December 31 of the year in which the award is given.

At an August 2015 LGBT pride parade and rally in Madison, Wisconsin, Keanan Sargent, the then-nine-year-old son of Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent, did something incredibly creative when confronted by homophobia. Keanan used balloons to obscure a sign that anti-LGBT protesters were displaying at the pride parade and rally. For his creativity and progressive values, Keanan Sargent is the 2015 ProgMid Young Person of the Year.

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

Former professional tennis player James Blake subjected to police brutality and racial profiling by NYPD

Tennis is my least favorite sport. Unlike many other sports that a lot of people consider boring, such as golf, curling, and baseball (three sports that I actually like, although my favorite sport is automobile racing), there’s virtually no strategy to tennis, and the scoring system used in tennis can be confusing for those not familiar with the sport.

However, that’s all beside the point.

The point of the matter is that police brutality is a serious problem in this country, and even professional athletes are victims of police brutality. The most recent example of this involves former professional tennis player James Blake, who is black, being slammed to the ground by a plainclothes New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer and four other NYPD officers after the officers mistook him for someone allegedly involved in an identity theft ring:

Blake was in New York City for the U.S. Open on Wednesday when, as reported by Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News, a plainclothes NYPD officer charged at him, picked him up and slammed him to the ground, mistaking him for a suspect in an identity-theft ring that had been operating in the area.

The Connecticut native and former world No. 4, who retired from tennis at the U.S. Open two years ago, initially thought the officer was possibly an old friend “running at me to give me a big hug.”

Four other cops, all white, soon joined the first officer, handcuffing and detaining Blake for 15 minutes, despite the fact that he showed I.D. and cooperated immediately.

[…]

Blake, an African American who names Arthur Ashe as his idol, admits that racial profiling was probably involved, but was more immediately concerned by the brutal nature of the encounter. His left leg was bruised and his right elbow cut in the incident.

If James Blake were white, I’m almost certain that the NYPD would have not targeted him at all, and they certainly wouldn’t have slammed him to the ground and injured him. This is a disturbing example of police brutality and racial profiling, both of which are far too common in this country.

Another shooting by law enforcement in Ferguson, yet it wasn’t a trending topic on Facebook for hours

On the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, yet another police shooting has taken place in Ferguson. Details are sketchy at this point, but, at least two shootings, at least one of which was a shooting carried out by law enforcement, occurred last night in Ferguson amid protests. While law enforcement is claiming that they were fired upon by protestors, I’ve not seen any eyewitnesses on social media back up the police’s claim. Based on video that I’ve seen online (due to the graphic nature of the video, I’m not going to repost it on here), the victim of the shooting that was carried out by law enforcement is a black male.

However, for a few hours after the shootings, Ferguson was not a trending topic at all on Facebook, at least on my computer, having only started trending several minutes ago. In contrast, Ferguson has been a trending topic on Twitter since immediately after the shootings took place, if not before then. I’m really suspicious as to why this is the case, to put it mildly.

Conservatives and police unions try to blame Democratic public officials for senseless murder of two NYPD officers

Earlier today, Wenjilan Liu and Raphael Ramos, two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, were shot and killed in Brooklyn before the gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot himself to death.

Make no mistake about it, the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos is absolutely disgusting. The fact that a NYPD officer, who was not one of the two people murdered, killed Eric Gardner by using a banned chokehold was just as senseless as the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos.

However, many Republicans and conservatives have tried to blame the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other Democratic public officials, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton and other advocates for increased police accountability and criminal justice reform:

Additionally, the union that represents NYPD officers reportedly put out an extremely divisive statement claiming that de Blasio’s hands “are literally dripping with our blood”, asking NYPD officers to disobey their supervisors, and claiming that the NYPD is operating as a “wartime” police force:

Starting IMMEDIATELY- At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be. IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis. The mayors hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a “wartime” police department. We will act accordingly. FORWARD MESSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY TO ANY AND ALL MOS.

To blame the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on Democratic officials and advocates for police and criminal justice reform is absolutely absurd, since A) Ismaaiyl Brinsley murdered the two officers, B) Obama, de Blasio, Holder, and Sharpton have all issued statements strongly condemning the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos, and C) virtually all Democratic public officials in this country and most political activists who support police accountability and criminal justice reform don’t use political rhetoric that is actually “anti-cop” in nature. Right-wingers, racists, and law enforcement unions who are trying to blame this senseless murder on Democratic officials and supporters of police and criminal justice reform are doing absolutely nothing but dividing the country, politicizing the senseless murder of two police officers, and making tensions between law enforcement and the public even worse in order to promote a divisive, far-right political agenda.

Minneapolis (MN) police officer Christopher Guelcher apparently thinks that people who litter or urinate in public should be shot to death

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune published one of the most vile op-eds I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The op-ed was written by Christopher Guelcher, a police officer with the Minneapolis, Minnesota police department.

In his op-ed, which he wrote in response to recent police killings in numerous cities across the country, Guelcher strongly implied that he thinks that people who have committed even minor crimes, such as public urination and littering, should be shot to death by police and that police officers should shoot anybody who they see is committing a crime:

Could this be the future of today’s demands for reform and change? Would people be happy and fully support the federal, state or even local governments if they passed laws restricting the police from proactively enforcing low-level misdemeanor crimes committed in an officer’s presence, such as littering or public urination, because the crime does not warrant the possibility of police use of force and possibly death?

People like Christopher Guelcher are the reason why real reform of the police and criminal justice systems in this country are badly needed. Far too many police officers think that their badge gives them a right to hunt and kill people, especially black people, even for minor offenses like pissing in public and throwing trash on the ground in a public place, when, in reality, their badge doesn’t give them that right.

I found Guelcher’s remarks to be downright vile, and he owes the people of Minneapolis an apology and a resignation from the police force.

Here’s my audio blog about Guelcher’s op-ed. Please note that my attempt at speaking in a Minnesota accent sucked badly.

(READER DISCRETION ADVISED) Why the no indictment decision in the Eric Garner chokehold killing by the NYPD was total hogwash

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article includes a YouTube video that depicts the death of Eric Gardner at the hands of NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Reader discretion is advised.

A Staten Island grand jury decided not to file any charges against New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Daniel Pantaleo, despite the fact that Pantaleo killed Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who sold untaxed cigarettes, by chokehold, a maneuver that is banned by the NYPD, and that Garner’s death had been ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.

Here’s the video of Pantaleo killing Garner:

Having watched the video once (I can’t stand to watch it multiple times), here’s my take on the no indictment decision (please note that I am not an attorney, and I don’t claim to be one): While Garner was resisting arrest, Pantaleo used excessive force to bring down Pantaleo. While I’m guessing that Pantaleo and the other officers on the scene were not aware that Garner had asthma, putting a chokehold on Gardner was not necessary for police officers to bring Garner to the ground and arrest him. In short, the no indictment decision was, in my opinion, total hogwash.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo used excessive force that led to the death of Eric Garner, and he should have been, at the very least, charged with manslaughter, if not murder. Sadly, a Staten Island grand jury let Pantaleo get away with killing Garner. Those who are protesting the decision in the New York City area and other parts of the country have every right to do so, as long as protesters don’t injure or kill people and don’t vandalize or damage property.

It’s 100% clear to me that there is a War on Blacks in this country.