What Really Happened to Sandra Bland

When Sandra Bland died in police custody in Texas, I said, “This is it. This is the case that’s going blow the lid off of police brutality against black people.”

Bland was killed on July 13, 2015. I was wrong.

The official report says that Bland had killed herself. That she hanged herself in her cell with a plastic bag. Obvious first question, why did she have a plastic bag in her cell?

The Texas Department of Public Safety initially released an obviously edited version of Bland’s traffic stop. The DPS got caught on that and released another version of it.

In the video, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia pulled Bland over because she allegedly failed to use her turn signal. While interacting with Bland, Encinia repeatedly violated her rights.

First Encinia told Bland to put out her cigarette. She refused, stating that she was in her car and she doesn’t need to put out her cigarette. Bland was correct. Encinia then told her to get out of the car because he was arresting her for not following a lawful order. Bland refused and demanded to know why she was being arrested. Bland was correct in asking that question multiple times. Encinia’s commands were not lawful.

As Encinia got more agitated, he threatened to taser her if she didn’t get out of the car. That’s an improper use of a taser. Tasers are NOT supposed to be used for “pain compliance” – that’s called torture. If a suspect is not following orders, and the officer doesn’t feel they can handle it, they call for backup.

Encinia unlawfully physically pulled Bland from her vehicle and slammed her hard onto the ground. Video of the incident shows Bland screaming and crying.

So Bland was illegally arrested and thrown in a jail cell. Her rights were violated numerous times during this entire ordeal. Then on July 13, Bland was found dead in her cell. According to police, they have video of the jail cell and do not show anyone going in or out. Unfortunately, the cops in Texas had already published a doctored dash cam video of the incident, so their credibility is garbage, plus, they’re the suspects in her death.

A neighboring county forensic investigator said that the story the Waller County Sheriffs Department was telling was inconsistent with the facts regarding the condition of Bland’s body. Also, there’s a discrepancy in when Waller County guards said they observed Bland in her cell and the video of her cell. It’s a discrepancy of an hour that is unaccounted for.

Bland’s family did get a cash settlement for $1.9 million. Well, her mother was awarded that amount, it’s not clear she has received it yet. But her daughter is dead and the police couldn’t stop lying about what happened and justice for her apparent murder has not been served.

Encinia was charged with perjury over this case. The charge was dismissed if he agreed to never work in law enforcement ever again.

Bland’s birthday is February 7, 1987. She would have been 32 this year – 2018.

Related stories about Sandra Bland’s death

Transcript of Sandra Bland’s Traffic Stop
Sandra Bland’s Rights Violated Before She Died
Sandra Bland’s Mother: “This Means War”
Sandra Bland: Arrest Video Edited
Links and information related to Sandra Bland’s Death

Happy Birthday Trayvon Martin

Trayvon MartinTrayvon Martin was born on February 5, 1995 in Miami, Florida to Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.

When Trayvon was 9 years old, he saved his father’s life. His father was immobilized by burns to his legs, and Trayvon pulled him out of a burning apartment.

By all accounts, Trayvon had a pretty normal life. He liked sports video games. To make money, he washed cars, babysat and mowed lawns. Trayvon’s football coach said he was one of the best players on the team.

Like most teenagers, Trayvon appeared to go through a rebellious period. He was smoking weed and acting out at school. Pretty much what happens to 90 percent of teenagers in high school.

On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman murdered him. Trayvon was walking alone back from a convenient store when Zimmerman took notice of him. Zimmerman apparently stalked the teenager. At some point, the two eventually confronted each other. It seems like Trayvon was rightly beating Zimmerman’s ass for being a creep when Zimmerman pulled out a gun and murdered Trayvon. Zimmerman, a coward, claimed self-defense, despite the fact that Zimmerman never should have been bothering Trayvon.

How one can claim self-defense when it is they who are following someone else and causing problems, is messed up.

Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Justice for Trayvon was not served.

In the media aftermath of Trayvon’s murder, a lot was made of the fact that he was wearing a hoodie when Zimmerman murdered him.

Trayvon liked to wear hoodies.

His aunt had joked that “it could be 100 degrees outside and he always had his hoodie on.”

Steve Wynn Political Campaign Contributions

Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn

Republicans lambasted Democrats for accepting campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein. But now that one of the GOP’s top donors and money guys has been ensnared in the #MeToo movement, I’m not hearing the same lambasting from Republicans about campaign contributions from Wynn.

Here’s a list of some of Wynn’s political contributions over the years. According to this data pulled from OpenSecrets.org, Wynn has donated to both Democrats and Republicans, but Republicans got more from him than Democrats.

Date Amount Candidate/Organization
07-07-1998 $1,000 Steve Lonegan (R)
09-29-2000 $20,000 Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte (D)
02-23-2004 $1,000 National Leadership PAC (D)
04-20-2006 $2,000 Dawn Gibbons (R)
03-08-2007 $975 Mitt Romney (R)
05-02-2007 $1,000 Frank A LoBiondo (R)
07-06-2008 $250 National Education Assn
05-16-2011 $1,000 Mitt Romney (R)
06-29-2012 $250 Barack Obama (D)
04-17-2015 $2,700 Marco Rubio (R)
04-17-2015 $5,000 Reclaim America PAC (R)
04-22-2015 $2,700 Pat Toomey (R)
04-22-2015 $2,500 Pat Toomey (R)
09-17-2012 $2,000 Mitt Romney (R)
02-29-2016 $2,700 Rob Portman (R)
02-29-2016 $2,700 Rob Portman (R)
09-22-2016 $10,000 New Hampshire Republican State Cmte (R)
10-16-2016 $50 Evan Bayh (D)

This list shows that Wynn has given Democrats $21,300 since 2000. But there’s an odd $20,000 donation in 2000 to the DNC. In 2004, Wynn gave $1,000 to the National Leadership PAC. Without those two donations, he’s only given $300 to Democratic candidates. That includes one $250 donation to Barrack Obama in 2012, and $50 to Evan Bayh in 2016.

Rob Portman

Rob Portman

When it comes to Republicans though, Wynn was quite generous.

Just based on this data, Wynn has donated $36,275 to Republicans. Romney got a total of $3,975. Marco Rubio received one donation for $2,700. Pat Toomey got $5,200. US Senator Rob Portman, of Ohio, raked in the most from Wynn. Portman collected $10,600 from Wynn since 2015.

How to Fix Stupid

The United States has a problem. The People are stupid. Not everyone is stupid. And some are stupider than others. But when Donald Trump can get elected president, that’s a serious, if not fatal, stupid problem.

The nut of this problem is education.

Millions and millions and millions of americans receive an inadequate education. They lack even a basic understanding of our nation’s history. They have no ability to detect obvious bullshit. They lack critical thinking skills.

I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. I think I got a pretty good education. But I didn’t learn about this country’s real history until I went to college. While I think I have an instinctual bullshit detector, I didn’t learn critical thinking skills until college.

Since millions and millions of people never go to college, they never learn critical thinking skills. Some people will have innate ability to think critically, but for many of us, we need to learn how to do it. Critical thinking is a teachable skill.

One way to solve this problem is that the federal government mandate state and local school districts teach critical thinking skills and our real history in elementary school, middle school and high school.

Obviously, that’s a tough sell because Americans have an often irrational obsession with local control of schools.

But if we assume that we can’t do that, the Democratic Party should take on this responsibility of educating children about government and critical thinking. How should the party do that? I really don’t have that answer. I’m not an expert on educating children, but there are models for this sort of thing. The most obvious being religion and Sunday school. Through the state party organizations, Democrats should set up some sort of civic education program that is free to all kids. Some smart educator could figure out how to craft a curriculum that is age appropriate and compelling to different age groups. The education operation could be tied to political action by the students within the party.

This obviously is not going to solve any immediate problems, but in 20 years, Democrats could have literally millions of young voters who can think critically, know our nation’s history, vote according, run for office and engage in our democracy effectively.

Martin Luther King: We Need Leaders in Love with Justice

We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the pressing urgencies of the great cause of freedom.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said this in 1956. It remains true today.

The fight for freedom, to keep it and to expand it, must never end. We must always seek leaders who are passionate crusaders for justice. Because when we do not do so, the people become less free, there is less justice and suffering increases.

Nazi Propaganda Tactic, Blame Your Enemy For What You’re Guilty

I follow politics closely. I have for probably 30 years. A common rightwing propaganda tactic is to accuse their enemies of doing that which they themselves are guilty of doing.

So if a Republican president says some horrific racist stuff, like calling African countries “shitholes,” the response could be to say that it’s actually Democrats who are the racists.

It’s an old tactic of the fascist.

In 1934, Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels spoke about it in Nuremberg.

The cleverest trick used in propaganda against Germany during the war was to accuse Germany of what our enemies themselves were doing.

Goebbels was talking about attacks against Germany, but the Nazis used this propaganda trick often.

The effect of this technique is that even though not everyone will believe that Democrats are racists too, this tactic leaves the general sense that both sides are doing it and no one can really be trusted.

This bolsters this notion that everyone is lying and everyone is engaged in political shenanigans and all politicians are crooks. It gives those people actually engaged in bad behavior room to operate. And it turns off millions of voters who might not vote Republican.

I don’t know why liberals don’t do it. I’m guessing because it’s just too intellectually dishonest.

FFS: Trump Has ALWAYS Been a RACIST

I don’t understand people, particularly white people. NOW that Donald Trump has reportedly referred to countries like Haiti and El Salvador as “shit holes” – now he’s a racist.

FFS, Trump has been a racist his entire life. Of course, this is just one more example of it, but come on people. Pick up the pace in calling out obvious shit, FFS.

In 1989, Trump took out this full page ad in the New York Daily News.

Trump Racist Ad Bring back the death penalty. bring back our police!

The ad was about five brown kids who were arrested and convicted of brutally raping a white woman in Central Park. They were kids, Yusef Salaam and Antron McCray were 15. Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson were 14. Korey Wise was 16 years old.

Trump ran this ad before the trial even began. It cost him $85,000.

After serving from between seven and 13 years, DNA exonerated these innocent men.

Trump still thinks they should be executed. He told CNN, “They admitted they were guilty. The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”

The case wasn’t “settled” like some sort of civil case. This was a criminal rape case. There was no settling jack shit. The DNA proves these men didn’t do the crime. It proves that the police beat confessions out of these teenagers without lawyers present. They violated their fundamental rights. All of those cops should be in prison.

But not for Trump, oh no, he was right all along. Even though the actual perpetrator was never brought to justice and innocent lives ruined, Trump stands by his belief that they did it and he was right.

FFS, the GOP chose him to be president of the United States of America. This travesty can not go unpunished. We must destroy the Republican Party for this outrageous abomination that they have inflicted on us.

FFS!

Christopher Steele Fusion GPS Memo “Company Intelligence Report 2016/94”

I haven’t studied the Christopher Steele Fusion GPS memos too extensively, but this sentence stands out as the most compelling and incriminating.

“However, the Kremlin official close to S. IVANOV added that s/he believed DIVEYKIN also had hinted (or indicated more strongly) that the Russian leadership also had ‘kompromat’ on TRUMP which the latter should bear in his dealings with them.”

It is THIS more than anything that motivates Trump, his campaign and his feeble administration.

Glenn Simpson Fusion GPS Carter Page Testimony

The Carter Page character in the Trump Russia conspiracy was always interested to me. Page is someone who seems not particularly savvy, and willing to say lots of things to lots of people, even reporters.

Here’s Fusion GPS Glenn Simpson testifying about his thoughts on Carter Page.