Simon Moya-Smith: Does the Liberty Bell Ring For Native Americans?


Peggy Flanagan, White Earth citizen and Minnesota State Representative became first Native Woman to address DNC from the podium. Credit: Suzette Brewer.

If you missed Simon Moya-Smith’s first column on the DNC, it’s here.

DNC. Notes spanning days 2 & 3 & 4: All a blur now. This bar reeks of vomit. Old vomit. At a joint called Fridays in Philly. “I think the president or Hillary Clinton is staying across the street,” the black bartender tells me. “Right there. At The Logan.” Secret Service man the hotel doors. “That’s a lot of guns and sunglasses,” I utter. “Best to stay inside.”


Meanwhile, back here at the scene, the DNC, people can’t find a seat. Volunteers in yellow shirts block the doorway with their bodies against a hoard of excited Dems. “Try section 204. I hear they’re still letting people in there,” one says. I walk a full 360-degrees ‘round the Center. No luck. No seats. No hope. A woman in a Hillary hat, once excited, now stands in tears. No chance of getting in the arena. What’s left, then? The hallway. The muffled echo of the speaker blows in. For a moment I consider inviting the poor lady to a drink. Something to take the edge off. Dull the pain. But in an instant she’s gone, running into the fray, sobbing, asking God for a seat. “Please! Please!” Amen. Right. And to those who did land a seat they got watch Peggy Flanagan, Ojibwe, take the lectern and read a letter to her daughter where she affirmatively stated, “We (Native Americans) are still here.”

I head to the men’s room. A man in the stall sniffs once. Sniffs twice. He booms out the door. Bang! Ready, he is. Wired, for sure. Good idea. Coke and a stale hot dog it is. But the concession line’s too long. I’ve never seen a more dapper crowd clamoring for wieners. And what is the difference between something like the DNC and live theater? Is all of this just The Show? It has all the moving parts of a Broadway production. Lights! Make-up. Celebrities. Dance numbers. A script on the screen. Exhausted interns hoping to make it, break into the biz. And what does any of this have to do with Indian country? Everything, goddamnit. This is our land. Our ancestral home. The old country. “We never left,” Suzan Harjo said. During roll call a few days ago, a torrent of indigenous languages rumbled the walls of the Center in a roar of revitalization. Life again. But then on the final night of the DNC, presidential nominee Clinton failed to mention Native Americans when she spoke of systemic oppression. What a disappointment. Should we take this as an indication of her awareness of racial violence in Indian country? Has she heard the names Allen Locke or Sarah Lee Circle Bear or Mah-Hi-Vist Goodblanket or Rexdale Henry or (more names here) before? Not sure. Here’s hoping.

Note: Links added by me.

I slept four hours last night, and I don’t expect to sleep much again tonight. Delayed flight after delayed flight. People fleeing Philadelphia all at once. Bottleneck City. Where’s the Liberty Bell? It didn’t ring for Native Americans then. Does it ring for us now? … Something to contemplate over cheesesteak and fries and and pie at Reading Terminal, the massive market here in Philly where gluttony is god and the chicken sandwiches are good-not-great. But I digress. I always digress.

I met a Trump fan at pub on I think Broad St. A grumpy fucker. Later, I was denied service at an ostensibly straight bar. Can’t remember its name at the moment. Blurry. Ended up at Woody’s, a gay bar. Instant service. Intelligent talk. No ostentatious erudition in here. Just people woke. People aware. A drag queen blows me a kiss. I smile and nod, kinda dorky like. I am a dork, though. A socially awkward Hobbit. And I’m OK with that.

The epilogue to this story is this: When the GOP elected Donald Trump as their presidential nominee they officially became the party of racism and misogyny. No indigenous North American languages were spoken during roll call at the Republican National Convention last week. No recognition of Native American sovereignty at all. Just dystopian soothsayers in sandwich boards shouting “the end is near!” I’m convinced the Democratic Party is the party for Native Americans. We just have to convince Clinton that no good comes from fracking:

“Would you like a glass of water, madam nominee? … No, it’s actually not from this tap here. This is fracked water, madam. You can light it on fire if you want. … And since I have you, can we talk about Leonard Peltier? … Your husband, Bill, claims to be a descendant of the Cherokee. Has he been back home lately? How does he take his fry bread? … Yes, ma’am, I have had a several coffees – well, cappuccinos. The DNC was quite the spectacle, wasn’t it? Man, Bill loves balloons, doesn’t he? Peggy Flanagan was wonderful, wasn’t she? Debra Haaland, too. All the Natives there that night. So about that water. I see you haven’t taken a sip. I wouldn’t either. A filthy water is a filthy earth, and it’s our fault. Fracking. Just say no.”

The full article is at ICTMN, and as usual, is vividly brilliant. Click on over to read the whole thing.

Video Released of Loreal Tsingine’s Death.

Winslow Police Department via YouTube

Winslow Police Department via YouTube.

A recently released body camera video of a 27-year-old Navajo woman who was shot five times after allegedly being involved in a shoplifting incident in Winslow, Arizona, shows the altercation between the police officer and Loreal Tsingine. Tsingine died, while the officer was cleared of any wrongdoing earlier this week.

No audio was available in first seconds but the video portion shows how the officer aggressively pushes Tsingine to the ground. A pair of scissors is seen in her hand as another officer is seen behind her. The officer pushes her again and something falls out of her pocket, which looks like medication. She gets up and walks toward the officer with the pair of scissors in her hand as he lifts his gun and aims directly at her. The video then fades to black and the audio kicks in. After the sound of heavy, labored breathing the officer says, “She came at me with those scissors.”

“I don’t care if she stole copy,000 worth of merchandise or whether she was brandishing a knife or scissors. In the larger historical context, I see this as a violation of an Indigenous woman and her space was violated,” said Brandon Benallie of the Border Town Justice Coalition of the video. “She responded appropriately. In this larger historical context, she acted bravely. She dared to defend her body.”

Benallie also questioned why the other officer did not get involved. “There was no point for him to shoot. This other cop could have taken her down. (Officer) Shipley chooses to murder her rather than create a situation where Loreal would be alive today.”

Benallie, the family of Tsingine and other members of the Border Town Justice Coalition will line the streets of this small town near the Navajo Nation today in efforts they say will hold the city’s police department accountable for crimes towards Indigenous people after Officer Austin Shipley shot Tsingine on Easter.

“Join us and make sure the Winslow Police Department and the City of Winslow, a bordertown settlement, are held accountable for their inhuman crimes towards Indigenous people and other people of color,” read a Coalition news release.

The group is protesting a recent decision by an independent ruling by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, which stated that no criminal wrongdoing occurred. The Winslow Police Department requested an independent investigation into the incident by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which turned over its report to Maricopa County at the request of Navajo County Attorney’s office.

Loreal Tsingine’s death at the hands of cops didn’t make the news anywhere much, outside of local news and Indian news outlets. Indigenous people are killed at high rates by cops, and they are subject to the same harassment as other people of colour. I doubt much will be done in this case, but here’s hoping anyway. My thoughts are with the family, friends, and protesters.

Bodycam footage Winslow Arizona shooting.

Full story at ICTMN.

Seceding Over Slavery.

fox_of_trump_jesus_160511e-800x4301-440x270Most people know about Bill O’Reilly’s unbelievably idiotic remarks about slaves building the White House, and his subsequent doubling down, attempting to justify his previous commentary and digging quite the hole for himself. O’Reilly spent a fair amount of time opining that liberals literally want him dead. I don’t want you dead, Bill, I want you off the air.

Anyroad, the idiotic remarks about slaves and the astonishing distortion of actual history inspired Marcus Ranum to do a very in-depth post about slavery. Here’s a little bit:

The Odious Institution

The colonies in America had been priming themselves for a revolution for some time. Unpopular legislation from England, in the form of taxes and regulations – notably The Stamp Act, The Sugar Act, The Townshend Act – had provoked protest, violence, tax collectors being brutalized, and civilian protestors shot down by redcoats. England was trying, simply enough, to extract some of the colony’s massive wealth through taxation, to pay for its various wars. The colonial leaders were trying, simply enough, to keep their wealth – a great deal of which was at best semi-licit: whenever the crown would levy a new tax, the colonial entrepreneurs would smuggle the goods, anyway.

The “triangle trade” was taking place “off the books” to a significant degree, and was at least partly designed to facilitate smuggling. It was a hugely profitable trade-route, and underpinned much of the New England economy as well as that of the American south’s most powerful and wealthy state, Virginia. From 1770 to 1780 the people who became the political leaders in the colonies were all wealthy, and that wealth depended on smuggling, slavery, land speculation, tobacco or cotton farming, or “trade” (which meant: buying and selling alcohol, tobacco, slaves, etc) – the unhappiness the colonial political leaders were feeling with England was that their tax-sheltered existences were threatened. They were already hugely wealthy, in terms of the time, with some notable exceptions (Jefferson was really really good at spending money!) George Washington was the largest land speculator in the colonies, John Hancock was a smuggler “trader” of large but unknown fortune, Jefferson owned lots of land, slaves, and farmed tobacco and cotton.* They had time and inclination to get involved in politics because they had a great deal of wealth at stake and had enough wealth that they could take the time – literally afford – to travel about protecting their interests.

For the colonial elite, the Somerset decision had the attention-riveting effect of a dagger pressed against the throat. It was immediately seen as a threat to their interests for the simple reason that: the colonies were under England’s law. If English law had finally come down on the issue of slavery as odious, immoral and – what really mattered: unenforceable – the colonial elite had a serious, serious problem on their hands.

So they did what any justice-loving group of leaders would do: they worked out how to emancipate the slaves, apologized and compensated them with grants of land** and started tithing a reasonable percentage of their gains to England.

Of course they didn’t.

It’s an excellent read, so click on over for the full article.

Orlando Cops and the Krispy Kreme Meth Incident.

Daniel Rushing buys a Krispy Kreme doughnut every other week. (July 27, 2016) (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

Daniel Rushing buys a Krispy Kreme doughnut every other week. (July 27, 2016) (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando cops decided to arrest a 64 year old man who was guilty of driving and doughnut eating – everyone be careful, if you’re going to do the same, stay away from the glazed!

Daniel Rushing treats himself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut every other Wednesday. He used to eat them in his car.

Not anymore.

Not since a pair of Orlando police officers pulled him over, spotted four tiny flakes of glaze on his floorboard and arrested him, saying they were pieces of crystal methamphetamine. The officers did two roadside drug tests and both came back positive for the illegal substance, according to his arrest report.

He was handcuffed, arrested, taken to the county jail and strip searched, he said. A state crime lab, however, did another test several weeks later and cleared him.

“It was incredible,” he said. “It feels scary when you haven’t done anything wrong and get arrested. … It’s just a terrible feeling.”


That’s when she spotted “a rock like substance on the floor board where his feet were,” she wrote. “I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she wrote.

She asked for permission to search his vehicle, the report says, and Rushing agreed. “I didn’t have anything to hide,” he said. “I’ll never let anyone search my car again.”

Riggs-Hopkins and other officers spotted three other pieces of the suspicious substance in his car, according to the report.

“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut. … They tried to say it was crack cocaine at first, then they said, ‘No, it’s meth, crystal meth.'” His arrest report confirms that he tried to tell them.


She booked him into the county jail on a charge of possession of methamphetamine with a firearm. He was locked up for about 10 hours before his release on $2,500 bond, he said.

According to FDLE, an analyst in its Orlando crime lab did not try to identify what police found in his car. She only checked to determine whether it was an illegal drug and confirmed that it was not.

Three days later, the State Attorney’s Office in Orlando filed paperwork, saying that it was dropping the case.

Rushing, who retired after 25 years as an Orlando parks department employee, has hired a lawyer and is asking the city to pay him damages.

“I got arrested for no reason at all,” he said.


The Orlando Police Department did not explain why the two drug field tests that Riggs-Hopkins conducted were wrong.

When asked how many other road-side drug tests have produced false positive results, an OPD spokeswoman wrote, “At this time, we have no responsive records. … There is no mechanism in place for easily tracking the number of, or results of, field drug testing.”

FDLE spokeswoman Molly Best wrote that her agency has no information about the prevalence of false-positive field drug tests.

The New York Times reported on July 7 that its review of FDLE data showed that 21 percent of the time, drug evidence that was listed by local authorities as methamphetamine turned out to be something else.

In its statement, OPD described the arrest as a lawful one.

Full story at the Orlando Sentinel.

No, Judge, there is not a difference.

Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich (Photo: Screen capture from WKBN)

Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich (Photo: Screen capture from WKBN)

Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich took attorney Andrea Burton into custody for contempt of court after she refused to remove a Black Lives Matter pin while in his courtroom when he asked.

Judge Milich sentenced Burton to five days in jail, but she was released on a stay because the decision is on appeal. She’ll stay out of prison while she works her way through the appeals process and abides by Milich’s rule not to wear items that make a political statement in his court.

Milich told WKBN his opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement are irrelevant when it comes to his anti-pin policy.

“A judge doesn’t support either side,” he said. “A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law.”

A judge wasn’t wearing the pin. An attorney was wearing it. So much for that bit of ‘logic’. It’s not a violation of any law to wear a pin, or any other piece of self decoration. So much for that bit of ‘logic’. This is obviously not the work of anyone being objective, now is it, Judge Milich? No, what we see operating here is bias. It’s right there, out in the open, plopped out for everyone to see. Would you try to force someone to remove an Amerikkan flag pin? A Christian cross?

Oh, here we go…

The judge said his ruling is based on Supreme Court case law in which a judge can prohibit symbolic political expression in courtrooms, even if it’s not disruptive.

“There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles and having a pin that’s on a political issue,” Milich said.

So, Black Lives Matter is a political expression, but a Flag pin isn’t. Hmmm. And a church pin? That’s not political, it’s perfectly okay to be sporting that type of open discrimination in your objective court? Right.

Full story at WKBN, video at the link.

The Fraternal Order of Police Is Insulted!

REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk.

REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk.

Cops are insulted that they aren’t being put up on a pedestal of pure heroism. It’s hard to imagine how they think having snitrums all over the place is helping any.

Philadelphia’s police union is blasting Hillary Clinton for inviting relatives of victims of police shootings to speak at the Democratic National Convention next week, but failing to include relatives of slain police officers.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the union was “shocked and saddened” by the planned choice of speakers at the convention, which opens Monday in Philadelphia.

“The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit and not implied racism,” Mr. McNesby said in a statement.

Shocked! Saddened! Insulted! Angry! Certainly, I can understand those feelings. Interesting that Mr. McNesby just can’t figure out that all those emotions and more are also on the part of all the families and friends of those who were victims of extrajudicial killings by cops. As for explicit vs implicit racism, you need to understand those concepts, not just the words, Mr. McNesby. You also need to understand that cop isn’t a race. It probably wouldn’t hurt if you could figure out that people wouldn’t be driven by absolute fury if you acknowledged wanton murder committed by cops, and stopped killing people of colour. The little things, you know. :eyeroll: The mere fact of this outrage is terrifying coming from cops, because you know there is zero thought going on there, it’s all kneejerk reactions, reactions which have a hell of a lot to do with a lack of cop worship. I don’t want people who are authorized to kill wanting worshipful obeisance. We already have enough trouble with religions.

He said it’s “sad that to win an election Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are outside protecting the political institutions of this country.

I, uh, can I just die of irony poisoning now?

The Clinton campaign has scheduled former President Bill Clinton to speak Tuesday night with members of Mothers of the Movement, a group that includes relatives of black men killed by police such as Eric Garner of New York and Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri.

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who said the nation is a “powder keg” over the police-involved shootings and assassinations of officers, is also scheduled to speak.

Full story here.

The Red Hot Assholes Revival.

Pastor Steven Anderson (Screenshot/YouTube)

Pastor Steven Anderson (Screenshot/YouTube)

Remember Steven ‘Pulpit Stomp’ Anderson? Steven and his other hateful buddies are getting together, for the Red Hot Preaching Conference in Sacramento, Ca. this weekend. Gosh, a whole weekend of poisonous hatred. Sounds charming.

The “Red Hot Preaching” conference scheduled for this coming weekend in Sacramento will feature four of the most repugnant King-James-Only pastors who have more than just their relentless hatred of gays in common … they’re all Quiverfull. These preachers of patriarchy are Truly True Believers™ who embrace Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar-style “family values” … Christian homeschooling mega-families who reject all forms of birth control and are devoted to raising up a “quiver full” of children to serve as “arrows” in God’s holy war.

Pastor Roger Jimenez, who celebrated the Orlando massacre, saying, “Christians shouldn’t be mourning the deaths of 50 sodomites,” will be hosting a four-day conference of “soul-winning” and “hard preaching” at his church, Verity Baptist, in Sacramento beginning Thursday evening.

Jimenez will be joined by three fellow “fire-breathing” preachers: Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, who has advocated for the death penalty for gays and adulterers, Donnie Romero, pastor of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, who prayed for the injured survivors of the Pulse nightclub attack to die and who threatened violence against LGBT people, and David Berzins, pastor of yet another Independent Fundamental Baptist church, Word of Truth, in Prescott Valley, Arizona.

When Jimenez and company are not busy condemning “sodomites” and “faggots,” they’re likely to be preaching about a woman’s duty to stay at home, dress modestly, submit to her husband, have lots of babies, homeschool, and always be sexually available when hubby’s in the mood.

The current political climate didn’t create these evil doucheweasels. They’d be evil any where, any time. That said, the current political climate is openly fostering and embracing every kind of bigotry and hatred, under one guise or another. The guise of Christianity is being used to push through one evil after another in the GOP dream platform. That’s why, while it’s very tempting to simply mock and dismiss these evil clowns, we cannot afford to do so. Here in uStates, if we aren’t vigilant, if we don’t make every possible effort to rouse people to get out and vote, to make a difference, these evil clowns could well be our future overseers.

The full story is here.

The 800 lb. Gorilla.

Judicial candidate Eric C. Grimm in a May 2016 campaign video. (Screenshot)

Judicial candidate Eric C. Grimm in a May 2016 campaign video. (Screenshot)

There’s no longer an 800 pound gorilla sitting in the middle of the room. There’s a herd of oliphants, trampling their way across uStates, and they white, angry, and bursting with hate.

MLive reports that Eric C. Grimm, a Muskegon lawyer and a judicial candidate for Muskegon County’s probate court, sent an email out to his colleagues on July 10, asking for their votes and criticizing sitting probate court judge Gregory C. Pittman for bullying the other candidates.

“I can understand why some of the other candidates may not want to speak up about the 800-lb Silverback Alpha Male in the middle of the Probate Court,” Grimm wrote in his email. “They are each considerably less free to walk away and refuse to have anything to do with this court if the bullying problem is not fixed.”

According to MLive, Grimm apologized for the bigoted remarks after backlash from prominent public officials including the county prosecutor and the chairman of the county board of commissioners.

The candidate claimed both in a statement and a television interview that he is redeeming himself by, “sentencing myself to 100 hours of community service, in the very same community most adversely impacted by my mistake.”

MLive notes, however, that Grimm refused to retract his broader statements alleging Judge Pittman’s bullying behavior, claiming that he merely “got carried away with the artfulness of a triple metaphor, and lost sight of the optics,” and that the resulting “so-called ‘outrage’ is overblown, insensitive in itself, and a charade.”

So much for that redemption. I wonder just how much that “very same community most adversely impacted” wants this assclown attempting to redeem himself in their neighbourhood. I wouldn’t want him in mine. On another level, it’s the statement about that most adversely impacted community that bugs me no end. I grew up with a couple of extremely bigoted relations. The rest were of the “we’re good people, not bigots” stripe, with heads full of stereotypes they accepted unthinkingly. Of course bigotry harms those it targets, that’s the principal aim, but it reaches much farther than that. Bigotry harms every single person it touches. It’s an infection of thoughtless hate, and highly contagious. It poisons every environment, it ends up in the heads of children everywhere, and so it keeps growing, keeps infecting one person after another, seeping through generations, a toxic mold which inhibits thought, the desire to learn, compassion, and empathy.

I expect it’s too much to hope that Mr. Grimm figures out what he did wrong, and actually tries to correct that, rather than loading up his brain with buzz word idiocy. You don’t need to concern yourself with losing sight of the optics, Mr. Grimm. You need to concern yourself with your loss of humanity.

Full story here.

Goodbye, Dylan.

Dylan Francisco, who was killed in Chicopee, as seen in a Facebook profile photo uploaded June 24, 2016.

Dylan Francisco, who was killed in Chicopee, as seen in a Facebook profile photo uploaded June 24, 2016.

This is Dylan Francisco, a 15 year old murdered by coward and gun fetishist Jeffrey Lovell.

Funeral services have been scheduled for a 15-year-old boy who was shot to death by a homeowner Saturday. […] The teenager, whose obituary who gives his full name as Dylan Christopher Waitson-Francisco, attended the Glenwood School in Springfield for elementary school, according to the obituary. Later he attended middle school in Chicopee. He also started working for the Summer Youth Program with the Valley Opportunity Council in July.

He leaves his mother and step-father, Heather Francisco and Steven Beauregard, and three siblings, Damien and Desiree Francisco and Anthony Beauregard.

Sounds like a good kid, who was gunned down for being a teenager doing teenager things. Unfortunately, this has sparked discussion of the so-called Castle doctrine, where some people are actually defending Lovell. Thankfully, there is no Stand Your Ground law in Massachusetts. So, where are all the pro-lifers, screaming in outrage over this child’s death? Where is anyone screaming in outrage over this death? You know we’re beyond fucked when the important conversation is deemed to be one over whether or not castle doctrine applies. I’m sure that’s of great comfort to Dylan’s family and friends.

Here in Massachusetts, there is no stand your ground law.

However, local attorneys said that homeowners have some rights, but they come with standards.

“To obtain the defense of self defense, the homeowner has to show that the intruder had actually entered into the home of the person who fired the shot in self defense.  Furthermore, there has to be a threat of imminent serious hard.  In other words, if the person has a weapon or threatens a weapon, if a person doesn’t have a weapon, I don’t believe there is a right to use force like a gun,” said Jack McQuade from the Law Offices of Mark E. Solomone.


Jeffrey Lovell.

Jeffrey Lovell.

“Mr. Lovell told this party to ‘get the f–k out’ and ‘stay the f–k out.’ As the … party continued to bang on the door Mr. Lovell stated that the window broke at which time Mr. Lovell raised his loaded S & W (Smith & Wesson) firearm and shot one round through the glass of the door,” the police report states.

The door has three windows lined up vertically. The top window broke when the boy was knocking on it, said James Leydon, spokesman for Gulluni.

“Mr. Lovell stated he aimed towards the … torso. After firing the weapon, Mr. Lovell then looked out of the kitchen door and saw the individual lying on the ground at the bottom of the stairs and the … individual was moaning,” the police report states.


When police arrived, they found no evidence that the victim entered the home, court records said.

“Mr. Lovell also indicated that the victim never entered his residence,” the police report says.

So, it’s obvious Mr. Lovell was not in any danger whatsoever, let alone imminent danger. I think it’s best to remember that this is the man who festooned his Pinterest page with photos of weapons along with “Can you say ‘pest control?’ Gotta get one. ”

Via MassLive, WMN, and MassLive.

That’s not political correctness. That’s fixing inhumanity.

There is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America

There is Hope: Time to Follow an Indigenous Model for Peace in America.

Gyasi Ross has an excellent article up at ICTMN about these troubled times we find ourselves in. I’m just going to do a bit here.

[…] We’re progressing as a society, becoming more compassionate as a society.  Some folks call that “political correctness,” but I don’t think so.  Instead, it seems like it’s just a heightened humanity that holds certain behavior accountable.  Bullying.  The stuff that is making news today would not make news 100 years ago.  Heck, it may not have even made news 50 years ago.  The “tiny” little daily assaults against the dignity and bodies of so many people who were not white men—Natives, black folks, gay and lesbian folks, Mexicans, women—would not even be an issue some years ago.  That’s one of the reasons why Donald Trump’s Trumponian use of hateful rhetoric is so interesting; Donald Trump’s campaign really seems to be is the last stand of those white men who wish for the days when they could commit those assaults against all of those groups with impunity.

That’s not political correctness.  That’s fixing inhumanity.  And the stories that accompany them, whether “black man got shot by the police” or “Native man shot by the police” are no longer taken for granted.  And the subsequent protests and social media outrage over those shootings are likewise no longer taken for granted.

That’s good.  We’re evolving.

However, there is a genuine divide between different generations of people. Amongst those generations, let’s be clear, none of them are bad. Even Donald Trump. But many of us simply have fundamentally different worldviews and perspectives depending on how we grew up and the entanglements into which we were born.  Currently, there is an old guard oftentimes represented by those in power. Police. Law enforcement in this nation was constructed to protect property and not people; as such, it inherently favors the wealthy.  Certain communities have historically been intentionally and systematically kept out of wealth structurally because of many reasons (that’s a different conversation and I’d love to have that conversation with all of you someday; still that’s not the point now); those communities include pretty much all of the communities—black, Native, LGBTQ—who are catching hell from law enforcement today.

A genuine divide.


I’m a disciple of John Mohawk, a dearly departed Seneca philosopher and professor.  He introduced me to the Great Law, a model for peacemaking and peacekeeping amongst warring nations—communities where there is a genuine divide.  I’m simply going to quote his 2004 take on the Great Law from “The Warriors Who Turned To Peace” and hopefully start a conversation about how we can heal some intergenerational wounds and provide our children a new start.

[Read more…]



In an effort to keep that momentum going with a new Indigenous host each week covering a variety of topics, and due to her diligence in bringing awareness to Indigenous issues, ICTMN’s UK-based correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood (Nanticoke-Lenape) has been invited to host its Canadian version, @IndigenousXca, July 14th – starting at 7pm ET – through July 21st.


Ellwood’s week as host kicks off with a look at her “Comprehensive Report on MMIW: The Curiously Different Tales of Violence against Indigenous Women On Both Sides of Turtle Island” story.

Follow ICTMN Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at @IconicImagery and on her week-long account at @IndigenousXca.

Full Story at ICTMN.

“You first, motherf*cker.”

Henry Rollins. Credit: Heidi May.

Henry Rollins. Credit: Heidi May.

Henry Rollins latest column tackles the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the media, white privilege, and the problem of two Americas. Here’s a bit:

…I’m an educated, Caucasian, heterosexual male. Does this ensure I will have success and live the American Dream? Obviously it doesn’t, but it damn sure drops me on second base with a great opportunity to steal third.

I live solidly in one of the Americas but have been aware of other Americas for decades. For the last week, I have heard politicians use a phrase that nauseates me whenever I hear anyone say it. The need to “come together.” To that I say, “You first, motherfucker.”

Since an upgrade will not occur on a national level via presidential pen stroke or SCOTUS decision, you have to take it upon yourself to be an infinitely fantastic person every single day. There will be times when it will be a bitch to be so awesome, but you’ll handle it. This century will be about incredible individuals. Bold acts of kindness and a genuine desire to at least try to see things from someone else’s perspective are but two of the mandatory requirements for betterment moving forward.

Don’t wait for your government. It’s a broken machine that can only deliver damaged goods. Prejudice coats the mechanics of the USA’s OS. Attempts to clean the parts are attacked as big-government, special-interest meddling. It’s by no means a Gordian knot, but a total system retool is required. It would be incredibly expensive and time-consuming, and the growing pains would be enormous. Not gonna happen.

Equality, tolerance and decency are not inherently American or human traits. They are values you choose to adopt and use or not. So, be amazing all the time.

Not much I can add to that. Be amazing, people.

Full column here.

Bulletproof Warrior.

Jim Glennon. Credit: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune.

Jim Glennon. Credit: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune.

The seminar was called “The Bulletproof Warrior,” and the instructors urged the law enforcement officers in the hotel conference room to make the decision to shoot if they ever feel their lives are threatened.

Videos of bloody shootouts between police and civilians emphasized a key point: Hesitation can kill you.

In the audience at the May 2014 seminar was a young St. Anthony police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, city records show. He’s now known around the world as the officer who killed Philando Castile minutes after making a traffic stop in Falcon Heights last week.

Amid intensifying demands for changes in police training in the wake of the shooting deaths of Castile and others, such “survival” courses for officers are flourishing nationally. But some in law enforcement are distancing themselves from the approach.

The Houston Police Department, for example, won’t pay for its officers to attend the Bulletproof Warrior seminar, which is put on by an Illinois for-profit company called Calibre Press.

And the leader of an international police training association said he thinks some seminars like those offered by Calibre and other firms foster a sense of paranoia among officers.

Oh, you think? As if the militarization wasn’t bad enough, there’s shit like ‘bulletproof warrior’, which is little more than an expensive exhortation to shoot! shoot! shoot!, but not white people if you can avoid it.

“Police training became very militaristic and it caused a lot of the problems that are going on in the nation,” said Michael Becar, executive director of the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, with offices in Idaho and Washington, D.C.

Ah, there it is. Nice to see this acknowledged, but are you going to move past that?

Jim Glennon, a co-owner of Calibre who co-taught the seminar Yanez attended, said it’s wrong to link the course to the officer’s actions last week. “Everybody’s going after this kid,” Glennon said Wednesday. “Nobody should be judging what he did yet without the evidence.”

Well, you see, we have evidence. Evidence of murder. It’s right there, for everyone to see. Perhaps if you hadn’t invested so much time in making cops hyper-aggressive, this might not have happened.

The Bulletproof Warrior is one of 15 sessions offered by Calibre and its parent company, LifeLine Training. The courses are well-known and popular in law enforcement circles. Facebook photos show conference rooms and auditoriums filled with officers to hear the Bulletproof Warrior message.

Fans say it provides a valuable “wake-up call” in police safety tactics for the street: how to read the body language of someone preparing to attack, for instance. Training professionals note that Calibre was a pioneer decades ago in teaching basic police safety.

The body language of someone preparing to attack. Right. Interesting how the body language of PoC is always “oh no, gonna attack!”, while that of white people, even when firing at police, is not, so you end up with dead PoC, and white people arrested. Something is seriously fucked up with your warrior training there.

Yanez took the 20-hour seminar on May 21-22, 2014, according to a summary of Yanez’s training that the city of St. Anthony provided after a public records request. A year earlier he attended “Street Survival,” another of the company’s seminars, records show.

Yanez also took 20 hours of training in 2012 in “Officer Survival” from a different organization. In May of this year, he took two hours of training titled “de-escalation,” the only instruction in his four years with the department that appears to focus on that approach, the records show.

Over 40 hours of “training” in how to be a bigoted profiler, hyper-aggressive, and a killer. Great. And a whole 2 hours in de-escalation. Wow, I am just so impressed. I don’t want to be funding cop shops, when they are doing this sort of shit. Who in their right mind would? (I said right mind.)

William Czech was also in the Bulletproof Warrior class in the Ramada in Bloomington those two days in 2014. Czech isn’t a police officer. He’s a 47-year-old electrician from Mendota Heights with a keen interest in police training because of incidents involving a mentally ill family member.

Czech posed as a student to get into the class. He said he was horrified. He said he expected to see a presentation about understanding both how to avoid using deadly force as well as how to realize when it’s unavoidable. Czech said the course consistently emphasized the risk of hesitation.


Still, there are some in law enforcement training who question the courses.

Becar, who leads the international law enforcement training group, said his organization has no position on LifeLine Training and Calibre. But he said he has attended Calibre classes.

“Everything they were doing made the police officers very paranoid,” Becar said. “At some point they wouldn’t even stop a car without three backups.”

The Houston Police Department will not pay for officers to attend the Bulletproof Warrior seminar, said Houston police spokesman Kese Smith. Officers can go on their own time and expense, he said.

Smith said he couldn’t elaborate, saying only that “some of their instruction is not what we instruct.”

“No position.” “Can’t elaborate.” Why in the fuckety fuck not? If there are good cops, who think all this shit has gone much too far, why don’t you have a position? Why can’t you elaborate? Why in the hell aren’t you speaking out and denouncing this absolute crap? Why aren’t you doing your damn job, to protect and serve?

Full article here.