Homicidal Cop, Good. Whistleblower, Bad.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

A short while back, I posted about the history of the cop who murdered Eric Garner. It was an ugly history, one which was ignored in keeping Daniel Pantaleo employed. That employment continues, but the  person who disclosed that hidden history? No, they are no longer employed.

The release of previously secret disciplinary records of the NYPD officer that killed Eric Garner is stirring controversy in New York City, reinvigorating a heated debate among activists and city officials over transparency and police accountability.

On Tuesday, ThinkProgress published the disciplinary records of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who used a prohibited chokehold against Garner in 2014. The records — which were previously hidden from the public — originated from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent city agency that fields complaints about officer misconduct. They were leaked to ThinkProgress from an anonymous source who was discovered by the agency and forced to resign.

The news also forced the CCRB to formally confirm that the documents are real.

The CCRB’s actions triggered indignation from Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society’s Special Litigation Unit. The group is currently involved in lawsuits to obtain disciplinary records from both the CCRB and the NYPD.

“When there is more political will to fire a whistleblower than an officer who killed an unarmed man, it sends a message about the Mayor’s capacity to act quickly and therefore simultaneously sends a message about his lack of political will to hold police like Pantaleo…accountable for misconduct,” she said, referring to the fact that Pantaleo remains employed by the NYPD, and received a raise last year.

I could not possibly agree more. This is shocking behaviour. Well, it should be shocking. I’m afraid we have all become much too inured, and given the increasingly open shite supremacist feeling in uStates, there tends to be little more than an ennui laden shrug over such heinous actions.

Civil rights groups and several city officials were also outraged by the content of the documents, which showed that Pantaleo had 7 complaints and 4 substantiated allegations years before his encounter with Garner—far more than the overwhelming majority of his fellow NYPD officers, according to CCRB data. The revelations also raised questions about whether Pantaleo was properly disciplined, as the documents showed that the NYPD repeatedly enacted lesser penalties than those recommended by the CCRB.

Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that earlier review of the records could have saved her son’s life.

“Someone should have taken a look at his record a long time ago,” Carr told the New York Daily News. “If they had done that maybe my son would still be alive.”

That’s assuming that anyone looking at Pantaleo’s record would have actually done something about it, which is more than questionable. Cop shops all over the country simply don’t have a problem with bigoted, homicidal cops, nor do they seem to be overly concerned about dead brown people. It seems the only time they do care is if they end up in the public spotlight, and even then, the result is rarely justice.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Hidden History of A Homicidal Cop.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

The cop who murdered Eric Garner is still employed. As of last year, his salary was $119,996 , a 14% increase over what he was making when he murdered Garner. A person could get ideas about that. I certainly have number of ideas, none of them painting cops in a good light. Think Progress has gotten an exclusive look at hidden documents which highlight Pantaleo’s past behaviour as a cop, and it’s not a good record in any way. The article is long and in-depth, so head on over for a read.

Now, documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress indicate that Pantaleo, who is still employed by the NPYD, had a history of breaking the rules. These records are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the city refuses to release them.

Before he put Garner in the chokehold, the records show, he had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

Neither Pantaleo nor the NYPD responded to Think Progress requests for comment.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner.

Neither Wolf Nor Dog.

Courtesy Roaring Fire Films.

Courtesy Roaring Fire Films.

Fans of Kent Nerburn’s book Neither Wolf Nor Dog, will be thrilled to know the movie has finally been made, to great acclaim so far. This was David Bald Eagle’s final role.

It has taken twenty years for the bestselling novel, Neither Wolf Nor Dog to get made. And Indian Country was the venue as the independent film opened up Friday February 24 at the Yakama Nation Heritage Theater in Toppenish, WA, in theaters in Bemidji and Rochester, MN, and in South Dakota, where much of the film is set. These were the four sites to host the film’s theatrical premiere and they provided a very successful opening as the film was held over for another week at most of the venues.

Based on Kent Nerburn’s 1996 bestselling novel of the same name, Neither Wolf Nor Dog is the story of a well-meaning white writer (Nerburn himself, played by Christopher Sweeney) who is drawn into Native culture when a Lakota elder asks him to turn a box full of notes into a book. The elder — a man named Dan is played by 95-year-old David Bald Eagle — uses the opportunity to poke holes in Nerburn’s — and the audience’s — assumptions about Native people.

David Bald Eagle walked on his journey to the spirit world this past July at age 97, but was able to view the film and said, “It’s the only film I’ve been in about my people that told the truth.”

[…]

This is Scottish director Steven Lewis Simpson’s third feature film made in South Dakota. Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman, Roseanne Supernault, Tatanka Means, Zahn McClarnon (seen in ‘Fargo’, ‘Longmire’ and ‘Mekko’) and newcomer, Harlen Standing Bear Sr. make up the rest of the outstanding cast.

[…]

Simpson ran a grassroots operation distribution, telling indie filmmakers on Facebook how he self-distributed, hand delivered prints and paid an absolute minimum for a Facebook ad, as Neither Wolf Nor Dog premiered in 3 states. It’s successful opening now sets the stage as the initial audience ratings should help for a wider release around the nation.

In the multiplexes that showed Neither Wolf Nor Dog, the competition was all Hollywood films of the moment, and Simpson’s beat them all comfortably, only the top 3 films in the US that weekend had a better screen average attendance. And it was all word of mouth, local media, grassroots support and very much with the help of Facebook. The audiences have given the film a 9.3/10 rating on IMDB so far and the reports from people have been extremely complimentary.

[…]

The films world premiere was at the oldest continuously running film festival in the world, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it’s first review was 5 stars, receiving an incredible audience and critical response. And fans of Nerburn’s novel gave the film a standing ovation at a special South Dakota Book Festival screening.

ICMN has the full story. Be sure to look out for the film wherever you are!

Indigenous Activism Roundup.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

Protesters gather outside of the White House. CREDIT: Natasha Geiling.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Mni wiconi—”water is life”—appear to be empty words to the federal government, but they now constitute a battle cry for Native nations as they rise together in the U.S. capital today to voice their discontent with the Trump administration’s policies regarding indigenous rights and power.

[…]

Organizers also want the public to know that this gathering is not just about the Dakota Access Pipeline, even though it now serves as the symbol of all that’s wrong with the government-to-government relationship that tribes and the federal government are supposedly involved in. Tribes point to the Trump administration’s fast-track actions on the pipeline sans meaningful consultation and environmental review serving as the tipping point for Indian country by making a mockery of free, prior and informed consent—the right of every other sovereign nation in the world. They hope to make the point that the federal government, in going forward with the pipeline against the tribes’ wishes, abdicated its role as trustee to protect the tribes’ rights and resources, and violated their sovereignty and self-determination.

Full Story at ICMN. Think Progress also covers this story.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

Tipis on the National Mall, near the White House, as water protectors gather for a march advocating for indigenous rights and a halt to environmental destruction. Kandi Mossett/Facebook.

“The Standing Rock movement is bigger than one tribe,” the Standing Rock Sioux said. “It has evolved into a powerful global phenomenon highlighting the necessity to respect Indigenous Nations and their right to protect their homelands, environment and future generations. We are asking our Native relatives from across Turtle Island to rise with us.”

Full story at ICMN.

There is No O’odham Word for Wall.

TUCSON, ARIZONA—The Tohono O’odham Nation Executive Branch is firm on their stance against a border wall being built.

“[It’s] not going to happen,” said Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manual. “It is not feasible to put a wall on the Tohono O’odham Nation…it is going to cost way too much money, way more than they are projecting.”

TON Chairman Manuel went on to say, “It is going to cut off our people, our members that come [from Mexico] and use our services. Not only that we have ceremonies in Mexico that many of our members attend. Members also make pilgrimages to Mexico and a border wall would cut that off as well.”

ICMN has the full story.

This Is My Body.

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This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.

The Police State of America.

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Back in 2014, this was one sentence in a long comment written to an oblivious ass about events in Ferguson, Missouri:

A lot of us recognize the dire nature of this situation, and that sooner or later, that rumble will mow down our towns.

The rumble is here. It’s been here for a while, those at the No DAPL camp got to see it up close and personal, more than once. That noise you hear is the boot stomp of a police state, soon to be wherever you live in the States. Legislators have been busy for a while, coming up with various ways to strip people of their rights, and to punish them severely for attempting to exercise those rights. We’re not only back to the bad old days of COINTELPRO (don’t need that anymore, they have Palantir), it’s much worse now. Lately, I’ve been posting a bit of music every day, from the bad old days, which reflected the protests and fights we were in, music which helped to mobilize people. Turns out, we need that more than ever now. Young people, unlike old farts like myself, don’t have the experience of just how far our government is willing to go to shut down dissent. While past experience informs my current alarm, what’s happening now is worse. Much, much worse. Don’t be thinking it’s okay because you aren’t the protesting kind of person – your rights have been shredded and tossed to the wind too. Once open dissent is shut down, it’s never long before it isn’t safe to criticise or be thought unloyal. The loyalist business has already infected the white house, and that’s gotten worse too, with people being fired for having been critical of Trump.

Flint Taylor, a founding partner of the Chicago-based People’s Law Office, told AlterNet that he believes that Trump’s three executive orders on crime and policing have emboldened these state-level initiatives. One decree, titled “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers,” is premised on the false claim that there is a war on cops. The order instructs the executive branch to “develop strategies, in a process led by the Department of Justice (Department) and within the boundaries of the Constitution and existing Federal laws, to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.”

Sessions, who heads the DOJ, has said that he does not believe systemic police brutality is a problem worth addressing.

“The language of this executive order is focused on ‘preventing violence,’ which was the exact language of the memoranda that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover wrote justifying the neutralization—i.e. destruction—of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Black Panthers,” said Taylor. “One of the key aspects of COINTELPRO was to ‘prevent violence.’ That was the cover for destroying movements.”

“Together with all the other preliminary indications from the Trump administration, this executive order bodes extremely ill, particularly for communities of color, in terms of unleashing the already awesome and racist power of police departments in cities across the country.”

Meanwhile, right-wing Republicans in Congress, with apparent backing from the Trump administration, are advancing efforts to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The initiative, which emanates from far-right conspiracy theories that the Sunni Islamist group is infiltrating the U.S. government, is aimed at crushing Muslim civil society organizations at the core of resistance to Trump.

Amidst a climate of authoritarianism, anti-protest laws are advancing alongside so-called Blue Lives Matter bills that protect police officers under hate crime laws meant to safeguard historically oppressed communities. These initiatives are spreading across the country, with Republicans now in control of roughly two-thirds of the partisan legislative chambers in the United States.

“I definitely think there are a lot of Republicans who feel that Trump is a dog whistle to start writing bills that infringe on people’s rights, because we’re seeing that on a federal level,” said Grimm. “They are taking advantage of this time to make sure that people who don’t agree with them don’t have the right to express that. This is how you move toward fascism and nationalism, by getting rid of dissent.”

That’s just a bit of the full article running down all the current legislation looking to strip rights and quash dissent.

There’s also this:

Upon entering Spicer’s second floor office, staffers were told to dump their phones on a table for a “phone check,” to prove they had nothing to hide.

Spicer, who consulted with White House counsel Don McGahn before calling the meeting, was accompanied by White House lawyers in the room, according to multiple sources. There, he explicitly warned staffers that using texting apps like Confide — an encrypted and screenshot-protected messaging app that automatically deletes texts after they are sent — and Signal, another encrypted messaging system, was a violation of the Federal Records Act, according to multiple sources in the room.

The phone checks included whatever electronics staffers were carrying when they were summoned to the unexpected follow-up meeting, including government-issued and personal cell phones.

Spicer also warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media. It’s not the first time that warnings about leaks have promptly leaked. The State Department’s legal office issued a four-page memo warning of the dangers of leaks — that memo was immediately posted by the Washington Post.

But with mounting tension inside the West Wing over stories portraying an administration lurching between crises and simmering in dysfunction, aides are increasingly frustrated by the pressure-cooker environment and worried about their futures there.

Full story at Politico. It should not need to be said that open, transparent governments don’t need to fear leaks. Authoritarian regimes, however…

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

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NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
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No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Arizona Goes for Full Protest Suppression.

Women's March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

Women’s March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

The myth of professional protesters continues to be spread by rethugs, and Arizona rethugs have passed legislation which would allow the cops to seize the assets of anyone who attended a protest which turned violent in any way, along with the power to arrest those who planned the protest, although they did not commit any violent acts. The rethugs are extremely unhappy with The Resistance, and are doing everything they can to shut it down. We are all going to have to stiffen our spines and our resolve, and refuse to back down in the face of blatant rights violations.

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would let law enforcement officials seize the assets of people who participate in protests that turn violent — even if those people had nothing to do with any violent incidents.

[…]

The bill would allow police to seize assets of anyone who attended a peaceful protest that happened to turn violent, and it also gives cops the power to arrest people who planned the events, even if they did not personally commit violence.

State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), who supported the bill, explained to the Arizona Capital Times that it’s aimed at curtailing the activities of “professional protest” groups whose goal is to start riots and damage private property.

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,” said Kavanagh, a former police officer.

Bald-faced fucking liar. :spits: I’d like to see this flaming asshole address all the violence at Black Lives Matter protests, as the violence was all perpetrated by cops. I’d like to see this asspimple address the overwhelming violence committed by cops against all those at Standing Rock. Fuck you, Kavanagh. People are marching and protesting and protecting because it’s the only recourse we have. It’s not like we can look to our government for help.

Via Raw Story.

Crispus Attucks: A Shared Narrative.

Getty images - Simon and Schuster.

Getty images – Simon and Schuster.

Gyasi Ross has an excellent article up about Crispus Attucks, and the shared narrative between Black people and Indigenous people.

Since white colonization of this continent, Black and Native lives have always been valued less than other people.  The story of Crispus Attucks was an early illustration of how there seems to always be a reason why black and Native people get killed that somehow exonerates the authorities of guilt when they harm us.  “Self-defense.”  But, perhaps most importantly, the story of Crispus Attucks is about combined Native and black lineages that resisted, suffered, but through that resistance caused a revolution.

The year was 1770 and the scene was the Massachusetts Colony.  Boston was hot with anger and resentment toward England. 150 years after Pilgrims originally occupied the homelands of the Wampanoag people, the descendants of those Pilgrims felt like they were losing control of the land they called “home.” At that time slavery was legal in the Massachusetts Colony—white colonists enslaved Natives and blacks alike in Massachusetts.  For example, in 1638 during the so-called “Pequot Wars,” white colonists enslaved a group of Pequot women and children. However, most of the men and boys, deemed too dangerous to keep in the colony. Therefore white colonists transported them to the West Indies on the ship Desire and exchanged them for African slaves.

[…]

Crispus Attucks was both Indigenous and black and a product of the slave trade. He was brilliant in the survival skills that is common and necessary amongst both Indigenous people and black people since the brutal regime of white supremacy came to power on Turtle Island.  His mother’s name was Nancy Attucks, a Wampanoag Native who came from the island of Nantucket. The word “attuck” in the Natick language means deer. His father was born in Africa. His name was Prince Yonger and he was brought to America as a slave.

Attucks was himself born a slave. But he was not afraid to actively seek his own (or others’) liberation. For example he escaped from his slave master and was the focus of an advertisement in a 1750 edition of the Boston Gazette in which a white landowner offered to pay 10 pounds for the return of a young runaway slave.

“Ran away from his Master, William Brown of Framingham, on the 30th of Sept. last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 Year of age, named Crispas, 6 Feet two Inches high, short curl’d Hair…,”

Attucks was not going back though—he never did.  He spent the next two decades on trading ships and whaling vessels.

[…]

The story of Crispus Attucks is powerful. Native and black people have been facing the same tribulations and common enemies for a very long time.  For most of the time since white people have been on this continent, black folk and Native folk have had no choice but to work together and have.  If we look at statistics today—from expulsion/suspension from schools, to the blacks and Natives going to prison, to getting killed by law enforcement—not a lot has changed.  We still share very common narratives and need each other.

We still need to work together.

Click on over to Indian Country Media Network for the full article.

Arctic Hysteria.

A still from Arke’s 1996 video Arctic Hysteria shows the artist naked and crawling across a photograph of Nuugaarsuk Point in Greenland. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Acquired with funding from Anker Fonden 
Poul Buchard/Brøndum & Co.

A still from Arke’s 1996 video Arctic Hysteria shows the artist naked and crawling across a photograph of Nuugaarsuk Point in Greenland. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Acquired with funding from Anker Fonden 
Poul Buchard/Brøndum & Co.

Most people have never heard of Pia Arke, which is a shame, because she was an artist who took on one huge subject: the colonial takeover of indigenous peoples by those who termed themselves “explorers” and “discoverers”. There’s a great deal of horror inherent in any indigenous peoples experiences with colonialism. Unsurprisingly, indigenous women got the worst of it.

In the spring of 1995, Danish-Greenlandic artist Pia Arke was digging through the archives of New York City’s Explorers Club. She was searching for maps, ethnographic images, and scientific miscellany that she could repurpose into collages that confront Greenland’s colonial past. Arke knew early 20th-century adventurers often, by turns, demeaned and romanticized her Inuit ancestors. Even so, one photo from American explorer Robert E. Peary’s collection shocked her: a native woman, topless and screaming, restrained by two fur-clad and seemingly untroubled white men. A curator told Arke the woman could have been suffering from a madness called Arctic hysteria.

More than 20 years later, Arke’s mesmerizing film Arctic Hysteria, which she created the year after she found that dark photo, was looping endlessly in an alcove at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Situated in a small town along the Baltic Sea about 50 kilometers north of Copenhagen, the Louisiana Museum enjoys the kind of international acclaim that makes it a dream exhibit space for most artists. Arke’s work was part of last year’s star-studded exhibit Illumination, which featured such luminaries as Ai Weiwei, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, and Gerhard Richter. The flashiest Arke piece on display was Legende I-V, a series of five collages of Greenlandic maps and sepia-toned family snapshots layered with imported commodities such as rice, sugar, and coffee. Legende I-V is physically imposing—it dominated an entire gallery wall—and hauntingly beautiful. The foodstuffs function both symbolically and texturally, the photographs evoke the warmth of kinship, and the cartographic lines of Greenland, stamped with place names referencing colonial explorers (Peary Land, Humboldt Glacier, and Kane Bassin, for example), loom insistently over everyone.

Arke’s Arctic Hysteria is equally magnetic. The performance, which lasts six minutes, is silent and consists almost entirely of one scene: Arke crawling naked across a giant black-and-white photo of Nuugaarsuk Point, a spit of land at the terminus of a C-shaped bay. The artist lived there, outside the small town of Narsaq, Greenland, with her parents and siblings in the late 1960s. In the video, Arke strokes the artificial landscape, rolls across it, and sniffs it like an animal. Then she methodically rips the entire thing to shreds, gathers the curled shards of paper, and lets them fall across her shoulders and thighs. The intimacy of the performance and the title’s historical allusion are classic Arke.

[…]

Historical context points to alternative interpretations. Inuit women labored at the very bottom of the social hierarchy on Peary’s expeditions and in his camps, expected to sew, fish, carry wood, and submit to the Americans’ sexual desires. Peary, for example, fathered two sons with his Inuit laundress, Ahlikasingwah. His navigator, Robert Bartlett, viewed one woman’s hysteria as simple protest, or “pure cussedness.” Accounts described women who seemed intent on escape or dissent leaping over the ship’s railings or shouting for a knife. Expedition member Donald MacMillan recounted finding a woman named Inawaho naked and screaming, presumably unaware of her surroundings and out of her mind. But as soon as MacMillan pulled out his camera, Inawaho hurled huge chunks of ice at him and later begged him to destroy the photos. Were these women, in fact, crazy? Or were they reacting perfectly rationally—even bravely—to their circumstances?

You can read and see more here.

Right Now, Trump Is…

From a Native American's perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

From a Native American’s perspective, Trump is acting more like the Founding Fathers than Hitler.

Donald J. Trump has been called a lot of things. A bigot. A misogynist. A racist.

And I agree with these descriptions of the new president. He’s earned those titles, especially given all he has spewed over the decades about women and racial minorities, and just about anyone he disagrees with, or who disagree with him.

But Mr. Trump is also unoriginal.

Many of the controversial policies and plans he’s setting into motion have already been executed in this country.

Think about it.

Mr. Trump has vowed to evict millions of undocumented individuals. Brown folks, mostly.

But, of course, this wouldn’t be the first time a sitting U.S. president would forcibly and eagerly evict the indigenous peoples of this continent from their homes.

One of the first of such evictions in this country’s shady history occurred in the 19th century, back in 1830, when president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which coercively extirpated thousands of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.

The brutal act prompted the “Trail of Tears,” a vicious campaign that resulted in a forced westward march of men, women, and children through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. More than four thousand Native Americans died during that rotten trudge.

“But Mexicans aren’t Indians,” a white man recently said to me at an eatery on the north side of Denver, Colorado, during an impromptu discussion on Trump’s unoriginality.

[Read more…]