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Tells the Facts, Names the Names
Updated: 10 hours 16 min ago

Making a Killing: Tax Day as Pay Day for Military Contractors

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:49

Photograph Source United States Air Force – Public Domain

In tax season, most of us think more about getting our forms in on time — and getting our refunds — than about where our tax dollars actually go.

It’s probably no surprise that a significant portion — 24 cents out of every dollar — of your taxes go to the military. But where those dollars go from there should be a national scandal.

Out of those 24 cents, just 5 cents go to our troops. But 12 cents go to corporate military contractors.

For a country that claims to celebrate our troops, with holidays and yellow ribbons and patriotic displays of the flag, we sure don’t put our money where our mouth is. Every year for tax day, my organization looks at where our tax dollars go. And every year, far more money goes to Pentagon contractors than to our troops.

All told, the average taxpayer handed over $1,704 to Pentagon contractors last year, compared to $683 for military pay, housing, and other benefits (except military health care, which has its own agency). Still, the taxes we pay for military contractors are more than twice as much as the average contribution for veterans’ health and benefits ($833).

The king of all the Pentagon contractors is Lockheed Martin, the maker of the ill-conceived F-35 jet fighter. This is a plane that’s billions of dollars over budget, years behind schedule, and once spontaneously caught fire on the runway.

In 2018 the average U.S. taxpayer paid $225 to line the pockets of Lockheed’s executives and shareholders. While Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson took home more than $20 million in 2017, the top pay for a four-star general or admiral is $189,600 — and the lowest-rank enlisted soldiers make just $20,172.

The $225 you probably paid to Lockheed Martin is more than you probably paid for disease research at the National Institutes of Health ($155), K-12 education ($100), or free and reduced school lunches and other child nutrition programs ($107). And that’s just for one corporation.

Boeing, the Pentagon’s second largest contractor, got $100 from the average taxpayer. Former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan is now the acting Secretary of Defense — just one of hundreds of stories of the revolving door between the Pentagon and its contractors.

Shanahan was supposed to recuse himself from all things Boeing. Yet under Shanahan’s leadership, the Pentagon has suddenly proposed new investments in Boeing’s F-15X jet — against the wishes of Air Force leaders.

Contractors use plenty of maneuvers to hoover up tax dollars. For one, they know that by sprinkling some jobs in this town and a few others in that one, they can encourage Congress to go big on military purchases, whether the military needs them or not.

For example, Lockheed Martin assembles the F-35 in Texas, in the district of Rep. Kay Granger, who also just so happens to be the lead Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. In fall of 2018, Rep. Granger was perfectly positioned to temporarily insert 16 more F-35s into the military budget than the military had asked for (though they were ultimately cut).

And if the temptation of a few jobs in key congressional districts isn’t enough to ramp up the flow of money, there are always old-fashioned campaign contributions. In 2018, military contractors spent $127 million lobbying Congress and gave $29 million in campaign contributions.

There’s no good reason for 12 cents out of every tax dollar to go to multi-billion dollar corporations, or to pad the pockets of wealthy CEOs. Want to support the troops, or build infrastructure, or invest in education? Take the military budget back from the contractors.

Both the troops and the taxpayers deserve better.

Lindsay Koshgarian directs the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies. 

Wealth, Stealth, and Boeing

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:44

America is “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It is also the province of the wealthy. Regardless of administration but most especially now, wealth has been the great separator: the rich get richer, the poor stay poor, and the middle class keeps losing ground. Central to keeping matters that way is political power, and with a wealthy (not to mention corrupt and conniving) businessman in the White House, the very rich can rest easy, knowing their interests will be protected and advanced.

In one of his many insightful essays, Robert Reich points to the “grotesque imbalance [that] is undermining American democracy”:

Over the last four decades, the median wage has barely budged. But the incomes of the richest 0.1% have soared by more than 300% and the incomes of the top 0.001% (the 2,300 richest Americans), by more than 600%. The net worth of the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans almost equals that of the bottom 90% combined.

The rich-poor divide in the US is central to our disunity, Reich contends. (He’s not alone: Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of the Bridgewater hedge fund, agrees). Unlike Dalio, most of the wealthiest Americans quail at the thought of imposing major new taxes on wealth and love the benefits of Trump’s “tax reform.” What an extraordinary windfall that tax bill is for them and the largest corporations: for example, $12.4 billion in tax savings for Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Verizon, and Walmart in the first three quarters of 2018 alone. Adding insult to injury, many of these companies are using those savings to cut jobs and buy back their stocks, inflating their value, rather than (as Trump predicted) invest in creating jobs at home (The Hightower Lowdown, February 2019).

Meantime, most Americans—nearly 60 percent—support the ideas of Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and others for real tax reform that would force the mega-corporations and the superrich to pay their fair share. Until they do, we are saddled with high taxes and national debt, now roughly $2 trillion. Paul Krugman cites the human interest here: “think of all the other things we could have done with $2 trillion—all the infrastructure we could have built and repaired, all the people who could have been given essential health care.”

The American economic story is that wealth inequality increases along with increasing wealth overall. The higher up in the wealth chain one is, and most especially at the top 1 percent of households, the greater the gains in riches. (Keep in mind that wealth disparity is even greater than income disparity.) And, as the same source emphasizes, the wealth gap is very much racial: white families at every level of wealth on average are several times wealthier than nonwhite families.

The captains of industry in America are not faceless. Far from it: most of them and their corporations are household names, such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, and the Charles G. and David H. Koch brothers. These men may not literally rule the world, but their companies occupy dominant positions in particular industries, their opinions get immediate attention and wide dissemination, and their access to leading politicians worldwide is guaranteed. They are among the handful of billionaires—26 now—who have as much wealth ($1.4 trillion) as roughly 3.8 billion people, or half the world population. You can see a list of the top 500 billionaires at

Gaming the System at Boeing

Dennis Muilenburg, the chairman and CEO of Boeing, took in about $30 million last year when salary, stock options, and other wealth are figured in. His company broke records for revenue ($101 billion) and profit ($10.5 billion). Muilenburg is not on the Bloomberg list, but his exceptional wealth and his company’s high ranking among US corporations do count politically, in the same way that Amazon, Facebook, and the other giants count.
Which brings me to the story of the ill-fated Boeing 737 Max 8, the most recent illustration of how corporate America works.

The Max 8 became a staple of the Boeing system thanks to a self-regulated certification process—a seamless interaction between company and regulator. “In practice,” inside sources report, “one Boeing engineer would conduct a test of a particular system on the Max 8, while another Boeing engineer would act as the FAA’s representative, signing on behalf of the U.S. government that the technology complied with federal safety regulations . . . ” Limited oversight, as well as an insufficient number of inspectors and the absence of independent analysis, meant that no one had sufficient authority to monitor the monitors.

It helps, of course, to have the FAA run by former airline executives (its new administrator worked for Delta), and have former lobbyists occupy influential posts in the department of transportation (run, let’s remember, by Elaine Chao, wife of Mitch McConnell). It further helps if you have an army of lobbyists (Boeing has about 100) who spend lots of money (over $15 million a year) doing their job, backed by large donations to political candidates ($2.4 million), 329 of whom now serve in Congress.

All this political effort has over many years made Boeing a quasi-government airline. It earns the company billion-dollar contracts—over $23 billion in 2017—and the certainty that when foreign governments are choosing which company will supply their commercial or military aircraft, Washington and commercial attachés in US embassies abroad will lobby for Boeing.

Thus, if we want to know why the Swamp is so hard to drain, we need only look at the phenomenon called MAGIC: the military-academic-governmental-industrial-complex. This tight-knit interpenetration of public and private interests promotes common interests in profit and power. The complex constantly revitalizes itself, crossing party lines. Yes, on occasion there are disruptions to the smooth functioning of the system, such as the Max 8’s (belated) grounding and federal investigation, the pressure building on Facebook over sharing of private data, and the European Union’s fines of Google. But no one should doubt that these companies will survive and continue to prosper. They have the MAGIC.

The Politics Behind Trump’s Threats to Close the Border

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:43

Donald Trump’s flailing on immigration and the Mexican border continue to spiral into chaos. First, he threatened to close the border with Mexico. One week later, he walked that back. He declares a national emergency about the “invasion” of people seeking asylum from Central American countries, and then says he’s stopped all aid to those countries, which can only worsen the conditions that cause people to leave. He says he’s already building a wall. That isn’t true. He torpedoes bipartisan measures that might begin to make things better.

It’s increasingly clear Trump wants a crisis that he can use politically, not a solution that can ease human suffering.

Two weeks ago, Trump’s threat was clear: “If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States through [sic] our Southern Border,” he tweeted, “I will be CLOSING…the Border, or large sections of the Border, next week.” His aides said he was deadly serious. Trump’s leading mouthpiece, Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, told ABC News that it would take “something dramatic” to stop him from doing it.

Less than a week later, Trump reversed himself. He suddenly praised Mexico as being “very nice,” claiming that Mexico had changed its policy toward the asylum seekers, which a befuddled Mexican government quickly denied. He retreated by issuing new bluster: “We’re going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don’t stop, or largely stop, we’re going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular cars. And if that doesn’t work, we’re going to close the border. You know I will do it. I don’t play games,” Trump warned, playing games with his threats.

What was the “something dramatic” that convinced the president to take back his threat? He was mugged by reality.

Closing our 2,000-mile border with Mexico would be an economic catastrophe, a moral blight, inconceivably inane and literally impossible. A combined 15 million people live along the border. Some $1.7 billion of two-way trade and hundreds of thousands of legal travelers cross the border each day. Mexico is the second-largest market for U.S.-made products (Canada is first). It is our third-largest trading partner (after Canada and China). It is the fourth-largest supplier of foreign crude oil to the United States. It is the top destination for U.S. travelers.

Trump lives in a universe that he shares only with rabid Fox News commentators, but, in this case, he was forcibly reminded of reality by Republican business leaders and by the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which warned that closing the border would “inflict severe economic harm on American families.” Even Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who usually wags his tail at whatever the president tweets, warned of “potentially catastrophic economic damage.”

Trump’s threats are just posturing, but his policy is a chaotic calamity. He declares a national emergency to claim money for his wall (largely from the military) against the will of the bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress. He rails about the import of drugs, ignoring the reality that virtually all of the hard drugs come in through legal ports of entry that his “wall” won’t address. He describes the rising number of people seeking asylum as “an invasion,” scorning both international and U.S. law and basic morals, then directs his State Department to cut off $450 million in aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which will surely worsen the conditions that are driving people to seek asylum. He traveled to the California border to celebrate the building of a new section of his promised border wall, when no new building had taken place, only a routine upgrade of old fencing.

He cut off protections for the Dreamers, young people who have grown up in the U.S., and torpedoed the bipartisan agreement that would have protected them and added to border security after he said he’d sign it. He scaled back protections for asylum seekers, helping to create the backlog at the border. Then his administration cruelly separated parents and children at the border, creating a shameful human horror that continues to this day.

Clearly Trump wants an issue to run on politically, not a solution to a humanitarian tragedy. Steve Bannon, Trump’s 2016 campaign strategist, argued that as long as the debate is over immigrants, Trump benefits. Trump uses attacks on immigrants as the centerpiece of his white nationalist appeal. His railing about the crimes of Latin American gang members is simply the updated version of the Willie Horton ad that George Bush used against Mike Dukakis.

So don’t worry about Trump closing the border. Even his administration won’t be that self-destructive. And don’t expect him to make progress with the humanitarian crisis at the border. Trump is fanning the flames, not putting out the fires.

A sensible border policy and humane and effective immigration reform will have to wait for the next president.


Why Refusing to Label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a Terror Organization Keeps Us Out of War

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:42

A “Twitter-stamp” by Secretary of State Pompeo made it official. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is now designated as a foreign terrorist organization. “We must help the people of Iran get back their freedom” is a diplomatic tweet of an alternative reality. ISIS, Boko Haram, and Iran, all in one place.

This move is not a measured foreign policy decision that should be up for debate between more diplomacy-minded versus more hawkish policy-makers. This move is a step toward war that should be condemned by all sides. Whether we like it or not, the IRGC is much more than a branch of the Iranian armed forces. It has also been a part of the Iranian governmental, industrial, economic, and social system ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution with now potentially 11 million affiliated people.

Fact: Labeling the IRGC as a terrorist organization is dangerous and leads us on a path to war.

When we allow the IRGC to be viewed as a terrorist organization, we allow for the commonly known steps of dealing with terrorists to follow: Terrorists are not within our scope of morality. We don’t negotiate with them, we fight them, we destroy them until there aren’t any left. And since 9/11, the US has been in an endless global war on terror (with changing names), fought by the US military on foreign soils.

Seriously and it bears grim repetition, the terrorist designation of the IRGC is a long step toward war with Iran.

By refusing to label Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terror organization we are refusing to create an enemy image of Iranians as a whole. Holly Dagres, editor of the Atlantic Council’s IranSource blog, stated on the BBC Newshour that designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization is problematic because of the complexity of an entity with which 11 million out of 80 million people in Iran are to some extent affiliated with. Making general claims about an entity and its affiliates as a terror organization suggests that we are threatened by “the other” and allows us to easier legitimize violence against “them.” That’s the nature of dehumanization and it is one of the most common forms of propaganda before and during warfare. Combining this psychology with the politics of a global war on terror is worse than unnecessary; it is a classic lose-lose slip that will cost us all.

Targeting the Revolutionary Guard is nothing new. In October 2017, the US Treasury already sanctioned  the IRGC under terrorism authority and as Barbara Slavin, director of the Atlantic Council’s Future of Iran Initiative notes, this new designation as a terror organization is gratuitous and provocative. We are in an extremely dangerous moment of the US-Iran conflict. Trump’s unwarranted pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal and the additional sanctions already increased the tensions. This step is yet another escalation moving us closer to a war that the US should not risk and that has no upside.

Critics rightfully point to the role the IRGC’s reprehensible actions at home and abroad. They are indeed involved in human rights abuses against their own people as well as supporting violent conflict abroad. Designating them as a terror organization, however, plays into their hands.

I’ve been to Iran. One thing that the highly educated Iranian people know for sure is that Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton don’t care about their freedom or suffering. Instead, this designation will more likely lead Iranians to rally around the flag against the American government which once again has shown it cannot be trusted. As Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif told our delegation, Iran’s biggest crime in relation to the US was its decision to be independent.

It is not necessary to get fully caught up in the highly complex conflicts of the Middle East and the US role in those to advocate for a different approach with Iran. For now, one thing we can to do prevent another war is to push back against the creation of enemy images for propaganda purposes. Iranian people have every right to determine their own path. The Revolutionary Guard, for better or for worse is part of it. Iranians have national pride that goes beyond the religious regime.

Iranians generally hold complex views, unhelped by the US government telling them what to believe. Michael Axworthy, author of Revolutionary Iran, tells us that Iranians still regard the IRGC as heroes of the Iran-Iraq war and guarantors of independence, but also as repressive and corrupt. Iranians are highly educated, proud, warm, and welcoming people who are very aware of their own government’s often bad behavior. The last thing they want is the help of the US to “get back their freedom.” I know, because I just returned from Iran where I was part of a citizen peace delegation.

The actions by the Trump administration are arguably an attack on Iran’s sovereignty and independence as a nation and will be seen that way. Iranians know their history and the role of outsiders in trying to determine their path for them. The best thing Americans can do for the freedoms of Iranian people is to prevent Trump, Pompeo and Bolton from their ham-handed meddling. The latter comes with war, and I have 80 million reasons there, and 328 million reasons here, not to go to war with the Iranian people.

Absence of Proof: the Approval Process for Adani

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:41

Much hot air is coming out from the public relations unit of Adani, and the language used is that of a hostage taker seeking to earn a rich and ill-deserved ransom.  With the date for the Australian federal election looming, the Indian mining giant received a boost in its flagging fortunes.  And flagging they had been: banks reluctant to supply credit; scientists concerned about environment credentials; activists worried that Australia was inviting the creation of a dinosaur.  But the Morrison government needed some distracting good news and announced with speedy excitement that the company had met various scientific requirements on the protection of local waterways.  There are seats to be retained in Queensland, and timing is everything.

The speed of it has all the markings of electoral expediency. The environment minister, Melissa Price, continues to remain an invisible member of the Morrison government, but she briefly manifested in making the announcement.  Bullying and hectoring have also been part of the process, and Senator James McGrath was growling for her resignation if the seal of approval was refused.  Other members of the coalition, including National MPs Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, have been breathing heavily down the minister’s neck favouring Adani’s cause.

The effect of such pressure does much to take away the appearance of volition on Price’s part.  Jo-Anne Bragg, CEO of the Environmental Defenders Office in Queensland, smells a legal case testing the nature of minister’s discretion.  “Such a political threat puts a cloud over Minister Price’s possible decisions on Adani.”

Scientists have different opinions and these have, in turn, been given an unduly rosy twist.   CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have been painted as satisfied assessors of Adani’s project, but they remain sceptical of Adani’s water management plant. The media release from CSIRO notes that “Adani’s responses should satisfy the recommendations to update the groundwater models, and to address the modelling-related issues and concerns raised in the CSIRO-GA advice.”  But it also “noted that there are still components of the advice provided to the department that will need to be addressed through the approval of the research plan, which includes confirming the source aquifer of the Doongmabulla Springs.”

Ample doubt can be found in the scientific community towards Adani’s water plans.  For one thing, there is confusion over which of the two underground aquifers feeds into the ecosystem.  The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management does little to address the source of the springs.  The risk of getting this wrong would result in draining the aquifer feeding the Doongmabulla Springs itself, thereby resulting in its complete loss.

Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch was alert enough to be concerned by the qualifications inherent in the CSIRO-GA assessment, which she received a mere 30 minutes before the announcement by the federal government.  Lingering “uncertainties” included “source aquifers of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which has always been a requirement for state approval.”  Further “stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth” as outlined by Price herself, needed to be met before coal production could commence.

The Morrison government’s encouragement of Adani has also submerged other environmental snags the company has faced. The fate of the Black-Throated Finch, a critical feature of the approvals process, has somehow disappeared in the enthused announcements.  Adani claims to have a management plan for the finch stretching over two decades, one that will include a conservation area at Moray Downs West as part of the pastoral lease it owns.  The company boasts that, at more than 33,000 hectares in size, “the conservation area will be bigger than Moreton Island and one of the largest privately managed conservation areas in Queensland.”

Adani is also attempting to exert some pull over the Queensland government, which it only supplied with its latest version of the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan the same day Canberra had given its sketchy approval.  “Queensland decisions,” Enoch assured, “will be made by the environmental regulator, free from political interference.”  Adani can at least rest assured that it has a special water license from the Queensland government valid till 2077, giving the company unlimited access to the Great Artesian Basin, should the management plans be approved.

Despite all of this, Lucas Dow, Adani Mining Australia chief executive, proved impatient.  “The Queensland government has continued to shift the goal posts when it comes to finalising the outstanding environmental management plans for the mine and is standing in the way of thousands of jobs for Queenslanders.”

When faced with regulatory barriers, Dow’s formula is simple: conjure up rich fictions – that old imaginary notion of thousands of jobs – and threaten elected officials with old fashioned corporate thuggery for not giving in to a mining giant used to greasing palms, despoiling environments and corrupting officials. “It’s time the Queensland government gave us a fair go and stopped shifting the goal posts so we can get on with delivering these jobs.”  Spoken like a true stalwart of plunder.

The Adani chapter in Australian environmental and political history will prove to be one of the darkest, even if the approval process is not finalised in the company’s favour.  This sordid episode has revealed the country’s political classes to be divided, cowardly and impressionable.  They have become de facto hirelings of a foreign, often brutal foreign corporation indifferent to disclosure requirements in foreign jurisdictions, labour conditions and local ecology.  The affair has revealed a hostility to Australia’s environment, and sympathy for a short term, myopic vision that promises to conclude prematurely, given the move away from coal in the near future.  Far from being a beacon of environmental preservation and renewable energy, Australia promises to be the earth’s barren tip.

With Release of More Detectives’ Names, Entire Smollett Investigation Called Into Question

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:19

After writing about the three detectives listed on Jussie Smollett’s initial police report, more detectives’ names were released when Chicago police rushed investigation records to the media after Jussie’s charges were dropped. The media has not reported on these detectives’ backgrounds, but they are certainly newsworthy – and call the entire investigation into question.

13 officers are listed on the CPD reports.  Two have no civilian allegations.  The remaining 11 detectives have 177 civilian allegations against them.  The city of Chicago also paid to settle the cases of four of these detectives when they were sued for misconduct.  This can be found in the Chicago Reporter’s database.  Though neither the officers nor city of Chicago openly admits to the allegations, it remains true that the city of Chicago paid to settle these specific cases.

One of the detectives sued for misconduct is Morad Haleem, the supervisor who approved the investigation documents recently released to the media.  In the case, which the city of Chicago paid to settle, plaintiff Derrick Thrasher was pulled over for driving a car with tinted windows, then pressured by Haleem to confess to a crime he didn’t commit.  When Thrasher refused, Haleem began choking him and slammed his head into a wall allegedly.  Thrasher was admitted to the hospital at least twice as a result of his injuries.  Haleem does not appear to have been disciplined for this, and in fact went on to allegedly falsely arrest two Black women in 2015.

The city of Chicago also paid to settle the cases of two detectives who responded the night Jussie reported the attack.  In the case of detective Considine, who was written aboutpreviously, he allegedly arrested the wrong person despite being told it was the wrong person.  This man then had additional false charges filed against him.  The case was dropped months later.

Detective Cecchin, who was also written about previously, was involved in a case where the victim of a violent attack was arrested and charged, despite the officers being quite aware that they were arresting the wrong person.  According to the incident reports, which the city of Chicago paid to settle, the officers allegedly arrested a man who was still being actively attacked by a neighbor in front of them, a man whose hand was bleeding after being attacked with a butcher knife.  They arrested him despite being called to the scene by this man’s fiancée, whom they ignored when they arrived.  This man spent two years in jail awaiting trial.  The charges were dismissed by a jury.

Chicago also paid to settle three of detective Javier Zambrano’s cases for allegedly falsely arresting and brutalizing innocent men along with other officers.  Zambrano was involved in acquiring camera footage in Jussie’s investigation, and has 17 civilian allegations against him.  They include damaging/trespassing on the property of two White women with 16 officers, damaging property in a home, illegal searches, false arrests, and unnecessarily displaying a weapon off duty with 21 officers against eight Latino men.

The city of Chicago paid over $260,000 to settle these four officers’ cases between 2011-2017.

Detective Alexander Kim was involved at the store where the Osundairo brothers were filmed buying red hats – which Jussie never said they were wearing.  It is not written on the initial police report, and he specifically addressed this falsity in the interview on ABC.

Kim has two allegations against him regarding inventory.  One was that he failed to inventory the money of two Black women, and the other simply says ‘inventory procedures violation’ against a White woman which was noted as a violation in his record.  Kim also seems to have had difficulty with inventory in Jussie’s investigation.

Kim did not notice that police reports never said the attackers wore red hats – which the brothers were interestingly filmed buying.  He also did not notice that the brothers bought masks of a different style than Jussie described – buying masks with two small eye holes instead of one large opening around both eyes including the bridge of the nose, which Jussie described in the ABC interview.  Kim and his colleagues also did not appear to notice that the time stamp on this curious filming of the brothers was extremely strange, as mentioned by lawyer Mark Geragos in an interview with Anderson Cooper.  Perhaps a more thorough inventory would have produced a better video with evidence that actually had something to do with this case.

Kim’s other allegations include illegal searches of cars and homes – all against Black men and women, excessive use of force, falsely arresting two Black men (the complainant was a White man), conduct unbecoming towards two White women, and a complaint regarding a Black woman’s right to call an attorney or relative.

The other six detectives who investigated Jussie’s case and have allegations against them are: Ronald JasicaRonald BlasMichael VogenthalerKimberly MurrayWilliam Heneghen, and Michael Theis.  Charges against these officers include sale or possession of drugs, false arrests, verbal abuse, illegal searches, domestic incidents, a homophobic slur against a Black man, excessive use of force on and off duty, and bribery/official corruption.

It’s possible for any detective to botch a rushed investigation, but detectives with these kinds of backgrounds should be watched very carefully.

Though their backgrounds and specific involvement in Jussie’s case are incredibly newsworthy, it is not possible to write more about these other detectives in this article.  It remains the duty of the media who cover this case to make this information available to the public.

Much of the public believe Jussie is guilty.  How could this have occurred before the man even went to trial?  When looking back at the string of events, we see that the media began reporting as though Jussie was guilty immediately after he spent a day in jail when he was indicted.  The media does not have this right.  On the contrary, their behavior is gravely irresponsible.

Jussie’s lawyers requested cameras in the courtroom so that the public could see exactly what kind of evidence CPD has.  The public has not been given insight into just how flawed the detectives’ work was.

The court of public opinion is no arbiter of justice in this case.  Following the media line, many have behaved as an uninformed mob who have called this man out of his name so often in the last two months it’s like they are describing a person they concocted.  Their descriptions certainly do not resemble Jussie’s background, contributions, or the efforts he has made on behalf of humanity.  He has spoken against police brutality and court corruption frequently, as well as stood up for humanity repeatedly.  The mass slander of this man spreads an arrogant sickness in society, which does not benefit the people, Jussie, or society.

Who does it benefit?  CPD.  Yes, the #16shotsandacoverup CPD.  As well as a mass media who spun the case and then reported extensively on the spin and reactions it fomented in our society.  It’s telling to see how much the media is avoiding writing about corrupted authority and information that would clear Jussie’s name.  Despite this, the mass media continues to have an ethical responsibility to accurately inform the public.  It is the only real duty it has.

Jussie has been quiet recently as storms of sickness rage around him.  Perhaps he knows more about how to deal with this situation – and continue to fight to bring well-being to others – than one might think.  After all, he did write a song called Hurt People Hurt People that addresses the kind of sickness he is now dealing with.

Now we are watching you come for my life

Hurt people hurt people
They don’t know why
Hurt people hurt people
They don’t even try
We all go through things in our lives
That don’t make shit all right
You don’t hate me
Listen clearly
Hurt people hurt people

He’s a deep man.

RIP Shawn Smith

Thu, 2019-04-11 15:10


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