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Archive for October 12th, 2017

Retired FBI Official Kevin Kendrick: ‘Taking a Knee or Locking Arms During the National Anthem is Their Way of Saying Freedom Isn’t Being Afforded to Everyone’

The writer, a native Detroiter, graduated from Cass Tech and Wayne State University. He was as assistant special FBI agent in charge of the Detroit field office from 1999-2002 and retired in 2006 as head of the Charlotte Division in North Carolina. He recently moved from Michigan to North Carolina.

By Kevin Kendrick

What does freedom mean to you? One dictionary I recently referenced defined it as this: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Of course, inherent in the definition of freedom is the right to interpret the word yourself. Attendant with that however, is the understanding that your definition and my definition may be different. And that’s o.k.

When I look at incarceration rates for young black men in my country I am appalled. Sentencing data helps to inform me that disparate treatment is still occurring.


Kevin Kendrick: “Segregation and separation were a part of my life.” (LinkedIn photo)

This is part of the reason why we see people challenging the status quo of criminal justice in our country now in the way that they do. Taking a knee or locking arms during the National Anthem is their way of saying freedom isn’t being afforded to everyone on an equal footing in America.

It may not be your way of expressing and it isn’t my way. I prefer to use the very valuable lessons history has shared with us to show how illusory freedom can be, how very different it can be for all of us.  But the very word, freedom, affords them the opportunity to do that.

Isn’t that what ultimately, this is about?

Freedom Looks Different

Freedom does in fact, look different to different people. As an African-American, I am never too far removed from the reality that my freedom is something that’s very different from that of white Americans.

My freedom wasn’t actually realized until December 6, 1865 when the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. It wouldn’t be until 1868 when the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing equal protection under the laws among other things, would be ratified. And in 1869, a new Amendment, the 15th, guaranteed all American citizens the right to vote. By all appearances, blacks in America would have equality . . . freedom.

Unfortunately, those appearances were exactly that. Reconstruction in the South came to an abrupt end through a seemingly never-ending succession of laws passed by various states aimed at restricting the rights of blacks, the “Jim Crow” laws as they were known, succeeded in making freedom elusive for most people of color.

Lynchings were carried out on a frequent basis and became almost carnival-like with large crowds gathering and hawkers present. Post cards of lynchings including photos of people who were literally gutted and burned alive were popular and often used to show friends and relatives in other places what might lie in store for blacks who dared to violate any of these Jim Crow norms.

Freedom for my ancestors at that point meant simply existing to the next day and trying mightily not to offend anyone. Voting was certainly something most blacks in the South couldn’t do because of contrived poll tests. Segregation became the law of the land, including the North, after Plessy v. Ferguson and black freedom meant knowing your place…and staying in it.

Segregation and separation were a part of my life from the very beginning. I was born in a hospital designated for blacks because in 1956; my mother wasn’t welcomed in hospitals for whites.

Read more »

Trump Picks Top White House Aide to run Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

Kirstjen Nielsen, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House announced Wednesday that President Trump plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide, to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Nielsen, 45, a cyber security expert with an extensive background in homeland security, has a close working relationship with Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly. When Kelly served as Homeland Security secretary until recently, Nielsen was his top aide. When Kelly moved to the White House in July, Nielsen joined him as his principal deputy chief of staff.

Nielsen worked on homeland security issues during stings with the TSA and on the White House Homeland Security Council under George W. Bush.

Also considered for the job was House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas.

Trump’s Lawyers: President Wants To Interview with Special Counsel Mueller

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s lawyers say the president is willing to sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russia’s role in the presidential election.

Politico reports that Trump’s lawyers support the idea because it will speed up the investigation and create more confidence that the president has nothing to hide. 

Trump is so eager for an interview that he may volunteer for it if a request isn’t made by Thanksgiving.

But an interview carries risks for Trump, who may be questioned about obstruction of justice allegations for firing then-FBI Director James Comey. Trump also could be peppered with questions about his relationship with the Kremlin.

“Whatever happens with regard to whether or not, or how, the special counsel might want to interview the president, there’s no reason to expect that would be combative,” the senior White House official explained.

Austin Man Who Threatened to Kill Obama Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison

Gavin Friedman

Gavin Friedman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 21-year-old Austin man who threatened to kill President Obama and a U.S. attorney and blow up federal buildings was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in prison.

Gavin Friedman pleaded guilty to making a threat against the president and mailing threatening communications, the Dallas Morning News reports

In a January 2016 letter threatening to kill Obama, Friedman said he would become a martyr in the name of Allah.

Either month later, Friedman threatened in a letter to blow up the FBI field office in Houston and the White House.

“Threats such as these have no place in a civilized society and will be vigorously prosecuted,” U.S. Attorney John Parker said in a written statement.

Dems Urge Secret Service to Cough Up Details of Pence’s Football Trip

Vice President Mike Pence.

Vice President Mike Pence.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling Vice President Mike Pence’s early departure from an NFL game on Sunday a political stunt, two top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are urging the Secret Service to disclose the cost of the trip in Indianapolis.

The letter to Secret Service Director Randolph Alles on Wednesday accused Pence of billing taxpayers for a political stunt.

“The costs associated with the Vice President traveling to Indianapolis and attending a large, public event are immense, and we are deeply concerned that the Trump Administration finds it appropriate to expend taxpayer resources to play political games,” reads the letter by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.

The letter also asks whether any of the agents who were present lost their eligibility for overtime because of statutory pay limits.

The Hill wrote:

Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, where he attended a matchup between the Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. Reporters traveling with the vice president were told by a staffer to wait in their vans outside the stadium because of the possibility of “an early departure from the game.”

Pence soon left, after some players knelt in protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” President Trump later tweeted that he had told the vice president to leave if any players took a knee.

What Law Enforcement Still Doesn’t Know about Las Vegas Shooter

Stephen Paddock

Stephen Paddock

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eleven days after Stephen Paddock sprayed bullets into a large gathering of people at a country music festival in Las Vegas, investigators still have important, unanswered questions.

What motivated Paddock to kill 58 people and injure hundreds of others? Why did he stop shooting? Why did it take police 18 minutes to find Paddock? How painstaking was his planning.

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said authorities are trying to “draw the most accurate picture” possible of the shooting and what led up to it.

“There’s more than 20,000 moving parts associated with this investigation and it takes time,” he told CNN affiliate KLAS on Wednesday.

For reasons that remain a mystery to authorities, Paddock appeared to have stopped shooting after 10 minutes, even before authorities approached him.