OK, that’s it. Stop. Think. After Donald Trump’s recent interviews in nation-wide media outlets, not disavowing his relationship with David Duke, the outspoken, “once-a-candidate,” KKK member, makes Trump, in the words of one journalist, “unelectable.” Duke has endorsed Trump for the Presidency.
If we haven’t had a fairly militant, or passionate response to the even the possibility (as I write this it’s Super Tuesday) that Trump could be the Republican front-runner, and maybe President. I don’t know about you, but this causes shivers to run up & down my spine.

It’s curious to me that reports are so conflicting over this issue. He tells one interviewer he doesn’t know Duke, but, please, have you been alive for the last decade, living on this planet, and don’t know who David Duke is & what he advocates for (hate& violence) in his apparent new role as the “pied piper.”

I’ve wondered to myself, what are the conditioning factors of a person like Donald Trump? How does one getto be so unaware of her own behavior (I’m not a mind reader so I don’t really know), in Trump’s case, his ownpolitical & rhetorical style is raw, blunt, emotion-stirring& driven, biased, based on his own inferences not fact, some might say abusive (he turned to an audience member at one his rallies, and asked her if she was Mexican), and certainly race-baiting.

Another factor about Donald Trump is that he’s got a good case of narcissism and “big headedness.” Glenda Blair has written a book about the Trump family. David Margolick, reviews the book in the New York Times Book Section, December 3, 2000. At Donald Trump’s father’s funeral in the late Nineties, Trump showed his self absorption, having little to say about his father:

Appalling, perhaps. But astonishing? Astonishing to whom? Surely not to anyone who’s followed the career of Donald Trump — which is to say, virtually everyone. No one can doubt he has done remarkable things. But not content to let the facts speak for themselves, he has been breathtakingly, unabashedly, unceasingly immodest. Whether one credits all of his superlatives he spreads around — the ”biggest” and ”greatest” this, the ”richest” and ”sexiest” that — few would dispute his stranglehold on the one title he has never claimed: the most swollen swelled head on earth. He has plastered his name on everything: hotels, apartment buildings, casinos, an airline, a yacht, a quiz show, a bicycle race, golf courses and even a board game (lowest denomination, $10 million, and guess whose smiling face is on every bill). He is forever flaunting beautiful women on his arm, always with a smugness suggesting that they are his just deserts (or desserts).

Watching and listening to Trump, one always has to ask two questions: Could anyone ever really be so full of himself? Or is it all an act? To Blair, the author of ”Almost Golden: Jessica Savitch and the Selling of Television News,” the answers are, essentially, ”Yes” and ”No.” True, Trump knows that his very name is as golden as the facades of his buildings and helped to save him from bankruptcy a decade ago. But that Trump’s conceit has made and kept him wealthy makes it no less genuine; it is a matter of conviction, not tactics. A man who so loves himself does not have much room left for anything or anyone else, which is bad news for Blair. Someone so deeply shallow, so profoundly superficial, yet so painstakingly scrutinized for so long by so many reporters and gossipmongers is not a promising subject to write about — unless, that is, she uncovers something everyone else has managed to miss.

Blair neatly captures Trump’s uncanny business instincts, as well as his competitiveness, chutzpah, cruelty, vulgarity and hucksterism. And she catches him in his lies, or what Trump himself calls ”truthful hyperbole” — inflating the number of floors in his buildings to give each more cachet; hiring bulldozers to go back and forth uselessly outside a casino site to give potential partners the illusion of activity; boasting of paying cash — $8 million of it — for his Palm Beach pleasure dome, Mar-a-Lago, when he’d actually put down only $2,811 of his own money. She also reintroduces us to Ivana Winklmayr, the beauty from Czechoslovakia whom Trump married in 1977. It was Ivana who gave Trump his first three children and his most enduring nickname — The Donald — only to be traded in, a dozen years later, for a younger and more pliable model named Marla Maples.

Margolick uses Trump’s own, interesting term when He references the term “truthful hyperbole.” Trump appears to use the over-inflated statements & opinions of a New York street punk, and the logic of a jackass; I’ve found very few statements he’s made that mention any source or reference making his political & rhetorical points. It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that if you have a serious “narcissism” problem, it’s like a chronic & terminal eye disease, and very easily may lead to, or trigger, pathology, or “false to facts” reasoning.

Another little-known fact is that Trump’s father was a known sympathizer & associate of the KKK. In 1927, Fred Trump was arrested in New York for a melee between police & the KKK; a number of people were wounded in the disturbance, and Trump was thrown in jail.

I’m actually glad that Trump is the Republican candidate who must be beat at this point! Why? Trump is the ex officio example of a politician (saying he really isn’t the “average” politician) who doesn’t care about what people think about his blatantly racist remarks & behaviors, nor his form of dishing out a neoconservative & racist message. He has done his part to graphically display the ultimate contrast to Social Justice. We thank you, Donald.

The other piece of this is that it’s brought out the racism, exceptionalism, & ignorance of many people in this nation; racism has never left-it returns in a multi-display of costumes and clown outfits over a number of generations, and really since the founding of the nation & prior to that as well. The reason so many people are responding to Trump is fear. They’re afraid of American Whites not being the majority demographic in American culture & politics. Sorry folks, you can’t change what’s already happened, and it’s moral & rational foolishness to attempt the idea to try to go back in time, to a lesser state of social consciousness, to a lesser state of continuous abuse of Civil Rights .

A topic for another time is fundamentalist or conservative co-dependency on bigoted politicians.

As it has often been said, if we refuse to learn from history, we’re doomed to repeat it. When Trump moved from being the entertaining clown (incidentally, he loved playing the “class clown” role in school) among the Republicans, to being the iconic spokesman for racism, bias, & bigotry; he moved into the realm of danger for the human rights & civil rights of all Americans. Because this is the arena where ideology & power meet and do their work of attempting to influence the thought processes of human beings, in their own behalf, with their political agenda.

Between now & the election, will you choose to be an insurgent against Donald Trump, using whatever your wisdom & skills tell you what to do? Time is short. Let’s find our space to act!

©Christopher Bear-Beam March 1, 2016


UPDATE 26/01/01/2015

Find all the updates on events in preparation on the Facebook page.
You can also participate to the Letter writing campaign or find out more on Facebook

A growing number of organisations and individuals support Rodney Reed, his family and friends.
This includes The Innocence Project, National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Campaign to end the Death Penalty (CEDP), Texas Defender Service (TDS), The Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, SAVE.
It also includes 11 members of the victim’s family (see statements from clemency letters further below).

Who is Rodney Reed?

Rodney is the father of three sons: Aaron, Anthony, and Chris; grandfather to Jaymeson, Marlei and Jeremiah, and Avery; brother to Rodrick, Ronald, Robert, Richard and Ryan. His entire family is completely convinced of his innocence (see video further below in the section: “What his family says”). He says:

My name is Rodney Reed. I’ve been on Death Row now for 17 years for a crime I didn’t commit. I’ve never hurt anyone in my life and soon I’ll be scheduled for execution. Texas is going to kill me and I’m innocent. (…) Stacey and I had sex 4 times in, or very close to my town, Bastrop. Stacey went out of her way to see me in the half-year or so that we knew each other. (…) At the very least, I will be executed by Texas, and I will be comfortable with myself and the Lord, and my family and friends, because I am innocent. Thank you for anything you can do for me, and God have mercy on the sinners who kill innocent people.

“Rodney was a fantastic boxer who was going places with his boxing. He has worked in nursing home, unfortunately, the injustice system intervened before a real profession could take root” a friend says.

Case summary

Rodney Reed was convicted by an all white jury for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites in 1996 in the small town of Bastrop – the very woman he says he had been having an affair with. However, Rodney’s court-appointed attorneys did not provide witnesses who would testify that Rodney and Stacey were engaged in a sexual relationship at the time of her tragic death, thus explaining the presence of his semen in her body. No other evidence in the case connected Rodney to Stacey or the crime scene.

Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent of the crime and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely her fiance, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “kidnapping and sexual assault of a person in custody”, as a Georgetown police officer (listen to his rape victim’s statement further below).
Rodney’s family, and his supporters, believe that evidence of a black man engaged in a sexual relationship with a white woman in a small Texas town would have been enough to frame him for murder and send him to death row. Unfortunately, all the courts so far have denied the appeals of Rodney Reed, despite of the fact members of the victim’s family believe Rodney Reed may not be guilty.

Much evidence point to Stacey Stites’ fiance Jimmy Fennell as the real culprit of her murder. Read more about the facts of the case here.

. Texans March to Senate Chamber Demanding Racial Equality KEYE TV, January 19th, 2015
. Rodney Reed seeking relief on death row, by Patty Finney, January 8th 2015
. DNA testing denied in Rodney reed’s case, November 2014, The Intercept
. Huffington Post Interview, November 2014
. Rodney Reed’s appeal rejected by US Supreme Court
. Murder victim’s family in last-ditch effort to save man convicted of killing her from execution…saying they believe 19-year-old was strangled to death by
her cop fiancé, Daily Mail, November 2014
. Is Texas getting ready to execute an innocent man, November 2014, The Intercept, Jordan Smith
. Worker’s World: Stop execution of Rodney Reed, August 2014
. Watch full documentary on the whole Rodney Reed case, State vs Reed here– Trailer above
. Judge sets Jan. 14th execution date for Rodney Reed (including video report)
. WATCH: Rodney Reed, the next Troy Davis, RT?
. READ: Rodney Reed: Another Innocent Man on Texas’ Death Row? by Jordan Smith, The Nation
. READ: Medical Examiner: Testimony Misconstrued in R. Reed Case Explosive information filed in federal court by J SMITH, Austin Chronicle14/08/2012
. WATCH Family and supporters stand behind Rodney Reed, Keye’s program
. READ: 5th Circuit Court document
. Earlier coverage of Rodney Reed’s case begins at the link.
. READ: The Austin Chronicle’s archive of Rodney Reed articles
. Here is a Fox News TV report (including a testimony from the victim sexually assaulted by Jimmy Fennel, Stacey Stites’ fiance)
. Read the Caitlin Adams blog posts.
. Keep updated on his Facebook page and Twitter @FreeRodneyReed and new Facebook page Rodney Reed the Truth

case connected Rodney to Stacey or the crime scene.

Reed’s lawyers argue that he is innocent of the crime and that Stites was murdered by somebody else — most likely her fiance, who years later was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “kidnapping and sexual assault of a person in custody”, as a Georgetown police officer (listen to his rape victim’s statement further below).
Rodney’s family, and his supporters, believe that evidence of a black man engaged in a sexual relationship with a white woman in a small Texas town would have been enough to frame him for murder and send him to death row. Unfortunately, all the courts so far have denied the appeals of Rodney Reed, despite of the fact members of the victim’s family believe Rodney Reed may not be guilty.

Much evidence point to Stacey Stites’ fiance Jimmy Fennell as the real culprit of her murder. Read more about the facts of the case here
Learn about the timeline here What a former prosecutor says

WATCH Stephen Keng, attorney at law and former prosecutor give his personal opinion on the case. (Credit: Reed vs State, documentary by Ryan Polomsky)

What a rape victim of Jimmy Fennell (fiance of Stacey Stites when Stacey was murdered), says

Listen below to a short 2 mns extract of a new interview (April 4th, 2014) of Jimmy Fennell’s rape victim giving a testimony of her ordeal, how she believes that Jimmy Fennell could have murdered Stacey Stites and how terrified she is, that he might kill her when he gets out of prison [Full 22 mns interview here]
Jimmy Fennell’s rape victim
What members of the victim’s family say

11 members of the family of the victim Stacey Stites support the plea for justice of Rodney Reed. Here is some of their views (from clemency letters they wrote to the Governor – Find out more)
Sherry, cousin:

The loss of my cousin has been devastating and sad for our family. I and others feel we have been denied justice in her murder and I feel that Jimmy Fennel got away with murder.

Heather Stobbs, cousin:

My cousin, Stacey was murdered at the age of 19 in Bastrop County, Texas in late April 1996. She was engaged to be married, and the mother of a daughter she had given up for adoption a few years earlier. She was athletic, funny, sassy and full of life. She was also a risk-taker, who from the time she was a toddler was into everything. She possessed a strong and opinionated personality and did not like being told what to do. In fact, if you asked her not to do something, that was pretty much a guarantee that as soon as you were gone, she was doing it. She is missed.
Our system failed her. It has failed her family, her friends, her daughter. Please do not let the memory of her be filled with so much controversy. Please give Mr. Reed a new trial and a stay of execution before it is too late.

Judy Mitchell, cousin:

I’m am writing to you to PLEASE hear our pleas and intervene (…). Time is of the essence as Rodney Reed’s execution draws near.
What independent witnesses say
An independent (anonymous) witness from the local Bastrop area, who was never presented at trial, has stated since the trial, that she knew about Rodney Reed and Stacey Stites consensual relationship. She says:
“I have seen them (Rodney and Stacey) about 4 or 5 times… She was nice, I liked Stacey, ”
(see video above)

Trina Hola, from Bastrop, TX, gave this reason to sign the petition in support of Rodney Reed

Stacy Stites was a personal friend to my family. Knew Stacy for a long time. Went to the same church and were in the same youth group together. I DO NOT believe Mr. Reed did this! FREE RODNEY REED!!!
In an article from The Austin Chronicle, Jordan Smith writes:
(…) Significantly, potential witnesses included more than just friends and family of Reed. One was James Robertson, now in the navy and stationed overseas, who said he saw Reed in jail while Reed was awaiting trial. In an affidavit, he said he had known Reed and Stites were dating and had seen them together several times at parties.

In addition, at least one of Stites’ own relatives remains unconvinced by the trial’s outcome. That person, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “It needs to be investigated more than what was done. I don’t think it was investigated the way it should’ve been. I don’t feel that Rodney Reed killed her. He didn’t have to rape her, let’s put it that way.” This same relative said there are other Stites family members who share the same opinion. Read more here
What Rodney Reed’s family says

Chris Aldridge (Rodney Reed’s cousin) also provided an alibi for Reed on the night of April 23. “We was at the [Bastrop] community center [near Reed’s family’s house], because we had to go to work the next morning,” he said, as part of a crew helping to remodel the local Super S store. “I was with him until about 3 or 4am, then I went home, took a shower, ate something, and walked to Rodney’s house, and we walked to work.”

Rodrick Reed, 45, brother of Rodney Reed.

He says the conviction of his brother has affected his entire family.
“If my brother is on death row, I’m on death row,” he said. “I know in my heart of hearts that he is innocent.”
Read Houston Chronicle article
What his friends say

Julie Strickland:

I have known Rodney for 25+ years; way before he fell into this trap. He is one of the kindest, most caring, genuine people I have ever met. Aside from the obvious facts, Brady violations, ineffective assistance of counsel and rubber stamped denials by higher courts; I know Rodney Reed is innocent. I know, because, well, I just know. For so many years, I have visited Rodney in prison. I never really took the time to research his case other than watching the documentary State vs Reed. I didn’t have to do any research. If you know Rodney personally, you know he is innocent. Rodney grew up, one of six brothers. Now I am sure there were teenage quarrels between the brothers, but never in all the time I spent with Rodney and/or his family was there arguing or fighting. Compassion and love ran the house. Compassion and love, faith, hope and the truth have been what have kept Rodney standing strong for so many years. Rodney has been steadfast in his innocence, one that you, reader, will hopefully see for yourself.

Caitlin Adams:

Caitlin spent every ounce of energy fighting for Rodney’s freedom during the last two years of her life, whilst fighting herself for her own life in the same time – Caitlin suffered from ALS (Lou Gherig’s Disease) and is now deceased. She wrote:I understand that we have an adversarial criminal justice system. I understand that it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to be a prosecutor. I also understand that the ultimate goal of our criminal justice system is JUSTICE. Not winning a case at the cost of an innocent man’s life. Not setting out to win a case with the goal of advancing your professional and political aspirations. Read more Caitlin’s blogs @CEDP
Rodney Reed is part of the on line exhibition about the special friendship between prisoners on death row and their pen friends around the world.
What former US judges say

In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, eight retired judges recently asked the Court to review the case of Rodney Reed. The judges did not take a stance on Reed’s innocence claims but urged the Court to hear his appeal so that new evidence in the case could be examined under the light of cross-examination in a full hearing, rather than just through the review of legal papers. “That is not how our system of justice is designed to operate,” the judges said. “When courts have only affidavits without witness testimony, they lack the means of testing the accuracy, reliability, competence, scientific acumen, proper training and judgment of the [person testifying].” Reed is claiming that his trial lawyers did not adequately investigate forensic evidence that experts now say might be unreliable. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected Reed’s appeal because they found the new testimony unpersuasive as presented in appellate briefs. The eight judges who petitioned the Supreme Court said the evidence should have been heard by a district judge in an hearing. The brief says: “The need for a hearing and live witness testimony is especially vital in evaluating ineffective assistance of counsel claims. As Petitioner’s case demonstrates, ineffective assistance claims “often involve complex factual considerations” for which there is a great “benefit from an evidentiary hearing, in which the Court can access the credibility of witnesses during live testimony and cross-examination”
The judges on the amicus brief are:

. Charles F. Baird, Former Associate Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (1991-1999).
. U. W. Clemon, Former Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (1980-2006; Chief Judge 1999-2006).
. Oliver E. Diaz, Jr. Former Justice, Mississippi Supreme Court (2000-2008); Former Judge, Mississippi Court of Appeals (1994-2000).
. W. Thomas Dillard, Former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee (1976-1978).
. W. Royal Furgeson, Former Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (2008-2013); Former Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (1994-2008).
. Stephen M. Orlofsky, Former Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1996-2003); Former Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1976-1980).
. H. Lee Sarokin, Former Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1994-1996); Former Judge, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (1979-1994).
. Sol Wachtler, Former Judge, New York Court of Appeals (1972- 1992; Chief Judge, 1985-1992); Former Judge, New York State Supreme Court (1968-1972).

Read amicus brief here
Read article from C. Lindell, “Eight ex-judges support appeal of death row inmate Rodney Reed,” Austin American-Statesman, 22/07/2014

What President Obama has recently said:

President Obama recently declared in a press conference with Angela Merkel that he thought that “we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues”, while reaffirming his belief the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes”. He added:

“Racial bias. Uneven application of the death penalty. Situations in which there were individuals on death row who later on were discovered to have been innocent because of exculpatory evidence – all these I think do raise significant questions about how the death penalty is being applied.”

How you can help Rodney Reed:

. Please help us save the life of Rodney Reed: Write a personal clemency letter to help save his life. Find out all the details on Facebook here

Bastrop County Courthouse PHONE, FAX AND EMAIL – Template letter

To the Honourable Bryan Goertz,

I would like to bring to your attention the case of Rodney Reed, who has been given an execution date of March 5th, 2015, although important DNA testing is under way. Rodney’s lawyers have asked for testing on several more items related to the crime scene, which the State has not agreed to.

We hope that all the possible DNA testing in Rodney Reed’s case is done so no risk be taken, in any way, to execute an innocent man. Our thoughts go to his family and friends who will have to bear the tremendous weight of the loss of a loved one, who may have been innocent.

Thank you.

Telephone (512) 581-7125
Fax: (512) 581-7133

. Rodney Reed’s attorneys need more funds to carry out new investigations.

$75 can pay for one hour of investigation. Please send your funds to the attention of co-counsel Andrew MacRae:

Levatino Pace LLP
1101 S. Capital of Texas Highway
Building K, Suite 125
Austin, Texas 78746

All details here – Please donate for new investigations to help save his life.
(Enter the name of Rodney Reed and leave invoice number blank, just proceed to payment).

To contact Rodney Reed or his supporters

You can contact Rodney Reed by email via (1$) or by snail mail:

Rodney R Reed
Polunksy Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston TX 77351

For all media enquiries, please contact his friend Julie Strickland
For any other query, please contact usMental-Disorders

Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington, DC

The visions of new consciousness are created out of nothing.  They come out of empty space; emptiness, however, does not equate to nothingness, because what fills empty space is enlivened energy with all of its components.  The thoughts of human beings are the seeds of objects and movements in space and time.  The energized thoughts of humanity bring to birth the material stuff around us.

At this time of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington, DC it is just the right time to think of the visions, aspirations, and inspirations born out of suffering of oppression and racism by men like Martin Luther King, Jr., Medger Evans, Bobby Kennedy and William Moo

re who was murdered alongside the road in Alabama.  William Moore was a white postal worker who decided to carry a letter, by foot, to the President.  His letter advocated for the Civil Rights for African Americans, as well as all human beings, no matter what or who they were.  As he carried the letter and a sign for all to see, he did so from a visionary thought that he made reality.

The problem was that some people in Alabama wanted to silence his message, and silence him forever.  They killed him and left him beside the road in Alabama.

I use these illustrations to reinforce the universality of what they were willing to die for.   None of them was just advocating for one group over another, although in our empirical society the main conflict was black and white, and the white, supremacist system that perpetuated the inferiority of African Americans and the superiority of European Americans.

Civil Rights have similarities to Human Rights as well as differences.  Civil Rights are advocated for, and in many cases fought for, whether in armed struggle or non-violent civil disobedience.  They involve the laws that govern the nation and the states, and are created to protect all of its citizens from discrimination and bias.  This is also why the legal right and freedom to vote was also a part of the Civil Rights struggle.  In a single vote, there exists the power of self-determination to not allow governance by various power groups who seek any kind of tyranny of dominance over others.

Human Rights are universals that all people are born with.  They transcend all other human laws.  For me, they all seem connected to the Golden Rule.  If I want to be treated by others in a certain way, I must realize my mutual interdependency with all others.  I behave towards them as I want them to behave towards me-with fairness, integrity, justice, compassion, equality and love.

Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, was a man who cared about the north and the south.  His vision and view was visionary, universal and non-parochial.  I know this because I lived in Chicago, Illinois when he came there to lead a protest against landlords (known colloquially as slum lords) who were exploiting the poor tenants of apartment dwellings, charging exorbitant rents, and providing little to no maintenance,  and who were mainly African Americans and other persons of color.  King led the march through Lincoln Park while white bystanders taunted the protesters with racial epithets, and beat up some of them up.  In one documentary that I saw, the faces of the whites reminded me of some of the faces of southerners who attended lynchings.  The incarnation of the face of hate.

All of these sheroes and heroes were ordinary people like all the rest of us.  What made them different was that they transformed their thoughts into concrete, empirical and material reality.  Were they perfect?  Of course not. But nothing says you have to be perfect to do good work.  Did they have shortcomings?  Absolutely.  Yes they did, as we all do.  Were they saints who performed miracles.  No, not really.

There’s a Zen story that I’ll leave with you at the end of this blog.  Three Zen monks came to a small village.  They were hungry and thirsty when they got there.  An old woman saw them walking in the street, and invited them into her house to serve them tea.  They were very grateful.  As she prepared the tea and a few pieces of bread, she asked each one of them to tell her of the miracles they had each seen.  One by one, they were speechless and stammered that they had never seen any miracles.  “Well, then, I will show you one.  A bonafied miracle.  Look carefully and you will see.”  Then she very simply poured the tea. 

© Christopher Bear-Beam August 27, 2013