Reinaker’s Traffic Stop A Blatant Example of Unfairness

(This article was originally published by Farm Fresh Media. Used With permission)

A couple of months ago, Pres. Judge Dennis Reinaker was stopped in East Lampeter township in Lancaster County.

Now, with the advent of summer, the “Reinaker incident” has been reported in both Lancaster Newspapers (LNP) and the York Daily Record, as well as by PennLive and a variety of national news sources, including the Washington Post. Reinaker also did a follow up TV interview at WGAL.

Meanwhile, the police cam footage is all over the Internet.

In it, we can see that Reinaker exits the vehicle soon after being pulled over, with his turn signal still blinking, and walks aggressively toward the officer, yelling at him about why he’s being pulled over.

“You better check the registration on this license plate soon, Mister.” The judge snaps before getting back in his vehicle.

He has all the gravitas of an enraged boss dressing down a junior employee, which, in a sense, is really how things are done.

This footage, obtained by the local newspaper mysteriously, is a rare glimpse into how elected officials really view their positions not as servants of the general public, but as their masters.

Any average citizen doesn’t feel good getting pulled over, but they don’t go charging out of their vehicles and lecturing the patrol officer unless they want a healthy (or unhealthy, as it were) dose of police violence leveled their way.

In the WGAL interview, subsequently, Reinaker says it “doesn’t paint a very pleasant picture of me.”

But he said he didn’t think there was any “basis” to pulling him over.

Isn’t that for the police department to decide?

“I have learned to try to control my irritation and frustration when situations like that present themselves,” Reinaker told WGAL.

That’s good for Reinaker’s blood pressure, at least –  but there’s really no acknowledgment there of the difference between the experience of an average citizen and the judge himself in a traffic stop.

One Redditor says it best:

“Now imagine a black guy storming out of his truck at a cop in Lancaster.”

We don’t really have to imagine it, because the news is all around us.

Although the Fraternal Order of Police pushes back against actual accountings of fatal force – these incidents are so routine that they’ve become shorthand in our social and political system. Ferguson. St. Louis. Baltimore.

You even have bizarre stories like this, where after a fatal police shooting, the department chose to fire the officer who did not shoot to kill a black man because he didn’t feel that he represented a threat to his life.

It’s much more routine for police officers to simply claim psychological fear and use that pretext to fire and kill.

As the body count piles up, those like Reinaker who feel like they own the police are able to manifest that ownership confidently, without any fear or concern.

In his book, “The Divide,” journalist Matt Taibbi writes about the two different systems in America – one for the rich and powerful, and another one for everyone else.

“For a country founded on the idea that rights are inalienable and inherent from birth, we’ve developed a high tolerance for conditional rights and conditional citizenship,” Taibbi writes. “Our prison population, in fact, is now the biggest in the history of human civilization. There are more people in the United States either on parole or in jail today (around 6 million total) than there ever were at any time in Stalin’s gulags. For what it’s worth, there are also more black men in jail right now than there were in slavery at its peak.” 

The Reinaker incident is a simple case study in privilege – and this judge is already seeing a concerted effort not to reelect someone who takes his responsibility as an average citizen in such a cavalier way.

We also chose to take a second look at this example because of the judge’s position in a civil system that we have to deal with all too often – where divorce and family law become cudgels of the system to beat down families, where parents have children taken away at the whim of a cruel agent, and where too many average citizens simply have little recourse to defend themselves from an aggressive burea-o-cracy based on the idea that “poor people don’t count.”

Judges simply have so much power – that we feel they need to be held to a higher, not a lower, standard. That means anticipating scrutiny of their legal affairs, and, ideally, working to reform a system slanted against the poor.

For that matter, we also have our eye on another corner of the local “injustice” system where District Attorney Craig Stedman is coming under fire for a lack of transparency in how civil asset forfeiture funds are used within the county.

Again, it seems that the powerful don’t like to give up their “perks” or be asked to subject themselves to the parts of the system that face the rest of us – in Reinaker’s case, the routine ire of a traffic stop.

Keep an eye on our sites as we go to bat for the families – for those who can’t afford fancy lawyers, and who are not fancy lawyers themselves. Read up on “Gideon’s Way” where we document the deficiencies in the public defender system in U.S. Courts. We are here to shine a light on some of the disturbing realities of modern day America – join us!

Constitution Podcast Series

Here is an interesting Podcast by the founder, Ethan The Farmer of our parent organization, GTKYF Foundation Inc. Through our media arm, Farm Fresh Media.

It contains the first in a series related to the United States Constitution and what we see happening in this country and our world.

Make sure and Join us as we dive into these interesting subjects nad discuss how they relate with us today.

Listen to this episode of my podcast: This is the constitution series… by Ethan The Farmer. PODCAST 1 in a series.

https://anchor.fm/ethanthefarmer/episodes/This-is-the-constitution-series—-by-Ethan-The-Farmer–PODCAST-1-in-a-series-e5cu5v

Venezuela Peace

(This article was originally published on our Farm Fresh Media site. It is Republished here with permission. As we feel it is pertinent to Activism and the heart of what the term means.)

There is trouble in Venezuela – and instead of helping to calm the waters, some figures in our own federal government seem bent on fanning the flames to their own advantage.

The lengths that they will go to are on full display today as peaceful vigil teams huddle in the blacked-out Venezuelan embassy at 1099 30th St NW in Washington, D.C., where the federal Secret Service and law enforcement teams have effectively cut off supplies.

What’s behind the conflict? In a nutshell, the world as a whole cannot agree on who Venezuela’s president is.

Nicolas Maduro has served as president in Venezuela since 2013. Maduro was close to Hugo Chavez, a former leader hated by the United States for his nationalist rhetoric.

Now, Maduro has received a political challenge from Juan Guaido, who claims that Maduro’s re-election January 10 of 2019 is illegitimate.

Here is Wikipedia’s impartial explanation of the scenario as it stands:

“AP News reported that “familiar geopolitical sides” had formed in the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis, with allies Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Cuba supporting Maduro, and the US, Canada, and most of Western Europe supporting Guaidó.” 

Those who are currently inhabiting the embassy in Washington say the US should stay out of Venezuelan affairs. Others disagree.

Due to international law, the federal attack teams are not allowed to enter the embassy ( as far as we can tell)– do they cut off the electricity and encircled the site to try to force these conscientious and concerned citizens out through siege.

“The Embassy Protection Collective, a group of organizations and individuals, is residing and working in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC at the invitation of the elected Venezuelan government as an interim protectorate,” write the embassy’s current inhabitants. “We have taken on the responsibility for maintaining, cleaning, and caring for the building until a permanent protectorate for the embassy, in the form of a mutual formal agreement to find third-party host countries to safeguard the Venezuelan and U.S. embassies in Washington and Caracas, respectively is established. We have received innumerable messages of support and love from around the world. We are safe in the building, and our will is strong.”

The United States has a long history of intervening violently in affairs in South and Central America. Many of Venezuela’s neighbors know all too well the grisly and fatal consequences of defying the global police.

But in the modern era, after decades of such dark meddling, we had thought that even the war hawks in Washington were becoming more content to lay down their arms and focus on helping the needy at home, as in the words of the Good Book: “nations shall turn their swords into plowshares, and they shall not practice war any more.”

What can you do? Besides contributing to the aid effort, groups involved in the embassy action are urging citizens to call the following: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser – 202-727-2643; State Dept. Office of Foreign Missions – 202-895-3500; Secret Service DC Field Office – 202-406-8800.

Sadly, the violence aimed at those who stand for peace is not limited to areas of nations far away.

“The … group occupying the exterior of the building is violently harassing and attacking individuals who are outside protesting U.S. intervention,” write observers. “They are also blocking entrances to the building, and have caused extensive damage to the building’s exterior—including destroying security cameras, drilling into doors and hitting the garage door with a sledgehammer. … Many of the members of this group … outside the building are white supremacists, shouting the most vulgar racist, misogynistic and homophobic insults and death threats imaginable at Embassy Protectors and our supporters. Numerous videotaped examples of this behavior have been published online.

 The Secret Service has witnessed the violence of this right wing hate group against Embassy Protectors and our supporters and against the Embassy building, and has done nothing to discourage them. While the right-wing protestors have perpetrated numerous acts of violence against us, we have maintained a consistently disciplined and peaceful presence.”

Furthermore, the nonsensical legal footwork of an amoral state mechanism is evident in some of the foolish shenanigans that you can see if you visit this scene.

“Examples of charges leveled against us include “Tossing Missiles”—the offense listed on Ariel Gold’s arrest warrant for trying to throw lettuce to Embassy Protectors, as the right-wing group has been blocking people and supplies from coming in the building.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State and known war hawk John Bolton has led an “informal” meeting with CIA head Gina Haspel and others at the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA, to discuss who-knows-what.

All of this adds up to one thing: a re-firing and reconstruction of violent and bloody mindsets that the communities of Christ and his followers have roundly condemned throughout the history of the era Anno Domini. As well as many other groups that are against WAR and Bloodshed.

We know that it is wrong to use bloodshed to dominate and control the weak, and we also know that there are powerful interests in conducting violence on behalf of the powerful.

Please consider adding your voice to the peaceful support of a vision that follows the words and the actions of Christ in the world, as in the prophetic suggestion that “as you do unto the least of these, you have done also unto me.”

Disclaimer: To make things clear, we are not attempting to rule on Maduro v. Guaido FOR the Venezuelans. We are advocating a peaceful transition of diplomatic presence by a neutral arbiter. By contrast, the opposition is taking a war hawk’s whims as de facto American foreign policy.  As well as we here at Farm Fresh Media Are NOT supporting or promoting any religion specifically, that is up to each person’s heart to determine.