Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hell Up in Ferguson

"I don't want no peace. I need equal rights and justice." Peter Tosh


CNN reports that:
Ahead of a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a police officer in the killing of Michael Brown, Missouri has both called in the National Guard and diminished the role of the Ferguson Police Department.
 
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday as a precaution, he said, in the event of unrest or violence.
 
It's unknown when the grand jury will hand down a decision on whether to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for his fatal shooting of Brown, a teen. Prosecutors have suggested the grand jury would be done deliberating in mid- to late November.
 
At the national level, the FBI last week issued a bulletin to law enforcement urging vigilance in the days before the Ferguson grand jury decision, according to a law enforcement official. 
The bulletin did not cite any specific intelligence to suggest there was any ongoing threat to officers. It was based on what had occurred during previous protests.
Mike Brown is not just an individual. He is our son. He is our brother, flaws and all. For decades, police brutality has plagued the black community. For decades, our young men and women have been shot, beaten and strangled by the police. Every day, there is a new victim. Yesterday, it was Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and countless others. Today, it is Mike Brown. His brutal killing is a reminder of that long and continuing legacy of police oppression. Often, when white police officers kill or injure black people, the officers are not convicted.  They are free to kill and maim again. Our lives are declared worthless. Time and time again, we are denied justice. Unfortunately, it appears that Mike Brown case may be another example of such a denial.

Early on, the stage was set to deny justice for Mike Brown. The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, has a strong bias in favor of law enforcement. According to CNN, Mr. McCulloch's father was a police officer. When McCulloch was 12 years old, his father was killed in the line of duty by a black man. Additionally, in 2000, as reported in the Washington Post, Mr. McCulloch agreed with a grand jury's decision not to indict two white officers for killing to unarmed black men. The article provides other examples of Mr. McCulloch's bias in support of law enforcement.

Despite proof of bias, no special prosecutor was appointed. Instead of filing criminal charges against Officer Wilson and having a public preliminary hearing, Mr. McCulloch brought the matter before a grand jury. The grand jury process is closed to the public. There is no transparency. That lack of transparency breeds skepticism, mistrust and rage.

According to the New York Times, the court process is taking so long because, the prosecutor is "'presenting absolutely everything' to the grand jury, including eyewitness accounts of the fatal altercation and forensic conclusions that might be diametrically opposed." That is unusual. As Mark O'Mara points out in his CNN article, prosecutors often "stack the evidence in favor of their case in order to ensure an indictment -- often excluding details that would support the case for the accused." Mr. McCulloch did not do so in this case because he probably does not want Darren Wilson to be indicted. Mr. McCulloch wants to use the grand jury as a scapegoat, a fallguy.

Apparently, the Governor knows that the die has been casted. By declaring a state of emergency, the Governor is essentially prematuring concluding that there will be no justice for Mike Brown and the black community. The Governor is basically saying that Officer Darren Wilson is going to get away with killing unarmed black teen Mike Brown. The Governor's declaration is not going diffuse the rage. It is only fueling the flames of hell on earth. Ferguson is going to burn literally and figuratively.  When a people are rendered invisible and their legitimate cries for justice are muted, they have no choice but to take matters in their own hands.

If Darren Wilson is not indicted, we must raise hell. There must a national strike. College and high school students should walk out of school and take to the streets. Black workers and black professionals should leave work and take to the streets. There must be a national campaign of civil disobedience around the country. There should be demonstrations at police stations, state houses, mayors' offices and governors' offices around the country. There should be a new march on Washington.  We must stop traffic and business. Businesses in Ferguson and Missouri should be boycotted. Business as usual must cease until we have justice. No justice, no peace!

The demonstrators should demand several things. They should demand that a special prosecutor be appointed immediately. They should demand that criminal charges be filed against Darren Wilson immediately. They should demand that Darren Wilson be arrested immediately. They should demand that Congress pass the End Racial Profiling Act. They should demand that Congress establish uniform, federal standards for police use of deadly force. They should demand that all police be required to wear functioning video cameras at all times will on duty. Until those demands are meant, the protests should continue.

In addition to making demands on law enforcement and politicians, the protesters must make demands on themselves. They must register to vote and actually vote. Ferguson is over 60 percent black. However, the mayor and the police chief are white. Only one city council member is black. Only one school board member is black. There are 53 police officers on the Ferguson police force. Only three of them are black. (Source: Mother Jones) Those stats are outrageous and ridiculous. Also, in the words of Kwame Ture, each one of us should join a black social justice organization and get involved in today's movement.  If we want to change the situation in Ferguson, we must use every single means available to us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

African Americans, Missed Opportunities and Black Dummies


When I woke up this morning, I was eager to hear the good news that Maryland elected its first African American governor, Anthony Brown. Today, I thought that I would be blogging about another example of new possibilities in America for black people. Instead, I was shocked and stunned by stories like this one from the Baltimore Sun:
Republican Larry Hogan's campaign to "Change Maryland" scored a stunning upset Tuesday as he defeated Democrat Anthony G. Brown in the race for governor..

Hogan, 58, ran on a promise to curb state spending and cut taxes. He will become Maryland's second Republican governor in half a century, and will face a Democratic-controlled legislature that may not be willing to help him.

Brown conceded defeat shortly after midnight.

Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky acknowledged Maryland remains a Democratic stronghold but said voters wanted change.

"It's not a realignment. It's not turning a blue state red," Dubitsky said. "It's people who are tired of the last eight years."

Hogan, an Annapolis businessman, ran a comparatively shoe-string campaign against Brown, who spent more than four times Hogan in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one.

Brown, a retired Army colonel and Harvard-educated attorney, campaigned as the candidate to continue Gov. Martin O'Malley's policies on education and the environment. It was a platform that some Democrats said invigorated them, and others said made them vote for a different direction.

Democrats held two other statewide offices, with Comptroller Peter Franchot winning a third term and state Sen. Brian Frosh of Montgomery County succeeding Douglas F. Gansler as attorney general.

Brown piled up strong majorities in Baltimore city and the Washington suburbs but could not overcome a dismal showing in rural Maryland and suburban Baltimore. The lieutenant governor narrowly won the early voting, but Hogan swamped him with an Election Day surge.

The governor's race offered voters a sharp contrast between Hogan's laser focus on economic issues and Brown's broad pledge to create "a better Maryland for all Marylanders."

As Hogan relentlessly hammered on the need to cut taxes, Brown eventually pledged not to raise them.

Critics said Brown failed to offer a clear vision to voters, instead working to portray Hogan as a "dangerous" Republican who would seek to overturn Maryland's abortion rights and gun control laws.

Hogan repeatedly denied that. The Republican portrayed Maryland as a state in economic crisis, with businesses and individuals moving elsewhere because of high taxes and burdensome regulations. He promised to roll back what he called O'Malley's "40 consecutive tax increases," but offered no specifics on how he would pay for that.

Brown, meanwhile, told voters he'd work to close the gap between Maryland's most and least prosperous. As the signature issue of his campaign, Brown said he would gradually offer free pre-kindergarten to all Maryland 4-year-olds. Skeptics questioned whether he had a realistic plan to pay for it.
Unfortunately, Maryland missed the opportunity to make history. Brown's crushing defeat was probably the result of Obama fatigue and Martin O'Malley fatigue. If more African Americans voted, perhaps, Brown would have won. Who knows? If you did not vote, shame on you.


To console us, some will assert that we should celebrate historic African American victories in Utah and South Carolina. As reported in the Grio,
Utah’s Mia Love and South Carolina’s Tim Scott certainly had a lot to celebrate last night as the results came in. The two black Republicans made U.S. history with their election victories.

Last election season, Love was only narrowly defeated by the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Jim Mattheson, by less than 800 votes — total. Despite her loss, she was an instant hit with the Republican party — she even gave a speech at the Republican National Convention! This time around, Love won a seat at the House, making her the first black Republican woman in Congress but also the first ever Haitian-American ever in Congress.

Scott was already in the Senate when he ran this year, but he hadn’t been elected. Governor Nikki Haley appointed him after Senator Jim DeMint resigned in November 2012, so this year’s race against Democratic challenger Joyce Dickerson was about finishing out the rest of DeMint’s six-year term. Scott will have to run for re-election in 2016 to earn a full six-year term himself. But he has already made history nonetheless — his win marks the first time an African-American has been elected in the South to the Senate since Reconstruction. The win also makes him the first ever African-American to serve in both the House and Senate.
Their victories are victories for them and their families. Their victories are not our victories. Similar to the appointment of Justice Clarence Thomas, their election is antithetical to the interests of black people. Their positions are diametrically opposed to our interests. Just like dummies, they say and do exactly what their white conservative masters tell them to say and do. So, no. There is no cause for celebration. They do not represent new possibilities. They represent the continuing American tradition of tokenism. They are pawns used against their own people.  



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Finally, Justice for Jordan Davis


News 4 JAX reported that:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
Michael Dunn is back inside the Duval County jail after he was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis on Nov. 23, 2012, in a dispute over loud music outside a Gate gas station.

A sentencing hearing was set next Tuesday to discuss sentencing, but he likely will not learn his punishment until later this year.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, so Dunn, 47, faces life in prison without parole when he's sentenced. He also awaits sentencing on at least 60 years in prison on February convictions on three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. The first jury deadlocked on the murder charge.

The jury in the retrial, comprising eight men and four women, deliberated for about five and a half hours. The retrial lasted six days.

Dunn did not appear to have an immediate reaction to the verdict. Later, he turned around and somberly shook his head toward his parents, who then left the courthouse without making any comment.

At least for this brief moment in time, the verdict in the Michael Dunn case restores hope, hope in the America's promise and potential. The predominately white jury rejected white privilege. They refused to allow white skin to serve as a license to kill black people. They rejected the stereotypical presumption that black men are inherently dangerous and prone to criminality and thuggery. They rejected the concept that black people are expendable and worthless. Through their verdict, the jury proclaimed that all human life is sacred and precious. For that, I commend them.

Finally, there is justice for Jordan Davis. Now, we need justice for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and the countless other victims of senseless violence.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is Cornel West Right About Obama?


About a week ago, Salon posted an controversial interview with Cornel West. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

So that’s my first question, it’s a lot of ground to cover but how do you feel things have worked out since then, both with the economy and with this president? That was a huge turning point, that moment in 2008, and my own feeling is that we didn’t turn.

No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility...

That’s exactly what everyone was saying at the time.

That’s right. That’s true. It was like, “We finally got somebody who can help us turn the corner.” And he posed as if he was a kind of Lincoln.

Yeah. That’s what everyone was saying.

And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.
I support President Obama. I voted for him twice. I have written blogs and posted YouTube videos defending the President from right wing attacks. I will continue to do so.

However, I support the brother Cornel West as well. His persistent, consistent, constant and piercing criticism of President Obama is, for the most part, painfully true. Even Obama's most loyal and devoted supporters know that West's analysis is factual and true. That is evident by their utter and complete failure to provide any solid or substantive response to his interview. Instead, they desperately try to drown out his bold voice with an ocean of insults and ad hominem attacks.

West is wrong about one thing. Obama never campaigned as a true progressive. Ending poverty was not a top priority during his campaigns. He never campaigned as a black activist. He never promised to be a strong advocate for African Americans. In fact, his rise to national prominence was based, at least in part, on his post-racial rhetoric about one America. During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama said:
"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there's the United States of America."
No one should be surprised when the Obama Administration and its parrots constantly repeat the silly mantra that "he is not just the President of Black America." You will never hear any other group of people embracing and repeating such a self defeating and pathetic slogan. Imagine the Jews saying Obama is not just the President of Jewish America. Imagine the LGBT community saying that Obama is not just the President of gay America. Imagine the Latino community saying that Obama is not just the President of immigrant America. Imagine white feminists saying Obama is not just the President of women. Those groups would never spout such nonsense. Unlike the black community, those groups do not surrender. They do not accept symbols over substance. They vigorously push their agenda. Unfortunately, we are pacified by symbols and gestures. We are so intoxicated and infatuated with the concept of black president that many of us have lost our minds and our principles.

Anyway, no one should be surprised by Obama's attempt to reach a grand bargain with the repugnant Republicans. During his first campaign, Obama did not promise to a strong opponent of the Republican Party's right wing agenda. Instead, he sold the American people the post-partisan pipe dream of changing the way that Washington does business. He promised to find common ground and to bridge the partisan divide. Obviously, that goal was unachievable. If it was in fact a goal, the President has failed miserably. Partisanship has never been more intense and stark than it is now. The Republican Party and the Tea Party have done everything in their power to obstruct Obama.

Moreover, no one should be surprised by Obama's stance on the crisis in Israel and Gaza. Obama never campaigned as an advocate for the Palestinian people. Like all of his predecessors, Obama bowed before the altars of AIPAC and Israel. During his first and second campaigns, Obama laced up his shoes and tap danced for them like Bojangles.

During his first campaign, Obama said that he would bomb terrorists in foreign land like Osama bin Laden without authorization from those nations. No one should be surprised by Obama continuing and expanding Bush's drone policy. Again, Obama never posed as a true progressive. Otherwise, West is correct.

Many avoid that truth by contrasting Obama and his past election opponents like Mitt Romney and John McCain. Clearly, Obama was the better choice in those elections. That is why I voted for him. Unfortunately, both parties are owned by Wall Street and AIPAC. In this two party corporate dictatorship, true progressive candidates and parties are not viable alternatives. Too often, they are unelectable. They do not have sufficient funding and resources to compete with the Democrats and the Republicans on a national level. They do not garner the same level of media attention as the corporate parties. Until that changes, we are forced to settle for people like Barack Obama.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Darren Wilson: Wanted For Murder!




Good morning, family. A fourth witness has come forward. He confirms what the others have said. Michael Brown "Mike" was unarmed. There was a struggle at the police car window between the officer Darren Wilson and Mike. Mike breaks free and starts running away from the officer. The officer shot Mike. Mike turned around and the officer shot Mike three to four more times and killed him.

Officer Darren Wilson needs to be arrested and charged with murder. Justice for Mike Brown. No justice! No peace!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Michael Brown Was Shot At Least SIX times!!!!




The New York Times reports that:
FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a police officer, sparking protests around the nation, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday found.

One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.

Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.

The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body. However, that determination could change if it turns out that there is gunshot residue on Mr. Brown’s clothing, to which Dr. Baden did not have access...

Dr. Baden provided a diagram of the entry wounds, and noted that the six shots produced numerous wounds. Some of the bullets entered and exited several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.

“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he said, indicating the wound at the very top of Mr. Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

He stressed that his information does not assign blame or justify the shooting.

“We need more information; for example, the police should be examining the automobile to see if there is gunshot residue in the police car,” he said. Read more here.



This is a no-brainer. Officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed man at least six times. If that is not excessive force, I do not know what is. This is murder. Officer Wilson should be arrested. Justice for Michael Brown.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Michael Brown, the Blame Victim Strategy and Black Puppets


Yesterday, the Ferguson Police Department released the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The officer is six year police veteran Darren Wilson. According to CNN, prior to the shooting, Wilson had no history of disciplinary action being taken against him. 

At the same time that the police released the name of the killer, they released video footage of what purportedly shows Michael Brown stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store and assaulting a store clerk. As reported on News One, the police acknowledged that the shooting of Michael Brown had absolutely nothing to do with the robbery. Such an admission exposes the true nature of the police department's actions.



The timing is not a coincidence. It is a deliberate plan. It is classic diversion and victim blaming. Now, instead of talking about the killer, Darren Wilson, the nation is focused and fixated on a store robbery. The dehumanization and niggerization process has begun. The police killed Mike's flesh. Since Mike did not die hard enough for them, they are now trying to assassinate his character. The same thing happened to Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride.



If the police can paint Michael Brown as a thug nigger, they will taint the minds of the potential jury pool. The Ferguson police had to blot out the image of an young ambitious college bound youth and replace it with the image of a stereotypical black criminal. Such an image will not garner any sympathy for Mike. Instead, it will engender utter contempt or callous indifference. He will no longer be viewed as a victim. He will be viewed as a hooligan who deserved to die. That is the message that the police department is attempting to convey.

Even if Michael Brown stole those cigars, he did not deserve to die. The officer did not stop Michael Brown to arrest him for the alleged strong arm robbery. He was stopped for walking in the street. Stealing cigars and jaywalking are not capital offenses.



The robbery video serves a second purpose as well, to undermine the credibility of a key witness, Dorian Johnson. Again, the robbery had absolutely nothing to do with the interaction between Mike and Officer Darren Wilson. So, Dorian had no reason to volunteer that information during television interviews.  Equally as important, Dorian's account has been confirmed by at least two other witnesses. I wonder what how the police plan to attack the other witnesses.



As if that was not bad enough, the boot licking, butt kissing, shoe shinning, tap dancing Uncle Ruckus brigade has been deployed to attack black people and Michael Brown as well. In typical fashion, whenever black people cry out for justice, the black puppets divert the discussion into a despicable lecture about black pathology and so-called black on black violence. They whine and cry about inner city violence not receiving the same level of attention from activists and the media.

First of all, inner city violence is completely irrelevant. That is a separate problem that must be addressed. It has absolutely nothing to do with legitimate demands for justice. The persistent problem of inner city violence does not justify or excuse the killing of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and countless other victims of police brutality and white racism. It is simply ridiculous to suggest that African American cannot demand justice in such cases until all "black on black" ends.


Contrary to right wing rhetoric, national and local civil rights activists have been organizing around the country for years to stop the violence. The 300 Men March movement here in Baltimore is such an example. Traditional civil rights leaders and organizations like Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the NAACP have fought to stop the violence in urban communities. Unlike the Uncle Ruckus crew, those activists regularly address the root causes of the violence such as poverty, unemployment, inferior education and inadequate gun control laws. The Uncle Ruckus crew never complains about those root causes. Instead, they prefer to insult and degrade their own community.

Police brutality and white vigilantism deserve of the attention. Unlike so-called inner city violence, police brutality and white vigilantism are protected and preserved by the white privilege and the police industrial complex. When the perpetrator is a white police officer and the victim is black, the perpetrators often get away with murder. When the killer is white and the victim is black, the killer is more likely to be acquitted or not even charged.  That is why we raise so much hell. That is why we march and protest.