Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nobody Gives A Damn About U.S. Drones Killing Civilians

Common Dreams reported that:
Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq's mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.

In her testimony, Nabila shared that she was picking okra with her grandmother when the U.S. missile struck and both children described how they used to play outside but are now too afraid.
Unfortunately, that tragedy is not an isolated event. The Washington Post reported that:
The United States on Tuesday defended drone strikes targeting al-Qaida operatives and others it deems enemies, rejecting reports by two human-rights groups questioning the legality of strikes they asserted have killed or wounded scores of civilians in Yemen and Pakistan.

Human Rights Watch alleged that 82 people, at least 57 of them civilians, were killed by the unmanned aircraft and other aerial strikes in Yemen between September 2012 and June 2013 and called such strikes unlawful or indiscriminate. Amnesty International called on the U.S. to investigate reports in Pakistan of civilian casualties, among them a 68-year-old grandmother hit while farming with her grandchildren.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said such strikes are unlawful or indiscriminate. Amnesty, based in London, said it is concerned that the attacks outlined in the report and others may have resulted in unlawful killings that constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes...

Among the six strikes detailed by Human Rights Watch is an attack in Sarar, in central Yemen on Sept. 2, 2012, in which two warplanes or drones attacked a minibus, killing a pregnant woman, three children and eight other people. The report said the apparent target, tribal leader Abd al-Raouf al-Dahab, was not in the vehicle. The Yemeni families were only compensated for the deaths after Human Rights Watch brought the case to the Yemeni government’s attention, the report said.

The researchers also examined the U.S. cruise missile strike in al-Majalah in southern Abyan province on Dec. 17, 2009. The report said the Yemeni government described the attack as a Yemeni airstrike that killed 34 at a training camp, but a later Yemeni government inquiry found the strike actually killed 14 suspected AQAP fighters, but also at least 41 local civilians living in a Bedouin camp, including nine women and 21 children.
Based on the low attendance and the scant media coverage, I guess no one really gives a damn about innocent children, grandmothers and pregnant women being blown to bits by U.S. drones.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jay Z's Barneys Statement is Disappointing

As reported on News One, Jay Z issued the following statement regarding the Barneys controversy:

This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear. The Shawn Carter Foundation is the beneficiary and the foundation is receiving 25% of all sales from the collaboration, 10% of all sales generated in the store on November 20th and an additional donation from Barneys. This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.

I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately? The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts. Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education. I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.

I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles? I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change. – Shawn “JAY Z” Carter

In my latest YouTube video, I explain why his statement is inadequate and disappointing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"If It Hurts A Bunch of Lazy Blacks...So Be It!"

The GOP supports many policies that are detrimental to black people.  Many Republicans are just plain racist.  For instance, they want to do everything in their power to prevent you "lazy blacks" from voting. If you think that voter ID laws and restrictions on early voting are not designed to suppress black voters, watch this video and wake the hell up. GOP precinct chair of Buncombe County in North Carolina Don Yelton's only problem was his failure to effectively camouflage his racism. That's why he was forced to resign.

Is Shopping While Black A Crime?!?!

This week, I read some disturbing stories about racial profiling and police harassment. Those stories are a reminder that, in many ways, nothing has changed in America for black people. You can be a hard working college student or a rich actor. It does not matter. In the enemy's eyes, you are just a criminal, a nigger.

As reported in the Daily News,
A black teenager is shopping for justice — claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought a $349 belt.

Trayon Christian, 19, told the Daily News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship store and detained by police because they didn’t believe a young black man could possibly afford to buy such an expensive belt.

The fashion-forward teen, who lives with his mom in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the New York City College of Technology, where he had a work-study job.

Christian said his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to buy the pricey Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.

“I knew exactly what I wanted,” Christian said. He’d seen the belt on a lot of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.
Unfortunately, that is not the first time that Barneys humiliated and degraded a black customer. Daily News reports that:
Four plainclothes cops accused a black woman of credit card fraud after the Brooklyn mom bought a $2,500 designer bag from Barneys — stoking a fresh round of outrage against the high-end store.

Kayla Phillips, 21, a nursing student from Canarsie, told the Daily News she had long coveted the orange suede CĂ©line bag. Armed with a cash infusion from a tax return, she took her Bank of America debit card and headed to the Madison Ave. flagship store on Feb. 28.

Phillips made the purchase without incident but says she was surrounded by cops just three blocks away, at the Lexington Ave. and 59th St. subway station.

“There were three men and a woman,” she recalled. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”
Barneys is not the only store that believes that shopping while black is a crime. MSN News reports that:
A black actor on the HBO drama series "Treme" said in a lawsuit on Friday that he was stopped because of his race while buying sunglasses at Macy's — the third discrimination allegation made this week by a black shopper against a department store.

Robert Brown, who filed the lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said he was detained by police at the flagship Herald Square store on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.

He said he was "paraded while handcuffed" through the store to a holding cell, where he was kept for nearly an hour while officers grilled him and searched his bag. His lawsuit said Macy's employees suggested he couldn't afford to make such an expensive purchase. He eventually was released without charges.

The department store was profiling Brown because of his race, said his lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages.
The days of Jim Crow are gone. The "No Coloreds" signs have been taken down. We have a legal right to shop wherever we want to shop. We have a legal right to purchase whatever we have the money to purchase. I hope that Robert Brown, Kayla Phillips and Trayon Christian prevail in their lawsuits. The New York Police Department, Macy's and Barneys must end their discriminatory practices.

In the meantime, we must stop supporting businesses that do not support us. We must stop giving our hard earned dollars to businesses that despise us, whether it is a local convenience store or a high end department store. Don't be a new slave. We should not be pacified by Barney's recent PR moves. Boycott Barneys and Macy's until they end their discriminatory practices. Please sign this petition urging rapper Jay Z to end all of his partnerships with Barneys.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Review: 12 Years A Slave

"Well, I don't want to survive. I want to live." Solomon Northup

Yesterday, I saw the movie 12 Years A Slave. I loved it. It is a must see movie. Check out my review below.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today is A Beautiful Day!

Good morning, family. Today is a beautiful day. Yesterday, New Jersey elected its first African American U.S. Senator and the federal government is open for business. As reported in the Star Ledger,
Cory Booker’s star-quality and his skill at surviving the roughhouse politics of New Jersey’s biggest city took him from the mayor’s office to the U.S. Senate today in a hard-fought victory over Republican iconoclast Steve Lonegan.   
With his special-election win, Booker will become the first African-American to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, and is the first Newark mayor to win higher office in more than a century. He also extended the Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate race winning streak to 14 elections in New Jersey, dating back to 1976.   
The Newark mayor will serve the remaining 15 months of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s term after a two-month campaign marked by bizarre turns, wild accusations, erratic polling numbers and blistering attacks.   
Booker won by double digits, but it wasn’t the landslide many had predicted at the beginning of the campaign. With 94 percent of the precincts reporting, he had about 55 percent of the vote to Lonegan’s 44 percent.  
From the outset, the 44-year-old, two-term mayor had one advantage his conservative firebrand opponent could never hope to match: name recognition. From city hall to the morning talk shows, Booker’s good looks, big smile and his championing of his beleaguered city won him plenty of big name fans — and evidently the approval of Jersey voters who elected him in a rare October election with light turnout.
Hopefully, Cory Booker's election is a sign that new possibilities are on the horizon for African Americans. I hope that the people are not simply pacified by the power of symbolism. We must be agenda focused and results oriented. As black politicians rise, we must ensure that our agenda and interests are not marginalized.

Speaking of being marginalized, President Obama and the Democrats soundly defeated the idiotic Tea Party fanatics in the U.S. House of Representatives, at least for now. As reported in the Washington Post,
Federal agencies, parks, museums and monuments began to reopen Thursday morning, after a chastened Congress ended a bitter funding standoff that triggered a 16-day government closure and drove the nation toward the brink of default.   
The agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) funds agencies through mid-January, calls hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work and raises the $16.7 trillion debt limit...   
The bill passed late Wednesday ended a stalemate created last month, when hard-line conservatives pushed Republican leaders to use the threat of shutdown to block a landmark expansion of federally funded health coverage.   
That campaign, however, succeeded mainly in undermining popular support for the Republican Party. By the end, dozens of anxious GOP lawmakers were ready to give Obama almost exactly what he requested months ago: a bill to fund the government and increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing power with no strings attached.   
The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting yes. A few hours later, the House followed suit, approving the measure 285 to 144. Eighty-seven Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in approving the measure, allowing Congress to meet a critical Treasury Department deadline with one day to spare.    
Obama signed the measure into law shortly after midnight,reopening parks and monuments across the nation, restoring government services and putting furloughed federal employees back on the job, many of them in the Washington region.  
The measure guarantees those workers back pay for time spent at home, aid flood-ravaged Colorado and provide extra cash for fighting wildfires out West. And it would grant the D.C. government, which relies on Congress to approve its budget, authority to manage its own affairs through the 2014 fiscal year.
I commend the President and the Democrats for standing up to those no good, hostage takers. President Obama must continue to stand strong. No surrender on entitlements!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Government Shutdown: I Stand With Obama

"I know it's strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is." President Barack Obama

Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech in the Rose Garden regarding the government shutdown. As you know, I stand with Obama on this issue. I have his back. I commend him for standing up to the Tea Party. Here are a few excerpts from his speech.
Good morning, everybody. At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government. Let me be more specific. One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government all because they didn't like one law.

This Republican shut down did not have to happen, but I want every American to understand why it did happen. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act.

They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job...

But we do know a couple of things. We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy. And unlike 1996, our economy's still recovering from the worst recession in generations...

As I've said repeatedly, I am prepared with Democrats and Republicans to do the things we need to do: to grow the economy and create jobs and get our fiscal house in order over the long run, although I should add this shutdown isn't about deficits or spending or budgets. After all, our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 50 years. We've cut them in half since I took office. In fact, many of the demands the Republicans are now making would actually raise our deficits.

No, this shutdown is not about deficits. It's not about budgets. This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don't have it. It's all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act.

This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days. I know it's strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is...

And today we begin to free millions of our fellow Americans from that fear. Already millions of young adults have been able to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26. Millions of seniors already have gotten a discount on their prescription medicines. Already millions of families have actually received rebates from insurance companies that didn't spend enough on their health care. This law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.

And this law doesn't just mean economic security for our families; it means we're finally addressing the biggest drivers of our long-term deficits. It means a stronger economy. Remember, most Republicans have made a whole bunch of predictions about this law that haven't come through. There are no death panels. Costs haven't skyrocketed; they're growing at the slowest rate in 50 years. The last three years since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law are the three slowest rates of health spending growth on record. And contrary to Republican claims, this law hasn't destroying our economy.
For the full transcript, read the Washington Post. If you have questions about the Affordable Care Act, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit