Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What Did You Think About the State of the Union?

Good morning family. Last night, Obama gave his State of the Union address. Here are a few excerpts from his speech (New York Times):

But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. (Applause.) And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did. (Cheers, applause.)

Finally, if we’re serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system. (Cheers, applause.) Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted, and I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year. (Cheers, applause.) Let’s get it done. It’s time....

The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make those parts. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center; places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or a better job. She was flooded with new workers, and today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees. And what Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer and every job seeker.

So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across- the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. (Cheers, applause.) That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs...

Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education. (Applause.)...

You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.
Women deserve equal pay for equal work. (Cheers, applause.)...
In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs.
Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here today with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. (Laughter.) Only now he makes more of it. (Laughter.) John just gave his employees a raise to 10 bucks an hour, and that’s a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.
Tonight I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead. Do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. (Applause.) It’s good for the economy; it’s good for America. (Sustained applause.)
To every mayor, governor, state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour because if you cook — (cheers, applause) — our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty. (Sustained applause.) ....
Now, I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. (Laughter.) (Chuckles.) (Laughter.) But I know that the American people are not interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, increase choice, tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. (Applause.) But let’s not have another 40- something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda...
Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over. (Applause.)
After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future.  If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of Al Qaeda.
Read the entire transcript here.
The President is a brilliant orator. I hope that his ambitious and noble goals become a reality.

On the other hand, I find it troubling that any US troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. I find it troubling that Guantanamo Bay remains open after all of the campaign rhetoric. In light of recent the killings of Trayvon Martin, Jonathan Ferrell, Jordan Davis and Renisha McBride, I find it troubling that the President did not mention race in his State of the Union address. Finally, the President should have said more about his plans to reform U.S. surveillance programs. He should have more thoroughly discussed the "prudent limits on the use of drones." America cannot fight terrorism with terrorism.

What did you think about the President's State of the Union address?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jonathan Ferrell: The Road to Justice is Long

"The road is long with many a winding turn that lead us to who knows where...But, I am strong enough to carry him. He ain't heavy. He's my brother. So on we go. His welfare is my concern." Donny Hathaway

CNN reported that:
A grand jury has indicted Officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on a charge of voluntary manslaughter in the September 14 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell, according to a statement from state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The grand jury heard evidence from the state Bureau of Investigation and the police department.

"With the strength of the evidence in this case, we're not surprised," Charles Monnett, an attorney for Ferrell's family, said about Monday's indictment.

"We're all pleased and happy that the process is beginning now and that there's an end in sight," he said. "It is the first step towards justice."

Ferrell's mother, Georgia, told CNN that she is prepared to wait as long as it takes for the case to wind its way through the justice system.

"I just feel like God's will will be done," she said.

The Charlotte, North Carolina, officer faced a second grand jury proceeding for the fatal shooting of Ferrell, an ex-college football player who was reportedly seeking assistance after a car accident.

Attorneys for Kerrick had denounced the prosecution's move to resubmit the case as unlawful and filed a motion to block it, but CNN affiliate News 14 Carolina reported the grand jury convened Monday morning.

A grand jury last week declined to indict Kerrick. Prosecutors said afterward the grand jury was composed of less than a full panel and vowed to send the case back.
I am glad that the second grand jury decided to indict Randall Kerrick for voluntary manslaughter. It looks the Ferrell family is beginning to walk on the long road toward justice. We will stand with the family on their journey. Justice for Jonathan Ferrell! Justice for Renisha McBride! Justice for Jordan Davis! Justice for Trayvon Martin!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Delusional White People Living On Fantasy Island

There are many delusional white people such as Eric Bolling and Sandy Rios who live on Fantasy Island.  They actually believe that white racism no longer exists in America.  Whenever a black person or organization speaks out against racism, many ignorant white people call the black messengers racist.  It is far easier to condemn the messenger than it is the address the problem of  racism.  Check out the video and sound clip below.

This nation was founded on racism.   It was founded on the genocide of the native people.  It was built on the backs of enslaved Africans.  Obviously, institutional racism and individual racism remain a part of the fabric of America. Racism did not die. It evolved and adapted to a new environment. Instead of using the N word, the new racism uses code words such as thug, gangster, ghetto, welfare queens, food stamp president and free stuff.

The old Jim Crow has been replaced with the New Jim Crow. Under what Michelle Alexander calls the New Jim Crow, drug laws are selectively enforced and low income African American urban communities are unfairly targeted by law enforcement. Consequently, the black community is subjected to mass incarceration. When our brothers and sisters are finally released from prison, they are subjected to legalized discrimination in employment, housing, public assistance and other areas.

Institutional racism is manifested in other ways as well. Racial disparities continue to exist in criminal justice, economics, education and health. For example, as noted in Tavis Smiley's The Covenant, he cites the following criminal justice stats:

Of the 2.1 million inmates today, 910,000 are African American. Blacks 43.9 percent of the state and federal prison population but only 12.6 percent of the U.S. population...

African Americans constitute 13 percent of all monthly drug users, but they represent 35 percent of arrests for drug possession, 55 percent of convictions, and 74 percent of prison sentences.

The economic disparities between blacks and whites are just as stark. The Covenant states that:

The unemployment rate for blacks people is twice that for whites.

African Americans have a median net worth of $5,998, compared to $88,651 for whites. Even more alarming, 32 percent of African Americans have a zero or negative net worth.

Although African Americans are more than 13 percent of the nation's population, their total net worth is only 1.2 percent of the total net worth of the nation. This number has not changed since the end of the Civil War in 1865.

In addition to economic disparities, education disparities exist. The Covenant states that:

Of black 16 to 24 year olds, 13 percent have not earned a high school diploma or GED; 7 percent of white young people are without a high school credential.

According to the most recent statistics, the nationwide college graduation rate for enrolled black students is only 40 percent, compared to 61 percent of enrolled white students.

Moreover, health care disparities continue to exist. The Covenant cites the following health care disparities:

Black infants are nearly two-and-one-half times more likely than white infants to die before their first birthday.

More than one out of every three black people are plagued by hypertension; this is the highest rate in the world.

Black women are close to 80 percent more likely to die of a stroke than white women, and 30 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.

African Americans are 13 percent of the nation's population and account for 56 percent annually of new HIV infections. A quarter of these new infections are among people under 25 years of age.

Not only is institutional racism still with us, individual racism clearly continues to exist. The killings of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell are reminders of that harsh reality. Another reminder is the indictment of Conrad Alvin Barrett.  Mr. Barrett, who is white, brutally attacked an elderly black man. The Examiner reported that:
A grand jury in Houston has just returned a federal indictment against Conrad Alvin Barrett, 27, charging him with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI.

According to the allegations, Barrett recorded himself on his cell phone attacking the man and showed the video to others. The indictment alleges Barrett made several recordings from his cell phone, one in which he identifies himself and another in which he makes a racial slur.

In one recording, Barrett claimed he would not hit “defenseless people” just moments before punching the elderly man in the face, according to court records. Barrett allegedly hit the man with such force that the man immediately fell to the ground. Barrett then laughed and said “knockout,” as he ran to his vehicle and fled, according to allegations. The victim suffered two jaw fractures and was hospitalized for several days as a result of the attack.
I could provide countless other examples of modern day racism, but I won't. Instead, I will end with this story about the new face of white supremacy. Wake up.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Shattered Dreams and Disposable Black People

Too often, black dreams are shattered. Too often, we are reminded that our lives are expendable and that we are disposable. The two stories below are prime examples of that harsh reality. The Huffington Post reports that:
A partial grand jury in North Carolina has decided not to indict Randall Kerrick, the officer who fatally shot Jonathan Ferrell in September 2013.

After meeting for eight hours on Tuesday, the jury reportedly submitted a document to the county clerk of the court, not only stating it would not indict the officer on the charge of voluntary manslaughter, but also attached a handwritten letter respectfully requesting the district attorney submit a bill of indictment for a lesser charge.

However, Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement that the decision was not made by a full grand jury, and that his office plans to resubmit the request as soon as possible.

"Today, our prosecutors learned that the grand jury that considered the indictment on charges of voluntary manslaughter was less than a full panel. It would be in the best interest of justice to resubmit this case to a full grand jury, which we plan to do as soon as possible," Cooper said.

Officer Kerrick was charged after shooting Ferrell 10 times when authorities responded to a breaking and entering call. Ferrell who had been involved in an accident, was seeking help in a nearby neighborhood when a woman called the police, thinking he was a robber. Ferrell ran toward the officers, who tried to stop him with a Taser. Police said he continued to run toward them when Kerrick shot him. Ferrell died at the scene. Both the local NAACP chapter and Ferrell's family have questioned whether race played a role in the shooting.
In a rare move, the partial grand jury decided that there was insufficient evidence to indict the officer for voluntary manslaughter. I do not understand how they could possibly reach such a decision. That officer shot Mr. Ferrell 10 times. Mr. Ferrell was unarmed.  Mr. Ferrell did not pose a threat to anyone. 

Because of Mr. Ferrell's skin color that caller wrongly assumed that he was a robber.  Because of Mr. Ferrell's skin color that police officer probably assumed that Mr. Ferrell was dangerous.  Mr. Ferrell was merely seeking assistance after a car accident.  Because of Mr. Ferrell's skin color that jury had no problem allowing that officer walk. 

Like the Trayvon Martin case, the Amadou Diallo case, the Sean Bell case and other countless cases, we are reminded that the white man's word is sacrosanct and black life is worthless.

Tragically, white police officers and vigilantes are not the only people who devalue black life. Some lost brothers and sisters do not value the lives of their own people.  In another article, the Huffington Post reports that:
The shootings of two brothers within three weeks of one other has left a California mother mourning the loss of her only children.

Dinyal New, 41, admitted that she didn't have the strength to positively identify both of her sons, instead asking relatives to do so for her, SFGate reports.

On Dec. 31, 2013, New's younger son, 13-year-old Lee Weathersby, was shot dead while he was walking home from the Oakland Boys & Girls Club. Nineteen days later, her older son, Lamar Broussard, 19, died when the car he and a friend were in was sprayed with bullets, KGO reports.   
Similar violence occurs in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and many other major inner cities around this nation. Such violence has become so routine and regular that many have accepted it as the new normal. Those endless tragedies do not receive the same level of attention as the Newtowns and Columbines.

That is yet another reminder of how insignificant black life is in this country. Instead of addressing criminogenic factors such as unemployment, poverty, inferior schools and the influx of firearms, the politicians and pundits continue to devalue black life by parroting empty slogans about personal responsibility and black pathology. As long as the underling conditions are not addressed, our cities will continue to be killing fields.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Objectification and Humiliation of the Black Woman

The Huffington Post reports that:
The online magazine Buro 247 has published a story about Dasha Zhukova, the Russian editor-in-chief of Garage magazine, which shows the editrix perched atop a chair designed to look like a half-naked black woman. Ugh.

Note: the image has since been cropped on the website to only show Zhukova and not the chair. We have reached out to Miroslava Duma the editor of Buro 247 for comment.

Claire Sulmers, the editor of, alerted us to the unfortunate feature and calls the image an example of "white dominance and superiority, articulated in a seemingly serene yet overtly degrading way."

We couldn't agree more. Although the chair also comes in "white woman," we can't help but be filled with anger and frustration over the onslaught of negative imagery, constant disregard and unabashed bigotry that continues to plague the fashion industry. From Bethann Hardison's crusade to end racism on the runway to our attempt to educate society over and over and over again about the nonsense that is Blackface -- the stories of racially insensitive absurdity are never ending.
In response to the backlash, Ms. Zhukova issued the following apology:
The chair pictured in the Buro 24/7 website interview is an artwork created by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, one of a series that reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics. Its use in this photo shoot is regrettable as it took the artwork totally out of its intended context, particularly given that Buro 24/7′s release of the article coincided with the important celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context. I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologize to those offended by my participation in this shoot.

Garage Magazine has a strong track record of promoting diversity and racial and gender equality in the worlds of art and fashion, and will continue in our mission to stir positive debate on these and other issues.  Read more here.
Clearly, that photo is blatantly racist and sexist. Illustrating her racial superiority and domination, Dasha Zhukova is literally sitting on top of a partially nude black woman who is sexually positioned in the shape of a chair. The black woman has been reduced to an object, a chair. This is even worst than a modern day field jockey statue. At least, the field jockey is standing upright.  That photo is reminiscent of slavery times when our half-naked ancestors were placed on auction blocks and examined like cattle. It is absolutely impossible for me to understand how anyone in their right mind would actually believe that such a photo would be acceptable under any circumstances.

Every single time one of these incidents occurs,  the racists always pretend to be completely unaware that their actions are offensive. Apparently, many white people have been thoroughly brainwashed to be unconsciously racist.

Unfortunately, this story is not the first time that I read about Europeans objectifying black women. In 2012, as reported in The World Post, Sweden's minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was photographed cutting a cake designed to look like an African woman.  As if that was not bad enough, in recent times, some white women further humiliate black women by parading around in black face.  Clearly, some white women do not see black women as their true sisters in the struggle for women's liberation and feminism. In fact, many of them help their white husbands, brothers and sons oppress and humiliate black women and black men.


We must stand up speak out against the objectification and humiliation of black women. We must speak out against racist white people who degrade our women.

Equally as important, we must speak out against sexist, misogynistic black men who degrade our women. Sadly, it is not white woman who is usually sitting in that chair of domination and oppression. It is a black man, a rapper or a YouTube minstrel. It is a black man calling our sisters "bitches, hoes, chicken heads, etc."  Influenced by white owned media corporations, a few misguided black men depict our women as prostitutes and strippers. Unfortunately, there are too many sisters who are willing to play the role of the modern day Sarah Baartman. For a few dollars, they volunteer to be proverbial black woman chair.

We must fight to maintain and defend our dignity and self respect as a people. We must defend and protect the black women from the enemy within and the enemy without.

Monday, January 20, 2014

President Obama is the New Face of American Imperialism

During his first presidential campaign, Obama represented hope and change. However, once he was elected, he became just another president. He became the new face of the American Imperial Empire. On his watch, U.S. imperialism and militarism have expanded. America has extended its tentacles into more countries around the globe. On his watch, America has unleashed drones like a plague of death upon innocent men, women and children. On his watch, Big Brother has continued to collect massive amounts of private data on millions of innocent of Americans.

The Nation reports:
In the waning days of the Bush presidency, Special Operations forces were reportedly deployed in about sixty countries around the world. By 2010, that number had swelled to seventy-five, according to Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of The Washington Post. In 2011, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told TomDispatch that the total would reach 120. Today, that figure has risen higher still.

In 2013, elite US forces were deployed in 134 countries around the globe, according to Major Matthew Robert Bockholt of SOCOM Public Affairs. This 123 percent increase during the Obama years demonstrates how, in addition to conventional wars and a CIA drone campaign, public diplomacy and extensive electronic spying, the US has engaged in still another significant and growing form of overseas power projection. Conducted largely in the shadows by America’s most elite troops, the vast majority of these missions take place far from prying eyes, media scrutiny, or any type of outside oversight, increasing the chances of unforeseen blowback and catastrophic consequences.

Although elected in 2008 by many who saw him as an antiwar candidate, President Obama has proved to be a decidedly hawkish commander-in-chief whose policies have already produced notable instances of what in CIA trade-speak has long been called blowback. While the Obama administration oversaw a US withdrawal from Iraq (negotiated by his predecessor), as well as a drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan (after a major military surge in that country), the president has presided over a ramping up of the US military presence in Africa, a reinvigoration of efforts in Latin America, and tough talk about a rebalancing or “pivot to Asia” (even if it has amounted to little as of yet).

The White House has also overseen an exponential expansion of America’s drone war. While President Bush launched fifty-one such strikes, President Obama has presided over 330, according to research by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Last year, alone, the US also engaged in combat operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Recent revelations from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden have demonstrated the tremendous breadth and global reach of US electronic surveillance during the Obama years. And deep in the shadows, Special Operations forces are now annually deployed to more than double the number of nations as at the end of Bush’s tenure. (Emphasis added)
In foreign affairs, it does not matter who is president. Whether the President is "progressive" or conservative, the war machine continues to march to the drum beat of corporate interests. Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican, the war machine continues to march to the drum beat of AIPAC. In fact, instead of being the actual driver of the machine, the President is merely a part of the machine.

Sadly, the people who should be speaking out are not speaking out. Instead, they are selling out. They have bartered their principles for access to power. As a matter of fact, they have become apologists and excuse makers for kill lists, war and NSA surveillance. They have become guardians and attack dogs for the power elite. Instead of continuing Dr. King's legacy of speaking out against militarism, they have become surrogates for the Obama Administration. They have been reduced to civil rights re-enactors and pseudo journalists. We can no longer wait for the so-called leaders to act. We must act. We must organize.

Dr. King Speaking Truth to Power

Good morning, family. Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Listen to our dear beloved brother speak truth to power without fear. Much respect.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Black Fathers Are Not Missing in Action

Do not believe the lies.  Most black fathers are not dead beats.  We love our precious daughters and sons.  Most of us are actively involved in our children's lives.  

As reported in Ebony and Think Progress, recent results of a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study " 'defy stereotypes about black fatherhood' because the CDC found that black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups."

Think Progress further reports that:
The Pew Research Center, which has tracked this data for years, consistently finds no big differences between white and black fathers. Gretchen Livingston, one of the senior researchers studying family life at Pew, wasn’t at all surprised by the new CDC data. “Blacks look a lot like everyone else,” she pointed out.

Although black fathers are more likely to live separately from their children — the statistic that’s usually trotted out to prove the parenting “crisis” — many of them remain just as involved in their kids’ lives. Pew estimates that 67 percent of black dads who don’t live with their kids see them at least once a month, compared to 59 percent of white dads and just 32 percent of Hispanic dads.  
And there’s compelling evidence that number of black dads living apart from their kids stems from structural systems of inequality and poverty, not the unfounded assumption that African-American men somehow place less value on parenting. Equal numbers of black dads and white dads tend to agree that it’s important to be a father who provides emotional support, discipline, and moral guidance. There’s one area of divergence in the way the two groups approach their parental responsibilities: Black dads are even more likely to think it’s important to financially provide for their children.

Dr. Roberta L. Coles, a sociology professor at Marquette University, has also researched black fathers for nearly a decade. Her most well-known work includes The Best Kept Secret: Single Black Fathers and The Myth of the Missing Black Father: The Persistence of Black Fatherhood in America. Like Pew, Coles has also found that even though black dads may be less likely to marry their kids’ mothers, they typically remain involved in raising their children. 
Why isn't this data more widely disseminated? Why do we continue to spread lies about black fathers being absent from their children's lives?

A Week of Civil Rights Victories

Good afternoon. This has been a good week for civil rights. The Department of Justice expanded the definition of racial profiling. In addition, there have been two significant developments in voting rights.

The New York Times reports that:
The Justice Department will significantly expand its definition of racial profiling to prohibit federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations, a government official said Wednesday.

The move addresses a decade of criticism from civil rights groups that say federal authorities have in particular singled out Muslims in counterterrorism investigations and Latinos for immigration investigations...

“Putting an end to this practice not only comports with the Constitution, it would put real teeth to the F.B.I.’s claims that it wants better relationships with religious minorities,” said Hina Shamsi, a national security lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

It is not clear whether Mr. Holder also intends to make the rules apply to national security investigations, which would further respond to complaints from Muslim groups.

“Adding religion and national origin is huge,” said Linda Sarsour, advocacy director for the National Network for Arab American Communities. “But if they don’t close the national security loophole, then it’s really irrelevant.”
Moreover, the Nation reports that:
Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June invalidating a critical section of the VRA. The legislation, known as “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” represents the first attempt by a bipartisan group in Congress to reinstate the vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away.

In the Shelby County v. Holder ruling on June 25, 2013, the Court’s conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the VRA, the formula that compelled specific states with a well-documented history of voting discrimination to clear their voting changes with the federal government under Section 5 of the VRA. The two provisions were always meant to work together; without Section 4, Section 5 became a zombie, applying to zero states.

Section 4 covered nine states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and parts of six others (in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota) based on evidence of voting discrimination against blacks and other minority groups dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Since the Shelby decision, eight states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. This includes onerous new laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, which the Justice Department objected to under other provisions of the VRA (Sections 2 and 3)....

The bill is certain to have its critics, including on the left. Voting rights supporters will argue, justifiably, that the new Section 4 formula does not apply to enough states and wrongly treats voter ID laws differently than other discriminatory voting changes. Despite these flaws, the legislation represents a significant improvement over the disastrous post-Shelby status quo, which has seen states like North Carolina and Texas rush to pass or implement blatantly discriminatory voting restrictions after being freed from federal oversight. The legislation strengthens voting rights protections in a number of tangible ways and gives the federal government and voting rights advocates new tools to combat voting discrimination.
A recent ruling in Pennsylvania is a prime example why voter ID laws should not be treated differently than other discriminatory voting law changes. In another article, the Nation reports that:
Judge Bernard McGinley of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled against the state’s strict voter ID law today following a lengthy trial last summer. The law had been temporarily blocked since last October pending a full trial. The ruling is a big win for voting rights and a clear setback for voter ID supporters.

Judge McGinley found that the law violated the state constitution because hundreds of thousands of registered voters lacked the restrictive forms of ID required by the state, few had obtained the requisite ID since the law’s passage in March 2012, the state had not made it easy to get an ID and there was no evidence of in-person voter fraud to justify the burdens of the law.

Hundreds of thousands of electors in Pennsylvania lack compliant ID,” McGinley wrote. “Enforcement of the Voter ID Law as to these electors has the effect of disenfranchising them through no fault of their own. Inescapably, the Voter ID law infringes upon qualified electors’ right to vote.”

Noted McGinley: “In contrast to the hundreds of thousands who lack compliant photo ID, only 17,000 photo IDs for voting purposes have been issued.” Since the 2012 election, fewer than 150 new voting IDs had been issued by the state per month.

That’s because getting a voter ID in Pennsylvania was a bureaucratic nightmare. There are 9,300 polling places in the state, but only seventy-one DMV offices. There are only five DMV offices for the entire city of Philadelphia, none in nine counties and the in sixteen counties offices are only open one or two days a week . “The Voter ID Law does not contain, on its face, any valid non-burdensome means of providing compliant photo ID to qualified electors,” McGinley wrote. “Accordingly, the Voter ID Law is facially unconstitutional.” The lead plaintiff in the case, Viviette Applewhite, was a 93-year-old great-great grandmother who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and had voted in every election for the past fifty years but did not have a driver’s license and was at risk of being disenfranchised by the new law.

Nor did the state present evidence to justify the new voter ID law. The state “wholly failed to show any evidence of in-person voter fraud,” McGinley wrote. “Certainly a vague concern about voter fraud does not rise to a level that justifies the burdens construction here. Therefore, this Court does not find in-person voter fraud a compelling interest the Voter ID Law was designed to serve.”
The struggle continues. Peace.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Congress Seeks to Restore the Voting Rights Act

The Washington Post reports that:
Four states would have to run voting law changes by the federal government under a new bipartisan bill.

The bill reinstates oversight lost when the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the decades-old Voting Rights Act in June. In that ruling, the court found that the formula used to identify states whose voting laws still needed to be watched over for fear of discriminatory practices was outdated. In its ruling, the court did not strike down the right of the federal government to oversee changes to local voting laws; it merely struck down the rubric being used. The bill offers new guidelines for which states qualify and was proposed by Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.) along with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The four states affected under the legislation are Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, each of which would need to pre-clear changes to voting laws. It would not immediately reinstate oversight over Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina and Virginia — all of which had been covered by the Voting Rights Act before the ruling. (Counties and townships in six other states — California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota and Michigan — were also covered before the ruling but wouldn’t be covered under the bill.)

Under the new formula, a state would fall back under federal watch if it commits five voting violations in a 15-year period and at least one is committed by the state itself. A county, town or other subdivision of a state would fall back under federal watch if it commits three violations over 15 years or commits one and has “persistent and extremely low minority voter turnout.”
In order for democracy to work, it is vital that all eligible citizens have the unfettered right to vote regardless of race. I commend the members of Congress for attempting to repair the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous Holder v. Shelby County decision. However, it is extremely disappointing to see states like Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia no longer covered under the new preclearance formula.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Thug Baby, the Racist Omaha Police and the House Negro

Shout out to the Young Turks

Recently, the Omaha Police Officers Association posted a shocking and disturbing video on their website. In the video, teenagers can be heard taunting and cursing at an African American infant boy. The teenagers in video pressure the poor child to spew obscenities and profanities. 

On Omaha Police Officers Association's page entitled Heartbreaking Video Show "Thug Cycle" Continuing, the Omaha Police Department states that:
You are literally watching “the cycle” of violence continue right in front of your eyes.

A powerful cycle that must be broken if we ever hope to get a handle on violence in Omaha.

A powerful cycle that the police alone cannot stop.
They claim that they posted the video because they "have an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in." On their website, the Omaha Police acknowledge that "they didn’t see anything in this video that is blatantly 'illegal'."

By posting the video, Omaha Police created a firestorm of racial controversy. Many voices have rightly condemned the family for corrupting a child.   Some people have defended the Omaha police against charges of racism, not me.

Today, it is no longer acceptable for white people to make overtly racist statements. To circumvent that obstacle, the corporate media rents House Negroes to serve as mouthpieces for white supremacy. Those pseudo intellectual black prostitutes specialize in peddling the gospel of black pathology. They constantly utilize that distorted gospel to justify white racism and to soothe white guilt. While their white puppet masters hide behind the curtains, those black puppets entertain and misinform the audience by promoting racist propaganda. The House Negro is a huge threat to the black community because she legitimizes white racist attitudes and policies.

Crystal Wright is the quintessential Negro Negro. In her Washington Times article, she defends the use of the video asserting that the video is not "an anomaly" and that "the face of thug life is black, not white."

I adamantly reject Ms. Wright's assertions. The police are supposed to enforce the law and provide public safety. Instead of imitating World Star Hip Hop, the police should be using their website to protect and serve. The police website should not be used to humiliate and discriminate. Posting that despicable minstrel video does not make the community any safer.

It merely promotes racist stereotypes.  Although the overwhelming majority of black people do not raise their children to be gangsters and hooligans, that video creates the erroneous perception that we do. That video reinforces the false notion black men are innate criminals and thugs. The police department's video fosters distrust and erodes public support for police in the black community.  Such distrust makes communities less safe.  In light of the Omaha Police Department's troubling track record, they definitely should not post racist videos on their website.

The Omaha Police Department has a history of racism. It routinely engages in racial profiling. As reported on,
One of every four drivers pulled over by Omaha police officers last year was black, a new state report shows.

According to the report, the Omaha Police Department not only stopped black drivers and arrested black drivers at rates higher than their proportion of the population in 2009. The department also stopped a disproportionate number of black drivers without issuing them a traffic ticket. The drivers were given verbal or written warnings or no action was taken at all.

A prime example of such racial profiling and police misconduct is the Octavius Johnson case. On January 6, 2014, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Omaha Police Department. The complaint describes how the Omaha police unjustly assaulted and battered a black family. That is true thuggery.   As reported in the Huffington Post,
In March, 32 officers flooded an Omaha, Neb., home in an attempt to recover video evidence of police misconduct and brutality, a new lawsuit claims.

The suit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union seeks damages suffered during the incident, which allegedly started over a parking ticket.

From an ACLU press release:

On Mar. 21, 2013, two officers responded to a request from a tow-truck driver who was removing unregistered vehicles. The lawsuit alleges that when Octavius Johnson walked up to try to determine what was happening to the family's cars, Octavius was placed in a chokehold, thrown to the ground and beaten. In the video, it appears as if the officer who struck Octavius looks around to ensure he is alone and then begins to hit Octavius.

Brothers Juaquez and Demetrius Johnson filmed the altercation. More than 20 officers arrived, including a commanding officer, and "chased Juaquez into his home and conducted a search without a warrant," the release said.

"Inside the home, Sharon Johnson, aunt to the Johnson brothers, was thrown from her wheelchair while Juaquez was thrown to the floor and repeatedly struck," the release said. "Officers did not help Sharon back into her wheelchair and instead placed her in handcuffs."

The footage recorded by the Johnson brothers was never returned after police seized it, but a neighbor filming from across the street did capture the scene outside the home. The video was posted to YouTube and four officers were fired once the incident received press coverage.

All charges against the Johnson family were dropped.

Officer James Kinsella was charged with tampering with evidence and Sgt. Aaron Von Behren was accused of organizing a cover-up, according to the Omaha World Herald. Their cases are still pending.

The ACLU lawsuit is filed against Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and the 32 officers who were at the scene.
Instead of posting deplorable videos stereotyping black people, the Omaha Police need to focus on ending their discriminatory and abusive practices.  Sadly, you will never hear people like Crystal Wright condemn those racist police practices. They prefer to bash their own black brothers and sisters for a buck or attention.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Ongoing Conflict In the Central African Republic

"They don't want to see us unite. All they want us to do is keep on fussing and fighting. They don't want to see us live together. All they want us to do is keep on killing one another." Bob Marley

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

A couple of days ago, I saw the above news segment regarding the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic. It deeply disturbs me to see my African brothers and sisters fight and kill each other over foreign religions and ethnic differences. I hope and pray for peace.

Al Jazeera reports that:

Gunfire has been reported on the streets of Bangui in the Central African Republic's capital after the news that interim President Michel Djotodia, facing international pressure, had agreed to resign after failing to halt inter-religious violence.

The resignations of Djotodia and Nicolas Tiangaye, the prime minister, were announced on Friday in a statement issued at a two-day summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) in neighbouring Chad.

Talks to decide on new leadership will take place in CAR, it said. Under an agreement brokered by the CEEAC last year, CAR's transitional assembly (CNT) elected Djotodia to his position as interim president in April to take the former French colony to elections, due at the end of this year.

As news from the summit reached Bangui, thousands of residents took to the streets, dancing, singing and honking horns in celebration. Cheers erupted at a camp for 100,000 displaced Christian civilians at the city's French-controlled airport.

There were no signs of the pro-Djotodia fighters who once dominated Bangui, Reuters news agency reported. Power vacuum feared Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Bangui on Friday, said the gunfire broke out shortly after the resignation announcement.

"It is not possible to work out who is firing at who at this stage," he said. "The international community is going to have to react very quickly as there is no one regionally who can unite CAR. "The foreign troops are largely welcome but they are not necessarily enough. The trouble in recent weeks and month has not just been in Bangui."

Despite the celebrations on Friday, there are fears that the resulting power vacuum will lead to greater instability if it is not filled quickly. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French defence minister, said he wished for the new leadership to be announced "as soon as possible", adding that "the aim is to move forward with elections before the end of the year". "We need the National Transitional Council to find a provisional alternative," he said.

Thousands of people have been killed and one million displaced by cycles of violence since abuses by Djotodia's mainly Muslim rebels, known as Seleka, prompted the creation of Christian self-defence armed groups after he seized power in March.

A Tribute to Amiri Baraka

Good morning, family. Rest in peace, Amiri Baraka.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Revolutionary Amiri Baraka Joins the Ancestors

Today, we lost a legend. We lost a poet. We lost a playwright. We lost an activist. We lost a leader. We lost a brother, brother Amiri Baraka. He has joined our great ancestors. May God bless and comfort his family during this difficult time.

USA Today reports that:
NEW YORK (AP) — Amiri Baraka, the militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a provocative and groundbreaking force in American culture, has died. He was 79.

His booking agent, Celeste Bateman, told the Associated Press that Baraka, who had been hospitalized since last month, died Thursday at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Perhaps no writer of the 1960s and '70s was more radical or polarizing than the former LeRoi Jones, and no one did more to extend the political debates of the civil rights era to the world of the arts. He inspired at least one generation of poets, playwrights and musicians, and his immersion in spoken word traditions and raw street language anticipated rap, hip-hop and slam poetry. The FBI feared him to the point of flattery, identifying Baraka as "the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the Pan-African movement in the United States."

Baraka transformed from the rare black to join the Beat caravan of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to leader of the Black Arts Movement, an ally of the Black Power movement that rejected the liberal optimism of the early '60s and intensified a divide over how and whether the black artist should take on social issues. Scorning art for art's sake and the pursuit of black-white unity, Barak was part of a philosophy that called for the teaching of black art and history and producing works that bluntly called for revolution.

"We want 'poems that kill,'" Baraka wrote in his landmark Black Art, a manifesto published in 1965, the year he helped found the Black Arts Movement. "Assassin poems. Poems that shoot guns/Poems that wrestle cops into alleys/and take their weapons leaving them dead/with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland."

He was as eclectic as he was prolific: His influences ranged from Ray Bradbury and Mao Zedong to Ginsberg and John Coltrane. Baraka wrote poems, short stories, novels, essays, plays, musical and cultural criticism and jazz operas. His 1963 book Blues People has been called the first major history of black music to be written by an African-American. A line from his poem Black People! — "Up against the wall mother f-----" — became a counterculture slogan for everyone from student protesters to the rock band Jefferson Airplane. A 2002 poem he wrote alleging that some Israelis had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks led to widespread outrage.

Let us celebrate Amiri Baraka's life by continuing his bold and courageous legacy of pride and resistance.

Chris Christie is America's Biggest Loser

The Record reports that:
A cache of private messages linking Governor Christie’s office to vindictive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September plunged the administration into a deep crisis on Wednesday, threatening Christie’s national profile as a straight-talker and feeding criticism that his administration has used its power to bully political enemies.

The explosive e-mails and text messages, obtained and first reported by The Record, sparked a political firestorm that extended far beyond New Jersey and Fort Lee — which was gridlocked for days as a result of the closures — and appeared destined to stretch into the foreseeable future. They also pushed Christie to expand on his previous claims that his office had no involvement in the closures and forced him to join the chorus of outraged officials at all levels of government condemning the messages exchanged between one of his deputy aides and his two executives at the Port Authority.

Christie said in a terse statement Wednesday that he was “misled” by one of his staffers. He called the messages — which expressed delight over delayed school buses shuttling children to their first day of class and included taunts aimed at the Fort Lee mayor — “completely inappropriate” and “unacceptable.” He added, without any specifics, “people will be held responsible for their actions.”

There was no immediate indication that Christie had taken any action against the senior aide who sent an e-mail weeks before the lane closures that appeared to give a Port Authority executive approval to go ahead with a plan to exact revenge against the Fort Lee mayor.
In response to the controversy, Governor Christie issued the following statement.
“What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”
As the Record further reports, here are the real life consequences of the Christie Administration's bullying tactics:
Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show...

On Sept. 9, the first day of the traffic paralysis, EMS crews took seven to nine minutes to arrive at the scene of a vehicle accident where four people were injured, when the response time should have been less than four minutes, he wrote.

In the words of Jay Z, it was all good just a week ago. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) was on the rise. He was re-elected by a 22 percent landslide in a blue state. His victory was supposed to be an indication of his ability to reach across party lines. After his re-election, the pundits began to talk about Christie being a top contender for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Apparently, such speculation was based on deception.  His post-partisan appeal was simply a charade. Like the gangsters on HBO's Board Walk Empire, the Christie Administration intimidated Democrats and twisted arms to get votes. Christie is literally a big fat bully. 

It looks like his rising star has crashed and exploded. His fleeting presidential ambitions died in the wreckage. It is over.  Today, in the arena of politics, he is America's biggest loser.  However, that is not enough. He should resign for allowing his staff to abuse their power. 

As I said on Twitter, Christie is a prime example of what happens when power is placed in the wrong hands.  Folks, this is why elections matter. This is why we must carefully evaluate all political candidates before voting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Possibilities Joins the Fight Against World Star Hip Hop

Shout out to Mad Man Chronicles

World Star Hip Hop ("WSHH") is the New Millennial Minstrel Show*.  It promotes and encourages violence, hooliganism, debauchery, vulgarity, obscenity, and indecency.  Like the old Tarzan television shows and like Birth of a Nation, WSHH constantly depicts African Americans as violent savages.  WSHH displays black women and girls as "ratchet" prostitutes and strippers for world wide consumption.  WSHH daily reinforces the evil and racist message that most black men are thugs, drug dealers and gangsters. 

For those reasons, I join Zulu Nation and the countless other voices against WSHH.  Please read the Zulu Nation's important letter and sign all of the petitions below.  Look for future articles and YouTube videos on this topic.

Mr. O’Denat,

On behalf of the thousands of members of the Universal Zulu Nation, of which I am Minister Of Information, I write you this letter in peace and hope these words find you in the best of health and spirits. Brother, we at UZN have the utmost respect and love for all who choose to take our Culture to new heights, and we thank you for your part in creating new media that preserves our culture. It is with great sadness that we bring to your attention the obvious ills of your site, Mister O’Denat, you are well aware, or should be well aware that many are viewing your site’s content as very graphic and extremely violent. Before you brush this off as just another person’s opinion of your site and the content you publish, please do not get it confused. This is not the case.

As I mentioned earlier, Mr. O’Denat, I am a representative of the Universal Zulu Nation, and we take our Culture quite serious. You are a Black man who has accomplished quite a lot without a formal education, and I’m quite sure when you dropped out of New York’s Grover Cleveland High School, you would never have imagined that you’d be as successful with your company, World Star, LLC. Doesn’t it bother you just a little that another Black man (that man being yourself), has “made it” out of the “ghetto”, only to display unnerving images and videos of young adults berating, belittling, and beating each other solely for the purpose of the enjoyment of who you are led to believe are “millions of Hip-Hoppers?”

Mr. O’Denat, the followers of your site are impressionable young men and women who “follow” you for a reason. As salacious as you may want your site to be, our youth are looking for answers and solutions to the many problems that plague our communities. The young people use your site as an outlet to escape the world they are living in, only to find that you place them right back at the starting point. Brother, you are well aware, or should be aware of the way Haitians are treated all over the world, including their own country. After all, Mr. O’Denat, you are Haitian, and you have even labeled yourself as a “Haitian Ghetto Nerd”, to gain God knows what kind of accolades. I am not Haitian, but I find it deplorable for a Haitian to associate such a dignified people with the “ghetto”, when Haitians come to this country to escape ghetto life.

Brother, I am sure you heard God speaking to you when the earthquakes in Haiti destroyed so many lives, and many of us di a fair share of work to help those in need. The repair for the damage done physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially will be an ongoing process that will take decades. But one of the brilliant brothers of Haitian decent is instead showering the world with what you call “the CNN of the Ghetto”. Brother, you are sadly mistaken if you would like the world to believe that hype. If you understand journalism 101, news is reported with two sides. Your excerpts of ghetto life, your lack of morality when accepting uploaded material, and your drive to maintain a site for the sole intent to destroy our Culture’s standing in these Americas is both uncouth and unacceptable by all of us at UZN. We are hereby separating ourselves and our followers from your site and what it supposedly stands for. Brother, if you were in fact the “CNN of the ghetto”, then you, as a former resident of Queens, NY should already know who Zulu is and what real Hip-Hop Culture is. Mr. O’Denat, there are many real Hip-Hoppers from Queens who laid the brick in the wall that you are trying to tear down.

You should already know about Run-DMC, Larry Smith, Salt-N-Pepa, Nas, MC Shan, LL Cool J and the founders of FUBU Clothing, to name a new. These men and women purposed to create a platform of expression for our Culture, and through the years, they have maintained and preserved that Culture. Mr. O’Denat, you are a Haitian, so you should know how serious Haitians are about their Culture. We are just as serious.

This is a new year, and the Universal Zulu Nation has begun a movement against anyone who is against us. Mr. O’Denat, either you are for Hip-Hop Culture, or you are not. There is no in-between, and no matter how many people have hyped you to believe that WorldStarHipHop is anything close to what this Culture is, they told you a lie. Mr. O’Denat, Hip-Hop Culture is FOUNDED on four spiritual principles. In case you haven’t already been schooled on what those principles are, they are: Peace, Unity, Love and Havin’ Fun. Mr. O’Denat, I pray that you do become a “CNN of the ghetto”, and that you someday get a camera and go to the ghetto yourself to record both sides of our neighborhoods. We still do have neighborhoods, brother.

Mr. O’Denat, can you imagine how much more hits WorldStarHipHop would have if you were intuitive enough to record rising Black political stars and activists, and some of the issues they discuss when trying to fix our problems nationwide? Or videos of Black political superstars like Barack and Michelle Obama. I would have loved to see the behind-the-scenes footage of the President at home with the wife and kids – on your website. I invite you to meet me in The Bronx, Boston, Virginia, The Carolinas, Chicago, DC, Maryland, Detroit, or any place that you feel more comfortable, so we may discuss the realities of “the ghetto” and how you can be better involved.

Mr. O’Denat, in closing I am asking you to remove the footage of the young man being forced to strip naked outside while people look on and another young man beats him with a belt while the camera man pours water on his fully naked body.

This is the link in question, Mr, O’Denat:

This is not the first time you have posted content that has been of this nature, and from the looks of it, this is probably Child Pornography. Therefore, I will forward the link and the video to the proper authorities to be sure that these young people are in fact of age and in full consent of being on your site in such a demeaning fashion. I’m unsure if this will bring about any charges, as there is a huge rumor on the streets that you are in fact working for the feds and are using your site as a cover up. But who knows? Mr. O’Denat, I again ask that you look into the fact that you and your site have misused our Culture’s name, committed fraud and falsely advertised your site as “Hip-Hop”. You have forced the hand of the Universal Zulu Nation to take further action should you continue to promote your “CNN of the ghetto” as “Hip-Hop”, and we are asking with all due respect that you include a disclaimer at the bottom of the front page of your website concerning your company and Hip-Hop Culture. A great
footnote on your site should be:

“World Star Hip-Hop is in no way affiliated with real Hip-Hop Culture or its’ founders or the Universal Zulu Nation. This site solely for entertainment purposes, and does not promote Hip-Hop Culture”

Mr. O’Denat, you are free to use the above language, or you may use any language you see fit that parallels the language above. Please contact me at your earliest convenience, should you have any questions or concerns. I can be reached at or 617-297-7423.


Quadeer “M.C. Spice” Shakur
Minister of Information
Universal Zulu Nation

We must challenge WSHH's coonery and buffoonery.  Please stop posting and sharing WSHH videos. Stop being promoting self destruction. Please sign the petitions listed below.

Quadeer "M.C. Spice" Shakur's petition to Stop World Star Hip Hop

Supreme Design Publishing petition against World Star Hip Hop

J.M.G. petition to Shut Down World Star Hip Hop

*This phrase comes from Spike Lee's classic film, Bamboozled.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Crucifixion of Melissa Harris Perry

Right wing fanatics crucified Melissa Harris-Perry. They gave her a cross to bear and a placed a crown of thorns on her head. They paraded her through the streets as the haters threw stones. Now, they are nailing her hands and feet to the cross.

As reported on the Hollywood Reporter, people want her fired. They have called her a racist, an evil scumbag, a real bigot, a yellow journalist and a silly woman.  She has been described as "extraordinarily backward and hateful." The right is trying to break her like the slave master broke Kunta Kente in Roots. While this crucifixion is taking place, MSNBC, the so-called bastion of liberalism, basically abandoned her. She was forced to make a tearful apology on national television. What was Melissa Harris-Perry's crime? Check out the video below.

This is a made up, fake controversy. Harris-Perry did not say or do anything racist. She merely laughed at a simple, harmless joke about Mitt Romney's adopted African American grandson not being like the others. All of the others are white, blood relatives. Obviously, he is not like the others. Her critics conveniently forgot that Melissa Harris-Perry stated the Mitt Romney's son was gorgeous.

She went on to joke about the possibility of Kanye West's daughter marrying Mitt Romney's grandson. There was absolutely nothing racist or offensive about Melissa Harris Perry's light hearted joke.

During the segment, another comedian joked about the photograph representing the lack of diversity within the Republican Party. That comedic analogy was accurate. The Republican Party obviously is not a racially diverse party. According to Gallop Politics, the Republican Party is 89% white, 2% black, 6% Hispanic and 1% Asian.  In the Washington Post, African American Republican Consultant Raynard Jackson described the glaring lack of racial diversity at the 2012 Republican National Convention.  He stated that:
If the most segregated time in the United States is 11 a.m. Sunday mornings, then the most least-diverse time in America is during a period every four years at the end of the summer: the Republican National Convention.

This is the fourth Republican convention that I have attended, and it is by far the least diverse. I now know what America would look like if all blacks and other people of color mysteriously disappeared. Reporters have been calling me, practically begging me to find them some blacks to interview for their various media outlets. Is this really the 21st century? I have not been showered with this much attention since I was a little baby!

But even more alarming than the lack of blacks as convention attendees, delegates or Mitt Romney staff members is the lack of blacks in the pipeline to be future party operatives.
Melissa Harris-Perry's Republican critics are a horde of hypocrites. They do not genuinely care about fighting racism.  When right wing nuts like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter constantly make racist and despicable comments, those hypocritical haters are usually silent. When they are not silent, those phonies are championing the bigots' right to free speech.  Those same fakers defended Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson when he said that black people were happy under Jim Crow. 

Those Republicans claim that they are concerned about the plight of Romney's black grandson. Yet, they support policies that disproportionately and adversely impact black children.  They support ending food assistance, Head Start, Medicaid, Pell Grants, affirmative action and other beneficial policies.

Unlike her unworthy critics, Melissa Harris-Perry regularly addresses, confronts and combats racism and inequality. She is a bi-racial woman who was raised in a Mormon household.  Obviously, she did not intend to ridicule Romney's adopted, African American grandson.

If MSNBC takes any action against her, I will boycott MSNBC and I hope you do too.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Edward Snowden is A Hero

Yesterday, the New York Times Editorial Board wrote:
Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights. The public learned in great detail how the agency has exceeded its mandate and abused its authority, prompting outrage at kitchen tables and at the desks of Congress, which may finally begin to limit these practices.

The revelations have already prompted two federal judges to accuse the N.S.A. of violating the Constitution (although a third, unfortunately, found the dragnet surveillance to be legal). A panel appointed by President Obama issued a powerful indictment of the agency’s invasions of privacy and called for a major overhaul of its operations.

All of this is entirely because of information provided to journalists by Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness. Mr. Snowden is now living in Russia, on the run from American charges of espionage and theft, and he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life looking over his shoulder.

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
In my eyes, Edward Snowden is a hero for exposing the NSA's illegal and unconstitutional conduct. The President should grant him clemency. However, American politics make that virtually impossible.

More people should be concerned about the NSA collecting private information on millions of innocent Americans. Unfortunately, Obama loyalists and conservatives are more interested in demonizing the messenger.  

Sadly, many of my fellow progressives are more interested in defending the nation's first African American president.  That trumps everything, including logic and principle.  From their prospective, constitutional principles are practically irrelevant or an afterthought.  If any other person was in the White House, I doubt that those so-called progressives would vigorously defend the NSA's despicable practices. I guess if you put a black face on Orwellian policies that makes them acceptable. Have we forgotten about Cointelpro and its devastating impact on the black community? I guess so.

Many assert that the NSA's massive surveillance program is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. When people have been programmed to be fearful, they will voluntarily surrender their constitutional rights to Big Brother. Here is the truth.  As reported on NBC News Investigative Reports,
A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks.

“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.”

While Stone said the mass collection of telephone call records was a “logical program” from the NSA’s perspective, one question the White House panel was seeking to answer was whether it had actually stopped “any [terror attacks] that might have been really big.”

“We found none,” said Stone.
Wake up, people.