Debate?  What debate? The way forward was written on the wall

declaration-of-independence-as-backdrop-to-debate

Of course there was no real debate last night because at the end of the day the two rich folks are committed to the system that made them rich, everything else is superfluous. The most important part of last night’s debate was  not who looked most presidential, nor what was said, what should have stood out  was what was not said and who was not on the stage. And if you looked at the background of the debate the writing on the wall had the prescription for what ails us poor working folks.

Jill Stein the Green Party candidate was literally escorted by the police off the Hoftstra campus yesterday. Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party wasn’t invited and of course the candidates of the various Socialist and revolutionary parties were left out. Lots of folks run around bragging about ‘us live in a democracy,’ but in democracy isn’t candidate given a chance to be heard. Some will say I haven’t heard of the Green Party though they been around for quite a few years because you don’t see them on TV. Exactly!

The debate was a farce it was organized by the US ruling class masquerading as two parties. Even the questions were scripted by them. Yes Lester Holt wrote his own questions but he is firmly in their camp they didn’t have to tell him what to ask he knew automatically what to do.

Forgive me but,’I don’t believe Massa Bill’s wife is gonna give us free”. Massa Bill’s wife watched quietly while we wuz bein whipped and caged (mass incarceration) when Massa Bill decided we gonna have less gruel (food, Welfare) she didn’t say a word. Take that back, she did say some of our “chillin” wasn’t fit to eat (superpredators). When we complained about the patty rollers ( the first cops) and how they treated us she said we just had to understand “dem” cause we too got the implicit bias in “usem” too’

Seriously, the Democrats are not talking about instituting single payer universal healthcare, which even those silly enough to think they don’t need it want. We want an end to mass incarceration find a way to stop these prosecutors from automatically sending everyone to prison. White middle class folks children are dropping like flies from heroin overdoses and the synthetic imitations but not a word about treatment centers for those saddled with drug addiction. Nobody agreed to spend $600 billion on the military budget with a third of that money we could put people to work rebuilding the deteriorating infrastructure. Most want a moratorium on guns and marijuana laws at least until we can get some things sorted out.

The public schools are failing us all over the place children are being deprived of their right to a free education by the lackadaisical system tasked to teach them. Police are dropping people all over the place Black, White Latino Asian young old including the mentally ill. In a real democracy this would be brought to a halt by the automatic firing of anyone who intentionally hurts a citizen with automatic prosecution. And everybody knows the polar ice caps are melting and that if the global capitalist don’t adjust we are all going down anyway.

Ironically, the backdrop to the debate was the US Declaration of Independence (read it, it’s on the wall behind the candidates). Right off the bat the Declaration tears a hole in a few popular arguments. One of my favorites is “you can only change things from the inside.”Tell that to Jefferson, Washington, Paine Patrick Henry and the crew. The Declaration shoots holes in the idea that you have no choice but to go along with the status quo.

On the eve of rebellion the British crown offered them a choice of the lesser evil. Oddly though evil is the purview of the religious world I am not familiar with the theological community parsing evil in this way. Evil has always been evil period. That expression ranks up there with terms like being “a little bit pregnant”

The colonists wanted to be free. Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death.” They didn’t do die ins in front of the kings men nor did they beg the King to stop killing them or run around giving free hugs, or saying, ‘all of the King’s men aint so bad.’

Someone suggested that Trump is the Republican nominee for president for the purpose of making Hilary Clinton more palatable. Not sure I agree with that assessment but it is starting to look more and more like there is some truth to the statement.

In a real democracy we would be looking for candidates who agree with our platform and seek to make things right for all of us not just maintain the status quo which benefits the many for the sake of the few.

justice then peace

“Why does it go right to shooting?” Blacks police and the 2nd Ammendment

charlotte-chief-of-police

Why does it go right to shooting was the question asked by many Black Charlotte residents after the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott. It’s a great question especially considering that the Charlotte police initial explanation for killing Scott was that he had a gun; period. The Black police chief later amended that in his press conference saying he was threatening the Black officer who killed him, most likely because that “narrative” is easier to digest.

But I suspect that the first story was correct, if Mr Scott had a gun (a witness said he had a book) and even in an open carry state the authorities didn’t see him as a man with a right to carry a gun but a Black man without 2nd amendment rights.

In 2013 the  Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that simply possessing  a handgun does not give the police the right to stop and search them nor does it give them the ability to search anyone with them.

So why do police shoot Black people with guns even in open carry states? Why was Tamir Rice shot before a clear assessment was made or John Crawford, or more recently Tyre Wright, Philando Castille and Alton Sterling? In every instance, the victim never threatened the authorities with their gun, but nevertheless were for all practical purposes murdered.

But wait maybe their possession of a gun was a threat to the establishment.

Conversations about Black people and guns in the US have always been controversial because Black folks remain an oppressed nationality within the United States. Colin Kaepernick is precisely right about that. So because of that unwritten but very real socio-economic- political reality, Blacks with guns are subconsciously seen as a problem and consciously seen as a problem by US imperialism’s occupying force its police.

Historically, the idea that Blacks shouldn’t have guns is seared into the national consciousness dating back to slavery.  Until the passing of the 14th Ammendment in 1966 which granted Blacks citizenship Blacks slave or free  were  denied the  Constitutional right to bear arms. The police response to a black man with a gun seems symbiotically related to the slave owner seeing a black man with a gun. The slave owner would likely shoot the slave since his correct assumption is that the slave is probably thinking about using it on him since human beings have no right to own other human beings.

Historically there have been lots of attempts to deprive Blacks of the right to bear arms and of course the reason for this is so that those who sought to exploit their labor could do so with ease.

As one scholar put it, “in the last century, while never openly admitted, one of the goals of disarming Blacks was to make them more willing to accept various forms of economic oppression, including the sharecropping system, in which free blacks were reduced to an economic state not dramatically superior to the conditions of slavery.”

The Black with a gun is viewed as a threat thus creating another injustice and inequity for Black people, because if Black people can’t have guns they don’t have the same rights to defend themselves.

According to professor  Robin Wright, who studies implicit bias at Ohio State University, “It’s really just getting at what we know to be a pervasive stereotype of blackness and criminality,” she said. “If you see a black person with a weapon, you don’t assume that it’s legal.”

Therefore If the role of the police is partly to reinforce the stereotypes of society and the unequal economic and social relations it stands to reason that an armed Black person is a threat.

The quick response by a Black officer in Charlotte and the Latino officer in Minneapolis raises the question of whether police as an institution see their role as disarming Black people.

Oddly none of our elected officials including the Black ones have spoken out about the rights of Blacks to own guns. If Blacks cannot own guns then they are being deprived of the full rights afforded US citizens.

What should happen? Demand that the government defend our 2nd Ammendment rights .  That’s right demand should be placed on the  Congress and the nice looking brown skinned man in the white House with the beautiful wife and cute kids. Since he is the president of “ALL” America that includes African Americans and seeing to it that all Americans are afforded their constitutional rights even African Americans.

There is precedent for this. President Obama recently acknowledged Kaepernicks 1st amendment right to speak his mind by taking a knee.

He can publicly rebuke the police institution call in the police fraternal organizations and demand that they acknowledge black gun rights.

justice then peace

ARE THE VIKINGS TOO GOOD, TOO SCARED OR BEEN BULLIED OUT OF PROTEST?

mn-vikings-everson-griffen

So the South High girls volleyball team can take a stand by kneeling, and some of the local inner city high school football players from the much maligned and criticized Minneapolis North can take a knee, and practically the entire WNBA Minnesota Lynx takes a stand on the problem of police violence, but the biggest, strongest men in town, the Minnesota Vikings, are silent and won’t even discuss it?

Personally I don’t think it says much for their manhood, because no one can deny that police violence is a problem in US for Black and yes White folks. It seems that the protest and the issue should at least come up for discussion. But according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune article the Vikings team captain Chad Greenway it hasn’t been discussed by anyone on the team.

Why wouldn’t the issue of police violence have been discussed? After all this is Minneapolis where Terrence Franklin was killed (murdered?) by the police under questionable circumstances, just a few years ago. And there was a significant effort to get justice for him organized in the community. The same is true for Jamar Clark who was killed by Minneapolis police during the football season last year.

And practically the entire technologically connected world saw the video of Philando Castille dying live on FaceBook as his girlfriend calmly confronted his murderer.

A quick look at the Vikings roster reveals that not one player is from the moon.

Practically all of them come from urban areas, where police violence is as prevalent as any other kind of violence. Shariff Floyd is from Philadelphia where his school George Washington High has a history of racial strife among students, TJ Clemmings lived and went to high school in Patterson New Jersey, Xavier Rhodes is from my hometown of Miami Gardens where Trayvon Martin was from and attended church. Teddy Bridgewater (who can be excused for now for taking a knee because of his injury) is from Liberty City in Miami where last year police killed seven people in six days.

Andre Smith grew up in Birmingham the backyard of the civil rights movement. Team captain Everson Griffen who had his own personal experience with police violence when he was tased a few years ago, and according to coach Mike Zimmer “is not afraid to voice his opinion,” yet he doesn’t have an opinion?

And unlike Vikings teams of the past especially the Purple People Eater generation they can’t be found in the community. If the team hasn’t designated the charity event they don’t seem to participate or connect with the community. So maybe they didn’t even bother to talk about police violence, because just maybe they are too good for the peons in the community, after all most can’t afford to buy tickets.

Maybe they have been bullied and intimidated out of saying anything by the outspoken Alex Boone who issued a not too thinly veiled threat at Colin Kaepernick saying that “we probably would have had a problem on the sideline.” Boone’s current teammates could be thinking they don’t want a problem with him so they choose to stay silent.

Boone is a former SF 49er teammate of Kaepernick and his opinion of the quarterback’s anthem protest was, “there’s a time and a place. Show some respect. You should have some f—ing respect for people who served.” Needless to say the 300 pound athlete from small town Ohio, has it wrong, the flag nor the anthem represent the military, but are merely symbols of the country.

Could it be they are afraid to lose out on endorsement deals, the love of money being the root of all evil or in this case “silence.” They can’t blame the league for holding them back NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has gone on record saying the league acknowledges their right to kneel.

Without a doubt the Vikings along with the rest of the NFLers especially the Black players have a right to remain silent. But this is a golden opportunity to give back. Whether they admit it or not, the vast majority of these players owe a debt to the communities they come from.

In many instances a coach, a teacher, a neighbor, friend, or friend of a neighbor went beyond the call of duty to help them. Even those they played with and left behind played a part in their success by helping them to sharpen their skills. Truth be told some of those they left behind were better, but not as lucky or well behaved.

Whatever the reason for their silence it’s louder than any crowd noise made on Sunday’s in the new stadium built with the “peoples” money!

justice then peace

The shero of 9/14: When one Black woman Barbara Lee stood alone

us-rep-barbara-lee

The bourgeois Big Business/corporate press went on and on recently about the significance of 9/11 and they let 9/14 pass without acknowledging  the principled stand of US Rep. Barbara Lee in one of the most extraordinary acts of bravery ever performed by a member of the US Congress. On 9/14/2001 the US Senate by a vote of 98-0 and the US House of Representative by 420 to 1 passed a resolution titled “The Authorization for Use of Military Force” giving then president George Bush open ended authority to attack those involved in 9/11.

The lone dissenting vote stood and said,

“This unspeakable act  has forced me to rely on my moral compass,my conscience and my God. September 11 changed the world our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of terrorism against the US.  This resolution will pass. Some of us must urge the use of restraint.  Let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control. I came to grips with  opposing this resolution during the memorial service as a member of the clergy  so eloquently said, ‘ as we act let us not become the evil that we deplore.’”

The resolution read,” the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

When Congress voted to authorize war on that fateful day in 2001 no one else stood with Rep. Lee, even Cynthia McKinney who at the time was the firebrand progressive representing Atlanta cast her vote with the crowd. Yet the Black woman representing the East Bay area of California, (which includes Oakland and Berkeley), never wavered. According to Rep. Lee some of her colleagues tried to coerce her into going back and changing her vote after it had already been cast.

Fall out for her stand was swift and sometimes vicious. Some of the good citizens of the US called her every name imaginable including yes, the N word. She was sent thousands of hateful letters. She was called ungrateful, unpatriotic, un-American and unfit to hold the office of US representative. She even received death threats and had to have around the clock security around her for about a year.

And evil is the best word to describe the resulting carnage dealt on the Middle East by US imperialism hell bent on creating new markets and marking new territory while demonstrating its power and ability to destroy anything that moves.

The authorization given the president that day opened the door for the invasion of Iraq where at last count over 150,000 civilians have died in the resulting conflict. Tens of thousands more have died in this never ending war against terrorism. Several thousand US soldiers have died in these wars of aggression and thousands more have been wounded. And thousands more have wounded souls and psyches and have been deeply traumatized by what they have seen and were forced to do in the name of liberty in the Middle East

It added to our lexicon “Extraordinary rendition” a fancy term for kidnapping those who disagree with or are suspected of terrorism against this government. This fateful resolution led to targeted assassinations by the US president without the benefit of due process, for the first time in US history a US citizen was openly murdered by the government without benefit of trial.

From this fateful day came, water boarding, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Gharib, drone warfare, bombings of funerals and even weddings

In the words of Fidel Castro, “history has absolved her.”  The actions of the US government in the years following the passing of this resolution have been deplorable and evil, and if we are honest they constitute a great crime against humanity.

There were some folks who I am sure had their reservations at the time, but they didn’t take a stand they figured, what does it matter, I can’t win anyway? But they would be wrong. Barbara Lee’s  career did not end that day as predicted, her constituency and thousands of others rallied behind her and she is still representing the East Bay.

As one supporter wrote at the time,”Courageous acts like yours widen the definition for all of us, giving us room to be world citizens, to express our pain and fear for all humans, and hopefully, inspire us to think beyond our borders.”

justice then peace

Kaepernick is right without justice the flag is merely a rag

 

colin kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit for the national anthem to bring attention to the FACT of Black oppression in this country is proving to be one of the bravest acts of this decade if not this century. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said. A sportswriter tried to say that this was Kaepernick’s belief, no this is a fact of life in the US. African Americans are an oppressed nationality in the US.

“To me, this is something that has to change and when there’s significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country—is representing the way that it’s supposed to—I’ll stand.”

He told the truth and he is standing on it.  Now that is a role model!

By saying clearly that Black people are still oppressed and Black and Whites are continually victimized by the police without any recourse he shattered the sound barrier of silence, by not just athletes but regular citizens as well. Most of us are mush mouthed when it comes to telling the truth or we just stutter. It’s almost embarrassing that it took an entertainer, a football player to take this much needed stand.

And in exposing and standing on this truth he has also picked at the American scab that has not been healed because the power structure has no intention on healing the wound.

“We criticize athletes for not going back to their neighborhoods from which they came and for not being able to identify with people who don’t make millions of dollars,” said Sarah Spain of ESPN.” But when they do it they reach across and say look at someone else who doesn’t enjoy the same freedoms they get criticized for that as well.”

Spain seems to really understand the significance of Kaepernick’s protest. She said, “He is making us talk about it in a way that we don’t see when it’s the average person who is losing their life to police brutality. Look this is someone who is deciding to make his life more difficult in order to speak for others….. “Change has to be uncomfortable you have to do something that makes people think”

Many White Americans are upset with him because deep down they know this truth but they are ticked off because he brought out in the open so clearly and emphatically. Most in our society know that Black folks are subjected to a double standard, but there is an expectation that Black folks should be quiet about it.

The argument about disrespecting the military is merely a deflection. By focusing on the symbol (the flag) it keeps folks from having to deal with the substance of his complaint. And many in the military Black, Latin and White have begun to back the quarterback up in a way that is encouraging and actually unifying.

Truth is too many of our fellow citizens really don’t care about the reason for his protest.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh gave the most honest response when he said he didn’t respect  “the motivation or the action”. In other words he didn’t respect the desire to end Black oppression or the idea that cops should be held accountable and prosecuted when they kill or brutalize citizens especially Black ones. Harbaugh backed away from this statement later with an insincere apology after most likely getting a phone call from  the athletic director who probably said, Jim are you crazy don’t you know that the BIG HOUSE  Michigan plays in and the big house you live in and your big salary are paid for on the backs of underpaid and exploited Black athletes many of whom have either experienced police abuse or have relatives and parents that have been victimized.

Ironically, the flag does not represent liberty and justice for all, it merely represents or symbolizes the idea which Colin so eloquently has pointed has fallen short.  And Drew Brees has it wrong, the flag and the anthem did not give him the right to speak up, it was the people demanding that certain rights be granted that gives him the right.

He has shown himself to be much more  classy than the folks who disagree h him. In fact the response that he has gotten exposes the truth of his protest.

Reportedly Big shot NFL execs are saying they hate Colin and are comparing him to Rae Carruth. So standing up against oppression and police violence is the same as being a murderer? That speaks volumes!  Not surprisingly unlike Kaepernick who has the guts to say what he thinks and stand on it publicly, these cowards hide behind anonymity. What they are implying is that Colin is possibly messing with their money and to them that is equal to murder. So who is the real social deviant, them or  Kaepernick.

And why did an exec call him a traitor? What did he betray? I suspect that they are upset because some of these folks feel like they have done Black folks a favor by allowing them to be paid gladiators.

Some think that Black folks ought to be grateful to just be in America despite the precarious lives they are forced to live while trying to avoid the racial mine field that threatens their well- being at every turn.

And today Americans question Blacks patriotism because they know most blacks may have good reason to consider an offer from the other side. Because let’s face it ,Black people in this country have for the most part been afforded a kind of second class citizenship.

Don’t take my word for it look at the record

And today we pretend none of this happened. This is an unjust place so the power structure fills in for the lack of justice with fake patriotism and country worship.This is an unjust place so the power structure fills in for the lack of justice with fake patriotism and country worship. Hopefully others will stand with him! We should all be there with him in spirit tomorrow night!

justice then peace

Kaepernick is right without justice the flag is merely a rag

colin kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit for the national anthem to bring attention to the FACT of Black oppression in this country is proving to be one of the bravest acts of this decade if not this century. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said. A sportswriter tried to say that this was Kaepernick’s belief, no this is a fact of life in the US. African Americans are an oppressed nationality in the US.

“To me, this is something that has to change and when there’s significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country—is representing the way that it’s supposed to—I’ll stand.”

He told the truth and he is standing on it.  Now that is a role model!

By saying clearly that Black people are still oppressed and Black and Whites are continually victimized by the police without any recourse he shattered the sound barrier of silence, by not just athletes but regular citizens as well. Most of us are mush mouthed when it comes to telling the truth or we just stutter. It’s almost embarrassing that it took an entertainer, a football player to take this much needed stand.

And in exposing and standing on this truth he has also picked at the American scab that has not been healed because the power structure has no intention on healing the wound.

“We criticize athletes for not going back to their neighborhoods from which they came and for not being able to identify with people who don’t make millions of dollars,” said Sarah Spain of ESPN.” But when they do it they reach across and say look at someone else who doesn’t enjoy the same freedoms they get criticized for that as well.”

Spain seems to really understand the significance of Kaepernick’s protest. She said, “He is making us talk about it in a way that we don’t see when it’s the average person who is losing their life to police brutality. Look this is someone who is deciding to make his life more difficult in order to speak for others….. “Change has to be uncomfortable you have to do something that makes people think”

Many White Americans are upset with him because deep down they know this truth but they are ticked off because he brought out in the open so clearly and emphatically. Most in our society know that Black folks are subjected to a double standard, but there is an expectation that Black folks should be quiet about it.

The argument about disrespecting the military is merely a deflection. By focusing on the symbol (the flag) it keeps folks from having to deal with the substance of his complaint. And many in the military Black, Latin and White have begun to back the quarterback up in a way that is encouraging and actually unifying.

Truth is too many of our fellow citizens really don’t care about the reason for his protest.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh gave the most honest response when he said he didn’t respect  “the motivation or the action”. In other words he didn’t respect the desire to end Black oppression or the idea that cops should be held accountable and prosecuted when they kill or brutalize citizens especially Black ones. Harbaugh backed away from this statement later with an insincere apology after most likely getting a phone call from  the athletic director who probably said, Jim are you crazy don’t you know that the BIG HOUSE  Michigan plays in and the big house you live in and your big salary are paid for on the backs of underpaid and exploited Black athletes many of whom have either experienced police abuse or have relatives and parents that have been victimized.

Ironically, the flag does not represent liberty and justice for all, it merely represents or symbolizes the idea which Colin so eloquently has pointed has fallen short.  And Drew Brees has it wrong, the flag and the anthem did not give him the right to speak up, it was the people demanding that certain rights be granted that gives him the right.

He has shown himself to be much more  classy than the folks who disagree h him. In fact the response that he has gotten exposes the truth of his protest.

Reportedly Big shot NFL execs are saying they hate Colin and are comparing him to Rae Carruth. So standing up against oppression and police violence is the same as being a murderer? That speaks volumes!  Not surprisingly unlike Kaepernick who has the guts to say what he thinks and stand on it publicly, these cowards hide behind anonymity. What they are implying is that Colin is possibly messing with their money and to them that is equal to murder. So who is the real social deviant, them or  Kaepernick.

And why did an exec call him a traitor? What did he betray? I suspect that they are upset because some of these folks feel like they have done Black folks a favor by allowing them to be paid gladiators.

Some think that Black folks ought to be grateful to just be in America despite the precarious lives they are forced to live while trying to avoid the racial mine field that threatens their well- being at every turn.

And today Americans question Blacks patriotism because they know most blacks may have good reason to consider an offer from the other side. Because let’s face it ,Black people in this country have for the most part been afforded a kind of second class citizenship.

Don’t take my word for it look at the record

And today we pretend none of this happened. This is an unjust place so the power structure fills in for the lack of justice with fake patriotism and country worship.This is an unjust place so the power structure fills in for the lack of justice with fake patriotism and country worship. Hopefully others will stand with him! We should all be there with him in spirit tomorrow night!

justice then peace