Archive for August 2012

Eric Holder’s Lack of Balls is Not the Problem The Justice Department’s failure to bring criminal charges against Goldman Sachs is not due to the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder “has no balls,” as Matt Taibbi recently wrote in Rolling Stone, said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. Rather, Holder “isn’t going to do anything that President Obama doesn’t like. These guys all depend on money from very wealthy people to get President Obama re-elected.” Instead of personalizing the issue, said Dr. Williams, “we need to concentrate on the systemic nature of the problem: our system is basically corrupt.”

Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Could Turn November Election

They know that the number of people that do not have photo ID is almost the same population by which the president lost the state” in 2008, said State Representative W. Curtis Thomas, Democrat from Philadelphia. The GOP-backed photo ID legislation, recently upheld by a Republican Commonwealth judge, has the potential to “make or break the election,” said Thomas.

Voter Impersonation Fraud Virtually Non-Existent

The fraudulent voter behavior that photo IDs are supposed to prevent hardly exists in the real world, according to an exhaustive study by the journalism research organization News21.

The study found only 10 cases of voter impersonation in all of the country over the past ten years,

said News 21’s Corbin Carson, a masters degree candidate at Arizona State University. That represents “roughly one out of every 15 million registered voters,” said Carson – an “infinitesimal” number.

South African Government “Opportunism” Led to Massacre of Miners

When Jacob Zuma succeeded Thabo Mbeki as head of the African National Congress and president of South Africa, many assumed it would mean “a shift to the left and redistributionist policies…but that hasn’t happened,” said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston. Meanwhile, Zuma’s extended family is “feasting” on government contracts, symptomatic of “opportunism” in the ANC. Hopefully, the ANC will conduct an “inventory” of its policies and do some “self-criticism” in the wake of the police massacre of 34 miners.

American Christian Right Spreads Homophobia in Africa

Homosexuality has been part and parcel of African history,” said Dr. Kapya Kaoma, author of a report on the U.S. religious Right’s campaign to spread anti-gay hysteria throughout the African continent. “The laws against homosexuality in African came with western colonialism,” yet U.S.-based Christian groups try to tap into African anti-colonial sentiment by claiming that liberals in the West have exported homosexuality to the continent, said Dr. Kaoma, an Anglican priest from Zambia.

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Texas Ten Percent Admissions Plan “Model for Country”

Texas provides a “model for the rest of the country” for boosting the numbers of Black and Latino students in state colleges, said Shanta Driver, of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. BAMN filed a friend of the court brief supporting Texas’ policy allowing admission to state colleges of the top ten percent of each high school graduating class. “You don’t need an elaborate maze of criteria” to integrate higher education, said Driver. The ten percent plan works because it eliminates “all of the common variables that are used to make it much more difficult for Black and Latino and poor white students to gain admission into their state’s flagship universities.”

Blow the Whistle” on Stop-and-Frisk

On September 13, the Stop Stop-and-Frisk movement will blow the whistle on police abuse in New York City, “figuratively and literally,” said spokesman Carl Dix. “People will gather with their whistles and cameras and be on the lookout for cops violating someone’s rights, and when they see it, blow the whistle to draw a crowd,” said Dix. “We are no longer going to accept this kind of abuse in silence.”

NAACP Called “Irrelevant”

The national and state offices of the NAACP have “sold out” to the Whirlpool corporation’s attempts to turn mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, over to developers, said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the longtime president of the local NAACP. Pinkney publicly burned his NAACP membership card, on Sunday. “We have given them a free pass because of what they did 40 years ago,” said Pinkney, who claims more than 800 others joined him in burning their NAACP cards. “They’re just a shell of what they used to be.”

The Myth of “Progressive” Media

Since the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement issued its groundbreaking Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People, earlier this summer, it has met a wall of silence from media outlets and personalities that are generally considered “progressive,” said Rosa Clemente, co-author of the report. “Whether it is MSNBC or Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. Sharpton or Mellissa Harris-Perry…Democracy Now, The Nation, In These Times – they haven’t covered it either,” said Clemente. “They don’t want to deal with the issue of race and systemic violence. They don’t want President Obama or his Justice Department put on blast” in this election year.”

Conference on Black-Led Development

The Uhuru Movement holds a conference to “Empower African Communities Through African-Led Development,” in Washington, DC, on October 13 and 14. The conference aims to “expand our knowledge base and skills base to the Caribbean, Africa and South America – wherever African people are,” said Ayesha Fleary, of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project. The project operates agriculture enterprises in Houston, Washington, and Oakland, California, and a nursing school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. “Whoever controls your food, controls your life,” said Fleary.

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Elections and Black Power

On August 18 and 19, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparation holds its national conference in Newark, New Jersey, under the theme: Obama, the Elections, and the Struggle for Peace, a Better Life, and Black Power. “We’re going to take it away from simply a discussion around Obama and place it in a context of elections in a capitalist system: What are they about, who funds them, and their role” under capitalism, said Black Is Back chairman Omali Yeshitela. “This is something that the movement at-large hasn’t done since the Civil Rights era, when there was an assumption that elections were the way to gain power for Black people.”

Prison for Poor People

In a practical sense, debtors prisons are a reality in America, say two Birmingham, Alabama, lawyers who have defended hundreds of people thrown in jail by private companies for non-payment of fines and fees. Companies contracted by localities to handle probation “services” pile on fees that often “exceed the amount that the person can afford to make payments,” said Atty. Lisa Borden. In many cases, people who are jailed are charged additional fees to pay for their incarceration. Atty. William Dawson, who brought suit against many Alabama cities and towns, said: “The fact that this has gone on for six or eight years throughout the South and other parts of America is outrageous.”

The Philadelphia Plan: Marginalize Blacks

Philadelphia pubic school authorities want to close at least 40 schools and convert 40 percent of remaining classrooms to charter operations. The plan was financed by large corporate interests. “There’s big business in moving us out of the way,” said Rev. Alyn Waller, pastor of the city’s Enon Tabernacle Church. “We need to recognize that there is a larger strategy, here, to disenfranchise and marginalize people in the African American community.

U.S. Persecutes Eritrea

The northeast African nation of Eritrea, which fought a 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia, “is on America’s hit list,” said Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report executive editor. The U.S. pressured the UN Security Council to renew sanctions against Eritrea, even though a monitoring group found no evidence that the country had assisted Shabab resistance fighters in Somalia over the past year. Especially in Africa, said Ford, Washington’s policy is “to create chaos and horrific human suffering in those regions it cannot directly control.”

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Don’t Depend on Obama

Whatever happens in November, our job doesn’t change,” said anti-racism activist Tim Wise, author of Dear White America: A Letter to a New Minority. “The symbolic value of a Black face in a high place does not necessarily translate into structural change.” A mass movement is necessary to force elected officials to address social issues, “because they are not going to do it in and of themselves.”

COINTELPRO Never Ended

The government’s Counter Intelligence Program of the Sixties were never shut down, said Larry Pinkney, former Black Panther and political prisoner. The Feds continue to plant provocateurs in activist ranks. “It’s the oldest trick in the book,” said Pinkney, “and the reason it has consistently worked ism we’ve got too man ‘sheeple’ out there who are about to find themselves in a situation where they have no Constitutional or human rights.”

Offshore Trillions

Measuring the global elite’s offshore cash stashes is “like estimating the size of a black hole,” said James Henry, author of Tax Justice Network-USA study titled “The Price of Offshore, Revisited.” Between $21 trillion to $32 trillion is hidden from tax collectors, said Henry, a former chief economist for the McKinsey consulting group. Developing nations are actually net lenders to First World countries, “to the tune of $11 trillion, which is exactly opposite the way global capital markets are supposed to function.”

Africa at Crossroads

The African Union has proven itself incapable of resolving armed conflicts” in Libya, the Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau, said Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Houston. South Africa, the sub-Saharan powerhouse, is key to continental security. “It’s either get South Africa off the sidelines or invite in the United States or some outside power – and, obviously, the latter is too ghastly to contemplate.”

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