Archive for July 2014

World Opinion Turns Against Israel – But Not in Congressional Black Caucus

 

Israelis “can no longer frame themselves as the victims” in the conflict with occupied Palestinians, said veteran human rights activist and BAR columnist Ajamu Baraka. However, “it now appears that Black leadership has lost its moral compass and are standing shoulder to shoulder with something as brutal and backward as the assault on Palestine,” said Baraka. Every member of the Congressional Black Caucus this month joined in a unanimous House resolution siding with Israel.

U.S. Academics Largely Silent on Israeli Crimes

 

American academics are largely mum on Israeli brutality in Gaza, said Dr. Johnny Williams, professor of sociology at Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. “They are scared to talk about the kinds of war crimes that are being committed with this unprovoked war by Israel,” he said. Except for Cornel West, Noam Chomsky “and a few others,” academics are “essentially folks who tell the stories of rich people and the people who have power.”

Kucinich: America Must Quit “Imperial Pretensions”

 

The U.S. is on the wrong side of history, said Dennis Kucinich, the former Ohio congressman, Cleveland mayor, and two-time presidential candidate. “Our policies of intervention, of regime change, of covert action, of linking up with groups that seek to destabilize and annihilate governments, are policies that are doomed to defeat,” said Kucinich, who fought unsuccessfully to halt U.S. bombing of Libya in 2011, before he was redistricted out of his seat. “We have to quit these imperial pretensions and take care of business at home.”

NYPD Reform Impossible Under Bratton

 

The choke-hold death of a Black New Yorker accused of selling loose cigarettes shows that Mayor Bill de Blasio should never have brought Bill Bratton back as police commissioner, said Josmar Trujillo, of New Yorkers Against Bratton. The group had warned that Bratton’s obsession with so-called “quality of life” offenses would lead to disaster. “Back then, we said that his history and his policies were the exact opposite of reform,” said Trujillo. “I think now people are starting to have the conversation, after the death of Eric Garner, about what’s going on with Bratton’s ‘Broken Windows’ policing.”

Prisoners Have Voting Rights, Too

 

Back in 2008, Rev. Kenneth Glascow won a lawsuit affirming the right of many incarcerated people to vote, in Alabama. Glascow and his Ordinary People Society have been making the rounds of county jails, to determine if they are in compliance with the law. “Anybody who is in jail in Alabama for a crime that is not a crime of moral turpitude – meaning, they caused harm or danger to some

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McKinney: West Condemns Whole Regions to Death

 

“What we are witnessing” in Syria and Iraq “is a process, a way to apply the death penalty to countries and make it appear to be a domestic, civil conflict,” said former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The same U.S. and Israeli-led process of undermining nations has already dismembered Sudan and destroyed Libya and “will spread to Jordan and Iran,” said McKinney, who served on the defense and foreign relations committees of the House before leaving Congress in 2007.

U.S. Founded in Slavery and Genocide – But Don’t Tell Obama

 

Gerald Horne’s recent book The Counter-Revolution of 1776 “shows how slavery is very much at the heart and core, the driving force behind the decision to break off” from Great Britain, said historian, author and political analyst Paul Street. Horne maintains the Founding Fathers feared Britain might abolish slavery and limit white settler land-grabs. Yet, President Obama maintains that racism is not endemic in the United States. “Nothing will stop Obama from trying to please white folks,” said Street, author of The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama and the Real World of Power. “I don’t know if he believes this [American historical mythology] crap, or whether he’s being cynical – and I’m not sure it matters.”

Mumia: California Death Penalty Unconstitutional?

 

Death rows could begin to empty in California, where a federal district court has found the ultimate penalty is administered so arbitrarily it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. “I, like few reporters today, know a little something about death row,” said political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, “since I spend almost 30 years on it.”

Banksters Demand Black Removal as a Condition of Urban Investment

 

“Katrina left no doubt about the intentions of the folks who run this country, the financial class,” said BAR executive editor Glen Ford, speaking at a Socialist Action forum in Hartford, Connecticut. “The goal is to drastically reduce the Black populations of the cities,” because “the very presence of large numbers of Black people depresses the value of urban assets.” The mayor of Hartford, a mostly Black and Latino city, wants to build a $60 million baseball stadium as a centerpiece of development. However, such schemes are ultimately intended to bring in whites and displace Blacks and browns, as a “prerequisite” for substantial corporation investment in the future, said Ford, at Urban Hope Refuge Church.


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Global Capitalist Champion Barack ‘Insane’ Obama

 

“If African people are going to be free, it’s going to be because we’ve made a revolution,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), at its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. The APSP kicked off a month-long period of intensive study for party cadre from around the Diaspora. “Finance capital presides over a world economy where 80 percent of human beings on Earth are trying to exist on far less than ten U.S. dollars a day,” said Yeshitela. “This is the relationship that Barack Hussein Obama – we ought to call him Barack ‘Insane’ Obama – is protecting” with his drone strikes, military aggressions and sanctions campaigns.

Marissa Alexander Supporters to Hold “Stand Our Ground Week”

 

Supporters of Marissa Alexander, the Black mother sentenced to a long prison term for using a firearm to warn off an attack by her estranged husband, will hold a “Stand Our Ground Week” in Jacksonville, Florida, July 25 through August 1. Alisa Bierria, one of the organizers, said the issues at stake go beyond the injustice done to one Black woman. “Her case reflects many different kinds of urgent issues,” she said, “including the need to end domestic violence and to take a serious look at the impact of mass incarceration and mandatory minimums in Black communities.”

Beyond Innocence: Excessive Sentencing

 

The Beyond Innocence Project – not to be confused with Barry Scheck’s Innocence Project – is a national coalition of family members of imprisoned people. Organizer Carolyn Esparza, in El Paso, Texas, said the group’s main concern isn’t guilt or innocence, but sentences that far outweigh the crime. “Families are frightened to speak out,” said Esparza, “because when we speak out against the system there’s retaliation against our loved ones in prison.

Millions Press for Internet Neutrality

 

“It’s the plutocrats versus the people,” said Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, assessing the battle to keep the Federal Communications Commission from turning the Internet over to huge corporations. Millions of people have registered their outrage and demanded that the FCC treat the Internet as a “common carrier,” like a public utility. “We have to get mobilized in the streets and show them that we’re going to stop government if they destroy th e Internet,” said Zeese.

Mumia: Palestinian “David” versus Israeli Goliath

 

The story of David and Goliath depicted the biblical Jews as underdogs, but the opposite is true in today’s Middle East, said Mumia Abu Jamal, America’s best known political prisoner. “Israel has the most powerful military in the region, and Palestine – an occupied people, a captive people – is David,” said Abu Jamal, in a report for Prison Radio. “David has little more than a stone and a prayer.”

Obam a Lets Mass Killers of Africans Off Hook

 

The Obama administration claims it will sanction all those guilty of destabilizing the Democratic Republic of Congo, where at least six million people have died since 1996. However, Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo, said the administration is only going after “small time players” and giving immunity to high officials of Rwanda and Uganda, the U.S. allies most culpable in the slaughter. Obama’s Africa policy, said Musavuli, “is even worse than the Republicans, bringing AFRICOM onto the continent, supporting ‘strong men’ and inviting dictators to  the White House.”

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The White Settler “Patriots” Pro-Slavery Revolt

Contrary to popular mythology, the white settler rebellion of 1776 was staged, not to establish democracy, but to forestall the abolition of slavery in Britain’s American colonies, according to a new book by Dr. Gerald Horne, a University of Houston professor of history and African American Studies. In The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America, Horne said the American rebels’ motivations were much like those of Ian Smith, the white Rhodesian leader who declared unilateral independence from Britain in 1965 to “forestall decolonization” and an end to white rule. Smith himself said he was “walking in the footsteps of 1776.”

“Killing Trayvons”

“Trayvon Martin’s murder wasn’t an anomaly; it’s something that happens all the time, all day, every day,” said South Carolina political activist Kevin Alexander Gray, co-author of the soon to be released book, Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence. The volume features a wide range of authors, including Robin D.G. Kelly, Cornel West, Vijay Prashad, bell hooks and many others. “We wanted to cover, not just the trial, but the epidemic of killings by police and the fact that Black women are also killed,” said Gray. “We even went so far as having some people who may even agree with the jury’s verdict because they thought the prosecution put on such a weak case.”

Race Casts “Long Shadow” on Education and Employment Prospects

A longitudinal study of 790 low-income young people in Baltimore found that only 4 percent of Blacks earned a four-year college degree by age 28, far fewer than whites from similar family backgrounds. According to Johns Hopkins University sociologist Dr. Karl Alexander, co-author of the report on the 23-year study, titled “The Long Shadow,” about 15 percent of Blacks in the study group attended four-year college programs, and another 15 to 20 percent spent time in two-year programs, but “the vast majority were unable to see it through” to a bachelors degree for various reasons. “Where race most clearly comes into play is in employment opportunities in the high-skill, high pay employment sector in the construction crafts and skilled trades,” said Alexander. By age 28, 45 percent of white males in the Baltimore study were working in that sector, compared to only 15 percent of Blacks, with whites earning twice as much pay.

Mumia: Corporate Media “Learned Nothing” from Iraq War

The U.S. corporate media is once again showing “not even the pretense of objectivity” in its war-mongering coverage of Syria and Iraq, said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, in a report for Prison Radio. “They have become heralds of hell” who have “learned nothing” since 2003, when they sold the public on the Iraq invasion.

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