class, Economics, Gender, politics, race

Why Ebola Is The Least Of America’s Worries

Have you been infected with ebola? If not then just wait, it will only be a matter of minutes.


That is what American politicians and occupants of the cesspool that is cable news want you to believe. And now that New York City has seen it’s first documented case of the virus the panic button is being beaten to a pulp.


As if they haven’t done a terrible enough job of governing their respective states, the incompetent twins, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey have both instituted a mandatory 21-day quarantine for medical workers returning from the countries that are being hit hardest by the epidemic. The quarantine comes in the wake of a 33-year old American doctor being diagnosed with ebola upon his return to New York from West Africa where he was helping to treat the disease with Doctors Without Borders. Cuomo and Christie are naturally overreacting to the irrational voting bases that they desperately need, especially Cuomo whose fate as his state’s top politician will be decided in less than two weeks.


Rather than telling their constituents the truth, that ebola isn’t as contagious as colds, influenza, or the measles and that the nation’s health professionals and it’s western medicine are more than capable of curing infected people Cuomo, Christie, and their political brethren are using a global epidemic to advance their political careers. While doing so they have also made it less likely for American medical personnel to travel to places like Liberia because they know that they would be facing a mandatory banishment from society upon their return. If the goal is to wipeout ebola worldwide Governor “bridgegate” and Governor “hydraulic fracking” have thrown a monkey wrench into the plans.


Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations told The Washington Post that “For everybody who is professionally trying to go to the three epidemic countries, the situation has become more difficult with each passing day and each ebola case- or alleged ebola case-named in the United States.”


The reality is that for the good ol’ USA the scary prognostications are not coming to fruition. The original American doctors that were diagnosed with ebola, Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly have been cured of the disease and are resuming their everyday lives. Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted the disease while she was treating the late Thomas Eric Duncan is already ebola free and was pictured hugging President Obama in the White House last Friday. The medical staffs that were responsible for the care of all three have been free of any symptoms.


The fact is America does not and has never had anything to worry about when it comes to this deadly disease, the fact is America is a nation that has the economic means and deep pool of worldwide doctors to make ebola a non factor on it’s shores. The fact is America as one of the world’s wealthiest nations should be shrouded in it’s guilt of not doing something about the ebola epidemic much earlier.


The same cable news outlets that go out of their way to terrify the naive every hour on the hour were pretty much silent on the issue from 1976 until earlier this month when during that time period a reported 10,000 cases were documented in West Africa alone by the World Health Organization. Of course MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News weren’t going to mention that because there was no potential for a spike in their ratings. Dead Africans, who cares when Allison Grimes won’t say who she voted for in the 2012 Presidential Election.


All of those members of the House of Representatives, all of those Senators who now take the time out of their not so busy schedules to proclaim that we are all going to die if the country isn’t roped off, How many of them went to the floor of their respective chambers and called for an overwhelming abundance of aid to Africa when it was desperately needed a year ago or five years ago or twenty years ago? My guess would be not too many.


The ebola epidemic is not and never has been about America, outside of our dreadful healthcare system treating and streeting Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan to his death because he was poor, black and didn’t have insurance.–which is another subject entirely–It’s about Africa and the other poor regions of the world needing help in corralling a virus that is killing people by the hundreds. If anything the clowns we elect and the news outlets that we listen to have once again exposed the extreme narcissism and selfishness that we as a nation are inflicted with and unfortunately those things are more dangerous to us than this easily curable disease.

class, domestic violence, politics, race

#FergusonOctober And Why It Could Help End Domestic Violence

We are currently living in a time where progressive protest movements are co-opting each for the greater good of them all. This past weekend the #FergusonOctober march took place in the St Louis County city where an unarmed Mike Brown was executed by police officer Darren Wilson back in August. This protest took on greater significance in light of another police killing of an African-American man. Vonderrit Myers was shot and killed this past week by police in the neighboring Missouri city of Shaw.


Local and national activists who work daily to combat police misconduct were on the ground in Ferguson and they were being joined by several other progressive groups who are also constantly fighting for the own individual causes. American Labor was strongly represented by members of The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). Also in Ferguson a strong contingent of Palestinian Americans arrived to show their support. Back in August when law enforcement from the Greater St. Louis area bombarded Ferguson protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets they were aided with twitter suggestions on how to cope from Palestinian citizens in Gaza who deal with such horrors on an hourly basis.


The beauty of #FergusonOctober and it’s joining of people who are experiencing the highest levels of oppression is that it demonstrates what can be accomplished when those people pull to together. That is why those same groups and in particular those of us men who reside within the African-American community should once again come together to combat another one of America’s epidemics, violence against women.


Two gut wrenching stories have yet to make national headlines for various reasons. Last week a 27-year-old African-American mother of three named Mary Spears was murdered in Detroit while she was at a gathering with family members at a local establishment. Spears was allegedly shot and killed by a man whose romantic advances she had rejected, a man who she had repeatedly told she was in a relationship. This past Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia 22-year old Michelle Kelly, her 19-year-old cousin Adreena D. Gary and her two-year-old son Keytrell Kelly were shot and killed by her ex boyfriend and the father of her child Traymont Burton. Gary had been trying to mediate a domestic dispute between Kelly and Burton, Burton killed all three before cowardly committing suicide by turning the gun on himself.


These two stories have been underreported by the national media partly because America still doesn’t care enough about what women face in terms of domestic and intimate partner violence. We got all worked up a couple of months ago because there was actual video evidence of Ray Rice knocking his wife into an unconscious stooper and we became enraged because there was audio evidence of Alabama Judge Mark Fuller’s wife making a frantic 911 call after she was abused by her husband, but as the days and weeks continue to pass those stories become more and more distant and without the shock to the system provided by the audio and the video in those stories other domestic violence cases aren’t treated with the same concern.


The other reason that these two horrible tragedies are rather obscure speaks to America’s overall dismissal of black women and their well being. While they both suffered unspeakable abuse and were ultimately murdered by their football playing significant others Kassandra Perkins isn’t the household name that Nicole Brown Simpson is. Federal statistics between 2001-2012 stated that 55 percent of American women were killed by their intimate partners, but another 2012 study by the Violence Policy Center stated that while white women were killed by an intimate partner at a rate of 1.00 per 100,000, black women were killed at a rate of 2.46 per 100,000.


These numbers should make us all want to do better, particular those of us as black men. It is black men who are taking to the streets in Ferguson, Staten Island, and Beaver Creek, Ohio to demand full and equal treatment under the law from the people who enforce the law and black women are right next to them because we are their brothers, their sons, their husbands, their fathers. For whatever reason we don’t show that solidarity in return to our sisters, our daughters, our wives, our mothers when it comes to violence against women. During the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident social media was ablaze with black men who rose up to defend the multiple time pro-bowler and not the woman he claims to love, the woman he could have easily killed. Black women who voiced their legitimate gripes with Rice, the league he works in and the law enforcement officials who let him skate were characterized by some black men as bitter, hateful, and hypocritical because they were under the ridiculous notion that Janay Palmer somehow deserved what she got and or because they felt Rice was getting a raw deal compared to American soccer player Hope Solo who is still playing for the country’s national team while being under investigation for her own case of domestic violence.


Not all, but some of us don’t realize that black women fight this war on two fronts. Renisha McBride’s life was ended because some loon with a gun assumed criminality over who she was, yet the likelihood of her being murdered by someone close to her, someone who claimed to care for her was just as strong if not stronger. Conventional wisdom states that the outrage felt over a potential shotgun blast from her husband wouldn’t have matched the level of outrage that was directed towards Theodore Wafer.


The events in Ferguson have proven that America is nowhere near the post racial existence that so many people want to imagine. They also prove that alliances across a broad range of spectrums are what is needed to protect lives that are equally as important no matter the threat to them. The name Mary Spears should be at the forefront of every black person’s mind in the same way the way that Mike Brown’s, Trayvon Martin should be synonymous with Michelle Kelly and Adreena Gray for all of eternity. If the black men that marched in Greater St. Louis don’t understand that then this past weekend and everything that they put into it is significantly diminished.


The Shooting Of Ferguson Cops Displays Unfair Justice

If you want a lesson on the inequities of American justice continue to pay attention to Ferguson, Missouri.


Local authorities in the now infamous St. Louis suburb are on the lookout for two men that are suspected of shooting and wounding a police officer on Saturday night. St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says that the shooting was not related to that day’s protests concerning the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, but in the aftermath of Brown’s death on August 9th everything concerning the city’s law enforcement officials and the citizens that they are suppose to serve is intertwined.


America does not tolerate violence against police officers, particularly if one is tragically murdered in the line of duty. The latest example of this is the current manhunt for Eric Frein in Pennsylvania’s northeastern woods. Frein is accused of shooting and killing state trooper Bryon Dickerson and seriously wounding his partner. The people in charge of finding Frein will display extra intensity in doing so and should he be apprehended alive the criminal justice system will not go light. Those are the ramifications for bringing harm to people who do a thankless job for little money while putting themselves in dangerous situations.


With that being said it would be nice if that same criminal justice system worked in the same way when the roles are reversed. In this week where the search is on for Frein and the Ferguson gunmen, A grand jury refused to indict Beavercreek, Ohio police officers in the shooting death of John Crawford. Crawford was a twenty two year old black man who was shopping in an area Wal-Mart while carrying a toy rifle in a open carry state and that still wasn’t enough to keep him from joining a list of victims that is way too long, a list of victims that lost their lives at the hands of overzealous law enforcement who are too quick to view black and brown people in particular as anything but human.


“The grand jury listened to all of the evidence, voted on it and decided that the police officers were justified in their use of force that day” said prosecutor Mark Piepmeier. This despite the fact that surveillance video from inside the store showed that Crawford, who was on his cell phone the entire time clearly was not a threat, customers continued to shop next to him without fear in large part because he did not appear to be waving the gun at them as the store employee who made the 911 call to law enforcement suggested. Imagine the inverse. Imagine if John Crawford had a real assault rifle in his possession that day. Imagine if he opened fire on a crowd of police officers and lived to tell the tale. Would a grand jury that would probably be made up of some of those same Beavercreek citizens come back with a statement like “we listened to all of the evidence, voted on it and decided Crawford was in fear of his life and was merely defending himself,” I sincerely doubt it.


The protection from responsibility that our society gives those who carry badges is not only shortsighted, it is a matter of life and death, especially for those of us whose pigmentation happens to be on the darker side. It is that same shield that provided Johannes Mehserle, a former bay area transit cop whose white, freedom from a second degree murder charge for shooting African-American Oscar Grant to death on a subway platform in Oakland while he was handcuffed and lying face down. It’s a barrier that protected Mehserle from the lengthy prison sentence that he deserved, one that made sure he did less than 10 months for taking the life of an unarmed and defenseless human being. It’s not a stretch to believe that Mehserle would have never seen the inside of a courtroom had certain members of the jury pool that decided his fate had their way.


While police officials turn the greater St. Louis area upside down to find the assailants that shot one of their own this past weekend, Darren Wilson continues to lie on a couch in an undisclosed location, feet up drink in hand. Wilson knows the luxury of having a Police Chief that is willing to move heaven and earth to protect him while at the same time issuing completely disingenuine apologies to a community that is devastated and a family that will never be the same. Wilson can bask in the glow of having colleagues that support him by wearing “I am Darren Wilson” wristbands while simultaneously carrying an open disdain for a group of taxpayers that they essentially work for. Wilson knows that the likelihood of him ever suffering any real consequences for shooting Mike Brown to death are slim because the chances of a Ferguson grand jury coming to the same conclusion that the one in Beavercreek did are great.


There is no question that police work is difficult. The possibility of a cop not walking into his front door on any given night is real. However a person of color not surviving an encounter with police officers is also real. The problem is accountability in the legal system isn’t fairly distributed and too many people and their loved ones know that all too well.

class, domestic violence, politics, race

Roger Goodell And NFL Owners Can’t Escape Their Responsibility

Now what?


Now what for Janay Palmer-Rice and yes Ray Rice, in the wake of The National Football League washing their hands of them and moving forward with business as usual. Despite what they have said publicly I’m not gullible enough to believe Commissioner Roger Goodell and Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti when they profess their thoughts and prayers for an employee that they have now fired and the wife that he battered because they suddenly became bad for business.


The one thing that has been proven through Bisciotti’s letter to Ravens fans and Goodell’s sit down interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell is that they have already moved on. One is preparing for a critical divisional game between his most hated enemy on Thursday, a game he and his team can’t afford to lose and the other is back to running a multi-billion dollar franchise while at the same time doing his best Olivia Pope crisis management impersonation. Neither has publicly expressed any personal concern for a woman who had her face bashed in.


To expect something more from The CEO of the most profitable sports league in the country and one of its principal owners would be too much. The culture of the NFL is “next man up,” you see that when a player is injured for a significant amount of time and you are seeing it now that one of the star running backs of the league has been released because he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. While Steve Bisciotti has not publicly expressed support or concern for Janay Palmer-Rice you can bet your ass that he has talked to Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett about his need for them to be productive. If you are not sure who those guys are there Ray Rice’s former backups.


I have refused to put on a cape for Ray Rice since the beginning of this entire episode and I’m not going to do so now. The sight of him punching a woman twice and then dragging her from an elevator like a sack of potatoes, a woman that he claims he loves is an image that most people will never be able to erase from their minds. However the reality is Janay Palmer-Rice has chosen to keep her family together and that is a decision that no one has the right to question.


Bisciotti ended his letter to Ravens fans on Tuesday by saying that “We hope that Ray will continue to work to be the best husband, father, and person he can be and he will turn this awful situation into something positive.” Given Mrs. Palmer-Rice’s desire to go forward in her marriage that is what we should all want, but Steve Bisciotti and Roger Goodell think that their vast economic resources shouldn’t accompany their thoughts and prayers which is a way of thinking that typifies how NFL bosses view their fieldhands.


No matter how much they try to distance themselves from him Ray Rice is a part of the National Football League Family. He is apart of that family just like retired players are, players who were hit in the head too many times, or sprained too many ankles, or tore too many ligaments. The league should be front and center in providing every resource imaginable to Rice in his recovery from being a domestic abuser. The same league had to be shamed into providing those same resources to men who severely damaged their bodies and their brains while making the game and the league into what it is.


This situation should also be a wake up call to professional athletes and especially black athletes like Ray Rice. They need to stop living in a world and adopting a mentality where playing in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, or Major League Baseball is the best thing that has ever happened to them.


Contrary to what certain factions of the media will tell you it is not a privilege, it is a job, nothing more nothing less. All of the hoopla on social media about how Rice won’t be able to support his family if indeed his career is over is head scratching. If Ray Rice after playing six years in the NFL and amassing a reported $14 million can’t financially support his family than his problems are bigger than the ones we know about.


For pro athletes it doesn’t matter if the wounds are self inflicted like Ray Rice’s or unintended, unfortunate circumstances, people like Steve Bisciotti and Roger Goodell don’t give a damn. They will continue to collect their millions while they move around the pieces on their collective chess boards. It is no big deal to them that Rice had to be taken off the table.


DOJ Investigation Should Lead To A Ferguson House Cleaning

Here’s to hoping that The DOJ’s investigation into the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department brings about the type of house cleaning that has been long overdue.


Since the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen year old black man at the hands of Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson the department has shown it’s willingness to close ranks around one of it’s own. The fact the Wilson is still on administrative leave with pay and may have been allowed to leave the city or even the state is a testament to that. Now think about those things while thinking about the reality of five of Wilson’s colleagues on the force being named in federal lawsuits that allege the use of excessive force.


Accusations are just that, accusations, but given what we now know about the police forces in and around Missouri’s second biggest city and what we know about the history of police forces in America and their treatment of minorities The Justice Department couldn’t have arrived any sooner–which also begs the question where have local leaders been to this point–


If everyone were objective and looked at what has been displayed thus far by the city’s finest they would honestly say that there is no reason on earth Ferguson’s police chief should keep his job. Thomas Jackson, in addition to releasing an irrelevant convenient store surveillance tape that showed Michael Brown allegedly committing a strong armed robbery has presided over cops who in 2013 stopped black motorists at a rate that was twice as high as stops for motorists who happened to be white, cops who are facing lawsuits that concern the killing of a mentally ill man with a taser, the choking and hogtying of a twelve year old child, and the pistol whipping of another, and cops who allowed their police dogs to trample through and urinate on the makeshift memorial site that was set up on the spot where Michael Brown was killed.


“The cases themselves are fairly extraordinary, so is the volume. It’s prima facie evidence of discriminatory practices. I would be surprised if the Justice Department didn’t make a recommendation that they be placed under scrutiny.” That’s what Clarence Harmon, the former Mayor of St.Louis told the Washington Post last week before Attorney General Eric Holder announced the department’s investigation on Thursday. Statements like Harmon’s identify the frustration felt by many in the community who have put up with way too much for way too long. The buck has to stop somewhere and in every situation bosses are and should be held to a higher standard than those who work under them. The seriousness of what Darren Wilson did and the allegations against his co-workers drive home the point that Jackson’s head has to roll.


The Feds investigating what some Ferguson police officers have done for a good time is something that should now extend nationwide. In Los Angeles the LAPD recently released the names of officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas after three weeks of demands by the city’s black and brown communities. Wampler and Villegas shot and killed 25 year old Ezell Ford, another unarmed black man on August 11, two days after Brown was fatally shot. Also the autopsy report on Ford still hasn’t been released by the city’s coroner raising more questions about the methods of those in charge.


It was nearly twenty five years ago that LAPD made Rodney King into a household name and nearly twenty five years later cases like King’s are still front page news. The most active Justice Department in history in terms of making sure the civil right’s of citizens are protected should continue down the path that it has started on and make trips to Staten Island–Eric Garner–,Beaver Creek,Ohio,–John Crawford–, and Los Angeles–Ford and Omar Abrego–.


The message that would send to police departments all over the country would be the same message that the city of Ferguson is receiving right now, a message that says “we have to get our house in order.” Doing exactly that means having Tom Jackson and the other higher ups in the Ferguson PD clean out their offices.



Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke


Verbal comdemnation is not enough from Obama and Cameron. Action needs to be taken, but we all know that it is action that will never come.

Originally posted on digger666:

via Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke.

Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. rebuke.Some 988 acres in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.”We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move “counterproductive” to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.Tensions stoked by the incident quickly spread to Israel’s border with Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas, and the two sides engaged in a…

View original 29 more words


Democrats Need Our Votes, We Need Better Democrats

Here comes the Democratic Party and they are right on time as usual. Every even numbered year, and especially after labor day of that year the donkeys will show up and put on a full court press that is geared towards getting black voters to the polls. 2014 doesn’t appear to be any different.


Jonathan Martin of The New York Times had a great column Sunday that detailed how The Democrats are invoking the recent tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri–where a white cop executed an unarmed black kid–to increase voter participation. Civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis is quoted in the piece saying. “Ferguson has made it crystal clear to the African-American community and others that we’ve got to go to the polls., You participate and vote and you can have some control over what happens to your child and your country.”


John Lewis can almost do no wrong in my mind given his personal contribution to shedding a light on white supremacy’s devastating effects but the operative word here is almost. Lewis is one of the very few politicians left in D.C. that hasn’t been corrupted by big money corporations so while he is out front demanding that black people take advantage of their hard earned right to exercise democracy he should also be putting out a clarion call to his liberal colleagues in Congress and the White House demanding that they serve those same black people in a better fashion than what they have.


Any objective political observer will tell you that the African-American vote is taken for granted by Democrats time and time again. The Dems know how the opposing party really feels about us and vice versa so they feel no guilt or shame about coming to us every other year when they need us and ignoring us in non-election years when we need them. Black voters are forever caught in a political no man’s land, where we pull the lever for the candidate who does the least amount of damage instead of one who truly represents our interests.


Earlier this summer the online advocacy group Color of Change encouraged its followers to confront ten members of the Congressional Black Caucus, ten members who have taken thousands in campaign contributions from the telecom industry. The industry is attempting to buy votes in order to put an end to a free and open internet, which would make it much more difficult for groups like Color of Change, The Dream Defenders, and The Black Youth Project to get out their messages. The list is the usual cast of bought and paid for CBC characters. Reps Bobby Rush, G.K. Butterfield, Sanford Bishop, Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings, Greg Meeks, David Scott, Bennie Thompson, Mark Veasey and Lacy Clay. As a reminder Lacy Clay is also the Missouri Congressman who voted against an amendment in June that would have limited the transfer of military grade weapons to local police departments, Ferguson, Missouri is apart of the district that Clay represents. Last May The Huffington Post published a story about how certain members of the CBC were working overtime to rollback provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. No one was hurt more during the economic crash of 2008 than working class black people. While they played by the rules they were taken advantage of through their hopes and dreams by greedy banks who put profits over morality.  

Six years later the congress members that those working class black folks voted for are focused on finding ways that allow the predators to repeat the process all over again.


Democrats know that winning back the House of Representatives this year is pretty much impossible, so holding on to the Senate is crucial. There are three races where Democratic Senate incumbents are fighting for their lives–Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Kay Hagen in North Carolina, and Mark Pryor in Arkansas–and there is no doubt that the party will do everything they can to get the black residents of those states to the polls on November 4th. In doing so the same party will ask black voters to ignore the horrible stances of most of its elected members on education, jobs that provide a living wage, affordable housing, public transportation and fair and equal treatment by the criminal justice system.


The reality is that The Democratic Party, from the President on down needs to do better and the black community has to force them to do so. Since we are still a long way away from my ultimate dream of legitimate multiple party elections the constant voicing of displeasure and threats of primary challenges need to be the strategy going forward. Giving lip service to people about how you’re going to improve their quality of life is a practice no candidate or party should get away with anymore.

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