Thursday, October 2, 2014

Finally, Justice for Jordan Davis

News 4 JAX reported that:

Michael Dunn is back inside the Duval County jail after he was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis on Nov. 23, 2012, in a dispute over loud music outside a Gate gas station.

A sentencing hearing was set next Tuesday to discuss sentencing, but he likely will not learn his punishment until later this year.

Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty, so Dunn, 47, faces life in prison without parole when he's sentenced. He also awaits sentencing on at least 60 years in prison on February convictions on three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. The first jury deadlocked on the murder charge.

The jury in the retrial, comprising eight men and four women, deliberated for about five and a half hours. The retrial lasted six days.

Dunn did not appear to have an immediate reaction to the verdict. Later, he turned around and somberly shook his head toward his parents, who then left the courthouse without making any comment.

At least for this brief moment in time, the verdict in the Michael Dunn case restores hope, hope in the America's promise and potential. The predominately white jury rejected white privilege. They refused to allow white skin to serve as a license to kill black people. They rejected the stereotypical presumption that black men are inherently dangerous and prone to criminality and thuggery. They rejected the concept that black people are expendable and worthless. Through their verdict, the jury proclaimed that all human life is sacred and precious. For that, I commend them.

Finally, there is justice for Jordan Davis. Now, we need justice for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and the countless other victims of senseless violence.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Is Cornel West Right About Obama?

About a week ago, Salon posted an controversial interview with Cornel West. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

So that’s my first question, it’s a lot of ground to cover but how do you feel things have worked out since then, both with the economy and with this president? That was a huge turning point, that moment in 2008, and my own feeling is that we didn’t turn.

No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility...

That’s exactly what everyone was saying at the time.

That’s right. That’s true. It was like, “We finally got somebody who can help us turn the corner.” And he posed as if he was a kind of Lincoln.

Yeah. That’s what everyone was saying.

And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.
I support President Obama. I voted for him twice. I have written blogs and posted YouTube videos defending the President from right wing attacks. I will continue to do so.

However, I support the brother Cornel West as well. His persistent, consistent, constant and piercing criticism of President Obama is, for the most part, painfully true. Even Obama's most loyal and devoted supporters know that West's analysis is factual and true. That is evident by their utter and complete failure to provide any solid or substantive response to his interview. Instead, they desperately try to drown out his bold voice with an ocean of insults and ad hominem attacks.

West is wrong about one thing. Obama never campaigned as a true progressive. Ending poverty was not a top priority during his campaigns. He never campaigned as a black activist. He never promised to be a strong advocate for African Americans. In fact, his rise to national prominence was based, at least in part, on his post-racial rhetoric about one America. During the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Obama said:
"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America—there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America—there's the United States of America."
No one should be surprised when the Obama Administration and its parrots constantly repeat the silly mantra that "he is not just the President of Black America." You will never hear any other group of people embracing and repeating such a self defeating and pathetic slogan. Imagine the Jews saying Obama is not just the President of Jewish America. Imagine the LGBT community saying that Obama is not just the President of gay America. Imagine the Latino community saying that Obama is not just the President of immigrant America. Imagine white feminists saying Obama is not just the President of women. Those groups would never spout such nonsense. Unlike the black community, those groups do not surrender. They do not accept symbols over substance. They vigorously push their agenda. Unfortunately, we are pacified by symbols and gestures. We are so intoxicated and infatuated with the concept of black president that many of us have lost our minds and our principles.

Anyway, no one should be surprised by Obama's attempt to reach a grand bargain with the repugnant Republicans. During his first campaign, Obama did not promise to a strong opponent of the Republican Party's right wing agenda. Instead, he sold the American people the post-partisan pipe dream of changing the way that Washington does business. He promised to find common ground and to bridge the partisan divide. Obviously, that goal was unachievable. If it was in fact a goal, the President has failed miserably. Partisanship has never been more intense and stark than it is now. The Republican Party and the Tea Party have done everything in their power to obstruct Obama.

Moreover, no one should be surprised by Obama's stance on the crisis in Israel and Gaza. Obama never campaigned as an advocate for the Palestinian people. Like all of his predecessors, Obama bowed before the altars of AIPAC and Israel. During his first and second campaigns, Obama laced up his shoes and tap danced for them like Bojangles.

During his first campaign, Obama said that he would bomb terrorists in foreign land like Osama bin Laden without authorization from those nations. No one should be surprised by Obama continuing and expanding Bush's drone policy. Again, Obama never posed as a true progressive. Otherwise, West is correct.

Many avoid that truth by contrasting Obama and his past election opponents like Mitt Romney and John McCain. Clearly, Obama was the better choice in those elections. That is why I voted for him. Unfortunately, both parties are owned by Wall Street and AIPAC. In this two party corporate dictatorship, true progressive candidates and parties are not viable alternatives. Too often, they are unelectable. They do not have sufficient funding and resources to compete with the Democrats and the Republicans on a national level. They do not garner the same level of media attention as the corporate parties. Until that changes, we are forced to settle for people like Barack Obama.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Darren Wilson: Wanted For Murder!

Good morning, family. A fourth witness has come forward. He confirms what the others have said. Michael Brown "Mike" was unarmed. There was a struggle at the police car window between the officer Darren Wilson and Mike. Mike breaks free and starts running away from the officer. The officer shot Mike. Mike turned around and the officer shot Mike three to four more times and killed him.

Officer Darren Wilson needs to be arrested and charged with murder. Justice for Mike Brown. No justice! No peace!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Michael Brown Was Shot At Least SIX times!!!!

The New York Times reports that:
FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a police officer, sparking protests around the nation, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday found.

One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.

Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.

The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body. However, that determination could change if it turns out that there is gunshot residue on Mr. Brown’s clothing, to which Dr. Baden did not have access...

Dr. Baden provided a diagram of the entry wounds, and noted that the six shots produced numerous wounds. Some of the bullets entered and exited several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.

“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he said, indicating the wound at the very top of Mr. Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

He stressed that his information does not assign blame or justify the shooting.

“We need more information; for example, the police should be examining the automobile to see if there is gunshot residue in the police car,” he said. Read more here.

This is a no-brainer. Officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed man at least six times. If that is not excessive force, I do not know what is. This is murder. Officer Wilson should be arrested. Justice for Michael Brown.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Michael Brown, the Blame Victim Strategy and Black Puppets

Yesterday, the Ferguson Police Department released the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The officer is six year police veteran Darren Wilson. According to CNN, prior to the shooting, Wilson had no history of disciplinary action being taken against him. 

At the same time that the police released the name of the killer, they released video footage of what purportedly shows Michael Brown stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store and assaulting a store clerk. As reported on News One, the police acknowledged that the shooting of Michael Brown had absolutely nothing to do with the robbery. Such an admission exposes the true nature of the police department's actions.

The timing is not a coincidence. It is a deliberate plan. It is classic diversion and victim blaming. Now, instead of talking about the killer, Darren Wilson, the nation is focused and fixated on a store robbery. The dehumanization and niggerization process has begun. The police killed Mike's flesh. Since Mike did not die hard enough for them, they are now trying to assassinate his character. The same thing happened to Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride.

If the police can paint Michael Brown as a thug nigger, they will taint the minds of the potential jury pool. The Ferguson police had to blot out the image of an young ambitious college bound youth and replace it with the image of a stereotypical black criminal. Such an image will not garner any sympathy for Mike. Instead, it will engender utter contempt or callous indifference. He will no longer be viewed as a victim. He will be viewed as a hooligan who deserved to die. That is the message that the police department is attempting to convey.

Even if Michael Brown stole those cigars, he did not deserve to die. The officer did not stop Michael Brown to arrest him for the alleged strong arm robbery. He was stopped for walking in the street. Stealing cigars and jaywalking are not capital offenses.

The robbery video serves a second purpose as well, to undermine the credibility of a key witness, Dorian Johnson. Again, the robbery had absolutely nothing to do with the interaction between Mike and Officer Darren Wilson. So, Dorian had no reason to volunteer that information during television interviews.  Equally as important, Dorian's account has been confirmed by at least two other witnesses. I wonder what how the police plan to attack the other witnesses.

As if that was not bad enough, the boot licking, butt kissing, shoe shinning, tap dancing Uncle Ruckus brigade has been deployed to attack black people and Michael Brown as well. In typical fashion, whenever black people cry out for justice, the black puppets divert the discussion into a despicable lecture about black pathology and so-called black on black violence. They whine and cry about inner city violence not receiving the same level of attention from activists and the media.

First of all, inner city violence is completely irrelevant. That is a separate problem that must be addressed. It has absolutely nothing to do with legitimate demands for justice. The persistent problem of inner city violence does not justify or excuse the killing of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and countless other victims of police brutality and white racism. It is simply ridiculous to suggest that African American cannot demand justice in such cases until all "black on black" ends.

Contrary to right wing rhetoric, national and local civil rights activists have been organizing around the country for years to stop the violence. The 300 Men March movement here in Baltimore is such an example. Traditional civil rights leaders and organizations like Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the NAACP have fought to stop the violence in urban communities. Unlike the Uncle Ruckus crew, those activists regularly address the root causes of the violence such as poverty, unemployment, inferior education and inadequate gun control laws. The Uncle Ruckus crew never complains about those root causes. Instead, they prefer to insult and degrade their own community.

Police brutality and white vigilantism deserve of the attention. Unlike so-called inner city violence, police brutality and white vigilantism are protected and preserved by the white privilege and the police industrial complex. When the perpetrator is a white police officer and the victim is black, the perpetrators often get away with murder. When the killer is white and the victim is black, the killer is more likely to be acquitted or not even charged.  That is why we raise so much hell. That is why we march and protest.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Michael Brown, the Ferguson Rebellion and Black Power!

"At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect." Frantz Fanon

When George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, nothing happened. When Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis, nothing happened. When a New York City police officer choked Eric Garner to death, nothing happen. When Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson erupted. The time bomb finally exploded. It was long overdue. You can only push a people so far. Eventually, they will lash out at the system, the system that humiliates them, the system that harasses them, the system that negates their humanity, the system that kills them. It was only a matter of time. America is reaping what she has sown.

Officer Wilson lynched Mike Brown. According at least two witnesses, the officer reached out of his police car window and grabbed Mike Brown, an unarmed 18 year old African American man. Mike Brown eventually was able to pull away from the officer. As he pulled away, the officer shot Mike Brown. Then, Mike started running away and the officer chased him and shot him again, this time in the back. According to one of the witnesses, Mike's body jerked. He turned around and raised his hands in the air and the officer continued to shoot Mike Brown several more times. Then, Mike fell to the ground and his head hit on the street pavement. After that pig killed Mike, the police left Mike's body in the middle of the street for an extended period of time like a damn dead skunk on the middle of the street. Black life means nothing to those people.

When the people of Ferguson began demonstrating in the streets, they told the world that black life matters.  It is sacred and precious. When the people engaged in acts of rebellion, they forced the world to feel their pain. When police freely violate the law with impunity, the people quickly lose faith in the police and criminal justice system. When the self proclaimed protectors become the predators, the people have no choice other than resistance. If our lives have no value, your law and order will have no value. Your property and businesses will have no value. If you shoot at and kill black people like animals, do not be shocked and surprised when they defend them and do the same to you.

There is a segment of our society that has been abused, harassed, dehumanized, neglected and an unheard for far too long. In words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "a riot is the language of the unheard." In Ferguson, some of the people are speaking that language. The world clearly hears, sees and understands them now. They will not be ignored. Their rage is justified and righteous. They refuse to be contained by the clergy, the civil rights industry, empty prayers and grandiose federal investigations talk. They are not interested in vigils and neat, orderly, peaceful civil rights performances. They are not soothed by the words of a smooth professional politician who seeks to placate everyone by playing on both sides of the fence. They are feed up. They have had it with the nonsense, with the brutality.

Now, Ferguson no longer looks like an American city. It resembles the West Bank, Iraq and Afghanistan. Police cars have been replaced by military jeeps and tanks. Instead of wearing traditional police attire and using standard weapons, the police wore military gear and toted military weapons. Ferguson became a war zone. Law enforcement is anxiously looking for an excuse to kill more black people. I would say, "Don't give them an excuse." But it does not really matter, they will always find one. If they cannot find one, they will invent one.

The people must continue to protest in the streets and online. Until that killer, Darren Wilson, is arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced, there will be no peace. We should not condemn the people's rage.  We should embrace the rage, channel it, harness it, direct it, focus it and organize it, if possible. We do not need peace. We need justice. We need power, black power, and it is time to seize it.

According to Time magazine, two-thirds of the Ferguson's population is black. However, Time notes that "the city is the mayor and most of its city council members are white, and only three of the city’s 53 police officers are black." The African Americans in Ferguson must seize power not through the bullet, but through the ballot. Although I strongly sympathize with the people's rage, a fleeting moment of rebellion is no substitute for sustained, focused, mission driven political action and unity. Unlike Lowndes, Alabama in 1950s and 1960s, another predominantly black town once ruled by whites, racist white terrorism does not prevent the people of Ferguson from voting today.

Through elections, the people can seize power over city hall, city council and ultimately the police department. Through the electoral politics, the people may be able to reform and transform the police department and make it resemble the community that it is supposed to serve. The people can force the police department to implement training designed to combat and end racial profiling.  Each and every one of us must demand that Congress pass a federal anti-racial profiling act. Otherwise, the senseless harassment and brutality will continue forever. We cannot allow this problem to be passed on to the next generation.

In the short term, distant elections alone are not sufficient. Who will defend our sons and daughters? Where are our soldiers?  Where are our protectors? I am not talking about America's solders. I am talking about our black liberation soldiers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Renisha McBride: Justice Served

Good morning, family. Yesterday, Theodore Wafer was found guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter and felony weapons charges. Justice for Renisha McBride is now a reality. Thank God.

The jury told the world that black women matter. The jury told the world that all human life is sacred. I commend the jury for a job well done.