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Tue May 05, 2015 at 01:00 PM PDT

Black Kos, Tuesday Chile

by Black Kos

(Some) white folks haven't changed in over 40 years.* (Image courtesy of The Center of the Study of Political Graphics. Cartoonist is possibly Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party)
A Decent Proposal
by Chitown Kev

Few things have disturbed me more about the Baltimore Uprising of 2015 than the reaction to it.

For one, I am sick and tired of people droning on and on and on about that burnt-out CVS. Yes, it will make it more difficult for those in the Penn North neighborhood to get life-saving medications (the Penn North CVS drugstore is being rebuilt). But I also wondered, offhand, whether "pharmacy deserts" are a thing like "food deserts."

And, indeed,"pharmacy deserts" do exist.

Heck, even "hospital deserts" are a growing issue for poor urban and rural communities.

The other thing that has wrecked my nerves is the tendency for non-blacks to call for blacks to be "nonviolent" as (most) of the protestors were during the Southern-based black civil rights movements of the 1950's and early 1960's. I wrote a late morning rant to which I have little more to add.

Everyone should read HamdenRice's classic post Most of You Have No Idea what Martin Luther King Actually Did. In that diary, I took particular note of this statement:

My father told me with a sort of cold fury, "Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south."
In HR's diary, I commented on that very quote
yep. It needs to reemphasized, mallyroyal (7+ / 0-)
My father told me with a sort of cold fury, "Dr. King ended the terror of living in the south."
I'm actually more inclined to agree with Hamden's father.

I say that because most of the civil rights battles that took place in the 1950's and 1960's in the South were actually preceded by the civil rights battles and victories that took place in the North in the 1930's and the 1940's (there's actually a book that extensively documents the civil rights battles in the North, can't remember the name of it offhand, but it was very well documented).

And those battles had nothing to do with King.

And much of King's opposition within the national black community did come from the north. And people do forget King's recption in the North after Selma (esp. in Chicago) was quite cold at times, even among the black community.

by Chitown Kev on Mon Aug 29, 2011 at 12:27:51 PM PDT

The book I was referring to in that comment is Thomas J. Sugrue's Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North. I ran across a copy of the book in a used book store last weekend (for less than $3.00!). This second, far more intensive reading of Sweet Land of Liberty reaffirms my opinion that far too many critical elements of any discussion of black civil rights movements of the 20th century are not discussed, have been forgotten, and are rarely taught.
Sugrue notes the ambivalent and occasionally "scathing" reactions of some black people to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For example, syndicated columnist (and former Tuskegee Airman) Chuck Stone wrote, "If there's anything the Senate-passed civil rights bill does for Negroes in the North, it's cocooned in one simple word: nothing." New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. stated that as far as the North was concerned "the anti-poverty bill is more important than the Civil Rights Act" (an opinion also held by Dr. King himself). (Sugrue p.361)

It now seems impossible to have any sort of coherent conversation about food/pharmacy/hospital deserts in urban America without reference to Sugrue's discussion of black activists century-long efforts to overturn housing discrimination.

And don't think that discussions of housing discrimination merely refer to the redlining practices and restrictive covenants in big cities like Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia. Miss Denise already broached the subject of Levittown in her FP story on Sunday. Sugrue extensively documents and discusses similar struggles that occurred in northeastern and midwestern white wealthy and upper middle-class cities like Deerfield, IL, Dearborn, MI, New Rochelle, NY, and Englewood, NJ.

And I haven't even scratched the surface of the material covered in this book. For example, black churches do play a significant role in Sweet Land of Liberty as a vehicle for organizing but there are some differences and variations as regards to liberation ideology and strategies. Yes, there's Dr. King and  the Rev. C.L. Franklin (Aretha's father) but there's also black nationalist firebrands like the Rev. Albert Cleage (father of noted black playwright Pearl Cleage).

A flier for a proposed WWII era March on Washington. The March on Washington was a movement and not a singular event. Also note the call to "ponder the question of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience." We've been doing this non-violence thing for a looooooong time.
My "decent proposal" is simple.

I am proposing a Black Kos study group modeled along the lines of the excellent series by DoReMi and the Motor City Kossacks study group on Sugrue's The Origins of the Urban Crisis.

It's not that I think Sugrue's book is perfect; for example, I think he wildly overstates the case for Richard Nixon's "embrace of black enterprise." (pp. 442-45)  I understand Sugrue's need to focus on "whites and African Americans" but it comes with the cost of eliminating entire regions (there's very little coverage of The West Coast) and intersectional civil rights alliances.

But the sheer magnitude and detail of Sweet Land of Liberty (with over 110 pages of footnotes) plus the enormous gap in my education (and possibly yours) on black civil rights history makes this a book well worth studying here at Daily Kos.

I would go so far to say that it's a necessity.

*The gist of the "joke" are the somewhat illegible captions of the white man depicted. He says “Beautiful, beautiful! (sniff)” on the left and “My God! Anarchy!” on the right.

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Reposted from chaunceydevega by Denise Oliver Velez

The officers who killed Freddie Gray have finally been formally charged with murder and manslaughter.

Three of the six officers are African-American. The most serious charges have been leveled against Caesar Goodson. He too is African-American.

The White Right, Fox News, and other Right-wing propaganda outlets are obsessing over the fact that three of the Baltimore police who have been charged with killing Freddie Gray are African-American. This obsession is part of the same paraphilia that has the White Right deflecting the role that racism and classism played in the killing of Freddie Gray because Baltimore is a city whose political leaders are African-American.

Because of how the White Right and movement conservatives are simplistic binary thinkers who live in an alternate reality where white people are victims of "racism", global warming is not real, Obama is a "Socialist", cutting taxes for the rich produces economic growth for the rest of society, Christians are "under siege" in America, and other conspiranoid delusions, they possess a pronounced inability to understand nuance or context.

Thus, movement conservatives and the White Right, to the degree they can be separated from one another, are unable to practice systems level thinking and analysis: concepts such as "institutional power" are lost on them.

Individuals navigate their relationship(s) with systems of power. Cultural institutions such as the police have a set of rules and norms that govern how they socialize their members. Those learned values influence how the police relate to those outside of their subculture.

The United States is a racist society. By implication, its dominant political, social, economic, and other cultural institutions will to varying degrees reflect those norms.

The origins of America's police are found in the slave patrol.

America's police have continued in that tradition by acting as agents of social control who harass and discriminate against black and brown Americans.

African-Americans and other people of color who join America's police departments are not immune or outside of that subculture's norms and values. Because they are the Other in a socio-cultural institution that has historically worked to oppress non-whites (and the poor, as well as the outgroup, more generally) black cops may actually have to perform those roles in a more exaggerated and gross way in order to prove their bonafides.

If White Supremacy and Whiteness were a religion or a cult (and they do share some of those traits) black American cops would most likely be the new converts, the overzealous, the great true believers, the most devout who are desperate to show their allegiance to the faith.

Human history is replete with examples of how members of an oppressed or marginalized group laid down with Power for personal gain, to make life easier for themselves, or other selfish reasons.

The black Baltimore cops who have been charged with murdering Freddie Gray can trace their political and social lineage back to the "slave drivers" of chattel slavery in the West:

The difference between the overseer and the DRIVER was simple: drivers were slaves themselves. A driver might be convinced by a master to manage the slaves for better privileges. Drivers were usually hated by the rest of the slaves. These feelings often led to violence.
The black slave driver had a specialized role:
The position of a slave driver was very rare. Slave drivers were enslaved black men that directed the daily work of the slaves. They held the responsibility of overseeing the work of their fellow slaves as well as enforcing punishments for misbehaving. It is estimated that only 1 in 260 slaves was a driver. Plantations with fewer than 100 slaves rarely ever had a slave driver.
The black slave driver's job was precarious:
Drivers were another story. They were slaves appointed by masters to positions of authority on the plantation. Where masters were resident, black drivers often replaced overseers. On larger plantations, especially in the Lower South, black drivers worked under the supervision of white overseers. The drivers' jobs were manifold, but they were expected above all to maintain discipline in the fields and order in the quarters.

Like overseers, drivers were subjected to competing pressures that demanded both technical skill and a strong measure of self-confidence. But the pressures on drivers were different in important ways. Drivers were a part of the slave community, but they were especially favored by the master. To maintain the goodwill of the master without losing the respect of one's fellow slaves was no small achievement. Yet the evidence suggests that the drivers often succeeded where the overseers failed. They were chosen for their intelligence and abilities; they often understood how to manage a plantation more effectively than the overseers. Accordingly, drivers often held their positions for decades. The masters came to rely on the drivers for their competence; the slaves came to expect the drivers to moderate some of the harshness of the regime.

Black slave drivers could also have a great amount of power over a given plantation. Some white plantation owners would even allow their black drivers to manage and run the day-to-day operation of the plantation in their absence.

Because black drivers existed in a type of liminal space between the white masters and their fellow slaves, many black drivers could be especially violent and cruel--even by the standards of the horrific slave plantation labor system--in the conduct of their duties.

In the following section from a correspondence between George Skipwith, a black driver, and John Hopewell Cocke, his white owner, Skipwith details the whipping he gave to an "impudent" slave:

when I come to them at twelve o clocke, they had cut me nineteen roes, and it would not take them more than ten minits to cut one roe as Shedrack was the ruler among them, I spoke these words to him. you do not intend to cut these oats untill I whip every one of you. Shedrack did not say any thing to me, but Robert spoke these words saying that he knoed when he worked. I told him to shut his lips and if he spoke another worde I would whip him right of[f] but he spoke again the second time saying that he was not afraid of being whiped by no man. I then gave him a cut with the whip. he then flong down his cradle, and made a oath and said that he had as live die as to live and he said that he did not intend to stay here. he then tried to take the whip out of my hand, but I caught him fast by the collar and holed him. I then told the other boys to stripe him and they don so I then whiped untell I thought that he was pretty could but I was desieved for as soon as I leave him and went to the hoe hands, he come of to the house to our preacher15 and his family becaus he knoed that they would protect him in his Rascality for he had herd that they had said that they were worked to death, and that they were lowed no more chance for liveing than if they were dogs or hogs...

Cocke would eventual relieve Skipwith of his responsibilities as a slave driver because of the latter's "radical depravity", selling Skipwith and his family "down the river" to Mississippi.

The reaction by the White Right and their media to the killing of Freddie Gray by three black police officers has provided an interesting insight into their political worldview and cognitive schema.

Racism and conservatism are merged in the Age of Obama and the post civil rights era. Thus, anti-black animus colors the political decision-making and thinking of movement conservatives.

Will hostility to black people more generally trump their loyalty and authoritarian predisposition to police and police authority?

Or will anti-black animus be focused on Freddie Gray and the black young people who participated in the Baltimore uprising because White America's fantasies and fixation on "race riots" and "black crime" have such a powerful hold on the White racial imagination?

Consequently, the black cops who killed Freddie Gray will be valorized alongside their white thug compatriots by the White Right and Republicans because this freakish interracial union of police violence is somehow "proof" for white conservatives (and other colorblind racists) that white supremacy no longer exists in the post civil rights era.

America's much discussed and tired "national conversation" on race has been conducted at a first grade level for most of the post civil rights era. There is still some hope--however weak--that the election (twice) of Barack Obama, changing demographics, globalization, and the interracial coalition of young people who are mobilizing against police thuggery and the Culture of Cruelty, will elevate America's moribund and tedious "national conversation" on race to the third or fourth grade level.

Movement conservatives and the White Right are still stuck in remedial classes on matters of justice, the colorline, and the Common Good: if American conservatives do not improve their performance they will be flunked out of school and sent to find other means of educating themselves.

Generational replacement offers some hope for progress. Unfortunately, that solution is also proving to be a tenuous one.

Reposted from Vyan by a2nite

Now that charges have been filed in the Police Murder of Freddie Gray we've begun to hear the excuses and counter claims that the Prosecutor "Overcharged", was "Politically Motivated" in submitting the indictments making these 6 Officers into "Political Prisƒoners".

But besides the cell phone and surveillance video we also have one lone audio witness who was in the van with Freddie Gray very soon after her suffered his fatal injuriies, and although it was reported by the Washington Post that he told police that Mr Gray was "banging his head as if to injury himself" in this interview with WBAL reporter Jayne Miller that witness, Danta Allen completely and totally debunks that claim.

Video via All In with Chris Hayes

Summary of his comments over the flip.

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Sun May 03, 2015 at 04:45 PM PDT

Tel Aviv looked like Baltimore today

by Havoth

Reposted from Havoth's Thoughts by Denise Oliver Velez

CNNI was covering in detail racial protests turned violent in Tel Aviv Israel today. While the first video I found of it was from April 30th, the protests continue today in Tel Aviv.

 The protests were allegedly sparked by a viral video of a white Jewish policeofficer beating on a Ethiopian Jew, who happens to be a veteran of Israel's military. The video is silent, and shows an interaction between a cop (it could be anywhere in America) where he is obviously pushing on the man's bicycle and telling him to move along. The officer starts to walk away and the man, Damas Pakedah -wearing his IDF uniform at the time -  apparently asks a question or says something else to the officer, whose response is to jump him. Now, this man, Mr. Pakedah, hangs onto a post until the cops (another officer had joined him briefly) gives up, and lets go of him. He then continues to speak out against them and picks up a large rock, which provokes the officer who initiated the violence of the encounter, to place his hand on his gun, in an apparent threat response. But his fellow officer seems to have him under control and they decide not to shoot the man and Damas drops his rock.

In April 2015 an Ethiopian soldier in the IDF was the victim of an unprovoked and allegedly racist attack by an Israeli policeman and the attack was caught on video. The soldier, Damas Pakedeh, was arrested and and then released, after being accused of attacking the policeman. Pakedah is an orphan who emigrated from Ethiopia with his siblings in 2008. He believes the incident was racially motivated and that if the video had not been taken, he would have been punished. Instead, the police officer and volunteer were suspended pending an investigation. Likud MK Avraham Neguise called on National Police Chief Yohanan Danino to prosecute the police officer and volunteer, saying they engaged in “a gross violation of the basic law of respecting others and their liberty by those who are supposed to protect us.” The Jerusalem Post notes that in 2015 " there have been a series of reports in the Israeli press about alleged acts of police brutality against Ethiopian Israelis, with many in the community saying they are unfairly targeted and treated more harshly than other citizens." - Wikipedia entry

It looks like any average action between a black man and a cop in Anytown in America.

What is striking is how the protests in Tel Aviv today looked much like Baltimore on last Monday, April 27th.  View it here and here (thanks to a commenter who pointed my errors in video links)

Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in several waves by the Israel government and religious bodies as part of the Right To Return. Evidence of racism was shown by opposing parties in Israel by first demanding a clear rabbinical decision that they were, in fact, Jews.

In April 1975, the Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin officially accepted the Beta Israel as Jews, for the purpose of the Law of Return (An Israeli act which grants all the Jews in the world the right to immigrate to Israel).

Later on, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin obtained clear rulings from Chief Sephardi Rabbi Ovadia Yosef that they were descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel did however initially require them to undergo pro forma Jewish conversions, to remove any doubt as to their Jewish status.

Regarding religious leadership, 60 Kessim (priests) of the Ethiopian immigrants in Israel are employed by the Ministry of Religious Services, and many of them conduct religious ceremonies in Israel. They are however not recognized as rabbis and do not have the authority to perform marriages. Nevertheless, a new generation of rabbis of Ethiopian origin trained in Israel are gradually taking over.

Due largely to a high rate of illiteracy, the Ethiopian Jews have had a difficult time being absorbed into Israeli society and economy. The biggest challenge to the Israeli Ethiopian Beta Israel community probably lies in the very low level of formal education of the immigrants. With few exceptions, when they first arrived to Israel they had no useful training for a developed economy like that of Israel, and in addition to that they did not know Hebrew. But as younger generations born or raised in Israel and educated in Israel, they are experiencing this less and less. But still, Ethiopian Jews make 30-40% less than Arabs citizens of Israel, themselves a minority group that experiences a high ethnic-based state of bigotry. Unemployment among the Ethiopian Jewish community in 2005 was as high as 65% for those over the age of 45.  As of 2011, The Ethiopian Jews, known as the Beta Israel community, made up about 1.75% of Israel's population, at approx 126,000.

Other discriminatory attitudes persist within Israel for the Beta Israel community, such as:
* delays in immigration processing
* mayors of small towns like Or Yehuda in 2005 refusing to accept Ethiopian immigrants because he felt they would lower property values and increase crime in the area. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
*  Ethiopians blood donations are routinely disposed of as a matter of the public health policy. Officially it was thought that blood donations of the immigrants would have high rates of Hepatitis B, which was found to be largely untrue. Of the 5200 immigrants that arrived in the late 90s during Operation Solomon, only 2.3% were found to be carriers of HIV.
*  Ethiopian women were reported in 2010 to have been given Depo-Provera for birth control while in transition camps awaiting processing without their full knowledge of the effects of the drug and without consent. The practice was first reported in 2010 by Isha le'Isha, an Israeli women’s rights organization. Hedva Eyal, the author of the report, stated: "We believe it is a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor."

I used the Wiki entry as much of the source of quick info on the background of Ethiopian Jews, but also I read every link of their sources and researching other news articles to make myself reasonably certain of the information provided. I'm also watching the CNNI coverage as I put this together. I'm not a reporter or regular blogger, but this news struck me, as much as it did anyone seeing it on CNN and the worldwide media including Al Jazeera, of the shock that Tel Aviv could look so much like Baltimore MD and the types of "race riots" so often seen in America lately, is happening elsewhere. The recently re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Betanyahu is planning on a meeting with community leaders and police on Monday, to engage in a discussion on how to avoid these sorts of "American policing problems" - per the phone-in reporter on CNN I'm listening to right now.

Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez

Proportion of Google queries containing the “N-word” by designated market area, 2004–2007.

Colors changed so the map can be seen by all. Original is below the fold.
Click to enlarge

There are neighborhoods in Baltimore in which the life expectancy is 19 years less than other neighborhoods in the same city. Residents of the Downtown/Seaton Hill neighborhood have a life expectancy lower than 229 other nations, exceeded only by Yemen. According to the Washington Post, 15 neighborhoods in Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than North Korea.

North Korea.

And while those figures represent some of the most dramatic disparities in the life expectancy of black Americans as opposed to whites, a recent study of the health impacts of racism in America reveals that racist attitudes may cause up to 30,000 early deaths every year.

The study, Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality, has just been published in PLOS ONE and has mapped out the most racist areas in the United States. As illustrated above, they are mostly located in the rural Northeast and down along the Appalachian Mountains into the South. How they did it and what it may mean are below the fold.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Eric Harris after being shot by Tulsa police
No snarky comment here. Not for this image.
'Why?' It's the most useful one word sentence in the English language. It's how we begin the search for causes, for understanding, for truth. We have to figure out why something happened before we can figure out how to make change going forward. There are people who want to understand why the events that unfolded this week in Baltimore did so, and there are people who most assuredly do not. Let's start with the latter, or least with the most egregious of them, since we don't have all day to go through the full litany.

Republican Maryland state legislator and radio talk show host Patrick McDonough, in discussing the events that took place in Baltimore, emphasized "a lack of parenting." He also praised a proposal to take food stamps away from families whose children participated in the protests. I'll let those statements speak for themselves. Among national figures, one of the more popular themes was—try not to be shocked—to blame President Obama. Donald Trump (I know, I know) offered this gem:

Our great African American president hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are happily and openly destroying Baltimore.
Then there's Ben Shapiro, columnist, editor-at-large for Breitbart News, and author of The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration (Count 1 in Shapiro's list of charges is—wait for it—"Espionage"). Shapiro opined that Baltimore demonstrates the President's "legacy of racial polarization." Fox News' Lou Dobbs attributed this week's events in Baltimore to the Obama administration's having "corroborated if not condoned ... a war on law enforcement."

These guys too fringy for you? How about Ted Cruz, a United States senator elected from one of the most populous states in our union and a serious, if not likely to be victorious, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. In his musings on Baltimore, Cruz accused the president of having "made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions—that have divided us rather than bring us together." When probed by Dana Bash of CNN, and asked for examples, Cruz repeated the charge, but offered no specifics other than mentioning "the beer summit," and complaining that Obama "vilif[ied] and caricature[d]" those who opposed him politically on matters such as health care and the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

I'm sorry, Mr. Cruz. You aren't Donald Trump, or at least you'd like to think you aren't. But you need to be more prepared than that if you want to level such a serious charge at the president of the United States. As I've written elsewhere, the idea that Obama is a divider is ridiculous. Ask yourself whether a divider would say something like this:

Whether your ancestors came here on the Mayflower or a slave ship; whether they signed in at Ellis Island or they crossed the Rio Grande — we are one people. We need one another. Our patriotism is not rooted in ethnicity, but in a shared belief of the enduring and permanent promise of this country.
Please follow me beyond the fold for a discussion of what and whom is really to blame for what happened in Baltimore.
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Sun May 03, 2015 at 06:02 AM PDT

On 'riots' and roots

by Denise Oliver Velez

Reposted from Daily Kos by Denise Oliver Velez
Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" has been floating around in my head, as I watch footage from Baltimore.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

We are watching one of those periodic explosions, which will continue until America gives itself a root canal, lances the boil or abscess, and addresses the cause of our national dis-ease of racism and xenophobia, while trying to put a compress on the symptoms.

Let us not forget that segregated housing was one of the main issues addressed in Lorraine Hansberry's  "A Raisin in the Sun," title taken from the Hughes poem, which I discussed in "The Hansberrys, and Housing Dreams Deferred."

For almost every "riot" sparked by either white vigilante destruction of stable black and brown towns and communities, or by police murder of civilians or leaders, there is the story of economic frustration, racism, and planned racial segregation.  

Follow me below the fold into "The Ghetto."

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Reposted from TheLovingThinkingFighter by Denise Oliver Velez

Has anyone visited the comment section of an MSN news story, which involved police brutality of blacks, or just blacks? If you have, you probably noticed an ill feeling in your gut as you read the horrendous comments posted by anti-black racists. If it was against all other races except for their own, they would just be racists; but no, their particular gripe is against the people with the darkest of dark skin tones. The article I visited that had this latest batch of typed fecal was, "TIME magazine asks how much has really changed in America since the '60s". The cringe-worthy diatribes against blacks outnumbered any commenters with brains... I know, because I posted a reply myself. I know, it was a waste of time - but it felt to me as if just leaving the comments section vacant of any reason and logic, would've drawn in some poor young person to fall for whatever terrible trash was posted without some rebuttal. I was going to post another, but said post was longer than first intended, and I felt it would have been wasted on a short-lived news story's comments section. So instead, I decided to post it here, so if you ever run into a poo-flinging mouth breather, you can redirect them here or copy and paste parts to use as a quick response to stupid comments. (If they learned how to read that is.)
[I'm mixed, (Hispanic & black,) but I wrote this in a way so to make sound less like I'm being the representative of all black people.]

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Sun May 03, 2015 at 05:41 AM PDT

R.I.P. A Garden Grew in Oakland Today.

by jpmassar

Reposted from jpmassar by a2nite

Oscar Grant Plaza filled Saturday afternoon with a couple hundred people come to the first #BlackSpring event in Oakland. The organizers came up with a great idea, an its already spread across the twitterverse.

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Reposted from Animal Nuz by Denise Oliver Velez

Bring Back Our Girls DC Rally 2
    (photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian)

From AP via The Huffington Post:

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria's military says it has rescued 234 more girls and women from a Boko Haram forest stronghold in the country's northeast.

The announcement on the Nigerian Defence Headquarters official Twitter account Saturday brings the number declared rescued this week to more than 677.

It comes as the army deployed ground troops following air raids on Sambisa Forest camps said to be the last holdout of the Islamic extremists.
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Reposted from Vyan by Denise Oliver Velez

After issuing Murder Indictments against the Officers who Killed Freddie Gray just 24 hrs after receiving the case from the Baltimore PD, when talking to CNN's Don Lemon, yeah Don Lemon, Maryland States Attorney pushed back hard on the criticism that she is both too close to Police, with many in her directly family including both her parents, her grandfather an aunt and an uncle having served in law enforcement, and simultaneous being criticized by the Fraternal Order of Police who argued that she is "too friendly" with the defense Gray family attorney.

Seems to me someone who is close too and trusted by all sides in the argument is the same person the public should trust to make the right decision.

(Image from CNN Screen Cap)

Mosby handled the questions easily, arguing that she can indeed remain impartial and that she is proceed not because she dislikes cops, but because she feels that bad cops do "a disservice" to those cops who do honor their commitment to serve their community.

Video over the flip.

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Reposted from JoanMar by a2nite
MLK makes a point.
If there is one name that has been uttered more often than Freddie Gray's over the past week, it has been that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We know that the criminal, heartless Right Wing Media have been doing their darnedest to claim the civil rights icon as their own. They have been on a mission to remake Dr. King into their own image. That last sentence isn't even exactly true; they have been busy whittling down the man into a one-dimensional, wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed battering ram to be used against the very people for whom he fought.

Let's take a look at what the man actually preached ... and let's place his words in context and in the spirit in which they were intended.

Become mal-adjusted:

I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things. (Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Power Of Nonviolence” (1957).)
What did Martin Luther King really say about riots as they have to do with political activism and civil rights (and not the results of ball games)?
I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. (Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Other America".)
In other words, no justice, no peace. It is an act of malice - intended to inflict serious psychological damage - to demand peace from the hurting and disenfranchised even as you dispense justice to only those who share your skin color and or socio-economic background.

After using the word "thug" to describe young rioters in Baltimore, Erin Burnett was asked, (paraphrasing as best as I can remember) "Then what do you call members of the police who broke Freddie Gray's spine?" To which Ms. Burnett replied, "I don't know what happened. I will wait on the courts to decide. You remember how that whole 'hands up don't shoot' was found to be a total lie."

Michael Brown and Freddie Gray are dead. Justice, some wise person said long ago, should not only be done, but also be seen to be done. There's no justice to be seen anywhere in these cases; primarily because journalists are very well adjusted to, and accepting of, these incidents of injustice happening again, and again, and again.

What if we were to apply this quote from Dr. King to American Law Enforcement Officers?

Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: It seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
The police are the patriarchal formal leaders who have been foisted on our communities and invested with the power to slap us upside the heads if mothers won't do it; or eliminate us if and when they feel like it. Violence is the tactic used to whip us into shape.  When the oppressed revolt, however briefly, against aggressive over-policing, they are castigated and condemned as "thugs." No winning for black folks.

What to do about this fucked-up state of affairs?

One awesome member of Support the Dream Defenders said this:

"In times of uncertainty and turmoil in the past, Americans have fought back in four principal ways: at the ballot box, by long-term populist appeals, with protests, and through legal action."
Protest is of the utmost importance right now. We applaud and support those who have taken to the streets to let their voices be heard, those gathered in New York, in Philadelphia, in Washington DC, in Chicago, in Ferguson, and in Baltimore.

As our young people and others of good conscience take to the street, we invite our friends to help us with the fight on the legal action front.

We need revolutionary changes to policing in this country. We do not claim that we have all the answers, but the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act provides at least some of the answers.

As you may know, Support the Dream Defenders crowd-sourced the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act at Daily Kos in the fall of 2014. Over 700 Kossacks supported our effort. Our finalized bill quickly gained the support of the NAACP and the ACLU. The NAACP forwarded our bill to members of Congress, and we distributed it to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other progressive members of Congress. President Obama signed into law a small piece of our bill in December 2014. The Department of Justice included part of our bill in their recent report on Ferguson, Missouri. Our state version of the MBOPRA is currently in committee in the Kansas legislature. The final version of our law: Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act of 2015 (Federal)

Action Steps:

Please contact your U.S. senators and representatives and ask them to support our Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act.

Two helpful websites:

How to Contact Your U.S. Senator

How to Contact Your U.S. Representative

Please note the information to include in an email to your representative or senator, such as your address, etc.
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