Friday, November 21, 2008

Political Corruption in Boston, Chuck Turner, Boston City Council

More black political corruption.

First it was, Massachusetts State Senator Diane Wilkerson "BUSTED" by FBI


This time again in Boston. Get this Chuck Turner, a Boston City Councilman, whom this AAPP has known for years is caught taking silly $1,000 dollar from federal agents. Damn, this brotha is going down for a $1,000 ??? Silly man. I guess he will be going to Federal prison for taking a silly bribe instead of just doing his work. He gets paid enough as a city councilman, why is he disgracing himself and black folks like this? Now i understand why he defended Diane Wilkerson, who got caught on tape by the FBI as well. He has turned out to be just like her, a two-bit crook, who attacked Latino Leadership in Boston to cover himself and Dianne Wilkerson. I feel sorry for my old home of Roxbury, Massachusettts, as they come to grips with the fact that black leadership in Boston has sold them out, If I lived in Boston I would run for his seat.


By Shelley Murphy, Jonathan Saltzman, John C. Drake, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff

As reported by the Boston Globe The FBI arrested Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner this morning on charges he accepted a $1,000 bribe and then lied about taking the money in a widening federal corruption probe.

Chuck Turner

A 12-page affidavit filed this morning in US District Court alleges that Turner was surreptitiously videotaped accepting the cash in his district office on Aug. 3, 2007, in exchange for pushing for a liquor license of the Roxbury nightclub Dejavu. Included with the affidavit are two photographs of Turner allegedly accepting the bribe. In one image, Turner's trademark white goatee is clearly visible as folded green bills are pressed into his hand.

Turner was arrested at 7 a.m. at City Hall on charges stemming from the undercover probe, which lead to the arrest on Oct. 28 of state Senator Dianne Wilkerson on allegations she accepted eight bribes worth $23,500. The day of Wilkerson's arrest, two FBI agents visited Turner at his City Hall office and he "repeatedly denied ever being offered the money," according to the affidavit. During the interview, however, Turner rued the pervasiveness of corruption among politicians.

"If you took out all the corrupt politicians, you take out 90 % and be left with us 10 %," Turner said, according to the affidavit.

The five-term city councilor is expected to make his initial appearance today in US District Court in Worcester before Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman, who is handling Wilkerson's case. Turner's alleged crimes took place in Boston, but Hillman ordinarily sits in Worcester.

“The public deserves, and should expect, honest services from our public officials,” US Attorney Michael Sullivan said in a statement. “Public officials who line their pockets with cash while claiming to act in the public interest, violate our laws and the trust and confidence of the public we serve." More HERE

H/T BlogTalkRadio Host/and activist, Seventies Soul Child for the link.

Cross Posted at: African American Political

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Congressional Black Caucus "Chumps"

Michelle Singletary has a great article in The Washington Post regarding the bailout “Bait and Switch” and how Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cumming's questioning of Neel Kashkari, the interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, that had me hollering. She writes how she usually don't enjoy watching congressional hearings and how they are often packed with blustering, long-winded, self-serving speeches that are nap-inducing.

She also writes about how a recent hearing before the domestic policy subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was riveting. In part, it was because of remarks by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

The subject of the hearing was whether the Treasury Department was using bailout funds to increase foreclosure prevention, as Congress intended. It was Cummings's questioning of Neel Kashkari, the interim assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, that had me hollering.

During the hearing, Cummings said what I've been feeling for months. In straight-from-the-'hood vernacular, Cummings captured what has been done to American taxpayers.

"Mr. Kashkari, in the neighborhood I grew up in, in the inner city of Baltimore, one of the things that you tried to do was make sure that you were not considered a chump," Cummings said. "And what 'chump' meant was that you didn't want people to see you as just somebody they could get over on."

Corporate America is playing us like chumps. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the folks he's assembled to try to get us out of the economic tempest are being played like chumps. Read More HERE

AAPP: I have to agree Representative Cummings, Corporate America is playing us like chumps. But, the fact of the matter is he is part of the problem, you see, he is one of the 13 black lawmakers who switched from "no" to "yes" on the bailout bill vote. The question is why a majority of the The Congressional Black Caucus supported the bail out bill from the beginning? I guess Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards and other Congressional Black Caucus members are the biggest chumps for supporting the bill when voters were saying no!

Cross posted on African American Political

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Obama Resistance

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

It was less than 2 hours after Barack was declared President that the first "Join The Obama Resistance" shirts were available on Cafe Press. Since then, websites have been launched, conspiracies have been formulated. Hell, even Alan Keyes has filed a lawsuit to verify Obama's birth certificate!

This will not die down and it will not go away.

I remember the week after Bill Clinton was first elected, he and Al Gore appeared on the cover of a news magazine. I was in a bookstore when two rednecks drifted by and said, "Can you fucking believe THEY got elected? He ain't nothing but a draft dodger." That meme is still alive and well.

All the ugliness that John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the right wing hate machine generated over the length of the campaign will continue until Obama is out of office. For us, our job is to always beat it back. The myth busting we did during the campaign will need to be continued... always.

We can't stop.


Monday, November 17, 2008

The Political Incorrectness of Helen Mirren

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

It seems the Brits are in a tiz over outrageous comments by Helen Mirren about rape trials.

Dame Helen Mirren was accused by the Solicitor General of making ignorant, absurd and dangerous comments yesterday after speaking out again about rape prosecutions.

In an interview, the 63-year-old Oscar-winning actress said that in such cases female jurors are deliberately selected by defence barristers because 'women go against women'.

She suggested that women jurors are less likely to convict a rapist since they tend to think the victim was 'asking for it'.

Well, how dare she suggest that sisterhood would not reign in a rape trial?

Trouble is she's absolutely right.

I would not claim to know how juries are selected in Great Britain, and it may well be totally random, as Solicitor General Vera Baird claims. But, here in the US, where attorneys are very involved in jury selection, it's an absolute fact that your better rape prosecutors try to stack juries with men.

I was somewhat stunned to learn this some years ago, while reading up on the "preppy murder trial." Robert Chambers, who was convicted for the murder of Jennifer Levin, was prosecuted by renowned attorney Linda Fairstein. Fairstein, who specializes is rape prosecutions said, when interviewed, that she would always try to tilt juries in the male direction, because women jurors are less likely to convict rapists. Her statement struck me as so counter-intuitive that it always stuck with me. I did a bit of googling, to check my own memory, and Fairstein is not alone in this assessment.

However, female jurors frequently do not side with the female complainant. Indeed, according to a Newsday article, “The most sympathetic juror a rape victim can hope for… is not a well-dressed, educated working woman, but a stocky, conservative, middle-aged Italian man. The Italian man, the researchers reason, regards women as fragile and in need of defense and will usually side with the accuser” (Tyre, 1991, p. 10). The article also quotes Barbara Eganhauser, a lead sex crimes prosecutor in Westchester County, who believes “women, even young women with contemporary lifestyles and values, often reject another woman’s accusation or rape and sex abuse out of their own fear” (Tyre, 1991, p. 10).

Several other authors also note that female jurors often do not accept as true the testimony of complainants. Attorney Julie Wright (1995) argues that these jurors distrust the complainants because they do not want to believe that something horrible could happen to “good people”. Such women subscribe to the “just world hypothesis,” that bad things do not happen at random, but rather everything in the world occurs for a reason. According to this theory, misfortune strikes only those worthy of hardship (Wright, 1995). Wright cites Elaine Walster’s research study, in which undergraduates were told of increasingly horrible things that happened to another person. The worse the event, the more likely the subject assigned blame to the other person, as it was “reassuring if the person [could] somehow blame the victim, taking the loss out of the realm of the uncontrollable” (Wright, 1995, p. 20). Using this logic, female jurors do not wish to imagine that rape could happen to them, and therefore the more they identify with the complainant, and the more hideous the crime, the more they need to deny the complainant’s claim. Wright notes that “Linda Fairstein, Chief of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Sex Crimes Unit, has observed that ‘for many women, the need to shield themselves from their own vulnerability to sexual assault is paramount. If they can insist that the victim engaged in behavior that they would never engage in, such as visiting a bar or going to a man’s apartment, they can convince themselves they are not at risk’” (Wright, 1995, p. 22). Thus, it is so frightening for the female juror to identify with the complainant that she needs to deny the complainant’s testimony, in order for the juror to feel safe in the world.

Furthermore, Gloria Cowan (2000) contends that women often disbelieve other women’s tales of sexual violence out of their own internalized oppression. She writes that many women are hostile to their own sex, and internalize negative female stereotypes. These women are more likely to “blame the victim” in the case of rape or sexual harassment. Cowan’s research study, using questionnaire responses from 155 college women, found a correlation between women’s hostility towards other women and women’s toleration of men mistreating women. While Cowan’s article does not specifically apply to jurors in rape cases, it does provide a persuasive argument as to why females may be disinclined to believe the victim of sexual abuse.

Sad, but true.