Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blacks holding state and Federal Governments Accountable

AAPP says: There is a big concern in African American communities across America that Blacks will get buried under the “Shovel-Ready” Stimulus . Many in the black community are saying, the Stimulus-snubbing Govs Don't Care About People, Black or White. Yet, even though Barack Obama has warns Mayors About Wasting Stimulus Money there remains concern, for example, the economic stimulus signed by President Barack Obama will spread billions of dollars across the country to spruce up aging roads and bridges. But there's not a dime specifically dedicated to fixing leftover damage from Hurricane Katrina. And there's no outrage about it. More HERE

Enter, Cash Michaels at
The Wilmington Journal who is following what is going on in North Carolina with Federal stimulus money. It would be wise that black leaders in other states follow their lead, and ask the questions and get the answers. Black leaders in N.C. seem to be doing what state and local black leaders in all states should be doing - holding the Gov. and the Barack Obama administration accountable.

Cash Michaels reports on how black leaders are asking questions of the State and Federal government, like: What is the latest on how funding from North Carolina's $6.1 billion share of the Recovery Stimulus
package will be distributed for projects through the state and cities? What will the process for application for those stimulus projects be, and when will it be announced and get underway?

And how can African-Americans be assured, despite guarantees of transparency and accountability from the Obama Administration, that blacks looking for jobs and business opportunities
won't get locked out?

''This plan's already saved the jobs of teachers and police officers. It's creating construction jobs to rebuild roads and bridges,'' Pres. Obama told the nation during his prime time White House press conference Tuesday night.

But is it happening yet in North Carolina, especially
for African-American?

That's the pressing question black leaders across the state are asking, and wanting fast answers to, to ensure that North Carolina's African-American community is not left out of Obama's historic efforts to jumpstart a crippled economy with his $787 billion two-year American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Next week they may get answers.


The Carolinian/ Wilmington Journal has learned that Dempsey Benton, Gov. Beverly Perdue's Recovery and Reinvestment Office ( point man to oversee North Carolina's stimulus projects effort, has agreed to sit down with the NCNAACP and other statewide leadership April 2 to examine issues surrounding how African-Americans can better access the process.

''We want to discuss issues of parity, equity, diversity, control, the need for regional summits for African-Americans and other [people of color] to come in and know exactly what's going on,'' Rev. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP told The Carolinian/ Wilmington Journal exclusively Wednesday.

''We have to know what the [stimulus] goals
are, and what access is.''
The Carolinian/The Wilmington Journal has also learned that Gov. Perdue has agreed to meet with the NCNAACP and others during a ''civil rights roundtable'' on April 20th to further discuss the stimulus package impact on the black community, in addition to other social agenda issues.

''It's going to b a true civil rights roundtable, ''Rev. Barber assured, ''Not a tea and cookie kind of thing.''

And in Raleigh, an ad hoc community group led by former Raleigh City Councilman Brad Thompson and longtime community activist Ms. Margaret Rose Murray is planning a Saturday, April 4th town hall meeting at her Vital Link School at Rock Quarry Road and East Lenoir Street on the stimulus package to get answers from state and local officials. More HERE

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Questions Congress Should Have Asked AIG CEO Edward Liddy

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

click to enlarge

My rage from the AIG pompousness has boiled away enough to type. Congress, however, still has me all a temper.

Yes there were some tough questions and accusations thrown at AIG but they were all formulated for the best play during their next campaign, not getting to the bottom of the debacle.

First of all, I want to know what we need to do to start getting rid of these guys. The severance question is still an unknown. I am pretty sure all these guys have massive golden parachutes that are outlined in bullet-proof executive compensation contracts. I am also pretty sure these severance packages will all run into the millions... just like the bonuses.

I bet the Republicans are glad the AIG meme is moving off the table this week, this will allow them to get back to their tax cut theology.


When Tammy Bruce called Michelle Obama "trash", what she meant to say was "uppity". The radio talk show host probably misses the days when it was a crime to teach African-Americans to read. Happily, other than giving a boner to the other bigots who have already made up their minds about the Obamas, Ms. Bruce's vituperative nonsense is going to do the GOP more harm than good in the long run. As the presidential election proved, the idiots who read Coulter, listen to Limbaugh, and watch Fox News wasn't enough to elect the McPalins into the White House. It's a losing strategy. "Moderate" Republicans (pragmatics who want to be re-elected) understand this, but every time they try to put up that "big tent" to include voters that aren't Angry White Guys, a stupid loudmouth terrorist like Tammy Bruce will burn it down. As Malcolm Forbes said, "The dumbest people I know are those who know it all."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Come Home America: An Interview With Truth Teller William Greider

The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

I first became aware of William Greider after the publication of his 1981 Atlantic Monthly profile of President Reagan’s embattled Office of Management and Budget Director (“OMB”), David Stockman. At the time I was just a kid and the Reagan administration insisted they could simultaneously balance the budget, cut taxes and increase defense spending exponentially.

Greider’s reporting however exposed that even Stockman, doubted the fiscal prudence of Reaganomics. After the article’s publication, Stockman absorbed public humiliation when President Reagan took him “to the woodshed.” I trace that article as a seminal moment in my own political awareness.

Over the years, Greider has been a determined voice of truth against a backdrop of America’s pro-war, pro-Wall Street governing elites and their enablers inside the corporate media. While Alan Greenspan was celebrated, Greider warned that the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies were guilty of dereliction. When celebrated economists such as Paul Krugman extolled the virtues of free trade and globalization, Greider warned of diminished wages at home and condemned the shameful exploitation our consumption habits subsidized abroad.

Greider’s latest book, Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country, just published by Rodale, is a manifesto of hope and warning. In Chapter One, Greider writes:

“Think of America at this point as a muscular teenager, full of talent, adolescent energy, and youth’s over-reaching impulses. This is a critical stage in human development and for our nation it could go either way. Some nations that acted like willful children when they were young formed balanced societies when they became adults. Other nations have never really grown up.

The question, I think is whether-we-the people who proudly call ourselves Americans – can mature as a society. The country can develop a deeper sense of what matters most in life and what doesn’t. It can shed some self-destructive reflexes and acquire a wiser sense of national self-interest that is anchored in the nation’s ideals. Wisdom tempers egotism. This is true for both people and nations.

Or, the United States can plunge ahead self-indulgently, repeating destructive habits, acting out reckless ambitions, and getting into deeper trouble. We all know children who, for whatever reason, got older but never found themselves. This is possible for nations too, especially ones that refuse to reconcile themselves to new realities.

I am betting we will grow into our maturity and hoping that lots of Americans agree.”
Greider’s book chronicles why America is in dire straits and proposes numerous solutions to facilitate a better economic foundation for America's struggling middle class. His recommendations include consolidating many of the Federal Reserve’s functions within the executive branch to ensure public accountability for monetary policy, replacing private pension plans such as 401ks with government pension plans instead and capping U.S. trade deficits through a general emergency tariff authorized under the charter of the World Trade Organization.

Even more than any singular remedy however, Greider’s book urges outraged citizens to embrace activism as a means of forcing the powerful in the public and private sectors to finally put our national interests above corporate greed. Ultimately, Greider's book argues that the current crisis is an opportunity for citizens to reengage and facilitate a more just and equitable society.

Greider is the best-selling author of five previous books, including One World, Ready or Not; Who Will Tell the People; and Secrets of the Temple. He’s written for the Washington Post and Rolling Stone as well as serving as an on-air correspondent for six PBS Frontline documentaries. Currently, Greider is the national affairs correspondent for The Nation.

Greider agreed to a podcast telephone interview with me this afternoon about his book and views. Our conversation was just over forty-eight minutes and among the topics we discussed were the current A.I.G. bonus controversy, the Democratic Party’s culpability in overriding state and local laws against usury, his recommendations to overhaul the Federal Reserve and America’s pension system, our destructive relationship with China, America’s excessive militarism and the fine line being walked by activists who support the Democratic Party and President Obama while simultaneously pushing for real change.

Please refer to the flash media player below.

This interview can also be accessed via the Itunes Store at no cost by searching for either the "Intrepid Liberal Journal" or "Robert Ellman."

Black Women get Double Life Sentence for $11.00!

Mississippi gave Gladys and Jamie Scott each a double-life sentence in an armed robbery where no one was murdered or harmed and the amount alleged to have been taken was a whopping $11.00.

This is a damn shame and a total injustice, says black blogger African American Political Pundit. We here so much in the newspapers about America being a post racial society, can these sisters now get a post racial review of this injustice in Mississippi?

H/T and Shout Out to Nancy Lockhart, M.J.

Scott County, MS ---- In a trial fraught with legal malpractice and witness coercion, Mississippi Judge Marcus Gordon oversaw one of the most blatantly corrupt trials in history, culminating in the staggering over-sentencing of sisters Gladys and Jamie Scott to double-life each in an armed robbery where no one was murdered or harmed and the amount alleged to have been taken was a whopping $11.00.

On December 24, 1993, the Scott County Sheriff’s Department arrested the Scott sisters for armed robbery even though three young males, ranging from ages 14 to 18, confessed to committing the crime. Despite this, the corrupt Mississippi sheriff used coercion, threats, and harassment to compel them to turn state’s evidence against the Scott sisters due to a long-standing vendetta against a family member. The 14-year-old male would later testify that he did not read the statement and was pressured to sign a written statement prepared by the sheriff without an attorney being present.

As if that weren't bad enough, these young women received incompetent legal representation at the lower court trial. Their attorneys, Firnist J. Alexander, Jr. and Gail Shaw-Pierson failed to interview and subpoena witnesses, only calling one witness when there were several. Incredibly, the jury never even heard any testimony from the alleged victims. The sisters were advised to not testify on their own behalf by their attorneys, Alexander and Shaw-Pierson, denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves.

In October of 1994, Jamie and Gladys Scott were sentenced to extraordinary double life terms each in prison, even though neither sister had prior convictions and there was no violence involved in these charges.

The four State’s witnesses provided conflicting testimony and one alleged accuser was not called to testify – he was not questioned or subpoenaed by defense attorneys Firnist J. Alexander, Jr. or Gail Shaw-Pierson. Witnesses admitted however, that reports prepared by the Sheriff, of their descriptions of the event contained no such claim. In other words, the sisters were not present. Jamie and Gladys Scott were not involved in the armed robbery and they did not conspire to plan such. Witnesses all testified that they were coerced and threatened by Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams. Testimony also revealed that Marvin Williams prepared statements of the events from the night of December 24, 1994 BEFORE obtaining signatures and BEFORE the witnesses were brought into his office. In other words, the statements were not written by witnesses. (1) Three affidavits exist – they all state that the Scott Sisters were not involved in this robbery. One affidavit is written by a trustee of the local jail, his account of the facts reveal that a wallet was located a few days after this alleged robbery and that wallet contained the photo ID of one of the alleged victims of the trumped up robbery and three twenty dollar bills. The trustee also reveals that there was NOT a robbery, he was also threatened to be sent to Parchman Penitentiary if he told the truth.

According to the Request for Commutation of Sentence and/or Pardon prepared by attorney Chokwe Lumumba, the Scott Sisters challenged their convictions on direct appeal; arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict them, and the guilty verdict was against the overwhelming weight of evidence, which should have exonerated them. The court of appeals found no error and affirmed the convictions on December 17, 1996. As a result, they filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was denied on May 15, 1997. They consequently filed an Application for Leave to File Motion to Vacate Conviction pursuant to the Mississippi Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act. The Supreme Court also denied that application.

This family is shell-shocked, yet determined to fight on. They have tried to have faith that at some point this unbelievable travesty would be corrected and their upside-down lives righted. Yet 14 long years later nothing has changed, the women's five children are still being raised by their now ailing mother, and their father has died of a massive heart attack because of this. The emotional strain this burden has placed upon their family is immeasurable.

Jamie Scott writes, "What began as an implication and outright miscarriage of justice, has catapulted to destroy an entire family. Gladys was a 19 year old pregnant mother, and myself, Jamie, a 22 year old mother during the time of our arrest, conviction and sentencing for a crime we did not commit." She continued, "We are convinced that once this chain of events is exposed and unraveled, the events that occurred, the lives that have been destroyed, the pain and suffering the citizens of Scott County have endured; everyone will be utterly amazed, astonished and compelled to assist us in our plight for freedom. We pray that the people would insist upon an investigation into their misconduct and miscarriage of justice."

Gladys and Jamie’s older brother has recently returned from Iraq and has served in the US Army for 22 years, while his sisters remain victims of wrongful convictions in the very country that he proudly represents. The defendants and their family are wholly depending on support from the press, organizations, and all those dedicated to justice in making this debacle as public as possible.

Information source:

P.O. BOX 389
Green Pond, SC 29446
Phone: 641-715-3900 Extension ~ 99222

What You Can Do

Please Call The Governor's Office For The Scott Sisters

Please call the Governor’s office and ask to speak with Governor Haley Barbour. Please relay the message below.

1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150

Hello Governor Barbour I am calling in support of The Committee To Free The Scott Sisters.

My name is:________________

I would like to bring to your attention the case of Jamie and Gladys Scott.
The Scott Sisters have served 14 years 5 months of a double life term where no one was murdered or injured. State’s witnesses have testified to their innocence.

Their MDOC numbers are 19197 and 19142. Please free the Scott Sisters.

Thank you for your attention to this matter Governor Barbour.

If you choose to mail a letter to the governor via US mail the address is:
Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205

Thank you for your assistance in The Campaign ~To Contact The Governor Of Mississippi!