Wednesday, February 10, 2010


by John L. Mann
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about your critical commentary was that it remained unsigned. If you're so certain of your conclusions, why not stand behind them publicly with a signature? (comment referred to can be found after 2/6 post)

The tenor of your written opinion and the failure to self-identify struck me as being uncomfortably close to the past acts of Americans equally convinced of their own righteousness, yet finding it necessary to remain hidden beneath hood and cowl during the commission of hate crimes.

Instead of mass rallies, lynching and cross burnings, the internet now provides a forum where people harboring opinions and a sense of personal righteousness similar to your own can weigh in with verbal piety, yet keep their faces hidden. Ignorance and bigotry can hold forth in anonymity. In this case I fail to find much distinction between cross burnings past and truth burning present.

There's nothing "wild-eyed" about publicly citing the social and economic destruction that's been visited upon Benton Harbor. Nor are there any "factual inaccuracies" involved with the method by which Harbor Shores was granted title to 800+ acres of prime Benton Harbor beach and river frontage, for about a million dollars.

Worse is the way the Berrien County judicial system punished Rev. Edward Pinkney for exercising free speech, in exposing corruption surrounding how such a stinking deal was made. Corruption brought home by the conflict of interest and abuse of privilege exercised by at least one of the judges presiding in his various criminal cases -- for which Pinkney was convicted by an all-white "jury of his peers," then sentenced by a judge poised to profit personally from the Harbor Shores development, via Counselors Ship St. Realty.

Even worse, in my opinion, was the way democratic principle was abused by a single judge's setting aside of the clear results of the Glenn Yarbrough recall election. A recall STOPPING the Harbor Shores development by way of the PEOPLE'S WILL.

There was never any question that the recall succeeded, either. But this judge unilaterally set aside the PEOPLE'S WILL based on very few, very questionably "tainted" ballots. It was clearly stipulated the "questionable" ballots weren't physically altered either. They were "tainted" because Rev. Pinkney briefly had them in his personal possession for transport to the City Clerk's office, simply to insure they were counted.

That the "honorable" judge setting aside the results of basic democratic practice was also a member of the Board of Canvassers, merely adds to the real crime here. A crime for which his high office alone precluded any accountability to law. That judge is the one who tainted the election and basic democracy. He now presides over a FEDERAL bench, in my opinion an appointment granted for services rendered to Harbor Shores via the Yarbrough recall case.

You sanctimoniously call for "seminars" and "skills workshops" financed by Banco, a service organization that in truth is wholly BANK-RUPT, an organization that boasts NO tangible assets, ONLY the efforts of a very few and the leadership of a positively indefatigable lion, Rev. Edward Pinkney.

Preparing those who "wish to enter the workforce?!?" THERE ARE NO JOBS AVAILABLE, especially in Benton Harbor! Using 1980 federal criteria for measuring unemployment, the number of US unemployed nationally would be 22% today. FIXING numbers this way made it possible for January, 2010 to LOSE 20,000 non-farm payroll jobs, while the "official" unemployment rate DECLINED .3%. This, in the face of the fact that the economy needs to ADD over a million jobs every month simply in order to keep up with population increases.

That Whirlpool Corporation has sent its manufacturing and now the bulk of its engineering and R & D, first to Mexico, then to China, indicates a whole lot about the above unemployment statistics, past and present. That their hand in the Harbor Shores giveaway via Cornerstone Alliance and Fred Upton equally prevails in the destruction of Benton Harbor, seems utterly lost on you.

To you I clearly say: "Remove the hood of your anonymity and publicly, fearlessly defend your points instead of hiding behind what appear to be baseless charges and a public cowl. Do it in the manner of Edward Pinkney, a man whose fight against injustice and official lawlessness I find to be in the highest traditions of righteous struggle."

There's no "conspiracy" theory here. John Klock gave that land "IN PERPETUITY" to the people of Benton Harbor who were, specifically, NOT endowed with the wealth of property. He didn't consign it to the Harbor Shores development gang for use as a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course intended only for the elite.

Edward Pinkney possesses the bulk of the truth here, and very little else -- certainly no money or ability to employ powerful attorneys on his own or Benton Harbor's behalf.

What do you have on your side, faceless one, other than self-righteous prejudice, overweening fear and an eager willingness to subsume the crimes of St. Joseph's rich and powerful?


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I was hoping for educated discourse on the issue of BANCO's affimative community plans. What this readership has been subjected to, are name-calling by Mr. Mann. One hopes he does not speak for BANCO.

Mr. Mann's low-road decision to shout names are an unfortunate reminder that BANCO has yet to offer constructive advice on individual skill development, education, family planning, etc. things that need absolutely no financial investment. But Mr. Mann say BANCO has "no assets" and thus must rely sole on mere shouting, clan references, etc. etc.

This community needs leadership; clearly, none is to be found here.

Anonymous said...

curious, does Mann think Benton Harbor citizens are entitled to jobs at Whirlpool? Are citizens of all cities entitled to jobs at businesses located in those cities? interesting.....

Anonymous said...

The interesting thing to me is that he wants so badly to face his accusers. He then goes about saying posting anonymously is the same as wearing a KKK hood. I for one respond anonymously because this organization has called for violence in the past and I have a family.

Also you state that they set aside the vote. Sure did. Good thing too, because for some reason when they redid the vote it came out very differently without Pinkney's "help". That kind of says it all. If people were so against Yarborough then why did the results change?


Anonymous said...

Greetings once again Anonymous,

First be aware that I have no affiliation whatsoever with Banco, other than being personally acquainted with Rev. Pinkney and a few other Benton Harbor activists. Your criticisms of Banco based on what I write are conceived in error.

I carefully reread the commentary I posted yesterday and can only find two instances remotely resembling the "name-calling" you reference above. First was addressing you with the exact term you chose to post under, that being "anonymous." The other was referring to the presiding judge in the Yarbrough recall case as "honorable." That was an exercise in irony and done with my tongue firmly placed in my cheek.

Certainly I did make comparisons of people offering objectionable opinions anonymously with the privacy afforded by standard Klan regalia. Strong perhaps, but accurate enough.

Maybe I was shouting. The personal indignation engendered in me by the out and out lawlessness I find in the expropriation of Benton Harbor's Jean Klock Park for the purpose of overt gentrification, is enough to make anyone who perceives the entire picture accurately, scream. And the St. Joseph legal community's IMPRISONMENT of Rev. Pinkney for SUCCESSFULLY exercising basic free speech ought to be making everybody over there do a lot more than simply shout with outrage.

Why don't you address these issues instead of whining about Banco not providing jobs training? Take an honest look around you and ask yourself these simple questions about JKP: Who benefitted? At whose expense were these benefits derived? What happened to the leader of the opposition and under what circumstances were OFFICIAL sanctions applied?

If you can be honest enough to ask yourself these questions and really find the answers, I think you'll be as appalled as I am.


Anonymous said...

Another Nonymous! I wonder if this is Sam(e) Nonymous or New(t) Nonymous?

Seriously, Whirlpool Corporation is, of course, entitled to hire anyone they wish within the constraints of federal and state laws. This includes, or excludes at their discretion, citizens of Benton Harbor. This is the only "entitlement" I see and it belongs exclusively to the corporation.

Whether intentional exclusion of Benton Harbor citizens is an unacknowledged policy there, I'm unable to say. Certainly there are enough reports of institutionalized racism being practiced by Whirlpool to cause concern. And there's no denying whatsoever the verdict reached December just past by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Employment Commission in the Carlotta Freeman case. A final court judgment of $1,073,261 was awarded Freeman in a sex and race discrimination action she brought against Whirlpool, stemming from repeated incidents of harassment at their La Vergne, Tennessee facility.

I admit to having personal antipathies against giant corporations who've exported the vast majority of their manufacturing capacity, yet continue to use the US as their primary market. The growing impoverishment of SW Michigan in general and Benton Harbor in particular is a testament to the greed and the "I've got mine so up yours" mentality of these multinational corporations, Whirlpool included.

Abraham Lincoln said: "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

I subscribe to Lincoln's observations entirely. Labor provided by SW Michigan made it possible for Whirlpool to achieve its current status, a status predominating in the US large-appliance market. By turning their backs on our labor they deny the very thing that made them possible in the first place. It's detestable.

'Free market' my butt. Unrestrained capitalism is a form of societal self mutilation. Harbor Shores strikes me as Whirlpool's gift to itself, largely at the expense of a financially destitute Benton Harbor and founded on the imprisonment of Edward Pinkney.


Anonymous said...

We would assume the person going under the name of "Mann" is a Banco spokesperson, and thus would be in an excellent position to offer BH residents information on programs being developed by Ed Pinkney. BH residents need skills to develop to assist in proper financial accounting for the home and workplace, as well as educational seminars Ed could give (no investment money needed) that focus on basic job skills, how to research grants and scholarships, and other family planning advice.

One would hope that instead of continued name calling, Banco would opt to be a positive force.

We are waiting for the Rev's input on skills seminars and workshops.

Please provide dates/times and locations and all will come.

Sadly, we'll all probably never see it happen since Ed's perceived interest is only himself.

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous.

The "person going under the name of Mann" is real, not a pseudonym. He's me, a resident of SW Michigan for more than 45 years who's currently living in Kalamazoo, a man you can reach directly IF you wish to engage in a serious give and take, person to person discourse; here: That's my personal email address. I have neither website or blog page.

I've never been a "spokesman" on behalf of any organization. I speak my mind plainly and unilaterally on behalf of what I perceive to be the truth, while recognizing that my humanity brings with it the inevitability of error, however much I wish to avoid it. Keeping this in mind, I fail to find any error in what I'm about to communicate.

You say, "BH residents need skills..." So also do the majority of residents in every city everywhere. Why do you single out Benton Harbor for this comment? Even if everyone there had these skills, just WHERE would they find employment?

When you say "Ed," I assume you're referring to Rev. Edward Pinkney. When you state he could give "educational seminars" focusing on "...basic job skills, how to research grants and scholarships, and other family planning advice...," you seem to indicate that Rev. Pinkney possesses the skill and credentials required for conducting such specific, in-depth classroom forums.

Oh come on! How many men of the cloth, of whatever faith, do YOU know who conduct the type of seminars you specify?

Perhaps YOU have the expertise to conduct them. Will YOU volunteer to educate interested residents of Benton Harbor in these matters, at YOUR own expense? Or is your activism limited to snide, faceless commentary based in what seems to be self-aggrandizing ignorance?

For that's what's on display when you write the last three sentences of your latest comment.

Contact me. I'm genuinely curious to find out what's really behind your public pique. Based on what you've written I suspect it's something ugly. Show me I'm wrong and I'll make a public apology -- one where I'll sign my name.

One more thing: I still can't find an instance of name-calling in my previous comments. Why don't you point one out instead of insisting on the non-existent?


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