Monday, December 31, 2012

Guided by the Koch brothers, Republicans have installed czars to run Michigan's cities

This is from the September 2012 issue of the excellent Hightower Lowdown.To read about Benton Harbor, scroll down to the 3 stars (***).


Why is this dictatorial coup not a huge national media story?

Here's a political storyline that might seem familiar to you: With economic pain and political discord ripping across the land, he appeared to have the ideal resume to become the Republican contender for the top job. Not just another career politico from the dysfunctional Congress, he was a son of heartland Michigan who had founded his own venture capital firm. He looked like the image-perfect "job creator," and he'd achieved notable financial success in the no-nonsense corporate world. That success, he figured, would now catapult him to electoral victory, for it demonstrates that he's a can-do fellow with the know-how to run government like a business and fix the economy.
Mitt Romney? Yes, but before him, Rick Snyder played the lead role in this made-for-TV political drama--and it hasn't worked out well at all for the people of Michigan. Two years ago, this former corporate chieftain and founder of two venture capital outfits stepped into Michigan's political arena, snatching the GOP gubernatorial nomination from the grasp of a congressman, the state attorney general, and a couple of other experienced pols. The times were right for a Mr. Fix-it--with Michigan's key auto industry in the ditch and middle-class wages decimated, working families were struggling, poverty was on the rise, and whole cities were on the brink of broke.

Backed by bales of corporate cash, Snyder won the general election by ceaselessly running a series of "job creator" ads (never mind that he had been a top executive and director of a computer corporation that relentlessly shipped thousands of American jobs out of the country until 2007, when the corporation itself was shipped to Taiwanese owners). Snyder said he had a plan to "reinvent Michigan," the essence of which he expressed in one of his campaign ads: "Eliminate Michigan business tax. Cut taxes on job creators $1.5 billion. Slash needless regulations. Help small business."
That's not a plan, it's a scam--essentially the same ol' Republican same ol', now being regurgitated by the Romney-Ryan duo. However, Michiganders were desperate enough for a way out of the state's economic doldrums that 58 percent of voters cast their ballots that November for the "Businessman with a Plan."
What they didn't know--because the campaign never hinted at it, much less spoke of it out loud--was that a cabal of corporate-funded, far-right extremists behind Snyder would soon spring a secret plan on them. It was to be a horrific "Spring Surprise" that literally would reinvent Michigan--along with negating the very idea that the American people have a democratic right to be self-governing.

Michigan goes berserk

Michigan's story keeps getting bigger, and I think, more unsettling. Michigan is wrangling with a deeply, deeply radical contention that we should not necessarily govern in America using a system called democracy anymore. ----Rachel Maddow, April 30, talking on her TV show about the shocking state program to overthrow democracy in Michigan cities.
One of our nation's finest political satirists, cartoonist Garry Trudeau, has created a buffoonish character namedTrff Bmzklfrpz for his "Doonesbury" comic strip. A caricature of despotic thugs everywhere, Bmzklfrpz is presented by Trudeau as the ruler of the aptly named Greater Berzerkistan.
Rick Snyder must've studied there, for he had barely taken his oath of office before suddenly teaming with leaders of the Republican-controlled statehouse and senate to ram into law an astonishing measure of despotic rule. It only took two weeks in March of 2011 for the ponderously titled "Local Government and School District Fiscal Accountability Act" to be rushed through both houses of the legislature and signed by Snyder. Before the public knew it--BAM! --the governor was authorized to establish his own autocratic republic: Michiganistan.
At bottom, the LGSDFA Act is a doozy of autocratic mischief-making. It lets the governor seize control of any local government he deems to be in fiscal trouble, suspend the people's democratic authority, impose a corporatized version of martial law, and install his own "emergency financial manager" to govern by diktat (like some hybrid of Soviet czar and tinhorn potentate--a Bmzklfrpz, in other words).

The Rachel alternative

"Michiganistan" is a huge national story with profound consequences for America's historic ideal of being a self-governing people, the very essence of our nation's governing ethic. ... [read more]
The official rationale is that many Michigan cities and school districts are in dire financial straits, requiring extraordinary intervention to "save" them from their own people and elected officials. "It's about helping communities," Snyder dissembled, as he began installing EFMs.
Helping? This is the kind of "help" a fox brings to the henhouse:
  • Emergency managers begin by usurping the power of all elected officials or simply "firing" them.
  • They can then rewrite the public budget without any public participation, unilaterally eliminate various services, cancel contracts, seize and sell off public assets, privatize government functions, and dictate new laws.
  • They can even dissolve a city's charter.
This isn't merely un-democratic--it's aggressively anti-democratic.
Yes, there are some severe fiscal messes in Michigan's local governments, but the big debts that have piled up are not caused by too much democracy, bloated bureaucracies, or reckless spending by hometown officials. That's just mendacious political claptrap spewed by those wanting an excuse to impose their anti-union, government-shriveling, privatizing, partisan agenda on vulnerable people. It's no accident that the cities presently under state siege (including Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, and Pontiac) are heavily populated with low-income, union, African American, Democratic-voting households. While it's true that these places are in deep budgetary holes, there are real reasons for their fiscal woes, including:
  • The implosion of the auto industry that's central to these local economies, resulting in massive joblessness and drastically downsized family incomes.
  • The tanking of housing values, destroying the one source of wealth that working people had, creating a sudden plummeting of property tax collections that finance schools and city services.
  • The grim (and largely successful) corporate campaign to crush unions and bust middle-class wages.
  • US trade policies and tax subsidies that encouraged Michigan corporations to move manufacturing offshore, eliminating good jobs and forcing a large number of former taxpayers to leave their cities in search of work.
Oh, let's not forget another major cause that Snyder & Company don't want discussed: His $1 billion cut in corporate taxes. This increased the state's budget hole, which he helped fill by slashing or eliminating state funds and tax credits that went to local school districts, low-income workers, and seniors.
The LGSDFA coup against local democracy does absolutely nothing to address--much less fix--these actual causes of the financial crises that mayors and other elected officials face. And by the way, since when did self-styled, small-government "conservatives" become such gleeful champions of using centralized governmental power to whack the once-hallowed Republican tenet of local control? Indeed, to see the irony of their governor trampling their democratic rights, Michigan citizens need look no further than the website of the state Republican Party. Right up front, it proudly posts a list of nine inviolate GOP principles, including this gem: "The most effective, responsible, and responsive government is government closest to the people."

Spawn of the Kochs

While corporate plutocrats rant about out-of-control government regulators, they do not really hate big, invasive, authoritarian government--as long as they can own it and use it for their own needs. This is why such multibillionaire corporatists as Charles and David Koch have been pumping truckloads of money into dozens of front groups like the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. Set up 25 years ago and linked to a network of Koch-headed centers in nearly every state, Mackinac is an idea factory and advocate for shrinking people power and enhancing corporate control.
While it refuses to name its super-wealthy individual backers on the absurd grounds that disclosure "would be a tremendous diversion," the Center does have to report donations from "charitable funds," which includes money from a host of corporate foundations tied to the Koch brothers, Domino's Pizza, Amway, Coors, GM, ExxonMobil, JPMorgan Chase, and Walmart, among others.
In 2005, one of Mackinac's grand ideas was put forth in an essay written by a privatizing enthusiast named Louis Schimmel, who was the Center's director of municipal finance. Noting that Michigan already had a limited program for sending state managers to aid cities engulfed in a fiscal crisis, he argued that the law should be radically expanded to create an emergency financial manager with autocratic power to take control of Detroit's troubled budget. Specifically, Schimmel's Mackinac proposal called for four fundamental changes: (1) the financial overseer would "replace and take on the powers of the governing body"; (2) have sole discretion to alter the governing charter; (3) be immune from lawsuits; and (4) have the power to alter and ultimately abolish union contracts.
After Snyder won and the GOP gained big majorities in both legislative chambers in November 2010, the Mackinac Center moved quickly to reprint and circulate Schimmel's paper. Lo and behold, the governor's LGSDFA proposal, which seemed to come out of the blue three months later, actually came out of the Koch boys' Mackinac machine. Snyder's bill included all four of Schimmel's democracy-usurping components, as well as other authoritarian add-ons presumably drafted by the Center.
With a solid, lock-step majority in both the state senate and house, Snyder and Republican legislative leaders were able to railroad the full extremist pack-age into law. The GOP slapped down even the most token gestures to local governance--for example, a little amendment that merely would've required EFMs to hold monthly public meetings--so locals could be told what changes their czar was making-- got crushed in the senate.
Respect the rule of law? Ha! For half a century, Michigan has had a constitutional rule that a new law doesn't take effect until 90 days after the legislative session ends--thus giving affected citizens time to adjust or try to repeal it. By a two-thirds vote in each house, however, a law can be declared an emergency and allowed to take effect immediately.
With a supermajority in the senate, GOP members easily rushed their EFM measure into effect, but in the house, the party is 10 votes short of the necessary two-thirds tally. No problem--they simply cheated by pulling a quick count and lying about the result. The presiding officer of the house barked out the following in one breathless, three-second sentence: "Themajorityleaderhasrequestedimmediateeffect AllthoseinfavorpleaseriseImmediateeffectisordered."
We're to believe that in only three seconds, he called for a vote, the members got to their feet, he was able to count two-thirds of them standing in favor, and he gaveled the law into effect. Magical!

Plutocrats in action

Let's go to Pontiac, a once proud city boasting that one of America's iconic cars was named after it and made there, employing 23,000 auto workers in the General Motors factory. Today, though, those jobs have been moved out-of-state or eliminated, the Pontiac brand itself has been jettisoned by GM, the city's population has dropped, property values have plummeted, and the city government has been left in a fiscal wreck. To add to its miseries, Gov. Snyder's cutbacks in revenue sharing mean that Pontiac's funds have been slashed by a third.
The governor did give something to the people of Pontiac, though: An emergency manager. Appointed last September for an indefinite period (he's still there), he promptly relieved the city council of their powers and salaries. Then he fired the city attorney, clerk, and director of public works before acting on his own to outsource the work of various departments. Next, he offered up about half of the people's property in a fire sale of assets--including city hall, police and fire stations, the library, water-pumping stations, a golf course, and two cemeteries. More recently, he has issued five edicts undermining contracts with union workers and retirees.
Who is this guy? Louis Schimmel, the privatizer man from Mackinac!
Asked last year if the EFM law made him a dictator, Schimmel conceded with a sigh: "I guess I'm the tyrant in Pontiac."

***On to Benton Harbor, the home of Whirlpool Corporation and once the major producer of that giant's appliances. Whirlpool's executives, market analysts, and other top-paid employees still are based in Benton Harbor, ensconced in the corporation's brand-new, gleaming, tax-subsidized $68 million corporate campus in this town on the shores of Lake Michigan. But, beginning in the 1980s, the bosses have steadily emptied out all of their local factories, moving Benton Harbor's manufacturing jobs abroad to cut labor costs.
This has decimated the local economy, cutting the town's 20,000 population in half, [severe law enforcement/judicial repression contributed] destroying its tax base, and leaving it with chronic unemployment. Benton Harbor is now the poorest city in Michigan, with a per capita income of about $10,000.
The town's major asset, a public park overlooking the lake, is being absorbed into "Harbor Shores," a $500 million Whirlpool-backed resort project that includes a sprawling, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. Of course, impoverished locals can't live or golf there, but the developers (who got government subsidies for the project) are hoping that Chicago weekenders will make the two-hour trek to the place.
These people are losing their park, but worse, a fellow named Joe Harrishas taken a more valuable asset from them: Their democracy.
Harris is Snyder's EFM and literally the Dictator of Benton Harbor. A former Detroit auditor, he began by summarily stripping all power from elected officials, decreeing that city commissioners can meet, but the only action they can take is to approve minutes of their last meeting and then adjourn. When commissioners made a mild (but clever) protest by proclaiming this past spring that the city would observe Constitution Week, Harris monocratically nullified their action. What perfect symbolism! He then expressed surprise that this had upset townspeople: "All I told them was, 'Hey, guys, you have no authority.'"
With unfettered control, Harris has kicked elected officials out of their city hall offices, fired the city manager and other administrators, dismissed the planning commission and installed his own loyalists, merged the police and fire departments, and sold the com-munity's public radio station (which had criticized him). He also intends to privatize the water system (after raising residents' water rates by up to 40 percent) and has jacked up annual garbage fees by about $300 per home.
Harris is proud and happy to be a commissar for the Koch-Mackinac vision of a privatized America with a neutered democracy, and he definitely likes being in charge with no fussy checks and balances on his decisions: "I don't have to worry about whether the politicians or union leaders like what I'm doing. I love this job. I am the mayor and the commission, and I don't need them."
Meanwhile, Benton Harbor is still deep in debt--and absolutely nothing has been done to address its real problems of joblessness, poverty, inadequate education, inequality, and civic depression. As for an actual plan to boost the economy, Harris points excitedly to his idea of economic development: Selling "I <3 and="and" benton="benton" bumperstickers="bumperstickers" harbor="harbor" p="p" souvenirs="souvenirs" t-shirts="t-shirts" to="to" tourists.="tourists.">


City after city in Michigan--including Flint, Highland Park, and even Detroit--are presently under assault by this mind-numbing, right-wing, ideological stupidity. Dangerous stupidity--Detroit Mayor Dave Bing had to surrender control of his city's finances this year to a Snyder austerity czar, who has sought to increase the number of students in each classroom to 61, and the czar's budget cuts are so severe that the fire chief says if empty buildings catch fire, he'd have to let them burn down.
Is this America? It no longer will be if these social-engineering autocrats prevail. But, good news: Michiganders are in full rebellion! As always, though, battling the bastards is never easy, because... well, they're bastards. And they're very well-funded. And sneaky. Yet the people keep pushing, as we see in this chronicle of the 2012 Michigan Rebellion:
  • Feb. 29--A broad grassroots coalition (ranging from union workers to tea party members) that was organized under the umbrella of "Michigan Forward" filed more than enough citizen petitions to put the repeal of Snyder's EFM nonsense on the ballot for this November's election.
  • April 19--At the last minute, just before the repeal question would have been certified for the ballot by the state board of canvassers, a complaint by Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility is filed to stop certification. Reason? "The font size of the [petition's] heading" is claimed to be too small to comply with state law. Font size!
  • April 9-25--Legal jockeying takes place, and digging by journalists and coalition members reveals that (1) CFR is not a real group, but a creature of the Sterling Corporation, a GOP political consulting firm--same address, phone number, and staff; and (2) a Sterling partner, Jeff Timmer, was a chief executive of the Michigan Republican Party and now happens to be one of the four voting members of the state board of canvassers. There are widespread calls for Timmer to recuse himself from the board's petition decision, but the secretary of state (a Republican) says no one can force him to do that.
  • April 26--Decision day for the board. Timmer does not withdraw, so the board deadlocks two-to-two, which kills the repeal referendum.
  • June 18--Timmer resigns from the board.
  • June 29--Citizens coalition appeals the board's rejection to Michigan's Supreme Court.
  • Aug. 3--In a four-to-three decision, the court majority (including one Republican) rules that the font size does not disqualify the petition, so the board must put the repeal question on the ballot.
This victory means that American democracy literally will be up for a vote in Michigan on Nov. 6! The Republican and Koch political networks are going all out to win--and if they do, your state/city could well be next on their Berzerkistan anti-democracy agenda.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Pfizer target Black women

The liberality of Pfizer towards the NAACP has silenced
the NAACP voice to eugenic destruction of black women globally.
In fact, the NAACP conflict of interests regarding the health of
Black women and corporate money is best demonstrated by the
fact that Pfizer has it's executives on the association's national and
New York Sate Board of Directors - namely, the one and only 
Mrs. Karen Boykin-Towns.

The significant danger that Depo Provera poses to women that use
this drug has been deliberately hidden from them by Planned Parenthood
of America (PPA), which has been partner with the National Association
for the Abortion of Colored People (NAACP). The PPA has targeted black
women for the use of this deadly drug, while violating their patient rights
by deliberately misleading and misinforming them about FDA documented
risk and serious potential harm that Depo Provera use carries.
Pfizier's Depo Provera injectable contraceptive is the world's deadliest birth
control drug, and the US government has funded this product's deliberate
targeting of black women. The deadly contraceptive side effects that includes
the greater risk of use leading to increased chance of developing breast cancer,                                                                            
osteoporosis, obesity, depression, doubled risk of HIV infection, and death.
The Black elected officials and the National Association
for the abortion of Color People (NAACP) have done nothing to protect Black
women and gladly received contributions from Pfizer, the maker of Depo Provera.


We the people, the comunity, and every person must stand up for our women and children.
We all know the National Association for the Abortion of Color People (NAACP) will
not stand up for our women and children because the corporate dollars wll not
allow them to.   
We must protect our women and children at all cost. The NAACP is misrepresenting
the black community, exploiting it members and sell-outs. We must stop the NAACP and their hand-picked leaders.  We are demanding that Ben Jealous resign and members elect the president.  And, NO more picture ID's in NAACP elections.

We will protest The NAACP Image Awards February 1, 2013 in Los Angeles California
at the Shrine Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson, 2 pm! Be there!
For more information contact:
Rev. Edward Pinkney
Every Sunday at 5 pm Eastern Time
Pinkney to Pinkney show 
Call in 347-994-3644

Monday, December 17, 2012

Local NAACP Leader Wants Group’s Non-Profit Status Revoked

December 13, 2012 

CHICAGO (CBS) — When the president of the Chicago South Suburban Branch of the NAACP said he wasn’t supporting President Obama, he was first threatened and then suspended.
Now, he’s asking the IRS to revoke the non-profit status of the civil rights organization, saying it’s lost its way.
David Lowery Jr. is pushing back against a mindset that if you’re black you vote for Democrats.
Lowery went on his internet radio show and said neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney would do anything to help the ills of the black community.
Lowery is becoming something of a nightmare for the NAACP, turning on the organization by, as he says, “telling the truth.”
“The NAACP should stay focused on human and civil rights,” he says, “as opposed to being a political advocacy arm for the Democratic party.”
He was asked if he thinks the group is violating federal law.
“Yes, non-profits cannot be partisan or support any political candidates, one way or the other,” he said.
He said he has emails from NAACP national leaders, asking him and other NAACP local leaders to get out the vote for the Democratic Party.
“I’ve been able to see how the NAACP is being used by the Democratic Party to go out and get votes, to deliver messages–just like the one, ‘It’s a black thing’–to give out literature. All those things that a non-profit should not be doing, they are doing that, let’s be real.”
Lowery says he believes he was threatened during a phone conversation with Louis Raymond, the Illinois Political Director for Obama For America, before the election.
Lowery says he does not personally support the president because Obama is not addressing issues important to the black community.
He said the same about Romney. He says Raymond called and told him, “You know what, I know everything about you.” Lowery says Raymond added, “We’ve been watching you and since you don’t support Obama we’ll deal with you.”
Then Lowery was suspended by the NAACP. He says, it was because he told people to think for themselves. The NAACP says in the suspension letter, he violated a cease and desist order from the NAACP and that Lowery was being partisan.
“There used to be fear” in the NAACP name,” Lowery says. Now, he says, it’s more a social club with a partisan bent.
“We have gotten away from what freedom fighting is,” he said.....
Lowery started a petition at asking that the IRS revoke the NAACP’s non-profit status.
Lowery’s suspension letter said he engaged in partisan activity.
He insists, as an independent, he only told people to think for themselves.
“It’s a sad day in a national organization like the NAACP when one of their presidents has to step up and say, you know what, we’re not doing the right thing and we need to be held accountable for the actions that we are not taking in the community, as well as being partisan toward the Democratic Party.”
“I’m really trying to let the NAACP know, we need to step up in the black community. We’re suffering out here. Civil rights are dying. Black people are last on everything and the NAACP was in the forefront back in the day.
“I’m not bullying them. I’m really challenging them to step up to the plate and be the force in the black community that they can be again.”
WBBM Newsradio asked for comment from leaders of the NAACP but those phone calls and emails went unanswered.

From Rev. Pinkney:
We the people must hold the NAACP accountable for their actions and inactions. The NAACP is out of touch with the black community and sells out to the corporations.
We will boycott and protest the NAACP Image Awards on February 1, 2013: 
Shiner Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson, Los Angeles, CA beginning at 1pm. 

Burn baby burn - Over 3529 NAACP membership cards have been burned.
Every sunday 5pm EST

From Cynthia McKinney:
|  _`\;,_               come ride with me
| (*)/ (*) 
|                  Bike4Peace Across the USA                    

Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.

"The biggest weapon in the hands of the oppressors is the minds of the oppressed." Steve Biko

"Make your spirit flexible, and nothing will ever bend you out of shape."  Wisdom by Taro Gold 

Hazel Dukes teams up with Coca Cola and tobacco

By an anonymous writer:  Our Folk are Dying

Brothers and Sisters,

Recently Hazel Dukes, NYC NAACP PRES., (nicknamed Doctor) has come out to condemn Mayor Bloomberg for raising the cry about what soft drinks are doing to the people.  Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and soft drinks with high fructose and other ingredients seem to be addictive to some of us.  When I was in the VA hospital patients would walk around with large 40 ounce of Coke all day long. I felt the medications were making patients drink large quantities of the liquid because it seemed to be addictive.

Our folk are obese and dying of diabetes. Dukes, in her statement in the Huffington Post, said her NAACP Project H.E.L.P. may help solve the problem of obesity and diabetes through holistic education. 

Project H.E.L.P. is now part of the NAACP national campaign against diabetes, obesity, etc. THIS PROJECT IS SPONSORED AND FUNDED  BY THE COCA COLA FOUNDATION.

Hazel Dukes is the same NAACP leader who was listed as part of the black lobbyist group for the tobacco industry along with members of the Black Congressional Caucus (RANGEL, TOWNES) who enriched themselves with thousands of dollars in the 90's before cancer sticks were put in check. Many of our black folk as well as others died from smoking.


When will Black people take a stand against the NAACP? The NAACP is out of touch with our community and nothing but a sellout to the Corporations.  We can no longer give the NAACP a free pass because the NAACP is called a black organization. We must hold the NAACP accountable for their actions and inactions.

We will boycott and protest the NAACP Image Awards on February 1, 2013: 
Shiner Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson, Los Angeles, CA beginning at 1pm. 

New Way New Day!  
Pastors, Ministers, and organizations from around the country will be participating.   
Whirlpool Corporation took over the NAACP in Benton Harbor, Michigan with money and placed their NAACP members on the school board and now we have a Whirlpool Corporation controlled school board and NAACP members working together to destroy our school system and community.  
You can google this information.

Rev. Edward Pinkney
Every Sunday at 5pm eastern time

Thursday, December 06, 2012

NAACP Image Awards Targeted for Protest

Benton Harbor, Michigan, activist Rev. Edward Pinkney plans to lead hundreds of pickets at the NAACP’s Image Awards ceremonies on February 1, in Los Angeles. “Our main objective is to wake up the NAACP, and show that they are out of touch with the community,” said Pinkney, longtime leader of the civil rights group’s local chapter. Pinkney charges the NAACP collaborated with a Whirlpool Corporation scheme to take over the Ben Harbor NAACP, in return for financial support. The Los Angeles protest will send the NAACP a message, said Pinkney: “We need you to stop taking these corporate dollars.”

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Is The NAACP Now Just Another Republicrat Corporate Front?

Oct. 11, 2012 by Larry Pinkney,

 “...the two parties have combined against us to nullify our power by a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ of non-recognition, no matter how we vote...May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either Republican or the Democratic parties.” -W.E.B. Du Bois

 “No, I think the strongest suggestion is that they are working for the government, the new house niggers. And what better way is there for them to sell themselves to us than to scream Black, Black, Black, Black...” -Jonathan Jackson

Voting for the fraudulent, corporate-owned, Democratic and Republican parties [i.e. the Republicrats] is part of the manipulated pathology of insanity in this nation, and is akin to a person vainly and repeatedly attempting to commit suicide.

The time has come to say NO to the [mis]leadership of the NAACP. Notwithstanding the futility and absurdity of voting for the Democrats and Republicans, longstanding so-called ‘civil rights’ organizations, most notably in this instance, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), feverishly engage in (for example) opposing pending voting photo-ID legislation in U.S. general elections while simultaneously and hypocritically insisting on mandatory photo-ID in order to receive a ballot and vote in its own organizational elections. This of course, like the corporate-owned Democratic and Republican parties themselves, is an unmitigated fraud.

It appears that appeasing the NAACP’s corporate sponsors, which include Whirlpool Corporation, Wells Fargo, General Motors, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, takes precedence inside the NAACP over principles, and the vigorous, unflinching, steadfast, and resolute pursuit by the NAACP against discrimination and corporate abuse and/or malfeasance. In specific regards to this matter, it also appears that subterfuge and corporate appeasement, rather than transparency, responsiveness, and resolutely serving the needs of everyday people, infests much of the leadership of the NAACP. Pertaining specifically to this, inquiries from a segment of the black media were made to the national, state, and regional levels of the NAACP, and have, since February of 2012, gone unanswered - unresponded to. Indeed, as the (Swahili) African proverb so poignantly states, “Much Silence has a Mighty Noise.” The “silence” on the part of the NAACP with respect to these inquiries would seem to say it all.

The Case of Benton Harbor, Michigan, and NAACP Hypocrisy

Reverend Edward Pinkney [not related], former president of the NAACP Benton Harbor, Michigan branch, and an outspoken and staunch opponent of Whirlpool Corporation’s subterfuge and political and economic disenfranchisement of the people of that majority black township, proved to be too much for both Whirlpool Corporation and apparently the national, state, and regional leadership of the NAACP to tolerate. Rev. Pinkney had to be ‘neutralized.’ Whirlpool Corporation’s corporate control and interests were being threatened by the effective political organizing of Rev. Pinkney.

Instead of strongly supporting Rev. Pinkney’s much needed and legitimate efforts, as the then NAACP president on behalf of the people of Benton Harbor, the NAACP, most notably Ms. Yvonne White, president at the Michigan state level of the NAACP, began to harass Rev. Pinkney in the form of repeated bureaucratic and underhanded attempts to have him removed as Benton Harbor’s NAACP chapter president. Despite appeals to the leadership of the national, state, and regional levels of the NAACP for support of Rev. Pinkney and the people of Benton Harbor, none was forthcoming. Meanwhile, supporters of Whirlpool Corporation were groomed to oust Rev. Pinkney and take over the leadership of the Benton Harbor chapter of the NAACP. After initially failing to oust Rev. Pinkney, he was ultimately replaced, via a bought-and-paid-for ‘election,’ that installed a local NAACP leadership acceptable to Whirlpool Corporation. This was of course accomplished, in no small measure, due to the subterfuge and financial chicanery of Whirlpool Corporation in concert with segments of the NAACP leadership outside Benton Harbor. The needs of the everyday, struggling, people of Benton Harbor be damned!

It is also of particular note that despite the NAACP’s political stance of opposing a mandatory voter photo-ID requirement for voters in U.S. general elections, the bought-and-paid-for ‘election’ that resulted in the installation of a local NAACP leadership acceptable to Whirlpool Corporation and the national and state NAACP leadership, included - (you guessed it) - the mandatory requirement that prospective voters in that NAACP election show photo-ID in order to obtain a ballot and vote. In fact, even though Rev. Pinkney was a former NAACP Benton Harbor chapter president, was exceedingly well known, and was himself a candidate in that ‘election;’ he was nevertheless required to return home to get his photo-ID in order to obtain a ballot and vote in that NAACP farce of an election in Benton Harbor! This represents the hypocrisy, people-disenfranchisement, and double standards by much of the national, state, and regional leadership of the NAACP! This is also an example of how the misleadership in general of much of Black America, et al, has moved backwards.

Is The NAACP Really Relevant Today? 

The NAACP’s relevance today, like that of the corporate-owned Democratic and Republican parties, is primarily as that of a corporate-owned front and/or fraud. The examples of the NAACP’s hypocrisy, its concomitant people-disenfranchisement, and its double standards are by no means limited to Benton Harbor, or the state of Michigan. Sadly, there are other examples of the same and/or similar kinds of actions and inactions at the national, state, and regional levels of the leadership of the NAACP throughout this nation.

Thus, the necessary cry that has been put out from Benton Harbor, Michigan, is ‘Burn Baby Burn’ - burn your NAACP membership cards, and tell that organization not to renew your membership via debit cards, credit cards, or in any other fashion. The everyday ordinary people in this nation and around the world are seriously hurting, and serious, prolonged, and protracted actions, that genuinely serve ordinary folk in body and soul, (not corporate appeasement) are what is called for now.

The time has come to say NO to the [mis]leadership of the NAACP. Sadly, this organization has made itself of little relevance as relates to resolutely serving the plain, ordinary, everyday people. It is, today, essentially a corporation that has inherited the proud NAACP name along with an important, and sterling past, but is overwhelmingly no longer an organization adhering to the principles and struggle for which its past stood so strongly. Unless or until the NAACP rids itself of its corporate-mentality leadership and actively links the issues, it will remain of little or no real relevance as pertains to today’s necessary and intensifying struggles against increasing injustice and corporate hegemony at home, and ongoing murderous U.S. militarism abroad.

Everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this 21st century are engaged in a collective national and worldwide struggle to regain our humanity. This cannot be obtained by corporate appeasement or by supporting the Democrats and Republicans. To the contrary, this can only be obtained by ditching these systemic Republicrats and creatively building a completely new and different model of human interactions that is based upon consistently serving the needs, hopes, and aspirations of the ordinary everyday people.

Remember: Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers! Onward! Editorial Board member and Columnist, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.) Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.