Wednesday, April 26, 2017

No Medical Care for Diabetic Prisoners in Michigan!

Chronic diseases are becoming a more important overall problem of health care inside the prison system, undergoing demographic aging, but Michigan mass incarceration policies have concentrated on contributing to the health care problem in the Michigan prison system, not solving them.

These problems are compounded by a life that is far more sedentary than it may have been in the past, which leads to other chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, and kidneys, including diabetes and cancer.

From a medical management perspective, the prison regime is even more problematic for combating chronic disease than infectious disease. A very different set of strategies and technologies are necessary to combat chronic disease. When infectious disease responds to medicine, it is fairly cheap to treat with antibiotics and better hygiene.

The cost curves of chronic illness: The only sustainable economic model requires meticulous management and routine care needs. Diabetes, for example, requires measurement of blood sugar throughout the day and every day, adjusting blood sugar and food intake along with insulin in some cases. Michigan Department of Corrections refuses to monitor a prisoner's blood sugar levels. Failure to provide this monitoring results in escalating damage to hands and feet, as well as to the kidney and degradation of kidney function and permanent kidney damage.

Michigan Department of Corrections' inability to monitor and track prisoners individually in real time is an inherent flaw undermining the prisoners' health. A public inquiry found that Michigan cannot give constitutional medical care to its prison population because its officials don't care and can't even imagine caring. The prison officials are unable to function effectively and suffer lack of will with respect to prisoner medical care. Michigan prison leadership is not just incompetent at medical care. It has established a penal logic antithetical to it. This leadership gap runs through all the other problems confronting health care delivery in the state of Michigan prisons and is the major factor in most critical poor medical care.

Shockingly and tellingly, the state of Michigan never disputed the main claims that the medical care was horrible. Since Michigan has thousands of prisoners serving life or very long terms, the proportion of inmates who are elderly will continue to grow. Nearly 1,700 people are in prison beds reserved for people needing geriatric care, dialysis, or other forms of chronic medical care.

The torture inside Michigan Department of Corrections medical care must be confronted at all costs, for the prisoners. We must stand together and confront the Michigan Department of Corrections.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer


The Legacy of Lynne Stewart, the People’s Lawyer


Lynne-Stewart-obit-Article-201703081613_t750x550
“Well, sometimes the impossible takes a little longer”, remarked Lynne Stewart, December 31, 2014, on her arrival in New York, released from federal prison in Texas, after a vigorous family and internationally driven campaign on her behalf. (She was suffering from advanced cancer.)
Stewart lived three more years, nearby her family, always with a smile for visitors. This was the woman who dared this mild rebuke to her sentencing judge: “I do not intend to go gentle into that good night” she told him.
Last Saturday, almost 500 friends and admirers of the brave lawyer who had the courage to challenge U.S. Homeland’s chief John Ashcroft fifteen years ago, gathered to celebrate a remarkable and honorable life.
April 22nd, the same day when tens of thousands were gathering in cities across the country to support our scientific community under threat by Trump administration budget cuts, one is struck by the contrast with those memorializing this “people’s lawyer”.
That modest assembly in a quiet corner of New York, the city where she grew up and where Stewart worked all her life, represented a revolutionary era whose very place in U.S. history is dangerously marginal. Moreover, that history is barely recognized by the rather belated post-November 8th arousal—the new liberal movement– now gathering with its multitude of committees, mass parades and lefty celebrity speeches: part of Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution. Fine. But a far cry from what Lynne Stewart’s celebrants represent.
Unarguably America needs organized massive resistance to threats posed by the current administration; push back is essential on all fronts: healthcare, the arts, environmental protections, bank regulation, civic rights, and on and on. One hopes that the thousands of communities mobilizing nationwide, from villages to city centers and suburbs will– after the committees are settled, the speeches made, the funds raised, the petitions signed– act. They have organizing tools unavailable in past revolutions. Digital platforms flowing into every hand can inform with virtual velocity; Google maps assure you that your small effort is fed into a nationwide net of tens of thousands; you are not alone. Leaders can materialize in weeks with Twitter and Facebook skills at their command, cameras everywhere recording their emergence. Film celebrities join in, drawing even greater numbers to the effort. These are essentially what we have, and they may indeed be what are appropriate at a time when representatives of our police state are more numerous and more heavily armed, endowed with more authority and less tolerance.
Those gathered to remember Lynne Stewart last week were authentic, tried revolutionaries: poets Nat Turner and Amina Baraka; former political prisoners, attorneys who had stepped forward to defend unpopular characters, teachers, organizers in solidarity with Cuba and Palestinian statehood from the 1960s to today; Vietnam war veterans and the unjustly imprisoned; defiant elected representatives from New Jersey and Brooklyn; the journalist and theologian Chris Hedges  who refuses to join the liberal voice that claims it is the rightful alternative to the Republican party.
Each woman and man reminded us what makes a revolution. Each invoked the grass roots experience of Stewart, a librarian and teacher who turned to law in order to fight injustices she witnessed in the lives of her students. Eventually she took on the case of Muslims wrongly accused in the early 1990s when the government was using secret evidence to illegally charge and convict. Where other attorneys shied away from representing terror suspects, Lynne Stewart remained committed. There was some success when the government was eventually prevented from further use of secret evidence.
Then came the 9/11 attacks, and everything changed. Only Stewart insisted on defending attorney-client privilege (a right the government suspended). She had to be stopped. And they had to put Stewart, at the age of 73, in jail to do so.
As Brooklyn assemblyman Charles Barron reminded us on Saturday, “Lynne was a sweet person.” Even as she presented her cases and spoke to the media, she was always mild and respectful, always witty and bright-eyed. It’s not simply that she’s missed. We need to believe others as courageous and well equipped as Stewart was can come to our aid today.
Barbara Nimri Aziz is a New York based anthropologist and journalist. Find her work at www.RadioTahrir.org. She was a longtime producer at Pacifica-WBAI Radio in NY.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/26/the-legacy-of-lynne-stewart-the-peoples-lawyer/

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back Down Memory Lane: Happy Birthday, Dorothy Pinkney!



Today, April 24, is a very special day. This is Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney's birthday. We are asking everyone to join in this celebration of a courageous Black woman who has steadfastly supported her husband, Reverend Pinkney, in his efforts for justice and demanding accountability of the politicians in Benton Harbor and the State of Michigan.

Rev. Pinkney and others have spoken out about the takeover by Whirlpool Corporation and Harbor Shores, part of the conglomerate of Whirlpool--a manufacturing company that makes 21 billion dollars a year globally. Whirlpool with their corporate greed took over Benton Harbor to turn this poor, 90 percent impoverished Black town into a goldmine for the rich.

Rev. Pinkney was a threat to the forces that be. Corporate takeover is common across this country with the help of crooked politicians lobbying for the interest of the billionaires to keep their wealth, and not giving back to the community. Whirlpool is not providing jobs for communities that need them so desperately, and withholds revenue they would owe if they paid taxes. In 2013, Mayor James Hightower of Benton Harbor supported the corporation in not paying taxes, and shifted the tax burden on the poorest of citizens. Rev. Pinkney and others decided to fight back and demanded Mayor James Hightower be recalled. In 2013, the wheels were set in motion to start a campaign to remove Hightower from office.

On April 24, 2014, Dorothy Pinkney's birthday, they went out celebrating. It was a joyous occasion for this happy couple until they got word through numerous telephone calls from residents that a S.W.A.T. team surrounded their home. The Sheriff's Department, along with other law enforcement agencies, blocked the street as if a murderer was on the loose. They were ready to kill Rev. Pinkney! How dare he go against their puppet for Whirlpool, James Hightower. No, those white racists weren't going to have that.

Yes, today is Mrs. Pinkney's birthday--the other half that drives a man to greatness. Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, a strong Black woman of faith and a prayerful activist, continues to support her husband. Yes, Rev. Pinkney's slave chains will soon be broken, and Rev. Pinkney will be reunited with the love of his life. Together they stand in the quest for justice for all, the struggle is one.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Pinkney, a Black Nubian Queen, a well-deserved celebration. Love and peace in the fight for equality.

Rev. Pinkney was charged and convicted with no evidence of election fraud and sentenced by Judge Sterling Schrock to 2-1/2 years to 10 years in prison in December 2014.

The Blindfolded Lady with the Balance Scales of Justice Does Not Exist in Berrien County's Sheriff's Department

The corruption continues in Berrien county. County Commissioner Robert Wooley stole almost a million dollars from the senior citizens and received a slap on the wrist. Then there's the murder of Martell Hadley by the Berrien County Sheriff's Department. The sex to play by the Berrien County Sheriff's office. The falsifying of evidence, lying on the stand--the list goes on and on.

A Berrien County Sheriff Department Lieutenant, Trent Babcock, a known racist, is on administrative leave after pleading guilty to charges related to shoplifting groceries from the Niles Wal-Mart. Lt. Trent Babcock, 41 year old of Walling LAne in Niles, is an 18-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department and is assigned to the Niles Township substation. Lt. Babcock pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, a misdemeanor charge of third degree retail fraud Friday in Berrien County corrupt trial court and was ordered to pay only $435 in fines and costs by the judge and prosecutor.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said that he placed Babcock on administrative leave with pay. A paid vacation. He said Babcock will remain on paid vacation until an internal investigation is complete.

The police report of the incident indicates that a Wal-Mart store video from Feb. 7 showed Babcock loading up a shopping cart with groceries. Lt. Babcock then placed the items in a blue plastic tote and other groceries in two black bags, all while still in the store. Lt. Babcock, obviously this is not the first time. Babcock is then seen exiting through a closed checkout lane and leaving the store without paying for the items. Lt. Babcock was confronted by a Wal-Mart asset protection manager the very next day and admitted to taking the items, after it was revealed a video of him was on record, according to the report.

The value of the groceries taken was put at $184. Of that amount, Lt. Babcock returned $172 worth of groceries on Feb. 8, turning the stolen items over to his good friend Det. Lt. Greg Sanders of the Berrien County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Paul Bailey, who has a long history of corruption, said the investigation of the criminal case was conducted by an Allegan County Sheriff's Department Detective. Berrien County Prosecutor Mike Sepic said his office handled the case and did not send out the case to another county, because Babcock was his friend who he had worked with for many years. There was a conflict of interest. The Berrien County trial court along with prosecutor Mike Sepic take care of their friends. We must confront the corruption inside Berrien County!

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Taxpayer's Dollars Misused by Whirlpool Corporation and Berrien County Commissioners

One Berrien County commissioner, Debra Panozzo, was in office when Whirlpool Corp. was given $1 million, part of which the federal government wants back. The residents said at a meeting that Whirlpool should be told to repay the money rather than having the taxpayers pay the money that Whirlpool received from the Berrien County commissioners.

Berrien County commissioner Panozzo said: I wish I knew then what I know now.

Debra, you did know, you just got caught. You should go to prison.

Panozo said she doesn't remember being as prepared on the issue of the taxpayer money as she is now. The Berrien County commissioners voted 10-0 to repay the money that was given to Whirlpool Corp. in violation of federal laws.

The agency explained that the grant was for loans that were to be paid back, not a forgiven or a forgiveable loan provided to Whirlpool. By not getting the money returned, Berrien County officials depleted their revolving loan fund, the letter from the federal government stated.

The loan exceeded the maximum $200,000 allowed. The federal government further said it was used for Whirlpool Corp. and it was also used to lure jobs from Ohio to Michigan, another violation of the law. A $75,000 loan given in 2004 to Harbor Town, which is part of Whirlpool Corp., was used for residential development when the grant money should have been used for manufacturing. This was against the federal law.

The Lincoln Township residents should stand up and have the Berrien County commissioners held accountable for their actions.

If the loan was illegal, the matter should be investigated by the federal government. The county should have a legal obligation to force Whirlpool Corp. to return the illegally transferred money. It has a moral obligation to do so.

Berrien County commissioners represent the taxpayer, not Whirlpool Corp. The taxpayers need the money to repair roads, schools, and provide better service for the residents.

Whirlpool Corp. is protected by the United States Representative Fred Upton. It is okay for the Berrien County commissioners and Whirlpool Corp., along with Harbor Shores, to break the law and misuse taxpayer money.

The question is how long the Berrien County commissioners and Whirlpool Corp. and others have been misusing taxpayer monies. The Herald Palladium newspaper has protected Berrien County commisioners and Whirlpool Corp. Fascism is here.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Brokenness but still winning the war



Brokenness but still winning the war


Rev. Edward Pinkney and his wife Dorothy outside the courthouse in St. Joseph, MI. In spite of the severe punishment handed down by the government to Rev. Pinkney for his leadership in his community’s fight against Whirlpool/corporate power, he continues the fight for a better future for all of America.
PHOTO/DAYMONJHARTLEY.COM

BROOKS FREMONT CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, MI — I read Bryan Stevenson’s book, “Just Mercy,” and the story seems very similar to mine. I would like to quote you from his book. “My main years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression and injustice has finally revealed something to me about myself.  Being close to suffering death [and the cruel and unusual punishment inside the prison system] did not just illuminate the brokenness of others in a moment of anguish and heartbreak. It also exposed my own brokenness. You can’t effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression or injustice and not be broken by it. . . We are all broken by something; we have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the conditions of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken nature and the compassion that remains . . . Or we can deny our brokenness, our compassion and, as a result, deny our own humanity.”
I definitely wanted mercy for the residents of Benton Harbor, MI, and would have done anything to create justice for my fellow brothers and sisters, Black, White Brown, Red, Yellow and all others. I cannot pretend that the people’s struggle was disconnected from my own. We have choices. We all owe the people who have fought inequality and oppression and for justice.
I have been threatened, terrorized, wrongly accused wrongly, condemned, but I never gave up. I survived the humiliation of three trials and several different charges against me. I survived two guilty verdicts and several wrongful condemnations by the State of Michigan, and while I didn’t survive without injury or trauma, I still came out with my dignity.
I told people that I have overcome what fear, ignorance and bigotry and oppression has done to me. I stood strong in the face of injustice; this made the rest of us a little safer, slightly more protected from the abuse of power oppression and the false accusation that almost killed me.
I suggest to my friends and family that my strength, resistance and perseverance were a victory worth celebrating, an occasion to be remembered. The establishment tortured me but I am still standing. The establishment lied on me but I am still standing. The establishment sent me to prison with absolutely no evidence to convict but I am still standing. The establishment gave me 30 months, which would be a death penalty for a 66-year-old man, but I am still standing. The all white jury was motivated by something other than the truth but I am still standing.
Let’s make this struggle a victory for us all who in the struggle against the oppressor, and the corrupt criminal justice system, in every town and city in America.

                        We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
                          Copyright © 2017 People's Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Residents of Benton Harbor Want Just Mercy!

The courtroom is a place where justice is supposed to be served, more and more, however Berrien County courtrooms are becoming crime scenes. Innocent people are being kidnapped and held captive. The hypocrisy of Berrien County has no limits. The blindfolded lady with the balanced scales of justice no longer exists in Berrien County courtroom.

In Benton Harbor on Feb. 28, 2017, many people at the forum billed as an explanation of how criminal cases get charged proved to be more concerned about the injustices in the Berrien County court system.

A member from the audience told the prosecutor Mike Sepic, who has a history of corruption: You cannot sit here and tell us that if a kid from St. Joseph and a kid from Benton Harbor commit the very same crime, the kid from St. Joseph won't get a lighter sentence. The prosecutor Mike Sepic said he would need to know what cases the man was talking about before he could comment on them. It is so many cases--over fifty. It is so hard to count them all.

In Judge Sterling Schrock's courtroom a few years ago, a white 16 year old boy told his group of friends he was going into his house to kill his stepfather and he beat him to death. The white boy was given probation. A black kid under 17 years of age hit a white person with a pipe once and the person died. The black boy was given life without the possibility of parole, plus another 15 years. The judge Sterling Schrock stated that prison would do the white kid no good. He murdered his stepfather. But life without parole, plus 15 years, would be ok for the black kid. Both were sentenced on the same day, both under 17 years old.

Prosecutor Mike Sepic said it is the judges who impose the sentence, not the prosecutor. Prosecutor Mike Sepic is the prosecutor who was on most of the cases that we are talking about. The prosecutor recommends the sentence and the judge upholds it.

After the forum ALPACT member Lisa Peeples Hurst said the meeting opened a dialogue that needs to be continued. We need to have discussions about those instances where citizens or most of the community feel like there is a disparity in sentencing in charges and in all of those things related to criminal cases. Hurst said: Several people asked Sepic about the percentage of people from the 49022 zip code in the court system versus the rest of Berrien County. That zip code covers Benton Harbor and Benton Township, along with part of Sodus and St. Joseph Township. I think that people are really asking about citizens in Benton Harbor. Is there disparity between Benton Harbor citizens and other folks in the county, and I think that's a valid question. She continued: Many people believe that people of color receive harsher treatment from law enforcement and the court system than white people.

Injustice is easy not to notice when it affects people different from ourselves that helps explain the obliviousness of our generation to inequity today in Berrien County's courtroom. We need to wake up and start investigating the corrupt criminal justice system.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Monday, April 03, 2017

US Rep. Fred Upton Saved Whirlpool and Berrien County Commissioners from Jail!

Berrien County officials may be downplaying their misuse of $685,000 in federal revolving loan funds, but the residents of Berrien County should be outraged, sick, and tired of the help that the county gives to Whirlpool at the expense of the taxpayer.

The Federal Economic Development Administration had given the county money to use in a revolving loan fund to help local businesses. The money, of course, came with clearly defined rules on how it should be used, among them:

  • The loans should be repaid so that the money could later be loaned to other businesses--thus, the name revolving. 
  • Loans should never be given to lure jobs from one state to another.
  • The loan to an individual business should never exceed $200,000, but Whirlpool Corp. received $610,000.
The county violated three laws, in a $610,000 loan to a company, Whirlpool Corp., that did not need the money, and violated two more laws in a $75,000 loan to the Harbor Town housing redevelopment with the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. The money to Whirlpool Corp. and Harbor Town broke federal laws in reference to the loan money.

The county agreed to forgive both loans and they became grants, depleting the revolving loan fund and depriving future businesses the opportunity to receive low-interest loans for economic development. Yet the county gave loans to a multi-billion dollar corporation, Whirlpool, and to Harbor Town.

It took a number of years for the federal government to catch Berrien County and Whirlpool. The federal government discovered the county's revolving loan fund no longer existed, and it insisted the county pay the money back.

Somebody should go to jail! The scope of the county's violations of the federal loan law states either a bold, deliberate act or gross negligence.

Berrien County believes that they are above the law. I am very disappointed that Berrien County still believes today that the law is not for them, but only for Benton Harbor residents.

It seems county officials are not sorry that the county violated the federal law. They are just sorry the county got caught, because they believed they had US Representative and heir to Whirlpool, Fred Upton, on their side.

This is a terrible message coming from government officials, who certainly expect citizens and county employees to follow the law, rules, and ordinances they enact.

My complaint is the county helped Whirlpool, a company that did not need help. The Berrien County officials should not try to defend it. And you should give the taxpayers a complete history of the Federal Economic Development Act taxpayer dollars. We must confront them. Let's take control of this country away from the corporations and build a society where the people, not the corporations, make the decisions.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney

Monday, March 20, 2017

A friend of Rev. Pinkney, Lynne Stewart, 1939-2017


The Extraordinary Lynne Stewart

Two incidents serve well to highlight peoples’ attorney Lynne Stewart’s extraordinary life in the service of humanity.
Charged with “conspiracy to aid and abet terrorism,” Lynne took the witness stand in early 2005 at the close of her nine-month frame-up trial presided over by Federal District Court Judge John Koeltl in New York City. Stewart was asked by her attorney, Michael Tigar, why she had issued a press release on behalf of her client, the “blind” Sheik and Egyptian cleric, Omar Abdel Rahman, when she knew that doing so was a violation of a Special Administrative Order (SAM) that prohibited Rahman from engaging in contact with anyone, anywhere, other than his attorneys. Rahman had been falsely convicted in 1995 of participating in a New York City terrorist conspiracy and was serving a life-sentence in Rochester, Minn.
The answer to that question, put to Stewart full square, stood at the core of her case. “Why not just appeal the SAM’s restrictions to a higher court?” Tigar continued.
The remainder of her life in prison rested on Lynne’s answer. The jury, 12 New Yorkers, sequestered during a trial in the same courtroom where in 1953 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to execution at the height of the McCarthy era, listened more than intently. The stakes were high. The prosecution was demanding a 30-year jail sentence.
Lynne’s sensational trial had all the earmarks of a government, in the name of its “war on terrorism,” preparing to shred whatever semblance of fair play remained in the criminal “justice” system. To put an attorney in jail for diligently representing her client was close to unprecedented—“a chill on the bar,” significant parts of the legal profession proclaimed.
The obliging Judge Koeltl, undoubtedly aware that government prosecutors aimed to directly link Lynne to terrorism, by hook or by crook, allowed the horror of the Sept. 11, 2001, Twin Towers terrorist bombings to enter and pervade his courtroom. He chose to base his heinous decision on the findings of an FBI search of Lynne’s law offices, where photos of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists around the world were found. The judge disregarded the fact that all the photos and related files on worldwide terrorist activities belonged to one of Lynne’s co-defendants, her professional Arabic translator, Mohamed Yousry, whose NYU Ph.D. thesis and associated research on terrorism had been approved by his faculty adviser.
Lynne’s attorney, Michael Tigar, objected to the introduction of this material as hearsay—that is, as having no connection to Lynne or to the case at hand. In U.S. law the introduction of hearsay “evidence” is virtually banned. But Tigar’s motion was essentially circumvented by Koeltl with a deadly twist. He agreed that the material was hearsay and instructed the jury that it was not to be considered as fact or having any relation to the charges against Stewart. Yet he nevertheless allowed its introduction to, as he explained,“enable the jury to learn about the mind of the defendant.” I will never forget Koeltl’s vicious and duplicitous words.
His decision squared with the prosecution’s objective to link Stewart and her two co-defendants to terrorist activities everywhere. Delighted, the terrorist show trial was on as prosecutors proceeded to flood the walls of the courtroom, replete with giant and multiple theater-sized screens, with photos of terrorist activities—all aimed at associating Lynne with the government’s conception of an ongoing “worldwide terrorist conspiracy.”
In the end, some 90 percent or more of Lynne’s nine-month trial focused on this hearsay evidence, while the prosecution presented just a single witness to state that he had issued the SAM to Lynne. Not a single witness testified that Lynne had any connection to any terrorist activities anywhere.
Thus, Lynne’s answer to the question as to why she didn’t appeal this SAM to a higher court was crucial to her life itself. She might have argued that the SAM itself was ambiguous, that in the normal course of events when an attorney violates a SAM they are reprimanded or punished by being denied contact with their client for three months, and/or required to sign a new SAM.
I paraphrase Lynne’s remarks as I remember them in that rapt courtroom. I was astonished when she stated, “I have a friend in prison, Mumia Abu-Jamal. He filed a lawsuit to prevent his prosecutors from opening his mail, including from his attorneys.” Lynne continued, “Mumia Abu-Jamal won that suit but it took him some five years. My duty to my client required that under such circumstances, we not wait five years with regard to a harmless press release.”
Here was Lynne, at her personal, uninhibited, spontaneous best andcraziest. With her life on the line she decided to bring the case of a dear friend and a convicted world-renowned “cop-killer,” Mumia Abu-Jamal, to the attention of the New York jury. No serious attorney would have recommended it. But Lynne, cut from another cloth, believed that Mumia’s case needed to be once again brought to public attention.
Her remarks were not scripted, not carefully presented to evoke sympathy, not offered to mitigate her SAM violation, but only to tell the jury, and the world, who she was—a human being who stood by Mumia to the end. This single incident tells us precisely what Lynne’s life and record as a people’s lawyer for the poor and oppressed was all about.
The final question asked to Lynne by her attorney was the clincher. “Lynne,” said Tigar, “if you had to do it all over again, would you have issued that press release?” I was within some 15 feet of Lynne and holding my breath for her answer. Lynne, once again, had a choice, the easy road of contrition, apology, and a plea for forgiveness, or the road to hell—in Lynne’s mind to socialist heaven—paved only with Lynne’s life-long humanistic and loving intentions and faith that she could penetrate the hearts and minds of the jury.
She responded, as her eyes welled up with tears, “I would hope,” she began and then paused. “I would hope that I had the courage to do it again.” She paused again, unable to speak—momentarily overcome by her emotions. She continued, “I would do it again!”
No apologies from Lynne Stewart. No legal or self-serving pleas to the jury that she had a made a mistake and should have taken the SAM to the courts. Lynne’s response evoked the passion of a movement fighter, of a champion of all that is beautiful in the human soul. Lynne Stewart, for whom the truth was required to preserve her very being, put it on the line that day, perhaps never stopping to think of the consequences. Would it be that we all had that courage and expressed it collectively in the kind of mass struggles that are capable of bringing this damn racist, sexist, imperialist system down forever. And when we do this, our martyrs will be resurrected in their full stature.
Full article:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/20/the-extraordinary-lynne-stewart/

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Whirlpool closing Benton Harbor, MI schools



Whirlpool Corporation closing Benton Harbor, MI schools


Rev. Pinkney leads a march against the development of the public Jean Klock Park, where a private golf club and luxury housing has been built, pushed through by the Whirlpool Corporation’s money and power.
PHOTO/BRETT JELINEK, OLAFIMAGES.COM

BROOKS/FREMONT CORRECTIONAL FACILITY —  Let the truth be told. Capitalism generates inequality and wealth, status and power. You must recognize the unfairness of a system that allows wealth to accumulate to an unlimited degree and claim to provide equal opportunity for the people. It is a system that undermines democracy by concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a few.
The oppressor is the establishment, which operates the system that oppresses the people. The establishment no longer needs educated workers as it once did. It once took 50 people to make one automobile. Now one person makes 50 automobiles. Education is the last thing on the oppressor’s list for the minorities.
The factory jobs previously provided were for workers of the predominantly Black Benton Harbor and the predominantly white St. Joseph (across the river). The jobs provided stability and a good standard of living. Then in the 1990’s, a pattern typical of the Rust Belt, emerged. The jobs began to disappear. Jobs were replaced by globalization, sent elsewhere, or replaced by robots.
Whirlpool Corporation, a global appliance manufacturing company, is the largest single employer and single biggest political influence on local government in Berrien County, MI. Whirlpool controls the county commissioners, Berrien County Courthouse, its judges and prosecutors, Benton Harbor Commissioners and Benton Harbor School District and Board.
Whirlpool set its sights on turning the city of Benton Harbor into a lakeside resort for the wealthy. Whirlpool and other corporations teamed up and began transitioning the area from an industrial based economy to a tourist, real estate and service-based economy. First, they built a $500 million arena plus the Jack Nicholas Signature Golf Course complex that would take 465 acres of Benton Harbor and deprive the city of its greatest assets, which includes Jean Klock Park.
Whirlpool no longer needs educated workers from Benton Harbor. Whirlpool Corporation now plans to close all of Benton Harbor schools. The city of Benton Harbor is down to five schools and now Whirlpool and Gov. Rick Snyder are going for the throat to close three more schools.
I Rev. Edward Pinkney have for years gone to school board meetings to tell the board what needs to be done to educate the students and that parents must get involved. I am afraid the parents, teachers and school board members have been misled and lied to by Whirlpool. Now we have three schools closing, overcrowded classrooms and there is no telling what kind of education the children will get. In addition, the school system has gotten many loans from the state. Where is that money? Who is responsible and accountable for our students’ education? Who is responsible for the attack on our school system?
The Whirlpool Corporation is determined to crush the residents of Benton Harbor. The economy and social equality is the essence of democracy and is the antithesis of capitalism. We must confront the Whirlpool Corporation at all cost.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2017 People's Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Berrien County Sheriff's Department Looks More Like Nazi Germany

The goal was to immediately sterilize fourteen million people in the United States and millions and millions more worldwide. The lower tenth and then continuously eradicate the remaining. The Holocaust, the destruction of the Jews, the Gypsies, the rape of Poland, and the decimation of Europe. All this reminds me of Berrien County in the state of Michigan.

The fascist newspaper, the Herald Palladium, stated the community comes through to help keep cops secure. Who will keep the residents of the community secure and safe from the Berrien County Sheriff's Department and law enforcement in general?

We are outraged over the death of unarmed African-American citizens and the general lack of police accountability for those killed in the year after the death of Michael Brown and the Ferguson outbreak alone, including Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald, Natasha McKenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Meagan Hockaday, Mya Hall, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Alexia Christian, Icarus Randolpha, Sandra Bland, Sam Dubose, Christian Taylor, and Aura Rosser. The conditions of the police encounters that ended in the loss of each of their lives and the lives of thousands and thousands of other innocent citizens that will never be known. It is beginning to look like Nazi Germany every single day.

Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey said the money was raised after Berrien County Trial Court Security Officers Joseph Zangaro and Ron Kienzle were shot and killed by jail inmate Larry Gordon on July 11th. Larry Gordon said he would never, ever go to trial in the most corrupt county in the whole wide world. Gordon said he would rather die than go to trial, because you do not have a chance in Berrien County because of the corruption.

The county was in shock, but the community was not. Joseph Zangaro and Ron Kinezle were just pawns and were expendable for the corrupt system to accomplish their goal, that is to keep the citizens in total fear to remove their human rights.

Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey, are you willing to present a check to Martell Hadley's family who was beaten and murdered by the Berrien County Sheriff's Department inside the jail? He was found hanging by the neck and beaten. What about all the women that were molested by the Berrien County Sheriff's deputies: are you going to send them a check?

Berrien County is well-funded off taxpayers' dollars and supported by major political and non-intellectual leaders. Perhaps most startling, it directly inspired racism and the rise of Nazism in Berrien County today. This is chilling. Berrien County conveys the evil depth and breadth of Nazism, which unleashed a war against society's most vulnerable citizens.

Corruption is deep in Berrien County. It is looking more like Nazi Germany every single day. This is chilling, shocking, and gripping. We must confront Berrien County's Nazism.

-Rev. Pinkney

Friday, February 24, 2017

Injurious Statutes, Court Rulings, and Orders That Must Be Set Aside, Repealed, or Amended

Thesee could be the 28 most important laws from the last century or so that need doing away with, etc.  The list still needs some work.  



(Ways To Cheapen Human Life - original title; might not keep it.)


Injurious Statutes, Court Rulings, and Orders That Must Be Set Aside, Repealed, or Amended

1. The Senate Filibuster Rule (Rule XXII) “gives a minority of 41 Senators . ... . the power to prevent the Senate from debating or voting on a bill or resolution, or a Presidential appointment.  A “filibuster” is the use of unlimited debate not to inform or persuade, but to obstruct the proceedings of a legislative body ”. Emmet J. Bondurant in his article THE SENATE FILIBUSTER RULE clearly shows that the filibuster is unconstitutional. Also, the filibuster rule has been used to commit fraud on numerous occasions.


2. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (Pub. L. 107-40, 115 Stat. 224, enacted September 18, 2001), The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq(AUMF) Resolution of 2002 and Legislation appropriating fund for the War on Terror are unconstitutional, null and void as outlined in Proof of the Unconstitutionality and Illegality of U.S. Wars/Occupations and Use of Force in the Mideast
From Emmet J. Bondurant’s THE SENATE FILIBUSTER RULE


3. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 which established the Federal Reserve System (The Fed) is clearly unconstitutional. Congress does not have the Constitutional authority to delegate its power to coin money or to write rules and regulations to the Federal Reserve which is a private corporation owned by bankers.
The Federal Reserve, has been an abject failure at most of its duties which according to official
Federal Reserve documentation, are to conduct the nation's monetary policy, supervise and
regulate banking institutions, maintain the stability of the financial system and provide financial
services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions”.
On September 23, 2009, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA)
released a report card demonstrating the poor record of the Federal Reserve in using the tools
provided by Congress to protect consumers from abusive financial industry practices. Chairman
Frank cited several examples of the Federal Reserve’s unsatisfactory performance and stated:
The Federal Reserve's inattention and inaction on consumer protection is a key reason why
Democrats are working to create the Consumer Financial Product Agency in the coming weeks
and months. As the above report card shows, consumer protection has long been overlooked
by federal regulators, and their motivation to protect consumers has been driven more by
congressional pressure rather than a sense of duty to the protect the American public.
The Federal Reserve has also failed to insure that there is maximum employment, stable
prices, and moderate interest rates which the Federal Reserve Act requires.
Their main job, appears to protect, not regulate large banks. The Feds actions have increased
the frequency and severity of boom-bust economic cycles such as the Great Depression of the
1930s, the late-2000s recession, and the current rate recession.


4. Corporate Personhood - Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company (118
U.S. 394) (1886), The legal theory that corporations are entitled to protection under the
Fourteenth Amendment is based on a clerical error and is null and void. A passing remark by
the chief justice was erroneously summarized in the headnote by the court recorder. This
clerical error set the stage for the future worldwide damage of our environmental,
governmental, and cultural commons and must be corrected.


5. The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission on
January 21, 2010, which wrongfully and unlawfully, attempts to give corporations unlimited
influence over our elections, fails to distinguish between domestic and foreign owned
corporations and knowingly leave America vulnerable to the latter, is null and void.
Corporations are not people, and nothing in the Constitution supports any such interpretation.


6. The Monetary Reform Act (also cited as Depository Institutions Deregulation and
Monetary Control Act) (P. L. No. 96-221; 94 Stat. 132) (1980) Highlights: Allows banks to
merge, and institutions to charge any interest rate they choose. Forces all banks to abide by
Federal Reserve rules, and raised deposit insurance of banks and credit unions from $40,000
to $100,000


7. Truth in Lending Act “Reform” (Sept. 30, 1995) Eased regulations on creditors. This bill
was powered through by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), a key recipient of finance, insurance, and
real estate (FIRE) donations ($136,000 in 1993-94).”


8. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (1999) A bank deregulation bill that repealed much of the
Glass-Steagall Act by allowing commercial and retail banks to engage in investment activities,


9.  The Glass-Steagall Act (48 Stat. 162) (1933) Created the regulatory framework for banking; established the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other speculative trading and mergers opening up competition among banks, securities companies and insurance companies. It passed the Senate 90-8 and was signed by President Clinton. It led to a wave of mega-mergers “too big to fail.’ The driving force was Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) who had received $4.6 million from the FIRE sector over the previous decade. This act is credited as the major contributor to the 2008 financial collapse.


10. Commodity Futures Modernization Act (Dec. 14, 2000). Sen. Gramm attached a 262 page
amendment that deregulated derivatives and credit default swaps trading to an omnibus
appropriations bill just prior to the Christmas holiday in December of 2000. Gramm's
amendment was supported by then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and then Treasury
Secretary Larry Summers. The amendment was never debated by the House or Senate and
by-passed the substantive policy committees in both the House and the Senate so that there
were neither hearings nor opportunities for recorded committee votes. This law unleashed the
derivatives market, paved the way for banks to become more aggressive about investing in
mortgages, and opened the door to an explosion in new, unregulated securities. The
amendment also contained a provision lobbied for by Enron, a generous contributor to Gramm
that exempted energy trading from regulatory oversight, allowing Enron to run rampant, wreck
the California electricity market, and cost consumers billions before it collapsed.


11. American Home Ownership and Economic Opportunity Act (Dec. 27, 2000). This act
makes it harder for consumers to get out of lender-required insurance.


12. Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (April 20, 2005) The act
makes it harder for consumers (but not businesses) to discharge debts. The strict means test
that would force more debtors to file under Chapter 13 (under which a percentage of debts
must be paid over a period of 3-5 years) as opposed to Chapter 7 (under which debts are paid
only out of existing assets), the additional penalties and responsibilities the bill placed on
debtors, and the bill's many provisions favorable to credit card companies.


13. Suspension of the uptick rule that required that short sale transactions be entered at
prices that are higher than the price of the previous trade. This rule prevents short sellers from
adding to the downward momentum when the price of an asset is already experiencing sharp
declines.


14. De-regulation that allowed reduced margin and position limits for speculators.


15. Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (Public Law 79-404) (1946) This is one of the most
important pieces of United States administrative law. It enabled bureaucrats, instead of
legislators, to write law.


16. The National Security Act (P. L. No. 235, 80 Cong., 61 Stat. 496, 50 U.S.C. ch.15) (1947).
This was the granddaddy of all the others. (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA], The
Patriot Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, etc.) It was the start of the national security state we are now
under, and the beginnings of a fascist state.


17. Taft-Hartley Act, The Labor-Management Relations Act (80 P.L. 101; 61 Stat. 136)
(1947) Federal law which monitors activities and power of labor unions. Labor leaders have
called it the "Slave-Labor" bill. It tilts labor-management balance.


18. Cap and Trade (Emissions Trading) (1970) A market-based carbon-trading scheme which
banking reforms. It placed legal restrictions on speculation and forbid combining
banking and financial service firms. The 1999 repeal of this act is credited as the major
contributor to the 2008 financial collapse. is an expression of the inability and unwillingness of legislators to address environmental problems which arise from our mode of energy use (in large part carbon emissions). Although Caps are needed. Trading these Caps does nothing for the environment, or people and enriches Wall Street and hurts the economy.


19. War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541-1548) (1973) The Constitution is explicit in
allowing only Congress the ability to declare war. This resolution opened the door slightly for the

president to be involved in the decision. Since 1973, however, presidents have often flung the
door open, ignoring this resolution and the Constitution.


20. The Monetary Reform Act (also cited as Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary
Control Act) (P. L. No. 96-221; 94 Stat. 132) (1980) Highlights: Allows banks to merge, and
institutions to charge any interest rate they choose. Forces all banks to abide by Federal
Reserve rules, and raised deposit insurance of banks and credit unions from $40,000 to
$100,000. (An aside: the Fed. Reserve is a private bank.)


21. The Fairness Doctrine repealed under Reagan 1987 (Federal Communications
Commission [FCC] policy) (1949) Required broadcasters to present controversial issues in an
honest, balanced manner. In 1988 FCC commissioner Johnson wrote that bringing back the
Fairness Doctrine would be "nothing less than possession of the First Amendment: Who gets to
have and express opinions in America."


22. World Trade Organization (WTO) (1995), North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
(1994), Central American Trade Agreement (CAFTA) These have functioned principally to pry
open markets for the benefit of transnational corporations at the expense of national and local
economies - workers, farmers, indigenous peoples, women and other social groups - health and
safety - the environment - and animal welfare. In addition, in the WTO system, rules and
procedures are undemocratic, un-transparent and non-accountable and have operated to
marginalize the majority of the world's people.


23. Telecommunications Act of 1996 (P. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56) (1996) The Act was
claimed to foster competition. Instead, it continued historic industry consolidation reducing the
number of major media companies from around 50 (1983) to 6 (2005). It led to a drastic decline
in the number of radio station owners. Example of corporate welfare spawned by political
corruption - it gave away to incumbent broadcasters valuable licenses for broadcasting digital
signals on the public airwaves.
Lesson from this act: Deregulation before meaningful competition spells consumer disaster.


24. Welfare Reform Act (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation
Act, H.R. 3734, P.L.104-193) (1996) Sets time limits on entitlements and cash assistance to
welfare recipients; requires most recipients to get jobs; changes disability definitions for SSI for
children; denies many legal immigrants from collecting SSI and food stamps, and much more.
Inherent in the Act: misogyny, racism, and exploitation of women (do whatever job you can get
and don't complain - or risk homelessness). Attention should have been directed to conditions
of low-wage labor market - living wage, health care, and child care all desperately needed.


25. FDA Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA, P. L. 105-115, 21 USC 301) (1997) FDA relaxes
rules of prescription drug advertising. Eases restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising of
prescription drugs. Allows manufacturers to disseminate journal articles describing the results
of trials for unapproved uses of drugs. And much more.


26. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-16,
115 Stat. 38, June 7, 2001) ("The Bush Tax Cuts")


27. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010


28. Restoring American Financial Stability Act (RAFS) of 2010