Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Occupy the PGA! Mass Demonstration in Benton Harbor! The issue is Stolen Land!

The attack on democracy in Benton Harbor, Mi shows that the corporate power structure aim to crush anyone who stands in its way. It is a process under way across America. After the once stable working -class community of Benton Harbor was devastated by automation and globalization, fighting back and confronting the corporations.

As concerned citizens of Benton Harbor, with support from our allies here and around the world, we protest the exploitation of our community by Harbor Shores, Kitchen / Whirlpool Corporation and PGA of America.

The Harbor Shores development came about through the undermining of democracy, political pressure on public agencies, theft of public land for private profit, destruction of rare ecology, theft of water from the public and the continuing destruction of the fabric of the predominantly Black community of Benton Harbor, which is already politically disenfranchised and economically impoverished.

Harbor Shores has refused to pay taxes to the city of Benton Harbor on all stolen land over 645 acres of land which is to become St. Joseph property.

We here by make the following demands on 2020 Senior PGA:

We demand the cancellation of the tournament in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Unless these demands are accepted, there will be no peace. We want the transfer of 25% of all profits of 2020 Senior PGA to go to the citizens as partial compensation for stolen land and water for the purpose of meeting budget deficits and building affordable housing for the people of Benton Harbor.

We want you to acknowledge in an announcement at the Senior PGA event that the people of Benton Harbor have been exploited in numerous ways, including the theft of land for profits.

The failure to address these grievances and demands publicly at the event will reflect the collusion of the Senior PGA with the ongoing hypocrisy and exploitation of Harbor Shores and Kitchen Aid/Whirlpool Corporation.

Benton Harbor residents need jobs, careers, with a living wages, better schools,and teachers, affordable housing , political self -determination, true democracy, justice , freedom, parkland, and a future for our children. We must remember the opposite of rich is not poverty, It is justice.

Join us on May 23, 2020 in Benton Harbor , Michigan at City Hall 200 Wall St starting at 10.30 am for a mass demonstration. We will have speakers from around the country. Occupy the PGA. JUSTICE FOR ALL OCCUPY THE PGA JUSTICE FOR ALL....          

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Free The Innocent

The following is a speech by New Orleans activist Ted Quant. Thanks to The Peoples Tribune.

We are here today, standing in an unbroken line of march from slavery to freedom. Every step forward has been met with massive resistance , including legal and extra terror. The for profit prison industrial complex of legalized slavery is the rotten fruit of this history.

Our fight for justice for the victims of the unconstitutional 10-2 verdicts is part and parcel of the fight for freedom. This struggle , like our history, contains the elements of one step forward, two steps back.

We must learn this lesson from the defeat of reconstruction. The victories of reconstruction were followed by its violent terrorism defeat. The white supremacists crowned this victory with the 1898 explicitly racist Louisiana Constitutional Convention and the infamous Supreme Court Plessy V Ferguson decision legalizing segregation. Vagrancy laws were passed that made poverty a crime and poor blacks were rounded up and enslaved in the convict lease system. The 13th Amendment allows slavery for people convicted of crimes.This was the genesis of the modern day system of mass incarceration and prison for profit today.

Not until last year did we win the victory over the 10-2 legacy of the racist 1898 constitutional convention. But that victory is incomplete as people convicted under this racist law are still unjustly incarcerated. They must be freed or given new trials. That is what is just and right and legal.

At the same time, If we are not constantly fighting for our rights , we are losing our rights. Every victory can be reversed. One step forward two steps back is in our history. We must defend this victory and go on the offensive.We must organize and educate and attack with our voted the politicians that attack us with their votes.

We must ask who stand for freeing the unjustly convicted ? Who votes for providing for the needs of the poor ? Who votes for regulations that prevent the environmental poisoning  our people? Who votes for medical care as a human right? who fights for the needs of the least of these my brethren?

Our fight for the freedom of the unjustly incarcerated is against the politicians, Black or White , who represent the profiteers of this modern day enslavement of the prisoners of poverty that fill our prisons.

To defeat them we must organize and fight for power. One of our weapons is our right to vote. Today as few as 20% or 30% of the population votes. This means it take only 15% of the voting population, plus 1vote , to rule our lives.

We are a majority for justice and equality. We must seize the time, organize , and take power. Power to the people.             

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

We Must Defend Our Soldiers

A true man of God, Keith Collins , Pastor of the church of the overcomer _ a blue jean friendly church says he presents gospel to a world that is broken and filled with broken people. Pastor Collins also serves more than 150 people every week. what an amazing man.

The Pastor , his wife and sister-in -law were arrested for conspiracy for something they had nothing to do with. This is what happens to anyone who stands up for justice for the poor.

Pastor Keith Collins is a graduate of Geneva College of Business and Divinity and holds a M.B.S.
Divinity and Ministerial degree from Friends International Christian University. He and his wife have undertaken mission trips to Ghana and Nigeria , and Pastor Keith has completed pilgrimage studies in Greece , Israel and Egypt. He served as a infantry office in the U.S. Army/ Airborne. He also served as adjunct professor at Delaware County Community College. He is a marathon runner and cyclist. He and his wife has been married for over 37 years.

Here are example of how the system has attacked the pastor.

The church of the overcomer live up to its name by successfully gaining tax exempt status after a decade of court battles. It has been a long horrible ordeal," said the Pastor",  " We were not doing anything different than we were doing for the past 10 years."

The Delaware County board of Assessment had issued a ruling that two additional parcels of church land , which paid approximately $10.000 in taxes annually , would also be tax exempt beginning Jan 1, "One of those parcels has a building that serves as an office , outreach center and transitional housing unit, while the other provides additional beds for those who need help getting their feet under them said the pastor.\

The city of Philadelphia was gunning for Pastor Collins. He called in Rev Edward Pinkney from Benton Harbor, Michigan to help him fight this mean and cruel charges . He was the keynote speaker at a meeting held on November 22-24. The purpose was to educate and inform the general public of Philadelphia about the historical challenges faced by those who have engaged in activism and non traditional pursuits of justice.

Speakers also included Cheri Honkala founder of the poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, who has been arrested hundreds of times in the struggle for economic justice and housing. She gave a tremendous speech about how we can help Pastor Keith and his wife. Then came Sister Margaret McKenna, founder of New Jerusalem Recovery Center in North Philadelphia. She was an original member and served time in Federal prison for her anti-war effort. She was amazing . Next was sister Pam Africa, who fought for justice for the Move family after the 1985 assault and bombing of a Move block of homes that killed 11 Move members.She has also been a leading advocate for journalist Mumia Abu Jamal, often referred to as the most popular political prisoner in the world.
Sister Pam Africa spoke loud and clear. We must defend our soldiers at all cost.           

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The struggle for democracy in Benton Harbor and around the country

The Rev Martin Luther King must be turning over in his grave over what is happening in Benton Harbor, Michigan and around the country. Today automation, computers, robots and production without our labor is rapidly eliminating the jobs left in our cities. Cities, school system and other public services are being destroyed.

Benton Harbor the school district, the city so the corporate power can turn the area into a playpen for the rich at the expense of the people. We are at war!

It took a decade of struggle , beginning with the battles of the 1930's and 1940's that established industrial unions in America, and the deaths of martyrs to the cause of equality in the Civil Rights
Movement before the Johnson administration and Congress enacted the land mark civil rights legislation.

I want everybody young , old , Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow to know that we are in a fight for democracy against that breeds war and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few elite. No section of this powerful ruling elite will defend our democratic rights. That task fall to the working class.

I Rev Edward Pinkney say if it is not just one thing it is everything. We are now under the power of the corporations, elites , and dictators. Their wealth is mind-boggling. Some corporations make $70.000 per minute, $4 million per hour, 100 million per day. It's unbelievable. This is how quickly the fortune of the clan behind Walmart Inc, has grown since the Bloomberg ranking of America's richest families. The Walton family's fortune has swelled from $39 billion to 191 billion according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

Let us use history to inspire us to push a city, state and country forward. All things are possible. We must demand that a country live up to its stated ideals.     

Thursday, November 07, 2019

DA brings humanity to Suffolk County, MA -- the polar opposite of the Berrien County draconian system of human suffering

Law enforcement’s old guard claims that policing low-level crime protects communities. That’s not just wrong; it’s dangerous.

For time immemorial, we have been told that our communities are safer with each criminal that our local law enforcement locks up—often for low-level offenses like drug possession, shoplifting, or loitering. 

The problem with this narrative is that it’s largely false, predicated on a pervasive and pernicious myth known as “broken windows” theory. It’s an anecdotal, fact-free approach perpetuated by an old guard in law enforcement who use fear to justify actions that, rather than increasing public safety, end up creating and reifying divisions in our communities. This approach is not the answer: “Broken windows” is, and has always been, broken.

I am a prosecutor who ran for office to challenge this and other myths, and the people who have wielded them for way too long. I have seen firsthand the devastating effect that violence and mass incarceration have on families and communities, especially those of color, and I promised voters that I would bring transformational change to the criminal justice system. 

This change has included a reinvestment strategy within my office to utilize our limited resources to focus on violent crime and homicides, both solved and unsolved. It includes an unprecedented community engagement effort that works collaboratively with external partners, including the public school system and law enforcement, to address the root causes of criminal behavior. My challenge—our challenge—must be overcome collaboratively. And I will use my position and office with great intention and passion. Our work is urgent.

And I am working with urgency to fulfill those promises I made to the community. For example, my office has moved away from cash bail and set policy to sharply limit use of pretrial detention. We have published a list of 15 offenses, such as drug possession and driving without a valid license, for which even if the police make an arrest, the office will generally decline to prosecute the case criminally—often seeking restitution, treatment, or consequences other than incarceration instead. And I am not alone. There is a strong and growing movement to elect prosecutors and sheriffs across the country who are willing to make these bold changes. 

In Suffolk County, our primary law enforcement partner, the Boston Police Department, has achieved nearly historical lows in arrests while also reducing crime. These simultaneous accomplishments speak to the department’s commitment to policies that prioritize the well-being of the communities they serve. And our county’s elected sheriff has implemented promising treatment and rehabilitation programs at our jail and house of corrections—programs that pick up the pieces where our public health and education systems and every other safety net have failed. But even the successes we’ve seen in Boston still present opportunities for new approaches to criminal justice.

The issues that I speak of are larger than any single jurisdiction. Mass incarceration is not just a set of local or national policy choices; it is a style of politics that prosecutors like me are seeking to disrupt. Unsurprisingly, the old guard and their powerful political allies are fighting back—often with the assistance of an unquestioning or sensationalist media—to preserve the decades-old structures of power and privilege that benefit them. 

In Chicago, when State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that her office would no longer charge shoplifting cases involving under $1,000 as felonies, Kevin Graham, the head of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, attacked her publicly, saying: “We need to have a prosecutor who is going to charge people when they commit a crime. If there’s no charges and nobody goes to jail, then obviously the law doesn’t mean anything.” 

In Baltimore, after State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that her office would no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses, Gary Tuggle, the interim police commissioner at that time, instructed his officers to continue making arrests and explained that he felt marijuana possession drives violent crime. 

When Dallas District Attorney John Creuzot said he would stop prosecuting low-level theft and other offenses, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted that Creuzot “stokes crime.” 

I’ve felt this pushback at home, too. Michael Leary, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA), recently said, without any evidence, that as a result of prosecutorial reforms, “Crime will go up. Shootings will occur.” 

The data has not borne this out.  In fact, the Boston Police Department’s own data shows that, so far in 2019, serious crime in the city is down by approximately 8 percent compared with the same period last year.  

The old guard insists that criminal justice is a zero sum game, as if remedying systemic injustices, including racial and economic unfairness, requires a corresponding decrease in public safety.  For example, Art Acevedo, the Houston police chief who also leads the Major Cities Chiefs Association, accused prosecutors like us of “going so far that we’re putting the criminal and their interest in front of the victim’s interest.” The hegemony of the old guard relies upon false binaries—pitting efficiency against fairness, safety against justice, supposed heroes against alleged villains. But make no mistake: This is not a battle between safety and justice; it is a battle between two competing visions of public safety. 

Despite the old guard’s view that deprioritizing low-level order-maintenance offenses is an affront to victims, it is their theory of public safety that leaves victims—especially victims of the most serious violent offenses—without recourse. As FBI data shows, roughly 40 percent of the nation’s murders, and over half of sexual assaults, went unsolved in 2017. For example, in Houston, police only cleared 34 percent of violent crimes, including just 51 percent of murders and 39 percent of rapes. In other cities, law enforcement’s failure to address and hold people accountable for the most serious crimes is even more pronounced. In 2017, the Phoenix Police Department cleared 6.7 percent of reported rapes. 

In Baltimore, the city has seen almost one killing per day. Meanwhile, homicide clearance rates remain low. As Mosby said when she announced that she would no longer prosecute marijuana possession, “No one who is serious about public safety can honestly say that spending resources to jail people for marijuana use is a smart way to use our limited time and money. … If you ask that mom whose son was killed where she would rather us spend our time and our attention—on solving that murder, or prosecuting marijuana laws—it’s a no-brainer.” 

Like Mosby, I believe in prioritizing the offenses that cause serious physical harm or death rather than misspending our limited resources on low-level offenses. Murders, shootings, and sexual assaults should be our highest priority; offenses like drug possession, loitering, and driving on a suspended license should not. 

I also believe that incarceration should be a tool of last resort. Often people commit low-level offenses because they are struggling with mental illness, housing and food insecurity, poverty, or substance use disorder. These people need treatment, a helping hand, and stability in their lives. Jails provide none of these things. Jails separate families; cause people to lose their homes and jobs; and confine people to dehumanizing, violent, and chaotic spaces. Jails provide little in the way of meaningful treatment and rehabilitation. They further traumatize already traumatized people. They make people worse rather than better. That means people often leave incarceration less stable and more likely to re-engage in criminal activity. The better approach for most offenses is to provide people with treatment and other services when necessary, and to hold people accountable while keeping them in our communities, through community service, restitution, and restorative justice programs. 

The old guard depicts our efforts to move past their decades-long obsession with hyper-enforcement and harsh prosecution for even low-level offenses like marijuana possession as “soft on crime” and a threat to public safety. But nothing is softer on crime, or more dangerous, than their failure to address violent crime. Prioritizing violent crime and funneling resources to prevention and intervention programs isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. The most effective way to address most problematic behaviors is to treat people humanely and help them to heal, while devoting our resources to identifying and holding accountable the people who commit serious violent offenses and too often face no consequences at all. That’s what will make us all safer. 

Justice is not at odds with public safety, and reform-minded prosecutors are not the enemy of police officers. Although the leadership in many police departments across the country have expressed hesitancy or outright disdain for progressive policies, I know that this movement cannot succeed without buy-in from police officers on the ground. This is the reason why I have spoken with the president of the BPPA several times and addressed a meeting of union representatives to explain my progressive policies and hear their concerns. I welcome feedback and constructive criticism. I will embrace evolution and adaptation when warranted. I will not, however, tolerate the rejection of indisputable data or blind acceptance of the status quo. The costs of remaining complacent are too high. 

Anyone who is ready to commit to the change we so desperately need is an ally. The new guard cannot be limited to prosecutors. Our team is growing, and we welcome new recruits.

Rachael Rollins is the district attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Truth is the system in America is a fraud

When I say the system is a fraud. I mean we have the most corrupt system in the world. The court system is rigged especially to destroy Blacks and all other minorities. Judges preside over phony trials , often influenced by corporate interests. Extortion by prosecutors and defense counsel. His or her clients is common and unjust.

The phony courts are a danger to every individual who risks entering Berrien County territory, where I live, is known as one of the most corrupt counties in the world. It is led by evil judges such as Dennis Wiley, Sterling Schrock, Charles LaSata, Art Cotter, and we cannot forget the county prosecutor Mike Sepic.All these individual care about Whirlpool, the largest corporation in the region not the poor. You can easily be the very next victim in Berrien County; the innocent sent to prison for the rest of his life or strapped to a table and put to death or robbed of your life saving by a lawyer who care less about you, but wants all your money. If you are a mother , beware that your child can be taken without a reason and no lawyer even if they wanted to can not protect you and your child, because of the corruption of Berrien County Family Court. The corruption is well hidden by the fake news service of the Herald Palladium newspaper (owned by the wealthy Paxton Family in Kentucky.)

Another part of the corrupt system here is Lakeland Regional Hospital, which has an outstandingly poor record of not caring and serving Black patients and placing thousands of Black lives at risk. The pediatric unit reported there is too many infant deaths yet infant death continue to rise in Berrien County. The problem is nobody really cares about Black babies dying.

Corruption and profit motive facilitates criminal enterprises in the entire country, but it is so common citizens such as a racist jurists like Gail Freehling, interact with government, they add to are part of the corruption.

We are seeing a new level of disaster and tragedy in the country. Most shocking is the mistreatment we see of the poor, the elderly , the women and the children. We see water issues. Water is a human right. It is said you must have clean water. Yet the families of Benton Harbor, Michigan and elsewhere are struggling with the poisoning of their water, our children and elderly are dying. My good friend Claire McClinton from Flint said " what good is it if you can go to the store and get lead free paint and buy lead free gas , but you cannot go home and get lead free water?"

We must stop worshiping profit and start standing up for the people. There are more of us than them.            

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Governor Attacks Benton Harbor schools , creating crisis

Let the truth be told by the people of Benton Harbor.The tentative agreement between Benton Harbor's school board, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials to save the Benton Harbor schools was never on the table. There were no deal.

Gov Whitmer and Whirlpool Corporation are working together to destroy the city of Benton Harbor.
Whirlpool wants to close Benton Harbor High School and steal over 625 acres of lakefront land that the school sits on. This is nothing but a land grab.

Whitmer and Michigan Department of Treasury indicated in May that it was planning on shutting down Benton Harbor's only high school. A letter was sent from the Treasury Department to families stating that under a plan starting in 2020, students will be able to attend one of seven high schools in the county. All are white schools.

Even in the tentative agreement ,Gov Whitmer didn't guarantee she would not close the high school in the future. The agreement requires academic improvement and that the city's 18 million dollars debt go away That is why the compromise ought to be viewed critically.The factors triggering the threat of closure haven't changed. I do not see dramatic and positive changed offered. And it is impossible for a system that has been abused for so long to change in  just one year. Gov Whitmer is not forgiving the Benton Harbor district's debt, that the state helped to create by forcing the schools to accept and anything the government wanted and then pointing the finger at Benton Harbor.

If a Republican administration were offering the kind of bitter pill that the Whitmer administrations now trying to shove down the throat of Benton Harbor , my cellphone would be filled with messages alleging all kinds of racist treatment in this poor black city. There would be no talk about personal responsibility and all the mainstream black civil rights groups would be preparing for statewide press conferences to make the case that it is a pattern of historic disinvestment in the black cities. They would cast the fight as an Armageddon battle said Detroit News Columnist Bankole Thompson.

Who would give a school district one year to improve or be closed down? What kind of government administration would even attempt to destroy a whole city by closing down its only high school? The question should be how can we save the city and high school. We must stand together and fight back.

Whirlpool has taken over Benton Harbor. It has engaged in stealing land from the city for a long time.
It is a sordid history that previous governors Granholm and Snyder participated in. Gov Whitmer is under big pressure from Whirlpool and their business partners. They're a billion dollars corporation with an abysmal human rights record. Rep Fred Upton , the Whirlpool corporation heir , has a history of racist views and is a major player in the hostile takeover.

I guess the residents of Benton Harbor have to go on bended knees to beg the government to not close our high school.

We must confront the evil empire.