Monday, September 29, 2008

Reflections on Conservative Scapegoating

Racism as Reflex
By TIM WISE September 29, 2008

Last paragraph of an excellent article:

"So there you have it: white conservatives who simply cannot bring themselves to blame rich white people for anything, and who consistently fall back into old patterns, blaming the poor for poverty, black and brown folks for racism, anybody but themselves and those like them. That anyone takes them seriously anymore when they prattle on about "personal responsibility" is a stunning testament to how racism and classism continue to pay dividends in a nation whose soil has been fertilized with these twin poisons for generations. Unless the rest of us insist that the truth be told--and unless we tell it ourselves, by bombarding the folks who send us their hateful e-mails with our own correctives, thereby putting them on notice that we won't be silent (and that they cannot rely on our complicity any longer)--it is doubtful that much will change."

Race and Criminal Justice Reading List

Cole, David. No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Justice System

Harris, David A. Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work

Mann, Coramae Richey. Unequal Justice

Miller, Jerome. Search and Destroy: African American Males in the Criminal Justice System

Reiman, Jeffrey. ...And the Poor Get Prison: Economic Bias in American Criminal Justice

Definition of Corporation

Corporation: n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. -Ambrose Bierce, author and editor (1842-1914)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Typical Fare for Whirlpool Company Paper Front Page

"Sixth sense - H-P staff /9/27/08
Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy John Hopkins has chalked up an eye-popping number of drug arrests in his 25-year career – 1,056 arrests on 2,037 charges, according to sheriff’s depart­ment records."

Hopkins may recognize himself in the personage of a sheriff from the southwest who is profiled in the remarkable 2007 docu, American Drug War: The Last White Hope.

This well-made, well researched docu might be available to watch at Some points of interest:

50% of all current US prison inmates are non-violent drug offenders.

Our government has made it a business to lock up drug offenders instead of getting them treatment. Addiction is a disease - the goal should be a cure, not punishment.

The CIA is right in the middle of the crack epidemic in the US - facts will leave no doubt that
the gov. used drugs to finance illegal wars and continue to use them to suppress people of color.

The purpose of the ban on medical uses of marijuana is to benefit the pharmaceutical industry.

700,000 people die every year from alcohol (not counting traffic deaths), tobacco, and legal pharmaceuticals, while only 10,000 die from drug use, and no death has ever been reported from marijuana.

You will be surprized to find out where 85% heroin distributed worldwide comes from...

There are billions of dollars being spent on the war on drugs each year and what is the outcome of all that funding? The American Prison system. There are hundreds of thousands of mostly non-violent pot smokers being locked up for harming no one. This documentary shows how companies like the Partnership for a Drug Free America show commercials on television that are used as scare tactics to make us think that if someone buys a dimebag of grass to unwind that they are now a "terrorist" because they are supporting drugs. How are they supporting the war on drugs when the majority of marijuana used in the country is grown in the United States? It also shows how the CIA sells tons of cocaine to be distributed within the United States.

The docu provides solutions to these extremely serious problems.

Wrongfully convicted in Berrien County; nothing new

Paredes will soon have a proper day in court HP, 9/27


I read with interest the response of the Berrien County prosecutor to the proposed commutation hearing for Efren Paredes, who I’ve worked for on a pro bono basis as a private investigator.

I would start by saying that the halls of justice are littered with the bodies of the wrongfully convicted, the wrongfully accused and of course the thousands of family members who stood by and got swept away in the national disgrace of prosecutorial and police misconduct. There are over 1,000 cases of this type that have occurred in the United States in the past 20 years.

Is Berrien County immune from this phenomenon? I hardly think so. The conviction of Parades is classic. Take a hot-button issue like the coldblooded murder of a well-liked and respected local white businessman and mix it with racial undertones, motivated informants, sloppy investigation and super aggressive prosecutors and police investigators and you get a wrongfully convicted person.

The classic fallback position is that we play the victim card.

Trot out the widow, friends and neighbors of the victim and play to the sympathy and outrage of the community. The prosecutors want you to look at the widow and not the evidence. The evidence would suggest that Parades is innocent.

The victim and the victims’ family members are often sold this bill of goods, and of course they adopt the prosecutor’s position. Lost in all this is the ruined life of Efren and his family. Where is the outrage of the treatment of this family?

In the very near future there will be a public hearing that will allow people to speak on behalf of Efren Paredes. The state has had its way for almost two decades in this matter. The fairy tale that has been promoted to the victim’s family and the courts is going to be exposed. All that Efren has ever asked for is an even playing field. That day is rapidly approaching.

Paul J. Ciolino Chicago

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Road construction at park delayed until Oct. 2 court hearing

H-P Business Writer
First part of article:
BENTON HARBOR — Harbor Shores construction crews are halting work – at least temporarily – on a new beachside boulevard at Jean Klock Park, developers have reported.
Opponents of Harbor Shores’ plan to build three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Sig­nature Golf Course in the park have requested a re­straining order against con­struction there until a decision is made in a federal lawsuit re­garding developers’ lease of the city-owned land.
Harbor Shores representa­tives are waiting for a judge to consider the restraining order request at a hearing Oct. 2 in U.S. District Court in Wash­ington, D.C. If the request is shot down, developers said they will con­tinue working on the road Oct. 3.
If the restraining order is ap­proved, Harbor Shores will not be able to do any more work in the park before a deci­sion is made in the lawsuit, which was filed in August by a group called Protect Jean Klock Park.
Defendants in the case are Benton Harbor, the Michigan Department of Natural Re­sources and the National Park Service for allegedly ignoring environmental regulations in approving the park lease. Har­bor Shores, which stopped the work Wednesday, has filed to intervene in the suit.
A hearing date has not yet been set for the lawsuit.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Travesty of the Land

Kevin Allen / H-P staff

A worker uses a bulldozer to clear land Monday at Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor for three holes of a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. A federal judge is considering whether to stop the work.

"Perhaps some of you do not own a foot of ground. Remember then, that this is your park, it belongs to you," said John Klock, a local newspaper publisher, when he gave the land to the city of Benton Harbor in 1917 in honor of his daughter.

Nothing Ever Changes for People of Color in Benton Harbor

Racial profiling a problem for area commuter

Editor, (HP 9/24)

When will police officers stop with the racial profiling? I am a 30-year-old Benton Harbor native. I’ve been working in New Buffalo for 16 months now, and I’ve been stopped over 10 times.

Is it because I am an African American driving a Chevy Caprice? Never once have I been given a ticket or an adequate reason for being pulled over. They run my name, check my information, and then it’s, “Have a nice day.”

I eventually moved to New Buffalo to be closer to my job.

Wrong move there. The New Buffalo Police Department was pulling me over and providing me with escorts home about once a month. Black man + Chevy Caprice + getting off at midnight = a free escort home by the men in blue. I solved that problem by moving out of New Buffalo!

Now I’m living back in Benton Harbor, and I have to deal with police on I-94. I also have a Pontiac G6 that I drive from Benton Harbor because it’s good on gas. It’s only been a month since I’ve been commuting from Benton Harbor to New Buffalo. During the first week of commuting, I passed an officer at exit 6. He comes out, rides my bumper and then turns around. I know he ran my plates before he was uninterested and backed off. I let that incident go.

Three weeks later, same thing. I pass an officer posted in the median at exit 6. He comes out, rides my bumper (runs my plates) and follows me off the my exit before getting back on I-94. This time I called Berrien County to complain.

Question: When will African-American men and other men of color get the benefit of the doubt, like the next man?

Reggie D. York Benton Harbor

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Debs quote

Eugene Debs noted that "the nets of American courts are set to catch minnows and let the whales go free." We utterly fail to recognize the full extent of the American Criminal Class. Welcome a step further into the Orwellian nightmare of socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.

(Today, the Debs quote is relevant to the enormous heist going on, but has specific meaning for Berrien County officialdom behavior.)

The Bi-Partisan Origins of the Financial Crisis
Shattering the Glass-Steagall Act
By William Kaufman

Monday, September 22, 2008

Park Protestors Arrested

For Immediate Release

LuAnne Kozma, 248-473-5761
Michigan Director, Defense of Place

Cindy Arch, 707-395-0438
Executive Director, Defense of Place

Julie Weiss
Protect Jean Klock Park


Park Protestors Arrested in Standoff with Police
Injunction Filed in Federal Court

(Novi, Michigan) - September 22, 2008 Under the pretense of "improvements" to the Jean Klock Park bath house, the Whirlpool Corporation-backed Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc. started destroying the natural resources of Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor today, removing 90-year old trees from the Lake Michigan shore and destroying some of the park's dunes to create an asphalt parking lot.

Residents of Benton Harbor and Benton Township, Michigan who filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C. in August to stop the construction of an exclusive private golf course in Benton Harbor's only beachfront park, rushed to Jean Klock Park with other community activists today as soon as they saw the bulldozers.

Three activists, Benton Harbor resident Nicole Moon, and Benton Township residents Scott Elliott and Bette Pierman sat on downed, historic cottonwood trees destroyed by the bulldozers and were arrested for civil disobedience.

After the arrests, the developers continued the destruction of the park by cutting away some of the southern dunes.

"All of this destruction is part of the illegal conversion of Jean Klock Park. The details were never disclosed to the public in any way," said Nicole Moon, one of seven residents who filed the federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit is pending. Monday afternoon, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a restraining order to halt the destruction.

"They are the real trespassers, and we get arrested," said Elliott, another of the plaintiffs.

"To watch the construction company employees enter and in moments destroy 90 year old trees along the boardwalk was heartbreaking", said Bette Pierman. "These trees have been homes to hundreds of different kinds of birds for years and were part of the original drive and landscaping work. And, while they began uprooting the trees, they also were destroying the southern foredune and all of the beach grass in that area. This is a travesty! The spin has been that they would not touch the beach, they would not detroy anything on the west side of the dunes. All the spin issues were lies. All for the benefit of a greedy few who have no regard for the beauty of the natural environment."

The federal lawsuit, filed by Toledo, Ohio, attorney Terry J. Lodge alleges extensive violations of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) by the National Park Service and failure to properly apply regulations mandated under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act. The State of Michigan and the city of Benton Harbor are named as codefendants.

Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Incorporated, the Whirlpool-financed developer, recently filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, hiring Bracewell and Guiliani of Washington D. C., and claiming to need the golf course in order to provide community benefits. The community benefits plan only guarantees five thousand dollars a year.

Donations in support of the citizen lawsuits can be made through the local advocacy groups, as well as through Defense of Place. Protect Jean Klock Park is accepting contributions for the federal lawsuit.

Defense of Place
Protect Jean Klock Park
Friends of Jean Klock Park

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Berrien County Bar Association Elected New Officers

Brian Sauer, a member of the Federalist Society, is now secretary.

The Federalist Society, an organization of Republican lawyers, favors more "energy in the executive." Distrustful of Congress and the American people, the Federalist Society never fails to support rulings that concentrate power in the executive branch of government. It is a paradox that conservative foundations and individuals have poured money for 23 years into an organization that is inimical to the separation of powers, the foundation of our constitutional system.

The Bush administration, backed by the neoconservative Federalist Society, has brought the separation of powers, the foundation of our political system, to crisis.

What will the federal courts do? When Hitler challenged the German judicial system, it collapsed and accepted that Hitler was the law. Hitler's claims were based on nothing but his claims, just as the claim for extra-legal power for Bush is based on nothing but memos written by his political appointees.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Every Little Thing Berrien County Does is Anti-Pinkney

Have They Ever Been This Frightened By Anyone?

Here's the Latest:

Pinkney's fateful trial where Judge Wiley displayed in the clear light
of day how Berrien County Court normally operates was on June 26,
nearly three months ago. Wiley called Pinkney "a con" and "a threat" with
"too much influence." The court reporter, Carlene Battista, ID#6764,
has refused to state a date or time by which the trial transcript will be
completed. Will it take more than three months to record two
hours, Carlene?

Berrien County Court could be the clone of any court in
the deep south circa almost anytime. The people going through the
system had one advocate: Rev. Pinkney. Now they have none.

"Whirlpool heir"

"I want a big golf course near my big house"

"we need more nukes"


Here's a reminder of Atty. Buck Davis's recent chilling speech (excerpt):

“The thrust [of the Berrien County courthouse] is to physically remove and destroy families through the use of the criminal justice system. Every person they can put in jail; every person whose voting rights they can revoke with a felony conviction; every person they can cause to lose their job by putting them on probation; every person they can cause to lose the ability to pay for basic necessities through imposing ruinous court costs and probation is all part of the process. In the 1960s, it was called Negro removal. In Bosnia, it was called ethnic cleansing. It could be called genocide, the removal of the minority population for the purpose of redevelopment of the land. That’s what’s happening in Benton Harbor and the foremost leader of the resistance is Rev. Edward Pinkney.”

This is the county that Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm supports, and where she refuses to intervene to bring humanitarian help, aid, or any form of justice. Gov. G., this is your JOB. Promising golf courses for votes is not.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Golf courses turn to food, alcohol to make a profit

Shrinking clientele, increased expenses leave some course owners in the rough

September 14, 2008 By Wes Morgan and Kathy Jessup Kalamazoo Gazette

With gas and fertilizer prices soaring, local golf courses are hoping food and drink, not the best-manicured greens, will help them hold onto business.

Surviving is the name of the game these days, as around the country interest in golf is waning, slipping to 26 million players last year, compared to 30 million in 2000.

The reasons: no time, no money.

Steve Tyler, Kalamazoo Municipal Golf Association director, said a decline in rounds played and course memberships during the past five to eight years at the three city-owned golf courses "mirrors what is happening in the golf industry, both statewide and nationally.''

Michigan as a whole barely bucked the national downward trend in the $76 billion industry, reporting a 1.1-percent increase in rounds played from 2006 to 2007. But courses have maxed out the discounts they can offer to keep golfers coming back, say local course owners, who soon will be closing their books on this year's season.

"There are so many courses just teetering on the brink of being done,'' said Brodie Hock, general manager of Heritage Glen Golf Club in Paw Paw.

Facing the likelihood of a shrinking clientele base, here's what some golf courses are doing to boost revenues and reduce costs: Adding or expanding lounge, conference and banquet areas.

full article:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We have all been duped from the beginning

HP, 9/13


Your opinion piece last Sunday (“Developers have every right to begin building holes”) concerning Klock Park makes the case for the opponents of the golf holes in Jean Klock Park. I quote, “Yet, since Harbor Shores is a private development funded by private investors, residents need not worry that millions of dollars could be ‘wasted’ on a boondoggle.”

That is the exact point that the Friends of Jean Klock Park has been making all along.

The park is not supposed to be turned over to private development. I remember years ago hearing about the plans to clean up the contamination in that area, and it was always portrayed as being something for the enjoyment of the public. This “line” was used to get public funding – millions of taxpayer dollars of it.

Everything that has been built and will be built is private. We have all been duped from the beginning.

Michele Megna Coloma

Friday, September 12, 2008

Whirlpool: Public Opinion Be Damned

Don Campbell / H-P staff
A crew from Gelock Heavy Movers of Grand Rapids works to put a 190-plank bridge in place connecting Benton Harbor and St. Joseph over the Paw Paw River north of Whitwam Drive. The bridge will serve as the cart path between holes 2 and 3 of the Harbor Shores golf course and serve as a link to parts of the expanded Jean Klock Park trail system.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Green Party Nominee Rev. Pinkney's Campaign Speech

Green Party Nominee Rev. Pinkney to Challenge
Congressman Fred Upton, Heir to Whirlpool

Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan has joined the field of Green Party candidates challenging 13 of 16 Congressional Seats.

Rev. Pinkney is the latest entry in the 6th District Congressional race where the incumbent is Fred Upton (R St Joseph), the heir to whirlpool Corporation. Rev. Pinkney, a minister and activist, is serving a three to ten year prison term for quoting Biblical scripture to the corrupt Judge Alfred Butzbaugh. The judge who stands to make millions of dollars from land stolen from the residents of Benton Harbor for the Harbor Shores Project.

Rev. Pinkney’s Campaign Speech:

It is our constitutional duty as American citizens to hold our elected officials accountable for their words, action and inaction of wrong doing.

The Herald Palladium featured an article on Congressman Fred Upton’s position on energy, whereby he declared, “I think it’s the only issue in the upcoming election”. Congressman Fred Upton is so out of touch with the realities of what is happening in America that he believes that resolving this one issue will resolve everything for all Americans. Congressman Upton, there are other important issues currently affecting Americans. There are the issues such as the significant loss of jobs to Mexico and other cheap labor locations, the rapid expansion of the federal deficit, (This deficit will be devastating to all Americans if it is not reversed quickly.) billions of dollars wasted in Iraq, 50 million Americans without any health insurance, pension plans in jeopardy throughout both public and private sectors. Evidently Congressman Upton does not consider these issues important to American citizens of southwest Michigan. It is a shame he represents the citizens in Michigan with such an attitude and has a congressional record that ignores any resolution of these issues. Congressman Fred Upton has failed to face the reality about our problems for years.

I strongly suggest that the justice system in Berrien County needs to be investigated. The case against me, violating my First Amendment rights, should have everyone around the county, state and country saying No More to the Whirlpool Corporation, the Upton family and to 6th District U.S. Representative Fred Upton. A man that is out of touch with the citizens he represents.

The news release said I am paying a heavy price for my beliefs and I will get a chance to express them by running for office. I am the perfect candidate, who has sacrificed myself for the people.
The news release said I have opposed Whirlpool Corporation’s influence on local government and the plans to take Jean Klock Park away from the people of Benton Harbor for a Jack Nicklous Signature Golf Course priced for the wealthy. I have opposed the Harbor Shores Redevelopment Corporation, of which the Whirlpool Foundation is a part, who wants to take or steal 22 acres of the Jean Klock Park land for three holes of the Jack Nicklous Signature Golf Course.

The Green Party’s news release compared me, Rev. Pinkney, favorably with progressive era labor leader Eugene V. Debs, who was jailed by federal authorities for violating the 1917 Espionage Act by advocating WWI draft resistance. As Socialist Party nominee, Debs collected nearly a million votes for President in 1920 while sitting in federal prison. The winner Warren G. Harding pardoned Debs after assuming office.

The Ten Key Values in my platform are: decentralization, sustainability, social justice for all, non-violence, feminism, economics, ecological wisdom, respect for diversity, community and statewide jobs, no more war, solve the energy problem.

Lets get out and spread the word. Help me Rev. Pinkney unseat Congressman Upton who is out of touch with the people. I challenge Congressman Fred Upton to a debate, anytime. Let Us Change Michigan Together.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Do more than just take Harbor Shores at its word

HP 9/6/08


In a recent letter Michael Kinney claims that my reasons for opposing the taking of 22 acres of Jean Klock Park for private development are misleading (“Klock plan critics too often are misleading,” Wednesday). He tells us our park can be just like Silver Beach, jam-packed with thousands of people visiting each week, and encourages us to browse the Harbor Shores Web site in order to “clearly understand” the project.

I took his advice. There are images of a quiet, secluded beach with a couple strolling along the shore, a family of four picnicking alone or a lone sailboat at sunset. These are the views Harbor Shores officials say they must have to lure rich golfers, prospective exclusive homebuyers and investors. Who is being misled, and by whom?

Mr. Kinney says that the dunes will not be touched, yet the conversion proposal clearly states that “open,” “forested” and “grassy” duneland will be replaced with golf greens. He says that the three holes will replace an “ugly” parking lot and “unusable” wetlands. Actually, only about half of the parking lot will be replaced, and it is only a small fraction of the land in question. The existing parking lot is discreetly situated behind the dunes and does not affect the view. The conversion puts a new parking lot between the dunes and the lake, which will be truly ugly.

Protected wetlands are supposed to be “unusable,” except by birds and other wildlife, as well as people who appreciate unspoiled nature. Maybe Mr. Kinney needs to do more research beyond Harbor Shores’ promotional materials. I suggest he go to

Scott Elliott Benton Harbor

Friday, September 05, 2008

[Corporate/Developer's Greed and Profit Before People and the Planet]

Harbor Shores can’t wait; work in park to start soon
Developers won’t let lawsuit delay their goal of opening Nicklaus golf course next summer

excerpts from article:

Har­bor Shores developers an­nounced Wednesday they can­not afford to wait any longer to begin work in Jean Klock Park if they are going to meet their goal of opening a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course next summer.
...they are fil­ing to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought by seven Ben­ton Harbor-area residents against the city, Michigan De­partment of Natural Resources and National Park Service for allegedly violating environmen­tal regulations in the process of approving Harbor Shores’ plan to build three golf holes in Ben­ton Harbor’s only park on Lake Michigan.
...con­struction to begin in Jean Klock Park in the next week to 10 days.
Construction is under way on the other 15 holes of the golf course outside the park.
Grass for the golf course needs to be seeded before the fall frost date, which is usu­ally in mid-October, if the course is going to be ready by next summer, developers said.
Harbor Shores would have to return the park to its former condi­tion if it loses the lawsuit after construction has begun. [we know this to be impossible]
The development stretches across 530 acres in Benton Harbor, Benton Township and St. Joseph. The center­piece is the Jack Nicklaus-de­signed golf course, which is expected to attract more than $400 million in total develop­ment, including hotels, mari­nas and hundreds of houses.
If the motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit is grant­ed by the court, it will allow Harbor Shores developers to tell the court their side of the story.
Terry Lodge, a Toledo at­torney representing the plain­tiffs, said Harbor Shores’ mo­tion does not change the case much.
“I feel that Harbor Shores will be more than adequately represented because they are paying for 100 percent of Benton Harbor’s legal ex­penses,” he said.
The Benton Harbor City Commission voted unani­mously Tuesday to hire the law firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone. Attor­neys from the firm’s Kalama­zoo office represented the city in the civil case.
Harbor Shores hired Wash­ington, D.C., law firm Brace­well and Giuliani to represent them. Developers will also retain the services of Dickin­son Wright, which represent­ed them in the civil case.
Lodge added that it seems strange that Harbor Shores is spending so much money de­fending their position if they believe the lawsuit has no merit.
Lodge rebutted the charac­terization that opposition to Harbor Shores has come from a small minority.
He said more people would stand up to oppose the con­version of Jean Klock Park into a golf course, but they are afraid of being demonized by Harbor Shores supporters. “There are a lot of people who are intimidated into si­lence in these types of contro­versies,” Lodge said.
He said the golf course will permanently damage the park’s sand dunes, but that impact has not been fully dis­closed to the public.
He said the Benton Harbor area “could have two jewels on Lake Michigan” if the course were built next to, rather than in, Jean Klock Park.
“The public needs to un­derstand they have been mis­led at many different steps during the way,” Lodge said.
...Harbor Shores has had to divert funds from community benefits to pay court costs and legal fees for the two lawsuits. [that community wouldn't be Benton Harbor now would it?]

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Library to Archive BANCO Papers

University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor has initiated a new collection. The library will be permanently preserving all records, materials, articles, and papers of and relating to BANCO and Rev. Pinkney. These archives will be for the use of students, researchers, and historians. The ever increasing awareness of the human rights and environmental crises occurring in Berrien County is at least partially what is motivating this collection.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Meeting in Detroit, August 2

...Sandra Hines of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and MECAWI spoke on the status of Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, who is currently serving a 3- to 10- year sentence in Michigan for defense of working-class and poor African Americans in Berrien County.

Roderick Casey of Ypsilanti spoke for the Committee for Correctional and Judicial Reform on the need for representative juries in the state of Michigan. Casey was beaten, arrested and sentenced to 75 days in jail for protesting his treatment in an emergency room hospital.