Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 32: Pinkney Still Under Unconstitutional, Illegal House Arrest Enforced by Berrien County, Michigan Courthouse

Free Speech, Brave Preacher Prevail

Freed Michigan minister busted for writing an article
about a judge challenges area plutocratic establishment

THE BIG PICTURE/By Mark Anderson, American Free Press writer and host of RBN's When Worlds Collide, Saturdays, 7 to 9 p.m. central

BENTON HARBOR, Michigan – Arrogance, unaccountability and far-reaching control have been attributed to many judges in America in recent years. Ballot initiatives in North Dakota and elsewhere have taken place to try and reign in judges who don’t allow defendants to bring forth crucial evidence and witnesses to help their case, and who micromanage and manipulate juries which are supposed to have considerably more power under the original understanding of the American system.

Well, in southwest Michigan such apparent arrogance almost railroaded a 60-year-old preacher for up to 10 years for writing a newspaper article about a judge. Noted attorney Hugh “Buck” Davis said last year that the Rev. Edward Pinkney may have been the first preacher ever imprisoned in the U.S. for writing an article.

However, Rev. Pinkney served only a fraction of that time in prison. An appellate court in Michigan last month approved his appeal, saying his constitutional rights were trampled upon and that tossing him in the dungeon for writing an article had nothing to do with rehabilitating him or protecting the public. and out of no less than seven prisons in Michigan to destabilize him and keep him away from his supporters and family...

His “naughty” article...took Berrien County Judge Alfred Butzbaugh to task...The judge found the article threatening. Yet, the First Amendment prevailed in the end.

...public-but-expensive [golf]course and the rest of it mainly as “rich man’s recreation” in an overall community that needs manufacturing jobs so a middle class can take root where it once thrived and the tax base can be restored to fund the schools and sufficient public services and programs.

The government machine, as [Pinkney] sees it, had grown weary of him due to his highly visible court-watching activism he had pursued since 2000, keeping tabs on what he says are abnormally high imprisonment rates in predominantly black Benton Harbor.

Pinkney was a prominent figure (who tried to be a voice of reason) in the 2003 uprising of city residents who were angry over the death of a young black man who some alleged died because overly-aggressive police forced his motorcycle off the road. The summer “riots” led to the burning of several houses and city-level martial law was apparent. Armored personnel carriers and police, armed military-style, prowled the streets.

The golf course/housing development, that can only produce seasonal service jobs and some non-permanent construction work, has the backing of a private Harbor Shores development group linked to the Benton Harbor-based appliance giant, the Whirlpool Corp., along with the city government’s apparent blessing, and the concurrence of the county and state. U.S. Congressman Fred Upton is part of the mix, as he is a Whirlpool heir and backer of the development.

The area’s political-economic “machine,” according to Pinkney and his supporters, aids and abets the “gentrification” of Benton Harbor, wherein a once prosperous city has been hurt by corporate favoritism and certain government welfare and trade policies over the decades, pushing poor blacks, some poor whites and others to the margins – a kind of upper-class dominance that seems to promise genuine improvements but in the end establishes a microcosm of today’s world, where the plutocratic minority (the rich few of whatever background) continue to favor free trade (such as NAFTA, that Rep. Upton approved) and pursue other policies and projects that might make some marginal improvements but in the end are little more than fool’s gold.

As commentator Paul Craig Roberts often has stated, America has had its fill of service and hospitality jobs and needs to produce durable goods via manufacturing so the U.S. trade deficit can be reversed into a surplus and cities like Benton Harbor that once thrived can thrive again, from the bottom up, not from the top down.

Full article: