Trump, Lies and Videotape

The whole premise behind Acting Attorney General Sally Yates emergency meetings with White House Counsel Don McGahn was that Michael Flynn could be blackmailed by Russia. Flynn had allegedly misrepresented information to Mike Pence, the American public and possibly the FBI. Russia knew he had lied and “could likely prove it,” said Yates. Flynn who was the National Security Advisor, had access to America’s secrets and that vulnerability to a foreign power could not stand.

Though the Trump administration initially did nothing with the knowledge that their leading security advisor was compromised. When the Washington Post broke the story about the Yates/McGahn meeting. Flynn was fired, 24 days into Trump’s term as President. There is another high level member of the Administration (at least one anyway) susceptible to be blackmailed. That would be Donald Trump himself.

On October 7, 2016 an Access Hollywood video was released showing Trump talking to Billy Bush among other things about how “when you’re a star” you can kiss women against their will, physically assault them, “grab ’em in the pussy!” Trump said he never actually engaged in the behavior he described and that it was just “locker room talk”.

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Photo: tmz.com

The uproar and outrage was immediate and many thought it would be enough to ruin his chances to become President. In a “totally unrelated coincidence,” within 48 hours, Wiki-leaks released copies of John Podesta which muted the furor and distracted the media.

Additional reporting surrounding the Access Hollywood tapes revealed that there are dozens of other videos, outtakes from Trump’s, “The Apprentice” show where Trump is alleged to have demeaned women with sexist language, is overheard rating women based on breast size and describes which ones he’d like to screw. The shows producer and long-time Trump friend Mark Burnett, refused to release the videos along with owner MGM citing confidentiality agreements.

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Photo: vanityfair.com

MGM, once one of the biggest film studios in the world, has seen better days. Now they rely mainly on partnerships and joint ventures with other firms, primarily Sony Pictures. Sony is active in Russia in both film and television through it’s subsidiaries including Lean-M Producers Center. That company is a Russian firm in which Sony has taken a majority stake.

Mark Burnett and MGM did not succumb to the pressure of reporters during the campaign. Could financial pressure on MGM from any source cause them to change their mind? Will Burnett perhaps do for money what he would not do out of honor. What if MGM is hacked like Sony notoriously was in 2014?

Does the Justice Department, FBI or CIA have the right to subpoena these tapes to understand the vulnerability of Donald Trump to blackmail in the same way they worried about Mike Flynn? Does the public have the right to end any doubt (as if there were any) about the grossness and misogyny that is Trump? Inquiring minds want to know!

Featured Photo: cnn.com

10 Things Nobody Ever Said About Donald Trump… Ever!

  1. A man of high moral character                                                                                     a 10 things
  2. As honest as the day is long
  3. “What large hands you have!”
  4. Always the smartest person in the room
  5. Plays well with others
  6. He makes her so happy
  7. Always thinks things through
  8. A man of impeccable taste
  9. A wonderful public speaker                                                                                     a 10 thinggs
  10. Wish I had his hair

What Trump Does in the Dark!

Oh it’s coming to the light! Like the Hydra, Trump can cut off one head of the investigation and two will take its place. The cover-up is in full blown attack mode but the revelations are just getting started.

You fired Sally Yates to keep her from following up on her revelations to the White House that Mike Flynn was compromised. You got Devin Nunes to disrupt her planned open session testimony to the House. Nunes ultimately fell on his sword yet Yates finally got to testify in open session for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She told us what the White House knew and we know they did nothing with the knowledge Mike Flynn was a potential Russian blackmail prospect. At the same hearing, James Clapper inferred Trump’s business ties to Russia are being investigated.

Now you fire James Comey the FBI Director at the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions supposedly had recused himself from the Russia investigation because of his own lies about meeting with Russian officials. The alleged rationale for the firing was laughable. His concern for the reputation of Huma Abedin who had been incorrectly maligned by Comey’s testimony. They also say he’s now being fired over comments regarding Clinton E-mails made last July.

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The threads being pulled on that will ultimately lead to Trump are many. Whether it be his ties to Russian Oligarchs and the money they’ve funneled into his businesses. Whether it be his undeclared conflicts of interest in China, Turkey, Russia the Philippines and more. It may be collusion with Russia to win the Presidency. Even his staunchest defenders have to be aware of the optics of firing everyone that gets close to Trump and his Russian ties. Did the White House Chief Usher you fired stumble upon a meeting she wasn’t supposed to see? Did the White House Curator know so much he was forced to retire?

Unfortunately for you Donald. You can’t fire the free press in spite of your attempts to malign them as “fake news.” They see you Trump and they’re digging into every lead. You can’t fire your family. Ironically it’s two of your son’s who point directly to the business dealings with Russia you deny. Your daughter is dealing with countries while meeting in an official status with their leaders. Your son-in-law met with Russian banks and has dealings with an Israeli corporation believed to be corrupt. His sister has yet to return from China where she’s been selling her brothers access to you and a visa program you just renewed where the rich can buy their way into America.

Ultimately those judges you’ve shown such contempt for will start ordering the release of documents. And you can’t fire the public! Don’t feel bad Donald if you’re feeling a bit paranoid. Sometimes they really are out to get you! Ask not for whom the subpoenas come, they’re coming for you and yours. Lock him up!!!

Et Tu Pence?

As it was in the time of Caesar, the conspiracy will have started in the Senate. Then as now, they justifiably feared the people objecting to their action and rising against them. The Roman Senators decided that they needed Marcus Junius Brutus (Brutus) to give them legitimacy. Republican Senators will need Mike Pence.

Caesar never suspected Brutus, he thought him a good friend. Of all that would come with their knives, it was Brutus who surprised him most. Trump knows his enemies in the Senate include Ted Cruz based on insults about his father and wife. He knows McCain and Graham are subject to turn on a whim. He never trusted Pence in the manner Caesar trusted Brutus. He has tried to insulate himself with family, yet still, the knives will come.

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Each time Trump sees Pence, he sees smooth where he is ragged, articulate compared to his stumbling. Pence uses multi-syllable words Trump doesn’t understand. It was only a matter of time before his side-eye turned toward Pence, his likely successor should the worst come to pass. Trump couldn’t help but notice the forces aligning to portray Pence as innocent, not involved in the Russia scandal… sane. All the while Trump’s detractors they snipe at him in whispers, in the media, in tweets.

Trump is running but he can’t hide. He throws up diversions as tactics. Expanding a war with Afghanistan, taking a foreign trip to escape, threatening to defund HBCUs.

The day they come for Trump. The usual suspects will be there. Trump will nod as he sees his prophecies fulfilled, he knew they were coming. He smiles as he was “proven right.” And then he sees Pence. He wondered who it would be that like “The Godfather,” would come to him with the Barzini meeting. He that would be the traitor. When Pence approached, in the only Latin words he knew, he said, “Et tu?”

Featured Photo: twitter.com

Traitors, Spies and Lies, Lies, Lies!

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified today in an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She said out loud what we already knew. On behalf of the Justice Department she warned the Trump transition team three times that Mike Flynn was compromised and could be blackmailed by Russia. He had been meeting with a known Russian spy, the Russian Ambassador to the United States. He had taken money from  Russian State-sponsored TV station. Media reports show him receiving half-a-million dollars from Turkey (with recent reports suggesting that money may have come from Russia as well).

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Yates told White House Counsel Don McGahn, that Flynn had been obviously lying to Vice-President Mike Flynn about his contacts with Russia. This was based on multiple statements by Pence to the public quoting Flynn which the Justice Department knew not to be true. McGahn called back the next day asking why the Justice Department cared about one White House official lying to another? He also asked if Flynn was the subject of a criminal investigation. Her answer to the first question was; they cared because Flynn could be subject to Russian blackmail because they knew he was lying. She refused to answer whether there was an active criminal investigation against Flynn which was an answer in and of itself.

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The White House to this point has denied specific knowledge of Flynn’s trouble and suggested Yates only hinted at potential problems. Yates testified under oath that she walked McGahn through Flynn’s “underlying conduct” which was “problematic.” There can be no doubt that on January 26th and 27th the White House knew that they had a serious problem with General Mike Flynn. For reasons yet to be discovered, the White House did nothing until the Washington Post released reports of Flynn’s lies and Donald Trump fired him three weeks after the public discovered what they’d long known.

We also learned today that in their meeting on November 11, 2016. President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump specifically about Mike Flynn. On November 18th, Rep. Elijah Cummings sent a letter to Vice-President Elect Mike Pence, head of the Trump transition, asking for information about Flynn’s lobbying work and conflicts of interest. Pence’s lies about knowing nothing won’t likely withstand the bright lights to come.

On some future occasion I’ll go into the Russian ties of Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump himself according separately to his two eldest sons. Members of the Trump administration and family have met with Russian spies like Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and banker Sergey Gorkov. Those suspected as being traitors depend on ones definition of the word. Those that certainly put their own financial interests ahead of their country (which meets my definition) include Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. The lies about Russia have come from Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Paul Manafort, very likely Mike Pence whose claim he knew nothing has never made sense and Trump himself.

When Sean Spicer takes the podium tomorrow at the daily White House Briefing. He will have to choose whether to speak honestly to the media and American people. Or continue the cover-up of Russian infiltration into this administration.

One thing to watch for. Observe the great lengths Republicans go to keep Mike Pence pure and untainted as the investigations roll on. Republican establishment powers might even be happy to see the erratic Trump go down if it meant replacing him with a more competent President on their same wavelength. A corrupt President can be replaced. What they can’t abide is a finding of collusion with a foreign power that might void the election itself. Stay tuned!

Aramis Ayala: Shadow Warrior

Aramis Ayala is fighting for her political life. Newly elected as the State Attorney for Orange-Osceola in Florida covering Orlando and the surrounding area. She defeated incumbent Jeff Ashton, best known for his role as lead prosecutor in the infamous Casey Anthony trial. Ashton had name recognition and the backing of the establishment. Ayala had money.

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Photo: donate.constantcontact.com

She benefited from just under a million dollars in spending from Florida Safety and Justice, a Political Action Committee (PAC) tied to George Soros. Television ads and mailings from the PAC were considered a factor in her surprise victory. I live in the area, received mailings from both candidates and saw her ads. Ayala campaigned on the promises she would prosecute domestic violence cases and ensure racial equality in the State Attorney’s office. Aramis Ayala worked in Ashton’s office as a prosecutor for two years. She worked as a Public Defender in Orange County for eight years prior to that. While not relevant, some would insist you know of her husband’s conviction when young of a drug offense before they met in church.

Her platform focused on more transparency and prosecution of personal crimes like domestic violence. She said she’d bridge the gap between communities who perceived an inequity in justice, particularly the black community, and her office.

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Photo: rabidrepublicanblog.com

In December of 2016. 41-year-old Markeith Loyd was declared the main suspect in the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. Sade’s brother who was also shot and other family members identified Loyd as doing the shooting that took place at Ms. Dixon’s parent’s home. In an earlier incident, Loyd assaulted Dixon during an altercation and bit her. Markeith Loyd fled from the scene and was the subject of a manhunt that would last almost a month.

On January 6, 2017 at 4:00pm, Aramis Ayala was sworn in as the Orange/Osceola State Prosecutor. She was the first African American State Attorney in Florida history. When Aramis ran for office. The Death Penalty did not exist in the State of Florida. It had earlier been declared unconstitutional (twice) and had not been a campaign issue. Ayala would later say, “When I ran for office, I don’t recall death penalty ever coming up as an issue. And it doesn’t surprise me because when I ran for office, death penalty was unconstitutional in the State of Florida. We’ve only gotten a constitutional statute as of March 13th of this year.”

On January 9th, 2017, three days after Ayala assumed office. Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton was killed in an Orlando Walmart parking lot. A citizen approached Clayton saying they thought they had seen Loyd. As Clayton neared Loyd, he shot her. She returned fire, striking him in the chest but he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Ultimately, he shot her four times. One which entered her neck was declared the fatal wound. It entered at a downward angle while Loyd stood over her. He basically executed her after she was already disabled.  A second officer, Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis, died during the search for Markeith Loyd.

The ensuing manhunt was on an entirely different level than when Loyd killed Sade Dixon. His face was plastered all over local television and social media. Rewards were offered up to $100,000. His employer, a niece and different ex-girlfriend were arrested on charges of harboring a fugitive. It was widely discussed among locals that they didn’t expect Loyd would be captured alive given the outrage of the police. On January 17th, Loyd was captured alive despite being heavily armed and wearing body armor. Captured alive but make no mistake they beat his ass, damaging one eye. Video showed officers kicking him after he was down and handcuffed. There was no outrage. He was universally considered scum by black and white alike. No one cared.

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Photo: twitter.com

On January 19th, Loyd had his first court appearance where he indicated he wanted to defend himself. Attempting to tell his version of the original murder. He disputed what he called “the lies” being told by the media. As the hearing ended he told the judge, “Fuck you!” twice. He protested the injuries received during his arrest. There was no community outrage. No one cared.

Markeith Loyd was as reviled a defendant as any that had come through the Orange County Courthouse in some time. On March 16th, Aramis Ayala, after extensive research, announced she would not be seeking the death penalty in any cases coming to her office. Then the gates of hell opened, unleashing its hordes upon her. She received death threats including a noose sent to her office.

Before she decided not to pursue the death penalty in any cases. Ayala had her staff review the newly enacted statute and past cases. She says only then did she make her decision. She said, “I took an oath to support, protect and defend the Constitution and the American Bar Association rules of conduct outline my duties as a prosecutor. My duty is to seek justice, which is fairness, objectivity and decency. I am to seek reform and to improve the administration of justice. I am prohibited from making the severity of my sentences the index of my effectiveness.”

“What has become abundantly clear through this process is while I currently do have discretion to pursue death sentences, I have determined that doing so is not in the best interests of this community, or in the best interest of justice,” she said. “After review and consideration of the new statute, under my administration, I will not be seeking death penalty in cases handled in my office.”

News of the policy leaked to a local television station and there was soon a condemnation from Orlando Police Chief John Mina. Not long after, there were quick responses from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott. In a written statement Bondi stated, “State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s decision today sends a dangerous message to residents and visitors of the greater Orlando area — furthermore, it is a blatant neglect of duty and a shameful failure to follow the law as a constitutionally elected officer.”

Governor Scott said, “I want to be very clear, Lt. Debra Clayton was executed while she was laying on the ground fighting for her life. She was killed by an evil murderer who did not think twice about senselessly ending her life,” Scott stated. “I completely disagree with State Attorney Ayala’s decision and comments, and I am asking her to recuse herself immediately from this case. She has made it abundantly clear that she will not fight for justice for Lt. Debra Clayton and our law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.” Governor Scott asked her to recuse herself from the case and she refused. The Governor later removed her from the case, appointing another prosecutor. He later removed her from all 23 potential death penalty cases handled by her office.

She was not immune to criticism from the local black community. Former Judge Belvin Perry (also of Casey Anthony fame) was outraged and has stated he believes Ayala will be removed from office. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demmings agreed with Governor Scott’s decision to take her off the case. Demmings also spoke to the mother of Sade Dixon, Loyd’s first victim who indicated she was upset with the decision to not seek the death penalty but understood the reasons.

There are some things generally accepted as true. Sometimes the wrong person gets convicted, DNA evidence has overturned many cases over the years. Once an inmate is executed, there is no satisfactory resolution. It is also true that race has historically played a role in sentencing and that disparity has led to an inordinate number of black and Hispanic prisoners being executed as opposed to white convicts. This is not because minorities commit more heinous crimes than white people. Studies have shown minorities are more likely to get harsher sentencing and/or the death penalty than whites. Critics say Aramis Ayala didn’t run on a platform advocating repeal of the death penalty. She certainly said she wanted to address the unfairness of the system and reach out to the minorities who perceive systemic injustice.

Aramis has her supporters as well. Several legal experts suggest the Governor doesn’t have the power to remove cases from the legally elected State Attorney. Her lawyer Roy Austin says, “The justice system is supposed to be, and holds itself out to be, independent of political influence. This is one of the clearest cases of an attempt to politicize our justice system. So, I think people nationally who care about the independence of the justice system care about what happens in this case.”

She’s received support from the NAACP, ACLU, the Sentencing Project and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Some have suggested that Ayala was singled out for her race. Ayala said of the Governor’s action, “What I think about the Governor, what is clear is that he’s attacking the independence of prosecutors. He’s abusing his power and he’s got absolutely no substantive law that I’ve violated.” When asked about justice for the victim’s families, she replied,”There are cases in my office from 1976, 77, when I was two years old that families have been waiting on death sentences. There’s no reason for those families not to have some level of closure.”

On April 11, 2017, Ayala filed a Federal lawsuit against Governor Scott. Constitutional law professor Darren Hutchinson saya she makes two main points. The Governor has diluted the power of the voters of Orange/Osceola County that elected her to the position. It also deprives Ayala of her constitutional right to due process. He said, “She’s an elected official, and that gives her the right to hold that job and perform it fully. Governor Scott has deprived her of that job in an arbitrary way… it’s just because he disagrees with her.”

A recent poll says that 62% of Orange/Osceola citizens would prefer people convicted of first degree murder serve life sentences. The poll was not specific to Markeith Loyd where I suspect those wanting death would poll higher.

Aramis Ayala is a different choice for Shadow Warrior than previous honorees. She fights for what will seem to some as an inconvenient justice. She is correct when she says the death penalty has been and still is unfairly applied. She’s right in that sometimes states get it wrong and kill the wrong person. We could agree that there is no appropriate recompense when a mistake is made. There is much we can agree upon, including that the bulk of the establishment, and much of the public want Markeith Loyd dead for his crimes. One more than the other. When the pregnant ex-girlfriend was killed it was bad. When a police officer was killed, revenge is apparently required.

Florida is not alone in the need for exacting revenge. Oklahoma, Arkansas and others have thrown cruel and unusual punishment out the window. They’ve demonstrated willingness to use unauthorized and untested chemical combinations to kill, possibly breaking laws themselves in their desire for vengeance. Other states have redefined mental disabilities to allow what otherwise would not be permitted. States resist DNA testing that might prove innocence lest they get in the way of a promised execution. One the side of quick executions, even at the risk of getting some wrong is the President, Attorney General, most Governors and in Florida’s case the weight of the State government including the Republican legislature. Aramis Ayala stands mainly alone.

That the law supports Ayala’s right to decide whether to seek the death penalty is clear. Should the citizens that elected her dislike her choices there is a mechanism called an election to remove her from office. There are provisions for recall elections should the next election be too far away. There is no legal apparatus for the Governor to restrict her cases, threaten the offices budget (which he has) of for the Legislature to attempt to remove her. Ayala has taken a stand and is facing the whirlwind. A true warrior!

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Photo: blavity.com

Each month Enigma In Black will feature a new Shadow Warrior. Don’t miss any by scrolling down and clicking “Follow”. Please share so that we can bring these Warriors and their work out of the shadows! I’d love to hear your suggestions for future Warriors which you can leave in the comments section.

Featured Photo: pinterest.com

Previous Warriors:

Dr Crystal A. deGregory

Sevgi Fernandez

The Wilson Academy

Kelly Hurst

Who Cries For Roy Oliver? Not Me

The arrest pictures of Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver tell his side of the story. You see him almost in tears as his life has come crashing down around him. He seems remorseful, distraught that it has come to this. Turned on by his own department.

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His mother called him, “a man of strong character.” She said, “He is a very devoted father of two young children, and he is deep in faith.” Yet two weeks earlier, after being rear-ended, he pulled his gun on 26-year old Monique Arredondo while asking for her license. Her 13-year old sister was in the back seat crying. When asked for a comment on the earlier incident. Dallas police spokeswoman Debra Webb said, “the responding officers determined no offense occurred.”

15-year-old Jordan Edwards was also reputed to be of fine character. He maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Was a member of the Mesquite High freshman football team and was beloved by his fellow students. When things got rowdy at a party Edwards was attending. He did the responsible thing, he left.

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When called to the scene of that party where there was reportedly underage drinking going on. Officer Oliver was the second policeman on the scene. He saw a car full of teenagers including Jordan Edwards. He shot into the vehicle four times with his MC5 rifle. One of those shots killed Jordan Edwards.

Roy Oliver was remorseful when he took his mug shots after his arrest. He didn’t seem so when he lied about what happened the night he killed Jordan Edwards. He told a tale of a car that was “aggressively driving in reverse” towards him. In a familiar refrain, he was “in fear for his life.” Jordan Edwards had no reason to be afraid for his life. He was a responsible kid with a bright future. He’d done nothing wrong, and now he’s dead.

Body-cam footage showed the car containing Jordan Edwards was not heading in reverse towards Oliver but driving away. The car was never a threat to Oliver but he fired four shots into it anyway. He’s sorry now, there’s no indication he was before his arrest.

I wonder if the officers who ‘determined no offense occurred” two weeks prior are sorry as well? An intervention then might have left Jordan Edwards alive today. There are alleged reports of PTSD from his time in the service. Instead of treatment he got a gun and a badge. The police chief who rushed to his first press conference defending his officer. He looked sorry when he had to retract his initial reports of self-defense. That 4 of the 5 police officers of Balch Springs are white while 4 out of 5 residents are black is worthy of consideration. Is anyone sorry for that?

Roy Oliver may have one point? He is not the only one responsible for putting us in the situation he’s arrived at. The police force that looks down on the community. When the car containing Edwards was stopped two blocks away. They arrested his companions, calling one of them a “nigger.” They overlooked the fact he Oliver out of control, sweeping his behavior under the rug. He had a proven roadmap to follow. Citing “fear for his life” is usually enough to justify murder, except for the camera’s this time that proved him a liar.

I try to feel compassion for Roy Oliver but it does not come. Mine is reserved for the family that lost a loving son. The teammates experiencing their loss. The school missing one of its finest citizens. I feel for those who look like Jordan whose innocence is lost as they realize that they live in a world not safe. I think Roy Oliver’s tears are not for what he’s done but for being caught. My tears are for Jordan, and that he’s gone too soon.

The Republican Health Care Plan: Follow The Money

Today the Republicans in the House voted to pass their version of a health care plan. We’re certain the President doesn’t know what’s in it as the things he says about it aren’t true. The Republicans in Congress amended their original plan so that they could pretend like they were maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions. It requires one to believe the Republican Governors that refused to expand Medicaid in their states. Will somehow refuse to opt out of the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions and to provide “essential health benefits.” These Governors have already shown you who they are… believe them.

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There are only a few things you need to know about why Republicans did what they did today.

  1. Follow the money – The most important item included in the bill is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act taxes on the rich which now means a tax cut to the same people. Talk about conflict of interest. Every Republican who voted for the new bill will see a tax cut on their personal taxes. To compound matters, they exempted themselves from the elimination of coverage of pre-existing conditions and will keep coverage for essential health benefits.” Basically they gave themselves a raise and maintained the coverage they took from the rest of us.
  2. It was all about Obama – Republicans could have worked with Democrats to fix weaknesses in the Affordable Care Act at any time. It was far more important to destroy Obama’s legacy and erase as much of President Obama’s legislation from the books. It would be too simple to say it’s all about race. It’s all about race and money.
  3. The Republicans made much of the elimination of the Individual Mandate requiring people to get coverage. They hated the concept of the Government telling anyone what to do. It was essential to the funding of the program. The Republican alternative is to charge a 30% surcharge for anyone without coverage that has had a lapse. This provision is highly punitive to someone struggling to get by that chose food or rent one month instead of insurance.
  4. The bill still has to get through the Senate. If they make any changes (which they will) it will go through reconciliation between the two chambers. The only certainty is that Trump will sign anything placed before him as it provides a tax cut to himself and everyone he knows while simultaneously screwing Barack Obama.

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There is nothing in this bill to alleviate the concerns of the citizens that filled town halls and confronted their representatives about the Republican health care plan. The one that was so important to pass that it hasn’t even been scored yet. It’s more important than ever to let your Representatives in Congress and the Senate what you think and that this is unacceptable. Save your breath on the President. He never ever gave a damn about anyone but himself, his family and his rich friends.

Yet Another Name, 15-Year-Old Jordan Edwards

Because I feel like I’ve written this story too many times. I just can’t gather myself to write about the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. The police initially claimed the car he was in was “backing aggressively” towards the officer. The 6-year veteran of the force was as always, “in fear for his life.” Video footage showed he lied and in fact the car he shot into was moving away from him. The unnamed officer has been placed on administrative leave with pay (vacation).

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Photo: twitter.com

I looked back to see that I’d written about  Bernard Bailey who I’d played basketball against and went to Fisk rival Tennessee State University.

I wrote about  Walter Scott,  Joe McKnight,  Alfred Olango,  Tyre King, Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott. I even wrote about What if it was me!

I’ll leave it to others to tell the story of Jordan Edwards. I’m just a little weary right now but I’ll get back up and take on the next one. Promise!

Featured photo: twitter.com

Oh Mary Don’t You Weep (Bethune-Cookman Invites Betsy DeVos)

Fortunately, Mary McLeod Bethune didn’t live to see what the school she founded, Bethune Cookman University, did today. It was announced that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would be this year’s commencement speaker. This immediately lit up Twitter, sparked an online petition to prevent her from speaking and generated hundreds of calls to the University.

Betsy DeVos had already made news regarding HBCUs by suggesting they were, “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” As if there were options for black students to attend college at white institutions at the time. As Education Secretary, DeVos has already threatened to dismantle an income based repayment program for student loans which is important to many BCU students.

In the press release issued by the school, they said, “ “Much like Dr. Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University, Secretary DeVos deems the importance of opportunity and hope for students to receive an exceptional education experience. Her mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy of Dr. Bethune.”

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They went on to describe the commitment of Betsy DeVos to education and highlighted several financial contributions to minority causes in the nearby Orlando area where her family owns the Orlando Magic. Many of the family members were involved with the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation which was the vehicle through which the team made most of their donations. I served as a member of the Youth Foundation Advisory Board during their early years and never saw Betsy at any meetings. I did meet her at a charity golf tournament sponsored by the Foundation and played with her in my foursome. She was nice.

Bethune-Cookman is headed down the road already traveled by Darrell Scott and 100 Black Pastors, Talladega College and their Marching Band, Steve Harvey, Jim Brown and Mike Tyson. After their treks and obligatory photo ops with Donald Trump. They all smiled, and the Trump machine rolled on. Trump has unleashed Jeff Sessions on the inner-cities. Commissioned Congress and Secretary Price to dismantle The Affordable Care Act . DeVos was chosen to champion Charter Schools and ultimately promote an inequality in schools seen in that nostalgic time when America was Great in Trump’s mind.

The University’s statement made note of the importance of Federal funds to the school. The current President of Bethune-Cookman, Edison Jackson, made the trip to the White House along with several other HBCUs to meet Donald Trump. Apparently not satisfied with personal genuflection. He’s now subjecting BCU graduates, parents and alumni to a forced audience with the person whose purpose includes lessening their impact.  Mary McLeod Bethune was a strong woman. Submission is not the path she’d have chosen. Don’t weep Mary.