Comrades United: How The U.S. Sold Itself To Foreign Interests

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, The House Intelligence Committee released seven hours of testimony recounting the interview with Glenn Simpson of FusionGPS. The Republican-controlled committee had shown little interest in releasing the testimony until their hand was forced by a release of ten hours of Senate Judiciary Committee testimony by Diane Feinstein, against the wishes of Republican Chairman, Chuck Grassley.

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Possibly lost in the House testimony which discussed Trump ties to both the Italian and Russian mobs and multiple inferences of money laundering, was the mention of Russia infiltrating the NRA and possibly funneling millions of dark money (donors undisclosed) to support Donald Trump’s bid for election. It’s true that the NRA spent three times as much ($30 Million) in support of Trump than it did for Mitt Romney four years earlier. What we don’t know is how much of that money came from Russia?

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This is all possible because the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United, which says that the free speech clause of the First Amendment allows for unlimited political contributions from nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, unions, and other associations for “independent expenditures for communications.” It is the law that equates corporations with people and allows for anonymous corporate donations.

While illegal for foreign nations to contribute to American elections, apparently the Russians didn’t care, the NRA didn’t care, and there is little reason to suggest that Congress will care, as all Republicans and many Democrats are beholden to the NRA for their own campaign financing.

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Also deep in the transcript of the interview, is that in addition to the NRA, Russia is using multiple outlets in its attempts to influence American elections. There is no solution which does not involve the United States Congress, passing a bill which replaces Citizens United and takes dark money out of politics. It would be nice if every member that received donations from the NRA and any other organization filtering Russian money, donated a like amount to a charitable cause that benefits this country, not another.

The NRA has some cleaning house to do, we’ll see how willing they are to address their infiltration and what actions if any they take? The issue is bigger than that, however. The issue is whether we as a country are willing to cede our independence to Russia, or China, the Koch brothers and I’ll throw in George Soros to make my Republican friends happy. What is the justification for having any dark money in our election process? I can think of none.

Some Places Are Not For Staying

Photo: thenakedconvos.com

In 1996, Prince released a cover of The Stylistics, “Betcha By Golly Wow.” Before he began singing, he said, “Sometimes the words of another… seem to work out fine.

In the movie, “Finding Forrester.” Sean Connery as William Forrester said, ” I helped him find his own words… by starting with some of mine.”

Sometimes you run across the words of others that just inspire you to do something with them. I recently read a poem by Fee Thomas where a line jumped into my mind and has been wrestling with me to write something about it. I asked permission to use those words. “Some places are not for staying!” This is the result.

SOME PLACES ARE NOT FOR STAYING

Some places are not for staying

You may find yourself in them from time to time

They whisper for you to stay for they are lonely places wanting the company of your misery

They tell you, “Stay if you like”

They pretend to be comfortable places

But they’re not for staying


Photo: Codewit.com

Grieving is not for staying

We all experience loss and handle it differently

But mourning is for a season, not forevermore

We love a person no less when we move on from grief

Forget them not but wrap yourself in the warm and good memories

Grieving… not for staying

Some relationships are not for staying

If pain exceeds joy or truth is never certain

When what you deserve is not what you get

Staying may mean blocking your true joy

Some relationships… not for staying


Photo: Cosmopolitan.com

Pride is not a place for staying

Even visits should be short

It costs you much and gives next to nothing

Pride eviscerates truth, honor and trust

All for a momentary satisfaction

It rears its head again and again, when you notice it’s approach you should instead embrace humility and grace

Not for staying

The past is not for staying

Rather than trying to recreate old memories

Create new ones

Live not in the footsteps of past triumphs

Forfeit not the present

Learn from the past, let it guide you

Don’t stay there, it will only hold you back


Photo: wellspring.com

Love is not for simply staying

It’s not for staying because love is a dynamic thing

It requires sustenance, time and effort

Once discovered it can fade away so keep moving toward the light

Or the darkness of its absence will overtake you

Frustration, Disappointment, Fear, Envy, Hatred, Financial Hardship, Depression…

All places not to stay

How to get out when you find yourself in a not for staying place?

Find someone who’s been there before and knows the way out

Pick a destination away from that place and make plans to go

Pray and act

Pray and act

Don’t pray and wait

Pray and act


Photo: Getty Images

There are places not for staying

Ultimately good for only wallowing and pain

Knowing you’re there is half the battle

Leaving begins with a single step

Some places are not for staying

Why The Government Will Shut Down And Who Is Responsible (The Big Orange Dummy)

Although Congress has until Friday to pass a funding bill. It’s not going to happen for a variety of reasons. There is still hope that they will pass a continuing resolution and keep the government open for a few more weeks while they then do this all over again.

The House Republicans are pushing (and will pass) a temporary funding bill which does nothing to address DACA, the program which Trump ended and gave Congress six-months to come up with a legislative solution. Despite all the claims from Republicans they want to support the Dreamers. Many of them don’t because they want the Dreamers to go home and that’s reflected in the bill they’ve proposed. If this funding bill passes, there will be no incentive for Republicans to get a DACA deal done and the program will end.

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There could have been a DACA deal, a bipartisan group of Senators came up with a deal that met the four criteria Trump said he wanted and agreed he would sign. When the bill was presented to him, Gen. Kelly, Stephen Miller and hard-line Congressmen and Senators convinced Trump to torpedo the deal which is why there will be no temporary funding bill. Trump sabotaged it.

Part of the House bill proposed includes extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years which pretty much everyone agrees needs to be done although Democrats were pushing for a ten-year extension. The truth is, that extension could have and should have been taken care of back in September but Republicans refused to address it, saving it for a time such as this to pigeonhole Democrats. Trump, not actually understanding the CHIP funding, tweeted against inclusion into the funding continuation, later somebody must have bitch-slapped him and he then gave his support.

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While Democrats don’t want to be blamed for shutting down the government. Their base is demanding they don’t choke on DACA as they have done at least twice previously. They promised they, “wouldn’t go home for Christmas without a deal” and let other occasions go by when they could have stood up for the Dreamers.

While the House will pass their version (kicking Dreamers to the curb). The Senate needs sixty votes to pass something meaning they need several Democrats. Mitch McConnell says he trying to figure out exactly what Trump would sign to keep everyone from spinning their wheels. Some Republicans including Lindsey Graham say they’ll vote no. His vote is about DACA but he’s claiming it’s about military funding which does suffer under a continuing resolution as opposed to actually passing a budget. The resolution locks spending in at previous levels and also makes them susceptible to mandatory cuts.

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There will be multiple points in the next couple days where this could be avoided. Because most of them involve Republican concessions of Democrats totally caving they will likely fail. The biggest stumbling block is the man who has to sign the bill who is now saying things like, “no wall, no bill” because his own Chief-of-Staff called him “uninformed.” I haven’t agreed much with Gen. Kelly lately but even he gets it right now and then.

Once there is a shutdown. Despite Trump and Republicans attempts to blame Democrats. They will bear the responsibility of finding a fix and the pressure will keep building on them. Things will be made worse for them by stupid tweets from Trump which will turn any undecided on the issue against Trump. If the Democrats don’t fold (as they have far too many times). DACA will get done, CHIP will be extended, and life will go on.

What Went Wrong When Bannon Tried To Testify And How House Republicans Were Complicit

So, Steve Bannon voluntarily appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, offering to answer their questions. He brought his lawyer as would be expected, but that evolved into a situation where his lawyer was calling White House attorneys, getting permission to answer each and every question. Before it was over, the White House had exerted Executive Privilege on conversations Bannon participated in during the transition (before Trump was the Executive). While Bannon worked in the White House. Even after Bannon was fired and no longer officially associated with Trump. This was an assertion of privilege that far exceeded anything ever claimed before. Despite being issued a subpoena on the spot, Bannon could not be persuaded to answer questions, promising however to answer all questions from the Mueller probe which has also issued him a subpoena.

But that isn’t the worst of it. It seems the White House had negotiated a deal with the House Intelligence Committee limiting the scope of the questions and when the questions began to exceed the pre-arranged limits, the White House shut it down. I should add that the Democrats on the committee were unaware of the secret arrangement, allowing the Republicans to continue to protect the President which has always been their goal. Republican leaders on the same committee have been actively trying to find out everything Special Counsel Mueller knows, presumably to leak the information to the Trump team.

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In a related story. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski testified today before the same committee. Although he promised on Fox News he’d be answering any and all questions. It seems he too got non-responsive when it came time to actually give answers.

Before the interview was shut down, Bannon did reveal he had been in discussions with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, and Trump outside lawyer Mark Corallo about the June 2016 meeting Donald Jr. held in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney.

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Of the things, we do know, Bannon hoods a grudge against both Jared Kushner and Donald Trump, Jr. We don’t know how he feels about the man who fired him, who has recently tried his best to throw him under the bus. Bannon has a story to tell and seems more than willing to tell it… to the right audience.

Why Trump Likes Norwegians

In testimony under oath, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielson told the world why Donald Trump prefers immigrants from Norway as opposed to those from any part of Africa, El Salvador, or Haiti! She testified that he’d learned that “Norwegians are industrious and hard-working,” implying that the black and brown people from the other countries he denounced as, “shithole countries,” were not.

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She worked hard not to acknowledge that Trump had used that language. Saying instead he used, “tough language” as did several others in the room. Her recollection of any words Trump used was missing, yet she remembered what he meant regarding anything he said.

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Senator Corey Booker clearly got the implication that black and brown people were lazy, shiftless, and less capable than the Norwegians that Trump has taken so fondly to. It’s not surprising that Secretary Nielson didn’t consider the implications of what she did acknowledge about Trump, while avoiding confirming what he said that he now denies. She tried to cut Booker off and he said loudly, “Excuse me let me finish!” She backed down. Just as Corey Booker was vigorously responding to her comments. Senator Dick Durbin stepped outside and gave an interview and MSNBC switched from Booker’s comments to the Durbin interview. Hopefully, the entire Booker questioning will be available.

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This is the Trump White House, racist in so many ways that they don’t even understand them. So whether Trump is saying that “everyone from Haiti has aids,” or that “Nigerians will never go back to their huts,” or “Norwegians are industrious and hard-working.” The result is the same. And history is not only judging the racist President but those who support his every move.

Everything You Need To Know To Get Ready For The Black Panther Movie


On February 16, 2018, the Black Panther will hit theaters in the US. It already has eclipsed all pre-sales of tickets for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies, topping Captain America: Civil War within 24 hours. The title character, T’challa (Chadwick Boseman) was introduced to Marvel film fans in that Captain America movie which left us with T’challa cryogenically freezing Cap’s WWII pal Bucky who is a fugitive from the world and needs a new arm as well.

If you are unfamiliar with Black Panther from the comics or simply need a refresher. Here’s what you need to know before taking your seat at the theater. The movie has much to do to set up for Avengers: Infinity War in which Boseman will also star so get your backstory down now.


The character, Black Panther, debuted in July 1966 in Fantastic Four #52. In that book, T’challa, the King of the fictional nation of Wakanda, invited the Fantastic Four to Wakanda in which turned out to be a test of his powers against theirs, preparing for a destined battle against Ulysses Klaue (Klaw), the man who killed his father the former king, T’chaka. T’chaka died differently in the movie universe but either way it made T’challa the new King of a great nation. Together, the Fantastic Four and T’challa defeated Klaw with the Panther doing most of the heavy lifting and T’challa vowed to use his powers to serve mankind.

What powers you might ask? He received enhanced abilities through a secret ancient Wakandan ritual. He has genius intellect, martial arts skills, super quickness. Great strength and he might just be the richest man in the world as well, owing to the natural resources of Wakanda including Vibranium, the substance from which Captain America’s shield was made. When Bucky gets a new arm, I’m thinking it will be made of vibranium as well. Over the years T’challa’s been associated with The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Defenders, Fantastic Force, Illuminati, and the Ultimates. In the comic world, he was married to Storm of the X-men which never could have happened in the movies but since Disney is getting the rights to the X-men characters previously owned by Fox, we may see the two of them kicking it in the near future.


Being King of Wakanda has its privileges, Wakanda is perhaps the most technologically developed nation on earth and he has an all-female bodyguard crew called the Dora Milaje. They serve the King, speaking only in the obscure Wakandan language of Hausa, allowing them to speak in the presence of others without being understood. The film will introduce us to members Okoye (Danai Guriya of Walking Dead fame) along with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Angela Bassett will portray T’challa’s loving stepmother, Ramonda, and Forrest Whitaker will play, Zuri, an elder Wakandan statesman. He also gets a vibranium laced costume which will absorb most of the things that would kill lesser men, and is still, possibly the richest man in the world.


Of course, there are haters as well. We know Klaw will return, no doubt with some lethal enhancement taking the place of the hand that Ultron sliced off in the last Avengers movie. This will make him appear more like the original Klaw who added a sonic-blaster after young T’challa disintegrated his hand after Klaw killed his father. We’ll also meet Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan), a fellow Wakandan with all the physical abilities of T’challa who thinks that it is he that should be king. A former ally of Klaw in the comics, we don’t know if that carries over to the film but both will be coming for T’challa at some point.


When introduced in the comics, every stereotype you might imagine about Africa and black people was employed but the Black Panther was still the first major black character in Marvel. The Panther got woke when he was brought to life by black writers Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin and most recently Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxanne Gay, and Nnedi Okorafor, and artist Brian Stelfreeze, among others. None of that gave the Panther comics commercial success but we now see the film is being well received. The movie will have perhaps the blackest overall cast of any projected blockbuster ever. Get your tickets!

Ten Quotes From Martin Luther King, Jr. That Mean Even More Now!

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  1. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
  2. If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  3. “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
  4. “Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.”
  5. “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
  6. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
  7. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  8. “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
  9. “A man not willing to die for something is not fit to live!”
  10. “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Movie Review: Proud Mary (Taraji P Henson)


There are a whole lot of good reasons to see, “Proud Mary” which was just released to theaters. I’d seen a good bit of advertising but no reviews which wouldn’t have meant anything to me anyway because I was really looking forward to seeing the movie.

First, there was Taraji P. Henson the movie’s star. She has tremendous talent and presence, it was impossible to take your eyes off her when she was on camera. She was able to overcome, for the most part, poor dialogue, a weak plot, and a great departure from believability.


The movie has a killer soundtrack! Versions of, “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Comin’ From Where I’m From,” and of course, “Proud Mary” was almost worth the price of admission… almost. Danny Glover was either miscast or disinterested in his role as Benny, a family-oriented mob boss. There was the possibly unnoticed reunion of actors Margaret Avery (Shug) and Glover (Mister) from The Color Purple playing a married couple so there’s that.

The co-star of the movie was Jahi Di’Allo Winston, last seen as young Ralph Tresvant in the New Edition biopic. As “Danny” he was either highly predictable or totally unbelievable. There was a bit of chemistry between him and Henson (Mary) and you just kind of had to accept their motivations with almost no character development.


It might seem as if my review is little different than others that combined for a 23% Rotten Tomatoes score but I want to point out the positives. There were two great action scenes in which Mary was every bit the badass you hoped she’d be when you bought your ticket. If you came to see “Cookie” from “Empire” with guns, you got your wish. Taraji was able to more or less carry the movie which she was pretty much left to do. I for one am glad to have seen the movie, although the next time will be on cable. The theatre showed previews for Henson’s upcoming film, “Acrimony” which will be released in March, which looks like “Diary of a Mad Black Woman Part 2,” but I’ll probably see that one as well. Because there’s no such thing as too much Taraji!


Alan Spivey: Shadow Warrior

Almost two years ago, I made an appointment to interview a young man in anticipation of one day writing a book about him. Not for the things he had accomplished, but for what he would. He was the sort of man that radiates purpose and destiny. That he would do great things was certain, my interview was preparation for what is sure to come.

I’ve known this man all his life, so I was able to bring up some items to discuss that he may have forgotten. I reminded him of the lesson he taught me about perseverance. We were watching Ryder Cup Tournament that covered two days. After the first day, the European team had a commanding lead. I had conceded the American’s defeat. He told me, “It’s not over!” On the next day, the US team roared back and claimed victory against incredible odds. He raised his fist and said, “Persevere!”

He knew two years ago he wanted to start his own business, he was still working out exactly what. His full-time job was with a Chapter Thirteen Bankruptcy Office where he reviewed all the files before submission. He had become excited about a Mortage Modification Program which only whetted his appetite to do more. He’d seen what had befallen homeowners and investors. He said, “I want to help.” I reminded him that while he was still in high school, he wanted to train service dogs which would then partner with humans after 1-2 years of training. While he didn’t ever train service animals, his desire to help others never left him.

During the interview, I asked him what had prepared him for the next step and how was he feeling? He said he was, “nervous and confident.” Being part of the FAMU Business Program made him fearless in his ability to network. He said, “that training prepared me to be able to talk to anyone” regarding his business. He discussed partnerships, traveled from coast to coast meeting potential investors in New Jersey and California. There were setbacks to be sure but he never stopped pressing on. He didn’t even have to use the word, “persevere,” he’d just raise his fist and the meaning was clear.

As exciting as it has been to watch him pursue his goals with a laser-like focus. I’ve been more impressed watching him mature as a man and as a father. He never forgets the why of it all and the trust his family has in him is a joy to watch. His oldest daughter might be playing behind him while he’s seated and suddenly launch herself over his head saying, “catch me, Daddy!” He says, “you have to warn me first,” but he has never failed to catch her. His youngest daughter calls to him to save her when captured by the evil grandfather. He never lets her down.

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He recognizes the work his wife, Jessica, puts in being a stay at home mom, who has completed her MBA since their marriage and runs her own business, Jessica’s Cookie Jar. They still have date nights, he supports her business as she supports his. They are a team in every respect. Regarding those cookies… I must warn you, they are the best cookies ever and you can become addicted faster than crack.

I probably should mention that this young man I know so well and have always admired, is my son. My contribution is to babysit his two girls on those date nights and other occasions. And to be the official recorder of his success. An additional disclaimer, at the end of this article I will ask you to make a small contribution towards launching his business or at least share this post with others should some of them be interested. Let me tell you a little about the business.

Alan has formed the Social and Sustainable Community Development Fund which will help create affordable housing and help people facing foreclosure issues. Among other things, they will acquire underwater mortgages and offer mortgage modifications including principal reductions. They’ll also provide one-on-one counseling with distressed homeowners.

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They have just started a campaign to raise $55,000 in start-up costs to get this thing off the ground. When you click on the link. You can watch the video about what their mission. You could read about how they plan to become a Community Development Financial Institution. What I’m hoping for is that you contribute, and/or share.

While there will be opportunities to invest in the future, this is not that. It’s hoping you can give to a company that will give back far more than your contribution. Not everyone will be able to donate but anyone can at least share this post. I know this venture will be successful because I know the man behind it. Alan Spivey: Shadow Warrior

Social and Sustainable Community Development Fund

 

 

 

Trump Makes It Clear, Black and Brown People Are From “Shithole Countries.”

Photo: cnn.com

In a meeting with lawmakers on immigration in the Oval Office. Donald Trump asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” He finally said out loud which few others have said directly when he suggested we should bring more people “from countries like Norway.”


His comments came after lawmakers floated the idea of restoring protections for people from Haiti, El Salvador, and some African countries after Trump unilaterally rescinded them, sending hundreds of thousands of people back to those countries beginning next year. There are predominantly white countries receiving the same sorts of protections which weren’t rescinded and the answer is now very clear. Their people look more like those from Norway.

Trump’s and Sessions immigration policy has always been about race and now there can be no doubt. We always knew what, “Make America Great Again” meant, and now he’s gone and made it official that he means, Make America White! While Trump is the poster boy, its long been part of the Republican Platform to oppose immigration from countries of color as they’ve been blocking comprehensive immigration reform for well over a decade. No doubt some elected officials will come forward and denounce the President’s words yet continue to adopt the policies supporting them.


Since he took office I’ve been wondering if I would ever find something this President did I could support. I can now say yes, he told the truth for all to see. May he be Impeached and deported to a shithole country and given the reception he deserves.