Jones Wins! And No Alabama, We Don’t Forgive You, Or The Republican Party Either

So, Alabama, you walked to the edge of the precipice, and this time didn’t jump off. The state that has given us Bull Connor, George Wallace, and Jeff Sessions, and embraced Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. Was concerned enough about its reputation to not vote for Roy Moore; racist, homophobe… pedophile. The race was close, Moore led most of the time but the urban counties that included Montgomery, Huntsville, ad Mobile, pulled it out for Jones.

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So before you start celebrating that Alabama did the right thing. Remember, this was a race that shouldn’t have been close. You flirted with sending the worst candidate since Trump to the United States Senate, knowing who he is and not caring. Yes, a few more of you voted for Doug Jones, but enough of you voted for Moore that you don’t get a pass.

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Let’s not forget the Republican Party either. The Republican National Committee was shocked to hear about Moore’s past trying to pick up teenage girls at the mall, or in one case at the courthouse. In alleged disgust, they withdrew funding from the race while still supplying feet on the ground to help Moore until they got caught doing that. As the election drew near and they realized that Alabamians weren’t repulsed enough to make winning impossible. You quietly slipped Moore $1 million in additional funding which no individual admits deciding to do. Ronna Romney McDaniel, the RNC Chair said, “the entire Alabama delegations from the House and Senate” asked us to restore funding. Just afterward, Sen. Richard Shelby indicated he didn’t vote for Moore and made no such request.

Back to you Alabama; former Auburn University and NBA star Charles Barkley said, “At some point, we’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation.” Alabama has yet to reach that point. When I was in college, I went to Montgomery to play in a basketball tournament. When it was concluded, I didn’t return to Nashville with my team as it was now spring break but instead took a bus to Atlanta where I then lived. Before leaving, I had a meal in a Picadilly Restaurant where they served buffet style meals. I was surprised when I saw an Alabama State Trooper wheel in the ex-Governor George Wallace. This was a few years after the assassination attempt that left him paralyzed during his run for President in 1972. Say what you will about George, before the shooting he was energetic, robust, and projected strength. The man I now saw was lethargic and defeated, a shell of his former self. In the abstract, I considered Wallace someone to show contempt for if not outright hate. The man before me only generated pity.

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The news coverage of the election revealed how extensive voter suppression is in the state. It was a court case in Shelby County that led to the gutting of the enforcement provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Alabama immediately enacted a Voter ID law that did several other things including making it harder to get licenses in the counties with the highest black populations in the state. Alabama is still very much what we thought it was. They are not to be celebrated for refusing to send a man to the Senate that they wouldn’t let near their daughters, that was banned from the mall. They came awfully close to doing just that because their politics were far more important than their morals. I’ve found that same sense of pity I once felt for George Wallace. #Sad!

Six Things Stringer Bell From “The Wire” Could Have Taught Michael Flynn

Stringer Bell (played by Idris Elba) was the 2nd in Command of Avon Barksdale’s criminal organization in the fictional TV series, “The Wire.” Unquestionably one of the top-five television series of all time. Watching the current situation of retired Lt. General Michael Flynn play out. There’s a number of things he could have learned from Stringer and here’s six of them:

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  1. Assume You’re Under Surveillance: Stringer knew the police were out to get him. That’s why he made sure people didn’t talk business on their phones. In an era where what they mostly had was pay phones and pagers. They didn’t send clearly worded messages that screamed “guilty.” Stringer developed a code where even if you were looking at the message you needed clocks and maps to schedule a meet where then you handled your business in person. Stringer was never taped having a secret meeting with “the Greek” like Flynn has been with Russians.
  2. Get Rid of Your Loose Ends: You think Stringer would have left Carter Page and George Papadopoulos running around snitching. Stringer Bell put out a hit on Avon’s nephew D’Angelo without Avon’s knowledge, because of what he knew and might one day say. In the Barksdale crew, if you weren’t willing to bet your life that someone wasn’t snitching, they had to get got!
  3. Exercise Patience: Stringer took the long view. When Omar was ripping off their stashes and had the Barksdale leaders in hiding. He offered a truce to end the situation, planning to get back at Omar later. Avon’s pride wanted immediate action but they couldn’t find Omar while he was literally killing their profits and crew. Flynn started implementing his get rich schemes, eleven minutes into the Trump Administration according to newly uncovered text messages. Eleven minutes… really Flynn?
  4. Never Be Flashy: Stringer had a penthouse apartment that almost nobody ever got to go to or knew where it was. He was quiet, he didn’t dress loudly. He simply fit in. Flynn attended State Dinners with Vladimir Putin, posing for pictures that have been repeatedly shown on network news. While Flynn was at rallies shouting, “Lock her up.” Stringer would have been at home, studying economic theory about inelastic goods.
  5. Use Cut Outs to Do Your Dirty Work: Stringer didn’t do his own hits, he rarely carried a gun. That’s what Chris and Snoop were for. They gave him distance and deniability. Flynn personally attended multiple meetings with low-level Russians, sometimes documenting the deeds. Flynn worked as an unregistered agent for Turkey, hired among other things to coordinate a kidnapping for $15 million. I don’t know what kind of pensions retired General’s get but were times really that hard?
  6. Don’t Make the Wrong Enemies (or Friends): Stringer Bell ran afoul of the deadly combination of Omar and Brother Mouzone. Stringer’s boss and alleged friend Avon Barksdale gave his location up to a couple of brothers with a skill set that nobody wanted to mess with. As Stringed discovered, they couldn’t be swayed by money, it was justice they desired. Flynn has crossed paths with Robert Mueller with a different skill set, one Flynn wished had never been focused on him. Flynn is selling out his boss Donald Trump and before it’s over, Trump will come for him.

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Although Flynn was once the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He apparently didn’t acquire any of the street smarts to navigate the madness of Trump world. He’d have been better served to have watched a few episodes of The Wire. Michael Flynn may feel he doesn’t deserve to be in the situation he finds himself in. But as Snoop from the wire could have told him, “Deserve got nothin’ to do with it.

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Flynn’s best response to his predicament might be similar that of State Senator Clay Davis, “Shiiiiiiiiiiiit!”

How The Death of Net Neutrality Derails Social Justice Organizations

“Chairman Pai’s plan to gut the FCC’s net neutrality rules will devastate Black communities. Net neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open Internet, which has been crucial to today’s fights for civil rights and equality. Our ability to have our voices heard in this democracy depends on an open Internet because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing. Net neutrality ensures that the Internet is a place for innovation and opportunity for all, rather than just the wealthy few.”

To fully understand how the death of Net Neutrality will harm Social Justice organizations and impact the ability of grassroots organizations to thrive, one must first understand what it is. In 2015, during the Obama administration, the FCC adopted rules to keep the Internet free and open. Prohibiting Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T from dictating at what speeds you can access content and whether you can access it at all. The great majority of the public has supported Net Neutrality. Republican legislators, many of whom receive monetary donations from the ISP’s do not.

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Photo: businessinsider.com

Because most of us are used to a free and open Internet, we have no concept of what the loss of Net Neutrality means in practical terms. Let’s look at what ISP’s have already attempted to do before courts and now FCC Rules turned them back.

From 2007-2009, AT&T made Apple block Skype services, Google Net, and related services because they might compete with AT&T. In 2010, Windstream hijacked search queries of Firefox users, directing them to Windstream’s portal and results in spite of how the user set their search engine. In 2011, Metro PCS blocked any streaming service except for YouTube. Imagine if you or your organization went live on Black Junction or even Facebook and your message couldn’t get out to Metro PCS users.

From 2011-2013, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint blocked Google Wallet, a mobile payment system that competed with one the three firms were developing. In 2012, AT&T disabled a FaceTime video calling app unless users subscribed to a more expensive text and voice plan. All these things were stopped with the advent of Net Neutrality and without it are likely to return.

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Photo: billmoyers.com

This could easily be seen as a high-tech issue but it can also turn into a high-tech lynching like the one Clarence Thomas once imagined. What if Social Justice organizations lost the ability to get out their message, alerting the community of events that might otherwise go underreported and barely noticed. In 2012, in response to a constant narrative blaming the victim across the media. An organization started by three women was formed and because of free and uncensored access to the Internet was able to get their message out and start a movement. That “victim” was Trayvon Martin and the organization was Black Lives Matter. In a post-Net Neutrality world, their voice might never have been heard.

Rashad Robinson, the Executive Director of Color of Change said,

“Chairman Pai’s plan to gut the FCC’s net neutrality rules will devastate Black communities. Net neutrality is essential to protecting our free and open Internet, which has been crucial to today’s fights for civil rights and equality. Our ability to have our voices heard in this democracy depends on an open Internet because it allows voices and ideas to spread based on substance, rather than financial backing. Net neutrality ensures that the Internet is a place for innovation and opportunity for all, rather than just the wealthy few.”

Imagine a world where the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Together We Stand, the National Action Network, Color of Change, National Council of La Raza, Race Forward, National Council of Negro Women, the National Congress of American Indian and many other groups could no longer get the word out? These organizations depend on access to the Internet both to get their message out and to fundraise to support their very existence. There are those that think that kind of world with no resistance to their programming would be a good thing. They are the ones supporting the end of Net Neutrality.

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Photo: twitter.com

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher, Alton Sterling and more are the names you never would have said if the word didn’t get out. Suppose your request for information on something you heard about only returned an error message like, “Page Not Found.” The end of Net Neutrality would mean that others will determine what messages are allowed to be heard and seen and by whom. It’s about race, it’s about money, and it’s about power.

Stand up and be counted in resistance to the FCC’s plans to end Net Neutrality, Sign the Change.Org Petition to let the FCC and Congress know that the people do not support this change. If Social Justice isn’t enough to motivate you, imagine paying more to access YouTube or shop online. It gives control of what you can do online to large corporations.

The Republican-controlled FCC is resisting attempts to delay the vote to end Net Neutrality, scheduled for December 14, 2017. They prefer to rush the vote through, following the model of Republican legislators in the House and Senate while pursuing Tax Change and the end of Obamacare. Let them know you support an open Internet.

Featured Photo: colorofchange.org

Fathers and Sons

Michael Flynn and Michael Flynn, Jr

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“The SJW (Social justice warriors) are out in full this morning, the disappointment on your faces when I don’t go to jail will be worth all your harassment.”

Michael Flynn, Jr recently tweeted these words and they may very well be true. His father, Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to Donald Trump, plead guilty to charges of lying to the FBI. It’s part of a deal where the Sr. Flynn was not charged with several other offenses for which there was evidence, in return for cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and providing everything he knows about the Trump campaign, transition team, and administration and their dealings with Russia. Part of the deal seems to be that his son will not be charged. It’s possible that the whole impetus for Flynn was to save his son.

Michael Flynn spent 33 years in the US Army, achieving the rank of Lieutenant General, serving all over the world. Like many career officers, he spent much of that time away from home. I won’t speculate about the relationship between Flynn and his son’s. He is close to Michael Jr and a bit distant from his other son Matt. It is Michael Jr who he made CEO of his company and who he’s potentially saving from jail.

Michael doesn’t appear to be the most appreciative of sons. He’s the same one that tweeted and retweeted racist memes. His father brought him into the transition team until his conspiracy theory tweets got him ousted. He may not have noticed that the price of his freedom was a felon for a father who may still face jail time.

Charles Kushner and Jared Kushner

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Charles Kushner isn’t your average family man. In 2004 he pleaded guilty to a tax fraud scheme, claiming hundreds of thousands of dollars in phony deductions. He also retaliated against someone he believed to be a cooperating witness, his sister. He set up his brother-in-law with a prostitute. Had pictures taken along with videotape, and sent them to her as payback. He also made illegal campaign contributions in the name of others without their knowledge.

Jared Kushner was a Harvard student at the time and found he had to step up and take a larger role in the family business. He visited his father regularly during his two years in prison. He didn’t blame his father, he blamed the media, making him truly fit for the Trump family and administration.

Jared now is facing the real prospect that his three children; Arabella, Joseph, and Theodore, will soon have to visit him in a Federal prison. The crime Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to was lying to the FBI. It is likely that Jared has already done at least that, without even considering the financial crimes he may be tied to with Russian mobsters. General Flynn has been charged with only one count of lying to the FBI because he has become a cooperating witness, presumably against a bigger target. Should Jared wish a similar sentence, there’s only one larger target in the White House. His father-in-law, Donald Trump.

Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr

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It’s not a compliment, but Donald Jr is seen as the brighter of Trump’s sons. Not bright enough to have kept from arranging and attending clandestine meetings with Russians. Some including Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner. “Donnie” has a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and the likelihood that he hasn’t lied to the FBI already is slim indeed. He strikes me as having the arrogance and pretentiousness to believe he’s too smart to get caught. I think I’ll bet on Mueller. His father has been able to cover up his son’s poor judgment in the past. Bad real estate deals in South Carolina, homophobic comments and more. In what seems like a trend, he’s also retweeted Neo-Nazi and skinhead memes to his like-minded followers.

The question is, will his father be willing to make the same kind of sacrifice that Michael Flynn made for his son? Is there any suggestion that Donald Trump has that kind of love for anyone besides himself? My bet is that Trump will let every member of his administration including sons, daughter, and son-in-law, take a bullet before he acknowledges any wrongdoing. It’s not in his DNA.

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The tempo of the Mueller investigation has picked up. Fathers and Sons are having to make choices they’ll have to live with for the rest of their lives. After pleading guilty in Federal Court, Michael Flynn went directly to his son’s home. Jared Kushner and wife Ivanka, have silently left Washington, DC and returned to New York. Mueller knows where they are. Donald Trump, Jr has been silent today as has his father. The elder Trump skipped a meeting with the press and is reportedly fuming in the White House over Flynn’s betrayal. He hasn’t tweeted a solitary thing. Family bonds are being tested, another type of bonds, bail-bonds, may soon be needed as well.

 

 

 

What Flynn’s Guilty Plea Means!

Michael Flynn just plead guilty to a charge of, Lying To The FBI.” He acknowledged lying about negotiating a deal with the Russians, not to respond to sanctions against Russia imposed by Congress with the understanding that a Trump administration would ease sanctions once in office. Another stunning admission was that a “Senior member of the Trump Transition Team, directed him to contact the Russians.” NBC News is reporting that Jared Kushner is the senior official that directed him.

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Donald Trump and the White House has yet to respond to questions about Flynn and Kushner. Trump was scheduled to have a small press gaggle which was abruptly canceled. Lawyers from the White House are claiming that Flynn’s statements don’t implicate anyone other than himself.

What this means is that Flynn is cooperating fully with the Mueller investigation. The only reason Flynn would be only charged with this one item given the range of known financial misdealings is that he is providing information on a bigger fish in the transition/administration. A sentencing recommendation has yet to be made, including whether Flynn’s son will be indicted. The maximum sentence for Lying To The FBI is five years. With further charges for himself and his son hanging over his head. Flynn is obligated to spill his guts, telling everything he knows about those the Mueller investigation is interested in.

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The charge of, Lying To The FBI is also a signal to anyone else in the administration that if you lie to them, you will be charged. Given the range of witnesses who have already met with the FBI. When they meet with Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner (again) and Donald J. Trump. They will already know the answers to the questions they are asking.

As an aside, Flynn likely wishes he could take back all the times he led a chant of, “Lock her up!” It is likely that even the deal he’s been given will result in jail time, otherwise having a charge of Lying To The FBI would be worthless.

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As for Donald Trump, the noose is getting tighter and one question is, how far would he be willing to go to save his son? His son-in-law? All the talk about, “No collusion!” and “a witchhunt” should come to a close. It’s gotten real and is getting closer and closer to Trump’s door every day. Perhaps James Comey said it best in a quote from the bible.

“‘But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,’ Amos 5:24,”

The Unabridged List Of Racial Slurs (According To Sarah Huckabee Sanders)

From the White House podium, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has officially pronounced that “Pocahontas” is not a racial slur and in fact, Elizabeth Warren is the real racist, not Donald Trump who called her Pocahontas for the umpteenth time.

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Trump has a history of racist comments against many groups; including calling Mexicans “criminals and rapists,” claiming to have a “great relationship with the blacks,” and saying separately that neither Mexican or Muslim judges could be fair to him. He also demeans and assaults women, but I digress.

To assist the press in their reporting so as to no longer continue to bombard her with questions about Trump’s racist comments and tweets. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has compiled a complete list of all the racist slurs recognized by Donald Trump and therefore by the White House.

  1. Cracker
  2. White bread
  3. Redneck
  4. White Trash
  5. Peckerwood
  6. Pale-face
  7. Any reference to Orange and Trump in the same sentence (Orange People Matter)

She went on to add that, “these terms are utterly offensive and have no place in American discourse. Simultaneously, Trump was issuing an executive order requiring the deportation of anyone using those terms to the country of their family’s origin. In the event, there is no known country of origin or the offensive party is a Native American and “been here longer than any of us.” The default will be to send them to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where Trump has just reached a deal to create, “Trump Tower Gitmo.”

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Sanders concluded her statement by saying all other terms are non-offensive and “if the President uses them, they can’t be racist.” It was reported that Steve Bannon was in the wings cheering and Kellyanne Conway was heading for the nearest microphone to further lie elaborate.

Trump Word For The Day: Pocahontas

Donald Trump simply doesn’t know when to shut the hell up. At a ceremony honoring three Navajo Indian veterans who served as code talkers during World War II, Trump went off script and referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.” Making things worse, the ceremony was conducted directly beneath a portrait of Andrew Jackson who as President was directly responsible for forcible removal of many tribes from their native lands.

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Because Trump thinks apologies make him appear weak. He then sent out Sarah Huckabee Sanders to argue that calling Warren, “Pocahontas” wasn’t really a racial slur, basically claiming Trump is the sole arbiter of what’s racist and what isn’t.

The story of Pocahontas has been romanticized by Disney band watered down in schoolbooks. As a teenager, she was captured by the British and brought to England, where she ultimately married a white man and bore a child. She died of unknown causes at the age of 19.

That Trump is a racist has always been clear. That he doesn’t have the ability to curtail his urges even at formal ceremonies celebrating the people he chooses to disparage is #Sad.

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Elizabeth Warren responded, “It is deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur,”

John Norwood, General Secretary for the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes said the nickname, “smacks of racism.” He added, “The reference is using a historic American Indian figure as a derogatory insult and that’s insulting to all American Indians.”

While this President may ultimately go down in flames due to conspiracies with Russia and financial crimes. We should never forget he’s also a despicable human being.