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!

Shadow Warriors of 2017: End of Year Update

On January 7, 2017, I introduced a feature on my Enigma In Black blog, Shadow Warriors. The intent was to shine a light on those putting in serious work on behalf of their respective causes, that might not have gotten the recognition (yet) they deserve. This year there were eleven individuals or groups I was blessed to have been able to highlight and thought I’d end the year by letting you know what’s been going on with these Warriors since I wrote about them. I’ve appreciated learning about all of them and their work and being able to support them in some small way. If any of you are inclined, I hope you can do the same.

 

Sevgi Fernandez

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Sevgi Fernandez was the first Shadow Warrior and exemplifies the type of person we want to recognize. She said, “My goal is to bring people together across racial, religious and cultural lines to combat the system of racism and oppression in the country. As long as we are divided, our voices and impact are weakened.”

The President of “Together We Stand,” she and they get involved in cases others often pass by. One of those we mentioned in Sevgi Fernandez: Shadow Warrior, was the death of Marcus (Marc) Anthony Merritt in Leonville, LA. According to officials, no crime scene photo’s were taken, no toxicology reports, no autopsy, and the coroner never even saw the body. His death was classified as a suicide. The TWS team and others have made great strides in uncovering new information that will change the narrative. Watch this space!

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In another case involving Ryan Turk, a 15-year old black male was arrested over a 65 cent carton of milk that he was entitled to free. The case was eventually dismissed, in no small part due to the pro bono efforts of Attorney Emmitt Robinson.

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TWS was active in rallies opposing the Alt-Right in Charlottesville, VA and Berkeley, CA and is involved in the planning of a major rally in San Francisco on December 16, 2017. They’re also actively working on the development of a Youth Social Justice Center in Northern California in 2018. Sevgi was the first Shadow Warrior and is still very much in the battle!

 

The Wilson Academy

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When I wrote about The Wilson Academy: Shadow Warriors, in February, the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA was threatening to dismiss them from the league, during the State Boy’s Basketball playoffs. Because the Wilson Academy Warriors chose to kneel during the National Anthem in response to police shootings and the lack of justice when it came to people who looked like them. After a tremendous response from parents, friends, and strangers. The League relented and let Wilson Academy play. They lost their next game but won a battle the students will learn from forever.

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Later in the spring, the school took the trip they were raising money for to Capetown, South Africa where they visited Nelson Mandella’s first and last home, and the jail cell where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison.

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During the summer, the league revised the contract with the schools, requiring them to stand for the National Anthem. Wilson Academy thought they might have to pay a fine which they were prepared to pay but later learned if they violated the prohibition, they would be kicked out of the league. This message was sent to Wilson Academy just before a road game which happened in Alabama. The Warriors and their cheerleaders did what they have done for the last several months. They took a knee. They also won the game.

 

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Prior to the next game, the Commissioner called the headmaster, Byron Wilson, prepared to kick Wilson Academy out of the league. For whatever reason, the Commissioner changed his mind, allowing them to stay in the locker room during the Anthem which they were always willing to do.

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At the time of this writing, The Wilson Academy put out a call for all alumni to attend the next basketball game wearing all black. It wasn’t a protest, they were simply playing a tough opponent and wanted all the support they could get. But you never know because… Wilson Academy.

 

Kelly Hurst

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Kelly Hurst: Shadow Warrior, is first and foremost an educator. When asked why she wanted to be an administrator, she responded, “Leadership found me, and I wasn’t going to shy away from it any longer.” She spoke out when students, in particular students of color, were receiving disparate treatment in the schools. Over time Kelly has developed a significant online presence, becoming nationally known as an educator and blogger. When her School Board tried to move her to a position where she could help fewer students. She stepped out on faith, leaving what others viewed as a comfortable job and started Being Black At School, so she could do more. She would not be silenced!

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Since the profile piece on Kelly was written, she was awarded cohort status for the Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship in Illinois (ADME). She’s one of 35 applicants accepted into the program, developed to strengthen start-up and small businesses from underrepresented communities.

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Immediately after the founding of BBAS, Donald Trump was elected President and Betsy DeVos was soon installed as Secretary of Education. This has made the need for BBAS ever greater, while traditional funding sources are drying up. More than ever they could use your support. Please Donate Now, your children’s future may depend on it.

 

Dr. Crystal A. deGregory

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In looking for a way, to sum up why “Dr. DE” was chosen for a Shadow Warrior in a single paragraph, I gave up. She’s a historian, educator, been a radio-show host and supported many great causes. Three things that had to be mentioned is her founding in 2012 of HBCUstory, her Bahamian heritage and her love of alma mater, Fisk University.

Since writing about Dr. deGregory in April, she’s been named the inaugural Director of the Atwood Institute for Race, Education and the Democratic Ideal at Kentucky State University. She also serves there as an Associate Professor of History.

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She’s been published in the New York Times, USA Today, and The Tennessean among others. She wrote an epilogue for, The Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, written chapters in several books and reportedly has her own book in the works.

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Named, “Young, sister, leader” by Spelman College and Bennett College for Women President Emerita Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole. Dr. deGregory has already been recognized as someone on the move and the only direction she knows is up.

 

Aramis Ayala

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We were introduced to Aramis Ayala: Shadow Warrior, in May when she was in the middle of a struggle with Florida Governor Rick Scott, and many in law enforcement and the State Legislature over her decision to refuse to ask for the death penalty in her role as Orange/Osceola County State Attorney.

Newly elected, she defeated Jeff Ashton, one of the losing Prosecutors in the Casey Anthony trial. When she ran for office, the death penalty did not exist in Florida, having been declared unconstitutional. Approximately two months after she assumed office, a constitutional death penalty statute was enacted. Shortly afterward, Ayala announced she would not request it in any case because it was unfair. She said, “What has become abundantly clear through this process is while I currently do have the 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 added, “After review and consideration of the new statute, under my administration, I will not be seeking the death penalty in cases handled in my office.”

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All hell broke loose, especially because the first case where the death penalty was to be considered involved an alleged killer of a pregnant woman and female police officer in separate incidents. All involved were black. The Governor removed all potential death penalty cases from Aramis and appointed another prosecutor to oversee them, one not elected by the voters of Orange and Osceola counties. Aramis Ayala filed a lawsuit against the Governor which she ultimately lost. She agreed to institute a panel that would consider death penalty cases and make a recommendation which she would agree to follow.

Her struggle with the Governor continues as the panel recommended death for a recent case but a filing deadline was missed by the State Attorney’s office making the ability to seek the death penalty in that case unclear. Ayala blamed the Governor who had indicated he wanted to review all death penalty cases from the jurisdiction. Governor Scott has demanded records from the State Attorney’s panel, including meeting times and dates. To be continued…

 

Glory Edim

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Glory is the founder of Well Read Black Girl,  a Brooklynn based book club with over 25,000 members worldwide. When we wrote about her in June.She was preparing to host the first annual WRBG Writer’s Conference and Festival. WRBG had a Kickstarter campaign where they sought $15,000 and raised significantly more in just a few days, enough to host a celebratory concert. This is what I wrote then, Glory Edim: Shadow Warrior.

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WRBG went on to hold that literary conference and concert. The culmination of a celebration of black female writers and readers. WRBG continues to grow both its online presence along with in-person meetings where black female authors across the diaspora are elevated.

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George (Geo) Cooper

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A high percentage of the profile, George (GEO) Cooper: Shadow Warrior, didn’t come from research and interviews. I just spoke from the heart about the man I watched arrive at Fisk University with the big ‘fro, big smile, and serious focus. I didn’t know then of his musical history as a teenager and participation in the All-City Choir in Chicago. I was aware he was a Jubilee Singer at Fisk but I knew him better from talking trash about sports and being friends with literally everybody. There were those who settled into cliques if they pledged a fraternity or sorority but GEO crossed every line counting everyone the same.

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Being Facebook friends with George gave me a chance to watch him continually impart history about Fisk, African-American history and the Jubilee Singers. One of his sons was a big winner on the Jeopardy show and I knew he got it from his daddy. As a musician, George has performed with legends like the Isley Brothers, Peabo Bryson, and Natalie Cole yet carved out a niche for himself on piano whether recording instructional video’s on Chopin’s etudes or playing with Chaka Khan. Fiskites won’t forgive me if I don’t mention the group Autumn of which George was a founding member.

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He formed the Ella Sheppard School of Music in his native Chicago and serves as Minister of Music for Congregational Church of Park Manor and Assistant Minister of Music for St.Mark AME Zion.

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Since I wrote about George in July, he helped pull off the successful Fisk Jubilee Singers Alumni Heritage Awards where they honored Patti Austin and made her an honorary Jubilee singer, along with posthumously honoring Mahalia Jackson and Sarah Vaughn. George serves as President of the FJSA which he will do well as he does all things. He made the time to accompany singer Amber Nicole Johnson in her debut concert and is currently working on a Martin Luther King Celebration at his church in January. I’m just proud to know him.

 

Zain Jacobs

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Zain Jacobs if fiercely passionate about education. Her own education, her children’s, and thankfully your children as well. I don’t know where she finds the time to do all she does. She founded the Blooming Lotuses Rites of Passage Group and has maintained some iteration of it for several years. Some of the young women she mentored are now grown, some married with children of their own. All of them went on to college, none had teen pregnancies and most are still in touch on a regular basis.

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She launched, P.I.L.L.A.R.S. 4 Success, LLC which stands for Power In Life Learning And Resilience Strategies.  Pillars offers organizational support, community education such as G.E.D./Post Secondary Prep, parenting support and mentoring.  She provides workshops on Cultural Competence. Zain works with trafficked youth, addicted youth, many on probation or otherwise involved with the justice system.

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Since her profile in Zain Jacobs: Shadow Warrior, Zain has been writing, speaking, and planning her next move. One of her children graduates in May and her “secret plan” goes into effect the next day. Whatever she does next, she’ll give it her all.

 

The Dreamers (DACA Recipients)

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The Dreamers then as now, are in a precarious position where they have declared who they are, in a country where some want them gone. When we wrote about them in September, The Dreamers (DACA Recipients): Shadow Warriors, Donald Trump had just announced the formal end of DACA while suggesting Congress could address the issue before a 6-month deadline when DACA would be dead.

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In the three months since then, Congress has done nothing. Democrats are trying to include a plan to save DACA as part of a spending bill to keep the government open while Republicans want to wait until the last moment, seemingly desiring to appease their base and let DACA go away.  A two-week extension was just signed to keep things open, Nancy Pelosi says they “won’t leave town without a deal on DACA.” The question is, will Democrats stay strong and risk the government being shut down, or will they cave in? To be continued…

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Harry T Moore

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The story of Harry T Moore: Shadow Warrior, was not known to many of my readers. Even those familiar with the Civil Rights movement. Harry T Moore was active in the NAACP and worked with Thurgood Marshall to help get justice for the “Groveland Boy’s” which many speculate led to his death. Moore and his wife Harriette were killed in a Christmas night bombing in their home in 1951.

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Learn about his legacy by visiting the Harry T and Harriette V Moore Cultural Center in Brevard County, FL or attend the Annual NAACP Florida State Conference annual memorial event. Dates to be included later.

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Babz Rawls Ivy

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It’s perhaps unfair to write Babz Rawls Ivy: Shadow Warrior, in November and come back in December and ask, “what have you done for me lately?” Yet Babz being Babz is always up to something and this month is no different.

As Editor-in-Chief of the Inner-City News with the largest circulation of any Black newspaper in New England, host of the Love Babz Love TalkRadio Show, head of both the Seed & Source Literary Group and Earth Seed Publishing. You’d think she’d be too busy to take the time she does, encouraging others, pushing them to reach their goals, all the while pursuing her own.

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Since November she’s launched the Criminal Justice Insider radio show on WNHH Community Radio. She and her co-hosts discuss all aspects of the justice system, including the effects of incarceration and the challenges faced by ex-offenders. She can’t possibly do everything in a 24-hour day and yet she does. Sleep is apparently overrated!

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Shadow Warriors will be back in January 2018, introducing a new set of Shadow Warriors for your consideration. As always, I encourage any suggestions of deserving candidates that their work might be better known. Follow this page so as not to miss any future “Warriors” and please share so that others might know them as well. Peace!

 

 

 

 

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

Insincere Apologies

Matt Lauer is “embarrassed and ashamed” and has, “no words to express my sorrow and regret” for the pain he caused women he now professes to admire. Lauer said, “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized…” and “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish.

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Russell Simmons experienced, “great anguish” when he learned how Jenny Lumet recalled a night with Simmons in 1991. He made clear in his so-called apology that he’d, “never been violent” but had been, “thoughtless and insensitive” in many relationships over decades and, “humbly apologized.”

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Harvey Weinstein is, “trying to do better” and has hired a tutor to assist him in that effort. He spoke of the culture when he came of age in the 60’s and 70’s when we are to assume that everyone was doing it. He’s since learned, “that’s not an excuse.”

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Roy Moore and Donald Trump both claim to be victimized by the dozens of women that have come forward with all too similar tales. They say the women are all liars.

There are two narratives being pushed that I find fault with. The first is that we should feel the pain of these men who have been hurt so badly by their own actions. Except for Mark Halperin who claims to have realized he had a problem while he was at ABC News, got treatment, and didn’t repeat his behavior according to him. None of the rest seemed to be experiencing any of the overwhelming guilt, pain, and anguish, until the day their stories were made public. Their actions demonstrated a total lack of concern for the women then and their self-serving shaping of the stories show they don’t care now. These men are not to be pitied, but ostracized and in some cases jailed.

The second narrative is that this is primarily the province of powerful men. Bosses and those with great sway in close-knit industries. Sexual assault, pedophilia, harassment, rape statutory and otherwise, is more widespread than the narrative would have you believe. Those that mumble, “I believe the women” while demonstrating that they do not are trying to be seen as the solution but are part of the problem.

While the account of the relative, a family friend, co-worker, pastor, teacher, is always considered to have more credibility than the woman or child, this will go on. As hard as it is to speak out against powerful people, it is no less hard to speak out against those whose only power is that they gain from abusing you.

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One of the constant deflections used to defend the accused is the time elapsed since the harassment or abuse. “Why didn’t they come forward then instead of waiting?” They suggest their stories would have been more believable had they been contemporary. The truth is, women weren’t believed when the events were 40 years old, 4 years old, or 4 days old. In addition to the apologies of those who committed these heinous offenses, maybe society owes the women an apology for refusing to believe them nearly enough.

Originally published at: Medium@WilliamSpivey

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.

a a a a fatheeee

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.

a a a a guiltier

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.

a a a a guilteyy

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.

a a a a guiltee

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,”