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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Democrats can't afford to turn off African American Voters if they want to win in 2016


Bernie Sanders stops Chuck Todd cold when he... by ewillies

Key words:  If they want to win.  Sometimes EYE think Democrats don't won't to win because it will mean they have to address the institutional racism plaguing the African American community. Don't get me wrong, democrats talk a good game, but talk without actions is just talk.  Democrats like to talk about a rising tide lifting all boats, but if one end of the boat is full of holes the boat will sink faster than the Titanic.  

A glaring example of the democrats wanting the black vote, but not black voters is the Alabama Democratic Party's selection of an African American Independent turned Democratic, pro life, minister as the challenger to Mo "Anything short of shooting illegals" Brooks.  EYE guess they think African American voters vote for candidates based on the color of their skin or something. Why they thought this EYE have no idea, the Artur Davis experiment should have taught them something. You would think they would have learned by now African American Voters vote based on the content and character of the candidates agenda/platform/political philosophy.  But noooo,  They insist on believing we are stupid because we are well.... black.
There is a history of black communities voting Democrat — that is, when we are actually allowed to vote, as we were historically targeted for explicitly racist disenfranchisement in the 20th century and felon disenfranchisement in the 21st century. During the 20th century, the Democratic Party was well known for instituting anti-black policies in the South such as Jim Crow, poll taxes and literacy tests. Since then, the Democratic Party has shifted its image to racial indifference, while the Republican Party picked up its racially hostile characteristics.
Today black communities continue to be betrayed by both sides of the aisle in this toxic political system, which prioritizes exuberant campaign spending over protecting human rights. Both Ferguson and Baltimore saw uprisings in the face of police terror in the last year. And each city watched Democratic city and state politicians lead violent militarized occupation in response to protests, including the National Guard, tear gas, rubber bullets and riot police. The fact is that neither political party is “for black people,” but white liberal and moderate voters continually impose upon black communities the candidates they feel are most sympathetic to black experiences.
The only Democrat presidential candidate who is willing to address the stark reality facing the traditional democratic base (minorities, women, LBGT, labor) is Senator Bernie Sanders.  If the democratic nominee  fails to energize it's base , we might as well hand the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to President Trump/Huckabee/Cruz/Bush/Rubio/Carson/Jihndal/Kasich/Cason/Fiorina/Graham/Patakie/Christi/Perry/Paul/Santorum/Walker/Pataki

EYE Am Just Saying...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"SO WHY DON'T WE STOP AND FRISK GUYS LIKE THIS EVERY TIME THEY LEAVE THE HOUSE?"

Image result for Picture of lafayette movie theater shooter
No More Mister Nice Blog: SO WHY DON'T WE STOP AND FRISK GUYS LIKE THIS EVERY TIME THEY LEAVE THE HOUSE? (updated)
When John Russell “Rusty” Houser was evicted from [his] quiet corner house in March 2014, sheriffs said, he trashed the place, dousing it in paint and gasoline and stuffing concrete down its pipes.
When the new home-owners decided to renovate, they had to call the fire department twice in one day after booby-trapped doors burst into flames.
“There was some tampering with the gas line that ran into the fireplaces,” said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor. Tracie Chancey, who has lived on 32nd Street with her husband and children since 2007, feared that the arson could have been much worse. “It shook us up when we found out what he did to that home.”And even after that he was walking around free and with access to guns. What a country.
 Probably because Homeland In-Security is too busy surveying the Black Lives Matter Movement
As if to echo the FBI surveillance of the civil rights movement and Black liberation organizations in the 1960s, The Intercept has learned through a Freedom of Information Act request that the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since its formation in the protests of Ferguson.
“The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York. They also show the department watching over gatherings that seem benign and even mundane. For example, DHS circulated information on a nationwide series of silent vigils and a DHS-funded agency planned to monitor a funk music parade and a walk to end breast cancer in the nation’s capital,” according to George Joseph in the Intercept report.
Joseph also raises the question as to whether DHS, which was formed largely to combat terrorism, has engaged in mission creep as its budget has exceeded $60 billion.
 
How indeed.

The fear of blacks with guns was one of the reasons behind the Supreme Court’s notorious decision in the Dred Scott case. Chief Justice Roger Taney’s opinion insisted that blacks could not be citizens because, if they were, they’d have all the protections of the Bill of Rights, including the right to “full liberty of speech... to hold public meetings on political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.”
America’s most horrific racist organization, the Ku Klux Klan, began with gun control at the very top of its agenda. Before the Civil War, blacks in the South had never been allowed to possess guns. During the war, however, blacks obtained guns for the first time. Some served as soldiers in black units in the Union Army, which allowed its men, black and white, to take their guns home with them as partial payment of past due wages.
  Fear of the Black Gun Owner, white gun owners not so much. 

Bernie Sanders' Address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference


#Bernie Sanders #FeeltheBern #SCLC

Bernie Sanders, Presidential Candidate from Vermont, spoke yesterday to attendees at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Convention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Below is the text of his speech. It is filled with facts and figures illustrating how serious are the conditions facing our nation today, and his solutions for addressing those problems. Organizational meetings will be held this Wednesday, July 29th. You can find a meeting near you here.

Thank you for inviting me to be with you tonight. Thank you for the work you continue to do as leaders in civil rights. You have always been a voice for the voiceless and champions for social justice.

Your courageous history dates back to the Montgomery Bus Boycott when one person, Rosa Parks, by the simple act of sitting down at the front of the bus, inspired a whole community to stand up and bring the transportation system in Montgomery to its knees, to capture the imagination of the nation and to cause what my friend John Lewis calls “a nonviolent revolution.”

You knew then, what the American people are beginning to remember now – that real change takes place when millions of people stand up and say “enough is enough,” and when we create a political revolution from the ground up. That is what the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has always been about. That is what is beginning to happen today. The American people are sick and tired with establishment politics, with establishment economics and with establishment media. They’re sick of being told that they don’t matter. They fully understand that corporate greed is destroying our economy, that American politics is now dominated by a handful of billionaires and that much of the corporate media is prepared to discuss everything except the most important issues facing our country.

I realize that many of you don’t know me very well. So let me take a moment to let you know a little bit about my background. I was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from 1981-1989, Vermont’s lone congressman from 1990-2006 and a U.S. senator from Vermont from 2007 until today.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York. My father came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a penny in his pocket and without much of an education. My mother graduated from high school in New York City. My father worked for almost his entire life as a paint salesman and we lived with my brother in a small rent-controlled apartment. My mother’s dream was to move out of that three-room apartment into a home of our own. She died young and her dream was never fulfilled. As a kid I learned what lack of money means to a family, a lesson I have never forgotten.

​When I was a young college student, I came to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. I heard this organization’s first president, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., deliver his famous speech, and he inspired me, just as he inspired a whole generation – black and white – to get involved in the civil rights movement. In Chicago, I worked for housing desegregation and was arrested protesting public school segregation. During that time I was active in what was a sister-organization to the SCLC, the Congress of Racial Equality of CORE, which was headed up by the late James Farmer.

Since I have been an elected official, I have used my influence to stand with those who have no power, and to take on virtually every element of our current ruling class – from Wall Street, to the insurance companies, to the drug companies to Big Energy, to the Koch Brothers to the Military Industrial Complex. That’s what I do.

The decision to run for president was a very difficult one for me and my family. I love my job as Vermont’s senator and love spending time in Vermont with my four kids and seven beautiful grandchildren – something, needless to say, that I am less able to do today.

My family and I decided that I should run for president because the reality is that this country today faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression and, if you include the planetary crisis of climate change, it may well be that the challenges we face now are more dire than any time in our modern history. And to address these crises we need leadership that is prepared to rally the American people, to create the political revolution that this country desperately needs, to take on the wealthy special interests that wield so much power.

Let me take this opportunity to quote from an excellent article by the columnist Eugene Robinson which appeared in the Washington Post. Here are some excerpts from that article:

As we celebrate King’s great achievement and sacrifice, it is wrong to round off the sharp edges of his legacy. He saw inequality as a fundamental and tragic flaw in this society, and he made clear in the weeks leading up to his assassination that economic issues were becoming the central focus of his advocacy.

Nearly five decades later, King’s words on the subject still ring true. On March 10, 1968, just weeks before his death, he spoke to a union group in New York about what he called “the other America.” He was preparing to launch a Poor People’s Campaign whose premise was that issues of jobs and issues of justice were inextricably intertwined.

“One America is flowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality,” King said. “That America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. . . . But as we assemble here tonight, I’m sure that each of us is painfully aware of the fact that there is another America, and that other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.”

Those who lived in the other America, King said, were plagued by “inadequate, substandard and often dilapidated housing conditions,” by “substandard, inferior, quality-less schools,” by having to choose between unemployment and low-wage jobs that didn’t even pay enough to put food on the table.

The problem was structural, King said: “This country has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”

Eight days later, speaking in Memphis, King continued the theme. “Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working every day?” he asked striking sanitation workers. “And they are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen, and it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.”

King explained the shift in his focus: “Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?”

But what King saw in 1968 — and what we all should recognize today — is that it is useless to try to address race without also taking on the larger issue of inequality. He was planning a poor people’s march on Washington that would include not only African-Americans but also Latinos, Native Americans and poor Appalachian whites. He envisioned a rainbow of the dispossessed, assembled to demand not just an end to discrimination but a change in the way the economy doles out its spoils.”

And that is the theme that I wish to pursue this evening. The need to simultaneously address the structural and institutional racism which exists in this country, while at the same time we vigorously attack the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality which is making the very rich much richer while everyone else – especially the African-American community and working-class whites – are becoming poorer.

Let’s go to an issue that is rightly on everyone’s mind, the continuing struggle for racial justice in America and the need to combat structural racism. Let’s start with the facts. The horrible facts.

If current trends continue, one in four black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. This is an unspeakable tragedy.
Blacks are imprisoned at six times the rate of whites.
People of color are incarcerated, policed and sentenced to death at significantly higher rates than their white counterparts.
One in every 15 African-American men is incarcerated, compared to one in every 106 white men.
A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks were three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop, compared to white motorists.
African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.
African-Americans make up two-fifths of confined youth today.
African-American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated.
Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences (10 percent longer) than white offenders for the same crimes.
Thirteen percent of Africa-American men have lost the right to vote due to felony convictions.
But as bad as those statistics are, and they are indeed a tragedy, the situation for many people of color is worse yet.

Too many African-Americans today are simultaneously having to deal the crisis of racial justice while coping with the effects of poverty and economic deprivation, such as drugs, crime, and despair.

Of course the majority of people of color are trying to work hard, play by the rules and raise their children. But there are neighborhoods where mothers are afraid to let their children outside for fear of gang violence and drugs. And they are also afraid of their children being targeted by the police because of the color of their skin. No person should have to worry that a routine interaction with law enforcement will end in violence or death.

As Martin Luther King, Jr., said; Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

Across the nation, too many African-Americans and other minorities find themselves subjected to a system that treats citizens who have not committed crimes like criminals. A growing number of communities do not trust the police and police have become disconnected from the communities they are sworn to protect.

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice. We know their names. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. People are angry. I am angry. And people have a right to be angry. Violence and brutality of any kind, particularly at the hands of law enforcement sworn to protect and serve our communities, is unacceptable and must not be tolerated.

We must reform our criminal justice system. Black lives do matter. And we must value black lives.

We must move away from the militarization of police forces. We must invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within the neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we really develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer.

We need a federal initiative to completely redo how we train police officers in this country and give them body cameras. States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed. The measure of success for law enforcement should not be how many people get locked up.

For people who have committed crimes that have landed them in jail, there needs to be a path back from prison. The federal system of parole needs to be reinstated. We need real education and real skills training for the incarcerated.

We must end the over incarceration of non-violent young Americans who do not pose a serious threat to our society. It is an international embarrassment that we have more people locked up in jail than any other country on earth – more than even the Communist totalitarian state of China. That has got to end.

The war on drugs has been a failure and has ruined the lives of too many people. African-Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007, about one in three adults arrested for drugs was African-American.

It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. This must change.

We need to end prisons for profit, which result in an over-incentive to arrest, jail and detain, in order to keep prison beds full. We need to invest in drug courts and medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that they do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.

But we have to go beyond just violence perpetuated by the state. As we saw so horribly in South Carolina, there are still those who seek to terrorize the African American community with violence and intimidation. We need to make sure the federal resources are there to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups. We need a new social movement to let all the racist haters out there know that they will no longer be accepted in a civilized society.

In addition to the physical violence faced by too many in our country we need look at the lives of black children and address a few other difficult facts. Black children, who make up just 18 percent of preschoolers, account for 48 percent of all out-of-school suspensions before kindergarten. We are failing our black children before kindergarten! Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students. Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys. According to the Department of Education, African American students are more likely to suffer harsh punishments – suspensions and arrests – at school.

We need to take a hard look at education system. Black students attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers, compared with white students. Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.

We must get into our schools and keep kids in school. We must ensure that children graduate from high school and don’t drop out. This is a complicated problem and I’m not going to stand here and say I have all the answers.

But one thing that will help kids stay in school is if they have a belief that they will be able to get a college education. For too many families college seems like an impossibility. We have got to change that. We need to give our children, regardless of their race or their income, a fair shot at attending college. That’s why I support making all public universities tuition free.

Communities of color also face the violence of economic deprivation. Let’s be frank: neighborhoods like those in west Baltimore, where Freddie Gray resided, suffer the most. However, the problem of economic immobility isn’t just a problem for young men like Freddie Gray. It has become a problem for millions of Americans who, despite hard-work and the will to get ahead, can spend their entire lives struggling to survive on the economic treadmill.

We live at a time when most Americans don’t have $10,000 in savings, and millions of working adults have no idea how they will ever retire in dignity. God forbid, they are confronted with an unforeseen car accident, a medical emergency, or the loss of a job. It would literally send their lives into an economic tailspin. And the problems are even more serious when we consider race.

Most black and Latino households have less than $350 in savings. The black unemployment rate has remained roughly twice as high as the white rate over the last 40 years, regardless of education. This is unacceptable. The American people in general, want change – they want a better deal. A fairer deal. A new deal. They want an America with laws and policies that truly reward hard work with economic mobility. They want an America that affords all of its citizens with the economic security to take risks and the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Income and Wealth Inequality

Today, we live in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, but that reality means little because almost all of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals.

There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. There is something profoundly wrong when we have a proliferation of millionaires and billionaires at the same time as millions of Americans work longer hours for lower wages and we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth. There is something profoundly wrong when one family owns more wealth than the bottom 130 million Americans. This grotesque level of inequality is immoral. It is bad economics. It is unsustainable. That is why we need a tax system that is fair and progressive, which makes wealthy individuals and profitable corporations begin to pay their fair share of taxes. This type of rigged economy is not what America is supposed to be about. This has got to change and, together we will change it.

We need to send a message to the billionaire class: “You can’t have it all. You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry. You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens, while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. Your greed has got to end. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America, if you refuse to accept your responsibilities as Americans.”

Economics

But it is not just income and wealth inequality. It is the tragic reality that for the last 40 years the great middle class of our country – once the envy of the world – has been disappearing. Despite exploding technology and increased worker productivity, median family income is almost $5,000 less than it was in 1999. Throughout this country it is not uncommon for people to be working two or three jobs just to cobble together enough income and some health care benefits to survive.

​The truth is that real unemployment is not the 5.5 percent you read in newspapers. It is close to 11 percent if you include those workers who have given up looking for jobs or who are working part-time when they want to work full-time. And here is something we don’t hear much about. According to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by the Economic Policy Institute, real youth unemployment in this country has reached crisis proportions. If you include those who are not working, who have given up looking for work or who are working part-time, white high school graduates aged 17-20 have an unemployment rate of 33 percent, Hispanics in the same age group have an unemployment rate of 36 percent while black youth have an unemployment rate of 51 percent. Today, shamefully, we have 45 million people living in poverty, many of whom are working at low-wage jobs.

Raising Wages and Benefits

Let us be honest and acknowledge that millions of Americans are now working for totally inadequate wages. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised. The minimum wage must become a living wage – which means raising it to $15 an hour over the next few years. The benchmark of full time work in America should be simple and concrete – that no full-time worker should live in poverty.

​And a living wage should not only be fair, it should be equitable. That is why we must establish pay equity for women workers by law. It’s unconscionable that women earn 78 cents on the dollar compared to men who perform the same work. We must also end the scandal in which millions of American employees, often earning less than $30,000 a year, work 50 or 60 hours a week – and earn no overtime.

Further, the United States must end the international embarrassment of being the only major country on earth, the only one, which does not guarantee workers paid medical and family leave, paid sick time and paid vacation time. Last place is no place for America. That is why I will fight for 12 weeks of paid family leave, at least 10 days of paid vacation time and seven days of paid sick time. My Republican colleagues talk a lot about “family values.” Well, let me be very clear. It is not a family value to force the mother of a new born baby to go back to work a few days after she gives birth, because she doesn’t have the money to stay home and bond with her baby. That is not a family value. That is an insult to everything that I know about what family is about.

Today, as a result of the collapse of our middle class and declining wages, the American people are working longer hours than the people of any other country – 137 hours a year more than the Japanese, 260 more hours per year than the British and 499 hours a year more than the French. Well, 100 years later we still have not achieved that. Incredibly, today, 85 percent of working men and 66 percent of working women work more than 40 hours a week. And do you know what? Many workers in this country get no or very little paid vacation time. That has got to end.

Protecting Our Most Vulnerable

At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water economically, at a time when senior poverty is increasing, at a time when millions of kids are living in dire poverty my Republican colleagues are trying to make a terrible situation even worse. If you can believe it, the Republican budget throws 27 million Americans off health insurance, makes drastic cuts in Medicare, throws millions of low income Americans, including pregnant women off nutrition programs, and makes it harder for working-class families to afford college or put their kids into Head Start. And then, to add insult to injury, they provide huge tax breaks for the very, very wealthiest families in this country while they raise taxes on working families.

Well, let me tell my Republican colleagues that I respectfully disagree with their approach. Instead of cutting Social Security, we need to expand Social Security benefits. Instead of cutting Head Start and childcare, we need to move to a universal pre-k system for all the children of this country. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt reminded us: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” And that is a test that we as a nation must once again meet and master.

We need to make health care a basic right in our society.

We need to make sure every parent has quality affordable child care and where all of our qualified young people, regardless of income, can go to college, by making a 4-year education at every public college and university in this country free. If Germany, Sweden and Denmark can afford to do this, then so can we.

We need to invest in jobs and job training, rather than to be building more and more jails and to be locking up more and more people. That is why I have submitted legislation to spend $5.5 billion dollars to fund job-training programs for inner city youth. Instead of building more and more prisons, we need to be building more and more meaningful lives where young people can have a future, not be stuck in a dead end with no hope or opportunity.

If we are serious about reversing the decline of the middle class we need a major federal jobs program that puts millions of Americans back to work at decent paying jobs. At a time when our roads, bridges, water systems, rail and airports are decaying, the most effective way to rapidly create meaningful jobs is to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation that would invest $1 trillion over 5 years to modernize our country’s physical infrastructure. This legislation would create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs, while making our country more productive, efficient and safe. And I commit to you that as president, I will lead that legislation into law.

This is an ambitious program that would lift millions of families out of poverty and provide a pathway to greater economic security for all Americans. The right to a college education, the right to health care, and a guaranteed right to employment. It will not heal all wounds or relieve all tensions, but it would go beyond anything we have tried before, and it would send a clear signal that black lives matter.

Citizens United and Campaign Finance Reform and Voting Rights

I want to talk about our democracy. The billionaire class is controlling our political and economic lives because of the disastrous Citizens United case. The Supreme Court unconscionably gutted the Voting Rights Act. Make no mistake, we watching the erosion of our democracy and the gains that we have fought so hard to achieve.

Some of you may not see the connection between an out-of-control campaign financing system and the gutting of our voting rights, but you should not be fooled – they are two sides of the same coin. Our access to our democracy is being ripped away. The billionaires do not want people to vote.

My friends – let me be as blunt as I can while telling you what you already know. As a result of the disastrous Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, the American political system has been totally corrupted, and the foundations of American democracy are being undermined. What the Supreme Court essentially said was that it was not good enough for the billionaire class to own much of our economy. They could now own the U.S. government as well. And that is precisely what they are trying to do.

If we are serious about creating jobs, about climate change and the needs of our children, our veterans and the elderly, about reforming our criminal justice system, we must be deadly serious about campaign finance reform. That is why in my campaign for president, I have said that I will not nominate any justice to the Supreme Court who has not made it clear that he or she will move to overturn that disastrous decision which is undermining our democracy. Long term, we need to go further and establish public funding of elections, so that the dark money of American politics is stopped before democracy is bought and paid for by a handful of billionaires and corporations.

American democracy is not about corporations and billionaires being able to buy candidates and elections. It is not about Wall Street and big oil or the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson spending billions of dollars to elect candidates who will make the rich richer and everyone else poorer. According to media reports the Koch brothers alone, one family, will spend more money in this election cycle than either the Democratic or Republican parties. This is not democracy. This is oligarchy. The defining principle of American democracy is one person, one vote – with every citizen having an equal say – and no voter suppression. And that’s the kind of American political system we have to fight for.

Not only are big moneyed interests trying to buy the American electorate, Republican-controlled legislatures have done everything in their power to make it more difficult to vote.

Voting is becoming more difficult, not less. The Voting Rights Act has been gutted by the Supreme Court, and efforts to repair it in Congress have been sidelined. Voter suppression today is alive and well in the form of unnecessary voter ID laws, restrictions on registering to vote, improper purging of voter rolls, felon disenfranchisement, and a staggering array of deceptive practices that are preventing eligible voters from participating in the political process. It is embarrassing that the United States’ voting system is so dysfunctional.

​We need to remember the price that was paid for the right to vote. We must restore our democracy’s promise of one man, one vote. We must repeal Citizens United and take the political process back from the billionaire class. We need to extend early voting, extend voting hours, make Election Day a holiday or move it to a weekend.

​One area that I have been interested in is voter registration. Unsurprisingly, most other advanced democracies make voter registration much easier than we do here in the United States. Some countries, such as Argentina, Belgium, and Germany, maintain a national or municipal population database and local election officials add eligible voters to the rolls based on those lists. Some countries hire workers to go door-to-door and register all eligible voters, including Great Britain and Indonesia. Mexico deploys such workers to rural areas.

France automatically registers 18-year-olds to vote when they register with the Selective Service. Canada uses info collected from other government agencies to add eligible citizens to the rolls—British Columbia uses DMV records; Quebec uses health insurance records. If more info is needed, the government reaches out by mail and sends the potential voter a registration form, with a postage-paid return envelope.

The U.S. is one of the few countries which puts the onus of registration on the voter, not the state. This is ridiculous.

In 2009, the Brennan Center released a study of worldwide voter registration rates, based on citizen voting-age population. Here are a few countries:

Argentina (2007): 100%
Great Britain (2008): 97%
Belgium (2007): 94%
Canada (2008): 93%
Germany (2005): 93%
Australia (2008): 92%
France (2007): 91%
United States (2006): 68%
The Census Bureau Population Survey says in 2012, 71.2 percent of Americans were registered to vote. The number varies by age—only 58 percent of 18-29-year-olds were registered to vote, but 79 percent of those older than 70 were registered.

We should be making voting easier, not harder.

Let us also be very clear that the stakes are very high. The right to vote is preservative of all other rights. And when in this last election in November 63 percent of the American people chose not to vote; 80 percent of young people chose not to vote; and almost 75 percent of low-income workers chose not to vote, it should not come as a surprise that the stranglehold that the billionaire class has on the economy is tightening around the middle class.

And when we talk about voting rights, we have to address the reality of over 2 million African-Americans who have been disenfranchised due to criminal convictions. This is not the way to help bring people returning from prison back into their communities. If you can believe it, in some states over 20 percent of the African-American population is disenfranchised. Florida – 23 percent. Virginia – 20 percent. Kentucky – 22 percent. But the percentages don’t necessarily give the entire picture because in many, many states with large African American populations, the percentage may be lower but the number of individuals who can’t cast a ballot is high. Georgia – almost 160,000 people; Texas – over 150,000 people; Alabama – over 135,000 people; Mississippi – over 107,000 people. That is why I am a sponsor of legislation introduced on the House side by Rep. John Conyers called the Democracy Restoration Act which would restore federal voting rights.

We must remember that the struggle for our rights is not a struggle for one day, or one year, or one generation – it is the struggle of a lifetime, and one that must be fought by every generation.

All of you in this room know it, but it bears saying out loud: civil rights are not just about for voting rights, but economic and social equality – and most importantly, jobs. 50 years later, it remains the great unfinished business of the civil rights movement.

In conclusion, I’ve been traveling this country for over a year now. People are ready for a new movement – a political revolution – to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally. In other words, we are building a movement of millions of Americans who are prepared to stand up and fight back.

I believe the time has come to say loudly and clearly: enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires, their Super-PACs and their lobbyists.

​Now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and stale inside-the-beltway ideas.

Now is the time for millions of working families – black and white, Latino and Native American, gay and straight – to come together, to revitalize American democracy, to end the collapse of the American middle class and to make certain that our children and grandchildren are able to enjoy a quality of life that brings them health, prosperity, security and joy – and that once again makes the United States the leader in the world in the fight for economic and social justice, for environmental sanity and for a world of peace.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stop Cop's Rage: "I will light you up!"

It was a rather ordinary, quiet evening for me. I tuned into MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell to watch Sandra Bland's sister, Sharon, and the family attorney. Then it all went to hell when the attorney said that Waller County wanted Sandra's body returned to Texas for another autopsy because the first one was "defective." Emotionally now, I am struggling between outrage and the numbness of shock. Again. No. Not again. AGAIN!

Lawrence O'Donnell read the text wording, saying: (They) "need to have the body available for future examination by qualified experts."

From Texas, Sandra's body was released to her family, who flew her home to Chicago for her funeral today.

It's Saturday now, as I write again, and Sandra's grieving family and friends are gathering for Sandra's funeral, while the Texas authorities demanded continued access to her body as evidence. How that will, or has, played out, I just don't know. Even in death, Sandra is being denied human dignity, just as Texas trooper, Brian Encinia, denied her professional courtesy during a routine traffic stop for improper lane changing.

Already there is speculation that Sandra died by lynching, rather than suicide, as the jail authorities assert, despite the pledge of Elton Mathis, the District Attorney in Waller County, that her death will not be swept under the rug.

Not surprisingly, the District Attorney's statement includes a statement that a video of the hallway adjacent to Sandra's cell doesn't show anyone going into her cell to do her any harm.

On the one hand, authorities allege that Sandra told them she had previously been depressed, but at the time of the booking, she said she was not depressed, despite now being charged with a third degree felony. But, they also admit to neglecting to do visual "walkaround" checks of Sandra's safety while in their custody.

"The Texas Commission on Jail Standards criticized the Waller County Jail for insufficient training and for failing to check on inmates face-to-face every hour, and ordered it to come into compliance. The Waller County Sheriff's Office said its jailers had received mental health training, though not in the past year. The office acknowledged that guards used the intercom to check in on Bland rather than an in-person inspection as required. But the sheriff's office said it has no reason to believe either of these deficiencies contributed to Bland's death."

Ah, yes, the old "we didn't do our job, but we assure you that doesn't matter" defense. Perhaps if a correctional officer had actually observed Sandra, spoken with her, sympathized with her about her situation, given her hope that she would be released soon, today's situation might be different.

Of course, not if the swirling rumors that she was actually lynched are true. That speculation is based on a long list of various factors. The photos below are part of the speculation that she was murdered by suggesting that they were taken while Sandra was prone on the jail floor, and that the photo on the right was photoshopped to show her as alive.


This "conspiracy theory" would have much less credibility if Sandra's booking photo was of the quality that would allow for her identification. Odd that its such poor quality that she is not recognizable, isn't it?


There are other anomalies in Sandra's booking documents. On page 2, the jail's screening officer, Elsa Magnus, answers "No" to the following questions:

"16. Does the individual seem confused, pre-occupied, sad, paranoid, etc.?"

"17. Is the person's speech rapid, hard to understand, hesitant, or childlike?"

"18. Observed to be under the influence of: Alcohol? Drugs? Withdrawals?"

"19. Observed to have physical signs of harm (i.e., cuts on arms, etc.):"

"20. Does the screener suspect mental illness/mental retardation?"

Yet, Warren Diepraam, a Waller County Texas prosecutor, reported that Sandra had approximately 30 "cut marks" on her left wrist which were in a state of healing.

Also unusual is Prosecutor Diepraam's statement that Sandra had marijuana in her system at the time of her death, despite the screening officer's observations that she wasn't under the influence (presumably that means she got the marijuana in jail) and without wrist cuts.

Page 15 of the booking documents shows that Sandra had no money. A woman drives from Illinois to Texas without money? I suppose it's possible, but it does sound improbable.

These are just a few of the inconsistencies, but the question remains: was Sandra treated professionally and appropriately by the arresting officer? Had she been, she wouldn't be dead today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"There is a mean spirit on the loose" #LetUsPray


"Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees." ~Billie Holiday~~

Well, there's a certain mean spiritness that's out there, not only in Alabama but it's in America. And that makes this election extremely important.
Remember when Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders first said these  prophetic words ?  He was not only called everything but a child of God, he was accused of being a race baiting dinosaur , blamed for former Governor Jim Folsom's election loss, and asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper to provide evidence of things not seen.
The Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC), whose stated purpose is “to promote the general welfare of all people through independent focused organizations dedicated to progressive ideals of freedom, justice and democracy,” appears to be working to accomplish those goals through a simple method — fear.
Can you hear him now?   It's hard to deny African Americans are terrified of being terrorized, but unlike during the Civil Rights movement, we can't depend on our government to protect us. According to the Fannie Lou Hammer Institute of Advocacy and Social Action as of today, 644 people have been killed at the hands of the police in 2015.



Quoting GrannyStandingforTruth

Never in a million years did I think I would live to see a black man become President of the Divided States of America. Nor did I think I would live to see Jim Crow and lynching revived under the leadership of a black President either, but well there are some folks in America that are longing for those nostalgic days.


Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:34

Monday, July 20, 2015

Adventures in Double Standards Colombia, South Carolina Edition #CompareAndContrast

The KKK is classified as hate group with a long history of murder, bombings , intimidation and atrocities against Blacks and other minorities, but especially Blacks.  Recently Bloggers Mack Lyons and Abagond compared the difference between the way the white, male dominated, media covered protest by white Americans in contrast to protest by black Americans.   EYE would like to devote this post to the way law enforcement, local, state, and national government responded to the protest by the KKK in Colombia SC over the Confederate Flag, and the #BlackLivesMatter protest held in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the shooting death of unarmed teen #MichaelBrown, and in Baltimore MD and New York City in the wake of the death #FreddieGray.


Confederate Flag Supporter Mimics Gorilla To Black Protesters

Note the line of uniformed police officers standing between the KKK and the citizens as a Confederate Flag supporter mimics a Gorilla to black protesters. 

Note, not a government issued, taxpayer funded military tank, tear gas, assault sniper rifle, or police dressed in riot gear in sight when the Ku Klux Klan clash with black anti racism protesters in South Carolina.


Government employees have to uphold the law, like black cops protecting and serving at a KKK rally. Surprising show of humanity my Donkey.  This black police officer had not choice but to treat this ‪#‎KKK‬member with "humanity." 

Law enforcement make an arrest following a KKK rally at the State House in Columbia, SC.

2000 in crowd, 5 arrested 23 calls for emergency  services.  Now if had been a #BlackLivesMatter protest  all of them would be locked up. But the KKK can protest and be protected by cops.




Compare and contrast




A photo from Baltimore says a thousand words.




EYE Report.  You decide.

The Red, Republican, Confederate, Slave States Have Way Too Much Power in Our Government

Thanks to republican gerrymandering,  voter suppression, and Citizens United, the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate is controlled by representatives of Tea Party States. States that have been openly defying and disrespecting the African American President of the United States of America, hoping he fails.  Imagine the progress we could have made if our government weren't controlled by people who pander to and support the point of view  of the people in the video below?


Bigotry was on full display in South Carolina yesterday as more than 50 protesters and KKK members brandished Confederate flags and yelled racial slurs at a rally that overlapped with black activists’ protests at the statehouse. For many in attendence, the scene displayed that that America is "still a racist nation":
So much for post racial America

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When they say they want to take their party back what do they mean?

EYE wish the  Alabama Democratic Party would make up it's mind, one day they are trying take their party back from a racist old black man named Joe Reed, and the next day they announce a black Baptist Minister as their candidate to challenge republican Mo Brooks.... at a Brewery.  This is the perfect example of wanting to have it both ways.  On one hand they don't want to be known as the party of blacks, but they realize this is a presidential election year and black democratic voters can be counted on to vote a straight ticket.  But them there black democrats are the reason the party is a disaster (their words not mine).
We held our nose and did what the republicans did and voted a straight ticket. If the conservadems had joined with us, instead of being against us, democrats wouldn't have taken a bloodbath. But noooo, conservadems just had to whup State Senator Hank Sanders for his mad as hell robo call to DEMOCRATIC voters and put his "abrasive wife" in her place. That will learn them about dealing the race cared in every hand. Yessum. *Snark*
And what do we get for our loyalty?  The blame when things go wrong, and foiled attempts to take their party back to before.
So, when I hear someone say that they want to take their country back, I cannot help but look at the person making that statement and wonder, which country do they want? The one that used police to bust up unions? The one that made lynchings a celebratory outing? The one that preached a woman should be happy staying home, raising the kids and catering to her husband's every whim? The one where homosexuals hid their sexual orientation from all but their closest confidantes out of fear their careers and lives would be destroyed, and that they would be disowned by their families? The one where black people could not eat in the same restaurants at which white people ate, or drink from the same water fountains, or attend the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods or ....
I don't want my country back. I want a better country. One that truly provides liberty and justice for all people. And I certainly don't want a country where anyone can discriminate against anyone else of whom they do disapprove and escape liability for that immoral and otherwise unlawful act under any pretext, be it freedom of religion, racial superiority or traditional values.

I never want to go back to the country that existed when I was born. The one that exists now needs far too much improvement as it is.
The Alabama Democratic Party needs to decide if they want their party back, or not. They can't have it both ways.     
And therein lies the problem within the Alabama Democratic Party (cue in Dixie). There are two separate but unequal Elephants waging a civil war under the big tent, with the white Elephants trying to figure out how they can rise again without the black Elephants, especially those who stood up and made a difference.
RedEye 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Edit~"Black equates to Democrat. Deny all you want to but it the truth." #AndThereInLiesTheProblem




Again EYE say, if you want to find out what the real dealio is about an issue look no further than the comment section of AL.com, where commentators, under the cloak of anonymity, feel free to express how they really feel without telling who they really are.  Thank you Kyle Whitmire for your recent column accusing Alabama Democrats of being black, lying, racist and enabling those voices. 
Kyle thinks he is a defender of the oppressed when he is actually an offender.
So, Whitmire declared the Alabama Party Racist because an old black man named Joe Reed is keeping white people from infiltrating the Minority Caucus.  Code word, Black.  Why are they trying to infiltrate the Black Caucus?  Because Black equates to Democrats, and in Alabama that's the  kiss of death for a political party.  It's why Alabama is a solidly red/republican/ state.

Don't believe me? Read this:
Kyle left out some very pertinent information. According to Joe Reed, new members aspiring for the Executive Committee have normally been interviewed by the current Executive Committee. The rejected candidates did not bother to do so. There had already been information circulating that the new majority Caucasian members would work to change the current bylaws, obviously, to attract more Caucasian members whose losses by the Democratic Party have been devastating in the South. I see no reason that Joe Reed would oppose regaining more Caucasian members.

Apparently, Joe Reed felt threatened by them not following common procedure for the interview and failed to support them. Hopefully, Joe Reed will give his own position regarding this matter, as we have only heard Kyle's viewpoint.
This is Whitmire's reply:NufocusfromBham I have been to enough executive committee meetings in the last 10 years to safely say that this argument is a bunch of nonsense. It's what Reed's folks like to argue, but it just ain't so.
Actually it just ain't so that his argument is a bunch of nonsense, because the white wing of the democratic party pulls this crap year after year, and are foiled year after year by an old black man named Joe Reed.  This rule is nothing new but don't let the truth stand in way of a lie Mr. Whitmire, sir.

Any hoo, the main complaint of the white wing of the democratic party is they don't have a voice in the democratic party because the democratic party caters to blacks, and as long as that happens they are not being represented.  Fortunately AL.com gave them a platform, so let's hear  from some of those voices.


And this is why we have undeclared voters, their party is control by black jim crow, who cannot let go of their past and they would rather control their sand pile even if it's filled with tape worms. Massa still controls these people because they can't let go and offer equal representation to whties from fear. FEAR stands for 'Frad each arian is racist. Fear. 
Reed is the worst thing that has happened to the Democratic party in Alabama and until their party realizes this it will only continue to diminish. Democratic candidates used to be able to garner lots of Republican votes in most counties in Alabama. No longer is that the case.
A new Democratic Party out side the claws of the current State Democratic Executive Committee is a must. The Democratic Party as it exists now is dead in the water in any state-wide race and/or any white majority legislative/county/school board district.
Legislative Redistricting/Reapportionment by Republicans in 2011, with Joe Reed's acquiesce, has guaranteed that.
Democrats can now only be elected in Black majority districts. Alabamians of good will have been driven out of the Democratic Party by the antics of the current leadership and allies of the Alabama Democratic Conference.
Alabamians of good will and a sense of fair play are turned off by the extremism in both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Extremism, in any form, will not solve the real problems facing Alabama and the Federal Government and thus, the quality of life of its citizens.
The ADC Chairperson has total control of the Democratic party structure. But what has he got?
Nothing but a toothless party whose proud history has been shattered by his drive to control. He has destroyed the Democratic Party as if the Republicans paid him to do it.
The head of the ADC is the best thing that the Republican Party has going for it.
For progressivism, instead of re-gressivism, moderates want a choice. A middle of the road party is what Alabama needs to move the state forward to elevate the living standards of all our citizens.
Hopefully, the Alabama Democratic Reform Caucus is the answer.
According to Whitmire an old black man named Joe Reed is racist because he's standing in the way of these voices.  Voices that don't want to be known as the party of blacks.  EYE HOPE the Alabama Democratic Reform Caucus is the answer for those who no longer want to identify with blacks, I mean , democrats, too. This is further evidence today's Democrats want to go back to to being the party of Jefferson Davis not Lincoln.

Enough of the democratic party taking black voters for granted.  Let them take their party back. Let's register as Independents (Bernie Sanders) and cast our vote, or not, for the party that addresses our interest.  What are our interest you ask?  Civil, equal, and human rights.  Accesses to quality affordable health care.  Equal access to quality public schools.  A woman's right to choose to have a safe legal abortion.  Jobs. Labor. Peace and Prosperity for all.   The party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Kennedy.

Joe Reed is a bold, unapologetic, liberal. He is a reliable voice for civil/equal/human rights, woman, public schools, public school teachers, labor, immigrants, protecting the poor, the marginalized and the working class. You know, the Democratic traditions the party stands for. Or at least traditions the party used to stand for before some felt the need to "reinvent" it into a middle of the road party.

My Daddy use to say never burn the bridge that carried you safely over the water. Like him or not. Joe Reed is that bridge. Blaming the demise of the party on him is like blaming Saddam Hussein for 9/11. People who won't contribute to or support the Alabama Democratic party unless Reed bows out need to bow out

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Edit~Alabama Democrats want to go back to the future. #Dixiecrats




EYE am still seething at Alabama Media Group columnist Kyle Whitmire's assertion the Alabama Democratic Party is racist  being lead by an "old black man named Joe Reed."  First of all, who/what gives Kyle Whitmire the right (pun intended)  to determine who/what is racist/racism?  Secondly, someone who works for the white, male-dominated Alabama Media Group has some nerve calling the Alabama Democratic Party a "Country Club."  There is more than a whiff of hypocrisy, which is why EYE decided to as the young people say Flip the Script.  

Want to see racism at work?  Meet the Alabama Media Groups all white/ male/ columnist.  According to Whitmire the Alabama Democratic Party does not have a tent, much less a big tent because White's can't infiltrate the Minority Caucus under the guise of inclusion to dilute it's power on the committee.  But I digress. It could be said the Alabama Media Group doesn't have a big tent either.  All of the columnist above are white males , two of which who hate Dr. Joe Reed with a passion that is unparalleled.   But it's not reverse racism.  

Let's cut to the real nitty gritty.   Race is the big white elephant in the big white tent.  There is the perception the Alabama democratic party is the party of blacks and as long as that's the case republicans will continue to win elections and rule the state.  So, instead of embracing diversity, democrats want to dilute and destroy  diversity.  They want to go back to before.  Back to the party of Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, George Wallace, and Bull Conner.  The Dixiecrats.
The Dixiecrat Party was formed after 35 Democratic delegates from Mississippi and Alabama walked out of the 1948 Democratic National Convention. These delegates were protesting the adoption of Sen. Hubert Humphrey's (D-Minnesota) proposal of civil rights planks calling for racial integration and the reversal of Jim Crow laws in the party platform.
They met in Birmingham, Alabama, and nominated Gov. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for president. They opposed abolition of the poll tax, while endorsing segregation and the "racial integrity" of each race. Their campaign slogan was "Segregation Forever!" and their platform also included the call for "states' rights." Like the modern day Tea Party, the Dixiecrats called for freedom from governmental interference in an individuals or organization's prerogative to do business with whomever they wanted. Thurmond received more than one million votes in the 1948 election, won four states and 39 electoral votes.
White Democrats believe the Alabama Democratic Party is the black man's party, like that's a bad thing, and blame black democrats for wrecking their party.  Again, the reason EYE oppose the republican party has nothing to do with me being a democrat, and EYE don't oppose republicans just to support democrats. EYE oppose republicans because the people who perpetrated the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and other terrorist acts joined the GOP.

Did EYE say White Democrats believe the Alabama Democratic Party is the black man's party, like that's a bad thing, and blame black democrats, specifically Joe Reed,  for wrecking their party?
What is the Joe Reed problem you ask? For one thing he's not one of those go along to get along Negroes who is content with being seen and not heard. He refuses to be treated like Chattel. There are some who believe black voters don't have enough sense to know who to vote for unless white folks tell them who their leaders should be. (cue in Eyes on the Prize).
EYE say let them take their party back.