Monday, March 30, 2009

Back To Reality

I am watching a video of a young couple in Dallas who were stopped, just yards away -IN A HOSPITAL PARKING LOT- from their dying mother by another "racist police officer." Once again we are forced to confront the reality that, despite having an African-American head-of-state, our status remains tenuous. People of color are just a police stop away from being brutalized.

Several years ago I represented a beautiful black woman, who happened to be a Pharmacist. She was a courageous spirit. She was speeding on the way to pick up her daughter from ballet class when two Louisiana State Troopers pulled her over. She got out of the car, apologizing profusely for traveling over the speed limit, and politely asked the officers if they'd allow her to phone her mother so she could pick her daughter up from ballet. She explained that because of the traffic stop, she would be unable to make it to her daughter’s ballet class before it closed. The Troopers told her to get off the phone. When she refused, they beat her and kicked her into the front seat of her car. The entire incident was recorded on the Troopers video.

At trial, the judge forbade me to argue race as a motive, which of course I did any way. On the second day of the trial, the 12-member jury sat stone-faced while they watched the video of the troopers brutalizing my client. The jury, eleven whites and an African-American man, came back with a verdict in favor of the Troopers. I asked the court to poll the jury – a practice where each juror confirms his or her vote on the verdict. Three of the jury members, the lone African-American and two white jurors - stated that they refused to be apart of the jury deliberations. They explained to the court that the other jurors had made up their minds up to vote against my client before they had heard all of the evidence.

The rogue police in this country operates with impunity. They know that the justice system will ultimately side with them. So do we continue to be shocked at incidents like the one that happened in Dallas?

I have grown so tired of this shit.

By Gil-Scott Heron (

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I had confessed to myself all along, tracer of life poetry trends
That awareness, consciousness poems that screamed of pain and the origins of pain and death had blanketed my tablets, and therefore my friends, brothers, sisters, in-laws, out-laws. And besides, they already knew that Brother Torres, common ancient bloodline Brother Torres is dead.

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I had said I wasn't going to write no more words down
About people kicking us when we're down, about racist dogs
That attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down
But the dogs are in the street
The dogs are alive and the terror in our hearts has scarcely diminished
It has hardly brought us the comfort we suspected
The recognition of our terror and the screaming release of that recognition has not removed the certainty of that knowledge
How could it'
The dogs, rabid and foaming with the energy of their brutish ignorance
Stride the city streets like robot gunslingers and spread death as night-lamps flash crude reflections from gun butts and police shields

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
But the battlefield has moved away from the stilted debates of semantics
Beyond the questionable flexibility of primal screaming.
The reality of our city, jungle streets and their gestapos has become an attack on the home, life, family, philosophy total.
It is beyond the question of didactic niggerisms
The motherfucking dogs are in the street
In Houston, maybe someone said Mexicans were the new niggers
In LA, maybe someone said Chicanos were the new niggers
In Frisco, maybe someone said Orientals were the new niggers
Maybe in Philadelphia and North Carolina, they decided they didn't need no new niggers

I had said I wasn?t going to write no more poems like this
But the dogs are in the street
It's a turn around world where things are all too quickly turned around.
It was turned around so that right looked wrong
It was turned around so that up looked down
It was turned around so that those who marched in the streets with bibles and signs of peace
Became enemies of the state, and a risk to national security.
So that those who questioned the operation of those in authority on the principles of justice, liberty and equality, became the vanguard of a communist attack
It became so that you couldn't call a spade a motherfucking spade.
Brother Torres is dead
The Wilmington ten are still incarcerated
Ed Davies, Ronald Regan, James Hunt and Frank Rizzo are still alive
And the dogs are in the motherfuckinging street

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I made a mistake

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Drug Cartels Have The Drug Laws On The Run

Hilary Clinton told the truth when she said that America is to blame for the drug wars on the Mexican border. However, the wanton violence is just a nose drip to a larger reality; we are a country that consumes illegal drugs. The Drug War was never really a war but a P.R. campaign that gutless politicians have hid behind for a generation.

I represented a petty drug dealer, who was not really a drug dealer. He was a crack head who was involved in selling drugs to get high. He was way down on the food chain. However, he drove trucks to Houston each week, picked up several kilos of cocaine, and delivered them to a small rural town that was two hours from nowhere.

His bosses were some unsophisticated, uneducated country thugs. However, the Drug Enforcement Aency estimated that they were moving $600,000.00 worth of cocaine every week. They were selling drugs, not in the cities, but in small rural towns.

For $600,000.00 a week, you can pay a sheriff to look away. For $600,000.00 dollars a week, you can buy a judge. Two judges in Shreveport, La., were recently convicted for taking payments from a drug dealer to reduce bonds.

If these dumb country boys are doing $600,000.00 a week, imagine what monies the drug impresario in West Harlem, or West Philadelphia, or West Omaha, must be generating. The Columbian Cartel is so sophisticated that their logo is stamped on every brick of cocaine they send into the country. We are so concerned about the Mexican Drug Cartel that we are not even talking about the Columbians.

President Obama stated that he was not for legalizing marijuana. I certainly can understand why, given everything Barack Obama is dealing with, he would not go anywhere near offering the sane solution of legalizing drugs. However, we are headed that way. Any rational person knows we are headed that way, even if we don’t want to admit it politically.

The question is: how many more innocent victims will die in drug violence? How many more impoverished inner-city youth are we going to send to jail for selling a $10.00 rock of crack cocaine , before we accept the reality that America is mom, apple pie, and a hit on a Bong?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Video of AIG protest on Wall Street

I went to Wall Street yesterday to do an interview on the legality of AIG contracts. I took these videos of a protest in front of AIG offices. There is revolution in the streets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just Don't Embarass Us

The Rev. Henry J. Lyons, former president of National Black Baptist Convention USA was forced to resign after his wife burned down Lyons' and his girlfriend's million dollar condo. I asked my cousin, who was a prominent pastor, what he thought about it. His response: "We gave our president of the convention unlimited power to steal and fornicate, all we asked was that he did not embarrass us."

As Congress feigns its outrage – Congress lately leads the world in outrage - over the AIG bailouts, I can't help but be reminded of my cousin's comments. For decades Congress has been the equivalent of street whores – no offense to the street whores- for Wall Street's excess. Every attempt to regulate the financial markets was seen as an assault on capitalism and the American way. They bullied regulators on behalf of their wealthy Wall Street Pimps and when that did not work, they simply gutted the regulations. Details are now coming out that regulations that would have banned bonuses were mysteriously stripped out of the TARP legislation in Committee.

I have been watching these hypocrites in congressional hearings today shift the blame over AIG bonuses to the Obama Administration and present AIG CEO Edward M. Liddy. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner, along with Liddy, have the most thankless jobs in America. They have been asked to clean up a sewer that Congress has been dumping feces in for decades. Liddy, who is being paid $1 a year, should have stood up and told Congress to kiss his ass.

As outrageous as it is to pay AIG Executives bonuses – it like being raped and then having to take the rapist on a shopping trip- the real outrage are the trillions of dollars that were looted from the financial system over the last decade, with the help of Congress. These elected hypocrites are not mad over the bonuses and the Wall Street bailouts. They are mad because the thugs they are in bed with embarrassed them.

The President said today that he does not want to quell the anger of the American public. Nor should we let him. I hope that we stay angry. I hope that we insist that when we get this mess cleaned up, some people on Wall Street go to jail. I hope that some members of Congress are sharing that cell with them.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Time For A New Cuba Policy

President Obama should repeal the economic boycott of Cuba. In the midst of a Cold War, one could argue that boycotting Cuba's economy was strategic. After all, they were aligned with the Soviet Union, our mortal enemy. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we learned that the Soviets were just a shell of an empire, with its only true power being its nuclear technology. Once America realigned with the Soviets as business partners, it should have immediately lifted the boycott of Cuba.

This policy has stayed in place to placate a couple hundred thousand Cubans living in exile, many of whom, have never forgiven Fidel Castro for running them and the corrupt Batista regime out of the country. The economic boycott has also served our conservative politicians needs to keep a cold war boogie man, long after the Cold War died. Castro too has benefited from the boycott. He has used it to help hold sway on his own people, by peddling paranoia that the United States was plotting another Bay of Pigs invasion.

Castro was never the legendary proletariat that rose to overthrow the corrupt Oligarchy that he proclaimed when the tanks rolled into Havana. Nor was he the devil that Republicans and Democrats have painted him to be the last 40 years. Castro has done some good and he has done some bad.

Now, as he lays dying, he is clearly just a petty dictator waiting to swept away by the tides of the 21st century global economy. If America would have unleashed its corporate thugs on Cuba 20 years ago, its citizens would probably now be free, Democratic and reminiscing about the good ole days - when the Island was not dominated by mega hotels, - a McDonalds on every corner, and everyone had healthcare.

Obama, in his first 50 days, relieved travel restrictions. He should go further and announce at the upcoming G-20 summit that he is repealing the boycott. By doing so he would help Brazilian President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva help repair US Latin America relations. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has let it be known that Brazilian President speaks for him when he says, "Latin America is ready to have the US as a full partner."

Finally, by repealing this 20th century Cold War policy, Obama will align himself with an emerging group of pragmatic Latin America leaders, many who were educated in the United States. It would also go a long way toward repairing America’s image in Latin America, after eight years of Bush's cowboy diplomacy. Most of all, it’s the right diplomatic move for the first "child of the world" who rose to be President of the United States.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thank You John Stewart For Expressing Our Outrage

Somebody in society has to call a motherfucker a motherfucker
Nikki Giovanni

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who Your Daddy Michael Steele

I held off writing about the whole Michael Steele fiasco because i don't like beating a brother down after he been beat down. But the truth don't need no amens, it just need a witness. So witness:

What's Wrong With Class Warfare?

What is wrong with class-warfare? If just ten years ago, the working class would have declared war on Executives who were taking multi-million dollar bonuses that had no basis in reality, other than to loot the financial systems, we would not be in this mess today. John Stewart in a -brilliant- Howard Beal rant on CNBC ‘s hypocrisy of criticizing the stimulus plan, when they served as street barkers, guiding passive investors into gambling casinos masquerading as financial institutions. It is absolutely amazing to me that a million people have not showed up on Wall Street in a day of protest, to demand that these motherfuckers go to jail.

I don’t understand a mentality that people who have been abused don’t have the moral standing to demand their abusers be punished. I walked around Midtown Manhattan 18 months ago, unbalanced by the displays of wealth. We are talking about Masareti Limousines 10 deep waiting to carry an executive 10 blocks; fifty million dollar apartments in the Time Warner Building along with a fifty million dollar summer home in the Hamptons. The American public was pimped, whored, bamboozled and ponzi-schemed by these thugs with a MBA, with Congress –democrats and republicans- holding their hands.

Newt Gingrich –Back To The Future- is on Meet The Press today criticizing Vice-President Joe Biden for rightfully calling that some of these CEO's be put "in the brig." This is the same Gingrich that as Speaker led a Republican dominated Congress to deregulate the markets. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an editorial blaming the sinking markets on Obama's policies, which are two weeks old. This is the same Wall Street Journal that defended executive excess the last eight years, as "innovation". So now a young President who inherited a global meltdown is having to call up the New York Times to defend himself from a socialist label, because he is attempting to bring some kind of coherence to this madness.

Frank Rich –The Edward R. Murrow of the 21st Century- writes in the New York Times with unmatched eloquence at how these Upper East-Side thugs were paying $80,000.00 for teddy bears. Unless the working class, middle class, and working poor declares war on this foolishness, the next generation will have to deal with this same mess.

And how do you declare war. Just get mad, get mad as hell and say i am not going to take it anymore.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bobby versus Jindal

To understand why Bobby Jindal did so poorly in the Republican response to President Obama’s first address to the nation, you have to understand the South. You have to understand its anti-intellectualism and unrelenting social pressures on the individual to conform to fundamentalist cultural norms.

After Jindal spoke, I received a text message from a friend who lives in South Louisiana. His tongue-in-cheek message: "I did not know that Bobby Jindal was the son of poor Indian immigrants." Jindal had never spoken of his immigrant roots or Indian culture in any of his previous campaigns. In fact his father is a engineer and mother a nucelar physicist. Jindal "went there" because he knows, in his heart, that the only reason the party of white southern men were touting him as their savior was because they are desperate for an antidote to Obama.

Like Obama, Jindal grew up as an outsider. However, Obama was raised in multi-cultural Hawaii, while Jindal had to find his way in white, conservative Baton Rouge. At some point Obama had to make a choice, and he embraced, with exuberance, black culture. As he told Steve Croft of 60 Minutes "I am firmly entrenched in the African-American community."

As a person of color growing up in Baton Rouge, Jindal, also had to make choice. Only his options were not as easy as Obama’s. I have no doubt that Jindal faced discrimination, even racial taunts, growing up in Baton Rouge. The Indian community in Louisiana is small, and little Bobby had to look outward. Intellectually, an alliance with Baton Rouge’s large African-American community would not make sense to the son of an immigrant. Choosing to live an economically marginalized life in Scotlandville - the neighborhood surrounding historically black Southern University would not have seen viable to young Bobby. So, he chose to cast his fate with white Baton Rouge. But in order to do so, he had to de-emphasize the Jindal and focus on the Bobby. It was a Faustian deal.

White southerners believe that they are under siege. The passing of the 1964 Voting Rights Act created the ascendancy of the black political class. The four largest cities in Louisiana are run by black mayors. White children still ride in pick-up trucks with rebel flags on back windows, but Lil Wayne is blasting on the radio. Well-paying, blue-collar jobs have been lost to globalization and white southerners have turned to the churches - the last bastion of unfiltered and untouched white protestant culture – for safety. It is in this environment that Jindal came of age.

And the times are still changing in the South. The black quarterback that brings the mythical black championship at LSU is worshipped. Blacks are now allowed to join the all-white club, but no pretenders are allowed in. Only anti-abortionists, those against gun control and anti-intellectuals are admitted.

And finally, members must be anti-government.

"Government forced me to go school with blacks. I got passed over for supervisor in the plant because the government forced the company to promote blacks. Government has failed to protect our borders and now we find ourselves minorities in our own country."

Needless to say, some white folks are angry. You need only to have seen Rush Limbaugh, throwing red meat to the mob on Saturday at CPAC, to be reminded of "white" rage.

So little Bobby dranked the Kool Aid and became a white Southerner. As Jeremiah Wright preached in a sermon about Clarence Thomas, "he got Rome on his mind" and for "acceptance," Bobby had to publicly deny his immigrant past and embrace the cultural and religious dogma of the white south.

But the Gods have a wicked sense of humor. Barack Obama became President of the United States. Along with his unlimited political skills, he used his blackness and his "child of the world" biography as a calling-card to lead the new multi-racial America in the 21st century.

The Republicans now find themselves reduced to a 20-state party. But, they too, have been blessed with a young, talented, person-of-color. Jindal could take on what the Republican leadership could not understand, the diversifying of America. But Jindal does not understand this new phenonomenon either. The Louisiana governor, long ago, gave up the cultural sensibilities needed to guide the Republican Party back out of the wilderness.

So on Tuesday night, at a seminal moment in his life and Republican politics, Jindal responded to Obama like a white southerner. His praising of Obama's campaign and victory to the White House was condescending. He, of all people, should have known that America moved beyond that right after Inauguration night. His telling of his immigrant past sounded fake because he had never told it before and, thus he was unable to put it in context of who he is. He argued that government was evil – white anger, rearing its head, again- at a time when the whole world is looking to the American government to pull it from the abyss of a global depression.

I don t buy that Jindal's national aspirations are over. He can still lead the Republican Party out of the wilderness. However, to do so, he needs to take a trip into the wilderness and find himself. He needs to see if it is not too late for him to reconnect to his immigrant past. He needs to be honest with himself and the Republican Party about what is means to be a person of color in 21st century America. The Republicans desperately need a Indian Jindal and America needs a modern Republican Party.