Sunday, June 19, 2011

Juneteenth and Modern Day Slavery

June 19th is Juneteenth. It celebrates the day in 1865 when news of emancipation reached Texas. Slaveholders conveniently came down with a case of mass amnesia and didn't relay the news of the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 or of the wars ending two months earlier.

Today I came across an article in the Root about Juneteenth and modern day slavery. The authors quite rightly focused on the horrors of human trafficking which exists in this country and around the world. However, I assumed they would also make mention America's mass incarceration which is not only a form of slavery but which is largely targeted at black people.

The United States has both a greater percentage of its population behind bars and a greater number than any country on earth. There is no despot or dictator on earth who puts as many people in jail as this nation does. While black make up approximately ten percent of our population, we comprise half of all people in jail, prisons, or on parole or probation.

While the authors of the Root article may also suffer from a form of selective amnesia, there are thousands of people across the country dedicated to ending this scourge of our so-called civilization. Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, is spreading the word about a group of clergy dedicated to raising awareness of this issue. The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference is dedicated to addressing many social justice issues and they are in the forefront of exposing and opposing mass incarceration.

It isn't really surprising that the Root has no interest in people who are under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system. We have been propagandized into demonizing them as being unworthy of our attention or concern. The truth is that most of them have not committed violent crimes, but are victims of the forty year long war on drugs and the efforts to literally profit from it and other law enforcement measures. We have private prisons which exist to make a profit. Unemployed people are in jail for failing to pay child support and the child support enforcement system has itself become a privatized profit making venture.

Prisoners are subject to sexual and other violence in jails and prisons, are denied medical care and of the right to vote and to work once they are free. They are victims of involuntary servitude and we must never forget that fact.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Told You So

Two weeks ago I wrote about The Obama Surveillance State in the Black Agenda Report. Today the New York Times revealed what I and others have been reporting.

The FBI has approved a new manual which expands the powers which agents can utilize in the field. They will be able to go through trash, infiltrate organizations, attend religious services, and conduct database searches without even opening an assessment, which beginning in 2008, were permissible without proof of illegal activity.

The bar gets lower and lower. As I reported last week, the illegal activities which Richard Nixon undertook against Daniel Ellsberg are now legal. The FBI can do anything it wants in order to investigate citizens without fear of committing any illegal activity.

Don't just blame George W. Bush. This new manual emerges from the Obama justice department.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Nixon's Crimes are Now Legal

In last week's Black Agenda Report I commented on the ever expanding surveillance state brought to us by Barack Obama. There is now a dangerous bipartisan consensus in support of the further erosion of our civil liberties. Don't believe me? Just read these words from Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon papers forty years ago.

"Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life. (And his aide Henry Kissinger was not the last American official to win an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.)

He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me–which forced his resignation facing impeachment–are now legal.

That includes burglarizing my former psychoanalyst's office (for material to blackmail me into silence), warrantless wiretapping, using the CIA against an American citizen in the US, and authorizing a White House hit squad to "incapacitate me totally" (on the steps of the Capitol on May 3, 1971). All the above were to prevent me from exposing guilty secrets of his own administration that went beyond the Pentagon Papers. But under George W. Bush and Barack Obama,with the PATRIOT Act, the FISA Amendment Act, and (for the hit squad) President Obama's executive orders. they have all become legal

Contrast Ellsberg's treatment with tht of Bradley Manning, who is accused of giving government secrets to Wikileaks. Ellsberg's conviction was over turned while Manning has been imprisoned, tortured psychologically, and denied the right to have private visits. In essence, Obama is now worse than Richard Nixon.

I told you so.

The dirty trick that launched Anthony Weiner's career

The dirty trick that launched Anthony Weiner's career

I didn't know that Weiner used race baiting to win elective office. Forget the weiner double entendres. This is what counts.

Friday, June 03, 2011

I love Tom Tomorrow. I wrote on the same subject in this week’s Black Agenda Report.