Monday, September 29, 2008
This is the ultimate lipstick on a pig.
They refuse to work with the INDEPENDENT Senator from Vermont--Bernie Sanders---which proposes placing the burden on the people who have profitted from the Bush economic plan. Sanders proposed taxing the wealthy elite for a limited five year time period....If you are single and make over 500k a year then you will pay a 10% surcharge for five years, and couples making over 1 million a year would also pay a 10% surcharge for five years. It's about time the wealthy elite took some responsibility. This plan would bring 300 billion dollars to the table and reduce the cost to the taxpayer by 50%.
Why does Wall Street business get to do business with no sales tax? Wall street wants a handout so they should help pay for it with a sales tax. This is the only fair thing to do; this is the perfect time to put a sales tax on Wall Street.
Why is Wall Street setting the terms for it's own bailout? Wall Street thinks it should set the terms and conditions for the government bail out? This takes arrogance to new heights. It looks like Wall Street OWNS our Congress.
If "our" government is going to act on this matter then the costs of this should be placed on the people who have benefited from the crisis they created; the wealthy are also actually able to foot this bill handily. The rich have become very rich (at the taxpayers expense) under the Bush administration. Funny, I don't hear any Democrats or Republicans bringing up how the middle and lower class have lost ground under the Bush administration.
IF Congress were doing it's job and representing the American people instead of the corporations. They would insist that the wealthy taxpayers and Wall Street pay for this bailout by having the necessary taxes be a part of the bail out bill. They would insist that the government not get stuck with worthless junk. The people deserve real assets and a fair ownership interest. Our nation has many problems that need to be addressed. The nation should make money off of any Wall Street deal so this can be used to fix our infrastructure, solve our energy problem, and create new jobs so that working people will have the boots and bootstraps that we know how to put to good use.
So why is the Democratic party going along with the Bush plan and making their constituents pay for this mess against our will? The people are speaking out loudly and clearly. It looks like Congress has sold us out to the elite corporate interests.
I don't care what party the Senator or Representative belongs to if you vote for a Wall Street Bailout that rewards the culprits and lays the brunt of the burden on the "taxpayer" you should be thrown out.
The American people are speaking out loud and clear. It's time to throw out the members of Congress who refuse to listen.
According to David Sirota:
Harvard's Ken Rogoff, a Former Federal Rerserve and IMF official, insists that the prospect of this bailout is, unto itself, taking a manageable problem and making it into a more intense crisis. He says that credit is frozen primarily because banks want to avoid dealing with other banks that might drive a hard bargain, and instead would rather wait for free money from the government. Without the prospect of that free money, Rogoff suggests that credit would probably begin moving again, if slowly.
Check out the Top Five [Economic] Reasons this Bailout won't work.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Journalist Hans Bennett has given me permission to post his OpEdNews Diary post here. You can see the original at: http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=9719
VIDEO interview with J. Patrick O'Connor at Philly City Hall, who released his book, The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal, earlier this year.
On May 1, 2008, the day of the book's release, AJN interviewed O'Connor at Philadelphia City Hall. The next day, The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal was featured in The NY Times: "Book Asserts Black Reporter Didn't Kill White Officer in '81."
Read our exclusive interview from April, focusing on the frame-up, Kenneth Freeman, the March 27 court ruling, and Frank Rizzo's legacy.
O’Connor argues that the actual shooter was Kenneth Freeman and he criticizes the media, who “bought into the prosecution’s story line early on and has never been able to see this case for what it is: a framing of an innocent and peace loving man.” For more on “The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal” we are featuring an excerpt, a previous interview, O’Connor’s review of “Murdered By Mumia,” and his response to the March 27 ruling.
**New articles on O'Connor's book by Carolina Saldaña, Linn Washington Jr., Hans Bennett, and radio shows Law and Disorder, Jazz and Justice, and KOWA**
J. Patrick O’Connor’s presentation at Baruch College, NYC
June 23, 2008
Good evening and thank you for coming.
Tonight I’m going to cover five areas of the Mumia Abu-Jamal case, beginning with my reasons for writing The Framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal. I’ll next discuss how the arrest set the framing in motion. Then look at how the physical evidence and early eyewitness statements pointed to a shooter other than Mumia. In Part 4 I’ll show how the prosecutor used perjured, coerced, and bribed testimony to get the death verdict. I’ll finish with an analysis of Mumia’s various legal appeals and where he stands now. At the conclusion, I’ll be happy to try to answers your questions about the case.
1. Why I wrote this book:
When Mumia was sentenced to death on July 3, 1982, for the murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, I was an associate editor for TV Guide at its headquarters in nearby Radnor, Pennsylvania.
I had often heard Mumia giving reports on the local public radio station during the 20 months he was employed there. I was impressed with his ability to make listeners feel what he was describing – and with the compassion in his distinctive voice. He was, in a very real sense, the “voice of the voiceless.” I had great admiration for him.
In 1996 I watched the BBC documentary: Mumia Abu-Jamal: A Case for Reasonable Doubt on HBO and I began to develop some doubts about the fairness of his trial and its verdict.
When Amnesty International published an 84-page pamphlet in 2000 stating that it had determined that numerous aspects of Mumia’s case “clearly failed to meet minimum standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings,” I began to research the case. By this time I was editor of the Internet site Crime Magazine (www.crimemagazine.com), and my intention was to write an article about the case for it.
Running throughout much of Mumia’s support is a subtext that his trial was unfair but that he probably killed Officer Faulkner in self-defense. As I read and re-read the available material on the case – transcripts from both his trial and Post-Conviction Relief Act hearings, newspaper accounts, and several books written about the case – I could see that his trial was a monumental miscarriage of justice, representing an extreme case of prosecutorial abuse and judicial bias.
What I could not tell until I was several years into my research was whether Mumia had actually killed Officer Faulkner. The officer had been in the process of violently arresting Mumia’s younger brother – Billy Cook – shortly before 4 a.m. in a “red-light” section of Center City Philadelphia when Mumia – moonlighting as a taxi driver – happened to be nearby and ran from a parking lot to assist his brother. When I was able to determine that the passenger in Billy Cook’s car had killed Officer Faulkner, I then set out to show what no other book about this case had ever attempted to reveal: Why and how Mumia was framed for Officer Faulkner’s killing.
What makes getting to the truth of this case so difficult for so many people who continue to believe that Mumia is guilty of murdering Officer Faulkner is that the prosecution built its case on perjured, bribed, and coerced testimony with a calculated disregard for what the actual evidence established.
2. How the arrest set the framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal in motion:
The framing of Mumia Abu-Jamal was set in place at the very outset when Inspector Alfonzo Giordano arrived within minutes to take control of the crime scene. Giordano formerly reported directly to George Fencl, the chief inspector of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Civil Defense Bureau – a special intelligence unit that had monitored Mumia since he joined the Philly chapter of the Black Panther Party at age 15. The civil defense bureau was also at the heart of the police department’s harassment of MOVE, the small, radical back-to-nature group that became the focal point of police brutality in the 1970s and 1980s. The civil defense bureau’s interest in Mumia intensified as his radio career took wing. At the local public radio station, Mumia became an outspoken critic of the Mayor Rizzo-dominated police department and one of the city’s few reporters to dare empathize with MOVE in its ongoing and epic-like battle with Rizzo and the police department.
Normal police procedure would have been for a homicide detective to assume control of the crime scene, but there would be nothing normal about this arrest. Giordano seized control, confronting Mumia in the paddy wagon by striking him in the forehead with a hard object – most likely his walkie-talkie – and cursing him with repeated racial epithets. It would be Giordano who claimed that Mumia told him that he dropped his gun in the street after he shot Faulkner. It would be Giordano who arranged at the scene for 21-year-old prostitute Cynthia White and a 23-year-old, white, felon by the name of Robert Chobert to identify Mumia as the shooter. Giordano and White would be the D.A. Office’s only witnesses at the preliminary hearing to hold Mumia over for trial where Giordano repeated this so-called “confession.” Although the police released this confession to the news media the day of Faulkner’s shooting, no jury would ever hear Giordano testify to it. In one of the most sinister aspects of Mumia’s case, the police department waited until the first working day after Mumia’s sentencing to “relieve” Giordano of his duties on what would prove to be well founded “suspicions of corruption.”
Giordano was as corrupt a police officer as one can imagine, even by Philadelphia standards. For years he had been extorting kickbacks – personally averaging $3,000 per month – from Center City prostitutes, pimps, and bar owners, which explains his early arrival at the crime scene. Four years after Mumia’s trial, Giordano pled guilty to tax evasion in connection with those payouts. His penalty: four years probation. In the wide-ranging FBI probe that nailed Giordano, numerous other high-ranking police officers also were convicted, including Deputy Police Commissioner James Martin, and John DeBenedetto, head of the Central Division, to which Faulkner was assigned. Martin, the acknowledged head of the Philadelphia Police Department’s elaborate extortion apparatus, was in charge of all major investigations, including Faulkner’s death.
Giordano didn’t even bother to have White go through the pretense of identifying Mumia in the paddy wagon as he did several other eyewitnesses. Instead, he coerced or enticed her at the scene to concoct an eyewitness account of Faulkner’s shooting and packed her off in a patrol car to give her statement to police detectives at the Roundhouse. White would be the only witness the D.A. had to claim to see Mumia holding a gun over a prone Faulkner.
3. How the physical evidence and early eyewitness statements pointed to a shooter other than Mumia:
From the outset, the investigation into the shooting death of Officer Faulkner was conducted with one goal in mind: to hang the crime on Mumia Abu-Jamal. There was no search for the truth, no attempt at providing the slain officer with the justice he deserved. The physical evidence at the crime scene and the initial witness statements – other than White’s – pointed to a shooter other than Mumia.
· Four eyewitnesses told police that they saw one or more black men running from the scene after hearing gunshots.
· The prosecution’s entire account of how Mumia himself came to be shot – that Officer Faulkner, after Mumia cowardly shot him in the back, was able somehow to whirl around, and while falling down backwards get off the shot that struck Mumia – was a flagrant misrepresentation of the actual evidence. The prosecution’s scenario was completely discredited at trial when the surgeon who operated on Mumia testified that the bullet struck him in the chest and traveled straight downward, lodging in his liver. What the evidence actually showed was that Faulkner – while standing on the sidewalk – shot Mumia as he approached from the street.
· Even Robert Chobert, the felon on probation Giordano had I.D. Mumia in the paddy wagon, said in his first statement that the shooter was in his mid-30s, was heavy-set, weighing 200 to 225 pounds, was 6 feet tall, and wore a gray colored dress shirt that had a green picture on the back. (Mumia was 27. He was 6 feet tall, but weighed a lean 170 pounds then. That night he wore a waist-length, red-quilted ski jacket with a vertical blue stripe crossing the front. There was no picture on it, front or back.
· Cab driver Robert Harkins is the only eyewitness who saw what actually happened to Faulkner. He was driving by the police car and Cook’s VW when he saw an officer grab a man. The man then spun the officer around and the officer went to the ground on his hands and knees, his back now facing the assailant. The assailant then shot the officer in the back, causing the officer to roll over on his back, and then the assailant – according to Harkins – fired two more shots point blank at the officer, one hitting him between the eyes, killing him instantly. When Harkins saw the officer go flat to the ground, he began fearing for his own life and sped away. Within a block he spotted a police paddy wagon and alerted the officers in it that a police officer had been shot.
Harkins’s account of the officer being thrown down on his hands and knees was borne out by the slit in Faulkner’s trousers at the knee and the denuding of his knee.
Harkins – like Chobert – described the assailant as being a little taller and heavier than the officer. Faulkner was 6 feet and weighed 200 pounds. Harkins said the assailant’s clothing was “not too dark and it wasn’t light.” His description fit Billy Cook’s burly street vendor associate, Kenneth Freeman, who was about 6 foot, but weighed over 200 pounds. Freeman that night wore a green army jacket – not too dark and it wasn’t light.
Mumia’s jury did not get to hear from Harkins because the prosecution did not want his testimony to put to rout the perjured testimony of Cynthia White and Robert Chobert.
· In Faulkner’s shirt pocket was a driver’s application bearing the name Arnold Howard. (When the prosecution turned over evidence to the defense, it concealed that the driver’s application had been found in Faulkner’s clothing, claiming it had been recovered from inside Cook’s VW.) Police rousted Howard from his house pre-dawn that morning and brought him in for questioning. He informed them that he had loaned his driver’s application to his friend, Kenneth Freeman. Police then brought Freeman in for questioning. Here, delivered to them, was Faulkner’s assailant. But the police did not want Freeman for this crime even after star prosecution witness Cynthia White twice picked him out of lineups that morning. Freeman was released without having to even bother to contact an attorney.
Five days later, in what the Philadelphia Inquirer reported as a probable police arson, Freeman’s vending stand was burnt to the ground at 3 a.m., effectively bankrupting him. Less than four years later, on the night the police firebombed the MOVE home on Osage Avenue – killing 11 MOVE members, including five children and burning down 60 other row houses in the process – Freeman’s dead body was found nude, gagged and bound – his hands cuffed behind his back – in an empty lot on Roosevelt Boulevard. Coincidence? The coroner listed the 31-year-old’s death as a heart attack and no investigation of his obvious murder was undertaken.
· Perhaps the most absurd claim – absurd as in unbelievable – that the crime-scene police made was that they didn’t conduct even the most elementary tests of Mumia’s gun to determine if it had been recently fired, by either feeling it for heat or smelling it. Neither, they claimed, did they run the most basic trace-metal test on Mumia’s hands to determine if he had fired his gun. What is probable is that they did conduct all three of these tests and each was negative.
· The 26-crime scene photos taken by freelance photographer Pedro Polakoff at the scene of Officer Faulkner’s killing represent another major indication of the Philadelphia Police Department and Philadelphia D.A.’s Office total disregard for what the actual crime-scene evidence revealed. Polakoff arrived at the crime scene 12 minutes after hearing of the shooting on his police scanner. When Polakoff offered the photos to the police and the D.A.’s Office in early 1982, neither wanted them. And for good reason. The photos, taken in total, tell a story neither the police nor the prosecution wanted anyone to know about.
For one thing, the photos depict a stunning nonchalance on the part of the police at the crime scene, particularly the crime scene of a felled fellow officer. Normal police protocol for securing a crime scene – instead of heightened – was abandoned. Polakoff would tell German author Michael Schiffmann 25 years later that it was the “most messed up crime scene I’ve ever seen,” because it was never secured and he, and many others, had free access to it.
The photos also show a disturbing pattern of evidence manipulation and mishandling of crucial forensic evidence within minutes of the police arriving at the scene.
In an interview after his photos were released in 2007, Polakoff said that when he first arrived at the scene the working theory of the police was that the shooter had fled. He said police were interviewing people to get information about the shooter’s description.
4. How the prosecutor used perjured and coerced testimony to get the death verdict:
It wasn’t enough for Prosecutor Joe McGill to try Abu-Jamal on the facts and evidence of the case. Time and again, from his pre-trial dealings through his summations at both the guilt and sentencing phases of the trial, he would go over the top in his effort to send Abu-Jamal to the electric chair.
· McGill knew there was another person in Billy Cook’s VW. He knew that another man – Arnold Howard – had loaned his driver’s application to Cook’s street-vendor partner, Kenneth Freeman, and that application was in Faulkner’s shirt pocket when the officer was killed. He most likely knew that Cynthia White had twice picked Freeman out of lineups hours after Faulkner’s death.
· At Billy Cook’s assault trial – held three months prior to Mumia’s trial – Cynthia White had testified – under questioning from McGill – about both the driver and a passenger in Cook’s VW getting out of the car as Faulkner approached. One of McGill’s first orders of business when White took the stand at Mumia’s trial was to get on record the exact opposite testimony. McGill began by asking her if anyone else was there besides the defendant, the police officer, and Billy Cook. Her answer was, “No.” Getting White to limit the people at the crime scene to only those three was an essential deception McGill needed to establish to counter any other eyewitness testimony regarding one or more black men fleeing the scene.
· McGill, apparently, had no ethical misgivings about using Cynthia White’s obviously perjured testimony. He knew that not one eyewitness had seen her at the scene. He also knew that in her original statement to police – given within an hour of Faulkner’s shooting – that she had Mumia running from the parking lot and from as far as 10 yards away firing four or five shots at Faulkner. After police arrested her again for prostitution three days after Faulkner’s death, she expanded her statement only to say that she saw Billy Cook strike Faulkner. Arrested again five days later, she finally got the message. She was now willing to alter her first two statements to comport with the actual evidence that Faulkner was shot at close range. He reward was to ply her trade with impunity for the six months leading up to Mumia’s trial. She admitted at Billy Cook’s assault trial that she had not been arrested since providing her third statement to police on December 17. Another perk the D.A.’s Office threw her way was to allow her live-in pimp to sign his own bail on a felony theft charge the month before Mumia came to trial.
· The same lack of ethical concern can be said of McGill’s use of Robert Chobert as a witness. Chobert had made the absurd claim in his statement that his taxi was parked directly behind Faulkner’s patrol car and that he saw it all from just feet away. Polakoff’s photos, by the way, belie this claim as did all other eyewitness testimony except for that of Cynthia White. At the time, Chobert was on felony probation and violating that parole by driving a taxi with a revoked driver’s license – revoked for two DUIs. McGill knew that it was nonsense for Chobert to claim that he would park directly behind any police car, but he needed him to bolster White’s less than credible standing as the key prosecution witness. So he used Chobert, simple as that. It didn’t seem to faze McGill that in Chobert’s original statement to police he had said the shooter had run 30 feet or so before collapsing. Mumia, of course, was found passed out just feet from Faulkner. In a subsequent statement to police, Chobert reduced the feet that Mumia ran to 10, still 10 feet more than was true.
· How desperate was the D.A.’s Office and the police to frame Mumia? One of the four witnesses who told police they saw one or more black men fleeing the scene immediately after the shooting was prostitute Veronica Jones. She would recant her original statement at trial after detectives visited her in her jail cell shortly before she was to testify at Mumia’s trial. At the time the 21-year-old Jones faced major felony charges for armed robbery, assault, and possession of an instrument of crime. She was looking at up to 15 years in prison. Her reward for cooperating turned out to be a sentence of five years’ probation on the felony charges against her. At Mumia’s Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing continuation in 1996, Jones bravely testified – under a threat of perjury charge from Judge Sabo – that Philadelphia detectives had coerced her into disavowing her claim about seeing two black men flee the crime scene. Sabo, of course, found her testimony not credible.
· The most credible witness the jury would hear from was a young accounting student – Dessie Hightower, whom the defense called to testify. Just as White had at Cook’s assault trial – Hightower would testify that Faulkner had approached the passenger side of the VW. A few minutes later, after hearing gunshots, Hightower observed someone running from the scene. The police, and presumably the prosecution, were so concerned with the exculpatory contents of his original statement that detectives re-interviewed him in the weeks to come for five hours on one occasion and then a week later came to his workplace and picked him for more questioning, some of it conducted with Hightower wired to a polygraph machine. Hightower would be the only witness the police polygraphed even though White and Chobert had so obviously altered their original statements. In addition, no polygraphs were administered to Officer Garry Bell and hospital security guard Priscilla Durham who concocted the damning “hospital confession” from Mumia.
· There was ample reason to polygraph both of them. For one thing, neither reported the so-called confession to the prosecution until over two months later when McGill himself interviewed them. More pointedly, the two officers who accompanied Mumia from the time he was placed in the paddy wagon until he went into surgery – and who never left his side during that interim – were Officers Gary Wakshul and Stephen Trombetta. In separate, signed statements given to detectives shortly after Mumia went into surgery, both Wakshul and Trombetta reported that Mumia had made no comments. Wakshul’s statement read, “During this time, the Negro male made no comments.”
When Mumia’s court-appointed attorney, Anthony Jackson, made an 11th hour attempt at Mumia’s trial to call Wakshul as a rebuttal witness to debunk Mumia’s alleged hospital confession, prosecutor McGill said he did not know where he was, although McGill knew that Wakshul was at home awaiting the possibility of being called to court to testify. The jury never got to hear from Wakshul or Trombetta – only from Bell and Durham. At trial, Bell testified he had no recall of even seeing Durham at the hospital.
5. Mumia’s failed appeals – “the Mumia exception” and his legal status now:
Mumia’s legal odyssey has been beset by the same sort of machinations as his arrest and trial. In 1989, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court turned down his first appeal even though one of his claims was almost the exact same claim that had persuaded the same court to grant Lawrence Baker a new trial in 1986. In that case, Commonwealth v. Baker, the court overturned Baker’s death sentence for first-degree murder on the grounds that the prosecutor improperly referenced the lengthy appeal process afforded those sentenced to death. That prosecutor – Joseph McGill – was the same prosecutor who used similar – almost identical – language in his summation during both the guilt and sentencing phases of Mumia’s trial. The judge who failed to strike the language in the Baker case was the same judge who presided at Mumia’s trial, Common Pleas Court Judge Albert F. Sabo.
The State Supreme Court ruled in Baker that the use of such language “minimize[ed] the jury’s sense of responsibility for a verdict of death.” When Mumia’s appeal included the very same issue, the court reversed its own precedent in the matter, denying the claim in a shocking unanimous decision.
A year later, in Commonwealth v. Beasley, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence of Leslie Beasley, but exerted its supervisory power to adopt a “per se rule precluding all remarks about the appellate process in all future trials.” This rule not only reinstated the Baker precedent but it ordered all prosecutors in the state to refrain once and for all from referencing the appellate process in summations to the jury. The court could have made this new rule retroactive to Mumia’s case, but did not.
As Amnesty International declared in its pamphlet published in 2000 about Mumia’s case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s judicial scheming leave “the disturbing impression that the court invented a new standard of procedure to apply to one case only: that of Mumia Abu-Jamal,” Temple University journalism professor Linn Washington aptly dubs this and subsequent court decisions denying Mumia a new trial “the Mumia exception.”
Mumia’s Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing in 1995 was doomed from the beginning when Judge Sabo – Mumia’s original trial judge – would not recuse himself from the case and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would not remove him for bias.
Mumia’s federal habeas corpus appeal – decided by Federal District Judge William Yohn in 2001 – should have resulted in at least an evidentiary hearing on Mumia’s Batson claim that the prosecutor unconstitutionally purged blacks from Mumia’s jury by using peremptory strikes to exclude 10 or 11 otherwise qualified black jurors from the jury pool. Judge Yohn’s error was egregious and could have been easily avoided if he had held one evidentiary hearing on that defense claim. But during the two years that Judge Yohn considered Mumia’s habeas appeal, he held no hearings.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit should have corrected that district court mistake by remanding Mumia’s case back to Judge Yohn to hold the evidentiary hearing on the Batson claim, but in another example of the “Mumia exception,” the court instead continued the long and tortured denial of Mumia’s right to a fair trail. In a 2 to 1 decision released on March 27 that reeks of politics and racism, the court ruled that Abu-Jamal had failed to meet his burden in providing a prima facie case. He failed, the majority wrote, because his attorneys at his Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing in 1995 neglected to elicit the prosecutor’s reasons for peremptorily removing 10 otherwise qualified blacks during jury selection.
In the decision written by Chief Judge Anthony Sirica, the court stated that] “Abu-Jamal had the opportunity to develop this evidence at the PCRA evidentiary hearing, but failed to do so. There may be instances where a prima facie case can be made without evidence of the strike rate and exclusion rate. But, in this case [i.e., “the Mumia exception” is in play], we cannot find the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling [denying Mumia’s Batson claim] unreasonable based on this incomplete record.”
In a nutshell, the majority denied Mumia’s Batson claim on a technicality of its own invention, not on its merits. It also broke with the sacrosanct stare decisis doctrine – the principle that the precedent decisions are to be followed by the courts – by ignoring its own previous opposite ruling in the Holloway v. Horn case of 2004 and the Brinson v. Vaughn case of 2005. It is a general maxim that when a point has been settled by decision, it forms a precedent which is not afterwards to be departed from. In a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 1989 in a case entitled United States v. Washington, the decision stated that an appeal court’s panel is “bound by decisions of prior panels unless an en banc decision, Supreme Court decision, or subsequent legislation undermines those decisions.” None of those variables were in play when the Third Circuit Court majority ruled against Mumia’s Batson claim.
Judge Thomas Ambro’s dissent was sharp: “…I do not agree with them [the majority] that Mumia Abu-Jamal fails to meet the low bar for making a prima facie case under Batson. In holding otherwise, they raise the standard necessary to make out a prima facie case beyond what Batson calls for.”
In other words, the majority, in this case alone, has upped the ante required for making a Batson claim beyond what the U.S. Supreme Court stipulated. When ruling in Batson in 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court did not require that the racial composition of the entire jury pool be known before a Batson claim may be raised. The high court ruled that a defendant must show only “an inference” of prosecutorial discrimination in purging potential jurors. Prosecutor McGill’s using 10 or 11 of the 15 peremptory strikes he deployed is just such an inference – and an extremely strong one. McGill’s strike rate of over 66 percent against potential black jurors is in itself prima facie evidence of race discrimination. Prima facie is a Latin term meaning “at first view,” meaning the evidence being presented is presumed to be true unless disproved.
In commenting on Holloway v. Horn, a Batson-type case with striking similarities to Mumia’s claim, Judge Ambro – the lone Democrat-appointed judge on the three judge panel – demonstrated just how disingenuous the panel’s ruling against Mumia’s Batson claim was. “In Holloway, Judge Ambro wrote in his dissent, “we emphasized that ‘requiring the presentation of [a record detailing the race of the venire] simply to move past the first state – the prima facie stage – in the Batson analysis places an undue burden upon the defendant.’ There we found the strike rate – 11 of 12 peremptory strikes against black persons – satisfied the prima facie burden.” In Holloway, the Third Circuit ruled that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision denying Holloway’s Batson claim was “contrary to” and an “unreasonable application” of the Batson standard.
In fact, in rendering both its Holloway and Brinson decision, the Third Circuit specifically rejected the requirement that a petitioner develop a complete record of the jury pool. In making its ruling in Mumia’s appeal, it reversed itself to make the pretext of an incomplete jury record his fatal misstep. Basing its ruling against Abu-Jamal’s Batson claim on this invented pretext demonstrated how desperate the majority was to block Abu-Jamal’s Batson claim. What the majority was implying was that Abu-Jamal’s jury pool may well have consisted of 60 or 70 percent black people and that therefore the prosecutor’s using 66 percent of his strikes to oust potential black jurors was statistically normal and did not create a prima facie case of discrimination. This hypothesis is, of course, absurd on its face. Blacks have been underrepresented on Philadelphia juries for years – and remain so today. What was likely was that the jury pool at Abu-Jamal’s trial was at least 70 percent white.
The Third Circuit – if it had followed its own precedent – would have found the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling denying Abu-Jamal’s Batson claim “contrary to” and an “unreasonable application” of the Batson standard and remanded the case back to Federal District Court Judge Yohn to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine the prosecutor’s reasons for excluding the 10 potential black jurors he struck. If that hearing satisfied Judge Yohn that all of the prosecutor’s reasons for striking potential black jurors were race neutral, Mumia’s Batson claim would fail. If, conversely, that hearing revealed racial discrimination on the part of the prosecutor during jury selection – even if only concerning one potential juror – Judge Yohn would be compelled to order a new trial for Abu-Jamal.
Mumia is left with only two remedies to correct the flawed Third Circuit ruling. His first option is to request the Third Circuit to review its decision en banc where the entire panel of active judges sitting on the Third Circuit would conduct oral arguments anew. On April 9, the Third Circuit granted Abu-Jamal’s petition for Extension of Time to File for Rehearing En Banc, which allowed Mumia’s lead attorney, Robert Bryan of San Francisco, until May 27 to file.
According to Bryan, the basis of the petition he filed is that the Third Circuit’s “decision conflicts with a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court or of the court” – in this case the Third Circuit – “to which petition is addressed and consideration of the full court is therefore necessary to secure uniformity of the court’s decisions,” and “the proceeding involves one or more questions of exceptional importance.”
There is some likelihood that the Third Circuit might agree to meet en banc because the three-judge panel’s decision to deny Abu-Jamal’s Batson claim went against that court’s own well-established precedents in granting similar Batson claims in the past. However, the barrier to en banc deliberations is a high one: the majority of the active judges must vote to sit. In the case of the Third Circuit, there are 12 active judges eligible to vote, but three have already recused themselves from this particular politically charged case, meaning five of the remaining nine remaining judges would be needed to vote to go forward en banc. Considering that the decision denying Mumia’s Batson claim was written by the court’s chief judge and that the majority of active judges are Republican appointees – four of them by George W. Bush – Mumia has most probably had his one day before the Third Circuit. I can only hope I’m wrong about that.
Barring an en banc hearing by the Third Circuit, Mumia’s final option is to appeal the Third Circuit’s ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has on three previous occasions denied to take up his case. This time, though, there is a remote possibility that the high court might intervene in the case because the Third Circuit’s ruling created new law by placing new restrictions on a defendant’s ability to file a Batson claim. The Third Circuit, in effect, tampered with and undermined a long-established Supreme Court ruling. One clean, simple option for the Supreme Court would be to remand the case to federal district court for the Batson hearing the Third Circuit should have ordered.
Such a hearing would, in all probability except for “the Mumia exception,” lead to a new trial for Mumia. I pray that day will come.
Hans Bennett is a Philadelphia photojournalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at insubordination.blogspot.com and he is also co-founder of "Journalists for Mumia," created to challenge the long history of corporate media bias, whose website is: Abu-Jamal-News.com
McCain is pulling rabbits out of a hat in order to distract the voters from the latest outrage that surfaces. It appears that "Me First" McCain will pretend to suspend his campaign and insert himself into the bailout negotiations (with no preparation and no role to play) in order to get his butt into the White House. McCain is being accused of putting his country last.
Unfortunately, it appears that we only have one big party in D.C. A Corporatist Party that has two subbranches--Democrats and Republicans--who put corporations and their needs above all else. This is the reason the Democrats are frantically giving up everything (repealing the bankruptcy bill, no relief for homeowners) and not looking at any options (letting the corporations and the wealthy elite taxpayer foot the bill. The end result is that Bush's policies and goals will continue for a decade or more....
How else to explain the Democrats rush to pass this bailout plan?
According to George Lakeoff, the Republicans are playing politics and setting a trap with this Wall Street Bailout issue and the Democrats are falling for it. It is becoming very possible for the Republicans to keep the White House and maybe even re-take the House of Representatives by claiming the populist issue of NOT voting for handouts to Wall Street. Meanwhile, the Democrats are not insisting on anything to protect the taxpayers....they giving up bankruptcy protections, they are giving up on protecting homeowners. No one except Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is insisting that the wealthy elite and the Wall Street gang pay for this bailout.
McCain may end up pulling the rabbit out of the hat and this country will be doomed to four more years of Bush's plan. This Bailout will guarantee increased pressure over the next four years to gut social security, we will have no money for fixing health care or infrastructure in our country, etc....
Maybe Americans will rise up and Throw Them All Out!! (based on their support of the Wall Street BailOut and regardless of the party affiliation. Any Democrat or Republican that supports this bailout should be fired.)
Friday, September 26, 2008
As a representative of the Bush Administration, you have proposed a financial bailout program of $700 billion – over $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country. We are appalled that your proposal puts the cost of this bailout on average Americans; that it contains no provisions reversing failed deregulatory policies; that it allows executives at these failed institutions to continue to make exorbitant salaries and bonuses, and that your proposal contains no help for average Americans who themselves are facing severe economic hardships.
While the Administration has quickly rallied to help Wall Street, it has ignored the needs of the declining middle class. Since President Bush has been in office the wealthiest people in this country have made out like bandits and have not had it so good since the 1920s. The top one-tenth of one percent now earn more income than the bottom 50 percent of Americans and the top one percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Incredibly, the richest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion during the Bush presidency.
Having mismanaged the economy for 8 years while continually insisting that, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” the Bush Administration, six weeks before an election, wants the middle class of this country to bail out Wall Street to the tune of one trillion dollars. Meanwhile the wealthiest people, those who have benefited most from Bush’s policies and are in the best position to pay, are being asked for no sacrifice at all. This is absurd.
Any plan to clean up the mess on Wall Street must:
1. Ensure that middle income and working families are not the ones who are paying for this bailout by
* Imposing a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue over five years;
* Ensuring that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and
* Requiring that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the taxpayers’ assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.
Taken together these three provisions will substantially reduce the likelihood that this bailout will end up on the backs of average American taxpayers.
2. Include a major economic recovery package which puts Americans to work at decent wages. Among many other areas, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and moving our country from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Further, we must protect our must vulnerable families from the very difficult times they are experiencing.
3. Repeal the disastrous de-regulatory legislation that facilitated this crisis.
4. End the danger posed by companies that are “too big to fail,” that is, companies whose failure would cause systemic harm to the U.S. economy. If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. We need to determine which companies fall in this category and then break them up.
In closing, we believe it is appropriate to act quickly to address any systemic danger to our economy. But that does not mean that we need to give a blank check to the financial sector.
Senator Bernie Sanders
Citizen Co-Signers YOU CAN SIGN ONTO SANDERS PLAN HERE
When Congress is working hard to create a bill to resolve a controversial issue, the last Senator they want "to parachute in" to rescue the day is Republican Senator John McCain. Especially since McCain is unprepared and not up to speed. But Me First McCain thinks this will be helpful....to his campaign.
Unfortunately, McCain was a key player in the failure of an Immigrations Reform Bill
According to jwilkes:
On May 18, 2007, The Washington Post reported that McCain had locked horns with another one of his GOP colleagues, this time Senator John Cornyn of Texas. The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill of 2007 had caused an enormous rift among Republicans, and the two Senators found themselves on opposite sides. Cornyn objected to a provision of the bill that allowed for what he perceived as too many judicial appeals for illegal immigrants. McCain called his objections "chicken shit" and accused Cornyn of making petty tactics to sabotage the whole bill. Cornyn took immediate offense.
"Wait a second here. I've been sitting in here for all these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You're out of line."
Then McCain, who'd been spending a lot of time away from Washington on his presidential campaign, got a little more out of line. "Fuck you!" he shouted. "I know more about this than anyone in this room!" McCain apologized shortly afterword.
McCain is not known as a good negotiator so there are sound reasons that the House Republicans are asking McCain to direct his attention to working with the Republican Senators. When asked by reporters if he wanted McCain sitting in blow-by-blow negotiations Rep. Adam Putnam, the No. 3 House Republican, simply smirked, mute for ten seconds as reporters laughed.
There are numerous opinions from the left and the right that McCain's intrusive entry into the bailout plan negotiations is counterproductive.
However, when and if an agreement is reached I'm sure the spin will be that Republican John McCain rode in and saved the day.
According to Kathleen Parker:
cCain can't repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP's unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.
Only Palin can save McCain, her party and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.
Do it for your country.
Wonder what rabbit the Republican McCain campaign will try to pull out of the hat next? (I am referring to "stuntman" McCain. So don't misconstrue my "intent" and falsely state that I'm comparing Palin to a rabbit....)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Let's see Barack Obama promises to govern from the bottom up.
But we have seen him govern from the top down on the FISA Bill and the Retroative Telecom Immunity. He had promised us that hw would not support Retroactive Immunity. There wasn't even a "whisper" from the bottom up asking Obama to change his position on this one. There was a ROAR asking Obama to keep his word and follow his promises (to listen to the people and NOT support the Telecom Immunity.
So here we come to another momentous "Shock and Awe" scheme from the Republicans in the White House. It's the WMD lie about Wall Street. The people are SHOUTING AND ROARING TO NOT BAIL OUT WALL STREET. This bail out is NOT going to work. China has directed it's banks to not loan the US any more money. We need that money to RESCUE WALL STREET.
Why is Barack Obama NOT listening to his supporters? We are speaking out loudly and clearly. There is no excuse for Obama agreeing to this bailout. Senator Bernie Sanders has put forth a plan that IF Wall Street is bailed out SAVES THE TAXPAERY BY LETTING THE WEALTHY ELITES WHO CREATED THIS MESS FAIRLY PAY FOR THE BAILOUT.
If both parties have decided to sell our treasury to the corporations then why is there any reason for anyone to vote for either party???
I keep hoping the Democratic Party will show that it will listen to it's citizens but it looks like they are happy to sell us out and put the fox (Henry Paulson) in charge of the hen house.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Watch Democracynow.org with Naomi Klein. Then you will realize that Henry Paulson has been developing this plan for months (allegedly six months) while telling Congress there is no problem. The plan was to drop this on Congress right before the election and try to scare and panic everyone so that it would pass.
Wall Street needs to put on their boots and start pulling on their bootstraps. Meanwhile, hopefully the taxpayers will be able to zip our wallets shut,,,,our money would be put to better use creating jobs for people to build levees and fix bridges for starters.....The effects of a hurried bail out bill may harm the USA irreparably.
Congress needs to take the time to seriously study the best ways to help Main Street out during this crisis. The money could be better spent with projects that put Americans to work like building levees, repairing bridges and creates ways that people can afford to stay in their homes.
Read it and then contact everyone you can in Washington DC telling them to VOTE NO ON THE BAIL OUT. Send a message to Congress
Below you will find Henry Paulson Bailout Plan as printed in the New York Times.
LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY
TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS
Section 1. Short Title.
This Act may be cited as ____________________.
Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Authority to Purchase.--The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.
(b) Necessary Actions.--The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:
(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;
(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;
(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;
(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and
(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.
Sec. 3. Considerations.
In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for--
(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and
(2) protecting the taxpayer.
Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.
Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.
Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.
(a) Exercise of Rights.--The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.
(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.
(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.--The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.
(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.--The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.
Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.
The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time
Sec. 7. Funding.
For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.
Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.
Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.
The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.
Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.
Sec. 11. Credit Reform.
The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.
Sec. 12. Definitions.
For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.--The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.
(2) Secretary.--The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.
(3) United States.--The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
It's time for the Democrats to show us now why they deserve our vote in November. Barack Obama should be leading the way and telling Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi to stop the Republican Bush push to force legislation through our Congress that will grant a Bush appointee--Paulson--unlimited powers and too much money and no oversight. This is the same recipe for disaster that got us into this mess. It's time to say ENOUGH to George Bush and his Republican Party. It has just become too outrageous.
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders proposes the following alternative:
Specifically, to pay for the bailout, which is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion, the government should:
a) Impose a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would raise more than $300 billion in revenue;
b) Ensure that assets purchased from banks are realistically discounted so companies are not rewarded for their risky behavior and taxpayers can recover the amount they paid for them; and
c) Require that taxpayers receive equity stakes in the bailed-out companies so that the assumption of risk is rewarded when companies’ stock goes up.
(2) There must be a major economic recovery package which puts Americans to work at decent wages. Among many other areas, we can create millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and moving our country from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Further, we must protect working families from the difficult times they are experiencing. We must ensure that every child has health insurance and that every American has access to quality health and dental care, that families can send their children to college, that seniors are not allowed to go without heat in the winter, and that no American goes to bed hungry.
(3) Legislation must be passed which undoes the damage caused by excessive de-regulation. That means reinstalling the regulatory firewalls that were ripped down in 1999. That means re-regulating the energy markets so that we never again see the rampant speculation in oil that helped drive up prices. That means regulating or abolishing various financial instruments that have created the enormous shadow banking system that is at the heart of the collapse of AIG and the financial services meltdown.
(4) We must end the danger posed by companies that are “too big too fail,” that is, companies whose failure would cause systemic harm to the U.S. economy. If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. We need to determine which companies fall in this category and then break them up. Right now, for example, the Bank of America, the nation’s largest depository institution, has absorbed Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and Merrill Lynch, the nation’s largest brokerage house. We should not be trying to solve the current financial crisis by creating even larger, more powerful institutions. Their failure could cause even more harm to the entire economy. Link For More Info
The Democratic Party needs to protect middle income working Americans from being victimized by this mess that happened in spite of "our" best efforts. Our Democratic Senator Jim Webb ran on a platform of "economic fairness" and he was "born fighting" so he promised to fight for us.
It's time for Jim Webb to "honor" that promise. Our Senator has done a great job of positioning himself as a leader in the Senate. Jim Webb needs to reach across his own party, join with Senator Bernie Sanders, and work his magic to insure that the people who can afford to pay bear this cost.
We need to open our eyes and see if the Democratic Party is going to protect vulnerable Americans or are they going to sell out to the corporate lobbyists. I'm an Independent and I'm praying that Barack Obama, Jim Webb, and the Democratic Party will show me that they will represent the interests of the American people. Then they will be worthy of my vote.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Once again the American taxpayer is going to be robbed so the rich can continue to plunder our marketplace.
After this latest outrageous Republican display of incompetence they will no longer get away with yelling Socialist when national health insurance is discussed.
Fannie Mae Senior Vice President for Government and Industry Relations (1983-2004)
So much for distorting the truth to tie Obama to Wall Street.
Republicans love to point fingers....John McCain is running on his pointed finger. If John McCain ran on "truth' and told Americans what he planned to do if elected...he would not stand a snowball's chance in hell of being elected.
In Fact, the more folks research Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin the more they are concluding that McCain?Palin policies are WORSE than what we have suffered under Bush policies. We need real change not 177 lobbyists (83 are Wall Street Lobbyists) in our White House.
Homeland Security appears to be arresting people not saving them. Hopefully, we will have real change in Washington soon and we can restore FEMA to an independent agency with a cabinet post once again....especially since we appear to be headed to an increase in natural disasters. We also need to http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=75632....The woman was upset about being overcharged for soda, they wouldn't let her "return it" so she spilled the soda on the counter and refused to pay. For this the FEDS are going to take her to court with felony charges? This is how an "allegedly Free" nation treats its citizens? OUR GOVERNMENT broke major privacy laws and accessed her father's confidential medical records in order to identify and find the woman. The USA locks up more people than China and Russia....Our judicial system and the urge to incarcerate non violent folks has gotten totally out of hand.
Looks like our judicial system is having to look hard for "evildoers" in order to justify their budget?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
SPECIAL NOTE: State Delegate Algie Howell of District 90 will read the Governor's Proclamation during the 3rd Annual United Nations International Day of Peace Interfaith Service. See the post below this one for more info.
This year the local organization, of which I am a part, the United Nations International Day of Peace, Hampton Roads, is holding the two following events to celebrate this annual call for a 24-hour global ceasefire by all nations, as well as the promotion of peace and reconciliation:
1) The third annual interfaith celebration of UN Peace Day to be held at the Unitarian Church of Norfolk, 739 Yarmouth Street, at 5:00 PM on Sunday, September 21. The church is located right across from Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum on the Hague. We will again have a program of prayer, speeches, music and dance, followed by a reception in the church hall with food and refreshments. SPECIAL NOTE: State Delegate Algie Howell of District 90 will read the Governor's Proclamation near the start of this service. Call Sonia at 717-0063 or Mac at 489-0769 for further information.
2) The first annual United Nations International Day of Peace Soccer Tournament at Larchmont Recreation Park in Norfolk, near Old Dominion University, on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21. This is in response to an international call by English film director Jeremy Gilley (who is the one who convinced the UN General Assembly to declare UN Peace Day) to hold soccer games around the world on or around UN Peace Day as way to bring peoples together through the world's most popular sport. Our motto is one day, one goal, one vision.
There will be games Saturday and Sunday, starting at 8:00 AM each day. There will also be musical and dance entertainment during the halftimes, as well as vendors and information booths. This is not merely a soccer tournament but a festive weekend event. The park is right behind WHRO near Bolling Avenue and Hampton Blvd in Norfolk. The trophy presentation will be during the above mentioned interfaith service on Sunday at the end of the service. The tournament is free, of course, to all spectators.
We are looking for eight teams, and still have a couple of berths left. Since this is our first year we are the new kid on the block and have to "prove" ourselves to the soccer leagues, so if you want to be in on the proof, please contact Dave, the soccer coach of West Indies United, at 675-1226, immediately to inquire about registering. Or call Sonia at 717-0063 or email her at Savanegas@yahoo.com. Or even leave a comment here and I will get back to you. Also see the soccer flyer below for Dave's email address and the registration site. Note that the player's fee is now $25. So many people were pleading hardship that we cut it in half. The West Indies United Site is at http://www.westindiesunitedva.org/. Scroll down until you get to the United Nations International Day of Peace blurb and click for more info.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The Republican Party is using Mortgage Foreclosure Lists to try to keep people from voting. YIKES, If you are on a foreclosure list the Republicans want to keep you from voting. (I guess they figure that you might want to vote for change because of the deregulations that Republican Phil Gramm masterminded that has resulted in this mortgage crisis.)
Well it seems the Republican Party wants you to lose your right to vote right along with the loss of your home.
This is truly disgusting....here's the link.
Just look at the record (not the lying spin) and realize it comes down to this....
Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago? If so you may want to keep the Bush/Cheney policies and you will vote for McCain/Palin Republican Ticket.
If you aren't better off and want change than you will vote for an alternative change agent....Barack Obama the Democratic Candidate, Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, or Ralph Nader (Independent) are my top three choices for a change agent.
You can go here to get a complete list of third party candidates to choose from.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
You have to wonder what are the Republicans thinking? They are displaying a double standard. It was perfectly fine to go to extreme links, to "swiftboat" John Kerry's military record, it was acceptable to accuse Max Cleland of not defending America, and it was appropriate to suggest that Iraq vet Tammy Duckworth was connected to Al Jazeera. However, it is hate speech to present facts and question John McCains military record?
John McCain is a Republican politician who promoted his military experience as a reason to vote for him. Therefore it is appropriate to examine McCain's military record. This is made difficult by the fact that John McCain refuses to release his military records. Another double standard....John Kerry released all of his military records when he ran for president. John McCain refuses to release his military records...What is is McCain's military record that he doesn't want the American people to know?
Wow....I guess some Republicans will continue to insist that we march in lock step and never question the fact that John McCain has not released all of his military records as John Kerry did when he ran for the presidency. We should be "silenced" whenever possible and allow the Republican double standard to prevail.
So you be the judge...here's the blog post I commented on.
How to save the Government almost $5,000,000.
A president's pension currently is $191,300 per year, until he is 80 years old. Sen. McCain would receive ZERO pension as he would reach 80 at the end of two terms as president. Sen. Obama would be retired for 26 years after two terms and would receive $4,973,800 in pension. Therefore it would certainly make economic c sense to elect McCain in November. How's that for non partisan thinking???
Here's the comment I sent (that was NOT posted..the truth must hurt):
You obviously don't realize that taxpayers paid for FIVE planes that
McCain wrecked in his military career...one while he was in school "training" to be a pilot (how did he graduate? oh yeah his grandfather was a very famous admiral and his daddy was a big time admiral when McCain got accepted into Annapolis and served in the military.
The second and third crashes involved McCain "hotdogging" and wrecking his plane b/c he was flying too low...also caused an international incident b/c of the power lines he took down....and he crashed flying his Navy plane home from an Army Navy game.
The fourth crash was on that aircraft carrier where McCain was hotdogging and then a missile from the plane behind him hit his plane. Allegedly this was not McCain's "fault" it had a variety of factors but McCain was the only person on that aircraft carrier who was whisked away by helicopter....allegedly b/c the crew was very unhappy with McCain.
They still allowed McCain to fly....any other pilot would have been put behind a desk long ago...heck any other pilot would have failed the pilot school....but then there granddaddy and daddy weren't admirals. And the Fifth crash that one was when McCain was actually in a wartime condition and he was shot down. Allegedly McCain admits that he did "push it" so he may have put himself in greater danger than the situation warranted.
And then there's the 100 percent military disability that he has taken for many years while serving in the Senate. McCain does not meet the written military criteria to draw that 100 percent disability....and at the same time McCain votes against bills that really supports our troops.
Me First McCain...what a guy....and he has sure cost the taxpayers a fortune.
P W Conservative did not post my comment and gave this reason for not posting it:
Your comment was deleted because this blog has a strict no-tolerance policy for those who attack our Soldiers and Veterans.
In the future please refrain from hate speech.
September 13, 2008 11:03 PM
I DISAGREE WITH YOUR POST...McCAIN HAS COST US TAXPAYERS LOTS OF MONEY. I also disagree with your censorship of my comment....it was NOT hate speech.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
According to John McCain:
I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time.
If you want to view the entire context it is here.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
She is just the camouflage so folks will vote for her and end up with at least 4 more years of Bush/Cheney.
What's the difference between Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney? LIPSTICK
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Sometimes a likeable and popular person is better off being your friend and not your boss....Palin fired a childhood friend of 30 years because he was dating the wrong woman (who used to "belong" to a friend of her husband's)....
This woman should not be our Vice President. So what if George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain want her to be the next VP for lots of reasons. Among the reasons:
1--Her environmental record is worse than the
html">Bush White House Environmental record (and that is a
2--The OIL MEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE LOVE HOW Sometimes a likable and popular person is better off being your friend and not your boss....Palin fired a childhood friend of 30 years because he was dating the wrong woman (who used to "belong" to a friend of her husband's).... This woman should not be our Vice President. So what if George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain want her to be the next VP for lots of reasons. Among the reasons: 1--Her environmental record is worse than the Bush White House Environmental record (and that is a disaster). 2--The OIL MEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE LOVE HOW PALIN WORKS WITH THE BIG OIL COMPANIES.">PALIN WORKS WITH THE BIG OIL COMPANIES.
She also attends a church with the most radical extremist preacher to emerge in the campaigns to date. (The church often has anti-semi tic sermons)
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Amy Goodman and others like her are one of our last defenses against a total Matrix, a total Orwellian Police State in America and this week the Beast briefly dragged her into its belly. After thousands of phone calls and emails of protest, she was back out, thank God. Listen carefully to what she has to say and then go to http://www.democracynow.org/ if you want to support her directly.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Someone want to tell me what's the difference in Palin's cruelty to animals and Michael Vick's?
Heaven help us.
Warning the video is graphic.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Contact the senators and congresspeople on the Homeland Security Committees and see how much they care about your constitutional rights. You might be surprised at who is not providing oversight on the POLICE STATE that Homeland Security has enacted in our country....
Some of the staffers are sympathetic and in tune with what is c0nstitutional or not....others act like you have called in to report that your neighbor's dog is peeing in your vegetable garden,,,,goes to show why the Congress's approval rating is so low.
Want to see what the homeland security is up to? Check out democracynow.org, buzflash, huffington post....
September 1, 2008
Mike Burke: email@example.com
Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar Released After Illegal Arrest at RNC
Goodman Charged with Obstruction; Felony Riot Charges Pending Against Kouddous and Salazar
ST. PAUL--Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar have all been released from police custody in St. Paul following their illegal arrest by Minneapolis Police on Monday afternoon.
All three were violently manhandled by law enforcement officers. Abdel Kouddous was slammed against a wall and the ground, leaving his arms scraped and bloodied. He sustained other injuries to his chest and back.
Salazar's violent arrest by baton-wielding officers, during which she was slammed to the ground while yelling, "I'm Press! Press!," resulted in her nose bleeding, as well as causing facial pain. Goodman's arm was violently yanked by police as she was arrested.
On Tuesday, Democracy Now! will broadcast video of these arrests, as well as the broader police action. These will also be available on:
Goodman was arrested while questioning police about the unlawful detention of Kouddous and Salazar who were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman's crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were arrested on suspicion of rioting, a felony. While the three have been released, they all still face charges stemming from their unlawful arrest. Kouddous and Salazar face pending charges of suspicion of felony riot, while Goodman has been officially charged with obstruction of a legal process and interference with a "peace officer."
Democracy Now! forcefully rejects all of these charges as false and an attempt at intimidation of these journalists. We demand that the charges be immediately and completely dropped.
Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities' law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amendment rights of these journalists.
During the demonstration in which the Democracy Now! team was arrested, law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force against protesters and journalists. Several dozen demonstrators were also arrested during this action, including a photographer for the Associated Press.
Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and the subsequent criminal charges and threat of charges are a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists.
Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.
Video of Amy Goodman's Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ
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Monday, September 01, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2008
ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ
Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.
Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.
Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).
Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these journalists.
During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.
Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s leading independent news outlet.
Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the globe.
Video of Amy Goodman’s Arrest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ