Friday, December 31, 2010

NAACP Finally Follows Media Spotlight and Dollars to Mississippi Scott Sister's Case

As soon as I saw the NAACP mentioned in the Washington Post article about the Scott sisters, I smelled that the NAACP would try to take credit for the outcome, even though I've never heard their name associated with the Scott sisters' case before.  I know with certainty that, although I read blogs and newspapers every day, the NAACP is NOT where I found out about this case.  And now, Benjamin Jealous plans to hold a joint press conference with arch-conservative Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to celebrate this long-fought victory which then NAACP has so recently joined.

I imagine that if the case had occurred in Louisiana, Jealous would hold a press conference with David Duke.

In fact, although the Scott sisters have been in jail for sixteen years, while the NAACP's President Ben Jealous may have first mentioned the case to the media on September 15, 2010"NAACP backs pardon for Miss. sisters serving life", USA Today,   "The president of the N.A.A.C.P., is seeking a pardon from the Governor of Mississippi, announced the Red Mountain Post on October 15, 2010.  When the NAACP announces its support in a nationally-known case of injustice that has been advocated at blogs and community groups for years, and the NAACP's freshly-painted involvement becomes national news, you know that organization has lost its way.  It has gone from political leader to political opportunist, just as occurred in the Jena Six case, where "NAACP Spent More on Internal Jena Six Activities Than on Youths’ Defense Funds."

I think the current role of the NAACP is to show up at our victory parties and grab the microphone before anyone else has a chance to speak, so they can ask for donations that ultimately pay for NAACP overhead instead of being used to help the named victims of injustice.

Scotty Reid of BlackTalkMedia says that the NAACP ignored the Scott sisters' case until it became a media magnet, and then the NAACP jumped into the media fray as a "Johnny come lately," opening a financial donations account from which the Scott sisters allegedly have not received a dime.  "The NAACP has not contributed one dime to the legal expenses of the Scott sisters and nor has it stated that it will do so. . . " alleges Scotty Reid.

Leave it to the NAACP to announce a joint press conference with Haley Barbour, defender of the White Citizens Councils, and thereby putting the NAACP seal of Black approval on Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.  , in the eyes of white people who thing the NAACP is a respected organization with real constituents.  Here's Haley Barbour's resume, in reverse chronological order, which facts Ben Jealous apparently has not read, or has dismissed in the rush for the media spotlight:

    Governor of Mississippi (Jan-2004 to present)
    National Policy Forum Founder (1993)
    Republican National Committee Chairman (1993-97)
    American Success PAC

    Americans for a Republican Majority

    America's Foundation

    Bayou Leader PAC

    Bluegrass Committee

    Bush-Cheney '04

    Bush-Quayle '92

    Campaign America Inc.

    Cantor for Congress

    Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism

    Defend America PAC

    Elizabeth Dole Committee

    Elizabeth Dole for President

    The Freedom Project


    Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee

    Friends of Katherine Harris

    Friends of Phil Gramm PAC

    Friends of Roy Blunt

    George W. Bush for President

    Keep Our Mission PAC

    JD Hayworth for Congress

    John McCain 2008

    Leadership PAC 2006

    Lindsey Graham for Senate

    McCain 2000

    McCain for Senate '98

    National Council for a New America Founding Member
    National Republican Senatorial Committee

    New Republican Majority Fund

    Northern Lights PAC

    Rely on Your Beliefs Fund

    Republicans Abroad Advisory Committee
    Restoring the American Dream Board of Directors
    Resurgent Republic Advisory Board
    Santorum 2000

    Senate Victory Fund PAC

    Spirit of America

    Washington Legal Foundation Legal Policy Advisory Board
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity

    Microsoft Washington lobbyist
    Barbour, Griffith & Rogers Founder, President, CEO (1991-99)
    Member of the Board of Amtrak

    Bush Pioneer 2000

The only thing missing so far is Barbour's conceivable involvement in the White Citizens Councils.  Now, I'd like to have one good reason why Ben Jealous wants to shake Haley Barbor's hand, if not for selfish fundraising goals and publicity after the fact.   See "Haley Barbour's Praise For Racist Group Gets Noticed" on NPR.  

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is getting much more national attention than he usually does this week following a Weekly Standard profile in which the Republican with presidential aspirations lauds a group that was part of the racist reaction to the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s.

Haley Barbour has tried to rehabilitate the imagine of the White Citizens Councils, but Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post says:

In a 1956 article in Commentary David Halberstam describes the White Citizens Council as an organization determined to "not just oppose integration in the public schools but to stop or at least postpone it. In most of the the Deep South, where hostility to integration is nearly universal, it is this militancy and dedication that make the Council member stand out. Despite occasional efforts by supporters to build the Councils up into a movement of broad conservatism, their only serious purpose is to fight the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Not only do they contest the NAACP's desegregation suits, but they seek to cancel much else that the Negro has gained over the last half-century by keeping him out of the voting booth."

Even Haley Barbour now recognizes that the hateful and pro-segregation work of the White Citizens Councils. His state governor website says, apologetically:

"When asked why my hometown in Mississippi did not suffer the same racial violence when I was a young man that accompanied other towns' integration efforts, I accurately said the community leadership wouldn't tolerate it and helped prevent violence there. My point was my town rejected the Ku Klux Klan, but nobody should construe that to mean I think the town leadership were saints, either. Their vehicle, called the 'Citizens Council,' is totally indefensible, as is segregation. It was a difficult and painful era for Mississippi, the rest of the country, and especially African Americans who were persecuted in that time."

I personally believe that Haley Barbour is trying to disassociate and immunize himself against attacks on his color-aroused background, perhaps because he was a member or collaborator of the White Citizens Council himself, or because his family members were.  That's just a hunch, but it's worth looking into it, because I believe Haley Barbour is running for president in 2012.

This is why I find it incredibly idiotic that Ben Jealous of the NAACP is planning to hold a joint press conference with Barbour.  He unwittingly or intentionally is helping to inoculate Barbour against charges of color aroused politics and helping to distract attention from Barbour's roles and affiliations in the Republican presidencies of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.  Meanwhile, Ben Jealous wants to get on television, pretending that his NAACP is still relevant, even though they didn't have a meaningful website during any of the days of the George W. Bush presidential administration.

Ben Jealous is prominently meeting with one of President Obama's most likely opponents for 2012, undercutting the obvious anti-Barbour opinion that Barbour is a color-aroused man from one of America's most color-aroused states.  I don't know who's worse:  The NAACP's Ben Jealous for helping Haley Barbour or Haley Barbour for being Haley Barbour.

Haley Barbour's motive is obvious, and Ben Jealous is seems blind to the political realities, except as they affect his own publicity and opportunities for an NAACP fundraising drive.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Justice Clarence Thomas's Nephew Treated Like a Black Man with Rasta Locks by West Jefferson Hospital Security

Is it possible that in the current purportedly "color blind" and "post racial" USA, a nephew of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas could be treated as so many other Black men have been? According to the Star Telegram, a newspaper owned by the McClatchy company, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' nephew was known by hospital emergency room security to be epileptic, but was shocked with a "Taser" electrocution and execution device anyway.
In July, a security guard used a stun gun on the nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after he allegedly became combative when trying to leave a Louisiana hospital against doctors' orders, The Washington Post reported.
ABC 26 WGNO reports:
MARRERO - Family members of Derek Thomas, nephew of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, are alleging that the younger Thomas, was punched and tased when he was admitted to West Jefferson Hospital Thursday.The family says the use of the taser caused Thomas to have a seizure.
According to at statement from the family, Derek Thomas, who is epileptic, refused to put on a hospital gown and tried to leave his examination after a possible suicide attempt. They say security "punched him in his lip, pulled out more than a fistful of his dreadlocks and tasered him to restrain him."
Doctors knew about Thomas' epilepsy, but ordered security officers to use the taser anyway, instead of sedating him, the family says.
The family is trying to have Thomas transferred to another facility.
Justice Thomas is expected to travel to New Orleans as soon as possible to check on his nephew.
Washington Post writer Philip Rucker reported:

A nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suffered a seizure after he was beaten and shocked during a scuffle with security guards at a New Orleans area hospital, relatives alleged Friday.
Derek Thomas, 25, was immobilized with a stun gun Thursday after he tried to leave the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, La., his sister told WDSU, a local television station. Security responded after Thomas refused a doctor's request to put on a hospital gown and started to leave, Kimberly Thomas said. 

"One of the security guards punched him in the lip," she told WDSU. "Another one pulled out more than a fist full of his hair and, from that point, they [shocked] him," possibly with a Taser.
Derek Thomas has epilepsy, she said, and he suffered a seizure shortly after the stun gun was used.
The same Washington Post article says:
Their mother, Dora Thomas, confirmed the account in an interview with The Washington Post. She said that she picked her son up from the hospital Friday and that he is resting at home.

"He's as well as can be expected," she said.

Clarence Thomas was planning to go to New Orleans to check on his nephew, Kimberly Thomas told the television station. A Supreme Court spokesman said the justice had no comment on the matter.

Reached at her home in Georgia, Clarence Thomas's mother, Leola Williams, said she, too, was joining the family in Louisiana. "I'm just worried about my grandson," Williams told The Post.

Justice Clarence Thomas has at least de facto joined the Republican Party and joined the extreme right-wing members of the US Supreme Court in decision after decision  His wife is a white woman.  What else can and must Justice Thomas do to assure that he and his family will be treated by security guards and police just as white people would be treated under similar circumstances?  Maybe his family's trauma in this case will cause Justice Thomas to think about the problem of color-aroused injustice when Thomas votes on Supreme Court cases involving color-aroused treatment of other Blacks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

African American Pundit Expresses Doubts in Esteban Carpio Case

African American Political Pundit says today:
As someone who was raised in Boston, and []known the family of Esteban Carpio for many years, I have always thought that he was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Providence Police Detective Sgt. James Allen. 

I have always wondered if he was beaten even before the officer was shot. 
Read more:
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
It seems obvious to me that at some point Esteban Carpio was severely beaten about the face by police in Providence, Rhode Island.  African American Political pundit wonders whether he was beaten before he shot a policeman and jumped out a forth-floor window or after that.

The question is crucial.  If  a reasonable were in the position of being severely beaten during questioning, instead of calmly questioned with his lawyer present, and if police continued to beat said reasonable person until his face looked like hamburger, I can imagine how that reasonable person might take the only weapon he had at hand--the officer's gun--and shoot that officer in order to stop the beating.  That scenario is not the known truth of the matter, but the truth of the matter it is a question worth being asked and answered.

I have always assumed that Esteban Carpio was beaten by the police for shooting a fellow officer.  Is it possible that Esteban Carpio shot an officer to end a beating administered by police?  The question had never occurred to me until it was raised by African American Political Pundit

In any case, the Providence Police Department has learned, hopefully, that leaving one armed police officer in a room with a suspect charged with murder, when the suspect's family has warned police that the suspect is mentally ill, creates a life-threatening situation for that lone, armed police officer.  And maybe, just maybe, police have learned that beating a person until he is unrecognizable is unacceptable, particularly to the person being beaten.

Police may also have learned that questioning a mentally ill suspect without his lawyer present can have negative results not merely for the mentally ill suspect, but also for police officers.

One thing is sure:  Police will never credibly tell the public whether they beat Esteban Carpio until he shot an officer, or whether they beat Esteban after he shot the officer.  The world might never know, but the Providence Police know, and they know who was most responsible, and how, for the death of a fellow police officer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

GA Prison Inmate Strike Enters New Phase, Prisoners Demand Human Rights, Education, Wages For Work

Story by Bruce A. Dixon, audio interview by Glen Ford

Georgia prisoners who began a courageous, peaceful and nonviolent protest strike for educational opportunities, wages for their work, medical care and human rights have captured the attention of the world. Black Agenda Report intends to closely cover their continuing story. Glen Ford recorded a conversation with activist Elaine Brown and one of the striking inmates in Georgia on Wednesday, December 15.

Click here for more information from Black Agenda Report.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prisons and Jails: A Color-Aroused Caste System.

I received this letter from Color of Change and I think it addresses
well the systematic brutality of the criminal injustice system aimed at
perpetuating a permanent Black underclass in a color-aroused caste
Need a gift idea for the holiday?
This book is for anyone who wants to fix our broken criminal justice system.

Buy the book and join author Michelle Alexander in the new year to talk solutions.
Dear Atty,
We’ve all heard the statistics, and most of us have simply become numb to hearing them. For many people, the over-incarceration of Black people is simply a fact of life. It shouldn’t be.
Thanks to legal scholar and professor Michelle Alexander1 we now have a new book that explains how we ended up with a criminal justice system that targets and endangers Black communities, as well as ideas on what we can do to free ourselves from that system’s clutches.
When we put the book — The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness — in the hands of 20 ColorOfChange members to review, the response was unanimous. In addition to giving the book glowing reviews, they all wanted the entire ColorOfChange community to know about it.
It’s why we’re now inviting you to get your own copy (and one for your friends or family as well, in time for the holiday season), as well as participate in a conference call with Professor Alexander in the new year to discuss it.
You can get your copy here:
Professor Alexander’s book outlines the evolution of drug laws and how their ongoing effects on Black America parallel the role that segregation played in the period following the Civil War and preceding the Civil Rights Movement.2 And it raises questions about what it will take to build a movement that can reform the broken drug laws that fuel high incarceration rates.
Criminal justice reform is key to our community — a third of Black men will spend part of their lives in prison,3 and Black children are more than six times more likely to have a parent incarcerated than White children.4 ColorOfChange members have demonstrated time and again that they want to change the status quo. More than 59,000 ColorOfChange members called on Congress to remove the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, and nearly 25,000 sent a statement to Senator James Webb of Virginia, thanking him for his attempts to overhaul our approach to incarceration.
We believe — and the ColorOfChange members who read and reviewed the book agreed — that the book will help us, as everyday people, stand with even more power to advocate for change. Ms. Alexander is herself a longtime member of, and she’s agreed to speak with those of you who read the book, and answer any questions you have. We’ll contact you again early in the new year with more information about how to participate in that conference call, which is sure to be informative and powerful.
Here’s what members are saying about The New Jim Crow:
“This book explains how this new Jim Crow came to be and how deeply ingrained it is now in the American psyche. Unless we really understand how this happened, we’ll never break this vicious cycle of African-American overincarceration… How many family members of prisoners lie about their relatives in the penal system in an effort to mitigate the stigma of criminality? This system penalizes entire families. [The book] was such an eye opener."
— Irma, Washington, DC
“This book will give you a good understanding of the system, its historical roots, its origins in the War on Drugs, the complicity of the police and legal system leading to mass incarceration of people of color, and the tragic result of creating a permanent caste system based on color. It opened my eyes and stirred my soul.“
— Larry, Freeland, WA
“This isn’t a fight for the lawyers. This is a fight for regular people, the non-experts, the advocates, the sympathizers, the human beings who care and want to care more. Fertile ground for change is wherever we are, however we are, and accessible to those of us with less than sizable monetary wealth or a law degree.”
— Thuha, Fountain Valley, CA
For more on The New Jim Crow and to get your copy, click here:
Thanks and Peace,
-- James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Natasha and the rest of the team
   December 9th, 2010
Help support our work. is powered by YOU -- your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don't share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:
1. “The New Jim Crow,” article by Michelle Alexander in Mother Jones, 03-08-2010
2. “Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander on ‘The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’,” Democracy Now, 03-11-2010
3. “Too Long Ignored,” The New York Times, 8-20-2010
4. “Collateral Costs: Incarceration’s Effect on Economic Mobility,” Pew Charitable Trusts, 9-2010
Additional resources:
“More than 1 in 100 U.S. adults are in prison,” New York Times, 2-29-2008

Historic 1-day peaceful strike by GA prison inmates today, Reports Black Agenda Report

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia's notorious prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other.

The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia's more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities.  We have confirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.  

Outside calls from concerned citizens and news media will tend to stay the hand of prison authorities who may tend to react with reckless and brutal aggression.  So calls to the warden's office of Georgia State Prisons during this day are welcome.

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.  
Telfair state prison is 229-868-7721
Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900
Hays State Prison is (706) 857-0400
Baldwin State Prison is (478) 445- 5218
Smith State Prison is  (912) 654-5000

This is all the news we have for now, more coming.
One in every thirteen adults in the state of Georgia is in prison, on parole or probation or some form of court or correctional supervision.  

Press Release
Thousands of Georgia Prisoners to Stage Peaceful Protest
December 8, 2010…Atlanta, Georgia
ContactsElaine Brown, 404-542-1211,;Valerie Porter, 229-931-5348,; Faye Sanders, 478-550-7046,
            Tomorrow morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners will refuse to work, stop all other activities and remain in their cells in a peaceful, one-day protest for their human rights.  The December 9 Strike is projected to be the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.
            These thousands of men, from Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, state they are striking to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights.  They have set forth the following demands:
·         A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK:  In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.
·         EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES:  For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.
·         DECENT HEALTH CARE:  In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.
·         AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS:  In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.
·         DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS:  Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.
·         NUTRITIONAL MEALS:  Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.
·         VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES:  The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.
·         ACCESS TO FAMILIES:  The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.
·         JUST PAROLE DECISIONS:  The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.
Prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery.  Injustice in one place is injustice to all.  Inform your family to support our cause.  Lock down for liberty!”

Bruce A. Dixon
Managing Editor,
Black Agenda Report