Archive for June, 2016

Political Roundup: Police Brutality, Islamophobia, Jo Cox, Chris Murphy, Bernie Sanders

June 23, 2016

 

by David Samuels
This column appears in the June 23 -30 edition of the Hartford News…
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: July 5.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Hartford Police Brutality Investigation
A source told us that one of the three Hartford Police officers currently being investigated for brutality, following a June 4 car chase that ended in West Hartford, has a history of sustained civilian complaints but was not disciplined. Attorney Corey Brinson is suing the HPD on behalf of Ricardo Perez and Emilio Diaz.
Corporate Media, Islamophobia & the Assassination of Jo Cox
Last Sunday Fox 61 The Real Story co-host Al Terzi told one of his guests, Anyssa Dhaouadi, a member of the Islamic Center of New London Youth Group, that she shouldn’t be surprised people associate all Muslims with terrorism, following the Orlando mass shooting. He then asked how this perception could be changed. I went to Terzi’s Facebook page and listed the following names of terrorists/mass shooters who weren’t/aren’t Muslim: Timothy McVeigh, Dylann Roof, Robert Lewis Dear, Wade Michael Page, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, Ted Kaczynski and Jim David Adkisson.
I also mentioned Thomas Mair. Mair assassinated British lawmaker Jo Cox last week. If Cox had been murdered by a Muslim, the corporate media would be providing wall-to-wall coverage. Because her killer is a right-wing extremist they are burying the story, especially because of the connection to Donald Trump. Eyewitnesses say Mair shouted “Britain First” as he fatally shot and stabbed Cox last week. Britain First is a far-right, anti-immigrant political party that has endorsed Trump. Cox was a passionate supporter of Syrian immigration. Democracy Now! reported that Mair attended a 2000 meeting of British white supremacists, that was set up by a paid FBI informant. I also added that between 1982 – 2015, 44 out of 72 mass shootings in the United States were initiated by white people, according to Statista.com. I asked Terzi if he thinks the stereotype of all Muslims being terrorists is due to racism, and media bias. Terzi didn’t answer my question. Instead he told me he was talking about discrimination, but he didn’t mention discrimination in his question.
Terzi also asked Ahmed Ouda, a board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, if Islam requires Muslims to report anyone they know or suspect of being involved in terrorism, a question that feeds into Trump’s racist narrative about the Muslim community in the U.S. being complicit in terrorist activity. Trump has renewed his call for profiling Muslims, including searching mosques. Terzi said the purpose of the interview was to promote understanding about Islamophobia; he blamed time constraints for his line of questioning, which I maintain did not reflect his stated purpose of the interview. Terzi’s questions put the burden on Muslims to prove they’re not dangerous. Terzi is by no means unique: the corporate media perpetuates Islamophobia, by not talking about white terrorists/mass shooters. Law enforcement sets the tone by refusing to call a killer like Roof what he is: a domestic terrorist. Discussing the facts about right-wing extremism and mass shootings in the U.S. is the obvious way to debunk the Muslims = terrorists myth.
Terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and mental health experts have described Omar Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS as a pretext for Mateen’s attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando. Mateen also pledged solidarity with terrorist organizations that are currently at war with ISIS; he had a history of violence dating back to elementary school. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, talked to Democracy Now! about the connection between the white nationalist movement in the United Kingdom, the assassination of Cox, and Trump. http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/17/as_britain_mourns_mp_jo_cox
Chris Murphy, CT Democrats Ignore Urban Gun Violence

Last week Connecticut Congressman Chris Murphy launched a filibuster on the Senate floor, in order to bring attention to gun control legislation in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting. Too bad we don’t see this passion regarding urban gun violence, and police murder. Typical liberal hypocrisy. There were 31 homicides in Hartford last year.
Bernie Sanders Calls for His Supporters to Run for Office
Below is an excerpt of Bernie Sanders’ June 16 online address to his supporters. 
“This campaign has never been about any single candidate. It is always about transforming America.
It is about ending a campaign finance system which is corrupt and allows billionaires to buy elections.
It is about ending the grotesque level of wealth and income inequality that we are experiencing where almost all new wealth and income goes to the people on top, where the 20 wealthiest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million.
It is about creating an economy that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent.
It is about ending the disgrace of native Americans who live on the Pine Ridge, South Dakota, reservation having a life expectancy lower than many third-world countries.
It is about ending the incredible despair that exists in many parts of this country where – as a result of unemployment and low wages, suicide, drugs and alcohol – millions of Americans are now dying, in an ahistorical way, at a younger age than their parents.
It is about ending the disgrace of having the highest level of childhood poverty of almost any major country on earth and having public school systems in inner cities that are totally failing our children – where kids now stand a greater chance of ending up in jail than ending up with a college degree.
It is about ending the disgrace that millions of undocumented people in this country continue to live in fear and are exploited every day on their jobs because they have no legal rights.
It is about ending the disgrace of tens of thousands of Americans dying every year from preventable deaths because they either lack health insurance, have high deductibles or cannot afford the outrageously high cost of the prescription drugs they need.
It is about ending the disgrace of hundreds of thousands of bright young people unable to go to college because their families are poor or working class, while millions more struggle with suffocating levels of student debt.
It is about ending the pain of a young single mother in Nevada, in tears, telling me that she doesn’t know how she and her daughter can make it on $10.45 an hour. And the reality that today millions of our fellow Americans are working at starvation wages.
It is about ending the disgrace of a mother in Flynt, Michigan, telling me what has happened to the intellectual development of her child as a result of lead in the water in that city, of many thousands of homes in California and other communities unable to drink the polluted water that comes out of their faucets.
In America. In the year 2016. In a nation whose infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes.
It is about ending the disgrace that too many veterans still sleep out on the streets, that homelessness is increasing and that tens of millions of Americans, because of a lack of affordable housing, are paying 40, 50 percent or more of their limited incomes to put a roof over their heads.
It is about ending the disgrace that, in a given year, corporations making billions in profit avoid paying a nickel in taxes because they stash their money in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens.We can no longer ignore the fact that, sadly, the current Democratic Party leadership has turned its back on dozens of states in this country and has allowed right-wing politicians to win elections in some states with virtually no opposition – including some of the poorest states in America. The Democratic Party needs a 50-state strategy. We may not win in every state tomorrow but we will never win unless we recruit good candidates and develop organizations that can compete effectively in the future. We must provide resources to those states which have so long been ignored.
Most importantly, the Democratic Party needs leadership which is prepared to open its doors and welcome into its ranks working people and young people. That is the energy that we need to transform the Democratic Party, take on the special interests and transform our country.
Here is a cold, hard fact that must be addressed. Since 2009, some 900 legislative seats have been lost to Republicans in state after state throughout this country. In fact, the Republican Party now controls 31 state legislatures and controls both the governors’ mansions and statehouses in 23 states. That is unacceptable.
We need to start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers helped us make political history during the last year. These are people deeply concerned about the future of our country and their own communities. Now we need many of them to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and governorships. State and local governments make enormously important decisions and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans to increasingly control them.
I hope very much that many of you listening tonight are prepared to engage at that level. Please go to my website at berniesanders.com/win to learn more about how you can effectively run for office or get involved in politics at the local or state level. I have no doubt that with the energy and enthusiasm our campaign has shown that we can win significant numbers of local and state elections if people are prepared to become involved. I also hope people will give serious thought to running for statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.”
Gov. Dan Malloy recently vetoed Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s bill, which would have created independent oversight of business tax incentives. Connecticut loses $7.2 billion in revenue due to corporate welfare. CT corporations stash $180 billion in offshore accounts. Meanwhile Malloy just gave a $22 million handout to a billionaire hedge fund manager, and continues his attack on the public sector, the largest employer of Black people and women. The Democrats in the General Assembly passed Malloy’s austerity budget, which includes more draconian cuts to already underfunded human services, and thousands of state employee layoffs. More huge cuts to human services are coming in 2017. Malloy is the personification of the neoliberal agenda, which must be countered with a grassroots political insurgency on the city, state and federal level.
 Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com  

 

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REPLAY WEDNESDAY: Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

June 20, 2016

The planet’s PREMIER Soul, RnB and talk radio station. Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio Replay Wednesday. Co-host Mary L. Sanders and I will discuss the Orlando mass shooting, and the the assassination of British lawmaker Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist, a story that has been buried by the corporate media because of the connection to Donald Trump.  Guests: Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly, will join us. Independent Hartford rap artist Protigee will talk about his music, and the current state of Hip-Hop. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Replays on Tuesdays we aren’t on live and every Wednesday.
http://www.sometroradio.com/

 

Resources

 

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio podcast archive:

 

https://www.spreaker.com/show/community-party-radio

 

Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative:
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/

 

 

Protigee Fan page:

 

 

FBI Tried to Lure Orlando Shooter into a Terror Plot in 2013:

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/FBI-Tried-to-Lure-Orlando-Shooter-into-a-Terror-Plot-in-2013-20160619-0022.html

 

As Britain Mourns MP Jo Cox, Her Killer Is Linked to Neo-Nazi National Alliance & Pro-Apartheid Club:

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/17/as_britain_mourns_mp_jo_cox

 

Jo Cox Shooter Attended Meeting of White Supremacists Arranged by FBI Informant:

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/20/headlines/jo_cox_shooter_attended_meeting_of_white_supremacists_arranged_by_fbi_informant

Special Report: Orlando Mass Shooting

June 16, 2016
by David Samuels
This column appears in the June 16 – 23 edition of the Hartford News…
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: June 21. Co-host: Mary Sanders. Guests: Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Independent Hartford rap artist Protigee. (both rescheduled from May 31). Mary and I will discuss the Orlando mass shooting.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Community Update
Congratulations to Hartford residents who succeeded in keeping Martin Luther King School open. This is an important victory for supporters of public schools… We will keep an eye on the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office investigation of excessive use of force by Hartford Police officers. June 4th a stolen car chase began in Hartford and ended in West Hartford. According to multiple reports, a West Hartford police cruiser dash camera showed an HPD officer kicking or stomping a handcuffed suspect.
Analysis of Orlando Attack
Between 1982-2015 44 out of 72 mass shootings were initiated by white shooters. source:
“If you want to stop terrorism, stop participating in it.” ~ Noam Chomsky
Last November Robert Lewis Dear fatally shot a police officer and two civilians, while wounding five officers and four people during a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. Donald Trump, who claims to support law enforcement, immediately blamed the shooting on Dear suffering from mental illness. Trump ducked the question about how right-wing rhetoric about Planned Parenthood could have played a role in pushing Dear (who has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial) to commit mass murder. The ex-wife of Orlando spree killer Omar Mateen described him as violent, clearly mentally ill, yet Trump has immediately labeled Mateen as a Muslim terrorist. Trump is demonstrating that there is no depth too low for him to sink, in order to be elected President of the United States. Trump will blow off a mass shooting that includes cops among the casualties, and exploit another spree killing that fits his racist narrative about Muslims.
Meanwhile, the terror that was inflicted on the LGBT community has been relegated to a footnote by the corporate media. Last Sunday, a heavily armed man who was on his way to the Los Angeles gay pride festival was stopped by police. Violence against transgender individuals nationwide is rampant. Mateen was active on gay dating apps and had patronized Pulse nightclub frequently; his ex-wife said Mateen may have been struggling with his sexuality, and was called gay in front of her by Seddique Mir Mateen, Mateen’s homophobic father. Mateen denounced his son’s actions during an interview with Russian news channel RT, but added that God would punish gay people. The Courant reported that gay pride events in Hartford will take place as scheduled. Organizers met with the Hartford Police to discuss security measures.
There has been plenty of pontificating on social media about Orlando and gun violence. In Australia, there hasn’t been a mass shooting in 20 years, and gun violence has decreased by 50%. Monday Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman interviewed international arms control advocate Rebecca Peters.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to what happened in another country after a massacre like we’ve seen—actually, not as many people killed. As the U.S. struggles to make sense of yet another mass shooting, we’ll end the show with a look at one country that fought to change the culture of gun violence and won. It was 20 years ago, almost exactly, April of 1996. A gunman opened fire on tourists in Port Arthur, Tasmania, killing 35 people and wounding 23 more. This is Australia. Just 12 days after the grisly attack and public outcry it launched, Australia’s government responded by announcing a bipartisan deal to enact gun control measures. Totally amazing, a gun-loving country. The pact included agreements with state and local governments. Since the laws were passed—now 20 years ago—there’s not been a mass shooting in Australia, and overall gun violence has decreased by 50 percent.
We’re joined by Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate, part of the International Network on Small Arms, led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre.
Rebecca, welcome back to Democracy Now!
REBECCA PETERS: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Explain what took place in April of 1996. We only have about five minutes to go.
REBECCA PETERS: Well, we had had a campaign for about 10 years at that time to reform the gun laws, which were weak in some states, and it was a patchwork across the country, as it is in the U.S. In April of ’96, this tragedy occurred, where 35 people were killed. And at that moment, our prime minister said, “This is the time. After all this prevaricating, we’re going to do something.”
AMY GOODMAN: Now, just to explain the context—
REBECCA PETERS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: —I mean, would you describe Australia’s culture as a gun-loving culture of hunters?
REBECCA PETERS: Sure, yeah. Australia is a very—you know, the self-image of Australia is often sort of an outdoor guy on a horse with a gun type of thing, not too dissimilar from the traditional image of Americans.
AMY GOODMAN: Not too distant.
REBECCA PETERS: And hunting is very popular, and—but there were—there just were too many guns, and guns of a type which were assault weapons, which were not really suitable, not necessary for hunting. And it was known that that was the case, but it had taken—governments had continually fobbed it off, said, “Now’s not the time. Wait ’til a better moment.” And so, at that moment, the prime minister stepped up and said, “This is it,” and he called together all the states and territories, and put to them a plan which had been endorsed by the public health community, which had been endorsed by many hundreds of groups across the country who had been campaigning for a long time.
And that was the—one of the most important aspects of that law, of that set of laws, was a ban on assault weapons, on semiautomatic weapons, which are weapons designed to kill lots of people. And not surprisingly, as we’ve seen in Orlando, a weapon designed to kill lots of people kills lots of people. And so, the laws say those weapons cannot be owned by civilians.
And one of the other most important aspects of the laws, which is very applicable here, is that the background check system in the new laws is very comprehensive. You know, in America, the background check consists of, usually, looking at a computer to see if someone has a criminal conviction. That’s not a background check. I mean, you know, in New York City, if you want to apply to rent an apartment, if you want to apply to go to university, there’s a background check. People talk—the authorities talk to people who know you. They ask their opinion of you. And similarly, in Australia and most other developed countries, a background check consists of asking for references—your family doctor, talking to your spouse or your previous spouse, asking, “Is there any concern?”
AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is key, given what his ex-wife, Mateen’s ex-wife, said, that he beat her, that he was violent, that he had an obsession with guns, wanted to be a cop, always wore that NYPD T-shirt, and ended up as a security guard.
REBECCA PETERS: Exactly. And relying on a computer list, which is subject to so many problems, whether local jurisdictions have put in information, whether there are even word processing errors—I mean, you have to use your brains.
AMY GOODMAN: What was the response of the equivalent of the NRA in Australia?
REBECCA PETERS: The gun lobby was very unhappy in Australia at the time and had lots of protests, and in fact very irresponsibly urged people not to comply with the new laws, which also—
AMY GOODMAN: They were passed within two weeks?
REBECCA PETERS: Well, the agreement—the agreement was made within two weeks, and then the laws had to be passed in each state, because the laws are state laws. Within one year, all the states had modified their laws. And we’ve seen gun violence decrease by 50 percent in that time.
An overlooked element of the terrorism debate: blowback. The United States government’s pursuit of global dominance, carried out through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that kill civilians, proxy wars in Syria and Libya, and the U.S. sales of weapons throughout the world. Saudi Arabia is the biggest customer. Israel uses U.S. weapons to oppress the Palestinians.
The attack in Orlando is NOT the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. Black Agenda Report commentator Margaret Kimberley set the record straight.
“Contrary to press reports, the killing of 50 people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida is not the worst mass shooting in American history. Where to begin?

On December 29, 1890 the U.S. army killed 150 Lakota at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota. On April 13, 1873 between 62 and 153 black men were shot to death in Colfax, Louisiana. But wait. There’s more. On November 29, 1864 between 70 and 163 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed by the Colorado militia at Sand Creek. On May 31, and June 1, 1921 between 55 and 300 black people were killed by a white mob in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There are more atrocities like these, but I thought of these first.”

Worth noting amid the Islamophobic hysteria surrounding the mass shooting in Orlando: Friday, June 17 is the one-year anniversary of the Mother Emanuel terror attack in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine Black people, including state senator Clementa C. Pinckney, were fatally shot by Dylann Roof, a white supremacist.
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com  

A Sane Response to the Left/Right Bickering Over the Orlando Gay Nightclub Shooting

June 12, 2016

“Right-Wing: Please be a radical Muslim refugee who walked here from Mexico.

Left-Wing: Please be a white male conservative Christian Trump-supporter who bought his assault rifle legally.

Me: Throws iPhone in toilet.

As a Muslim, my condolences to the family, and no i am not apologizing for what he did, he is not my brother nor my friend, i would appreciate if people stopped blaming us for things we have nothing to do with.” ~ Facebook post by Nadiira Abdi in response to Orlando nightclub shooting.

“You Don’t Hire a Rapper to be Your Agent”: The Stereotyping of Sports Stars & Hip Hop Entrepreneurs

June 9, 2016

by David Samuels

This column appears in the June 9 – 16 edition of the Hartford News…

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: June 21. Co-host: Mary Sanders. Guests: Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Independent Hartford rap artist Protigee. (both rescheduled from May 31). http://sometroradio.com/ Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/

Community Party Radio Podcasts

Visit No Sellout to listen to podcasts of past shows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/podcast-community-party-radio-on-so-metro-radio/

Community Party Radio May 31 Show

Get Global Network podcast. Mary Sanders and I talk about the City of Hartford spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a baseball stadium, instead of paying for renovations at Martin Luther King School. Last week parents and activists protested against the city’s plan to close MLK, and dump the students in the basement of the Achievement First Hartford Academy Inc. We also discuss the Huffington Post burying a story by freelance contributor Frank Huguenard, about the FBI pushing for racketeering charges against Hillary Clinton. The show features music by Independent Hartford rap artist Protigee.

http://www.spreaker.com/user/thebwegroup/community-party-radio-hosted-by-david-sa_20

Safe Work Environment Act Update

Connecticut Valley Hospital employees have been complaining to me about CVH Human Resources blowing off their Family Medical Leave Act applications. More info in the coming weeks.

Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative

Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/

Muhammad Ali

Monday some viewers/listeners of the ESPN Mike and Mike morning talk show called Muhammad Ali a coward for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. This is typical vainglorious arrogance by certain white people: they expected Ali to be obedient, and risk his life for a country where segregation and lynchings was the reality for Blacks. These whites would wet their pants if they were threatened with a five year jail sentence; Ali was willing to go to prison as a conscientous objector.

Hip Hop, Sports Media & Racism

I recently watched ESPN’s ‘30 for 30’ documentary on former National Football League running back Ricky Williams. Williams is a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy winner who played a total of 11 seasons in the NFL and the Canadian Football League before retiring in 2011. Williams is a highly intelligent free spirit who was the subject of controversy due to his first retirement after just five seasons and subsequent suspensions for violating the NFL’s drug policy.

What I thought was going to be an opportunity to zone out in front of the TV turned into the subject of this column: specifically corporate media stereotypes of the Black male. Williams hired No Limit Sports to negotiate his contract with the New Orleans Saints, who drafted him 5th overall in the 1999 NFL draft.

No Limit Sports was owned by Percy “Master P” Miller, a rapper from New Orleans who took a $10,000 inheritance that he used to start a record store and subsequently founded No Limit Records, one of the most successful rap labels in the history of Hip-Hop. Miller’s net worth has been estimated to be as much as $661 million, due to his superior business acumen.

Miller expanded into numerous business ventures following the success of his rap label. His Wikipedia page includes a laundry list of enterprises,

“(Master P) has invested money into starting a jewelry line, auto accessories, stocks, a real estate company, a gas station, started a No Limit clothing line, a phone-sex company and a sports management firm that represents several NBA basketball draft picks, a travel agency, a Foot Locker retail outlet, film, music, and television production, toy making, telecommunications, book & magazine publishing, car rims and fast food franchises. No Limit Communications, a joint venture with marketing guru, Djuan Edgerton, was a surprising success. No Limit Enterprises quickly became a financial powerhouse. According to Black Enterprise magazine No Limit Enterprises grossed $110 million in revenue in 1998 alone. Miller also has his own line of beverages, called ‘Make ‘Em Say Ughh!’ energy drinks. Miller has also made a foray into mass media, where he founded Better Black Television, a cable television network in November 2010 based in New Orleans, making him the first hip hop entrepreneur to establish a cable television network.”

Like anybody in the high stakes world of business, Miller had some duds: No Limit Sports was one of them. A fair and balanced article by Vice Sports summed up the reason for the demise of the sports management agency. A company that was successful in music and films applied that business model to sports management and failed. Football writer Jason Cole, who was interviewed for the Williams documentary, gave viewers a totally distorted picture of the relationship between Williams and No Limit Sports. The contract negotiated by the agency was regarded as a disaster. Other than an $8 million signing bonus, only the NFL minimum of $175,000 was guaranteed, with the rest of the deal based on incentives. Williams would have to achieve certain performance goals (rushing yards, touchdowns, etc.) in order to make additional money, an unheard of agreement. A player who was drafted as highly as Williams was expected to be guaranteed a salary worth millions of dollars before playing their first game.

Cole ignored the facts of the story and said, “You don’t hire a rapper to be your agent.” The quote was accompanied by a clip of Williams and Miller sitting together at a press conference, accompanied by a sound bite of Miller chalking up the criticism of Williams’ choice of representation to racism.

A casual viewer was left with the impression that Miller himself negotiated Williams’ contract, and that rappers lacked the intelligence to handle business deals. I confronted Cole on Twitter about his remark. Cole backpedaled and said that he was only talking about Miller. I reminded him of his exact quote. His response was, “So what?” Cole claimed not to recognize the racist implications of his comment. Miller’s track record as an entrepreneur clearly shows that he has forgotten more about business than Cole will ever know. I pointed out to Cole the success of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s Roc Nation Sports, which partnered with a group of experienced sports agents. Roc Nation negotiated a 10-year, $240 million contract for former New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. Cano’s contract is one of the richest in sports history. National Basketball Association superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is another Roc Nation client. Carter clearly learned from Miller’s mistakes, as he has seasoned professionals representing his clients.

Did No Limit Sports drop the ball in their representation of Williams? Absolutely. Up to that point however, the agency had actually been successful, managing a small roster of National Basketball Association players who they had signed prior to acquiring Williams. Williams maintains that he specifically requested the terms of his contract. Williams subsequently fired No Limit Sports and signed with agent Leigh Steinberg, who renegotiated Williams’ contract after he was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2002. Miller selected an inexperienced individual who was in over his head when he negotiated the contract for Williams, No Limit Sports’ first star who they wished to make their flagship client. Cole took one of the few missteps in Miller’s business career and stereotyped rappers as being too ignorant to succeed in the corporate world. Shameful.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

REPLAY WEDNESDAY: Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

June 6, 2016

The planet’s PREMIER Soul, RnB and talk radio station. We’ll talk about the Martin Luther King School closing controversy with Hartford resident Zaida Berrios, who does research on the city school system, and activist Arthur Miller. Trebol Press editor Karl Rogers will discuss the mission of his nonprofit organization, and the presidential elections. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Replays on the Tuesdays we aren’t on live and every Wednesday. http://www.sometroradio.com/

 

Resources:

 

Malloy & Bronin: Racism, Sexism & Neoliberalism:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/malloy-bronin-racism-sexism-neoliberalism/

 

Suspending Democracy:

https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/suspending-democracy/

 

Democracy Now! archive on charter schools:

http://www.democracynow.org/topics/charter_schools

 

Trebol Press Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Trébol-Press-142554292580764/timeline

 

Sanders vs Clinton: The Democratic Primary Debate:

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2360&showid=89

 

 

 

Stadiumgate: Segarra & Wooden are Fugitives from Accountability

June 2, 2016
by David Samuels
This column appears in the June 2 – 9 edition of the Hartford News…
Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! Replays on the Tuesdays that we’re not on live and every Wednesday, same time. Next show: June 7. Co-host: Mary Sanders. Guests: Trebol Press editor Karl Rogers. Trebol Press published my nonfiction book on politics. Karl will discuss the mission of Trebol Press. Hartford activist Arthur Miller will talk about city issues.  http://sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts
Josh Elliott, Candidate for State Representative
Check out CP’s No Sellout blog Election 2016 Candidate Tracker for a profile provided by Josh Elliott, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is running for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly. Includes info on making a donation to his campaign. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/election-2016-candidate-tracker-josh-elliott/
Policy Watch:  Neoliberalism Versus Economic Justice
Last week WTIC-AM sports talk show host Andy Gresh made an excellent point about the Hartford stadium debacle: Former mayor Pedro Segarra and former city council president Shawn Wooden, who are both responsible for this deal, are laying low. I remember Wooden pounding his chest the night the council board approved the stadium deal. In just a few years Wooden has gone from mayoral candidate, to city council president, to candidate for state senator, to political has-been, and now along with Segarra, a fugitive from accountability. A critical point has been lost that I will continuously bring up. The original plan for the site of the stadium was to build a supermarket and healthy foods complex, which would have served North Hartford. The North End is plagued by food deserts. Segarra and Wooden negotiated with the New Britain Rock Cats in secrecy for months, before announcing the deal in a huge press conference. Now that the stadium project is officially a disaster, these two cowards are in hiding. Pathetic.
The neoliberal agenda led by Mayor Luke Bronin is in full effect: city workers are under attack, as the budget passed last week by the city council includes 40 layoffs and over $15 million in union concessions. Conservatives are beating the drum for the city to sell off public assets. Meanwhile in Jackson, Mississippi a revolutionary urban policy model is flourishing. Also the municipal bank concept would generate much needed revenue for cities like Hartford. This week we’ll share excerpts from two policy papers, The Jackson Plan:  A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice https://mxgm.org/the-jackson-plan-a-struggle-for-self-determination-participatory-democracy-and-economic-justice/ and Municipal Banking: an Overview  http://rooseveltinstitute.org/municipal-banking-overview/
Building a Local Solidarity Economy
The critical third pillar of the Jackson Plan is the long-term commitment to build a local Solidarity Economy that links with regional and national Solidarity Economy networks to advance the struggle for economic democracy.
Solidarity Economy as a concept describes a process of promoting cooperative economics that promote social solidarity, mutual aid, reciprocity, and generosity[6]. It also describes the horizontal and autonomously driven networking of a range of cooperative institutions that support and promote the aforementioned values ranging from worker cooperatives to informal affinity based neighborhood bartering networks.
Our conception of Solidarity Economy is inspired by the Mondragon Federation of Cooperative Enterprises based in the Basque region of Spain[7] but also draws from the best practices and experiences of the Solidarity Economy and other alternative economic initiatives already in motion in Latin America and the United States. We are working  to make these practices and experiences relevant in Jackson and to make greater links with existing cooperative institutions in the state and the region that help broaden their reach and impact on the local and regional economy. The Solidarity Economy practices and institutions that MXGM is working to build in Jackson include:
  • Building a network of cooperative and mutually reinforcing enterprises and institutions, specifically worker, consumer, and housing cooperatives, and community development credit unions as the foundation of our local Solidarity Economy
  • Building sustainable, Green (re)development and Green economy networks and enterprises, starting with a Green housing initiative
  • Building a network of local urban farms, regional agricultural cooperatives, and farmers markets. Drawing heavily from recent experiences in Detroit, we hope to achieve food sovereignty and combat obesity and chronic health issues in the state associated with limited access to healthy foods and unhealthy food environments
  • Developing local community and conservation land trusts as a primary means to begin the process of reconstructing the “Commons” in the city and region by decommodifying land and housing
  • Organizing to reconstruct and extend the Public Sector, particularly public finance of community development, to be pursued as a means of rebuilding the Public Sector to ensure there is adequate infrastructure to provide quality health care, accessible mass transportation, and decent, affordable public housing, etc.
In building along these lines we aim to transform the economy of Jackson and the region as a whole to generate the resources needed to advance this admittedly ambitious plan.

Municipal Banking: An Overview

By Karl Beitel | 04.12.16

Municipal banks will not, by themselves, solve the full spectrum of fiscal and economic challenges facing U.S. cities and their working-class residents. Nevertheless, they can be a critical step toward developing financial institutions premised on accountability to the needs of working-class and low-income constituencies. If combined with well-crafted local tax and land use policies, municipal banks offer a powerful tool for supporting investments in affordable housing, providing funds for land trusts and cooperative rental housing, and nurturing local business and worker cooperatives. Initially, these alternative measures will take shape as local and regional experiments exploring ways to redirect financial flows toward equitable and environmentally sound investments. Over time, these initiatives could form the blueprint for a more far-reaching reconstruction of our current system along a public-utility model of banking and finance. They can do so, moreover, in ways that reverses decades of devaluation of the public sector by reaffirming the positive, even transformative, role of government as an agent of social improvement.
Municipal banks allow cities to recapture local funds currently invested in money market instruments and retain tax revenues currently siphoned off by payments of principal and interest to municipal bond owners (consisting largely of very wealthy households), enabling the municipality to channel these funds back into local investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and economic development. Through tapping the deposit base of local governments, taking in municipal cash reserves currently invested in the money markets, and creating a supportive set of financial arrangements with public pension funds, socially responsible investors, and mission-aligned philanthropic foundations, municipal banks would provide cities with access to large, often low-cost funding pools to support affordable housing and infrastructure investments. Municipal banks could similarly be a major source of support for community land trusts, cooperative ownership structures, and neighborhood stabilization efforts. Many cities have established programs and initiatives to support affordable housing and small business development. However, the scale of these initiatives is often limited due to lack of funding, and the use of bonds to finance capital improvements imposes a revenue drain on the local tax base. Municipal banks have additional funding resources that are simply not available to City governments or its component units, due to the ability to accept and lend out deposits. In addition, a bank can issue liabilities — certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, and medium-term notes — to raise funds to support projects that fulfill the City’s priority social objectives. A municipal bank can provide access to these sources of finance, without creating any ongoing claims on municipal finances.  Municipal banks could also become powerful partners to existing community banks, credit unions, and community-development financial institutions, enabling them to extend their services to households that are currently underserved, or even exploited, by present U.S. financial arrangements. Moreover, they can do so in ways that enhance the accountability of municipal governments to local residents and provide a real-world model for reinvigorating the relationship between citizens and local government.
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com