News and Information
Thursday January 29th 2015
The Independent Business News Network was established in July of 2008. The goal of IBNN is to provide a different view of the local, national and global news and events that happen in the Black communities around the world. IBNN's expectations are to provide a level of coverage and investigative reporting not seen on local mainstream media, while covering Politics, Education, Money, Business, and Community events. IBNN is an affiliate of Black Politics in Minneapolis, Radical Black USA and other African American news sources. Comments, concerns and questions can be emailed to ibnnnews@gmail.com

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How modern policing started with slave patrols

What can we do? #blackmanstandup

What can we do? #blackmanstandup

Originally posted by – I Love Black People (dot) net

Here’s a question for you: If you start a long-term institution on a clearly racist foundation, how much can you expect that institution to be able to overcome its roots? That’s the question that everyone is asking about the modern police state and how it got to be what it is today.

A long list of people, mostly black men, have been shot, killed, arrested, harassed and beaten by cops over the years. In many cases, the officers are acquitted, even when they clearly commit murder. Mothers are crying, children are dying, and there doesn’t seem to be very much any of us can do about it.

The recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown are excellent examples of the hurdles being faced by our society as we seek to obtain justice for black men while letting police do their jobs at the same time. But in order for this to happen, the system must be cleansed of destructive racial bias.

Dr. Chenelle Jones, a criminologist at Ohio Dominican University, says that a lot of these issues come from the fact that the modern policing system started with Slave Patrols and other disturbing elements of America’s racially-problematic past. She says that without considering the foundation of these institutions and how they came to be, we’ll never be able to move forward in our quest to become a just society.

4 people including 2 young boys shot and killed at Rockford duplex

The POTUS will not be on television commenting on this tragedy. If #blacklivesmatter, don't they all? (Photo: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com)

The POTUS will not be on television commenting on this tragedy. If #blacklivesmatter, don’t they all? (Photo: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com)

No CNN, FOX or MSNBC. Certainly not Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Rockford’s mayor being interviewed. If #blacklivesmatter, should not all black lives matter? Where is the real coverage of an important incident like this one that takes the life of four people days before Christmas? 

By Rockford Register Star

Four people, including two young boys, were killed in a shooting late Saturday at a home in the northern Illinois city of Rockford, authorities said.

Police said a 24-year-old woman, her boyfriend and her two sons were found dead of gunshot wounds around 11:20 p.m. Saturday inside a red-brick duplex in Rockford, the Rockford Register Star (http://bit.ly/1sNJE9O ) reported. Authorities identified the victims as Martia Flint, 24-year-old Demontae Rhodes, 6-year-old Tyrone Smith III and 4-year-old Tobias K. Smith.

Assistant Deputy Chief Patrick Hoey said neighbors reported hearing pounding on a door and someone forcing the door open before hearing gunshots. He said police have no known motive.

The victims were pronounced dead by Rockford Fire Department paramedics after being found inside the home.

Autopsies were scheduled for Monday, according to Winnebago County Chief Deputy Coroner William Hintz.

The deaths brought the number of homicides in Rockford to 17 in 2014, according to the newspaper’s database. There were 22 homicides in Rockford last year and 14 in 2012.

___

Information from: Rockford Register Star, http://www.rrstar.com

Medicaid Fight: Why So Many Black Folks Are Still Uninsured

Playing with black Americans.

Playing with black Americans.

IBNN Editors note: In Minnesota, MNSure has missed the mark in the African American community. Churches, students, and individuals who are poor, black and unemployed still do not have health care insurance. Wonder where all that outreach money went? 

“Despite the widespread success of the Affordable Care Act in signing up the uninsured, a few stubborn states that refuse to expand Medicaid house large populations of African Americans.”

By Charles D. Ellison, The Root

t’s no secret that we’re witnessing a reverse black exodus to the South, forced by recession, gentrification, reconnected family ties and hipster racism. Yet while three-quarters of black population growth in the U.S. is happening in the heart of Dixie, the health care numbers show a different story: It’s also home to the highest rates of uninsured African Americans in the Affordable Care Act era.

There’s little doubt that the Affordable Care Act—permanently Etch A Sketch’d into “Obamacare” by Republican messaging wizards—has done what it set out to do. In terms of pure numbers, fewer folks are uninsured, and even fewer critics who danced around the rollout fail can point to actual flaws in coverage. In 2014, half of those newly insured secured insurance through an exchange, according to Gallup. And rather than fight over whether or not the health care law is a success, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Commonwealth Fund quibble over whether it was 9 million or 10 million people who got insured in 2013.

But even though they’ve been among the biggest supporters and beneficiaries of Obamacare, a newly dropped Urban Institute (pdf) study suggests that African Americans are still the least likely to enjoy the shrinking uninsurance gap. Why? Because blacks are concentrated in the states least friendly to the ACA, places where stubborn Republican governors have pretty much flipped their finger at a sorely needed Medicaid expansion.

That’s a big problem, since nearly 55 percent of African Americans are living in (and eagerly moving to) five key states that still won’t expand Medicaid: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas. That’s not even including other non-Medicaid-expansion states, like Alabama and Virginia, for example, where blacks constitute anywhere from 20 to nearly 30 percent of the population.

It’s a political wrinkle that finds 11 percent of all African Americans still uninsured—even when they’re 14 percent of the total U.S. population. Bad enough that 20 percent of all blacks nationwide were uninsured before the ACA took effect.

“Everybody’s rates are going to go down, especially for blacks,” Lisa Clemans-Cope, an author of the Urban Institute study, points out to The Root. “But the gains are trending differentially. There is a disproportionate share of blacks that are in the eligibility gap. If we went the full way [toward full Medicaid expansion], the gap between blacks and whites would drop to a 2.5 percent point gap.”

Read the rest of this entry »

You cannot have justice or peace within a framework of Inequality; they are Incompatible

Wake up and stop falling prey to the conditions of the media and society around you. It’s only those people who are awake that live in a state of constant amazement.

 By Don Allen, Founder – OurBlackNews(dot)com

If we march with no plan to get on television and radio stations, we might as well be slaves.

If we march with no plan to get on television and radio stations, we might as well be slaves.

While there is no remedy for fair and balanced news coverage (FOX is light-years from “fair and balanced”), the mainstream media news remains a secluded sector. Mostly controlled by white males who in light of recent news coverage seem to not give a damn about the plight of black Americans or any other minority groups. They have presented no real coverage of anything black or black related unless it bleeds, shoots, kills or fails in school. Of course on the local scene, when was the last time you turned on the fringe channels of 2, 5, 9 and 11 and saw a report on something other than murder, death and kill in the black community?

So far, it is highly unlikely to separate news sensationalism from a possible normal social construct of how delivery of broadcast news is suppose to work. To even begin to talk about the norm, we would have to start our research well before television existed. The shameful part of the process is that black Americans are strained into a culture that is not our own by simply turning on the television set. Yes, I know there are many forms of black television like BET (Black Entertainment Television), but who watches BET – come on, really?

Media ownership is the answer. Bill Cosby is paying for his consideration of purchasing NBC…

Black Americans own little to no corporate media. When laid out more specifically, there are 1500 newspapers, 1100 magazines, 9000 radio station, 1500 TV stations, 2400 publishers owned by only three corporations according to Injustice Facts. Fair.Org reports the five largest networks are Time Warner (1997 sales: $24 billion), Disney ($22 billion), Bertelsmann ($15 billion), Viacom ($13 billion), and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation ($11 billion). Yes, then we have OWN, the fledgling network allegedly owned by television talk queen and billionaire Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey, a huge Obama supporter, has walked in the same footsteps of the president, choosing to ignore the need for information distribution to the core of black America.

Just ask ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News or any of the many cable television news outlets: Black news is not important unless it takes part in a despicable act. Corporate news is a monster with many working parts – too many. While some might think CNN’s news series, “Black in America” might cover the news and plight of black America, believe it when I say, “Black in America” is the picture perfect series about the black dilemma made for white America by design. On the flip side, don’t look for any constructive African American news coverage on FOX either. Most news you can use is “white here, white now.”

Remember Aaron Alexis? Before I move on, I would like to state that for the record, I don’t pardon anything Navy yard murderer Aaron Alexis did in his shooting rampage. I’m concerned about the way the mainstream media has moved the American public away from news and information and into the sensationalism and twisted presentation of this tragedy. I understand politicians and special interest “lefty” groups want to react and take away weapons from law-abiding citizens, but a crime of such magnitude could manifest in anyone for any reason. The predictability of a person with a weapon developing a mass shooter psychosis is like predicting when the family next door will win the lottery jackpot.

The re-criminalization of black America only needs a small national incident to push the ill-assumed stereotypes of blacks (especially black men) to being the most feared and criminalized caste of people in the United States. What troubles me is the hypocrisy and quickness of Americans and the mainstream media to forget the past and in this instance take advantage and use the black American Navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis as a catalyst to incite a vial hatred for guns and black Americans.

Malcolm X was right when he said, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

The mainstream media reports the New York cop shooter Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, (pre-crime) as a violent criminal with a long record. They do that to every black suspect, regardless of circumstance. Brinsley was a nut. He posted on Instagram, “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours, Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.” His post (Brinsley) and what follows is only a prelude for what is to come. This story will continue to get bigger – used to promote gun control, promoting race-baiting by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and finally will be dressed up like an Emmy waiting for a limousine ride to the Academy Awards. Plain and simple, the less news on this nutcase would be better.

To add insult to injury, and something even more shocking: former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke recognizes the mainstream media’s lack of integrity. On his website, DavidDuke.com, in a reflection of the past Zimmerman/Martin trail. Dukes writes, “The acquittal of George Zimmerman is being used by the Zionist-controlled media in a blatant attempt to whip up African-American hatred against European-Americans— and they have engaged in this utterly false anti-European hate-fest as a means of diverting African-American attention away from the real cause of so many problems in black society.” He continues, “The Zionist-controlled media has deliberately created the impression among many African-Americans that Zimmerman is ‘white’ and that the incident in Florida was just another example of white racism.”  Duke nails it.

The series of race-baiting press conferences presented by the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson is evidence of Duke’s claim. It is not black America’s finest hours at the six and ten.

While it is difficult to watch the made-for-television news and  “formatted” cosmetic-hype meant to promote these networks, one could argue this kind of television reporting has nothing to do with news but everything to do with promoting a “brand” (CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and MSNBC), which would make the reporting of a tragic situation by the mainstream media absolutely disingenuous and downright patronizing.

In a world of technology in news and information coverage, could there enough room to have a somewhat fair and meaningful representation of a successful black America? Black Americans must participate at the same levels in the same mainstream media complex as whites. Until this happens, the average person with the reasonable amount of common sense will never have the opportunity to judge a black man by his character versus the violent misrepresentation from the mainstream media.

Author James Baldwin wrote, “This subjugation is the key to their identity and the triumph and justification of their history, and it is also on this continued subjugation that their material well-being depends…This is why, ultimately, all attempts at dialogue between the subdued and subduer, between those placed within history and those dispersed outside, break down…the subdued and the subduer do not speak the same language.”

What a difference race makes.

The Assault Against Black Males in Education – by Marcia Watson

 by  – African American Intellectual History Society

Quote by Malcolm X

Quote by Malcolm X

I am a Black woman who is terrified to birth into this world: a son. The fear that I have mirrors the same apprehension many White female teachers have when a Black boy enters their classroom on the first day of school. However, whereas I’m scared for my unborn son’s safety, most teachers in today’s public school classrooms are fearful for their own safety. This is one of the most absurd, but real, realities. In my opinion, the distrust of the legal system to protect our Black boys starts in kindergarten. And it starts from scary teachers – of all colors – that are ill-equipped to teach Black students.

As a former Atlanta Public Schools educator, I can tell you the absolute truth: the overwhelming majority of teachers are White females (over 80 percent), most of which are absolutely scared of Black children. Not all, but most. As a result, teachers’ “safety” supersedes student learning, and students are strategically pushed out of school. It’s no surprise the African American students comprise of the most suspensions, expulsions, and discipline referrals, when teachers are scared of the students they teach. The top school discipline infractions that lead to suspension and expulsion are highly subjective, including: noncompliance, classroom disruption, and disorderly conduct. There have even been instances where students were suspended for giving “threating looks” to teachers. How is this possible? How is the teaching force so disjointed and disconnected with their student population to where a look – not a bomb threat or dangerous weapons at school – accounts for the most suspensions? The criminalization of Black students in school is the precursor to the nation’s biggest civil rights issue of the 21st century – racial injustice. Sadly, teachers are scared of their students, and as a result – students are criminalized for simply being kids. We need to unpack this issue – as a collective community – to see how to stunt the criminalization of African American students in K-12 school settings. Unpacking this issue will – for once – place heightened blame on teachers, not students, for discipline violations. In many cases, students are guilty just for being Black.

From the moment Black students start kindergarten, students are profiled based on race. Learning from Martin and Brown’s case, it is important for districts to reexamine discipline issues that also are embedded with racial bias and cultural misunderstanding. The differing American perspectives on civil rights issues are essential for educators to understand when addressing school discipline in the classroom. If current news coverage’s, jury’s decisions, and grand jury’s decisions are indicative wide-scale perceptions, then the focus is – and will always be – focused on the wrong issue! Sadly, there has been far more coverage on cigarillos and looting, than on racial suffering, police violence, and mistreatment. The police, like teachers in many urban classrooms, are rarely held accountable for their actions. For this, the criminalization of Black males continues. 

The relevance of this issue is embedded in nearly every facet of education today. Not only were Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown students in a local Florida and Missouri school districts, respectively, but their lives was a representation of many urban youth who have also been unjustly misunderstood and extracted from educational settings for petty crimes. Both in education and in the cases of Martin and Brown, why are unarmed “Black” teens dangerous? Why are their lives so threatening to where – in both cases – it was forced to end? The answer to these questions raises three distinct points (for places of introspection and departure):

The first issue raised in the death of innocent Black males is the significant racial repercussions within the justice system. The assumption that legal affairs are color neutral proved to be a false, utopian ideal, when the local Florida police failed to thoroughly investigate the crime. In Ferguson, local citizens attested to a racially segregated city, with racist and discriminatory law enforcement. Sadly, local police departments failed to interview or even question George Zimmerman for the death of Trayvon Martin. In fact, although the emergency dispatch calls seemed to indicate Zimmerman was intoxicated, local police authorities failed to complete a thorough investigation of the perpetrator in accordance with their widely controversial “Stand Your Ground Law.” Moreover, Florida state law enforcement also failed to complete any sort of investigation of Zimmerman’s family members, etc., which are seemingly viable steps when investigating a homicide. It was not until the media and family pushed for a federal investigation that the nation began to hear of this muted offense.

The second issue raised is the criminalist stereotypes associated with Martin and Brown being “Black males.” These stereotypes are evident throughout the case and the jury’s decision. Without question, the jury’s decision (in both cases) suggests there are hidden misconcetions, thoughts, and perceptions about the behaviors and deviancy of a “Black” person, specifically a Black male. The jury’s verdict to acquit Zimmerman and fail to indict Wilson serve as justifications for the killing of young, unarmed Black teens.

The third issue is perhaps the most important. This case proved to be true that we do not live in a “post-racial” society. The uniqueness of these cases, the “Stand Your Ground” laws, and the media attention that has surrounded the jury’s verdict, has shown that race centered the discussion at nearly every avenue. The timeline of events including: the lack of local police response in the initial crime, the racially one-sided jury, and the jury’s acquittal of Zimmerman, repeatedly displayed insensitivity to the loss of a Black teen’s life. All in all, this case showed that depending on who is the victim and who is the victor, crime and punishment can look drastically different.

As I reflect on Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, and others, I see why students enter classrooms and don’t trust teachers. I see why students resist the system. Students are embedded in this reality every single day, and they realize – probably more than adults – that the criminal justice system isn’t on their side. They walk into school with an attitude, and why shouldn’t they? I’d be pissed if upon arrival to school, I was sniffed by police canine units. Before many students enter into a middle or high school, they pass through metal detectors that mimic airport security screenings! I have worked in a school where students were asked to remove shoes, belts, and hats – place their items onto a conveyor belt for screening – and wait while their items are packaged up for “contraband” to retrieve at the end of the day. A middle school!

While the nation cries out in regards to the decisions made in the recent Mike Brown and Eric Garner case, I realize where the outrage lies. It lies in the educational institutions that train the Darren Wilsons and George Zimmermans. Social institutions – like schools – teach students much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. They teach and perpetuate social expectations. They favor the privileged, and dispose the unwanted. While Mike, Trayvon, and others entered school vivaciously excited for their life ahead, many of the teachers waiting for them were not excited. Darren and George had a fair chance, simply based on race. Trayvon did not. Mike did not. Oscar did not. Sean did not. So many unarmed Black teens did not.

Black men are criminalized when they walked through the doors in elementary school. Everyone was scared of them, simply because of what they looked like. Their experiences in school simply prepared them for the live streaming production of real life! Students, teachers, politicians, and local citizens around the globe have united for the sake of justice. The facts have remained constant that these teens were unarmed and defenseless. Their lives, however – considered disposable by local law enforcement. The reoccurring themes of injustice in recent unlawful Black deaths – display the lackadaisical attitude towards the lives of the “threatening.” These young men, all Black, were considered “delinquents” or “menaces.” Yet, challenging these stereotypes start in elementary school. Equipping teachers – not students – to take responsibility for their fears, their mistreatment, and their actions, is what will reverse this crippling and cyclical cycle. There is hope! I believe it lies in the training of future teachers, law enforcement officers, jurors, and neighborhood watchmen.

Why former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak should be the new MPS Superintendent

So what, who cares…superintendent Johnson “resigned”  (I know senators Champion and Hayden are celebrating). That’s really not a newsworthy issue. The issue should be, what does this mean for our children in the Minneapolis Public Schools and how fast can we get the district on track with the new and not-so-new board members coming on the scene in January? This has a potential to become a political mess, in the end, it is our children who do not benefit. A strong case can be made for the former mayor to lead us back to greatness.

By Don Allen, Founder – The Independent Business News Network

R.T. Rybak: The man with a plan and the spray tan. (photo: fair use)

R.T. Rybak: The man with a plan and the spray tan. (photo: fair use)

Minneapolis, Minn. – It’s not much of a stretch to understand the Minneapolis Public Schools system has dropped plenty of balls in their mission to teach children. The school district put little to no investment into pre-school children being ready-to-read by kindergarten and if you think about it, they should be put into state or federal receivership.

Sure, Bernadeia Johnson has announced her resignation, but she still holds on to $12,000.00 per month (for a short time), plus another outrageous amount of money. The school board should have brought her out and showed Johnson the back door. Hell, they would never do that; she’s a stakeholder in the DFL – just like them.

Enter former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, whose straightforwardness and his well thought out planning with vision has put him in a position to put back together a system of checks and balances that has shamed Minnesota’s people, elected officials and of course, our children.

R.T. (Superintendent Rybak) has one hell of a resume as posted on GenerationNext.org.

  • As mayor, R.T. founded the Minneapolis Promise, an innovative cluster of coordinated efforts to get students college- and career-ready and put them on the path to success.
  • He jumped-off the work-readiness training through the STEP-UP program
  • Pushed The Power of YOU (T. has called STEP-UP the achievement of which he is the most proud. Since 2004, STEP-UP has put 18,000 Minneapolis youth — 86% young people of color, 50% from immigrant families and 93% living in poverty — to work in meaningful summer employment. The White House recognized STEP-UP as a national model for youth summer jobs at a conference that President Obama attended.)
  • T. has been recognized as a national “Afterschool Champion” by the Afterschool Alliance.
  • Founded the Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
  • A champion of the youth-led Minneapolis Youth Congress.
  • Involvement in Minneapolis’ Youth Coordinating Board.
  • A Minneapolis native, R.T. Rybak spent almost 30 years working in journalism, commercial real estate business, publishing and the Internet.
  • Youth Employment Director at Wilderness Inquiry.

What this says about the former Minneapolis mayor? He is qualified, through experience, vision and work history to change the dynamics in a failing school system, which has needed an overhaul in business and educational practices for more than a decade.

As a product of the Minneapolis Public Schools in a time when the district was one of America’s top educational systems, I can honestly say someone like R. T. Rybak can change what needs to be changed from the communications department to reaching out to each and every mother and father that has a child in the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Today, with the half-departure of Bernadeia Johnson, we have a juggernaut in the operations of the Minneapolis Public Schools and it’s newly appointed and returning board members. They can fool around and waste time focusing on a search, or they can do the right thing put R.T. Rybak where he belongs.

The district needs a communicator and people around who know how to be cordial and diplomatic while focusing on educating all children in the system. R.T. Rybak is a communicator that exceeds all expectations and visions – he will get the job done.

NAACP uses Black American tragedies as fundraising tool; when will the organization take real action?

At some point the NAACP must jump start the advancement of colored people.

At some point the NAACP must jump start the advancement of colored people.

Editors note: Based on the bylaws of the NAACP, the Minneapolis Branch is no longer in operation and there is no president of the Minneapolis NAACP. The national branch in Baltimore, MD has been contacted and no reply has been received prior to this posting.

by Don Allen, Independent Business News Network

Minneapolis, Minn. – For the record, I don’t dislike black people. What I dislike is a faulty process that only benefits a few. #ilovemypeople.

The NAACP has to step up to the plate and once again become a functioning organization. In a recent email received by me from Cornell William Brooks

President and CEO of the NAACP, I was troubled by the NAACP’s use of recent black tragedies to raise “$100k” in December 2014.  The email, titled, “Enough is Enough” (below) read:

Across the country, we’ve been coming together with our brothers and sisters to say, “we’ve had enough”: Enough of chronic injustice, enough of racial profiling, and more than enough of police brutality. We are speaking out, contacting our elected officials, peacefully marching hand in hand, holding ourselves to the highest standard of advocacy—and it’s incredible to see. We have to keep this up, Donald. We cannot organize only in the midst of tragedy. We need to gather our resources now for the long road ahead toward justice, so I’m issuing a challenge: Let’s raise $100,000 for justice in December. Make your contribution today to show the nation that we aren’t going anywhere—this isn’t one moment, it’s an entire movement.”

I find this highly irregular when NAACP branches around the United States are allegedly plagued by  corruption, fraud and under-the-table dealings. (Read: NAACP SUPPORTS ELECTION AND VOTER FRAUD IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN). Also, the agency, which is suppose to be non-partisan rolls left with it’s decisions and actions as seen in a post-election statement where the national NAACP ignored two African American candidates who won seats in November as Republicans (Read: NAACP Ignores Mia Love, Tim Scott in Post-Election Report).

NAACP non-partisan? Let’s take a look:

  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People claims to be nonpartisan, but it uses its millions of dollars to promote the Democrat’s agenda.
  • Conservative critics question its claim to nonprofit status, arguing that the exemption shelters its $14 million annual budget from being taxed, and note that in the most recent presidential campaign the NAACP, which once derided big money as a corrupting influence, established two independent fund-raising organizations to conduct the kind of political warfare it once denounced.
  • The NAACP National Voter Fund and Americans for Equality drew on a combined $10 million to finance get-out-the-vote efforts and issue ads that energized Democratic voters.  (Bullet-point Source: www.rfcnet.org)

At this time, it is only fair that we demand the NAACP to do the following things in Minneapolis.

1. Reinstate Ronald A. Edwards back into the NAACP has a life-time member emeritus.

2. Dissolve any remnants of the current Minneapolis NAACP due to lack of process.

3. Appoint Ronald A. Edwards as the interim President of the Minneapolis NAACP for one year, or until scheduled elections take place in Minnesota.

It’s a short list that needs to be acted upon promptly.

 

 

Veterans say legitimate claims routinely denied or ignored

IBNN Editors note: Here in Minnesota, it has been reported that over $100 million has been set-aside for veterans, especially homeless veterans. Unfortunately the snow came early in November 2014 – there has been no real commitment from the governor or the people being hired to be paper shufflers. While Minnesota homeless veterans walk the street, sleep outside, there is no meaningful actions being taken, but as usual, someone is getting paid and living in the suburbs. “God Bless America.” 

By Keith Rogers –  LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Watch video by clicking on photo above.

Watch video by clicking on photo above.

Vietnam War Navy Cross recipient Steve Lowery isn’t alone in his battle to convince the Veterans Benefits Administration that his wounds are linked to his military service.

Lowery, a retired Marine major from Las Vegas, took a long-awaited physical examination Thursday at the North Las Vegas VA Medical Center to show a doctor that scars from shrapnel in his knee and those on his thighs from an AK-47 resulted from a 1969 firefight in Vietnam.

In 1994, the VA benefits office in Reno told him those wounds weren’t related to his military service, and he’s been fighting with the agency ever since.

The VA apparently disallowed his initial claim because the government’s archive agency failed to send his records to Reno. Bewildered by the decision, Lowery provided a copy of his personal medical file in 2010. Two years later, his claim was rejected again.

Since the Review-Journal wrote about Lowery’s case last week, other veterans have come forward with complaints about tactics employed by the agency, which demands that veterans prove their injuries were service-related but can deny claims without proving anything.

They include Phil Cushman, a Vietnam War Marine veteran from Oregon who beat the VA system there by winning a “due process” challenge in a federal appeals court that netted $400,000 in compensation. Now, through his nationally recognized nonprofit veterans rights advocacy group, Cushman is helping disabled Korean War soldier Charles P. Mahoney, of Las Vegas, with his appeal for more compensation.

“I’m not filing claims for the money. I want justice,” Mahoney, 82, told the newspaper. “What the VA did to me 60 years ago is they tore up the Bill of Rights.”

Mahoney, who served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea in 1950, suffered wounds and mental problems from a mortar blast that heaved him 15 feet into the air. After a hospital stint in Japan, he was taken to Fort Hood, Texas, where he underwent a series of electro­shock treatments in 1951 that “blotted out my memory for nine months.”

Two Army evaluation boards determined he was 100 percent disabled, but a third said he was only 10 percent disabled. The Army then told him he was cured and discharged him in 1952.

The VA immediately opened a claim but never processed it or issued a decision and never told him about it. Concealment of the claim effectively denied his right to counsel, Cushman said.

It wasn’t until 2012, three years after Mahoney filed a claim with the VA, that he obtained records showing he had been diagnosed in the early 1950s with a permanent mental disability.

“I thought I was normal, but I wasn’t normal. I had problems with, I guess they call it post-traumatic stress disorder now,” Mahoney said, describing dreams that would cause him to “wake up in the middle of the night screaming.”

“I knew something was wrong with me, but I didn’t find that out until I read (about) my physical evaluation boards that I got out of (military archives in) St. Louis in 2012.” Read the rest of this entry »

How States Can Fix the Police

Human Rights dismissed when police ask questions to innocent citizens. (photo: Okaloosa_Law_Enforcement_Corruption)

Human Rights dismissed when police ask questions to innocent citizens. (photo: Okaloosa_Law_Enforcement_Corruption)

By Trevor Burrus (This article appeared on Forbes.com on December 9, 2014.)

The events in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Eric Garner from a police chokehold have brought needed attention to the long-simmering problem of an increasingly militarized, militant, and distant police force that, for many communities, seems more like an occupying army than an institution tasked with protecting and serving. President Obama’s task force on police militarization has tepidly suggested increasing oversight. More oversight is not a complete solution, but reviewing existing programs and practices, as well as providing funds for wearable cameras, can mitigate some abuses.

But there are no panaceas. The problems with our police are deep, and they can’t be fixed with top-down, federal oversight. States, municipalities, and communities should help fix our broken police forces by passing laws limiting how SWAT teams are used and by requiring departments to keep records of SWAT raids. Curbing SWAT team abuses is just one of many things that can help restore trust in the police and rebuild the vital link between officers and the community.

“We must reassess the power and immunity police enjoy.”

The baton-twirling Officer Friendly is a thing of the past, replaced by assault-rifle wielding Officer Rambo. Throughout the country, SWAT teams violently raid houses over 100 times each day. Since 1980, the number of SWAT raids has increased by 15 times, while the violent crime rate has dropped by nearly half. Rather than being called out to quell an active shooter or deal with a hostage situation, SWAT teams mostly execute search warrants for drug offenses. These raids are as violent and confrontational as any carried out by the U.S. Army in Iraq. Police batter down doors, shoot dogs, and toss flashbang grenades, all while wearing body armor and brandishing assault rifles.

When Congress began funneling military gear to local police departments, few people considered that it would change how police behave. There seems to be a “if we have it we might as well use it” attitude, particularly when SWAT teams have been used to raid barber shops to check for licensing compliance, to raid Gibson guitar company to check whether wood was properly imported, and to raid bars to investigate underage drinking.

Yet states have the power to limit how and when SWAT teams will be used. Laws can limit SWAT team deployments to truly high-risk situations posing an imminent threat to public safety. States should also clarify the process by which SWAT raids are approved, ensuring every deployment is sanctioned by a high-level official or supervisor. In deciding whether to authorize a deployment, officials should be required to assess whether children or the elderly might be present, whether forced entry should be used, and whether safer (for officers and citizens) and less violent alternatives would be preferable.

But constraining when SWAT teams are deployed is not enough. Transparency in the use of SWAT teams is equally important. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get accurate information on how much SWAT teams are used, when they are used, whether and what criminal charges are filed, and whether any harm resulted to people, property, or pets.

In the wake of a 2008 raid on the home of the Cheye Calvo, the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, the state passed a trailblazing law requiring police departments to track how SWAT teams were used. A report found that, in 2014, Maryland SWAT teams were deployed an average of 4.5 times per day, and 93.1 percent of the time they were deployed to execute a search warrant. Almost 60 percent of those deployments were for nonviolent crimes, usually to serve search warrants on suspected drug offenders. Unfortunately, the Maryland law sunsetted in 2014 and it has yet to be re-passed, although many lawmakers have expressed a desire to reintroduce the law.

After a 2011 botched raid in which SWAT officers violently gunned down an army veteran who was growing 16 marijuana plants, Utah began looking at reforming police practices. Earlier this year, the state passed two laws to chip away at SWAT team abuses. One law requires officers making a forced entry to “use only that force which is reasonable and necessary to effectuate forcible entry” and to “minimize the risks of unnecessarily confrontational or invasive methods which may result in harm to any person.” Another law requires reporting on SWAT deployments, including whether a threat assessment was completed and whether an officer injured or killed a person or domestic animal.

Even in the absence of state legislation, communities should demand that police departments adopt policies limiting how SWAT teams are used. Again, deployments should be limited to truly dangerous situations that deserve a tactical, armed response. Serving warrants with SWAT teams should be generally avoided except in truly exceptional circumstances.

Finally, more states should follow the lead of Colorado and Washington and legalize marijuana. When it comes to police militarization, the drug war is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Overall, the war on drugs has been the biggest single contributor to the militarization of police. The dramatic rise in drug raids shows how the war on drugs is in fact a war on citizens, and police are the soldiers in that war.

We must reassess the power and immunity police enjoy. Unfortunately, it takes situations like the unrest in Ferguson and the death of Eric Garner to bring the issue enough attention to make reform possible. Reforms like these will chip away at the divide grown between police officers and the citizens they are serving.

2014: The Year of the Black Man

Are you telling me that my sons and black boys across the United States cannot experience life, have fun and be boys? #gotohell. (photo: Don Allen, 1979)

Are you telling me that my sons and black boys across the United States cannot experience life, have fun and be boys? #gotohell. (photo: Don Allen, 1979)

The Black American male must activate his survival mode software to navigate in a nation that is judge, jury and executioner in a magic blue uniform. We do not have time to hold our breath and wait for an ideology we have never seen.

By Don Allen, Publisher – The Independent Business News Network

Malcolm X, dead. Martin Luther King, Jr. – dead. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton – compromised. Charles Barkley, out of his rabbit ass mind. Bill Cosby, done.

Face it – the 1960s and 1970s are long gone…the people that spoke for black America have been rendered useless by a Jewish owned powerful mainstream media platform that can strike in the middle of a poor black neighborhood and every black person tuned to watch or listening believes every word. This was by design.

I come before you today with a heavy heart. I need to talk to white and black, young, old, citizens and immigrants to explain the Year of the Black Man is not a celebration – but a cause for major concern in our county. History has repeated itself providing scenes of mass protest in pre-revolution for those who passionately seek justice, including those posing for social media. It comes as no surprise to this writer that America has declared war on the total black male body.

There was a time (some say it still is), when education was used as a divisive tool to segregate black men from the fields of higher learning by killing them in public and private school systems that were never meant to teach black boys, men. Today, in 2014, it has become almost ritualistic to shoot and kill an unarmed black man before questioning his intent or using alternative methods of apprehension. I understand law enforcement too must be able to go home after work, but you also shoot and kill your own in black bodies in blue.

Some of us are saddened by the current events happening across the United States and it is our duty to address these events with our students. We as black people sit wondering what the NAACP and Urban League will do, understanding that both agencies at one time in history were the Rock of Gibraltar for civil rights, human rights and engaging mainstream America. Today we sit in the pew of corruption, sellouts and race baiters who have used America’s black unrest for a fundraising tool.

The original impetus for this communiqué was the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri on August 9, 2014. Brown was shot at least six times, following some sort of disagreement or confrontation with police officer Darren Wilson, who claimed that he had feared for his life, though Brown was unarmed, and he was not, and though Brown was approximately 150 feet from him when he was killed.

Images and descriptions of the dramatic, militarized police response to the protests that formed in Ferguson following the murder shocked the nation, as we saw officers “clad in Kevlar vests, helmets and camouflage, armed with pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, and tear gas,” and driving armored vehicles driving through the streets of Ferguson, as if it were a war zone.

Black people gathered to protest. They are called thugs, fools and niggers. White people on social media want more protesters shot; the water hoses opened at full and SUV’s to roll over protesters…if they are black. Let the killings be of white males and we would have World War III in the making.

News of the deaths of Brown in Missouri, and Garner in New York, and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old-boy shot dead in Cleveland by an officer judged unfit for duty in 2012 – as well as news of the subsequent protests of the murders, and the grand jury acquittals, have spread rapidly throughout the U.S. and the international community, largely through the medium of social media.

The catch phrases associated with protests of these deaths have included, Hands up Don’t Shoot, Black Lives Matter, Our Son’s Matter and the twitter hashtag CrimingWhileWhite, which you should check out.

The president of the United States has checked out on black Americans using boutique catch phrases and acting black by appearing on Black Entertainment Network (BET). I’m sorry President Obama, you are not doing enough, no president could, not even a black one. So while we are stuck in America’s purgatory of harsh race relations and those who would like to see fire hoses, dogs and tear gas flung into crowds of protesters lets me know my work is not finished; it has only just begun.

This story is for the black mothers, fathers, children and other concerned individuals so we can start to try and make sense of what is going on in America today, how we should address the issue of police brutality, and how we can make all of our sons safer. How they can go about their lives, and be boys, and not be angels, necessarily, and make mistakes, and be imperfect, and yet not therefore face the risk of having their lives taken with impunity, in cases such as these, by the police.

2014 is the year of the black man because of the attempted annihilation of his black body. Comedian Chris Rock said, “Black men are endangered species. But endangered species have laws to protect them.”

 

 

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