Ignorance extolled

Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical To Justice

This history-making black Major League Baseball player called out race prejudice in all sectors of American society including prejudice practiced by U.S. presidents, lawmakers, law enforcers and others.

This player’s poignant observations about the sinews of the prejudice infecting American society focus antiseptic illumination on toxic stances taken by President Trump on the rights of black pro-football players to protest race-based injustices including police brutality.

Interestingly, this player’s critique of patriotism shares some similarities with a stance taken by U.S. Senator John McCain, a man widely respected for his Vietnam War service — the service that President Trump has repeatedly disparaged because McCain ended up a POW after his plane was shot down over North Vietnam.

In May 2015 McCain issued a report that slammed the U.S. Department of Defense for funneling millions to pro sports leagues to conduct patriotism inspiring events during games. NFL players standing for the national anthem, now the center of controversy between Trump and some NFL players arose largely from that DoD funding that McCain railed against in the report “Tackling Paid Patriotism.”
 
Moses Fleetwood Walker - First Black MLB Player (19th Century) LBWPhotoMoses Fleetwood Walker – First Black MLB Player (19th Century) LBWPhoto
 

This history-making black Major League Baseball player is not Jackie Robinson, the legendary figure who broke the no-blacks-in-MLB barrier in 1947 with his play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Ignorant and unashamed

Philly Ceremony: Another History Lesson Trump Will Ignore

 
The historic ceremony outside City Hall in Philadelphia recently, that unveiled a statue of a significant yet overlooked 19th Century civil rights leader, contained chilling contemporary connections that radiate the adage: the more things change the more they stay the same.

That ceremony honored the works of Octavius V. Catto, an activist, educator and officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. Several hundred attended the ceremony including Philadelphia’s mayor, decedents of Catto, local celebrities and regular citizens from children to senior citizens.

The Catto statue, the centerpiece of a memorial installation for that man located on the south side of City Hall, is the first ever monument for an African-American individual located on city owned property in Philadelphia, a 335-years-old city with 1,200 public statues.

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenny (l) and sculptor Branly Cadet (r) unveil Octavius Catto statue. LBWPhotoPhiladelphia Mayor James Kenny (l) and sculptor Branly Cadet (r) unveil Octavius Catto statue. LBWPhoto
 
A racist murdered Catto on October 10, 1871 during a riot by whites to keep blacks from voting. During that Election Day riot members of Philadelphia’s police department actively aided the rioters – an incident of race-tainted abusive policing. Abusive and too often racist policing persists today.

Catto helped secure Pennsylvania’s ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an addition implemented nationally in March 1870 intended to ensure voting rights for blacks, ex-slaves and freedmen then excluded from voting.

Today, conservative legislators nationwide are engaged in various efforts to erect barriers to block voting by blacks. Earlier this year, U.S. President Donald Trump created a Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity, which critics proclaim a thinly veiled scheme to suppress voting rights. Catto lost his life battling to break down barriers that blocked blacks from voting.

Whitewashing Racism Again

This Is Not Fake News: President Trump Is A Bigot!

Bench on porch at the White House of Donald Trump? No. Apartheid-era artifact in Cape Town, South Africa. LBWPhotoBench on porch at the White House of Donald Trump? No. Apartheid-era artifact in Cape Town, South Africa. LBWPhoto
 
U.S. President Donald Trump is a bigot – ’bigley’ – to use a word that he’s used frequently!

Trump is a bigot as defined as someone who doesn’t tolerate people of different races or religions!

But as despicable as Trump’s bigotry is, it is not the big problem driving America’s problem of deep-seated racism.

Trump’s bigotry is rightly being bashed in the wake of the President’s failure to quickly and forcefully condemn the Nazi-praising white nationalists responsible for the riotous violence that erupted recently in Charlottesville, Va, violence that produced one death and many injuries.

Those proudly prejudiced white supremacists that descended on Charlottesville for odious domestic terrorism proclaimed themselves as fervent supporters of businessman-turned-president Trump.

“Trump’s run for office electrified the radical right, which saw in him a champion of the idea that America is fundamentally a white man’s country,” stated a report issued earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that monitors hate groups in America.

In the weeks after Trump’s November 2016 election the SPLC documented 1,094 hate incidents. “The hate was clearly tied directly to Trump’s victory,” stated a December 2016 SPLC report.

Remember, Trump is the guy who installed a leading advocate of white nationalism (Steve Bannon) as his chief strategist in the White House.

Trump's lies fly

Humpty Dumpty Word Usage In 'Trump's Wonderland'

Like the famous line from fairy tale figure Humpty Dumpty about his prerogative to pervert words, President Trump and his defender/supporters routinely engage in a putrid practice of altering widely accepted meanings of words to obscure or to outright deceive.

Humpty Dumpty, when talking with Alice in the classic Louis Carroll novel “Alice In Wonderland’ declared that the words he uses are just what he choses those words “to mean – neither more nor less.”

So in ‘Trump’s Wonderland’ defenders of the President blithely downplay the June 9, 2016 impropriety committed by the President’s oldest son, Donald Jr., as the misstep of a “kid” not serious misconduct consciously committed by an adult.

Kid is a word usually used as a descriptor for children from babies to teens but not a 39-year-old man like the junior Donald.

Don Jr. has admitted – in public statements and in emails he released – that in June 2016 he eagerly met with a person presented to him as a representative of the Russian government who would supply him with political dirt on front-running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Emails released by Don Jr. document that Don Jr. was clearly informed that the meeting to provide political dirt was part of efforts by the Russian government to help his father win the presidential election.

President Trump’s new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, declared that Don Jr. “is a kid” when proclaiming that Don Jr. did “nothing wrong” by attending that secret June 2016 meeting with a representative of America’s avowed enemy. Scaramucci’s characterization of Don Jr. as a “kid” during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper perverted the traditional meaning of the word kid to minimize the actions of a grown man who Scaramucci described variously as a “great guy” and a neophyte in the world of big time politics.

While Scaramucci spun the line of that June 2016 meeting being a “non-event” Don Jr. obviously saw that event, held at Trump Tower in New York City, as really, really important. The importance of the meeting that Humpty Scaramucci Dumpty termed a “non-event” led Don Jr. to invite his father’s then presidential campaign manager to that meeting.

Blackout erased

New War Memorial in London Ends Historic Omission of Heroic Contributions

London contains many of the thousands of memorials located across the United Kingdom commemorating the sacrifices of millions of military personnel during the bloody struggles of World War I and World War II.

There is even a ‘Animals In War’ memorial in London’s famed Hyde Park recognizing the contributions to those wars from dogs, donkeys, elephants, pigeons, glow worms and others animals.

However, not one of these memorials to the world wars – estimated at over 70,000 across Britain by the Imperial War Museum – is specifically dedicated to the contributions of the thousands from the Caribbean and Africa who helped secure victories of England in those two horrific 20th Century conflicts.

That omission of a formal recognition honoring the sacrifices of persons from Africa and the Caribbean in World Wars I and II ended on Thursday, June 22, 2017 with the dedication of a special monument: the African Caribbean Memorial.

This two and one-half ton sculpture fashioned from Scottish Whinstone sits outside the Black Cultural Achieve in the Brixton section of South London. The dedication ceremony for the African and Caribbean Memorial came on Windrush Day – the annual celebration for the onset of large-scale immigration to Britain from the Caribbean that began in 1948 when immigrants came to help London/England rebuild after WWII.

The idea for the African Caribbean Memorial (along with the long work to raise funds for the monument’s creation and siting) came from the Nubian Jak Community Trust, a British organization that has erected over thirty plaques around London and in other parts of England recognizing various contributions of persons of African descent.

Uncontrolled ugliness

Upsurge in Sexual Assaults Slash the Soul of South Africa

Soweto, South Africa — During the late 20th Century struggles to end apartheid in South Africa the historic Regina Mundi church was a safe-haven for anti-apartheid activists who constantly faced brutal violence from the police and military of that country’s then racist white-minority government.

Recently Regina Mundi, known as ‘the people’s church,’ served as a site for a large rally called to end another form of brutal violence that is tearing at the soul of South Africa: an upsurge in rapes and murders of females, some as young as three-years-old.

Among the women, and men, gathered for that anti-violence rally at Regina Mundi, located in the Moroka neighborhood of Soweto, was Kamogelo Legodi, a Soweto resident and first-year University of South Africa student who is studying public management.

“It is import to raise awareness about women being abused, kidnapped and raped,” Legodi said, while standing outside of Regina Mundi, the largest Catholic Church facility in South Africa.

“As women, it is important for our voices to be heard,” Legodi said. “I have a friend who was almost abducted two weeks ago but she ran away.”

Although rape is a long-standing problem in South Africa, recent horrific incidents have sparked unprecedented national outrage, galvanizing people across the country to rise up against rape and other violence bludgeoning females.

An opening to challenge Abu-Jamal’s conviction

Philly DA Office Must Provide All Records of Top Judge’s Role as DA in Opposing Mumia Appeal

A Philadelphia judge has issued a stunningly powerful order requiring the city’s District Attorney’s Office to locate and release all documents related to the involvement of a former top prosecutor in the most contentious murder case in Philadelphia’s history. Because that former DA, Ronald Castille later became- a state supreme court justice and ultimately chief justice, the order could shine a light onto the dark legacy of ethics shredding misconduct by members of the state’s highest court.

It also opens the door a crack to the possibility that Mumia Abu-Jamal, currently serving a life sentence without possibility of parole, could have his 1982 murder conviction for the killing of a white Philadelphia police officer overturned.

The order, issued recently by Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker, comes in an appeal filed by attorneys for celebrated jailhouse journalist Abu-Jamal. It represents yet another setback for the Philadelphia’s District Attorneys Office, an office already reeling from federal corruption charges filed recently against the city’s current DA Seth Williams.

Philadelphia prosecutors have spent decades fighting to sustain Abu-Jamal’s murder conviction for the 1981 shooting death Philadelphia police officer, Daniel Faulkner. Since Abu-Jamal’s conviction by a mostly white jury in 1982, entities as diverse as Amnesty International, government officials in the U.S and abroad plus prominent individuals around the world have condemned his trial, conviction and appeals process as a miscarriage of justice fraught with misconduct by prosecutors and judges, including members of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.

The current Abu-Jamal appeal centers on the legal unfairness of actions taken by former Philadelphia DA Castille, who as top prosecutor, oversaw the legal effort to keep Abu-Jamal on Pennsylvania’s death row, and then later served as a state Supreme Court justice ruling on appeals of those very actions by his former office.

Years after his election to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1993, Castille joined six other court justices in rejecting an appeal by Abu-Jamal for a new trial based on documented evidence of egregious misconduct by police, prosecutors and the judge who presided over Abu-Jamal’s original 1982 trial and over his initial Post Conviction Relief Act hearing in 1995.

Retired PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, Philadelphia Common Please Judge Leon Tucker and Mumia Abu-JamalRetired PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille, Philadelphia Common Please Judge Leon Tucker and Mumia Abu-Jamal
 

Abu-Jamal’s legal team recently argued that Castille’s vote in the court’s 1998 rejection of their client’s appeal violated ethics provisions covering all judges in Pennsylvania –- a basic legal rights issue brushed aside by Pennsylvania’s high court in its unanimous 1998 ruling.

This latest Abu-Jamal appeal centers on a 2016 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Williams v. Pennsylvania granting convicted murderer Terrance Williams a new trial because of Justice Castille’s refusal to recuse himself from a decision on Williams’ appeal of his conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court in that case blasted Castille because he had, as DA, approved the decision to seek the death penalty against Williams. His later vote as the state’s top judge denying an appeal of that conviction included his dismissal of chilling documentation that Philadelphia prosecutors working for him had unlawfully withheld critical exculpatory evidence during Williams’ trial — a circumstance similar to documented evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the Abu-Jamal case.

Truth defenders

Two Men Who Made Their Mark On History

One man enhanced the legacy of a legend revered around the world.

Accomplishments of the other man include his involvement in a seminal court battle where the trial judge issued a pivotal ruling about racism that sparked enraged denials among authorities in that nation.

These two men made historic marks that had wide ranging impact in the countries that each adopted as their home.

While both of these men lived over 5,000-miles apart, they shared many similarities.

Both men experienced poisonous smacks from British colonial racism. Both men spent time in America. The civil rights/freedom struggles of African-Americans influenced both men. And, both men died recently, just days apart.

These two men are: Ngugi Githuka and Darcus Howe.
 
Ngugi Githuka talks with tourists outside Mandela House Museum. LBWPhotoNgugi Githuka talks with tourists outside Mandela House Museum. LBWPhoto

Historian Githuka often worked as a tour guide in Johannesburg, South Africa. Influential activist turned journalist Darcus Howe made his mark London, the capital of Great Britain.

Blackout by Gorsuch

Judge Neil Gorsuch's Hiring Practices: The Company He Doesn't Keep…or Employ

If there is truth to the phrase “a man is known by the company he keeps,” how should Americans judge Neil Gorsuch, the man President Trump said is the perfect conservative to have a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court?

Judging from the company kept by Gorsuch in the form of the law clerks that he has hired, disturbing questions arise about the core character of this federal appeals court judge as a Supreme Court nominee.

Those questions regarding Gorsuch’s hiring practices are of scant concern to the senators on the Judiciary Committee, now finishing up hearings on this Supreme Court. They would appear to also be of scant concern to the news media covering this nomination judging by the lack of coverage of this particular issue.

It isn’t as if the information isn’t available. A review conducted by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of persons hired by Judge Gorsuch to serve in the prestigious position of law clerks has uncovered a disturbing pattern.

 Making America white again.Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: Making America white again.
 

Near the end of the Lawyers Committee report on Gorsuch’s fitness to serve as a Supreme Court Justice in the section on Judicial Diversity is this alarming statement arising from the Committee’s review of 40 persons Gorsuch hired as clerks: “…we have found no evidence that suggests that Judge Gorsuch ever hired an African-American clerk.”

Ryancare wreckage

Don the Con's Health Care Pushes Serious Problems Aside

The desperate scramble of President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress to salvage a cure for their ailing health care proposal to replace Obamacare completely ignores correcting a deadly problem plaguing the very heart of America’s health care system.

The AHCA – the GOP’s American Health Care Act – does nothing to address HAI.

This is the deadly problem that causes nearly 100,000 deaths per year across America.

HAI is healthcare-associated infections. These are infections people get while in the hospital receiving treatment.

CDC data released last year stated that HAI impacts over 700,000 annually. “When people go to the hospital, they should not contract a preventable healthcare associated infection,” noted a CDC publication.
Protestor in Philadelphia opposed to GOP assaults on health care. LBW PhotoProtestor in Philadelphia opposed to GOP assaults on health care. LBW Photo
 

But Americans do contract serious infections while hospitalized and the heavily criticized AHCA, pushed by Trump and House Majority Leader Paul Ryan, omits addressing the HAI scourge that strikes Americans at alarming rates.

Incredibly with all the GOP squeals about soaring health insurance costs, the unaddressed HAI drains an estimated $20-billion in healthcare costs annually, according to the federal Center for Disease Control.

The rancor swirling around health care reform across America overshadows the scandalous inability of this nation’s political and business leaders to address serious problems infecting core health care system pillars – problems that are generally preventable and problems that if eliminated would save billions of dollars.