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The Buffalo Bullet

The Missing Op-ed page in most Major Newspapers

Senator Warren is Right:

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Investigate the Fed!

playthellbenjamin

 

by Playthell Benjamin

The revelations of a former Bank Regulator with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Carmen Segarra, provides a shocking insider’s view of the unhealthy relationship between the nation’s top financial institutions – the Wall Street crowd that wrecked the US economy and sparked a global recession – and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which is tasked with regulating them. Ms. Segarra, a highly qualified lawyer who holds degrees from Harvard, Cornell and Columbia universities, and has also studied international law at the Sorbonne in Paris, has not only spilled the beans about shady dealings between federal regulators and the mammoth Wall Street investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs, but has charged in court that she was fired for vigorously pursuing her duties.

Usually these kinds of shady dealings are inside stuff, the kind of secret palavers that never enter the public sphere; hence should a whistle blower go to the press it’s a “he says,”, “she says,” dispute. Ms. Segarra realized this, and took steps to negate that problem by secretly recording the meetings she had with her superiors. When she recognized what was happening, that bank regulators were still looking the other way at financial mis-dealings even after the great financial crash of the Bush years – she went to the Spy Store and purchased a miniature recording device that was easy to conceal and recorded 48 hours of meetings.

Ms. Segarra recognized that these kinds of massive organizations, whether government bureaucracies or private corporations, enjoy the services of powerful legal firms, while the whistle blower stands alone. When one considers the fact that taking such a stand means that one’s career in the industry is over because no one wants to employ a squealer, and the whistle blower is left with what they can get from suing the employer for wrongful termination, a process that can take years – which is the situation in which Ms. Segarra now finds herself now – it takes a person of heroic character to step forward with allegations of wrong doing.

However Ms. Segarra’s actions flowed from her motives for becoming a bank regulator. Whereas many of her colleagues viewed their position as a stepping stone to employment in the banking industry, Segarra took the job because she witnessed the financial devastation of her friends and family as a result of the Great Recession resulting from the Bush Administration’s policy of non-regulation of the financial industry.

After the passage of the Dodd-Frank Bill establishing a new regulatory regime on the nation’s financial institutions the FED hired a new group of regulators to vigorously enforce the new regulations. Ms. Segarra took one of those jobs in the belief that she could use her expertise to help fix our broken banking system. “I actually studied business law and regulation in law school.” She tells us. “I co-wrote a law review article on Y2K [the millennial computer bug], which ended up being published. As a result of that, my co-author and I were asked to work on setting up the Y2K legal and compliance program for a bank. I discovered early on that I enjoyed learning about a law and immediately applying it, much the same way that I enjoy learning and speaking a new language.” She speaks several languages by the way.

Ms. Segarra goes on to tell us “as a general practitioner, I have worked closely with a wide range of laws and regulations that apply across the banking and investment sectors, as opposed to just specializing in one particular type of law or regulation. As a bank examiner, you get to use that knowledge and those skills to evaluate what others have built, and, if and when necessary, point out ways to improve them.” However she would soon discover that there were obstacles in her path as she tried to do her job, and what was worse those obstacles were placed there by her supervisors, the very managers who were supposed to assist her in carrying out her duties – which was to put procedures in place that would help prevent another financial meltdown that could imperil the world economy.

She first noticed the lack of diligence on the part of FED regulators when she witnessed the Examiner embedded in Goldman Sachs make a statement that suggested the investment banking house was too big to be subjected to certain regulations they were charged with enforcing. Shocked by the comment she later questioned her manager about it and suggested that this was a situation she should look into. Instead of getting the enthusiastic green light she expected, the manager told her “you didn’t hear that.” A regulator from the FDIC, which insures the assets of depositors against bank failures up to $250.000, was also present in the room and she asked him if he had heard the comment and he assured her that he did.

Since she was lured to the bank examiner’s job by their mandate to investigate and monitor the practices of those very financial institutions deemed “too big to fail,” which the government had just spent hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars bailing out of the red in order to prevent the total collapse of the banking system, which would have ushered in a depression worse than the 1930’s, she was appalled by the attitude of the embedded regulator at Goldman Sachs and her supervisor.

Segarra was to discover that even after the passage of Dodd-Frank, which the disloyal Republican opposition who controlled the House of Representatives refused to fully fund, many of the same old practices that had permitted the kinds of shady financial dealings which led to the collapse was still going on. She would also come to realize that this problem was fostered by the close relationship between the regulators and the institutions they were supposed to regulate. The FED’s well-intentioned but misguided decision to embed regulators in the institutions they were watching over had resulted in overly friendly relations with the top executives of those institutions. And this led to a bending of the rules.

The extent of this cozy relationship had already been described in an independent 2009 report written by David Bind, a Columbia University professor of finance who had previously been a banker. Professor Professor Bind led an investigation into systemic problems that contributed to the financial crash; his report concluded that the regulators had failed to do their job of vigorously policing Wall Street to prevent them from engaging in risky or illegal activities.

Instead they had fallen into a condition that he calls “Regulatory Capture,” which resulted the bank “Examiners” treating the banks like “a watch dog who licks and intruder in the face and plays catch rather than bark at him.” Since the report had attracted so little attention Ms. Segarra does not seem to have been aware of it. But based on her experience the professor got in right.

The evidence Ms. Segarra has compiled on her secretly recorded tapes amount to a smoking gun with finger prints and DNA samples on the handle. It’s irrefutable! We hear her supervisors try and discourage her from following leads regarding wrong doing at Goldman Sachs – some of it blatant. For example she uncovered an acquisition in which Goldman Sachs was advising both sides for millions of dollars in fees, and the firm also had a large ownership share in one of the companies, in which her supervisor had a personal stake of several hundred thousand dollars. Carmen Segarra correctly flagged this as an egregious case of conflict of interests.

This led her to interrogate executives at Goldman Sachs about their conflict of interest policy and found that they had none. She thought this was incredulous, an outrage for a company that was conducting deals all over the world amounting to billions of dollars. How could a financial behemoth with global reach not have a clearly defined conflict of interest policy? If ever there was a situation that cried out for an investigation this was it!

Yet when she reported her discovery to her supervisor she was met with a lukewarm response bordering on indifference. She was told that this was her personal “perception” of the situation and the FED arrived at conclusions on important matters by “consensus.” She thought this was a ridiculous line of argument when the evidence of conflict of interests and the absence of any policy to deal with it was overwhelming. When she said as much she was told by her supervisor that she was considered “arrogant” by higher ups in the agency, and that if she wanted to advance in her career in the agency she should learn to become a team player. At which point Segarra asked outright if she was in danger of being fired for trying to do a good job. The supervisor sidestepped the question but made it clear that she was on the road to nowhere. And we hear it all loud and clear on the tapes! Ms. Segarra was eventually fired, and she is suing the New York Fed for unjustified termination.

Now that the tapes are being made public there is a growing outcry for an investigation of how the FED operates and their relationship with Goldman Sachs. The outrage is reflected even in that voice of the Wall Street establishment, The Wall Street Journal, which has denounced the preferential treatment given to certain gigantic Wall Street firms by both the FED and the federal courts. Carmen Segarra has opened a gigantic can of worms and provided us an unfettered view of what’s going down on The Street, which allows us to see the anatomy of a system that continues to produce financial crises that devastate the middle and working classes while the investor class continues to get richer.

It is even more important that the federal regulators do their jobs honestly and efficiently now than it was before the crash, because if a major banking institution fails now the government has less authority to bail them out. And as we are told in a New York Times article of September 30th 2014, it was the fall of Lehman Brothers that set the forces in motion that led to the world-wide financial panic. What is clear in retrospect as we learn from the Time’s extensive interviews with major players in the government who decided not to rescue Lehman Brothers – Ben Barnake, Federal Reserve Chairman, Tim Geithner, President of the New York FED bank, and Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary – is that they had the authority to rescue Lehman and made a political decision not to.

Having already received scathing criticism from the left and the “free market” crowd on the right for employing the resources of the US Treasury to rescue Bear Sterns, a private investment firm, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – two giant government backed mortgage companies, in 2008, when FED Chairman Ben Bernanke approached him about rescuing Lehman Brothers Paulson refused, telling him that he did not want to become known as “Mr. Bailout.” However after the financial system crashed like falling dominoes from forces set in motion by the fall of Lehman Brothers, Paulson did indeed become “Mr. Bailout.” Hence it is frightening to learn from Ms. Segarra that it could all happen again because bank regulators are not doing their jobs.

That’s why we are blessed and highly favored to have an intrepid intellectual warrior and fearless defender of the working class and public interests such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard law professor – who is calling for a thorough investigation of the relationship between the FED, Goldman Sachs and other financial institutions. It is one of the most important issues of our times and it should be thoroughly investigated. Like Carmen Segarra, I too know honorable, law abiding people who were wiped out by the Bush Crash, including my sister Melba, a career educator and as fine a citizen as ever lived in America, whose life savings were ravaged!

So I not only support Senator Warren’s call for a congressional investigation, I think she should chair it. This would be a historical irony and poetic justice for those who torpedoed her chances of heading the regulatory agency she designed to regulate Wall Street bankers, now she’s baaaaack! And she has returned in an even more powerful incarnation; at least as a government regulator the reactionary Republicans in Congress would have exercised some authority over her; but as the Senator from Massachusetts they have none!

We should also make this an election issue. Let those who are opposed to an investigation into the dirty dealings of the avaricious plutocrats, and their unholy alliance with government shills, go on record with their opposition. I believe their ranks will be thin! Furthermore I think we should demand that President Obama appoint a special prosecutor under the auspices of a Department of Justice headed by a new Attorney General named Kamala Harris, the brilliant, beautiful, energetic Attorney General of California.

She would be the ideal Attorney General to oversee such a historic investigation because along with Bo Biden, the Delaware AG, Ms. Harris has been a leading figure in investigating and prosecuting financial institutions whose wrong doing led to the Bush crash that caused so many Americans to lose their homes and life’s savings. The lead investigator in this case would be Carmen Segarra and the Special Prosecutor would be former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer who was death on the Wall Street crowd when he was the New York AG. Nobody knows those scoundrels better and he is a ruthless prosecutor. This is my dream team… are you listening Chilly B?

Benjamin is a veteran political journalist out of Harlem NY. His essays can be read on his blog site Commentaries on the Times.

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Written by cs

October 28th, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Public Question to be Voted on is Constitution Amendment #1

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to allow a court to order pretrial detention of a person in a criminal case

ZachHusser2withTie

 

by Zach Husser

Dear Family,

I voted early today for the candidates in New Jersey running local campaigns as well as in the United States Representative and United States Senate races. I voted on Freeholders, County Executive, United States Representative, and Cory Booker for United States Senator from New Jersey. On that ballot I saw the below Constitutional Amendment that got on the ballot because of our State Government officials. Do You read me loud and clear? The State of New Jersey, under Chris Christie is going after folk arrested in Criminal Cases! Read the below Constitutional Amendment and Vote Against it! We must never vote for folk to be arrested without being eligible for bail! We must be very mindful of what the Politicians in Trenton, New Jersey are doing! This Amendment is “Aimed Directly” at Black, Poor, and Criminals of color. Are they talking about your Family Members?

How come none of Our Politicians nor the Media spoke on this very important below Amendment. This Amendment must be voted down. Our people are under assault and most of Us don’t even know it! Vote No on Constitution Amendment #1.

The Constitutional Amendment # 1 reads as follows: On the ballot in New Jersey.

Do you approve amending the Constitution to allow a court to order pretrial detention of a person in a criminal case? This would change the current constitutional right to bail. The Change to the Constitution would mean that a court could order that a person remain in jail prior to trial, even without a chance for the person to post bail, in some situations. The Amendment also removes language in the Constitution about bail eligibility for death penalty cases. The death penalty no longer exists in New Jersey.

Interpretative Statement

The Constitution currently requires a court to grant bail to a jailed person in a criminal case before trail. If the person posts bail, the person is released from jail pending trial. The amendment would give a court the option of ordering a person to remain in jail in some situations. The court could order such detention based upon concerns that the person, if released: will not return to court; is a threat to the safety of another person or the community; or will obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process.

The amendment authorizes the Legislature to pass laws concerning pretrial release and pretrial detention. The amendment would take effect on January 1, 2017 to allow any new laws to be enacted and their requirements to be established. The Amendment would also remove language in the Constitution about bail eligibility for death penalty cases. The death penalty on longer exists in New Jersey.

In concluding, YOU can Vote Early on November 1-2, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Go straight from your Church to the Polls. Voting on Sunday really takes Us from the Pulpit to the Polls. Vote and take ten of your friends along to Vote!

We All Must Vote,

Brother Zach Husser, National Communications Advisor
Fathers in Education Campaign, Inc.

Zachary Cornell Husser is a NY/NJ Community Organizer and member of the Columbia University men’s basketball teams of 1967–70. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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Written by cs

October 26th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

An open letter to all elected and appointed officials

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Preliminary plans for the Outer Harbor land site and the emerging policies of Elitism

PatFreemanTomDee

 

by Pat Freeman

The past few months the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has held a series of public forums on the use of the long time vacant industrial Brownfield site we know as the Outer Harbor. Many of us attended four of the five meetings in which a large constituency of citizens expressed their support of the Outer Harbor Stadium Complex private investment proposal which would create 8,000-15,000 living wage jobs in Western New York with private investment financing.

From the very beginning stadium complex supporters were disenfranchised by hostilities that were cultivated by the elitist misinformation campaign of this area designed to stifle, and control all Western New York development. There are some very important facts that have been systematically left out of the conversation and the reporting by the larger media outlets which I believe is the most egregious issue of fair reporting. Let’s state some facts.

1. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. President Thomas Dee was presented over 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters from various organizations from WNY at the second forum at the Stanley Makowski School in support of the Outer Harbor Stadium complex private investment proposal.

2. Perkins and Will representatives were also given 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters also. Perkins and Will is the design team hired by ECHDC for $750,000 to put together this development design allegedly based on public input.

3. Congressman Brian Higgins the self proclaimed champion of the waterfront was also presented with 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters from various organization, officials, and a unanimous resolution signed by the Buffalo Common Council where the land is located.

4. During each forum it was reported to ECHDC reps, and their President Thomas Dee that stadium supporters were being harassed and their suggestion stickers were being removed from the boards showing the support of a stadium complex

5. During the forth forum the rep from Perkins and Will stated at the beginning this particular forum that the stadium would no longer be discussed at this setting, and that everyone was aware that the Governor had hired a firm (AECOM) to study stadium sites and they would monitor the release of that particular announcement. They stated that the stadium idea for the outer harbor had received roughly 47 for the stadium 99 no. Which I dispute the accuracy of such a count because many stadium supporters complained that their stickers were removed and were being harassed during the forums.

6. Very few people attending these forums mentioned housing as a viable development on the Outer Harbor.

In closing it is my belief that there should be a formal investigation of the actions of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. to push forth an elitist agenda on the Outer Harbor Land with the use of New York Power Authority funds, public financing to create high end residential developments on the Outer Harbor. The facts remain that when you were presented overwhelming documentation in support of the privately financed stadium complex proposal by the citizens this publicly financed entity has continued to push forth an elitist select agenda no matter what the public has stated!

If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube. Also join us for the number#1 recap show every Monday at 7:25AM with Lee Pettigrew, and The Mighty O’Ba Pat Freeman.

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Written by cs

October 24th, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Have You Heard? Buffalo SNUG is Here!

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KA-RED-2014 headshot_o

 

by Karima Amin

It was December of 2009 when Senators Malcolm A. Smith and Antoine Thompson announced the advent of “Operation SNUG” (“guns” spelled backward) and we learned that several Erie County community organizations would receive $500,000 for the prevention of gun violence. At that time, Senator Smith said, “Today marks a turning point in community safety…. Gun violence affects us all- white or black, rich or poor, illegal guns terrorize neighborhoods and tear apart families. For too long, the deadly specter of illegal guns has gone unchecked. In cities across the state, our children are dying at the hands of gun violence, but through our commitment to SNUG, we can put a stop to that deadly trend now and return our streets to their rightful owners, the people of New York.”

Senator Thompson concurred, saying, “Gang violence and illegal gun use has been a problem in Buffalo and across the state for too long. Operation SNUG will hopefully cut down on excessive gang violence that many communities face.”

On February 5, 2014, Senator Tim Kennedy announced the re-launching of “Operation SNUG,” awarding $366, 400 to Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, which is implementing a targeted neighborhood violence prevention project. Believing in the promise of “Operation SNUG,” Senator Kennedy said, “This funding will target neighborhoods hardest hit by street violence and apply a tried-and-tested model of street outreach and violence intervention to cut down on gang activity and reduce violent crime from the frontlines.”

Pastor James E. Giles, President/CEO of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries said, “These state resources will allow us to implement a Cure Violence program, enhance the work of the Buffalo Peacemakers and keep violence interrupters on the streets looking out for our neighbors and preventing crime.” Back to Basics is one of seven groups across the state that have received state funding to implement a coordinated, community-based strategy that seeks to prevent violent crime and encourage high-risk youth to avoid criminal activity and instead pursue positive opportunities.

Time has passed. Has SNUG been a success? Is there more or less gun violence today than we had in 2009? What has been the community’s response to “Buffalo SNUG?”

If you want to know the answers to these questions, come to our next monthly meeting to meet Rahel Weldeysesus. She is the Program Manager for “Buffalo SNUG.” She previously served as the Program Development Director at Back to Basics. For two years, she was the Community Relations Director for New York State Assemblyman Sam Hoyt. When I first met her, she was the Development Coordinator for Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York. She is diligent and passionate about her work.

Our next meeting will be on Monday, October 27, at 7:00-9:00pm at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street in Buffalo. For more information: 716-834-8438 or Karima@prisonersare peopletoo.org or BaBa Eng, g.babaeng@yahoo.com.

“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)

Karima Amin is a longtime Buffalo Activist, Educator, and Storyteller as well as founder and director of Prisoners Are People Too (PRP2).

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Politics: A Business or a Hobby?

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SONY DSC

 

by Alton H Maddox, Jr.

(“Attorney-at-War”)

The political system emulates the legal system. Lawyers drafted both systems and they are alike in many respects. Voters are required, as groups, and not as individuals, to submit responsive pleadings. In law, it would be called an answer. In politics, it is called an agenda. A group, that fails to make a demand through an agenda, defaults. Politics, for that group, morphs into a beauty contest.

A candidate who is viewed as a beauty contestant owes zero to voters. This happened to Blacks in New York City in 2013. Even though they voted overwhelmingly for William de Blasio and their vote was critical to his election, Black voters had failed to convene a political convention and file a political agenda. For Blacks, de Blasio went from being a candidate to becoming a beauty contestant.

Among other things, Blacks were enthralled with “jungle fever.” While Blacks were still spell-bound, de Blasio refused to appoint any Black person to a key position in his mayoral administration and, instead, contrary to Black emotions, appointed William Bratton as police commissioner.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani first introduced Bratton to New York City to extirpate Blacks. De Blasio’s plan is to revive both former Mayors Ed Koch and Giuliani. Blacks hated both of these men and they hated Blacks. Bratton is changing his style but unjust laws are still on the books.

Before the 2013 General Election, the Freedom Party sponsored an unpublicized political seminar in October 2013. I used this occasion to do political forecast. Censorship kept Blacks from hearing it, however. Voting is like any outdoor sport. You must employ a meteorologist.

With support from “Friends of Alton Maddox,” I used an ad in the Am News to show that Bratton was a bad fit for Blacks. If Black voters had read this ad before going to the polls, Eric Garner might still be alive. No other Black person publicly sounded the alarm.

Since my arrival in New York City, I have never seen or heard of any Black person who either drafted a political agenda or sponsored a political convention. In the meantime, I have never witnessed Blacks securing anything but political crumbs from the white power structure. History will definitely repeat itself on November 4, 2014 if Blacks, in New York City, remain wedded to “plantation politics.”

The handwriting is definitely on the wall. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court gave Blacks the first clue. Afterwards, the “High Court” gutted the key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Attorney General Eric Holder is about to escape the cuckoo’s nest and the Congressional Black Caucus has no intention of drafting, for Blacks, an enforcement provision for the Fifteenth Amendment.

During slavery, the United States was known as a democracy but it was actually a timocracy. Without an enforcement provision for the Fifteenth Amendment, Blacks will suffer a gradual loss of voting rights. The Supreme Court decisions of Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC are paving the way.

In addition to a public library, the Black community needs a law library because the “High Court” renders decisions that are game changers. For example, Plessy v. Ferguson was a game changer. Dred Scott had also been a game changer. Today, Blacks are still unaware of the meaning of Harlan’s dissent in Plessy and the legal and political ramifications of Dred Scott.

The campaign financing decisions have reverted Black voting rights back to eighteen century timocracy. This amounts to slavery. Black’s Law Dictionary defines timocracy as “as aristocracy of property; government by propertied, relatively rich people.”

The “High Court” has given the signal for the aristocracy to amass a war chest against “social parasites.” The white power structure is fearful that “termites” will overrun the government while Blacks will enjoy the balance of power like in New York City.

My people must eventually recognize that nothing in life should be free. Frederick Douglass said its best: “You may not get everything you pay for but you will pay for everything you get.” He also said that “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.”

Douglass was referring to a political agenda. Blacks had started political conventions before the Civil War and before either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party had sponsored one. Like it or not, the rules of engagement in this country are listed in the U.S. Constitution. A constitutional scholar, and not a rhetorician, is needed to construe it.

For more than two decades, several thousand persons have received my invaluable, writings on law and military science, free of any cost, even though the fixed costs to publish them including research, writing, editing and publishing have exceeded over Twenty-five Hundred Dollars monthly. There is also now a need to upgrade equipment, legal literature and software and to resume the practice of law as the private attorney general without “judicial bullying.”

Gov. Cuomo Was Out of Bounds in Afghanistan

Somebody should throw a flag. This is political football. In order for American politics to work, some institution needs to serve as a referee. A free press is missing in the Black community. Thus, no one is present to keep white supremacists honest. This is why Black should be offended when any media outlet practices censorship.

Today, my role is that of an educator, instead of litigator, since the Black community is willing to tolerate “judicial bullying” against an attorney who was not a felon, who had never been cited for contempt of court and who had never been charged with betraying a client.

In the meantime, white felons have permeated the judicial system to the detriment of Blacks. They are routinely fleecing their clients. Blacks deserve better legal representation. For white felons, the practice of law is engendering full employment.

Reportedly Gov. Cuomo secretly embarked on a trip to Afghanistan last week. His fellow travelers are Bill Haslan, Republican of Tennessee, Brian Sandavol, Republican of Nevada and Jay Nixon, Democrat of Missouri. All of these governors are from states that are either enrolled in or is a sympathizer of the Confederate States of America.

This is a rank conspiracy against President Barack Obama. These governors have no constitutional basis for enjoying a political junket to Afghanistan. The U.S. Supreme Court certainly settled, in Curtiss-Wright Expert Corp. v. United States, that “the president of the United States had ‘plenary’ powers in the foreign affairs field not dependent upon congressional delegation.”

Gov. Cuomo had as much business going to Afghanistan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg would have had in going to Virginia and telling the National Rifle Association to stop marketing guns. States rights would have blocked Bloomberg and the U.S. Constitution is blocking Cuomo from interfering with foreign affairs.

As constitutional oathtakers, both Cuomo and Nixon have their hands full enforcing the U.S. Constitution unless Dred Scott is still the law of the land. Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner was choked to death in Staten Island, NY. Police officers were the criminal agents in both cases.

Both Cuomo and Nixon are lawyers and former state attorneys general. They are both aware that when cement hardens, arrests are ripe. No arrests have happened in either Ferguson or Staten Island. Instead, a grand jury in both states is being given the opportunity to review probable cause and not to seek indictments. This is impermissible under the law. It means that no one will have to account for two senseless deaths.

For more than two decades, several thousand persons have received my invaluable, writings on law and military science, free of any cost, even though the fixed costs to publish them including research, writing, editing and publishing have exceeded over Twenty-five Hundred Dollars monthly. There is also now a need to upgrade equipment, legal literature and software and to resume the practice of law as the private attorney general without “judicial bullying.”

Make contributions for a free and educational press only to:

Friends of Alton Maddox

P.O. Box 35

Bronx, NY 10471

Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Please support the movement to Reinstate him. Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471.

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Written by cs

October 18th, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Six Months in Haiti

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GloriaDulanWilson5NewPic

 

by Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Interesting take on the Duvaliers’ reign over Haiti –> (Afrocentricity International)  and a take with which I differ – Of course mine is not from the standpoint of being a Haitian – but from the standpoint of a militant/activist/artist/entertainer who had the privilege of touring Haiti during the time that Papa Doc Duvalier was still living and running the country.  I went to Haiti Cheri in December 1968 and stayed til June 1969 – and I had such a wonderful experience, I actually considered expatriating there.

I also took my daughter, who was 2 years old at the time.  I was touring with a African/cultural dance troupe.  We met the great Katherine Dunham, who had been living there for quite some time.  She introduced us to Papa Doc Duvalier.  He knew more about Black history than most Black historians did – and was quite versed in the international impact of the transAtlantic slave trade.

He was also very protective of Haiti’s borders – and would not allow whites to come in and set up businesses unless they could be headed up, run and staffed by Haitians – a factor that did not set well with the French or the US.  He was fiercely proud of the fact that Haiti was self liberated and, while poor in economics – as a result of French and American embargoes; they were rich in cultural heritage.

His wife was very sweet – met his daughter; also met Jean-Claude.  It was clear to see that Jean-Claude was what one in America would have considered a special needs or special ed child.  In fact, Papa Doc stated that he had been deprived of oxygen at birth.

Now as to the reign of terror – alleged reign of terror – I was there for 6 months – not an entire life time, but enough to observe whether that was actually happening during his administration.  I went to the Mahogany Mart; I watched the drummer Ti RoRo in the park.  I participated with the RaRa band; I walked through fire during the Dumbalawado initiation.  I rode side saddle on a donkey from Kentscoff to the mart.  I rode up to the Citadel in a rickety Peugeot.  And the only time I encountered the TonTon Macoute was when they shut down the borders because of a threatened invasion ; and when a white woman tried to sneak Haitian treasures out of the country without paying the appropriate duty.

I stayed in Petionville – in a small house we rented while we were there – the electricity would go on and off depending on what was happening with the generator.  We cooked over coals in the kitchen; bought food in the market – and ate everything natural, the way it grew from the ground or the trees.  I even tried my hand at washing clothes on the rocks, the way the Haitian ladies did.  They got a big kick out of me trying this – I was the community  joke!  But it was all in fun. I spoke just enough French to learn and understand Creole.  And was able to carry on a pretty decent conversation.

While that does not equate to an entire lifetime, it does equate to a great experience in Haiti.  In fact, it was not until Papa Doc died, and Baby Doc was allowed to take over that you really saw any problems.  His dad never intended for him to run the country.  But the daughter had married someone the father did not approve of, so without a real succession plan in place; and following an antiquated right of succession protocol, Haiti ended up with a President who was mentally retarded. The wedding that took place was more a matter of manipulation to get their hands on the country’s money than any thing else. Also note, it was the first time you ever heard of Haitians leaving Haiti en masse – after Baby Doc and the light bright wife he married so her family can rob the country blind.  His “escape” to france and living in luxury belies the fact that there were photos of him doing work as a gardener.

The country has tried to make a scape goat out of a diminished capacity person who was not fit to serve as a leader.

As far as Martelly is concerned – Haiti had the opportunity to elect Wyclef Jean – they blew it because of some bogus rule – He would have done far better for the country.

Haiti has always had the capacity to reinvent herself – I just hope that she has not forgotten how to do so.  I also hope that this kind of mis information does not continue to be passed on.  There is a decided difference between the two Duvaliers.  And only someone who was in support of Haiti being overrun by white missionaries would see Papa Doc as being a terrorist against his own people.  I saw too many times when he and the people mixed in a positive manner to allow this kind of irresponsible reportage to go unchallenged –

Again, I’m saying this is from the period of time I spent there.  But 6 months is a pretty good window for observation.  I have the utmost respect for the fact that Papa Doc was more than aware of what whites could do to ruin his country – he had already seen it in the Virgin Islands and other surrounding countries. He was also well aware that the US and France hated Haiti because they had liberated themselves.  There were quizzlings among his people who would have sold him out for a nickel in order to get their hands on the money those governments were offering for his assassination – which is why his own police/army TonTon were so hated among the whites – they were as precise and accurate as Desselines and L’Overture!    Make no mistake about it.

As a result of my experiences in Haiti, several of my friends decided to go vacation there as opposed to the usual Caribbean spots, and were pleasantly surprised.  In fact, until Papa Doc’s death, several of us went back and forth.  It was after Baby Doc really lost it that they had to forcibly remove Katherine Dunham from Haiti – she did not want to leave.  But by that time things had gotten out of control.

In fact, I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Dunham after she returned to the US.  She was saddened by the fact that they were not able to rise above tradition and elect a president who would have either followed in Papa Doc’s footsteps, or taken the country in another direction.  We both knew that the country under Baby Doc was doomed.  She never returned, but she always loved Haiti.

Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK

bullet Columnist Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com

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October 15th, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Get Your Money Right

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AnnBrown1

 

by Ann Brown

Never see to save any money? Maybe you’re sabotaging yourself with terrible financial decisions. Here are five bad money habits to break:

1. • Always Overspending: Can’t stop impluse shopping? Before you hit the store have a plan. “Make a shopping list before buying. Think about want versus need,” says Jon Lal, smart shopping expert and founder of coupons and cash back website BeFrugal.com.

2. • Living Without a Budget: “How can you possibly save money if you don’t know where it’s going?” asks Kristl Story of TheBudgetDiet.com. “Establish a written budget and track expenses. This can be done the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or try free services like Mint.com.”

3. Keeping Up with the Jones: Do you worry about what your friends have and you don’t? Just because your neighbor or your friends own the latest products, doesn’t mean you need them as well. “This is one of the reasons that so many people are in financial trouble right now. We try to emulate others that we think have it all and buy things we cannot afford to look good on the outside,” says Danny Kofke, author of How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher’s Salary and A Simple Book of Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and Your Kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money. “Establish priorities. Doing what is right for you (and not someone else) is a value many “wealthy” people possess. Having this value will lead to setting priorities for you and your family.”

4. • Having a Fear of Money: Fear of losing money, fear of not making money, fear of not enough money…all these fears can be counterproductive. “A bad habit is looking at money in terms of fear and scarcity,” notes Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think. “The better approach is to see money from the point of view of freedom, opportunity, abundance and possibility.”

5. • Thinking About Money Emotionally: Take your feelings out of your financial situation. “A bad habit is to look at money from an emotional standpoint,” notes Siebold. “The better approach is to use logic when it comes to your finances. In other words, don’t get caught up in the moment about a great deal you think you are getting on something you really don’t need.”

Ann Brown is a longtime New York journalist whose columns appear in The Network Journal, New York Trend and other publications. She currently resides in Cape Verde.

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October 14th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

1492

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by Chris Stevenson

In the era of racist, narcissistic American police, ISIS, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, al Queda, and the Taliban, we now come to the subject of the man who started it all. Christopher Columbus, mass-murderer, terrorist, religious radical, pedophile enabler and occasional world explorer.  Actually born right at the end of October, at some point official recognition of his birthday was pushed a couple weeks back so as not to clash with Halloween, a holiday that brings to mind dark spirits and monsters. I guess Columbus hates equal competition. In truth Columbus has no equal when it comes to mass-slaughter. Hitler, Stalin, and Leopold II pale by comparison.

As in the cases of most predators Columbus took the hospitality of the people he encountered as weakness and soon began enslaving or massacring them. That’s your hero there folks. Novice explorer, and would-be avid reader, he can be seen as a precursor of white American cognitive detachment in spite of the glaring truth before him. Even during his time period this didn’t go unnoticed, his study of other cultures was a lesson in truth (that which is) vs. truth-censorship  “According to historian Edmund Morgan, Columbus was not a scholarly man. Yet he studied these books, made hundreds of marginal notations in them and came out with ideas about the world that were characteristically simple and strong and sometimes wrong, the kind of ideas that the self-educated person gains from independent reading and clings to in defiance of what anyone else tries to tell him.”-Wikipedia.

Strangely enough it wasn’t Halloween where Columbus produced his darkest moments. On one occasion he waited til a month later. According to a website, the “most brutal thing Chris Columbus ever did was after the fabled ‘Thanksgiving’ After this now renowned holiday, the very next morning Columbus began enslaving the native race. They were thought of as ingenious, and savages. Not at all on the same level as the wonderful British at the time. Columbus often offered children as rape slaves to his crew members as well. Many girls around the age of 10 – 12 were often used in this practice.” Columbus saw no discrepancy with using the words “conquer” and “Christian” in the same sentence in his letters to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. In a 1495 return-visit to Hispaniola one of his “literate” crew members writes about Columbus making it clear to them they could have any female they wanted.  Miguel “Cuneo further notes that he himself took a beautiful teenage Carib girl as his personal slave, a gift from Columbus himself, but that when he attempted to have sex with her, she ‘resisted with all her strength.’ So, in his own words, he ‘thrashed her mercilessly and raped her.'” Portions of Columbus’ notes he wrote in 1500 on his log must be seen to be believed: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

Much of Columbus and his crew would never allow themselves anto give credit where credit was due. This is most glaring with the Haitians. I wrote years ago after the devastating earthquake an article called “Haiti’s Invisible Embargo” “Black Haitians were not it’s first inhabitants, but their history proves they are the only ones to pull themselves up by their bootstraps considering the odds & opposition they faced. geographic.org goes into Haiti’s indigenous tribe; the Taino indians. They were initially hospitable towards Christopher Columbus and his Spaniards until Columbus’ hordes became intolerant and abusive. This seems to have been a usual story with Columbus and the crew of his ship; the Santa Maria. (1492). Columbus would take a leave of absence and by the time he returned in 1493 the Taino were slaughtered. Until Euro/Spanish oppression and diseases the Taino population-estimated as high as 3 million by the time Columbus arrived-was down to 150 by 1550 (58 years later).” Columbus slandered the Taino as cannibals (a man-eating tribe of monsters as he called them in his letters) while plotting all the while to rape their women. That they gave this guy a holiday says more about the American government than it does about Columbus, while much of his atrocities were well hidden in pre-internet days from the average Joe Blow, the American historians and writers of school and contemporary mainstream history knew his brutal past. They identify with him. Without Columbus there is virtually no colonialism or slavery.

Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio  interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the comment link below or email pointblankdta@yahoo.com.

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October 14th, 2014 at 2:31 am

Infrastructure and the Outer Harbor Stadium Proposal

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PatFreemanTomDee

 

by Pat Freeman

The immediate need in Western New York to choose a workable stadium land site that can accommodate the new partnership and formula necessary for a small market to afford an NFL franchise narrows very quickly, and brings us to the outer harbor waterfront site which is shovel ready . The private investment stadium complex proposal has already completed preliminary studies on site construction requirements for this area.

Remediation of this area which is a listed Brownfield has already been estimated and discussed with the appropriate environmental agency.
The connecting of Louisiana, Michigan, and Chicago by the building of bridges which would connect the inner and outer harbor thus extending the downtown business district to the outer harbor land site.

Extending Main Street over to the Outer Harbor land site is something that should have been done during the 1970’s when the area should have been developed. We have to accept the challenge of getting it done now to bring about economic change to Western New York. Thus, it is necessary to create a new Boulevard to reach the Outer Harbor land site.

Extend the existing Rail Station over to the Outer harbor Land Site which would increase ridership to the struggling Rapid Transit system that has never expanded its service since it was built.

We already have begun the connecting of Ohio Street to the land site area which now would give us seven ways in, and out of the land site. This would drastically improve game day traffic conditions that we experience at the existing Orchard Park site, which was listed as the second worse in the NFL in 2009 by the Tom Tom GPS game day traffic study.

This is where government needs to do what government is supposed to do in a democracy, and that is to partner with private industry. What we have in Western New York is a situation of economic exclusion to progressive regional ideas. Here you have a private proposal which changes the economic landscape of this region forever, and government rather than work with private industry to bring these strategic job producing plans into fruition seems to partner with special interest groups who have presented alternative plans that benefit the few and not the many. The great philosopher John Stuart Mill would be rolling over in his grave with these ideas.

The Outer Harbor private stadium complex proposal is more than four years ahead of the current stadium working group, and all studies have been funded with private money. Why are we not working with the private group while the new Stadium working group continues to meet? Yes it can be done easily by granting HKS Inc. 9-12 month land option in which time frame, they will complete all their studies and present a final package that will explain how this the largest construction project in Western New York history can be achieved.

The issue of the future of professional football is answered no matter who the owner is because the NFL owners will not allow any new owner to leave a city or region that has made this type of investment in a facility that improves the brand we know as the NFL. The honest truth that if history is consistent Buffalo will be awarded a Super Bowl because of this complex in which this region will gross between 500 million to a Billion dollars in revenue. Yes we are talking proud of our region because everybody will know why we are so loyal to the city on the lake looking over to the greatest tourist attraction in the world, Niagara Falls.

If you enjoy talking about the world of sports tune into the number#1 sports show in the nation every Saturday from 4-5:00PM hosted by WUFO Sports Director Patrick Freeman on 1080AM WUFO radio or via the internet at www.wufoam.com. Or catch Sports Update for clbTV (ch.20 Buffalo) and YouTube. Also join us for the number#1 recap show every Monday at 7:25AM with Lee Pettigrew, and The Mighty O’Ba Pat Freeman.

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October 11th, 2014 at 9:10 pm

White Crime, White Immunity

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Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

This is the kind of report that one really wants to publish in its totality, for its conclusion is such a powerful condemnation of the perversity of racial oppression. But alas, this being a newspaper column, that’s not possible. Still, allow me to present many of their findings:

• “Whites are more punitive than blacks and Hispanics even though they experience less crime.”

• “White Americans overestimate the proportion of crime committed by people of color and associate people of color with criminality. For example, white respondents in a 2010 survey overestimated the actual share of burglaries, illegal drug sales and juvenile crime committed by African-Americans by 20 percent to 30 percent.”

• “White Americans who associate crime with blacks and Latinos are more likely to support punitive policies — including capital punishment and mandatory minimum sentencing — than whites with weaker racial associations of crime.”

This association of crime with blacks has been noted by others. Lisa Bloom, in her book “Suspicion Nation,” points out: “While whites can and do commit a great deal of minor and major crimes, the race as a whole is never tainted by those acts. But when blacks violate the law, all members of the race are considered suspect.”

She further says: “The standard assumption that criminals are black and blacks are criminals is so prevalent that in one study, 60 percent of viewers who viewed a crime story with no picture of the perpetrator falsely recalled seeing one, and of those, 70 percent believed he was African-American. When we think about crime, we ‘see black,’ even when it’s not present at all.”

As the Sentencing Project report makes clear, the entire government and media machinery is complicit in the distortion.

According to the report:

• “Whether acting on their own implicit biases or bowing to political exigency, policy makers have fused crime and race in their policy initiatives and statements. They have crafted harsh sentencing laws that impact all Americans and disproportionately incarcerate people of color.”

• “Many media outlets reinforce the public’s racial misconceptions about crime by presenting African-Americans and Latinos differently than whites — both quantitatively and qualitatively. Television news programs and newspapers overrepresent racial minorities as crime suspects and whites as crime victims.”

 
 

• “Disparities in police stops, in prosecutorial charging, and in bail and sentencing decisions reveal that implicit racial bias has penetrated all corners of the criminal justice system.”

The effects of these perceptions and policies have been absolutely devastating for society in general and black people in particular. According to the report:

• “By increasing support for punitive policies, racial perceptions of crime have made sentencing more severe for all Americans. The United States now has the world’s highest imprisonment rate, with one in nine prisoners serving life sentences. Racial perceptions of crime, combined with other factors, have led to the disparate punishment of people of color. Although blacks and Latinos together comprise just 30 percent of the general population, they account for 58 percent of the prison population.”

• “By increasing the scale of criminal sanctions and disproportionately directing penalties toward people of color, racial perceptions of crime have been counterproductive for public safety. Racial minorities’ perceptions of unfairness in the criminal justice system have dampened cooperation with police work and impeded criminal trials. In 2013, over two-thirds of African-Americans saw the criminal justice system as biased against blacks, in contrast to one-quarter of whites. Crime policies that disproportionately target people of color can increase crime rates by concentrating the effects of criminal labeling and collateral consequences on racial minorities and by fostering a sense of legal immunity among whites.”

There is no way in this country to discuss crime statistics without including in that discussion the myriad ways in which those statistics are informed and influenced by the systemic effects of racial distortion.

Individual behavior is not the only component of the numbers; bias is the other.

(This column originally appeared in the New York Times Sept. 7, 2014 under the title “Crime, Bias and Statistics“)

Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at chblow@nytimes.com.”

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