Month: March 2016

Room 306 Frozen in Time

By Michael March 28, 2016 1

Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel is forever frozen in time. It is as it was shortly after 6:00 pm central standard time on April 4, 1968.

Moments prior to 6:00 pm, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just emerged from the room where he had been most of the day. He walked onto the second-floor balcony of the motel that serviced the black community. The Lorraine Motel was a black-owned motel during the system of segregated public accommodations, and although Dr. King’s work in the thirteen years since the Montgomery Bus Boycott had broken down those barriers, he continued to patronize black businesses. read more

Tuskegee Turning Corner on Woes

By Michael March 28, 2016 4

Tuskegee University, in the words of the poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar, “is the Pride of the Swift Growing South.” This representation has been tarnished of late with several missteps following the 2010 retirement of Andrew Felton Brimmer, its long time Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Brimmer, an economist and the first African American to serve as a governor on the Federal Reserve Board, ended forty years of service on the Tuskegee Board at the same time that the university’s fifth president, Benjamin Payton was retiring.

It was thought that Payton had left the university in good financial standing, but, according to a team of researchers, led by Attorney Oliver Hunter, of the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club, documents on file with the federal government indicate that Payton raised money by taking out bank loans which are now coming due. These loans have created a financial burden on the university.

Brimmer hand picked as his successor  Board Chair, Retired Major General Charles E. Williams. Williams, a Tuskegee grad, developed a representation for managing shoddy construction projects around the globe on behalf of the United States government, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.  Critics say Williams’ construction projects used substandard materials, thereby increasing profits for the contractors he employed, but leaving the U. S. with buildings that were not functional over the long haul.

“I think the key to us turning things around at Tuskegee has to do with the fact that we were able to get rid of Charles Williams,”  a trustee board member said in a recent telephone interview.

The board member went on to say, “Williams meddled too much in the day to day operations of the school. This is one of the things that SAC had a problem with us.”

This board member was alluding to a recent SAC warning notice the university received last year. It was the first time in the 135 year history of the prestigious school that it had received a warning notice from its accreditation agency. The university’s response to the SAC warning notice is due next month.

“I think we are in good shape in the response that we will file with SAC. We have implemented some changes with governance that had caused some concerns. We have amended our bylaws to reflect some of these changes. It is hard to believe, but we found that we have some processes in place that were instituted by Booker T. Washington. So we amended our rules and brought them into the 21st century, the board member said. Now as a matter of policy all senior level university firings and hiring must be vetted by the Board.”

One noticeable change occurred this month following a February board meeting on campus, the Board for the first time in its history released a report of its meeting with a detailed list of items discussed.  The lack of transparency had been a bone of contention with many alumni groups throughout the country and last month led to the Atlanta Tuskegee Alumni Club issuing a vote of no confidence on both the university President, Brian Johnson and the entire Board of Trustees.

According to this board member, “We finally got President Johnson under control. He is cooperating with the Board. We are pleased with all of the concerns expressed by alumni throughout the country because it has helped us to get to the good place where we are today.”

Tuskegee, still striving to be the “Pride of the Swift Growing South.”

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.

 

Clintons Tricks Blacks Again?

By Michael March 22, 2016 2

The Clintons are a formidable tag team on the presidential election circuit. Between Hillary, the candidate, Chelsea, the daughter and Bill, the husband, the Clintons have moved throughout the country urging Democrats to  give the country back to the Clintons to run for  essentially another eight years.

When the primary season turned to the southern Black states, the Clintons urged Black voters to elect her over the Vermont Independent, Bernie Sanders, because only the Clintons could continue the legacy of President Barack Obama.

This argument played well with Black voters who did not want to invest any time in getting to know Sanders, or learn exactly how his idea of a political revolution could benefit the aspirations of the Black community; so willy nilly, Black voters overwhelmingly propelled the Clintons political machine to huge wins in the Black belt.

Now that the race for 2016 supremacy has turned out west, the Clintons, led by Bill, have begun to ditch the notion that President Obama’s eight years have been good for the country. Bill is now urging primary voters in the remaining primary states to give their vote to Hillary if they are tired of the “awful legacy of the last eight years.”

Yes, you guessed it, the last eight years have been the presidency of Barack H. Obama, the nation’s first American of African descent ever elected to serve as president.

In spite of the fact that Bill Clinton was a conservative Arkansas Governor, he has been able to use tricks of a car salesman, that he obviously learned from his step-father, to sell his brand of conservative politics to Black voters time and time again.

Blacks heard Bill play the saxophone on late night television and dubbed him the nation’s first Black president long before Obama’s name was a household word in the Black belt. Bill Clinton did not have to effectuate any public policy initiative to get Black folks to place him on this pedestal.

He played a little jazz and just like the pied piper of folklore he has had Blacks following his tune away from the issues that would really empower their community towards further trickled down assistance from Democratic stalwarts and the Clintons.

There is not much that Black voters can do now, but “skin and grin”; and chastise anyone who would dare point out the fact that the Clintons will say and do anything to consolidate their power in Washington and the world. If that means lying to Black voters, well, what the heck, what else is new?

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.

Mistrust Highlights Vaccine Town Hall

By Michael March 13, 2016 0

ATLANTA, GEORGIA, CASCADE PRESS (CP) 

Mistrust of pharmaceutical companies and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was the key sentiment expressed at Saturday’s CDC Vaccine Justice or Else Town Hall in Atlanta. The Town Hall was a collaborative effort between several vaccine free organizations, that have for years urged more accountability from the CDC and the pharmaceutical industry over disclosing what ingredients are in various vaccines approved for use in children, and by the Nation of Islam, who joined the effort last year.

“There may be a purpose for vaccinations,” Hassan Muhammad, 41, and father of two small children, said, “but the pharmaceutical companies have lost credibility in telling us what is in the vaccines.”

Hassan Muhammad, a nurse, when asked what he hoped to learn from the town hall said, “I am interested in finding a better way to keep us safe. I am interested in finding out the truth.”

Muhammad’s mistrust was likely elevated after he heard a presentation from Dr. Judy A Mikovits, a biochemist and researcher. She told the group about her efforts to publish a study which identified the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as the presence of a retrovirus (RNA) in patients with the disease.

At the time of her study, Dr. Mikovits was employed at the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, Nevada. She subsequently lost her job, career and was jailed for standing behind the results of her study.

Although the government says she was jailed because she stole her research papers, Mikovits said Saturday, that she was fired from the job at a time when she was out of the office; and when her research assistant went to retrieve her papers, she walked in on a group of thieves who had ransacked her office. Malkovits said the robbers took all of her research, including her Ph D thesis.

Retroviruses are man-made viruses. Their design ist in reverse of the DNA (the building block of all living beings) and produces a separate molecular structure (RNA). This causes the body’s immune system  to fight the intruder. Retroviruses are problematical because once injected into the body, they lie dormant until some other malady causes the immune system to weaken, then the RNA springs into to action and never leaves the body.

According to James P. Thomas, retroviruses were introduced into human beings in the early 1930s in efforts to find a polio vaccine and a yellow fever vaccine.

Shortly after the introduction of these vaccines, “the first recorded cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and autism appeared.”

The trial study for both vaccines involved the use of laboratory mice to prepare the vaccines for human use. See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/vaccines-and-retroviruses-a-whistleblower-reveals-what-the-government-is-hiding/#sthash.8gmhvBYF.dpuf

Further mistrust was fueled by Nevorn K. Askari, M. D., a pediatrician. She told the attendees that a prestigious local hospital instructs  “their doctors not to allow the parents out of the parking lot without their children being vaccinated.” She said this often places her between her patients health needs and the profit motive of the pharmaceutical companies.

“Health matters in this country,” Dr. Askari said, “are driven not by what is good for you, but what is good for profits.”

She described the healthcare industry in America as a system of “medical tyranny.”

Michelle Ford, president and founder of Vaccine Injury Awareness League did little to resolve Mr. Muhammad’s mistrust. She said via Skype, “Since congress passed the National Childhood Vaccine Act of 1986 (NCVA), the pharmaceutical companies don’t have to make safe products anymore.”

The NCVA freed the drug manufacturers from civil liability if their product caused harm to anyone taking them. Also, she noted that after the passage of this Act, the number of recommended childhood vaccinations skyrocketed from six to over thirteen.

Ford cautioned that the CDC is currently seeking to fast-track a vaccine for the Zika virus that has been in the news of late. Ford said that whenever, CDC fast-tracks a drug it usually means that the drug manufacturer does less testing to make sure that the drug is safe.

Milkovits did give some helpful advice for Muhammad and other parents with young children. Based upon her research, she recommends that parents not approve “Injections of anything before three years of age.”

Following the session, indication of mistrust were still on the faces of the town hall participants. They agreed to hold a protest rally in front of CDC in Atlanta, Georgia on April 22 and to follow up their protest the next day with a “World Leadership Information Symposium” at Life College. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental lawyer and activist is expected to speak along with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam.

 

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

SOURCES:

http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/vaccines-and-retroviruses-a-whistleblower-reveals-what-the-government-is-hiding/

http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091008/full/news.2009.983.html read more

Atlanta Site of Vaccine Justice Rally

By Michael March 9, 2016 0

Groups from throughout the nation fighting for “vaccine justice or else” will hold a town hall meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, March 12, 2016. The Town Hall will be held at the Atlanta Technical College, on Metropolitan Parkway in the auditorium of Building C. The four and a half hour town hall on vaccine justice will start at 1:30 pm.

Initially, the “vaccine justice or else” town hall was scheduled as a two day conference for February 12, and 13, with Robert Kennedy, Jr.,  as its headline speaker. Kennedy, a lawyer and environmental activist, could not arrange his schedule and the symposium was cancelled.

Last fall, Kennedy supported a one day protest at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. He also spoke at a demonstration in Atlanta’s Grant Park the following day. The protest focused attention on state legislative bills which require the mandatory vaccination of all school age children.

The town hall meetings will be convened by the CDC Justice or Else Committee. This committee is composed of activists against mandatory vaccinations. Also, the Nation of Islam is a co-convener of this town hall discussion. These gatherings come on the heels of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent announcement that the Zika virus is at pandemic portions.

WHO is calling for aggressive research to develop yet another vaccine to combat the effects of this virus. Additionally, there have been suggestions that a mutant strain of mosquitoes could be created that would neutralize the Zika carrying Mosquitoes.  “CDC Vaccine Justice or Else Committee” does not trust the government to disclose credible information about the risks and failures of these type of vaccines.

In a press release announcing the town hall meetings, the organizing committee cited a letter dated August 27, 2014 and signed by Dr. William Thompson, a scientist employed by the CDC. Thompson’s letter suggests the CDC is covering up data that supports “an association between vaccines, African-American males, and neurodevelopmental disorders which include autism.”

The town hall organizers allege the CDC has engaged in scientific misconduct in the following areas: “deviation from the research protocol, manipulation of data to alter results, and the felonious destruction of documents that were under FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request at the time.”

They cite Dr. Thompson’s letter as proof to support their contentions. The pertinent part of Dr. Thompson’s letter reads as follows:

“I regret that my co-authors [sic] and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American boys who received the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made  regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed.”  read more

Sanders Takes Wolverine State

By Michael March 9, 2016 0

The Wolverine State proved to be a surprise for the campaign of Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He entered the Michigan Presidential Preference Primary as the decided underdog in the state.

All of the major polls going into the weekend had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leading Sanders by twenty percentage points or better. Many political pundits had placed the Wolverine state in the Clinton column. Seemingly it was time to write Sanders’ obit.

It was not to be.

On Sunday, Sanders had a very impressive showing in the Flint Town Hall style debate. For the first time in the campaign, Sanders took the fight to Clinton. He framed his philosophy of the rich getting richer at the expense of the middle class in terms easily understood by the average voter in Michigan. This is something he had failed to do in previous debates. Also, he sharply criticized Clinton on trade issues.

Sanders linked the issue of trade in such a way that citizens of the Wolverine state could draw a direct line from the NAFTA bill that Secretary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton negotiated and maneuvered through congress, to the closed shops in the automobile industry. Shops that offered jobs and a comfortable middle class income before they moved to Mexico and Canada.

Additionally, Clinton tried to sell the idea that Sanders had opposed President Barack Obama’s automobile bailout legislation. The record indicates that Sanders did not oppose this legislation, but spoke out against the use of taxpayers’ money to bailout the automobile manufacturers. Ninety percent of Democratic voters leaving the polls on Tuesday said they do not find Clinton to be trustworthy.

Also, exit polling data shows that Sanders has begun to make inroads in the African American vote. According to CNN, Exit data indicates that Sanders split the under 40 African American age group by a 51 to 47 percent margin, with Clinton receiving 51 percent.

After Tuesday’s primary win in the Wolverine state, the two Democratic debaters will receive essentially an equal portion of the state’s pledged delegates. Clinton will hold onto her lead in pledged delegates, but the  “Black firewall” she built in the southern states, appears not to have been sufficient to hold off the Sanders political revolution as the campaign shifts to the west, mid-west and the Pacific corridor.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.

 

SOURCES:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/272302-sanders-edges-out-clinton-in-michigan

“Swing States,” Swing Sanders’ Way

Van Jones Calls Out GOP On Civility

By Michael March 4, 2016 0

Van Jones, a commentator on CNN has had enough of the uncivil discourse in the Republican Presidential Debates. For the past two weeks during his commentary on CNN he has sought to steer media attention towards requiring more civility from the GOP Presidential candidates.

Seemingly, none of the producers at his network are listening. Why should they listen? Ratings are too good with all of the nasty name calling being hurled by the candidates at each other.

However, Van Jones, a political activist, lawyer and father is attempting to mentor his children into a career in public service. Jones developed his interest in public service by watching political news shows with his dad. It is a technique he wishes to use with his own children.

Last night, following the Republican Debate, Jones stated for the umpteenth time, that it is getting increasingly hard to allow his children to watch the GOP debates because of all of the degrading words and imagery flowing out of the candidates mouths like water rolling down the back of the proverbial duck.

Van Jones’ exasperation is showing and spilled over into a tense mini-debate with Jeffrey Lord, a former Ronald Reagan staffer, over Donald Trump’s failure to go far enough in denouncing the support he has received from the KKK.

read more

Killer Cop Invited To Gunn’s Funeral

By Michael March 4, 2016 2

 

The accused killer cop, Aaron C. Smith and his patrol partner were invited to the funeral services for Greg Gunn, by Gunn’s grieving mother, Nellie Ruth Gunn.

Speaking following a prayer service in front of her Mobile Heights home after news  that her son’s accused killer had been arrested, Mrs. Gunn said: “I want both of them to go to church with me. And if they can’t, well good and well done. But God knows and Heaven knows.”

Mrs. Gunn’s plea came moments after she learned that her son’s killer had been arrested and charged with murder. She is the wife of Montgomery’s first Black police officer. Her invitation seemed to be a sincere attempt to show the killer and his partner, who would not allow her to attend to her son, how well liked he was in the neighborhood.

The funeral services for Gunn will be held on Friday, two days after his killer was charged with murder and released on a $150,000 bond. Smith’s bond was paid for by members of the Montgomery Police Department before the ink was dry on the court writ setting his bond.

Neither Gunn’s accused killer, nor his partner, are likely to show up for the funeral services. Smith’s lawyer, attired in what appeared to be a flak jacket during a Wednesday news conference said there had been internet threats against his client. Smith’s patrol partner has not been publicly named and there are no pending charges against him.

Gunn’s services will be held at the True Divine Baptist Church in Montgomery, a week after his life ended in a violent confrontation with Smith. The family is expected to receive Mayor Todd Strange before the services. They had been reluctant to meet with the mayor prior to Friday. Speculation are the family is upset that when Mrs. Gunn sought to render aid to her dying son, the Montgomery Police Department would not allow her out of her home. Mrs. Gunn could hear her son calling out to her for help, but she could not lift one finger to comfort him.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com

 

SOURCES:

http://www.wsfa.com/clip/12257916/officer-arrest-yields-reaction-from-city-family-attorney

 

Cop Arrested in Kappa Killing

By Michael March 3, 2016 2

A cop, Aaron C. Smith with the Montgomery Police Department has been arrested for the murder of Greg Gunn, who was shot five times last week. Three of the shots fired from the gun of this Montgomery officer were fired into the back of Gunn while Gunn was laying on the ground.

The arrest was announced by Montgomery County, Alabama District Attorney, Daryl Bailey. Bailey said that the cop was taken into custody by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). Smith was placed on a $150,000 Bond. Members of the Montgomery Police Department offered monetary assistance to Smith in raising the bond amount. He bonded out within hours of his arrest and appeared at a news conference with his attorney and wife. The attorney for the cop said that the facts will show why his client fired his gun and “why Gunn is dead.”

Montgomery Chief of Police, Ernest Finley, said in a news conference on Wednesday that Smith had been on the force since 2012 and he does not believe Smith had worked for any other law enforcement agency before coming to work with the Montgomery Police Department.

Finley, is a recent addition to the Montgomery Police Department. He has spent the majority of his law enforcement career as the number two person in the Atlanta, Georgia Police Department. Finley is an African American and many community leaders credit his leadership in this investigation as a key factor in keeping the community from exploding like other cities have done where a cop killed an unarmed Black citizen.

According to Mayor Todd Strange at this same news conference, once Gunn had been pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting, the crime scene was secured and turned over to the SBI for an independent investigation.

Some members of the Montgomery area questions whether the SBI can truly be an independent investigative body in this shooting because the current Montgomery Public Safety Director, Chris Murphy previously headed up the SBI.

The Gunn family attorney has written a letter to U. S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking that the Justice Department do a separate investigation of this cop related shooting death.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.

 

SOURCES:

http://www.wsfa.com/clip/12257916/officer-arrest-yields-reaction-from-city-family-attorney

http://www.wsfa.com/story/31367634/da-montgomery-police-officer-charged-in-death-of-gregory-gunn

“Swing States,” Swing Sanders’ Way

By Michael March 2, 2016 0

 

Two “swing states” which were up for grabs on Super Tuesday went to Presidential Candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Secretary Hillary Clinton did as expected. she won big in the SEC Primary. Clinton carried Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and Arkansas.

Her southern firewall held up but may have produced a hollow victory. Clinton’s southern states victories will lack much of a punch the remainder of the campaign season. The bulk of her Black voting bloc is in the books. This voting bloc will have little impact as the campaign season swings out west and into the nation’s heartland.

Moreover, the Southeastern United States traditionally are red states controlled by Republican governors and state legislatures. Clinton’s firewall of Black voters represents 51 percent of the Democratic vote in the South. However, their numbers are miniscule when compared to white conservative voters in this region. These conservatives will have a say in who receives their state’s electoral votes in November.

Sanders won the “swing states” of Colorado and Minnesota. These are two must win states for any contender who hopes to win the General Election in November. Also, Sanders won over the white conservative Democrats in the Oklahoma Presidential Preference Primary.  This will bode well for Sanders as he shifts his focus to the March 8 Presidential Preference Primary in Michigan.

Clinton won Massachusetts, which is not a “swing state,” by a very tiny margin. The two candidates will virtually split the Massachusetts delegates.

Following Clinton’s Shermanesque march through the South, the actual pledged delegate count is approximately the same. Since Democratic Party rules permit Superdelegates to switch their vote from a one candidate to another, at this stage of the campaign, it is ludicrous to count any of them. The race for the Democratic nomination remains in a dead heat.

Sanders is expected to do well in delegate rich California and the Northwestern Pacific corridor of the country where he spent much of his time early in the 2007 pre campaign season. Despite the fact that he was unable to receive a sizable portion of the Black vote in the South, Sanders pathway to victory is mirroring the 2008 playbook of then Senator Barack Obama.

In the coming weeks, look for the “swing states” to start swinging Sanders way.

 

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.