It has been obvious for a while with the lockstep cooperation between corrupt Police elements and City/County/State Prosecutors that the only way to begin moving the system towards any semblance of fair and accountable to the community is to remove the current set of thoroughly corrupt District Attorneys who use their position to derail Justice.
That effort bore some fruit last night…
The protest movement that formed in response to deadly shootings of African Americans saw oustings of prosecutors in Chicago and Cleveland on Wednesday
The protest movement that formed in response to deadly shootings of African Americans by police won a remarkable series of political victories in the American midwest on Wednesday night, including its first oustings of prosecutors in major cities.
In successive upsets, Democratic primary challengers in Chicago, Illinois, and Cleveland, Ohio, wrested the party’s nomination from sitting prosecutors who came under sharp criticism for their handling of the fatal shootings of Laquan McDonald and Tamir Rice.
The electoral wins were declared just hours after the town of Ferguson, Missouri – where nights of unrest followed the killing of a black 18-year-old by a white officer in August 2014 – buckled under pressure to accept federal oversight of its criminal justice system.
With 96% of votes counted in Cook County, Illinois, challenger Kim Foxx was trouncing the two-term state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, by almost 30 percentage points. “The stakes in this race were very high,” Foxx, an African American former prosecutor, told a victory rally. “This race is not so much about saying goodbye. It’s about turning the page.”
Alvarez was targeted by demonstrators after the emergence last November of video footage showing Laquan, 17, being shot 13 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke while walking away from a confrontation in 2014. Despite Alvarez bringing murder charges against Van Dyke, she angered protesters by waiting more than a year to act while city authorities fought to prevent the release of the dashcam recording to the public.
The win by Foxx, who pledged on Wednesday to repair what she called the county’s “broken criminal justice system”, was celebrated by activists who campaigned against Alvarez intensely, some organising on social media under the hashtag #ByeAnita.
Rashad Robinson, the executive director of Color Of Change, said Alvarez’s departure promised to halt “nearly a decade of corruption and over-prosecution in our communities”. In a statement, Assata’s Daughters, a campaign group made up of black women and girls, declared: “Chicago Black youth have kicked Anita Alvarez out of office.”
In Ohio, meanwhile, Cuyahoga County prosecuting attorney Timothy McGinty was unseated by Michael O’Malley, a former deputy county prosecutor. O’Malley, currently the safety director for the city of Parma, led McGinty by almost 10 percentage points with 95% of precincts reporting.
McGinty last year led a contentious and drawn-out grand jury inquiry into the fatal police shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African American boy who was playing with a toy gun in a park in November 2014. In December last year, McGinty announced that no charges would be brought against Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot Tamir within seconds of arriving at the scene in response to a 911 call.
Tamir’s family and protesters expressed disgust over the handling of the case by McGinty, who confirmed in December that he had personally recommended to the grand jurors that they not prosecute the officers involved. Throughout the inquiry, McGinty steadily released information that cast the officers in a favourable light, including reports he had commissioned by private consultants that made questionable claims about Rice’s conduct in his final moments.
O’Malley said on Wednesday that he would work to “restore some type of confidence” to the office, according to Cleveland’s Fox 8 News. “I truly believe that over the last three or four weeks people started hearing the message that my campaign team was putting forth, and it was that this county needs to rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system and they need an individual who is willing to work to do that,” O’Malley said.
Earlier in the evening, city councillors in Ferguson had voted unanimously to approve the so-called “consent decree” pushed on them by the US Justice Department following a scathing report that alleged systematic racism in the St Louis suburb’s policing and courts system.
The attorney general, Loretta Lynch, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the townlast month, when it initially rejected the oversight deal, raising a series of objections. However, councillors and the mayor voted to accept it under pressure from protesters and after assurances from federal officials over how much the oversight process was likely to cost city funds.
“Our number one goal is to not only move the city but the entire region forward,” Mayor James Knowles said in a statement after the decision. “We have heard the concerns of the community and we’re looking forward to working with our citizens.”
Following the vote, Knowles, a part-time leader lambasted by protesters for more than 18 months, was photographed shaking hands with Michael Brown Sr, whose son Michael was fatally shot in August 2014 following a struggle with white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. A grand jury declined to bring charges against Wilson, sparking further unrest.
By 1900, only 34 States had compulsory Public Education systems – 4 in the South. During the reconstruction period when black legislators were elected, Public Schools were established in some states of the South, several were shut down after Reconstruction in Southern States.
The story of Robert Smalls still resonates today – as does the Southern Myth of Reconstruction.
It is impossible not to think of history as we watch the poll results rolling in from South Carolina, where Clinton and Sanders vie for the state’s largely African American Democratic vote, and where Trump handily won the Republican contest, where exit polls indicated that 96% of voters were white .
Much of the state’s history – as the birthplace of secession and a stronghold of Jim Crow segregation – is shameful, and its repercussions are not entirely past. But looking back at one of the state’s legendary African American political figures might help us understand how the state decides to vote come this weekend, especially as the question of reparations becomes a national debate.
Robert Smalls was a slave who stole a Confederate ship during the Civil War and brought it to the Union fleet, gained his freedom, managed to get elected to the state legislature, and ultimately served five terms in Congress .
Smalls’ mother was a slave to Henry McKee, but as a young boy, Smalls was rented out in Charleston, where he learned how to pilot ships. When the civil war broke out – it started in Charleston – he and a number of other slaves worked on the Planter, a Confederate ship, which he daringly captured in the middle of the night and piloted through the mine-infested waters, first to pick up family members of the enslaved crew, and then to the Union blockade of the harbor.
He managed to successfully deliver the ship, which he continued to pilot throughout the war, becoming something of a cause célèbre. In 1865, he brought the Planter to Philadelphia, where he was to give a talk. He was kicked off of the segregated trolley on his way back to the ship, prompting a movement that eventually desegregated that city’s public transportation.
After the war, Smalls ran a store, a newspaper, and served in the state legislature – where he fought for and won the first public education in the state – before being elected to Congress for five terms.
His old home in Beaufort – at 511 Prince St – is marked a historical site and it is is, in many ways, a perfect monument to post-reconstruction race relations in America.
Smalls bought the home in a tax sale when he returned after the war. His mother had worked there raising the McKee children even though her own son, Robert, had been sent away. Now he was back and he legally owned the house.
“After the war, Henry McKee, who was most likely Robert’s father, died,” said Helen B Moore, Smalls’ great granddaughter, who manages a travelling exhibit dedicated to Small. “Mary Bowles McKee was left alone and was both physically and mentally ill . She wandered her way back to the house where she had lived for many years. She came to the door and Smalls, of course, recognised her. She wanted to come in and he allowed her to do so – she was quite ill and quite demented and had no idea the house had been sold.”
She did not remember that the house was no longer her property, according to Moore, but also probably didn’t realise that Smalls himself was not her property anymore.
Moore says the story was passed down through family lore, and no one can say whether it’s true or not. But we can imagine the horror of those conversations as Smalls tried to gently remind this woman, day after day, again and again, that they were equals, he was in the legislature, and he was not her property.
In many ways, the story of Robert Smalls and Mary McKee is the story of race relations in America for the last 150 years. White America continually slips into a kind of dementia, repeatedly forgetting that the world has changed, that we white people don’t own African Americans, that we are not better than them, more valuable, or more deserving of reward. In order to awaken ourselves – and I write this as a white male born and raised in South Carolina – perhaps we need a new reconstruction.
The “ Bargain of 1877 ” ended reconstruction in the south, and we fell into the folly of Jim Crow when the state constitution of 1895 legally enshrined segregation. We were awakened and reminded again of the errors of our ways during the civil rights movement, but quickly drifted into a new form of the dementia as the drug war and mass incarceration followed through.
Last month, Hillary Clinton gaffed at an Iowa debate by implying that reconstruction was a bad time in the nation’s history. The question – who was her favorite president – was an attempt to catch her between Obama and her husband Bill. Instead, she tripped into another hole when she chose that safest of presidential heroes, Abraham Lincoln.
“I don’t know what our country might have been like had he not been murdered, but I bet that it might have been a little less rancorous, a little more forgiving and tolerant, that might possibly have brought people back together more quickly,” she said.
“But instead, you know, we had reconstruction, we had the reinstigation of segregation and Jim Crow. We had people in the south feeling totally discouraged and defiant. So, I really do believe he could have very well put us on a different path.”
Hillary had backed herself into the old-school view of “the horrors of reconstruction”, and the response, most notably by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic , was fierce and immediate.
Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University and the author of numerous books on the subject, said: “Here’s why Hillary’s remark struck a chord with people, a negative chord … The old view of reconstruction as a period of misgovernment, of punishment of the white south and that kind of thing, the underpinnings of that are still around today. They reverberate today – the notion that giving rights to black people is a punishment to whites in some way.”
Foner suggests that the discussion of reconstruction is not really about the past. “A lot of the questions that are being debated in our campaign right now are reconstruction issues. You know, who’s a citizen, who should be a citizen? How do you deal with terrorism? What’s the balance of power between the federal government and the states? And the right to vote? In other words, we are seeing issues of reconstruction really fought out right now.”...Read the Rest Here…
Probably a good thing in terms of slowing the country’s roll into violence. However once again, the candidates still standing are all bad.
Haiti’s President Michel Martelly has stepped down at the end of his term amid tension over how he is to be replaced.
No successor has yet been chosen as opposition supporters challenge a deal to select an interim leader.
The first day of carnival has been called off over the threat of more opposition protests.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is still struggling to recover from a huge earthquake in 2010.
The last-minute deal aims to prevent the country from plunging into an immediate power vacuum.
In a speech, Mr Martelly said his biggest regret was that January’s presidential election had been postponed.
The runoff vote to elect his successor was shelved because of fears of violence and allegations of fraud.
It will now be held on April 24, with a new president due to be sworn in on 14 May.
Under the latest agreement, parliament will elect an interim president and install a transitional government for a four-month term.
Mr Martelly is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election but has thrown his weight behind Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter who won the first round of the presidential election in November.
But the result has been contested by the opposition challenger, Jude Celestin.
He accused the electoral authorities of favouring Mr Moise and threatened to pull out of the runoff vote.
Prime Minister Evans Paul – who is due to remain in his post until parliament agrees his replacement – has appealed for calm.
On Friday, protesters beat a man to death in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a clash with ex-soldiers.
Martelly was a singer in the Haitian Kompa music style. His onstage antics were legend…
Some of those antics have become fodder for anti-Martelly vids, which would have undoubtedly buried a candidate in the US…
An early video of “Sweet Mickey”
One of the things they conveniently forget on the tour of Mount Vernon, the home of our First President George Washington, is that after serving as President he started one of the most successful distillery businesses in the new nation. Up until Prohibition, Rye Whiskey outsold all other formulations, and was the most popular strong alcoholic drink in the country.
When you needed to get out the votes in those days… Well “Brother” Rye was a reliable vote getter!
Seems to me to be a lot better excuse if a candidate didn’t work out than today – “I was drunk stupid when I voted for that Republican…
Instead of today – being stupid enough to vote for him sober!”
It’s Election Day in Virginia, an event that back in George Washington’s day would have had the ex-president and his supporters seeing double. The reason: Voting day was a reason to binge in Colonial times, and the candidate who served up the most hooch often won.
Washington biographer Dennis Pogue, vice president of preservation at Washington’s home of Mount Vernon, reveals that the father of the nation lost his first campaign in 1755 to the House of Burgesses largely because he didn’t put on an alcohol-laden circus at the polls. That year, Washington got 40 votes. The winner, who plied voters with beer, whiskey, rum punch, and wine, got 271 votes.
A quick learner, Washington won three years later with the help of alcohol. “What do you know, he was successful and got 331 votes,” says Pogue, author of the new book Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry. He spoke about his research Monday night at an event sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the National Press Club.
Drinking around voting polls has long since been banned in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
In what are considered bellweather elections prior to the 2012 contests, Republicans went down on a lot of fronts…
Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would’ve declared life begins at fertilization, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide.
The so-called “personhood” initiative was rejected by more than 55 percent of voters, falling far short of the threshold needed for it to be enacted. If it had passed, it was virtually assured of drawing legal challenges because it conflicts with the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion. Supporters of the initiative wanted to provoke a lawsuit to challenge the landmark ruling.
The state’s new collective bargaining law was defeated Tuesday after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the Republican establishment.
In a political blow to GOP Gov. John Kasich, voters handily rejected the law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers. With more than a quarter of the votes counted late Tuesday, 63 percent of votes were to reject the law.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, a folksy moderate Democrat, cruised to victory as expected with about 56 percent of the vote over a Republican and an Independent candidate.
The only bad news? Johnny Dupree lost in his run for Mississippi Governor. Republican Phil Bryant had 59 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Democrat Johnny DuPree, with 43 percent of the votes counted. If DuPree had won, the mayor of Hattiesburg would have been the first African-American to win statewide office in Mississippi in modern times.
This ne has taken seemingly forever, paralyzing the country the reconstruction efforts, and progress…
From the Miami Herald –
A carnival singer who reinvented himself into a polished political outsider is poised to become Haiti’s new president, according to several sources familiar with the results that are expected to be released later Monday.
Michel “Sweet Micky’’ Martelly, 50, has received more than the required 50 percent plus one of the vote required to beat longtime opposition leader and former first lady Mirlande Manigat to win Haiti’s first presidential runoff election in a quarter century. Martelly reportedly won the election by a 3-1 margin.
The preliminary results of Haiti’s March 20 elections were transmitted at 8 a.m. Monday to the executive director of the Provisional Electoral Council, whose members triggered momentary panic Sunday evening when they unexpectedly showed up at the vote tabulation center where tally sheets were undergoing a final scrutiny for fraud.
The second round of elections for the presidential and legislative races were better organized than the first round. But like the chaotic Nov. 28 first round, the runoffs were also marred by fraud and irregular voting.
As of 4 p.m. Sunday, some 1,718 presidential tally sheets out of more than 25,000 had been tossed out of the final vote count. The number accounted for between 15 and 18 percent of the tallies. The average margin of fraud in elections for Latin America is between 2 to 3 percent, according to elections experts in the region.
During the March 20 runoff, voters not only stuffed ballots but they also included fraudulent voter identification numbers, which were picked up by elections workers who included 16 attorneys trained in new criteria set up by the Organization of American States. Already leading a joint elections observer mission with the Caribbean Community, the OAS was brought in following the first round to verify the vote and put in new procedures in hopes of salvaging the election.
Less clear are the results of the legislative elections, described by one diplomat “as a mess.”
There were more than 70 legislative runoff races to fill both the Senate and the lower chamber of deputies.
Haitian President Rene Preval’s INITE party was vying to take control of parliament after losing being forced to remove their presidential candidate from the runoff spot in favor of Martelly.