Friday, November 16, 2012

Interview with Marian Gordon of CCDS About Her Recent Visit to Palestine



Recently, Marian Gordon, a member of CCDS from California participated in a tour of Palestine and agreed to share her observations and experiences with our readers. Conducting our interview via telephone, this is what transpired.

Q: What is your background?

A: I was reared as a secular Jew by working class, Communist parents. I was a red diaper baby, born in Philadelphia. My first, independent political activity growing up was to collect signatures against desegregation in the South. I later went south to Mississippi and participated in Freedom Summer. What I saw in happening in Palestine very much reminded me of what was happening in Mississippi during the 1960s.

Q: What is your profession?

A: I am a speech pathologist by trade.

Q: When were you in Palestine?

A: From September 22nd to October 7th of 2012.

Q: Who organized the tour? Were you apart of the group that took Alice Walker and Medea Benjamin?

A: No, this tour wasn’t apart of that group, though Alice Walker endorsed our tour. My tour was organized by the Freedom Bus Tour and the Freedom Theatre of the Jenean Refugee Camp in Palestine. My group comprised of about thirty people- a plurality of them U.S. citizens, but also a large delegation of Swedes-actors with the Swedish National Theatre which is greatly supportive of the theatre troupe in Jenean. In our group there were also people from France, other places across Europe, and Australia. Our ages ranged from 20 to 80 with lots of young people traveling with us.

Q: How long have you been involved with Palestinian issues? What propelled you to go on this trip?

A: I’ve been involved with Palestinian issues since September 22nd, 2012. As a Jewish activist all my life and knowing what the role of the U.S. and Israel in Palestine are, I felt compelled to do more about this issue. I felt especially compelled to participate in the boycott movement.

Q: What did you see over there?

A: A people who are educated and who must fight for their basic rights. They are occupied. I saw awareness of their personal and political problems everywhere-in militant villagers, in older people, on college campuses.


Q: Do you agree with Alice Walker’s assessment that what is going on in Palestine is very similar to the Jim Crow of the 1960s in the US?


A: Yes. I went to Mississippi and frequently witnessed Jim Crow. For Palestinians in Israel, it is very Jim Crow. For people in the West Bank and Gaza, they are occupied.





























Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hobo Justice by Brandon Wallace

Winner of an Honorable Mention in the Lorian Hemingway Contest


Hobo Justice


Papa had just gotten a brand new radio. Big and solid oak, it made a huge impression in the parlor where Papa kept it so we could listen to it especially on Saturday afternoons. Papa had bought the first radio in the community almost eight years ago and since that time, every Saturday afternoon after four o’clock, come rain or shine, every Dick and Jerry from miles around crowded around our front porch to listen to the radio or take in the fight, if there was one. Papa obliged them all and as such kept his praises in the mouths of nearly everyone in the community. This new radio had come on Papa’s birthday, ordered directly from Sears and Roebuck and delivered special handling. Since the beginning of fall , however, the radio had been neatly put away, positioned back on its perch on the glass and marble end table in front of the parlor window. No one had a taste to listen to it and Papa didn’t think it wise to bring it out to play anymore. Only I snuck into the parlor whenever I could, after finishing chores or after finishing dinner, and turned the big knob to listen to Deford Bailey, Roy Acuff, and Maybelle Carter at the Grand Ol’ Opry. Papa regularly sat to listen to the radio on Sunday afternoons after church, listening to the news and to music. It was only between the two of us that the radio remained functional.

Things had gotten bad. The mill had closed and as summer approached there were hundreds of men out of work in our town. Their children were starving and people had started wandering. I nearly died of fright one late morning as summer started while I sat out breakfast for the cats. A man came walking past the house coming down from the railroad tracks that crossed our property past the apple, pear, and peach orchards. The man was tall and lanky, little more than skin and bones with a shirt and a pair of pants thrown over it. He carried a knapsack over his shoulder and as he passed the house, he looked at me with something between derision, pity, and contempt. He passed me by without uttering a word, but was so close to the house, I swung back inside and fastened the screen door shut after me. I told Mama about what happened. Mama sat me down and very sternly told me that if I ever saw any men walking down from the railroad track towards the house to not be afraid. I should stick close to the house, be kind and respectful, and offer them food if they asked for it. She said those men were wanderers, and called themselves hobos and they were looking for places to sleep and something to eat because they had nothing else going for them. They were wandering to and from town looking for work and food. Our house was the closest and quickest path from the rail line into town. She said I should always remember that she wasn’t that far from the house and just to call for her if I needed her. What she told me peaked my curiosity. Why were these men wanderers? I was determined to find out more about them and why they were wanderers.

I had just turned twelve as school let out. My older sister Margaret had just gone off to college and I was left all alone at the house before school resumed that fall. Mother usually spent her days in her garden, toiling in her few acres of vegetables and herbs on the other side of the hill, leaving after breakfast at half past six and not returning until late in the afternoon on the other side of four o’clock. That left me to fetch my own breakfast and occupy myself until mother came back home. Father wandered into the house at half past six every evening, rain or shine, and had done so every day of my life since I knew him. Being alone in our huge, rustic house , I let my imagination take reign. Armed with my new knowledge of the wanderers, I perched myself to find out whatever I could when the opportunity presented itself.

That first morning of my vacation, I turned over in my bed, my ears perched slightly as my mother wandered out from the house. Turning back over, I slept til well past eight then commenced to get up and take myself into the kitchen in order to make breakfast. My mother always baked biscuits every morning before leaving the house, cooking for her own breakfast, my father’s and ultimately mine. I was ever so grateful for those biscuits. I cracked eggs open and whisked away at them, adding pepper and salt, and threw strips of bacon in the skillet, but somehow those biscuits provided a comfort to me that I had something to eat, even if my little hands couldn’t make it. With my oven-warmed biscuits, eggs, bacon, and thermos of orange juice( I cheated when by myself: I never used a juice glass for breakfast, but took as much as I wanted, not knowing that the absence of juice would be noticed) I commenced to the front porch where I made myself a picnic, listening to the birds giving concerts and basking in the early morning sunshine. After breakfast, I was obliged just to sit back with my arms folded behind my head, laying against the wood floor of the porch, tapping my feet in time with the natural rhythm of the universe. I was lost in the euphoria of my youth and new found freedom. Every day seemed a mere extension of some magical universe. I had completely forgotten about the wanderers.

That Friday, I lay out on the porch staring up into space, as had become my custom, just me and my connection to the cosmic, when I heard the crunching of footsteps in the yard, moving along at a mechanical pace, like the ticking of a machine in a factory. At first I sucked in all my breath and was unable to move, my body paralyzed and stuck to the hard wood of the floor. Struggling and pushing, I forced my torso into an upright position and there I saw him. Again, he was tall and lanky-it must have been a trait peculiar to the wanderers- and wore ragged clothes merely pasted to his body. This one was attractive though. His hair was dark brunette and a whisp of it fell into his face in a little curlicue. His face was handsome, showed no sign of strain. His eyes were magnetic and warm and his tiny mouth puckered beautifully into a pouty bottom lip, all of it covered by the mask of his dark brown beard, which was soft and gave him the appearance of being a genteel young man somewhere in his late twenties or thirties.
He was a few yards away from the house when I finally stood up. Nodding my head in his direction, I muddled up enough sound in my throat to utter a weak greeting.
“Hello.” I nodded again and threw my hand in the air.
The man attempted something of a smile and threw his hand back up in the air at me. Almost at the house, he didn’t slow down and I wondered if he planned to ask for something to eat or not. He did not stop, but slowed greatly, ready to engage in conversation if so obliged.

“Are you a hobo?”
The man thought on it a minute.
“Why yes, I reckon I am.”
“That means you’re wandering. A hobo means wandering.”
His answer satisfied me for a minute. A smile sprang across my face in my satisfaction at discovering another hobo. After that, we stood together, several feet apart, in a long odd silence.
“Are you hungry? “ I asked somewhat prematurely.
“Why yes’m. I’d be much obliged of some victuals. I’m mighty hungry.”
“Come up to the porch and I’ll get you something to eat. “ I summoned him up with my hands and obliged him to stand at the bottom of the steps while I went back into the house. I debated on what I should feed him. Not knowing what to do, I turned on my heels and went back to the porch.
“When was the last time you had a meal?”
The man got a perplexed look on his face as he tried to figure the last meal he had eaten.
“I don’t rightly know.”
Shaking my head, assuming a maternal role, I gestured to him with my hand.

“Come up here to the porch and sit at this table, let me get you something to eat. “
Slowly, he obliged, climbing the eight steps to the porch and sitting at the table.
After he was seated, I went into the house and proceeded into the kitchen. Setting the skillet on the stove to get hot, I pulled off four pieces of bacon and put them in the fryer along with two eggs. While the bacon and eggs were frying, I placed a brown paper sack on the table and filled it with apples, oranges, some candy, a pear, a block of cheese and some crackers. I figured he could eat them while he wandered around doing whatever hobos did. I also took three cans of sardines out of the pantry and placed them in the bag. I hated sardines and despised whenever mother presented them to me for lunch. I got rid of as many cans as I could within reason. This man was going to have a good lunch.

When the bacon and eggs had finished frying, I sat two biscuits in the stove to get hot and shoveled them onto a plate along with another apple, which I figured rounded out the plate for a healthy breakfast. I got the cane syrup out of the cabinet and doused the plate with it then poured a healthy glass of orange juice. Once I finished up packing the paper bag, I grabbed the plate and the orange juice then proceeded out to the porch to the wicker table where I had left him sitting.
“ Here you go. I hope you’re mighty hungry this morning, because this is a good breakfast.” I smiled as I sat the plate and glass on the table. The man nodded his thanks to me silently and dug into the food with restrained relish. As he ate, I pulled up a chair on the opposite side of the table and folded myself into it, leaning into my elbows as I watched him eat.

“What’s your name?” I asked him, my fists stuck into my jaws.
“Hezekiah.”
“How old are you, Hezekiah?”
“28.”
I let that one sit on my mind a bit. He was more than twice my age. His face was young and gentle though.
“Why are you wandering? “
He looked up at the question, unsure of how to answer.
“At this point, I don’t even rightly know. But I do know my legs are tired, my body’s tired, and I’ve traveled a long way.”
“Where’d you come from?”
The man smiled and lowered his head at her question.
“I don’t even know that anymore.”
“Well how do you get to eat?”
“Sometimes I don’t.”
“That must be mighty hard.” I shook my head at the thought of having nothing to eat.
“It gets hard. The open road’s a hard life. There’s plenty of freedom, but you get rained on, you get tired. And you play by a different set of rules. Rules of the road meted out with hobo justice. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get taken advantage of.“
“What’s hobo justice?” I asked as he resumed eating.
He looked up from his plate and shook his head.
“Just rules of the road, young lady. A Hobo’s life with a hobo’s code of ethics.”
“It must be hard and dangerous living by the hobo rules.”
The man smiled, moved that I would engage him so in conversation.
“Want to hear a story about a hobo’s life?” He asked after a small pause.
“Sure!” I curled my knees further into the chair, digging in to listen at the story.

“Once, not even three months ago, a hobo was passing through a town and came to a small brick house on a quiet street. He was looking for food. He was hungry and had twenty five cents to his name, a nickel and two dimes. He was willing to give that nickel and two dimes to anybody who would spare him a morsel to eat. He came upon the house and noticed a young woman sweeping off the front step. She had two small children, around five or six years old, running at her heels. The house was decent and clean—had a piano near the window where it could be seen from the street. The upholstery was old, but it was neat and clean and appeared very well cared for. “

I drew my chair closer to him, intrigued by his story.
“So the man figured this woman would be kind and gentle. He could give her his money and have her fix him something to eat. He just wanted a small morsel, nothing fancy, not even enough to intrude on her grocery bill. He waited and then two hours later, after the woman had finished her chores and laid her children down for a nap, he went and rapped at her door. She answered and he made his proposal, to which she agreed. Excited, he gave her the twenty-five cents and told her he would wait under the tree in her front yard for his food. The lady took the money and closed the door. The man sat down under the tree with his knees under his chin. He could already taste the food in his mouth as he sat there. He wondered if it would be bacon and a piece of bread or a piece of fatback on a biscuit. His mouth watered. He waited. An hour passed. Then two hours. After two hours he rapped on the door again, this time to no avail. Going up to the window on the porch, he looked in. The house was as quiet as a mouse. The woman and her children were gone and the stove was as cold as stone. Angry, he was determined to sit there all night perched under her tree. It was less than an hour later, however, when the lady reappeared with her children at the front of the house, this time accompanied by a policeman. She had told the policeman that the man was loitering in her yard and she feared for her life. After failing to explain himself, he left willingly. He found shelter under a tree right at the edge of town, just a six minute walk from the woman’s house. His body was hungry and cold, but his soul was red hot. He was boiling over with the need for revenge. He waited there at the edge of town, under his tree, until Sunday. “

Hezekiah seemed fully absorbed in the story as he told it. His skin turned a bright red and his voice grew animated as each scene unfolded until he seemed to remember my presence. He paused for a moment, looked at me and sighed as the color left his skin. Slowly, he resumed telling his story.

“That Sunday, the woman dressed her two children in their Sunday best and made her way to church. He stood at a distance and watched them go. After they had left, the man made his way up the steps of the house and found the woman had left her kitchen window open. On the sill, sat a sleeve of matches from a fancy hotel the lady had saved as a souvenir. The man looked down at the book of matches. It had a pretty pink cover with fancy writing on it and it said it was from the Peabody Hotel, Atlantic City. For a minute, he just stood there and looked at the book of matches. Looking up briefly, his eye caught sight of a porcelain container filled with kitchen grease sitting on the counter by the window. A pan of biscuits sat next to the stove. His eyes went from the kitchen grease to the matches and from the matches to the kitchen grease. The more he looked, the angrier he grew. Breaking the window, the man reached inside the window and took the kitchen grease from the side counter and drizzled it all across the front of the porch and the inside of the window. He then broke out one of the matches, struck it against the lighting pad, and threw it against the house. The fire burned, but was contained only to the front part of the house under the window and the kitchen. Using his shoulder as a battling ram, he broke the door down and entered the house, kicking things over until he found a can of gasoline in the pantry. Hot venom spread through his fingers as he literally turned the can up and spread the contents of the can over everything he could reach. He then broke off another match, lit it, and threw it inside the house, barging outside after the deed was done. Flames roared inside the house, and soon the entire house was ablaze. Reaching inside his pocket, he felt a pencil, and a slip of paper lining his pockets. He walked up to the tree under which he had sat so many days before waiting for food and nourishment, his blood boiling so that he was almost an inch off of the ground. Taking the paper, he wrote on it. “This house cost twenty-five cents.” Then he stabbed the paper into the side of the tree with the pencil and left. “

I sat still as a mouse, completely drawn in by him and the dark unfolding of his story. His tale amazed me. Some part of me had grown listening to the story. After he finished the tale, I felt that I knew him. I had come to a deeper understanding about his life and about justice. I had learned something of human will and motivation. We sat there across from each other, a kind of sympathy reflecting from our eyes onto the other until finally he lowered his head and resumed his meal.
The next quarter of an hour was quiet as he noisily supped, sopping up the drippings from the plate with his biscuit. I went inside the house and fetched the paper sack that I had fixed for him. By the time I made it back out on the porch, he had finished eating.

“Here, this is for you too. It’s something to keep you while you’re out wandering.” I sat the bag on the table next to him. Boldly, I touched him, clapping him on the shoulder. Peering inside the bag, he nearly swallowed his tongue.
“Why thank you, ma’am. This is too much. Thank you. Thank you.” Tears threatened to well in his eyes. He fought bravely to keep the nice, congenial demeanor he had assumed. He licked his fingers as he roamed through the contents of the bag. He was outdone by his fortune. His eyes blinked as if to make him truly believe what his eyes saw sitting before him. Standing quickly, he moved to make his leave from the porch and back to his life as a wanderer. Grabbing the bag, he made his way down the steps. Just as suddenly, he turned on his heels and peered back up towards me. Again, our eyes connected.

“Here little girl, this is for you.” He reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out a scrap of paper. It seemed to be something ripped out of a newspaper. I extended my hand down and accepted his gift. Opening up the torn out newspaper clipping, I read the headline. The paper was dated May 5, 1930 and the headline read “Woman’s House Burns Over Twenty-Five Cents.” I folded the clipping back and looked up at Hezekiah, a huge smile on my face.

“Thanks!”

Silently, he lifted his hat on his head to me then turned and continued walking towards town. I turned and went into the house. Later that night, I slipped into the parlor to listen to the radio. I’ll never forget the song that was playing. I fell asleep on the floor listening to the words:

May I sleep in your barn tonight, mister
It is cold lying out on the ground
And the cold north wind is a-howling
And I have no place to lie down

Sunday, July 22, 2012

U.S. Poverty On Track To Rise To Highest Since 1960sR

Read Here

The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net.

Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections.

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.

"I grew up going to Hawaii every summer. Now I'm here, applying for assistance because it's hard to make ends meet. It's very hard to adjust," said Laura Fritz, 27, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., describing her slide from rich to poor as she filled out aid forms at a county center. Since 2000, large swaths of Jefferson County just outside Denver have seen poverty nearly double.

Fritz says she grew up wealthy in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, but fortunes turned after her parents lost a significant amount of money in the housing bust. Stuck in a half-million dollar house, her parents began living off food stamps and Fritz's college money evaporated. She tried joining the Army but was injured during basic training.

Now she's living on disability, with an infant daughter and a boyfriend, Garrett Goudeseune, 25, who can't find work as a landscaper. They are struggling to pay their $650 rent on his unemployment checks and don't know how they would get by without the extra help as they hope for the job market to improve.

In an election year dominated by discussion of the middle class, Fritz's case highlights a dim reality for the growing group in poverty. Millions could fall through the cracks as government aid from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes.

"The issues aren't just with public benefits. We have some deep problems in the economy," said Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy.


He pointed to the recent recession but also longer-term changes in the economy such as globalization, automation, outsourcing, immigration, and less unionization that have pushed median household income lower. Even after strong economic growth in the 1990s, poverty never fell below a 1973 low of 11.1 percent. That low point came after President Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty, launched in 1964, that created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs.

"I'm reluctant to say that we've gone back to where we were in the 1960s. The programs we enacted make a big difference. The problem is that the tidal wave of low-wage jobs is dragging us down and the wage problem is not going to go away anytime soon," Edelman said.

Stacey Mazer of the National Association of State Budget Officers said states will be watching for poverty increases when figures are released in September as they make decisions about the Medicaid expansion. Most states generally assume poverty levels will hold mostly steady and they will hesitate if the findings show otherwise. "It's a constant tension in the budget," she said.

The predictions for 2011 are based on separate AP interviews, supplemented with research on suburban poverty from Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution and an analysis of federal spending by the Congressional Research Service and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute.

The analysts' estimates suggest that some 47 million people in the U.S., or 1 in 6, were poor last year. An increase of one-tenth of a percentage point to 15.2 percent would tie the 1983 rate, the highest since 1965. The highest level on record was 22.4 percent in 1959, when the government began calculating poverty figures.

Poverty is closely tied to joblessness. While the unemployment rate improved from 9.6 percent in 2010 to 8.9 percent in 2011, the employment-population ratio remained largely unchanged, meaning many discouraged workers simply stopped looking for work. Food stamp rolls, another indicator of poverty, also grew.

Demographers also say:

_Poverty will remain above the pre-recession level of 12.5 percent for many more years. Several predicted that peak poverty levels – 15 percent to 16 percent – will last at least until 2014, due to expiring unemployment benefits, a jobless rate persistently above 6 percent and weak wage growth.

_Suburban poverty, already at a record level of 11.8 percent, will increase again in 2011.

_Part-time or underemployed workers, who saw a record 15 percent poverty in 2010, will rise to a new high.

_Poverty among people 65 and older will remain at historically low levels, buoyed by Social Security cash payments.

_Child poverty will increase from its 22 percent level in 2010.

Analysts also believe that the poorest poor, defined as those at 50 percent or less of the poverty level, will remain near its peak level of 6.7 percent.

"I've always been the guy who could find a job. Now I'm not," said Dale Szymanski, 56, a Teamsters Union forklift operator and convention hand who lives outside Las Vegas in Clark County. In a state where unemployment ranks highest in the nation, the Las Vegas suburbs have seen a particularly rapid increase in poverty from 9.7 percent in 2007 to 14.7 percent.

Szymanski, who moved from Wisconsin in 2000, said he used to make a decent living of more than $40,000 a year but now doesn't work enough hours to qualify for union health care. He changed apartments several months ago and sold his aging 2001 Chrysler Sebring in April to pay expenses.

"You keep thinking it's going to turn around. But I'm stuck," he said.

The 2010 poverty level was $22,314 for a family of four, and $11,139 for an individual, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income, before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership, as well as noncash aid such as food stamps and tax credits, which were expanded substantially under President Barack Obama's stimulus package.

An additional 9 million people in 2010 would have been counted above the poverty line if food stamps and tax credits were taken into account.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, believes the social safety net has worked and it is now time to cut back. He worries that advocates may use a rising poverty rate to justify additional spending on the poor, when in fact, he says, many live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

A new census measure accounts for noncash aid, but that supplemental poverty figure isn't expected to be released until after the November election. Since that measure is relatively new, the official rate remains the best gauge of year-to-year changes in poverty dating back to 1959.

Few people advocate cuts in anti-poverty programs. Roughly 79 percent of Americans think the gap between rich and poor has grown in the past two decades, according to a Public Religion Research Institute/RNS Religion News survey from November 2011. The same poll found that about 67 percent oppose "cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor" to help reduce the budget deficit.

Outside of Medicaid, federal spending on major low-income assistance programs such as food stamps, disability aid and tax credits have been mostly flat at roughly 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product from 1975 to the 1990s. Spending spiked higher to 2.3 percent of GDP after Obama's stimulus program in 2009 temporarily expanded unemployment insurance and tax credits for the poor.

The U.S. safety net may soon offer little comfort to people such as Jose Gorrin, 52, who lives in the western Miami suburb of Hialeah Gardens. Arriving from Cuba in 1980, he was able to earn a decent living as a plumber for years, providing for his children and ex-wife. But things turned sour in 2007 and in the past two years he has barely worked, surviving on the occasional odd job.

His unemployment aid has run out, and he's too young to draw Social Security.

Holding a paper bag of still-warm bread he'd just bought for lunch, Gorrin said he hasn't decided whom he'll vote for in November, expressing little confidence the presidential candidates can solve the nation's economic problems. "They all promise to help when they're candidates," Gorrin said, adding, "I hope things turn around. I already left Cuba. I don't know where else I can go."

___

Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt in Lakewood, Colo., Ken Ritter and Michelle Rindels in Las Vegas, Laura Wides-Munoz in Miami and AP Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.

Monday, July 16, 2012

For Colored Girls...

Ok....I just made myself watch Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls...I must say he didn't mess it up and I don't have to crucify....as a matter of fact.....it was pretty good...I give it a B. The adaptation done in the 80s was great.....perhaps this should be redone every generation....

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Friday, July 06, 2012

Why is Mitt Romney on vacation?

What has he done that he needs to be on vacation? How many people in the US have had a vacation in the past five years?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Listen and Learn

From Steven Argue

THE LAKEVIEW SIT-IN HAS BEEN RAIDED!!!

Dozens of cops raided the Lakeview Sit-in this morning of July 3rd, kicking out a bunch of families and teachers. Two people were arrested including one parent and former student.

A rally was held at the Lakeview steps at 5pm. Stay tuned for more.

For over two weeks the Lakeview Sit-In and People's School for Public Education has been running a free summer program out of occupied Lakeview Elementary, serving over 30 children with programming in social justice, art, PE, and gardening. That sit-in is demanding that Tony Smith and the School Board:

* Reopen all five closed elementary schools!
* Repudiate the state debt!
* Stop busting teacher and school workers' unions!
* Reverse the cuts to special education!
* Fully fund public education for every student!

Here are statements of the Oakland Education Association and the Alameda Labor Council in support of the sit-in:

Support Community Sit In
The Alameda Labor Council supports and encourages affiliates to engage as is individually appropriate for the "Community Sit In" at Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland which was recently closed by the OUSD. Various union members, parents and the community have rallied against this and other school closures. Please see OEA Statement on Lakeview Sit In.

OAKLAND EDUCATION ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON LAKEVIEW SIT-IN
June 23, 2012: On June 20, the OEA Executive Board voted to support the efforts of the Lakeview Sit-In and the People’s School for Public Education. We also endorsed these demands:

•Don’t close the 5 schools. Keep all neighborhood schools open.
•Stop union busting: defend the OEA and all school worker unions
•Repudiate the state debt
•Fully fund quality public education for all

Oakland Unified School District’s closure of five public elementary schools has displaced over 1,000 students, mostly children of color, and destabilitized entire communities. Some of these school buildings are slated to be turned into district administration offices, while others have already been given over to non-union, privately controlled charter schools. One, Santa Fe, has been leased to Emeryville, leaving an entire zip code without a public school – and resulting in the loss of $157,000 for the next three years in Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding, money directly targeted for class size reduction.

This process has taken place without the full input of the communities involved, and without addressing the numerous alternatives that were raised by OEA and members of the community after the closures were announced on October 26, 2011. At that time, OEA issued a statement that included the following:

“When the Board of Education adopted a set of criteria for closing schools in late August, OEA countered with a set of our own. These included closing poorly-performing charter schools, getting rid of outside consultant contracts, and decreasing the number of administrative positions. We called on the Board to do whatever was necessary before moving to close any schools, and to do this in a way that was transparent and involved the community. Instead, they have moved ahead with their plans, despite vocal opposition from all affected communities.

Therefore, OEA stands in opposition to the closure of Lakeview, Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park, and Santa Fe, all schools serving predominantly children of color. We call on the district to abandon their plan and work with the many teachers, students, and community leaders who have come to the past few Board meetings with creative ideas for keeping their schools open. If this plan goes forward, the Board is essentially refusing to listen to the voice of their constituents and is instead encouraging even more bleeding from the district as families leave in disgust and more schools opt to convert to charters.”

We urge all labor and community partners to join with us in supporting the courageous efforts of the Lakeview Sit-In – this is an action with significance that goes far beyond one school in Oakland and strikes at the very heart of the attempts to starve and then privatize public education.

Subscribe free to Liberation News for updates and future actions
https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Nikki Giovanni: Adulthood

“I usta wonder who I’d be
when I was a little girl in Indianapolis
sitting on doctors porches with post-dawn pre-debs
(wondering would my aunt drag me to church sunday)
i was meaningless
and i wondered if life
would give me a chance to mean
i found a new life in the withdrawal from all things
not like my image
when I was a teenager I usta sit
on front steps conversing
the gym teachers son with embryonic eyes
about the essential essence of the universe
(and other bullshit stuff)
recognizing the basic powerlessness of me.
but then I went to college where i learned
that just because everything i was was unreal
i could be real and not just real through withdrawal
into emotional crosshairs of colored bourgeoisie intellectual pretensions
but from involvement with things approaching reality
i could possibly have a life
so catatonic emotions and time wasting sex games
were replaced with functioning commitments to logic and
necessity and the gray area was slowly darkened into
a black thing
for a while progress was being made along with a certain degree
of happiness cause i wrote a book and found a love
and organized a theatre and even gave some lectures on
Black history
and began to believe all good people could get
together and win without bloodshed
then
hammaskjold was killed
and diem was killed
and kennedy was killed
and malcolm was killed
and evers was killed
and schwerner, chaney and goodman were killed
and liuzzo was killed
and stokely fled the country
and le roi was arrested
and rap was arrested
and pollard, thompson and cooper were killed
and king was killed
and kennedy was killed
and i sometimes wonder why i didn’t become a debutante
sitting on porches, going to church all the time, wondering
is my eye make-up on straight
or a withdrawn discoursing on the stars and moon
instead of a for real Black person who must now feel
and inflict
pain”

Monday, June 11, 2012

Statement From Lauryn Hill


It was reported yesterday that Ms. Lauryn Hill has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor failure to file taxes. These charges were incurred for the years of 2005-2007, during a time in which Ms. Hill had removed herself and her family from society, in order to keep them safe, healthy, and free from danger. In response to these charges, Ms. Hill has issued the following statement:




“For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground. I did this in order to build a community of people, like-minded in their desire for freedom and the right to pursue their goals and lives without being manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda. Having put the lives and needs of other people before my own for multiple years, and having made hundreds of millions of dollars for certain institutions, under complex and sometimes severe circumstances, I began to require growth and more equitable treatment, but was met with resistance. I entered into my craft full of optimism (which I still possess), but immediately saw the suppressive force with which the system attempts to maintain it’s control over a given paradigm. I’ve seen people promote addiction, use sabotage, black listing, media bullying and any other coercion technique they could, to prevent artists from knowing their true value, or exercising their full power. These devices of control, no matter how well intentioned (or not), can have a devastating outcome on the lives of people, especially creative types who must grow and exist within a certain environment and according to a certain pace, in order to live and create optimally.

I kept my life relatively simple, even after huge successes, but it became increasingly obvious that certain indulgences and privileges were expected to come at the expense of my free soul, free mind, and therefore my health and integrity. So I left a more mainstream and public life, in order to wean both myself, and my family, away from a lifestyle that required distortion and compromise as a means for maintaining it. During this critical healing time, there were very few people accessible to me who had not already been seduced or affected by this machine, and therefore who could be trusted to not try and influence or coerce me back into a dynamic of compromise. Individual growth was expected to take place unnaturally, or stagnated outright, subject to marketing and politics. Addressing critical issues like pop culture cannibalism or its manipulation of the young at the expense of everything, was frowned upon and discouraged by limiting funding, or denying it outright. When one has a prolific creative output like I did/do, and is then forced to stop, the effects can be dangerous both emotionally and psychologically, both for the artist and those in need of that resource. It was critically important that I find a suitable pathway within which to exist, without being distorted or economically strong-armed.

During this period of crisis, much was said about me, both slanted and inaccurate, by those who had become dependent on my creative force, yet unwilling to fully acknowledge the importance of my contribution, nor compensate me equitably for it. This was done in an effort to smear my public image, in order to directly affect my ability to earn independently of this system. It took a long time to locate and nurture a community of people strong enough to resist the incredibly unhealthy tide, and more importantly see through it. If I had not been able to make contact with, and establish this community, my life, safety and freedom, would have been directly affected as well as the lives, safety and freedom of my family. Failure to create a non toxic, non exploitative environment was not an option.

As my potential to work, and therefore earn freely, was being threatened, I did whatever needed to be done in order to insulate my family from the climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism that I was surrounded by. This was absolutely critical while trying to find and establish a new and very necessary community of healthy people, and also heal and detoxify myself and my family while raising my young children.

There were no exotic trips, no fleet of cars, just an all out war for safety, integrity, wholeness and health, without mistreatment denial, and/or exploitation. In order to liberate myself from those who found it ok to oppose my wholeness, free speech and integral growth by inflicting different forms of punitive action against it, I used my resources to sustain our safety and survival until I was able to restore my ability to earn outside of it!

When artists experience danger and crisis under the effects of this kind of insidious manipulation, everyone easily accepts that there was something either dysfunctional or defective with the artist, rather than look at, and fully examine, the system and its means and policies of exploiting/’doing business’. Not only is this unrealistic, it is very dark in its motivation, conveniently targeting the object of their hero worship by removing any evidence that they ‘needed’ or celebrated this very same resource just years, months or moments before. Since those who believe they need a hero/celebrity outnumber the actual heroes/celebrities, people feel safe and comfortably justified in numbers, committing egregious crimes in the name of the greater social ego. Ironically diminishing their own true hero-celebrity nature in the process.

It was this schism and the hypocrisy, violence and social cannibalism it enabled, that I wanted and needed to be freed from, not from art or music, but the suppression/repression and reduction of that art and music to a bottom line alone, without regard for anything else. Over-commercialization and its resulting restrictions and limitations can be very damaging and distorting to the inherent nature of the individual. I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking. To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights! These forms of expression, along with others, effectively comprise my free speech! Defending, preserving, and protecting these rights are critically important, especially in a paradigm where veiled racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, and deliberate economic control are still blatant realities!!!

Learning from the past, insulating friends and family from the influence of external manipulation and corruption, is far more important to me than being misunderstood for a season! I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns! I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival.

I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period. Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution.

My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.

As this, and other areas of issue are resolved and set straight, I am able to get back to doing what I should be doing, the way it should be done. This is part of that process. To those supporters who were told that I abandoned them, that is untrue. I abandoned greed, corruption, and compromise, never you, and never the artistic gifts and abilities that sustained me.”


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What is Going on with Die Linke?

German Left Party congress exposes divisions and crisis

By Lucas Adler
6 June 2012

The Third Congress of the German Left Party, held last weekend in Göttingen, exposed sharp divisions and a deep crisis. The two-day meeting was marked by bitter clashes between opposing factions centered on the election of a new leadership.

The congress took place against the backdrop of a series of dramatic election defeats for the party and dwindling membership rolls. In 2009, the Left Party polled 11.9 percent in federal elections. Now, according to opinion polls, the party would have difficulty meeting the 5 percent threshold for gaining representation in the German parliament (Bundestag).

In a letter to delegates, the party’s senior council presented a grim vision of the state of the party. The party program adopted last year had hardly played a role in the life of the party and had been partly undermined, the letter declared. “Elections have been lost, there is a loss of 8,000 members, a loss of political influence, a lack of transparency in inner-party life,” the council complained.

In his speech to the congress, the outgoing chairman, Klaus Ernst, a leader of the faction centered in the west of the country, described the condition of the party. “We have approval ratings of 6 percent at the federal level,” he said. “We failed by a large margin to enter the state parliaments in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. In Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia we were tossed out unceremoniously. Our poll numbers are crumbling in the east. Overall, we have lost 9,000 members since 2009. Entire district organizations in the west have dissolved. We have signs of decay in our party.”

At the congress, the party demonstrated its inability to confront and discuss the political roots of this decline. Instead, the opposing wings attacked one another once again, claiming that each side was responsible for the deplorable state of the party.

For Klaus Ernst, the problem lay in the fact that the party had failed to establish a strong centre to counter the centrifugal forces within the party. “The only future for our party is to stay and fight together,” he told the delegates.

Ernst was followed by the chairman of the parliamentary group, Gregor Gysi, who heads the faction based in the east. In an angry speech, Gysi expressed his frustration over the infighting between the opposing wings of the party.

Gysis complained in particular about a criticism raised by members from the former West Germany which, he said, reminded him of the “western arrogance that prevailed following the unification of our country.” He continued: “But there is also hatred in our group in the Bundestag. For years, I have found myself standing between two locomotives moving towards each other, and I know that one can end up being crushed. For years, I have been in a situation where I had to make myself unpopular with one group or another, and I’m fed up with it.”

Gysi threatened to split the party. “Either we are able to choose a cooperative leadership that integrates and organizes the party, so that we are once again a major political force,” he said, “or we are not in a position to do so.” He continued, “In that case I say openly: It is better to separate cleanly rather than stay together with hatred, trickery and behind-the-back blows in a thoroughly ruined marriage.”

Most of the media reports on the congress depicted the debate as a conflict between a left wing based mainly in western Germany and led by the former party chairman, Oskar Lafontaine, and a right wing with its base in what had been East Germany, headed by Gysi and the party’s former national director, Dietmar Bartsch.

This presentation is misleading. The conflict within the party is between two right-wing factions with only marginal differences in terms of policy. Less than a year ago the delegates of both wings voted by 97 percent in favour of a joint policy statement that defended all the pillars of capitalism.

The media claim that the Lafontaine wing is not prepared to cooperate with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and participate in bourgeois governments is false. Lafontaine said so himself at the party congress. “Who made the offer in Hesse to form a government? It was the Left Party in Hesse,” he said. “Who made it possible for the government (the SPD-Green Party minority government in North Rhine-Westphalia) to constitute itself in the first place? It was the Left in North Rhine-Westphalia. Who offered on television to support the SPD taking over the premiership of the state after their successful election? I did.”

The intra-party dispute revolves, in fact, around the issue of how best to support the SPD.

Lafontaine was a leading member of the SPD for forty years until he quit in 1999 because he had concluded that the policy of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was unnecessarily undermining workers’ support for the SPD. Lafontaine is convinced that what is needed is a party capable of controlling workers and suppressing the class struggle. He is a student of Willy Brandt, the SPD chancellor who defused radical demonstrations in the 1970s with the slogan “dare more democracy” and a significant expansion of the universities and public services. At the same time, he introduced reactionary laws aimed at suppressing any serious opposition.

Lafontaine was the architect of the merger in 2007 between the group of prominent trade union officials and ex-social democrats organised in the Election Alternative (WASG) and the Party of Democratic Socialism, the successor party to the ruling East German Stalinist party. Lafontaine’s aim from the start was to divert political radicalization among workers into harmless channels. He did so primarily by encouraging the illusion that it was possible to return to the type of social democratic reforms that had characterised the Brandt era, simply ignoring the process of globalization and the increased domination of the international financial markets over political life.

The Lafontaine wing is just as conservative and supportive of the bourgeois state as the Bartsch wing. Lafontaine’s supporters have been recruited from long-time union officials with links to the SPD and former petty-bourgeois radicals whom the Left Party offered an opportunity to gain public office, with the attendant privileges. Ernst, the outgoing chairman and Lafontaine’s right-hand man, was a full-time district secretary with the IG Metall trade union in Schweinfurt. His successor, Bernd Riexinger, comes from the same region and is a district secretary with the Verdi public service union.

Lafontaine believes the Left Party can fulfill its task only if adopts a radical tone verbally and keeps a certain distance from the SPD, at least during elections and when the SPD is in opposition. But like Bartsch, his main aim is to assist the SPD in coming to power as soon as the Left Party has achieved the necessary influence.

The Bartsch faction objects to Lafontaine’s radical rhetoric and occasional digs at the SPD due its roots in the Stalinist apparatus and its extensive involvement in government at the state and local level in eastern Germany. In the east of the country, the Left Party shares power with the SPD (as well as the conservative Christian Democratic Union—CDU) in numerous local administrations, and the eastern-based faction therefore regards Lafontaine’s rhetoric as disruptive to its daily functioning and its harmonious relations with the political establishment. Its motto is taken from the text book of Stalinist governance: “Adherence to public order is the highest civic duty.”

The intensification of the capitalist crisis has revealed the basic right-wing orientation of the Left Party. This is the reason for its current decline and the fierce infighting that erupted over the issue of a new party leadership.

Lafontaine wanted to prevent at all costs the election of Bartsch as co-chairman (the constitution of the Left Party provides for a duel chair, including at least one woman), but was not prepared to air his differences publicly. Instead, he employed all sorts of maneuvers and back-room deals to prevent the election of Bartsch. To this end he had to exert all of his influence within the party.

Initially, he had proposed his own candidacy as chairman on the condition that Bartsch withdraw his candidacy. Bartsch refused to play along and Lafontaine withdrew from the race in favour of his close confidante, Bernd Riexinger. Lafontaine’s girlfriend, Sarah Wagenknecht, also reserved the right to compete against Bartsch.

Following the election of Katja Kipping (east faction) by delegates, Wagenknecht made a speech in which she withdrew her own nomination while strongly advising delegates not to pick Bartsch as co-chairman.

In a run-off vote, the largely unknown Riexinger, with 53.5 percent of the vote, was able to squeeze out Bartsch (45.2 percent). This leaves the Left Party in the hands of Kipping and Riexinger, each representing one of the two warring factions. Both have in common, however, their loyalty to the bourgeois state and their profound contempt for the working class.

Kipping is a member of the group “Institute for a Modern Solidarity,” which she founded in early 2010 together with representatives from the SPD and the Greens. The aim of the institute is to provide the basis for closer cooperation between the three parties based on the subordination of the issue of growing social inequality to lifestyle questions and fostering the self-gratification of the petty-bourgeoisie.

Riexinger, 56, is an experienced trade union bureaucrat. He trained to be a banker and throughout the 1980s was union representative at the Leonberger Building Society. He became a trade union secretary in 1991 and is currently a full-time Verdi official in Baden-Württemberg.

The party congress has resolved nothing for the Left Party. The internal conflicts intensify as the crisis deepens. A split is quite possible.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to write off the party prematurely. As the crisis develops, the ruling class may feel obliged to breathe new life into the organization. The sister party of the Left Party in Greece, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), also went through a severe crisis and split before it was propped up by the media and gained political support following the collapse of the social democratic PASOK. Now it stands ready to take power following elections later this month and enforce austerity measures dictated by the international banks against the Greek population.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Repressed Tales, Vol. 1

So, I have been contemplating this series, or reports rather, for they are true stories, for a long time.What this series considers is my idea that if one lives under a system of repression, there is absolutely nothing you can be except repressed unless you are on your way to liberation. These stories, which I am about to present to you, all of which I can vouch for, speak to this idea. Here is the first installment.

Repressed Tales, Vol. 1.

I was a sophomore or junior in college when one day I was standing admiring some display in the dining hall when all of a sudden, one of the foreign exchange students, Mack, from Korea, came up beside me and very nonchalantly grabbed my breast. Begging his pardon, in his words it was an accident. Mack was studying to be a minister, was thirty years old to my twenty years and led a very model existence by clerical standards. Not at all put off by the accidental grope, I invited Mack to my room that evening to discuss politics and history, two passions we both shared. My room was very private in the evenings as the roommate I had worked nights and did not get home until very late. So, that evening, and many evenings that followed, Mack would come to my room and I would sit on my bed and he would sit in a chair. We would discuss politics, history, and any number of things, while at the same time, without either of us saying a word, my hands would snake up and down his thighs while I stroked him to ultimate pleasure. Mostly, he came in his clothes, but once I jacked him off by hand as we continued our conversation. These meetings went on for about three months.Then I think he became troubled by what we were doing because he went to see his minister and subsequently after that showed up with a girlfriend. I continued to see him around, but we never fooled around again. I have no idea what happened to him after graduation.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Interview with Steve Dorsey



When Oprah took her life class to St. Louis, Steve Dorsey inspired a worldwide movement when he stood and gave his testimony about overcoming addiction and conquering his life's demons. His session with Iyanla Van Zant touched millions of people across the globe who subsequently answered Iyanla's call to everyone to "Stand with Steve" demonstrating that suffering is universal. I recently became acquainted with Mr. Dorsey and asked him if he wouldn't mind sharing a few words with Julius Speaks. Here is what transpired.

1. What is your background? Where are you from?


I was born in Compton Ca and my mom moved us to Riverside in 74 were I really grew up at. Came from a some what poor back ground I guess, my mom was a house cleaner and she collected welfare because she worked under the table. She did what she had to do in order to try and give us a better life and tha better life took money and her back ground was basically a maid and that would not pay the bills. I say some what poor because all of my friends had brand new stuff we got used stuff, but at least we had stuff. My Mom was white and my dad was black, he was killed when I was 10 but they were divorced and my step dad who the only dad I knew was disabled. They were both alcoholics and my family back ground was this. My father died drunk. I was influenced very young in life.


2. What inspired you to become a photographer?


My daughter needed head shots because she wanted to be a model. She needed them right a way, so I said I could do it and did it! (LOL) I purchased a nice camera took her head shots and the company she was working for allowed me to follow them around and take photos so I helped out and the next thing you know I am doing it all the time and every book I could get my hands on I read. I spent hours researching other photographers and volunteering my time!


3. In Oprah's Life Class, your story inspired millions around the globe. In a few words, tell us your story.



I spent years learning how to reprogram my brain once I heard it can be done and nothing worked, every thing I did in life and business kept failing and I kept getting more and more discouraged and the final straw was when IRS cleaned out my bank account for the second time within a 6 month period and no one could help me even all the people I helped out never answered their phones.
I had people who owed me a lot of money just shunned me, so I was in a lot of pain and that was the topic so I wrote in about it and they contacted me and the rest has been on tv.

4. What have been some of the most important lessons you've learned in your life?


Everything we do in life has a story and watch what story you are telling yourself and what others are telling you!

5. Do you have any heroes? people you admire?


Everyone Oprah works with including Oprah especially, always God almighty, authors who write empowering messages.

6. What were those moments like with Iyanla Vanzant affirming you and calling on others to affirm you while you were on the show?


It was an amazing breakthrough and I was so grateful to have finally got it. I had this feeling inside of me for so long that I was so close to getting it and that day I got it!

7. What are your plans for the future?

Build Stand with Steve into a nonprofit and help others in all areas of life it can be of service with. Employ as many people as we can and do the work God has in store for me.

8. Are there any words you'd like to leave us with?

There is a reason why your brain does what it does. Make sure you understand the WHY and then your life will make sense. Keep an open mind and a closed mouth during the process and most important the only one you are lying to when you lie is yourself!

Thanks Steve!


Saturday, May 05, 2012

What in the World is this Mess with J.L. King?

From ObnoxiousTV

Obnoxioustv's Blog
You've officially been choked by the Bow Tie!
“On The Down Low” Author JL King Who Oprah Introduced To The World Is Said To Be A Cocaine Addict–Beat Wanna Be Authors Out Of Money–Coerced Guys To Have Unprotected Sex!

Posted on May 3, 2012

5

It certainly seems that Mr. Obnoxious is becoming the go to man for people that have been taken advantage of by those who think more highly of themselves than they should. The latest person to have allegedly done just that is noted author JL King. Now you might not recall his name right off, but he is best known as Mr. DL, the man that coined the phrase “On The Down Low,” which was also the title of his book made famous when he appeared on Oprah to articulate a phenomena that prior to his appearance on that show only was known by those who participated in the behavior of men having sex with other men.

JL King did not look nor was actions like someone that most people would think gay. He was a bald very masculine man that was willing to admit that he enjoyed having sex with other men. The idea of it was beyond articulation for most except for the ones that enjoyed the same type of behavior or the gay man that was often taken advantage of by men that want to have quick meaningless sex. Controversy was sparked by that show and has forever changed the conversation of two people dating. One of the first five questions most black women ask of a man that is seeking her affection is if he is gay, bi, or on the down low. Needless to say JL quickly became famous and a New York Times Best Seller.

Oprah and J.L. King

However, the over night success might have proven to be far too much for JL King. Mr. Down Low himself moved toAtlantaand began to sew his royal oats that quickly earned him a most horrible reputation at best. Mr. Obnoxious has interviewed JL King on many occasions and followed his ever changing story of being a man that occasionally enjoyed sex with other men to coming into his on of discovering he was bi-sexual and the last interview he then admitted to not only being gay, but that he was a sex addict. Not even that he mattered much, but it has been known all over the JL King has become a sleaze bag.

Rumor has it that JL King lost a good amount of his book earnings to settling a lawsuit that would have quickly become a sex scandal out of court. Allegedly known for not paying to know taking advantage of young willing authors that feel if they pay JL to self publish their book and a over night success. The fore mentioned is allegedly just what happen to Samuel Holloway, who is an author anxious to tell his story. Convinced to pay JL $2,000 to self publish his book and got very little in return. After being billed for a great deal money throughout their business relationship to getting nothing in return but a book full or errors that JL never promoted beyond a Facebook mention. Mr. Obnoxious has been contacted by three men that all say JL

According to Samuel Holloway, Andrew Rainey, and Jamal Brightful JL King allegedly constantly made sexual advances to them and did lines of cocaine in their presence. JL allegedly has a fascination with having unprotected sex, since doing research on his book “RAW,” which he mentioned when he was on my talk show Obnoxious TV, JL talked about how men enjoyed having sex without the use of a condom even in light of AIDS and HIV being so prevalent. On the night that Samuel’s books came in the mail JL allegedly invited him over to his house at midnight to celebrate. Sam said that once he arrived at JL’s home he was half dresses drinking with a bag of weed and a plate of coke. “Roll us a fat one,” JL said while sipping on his drink and doing lines and again demanding to have unprotected sex with him.

Jamal Brightful unlike Samuel and Andrew is not an author who hired JL to publish their books, but a cameraman that JL hired to tape his talk show for his YouTube Channel. Consistently paid late or not at all by JL, but made to believe by him that he would get a great deal of work after it was known that the man Oprah Winfrey introduced to the world uses his services. As a man new to Atlanta Jamal said he quickly bought into the dream that JL King was selling him.

Andrew Rainey was the one smart one in the whole situation and caught on early that something was very wrong with JL and he was not going to get off one dime to do business with him. It has been rumored that JL broke based upon his not being able to pay any of the vendors that he hired for their services. There are countless JL King Casualties of men and women that have been deceived to think that if they do business with the man that was on Oprah they will instantly become a star.

Read all the following e-mails, text messages, and Facebook messages forwarded to Mr. Obnoxious to prove that JL King has allegedly coerced willing authors out of money, does drugs, and wanted to have unprotected sex:

Samuel P. Holloway III

— On Tue, 4/3/12, Sameul Holloway wrote:

> From: Sameul Holloway
> Subject: Fw: Email from JL King
> To: “Me”
> Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 11:38 AM
>
> Samuel P. Holloway III
>
>
> — On Tue, 4/3/12, Sameul Holloway
> wrote:
>
> > From: Sameul Holloway
> > Subject: Email from JL King
> > To: mrmccray@Obnoxious.tv
> > Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 11:38 AM
> > This is an email straight from Face
> > book. I can forward it from my Face book to your Face
> book
> > too.. Let me know if need be..
> >
> > Samuel Holloway III
> > I DO….fa real fa real mane…I can’t even began to
> say
> > thank you enough without tearing up…..
> >
> >
> > Jl King
> > threesome..pay up nigga…lol
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Samuel P. Holloway III
> >
>

Samuel P. Holloway III

— On Mon, 4/2/12, Sameul Holloway wrote:

> From: Sameul Holloway
> Subject: About Mr. King
> To: “Me”
> Date: Monday, April 2, 2012, 6:07 PM
> My name is Samuel Holloway III…I am
> a new author published by JL King. 1st let me tell you a
> little something about my book.
>
> My book Eyes Without A Face, The Story Of Samuel P. Holloway
> III is a riveting story that covers a wide variety of things
> from Rape, Prostitution, Molestation, Child Abuse, Insist,
> Sexual Abuse, Family Abuse/ Rejection, Bullying, Domestic
> Violence and HIV to me finally finding peace….I know it’s
> a lot but it is a must read. GOD didn’t leave me and HE kept
> me here to share my story to help heal and to educate
> others. This book is definitely a page turner and will send
> you on an emotional roller coaster ride….You will truly
> connect with me (the author) while your reading my story
> through my ups and downs…..
>
> Mr. King, took me on a financial spin by ripping me off and
> with sexual advances….I paid him over $3,500.00 to publish
> and promote my book which he did NOT do until TODAY April
> 2nd, 2012 after I threatened to go public with the text
> messages being that he wanted to have RAW sex with me
> knowing that I am HIV Positive. He speaks about safe sex and
> is an advocate of HIV awareness yet he does not practice
> what he preach.
>
> I am coming to you to help me call him out as I am reaching
> out to lots of people. Someone has to stop him as I am
> finding out, I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE.
>
> Please help me. My cell is 770-873-
>
> THANK YOU
>

JL King Publishing, LLC Time Line

July 30th, 2011

I contacted Mr. King through a mutual friend on Face Book and sent him a message letting him know that I was a new author and to check out my Facebook FanPage. I also let him know that my book was going to be released very soon via email as I already had a publisher.

August 16th, 2011

I met with Mr. King at Starbucks in downtown Atlanta to discuss book and contract. Mr. King told me not to call him Mr. King, but to call him “Daddy” going forward.

August 17th, 2011

Initiated and signed contract with JL King Publishing. I paid $2,000.00. Mr. King assured that I would have 100% rights to book. Mr. King initialed and said he would lower contract by $500.00 because I didn’t have the full $2,500.00 that he typically required for new authors.

Mr. King started sending me sexual explicit text messages and emails through FaceBook asking for sex.

August 25th, 2011

I did a photo shoot and allowed naked photo’s to be taken for reduction of contract.

August 27th, 2011

The website for Eyes Without A Face was up and running with the script that I had written and not edited. I did not have password or pass code even thou my contracted stated that the website was mine. The website was running to take in pre-orders.

September 9th,2011

I did my 1st video shoot for my book and paid $75.00 and it was posted on Youtube.

September 25th, 2011

I sent the first payment for print of 250 books through Paypal in the amount of $510.00.

September 27th, 2011

Mr. King finally completed the rewrite of Eyes Without A Face and editing was suppose to begin right away. He sent the rewritten copy to his ghost writer (Katrice Hatten) for her to make the final edits before print.

October 10th,2011

I did an interview and appeared on Mr. King’s talk show called “Real Talk TV with JL King. This was my first interview
for the book as he stated and was posted to Youtube.

October 12th,2011

Mr. King informed me about a book signing event that was being held at the West End Mall on November 5th, 6th and 12th. But I had no books nor was editing completed so I did not attend.

November 5th,2011

I notified Mr. King about a you tube video posted in regards to a scandal that he had done towards someone else
and he posted a message on his Facebook page that stated,”This message is for Samuel Holloway. Quit letting your
haters steal your joy. Practice faith over fear. I pray foryour strength. The message was in regards to a video that
Delvon Johnson had produced about me taken by Mr. King.

November 16th,2011

Editing from Mr. King’s editor was finally completed. I was charged a total of $800.00 which he stated that he would pay $250.00 and I would have to pay $550.00 for extensive editing that needed to be done. But editing was included in the contract.

November 23rd, 2011

Mr. King was notified website was not edited properly from date of open until now. I have missed sales opportunities
because of unedited website. I still do have any access to my website at this point.

November 15th, 2011

I paid for the balance of my books to be printed with a cashiers check in the amount of $462.00. ($972.00 total paid
> in advance for 250 books) to be received in 7-11 business days after date of payment received.

December 9th, 2011

I received 100 books and was told shipment had to be split for holiday rush. The company was backed up with printing books due to the end of the year and company had many other orders to fill that were ahead of mines. I would receive the balance of 150 book no later than January 5th, 2012. Books were delivered with 63 errors total.

December 27th,2011

Mr. King continued to send explicit text messages asking for RAW sex being that I have received the 1st shipment of books. He even knew my status of being HIV Positive and he still demanded RAW sex.

December 27th, 2011

Mr. King tagged my FaceBook page with a cover of the entire book with no statement or promotion.

December 30th, 2011

Mr. King posted an email about his new authors (myself & Andrew J. Rainey) that joined his company.

January 10th, 2012

I had a TV interview in Minneapolis On February 9th, 2012, and they wanted to purchase 100 books while I was there to avoid the shipping and handling fee. I had this appointment set up on January 6th, 2012, and Mr. King was notified via Facebook email on January 8th, 2012. I was told to bring books once I arrived.

February 9th, 2012

Received my second shipment of books that were delivered to Mr. King.

February 17th, 2012

Mr. King told me that once I come pick up the shipment of books from him that he wants to bend me over the 3 boxes that he had of my books and “fuck me RAW and SKEET in my hole.”

Mr. King recorded a video about my Rape and 10 year anniversary of getting raped. I also took a picture with he and I holding my book.

March 3rd, 2012

Mr. King texted me and told me to stop advertising on Facebook because I had already beat that horse dead and to look up different organizations with their email address and contact information to start advertising with them.

March 28th, 2012

Mr. King texted me and asked was I ready to order more books and to get ready to hit the road and come off of Facebook promoting. I told him to help me start promoting them so I could sell them faster.

March 30th, 2012

Mr. King texted me and said that he was going to delete me from Face Book because I need to speak about a new message (and not GOD) and that it’s a turn off.

April 1st, 2012

I sent Mr. King a message letting him know that I spoke with a lawyer in regards to him Breaching his contract, no
advertisement and explicit sexual text messages and I told him I wanted to terminate my contract right away. Mr. King
then called me, and I told him the same thing verbally and he stated to draw up a letter documenting what I wanted and he would end our contract and give me what I wanted.

April 1, 2012

Mr. King tagged me in a post talking about my book Eyes Without A Face, along with the cover of my book and send an email to yahoo account regarding getting my book out there with his new promotion company.

Samuel P. Holloway III

— On Sun, 11/27/11, Sameul Holloway wrote:

> From: Sameul Holloway
> Subject: Questions & Concerns
> To: “JL King”
> Cc: “Me”
> Date: Sunday, November 27, 2011, 5:12 PM
> Hello Mr. King,
>
> I am very concerned. This book has been pushed back now
> since October 8th, 2011. I paid August 17th my fee and we
> had an expectation of October 8th, 2011 for the finished
> copy.
>
> I understand the delay there with editing………
>
> Now that time has come and gone and we are approaching
> December in 3 days.
>
> From your previous email sent on Nov. 4th, 2011, you stated
> this:
>
> 1. Formatting
> 2. Back cover and spine finished
> 3. Galley copy for you to approve
> 4. Order 250 books for delivery
>
> Total time for above 3 – 4 weeks. I would guest a release
> date should be Dec 15th (could be before) I am pushing
> for ASAP…
>
> As your customer I should be able to express my concerns and
> not have you get irritated. We should be able to communicate
> if the process is not going smoothly or in a timely manner
> as addressed previous. Neither of these have been going
> right.
>
> As a paying customer who has paid upfront, I would like to
> see the product. I have been made promises that have not
> been met and I just want my product.
>
> I am not trying to come at you incorrect or blow things out
> of proportion but I want you to understand how I feel about
> the situation at hand.
>
> PLEASE PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES…..
>
> I paid for something and I don’t see what I have paid for.
> You should be able to understand that hands down.
>
> Furthermore, you still have $510.00 of mines in your
> possession for the print of the books.
>
> I would like an actually date please of the following:
>
> Front/Spine/Back cover for book….
> Galley Copy….
> When can I place my order and have an actually invoice for
> what I want to order verses a verbal amount….
> When can I notify those people who have already paid that
> they will have a product also….
> And finally, 2 speaking engagements per your contract and a
> media blast….
>
> Please uphold your end of the deal as I have already paid in
> advance.
>
> Thank you
>
> Samuel P. Holloway III
>

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ann Romney Is No Eleanor Roosevelt

By now we have all heard A LOT of discussion about what Hillary Rosen said about Ann Romney's qualifications to give advice on the issues that face working women in America. While Rosen could have phrased her critique better, she was absolutely on point. A better, more politically conscious headline from Rosen might have said something like this:

Ann Romney Is No Eleanor Roosevelt


While Ann Romney deserves the utmost respect for having stayed at home and reared her children, there have actually been women of Ann Romney's class and station who not only could speak to the conditions and concerns of the impoverished in America, but who made it their business to set into action reforms that would better the lives of the poor and the disadvantaged. These were the social pioneers of the late 19th and early 20th Century who brought into being the field of social work, who pressed the government into action over housing, sanitation, equality in access to education, and other social causes that stood to advance all of humanity. One such woman did occupy the White House and that was none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. Unlike Ann Romney, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, before she became first lady or entered public life, risked life and limb and took the subway every day from her upper-class home into the slums of New York City in order to educate and immerse herself into the daily lives of the people she sought to help. She stood as their advocate and put her body against the wheel of time and justice to see that the people received their just due. Did Ann Romney ever go to India to witness the immense poverty and suffering of that country first hand? No. But Eleanor Roosevelt did. She also single-handedly oversaw the creation of the singular document that has ensured the human rights and the proper valuation of human life around the globe--the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights that serves to this day to guide the world as how each and every member of humanity is supposed to be treated in any given place on the planet. We have a lot to be thankful to Eleanor Roosevelt for. What, praytell, has Ann Romney done on behalf of humanity and the greater cause of justice?



Tuesday, April 03, 2012

George Zimmerman's Criminal Past Exposed: Criminal Battery of a Police Officer and Domestic Violence




George Zimmerman has a history of run-ins with the law and other violent incidents in his past. Take a look at the link above.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rosa Parks: From Cousin Betty

On the day she refused to yield her bus seat to a white man, Rosa Parks was remembering Emmett Till. The Chicago teen had been lynched in Mississippi only a few months before Parks' protest. His choked, axed, beaten and shot body was one of the sparks igniting the modern civil rights movement. I believe Trayvon Martin's unjustified and unpunished killing will help launch a stronger movement for equal justice.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RIP Adrienne Rich

Today, we have lost one our giants. Adrienne Rich, one of the mothers of modern feminism, post-modernism, and contemporary literature.


1929-2012

Friday, March 02, 2012

"The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. The Nation. July 11, 1966.