Monthly Archives: August 2009
“On Sunday, the 15th of July, about noon, we were at Hunters Point and they put on us what we now know was the atomic bomb.” – Capt. Charles B. McVay III, U.S. Navy commanding officer, USS Indianapolis (from the Operational Archives Branch, Naval Historical Center)
Sadly, over the years, we have lost many of our friends and family members as a direct result of practices and policies that demean and devalue lives within prison walls. This mentality allows atrocities to occur far from the public’s watchful eye. We are sure that if the citizens of this country knew what occurs – not in some distant foreign country – but within our own borders, there would surely be a call for immediate reform.
Very few things in life make me feel the way I feel when I come in contact with the work of a dope visual artist. It is amazing to me how, from a thought and a few strokes of the hand, a whole new world can be created that has crossed the dimension of the artist’s mind to exist in tangible reality. What is even more striking to me is an artist with a social or political agenda that refuses to make art for art’s sake.
On Aug. 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina took the lives of more than 1,836 people, displaced more than 1 million residents, and damaged more than 200,000 Gulf Coast homes in a 90,000 square mile area. The damage caused by the flooding, storm surge and high winds destroyed schools, hospitals, roads, community centers, bridges, parks and forestlands. In the end, the Gulf Coast suffered more than $100 billion in damage, making Katrina the costliest and most deadly hurricane in the history of the United States.
A powerful component of 2008 presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s five-day San Francisco Bay View newspaper fundraising tour, Aug. 20-24, is the developing bond between Ms. McKinney and a group of young adults in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. Several representatives of these young adults spent every waking and sleeping minute with Cynthia.
One is hard pressed to find media accounts of what the Congolese people want or how they believe that the United States could best play a constructive role in ending the suffering in the Congo. Considering that the United States has played a significant historical role in the stifling of the democratic aspirations of the Congolese people and the backing of the 1996 and 1998 invasions of the Congo by its allies, Rwanda and Uganda, which unleashed what the United Nations say is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II, it is important to hear directly from the Congolese people regarding U.S. engagement in the Congo.
On July 23 the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC) kicked off the “You Can Kill a Revolutionary ... But You Can’t Kill the Revolution Tour” in Oakland, California, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party.
In their fight against the push to privatize their state park, Bayview Hunters Point activists are fighting the privatization of California as hard as anyone I know. They’re fighting for all of us, so I hope that other Californians who don’t want to see the whole state on the auction block will contact their Assembly representatives and ask them to vote against Senate Bill 792.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney sent an email around on Sunday in which she wrote: “[I]t has just now come to my attention that a ‘journalist’ who suggested that I be lynched was actually being paid by our own government to say that. Now, when I reported it to the FBI, how in the world was I to know that he was at that time on the FBI’s payroll?”
The Bush administration holdovers on the U.S. Parole Commission today adopted the position of the FBI that anyone who may be implicated in the killings of its agents should never be paroled and should be left to die in prison. The commission denied Leonard Peltier's application for parole and set a reconsideration hearing in July 2024.
The MAGIC Back-to-School Celebration and Backpack Giveaway, the largest of its kind in San Francisco, will kick off the academic year by distributing 5,000 new backpacks stuffed with school supplies to kids and teens tomorrow, Aug. 22, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at two locations: Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St., and the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, 1050 McAllister St.
Charles Manson cheerleader Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme walked free last week through the front doors of Fort Worth Federal Prison. Fromme attempted in 1974 to assassinate then President Gerald R. Ford. Native American spiritual leader Leonard Peltier has also served almost 35 years behind bars for a crime that has never been proven. So it would seem to be a no brainer: If you’re going to release Fromme, still a self-proclaimed Manson supporter, it’s time to free this internationally revered indigenous leader who was clearly framed by the government and then ground through the racist prison system.
In many ways, Black August, at least in the West, begins in Haiti. It is the Blackest August possible — revolution and resultant liberation from bondage. From its earliest days, Haiti was declared an asylum for escaped slaves, and a place of refuge for any person of African or American Indian descent.
I remember back in the good ol’ days of 2005 and 2006 when being against the wars was not only politically correct, but it was very popular. Those were the halcyon days of the anti-war movement before the Democrats took over the government – off of the backs of the anti-war movement – and it became anathema to be against the wars and I became unpopular on all sides.
After three years under siege and a recent Israeli-led offensive, Gaza continues to suffer. No materials for rebuilding are allowed in, and education and industry continue to be stifled. Despite a devastating military bombardment last winter and continuing economic blockade, the people of Gaza are still demanding freedom.
This month marks four years since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The world saw who was left behind when Katrina hit. The same people have been left behind in the “rebuilding.” In the rebuilding, those with money have done OK. Those without have not. It is the American way. Here is a statistical snapshot illustrating some of the legacy of Katrina and the U.S. response.
Recently, the Bay View newspaper won the SF Bay Guardian’s 2009 Best of the Bay Award for best local newspaper because we are a “fight-back” publication. While at the party, I ran into my media-making buddies from Distortion 2 Static, a local Hip Hop TV show, who had also won a 2009 Best of the Bay Award, theirs for best local TV show, and I thought about the fact that I had never written anything to expose our readers to what they do.
San Franciscans have a right to be outraged about SB 792, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Leno. SB 792 unnecessarily gives away a valuable California State Park in exchange for high-rise condominiums. If San Franciscans allow parkland that was set aside in trust for Californians to enjoy to be transferred to private developers, we risk opening a Pandora’s box that allows development to go unfettered in state parks already threatened by budget cuts.
The 9,000 U.N. troops in Haiti are paid over $601.58 million per year and have been in Haiti for four years. That is $50.13 million per month, $1.64 million per day. Yet, during the recent floods and hurricane season in Haiti, the Haitian president had to call for international help from the international community. Wasn’t that help already in Haiti, to the tune of 9,000 U.N. – MINUSTAH – troops already cashing in $1.64 million per day?
The recent violent and furious protests by armed sign carriers at town hall meetings, called to discuss health care reforms, recall not the democratic discussions New England used to be famous for so much as distant white protests against civil rights reforms. Cartoons disparaging the president and his family bring to mind an earlier time when Blacks were routinely ridiculed in the nation’s press.