Mr. Simmie Williams

Mr. Simmie Williams

Mr. Simmie Williams

Funeral services for Mr. Simmie Lee Williams Munch of Americus, Georgia will be held on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:00 A.M. at the Americus Pentecostal Church on Magnolia Street in Americus, Georgia with Elder Henry Louis officiating. Burial will follow at the Eastview Cemetery.

Mr. Simmie Lee Williams was born on April 10, 1946 in Americus, Georgia to the late Walter Williams and the late Gladys Jackson Williams. Simmie affectionately known as “Munch” attended Eastview Elementary and Staley High Public Schools. In his earlier years, Munch was a great artist and enjoyed singing. He also had a passion for working on cars. He was always willing to help others. Simmie resided at the Pines Personal Care Home in Albany Georgia until his health failed. He was humorous and love attending bible study. On June 29, 2014 God called him home. He was preceded in death by five siblings.

He is survived by two sisters; Johnnie Mae Hale (Jimmie) of Jonesboro Georgia and Delores Davis of Temecula California; four brothers: Daniel Lee Williams of Santa Monica, California, Edward Lee Williams (Patricia), Windsor Connecticut; Fletcher Lee Williams (Anita) of Americus Georgia and Grover Earl Williams of Americus, Georgia; one aunt, Viola Williams of Covington, Georgia; one uncle, John Henry Williams of Hartford Connecticut; Several nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. Amos King

Mr. Amos King

Mr. Amos King

Funeral services for Mr. Amos King of Americus, Georgia will be Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11:00 A.M. at Scott’s Mater C.M.E Church in Americus, Georgia with Pastor James Jackson officiating. Burial will follow at the Hill cemetery.

Mr. Amos King, affectionately known as “Snapper”, was born in Americus, GA on September 9, 1953 to Mr. George King and the late Mrs. Estelle King. He was educated in the Sumter County School System and worked as a truck driver for Georgia Farm Products.

Amos died on June 9, 2014 at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Georgia. He was preceded in death by his mother Mrs. Estella King; two brothers: James Johnson and Cleveland “Big Daddy” King; a sister Ms. Nancy Grace King; and an aunt he loved as a mother, Mrs. Mattie Brown.

Amos leaves to cherish his memories his father Mr. George King of Americus, GA; a devoted companion of 21 years, Ms. Ann Sutton; four children he raised as his own: Demetria Sutton, Rashard Sutton, Afrika West (Curtis), Joseph Smith and grandson Rikeem Sutton, all of Leesburg, GA; four sisters: Marilyn Jackson of Americus, GA, Betty (Nathan) Jordan of Vienna, GA, Georgia Clemons (Chris Lewis) of Americus, GA and Ruby King Orlando, FL; three aunts: Mrs. Claudette H. Johnson of Vienna, GA, Mrs. Bertha Adams and Mrs. Eleanor (Isaiah) Charleston of Orlando, FL; six nieces: Amela (Dirk) Ingram, Tamika, Lakisha and Angela King, Taketa King-Bert and April (Ryan) Olson; eight nephews: Eddie and Edward Jackson, Timothy and Michael King, Cleveland Jr., Christopher and Jason Jordan and Christopher Ferguson; devoted cousins: Otis, Calvin, Bernice and Cora Brown; devoted friends: Hamm Monts, Calvin Robinson Early, Betty A. J. Walters, Rundall and George. A host of other relatives and friends survive.

Mr. Eddie L. Walters, Jr.

Mr. Eddie L. Walters, Jr.

Mr. Eddie L. Walters, Jr.

Mr. Eddie L. Walters, Jr. age 42 of Americus, Georgia passed away on Saturday, June 14, 2014, at the Green Acres Health and Rehab Center in Milledgeville GA. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:00 A.M at Union Tabernacle Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Staley Memorial Gardens.

Eddie Lee Walters, Jr. was born on August 2, 1971 in Detroit, MI to Eddie Lee Walters, Sr. and Johnnie Mae Williams Walters. Eddie grew up in Detroit, MI and moved to Americus, GA in the late 80’s. He graduated from Americus High School in 1988 at the age of 16. Eddie began attending Georgia Southwestern College in 1989, where he majored in Psychology and Education. He became a father on December 29, 1993, when his daughter Crystal Nicole Walters was born. Eddie had a thirst for music, learning, and for helping others. He held various jobs, which included positions at Sumter Regional Hospital, Middle Flint Behavioral Healthcare, Good Works. In the Fall of 1994 his met his first love, Leslie Middleton, and they were married on September 16, 1997. From their union was born Benjamin James Davis Walters (January 4, 1998) and Jordan Alexander Walters (January 31, 2001). Eddie loved family above all else and strived to be an outstandingly devoted father and husband. In 1999, Eddie was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure and battled this disease for 16 long years. Throughout his medical struggles, Eddie continued to believe and have faith in God and encouraged his family to attend church and put God at the forefront of their lives. In November 2005, Eddie joined Shipp Chapel Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Daniel Clinton. Eddie loved attending bible study and, until the end, had faith that God would heal his earthly body. However, God had other plans and called Eddie home to rest on June 14, 2014.

He is survived by is his Loving and devoted wife, Leslie Middleton Walters; his loving children Crystal Nicole Walters, Benjamin James Davis Walters and Jordan Alexander Walters; his father, Eddie L. Walters, Sr. (Anita); his mother Johnnie Hale (Jimmie); brothers: Shadeed Williams and Craytonio Conley; one sister, Sekeithia Denise Walters (Tierre); mother-in-Law, Dorothy Middleton (Ralph); aunts: Deloris Davis, Deborah Bell (Morris), Christine Walters, Sekeithia Gayle Walters and Cora Battle Towns; uncles: Havolia Walters, Darryl (Claudia) Walters, Simmie Williams, Daniel Williams, Edward Williams (Patricia), Fletcher (Anita) Williams and Grover Earl Williams; great aunt, Mary Leoney; sisters-in-Law: Teresa Middleton and Hillary Middleton; great uncle, Aaron Walters, Sr. Several other family and friends also survive.

Mr. James Arthur Larkins

Mr. James Arthur Larkins

Mr. James Arthur Larkins

Mr. James Arthur Larkins was born on February 7, 1963 in Sumter County to the parentage of the late Mr. Arthur Willis Larkins and Mrs. Mattie Pearl Wilkerson Larkins who survives. He was a member of Triedstone Baptist Church. He is preceded in death by a brother Mr. Travis Collins.

He leaves to mourn his passing a loving mother, Mrs. Mattie Pearl Larkins, Americus, GA; a son, Mr. Miko Kitchens, Americus, GA; one brother, Mr. Christopher Larkins, Americus, GA; three sisters, Ms. Shirley Sims, Ms. Carolyn Larkin and Ms. Barbara Prince all of Americus, GA; his companion Ms. Ella Gloria Tyner, Americus, GA; his aunts & uncles, Mr. James Larkins, Mr. Tom Wilkerson, Ms. Mary McCant, Ms. Hazel Williams, Ms. Ethel Mae Larkins, and Ms. Queen Esther Larkins; a god mother, Ms. Emma Kate Lowe, Americus, GA; a loving nephew Mr. Christopher Lorenzo Larkins, Jr. and devoted friends Mr. Preston Davis, Ms. Lorraine King and Ms. Anjeanetta Williams and a host of other relatives also survive.




Bishop John Thomas Taylor was born in Webster County on February 17, 1935 to the parentage of the late Mr. Stout Taylor and the late Mrs. Celia Shelton Taylor. He received his education in the Webster County School System. At an early age, he joined the Pillar Ground Truth under the late Evangelist Stakley, later he joined the Healing Temple Holiness under the late Bishop P.J. Welch. On January 1, 1975, Inspirational Church By Faith was born. He pastored this movement faithfully for 35 years, after which he passed the reign to his oldest son, Elder Larry Taylor. On January 14, 1956 he married the love of his life, Mrs. Lois Teen Russell Taylor and their union was blessed with 11 children. He was employed and retired from Parker’s Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc.. He is preceded in death by seven sisters, Elma Culliver, Thelma Hurley, Georgia Lee Broner, Rosie Lee Young, Essie Johnson, Annie Colbert and Tommie L. Brown.

He leaves to mourn his loving wife of 58 years, Mrs. Lois Teen Russell Taylor, Americus, GA; five sons, Elder Larry (Lillie) Taylor, Mr. Lafayette Taylor, Americus, GA, Mr. Dennis (Faye) Taylor, Decatur, GA, Mr. Darion Taylor, Atlanta, GA and Mr. Phares (Tanya) Taylor, Leesburg, GA; six daughters, Mrs. Alice (Bobby) Payne, Mrs. Tameka (Samuel), Americus, GA, Mrs. Samantha (Rodney) Jackson, Leesburg, GA, Mrs. Ulanni (Chris) Moore, Ms. Joyce T. Williams Columbus, GA, Ms. Shervon Taylor, Plantation, FL; four sisters, Ms. Ceola Roberts, Mrs. Lady B Sims, Mrs. Lillie Mae (Robert) Cladd and Ms. Elnora (Wash) Girven all of Americus, GA; twenty six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; a devoted sister-in-law, Ms. Mattie Waters, Americus, GA; five brothers-in-law, Mr. Alex Brown, Mr. James (Mary) Russell, Mr. S.T. (Lola) Sampson, Americus, GA, Mr. Charles Russell, Newark, NJ and Mr. Eddie (Dot) Sampson; one aunt, Ms. Ilois Shelton, Albany, GA; his god children, Mrs. Allene (Harry) King, Mrs. Betty (James) Johnson, Minister Lorice (Charlie) Griffin, Mrs. Barbara (Carl Sr.) Edmonds, Mrs. Alisha (Lee) Minnis, and Mr. Carl “C.J” Edmonds, Jr.; and a host of nieces, nephews, including a devoted nephew reared like a brother, Mr. Johnny B. Thomas, cousins including a devoted cousin who was reared as a brother Mr. Johnny B.(Freddie) Thomas also survive.




Mrs. Irene Watts Laster was born August 1, 1916 in Sumter County, Georgia to the parentage of the late Mr. Joe Watts and the late Mrs. Sara P. Collier Watts. She received her education in the public schools of Sumter County. At an early age, she joined the Greater New Lebanon Baptist Church. Irene was joined in Holy Matrimony to the late Mr. L.C. Laster, Sr. and to this union eight children were born. She loved fishing, music, flowers, dancing and had a wonderful sense of humor. Irene was a housewife who was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. She is preceded in death by her two sons, Ernest Monts and Joe Laster, Sr.; two daughters, Irene Grier and Sarah Ann Roberts; and three grandsons: Magarick Lassiter, Richard Lassiter and Charlie Grier.

She leaves to mourn her passing, one daughter, Mrs. Vera (James) Robertson, Ellaville, GA, three sons: Mr. Charlie (Ida) Lassiter, Albany, GA, Mr. L.C. (Lorraine) Lassiter, Americus, GA, Mr. Willie (Lisa) Laster, Montezuma, GA; one sister-in-law, Ms. Lizzie Pearl Laster, Jacksonville, FL; 39 grandchildren: Mary Baisden, Gail Roberts, Shelia Roberts, Melvin (Melinda) Roberts, Jerry Roberts, Priscilla Roberts, Joe Roberts, Jr., Shanica (Bryant) Floyd, Rodney (Willie Ann) Lewis, Kawanda Lewis, Brianna Robertson, Paul (Shelia) Williams, Christopher (Kierstin) Laster, Joe Hayes, Victor Laster, Barbara (Enricky) Pope, Melissa Laster, Joe Laster, Jr., Leonard (Pamela) Lassiter, Timothy Lassiter, Shebreka Lassiter, Jacinta Lassiter, Terrance Lassiter, Jennifer Angry, Charlie Laster, Jr., Anthony Laster, Kaneitra Laster, Marcus Laster, Willie Laster, Jr., James Laster, Lakeisha Hightower, Jonisia Wicker, Brandon and John Jackson, Brenda Jackson, Johnny (Tatotshia) Grier and a granddaughter she raised, Lillie Myers; and a host of great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends also survive.

Mr. Timothy Ray Tyson

Mr. Timothy Ray Tyson

Mr. Timothy Ray Tyson

Mr. Timothy Ray Tyson was born in Sumter County, Georgia on October 28, 1966 to the parentage of the late Mr. Eddie Clifford Tyson and the late Mrs. Clotelle Brown Tyson. He received his education in the public schools of Sumter County. He was an independent Contractor. He is also preceded in death by a sister, Teresa Tyson and a brother, Robert Asberry, Jr.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his children, Chiquita Tyson, Tevin Tyson, Dondre Denmark and Donisha Denmark all of Americus, GA; his grandchildren, Taju Thomas, Isyss Tyson, Kerstin Tyson and Zykaylin Denmark; four sisters, Mrs. Rosa (Deacon Calvin) Sims, Ms. Gerladine Tyson, Americus, GA, Ms. Gloria Tyson and friend (Elder J. B. Jackson) and Ms. Laurie D. Tyson, Columbus, GA; three brothers, Mr. Joseph (Brenda) Tyson, Mr. Melvin Tyson, Columbus, GA and Mr. Eddie Tyson, Americus, GA; his god-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Tyson; one aunt, Mrs. Catherine “Aunt Toby” Tyson, Plains, GA; two cousins who were like brothers, Mr. Leonard Tyson and Mr. Jerome Tyson, Americus, GA; a sister-in-law, Ms. Doris Tyson, Americus, GA; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.




Mr. Alonzo Mack, Jr. was born in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia on June 21, 1950 to the parentage of the late Mr. Alonzo Mack and the late Mrs. Mazerine Mitchell Mack. He received his education in the Bibb and Macon Counties. He was employed by Peak Textiles in shipping and receiving. Years later, he became a truck driver for Saint Trucking and Underwood Trucking until his health declined. “Boot”, as he was affectionately known, loved people and enjoyed making them laugh with his wise cracks about them.

Alonzo was married to the late Ms. Mary Ann Sims Mack and to their union, one child was born. In addition to his wife, he is preceded in death by a nephew, Willie C. Durham; an aunt, Ms. Irene Mitchell; and an uncle, Mr. Jessie Lee Wadell.

He leaves to cherish his memories: a daughter, Ms. Peggy Ann Mack (Kyle), Americus, GA; a family friend whom he raised as his daughter, Mrs. Victoria (Charles) Burrell, Dallas, TX; his sister, Ms. Mary Helen Durham; his brothers: Mr. John Mack, Mr. Robert (Joann) Mack, Americus, GA and Mr. Roscoe Bell, Bronx, NY; five grandsons: Jarrian P. Walter, Nikkolis Walters, Trevor Hall, Jr., all of Americus, GA, Quavious James and Roger Jackson, IV, both of Dallas, TX; two granddaughters, Briana Hall of Kentucky and LaSandra Burton, Americus, GA; his mother-in-law, Ms. Lizzie Sims, Americus, GA; his aunt, Mrs. Clottee Wadell, Albany, GA; his sisters-in-law: Ms. Evelyn Foster, Ms. Janie Sims, Ms. Lizzie Sims (Matthew), Ms. Rebecca Jackson, all of Americus, GA, Ms. Alice Paige, Lithonia, GA; his nieces: Angela Henderson, Rebecca Kellogg, Kimberly Mack, Gabrielle Mack, Angela Smith, Christina Smith, Cathy Thomas, Angela Boddie, Denisha Mack and Jami Mack; his nephews: Dudley Durham, George Durham, Edgar Durham, Cantrell Johnson, John Smith, Anthony Lockhart, Sherman Bell, Roscoe Bell, Jr. and Robert Bernard Mack; and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends, including devoted friends: Mr. Joe Mable, Mr. Charlie Morgan, Mr. William Smith, Mr. Joe Dodson, Mr. Albert Barthell, Mr. Eli Fudge, Mr. Chris Powell and Mr. Joe White just to name a few, also survive.

Asthma Overview


Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs.

If you have asthma your airways are always inflamed. They become even more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something triggers your symptoms. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness.

For many asthma sufferers, timing of these symptoms is closely related to physical activity. And, some otherwise healthy people can develop asthma symptoms only when exercising. This is called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), or exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Staying active is an important way to stay healthy, so asthma shouldn\’t keep you on the sidelines. Your physician can develop a management plan to keep your symptoms under control before, during and after physicial activity. People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more prone to developing asthma. Many people with asthma also have allergies. This is called allergic asthma.

Occupational asthma is caused by inhaling fumes, gases, dust or other potentially harmful substances while on the job. Childhood asthma impacts millions of children and their families. In fact, the majority of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five.

There is no cure for asthma, but once it is properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place you will be able to manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve.

An allergist / immunologist is the best qualified physician in diagnosing and treating asthma. With the help of your allergist, you can take control of your condition and participate in normal activities.

Asthma Symptoms

According to the leading experts in asthma, the symptoms of asthma and best treatment for you or your child may be quite different than for someone else with asthma. The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include:

Shortness of breath

Chest tightness or pain

Chronic coughing

Trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing

Asthma symptoms, also called asthma flare-ups or asthma attacks, are often caused by allergies and exposure to allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen or mold. Non-allergic triggers include smoke, pollution or cold air or changes in weather. Asthma symptoms may be worse during exercise, when you have a cold or during times of high stress.

Children with asthma may show the same symptoms as adults with asthma: coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. In some children chronic cough may be the only symptom.

If your child has one or more of these common symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist / immunologist:

Coughing that is constant or that is made worse by viral infections, happens while your child is asleep, or is triggered by exercise and cold air

Wheezing or whistling sound when your child exhales

Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise

Chest tightness (a young child may say that his chest “hurts” or “feels funny”)

Fatigue (your child may slow down or stop playing)

Problems feeding or grunting during feeding (infants)

Avoiding sports or social activities

Problems sleeping due to coughing or difficulty breathing

Patterns in asthma symptoms are important and can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Pay attention to when symptoms occur:

At night or early morning

During or after exercise

During certain seasons

After laughing or crying

When exposed to common asthma triggers

Asthma Diagnosis


An allergist diagnoses asthma by taking a thorough medical history and performing breathing tests to measure how well your lungs work.One of these tests is called spirometry. You will take a deep breath and blow into a sensor to measure the amount of air your lungs can hold and the speed of the air you inhale or exhale. This test diagnoses asthma severity and measures how well treatment is working.Many people with asthma also have allergies, so your doctor may perform allergy testing. Treating the underlying allergic triggers for your asthma will help you avoid asthma symptoms.

There is no cure for asthma, but symptoms can be controlled with effective asthma treatment and management. This involves taking your medications as directed and learning to avoid triggers that cause your asthma symptoms. Your allergist will prescribe the best medications for your condition and provide you with specific instructions for using them. Controller medications are taken daily and include inhaled corticosteroids (fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA), budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler), mometasone (Asmanex), ciclesonide (Alvesco), flunisolide (Aerobid), beclomethasone (Qvar) and others). Combination inhalers contain an inhaled corticosteroid plus a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA). LABAs are symptom-controllers that are helpful in opening your airways. However, in certain people they may carry some risks. LABAs should never be prescribed as the sole therapy for asthma. Current recommendations are for them to be used only along with inhaled corticosteroids. Combination medications include fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair Diskus, Advair HFA), budesonide and formoterol (Symbicort), and mometasone and formoterol (Dulera). Leukotriene modifiers are oral medications that include montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate) and zileuton (Zyflo, Zyflo CR). Quick-relief or rescue medications are used to quickly relax and open the airways and relieve symptoms during an asthma flare-up, or are taken before exercising if prescribed. These include: short-acting beta-agonists. These inhaled bronchodilator (brong-koh-DIE-lay-tur) medications include albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, others), levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA) and pirbuterol (Maxair Autohaler). Quick-relief medications do not take the place of controller medications. If you rely on rescue relief more than twice a week, it is time to see your allergist. Oral and intravenous corticosteroids may be required for acute asthma flare-ups or for severe symptoms. Examples include prednisone and methylprednisolone. They can cause serious side effects if used on a long term basis. Visit the AAAAI Drug Guide for a complete list of medications commonly used to treat asthma. If you are pregnant, you may be hesitant about taking medications, including those for asthma. This can be a mistake for your health and that of your baby-to-be. Continue taking your prescribed asthma medications and make an appointment with your allergist to discuss treatments that will help you have a healthy pregnancy. Additionally, you may want to enroll in a study designed to monitor medications and pregnancy. People with asthma are at risk of developing complications from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. That is why it is important for asthma sufferers, especially adults, to get vaccinated annually. With proper treatment and an asthma management plan, you can minimize your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.


Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis

osteoporosisBy NEIL SKOLNIK, M.D

The National Osteoporosis Foundation released new 2014 guidelines for the treatment and management of osteoporosis for postmenopausal women and men over the age of 50 years.

Osteoporosis definition

Osteoporosis is defined by a bone mineral density (BMD) measurement (T score) less than or equal to 2.5 standard deviations (SD) below the mean for a young adult reference population, or the occurrence of a hip or vertebral fracture without preceding major trauma. Osteopenia is established by BMD testing showing a T score between 1.0-2.5 SD below a young adult reference population.

Assess patient’s risk for fracture

All postmenopausal women and men above age 50 years should be evaluated for risk of osteoporosis in order to determine the need for BMD testing and/or vertebral imaging. In addition, all patients should be evaluated for their risk of falling, since the majority of osteoporosis-related fractures occur because of a fall.

The WHO FRAX tool, may be used in order to calculate the 10-year probability of a hip fracture and the 10-year probability of a major osteoporotic fracture (clinical vertebral, hip, forearm or proximal humerus fracture). Risk of fracture can be calculated either with or without availability of BMD. The 10-year probability of fracture can be used to determine the need for pharmacologic treatment.


Bone mineral density testing Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) imaging of the hip and spine can diagnose or confirm osteoporosis. Testing should be considered in:

Women aged 65 years and older and men 70 years of age and older, regardless of clinical risk factors.

Patients of either sex who are aged between 50-69 years with clinical risk factors.

Patients with a fracture after age 50 years.

And patients with conditions (for example, rheumatoid arthritis) or on medications (for example, glucocorticoids) associated with low bone mass or bone loss.

Vertebral imaging

A single vertebral fracture increases the risk of subsequent vertebral and hip fractures, is consistent with the diagnosis of osteoporosis, and is an indication for pharmacologic treatment regardless of BMD. New to these guidelines is a recommendation for a proactive screening effort for vertebral fractures using lateral thoracic and lumbar spine x-ray or by lateral vertebral fracture assessment (VFA). Indications for vertebral imaging are:

Many White Patients Don’t Want Black Nurses or Doctors

dartmouth-old-lady-black-doctorBy, yvette

When African-American nurse Tonya Battle of the Hurley Medical Center (NICU) in Michigan was reassigned because a white father didn’t want her anywhere near his newborn child, she was floored. The racist father had made the request after showing the charge nurse a picture of his swastika tattoo. As it turns out, however, Battle is not alone in being discriminated against in this way.

In Battle’s 2012 case, a staff meeting ended with the hospital indulging the racist father and not allowing African-American nurses near the infant. According to Al Jazeera there was even a note posted to alert staffers: “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY.”

Battle later sued Hurley Medical Center for employment discrimination and settled out of court, but this sort of discrimination is far more common than most people think.

“I think it happens a lot,” Julie Gafkay, Battle’s attorney, told Al Jazeera. “I have 20 plaintiffs in the last year who have been subjected to this type of discrimination.”

Another case involved an African-American nurse who was wrongly fired because a white patient did not want any African-Americans caring for him.

In a 2012 study, Kimani Paul-Emile, a professor of law and biomedical ethics at Fordham University, wrote “patients routinely refuse or demand medical treatment based on the assigned physician’s racial identity, and hospitals typically yield to patients’ racial preferences.”

Since patients know it’s politically incorrect to be overtly racist, they often make up reasons for getting rid of their black health care providers.

“They come up with different ways to do it. I talked to this one doctor who said there are these older ladies who will say, ‘You know, I want a Jewish doctor, I just think a Jewish doctor is better,” wrote Paul-Emile.

Dr. Meghan Lane-Fall, who is African-American, says the bias impacts black doctors as well as nurses.

“Oh, you’re not just this nameless, faceless person taking care of a patient; you’re a black woman who has all these other characteristics that affect the way patients see you.”

On the other hand, black patients often seek out black health care providers. It’s not always about racism, as was the case with the man who wore the swastika, but sometimes it’s about level of comfort. Whereas the swastika wearing man was behaving as a racist, it seems that African-Americans seek health care providers of the same race in order to be protected from racism.

Weight loss: Most obese adults aren’t even trying

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationBy BRUCE JANCIN

CHICAGO – Nearly 60% of obese adults aren’t currently taking any steps to lose weight, according to a large national survey. “That’s a surprisingly high figure. It suggests a dire need to better educate the public about the health consequences of obesity and the importance of addressing the problem with their doctors,” Z. Jason Wang, Ph.D., said at the joint meeting of the International Congress of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society.

Moreover, of the minority of obese U.S. adults who report they actually are trying to lose weight, only 1 in 20 is taking prescription weight loss medication or has resorted to bariatric surgery. The rest are using what Dr. Wang categorized as self-modification methods: diet, exercise, OTC weight loss agents, structured weight management programs, and/or nutritional supplements.

Patient satisfaction was much higher among those using surgery or prescription medications. Thirty-nine percent of them reported being extremely or very satisfied with their weight loss method, compared with just 20% using only self-modification methods. “This finding may mean that diet and exercise alone just don’t work for a lot of people,” said Dr. Wang, director of health economics and outcomes research at Eisai in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

He presented an analysis of data obtained from 22,927 obese adult participants in the 2012 National Health and Wellness Survey, an annual Internet-based survey which samples a demographically representative slice of the adult U.S. population. Fully 59% of the obese respondents indicated they aren’t taking any action in an effort to lose weight. A mere 2% reported taking prescription weight loss medication or having bariatric surgery. Another 39% were relying on self-modification methods. The National Health and Wellness Survey is conducted by Kantar Health, a health care industry consulting company. The analysis was supported by Eisai. The presenter is an Eisai employee.

Chavis New President of Black Press


Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr


PORTLAND, Ore. – The Black Press of America has a new interim president and CEO but not a new leader in the struggle for justice and progress. And Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who was chosen to lead the National Newspaper Publishers Association, not only wants to aggregate its content but to also consolidate its power. The recent appointment followed a letter to NNPA from the former director of the Million Man March, Nation of Islam minister, former NAACP executive, activist with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and onetime political prisoner asking about the job. He has been a contributing columnist and knew NNPA was going through a transition.

“We talk about the price that we paid as a people to get the right to vote which was heavy but we also paid a price to get the right to express ourselves, the right for freedom of the press. We should not take for granted any privilege, any right that we have,” said the lifelong activist, who is known as Benjamin Muhammad in the Nation of Islam, during his first interview with a national publication June 29.

“There’s a tendency not only to suppress the voice of Black people but to even question the self-determination right of Blacks to even speak for themselves or to raise a question. They want us to be victimized in silence, they want us to be oppressed in silence. They want us to be repressed in silence. And, no, we’re going to shake this up. The day of us being silent is over,” said Dr. Chavis. The Black Press must be the voice of Black America and the Black world, he added.

While desires to have the digital world dovetail with printing operations, shore up revenue, create a Black Press app, pull together content, utilize his links to the hip hop community, have Black papers work across social media and various platforms, and have papers embrace and train youth are important, his overriding mission will be to make sure Black America’s voice is strong, coordinated— and taking care of business.

“We’re blessed with creativity, but sometimes we let others handle our business for us, when we need to start handling our own business,” he said. “And to me the Black Press in America, who are all independent business owners, needs to be strengthened. Because if we strengthen the business side of the Black Press then that opens the door to strengthen other economic sectors in the Black community. Nielsen with the help of NNPA published this study in 2012 and in 2013 to show our consumerism,” Dr. Chavis noted.

Within the last 12-months more than 44 million Black people in America spent over $1.2 trillion the study found.

“We are not as poor as we have been socialized to think we are. Anybody that spends $1.2 trillion over a 12-month period that’s more than the gross national product spending of most nations in the world,” Dr. Chavis said.

In addition to Black America’s financial resources, he is looking to connect with Black America’s cultural resources. NNPA will host the singer Fantasia at the annual Black Caucus legislative gathering in the fall, he said.

“And I see that the Black press is an excellent vehicle to transmit the message of self-empowerment, the message of self-improvement, the message of community development,” Dr. Chavis added.

How the South is becoming a solid band of poverty: One in three live in poor neighborhoods

A band of poverty: More than 30percent of Americans living from Arizona to North Carolina live in neighborhoods with at least 20percent poverty

A band of poverty: More than 30percent of Americans living from Arizona to North Carolina live in neighborhoods with at least 20percent poverty

The number of Americans living in poor neighborhoods has skyrocketed in the last decade – and nowhere is the trend more prominent than in the South, where more than 30percent of the population is concentrated in an area with high poverty.

A grim new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a solid band of high poverty neighborhoods – running from Arizona east to North Carolina. Only Florida and Virginia are spared from the trend.

The data show that poverty in the United States isn’t just growing, it’s becoming more concentrated – which can exacerbate social problems and lower the chances of social mobility.

The Census report points out that the number of people living under the federal poverty line – less than $24,000 a year for a family of four – has increased between 2000 and 2010. The number of Americans living in poverty climbed 45percent to 45million.

However, the number of Americans living in ‘poverty areas’ – neighborhoods where more than 20percent of residents are impoverished – has increased even more dramatically.

A quarter of the U.S. population, 77million Americans, lived in poverty areas in 2010 – a shocking 56percent jump from the 2000 census. In the South, the trend is eve n more dramatic. Nearly 31percent of Southerners live in poor neighborhoods – an increase of 62percent from 2000.

The Census report says that people who live in high poverty neighborhoods face an array of problems – even for those are earning decent wages. ‘Problems associated with living in poverty areas, such as, higher crime rates, poor housing conditions, and fewer job opportunities are exacerbated when poor families live clustered in high-poverty neighborhoods,’ the authors write.

The percentage of residents living in poverty areas increased in every state except Louisiana, Hawaii and Alaska. The rapidly-gentrifying District of Columbia saw a decline of 6.7 percentage points.

North Carolina, Tennessee and Oregon as the biggest jump in percentage of residents in poor neighborhoods. The figure grew 18 percentage points, 16 percentage points and 16 percentage points, respectively.

States That Raised Their Minimum Wages Are Experiencing Faster Job Growth

AP824372984192-e1387374148566-638x280Think a higher minimum wage is a job killer? Think again: The states that raised their minimum wages on January 1 have seen higher employment growth since then than the states that kept theirs at the same rate.

The minimum wage went up in 13 states — Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington — either thanks to automatic increases in line with inflation or new legislation, as Ben Wolcott reports in his analysis at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The average change in employment for those states over the first five months of the year as compared with the last five of 2013 is .99 percent, while the average for all remaining states is .68 percent.

Digging deeper, all but one of those states are experiencing increases in employment, and nine of them have seen growth above the median rate.

Wolcott’s analysis builds on a previous one from Goldman Sachs, which did the same evaluation for just January and compares it to December of last year. It found that the states that had minimum wage increases experienced faster job growth than those without a raise.

This doesn’t mean that increasing the minimum wage necessarily creates more jobs. “While this kind of simple exercise can’t establish causality, it does provide evidence against theoretical negative employment effects of minimum-wage increases,” Wolcott writes. Indeed, it adds to the evidence that higher minimum wages may not hurt job growth as much as some have warned. Washington has the highest minimum wage and saw the biggest increase in small business jobs last year. Its job growth has also remained steady and above average in the 15 years since it raised its wage. When economists studied state-level minimum wage increases over two decades they didn’t find any conclusive evidence that the raises impacted job creation.

That’s all good news for the ten states that have increased their minimum wages this year. Massachusetts went the furthest, raising its wage to $11 by 2017, but three — Hawaii, Maryland, and Connecticut — passed the $10.10 minimum wage being pushed at the federal level by Democrats and Vermont increased its wage to $10.50. And some cities have gone even further, with Seattle enacting a $15 minimum wage.

Progress in raising the entire country’s minimum wage has stalled, though. Republicans blocked a bill that would have increased it to $10.10 an hour.

Cop Killed In No-Knock Raid When Resident Shoots Him

You might wonder why this guy's being charged. I mean, it's Texas, and people are breaking through your window -- it shouldn't be a problem, right?

You might wonder why this guy’s being charged. I mean, it’s Texas, and people are breaking through your window — it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

KILLEEN, TX – A police officer suffered fatal injuries while performing a pre-dawn no-knock raid on a local residence to search for drugs. Several officers were shot by a resident as they tried to enter an apartment through a ground-level window under the cover of darkness.

Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, an 18-year veteran of the department – died two days after being shot on Friday morning. Approximately 5:30 a.m. on May 9th, the Killeen Police Department sent its SWAT team to execute a surprise raid on a middle-aged couple because they allegedly possessed substances without government permission.

Dinwiddie and several other SWAT agents snuck up to a window and tried to breach it to gain entry. The commotion caused one of residents to fire on the unidentified intruders, and Dinwiddie was struck in the face. Three others were shot; 2 were shot in the armor and 1 was shot in the thigh.

Marvin Louis Guy, age 50, is being held in the Killeen City Jail on a $3 million bond. His charges include 3 counts of attempted capital murder. He has not yet been charged with Dinwiddie’s death.

It is unclear how Mr. Guy could have reasonably made the differentiation, with a split-second’s notice, between police officers and criminal home invaders breaking into his window.

Oh, and you guessed it: No drugs were found. Is the shooter a bad guy? I have no idea. But because this is Texas, and the guy who shot the cop is black (unlike this guy), I imagine prosecutors will tie themselves in knots to get him.

We are a corporate theocracy now: The Christian right seeks cultural and political domination

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia (Credit: AP/Randy Snyder/Reuters/Brendan McDermid)”If fascism comes to America, it will not be identified with any”shirt” movement, nor with an”insignia,” but it will probably be”wrapped up in the flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservation of the constitution,” wrote in a 1936 issue of The Christian Century. Nobel Laureate recipient Sinclair Lewis put it even more succinctly when he warned,”It [fascism] would come wrapped in the flag and whistling the Star Spangled Banner.

No one who has followed the rise of the Christian Right in national politics over the course of the past three decades should be surprised by Monday’s Supreme Court decision to grant corporations religious personhood. It was as predictable as Pat Robertson saying something stupid about gay sex. The hyper religious conservatives on the bench of the nation’s high court, all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, see the federal government as being controlled by ‘secular humanists’ who wish to make war against the purity of the Christian belief system. Like the 89 million Americans who count themselves as evangelicals, they seek total cultural and political domination.

Not only is the Christian Right the most politically agitated and reliable voting bloc of the Republican Party, but it is also emboldened like no other time in their warped history. With recent efforts to legalize discrimination against gay Americans defeated, the Hobby Lobby case against the Affordable Care Act has reenergized the theocratic wing of the GOP base — the wing that is now the party’s fuselage. Throw red meat to their holier than thou rationalizations and they won’t care what big business does to this great nation. They care for one thing – turning America into a theocratic regime. Don’t be fooled by the flag-waving and the obnoxious hyper-masculine jingoistic platitudes; the Christian Right does not love America unconditionally. They love America on the condition that representatives they help get elected are carrying out their political agenda.

There is no conspiracy theory here. Their strategy is evidently clear and unashamedly boasted. Their strategy is to control state and federal legislatures, and the courts – in a way that says,”We don’t care what the American people want. We write the laws, and those laws will not reflect the wishes of the center majority, but instead will cater only for the theological cranks within our ranks.”

In state after state, the nation’s theocrats are fighting and defeating America’s secular sense of self. The Christian Right has not only moved from the fringes to become the main strain of the Republican Party; it is the Republican Party.”The results of this takeover are all around us: If the American people poll more like Iranians and Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth, it is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public square by the Republican Party, and the consequent normalizing of formerly reactionary beliefs,” observes Mike Lofgren, who spent 28 years in Congress as a Republican.

These radicals continually surprise America for the fact that the mainstream media and casual political observers mistakenly believe these theocrats represent the minority fringe. You cannot sugarcoat the fact that it was a majority of Republicans in Arizona’s Senate who voted for the anti-gay bill. Likewise it was a majority of Republicans in Kansas’ House who voted for a similar bill. They voted for these religiously motivated discrimination bills because the Christian Right wish to discriminate against individuals they claim the Bible deems abhorrent.

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia (Credit: AP/Randy Snyder/Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia (Credit: AP/Randy Snyder/Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

The American Taliban is on a roll, and the Republican National Committee is seeking to capitalize on the Christian Right’s renewed energy, which has been fueled by victory in the Supreme Court. Last week, the RNC launched its first web-based effort to rally social conservatives and evangelicals as a key cornerstone of the party’s efforts to retake the Senate in the coming November elections.

“This shouldn’t be outreach, this should be who we are — it is who we are,” said Chad Connelly, director of faith engagement for the Republican National Committee and the force behind this new initiative, Evangelicals, Connelly said,”are our biggest, most reliable voting bloc.” The aim of the website is”to build an army of conservative pro-faith activists” — that is sympathetic conservative Christians.

The RNC believes a big reason for Mitt Romney’s heavy defeat in the 2012 election was that the party didn’t do enough to court the Christian Right, with less than a third of the 89 million evangelicals casting a ballot.”Let’s overcome that myth of the IRS saying you can’t talk about this from the pulpit,” Connelly said.”Look, if there’s no freedom of speech in the pulpit, there’s no freedom of speech.”

“Now is the time of righteous indignation,” he said, a time to be the”turn-the-tables-over Jesus” and not the”meek, turn-the-other-cheek Jesus.”

The immediate goal of this renewed effort to”maximize the faith vote” is to help the GOP win in key Senate races, especially in battleground states like Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. With the GOP needing a net gain of seven seats to take unilateral control of the U.S. Congress, winning those seats is essential to the GOP’s 2014 prospects.

“Many Republican leaders are tired of losing, they see some real opportunities to win, and that means they have to fire on all cylinders, if you will. And this is a key constituency,” said John Green, head of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.”They don’t have to woo them to the party as much as they need to woo them to the polls,” Green said of conservative evangelicals.

Should the Christian Right help the GOP retake the Senate, the Piper will need to be repaid. This prospect should terrify every secular, liberal American to his bootstraps.

The Hobby Lobby case is yet another reminder that those who wish to transform America’s secular democracy into a tyrannical theocracy are on the march.

Iraq, Libya, Syria: Three reasons African Americans should oppose U.S. intervention in Africa

AFRICOM_OfficerMass slaughter, rape, torture, pillage, perpetual war, cultural degradation, creating social divisions, psychological manipulation – the essential tools employed by Western powers to establish their 522-year domination over many of the peoples of the world – are still being used with frightening efficiency and effect to maintain that dominance.

Just over the last decade and a half the orgy of violence unleashed by the U.S. and the gangster states of NATO in the name of promoting democracy and the racist absurdity of a “responsibility to protect” has been incalculable. Masked by the oxymoronic language that connects the White West with humanitarianism, the U.S. and its NATO allies have been on a killing spree in more than a dozen countries. President Obama has conducted imperialism’s version of a drive-by shooting with his drone warfare where wedding parties, funerals and even family gatherings are subject to being blown to bits just because the U.S. has the technology to do so and the power to get away with mass murder.

In “normal” times the racist megalomania of the U.S. that produced and is producing the carnage in Iraq, Libya, Syria and throughout the world would have been enough to caution African Americans against any pleas to the U.S. to militarily intervene to “bring back our girls” in Nigeria. But of course these are not normal times.

A brief historical recap of U.S. policy in Africa

There have been two factors that help to explain the relative success of white supremacist capitalist power to construct and impose an historical narrative in which they have been absolved of their criminal activities in Africa – the post 9/11 focus on counter-terrorism, and the election of the first black president of the U.S.

Puerto Rican activist and writer Aurora Levins Morales reminds us that as the oppressed gain agency in their fight against dominance, memory is a site of struggle: “One of the first things a colonizing power or repressive regime does is attack the sense of history of those they wish to dominate by attempting to take over and control their relationship to their own past.”

African American internationalism has always been a central component of the African American radical tradition. That approach to politics always linked the struggle for African American liberation with that of the anti-colonial struggle in Africa and throughout the colonial world. A critical read of U.S. policy on Africa from that perspective, one that is alien to the pro-imperialist perspective of Barack Obama, suggests that throughout the post-World War II anti-colonial struggles that took place in Africa there is not one instance of the U.S. being on the side of African independence, not one.

In fact, in every struggle on the part of Africans to free themselves from the oppressive yoke of European colonialism, the U.S. aligned with the colonial powers across the continent to undermine African independence. U.S. policy in Africa was consistently pro-white power, from its continued support for the white settler regimes in Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesia, and South Africa to its direct logistical and military support to the Portuguese through NATO to fight against African freedom fighters in Angola and Mozambique.

This support for colonial white supremacy in Africa was consistently executed by both corporate parties in the U.S.

The assault on historical memory continued and intensified with the election of Barack Obama. Obama’s election not only blurred a critical perspective on U.S. policy in Africa and globally on the part of many in the black communities, but did so at a historical moment when the U.S. state was undergoing a severe crisis of legitimacy and strategic confusion. That confusion was marked by vacillation between the use of aggressive, hard power that characterized the large-scale use of the military under the Bush administration, and more nuanced, soft power, i.e. the ideological, symbolic and diplomatic manifestations of state power.

The institutional developments and key decision-making over the last six years has reflected the inchoate character of that ongoing strategic confusion. But even with that confusion, Obama’s deployment as the smiling face of imperial power has had a devastating impact. His deployment has made it exceptionally difficult to demystify the elite interests embedded in his policies. The confusion is such that, for the first time in U.S. history, it has become possible to win majority black support for the retrograde policies of U.S. imperialism.

The Strategic Plan for Africa under Obama

By the fall of 2008, many among the capitalist elite and within the agencies of the U.S. government had concluded that the U.S. would have its first (and hopefully only) black president. It was also in the fall that the U.S. Strategic Command (AFRICOM) was created.

The clear objective of U.S. policy in Africa, as spelled out by U.S. State Department advisor to AFRICOM Dr. J. Peter Pham in 2007, was “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.”

Therefore, while the Chinese were involved in economic activities that resulted in direct investments in infrastructural and technological development as well as access to low interest loans, the objective of U.S. policy was to encourage what the U.S. does best – introduce death and destruction through destabilization and militarization.

In line with the historic role of capitalist development in Africa, a capitalist relationship that at its core has always been dependent on violence and plunder, is it an incredulous position to conclude that the real interest of the U.S. policy in Nigeria is less a concern with the lives of Nigerian girls and more with bringing key strategic areas in Africa under their control in order to block the Chinese?

And while all of us mourn for the more than 200 girls who have been kidnapped and can only imagine what their families must be going though, we also have to make sure that we don’t allow the very real emotion of the issue to cloud our analysis – something that is probably easier for us who are not directly impacted. We have to do this because it is precisely at these moments that we have to be clear-eyed and not allow ourselves to be manipulated.

Militarization in the name of fighting terrorism – the terror phenomenon seems to develop in whatever country the U.S. has a strategic interest – is the cornerstone of the “new” strategy of counter-terrorism partnerships that President Obama revealed in his famous (or infamous, depending on one’s view) speech at West Point on May 28.

Even though the speech was attacked by the Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, the strategy of reducing the U.S. footprint by relying on small numbers of special forces – Delta force, Seals, Green Berets etc. – and not committing massive ground forces, thus reducing the possibility of U.S. casualties and the attention of the public, reflects a serious strategic threat to the cause of peace and anti-interventionism. It is not only a strategy that commits the U.S. to a permanent war posture, especially since the connection of covert U.S. support to these terrorist operations is now well established, it also means that the plan for Africa is being written in the blood of the people in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Similar to its policies in those countries, the U.S. has embarked on a strategy of destabilization in Africa, operating through non-state terrorist operations like their al Qaeda proxy’s directly, or al Qaeda linked organizations like Boko Haram in Nigeria. The objective is to create security emergencies that weaken the state and creates a situation where the U.S. then comes to the aid of the embattled states and is able to entrench itself within the life of various nations on the African continent.

The educational and organizational imperative:

The aggressive posture of U.S. imperialism over the last few years has proceeded with very little organized opposition from the capitalist center in the U.S. Not just because of the institutional weakness of left and progressive forces but, even more ominously, because of the ideological collaboration and alignment by left forces with the imperial project. This latter phenomenon is more characteristic of positions taken by some of the more chauvinistic elements of the white left than our ranks, but even within our ranks the confusion seems to be increasing when, for example, you look at the positions taken by some on Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the U.S. NATO assault on Libya.

As a consequence of this theoretical and ideological confusion, we are not able to meet the challenges posed by the new strategic innovations introduced in Obama’s speech at West Point, innovations that not only have a military component but powerful cultural and ideological elements. The confusion generated by the “bring our girls back” campaign where we have African Americans calling on the U.S. to intervene in Nigeria is understandable. But what it dramatically demonstrates is that it is absolutely imperative that we embark on a massive educational campaign with our folks that will expose the real intentions of the U.S. on the continent and worldwide.

Black Left forces must engage in respectful ideological discussions with our people at every level, from community organizations and youth groups to church groups where we once again attempt to determine “who is a friend and who is an enemy” related to U.S. policies. Global militarism and the growing domestic police state are fundamentally linked: Both are expressions of the desperate moves by capital to maintain its hegemony. But its growing dependence on military options, as dangerous as that is, still provides revolutionary forces some strategic educational and organizing opportunities.

That is why in my humble offerings I have been attempting to make the links between all of these various global maneuvers so that we can connect them theoretically and devise the correct response politically and organizationally as we struggle to rebuild and unite the black left. The imperialist machinations in Iraq, Syria, Libya and even the Ukraine are not exotic issues disconnected from our concerns but part of the global right-wing collaboration the U.S. is leading to undermine national anti-colonial projects in the global South and the militarization of working class and nationally oppressed communities and peoples’ in the U.S. Making these connections and grounding ourselves in the global struggle against white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy is a central element of the Black radical tradition.

The explosion of death and destruction that we see from Kenya and Somalia across the Sahel to Nigeria and down to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and now developing in Mozambique, reflects the emergency situation that we face today. We can no longer dance around the need to level direct and devastating criticism of the oligarchical and imperialistic interests being championed by Barack Obama. Critical revolutionary consciousness does not emerged spontaneously from de-politicized “practice.”

We must arm our people with the critical theoretical tools needed to wage the life-and-death struggle that we and the people of the world are waging against a rapacious enemy willing to destroy the planet in order to maintain their unearned privilege. As brother George Jackson reminded us “International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S., wondering and waiting for us to come to our senses.” It is time that we let the world know that we are back and that massa’s days are numbered.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. His latest publications include contributions to two recently published books “Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA” and “Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral.” He can be reached at and

Nathan Deal v. the Rest of the Nation: A Major Jobs Disparity

NathanDealBy Democratic Party of GA,

Last week, the United States Department of Labor announced the creation of 288,000 new private sector jobs nationally in the month of June alone. The national unemployment rate dropped to 6.1%, the lowest since September 2008. These numbers mark 52 months of consecutive job growth and five months where at least 200,000 jobs were created.

Yet, as the national unemployment rate drops and more jobs are created, Georgia continues to lag behind the rest of the country under Nathan Deal.

Here are the facts:

Georgia has the 8th highest unemployment rate in the nation. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Nearly four in ten working families with children are “low-income.” (GBPI 6-19-14)

Over the last 15 years, Georgia is only one of two states where real per capita GDP has declined. (AJC 6-20-14)

Georgia’s economic outlook is exceptionally grim outside the metro-Atlanta area. In a recent Bloomberg ranking of the fastest shrinking U.S. cities, Georgia was the only state in the nation to have more than one city in the top ten list—we had THREE. (Bloomberg)

45% of Georgia’s children under the age of 13 in working families are in low-income working families. (GBPI 6-19-14)

Adjusted for inflation the average Georgia family makes over $6000 less than the average family did 10 years ago. (Politifact 1-23-14)

Nathan Deal will use a couple of rankings and some feel-good ads to justify another four years in office. But Georgia is lagging behind the rest of the nation and these numbers do not lie.

Georgia is headed in the wrong direction. But we don’t have to settle for Nathan Deal’s status quo.

With your help, and with your vote, we can fix this.

Report calls Savannah River third most toxic in America

Savannah_RiverBy Dash Coleman,

A nonprofit research and policy center is calling the Savannah River the third most toxic in the United States after a report released Thursday showed more than 5 million pounds of toxic discharge were released into its waterways in 2010.

Additionally, with more than 10 million pounds of toxic chemicals being dumped into Georgia’s waterways in 2012, the state was ranked eighth worst in the nation in the report by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center.

“(The report) analyzes data that the EPA stores in something called the Toxics Release Inventory that basically looks at the amount of toxic pollution that’s in our rivers,” said Environment Georgia director Jennette Gayer. “And unfortunately, the Savannah ranks very high on that list.”

The only watersheds found to have higher volumes of toxic pollution than the Savannah were the Lower Ohio River-Little Pigeon River, which runs through Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, and the New River in Virginia.

The South Atlantic-Gulf region had more than 37 million pounds of toxic chemicals dumped in waterways, according to the report.

“This is a wake-up call for us,” Gayer said.

The report found DSM Chemicals North America Inc. in Augusta was the biggest polluter in the state, and that it dumped more than 4 million pounds of the toxic pollution into the middle Savannah River.

Though the river stretches from North Carolina to the ocean, the majority of the pollution occurs in the roughly 200-mile stretch between Augusta and Savannah, said Tonya Bonitatibus, Savannah Riverkeeper executive director.

“We have to at least be meeting state standards when it comes to water quality, and we’re way far off of that right now,” Bonitatibus said. “So just coming back to meeting state standards would be a vast improvement.”

She said pollutants that dissolve oxygen in the river’s water are the biggest concern.

“The river will actually clean itself, and it will do a pretty good job of it,” Bonitatibus said. “We’ve just got to stop dumping it in.”

She said 1.4 million people rely on the Savannah River for drinking water.

About 170,000 people across the river in South Carolina obtain water through the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority, which draws from the Savannah River at mile 39.

The water is treated and safe to drink, said spokesman Matthew Brady.

In Savannah, the majority of residents’ drinking water comes from the Floridan Aquifer, said city spokesman Bret Bell, but some businesses and westside residents drink surface water from the Savannah that’s obtained upstream in Effingham County.

“We test every single day,” Bell said. “Our tests consistently exceed all federal requirements.”

Residents can learn more about the treatment processes for city water services as well as those in Beaufort and Jasper counties by going to the agencies’ websites.

The report by Environment Georgia found some of the chemicals released into waterways in the state included cancer-causing chemicals, chemicals that persist in the environment and chemicals with the potential to cause reproductive problems.

Environment Georgia recommends policies that include requiring industry to switch from toxic chemicals to safer ones and is calling on the Obama administration to finalize a proposed rule with the EPA clarifying that the Clean Water Act applies to headwater streams, intermittent waterways, isolated wetlands and other waterways.

Dr. Linda I. Walden New President of Georgia State Medical Association


Dr. Linda I. Walden

Dr. Linda I. Walden


Cairo family physician Dr. Linda I. Walden is the new president of the Georgia State Medical Association. Walden was installed during the group’s 121st Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly at the Omni Oceanfront Hilton Head Resort Thursday.

“We are excited about her reign, although there will be healthcare challenges for physicians, we think we’ve chosen a great leader,” said Dr. Sylvester McRae, an obstetrician/gynocologist from Columbus who sits on the association’s board of directors and is a past president of the group. McRae is also married to a Whigham native, the former Rose Hunter.

The Georgia State Medical Association was founded in 1893 and is the second-largest African American state medical association in the United States. It is an affiliate of the National Medical Association.

Dr. Gloria Frelix, a radiation oncologist in North Carolina and a region chair for the National Medical Association, was at Walden’s installation service in Hilton Head. Frelix said Walden and the state medical association will be in close communication with Georgia legislators about the condition of communities. She said the association encourages mentoring, also, to shore up the frailty of families.

“We want to be role models to let kids know they too can become a doctor. A lot of kids feel the quick and easy money is best,” Frelix said. She said Walden and others in the association can help fill in the knowledge gaps for parents and teach them about healthy lifestyles and the importance of education.

McRae said Walden will serve the association well because of where she practices, adding, “Typically, physicians who are in rural practices have a passion for taking care of every person. She takes that passion of purpose from her practice to our organization. The result is that when things occur that affect the practice of medicine she will be the voice for all patients not just affluent patients.”

Frelix also expressed confidence in Walden, saying, “I think she’s a very straightforward, up front person and is very skilled in her field and is highly liked and accepted in her community, and that says a lot for Dr. Walden.”

Walden will serve a two-year term as association president. She outlined her agenda during an inaugural address titled, “A Changing Paradigm in Healthcare; With God, Georgia State Medical Association will Make a Difference.” She made the speech during an awards dinner, which was preceded by an inaugural reception attended by many guests on hand in honor of the occasion.

In her address, Walden stressed “the importance of physicians becoming politically proactive with health policies and helping to bring about access to healthcare to all citizens of Georgia.”

She said, “While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has made it possible for many to get access to health care, the poor are still left out and can’t get Obamacare because federal dollars given to the State of Georgia to cover their health care has been refused by our state government. So many of the poor will die prematurely. This is America and no state should be doing this to its citizens. When we improve access to health care for all citizens, we improve the economy of our state. Georgia State Medical Association is about promoting health and disease prevention, not a political football game.”

Walden said keeping the association vibrant is important.

She said, “We must recommit and strengthen our voice by increasing our membership for there is power in numbers and will push for all African American physicians to become actively involved with the GSMA. When we weaken the voice of GSMA, we weaken the voice of our community. More physicians need to become hospital CEO’s because we better than anyone else know what needs to be done when it comes to the healthcare in our communities.”

Of the 35,000 physicians in Georgia, she said only about 1,200 are African Americans, and she said fostering an interest in medical studies among youth is important. Walden said she mentors her pediatric patients and rewards their academic successes with job shadowing opportunities in her office. She voiced concern about dropouts who leave high school, and said success will be found when groups work together and include the church. She said, “the greatest success in life is not about how much we are acquire but our greatest success is our service to God. God uses each of us to make a difference in the world and that is my mission in life!”

Walden, a family physician, is medical director of Cairo Family Medical Center Inc. in Cairo.

This July 4, governing in the spirit of revenge

robinson_212By Eugene Robinson

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, who can argue that our democracy is working the way the Founders intended? And who can deny that most of the blame for dysfunction must fall to the Republican Party?

George Washington distrusted all political parties. He warned in his farewell address that, as they alternated power, parties would act in “the spirit of revenge” – rather than, presumably, in the best interests of the nation. The “disorders and miseries” that resulted, Washington feared, would inevitably threaten democracy.

For most of U.S. history, the major parties, even while differing sharply on philosophy and policy, have acted in a spirit of shared enterprise. There are significant exceptions – notably the years leading up to the Civil War. There was no possible compromise on an issue so fundamental as slavery.

Today, we face no question of such magnitude. Yet Republicans have decided not to collaborate with President Obama in fulfilling the most basic obligations of government, preferring to let “disorders and miseries” fester rather than address them.

Perhaps the House Republicans who block Obama’s legislative proposals and the Senate Republicans who block his executive and judicial appointments are acting in narrow political self-interest. Perhaps, as much of the overheated GOP rhetoric suggests, they are acting with the vengeful animus that Washington feared.

Whatever the motivation, Republicans have paralyzed our government in a way that would have shocked and depressed the Founders. Compounding the outrage, Republicans have the temerity to criticize Obama for using his executive powers in the national interest. This is dangerously close to nihilism.

Witness the humanitarian crisis along the border with Mexico: Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have entered the United States. Many of these boys and girls are fleeing predatory criminal gangs in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala and thus may qualify for asylum. Some may have been sent to establish a foothold here for their parents.

The influx of children cannot be meaningfully addressed without considering the larger suite of immigration issues. An estimated 11 million people are living and working here with no papers. A real solution must involve not only increased border security but also a way for the undocumented to achieve residency and citizenship. There also must be a revamping of the formal immigration system so that crossing the border illegally is not the only option for economic migrants.

The Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill a year ago, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) refuses to bring it to the floor because he knows it would pass. Since most of the House GOP caucus opposes the reform bill, the votes to approve it would come from Democrats plus a few dozen Republicans.

Think about this for a moment. Urgently needed legislation has been passed by the Senate, is supported by the president and has enough votes in the House. Yet it goes nowhere, as chaos on the border worsens and thousands of children remain in limbo. Is this what the Founders had in mind?

Lord knows the Democratic Party is far from perfect. But House Democrats, when they were in the majority, at least understood that the government had to function, even if its policies were not those they preferred. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was speaker, for example, she made certain that bills funding the occupation of Iraq made it through the House, even though a majority of Democrats bitterly opposed the war.

Today’s Republican Party opposes the Affordable Care Act, so it refuses to work with the Obama administration in legislating technical fixes that would make the law work more smoothly. Is this in any sense patriotic? Having lost battles over the law in Congress and the Supreme Court, don’t Republicans have an obligation to make it serve their constituents as well as possible?

Both parties used to understand the need to invest in infrastructure for reasons of competitiveness and safety. Both parties used to understand that there could be no serious threat to send the Treasury into default. Both parties used to cheer the kind of good economic news we heard Thursday – 288,000 new jobs in June, unemployment down to 6.1 percent.

But now, one party – the GOP – cares more about ideology, reelection and opposing Obama’s every initiative than about the well-being of the nation. It is scant comfort, on Independence Day, to remember that the republic has survived worse.

The United States of Cruelty

83769218-614By Charles Pierce, Esquire

A while back, we noted the story of the toddler who was severely injured when, during a drug raid, a local SWAT team came busting in and someone threw a flash-bang grenade into his crib. Well, his mother has written a chilling first-hand account of what happened to her son, and to her, during their encounter with one of our insanely militarized police forces.

My husband’s nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn’t there. He doesn’t even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers – armed with M16s – filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any. I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. This didn’t happen in Mosul. This didn’t happen in Jalalabad. It happened in Atlanta. Keep this in mind.

In related news, up in Detroit, we discover that drinking water is considered to be a privilege, especially if you\’re poor. And, if you happen to be in arrears, it’s time to pull yourself up by your thirsty bootstraps.

There are 323,900 DWSD accounts in Detroit. Of those, 150,806 are delinquent. Some of those delinquencies are low-income customers who are struggling to keep their utilities on, said some who work in providing assistance to those in need. “The need is huge,” said Mia Cupp, director of development and communications for the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. “There are families that have gone months and months without water.” The group is among a handful of local agencies that provide assistance to those who need help with their water bills. The Water Access Volunteer Effort, a Detroit-based nonprofit, is another. Going without water can be dangerous, Cupp said. “You can only imagine, how do go to the bathroom? How do you take showers? How do you clean yourself?” she said. “You can’t conduct the normal daily things that you would do.” The organization has very limited resources. Cupp said the group raised about $148,000 during a charity walk; that money could go to helping people pay water bills.

There is a new kind of systematized cruelty in our daily lives, in how we relate to each other, and in how we treat our fellow citizens, and, therefore, there is a new kind of systematized cruelty in our politics as well. It is not as though there haven’t been times in the history of our country in which cruelty was practiced for political or pecuniary advantage. It is not as though there haven’t been times in our history when the circumstances in people’s lives did not conspire cruelly against them, or when the various systems that influenced those lives did not conspire in their collective cruelty against their seeking any succor or relief. There was slavery, and the cruel war that ended it. There was the organized cruelty that followed Reconstruction, and the modern, grinding cruelty of the Industrial Revolution and the Gilded Age that followed it. There were two World Wars, the first one featuring a new era in mechanized slaughter and the second featuring a new era in industrialized genocide. There was the Great Depression. There was McCarthyism, and the cruelty that was practiced in Southeast Asia that ended up partly dehumanizing the entire country. There always has been the cruelty of poverty and disease.

But there is something different abroad in the politics now, perhaps because we are in the middle of an era of scarcity and because we have invested ourselves in a timid culture of austerity and doubt. The system seems too full now of opportunities to grind and to bully. We have politicians, most of whom will never have to work another day in their lives, making the argument seriously that there is no role in self-government for the protection and welfare of the political commonwealth as that term applies to the poorest among us. We have politicians, most of whom have gilt-edged health care plans, making the argument seriously that an insurance-friendly system of health-care reform is in some way bad for the people whom it is helping the most, and we have politicians seriously arguing that those without health-care somehow are more free than the people who have turned to their government, their self-government, for help in this area. In the wake of a horrific outbreak of violence in a Connecticut elementary school, we have enacted gun laws now that make it easier to shoot our fellow citizens and not harder to do so. Our police forces equip themselves with weapons of war and then go out and look for wars to fight. We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first, and we will do it with hearts grown cold and, yes, cruel.

We cheer for cruelty and say that we are asking for personal responsibility among those people who are not us, because the people who are not us do not deserve the same benefits of the political commonwealth that we have. In our politics, we have become masters of camouflage. We practice fiscal cruelty and call it an economy. We practice legal cruelty and call it justice. We practice environmental cruelty and call it opportunity. We practice vicarious cruelty and call it entertainment. We practice rhetorical cruelty and call it debate. We set the best instincts of ourselves in conflict with each other until they tear each other to ribbons, and until they are no longer our best instincts but something dark and bitter and corroborate with itself. And then it fights all the institutions that our best instincts once supported, all the elements of the political commonwealth that we once thought permanent, all the arguments that we once thought settled — until there is a terrible kind of moral self-destruction that touches those institutions and leaves them soft and fragile and, eventually, evanescent. We do all these things, cruelty running through them like hot blood, and we call it our politics.

Because of that, the daily gunplay no longer surprises us. The rising rates of poverty no longer surprise us. The chaos of our lunatic public discourse no longer surprises us. We make war based on lies and deceit because cruelty is seen to be enough, seen to be the immutable law of the modern world. We make policy based on being as tough as we can on the weakest among us, because cruelty is seen to be enough, seen to be the fundamental morality behind what ultimately is merely the law of the jungle. We do all these things, cruelty running through them like a cold river, and we call it our politics.

It does not have to be this way. After the greatest exercise of systematized cruelty in the country’s history, Abraham Lincoln gave the greatest speech ever given by an American president, and in its greatest passage, he called hold, enough.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation\’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. On one of the cruelest nights of 1968—which was a very cruel year; indeed, a year the cruelty of which eventually would claim his own life—Robert Kennedy stood in the dark in Indianapolis and offered a similar gathering hymn.

And let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.The time for camouflage is over. Cruelty is cruelty. It should be recognized as a fundamental heresy against the political commonwealth and wrung out of all its institutions. That is the only way out.

An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America

 By MinistryOfTruth

I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn’t call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn’t call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.

You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don’t know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.

Now, I know you profess to love our country and the founding fathers (unless you are reminded that they believed in the separation of church and state), but I need to remind you that America is NOT what Fox News says it is. America is a melting pot, it always has been. We are a multi-cultural amalgamation of all kinds of people, and yet you still demonize everyone who is not a rich, white, heterosexual christian male or his submissive and obedient wife.

You hate liberals, moderates, hell, anyone who disagrees with Conservative dogma as espoused by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. You hate em.

Well, here are the facts, Jack. If you hate the Government then you are unqualified to manage it. If you hate gay people more than you love America than you should take your own advice and get the hell out. There are several countries that are openly hostile to gay people, but they are full of brown people and you don’t like them much either from what I understand. It looks like you are screwed, but that\’s not what I am here to tell you.

More rant below the fold . . .

Now that you have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at President Obama and it still hasn’t worked you are panicking. Obama’s approval ratings are still near 50% despite your best efforts to undermine the economy and America’s recovery at every step you can. You tried to hold the American economy hostage to force America into default on its’ debts, debts that YOU rang up under Bush, so you could blame it on Obama and it failed. You’ve used the filibuster more than any other Congress ever, going so far as to vote against providing health care access to 9/11 first responders. You remember 9/11, don’t you, it’s that thing you used to lie us into a war in Iraq, and then when Obama killed Bin Laden and ended the war in Iraq you told people that he hates America and wants the troops to fail. You monsters. You hate Obama with a passion, despite the fact that he is a tax cutting, deficit reducing war President who undermines civil rights and delivers corporate friendly watered down reforms that benefit special interests just like a Republican. You call him a Kenyan. You call him a socialist. You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950’s musical.

Frankly, you disgust me. Your hatred nauseates me. Your bigotry offends me. Your racism revolts me.

Dear haters, I am openly questioning your patriotism.

I think you hate gays, Obama, black people, poor people, all of us, women, atheists and agnostics, Latinos, Muslims, Liberals, all of us, I think you hate every one who isn\’t exactly like you, and I think you hate us more than you love your country.

I think you hate gay soldiers more than you want America to win its wars.

I don’t even think you want America to win wars, you just want America to have wars, never ending wars and the war profiteering it generates. You love that kind of spending, you love spending on faith based initiatives and abstinence based sex education (George Carlin would have loved that one), you love spending on subsidies for profitable oil corporations, you spend like drunken sailors when you are in the White House, but if it is a Democrat then suddenly you cheer when America doesn’t get the Olympics because it might make the black President look bad. But oooh you love your country, you say, and you want it back. Well listen here skippy, it isn’t your country, you don’t own it, it is our country, and America is NOT the religiously extremist Foxbots who hate science, elitist professors and having a vibrant and meaningful sex life with someone we love if Rick Santorum doesn’t approve of it. Rick Santorum isn’t running for America’s fucking high school dance chaperone, he should probably just shut the hell up about sex, but he can’t because he has nothing else to run on.

Republicans can NOT win on the issues. They’ve got NOTHING. All they have is a divide and conquer class war that pits ignorant racist and bigoted people against the rest of us in a meaningless battle of wedge issues and the already proven to fail George W. Bush agenda again of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation, privatization and war profiteering and nothing else, so all they can do is blame black people, gays the government, anybody and everyone else for their own failings. The party of personal responsibility, my ass.

But they love multi-national corporations, just ask a gay hating and racist religious extremist if they think Corporations are people and they will gladly agree, but if you ask them if gay people are people they aren’t so sure.

Dear haters, you are the cruel, heartless misinformed assholes who would sell America out to Haliburton in a heartbeat, you would rather pay ZERO taxes than you would see a newly born baby get access to quality health care, you cheer when we discuss denying health care to young people with preventable diseases, and you boo when we discuss the First Ladies plan to cut back on childhood obesity. You are a cross to carry and a flag to wrap yourself in away from being the people who Sinclair Lewis warned us about, but I guarantee that if Fox News told you to dress that way you would, because you are the same blind, ignorant and closed minded dunces who drove this country into a civil war years ago because you are bound to the notion that some men are more equal than others. In short, the reason I proudly wear my union army hat is because of seditious sell outs like you who constantly fuck over working class Americans so a foreign entrepreneur like Rupert Murdoch can get a bigger tax break. If corporations are people, they are neither American patriots nor capable of love. Just like you.

So stop wearing your hate with pride. Stop celebrating your anti-science, anti-math ignorance. Stop using code words to mask your bigotry like “family values”, especially when you hate my family and when you stand on the same stage as a guy who has had three marriages or if you share a seat in the Senate with a guy who cheated on his wife with hookers while wearing diapers. You should be ashamed. I know that you are just doing this to motivate your misinformed hate cult base because if they actually knew that your ideas will make them poorer than they are now, they would never vote for you. You are doing your best to impoverish your countrymen so rich people can get bigger tax breaks and you can keep on delivering corporate welfare to the special interests who have bribed you, and I am disgusted by the way you gleefully parade your hatred with aplomb. I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.

You should think about that, and maybe get some help.

And for the record, I do not hate you. I am embarrassed by you and nauseated by your cruel and thoughtless behavior and your all consuming greed, but I do not hate you. I forgive you and I hope you can change someday, but I don’t hate you. You have enough hate in you for the rest of us as it is.

Pity the Children


An Afghan child looks toward the site of a suicide bombing that occurred near a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, last February.

An Afghan child looks toward the site of a suicide bombing that occurred near a NATO convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, last February.


For the United States, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be over soon. We will leave behind, after our defeats, wreckage and death, the contagion of violence and hatred, unending grief, and millions of children who were brutalized and robbed of their childhood. Americans who did not suffer will forget. People maimed physically or psychologically by the violence, especially the Iraqi and Afghan children, will never escape. Time and memory will play their usual tricks. Those who endured war will begin to wonder, years from now, what was real and what was not. And those who did not taste of war’s noxious poison will stop wondering at all.

I sat last Thursday afternoon in a small conference room at the University of Massachusetts Boston with three U.S. combat veterans-two from the war in Iraq, one from the war in Vietnam-along with a Somali who grew up amid the vicious fighting in Mogadishu. All are poets or novelists. They were there to attend a two-week writers workshop sponsored by the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences. It is their voices and those of their comrades that have to be heeded now, and heeded in the future, if we are to curb our appetite for empire and lust for industrial violence. The truth about war comes out, but always too late. And by the time the drums begin beating, the flags waving and the politicians and press hyperventilating as they shout out their nationalist cant, once again we have forgotten what we learned, as if the debacles of the past had no bearing on the debacles of the future.

Joshua Morgan Folmar, 29, a bearded Marine Corps veteran from Alabama who participated in 200 combat patrols in Iraq, sat next to me. He handed me his poem “Contemplating the Cotard Delusion on the Downeaster to Boston.” It begins:

Maybe I’m a walking corpse, or maybe I’m in a coma in Germany, or Walter Reed, sucking MRE\’s through plastic tubes, while a few children in Haditha pick up bone shards from the explosion and trade them like card games for chocolate.

My head droops against the window: face reflecting broken limbs and stagnant water, blurring against the train’s scratched safety glass. And somewhere out there is my last combat patrol. And somewhere out there, my dead friends are waiting.

Brian Turner, 47, who was a sergeant and infantry team leader in the 3rd Stryker Brigade in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, wrote poems in a small notebook he carried while he was there. They were published in a collection called “Here, Bullet” (Alice James Books). One lament, called “Ashbah” (a transliteration of the Arabic word for “ghosts”), reads:

The ghosts of American soldiers Wander the streets of Balad by night, Unsure of their way home, exhausted, The desert wind blowing trash Down the narrow alleys as a voice Sounds from the minaret, a soulful call Reminding them how alone they are, how lost. And the Iraqi dead, they watch in silence from rooftops as date palms line the shore in silhouette, leaning toward Mecca when the dawn wind blows.

None of these veterans are at ease in America. They never will be.

“I live in a country that is so wealthy we can wage wars and not have to think about them,” Turner said. “It is a pathology handed down from generation to generation. We talk about our military. We use words like ‘heroism.’ But when will we start to care about people whose names are difficult to pronounce? The list of people lost is so vast. How do I write about this and share it in a country that does not want to hear it? We want narratives that are easy and complete, ones we can process. We want wars to be recorded the way historians or people who make tombstones in cemeteries do. They give us the start, the duration and end of the war. But for those of us who were in war it does not end. If you talk to my grandfather in Fresno, Calif., at some point during the day you will be in the presence of World War II.”

Combat brings with it trauma for those who inflict the violence as well as those who suffer it. See a lot of combat and the trauma is severe. But the worst trauma is often caused not by what combat veterans witnessed but by what they did. The most disturbing memories usually involve children. War creates bands of ragged, poor, dirty street urchins. The bands wander about the edges of a conflict looking for something to eat. They pick through the garbage dumps. They line the sides of roads begging convoys for food or chocolate. They attempt to sell a few pathetic items to make money. In Iraq they offered American troops “freaky”-the slang for European porn videos-whiskey or heroin (Turner said he doubted there was heroin in the packets). The children lived in fear. They saw their parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents publicly humiliated by occupation troops. They cowered in terror during night raids as troops kicked down the doors of their houses and herded them and their families into rooms where they were made to sit, sometimes for hours, with their arms bound behind their backs with plastic ties. They warily eyed the drones circling overhead day and night, never sure when death would rain down from the sky. They saw brothers and fathers killed. They dreamed of growing up to revenge their deaths.

Children threw rocks at convoys or patrols. They worked as spotters for insurgents and at times they carried automatic weapons. And in the long nightmare of a war of occupation, where every Afghan or Iraqi outside the perimeter of a base was viewed as the enemy, it was not long until children were targets. Soldiers and Marines often threw the bottles they used for urination inside their vehicles at children begging for water along the road.

Folmar said that on occasion children fired air guns at his patrols. The Americans were unable to tell if these were toy guns or real guns and carried out confiscations to avoid killings.

“We would go to shop owners to say, ‘Please don’t sell these,’ ” he said. “One day this kid comes out and shoots at us. We yell “Hey!” This scares him. We take the gun out of his hand. The father comes up. He is trying to figure out what is going on. We don’t have an interpreter. I was a radio operator and was usually next to my squad leader so I was to be the Arabic translator, which is hilarious because I only had two or three weeks of training. Through hand gestures and a little Arabic I tried to explain to the father why we had to take this gun away. We did not want his kid to die. If it were dark we would not know if that was [an air] gun or not. The father did not understand. I don’t blame him. I had crappy Arabic. My squad leader was exhausted and pissed. He pulled out his M9 service pistol and put it in the father’s face. He said, ‘Do you understand this?’ ”

Children threw rocks into the windshields of passing trucks. This was a persistent problem that caused some U.S. troops to answer with live fire.

“Kids would run out and throw rocks at us,” Turner said. “We were going 35 or 40 miles an hour. A rock hits you like that and you can be damaged for life. One of those kids smashed the windshield of one of the freight trucks. It jackknifed, flipped and the driver died in about 90 seconds. I remember hearing over the radio some higher-up saying, ‘You are authorized to shoot children.’ ”

The schizophrenic nature of the war meant that on some days children were to be courted and on other days threatened. The children could never tell how troops would respond.

“The rules of engagement constantly changed,” Folmar said. On some days it was shoot anything in sight. Then it would be about hearts and minds. Giving out chocolate. Giving stuff to schools that were blown to bits. We would carry candy. Then the next week the kids would scream ‘Chocolate! Chocolate!” and we would have been told to keep the kids away.” “We were on patrol and I was pegged by a rock on the head,” Folmar said. “The father comes out of nowhere and starts whacking the shit out of this kid. We were all laughing. But later on I thought what kind of world must you live in where the father is beating the crap out of his son? It was partly out of respect. But it was also about recognizing that your kid can be killed for throwing a rock.”

“There was this point where we really started, I don’t want to say hating the children, but we were exasperated,” said Folmar, who emphasizes that he never saw Americans shoot a child during his deployment. “We became cynical. There became a moment where we realized we were stuck in it. That what we were doing was just creating a new generation that would hate each other. It never got to the point where anyone in my unit said let’s just kill them, but there became a moment when we all felt ‘What is the point?’ We were making them mad. They are going to hate us. It’s just going to continue.”

Folmar said that when U.S. troops inspected trucks at checkpoints many of the vehicles were carrying corpses to be buried and it was not uncommon to see corpses of children. “It was a regular thing,” he said.

The war in Vietnam had many of the same dynamics, with the added abuse of thousands of girls who populated brothels that sprang up outside the vast military bases and in cities like Saigon. George Kovach, 66, the third combat veteran in our group last Thursday, was wounded in Vietnam with a friend from his unit. When they were being evacuated by helicopter his friend died next to him. Forty years later he says he still fights off depression and thoughts of suicide.

“I remember soldiers chucking C-ration cans at the heads of children-I know I did, and sometimes it was worse,” he said. “There were lots of kids that were camp followers. In Vietnam these kids would point you out [to the Viet Cong]. When we left on patrol we were always worried the kids would report our movements.”

People who carry weapons and travel with armed units have a terrifying God-like power to humiliate, to demand instant and unquestioned obedience and to kill. Those who do not carry weapons live in states of unrelenting terror and powerlessness. The powerless often seek to become invisible, avoiding contact with the hydra-headed groups of killers that roam the landscape and speak in the language of violence.

Boyah J. Farah, 36, endured the war in Somalia as a teenager with his mother. He was the oldest of five siblings. During our Boston meeting he listened in silence to the stories of the military veterans, remembering, he said, what it was like to be on the other side of the divide. He quoted an African proverb: “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

“Militia would come into the city and take everything,” Farah said. “Then that militia would be defeated. A new militia would come in. Each militia that came in was hungry, hungry to steal, hungry to rape. They would take everything, including our small amount of rice. If there were food on the stove they would take it. As soon as you thought you had adapted, new militias appeared.”

Turner turned to Farah. “I used to kick in people’s doors,” he said to him. “My job was to do raids night after night after night. I wonder about this now. And this is difficult for me to write about. I can write about what it is like to kick in a door. But … I wonder about the kids that were in some of those houses. When the war is over do you feel comfortable in your own house? Do you feel safe?”

Farah shook his head. “Once you go through that experience it never goes away,” he answered. “It is like the experience you had [in combat]. I came here [to the United States] in 1993. I never feel completely safe. I never get used to the Fourth of July. As soon as I hear the boom sound [of the fireworks] the war comes. Even the bang of a door brings it back.”

“I escaped,” Farah said. “I got educated. I came to a country at peace. But most of my friends did not make it to a peaceful country. They remained behind. And those left behind lived only for revenge. When I was in the refugee camp in Kenya I heard my friend, whose father was killed, pray out loud and say: ‘God, I don’t know what you have planned for me. But I am going back and kill 100 men.’ He was 16 or 17. I am sure he went back. I am sure he killed. I doubt he is alive.”

None of this is what these veterans or children wanted. They wanted, and continue to want, what we were created for-love. And the battle with the demons of war is the battle back to what is sacred and whole in life. Some will make it. Many will not.

“The hardest thing to write about is love,” Turner said. “It comes across as sappy. This inability to write about love is part of the pathology of war. Writing about war is easy. War is addictive. I am drawn to that sort of frenetic experience. But what I want is love. I want to write poems for my wife. But when I try they are not good.”

Folmar voiced a similar thought. “I understand violence,” he said. “I can put it on a page. I can do it well. But it is the love that I can’t do. How am I supposed to write about love? Especially when I have these other things to write about. My wife asked me, ‘You write about all these sad things. When are you going to write about me?’ I have to get the other stuff out first. I am hoping I will get it out. I am hoping it will go away.”


Freedom, Power, and the Conservative Mind


On Monday the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately-owned corporations don’t have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners’ religious beliefs.

The owners of Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs in the case, were always free to practice their religion. The Court bestowed religious freedom on their corporation as well – a leap of logic as absurd as giving corporations freedom of speech. Corporations aren’t people.

The deeper problem is the Court’s obliviousness to the growing imbalance of economic power between corporations and real people. By giving companies the right not offer employees contraceptive services otherwise mandated by law, the Court ignored the rights of employees to receive those services.

(Justice Alito’s suggestion that those services could be provided directly by the federal government is as politically likely as is a single-payer federal health-insurance plan – which presumably would be necessary to supply such contraceptives or any other Obamacare service corporations refuse to offer on religious grounds.)

The same imbalance of power rendered the Court’s decision in “Citizens United,” granting corporations freedom of speech, so perverse. In reality, corporate free speech drowns out the free speech of ordinary people who can’t flood the halls of Congress with campaign contributions.

Freedom is the one value conservatives place above all others, yet time and again their ideal of freedom ignores the growing imbalance of power in our society that’s eroding the freedoms of most people.

This isn’t new. In the early 1930s, the Court trumped New Deal legislation with “freedom of contract” – the presumed right of people to make whatever deals they want unencumbered by federal regulations. Eventually (perhaps influenced by FDR’s threat to expand the Court and pack it with his own appointees) the Court relented.

But the conservative mind has never incorporated economic power into its understanding of freedom. Conservatives still champion “free enterprise” and equate the so-called “free market” with liberty. To them, government “intrusions” on the market threaten freedom.

Yet the “free market” doesn’t exist in nature. There, only the fittest and strongest survive. The “free market” is the product of laws and rules continuously emanating from legislatures, executive departments, and courts. Government doesn’t “intrude” on the free market. It defines and organizes (and often reorganizes) it.

Here’s where the reality of power comes in. It’s one thing if these laws and rules are shaped democratically, reflecting the values and preferences of most people.

But anyone with half a brain can see the growing concentration of income and wealth at the top of America has concentrated political power there as well — generating laws and rules that tilt the playing field ever further in the direction of corporations and the wealthy.

Antitrust laws designed to constrain monopolies have been eviscerated. Competition among Internet service providers, for example, is rapidly disappearing – resulting in higher prices than in any other rich country. Companies are being allowed to prolong patents and trademarks, keeping drug prices higher here than in Canada or Europe.

Tax laws favor capital over labor, giving capital gains a lower rate than ordinary income. The rich get humongous mortgage interest deductions while renters get no deduction at all.

The value of real property (the major asset of the middle class) is taxed annually, but not the value of stocks and bonds (where the rich park most of their wealth).

Bankruptcy laws allow companies to smoothly reorganize, but not college graduates burdened by student loans.

The minimum wage is steadily losing value, while CEO pay is in the stratosphere. Under U.S. law, shareholders have only an “advisory” role in determining what CEOs rake in.

Public goods paid for with tax revenues (public schools, affordable public universities, parks, roads, bridges) are deteriorating, while private goods paid for individually (private schools and colleges, health clubs, security guards, gated community amenities) are burgeoning.

I could go on, but you get the point. The so-called “free market” is not expanding options and opportunities for most people. It’s extending them for the few who are wealthy enough to influence how the market is organized.

Most of us remain “free” in limited sense of not being coerced into purchasing, say, the medications or Internet services that are unnecessarily expensive, or contraceptives they can no longer get under their employer’s insurance plan. We can just go without.

We’re likewise free not to be burdened with years of student debt payments; no one is required to attend college. And we’re free not to rent a place in a neighborhood with lousy schools and pot-holed roads; if we can’t afford better, we’re free to work harder so we can.

But this is a very parched view of freedom.

Conservatives who claim to be on the side of freedom while ignoring the growing imbalance of economic and political power in America are not in fact on the side of freedom. They are on the side of those with the power.

Georgia NAACP blasts Gov. Nathan Deal for making Georgia the Nation’s most liberal gun state!

(Atlanta, GA) – Georgia’s Oldest and Largest Civil and Human Rights Organization blasts Gov. Nathan Deal for making Georgia the Nation’s most liberal gun state. The “Guns Everywhere” law approved by the Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly that goes into effect today. Condemnation was swift after the measure was signed by the Governor in April as a dangerous unfunded mandate that would be a disturbance for places of worship, establishments that serve alcohol, and school campuses where parents expect their children to remain safe.

Even supporters who lauded the measure’s protection of their Second Amendment rights wished its guidelines treated religious establishments similar to bars, nightclubs, and municipalities. Georgia had the highest number of gun deaths per capita among the 50 states that same year, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The NAACP’s outrage is bipartisan on this issue. Gov. Deal, a Republican, previously supported loosening gun restrictions and holds an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association. He is running for re-election on Nov. 4. Likewise Senator Jason Carter, a Democrat, who is running to claim the Governor’s mansion also supported the gun legislation. “Both candidates for Governor are sincerely wrong on this issue because Law should establish order out of the chaos of human relationship; instead this sweeping gun law that takes effect today permits gun owners to carry weapons into churches, bars, schools and some state government buildings. Not only are our streets less safe due to a lack of common sense gun safety laws, but now our churches, schools and restaurants are too. Even in the Wild West, gun owners were required to turn over their guns before entering bars,” said Francys Johnson, State President of the Georgia NAACP and a Statesboro Attorney.

Similar condemnation was expressed by the National NAACP “Gov. Deal and the state legislature have placed the state of Georgia in grave danger,” stated NAACP Interim President and CEO Lorraine C. Miller. “We are appalled and outraged,” continued Miller.

“This law, combined with the state’s destructive stand your ground law will put more innocent people, particularly young men of color, in danger when an armed person substitutes racial bias for reasonable fear and fire away.

This is an insult to the thousands of families who have lost a loved one to gunfire in Georgia” said Johnson.

In 2011, 443 people were murdered in Georgia by gunfire. According to the Violence Policy Center, there is a strong correlation between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun deaths.

Many cities, towns, businesses are bracing new expenses stemming directly from the law. The Columbus Consolidated Government is spending about $120,000 this year to put screening equipment at the main entrance, and will have to spend $84,000 of that annually (a figure that will almost certainly rise) to pay for two deputies who will be required to man that entrance full time and other local governments will incur as the result of screening visitors for firearms. The law specifies that persons with lawful carry permits must be allowed to bring their guns into government buildings such as the Columbus City Services Center unless all entrants are screened.

“It’s an unfunded mandate,” said Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin.

As for the “unfunded man date” effect on Columbus and other local governments, you have to wonder if lawmakers had thought through all the ramifications of this law.

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. The Georgia NAACP has had an unbroken presence in Georgia since 1917. The Georgia NAACP maintains a network of branches throughout Georgia, from cities to small rural counties. The Georgia NAACP has been the most effective and consistent advocates for civil and human rights in Georgia. The NAACP’s half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Second Butts Dance Training Camp: A Success

butts_danceShernone Butts has been known for training dancers for grand performances in Americus, GA. He has produced great moments at the AmeriGospel New Years EVE celebrations. The audiences went wild with the well choreographed dancing of young people from toddler age to teenage. The training camp was held at the Fabulous Feet Dance Studio in Americus. Young people from 4 to 18 years old participated. Read more

Remembering John Perdew (1942 – 2014)

perdewIt was a hot and humid night in Americus on Thursday, August 8, 1963. Policemen, standing under the open windows of Friendship Baptist Church, had no trouble hearing the over 300 voices inside singing and talking about freedom. Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) field workers had been here since January, living with people in the community and assisting the Americus-Sumter County Movement register voters and organize attempts to desegregate the local Martin Theater on Forsyth Street. Read more

Reese Blames Marshall For Dividing the Races

dr_marshall2As a politician, Sumter County City Councilwoman Shirley Green Reese should be smart enough to distinguish between personal and political disagreements leveled against her, especially scrutiny from the community’s only local Black newspaper. Her open letter addressed to John Marshall, MD, the publisher of the Americus Sumter Observer, a monthly newspaper, on June 20, 2014, suggests she can’t separate the two. Read more