Deacon James Brown

Deacon James Brown

Deacon James Brown

Funeral services for Deacon James Brown of Montezuma, Georgia will be Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 12:00 Noon at Magnolia Baptist Church, Montezuma, Georgia with Reverend Hosie Waters officiating.

Deacon James Brown was the sixth child born to the late Reverend Lonnie Brown, Sr. and the late Mrs. Annie Ruth Whitfield Brown on August 11, 1956 in Montezuma, Macon County, Georgia. James was a 1975 graduate of the historic D.F. Douglass High School. He also graduated from The Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare. James was united in Holy Matrimony to Treny Hall Brown on May 24, 2003, they recently celebrated their twelfth anniversary. They have a host of loving friends, godchildren, to include Miss Kiersten Rogers of Oglethorpe, GA and Miss Alana Dantzler of College Park, GA. They also loved and cherished their faithful pekingese, “Precious”.

Deacon Brown served faithfully on the Deacons’ Ministry of Brown Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and supported every facet of the church. Major Brown retired from the Macon County Sheriff’s Department in 2014 after 32 years of faithful service. He also served as Jail Administrator.

Deacon James Brown departed this life on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at the Medical Center Navicent Health of Macon, Georgia. He was preceded in death by his father, Reverend Lonnie Brown, Sr., his mother, Mrs. Annie Ruth Whitfield Brown, a sister, Ruth Ann Jordan, and two brothers, Tyrone Brown and Rev. Lonnie Brown, Jr.

His beautiful life will forever be cherished by his loving and devoted wife, Mrs. Treny Hall Brown of Montezuma, Georgia; siblings: Reverend Bobby J. Brown, Sr. (Flora), Reverend Ruben Brown (Crystal) of Ft. Valley, Georgia, Donald Brown and Teresa Brown Hannor of Oglethorpe, Georgia and Rodney Brown of Montezuma, Georgia; sisters-in-law: Dorothy Brown of Montezuma, Georgia and Loronda Alicia Hall of Americus, Georgia; brother-in-law, Sammie Lee Hall, III (Danielle) of Powder Springs, Georgia; father and mother-in-law, Sammie Lee Hall, Jr. (Emma Ruth) of Buena Vista, Georgia; aunts and uncles: Dollie L. West, David Larry and Willie Thomas of Montezuma, Georgia, Billy Journey (Delores) of Atlanta, Georgia; great aunts: Mary Lizzie Brown of Marshallville, Georgia, Bernice Brown of Miami, Florida and Ophelia Larry of Henderson, Georgia.


James was loving, caring, dedicated and spirit-filled. He will be deeply missed by all who came into contact with him.

Mr. Elzie Mitchell, Jr




Elzie Mitchell, Jr., age 50, 1503 South Federal Highway, Lake Worth, Florida passed on May 18, 2015 at his residence.
The funeral service will be conducted at 1:00 P.M., Monday, May 25, 2015 at Galilee Primitive Baptist Church, 101 Buena Vista Street, Ellaville, Georgia, where Elder James Grier is pastor.  The Reverend Coley Clark, Jr. will officiate. Interment will follow in Galilee Cemetery, Highway 19 North, Ellaville, Schley County, Georgia.
Mr. Elzie Mitchell, Jr. was born June 22, 1964 in Ellaville, Schley County, Georgia to Christine Mitchell and the late Elzie Mitchell, Sr. He was educated in the public school system of Schley County. Elzie was employed as a farm worker and was a tractor driver for many of years   
He leaves a legacy of love and many fond memories to his beloved son, Elzie Isaiah Mitchell, West Palm Beach, Florida; mother, Christine Mitchell, Ellaville, Georgia; five siblings, Patricia Ann Williamson (Ray Dean), Ellaville, Georgia, Virginia Brown (Emmitt), Charlene Mitchell, Ellaville, Georgia, Kenneth Mitchell (Mattie), Columbus, Georgia, Eddie Mitchell (Lillian), Americus, Georgia; aunts and uncles, Mary Alice Miller, Ellaville, Georgia, Verdie Fulks, Ellaville, Georgia, Bobby Fulks (Arretta), Ideal, Georgia, Willie James Fulks, Ellaville, Georgia, Milton Mitchell (Helen), Buena Vista, Georgia; great uncle, Artie Lewis Brown, Buena Vista, Georgia; a host of nieces, nephews  other relatives, and friends, including three devoted friends, Neal Murray, Joann Murray, and Eugene King III. 

Veteran Charles Lee Fuller

Veteran Charles Lee Fuller was born in Americus,  GA on November 20, 1953 to the late Mrs. Marion Graham Fuller and Deacon Johnny Fuller. He attended the public schools of Sumter County, GA, graduating in 1971.

Mr. Fuller enlisted in the United State Air Force. He served his country, faithfully or over 11 years.

For the last 23 years, he has been married to Mrs. Shameeta Noy Fuller. They made their home in Colorado Springs, CO. He was employed by the United States Postal Service, where he was a letter carrier.

He is survived by his wife Shameeta, his father, Deacon Johnny Fuller and 4 sisters, Mrs. Henrietta Smith, Mrs. Annette Jenkins, Mrs. Saverne
(John) Clemons, an Mrs. Jeanie Lavender.


Pastor Ola Mae Nixon

Pastor Ola Mae Nixon

Pastor Ola Mae Nixon

Funeral services for Pastor Ola Mae Nixon of Americus, Georgia will be Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 1:00 P.M. at Restoration Church of Americus on Douglas Circle in Americus, Georgia with Pastor George Edge officiating.

Ola Mae Nixon was born on June 29, 1925. She was the youngest daughter of (11) children born to the late Ned and Amanda Moore. Ola Mae received her formal education in Americus, Georgia (Sumter County). When she was twenty years old she met a young man named R.J. (Ira) Nixon also known as “Jake”. On July 2, 1946, Jake and Ola Mae were united in Holy Matrimony and from that union they had two daughters, Rosezena Nixon and Cynthia Ann Nixon.


Ola Mae and her husband Jake moved to New Jersey looking for greater career opportunities. Jake became a steel worker and Ola Mae pursued a career in Beauty Culture. She attended Madam Scott’s Beauty Culture School on High Street in Newark, New Jersey. After she graduated from Scott she found a job in Millburn, NJ working at Vin Ed’s Beauty Salon and was there for many years. In the early 70’s she also worked for Martin and Vivian Levins in South Orange, NJ until she relocated to Georgia


Ola loved her family and she always was willing to make sacrifices to keep her family happy. After her husband passed away she continued to work hard to support her family until she decided to go back home to Georgia to take care of older sister, the late Louis Williams. When she returned to Georgia she was employed as a live in Home Health Care aide. She was very compassionate towards the sick and disabled. She enjoyed caring for her patients and she did it with such love and patience.

Ola Mae was a woman of God. She had given her life to Christ many years ago and was determined to live a faithful and holy life. She was called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to evangelize. During her stay in Newark, NJ she was the Pastor of the New Testament Pentecostal Church for several years. She amazingly impacted the lives of her members in the ministry as well as in the community through the power of the Gospel.She had a phenomenal relationship with God, she was anointed and full of the Holy Ghost. God used her mightily in the prophetic ministry and she was indeed a prayer warrior and loved to praise God. Ola enjoyed dancing in the presence God because the joy of the Lord was her strength. She really loved people and was always willing to help someone. She did not hesitate to show love to the poor and needy and through her ministry many souls were saved and delivered. She was a humble and faithful servant in the Kingdom of God. Ola Mae was Co-Pastor with Pastor Scott at the New Birth Church in Americus, Georgia and she also served in ministry under Pastor Mathis and later served under Pastor Mercer.

On Monday, May 18, 2015, the Lord escorted Ola Mae to her heavenly home. Her memory will be cherished until we see her again by her daughters, Elder Rosezena Perry and Cynthia Ann Nixon (Felipe Bartalone). (Nephew/Son), George Allen Nixon (Angela) (Grand Children)Jennifer Monique Nixon, Ivory Ray Nixon (Stephanie Lewis), Special W. Thompson(Louis), Tymina Jacole Perry (Allen Ashby) Lisa Nixon, Kara Fontaine-Perry, (5)Great Grands) Charity Amanda Nixon, Cynthia Alasha Lewis, Ivanie Alexis Nixon, and Jayla Ray Nixon, Allen Lawrence Ashby (AJ) (l)Great Great Grand) Makayla Mackey (Nieces and Nephews)Theartis Wilkerson (Terry), Mary Alice Wilkerson, CoCo, Tameeka, Sheryl, Shakira, Shawn, Jamar, Roxanne, Louise, Cornelia Oliver, Debbie, Kathy, Kym, Rose Marie, Angie, McArthur (Lisa), Johnnie, Mark, Angelica, Robert, Allen Nixon, Pierce, Ashley, Angela and Alicia (God Sons) Jermaine Batemon , Felix Kimbrough (Spiritual daughter) Evang. Josephine Woodson, Special Friends: Helen Mays, Myrtle Batemon, Evang. Frances Haugabook, Pastor Mathis and Pastor Mercer.

Ms. Lizzie Mae Seay

Ms. Lizzie Mae Seay

Ms. Lizzie Mae Seay

Funeral services for Ms. Lizzie Mae Seay of Ellaville, Georgia will be Monday, May 25, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. in the Chapel of West’s Mortuary in Americus, Georgia with Bishop James Lundy officiating.

Ms. Lizzie Mae Seay, the only child of the late Mr. William & Sarah Ann Seay, was born June 11, 1940 in Americus GA. She was educated at the John Lewis High School in Ellaville, Georgia. She was a member of the Tabernacle of Faith in Ellaville, Georgia under the leadership of Bishop James Lundy. Ms. Lizzie passed away peacefully on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Magnolia Manor in Americus, Georgia.

She leave to mourn her passing several cousins and friends including: Mr. Earnest & Mrs. Willie Mae Seay of Americus, Georgia, Mr. Charles & Mrs. Mary Duckworth of Albany, Georgia, Mrs. Mary Nance & Mr. Arthur Nance, Sr. of Cordele, George, Ms. Ethel Adkins of Arabi, Georgia, Mr. David & Mrs. Dorothy Williams of Cordele, Georgia, Ms. Margret Edwards of Jacksonville, Florida, Mr. Charlie James & Mary Seay of Americus, Georgia, Mrs. Lillian Pickett of Plains, Georgia; a devoted friend Mr. Fredrick Young of Ellaville, Georgia. Several other relatives and friends also survive.

Korrey Bernard Harris




Korrey Bernard Harris, age 35, 122 Belinda Circle, Americus, Georgia passed June 2, 2015 at the Lillian Carter Nursing Home, Plains, Georgia. 

The funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 411 Cotton Avenue, Americus, Georgia, where Bishop Melvin McCluster is pastor.  The Reverend Roy Thomas, pastor of Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church of Washington, DC will officiate.  Interment will follow in the Staley Memorial Garden, corner of Mayo Street and Souther Field Road, Americus, Georgia. 

Korrey Bernard Harris was born July 2, 1979 to Annie R. Thomas Williamson and the late Leon Harris in Americus, Sumter County, Georgia.  He was a 1997 graduate of Americus High School.  He acquired his degree in Recording Arts from Full Sail World Education, Winter Park, Florida.  He further studied toward a degree in Business Management until his health failed.
At an early age, Korrey confessed Jesus as his Lord and Savior and joined the band of Christian belivers  at Mt. Zion Webster Missionary Baptist Church of Webster County under the Leadership of Reverend G.W. Nealy.   Korrey was a faithful and dedicated member with the Youth Department where he supported every facet of the church he loved so well.
Korrey was preceded in death by his father, Leon, and his paternal grandparents, Ulysses and Edith Harris.
Korrey leaves a legacy of love and many fond memories to his beloved parents, Paul and Annie Ruth Thomas Williamson, Americus, Georgia; a loving brother, Christopher Williamson, Americus, Georgia; god-sisters, Jennifer Williamson–Virgin (Taybrn), Virginia Beach, Virginia, Deandrea Edmonds-Jackson, Savannah, Georgia, Natalie Henderson, Warner Robins, Georgia; maternal grandparents, Bennie and Naomi Thomas, Sr., Americus, Georgia;  aunts and uncles, Arrena L. Solomon, Plains, Georgia, Eula Coates, Brenda Brown, Americus, Georgia, Mary Laster, Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania, Ezekiel Thomas (Carolyn), Jacksonville, Florida, Bennie Thomas, Jr. (Clara), Landover, Maryland, Nathaniel Thomas (Vyrtis), Mitchellville, Maryland, Reverend Roy Thomas (Minister Jackie), Burke, Virginia, Michael Harris (Christy), Horace Harris, Edvuado Harris, all of Americus, Georgia, Johnny B Williamson (Annie Kate), Ellaville, Georgia, Minnie Willilamson Williams (Deacon Moses), Decatur, Georgia, Willie Pearl Price, Toledo, Ohio Pauline Williamson Smith (Thomas), Americus, Georgia;  a host of beloved cousins other relatives and friends.




Mr. Robert D. Cladd was born in Dawson, Terrell County, Georgia on October 11, 1934 to the parentage of the late Mr. Timothy Cladd, Sr. and the late Mrs. Trudy Coleman Cladd. He received his education in the public schools of Terrell County. At an early age, he joined the Jackson Grove Baptist Church, Parrott, Georgia. He was employed for over 30 years with Parker’s Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. as a technician. He is preceded in death by two brothers, Mr. Willie Cladd and Mr. Timothy Cladd, Jr.; three sisters, Ms. Eula Watson, Ms. Mary Helen Foster and Ms. Gertrude Cladd. He was married to Ms. Lillie Mae Taylor Cladd and to their union six children were born.

He leaves to cherish his memories: his wife, Mrs. Lillie Mae Cladd, Americus, GA; three sons, Dea. Robert (Jennifer) Cladd, Jr., Dea. Dexter (Trica) Cladd and Rev. Ricky (Veronda) Cladd all of Americus, GA; three daughters, Mrs. Glenda (Pastor Marvin) Newberry, Brandon, FL, Mrs. Carol (Anthony) Holder, Americus, GA and  Mrs. Sibrena (Torrance) Laney, Parrott, GA; two brothers, Mr. Joseph (Barbara) Cladd and Mr. Henry Cladd of New Brunswick, NJ; his brother and sisters-in-law, Missionary Lois Taylor, Mr. Alex Brown, Mrs. Lady B. Sims, Mrs. Elnora Girven, Ms. Ceolia Roberts all of Americus, GA and Ms. Francis Cladd, New Brunswick, NJ; thirteen grandchildren, seven great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Mr. Kentrelis Tremon Lassiter

Mr. Kentrelis Tremon Lassiter

Mr. Kentrelis Tremon Lassiter

Mr. Kentrelis Tremon Lassiter was the first born child to Army Retired Staff Sergeant Ben & Keanna Lassiter-Mathis and Corey Smith on January 3, 1998. He received his education from the Bookman Road Elementary, Summit Pkwy Jr. High and Ridgeview High Schools in Columbia, South Carolina. He was a member of the Word of Truth Revealing Ministry, Columbia, South Carolina.

His final days were spent surrounded by family and friends that Kentrelis had touched with his shinning light throughout his memorable life. Although his life was short,  Kentrelis loved and giggled a lot. He was a Junior at Ridgeview High School and was in the JROTC Program with dreams of joining the military following his father’s footsteps. He is preceded in death by his grandfather, Mr. Joe Smith and his great grandmother, Ms. Frankie Mae Manns.

He leaves to cherish his memories, his parents, Army Retired Staff Sergeant Ben & Mrs. Keanna Mathis of Columbia SC, and Mr. Corey Smith of Americus GA; his sister, Nakyra Mathis and brothers, Ben Mathis, Jr. and Tyler Mathis all of Columbia, SC; his grandparents, Ms. Dorothy Jackson and Ms. Virginia Smith of Americus, GA and Willie Lassiter of St. Paul, Minnesota; his aunts, Ms. Felisha Jackson, Mrs. Marquida (Terry) Sims, Atlanta, GA and Ms. Shaunkea Williamson, Americus, GA; his uncles, Mr. Jermaine (Pamela) Jackson, Albany, GA, Mr. Centwan (Brittany) Williamson, Columbia, SC, Mr. Curtis (Ylieshe) Mathis, Americus, GA and Mr. Reginald (Tammy) Smith, Warner Robins, GA; countless great aunts & uncles, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Mrs. Jessie Mae Lewis Brown

Mrs. Jessie Mae Lewis Brown

Mrs. Jessie Mae Lewis Brown

Mrs. Jessie Mae Lewis Brown was born in Sumter County, Georgia on January 8, 1929 to the parentage of the late Mr. Essie Lewis and the late Mrs. Mary L. Harrington. She received her education in the public school system. She retired as a telephone operator for Southern Bell Telephone Company, now Bellsouth. She was a member of the Big Bethel Baptist Church. Mrs. Lewis is preceded in death by a daughter, Louise Brown, a brother, Joseph Lewis and a sister, Ethel Lewis.

She leaves to cherish her memories, three sons, Mr. Eddie Henry Brown, Dallas, TX, Mr. James (Robin) Brown, Charleston, SC and Mr. John Alvin Brown, Baltimore, MD; one daughter, Ms. Joyce B. Robinson, Miami, FL; two brothers, Mr. Rockman Lewis, Newark, NJ and Mr. Moses Lewis, Atlanta, GA; one sister, Ms. Florence Lewis, Buffalo, NY; and a host grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins other relatives and friends also survive.

Upfront chemo prolongs life in men with advanced, hormone-naive prostate cancer

BY SUSAN LONDON in ASCO Annual Meeting on May 14th, 2015 


CHICAGO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Using chemotherapy earlier in the course of advanced prostate cancer improves outcomes, according to first survival results of the STAMPEDE trial (Systemic Therapy in Advancing or Metastatic Prostate Cancer: Evaluation of Drug Efficacy).

Results showed that adding docetaxel to the standard of hormone therapy at the time of diagnosis reduced the risk of treatment failure or death by 38% and the risk of death by 24%, researchers reported in a press briefing held in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The benefit was clear among men with metastatic disease but less so among those with nonmetastatic disease.

“Docetaxel improves survival in men with hormone-naive prostate cancer starting hormone therapy for the first time,” concluded lead researcher Dr. Nicholas David James, director of the cancer research unit at the University of Warwick and consultant in clinical oncology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (England).

“Docetaxel should be considered as routine practice in men with newly diagnosed metastatic disease,” he asserted. “For nonmetastatic disease, there remains uncertainty as to whether there is a survival benefit or not, but it certainly improves failure-free survival by a substantial amount, so we would argue that it should be considered for selected men with high-risk nonmetastatic disease.”

Clinicians should use an individualized approach to adding docetaxel in the subgroup with nonmetastatic disease. “What I am doing in my own clinic, for example, is having a discussion with the patients about the pros and cons. … I think it will be something we discuss on a case-by-case basis,” he said, adding that a planned meta-analysis should better clarify the survival benefit in this subgroup.

Dr. Peter Paul Yu, ASCO president and a medical oncologist and hematologist, who is director of cancer research at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Sunnyvale, Calif., said that the STAMPEDE data contribute to an ongoing paradigm shift in treating advanced prostate cancer.

“The paradigm for years or even decades has been to treat this with hormone therapy because [it] is relatively less toxic. … The advice has been to use hormone therapy until it’s exhausted, until there is no response left, and then at the last moment use chemotherapy, which often is a potentially self-defeating strategy because you are using chemotherapy when the disease has evolved to a point where it’s much more aggressive,” he said.

Accumulating data, however, suggest that a strategy of combining chemotherapy with hormonal therapy upfront yields better outcomes than their sequential use. “This paradigm shift is continuing and should be highlighted,” he maintained.

“The really interesting thing is the hint … and I would say a very strong hint as an editorial comment, that this strategy of bringing chemotherapy early on can have a benefit even in men who do not have evidence of metastases at the time they are starting hormone therapy … what we would traditionally call the adjuvant use of chemotherapy,” Dr. Yu added.

Men were eligible for STAMPEDE if they were starting long-term hormone therapy for the first time and had high-risk locally advanced disease, lymph node–positive disease, metastatic disease, or disease that had relapsed aggressively after surgery or radiation therapy. STAMPEDE has an innovative, adaptive design whereby novel agents can be incrementally added to those found to be efficacious in earlier arms, generating a new standard of care. The trial receives funding and support in part from Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Pfizer, Janssen, and Astellas.

Dr. James presented findings for four of the trial’s nine arms, in which 2,962 patients were randomized to standard of care (androgen deprivation therapy with or without radiation therapy) alone, or with the addition of six cycles of docetaxel (Taxotere), 2 years of the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid (Zometa), or both.

Docetaxel is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of metastatic hormone-refractory prostate cancer, and zoledronic acid is approved for the treatment of hypercalcemia due to cancer.

With a median follow-up of 42 months, compared with standard care alone, adding docetaxel significantly reduced the risks of failure-free survival events (hazard ratio, 0.62) and death (HR, 0.76). Median overall survival was 77 months with the drug and 67 months without it, and the difference was largely driven by prostate cancer deaths, according to Dr. James.

About 60% of the men had metastases. In stratified analyses, adding docetaxel improved failure-free survival whether men had metastatic disease or not, but it improved overall survival only in those with metastatic disease (43 vs. 65 months). However, the standard-care arm in the nonmetastatic subgroup performed better than expected, and there have been too few deaths in that subgroup overall to fully power the analysis, Dr. James said.

Toxicity with the addition of docetaxel was manageable. Zoledronic acid did not improve either outcome relative to hormone therapy alone, and adding both zoledronic acid and docetaxel netted similar results to those seen with docetaxel alone.

Several other therapies, including next-generation hormone therapies and chemotherapy agents, also are showing promise in prostate cancer, and the optimal timing and sequencing of agents is unknown. STAMPEDE is the first to look at docetaxel and these hormone therapies at the time of diagnosis of advanced disease, he noted.

At present, the data support giving docetaxel before either abiraterone or enzalutamide in this treatment setting, as the drug’s survival advantage persisted even though patients often went on to receive those hormone therapies; however, that strategy might change with future results from this and other trials. “To be honest, it would be a nice position to be in if we had two treatments that improved overall survival upfront. That just gives us a choice. It would be good news obviously,” he concluded.

Dr. James disclosed that he has a consulting, advisory, or speakers’ bureau role with or receives honoraria or research funding (institutional) from Sanofi, Bayer, Merck, Astellas, Janssen, Pierre Fabre, Ferring, OncoGenex, and Pfizer.

Emergency Rooms Crack Down On Abusers Of Pain Pills

In Cheyenne, Wyo., emergency room patients who show up more than a few times a month requesting pain pills will now be told no, except in dire emergencies. A similar program at a New Mexico hospital cut ER visits by 5 percent annually, and saved $500,000.

In Cheyenne, Wyo., emergency room patients who show up more than a few times a month requesting pain pills will now be told no, except in dire emergencies. A similar program at a New Mexico hospital cut ER visits by 5 percent annually, and saved $500,000.


Kimberley Enyart was never interested in doing recreational drugs. But then she was in a car accident — and her doctor prescribed a powerful opiate for the pain.

“It just would put me off in la-la land, and make me feel better,” she says. “I loved it. I loved that high.”

When Enyart’s prescription ran out, she did whatever she could to convince other doctors that she needed more. Eventually, she moved on to dentists.

“I even had two back teeth pulled over it,” she says.

Eventually, Enyart ran out of doctors to fool. In the last decade, every state except Missouri has a built a tracking system that lets doctors look up the prescription history of patients they find suspicious. So, Enyart went to the last place in town she could still legally get some pills: the hospital emergency room.

“I would do anything, from saying I had a migraine to having side aches,” she says. “Most of the time, yeah, I walked out of the emergency room with a prescription.”

In the last few years, the ER has become a top destination for people seeking addictive prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Oxycodone, or Percocet. In response, hospitals in some states, including New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming, have developed tracking systems specifically tailored to the emergency room. The program used by the ER at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, in Cheyenne, Wyo., is just getting off the ground.

Tracy Garcia, who directs the ER, points out the bold red letters that appear on patients’ electronic records when they’re flagged as abusers. With Wyoming’s existing prescription monitoring system, she says, it hasn’t been easy to track abusive patients. The ER’s doctors work 12-hour shifts, serving an overflowing waiting room — which can mean that, even if they find a patient suspicious, Garcia says, they can’t always look into it.

“When I’ve got 15 people waiting for treatment,” Garcia says, “I want to get in, find out what’s going on with you, and get your care started right away.” That way, she says, “you feel better and I can move on to the next patient.”

Under the new system, the difficult decision of whether to withhold drugs won’t be made by the doctor on duty, Garcia says. Instead, a hospital panel made up of doctors and administrators will meet once a month to decide whether patients flagged for unhealthy behavior should officially be labeled abusers. The panel will be watching for signs — like more than a few visits to the ER in a given month.

“One day they’re here with a headache, the next day with back pain, another day with dental pain,” Garcia explains. “And these are all things they request medication for.”

Once the patients’ names are flagged, the hospital will send out certified letters telling them they will not be prescribed painkillers for anything other than a dire emergency.

This kind of program has already had a big impact at hospitals around the country. Dr. Eric Ketcham helped create one at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M., a few years ago.

“We assumed we would probably lose money,” Ketcham says. “We thought of it as a public health initiative.”

But after crunching the numbers, Ketcham realized the hospital had cut down the number of visits to its emergency room by 5 percent a year. And because many of these narcotics-seekers lacked insurance, eliminating their repeat ER visits saved the hospital about half a million dollars a year, Ketcham says — enough to pay for about six full-time nurses in the emergency department.

Still, some doctors are nervous that these kinds of programs could tie their hands.

“It’s very important to leave medicine in the hands of physicians,” says Dr. Alex Rosenau, former president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. One of the purposes of the emergency room is to treat people when their primary care doctor is unavailable, Rosenau says. And for poor people, it’s sometimes the only medical care they have access to.

These kinds of new guidelines, Rosenau worries, may discourage doctors from giving out pain medication when it’s really needed.

“If somebody is an abuser of Vicodin or one of these other medicines … if they break a leg or break an arm, they’re still going to need medicine to reduce their pain,” he says.

Still, Rosenau agrees that the question of who should get the painkillers and who shouldn’t is more important than ever. In 2013, prescription drug overdoses killed 44 people, on average, every day in the United States.

An earlier version of this story aired on Wyoming Public RadioKUWR, in Laramie, Wyo.


How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

edead82f6a5bc26faa11c585ad637ed441641cb8_2880x1620By Nadine Burke Harris,Pediatrician

In the mid-’90s, the CDC and Kaiser Permanente discovered an exposure that dramatically increased the risk for seven out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the United States. In high doses, it affects brain development, the immune system, hormonal systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed. Folks who are exposed in very high doses have triple the lifetime risk of heart disease and lung cancer and a 20-year difference in life expectancy. And yet, doctors today are not trained in routine screening or treatment. Now, the exposure I’m talking about is not a pesticide or a packaging chemical.It’s childhood trauma.

Okay. What kind of trauma am I talking about here? I’m not talking about failing a test or losing a basketball game. I am talking about threats that are so severe or pervasive that they literally get under our skin and change our physiology: things like abuse or neglect, or growing up with a parent who struggles with mental illness or substance dependence.

Now, for a long time, I viewed these things in the way I was trained to view them, either as a social problem — refer to social services — or as a mental health problem — refer to mental health services. And then something happened to make me rethink my entire approach. When I finished my residency, I wanted to go someplace where I felt really needed, someplace where I could make a difference. So I came to work for California Pacific Medical Center, one of the best private hospitals in Northern California, and together, we opened a clinic in Bayview-Hunters Point, one of the poorest, most underserved neighborhoods in San Francisco. Now, prior to that point, there had been only one pediatrician in all of Bayview to serve more than 10,000 children, so we hung a shingle, and we were able to provide top-quality care regardless of ability to pay. It was so cool. We targeted the typical health disparities: access to care, immunization rates, asthma hospitalization rates, and we hit all of our numbers. We felt very proud of ourselves.

But then I started noticing a disturbing trend. A lot of kids were being referred to me for ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but when I actually did a thorough history and physical, what I found was that for most of my patients, I couldn’t make a diagnosis of ADHD. Most of the kids I was seeing had experienced such severe trauma that it felt like something else was going on. Somehow I was missing something important.

Now, before I did my residency, I did a master’s degree in public health, and one of the things that they teach you in public health school is that if you’re a doctor and you see 100 kids that all drink from the same well, and 98 of them develop diarrhea, you can go ahead and write that prescription for dose after dose after dose of antibiotics, or you can walk over and say, “What the hell is in this well?” So I began reading everything that I could get my hands on about how exposure to adversity affects the developing brains and bodies of children.

And then one day, my colleague walked into my office, and he said, “Dr. Burke, have you seen this?” In his hand was a copy of a research study called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. That day changed my clinical practice and ultimately my career.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is something that everybody needs to know about. It was done by Dr. Vince Felitti at Kaiser and Dr. Bob Anda at the CDC, and together, they asked 17,500 adults about their history of exposure to what they called “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs. Those include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; parental mental illness, substance dependence, incarceration; parental separation or divorce; or domestic violence. For every yes, you would get a point on your ACE score. And then what they did was they correlated these ACE scores against health outcomes. What they found was striking. Two things: Number one, ACEs are incredibly common. Sixty-seven percent of the population had at least one ACE, and 12.6 percent, one in eight, had four or more ACEs. The second thing that they found was that there was a dose-response relationship between ACEs and health outcomes: the higher your ACE score, the worse your health outcomes. For a person with an ACE score of four or more, their relative risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was two and a half times that of someone with an ACE score of zero. For hepatitis, it was also two and a half times. For depression, it was four and a half times. For suicidality, it was 12 times. A person with an ACE score of seven or more had triple the lifetime risk of lung cancer and three and a half times the risk of ischemic heart disease, the number one killer in the United States of America.

Well, of course this makes sense. Some people looked at this data and they said, “Come on. You have a rough childhood, you’re more likely to drink and smoke and do all these things that are going to ruin your health. This isn’t science. This is just bad behavior.”

It turns out this is exactly where the science comes in. We now understand better than we ever have before how exposure to early adversity affects the developing brains and bodies of children. It affects areas like the nucleus accumbens, the pleasure and reward center of the brain that is implicated in substance dependence. It inhibits the prefrontal cortex, which is necessary for impulse control and executive function, a critical area for learning. And on MRI scans, we see measurable differences in the amygdala, the brain’s fear response center. So there are real neurologic reasons why folks exposed to high doses of adversity are more likely to engage in high-risk behavior, and that’s important to know.

But it turns out that even if you don’t engage in any high-risk behavior, you’re still more likely to develop heart disease or cancer. The reason for this has to do with the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis, the brain’s and body’s stress response system that governs our fight-or-flight response. How does it work?Well, imagine you’re walking in the forest and you see a bear. Immediately, your hypothalamus sends a signal to your pituitary, which sends a signal to your adrenal gland that says, “Release stress hormones! Adrenaline! Cortisol!” And so your heart starts to pound, Your pupils dilate, your airways open up, and you are ready to either fight that bear or run from the bear. And that is wonderful if you’re in a forest and there’s a bear. (Laughter) But the problem is what happens when the bear comes home every night, and this system is activated over and over and over again, and it goes from being adaptive, or life-saving, to maladaptive, or health-damaging. Children are especially sensitive to this repeated stress activation,because their brains and bodies are just developing. High doses of adversity not only affect brain structure and function, they affect the developing immune system, developing hormonal systems, and even the way our DNA is read and transcribed.

So for me, this information threw my old training out the window, because when we understand the mechanism of a disease, when we know not only which pathways are disrupted, but how, then as doctors, it is our job to use this science for prevention and treatment. That’s what we do.

So in San Francisco, we created the Center for Youth Wellness to prevent, screen and heal the impacts of ACEs and toxic stress. We started simply with routine screening of every one of our kids at their regular physical, because I know that if my patient has an ACE score of 4, she’s two and a half times as likely to develop hepatitis or COPD, she’s four and half times as likely to become depressed, and she’s 12 times as likely to attempt to take her own life as my patient with zero ACEs. I know that when she’s in my exam room. For our patients who do screen positive, we have a multidisciplinary treatment team that works to reduce the dose of adversity and treat symptoms using best practices, including home visits, care coordination, mental health care, nutrition, holistic interventions, and yes, medication when necessary. But we also educate parents about the impacts of ACEs and toxic stress the same way you would for covering electrical outlets, or lead poisoning, and we tailor the care of our asthmatics and our diabetics in a way that recognizes that they may need more aggressive treatment, given the changes to their hormonal and immune systems.

So the other thing that happens when you understand this science is that you want to shout it from the rooftops, because this isn’t just an issue for kids in Bayview. I figured the minute that everybody else heard about this, it would be routine screening, multi-disciplinary treatment teams, and it would be a race to the most effective clinical treatment protocols. Yeah. That did not happen. And that was a huge learning for me. What I had thought of as simply best clinical practice I now understand to be a movement. In the words of Dr. Robert Block, the former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threatfacing our nation today.” And for a lot of people, that’s a terrifying prospect. The scope and scale of the problem seems so large that it feels overwhelming to think about how we might approach it. But for me, that’s actually where the hopes lies, because when we have the right framework, when we recognize this to be a public health crisis, then we can begin to use the right tool kit to come up with solutions. From tobacco to lead poisoning to HIV/AIDS, the United States actually has quite a strong track record with addressing public health problems, but replicating those successes with ACEs and toxic stress is going to take determination and commitment, and when I look at what our nation’s response has been so far, I wonder, why haven’t we taken this more seriously?

You know, at first I thought that we marginalized the issue because it doesn’t apply to us. That’s an issue for those kids in those neighborhoods. Which is weird, because the data doesn’t bear that out. The original ACEs study was done in a population that was 70 percent Caucasian, 70 percent college-educated. But then, the more I talked to folks, I’m beginning to think that maybe I had it completely backwards. If I were to ask how many people in this room grew up with a family member who suffered from mental illness, I bet a few hands would go up. And then if I were to ask how many folks had a parent who maybe drank too much, or who really believed that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child, I bet a few more hands would go up. Even in this room, this is an issue that touches many of us, and I am beginning to believe that we marginalize the issue because it does apply to us. Maybe it’s easier to see in other zip codes because we don’t want to look at it. We’d rather be sick.

Fortunately, scientific advances and, frankly, economic realities make that option less viable every day.The science is clear: Early adversity dramatically affects health across a lifetime. Today, we are beginning to understand how to interrupt the progression from early adversity to disease and early death, and 30 years from now, the child who has a high ACE score and whose behavioral symptoms go unrecognized,whose asthma management is not connected, and who goes on to develop high blood pressure and early heart disease or cancer will be just as anomalous as a six-month mortality from HIV/AIDS. People will look at that situation and say, “What the heck happened there?” This is treatable. This is beatable.The single most important thing that we need today is the courage to look this problem in the face and say, this is real and this is all of us. I believe that we are the movement.

Thank you.

US to Study Cuba’s Lung Cancer Vaccine: What the World Can Learn from Castro’s Health Service

Fidel Castro, 88, during his meeting with President Francois Hollande on 11 May, 2015 (Reuters)

Fidel Castro, 88, during his meeting with President Francois Hollande on 11 May, 2015 (Reuters)

By Adam Withnall, The Independent

American researchers are about to be given access for the first time to a breakthrough lung cancer vaccine developed in Cuba, in what could be one of the most significant benefits to the US of improving relations with the Communist state.

The closed-off Caribbean nation is emerging from a 55-year rift with the US, and the historic shift in diplomatic standing is set to give American scientists their first glimpse at the medical breakthroughs developed in Cuba during that time.

One of the most prominent is a drug which suppresses the growth of tumours in the lungs. Cimavax has been available for free to all Cuban citizens since 2011, is believed to have minimal side effects and can prolong the life of a patient in the late stages of the disease by as much as six months.

How has Cuba had such success?

The ground-breaking US study of Cimavax will take place at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, and the centre’s CEO Candace Johnson told Wired “the chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect”.

During the economic blockade by the US and after a string of serious disease outbreaks, Cuban leader Fidel Castro made biotechnology and medical research a key priority for the allocation of limited government funds.

The country ranks lung cancer as its fourth biggest cause of death, thanks at least in part to a love of good cigars, and experts in Havana worked for 25 years on the Cimavax vaccine before it was made available to the public.

Johnson said: “They’ve had to do more with less, so they’ve had to be even more innovative with how they approach things. For over 40 years, they have had a preeminent immunology community.”

Why is this only happening now?

The opening up of Cuba’s medical breakthroughs comes as part of a wider improvement in relations with the US – a charter flight service from New York to Cuba has already been announced, and licences for six direct ferry services with Florida have been approved.

But the specific decision to allow Cimavax to be studied in the US comes after a trade mission to Cuba led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

According to the Bloomberg news agency, Cuomo oversaw the deal between Roswell Park and the Centre for Molecular Immunology in Havana in late April, and the governor said afterwards that it reaffirmed his believe normalising relations with Cuba was “the exact right way to go”.

He said: “There’s no doubt that developing these mutual business relationships, which assist Cuba and also work for the companies, is a big part of moving forward.”

So what does Cuba get in return?

As part of the deal, Manhattan-based company Infor will provide healthcare software to a Cuban university.

Infor CEO Charles Phillips said he was “surprised and impressed in the level of expertise they have in healthcare technology” during the trade mission, when a deal was agreed over a dinner of rice and beans.

But if the thawing of relations continues, the boost to the Cuban economy and potential for US investment could be coupled with the state’s immunology expertise to produce yet more breakthroughs.

The warming of ties between Cuba and western nations was underlined when President Francois Hollande met with a remarkably well-looking 88-year-old Fidel Castro, as well as his brother the President Raul Castro, on Monday. It was the first visit to the island from a French President in more than 100 years.

What will the US do with the drug?

Cimavax is reported to help lung cancer patients by encouraging the body’s immune system to attack a hormone known to encourage growth in tumours.

It is not a miracle cure, but it is cheap, very easy to administer and a small study suggested it could significantly prolong the life of patients.

“The idea is that the Cimavax vaccine induces a immune response [to stop production of the hormone],” Roswell Park’s Dr Kelvin Lee told ABC News. “The tumour is being starved.”

Dr Lee said the first step will be to win the approval of the US FDA for a phase 1 study covering the next six to eight months and involving a small number of patients.

But if that is successful, Dr Lee said, there was potential for the technology to work with other diseases that involve the same hormone – including breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Dr Elizabeth Mittendorf, an immunotherapy expery at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas, hailed the potential for progress with Cuban advances. She said: “Politics certainly should not prohibit good science from being further evaluated.”

Why Doctors Are Quitting – And Why It’s Not Obama’s Fault

protest-e1433524735244By Dan Diamond Contributor Forbes,

In September 2009, Terry Jones wrote in Investor’s Business Daily that the United States was barreling toward catastrophe: Nearly half the nation’s physicians were on the verge of hanging up their stethoscopes.

“Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they ‘would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement’ if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind,” Jones warned.

“Projecting the poll’s finding … 360,000 doctors would consider quitting.”

Well, Congress did pass that plan six months later. (You might have heard: It’s called the Affordable Care Act.)

But our doctors didn’t go away.

In fact, rather than lose 360,000 physicians, the nation’s gained nearly 100,000 practicing doctors in the past six years.

Time and again, surveys have predicted that physicians’ anger over Obamacare, over regulations, over declining reimbursement is driving them out of the industry. That doctors’ gloom will lead to doom for American health care.

“Six in 10 physicians say that it is likely that many physicians will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years,” Deloitte warned in 2013.

“Recent anecdotes suggest more physicians may be retiring earlier than in the past and [in] a large cohort,” the Lewin Group concluded — in 2004.

But we see again and again: Intent doesn’t equal action. At least, not on a national scale.

For instance, the Wall Street Journal in 2013 implied that doctors were leaving Medicare en masse. It wasn’t true.

Last Friday, the latest high-profile pessimist popped up — Charles Krauthammer, a Harvard Medical School-trained doctor and a columnist for the Washington Post.

In an essay carried in hundreds of newspapers, and originally called “Why Doctors Quit,” Krauthammer argued that the Obama administration has “demoralized doctors and degraded care” by pushing providers to quickly adopt electronic health records, known in shorthand as EHRs.

In Krauthammer’s telling, EHRs have turned out to be “ health care’s Solyndra” — they haven’t justified the $27 billion in incentive payments that the White House used to get doctors to go digital.

“Many, no doubt, feasted nicely on the $27 billion, but the rest is waste: money squandered, patients neglected, good physicians demoralized,” Krauthammer wrote.

The stress of EHRs is so bad that many of his Harvard classmates from 1975 are thinking about quitting medicine, Krauthammer added. He writes:

Virtually every doctor and doctors’ group I speak to cites the same litany, with particular bitterness about the EHR mandate. As another classmate wrote, “The introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I can only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.”

You may have zero sympathy for doctors, but think about the extraordinary loss to society — and maybe to you, one day — of driving away 40 years of irreplaceable clinical experience.

It’s true that doctors — especially older ones — are frustrated about the shift to electronic health records.

And understandably so! EHRs have added a burden to a busy workday. The added value of digitized data isn’t always obvious. There’s evidence they hurtproductivity.

As a journalist, I’ve heard these complaints over and over again from doctors. And as a patient, I’ve witnessed doctors’ anger firsthand.

A few years ago, I was in the office of a middle-aged neurologist, one of the greatest diagnosticians I’ve ever met. It was a routine check-up, but he spent more time looking at his computer screen than at me.

“This gets in the way of patient care,” he groused, his eyes locked on the screen.

“Why don’t you hire a medical scribe?” I asked the doctor. “Someone who can keep the notes while you see patients?”

He swiveled around and scowled. “The hospital doesn’t want to pay,” he said, as his eyebrows scrunched. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this.”

But that doctor didn’t go anywhere. He’s got kids in Ivy League colleges and a D.C.-area household to fund. He’s got years invested in building a practice. And walking away from that will take more than frustration over a computer system.

In fact, the real reason why doctors are quitting is less dramatic: They’re aging.

For the first time, the number of U.S. physicians in their mid-50s (or older) has outpaced the number of physicians between the ages of 35 and 54. Not all of these older doctors are still in practice, but a surprising number have stayed in the workforce.

One major reason? Money. The sunk cost of being a doctor — the years of training; the enormous student loans — also can take decades to pay off. And physician reimbursement has steadily tightened in recent decades, forcing older doctors to work harder and stay longer if they want to maintain their earlier standard of living or fund ambitious retirement plans.

The recession had a similar effect on doctors’ decisions, too. According to a 2011 survey, 70% of doctors said they planned to work longer because of the economic downturn.

But now that the economy is in recovery, more of these older doctors are leaving, sparking a jump in retirement rates.

Sure, EHRs may be pushing a few doctors out the door. But these tend to be physicians who already had a foot dangling over the threshold.

Just look at Charles Krauthammer’s article, where the only evidence he has that EHRs are forcing doctors to quit is the grousing of his elderly classmates.

Let’s be real: 65-year-old doctors retire for more reasons than EHRs.

Of course, not all doctors think electronic records are an albatross.

“We know that when some physicians adopt EHR systems, they are worse off – slower, less efficient, struggling to provide high-quality care,” Julia Adler-Milstein, a University of Michigan professor, recently testified to Congress. “But for others, the experience is very different: they see big gains in productivity and the quality of care they provide.”

“Why do some do so well with technology while others struggle?” she mused. “The answers are not as simple as age or tech savviness. It’s likely much more about how the IT is used, and the context in which it is used.”

But ultimately, Krauthammer’s article is short-sighted because it’s so prehistoric. Fighting against digital records is like fighting the sun. The era of EHR is rising because it needs to.

Yes, it’s created an unsettled, and unsettling, moment in medicine. Sure, EHRs are imperfect and need to improve.

But it’s a necessary transition from today’s fragmented health care system to tomorrow’s team-based health care model.

“We are at a cusp point in medical generations,” surgeon and author Atul Gawande told the Harvard Medical School class of 2011, at their graduation. “The doctors of former generations lament what medicine has become. If they could start over, the surveys tell us, they wouldn’t choose the profession today. ”

“Many doctors fear the future will end daring, creativity, and the joys of thinking that medicine has had.”

“Making systems work in health care — shifting from corralling cowboys to producing pit crews — is the great task of your and my generation of clinicians and scientists,” Gawande added.

“[And] nothing says teams cannot be daring or creative or that your work with others will not require hard thinking and wise judgment.”

Hillary Clinton’s rivals dig in day after campaign kickoff

b5f0e0463f1abf14d5f289c60b8b35953da48ca5Dylan Stableford,Senior editor,

Hillary Clinton is joined by Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky at a campaign rally in New York City. (Photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

A day after Hillary Clinton formally kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign with a speech at a rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island, current and would-be rivals on both sides of the political aisle took aim at the former secretary of state on Sunday morning talk shows.

“First off, I thought that Elizabeth Warren wasn’t running for president,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “But when I listened to Hillary yesterday, it sounds like liberal political consultants put together that speech.”

Christie also criticized Clinton for not taking questions from the press.

“I’ve done 146 town hall meetings in the last five years in New Jersey and around the country,” Christie said. “Mrs. Clinton doesn’t hear from anybody. She doesn’t talk to anybody. She doesn’t take questions from anybody. How would she know what real Americans are really concerned about?

“Is it, you know, when she’s out giving paid speeches?” the Republican governor continued. “I don’t understand when she would know what she was saying yesterday about real Americans.”

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed Clinton for refusing to take a stand on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that President Barack Obama is trying to fast-track through Congress.

“I would hope very much that Secretary Clinton will side with every union in the country, virtually every environmental group and many religious groups and say that this TPP policy is a disaster, that it must be defeated and that we need to regroup and come up with a trade policy which demands that corporate America starts investing in this country rather than in countries all over the world,” Sanders said.

“There is no question that what our trade policy has been for many years is to allow corporate America to shut down plants in this country, move abroad, hire people at pennies an hour and then bring their products back to the United States,“ the independent senator and Democratic presidential candidate continued. “It is a failed trade policy, and I would hope that the secretary joins Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and the vast majority of Democrats in the Congress in saying, ‘No. We’ve got to defeat this piece of legislation.’”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and TPP proponent, called Clinton’s silence on the trade deal “mystifying.”

“It’s about global leadership,” Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, said. “Surely, a person who was secretary of state understands a little bit about leadership.“

The Clinton campaign, meanwhile, fanned out to defend the former first lady.

“She actually has been very clear about where she stands on trade,” John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “She’s rolled out a two-pronged task on how to look at trade agreements. First, does it grow jobs, grow wages, and protect American workers, and second, does it protect our national security?  That’s her position. She said that she wants to wait to see what the final deal is with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is the substance of the trade agreement.

“The agreement’s not final,” Podesta continued. “So when it is final, she’ll render a judgment about that. And she’s stated her concerns.  But she has a clear standard that it’s got to be good for American workers, or she thinks the United States will walk away from it.”

“Hillary’s not been on the sidelines,” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, said on “Face the Nation.” “There will be no tougher fighter at the negotiating table for everyday Americans when these trade agreements are being negotiated. So families can trust her to fight hard for them.”

“I think she made her case,” Karen Finney, the campaign’s senior spokeswoman, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Over next several weeks, she will put some meat on the bones.”

Finney added that Clinton would be taking questions from the press in Iowa later Sunday.

“I think you will see this later today,” she said.

George W. Bush Did Something Much Worse Than Lie Us Into War

by Dartagnan,,

The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons, is rebuilding the facilities to make more and, according to the British government, could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order is given. The regime has long-standing and continuing ties to terrorist groups, and there are al Qaeda terrorists inside Iraq. This regime is seeking a nuclear bomb, and with fissile material could build one within a year.

Radio Address of George W. Bush, September 28, 2002

Something critical is being lost in the torrent of pixels being spilled by the media as Jeb Bush wriggles haplessly, like some prehistoric insect trapped in amber, struggling to explain away, recast or rationalize his brother’s hideous legacy. Many of us with functional memories concluded long ago that Jeb’s brother deliberately lied us into a pointless war, one that resulted in pointless maiming and pointless deaths of our own soldiers and perhaps a million Iraqi civilians, and the equally pointless rise of a nihilistic cult of deluded savages we know as ISIS.

And although many Americans, for various reasons, don’t want to face up to it, that is the truth. There may be be a “competing narrative,” there may be political “spin,” but there really can only be one truth, and Jeb Bush and the secretive Billionaires who hope to install him as the country’s next President know that truth happens to be very, very inconvenient for him when the country has not yet forgotten what happened the last time a Bush occupied that office. When Jeb said he’d rely on his trusted brother for foreign policy advice, well, that just made things worse.

There is, however, an even more heinous aspect to what Jeb’s “trusted brother” did, and it shouldn’t be allowed to escape down the memory hole. We’ve been lied into wars before, with similar disastrous results.  But George W. Bush did something far worse than lie us into a war: he did it in a breathtakingly cynical and malevolent way–in effect, by holding a gun to every Americans’ head and threatening to pull the trigger. He did it by holding us–all of us–hostage to a twisted ideology that demanded the war, waving the gun at calculated intervals in our face, the way any terrorist would.  And he told us flat out, over and over again, that if we didn’t do what he said, we’d all be killed.

Paul Waldman, writing for The Week, puts his finger on why what Bush did was much worse than mere lying:

What the Bush administration launched in 2002 and 2003 may have been the most comprehensive, sophisticated, and misleading campaign of government propaganda in American history. Spend too much time in the weeds, and you risk missing the hysterical tenor of the whole campaign.

Waldman has little patience for the suggestion that the “intelligence” was “misread” or “misinterpreted.” For those who experienced it, the barrage of timed propaganda that supported the “selling” of the Iraq war was no mere lie, no drummed up “incident,” but a deliberate, methodical and relentless campaign.  In this campaign, intelligence was not used to ascertain facts, but to fashion propaganda to sell the war, the “script” of which, as then-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan later wrote, “had been finalized with great care” to convince the public that the war was “inevitable and necessary.” Waldman recounts the purposeful planning and execution of the deception inflicted on the American public and follows it with an irresistible and damning conclusion:

In 2008, the Center for Public Integrity completed a project in which they went over the public statements by eight top Bush administration officials on the topic of Iraq, and found that no fewer than 935 were false, including 260 statements by President Bush himself. But the theory on which the White House operated was that whether or not you could fool all of the people some of the time, you could certainly scare them out of their wits. That’s what was truly diabolical about their campaign.

And in this we can see the base, criminal and yes, diabolical nature of what Bush did. By magnifying the imaginary threat allegedly posed by Saddam Hussein, Bush managed to terrify segments of the American public who he and Cheney knew full well were already traumatized and shell-shocked after the horror of 9/11. By repeatedly raising the specter of “poison gas,” the radioactive “mushroom cloud,” and the “weapons of mass destruction” he instilled Americans with a virulent fear, fear of the evil unknown. And all the while he knew--they all knew–that it was a baldfaced lie:

[E]ach and every time the message was the same: If we didn’t wage war, Iraq was going to attack the United States homeland with its enormous arsenal of ghastly weapons, and who knows how many Americans would perish. When you actually spell it out like that it sounds almost comical, but that was the Bush administration’s assertion, repeated hundreds upon hundreds of time to a public still skittish in the wake of September 11. (Remember, the campaign for the war began less than a year after the September 11 attacks.)Sometimes this message was imparted with specific false claims, sometimes with dark insinuation, and sometimes with speculation about the horrors to come (“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” said Bush and others when asked about the thinness of much of their evidence). Yet the conclusion was always the same: The only alternative to invading Iraq was waiting around to be killed.

By playing incessantly to their fears, Bush also succeeded in turning Americans against each other–anyone who raised his or her voice to question the threat became part of the threat in the eyes of their fellow Americans.  After all, if you’re terrified of something, and you know by God the threat is real, someone next to you telling you not to worry, or worse, ignore the danger, becomes as bad as the enemy.

This is what Bush (and Cheney) knowingly did to the American people. He counted on their fear, not just Americans’ fear of Hussein, but of each other. Iraq became a “life or death” decision. It didn’t matter to him that their fear was generated completely by lies–all he needed was the fear.  It was a classic exercise in propaganda and, terror inflicted on a vulnerable and scarred American public, the implicit threat always looming, hammered home day after day to get the war he and his cronies desperately wanted. And all of it deliberate:

This is one of the many sins for which Bush and those who supported him ought to spend a lifetime atoning. He looked out at the American public and decided that the way to get what he wanted was to terrify them. If he could convince them that any day now their children would die a horrible death, that they and everything they knew would be turned to radioactive ash, and that the only chance of averting this fate was to say yes to him, then he could have his war. Lies were of no less value than truth, so long as they both created enough fear.

This is the true horror of what George W. Bush did.  It was no mere “lie.” It was something far more despicable, that cuts to the core of whatever humanity or basic human decency he and his family claim to possess.

Robert Reich: Ushering In a New Progressive Movement



By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

Robert Reich fired up a packed house of labor activists on May 16th at the Working Families Summit in Ames, Iowa. Reich was the keynote speaker at the summit. Other speakers included Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America; Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice; and Tefere Bebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO.

A common theme of the summit was the need to ask for specific solutions to the problems working families face. Larry Cohen said, “It is not enough to say you are with us. Actions speak louder than words.” Cohen spoke about his mother, who used tell him, “I hear your words, but I’m watching your feet.”

“Remember, candidates – and ultimately presidents – work for us,” said Ken Sagar, president of the Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Our Working Families Summit is designed to bring together progressive Iowans and progressive ideas, so more Iowans and political candidates at all levels better understand the issues that are critical to working families. This is especially important with a presidential campaign already underway in our state, and big choices ahead in 2016 up and down the ballot.”

Reich told the hundreds in attendance that they are part of the vanguard of a new progressive movement, citing the campaign for $15 dollars an hour, the McDonald’s workers, the Walmart workers, the fight against the TPP. He challenged the crowd to ask candidates the tough questions and demand specifics, saying it is not enough for candidates to say they going to help the middle class, we need to know how they will act. He encouraged Iowans to ask the candidates if they will commit to overturning Citizens United, breaking up the big banks, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Reich also warned the attendees to “not set yourself up to think the next president is the savior. No president can do it alone. Our job doesn’t end with electing a president, that’s just the beginning.” He said that we have to mobilize support to pass any major reform – no president can do that alone.

The former labor secretary warned the crowd to not fall for the “politics of resentment.” He said the “Regressives,” as he calls the Republicans who want to move the country backward, like to play the the blame game and get people to place the blame on immigrants, unions, and government for all of our problems.

Americans believe in three basic moral principles, according to Reich.

1. Nobody should work full time and live in poverty.

Reich reminded the crowd that four red states had minimum wage hikes on the ballot in 2014, and they passed in all four states. He blasted Democrats, who suffered heavy losses in the midterms because most didn’t even talk about raising wages.

He told a story about his time in the Clinton administration. He suggested to President Clinton that the minimum wage needed to rise. Clinton questioned whether the American people really wanted the minimum wage to go up. Reich argued that they did, so Clinton went to his pollster, Dick Morris, and commissioned a poll. The next day Clinton told Reich that he was right, 85 percent of the American people wanted a raise in an overnight poll conducted by Morris. Reich said he still wonders: how do you do an overnight poll, poll your family?

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is a winning issue for any politician, according to Reich. He pointed out that some Republicans want to eliminate the minimum wage to create more jobs. “Of course, if people make pennies there will be tons of jobs. Slavery is a full employment system,” said Reich.

2. Everyone should have the ability to make the most of their God-given abilities.

College education has become too expensive for many Americans. Reich said our country’s economy grew between 1946 and 1980 partly because we invested in education. College debt is a ball and chain for our young people. Sarita Gupta of Jobs With Justice warned that even seniors are being affected by student debt. Social Security checks can be garnished to pay off outstanding loan. Another incredibly stupid method of collecting student debt is taking away driver’s licenses until the debt is paid off. Gupta asked, “How could anyone think it’s a good idea to take away a person’s ability to get to work when they can’t afford to make payments on their debt?”

3. We should not have a privileged aristocracy.

Reich warned that we are quickly becoming a society in which the upper class does well at the expense of the rest. He said that we must get the money out of politics so our government can’t be owned by a privileged few, and we must break up the big banks, who are facilitating the concentration of wealth at the top.

Reich acknowledged that it will take lots of work to restore the fairness in our economic system, but it is work that must be done.

Hillary Clinton Calls For Automatic, Universal Voter Registration

U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waits to speak as she is introduced at Singapore Management University, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Singapore.

U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waits to speak as she is introduced at Singapore Management University, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Singapore.

Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post,

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton in a speech on Thursday called for universal, automatic voter registration, saying every citizen in the country should be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt-out.

Clinton spoke at Texas Southern University in Houston, where she was receiving the Barbara Jordan Public-Private Leadership Award. She also said Republican-led efforts in several states to further regulate voting and voter registration disproportionately harm both underrepresented communities and young people, adding that Republicans need to “stop fear mongering” about the “phantom epidemic” of voter fraud.

“All of these problems with voting just didn’t happen by accident,” she said. She argued that many voting laws were put in place to make it more difficult for some people to vote, and called for a national standard that would require every state in the country to offer at least 20 days of early in-person voting, including keeping polling stations open on weekends and evenings.

Clinton called the county’s voter registration system a “relic from an earlier age,” but said that changing the system would not come easily. The public, advocates, politicians and the court system should all play a role, she said.

“We need a Supreme Court that cares more about protecting the right to vote of a person to vote than the right of a corporation to buy an election,” Clinton said.

She called on Congress to pass legislation to give the federal government power to review changes to state voting laws before they go into effect. A Supreme Court decision in 2013 struck down a key provision of the landmark Voting Rights Act that required certain states to have their voting changes pre-cleared by the Justice Department or by a panel of federal judges before they were implemented.

Cleveland OH and McKinney TX Show Electing Democrats Will Never Restrain or Control the Police

loretta-mckinneyby BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

It’s half past the seventh year of the Obama era, and the nation’s policies of police terror toward black and brown communities and black mass incarceration are pretty much unchanged. More than 80,000 US prisoners remain in long-term solitary confinement, many with untreated mental illnesses, for taking part in work stoppages or hunger strikes, because they’ve been branded as “gang members” or so that authorities can coerce them into implicating other prisoners or themselves, The budget of the federal Bureal of Prisons has grown every year of the Obama administration, and the Department of Justice refuses to allow UN human rights inspectors to visit its supermax prisons.

After a six month victory lap, the first black attorney general has been succeeded by the first black woman in that post, to the praises of the Congressional Black Caucus and the rest of the black political class. But cops in the first black president’s home town still run their own “black site” where disappearance and torture are routine. Federal officials steadfastly refuse to tally incidents of police violence. The brutalizing and killing of black people is the normal, peaceful state of business as usual, and the only disruptions to public peace occur when citizens protest. How is this possible?

It’s possible because elected Democrats and their operatives call black and brown communities their “base vote,” by which they mean the support Democratic candidates can count on getting no matter what. It’s possible because Republicans ecampaign on fear and contempt of the black, the brown, the foreign, the queer and poor, and because restrictive ballot access laws protect elected Democrats from competition of Greens and other parties to their left.

Even though the Democratic “base voters” are overwhelmingly against the death penalty, favor decriminalizing of petty drug use, and to the extent they’ve been asked, want to roll back the mass incarceration state, despite the fact they want to see debt relief, the police restrained, early voting expanded, same day registration made universal, the Pentagon budget cut,privatizations ended, and something else besides stadiums and gentrification on the table as “economic development,” no Democrat in a November election ever stands for these things. As Green 2014 NY gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins explains:

There’s no place Democrats in your neighborhood or town can gather for questions and answers to see how they feel about things. That’s how membership organizations work, and the Democratic party is not a membership organization at all, it’s a front for those who write the big checks. Instead of going to a local Democratic party meeting to decide these things, all Democrats get to do is turn on the TV to find out what their party’s position on the issues is, and to hear how much worse the Republicans are, after which they get to choose somebody who’s already been chosen for them.”

Activists in my native Chicago and many other cities struggled in the sixties, seventies and eighties to find and run good Democrats and hold them accountable. We were thwarted by constitutional amendments, rules changes and obstinate local officials who refused to enforce progressive laws like Motor Voter until these could be undermined and overturned. We were hobbled by the selfish laziness of the black political class, which even though its numbers grew sevenfold in a generation with enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, were too timid to use their temporary strategic advantage to push for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to vote, which would at one blow overturn felony disenfranchisement and make national standards for voter registration, voting machines and how votes are counted.

When local activists threatened to take over Democratic parties in cities and run anti-corporate candidates in primary elections, those local contests where made “non-partisan” so big money could choose the candidates instead of the Democrats’ “base vote.” So it was that in the early eighties we elected Harold Washington mayor, but by the end of the decade another Rich Daley was mayor for another twenty plus years. In every state legislature and the US House and Senate the speakers of the house, as well as majority and minority leaders are never chosen because of the depth of their vision. These posts go to the legislators who can reliably pass corporate donations through to compliant colleagues and who will withhold those funds from those who don’t go along with the program. In 2005-2006 current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel headed up the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and channeled corporate donations to pro-war Democrats running against antiwar ones, as direct a defiance of Democrat “base voters” as one could imagine.

Ten years later Democrat Rahm Emanuel is mayor of Chicago, presiding over black sites run by the Chicago Police Department, the perfect example of Democrats in office ignoring, making invisible and normalizing violence against communities of the Democrat “base voters” which elected them. It should be no surprise that Attorney General Loretta Lynch can’t find room to comment, let alone act on the kind of uncontrolled and entitled violence exhibited by police in McKinney, Texas or a hundred places like it. As Brooklyn’s federal district attorney the only time she prosecuted a case against NYPD was in the sodomizing of Abner Louima, when tens of thousands of New Yorkers hit the streets in protest. Her first priority in office, she declared, was be to restore the self-image of the nation’s police. For her as much as any of her predecessors, civil unrest only occurs when citizens object to police violence, immunity and impunity. For her and Democratic office holders like her, black lives emphatically do not matter.

Political parties are the organizations people use to project their political will. Democrats (and Republicans too) are political parties of their donors, not their voters. Those donors have no interest in rolling back the prison state, or restraining the police. All of these are issues that will have to be taken up by some other party, if one can be formed or found.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached via email at bruce.dixon(at)

Republican Budget Makes Rich Richer, Hurts Families

U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center, accepts a gift of an official Suit Up Springfield tie from the Justin Roberts, president of the Suit Up Springfield board of directors during her visit there Friday. May 29, 2015. At left is Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. (Michael S. Gordon / The Republican)

U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center, accepts a gift of an official Suit Up Springfield tie from the Justin Roberts, president of the Suit Up Springfield board of directors during her visit there Friday. May 29, 2015. At left is Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. (Michael S. Gordon / The Republican)

By Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

A budget is a building plan for the future. It’s about what it takes for our families, our businesses, and our economy to thrive.

What do we need? Our kids need a good, affordable education. Our workers need good wages, good benefits, and good jobs here in America, jobs built on 21st century innovation and technology. Our businesses and workers need transit, roads, and bridges that are safe enough, strong enough, and fast enough to get us to work and to keep goods and services moving. And everyone needs to know that we’re in this together. That’s how we build a strong future.

Republicans in Congress have a different vision. The Republicans’ partisan budget, jammed through the Senate last month, will make the rich richer and the powerful more powerful, while leaving our kids, our college students, our seniors, our workers, and our families to fall further and further behind.

If the drastic cuts in the Republican budget are applied proportionately, it could cut transportation funding over the next decade by 40 percent. So if you think we already have a crumbling infrastructure, if you’re already worried about old buses and whether the T can struggle through another winter, remember that Republicans want to slash support for transportation.

Cutting construction and repair also means cutting jobs. Economists estimate that the Republican budget would mean about 56,000 fewer jobs in Massachusetts alone.

The Republican budget also takes aim at our kids. Over the next decade, it could eliminate Head Start for 400,000 children across the country, including about 5,000 kids here in Massachusetts. The budget could make college more expensive for over 130,000 Massachusetts students who receive Pell grants. And cuts in the student loan interest rates? Forget it. The Republican budget keeps sucking down billions of dollars in profits off student loans.

The Republican budget puts Massachusetts seniors’ health at risk too. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the days when seniors had to choose between filling a prescription and paying the rent were over. But under the Republican budget, nearly 80,000 seniors in Massachusetts could pay an average of $920 more per year for prescription drugs. About 900,000 seniors in Massachusetts could lose free preventative Medicare health services, and over 25,000 Massachusetts nursing home residents who rely on Medicaid could face cuts to their care and an uncertain future.

And what about medical research and technology—the kind of work we’re proud to do in Massachusetts? For over 10 years, Congress has decimated medical research funding, choking off support for projects that could lead to the next major breakthrough against cancer, heart disease, ALS, diabetes, or autism.

With more and more families desperate for those breakthroughs, what’s the Republican solution? Cut the National Institutes of Health budget. Cut medical research. In fact, compared to the President’s budget, the Republican budget could mean 1,400 fewer NIH grants a year.

The Republican budget also cuts $600 billion from programs like nutrition assistance, putting at risk food stamps for thousands of Massachusetts families that depend on this program to put food on the table. And the Republican budget could cut funding for heating assistance, funding that helped over 180,000 Massachusetts families stay warm in the winter.

We know who this budget would hurt – millions of hard-working families in Massachusetts and all over this country who are trying to make ends meet; people who work hard and play by the rules, but who are seeing opportunity slip away.

Why? Why billions of dollars in cuts for education and medical research, for heating assistance and highways? Because the Republicans want to give billions of dollars in new tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans—and they expect everyone else to pay for it. The Republicans have planned $269 billion in tax cuts that would go to just a few thousand of the richest families. That’s not just irresponsible. It is just plain wrong.

A budget is about values, and this budget puts Congressional Republicans’ values on vivid display. This budget is about making sure that a tilted playing field tilts even more, while everyone else gets left further and further behind.

Those aren’t Massachusetts’ values and they are not America’s values. We believe in opportunity, and that means fighting for a budget where everyone—not just the rich—has a fighting chance to build a better life for themselves and their children.

Timothy D. French, D. Min, Phd.

June-2015-4_03With a life filled with some failures and much successes, one can rise above difficulties and achieve in life. With God being ones total source and direction, anything can be accomplished.

Local pastor receives Phd. in Christian Counseling from Newburgh Theological Seminary and College of the Bible. Timothy D. French formally
from Americus who currently resides in Macon, GA will graduate on June 13, 2015 in Evansville, IN.

He is currently the Senior Pastor of the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, Macon, GA. He is married to the former Chandra A. Nelson and together they have five children and six grands.

Timothy D. French received his education in the Lee County School System and Albany State University. He received a doctorate in Biblical Studies and Ministry from Andersonville Theological Seminary in 2006.

For the last thirty years he has pastored in the Southwest GA area for seventeen years prior to relocating in Macon where he has been as of June
17, 2015 for thirteen years.

June will be a special month for him, graduating on June 13, celebrating his thirteenth appreciation on June 14, and celebrating his birthday on June 24th.

Dr. French is a pastor, lecturer, counselor and revivalist and travel throughout United States and abroad preaching and teaching the gospel.

A Great Chef on the Horizon

Angel Wright shares an omlette with her grandfather Rev. Mathis Wright as she practices for the upcoming National Culinary Arts Competition in Louisville, KY. June 22-25, 2015.

Angel Wright shares an omlette with her grandfather Rev. Mathis Wright as she practices for the upcoming National Culinary Arts Competition in Louisville, KY. June 22-25, 2015.

Staff Reports,

Angel Wright, daughter of Hillary and Leon Stephenson; and granddaughter of Reverends Mathis and Linda Wright and Mary Walton and
the late Love Walton, Sr., will be representing the State of Georgia at the National Culinary Arts Competition in Louisville, Kentucky during the
Week of June 22 – 25.

Angel won the SKILLS USA Culinary Arts State of Georgia Competition in March this year in Atlanta. She is a 2015 graduate from Marietta Charter High School, Marietta, Georgia, where she began developing her skills in culinary arts during her junior year.

Angel says that she wants to do more than make fabulous foods for people to enjoy, she wants to help to devise a plan to end hunger in the world. She said that, “there are so many hungry people in the world, and so much food being wasted everyday right here in the United States; food that should be feeding the hungry. I want to find a way to change this tragedy.”

If Angel places in the top 10 of the 50 contestants she will receive a full scholarship to the College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick, Georgia where she has already been accepted and will began classes Fall/2015.

Howard Dean: I hope Hillary Clinton becomes president

By Peter Hamby, CNN National Political Reporter,

One year ago, Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential contender and avatar of progressive sentiment, sat in a hotel lobby at the annual Netroots Nation conference in San Jose and held forth on Hillary Clinton’s White House chances in 2016.

Dean made news.

Clinton “will not get a pass” in the 2016 Democratic primaries if she decides to run again, Dean said, an early warning shot from the left against the party establishment’s anointed front-runner. Dean said he might make a repeat White House bid of his own, promising to agitate “other politicians” in the race on issues precious to liberals.

Stepping up her game, Clinton agrees to help in midterms

How things have changed. Today, Dean still thinks Clinton will have a challenger in the Democratic field — maybe several. But he won’t be one of them. And if Clinton does run, Dean sounds like he’s ready to join the team.

“I am a huge Hillary Clinton fan,” Dean told CNN in an interview. “I just am. Not because I hope to get a job. I know her; I’ve known her for a long time. I think she has an enormous mental capacity to do analysis and let the chips fall where they may.”

“If she is president, which I hope she is, I think she is going to be a terrific president,” added Dean, who stopped into Clinton’s book signing event in the Hamptons last weekend and posed for a picture with the former secretary of state.

The kind words from Dean aren’t quite an endorsement in the traditional campaign sense, but praise from one of the left’s most recognizable figures is sure to please Clinton allies who are working to build up an aura of inevitability around her and blunt a serious primary challenge. The Ready for Hillary super PAC has already secured pseudo-endorsements from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Virginia’s two senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.

Opinion: Can Hillary Clinton win over the left?

Clinton’s incremental politics don’t quite square with those of Dean, who rose to national prominence in 2004 as a fierce and noisy critic of the war in Iraq, a military action supported by Clinton. While Clinton is not the cold-blooded foreign policy hawk she’s often caricatured as — she’s a devotee of so-called “smart power” and institution-building — her Iraq war vote in 2002 and her occasional splits with President Barack Obama on Syria and Afghanistan have not endeared her to her party’s anti-interventionist wing.

Her differences with Obama resurfaced last week in an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Clinton drew a line between her own views and the President’s cautious foreign policy realism, expressing concern over the administration’s handling of the civil war in Syria. She said, “Great nations need organizing principles — and ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” The remark ricocheted around the Internet, and Clinton called the President to make amends.

Dean, though, aggressively took Clinton’s side. “How can she not triangulate? She is running for President of the United States,” the former Vermont governor said. “You think if she comes out as a clone of anybody she has any chance at winning? People don’t want clones as president. So of course she is going to say stuff that’s different. So what? This is news?”

His aggressive defense of Clinton bloomed into a lengthy rant against the state of the political news media and the “amplification chamber” that Clinton will have to navigate if she decides to run.

“I find all that to be worthless,” Dean said. “I don’t pay any attention to that crap. I was at a meeting in Washington the other day with two very high-ranking people who I won’t mention, and one turned to the other and said, ‘Did you see that editorial in The Washington Post?’ And without being cranky, and without saying anything, I said to myself, ‘You’re a free man.’ Because why would anyone read The Washington Post, or certainly the editorial page of The Washington Post?

“I just don’t have any patience for this sturm und drang that goes on in what passes for media these days. I really don’t read most of the stuff that’s written about inside the Beltway kerfuffles like that because I think it’s silly.”

Clinton’s biggest challenge will be generational, Dean said, echoing a previous observation he’s made about the putative Democratic front-runner. Clinton is 14 years older than Obama and would be 69 on Inauguration Day 2017.

“Hillary, she has been on the scene since, what, 1992?” he said. “To elect Hillary, the country would have to do something we’ve only done once in my lifetime, with Reagan over Carter, which is the country would have to go back a generation. Usually, you don’t go back.”

Still, he said Clinton “might be a great candidate because of that.”

“It’s fairly likely the Republicans are going to nominate somebody who is going to be considered pretty flawed,” he said, handicapping the GOP field.

Gap shrinks between Hillary Clinton and Republicans

Dean called Ted Cruz and Rand Paul “the wing-nut brothers.” Clinton, he said, would be a “perfect foil” for Paul, who is, in his words, “a guy who wants to turn back the clock to the 1840s and all this other crap and pretend he is a libertarian but doesn’t want women to exercise any rights over their own lives. She is going to mop the floor with him.”

“If it’s Christie, people are going to look at Bridge-gate and Hoboken-gate and all that stuff and go, ‘Why not join with a safe person who is a proven commodity?’ ‘Fuggedaboutit’ is not a proven commodity. The only candidate that I would be concerned about is Jeb Bush, but then you get more of the same, and how is he going to denounce his brother’s presidency?” he said.

As for the potential Democratic field, Dean said Clinton will not be “an acclamation candidate” and predicted that “there’s going to be opposition, and it’s not going to be lightweight opposition.”

He gushed over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who professes to have no interest in running, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who increasingly seems likely to jump in the race.

Warren, he said, is “new and refreshing” and “incredibly straightforward.”

Dean said he is “a big fan” of O’Malley and said he would make a name for himself if he runs.

“I have spoken to him about this,” Dean said. “He came to see me about it a year ago. He is a very solid guy who has done a terrific job as governor. I like the way he thinks, and I like the way he approaches problems and gets things done. But Hillary Clinton has 100% name recognition and huge favorability numbers. It’s a very uphill climb for somebody who wants to run against her.”

Clinton, he said, “is best prepared” though he wants to “see who her campaign team is” before deciding if he will formally endorse her.

“I have not seen anything that alarms me about Hillary Clinton at all,” he said. “I actually thought the Diane Sawyer interview, minus the remark about ‘We were broke when we left the White House,’ was a great intro for her, because it showed her as her own person with the positives and the negatives.

“She could get elected without being her own person, but if she wants to get elected with real mandate, she has to be herself.”

War Criminals Among Us: Bush, Cheney, and the Eyes of the World



By Charles Pierce, Esquire

Last week, Richard Clarke, the man to whom nobody in the administration of C-Plus Augustus listened because what did he know, anyway?, had a chat with Amy Goodman in which he minced no wordsregarding his former employers.

“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least, it’s clear that some of the things they did were war crimes.”

And, something that most of us missed, there was a court on the other side of the world that agreed.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were… found guilty of war crimes. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia…At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. Full transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material will now be sent to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as the United Nations and the Security Council.

At the very least, this court parceled out the blame for the torture program in a fair manner and all the way up the chain of command. The testimony of the victims was as horrible as you might expect:

The court heard how Abbas Abid, a 48-year-old engineer from Fallujah in Iraq had his fingernails removed by pliers; Ali Shalal was attached with bare electrical wires and electrocuted and hung from a wall; Moazzam Begg was beaten, hooded and put in solitary confinement, Jameelah was stripped and humiliated, and was used as a human shield whilst being transported by helicopter. The witnesses also detailed how they have residual injuries till today.

In related news, Ed Kilgore notes that Cheney continues to glory in his status as the most inexcusable American who ever lived. It’s like giving Pol Pot a late-night TV gig.

At times, Mr. Cheney seems to relish his villainous public persona. Outside the rodeo arena, he took a moment to show off the latest feature on his truck, a Darth Vader trailer-hitch cover, a nod to his alter-ego from the Bush days. “I’m rather proud of that,” he said, flashing his signature uneven grin.

To paraphrase Rick Blaine, I don’t object to a vampire, I object to a gutless one. I’ll buy the stake if someone else buys the garlic.

Why fight for the Iraqis if they are not going to fight for themselves?

Iraqi soldiers in the Garma district of Anbar province, west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraqi soldiers in the Garma district of Anbar province, west of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

By Eugene Robinson,

If Iraqis won’t fight for their nation’s survival, why on earth should we?

This is the question posed by the fall of Ramadi, which revealed the emptiness at the core of U.S. policy. President Obama’s critics are missing the point: Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many troops he sends back to Iraq or whether their footwear happens to touch the ground. The simple truth is that if Iraqis will not join together to fight for a united and peaceful country, there will be continuing conflict and chaos that potentially threaten American interests.

We should be debating how best to contain and minimize the threat. Further escalating the U.S. military role, I would argue, will almost surely lead to a quagmire that makes us no more secure. If the choice is go big or go home, we should pick the latter.

The Islamic State was supposed to be reeling from U.S.-led airstrikes. Yet the group was able to capture Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, and is now consolidating control over that strategically important city. Once Islamic State fighters are fully dug in, it will be hard to pry them out.

Among the images from Sunday’s fighting, what stood out was video footage of Iraqi soldiers on the move — speeding not toward the battle but in the opposite direction. It didn’t look like any kind of tactical retreat. It looked like pedal-to-the-metal flight.

These were widely described as members of the Iraqi army’s “elite” units.

In their haste, Iraqi forces left behind U.S.-supplied tanks, artillery pieces, armored personnel carriers and Humvees. Most of the equipment is believed to be in working order, and all of it now belongs to the Islamic State. The same thing has happened when other government positions have been overrun; in effect, we have helped to arm the enemy.

Obama pledged to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State. His strategy is to use U.S. air power to keep the jihadists at bay, while U.S. advisers provide the Iraqi military with the training it needs to recapture the territory the Islamic State holds.

But this is a triumph of hope over experience. The United States spent the better part of a decade training the Iraqi armed forces, and witness the result: an army that can’t or won’t fight. The government in Baghdad, dominated by the Shiite majority, balks at giving Sunni tribal leaders the weapons necessary to resist the Islamic State. Kurdish regional forces, which are motivated and capable, have their own part of the country to defend.

If the Islamic State is to be driven out of Ramadi, the job will be done not by the regular army but by powerful Shiite militia units that are armed, trained and in some cases led by Iran. The day may soon come when an Iranian general, orchestrating an advance into the city, calls in a U.S. airstrike for support.

The logical result of Obama’s policy — which amounts to a kind of warfare-lite — is mission creep and gradual escalation. Send in a few more troops. Allow them to go on patrols with the Iraqis. Let them lead by example. Send in a few more. You might recognize this road; it can lead to another Vietnam.

What are the alternatives? One would be to resurrect Colin Powell’s doctrine of overwhelming force: Send in enough troops to drive the Islamic State out of Iraq once and for all. We conquered and occupied the country once, we could do it again.

But the Islamic State would still hold substantial territory in Syria — and thus present basically the same threat as now. If our aim is really to “destroy” the group, as Obama says, then we would have to wade into the Syrian civil war. Could we end up fighting arm-in-arm with dictator Bashar al-Assad, as we now fight alongside his friends the Iranians? Or, since Obama’s policy is that Assad must go, would we have to occupy that country, too, and take on another project of nation-building? This path leads from bad to worse and has no apparent end.

The other choice is to pull back. This strikes me as the worst course of action — except for all the rest.

The unfortunate fact is that U.S. policymakers want an intact, pluralistic, democratic Iraq more than many Iraqis do. Until this changes, our policy goal has to be modest: Contain the Islamic State from afar and target the group’s leadership, perhaps with drone attacks.

Or we can keep chasing mirages and hoping for miracles.

FBI’s warning of white supremacists infiltrating law enforcement nearly forgotten

"A Tale of Two Hoodies" (by Michael D'Antuono

“A Tale of Two Hoodies” (by Michael D’Antuono

by Samuel V. Jones |,

Because of intensifying civil strife over the recent killings of unarmed black men and boys, many Americans are wondering, “What’s wrong with our police?” Remarkably, one of the most compelling but unexplored explanations may rest with a FBI warning of October 2006, which reported that “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” represented a significant national threat.

Several key events preceded the report. A federal court found that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department formed a Neo Nazi gang and habitually terrorized the black community. Later, the Chicago police department fired Jon Burge, a detective with reputed ties to the Ku Klux Klan, after discovering he tortured over 100 black male suspects. Thereafter, the Mayor of Cleveland discovered that many of the city police locker rooms were infested with “White Power” graffiti. Years later, a Texas sheriff department discovered that two of its deputies were recruiters for the Klan.

In near prophetic fashion, after the FBI’s warning, white supremacy extremism in the U.S. increased, exponentially. From 2008 to 2014, the number of white supremacist groups, reportedly, grew from 149 to nearly a thousand, with no apparent abatement in their infiltration of law enforcement.

This year, alone, at least seven San Francisco law enforcement officers were suspended after an investigation revealed they exchanged numerous “White Power” communications laden with remarks about “lynching African-Americans and burning crosses.” Three reputed Klan members that served as correction officers were arrested for conspiring to murder a black inmate. At least four Fort Lauderdale police officers were fired after an investigation found that the officers fantasized about killing black suspects.

The United States doesn’t publicly track white supremacists, so the full range of their objectives remains murky. Although black and Jewish-Americans are believed to be the foremost targets of white supremacists, recent attacks in Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina, demonstrate that other non-whites, and religious and social minorities, are also vulnerable. Perhaps more alarmingly, in the last several years alone, white supremacists have reportedly murdered law enforcement officers in Arkansas, Nevada and Wisconsin.

In fact, the FBI reports that of the 511 law enforcement officers killed during felony incidents from 2004 to 2013, white citizens killed the majority of them. Of the citizens stopped by law enforcement officers in New York City and Chicago, white citizens were more likely to be found with guns and drugs. Given the white supremacist penchant for violence, guns and drug trafficking, the findings may be an indication that their network is just as destructive and far-reaching as that of foreign terrorist groups.

The unfortunate consequence of today’s threat is that a law enforcement officer may be good or bad, a villain or hero; one exceptionally prone to exhibit malicious forms of racial hatred, or distinctively suited to protect the racially oppressed. But the paradox doesn’t end there.

The white supremacist threat brings to light a dark feature of the American experience that some believed extinct. It rouses ingrained notions of distrusts between police and communities of color while bringing to bear the vital interest citizens of good will share in the complete abolishment of race as a judgmental factor.

As the nation struggles to resolve the perplexities of police brutality, the white supremacist threat should inform all Americans that today’s civil discord is not borne out of a robust animosity towards law enforcement, most of whom are professional. Rather, it’s more representative of a centuries-old ideological clash, which has ignited in citizens of good will a desire to affirm notions of racial equality so that the moral ethos of American culture is a reality for all.

Samuel V. Jones is a former military police captain and currently a professor of law focusing on criminal law at The John Marshall Law School. 

Sanders floats top tax rate of over 50 percent

by Greg Nash

by Greg Nash

By Jesse Byrnes,,

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, says he would support raising the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to over 50 percent.

“We’re working right now on a comprehensive tax package, which I suspect will, for the top marginal rates, go over 50 percent,” Sanders said on PBS’s “Charlie Rose program. The current top rate is 39.6 percent.

The self-described democratic socialist said he is running on a platform of “redistribution of wealth,” citing “grotesque levels of wealth inequality in this country.”

“It is time to redistribute money back to the working families of this country from the top one-tenth of 1 percent, and tax policy is one of the ways we do that,” Sanders told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt on the show.

Sanders also said he would raise the corporate tax rate, the highest in the developed world, even as the White House and many Republicans push to lower it. Sanders also said he wanted to close loopholes.

“If you look at the collective percentage of revenue coming in from corporations today, it is significantly lower than it was back in the 1950s,” he said. “I think it’s about 10 percent today.”

The Vermont senator is one of three declared Democratic challengers to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has led by at least 40 percentage points in most recent polls for her party’s presidential nomination.

Sanders pointed to recent polling to suggest his campaign could close the gap with Clinton. A Wisconsin straw poll out this week showed him finishing just 8 percentage points behind Clinton among Democrats in the state.

Sanders said Thursday he has raised more than $6 million since his campaign launched April 30, with donations averaging $40. He said he thinks his campaign can pull in $10 million by the end of the month.

Shirley Reese Demands a Retraction of Articles and Cartoons in the Americus Sumter Observer

Councilwoman Shirley Green Reese is trying to get our newspaper to apologize for articles and cartoons about her. It would help if she can show where we did not tell the truth. In the article about her committing forgery, we documented what the police report stated in 2008. In this issue of our newspaper, we show the city of Americus Police Department’s report of April 23, 2015, which states that the forgery charge against Councilwoman Reese is still active.

Attorney W.T. Gamble, a lawyer representing Councilwoman Reese demanding an apology and retraction from the paper’s publisher. He claims we did not go to the police department for the information. But contrary to what Gamble claims, we have a copy of the document from the Americus police department showing the forgery charges against Reese. Attorney Gamble practices law in Terrell County, Georgia, with the law office of Collier Gamble. Shirley Reese knows the information we have reported is truthful.

Further, we also have documents from the widow of Johnny Green outlining what Councilwoman Reese did. Reese forged a document and took $8,000 from the credit union under Johnny Green’s name, but had to return the money to her sister-in-law, Debra Green. Kenyatta Tucker, Johnny Green’s daughter and Councilwoman Reese’s niece, says her mother is homeless and lives with her. Tucker says her aunt forged a
quick claim deed to take her mother’s house.

The Observer staff is actively investigating the facts to determine if Councilwoman Reese swindled her sister-in-law out of her home that left Debra Green homeless. Shirley Reese knows the information we have reported is truthful.

Attorney Gamble has led Reese to think that a cartoon about an elected official is something she can demand a retraction. If that were the case, whoever did a cartoon on Michelle and Barack Obama as Black Panthers should have had to retract the cartoon. Elected official have been made fun of in newspapers, magazines, etc. Cartoons, however funny, always have a message behind them that shows the peculiarities of the person(s) being caricatured.

Councilwoman, Shirley Reese has not represented her Black constituents and has displayed Ku Klux Klan and Confederate like tendencies toward her constituents. We have witnessed Reese refuse to support the removal of buzzards that infested Mayo Street, a Black area. And she consistently voted with her White Council colleagues on issues that adversely affect Blacks. She was one of the main proponents of stopping citizens from addressing the City Council at the monthly meetings. Reese never votes with the other two Blacks on the council.

Wouldn’t White citizens be disturbed if their White councilperson only voted with the Black councilpersons? We have justifiable reasons to condemn the voting record and actions of Shirley Reese.

We will continue to expose, report, and show cartoons of public figures who demonstrate racism that harms Black or White citizens.

Please see the complete letter from Attorney Gamble in this June 2015 edition.

ASCMRC launches initiative to preserve Americus Civil Rights Landmarks

Sam Mahone,left front, leads the cleanup team for the cemetery.

Sam Mahone,left front, leads the cleanup team for the cemetery.

Staff Reports,

The Americus-Sumter County Movement Remembered Committee has begun a cleanup of the New Corinth Baptist Church cemetery on Hooks Mill Road. The cleanup which began in April, is a community effort to protect and preserve local institutions, churches, prison stockades, streets and buildings, that have historical roots to the Americus Civil Rights Movement, and the African American community in general. The church is on the National Historic Registry, and was one of the first churches in Sumter County to permit civil rights mass meetings in 1962. Led by two courageous deacons, Leland Cooper and Lonnie Evans from the Leslie-Desoto community, New Corinth and
New Pineville Baptist Church laid the foundation for the Americus Civil Rights Movement, despite threats from the Ku Klux Klan to burn and bomb their churches. The cemetery is the final resting place for many of Americus’ most prominent and prolific African American citizens, including Rosa Lee Ingram, who in 1947 was convicted and sentenced to death along with two of her teenage sons, for the self defense killing of a white sharecropper who had attacked her as she worked in the field. It would take ten years before their release in1957, from the Reidsville
State Prison due to an intense local, national and international campaign to free them. In a symbolic gesture, the clean up began with the clearing of her family burial plot, but will continue until the entire cemetery is restored.

Although it is the Ingram legacy that thrust the cemetery into national prominence, we cannot ignore what New Corinth and its cemetery has
meant to those who have worshipped there for decades and to the descendants of families interned there. It would be difficult to find any African Americans in all of Sumter County that does now know of someone or who has a relative that is resting there. New Corinth is literally in the DNA of all of us who were born and raised there, regardless of whether you lived in Americus or the country side, and has been the cornerstone for those deeply immersed in faith and family. A stroll through the cemetery reveals the endless list of headstones inscribed with last names like Hollis, Floyd, McGarrah, Glover, Butts, Bishop, Jackson, Reddick and Bowen, all names we are all familiar with. Aside from a number of cosmetic changes, the church looks much as it did over fifty years ago when as a seventeen year old I attended my first civil rights Mass Meeting. It is important to note here that it was not just fate that brought the Movement to New Corinth. As voter registration efforts spread into small hamlets like Leslie, Desota, Plains and Smithville, the need to establish alliances with the residents and their places of worship was critical. Young students from Americus, some as young as twelve years old boarded a run down school bus for a ride into the county to canvass door to door to get residents to agree to be driven to the Sumter County courthouse to register to vote. It was the New Corinth and New Pineville churches that gave them a much needed base of operation that was crucial to the success of the Americus-Sumter County Movement.

The community initiative to restore the New Corinth cemetery must not end there. African Americans in Americus have such a rich and illustrious history, however, we have fallen short in protecting and preserving it. It is with great sadness that we have witnessed the demise of Cotton Avenue, once the epicenter of black commerce in Americus, and yet not one marker is erected there for this generation to see. No recognition of the black owned bank that once stood there, nor for the then symbolic “Mayor of Cotton Avenue”, Sam Weston, the first African American to qualify in the democratic primary in Sumter County. No recognition for entrepreneur Elbert Head who rose from slave to philanthropist by amassing a fortune in real estate in Americus. The once elegant Campbell Chapel AME now sits seemingly abandoned and doomed to succumb to decay despite its historic legacy as a church that was designed and built by Louis H. Persley, Georgia’s first registered African American architect. So much history and yet there does not appear to be a will among our elected officials to join in efforts to preserve it. It is simply not enough to have a plaque installed on the courthouse lawn that honors Dr. Martin L. King for having been jailed there, while ignoring the rich past of those who lived among us and made immense contributions to the lifestyles we enjoy today. That said, the ASCMRC continues to seek alliances among city officials that speaks to the need to do more to save and restore what is left of our collective

The ASCMRC will resume the cleanup at New Corinth on Saturday, June 20 at 10am. We will return every two weeks, except for July 4, until the work is completed. Volunteers are asked to meet at the church, located on Hooks Mill Road, just south of Americus off Lee Street Road. This is a massive undertaking and will require broad community assistance. For those wishing to volunteer, help prepare food for workers, or can loan tools, you may sign up at the Magnolia Village office located at 104 Magnolia Court, the Lake Blackshear Regional Library at 307 East Lamar Street, or contact the ASCMRC at: (229 329-1150 or (404)781-5459. Tools most needed are mowers, chain saws, bow saws, swing blades heavy duty rakes, hedge and grass trimmers.

Clean-up Schedule: June 20 (10am); July 11(10am); July 25(10am); Aug.8(10am); Aug.22 (10am)

Shirley Reese’s Forgeries Leaves Sister-In-Law Homeless

Late Johnny Green, husband of Debra Green, father of Kenyatta Tucker and brother of Shirley Green Reese. Americus City Councilwoman

Late Johnny Green, husband of Debra Green, father of Kenyatta Tucker and brother of Shirley Green Reese. Americus City Councilwoman

Staff Reports,

Debra Green, the wife of Councilwoman Shirley Reese’s deceased brother, Johnny Green, says Shirley took her house with forged documents. The results of the forgery left her homeless. The Americus Sumter Observer was informed by Johnny Green’s daughter Kenyatta Tucker about her mother being homeless. Tucker moved her mother Debra Green with her. Councilwoman Reese presented a quick claim deed that gave her the ownership of the house, and she put Debra Green, her brother’s widow out on the street. Shirley’s niece Kenyatta alleges that the quick claim deed is another forged document that her aunt used to take possession of her dad’s property; just as her aunt used the phony power of attorney to take $8,000 out of Johnny Green’s credit union account.

The Americus Sumter Observer learned about Reese forging documents by a former Americus police officer who handled the case. She informed us that the case was still active. We obtained the police report which has the charges against Reese along with the officers who handled the case.

According to Ms. Tucker, when her aunt gave the $8,000 back, Councilwoman Reese avoided being arrested on the spot. Debra Green retained Attorney Tim Lewis to prosecute Reese and get her house back. Even though Debra Green paid Attorney over $5,000, she dropped him because the case wasn’t going anywhere. Attorney Bill Murray represented Shirley Reese.

We have asked the Americus Sumter NAACP to investigate the alleged illegal acquisition of Debra Green’s home by Shirley Reese. Allegedly she forged Johnny Green’s signature as she did when she took the $8,000.

The police report that shows where Councilwoman Shirley Reese was charged with forgery is in this June 2015 edition.