AFAM News bits – July 2017

“Don’t impeach Donald Trump”
“Our country’s long-term interest will be best served if Trump remains in office until 2021. That would be a shock treatment like no other for the American people. It will show us, through much pain, how dangerous it is to elect ignorant demagogues. That might allow future historians to see a four-year Trump presidency as a watershed in American politics, the moment when we realized the folly of our ways and began to repent.” (Stephen Kinzer, Boston Sunday Globe, June 25, 2017)

“Don’t impeach Donald Trump”
“Those who want to see Trump’s policies made permanent have an interest in easing him aside. The ascension of figures like Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who exemplify the ethos of robbing the poor to help the rich, would lessen the risk that those policies could be reversed after the next election.” (Stephen Kinzer, Boston Sunday Globe, June 25, 2017)

“Don’t impeach Donald Trump”
In the Boston Sunday Globe article by Stephen Kinzer titled, “Don’t Impeach Donald Trump,” the author expressed concerns that were raised in Point of View long ago. To impeach the bumbling Trump would be to open the door to the dangerous Pence and Ryan. Better to hold on to Trump until his term ends and consider the entire episode a lesson learned.

My son was right about his persistent call for residency for top district chiefs of Springfield’s fire department. His primary point is that residency is the law. His next point is even more powerful. Residency is good for Springfield economically. Much of the taxpayer money that is paid to district chiefs that now immediately leaves the city on payday will remain under residency in the form of rent, home purchases and all of the little items that are purchased within the city in which individuals reside. But equally as important is Justin’s last point that there is a moral argument for residency as reflected by some of the ugly things that several members of the Springfield fire department had to say about the city’s elected officials and its residents that they passed among themselves on social media. I’m not going to repeat the words because by now most have heard them and those who have not need only search Facebook and the web. Such words can’t be erased from social media any more than they can be erased from the consciousness of those at whom they were directed. And they were hurtful. And the underlying message from the highest levels of Springfield’s fire department is that disrespect for Springfield’s elected officials and the citizens of Springfield is okay and is even the proper subject of racial “jokes” openly bantered around among the social media public. Mayor Domenic Sarno has reacted well by halting the vote that would have led to a majority of councilors – split, to my amazement, almost down the middle on Black/Hispanic vs. White racial lines – approving an ordinance that would have allowed some of the offending officers and others who were already in violation of the existing law that they live in Springfield, to be grandfathered out of the requirement that all future officers reside in the city. I’m proud of my son and other councilors who cast a vote against the newest ordinance and ashamed of all of those White councilors who still don’t seem to get it. I hope, by now, they are honest enough to be ashamed of themselves. Oh! And E. Henry Twiggs in voting for the new ordinance that would protect these proponents of bigotry has lost his civil rights credibility.

Whether one likes it or not, justice is justice. The first thing that occurred to me when I heard a Black Milwaukee cop was going on trial for shooting and killing a Black suspect was that the Black cop was going to jail even though virtually every White cop tried for even more heinous Black killings was routinely acquitted. So when I recently read that he was acquitted, first I was angry and then I thought about the O.J. Simpson murder trial. I never doubted that O.J. committed the murders. But that wasn’t what the trial was about. The trial was about whether O. J. was not guilty or guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Folks kept asking me why I thought he would be acquitted if I thought he was guilty and I responded, “Because he’s rich and when it comes to justice, rich trumps race.” It occurred to me that the same principle applied to the Black cop – his “cop status” trumped race. It’s a nuance that I had missed when I prematurely concluded that he would be convicted because he wasn’t White. That he was subject to the different standard of justice than White cops would have angered me even as I wish for convictions against cops who recklessly kill Black men. It’s what one might call an emotional conundrum. Should I be satisfied that a Black cop got “cop justice” just because he was Black even as I am repulsed by the whole idea of “cop justice.” I don’t think so. But after watching White cop after White cop get off even for murders of Black men we witness on television, it is certainly understandable to question a Black cop being subjected to a different standard and being among the rare few found guilty. What is really at issue here is the very idea of justice. Should it be so flexible as to treat the rich and cops differently? Is there another way? I don’t know the answer but I have two questions. (1) If the person the Black cop killed was White, would he have been acquitted? (2) Would O. J. Simpson have been given what is tantamount to a life sentence for a two bit burglary among thieves if he previously had not gotten away with murdering two White folks? Should justice be so flexible? It’s a common joke among defense attorneys to say, “My client doesn’t want justice,” the point being that justice will determine innocence or guilt. But it’s not that simple.

I don’t know which way to lean on this marijuana business. The vote to legalize it was fair and square and now the legislature is modifying it which doesn’t bother me. My primary concern, however, is that many folks at the bottom of the employment range depend upon illegal marijuana sales to make ends meet. They don’t sell opioids or other harsh drugs. They simply cater to a market demanding what most agree is a relatively harmless weed. But the new law threatens to put most of them out of business. If for no other reason, the higher 28% tax proposed by the legislature could be a good idea. Traditional street vendors can continue to sell their marijuana on the black market at a lower cost. Of course, they will remain subject to arrest which raises another concern. Those who were arrested and convicted before the new marijuana law have CORI problems. They can’t work in the industry that they have cultivated over the decades. It’s an Alice in Wonderland effect. They did it. They were good at it. Like good business people, they took all of the risk and changed attitudes. And now they are tossed to the curb. I am aware that the law has incorporated minority involvement at the ownership level. My question is, “How do we incorporate these pioneer street level entrepreneurs into the legal marijuana business? It is an important question because if we do not find a way, they will graduate to another illegal level out of necessity.

Yep! They came for an Irishman and they may come for you next. So many folks harbor the incorrect notion that President Trump’s hostile immigration policies do not apply to them or their privileged friends. They think it will harm only Muslims or Haitians or, of course, folks of Hispanic origin. Not the Irish or others of European origin. So when immigration agents arrived at five a.m. one morning without notice to John Cunningham’s Boston home to arrest him for being an illegal immigrant, Boston society went nuts. You see, John Cunningham is a reputable electrical contractor and past chairman of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Boston who has been in Boston since 2003 after overstaying a 90-day Visa. No one less than Boston Mayor Marty Walsh expressed grave concern as did the president of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England and the executive director of the Irish Immigrants in Massachusetts Center who pointed out that 12,000 illegal Irish immigrants live in Massachusetts. He expressed concern about the vulnerability of these “illegals” to grifters and others who stalk them and take advantage of them knowing they will not report them to the authorities for fear of being detained. Though I feel for John Cunningham, the irony in all of this is that many who supported Trump’s immigration policies openly and the many who supported them behind the scenes and those who did nothing, had no idea that his policies would impact their own. Maybe now the outrage will grow. (See articles: Boston Herald, June 21, 22, 2017; The Boston Globe, June 21, 2017)

I would like to give attribution to the man who wrote the article that this comment is about but I misplaced it. He referenced all of the news reports about a Black man with dreadlocks who escorted an elderly White man down a department store escalator. He wondered why the media made such a big deal about it and arrived at the conclusion that the media reaction was racist. Of course, he was right as he made the point that the more subtle message was that what the young Black man was doing – a small polite gesture to age – was something unusual “for a Black man,” something that most young Black men would not be expected to do. So while the media was praising the individual, they were condemning an entire race. It’s the subtle type of stuff that racism is made of.

Trump lashes out at Obama. What a joke!

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