Friday, February 13, 2015

Revolution's Matchstick: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Above: Rivera Sun, an Auburn native now living in Taos, N.M., performs her one-woman act, “The Education of Lala Girl,” on Sunday at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College in Lewiston. Sun Cook performs the story of Lala, an African-American girl growing up in the small town of Lovely, Kan., chronicling her spunky, indomitable spirit. The Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.
Rolling down the corporate-political assembly line is a trade deal so treasonous to the peoples of the world that it should serve as revolution’s matchstick. The treaty is secret, but one fact is well known: the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is being negotiated by transnational corporations without a single US legislator present.
Each time I hear this, my eyes blink in disbelief. Without a single legislator present . . . without their presence at negotiations, without so much as seeing a draft of the deal, and most treacherously, without objection or outcry at their exclusion!
The President has requested our legislators to “fast track the TPP”, which would allow him to sign the deal prior to sending it to Congress for approval or disapproval. If they agree to this, then Congress eschews its right – and its responsibility – to reject parts of the trade deal and reopen negotiations.
This complicity of the part of our legislators sinks an iron weight in my gut.
It smacks not of exclusion, but of willing collusion with transnational corporations that have a proven track record of criminality, destruction, and abuse. In my short lifetime, large corporations have been responsible for poisoning two major gulfs with oil spills, blowing up more than five hundred mountains, destroying numerous watersheds, wrecking the food system with toxins, and causing one in six Americans to be evicted from their homes. They have used the media apparatus to deny the existence of climate change, fomented wars, and obstructed truth and justice so often that it is practically “industry standard”. The list of grievances can be only partial here, but these abuses alone must sound the alarm bells of our conscience.
The largest trade deal since NAFTA is being written in secret by entities that have consistently abused the global population for the sake of profit.
A single thought rings bell-like in my mind.
We must revolt.
It is a quiet statement. Pragmatic.
Revolution is not a stirring thought. It evokes a great sadness in me, as if a member of my family had sunk so far into alcoholism that I must declare my separation and call on the collective strength of society to rein in his behavior so he does not cause death and destruction to us all. I am old enough to have cut through romantic idealizations of revolution, but smart enough to understand that this collusion of government and pathological corporations must be stopped.
I regret that it has come to this. Even as I steel my heart for the work ahead, I look to the seats of power and wish they would turn their self-involved gazes from their profits and see the suffering they are causing.
Wishes alone will not change anything. Action is required. So, with pragmatic determination, I look out across the unlikely landscape of my nation. Violence seethes just under the surface. Ignorance abounds. Despair, helplessness, and apathy afflict us, along with addiction and ill health. Police brutality is on the rise. Authoritarian power is replacing democracy and civil liberties. The pervasiveness of the surveillance state is so widespread that honesty is our only option.
We must, despite these odds, prepare for struggle with great determination.
And since the government knows our secrets, let me tell you one of theirs. They are hoping for violent insurrection. Armed uprisings can be thoroughly and violently suppressed and quell the rest of us into fearful submission. Those who work toward change know that violence is not only strategically unwise, it is exactly what our opponents want.
Our politicians control the largest, most well funded military in the world. The corporations employ private mercenaries. And, while there are many noble reasons to advocate that the people use nonviolent struggle, the most strategic one is this: by using violent means, we will have chosen the very type of struggle in which our opponents excel. Their superiority is unquestionable at this time.
Realistic alternatives exist. Strategic nonviolent action has been used around the world to dismantle regimes far more repressive and overtly controlling than our own . . . but these nonviolent struggles require that the populace rouse itself from stupor, apply their minds to understanding how such strategic nonviolent action succeeds, and set their hearts firmly on the effort towards a truly democratic society.
Striving for revolutionary change is never easy, but the haystack of tyranny and injustice has been piled high by the abuses of the government and the corporations. Every citizen will find a different matchstick for revolution; the Trans-Pacific Partnership is mine.
Author/Actress Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, The Dandelion Insurrection, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Note From Sheila Bair, Americans for Financial Reform

TBR-Washington D.C., contributor Sheila Bair, Americans For Financial Reform Lisa Donner
In 2008, we learned the hard way what happens when banks take on too much risk. There has been some progress since then in limiting risk in the system, but there is still much more to do. Sheila Bair – who served as Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and witnessed the financial crisis up close – is fighting with Americans for Financial Reform to decrease risk-taking on Wall Street by making sure big banks are subject to stronger capital rules. As she explains below, she has written a petition calling on the regulators to limit excessive risk-taking by the biggest Wall Street banks.

Please join Sheila Bair and other AFR members and supporters in signing this important appeal.
Thank you,
Lisa Donner
Americans for Financial Reform

A Note from Sheila Bair
As Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from 2006 to 2011, I have front line experience with the problems and havoc that can ensue when large, interconnected financial institutions take excessive risks.  I am committed to protecting American taxpayers from any future bailout of these so-called “too big to fail” institutions.  The best way to do that is to ensure these institutions have adequate private investment to absorb the losses when they fail. That allows markets to work as they should – with private investors accepting the risks and taking the losses, rather than the "heads I win, tails the public loses" practices we saw during the financial crisis where some large banks and other “systemic” institutions were allowed to reap the profits of their risk taking, but turn to taxpayers for help when those risks turned sour.   

Big financial institutions profit by relying primarily on borrowed money – instead of shareholder equity – to fund their loans and investments. Because the market views them as implicitly backed by the government, it is cheaper for them to fund themselves with debt instead of equity. Through high levels of leverage, executives are able to increase their returns on equity - and their bonuses which are frequently tied to shareholder returns. Prior to the financial crisis, some of our biggest Wall Street banks were borrowing an incredible $30 to $40 for every dollar of hard cash they had from shareholders.

Big financial organizations have strong financial incentives to increase leverage. This is why it is essential for global and U.S. regulators to take a firm line on the amount of borrowing they are allowed to do.  U.S. banking regulators have already moved to limit big bank borrowing to less than $20 for each dollar of shareholder capital, and just last month proposed further borrowing limits for the largest U.S. banks that exceed the minimums set by international regulators. But behind the scenes, they’re facing intense resistance from many Wall Street banks, who are lobbying them to roll back and weaken their rules.

In the long run, better capitalized banks are in the interests of shareholders, creditors, and the public at large.  Though tougher capital rules may impact returns on equity in the short-term, in the long-term, thick cushions of capital protect investors against unforeseen risks and position the bank to continue lending during downturns. Numerous studies have shown that well capitalized banks do a better job of lending through cycles. This helps guarantee sustainable profits for shareholders, and reduces the risk of default for creditors. Most importantly, well-capitalized banks are in a stronger position to lend during times of economic distress when the economy needs them the most.
Can you join Americans for Financial Reform and me in calling on the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators to boost capital requirements for large, “systemic” financial institutions? Let’s show that the public wants and deserves a stable financial system that meets the needs of the real economy.

Sheila Bair

Find us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sent by Americans for Financial Reform
1629 K Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20006 - (202) 466-1885

Monday, January 12, 2015

Attorney General Holder Delivers Remarks at the Portrait Unveiling for Congressman John Conyers

DC/Office of the Attorney General
Congressman John Conyers Korean Veteran Honored By DOJ
Good afternoon and thank you all for being here.  It’s a pleasure to be with you today.  And it’s a tremendous privilege to join so many distinguished guests, colleagues, friends, and Members of Congress as we recognize Congressman [John] Conyers, the Dean of the House of Representatives, for his lifetime of dedicated service; as we celebrate his leadership and his many invaluable contributions; and as we unveil the portrait that will adorn the walls of the great institution he has so faithfully served for over four decades – and that he will no doubt continue to serve with honor and integrity for years to come.
From the moment John Conyers began his patriotic service – in the Michigan National Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War – to his presence in Selma, Alabama, on Freedom Day in 1963; from his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1964, to his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, to his current status as Dean of the House and longest-serving Member of the United States Congress – this extraordinary leader’s life has been defined by a singular drive to serve.  His actions have been guided by a deep and abiding love of country and community.  And his service has been animated by an unwavering commitment to the cause of justice.
As one of the 13 founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Conyers helped bring together other trailblazers and pioneers in order to empower – and give voice to – people of color throughout the nation.
Years ago, he led the fight to secure appropriate recognition for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by introducing legislation to establish a national holiday in his honor.  And at every stage of his distinguished career – through times of trial and great consequence – he has dedicated himself to advancing the principles of universal human dignity, tolerance, and respect.
As a major proponent of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, he joined with then-Senator Joe Biden and other Congressional leaders to bring help and hope to millions of Americans who had too long suffered in silence – fighting to end the poisonous notion that violence in a person’s home was a private affair.
As a champion of legislative efforts like the Motor Voter Bill of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002, he has consistently worked to ensure that every eligible American will always have fair and free access to the ballot box – no matter who they are, what they look like, or where they live.  He continued that work in the 113th Congress with Representative Sensenbrenner, another strong leader and former Chairman of this Committee, in crafting legislation to address the void that was left by the Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision to invalidate one of the core provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
Representative Conyers has also been a key leader and partner on fairness in sentencing, from his work in passing the law that reduced the unjust disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine to his recent partnership with other Members of Congress of both parties – like Bobby Scott and Raul Labrador of the Judiciary Committee – who realize that we must make common-sense changes to our federal sentencing scheme, not just for fundamental fairness but also for the sustainability of our budget.  
Throughout his tenure as a member, and especially as Chairman, of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, he has been a key national leader – and a vital partner – in the Justice Department’s ongoing effort to secure our nation, to protect the American people from crime, and to ensure the full rights and protections of our Constitution for everyone in this country.
Time and again, I – and numerous Attorneys General before me – have relied on Congressman Conyers’ sound judgment, extensive expertise, fierce advocacy, and honest counsel to strengthen the rule of law while advancing our most sacred principles and most cherished freedoms.
I have always appreciated the unique insight, the remarkable wisdom, and the consistent devotion to service that he has brought to every challenge that has come before him.
And on a personal level, over the years, I have also come to regard Congressman Conyers not only as an important partner, and a valued friend, but also as a man who made it possible for me and Barack Obama to attain the positions we now hold.  We stand on Congressman Conyers’ broad shoulders.
Congressman, I want to thank you – once again – for your outstanding service, and for the innumerable contributions that you have made to the nation, and on behalf of the citizens we are honored to serve.  Your unique place in the history of this great institution is more than assured.  And today, with the formal dedication of this portrait, we pay fitting tribute to a legacy, and a shining example, that will continue to guide and inspire generations of lawmakers, in this new Congress and long into the future – just as it has inspired countless leaders and Attorneys General over the last four decades, including me.
At this time, it is my distinct honor to introduce another of these leaders – who knows firsthand the challenges of chairing a Judiciary Committee.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a longtime friend of the man we’ve gathered to honor; a lifelong champion of the cause of justice; and a singular advocate for equal rights and equal opportunity – the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Universal Black

TBR-Leighton Bradford, Editor-in-Chief
In my own discernment of man or humankind, there remains oppression. Oppression becomes an ever present fact within our society, looming throughout our human existence. Without a fundamental basis of power, most who are oppressed, lack the ability to fend off this oldest of evils. The subsequent tenements of social adversity allow for nothing short of submission. This state of consciousness envelopes ethnicity’s and cultures. Ignorance of either your oppressed state or the nature of who is oppressing, confounds any attempt at liberation. The leadership associated with this ill, must allow for a semblance of the scientific method, that is to say, an empirical inquiry as you analyze what seems to be degradation.

Within this inquiry must reside an exact measurement of suffering or what could be described as a leading misery indicator, comprising the following: Unemployment (proportionality and the lack thereof), Land or home ownership, financial or economic stability, cultural bonds (i.e. education, faith, family), and incarceration rate. Any leader must focus on what hinders the oppressed and devise solutions logically. Many will fail to address the most basic aspects of meeting the down trodden physiological needs.

Within the framework of liberation, exists inspiration coupled with substantive progress.  Just give the people what they want, Freedom. Freedom at a quicken pace, and not mired down with the dictated pace of the status quo. The highest human endeavor is but trite, unless the social status of man is elevated. My hope is for the discontinue of “Technological Masturbation” Speech.  Release the stored warehouses of grain and feed those who need to be fed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa was a ruler of African descent and made profound accomplishments. Some would argue he created an empire that only a few are aware of. The Songhai and Mali Empire reached great heights of achievement during his reign. Mansa Musa is remembered for his extravagant hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. A gold laden Musa, lowered the value of gold in the region for several years. Cairo, Egypt held a diplomatic visit involving Mansa Musa, his generosity and piety, as well as the fine clothes and exemplary behavior of his followers, left a profound impression.

 In the 14th year of his reign(1324), he set out on a pilgrimage that awakened the world to the vast wealth of Mali. Mansa Musa was accompanied by a caravan consisting of 60,000 men, including a personal regiment of 12,000 slaves, all clad in brocade and Persian silk. He also brought with him 30,000 pounds of gold. Each of his 500 hundred attendants carried a 6 pound staff of solid gold. The Cairo that Mansa Musa visited was ruled over by one of the greatest of Mamluk sultans, Al-Mali an-Na sir.

"The strength of this ruler of African descent; would instill pride in young Black men today. Maybe the pronounce societal ills of the day would ease with this knowledge.  Mansa Musa would be similar to a refined and non-violent Alexander the Great. We could use his piety in this day of age. He was known as a just ruler by his people, unfortunately his legacy was left to an incompetent ruler. Our society suffers from an un-just set of circumstances. It becomes duly important to balance the Euro centric depiction of individuals of African/Kemet descent"(Bradford, Leighton).   

Friday, September 19, 2014

Artículo de Fidel: Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre

TBR-Fidel Castro, President of Cuba
La sociedad mundial no conoce tregua en los últimos años, particularmente desde que la Comunidad Económica Europea, bajo la dirección férrea e incondicional de Estados Unidos, consideró que había llegado la hora de ajustar cuentas con lo que restaba de dos grandes naciones que, inspiradas en las ideas de Marx, habían llevado a cabo la proeza de poner fin al orden colonial e imperialista impuesto al mundo por Europa y Estados Unidos.
En la antigua Rusia estalló una revolución que conmovió al mundo.
Se esperaba, que la primera gran revolución socialista tendría lugar en los países más industrializados de Europa, como Inglaterra, Francia, Alemania y el Imperio Austrohúngaro. Ésta, sin embargo, tuvo lugar en Rusia, cuyo territorio se extendía por Asia, desde el norte de Europa hasta el Sur de Alaska, que había sido también territorio zarista, vendido por unos dólares al país que sería posteriormente el más interesado en atacar y destruir la revolución y al país que la engendró.
La mayor proeza del nuevo Estado fue crear una Unión capaz de agrupar sus recursos y compartir su tecnología con gran número de naciones débiles y menos desarrolladas, víctimas inevitables de la explotación colonial. ¿Sería o no conveniente en el mundo actual una verdadera sociedad de naciones que respetara los derechos, creencias, cultura, tecnologías y recursos de lugares asequibles del planeta que a tantos seres humanos les gusta visitar y conocer?¿Y no sería mucho más justo que todas las personas que hoy, en fracciones de segundo se comunican de un extremo a otro del planeta, vean en los demás un amigo o un hermano y no un enemigo dispuesto a exterminarlo con los medios que ha sido capaz de crear el conocimiento humano?
Por creer que los seres humanos podrían ser capaces de albergar tales objetivos, pienso que no hay derecho alguno a destruir ciudades, asesinar niños, pulverizar viviendas, a sembrar terror, hambre y muerte en todas partes. ¿En qué rincón del mundo se podrían justificar tales hechos? Si se recuerda que al final de la masacre de la última contienda mundial el mundo se ilusionó con la creación de las Naciones Unidas, es porque gran parte de la humanidad la imaginó con tales perspectivas, aunque no estuviesen cabalmente definidos sus objetivos. Un colosal engaño es lo que se percibe hoy cuando surgen problemas que insinúan el posible estallido de una guerra con el empleo de armas que podrían poner fin a la existencia humana.
Existen sujetos inescrupulosos, al parecer no pocos, que consideran un mérito su disposición a morir, pero sobre todo a matar para defender privilegios bochornosos.
Muchas personas se asombran al escuchar las declaraciones de algunos voceros europeos de la OTAN cuando se expresan con el estilo y el rostro de las SS nazis. En ocasiones hasta se visten con trajes oscuros en pleno verano.
Nosotros tenemos un adversario bastante poderoso como lo es nuestro vecino más próximo: Estados Unidos. Le advertimos que resistiríamos el bloqueo, aunque eso podía implicar un costo muy elevado para nuestro país. No hay peor precio que capitular frente al enemigo que sin razón ni derecho te agrede. Era el sentimiento de un pueblo pequeño y aislado. El resto de los gobiernos de este hemisferio, con raras excepciones, se habían sumado al poderoso e influyente imperio. No se trataba por nuestra parte de una actitud personal, era el sentimiento de una pequeña nación que desde inicios de siglo era una propiedad no solo política, sino también económica de Estados Unidos. España nos había cedido a ese país después de haber sufrido casi cinco siglos de coloniaje y de un incalculable número de muertos y pérdidas materiales en la lucha por la independencia.
El imperio se reservó el derecho de intervenir militarmente en Cuba en virtud de una pérfida enmienda constitucional que impuso a un Congreso impotente e incapaz de resistir. Aparte de ser los dueños de casi todo en Cuba: abundantes tierras, los mayores centrales azucareros, las minas, los bancos y hasta la prerrogativa de imprimir nuestro dinero, nos prohibía producir granos alimenticios suficientes para alimentar la población.
Cuando la URSS se desintegró y desapareció también el Campo Socialista, seguimos resistiendo, y juntos, el Estado y el pueblo revolucionarios, proseguimos nuestra marcha independiente.
No deseo, sin embargo, dramatizar esta modesta historia. Prefiero más bien recalcar que la política del imperio es tan dramáticamente ridícula que no tardará mucho en pasar al basurero de la historia. El imperio de Adolfo Hitler, inspirado en la codicia, pasó a la historia sin más gloria que el aliento aportado a los gobiernos burgueses y agresivos de la OTAN, que los convierte en el hazmerreír de Europa y el mundo, con su euro, que al igual que el dólar, no tardará en convertirse en papel mojado, llamado a depender del yuan y también de los rublos, ante la pujante economía china estrechamente unida al enorme potencial económico y técnico de Rusia.
Algo que se ha convertido en un símbolo de la política imperial es el cinismo.
Como se conoce, John McCain fue el candidato republicano a las elecciones de 2008. El personaje salió a la luz pública cuando en su condición de piloto fue derribado mientras su avión bombardeaba la populosa ciudad de Hanói. Un cohete vietnamita lo alcanzó en plena faena y nave y piloto cayeron en un lago ubicado en las inmediaciones de la capital, colindante con la ciudad.
Un antiguo soldado vietnamita ya retirado, que se ganaba la vida trabajando en las proximidades, al ver caer el avión y un piloto herido que trataba de salvarse se movió para auxiliarlo; mientras el viejo soldado prestaba esa ayuda, un grupo de la población de Hanói, que sufría los ataques de la aviación, corría para ajustar cuentas con aquel asesino. El mismo soldado persuadió a los vecinos que no lo hicieran, pues era ya un prisionero y su vida debía respetarse. Las propias autoridades yankis se comunicaron con el Gobierno rogando que no se actuara contra ese piloto.
Aparte de las normas del Gobierno vietnamita de respeto a los prisioneros, el piloto era hijo de un Almirante de la Armada de Estados Unidos que había desempeñado un papel destacado en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y estaba todavía ocupando un importante cargo.
Los vietnamitas habían capturado un pez gordo en aquel bombardeo y como es lógico, pensando en las conversaciones inevitables de paz que debían poner fin a la guerra injusta que le habían impuesto desarrollaron la amistad con él, que estaba muy feliz de sacar todo el provecho posible de aquella aventura. Esto, desde luego, no me lo contó ningún vietnamita, ni yo lo habría preguntado nunca. Lo he leído y se ajusta completamente a determinados detalles que conocí más tarde. También leí un día que Mister McCain había escrito que siendo prisionero en Vietnam, mientras era torturado, escuchó voces en español asesorando a los torturadores qué de­bían hacer y cómo hacerlo. Eran voces de cubanos, según McCain. Cuba nunca tuvo asesores en Vietnam. Sus militares conocen sobradamente cómo hacer su guerra.
El General Giap fue uno de los jefes más brillantes de nuestra época, que en Dien Bien Phu fue capaz de ubicar los cañones por selvas intrincadas y abruptas, algo que los militares yankis y europeos consideraban imposible. Con esos cañones disparaban desde un punto tan próximo que era imposible neutralizarlos sin que las bombas nucleares afectaran también a los invasores. Los demás pasos pertinentes, todos difíciles y complejos, fueron empleados para imponer a las cercadas fuerzas europeas una bochornosa rendición.
El zorro McCain sacó todo el provecho posible de las derrotas militares de los invasores yankis y europeos. Nixon no pudo persuadir a su consejero de Seguridad Nacional Henry Kissinger, de que aceptara la idea sugerida por el  propio Presidente cuando en momentos de relajamiento le decía ¿Por qué no le lanzamos una de esas bombitas Henry? La verdadera bombita llegó cuando los hombres del Presidente trataron de espiar a sus adversarios del partido opuesto ¡Eso sí que no podía tolerarse!
A pesar de eso lo más cínico del Sr. McCain ha sido su actuación en el Cercano Oriente. El senador McCain es el aliado más incondicional de Israel en las marañas del Mossad, algo que ni los peores adversarios habrían sido capaces de imaginar. McCain participó junto a ese servicio en la creación del Estado Islámico que se apoderó de una parte considerable y vital de Irak, así como según se afirma, de un tercio del territorio de Siria. Tal Estado cuenta ya con ingresos multimillonarios, y amenaza a Arabia Saudita y otros Estados de esa compleja región que suministra la parte más importante del combustible mundial.
¿No sería preferible, luchar por producir más alimentos y productos industriales, construir hospitales y escuelas para los miles de millones de seres humanos que los necesitan desesperadamente, promover el arte y la cultura, luchar contra enfermedades masivas que llevan a la muerte a más de la mitad de los enfermos, a trabajadores de la salud o tecnólogos que según se vislumbra, podrían finalmente eliminar enfermedades como el cáncer, el ébola, el paludismo, el dengue, la chikungunya, la diabetes y otras que afectan las funciones vitales de los seres humanos?
Si hoy resulta posible prolongar la vida, la salud y el tiempo útil de las personas, si es perfectamente posible planificar el desarrollo de la población en virtud de la productividad creciente, la cultura y desarrollo de los valores humanos ¿Qué esperan para hacerlo?

Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre.
Triunfarán las ideas justas o triunfará el desastre
Fidel Castro Ruz
Agosto 31 de 2014
10 y 25 p.m.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NAACP Applauds Dept. of Justice Decision to Investigate the Ferguson Police Force

BALTIMORE, MD – United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice will launch a broad civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will conduct the investigation and follow a similar process which it uses to investigate police departments across the country. In light of this development, the NAACP has released the following statements.

From Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO:
“We at the NAACP applaud Attorney General Eric Holder for taking this important and necessary step of launching a new investigation into the Ferguson police department. The life of an unarmed 18-year-old teenager was cut short by an armed police officer whose job was to serve and protect. The NAACP Missouri State Conference filed five federal lawsuits over the last 5 years against St. Louis County police officers, claiming excessive force. Local NAACP leaders have been working closely with federal authorities and are heartened by this decision.”

From Mary Ratliff, NAACP Missouri State Conference President:                   
“The Missouri State Conference strongly supports the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. A comprehensive review of policing practices across the greater St. Louis metropolitan area is sorely needed.”

From Adolphus Pruitt, President of the NAACP St. Louis City Branch/Vice President NAACP MO State Conference:
“I commend the Department of Justice for launching this investigation. We hope that it brings some resolution to the number of complaints the NAACP Missouri State Conference have in front of the Justice Department about various police departments in St. Louis County.”


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

< View All Press Releases


Michelle J. Nealy

Communications Associate
Twitter: @naacppress


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Demo after murder of Martinus Yohame. Indonesian Embassy UK

TBR-United Kingdom: By Free West Papua Campaign · Today · · Taken at Indonesian Embassy 38 Grosvenor Square London W1
Today on 2nd September 2014, the Free West Papua Campaign held a protest outside the Indonesian Embassy in London, United Kingdom, to demand justice after the murder of West Papuan independence leader, Martinus Yohame.
After speaking out against the Indonesian President, Martinus was kidnapped by members of the Indonesian security forces, shot and tied in a sack.
His body wa found floating in the sea.

You can read Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Free West Papua Campaign founder Benny Wenda's statement about Martinus's murder here:

Today, we protested and demanded justice for his family and the families of all those who have been similar victims of Indonesian state oppression.

Another demo against these killings is also scheduled for 6th September in the Netherlands and will be organised by Free West Papua Campaign (Nederland).

We would like to thank everyone who attended this demonstration, standing up in the streets and calling for a Free West Papua.
With your support, we raised a lot of awareness about the situation with the people of London.
We look forward to meeting you all again at similar events in the future.
We will continue to protest and demonstrate for our people's fundamental right to self-determination until West Papua is finally free.

Free West Papua Campaign

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The question is ... how badly do we want to avoid more war?

TBR-Jon Soltz Iraq War Veteran & Chairman/ 
As President Obama addressed the graduating class of 2014 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he said "We must broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development." 

His words are something to consider as diplomats gather in Vienna, Austria to hammer out a long-term agreement to ensure Iran never has the ability to develop a nuclear weapon. 

They have until July 20th to work out a deal, or extend the process, but several Senators are already furiously working to derail the effort. 

They need to hear from us today: 

Join tens of thousands of veterans and military family members and sign our petition calling on the U.S. Senate to allow the diplomatic process to work with Iran. 

Sadly, it's many of the same discredited neoconservative voices pushing for harsher sanctions that will trigger a new arms race in the region. 

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, said "To a soldier, the phrase 'seeking a diplomatic solution' is sweet music." 

And if the diplomatic talks between Washington and Tehran fall apart, we'll have the opportunity to talk about which sanctions to reinstate or intensity. 

But for now, we should all hope that those efforts succeed. 

Tell Congress: Give Diplomacy with Iran a Chance. 

The question is ... how badly do we want to avoid more war? 

Thanks for standing with VoteVets on this issue. 

Jon Soltz 
Iraq War Veteran & Chairman 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nearly 600,000 Americans Ask Senators to Support “21st Century Glass-Steagall Act”

TBR-Washington D.C., Public Citizen/Americans for Financial Reform

Senator Elizabeth Warren receives 21st century Glass-Steagall Act petition
At the Capitol this afternoon [July 9], Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) received petitions in which nearly 600,000 Americans call for action on the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senator Warren along with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Angus King (I-Maine), would address the problem of Wall Street banks that have become too complicated, too conflicted and too powerful, as well as simply too big.
The petitions, gathered by Credo, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, Dr. Mitchell Gershten (a private citizen), and, were also delivered to the offices of all the other Senators, asking them to support the bill. The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act would reinstate the principle that used to separate commercial banks, which enjoy the benefits of deposit insurance and other forms of public support, from the high-risk world of investment banks and hedge funds.
“The original Glass-Steagall Act served our country well,” said Lisa Donner, Executive Director of Americans for Financial Reform. “It laid the foundation for an unprecedented half century without financial panics or crises. Just as important, it contributed to a more right-sized banking system and one more focused on serving the economy and the society as a whole, rather than on enriching itself at others’ expense.”
“When banks are allowed to continue gambling with our taxpayer-insured deposits, we are setting up our economy for another meltdown,” said Lisa Gilbert, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division. “Real banking protections should not be a thing of the past.  Going back to a clear Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking is the easiest way to make sure greedy banksters don’t put our fragile, still recovering economy back on the rocks.”
“Not a single Wall Street banker has gone to jail for crimes that caused the financial crisis, the least Congress can do is make sure these bankers aren’t gambling with our money,” said Becky Bond, CREDO’s political director. “It’s long past time to reinstitute Glass-Steagall.”
“Across the nation, people of all ideological stripes want more Wall Street reform and accountability — not less,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “We were proud to start working with Elizabeth Warren while she was still a candidate on writing a 21st Century Glass Steagall Act. This bill is a huge down payment on the reform we need.”
“Reining in Wall Street’s recklessness and the threat it poses to the whole economy is a galvanizing cause for MoveOn members,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political Action. “It’s an issue that has also fueled Sen. Warren’s meteoric rise as a champion of hard-working people under siege by powerful financial interests. We thank her for accepting the petitions of MoveOn members and allies, and for joining with Senators McCain, Cantwell, and King in sponsoring this bill. If lawmakers truly oppose Wall Street bailouts and ‘too big to fail’ banks, they need to walk the talk and join us to support this common sense legislation.”

CONTACT: Jim Lardner, Americans for Financial Reform, 202-466-1854 /
Karilyn Gower, Public Citizen, 202-588-7779 /
Tags: , ,