HARRISBURG, PA PLANS DEFAULT ON BOND PAYMENTS; MUNICIPAL DEFAULTS ON RISE

Harrisburg, PA State Capitol building

 Bloomberg News 

By Romy Varghese –Mar 9, 2012 3:49 PM ETFri Mar 09 20:49:49 GMT 2012 

Harrisburg (9661MF), Pennsylvania’s insolvent capital, says it will miss general-obligation bond payments for the first time next week as its receiver seeks approval for a plan to sell assets.

The city, carrying a debt load of more than five times its general-fund budget, will miss $5.27 million in bond payments due March 15 on $51.5 million of bonds issued in 1997, according to a notice its receiver posted on the Electronic Municipal Market Access system, a database for filings by debt issuers.

Stockton, CA is south of Sacramento

The default is the latest for the $3.7 trillion municipal market, which has seen the number grow while remaining rare. The rate of U.S. municipal-bond defaults doubled to 5.5 a year in 2010 and 2011, from 2.7 in the previous 39 years, Moody’s Investors Service said this week in a report. Stockton,California, last month voted to default on some of its bonds.

“It’s a worrisome trend if it becomes more commonplace”for communities to expect bond insurers to pick up debt payments, said Alan Schankel, director of fixed-income research at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia. Municipal issuers may become increasingly willing to default even if there is no insurance for bondholders, he said.

“If it’s OK to hurt the bond insurer, is it OK to hurt bond holders?” Schankel said.

Objections to Plan

Harrisburg Controller Dan Miller

The default decision was made as some city officials objected to a plan to sell assets and avoid a trip to bankruptcy court. State law bars the city from seeking Chapter 9 protection from creditors until July. A majority of the City Council sought unsuccessfully to make that move last year.

“It’s just an indication of how severe the problem is,” Dan Miller, the city controller and a supporter of seeking court protection, said by telephone. “Without a bankruptcy judge, we can’t get a solution.”

Ambac itself has declared bankruptcy

Ambac Assurance, a unit of New York-based Ambac Financial Group Inc. (ABKFQ), insures the city’s general-obligation debt.

“We are honoring and paying” valid claims, Michael Fitzgerald, an Ambac spokesman, said by e-mail. He said the company doesn’t comment on specific cases. (VOD: go to http://www.ambac.com/press/070611.html and http://www.businessinsider.com/end-game-ambac-5-year-cds-jumps-up-to-7458-basis-points-as-isda-rules-its-in-default-2010-3 to read about Ambac’s own problems.)

While Harrisburg in 2009 started skipping payments on debt related to an incinerator overhaul and expansion, it hasn’t defaulted on general-obligation bonds. The city’s fiscal crisis is driven by more than $300 million in debt from the project at the waste-to-energy plant, which doesn’t generate enough revenue to cover its costs.

Receiver Appointed

PA governor Tom Corbett

In December, David Unkovic was appointed as the city’s receiver, a first for the state. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, had declared a fiscal emergency to ensure vital services, including making payroll and paying debt obligations, were continued.

“My first priority as receiver is to ensure that vital and necessary services such as police and fire are maintained,”Unkovic said today in a statement. “The city will not be making these payments to ensure sufficient cash flow so the citizens of Harrisburg continue to receive essential services.”

By defaulting, Harrisburg will be able to keep paying municipal workers about $1 million every two weeks, through the third quarter at least, Unkovic said by telephone. He declined to say if other bond obligations may be missed. The city’s debt service, including the March payments, totals almost $12 million this year, not including incinerator-related securities. Continue reading


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CHASE BANK PROTEST VS. FORECLOSURES MARCH 30


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DAVONTAE INNOCENT, BEING TORTURED IN PRISON; JUDGE REFUSES TO ALLOW REAL KILLER’S CONFESSION

Free Davontae Rally set for Monday, April 23 at 8 a.m. Frank Murphy Hall

By Diane Bukowski

March 25, 2012

PLEASE sign the petition ……

http://www.change.org/petitions/new-trial-for-davontae-sanford?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition

DETROIT – Supporters of Davontae Sanford, who was 14 when he was sentenced to 35 to 90 years in prison for the 2007 murders of four people, are coming from across the world to protest what they call an astounding miscarriage of justice. They will rally Monday, April 23, at 8 a.m. outside the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice at Gratiot and St. Antoine in downtown Detroit.

Davontae’s mother Taminko Sanford, with family and friends, rally outside Frank Murphy Hall June 29, 2010

The action is being called by the Coalition to Free the Wrongfully Convicted, Roberto Guzman told VOD.

“People are flying in from the United Kingdom and from down South, they are so upset,” he said. Davontae’s case is known world-wide particularly due to the efforts of Elish Delaproser of the United Kingdom, who has published numerous posts on his case on various websites.

“He’s not guilty, he didn’t do it,” self-admitted hit man Vincent Smothers told AP reporter Ed White in January. White’s story should have been considered a potential Pulitzer Prize-winning scoop by Detroit’s daily media, which never publlished it. Smothers confessed to police in 2008 that he and an accomplice committed the Runyon Street killings Davontae is serving time for.

Vincent Smothers

“There is no link between me and him,” Smothers told White during a visit at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia.  “I never knew him. I’ll testify if possible and answer all questions truthfully. Anything I will say will be the truth, I don’t lie.”

Smothers himself is serving 50 to 100  years in prison for eight other murders, to which he confessed when he told police he killed the four people on Runyon Street.

He added, “I understand what prison life is like; it’s miserable. To be here and be innocent – I don’t know what it’s like. He’s a kid, and I hate for him to do the kind of time they’re giving him.”

Ironically, Smothers, 28, is being held in Level 4 at the Michigan Reformatory at Ionia, while Davontae, now 19, is being held in Level 5, the highest maximum security level, at the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility.

To read the AP story, go to  http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/02/07/ap-newsbreak-detroit-hit-man-says-davontae-sanford-is-innocent-will-testify/  or http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2012/01/hit_man_says_convicted_teen_da.html.

 Davontae’s mother Taminko Sanford confirmed just how miserable life in prison has been for her son, who the family calls “Man.”

“Davontae wrote me,” Ms. Sanford told VOD tearfully. “I called and talked to the counselor who just kept saying he broke the water sprinkler in his cell. I told her, what’s that got to do with taking his food, and his clothes and his money?”

Ms. Sanford said the letter from her son is dated January 13, but she just received it.

“Mama, I am writing to let you know that the only reason why I haven’t been calling you or nobody else is because I’ve been going through a whole lot with these officers,” Davontae wrote. “They’ve been messing over me, taking my food, my showers, and I was hogtied for days at a time. They’ve been harassing me every chance they get.”

Kevin DeMott is a mentally ill inmate with bipolar and personality disorders. Corrections officers at the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility chained DeMott to his bed and secured a padded helmet to his head after he refused to stop banging his head against the wall, which is stained with blood. / Michigan Department of Corrections

He identified his torturers as Officers Tefft, Rutgers and Botta.

“They’ve been playing in my mail, throwing some of my letters away, and my clothes and my shoes and the money order that you sent me they threw away. Mama, I can’t take it no more. I have to get out of this unit because I can’t keep being around these officers. I need for you and everybody else to call up here every two days to check on me . . . . I can’t believe the judge denied my case. Stay in touch with my lawyer.”

Ms. Sanford said another prisoner locked up with Davontae called earlier to tell her that Davontae had been put in the worst “pod,” where guards regularly handcuff and beat prisoners. (Pods are usually four-prisoner units.) She said Davontae and other prisoners have told her that the guards have been racist and abusive for a long time.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan and Tracy Sullivan

Davontae has been incarcerated now for five years, because Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan and Prosecutor Kym Worthy have refused to acknowledge Smothers’ definitive confession as proof of Davontae’s innocence.

“ .  .  . the state can have no interest in the punishment of a person who is innocent in fact, even if the conviction is based on defendant’s plea.” Sullivan ironically said in a 29-page opinion on Feb. 28.

“Moreover, no consideration of any procedural burden should outweigh the purpose of the criminal law, that justice be done and truth ascertained. This proposition is so fundamental a principle to this . . . legal system that no society willing to call itself civilized should bar redress where a miscarriage of justice can be satisfactorily demonstrated through competent evidence.” Click on Davontae Sanford judge order to read entire ruling.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Sullivan then refused to let Davontae withdraw his guilty plea, which was based on a confession police obtained after interrogating him without the presence of his mother or an attorney, and despite Smothers’ confession.

Sullivan contended that when a defendant seeks to withdraw a guilty plea after sentencing, “Defendant bears the burden by clear and convincing evidence t0 demonstrate actual innocence.”

Sullivan said he based that statement on Michigan Court Rule 6.310 (C).

There is nothing in that rule that says a defendant must prove his innocence, a notion contrary to the whole of American jurisprudence.

It says, “Motion to Withdraw Plea After Sentence. The defendant may file a motion to withdraw the plea within 6 months after sentence. . . . If the trial court determines that there was an error in the plea proceeding that would entitle the defendant to have the plea set aside, the court must give the advice or make the inquiries necessary to rectify the error and then give the defendant the opportunity to elect to allow the plea and sentence to stand or to withdraw the plea. If the defendant elects to allow the plea and sentence to stand, the additional advice given and inquiries made become part of the plea proceeding for the purposes of further proceedings, including appeals.”

Davontae’s supporters pray for his freedom in June, 2010

Sullivan cited case law to support his stand that Davontae must prove his innocence. However, during two years of an evidentiary hearing which ended with Sullivan’s February opinion, he has refused to allow Smothers’ previous attorney to testify that he told her he committed the killings, and the prosecution has refused to grant Smothers’ immunity if he testified.

Sullivan issued a separate order barring Smothers from testifying, saying he’d been called twice before, but asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Smothers’ statement to AP reporter White, however, was clear. He wants to testify without conditions, even if it means adding to his current sentence. He wants Davontae freed.

Former Detroit police homicide chief William Rice

Coverage of Sullivan’s Feb. 28 order in Detroit’s daily media again omitted any reference to that interview.

Sullivan also says in his opinion that testimony from an “alibi” witness for Davontae was “patently false.” That testimony came from former Detroit police homicide chief William Rice, who said Davontae was present with him and his mother’s aunt Cheryl Sanford during the time of the killings.

A police technician with sketchy credentials in cell tower location evidence said that Davontae could not have been with Rice at the time he said, because Rice was making cell phone calls showing he was elsewhere.

In February, Worthy charged Rice and Sanford with mortgage fraud connected to a property that was allegedly connected to drug trafficking, and with lying under oath during a federal bankruptcy proceeding.

“It’s clear retaliation,” Guzman said. “Those types of charges are usually brought in federal court.”

Sullivan made no reference to testimony from Detroit Police Department investigators Gerald Williams and Ira Todd, who helped take Smothers’ confession. They said that Smothers admitted to the Runyon Street killings and told them that Davontae was not involved. Even Smothers’ trial judge challenged the prosecution, asking why he had not been charged with those killings.

Ms. Sanford said she heard about Sullivan’s ruling through the media, and that it left her in shock. She said Davontae’s attorney Kim McGinnis, who has moved to New Mexico, had not contacted her. McGinnis told the Free Press that she plans to have Smothers testify at an appeals court hearing still to come for Davontae.

Maria Miller, spokesman for Worthy, told the Free Press that they were “very satisfied” with Sullivan’s ruling refusing to allow Davontae to withdraw his guilty plea.

Write to Davontae Sanford, #684070, at Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility, 1576 W. Bluewater Highway, Ionia, MI 48846.

CALL WARDEN JOHN PRELESNIK AT (616) 527-6331 TO EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT DAVONTAE’S TREATMENT AND ASK FOR HIM TO BE TRANSFERRED OUT OF THE UNIT HE IS IN. 

To contact the Coalition to Free the Wrongfully Convicted, call 313-272-1406, or email Roberto Guzman at legal_begal01@sbcglobal.net . 

http://www.facebook.com/#!/free.davontae.sanford

http://freedavontaesanford-irishgreeneyes.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Advocates-for-Abandoned-Adolescents/196830696997682?sk=app_142371818162


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INTERACTIVE “NEGROPHOBIA”

Greg Thrasher last year at Lansing rally against Public Act 4

By Greg Thrasher, VOD Washington Bureau contributing editor

In America life for Black folks has always been fought with various degrees, realties of racism and oppression. The ebb and flow of contempt for our very essence and being has often been like the wind: sometimes the gust is strong sometimes it is mild. The one constant theme of life in America for Black folks is the reality of racism and all of its wicked incarnations.

In the post industrial era instead of the heavy gust of slavery, segregation, and the like for many Black folks in the nation what we confront now is the specter and culture of ‘negrophobia’. It is a a derivative pathology of racism not novel in substance just different in application and behavior. Often ‘negrophobia’ is a civil disdain cloaked in a non verbal activity or reactionary behavior. It has the distinct stench of racism but it lacks the venom and vulgar virulent demeanor of hard core bigotry.

In the gentile terrains of an office environment or the mild contours of an restaurant or even in a plaid elevator gathering the presence of ‘negrophobia’ is a reality that is far to often present in the space of Black folks and others( read whites and of late even other people of color). From the nostrils and vantage point of many Black folks often one feels that he or she is germ or some kind of disease that people seek to avoid or when they are in our orbit and presence. We have become in many circles an inconvenient truth.

Black fear

Yet also placed on this stage of “negrophobia” is the role of Black folks and how our behaviors and activities foster and give rise and in some circles validation to the pathogen of ‘negrophobia”. Far to often our ignorance and depravity lends itself to the introduction and application of angst and reactionary forces within white america. It is quite true that Black folks are underdeveloped and perfect props for the narrative of an empire in decline on the brink of anarchy.

Many in our community enjoy the role of being docile and losers. Far to many Black folks have abandoned our collective pride to chase the arrogance of selfishness and ego. In many venues of the Black community we donate our personhood with glee and bravado to be insulted and ridiculed. We sometimes write the scripts of ignorance and then we cast ourselves with a twisted sense of pride and glee.

Some of us understand and recognize and have no hesitation to acknowledge not only are we our own worst enemies but we are also eager in this role of self destruction and decadence. There is a hard core collection of Black folks who are predators and eternal miscreants and cultural deviants. This bandwidth of destructive Black folks loathe civility and they basked in dysfunction.

Of course the nation of oppression for centuries has created wounds and a fractured community often unable to heal itself . We have to often surrendered and retreated to the passion of defeat and despair. We have been willing props in the ‘negrophobia’ revival in our nation. Yet despite this truth for Black folks in America like the wind it can change and we can change with the wind at our back.

The interactive winds of ‘negrophobia’ don’t have to blow in our direction anymore.

Gregory Thrasher is a blogger and the director of Plane Ideas. You can reach him at planeidea@msn.com


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NO CONSENT AGREEMENT OR EM! MAKE THE BANKS PAY!

Commentary

Attorney Jerry Goldberg speaks at City Council hearing March 13, 2012

By Attorney Jerry Goldberg (first speaker in video above)

March 21, 2012

DETROIT – On March 12, 2012, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder proposed a “consent agreement” between the state and the City of Detroit for oversight of the city’s finances in lieu of the state imposing an emergency manager over the city. This “consent agreement,” just like the Emergency Manager act, guarantees that the banks will have direct control over the city’s budget.

Article 11 of the consent agreement states: “This agreement shall remain in effect until (a) the earlier of (i) the end of the third consecutive fiscal years of the city in which . . . (ii) the city has achieved and maintained for at least two calendar years a credit rating by two or more nationally recognized securities rating agencies . . .on the City’s outstanding long-term unsubordinated debt in either of the two highest long-term rating categories of such rating agency.”

These “rating securities agencies,” who will make the determination on the city’s financial solvency, are for-profit corporations who earn their revenues through payments from the banks and financial institutions. By giving the financial institutions the ratings they want to hear, regardless of whether these ratings are justified, these agencies maximize their own revenues and profits.

Senate Report GS

A report from the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis,” dated April 13, 2011, documented how in their drive for profit in collusion with the banks, these agencies gave sub-prime and other exotic mortgage securities the highest ratings despite knowing they were fraudulently created and doomed to fail.

The Senate report noted how analyses from Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, two of the largest rating agencies, continued to give sub-prime mortgages the highest AAA rating despite knowing “of increased credit risks due to mortgage fraud, low underwriting standards, and unsustainable housing price appreciation.”

The reason: “Competitive pressures, including the drive for market share and need to accommodate investment bankers bringing in business, affected the credit ratings issued by Moody’s and S&P.”

The city of Detroit was the hardest hit in the country by the predatory lending practices endorsed by these rating agencies, with approximately 85 percent of the city’s mortgage loans being sub-prime, leading to 150,000 foreclosures rom 2005-10, the loss of one-quarter of the city’s population and the leveling of the city’s tax base.

Video and editing by Erik William Shelley of march on Chase Bank 3/13 12

If the consent agreement is implemented, these ratings agencies will be in position to ensure that the same banks, which they collaborated with in destroying Detroit with their criminal foreclosures, continue to get first lien on the city’s tax dollars.

A 2011 Ernst & Young report on the city’s finances noted that for the current fiscal year the City will pay $226.3 million to the banks for debt service out of the general fund, and an additional $399.3 million in debt service from the water, transportation and parking departments. By holding the power to extend the consent agreement indefinitely, the ratings agencies can ensure that their sponsors, the criminal banks, get full payment on the debt service even if it means city services are destroyed, city workers are laid off, and the city’s assets are privatized.

 This is consistent with Public Act 4, the Emergency Manager Act, which guarantees the banks “payment in full of the scheduled debt service requirements on all bonds, notes and municipal securities.”

Rather than agree to the Governor’s consent agreement or an alternate agreement, or to the imposition of an emergency financial manager on behalf of the banks, Mayor Bing and the City Council should declare a moratorium or halt on all debt service payments to the banks. A suspension in debt service payments would immediately resolve the city’s fiscal crisis and allow for the restoration of city services and the recall of laid-off city workers. It would give time for the city to go after the banks to repay the billions they have stolen from the people through their fraudulent lending practices.


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DETROIT FACES RACIST TAKEOVER ENGINEERED BY WALL STREET BANKS; REVIEW TEAM MEETS MON. MARCH 26 3 PM CADILLAC PLACE

Former Detroit School Board member Marie Thornton tells State Treasurer Andy Dillon and review team they must not take away Detroiters' voting rights March 21, 2010

Residents blame “white supremacy” as state and city officials, appeals court  collude to disenfranchise residents and worsen living conditions

By Diane Bukowski 

March 25, 2o12

Marcher at MLK Day Rally outside Gov. Snyder's home says state trying to undo Emancipation Proclamation

DETROIT – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and State Treasurer Andy Dillon, in collusion with Detroit city officials, are racing to put the city under the direct control of Wall Street banks and disenfranchise its residents, before over 226,000 signatures for a referendum to repeal Public Act 4 are validated. The State Board of Canvassers is currently reviewing the petitions. 

An Appeals Court on March 24 overturned an earlier order by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette barring Snyder, Dillon, and the city’s state-appointed review team from approving any agreement on the city’s finances before a March 29 hearing. Robert Davis, who brought the suit, has said he and his attorney Andrew Paterson are filing an emergency appeal of the appeals court order.

The  review team will meet Mon. March 26 at 3 p.m. at Cadillac Place on W. Grand Blvd. and Second to meet Snyder’s self-proclaimed deadline for them to recommend whether he should appoint an emergency manager (EM) for the world’s largest majority-Black city outside of Africa. Mayor Dave Bing’s top staffers Kirk Lewis, Chris Brown and members of the city council met frantically during the weekend to draft a mutually agreeable consent agreement, one step short of an EM.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder hugs Mayor Dave Bing as he presents Damon Keith award to him Feb. 14

Under PA 4, an emergency manager (EM) supplants elected officials and has virtually unlimited powers to override the City Charter, sell city assets, shut down departments, privatize services, bust unions, and even dis-incorporate and regionalize the city. 

Both Snyder’s proposed consent agreement (CA) and an alternate drafted by Bing’s staff and some council members  would last until at least two Wall Street bond rating agencies grade Detroit’s debt in one of their two highest levels. Both versions also state they would remain in place even if PA 4 is overturned, and bar city officials, unions and residents from taking any action, legal or otherwise, against the CA’s.

City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson at meeting March 20, 2012

“There is nothing to be gained by rushing forward to comply with Governor [Rick] Snyder’s timetable before the referendum process mandated by the citizens takes effect,” said Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson. Watson has repeatedly raised that the state owes Detroit over $500 million, including $220 million in revenue-sharing payments, with the remainder in taxes the state barred Detroit from collecting. 

Snyder refuses to pay despite the fact the state reported a $1 billion budget surplus this year. He claims it would only be a stopgap measure, although it would address Detroit’s current estimated deficit of $150 million. He said in a phone interview from Germany with Detroit’s Fox 2 News on March 21 that he is only trying to provide assistance to the city so that its residents get good services. 

Sandra Hines tells review team "THIS IS WAR!"

“This is war!” long-time community activist Sandra Hines told the state-appointed financial review team at its meeting March 21.  “We are not going to let you come in and take our city.  This whole process is built on racism. It’s white supremacy at its best. House Negroes still exist. You don’t live in Detroit, and all you want to do is close, shut down, take everything we have away, our city, our schools, our homes, our libraries!” 

A takeover of Detroit would mean that over 50 percent of Michigan’s African-American residents have been disenfranchised, since Public Act 4 has been applied almost exclusively to majority-Black cities in Michigan.  

“How can MY people agree to be part of a consent agreement that basically takes away our right to vote for public officials?” former Detroit school board member Marie Thornton asked at the meeting. “If you take any action, pray for me, because I will not be responsible for what I do.” 

In 2008, when Thornton was on the school board, she was the only member to vote against a consent agreement, then under PA 72. Only weeks after the agreement was signed, then Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed an emergency manager.

Marie Thornton sitdown to protest Review Team, including (top, l to r), treasury official Brom Stibitz, New Detroit CEO Shirley Stancato with head bowed, Conrad Mallett, Jr., State Treasurer Andy Dillon, and treasury official Frederick Headen

Thornton then conducted a sit-down on the floor in protest, as other Detroiters in an audience of over 100 chanted, “No justice, no peace!” 

Despite repeated calls from the audience for the team to provide documentation supporting their declaration that Detroit is in a state of “severe financial distress,” the review team produced no report. They have never discussed particulars of Detroit finances during their public meetings. Dillon and his staff drafted Governor Snyder’s original consent proposal and then gave it to the team at its previous meeting.

At the behest of U.S. Representative John Conyers (D-Detroit), the Democratic caucus of the House Judiciary Committee released a report last month which found that Public Act 4 egregiously violates the national Voting Rights Act as well as other provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Click on Judiciary PA4 report to read full report. 

Meanwhile, Wall Street is putting the pressure on.  Moody’s Investor Services downgraded $2.5 billion of the Detroit’s outstanding debt two levels on March 20, making Detroit the lowest-rated large city in the U.S. Fitch Ratings followed suit March 22. Moody’s threatened the city with a $350 million termination payment, while Fitch has said the city must immediately pay $50 million. 

APTE city union VP Cecily McClellan calls on people to overturn Wall Street takeovers in Benton Harbor last year

Placing the city between a rock and a hard place, Fitch earlier said that many of Detroit’s loan agreements specify that the appointment of an emergency manager would trigger at least $400 million in immediate termination payments.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette on March 21 barred the state and city from signing any agreement prior to a hearing in his court March 29 on a lawsuit filed by Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and his attorney Andrew Paterson. 

Collette was to determine whether Snyder, State Treasurer Andy Dillon and the state-appointed Detroit financial review team should be held in contempt of court for continuing to meet in private in violation of the State’s Open Meetings Act and a temporary injunction Collette issued Feb. 6, in response to a lawsuit filed by Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and his attorney Andrew Paterson. The state appeals court has now barred him from holding the hearing. 

Highland Park school board member and AFSCME rep Robert Davis

On the same day, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina removed Flint, Michigan’s emergency manager and restored its mayor and city council, ruling that their review team also violated the Open Meetings Act. 

Flint, whose white emergency manager Michael Brown was just removed by Judge Aquilina, is 53.3 percent Black. The state has said it will also appeal Aquilina’s ruling. Earlier, Judge Collette removed Jack Martin as Highland Park schools CEO pursuant to a another lawsuit filed by school board member Robert Davis. That school board’s review team simply met once in public and re-installed him.

At a meeting of the City Council March 20, Cardinal Baye Landy of the city’s storied Shrine of the Black Madonna said, “Listen to the voice of the people. You know that with 226,000 signatures they have enough to repeal Public Act 4. Do not sign any consent agreement or compromise.” 

Cardinal Baye Landy of the Shrine of the Black Madonna tells City Council not to approve consent agreement; attorney Jerome Goldberg of Moratorium NOW! is at his right

With Christian Black Nationalist beliefs, the Shrine played a key role in Detroiters’ battles against racism during the 1960’s, and has since remained a force to be reckoned with. 

Despite Cardinal Landy’s plea, and Collette’s order, some members of Detroit’s City Council, including its President Charles Pugh and President Pro-Tem  Gary Brown, have been meeting secretly on an individual basis with members of Mayor Dave Bing’s staff and with state review team members to finalize an alternate consent agreement before March 26. 

Bing has released a proposal, which like Snyder’s proposed consent agreement, establishes a Financial Advisory Board (FAB) with essentially the same powers as an EM, which would not stand down until Wall Street gives the go-ahead. Click on Mayor Bing proposed CA.

Also click on http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/03/15/snyderdillon-proposal-for-financial-advisory-board-fab-totally-unfab-seizure-of-power-say-detroiters/ to read earlier VOD story on Snyder’s proposed agreement. 

City Council President Charles Pugh defends negotiations with Mayor for alternate consent agreement March 20, 2012

Under both the Snyder and Bing agreements, the FAB would be composed of ten non-elected officials with years of complex experience in Wall Street financial transactions, restructuring and labor and pension matters. Their mission would be to “restructure” and downsize the city, with virtually dictatorial powers. The agreements both state they will remain in place even if Public Act 4 is overturned.

State Treasurer Andy Dillon received a third joint proposal allegedly authored by some City Council members in collusion with Bing, during the March 21 review team meeting. Council President Charles Pugh, and Bing staffers Chris Brown and Kirk Lewis were seen leaving the building just before the meeting. Dillon refused to release it.

“A consent agreement doesn’t just disenfranchise Detroit, it makes the banks the city’s decision making body,” Attorney Jerome Goldberg of the Coalition for a Moratorium NOW! on Foreclosures, Evictions and Shut-offs, told the Council March 21. (See column by Goldberg below.)

Homeowner Kyra Williams and her attorney Vanessa Fluker joined mass protest by Occupy Detroit and Moratorium NOW! to stop bank from foreclosing her home

“Wall Street ratings agencies are not objective,” Goldberg continued. “The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported last year that they are financed by the same banks they rate. They get billions of dollars a year to issue positive ratings to those who finance them. These same banks have destroyed Detroit’s neighborhoods with massive foreclosures based on racist predatory lending. What right do they have to rate Detroit or tell us how to run our city?” 

The global accounting firm Ernst & Young met in an illegal closed session with the City Council last year to claim that the city will run out of money by next month.. Ernst & Young is being sued by the states of New York and New Jersey for misrepresenting the finances of Lehman Brothers before its collapse in 2008, causing the states themselves to lose millions. 

Massive march in Greece against IMF austerity measures last year

Councilwoman Watson  said May 21, “We need to enact a resolution to decrease the city’s debt payments drastically.”

After massive protests in Greece, banks there agreed to a 75 percent reduction in debt payments in exchange for some austerity measures. Snyder, Dillon, Bing and the City Council have not even attempted to negotiate with the banks to lower debt payments as Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy did during the 1930’s.

They have evidently ignored an announcement made by the Coalition of City of Detroit Unions at a press conference March 23 that city workers have agreed to concessions amounting to $130 million, nearly the entire current deficit. In exchange, city workers have received NO CONCESSIONS from the banks.

Rally in Sanford, Florida March 22 to demand justice in the murder of Trayvon Martin; Detroiters must similarly begin to mobilize en masse


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KILLING OF BLACK TEEN TRAYVON MARTIN SPARKS OUTCRY, NATIONAL MOBILIZATIONS, DETROIT DEMO MON. MARCH 26 HART PLAZA

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 A Detroit rally is being organized to take place on MONDAY, March 26th, at 6pm – Hart Plaza, to show our support for JUSTICE for Trayvon Martin, the teenager gunned down by Mr. Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Several clergy persons and students from local colleges are organizing this event, so let us all take a part of this fight for justice. Wear your “hoodie” if you want to and bring a bag of skittles! 

FinalCall.com News 

By Jesse Muhammad -Staff Writer-
Updated Mar 20, 2012 – 11:14:35 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. (FinalCall.com) – Trayvon Martin had dreams of being an aviation mechanic, however, the 17-year-old Black teen is dead, the man who shot him has yet to be arrested, and angry protestors from across the country are preparing to occupy Sanford, Florida.

Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin Click Here for More Information @ JusticeForTrayvonMartin.com    Sign The Petition!

“This family is in outrage that they lost their son in this manner. But there’s more outrage over the police handling of this case and the fact that George Zimmerman sleeps in his bed every night and their son is in a grave,” Attorney Benjamin Crump told The Final Call.

Mr. Crump, a principal with the Tallahassee firm of Parks & Crump, LLC, is representing the victim’s family. The family wants the shooter prosecuted.

Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, the father and mother of Trayvon Martin, addressed the media on March 16, calling on the FBI to get involved in the investigation.

“We’re not getting any closure, any answers, and it’s very disturbing. As a father, I’m hurt. I feel betrayed by the Sanford Police Department,” said Tracy Martin.

“I don’t understand why this man has not been arrested,” said Sybrina Fulton.

Florida college students are demanding that Mr. Zimmerman be arrested immediately for shooting the unarmed teen.

They rallied March 19 at the Seminole County criminal courthouse in Sanford and on the campus of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

NYC Million Hoodie March for Trayvon on March 22, 2012

“As students we are in shock and outraged over this. Trayvon Martin did not deserve to be shot. The 911 tapes don’t lie. George Zimmerman should be held accountable,” law student Adner Marcelin, 24, told The Final Call.

Mr. Marcelin heads the Student Coalition for Justice that is headquartered in Tallahassee. It includes a network of at least 7,000 students within the U.S. and parts of Canada.

“According to the family and friends who knew Trayvon Martin, it would have been out of character for him to attack anyone. George Zimmerman aggravated the situation and took the life of an innocent child who had a bag of Skittles,” said Mr. Marcelin. “Were it not for the work of the family’s legal team and the attention being built, this case probably would have been swept under the rug. We cannot tolerate someone playing like a vigilante cop and getting away with murder.”

Trayvon Martin's parents at Million Hoodie March NYC

Sanford is located approximately 20 miles north of Orlando. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Sanford has a population of nearly 54,000, 57 percent White and 31 percent Black.

Najee Muhammad, who heads the New Black Liberation Militia in Atlanta, told The Final Call his group is determined to make a citizen’s arrest.

“Everybody is making great speeches but somebody has to do something different. Nobody is thinking like this. We can’t keep looking to the enemy to give us justice,” said Mr. Muhammad. He says the militia group has had “well-trained members” on the ground in Sanford the past few weeks and even obtained the address for the parents of Mr. Zimmerman in Lake Mary, Fla.

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 21: Protesters hold cans of ice tea and Skittles which is what the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is reported to have been carrying when he was killed by neighborhood watch person, George Zimmerman on February 26 in Sanford, Florida, on March 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Justice Department and the FBI opened an investigation into the death of the black teenager, and the local state attorney announced that he had asked a grand jury to investigate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“We were able to obtain information that his father, Robert Zimmerman, got him out of the country because they are spooked out and scared by what his son did,” said Mr. Muhammad. “People want to debate about whether there is probable cause to make a citizen’s arrest. George Zimmerman killed a 17-year-old boy in cold-blooded pre-meditated murder. What more probable cause do you need?”

Since making their efforts public, he says the New Black Liberation Militia has received numerous calls from the Justice Dept., FBI, the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center in attempts at “finding out details of our plans because they know how we move. We’re not playing games.”

A national community rally is scheduled for March 26 in front of Sanford City Hall. Prominent civil rights leaders, clergymen, grassroots organizations and supporting Floridians are expected to be in attendance.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: Supporters of Trayvon Martin block traffic as they march on W. 14th Street during a "Million Hoodie March" in Manhattan on March 21, 2012 in New York City. Thousands of protesters turned out to demonstrate against the killing of the black unarmed teenager by a white neighborhood watch captain. The protesters took to the streets after holding a large rally in Union Square. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“We’re going to keep putting the pressure on. We’re asking the Department of Justice to get involved in the investigation. This makes no sense. Race is the elephant in the room. Had Trayvon been the triggerman, he would have been arrested day one and he would be sitting in jail,” said Mr. Crump.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said, “We also know that the murder of innocent Black men in the American South is nothing new. Fifty-seven years ago, the White murderers of 14-year-old Emmitt Till in the Mississippi Delta were acquitted of the crime in a clear case of racial injustice.”

“The fact that a young unarmed man could be killed by a neighborhood watch captain while his family was blatantly misled by local police as to the background of the shooter is disturbing,” said Rev. Al Sharpton. He will be leading a rally on March 22 at First Shiloh Baptist Church in Sanford.

The last cries of a dying boy?

Children cry out for justice for Trayvon

On Feb. 26, the same night the world was watching the NBA All-Star game airing from Orlando, Trayvon Martin, who was from Miami, was visiting relatives in the Retreat at Twin Lakes gated community in Sanford.

He was walking back from a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store with a can of ice tea and a bag of Skittles candy.

Mr. Zimmerman, an armed self-appointed “neighborhood watch leader,” called the police to report a suspicious person in the area when he spotted Mr. Martin. He ended up engaging and eventually killing Mr. Martin with a gunshot to the chest. “Being a young, Black man has been called the hardest job in America. Young, Black men are much more likely than White men to be jobless, in jail and labeled ‘suspicious,’ sometimes with deadly consequences,” said Mr. Morial.

Marcher at Trayvon protest in Florida/Photo from Justice for Trayvon Facebook site

Although Mr. Zimmerman, 28, admitted to shooting Mr. Martin, his self-defense claim was enough to keep Sanford police from detaining him.

“Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him,” said Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee during a press conference on March 12. The case is headed to the desk of the State Attorney’s Office.

“Of the many unanswered questions in this case, two stand out. First, Trayvon Martin, who had just stopped off at a convenience store, was armed only with a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea. George Zimmerman, who weighed over 100 pounds more than the victim, was armed with a 9 millimeter handgun. Even if there was a physical altercation between the two, why was such deadly force necessary?” asked Mr. Morial, whose group is also calling for a federal probe.

Florida is one of many states to have passed some form of the Castle Doctrine or “Stand Your Ground” law in which self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide.

“Those laws were designed to allow a person to defend themselves. It is not to give people the right to go out, confront people and shoot them down,” said Warren F. Muhammad, a criminal attorney in Houston.

From Justice for Trayvon Facebook page

“It is sad how this country goes to length to stretch laws such as this to protect someone who clearly is not acting in self-defense. The case of Trayvon Martin is another example of the lack of value placed on the life of the Black man in America. And they go to lengths every day to prove that to us,” said Atty. Warren Muhammad.

“Laws like that make modern-day vigilantism that can have these kind of tragic consequences. Too many young Black men are losing their lives to mistaken identity and overzealous assumptions about their criminal intent,” said Melissa Harris-Perry during a segment of her MSNBC show. She is a political science professor at Tulane University.

“One of the reasons the police gave for not immediately arresting Zimmerman was that he had a ‘squeaky clean’ record. A few days later it was discovered that Zimmerman had been arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest with battery on a police officer. Trayvon Martin, on the other hand, had no criminal record,” said Mr. Morial, the former mayor of New Orleans.

Justice for Trayvon Martin Facebook photo

Mr. Crump told The Final Call that a public records lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family to ask a judge to order the police department to release the 911 tapes.

A hearing was set for March 19, but the police department surprisingly released the tapes to the public on the evening of March 16.

Prior to the release of the audio recordings, Mr. Crump told The Final Call that he believed by obtaining the 911 tape, they would get answers to some very critical questions. “Why did he (Mr. Zimmerman) think this kid was suspicious? Why did he disregard and ignore the police instructions to him? It’s going to show this loose cannon’s overwhelming mentality when he got out that car with a loaded 9 millimeter gun and confronted this 17-year-old, 140 pound child who had a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea,” he said.

In his 911 call, Mr. Zimmerman can be heard telling the dispatcher that it was a Black male and “he looks like he’s on drugs and up to no good. … It’s raining. He’s just walking around, looking about. He just staring, looking at all the houses.”

The dispatcher told him not to pursue the person. Mr. Zimmerman responded, “Ok,” but then disregarded those instructions and can be heard saying, “These a–holes always get away.”

In the background of 911 calls made by witnesses, the cries of a young boy, believed to be Trayvon Martin, can be heard yelling for help just before a gunshot is let off. The cries then go silent.

The community is now accusing the Sanford police dept. of trying to protect Mr. Zimmerman, who has reportedly dialed 911 at least 50 times over the last year.

“The truth is contained in the 911 tapes and we think that if the Sanford police chief led a shady investigation, he should be removed. If they had nothing to hide why did they withhold the tapes this long?” asks Mr. Marcelin.

Growing call for justice

The story of the death of Trayvon Martin, who attended Michael Krop High School in Miami, is spreading rapidly across the Internet and attracting wider mainstream media coverage.

An online petition on Change.org has garnered at least 400,000 signatures. People are being encouraged to make daily phone calls the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Small rallies have taken place in Sanford including one led by pastors on March 14 at Allen Chapel AME Church. Popular Baltimore preacher Jamal Bryant told the crowd, “This is a wake-up call for the state of Florida. We are going to shut Florida down until justice weighs down!”

Protestors are being asked to bring a bag of Skittles, like the candy Trayvon Martin was carrying the night of his death, to the rally on March 26.

“As the father of a 10-year old African American son, I join all African American parents and Americans of conscience everywhere in calling for an end to the war against young, Black men and a thorough investigation of the death of Trayvon Martin,” said Mr. Morial.

(Kendrick Muhammad of Orlando contributed to this report.


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US SUPREME COURT TO HEAR KEY JUVENILE LIFER HOMICIDE CASES MARCH 20, 2012

VIDEO ABOVE: Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and a MacArthur Fellow, will argue the cases of Miller v. Alabama, 10-9646 and Jackson v. Arkansas, 10-9647 before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of two prisoners who were 14 when they were sentenced to life without parole. He also argued the companion case in Graham v. Florida, where the USSC ruled that juvenile life without parole is unconstitutional in non-homicide cases. Previously, the USSC outlawed the death penalty for those who were juveniles when they committed their crimes, in Roper v. Simmons.

By Diane Bukowski 

March 18, 2012 

Edward Sanders, incarcerated for 37 years, is now in Kinross prison in the U.P.

DETROIT — Juvenile lifer Edward Sanders contacted me this past week to let me know that on March 2o, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing the appeals of juvenile lifers Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller, sentenced to life without parole (JWLOP) when they were each 14, in Arkansas and Alabama. 

The key importance of these cases is that these children were charged with murder. Previous U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Graham v. Florida and Roper v. Simmons   have respectively outlawed JWLOP sentences  and the death penalty for non-homicide cases, while Jackson and Miller were convicted of murder. 

“The oral arguments will be on C-SPAN, and they will be available afterwards for downloading,” Edward said excitedly.  

I first interviewed Edward at least six years ago in an article for The Michigan Citizen newspaper. I was on his visiting list when he was serving his JWLOP term in the Mound Road prison in Detroit, later to be shut down. He was later transferred because his brother Richard, also serving life, was inadvertently moved from Ryan to Mound. 

Edward Sanders (right holding baby) with family and friends during his youth

“I had not seen him in more than 30 years,” Edward said. “We tried to keep our relationship quiet, but they eventually found out. He and I both cried when I was transferred, it hurt so much to be torn apart again.” 

Every time I visited Edward, I left with my heart ripped apart, wishing I could magically snatch him back home after the 30+plus years he had spent in prison. The U.S. is the ONLY country in the world that sentences juveniles to die in prison. It is one of the few countries in the world that even sentences ANYONE to life without parole. 

I nearly cried when he told me what he remembered of his life before the age of 17, when he was sentenced to death in prison. It was in reality the only life he had ever lived. 

“As the adult that I am now,  Edward, then 45, said, “I look back every day and wonder how the juvenile that I was then was able to get me into this situation. I remember the church picnics, and the fun we had,” he said. “I remember my grandmother warning me and my brothers and friends not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

His eyes and mind left the present and drifted back to another time. 

Gary Webb, who exposed U.S./CIA sponsored drug dealing in poor neighborhoods

Edward grew up in the Linwood neighborhood of Detroit. His mother was caught up in the genocidal drug epidemic fostered by outside forces including the U.S. government, the CIA and the Contra drugs for weapons deals that journalist Gary Webb gave his life exposing. His grandmother took over as grandmothers often do. (But meanwhile, why are the top drug dealers including U.S. government officials not serving life without parole?)

Edward was expelled from school in the sixth grade for breaking into the school. That’s a potent argument against the school to prison pipeline the Michigan ACLU has exposed in their book, and the current announcement by Detroit police chief  Ralph Godbee  that they are stepping up school suspensions to combat youth crime. 

Edward was left to find his way on the streets. But Edward was very intelligent. He earned his college degree in prison before higher education courses were eliminated, and became a competent jail-house lawyer, even conducting classes for other prisoners.

Kuntrell Jackson's case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court March 20, 2012

He became a dedicated Muslim and has practiced the peaceful tenets of that faith ever since, praying at the specified times, avoiding pork, and exercising every day. 

Even after he was nearly killed by another psychopathic prisoner last year, Edward went on to rank third in the prison’s recent sprints. 

As to the crime itself, Edward and four friends went out one night and hit up every liquor store in the neighborhood. (who was jailing the store owners for selling to minors, or charging alcohol companies for aiding and abetting juvenile delinquency with the billboards they put up in every poor neighborhood?)

They were looking for a party they had heard about. 

By the time they got to the scene of the crime for which Edward was convicted, they were not in their right minds. An argument with acquaintances led to the firing of a barely-functional gun, but not by Edward or three others in the car.  A man fell dead. 

Evan Miller (r) with co-defendant Colby Smith

Edward would not testify about the real shooter, although another man in the car did. The real shooter, badgered by the police to testify against them, tried to hang himself in the court lock-up on a lunch break.

Edward was locked up in 1975. It is now 2012, 37 years later. He wrote on the back of a photo he sent me recently “35 years and still holding.”   Now, the U.S. Supreme Court may finally give him and thousands others like him a chance to see the light of day, for what is left of their lives.

On March 20, Kuntrell Jackson and Evan Miller’s  attorneys from the Equal Justice Initiative will argue that the two did not have the capacity physically, mentally or psychologically to be responsible for first degree murder. (Click on earlier VOD post at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/11/12/us-supreme-court-agrees-to-hear-juvenile-lifer-cases-could-have-major-impact-in-michigan/ to read their stories. Both were sentenced for capital murder although they were not the shooters, as in Edward’s case. 

Michigan Atty. General Bill Schuette

Amicus curiae briefs on their behalf have been filed by the American Medical Association. Amnesty International, Former Juvenile Court Judges, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Parole and Probation Association, the American Bar Association, law students from the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University,  and the Juvenile Law Center, among others. 

On the other side, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette requested leave to participate in the oral arguments, but was summarily denied by the USSC on March 5.

“The court’s March 5 rejection was quick, 10 days after Schuette’s office sought to participate in arguments that will help decide the fate of 2,500 inmates nationally,” wrote MLive’s John Barnes. “One in seven are in Michigan. Schuette’s office limited its comments to a short statement by spokeswoman Joy Yearout, who said Schuette acted at the request of the defending attorneys general of Alabama and Arkansas.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy takes the oath of office as daughter Anastasia watches; Worthy testified against justice for Michigan's juvenile lifers

‘We will continue to defend and fight for justice for victims and their families at every opportunity,’ she wrote.'”

But Schuette is not fooling anybody. His attempt to intervene typifies the brutal law enforcement mentality endemic in this state. When hearings were held four years ago in the Michigan State Legislature on a package of bills that would have given juvenile lifers the opportunity for parole, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper, and Berrien County’s Prosecutor all testified against the bills.

Worthy sent her staff to an earlier hearing to show a video of an incident where Detroit teens beat a man to death at a Coney Island, enforcing stereotypes of Black youth held by most of Michigan’s out-state white legislators.

Arguing the Supreme Court cases will be Attorney Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and a MacArthur Fellow. The video at the top of this story contains his comments. Stevenson argued Sullivan v. Florida, the companion case in Graham v. Florida, where the Supreme Court found juvenile life without parole was an unconstitutional, “cruel or unusual” punishment in non-homicide cases.

Barnes writes that three outcomes are likely: limiting the Supreme Court judgment to juveniles 14 and younger, limiting it to cases where juveniles were not the shooter, or focusing on states like Michigan, one of only 11 states in the U.S. that bars judges from considering age as a mitigating factor during sentencing. He also notes that allowing juveniles a chance at parole does not guarantee them a chance at freedom any time soon.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial

But VOD believes the battle must continue until, in the terms of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” One day, rage at the sorrow visited on poor, Black, Brown and Latino people in the U.S., particularly the youth, will open the country’s prison doors just as French revolutionaries tore down the walls of the Bastille.

John Barnes  of MLive.Com has led a team of reporters since last year to expose the plight of Michigan’s 350+ juvenile lifers. He and his team have given hope to them that they will not die in prison. To read his recent articles, click on  (pdf).

VOD: click on the following links to read Supreme Court questions and state court of appeals decisions in the cases:

Kuntrell Jackson questions and Kuntrell Jackson v State of Arkansas

Evan Miller questions and http://willamettelawonline.com/2011/11/miller-v-alabama/.

Go to http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts.aspx and http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_audio.aspx to obtain transcripts and recordings of the oral arguments in the two cases after March 23, 2012.


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U.S. TROOPS HEADED TO SYRIA, DEPLOYED ALL OVER AFRICA

Cynthia McKinney speaks in Detroit 8 27 11

By Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman

March 7, 2012

Hello! It’s amazing what one can learn just by talking to strangers who can become acquaintances. I want to get this out there because I was stunned when my waitress made the comment as I was complementing her on her cheerful attitude, her pretty eyeshadow, and other small talk. She announced that she was really not that cheerful about the fact that her sister, in the U.S. military, had just received her orders to report to Syria and that her sister would be shipping out very soon. Imagine that. U.S. troops headed to Syria. Did our President make that announcement to the people of this country?

U.S. readying for war on Syria

U.S.combat troops currently roam throughout central Africa having been deployed by our President to Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and every other country that received the message loud and clear from our President’s previous Africa deployment–Libya–about what could happen if the leadership of that country refusU.S.forces now reportedly all over the oil-producing areas of Libya and in the desert reportedly spying on the other countries of the region from a secret drone base. View the video here: http://www.algeria-isp.com/actualites/politique-libye/201112-A7555/libye-une-base-militaire-secrete-americaine-francaise-libye-katroune-video-voir-decembre-2011.html

U.S.combat troops currently roam throughout central Africa having been deployed by our President to Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and every other country that received the message loud and clear from our President’s previous Africa deployment–Libya–about what could happen if the leadership of that country refused cooperation with the Obama military and hence, says “yes” to the presence of foreign troops on their territory. Of course, this offensive deployment was made under an appropriate cover story that, for those familiar with the region, is clearly only a cover story and a not-very-credible one, at that. Watch this video at: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2011/10/20111014174712102972.html.

Drone bases are in Kenya, Djibouti, Seychelles, Ethiopia; and the Obama Africa policy has succeeded in ensuring that Kenyans now fight and kill Somalis on the ground while drones fire missiles from the sky (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-building-secret-drone-bases-in-africa-arabian-peninsula-officials-say/2011/09/20/gIQAJ8rOjK_story.html).

Obama has ordered drones over Somalia

This is going to continue, folks, until the people of this country say no. Please let our President know that he must act immediately to bring all of our troops home, stop the CIA drone bombings, and adopt a military policy of non-intervention in other countries. Please send that message by clicking onn the link posted below: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.

Fox News Poll: 78% of Voters Oppose Sending Troops to Syria

By

Published March 15, 2012

|FoxNews.com

U.S. troops on ground near Syria

American voters oppose U.S. military involvement in Syria, where the government has killed an estimated 7,500 people as it tries to end a year-long uprising. In addition, a majority thinks there should be a national debate before the U.S. intervenes in hot-spots around the world.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has called for U.S. air strikes to help the anti-government rebels — something the United States did in Libya. A Fox News poll released Thursday shows that a slim 51 percent majority of voters opposes that action, while 37 percent support it.

Larger majorities oppose the U.S. providing weapons to anti-government groups (64 percent) and launching air strikes to try to oust the Syrian government (68 percent). Fully 78 percent of voters oppose U.S. troops on the ground in Syria.

Instead of military action, most voters — 82 percent — think the United States should provide humanitarian aid.

In this March 19, 2011 file photo, supporters of besieged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi cheer as they rally in support of him in the city of Bamako, Mali. While Western powers herald the death of Gadhafi, killed Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, many Africans are mourning a man who poured billions of dollars of foreign investment into desperately poor countries. Gadhafi backed some of the most brutal rebel leaders and dictators on the continent, but tens of thousands are now gathering at mosques built with his money and are remembering him as an anti-colonial martyr, and as an Arab leader who called himself African. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore).

Current opinion on U.S. involvement in Syria is in line with sentiment last year on Libya. A 55-percent majority opposed military involvement in Libya, and 64 percent opposed providing funding to Libyan rebels (August 29-31, 2011).

President Obama authorized military intervention in Libya without first consulting Congress.

American voters think it should be the other way around. The poll found 59 percent think there must be a national debate and approval from Congress before the U.S. intervenes overseas. That includes majorities of Republicans (65 percent), independents (60 percent) and Democrats (54 percent).

About a third of voters — 34 percent — think the president must be able to decide what actions the U.S. should take on his own.

Many voters think the U.S. will soon face such a decision on Iran. A 56 percent majority thinks force will be required to stop Iran from working on nuclear weapons, while 30 percent think diplomacy and sanctions alone will work.

Just under half of voters (49 percent) support U.S. taking military action against Iran. That’s down from 60 percent support last month (February 6-9, 2012).

U.S. Stsff Sgt. Robert Bales who massacred Afghan civilians including women and children last week; Afghan government now charges he was not alone

“With disturbing news coming daily from Afghanistan and Syria, some American’s appear to be reconsidering whether opening another military front right now is a good idea,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News poll with Republican pollster Daron Shaw.

Still, a 61-percent majority thinks the United States should provide military support if Israel attacks Iran.

Fifty-three percent think Israel should take action to keep Iran from getting nukes, while 33 percent disagree.

The Fox News poll is based on land line and cell phone interviews with 912 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from March 10 to March 12. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/15/fox-news-poll-78-voters-oppose-sending-troops-to-syria/#ixzz1pUtQ9g6d


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U.S. TROOPS HEADED TO SYRIA, BOOTS ON THE GROUND ALL OVER AFRICA

Cynthia McKinney speaks in Detroit Aug. 27, 2011

By Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman

March 7, 2012

Hello!  It’s amazing what one can learn just by talking to strangers who can become acquaintances.  I want to get this out there because I was stunned when my waitress made the comment as I was complementing her on her cheerful attitude, her pretty eyeshadow, and other small talk.  She announced that she was really not that cheerful about the fact that her sister, in the U.S. military, had just received her orders to report to Syria and that her sister would be shipping out very soon.  Imagine that.  U.S. troops headed to Syria.  Did our President make that announcement to the people of this country?

U.S. troops in Syria

U.S.forces now reportedly all over the oil-producing areas of Libya and in the desert reportedly spying on the other countries of the region from a secret drone base.  View the video here:  http://www.algeria-isp.com/actualites/politique-libye/201112-A7555/libye-une-base-militaire-secrete-americaine-francaise-libye-katroune-video-voir-decembre-2011.html

U.S.combat troops currently roam throughout central Africa having been deployed by our President to Uganda, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and every other country that received the message loud and clear from our President’s previous Africa deployment–Libya–about what could happen if the leadership of that country refused cooperation with the Obama military and hence, says “yes” to the presence of foreign troops on their territory. 

Of course, this offensive deployment was made under an appropriate cover story that, for those familiar with the region, is clearly only a cover story and a not-very-credible one, at that.  Watch this video at:  http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2011/10/20111014174712102972.html.

Drone bases are in Kenya, Djibouti, Seychelles, Ethiopia; and the Obama Africa policy has succeeded in ensuring that Kenyans now fight and kill Somalis on the ground while drones fire missiles from the sky (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-building-secret-drone-bases-in-africa-arabian-peninsula-officials-say/2011/09/20/gIQAJ8rOjK_story.html).

This is going to continue, folks, until the people of this country say no.  Please let our President know that he must act immediately to bring all of our troops home, stop the CIA drone bombings, and adopt a military policy of non-intervention in other countries.  Please send that message now:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments.

Poll: Voters Oppose US Troops In Syria

Updated: Thursday, 15 Mar 2012, 4:49 PM PDT
Published : Thursday, 15 Mar 2012, 4:49 PM PDT

(FOX News) – American voters oppose US military involvement in Syria, where the government has killed an estimated 7,500 people as it tries to end a year-long uprising, according to a FOX News poll released Thursday.

U.S. Major General David Hogg inspects Ugandan troops last year/Photo Ryan Sutherland

In addition, a majority thinks there should be a national debate before the US intervenes in hot spots around the world.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has called for US air strikes to help the anti-government rebels — something the US did in Libya. A FOX News poll released Thursday shows that a slim 51 percent majority of voters opposes that action, while 37 percent support it.

Larger majorities oppose the US providing weapons to anti-government groups — 64 percent — and launching air strikes to try to oust the Syrian government — 68 percent. Seventy-eight percent of voters oppose US troops on the ground in Syria.

In this March 19, 2011 file photo, supporters of besieged Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi cheer as they rally in support of him in the city of Bamako, Mali. While Western powers herald the death of Gadhafi, killed Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, many Africans are mourning a man who poured billions of dollars of foreign investment into desperately poor countries. Gadhafi backed some of the most brutal rebel leaders and dictators on the continent, but tens of thousands are now gathering at mosques built with his money and are remembering him as an anti-colonial martyr, and as an Arab leader who called himself African. (AP Photo/Harouna Traore,)

Instead of military action, most voters, 82 percent, think the US should provide humanitarian aid.

Current opinion on US involvement in Syria is in line with sentiment last year on Libya. A 55-percent majority opposed military involvement in Libya, and 64 percent opposed providing funding to Libyan rebels, according to an August poll.

President Barack Obama authorized military intervention in Libya without first consulting Congress.

The poll found 59 percent think there must be a national debate and approval from Congress before the US intervenes overseas.

About a third of voters, 34 percent, think the president must be able to decide what actions the US should take on his own.

Many voters think the US will soon face such a decision on Iran. A 56 percent majority thinks force will be required to stop Iran from working on nuclear weapons, while 30 percent think diplomacy and sanctions alone will work.

Just under half of voters, 49 percent, support US taking military action against Iran. That is down from 60 percent support last month.

“With disturbing news coming daily from Afghanistan and Syria, some Americans appear to be reconsidering whether opening another military front right now is a good idea,” says Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the FOX News poll with Republican pollster Daron Shaw.

Still, a 61 percent majority thinks the US should provide military support if Israel attacks Iran.

Fifty-three percent think Israel should take action to keep Iran from getting nukes, while 33 percent disagree.

The FOX News poll is based on land line and cell phone interviews with 912 randomly-chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research from March 10 to March 12. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Read more: FOX News

Read more: http://www.myfoxla.com/dpps/news/poll-voters-oppose-us-troops-in-syria-dpgonc-km-20120315_18575098#ixzz1pUYU6f5C


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