Giuliani 2008

Standard

Rudy Giuliani-3.jpg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican presidential contender acclaimed for his leadership after the September 11 attacks, took a step closer to an official White House run on Monday.

He filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission establishing a committee to explore a presidential bid, which allows him to raise money, travel and hire staff.

“We still have to formally announce it and do a few more things, but this is about as close as you’re gonna get,” Giuliani said on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.” “We did everything you have to do, I guess, legally to do it, then you still have to make a formal announcement.”

The new paperwork removed the phrase “testing the waters” from the statement of candidacy Giuliani originally filed in November.

Giuliani said the move put him in the same position as his Republican rivals Arizona Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“If I were going to bet like you bet on the Super Bowl … I would bet that we are going ahead,” he told reporters in New York, before declining to give an announcement date except to say it would be “sooner rather than later.”

The move could calm growing doubts among Republicans about whether he is serious about a White House run in 2008. While Giuliani leads eight other Republicans in many national polls, there has been growing speculation he might not run.

He faces an uphill battle winning over conservatives who wield considerable influence in Republican primaries because of his stance on some social issues, including his support for gay rights and abortion rights

Sheila Dixon for Mayor: give a sistah a chance

Standard

I must admit that  I do have a thing for female politicians.  The ones I have personally encountered along my life’s journey have been smart, principled, disciplined, and full of integrity.  Sheila Dixon, the more research I do, is shaping up in my mind to be the same kind of savvy and attractive candidate that I love to support. 

Mayor Dixon has put together an outstanding Administrative team to run the city in the interim period before this year’s Mayoral election.  Her chief of Staff, Deputy Mayor’s and Department heads are all outstanding and well credentialed.  Experience, especially Ms. Dixon’s counts for something and will stand the city in good stead going forward.  Her opponents all have the burden of proving that her stewardship lacks vision, competence, and integrity.  They will all have a hard time proving that because all of those adjectives are synonymous with Sheila Dixon’s twenty-year track record. 

Sistah Dixon has been in the trenches for a long time and cut her teeth early on in Kweisi Mfume’s campaigns in Baltimore.  There is no better credential or proof of sterling character or principled advocacy than that.  In this Skeptical Brotha’s eyes, people like Sheila and Kweisi keep me from completely giving up on the political thang.

That being said, the Mayor faces more than one serious opponent in her quest for a term in her own right.  Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. brings a fresh, youthful perspective and Adrian Fenty like air to this campaign and is very much a young man in a hurry.  Moreover, like Sheila Dixon, he is a serious, disciplined, and knowledgeable public servant.  A workhorse, not a showhorse, Mitchell demonstated his skills in sheparding through a $42 million dollar bailout of Baltimore’s public school system.

He’s got some serious firepower lined up to craft his media message and perform his polling.  His effort will be serious and well funded.   His message whatever it is, must make a persuasive case why Sheila Dixon shouldn’t be given a chance to run the city. 

Delegate Jill Carter is also a serious candidate and smart public servant that will also have to raise enough cash to craft a similarly persuasive message.  He past efforts in examining police practices and highlighting serious defiencies in the O’Malley Administration is her the strongest credential.  Mayor Dixon would do well to address these substantive concerns in depth and immediately. 

Last, but not least, is Comptroller Joan Pratt.  Ms. Pratt is a very serious contender having held citywide office longer than Sheila Dixon.  Her opposition to the city’s bailout of Baltimore schools raised some vaild financial concerns that need to be addressed. However, with the defeat of Andrey Bundley and the re-election of O’Malley as Mayor in 2003-2004 and his allies, I think there is a consensus that O’Malley’s stewardship was acceptable.  Ms. Dixon, as an ally of O’Malley, still is in the drivers seat for this race.   Pratt will have to a make the case that she, as an O’Malley critic can lead the city in a more progressive direction. 

Sheila Dixon has shown the ability to win against female opposition before in defeating Councilwoman Pugh and a former council president to be re-elected Council President.  She has already signaled that her Administration will attempt to build on the successess of her predecessor and that has been proven to be a sucessful formula in the past, and probably will be again.   The chances of replicating the defeats of former Council Presidents Clarence Burns, Lawrence Bell, and Mary Pat Clarke is not as high for Sheila Dixon as some have surmised. 

My opinion is as clear as the title of this post, I think Baltimoreans should give a sistah a chance and elect her to a term in her own right.  Her years of service and her careful selection of stellar senior city executives to lead the city indicate that the sistah has earned the job.

Community Anger Intensifying in Sean Bell Case

Standard

Several marches have been held in the past six weeks protesting the senselessness of the Police Shooting and killing of Sean Bell and the wounding of his three friends outside a Queens strip club in the small hours of the morning of Sean Bell’s wedding day.   Celebration turned to mourning as a family came to grips with another unjustified NYPD homicide.   The NYPD thugs in blue had struck again.  The intensity of the community reaction has been swift and their anger at the NYPD for their harassment campaign against witnesses to the incident is running over.  

Queens area politicians are unified in seeking an orderly but thorough investigation that hopefully leads to a felony prosecution for the officers involved. The prosecution track record in these incidents is appallingly unacceptable.  The Mayor has held a rolling series of meetings with community leaders and activists to signal his displeasure with this incident but has stopped short of calling for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s resignation.  A Queens Grand Jury convened Tuesday impaneled to investigate charges against NYPD Officers in this case.  This development comes on the heels of a protest vigil launched by Mrs. Valerie Bell and Sean’s fiance’ Nicole Paultre Bell in front of the 1o3rd precinct station house in Jamaica. 

Sheila Dixon set to become Baltimore Mayor

Standard

 

Baltimore City Council President Sheila Dixon is set to become Baltimore’s first female Mayor after Mayor Martin O’Malley assumes the office of Governor.  Embroiled in a nepotism, contract fraud investigation and scandal, her political position has been weakened. She seems to have the support of  the incoming Governor and political heavyweights like Kweisi Mfume who has said “I don’t have any plans to run for Mayor. [Dixon]’s worked for and deserves an opportunity to lead…I want her to succeed. I want the city to be united.  I think at this point we owe her at least the opportunity to try to lead it.” City Comptroller Joan Pratt and Delegate Jill Carter, a critic of Martin O’Malley and the Baltimore Police also announced candidacies. 

It is clear that she will not have a free ride and that she must demonstrate decisiveness and fundraising prowess in order to win.  Even after the supportive comments made by Kweisi Mfume, he moved subsequently to form a committee to raise funds for a local campaign.  Mrs. Dixon faces a formidible set of obstacles: drugs, gangs, violence, and black-on-black crime. The next Mayor elected must put forward an aggressive and progressive agenda for change that will amelorate these systemic ills.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Racist, a christmas carol

Standard

 

Rudolph the red nosed racist
told a bright and shining lie (about NYPD Police Brutality),
and if you ever heard it,
you would even say it glowed (like a lightbulb).

All of the other right-wingers,
used to laugh and call him names (like liberal).
They never let poor Rudolph,
join in any right-wing games.

Then one sunny September Day,
Dubya came to say:
“Rudolph with your self-serving lies so bright,
won’t you help me scare America and scapegoat Muslims tonight?

Then all the right-wingers loved him,
as they shouted out with glee:
“Rudoph the Red Nosed Racist,
you’ll be the next President in history!”

Stanley Crouch changes his tune on thugs in NYPD blue

Standard

 

Stanley Crouch is an ugly bastard with a face that only his Momma could love. He also has an amazing way with words and is a poignant and compelling writer, essayist, and jazz critic.  His current gig as a columnist for the New York Daily News, a neo-conservative cog in Mortimer Zuckerman’s news empire, is one in which he is paid big bucks to playa hate on black activists concerned about police misconduct and lead the cheering squad for the thugs in NYPD blue.

He does not have to be paid.  You see, Crouch has a thing for the thugs in NYPD blue that damn near borders on unrequited love.

He has written a series of columns over the last six years cheerleading for the NYPD that has never been critical until now.  On Thursday, November 30, 2006, he wrote a column, “KILLING MAKES POLICE THE PERPS NOW” acknowledging for the first time that I can find, the truth about the thugs in NYPD blue. In it he opined,  “We always have to look closely at any event involving homicide by the cops in the black community.  The reasons are simple. First, there is a long history of racist violence against black people that has just as often been committed by white police as by freelance rednecks….those defending almost any police action will say that it was a mistake. Yeah, right. Sure thing. Bull dung.”

Glad to see Crouch finally got the damn Memo. Too bad brotha Crouch couldn’t have seen the wisdom of that perspective six years ago when he wrote a column on March 1, 2000 about the death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed Guinean immigrant gunned down in a hail of 41 shots, ” no matter how much howling and whining there might be, no matter all of the sanctimonious denouncements, I do not see police officers as bigoted white demons who arrive in so-called minority communities thinking that they are the anointed zoo keepers who must sometimes subdue the animals, and sometimes use deadly force against them.”

Really? Brotha Crouch was too busy playing a black conservative flunky to Mayor Giuliani and Police Commish Howard Safir, serving on a police-community whitewash taskforce and the police academy board of visitors.  Playing his assigned role of NYPD apologist, he wrote a March 8, 2002 column entitled “LOUIMA CASE IS ABOUT A COPS RAGE, NOT RACISM.”  In it he wrote, ” I have had some encounters with racist cops in my time, and I’m not convinced that the Louima case had any racial elements-at least not of the most obvious kind. Louima was never called a racist name.”

Abner Louima, you’ll recall was the Haitian brotha sodomized by the thugs in NYPD blue with a broken broomstick, and was so grieviously  injured that he almost died. His intestines were so damaged that he will wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. After raping him with a broken broomstick, they were supposed to call him a Nigger too?  Marvin Kornberg, a lawyer specializing in defending dirty cops, alleged that Louima’s injuries were the result of gay sex, not the sadistic beat down performed by the NYPD. Brotha Crouch heard all of this, the convictions of three officers involved in holding Louima down were overturned on appeal, and still he pulls the above funky pearl of wisdom from his ass and offers it up to the public. Amazing.

When not failing to castigate the NYPD for the murder and assault against Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima, Crouch used his column to lobby for NYPD pay raises and champion racial profiling.  On June 17, 2002 and August 15, 2002, Crouch wrote columns cheerleading for pay raises in the wake of 9/11.  Understandable, however, these men and women took an oath to protect and serve the public and knew that they could be called upon at any time to make the ultimate sacrifice.  Nobody told Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell that they could die because they were black men and that could be blown away without provocation because they are  mistakenly presumed armed and dangerous.

Crouch’s advocacy for racial profiling disturbs me profoundly.  His June 19, 2003 column, “IT’S NOT PROFILING, IT’S GOOD POLICING” attempts to provide the rationale that if the police didn’t use racial profiling, police would be accused of neglect for “allow[ing] so much crime to take place in Negro communities.”  He also, in a fit of delusional mania, attempts to insert his own view of the police and attribute it to everyone:  “most New Yorkers, no matter their color, their sex, their religion, their profession, their neighborhood, feel much safer now.  Even professional haters of police have to admit that.”  Not content in rubber-stamping racial profiling of black folk, he put in his two cents for racially profiling Muslim men and halting legitimate immigration of Muslims into this country unconscionably buying into the racial fears of others.

Until last Thursday, Stanley Crouch was a professional publicist and part-time plaything for the thugs in NYPD blue.  His betrayal allowed the cacophany of voices calling for reform to be stifled and lent credibility to those whose agenda was inimical to folks seeking justice for the unjustifed and disproportionate assault and homicide of people of color by the NYPD.  Now that another brotha’s senseless death has cured him of his right-wing racial amnesia and gotten him on the good foot, I hope he stays on it.  Sadly, it will be of no consolation to the friends and family of those killed by the NYPD’s racist reign of terrorr.

Juan Gonzalez: “NYPD breaking down doors in Black Community”

Standard

Sean Bell, his fiancee Nicole Paultre, and their daughter

 From Amy Goodman’s radio program Democracy Now:

NY DAILY NEWS Reporter Juan Gonzalez details the harassment of NYPD shooting victim Sean Bell’s friends.

Yes, Amy. Well, I was writing about this dragnet now that the police are conducting in Queens. And actually it was Wednesday morning that they arrested four people in an early 6:00 a.m. raid. They broke down a door of an apartment in Queens and put guns in people’s faces, including a woman, LaToya Smith, who was with her seven-month-old son in bed. And they rousted her out of bed with guns in her face, and they herded all the family members. Eventually, they claim that this was a drug location and that they found a loaded gun in the apartment and took LaToya Smith, two of her brothers and another young man to jail, although they eventually released her. But interestingly, they didn’t conduct the raid for guns or drugs. The young people all said that the main questions had to do with the shooting in Queens, because these are all friends of the victims. And they kept asking them information about who they knew who had been at a bachelor party, what they knew about these young men.

The next morning they came back again to the same building — this was Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. — and arrested two more young men, including one was arrested for an overdue $25 fine on a ticket from last year, and he was hauled off to jail on that. And again, he was a friend of Trent Benefield, who had been at the hospital several times during the week, one of the wounded men. And he was again asked about what was his conversations with Trent Benefield, what did he know about other people in the neighborhood.

And basically, what’s been happening now — we know of at least six people, then, who have been hauled in, and possibly more. And the police — the folks in this community are now saying that the police are now turning the victims now into suspects, as well as their friends, in an effort to find what they say is a fourth man who they believe was near the car when the shooting occurred and who may have important information that would corroborate the police account. But they have, late last night, arrested one man, Jean [Nelson], who they claim may be the person, this fourth person, mystery person, that they’re looking for. But it’s not clear yet.

But the lawyers of the men have said that there is no fourth person, that there were only three people in the car when the shooting occurred and that obviously no one in the car had a gun, because that, the police confirmed that. So it’s really been a bizarre twist now that the community that has already suffered the loss of one young man and the severe wounding of two others is now being subjected to police raids.”

Sean Bell, 23, murdered by NYPD and Clinton Adminstration negligence

Standard

Sean Bell, his fiancee Nicole Paultre, and their daughter 

Here we are again, another brotha, Sean Bell, has bitten the dust, taken out by wild, out-of -control NYPD officers.  This could have been averted.  The circumstances surrounding this execution are of the most questionable nature, as they always are.  This is part and parcel of a pattern of misconduct that has dogged the NYPD for decades and was exacerbated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s relentless defense of police misconduct.  It was not until 1977 that an on-duty NYPD officer was convicted for a wrongful death. 

Apparently, there had never been a questionable killing or circumstance in which the improper use of force by members of the NYPD could legitimately be questioned until then.  If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.

The list of questionable killings by the NYPD is growing.

 Antonio Rosario, 18, and Hilton Vega, 22, shot at between twenty three and twenty eight times while laying down in a prone position as mandated by police. “According to reports citing the Medical Examiner’s report, Vega was hit with eight bullets – in his back, buttocks, back of the head and front left forearm. Rosario was hit with fourteen bullets – eight in his back or buttocks, two in his side, two in his right arm, one in his hip, and one in his armpit.”

Anibal Carrasquillo, 21, unarmed, and shot in the back by NYPD on January 22, 1995.  No carges filed.

Frankie Arzuega, 15, car passenger, unarmed, shot to death by NYPD, when police claimed the car attempted to drive off while being questioned.  No charges filed.

Aswan Watson, unarmed, shot 18 times in a stolen car because police claimed he looked like he might be reaching for a weapon on June 13, 1996.

Amadou Diallo, 23, shot 19 times in a hail of 41 shots on February 4, 1999 because officers, on the basis of no evidence ,think he fits the description of a rape suspect and think he is reaching for a weapon that turns out to be a wallet.  Officers involved are acquitted of murder.

Joe McGill, 58, shot to death by NYPD, after allegedly fleeing a bank he allegedly robbed on August 9, 1999. No charges filed.

Malcolm Ferguson, 23, unarmed, shot in the head by NYPD after a scuffle with police in a building where dealing was supposedly taking place on March 1, 2000.  No charges filed.

Patrick Dorismond, 26, unarmed, shot to death by NYPD after a scuffle with police in which he was asked for crack on March 16, 2000.  In retaliation, Giuliani Administration releases his sealed juvenile criminal records to shield police and cloud the issue of his unnecessary demise.

Charmene Pickering, 27, shot to death by NYPD during a traffic stop of the driver of the vehicle on July 27, 2001. No charges filed.

Juan Mendez, 38, shot to death by NYPD during a chase on foot on January 23,2002.  No charges filed.

Cesar Mercado, 47, shot to death by NYPD after allegedly attempting to break into a parked Van.  No charges filed.

Jamal Nixon, 19,  shot to death by NYPD after allegedly firing a handgun in Brownsville, a predominitely black section of Brooklyn.  No charges filed.

Floyd Quinones, 28, shot to death by NYPD after he fires 17 shots into the sky at a birthday celebration.  Accused of aiming in the direction of police.  No charges filed.

Ousmane Zongo, 43, unarmed, shot to death by NYPD during a foot chase.  Officer tried but jury deadlocks resulting in a mistrial.

Timothy Stansbury, Jr., 19, unarmed, shot to death by NYPD on a rooftop unders suspicious circumstances that are never adequately justified.

Examined by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Human Rights Watch, the NYPD  has been excoriated for patterns and practices that reveal clear, convincing cases of racial profiling, systemic police brutality, and unjustifiable homicide. The current Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, seems to be willing to challenge the automatic presumption of police innocence in this case.  Moreover, he has appointed a police commissioner widely reported to be sensitive to misconduct complaints of this nature.  However, advocates like City Councilman Charles Barron, automatically discount the rhetoric from those at the top.   Instead, he focuses on what charges are filed and whether or not convictions are obtained.

I feel brotha Barron on that.  The NYPD has a problem and the only solution is for a federally apointed monitor to take over administration of  the NYPD.  According to a law review article in Fordham Urban Law Journal in January of 2003 “The Failure of Local and Federal Prosecutors to Curb Police Brutality” by Asit Panwala, “As a result of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, federal authorites now have the ability to change how local police departments operate. The law empowers the Department of Justice to force police departments to implement internal review systems or to enjoin them from allowing officers to use deadly [force]. … The Justice Department may be better suited to handle police brutality because it has both the power to prosecute individual officers and to force a police department to change its pattern of practice…just the mere threat of a federal  lawsuit may provide the needed push for reform within a law enforcement agency.”

During the Clinton Administration, just such a process of federal examination was being urged by Human Rights Watch and progressive African American leaders and it was killed by a stealth Aunt Jemima in the form of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.  Carl Thomas, the attorney for Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant sodomized in a NYPD police precinct bathroom by racist rogue cops, said of Lynch, “she is to be blamed for not aggressively pursuing blantant police misconduct.” 

Echoing sentiments by NY City Councilman Charles Barron, Attorney General Janet Reno, and the President himself had the power to force a federal takeover of the NYPD and mandate necessary reforms.  It was not done and they used a high level black flunky to do it. This is what unquestioning support for DLC democrats gets black folks.  The only agenda for New York the Clintons had in mind was Hillary’s election to the Senate.

The time has come to flip the script and demand accountability.  Sean Bell, and those who have suffered at the hands of NYPD rogue cops deserve a pound a flesh for the Clintons betrayal.