Tuesday, October 14, 2014





By Cash Michaels

            EBOLA – Right now, because a Liberian citizen has gotten through all of our US security protocols, and ultimately died in Texas of an Ebola-virus he contracted in West Africa, this nation is going nuts, if you’re to believe the media.
            So nuts for fear that there could be a major outbreak of the deadly African-born virus that has killed thousands in several African countries, that President Obama is doing all he can to just hold on while the political and racial fearmongers do their best to make him responsible for all that’s gone on.
            A thankless job being president of the United States these days. Never mind that for the past six years, your administration has apparently done a good job of keeping Ebola out of the homeland. Only now, because one person did not manifest his infection until long after he left his native country, are right-wingers attacking Obama, with some actually…I mean REALLY saying that he wants Ebola to infect the United States because he “wants America to become more like Africa.”
            No, really. Grown adults who should know better, are saying something THAT hateful and stupid because there are enough racist-minded idiots in this country who will instantly buy into that wick foolishness!
            You STILL don’t believe me? Then let’s go to the quotes.
            “There are all kinds of diseases in the rest of the world, and we don’t want them in this country,” says conservative Phyllis Schafly. “And it’s Obama’s job to keep them out. Out of all the things he’s done, I think this thing of letting these diseased people into this country to infect our own people is just the most outrageous of all.”
            Schafly continued, “Obama doesn’t want America to believe that we’re exceptional,” Schafly said. “He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Africa is suffering from Ebola, we ought to join the group and be suffering from it, too. That’s his attitude.”
            Right-wing radio talker Rush Limbaugh ruefully told his audience that Pres. Obama believes that America “deserves” Ebola as “punishment” for slavery.
            And another red meat conservative radio host, Michael Savage, picks up from where Limbaugh leaves off, unbelievably saying that Obama “…wants to infect the nation with Ebola”…in order to turn America into a Third World nation and bring it down.
            “That’s the way to make things fair and equitable. You can’t have a nation with such good health in a world where there’s such sickness. Obama wants equality and he wants fairness and it’s only fair that America have a nice epidemic or two or three or four in order to really feel what it’s like to be in the Third World. You have to look at it from the point of view of a leftist.”
            And don’t forget, this matches point for point for Savage’s previous outrageous point after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a white Ferguson, Mo. police officer. Savage says Obama wants a race war.
            “This entire government is geared up to fight a war against white people,” Savage said. “What if a group of white people had rioted or does riot in America after Obama grants amnesty? What if they loot and they burn? You know and I know the attorney general is not going to come out and say, ‘I feel your pain.’
            Savage added that the Obama Administration was planning to “…gun down all you evil white crackers.”
            Other conservatives say Obama wants to leave the border with Mexico wide open so that ISIS terrorists can slip in with the Ebola infection. They also blast the US Centers For Disease Control for not recommending that the United States stop all flights from West Africa. Health experts say that would make fighting the infection harder.
            I don’t know about you, but I personally find it sickening, and quite frankly mindboggling to hear Fox News and the rest of these jokers spew and spout off the most frighteningly idiotic, racist and politically motivated nonsense this side of Halloween. And all for the purpose of scaring the nation, and further weakening Pres. Obama more than they already have.
            So how do we answer this foolishness? By voting at the polls beginning Oct. 23rd to Nov. 1st (early voting period), or then on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 4th. Don’t just sit there and allow this NUTS to run this state and nation without so much as a hair out of place. STAND UP, be counted during this election, and make your voice heard, and your vote known.
            Things can, and will, only get worse, unless you make yourself counted this election.
            I wish all of this was a sad joke. But instead, it is a terrifying nightmare to think that our children will have to grow up in a country run maniacs who only know power, and nothing else.
            AFRICAN-AMERICAN? YES! - I listened to Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show one afternoon last week, and I was shocked to hear most of the people there calling in to say that they prefer to identify as “American” as opposed to African-American, 'cause they “weren't "born" in Africa.” Darn near drove off the road!
            It was sad when actress Raven – Symone told Oprah she was “NOT” and African-American. You could see the spoiled brattiness just dripping from the rich and sheltered child.
It is frightening how many of us DON'T EVEN KNOW WE HAVE A HISTORY! How many Jewish Americans do you hear spouting that nonsense? How many Arab Americans, Irish Americans, Chinese Americans... All of these groups and more KNOW the value of having a cultural and historical connection with their past, and it is by no accident that ALL of them are doing quite well, thank you. Darn sure better than we are!
More importantly, ask yourself this question...if America won't let the President of the United States be an American, the what in the heck makes you think it recognizes YOU as a full citizen? If YOU black man and black woman, are full-fledged Americans, then why do cops still beat and shoot you dead in the streets? Why does the criminal justice system still convict you despite your proven innocence and lock you away for years? Why does America still funnel guns and drugs into our communities, or give our children the worst of our education system.
If you're such a FULL-FLEDGED American - entitled to EVERY RIGHT the US Constitution says you are entitled to, then why do we still have to go to court or march in the streets for our "rights" to be legally recognized? Why are we still having 'black" firsts in our society? Why do white-owned entertainment companies produce sexual nonsense to corrupt our children and young adults?
If YOU are such a FULL-FLEDGED American "brothas and sistas," then WHY do we have to BEG YOU to VOTE every two years? Indeed, it's because many of YOU "Americans" didn't vote in 2010 that we got the disastrous Republican takeover that has so ruined our country. So I'm just NOT understanding where all of the 'I'm an American" stuff is coming from, WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT! Anytime you can achieve the highest office in the world, and STILL be treated like a criminal, that clearly tells you that you are neither seen nor accepted as an American. You are targeted for who and what you are, and you are left with NO choice but to stand up and FIGHT...just like Dr. King and others who KNEW THEIR HISTORY... in the proud tradition of those who believed that in order for America to live out the TRUE MEANING OF ITS CREED THAT ALL MEN (AND WOMEN) ARE CREATED EQUAL...it MUST stand strong for justice. When I see America cut the nonsense and start to do THAT, then I KNOW that I'm a FULL-FLEDGED citizen. But until then, I am an AFRICAN-AMERICAN...because if you can't respect my heritage, if you can't respect the source of my being and my family, if you can't respect how my people got here in the first place and the struggles and great sacrifices we endured to help build this nation, then you can't possibly respect ME. You don't respect me NOW, which means I have to keep fighting. And as long as I have to keep fighting, I will FIGHT for the right to define myself...AS A PROUD AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES who DEMANDS EVERY RIGHT afforded EVERY OTHER AMERICAN CITIZEN! And to the ignorant amongst us...being an American isn't just birthright...it also takes civic participation. I have a tip for you...just going to the polls to vote for Barack Obama JUST because he's black without a care about the issues is NOT civic participation.... that’s celebrity worship, and you don't get points for it, especially if you DON'T vote any other time! So let's see the same number of "American" behinds hit the polls come November 4th. THEN you'll be saying something!    
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.waug-network.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html).
           Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.



            Raleigh City Councilman Thomas Crowder has died of testicular cancer. He was 58. Councilman Crowder served on the Raleigh City Council since 2003, representing District D. He is credited with working hard for the redevelopment of downtown Raleigh. Crowder was diagnosed with cancer last year. His wife, Kay, was appointed by the council to serve out the rest of his term until December 2015. “Thomas was a key piece of what has made Raleigh the best place to live in the country,” said Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane in a statement. “[He] reminds us that we should never settle for less than the best.”

            A Wake County Superior Court judge has ruled that despite an ambiguous state law, no concealed firearms will be allowed at the NC State Fair, which begins on Friday. Judge Donald Stephens ruled during a hearing Monday that allowing those with concealed gun permits to bring weapons would make the fair unsafe. Fair officials indicated that there would be metal detectors at the entrances, and at least three law enforcement agencies would provide security. The group, Grassroots North Carolina, took the state to court, saying that it must comply with a 2013 law allowing licenses gun owners to bring their weapons because the fair was not specifically exempted. Paul Vallone, head of Grassroots NC, wrote an op-ed, saying that guns were needed to keep black gangs from “wilding” attendees.

            It won’t be until the end of October at the earliest before new supplies of the flu vaccine from the US Centers for Disease Control are delivered to clinics and other distributors, according to the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services. The vaccines are normally delivered in staggered stages once manufacturers produce it. Almost 380 million doses were distributed across the nation Aug. 29th.


WELCOMING FORMER NAACP CHAIRMAN - NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber (right) and Rev. Michelle Cotton Laws, president of the Chapel Hill - Carrboro NAACP (left), pose with former national NAACP Chairman Julian Bond (center) Saturday evening during the NC NAACP State Convention in Fayetteville. Bond urged the over 500 NAACP members present from across the state to turn out the vote on Nov. 4th to defeat those who have turned back the clock with voter suppression and other repressive laws [Cash Michaels photo]


            [RALEIGH] On Friday, October 17, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. Shaw University, in partnership with the Tavis Smiley Foundation, will present “Ending Poverty: America’s Silent Spaces” a frank town hall discussion on poverty and how voter participation in free and fair elections is a path out of poverty. It will be held in Estey Hall. Moderated by Mr. Smiley, the discussion will feature a panel of poverty and voting experts, including Larry D. Hall, North Carolina House of Representatives; Gene Nichol, Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina.; Irving Joyner, North Carolina Central University; Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina and Jane Pinsky, North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform.

            [BLADENBORO] An autopsy report confirms that 17-year-old Lennon L. Lacy died of asphyxiation when he was found hung from a swing set in a mobile home trailer park on August 29th. While the examination answers some questions, it also raises others. Why was he wearing someone’s shoes when his body was found? Why didn’t the medical examiner mention a lump on the head that the mortician indicated that he saw? Was the young man depressed because of the recent death of an uncle? Authorities say there are no signs of foul play, and believe the hanging to be a suicide. Lacy’s family, however, are not convinced. The NCNAACP has asked for tips, and Bladen County District Attorney says the case is still open.

            [CHARLOTTE] Patrick Cannon, the former mayor of Charlotte who was caught in an FBI corruption sting, was sentenced to 44 months in federal prison Tuesday. He faced 20 years. Cannon, 47, admitted to taking bribes from undercover FBI agents, particularly a suitcase full of cash in the mayor’s office. Cannon was also required to forfeit $50,500 to cover investigation expenses, and pay a $10,000 fine. The former mayor will serve his time in a federal prison close to Charlotte so that his family can stay in close touch. “I let a lot of people down,” Cannon told the court while asking for leniency. He regretted that he, in the words of the judge, “seriously tarnished the city’s image.


By Cash Michaels

            As Democrats and progressives prepare to go to the polls starting with early voting Oct. 23rd through Nov. 1st for the all important Nov. 4th mid-term general election, comes a new report that suggests that right-wing Tea Party movement has a firmer grip on the NC General Assembly than most people first thought.
            According to “The Tea party in North Carolina: Threat to a New Birth of Freedom,” written by Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), “The North Carolina House of Representatives is dominated by Tea Party supporters, with nearly half (59 of 120 members) of its members having some level of support for the Tea Party. This includes twenty-one members categorized as Mild Tea Party supporters, twenty-three categorized as Tea Party supporters, and fifteen who are Strong Tea Party supporters.”
            The report continues, “A significant number (29) of House members are also active with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In fact, 23 of those 29 active with ALEC are also categorized as having some level of Tea Party support. Of the remaining members of the North Carolina House of Representatives, thirty-one members have not expressed opposition to, or support for the Tea Party. The remaining twenty-four members have expressed some level of opposition to the Tea Party.”
The IREHR reports the same for the North Carolina Senate, with, “…nearly half of the North Carolina Senate is made up of Tea Party supporters, with 48 percent of the upper chamber (24 of 50 members) categorized as Tea Party supporters. This includes ten Mild Tea Party supporters, ten Tea Party supporters and four Strong Tea Party supporters. Just one Senator is an ALEC member (and he is also a Strong Tea Party supporter).
            The report adds, “The remaining twenty-six Senators are equally divided between those who have expressed opposition to the Tea Party, and those who have expressed neither support nor opposition.”
            The IREHR Tea Party North Carolina report also rates specific state House and Senate members per their either involvement or stated support of the Tea Party. So while House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican from Mecklenburg County who is also running to unseat Democratic US Senator Kay Hagan, is rated as “mild Tea Party,” other state House members like Susi Hamilton of Wilmington, H.M. “Mickey” Michaux, Jr. of Durham and Rosa Gill of Raleigh – all Democrats – are listed by IREHR as “opposition to Tea Party.”
            Same in the NC Senate, where IREHR has state Democratic senators Dan Blue of Raleigh, Earline Parmon of Charlotte and Floyd McKissick of Durham all listed as “opposition to Tea Party”, while Republican Majority Leader Phil Berger is rated “Tea Party” by IREHR.
            Some Republicans, like state Sen. Neal Hunt of Wake County, Bob Rucho of  Mecklenburg, and Tom Apodaca of  Buncombe County were rated as “none,” meaning not having any known affiliation or expressed support of the Tea Party, even though all are known to have led the fight for voter suppression laws and cutting budgets for education and social services spending.
            The 2013 massive “voter suppression” law passed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly was the end result of Tea Party efforts in North Carolina a year earlier, the report says.
            “Two statewide voter suppression networks developed in the state: True the Vote North Carolina and the Voter Integrity Project,” the report states. “Both groups sprang out of a Texas Tea Party effort. These groups created a county by county, precinct by precinct, apparatus in North Carolina that served as an anti-democratic force intent on obstructing free and fair elections.”
            The IREHR report continues, “Both the Voter Integrity Project and True the Voter North Carolina interfaced with dozens of local Tea Party groups. As IREHR documented in the 2012 special report, Abridging the Vote: True the Vote in North Carolina, these groups had nearly 300 True the Vote volunteers in North Carolina during the 2012 elections, including 71 in Wake County alone. The highest concentration of North Carolina True the Vote activists were in the counties with the highest African American and Latino populations in the state. Thirty percent of those volunteers were members of at least one Tea Party national faction and more than half were active in local Tea Party activity.”
            The IREHR Tea Party North Carolina report looks at every aspect of the Tea Party in North Carolina, stating that as of June 2014, there were five major Tea Party groups in the state, with a combined membership of 18,463. That membership grew by 16 percent between June 2013 and June 2014, the report adds, compared to just 4 percent nationally.
            The national Tea Party group FreedomWorks, accounts for over nine thousand members in the state. The largest numbers geographically are in Charlotte (1144), Raleigh (1038), Greensboro (474), Fayetteville (391), Cary (349), Wilmington (340), Asheville (320), and Durham (279).
            “This report by Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart both grieves us and grabs us,” writes Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP. “It grieves us because almost 14 years into the 21st century it exposes the Tea Party agenda and how the North Carolina Legislature, under the leadership of Thom Tillis and Phil Berger, with Gov. McCrory's approving pen, has become a bastion of Tea Party policy extremism. They have turned it into the Anti-People's House, the Tea Party House, undermining and stalling policies that would advance health care, public education, equal protection under the law, and voting rights.”
“It grieves us,” continued Rev. Barber, “… to see this in North Carolina, once arguably known as one of the more forward-thinking southern states.”


By Cash Michaels

            Editor’s Note – Early voting for the Nov. 4th general election begins Thursday, Oct. 23rd, ending Saturday, November 1st. If you are registered to vote, please take advantage of this early voting period.

             A ballot referendum for a NC Constitutional Amendment in the upcoming Nov. 4th general election is troubling many defendant’s rights advocates who are urging the public to vote against it.
            On the back of the ballot, the statewide referendum states, “Constitutional amendment providing that a person accused of any criminal offense for which the State is not seeking a sentence of death in Superior court may, in writing or on the record in court, and with the consent of the trial judge, waive the person’s right to a trial by jury.”
            The voter then casts a ballot “for” or “against.”
            A statewide movement is afoot to defeat this ballot referendum.
            Indeed, letters to the editor are circulating, like this one from Edda T. Lea of Raleigh, stating that the referendum, “… is a deliberate attempt to take away our hard fought freedom to have a jury “of our peers” determine guilt or innocence.  If allowed to pass, this Constitutional Amendment would place a consenting defendant’s fate in the hands of one judge who would single-handedly become the only one to determine his/her guilt or innocence. “
            Passed by the NC General Assembly last year with bipartisan support, proponents say all the referendum does is give a defendant what he/he feels is the best chance for a fair trial. They still have the right to a jury trial if they ultimately choose.
            Critics, however, see a hidden danger of poor defendants being railroaded.
            Article III, Sec. 2 of the US Constitution states,  “The trial of all crimes shall be by jury and such trial shall be held in the state where the said crimes have been committed.” The Sixth Amendment to the US Bill of Rights adds,  “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state where the said crimes shall have been committed.”
            Critics say by now allowing defendants to choose the right to have what is commonly known as a bench trial, meaning there’s no jury, so only the judge alone will render a guilty or not guilty verdict, that will allow prosecutors and judges to put undue pressure on poor defendants in an effort to skip the costly process of choosing a jury, and getting through trials faster.
            “Bringing jurors in and doing jury selection and all of the work that goes into a jury trial takes resources,” Thom Maher, director of the state Office of Indigent Defense Services, told WUNC radio last March. “If the system starts to push defendants to waive that to save money, and right now they can’t, in a sense right now you’re protected from any kind of improper or undue pressure to waive that right.”
             Defendants already have the right of a bench trial in federal court, and for non-felony cases in NC district courts, again, defendants have the right to have a judge decide without a jury.
            But opponents believe, especially for defendants of color, that the right to a jury trial is paramount and singular to protect their rights from a biased judge.
            “What unspeakable power to give one individual over another’s fate,” wrote Edda T. Lee. “Recent history has proved the conviction of innocent victims can occur without sufficient proof, even after twelve jurors study the evidence. What is the likelihood that one person will study the case from more than one perspective? Little to none—especially in the cases of those of us who end up with public defenders or less diligent representation.”
 Lee continued, “Minorities continue to struggle to obtain and secure equal human rights. The current judicial system must follow the law as it is written.  We must not allow any attempt to alter the law through an unfair amendment to happen on our watch.  We must vote against it. By failing to do so, we will forfeit an individual’s protection and hand his/her fate over to an individual judge who becomes, single-handedly, “your Judge, Jury and Executioner.”


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