Monday, May 29, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            TRUE BELIEVERS? – Here it is, five-and-a-half months into the Trump presidency, and believe it or not, at least 40% of the country still believes he’s the cat’s meow. As a recent segment on CNN proves, despite all of the incredibly outrageous BS that Trump has pulled thus far, there are folks out there, apparently some of the same supporters who put him in office in the first place, who are proud of the blinders they wear which keeps them from realizing that the man is a total disaster.
            When questioned, many of them say they wanted someone “real” in the office. Well, they are getting their wish, because there is no question that Trump is “real” alright….real CROOKED! Trump supporters hate government so much, they have no problem supporting someone who pays no attention to protocol, or the law. They just want what they want….someone who will look out for THEIR interests first, because after all, if they’re happy, then the country’s happy.
            And if the rest of the country is unhappy, then that’s too bad, because Trump supporters will still be happy.
            But wait a minute…even though they’re still “happy,” tat doesn’t mean they’re pleased with everything that they’re seeing and hearing from the blonde blowhard!
            For one, they’re tired of his tweets. Trump supporters see them as evidence of a lack of control, a lack of discipline. There’s a powerful line in “The Godfather’” where Don Vito Corleone tells his oldest son Santino ,“Don’t ever tell anyone outside of the family what you’re thinking.”
            Traditionally, the president of the United States only tells what the world what he’s thinking only after he and his advisors have figured it out, because what he says and does represents the government, not just himself.
            So when Trump lies and accuses his predecessor Pres. Obama of “tapping” Trump’s phone, or reporters of “fake news” about his campaign/administration’s honeymoon with the Russian government, even many of his supporters have  hard time swallowing it.
            And yet they still trust him.
            Better to do that, than to admit that they are wrong, and that they basically support a fool who will easily get us all in trouble.
            But these folks, who I will readily admit are both selfish and ignorant, seriously believe that they are in the driver’s seat now, and things are going to be done their way.
            Never mind that many of the major promises they believed made by Trump to them are NOT going to happen.
            They are NOT going to get quality, lower-cost health care from Trump.
            Trump supporters are going to get screwed!
            They are NOT going to get a wall, paid for by Mexico, at the US border to stop illegal immigrants.
            They are going to get screwed!
            They are already not getting their Muslim travel ban because federal court after federal court sees it for what it is – ethnic and religious discrimination.
            Trump supporters are already screwed!
            Unquestioned loyalty is a laudable American trait. But unbridled stupidity is not. Trump supporters elected someone totally unprepared to govern. They assumed that governing is a simple matter of making deals and running your mouth. Only now are they realizing why American government is so messy – because there is no real central authority.
            And that’s why it can’t be run like a business. The ultimate purpose of government is to serve.
             The ultimate purpose of government is to make money.
            Pres. Trump doesn’t believe in service. He believes in money.
            And that’s why he’s screwing all of his supporters…..and all of us!
            Gee, thanks Trump supporters.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Thus far, several NC NAACP officials have announced who they are supporting to become the conference leader, but the current president says he’ll wait until he’s actually set to step down.
            Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, outgoing president of the NCNAACP, says even though he’s already announced his intentions to step down after 12 years to join a national movement surrounding the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, he hasn’t done so yet. In a phone interview last week, Rev. Barber said when he does decide what his last day on the job will be, he will also announce who he’d like to see become the next conference president during state conference elections in October.
            Barber’s announcement is expected to occur by the middle of June. First Vice President Carolyn Coleman said last week that candidates for state president are expected to formally file by June 15th.
            Thus far, only Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, NCNAACP Third Vice President for the past six years, and president of the NC Council of Churches, has been the only one to formally file to run for the post.
            My 53 years of membership in the NAACP, and twelve years of leadership experience in the N.C. NAACP prepare me to become the next President of this great civil rights organization,” Rev. Spearman, who also pastor’s a church in Greensboro, said in a statement sent to NCNAACP membership last weekend.
Ms. Coleman has said she hasn’t decided yet, and former NCNAACP Pres. Melvin “Skip” Alston has indicated that he’s definitely not a candidate, but will  support Ms. Coleman if she runs.
            Rev. Spearman, however, seems to be attracting a good deal of support thus far.
            Rev. Cardes Brown, president of Greensboro Branch of the NAACP, and state chapter Religious Affairs Committee chairman, has formally endorsed Spearman, as has Bishop George Battle, presiding prelate of the Piedmont Episcopal District.
            "Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman is prepared to carry on Dr. Barber's vision, spirit, and intellectual brilliance as Barber moves to another lane…”wrote atty. Al McSurely, chair of the NCNAACP Communications Committee.
            Leslie Malachi, national director of the 2,200-member African-American Ministers’ Leadership Council, agrees, writing that if Rev. Spearman is elected the next NCNAACP president, “This is the assignment for one who will not only speak truth to power but speak truth with power."
            Meanwhile, which one of the four current NCNAACP vice presidents will serve out the rest of Rev. Barber’s term after he formally steps down? According to the NAACP Constitution, the first vice president automatically assumes that role when the current president leaves before the term is up, unless the first vp decides not to take it.
            In this case, First Vice President Carolyn Coleman has said she hadn’t made up her mind on succeeding Rev. Barber, and he would not confirm whether what she decided during a meeting last Monday. There was speculation that both Ms. Coleman and Second Vice President Carolyn McDougal would step aside, allowing Third Vice President Spearman to assume the post, but as of press time, there was no confirmation of that.
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            For a third time since 2011, the state Supreme Court will have to review North Carolina’s legislative and congressional redistricting maps, and this time, North Carolina justices will have to heed the US High Court’s finding that the state’s redistricting process is unconstitutionally flawed because of racial gerrymandering.
            The US Supreme Court Tuesday sent a 2011 redistricting lawsuit, Dickson v. Rucho, back to the North Carolina justices again after the federal High Court ruled last week that the state’s Republican-led General Assembly “stacked-and-packed” black Democrats into the First and Twelfth Congressional Districts so that they would have less influence in other congressional districts.
            In 2015, the GOP-led NC Supreme Court ignored federal direction that the 2011 maps were racially skewed, ruling instead that the overuse of race in the voting maps was entirely proper.
 That ruling is not likely to return now that the NC Supreme Court is 5-4 Democratic majority.
            “The N.C. Supreme Court is given another opportunity to correct its ill-analyzed decision which it entered in Dickson v. Rucho, “said atty. Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Redress Committee, and law professor at Nc Central University School of Law. “The [2015] N.C. Supreme Court opinion was vacated by the [US Supreme] Court, which mandates that it was wrongly decided. This is yet another victory for democracy and the litigation advocacy of the NC NAACP.”
            Eric Ellison, chairman of the Forsyth County Democratic Party, agreed.
Same old story – the NC Republican -led legislature has drawn race-based district lines which once again, have been found to be unconstitutional,” Ellison, who is also an attorney, said.
“The people of Forsyth County are confident that the current North Carolina Supreme Court will finally put this issue to rest and declare the currently drawn lines are unconstitutional and violate our 14th Amendment. Better yet, the North Carolina Legislature should see the writing on the wall and immediately re-draw the lines in a non-racial, non-partisan fashion, and declare new elections this year so that the people of North Carolina can have immediate relief from illegal and unconstitutional representation. 
Most observers note that that is not likely to happen, especially with the 2018 midterm elections right around the corner.
“What I find most significant is that the Legislature made the same legal mistake and used race the same way in drawing the state’s House and Senate districts,” Anita Earls, Executive Director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said after last week’s US High Court ruling striking down the 2011 congressional districts. “This opinion…must mean those districts are also unconstitutional.”
The US Supreme Court is expected to rule directly on the 2011 state House and Senate legislative districts shortly. Meanwhile, supporters of the Supreme Court decisions thus far feel that despite rumblings from the Republican leadership about trying again with both redistricting, and voter ID, which was also struck down, the legal handwriting is on the wall.
“With [Tuesday’s] Supreme Court ruling, we can agree that gerrymandered district lines are a settled issue,” said Forsyth County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Ellison.  “The faster that the North Carolina Legislature can comply with our highest court’s decisions, the better it will be for all North Carolinians.”


            [RALEIGH] For the first time this year, protesters associated with the Moral Monday movement allowed themselves to be arrested by state Capitol police after loudly demonstrating in the Legislative Building, pressuring state lawmakers to expand Medicaid for hundreds of thousands of poor North Carolinians. Outgoing NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, led protesters through the halls of the NC General Assembly, and in front of House Speaker Tim Moore’s office. By midday, 32 demonstrators, including Barber, had been arrested and taken away.

            [RALEIGH] The state Board of Elections is proposing important emergency changes to election procedures in the aftermath of last fall’s Hurricane Matthew devastation, and the problems caused after then Gov. Pat McCrory challenged Democratic opponent Roy Cooper when he lost re-election. Election officials want the emergency power to change election schedules in the aftermath of a disaster, natural or military. Officials will also require those protesting an election result to certify under threat of perjury that their facts are “true and accurate,” or be punished if not. Comments about the propose changes are being accepted by the NCBOE now through July 31st by emailing or mailing them to N.C. State Board of Elections, Attn: Katelyn Love, Deputy General Counsel, 441 N. Harrington Street, Raleigh, NC 27603.

            [RALEIGH] Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper isn’t taking any encroachment of his appointment powers by the state legislature lying down. Last Friday, Cooper filed a third lawsuit against Republican leaders, accusing them of unconstitutionally reducing the size of the NC Court of Appeals. Lawmakers reduced the size of court from 15 to 12, suggesting that the workload had gone down. Cooper vetoed the law, but Republicans overrode his veto.


Monday, May 22, 2017



By Cash Michaels

            NO TIME TO PLAY – A few years ago, my wife took our youngest daughter, KaLa, to see teen singer Ariana Grande perform in Raleigh. Based on a video my daughter made of the experience, it was a great show. In fact, there has been an Ariana Grande poster outside of KaLa’s door ever since.
            Thousands of miles away, clear “across the pond” as they say, 21,000 people in Manchester, England, most of them young teen and pre-teen girls, did what KaLa did several years ago, and attended an Ariana Grande concert. I suspect that they, too, had a good time watching their singing idol.
            But unlike Raleigh, the concert in Manchester ended with tragedy. A terrorist, reportedly wearing a suicide bomb, blew themselves up at the concert, killing 22 people, and injuring at least 59.
            As a parent, you could only watch the video in horror as you see other parents, waiting outside the concert hall for their child to exit safely, only to discover that an explosion had taken place, people are running for their lives, and their child is nowhere to be see or found.
            What agony that must have been to not know whether your child is dead or alive mere yards from where you are standing.
            We certainly pray for the families there in Manchester, England who have been negatively impacted by this cowardly terrorist attack, and we’re 100% behind the British government as it pursues those who were part of the deadly plot to needlessly take lives.
            It just makes you wonder how close are we, here in the United States, to another terrorist attack ANYWHERE at ANYTIME!
            To add insult to injury, if something were to happen, how much faith do we have in our new commander-in-chief that he can handle it. You do know that part of the reason why he was elected (though I proudly did not vote for him) was to “defeat ISIS once an for all.”
            I don’t know about you, but shooting a few missiles to an empty air field in Syria after you’ve warned them to get out of the way does not impress me, and certainly doesn’t assure me that you know what you’re doing.  
            Indeed, our new president may have good military people around him, but don’t tell me they can’t see that he has a screw or two loose and don’t trust his judgment.
            So right now, the future is looking darker and darker. We’ve got four years to survive this basket case. Heck, he might not even make it through his term, given how much dirt the press is digging up on his 2016 campaign, and the even more dirt the new special counsel is bound to discover about his business dealings.
            This is scary time indeed for all of us, and our children.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, third vice president of the North Carolina Conference of NAACP Branches, has formally announced that he is a candidate to become the civil rights organization’s next permanent state president now that Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is stepping away from the post he’s held for 12 years.
            Meanwhile Melvin “Skip” Alston, who previously served as NC NAACP president from 1996 – 2005, has dismissed rumors that he is interested in running for his old job again, but did say that he will support NC NAACP First Vice President Carolyn Coleman if she decides to run for president. Ms. Coleman says she has not decided yet.
            The news comes as Rev. Barber prepares to join the national “Poor People’s Campaign” to draw attention to issues of poverty as the country prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s original Poor People’s Campaign next year.
            In a May 20th letter emailed to “members of the NC NAACP,” Rev. Spearman, who also serves as president of the NC Council of Churches, announced that he has “…filed as a candidate for [NCNAACP president] in our next election.”
            “Every vote is important, and I am asking for your support to become the next NCNAACP president,” Rev. Spearman continued. “Continue the fight with me. Nothing is too hard for God. I invite you to contact me with you questions, concerns, and ideas. Hear the cry on the battle filed – “Forward together and not one step back.”
            Earlier in his missive, Rev. Spearman recounted how, under Rev. Barber’s leadership, the NC NAACP “founded a movement,” shifting from “Banquets to Battle.” He denoted “…the explosive growth of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition (HK on J)… over the years,” further growing from sixteen coalition partners to “…over 200 diverse social justice organizations” today.
            Spearman also recounted the NCNAACP’s 2012 “Truth and Poverty Tour” through some of the state’s most impoverished communities.
            “God’s Word compels us to fight this battle defending the poor, disenfranchised and needy people. We are obligated to create effective strategies to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all people. We must defeat the forces of race-based discrimination and religion-based bigotry.
Pursuing on these battlefields should be the order of each day,” Spearman concluded.
            He has been third vice president of the NC NAACP for six years, in addition to being chair of the Religious Affairs Committee, and president of the Hickory NAACP Branch for two years.
Rev. Dr. Spearman is presently the senior pastor of St. Phillip AME Zion Church in Greensboro.
Though no one else at press time has made it known that they’ve also officially file for the NCNAACP presidency, Rev. Spearman has already attracted the support of attorney Alan McSurely, one of Rev. Barber’s closest lieutenants.
In an open letter to the NCNAACP membership issued May 21st, McSurely writes that Rev Spearman “…is prepared to carry on Dr. Barber's vision and spirit and intellectual brilliance as Barber moves to another lane to pick up Dr. King's torch of justice…”
“The call came only after the Lord situated and educated Dr. Spearman for this challenge,” McSurely continued. “See if you agree with me that Rev. Dr. Spearman is the man to run the second lap of the long relay race toward the NAACP's Finish line: the elimination of racism and race hatred in the U.S.”
Though former NCNAACP Pres. Melvin “Skip” Alston denied that he has any intention of entering his name into the race this October, he made clear during a telephone interview Sunday that he is willing to support First Vice President Carolyn Coleman of Greensboro if she runs.
“I told her I’m not interested, I’m not going to run, and that if she ran I would support her,” Alston said by phone. “But I’m not interested in running for state conference president anymore.”
“Whoever the next president is going to be I wish them the best. But  “Skip” Alston will not be running for state conference president. You can put that out there and let everybody know that you did get it from the horse’s mouth.”
Ms Coleman is a highly respected civil rights veteran and first vice president of the State Conference. She is also a member of the national NAACP Board.
Recently Ms. Coleman, who also serves on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, supported Alston to be appointed to fill the unexpired term of another commission member who had recently left the board. Alston is a former chair of the Guilford County Commission.
In a telephone call to Ms. Coleman Monday morning, she said that according to the NAACP Constitution, she, as first vice president, would automatically fill out the rest of Rev. Barber’s term in office once he leaves in June. However, she has not decided whether she will do that.
Coleman also said that neither has she decided to run for the state presidency in October. She indicated that upon returning from a meeting out of town over the weekend, she had just been informed of Rev. Spearman’s candidacy.
Ms. Coleman did say that more candidates are expected to enter between now and June 15th.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Now that the US Supreme Court has ruled that North Carolina’s 2011 congressional redistricting maps for the First and Twelfth districts were unconstitutional because more black voters from surrounding districts were added unnecessarily, does this hint that an upcoming High Court ruling on the state’s 2011 legislative maps is most likely to be seen the same way?
            Since 2010, North Carolina has been governed by an illegally constituted General Assembly,” says Irving Joyner, chair of the NC NAACP Legal Redress Committee, and law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law.
“In its decision, the Supreme Court recognized that this "right-wing" and power-driven legislature had manipulated political districts in order to erode the impact that African American voters could have on the use of political power in this state,” Joyner continued. “In these redistricting plans, race was used to "stack and pack" African Americans into a few political districts and to reduce the ability of racial minorities to impact elections in majority white populated districts.
In short, the race-based formula used to illegally configure the First and Twelfth congressional districts, was used to draw the 2011 legislative districts as well, Joyner says.
And when will the 2011 congressional maps be redrawn by the Republican-led NC General Assembly? Democrats and civil rights activists are certainly hopeful in time for the 2018 elections.
The Supreme Court’s May 15th decision not to overturn a lower court’s July 2016 decision striking down North Carolina’s controversial 2013 voter ID law, certainly put smiles on the faces of the NCNAACP and others who challenged the measure because it targeted the African-American vote “with surgical precision.”
With last Monday’s congressional redistricting victory still echoing in their circles, supporters are eagerly anticipating a favorable legislative redistricting decision next week. But for now, this week’s High Court congressional redistricting triumph was both satisfying, and inspiring.
“This should serve as a wakeup call to the Republican-led General Assembly, whose voter suppression tactics have been struck down twice in federal court, in as many weeks,” said black Democrat Rep. Alma Adams, whose 12th Congressional District was ruled unconstitutional because GOP state lawmakers made it a minority-majority for electoral advantage.
“As elected officials, we should be working together to make access to the ballot box easier and more fair. In Congress we must take swift action to restore the Voting Rights Act. In North Carolina, it is time to appoint an independent redistricting commission to return our democracy to the will of the people, “Rep. Adams concluded.
Congressman G. K. Butterfield, the other North Carolina black Democrat whose First Congressional District the US Supreme Court also ruled was racially gerrymandered, applauded the decision as well, saying that the GOP redistricting “…was an extreme case of racial gerrymandering.”
Once again with this victory the courts have said the NC General Assembly through apartheid type redistricting engaged in systemic racism and cheated to win elections,” said Rev. William Barber, outgoing president of the NC NAACP.  “Over and over again our unconstitutionally constituted general assembly is being proven to be the antithesis of justice true democracy and the fundamental principles of equality.”
Robin Hayes, chairman of the NC Republican Party, disagreed with the Supreme Court decision, saying in part, “Our position continues to be the same as the Obama Justice Dept. on this issue, which pre-cleared these districts as fair and legal. I don’t know how any legislature can perform this task when the rules change constantly from case to case, often after the fact.”
But there are those who are clear that the Republicans will keep trying to suppress voting rights.
Despite this decision, we can expect the legislative leaders to concoct some other race-based districting design instead of sitting down to draw political districts which are fair and non-political,” Prof. Joyner added.



            [RALEIGH]  Observers are hailing April’s unemployment rate of 4.7, the lowest it’s been in the state since 2007. However, North Carolina still lost 7,000 jobs last month. According to the NC Dept. of Commerce,  the jobless rate across the state was has high as 5.3 percent last January, before falling .6 percent. Economists warn that while 4.7 percent is good, they’d be more pleased to see a pattern before expressing confidence in the state’s economy.

            [EFLAND] Students and their parents took to the streets Monday in front of  Gravely Hill Middle School to demand that the confederate flag, which they consider a symbol of hate, be banned on all school campuses in Orange County. Demonstrators told school board members that students don’t feel safe when they see the flag on tee-shirts, book bags, olr other items other students may bring to school. Orange County school officials say they’re still trying to determine a policy that also respects free speech rights.

            [WAKE FOREST] A Wake Forest High School teacher was docked a week’s pay for allowing the racial harassment of a black student in his class. That student later assaulted the white classmate in the hallway, throwing his harasser down to the ground before another teacher interceded. The teacher, William Sullivan, was suspended for five days without pay in March, a Wake Public School System spokesperson said. Sullivan was hired in 2008.