CASH IN THE APPLE FOR 11-17-16
By Cash Michaels
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH – If you and yours are still reeling from last week’s shocking presidential election results, trust me, you’re not alone. A night hasn’t gone by since Donald Trump was declared the next president of the United States when thousands of people have taken to the streets of various American cities, expressing their profound disgust and discontent with the outcome.
Obviously those protests can’t last ever, at least not in that form. But clearly America’s worst nightmare has come true in the form of a deeply unhinged, power hungry ego-maniac who, at the age of 70, has achieved his greatest quest beyond riches and fame.
More power than he ever dreamed of having.
It is a critical civics lesson for all of us to make note of. It doesn’t take much to capture the hearts and minds of those who were always raised to believe that they’re not sittin’ pretty as God intended just because the government is taking care of different folks who are not worthy. Doesn’t take much at all to convince folks that their place in the world, let alone their country, is no longer on cherished ground because their kind is no longer in charge.
Mix a little religious bigotry in there, add a healthy handful of racial bias, a shovel full of sexism, wrap it all up in an American flag, and voila – something Joe and Jane Sixpack have been hankering for.
I know, I know, there I go, one of those high-minded liberal “elites” making fun of the “real” Americans who “cling to their guns and Bibles.” Heck, the only thing “elitist” about me are the bubbles that spring out of my glass of ginger ale…on the rocks. Otherwise, I’m no more elitist than the school crossing guard up the block.
But I do consider myself intelligent enough to know a mass flim-flam game when I see one, and I saw a sure ‘nough big one last week. Over 60 million Americans, frustrated with whatever hardships life has dealt them not because groups of foreign color folk have taken their jobs, but because rich industrialists like Donald Trump have taken their jobs and shipped them overseas where the costs, and the salaries, are ten cents on the dollar. Then these same greedy pigs pay off politicians to keep the working class divided by race and class, angrily pointing ay each other as the reason they just can’t make ends meet for their families.
No less than Sen. Bernie Sanders figured this out, and developed a strong national following during the Democratic presidential primaries. Problem was as good as Bernie was at pointing out the problems at their source, when you asked for a plan to deal with the situation at the source, he didn’t have one. You know, he’s like that guy from the commercials who is there only to tell you have a problem with termites in your home, but is not there to do anything about it.
That’s the tragic realization many a Trump supporter is going to arrive at. This guy promised lots of action, but is not going to be able to deliver on anything that will make the lives of the little people he suckered any better in the long run. Trump was slick enough to get folks to vote against their own self interests, under the guise that they would be sticking it to “Corrupt Hillary” and those lousy Democrats in the process.
Who knows? This charade may last the full four years, maybe not. But one thing is for sure….it’s going to get a whole lot worse for everybody, before it gets better for anybody.
HISTORICAL MARKER COMMEMORATING
WILMINGTON TEN DEDICATED TODAY
By Cash Michaels
Thanks to the drive and vision of a group of committed community leaders, an historical marker commemorating the legacy of the Wilmington Ten and their struggle against racism was unveiled earlier today near Gregory Congregational United Church of Christ on 609 Nun Street.
The marker, approved by the Wilmington City Council and Commission on African-American History, is the culmination of events in recent years that led to the 2012 official pardoning of the ten civil rights activists- nine black males and one white female - who stood against racial bias in the New Hanover County Public School System after the force closing of all-black Williston Senior High School in 1968.
The ten – the Rev. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.; Connie Tindall; Marvin "Chili" Patrick; Wayne Moore; Reginald Epps; Jerry Jacobs; James "Bun" McKoy; Willie Earl Vereen; William "Joe" Wright, Jr.; and Ann Shepard, were all falsely convicted in connection with the Feb. 1971 firebombing of a white-owned grocery store and subsequent sniper attack on police and firemen during citywide unrest, and sentenced to 282 years in prison.
A worldwide movement saw the Ten labeled as “politcal prisoners” by Amnesty International, spurring marches and demonstrations across the globe as their case was repeatedly being appealed. Finally, in Dec. 1980, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the state convictions against the Ten based on prosecutorial misconduct.
Thirty-two years later, in an effort led by The Wilmington Journal, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the NCNAACP and the Wilmington community, then NC Governor Beverly Perdue issued six pardons of innocence for the surviving members of the Wilmington Ten, and four certificates posthumously for the late Connie Tindall, Ann Shepard, Jerry Jacobs and William “Joe” Wright, Jr.
Today’ historical marker commemorates the courageous stand the city’s boycotting black students took as they sought sanctuary in Gregory Congregational Church during that first week in February 1971, only to be targeted by white supremacists who attacked the church to stop their cause.
“I’ve been saying for quite some time that they needed soemthing that people could visualize about the movement which occurred at that time,” Karen Clay Beatty of the Friends Committee of the Wilmington Ten told The Journal. She had been pondering the idea of some kind of marker for some time, but decided over a year ago that the time had come to act, so Beatty began floating the idea in the community in order to build a base of support.
Soon Beatty was urged to develop a proposal to present to the city, and she eventually enlisted the aid of local citizens, Wilmington Ten family members , and Class of 1971 alums from New Hanover High School and Hoggard High School. – all who later formed the Friends of the Wilmington Ten Committee.
The proposal was presented to the Comission on African-American History, which, after several months, eventually presented the proposal to a city committee. Once reviewed, the proposal, with Councilman Dr. Earl Sheridan’s assisatnce, was ultimately presented to the Wilmington City Council for approval, which it was last July through resolution.
The Wilmington Ten marker reads, “ON THIS BLOCK AT GREGORY CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS THE FOCAL POINT OF THE WILMINGTON TEN PROTESTS. STEMMING FROM PROTESTS SURROUNDING SCHOOL DESEGREGATION IN 1971. THE WILMINGTON TEN WERE IMPRISONED FOR A DECADE ON THE CHARGE OF FIREBOMBING A LOCAL GROCERY STORE KNOWN AS “MIKE’S.” THEIR CASE DREW INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION FROM HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS AS BEING COMMUTED AND THEY WERE PARDONED IN 2012 BY N.C. GOVERNOR BEVERLY PERDUE.”
PROUD OF HIGH COURT WIN
By Cash Michaels
If there was one undisputed Democratic winner from North Carolina’s Nov. 8th general election, it was Wake Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan, who unseated Republican Associate state Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds, 54 to 45.6 percent.
“I feel tremendously wonderful about it,” the new justice-elect, 60, said Sunday morning during an exclusive phone interview with The Chronicle. “The voters of North Carolina have given me a resounding victory and are allowing me to serve the state at the highest level of the North Carolina Supreme Court. So I’m very pleased, very proud and very humbled at this opportunity.”
Compared to many other marquee race results on the ballot election night, “resounding” is certainly an appropriate description of Justice-elect Morgan’s victory.
According to final unofficial numbers in the Morgan-Edmunds race, the Democrat won with 2,134,015 votes statewide, bolstered by 1,383,585 One Stop early votes between Oct. 20-27, and 676,836 ballots on Election Day, as well as a number of mail-in absentee ballots and provisional votes.
Justice Edmunds was over 300,000 votes short across all categories.
Some observers have been particularly curious about how, and why Morgan was able to do so well against Edmunds, while every Democratic appellate court candidate, even the incumbents, fell to a Republican opponent.
Unlike the Court of Appeals races, the NC Supreme Court race was not partisan labeled on the ballot, so neither Judge Morgan or Justice Edmunds were identified with their respective parties under their names. Some observers believe this was key because, in order to gain partisan advantage, GOP lawmakers determined that Republican candidates would be listed first in each partisan contest.
With straight ticket balloting eliminated, all Republicans had to do was simply vote for the first name in every category on the ballot. But for some reason, Judge Morgan’s name, not Justice Edmunds’, was listed first in the non-partisan Supreme Court race, which may have caused some confusion with Republican voters not familiar with either candidate, resulting in the over 300,000-vote win for Morgan, some analysts, who called it “a mistake,” believe.
Justice-elect Morgan disagrees, calling that “ just speculation.” Morgan noted that he ran on his almost 30 years in the judiciary serving at every level, including as a trial judge, something Justice Edmunds couldn’t claim. Morgan campaigned “vigorously” in every part of the state and established “…personal contact with the voters.”
Morgan also credits his campaign team for great organizing and establishing a good, “strong” social media presence.
“I had a message that was embraced by the voters, and that is that the state Supreme Court needs to be fair, impartial, above reproach, and clear of any politics. So to speculate and say that the lack of designation of Democrat and Republican, is not only sheer speculation, but also sour grapes.”
Justice Edmunds also found himself targeted by an outside progressive special interest group in a campaign television commercial called “the snake ad,” for writing the lead opinion upholding the Republican-led state legislature’s 2011 redistricting map that was later ruled unconstitutional by a panel of three-federal District Court judges last August for creating congressional voting districts by race.
Edmunds did write that overturned 4-3 opinion, but maintained that the campaign ad suggesting that he was somehow racist because he did, were unfair.
In the aftermath of Justice-elect Morgan’s election victory came reports that Republican legislative leadership, in a move to counter a Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, is considering offsetting what would be a 4-3 Democrat majority on the state Supreme Court with Morgan’s addition, by appointing two additional, presumably Republican associate justices during the special session Gov. McCrory is planning to call for Hurricane Matthew disaster relief.
The state Constitution allows for a total of nine justices to serve, which includes the chief justice.
The Charlotte Observer called the alleged Republican plot “…blatantly offensive.” Many activists, including NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber, are blasting the idea as a “power grab.”
“This is wrong because it is a form of partisan scheming designed to go around the people, and a vote of the people,” Rev. Barber says. “This also violates the fundamental concept of separation of powers when a partisan-elected governor and legislature seeks to stack the judicial body, a totally separate part of government, for partisan control. We will fight and stand against this immoral and unconstitutional power grab as should all North Carolinians.”
Justice-elect Morgan also wasn’t pleased.
“The concern is, in light of the fact that the voters have stated by their votes Tuesday that they reject the politicalization of our North Carolina Supreme Court, [they] do not want the justices to have any political leanings, and the voters want to make sure that our highest court is perceived as being fair and impartial in every decision,” Morgan said. “I cannot comment on the pending or impending actions of the legislature, but I will say it causes me some concern in light of the most recent election results.”
When told that many in North Carolina’s African-American community are proud of not only his election to the state’s High Court, Justice-elect Morgan said he was proud to be the first African-American to be elected to the state Supreme Court without first being appointed by a governor. Morgan added that he is now the only African-American male on the High Court (Associate Justice Cheri Beasley is currently the only black female on the court).
Justice-elect Morgan added that his election now means, not only for African-Americans, but for all citizens of North Carolina “…the strengthening of the [state Supreme Court] through diversity.”
Justice-elect Mike Morgan will be sworn into office in January 2017.
LAMENT TOUGH ELECTION
By Cash Michaels
Most Democrats agree that the damage they suffered nationally and statewide after the 2016 general election cannot be underestimated. For black Democrats in North Carolina and Forsyth County, beyond the decisive victory of Wake Superior Court Judge Mike Morgan for the state Supreme Court, and Lynne Johnson, the first African-American elected as county Register of Deeds, there is particular consternation.
With the 2018 congressional midterm elections the next electoral challenge, black Democrats say the lessons learned from the party’s poor showing should not be ignored.
From a statewide perspective, Linda Wilkins-Daniels, president of the African-American Caucus of the NC Democratic Party, says Democratic “…party elites weren’t listening to the cries of the people whose screams for help fell on deaf ears. Politicians who were elected to represent the people opted to serve corporations, lobbyists and special interest groups. Thus, a silent majority of
Republicans, independents and disgruntled Democrats who felt invisible to the Democratic Party emerged, and decided to stay home or vote for a flawed man who promised hope.”
Wilkins-Daniels also charges that if African-American turnout was down, it’s because “… an infrastructure for African American mobilization wasn’t properly addressed or implemented.”
“The lack of African American enthusiasm and failure to turn out record levels, as in 2008 and 2012, lies with the lack of investment in the African American community from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), National Governors Association (NGA), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and Super PACs,” Wilkins-Daniels continued.
“Democratic insiders and Progressives have been oblivious to investing in voters of color and have taken this vote for granted. This is a sad commentary that African American Democrats are disgusted and feel as though they’re being taken for a ride down the same old road. Washington insiders holding the purse strings consider African American Democratic voters irrelevant or simply do not care to invest in an infrastructure that will mobilize African Americans. Values are
where your budget is. “
Wilkins-Daniels continued that it was a mistake for party leaders to believe that African-Americans would automatically vote Democrat, instead of choosing to stay home this election, which many did.
“The American people sent an additional message that economic reform requires political reform. Why has the federal government worked so long only for those at the top? The answer is money – and the people want this system changed.”
Saying that the American people “…sent a thunderous message that the system is rigged,” Pres. Wilkins-Daniels further charged that progressive Democrats have mistakenly invested as much as $200 million in other election priorities besides African-American voter mobilization.
“It pains me to see African Americans literally begging for funds to get out the vote in the African American community and the status quo viewing and questioning our commitment to the party,” she said. It’s shameful that Washington insiders send money to white organizations that promise to galvanize African Americans and get them to the polls, but lack credibility and have no connection with African Americans. They simply want the vote. When white organizations fail they quickly blame African Americans. When numbers are unfavorable, Democrats panic and in a last-ditch effort bring a few leftovers for African Americans to get out the vote. “
Wilkins-Daniels further charges that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign failed to listen to grassroots workers who knew their communities better than most.
“Many complained about the lack of enthusiasm on the ground for Hillary Clinton in their communities, people identified in the system as strong supporters of
Barack Obama constantly hung up on phone bankers, yet the campaign didn’t want to hear those things.”
“After Democratic Party introspection, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), National Governors Association (NGA), Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and Super
PACs must invest in an African American mobilization infrastructure,” AAC-NCDP Pres. Wilkins-Daniels concluded. “The Democratic Party has been my party of choice but the voices of many have been replaced by a few and that’s a sad commentary on democracy. The time of reckoning is now and it starts in Washington.”
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 11-17-16
KALVIN MICHAEL SMITH RELEASED FROM PRISON AFTER 20 YEARS
[WINSTON-SALEM] After almost 20 years in prison, Kalvin Michael Smith was ordered released from prison last week after serving time for brutal beating and armed robbery he’s always maintained he did not commit. Smith, 45, was convicted of the 1995 assault on an assistant store manager and sent tp prison for 29 years. Experts have always maintained that the original police investigation was “sloppy” at best, and Smith said he wasn’t even in the neighborhood of the crime at the time. His new attorneys petitioned the court that Smith received ineffective counsel at the first trial, failing to introduce mitigating evidence during original sentencing that would have decidedly lowered his time behind bars. Based on a motion of time served, Smith was released last week. He is now proceeding to prove his innocence to clear his name.
CHARLOTTE POLICE SHOOTING VICTIM FATALLY SHOT IN THE BACK, AUTOPSY SHOWS
[CHARLOTTE] Keith Lamont Scott, the black man a Charlotte police officer fatally shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex in September, was shot once in the back, and in the abdomen, an autopsy reveals. Police say Scott had pulled a handgun, and ignored repeated police orders to drop it. Scott’s killing ignited several days of protest marches and some violence.
DURHAM ELECTION OFFICIAL SAYS VOTE COUNT WON’T HELP MCCRORY
[DURHAM] Amid charges that something was untoward with Durham County not counting over 90,000 votes on Election night that helped Democrat Roy Cooper to outpoint Republican Gov. Pat McCrory by almost 5,000 votes, the Republican chairman of the Durham County Board of Elections maintains that nothing wrong was done, and the late addition of the 90,000+ ballots was purely because a machine malfunction would not allow it to be any other way but manually. An attorney for the state GOP has filed a protest with the state Board of elections. The official canvass of all ballots in the state elections are scheduled to be finished on Friday, Nov. 18th.
ABSENTEE BALLOTS IN BLADEN COUNTY CHALLENGED
[BLADEN COUNTY] The re-election campaign of Gov. Pat McCrory has filed a formal complaint against a political action committee funded by the NC Democratic Party, alleging that hundreds of fraudulent absentee ballots were cast in Bladen County on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper and other Democratic candidates. Both the Cooper campaign and the NCDP deny any wrongdoing. The State Board of Elections is investigating.
MCCRORY ASKS CONGRESS FOR $1 BILLION IN HURRICANE DISASTER RELIEF
[RALEIGH] Gov. Pat McCrory is asking Congress for over $1 billion in disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew to help with recovery and repairs. According to the Governor’s office, over 30,000 businesses were impacted by massive flooding in several counties, along with $400 million in crop losses. Over 3700 people were moved to shelters, as 48 counties qualified for disaster relief. The economic losses total approximately $2 billion, the Governor’s Office adds. McCrory is expected to call a special session of the legislature to determine how much of the $1.6 billion rainy day fund should be used.