Tuesday, September 19, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            As you may know by now, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic candidate for president, has written a book titled, “What Happened,” released this week.
            As to be expected, Ms. Clinton is doing a heavy round of media interviews to promote (read that as “sell”) her book, giving personal insight into what it felt like to lose to controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump, putting up with all of his nastiness and sexism, and how she felt the presidency was finally hers…until the very last minute.
            I know that’s what many of us thought, given how routinely Trump seemed to be self-destructing leading up to Election night.
            But, as we all know (and still lament), Clinton lost the presidency in the electoral college, losing key states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that normally went Democrat.
            And as you may also know, there’s currently a federal investigation underway to determine exactly how much the Russian government influenced the 2016 presidential election so that Clinton would lose, making Trump the victor, and whether or not they did so in collusion with the Trump campaign. There has been plenty of smoke  by way of evidence, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post, and it seems it’s just a matter of time before Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issues a report outlining what he’s found per his investigation.
            It should be no surprise that Hillary Clinton has been following the Mueller probe very intently, especially since she was on the receiving end of shenanigans Trump and the Russians were allegedly up to. But it certainly was a surprise to read that Ms. Clinton is willing, eager and able to officially challenge Trump’s 2016 victory of Mueller’s evidence is compelling enough to warrant so in her mind.
            Let’s remember something….Hillary Clinton is NOT Al Gore, who graciously decided after the US Supreme Court effectively gave the 200 election to Republican rival George W. Bush, and with it, the presidency, not to contest it for the good of the nation.
Gore knew then that doing so would literally tear the nation apart, and he didn’t want to go down in history as a sore loser.
            But Hillary Clinton’s case is way different.
            The United States, thanks to the unqualified madman we have in the Oval Office, is already at civil war. People are more at each other’s throats than ever before, with most of us simply not believing that anyone in their right mind would want Donald Trump for president. His style and behavior have proven to be clearly beneath the dignity of the high office that he holds. Trump is an embarrassment to the American people, and before the world. He is an apologist for white supremacists and warmongers. He is steadily inching our nation towards a nuclear war with North Korea, another emerging nuclear power with a certified nut for a national leader.
            So those who warn that we would see civil war in the streets if Trump is perp-walked out of the White House in handcuffs after he’s impeached, hey, what would you suggest? Let him stay and ruin our children’s future some more? Please don’t tell me you’re afraid of people being more at each other’s throats than they are now, because, just like a bad marriage, the real problems right under the surface will always bubble up in the end.
            We can’t escape what’s coming.
            And if Hillary can legally get a court, based on compelling evidence, to rule that the 2016 presidential election was a fraud thanks to the Russians and Trump campaign scheming together to make it so, then I’m all for it.
            The last nine months have been frightful under Trump, and there’s more to come the longer he stays.
            None of this is over by a longshot, folks. So strap yourselves in, because the we are in for a REAL rough ride!


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            According to new data from the US Census Bureau released on Sept. 14th, more than 1.5 million of 10,146,788 North Carolinians still languish in poverty with lack of access to good well-paying employment, inadequate education or skills training, affordable and decent housing, limited access to public transportation, and other important resources to lift themselves and their families out of their dire condition.
            Though, according to analysts, there have been small improvements to their condition between 2015 and 2016, 15.4 percent of North Carolinians lived in poverty in 2016, making less than $24, 600 a year for a family of four.
            Specific numbers of North Carolinians living in poverty by race were not available at press time Tuesday, though it is known that 23.5 percent of African-Americans statewide live below the official poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four.
            In Forsyth County, according to those US Census Bureau statistics, 18.1 percent of its 371,511 residents were living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Blacks are 27.4 percent of the county’s total population.
            The median household income between 2011 and 2015 was $45,471, per capita income per the last 12 months was just $26,674 by 2015 standard.
            Guilford County, by comparison, had 15.7 percent of its 521,330 residents living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Approximately 34.6 percent of Guilford’s population is African-American, compared to 22.2 percent statewide.
            Median household income (in 2015 dollars) in Guilford County between 2011-2015 was  $45,651. Per capita income in the prior 12 months was $26,762.
            On the coast, New Hanover County saw 17.3 percent of its 223.483 population in poverty by July, 2016. African-Americans comprised just 14.2 percent.
            Median household income (in 2015 dollars) between 2011-2015 was $50,088, and per capita income in the 12 months prior $29,880.
            Finally, in Durham County, 17.1 percent of its 306,212 residents were in poverty by July 1, 2016. Blacks were 38.3 percent of the total population.
In 2015 dollars, median household income between 2011-2015 in Durham County was $52,503, and per capita per the preceding 12 months was $30,268.
According to the NC Budget and Tax Center, a progressive arm of the nonpartisan NC Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina’s poverty rate is 1.4 percentage point higher than the national, and has the 13th highest in the nation; North Carolina’s poverty rate did decline by one point over the past year, but is 1.1 percent higher than when the Great recession hit in 2007; 6.7 percent of North Carolinians live in extreme poverty, below less than half the poverty line of bout $12,300 a year for a family of four.
In order to grow a stronger and more inclusive economy for all of u in North Carolina, lawmakers must boost public investments to connect people to good-paying jobs, health care and education from early childhood to throughout their careers, said Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Budget and Tax Center.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As the three-judge federal panel reviews the newly redrawn NC redistricting maps it ordered from the NC legislature, opponents aren’t waiting to weigh-in on what the court’s next move should be.
            Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Edwin Speas, Jr. of Poyner & Spruill LLP, attorneys for plaintiffs who originally sued the state ultimately proving that 28 of 170 legislative districts in the 2011 NC redistricting map were illegal racial gerrymanders, filed a legal brief in federal court last Friday alleging that at least 12 of the redrawn state House and Senate districts resubmitted to the court are now either racial gerrymanders, or are in violation of the state’s Constitution.
            At the top of the list for racial gerrymandering is Senate District 28, which state Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), an African-American, represents. The three other districts are Senate District 21 in Cumberland and Hoke counties; House District 21 in Wayne and Sampson counties and House District 57 represented by Rep. Pricey Harrison, again in Guilford County.
            “Race predominated in the drawing of these districts lines, and Defendants (legislature) offer no compelling governmental interest to justify those districts,” the plaintiffs’ Sept. 15th brief to the court contended.
Two weeks earlier, Sen. Robinson of District 28 said, “The courts specifically looked at my District 28 and commented on its composition.  Republicans are intent on protecting Senator Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) for whom they created a district by packing 28.  I expect that the only remedy will be in the courts.”
Rep. Harrison, a white Democrat representing House District 57, was equally as resolute that the continued racial gerrymandering would not stand.
I believe the maps will be challenged and may have a hard time passing muster with the federal court. I do not know if that will affect the 2018 elections, but we will be spending more taxpayer money defending the indefensible.”
If the federal judicial panel agrees with the plaintiffs, Rep. Harrison and Sen. Robinson may now get their wish.
            In addition, several other legislative districts were found by plaintiffs to be unconstitutionally redrawn, in that “…the plain language of the state constitution prohibits mid-decade redistricting.” The Constitution also prohibited violation of its Whole County Provision, and plaintiffs contend that several House districts are drawn crossing county boundaries.
            Plaintiffs recommended to the court that the redrawn maps by GOP lawmakers be thrown out, and replaced with proposed legislative maps the plaintiffs have submitted for the 2018 mid-term elections.
            If the court disagrees, plaintiffs ask that a court –appointed special master be employed to “…redraw the districts in these limited county groupings.”
            “We are asking the court to step up and do what the legislature has continually failed to do — give North Carolinians fair districts that do not discriminate or violate the state constitution,” attorney Earls said in a statement.
            On that same day, the NCNAACP filed an amicus brief to the court supporting the plaintiffs’ position that the legislative redraws should be thrown out because they “…remain tainted with race discrimination…,” and a special master be secured to do the job properly.
            In its brief, the civil rights organization faults the Republican decision not to use race as part of its criteria in redrawing legislative districts as a primary reason why they’re still unconstitutional, as earlier determined by the US Supreme Court.
            The Legislative Defendants have thus returned to the court following a “remedial” process that never directly addressed the race discrimination that infected its prior maps, indicating once again that, as this Court has noted, it “does not appreciate the need to move promptly to cure the unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in the 2011 districting plans,”” the NCNAACP brief stated.
            The General Assembly cannot sufficiently demonstrate to this Court that the enacted plans cure their egregious purposeful racial gerrymander through the bare assertion that, by prohibiting any consideration of race data, they have created color-blind remedial maps with no explanation of how these maps actually cure the violations. The NC NAACP thus respectfully requests that the Court reject the General Assembly’s proposed maps and appoint an independent special master to draw fair remedial maps that properly consider race and fully remedy the violation in accordance with federal and state law.”
            Republican legislative leaders have a week to respond to both the plaintiffs and NCNAACP briefs.
        Meanwhile on Tuesday, NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) sent a letter to heads of US Senate Judiciary Committee, urging them to “reject” Pres. Donald Trump’s nomination of North Carolina  Republican attorney Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment as federal judge for the Eastern District ,”… because of his dismal record in opposition to voting rights and workers’ rights.
            Farr's hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20th. 


                                               REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Editor’s note: During the upcoming 74th Annual NC NAACP Convention in Raleigh, current president, Bishop Dr. William Barber will be stepping down after 12 years, and a new president will be elected between Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Chapter, and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Third Vice President of the NCNAACP.
            During separate interviews, both candidates were asked the same six questions about their respective visions for the state conference if either is elected to lead. For a final question, they were asked to determine what they want rank-and-file NCNAACP members to further know about them that they feel is relevant.
            When necessary, both candidates’ answers have been truncated for conciseness.
            Last week we interviewed Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle. Today, we continue with Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. Next week we talk with outgoing NCNAACP Pres. Bishop Dr. William Barber II.
            Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Third Vice President of the NC NAACP; senior pastor of St. Phillip AME Zion Church in Greensboro; and president of the NC Council of Churches, has been a member of the NAACP for 53 years. As a young man, his father got memberships he and his sisters, telling them to keep them up because “you will be fighting for justice for the remainder of your years.”
During that time, Rev. Spearman, 66, has also served as chairman of the NCNAACP Religious Affairs Committee, and president of the Hickory Branch of the NAACP.
            Now he says it’s time to vie for the presidency of the civil rights organization he’s given most of his life to, and lead it towards further establishing the values and justice he’s sworn to uphold. Rev. Spearman is married with three adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Why should you be elected as the next president to lead the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP?
            “I find the NAACP continues to be a very relevant organization in which I’m glad I have cast my energies towards. I have been a staunch supporter of the Forward Together/Moral Monday movement, and the second arrestee of the [first] Moral Monday. I’ve been involved in civil disobedience on three separate occasions. And so I’m very invested in the NCNAACP and the work thereof, and I’ve seen a great deal of merit in the work of Dr. William J. Barber II, and want to see this movement continue that has been started over the course of the 12 years that he [has] served in leadership.”

What do you think of Bishop Dr. William Barber’s leadership of the NCNAACP over the past 12 years, and, if elected, how do you intend to build on it?
“I’ve been very much a part of Bishop Barber’s leadership during that time, and it began with the HK on J Movement…I was there at the inception of that, and then as it kind of grew into the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement, I was very much a part of that movement. Candidly, Dr. Barber and I have become very collegial, and have really held one another up in many of the things that have come before us as the twelve years have unfolded.”
 “My ideology is very, very similar to the ideology of Bishop Barber, and what the NAACP lifts up as what they call “game-changers,” I lift up as a five-point justice vision. When we talk about pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that ensure economic sustainability, and educational equality that ensures that every child receives an appropriate education, and health care, and fairness in the criminal justice system, and protection of all kinds of rights – voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights…all of those are right at the cutting edge of the things I would think we need to continue in terms of having the kind of ideology that’s going to help us to make some ground so that we can continue to move forward together and not take one step back.”

As NCNAACP president, how will you continue the fight for voting rights?
            “ One of the things that have been in the forefront of my mind is how to frame doing what I hope to achieve once I’m elected, should I be elected. I’ve been kind of obsessed with the thought of what I call a transforming and understanding of “R.I.P.” which is the acronym we generally use for “rest in peace.””
“I’m plagued with why do we wait until someone dies to say or think that we want them now to rest in peace. So I’ve been toying with the idea of how do we transform our understanding of R.I.P., and help to translate it from a death wish to a justice gift.”
“Three of the points that I am very, very bent on achieving or working on as we do the work come forth with the acronym R.I.P. :
1.                    Respecting our vote –everything we face as a people is predicated on the right to place ballots in the ballot box. Like watchmen on the wall, we have to continue to be vigilant and make sure that we hold back all that the [NC] General Assembly seeks to do to continue to suppress our vote. And I genuinely believe that they will continue to throw forth some monkey wrenches to do just that.
2.                    Inspecting the root cause of poverty – The NCNAACP went around the state in 2011-2012 putting a face on poverty. For me, that was the cutting edge of what we need to do. You’ll recall that during the 2016 elections, there was no talk, no conversation, no debate whatsoever about poverty, no talk about racism, and I believe that we as a people must be very intentional about talking about poverty, bringing it onto the radar, and then keeping it on the radar so that people are talking about it. And if no one else is talking about it, then we need to be talking about it as a people, and strategize on how we are going to be dealing with it to make sure that others understand how important it is to us as a people.
3.                    Protecting our youth – We’re dealing with the militarization that Dr. King has always talked about, and always have in the forefronts of our minds the things that this so-called democracy is supposed to stand for.

How will you work to get more young people involved in the NC NAACP?
“I have developed two nonprofits – one I established back in 2006 when I was pastoring in Hickory, NC. Now we’re doing business here in Greensboro as “The B.R.I.D.G.E. Program” which is “balancing relationships, instilling dignity, growth and empathy.” The formation of that nonprofit happened while I was the education chair of the Hickory branch of the NAACP, and a teacher contacted us about five African-American students who were failing. I built a program around these young men – Students Moving A Step Ahead -  and took them to Detroit, Michigan for a weekend, and immerse them in higher education…and came away from that experience with these young men now thinking about going to college, as opposed to prior to that, they didn’t think about it at all.”
“There were some successes that were done, and we did that for about three years, but I came to terms with the fact that it seemed to me to be a little too late.  So I started another program,…and we were able to partner with the Hickory Housing unit, use this curriculum, and had some major successes on gathering young people together, giving them some cultural awareness, and helping them develop a love for their culture. By leaps and bounds, there were improvements in their lives.”
“I would use that same kind of practice in trying to get young people involved in the NCNAACP. I’ve been working on ways to be able to present them with something we can intergenerationally involve these young people. The Scriptures tell us we are to impress upon the children, spend time with the children, we’re going to make sure that we interact with the children on  24/7 basis, thereby we will not be afraid of our children. I think the fear that we have in engaging with our children prevents us from keeping the children around us.
Next week, Bishop Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the NCNAACP, exclusively looks back over his 12-year tenure as he prepares to step down.


            [RALEIGH] A Wake County Democrat who came ran twice for lieutenant governor but fell short, has announced that she will now make a run for the US Congress. Former NC Rep. Linda Coleman says she has filed paperwork to challenge three-term Republican incumbent Congressman George Holding in the 2nd Congressional District in 2018. Holding is known for his ultra-conservative views, and support of Pres. Trump. Coleman is also a former educator, Wake County commissioner and once led the Office of State Personnel. She lost her bid for lieutenant governor to Dan Forest in 2012 and 2016. She will face businessman Sam Searcy and veteran Wendy Ella May in the Democratic primary.

            [RALEIGH] “Slow down” was the admonition from judges and attorneys Tuesday during a second judicial redistricting hearing conducted by Republican House member Justin Barr (R-Stanly). Burr has filed House Bill 717, which calls for lawmakers to redraw judicial and prosecutorial district lines, most likely during the upcoming special session beginning Oct. 4th. Many judges have expressed concern that the process will be more political than remedial. Democrats charge that Republicans are pushing this now in order to elect more Republicans as judges. Meanwhile the state Senate is leaning towards appointing more judges, as opposed to electing more.

            [RALEIGH] According to the website Glassdoor, among the 25 top, the fourth best city in the United States to find employment is Raleigh, and Charlotte is ranked #24. Glassdoor ranks the number of job openings, median base salaries, median home values and overall job satisfaction, according to local employers.


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