Monday, November 13, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            FELLAS...DON'T DO THAT!– I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that ever since women and actresses started pointing fingers at Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, accusing him of all sorts of sundry sexual assaults many years ago when they were just beginning in the entertainment business, the proverbial damn has broken wide open, and all of a sudden, almost every male celebrity out there has been accused of sexual assault of some sort.
            From Mr. Sulu from “Star Trek” (actor George Takei) to former President George H. Bush (yes, the wheelchair-bound George Bush), to even the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix’ “House of Cards” has literally been cut out of his next movie, “All the Money in the World,” which is due out on Dec. 22nd. All of Spacey’s scenes in the movie are being reshot with actor Christopher Plummer. This has never happened before.
            And all because Spacey admits to trying to seduce a young 14-year-old male actor over 30 years ago.
            No one is making light of this. The issue of sexual assault by celebrities and powerful men in both Hollywood, Washington, DC, and yes, even way down in Alabama, where the Republican candidate for the US Senate, a former state Supreme Court Justice named Roy Moore, allegedly molested or attempted to molest teenage girls while he was a 30-year-old assistant district attorney.
            Oh, and did I mention that comedian Bill Cosby is scheduled to be retried April 2, 2018 for allegations that he drugged a woman not his wife, many years ago, and had sexual relations with her without her consent? He was originally scheduled to be retried this month after a hung jury in his first trial last June.
            Boy, is he lucky the darn thing has been postponed for a couple of months. Lord knows finding a “fair” jury in this muck, even in Pennsylvania, would be near impossible.
            The fact of the matter is this crime has been going on in our country since the beginning of the nation. Powerful men, imposing themselves sexually on young, defenseless females, either at work or at school. Yeah some females dress provocatively, but that is NEVER a reason to sexually assault them them.
            We all learned from the infamous Mike Tyson rape case. The heavyweight boxing champ went to the room of a beauty contestant after hours, apparently by invitation. But after things got hot and heavy, she said “no,” but Mike apparently wouldn’t take no for an answer, and he raped her.
            Mike was sent to prison for his crime, and that’s when we all learned that no matter when, NO means NO!. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant learned the same lesson years later, except that thanks to some skilled attorneys, he only paid some money, and lost some commercial endorsements.
            Its as simple as this – men have to learn how to respect women in this society. A consensual relationship is one thing. As long as folks are OK with each other, there are no issues.
            But the #metoo women of today are sending a message loud and clear – KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF, AND RESPECT ME, OR ELSE!



By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Nov. 10, 1898 – The day heavily-armed white supremacists in Wilmington attacked the African-American community at the behest of leaders of the North Carolina Democratic Party, killing many, forcing others to flee their homes and businesses, and overthrowing the local city government at gunpoint – the only coup de ta in American history.
            The attack ushered in the racist Jim Crow era, not only across the state, but across the South, for almost a century afterwards.
            Last weekend, 119 years after that fateful, but historic date in North Carolina history, the people of Wilmington, black and white, came together again for their annual 1898 Massacre Observance Program sponsored by the New Hanover Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus, this time at Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church.
            Among the many speakers was Wilmington native state Rep. Rodney Moore (D – Mecklenburg), and after giving a historical accounting of how the white supremacists over a century ago used violence and discriminatory laws to cripple the black community, Moore then likened that to what many of his Republican colleagues in the NC General Assembly have been doing in recent years with voter suppression, unconstitutional redistricting, and other political tools to hold the African-American community back.
            “Even today, brothers and sisters, the spirit of Jim Crow lives in modern day North Carolina,” Rep. Moore said midway through his prepared remarks.
            “The white supremacists of the Democratic Party of 1898, have morphed into the North Carolina Grand Old Party of today,” Moore continued. “Today, they use voter suppression schemes like voter ID, cutting early voting days, and trying to make it harder for people of color, the elderly, and our youth to cast their ballots, and exercise their most fundamental right, as citizens of this state and nation – the right to vote.”
            Responding to expressions of agreement from the audience, Rep. Moore continued, “They have made a mockery of the electoral gains that African-Americans have made by using a redistricting scheme that has packed and stacked black legislators into majority-minority districts, insuring a permanent minority.”
            “They have continued to cut funding for education, refuse to expand Medicaid to cover over 500,000 citizens of the state, who badly need access to affordable [health] care, and lifesaving services,” the Mecklenburg state representative continued.
            “They continue to propose regressive tax policies that have the effect of what I call, “Robin Hood in reverse.” They take from the poor and the most vulnerable, and to give tax breaks to the rich and well-to-do in our state.”
            “We are living in a modern-day America, where there continues to be unequal justice in our courts. Police brutality against people of color is still being perpetrated in our communities. We give our political loyalty – 96 percent of the time -  to one party, while not having a presence in the other to challenge for real change and recognition of the critical issues that face African-Americans, from either side.”
            “We need to learn the political game so we can start winning. We are not players because we do not understand the rules. This is unacceptable in 2017. It’s time to wake up. Time is truly running out!”
            Then Rep. Moore switched gears, and asked what are African-Americans doing to support each other in Wilmington, and elsewhere?
            “Are you supporting opportunities for black businesses to flourish in our cities?” he asked rhetorically. “Are we actually participating in the public policy debates in our cities that shape and structure our lives on a day-to-day basis?”
            Stressing the importance of local elections, like city council and school board elections, Rep. Moore urged the African-American community to get more involved, and make more of a difference in their present and future.
            “We have to be inspired to go out [and vote] every election cycle,” Rep. Moore said. “It’s time to wake up. It’s time to wake up.”

By Cash Michaels

            As the US Senate begins debate, and the full House votes this week on the new GOP tax reform package Pres. Trump and Congressional leaders have been pushing, with mixed results thus far, both of North Carolina’s African-American Congress members have made it clear to count them in the opposition.
            U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), in scathing statements, don’t see Republican tax plan as helping the taxpayers who need the relief the most – the middle-class - and fear that, once again, the rich will be the primary beneficiaries if the plan is passed.
            “The Ryan-McConnell tax plan isn’t tax reform, it’s a tax cut for the wealthy that leaves working families behind,” said Congresswoman Adams. “This bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership under the cloak of darkness, repeals key deductions that families depend on such as medical expense, student loan interest, state taxes, and personal exemptions, to pay for a 15% tax cut for corporations. To make matters worse, this plan borrows from our future by adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit in the next decade, saddling future generations with more debt. This plan is bad for the middle class; I urge my colleagues in the House to stand with American families and vote against this disastrous plan.”
            In a letter last week to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Rep. Adams outlined her district’s tax priorities, citing making education affordable, “…safeguard retirement investments, promote entrepreneurship, and protect cultural institutions.
            All of the above are critical, Rep. Adams says, to “…create a pathway for the middle class.”
            This plan is a one-sided measure that provides cuts for corporations on the backs of the middle-class,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Millions of hardworking families and local businesses need real tax relief but the GOP plan falls short. We cannot afford the partisan antics that have plagued this conversation any longer.”
Both the House and Senate have differing plans they hope to have passed before Thanksgiving next week, so that Pres. Trump can sign a compromise measure into law before Christmas, a timetable most observers consider extremely hopeful at best.
            Republicans tout their tax plan helping middle-class families with expanding the child care tax credit, lower income and corporate tax rates.
            But Democrats aren’t so sure other details of the proposed tax plan wouldn’t do more harm than good.
            Congressman Butterfield took to the House floor, last week, to voice his dissention to the so-called “Tax cuts and Jobs Act.”
            In a statement, the First District congressman said, While the GOP gives multi-trillion dollar tax giveaways to the wealthiest and corporate America, Republicans are destroying key tax benefits for middle class families.
·       Rep. Butterfield blasted the fact that if passed, the GOP tax plan would dismantle state and local tax deductions, thus “…imposing an unfair double tax on middle class families, driving down home values, and endangering local governments’ ability to fund law enforcement, schools and health services.” 
The GOP tax plan would also eliminate student loan interest deductions and
·       lifelong learning credits – “…destroying a key deduction for young graduates and workers getting the job training they need to succeed in the 21st century economy, while preserving special giveaways for the wealthiest.”
And if all of the above wasn’t concerning enough, Rep. Butterfield says, the GOP
·       tax plan would also eliminate medical expense deductions – “…destroying a key deduction claimed by nearly 9 million American households, which helps families with children with disabilities, long-term care needs, a need for expensive fertility treatments, and many others,” and impose new limits on mortgage interest deductions – “…assaulting the dream of middle class homeownership in communities across America.”
Both representatives Butterfield and Adams also railed against the fact that
 Republican leadership has scheduled no public hearings, keep much of the details of the tax reform plan out of public view until the last minute, and kept Democrats at arms-length so that there cam be no collaboration in constructing the bill.
            Rep. Adams demanded better.
            “This is absolute no way for Congress to legislate,” she told Speaker Ryan in her Nov. 9th letter. “I urge you to return to regular order and conduct Congressional business in a manner befitting American dignity and encourage good legislation.”


            [WILMINGTON] The Fayetteville-based chemical company already under investigation for allegedly released the toxic chemical Gen x into the Cape Fear River, the New Hanover County drinking water supply, now has to answer for an apparent spill last month of dimer acid fluoride, which, once it touches water, is transformed into the equivalent of Gen X. Chemours, the DuPont subsidiary under fire, has ten days, by order of the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality, to explain how much of the chemical was spilled into the Cape Fear, and for how long, or else face stiff fines. Regulators determined the spill after levels of Gen X in their testing spiked.

            [DURHAM] Despite earlier reports from a defense attorney that all felony charges against the seven protesters who toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier on August 14th, the Durham District Attorney countered that claim, stating that those felony charges are staying in place. DA Roger Echols said that three of the 12 people charged had charges dropped against them last week, but seven of the remaining defendants will face more court proceedings on Dec. 5th.

            [ROCKY MOUNT] James Moore, once a deputy police chief in Wilmington, has announced that he is retiring effective jan.1, 2018 as the police chief of Rocky Mount. He has served as chief in Rocky Mount since 2012. During his tenure, Chief Moore oversaw a five-year decline in overall crime in the city, the longest continuous drop on record.




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