Breaking Brown

25/05/14 Black News , Black Politics , ybw #

On Memorial Day, Let’s Remember the Only Congressperson Who Stood Against Bush’s Illegal War

On Memorial Day, Let’s Remember the Only Congressperson Who Stood Against Bush’s Illegal War

Barbara Lee.jpg

As Jeremy Scahill painstakingly details in his book Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield, prior to September 11th, the Bush administration was headed in a similar direction as the Clinton administration with regard to covert assassinations. The CIA’s head at the time, George Tenet, had qualms about using drones for assassinations; who would pull the trigger? Were Americans even comfortable with such a program?

Even though Vice President Cheney and other neocons, like Paul Wolfowitz, were working behind the scenes, as they had been for years, to rid the executive agency from having to report to any agency or  branch of government, the opportunity to enact sweeping changes didn’t come until after the September 11th attack.

Only days after the terrorist attack, the Bush administration proposed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AMF), giving Bush sweeping authority to go after those who’d been behind the terrorist attacks.

Over the decade preceding the terrorist attack, a strict process had been put in place to oversee covert operations, and the Constitution gave power to declare war to the Congress. But the AMF changed all that, giving Bush the “latitude to wage a global war.”

As is common for American politicians, most of them tucked their tails when faced with the shredding of the Constitution and sang “God Bless America” outside of the U.S. Capitol. Only  Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) stood against this radical overreach of the executive branch.

While her other CBC members looked on in knee buckling fear, Lee stood alone against the Bush administration and every other member of Congress. On this Memorial Day, she should be remembered for the courage she showed at that moment.

Watch the speech where Lee, on the House floor, explained her opposition to the bill:

 

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23/05/14 Black Crime & Incarceration , Black News , featured , ybw #

Prison Guards Who Scalded Inmate to Death Avoid Punishment

Prison Guards Who Scalded Inmate to Death Avoid Punishment

Rainey

A mentally ill inmate at the Dade Correctional Institution near Miami, Florida was tortured to death by prison guards, but investigators determined that there is not enough evidence to charge the guards.

Darren Rainey was serving a two year sentence for cocaine possession when he was forced into a locked shower by prison guards as punishment for defecating in his cell, says one inmate. Once Rainey was inside the shower, guards blasted him with scalding hot water as he begged for his life.

According to The Miami Herald, an inmate housed on the floor above the shower heard Rainey’s cries for help.

“I can’t take it no more, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again,’’ Rainey shouted, the inmate said.

Saddest of all, Rainey was only a month away from the end of his sentence when guards turned the hot water to the highest setting and boiled him to death in the shower.

A report by Dade Department of Corrections Inspector General Jeffrey Beasley determined that Rainey was locked in the shower by prison guard Roland Clarke at 7:38 pm two years ago. By the time Rainey’s body was found, his skin had began to peel away from his body.

The state has still not completed Rainey’s autopsy, causing investigators to call off the inquiry.

“Two years is a very long time to wait to find out why your brother was found dead in a shower,” Rainey’s brother, Andre Chapman, told the Herald.

Psychiatrist George Mallinckrodt has worked for Dade prison’s ward for the mentally ill and filed a complaint with the Department of Justice accusing correction officials of abusing mentally ill inmates.

Investigators have decided that there is not enough evidence to reach any determination as to the cause of Rainey’s death. The inmate who heard Rainey screaming was never interviewed by state investigators.

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23/05/14 Black Crime & Incarceration , Black News , featured , ybw #

After 6 Shootings in 48 Hours, Principal Tells Students Not to Hang Out Around School

After 6 Shootings in 48 Hours, Principal Tells Students Not to Hang Out Around School

curie high school

A Chicago principal has advised both students and parents not to congregate around the school after six shootings in forty eight hours occurred in nearby areas.

Curie High School’s principal told students to leave school immediately after they are dismissed and to take a different route home reports CBS Chicago.

School officials are most worried about the area of  79th and Pulaski near where a  17-year-old walking in an alley was shot and killed on Monday evening.

“You have to walk these streets every day,” said student DeMario Falls. “I know my way around the neighborhood. And I know people and I don’t feel like they would do harm to me.”

The violence in Chicago has been out of control for some time and city officials have been unable to regain control of the city’s streets.

Easter weekend was the deadliest in Chicago so far, with 45 people getting shot, nine of them fatally.

At that time, Chicago police commander Ronald Holt told The Guardian that the city is witnessing “fratricide” among young men who believe “that the only way to resolve a conflict is to get a gun and go shoot to k?ll.”

“To tackle gun violence where it is overwhelming communities with the extraordinary loss of lives at an alarming pace, we must deal with it as a social disease and health issue,”said Holt, who lost a son to gun violence in 2007.

In so far as Chicago school violence is concerned, a lunchroom fight at Streamwood High School between blacks and Hispanics resulted in the arrest of six students earlier this month.

 

 

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22/05/14 Black Crime & Incarceration , Black News , ybw #

Mentally Ill Inmate Dies After Being Denied Medication for 7 Days

Mentally Ill Inmate Dies After Being Denied Medication for 7 Days

Bradley Ballard

A mentally ill inmate at Rikers passed away after being denied his medication while locked in solitary confinement.

It all started when Bradley Ballard made an offensive gesture at a female guard at the Rikers Island prison. That led to him being placed in solitary confinement for 7 days, during which time his mental illness was exacerbated. While Ballard was in his cell alone, he tied a rubber band around his private area, took off all his clothes, and clogged the toilet. Although guards reportedly peeked in on Ballard, no one gave him his medication.

When someone finally did enter Ballard’s cell, it was because the 39 year old inmate was naked and dead on the floor of his cell.

“He didn’t have to leave this world like that. They could have put him in a mental hospital, got him some treatment,” Ballard’s mother, Beverly Ann Griffin, said. “He was a caring young man.”

Ballard passed away last September, but information obtained by the Associated Press revealed more in depth information about the case.

BreakingBrown reported last week the case of a Rikers inmate who literally baked to death in his own cell. Inmate Jerome Murdough, 56, also mentally ill, was found dead in a pool of his own blood and vomit on February 15 with a body temperature of 103 degrees.

The Associated Press reports that two requests for repairs were made on February 14 but delayed due to a holiday weekend. Since the following Monday was President’s Day, the request for the repairs wasn’t received until the following Tuesday.

h/t: Talking Points Memo

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22/05/14 Black Culture , Black News , featured , ybw #

School Officials Won’t Allow Student With Best GPA to be Valedictorian

School Officials Won’t Allow Student With Best GPA to be Valedictorian

valedictorian

An Illinois student has the highest GPA in his class but school officials say he won’t be awarded the top spot of valedictorian because of a rule no one’s ever heard of.

Ladarius Sapho has the best grades at Proviso East High School and wants recognition for his hard work, but says school officials are standing in his way.

“I have to be the best. Myself and me. I have to be the best I can be,” Sapho told Fox 32 News.

His determination to be the best earned the 18 year old a 4.135 GPA, an above perfect average which reflects the number of honors courses Sapho matriculated through during his time in high school.

“I was gonna be number one, valedictorian of 2014. I was going to be giving the speech at graduation,” said Sapho.

That all changed when Sapho and the salutatorian were brought into the principal’s office and told that they couldn’t take top honors because they were transfer students. Principal Tony Valente told them that since they began at the school as sophomores, they were both disqualified.

“You’re gonna tell me just two weeks before graduation? I had a speech ready, I was ready to give this speech, practicing and he tells me I can’t be number one,” said Sapho.

Antoinette Gray, a community advocate, says the policy to which Principal Valente is referring doesn’t even exist.

“There is no policy,” said Gray. “They have been asked not once, but two or three times to produce that written policy. And the reason that was given by Tony Valente, the school principal, was that it was his discretion to make that decision.”

The graduation is scheduled for Saturday but Sapho hopes that by then, the school will have reversed its decision.

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