Speaking Truth To Power – Let’s Boycott Prisons! by Jim Clingman Blackonomics

Blackonomics

By: James Clingman

Let’s Boycott Prisons! 01/9/06

Jerome and Jennifer Williams chose me to speak on Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics, during the 2005 Kwanzaa Celebration in Buffalo, New York. I take this opportunity to thank my newfound brother and sister. While there I met several others with whom I am sure I will have long lasting relationships, people like Sam Radford, Dr. Florence Flakes-Rozier, and L. Nathan Hare. I was especially excited about a conversation I had with Brother Hare; he suggested that Black folks boycott prisons. Wow! What an idea!

Do I need to reiterate the bare facts concerning how the prison industrial complex is raking in billions in profits, mainly because so many Black folks are incarcerated? Must I recite the words of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…”?

Do we need to revisit the 1990’s during which time Bush Senior and Bill Clinton went on a spending spree to build prisons? Is it necessary for us to check out the stock market and see how much money is being made by private prisons? How about reemphasizing what Brother Amos Wilson said in his book, Black on Black Violence? He wrote, “Five years after the Civil War, the Black percentage of the prison population went from close to 0% to 33%.”

I think most of us know the stats, the history, and the outcomes of such realities vis-à-vis the U.S. prison system, so the only question we should be dealing with is: Why are we allowing ourselves to be the fodder for the establishment’s prison profiteering? A recent article I wrote asked, “Why are Black folks so dominant in the cells but absent in the sales when it comes to prisons?” To further solidify that point, I repeat: We must move away from being the labor pool for the prison industrial complex. Back during the post-civil war period, former enslaved Blacks were imprisoned and then “leased” to landowners to provide free labor, essentially profit without investment.

So, understanding as we do the real motive behind this “criminal injustice system” and the reality of the prison system, a boycott of prisons is an appropriate and sensible response to many of the problems we face. In addition, a boycott of prisons would by its very nature, also obviously be a boycott of stealing, murdering, drug-dealing, gang-banging, and all the other activities in which some of our brothers and sisters are involved.

Since we have boycotted prisons on the supply side of the economic spectrum, that is, building them, owning them, and supplying their business needs, boycotting prisons on the demand side is a logical next step. Knowing that we cannot tell folks what not to do without also telling them what to do, how can we accomplish this reasonable, sensible, practical strategy, which will keep more of us out of prison and, at the same time, provide positive alternatives? Here’s my plan.

I have already had bumper stickers printed, by a Black owned company, of course. We are working with a group of young men who will establish their own business entity and sell the bumper stickers as well as T-shirts, buttons, and other “Boycott Prisons” paraphernalia. We will also create flyers to be distributed throughout the city, especially to the brothers on the streets. The flyers will have information relating to the history of the prison system, its social repercussions, and its economic benefits. Additionally, we will stress the importance of the legal side of business, employment, and ownership of income-producing assets.

If we can get Black people to boycott prisons for just one year, as Brother L. Nathan Hare suggested, we would make a tremendous economic statement, and maybe put a few brothers and sisters on a diversionary track, away from crime and prisons and toward positive activities for wealth-building. Are you willing to start a Boycott Prisons Campaign in your city? If so, get started right now.

It is up to us to free ourselves; no one else is going to do that for us. Can’t you see by just looking back in history that this country never intended for us to be free from creating profits for those who control the country? Is it so difficult to face the words of the 13th Amendment? If slavery has not been completely and forever abolished, why would we continue to place ourselves in a position to be slaves again?

Did you see George Bush, as he went to “view” the Emancipation Proclamation on MLK Day? The subliminal suggestion and Bush’s outright statement that this document actually freed an enslaved people are totally ridiculous. If that document freed us, why was a 13th Amendment necessary? It surely set the stage for further action on our behalf, but it did not free the so-called slaves. All you have to do is read it!

So how about it, brothers and sisters? Are you ready to start a Boycott Prisons Campaign in your city? No, it’s not a panacea, but it can help in our efforts to curtail crime and to lower the horrific numbers of Black men – and women, working in the prison industrial complex, making 50 cents an hour while corporations make billions in profits from their labor.

Boycott Prisons, for one year, and let’s see what happens. Don’t worry; prisons will always be there, just in case some of us want to become residents. But, for now, let’s stay out of the cells and get into sales – legitimate sales, that is.

Jim Clingman, described by networking guru, George Fraser, as a “thoughtful and pragmatic” speaker, is available for your event. Contact him at 513 489 4132 or by e-mail: jclingman@blackonomics.com

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RE: SIGNS OF A STROKE" & "FW: Obama Executive Order support for Asian Americans" & "FW: HBO Documentary–Outsourcing and Destruction of the U.S. Garment Industry" & "FW: Palast talks to insurance company whistle-blower Wendell Potter"

—– Original Message —–

From: Munsup Seoh

To: ‘Munsup Seoh’

Sent: Sunday, October 18, 2009 10:04 AM

Subject: RE: SIGNS OF A STROKE" & "FW: Obama Executive Order support for Asian Americans" & "FW: HBO Documentary–Outsourcing and Destruction of the U.S. Garment Industry" & "FW: Palast talks to insurance company whistle-blower Wendell Potter"

FYI to people outside Ohio     – Munsup

· FW: SIGNS OF A STROKE

· FW: Obama Executive Order support for Asian Americans

· FW: HBO Documentary–Outsourcing and Destruction of the U.S. Garment Industry

· FW: Palast talks to insurance company whistle-blower Wendell Potter

From: Angela Bray Hedworth, MS, RHEd, CHES

Subject: SIGNS OF A STROKE

Stroke Warning Signs:

* Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, on one side of the body.

* Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye.

* Loss of speech, or trouble talking or understanding speech.  Sudden, severe headache with no apparent cause.

* Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially along with any of the previous symptoms.

Not all of these signs may occur.  If you notice one or more of these signs, Call 9-1-1!

Angela Bray Hedworth, Program Manager

Great Lakes Regional Stroke Network

1645 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60612

http://glrsn.uic.edu

From: Theresa Lee, Past President of the Columbus Chapter of OCA (Organization of Chinese Americans)

Here is a summary of the executive order issued by President Obama, aims to aid Asian Amreicans, especially on issues about heatlh disparity, language barrier and hate crimes. Please distribute.    – Theresa

———————————————————————————

Obama’s Executive Order Aims to Aid Asian Americans

Wednesday, October 14 2009

During George W. Bush’s presidency, an executive order passed by the Clinton administration that addressed the concerns of the Asian American community expired.

But on October 14, President Barack Obama restored the federal panel by signing an executive order that re-established the White House Advisory Commission and Interagency Working Group, which aims to aid Asian Americans.

In the executive order , Obama set up a commission comprised of numerous governmental agencies to conduct a two-year study on how to better serve Asian Americans. According to the Pacific News Center , the order aims to increase Asian American and Pacific Islander participation in a full range of federal programs, including health care, human services, housing, education, labor, transportation and economic and community development.

The initiative and commission will be co-chaired by Secretaries Arne Duncan and Gary Locke, and will be housed in the Department of Education.

The executive order emphasized the contributions that the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have made over the years in the United States. Obama lauded a great variety of contributions, ranging from musical achievements to military service.

However, Obama stressed that those contributions don’t tell the whole story, and must be weighed against the struggles the communities still face. He cautioned his audience from falling into the “model minority” myth, in which the strengths overshadow the challenges that are still against the community.

In particular, he pointed out that some communities, especially those made up mainly of recent immigrants, like those of Hmong, Cambodian, and Malaysian descent, suffer high rates of poverty and lack health insurance.

In the order, Obama listed problems that continue to plague the Asian American community, such as language barriers, hate crimes, and health disparities, such as high rates of diabetes and hepatitis B. One of the problems in studying these health disparities is the tendency to lump Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders into one category, which makes it impossible to study specific data from each community.

When any of our citizens are unable to fulfill their potential due to factors that have nothing to do with their talent, character, or work ethic, then I believe there’s a role for our government to play,” said Obama in the executive order.

According to Obama, the mission of the initiative is to work with the 23 government agencies across the board to ameliorate the specific problems facing the Asian American community.

From: Charles Kernaghan

Subject: RE: HBO Documentary–Outsourcing and Destruction of the U.S. Garment Industry

The HBO Documentary–"Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rages," directed and produced by award-winning filmmakers Marc Levin and Daphne Pinkerson, premiers on Monday, October 19, at 9:00 p.m. 

Brian Lowry writes in Variety : "Opening to the lively strains of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, ‘Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rages’ is a loving and sobering look at the demise of the New York garment industry, where the loss of manufacturing jobs to nations with cheaper labor represents ‘a microcosm of everything that is going on in this country.’"  (See linked reviews from Variety and Womens Wear Daily ).

The documentary tracks how the garment industry, once the largest employer in the U.S., helped build the middle class through organizing strong unions.  Today, 95 percent of all garments sold in the U.S. are made offshore, mostly in sweatshops in China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.  Once the race to the bottom in the global sweatshop economy is unleashed, and corporations are free to pit workers against each other, there is no way to go but down.  The documentary is a wakeup call, as manufacturing jobs all across the U.S. are under siege.

The race to the bottom will only end when we have enforceable laws that prohibit the import, sale, or export of sweatshop goods in the U.S.  Goods made by children, by workers beaten and forced to work grueling hours while being cheated of their wages, and by workers denied their legal right to organize should be prohibited from entering the U.S.  If corporations can have enforceable laws to protect their corporate products and trademarks, we sure as heck should have similar laws to protect the rights of the human being who made their product.  Right now the corporate product is protected, but not the human being who made it.  (See the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act and how you can help.)

The Naitonal Labor Committee’s work is among those featured in the HBO documentary.

From: Eric Kramer
Subject: Palast talks to insurance company whistle-blower Wendell Potter

An excellent article, and one which really helps put this whole, rotten issue into perspective. Sarcastic smiley emoticon E

The S-Word and Dr. Kevorkian’s Accountant
Health care Rx from my socialist fire department
Thursday 15 October 2009, by Greg Palast, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Greg Palast interviews Wendell Potter
Wendell Potter tells Greg Palast health insurers’ dirty secret. (Photo: BobFest)

Tell me where it hurts, Mr. President.
What’s killing you, Barack, is what’s killing us all: an evil germ called "Medical Loss Ratio." 

"Medical Loss Ratio" [MLR] is the fancy term used by health insurance companies for their slice, their take-out, their pound of flesh, their gross – very gross – profit. 

The "MLR" is the difference between what you pay an insurance company and what that insurer pays out to doctors, hospitals and pharmacists for your medical care.
I’ve totted it up from the raw stats: The "MLR," insurance companies’ margins, is about to top – holy mama! – a quarter trillion dollars a year. That’s $2.7 trillion over the next decade. 

Until the 1990’s, insurers skimmed only about a nickel on the dollar for their "service," Wendell Potter told me. Potter is the CIGNA insurance company PR man who came in from the cold to tell us about what goes down inside the health insurance gold mine. Today, Potter notes (and I’ve checked his accuracy), porky operators like AIG have kicked up their Loss Ratio by nearly 500 percent. 

The industries’ slice is growing to nearly a quarter of your insurance bill. All of it just paperwork and profiteering.
President Obama is never going to pull the insurance company piggies from a trough this big, especially when the industry has made room for Congressional snouts. 

So what’s the Rx? Easy: Kill the pigs and call the fire department.

The only solution to Loss Ratio piggery is to kill the pigs: eliminate health insurers from the health industry entirely.
We can’t cure our ills, as our president has attempted, by attacking the problem ass-backwards. No, Mr. Obama, we don’t need HEALTH INSURANCE for everyone, we need HEALTH CARE for everyone. There’s a giant difference. Instead of concentrating on PAYMENT, we need to focus solely on providing the health SERVICE.

From my London days writing for The Guardian, I can tell you the British do NOT have national health insurance. They have a National Health Service.

The government builds hospitals, hires doctors and, when you need the service, you just go and get it. It’s kind of like the fire department. When your house is on fire, you don’t call your fire insurance company, you call THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. We care first about the service, not the payment.

The British government hires the doctors, like firemen, and Brits use them, like firemen, as they need them. 

It works. My mother-in-law, a nurse, on a visit to England, was stunned at the speed, quality and absence of mad paperwork to fix her broken arm. 

But, you might say, that’s, that’s SOCIALISM! Well, yes, it is. And I’m not afraid to use the S-word: Socialized Medicine. Just like America’s Socialized Fire Departments. (Fun fact: socialized, i.e. publicly funded, fire departments were ‘invented’ by the revolutionary Ben Franklin.) 

And Yes We Can get socialized medicine passed into law.

Really. It’s simple: we sneak it in with the kids.
We can learn from Lyndon Johnson’s sale of Socialist Medicare. Johnson knew that no one could argue that Granny do without a doctor. Can the "Pro-Life" Republicans now tell us that pregnant moms and children ages 0 to 3 should be denied care? Therefore, to the Medicare program for those 65-or-older, we simply add "Kiddie Care," for those from Negative 9 months through age 3. 

But instead of the wallet-busting Medicare system, in which doctors and hospitals are paid for each suture, bag of blood and pat on the head, Kiddie Care will be provided by Kiddie Care Service salaried doctors. 

How do we get doctors (who now AVERAGE $240,575 a year) to take well-paid, but not pig-paid, posts? We grab’m while they’re young. We pay doctors the full cost of their medical education; and we treat them as humans during internship, not as in the current system where interns are treated as medi-slaves. In return for the public paying for their medical education, the public gets the young doctors’ ten-year commitment to work for the health service at a reasonable salary. 

That’s not my invention. The free-education idea for staffing a national health service had long ago been proposed by that wily old dog Ted Kennedy. (Damn, we miss him.) 

Once the first wave of three-year-olds are about to turn four and their families face having to buy them health insurance, these millions of parents will become an unstoppable army of lobbyists screaming for the extension of Kiddie Care to age four, then to age five, then to age six and so on. Get it? 

Yes, Mr. Limbaugh, I am another bleeding heart trying to sneak socialized medicine into America. Yes, I am trying to rid us of the "free-market" insurers who are causing the bleeding. Health insurers are as useful to our health care system as a bicycle is useful to a goldfish. 

Free-Market Fantasia

There ain’t no such thing as a "free market" in medical care, as there is a free market in food. You can eat peanut butter instead of dining at Maxime’s. But you can’t tell the surgeon, "No thanks, I can’t afford a new kidney this week – I’ll just have a broken arm." 

A free-market for-profit insurance system means that, when you need a new pancreas, your fate is left to an insurance company computer programmed by Franz Kafka, Dr. Kevorkian and his accountant. It’s you versus the Medical Loss Ratio. Good luck. 

In olden days, doctors would attach leeches to suck a patient’s blood. Today, we have insurance companies’ Medical Loss Ratio. Both can kill you. If Obama and America want to end this sickness in the body politic, start with Dr. Kennedy’s sure-fire cure: a national health service for kids – and get rid of the bloodsuckers.

***
I Quit: A Personal Note

I learned of the Kiddie Care solution during my brief and ill-starred tenure at the Center for Hospital Administration Studies at the University of Chicago "Billings" Hospital. I couldn’t make up that name. Years later, they hired Michelle Obama as their vice president for community affairs. 

In my time, three decades ago, "Billings" handled the affairs of that poor community by shipping the uninsured, sometimes bleeding, to poor-folks hospitals. One wounded patient died on the poverty shuttle. 

I quit, and swore that one day I’d write about it. I just did.
*********************
Forensic economist Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." His investigations for BBC TV and Democracy Now! can be seen by subscribing to Palast’s reports at www.GregPalast.com. Hear Wendell Potter tell Greg Palast about health insurers’ dirty secret here.

East Tarboro Community Forum For Tarboro Town Council Candidates See Who Attended And What They Had To Say

2009-10-18_09-57-19-630See who attended and what they had to say.

(Click on picture to watch video)

See related links (2):

Rev. Roy Gray And His Former Campaign Manager Taro Knight Vie for Ward 7 Candidates Debate In September (Video Included)

Please A Must Read & Share by Minister/Councilman Melvin Muhammad

Nashville NC – Rev. Ethan Arrington Pastor New Destiny Church In Rocky Mount NC Addresses Nash-Rocky Mount School Board

2009-10-18_10-11-42-161

Rev. Ethan Arrington addresses School Board about concerns that he has and others who attended a meeting a week before this meeting at a church in Nashville NC. (Click on Picture To Watch Video)