The Experience of Ron Edwards
A Renaissance Black Man in a White Man's World
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Ron died January 2020. His column appeared in the oldest continuing Black newspaper in Minnesota, The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, for 17 years, 2003 – 2019. (His web site includes his columns, his blog entries, and his solution papers.) He also hosted long running TV programs and a world-wide blog radio program, co-hosted with Don Allen.
The Minneapolis Story was the brain child of Dennis Green, former NFL Coach of the Minnesota Vikings, and later Head Coach of the NFL Arizona Cardinals and UFL Sacramento Mountain Lions. He shared Ron's vision of "equal access and equal opportunity" for all, and need to expose the blocking of "equal access and equal opportunity" by both sets of leadership," Black ones and White ones, separately and together.
Following Ron's inaugural column of March 26, 2003, are the columns for 2019. His columns and blog entries for 2003 - 2019, are in his Archives.
One of Ron's last considerations for a column was to be based on this "What Changed?" question raised at the end of 2019 in The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder:
When asked in mid-June what is the greater problem for the communities of color, white racism or the absence of dads in black families, Kweisi Mfume, former head of the national NAACP replied without missing a beat that the biggest problem without question is the absence of fathers in the home, a topic which has also been a long term concern of Ron Edwards.
Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
If / when the US House of Representatives' "Impeachment Inquiry" leads to "Articles of Impeachment," President Trump will go on trial in the US Senate. If convicted he would be removed from office (also if he resigns, is incapacitated, or dies). The Constitution then provides for the Vice President, Mike Pence, to be President, unless he too leaves office for any of the same reasons. The Constitution then provides for the third in line, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to be a temporary care taker President during 2020.
It is no accident that highly paid mainstream media talking heads avoid reporting this constitutional succession chess game. When Bob Mueller was appointed to investigate the dark corridors of power behind the 2016 election, the anti-Trumpers believed his report would unleash their master plan to remove Trump, a campaign started after Trump's election and before Trump's swearing in.
Regardless of outcomes, all voters, for and against Trump, are being sucker-punched by the impeachment proceedings leading to the fog of constitutional crisis and disaster.
Full disclosure: I carry no water for political parties, only for citizens left behind, regardless of color or party, especially those in minority communities, which my sense tells me will be the big losers (see my November 9, 2018 column, "A Nation Dangerously Divided,", and my July 2019 columns of July 11 (America is angry on the 4th of July), and July 28 (The race card played in Baltimore and America's cities).
I am not a Republican. I am inclined to still follow the Democratic party's path, as I have since 1960, when I first became eligible to vote.
The searching for "smoking guns" to justify impeaching Trump continue. The same "facts" remain, with half of the voters interpreting the "evidence" one way: Trump is "guilty," and the other half interpreting the same evidence the opposite way: Trump is "not guilty."
Few seem to grasp that regardless of who wins or loses, neither party will be able to return the country to the way it was, setting up potential impeachment attempts after 2020's election.
Impeachment scars and cripples elections, regardless of party, risking turning our Republic into a Parliamentary system, where a mere "vote of no confidence" will be all that is necessary to remove a President on any day, at any time, from Inauguration Day on.
This impeachment farce is turning into a governing tragedy. If Trump is impeached, Pence, who was on the call with the head of The Ukraine would also be impeached, resulting in Nancy Pelosi becoming a temporary caretaker President for the remainder of 2020.
If the "destroy Trump" project backfires, Congress will be jumping off of a high Constitutional diving board into a pool with a cement bottom but no water, as one side "interprets" the "facts" as impeachable and the other side interprets the same "facts" as not impeachable.
What happens once the blood of impeaching is tasted? In my November 9, 2018 column, I wrote that "too many on both sides of the political aisle and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue feel we are beyond the ability to honestly work for national healing." If we think we can't, we won't. But if we think we can, we will. Let's not divide and weaken our nation domestically and internationally.
My prayers are for a united Republic, and for the well-being of the sons and daughters who fight and die for us, overseas and on our city streets. I offer prayers for America to be united, that we might live by Lincoln's March 4, 1865, Second Inaugural vision, 41 days before his assassination, that we live "with malice toward none, with charity for all."
For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
One of Ron's last considerations for a column was to be based on this "What Changed?" question raised at the end of 2019 by The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder:
His goal was to reaffirm the relevance and importance of his two books and his website's collection of his columns, blog entries, and solution papers. These words speak volumes regarding not only the continued relevance of Ron's book and website, but their continued urgency as well, for he never took his eyes off the prize.
Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
Our Great American Impeachment play, like those of Shakespeare's plays about mad kings (Lear and Richard II) continues (see my October 17, 2019 column).
A poll two weeks ago showed that the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota reflect a near equal response about impeachment: 48% for impeaching Trump, 47% for not impeaching Trump, 5% with no opinion. A national poll by Georgetown University discovered that 67% believe the nation is nearing civil war,
Mad President or not, it is maddening that the news is filled with this impeachment play instead of the tragic plays in our cities and neighborhoods, especially our inner cities, as vital topics are shoved aside and not addressed (education, employment, housing, gentrification, health care, poverty, safety, immigration, and the mental health and drug addiction issues of the homeless). Whether led by whites or blacks, too many cities are not doing well (see my column of October 9, 2019).
Democratic Representative Al Green has said impeachment is imperative as Trump will win re-election if he isn't convicted of Impeachment charges. What is an impeachable offense? Democratic Representative Maxine Waters in February 2017, and former Republican representative Gerald Ford 20 years earlier said it is anything the House of Representatives says is.
Shakespeare used the word "impeachment" in two ways: to "hinder", and to "accuse". The House is using it in both senses, inquiring into accusations that Trump is hindering the United States. If impeachment passes in the House, the Senate would hold a trial. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office. If not convicted, Trump remains in office. Regardless, Republicans want to retain power, Democrats want to get power back.
As of two weeks ago, the House was concentrating on two offenses: the Trump phone call to the Ukraine President (claiming a favor was requested in exchange for a favor), and Trump pulling our armed forces out of the Kurdish part of Syria (with the debate being between the charge of abandoning an ally vs. "end endless wars").
The American Vice President and the President of Turkey negotiated a cease fire, a "pause," for five days, to allow the Kurds to leave Turkey for a safe zone in Syria. The Syrian Kurds, told to negotiate their future, did so, with Syria, Turkey and Russia. Has America lost her reputation as an honest broker for peace among nations? Were Trump and the Vice President duped into betraying the Kurds, allowing Syria, Turkey and Russia to become the new masters of the Middle east? Is Trump crazy, creating a Great Disaster, or is he cleverly negotiating a peace settlement?
As we said in our October 17, 2019 column, this looks like a great travesty in the American experience of governing. We hope we are wrong, but for now it sadly looks as if the institutions of American democracy are disintegrating, collapsing before our very eyes, exposing America to the watching world that wonders if we are no longer the world's prime defender of democracy.
The experts say impeachment depends upon a high percentage of public opinion wanting it. Will Americans view Donald Trump and, by extension, the Republican party, as no longer advocating for democracy? Many wanted to impeach our 44th president, Barach Obama. In the future, will endless impeachment attempts be started by losers as the "new normal" on any future inauguration day?
Republicans, either temporarily or for good, are slowly joining the call for impeachment. Will that continue? Both parties are responsible for our nation being divided and torn apart. We all need to remember Lincoln's use of a slogan from our Revolutionary War: "united we stand, divided we fall." We must seek to unite together, so we can again join Ray Charles in singing "American the Beautiful?"
God bless America.
For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Through My Eyes, the Minneapolis Story Continues..."
The United States of America is clearly divided. Will one of the key Constitutional checks and balance procedures that is now in play, Impeachment, heal or increase the division? Will the gamble pay off to remove Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States from office or so wound him he won't be re-elected in 2020, or will it act back on the gamble and help re-elect him?
I will be following this closely with a series of columns, especially in terms of how Impeachment will impact Thurgood Marshall's defense of the First Amendment to support the goals of reversing the ill-considered laws that still remain that support racism and segregation in American institutions, governments, and neighborhoods. What will impeachment do for the continuing or lessening of violence in Black neighborhoods? How about regarding Education? Jobs? Wages? Health care?
Is this high stakes "impeachment inquiry" gamble dumb or brilliant? While there have been demands for the impeachment of most presidents, it has reached the level of taking action only four times. Two presidents were actually impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1867 and Bill Clinton in 1998, but both were acquitted by the US Senate and not removed from office. Richard Nixon had Articles of Impeachment filed, but resigned in 1974 before the debate in the House began.
Impeaching Johnson, Nixon and Clinton had bipartisan support. So far, there is no bi-partisan support in the Senate or in public opinion polls, to impeach Trump. Impeachment is a political move, and is, as Gerald Ford stated regarding Nixon, "anything Congress says it is."
The actions of current members of the House of Representatives remind me of a group of nursery school children. A lot of bluster. A lot of subpoenas. A lot of committee meetings.
According to the leadership of the Democratic Party, the Impeachment Inquiry will become Articles of Impeachment by Thanksgiving 2019. Unfortunately for the majority of Americans, no matter how educated they think they are, they do not understand the arduous task of preparing Articles of Impeachment, getting them passed, and then obtaining conviction in the Senate for removal.
If there is a Senate trial of President Trump, it will be presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The prosecutors (called managers), will be members of the Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives, who must make their arguments before their congressional members in the United States Senate.
People would be well advised to read and study the trial documents of the two failed attempts, the one to convict Andrew Johnson in the 19th century and Clinton in the 20th century, for insights regarding impeaching Trump in the 21st century.
These 21st century impeachment proceedings will do wonders for television ratings. People will be glued to their various screens and radios. Note that the Senate majority leader can suspend the proceedings until a later date at any time, under the rules which would be drafted by the Senate majority (Republicans).
This will be quite a show, in all of its televised and Internet glory. But it won't be easy to remove Trump from office. We are on a dangerous road. How will America, a truly divided nation at war with itself, heal itself?
Democratic leaders, after the Mueller report exonerated the collusion charge against Trump, now feel the "whistle blower" complaint will enable a successful impeachment that will change the course of American history. But in what way? How will both sides, in Trump's words, use being "locked and loaded? Will their ambitious quest for recognition and glory serve the best interests of the republic?
For Ron Edwards biography and list of his books and hosted radio and TV program, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Six weeks ago, a young mother raced her nine-month-old child to Children's Hospital in South Minneapolis. Three weeks later, with her child showing symptoms of pneumonia, the mother returned her baby to Children's Hospital. X-rays were taken. Staff confirmed the child had advanced pneumonia.
But according to the evidence that has been gathered, the child was turned away and, having received none of the required medical examination protocols to attempt to preserve its life, died shortly thereafter. Let's hope the baby's family's eventual lawsuit fares better with the justice system than did the Jamar Clark family.
What is a "protocol"? Most companies, agencies, and especially hospitals and clinics must follow federal and state codes or protocols regarding medical procedures ("compliance," "rules of conduct," "regulations," etc.). When not followed, a protocol can become, to borrow a novel's title, a "Protocol of a Damnation."
Our question is simple, based on evidence and discussions: Why weren't the healing protocols followed? The baby needed medicine, but confusion at the hospital regarding insurance resulted in the hospital not filling the prescription. So the young mother went to Walgreens, where confusion over eligibility to receive medication again resulted in another denial of lifesaving medicine for her baby. Within two hours of returning home without the medicine, the baby died.
The funeral was held. The baby was cremated. If not for the efforts of Brooks Funeral Home, the child could not have had the funeral due to the cost being beyond the reach of the mother and her family. I talked about this on my worldwide radio program.
How will the legal system respond? Already attorneys are in place seeking justice. But studying Minnesota law and reflecting on hospital legal documents can still leave the result in question. If you are assigned to the general wing of the hospital, the chances are that you will not be afforded medical care — sad news for children of color in Minneapolis and America.
We all realize that America's healthcare system is broken and needs fixing. And, we know that part of the fracturing of the healthcare system is driven by forces denying equal care due to various reasons, including race and poverty. Denial of service is harmful and thus does not meet the Hypocritic Oath of "Do no harm."
The debate is over who pays and how. The eligibility question is about when race and poverty will be taken out of the equation.
Over the past 16 years of this column, I have often written about how medical care becomes selective, which is an abandonment of the goal of providing medical care for all. So, when I received a request to again write of this in terms of the nine-month-old baby, I saw an opportunity to again examine the systematic medical malpractice against the interests and safety of persons of color.
The tragic death of this nine-month-old reminds us of how prevalent medical malfeasance can become. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that The ACA (Affordable Care Act, or "Obama Care") is constitutional. That is now being challenged in a court that says part of ACA is "unconstitutional and inseverable," which therefore invalidates the whole Act.
So now, it's not "if" but "when" health care is fixed, including coverage of catastrophic medical expenses for all. Since 1912, seven presidents (Republican/Progressive Teddy Roosevelt was the first) have tried to pass healthcare legislation (three Republicans and four Democrats).
Nixon proposed it, but the Democrats said no. Carter proposed it, but Ted Kennedy said "Hold it" until he was president. So far we only have Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.
Will Minnesota back efforts to provide medical care for all rather than only for selected citizens? Let us all pray for a better future.
Federal Judge Michael Davis' order for a fair-negotiation between the City of Minneapolis and the family of the late Jamar Clark, stunned the city council and the legal community as he requested a re-examination of all circumstances involving Jamar Clark's November 2015, death by officer involved shooting, of how the Clark family was delayed decisions for a year, and then offered nothing, while Justine Damond's white family was given $20 million to the black Clark family offer of only $200,000?
Council member Cunningham asked why the compensation offer to the Clarks was only $200,000 for the death of their son when the offer to the Damonds was $20 million for the death of their daughter. Why such obviously unjust, unfair, and unequal decisions? To deal with this, Judge Davis summoned City officials to appear before him, to explain on the record, about their prior actions of withdrawing the offer to the Clark family, and then finally offering a far lower figure.
The unfairness was compounded by the City's General Counsel, Susan Siegal, who intentionally mislead the Clark family during the discussions that were drawn out for over a year. In addition to this, was the questionable conduct by the county attorney regarding Jerome Copeland, one of the most important eyewitnesses to the Clark death. They made Copeland disappear on trumped up charges trying to discredit him.
It was clearly this pattern of mis-conduct by Minneapolis City officials that did not sit well with Judge Davis, who, as an African American, clearly recognized the pain and the insult that had been imposed on this African American family in what was clearly a fake intention to negotiate in good faith while only negotiating intentionally with the Damond family.
We applaud a surviving sister of Mr. Clark, who stood tall, spoke with passion, and clearly laid out the facts regarding the circumstances of dishonesty by the City of Minneapolis regarding Clark were done with malice aforethought. This is a fragile time for the city of Minneapolis and its leadership regarding its credibility with the African American community.
The investigation is tainted. We call your attention to six prior columns since the 2016 Clark killing, which identified efforts by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to suppress and obstruct evidence that would have brought forward fruitful observations of what happened on that tragedy that November 2016.
See my MSR articles on the Clark affair dated November 24, 2015, January 27, 2016, March 2, 2016, March 23, 2015 April 6, 2016, and April 20, 2016.
The hero of this story is Judge Michael Davis, who understands the quest for Justice and the search for compassion and honesty.
Constitutionalists should be concerned about the ethics and conduct of City Officials regarding how they negotiated and obstructed justice.
Clearly no true foundation was laid for balancing justice and fairness for Jamar Clark. How staggering, in light of the $20 million for the Damund family, with only $200,000 was designated for the Clark family. Judge Davis recognized how fairness and justice was betrayed. How unfair to have a former BCA agent suggest that the Clark family should be happy and satisfied with $200,000 when the Damond family was getting $20 million to the Australian family of Justine.
These numbers were based on previous payments and compensation in similar cases dealing with the police. This has been a dangerous and slippery slope, as our refusal to enjoin African Americans fairly and justly on race, fairness and justice for all, as if there are those for whom the importance of their lives is not important.
We owe fairness and justice to Jamar Clark and his family. God bless them and may they find satisfaction.
We need to again listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to non-violence, and his urging that we judge by content of character and not color of skin. We need to adopt Barack Obama's vision that we are Americans first, not separate as white, black, brown or yellow Americans.
We are experiencing a clash of giants: the Civil Rights uniter, Elijah Cummings, and the divider President, Donald Trump. We need the spirit of another giant, Thurgood Marshall, who was raised on the West Side of Baltimore, and whose legacy is clear: the "greatest civil rights lawyer and constitutional lawyer of the twentieth century," who fought for equality for all, majority and minority, "regardless of race or gender or circumstance, defending any individual or minority group oppressed by the majority or by the government."
I am upset about the tone of President Trump's twitter storms against Baltimore and Congressman Cummings. Nonetheless, this clash pulls the covers back on harsh facts both parties have long avoided, blaming each other instead. Here are facts:
Baltimore has been dubbed the "most dangerous city" in Maryland. That's according to the financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St., which dug into FBI data from 2017 to determine violent crime rates in nearly 2,000 cities and towns.
Think of what could be done by the powerful Chairman of the Oversight Committee and the President of the United States, working together to resolve these issues.
We need to again listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s call to non-violence, and his urging that we judge by content of character and not color of skin. We need to adopt Barack Obama's vision that we are
President Trump continues from earlier attacks, as when he said that Barack Obama was born in a grass hut in Kenya, Africa, an accusation and insult of a birther.
These are troubling times, dangerous times, as too many refuse to listen to such great voices as JFK (moon vision), LBJ (Great Society vision), MLK, Jr (non-violence vision), Nellie Stone Johnson (activist vision), Thurgood Marshall (equal vision), and others, visions of Americans of all colors and persuasions rallying around and standing together, equally proud of each other and our nation.
The political decisions fracturing respect and civility, has us teetering as if on the head of the Statue of Liberty, casting shadows on the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. We need instead to remind ourselves of the words and spirit of such patriotic songs as "America the Beautiful."
The race card will not serve any who use it in 2019 and 2020. We need to stand up for our country, our cities, and each other.
God bless America.
Ed Notes: additional links
"…..segregated West Baltimore—a Harlem-like mecca of political activism, achievement, and black culture (Marshall went to school with Cab Calloway)—that Marshall's worldview took shape. For decades, national civil-rights leaders, including Marshall's friend Clarence Mitchell Jr., the NAACP's chief lobbyist in Washington during the 1960s, would rise from West Baltimore, which had been home to the forerunner of the NAACP, the Mutual United Brotherhood of Liberty, and then home to one of the strongest branches of the NAACP."
"Traveling nearly 50,000 miles each year, mostly by train, often alone, his life threatened too many times to count, Marshall took Jim Crow apart plank by plank, state by state, federal ruling by federal ruling. Overseeing hundreds of cases as director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for 21 years, Marshall set precedent after precedent, not just in the arenas of education and criminal law, but across every sector of public life—voting, housing, transportation, equal pay, taxpayer-funded services, military justice, higher education, and the rights of minorities to serve on juries."
"Three examples: Marshall helped establish that coerced confessions are not admissible in court; that states cannot legally enforce restrictions on the sale of homes to minorities; and that nonwhites cannot be barred from voting in primary elections, which, in many parts of the country, were the only votes that mattered."
Marshall, called the "dismantler of Jim Crow," enabled the striking of the death knell for the USA legal apartheid system of "separate but equal." He pursued laws that responded to "all are created equal," by which he meant "getting the same thing, at the same time, and in the same place," for "any individual or minority group oppressed by the majority or by the government, and that included women, the physically challenged, and criminal defendants."
…"Marshall—as courageous, tenacious, and visionary an individual as this country has ever produced—changed America."
"In the courtroom, he made his case with facts, the law, and the Constitution in a frank manner, neither alienating juries, Southern judges, nor opposing counsels, with whom he generally got along.
"Because separate but equal facilities had never truly been accomplished—public services for blacks were uniformly inferior—the only solution, Marshall began to argue, was to make all public facilities and services open to all races."
"When asked during the Brown arguments by Justice Felix Frankfurter what he meant by "equal," Marshall responded in the same forthright, plainspoken manner that had become his hallmark.
It is a footnote in history that Johnson was so intent on appointing the first black justice he created an opening on the court by naming Ramsay Clark attorney general in early 1967. That move essentially forced his father, Supreme Court justice Tom Clark, to resign because of a conflict of interest."
As the level of gun violence in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, continues to escalate, we see no real attempts to follow any of many solutions proposed. The MSR last week had an article on fathers needing to talk to their sons. Jamil Jivana has recently written Why Young Men, about solutions to combat the rise in violence committed by young men around the world (all colors),
On Friday, July 12, 2019, gunmen walked into the upscale, CRAVE roof top restaurant dat Hennepinn Avenue and 8th Street, in the heart of down town Minneapolis. Its was the latest violence in our city. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo say they have a plan. As of the writing of this column we are still waiting for the unveiling of their plan.
Gunfire has become a a new normal most nights and days, as we reported in recent columns (A city under siege, 6-20-19; A Paralyzed Nation Prepares for 2020, 6-27-19; How long will rage be the order of the day? July 11, 2019,). Our sister city of St. Paul, the state capital of Minnesota, is not far behind us in violence and mayhem.
The violence early Saturday morning, July 13, in down town Minneapolis, reflects a dangerous pattern of planning and implementing violence. The rioting and confrontation between party goers and law enforcement frightened both citizens and visitors to downtown Minneapolis. The same weekend , 20,000 young people from 13 countries of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, were holding a youth faith gathering at Vikings stadium.
I have warned about this. Predictions of both what is hoped for and what is hoped to be avoided reflect a decade of what some call the "new normal," which means leadership (community, government, corporate, profits and non-profits, TV, radio and print) step away from this violence as "normal" reflects the decision to not recognize the homicidal mentality as "this too shall pass," that this violence will subside, until, of course, the next time this now "normal" cycle circles back.
It was interesting to hear the comments of some who were interviewed by TV, cable, radio and print reporters and journalists, many offering a shell-shocked reflection of concern and fear of the "new normal" they have just lived through. The event caused panic up high, on the upscale roof top restaurant, as well as down on city streets, as leadership once again looked the other way, as if the carnage and chaos that erupted in the Twin Cities and surrounding metropolitan areas will self-contain and self-remove.
Belief in the "new normal" prevents confronting the truth of a city's violence that too often reminds us of TV and movie westerns of the wild west's changing "normals," as seen in such famous wild west place names as Northfield, Tombstone, Abilene, and Dodge City, including the famous outlaw criminals in early 20th century St. Paul.
Then the shootings are gone. Until, of course, the next time. For some, being startled beyond anything imaginable showed up as a temporary interruption of what was to have been a beautiful rooftop experience of a great evening and what had bee n assumed to be a safe activity to enjoy.
It is a sad commentary when Minneapolis sounds like a movie based on a violent novel of a distant past. Where are the touted solutions, or is their missing also part of the "new normal?"
A long wondered question: why has no organization, agency, person or leader asked about the solutions suggested in my 2002 book, my 16 years of columns since 2003, and the over 50 solutions on my Minneapolis Story web site?
We don't need future historians to look back to see what we already know, that on this 2019 fourth of July, America is a split nation, and therefore a dangerous nation, as the debate continues whether to heed Lincoln's prophetic words of "united we stand, divided we fall." Will we go forward with "malice toward none" or pay, again in Lincoln's words, the "full measure" of "lives and treasure" if we continue with malice?
How will future historians interpret our split of each half hating the other half? Will they record we took the dangerous, grim path of the French Revolution's "by any means necessary," or that we took the path of hope born of being thankful for America and work instead to heal the split and not make it wider?
Will future historians speak of us, as was spoken about the early 20th century civil war in Spain, the chilling words that the modern Spain that emerged "has nothing to do with what either side fought and died for." At least the USA ended slavery and segregation and set us on the path of our yet unfinished project of fully legalizing civil rights, unfinished due to violence against each other and remaining legal barriers. How will they say we handled such shootings as those in Minneapolis and St. Paul the Thursday and Friday before the 4th of July celebrations?
As of the crafting of this column, the top of community and government leadership, profit and non-profit leadership, have too often been silent. In some areas of the Twin Cities, such as the East side of St Paul and the North side of Minneapolis, people talk about sleeping in their bathtubs because of the death and injury potential of spraying bullets bringing death and injury.
We ask again, what is the anger that seems to be driving violence in America on this 4th of July? The Star Tribune, the Sunday before the 4th of July, highlighted statements of Minnesota's Attorney General, Keith Ellison, who talked about the hatred that is poisoning rural Minnesota, as if such hatred is new? It isn't new. The AG knows that for the 12 years he represented the 5th Congressional District, the 5th was long a hotbed of casualties and violence.
The article in the Star Tribune is an exception to the usual silence, whereas news stories and columnists of the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, have regularly reported on the violence, hate, and biases reflecting on America's unfinished project of evolving into united we stand instead of malice toward others.
The greatest proof of this sense of anger, frustration, and betrayal is the election of Donald Trump, as seen by the antagonism toward him by both Democrats and Republicans, and his support by leading religious groups, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant, or evangelical.
Democrats and Republicans fostered policies that led to 60,000 factories closing, sending millions of America's jobs to China, Mexico, and beyond. Now 100s of thousands of immigrants arrive to take existing jobs, playing ping pong with census and putting energy into destroying rather than building. Will our middle class continue to disappear as our southern border opens ever wider to new arrivals coming as a flood across the Rio Grande?
Langston Hughes, a leading light of the Harlem Renaissance movement summed up our problem with the title of his 1930 novel, "Not Without Laughter." As Maya Angelou opened her introduction to Hughes novel, "It is dangerous to believe a declaration of seriousness if the declarant has no sense of humor." We need to match the "little rocket man" DMZ sense of humor.
As we prepare for the General Election of 2020, many theories about the future abound in the Republican and Democratic parties, as around the world, as many aggressively discuss and debate what future action to take. Whose dreams about the future will prevail?
Under the surface of preparing and controlling our attempts to design and make the future is a disturbing fear: what does the future hold? How do movies influence our dreams, movie such as "1984," "War of the Worlds," "Back to the Future," "Planet of the Apes," "Soylent Green," and "Mad Max?" Are these warnings or predictions? Will we think and act wisely about our future? As Steve Jobs said in 1983, "The Future Isn't What It Used to Be."
Some of us remember the 1941 book, Escape from Freedom," about the fear of freedom that causes people to seek safety in authoritarians, dictators, and various "leaders,' whether liberal or conservative, whether government or non-government, whether tribal around identity or special interests, who want to tell us peace and our safety will be ours if we just follow them.
Again I ask: what thinkers in our institutions and in our communities, will aid us in maintaining some balance regarding the perspectives and overviews that can help us understand the actions to take to achieve the prize and avoid fear and paralysis? We have offered over 50 solution papers for the conversation.
Who will survive the 2020 election? A white person? An African American? A man? A woman? Regardless, any president's policy successes are ours, just as any president's policy failures are ours as well. As we move forward, ponder well the 2020 election and the history, promises, and achievements of its cast of characters. Out of the group of over 20, who will bring a vision and action to get us out of our paralysis? Will we think for ourselves?
The world's nations don't seem comfortable offering peace. Whose foreign future vision will prevail? America's? China's? Russia's? Iran's? Africa's? Venuezuela's?
Many theories are kicked around for how to play the peace and diplomacy game other than just hoping for the best. Many are understandably afraid, given so much doubt and hatred based on religion and race, and on envy and resentment. Much thus comes down to fear. The fear of losing our way of life, the fear of losing our wealth, the fear of losing our future, the fear of losing our communities.
So, let's think of great minds around the world that are trying to think through the fear and apprehension, through the anger and frustration. In America, African Americans understand apprehension and fear better than most, as they have experienced it the most, with Native Americans understanding it even more.
Should we play the game, ignore today' fears and failures, and say we'll succeed tomorrow? Will there be a tomorrow for a next time? Far too many people have only hope to get by toanother day. What will be our options as we move towards the election of 2020? Only the Almighty can answer these questions. We need to hear voices that know what they are talking about. Absent such thinkers' voices, fear will prevail, not peace. Will we move forward or backward?
Not since Minneapolis was called "Murderopolis" have Twin City African America communities felt agony from failed answers for dealing with violence in our communities. During a period two weeks ago, eight African American women were shot and wounded in five separate incidents in the Twin Cities, including women stabbed in the middle of Hennepin Avenue.
The East Side of St. Paul has become a battle ground for gang violence, with the Rondo Dale community especially feeling the results of renewed violence, just as in North and South Minneapolis, as violence devastates communities.
The Twin Cities are not alone. For example, in a two-week period recently, in Chicago, nearly 100 were shot or stabbed.
There is great concern in many quarters regarding violence. Families go to bed at night and wake up in the morning to sounds of gunfire. Official and unofficial meetings and conversations, continue in government and in profits and non-profits, including churches, think tanks, universities and policy centers, not to mention demonstrations.
Across America, will we again follow Martin Luther King's non-violence approach, and judge others by their character and not their color or shade of color, or will we continue with violence in response to words in reports, newspapers and oral comments?
Some say violence in all its forms is creating a brain drain, a kind of brain flight from the African American communities, as problem solvers in Black communities bail out, as seen, for example, in California, Illinois, New York and Minnesota, as they head for places like Arizona, Atlanta, Texas, Washington DC., etc. ).
Do those leaving know something the rest of us don't know or won't consider?
Could it be that when talk at meetings and printed words in plans, programs, new papers and social media, whether official or unofficial, don't solve problems, brains seem to move on to ply their rhetoric elsewhere? Are guns and other forms of violence to then become the order of the day?
Elected and appointed officials are more cautious as their approaches to solving violence fail. Will any of the $2 million of the the $20M settlement in the case of Mohammed Noor go to fighting violence rather than to just reward the family of the victim?
The Minneapolis Foundation, among others, claims to have solutions implementable by the right people and organizations to solve problems. Why haven't they been able to effectively address gun, knife, and fist violence in families, schools, work places, neighborhoods, streets and alleys, after solution words were put on paper?
When leaders and thinkers abandon their communities, hopelessness follows. Needed are actions to not only provide positive visions for African American communities, as brains flee, but to also raise up local brains that will stay.
The pattern: unkept promises to verify real project employment numbers. Could this be another reason for both continued violence, whether by guns, knives, or fists, and the brain drain / brain flight?
When will success claims finally be authenticated for such specific projects and their results, such as the Hollman Project in the late 1990s - 2000s, or, since then, street and rail projects, professional stadiums and ball parks, and other private sector, government and education building projects? Or will a major result be the on-going lowering of confidence in African American community leaders, who too often talk the walk but do not walk their talk to reduce violence?
Is leadership silent in exchange for being quiet about violence and racial division visions that will never come, as they who developed the failed visions wait quietly to leave town? We have strong suspicions that this is what it is.
Most violent weekend in Chicago this year: At least 52 shot, 10 fatally...
The level of violence, which typically spikes during the summer months, eclipsed that of the three-day Memorial Day weekend, when at least 43 people were shot, seven of them fatally.
As of the writing of this column, President Donald Trump and his advisors are continuing to play their own "game of thrones" with countries who would do the U.S. harm.
As I wrote in my July 6, 2019 column, the biggest thrones confronting the United States and the world, include:
With the exception of Russia, these countries are all nations of color.
With Trump's direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton have become messengers of potential war and death. How much conflict will the president stir up, let simmer, and then stir up again?
The U.S. has troops stationed in nearly 150 countries, with some 800 military bases around the world, 76 in Latin America. We are still involved in armed conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Africa. Now what?
It makes one wonder what Trump's understanding is of the various parts of the world. Is he properly educated on the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between North and South Korea, the Persian Gulf states, and Latin America, as he flirts with danger?
Currently, 28,000 Americans are in the DMZ that separates North and South Korea. And what about the nearly three million Arab and Persian soldiers in the Persian Gulf, not to mention the 128,000 in the Venezuela military in a country twice the size of Iraq?
Does the Trump administration understand what the casualty figures could be, with so many troops used as chips in this game of thrones? But, the question that must always be asked is what would be "acceptable" casualties in any conflict? What is an acceptable casualty figure for both sides of the current state of affairs? How are casualties seen as worth it?
The American public does not know how to ask those questions nor the question of what makes an American. Americans are actually more apprehensive of war today than in the early days following Sept. 11, although some Trump supporters won't admit it.
What is Trump's rationale? What is his voice of logic and reason? Without a voice of reason, the result could be great tragedy between now and the 2020 election.
This is not like shopping in a supermarket, starring in a hit series about war or play-acting at an amusement park. This is serious.
Is Trump marching to the 1930 drums of former UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain while playing the game of Munich? Do we really know? Those too young to remember are part of the masses who do not recognize how dangerous this world situation is.
Trump. Pompeo. Bolton. Are these three horsemen of the apocalypse riding toward death and mayhem, expecting nations to follow them over the cliff — and not ask questions?
We ask the president: how many lives will be lost in this continued quest to establish this "game of thrones" legacy? God help us all, and God bless America.
As of the writing of this column, Donald Trump and his advisors continue to play their game of thrones with those who would do us harm. Donald Trump clearly has a list of countries he is willing to confront.
The biggest thrones challenging us are:
Let's be mindful that with the exception of Russia, these countries are nations of color.
The United States raised most countries from the rubble of World War II (including the "axis" of Germany, Japan, and Italy, as well as England and France). We have troops stationed in nearly 150 countries, with some 800 military bases around the world, 76 in Latin America. We are still involved in armed conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Africa. Now what?
How much conflict will the President stir up, let simmer, and then stir up again? The question that must always be asked, as I did in this column a year ago: what would be "acceptable" casualties in any conflict? How are casualties seen as worth it?
Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security advisor Bolton are messengers of potential war and death. Americans are more apprehensive today than the early days after 9/11, although some Trump supporters won't admit it.
As we said in this column several weeks ago, this Republic has been blessed since 1776, with leaders who were American heroes, including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, and JFK. What is Trump's rationale? What is his voice of "logic" and "reason?"
Without a voice of reason, the result could be great tragedy between now and the 2020 election. One wonders what Donald Trump's understanding is of the various parts of the world, especially the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between North and South Korea, the Persian Gulf states, and Latin America? Is he flirting with danger or being realistic?
We ask the President: what is an acceptable casualty figure for both sides? Currently, 28,000 Americans are in the DMZ that separates North and South Korea. And what about the nearly 3 million Arab and Persian soldiers in the Persian Gulf, not to mention the 128,000 in the Venezuela military, in a country twice the size of Iraq?
The Trump Administration understands what the casualty figures could be, with many troops used as chips in this game. The American Public does not know how to ask that question nor the question of what makes an American?
This is not like shopping in a super market nor like making a motion picture in Hollywood or play acting at an amusement park. This is serious. Is Donald Trump marching to the drummer whose name was Neville Chamberlain while playing the game of Munich? Us "oldsters" know. Those too young to remember are part of the masses who do not recognize how dangerous this administration could be. Trump. Pompeo. Bolton. The three horsemen of the apocalypse, riding toward death and mayhem, who expect nations to follow them over the cliff and not ask questions.
The saga of Mohammed Noor has ended. A jury of his peers found him guilty on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, of the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, in 2017, the first time a Minnesota police officer has been found guilty of an on-duty murder, charging Noor with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The jury acquitted him of the most serious count — second-degree murder.
The Star Tribune reported that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman has "defended every prevous police shooting investigation his office has reviewed — and cleared of criminal wrongdoing — as "superb."
Three days later, Fri, May 3rd, at 6 am, Mohammed Noor was taken by a rented Greyhound bus to the Minnesota maximum security prison at Oak Parks Heights. He is to be sentenced by the Judge on June 7th. No major newspaper, as of the writing of this story, has reported Noor's circumstances.
Judges signing orders to remove prisoners from the Hennepin County Jail to the Minnesota Super max, are not required to provide factual information, other than to say it was for security reasons. That is broad and vague and is fraught with additional opportunity for cruel and unusual punishment for this man of color. The rumors are that Mohammed Noor will not survive inside that notorious super max prison.
The nation is aware that the most severe punishment, short of his death, has been imposed. The Star Tribune talks of an appeal but it is, in our opinion, that Mohammed Noor will never survive to know the results of his appeal. We would be remiss in this column if we did not point out that in order to silence the Somali community, their leadership has been told that deportation of even native born Somalis will take place if they are publicly critical of the prosecution of the trial and of his current imprisonment in the super max prison facility at Oak Park Heights.
Questions easily come to mind. Is this is another return to a time of selective acts of slavery, when there were no rights that a black person had, that the white justice system was just for whites.? Is the respect here modeled after Guantanamo and the secret courts? We were a tad surprised that Mr. Noor's attorney of record did not immediately let the general public know the actions taken against Mr. Noor, and the dangers he faces in regards to his life and future survival.
It is no accident that Mr. Noor is being housed in close proximity to neo-Nazis and was transferred with sympathizers that were being transferred from the Iowa prison in Ft. Madison, Iowa.
Why is there such a lack of concern for the future safety of Mohammed Noor?. All that the communities of color can do is pray for his survival and safety. $20 million goes a long way in determining what types of things have to happen to facilitate the ultimate vendetta against Mohammed Noor. Contrary to what is being said, it is about race, and it is a warning to the sons and daughters of the African regarding what the future could hold in justice and liberty that have become fake declarations. We are not seeing the justice of white justice on display.
It has not gone unnoticed that we also saw Black justice that week, when Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, intervened, after the Noor verdict, to get the settlement talks in the Jamar Clark lawsuit resumed, that has been shamefully delayed for over 2 years. Jamar Clark was shot dead by police in 2015.
Will there be a "transformative" amount for the Clark family as for Damon family.
Ed. notes from Ron:
On Monday, April 22, President Donald Trump and the Trump organization filed suit against the U.S. House of Representatives House Oversight Committee (chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland), suing to prevent the financial records of the Trump organizations and family from being obtained from their accounting firm.
This is setting a legal precedent of a President suing the country of which he is the President. It will be the fact forever attached to his name, that the Donald Trump suing the USA was also the President of the USA.
This will test the limits of the Supreme Court of the United States (referred to as SCOTUS). - My analysis is that President Trump seems to expect the 9-member Supreme Court to vote in favor of his case when it reaches the Court, overturning the 535 members of Congress (Senators plus Representatives). But the votes that will truly judge this case will be the millions of voters who vote in the election of 2020.
We said in this column two weeks ago that this president is going to wear down the stamina and the energy of the SCOTUS, despite advisors convinced this is not the path to take, just as members of Congress have determined the path of multiple investigations and, potentially, impeachment (also against advisors). Will these paths combine to shred the Constitution and create more division? Will the SCOTUS represent a greater support platform for the president than the congress and the American public? At stake is the stability of our country.
The president continues to say the US economy and military are as strong as they have ever been in our history. Will this last? Will it be temporary under Trump? Can Democrats act such that it brings the country together to make the good news long lasting and not temporary? Is this nation tough enough, strong enough, committed enough and honest enough to show the courage to bring the nation back together again? Our question is not about the prosperity bus but about who will be pushed to the back of the prosperity bus. This is about both parties, as seen in this April 24, 2019 Star Tribune headline, about Democratic Governor Tim Walz's proposed budget: Lowest income-Minnesotans hit hardest by Gov. Tim Walz.
Let's be candid about 2020: the two parties have made their bets about which path to take. Yet I see no contender in the Democratic Party nor any challenger in the Republican Party who are prepared to provide the leadership this country so desperately needs for results that are long term, not just short term.
Americans have long had the confidence that someone who would always step up to take the challenge and be victorious. My chilling feeling is that the messenger we await is not about to arrive. How will "Trump vs. the United states of America" go? A frightening question. It does not bode well for unity nor for preserving the importance and efficacy of the nation's Constitution, especially if either party sacrifices "We the people" for "we the party," and hold "life" and "liberty" and "the pursuit of happiness" for one side and not for the other side?
This is what the 1st amendment and USA ideas for institutions of democracy are all about. Those who wish to tinker with what we call the United States of America must first offer a prayer for strength and guidance for how and for which path. That is what the court case Trump vs. the USA will be about: which path. Let us pray for strength, vision, and the wisdom for this decision. God knows we need that. Hence our prayers.
Article On April 8 2019, Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance gaveled the opening of the trial of Mohammed Noor, former Minneapolis police officer, on trial for the July 15, 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
The shooting tragedy for both sides is not denied. For some, the shooting death shall forever live in infamy. For others, the legal process up to this point has been one of suspicion, as seen in legal questions reported by the Star Tribune the morning of the first day of the trial, that the presiding judge changed her mind to allow showing video to the public, due to the intervening in this trial by both official Minneapolis and multiple news organizations.
Originally charged with 3rd degree murder and 1st degree manslaughter, County Attorney Michael Freeman, a year later, in 2018, fresh from victory of being elected for another four-year term, upgraded the charge against Mohammed Noor to 2nd degree murder. This is the first time in the history of Minnesota that a peace officer has been charged with both offenses.
In our next column, in two weeks, we will write of the significance of the racial complexion of the jury. There has already been controversy in regard to the number of both media and citizens that will be allowed in one of the smallest courtrooms in the government center. The Australian media has almost as many seats as the American media, by order of the presiding judge.
According to Anglo Saxon law, the prosecution goes first. In presenting its case against Mohammed Noor, the prosecution may call as many as 50 witnesses who allegedly have knowledge regarding the shooting, even though only four were in the alley. Prosecution witnesses will tell their stories, attempting to reflect on Mohammed Noor in the most negative of ways. The complexities are why the Judge has indicated why it is often difficult for a trial to be fair. In our March 21, 2019 column, we acknowledged this regarding any trial pursuing justice. Justice is based on rules. In our March 15 2018 column, we wrote that it appeared that part of the Noor trial will be based on a mis-interpretation of the Minnesota Constitution.
Among the questions we hope the trial answers is who, other than the homicide detectives, called Justine's fiancé in his room at his hotel in NYC (or Las Vegas; we have heard both). And who from the Minneapolis Police Department called government 0fficials in Australia and provided information to Australia's Prime Minister Turnbull, alleging the violent nature and the poor training of Black officers in the Minneapolis Police Department?
What calls were made on the night of July 15 and early morning of July 16? Were these calls authorized by the command staff in the MPD? These questions are reinforced by articles presented in Australian papers and by other Australian media.
After a little over two years, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has forwarded his findings to the Attorney General of the United States (a 4-page summary is on line, as we wait for more). The report's conclusion of "no collusion" between Trump and his campaign with the Russians, has Democrats and mainstream journalists in a meltdown, as the belief is how else could Trump have beaten Hillary?
This "no collusion conclusion" reveals how many elected and appointed politicians, and their staffs, including 2020 candidates, and the journalists that spread their talking points, have not only fooled us, but that they have believed only their view could prevail, demonstrating how little they understand about the difference between their views and the Constitution's directives that govern the process in general and how the Congress failed to follow its own Special Counsel rules.
We can only conclude that Cable TV and print media are exposed as being intellectually shallow, historically ignorant, incompetent and lacking in knowledge and understanding of the constitution and the USA institutions entrusted to them for safeguarding the rights of American citizens now and into the future, including the Constitution's rules for political engagement and all matters pertaining to the election of 2016. Legislators and mainstream journalists should be embarrassed.
These legislators and journalists, the alleged guardians of the constitution, have been behaving as little children on a political playground, where name calling and petty actions expose their laziness and lack of understanding of what they should have understood about the Special Counsel's report, dragging the American public through their bureaucratic mud.
House Democrats are setting Mueller's report aside, ordering eighty-one new investigations, as both Maxine Waters and House Judicial Committee Chairman Adler have said the Mueller report is not the end but instead just the beginning of investigating trump.
One can only imagine how many law suits from legislative committees and various public interest groups will flow from these 81 investigations, the result of which will exhaust the Supreme Court with endless cases of litigation.
News outlets (print, broadcast and digital), including those in the Twin Cities, will also be exhausted by all the moves and counter moves. Will it take a second civil war between the political left and right to bring order?
Abraham Lincoln said "Truth is generally the best vindication against slander." With all the counter "truths," which truth will prevail? What will be the price paid by main stream media for misleading readers and viewers for over two years with the claim that Muellers report would show that all was "settled:" that Trump colluded with the Russians to defeat Hilary.
I know how difficult it will be for some to accept my conclusion that "Vladamir Putin has won," as the campaign dossier that started all of this was aided and abetted by Russia's meddling, which it has done for over 30 years. Russia/Putin's success in helping to control and interfere in the American election has gone beyond anything those in the Kremlin could have dreamt up.
Many ask how this will affect the 2020 election. Both sides say it will help their side get elected. Whichever way it goes after the meltdown over the Mueller Report's unexpected "no collusion" conclusion, the questions remain: will "God Bless America?" "Will God help deliver us from mainstream journalism's ineptness, laziness, and indifference? How long will "America the beautiful" remain America the confused and duped? Finally, will American sons and daughters have to fall on internal fields of battle in order to preserve this nation?
Offer a prayer not only for yourself but for all of us. We will need it.
Two important, high profile trials will soon take place in Minneapolis regarding Mohammed Noor and Terrance Franklin.
The first is the April trial of Mohammed Noor, the former Minneapolis Police officer, accused of murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Justine Damond, July 15, 2017. Justine Damon, was a white Australian citizen. See my August 3, 2017 and my March 1 and July 5, 2018 columns.
The second trial, ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court, will deal with the violent death of Terrance Franklin at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers in the basement of a house in South Minneapolis, six years ago, was originally scheduled for April also. It has been postponed until October.
As we have noted before, the Minnesota State Constitution states that the decision of whether to indict or not indict is the purview of the Grand Jury, once empaneled, not the county attorney, which violated Noor's constitutional rights.
With the US Supreme Court's order in late 2017, to go to trial, the quest for justice for Terrance Franklin is finally upon us. See my 2013 columns of May 22, May 29, June 12, June 19.
In the case of former police officer Mohammed Noor, it is difficult to see how he will get a fair trial in the 2nd degree murder charge laid against him.
Both trials will test the scales of fairness and justice in our city.
The Appellate Law Firm in Washington D.C., argued the merits of the case of Terrance Franklin, for the trustee of his estate, his father Walter Louis Franklin II, Terrance Franklin's suing heir.
Minneapolis is the hardened defendant pursuing the idea that the pursuit of justice for the one will never be overcome by the quest of evasion by the many.
Many may pretend that they have forgotten the case of the death of Terrance Franklin, but it was the united decision of the US Supreme Court that justce would not be denied to Terrance Franklin and his heirs. His father, Walter Frankln, is to be admired for the tenacious pursuit of justice for his son.
The city is said to have agreed to settle for millions of dollars in the cae of Terance Franlin, but as of the writing of this column, we cannot find in the archives any such offer.
These trials will provide true testing, for the future of fairness and integrity in Minneapolis courts. Some felt the pursuit of justice would ever complete the cycle of lying about the brutal killing of Terrance Franklin six years ago. Finally we will hear of the circumstances, the facts, and the last moments of Terrance Franklin's life begore he was shot and killed in that basement.
The City of Minneapolis has protected wrong doing in the death of Franklin. It will be interesting to see how the federal trial judge rules on motions by the City of Minneapolis to block testimoney that is extremely embarrassing to the city and the calculated actions attempted by the city to cover the wrongful death of Terrance Franklin.
In is sad that for the exception of law firms and this column, the Frankloin family has had to sand alone. Before the decision of the US Supreme Court, the city felt it had it all figured out. Who would have thought that the US Supreme court would order that Terrance Franklin would had his day in court.
The cases of Mohammed Noor and Terrance Franklin shall be a demanding task in the pursuit of justice and race relations in the state of Minnesota.,
As we predicted a month ago, conflict, violence and death has erupted along the Venezuela - Columbia border. No one knows the true casualty figures, although foreign news media are indicating it is, so far, a small number of persons shot and killed. On the Venezuela – Brazil border, large caravans of trucks with food and medicine for the Venezuela people from the UN's World Health Organization, have been halted and prevented from entering by Venezuela's self-proclaimed leader, Arturo Maduro (America, most Latin American countries, and key European countries do not recognize Maduro as the legitimate leader).
The Trump Administration assured the American public and the rest of the world that the Venezuelan military would turn on the Maduro regime, causing it to fall. As of this writing, the Maduro government still stands. Will it continue to? As American propaganda is being promoted, Russia, China and Cuba continue to build fortifications and pour assets into Venezuela, in support of Maduro.
The mishandled Venezuelan crises situation is the result of poor planning by America, Venezuela, and other countries.
Venezuela is crucial, as what happens in Venezuela will directly affect the the Black and Hispanic communities of the Twin Cities. As we have noted before, in the 1960s, both Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez went to the border and asked that it be closed, as those crossing the open border were taking jobs that Blacks and Hispanics would have had, and caused wages for those working to be suppressed. For 50 years, both political parties have let this continue, for their own purposes.
In the meantime, it is clear to the trained eye that Donald Trump is taking advantage of helpful diversions, including the meetings he had in Hanoi, Vietnam, the week of February 27, with Vietnam's President Nguyen Phu Trong, and then with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as his upcoming meeting in March, at Mar-a-lago, with Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping.
Many are still trying to decipher Donald Trump's playbook (it has been reported that many are seeking clues in Trump's book, The Art of the Deal). Yet Trump is absolutely predictable, which suggests Nancy Pelosi and the new team of Democrats in Congress need to study harder to better understand his playbook.
The same disappointment holds regarding America 4th estate, which has also not figured out the rules of engagement with Trump nor with the special counsel's playbooks, regarding perceived do's, don'ts and can'ts.
In the late spring of this year, expect the United States Supreme Court to be called upon to rule on the moving big political board constitutional pieces of power regarding the authority of the executive branch of the American government. How long will America's future remain in the hands of those in Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, who continue to act as children on a New York city playground? Government, complex and challenging, needs grown ups to recognize fairness, not just power, to maintain equality of opportunity for all, not just for partisan party favorites.
We are reminded of the adults like Thurgood Marshall and colleagues who dealt with Jim Crow by avoiding childish fits of violence and keeping their eyes on the prize. When they found the tough task of undoing Jim Crow causing them "distressed moments," they turned to the single dissent of Justice John Marshall Harlan, a former slave owner, in the "separate but equal" ruling of Plessy v Ferguson, who "grew up" to write that the Constitution as amended (and especially the 14th amendment), "removed the race line from our governmental systems" and prohibited any arbitrary separation of citizens "on the basis of color." We urge the elected and appointed officials in Congress and state houses, to seek that same vision that Thurgood Marshall found in our Constitution.
What does the recent gun and drug violence in Minneapolis say to those considering coming to Minneapolis for the NCAA's "March Madness" Men's Final Four Basketball Championship?
Gun violence is escalating in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Citizens learned two and a half weeks ago on their early Sunday news that five had been shot in both affluent and poor neighborhoods.
Two white professional women, mother and daughter, one in her 60s, the other in her mid-40s, were shot and killed in their luxury apartment in downtown Minneapolis, in the same neighborhood as Mayor Jacob Fry. The Chamber of Commerce and other important leaderships demanded explanations from city officials. regarding the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the women in their luxury apartment, just across the river from the Federal Reserve.
The murderer, a next door neighbor, was soon arrested for the killing of the two women.
Two individuals were shot in their car in North Minneapolis, and another person was shot and wounded in the uptown area of south Minneapolis.
Previous to those incidents, on Tuesday February 5th, a Minneapolis School District bus driver was shot and wounded on the exit of 35W and Chicago Avenue, collateral damage of road rage of others. The only student on board, a five-year-old child, was endangered. The school bus driver, a 78-year-old American military veteran, threw himself across the beautiful 5-year-old African American child to shield her when the man attempted to enter the bus to continue shooting.
The driver was shot in the head and arm by an individual wearing a security guard uniform. Police arrived within a minute and apprehended the shooter.
The shooter was a man who had shot and killed a 16-year-old African American in 2015, a man who is a Mall Cop, and one who patrols the Hawthorn Crossing in the African American community.
Two women came to the aid of the bus driver by blocking the bus door, preventing the shooting of the little girl.
The gunman claimed that he was shooting in self-defense. But defending against who? The 78-year-old driver on a bus? The 5-year-old child? The law is clear: it is not considered defense when shooting multiple times.
But there was more than just gun violence. The drug epidemic is also taking a toll. These events cause people to feel unsafe on the streets, unsafe in their homes, and unsafe as they go about their business.
These issues need to be addressed, and done so effectively and swiftly. For some reason, Minneapolis police tell us that auto stops are down 79% and drug arrests are down 45%, showing they are good at keeping records. But we must ask the question of whether there is something lacking in the implementation of solutions leaving these dangerous problem to continue.
In this column, our prayers go to the deceased and to those being threatened. We do not believe this is the Minneapolis that was sold to the NCAA for their 2019 Final Four Championship finals in this city. We hope that the host committee will not be embarrassed by a city that has become unsafe and dangerous, as they prepare for the Final Four in April.
Police: School bus driver shot after crash on I-94 in Minneapolis - Fox 9: www.fox9.com/news/police-1-shot-after-crash-on-i-35w-in-minneapolis
Feb 5, 2019 - MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A school bus driver was shot on westbound Interstate 94 between 11th and Chicago avenues in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon following an altercation between two drivers. Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder said the State Patrol responded to reports of a ...
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Betrayal is a dangerous charge against anyone entrusted with a nation's security. As this column is being written, the nation is on edge, waiting to know whether to trust President Trump with the protection of America and its constitution. Our nation's safety and security hang in the balance.
The latest allegations that Trump is in collusion with and has greater obedience and relationship to Russia and Vladimir Putin than to America are chilling and not to be dismissed lightly. If true, they threaten the very foundation of the institutions of America's democracy, as this column has long reported.
The reports in newspapers, magazines and journals, broadcast news programs and investigative specials, combined with the review of court filings against the presidents' associates and others, have exposed a potential dark side of those involved in the governance of our country.
The president keeps saying there was no collusion. But, the level of discomfort in our democratic institutions represents clear and present dangers — the kinds that cause nations and their democratic institutions to fail.
One way or another, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his ongoing investigation will state whether the allegations against the president are seen as true or not true.
"I don't know what that report is going to have in it," said Representative Elijah Cummings during an appearance on 60 Minutes on January 13. "One thing I do know, though, is whatever it is, even if it exonerates the president… I want … the Congress to have it, and I want the public to have it so that everybody can make a judgment," he said.
"We are in a fight for the soul of our democracy," added Rep. Cummings. "This is serious business."
As chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Rep. Cummings will be empowered — and this is key — with constitutional authority to both compel testimony and demand documents, especially those Republicans who have heretofore blocked. As CBS News reported, "the committee has the constitutional authority to investigate anything it wants…making Cummings one of the most powerful people in Washington."
Losing the House may have been the best thing for Republicans, for who would believe Muellers' report? This is why so many Republicans are uneasy, wondering whether the man who was entrusted with America's security is guilty of the allegations of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Not since the secession crisis of 1860 has this country been faced with a constitutional crisis as grave as this one. The branches of government were designed to include everyone — "we the people" — which is why it is imperative that the political parties of this nation quickly devise, commit to and implement a compromise and strategy that will preserve the Articles of the United States Constitution.
Failure to do so will clearly guarantee the collapse of the institutions of government that have been the foundation of the United States of America.
And, Americans need to admit our concern regarding the strengths and the institutions, which have served and protected the United States of America since 1777 (notwithstanding slavery, Jim Crow, treatment of American Indians, and ongoing civil rights battles).
In the meantime, we await Mueller's word. With Cummings and the Democrats in charge, the fear that Mueller's report will be suppressed and lead to a constitutional crisis that would make Watergate pale in comparison is greatly reduced.
Future historians will identify 2019 as a year crucial to determining America's future. There will be a lot of volatility as America continues dividing into opposing factions that attempt to control the others. Only time will tell who will attain and hold the high ground. Consider these 11 questions for 2019, in no particular order. Responses will impact our future:
It is too early to predict success or failure. We'll know more by the middle of 2019.
Given the conditions we face as a nation, now more than ever is the time to offer prayers for the stability of all communities in 2019, and to offer help and hope to each other.
This column will follow events closely, and report to our readers the issues of the day, and the consequences of the results regarding attempts and failures of daily actions regarding these issues. We will watch these areas and conditions, especially in terms of the seven central theme areas we have written about since 2003:, education, jobs, housing, public safety, safe environment, governing and local economic development, as well as the contests over the ideas presented on how to deal with these issues, as we evaluate how communities of color deal with those seeking to either stabilize or destabilize our communities.
It may sound complex but really it is not. There will be patterns of success and failure based on events and conditions that we in our various communities already expect and already have solutions to propose for our problems, our issues, and our future.
About my new book: A Seat for Everyone
We are all part of a great country that still has what Lincoln called "unfinished business," about which Martin Luther King, Jr. said we can no longer wait to have it completed.
Thanks to all who have offered congratulations and asked questions. You can order the book on my publisher's website, www.beacononthehill.com. It is subtitled "The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America."
The sad part is that this is a book that should have been written by the NAACP, the Urban League, the leadership forum, or the ministers association. They have remained silent. Worse: acquiescent silence.
The Urban League tossed Nellie Stone Johnson and me out a while back, and five years ago the NAACP national expelled me for writing my first book. So much for the First Amendment.
I will not be silent. I will not lie down. Sadly, our once young and energetic civil rights leaders have atrophied and become keepers of the status quo they once fought against. They have brought the Civil Rights Movement to a standstill in the inner city.
My hope is that, win or lose, the candidacy of Barack Obama rejuvenates the Civil Rights Movement with its lost energy and enables it to again refocus its eye on the prize, a seat for everyone, not just for the self-appointed leaders who now serve the mastuh. They have their seats at the table. I say there must be a seat for everyone.
You won't read about what is in my book in the Star Tribune and mainstream media. They don't want you to read all the news, only the news they want you to read. Only the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder provides you with the news they won't.
A Seat for Everyone: The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America discusses the major status quo areas that have shown little or no progress: inner-city education, jobs, housing and public safety. I also reference key past columns and where to find them on my Minneapolis Story website.
Also discussed in detail are the two historic lawsuits against the Minneapolis Police Department brought by Black officers. The conditions resulting in this litigation have had a profound impact on public safety in our city and in the City/MPD's treatment of its Black officers. The outcome will also have significant impacts.
Minneapolis is so delusional that it has defined "minorities" to include so many "diverse" groups that it proudly boasts it can now comply with minority hiring without having to hire Blacks. My book discusses this insult as well. Why is everyone else silent about this?
A unique feature is that the book "marries" the online world with that of traditional book publishing. I present my argument in less than 100 pages. This slim volume (literally, as it is easy to put it in your pocket and carry around for easy reference) includes five columns and one blog essay and lists additional columns that can easily be found at: www.TheMinneapolisStory.com/tocarchives.htm.
The book presents a beacon of hope for the current lows in inner-city education, jobs, housing, and public safety. We need to work together to stand up for Black youth and stop waiting for the city government and its teachers unions as they continue to lie down also, rather than stand up for our kids in our schools.
It all starts with education. As Nellie always stated, "No education, no jobs, no housing." Senator Obama would add, "No hope." My book brings hope back to the discussion.
A note from my publisher
From Beacon on the Hill: "Thank you, Mr. Edwards, for allowing us space to announce more details about the publication last week of your new book, A Seat for Everyone: The Freedom Guide that Explores a Vision for America. We want your readers know that they can not only learn more about it on our website, www.BeaconOnTheHill.com, they can also order the book on that site.
"Mr. Edwards presents his arguments and vision in just 55 pages. The rest of this slim volume (easy to put it in your pocket and carry around for easy reference) lists specific columns that can be found in the archive at: www.TheMinneapolisStory.com/tocarchives.htm. He combines the printed word with the new online world of the Internet in a small package that packs a giant wallop.
"In addition to covering major Minneapolis civil rights events, Mr. Edwards shares with his readers the background to the historical lawsuit by the Black police officers of Dec. 3, 2007, against the city and the department."
Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order Ron's books at Beacon on the Hill Press. Hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” on this site, www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.
Permission is granted to reproduce The Minneapolis Story columns, blog entires and solution papers. Please cite the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder and www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for the columns. Please cite www.TheMinneapolisStory.com for blog entries and solution papers.
Ron's media message platforms:
See Solution Papers for resolving black and white leadership comflicts that block achieving civil rights goals: a seat at the Minneapolis table for everone.
Available for lectures, presentations, and for leading seminars or workshops.
Contact Ron Edwards 763-228-1748, or Beacon on the Hill Press (503) 913-3849.
Inaugural Column: The Minneapolis Story Continues, Through My Eyes, 2003 - 2019
March 26, 2003: Freedom's Prize: Equal Access, Equal Opportunity
For 40 years in Minneapolis I have fought for the Civil Rights prize of equality's liberty and freedom for all. It is an honor and a pleasure to greet you the readers of the Spokesman-Recorder as your newest columnist, as I share with you the continued struggle to achieve equal access and equal opportunity for all. I will ask the question, "how, is/are (fill in the blank), promoting or retarding equal access and equal opportunity in Minneapolis, in such areas as politics (including elections and redistricting); police-community relations (including mediation); jobs/wages (including contract compliance), housing (including Hollman/Heritage Park), education; Black-White leadership (including the Urban League, the NAACP, and the City Council); and raising up young Black men. I will record the words spoken and the actions taken in Minneapolis that answer those question, and which show the "state of the city" in terms of equal access and equal opportunity.
I will write from the perspective of seven themes: (1) encouraging everyone not to take their eyes off liberty's prize: freedom and equality; (2) working to include everyone at the table set by Minneapolis, seeking equal access and equal opportunity for everyone; (3) to tell it like it is, as I see it through my eyes, based on my past experience in Civil Rights activism in Minneapolis (16 years as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission, 1968-1973 and 1979-1983; 11 years as President of the Minneapolis Urban League and 17 years on the Executive Committee 1971-1989; work with the NAACP as Housing Chairman 1999-2002 and Executive Committee 1999-2002; and Spokesperson for the Black Police Officer's Association, 1996-Present); (4) recognizing that no one group has a monopoly on truth although each has part of the truth, and to speak of the truths as well as the falsehoods of both the political right and the political left, as we seek that common ground on which we can all stand from which to work together to solve common problems; (5) expose racial injustice, best described in James Baldwin's phrase, that the system is geared to keep the ni**er in his place; (6) update these topics from my new book, "The Minneapolis Story, Through My Eyes, which is available from Beacon On The Hill Press and from Amazon.com. Finally, (7) to join with Spokesman readers in the common cause to make Minneapolis a better place for everyone. This column, like my book, will pull the covers back and expose the Minneapolis experiments in racial injustice, whether carried out by Whites or Blacks or both, just as I do weekly on my "Black Focus" program on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-7 p.m.
The Minneapolis Story is not only good for Minneapolis, it is good for America. It is a story that needs to be told. There are many upset by events "out there" as they cry out for peace in the world. I cry out for peace in Minneapolis. But I tell you that unless there is justice there and here, along with freedom, there can be no peace there and here. We must promote liberty over slavery, truth over lies, and freedom over dependency, in our common search for justice, fairness and freedom as well as dignity and trust. That refers to state and local budgets as well.
Like you, I want Minneapolis to be a city where the imperatives of the human spirit can shine through. I want a city where healthy, well-educated children will grow up into healthy well-educated adults. We need to prepare our young people, especially our young Black men, for real work in real places and end policies resulting in so many young Black men winding up in jail, abandoning the families they have started, and not contributing positively to their communities. We must all work together to end the cycle of abuse, be it by us on each other or by the power structures of our community. We have to clean up our own doorsteps as we complain about the doorsteps of others. Will we, as a Black and White community, pay more attention to those we have left behind? Will we work harder, now, before they get re-arrested and taken back to jail? Because I keep telling my publisher to "put this up on the web," they are working on creating a Web Log (or Blog) for me to use on www.The MinneapolisStory.com, where I will make comments between these weekly columns. And if you have things you would like me to comment on, send me an Email at Edwards@BeaconOnTheHill.com.
--- LEGACY RECAPS FROM 2011 ---
1. Record of city's purposeful and intentional practice in list of 20 columns posted 11-22-11: Disparity and Non-Compliance: how Minneapolis purposefully avoids compliance and sets barriers to diversity. Background to the serious violations is reported in the Disparity Study that found Minneapolis, current and past, is not and has not been in compliance. See columns on the Disparity Study, Part I November 17, 2010, and Part II November 25, 2010. See also the list of 12 additional columns written since 2005 on the disparities (web log entry of August 28, 2009).
2. Re Planning for education, jobs, housing, and economic development: Lists of columns and book chapters regarding plans and planning for all citizens in all of our communities, Black and white, at this link, Solution Paper #42: Planning, with suggestions for use in resolving the issues of unequal access and unequal opportunity in education, jobs, and housing. Also see here and here and here, and here: "Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers." Another list of columns, blog entries, solution papers."
Sid Hartman and Star Tribune confirm our stadium analysis, April 25, 2012.
Will the Vikings stadium be in Minnesota or L.A.?, April 11, 2012.
Vikings stadium plan in place??? March 14, 2012
Black jobs promised on Vikings stadium construction. Who will ensure the promises are kept? February 15, 2012 Column.
May 25, 2011 Column: Budget battle threatens Vikings’ future. Lists columns on leave/stay since 2005.
April 13, 2011 Column #15: Can Minnesota afford another stadium? Difficult times force difficult choices
GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS OPPOSED TO THE VIKINGS STAYING:
4.Key Minnesota leaders' "The Plan": have the Vikings leave town, 2002.
5. Stadium and arena promises were broken to Bob Short, Norm Green, and Red McCombs. Are theWilfs next.
Original set of 3 posted January 19, 2011 column.
3. Re Black Leadership:
Still open for consideration: local NAACP December 12, 2010 assertion in this paper that “Its time for leaders [who] put personal agendas ahead of community interests to go." In othert words, there are too many ministerial, government, corporate, foundation and other non-profits) not leading. See here for what, who, when, where, why. List of columns coming soon.
4. “Minneapolis POLICE Department Racism and Discrimination.” See list of July 10, 2008, updated through September 14, 2011 column (lists 60 columns, 31 blog entries, and 12 “solution” papers. The subhead, “Speaking over the silence of the major Twin Cities Dailies,” speaks to the scooping by this newspaper of the major dailies that often refuse to thoroughly report on this topic.
5. Ending the Journalism SILENCE by the Star Tribune about discrimination will help end discrimination. Lists columns and blog entries posted since 2003.
6. Re Planning for education, jobs, housing, and economic development: Lists of columns and book chapters regarding plans and planning for all citizens in all of our communities, Black and white, at this link, Solution Paper #42: Planning, with suggestions for use in resolving the issues of unequal access and unequal opportunity in education, jobs, and housing. Also see here and here and here, and June 01, 2011 Column:"Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers." Another list of columns, blog entries, solution papers."
Ron hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm. Formerly head of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission and the Urban League, he continues his “watchdog” role for Minneapolis. Order his book, hear his voice, read his solution papers, and read his between columns “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.