Editor’s Picks

Articles that our Editorial Board feel really stand out. We’re glad we didn’t miss them and want to make sure you don’t either!

Thumbnail image for Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

Corporate Deserters Seek to Continue Doing Business in the US While Paying Taxes to Foreign Governments

by John Lawrence 09.16.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Corporations are relentless about setting up tax avoidance schemes and finding new and improved ways of getting out of paying taxes.

One method is to set up a corporate subsidiary in the Cayman Islands which doesn’t require any taxes to be paid. This works well for collecting royalties on patents because the patents can just be transferred to the subsidiary, and, voila, no taxes need be paid at all. Other companies which do a great deal of selling abroad have money piling up in foreign jurisdictions.

US law requires them to pay taxes on this money when they bring it back into the US. So these companies like Microsoft, Apple and Qualcomm are always lobbying for a “tax holiday”, which would allow them to bring this poor, lonely money home without paying taxes on it. Corporations are people, remember, and money is their Mother’s Milk.

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Thumbnail image for The People’s Climate March – What Will It Take to Save the Planet?

The People’s Climate March – What Will It Take to Save the Planet?

by Jim Miller 09.15.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller and Kelly Mayhew

This coming Sunday, September 21st, is the People’s Climate March in New York City, here in San Diego, and elsewhere around the world.

The organizers hope that it will be “an unprecedented citizen mobilization” occurring “[a]s world leaders meet at the United Nations climate change summit” while marchers demand “the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities. . . . Other marches will take place around the world as we collectively call on our leaders to act on climate change.”

More specifically, according to the organizers in San Diego, the march is happening to “call for solutions that work for people and the planet – a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy efficiency, and a just and sustainable economy. We will press our elected leaders to implement a strong Climate Action Plan for San Diego; develop sustainable water policies; build affordable mass transit and facilitate healthy communities; and support green jobs and clean energy.”

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Thumbnail image for Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

Grass Roots Campaign For Mayor Heats Up In Imperial Beach : Serge Dedina Wants To Increase Civic Participation

by At Large 09.15.2014 Activism

By Barbara Zaragoza

While campaigns in Imperial Beach generally begin on Labor Day, Serge Dedina, co-founder and executive director of WildCoast, has been walking the streets of IB since last May. His run for mayor also happens to be the most comprehensive grass roots campaign in Imperial Beach history.

“No one has ever had more volunteers. No one has integrated the door-to-door campaigning with social media and email blasts. We have a list of 80 volunteers and on a weekly basis we are getting 10-12 people to walk,” said Dedina.

His campaign is gaining traction thanks to his unusual approach.

“My volunteers and I started walking throughout the summer between 5 and 7 days a week. Volunteers will be walking every Saturday until Election Day. That’s the difference with my campaign. It’s really fueled by walking and our volunteers and then the enthusiastic reception in the community.”

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Thumbnail image for Poisoned Chalice Electric Rate “Fixing” Threatens Community Energy in San Diego

Poisoned Chalice Electric Rate “Fixing” Threatens Community Energy in San Diego

by Jay Powell 09.12.2014 Activism

By Jay Powell

“… with the passage of AB 327, the thorny issue of Net Energy Metering and rate design has been given over to the CPUC. … recognize this is a poisoned chalice: the Commission will come under intense pressure to use this authority to protect the interest of the utilities over those of consumers and potential self-generators, all in the name of addressing exaggerated concerns about grid stability, cost and fairness. You—my fellow Commissioners—all must be bold and forthright in defending and strengthening our state’s commitment to clean and distributed energy generation.”

This was one of six parting observations offered by Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Ferron when he resigned from the PUC due to serious health issues in January of this year.

The “poisoned chalice” is what is on the table this next week. Those of you who are trying desperately to mind your “kwhrs” (kilowatt hours) this summer should be aware that you are about to be punished for your conservation, investments in energy efficiency and/or roof top solar.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego Needs to Regulate the Initiative Industry

San Diego Needs to Regulate the Initiative Industry

by Lori Saldaña 09.12.2014 Courts, Justice

By Lori Saldaña

It’s time to point out the obvious: San Diego is becoming a city governed not by democratic process, and not by elected officials who achieved office after being supported by the most voters. It is increasingly run by checkbook politics, flush with funds deposited by businesses intent on overriding the votes of the City Council.

Former Mayor Sanders may have left City Hall, but he learned how to take the power with him. For the past year he has been able to demonstrate this power by pushing aside Council policies on community planning and now minimum wage. He is actively supporting conservative interests that hire signature gatherers to do this dirty work in public, while he and others in the Chamber ranks raise and bundle money and write checks behind the scenes.

During my 4 years serving on the Elections Committee in the State Assembly, I learned that the petition process in California is deeply flawed. Established in 1911, intended to “reform” corrupt government practices, it has evolved into the one place where campaign financing law needs the most reform. As it stands, weak statutes and lack of oversight allow unconstitutional amendments such as Prop. 8 to be placed on the ballot and wreak havoc with people’s lives.

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Thumbnail image for Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

Beating the War Drums: Beware the Advice of Mission Creeps Cheney and Kissinger

by Anna Daniels 09.10.2014 Activism

Are we getting our war on?

By Anna Daniels

Nothing like starting the morning with the Wall Street Journal headline “Cheney Is Still Right” followed by a New York Times correction to their own article in which Dick Cheney was described as “President.” The media has chosen unprosecuted war criminal Dick Cheney as the warm up act for President Obama’s address to the American people this evening, Wednesday September 10, and it does not bode well.

It is impossible to expect any encouraging news tonight about the US’s continued presence in the political and moral quagmire of Iraq and anticipated involvement in the same in Syria. We elected a president–twice– who promised to a war weary citizenry a withdrawal of the US presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he is assuring us that we will not be involved up to our collective necks (again) in the complicated geo-politics of the region, only up to maybe our knees or waist.

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Thumbnail image for There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

There’s Always a Bad Smell Downwind of Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 09.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Voters in the 52nd Congressional District come November will get to make their choice between the former City Councilman and incumbent Democrat Scott Peters. Today I’ll argue that this choice is more than ideological; it’s a question of character. 

What differentiates DeMaio in my mind from others who I disagree with (including Congressman Peters from time to time) is the way he does business. A couple of recent examples serve to illustrate my point. (And I’ll remind you of some past incidents that bolster my contention.) 

Having lost out on an endorsement from the US Chamber of Commerce last week, candidate DeMaio sought to change the subject by rolling out what he insisted was a series of women-friendly proposals. 

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

Are You Ready to ‘Disrupt’? Climate Movement Readies Global Mobilization

by Source 09.10.2014 Activism

In less than two weeks, the ‘Climate People’s March & Mobilization’ is set to make its mark on history. A new film helps explain where the movement came from and where it’s going.

by Jon Queally/ CommonDreams

On Sunday, Sept. 7, a new documentary film highlighting the intertwined story of the climate crisis and the growing social movement which has grown in response to it was released online for national screenings that took place in people’s home and public meeting spaces.

At just under an hour long, the film—titled ‘Disruption’—was produced with a stated goal to “galvanize a new wave of climate action and climate leadership” across the globe and comes just weeks before the ‘People’s Climate March‘ being organized for New York City that will take place on Sunday, September 21.

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Thumbnail image for The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: Oppressed Underdog?

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: Oppressed Underdog?

by Jim Miller 09.08.2014 Business

A Pathetic Attempt to Re-Write History

By Jim Miller

Recently UT-San Diego sat down with San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders for an interview so he could lay out the Chamber’s “new” aggressive political action plan.

During the course of the interview Sanders was steadfast in his insistence that the Chamber exists to respond to the mythic hegemony of labor in San Diego politics.

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego: The Use and Abuse of the Transient Occupancy Tax

Who Runs San Diego: The Use and Abuse of the Transient Occupancy Tax

by At Large 09.03.2014 Business

By Cory Briggs / A Project of the Democratic Woman’s Club

TOT – this small word may bring to mind a cute little child, a deep-fried mashed potato, or a dash of your favorite adult beverage. But in San Diego, TOT, an acronym for Transient Occupancy Tax, stands for missed opportunities, fiscal irresponsibility, and a shameful abrogation of civic responsibility to the moneyed interest of hoteliers.

The recent implosion of the convention center expansion and what I hope will be the legal rejection of its elder, uglier stepsister, the Tourism Marketing District (TMD) tax, are primers on how the people who run San Diego seek to use your money to line their pockets with the help of a complicit mayor and city council.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Dissed by US Chamber of Commerce

DeMaio Dissed by US Chamber of Commerce

by Doug Porter 09.03.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s “New Republican” candidate for the 52nd Congressional District actively sought and failed to get the endorsement of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, the pro-business group endorsed Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, saying “We will encourage the business community to vigorously support your candidacy.”

This makes Peters unique in that he’s supported by (some) organized labor groups and the largest pro-business lobbying group in the U.S. The Chamber’s lobbying expenditures in 2013 totalled $74,470, 000. In the 2012 Congressional elections they spent $33 million in support of mostly Republican candidates.

I’ll suspend judgement for a moment about just how scummy the U.S. Chamber is as an organization to crack wise about the DeMaio campaign’s reaction.

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Thumbnail image for Yes on Proposition 47:  The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014

Yes on Proposition 47: The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014

by Ernie McCray 09.03.2014 Courts, Justice

To end felony sentencing for drug possession and petty theft crimes

By Ernie McCray

I would like to invite readers to a Community Mobilization Meeting to hear what  can be done to help pass Proposition 47 in November.

The meeting is on Thursday, September 4th, 6-8 pm

Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave, San Diego, CA 92102
RSVP to Margaret (mds@aclusandiego.org)

  If “Yes on 47″ passes, California will be the first state to end felony sentencing for drug possession and petty theft crimes. This would permanently reduce incarcerations and shift one billion dollars, over the next five years, from state corrections to K-12 school programs and mental health and drug treatment. I love the sound of that. And it’s about time we get our minds off punishing people and focus on helping them become better human beings.

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Thumbnail image for Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

Bernie Sanders: I Want To Know If Ordinary People Are Ready to Stand and Fight

by Source 09.03.2014 Activism

US Senator from Vermont is touring the country to capture the pulse of populist sentiment and to see whether or not hunger exists for a real ‘political revolution’

By Jon Queally / CommonDreams

The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has a hunch about the American electorate, but he says the only way to be sure is to go out and meet them.

It’s called the ‘Fight For Economic Justice Tour,’ but it’s really what the self-identified Social Democrat described earlier this year as his attempt to travel the country in order to gauge the country’s hunger for a grassroots ‘political revolution’—couched in a possible presidential bid—to challenge the economic inequality and corporate malfeasance that have severely wounded the nation’s democracy and are strangling its promise of shared prosperity.

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Thumbnail image for Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

Video Pick: Which Side Are You On?

by Anna Daniels 09.01.2014 Activism

Wanted:  A Living Wage

By Anna Daniels

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

In 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his third term, he emphasized the need for an economic bill of rights as a vehicle for addressing the limitations of the political Bill of Rights. This economic bill of rights would have constitutionally guaranteed that workers have a living wage, would not have to work more than a certain number of hours and that the people would be entitled to vacations and healthcare. An economic bill of rights never materialized. Today, here in San Diego, we are experiencing the results of this omission.

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Thumbnail image for Why Labor Day Still Matters: Unions and the Future of American Democracy

Why Labor Day Still Matters: Unions and the Future of American Democracy

by Jim Miller 09.01.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

Over the last year, the subject of economic inequality has been in the news quite a bit with the release of Robert Reich’s spectacular documentary Inequality for All and economist Thomas Piketty’s seminal work, Capital in the Twentieth Century. The picture they paint is a grim one and new bad numbers just keep rolling in.

For instance, a few weeks ago a Russell Sage Foundation study revealed that the wealth of the typical American household has dropped nearly 20 percent since 1984 and yet another study notes that private sector wages measured in real terms have dipped 16.2 percent since their 1972 high point. In the wake of that news, another US Census Bureau report came out showing that middle class household wealth fell by 35 percent between 2005 and 2011.

Thus while the last few years in particular have been incredibly beneficial for the ultra affluent, most of the rest of us have struggled to hold ground or not lose more. Some economists are even calling this phenomenon “the new normal.”

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Thumbnail image for Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

by At Large 08.31.2014 Editor's Picks

SDFP videographer interviews American ex-patriots living in Baja California

Video by Horacio Jones

Last week I had to travel to Rosarito for a video gig, so I took the opportunity to pay a visit to a couple of friends who had moved to Baja a few of years ago.  I decided it would also be a good idea to do some kind of story about ex-pats living in Baja while I was there.  So I paid Shari and Fernando a visit to see what it was like for them now that they live along the Baja coast.

During the trip we also met another Shari and an artist named Gretchen who has opened up a place called Art House Rosarito, where she lives, creates art and plans for sustainable communities.  She also opens up her home to other artists to stay and work at.

In this report they discuss what it’s like to live in baja, as well as the differences between the U.S. and Mexico.  This is an expansive subject and you could certainly make a feature documentary about it, and I hope in the future to be able to make a more comprehensive report on the subject. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make the move…

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

by Maria Garcia 08.30.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Paul “Paulie” Torres is a retired longshoreman who attended Neighborhood House from 1947 to 1954. His family moved to Logan Heights from the Little Italy area of San Diego. Paulie says there was a little barrio located in the Little Italy area with several Mexican families living there. Little Italy was in the proximity of the canneries and as far as Mexicans could live in the downtown vicinity–Point Loma to the north was the dividing line where whites and ethnic Europeans lived.

Like many others, Paulie had heard stories about the Logan Heights guys and felt intimidated when he first moved there. Within a short period of time, Paulie fit right in with the other boys who called Neighborhood House their other home. He states in a straightforward manner that the reason everyone called it Neighborhood House was because everyone in the neighborhood went there. He recalls the boys sitting there on the steps, talking, laughing, hanging out for as long as they could.

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Thumbnail image for Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

by At Large 08.27.2014 Activism

By Lawrence A. Herzog

On a recent Sunday morning, I was hiking up the back streets of Soledad Mountain in La Jolla. Arriving on top and prepared to enjoy the stunning aerial view of our Pacific coastline, I suddenly heard a disturbing, loud, buzzing sound. As I poked my head around one of the black, granite-covered walls of the Veteran’s Monument, a small robot-sized helicopter jumped out, hovering just above me.

I was staring at, in today’s parlance, a drone.

“What the heck”? My eyes were soon drawn to its source, a man standing near the edge of the main parking area, operating a small remote control, with the drone now buzzing over toward him.

Curious, I walked over and said, “Hi, I was wondering, do folks need some kind of permit to operate near a Veteran Memorial site?” The drone operator did not respond. Within minutes, however, he was gone.

End of story? I think not.

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Thumbnail image for Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

by John Lawrence 08.26.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

As the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere continues to increase, a certain portion of that gets absorbed by the oceans. This year alone some two and a half billion tons of CO2 will be absorbed by the oceans. That represents seven pounds pumped into the seas by every American.

Oceans cover seventy percent of the earth’s surface, and everywhere the oceans and the atmosphere come into contact there is an exchange of gases. When this exchange is in balance, there is no problem. But when the atmosphere’s gaseous composition has been changed, which it has since the industrial revolution, the exchange becomes lopsided. More COgoes into the ocean than comes out.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have burned through enough fossil fuels to add 365 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Deforestation has added another 180 billion tons. Each year we add another nine billion tons or so, and that amount has been increasing 6 percent annually. Today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is 400 parts per million (PPM). This is higher than it has been at any time in the last 800,000 years.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

by Will Falk 08.26.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

We are losing badly. The dominant culture is destroying what is left of the world and, right now, our resistance is simply ineffective. I cannot pretend to know exactly how we’re going to turn things around and stop the madness. But, I do believe we must develop a profound sense of urgency.

Wherever we look we’re met with the horror that should produce the necessary urgency. Look to the oceans and you’ll find that the coral reefs are dying. Zooplankton, forming the base of the oceanic food chain, have declined 70% over the last 40 years.

Look to the climate and you’ll find we’re boiling the world to death. Even mainstream scientists are predicting a 6 degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century.

Look to the animals and you’ll find 50% of all species disappearing. Look to the forests and you’ll find between 8 and 16 billion trees being cut down a year.

It’s as if the dominant culture sees the future and is holding the most macabre going-out-of-business sale imaginable complete with the advertisement “Everything must go.”

The statistics I include here are tiny snapshots of the immensity of the problem.

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Thumbnail image for Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

Conflict Over Minimum Wage Increase Takes to the Streets of San Diego

by Doug Porter 08.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tensions between supporters and opponents of a city council approved increase in the minimum wage /earned sick days have escalated in recent days.

For now, most of the battles are being fought via press releases. GOP Consultant Jason Roe worked the phones on Friday, claiming signature collectors for a referendum effectively suspending the council’s action, were assaulted.

TV News crews and police descended upon a Vons store in Clairemont only to learn that a paid canvasser was claiming his petitions had been stolen. Former Assemblywomen Lori Saldaña is now questioning that claim, based on the fact she was in the area at the time of alleged theft and saw nothing of the kind.

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Thumbnail image for K-Faulc Saves Golden Hill: Adventures in Infrastructure “Improvements”

K-Faulc Saves Golden Hill: Adventures in Infrastructure “Improvements”

by Jim Miller 08.25.2014 Columns

By Jim Miller

“There is no such thing as a Democratic or Republican pothole.”

Remember that pat line that Kevin Faulconer used ad nauseam during the mayor’s race? Well out here in the real world after the election, neither variety of potholes is getting fixed very quickly, and Faulconer’s fine words about efficiency and commitment to infrastructure are long forgotten once the press conferences are over.

A case in point is my Golden Hill neighborhood, where residents recently posted angry signs before they cleared several cone-blocked streets and dozens of “no parking” signs on their own after four months and counting of inaction in the wake of a Faulconer press conference where he promised big things.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized” Part II

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized” Part II

by Maria Garcia 08.23.2014 Editor's Picks

From the Toltec Club to the election of Pete Chacon and la lucha to get there

By Maria Garcia

Last week’s article introduced readers to Leonard Fierro, who grew up in Logan Heights, attended Neighborhood House in the 1930′s and upon returning from World War II began shaping and chronicling the history of Mexican Americans in San Diego. It is Leonard who wrote “We had just fought the war for liberty and justice and when we came home we found we didn’t have it in our city.”

The problems and frustrations of the Latino community had been constantly there, as noted in so many of the prior interviews, but it wasn’t until the establishment of the Toltec Club that political involvement was seen as the remedy to discrimination. The Toltec Club was initially envisioned as a social club with dances. The resistance members faced transformed it into a forerunner of the Chicano movement and laid the foundation for the political activism of the 1960′s.

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Thumbnail image for The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

The Grand Experiment at Voice of San Diego

by At Large 08.21.2014 Columns

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

When Voice of San Diego (VOSD) began online publication nearly a decade ago  the excitement in progressive San Diego was palpable. Here, finally, was an answer to the biased reporting that had been a hallmark of the UT for years (even before it was purchased by Doug Manchester).

The world of journalism was being revolutionized as the print media model became too expensive and cumbersome to compete in an instant access world. Slate and Salon opened their digital doors, and it seemed a new dawn of accountable news reporting was upon us.

San Diego journalist/entrepreneur Neil Morgan and Buzz Woolley founded VOSD. Those were the days of Enron by the Sea, pension underfunding, indicted council members, resigning Mayors and special elections (sound familiar?).

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Thumbnail image for Can We Just Create a Civil Society Where Black Boys Can Feel Free to Just Be?

Can We Just Create a Civil Society Where Black Boys Can Feel Free to Just Be?

by Ernie McCray 08.20.2014 Culture

by Ernie McCray / The OB Rag

Michael Brown. Another black boy dead, unvalued and unloved by this society, unseen for what he is, a human being, dehumanized before he’s memorialized because we love to show a victim at his worse. They just had to show him strong arming a man for a pack of cigarillos.

So now we get away from his being shot (six times I just read) by someone paid by the citizenry to “serve and protect” and we start thinking, because of his criminal shenanigans, that maybe, just maybe, he isn’t deserving of continuing to live on earth with the rest of us.

Well, I’ve known many kids, a grandson of mine being one of them, who thought, at one time, they were slick and went off and committed some stupid crime and then went on to become outstanding human beings. Why? Because nobody killed them. …

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