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The long awaited Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act known as CARES was signed into law yesterday, March 27th.
I have been bombarded with many questions as the ACT is very complex regarding what it does and what it doesn’t do. Unfortunately, because so many do not dig into the details there is lots of misinformation that do more harm than good resulting in people becoming frustrated or going around believing something that simply is not true.
One other point about the Act. Regardless if you subscribe to conspiracy theories, don’t believe in voting or engaging into the political process, COVID-19 has no boundaries nor does it discriminate or distinguish and that is yet another reason why voting is important because our lives are impacted by the legislative process, and those who do not participate are left on the sidelines with no voice.
Here is the text of the FULL Act
In the meantime, I would encourage you to click on the link below which was provided by my Congressperson Karen Bass who is a reliable leader that consistently keeps her constituents engaged and informed.
In the meantime stay tuned, get informed and check back as this page will be updated with accurate information.
Here are the latest FOIA and ruling by Federal Judge Reggie Walton
Read the ruling HERE
[above photo - WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: In this screengrab taken from a Senate Television webcast, House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on January 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images)
Now that the impeachment trial for Donald John Trump is in its fourth day, many of his defenders especially his legal team led by Jay Sekulow keep asking a rhetorical question to the House (House of Representatives) Managers who are prosecuting the case. That question is, “Why are we here?” That question has turned into a soundbite used by Sekulow and the MAGA acolytes who swear their leader has not done anything wrong, surely nothing worthy of impeachment.
One of the House Managers is Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY8). During one of his presentations on Wed, Jan. 22nd as he wrapped up, he used the words of famed rapper Biggee Smalls as a response.
“And If You Don’t Know…….Now You Know!”
Do cheaters profit?
Just in. Managers of three of baseball’s perennial organizations have been fired or otherwise parted ways. For the upcoming season and in the foreseeable future, A.J. Hinch manger of the Houston Astros, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets will not be watching any baseball games from their respective dugouts.
The season for 2020 hasn’t even started yet Commission Robert Manfred dropped the bombshell of the year, and for many it may be the decade or perhaps a lifetime. His announcement came yesterday morning by concluding the Houston Astros were guilty of a sign or signal calling scheme.
What!!! You may ask…..stealing signs, what is that?
Ever since sport was created as a competitive exercise many have a “win at any cost” or “whatever it takes to win” mentality. Fortunately, over time those who have operated to “bend” the rules are usually ferreted out. Of course, the credibility of fair competition is the result.
In most sports there are enough rules and regulations to choke a horse!!! Yet, the manner of mankind has always found a way to manipulate those rules and regulations as an advantage to them. Most define that as stone-cold cheating.
That is the situation the Houston Astros found themselves in following Major League Baseball’s (MLB) investigation into the signal scheme.
The investigation covered the period from 2016 through the present. During the investigation, the DOI interviewed 68 witnesses, including 23 current and former Astros players.
Signs or signals are used to communicate a variety of things during the game. Metrics or analytics is also used as a complement so that players can be positioned based on sequences, probability or the likelihood of when and where the batter will hit the ball. Assuming he is lucky enough to make contact. As difficult as it is to hit a baseball that is coming in at 80 to 90 or even 100 mph, and is also moving requires great skill! Yet, knowing what kind of pitch is coming in helps improve the odds of being able to make contact or to not swing. MLB has specific penalties for team’s or player’s who are caught stealing signs.
A bird wouldn’t get caught if it never opened its mouth!
Interestingly, MLB’s investigation started following an allegation made by a former player of the Astros!!! As quoted in Manfred’s finding, “On November 12, 2019, former Houston Astros player Mike Fiers publicly alleged in an article published by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic that the Astros had engaged in sign-stealing methods in 2017 that violated MLB’s rules.”
The Astros were dealt swift punishment by Manfred. Starting with the ownership led by Jim Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager, AJ Hinch also received news they were not expecting. Surely, more punishment and fallout is expected. At the top of the lineup is Alex Cora who was a coach with the Astros during the period in question and who subsequently was selected the manager of the 2018 Boston Red Sox. Many have posed the question? Did the antics he employed with the Astros go with him to Boston as during his first year they became world champions? For many the answer is a resounding yes. As mentioned at the top of this article – Cora and the Red Sox have parted ways.
Then there is Carlos Beltran who was quoted in Manfred’s report but somehow was exonerated from any illegal behavior. His last team as a player was with the 2017 Astros. Even though he was not fined by MLB on Thursday Jan. 16th the heat became too much so he and his new employer of just two months, the New York Mets have parted ways. The result is not only has he lost out as being a freshman manager but now his prospects of being selected into baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame is in jeopardy.
To get snakebit once is bad enough. But, to get snakebit twice in back-to-back years has Dodger fans in disbelief as in 2017 they lost the world series in seven games to the Astros. Then, in 2018, they again lost the world series in seven games to the Cora managed Red Sox. For some, equity is stripping the respective winners of their “title” and awarding the Dodgers as the winners. Unfortunately, that outcome is highly unlikely.
In the meantime, some fans are so incensed about the scandal they are consulting lawyers claiming it resulted in financial harm from the Astros and Red Sox. Also, led by City Councilman Gil Cedillo a resolution has been passed seeking MLB’s intervention of stripping titles from the Astros and the Red Sox and renaming the Dodgers as the rightful winner.
In the meantime, Crane, Luhnow, Hinch and Cora are tied to this disgrace of the national pastime. Surely other heads will roll and while the scheme is in the lap of the Houston Astros it is unlikely, they were the only participant. What other teams will be implicated? In the meantime, stay tuned.
READ ROB MANFRED’S FULL REPORT HERE
The film “Just Mercy” is set for release Christmas day, December 25th. It is a must see.
Last night we saw the preview screening at the Regal Theater at the L.A. Live complex. As many times I have been to the “Regal” I never knew the complex had an 800-seat theater? Anyway, thanks to the Californian Endowment, Liberty Hill and other organizations each seat was taken.
The film is about the storied career of activist attorney Bryan Stevenson and his work in helping those tied up in the legal and penal system with no or ineffective representation. The numbers are unimaginable and makes you wonder who in their right mind would take up such a cause where the odds are weighted against you?
“I was able to see the premier at the Grand Lake theater here in Oakland. It was riveting. I’ve known Bryan and his work for decades. He has been an inspiration to motivate me to keep my eye on the prize with the work we do.” James R. Bell, Burns Institute – Oakland, CA
Murder and race
Acclaimed actor Michael Jordan plays Stevenson. The film centers around Walter McMillan who is brilliantly played by Jamie Foxx. McMillan was found guilty of murdering a young lady who is white and had relegated himself to meet his final fate in the electric chair. You will also see O’Shea Jackson (Ice Cube’s son) bring life in playing Roy Hinton who was another person ensnarled in prison. It’s one thing to be poor. It’s another thing to be poor and black!!! Yet, to be poor, black and in Alabama doesn’t take much creativity to conclude what your ultimate plight will be.
The Lynching Museum
Stevens legal brilliance is well known. Several years ago, he took up the charge to give voice to the countless African-Americans who suffered death by lynching. The museum is located in Montgomery and has received rave reviews. Stevenson is from Alabama and headed north to Harvard Law School to obtain his law degree. He took the state bar of Alabama and passed. Upon receiving a grant, he headed back home to establish a legal defense organization to help those like McMillan.
As mentioned, Just Mercy is a must see. It chronicles a stunning series of events. There will be times when you will have a smile or a laugh and then there will be times where your eyes will be wet from tears as you are taken through a journey to see if McMillan can receive justice.
Above photo: WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Writer Coleman Hughes testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk has produced a riveting expose about “The Great Land Robbery.” It is worthy of reading and understanding so that you can weave historic realities into today’s current events.
If you’ve ever been through the Mississippi Delta (Delta) you are right in the passenger seat of Newkirk’s article. The “Delta” stretches from Memphis Tennessee through the western part of Mississippi down to Jackson. The land is legendary for its agriculture yield. Following slavery key parts became transformed into the ownership of African-American farmers. The boon was tremendous but survival did not come without peril. Led by the backlash of emancipation, through the suffocation of Jim Crow and even the Civil Rights era, there was much oppression. The goal of the white power structure was always the same; make it as difficult as possible for African-American farmers to succeed with the bottom-line intent to strip ownership and stunt growth .
The article is compelling and brings you up to date regarding land and ownership in the “Delta” and even provides a perspective on the reparations debate. While the article focuses on farmers in the “Delta” the same principals and examples could be used throughout the United States. Most critically, it will help you understand the notion and primary driver of the wealth gap between Whites and African-Americans.
To view a special clip of the interview Vann Newkirk did for PBS Newshour see below
Above image - MUELLER-Steve-Sack-The-Minneapolis-Star-Tribune-MN1
A Special Report on the Robert Mueller Testimony delivered Jul. 24, 2019
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally completed his long-awaited testimony before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was aired so the public had the opportunity to tune-in or in the case of those who read the 448 report to complement what they had discerned.
In the era of hyper-partisanship those who support the republican party and Donald Trump have claimed victory stressing the testimony did not deliver any negative news. On the other hand, those who support the democratic party have stressed Mueller’s testimony makes it clear the wrongdoing committed by Trump and those associated with his 2016 presidential campaign.
Mueller stated with clarity the investigation uncovered numerous examples of criminal behavior by Donald Trump and some of his associates. He further stated the core reason Trump was spared being charged was due to the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel guidance which prevent a sitting president from being indicted.
Donald Trump is known for his bombasity and his vociferous attacks on those he deems as opponents. It has been mentioned more than once by his team that when attacked he will hit back with vigor. Has the presidency descended to what might be compared as a school yard brawl or a place where adults act with restraint and discipline? Perhaps it is that behavior why his approval rating has never exceeded 50% or a majority?
His supporter’s view him as some wordsmith master claiming he is a genius at using media to his advantage. Despite his rhetoric being challenged as outright lying or misleading his philosophy has been repetition or a drum beat to try and convince anyone who listens that what he states must be accurate? He takes pride in mesmerizing crowds that attend his political event. Unfortunately, most understand it is more show than actually factual but as mentioned in the world of Trump many are enamored by his celebrity and enjoy the entertainment provided, as well as countless promises of how their lives will improve. The result is a basic smoke and mirror exercise; make people believe they are part of the team so they dismiss any questionable behavior or actions being employed.
I’m not your savior, I’m your president!
Some with a sense of “street culture” define Donald Trump’s behavior as “gangster.” He surrounds himself with associates who have been defined as questionable. The result is a veil shrouded by what experts have defined as criminal behavior.
Trump has understood bombasity gets your attention. He also has been cleaver in generating support by making sure he delivers the “goods.” Such action seems pretty simple as many admire him for accommodating their public desires. His questionable reputation or criminal behavior becomes a non-issue for those who support him or otherwise known as his acolytes. They quickly dismiss anything negative about him stressing they did not vote for a savior or squeaky-clean person. Instead, they support him based on him delivering on issues they view as important. The problem with that summary is supporters are trading Trump’s lack of integrity for their personal gain. Therein, lays a conflict as those with a “hustler’s personality” understand human nature can be compromised and many will do anything to get what they want…..even if it might be questionable.
No collusion – total exoneration
Mueller kind of laughed when asked about the notion of Trump’s claim that his report resulted in no collusion and 100% exoneration.
Surely Trump is not stupid and understands his statement is totally incorrect but he has embedded it into those who support him and figures now is not the time to come clean? As Mueller stated, “the report speaks for itself, If I could exonerate the president I would have.”
Lack of cooperation and lies
Mueller surprised some by stating not only did Donald Trump fully not cooperate with his investigation, he instructed staff or those who were called by the Special Counsel to do the same.
Donald Trump is known to have very little restraint in dealing with basic questions about him or his administration. When engaging with the media, except FOX or those he considers friendly, his posture is very combative. Following the Mueller testimony he could not sit still so the media was summoned to the lawn area so he could provide his perspective. Yamiche Alcindor who represents PBS and is a noted White House correspondent questioned him about Mueller’s assertion he was not honest during the investigation.
Here is a short-clip of the exchange.
You mean my White House aides lied? You are untruthful! Donald Trump
It’s your turn at-bat
Republicans or those who support Donald Trump are claiming Mueller’s testimony did nothing to negatively impact them.
Imagine this, you’re a baseball player who is better than average. You are known as an All-Star, yet when it is your turn to bat…. everyone comes out of the wood-work to tell you how to hit?
That is perhaps the feeling of democratic leader Nancy Pelosi? Every pundit, every critic, every person on the bench and stands feel it is perfectly acceptable to pontificate on the next move. They have bought into the notion of wanting blood or for the Mueller testimony to reveal the block-buster they have long wanted. In their mind, anything less would signal a defeat. Thus, they marginalize their own position by being overzealous or having unrealistic expectations. They forget or don’t accept there is a process that is not necessarily designed for the insatiable reporting we have come to expect from cable news programs.
The facts are clear. Robert Mueller clearly stated despite uncovering actions of criminal behavior by Donald Trump, the DOJ OLC ruling has served as his shield or protection. Instead as articulated in the report the primary resolution to address Trump’s behavior as long as he is president cannot be adjudicated by our criminal institutions but instead solely rest politically, and that is the responsibility of Congress.
“The Mueller testimony had been billed as some blockbuster. Mueller is Mueller. He is not a game-show host, a reality TV star or the type of communicator whose goal is to entertain. The core criticism I have heard is about his style or how he presented his responses. There has been very little criticism on the more important issue – the substance or the facts!” Joe Madison, Sirius XM The Urban View
It can’t be stressed enough that some who support Donald Trump proudly state, “so what…. he was not found guilty of anything!!!” While that is a true statement what gets lost is when you do something that is criminal, not getting caught or charged does not dismiss the act, or in Trump’s case the acts.
Impeachment speaks to criminal intent and unlike legal statues, thus as mentioned it is Congress or more importantly the House of Representatives that decide and define what is criminal or worthy of being charged.
Based on what Robert Mueller has communicated outlining specific criminal behavior by Donald Trump the solution can only be addressed politically. That is initiate the impeachment process or wait for the 2020 presidential election with hopes he is defeated at the polls.
The 2020 campaign
For many on the democratic side or who oppose Trump, defeating him in 2020 is the most viable remedy. Unfortunately, the democrats resumed control of the House less than one year ago. Otherwise with all of Trump’s behavior as outlined in the Mueller report there would have been oversight hearings and the public might be better informed.
For many the election can’t come quick enough. But as mentioned, it is a process and as of today there are still over twenty candidates vying to be the nominee going up against Trump. That could be yet another reason for all of the angst the democrats are dealing with because from their perspective Trump has been getting away “with murder.” In time that will all change as by this time next year both issues will be crystal clear resulting in a crossing intersection: deal with the impeachment process of have a known candidate who is positioned to defeat Trump next November.
In the meantime, Muller has publicly testified or spoken – finally! Many in the media and those who didn’t fully understand the importance of Mueller finally coming forward are disappointed a big bombshell didn’t go off or the testimony did not result in a Perry Mason moment, or whatever big shocking revelation they were anticipating. At the same time, those who support Donald Trump have echoed relief that “nothing was produced” or the Democrats wasted everybody’s time while costing the public nearly 42 million dollars, Or, in the zeal to protect their leader, claim everybody can now see what they see and accept Donald Trump is the best president we have ever had? By doing so, they dismiss the core reason of why Wednesday, July 24th will go down in history as a monumental day as the person who was charged with investigating Russian interference from our 2016 presidential election finally gave voice to his findings.
Some baby-boomers like myself or those who are music aficionados remember the rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears. In 1968 they produced a hit called “spinning wheels.” It was a melodic tune that caught your attention.
“What goes up must come down
What must rise must fall
And what goes on in your life
Is writing on the wall!
In the world of Donald Trump those lyrics are a no-no especially when it comes to communicating about the economy as well as regulators who are charged to keep our system running smoothly. The economy is cyclical. Some metrics which guide it are up, meaning others must be down in order to maintain fluidity.
As the economy improves regulators such as Jerome Powell who is chair of the Federal Reserve must guide against inflation or pumping too much money into it. At the same time, when the economy is struggling as was the case with our financial meltdown of 2008, the Feds were charged with lowering the discount rate to make funds more affordable for commercial banks. Now that the economy is doing well there is very little justification it needs a boost or having the rate lowered.
Unfortunately, that is not the case in Trump world. He likes to tout everything is the best, the greatness on and on, so in his mind Powell needs to lower the discount rate immediately. It is no surprise that president’s in the past understand the protocol of the Fed and make it a point to allow them to operate from a non-political position.
“Trump is not planning to demote Powell.” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council
For the past year Trump has intimated his disappointment of Powell while suggesting he might fire him. This is due to the Feds raising the rate as a protection of maintaining a strong economy. Fortunately for Powell, his position is not a cabinet level. However, just as Trump harassed and badgered Jeff Sessions, James Comey and other leaders within his administration until they finally departed, he appears to be using the same antics against Powell.
Imagine waking up everyday hearing or reading the boss is unhappy with your performance, even though there is no justification, let alone using common sense to communicate the decision.
Today and tomorrow the FOMC (Federal Reserve, Federal Open Market Committee) is holding their regular meeting to discuss monetary policy. The bottom-line announcement usually follows the conclusion of the meeting. While Trump has communicated his desire that rates must be immediately lowered, most financial experts agree that is unlikely. They do look to the meeting in July with the assumption things stay the way they are; there may be a lowering in the discount rate.
In the meantime, as for economic issues Trump should hum the lyrics of Spinning Wheel to appease his desire to invoke another rash move
[cover photo - even as the heavy rains started to fall, a few brave souls came to the inaugural opening of the MLK memorial on that historic Saturday, which is known as the unofficial unveiling]
Today millions across the globe joined the United States of America in celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As we look back, like many historic events that was not always the case. In 1983 It took lots of arm-twisting and sophisticated political lobbying to get Ronald Reagan to sign the national holiday into law. Year after year Dr. King’s prominence keeps growing.
The MLK Memorial
There are statues of Dr. King sprinkled across the United States. It was 2011 when the nation anticipated the unveiling of the MLK memorial adjacent the national mall. The ceremony was to take place August 28, 2011. Unfortunately, a hurricane named Irene had other plans.
Despite the looming hurricane which shut down Washington, DC and the eastern seaboard, a few had already made plans to attend the event and took a huge gamble to travel to there despite ominous weather conditions and the subsequent event postponement.
Judith and I had followed the creation of the MLK memorial since construction had been announced. Due to the weather it was decided Judith would remain in Los Angeles and I would venture to D.C. to see if I could get ahead of the hurricane to get a glimpse of the memorial.
Upon arrival the weather was rough as the impending hurricane had not yet hit. As I made it to the memorial my gamble paid off as even though visitors were scarce, I was lucky to meet the sculpture of the memorial, Master Lei Yixin. It was great to meet the person who was selected in creating the landmark.
As previously mentioned, Judith and I had closely followed the construction of the memorial. I was happy to hear how the MLK foundation was managing the progress. Unfortunately, some issues of the construction became serious and to this day I have still not reconciled. First, Yixin selection as the sculpture was shocking. No doubt the likes of Ed Dwight who was experienced and had developed a successful inventory of statues of Dr. King was available, folk couldn’t figure out why he or other U.S. artisans were not selected? It was also uncovered that as a Chinese national Yixen knew very little, if anything about Dr. King. I was later informed the foundation had to send someone to China to educate him on the work of Dr. King.
Then, the issue with the granite raised eyebrows. Folk were stunned to find out not only would the granite come from China but that sculpture would be made there and imported to D.C. in sections. What??? I mean some of the best granite in the U.S. is in Georgia or Connecticut just to name a few states. Many did not care or perhaps had forgotten that the United States economy was battling the effects of the 2008 financial meltdown. Folk were dealing with all sorts of economic set-backs, particularly on the employment front. Thanks to hard-hitting reporting by the Washington Post, with all of the monuments in D.C. and the many craftsman’s and artisans who create such beauty they were available and ready to work. Sadly, many were shut-out from participating in the project that was right at their doorstep. That is why it was a huge surprise to find out some of the workers to finish construction of the memorial were actually imported from China and were housed in a nondescript building in D.C.
Those incidents do not take away from the contribution of China or the sculpture. Anyway, I digress but consider myself fortunate to not only meet the sculpture but also the President of the Kappa’s who originated the plan, raised the money and developed and other resources for the project to be built. So, my conflict with the construction was minor compared to the bigger picture of erecting a monument giving homage to a true American hero.
Ella Dean, Renie Hale & Justine Love
The rains started coming down harder so I needed to retreat to a venue where I could relax and grab a bite to eat. I headed down to the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl at the “U” and while sitting at the counter munching on a half-smoke I noticed three strangers who seemed to know each other and like me appeared to be in D.C. for the occasion? That day goes down in history, especially as we celebrate Dr. King. Judith and I are now known as close family friends to; Ella Dean, who was on assignment and on her way to serve with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Renie Hale from CBS, who was also on assignment and Justine Love, from a CBS affiliate who was also on assignment. We all returned to the memorial the next day as the hurricane had given way to glistened sunshine and it was a remarkable sight to witness the emotions of others as they came through the pillars to witness the memorial for themselves.
All of us consider ourselves students of history regarding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since then, celebrating his birthday and the memorial which gleans his name gives us a better appreciation in celebrating the event.