White privilege, defunding and other big words

We need people from all walks of life, all races, all ages and all states to beat Trump. And the extreme rhetoric, demands to destroy everything and then build again sounds good but will lead to defeat and four more years of the Trump nightmare.

What is white privilege?

Am I privileged?

In my old country, the Soviet Union, I knew I was different; I was not quite like other kids since kindergarten.

I knew it in school, summer camp, college, the army.

I knew that I should not apply to certain colleges or jobs because Jews were never accepted there.

I knew it because my white Jewish father was sent to the Gulag and died shortly after he came back after Stalin’s death.

Did I feel privileged then? Go ahead, guess.

Did I feel privileged when I came to the United States? We came with a small child. I was 30 and my wife was 25. It was hard, my English was bad but we never had any doubts about our choice.

White PRIVILEGE.

Privilege definition: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor : prerogative; especially : such a right or immunity attached…

It is a sad fact that racism is alive and well in the United States.

But please don’t generalize and don’t slap the labels on the whole white race.

Rural America.

I wonder if you ask a white coal miner if he feels privileged? Or folks in the deep south – do they feel privileged? I am not sure farmers these days feel much privilege. Rural America?

It is simple to assign the blame to just one source.

White privilege. So how do we fix the issue of “white privilege”?

America has made considerable progress in the last sixty years. Is it enough? No! It is a work in progress!

You know why Democrats lost in 2016? Because white rural America did not feel privileged!

Education and the lottery.

Is affirmative action a good thing? Yes! It helps. But it is not helping young people who do not have a decent school education.

I think that a lottery system for kids who want to go to good school and get good education is a disgrace! The only way to pull kids out of the vicious circle of ghetto life is to give these kids, these families every opportunity to get an education.

Black families

Have you heard how black kids call black kids who want to learn, to succeed? Oreo Cookie!

And this alone, this stupid stereotype, is probably not less damaging to blacks than racism from other ethnic groups. It is black on black racism!

Just listen to this woman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EDolug4m2Q

“Have you ever been called or heard someone called an “Oreo?” These racialized names make me really frustrated, angry really. My son talked to me about being called an Oreo and how he made sense of it. Well, his reasoning didn’t make much sense, so mama had to school him. The term is rooted in the lie that Black people are inferior and if they excel that means they are “acting White.” I share why this thinking is flawed and not rooted in history or reality”

Why am I saying all this now?

Because I am concerned that Democrats will manage to lose the election this year!

You should not support or try to explain riots and looting. Try to explain it to a store owner who, on top of the COVID 19, got his/her business destroyed (literally) by a mob.

You don’t call for dismantling the police in America. We need to reform the police! To assign some of their current tasks to other institutions. But the vast majority does not want to get rid of the police.

There is still a lot of violence, shootings and murders in America. Violent gangs, drug cartels, mass shootings in America. Who are you going to call if there is shooting nearby?

You (whites) don’t accuse ALL whites of being “privileged” Because the idea should be NOT to lower yourselves but to help others to help themselves to rise from their current level.

There is a reason there is a police officer in public schools: weapons, mass gun insanity and school shootings – not to oppress children.

So please think hard before making grand pronouncements.

We need people from all walks of life, all races, all ages and all states to beat Trump. And the extreme rhetoric, demands to destroy everything and then build again sounds good but will lead to defeat and four more years of the Trump nightmare.

Like Father, Like Son

My main issue with the “whistleblower”, Edward Snowden, is that out of all countries, he escaped to Russia. I can accept that he did and I have no doubt in my mind that the Russians got everything that Snowden got. No wonder Putin does not want to give this information to anybody else. And please understand – Russia is not our friend.

My main issue with the “whistleblower”, Edward Snowden, is that out of all countries, he escaped to Russia.  I can accept that he did and I have no doubt in my mind that the Russians got everything that Snowden got.  No wonder Putin does not want to give this information to anybody else.  And please understand – Russia is not our friend.

Snowden if effect stole sensitive information for Russia.
Russia. A beacon of freedom.

I was born there.  So were my parents, my grandparents and countless generations of my relatives.  I lived there for 30 years.  I do not know everything about Russia.  In fact because I left over 30 years ago, I do not know a lot about this huge, dark and sad country.  But I know many people there.  I read and listen and watch.  So with a clear conscience I can say that Russia is the last country on this planet where one would go to find freedom and justice.

Here is an excerpt:  “Crimes unchecked, often cursorily investigated.  Crimes against freedom bathed in slothful impunity.  Many, many die, but few merit even a semblance of justice.  Of course, precise figuring in case after case isn’t possible.  A more general conclusion, though, is inescapable.  Russia is one of the world’s most perilous places to practice journalism or any kind of truth-telling.  Far outside Moscow, in the scattered republics, anything goes – and goes unavenged.  Inside Moscow, rulers who pay lip service to human rights parade only an indifference that makes them complicit in these crimes. Mr Kamalov died on the very day that Russia’s journalist organizations had banded together to commemorate those of their colleagues who’d been slain.  Bitter irony.  How many more, Mr Putin?  How long are we supposed to mourn fellow journalists who died trying to tell us, and their fellow Russians, what a slack, slimy, savage state you run?” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/dec/18/observer-editorial-putin-russia-journalists-murdered

That’s what Snowden’s father told during an interview:

“It is simply the behavior of our government.  I have lost confidence that they are operating in good faith.  Where, at this point, unless someone has been living in a cave or doesn’t have a TV, can my son get a fair trial? … Make no mistake, they are speaking to the jury pool, the American people.  ‘He’s a traitor, he’s guilty of this, he’s guilty of that.’  It’s horrendous what they have done.’’ http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/excerpts-from-interview-with-father-of-edward-snowden/2013/07/31/ae71c074-f9f9-11e2-9bde-7ddaa186b751_story.html

I wonder what Mr. Snowden and his father expected from Russian justice?  Also I am not crazy about the media in the US and elsewhere, the media grabbed the previous scandals and ran with them.  Watergate, the Pentagon Papers and so on.  So these are lame excuses.  The main reason, in my opinion, Snowden is hiding is because he is a coward and a fool.  And so is Snowden, senior.

Sixty-Six Years in Prison . . .

Shortly after being sentenced in 1946 to life in prison for three murders, he recanted his confessions, stating that he pleaded guilty only because his lawyer told him if he didn’t, he’d be tried, convicted and sent to the electric chair.

Ed McManus

A friend of mine died the other day.  You might know the name:  William Heirens.

If you were a child in Chicago in the 1940s, as I was, you knew about him; he was the bogeyman.   His arrest in June 1946 concluded a much-publicized five-month manhunt after six-year-old Suzanne Degnan was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night, killed and dismembered–her body parts were found in sewers.  Heirens, a 17-year-old University of Chicago student caught in the act of a burglary, confessed–after several weeks of intense questioning–to murdering her as well as two women, Frances Brown and Josephine Ross.  Scrawled on Brown’s wall with lipstick was the plea, “For heaven’s sake, catch me before I kill more.  I cannot control myself.”

If you have lived in Chicago in the meantime, you probably have heard of Heirens.  Year after year, the news media reported that he had applied for parole or clemency.  Shortly after being sentenced in 1946 to three life terms, he had recanted his confessions, stating that he pleaded guilty only because his lawyer told him if he didn’t, he’d be tried, convicted and sent to the electric chair.  (It’s hard to believe, but the state’s attorney actually conceded in open court after the sentencing that there had been “small likelihood of a successful murder prosecution” without “the cooperative help of defense counsel.”)

Wrongly convicted?
William Heirens

I became acquainted with Bill Heirens’ case in 1987 after a law school professor told me about it.  Aside from the issue of innocence, the professor believed Heirens’ constitutional rights had been seriously abridged.  Among other things, he was forcibly injected with sodium pentothal, the so-called “truth serum,” and interviewed by a psychiatrist; that would never be admissible in court today.  The Illinois Supreme Court in 1954 said there were “flagrant violations” of his rights, deserving “the severest condemnation,” but the court nevertheless upheld the conviction.   And Judge Luther Swygert of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in a dissenting opinion in a 1968 Heirens appeal, said the case “presents the picture of a public prosecutor and defense counsel, if not indeed the trial judge, buckling under the pressure of a hysterical and sensation-seeking press bent upon obtaining retribution for a horrendous act.”

Dolores Kennedy, a Chicago legal secretary, got interested in Heirens’ case in the 1980s through her father, who was a lawyer and had met him in prison.  She wrote an excellent book in 1991, “William Heirens:  His Day in Court” (Bonus Books), focusing on the rights issues.  Subsequently, she assembled a team whose research uncovered a large amount of evidence suggesting that he simply was not the killer.  There is strong reason to believe that his fingerprint, found in the Brown apartment, was planted by the police; a police officer with special expertise who examined it said it clearly was a “rolled” print, the type that one would find on a police fingerprint index card.  Five handwriting experts said neither the lipstick message nor a ransom note left at the Degnan home were written by Heirens.  One of them said the ransom note appears to have been written by a man who confessed to the Degnan murder but was released because the police didn’t believe him.  In addition, the confessions had multiple inconsistencies.  But all of this fell on deaf ears.  The authorities were unwilling to mess with such a sensational case.

Dolores Kennedy, who now works for the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, introduced me to Heirens in 1990, and I wrote several articles about him over a period of years.   My wife Ellen and I visited him many times at the minimum-security prison in Vienna and later at Dixon.  He was a remarkable man who tried to make the best of his horrible situation.  He was a model prisoner; in 1972, he became the first Illinois prison inmate to earn a college degree.   He never gave up hope of release, and we talked with him often about what it would be like when he got out.

Ironically, he finally made it back to Chicago.  He collapsed in the prison Feb. 26 and was transported to the University of Illinois Medical Center, where he died March 5.  He was 83.  He had been in prison 66 years.

The last time we saw Bill, in 2008, his health was failing but his mind was alert, and of course he continued emphatically to maintain his innocence.  And we believed him.

—Ed McManus is an attorney and a former editor/reporter at the Chicago Tribune.

March 8 – International Women’s Day

Today I am in the United States. For 30 years in this country I was ignoring March 8th, sometimes even forgetting it, sometimes being reminded about the Holiday by old friends and family. This year is different. The election campaign for the President of the United States turned everything upside-down. Listening to rhetoric of Republican candidates, I cannot help but feel the necessity to fight for women’s rights, the necessity to remind everybody that we, the women, will not go back to times of being told what, when and how. I feel the necessity of March 8th.

Anna
Anna

Back in the Soviet Union, March 8 was a Holiday.  We celebrated International Woman’s Day.  The majority of people, including me, were happy to have a day off from work without even thinking what this day was all about.  In a country where women legally had the same rights as men, there were very few women representatives in the Government, practically no women were heads of big companies or educational and cultural institutions.  So, women got their flowers, chocolate and were happy.  Men ruled at work, at home and in government.

Today I am in the United States.  For 30 years in this country I was ignoring March 8th, sometimes even forgetting it, sometimes being reminded about the Holiday by old friends and family.  This year is different.  The election campaign for the President of the United States turned everything upside-down.  Listening to the rhetoric of Republican candidates, I cannot help but feel the necessity to fight for women’s rights, the necessity to remind everybody that we, the women, will not go back to times of being told what, when and how.  I feel the necessity of March 8th.

So, this year I want to celebrate this Day, to remind everybody and especially women that we will stand for our rights, we will not ignore the slogans and rhetoric of this campaign, we will not be taken back to the 50’s of the last century.

 

We are the power!