NOWTRUTH!!! BECAUSE WE NEED TRUTH AND JUSTICE FROM THE COURTS MORE NOW THAN EVER, NOT HYPERPOLITICIZED, NUANCED LAW COMPLETE WITH THE REQUISITE NARRATIVE!! (LAW= Politically manufactured, orchestrated, strategic opinions, rulings, and orders for injustice to hide behind!)
Jazz Singer, Actress and Civil Rights Activist strongly influenced by Billie Holiday
THE REVOLUTIONARILY INCOMPARABLE ABBEY LINCOLN- AMINATA MOSEKA AND BAD BLACK EXPO HISTORICAL SUCCESS!
Anna Marie Wooldridge (August 6, 1930 – August 14, 2010), known professionally as Abbey Lincoln- Aminata Moseka, was a towering figure of film, TV, stage, musical expression, feminism, and Afrocentrism who led a colorful life- the FIRST FEMALE of COLOR to appear in Rock-n-Roll film, actress, cover girl, model, jazz vocalist, singer, songwriter, and political activist. She was spirited, spiritual, an original fashion icon, Abbey was the FIRST FEMALE entertainer to rock an Afro hairdo that led hairdressers to protest she was going to put them out of business. During the 1940’s to the late 1960’s, Ms. Lincoln had considerable success as she built her career in the late 1950s through the turbulent 1960s, she was a civil rights activist beginning in the 1960s, then stepped away during the 1970s and, years later, returned to prominence as a singer praised for her songwriting abilities. Lincoln made a career out of delivering deeply felt presentations of standards as well as writing and singing her own material wherein her lyrics often reflected the ideals of the civil rights movement and helped in generating passion for the cause in the minds of her listeners.
Aminata is enjoying a renaissance and receiving Critical Acclaim in the “Summer Of Soul (… Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”, Questlove’s documentary of the The Harlem Cultural Festival, which was filmed Live in Marcus Garvey Park (formerly Mount Morris Park) in Harlem over the summer of 1969. The event celebrated Black history, culture and fashion over the course of six weeks and features never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.
The event features Abbey Lincoln’s commanding performance of “Africa,” the John Coltrane composition, which she outfitted with her own lyrics. The band blares behind her, propelled from the drums by her then-husband, Max Roach, as she testifies about “a land of milk and honey” on the River Nile. Lincoln may be singing about the Promised Land, but pay close attention to the fire in her delivery, especially as she enters the home stretch — as if she’s saying, We still have a long road ahead.
If Abbey Lincoln was overwhelmed by the responsibility of being proclaimed “the last of the jazz singers”, she never let it show. As her great contemporaries and principal influences among the classic female jazz vocalists fell away – with Billie Holiday the first to go, in 1959, and Betty Carter the last, in 1998 – Lincoln steadfastly maintained her dignified, almost solemn, focus; her tart, deftly timed Holiday-like inflections, and her commitment to songs that dug deeper into life’s meanings than the usual lost-love exhalations.
Lincoln was born Anna Marie Wooldridge in Chicago, the 10th of 12 children, but raised on a farm in Michigan. She loved performing as a small child, and listened to music constantly – later recalling hearing Holiday and Coleman Hawkins on a hand-cranked Victrola gramophone. Anna Marie moved with her mother to Kalamazoo, Michigan, when she was 14, and began teaching herself piano, singing in school and with local bands.
She moved to California in 1951 in search of a singing career, and performed in local clubs including the Moulin Rouge in Los Angeles, then spent two years singing in Honolulu, where she met Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong before coming back to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, she worked with lyricist Bob Russell who had become her manager, and she adopted other stage-names, including Gaby Lee. Russell that suggested she change her name and became Abbey Lincoln, a symbolic conjoining inspired by Westminster Abbey and Abraham Lincoln.
Abbey Lincoln’s career started very much in the mold that Lena Horne had established several decades earlier. Very sexualized, glamorous, singing these popular hits.
In 1956, she made her first album, “Affair, a Story of a Girl in Love” (Liberty), and appeared in her first film, the Jayne Mansfield vehicle “The Girl Can’t Help It.” Her image in both cases was decidedly glamorous. Lincoln made a splash not only because of her voice, but her physical beauty. Early album covers featured her in slinky dresses, and she appeared in the Jayne Mansfield movie wearing the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, and interpreted the theme song, working with the saxophonist Benny Carter’s band.
With Ivan Dixon, she co-starred in Nothing But a Man (1964), an independent film written and directed by Michael Roemer. In 1968 she co-starred with Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges in For Love of Ivy and received a 1969 Golden Globe nomination for her appearance in the film. She appeared in Mission:Impossible, 1971 with Greg Morris, Television appearances began in 1968 with The Name of the Game. In March 1969 for WGBH-TV Boston, in one of a 10-episode series of individual dramas written, produced and performed by blacks, “On Being Black,” was her work in Alice Childress’s Wine in the Wilderness. She appeared in Mission: Impossible (1971), the telemovie Short Walk to Daylight (1972), Marcus Welby, M.D. (1974), and All in the Family (1978).
In the 1990 Spike Lee movie Mo’ Better Blues, Abbey Lincoln played the young Bleek’s mother, Lillian.
“Lincoln was a really gifted person and a truly wonderful actress. She was the kind of person you expected to live forever,” Poitier told The Times.
“She was gifted in so many ways. She was quite productive, and it was quite rewarding for those of us who heard her sing and watched her act.”
BUT, the appearance the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe, coupled with her first album, gave her a glamorous image. “I started out being a sexy young thing in a Marilyn Monroe dress,” she told The Times in 2000, “And Max Roach freed me from that.”
As mentioned, that changed when Lincoln turned her back on that image, she started working with jazz drummer Max Roach, whose music would reflect the coming civil rights struggle casting herself instead as a civil rights advocate, dressing in African-inspired clothing and hairstyles, and making music with a political tone as a testament against racism.
Explaining her image makeover in 1993, Lincoln told The Associated Press, “This dress was more important than I was. People in the audience were looking at my exposed breasts and the shape of my body, and it didn’t have nothing to do with the music.”… It wasn’t a dream of mine to be a star, so Max came along at the right time to help save me from myself. Otherwise, I would have become an alcoholic and unhappy.”
She made one of her first appearances on national television in 1958, on “The Steve Allen Show,” and the performance can be retrieved from history on YouTube
Allen, probably thinking he was flattering her as a black woman by pawing all over her in words, introduces her as “one of the loveliest young singers we’ve had the pleasure of looking at and listening to on this show in a long time, the beautiful Abbey Lincoln,” and she accommodates him and the panting male public by slithering around as she sings a hipster bossa version of the old swing standard “You Came a Long Way from St. Louis.”
She moved to New York, became more invested in changing her musical style, in jazz vocals and she also became more interested in Black politics.
Though she made a debut recording as a leader in the mid-1950s, Lincoln was primarily a club singer, with a distinctive though still unformed sound at the time, but a restless curiosity and intelligence made her gravitate toward the company of some of the most progressive jazz musicians of the period – including the pianists Thelonious Monk and Mal Waldron, and the drummer Max Roach. Lincoln: “Well, I came to New York and met all these people — you know, these writers, painters, musicians – who told me why it was, every time I would go to a city, I’d find my relatives, the people that I represented, living in hovels and they didn’t have anything in the ’50s in this progressive scene that’s being refueled.” Some of that political culture, some of that political energy was being reformed in these different nightclubs.
Roach, one of the most powerful influences on the rhythmic thinking of the bebop pioneers of a decade before, introduced Lincoln to the producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside Records in 1957. Her first release was That’s Him! – a session displaying the maturing talents of both a powerful musical force and a strong character, and featuring a pedigree bebop lineup including the trumpeter Kenny Dorham, the saxophonist Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis’s piano/bass combination of Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers, and Roach. Though only in her 20’s, she was already giving the conventional mannerisms of jazz standard-singers ironic twists. She was later to declare that Roach’s arrival in her life was the moment at which she found her way as a jazz artist, but these early recordings suggest that her individuality had been developing over a longer period.
While working with Roach and becoming immersed in the struggles of black people around the world, she earned a reputation for being a warrior.
“She was committed to her art, she seemed very clear of what her purpose was, what she was to do.”
Lincoln once said that when people leave this Earth, they spread their wings of miracles in a blaze of light and disappear. Luckily, Lincoln’s spirit lives on in her recordings.
Abbey Lincoln, the legendary jazz vocalist who believed that singing is a political act, “Freedom, say freedom. Throw those shackles and chains away…”
In autumn 1960, Lincoln participated in the recording of one of the most celebrated jazz contributions to a wider political and social context, Roach and Oscar Brown Jr. landmark, “We Insist! Freedom Now Suite”. A testament against racism with ambitious splicing of work-song rhythms, the authoritative tenor sax of Hawkins counterbalancing Booker Little’s mercurial bop trumpet playing, multi-percussion ensemble sections and Lincoln’s moving…… raging lyrics, powerful vocals, screams and all, saturated the soul, putting her at the forefront of the civil rights movement! Freedom Now became a milestone in jazz history. The following year, Lincoln recorded Straight Ahead, with Hawkins, Little and Roach from the Freedom Now lineup, plus the multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy among other guests.
A fashion icon, Abbey was the FIRST FEMALE entertainer to rock an Afro hairdo that led hairdressers to protest she was going to put them out of business. She played a large role in civil rights activism in the 1960s as she and other artists performed at benefits and fundraisers for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), among other civil rights groups. Lincoln’s music began to reflect injustices blacks experienced in America in albums like We Insist! Freedom Now Suite and Straight Ahead, put her voice smack in the middle of the soundtrack of the civil-rights movement. In “Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace,” Lincoln literally screams her anger. But that’s not how she started out.
Village Voice jazz critic Nat Hentoff supervised the recording of the Freedom Now Suite and watched Lincoln transform from a sultry nightclub singer into a more sophisticated artist.
Feldstein: Abbey Lincoln’s career started very much in the mold that Lena Horne had established several decades earlier.
Very sexualized, glamorous, singing these popular hits.
She moved to New York — she became more invested in changing her musical style.
She became more invested in jazz vocals and she also became more interested in Black politics.
Lincoln: Well, I came to New York and met all these people — you know, these writers, painters, musicians – who told me why it was, every time I would go to a city, I’d find my relatives, the people that I represented, living in hovels and they didn’t have anything!
The 50’s in this progressive scene that’s being refueled with some of that political culture, some of that political energy is being reformed in these different nightclubs.”
Lincoln’s metamorphosis from a sultry club singer into a more sophisticated artist stemmed form her ability to play with the rhythm, phrasing and vibe of the lyrics made her unique.
Lincoln’s explicit emotionalism and liberties with pitching and intonation sometimes seemed to push her intentions and execution to the verge of separation – contemporary acquaintances including Monk and Charles Mingus were also expanding her ideas and technical ambitions – but she sounded nonetheless like an artist inhabiting a musical world increasingly her own, particularly on such tracks as the boldly vocalized Blue Monk, which Monk himself endorsed.
Abbey, Maya Angelou and a Trinidadian-African, named Rosa Guy, formed the Cultural Association for Women of African Heritage. These women took heroic stands on African issues in the United States and aboard. When Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected president of the Congo, was assassinated on January 17, 1961, this group went into action. These women, along with men like Max Roach, disrupted a United Nations meeting after learning that Lumumba had been murdered by Belgian imperialist and their Congolese stooges. This action took place on February 14, 1961.
On a trip to Africa in 1972, Lincoln received two surnames, Guinea’s former President Ahmed Sekou Toure gave her the name Aminata and the Minister of Information of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) named her Moseka. She had traveled to Africa as a guest of Miriam Makeba.
In 1973 Aminata released the Album “People in Me” and “Blue Monk” with introduction by James Earl Jones: https://youtu.be/zTPMXrgPe80. Abdul-Jalil and SUPERSTAR MANAGEMENT worked with Aminata Moseka where she appeared at the BAD BLACK EXPO, and other events including a SPECIAL “MEN’S ONLY NIGHT” held LIVE INSIDE a Montgomery Wards in Richmond, CA., hosted by Abdul-Jalil!
There were LIVE Models with a Fashion Show, Free Refreshment, Door prizes, music by; Marvin Holmes and the Uptights; Jay Payton- MC; LIVE BROADCAST of KSOL Radio; with appearances from MOTION PICTURE STARS Renee Santoni- “Owen Marshall”; Julie Gregg- “Godfather I and II”; Rose Brumfield- “The Mack”, “Norman Is That You?”; Allen Garfield- “Candidate”, “Bracken World”; Olympians Eddie Hart, Dave Smith, and many other Sports Stars; Demonstrations- Hair stylist Fosters International, Food, Clothing, Product; Disc Jockies from KDIA, KFRC, KRE, KSAN, KSOL, KSFX.
Lincoln also made the albums Over the Years (2000), “It’s Me” (in 2003, the year she received the National Endowment for the Arts NEA Jazz Masters Award) and Naturally (2006).
In 2007, she released her last album, “Abbey Sings Abbey” – a poignant collection of new originals, covers of favorites such as Leonard Bernstein’s “Lucky To Be Me”, a bold a cappella account of “Tender As a Rose” and a distinctive reinvention of “Windmills of Your Mind”, with a superb Joe Lovano on saxophone. As she once said: “I live through music and it lives through me.” It was no exaggeration.
“There was a passion to what she did,” said jazz critic Don Heckman, who noted that Lincoln’s songwriting made her a rarity among jazz singers. “She was not someone who was just singing a song. She had an agenda, and a lot of it had to do with civil rights…. She expressed herself in dramatic and impressive fashion in what she said and how she sang.”
Her voice was a “special instrument, producing a sound that is parched rather than pure or perfect,” wrote the New York Times’ Peter Watrous in 1996. “But her limitations infuse her singing with honesty. More important, she understands the words she sings, declaiming them with a flare of memory that seems to illuminate all the lost love and sadness people experience.”
“Not so much vocally as visually — a slight toss of the head, a jutting of the jaw,” he wrote. “As Lincoln said, ‘We all stand on the shoulders of those who preceded us.’
One of the few divas of her genre. She was a firebrand, known for her passion and honesty. She’s an artistic maverick who’s spent a lifetime going her own way. In the process, she’s become one of the most influential female jazz singers of our time, an achievement that isn’t lost on her.
Her world-weary timbre gets at the root of a phrase. She plays with the time and the shape of melody in the tradition of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and especially Billie Holiday. The result is an emotional punch that even today leaves audiences breathless.
Lincoln- Aminata Moseka, died on August 14, 2010, in Manhattan, eight days after her 80th birthday. Her death was announced by her brother, David Wooldridge, who told The New York Times that she had died in her Upper West Side apartment in Manhattan, New York after suffering deteriorating health ever since undergoing open-heart surgery in 2007. No cause of death was officially given. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered.
Lincoln is survived by her brothers, David and Kenneth Wooldridge, and her sister, Juanita Baker.
Hentoff says Lincoln was a sometimes self-deprecating woman with a ready, sardonic wit, and says her death is a huge loss to a jazz community that doesn’t have musicians like her anymore.
BLACK AWARENESS DAY (BAD), BLACK EXPO known as BAD BLACK EXPO, is an EVENT- AN EXPERIENCE, A HAPPENING, drawing from the vast African diaspora- African and Caribbean countries to the USA, creates innovative experiences that harness the energy of the alternative, natural, organic Black movement and showcase the best brands of ALL progressive people of color, focuses on this influential community of minority people of all backgrounds gathers, speaking as a social enterprise through business, sports, and entertainment addressing ALL MAJOR issues affecting ALL people, civil rights, employment, economic justice, medical care, education, quality food and shelter, and law enforcement in undeserved Black and people of color communities.
In 1972 after Abdul-Jalil returned from living in Paris, France where he had the HONOR of having his portrait painted by Beauford Delaney, hailed as the most important African-American artists of the 20th century, Jalil founded BAD BLACK EXPO. It began as a two day event and grew into a five day explosion as the epicenter where total Community and entire Blackness converge, it is a curated destination of choice where OUR community gathers for a party with a purpose. BAD BLACK EXPO presents the nations ethnic minority leaders in EVERY major area of society, Superstar entertainers and athletes, creatives, and tastemakers who are seen as unwanted outsiders, but who successfully fought and directly affected American and World societal culture at large. It’s not easy living in a world where Black culture is constantly exploited, abused, appropriated and commodified without credit. BAD BLACK EXPO collectively defines and develops a universe for OUR Boldness and OUR Blackness of OUR OWN creations designed by US, for US, inspiring and bringing us together for quite THE party.
While progressive in EVERY way, BAD BLACK EXPO has long been instrumental in bringing dollars to the Bay Area’s Black and people of color economic communities and creating a critical platform for Black and minority culture and support vendors featured annually at the event in the following ways:
1) To increase visibility and awareness of Black/Minority-owned companies/business;
2) To provide an organized platform for consumer interaction and education by business opportunities;
3) To encourage both inter and intra community commercial partnerships and industry alliances; and
4) To redirect the economic purchases of the Black communities in the US back into Black and people of color communities.
BAD BLACK EXPO was established to celebrate and preserve the culture of the alternative, natural, organic Black movements legacy and those of ALL progressive people of color by providing, advocating and promoting minority business expansion, artistic progression, community building and social change by bringing together everyone who loves the culture of the Black movement and those of ALL progressive people of color. BAD BLACK EXPO consists of a variety of culture-based commerce, sports and entertainment, legal, political, educational and social events, including live music performances, learn and play competitive sports clinics and activities, live product demos, celebrity lectures, literature, presentations, exhibitions, live theater, movie screenings, live art installations in a lawn gallery, extensive culinary demonstrations, lifestyle brands, fashion, photography, crafts, clothing, jewelry, exotic food vendors, children’s activities, history presentations, poetry/spoken word, African/Caribbean dance, celebrity panels, giveaways, holistic/natural health and wellness, and family friendly partying to build thriving urban communities in order to sustain future generations by mobilizing and educating urban masses through commercial business, entertainment, artistic, social impact campaigns and major BAD BLACK EXPO events.
BAD BLACK EXPO is an opportunity for ALL people to connect, engage with others, network, and learn about the Black movement and those of ALL progressive people of color as our community unleashes freedom of expression, and honor the power of individuality while strengthening the community paying homage to the Black community and those of ALL progressive people of color. Being able to unapologetically celebrate our culture while surrounded by other beautiful Black beings is an amazing feeling that you will experience at BLACK AWARENESS DAY, BLACK EXPO. Where you can unapologetically be yourself and celebrate our culture: the food we create and eat, the music we create and listen to, the movies we film and watch, our language, our dances, our art, our literature, our family structures and relations, our style, our fashion, our spirituality, our religions, and so much more.
BAD BLACK EXPO’s cultural aspect is integral to the entire USA and World’s cultural scene being rooted in shared experiences and traditional customs, Black culture brings forward a unique and diverse perspective of the nations heritage reflecting on it’s culture, history and traditions have it’s influence and impact over the collective drive of the world in EVERY different aspect of existence. BAD BLACK EXPO celebrates OUR roots, historical events and modern society through a wide range of cultural art forms where attendees experience a great variety of artifactual delicacies created by Black-owned companies, providing a unique experience with this alternative, natural, organic Black cultural event that showcases the positivity of the culture of the Black movement and those of ALL progressive people of color.
ALL Black and artists of color of ALL the arts deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts and our platform introduces and connects established entertainment and sports Superstars with performances from notable and emerging national talents in the industry as well as from talented rising newcomers from the Bay Area community. BAD BLACK EXPO presents of a wide range of live theater, film and television screenings, engaging panels, networking events, activities designed to educate, nurture career development, mentor and inspire attendees, and more. BAD BLACK EXPO attracts people from around the world, including artists, entertainment industry executives and upscale enthusiasts.
BAD BLACK EXPO is an “Immersive Economic Inclusion!”- that fire in your soul that implores you to vocalize and present your position and make a difference, empowered by your passion for Black excellence, entrepreneurial creativity and economic inclusion. All of that creative business energy comes together at BAD BLACK EXPO, where creative leaders will present speaker sessions and workshops questioning the status quo, financing, building and maintaining businesses, corporate relations with integrating and changing the business world for the better.
BAD BLACK EXPO is extremely important for students and entrepreneurs! We have students and entrepreneurs working us every day providing assistance to close the Black corporate business gap and the economic crises it creates is real and will continue unless there is MAJOR change. We support student who study business administration, science, technology, advertising, marketing, public policy and entrepreneurship with planning, Speakers and advisors on many outstanding topics from different perspectives of The State of Black Business, a national perspective from corporations, diversity inclusion speakers, government perspective of how to marketing to them and small business and entrepreneurship perspective point of views. Five days of education, inspiration, motivation, connections, networking, advertising/marketing/promotion/sales, individual conversations, seminars, and workshops, corporate, organizational and entrepreneur presentations and more.
SOME BAD BLACK EXPO HISTORICAL SUCCESS!
FRANKIE BEVERLY AND MAZE IN MARVIN GAYE BAD BLACK EXPO HISTORICAL SUCCESS!
Frankie Beverly and Raw Soul performed at the Orphanage before Marvin Gaye that lead to their union with the “Silky Soul Singer”! They also performed at the BAD BLACK EXPO and several other venues around the Bay Area booked by Abdul-Jalil and SUPERSTAR MANAGEMENT whom actually fed the group as they lived in their bus parked in various areas around Oakland and Berkeley in the 1971-75 era BEFORE they made it BIG!!!! Marvin took the group on the road with him as his opening acts and suggested that they change their name from Raw Soul, becoming Maze, then Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, then Frankie Beverly and Maze!
Maze’s seventh studio album, Silky Soul, was dedicated to the group’s mentor and musical guide, Marvin Gaye. The title track opens with a description of a “smooth”, “special” man who remains in the hearts and minds of those he sang to. Towards the end of the song, Frankie Beverly belts out, “I remember brother Marvin”, revealing in full who the album is dedicated to. The song also samples Marvin Gaye’s unprecedented sociopolitical smash hit “What’s Going On”.
By the time Silky Soul was released in 1989, Marvin had been dead for five years but his legacy was still very clearly alive and well in those that loved him and his music.
DR. KHALID AL-MANSOUR AND BAD BLACK EXPO HISTORICAL SUCCESS!
One of Abdul Jalil’s and Superstar Managements business associates since 1968 is Donald Warden with his law firm of Holmes & Warden.
Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tariq Al-Mansour formerly known as Donald Warden with Roger C. Holmes who later took the name Dr. Faissal Mohammed Fahad, was representing HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulazziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia in a court case in California. Al-Mansour became Special Advisor to HRH Prince Alwaleed
Abdul-Jalil introduced his client Hammer to Al-Monsour and Al-Waleed and arranged a week long event in Paris, France, for Al-Waleed at his Paris resort- Euro Disneyland Paris and its sister park, Walt Disney Studios. Abdul-Jalil also made the introduction of Al-Waleed’s son Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal, also known as Abu Jenna in the business world, a very successful businessman in his own right.
Prince Alwaleed (the world’s 19th riches person at the time), was a student at Menlo College in California, was asked by a Saudi friend to go home with him to Riyadh. His friend was a member of the Royal Family and was upset because OPEC was being sued. The Saudi King asked that Donald Warden/Al-Mansour “take the case” and they began legal representation defending OPEC in court.
Al-Mansour, as the “formal” attorney for OPEC, threatened an oil embargo by the OPEC nations in response to a lawsuit filed against them. The threat of reprisals also included withdrawal of funds on deposit with American banks. The antitrust lawsuit had been filed in December 1978 by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in federal court in Los Angeles, and the decision was announced in September at 477 F.Supp. 553 (1979). It is fascinating to note that another attorney who wrote a brief on behalf of Indonesia-U.S. Business Committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was Antonin Scalia, then a professor at the University of Chicago, years before he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986. He won the OPEC case and was Cited by Federal Judge Andrew Hauk for the Clarence Darrow Award as lead attorney in the famous IAM vs. OPEC trial (1978).
The Prince asked Al-Mansour to accompany him to Africa to help him invest money there to “build Africa up”. Al-Mansour knew many of the Presidents in Africa and made the introductions to the Prince. They then founded the international law firm of Al-Waleed, Al-Talal and Al-Mansour.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, AL-MANSOUR, AL-WALEED AND BABE HISTORICAL SUCCESSES!
Khalid al-Mansour and Prince Al-Waleed raising of President Barak Obama
Al-Mansour took an interest in Barak Obama when they met up during one of Al-Mansur’s speeches at Columbia. As Percy Sutton told NY1 reporter Dominic Carter on the show “Inside City Hall”: “I was introduced to (Obama) by a friend who was raising money for him.” He asked Sutton to write a letter in support of Obama’s application to Harvard Law School.
“The friend’s name is Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, from Texas,” Sutton said. “He is the principal adviser to one of the world’s richest men. He told me about Obama.”
Sutton recalled that al-Mansour said that “there is a young man that has applied to Harvard. I know that you have a few friends up there because you used to go up there to speak. Would you please write a letter in support of him?” Sutton did.
Sutton revealed that it was Al-Mansour (from San Antonio, Texas) who raised the money to pay for Obama’s education at Harvard when Obama was 25 years old.
So, Obama graduated from Columbia University in New York, spent a time as a community organizer in Chicago under Kellman … met Al-Mansour and headed off to Harvard. He arrived unknown, but left with having had national news media exposure, a book contract… and, having been the Editor of the Law Review on his resumé. He graduated Magnum Cum Laude.
One of Obama’s patron was Alwaleed bin-Talal, the world’s fourth richest men. Shortly before Obama entered Harvard Law, bin-Talal donated $20 million dollars to Harvard. Five or six years later bin-Talal created the “Alwaleed bin-Talal Center for Islamic Studies” at Harvard Divinity School, its best-funded division. At about the same time bin-Talal opened similar centers at Georgetown, Cambridge, American University, and many other major Universities.
September 19, 1995, 34 year-old Barack Obama announced his candidacy for Illinois’s State Senate. One of his opponents was first-time candidate Gha-is Askia.
During his campaign, Abdul-Jalil consulted Askia and his client, M. C. Hammer supported a community event Askia sponsored while doing a series of TV/radio/media appearances in Chicago for his album promotion tour.
Obama had been a grassroots organizer in this gritty neighborhood, registering thousands to vote before going off to Harvard Law School. He came back to Chicago, to work as a lawyer. And saw a chance to run for state Senate. But in his first race for office he made sure Democratic voters had just one choice. Him.
ALL Obama’s opponents were kicked off that ballot before a single vote was cast. How? Obama sent a team of lawyers and volunteers to the Chicago Board of Elections, and challenged the petitions of his opponents. You needed 757 signatures of registered voters to become a candidate. Askia gathered 1,999. But when the Obama team was through challenging his signatures, addresses and voter registrations, Askia came up 69 signatures short. THE REST, AS THEY SAY, IS HISTORY!!
Abdul-Jalil and Askia partnered to bring Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie to San Francisco on November 5, 1995 for “The Sports Image Awards”, an event Abdul-Jalil Sponsored, to Honor Ali with the “Lifetime Achievement Award”.
The Sports Image Awards- A Night to Remember!, sought to single out and honor those in sports who have dedicated effort, time and money to better their community, the nation, and the World. Those honored, we feel, are a part of a long line of athletes that back to the great Paul Robeson, who matched dignity with dollars. Those who use sports for it’s highest and most noble purpose, the uplifting of the Human Family.
Also being honored were Venus Williams, Carl Lewis, Steve Young, Al Attles, Dave Stewart, Peter Westbrook. Hammer was the Featured Entertainer. The program included Founder- Martin Wyatt, Master of Ceremonies- Mark Curry, Music Director- Narada Michael Walden, Recording Artist- Color Me Badd,Touch of Class Choir, Clarence Clemmons, Nikita Germaine. Lisa DeBartolo- 49er Foundation and Dennis Banks presented and received Special Presentations.
DESTINY AND MARVIN GAYE BABE HISTORICAL SUCCESS!
“Destiny” performed before Marvin Gaye that lead to their union with the “Silky Soul Singer”! They also performed at the BLACK EXPO and several other venues around the Bay Area booked by Abdul-Jalil and SUPERSTAR MANAGEMENT! Marvin took the group on the road with him as his opening act and background signers!
Their 1974 live version of “Distant Lover” recorded Live in Oakland, has been regarded as the greatest live performances of all time!
Lead vocals by Marvin Gaye
Background vocals by Eric Dolen, Charles Burns, Dwight Owens, Michael Torrance & Wally Cox
George Johnson- NBA, Vida Blue- Oakland A’s, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Syreeta Wright (Mrs. Stevie Wonder), Recording Artist “RIOT” , Abbey Lincoln-Actress , Pam Grier-Actress , Brenda Sykes-Actress,Isaac Curtis-NFL Rookie of the Year, Cincinnati Bengals, All Pro; Sherman White-Cincinnati-All Pro; Abdul Fakir-Four Tops, Ron Dellums-Congressman, IBM, Bob Jones, Bernie McCain-KDIA, Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Curt Aller, Mike White- Jazz, Woody Shaw-Jazz, Anthony Braxton- Jazz, Joesph Jarman- Jazz, Les McCann- Jazz, Eddie Harris- Jazz, Pharoah Sanders- Jazz, Owen Marshal and the Artist from the Black Jazz Label, Gene Russell- Recording Artist, Merl Saunders, Tower Of Power, Malo, John Lee Hooker, Bloodstone, Ornette Coleman, Carlos Santana, Sylvester, Sly and the Family Stone, David Rubinson, Pete Escovedo, Edwin Hawkins, Gospel Hummingbirds, Graham Central Station, Joe Simon, Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, New Birth, Sly and the Family Stone, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, William DeVaughn, Minnie Ripperton January, Maurice WhiteEarth, Wind & Fire June,Betty Davis, Walter Hawkins, The Whispers, Eugene White ; Frankie Beverly and Raw Soul, Destiny- Marvin Gaye Touring/Recording Artist, “THE SUPER SNAPS”- Recording Artist, “THE VARIATIONS”-Recording Artist, “PEOPLES’ PEOPLE”-Recording Artist, Jimmy McCracklin, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Harvey Fuqua, Wally Cox, Lucius Allen- Milwaukee Bucks, Bill Walton, Keith Wilkes, BART, Leon Coleman- Olympian, Ed Caruthers- Olympian, Otis Burrell- Olympian, Norm Thompson NFL, Leon Burns- NFL, Roy Shivers- NFL, George Atkinson- NFL, MacArthur Lane- NFL, Mel Gray- NFL, Ahmad Rashad- NFL, Dave Cowens- Boston Celtics, Jack Ramsay- Portland Trailblazers Coach, Al Attles- Warriors Coach, Joe Roberts- Warriors Coach, Bill Russell- Coach, Bob Hopkins- NBA Coach, Zaid Abdul-Azziz- NBA, Charles Lowery- NBA; Russell Lee- NBA, Terry Metcalf- NFL, The Pointer Sisters, Chaka Khan, The Hues Corporation, Billy Preston, Curtis Mayfield, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Bloodstone, L. A. Young Hearts, Tavares, Chicago Art Ensemble, Sun Ra, Tony King, Marvin Robinson, Don L. Lewis of KRE, Dennis Richmond-KTVU, Ben Tapscott- Man-of-the-year, Head Basketball and Track Coach, Charlie Scott- Phoenix Sons, Spencer Haywood-Seattle Supersonics, Eddie Hart-Olympic Champion, Tommie Smith- Olympic Champion, John Carlos- Olympic Champion, Dave Smith- Olympian and American Triple Jump Record Holder, Erv Hunt- UCB/Head Track Coach, Mayor of Richmond Booker Anderson, Arthur Ashe, United Negro College Fund, Recording Artist “Variations”, Ashley Smith, Julian Bond-Congressman, Councilmember D’Army Bailey, Don Warden, Mahdi Abdul Rahman- Seattle Supersonics, Flynn Robinson- San Diego Conquistadores, Curtis Rowe- Detroit Pistons, Sydney Wicks- All Pro Portland Trailblazers, Al Ross, Larry Livers- Track, John Caldwell-KSOL, Jay Sweet-KDIA, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Odis Allison- NBA, Linda Fontenette, Jeffery Osborn- LTD, THE BLACK EXPO COMMITTEE, Don L. Lewis- K.R.E, Eddie Neals, Joseph Roberts- Warriors, “THE RISING SIGNS”, “THE SUPER SNAPS”, “THE VARIATIONS”, “PEOPLES’ PEOPLE”, H’S LORDSHIPS ON THE BERKELEY MARINA, Marvin Robinson, Marvin Blackmon
Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) “Portraitist of the Famous”
“Perhaps I should say, flatly, what I believe–that he is a great painter, among the very greatest; but I do know that great art can only be created out of love, and that no greater lover has ever held a brush.”
James Baldwin (1924-1987), writer, friend of artist Beauford Delaney
Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim, c.1971oil on canvas
In 1971 Abdul-Jalil had the HONOR of having his portrait painted by Beauford Delaney, hailed as the most important African-American artists of the 20th century, whose life appeared to symbolize the mythical artistic existence of privation and relative obscurity, that show a retrospective of “uninhibited colorist (though never an unintelligent one)” that is “apotheosized” and whose talent and “free, open and outgoing nature” engendered admiration from everyone whom was fortunate enough to encounter him as he was THE darling of the international culture scene in New York and Paris. James Baldwin called him his “spiritual father.”
Remembering THE Greatest artists of the 20th century, the ‘amazing and invariable’ Beauford Delaney, the “Portraitist of the Famous”, who’s masterpieces are trumpeted as cutting-edge work in Black aesthetics, stylistic evolution from representation to pure abstraction, with new and radical theories with his techniques and expression of the politics of Black arts, affording him his very own, singular serious stature among abstract expressionists, transforming the critical landscape into a growing interest in his creation of “Black Abstraction”!
For more than a decade, Delaney showed compelling, vibrant images of energetic life: produced engaging abstract works, portraits, landscapes, and abstractions celebrated for their brilliance and technical complexity with his dramatic stylistic shift from figurative compositions of life to abstract expressionist studies of color and light, powerful works of art and culture, illuminate some of Delaney’s most innovative years and firmly place his work among the dominant art movements of the day.
The fascinating Beauford Delaney is a Modern artist who produced engaging portraits, landscapes, and abstractions celebrated for their brilliance and technical complexity with his dramatic stylistic shift from figurative compositions of New York life to abstract expressionist studies of color and light following his move to Paris in 1953, illuminate some of Delaney’s most innovative years and firmly place his work among the dominant art movements of the day!
The career of Beauford Delaney (1901-79) was mainly working with Expressionism, Harlem Renaissance who’s first exhibition was New Names In American Art: Recent Contributions To Painting And Sculpture By Negro Artists at The Renaissance Society in Chicago, IL in 1944, and the most recent exhibition was Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 – online viewing only at Art Basel Miami Beach in Miami Beach, FL in 2020. Beauford Delaney is mostly exhibited in United States, but also had exhibitions in Germany, United Kingdom and elsewhere. Delaney has 10 solo shows and 79 group shows over the last 76 years (for more information, see biography). Delaney has also been in 7 art fairs but in no biennials. The most important show was Beauford Delaney: From New York to Paris at Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, PA in 2005. Other important shows were at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, MN and The Studio Museum in Harlem in New York City, NY. Beauford Delaney has been exhibited with Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden. Beauford Delaney’s art is in 9 museum collections, at France at the Museum of Modern Art , École des Beaux-Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, NY and The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL, featured in Jet and Playboy magazines among others.
Beauford Delaney is ranked among the Top 10 globally, and in United States. Delaney’s best rank was in 1944, the artist’s rank has improved over the last 5 years, with the most dramatic change in 1992.
His list of friends and acquaintances including artists, World Leaders, politicians, activist, authors/poets/writers, intellectuals, filmmakers, promoted by numerous patrons of the arts, world Cultural Ambassadors, art gallery owners, befriended by notable figures, and musicians Stuart Davis — his closest painter compatriot — W.E.B. Du Bois (whose portrait he painted), Salvadore Dalí (whose portrait he painted), Countee Cullen, Louis Armstrong (whose portrait he painted), Duke Ellington (whose portrait he painted), Ethel Waters (whose portraits he painted), W.C. Handy (whose portrait he painted), Henry Miller (who wrote a tribute to him), John F. Kennedy (whose portraits he painted), Robert Kennedy (whose portraits he painted), Jean-Claude Killy (whose portraits he painted), Herb Gentry, Alain Locke, Cy Twombly, Sterling Brown, Langston Hughes, Georgia O’Keeffe (who drew charcoal and pastel portraits of Delaney in 1943), Augusta Savage, Stuart Davis, John Marin, Pablo Picasso (whose portrait he painted), Richard A. Long (whose portrait he painted), John Koenig (whose portrait he painted), and Claude McKay were connected to Paris in various ways.
Luminaries Josephine Baker, Bob Blackburn, Ed Clark, Bob Thompson, Marian Anderson (whose portrait he painted), Jacob Lawrence, Ella Fitzgerald (whose portrait he painted), Zora Neale Hurston, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Edward Steichen, Dorothy Norman, Anaïs Nin, art studio owner Charles Alston, Jackson Pollock, Vassili Pikoula, Henri Chahine (whose portrait he painted), Charlie Parker (whose portrait and music he painted.), James Jones, Jean Genet, Lawrence Calcagno, Cab Calloway, Elaine DeKooning, Palmer C. Hayden (whose portrait he painted), art dealer Darthea Speyer (whose portrait he painted) who had exhibitions of Delaney’s art at Paris’ Galerie Lambert in 1964. Others include artists Charles Boggs, Al Hirschfeld, John Franklin Koenig, Harold Cousins, Herbert Gentry (whose portrait he painted), Ed Clark, and Ellis Wilson, authors James Jones and Henry Miller (who was also a water colorist), Writers Richard Wright, Surrealist poet Stanislas Rodanski, Chester Himes, Ralph Ellison, William Gardner Smith, Richard Gibson, Lorraine Hansberry, Ted Joans, art historian Richard A. Long, and his friend Lynn Stone.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG-SFBA) Human Civil Rights Committee (HCRC)
Human Civil Rights Committee Exploratory Meeting
Please contact our colleague Abdul Jalil al-Hakim (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in joining us for an exploratory meeting to assess the idea of initiating a new committee focused on an integral approach to issues related to human rights and civil rights, in the tradition of the NLG’s long standing work as a space for the strategic convergence of movements in defense of our most fundamental rights.
In doing so we are engaging in a membership drive aimed specifically to increase the membership in that Committee to include Civil Rights Lawyers, Groups and Organizations; Multi Cultural/Interfaith Religious Institutions; Unions and union members; advocates/activist; educators/students; and concerned Community members vested in the betterment of the lives of those whose Civil Rights are being compromised the greatest. Potential new associate members would apply to ALL the NATIONAL movements: Federal, State and Local, Political and Legislative, Senate and House members advocacy; Constitutional, Human and Civil rights organizations; Black Lives Matter; Defund the Police Reform; Social Justice Reform; Anti-Systemic Racism organizations; Voters Rights organizations; Immigration; Climate Justice; Healthcare; Wealth Inequality; Education; Gun Violence; Hunger and Food Insecurity; Abortion-Pro Choice Rights; LGBTQIA; School-to-Prison Pipeline; Homelessness; Abuse movements; Color of Change, James Rucker, Van Jones, Colin Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins, Anquan Bolden, AND ALL community-based organizations, activist, advocates, service providers, donors, volunteers, nonprofit groups, in collaboration with ALL hunger, health care, housing, violence, abuse, counseling, senior, youth, women, children, civil rights, employment, and education response agencies- to thousands of men, women and children living in San Francisco/ Oakland Bay Area in California to help transform NOT JUST the lives of people in need, BUT ALL PEOPLE.
There was once a time back in the late 1960’s and 1970’s where the NLG, specifically in the Bay Area, LEAD THE WORLD in the fight for Civil Rights with so many GREAT lawyers whose strategy, tactics and style was not only imitated, but taught as a tool for success!
With Roe v Wade Women’s Rights overturned; George Floyd Police Reform Bill stalled; John Lewis Voter Rights Bill locked out with counter laws to deny equal voting rights surging across the country; LGBTQ rights headed for reversal; Immigration Bills ended; DACA Act denied; Enviornmental, Criminal, Prison and Social Justice reforms disbanded; WITH ALL HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK, WHEREIN AMERICAN SOCIETY HAS BEEN SET BACK OVER 100 YEARS, URGENCY IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
This illustrates that ALL CIVIL RIGHTS are under sever threat of being rolled back 100 years!, Unless and until there is complete Judicial Reform revoking immunity for Judges, Police and Prosecutors to END Grand Systemic and Endemic Corruption, that maintains and continues the Jim Crow administration of justice serving White Class and Privileged Bias, YOUR LIVES, BLACK LIVES, ALL LIVES DON’T MATTER!
The dramatic long standing effects of the Jim Crow administration of justice is characterized by tyrannical Federal, State, and Local Governments; Corrupt Federal, State, and Local Government Judicial and Law Enforcement Agencies; Rampant Fraud and Corruption; Class, Race and Caste Societal Wars; Dehumanization of the Minority and Poor Masses; Financial Collapse; Famine, Disease; Food Insecurity; Affordable Housing Drought; Sky Rocketing Unemployment; Social Unrest; Environmental Disaster; other characteristics representative of a Cataclysmic Decline in Society as the Rich Top 2% Just Get Richer at everyone else’s expense!!
With the WHOLE WORLD protesting the reversal of Roe v Wade and the integrity, or lack thereof, of the Supreme and lower Courts, this is a HUMAN concern that will only grow in importance everyday!
Pro-Democracy Human Civil Rights policy leaders around the world, have a very difficult challenge.
This is not a regular challenge, nor traditional contest of the kind you and I have ever had in the past, deciding whether we should have this kind of legal Human Civil Rights policy for a movement or that kind of Human Civil Rights policy for a movement. Our society has become increasingly a contest between liberal democracy — continued and expanded liberal democracy against fascism, political violence, illiberalism.
We are fighting against forces that want to and are increasingly gaining control over our ability to have a Human Civil Rights policy be something that can be thrown out with elections if they don’t like the results or answer they get.
If you are in the position of being in the pro-democracy, Human Civil Rights movement, here is your challenge. On the one hand, you have to call out those threats to pro-democracy, to Human Civil Rights, because it’s incredibly important to do so. You have to be outraged because you should be outraged. But if that is all you are offering, you are NOT effectively providing Human Civil Rights policy for any effective solutions, much less a movement! YOU ARE NOT meeting those MOST in need, nor voters where they are in the concerns that they have in the lived terrain of their lives.
The challenge for pro-democracy forces effectively providing Human Civil Rights policy with any effective solutions, and a movement is, how can our pro-democracy forces beat back this threat of authoritarianism- fascism, political violence, illiberalism? Not simply by condemning it, which people have gotten very good at, but actually, outcompeting it.
Outcompeting it for hearts and minds. Outcompeting it so that those MOST in need feel their cause is more immediate to ALL peoples’ lives than fascism and authoritarianism does. Those MOST in need FEEL more exuberant and transcendent than fascism and authoritarianism does. Offers more belonging than fascism and authoritarianism does. It offers more of effective ANSWERS, SOLUTIONS, RESOLUTIONS of their legal Human Civil Rights bewilderment and confusion in a confusing age than fascism and authoritarianism does.
Right now, the pro-democracy movement is not succeeding, I would even argue LOSING GROUND, at outcompeting fascism. I am making a plea having spent the last 50 years studying, working on the ground developing a formula that we learn from the Bay Area’s glorious past being LEADERS in the pro-democracy, Human Civil Rights policy movement to beat back this authoritarian tide.
The American midterms had two very distinct systems of democracy and illiberal competing against each other. And I’m not just throwing that out. The majority of the Republican candidates ran on the platform are all election deniers, democracy deniers. That’s an actual fact.
As the election neared, we saw that the latest polls showed in the congressional ballot that the average support for both Democratic candidates and Republican candidates was at about 46 percent. In other words, they’re just about tied in this point. Which is a little different than what we heard a couple of months ago. We heard a couple of months ago that the stories of hope, the stories of democracy working, the stories of legislation were beginning to show up for the Democrats. But that faded out.
The judges failed to recuse themselves from 685 lawsuits from 2010 to 2018 involving firms in which they or their family held shares, a Wall Street Journal investigation found.
By James V. Grimaldi, Coulter Jones and Joe Palazzolo
More than 130 federal judges have violated U.S. law and judicial ethics by overseeing court cases involving companies in which they or their family owned stock.
A Wall Street Journal investigation found that judges have improperly failed to disqualify themselves from 685 court cases around the nation since 2010. The jurists were appointed by nearly every president from Lyndon Johnson to Donald Trump.
About two-thirds of federal district judges disclosed holdings of individual stocks, and nearly one of every five who did heard at least one case involving those stocks.
Alerted to the violations by the Journal, 56 of the judges have directed court clerks to notify parties in 329 lawsuits that they should have recused themselves. That means new judges might be assigned, potentially upending rulings.
When judges participated in such cases, about two-thirds of their rulings on motions that were contested came down in favor of their or their family’s financial interests.
In New York, Judge Edgardo Ramos handled a suit between an Exxon Mobil Corp. unit and TIG Insurance Co. over a pollution claim while owning between $15,001 and $50,000 of Exxon stock, according to his financial disclosure form. He accepted an arbitration panel’s opinion that TIG should pay Exxon $25 million and added $8 million of interest to the tab.
In Colorado, Judge Lewis Babcock oversaw a case involving a ComcastCorp. subsidiary, ruling in its favor, while he or his family held between $15,001 and $50,000 of Comcast stock.
At an Ohio-based appeals court, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote an opinion that favored Ford Motor Co. in a trademark dispute while her husband held stock in the auto maker. After she and the others on the three-judge appellate panel heard arguments but before they ruled, her husband’s financial adviser bought two chunks of Ford stock, each valued at up to $15,000, for his retirement account, according to her disclosure form.
Edgardo Ramos, Lewis Babcock, Julia Smith Gibbons
The hundreds of recusal violations found by the Journal breach a bedrock principle of American jurisprudence: No one should be a judge of his or her own cause. Congress first laid out that principle in 1792 to guarantee litigants an impartial judge and reassure the public that courts could be trusted.
Judge Ramos, who oversaw the Exxon case, was unaware of his violation, said an official of the New York federal court, because his “recusal list”—a tally judges keep of parties they shouldn’t have in their courtrooms—listed only parent Exxon Mobil Corp. and not the unit, whose name includes the additional word “oil.” The official said the court conflict-screening software relied on exact matches.
The unit had informed the court at the outset of the case that it was a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil so Judge Ramos could “evaluate possible disqualification or recusal,” a court filing shows.
In the Comcast case, a Colorado couple asked Judge Babcock to issue an order blocking Comcast from accessing their property to install fiber-optic cable. Representing themselves in court, Andrew O’Connor and Mary Henry accused Comcast workers of bullying them, scaring their 10-year-old daughter and injuring their dog, Einstein, allegations the company denied. Judge Babcock, who was appointed to the court by former President Ronald Reagan, ruled the couple had “continually blocked Comcast’s access to the easement.” He sent the case back to state court, as Comcast wanted.
“I dropped the ball,” Judge Babcock said when asked about the recusal violation. He blamed flawed internal procedures. “Thank you for helping me stay on my toes the way I’m supposed to,” he said. A Comcast spokeswoman declined to comment.
Mr. O’Connor, who settled his case in state court, said, “If you are a federal judge, you should not be holding individual stocks.”
Judge Gibbons from the Ford trademark case, appointed to the appeals court by former President George W. Bush, said she had mistakenly believed holdings in her husband’s retirement account didn’t require her recusal. She later directed the clerk of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to notify the parties of the violation and said that her husband has since told his financial adviser not to buy individual stocks.
“I regret my misunderstanding, but I assure you it was an honest one,” she said.
A spokesman for Ford said: “A fair and impartial judiciary is critical to the integrity of our legal system. In this case, the violation of Ford’s trademarks was clear.”
“I dropped the ball. Thank you for helping me stay on my toes the way I’m supposed to.”— Judge Lewis Babcock, when asked about his violations
Nothing bars judges from owning stocks, but federal law since 1974 has prohibited judges from hearing cases that involve a party in which they, their spouses or their minor children have a “legal or equitable interest, however small.” That law and the Judicial Conference of the U.S., which is the federal courts’ policy-making body, require judges to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. Although most lawsuits don’t directly affect a company’s stock price, the Supreme Court in 1988 said the law’s purpose is to promote confidence in the judiciary.
Conflict-of-interest rules are common for state and federal employees as well as for lawyers, journalists and corporate executives. U.S. government workers may not participate “personally and substantially” in matters in which they have a financial interest.
The Journal reviewed financial disclosure forms filed annually for 2010 through 2018 by roughly 700 federal judges who reported holding individual stocks of large companies, and then compared those holdings to tens of thousands of court dockets in civil cases. The same conflict rules apply to criminal cases, but large companies are rarely charged, and the Journal found no instances of judges holding shares of corporate criminal defendants in their courts.
It found that 129 federal district judges and two federal appellate judges had at least one case in which a stock they or their family owned was a plaintiff or defendant.
Judges’ stockholdings exceeded $15,000 in 173 cases and $50,000 in 21 of those cases, although under the law, the amount doesn’t matter.
The Journal found 61 judges or their families not only holding stocks in companies that were plaintiffs or defendants in the judges’ courts but also trading the stocks during cases.
Judges offered a variety of explanations for the violations. Some blamed court clerks. Some said their recusal lists had misspellings that foiled the conflict-screening software. Some pointed to trades that resulted in losses. Others said they had only nominal roles, such as confirming settlements or transferring cases to other courts, though there is no legal exemption for such work.
The ethics code for federal judges “requires recusal when a judge has a financial conflict, regardless of the substance of the judge’s actual involvement in the case,” the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Codes of Conduct wrote in a letter to a judge this month.
Some blamed court clerks. Some said their recusal lists had misspellings. Some pointed to trades that resulted in losses.
In response to the Journal’s findings, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said: “The Wall Street Journal’s report on instances where conflicts inadvertently were not identified before a case was resolved or transferred is troubling, and the Administrative Office is carefully reviewing the matter.”
It said the federal judiciary “takes very seriously its obligations to preclude any financial conflicts of interest” and has taken steps, such as conflict-screening software and ethics training, to prevent violations. “We have in place a number of safeguards and are looking for ways to improve,” the office said.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who heads the federal judiciary, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The nation’s roughly 600 full-time federal trial judges, supplemented by about 460 semiretired jurists called senior judges, wield enormous power. Holding lifetime appointments, they preside over hundreds of thousands of civil and criminal cases each year in 94 court districts.
They have soup-to-nuts control over all elements of their courtrooms, from pretrial process and trial to criminal pleas, judgments and sentencing. Judges have wide latitude for fact findings and evidentiary rulings, most of which can be overturned only for abuse of discretion, a high hurdle.
Violations of the 1974 law almost never become public. Judges’ financial disclosures aren’t online, are cumbersome to request and sometimes take years to access.
Judges are informed if anyone requests to see their disclosures, creating a disincentive for lawyers who might fear annoying judges in whose courtrooms they frequently appear.
Judges rarely make public the lists of companies on whose cases they shouldn’t work. When judges disqualify themselves from cases, they typically don’t disclose details. No judges in modern times have been removed from the federal bench solely for having a financial interest in a plaintiff or defendant that appeared in their courtroom.
“I just blew it. I regret any question that I’ve created an appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest.”— Judge Timothy Batten Sr., when notified of his violations
The Journal analyzed data from the Free Law Project, a nonpartisan legal-research nonprofit that is planning to post judicial disclosure forms online. The findings amount to a pervasive disregard for the judicial conflict-of-interest laws, legal experts said.
A recusal violation in isolation could be viewed as an oversight, but the Journal’s investigation “raises a more systemic problem of judges chronically neglecting their duty to disqualify in such cases,” said Charles Geyh, a law professor at Indiana University, who specializes in judicial conduct, ethics and accountability.
The findings “are both surprising and disappointing,” said Timothy Batten Sr., chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and a member of the Committee on Codes of Conduct for the Judicial Conference of the U.S.
“I believe in the vast majority of these cases, it is an oversight and indolence,” he added.
Judge Batten himself owned shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. while he heard 11 lawsuits involving the bank, most of which ended in the bank’s favor, the Journal’s analysis shows.
“I am mortified,” Judge Batten said in a phone interview when notified about his violations, which occurred in 2010 and 2011, before he joined the Codes of Conduct committee in 2019. “I had no idea that I had an interest in any of these companies in what was a most modest retirement account” managed by a broker.
“I just blew it. I regret any question that I’ve created or appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest,” he said.
Judge Batten, appointed by former President George W. Bush, said he stopped investing in individual stocks in 2012 and moved his portfolio to mutual funds, which don’t require recusal, and has since closed the account.
The Journal analyzed cases to determine whether judges made rulings on contested motions, such as those seeking dismissal or summary judgment. Judges ruled on contested motions in 21% of the nearly 700 cases in question.
Those rulings favored the judges’ financial interests in 94 cases, went against the judges’ interest in 27 cases and had mixed outcomes in 24 cases.
Already, several parties on the losing side of the rulings have petitioned for a new judge to hear their cases after they were alerted to the violations identified by the Journal.
Several judges misunderstood the law, initially saying that they didn’t have to recuse themselves because their shares were held in accounts run by a money manager.
The ban on holding even a single share of a company while presiding in a case involving the firm means judges must be vigilant. The 1974 law requires judges to inform themselves about their own financial interests and make a “reasonable effort” to do the same for their spouses and any minor children. The Judicial Conference of the U.S. requires courts to use conflict-checking software to help identify cases where judges should bow out.
In the Microsoft case, a Chicago man alleged the software giant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending an unsolicited text about its Xbox gaming console to his mobile phone. He filed suit in 2011. One of Judge Sammartino’s family trusts bought Microsoft stock twice in 2012 and added three purchases in 2013.
The plaintiff’s lawyers sought in 2013 to turn the case into a class action involving 91,708 people who allegedly received the text messages. Microsoft said that it had received permission to send the texts but that records confirming this had been destroyed. Had a class been approved, the case could potentially have cost Microsoft more than $45 million, according to court filings by the plaintiff.
Judge Sammartino denied the class-action motion as well as Microsoft’s motion to dismiss the case. She ruled that the law permitted the plaintiff to seek damages of $500 for one alleged violation, potentially tripled. He appealed but settled before the appeal was heard. A spokesman for Microsoft declined to comment. One of the plaintiff’s lawyers also declined to comment.
Judge Sammartino, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, initially referred questions from the Journal to William Cracraft, a spokesman for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “She asked me to let you know” her stocks “are in a managed account, so she’s not seeing as how there could be a conflict,” Mr. Cracraft said. “She’s not inclined to discuss her private business with you since it is all in managed accounts, and she thinks that’s sufficient.”
An opinion by the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Codes of Conduct in 2013 confirmed that judges must bow out of cases involving stocks they own in accounts run by money managers.
Judge Sammartino later informed the court clerk’s office of the conflicts, and the office filed a letter notifying parties to the Microsoft case and other cases with violations identified by the Journal.
“Judge Sammartino was not aware of this financial interest at the time the case was pending,” the letter said. “The matter was brought to her attention after disposition of the case. Thus, the financial interest neither affected nor impacted her decisions in this case. However, the financial interest would have required recusal.”
Before the Journal contacted Judge Sammartino about her recusal violations, she disqualified herself in at least 10 other cases involving companies whose stocks were listed on her disclosure forms, a review of her cases shows.
Judge Rodney Gilstrap, chief of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, had the largest number of conflicts in the Journal’s analysis: 138 cases assigned to him involving companies in which he or his wife held an interest.
Judge Gilstrap said he believed he didn’t need to recuse himself from some cases because they required little or no action on his part, and in other cases because the stocks were in a trust created for his wife. Legal-ethics experts disagreed on both counts.
“I take my obligations related to potential conflicts/recusals seriously,” he said in an email. “Throughout my judicial career, I have endeavored to comply with all such obligations, and I will continue to do so.”
Judge Sammartino’s 54 conflicts were the second-most recusal violations. Brian Martinotti in New Jersey ranked third, handling 44 cases involving companies in which he had invested. Among his biggest holdings was Alphabet Inc., the parent of Google. He disclosed in 2016, 2017 and 2018 that he owned $15,001 to $50,000 of Alphabet shares.
Brian Martinotti, Gershwin Drain, Emily Marks
In 2017, the judge threw out a lawsuit against Google alleging that videos on its YouTube unit falsely said the plaintiff was a sex offender, ruling that the Communications Decency Act let Google off the hook.
Judge Martinotti, an Obama appointee, didn’t respond to requests for comment, but after the Journal inquired, the district court clerk notified parties to 44 cases of Judge Martinotti’s stock ownership. His Alphabet holding didn’t affect the judge’s decisions but would have required recusal, the clerk wrote. A spokesman for Google declined to comment.
“I would like my case to be re-opened as Judge Brian R. Martinotti was unfairly biased and should have recused himself from my case,” the plaintiff, Nuwan Weerahandi, wrote in an August 2021 letter to the court, after receiving notice of Judge Martinotti’s violation.
The chief judge of the New Jersey federal court, Freda Wolfson, denied Mr. Weerahandi’s request on Sept. 2, saying the Communications Decency Act bars defamation-related claims against computer services such as Google.
“Importantly, in making this purely legal determination, Judge Martinotti did not engage in any factfinding that would bear on the credibility of any party, including you,” Judge Wolfson wrote.
In at least 18 instances, judges disqualified themselves over conflicts, only to have the case reassigned to a judge who also had a conflict but didn’t recuse.
In 2015, Judge Robert Cleland in Michigan, a George H.W. Bush appointee, bowed out of a suit by an injured motorist against insurer Allstate Corp., whose stock the judge had been buying and selling that year.
The case was reassigned to Judge Gershwin Drain, who also owned Allstate shares. Judge Drain heard the case—and six others involving Allstate—and wrote a ruling denying a request by the motorist to move the dispute to state court. The case then settled on undisclosed terms.
“I can say with absolute certainty that I never made any decision in favor of a company because I owned stock and was invested in that company,” Judge Drain said in an email. “To prevent any future issues, however, I have taken steps to review any new cases and if I am invested in any of the companies among the new cases that are assigned to me I will immediately recuse myself.” Allstate didn’t respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for the motorist declined to comment.
Frequent recusals can upset courts’ random drawing of judges for cases and lead to a smaller pool. In 20 federal districts, a third or more judges owned the same stock in the same year. In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2017, fully a third disclosed a Microsoft stock holding.
More than 340 federal appellate and trial judges reported holdings in Apple Inc. at some point from 2010 to 2018 and 300 in Microsoft. About 500 judges owned Bank of America, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan or Wells Fargo shares at some point.
Those numbers reflect only stock ownership, not recusal violations. However, the Journal found 37 judges who owned a bank stock while improperly hearing a case involving that bank.
Judge Emily Marks bought Wells Fargo stock two weeks after she was assigned a Wells Fargo case, a conflict that now threatens to upset a ruling she made.
In the suit, Jacob Springer and Jeanetta Springer of Roanoke, Ala., acted as their own attorneys in challenging Wells Fargo’s foreclosure of Ms. Springer’s father’s home.
In court filings, they said her ailing father missed a mortgage payment three months before he died, after which his daughter, who inherited the home, made payments. Wells Fargo foreclosed, saying the Springers missed payments of about $4,100 on an outstanding mortgage of more than $80,000; they said they had missed just one $695 payment.
“This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”— Jacob Springer, when told of the judge’s violation in the case he lost
Judge Marks, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was assigned the case in mid-August 2018. The judge bought Wells Fargo stock at the end of the month. In September, she adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to dismiss the Springers’ suit, a decision affirmed on appeal.
Judge Marks declined to comment. The court clerk told parties to the case that the judge had informed her of having owned the bank stock and directed the clerk to notify the parties. The clerk told them Judge Marks’s stock ownership didn’t affect her decisions in the case but would have required recusal.
Mr. Springer said, “This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”
The Springers asked the court to reopen the case, saying in a filing that “a non-interested Judge” might have let them amend their pleadings. The court assigned a new judge to their suit in July. A spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to comment.
The nation’s 94 district courts are organized into 12 circuits, or regions. The Journal identified recusal violations in each region.
The U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t part of the Journal’s analysis. Nor did it include bankruptcy or magistrate judges.
Half of all federal trial and appellate judges in the Journal’s review disclosed minimum financial assets of $775,000 in 2018, while 31 reported a minimum of $10 million of assets. Some jurists joined the bench after lucrative careers in private practice.
Federal district judges draw an annual salary of $218,600, which isn’t much more than a first-year attorney at a top-tier law firm earns. Some judges said their salary level makes stock investments an attractive option.
Susan Webber Wright, Donald Graham, Benjamin Settle
“I have my judicial salary, but the law really restricts what else judges can do for additional income,” said Judge Susan Webber Wright in Arkansas. She said she held more stock when she was younger and trying to build a nest egg for her family.
Judge Wright, an appointee of former President George H.W. Bush, oversaw 2005 and 2006 cases involving Eli Lilly and Co. and Home Depot Inc. while owning shares of those companies. She issued no major rulings before one case settled and the other was transferred to another district.
“A judge has to be on her toes, and obviously I was not,” Judge Wright said.
Judges who have many conflicts are “either being careless or have people working for them who are not exercising due diligence,” she said, though she added that judges bear the ultimate responsibility for steering clear of conflicts.
Judge Donald Graham in Florida held American depositary receipts of Alcatel-Lucent while assigned to a case involving the French telecom maker. He sold the ADRs in 2010, a day after he approved a $45 million civil settlement between the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Alcatel-Lucent over allegations the company bribed foreign officials. The company neither admitted nor denied the allegations.
After being contacted by the Journal, Judge Graham, a George H.W. Bush appointee, notified the court clerk of the violation. In a publicly filed letter to the parties, the clerk said Judge Graham’s holding didn’t affect his decisions.
A lawyer for the SEC told the court the agency didn’t believe any further action was required. Alcatel-Lucent’s current owner, Nokia Corp., declined to comment.
Judge Benjamin Settle in Washington state sold as much as $15,000 of Amgen Inc. stock during a case that was settled in 2012. He sold the stock in 2008, while the suit was under seal, giving him access to nonpublic information about an allegation of kickbacks to doctors. The case contributed to a $762 million penalty against the biotech company in 2012.
Judge Settle, a George W. Bush appointee, said he hadn’t included all of his holdings on his recusal list when he inherited the case in 2007 as a newly commissioned federal judge. “Amgen was among those mistakenly omitted,” he said.
Judge Settle said he directed his broker in 2008 to sell all of his stocks. A spokesman for Amgen declined to comment.
The Journal’s tally of recusal violations is likely an undercount. In Mississippi, Judge Sharion Aycock’s husband owned as much as $15,000 in shares of Dollar General Corp. at a time when the Journal found two cases she heard involving the retailer. After being asked about the matter, Judge Aycock found five more violations involving Dollar General and notified the clerk about all seven.
A few of the judges with violations the Journal identified had legendary careers, including Jack Weinstein and Arthur Spatt in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Judge Weinstein, a Lyndon Johnson appointee, oversaw four cases involving Medtronic PLC or Target Corp. while he or his family held their shares. Judge Spatt, who was named to the court by former President George H.W. Bush, had a violation involving Johnson & Johnson. Judge Spatt died in 2020 and Judge Weinstein died earlier this year, both having served into their 90s.
Judge Margo Brodie, chief of the Eastern District, which includes New York City’s Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, acknowledged the conflicts but said the judges’ “involvement was minimal, limited to ministerial actions” such as approving settlements or opinions by magistrate judges.
“These two judges have been revered by the practicing bar for their integrity and even handedness,” Judge Brodie said in an email. “There has never been a suggestion, much less an accusation, that either ever acted inappropriately.”
The Journal identified 36 conflicts by one judge in Colorado, R. Brooke Jackson. The cases included Apple, Chevron Corp., Eli Lilly, FacebookInc., General Electric Co., Home Depot, Honeywell International Inc., Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan, Pfizer and Wells Fargo.
“I have preferred to stay unknowledgeable about it.”— Judge R. Brooke Jackson, on the stocks in his and his wife’s portfolio
Reached by phone, Judge Jackson said he had no idea which stocks he owns because a money manager handles them and because his wife fills out his disclosure forms. He said that because he doesn’t know, he couldn’t have a conflict of interest.
“I’ve never really paid much attention to it,” Judge Jackson said of his and his wife’s investments. “I have preferred to stay unknowledgeable about it.”
Told he was required to know under the law, he said: “That’s news to me.”
In a later email, Judge Jackson, an Obama appointee, admitted his mistake. “I am taking immediate steps to provide a current list of stocks and other investments held by my wife and by me to our Clerk’s Office so that we can create an appropriate conflicts list and be sure that this does not happen again,” he wrote.
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In a subsequent 21-page letter to the Journal, Judge Jackson said he should have recused himself in most if not all of the 36 cases.
“I am embarrassed that I did not properly understand and apply the stock ownership rule,” he wrote. “Being informed of what could be viewed as an ethical violation, even a technical one, is no fun.”
R. Brooke Jackson, David Norton, Sharion Aycock
Judge David Norton in South Carolina presided over six asbestos suits beginning in 2012 while his disclosures show he held between $95,004 and $250,000 of stock in two defendants, 3M Co. and GE.
In 2015 he heard a case filed by James Chesher, who alleged that he developed cancer from exposure to asbestos in the Navy. Mr. Chesher and his wife sought damages from 3M, GE and about two dozen other companies. They reached settlements with 3M and GE in 2016.
Mr. Chesher died in 2017. His widow, Cheryl Ann Chesher, was surprised to learn from the Journal of the judge’s financial interest in GE and 3M.
“He should have policed himself,” Ms. Chesher said. “He knows what the law is on that and he should have followed through,” she said, adding: “You have to wonder if he’s looking out for himself…rather than the clients.”
In an emailed statement, Judge Norton said he didn’t recuse himself because 3M and GE played no significant role in the suits and were “defendants in name only.”
He added: “At the outset the lawyers involved in these cases assured me that 3M and GE would be dismissed and not involved in the case pursuant to a pre-existing agreement between the plaintiffs’ lawyers and GE and 3M.”
Peter Kraus, an attorney for the Cheshers, said he and his co-counsel “have no recollection about making any assurances to the judge that GE and 3M would be dismissed.” They “were sued because the evidence in the case implicated them, and were certainly not ‘defendants in name only,’ ” he said, adding that attorneys for both companies participated in depositions.
A 3M spokeswoman said neither the company nor its attorneys ever assured the judge regarding any dismissals. A spokeswoman for GE didn’t respond to questions about whether it had conveyed such an assurance. An attorney for GE said she didn’t recall the case.
Told what 3M and the plaintiffs’ attorney said, Judge Norton reiterated his recollection of the case.
As remaining asbestos defendants moved toward trial, Judge Norton, a George H.W. Bush appointee, issued rulings that broadly benefited companies with asbestos liabilities.
In hearings, he took aim at the theory behind the cases: that any exposure to asbestos was significant enough to contribute to their cancer. The defendants said the plaintiffs’ expert witness shouldn’t be allowed to testify because he was unable to show that the men more likely than not would have avoided the disease but for their exposure to the asbestos. Judge Norton sided with the companies, ruling that the expert witness’s testimony—“scientifically sound as it may be”—couldn’t be presented to a jury.
The ruling drew national attention. Plaintiffs’ lawyers denounced it, while lawyers who often defend corporations embraced it as common-sense analysis. A Harvard Law Review article blasted it, saying that “unrealistic legal expectations of science could do great injustice.”
Mr. Kraus, the Cheshers’s attorney, called the decision out of sync with court precedent on liability in asbestos cases. Other courts have adopted Judge Norton’s analysis, including the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mr. Kraus said he has never asked to see a judge’s financial disclosure form. He said he wasn’t sure he ever would.
“If a judge who is considering a matter you have before him finds out that you’ve been snooping around about his finances, I’d be very concerned as a practitioner that it would cause a negative backlash that would affect my clients’ rights in the court,” Mr. Kraus said.
Judge Norton also violated an ethics rule when he bought a box of cuff links at an auction of the government-seized property of a man he earlier sentenced to prison for a Ponzi scheme, according to the chief judge of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“The judge’s purchase did create an appearance of impropriety,” though it didn’t affect the sentence imposed, Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in 2017, without identifying the cuff links buyer.
Judge Gregory quoted the unnamed judge as saying he tried to “keep current on all ethical rules and take the yearly ethics test prepared by the Administrative office” but was unaware that his participation in the auction could create the appearance of impropriety.
Judge Norton, who confirmed in a separate filing that he bought the cuff links, told the Fourth Circuit: “Now that I have been made aware of this, my actions will not be repeated.”
In the largest known political advocacy donation in U.S. history, industrialist Barre Seid funded a new group run by Federalist Society co-chair Leonard Leo, who guided Trump’s Supreme Court picks and helped end federal abortion rights.
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An elderly, ultra-secretive Chicago businessman has given the largest known donation to a political advocacy group in U.S. history — worth $1.6 billion — and the recipient is one of the prime architects of conservatives’ efforts to reshape the American judicial system, including the Supreme Court.
Through a series of opaque transactions over the past two years, Barre Seid, a 90-year-old manufacturing magnate, gave the massive sum to a nonprofit run by Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the conservative legal group the Federalist Society.
The donation was first reported by The New York Times on Monday. The Lever and ProPublica confirmed the information from documents received independently by the news organizations.
Our reporting sheds additional light on how the two men, one a judicial kingmaker and the other a mysterious but prolific donor to conservative causes, came together to create a political war chest that will likely supercharge efforts to further shift American politics to the right.
As President Donald Trump’s adviser on judicial nominations, Leo helped build the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, which recently eliminated Constitutional protections for abortion rights and has made a series of sweeping pro-business decisions. Leo, a conservative Catholic, has both helped select judges to nominate to the Supreme Court and directed multimillion dollar media campaigns to confirm them.
Leo derives immense political power through his ability to raise huge sums of money and distribute those funds throughout the conservative movement to influence elections, judicial appointments and policy battles. Yet the biggest funders of Leo’s operation have long been a mystery.
Seid, who led the surge protector and data-center equipment maker Tripp Lite for more than half a century, has been almost unknown outside a small circle of political and cultural recipients. The gift immediately vaults him into the ranks of major funders like the Koch brothers and George Soros.
In practical terms, there are few limitations on how Leo’s new group, the Marble Freedom Trust, can spend the enormous donation. The structure of the donation allowed Seid to avoid as much as $400 million in taxes. Thus, he maximized the amount of money at Leo’s disposal.
Now, Leo, 56, is positioned to finance his already sprawling network with one of the largest pools of political capital in American history. Seid has left his legacy to Leo.
“To my knowledge, it is entirely without precedent for a political operative to be given control of such an astonishing amount of money,” said Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance lawyer at the nonpartisan watchdog group Documented. “Leonard Leo is already incredibly powerful, and now he is going to have over a billion dollars at his disposal to continue upending our country’s institutions.”
In a statement to the Times, Leo said it was “high time for the conservative movement to be among the ranks of George Soros, Hansjörg Wyss, Arabella Advisors and other left-wing philanthropists, going toe-to-toe in the fight to defend our constitution and its ideals.” Leo and representatives for Seid did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Marble Freedom Trust is a so-called dark money group that is not required to publicly disclose its donors. It has wide latitude to spend directly on elections as well as on ideological projects such as funding issue-advocacy groups, think tanks, universities, religious institutions and organizing efforts.
The creators of the Marble Freedom Trust shrouded their project in secrecy for more than two years.
The group’s name does not appear in any public database of business, tax or securities records. The Marble Freedom Trust is organized for legal purposes as a trust, rather than as a corporation. That means it did not have to publicly disclose basic details like its name, directors and address.
The trust was formed in Utah. Its address is a house in North Salt Lake owned by Tyler Green, a lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Green is listed in the trust’s tax return as an administrative trustee. The donation does not appear to violate any laws.
Seid’s $1.6 billion donation is a landmark in the era of deregulated political spending ushered in by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. That case, along with subsequent changes and weak federal oversight, empowered a tiny group of the super rich in both parties to fund groups that can spend unlimited sums to support candidates and political causes. In the last decade, donations in the millions and sometimes tens of millions of dollars have become common.
Individuals could give unlimited amounts of money to nonprofit groups prior to Citizens United, but the decision allowed those nonprofits to more directly influence elections. A handful of billionaires such as the Koch family and Soros have spent billions to achieve epochal political influence by bankrolling networks of nonprofits.
Even in this money-drenched world, Seid’s $1.6 billion gift exceeds all publicly known one-time donations to a politically oriented group.
The Silent Donor
One day in November 2015, the employees of Tripp Lite, a manufacturer of power strips and other electrical equipment, gathered for a celebration at the company’s headquarters on the South Side of Chicago. Cupcakes frosted in blue and white spelled out the numbers “56.” An easel held up a sign hailing Tripp Lite’s longtime leader: “Congratulations Barre!”
A small, balding man with a white goatee and a ruddy complexion took the microphone. Barre Seid was known as someone who preferred to keep a low profile, but on the 56th anniversary of his leadership of Tripp Lite, he couldn’t resist the chance to address his employees. Later, as he bit into a cupcake, Seid posed for a company photographer, who later uploaded the photo to the company’s Facebook page.
Even this semipublic glimpse of Seid was rare.
For several decades, a select group of political activists, academics and fundraisers was ushered to Tripp Lite headquarters to pitch Seid at his office. Despite his status as one of the country’s most prolific funders of conservative causes, and despite his decades as the president and sole owner of one of the country’s most successful electronics makers, Seid has spent most of his 90 years painstakingly guarding his privacy.
There are no art galleries, opera companies, or theaters or university buildings emblazoned with his name in his hometown of Chicago. There’s even some confusion over how to pronounce his last name. (People who’ve dealt with him say it’s “side.”)
The Lever and ProPublica pieced together the details of his life and his motivations for his extensive donations through interviews, court records and other documents obtained through public-records requests.
One of the only photos of Seid that The Lever and ProPublica could find shows him as a 14-year-old walking in a small group across a college campus. Born in 1932 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Seid grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the oldest of two brothers, according to Census records. A precocious child, he was chosen for a special bachelor’s degree program at the University of Chicago, not far from his childhood home.
Seid attended the University of Chicago in the early years of the “Chicago school,” a group of professors and researchers who would reimagine the field of economics, assailing massive government interventions in the economy and emphasizing the importance of human liberty and free markets. After college, Seid served two years in the Army and eventually returned home to Chicago, according to testimony given decades later in a court case. He took a job as an assistant to an investor and businessman named Graham Trippe, whose company made headlights and would produce the rotating warning lights used by police cars, tow trucks and other emergency response vehicles.
By the mid-1960s, Seid had taken over as Trippe Manufacturing’s president. In the decades to come, the company, now called Tripp Lite, became a pick-and-shovel business of the digital gold rush. The company sells the power strips that supply electricity to computers and the server racks, cooling equipment and network switches that make data centers run. Business surged with the shift to cloud computing and the proliferation of vast data centers.
That boom vaulted him from the ranks of merely rich to the superrich. Seid was making around $30 million per year by the mid-1990s, tax records obtained by ProPublica show. His annual income, the vast majority of which came from Tripp Lite’s profits, took off in the mid-2000s and steadily rose, hitting around $157 million in 2018. Tripp Lite, which was 100% owned by Seid, contributed $136 million to his total income that year.
Even as Seid built a billion-plus dollar business, he drew scant public attention; Forbes never put him on its list of the wealthiest Americans, and business and political press rarely mentioned him.
Yet he was becoming a major donor. He gave at least $775 million in charitable donations between 1996 and 2018, a period in which he reported $1.7 billion in income, according to his tax records. Seid parceled out a small portion of those donations to Chicago-area universities, religious organizations, medical research and dozens of civic-focused groups.
While Seid has never spoken to the press about his ideology, evidence of his worldview has emerged here and there. His family foundation has supported the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics, named after two of the Chicago school’s intellectual leaders, Gary Becker and Milton Friedman. He has also donated to the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has a history of using inflammatory rhetoric and misleading tactics to undermine climate science.
Seid appeared to be the donor (listed as “Barry Seid”) who gave $17 million to fund the distribution during the 2008 presidential campaign of millions of copies of a DVD of the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War With the West.” The DVDs, which were sent specifically to households in presidential election battleground states, were criticized as virulently anti-Muslim.
Seid’s personality can be glimpsed in exchanges with George Mason University officials from the late 2000s to mid-2010s that came out in response to a public-records request by the activist group UnKoch My Campus. In the emails, Seid comes across as an intellectually probing figure, asking the dean of the law school to respond to news stories about the value of a law-school degree or the workings of higher education’s accreditation system. Seid drily addressed several administrators for the university, whose law school and economics department are known for their alignment with conservative, free-market principles, as “Fellow Members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.”
Seid appears to have continually sought new vehicles for dispensing his money and maintaining as much anonymity as possible. The GMU emails also show a redacted donor — who activists believed to be Seid based on other unredacted materials — routing donations to the school through DonorsTrust or the Donors Capital Fund, two donor-advised funds that provide an additional level of anonymity.
While the roots of Seid and Leo’s professional relationship aren’t clear, the two worked together at a small foundation Seid formed in 2009 called the Chicago Freedom Trust, a charity that gave out small grants to nonpolitical groups. Leo later joined the foundation’s board.
The GMU emails provide an inkling of the relationship between the two men. In early 2016, Seid emailed the dean of GMU’s law school and the head of a prominent American Jewish organization to urge them to work together. The dean, Henry Butler, forwarded Seid’s message to Leo seeking to better understand Seid’s intentions.
“Do you have any insight?” Butler wrote.
“I do not, but will find out,” Leo replied.
Billionaires tend to craft intricate estate plans to pass the family business to the next generation, fortified from taxation and protective of their vision. The apparently childless Seid didn’t have that option, but starting in April 2020, he set in motion a plan to make sure his fortune would go toward his favored causes.
That month, the Marble Freedom Trust was created, and Seid subsequently transferred his 100% ownership stake in Tripp Lite to the trust, according to the documents reviewed by The Lever and ProPublica.
In February 2021, Tripp Lite filed its annualreports with the state of Illinois as it had done for decades. But this time, Seid’s typewritten name had been crossed out as an officer of the company. Added as an officer, written in by hand, was Leonard Leo.
A Tripp Lite subsidiary in Nova Scotia, Canada, similarly removed Seid as a director and added Leo as a director in March 2021, according to disclosure filings.
Then, later that same month, Eaton Corporation, a large publicly traded company, acquired Tripp Lite for $1.65 billion.
The transactions appear to have been carefully sequenced to reap massive tax savings. Selling a company that has grown in value after decades of ownership is treated the same way for tax purposes as a person selling a share of stock. If the property has grown in value, capital gains taxes are due when it is sold.
But Seid transferred Tripp Lite to the Marble Freedom Trust, a nonprofit that is exempt from income tax, before the electronics company was sold. As a result, lawyers say, Seid avoided up to $400 million in state and federal income tax, preserving those funds for Leo’s operation.
“If the person who had owned the stock had sold the stock himself, he would’ve been taxed on the appreciation in the stock,” said Ellen Aprill, a tax law professor at Loyola Marymount University. “Whereas if you give it to the 501(c)(4), there’s no charitable deduction for giving the money, but you avoid the tax on all of that appreciation.”
Political advocacy nonprofits like the Marble Freedom Trust are formally called 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, after the section of the tax code. Informally, they are known as dark-money groups because donors can remain secret, in contrast to the public disclosures required of gifts to political campaigns or super PACs. While they can spend money directly advocating for or against candidates in political campaigns, such spending cannot be their primary purpose.
In giving to such a dark money group, Seid also avoided another federal levy, the gift tax, thanks to a change signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2015.
There’s a reason why giving money specifically to a trust might have been attractive for an older and ideological donor such as Seid. The founding documents that lay out how the trust will spend money can be harder to change than the governing documents of a corporation, according to Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer, a professor at Notre Dame Law School.
Mayer added that while corporations usually have at least three directors, trusts can have just a single trustee in charge of the organization’s activities.
Leo is the trustee and chairman of the Marble Freedom Trust. In other words, Leo is now in charge of the massive sum of money.
For decades, Leo had served as a top executive at the Federalist Society, helping lead the influential Washington-based conservative lawyers group that serves as a launching pad for careers on the right.
But in early 2020, Leo made an announcement that suggested he was taking his successful model for reshaping the courts to remake American politics at every level: local, state and federal. In an interview with Axios, Leo said he was stepping away from his day-to-day role with the Federalist Society to take a more active role steering a network of conservative dark money groups.
The plan was to expand the network’s scope to “funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservative fights around the country,” according to Axios. What Leo did not mention in the interview was the imminent creation of the Marble Freedom Trust, his biggest-ever war chest.
Leo’s long career as both a legal activist and a prodigious fundraiser for conservative causes shows a steady march toward becoming a central figure in the Republican Party’s successful strategy to fill as many judicial vacancies as possible with young, conservative judges skeptical of the federal government’s power. He served as an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign, helping the candidate take a step no other major presidential candidate had ever taken: releasing a list of names he would draw on to nominate to the Supreme Court.
Coming at a moment when conservatives were wary of Trump’s past leanings, the move bolstered his support among social conservatives. Leo stayed on as a judicial adviser during Trump’s four years in office. During that time, Leo helped the president appoint and confirm more than 200 nominees to the federal bench, most famously Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Leo’s efforts to reshape the country’s judicial system began long before Trump’s political ascent. In 1991, he joined the Federalist Society, which was then in its early years and only beginning to build a pipeline for conservative jurists.
In the view of Leo and his allies, the U.S. legal system had drifted dangerously far from its roots, establishing privileged classes and doctrines that were not enumerated in the Constitution and would be unrecognizable to the Founders. Those same courts had also empowered a class of unelected bureaucrats dubbed the “administrative state” to impose needless regulations and to endow the federal government with too much power. Like his close friend Justice Antonin Scalia, Leo argued for an originalist view of the Constitution — namely, that the country’s founding document should be interpreted strictly based on how its 18th century authors understood its words at the time.
In 2005, Leo and his allies formed a dark money network to rally support for George W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. But if Leo wanted to turn back the tide of what he saw as unchecked judicial activism, he needed to build something bigger, more lasting.
Leo set out to create a network of interlocking groups that could each play a part in returning the country to what he saw as its roots, whether by training future generations of Scalias, funding scholarship that made the case for originalism or bankrolling efforts to install conservative judges on the bench.
Between 2005 and mid-2021, Leo and his associates raised at least $460 million (not including the Marble Freedom Trust’s funds).
According to tax records, Leo’s network has funneled those hundreds of millions into ad campaigns and right-leaning groups. The Judicial Crisis Network — which is now called the Concord Fund and is headed by a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Leo associate named Carrie Severino — has spent tens of millions airing ads during Supreme Court confirmation fights.
The group’s fundraising took off in 2016, when it led a campaign to block Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland’s confirmation. That year, Leo’s network received a $28 million infusion from a single anonymous donor. Leo and his network long refused to say who is paying for their advocacy campaigns.
While Leo is best known for his influence on the Supreme Court, he and his network have also worked to shift the balance of power throughout the judiciary — in federal district and appellate courts, and state supreme courts, too.
At the state level, the network funds groups supporting conservative gubernatorial and legislative candidates. Leo’s nonprofits and their subsidiaries have recently pushed states to tighten voting laws, opposed the teaching of critical race theory in schools and financed organizations pressing states to remove millions of Americans from the Medicaid rolls.Republicans Turn Against the League of Women Voters
But now, with Seid’s largesse, Leo has nearly four times the amount he raised over 16 years at his disposal and ambitions to match.
“I have a very simple rule, which is, I’m engaged in the battle of ideas, and I care very deeply about our Constitution and the role of courts in our society,” Leo told The Washington Post in 2019 when asked about his donors. “And I don’t waste my time on stories that involve money and politics because what I care about is ideas.”
For More Information And To Contact And Support The African Peoples Socialist Party And Uhuru Solidarity Movement, Please Visit Their Website And Donate At APSPUhuru.org.
The specter of a Biden administration-authorized Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated McCarthy-era witch hunt was posed in bold relief last week as FBI agents took aim at a Black liberation organization that has been a sharp critic of the U.S./NATO-backed war in Ukraine and a defender of poor nations threatened with U.S. sanctions, coups, embargoes and blockades. These include Cuba, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iran.
Replete with flash/bang grenades deployed at 5:00 am on Friday, July 29 to startle African Peoples Socialist Party (APSP) leader Omali Yeshitela and his wife at their home in St. Louis, Missouri, FBI agents, carrying federal search warrants, ordered them to come out with their hands up. They were handcuffed and ordered to sit on the curb. The armed agents, accompanied by local police, proceeded to ransack their home, confiscating their files, computer equipment and cell phones.
The FBI raid is connected to a federal indictment of a Russian man, Aleksandr Ionov, who the U.S. government alleges orchestrated a “political influence campaign” targeting local U.S. elections with the direct assistance of the APSP and its associated group, the Uhuru Movement. FBI and local police also raided the Uhuru Solidarity Center in St. Louis and APSP headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Ionov, a Russian national, is a leader of the Anti-Globalization Movement in Russia that the DOJ alleges worked on behalf of the Russian Federal Security Service to use U.S. political groups “to spread pro-Russia propaganda and interfere with local elections.”
APSP founder and chair Yeshitela and Uhuru Movement representatives denied being part of any Russian conspiracy campaign or receiving money from the Russian government.
African Peoples Socialist Party press conference
See the complete APSP press conference on the day of the FBI raid here:
The U.S. Department of Justice indictment charges Ionov with working with at least three other Russian officials in a “malign influence campaign” against the U.S. over the past seven years. Ionov and his collaborators, according to the DOJ, used various U.S. groups to advance Russian government goals in several states.
“Through these influence operations,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg during a Florida press conference on the day of the raids, “Russia attempts to shape foreign perceptions and to influence populations in a number of ways.” He added, “Their goal is to further the interests of Russia.” The federal indictment asserts that the Russian “conspiracy” started in 2015 when APSP representatives attended a 2015 Moscow “anti-globalization” conference that included a range of U.S. and international antiwar organizations. The conference was billed and organized as an independent antiwar gathering. In addition to the APSP several U.S. antiwar groups attended, including representatives from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), which includes some 150 associated groups. A number of the conference participants participated in a separate peaceful protest at the U.S. embassy in Moscow decrying the 2014 U.S.-backed fascist-led coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine.
False charges: “Unindicted co-conspirators”
Yeshitela and the other July 29 FBI raid victims were not arrested. The DOJ press release characterized them as “unindicted co-conspirators,” presumably facing future court action and persecution as the DOJ continues its “investigations” and evaluates the contents of the sequestered files, computers and cell phones. One of the three “co-conspirators” was a 2017 APSP candidate for the St. Petersburg City Council, Akilé Anai, the party’s director of agitation and propaganda. Anai ran again in 2019 focusing on APSP’s traditional demands for reparations for U.S. slavery and in opposition to U.S. colonial and imperialist policies around the world.
The presumption of innocence
An italicized footnote to the DOJ press release states, “An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
This constitutional presumption of innocence notwithstanding, the FBI agents had no qualms about employing terror tactics against a longstanding Black liberation group.
According to FBI Special Agent David Walker, the three Florida search warrants were aimed at “collecting evidence for their indictment.” Walker added: “The facts and circumstances surrounding this indictment are some of the most blatant violations we’ve seen by the Russian government in order to destabilize and undermine trust in American democracy.” That the APSP participated in a local election campaign–where they received some 18 percent of the vote–and advocated freedom and reparations for oppressed people in the U.S. and worldwide, in the twisted logic of the FBI and DOJ, constitutes, a threat to the “stability” of the U.S. and “undermines trust in American democracy.”
Challenging U.S./NATO Ukraine war is a crime
Walker unwittingly reveals today’s near-unanimous mindset of the U.S. government, which today exercises a virtual media blockade of all views that criticize the Biden administration’s war policies. The message is unmistakable: Challenging U.S. imperialist policy on Ukraine, or for that matter, anywhere in the world, can subject antiwar opponents to persecution, if not imprisonment! Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a related statement was explicit: “The Department of Justice will not allow Russia to unlawfully sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.”
Return to McCarthy era persecution
Declaring the APSP as essentially an agent of a foreign power because of its political ideas, not to mention running for political office and campaigning for their ideas, smacks of the reactionary methods employed against socialists and communists during the 1950s and 60s McCarthy-era witch-hunt. During that decades long horror a compliant U.S. Supreme approved the infamous Felix Frankfurter doctrine that held that the constitutionally protected rights of free speech and free association had to be “balanced” against the “national security interests” of the U.S. government. During that period these so-called national security interests, that is, the right of the capitalist class to persecute dissidents who opposed U.S. wars, racism and political repression, triumphed and the First Amendment was largely obliterated.
Thousands of individuals and scores of organizations accused of Communist Party or other socialist organization association were subject to being fired from their jobs if not outright imprisonment. Thousands were blacklisted; loyalty oaths were imposed as a condition of employment, especially in the public sector; Hollywood was purged of dissenting writers, directors and actors. Bending to reactionary legislation regarding Communist Party union leaders holding office, union bureaucrats purged their ranks. Dissident unions were expelled from the AFL-CIO. Fear prevailed. An intimidated ACLU refused to defend Communists in the courts, a decision that today’s ACLU leaders regard as its gravest mistake.
The threat of government persecution, humiliation, and isolation caused much of the radical and socialist movements to retreat to a near underground existence.
Preclude to the witchhunt
The government’s earlier witch-hunt persecution of the Socialist Workers Party in 1941 under the provisions of the anti-communist Smith Act saw 18 central leaders of that Trotskyist party imprisoned for almost two years for their Marxist ideas alone! No illegal acts were required! The SWP had been central to the leadership of the 1934 Minneapolis Teamster strikes that opened the door to the mass labor upsurge that gave rise to the formation of the CIO.
Are you now or have you even been a Communist?
The government’s official witch-hunt institutions, the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and the Senate Internal Security Committee, paraded the country, holding well-publicized “investigative” hearings. Subpoenaed witnesses were virtually forced to answer the Grand Inquisitors’ repeated question, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party or any other organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?” When the subpoenaed victim declined to answer, citing the First Amendment right to freedom of association, the interrogator persisted and threatened the accused and pilloried “witness” with punishment.
“You are in contempt of congress, Sir!” The interrogators were vindicated soon after with the notorious Supreme Court Frankfurter decision cited above. A First Amendment refusal to answer and admit Communist Party membership, as well as refusing to name other party members, guaranteed a prison sentence. Thereafter, and for more than a decade, beleaguered HUAC subpoena victims who courageously refused to “name names” of their friends and associates, were compelled to cite the Fifth Amendment’s provision again self-incrimination, that is, “I refuse to answer on the grounds of my right against self-incrimination,” a virtual admission of party membership that employers and others often used against them. But at least it kept most HUAC subpoena victims out of jail.
America’s experiment with fascist repression
The McCarthy era was America’s initial experiment with fascist repression, brought on by the post-WWII unprecedented strike wave that brought million’s of angry union workers into the streets, closing down major portions of U.S. industry and winning major victories. For a few years the U.S. ruling class feared that a radicalized U.S. labor movement, with revolutionary forces often in the leadership, would be capable of winning the kind of major social changes that were won by fighting European workers who had lived under fascist occupation and threatened to challenge capitalist rule itself. The leadership of these European struggles was largely Communist Party militants, who had won great respect during the war based on their central role in the underground Resistance and due to the Soviet Union’s decisive role in the military defeat of Hitler, at a cost of 27 million Russian dead.
Post-WWII background to the McCarthy era
The Communist Parties in France and Italy emerged at the end of the war as the largest in the nation, at a time when most of the major capitalist parties were tainted by their wartime collaboration with the Nazis occupiers. Tragically, however, the CPs’ subservience to Stalin’s “peaceful coexistence” policies led them to participate in “coalition capitalist governments” that subordinated class struggle to preserving capitalist wealth and rule. In the U.S. Stalinist-oriented trade union leaders, who had achieved major influence or control of one-third of the militant CIO unions, followed suit and aimed at cooling the mass labor upsurge with their unpopular proposal to “continue the wartime No Strike Pledge into the distant future.” This single act of betrayal allowed the posturing anti-communist labor bureaucracy to effectively isolate the CP and foster the government’s witch-hunt of the union movement.
New worldwide relationship of forces
But the initially frightened U.S. ruling class soon came to understand that a new relationship of forces had dramatically emerged in the post-WWII world. While U.S. industry was virtually untouched and qualitatively expanded during the war, all of Europe stood in ruins and in unprecedented debt to the U.S. and its banking institutions. With near-zero competition U.S. capitalism had a virtual monopoly in the world market place. U.S. wartime allies in Europe, including Russia, stood in ruin as did U.S. enemies, Germany and Japan. In this context, U.S. corporations were able to grant some important concessions to worker militancy. They had no need to turn to fascist repression to enforce their rule. Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy himself was called to task before congress in hearings presided over by top U.S. military leaders–the famous “Army-McCarthy hearings.” The now discredited demagogue McCarthy proved incapable of presenting his alleged lists of “thousands of Communists” that he had repeatedly asserted were employed by the U.S. government itself. He was finished! But the U.S. elite saw no need to erase the reactionary anti-Communist legislation and court rulings that had been put in place during that period.
Civil rights and Vietnam War mass protest turn back witch-hunt
It was only the mass radicalization attendant to the 1960s and 1970s mass civil rights and Vietnam War antiwar movements that obliterated or made moot much of the reactionary McCarthy-era legislation. That is, freedom of speech and association and the right to protest were won in struggles that engaged millions and never by the largess of the capitalist parties or their “liberal/progressive” politicians.
U.S.-imposed media ban on criticizing Ukraine war policy
Today’s witch hunters, armed with a corporate media monopoly that exceeds any other in modern history, operate under the premise that an Orwellian-like media blackout can be largely imposed to eliminate virtually all dissent. If cracks appear in their imposed wall of silence, a bit of repression is always in order, aided by an unprecedented surveillance system, as Edward Snowden so dramatically revealed.
Tightening the government’s screws of repression often begins with concerted attacks on small groups of dissidents as with the recent blatant attack on the APSP. If left unchallenged, however, the cancer of criminalizing political dissent can only metastasize. At a time when U.S. capitalism has proved incapable of addressing one after another of its major crises–systemic racist oppression and police violence, endless war, a growing debilitating inflation, global warming/climate catastrophe, a raging pandemic that has taken the lives of more than a million people, deepening attacks on women and LGBTQI people and a generalized assault on steady work at a living wage–a ruling class resort to McCarthy-era persecution when faced with mass forces in the streets aimed at fundamental change, cannot be ruled out. Indeed, it is to be expected.
Trump’s initial fascist foray
Donald Trump’s moves to steal the 2020 elections, or turn to fascist-like groups or to the military to bolster his presidency when 25 million took to the streets during the Black Lives Matter mobilizations, was a harbinger of things to come. He was rebuffed for the moment by the majority sectors of the U.S. elite who insured that the military, the FBI, CIA and police, as well as Congress itself, would not back his moves toward a virtual coup on January 6 or earlier.
Fascist-like currents on the rise
For the time being, in the absence of broadly-organized and consciously-led mass forces on the scene aimed at challenging capitalist rule in its fundamentals and posing socialist solutions that align with the aspirations of the vast majority, the ruling rich are content with the electoral arena to try to resolve their crises and differences. To date, however, in a world saturated with unprecedented inter-imperialist rivalries for markets and resources, ever declining average rates of profit, and ever-deepening and multiple crises with no solutions in sight, no sector of U.S. capital has ruled out playing the fascist card when it is deemed necessary to quell mass content that threatens to breach the boundaries of the tightly-controlled billionaire dominated electoral process. That fascist-like currents are on the rise the world over is no accident. They reflect the deepening crises of the capitalist system itself, including its endless wars, offshoring U.S. industrial jobs–28 percent of all jobs since 1990–to low wage countries around the world and the deepening immiseration of billions around the world. Mass repression or threats to that effect have become the new norm from India to Brazil to Hungary and Poland to Italy and in the U.S. with Trump.
Cuba anti-embargo activists threatened with repression
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio last week urged the FBI to open an “immediate” investigation into a U.S. anti-embargo group whose members recently met with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel. Rubio charged in effect, as with the FBI agents who raided the APSP, that opponents of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, in this case the Bridges of Love coalition, were acting as “unregistered foreign agents of the Cuban government.” He insisted that they be investigated under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It is no coincidence that his Florida press conference followed shortly after the FBI’s public attack on the AFSP, also headquartered in Florida.
Defending against government repression
A united front effort to defend against all government attacks is a prerequisite to turning back today’s witch hunters.
The United National Antiwar Coalition has initiated an important online petition to solicit solidarity with the APSP and the Uhuru Movement. The petition defends their right to freely associate with people around the world, to hold any political beliefs it may choose, and to express them without fear of intimidation, persecution, or prosecution.
U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg, alongside St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, left, and FBI Special Agent David Walker, speaks to reporters at St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters, July 29, 2022. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, a Russian operative allegedly under the supervision of one of Russia’s main intelligence services has been charged with recruiting political groups in the United States to advance pro-Russia propaganda, including during the invasion of Ukraine, the Justice Department said. In this case, the authorities say, Ionov from 2014 through last March recruited political groups in Florida, Georgia, and California and directed them to spread pro-Russia talking points. Among the political groups raided in connection with the charges is the African People’s Socialist Party. | Martha Asencio-Rhine / Tampa Bay Times via AP
On July 29 at 5 a.m., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted a violent raid on the home of Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the U.S.-based African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), in St. Louis, Mo.
In a video posted the next day, Yeshitela claims the FBI deployed flashbang grenades, carried automatic weapons, damaged the property of his neighbors, including smashing windows, and handcuffed himself and his wife. Yeshitela also claims that the FBI refused to show him a search warrant and that they took his cell phones and all other devices from his home.
It was only later that Yeshitela learned that the raid on his home was one of several carried out across the country against locations affiliated with the APSP. That same day, the FBI raided the Uhuru Solidarity Center, also in St. Louis, and the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Fla., both locations of the Uhuru Movement, led by the APSP. According to Yeshitela, the FBI also raided the APSP’s radio station, Black Power 96.3 FM, and reportedly detained a prominent APSP leader.
The raids came as a result of a Justice Department indictment of a Russian man, Aleksandr Ionov, whom the U.S. government alleges funded and supported Black organizations as part of a “foreign malign influence campaign against the U.S.” The indictment never specifically names any organization but refers to a “U.S. Political Group 1,” in St. Petersburg, which allegedly partnered with Ionov.
“Ain’t no Russian been responsible for what we face every day in our lives,” Yeshitela stated in response to the indictment. “[The government] is going to say that the Russians somehow had to tell us that we are being oppressed…[the government] telling the world that Black people don’t have enough sense to be able to lead our own struggle, but that’s not true.”
In response to the raid, Ajamu Baraka, leader of the Black Alliance for Peace, tweeted, “As predicted, Black radicals are targeted again for not falling in line with U.S. imperial agenda on Ukraine.” The APSP has been critical of U.S. involvement in the Russia–Ukraine war. Attorney and organizer Kamau Franklin stated, “This is a COINTELPRO operation. One meant to destroy Black organizations.”
COINTELPRO was an FBI program that existed from 1956 to 1971, which, in its own words, existed to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” revolutionary organizations. The FBI and local police conducted raids on offices of organizations such as the Black Panther Party (BPP). In a particularly harsh illegal raid in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo threatened, “If they break our law, we’ll be there. The police, we’ll be there, and we’ll see who wins.”
U.S. law enforcement also conducted raids on individuals, such as Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago BPP, who was assassinated by Chicago police during one such raid. In his video, Yeshitela notes that the raid on his house was conducted one hour after Hampton’s assassination, which occurred at 4 a.m., Dec. 4, 1969.
COINTELPRO is a central reason that many U.S. political prisoners who were former Black revolutionaries in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s are in prison today. Examples include Mutulu Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
New CNN poll shows 75% of Dems don’t want Biden to run for re-election: ‘Promised the moon,’ now ‘frustrated’
The CNN poll is the latest sign of Biden’s dwindling support within his own party
During the Wednesday episode of CNN New Day, anchor John King gave the reasons he thinks are responsible for the latest CNN poll showing President Biden’s approval among his own party at rock-bottom levels.
Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday morning, anchor John King gave the reasons he thinks are responsible for the latest CNN poll showing President Biden’s approval among his own party at rock-bottom levels.
Reacting to the new survey showing that a whopping 75% of Democrats want someone other than Joe Biden to run for president in 2024, King told “New Day” hosts John Berman and Brianna Keilar that Democratic voters are “frustrated.”
They were “promised the moon,” he claimed, adding that Biden voters “didn’t get most of that.”
President Biden has expressed his intention to run for re-election, though more and more Democrat-friendly media outlets have been railing against the idea. A New York Times column from Tuesday claimed that the best thing Biden could do to help his party would be to announce his decision not to run for re-election because his presidency is “failing.”
According to the latest CNN poll, 75% of Democrat voters want someone other than Biden to run for re-election in 2024.
The latest CNN poll indicates a tough uphill battle for Biden to regain standing among Democratic voters.
Berman and Keilar brought on King to explain the significance of the newly released poll. Keilar prompted him: “John, I want to ask you about the CNN poll because it shows 75% of Democratic voters actually want someone other than Joe Biden in 2024. Can he win with numbers like that?”
King prefaced his take on the poll result with his claim that the midterm election results would probably give a better account of Biden’s actual standing among Democratic voters than the CNN poll. “Well, again, we’re having this conversation three months before the 2022 midterms. What happens in those midterms will say a lot more, Brianna, than any poll today about Joe Biden’s standing in the country and Joe Biden’s standing within his own Democratic Party,” he said.
Still, King explained the current factors most likely contributing to Democrats’ pessimistic view of the man they elected. “What have we all been through for going on three years now? A COVID pandemic that hits you in the head like a two-by-four. Every time you think it’s about to fade, it hits you again,” he said.
CNN anchor John King explains the latest CNN poll to “New Day” hosts.
King then mentioned the dismal economic setting. “We’re waiting for a Fed meeting today. They’re going to raise interest rates again, hopefully to help tame inflation, but what does that mean? It increases the cost if you’re trying to buy a house. It increases the cost of your credit cards.”
He then summed up voter sentiment: “The American people, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, a cranky independent, you’re exhausted. You’re frustrated.” Speaking to Democratic Party voters’ feelings specifically, King asserted, “You were promised the moon after the Democrats won those two Georgia Senate seats, you were promised sweeping legislation on climate, sweeping legislation on childcare, sweeping legislation on just about everything under the Democratic umbrella. You didn’t get most of that, didn’t you?”
“So you’re frustrated,” he continued. “You have your normal frustrations that all Americans have, then you have your partisan frustrations because Democrats thought with all-Democratic government they would get so much. Democrats clearly overpromised.”
King explained that Democrats are naturally taking their frustrations out on “the guy in charge,” adding, “That’s called human nature.”
CNN anchor John King claimed that Democrats have “overpromised” what they would deliver to their voters, who are now “frustrated.”
There is PROOF CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL ROB BONTA EXPANDED THE NEW COINTELPRO 2K22 OPERATION STRATEGY, further engaging in Grand, Systemic and Endemic Corruption; Abuse of Power, office, and resources with Judicial, Political, Law Enforcement, Governmental, Legal Entities and Officials for organizational and personal gain, while INCREASING TARGETED ENTRAPMENT ATTACKS, STING/SCAMS ON INNOCENT CITIZENS WHOM EXPOSE THIS CORRUPTION!! His carrying out this WHITE PRIVILEGE ENTITLEMENT agenda includes Political Vendetta’s and Personal/Professional Revenge landed his Attorney General position!
The Rob Bonta, Stephanie Hinds-DOJ and Craig Fair-FBI COINTELPRO 2K22 parties with the DA, DCSS AND“COURTEL” legal system of judges ONLY EVIDENCE PROVIDED BY THE DA AND DCSS AGAINST ABDUL-JALIL WAS THEIR OWN ADMITTED FRAUDULENT, FABRICATED ACCOUNTING AND THEIR ADMITTED PERJURIOUS TESTIMONY FROM IT!
Bonta has ADMITTED engaging in this extensive willful fraud and extortionate scheme by unethical and criminal means of embezzling monies al-Hakim paid in trust to the Alameda County District Attorney (DA) and the Department of Child Support Service (DCSS) in their fiduciary capacity for his girls, failing and refused to enforce the courts own orders for the fair and proper application and accounting of payments al-Hakim made in trust to the DA in their fiduciary capacity for the minor al-Hakim children, depriving al-Hakim and Bari al-Hakim-Williams of over $5,000 of monies paid, creating a “mythical” arrearage open account in al-Hakim’s name and behalf owed to the minor children, then illegally charging al-Hakim with the crime of violating the Child Support Statute for nonpayment, reporting the fabricated violation to the State of California for Collection and Department of Motor Vehicles for suspension of his driving privilege for nonpayment and illegally tossing him into “debtors prison”, suspending his drivers license, issuing a mandatory FEDERAL DEMAND revoking his passport, affecting his travel income and credit. THESE WERE NOT WELFARE CASES!! THE DA and DCSS SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN INVOLVED, AND HAD NO STANDING TO REPRESENT THE SAME MINOR GIRLS THEY ADMITTED EMBEZZLING THE MONEY FROM IN ORDER TO FRAME THEIR FATHER ABDUL-JALIL!!
ATTORNEY GENERAL BONTA, WHOM ALONG WITH THE ALAMEDA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY- DID NOT HAVE STANDING TO REPRESENT ANY OF THE PARTIES IN THIS MATTER, MUCH LESS THE PARTY THEY ADMITTED THEY COMMITTED EMBEZZLEMENT, FRAUD, CORRUPTION, PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT, FABRICATED EVIDENCE, AND SUBORNED PERJURIOUS TESTIMONY!??! THEY COMMITTED VIOLATIONS OF THE FIRST, FIFTH, SIXTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE U. S. CONSTITUTION, UNRUH AND RALPH ACTS, THE BANE ACT, EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER 42 U.S.C. B 1983, CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION- ARTICLE VI, § 4 1/2; CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE §§ 52.1, 355, 356, 473, 3523, AND 3528; CALIFORNIA TORT CLAIMS ACT; CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE- PART 2; LIABILITY OF PUBLIC ENTITIES AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEES 810 ET. SEQ.; BREACH OF CONTRACT; BREACH OF THE COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING; FRAUD; NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION; INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS; NEGLIGENCE; DISCRIMINATION IN VIOLATION OF UNRUH CIVIL RIGHTS ACT; NUISANCE; ABUSE OF PROCESS; VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE §§17,200 ET SEQ.; FRAUD BY CONCEALMENT; VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA CONSUMERS LEGAL REMEDIES ACT (CLRA); BREACH OF CONTRACT/COMMON LAW WARRANTY; DECEIT; BREACH OF IMPLIED WARRANTY; UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES (UDAP); ELDER ABUSE; ABUSE OF OFFICE; AND EXTRINSIC FRAUD UPON THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA!
Bari al-Hakim Williams, Harris, the Bonta’s, AG Venus Johnson, Hinds and Fair are ALL FRIENDS! The Judges, Attorney Generals and District Attorney ADMISSIONS of Fraud, Embezzlement and Extorting Abdul-Jalil’s family are ALL ADMITTED, PROVEN, TRUE AND ACCURATE!THEY- V.P. HARRIS, the BONTA’S, JOHNSON, HINDS and FAIR, ARE ALL INTIMATELY AWARE OF THE EXTREME LIFE THREATENING FACTS, OCCURRENCES, CIRCUMSTANCES, AND DAMAGES THAT THE CORRUPTION CAUSED THE al-HAKIM FAMILY TO THIS DAY! I will expound EVEN MORE in later posts!
They were defending, concealing and thereby further complicitly committing THE ADMITTED willful and intentional extrinsic fraud upon the court; prosecutorial misconduct; willful and malicious prosecution; misconduct; conflict of interest; obstruction of justice; denial of due process under the law; willful and intentional fabrication and authoring false evidence; misstating and mischaracterizing evidence; misrepresentation and concealment of material facts with knowledge of the truth with the intent to induce the court’s act or reliance; harassment; and intimidation on behalf of District Attorney; various Judges and Commissioners abuse of discretion, willful misconduct, conduct prejudicial, illegal ex-parte communications and bias that resulted in fixing cases against al-Hakim; appointing themselves a Real Primary Party of Interest to the litigation with their OWN agenda; weaponizing vindictive rulings in furtherance of their agenda; engaging in the defense of opposing parties; harassment, provocation, bias, prejudice, Islamophobia, Xenophobia, hate, bigotry and racism, al-Hakim continues to experience punishment of his family, businesses, and communities they serve!
This State sponsored “Targeted Government Entrapment” strategy complete with “Target, Engagement, Harassment, Provocation, Litigation” tactics as a part of the larger planned activity to cause SEVER Economic damages, Non-economic damages, and Punitive damages. The al-Hakim’s continues to experience punishment with his family, businesses, and the communities they serve being framed and target in a State sponsored Campaign of Calumny Deceit incorporating character assassination, disinformation/misinformation, harassment, misappropriation, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, deception with Malice and Oppression in a partnership of lies!!
Due to the continuing, 50 year, Grand Systemic and Endemic Corruption and Fraud, this case has NOT been exhausted to finality!!