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Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday News in late December 2014 (Time Continues to go Forward)

The state of Oklahoma is to resume lethal injections. This action will allow more executions of death row prisoners. The experimental injection cocktail is to be used to cause people to die via an execution. The state wants to resume executions by mid-January according to statements from the Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton. Mid-January is the time when the state will administer a similar concoction of lethal chemicals (in the dosage of midazolam raised from 100 milligrams to 500 milligrams) to death row inmate Charles Warner. Warner was originally scheduled to be executed immediately after Locket. In addition to Warner, the state wants to execute at least three other prisoners by March of 2015 as said by Patton. The Oklahoma death row prisoners and human rights activists tried to prevent the use of the lethal mixture in the horrific “botched” execution of Clayton Lockett in April. U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot said that the injection used on Lockett did not violate the 8th Amendment and other legal prohibitions against torture. Medical experts told Friot that the state’s decision to inject Lockett with a relatively untested combination of poisonous drugs constituted an act of illegal human experimentation. There are similar compounds that have been used before for lethal injection and the federal courts cannot determine the “best practices” for carrying out executions. Friot still authorized the state to end its temporary moratorium on the death penalty adopted after Lockett’s agonizing death in April. Lockett died after experiencing cruel and unusual punishment. This is like torture. The execution lasted for almost 45 minutes when it was supposed to finish in a quarter of an hour. Lockett collapsed from a massive heart attack. He was writhing in pain on the table. He was struggling to breathe (until a screen was drawn to prevent witnesses from observing he remained of the process). Lockett's "whole upper body was lifting off the table" at times during the execution, according to his attorney. Lockett was the first prisoner to be killed by Oklahoma with a lethal injection including midazolam, a benzodiazepine class drug which sedates the inmate to the point of paralysis, thereby concealing the true extent of the pain inflicted by the secondary injections. Midazolam "does not relieve pain and does not maintain prisoners at an adequate level of anesthesia" according to expert medical testimony cited by Dale Baich, an attorney for the prisoners. As such, the midazolam-containing lethal injection cocktail used on Lockett produces immense suffering even when it is "correctly" administered, Baich said. This is why prisoners were left paralyzed on the gurney. They can’t speak as they get shots of vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride, substances that are known to cause intense pain before producing suffocation and heart failure. The chemicals failed to puncture the vein of Lockett. So, he experienced unimaginable pain. The recent reports mention that the state employee who administrated the drugs knowingly used an insufficiently long needle to make the injection. Joseph Wood remained alive on the execution table for two hours while furiously gasping for breath. This is barbarism. This is what fascists did in history. We have to oppose any form of barbarism in the prison industrial complex.

Mozambique farmers are turning to natural sweet potatoes (instead of GMOs) to improve nutrition, yields, and income. This is being done, so vitamin deficiencies are curbed. The non-genetically modified, vitamin enriched sweet potato exists in many varieties and can be suitable for many climates in which they’ll grow. This is shown in a new report by The Orange fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) initiative is about an estimated 135,000 smallholder farmers in Mozambique (half of these farmers are women) are expected to begin growing the new varieties in an effort to provide a rich source of vitamin A. About 70 percent of the people living in Mozambique suffer from Vitamin A deficiencies. Most of these human beings are women and children under the age of five. Medium to deep orange colored sweet potatoes give great nutrition as they are rich in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a building block for vitamin A. Just a half of cup of boiled or mashed orange sweet potatoes provided a child under give with adequate daily vitamin A intake according to Vitamin enriched sweet potatoes yield 20-25 metric tons a hectare, compared with 10 metric tons for ordinary varieties. Female farmers are using this as well. Launched in the 1990s, OFSP is sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mozambican government, which provided more than $1 million in funding. More than 15 years of research resulted in 58 crops samples being imported from countries like China, Kenya, Tanzania and the U.S., with the first large-scale field testing conducted by the south Mozambique branch of the International Potato Center (CIP), a global research-for-development organization focused on roots and tubers. There has been more than a decade of research results in natural, orange fleshed sweet potatoes resistant to drought and heavy rains. There are eight varieties identified by the CIP as producing good yields according to reports. The research was not always easy to get. In 2000, test plots were destroyed after the region had widespread floods in the low lying areas of Mozambique. After the flood, USAID and the Mozambican government created a plan to distribute the eight top yielding varieties to an estimated 120,000 households. There is drought that can be a problem for farmers as well. There have been 15 strains developed with help from the Helen Keller International. Eight of those drought-resistant, orange fleshed sweet potatoes were successfully trailed in seven of the country’s 11 provinces in 1999 according to The sweet potatoes can be easy to cultivate and harvest as compared to ordinary varieties. Farmers’ income can improve and demand for vitamin A rich potatoes is growing. There are many creative uses of sweet potatoes in African nations. Sweet potatoes have been a great food staple in Africa. NPR said that the Portuguese introduced the food centuries ago. In Uganda, amukeke, or sun-dried sweet potatoes, are often eaten for breakfast topped with peanut sauce and accompanied by a cup of tea. Inginyo, or sun-dried crushed sweet potatoes, are mixed with cassava flour and tamarind (sticky, brown acidic pulp from the tamarind tree), forming a food called atapa. This is usually eaten with smoked fish cooked in peanut sauce, according to The sweet potato’s vine tips and leaves are used as a vegetable in many African nations, which outlines the crop’s versatility in terms of nutrition.

In any revolutionary struggle, there should be an understanding of concepts and what we are up against as human beings. The capitalist ruling class has oppressed black people and other people globally. The evil of imperialism (which is a system where a few people get wealth, exploit people, and deprive human beings of inherit human rights) must be opposed. Imperialism is readily linked to capitalism (which an economic system that is dominated by corporations and banks). Imperialism like capitalism relies heavily on the exploitation of labor and resources. That is why the two interimperialist wars of the 20th century dealt with the fight for markets and resources. After WWII, America became the top imperial power in the world. Imperialism exists today in the Middle East and in Africa (via AFRICOM). We see the growth of the prison industrial complex, alliances like NATO, multinational corporations (who love monopoly capitalism), Wall Street, etc. working together as a means to grow profits at the expense of human dignity. The Western imperialist system has been complicit in the police murder of Black people, the murder of Iraqis and Ukrainians too. Many economic alternative systems like cooperatives, socialism, etc. are better than monopoly capitalism. Revolutionary change is needed in the world. Throughout history, people stood up against monarchy, colonialism, fascism, and other tyrannies. White supremacy/racism is the system which is the foundation of Western imperialism and the worldwide capitalist system. White supremacy is based on the lie that whiteness is superior. The same system of white supremacy founded modern America as a nation and used the suffering of black Africans as a means to economic exploit black people and other human beings. International solidarity is necessary. The poor and the workers are oppressed globally. Cuba supported African liberation movements. That was great. Black Americans historically have always believed in self-determination and allied with fighters against imperialism worldwide. That is why heroic Black Women like Claudia Jones and Assata Shakur connected the struggle against racism in America to the plight of colonized people everywhere. The Black Panther Party opposed the Vietnam War since the war was not only morally wrong, but the ruling class exploited the Vietnamese people in the most brutal fashion possible. Being anti-imperialist is a necessity of being a revolutionary. The mass incarceration state is evil and unjust. It has been related to the War on Drugs too, which has harmed communities. The deindustrialization and the bad legal policies have grown the prison population. So, grassroots organizing is necessary. Also, we have to learn and understand the truth in a comprehensive fashion.We have to grow a sense of community and treat each other as full human beings.

Sister Tawanda Jones is a hero. She has been at the forefront in fighting back against police terrorism in America. Of course, she has great compassion and a stoic, courageous mentality. She wants justice and she wants to live in a society where Brothers and Sisters are not gunned down in the streets. The FOX affiliate issued their "apology," because of pressure not because of any sincere respect for Tawanda Jones or the protesters. The news channel hurt this Sister’s feelings and that news affiliate is wrong for slandering that strong black woman. As a black human being, I will always love black people and I will always love Africa. The media lies all of the time. They lied about the Iraq War and many racists have lied about the protesters. The protesters are strong people who want communities to not experience abusive police occupation. These protesters believe that Black Lives Matter (which is true), they want an end to racial profiling, and they want justice. I am in solidarity with Sister Tawanda Jones 100 percent. Certainly, there must be a demilitarization of the local police and an end to racial profiling. The police are not gods and black lives do matter. Black people have the right to stand up for truth as blackness is beautiful. There must be an outright end to the War on Drugs and the prosecution of any fascist, crooked cops. There must be dignity shown to the homeless, because many homeless people have been violated of their human rights too. There is nothing wrong with research and data found on policing, but that is not enough. We need revolutionary change where the system of oppression must end and be abolished.

The evil people in society want to use the same old divide and conquer strategy in trying to make black people go after each other based on class, skin complexion, nationality, etc. As many have eloquently mentioned, we should never fall for the trap. My black relatives exist in tons of hues. They exist in light, brown, and dark. I love all of my relatives equally. That is what it should be. No black person should have a superiority complex based upon their skin complexion, which the Creator gave to that person. We should be thankful of our melanin (as our melanin is beautiful and a gift), but we should not degrade someone based on their hue. That is the precise point that ought to be emphasized. We have to oppose any male who wants to demonize black women or women in general. We can’t be liberated or free unless all people, regardless of their gender, are free. We are all black. We are all of black African descent. Therefore, eliminating distractions, focusing on cooperation, and loving our blackness are commonsense actions that we should do. We have to teach children too that their being is beautiful and to refute the evil lie that white is better. Children have to taught at an early age that black is beautiful straight up. Black women have every right to express their own self-determination and to fight back against any form of oppression. We love Africa too as Africa is our ancestral homeland. Black people should be free and have total justice. Many black men have been ridiculed and disrespected because of their skin complexion. That is wrong. That also should be condemned and opposed. Life has meaning and actions can affect so many people. We have to not only condemn evil and stand for truth. We have to build people up who need to be built up and we have to use our discernment to reject any unwarranted distractions. Those who want to deceive others and those who embrace colorism should not be supported at all. I will promote goodness in the Universe. The humanity of black women should be respected. Human compassion is important too. The strength is that we are black. :) Life is a journey. It will exist in numerous parabolas, but we will see this journey to the end and we will always stand up for the dignity and the humanity of black people.

By Timothy

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