Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEARS from Eddie Griffin

As sun sets on another year, I wish to extend my blessings to all my friends and heroes.

To my friends at the People’s Law Office in Chicago, I send my utter heartfelt thanks for coming to the rescue of a group of prisoners, known at the Marion Brothers. And, to my lifetime friend Bonnie Kerness at the American Friends Service Committee, and the bulk of those who made up the prisoner rights movement, during the period of my incarceration (1972-1984).

I was pleasantly surprised to find the People’s Law Office archives on line. I fondly remember Dennis Cunningham trying to explain why Eddie Griffin hugged the warden as he came off the witness stand in Alton, Illinois, in 1984. I remember Mike Deutsch being so confounded that he has hardly spoken to me since. Nevertheless, they were my heroes, and their website preserves a proud testimony of the Marion Brothers.

Here are a few excerpts, I would hope to use in my memoirs.

We started the [People’s Law Office] because we wanted to work in the movement for the movement & with the movement as lawyers. Ted Stein brought the idea to Dennis Cunningham when they were working together in the Chicago Legal Defense Committee, formed to help deal with the protests at the ‘68 Democratic Convention, and the cases that came out of it. A week later when the smoke cleared, they were sitting in a room downtown with 300 misdemeanor cases, wondering what to do.

I used to keep Dennis in stitches whenever he came to visit me at the prison. I was always full of legal schemes. “And, you’re going to do WHAT?” Inevitable came his laughter. Together, we would chock the prison administration’s legal team, with legal babble they had never seen. We were great students of the law. And, there was always a bounty on our heads inside the prison system.

THANK YOU, People Law Office, for preserving these memories:

Dennis met Bobby Rush and Fred Hampton, who asked for help with the many legal problems the new Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party was already having

There ensued a baptism of fire. Dennis had his first jury trial in late February 1969, on one day’s notice, with Fred as his client in a case about a demonstration in Maywood City Council chambers the year before. By April, a high level of conflict had developed between the Panthers, the Young Lords and the Police, and a series of major confrontations had begun. Fred went to trial again (with other counsel) and was convicted of robbery for allegedly relieving a Maywood ice cream truck driver of his inventory and passing it out to neighborhood kids. After a vicious attack upon him in the press by State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, the trial judge reneged on a promise to put Fred on probation and instead sentenced him to two to five years in the penitentiary. Truly frightened at the possibility that it would be denied, we spent over a month preparing a petition for appeal bond, with law students Flint Taylor, Seva Dubuar and Ray McClain joining the effort to free Fred and defend the Panthers.

[Editor insert]
Meanwhile in Texas, Arlington State activist Ernie McMillian is charged with instigating a food riot. The food throwing incident was translated into robbery. Ernie, was facing 20 to life in the Texas prison system. He was our SNCC leader, and a close associate of Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, whose slogan “Burn, Baby, Burn” became a national rallying cry and turned into a hit record. There were our pre-Panther days.

Hampton founded the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party in November 1968. He immediately established a community service program. This included the provision of free breakfasts for schoolchildren and a medical clinic that did not charge patients for treatment. Hampton also taught political education classes and instigated a community control of police project. [end]

It was a time of tremendous political activity and drama in the city, involving the BPP, the Young Lords, Young Patriots, two factions (at least) of SDS, an increasingly robust anti-war movement, and militant community organizations such as Concerned Citizens of Lincoln Park and the Latin American Defense Organization (LADO). Young Lords member Manuel Ramos was killed by a policeman in a non-political street incident in May (1969), leading to a tense, very political march by some 2000 activists from People’s Park (Armitage and Halsted) to the Chicago Avenue Police Station.

The militant “Weatherman” group emerged from the SDS convention in June, and soon asked us to serve as legal support for the National Action they announced they would stage in October. Major police raids and shooting incidents against the Panthers occurred on April 16, June 4, July 16, and July 31. By summer’s end we were all making multiple appearances in the branch courts almost every day, and beginning not to feel that green anymore.

In late August, Supreme Court Justice Walter Shaeffer released Chairman Fred on appeal bond, and he returned from Menard to the People’s Church to a tumultuous and inspiring welcome. The frenetic pace of work only intensified in the fall. Mark Kadish moved from Detroit to organize a National Lawyers Guild chapter in Chicago and to work in our office.

The Conspiracy trial began in September with a boisterous demonstration at which numerous Weathermen were arrested for felony mob action and for freeing a comrade from a police wagon. The RYM (Revolutionary Youth Movement) II faction of SDS had their National Action and the Weathermen had their “Days of Rage” in October 1969, all leading to many new cases for the office and other lawyers.

There was also another shoot-out at Panther headquarters, and six Panthers were arrested. Most of the six were subsequently set free after Skip and Dennis beat their cases at the preliminary hearing. Bobby Seale was bound and gagged and the Panthers and other supporters held daily protests at the Federal Building. On November 13, in a shoot-out on the South Side, Panther Spurgeon “Jake” Winters and two Chicago police officers were killed.

Our Weathermen clients not only required legal defense, but also challenged us as legal people, questioned our sexism, personal relationships, and struggled with us to reject our privileged status as white lawyers and to further change our lives. You were either “part of the solution or part of the problem.”

On November 12, 1970, there was a predawn shootout between the Panthers and police at a Panther house in downstate Carbondale, Illinois. At the request of Bobby Rush, we went down to investigate and to get the Panthers out on bond. Jeff and Flint were joined by Michael Deutsch, who had recently decided to stop clerking for Judge Otto Kerner in the Seventh Circuit and to join the office. We were successful in obtaining bond from the Appellate Court and gathered physical evidence at the apartment in a similar manner to the Hampton case.

On December 4,1969, at 4:30 in the morning, Edward Hanrahan and his squad of special police made their murderous pre-dawn raid on the Black Panther Party apartment located on 2337 W. Monroe Street. A hail of police gunfire from rifles, a submachine gun, shotguns and handguns left Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead, and four other Panthers wounded. In a carefully staged press conference only hours later, Hanrahan falsely claimed that there was a fierce shootout and that Fred and other Panthers had fired numerous shots at police.

In their arrogance, the police neglected to seal the apartment from the public immediately after the raid. Panther leader Bobby Rush contacted Skip and Dennis, and they mobilized the Office to go to 2337 W. Monroe to take pictures and to gather evidence which the police left behind. The entire apartment had been torn apart, and it was quickly apparent from the bullet holes that all the bullets went into the rooms where the Panthers were sleeping. The bloody mattress and pool of blood on the floor showed that Fred was shot at point blank range in his bed, and his body dragged out into the hall.

With the help of several friends, including Mike Gray, who was making a documentary on the Panthers, which later became the “Murder of Fred Hampton,” we filmed, photographed and documented the location of each piece of evidence, then removed it to a secret location.

Jeff and Marc were at the police station hearing the firsthand accounts of the survivors: that the police came in shooting, that Fred and Mark and the survivors never had a chance to defend themselves, and that the police had said “[Bobby] Rush is next.” Rush was warned and went underground for several days, thereby avoiding being home when the police raided his apartment on December 5th.


On September 9, 1971, Attica prisoners took over the prison, seizing guards as hostages. After the prisoners made 28 demands and entered into negotiations, the uprising was ended on September 13 with a state police assault and massacre ordered by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. Jeff and Mzizi, a legal worker who had recently joined the Office, went to New York and were among the first legal people allowed to see the prisoners. They met many of the Attica brothers, including “Big Black” who had been tortured by the prison guards after the massacre, and Mara Siegel, a Buffalo law student who had responded to the call for legal support. Over the next months, several different lawyers, law students, and legal workers made trips to Attica, where we learned first hand of the atrocities, developed relationships with many of the brothers, and worked on several of the injunctive cases which sought relief from the hideous maltreatment of prisoners in the aftermath of the massacre.

Our work in Carbondale had also brought us in contact with prisoners at the Marion Federal Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. In 1972, there was a work stoppage at Marion, which led to the segregation of over one hundred protesting prisoners. We filed a suit, Adams v. Carlson, which challenged this segregation. We were inspired by the strength of the prisoners, particularly Rafael Cancel Miranda, a Puerto Rican Nationalist Prisoner who at that time had been imprisoned for early 20 years for the attack on Congress in 1954. We finally won Adams on appeal, and the men were released from segregation in early 1974. During this period, two new law students, Ralph Hurvitz and Lee Tockman, joined the office and quickly became immersed in the Marion work.

[Editor Note: Rafael Cancel Miranda was my mentor]

In early June of 1977, as the 18 month Hampton trial finally ground to a close, Police Sergeant Thomas Walton led a contingent of charging police into Humboldt Park on Puerto Rican Day and shot in the back and killed two unarmed men, Julio Osorio and Rafael Cruz. This led to a two day uprising by outraged members of the West town community. While Jeff and Flint were giving their closing arguments in Hampton, Peter and Dennis, with Michael’s help, were filing a multimillion-dollar suit against Walton and the City, which became known as the Humboldt Park case. The jury deadlocked in Hampton, Judge Perry entered a directed verdict for the defendants, and assessed $100,000 in costs against the Hampton plaintiffs.

We also became deeply involved at the U.S. prison in Marion, Illinois fighting the efforts by the federal Bureau of Prisons to create special long-term isolation units. In two major class-action law suits, Adams v. Carlson and Bono v. Saxbe, we challenged the indefinite confinement of prisoners in isolation and the use of behavior modification techniques, including the use of solid steel front cells called “box cars.” In Adams, we were able to get the Court of Appeals to order the release of more than 150 prisoners confined in isolation for over 18 months, on the grounds that such indefinite isolation violated the 8th Amendment. In Bono, however after years challenging the placement of prisoners in indefinite isolation without due process or objective criteria, we were unable to force the closure of such units. Today, control units proliferate, sanctioned by the courts and accepted as a necessity by many corrections “experts.”

We soon learned that those who work on behalf of resisting prisoners may well be targets of repression themselves. During the Adams litigation we were falsely accused of smuggling gun powder into the prison and prohibited from have any contact visits with our clients. Several years later, we and the Marion Prisoners Rights Project (MPRP) were accused of fomenting a prison-wide work stoppage and smuggling out prisoners’ demands to the media. MPRP lawyers were banned from the prison and only after months of litigation were we able to get the Seventh Circuit to order that the lawyers be allowed back into the prison. Abel v Miller.

It was during this period at Marion that we met Puerto Rican political prisoner, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Republic of New Africa President Imari Obadele and Republic of New Africa citizen Akinshiiju Ola, Crusade for Justice leader, Alberto Mares, Black Liberation Army prisoners, Herman Bell, Sundiata Acoli, Gabe Torres, Native American prisoner Leonard Peltier and many others.

Our work at Marion continued for almost 20 years, litigating, advising and speaking out against the injustices there. During this period we worked first with the National Committee to Support the Marion Brothers and later with the Committee to End the Marion Lockdown (CEML), a group that is till active today, organizing and educating about prison control units and the racist nature of the criminal justice system.

[Eddie Griffin Commentary]
I am among the “many others” mentioned by the People’s Law Office, a contemporary of the political prisoners named above. Akinshiiju Ola was our team leader. I studied at the feet of Rafael Cancel Miranda, and discussed daily politics with Herman Bell, Imari Obadele, and translated the Lakota Sioux dialect of Leonard Peltier into a political platform.

The Marion Prisoners Rights Project (MPRP) was incorporated by Professor Jim Roberts and Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Law. Eddie Griffin and Jim Roberts were members of the Board of Directors.

When the prison administration refused entry of the MPRP into the prison to see me, I was confined in a refrigerated strip cell, only allowed running water for 15-minutes in the morning and 15-minutes.

I was on the brink of freezing to death when the warden pulled me from my doom cell where I was held incommunicado. I was transferred to another prison on the promise that I would never be seen or heard from again. I knew what that meant.

When I hugged the warden in Alton, Illinois, thanking him for releasing me, I had the last word.

The warden whispered to me, on his way to the witness stand, “There is nothing else in me.”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Fathom of Wealth – Part 1

In the beginning, Bernard L. Madoff created wealth out of the sky. Like magic, he commanded the securities market, “Let there be wealth.” And, out of nowhere, came wealth by the billions. But the wealth was not real. So, out of nowhere, the earth opened its mouth and consumed the fathom called wealth. And there, a pyre of dreams burn on the altar.

On Friday morning, December 11, 2008, federal agents descended onto Bernard Madoff’s Manhattan penthouse and arrested him for operating a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.

About 7:30 a.m. this morning, police were called to the Madison Avenue office of Access International. It is reported that 65-year old hedge fund manager Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet had killed himself, being distraught, family members say, over losing the $1.4 billion Luxembourg-based LUXALPHA SICAV-American Selection fund in Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

This is only the beginning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Fifty-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme

The assets of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities are now frozen. The Wall Street tycoon, himself, once touted as “the best of the best”, was arrested by federal agents and charged with orchestrating a $50-billion Ponzi scheme.

Mr. Madoff was arrested at his Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan last Thursday by F.B.I. agents, after his two sons — both of whom work for the company — reported that he had confessed to them that his money-management business was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme” and “a big lie.”


What is a Ponzi scheme? In the Gangster Underworld, it was called “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

Wiki: A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from the profit from any real business. It is named after Charles Ponzi. The term "Ponzi scheme" is used primarily in the United States, while other English-speaking countries do not distinguish in colloquial speech between this scheme and other forms of pyramid scheme.

The scheme usually offers abnormally high short-term returns in order to entice new investors. The perpetuation of the high returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises (and pays) requires an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going.

The system is destined to collapse because there are little or no underlying earnings from the money received by the promoter.


When he was arrested last week, Mr. Madoff estimated that investors lost as much as $50 billion in the fraud, according to court filings. Mr. Madoff has said the scam was a Ponzi scheme, a type of fraud in which early investors are paid off with money from later victims, until no more money can be raised and the scheme collapses.



There is one fact that rings true in all Ponzi schemes, and that is its inevitable collapse. It appears that Master Madoff keep juggling the books, robbing Peter and paying Paul, until there was no more money to pay Paul. Or, maybe it was the crush of a falling stock market and mass exodus of investors that brought Madoff face to face with his own illiquidity. It appears that greed in the excess has been the undoing of many wealthy investors who put all of their trust in the Wall Street guru

[Report from,2933,468824,00.html]

From individual investors to small businesses to doctor's cooperatives — and even to the town itself — Fairfield, Conn., gave its money to Bernard Madoff. And now it's left with a pile of old statements telling investors how much money they never really had… Madoff, the former chairman of Nasdaq, was arrested by federal officials last week on charges he orchestrated an elaborate Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors of up to $50 billion and leaving a trail of financial devastation in his wake.

Eddie Griffin Commentary

It was reported that in order to get into Madoff investments ventures, the investor had to open an account, with a minimum amount of a million dollars. Imagine! Fifty-billion dollars vanishes on paper, first; hence, maybe the reason behind why Madoff keep different sets of books. (Was he playing a shell game with the financial records?)

When the name of the game is complexity, then those with the most convincing financial gibberish and jargon can easily con the naive investor, by flirting with their greed instinct, right on the tip of their taste bud. Madoff caught fish from a barrel with old fashion devil bait.

The biggest Wall Street bailout is now beginning to look like the largest heist in American history, even bigger than Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Who can trust Wall Street now?

Monday, December 15, 2008

About the $700 Billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Funds?

The First Report of the Congressional Oversight Panel for Economic Stabilization December 10, 2008

Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) will release two public reports:

On Jan. 10, it will release a report that examines the administration of the TARP program, including the impact thereof on the economy to date.

On Jan. 20, COP will release a report providing recommendations for reforms to the financial regulatory structure. This report will provide a roadmap for a regulatory system that would revitalize Wall Street, protect consumers, and ensure future stability in our financial markets. Through these reports, the Oversight Panel will reveal the results of its investigations to the American people.


In response to the financial crisis, Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, authorizing the Treasury Department to commit up to $250 billion in taxpayer dollars, to be followed by another $100 billion and another $350 billion if warranted. The statute also created a Congressional Oversight Panel (COP).

The Act’s purposes are to “restore liquidity and stability to the financial system of the United States . . . in a manner that (A) protects home values, college funds, retirement accounts, and life savings; (B) preserves homeownership and promotes jobs and economic growth; (C) promotes overall returns to the taxpayers of the United States; and (D) provides public accountability.” From the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to the present date, Treasury has used its authority under the Act to provide 87 banks with $165 billion in exchange for preferred stock and warrants. Treasury further used its authority to provide AIG with $40 billion in exchange for preferred stock and warrants, and to provide Citigroup with a further $20 billion in preferred stock and warrants... (excerpted)


To restore stability to the financial system, the government must stop tinkering with the market. As any expert will tell you, there are no experts when it comes to the volatile mood swings in market behavior. Ultimately, market behavior is human behavior, insofar as behind every investment decision is a “decider”, fickle human beings.

What is going on, behind the scene, is a bunch of financial gurus trying to figure out something someone can understand: Human Behavior in making investment decision… Call it Paulson’s “Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Moe Dilemma” in Voodoo Trickle Down Economics.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Put Kids First Campaign

Endorsed by Eddie G. Griffin, International Child Rights advocate

On Feb. 4, 2009, adults and youth from throughout the state will be asking elected officials to

Put Kids First in their decision making for Texas.

Please send:
Student Letters to Leaders
by January 30, 2009

Include your school or program address and an optional wallet-sized photograph to:

Put Kids First
c/o Texans Care For Children
814 San Jacinto, Suite 201
Austin, Texas 78701

Students should include in their letters an introduction of who they are (name, grade, etc.), their reason for writing, and what change they think is needed for kids in Texas. You can also have students attach walletsized pictures of themselves to their letter.

Explain that the elected officials will keep the pictures to remember all the youth and children they work for.

The leaders will likely send replies to the address on the letter (e.g., your program’s address). Also, with this address, we will make sure the letters get to one or more of the correct legislators for your district.

Send envelope of letters postmarked by January 30, 2009 to:
Put Kids First, c/o Texans Care For Children, 814 San Jacinto, Suite 201, Austin, Texas 78701

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HELLO from Death Row

Testimony of the Outlaw Eddie Griffin

TO Mike Ward & Jerry Madden:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hello. Let me speak to the Warden. This is Eddie Griffin calling from Death Row.

WHAT?! That doesn’t even sound right, a man using a cell phone calling from death row. But it happens in Texas, obviously more than prison officials realized.

On Wednesday morning, state prison officials unveiled a massive $65.8 million plan to curb an epidemic of smuggled cell phones and other contraband in Texas’ lockups, reports Mike Ward, Austin American-Statesmen.

Hello Mike, Please say again. They are going to spend $65.8 million dollars to patch up a crack in the Texas prison system that’s big enough to drive a Mac Truck trough. Come on!

Hello Jerry, This is Eddie Griffin, the man who first told you to turn over the rock in the Texas Youth Commission’s detention facilities. Didn’t I warn also of the problems of corruption in the adult prison system?

As a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, with a Ph. D in Survival, I can tell you, first hand, that the taxpayers’ money would be better spent on an ounce of prevention, rather than the $65.8 million pound of cure.

By now you realize the public outrage over TDCJ’s funding request:

Brad Livingston, executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said the funding will be sought immediately, through special approval of state leaders, instead of waiting for legislative approval next year.

Livingston would avoid the scrutiny of day.

Tell me: Are any of these the “privatized prisons”, where we have found corruption before.

A writer writes:

This is an internal, employee, management, etc problem, for many, many years, everybody including inmates, knew of these problems, most of the criminals all ready know how to beat the systems before they get there. demote every employee that is in any supervisory position, if they clean up this mess, give them the position back, if not then promote the ones who will be there the rest of there life, waiting for these dead heads to retire. [signed Been There]

As a former prison consultant with some knowledge on this issue, it is doubtful that this expensive plan will accomplish its intended purpose.

The introduction of contraband in prisons is primarily due to the cooperation of the guards, and no amount of hardware is going to remedy it.

I would suggest that considerably more research be done before proposing a costly knee jerk response to the Texas legislature that is doomed to fail in its primary objective: limiting the introduction of contraband into the Texas prison system. [signed Anon]

I work inside the prison. We need help! We need random drug testing, cut sick days in half, termination on the spot (not after 9 disciplinaries), quit recruiting employees at high schools, payphones will help and a few extra dollars in my check, then raise the hiring standards. Not $65million dollar metal detector, I am a tax payer too! That is the goofiest idea our leaders have ever come up with. I think we need to look at replacing our leaders, how many escapes? employee homicide? serious assaults? have we had in the last couple of years. Now we get tough because someone got a call? Austin Drama! [signed By BD]

Testimony of the Outlaw Eddie Griffin

Living in prison is not easy for prison guard or prisoner, but they must contend and suffer with each other’s presence for at least eight hours a day. The prison guard goes back home to wife and children, and the prisoner goes back to naught, but an empty cold bunk bed.

Okay, Johnny Reb, don’t make my day. I’m a lifer, got nothing lose, but my soul, and I’m already in hell. So, don’t make my day, Charlie.

That was my way of getting prison guards off my back.

Hey Charlie, come here a second. I don’t know if you know the rules around here. We, the inmates, outnumber the guards 15-to-1, so don’t get us started. You can come to work, and work a sweet cakewalk 8-hour shift, or your can put in overtime, putting out fires.

Charlie, we got a contest here. Who can take out whom the fastest! Everybody say I am the fastest. You been told!

That was my warning. We were all gladiators, in a fight to the death. Call me more blessed than a cancer survivor.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

If the Trumpet gives an Uncertain Sound:

Who Shall Prepare Himself for Battle?
A Lesson By Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

At 2 minutes 2 seconds into the YouTube video speech on World AIDS Day, President-elect Barack Obama reaches into his memory of scripture from the Bible and pulls out this jewel from Paul, the apostle, to the Corinthians:

If the trumpet does not sound a clear call who will get ready for battle?

The President-to-be accurately quoted 1 Corinthians 14:8 NIV, an excellent scriptures for a rallying call. The KJV version speaks of the trumpet making an "uncertain sound"

Two messages in two days from 1 Corinthians 14- This should inspire a lesson. The message, coming from the Sunday morning's sermon, highlighted the “uncertain sound” in churches and in the world. Barack Obama’s message emphasized was the “certain sound”, the sound that one can be assured of, as in the Word of God, and a sense of certainty and reassurances in Obama's words, promises, and actions.

Liken to a trumpeter, Obama implies that he will send out a “clear call” to the public.

The “uncertain sound” in the KJV signifies a wrong message being sent out. Like the playing of Taps instead of Reveille, an uncertain sound confuses the troops. The opposite is the “certain sound”, and there is nothing more certain to me than the Word of God?

Heaven and earth will pass away. But his Word will last forever.

Of this, I am certain: Nietzsche is dead.

ONCE “the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman”. It was the watchman’s job to Blow the Trumpet at the first sign of danger. If the watchman does his job, “blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head.” If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but God will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.

This is the scenario given in Ezekiel 33:1-20.

The elected watchman who refuses to blow the trumpet is only confounded by the watchman who blows the trumpet and makes an uncertain sound. Shall God hold the blood of lost souls upon the heads of the watchmen who led them away with strange “uncertain” sounds?

This quarter I will devote my Wednesday Night Bible Class to the study of The Trumpet: God’s Word.

Monday, December 1, 2008

AIDS and the At-Risk Male Prison Population

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, December 01, 2008

The United Nations has designated today as World AIDS Day to spread international awareness to the global deadly pandemic of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

AIDS is now a pandemic of epic proportion. In 2007, an estimated 33.2 million people lived with the disease worldwide, and it killed an estimated 2.1 million people, including 330,000 children.

People with AIDS often have systemic symptoms of infection like fevers, night sweats, swollen glands, chills, weakness, and weight loss. These symptoms and infections result from damages caused to the immune system cause by caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Some estimate that 25% of sub-Sahara Africa is infected with the disease. Indeed, this is where much of the world focus has been trained. By closer to home, nearly 25% of the US prison population is infected.

Based upon findings by Dr. David Wessner, Department of Biology at Davidson College, Ali Cundari reports:

U.S. prison populations are at a record high today, with barely enough room to house incarcerated individuals. Due to the close proximity and high-risk behaviors of inmates, as well as a lack of intervention from authorities, the transmission of HIV in prisons is a major problem today. A combination of both pre-existing and new infections plague prison populations, making them one of UNAIDS’ four major at-risk groups for HIV/AIDS.

In 2005, 1.8% of all state inmates and 1.0% of all federal prison inmates in the U.S. were believed to be HIV positive, leading to a total of 22,480 infected individuals behind bars. These percentages are disproportionate to the rest of the general population, making HIV/AIDS about four times as common among inmates than the population at large. Around 25% of all HIV infected people have spent time in a correctional facility.

In a research report sponsored by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), the National Institute of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and submitted to Congress in 2002, the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the US Department of Justice presented this data:

On June 30, 1997, more than 6,300 state/federal prison inmates and more than 2800 jail inmates had AIDS… Also, there were more than 2,600 state/federal prison releasees and more than 36 000 jail releasees with AIDS in 1997. Thus, almost 16% of the estimated total of 247,000 persons living with AIDS in the United States in 1997 passed through a correctional facility that year.

After applying our point prevalence range of 1.45% to 2.03%, there were between 17,000 and 25,000 state/federal prison inmates and between 8,000 and 11,000 city/county jail inmates with HIV infection (non-AIDS)… Given the same prevalence range, between 112,000 and 157,000 people with HIV infection (non-AIDS) were released from US prisons and jails in 1997. This estimate suggests that between 22% and 31% of the approximately 503,000 people living with HIV infection (non-AIDS) in the United States in 1997 passed through a correctional facility that year.

Doctors and researchers are not ignorant of the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic in the US prison system. Rather, it is the inmate population that is ignorance.

Dubbed the “first conference of its kind”, The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) brought together some 128 inmates from 16 state prison units to the Darrington Prison Unit in 2002 to distribute information about AIDS and other infectious diseases, with hopes that peer education would cause to the information to spread among the 143,000 inmate population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ignorance about AIDS is widespread among the prison population, the inmates said.

Although the state of Texas now provides HIV testing for incoming and outgoing prisoners, such tests are voluntary and there is still widespread ignorance among inmates about the disease. A Texas State Epidemiologic Profile, 2005 reports that the incidence of HIV is about 7 times higher in the Texas criminal justice system than it is in the general population, and that the state releases a little more than 100 HIV-positive prisoners each month.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that there were 847 AIDS cases and 2,450 HIV in Texas of June 30, 1999. By 2002, TDCJ had released 575 inmates who had tested positive for HIV/AIDS. And, with the high rate of recidivism, TDCJ now finds itself importing almost as many HIV-positive convicts as it releases.

Eddie Griffin Commentary

There are many ways HIV/AIDS can be transmitted among prisoners, such as with sharing dirty needles for injecting illicit drugs, or sharing razors and toothbrushes, or tattooing and body piercing with crude homemade germ-catching devices. But the most common mode of transmission is through consensual and non-consensual sex between inmates. Because of fear and shame associated with same sex practices behind bars, gang rapes, and a foreboding convict code of Omerta, most prisoners will avoid voluntary HIV testing. This gives penal authorities reason to believe the HIV/AIDS pandemic is more widespread in prison that reported.

Prior to the mid-1970s, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome was largely unheard of in the prison environment. Officially, the disease was not discovered until the early 1980s, though there was an earlier newspaper account about the disease in a New York newspaper. The diseased crept into the system and contaminated a large part of the prison population before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and United Nations recognized that the incarcerated were more at risk than the general population, and that the disease would be carried back out into the free world, only to contaminate others.

We find the same level of ignorance among sexually active teenagers. There is a common disbelief that casual sex (or rape) can lead to such a terrible fatal disease. The magnitude of the pandemic is incomprehensible, and the suffering from it inconceivable.

The general approach to a prevention campaign has been through mass public awareness campaign and advocating safe sex practices.

I teach abstinence as the most effective means of prevention, because there is no safe sex, insofar as there is no sin-free sex except by marriage. And, in that case, there are some preventative steps to take before walking down the aisle.

As for how to teach inmates the same lesson of abstention, HIV/AIDS education should focus on what happens to the human body as it degenerates. Some inmates may be suffering the symptoms and yet passing it on without knowledge.

If there is a cruel death in nature, it would be to die with AIDS. The onset of the disease comes with fever and chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, swollen glands, tumors, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and dementia. The progression of the disease follows bad-to-worse before death.

With competent information about the disease, an at-risk prison population is face with a choice in their behavior and the consequences. This is the same way we should present information about the disease to at-risk teens, and the public in general. The format is simple: (1) This is the disease AIDS; (2) This is what it does; (3) This is how it is contracted; (4) These are the preventions; and (5) These are the options short of a cure.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mr. President: Please Ratify UN Human Rights

President of the United States of America
Barack H. Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

God bless you. God bless America. Once again, America is gleaming in new hope and ideals. Once again, we can shine a light like that city set on the hill. We can show the world who we truly are, as a nation, and as a people.

We can begin spreading goodwill by ratifying two important U.N. Human Rights covenants, for the sake of our humanity.

First, we ask that you sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This doctrine merely reasserts the innocence, needs, and protection of children under the age of 18. It condemns exploitation of children for sex, labor, or military conscription.

Second, we ask that you sign the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Optional Protocol on Justice For All Rights.

"That historic moment will help rectify the imbalance between civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, which has particularly denied marginalized groups and those living in poverty the ability to demand an effective remedy when their rights are violated,” said Amnesty International.

"The Optional Protocol is an important tool for implementing the declaration made 15 years ago at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights that 'all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated'. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis."

Eddie G. Griffin

Friday, November 21, 2008

Musing over Mortality

By Eddie Griffin

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today would have been the day I marked the remembrance of the late John F. Kennedy, the only president I ever saw in the flesh, exactly 45 years ago. But instead, I mark this day with the remembrance of Aunt Birdie who passed away on last night. She was 91 years old.

History, it seems, is passing before my eyes and it makes me meditate upon the meaning of mortality, because I realize that on any give day I may go up on my own sick bed and never come down.

Aunt Birdie passed away peacefully, after spending a brief time in a coma, induced by a stroke. She was the last of the Haynes clan, an original Texas African-American pioneer family that goes back to East Texas to the time of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Marshall, Texas was the cultural center of the aristocratic black family. I never will forget Aunt Birdie’s strict table manners, with the spoon on this side and the fork on that side, and the table cloth in your lap, and do not drink your water while you’re eating, and other commandments from the book of civilized behavior that sounded like the Law of Moses from the mouth of Aunt Birdie.

Why did I think that our last conversations would be by phone, when she was in a nursing home only a few blocks away from me? God forgive me, I vowed to be at her 90th birthday party and something came up that give me an excuse, and now I bear a sense of guilt that I can never live down. Her last words to me: “Why haven’t you come to visit me?” I am in terrible contrition over that. So, I dedicate this portion of my memoirs to her memory, beginning at the place of her birth:

Marshall, Texas

If it came be said that six flags flew over Texas, then Marshall, Texas would have been the only city to fly the seventh flag, the “flag of Missouri”, the last flag of the Confederacy.

As the story goes: Before Jefferson Davis and his cabinet abandoned the capitol on the last train out of Richmond, a cache of treasury notes and stamps were shipped to Marshall, Texas.

This city that had arisen from a land grant by Isaac Van Zandt and his partners had become the cultural center of the Confederate gentry, nicknamed the “Athens of Texas”, with one of the largest concentrated holdings of slaves in the state. Historians believe that Marshall was designated to become the new Confederate capitol.


On Emancipation Day, New Year’s morning, January 1, 1863, before any slaves in Texas could be set free by the decree of Abraham Lincoln, Confederate General J. B. Magruder and his Cottontails were in the process of recapturing the Union stronghold on Galveston. The Civil War would not end, nor the slaves freed, until Union General Gordon Granger marched back into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, a day forever enshrined as Juneteenth.

Two days before the final surrender of Texas, on June 17th, Union forces took the city of Marshall. The city would later become the home office of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Texas, and even later a thriving city with rich African-American culture.

Slaves were instantly turned into free laborers who could contract their hire for wages. With Confederate money now being worthless, former slaves contracted to divide the harvest with their former slave masters, in an arraignment known as sharecropping. However, when black farmers sought a better price for their cotton by selling directly to black merchants in Galveston, East Texas became a hotbed for lynching.

Mr. Fort Worth

Major Khleber M. Van Zandt, son of Texas pioneer Isaac Van Zandt, father of the city of Marshall, had raised a company for the 7th Texas Infantry Regiment for the Confederacy in 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in 1862 and released in a prisoner exchange after the fall of Vicksburg. After the war, he returned to Marshall and later moved west to Fort Worth, where he became a merchant, banker, and railroad man. Today, he is known as “Mr. Fort Worth”.

Legacy of Wiley College

Marshall, Texas became the site of two Negro Colleges, Wiley and Bishop. This is from whence the Haynes family legacy came. Aunt Birdie and most of the Haynes clan attended Wiley College, which was founded in 1873 by Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Isaac Wiley and later certified by the Freedman’s Aid Society in 1882.

Etiquettes and Ethics was a standard course taught in Texas schools to African-American children. It was a skill that would enable them to become house maids, butlers, and servants. It was a course on how to walk properly, how to speak the Queen’s language properly, use proper diction and dialect.

The foundation of our southern education probably derived from that fact that in 1907 Wiley College received the first Carnegie college library west of the Mississippi. By 1935, Wiley had spawn a national debate team second to none, headed by Professor Melvin B. Tolson, who also staged the first sit-in Texas at the Harrison County Courthouse, along with students from both colleges.

Family Heritage

Today, the Haynes family owns minerals rights on a 100-year lease of timberland in East Texas. How they managed to hang on to their property during the turbulent period of post-Reconstruction, when East Texas was the hotbed of racial violence, is yet another story, one that I would have to learn from research, and not from Aunt Birdie.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales indicted in Willacy County, Texas

By Eddie Griffin

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Since the story broke about the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the former prosecutor Juan Angel Guerra, who first brought the indictment, was a no-show on court day, provoking Judge Manuel Banales to declare, “The state of Texas is not present, which is a rarity... I will not have a hearing when one of the parties is not present.”

If this is not flabbergasting enough, Judge Banales adds this little bit of Texas intrigue. He ordered “Texas Rangers to go to his house, check on his well-being and order him to court on Friday.”

OMG! Angel Guerra could be missing or dead. You just don’t indict the Vice President of the United States on charges of “engaging in an organized criminal activity”. (Agnew) How disloyal! Unless, of course, the charges are true, then Guerro would be a hero. But, for now, it looks like he is in hiding.

What a helluva allegation in the indictment!

Can you believe that Dick Cheney would own stock in a company that builds and manages federal prisons? What is the Vanguard Group? What kind of business is it in? And, does the Vice President own shares in it?

Those are the questions, not whether Juan Guerra has lost his mind or is seeking revenge for losing his office. We need to know exactly what the Vanguard Group does in order to make its profits, and how those profits are distributed. Is Dick Cheney receiving any dividends from the company?

In order for there to be a criminal indictment, there must first be criminal activity. Vanguard must have been charged with prisoner brutality, and it is also reported that Attorney General Alberto Gonazales tried to use his authority of his office to block an investigation into an inmate’s death that would a resulted in a major lawsuit against Vanguard. (The suit went forward anyway and resulted in a large settlement for the decease family).

These are reports from various news sources. But hard to find is this Vanguard Group. If you find any information about it, please send it to me at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

President Barack H. Obama: My Son

By Eddie G. Griffin

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I have children and then I have children. Some of my children are adopted. As a servant of the Lord, sometimes a man has to adopt children who are not his own. And, so I have adopted Barack H. Obama, as my own son by kindred spirit, because he did all the things that would make a father proud.

He ran a good, clean, and honorable race to win the presidency of the United States. He has made his life an open book and has chosen to put his life under a microscope to lead by example. People will be watching him everywhere to see if he makes a mistake. I can understand that some people not too comfortable with having an African-American lead the greatest nation in the world.

But for these times, he is our chosen leader. He is my son by adoption, because he did everything I would have hoped to raise my own three sons would have done while growing up... to be honorable men and leaders in the community. In an age of foolish children, Barack stands out in a crowd.

Spiritually, I feel like King David, a man of war all my life, unfit to build a house for God. My adventures, as a Black Panther, was a life lived with fierce suicidal rage and rebellion, a desperado at war with the government, and at war with the world and myself.

But when all the wars are over and all of your enemies defeated, then there is still that war within, and it's hard to turn off a 62 year-old rage.

I had to find peace to make peace with myself. And, I am even more at peace now that I have found a wise son in Barack Obama, at least wiser than the previous leader, and surely wiser than his opponents. With him, he brings a refreshing attitude and sense of hope. Personally, it gives me great relief.

I need not study war any more. I must learn now to defend, and how to root our corruption, and vanquish the threat of terrorism, and build a new world.

But I would not rush to judgment as to who represents a terrorist threat when our own brutish ways make us a bigger threat to ourselves. We must do unto others as we would have others do unto us. The vanquished do not negotiate the terms and conditions of peace.

It was terribly hard for members of the Black Panther Party to renounce the use of violence against the government. Pride was the big factor. However, we were rotting in jails and prisons, classified as enemies of the state, domestic terrorists, convicted criminals, some with life sentences and beyond.

But one of our comrades was dying of cancer, and the government offered him a chance to go home before he died, only on one condition: that the revolutionaries renounce the use of violence to achieve their political objective.

The debate within our ranks ended in tears. We notified government lawyers that Rafael Cancel Miranda would speak for us all, to renounce the use of violence to overthrow the U. S. government. With this, President Jimmy Carter issued conditional pardons to many, but not all. And some of us left prison, recognized as international political prisoners.

The case of Mwana

A Panther prison rebel leader named Mwana was released from a refrigerated strip cell at Marion Federal Prison by a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Southern Illinois University professor Jim Roberts established the Prisoner Rights Project at SIU Law School. Roberts named Mwana to be a member of the board of directors, the first prisoner to serve on a board of a project at a major university.

This provided Mwana, a jailhouse lawyer, with free access to law students attending the university. All inmate grievances would go to Mwana for screening of prisoner rights violation and then to the law students who, in turn, prepared the cases for court.

Mwana had met Professor Roberts and his law students after a prison hunger strike in 1976. For Mwans's role in the protest, the warden had placed him in the long-term segregation unit, known as the Control Unit, which became increasing restrictive, over the years. When Finney blocked the professor entrance into the prison for a visit with Mwana, Prof. Roberts went to court and eventually won a $39,000 settlement against the Bureau of Prison, for denying him access to his prisoner client and thereby denying him the right to practice law. It was the first such successful lawsuit against the Bureau, and later withstood a Supreme Court challenge.

Around 1979, President Jimmy Carter released a select group of radical prisoners, on the condition that they renounce violence. Mwana was the one who convinced Rafael Miranda that this was the best choice. The dispute within the ranks of radical prisoners was fierce, because some did not want to give up the fight. But the fight was over.

The revolutionaries had won what we could win, a reprieve of sorts. They had won their freedom and some vindication and redemption for their politically motivated crimes. (Herman Bell of the BLA, and Leonard Peltier of AIM, remain incarcerated)

In any case, the Revolution of the 1970s ended with a public renounciation of violence.

I have been blessed to have survived the internment and the future shock effect of reentry, and to have helped teach a new generation.

I have raised children, and children’s children, and children’s children’s children, since my release almost 25 years ago. I am a new person, a new man. In prison, no one would even know me by the name of Eddie Griffin, except the wardens and the FBI. My inmate-in-arms, however, called me “Mwana”, a Swahili name given to me by the brothers incarcerated, known as the Marion Brothers.

I tell this story not to glorify my violent and riotous past, but that others might understand that it is hard to turn off WAR. For me, it is tempting to search for enemies and make new enemies if I find none, just to have somebody, something, or a cause to fight. But the only fight now is against the forces of nature and the state of the economy, and against the few who are aroused by a man skin-color, instead of his vision.

As I said before, so say I now: I have children and I have children... good children and bad children.

Barack Obama is a good son.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Racism Dead – Bigotry Abides

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well over half of America put their confidence in the leadership of an African-American by electing Barack Obama to be President of the United States. Over half of America believes that race is not a prerequisite to lead the most powerful nation in the world. The rule of racism, at last, took backseat to the will of a people who believe that all men are created equal in the sight of a Christian nation. A man named Barack Hussein Obama was judged by the content of his character, instead of prejudices aroused by his skin color.

Some people have yet to accept the outcome of the election. Race hatred is being fueled by hate groups, aimed at dividing the nation. Many people look away and pretend bigotry is not there. But it is there, and has been all along.

Some people confuse the two. This is obvious by mass reaction to the November 4 election results. The ideology of white supremacy was resoundingly discarded by the popular vote. It is no longer the dominant ideology that guides our nation.

We have always insisted that “racism” was predicated upon dominate-subordinate relationships between whites and blacks. From the perpetual occupation of the Whitehouse down to city hall, we have slowly migrated toward a “more equal” union. Now, from city hall to the Whitehouse, political power is no longer monopolized and abused to benefit one race or one culture.

Racism can only exist as long as skin color was the prerequisite for occupying the most powerful office in government. In the South, the political right to govern was a “white right to rule”.

In 1964, I was one of the scholars who debated the meaning of “Racism”. We were surprised that our definition was employed by the United Nations, except for one distinction. Global leaders would not accept racism being equated with white supremacy. Their counter argument was that any race can dominate or suppress another race.

In the U.S., it manifested itself in race relations between "the whites" and "the coloreds", and through a rough series of evolutionary progressions toward a truer sense equality. But the resistance to these changes has historically been violent. It is the outward aggression against change that we signify as “racist behavior” or bigotry.

This distinction is very important in this day and time, post-election. If racism is dead, as I have argued above, then the angry backlash is bigotry with a dangerous potential, similar to the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. All of Lincoln's days in office were haunted by plots of his assassination. No man should have to live with that threat hanging over his head.

I do not buy into the myth that there is no racist plot against Barack Obama’s life. This is why we continue to pray for him and for our nation. We know the truth of racism is about power.

Now racism is dead. Get over it.

If people cannot get over it, then there is a hate-crime conspiracy waiting to lure them in.

The Patriot Act gives the President of the United States almost absolute power in dealing with domestic terrorism. And, what is more threatening to our national security than to openly plot his assassination.

It is unpatriotic to threaten the life of the man who provides a security blanket over this country. In rapid order, these instigators and would-be assassins need to loose their “freedom of speech”, “right to privacy”, and, if suspicious enough, “freedom of movement”, making certain to respect due process of law.

A threat inside the nation should never exist. If we were aware of an al-Qaeda cell operating inside the United States, there is no doubt as to what we would do? And, these people are operating in board daylight? What is too shameless to be done in darkness is hereby brought out into the light, how arrogant!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Working National & State Agenda

National Agenda
(1) A plan to revive the economy,
(2) To fix our health care,
(3) Education,
(4) Social Security systems,
(5) To define a clear path to energy independence,
(6) To end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and
(7) To work with our allies to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.

Texas State Agenda
(1) To promote educational opportunities for all Texans,
(2) Provide access to quality heath care,
(3) Implement smart energy policies,
(4) Help Texas families keep their homes,
(5) Improve our criminal justice system.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rapidly Changing Economic Conditions or Plundering the U. S. Treasury

By Eddie Griffin

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Current economic activity is so fluid and rapid and so vast that skiddish market conditions change, every hour on the hour, and every minute in between.

Yesterday, there were calls drill here and drill there. But that’s when oil was topping $140 a barrel. Now oil prices at $56 a barrel the calls have died down and a return to sanity.

Nevertheless, we have committed $$$ billions to a bailout package, giving the Secretary of Treasury absolute power to spend the money as he saw fit. Since then, he’s been jumping from pillar to post, trying the figure out where to put the billions of taxpayer’s dollars to jumpstart the economic battery.

But wait! Haven’t we jumped the gun?

The Washington Post reports:

In the six weeks since lawmakers approved the Treasury's massive bailout of financial firms, the government has poured money into the country's largest banks, recruited smaller banks into the program and repeatedly widened its scope to cover yet other types of businesses, from insurers to consumer lenders.
Along the way, the Bush administration has committed $290 billion of the $700 billion rescue package.

Yet for all this activity, no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed.

Now I'm not an alarmist. But this stinks to high heaven... taxpayers' money being disbursed without any oversight. I could swear somebody is trying to plunder the Treasury. Remember: The Shah of Iran in 1979, the Tea Pot Dome Scandal, and Lincoln’s great land giveaway.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apply for a Job with the Obama-Biden Administration Online

This website is designed to provide prospective applicants with information to help them apply for positions in the Obama-Biden Administration. President-Elect Obama will make appointments throughout the federal government. Some positions will require Senate confirmation while others will not. Some appointments will be made during the transition process and others during the early part of the new Administration.

Applicants for any of these non-career positions - whether in the White House or in any Federal Department, Agency or Commission - should use this website, as applying on-line is the fastest and most accurate way to get your information to us. (If you are interested instead in a career, civil service position with the federal government, you should proceed to the Office of Personnel Management website at

If you apply for a position now, you will not need to apply again after January 20th. Applications submitted now to the Obama-Biden Transition Project will be retained and considered by the Office of Presidential Personnel after President-Elect Obama takes office.

Application Process:
1. Please complete and submit the on-line Expression of Interest Form.
2. Within a few days, you will receive an email with a link to a more complete on-line application.
3. Upon submitting your full on-line application you will receive an e-mail acknowledgment.
4. If and when you are considered for a specific position, you will be asked to fill out additional forms, including financial disclosures, and be subject to other reviews which may include FBI background checks.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Cabinet Recommendations

From: Eddie Griffin
Friday, November 07, 2008

We can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us.

It is now time to wake up and multitask in solving our national and international problems. Beware, there are wolves licking their chops, just waiting to get into this administration. We should not and will not, stand by and let that happen, even if we must choke an appointment off at the Senate, during the confirmation process.

Do not let the mass media manipulate lead the speculation on appointments. After all, we grassroots people, community activists and bloggers, have speculations of our own. Some people still do not believe that a black man can run the country. Therefore, this will be the most watched administration in history.

To begin the List of Appointments, Eddie Griffin recommends Retired General Collin Powell to the position of Secretary of Homeland Security, because he is a man into whose hands we can sleep well, feeling safe and sound, inside our homes, in America. Despite the bad rumor that sent us into the Iraq war, Powell hit Saddam Hussein with everything the U.S. was proudly made of. He led the battle charge and will readily do so again if the US is pushed to act.

Don’t mess with Uncle Sam under an Obama administration with Collin Powell, heading Homeland and the fight against terrorism, domestic and abroad.

To end the list: Eddie Griffin recommends Michael C. Burgess as the new Surgeon General. A congressional representative from the 26th District of Texas, Burgess is a great doctor and medical expert. On his card, he does not have a D or R, but MD. It would be good to have my congressman as my doctor.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Smile on Camelot

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

God Bless America

Barack Obama put a smile on the faces of many Americans, and even a smile on the face of an old sourpuss like me.

As I sat with my old schoolmate Bob Ray Sanders, assistant editor of the Star-Telegram, we reflected on the times, from our coming up together in the old segregated school system to the historic moment of Barack Obama’s victory speech. We were like two old black men from another time and another era. As we sat stoic and proud, the emotional atmosphere was only a distant echo. We just talked, one black man to another, about what this 2008 Election meant to us, our children, and the nation.

Red haired and freckled, always Bob Ray, he confessed what we both felt. “I can’t afford to let my emotions get too high or too low over occasions like this,” he said, as we waited and watched the television for Barack Obama to appear.

I was reminded of what so many people have asked me lately: “Did you ever believe that you would see the day?” It makes me always think, “What’s the big deal? It’s just another epic historic occasion.” Both Bob Ray and I had seen our share over time. And, after all, Obama’s win was not totally unexpected.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had foretold of a day he saw in a dream, when the nation would judge a man by the content of his character, instead of the color of his skin. We had always looked forward to that day and believed, in our hearts, that we would live to see it. So, what’s the big deal?

We were at the victory celebration in downtown Fort Worth at the Hilton Hotel, which was formerly known at the Texas Hotel, the place where President John F. Kennedy spent his last night, November 21, 1963. I remembered, as teenagers, we were there that night when Kennedy came to town. We saw his caravan. We saw our little city decorated in yellow lights. We saw him get out of his limousine. We saw him wave to the crowd and disappear into the hotel. We heard rumors that he slept on the top floor, the 15th floor, where all the local candidates waited to make their victory or concession speech.

On this historic night, state senate candidate Wendy Davis would occupy the coveted presidential suite, with its replica presidential gold seal hanging on the wall with pictures of that day in November when Kennedy came to town.

Who didn’t know that there would be cheers and tears of joy by the time this night was over? But the greater jubilation was the realization we, as a people, had overcome. Even an old sourpuss had reason to smile. It is the smile of a black man that says, “At last, I am somebody. I can now exhale. I can breathe. I have a presence. I have a voice. The days of Richard Wright’s “Invisible Man” are over.

Out of the blue, a phone caller reminded me to write about this night and this magnanimous occasion. The caller called it “a miracle”. In so many words, she said, “The shackles are off the black man. There are no more excuses. There are no limits to stop black men from achieving their dreams and goals.”

It was a miracle, indeed, in the mind’s eye of the beholder. For a battle-worn and weary soldier, November 4th signified relief. Like my schoolmate, my giddy days we over. I cannot afford to let my emotions rise too high nor sink too low, except to recognize that it is time to turn the page on race relationships, get on to the business of healing the wounds of a divided nation, fixing the national economy, and solving our social problems.

Indeed, there is much work to be done. But my work will be a labor of love, because now I have a voice. I have a presence. I am somebody, too.

Congratulations to our President Elect Barack Obama!

This indeed a very historical night, and I thank God for allowing me to live to see this day! I am so excited about this victory. It means so much to me, as well as to so many others. It means the world to our nation.

President Elect Obama won by a landslide tonight. This is very telling. America is FINALLY ready for change, and ready to open its self up to the potential that is present in all of us.

Tonight, America showed that ALL children, all people, can do and be whatever they want to do or be. Some areas are not just reserved for White Americans. Tonight, Barack Obama proved this.

I have been crying all night. I’ve cried so hard, and uncontrollably. I am so happy to see this. It has really happened! The reality hit me so hard and it was overwhelming. I screamed, I shouted, and I cried deep from the heart in praise and gratitude to God.

Yes, it’s been a long time coming. Now, the real work begins. We have to stick together and work together to assure that we do right by all of those who fought long and hard to make this possible!

Yes, we can!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GOP Hurts Grandma Madelyn

I wonder how Barack Obama's Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, must have felt when she heard this.

California GOP Files FEC Complaint Over Obama Visit to Grandmother By Matthew Mosk

Perhaps the most ill-timed press release of the 2008 campaign arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m. today, sent by the Republican National Committee.

The release forwarded word that the California Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, in part because of a visit Sen. Barack Obama made to his dying grandmother.

"Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama's personal use," the release stated. "Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do -- at his own expense -- but it was not travel that his campaign may fund."

At issue was whether the trip should have been paid for with campaign funds, based on the law that forbids candidates from using such funds to pay for personal travel. The Obama campaign said the trip had been vetted with lawyers beforehand and was allowable. The Republicans argued that, because Obama did not campaign during the quick journey to Hawaii, it should not have been a campaign expense.


By Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The long anticipated Election Day has come to a reckoning. This is the day for which we went to battle. Defeat is not an option.

I will continue to fight this uphill battle for Barack Obama and our political allies in one of the “reddest counties in the reddest state”, as Tarrant County, Texas has often been called. Up until the polls close at 7 p.m., I will put out yard signs for my choice candidates.

Even at this early hour as the polls open, election officials anticipate a high voter turnout of an unheard-of 80%. But if you survey the African-American community, you will find almost everybody has already voted. Maybe that was why there were no long lines outside my precinct polls. They voted early.

This is a community that normally records voter participation somewhere between 1% to 6%, depending on the year and the election. Instead of maxing out at 1,000 voters, we are sending about 80,000 to the polls in this election.

If John McCain wins Texas, he will have to play catch-up all day. We have an underestimated head start.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack Obama's Grandmother Dies


Sen. Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died after a battle with cancer, his campaign office says.


A Prayer for a Nation

By Eddie Griffin

Monday, November 03, 2008

Someone sent me a special prayer request for this day. It is not an unusual request of those who pray without ceasing.

Every Tuesday morning, brothers of the church, come together to pray for the many people who ask for prayers. We call it out “Prayer Breakfast”.

We daily look over a long list of prayer request from members of the body, from family and friends. I am there to look over the state of condition of the church and the condition of the world. Besides praying for the sick, we pray for our World Leaders and Our Troops in harms way, for victims of natural disasters, and for the bereaved.

But prayer request doesn’t just begin and end on Tuesday morning. It is a list we look over and pray over every day.

In order to pray in faith for World Leaders, a man cannot pray a curse upon them, nor to their destruction. We come to seek and to save the Lost in the World.

But I will consider this special day before a national election to pray for a nation divided against itself and praying that we, as a people, will be able to stand.

In Jesus name,

Friday, October 31, 2008

Where is John Cornyn’s Allegations against ACORN Now?

A Question for Senator John Cornyn from Eddie Griffin

Dear Mr. Cornyn:

I almost cried when you called out the FBI to investigate ACORN. All I could see was blood hounds and water hoses, and ghettos under Nazi suppression.

There were sweeping allegations of “widespread” voter registration fraud. The organization was invaded by federal agents, searching for something non-existent... an unlawful attempt to cast a fraudulent vote.

The insinuation brings to mind something Texans have always been known for, in the past... stuffing the ballot box. But the "ignorant masses" have never stuffed the ballot box. It's always been an uphill struggle just to get them to overcome their apathy and go to the polls.

This “criminal enterprise” allegation against the community-based organization that registers poor people is as ludicrous, as it is malicious. Obliviously, Mr. Senator, you are ignorant of your ignorant constituency.

Now, for sure, we see that your allegations are untrue, Mr. Cornyn.
We always suspected that because of ACORN’s successful voter registration drive in this 2008 election, you targeted them, for the purpose of shutting them down, besmirching their good name, and impeding their works, in order to help your party win.


With almost 40% of the electorates in the state of Texas already gone to the polls in early voting (in this most watched election), we should surely be able to see, with our own eyes, whether or not there is a “massive voting fraud” being perpetrated, as you so claim.

A strange unexpected thing: Certain media outlets have started pouring over these claims, looking into the records to find some evidence of voter fraud, even going so far as looking for dead people who might have cast an illegal vote. A local television station went so far as to investigated such a claim, and found only a clerical error by the poll worker.

All the Mickey Mouse sign-ups were flagged before hand and culled out by ACORN itself, and left to be proven or unproven by the state. And, all the election registers around the country commend ACORN on its work and vigilance. Remember, ACORN was even well received and commended by John McCain in 2006, long before this year’s campaign.

Your allegations, Mr. Senator, are not panning out. With 2.7 million voters already gone to the polls in Texas to vote, WHERE ARE THE FRAUDULENT VOTERS?

You are obligated to answer, not for my sake, but for our sake of integrity in the election process. Like the Bible says: THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.

Mr. Cornyn, you have no proof of “widespread voter fraud”, nor is there any to be found. This is the second election where ACORN has been made a GOP scapegoat. Even worse, your public call for an FBI investigation on trumped up, fabricated, unfounded allegation amounted to setting off was a false alarm for political gain, and to further damage, discredit, and destroy the good name of a reputable community organization and suppress their good work

Surely, if you still believe now as you profess then, that this organization is a “criminal enterprise”, then come forth with your proof and FBI findings. You made the allegation in the height of the campaign, please don't wait until after the election to present your proof.

This is one election we cannot afford to let hang like a hanging chad. And let me remind you, also: IT’S TOO LATE INTO THE ELECTION FOR AN APOLOGY. Using your office to bring false charges against the innocent should be a criminal offense. Wouldn’t you agree?

Eddie Griffin (BASG)


P.S. to: Mr. Rick Noriega: Your ad says, “I got your back.” Do you have ACORN’s back?

State Senate candidate Wendy Davis does? State Representative candidate Chris Turner cowered out?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Daily Kos Host Online Fundraiser for Rick Noriega

Battle of Texas: ALERT!

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 30, 2008

Daily Kos will Host an Online Fundraiser for Rick Noriega

HAT TIP to U.S. Senator Candidate Rick Noriega

Guess what, folks? Rick Noriega showed up for battle, with a new Daily Kos battle cry:

Texas blue! Yee-haw! Better said: Turn Texas Blue! Yahoo!

The old Rebel battle cry never sounded so good coming from the mouth of a Democratic.

From Daily Kos release:

Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 05:00:04 PM PDT

Update: And tonight's winner is Rick Noriega, our Senate candidate from Texas, fighting to oust Box Turtle Cornyn! Let's all meet here tomorrow night at 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT with our dancin' shoes on, a beer at our side, some good music on and our credit cards handy to hang out and hang loose with our fellow Kossacks while we do our part to help turn Texas blue! Yee-haw!


Reported Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


TEN points down and only SEVEN days to go.

Excerpt (Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Republican John McCain could carry Texas in this year’s United States presidential election, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports. 54 per cent of respondents in the Lone Star State would vote for the Arizona senator, while 44 per cent would back Illinois senator Barack Obama.

The underdog here is not Barack Obama, but U.S. Senate candidate Rick Noriega, who is down in the same Rassmussen polls 55% to 40%. Rick is running a heavy underdog race against one of George Bush’s favorite homeboy, John Cornyn, known to Bush as “Corn Dog”.

The only way for Barack Obama to win Texas, Rick Noriega would have to upset John Cornyn.

Texas was the last state to fall in the Civil War. It will be the last Red State to fall.

Throw your support behind Rick Noriega. If he wins Texas, we can all go home and rest.

Eddie Griffin

Government Heavy-Handed Intervention

A $700 Billion Pandora’s Box
By Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bush administration puts pressure on banks

WASHINGTON – An impatient White House served notice Tuesday on banks and other financial companies receiving billions of dollars in federal help to quit hoarding the money and start making more loans.

"We're trying to do is get banks to do what they are supposed to do, which is support the system that we have in America. And banks exist to lend money," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

"The way that banks make money is by lending money. And so, they have every incentive to move forward and start using this money," Perino said.


How can you command chickens when to lay eggs? Editor asks.

Under the authority of the $700 billion financial bailout plan approved by Congress and signed by President Bush earlier this month, the Bush administration plans to dole out $250 billion to banks in return for partial ownership. The Treasury Department, which is overseeing the massive capital injection program along with the rest of the bailout, will pour $125 billion into nine of the country's largest banks this week. Another $125 billion will go to other banks.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has said the money would be used by banks to rebuild their reserves so that they would resume more normal lending practices — a crucial ingredient to breaking through a debilitating credit clog that is hurting the national economy and threatens to bring about a deep recession. More recently, though, Paulson said the money could be used by banks to buy other banks to make them both stronger to weather the financial storms.

On Friday, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. said it had received $7.7 billion in cash through selling stock to the government under the bailout program. PNC then said it planned to buy National City Corp. for $5.58 billion.

The tricky part is this: “to rebuild their reserves”. Before a bank can rebuild its reserves, it must restore its balance sheet by paying off debt.

If preferred stock value is recuperated in the transaction, then preferred shareholders recoup their loss before anyone else, unless there is a government stipulation otherwise.

HENCE NOT the henhouse is raided by the fox, the taxpayer bailouts out Wall Street first, even before considering the average ordinary American homeowners at risk.

Reported by Eddie Griffin (BASG)

The YouTube video in John McCain’s own words: McCain Voted With Bush 90% of the Time



How to spot and deal with PROPAGANDA in the 11th Hour

McCain Lashes Out at News Media

Yet another study backs up the contention that the mainstream news media's coverage of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is more favorable than its coverage of Republican John McCain.


Poor John, the whole world is against him. But Big Bad John is crying fake tears about not being treated more favorable like the ever-popular Barack Obama.

John has a problem. First, he does not look presidential under pressure. He is high strung and ill tempered. Secondly, his Straight Talk Express is like Indian say: “Forked tongue”. Third, he is too militaristic in his foreign policy perspective, a saber-rattler and loose cannon.

Barack Obama is so well received around the world that he drew crowds of hundreds of thousands of people on his recent trip to Europe. He is well respected of other nations, a man with an air of peace, calm under pressure, consistency in vision, and analytical in his approach to solving problems.

The media cannot make Poor Joe beautiful. You cannot make a purse out of a sow's ear. Maybe he ought to try some of Sarah’s lipstick for pigs.

Fact is: John McCain is what he is. Judge for yourself.


Eddie Griffin (BASG)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Battle of Texas: Part 2

Forth Worth Star-Telegram Endorses Barack Obama

By Eddie Griffin, BASG

Monday, October 27, 2008

FORT WORTH Star-Telegram Endorses Barack Obama for President of the United States.

See it first online at

HAT TIP to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram Editorial Board

Today, the American people aren’t just asking for change; they are demanding it.

The economic inequities are no longer tolerable. As remarkable as it is to say during a time when U.S. troops are actively engaged in wars on two fronts, Americans are looking for a visionary leader who will focus first on the daunting domestic financial crisis that has upended so many lives.

The nation has experienced the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, an enormous stock-market plunge among the worst in history, record-high energy prices, and an ongoing war in Iraq that has exacted an agonizing cost in lives, dollars and international prestige.

Americans need new leadership.

For many of the same reasons that the Star-Telegram recommended Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, it is recommending Democrat Barack Obama in 2008.


By Eddie Griffin

Monday, October 27, 2008

As part of a great international campaign, AM I NOT HUMAN, I was forced to stop and ask myself: Why I am not as American as Sarah Palin and John McCain’s “Real American”. AM I NOT AMERICAN because I have the prefix of an African? Who is the Real American and why are the rest of us snubbed as sub-human Americans?

On Friday, I exercised my right to vote as an American citizen, without fear or intimidation, without bloodhounds and water hoses, without poll taxes and grandfather clauses, without lynching, but not without animosity, fear mongering, and slander.

The little old lady in this video at a Sarah Palin rally said, “I am afraid blacks will take over.”

Wherever did such fear arise? Who stoked this fire?

Of course, African-Americans would like to have a say in government, like anybody else. But a black “takeover” is a figment of someone’s wild imagination and weak conscious. This stoke of fear is aroused purely by skin color ideations and stereotypical prejudices.

Reminiscent of Joe McCarthy’s with hunt for Communists during the 1950s, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) suggested investigating all the members of Congress to see which were American and which were un-American. Now Bachmann is ready to eat her words and apologize to Barack Obama for calling him “un-American” (but only after dropping in the polls in her bid for reelection).

Is it no wonder that they claim that Barack Obama is a socialist who palls around with a domestic terrorist? “He is not like us,” claims Sarah Palin.

He is a Muslim. The same little old lady at the rally said as much: “This is a Christian nation, and I hear that Barack Obama is a Muslim.”

How could she reject the truth and the facts? Or, does truth and facts even matter?

Thirty percent of the American public still approve of George Bush’s handling of the presidency. Naturally, this would be part of the “Real America” of which McCain speaks, and rightfully so also the right extreme where a so-called “real red-blooded American” would never vote for a black man. This Real America can only exist in the eyes of those who see the rest of us as somewhat less.

Friday, October 24, 2008