My FDL
User Picture

Watch Schooling the World, Stop Schooling the World

By: David Swanson Tuesday November 18, 2014 10:41 am

It’s becoming slightly more common in the Western industrialized world to propose radical cultural change away from consumerism and environmental destruction. It’s not hard to find people making the case that in fact nothing else can save us.

But we should have one eye on what our governments and billionaires are doing to educate the rest of the world with the way of thinking that we are beginning to question.

What if the United States were to radically reform and abandon its role as leading destroyer of the environment and leading maker of war in the world, and we were to discover that U.S.- and Western-funded institutions had in the mean time created billions of teenagers around the globe intent on each becoming Bill Gates?

The remarkable film Schooling the World brings this warning. It is not an overly simplistic or dreamy argument. It is not a rejection of the accomplishments of Western medicine or a pitch for adopting polytheistic beliefs. But the film documents that the same practice that “educated” thousands of young Native Americans into second-class U.S. citizens through forced boarding schools is running its course in India and around the world.

Young people are being educated out of kindness and cooperation, and into greed and consumerism, out of connections to family and culture and history, and into a deep sense of inferiority of the sort created in the U.S. by the separate-but-equal educational system of Jim Crow. People whose families lived happily and sustainably are being taken away from their villages to struggle in cities, the majority of them labeled as failures by the schools created to “help” them — many of them cruelly introduced to a modern invention called poverty.

Eliminated in the process are languages — referred to in the film as ecosystems of the mind — and all the wealth of knowledge they contain. Also eliminated: actual ecosystems, those that once included humans, and those simply damaged by heightened consumption rampaging around the globe. Young people are not taught to care for local resources as their parents and grandparents and great grandparents were.

And much of this is done with the best of intentions. Well-meaning Westerners, from philanthropic tourists to World Bank executives, believe that their culture — that of industrial extraction, competition, and consumption — is good and inevitable. Therefore they believe it helpful to impose an education in it on everyone on earth, most easily accomplished on young people.

But is a young person’s removal from a sustainable healthy life rich in community and tradition, and their arrival in a sweatshop in a crowded slum, as good for them as it looks in the economic statistics that quantify it as an increase in wealth?

And can we see our way out of this trap while screaming hysterically about the glories of “American exceptionalism”? Will we have to lose that stupid arrogance first? And by the time we’ve done that, will every African nation have its own Fox News?

 

Cultivating Climate Justice: Brazilian Workers Leading the Charge Toward Zero Waste

By: Other Worlds Tuesday November 18, 2014 10:31 am

This is part 1 of a four-part article series “Cultivating Climate Justice” which tells the stories of community groups on the frontlines of the pollution, waste and climate crises, working together for systems change. United across six continents, these grassroots groups are defending community rights to clean air, clean water, zero waste, environmental justice, and good jobs. They are all members of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, a network of over 800 organizations from 90+ countries.

This series is produced by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and Other Worlds.

Cultivating Climate Justice:

Brazilian Workers Leading the Charge Toward Zero Waste

The streets of Belo Horizonte were filled with singing, dancing, chanting, and marching. It was not a holiday or an election day or a soccer game. The chant was: “We don’t want incineration! Recycle! Recycle!” (See this video)

It was September 19, 2014, and this was the launch of a national Zero Waste Alliance, Brazil style. Exuberant, celebratory, and led by recycling workers.

The recycling workers of Brazil have long been a powerful force in protecting their communities and the climate. Now they are on the forefront of a nationwide movement for zero waste.

Zero Waste: A Just Alternative to Pollution

To those hearing about it for the first time, “zero waste” may sound unrealistic. But in fact, zero waste alliances are forming all over the world and making great strides toward building a new kind of economy that is good for people and the planet. Zero waste encompasses the full lifecycle of our stuff, starting with reduced extraction and responsible product design, and ending with all materials being reused, recycled, or composted.  

The current practice of burning or dumping waste is a major contributor to climate change. Pound for pound, burning waste is even worse for the climate than the dirty practice of burning coal. It also releases cancer-causing toxins and other air pollutants. The potential benefits of zero waste for the climate and clean air are enormous.  

But at its best, zero waste is about much more than reducing pollution and greenhouse gases.

Whereas incineration and waste dumping frequently violate the principles of environmental justice, zero waste has great potential to improve the lives of people that feel the greatest impacts of our “dig, burn, dump” economy.

This is particularly true when zero waste systems are designed with worker rights at the center, as in the case of Brazil, where recycling workers are at the forefront of the zero waste alliance. And in Brazil, where the workers collaborate closely with local non-governmental organizations like Instituto Polis, the labor-environmentalist alliance is fundamental.

So how did the workers of Brazil get involved in a zero waste alliance? They started by getting organized.  

Michael Klare: The New Congress and Planetary Disaster

By: Tom Engelhardt Tuesday November 18, 2014 8:55 am

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

 

Looking for a little hope on climate change?  Believe it or not, it’s here and it’s real. And I’m not referring to the fact that, at least temporarily, oil prices have gone through the floor, making environmentally destructive “tough oil” projects like western oil-shale fracking and Canadian tar sands extraction look ever less profitable.  Nor do I mean the climate change deal that was just reached at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and is being called “historic.” It’s true that President Obama made a positive move at that summit, another symbolic gesture in its wake, and is promising more of the same in the future.  These steps to check the worst future depredations of climate change have been hailed as perhaps more transformational than they are.  Nonetheless, in the face of a new Republican Congress in which anti-climate-change hawks may outnumber war hawks (no small feat), this is well worth noting.

I’m talking, of course, about the potentially carbon-reducing long-term deal between the planet’s two major greenhouse gas polluters, between, that is, Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.  Both of them have been running “all of the above,” drill-baby-drill — or in China’s case dig-baby-dig and import-baby-import — energy programs to devastating effect. China, for instance, is slated to bring online the equivalent of a new coal-powered plant every 10 days for the next decade, even as it’s taken a leading position in developing solar power technology.

The steps agreed to in somewhat hazy language by the two presidents fall far short of what will be needed to keep this planet from overheating drastically, and yet they do at least pave the way for the first global climate change negotiations that might actually matter in a long while.  The genuinely good news, however, was none of the above.  It has to do instead with the thinking behind Obama’s Beijing decision.  The “architect” of the American negotiating position, months in the making, was presidential senior adviser John Podesta. And here’s what you need to know about him: he’s reportedly going to leave the Obama administration early in 2015 to run Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. This means that he’s essentially committed the leading Democratic candidate in 2016 to run her campaign on Obama’s gesture in China and whatever other climate change moves he plans to make in the coming year — on, that is, reducing carbon emissions.

As Coral Davenport of the New York Times explained recently, the thinking behind this is clear.  Despite the historically low-turnout 2014 midterm elections, Podesta — and the Democrats — are making a different kind of bet on 2016 based on polling figures showing that, among key presidential election year Democratic demographics (young voters, Hispanics, African Americans, and unmarried women), concern over climate change is rising in striking ways.  In other words, if you can tune out an election in which an aging 19% of the prospective electorate swept a whole crew of climate deniers into office and focus on deeper, longer-term calculations, something is happening, possibly generationally, that’s potentially big enough to change future elections.

It’s big enough, at least, to catch the attention of pragmatic political types in Washington, and may be the beginning of a tectonic transformation in this country.  Despite the power of Big Energy and the present hue and cry about “job destruction,” a “war on coal,” and all the rest, a rising climate movement could potentially transform our politics and our world.  No one who attended the enormous climate change rally in New York in late September could doubt that this was so, but that John Podesta has also been paying attention matters.  It tells us in a nitty-gritty way that sometimes the work of activists does pay off.

All those years in the (overheating) wilderness organizing and proselytizing, all those years when the mainstream media managed to look the other way, all those years when climate change activists in groups like 350.org had to struggle to avoid despair, may turn out to matter.  That’s the positive side of the picture.  Then there’s the other side, and it couldn’t be grimmer, as TomDispatch’s energy and climate-change expert Michael Klare, author of The Race for What’s Left, makes clear today. Tom

Fossil-Fueled Republicanism
The Grand Oil Party Takes Washington by Storm
By Michael T. Klare

Pop the champagne corks in Washington!  It’s party time for Big Energy.  In the wake of the midterm elections, Republican energy hawks are ascendant, having taken the Senate and House by storm.  They are preparing to put pressure on a president already presiding over a largely drill-baby-drill administration to take the last constraints off the development of North American fossil fuel reserves.

The new Republican majority is certain to push their agenda on a variety of key issues, including tax reform and immigration.  None of their initiatives, however, will have as catastrophic an impact as their coming drive to ensure that fossil fuels will dominate the nation’s energy landscape into the distant future, long after climate change has wrecked the planet and ruined the lives of millions of Americans.

Turkey: Say Stop to anti-Semitism

By: GREYDOG Tuesday November 18, 2014 7:35 am

Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:

There has been a steep rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and attacks in Turkey over the last few years, especially during and after Israeli offensives in Palestinian lands. Most recently some racist and violent groups have taken up the excuse of the Al-Aqsa Mosque provocations and used this is a pretext to attack Turkish Jews and synagogues.

In order to protest against the rising anti-Semitism in Turkey and commemorate the horrific events of the past, the Say Stop collective held a protest meeting with dozens of participants. When activists gathered in Galatasaray Square in Taksim’s Istiklal, right next to the venue there were ten times more policemen than activists, as usual. The moment the banner was opened, interestingly enough some people came to ask questions in English, thinking anyone protesting anti-Semitism would come from abroad and not from within Turkey. It was also interesting to hear questions as to the meaning of the word “anti-Semitism,” as some of the passersby did not know what it means.

In fact, this happened to be a delayed protest. There was supposed to have been a protest meeting to commemorate the Kristallnacht and rising anti-Semitism in Turkey the week before. This commemoration would be taking place in the open air for the first time in Turkey, yet for several reasons it did not happen. As Say Stop, a collective of anti-racist activists, was preparing for the commemoration, attacks on Neve Shalom Synagogue came as an unwelcome surprise. On November 7 and 9, two attacks took place; the timing was also significant because it was just a week before the 11th anniversary of the Al-Qaeda attacks on Istanbul’s Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues on November 15th, 2003, which left 27 dead and 300 injured.

There are unfortunately many groups that take courage from the anti-Semitic rhetoric and hate speech notable people engage in with impunity. Over the summer of 2014, when the Israeli offensive in Gaza killed thousands, the head of the constitutional commission from the governing AKP, Samil Tayyar, had tweeted “may your ancestors perish, may your Hitlers be abundant,” which then led to a wave of anti-Semitic posts on social media. Imitating politicians and musicians who engaged in such rhetoric at the time, over 30,000 people made similar remarks, most of which would be considered hate speech. This hate speech was later followed by one shopkeeper putting up a sign that stated “Jew dogs cannot enter.”

One might also remember other instances of anti-Semitism prevailing in Turkey, such as the incident right after the mining tragedy in Soma, when current President Erdoğan had said “Jewish sperm” to a mourning relative of a miner as an accusation towards him. One other incident that was also picked up on the news was when the head of the Physics department of Bilecik University, Ali İhsan Göker, got into a quarrel with a journalist who published a story on anti-Semitism in Turkey in an Israeli newspaper. Dr. Göker referred to Treblinka, where hundreds of thousands of people were killed, and tweeted “Treblinka will be ready soon. Constructing the railway to transport Jews at the moment.”

Say Stop, an all-inclusive collective of activists which had slowed down its activities for some months last year, has been campaigning against racism, nationalism, and discrimination. Just when activities were to be kick-started once again with the Racist of the Month “award,” 30 thousand candidates appeared in one month, which made things a little complicated. For the month of July, Say Stop declared all anti-Semites “Racist of the Month.”

And once again, the activists of Say Stop / DurDe will be with all those that are being targeted out of hatred for their origins, religion, language, choice, preference, status, etc. Just like the other groups that Say Stop campaigns in support of – such as Armenians, Roma, refugees, immigrants, and LGBTI individuals – the Jewish population is not alone.

More stories by Gürkan Özturan http://theradicaldemocrat.wordpress.com

More stories about Turkey @ http://99getsmart.com/category/turkey/

Defense of #Ferguson grand jury as a crucible for truth fails straight-face test

By: Masoninblue Tuesday November 18, 2014 7:13 am

Cross posted from the Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Good morning:

Paul Callan, a former prosecutor, ironically calls for sanity in his article at the Daily Beast yesterday titled, There’s No Conspiracy in Ferguson’s Secret Jury. I say ‘ironically’ because his argument is based on the fundamental Sixth Amendment rights of an accused to be represented by conflict-free counsel who cross examines prosecution witnesses in a public trial, not a secret grand jury proceeding.

As he well knows, the target of the grand jury investigation is Officer Darren Wilson. Neither Wilson nor his lawyer have a right to be present when the grand jury hears evidence about his case. They have no right to know who the witnesses are or what they say and there is no right to cross examine. There is no judge and the rules of evidence do not apply. The prosecutor decides what the charge or charges should be and he controls what evidence the grand jury gets to hear. He can introduce evidence that would not be admissible in court, such as hearsay or inadmissible civilian and expert opinions. He has no obligation to present exculpatory evidence. For all of these reasons, grand juries have been called star-chamber proceedings. Critics are only half-kidding when they say that a prosecutor can persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

The flaw in Callan’s argument is that he assumes that the prosecutor will play the traditional role of defense counsel in a public trial to aggressively, thoroughly and effectively expose the truth in the crucible of cross examination. That assumption is false because a prosecutor’s job is to represent the people by obtaining an indictment to prosecute the defendant, not defend him. If, as in this case, the prosecutor has close ties to police — his father was a white police officer who was killed by a black male and he has a history of sympathy for white cops and antipathy for black defendants — there is a reasonable and legitimate concern that he has a conflict of interest.

The unstated premise in Callan’s call for ‘sanity’ is no one should worry about the outcome of the grand jury because the prosecutor is going to play the role normally entrusted to an aggressive, thorough and effective defense lawyer using cross examination to expose the black eyewitnesses for the ‘liars’ that they are.

The grand jury’s job is limited to deciding if probable cause exists to believe Darren Wilson murdered an unarmed Michael Brown. The answer is “Yes,” and we have known that since August 9th, a few hours after the shooting.

Whether he is guilty or not guilty should be determined by a jury after a full and fair public trial presided over by a judge who correctly applies the rules of evidence.

Read this excerpt from Callan’s call for sanity and let us know what you think.

In a high-profile matter like the Brown case, the prospect of a witness getting his or her name and image in the newspaper or on TV by embellishing the story is for some an irresistible temptation. Repeating an embellished story before a grand jury while under oath is an entirely different matter. The grand jury inquiry affords opportunity to test accuracy of witness accounts. If the witness did in fact witness such a terrible crime, the testimony will survive in the crucible of cross-examination. If true, it will have a discernable [sic] consistency with the forensic evidence. Was the witness really in the time and place to have made the claimed observations? Was the suspect raising his hands in a surrender gesture or could the arm placement have been viewed from a different angle as an aggressive “tackle” gesture? How close was Michael Brown to Officer Wilson when he turned in Wilson’s direction? How much time did the officer have to react? Do the varied autopsy reports support or contradict witness testimony? Did Michael Brown have a motive to violently attack the officer?

Experienced prosecutors can recount case after case of witnesses recanting or altering colorful public statements under cross-examination. Witnesses also make unintentional errors sometimes based on what they have heard from others. Once again focused inquiry by the prosecutor and even the grand jurors who have the right to ask their own questions, can clarify ambiguous or inaccurate points.

By the way, I happen to know a lot about grand jury practice and procedure because I have represented many clients who were targets, subjects or witnesses during my 30-year career as a felony criminal defense lawyer.

To say that a grand jury is an ideal way to discover the truth does not pass the straight-face test because it cannot be said without laughing.

Over Easy: The Play’s The Thing.

By: cmaukonen Tuesday November 18, 2014 4:53 am

Empty Set

 

Father. Father! O, proud, death! What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, that thou, such a prince at a shot so bloodily hast struck? The curtain, the curtain rises. It rises. There’s no time to sleep. The play. The play. The play’s the thing, wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the king.- Star Trek, The conscience of the king

It did have a proscenium arch. However, behind the proscenium arch were AC ducts and conduit and such. No fly system on which to hang flats or scenery. The stage itself was not very deep and no booth to run lights or sound, but a projection booth in the back that was acoustically isolated.

In this we had to work around and the Technical Director and Set Designer [the same person] had to design sets around.  When I got there, the sound system was minimal at best and the intercom a thrown together bunch of old telephone operators’ headsets.  I did manage to scrounge a few more headsets from the phone company and a local surplus store.

Even through all of this, we put on some fine productions during that time. A listing of the productions that the UCF/FTU Theatre put on. The first production I saw was The Living Theatre’s The Legacy of Cain, an audience participation work that comes from the German work of the same name.

I prefer live theatre to movies generally. There is a depth and a feeling and an insight we’d get from a well produced play that is missing from movies and television. Theatre works quite often and ends where people do NOT live happily ever after. Such as Journey’s End.  Taking place in the trenches of WWI, the set was to look like the inside of one of the trenches. But in the last scene, a shell or mortar hits the trench and kills every one in it. This was the first production I helped on. With a flash of light, the walls had to come down and smoke and dust and dirt fill the stage. All of this without burying the actors [which we almost did one time].

Or Kiss Me Kate with a barn door set and marque lights or the proscenium arch. The relays that ran them made such a racket, we had to run the cable far into the shop area and cover it with a large wooden box and blankets so you could not hear them even on stage.

Ex Miss Copper Queen on A Set Of Pills,was one of the student directed one act plays. A very moving play with a very sad ending. We also did Of Thee I Sing which takes a musical poke at politics, which we did as a multi-media production with a platform stage.

Even when Hollywood does do a play, like The Madwoman of Chaillot, they often leave out pages of dialogue and even characters.  Like this clip from the film with a lot of dialogue that describes in more depth and detail the premiss of the play.

The dialogue as the play is supposed to be performed:

Ragpicker : Countess, the world has changed’
Countess:   Nonsense. How could it change ? People are the same. I hope.
Ragpicker : No, Countess. The people are not the same. The people are
different. There’s been an invasion. An infiltration. From another
planet. The world is not beautiful any more. It’s not happy.
Countess:   Not Happy ? Is that true ? Why didn’t you tell me this before ?
Ragpicker : Because you live in a dream, Countess. And we don’t like to
disturb you.
Countess:   But how could it have happened ?
Ragpicker : Countess, there was a time when you could walk around Paris,
and all the people you met were just like yourself. A little cleaner,
maybe, or dirtier, perhaps, or angry, or smiling-but you knew them.
They were you. Well, Countess, twenty years ago, one day, on the street,
I saw a face in the crowd. A face, you might say, without a face. The
eyes-empty. The expression-not human. It saw me staring, when it looked
back at me with it’s gelatin eyes, I shuddered. Because I knew to make
room for this one, one of us must have left the earth. A while later,
I saw another. And another. And since then, I’ve seen hundreds come in
-yes-thousands.
Countess:   Describe them to me.
Ragpicker : You’ve seen them yourself, Countess. Their clothes don’t
wrinkle. Their hats don’t come off. When they talk, they don’t look
at you. They don’t perspire.
Countess:   Have they wives ? Have they children ?
Ragpicker : They buy models out of shop windows, firs and all. They
animate them by a secret process. Then they marry them. Naturally
then don’t have children.
Countess:   What work do they do ?
Ragpicker : They don’t do any work. Whenever they meet, they whisper
and then they pass each other thousand-franc notes. You see them
standing on the corner of the stock exchange. You see them at auctions-
in the back. They never raise a finger-they just stand there. In
theater lobbies, by the box office-they never go inside. They don’t
DO anything, but whenever you see them, things are not the same. I
remember a time when a cabbage could sell itself just by being a cabbage.
Nowadays it’s no good being a cabbage-unless you have an agent and pay
him a commission. Nothing is free any more to sell itself or give itself
away. These days, Countess, every cabbage has it’s pimp.
Countess:   I can’t believe that.
Ragpicker : Countess, little by little, the pimps have taken over the
world. They don’t do anything, they don’t make anything-they just stand
there and it take their cut.

I enjoyed the film, but the play had much more depth to it….more feeling. I found this to be true for nearly all the plays I have seen or was involved with. And theatre will present thoughts and ideas that Hollywood and TV will not touch.

Like The Laramie Project at UNCC done on a thrust stage in a minimalist style. Just a few chairs and the actors. Or Shakespeare. Often updated to present time. Works like King Lear or Richard III. A lot of people are not fond of  Shakespeare as the plays are so involved sometimes. But they need to be to get to the conscience of the king, to understand how and why the characters are the way they are.

So if there is a theatre that is putting on a play close by, little theatre or a college theatre, see a play. Maybe get involved or read one you have not seen. Most libraries have the scripts to most plays.

I say this all because one of the members of our acting troupe passed away recently and it was sad loss.

Subjects open Firedogs.

 

Boston Bombing News: a battle of eyewitnesses?

By: woodybox Monday November 17, 2014 1:10 pm

In the last Boston Bombing News, jane24 reported from the 9th status conference. A central issue at the hearing was the disclosure of witness lists. The prosecution demanded to get a list of non-expert defense witnesses prior to the trial. In a previous exchange of motions, the defense attourneys had made it clear that they didn’t intend to reveal their witnesses before they were needed at trial. They argued that they were not obliged to do so in capital cases and expressed their concerns that the FBI would “descend” on the prematurely exposed witnesses and intimidate them, which would cause them to cancel their readiness to testify for the defense.

In a response to this motion (Doc 648), the government wrote:

Overheated rhetoric such as this cannot substitute for actual facts and sound legal argument. There is no evidence of witness intimidation in this case. Securing the voluntary cooperation of witnesses can be a challenge for both parties; many victims of the Marathon bombings, for example, are afraid, if not unwilling, to testify against the man accused of dismembering or traumatizing them in a terrorist attack. Tsarnaev, however, has adequate tools, including subpoena power, to obtain the testimony of witnesses whom he wishes to call at trial.

It appears from this quote that the prosecution knows of “many” victims who are capable of contributing valuable informations incriminating Tsarnaev. The term “victims” indicates a reference to the second bomb site. The witnesses might remember to have seen him at the Forum – which is no proof of guilt of course – or they might testify that the bomb exploded at the metal barriers, the location where he dropped his allegedly explosive backpack.

I have stressed in several blog entries that the exact location of the epicenter is probably the most decisive question in the trial, and that numerous witness statements strongly suggest that the epicenter was not at the place where Dzhokhar put his bag down. It is highly likely that the defense has contacted some of these – and probably more, yet unknown – witnesses and asked them where the bomb exploded. The identity of some of them is not known to the FBI, and the defense obviously wants to keep it like that until their testimony at the trial.

Judge O’Toole thwarted these plans by ordering the defense to disclose their witness list to the prosecution on December 29th, 2014, one week before trial start. This caused, according to Jane, a certain consternation to Judy Clarke and her team. Jane expects further defense motions on this matter.

So the timing of the disclosing of the witnesses has apparently a huge strategic value, it is a tough struggle, and any notions that these witnesses are related to the penalty phase, for mitigation purposes only, is utterly naive. Because of this stategic importance, we should expect the defense to present witnesses during the trial who were not on the initial list, with the risk to be repelled by the judge. However, Mr. O’Tooles one-sided ruling already offers many approaches to appeal, and repelling important witnesses might add to that.

What happens if there are conflicting accounts by prosecution vs. defense witnesses? It is hard to imagine that this will not lead to a giant uproar in Boston and elsewhere. The mere possibility that Dzokhar Tsarnaev might have been set up – as his mother said from the beginning – could not be dismissed as a conspiracy theory anymore. The exact occurrences at the Forum would come under close public scrutiny for the first time since April 15, 2013. This would not work out well for the prosecution. So if the defense has some reliable eyewitnesses, they are well forearmed against any dirty tricks the prosecution might deploy.

Is Lloyd Chapman One Of The Strongest Voices For Small Businesses?

By: Lloyd Chapman Monday November 17, 2014 11:34 am

Lately I have been hearing a lot of criticism about myself from my opponents in Washington. I decided to begin a campaign to respond with some facts.

In May, American Express Open Forum named me one of the four strongest voices for small businesses in America. I was very flattered and grateful.

In 2005 the SBA Office of Inspector General released report 5-15 that stated, “One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the entire Federal government today is that large businesses are receiving small business procurement awards and agencies are receiving credit for these awards.” Every SBA Inspector General since then has reiterated that statement every year.

During his first campaign, President Obama released the statement, “It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.”

The diversion of billions of dollars in federal small business contracts has now been uncovered in over two dozen federal investigations. The story has been reported in virtually every major newspaper in the country. NBCCBSCNNABC and RTTV have all reported on fraud in federal small business contracting programs and the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.

The SBA is the only federal agency in our government to assist America’s 28 million small businesses. The largest program managed by the SBA is the Small Business Act that mandates that a minimum of 23 percent of all federal contracts be awarded to small businesses.

Surely anyone that was a true advocate for small businesses in America would have taken an aggressive stand against this well publicized issue during the last ten years. After all, the SBA Inspector General has referred to this issue as, “One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the entire Federal government today.”

Here is the first of many challenges I will be presenting to my legion of critics.

Find one national television appearance prior to this date by any of the other three people American Express named as one of the four strongest voices for small businesses. In fact, find any President of any Washington, D.C. based organization that claims to represent the interests of small businesses in America opposing the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms or what President Obama called “corporate giants”.

I think I have done at least two dozen national and international TV appearances on this issue.

If I’m right, I am the only President of any national organization that has ever objected to this issue on national television. Why? There are over a dozen major organizations in Washington that claim to represent small businesses. Surely any true advocate for small businesses would have gone on national television at least once objecting to the largest problem at the only agency in government to assist small businesses.

Find one and put a comment on this blog with a link to it. Here is a link to all my TV appearances on the issue.

If no one can find anyone but me on national television objecting to the largest problem at the SBA, American Express was right; I am one of the four strongest voices for small businesses in Washington. In fact, it appears I am the only voice for small businesses in America on this issue.

Watch the trailer for my new documentary.