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[Legal] [State Correctional Institution Muncy] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 15]
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Obstruction of justice at SCI Muncy

I'm facing some harsh conditions here at SCI Muncy when it comes to fighting for what I believe in and our rights. I have several lawsuits against the DOC and pigs here, and I am constantly facing obstacles that they try to put in my way. One lawsuit I have is against the grievance coordinator of Muncy, Troy Edwards. This lawsuit is why Edwards does everything in his power to prevent me from exhausting my administrative remedies, so I can't sue him because of the requirements of the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act.

One trick Edwards uses is he tells me he doesn't get my grievances, when I know he really does get them. He stole numerous grievances, my lawyer's letter, and mail my mom sent to me. He had the search team confiscate all my property and legal work and it was never given back to me.

I was approved to take declarations (which is like a statement) from several prisoners here. One of the prisoners I requested to take a declaration from told me this: Edwards called h and about 5 other prisoners and told them I wanted to take their declarations. He continued to say it was a waste of their time because my lawsuits are frivolous, I don't have a lawyer, I am representing myself, and other bullshit! That scumbag bastard tried to deter these prisoners so they would refuse to let me take their declarations, and I would not have proof of my claims, which would lead to the prison winning judgment.

I was furious when I was told this, but I was not surprised at Edwards's pathetic attempts. He does this all the time! He and the superintendent backdate their grievance appeal responses so it looks like I am too late and I can't exhaust my administrative remedies. They also backdate their requests. They have this stamp they can rig to put any date they want on anything.

In December 2009 and January 2010 I sent over 19 grievance appeals and never got one response back. I kept writing this grievance coordinator and the superintendent and got nothing but run-arounds. Even a few of my initial grievances were not processed. Troy Edwards picks and chooses which grievances he does and doesn't want to answer. The ones he doesn't want to answer, he lies and says he never got them. I have copies, though!

Prisoners do not have a right to court-appointed lawyers for their civil suits against prison administration. When it's clear a prisoner needs one, the judge can appoint one. A good case I recommend you read if you are asking for a court-appointed attorney is Tabron v. Grace, 6F.3d 147, 155-58 (3d Cir. 1993).

MIM(Prisons) adds: One of the most active campaigns being led by United Struggle from Within comrades in a few states is to demand that prisoner grievances be heard. If one were to accept the pretexts of the existence of the U.$. "justice" system one would think they would want prisoners to have avenues to address any injustices or problems they face while incarcerated. Instead, we see the same story all over the country and the hypocrisy of the injustice system is exposed. While we appeal to those in power to recognize the importance of granting everyone basic humyn rights, we must organize the oppressed to demand those rights.

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[Abuse] [Missouri]
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MODOC: Promoting conflict, Discouraging rehabilitation

There are quite a few struggles here in MODOC (Missouri Department of Corrections). The biggest ones are 1. How they decide on who we can cell with. They go by a process of Alphas, Kappas and Sigmas. You see, the big problem with that is, you have violent offenders, and child molesters who are kappa and DOC says kappas can cell with anyone. Now, I'm sure that MIM knows what happens to child molesters in prison. They are put in a very life-threatening situation. I understand you can not segregate them, but you can make it to where they can only cell with other sex-offenders.

2. There are some people who come to prison that have race problems, whether they are Black, white Latin, or Asian, you should not have to cell with someone your racism is directed towards, but that's what they do here in DOC, they call it "compatibility." If a white man refuses to go into a cell with a Black, Asian or Latin man, we are issued a conduct violation for refusing a "compatible cellmate." Now if a white man goes into a cell with a Black man, and one man assaults the other, they are both given a conduct violation for a fight. They don't take into consideration that one of the offenders may have a race problem.

3. The policy for books, pictures and personal letters. They say you can only have 1 reading book per cellmate, 1 magazine, 1 newspaper. They also say you can only have 5 personal pictures and 5 to 10 personal letters. Now with the books, magazines and newspapers, how do you expect to read an entire magazine and newspaper in the short amount of time it takes to receive the next magazine or newspaper? I don't understand it. Also, if they do a cell search, and you have over the limit on books, magazines or newspapers, they write you up for contraband. With the pictures and letters, how can they put a limit on how many you can have? I personally have had a correctional officer search my cell and remove the number of pictures I had over the elicit and try to write me up for it. Plus I receive 3 to 5 letters a week. What am I supposed to do, tell some of my family members that they can't write me because i have too much mail and I get written up for it? Some people throw their mail away. I save it because it is a part of my past and memories and hard times, which gives me motivation to not go back to the man I once was, and I get in trouble for that. That is preposterous.

Last but not least, the state tip. The state tip for people who do not have a High School diploma or a GED is $7.50 and for people who do have them it is $8.50. Now if you only get $7.50 a month, but you owe money to the state, they take $2.50 from you and leave you with only $5. How is a person who gets only $5 a month to buy what is needed? After you buy toothpaste ($1.80), body wash (86 cents) Deodorant (70 cents), that's $3.36, stamps are 44 cents and envelopes are 3 cents and writing paper is 80 cents. After you buy your toiletries you can only buy a pad of paper and a stamp. What are you supposed to do it you have legal work to send out? Forget about cosmetics and have them issue you a conduct violation report for sanitary issues?

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[Organizing] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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SNY prisoner: How to stop snitching

I'm sad to say that the CDCR is winning the struggle so far. They have managed to keep us too paranoid to trust the next man. But every time a guard walks down the tier talking about one of us, spreading propaganda, the majority of the prisoners will believe what that guard said. It can be completely fabricated.

The guards also have other strategies to spread false propaganda. They'll walk to the loudmouth on the tier and for extra food he'll put out on the tier whatever the guard wants him to say. The loudmouth doesn't understand that whatever the guard wants him to broadcast is because the guards want to direct a message at certain individuals.

I'm a SNY prisoner. Over the years the SNY yards and population have grown a lot, especially with the level IV. The bottom line is we're all prisoners suffering the same oppression from guards. There's no such thing as I'm better than so and so, because I'm this and you're that. That's all propaganda from guards telling the mainline.

If someone snitches on you, that's your fault for exposing your hand to individuals you didn't trust or know. Any sensitive issue should never be told to anyone, anyways.

After being in Calipatria for 10 years and going through several problems with staff, I decided to get on the CCCMS program and make a quick exit out of that joint. The CCCMS is a mental program and once you get in the program and you take some type of depression medication the prison has 30 days to transfer you because it's so hot and any type of psych meds can't be taken in that climate. Well I got away from a bad dream only to go into a nightmare!

Since 70 or 80% of the population here in RJD prison are on some type of psych meds, we're considered "J-Kats." The 602 inmate appeals process is non-existent. Any serious grievance you filed gets thrown away: a violation of our constitutional due process!

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[Religious Repression] [Iowa]
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Religious persecution of Muslims in Iowa

I am a young Muslim in the Department of Corrections in Iowa. I am a Sunni Muslum and am being persecuted for being a Muslim. Since the Fort Hood incident the Correctional Officers (COs) in here have been violating my civil rights. They told me that I can not wear my Kufi in the building nor can I give praises to Allah in the dayroom or outside in the yard. I was told that they better not hear about me having my Dhikr beads out where the COs can see them or they will take me to the hole.

I have filed a grievance against the DOC policy and I was told that this matter is non-grievable. I filed another one and that was denied also. I can't do anything to fight the violation of my first amendment right (freedom of speech and religion). I can't even make my Salat without the COs making comments.

Today I was written up and told that I better not get caught with my Kufi or my Dhikr beads on my head nor in my hands if I am not in religious service. I am reaching out to anyone who will help me and my brothers in here. I know that our rights are being violated and I need some help to be able to practice Islam freely without being persecuted for our beliefs. You have brothers afraid to speak up because of the COs in this prison.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There are no rights under a class system, only power struggles. This is yet another example, from another u$ prison, where grievances are powerless on their own.

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[Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Suicide attempt leads to pepper spraying

On January 21, 2010 I was feeling suicidal due to facing an arson charge which could've given me a third strike and life in prison, when I only had less than 6 months until my parole date. In fact, it was my celly who had set the fire in order to get me emergency medical attention. I have severe and chronic back issues with several-inch-thick files documenting my issues. I stood up, my back gave out on me, and I fell and hit my head on the wall knocking myself partially unconscious. For over an hour my cellmate yelled "man down," "emergency," etc. The responding officer approached our cell, saw me laying unconscious on the floor, and said "I won't do shit because he's faking it." So my celly set fire to the cell in order to get attention for me.

I was later found not guilty of the arson due to my celly's admission to setting the fire, and medical documents supporting my claims. However, the following day, when still facing a third strike case, I was feeling suicidal and cut my left wrist in three places. When the first watch officer, Sgt. Limon, saw me he contacted Sgt. Badgett and he brought several officers with him including CO Lonczewsky. Limon and Lonczewsky asked to see my hands to verify they held no dangerous objects. My hands were empty and I was asked to stick my hands out of the food port.

However, these 2 officers are very corrupt. They claimed I was still trying to harm myself and ended up pepper spraying me with a can of Oleo Resin Capsicum (OC) spray. I spent 11 days in crisis bed afterwards. The COs assaulted and used excessive force on a prisoner in need of psychological help.

Since this incident I've filed a grievance against the officers but I can't even get a copy of the incident report. CDCR administrative officials know their personnel are in the wrong so they are trying to make it that much more difficult for me, and are finding stupid reasons to prevent me from obtaining any material to help in my future lawsuit. CDCR administration knows that I have helped at least 3 other prisoners win millions of dollars and that I am very capable of filing successful litigation. I have been granted $63,000 for medical negligence lawsuit.

Recently my cellmate had to get the attention of these same COs due to a possible suicide attempt in our neighbor's cell. Limon approached our cell and noticed my information tag. When he saw it he called for Lonczewsky to "come see who it is." After approaching our cell both officers asked my cellmate, "are you feeling suicidal?" "do you need to get sprayed too?" while shaking an OC spray can.

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[Control Units] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Unlock the Box: Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility has 2 Ad-Seg buildings, 7 and 8.

I've been in it since 5/16/2010 for non-disciplinary reasons. Approximately 400 prisoners are housed in buildings 7 and 8, and only 7 and 8 are currently Ad-Seg units.

Approximately 30% Black, 25-30% Latino, about 30% white, and 10% other.

The primary reasons for housing in Ad-Seg are disciplinary (approximately 70%), safety concerns (20%), debts, drugs, etc. (10%)

I am not sure when it first opened. It's expanded a couple times due to excessive Ad-Seg population to include Facility 2 building 8 as overflow, and Facility 4 building 16 overflow. Neither is used currently.

The guards here at RJD Ad-Seg are some of the most corrupt at the prison. They deny food, meal, clothing. They assault prisoners regularly despite video cameras. Guards verbally abuse nearly all prisoners. Administration continuously moves prisoners to keep them uncomfortable and from being able to relax. Not all guard, but at least 60-75% of them are corrupt. The rest refuse to snitch against co-workers and turn blind eyes, which shows them to be cowards and corrupt in their own ways. I have been the victim of numerous abuses by at least 4 or 5 guards personally.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Snitch strategy backfires

When will prisoners stop repeating the same errors? I'm referring to the different examples where prisoners declare and promise to be the ones to contribute to change prisoners violations, inhumane conditions or prison problems? Then you realize that everything was only a trap. You burn your brain out trying to figure out how you became an oppressor, an enemy of prison change, or prison progress. That bunch of idiots who you thought were down/hard core prison reformers or revolutionaries, as always turn out to be only real cowards, or snitches. Functioning under lie after lie, to control you somehow.

Under the prison system, prisoners are turned into oppressors. A recent example is a group of prisoners devoted to snitching. They keep their Laundry List, as it is called, of targets for repression. They operate under sentencing guidelines 5K1.1 that has been ruled by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. Under this guideline, they receive preferential treatment in exchange for snitch info. Prison informants usually turn in false information to the prison administration so they can get away with disciplinary infractions or other kinds of illegal actions.

Other city homeboys and I decided to infiltrate the snitch group that claimed they were against prison gangs, even though the group itself was acting as an undercover snitch prison gang that wanted prison protection in exchange for snitch info. They took it to another level: they turned in false info to the administration to lock up gang members or any prison group they feared, violent or not. If you didn't want to be a snitch you would end up in Ad-Seg, on lockdown, usually under false info. So now many sit in Ad-Seg, misclassified to prison gangs they never belonged to. The only way to get out of Ad-Seg in Texas is to denounce a gang. How do you denounce a gang you never belonged to?

Let's recall some of the Texas prison struggles. In 1974 the Texas prison system had no prison gangs, but officials had "Building Tenders" (BTs) carrying out all kinds of violence against other Texas prisoners. The BTs acted as prison guards dressed in white prisoners uniforms. They were allowed to get away with anything, even killings.

In 1976 the first Texas prison gang popped up, promising to go against the BTs, in an act of retribution that would present a better challenge for prisoner rights. The honorable United States Judge William Wayne Justice decided to abolish the BTs system, under a federal court ruling. With the BT system dead, other prisoners in Texas formed themselves into hostile prison gangs.

At the same time racist riots popped off across the Texas prison system because each cultural group was against each others' strategies to defend prisoners' rights. A "we got the better strategies for prison reform" mentality blossom up because "my" race or city is always better than "yours."

Today in the 2000s this group is the New Building Tenders. Yet their snitch, or rather false info, tactics against other prisoners has now backfired in their face because the ex-gang members continue to grow and have become a group that can't be placed in Ad-Seg unless they return back to their old gangs.

Once a Laundry List is turned in with all kinds of prisoners' names, 99.5% of the time they are placed in Ad-Seg. So the snitches proclaim to be doing a great job against Texas gangs. The prison system refuses to classify them as a gang so they cann't be placed in Ad-Seg as long as they stay in line.

Under the sentencing guidelines 5K1.1 methods, it allows the government (in this case the prison security threat office) to recommend a downward departure from the guidelines. In this case disciplinary reports given to prison informants, in exchange for substantial assistance provided to the government by a prison informant in the prosecution of others.

The availability of a benefit by cooperation with the government (prison administration) can create a strong incentive for a criminal defendant (prison informant) to exaggerate or even fabricate false info against another prisoner, which is usually acted upon without real facts or evidence.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Most lumpen organizations(LOs) have their origins in youth from a certain group banding together in self-defense. Originally, it was always self-defense from the oppressor nation who terrorized them to keep them outside of the labor market. Once the prison boom launched off the backs of the oppressed nations, then the need for self-defense from constant state harassment and brutality was needed. But the broader the organizations of the oppressed were, the more they were targeted for repression and destruction, leaving only the small, narrow-focused groups who were more easily turned against each other, especially after crack cocaine was thrown in the mix to create real economic competition between the groups.

Amerikkka has always repressed LOs because they represent a power of the oppressed that is independent of the state. When mere membership in an organization triggers the state to throw you in a torture cell, you must realize that something serious is going on.

Many people on all sides recognize that the struggle and strife between LOs got out of control a long time ago. Many among the lumpen have been critical of their current and former affiliations. As we said to the LOs in the last issue of ULK, the best way to stop snitching is to run an organization that the oppressed can respect, especially if you are recruiting people by claiming to represent the struggles of the oppressed in some way. Criminal organizations will never have a shortage of snitches, especially when the state is much more powerful than them.

Another issue brought up in this letter is the emergence of "anti-gang" organizations, which is not an uncommon thing. The writer asks how we can stop repeating the same errors and getting fooled into following false leaders. Well, the answer is by studying and establishing principles based on your studies that you always follow. One key principle of the anti-imperialist, or anyone hoping to serve the oppressed, is not to collaborate with the oppressor's state. That principle would prevent anyone with genuine intentions from joining a snitch group like the one discussed here.

Traditionally, Marxism considers the lumpen to be a fickle ally. They are often at the forefront of conflict, but have served many different class interests. Their lifestyle and conditions promote an individualism that is easily translated to snitch behavior. Note that the unnamed group discussed here is reportedly large and diverse and this story does not necessarily represent all groups going by that name, which is indicative of this individualist, fickle nature. As this comrade also points out though, among the oppressed, the snitches are the minority. So with good organization and correct principles, the interests of the oppressed will win out.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Hoke Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 15]
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Sleep deprivation to control oppressed

I am currently in the hole, and on May 19 after the 6 p.m. shift change two second-shift Correctional Officers came on duty here on the lockup unit. Almost immediately these two COs began making their rounds, which was unusual. It seemed every few minutes one of them was knocking on our cell door asking if we were alright, which was certainly unusual. As the day turned into night I noticed these annoying visits did not stop. Around 11:40 p.m. I was awoken several times. I then asked the CO what was going on, why she keeps waking us up every few minutes. She advised me that the shift captain ordered that every prisoner in solitary will be awakened every 30 minutes to ensure no one slips into a diabetic coma. I was flabbergasted by their reasoning for depriving us of sleep.

This prison has recently become a medical unit, but not all of the prisoners here are sick; 75% of us are completely healthy. Nonetheless, there are 20 of us on lockup, and only one prisoner is diabetic. Around 2:30 a.m. the shift captain was making her rounds. I got her attention and I asked who authorized this new practice and its policy. She advised me that she was ordered by our current assistant superintendent that until further notice we shall be awakened every 30 minutes to assure we are responsive. We are suffering, and as a result of us being deprived of sleep we lack the sense of concentration. It seems our assistant superintendent can and does alter the rules at will. No one questions or challenges his decisions or his authority. Nonetheless, we just want the proper sleep we are entitled to. I filed a grievance on this issue with no reply as of yet. I want to let others know what we are going through here at Hoke Hell.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Hoke "Correctional" Institution's purpose is to "correct" and control the behavior of people who they see as a potential threat to their structure of domination. Sleep deprivation, just like psych meds, nutrient-lacking food, and environmental toxins, is one form of physically attacking the humyn brain, with potentially long-term health effects. It's a joke that this is common practice in places that claim to be about "correcting" people, when they are clearly about degrading people for easier control.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Northern Correctional Institution] [Connecticut]
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Revolutionary POWs fight to abolish control units

Northern Correctional Institution in Connecticut is a control unit that houses security risk group safety threat members (SRGSTM), chronic discipline prisoners, administrative segregation (A/S), and death row prisoners. Both authors of this are labeled SRGSTM and because of a peaceful protest are now A/S prisoners. One author has been in this control unit for almost 4 years and the other for 1 year.

We are locked down 23 hours a day and 24 hours a day on the weekends. We are only allowed 3 showers a week with leg irons on our feet. Visits: behind a window, SRGSTM gets 1 hour visit, A/S and chronic discipline 30 mins, only immediate family members. There is no school, except for prisoners under 21 years of age with disabilities who qualify. No job training to anyone. No law library except to death row prisoners. No real medical assistance. Telephones: the state of CT has a control contract with a phone company that forces us prisoners to pay far more for our calls than people in the world. We are only allowed a list of ten phone numbers that has to be approved. SRGSTM are allowed three 15 minute calls a week and A/S and chronic discipline one 15 minute call a week and all telephone conversations are monitored and recorded. We are all also cuffed with leg irons and handcuffs while on the phone. We are cuffed this way for all out of cell movements.

Recreation yard is 1 hour on weekdays. SRGSTM are cuffed behind our backs while in the yard for our 1 hour of out of the cell rec. A/S are taken off of cuffs once we are placed in a rec yard cell about the same size as our cells. Sometimes they make prisoners pick between hot food or their rec. If you go to rec, your food will be given to you cold. You are not allowed real footwear in A/S or hats and gloves in the jail, same for SRGSTM, CD, and death row. Meaning no matter how cold it is outside we are never allowed inside dayroom rec. We are only giving things to clean our cells once a week.

A lot of the time they force prisoners to go in the cells with other prisoners who have life sentences and have already told the administration they do not want cell mates and they will kill the person they put in their cells. Most of the time these prisoners they put in the cells with these lifers are short timers and parole violators. Northern has already had 5 killings because of this about two this year. They will not give prisoners personal hygiene items, writing paper, envelopes, copies of legal work, or cloths if your account says you have had money in the last 90 days, meaning you have to not have money for 90 days in order to receive any of those things.

The grievance procedures are set up to prolong your rights to the courts. They only have 30 business days to answer your grievances. If that time is up they can file for an extension. The problem with that is there is no limit to how many extensions of time they can give for one grievance.

I know you are well informed about in-cell restraints and 4-point restraints (both authors have gone through this a number of times). In cell restraints are for 72 hours, you can't use the bathroom and if you somehow find a way to, you can not clean yourself. Food comes in cups and no utensils are given to eat with forcing you to eat with your fingers at the same time you are not allowed soap or any kind of hygiene items (but if you were how would you use them on restraints?). The in-cells are never cleaned after another prisoner comes out and one goes in, you can't flush your bathroom, nor are you allowed a role of bathroom paper. These are some of the things that take place in this control unit.

They also have dogs next to you every time you leave your cells. You are strip searched for all out of cell movement even when you have not come in contact with no one. You have officers who retaliate against prisoners who file grievances on them or their fellow officers. Prisoners are beat, maced in the mouth, face, eyes, even after the situation is under control.

We stand ready and willing to assist any way we can to abolish these control units.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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Forty-three to one


I never learned to turn the other cheek,
to bow down to oppression I think is being weak;
And who taught our children to love thy enemy,
how can they have pride in themselves and,
yet be accepting of tyranny;
I will not allow our youth to be confused by
false Amerikkkan history;
I will teach them honor of Marcus Garvey, George Jackson and Joseph Cinque of the Amistad mutiny;
I will show them unity, though it be a fist of solidarity,
gloved and also in a clench,
I will dispel the myths of Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bush and the notorious Willie Lynch;
You hold up images of Armstrong Williams, Clarence Thomas and no child left behind,
yet you outlaw Malcolm, Huey, Nat Turner and Bobby Seale's Seize the Time;
Your greed is fed by capitalism which creates
a world of endless war zones;
You sell Israel F-14s, yet you watch Palestine
defend itself with nothing but sticks and stones;
You proclaim equality, so we had hope during the trial of Rodney King;
You spoke of love as an eventual reality,
but in 1968 you assassinated our dream;
You exploit our words with pawn shops,
liquor stores and broken down shacks;
You sell our kids guns, pork chops, Jordans,
Lil Wayne, Kools, heroin and crack;
you brainwash our youth to be killers and to
fight for ole Uncle Sam, but when they lose
an arm, a leg or just need a helping hand,
you say there's no money in the nation's
wealth care program;
Innocent until proven guilty, at least that's what
the supreme court say;
It took you almost 14 years,
but you still came back to make O.J. pay;
Your credibility is reminiscent of chickens
being in the care of a sly old fox;
You gave the Amerikkkan natives a trojan horse,
infected with small pox;
You invaded the motherland, with a smile, a pistol
and filled with the holy ghost, and in the blink of an eye
it turned to mischief and bloodshed,
on Afrika's west coast;
You stole kings and queens and tried to turn
them into slaves,
but some chose the Atlantic ocean to be their cold wet graves;
Some were passive and obedient, they did what
they were told,
some were like Harriet Tubman and sought
their freedom on the underground railroad;
One refused the draft as he floated like a
butterfly and stung like a bee,
while one used nationality and religion to help
uplift fallen humanity;
one was on the move, got bombed, so you know
that we had to keep her,
One used a podium and socialism and we coined
all power to the people;
We've produced lawyers and doctors
and Langston Hughes a very poetic talker;
And with great ingenuity, our first female
millionaire was the incomparable madame CJ Walker;
Some tried to shake names like Toby or George
or even Cassius Clay,
But some were called Oscar because of "Monster's Ball" and Denzel's Training Day;
So now we have Obama, the 44th President is our own native son,
but you still find reasons to hate us,
even though you're still winning "forty three to one."

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