Monday, August 21, 2017

CONYERS Mourns The Passing Of His Friend, Dick Gregory

Image may contain: one or more people

"I am saddened to learn my dear friend, Dick Gregory. passed away. We will never forget his humor and his devotion to the fight for equality and justice." said Conyers.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Friday, August 18, 2017

CONYERS: Bannon's Removal Doesn't Address Trump's Support Of White Supremacy & Racism

Conyers: We Must Boldly Condemn Racist Un-American Ideals

Detroit, MI– House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today released the following statement in response to the news that Steve Bannon will no longer serve as White House Chief Strategist:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“As I said in November, Steve Bannon is the standard-bearer for the worst instincts in American society.  Whether Bannon personally trades in violence, racism, and bigotry - he allowed Brietbart - his media organization - to become a platform for white nationalism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigrant sentiment of the worst kind. 

“I am pleased that he is no longer serving in the White House, he should have never been appointed. However, his removal will not undo the damage that has already been done and it will not reconcile the hate-filled agenda of the Trump Administration.

“President Donald Trump has shown us his true colors. He sided with un-American white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and all those who give racism and hatred a voice. Trump's failure to reflect on his dangerous rhetoric continues to embolden these groups and ideals.

“This administration must reverse its pattern of discriminatory positions in notable areas including voting rights, policing, immigration, and affirmative action. Beyond wringing our hands, we must use this opportunity to enact meaningful change.”


Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, August 10, 2017

CONYERS: More Than 60 Members Of Congress Reject Trump Statements On North Korea


Administration Urged to Act with Restraint and Adhere to Diplomatic Approach

Washington, D.C. –  More than 60 Members of Congress, working from their home districts during recess, came together to write an urgent letter, below, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to express “profound concern” over “irresponsible and dangerous” statements made by President Trump and to urge Tillerson to do everything in his power “to ensure that President Trump and other Administration officials understand the importance of speaking and acting with the utmost caution and restraint on this delicate issue.”

The letter warns that “Congress and the American public will hold President Trump responsible if a careless or ill-advised miscalculation results in conflict that endangers our servicemembers and regional allies,” and asks the Administration to reaffirm its understanding of the longstanding Constitutional principles that pre-emptive strikes on another nation must be authorized by Congress.

The Congressmembers indicate their strong support for Tillerson’s recent statements calling for direct talks with North Korea and offering assurances that our country is not their enemy and does not seek war or regime change.

The letter notes that Tillerson’s approach accords with that urged by 64 Members of Congress in a May letter to President Trump, and is also backed by leading experts on US-North Korea policy, including former Secretary of Defense William Perry, former Secretary of State George Schultz and former Senator Richard Lugar who have stated that our country “should make clear that the United States does not have hostile intentions toward North Korea.”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said, “As a veteran of the Korean War, I am ashamed that our Commander-in-Chief is conducting himself in a reckless manner that endangers our troops stationed in Korea and our regional allies.  Trump must immediately cease talk of pre-emptive war—which must be authorized by Congress—and commit to the diplomatic path advocated by both American experts and the South Korean government.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, “President Trump’s belligerent rhetoric is dangerous. Instead of saber-rattling, this Administration should pursue direct talks with North Korea to de-escalate tensions.”

Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) said, “President Trump’s statements were unhelpful, dangerous and raised tensions with North Korea higher than we have previously seen. This has led to North Korea directly threatening nearly 168,000 American citizens living in my home district of Guam. While I have great confidence in our military’s capabilities in the Pacific and appreciate that the DoD has deployed proven missile defense systems in the region, including a THAAD battery on Guam, President Trump must show steady leadership to prevent further escalating tensions. I join Representative Conyers and my Democratic colleagues in calling on the Trump Administration to work with the international community and engage in diplomatic discussions with North Korea. It is imperative that President Trump and his Administration work towards a peaceful solution to this situation and refrain from any action that could lead toward a military conflict.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said, “Now is the not the time to encourage North Korea to make additional threats. Nearly 50 members of the House recognize that we need assured leadership in regards to the situation with North Korea and urge the State Department to choose diplomacy over a show of force.”

An Economist/YouGov poll conducted from April 29 to May 2, 2017found that 60 percent of Americans support “direct negotiations between the United States and North Korea” to end North Korea’s nuclear program, while 10 percent were somewhat opposed and 8 percent strongly opposed.  63 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Republicans support direct negotiations with North Korea.

Today’s letter was led by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13). Signatories include: Reps. Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Madeleine Z. Bordallo (GU), Alma S. Adams (NC-12), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Don S. Beyer Jr. (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-AL), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Salud O. Carbajal (CA-24), Judy Chu (CA-27),  David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Emanuel L. Cleaver, II (MO-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Danny K.  Davis (IL-07), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Michael F. Doyle (PA-14), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Al Green (TX-09), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis V. Gutiérrez (IL-04), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07),  Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Daniel T. Kildee (MI-05), Al Lawson, Jr. (FL-05), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), Betty McCollum(MN-04),  James P. McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), José E. Serrano (NY-15), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Darren Soto (FL-09), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Timothy J. Walz (MN-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24), John A. Yarmuth (KY-03).
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS To Host Town Hall Meeting On Jobs & Health Care With Bernie Sanders 8-22-2017

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives John Conyers, Jr. &
2017 Democratic Presidential Candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders
DETROIT – On Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) will host a town hall meeting to discuss jobs, healthcare and building a better future for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District.

Rep. Conyers has invited U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to join in on the discussion. Topics will include healthcare, creating good paying jobs, raising wages and building an economy that gives every American the tools to succeed in the 21st century. This event is open to the public.

Date:               August 22, 2017
Time:              7:00 p.m.
Location:        Fellowship Chapel Church
7707 W. Outer Drive
Detroit, MI

RSVP:              Media interested in attending should RSVP to Monique Mansfield atMonique.Mansfield@mail.house.gov and Shadawn Reddick-Smith atShadawn.Reddick-Smith@mail.house.gov . 
  
Background: In January, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.” H.R. 676 would expand and improve the highly popular Medicare program and provide universal access to care to all Americans. Rep. Conyers has introduced H.R.676 every year since 2003. Sen. Sanders has announced he will be introducing a similar version of the legislation. 


Conyers and Sanders also just introduced companion youth jobs bills in the House and Senate to tackle unemployment. According to some estimates, Detroit has one of the highest youth unemployment rates -- 30 percent -- amongst the 25 largest U.S. metro areas.  

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

CONYERS, CUMMINGS, CONNOLLY & CICILLINE Request Documents about President Trump’s Regulatory Task Forces’ Secret Meetings and Conflicts of Interest



Washington, D.C. (August 7, 2017)—Today, Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Gerry Connolly, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and David Cicilline, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, sent a letter, below, to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Neomi Rao expressing grave concerns about the secrecy of the Regulatory Reform Task Forces and requesting information about the nature of their meetings.

“We write to express our alarm concerning the lack of transparency, accountability, and independence of the Regulatory Reform Task Forces,” the Members wrote. “We believe that the interests of the American public must be paramount when reviewing the worthiness of regulations. Therefore, these Task Forces must have an effective and transparent guard against conflicts of interest, especially those in which industry lobbyists seek to overturn environmental and health protections for financial gain. It appears that the current Task Forces are already failing on this front, and instead are actively hiding their members and their meetings from public view.”

The Democrats explained that press reports indicate these Task Forces appear to have operated in private without public input, and some agencies have refused to release basic information about their activity or maintain a record of their meetings as required by the Federal Records Act.

“Withholding the names and titles of Task Force participants may also violate the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” the Members wrote. “Simply put, it is unacceptable for federal agencies to operate in such a clandestine and unaccountable manner especially when the result could be the undoing of critical public health and safety protections.”

The Members also expressed concern that several employees stand to profit from their work on the Task Force. For example, the wife of one Task Force member at the Environmental Protection Agency is the top lobbyist for a large oil company.

“Rather than ‘drain the swamp,’ these conflicts threaten to influence the outcome of the review process against hardworking Americans and in favor of regulated industries and agency staff,” the Members wrote.

The Members requested documents and information, including a description of every Task Force created pursuant to the executive order, a list of the names and titles of every member of each Task Force, and communications related to non-governmental entities participating in Task Force meetings.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Friday, August 4, 2017

CONYERS & SENSENBRENNER Urge AG Sessions To Reconsider DOJ Policies On Asset Forfeiture



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) sent the following letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express concerns and objections to his proposal to expand the Department of Justice’s civil asset forfeiture program. The letter also urges AG Sessions to reconsider his newly-announced policies.

Congressman Conyers: “I am deeply disappointed by the Justice Department’s recent move to reverse its ban on adoptive seizures.  The prior policy, which was instituted in January of 2015, greatly curtailed this practice, which provides financial incentives for law enforcement to seize the property – including the homes – of individuals who may not even be guilty of a crime.  I call on Senator Sessions to withdraw the new policy, which is contrary to the growing bipartisan effort to reform our civil forfeiture laws and practices.  Indeed, the time has come for Congress to enact the DUE PROCESS Act, a bipartisan bill to significantly alter these laws and increase protections for innocent property owners.”

Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Expanding the federal civil asset forfeiture program is a step in the wrong direction and I urge Attorney General Sessions and his Department of Justice to reconsider. I am a supporter of criminal asset forfeiture – the seizure of property after the conviction of crime—but with civil asset forfeiture, law enforcement has a direct economic incentive to take people’s property without ever even charging them with a crime. We need to add more due process to forfeiture proceedings. Expanding forfeiture without increasing protections is, in my view, unconstitutional and wrong.”

Conyers & Sensenbrenner Letter to Attorney General Sessions Re Adoptive Forfeitures 8.4.17 by Beverly Tran on Scribd
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Celebrates Startup Day Across America In Detroit

Image may contain: 3 people, people standingAugust 1, 2017 was Startup Day Across America and what a day it was.

I had the pleasure of visiting several local business in MI-13 including:

1️⃣ Detroit Chassis LLC, a local business that specializes in sub-assemblies and chassis modification.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and indoor2️⃣ Rickman Enterprise Group, a Veteran owned business which provides customer-specific services in Efficiency Management, Environmental Services, Quality, Environmental & Energy Assessments.

3️⃣ ARD Logistics, a national logistics and warehousing firm, incubator/co-working space for young people in Southwest Detroit.

4️⃣ James Group International, a minority-certified provider of global supply chain management services. 


Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS: More Than 30 House Judiciary, Armed Services & LGBT Equality Caucus Democrats Urge Secretary Of Defense & Joint Chiefs Of Staff To Not Comply With Trump's Unconstitutional Transgender Ban


Washington, D.C. – More than 50 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, Armed Services Committee, and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to urge that they not comply with any unconstitutional directive to ban transgender individuals from serving in the United States military. 

Today’s letter was led by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA). In addition to the letter, Reps. Conyers, Smith, Nadler, and Cicilline released the following statement: 
“President Trump’s recent Twitter announcement banning military service by transgender individuals is not only bad policy, it is unconstitutional. It defies common sense to deny the military these service members' mission-critical skills.  No American who is willing and able should be denied the honor and responsibilities that come with serving in our Armed Forces solely on the basis of their status as the member of a protected group.

“Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed ban is yet another troubling sign of his willingness to make impulsive policy decisions while ignoring military leadership. We appreciated the measured response of Secretary Mattis, General Dunford, and other military leaders in response to President Trump’s rash announcement of a proposed discriminatory and unjustified ban on military service by transgender individuals. We would urge President Trump to stop making policy via Twitter and to consult America’s professional military leadership before making decisions that affect the lives and safety of our citizens.”

Thousands of transgender individuals are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. Trump’s July 26th Twitter announcement to ban transgender individuals from the military has received much backlash. More than 50 retired senior military officers recently released a statement opposing the ban on the grounds it would degrade military readiness. Trump’s announcement is particularly troubling in light of recent news reports regarding President Trump’s meetings with Secretary of Defense Mattis and other military leaders to discuss the war in Afghanistan, in which he complained that the U.S. is ‘losing’ and insinuated he should ignore strategic advice from high-ranking military officials by likening the war to the renovation of a New York City restaurant. 


Image result for klinger

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS on Detroit in 1967: 'I Couldn't Stop It'

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Any movie based on a true story will take certain liberties, and Kathryn Bigelow's examination of the events of the 1967 riot in Detroit—Detroitout Friday—acknowledges that some of the precise details of those events aren't even certain to those who deal strictly in nonfiction. But at least one moment in the film, its subject says, is "a fair representation of what I did and said."

That subject is Rep. John Conyers Jr., who represented Detroit in the House of Representatives in 1967 and still does today, as the most senior member in that legislative body and the first African-American representative to hold that honor.

And the moment in question is one of which TIME likewise took note, in its cover story about the events:
When the riot was only a few hours old, John Conyers, one of Detroit 's two Negro Congressmen, drove up Twelfth Street with Hubert Locke and Deputy School Superintendent Arthur Johnson. "Stay cool, we're with you!" Conyers shouted to the crowd. "Uncle Tom!" they shouted back. Someone heaved a bottle and the leaders beat a prompt retreat, not wanting to become "handkerchief heads" in the bandaged sense of the epithet. "You try to talk to these people," said Conyers unhappily, "and they'll knock you into the middle of next year."

Looking back on that time from the vantage point of today, Conyers says, it can be hard to grasp what Detroit was like, the way that "segregation was a fact of life" and how much more tense things were than they are even today. And, as a result, despite the difficulty he experienced talking the crowd that day, he takes an empathetic view of those who shouted him down.

"This was a moment where rage and rebellion and anger and opposition to the mistreatment of people because of their race all erupted in one of those unusual and important moments. It couldn’t be stopped. I couldn’t stop it at all," he tells TIME. "[Calming down] was an important step but I think it was a step that we couldn’t accomplish because of the explosion of emotions and the pent-up feelings of being less than first-class citizens. It’s hard to imagine how much separation of people there was in and around Detroit because of a person’s racial background."


Though he says he didn't know all of the people in the crowd personally, he was familiar with many of them and they with him. He was also intimately familiar—as he would tell reporters in the immediate wake of the riot—with the frustration and impatience that lay underneath the tensions in the city. The spirit of "we're not going to take it any longer" took over, he says, and the inequality that was no longer supportable could be traced not just to Detroit's recent history but all the way back to slavery. The relationship between the city's African-American population and its law enforcement was a key point for the expression of that history, and he says that the police played "a large role" in creating a situation in which those constituents could no longer be persuaded that violence was not the only recourse left.

"There were very few African-Americans on the police force of Detroit and it was certainly way [before] the time when we would have an African-American chief of police in the city of Detroit, and the police were more than impolite," he says. "They were rough. They ordered people around. They had what they called a 'Big Four' cruiser, in which police drove around, usually threatening young people who were just hanging out on the corners or on the streets with not too much to do. They weren’t a menace but they were the ones who were available. The absence of sensitized police relations played a huge role in fomenting this pent-up resentment against law enforcement."

Though he couldn't stop the riots, Conyers recalls that his first priority was telling people to stay off the streets for their own safety, as the longer the disturbance went on the more people would be hurt or killed. (The death toll by the end of the five-day riot would be 43.) He also recalls receiving a phone call from President Lyndon Johnson, who wanted to know whether the reports he was receiving were accurate. Conyers told him that yes, he was in Detroit and he could promise that the news that was reaching Johnson really did reflect how bad the situation was on the ground.

"The sound of tanks, United States Army tanks, going down, say, Dexter Avenue in Northwest Detroit, just made a horrible sound," he says. "It rattled everything."
In the wake of that horror, however, he saw hope.

Organizations like New Detroit were founded to work on desegregation and other solutions, and these days the Detroit police force is majority-black and, despite a rough road getting there, Conyers says he believes that organizations that are dedicated to working on improving racial justice in his city have made a difference.

"We haven’t resolved all of the problems but I think we’ve got organizations now that are sensitized," Conyers says. "This kind of thing is something in our history, but I don’t really expect that it would happen again."


Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Condemns Mississippi Governor's Anti-Union Remarks


Detroit, MI – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement in response to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s anti-union remarks:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Detroit paved the first mile of road, made the automobile a household good, and built the Middle Class.  General Motors, Ford, and FCA are only three of the more than a dozen auto makers in America—but they employ two-thirds of American autoworkers.  They have invested billions of dollars over the past few decades in Southeast Michigan.  They do the majority of their design, manufacturing, and surrounding services right here in America—and they offer their employees a much larger voice in their workplace than Governor Bryant apparently wants for his own citizens.

“Governor Bryant’s statements are a typical cheap shot.  I would be offended if he was not so transparent: he is simply parroting what the anti-worker special interests he serves want him to say.

“As someone whose own family fled Jackson, MS for opportunity in Detroit—and who still has some family in Mississippi—I wonder why is it that Bryant does not think workers in his state should have a voice?  The Mississippians I know are smart and sharp.  They should have the same say in their workplace as anyone else. Perhaps as the Governor of a state ranked 51st in household income—Bryant should focus more on empowering workers—and less on doing the bidding of anti-union billionaires who reward him for keeping wages low and workers silent in his state.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

CONYERS, SCOTT Statement On Reports Of Trump Administration Plans To Attack Affirmative Action

WASHINGTON – Representatives Bobby Scott (VA-03) and John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), the ranking members of the House Committees on Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary, respectively, issued the following statement after reports surfaced that the Department of Justice plans to attack and undermine affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“While we cannot comment on the veracity of this alleged memo, we are deeply concerned by news reports that the Department of Justice intends to challenge the application of affirmative action programs in colleges and universities.  What is already clear is the Trump Administration’s public record of attacking civil rights protections on multiple fronts. 

“As ranking members, we led 86 Members of the House in an amicus brief in support of affirmative action programs in higher education. We were one of nearly 70 organizations to take the same position, including retired Chiefs of Staff of our nation’s Armed Services, leading Fortune 500 companies, academics, 19 state governors, the faith community and many others. The position that we took was ultimately affirmed by the Supreme Court – the consideration of race and ethnicity to achieve diversity in admissions is a constitutional and is a compelling state interest that can be achieved through narrowly tailored means.

“Whether it is the Department of Justice’s decision to examine the use of consent decrees with state and local police departments, which are designed to reduce instances of police brutality and discriminatory treatment; Attorney General Session’s decision to  return to the harsh application of mandatory minimum sentences which have been proven to be racially discriminatory and counterproductive to reducing crime; the White House’s so-called election integrity commission which purports to “solve” voter fraud while requesting the most personal data of the Nation’s 200 million registered voters; or efforts to weaken the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) – agencies charged with the enforcement of employment nondiscrimination laws, the Trump administration has not wasted any opportunity to roll back existing civil rights protections for underrepresented minorities.

“Further, the Administration’s reactionary efforts were signaled in the White House’s proposed budget to which reduces or eliminated funding tied to the enforcement of federal civil rights laws.  The Trump Administration’s budget undermines the constitutional promise of Brown v. Board of Education by cutting federal funding to support public schools that serve our nation’s poorest students. It proposes elimination of the environmental justice program, gutting the primary tool to examine and address the impact of environmental policies and decisions on communities of color, low-income and tribal communities. And proving the adage “any rights without remedies are no rights at all,” the President’s budget proposes eliminating federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) that provides civil legal aid for low income Americans to help them have their day in court.

“These actions, already on the record, provide a clear, yet unsettling picture of this Administration’s hostile view of the federal government’s role in protecting civil rights.”


Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©