Come on, People

Standard

barackcornell

Reading some of the discordant grumbling in the black blogosphere about the gratuitous “haterade” on our beloved President is both amusing and disconcerting.  It is as if some of y’all have been oblivious to the feel good fiction spoon fed to a naïve public in the course of the last campaign.  Disappearing Acts is not only Terri McMillan’s best novel; it could also be the title of any serious examination of the President’s record on issues important to progressives of any stripe, especially the working class and people of color.

Cornel West, in response to a question from Rolling Stone about joining the Obama Admin said:

That’s not my calling. Yeah, brother, you find me in a crack house before you find me in the White House. I’ll go into the crack house before I ever go that far inside.

I respect Cornel for his candor, however clumsily he stated it.  Remarks like that can get a brotha’s feelings hurt in the blogosphere.   I am quite sho’ his Princeton email box got blown up by overly sensitive Negroes who equate the interests of the black community with the corporate financed agenda of Barack Obama.

There are many things I could say concern me about the direction of this Administration so far:  indefinite detention, dramatic escalation of the Afghan War, dropping cluster bombs on Afghan civilians, preventing the victims of Bush-Cheney torture from suing for redress, failing to prosecute CIA torture and those who ordered it, but I’ll just stick to the economy for simplicity’s sake.

Granted, it ain’t been but four months, and he will be president for more than three and half more years, but our Commander-In-Chief has been gettin’ busy and doing the nasty.  Not with some empty headed ho, but with the Gucci wearing corporate whores that comprise the Administration’s high-ranking financial officials and their coterie of advisors.

This Administration has thrown away trillions down a bottomless rat hole to bail out the white investor class and the financial institutions that they control. These are the people whose speculative greed and racist indifference destroyed our economy.  Ain’t y’all been paying attention?   The civil rights establishment that you gleefully malign has filed landmark class action lawsuits against the sub-prime lending industry that deliberately targeted Negroes, Latinos and anybody else deemed ignorant enough to believe that deceptively marketed exploding adjustable rate mortgages were created to help the colored working class achieve the American Dream of homeownership. What they were really meant to do is generate windfall profits for the white investor class that they could pass down generation after generation.

Our Commander-In-Chief has not directed his Justice Department to join the NAACP in the class actions against some of his more generous campaign contributors.  This goes to the heart of the reparations argument being advanced by the Black Intelligentsia—people like Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson.  Black Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who ain’t got nothin’ but love for Barack, has written extensively and persuasively on this topic.   The President told us over a year ago in the You Tube debate that he opposed reparations.

Honest white progressives like Krugman and Stiglitz and Warren have been eloquent about what this Administration is not doing to hold crooked speculators accountable for their unconscionably racist greed.  Real reform of the banking system is not in the works.

CPL, rikyrah, I love y’all with all my heart and soul, but attacking Cornel for some insignificant off handed comment is totally off base and changes the debate to who is hatin’ on Obama instead of what he is surreptitiously doing policy wise that the black community should hate.   We should be mindful of something that Maya Angelou said.  When people tell you who they are, believe them.   The President’s adherence to an insensitive white corporate agenda will not change.  Come on, People.  Let’s act like intelligent grownfolks and not like adolescents in the throws of puppy love.

Barack Obama’s Fantasy Island

Standard

fantasy-island-2

“The delusion of power also appears to provide an escape for middle-class Negroes from the world of reality which pierces through the world of make-believe of the black bourgeoisie. The positions of power which they occupy in the Negro world often enable them to act autocratically towards other Negroes, especially when they have the support of the white community. In such cases the delusion of power may provide an escape from their frustrations. It is generally, however, when middle-class Negroes hold positions enabling them to participate in the white community that they seek in the delusion of power an escape from their frustrations.

Although their position may be only a “token” of the integration of the Negro into American life, they will speak and act as if they were part of the power structure of American society. Negro advisors who are called into counsel by whites to give advice about Negroes are especially likely to find an escape from their feelings of inferiority in the delusion of power.”

-E. Franklin Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie

I am Skeptical Brotha, your blog host. Welcome to Barack Obama’s Fantasy Island.

The passing of actor Ricardo Montalban last month has reminded me of the power of fantasy and delusion. Portraying the fictional Mr. Roark, the owner of a mystical Fantasy Island where people paid munificent sums to live out their fantasies, Montalban became an icon of the seventies and eighties and for me, the personification of an era fixated on the make-believe of Ronald Reagan’s right-wing conservatism. Tall, elegant and regal, Ricardo Montalban possessed a rich baritone and perfect diction. In the late seventies, the Mexican-born actor was the “happy darkie” white America needed to facilitate their fantasies. Today, we have a tall, elegant and regal African American President with a rich baritone and perfect diction to fulfill that function.

The historic election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States has fueled some troubling delusions about the nature of power in this country and the role of African people in running it. It ain’t what some of y’all think it is.

 

Montalban said of the iconic series Fantasy Island:

 

What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities.

 

Blackfolks have been stumblin’ around for the last two months as if we landed on Mr. Roark’s Fantasy Island. Metaphorically speaking, we’ve attained the seemingly unattainable fantasy of electing a Black President. Now, we’re about to enter the stage where the reality of Obama’s election won’t be as exciting as our collective fantasies. It is up to us to use this surreal event to appreciate the racist, imperialist reality of the world we still live in.

 

Let me be clear. We ain’t running nothing up in here. We ain’t now and won’t be after the inauguration. Don’t get caught up in the delusion of power that Frazier wrote about or get any wild ideas about the real status of the Negro in American society. The white corporate power structure ain’t relinquished control of a damn thing, shug.

 

The View co-host, Sherri Shepherd, moved me to tears after the election when she retold how she would be able to tell her son that because of Barack Obama, there were no longer any limitations on the aspirations of black men in this country. We could do and be anything we wanted. Sherri tapped into the powerful flood of emotions that flowed as I wept with millions of people watching Barack Obama solemnly claim the Presidency.

 

What Sherri said was raw—her pain jumped out of the screen. What she said felt real, but after the emotions subsided and I allowed myself the space to critically think and evaluate what I’d seen and heard over the course of the campaign, I knew immediately that it wasn’t true no matter how I longed for it to be.  We can be many things, more than ever before, but I am still waiting on whether a Negro can be a progressive president.

 

 

Sherri’s claim is synonymous with the historic battle of African people in this country to be freed from the stigma of slavery and subjugation. It is what we’ve always demanded and what we’ve historically been denied. Barack Obama’s “victory” changed nothing in that respect. The battle for equality and economic justice continues.

 

The Price of Admission

 

Barack Obama writes in Dreams of My Father about the advice given by a black mentor and father figure:

 

“You’re just like the rest of these young cats out here. All you know is that college is the next thing you’re supposed to do. And the people who are old enough to know better, who fought all those years for your right to go to college—they’re just so happy to see you in there that they won’t tell you the truth. The real price of admission.”

“And what’s that?”

“Leaving your race at the door,” he said. “Leaving your people behind.” “…Understand something, boy. You’re not going to college to get educated. You’re going to get trained.

They’ll train you to want what you don’t need. They’ll train you to manipulate words so they don’t mean anything anymore. They’ll train you to forget what it is that you already know. They’ll train you so good, you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh*t. They’ll give you a corner office and invite you to fancy dinners, and tell you you’re a credit to your race. Until you want to actually start running things, and they’ll yank on your chain and let you know that you may be a well-trained, well-paid nigger, but you’re a nigger just the same.”

 

Barack Obama understood from the beginning what the price of admission was for the U.S. Senate and the Presidency. He paid in full. What was the price? It was the unconditional acceptance of ruling class demands and an uncritical embrace of neoliberalism and globalization. The price of this bourgeoisie fantasy, if we knew what it really was, would be a price that most blackfolks would be unwilling to pay.

Barack Obama cannot embody the aspirations of the African Diaspora because he is the president of the United States. As such, he is a tool of the corporate power structure that controls our country and the top spokesman for the ruthless neo-colonialism that oppresses the majority of African people through despotic institutions like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization.

 

It’s time to grow up and wake up, black people. Deep down, we all know damn good and well what the deal is. It is time to snap out of the fantasy.

 

Africa Action, the oldest black-run lobby in D.C. that’s half-way decent in fighting for the rights of the entire African Diaspora succinctly summarizes the real obstacles to black self-determination:

 

Africa‘s massive external debt burden is the single biggest obstacle to the continent’s development and to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The over $200 billion that African countries owe to foreign creditors represents a crippling load that undermines economic and social progress. The All-Africa Conference of Churches has called this debt “a new form of slavery, as vicious as the slave trade”.

The albatross of illegitimate debt diverts money directly from spending on health care, education and other important needs. While most people in Africa live on less than $2 per day, African countries are forced to spend almost $14 billion each year servicing old, illegitimate debts to rich country governments and their institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Over the past two decades, African countries have paid out more in debt service to foreign creditors than they have received in development assistance or in new loans.

Much of Africa‘s foreign debt is illegitimate in nature, having been incurred by unrepresentative and despotic regimes, mainly during the era of Cold War patronage. Loans were made to corrupt leaders who used the money for their own personal gain, often with the full knowledge and support of lenders. These loans did not benefit Africa‘s people. More generally, many Africans question the notion of an African “debt” to the U.S. and European countries after centuries of exploitation. They ask, “Who really owes whom?”

Yet, despite the social and economic costs of this massive outflow of resources from the world’s poorest region, the wealthy creditors of Africa‘s debts continue to insist these debts be repaid. The U.S. is the single largest shareholder in the World Bank and IMF, the institutions to which most of Africa‘s debts are owed. As such, it holds major influence over the international response to Africa‘s debt crisis.

Barack Obama campaigned on doing nothing meaningful to alleviating Africa’s crushing debt. His official position commits him to the IMF/WORLD BANK shell game of exclusionary rules and mealy-mouthed guarantees that continue to bleed the continent dry, leaving it impoverished, and beset with skyrocketing infant mortality rates, declining life expectancy and writhing under the weight of pandemic levels of AIDS, TB, and Malaria.

 

Moreover, because of African indebtedness, the IMF/World Bank imposes onerous structural adjustment programs on indebted countries that:

 

“…Are designed to reduce consumption in developing countries and to redirect resources to manufacturing exports for the repayment of debt. This has caused overproduction of primary products and a precipitous fall in their prices. It has also led to the devastation of traditional agriculture and to the emergence of hordes of landless farmers in virtually every country in which the World Bank and IMF operate.

Food security has declined dramatically in all Third World regions, but in Africa in particular. Growing dependence on food imports, which is the lot of sub-Saharan Africa, places these countries in an extremely vulnerable position. They simply do not have the foreign exchange to import enough food, given the fall in export prices and the need to repay debt.

Basic conditionalities of the IMF-World Bank include drastic cuts in social expenditures, especially in health and education. According to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, expenditures on health in IMF-World Bank programmed countries declined by 50 percent during the 1980s, and spending on education declined by 25 percent. Similar trends are evident in all other Southern regions.

IMF-World Bank programs come with other requirements. Governments are generally forced to remove subsidies to the poor on basic foodstuffs and services such as rice and maize, water and electricity. Tax systems are made more repressive, and real wage rates are allowed to fall sharply.

..But the greatest failure of these programs is to be seen in their impact on the people. Using figures provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, it has been estimated that at least six million children under five years of age have died each year since 1982 in Africa, Asia and Latin America because of the anti-people, even genocidal, focus of IMF World Bank SAPs.

 

The fanatical insistence on a “post-racial” reality is fuc*ing ludicrous. It represents a willful ignorance that cannot be defended when any cursory examination of empirical data on globalization and income inequality is undertaken. The election of Barack Obama changes nothing for the black victims of globalization and neoliberalism. Moreover, it is a disingenuous act of token integration by the power structure. The browning of America inevitably means that some coloredfolks need to front for the power structure to camouflage the predatory nature of American imperialism and give the illusion of inclusion.

 

You could see the change his assumption of power wrought after he solemnly addressed the nation on Election night. His establishment cabinet, the continued no strings attached Wall Street Bailout and his unconscionable, silent complicity in the face of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza. The first Negro has completely nailed his part as America’s stern father figure dispensing status quo medicine. No matter what he does and no matter how many times he betrays the African Diaspora, blackfolks will make excuses for his departures from progressive principle and will highlight the admirable aspects of his character as a devoted husband and father that a desperate black community seems to need to repair the brokenness endured in a country weaned on white supremacy and the deliberate destruction of the black family.

 

Mary Mitchell, a black columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, is a prime example. In her first appearance on the establishment’s top televised salon, Meet the Press, she said:

You have someone who did what he was supposed to do.  He got a good education, he married his sweetheart, he’s a father for his children.  That’s the kind of image the African-American community needs right now.

 

I hate to think that we’re so desperate for the validation of whitefolks and for appropriate black role models that we’d accept anything an establishment Negro President does at the behest of his corporate puppet masters.

 

DON’T HATE THE PLAYA; HATE THE GAME

 

It is difficult to muster the energy to demonize or dislike Barack Obama after being inundated by endless streams of positive, empty propaganda spoon fed by a compliant corporate press. However, as blackfolks, we need to stand ready to rebuke the President we claim to love so much when he inevitably falls off the wagon of progressive principle. Our shared African heritage and the uniqueness of this moment in time do not constitute valid reasons to give Obama a pass. Despite the laughable and despicable efforts of the right-wing to portray our President as a “terrorist” and “secret Muslim,” Barack Obama is an establishment politician that sold out a long time ago and that makes him a “safe Negro” in the minds of the imperial power structure.

 

What I am saying is not meant to turn you against the President, dislike him in any way or fail to honor and celebrate this remarkable achievement. Hate is so counterproductive. What I’m saying today is meant to get you to think critically, evaluate what his Administration does objectively, and demand that Barack actually becomes the progressive president he fooled you into believing he would be. In short, don’t hate the playa; hate the game.

 

From the Urban Dictionary:

 

Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization, which allows or encourages the behavior that has provoked your displeasure.

One day in the distant future, the first African American President will pass away after living a long life, just as Ricardo Montalban did, and hopefully, the President be remembered for the progressive, concrete achievements of his era and not for some ridiculous bourgeois fantasy concocted by a crooked corporate power structure to disguise it’s racist imperialism.

Mama’s Baby

Standard

A staunch defender and promoter of her son’s political aspirations and his two campaigns for mayor of Detroit, Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has some explaining to do now that Mama’s Baby has been revealed to be a liar, philanderer, and unquestionably corrupt.  Kwame, a scion of political family, was elected based on the credibility of his mother and that of his father, a former chief of staff to the Wayne County Executive and Mrs. Kilpatrick’s ex-husband. 

A lawyer and state representative, Mama’s Baby rose to become the Democratic Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives before he announced his candidacy for mayor at the age of 32, an effort backed by both of his parents.  

Today, Mama’s Baby  finds himself embroiled in scandal as a result of his retaliatory actions against members of the Detroit Police Department who either had first hand knowledge of, or responsibility for investigating the numerous and juicy allegations of marital infidelity and misconduct by the mayor and his security detail. He has decimated the City of Detroit’s reputation, plunged the city into the most controversial leadership crisis and power struggle in its history and destroyed his family’s good name.    

This afternoon, Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta introduced a resolution calling for the Mayor to resign and directing its counsel to research city ordinances and procedures to force his removal if he chooses to ignore the call to step down. 

This sad turn of events is troubling on many levels.  First, it ends the trust and promise a younger generation of leadership.  Moreover, it seriously undermines the older generation that spawned and nurtured it.   I have no doubt that Kwame Kilpatrick and Christine Beatty will be prosecuted for perjury and convicted by a jury of their peers.  It’s time for all to acknowledge this reality before the city is undermined any further.  It is my contention that Congresswoman Kilpatrick and her colleague John Conyers, the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, if they haven’t already, must step forward as Detroit’s senior leaders and address this situation as the statespersons they claim to be.  

If you’re wondering why I also am calling for John Conyers to lead, it’s because his wife, political partner and eventual successor, Monica, sits on the City Council. If Kwame resigns, Mrs. Conyers will again become President of the City Council. John Conyers, a leader of the impeachment effort against Bush and Cheney, might need to look a little closer to home and help lead the effort against Kwame Kilpatrick-not because of his wife but because it’s the right thing to do. 

It’s time for Mama’s Baby to resign and they have a moral obligation to make that happen.  If nothing happens it will confirm for me that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that her exalted position in the corridors of Washington power is illegitimate.   

John Lewis escapes plantation Clinton; endorses Obama

Standard

Hat Tip: Atlanta Journal Constitution

WASHINGTON — Hoping to put an end to a month of confusion and dismay, Rep. John Lewis on Wednesday said he’s switching his support from Sen. Hillary Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Lewis cited the overwhelming preference for Obama in his district as a reason for his change of heart, but he also talked about Obama’s campaign as transformational for the nation.

“Something’s happening in America, something some of us did not see coming,” Lewis said. “Barack Obama has tapped into something that is extraordinary.

Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat and an elder of the civil rights movement, at first sparked outrage from Georgia’s African American community by backing Clinton, a friend, over Obama, the nation’s first viable African American candidate.

Then confusion struck about a week ago when Lewis told the New York Times that, as a super delegate to the Democratic National Convention, he would feel compelled to vote for Obama as the nominee because his district – and the state’s African American population overall – so overwhelmingly for Obama in the state primary.

Lewis’s office later charged that the story was inaccurate but did not clarify who Lewis was actually backing.

In an interview in his congressional office, Lewis said the decision to switch his support was a difficult one, a choice between a longtime friend and a little-known black man.

“I did it because I felt I had to support Mrs. Clinton because of our friendship,” Lewis said. “But also I thought she was ready to lead. Lewis had placed a called to Clinton’s office Wednesday morning but hadn’t heard back from her. He also had a Please-Return-The-Call message of his own from Obama. By midday, he still hadn’t returned it.

“It’s been a long, hard and difficult struggle to come to where I am now,” Lewis said.

Kwame Apologizes

Standard
Full text of Kilpatrick’s speech (Revised by Skeptical Brotha)

MR. KILPATRICK: Good evening, Detroit. I want to start tonight by offering an obligatory, disingenuous Clintonian apology, I’m sorry. To all of you stupid enough to have believed in what we’ve been doing here since 2002, to all of you stupid enough to have believed in me, in my leadership, to all of you stupid enough to have stuck with me through very difficult times, to all of you who prayed for me not to get caught screwing around on my wife, I’m sorry.

For the embarrassment and the disappointment, the events of the past few days have caused you, for what you as my supporters, many of you, have had to hear as you traveled around our city to beauty shops and barbershops, what you had to hear when you were in Church this past Sunday from people who know that you have supported me. For those of you who have not always been Kwame Kilpatrick supporters, but who lift up our city, who live in our city, who support this town in various ways, Again, I offer a disingenuous apology to each and every one of you individually and to the whole city.

 

Most of all tonight, again, I want to make a disingenuous public apology to my entire family, and specifically to the four people I should love the most in this world.

 

First, I want to apologize to my sons, Jelani, Jalil and Jonas. For the first time in my life I had to have an adult conversation with my 12 year old twin sons about not using public cell phones to text message your mistress. It was without a doubt the hardest conversation that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Finally, and most importantly, I want to make a public apology to my wife Carlita, whose big booty and thighs I fell in love with when I was 19 years old.

Our marriage has not been perfect, the sex certainly hasn’t been lately-obviously, but overall it has been great. Now, I put her in a typical B.S. ghetto situation which many couples deal with in the privacy of their own homes, but in our case, I F’ed up and put our damn business in the street. I apologize to you, baby. At some point, perhaps we’ll have some great make-up nookie and put this tawdry spectacle behind us.

As many of you know, I’m a self-absorbed womanizer incapable of not whoring around and disrespecting God, my wife or my children, but I have to tell you I’ve felt more emotion in the last week than I have in the past 20 years. I’ve been truly hurting, I’ve been hurting because I know that many of you are hurting cause some of y’all still ain’t found a job since I laid you off. And most of all, I’ve been hurting because I know that my days of carousing America’s strip clubs on the city dime are numbered.

Over the past few years there’s been some speculation about who is in charge of the city. Make no mistake about it, since 2002 I have been in charge of mismanaging the city. There have been ups and downs, there have been hills and mountains and valleys, but through it all I remained in charge of the mismanaging the ship. I believe we built a team here that covers for my lack of focus and obvious deficiencies.

They’ve done a yeoman’s job pretending to care about the mission, focus and commitment that we must have to serve our citizens. We’ve done some amazing things, like concealing my $210,000 city credit card bill, the $25,000 lease the city paid for Carlita’s Navigator, and the hypocritical mass layoffs of city employees while I live like a King in Manoogian Mansion, but we have a lot of work left to do. Over the past few days there has also been a lot of speculation about me resigning from office.

Let me be clear tonight, Y’all will hafta send a swat team to get me outta Manoogian Mansion. We’ve got a lot of work to do and with your silent Negro acquiescence; I’m going to continue to mismanage this city into bankruptcy. I am truly blessed and grateful that my wife is beside me tonight, and she has some politically expedient remarks of her own to make.

CARLITA KILPATRICK: It is very difficult for me to talk to you at this moment, but I want to trick you fools into believing that what I am about to say is the heartfelt statement from a sympathetic and wronged woman.

Like all marriages, ours is not perfect. Like all men, he ain’t perfect, but through this shameless and cynical appeal to stupid God fearing Negroes, my husband and I will get through this. Yes, I’m pissed the fool got caught, I am hurt, and I will cut that heifer if she ever steps to my man again. But there is no question that I love living in Manoogian Mansion. With the help of our pastor and others, we have been going through the motions to look like we’re working through our mess.

Most sistahs who have problems in their marriage are able to throw a pot of hot grits on the Negro privately. Unfortunately, that option is not available to me-we can’t both be in jail. Our family has endured the most painful and intrusive week of our lives. Our most intimate issues have been laid out for all to see, for all to comment on, for all to dissect and analyze. This is the part where I pretend that this private matter is between me, my husband, and God. And pretend to be deeply committed to working through these issues together as a family.

As his wife, I know how feckless my husband is and his lack of commitment to better the City of Detroit. I don’t really care. However, I know full well that the bulk of you are as stupid as a box of rocks and that’s why I am asking the citizens of this city to be committed to him, and our family, and to the continued lavish subsidization of our lifestyle.

Allow our family the space and the privacy that is essential to anyone frontin’ as hard as we are. Lastly, I would like to thank each and every one of you for all of your fruitless prayers and your uplifting words. Thank you.

MR. KILPATRICK: In an obvious play for sympathy I don’t deserve and shouldn’t get, I would ask from this point forward that if you have to attack someone, attack me. I would ask that you don’t follow my wife; you don’t film my kids going to school. I ask you not to have helicopters flying around our home. I ask that you leave them alone. I am the mayor, I made the mistake, and I am accountable.

Because I could get could get locked up for what I’ve done, I am unable to discuss any of those issues at this time. But I do have one last piece of B.S I want to share with you tonight. Over the past week our marriage has been opened up for public view. This has been a situation where, yes, it’s been embarrassing, yes, it’s been painful, but through all of that, through the grace of God and a good PR expert, we’ve concocted this obviously self-serving public statement to bamboozle you.

We have committed to my political career, to making it better and stronger. Last week was the first weekend since I took office in January 2002 that I just put everything aside and focused on the growing firestorm unfolding on the pages of every newspaper in Michigan. I know people have been wanting to hang me from my toenails, but I needed some space to confer with public relations experts first and then claim that we’d had some much needed family time.

I want to thank the people of Detroit for their stupidity in allowing us time to come up with some slick, face-saving crap. We as a family needed to do that. I told my sons this past weekend to keep up with their women. If you get caught, you get up, you dust yourself off, and throw yourself on the mercy of gullible God fearing Negroes to keep your damn arse outta jail.

Detroit, I am determined to avoid conviction. I am determined to continue to cling to power as Mayor of this city.

Together we have managed to do great things. We have laid off more Negroes, we have charged more for garbage pickup than ever. We have balanced our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable and wiped out a huge deficit.

I’ve been to strip clubs in 20 states on the city dime, and I am not stopping now.

Detroit, please continue to pray for our family, for our city and for our continued progress. God bless you, Detroit. I love you, and hopefully I won’t be indicted tomorrow.

 

Bastardizing the Dream: Alveda King

Standard

This is the week set aside in honor of one our own, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Normally a time for celebration, I have come to dread our annual commemoration because of photo-op’s like the one above with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Dr. King’s niece, Alveda King, has fallen off the mountaintop, bumped her damn head, and become a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy.

 

Employed full-time by the religious right, she is an aggressive pro-life activist, minister, and professional public speaker. As she has moved steadily to the right, Alveda has provided political cover and given full license to those who would distort, defame, and destroy the dream of her late Uncle in the name of a fictitious colorblindness that is really white supremacy.

 

A long time opponent of Affirmative Action, she is entangled in a network of right-wing preachers hell bent on destroying the progressive social change that Dr. King fought for. While Dr. King spoke of the power of love and the creation of the beloved community, the glue that holds their little movement together is hatred, homophobia and a fixation with stopping same sex couples who love each other from having the right to marry.

 

In the month of Mrs. King’s death, Alveda participated in “Justice Sunday,” a wingnut gala consisting of the full constellation of reactionary politicians and their talabangelical brethren dedicated to fighting for the confirmation of Bush’s judicial nominees like Samuel Alito. Alito, an archconservative with a history of hostility to civil rights, provided the fifth vote to strike down voluntary Affirmative Action plans in the public schools last year. Weakening the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education without the guts to admit it, Alito and his allies on the court dealt the principle of ending separate but equal education a mortal wound.

 

Among those beating the drums of fascist religiosity with Alveda were Justice Sunday colleagues Tony Perkins, Head of the right-wing Family Research Council and a former Louisiana politician who paid white supremacist and neo-Nazi David Duke for his mailing list, and Jerry Falwell, a former segregationist who smeared Martin Luther King, Jr. as a tool of communists.

During most of Dubya’s first term, he found some way to paw Coretta Scott King in a manner that made my blood boil. Born on the same day as my grandmother two years apart, Mrs. King was always an icon in my household. I would NEVER allow George W. Bush to put his damn hands on my grandmother and I could never understand why Mrs. King visited the White House of a man who stole the Presidency. Her graciousness was always taken advantage of by this White House and she invariably became a colored prop in Dubya’s annual racist stage play of deceit every third Monday in January.

 

My personal favorite was the 2003 King Holiday. Within days of the holiday, the Administration announced a bold frontal assault on Affirmative Action by filing a brief against the Affirmative Action Admissions programs for both the University of Michigan and its School of Law. Writing a powerful Five-to-Four opinion upholding the principle of Affirmative Action, Sandra Day O’Connor ended her twenty years of steady opposition to Affirmative Action programs. Within two years, she resigned from the court only to be replaced by Alveda’s choice, Samuel Alito. It is only a matter of time now before Affirmative Action is destroyed by the Roberts Court.

 

Monday, I kept hearing reports of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee being invited to attend King Day services at Ebenezer Baptist Church by a member of “the King Family.” While not identified, I have a hunch that the black fool in question was Alveda. She was the one sitting next to the presidential contender that told White South Carolina Republicans that they shouldn’t tolerate anybody dictating to them about where, when and how to fly the confederate flag. After desecrating the sanctuary with his presence, Huckabee used the occasion to accept the endorsement of a group of black wingnut preachers, the “Coalition of African American Pastors,” a group Alveda has claimed a board membership of on her website.

 

 

This week, Martin Luther King III, “deeply” concerned about politicians misappropriating the legacy of his father, wrote John Edwards a beautiful letter telling him to keep fighting and stay in the race. If he was truly concerned about folks distorting the dream, he would have stopped his Mama from being used by George W. Bush, stopped his sister Bernice from demonizing gays and lesbians, put his foot down to permit the man who paid for his Daddy’s funeral, Harry Belafonte, to eulogize his mother instead of the ignorant patrician in the White House, and done something to put his cousin Alveda in check.

 

As adherents of the drum major for justice who preached non-violence, it would be unseemly for the members of the King family to take Alveda aside and beat her ass until she remembers what the hell the dream is really about. Nevertheless, let me be the first one to say to the King family that all of black America would happily forgive y’all if you laid down the principles of non-violence temporarily to “lay hands” on Alveda with “the love of the Lord.”

 

I won’t tell nobody and I am quite sure that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a King family friend, would help. After all, she has kept her girls outta jail, despite the mess they’ve been involved in, and I’m very sure a discrete word from the mayor to the Po-po would squash it. If Shirley can’t help, somebody can always call Bishop Thomas Weeks, Juanita Bynum’s soon-to-be ex-husband. The way I see it he’ll pop either the question, Alveda, or both.

 

Although I can’t help but lampoon Alveda and make light of this situation for the sake of my fragile sanity, bastardizing Dr. King’s dream is no laughing matter.

Hillary’s Billionaire Minstrel

Standard

Black billionaire Bob Johnson, CEO and founder of the internationally embarrassing Black Entertainment Television, took his turn serving as a blackface minstrel for Hillary Clinton at a South Carolina black church.

Sounding like the fictional Pierre Delacroix in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, he lodged the following bomb at Barack Obama, As an African American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues, when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood, that I won’t say what he was doing in the neighborhood but he said it in his book…”

His allusion to Barack Obama’s youthful indiscretion with drugs, discussed in his book “Dreams of My Father,” is unmistakably clear despite his later denial.

After smearing on another coat of burnt cork and adjusting his snappy corporate minstrel costume, he defended Bill and Hillary against their unjustified and racially patronizing comments that inflamed prominent African Americans like House Majority Whip James Clyburn and former Gore Campaign Manager Donna Brazile. He characterized as crazy the thought that “these two people would denigrate the accomplishments of civil rights marchers.”

In one fell swoop, Johnson unraveled Bill’s and Hillary’s damage control efforts of this weekend. After his remarks were disseminated to the media, they were immediately challenged by the Obama campaign.

They issued a statement from former state representative “I.S.” Leevy Johnson of Columbia, an African American and one of the first blacks elected to the legislature since reconstruction.“It’s offensive that Senator Clinton literally stood by and said nothing as another one of her campaign’s top supporters launched a personal, divisive attack on Barack Obama,” former representative Johnson said. “For someone who decries the politics of personal destruction, she should’ve immediately denounced these attacks on the spot.”

Senator Clinton said on Meet the Press that, “I don’t think this campaign is about gender, and I sure hope it’s not about race. It needs to be about the individuals. Each of us is running for the highest position, the most difficult job in the world. And, you know, I am, I think, very clearly someone who’s gone through a tremendous amount of criticism, you know. That’s fine. I’m more than willing to shoulder that. I think voters and viewers can draw their own conclusions when they watch whatever it is that we are doing.”

We damn sure can draw our own conclusions. Hillary’s calculated actions and those of her surrogates deliberately use criminal stereotypes about black men to raise suspicions and doubt about Obama. Her transparent efforts to manipulate folks into voting for her does not speak well of her or her blackface minstrels.

Lastly, her use of Bob Johnson, a corporate vampire willing to sell out black folks on social security, sends an unmistakable signal to brotha’s like me that another Clinton term will lead to a further evisceration of the social safety net with powerful corporate minstrels like Johnson enlisted to play defense against the financial interests of their own people.