Come on, People

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

Jacqueline Jackson cuts endorsement ad for Hillary Clinton

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South Carolina Hotline is reporting that Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson, independent of her husband and son, has endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton and has cut a Radio ad for her. The text of the ad is below:

JACKSON: This is Jacqueline Jackson. My husband, Rev. Jesse Jackson, is a native of South Carolina. Let me tell you why I decided to support Hillary Clinton for President. As a mother and a grandmother, I know that raising children begins and ends at home. It begins with a loving family that builds esteem. It ends with a woman’ touch that inspires children to make their dreams a reality. That’s why this election is so important. It is also why I believe Hillary Clinton is by far the most qualified candidate to be President in these tough times. Hillary believes that the way we treat our children reflects our nation’s values. For 35 years, Hillary has fought for families. As first lady, she fought for universal health care and fought just as hard to pass the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Women are used to making difficult choices, but this is easy because it’s about what’s best for our families. Join me in supporting Hillary Clinton.

 

 

 

HILLARY: I’m Hillary Clinton, candidate for President, and I approve this message.

 

 

 

ANNOUNCER: Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President

 

###

Mrs. Jackson’s endorsement was pounced on by Hillary’s camp. They’re desperate to demonstrate that they are still technically proficient, have prominent black support, and that they intend to fight tooth and nail for black votes- especially those of black women.

Apollo Holmes gets bail in Darius Miller beatdown case

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Hat Tip: Beth Warren, Atlanta Journal Constitution

The mother of a celebrity fitness trainer critically injured when he was beaten in a Midtown parking lot made an emotional plea to a judge Friday to think of her comatose son before granting bail to a suspect.

Patricia Bonhomme told Fulton County Magistrate Richard Hicks that her only son, Darius Miller, 41, nearly died when his heart stopped, but doctors were able to bring him back.

Doctors at Emory Crawford Long Hospital have told the family Miller may never come out of his vegetative state, Bonhomme said.

“I sit there watching my son suffer,” the mother said. “This violence has to stop. My son is lying there fighting for his life with tubes down him.”

Hicks told the victims’ mother, “I feel for you,” but under Georgia law, he had to grant bail to Apollo Holmes, who has no criminal record. He set it at $100,000.

Holmes, 24, is charged with aggravated assault in the attack on Miller.

Accounts differ regarding what happened the night of Dec. 16 outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs. One thing that is known is that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s two daughters, Kai Franklin Graham, 35, and Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, were present.

In one version, witnesses said a man turned his video camera on Graham, Franklin and a third, unidentified woman, and Miller, a friend of the mayor’s daughters, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

Page Pate, an attorney for 01 Entertainment, a party promoter filming an event at one of the clubs, has told a different story. He said witnesses told him the fight started after the three women became upset when they thought someone was videotaping them leaving a club about 2:30 a.m.

Miller stepped in and tried to take the video camera as several men crowded around him, Pate said. A scuffle ensued, and Miller ended up striking his head on the pavement, the attorney said.

Holmes’ attorney, Bruce Harvey, brought in several witnesses who were ready to testify. The defendant’s newborn son also was brought to court.

But Hicks opted not to hear from the supporters. Besides granting bail to Holmes, the judge assigned him a 6 p.m. curfew and ordered him to live with his mother in Mableton.

Holmes will continue his job at a rug manufacturing plant but cannot keep working nights as a front-desk security guard at a condominium due to the curfew, Harvey said.

Fulton prosecutor Jack Barrs said outside court that the case remains under investigation.

“There are other arrests coming,” Barrs said without elaborating.

Darius Miller still comatose a week after beatdown

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Hat Tip:  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Personal fitness trainer Darius Miller remained in a coma Wednesday, and Atlanta police continued their investigation into his brutal beating in the parking lot at two popular Midtown nightclubs a week earlier.

Officer James Polite, spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, said more arrests were possible, but he did not know how soon.On Monday, 24-year-old Apollo Holmes turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail, two days after a warrant was issued for his arrest on aggravated assault charges.

Miller, 41, was beaten unconscious during a dispute that witnesses said started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside one of the clubs. He remains in critical condition at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, across the street from where he was attacked.

— Rhonda Cook

Apollo Holmes arrested in Darius Miller beatdown, Kai Franklin remains silent

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, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A man wanted in connection with last week’s brutal beating of a personal fitness trainer turned himself in to authorities Monday morning, Atlanta police said.

Apollo Holmes turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail at around 8 a.m., according to Atlanta police spokesman James Polite.

Holmes, 24, has been charged with aggravated assault in the attack early Wednesday on Darius Miller in a parking lot outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs in Midtown Atlanta.

Miller, 41, was attacked during a dispute that witnesses said started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside one of the clubs, He remained in a coma over the weekend at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

Police spokeswoman Judy Pal has said the investigation was continuing and that more arrests were possible.

Holmes was “affiliated” with 01 Entertainment, a party promoter that was videotaping an event the company staged at one of the clubs Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, according to a lawyer for 01 Entertainment.

Attorney Page Pate said Holmes was in the parking lot at the time.

Witnesses said the fight started because of objections to videotaping people leaving the clubs.

But the accounts differ on what happened as Kai Franklin Graham, 35, Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, and a third woman who has not been identified came into an adjoining parking lot at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In one version, witnesses said as soon as a man turned his video camera on the three women, Miller, who has a number of celebrity clients, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

But in a telephone interview Saturday, Pate said 01 Entertainment contends the sisters started the argument that led to Miller’s injuries when Graham and her sister demanded the camera from the man they believed had just photographed them.

The attorney said Miller had gone to retrieve his truck and was not present when the dispute began.

“[The sisters] started arguing with them, saying they were already famous and they don’t need to be famous,” Pate said. “He [Miller] heard the argument between the mayor’s daughters and he jumped into the middle of it.”

Pate said Miller tried to take the camera, and two other people came up to help the photographer.

“I don’t think it was as big of a melee as has been described,” Pate said. “There weren’t a lot of blows thrown.”

Then Miller went to his truck,”saying he wants to air this out,” prompting one of the 01 Entertainment contractors to fear Miller was getting a weapon, Pate said.

“As he [Miller] was trying to go into the passenger seat … he fell down and was wrestling with one of them,” Pate said.

Miller, he continued, “got back up and he fell … He fell back … on the pavement with the back of his head.”

Mayor Franklin stays mum, arrest warrant issued in beatdown involving daughter

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 Hat Tip:  By Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Atlanta police issued an arrest warrant Saturday for a man suspected of brutally beating a personal fitness trainer and putting him into a coma in a dispute that started when Mayor Shirley Franklin’s daughters complained about being videotaped outside a nightclub.

Apollo Holmes, 24, is wanted on an aggravated assault charge for the early Wednesday attack on Darius Miller in a parking lot outside two popular Peachtree Street nightclubs in Midtown Atlanta, police said.

Police spokeswoman Judy Pal said the investigation was continuing and more arrests were possible.

Holmes was “affiliated” with 01 Entertainment, a party promoter that was videotaping an event the company staged at one of the nightclubs on Tuesday, Christmas night, and early the next morning, according to a lawyer for 01 Entertainment.

Attorney Page Pate said Holmes was in the parking lot at the time.

Miller, 41, remained in a coma Saturday at Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

Witnesses said the fight started because of objections to videotaping people leaving the clubs.

But the accounts differ on what happened as Kai Franklin Graham, 35, Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, and a third woman who has not been identified came into an adjoining parking lot at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In one version, witnesses said as soon as a man turned his video camera on the three women, Miller, who has a number of celebrity clients, asked him to stop. At that point, witnesses said, about 10 men attacked Miller.

But in a telephone interview Saturday, Pate said 01 Entertainment contends the sisters started the argument that led to Miller’s injuries when Graham and her sister demanded the camera from the man they believed had just photographed them.

The attorney said Miller had gone to retrieve his truck and was not present when the dispute began.

“[The sisters] started arguing with them, saying they were already famous and they don’t need to be famous,” Pate said. “He heard the argument between the mayor’s daughters and he jumped into the middle of it.”

Pate said Miller tried to take the camera, and two other people came up to help the photographer.

“I don’t think it was as big of a melee as has been described,” Pate said. “There weren’t a lot of blows thrown.”

Then Miller went to his truck, “saying he wants to air this out,” prompting one of the 01 Entertainment contractors to fear Miller was getting a weapon, Pate said.

“As he [Miller] was trying to go into the passenger seat … he fell down and was wrestling with one of them,” Pate said. Miller, he continued, “got back up and he fell again…. He fell back … on the pavement with the back of his head.”

Miller’s publicist hung up the telephone when called for comment Saturday.

Franklin’s daughters have been unavailable for comment since the incident.

On Saturday, the mayor’s office e-mailed a statement from Franklin criticizing the news media. She did not address questions about the latest reports involving her daughters.

“This is an ongoing criminal investigation and as such all comments … are best made to the Atlanta Police Department and not the press,” Franklin said.

“As mayor I stand by APD’s best practice standards for criminal investigations rather than reckless and unprofessional press frenzy,” the statement continued. “As the daughter of an attorney and Pennsylvania judge I stand by my belief that trial by public opinion and reckless media often advance inaccurate and dangerous conclusions.”

Asked about the attorney’s version of what happened, police spokeswoman Pal said, “We’ve got enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant, and we’ll let the justice system handle it from here.”

Pate said the video camera operators did not know the severity of Miller’s injuries or that the mayor’s daughters were involved until Friday, when they saw news accounts of the incident.

“He did not tape the mayor’s daughters,” Pate said of the cameraman in the incident. “He did not even know who they were. I suppose the mayor’s daughters thought they were being taped and became angry.”

Graham pleaded guilty last month to one federal count of illegally structuring a financial transaction. Her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation. She will be sentenced in early 2008.

Pate said his clients will meet with detectives within a few days.

“They didn’t know what was happening,” Pate said. “It got out of control and alcohol fueled it.”

I find it particularly interesting that Mayor Franklin doesn’t feel the need to explain the conduct of her children or why one of her girls is constantly mixed up in some bullshit she has no business being involved in.  Public resources are being used in this matter and the role of the police is not not a private thing that they can keep on the hush hush for long.  A good brotha is in a damn coma and somebody needs to explain why.

Drama continues to stalk Kai Franklin

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 Darius Miller

Hat Tip: By Megan Matteucci, Steve Visser, Atlanta Journal Constitution

A professional fitness trainer with a celebrity clientele —- including Usher and several National Football League players —- remained in a coma Thursday after being severely beaten in a downtown Atlanta parking lot.

Darius Miller, 41, was escorting Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s two daughters about 2:50 a.m. Wednesday when a group of men tried to videotape the women as they left a nightclub on Peachtree Street downtown, according to his cousin, Ken Miller.

“These guys were trying to videotape Shirley Franklin’s daughters and Darius tried to stop them,” Miller said Thursday. “Ten guys ganged up on him. They beat him until he was unconscious.”

Ken Miller was not present when the attack happened, but had eaten dinner with his cousin earlier on Christmas Day. He said he later spoke to several of the women who were with his cousin that night.

Mayor Shirley Franklin confirmed that her daughters, Kai Franklin Graham, 35, and Kali Jamilla Franklin, 29, were with Miller and a couple of friends when the videotaping took place.

The mayor, who said she is skiing in Colorado with her 8-year-old grandson, said she did not know Miller but was concerned about his well-being.

“I’ve talked to my daughters but I don’t know anything officially,” Franklin said. “I don’t know why 15 guys —- or 10 people or five —- would jump on one person regardless of what was said.”

Atlanta police spokesman Officer James Polite said the men turned on Miller “and physically assaulted him to the point where he had to go to the hospital.”

“He was just outnumbered and overpowered,” Polite said.

Miller was taken to nearby Emory Crawford Long Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit Thursday evening.

“We’re trying to wait it out and keep saying our prayers,” Ken Miller said.

Darius Miller had Christmas dinner with his family, including his cousin, and then took Franklin’s two daughters and several other women to Django and Verve, nightclubs on Peachtree.

Darius Miller is a career fitness trainer who also has dabbled in entertainment promotions. He worked at an Atlanta gym for eight to 10 years before starting his own business about five years ago, his cousin said.

According to his cousin, Darius Miller has trained Usher, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Takeo Spikes, former New York Giants player Carlos Emmons and “Cosby Show” star Keisha Knight Pulliam, who visited Miller in the hospital Wednesday, his cousin said.

One of the mayor’s daughters who was with Miller that night was Kai Franklin Graham, who recently pleaded guilty in federal court in South Carolina to money laundering charges involving cash transfers from her ex-husband.

The ex-husband, Tremayne Graham, is serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in Kentucky for his role in a massive cocaine trafficking operation.

Franklin Graham has not yet been sentenced, but under her plea agreement with federal prosecutors she is expected to avoid prison.

Police said the attack on Miller occurred in a parking lot in the 400 block of Peachtree Street, but they would not confirm whether the women involved were Franklin’s daughters.

In a police report released to the media, no information on witnesses was included and the description of the fight said only that the assailants were “videotaping individuals walking to and away from the parking lot.”

Franklin said she did not instruct the police or city officials to cover up information that her daughters were with Miller. Franklin referred all questions to police Chief Richard Pennington or his staff.

“I haven’t talked to anyone officially … and I’m not involved in the investigation,” Franklin said. “Chief Pennington is in charge of his section of the city. … I’m sitting in 100 inches of snow on vacation.”

Police have made no arrests, Polite said. He did not know how many attackers were being sought.

If y’all ask me, the Mayor needs to explain why people keep getting hurt behind her daughter.

A rebuttal

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Recently, I was attacked by a fellow Black blogger for calling out Andrew Young for his  blatant corporate flackery, I didn’t elaborate. This post is meant to be a rebuttal to him and an enumeration of my reasons for denouncing Young. Young’s shameful advocacy on behalf of corporate thieves, corporate killers and African dictators is legendary.   

Others have studied his manifold sins in detail and slammed him in more expansive and eloquent prose than I.   To put it succinctly, Young is multinational crook who conveniently uses the bravery of his youth at the side of Martin Luther King Jr as a public relations shield for the multinational corporate criminals that line his pockets and those of his partners at the Orwellian sounding GoodWorks, International.   

Young was the prime mover behind former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s “Presidential Library,” which is nothing more than a façade for corporate extortion and thievery from the public purse. 

Moreover, Young participated in spinning Nigeria’s last two presidential elections as successes that were rife with fraud and extrajudicial killings.  Lastly, he is bed with corporate thieves and killers like ChevronTexaco, which is being sued by Nigerian nationals for conspiring with Nigerian military security under the command of the former President for killing innocent civilians to protect corporate profits.  

As an ordained minister and man of God, Young knows better than to be cavorting with these people.  His actions tarnish the legitimate sacrifices he made on behalf of our people during the movement and he defecates on Dr. King’s legacy.  I shall not give him a pass. 

Mark, I like you brotha and wish you and your beautiful family happiness and success, but I have nothing good to say about Andrew Young and never will.  He is a fraud, a criminal and a corporate whore that has been faking the funk for years-period.  As an attorney and writer, you’re far too well-educated to believe anything that comes out of his mouth.

Obama’s Christmas Ad

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Going along with the trend that Mike Huckabee started, Barack Obama released a Christmas ad to the voters in the early states. In my minds eye, after nearly a year of campaigning, I’ve envisioned the process of cutting this ad in the following parody.  

1st script, first take 

Michelle: We’re the Huxtables… 

Director: CUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Take two  

Michelle:  We’re the Obamas, coming to you once again to shamelessly pander…….. 

Director: CUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Take three 

Michelle:   We’d like to take a moment to thank you and your family for the curiosity and blank stares displayed on your pasty white faces as you’ve marveled over how my Black, Ivy League educated husband can so articulately express himself in a way that is so raceless and non-threatening. 

Barack:  In this commercialized holiday season, we’re reminded of the conspicuous consumption and right-wing laisse faire capitalism that unites us as a people. It is more powerful and enduring than anything any one candidate will say or do and it damn sure won’t change if you vote for me. So from our bougie Huxtableesque family to yours, I’m the great white liberal hope, Barack Obama and I approved this family friendly propaganda.  

Malia: Merry Christmas 

Sasha: Mama, who y’all talking too?  

Michelle says through clenched teeth: Say your line, baby. 

Sasha: Mama, you didn’t answer my question.

Malia:  Daddy, are we done? Can we go home now? 

Barack through a frozen smile: No, Malia. Sasha, say your line. 

Sasha:  Y’all been frontin for these white folks for a year and I am tired.  When is this gonna be over? 

Director: CUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

The final product. 

Michelle: We’d like to take a moment to thank you and your family for the warmth and friendship that you’ve shown ours, for sharing your hospitality, and your stories.   

Barack: In this holiday season, we’re reminded that the things that unite us as a people are more powerful and enduring than anything that sets us apart and we all have a stake in each other, in something larger than ourselves.  So from our family to yours, I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message. 

Malia: Merry Christmas. 

Sasha: Happy Holidays.

Kai Franklin to avoid jail

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Hat Tip:  By Alan Judd, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Greenville, S.C. —- In November 2004, Kai Franklin Graham’s life was unraveling.

Her husband of three years was a fugitive from justice, charged with operating a transcontinental drug-trafficking ring. One of his co-defendants —- a potential witness against him —- had been shot to death. Federal agents had searched the Grahams’ $650,000 house in suburban Atlanta. And the mortgage was due.

One day, about two weeks after her husband had fled to California, the oldest of Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin’s three children traveled to seven post offices. At each, she bought two $1,000 money orders, a total of $14,000 that she used for house payments. She paid cash.

The money, federal prosecutors said here Monday, came from drug dealing. And the transactions, Franklin Graham admitted to a judge, were designed to evade government reporting requirements that help authorities spot money laundering.

With her mother watching, Franklin Graham, 35, pleaded guilty Monday in a federal courtroom to a single charge of illegally structuring a financial transaction.

“Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty?” U.S. District Judge Henry M. Herlong Jr. asked her.

“Yes, sir,” she said.

Franklin Graham is likely to avoid jail time; her plea agreement calls for her to serve three months of home confinement, followed by three years of probation.

However, “she has to be fully and completely truthful” with federal investigators, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Moore said.

Otherwise, she could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison and be fined up to $250,000. Herlong is expected to sentence her in 60 to 90 days.

Authorities will ask Franklin Graham about a double homicide in Atlanta that is linked to her former husband, Tremayne Graham, 34.

Graham, whom she divorced in 2005, pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2006. He is serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in Kentucky.

Prosecutors have alleged that he ordered the killings of Ulysses Hackett III and his girlfriend, Misty Denise Carter. They were shot to death in Carter’s Virginia-Highland townhouse on Sept. 5, 2004. Hackett was thought to have incriminating evidence against Graham. Atlanta police never solved the case.

Franklin Graham will be asked to disclose what she knows about the killings and other matters, and might have to pass a lie-detector examination.

“We’re going to ask her a number of questions about a number of things,” Moore said outside Greenville’s federal courthouse. “I don’t know what, if any, information she has.”

Her testimony could be important to prosecutors, who might seek a death sentence for Graham or others implicated in the killings.

In court Monday, Franklin Graham was not accused of drug-related offenses.

However, Moore said: “We have looked into all the people who were involved. Not just limited to drug dealers, but people who assisted drug dealers, such as Ms. Franklin Graham.”

More than a dozen people have been convicted for their role in a ring that moved more than 2,200 pounds of Mexican cocaine through Atlanta to South Carolina.

Graham was indicted and arrested in 2004, several months after Hackett was arrested as he delivered cocaine to a “safe house” in Greenville.

On Nov. 12, 2004, 15 days after her then-husband skipped his $400,000 bond, Franklin Graham went to an Atlanta post office and used cash to buy two $1,000 money orders, Moore said in court.

Federal law requires postal officials to tell the Internal Revenue Service about any transaction exceeding $2,000.

Over the next several hours, Franklin Graham visited six more post offices, where she completed identical transactions, ultimately converting $14,000 in cash into money orders. She needed the money orders, Moore said, because her bank would have been required to report a cash payment of more than $10,000.

“This was a clear —- very clear —- transaction,” Moore said later.

The judge asked Franklin Graham whether she had known she was breaking the financial reporting laws.

“Yes,” she said, “in general, your honor.”

“You either did or you didn’t,” Herlong responded.

One of Franklin Graham’s lawyers, Richard Deane, a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta, told Herlong she knew reporting laws existed but not the details.

The guilty plea provided a dramatic coda to a series of indignities for Franklin Graham: personal bankruptcy, forfeiture of her home to the federal government, and the implication that she aided her husband’s drug ring.

Flanked by two lawyers, Franklin Graham stood facing the judge throughout Monday’s 22-minute hearing. Wearing a red turtleneck and black pants, her long, straight hair pulled into a ponytail, she answered Herlong’s questions in a quiet but clear voice.

Her mother watched alone from a second-row bench in the courtroom, her trademark fresh flower in her lapel. Asked outside the courtroom to comment on her daughter’s guilty plea, the mayor politely declined.