Jackson Jr informed on Blagojevich

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sandi

Hat Tip: By Don Babwin, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Shortly after his 2002 election, Gov. Rod Blagojevich told Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. he didn’t appoint the congressman’s wife for lottery director because he had refused to make a $25,000 donation to the governor’s campaign, a person familiar with the conversation told The Associated Press.

“That’s why she’s not getting the job,” the person quoted Blagojevich as saying. The person, a Jackson associate who was interviewed Tuesday by the AP, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing federal investigation.

Jackson’s name has played prominently ever since Blagojevich was arrested last week on corruption charges, including allegations that the governor tried to sell or trade President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for personal gain.

Jackson has been identified as one of the candidates Blagojevich was considering for the seat, and a criminal complaint said his supporters were willing to raise $1.5 million for the governor if he picked the congressman.

The complaint quotes Blagojevich as saying on federal wiretaps that an associate of the candidate offered to raise money for him if he made the Jackson appointment happen.

Jackson spokesman Kenneth Edmonds declined to comment on the account of the exchange shortly after Blagojevich’s 2002 election but said the Democratic congressman, the son of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, has approached federal investigators to discuss the governor and others for years.

“He has shared information with federal prosecutors about public corruption during the past several years, including information about Blagojevich and others,” Edmonds said.

Jackson has openly sought the Senate position but denies initiating or authorizing anyone to promise anything to Blagojevich on his behalf. The congressman has said federal prosecutors told him he is not a target of their investigation.

The Jackson associate interviewed by the AP did not know whether Jackson’s wife, Sandi had asked for the state lottery job. At the time, Blagojevich was the first incoming Democratic governor after years of Republican rule and had scores of state jobs to fill.

“The governor had kind of penciled Sandi in as lottery director and then asked for contributions from the congressman,” the person said.

Sandi Jackson, who has since been elected to the Chicago City Council, did not return a call to her office seeking comment.

In April, the Chicago Tribune reported that an examination of campaign donations to Blagojevich showed that three in four donors who gave exactly $25,000 received administration favors such as state board appointments or contracts.

It’s also the same amount of money that figured prominently in the testimony of a government witness in the political corruption trial this summer of political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko.

Rezko, who raised more than $1 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund, was convicted of shaking down companies seeking state business for campaign contributions.

Congressman Scott defects from Hillary, Lewis on the fence

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Hat Tip: Yahoo, Associated Press, story by David Espo

In a fresh sign of trouble for Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of the former first lady’s congressional black supporters intends to vote for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, and a second, more prominent lawmaker is openly discussing a possible switch.

When Israel was in Egypt’s land,
let my people go;
oppressed so hard they could not stand,
let my people go.

Rep. David Scott’s defection and Rep. John Lewis’ remarks highlight one of the challenges confronting Clinton in a campaign that pits a black man against a woman for a nomination that historically has been the exclusive property of white men.

Go down, (go down) Moses, (Moses)
way down in Egypt’s land;
tell old Hillary
to let my people go!

“You’ve got to represent the wishes of your constituency,” Scott said in an interview Wednesday in the Capitol. “My proper position would be to vote the wishes of my constituents.” The third-term lawmaker represents a district that gave more than 80 percent of its vote to Obama in the Feb. 5 Georgia primary.

“Thus saith the Lord,” bold Moses said,
let my people go;
“if not, I’ll smite your re-election dead,”
let my people go.

Lewis, whose Atlanta-area district voted 3-to-1 for Obama, said he is not ready to abandon his backing for the former first lady. But several associates said the nationally known civil rights figure has become increasingly torn about his early endorsement of Clinton. They spoke on condition of anonymity, citing private conversations.

No more shall they in bondage toil,
let my people go;
let them come out with Egypt’s spoil,
let my people go.

In an interview, Lewis likened Obama to Robert F. Kennedy in his ability to generate campaign excitement, and left open the possibility he might swing behind the Illinois senator. “It could (happen). There’s no question about it. It could happen with a lot of people … we can count and we see the clock,” he said.

We need not always weep and mourn,
let my people go;
and wear those slavery chains forlorn,
let my people go.

Clinton’s recent string of eight primary and caucus defeats coincides with an evident shift in momentum in the contest for support from party officials who will attend the convention. The former first lady still holds a sizable lead among the roughly 800 so-called superdelegates, who are chosen outside the primary and caucus system.

But Christine Samuels, until this week a Clinton superdelegate from New Jersey, said during the day she is now supporting Obama.

Two other superdelegates, Sophie Masloff of Pennsylvania and Nancy Larson of Minnesota, are uncommitted, having dropped their earlier endorsements of Clinton.

On Wednesday, David Wilhelm, a longtime ally of the Clintons who had been neutral in the presidential race, endorsed Obama.

The comments by Scott and Lewis reflect pressure on Clinton’s black supporters, particularly elected officials, not to stand in the way of what is plainly the best chance in history to have an African-American president.

“Nobody could see this” in advance, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking black in Congress, said of Obama’s emergence. He is officially neutral in the race, but expressed his irritation earlier in the year with remarks that Clinton and her husband the former president had made about civil rights history.

One black supporter of Clinton, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, said he remains committed to her. “There’s nothing going on right now that would cause me to” change, he said.

He said any suggestion that elected leaders should follow their voters “raises the age old political question. Are we elected to monitor where our constituents are … or are we to use our best judgment to do what’s in the best interests of our constituents.”

In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

“I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. “Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position” in the future, he added.

Obama and Clinton are in a competitive race for convention delegates. Overall, he has 1,276 in The Associated Press count, and she has 1,220. It takes 2,025 to clinch the nomination.

The New York Times is reporting that John Lewis has left Hillary’s plantation, a notion rebuted today by his press spokeswoman.

Sandi Jackson elected Alderman; Daley re-elected Mayor

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With 80% of the vote in, it appears Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr’s beautiful wife Sandi has been elected Alderman defeating incumbent Darcel Beavers in her bid to retain her daddy’s seat on the Chicago City Council.  Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown was decisively beaten in her bid to unseat the arrogant and corrupt Richard M. Daley in his bid to beat his father’s twenty plus year record as Mayor.  Black folks just punched his ticket for another term without so much as a yawn.    The state of independent and community centered politics in Chicago Black Wards is a joke.  Everybody is languishing on Daley’s plantation and they don’t wanna be free.   Sad.  Very sad. 

Sandi Jackson to run for Alderman

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Jesse Jackson, Jr. > Casual photos photo

The savvy, beautiful, and accomplished Mrs. Sandi Jackson, the wife of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr has filed her paperwork to run for Alderman against the daugther of Alderman Beavers, setting up an interesting contest and another step for the Jackson political dynasty. Mrs. Jackson, an attorney like her husband, is training director for the Democratic National Committee and a shrewd political operative in her own right.   Jesse’s aborted run for Mayor set the stage for Mrs. Jackson’s assent to power.  

Focused on the House of Representatives, I am hoping Congressman Jackson will use the opportunity of Democratic power to challenge his homestate colleague Rahm Emmanuel to become the next Democratic Speaker of the House.  A right-wing DLC Democrat, Emmanuel would be a disaster for progressives.  These two seasoned black politicians could become, in time, the most formidable black power couple in the nation.  As Speaker of the House, Jackson could become the most powerful black politician in the history of the country. Especially if Barack Obama doesn’t make the next ticket.  Jackson has a great set of political skills that uniquely qualify him to turn the Congressional Black Caucus around from a corporate front group into a progressive force.  His actions in the coming years of Democratic control will tell the tale of his suitability and I don’t think he will disappoint.

Mrs. Jackson  personifies the belief that behind every successful black man, is an equally successful and accomplished black woman.

Jesse, Jr. Drops Out

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Acknowledging the reality of new-found Democratic power in Washington, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.  dropped out of the 2007 Chicago Mayoral race against longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley.  The battle of the scions is no more.  I am deeply saddened.  My disappointment in not being able to cover what would have been a historic contest is somewhat mollified by the spectacle toy of democratic power in D.C.  I can actually watch C-SPAN again without clenched teeth.  Yea!!!!!!!!!!

#1 The Congressional Black Caucus is falling down on the job

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Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-Miami) is sworn in as a Member of the 109th Congress with Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York and Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen of the Virgin Islands.  Members of the Congressional Black Caucus participated in a mock ceremony at the Library of Congress on Tuesday, January 4, 2005.

 “Where there is no vision, the people perish”-Proverbs 29:18

The Politics of Division

The Congressional Black Caucus, according to the CBC monitor, has transformed into the  “Corporate Black Caucus” , due in large part to the nefarious tentacles of the “racist and rightwing Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). The DLC was created after the Reagan years to move the Democratic Party more to the right and to do this they have unleashed the corporate hounds to payoff Black faces  to perform for them what whites cannot. ” 

We can see ample evidence of this nefarious corporate influence and lack of black unity in the glaring disparity of support for two members of the CBC attempting to move up to the U.S. Senate, an elected body called, “the greatest deliberative body in the world” that has only elected five African Americans in 216 years. The U.S. Senate is the most stunning example of the power of white privilege and social connections.   The top three richest Senators are Democrats with a combined net worth of at least $1.193 billion dollars.

Given the millionaires club atmosphere of Congress, 123 members of the House of Representatives are also millionaires, you’d think that Black members of Congress would do their part to show some love to their contemporaries tryin’ to move up the rough side of the political mountain.  Not so.

Former NAACP President and former Congressman Kwesi Mfume ran for the U.S. Senate this year as did a younger, brasher contemporary, Harold Whore, Jr.  Who do y’all think the CBC showed more love to, the one who used to lead them as Chairman, or the Corporate Whore?

You guessed it, the Whore.  Most members of the CBC vote differently than Ford on the vast range of issues, yet they still support the Charlatan in their midst. CBC members gave $36,268 to Harold Whore, Jr. Barack Obama and Charlie Rangel gave nearly $19,000 alone. 

Hall of Shame

If they were trying to treat both men equally, which Ford doesn’t deserve, the following contributors would have given to both him and Mfume.  The following gave only to Ford: Dianne Watson, Kendrick Meek, Gregory Meeks, Sanford Bishop, Emmanuel Cleaver, Alcee Hastings,  Barbara Lee, Barack Obama, Charlie Rangel and former Congressman Bill Clay whose successor, his son, told the Hill newspaper that he and his father would both support Mfume, but neither came through with enough money to show up on a disclosure report.

There are 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barack Obama in the Senate and 42 members in the House. Nine members of the CBC gave contributions to Kweisi Mfume.  Yes, that’s right, I said Nine.  Of the $1.3 million raised by Mfume, $16,500 came from Black members of congress.  That’s about 1%. 

Mfume’s heroes

Mfume’s contributors represent a heroes and sheroes roster: Elijah Cummings, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Chaka Fattah, Danny Davis, Corrine Brown, Mel Watt, Don Payne and Bobby Scott.  I find this list fascinating because it says so much about us as a people. 

Prominent black and white celebrities stepped up. The white creator of Good Times and the Jeffersons, Norman Lear, gave $2,100,  Black Billionaire Bob Johnson and Debra Lee, the corporate chieftains of BET, gave over $17,000 between the two of them, more than the entire CBC.  Black Publishing executives, Susan Taylor of Essence, Linda Johnson Rice of Ebony and Jet, and Earl Graves, Sr of Black Enterprise gave $19,300 between them.  Friend of Bill Clinton, Atty Vernon Jordan and Michael Jordan’s wife Juanita gave as well.

Mfume came within 3.2% of winning that primary against five white opponents who raised nearly $12.5 million against him.  He was outspent by nearly 12 to 1 and almost won. 

The Washington beltway crowd and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee led the charge against Mfume.  Mfume’s two leading white opponents Ben Cardin and Josh Rales spent over $11 million to defeat him.  Rales spent millions of his own money. Cardin raised over $373,000 from Members of Congress alone, including two Uncle Tom’s in the CBC, Alcee Hastings and Kendrick Meek.  A single white Senator, Blanche Lambert Lincoln, gave Mfume a contribution so it wouldn’t look so obvious that Senate Democrats were attempting to prevent a qualified and respected former Black Congressman from being elected. The white power structure conspired through negative press coverage and aggressive arm twisting of potential donors to damage Mfume’s candidacy. With all of that going for him, Cardin barely won the primary.

Jesse Jackson, Sr, whose son also sits in the Congressional Black Caucus gave so little to Mfume that it didn’t show up on a disclosure report, or gave him nothing at all.   I find that astounding.  I have always had great respect for Jesse.  It wasn’t too long ago that Mfume and Jackson were leading marches together.   He found time for Ned Lamont, a white Connecticut Millionaire running against Senator Joe Lieberman. So did Maxine Watersand Al Sharpton.  Lamont is not going to ultimately defeat Lieberman, so these people wasted their time and effort on a white candidate that cannot win and didn’t help a black candidate that could. 

It makes no sense that Kweisi Mfume was struggling for cash while Harold Whore, Jr is buoyed by a river of special interest cash $7.3 millon dollars greater. Similarly, I hope Barack Obama doesn’t think these Negroes are gonna help him get elected President.  Left to their own devices, they will do for him what they did for Mfume: next to nothing.

Our Black leadership is hopelessly fractured and leading in opposite directions that usually lead to the same right-wing corporate cul de sac.  They can’t even support each other based on general principle, is it any wonder that they don’t support or represent us?

Where in God’s name is the vision?   The distorted and confused amalgamation of leaders and positions is disheartening.  We are marinating in the aftermath of two Presidential Elections in which significant questions of black and brown voter suppression exist and these Black politicians can’t even get it together enough to fight that and support each other at the same time for election to the Senate, where the community has never had adequate representation.

Manning Marable teaches us that, ” Oppressed people learn strategies for survival: if they do not learn, they perish.”  If these highly educated people cannot navigate these shallow waters, how can they fight poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, Globalization and the rest of the ailments to the black diaspora?