The Case Against Lori Lightfoot

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There is something to be said for good marketing. It can turn a corporate lawyer for a Republican congressional redistricting lawsuit, a defense attorney for a crooked Chicago cop, and a law enforcement stooge of Rich Daley and Rahm Emanuel into a progressive defender of all that is right and just. Good marketing can pull the wool over the eyes of many, win an endorsement from the Chicago Sun-Times, and boost a fraudulent chameleon and opportunist into a runoff with a real progressive.

The Daughter Also Rises: Liz Cheney, Crown Princess of Plutocracy and Duchess of Endless War

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Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney is the daughter of the most reviled but most effective Washington power broker since LBJ, former Vice President Dick Cheney. She rapidly ascended into the House Republican leadership without opposition after a single term by pushing another woman aside. An unaccredited Bible college graduate like poor Cathy McMorris Rogers couldn’t compete with the scion of a budding Republican dynasty. As Chairman of the House Republican Conference, Liz becomes the newest token woman in a GOP House leadership of faceless suits, but she’s anything but a token, she’s the understudy of a taciturn master in the dark art of right-wing Washington power politics and together they’ve placed her in the same leadership position her father once held.

This isn’t solely about the backroom dealings of a Republican Congresswoman with an influential Daddy. It’s about the long game they’ve been playing for 18 years. Dick has been preparing the University of Chicago trained lawyer to assume control of the family business. She’s been Daddy’s work wife for two decades. Her service in the Bush-Cheney transition and Administration as Principal Deputy Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs gave her a thorough grounding in the reality of our national security state and our role as the world’s remaining imperialist and hegemonic superpower. She’s been at his side through an official biography, memoir, and co-author of a hawkish foreign policy treatise that’s more of a love letter to Republican neo-Cons than it is a serious policy manifesto.

The Crown Princess of Plutocracy and Duchess of Endless War is really making a bid for America’s Throne: The Presidency. To do that she needs to gently and surreptitiously ease out the current Russian-Backed Republican Royal family of dynastic greed and corruption and assert her own hereditary claim to the throne like an English Princess in a Royal House in Phillipa Gregory’s historical fiction.

What that means is that as Mueller’s noose and more than a dozen criminal investigations collude to strangle Trump’s presidency to death, she sets herself up to defend and fortify Mike Pence as the next President so that he can tap her to replace him. Whether they win or lose, Liz Cheney will have the stature to pursue the presidency on her own in the next election and the dynastic heft to unify her party behind her like an American Margaret Thatcher.

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The case against Keisha Lance Bottoms

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Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms is the current face of Atlanta’s decaying 44 year-old regime of corporate sponsored Black leadership. Endorsed by current Mayor Kasim Reed, the personification of Cosbyesque Pound Cake Conservatism, Keisha Lance Bottoms — young, gifted, and Black, fits the mold of telegenic, well-spoken tokens Atlantans always vote for.

Kasim and Keisha’s scheming to put her in the Mayor’s office would be an excellent successor to House of Cards or Scandal. I’m sure Shonda Rhimes could whip something up on the fly. Kasim brought the full weight of his Machiavellian brilliance to bear in destroying Keisha’s progressive rival Vincent Fort, and establishment threat Ceasar Mitchell. He managed all this while presiding over a massive bid rigging scandal, complete with indictments.

Atlanta’s Hillary Clinton, former Republican Mary Norwood, is the indefatigable obstacle standing between Keisha and the prize she’s had her eye on for years.

The second rise of Mary Norwood, and two other serious White contenders, foreshadows the loss of Georgia’s crown jewel of Black power and influence, and is exhibit A in why shitting on the Black poor for forty years, criminalizing homelessness and poverty, destroying public housing, and conspiring with the forces of gentrification is ultimately self-defeating. If you want to be HNIC, you should make damn sure there are plenty of Negroes to be in charge of.

Atlanta Mayors Young, Campbell, and Reed

The Black leadership class in the Black mecca of Atlanta, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr, was never as electrifying, thoughtful, and progressive as he was. The current malignancy, which masquerades as legitimate Black leadership, was formed from the embers of the civil rights movement following the assassination of Dr. King.

Once upon a time, Black politicians fought for “the least of these,” in keeping with the example of Dr. King’s poor people’s campaign, and his solidarity marches with Black working-class sanitation workers in Memphis before his death.

Atlanta sanitation workers, like those Dr. King died defending, fought for collective bargaining rights, and fair wages. Their strikes and demands caused swift reprisals from then Mayor Sam Massell, the city’s last White mayor. He fired Black sanitation workers and brought in scabs. 

Maynard Jackson, then a City Councilman, cynically used his defense of the sanitation workers to create a name for himself, and marshal the Black community to defeat Massell for re-election. As Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Jackson betrayed the same sanitation workers, broke their strike, rebuffed their demands for fair pay, and hid behind the vocal support of Martin Luther King Sr, all while forging an incestuous relationship with the corporate power structure that got him reelected, and endures to this day.

Four decades of collusion with the corporate power structure has led us to this moment of gentrification, displacement, divestment, disillusionment, and quite frankly, delusion.

Black leadership in Atlanta has come to resemble the ostentatious greed & bullshit prosperity pimps that sell champagne wishes & caviar dreams to the desperate masses at the Black megachurches the area is known for.

Preserving Black power in Atlanta isn’t worth the cost if the price of a ticket is Keisha Lance Bottoms. A professional handkerchief head like her has about as much to offer Black people as the Wizard of Oz, or in our case, the Wiz.

We should ease on down the road that Black leadership depravity has paved, and vote for the White lady. She couldn’t possibly be any worse.

 

Julian Bond 1940-2015

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Horace Julian Bond, Civil Rights Icon, Politician, Writer, and University Lecturer, succumbed to a brief illness on Saturday night at the age of 75. A founder of the legendary Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committe, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, Julian Bond used his life and his activism to blaze a trail of compassionate principle for more than 50 years. Julian MLK

Civil Rights wasn’t a hustle to Julian, but a calling and a way of life. Had Dr. King lived, I believe that his life and work would have had the same selfless contours as Julian Bond’s.

The Black Lives Matter Activists of today would do well to use Julian Bond’s life of activism and his writings as a blueprint for the power that they’re seeking. He understood the implacability of White Supremacy and what it took to force change:

Movements are not built on the helpful motions of a few, but by the determined actions of the mass. The chance at power comes in this country not in seizing a dean, but in seizing a welfare office; from organizing a strike of domestic workers; from beginning the arduous process of transferring strength and power from those who have it to those who do not.

This is not easy work. It is not easy because no one wants to do it. In an era of doing your own thing, no one wants to work with and for those whose thing is simply winning and maintaining the right to live. It means more than just a commitment  of summer soldiers, although any soldiers are welcome in an understaffed army. It will require serious and systemic allocations of time and energy and resources.

It will require that rhetoric be turned into action, that school-book knowledge be applied to street situations, that theories be turned into practice.

It will require that politics comes to mean poeple and their problems, and not just elections and candidates.

It will require that we build a movement strong enough to take over in a peaceful and orderly fashion…

…And it will require that each of us  keep in mind a prophecy written by the late Langston Hughes–that dreams deferred do explode. For if this dream is deferred much longer, then an explosion certainly will come.

Bond put his rhetoric into practice by fighting for and winning a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965. The segregationists of the day refused to seat him on the pretext that he opposed the War in Vietnam and was unable to swear an oath to U.S. and Georgia Constitutions. He fought them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won in a unanimous decision.  He eventually served in both Houses of the Georgia Legislature and used his seat to push for maximization of voting rights, majority-minority congressional districts, and state legislative seats that better reflected Georgia’s population.

A full-spectrum progressive, Julian Bond, like Coretta Scott King, believed in full rights for LGBT individuals and that any exclusion of gay individuals from the promise of liberty was discriminatory. As a man of principle, Bond refused to attend the funeral of Mrs. King at Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church because of Bishop Long’s flamboyant and aggressive anti-gay crusades, which later became a bitter joke after lawsuits by young men in the church accused Bishop Long of coercing them into sexual relationships.

Bond is survived by his wife Pamela and his five children from his first marriage, one of whom, Michael, followed his father into public service as a member of the Atlanta City Council.

Alma Adams: Newest Member of the Congressional Black Caucus

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Tuesday saw the election of NC State Representative Alma Adams (D-Guilford), as the next congresswoman from North Carolina’s 12th congressional district.

182 of 182 precincts – 100 percent

x-Alma Adams 14,927 – 44 percent

Malcolm Graham 7,482 – 22 percent

George Battle 4,426 – 13 percent

Marcus Brandon 2,974 – 9 percent

James Mitchell 2,032 – 6 percent

Curtis Osborne 1,934 – 6 percent

 

Adams, 67, a veteran member of the North Carolina General Assembly, succeeds Mel Watt, who resigned after being appointed by President Obama as the head of the federal Housing Finance Authority.

Adams, a retired college professor, is known for her colorful personality, forceful manner, and her distinctive hats. A former chairman of the NC Legislative Black Caucus, I predict that she’ll make a mark quickly and will chair the Congressional Black Caucus within 4 years.  In succeeding Watt, she presents a sharp contrast. Watt is known for his unassuming manner and for surprising constituents and others by personally answering the phones in his congressional office.  Adams, on the other hand, is rather imperious and known in Raleigh as someone difficult to work for.

This race should have ended differently. Given the footprint that Charlotte has in the 12th Congressional District, this race was State Senator Malcolm Graham’s to lose and he lost it. He never consolidated his base and Greensboro State Representative Marcus Brandon was never a threat to Alma’s despite his strong fundraising. His humiliating 9% showing was the shock of the evening.

 

 

Leon Jenkins Resigns In Disgrace

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Los Angeles NAACP President Leon Jenkins has resigned amid scrutiny surrounding the organization’s decision to give awards to disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

In his letter of resignation Thursday evening, Jenkins said the “legacy, history and reputation of the NAACP is more important to me than the presidency. In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused … I respectfully resign my position as president of the Los Angeles NAACP.”

The group granted Sterling an award in 2009, the same year the real estate magnate and L.A. Clippers owner paid $2.73 million to settle U.S. government claims that he refused to rent his apartments in Koreatown to Latinos and blacks.

The chapter was set to give Sterling a second award when a recording emerged in which a man said to be Sterling asked a female friend not to publicly associate with African Americans.

While Jenkins was a Detroit judge, he was indicted in 1988 on federal bribery, conspiracy, mail fraud and racketeering charges, according to records from the State Bar of California.

Authorities at the time alleged that Jenkins received gifts from those who appeared in his court and committed perjury, according to the records.

He was acquitted of criminal charges, but in 1994 the Michigan Supreme Court disbarred him, finding “overwhelming evidence” that Jenkins “sold his office and his public trust,” according to the bar records.

Jenkins was practicing law in California in 1991, serving as an attorney to the family of Latasha Harlins, an African American girl who was fatally shot by a Korean grocery store owner in South L.A., according to Times reports at the time.

In 1995, the state bar began looking into the misconduct allegations from Michigan. He was disbarred in 2001. He tried to be reinstated in 2006 but was rejected, according to records. He made another attempt in 2012.

Earlier this month, the bar turned him down, questioning whether he had the “moral fitness to resume the practice of law,” according to records. The bar stated that he had made misrepresentations on divorce papers and on his petition for reinstatement to the bar. Officials said he failed to disclose a $660,000 loan he owed former legal clients.

In his efforts to win back his law license, Jenkins said he was a rehabilitated man and a force for good in the community.

He said he’s raised $2 million for the NAACP’s 2011 national convention in Los Angeles. He also cited work with organizations that helped African Americans, including youth mentoring programs and voter outreach.

On the L.A. NAACP’s website, a biography for Jenkins notes he was “the youngest African American judge to serve in Michigan” but does not mention his legal troubles.

Jenkins did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.

Donald Sterling’s House Negro: Leon Jenkins

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By now you’ve heard of the toxic swirl of racism surrounding Billionaire Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. What you may not have heard about is the complicity of the Los Angeles NAACP in covering up for this infamous racist with a public relations problem. In 2009, the same year that Sterling settled a federal housing discrimination case, the largest in history, the LA NAACP gave Mr. Sterling a “lifetime achievement award.” Sterling, in fact, has paid out more than $8 million in housing discrimination cases related to his extensive real-estate holdngs. Apparently the President of Los Angeles NAACP, Leon Jenkins, felt this record of hate was worthy of celebration. The billionaire racist was so outstanding by Jenkins lights that he was set to award the bastard with yet another “lifetime achievement award” this year.

Donald Sterling is what happens when you make a disbarred attorney and defrocked judge the president of civil rights organization. The California State Bar picks up the story:

Jenkins was admitted to practice in Michigan in 1979 and in California the following year. In 1984, he was appointed a district court judge in Michigan, a position equivalent to a municipal court judge in California before courts here were unified. The Michigan Supreme Court found that between 1984 and 1987, Jenkins “systematically and routinely sold his office and his public trust, . . . committed wholesale violations of the most elementary canons of judicial conduct, and brought grave dishonor upon this state’s judiciary.”

The court found that he accepted bribes to dismiss traffic citations, intentionally misstated his address to get a reduction in his auto insurance premiums, solicited an individual for whom he fixed traffic tickets to commit perjury in a federal investigation of Jenkins’ conduct, engaged in improper communications with parties and counsel regarding matters coming before him, improperly accepted gifts and favors from litigants and counsel who appeared before him, and signed a writ of habeas corpus to release from custody someone he believed to be a close friend without adequate information about the case.

Although Jenkins was prosecuted twice in federal court, he was not found guilty. In 1991, between the two trials, he was removed from the bench by the Michigan Supreme Court. Three years later, after an 11-day hearing before the state’s discipline board, his license was revoked. The following year, disciplinary proceedings began in California under a statute which permits professional misconduct in another jurisdiction to be considered in a disciplinary proceeding in this state.

California subsequently disbarred Jenkins in 2001. He remains disbarred to this day. He is a crook and a charlatan that has sought to regain his lost prestige and credibility by remaking himself into a civil rights leader. Jenkins was elected President of the LA NAACP in 2008 and wasted no time in cozying up to billionaire racist Donald Sterling.  He put his considerable charm and people skills to use to promote a racist at the expense of the organization’s mission. The billionaire, looking to clean up his tarnished image, opened his considerable pockets and broke Jenkins off a piece. This unconscionable corruption is grounds for immediate suspension by the national NAACP of all LA NAACP branch officers. The NAACP wouldn’t have to whore itself out to corporations and billionaire racists to stay afloat if it was actually doing something.