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.
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.
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:
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.
Voters in the nation’s capital city rebuked the President’s homie, Mayor Adrian Fenty. Formally, we call what took place yesterday an election. I call it an orgy of ignorance. I am a race man to the core but what happened yesterday is unfathomable.
One of my home girls called me last night from D.C., and I asked her who she voted for. The answer, of course, was Vincent Gray, the aging quadroon who is Chairman of the City Council. I knew it was over without looking at a single return. I could not help berating her. Lacking conviction in her vote and stung by my attack she asked, “Why you ain’t call me?” I should have said that I thought she had better sense than to throw out a decent brotha over a vague sense of racial grievance. The crap about gentrification and Fenty’s cabinet appointments are just blackfolks venting about the common misconception that Adrian is a House Negro too beholden to whitefolks.
Fenty’s loss is a triumph of style over substance because Gray certainly had no real programmatic objections that he chose to share. Fenty lost for two reasons: 1) His hard charging and humorless style rubbed too many the wrong way. 2) The unconscious desire of the black community to crucify a scapegoat because of their economic anxiety during this brutal recession. Blackfolks convinced themselves that their black college educated Black Mayor with the black wife and kids did not care about black people.
I firmly believe that if Adrian Fenty had been caught by the FBI in a roach motel with a chickenhead and a crack pipe–he would have been re-elected in a landslide. There would have been no question that Adrian was sufficiently black enough to vote for. Functioning schools, tolerable crime, a responsive city government, and a healthy business climate are apparently anti-black instruments meant to oppress and demean black people.
I suppose having a Black Mayor who does not embarrass us with his extramarital affairs, ungrammatical profundity, and serial incompetence are a naïve expectation. I know it is unreasonable to expect that black folks would vote for a Black Mayor maniacally focused on making the city function properly by appointing people, regardless of race, who know what they are doing.
Fenty’s installation of Michelle Rhee, a Korean American, as Chancellor of the DC Schools, was a bridge too far. She single-handedly turned around one of the most catastrophically inadequate urban school systems in the country by demanding excellence and holding teachers accountable for black student success. She even had the temerity to fire bad teachers. We cannot have that. Rather than graduate school prepared for a career, it is better for the community if Black children drop out of school and remain trapped in a cycle of poverty. Politicians get bonus points if a disproportionate number of Black children end up dead or in jail.
Things were definitely better in the District during the halcyon days of the Barry Administration. Those were the days when the city was on autopilot. Nearly every city agency was under federal receivership because of gross mismanagement, and a congressionally appointed control board unaccountable to the people controlled the purse strings. At least Barry was pro-Black, whatever that is supposed to mean.
In addition to Kilpatrick, her aide Andrea Bragg received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan. The congresswoman’s son is former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose actions as mayor are being investigated by federal prosecutors.
Kilpatrick said she’ll have no further comment.
Though grand jury matters are secret, legal observers said Thursday it is likely the subpoenas relate to an ongoing federal investigation of the congresswoman’s son, and possibly her ex-husband, business consultant Bernard N. Kilpatrick.
There is no legal privilege that makes communications between a mother and son confidential, and the spousal privilege would only apply up to the time Bernard Kilpatrick and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick were not divorced, said Detroit attorney David Griem, a former federal and state prosecutor.
Griem speculated the subpoenas may be related to recent cash fundraising involving tens of thousands of dollars to cover the former mayor’s restitution payments that Cheeks Kilpatrick was involved in, according to media reports.
“I’m not sure of the propriety of a U.S. congresswoman spearheading such an effort on behalf of a family member, especially when the money is given in cash,” Griem said Thursday.
Most of Kilpatrick’s recent restitution payments from his state obstruction of justice conviction came in the form of money orders, many purchased by family members. Griem said he wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who purchased those money orders was subpoenaed before the grand jury.
Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit, notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the subpoena in a letter March 1 but made it public Wednesday.
“After consulting with my attorney, I will make the determinations required” under House rules about how to respond, the congresswoman wrote in the March 1 letter. Members are required to report being subpoenaed, and the House clerk read Cheeks Kilpatrick’s notice as is customary.
The reading did not explain the matter in which she was being subpoenaed.
Cheeks Kilpatrick’s office said they had no comment on the subpoena or its contents.
The congresswoman’s son is former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, whose actions as mayor are being investigated by federal prosecutors.
Kwame Kilpatrick’s new spokesman, Mike Paul, who is from a New York public relations firm, said this morning that Kwame Kilpatrick has made no comment about his mother being served a grand jury subpoena.
Cheeks Kilpatrick office manager Andrea Bragg disclosed her subpoena to House officials March 1. The notice was published Tuesday in the Congressional Record.
Bragg said she would comply with the subpoena while Cheeks Kilpatrick said she is consulting an attorney on how to respond.
Michigan State Senator Hansen Clarke, according to his facebook page, is gathering volunteers and gearing up to challenge Michigan Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the mother of scandal plagued former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. It is my contention that Mrs. Kilpatrick is in serious danger of losing her seat in the August Primary.
The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is facing a formidable challenger. Clarke, 52, a biracial brotha of East Indian and African American descent, is a gifted, low-key politician with a progressive record of achievement in the Michigan Legislature. Clarke sponsored legislation to impose a two-year moratorium on foreclosures that disproportionately plague black and brown communities. Moreover, he introduced a bill to expand hate crimes laws to protect those targeted on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression. Clarke challenged Kwame for Mayor in 2005 and made a brief run for Governor this year before he ended his candidacy. This is a race he can win. If he goes forward and files, and has the field all to himself, the odds are heavily in his favor.
ADDENDUM: Rangel gave up his gavel this morning. He announced at a morning presser that he wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for a leave of absence, which is shorthand for saying “I was forced to step aside against my will but agreed to give the House Democratic Leadership political cover for the good of the party.”
The unspeakable evil that is Harold Ford, Jr. has formally ended his “exploratory campaign” challenging Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Let the Church say, Amen. There has never been a corporate whore more skilled in the art of seduction as Harold Ford, Jr. He was so close to regaining a foothold on power. Ford’s bid collapsed under the weight of his opportunistic lies, galactic narcissism, rank hypocrisy and the threat of a general election challenge from the right in the person of Billionaire New York Daily News Owner Mortimer “My-Only-Concern-Is-Israel” Zuckerman. I hope The Devil’s Advocate slithers back to the pit of Hell and den of Wall Street thieves from whence he came.
The Devil’s advocate made a triumphant return to MSNBC’s Morning Joe today. Mika all but threw her panties at Harold as he walked on set and eagerly complied with her request for a kiss in a way that made it seem there might be an assignation in their future. It went downhill from there.
Wall Street’s crown prince of deception put on a brave face as he gravely recounted his brief foray into the rough and tumble of New York politics. Harold laid it on thick as he described his harrowing trial by fire as the victim of party bosses and unnamed insiders maneuvering against an altruistic bid to push Kirsten Gillibrand down a flight of stairs so that he could better serve the people of New York.
Joe Scarborough and Newsweek’s John Meacham played their assigned roles as keepers of the flame of Harold’s burning ambition. Poor Melissa Harris Lacewell could hardly get a word in edgewise and never laid a glove on the pedicured prince. Mika, delirious with jungle fever, acted as though MSNBC hired her to play footsie with Harold under the table. After it was over, I ran to the bathroom and blew chunks into the toilet.
The Devil’s advocate is biding his time. I see a UN Ambassadorship in his future. If Hillary is serious about serving just one tour as Secretary of State, and Susan Rice is elevated to succeed her, there will be a vacancy at the UN. Harold would be the perfect fit. The UN Ambassador’s stately Manhattan residence has cachet and is the perfect place to cement his ties to the powerbrokers of New York. Moreover, he could shamelessly showcase his fealty to Israel’s war crimes and seal the cracks left by Kirsten Gillibrand’s brief flirtation with J Street, AIPAC’s moderate rival for the leadership of the Israel lobby.
Kirsten’s foolish schoolgirl flirtation with a dangerous J Street thug and Harold’s brief challenge left the door open for Mort-My-Only-Concern-Is-Israel-Zuckerman to challenge Gillibrand from the right. It is clear that the Devil’s Advocate expects Gillibrand to lose and for a 78-year-old Mortimer Zuckerman to stand down in six years.
Senator Gillibrand just appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show in rebuttal to the Devil’s Advocate. The gloating over her vanquished Negro rival was short lived and she had no real answer to the question of how she could defeat a billionaire’s bankroll. Andrea’s questions stripped Gillibrand naked in front of a national audience and her manifest weakness as a candidate was made plain. Girlfriend is doomed.
In a private meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Durbin told Burris that the growing controversy over his appointment would make it difficult for him to continue serving in the Senate. Durbin also expressed disappointment that Burris did not reveal his extensive contacts and his fund raising efforts for the ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appointed him to the seat on Dec. 30.
“I told him that under the circumstances, I would consider resigning if I were in his shoes,” Durbin said. “He said he would not resign. That is his conclusion. At this point, I suggested to him that he had to do everything in his power to bring all the facts out as completely as possible.”
Durbin warned Burris that he would lose a Democratic primary if he were to run in 2010, but Burris said he has not made a decision on whether to run next fall.
The meeting was a remarkable chapter in the controversy involving Blagojevich, the ousted former governor who was arrested last December for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich defied party leaders Dec. 30 by announcing that Burris was his choice to fill Obama’s seat, setting off a battle over whether the Senate should seat Burris. Under enormous pressure, Democratic Senate leaders seated Burris and swore him in on the condition he present valid paperwork and testify truthfully before state legislators in the Blagojevich impeachment case.
Some Senate Democrats are now privately regretting that they relented and seated Burris in the first place.
The most recent controversy started Feb. 14 when news broke that Burris had submitted an affidavit saying he’d spoken with several Blagojevich associates, including the governor’s brother, Rob, about his interest in the seat. That statement appeared to diverge from his Jan. 8 testimony to state legislators where he only discussed one contact with the former governor.
And last week, Burris dropped another bombshell saying he tried to raise money for the then-governor at the time of expressing his interest in the seat.
“The fact that he did not volunteer – volunteer the names like people like Rod Blagojevich’s brother was troubling to me,” Durbin said.
“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 FantasyIsland.
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 FantasyIsland 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 FantasyIsland:
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 FantasyIsland.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.
It has been several days now and I’ve had time to chill and collect my thoughts.During that time, I have come to realize that my opposition to the seating of Roland Burris as the Junior Senator from Illinois is a mistake and a histrionic reaction to Rod Blagojevich’s mischievous and Machiavellian appointment of a qualified African American.
There is no way in hell that accepting Blagojevich’s appointment was the rational act of a black politician concerned about fair black representation in the upper house.Instead, it was the juvenile and selfish maneuvering of a washed up politician who equates the legitimate desire of the African American community to be represented by at least one African American Senator with his appointment. They are not one and the same.
The man or woman chosen to replace the President Elect should have been academically, politically, and professionally the best our community could put forward.Burris fails on that score.He is relatively undistinguished but qualified and is definitely over the hill.
But what’s done is done and the President Elect and the Democratic Caucus need to deal rationally with the unsavory politics of this appointment without casting aspersions, as many, including me, have done.
This is a legally unassailable appointment. Period. Rod Blagojevich retained the legal authority to make this selection and he made it because the Illinois legislature declined to strip him of this authority.Given the time-frame he constitutionally has to decide whether he would sign or veto any piece of legislation, he probably would have been able to stall long enough to make the appointment anyway and we would still be here.Most reasonable folk understand that he had no moral authority, but the law doesn’t require that.
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the dime on Blagojevich the other day. Reid actively maneuvered against any African American appointment.He opposed Jesse, Danny Davis, and Emil Jones. The fact of the matter is that no Senate Democratic leader has done any heavy lifting to benefit a black Senatorial candidate in a contested situation.Nobody has ever attempted to clear the field to benefit a brotha or sistah.Nobody has ever attempted to dry up a white candidate’s fundraising to help out a black senate candidate. It happens for whites all the time.Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, actively sought to dry up Kweisi Mfume’s money to benefit Ben Cardin in 2006.
The Senate Majority Leader has never done anything to benefit a black Senate candidate before appointment or before a contested primary.It’s a damn shame I didn’t see that before, but I see it now.Despite Bobby Rush’s clumsy, cartoonish injection of race into the initial press conference—he happens to be right.He also happens to be the worst messenger of the truth because of his unwillingness to support Barack Obama for this seat in the first place.
Rikyrah, CPL, y’all are right, and I was wrong.
What is baffling to me though is why some of the same black people who advocate seating Burris don’t castigate Barack Obama for siding against qualified black representation.
I seriously doubt that the Wayans Brothers or the writers of MAD TV could have written a funnier spoof than yesterday’s orgy of idiocy featuring Rod “Governor Soprano” Blagojevich, Roland Burris and Bobby Rush.To borrow a phrase from the always-quotable Christopher Hitchens, this appointment is a “ludicrous embarrassment.”
The presser was a comedians dream and the clumsy injection of race by Congressman Bobby Rush was sadder than it was despicable.First, seeing how Bobby has physically suffered from throat cancer was heart breaking, but his reasons for supporting Blagojevich in his bulls*it was even more tragic.Poor Bobby is clearly suffering from chemo brain because Blagojevich’s bipolar antics have grown more outrageous with time, and his latest stunt is as disingenuous as it is insane. I’m with Mary Mitchell in believing that Rod Blagojevich dosen’t give rat’s arse about fair representation and he is desperately trying to disprove the allegations of extortion and contract fraud against him.It won’t work. His career is over and nothing he says or does will ever change that.
Unfortunately for Rod Blagojevich, Roland Burris is not a Magic Negro capable of absolving his manifold sins although he would like him to be. (One needs to be a palatable, focus grouped, establishment Negro creation of David Axelrod capable of raising $750 million dollars to be a proper receptacle for white liberal fantasies of racial absolution.) Burris is an uninspiring and irascible functionary that has let his ego get the better of him.
Burris has had a damn chip on his shoulder ever since he was defeated for the Democratic Nomination for Governor in 1994, a Republican year in which no Democrat would have prevailed. The people of Illinois don’t owe him a damn thing and yesterday’s cartoonish spectacle was clear proof that he has taken leave of his senses.The Lieutenant Governor, a Burris friend of 36 years, clearly would have considered appointing the 71-year-old lobbyist and former Illinois Attorney General as a caretaker Senator once Blagojevich was inevitably removed from office.
Burris gets points for running against Rich Daley for Mayor of Chicago, a man I’ve always opposed and regarded as White Chicago’s plantation puppet master, but he won’t ever receive my endorsement for the U.S. Senate. I hope the Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, and Senate Democrats stick to their guns and don’t certify this appointment and seat Burris.
I, too, wanted an African American to replace Barack Obama in the Senate given the dearth of Negroes in that body, but it just goes to show that the aphorism “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it,” is a warning black Democrats should have heeded.
Yesterday, in a rare act of mental clarity and ideological congruence with the black community, the Congressional Black Caucus elected progressive champion Barbara Lee, 62, as it’s chairwoman. She accepted the gavel of leadership from the galactically corrupt, inept and stupifyingly arrogant Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the worst congressional caucus chairman in all of human history.
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, the chief enabler and mother of the felonious a**clown Kwame Kilpatrick, the former “Playa Mayor” of Detroit, should’ve resigned from the chairmanship, the caucus, and the race, and been downright embarrassed to be seen in public, but the plucky doyenne of Detroit ain’t got no shame in her game.
The people of Detroit apparently do have a sense of shame and almost sent her tail back home in last August’s Democratic primary. They sought to punish her for the incredibly tacky, ghetto soap opera of sleeze playing out daily on television and in print.
It was incredibly demoralizing how the caucus and the House Democratic leadership circled the wagons around a corrupt “public servant” who chose to empower her relations rather than her constituents by finding new and sleezy methods of using nepotism and cronyism to fortify the Kilpatrick Dynasty’s political machine.
Moreover, she led the caucus into betraying the economic interests of the black and brown constituents they’ve been elected to serve by heeding Barack Obama’s call to bailout Wall-Street instead of Mainstreet.
Normally progressive members like Barbara Lee followed her lead, listened to the House Leadership and Barack Obama, and jumped off a cliff into the waiting arms of economic catastrophe.
My prayer is that Barabara listens to the still, small voice of her mentor Shirley Chisholm and tunes out the House Leadership and the president elect on matters of progressive principle.
If any of the following Congressional Negroes belongs to you, y’all might wanna drop them a line and let them know that you don’t appreciate their voting to bail out crooked bankers and the largely white investor class that lost their shirts speculating in mortgage backed securities.
Rep. Maxine Waters D-CA
Rep. Laura Richardson D-CA
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson D-TX
Rep. Artur Davis D-AL
Rep. Sanford Bishop D-GA
Rep. Corrine Brown D-FL
Rep. Alcee Hastings D-FL
Rep. Kendrick Meek D-FL
Rep. James Clyburn D-SC
Rep. Mel Watt D-NC
Rep. Chaka Fattah D-PA
Rep. Danny Davis D-IL
Rep. Keith Ellison D-MN
Rep. Gwen Moore D-WI
Rep. Yvette Clarke D-NY
Rep. Greg Meeks D-NY
Rep. Charlie Rangel D-NY
Rep. Edolphus Towns D-NY
Bankers consciously conspired to disproportionately saddle people of color (mainly Blacks and Latinos) with predatory loans and other dangerous loan products which ruined their lives and destroyed their credit. They sold the loans on the open market to the investor class at a profit until their colored victims started defaulting on their adjustable rate mortgages when the loans reset.
The Bailout package which failed the other day left the issue of predatory lending unaddressed. Naomi Klein, author of the Shock Doctrine, which explains the phenomenon of Disaster Capitalism, is a primer for political activists wishing to understand the predatory habits of the right-wing and their enablers in the Democratic Party. Miss Klein, a Canadian National, writes about how the right has used the crisis surrounding disasters both natural and manmade to unleash free market schemes on an unsuspecting public worldwide. The credit crisis is just the latest scheme and its being used to bailout the very same people who pushed for the deregulation of the banking industry and caused the problems that threaten global economic collapse.
Dennis Kucinich, as always, hit the nail on the head. He said on the floor:
Why aren’t we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden? Why aren’t we helping American homeowners faced with bankruptcy? Why aren’t we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street? Isn’t it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the Banks? Is this the United States Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs? Wall Street is a place of Bears and Bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with Bears or follow to closely behind the Bulls.
None of the aforementioned Negroes is running for President and none needs the support of Wall Street to get re-elected. What is most interesting about this list is the progressive names on it, along with those of the corporate whores, like Artur Davis and David Scott that have been identified by our friends at Black Agenda Report. Yvette Clarke, Keith Ellison, Gwen Moore, Maxine Waters, and Mel Watt don’t belong on this list–their progressive voting records indicate that they know damn better.
I am particularly peeved by Sistah Waters and Brotha Watt. As the senior African Americans serving on the House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Watt chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Mrs. Waters chairs the Subcommittee on Housing & Community Opportunity. They know full well how hard Banking institutions chafed under the Community Reinvestment Act that monitors how banks redline communites of color and deny them credit. This predatory loan crisis has been an onging outrage and this bailout package does nothing to remedy the situation.
Unlike their chairman, the brilliant Barney Frank, neither Mrs. Waters or Mr. Watt is beholden to the financial services industry. Barney Frank has taken in excess of $2,259 907 from the financial services, real estate, and insurance industries since 1989. Moreover, Barney hasn’t had a competitive re-election bid in 26 years. There isn’t any reason for their betrayal of the black community except for their alleigance to one woman: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. I like Nancy. I admire Nancy, but this bailout bill is not what progressive Democrats sent the Democratic majority to Washington for. For 18 of the 41 member Congressional Black Caucus to capitulate to this bailout betrayal gives new meaning to the epithet House Negro.
Lt. Michael Kearns signed an affidavit with Birmingham attorney Norman Yatooma in which he says he interviewed Greene, a stripper, at a gas station on Jefferson and Conner in the fall of 2002.
“The woman was very upset and had swelling over her left eye,” Kearns said, adding she and a friend “were dancing at a party at the Manoogian Mansion and that the Mayor’s wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, threw a fit, hit her and the other dancer, then kicked them out of the house.”
Yatooma filed the disclosures today in U.S. District Court in connection with a lawsuit that accuses the city of thwarting an investigation into Greene’s April 30, 2003, killing.
In his affidavit, Kearns said Greene was also talking with Detroit Police officers and an EMS unit arrived and subsequently transported her to a hospital. The affidavit does not name any of the EMS workers or police officers.
Kearns said the incident occurred on a Friday or Saturday night, but he did not remember the date.
He said he never came forward: “out of fear for my career and my safety.”
Kearns said in his affidavit that he told his story to Lt. John Morrell in the Detroit Police Department homicide section in June of this year. Morrell asked Kearns to submit to an interview with another homicide detective, Mike Carlisle, Kearns said. He said he ran into Carlisle on a police run about two weeks ago, but still has not been interviewed.
Carlisle said today when contacted by the Free Press that Kearns didn’t have enough specific information.
“At the time I spoke with him, he was unable to provide enough information for me to actually conduct any type of interview,” Carlisle said. “I advised him that if he could give me some solid information on dates and times when this occurred that we would set up a time and date to talk. To this day, I have not heard back from him.”
A second EMS supervisor, retired Lt. Walter Godzwon, gave an affidavit saying he saw Mayor Kilpatrick at Detroit Receiving Hospital with his bodyguards one night in the fall of 2002. He did not give a specific date.
He said he learned through conversations that the mayor’s bodyguards brought an injured woman to the hospital.
Reached today, Godzwon told the Free Press he is a city resident and has a pension and “I’m in the middle of this and I’m not a willing participant. This is a stage of my life I would like to forget about.”
Godzwon said he also saw former Detroit emergency medical technician Douglas Bayer at the scene.
Bayer recently filed a whistle-blower’s lawsuit against the city, alleging he was retaliated against for providing the Michigan State Police with information about the rumored party at the Manoogian Mansion.
“I made these statements because they’re the truth,” Godzwon said. “Someone put me at the scene and asked me specific questions. I don’t lie.”