Breaking News: Rangel’s grip on Gavel tenuous

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Congressman Charlie Rangel

Just Hours after the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Artur Davis, called for him to relinquish his gavel as the powerful Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel was reported to have done so after a closed door meeting of the House Leadership.   Andrea Mitchell, Luke Russert, and  Chuck Todd were all tweeting that Charlie Rangel had given up the ghost and his gavel.   The Politico is reporting that he told them he had not and that Speaker Pelosi had no comment after the meeting.   Rangel is currently under investigation for omitting millions of dollars from his taxes and personal financial disclosure statements filed with the House of Representatives.  The committee he chairs ironically has jursidiction over the U.S. tax code.

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.”

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Governor Davis: a fantasy in black and white

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Congressman Artur Davis, Mrs. Peggy Wallace Kennedy

Artur Davis is a facinating politician in many respects. The power of his intellect and sharp political skills set him apart from most pol’s.  The sky should be the limit for Artur.  In Alabama, congress is the limit for Artur.  If not for the Voting Rights Act, he would not be a member of congress from Alabama.

In America, it should be a no brainer that any child born anywhere should be able to reach for the highest political rung in state government and not be deterred, discouraged or attacked on the basis of race. Unfortunately, that is not the America we live in despite the fantasies of some whites that we live in a post-racial utopia.  It does not matter how many blackfolks buy into the white fantasy that Artur can win this year.  It isn’t true. This diary seeks to explore the reasons for this bitter reality.

A black man might be president,  but he would not be if America was a cultural mirror of the state of Alabama.  Only one in ten white voters, according to NBC political director Chuck Todd, voted for Barack Obama.  Extreme racial polarization is a fact of life in the Deep South that smart people can’t get around.

The President of the United States is a biracial man of color who is the product of an interracial marriage. He was raised almost exclusively by his white kinfolks. Most rural whites in the Deep South cannot process these facts and are profoundly threatened by his presidency.

They displace their discomfort with his race by questioning his citizenship and asking to see his birth certificate.  They are willing to question his professed and demonstrated Christian faith and believe any smear about him being a Muslim terrorist because the father he never knew was a Muslim.   They then voted for a Republican Senator universally known to have been born outside the continental United States in the Panama Canal Zone because “at least he is American,” which is nothing more than a euphemism for being White.

The President of the United States is the most nonthreatening black politician in American history. He is decidedly centrist in word and deed to the chagrin of most of us on the progressive left.  To most rural whites, though, he is a Socialist, Marxist, Communist Antichrist hell bent on creating a segregated, racist society in which only non-whites rule and whites are subjugated. That is a nifty piece of racist projection most psychologists would love to get their hands on and take apart.

Because of this ridiculous racial paranoia, there will be no ability to see a similar black man any differently.

Congressman Artur Davis and President Barack Obama

Race is still a bar to achievement and advancement in the United States in some fields of endeavor. Our inability to talk about race or be honest  about our racial fears is part and parcel of the infrastructure, which reinforces the bar to achievement and advancement.

Alabama is stuck in both a time warp and in a black hole of its own making with regard to race. There can be no change unless people are willing to smash the taboo of cross racial cooperation.

Meaningful cross racial dialogue and genuine fellowship is rare anywhere in the Deep South but more likely to occur in urban areas with a large University presence. On the other hand, if folks live in larger communities, they are still largely segregated. Nobody wants to go to school with us or live in our neighborhoods. If we are fortunate enough to live in communities where both white and black do go to school together, the interaction is largely superficial.

When time comes to choose a college, the choices are still segregated. We live separate lives and pretend that it is normal. It isn’t. We (blackfolks) are usually the ones that have to stick our necks out to make change.  It is rarely the other way around.

I think it is wonderful that most of the people on this board look favorably on Artur Davis and the egalitarian ideal his candidacy represents, but the hard work and foundation for an eventual win by a black candidate for Governor has not been done in any state of the Deep South–Georgia included.  Anybody who believes he can win in this backwards and hostile cultural environment is deluding themselves.

Nobody in the grip of a rural Tea Bagger’s poisonous racial paranoia is capable of building community with the blackfolks they see everyday that mirror them in every demographic respect.

They might know your people, might have known your extended kinfolk back to the Civil War, but it still don’t mean that they’ll vote for your daddy to become the first black sheriff. I have a hard time understanding why Artur has to come along like a Negro in a buddy movie and be their black friend when most rural whites have only superficial relationships with the blackfolks they see everyday.  There is no sense of community where stereotypically everybody knows and is kin to everybody. Ultimately, this is why Artur cannot be elected Governor this year.

Dr. King spoke of a desire to “..foster and create the ‘beloved community’ in America where brotherhood is a reality…Our ultimate goal is genuine intergroup and interpersonal living–integration.” That does not exist in Alabama or anywhere in the Deep South.  It doesn’t even exist up north but most of the time northerners are not so blinded by race that they will vote against politicians of color they are philosophically compatible with because they are not white.

We are still living separate lives despite dramatically less racial polarization in the north. The South is less physically segregated than the North but it is more functionally segregated on the ground.  This has to change.  Only hard work done by committed blacks and whites will change it.  Most of the onus is on whites though, and becuase it is I doubt seriously that it will happen anytime before I turn 50 in 2021.

Congressional Black Caucus: Selling us out

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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.