Archive for Congressional Black Caucus

There’s A New Sheriff In Town

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

“THERE COMES A TIME WHEN SILENCE IS BETRAYAL” 

Rev. Martin Luther King

Chairwoman Marcia Fudge of the Black Congressional Caucus says, “My colleagues don’ think there is poverty in America.  They are crazy, nuts, evil and nasty people. They wanted to cut $16.5 billion from the food stamp program.  I have never seen anything like them!”

marcia-fudge

Ohio’s Finest / 21st District: Marcia Fudge

During Barack Obama’s run for President in 2008 Tavis Smiley and his commentaries were a fixture on the Tom Joyner Morning Show heard in over 100 markets.  Tavis abruptly quit the show which seem to come as a surprise to Tom and his morning show staff.

On April 11, 2008, Tavis Smiley announced that he would resign in June 2008 as a commentator. He cited fatigue and a busy schedule in a personal call to Joyner.

However, Joyner, referred to several commentaries in which Smiley was critical of then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, indicated otherwise on his program, stating: “The real reason is that he can’t take the hate he’s been getting regarding the Barack issue—hate from the black people that he loves so much.” Prior to the public controversy and being elected President, Obama had been on Smiley’s PBS show several times.

In the 2008 Presidential campaign Tavis invited then Presidential candidate Barack Obama to participate in one of his forums but Barack send Michelle in his place.

Tavis took Barack’s absent as a slight and many claim he still has not gotten over it!  I have always thought if a man sends his wife to represent him it is a sign of respect for the person in charge.

During his first term as President, Barack Obama was giving anyone and almost everyone in black media an interview (except Tavis).  Blacks in media seem to have carte blanch to President Obama and the First Lady Michelle (genius PR move).  He became “The Darling” of black media.

This was unheard in the White House press corps before a black President occupied the White House.

The backlash from Tavis bashing the FIRST black President was sometimes real ugly during the first term.

Tavis said on more than one occasion that the President didn’t care about black people or the poor and down trodden. It didn’t play too well in the black community, but since that time some opinions have changed in favor of Tavis.

On October 1, 2010, Tavis Smiley turned the second hour of his PRI program into Smiley & West co-hosted by his longtime friend and adviser Dr. Cornel West.

Bell and Stokes

Congress Lou Stokes (D-Ohio), his 21st Ohio District extended to blacks everywhere.

Tavis was in Washington, DC on Thursday January17, 2013 hosting a forum titled, “Vision for a New America: A Future without Poverty” at George Washington University. Let me say for the “Record” good luck!

The panel was made of Author Jeffery Sachs (Columbia University), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Author Jonathan Cole, Mary Ann Chilton (Drexel University), Rose Ann Democo (National Nurses United), Author John Kozol,U. S. Rep Marcia Fudge, John Gramm (Indiana University) and the brilliant Professor Cornell West (Union Theological Seminary).

One member of the panel described the perils of poverty best when they said “There is a highway into poverty but there is no sidewalk out!”

The most compelling personality on the panel and the most courageous was Congressional Black Caucus   Chairwoman Marcia Fudge.  She brought to mind, the late Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) and the eloquent and powerful speaker Barbara Jordan (D-Texas).  Their courage had no boundaries when it came to leading by example and speaking out against the injustices of a system that was supposed to be serving its people.

During the discussion Ms. Fudge said, “There are people working the House of Representatives who don’t believe there is poverty in America.  I just left a retreat with my colleagues of the Congressional Black Caucus.  These are the craziest people I have ever seen, we are dealing with a bunch of nuts who are evil and nasty and don’t care about anyone but themselves!”

These same colleagues voted to cut 16.5 million dollars in food stamps.  We are sending people to Congress who do not understand what their job is and do not understand that they are there to represent the people.

Donna Edwards

Donna Edwards does not understand her role.

Ms Fudge made it perfectly clear from the very beginning “I am not owned by anybody. No corporations or anyone.”

For example; When Tavis reminded her there was tension between the Black Caucus and the White House during the President’s first term. He said, “There was a time when the President would not even meet with you.” She admitted there was some tension but reminded him that her job was different from the President of the United States.

Ms. Fudge did not allow Tavis during the forum to make her a part of the bashing of the President.

She pointed out that The FISCAL CLIFF is nothing but “Smoke & Mirrows.” It is just a cover-up for the debt that we owe for two wars, Bush tax cuts and Medicaid part D, it is all a game.

Ms. Fudge also said, “Democrats have given up on poverty and that is no  no different from giving up on the gun issue.  When you don’t have the answers you give up!”

She then pointed to the legislation that the President had passed to help the poor and downtrodden.

There were two major pieces of legislation, Obamacare significantly helps poor people.  In the Stimulus, there was more money put into the Head Start program than ever before, Pell Grants were increased, unemployment was extended, more money was put into poor schools and two billion dollars was put into food stamps. I am not saying it was enough but let us put all the facts on the table.”

We are in a state of emergency our children are not only dying in our streets (Chicago) but they are dying in our classrooms (New Town)!  Senior citizens are dying in our nursing home across this country but no one seems to care.

“The rule of money makes everybody and everything up for sale.  There is a culture of fear where folks are scare of the TRUTH.

They are scare of losing their jobs, losing their status, scare of not being invited to the White House or the next Tea Party.  There is a shameless silence in this country.  It is the rule of money that has this country so corrupted (former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagel, the latest crook).  There can be no integrity or trust when there is the rule of money.

Government can be corrupt and repressive against the people they are supposed to be helping. We must stop the silence, call your congressman and voice your displeasure.  Until they see hungry babies or homeless—they are not going to believe it” said Ms. Fudge.

It looks and sounds like the New Sheriff is looking and asking for our help.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich without a doubt came up with a proposal and suggestion that just might help turn this country around.

He suggested to Caucus Chair Fudge that he would recruit Republican politicians to volunteer to spend 3 days each with a Democratic politician in their voting districts and vice-verse.

Her response, “You make it happen and I am in.”

I am thinking that would be a feat that you could compare with getting the Jewish Community to double date with the Palestinian Community!  The Nobel Peace Prize would definitely be a possibility for both Newt and Ms. Fudge.

 Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more aboutHarold Bell visit his official web site The Original Inside Sports.com.

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The Plane Truth

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , , on December 16, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

How many of you fly on airplanes or frequent government buildings?  If you do, you know you must show some type of government I.D. to get on a plane or enter into a government building.

To my knowledge, I have never heard anyone claim they were discriminated against if they were not allowed to fly or enter a government building because they didn’t have an I.D.  To the contrary, people know the rules in advance, so therefore they comply.

I don’t know anyone (young or old, Black or white) who doesn’t have any form of government sanctioned I.D. (driver’s license, passport, etc.).

Even grandma, who is retired and needs to cash her check, has some form of government I.D.

I think most of us can agree that it is a good thing to make people provide “legitimate” I.D. before getting on a plane or entering into a government building, or cashing a check.

I don’t think many people would consider this an intrusion or inconvenience.  There is a safety component to this requirement that helps protect everyone.

So, to ensure the safety of the general public, the government has mandated these requirements in order to participate in certain activities.

So, can one argue that if one doesn’t have these forms of government I.D. that they have been discriminated against?  Secondly, if one doesn’t have any form of I.D., should the government be obligated to pay the cost to get them?

Again, I challenge my readers to identify one person that they know personally that doesn’t have some form of government I.D.

If you agree with me that the government’s requirement that one have “legitimate” government I.D. to get on a plane or into a government building; how can you then argue that to require the same in order to vote in political elections is discriminatory against the poor and minorities?

Poor people fly on airplanes and enter into government buildings like everyone else.

These are the absurd arguments being made by the radical liberals like Al Sharpton, Ben Jealous, and radical liberal organizations like the N.A.A.C.P., the Congressional Black Caucus, etc.

If it’s racist to require I.D. for people to vote, then it must be racist to require I.D. to board a plane or enter a government building!

Liberals never want to match a government program with any type of individual responsibility.  They constantly argue the extreme.  They claim minorities are adversely affected by requiring I.D. in order to vote.  According to them, the poor can’t afford the cost to pay for proper I.D.  They argue that grandma doesn’t have her original birth certificate; therefore it is much harder for her to get her I.D.

If the laws only applied to minorities or the poor, then I would agree with the liberals; but the law applies equally to rich and poor, Black and white.

Why do liberals constantly argue that if something is difficult or that you are required to actually do something in order to get a benefit, it somehow is discriminatory?

Again, I challenge my readers to name me one person they know personally who doesn’t have a government I.D.

Those who may not have a government I.D. are statistically negligible.  So, to make policy based on the exception is crazy.  It is not difficult to get a government I.D. and to argue differently is simply not the plain truth.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

 

Leave It To Cleaver

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men In America, President Barack Obama with tags , , on September 22, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Last week, as I was riding the local train in Washington, DC, I began to ponder on the thoughts that had begun to flood into my mind.

I was president of my senior class at Soldan High School in St. Louis, MO.  I had a lot of my friends who worked hard to get me elected.  So, during this train ride, I wondered how my classmates would have responded if I decided to put all my energies into helping another school across town?

I also pondered what would happened if members of a fraternity or sorority helped elect one of their friend’s as national president; and then they never showed up at any of their own meetings.  But, they seemed to always find time to attend other fraternity’s or sorority’s meetings.

I know, I know.  The thought of that happening would be unimaginable and unthinkable, right?

Wrong!

Cause that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes.

Blacks are 13% of the American population and gave Obama 96 % of their vote in 2008.  They are the second largest voting block in the country (behind the white population, who is 74 % of the population).

Obama has done everything in his power to ignore the Black community and finally, some of the Black community’s frustration is spilling over in public.  What took you so long?

As I have said in previous columns, the White House has made a political calculation that they can ignore the Black vote and suffer no consequence.  “Blacks will get mad and do nothing.”

While I am elated that Blacks are finally speaking out, the question is—what are they going to do?

If the recent comments from members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is any indication, I am not very optimistic!

They have been quoted in several newspaper interviews ranting and raving.

John Conyers (Congressman from Michigan) said about Obama, “We want him to know that from this day forward . . . we’ve had it… We want him to come out on our side and advocate, not to watch and wait.” Or what?

No one in America fears ignoring the Black community.  What are members of the CBC going to do if Obama doesn’t change his approach towards them?

When the CBC kicked off their jobs tour during the August recess, Obama did the same thing– in Iowa.  That shows you how much Obama thinks of Blacks and jobs!

In the immortal words of the Doobie Brothers, from their hit song from the 70s—What a Fool Believes, “But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power, to reason away.  What seems to be is always better than nothing at all.”

The CBC and the Black community want to believe in Obama’s presidency; but there is nothing tangible he has given them to believe in.  “But what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.  What seems to be is always better than nothing at all.”

So, members of the CBC have begun to blame the Tea Party for the high unemployment rate in the Black community.  People of good will within the Black community must call out these members of the CBC for what they are—race baiters.  You can’t blame the Tea Party for Obama ignoring his own people.

In 2009 and 2010, Obama controlled the House and the Senate.  He had the votes to ram through any legislation he wanted—and he did nothing.  Can you blame that on the Tea Party also?

Look at what CBC Chairman, Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said, “If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House…There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”

I found Cleaver’s statement to be extremely offensive to my sensibilities and he should have been called out on these statements.  Where was Al Sharpton, Marc Morial, or Ben Jealous?  Total silence.

So, let me make sure I understand Cleaver and the rest of the CBC.  The Black community’s agenda is predicated upon the skin color of the person in power?  Because Obama is Black, he should not be criticized by other Blacks for ignoring us because we are Black?

So, in a kind of perverted way, you have the first Black president using race to hurt his own (by trying to prove to whites that he is not going to be a “Black” president); and you have the CBC using race to allow the president to get away with it (not criticizing him strictly because he is Black).

Boy, I now have a headache.  So, it’s ok for Blacks to use race to hurt other Blacks; but it’s not ok for whites to use race to hurt Blacks?

Blacks somehow believe that by not criticizing Obama on his lack of constructive engagement with the Black community that somehow their problems are going to get dealt with through osmosis?

I guess, if you leave it to Cleaver!

“What a fool believes……”

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com), Freedom’s Journal Magazine (www.freedomsjournal.net), and U.S. Africa Magazine (www.usafricaonline.com).

President Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus and Rising Unemployment Equals One Big Mess for America

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , on August 17, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

(August 17, 2011) As he seeks re-election in a submarine deep recession and a terrible economy, President Barack Obama announced today that he will introduce an economic plan next month.  The last report that I read had the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.1%.  The unemployment rate for blacks is 16.2%.  For black males it’s 17.5%; for black teens the unemployment rate is a whopping 41%. 

No President in recent history has been re-elected with a jobless rate that high.  The President also announced that the housing market may not improve for a year.  Speaking of housing, if the President and his economic team don’t improve jobs and housing, the President will be looking for a new home.

I am on the record for not being impressed with the President’s economic team of advisers.  I think the collective body does not have enough of a connection with the black community and has given the President terrible advice.  I know he is President of the United States.  I know the political ramifications of “appearing” to give black folks any kind of preferential treatment. 

That being said, no one can ignore the fact that nearly 14 million people are unemployed and millions more have given up looking for jobs or haven’t found a way to move from part-time to full-time work.

According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., the unemployment rate for blacks is 19.2%.  If you factor in people who have given up looking for jobs, that number exceeds 20%.  Folks, these are Great Depression numbers.

It is a fact that President Obama inherited this economic mess from the Bush administration.  It is also a fact that statistically the economy has been weaker under President Obama than it was under President Bush, which is probably why President Obama’s disapproval rating on the economy is low (around 60%).

This series of events begs the following questions:  How much criticism should President Obama get for his administration’s management of the economy?  Is President Obama responsible for the soaring black unemployment rate?

It’s no coincidence, (at least in my mind) that the White House has serious concerns about President Obama’s popularity in the black community.  A few months ago the White House launched a dedicated web page for black folks (President Obama and the African American Community).

In recent weeks, President Obama has been harshly criticized by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.  These two men are on The Poverty Tour:  A Call To Conscience.  While Smiley and West have been scorned by many in the black community for criticizing the President.  I believe they have a right to challenge him on the issues.  The problem for many, (myself included), is Tavis’ reputation for being petty and self-serving precedes him.  In addition, the attacks from Smiley and West on the President are perceived by many as “personal cheap shots.”

Yesterday during the Congressional Black Caucus “For the People Jobs Tour” town hall in Detroit, MI, Black Caucus members told the mostly black audience to “unleash” them to confront President Barack Obama on the issue of jobs.  WTF?

According to report filed by Correspondent Jeff Johnson posted on The Grio.com, California Rep. Maxine Waters a leading participant on the five-city Congressional Black Caucus “For The People” Jobs Tour, expressed her and other Black Caucus members’ dilemma of having to walk a line.  Who is forcing the elected officials to “walk a line?”

Waters was quoted saying that the Congressional Black Caucus does not put pressure on the President.  She explained, “Let me tell you why. We don’t put pressure on the President because ya’ll love the President.  You love the President.  You’re very proud…to have a black man [in the White House] …First time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the President too hard, you’re going after us.”

Whoa.  Let me step back and digest this.  My first reaction to reading this story was that the Congressional Black Caucus members who feel that they cannot put pressure on the President during this period of Great Depression era unemployment are weak-kneed, gutless and spineless.  Don’t get me started.  I’m trying to trim down on my cussing.

What a bunch of inept elected officials.  In my mind, the facts reflect that this is a crisis.  Courageous people take action during a crisis.  They don’t stand around waiting for permission to take action.

Detroit’s unemployment may be the worse for a major city in America.  According to folks in the audience, President Obama has not come to Detroit during the worst days of the recession.   With unemployment in the city at almost 50 percent that’s justifies asking:  Why hasn’t the President visited our city to address this issue?  If he can visit Iowa and other places in rural America, he should be able to find time on his schedule to visit the Motor City.

There is growing concern, even among hardcore supporters that President Obama is allowing himself to be detached from the “urban poor”—translation “poor black people.”  President’s Obama’s approval rating is reportedly 80% among Black America.

I don’t care if the President’s approval rating is 100% among black folks.  Given this economy he needs to be questioned and pressured to force his administration to provide a plan for how they will address this issue for black, poor and working Americans.  His ass should be in Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities that are suffering with double-digit unemployment.

Something is terribly wrong when black elected officials are afraid to challenge the President because he’s black.  Has politics trumped common sense and doing the right thing?  It appears that some members of Congress are more concerned with keeping their job, than doing their job.  That’s some terribly “flawed logic.”  Another way of saying it is:  “That’s some bullshit!”

If I am one of the President’s advisers, one of my primary concerns for the 2012 Presidential election would be voter apathy, especially in the black community.  Capturing and killing Osama Bid Laden will not be enough to secure this election.  This election is about the economy– specifically, JOBS and curtailing rising unemployment.  If things don’t improve for black people, and the President is perceived as being disconnected and not having addressed the issues–black people will not show up at the polls to vote.   CTRL + ALT + DEL  = Game Over!

As for the Congressional Black Caucus, here’s a piece of advice:  How about doing what you were elected to do and represent the best interest of your constituents and not yourselves.  If that means criticizing the President of the United States to get him to address one of the most important issue of our time, then do it.  I would like to know what the Congressional Black Caucus is doing to help create jobs and solve the soaring black unemployment rate in the black community.  One would think that this would be the number one action item for this group of black elected officials.  Has the Congressional Black Caucus put forth any recommendations or solutions to help the President solve this issue?  Hey, I’m just asking?  Hopefully, if Caucus members have been working on helping to create jobs in the communities in which they serve this will come to light.

One can always hope.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.

Source:  Unemployment statistics courtesy Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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