Archive for Politics

BUSINESS EXCHANGE: Did Mississippi’s Blacks Get Paid?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics, Racism with tags , , , , on July 19, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Thad Cochran

Are you one of those political yahoos claiming victory for your cause after Mississippi Black voters helped Sen. Thad Cochran survive an intense Republican primary runoff against insurgent conservative challenger Chris McDaniel? Before you count that “Magnolia State” chicanery as a political victory, pause and consider the words of Malcolm X: “Oh, I say it again, you’ve been had. You’ve been took. You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok.”

Some got played in the Mississippi Republican primary runoff and some got paid. Cochran had a huge fundraising advantage so when the June 3 primary election was thrown into a runoff, the Cochran campaign began looking into ways to expand the electorate. That meant targeting and courting Mississippi’s overwhelmingly Democratic African-American population. The campaign deployed workers throughout the state’s Delta region, which has a concentrated Black population, and hired Black Democratic operatives to coordinate the ground game. The ploy worked: turnout in the Delta increased nearly 40 percent. Black voters helped Cochran win in the Republican Senate primary runoff by a 51 percent to 49 percent margin.

Mississippi Blacks got out of their lane due to a guy named “Barbour.” Not “Haley” Barbour, the legend among Republican voters. Haley Barbour is the former governor of Mississippi and former chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Instead, it was Haley’s nephew, Henry Barbour who helped the Thad Cochran campaign in the most divisive, hateful, and probably illegal GOP nomination campaigns in history.

Henry Barbour lives in Yazoo City and heads up the Capitol Resources lobbying operative in seven Southern states and Washington, D.C. Henry Barbour’s campaign tactics successfully smeared Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party. The Barbour-backed super PAC Mississippi Conservatives spent $2.23 million to support Cochran and attack McDaniel. It was Henry Barbour’s PAC that paid for phone calls that described candidate McDaniel as “a racist.” He solicited a number of Black Democrats to infiltrate the Republican Party primary runoff and save Cochran’s Senate seat. It’s widely reported that Henry Barbour handed out “walking around money” throughout heavily-Black Democratic precincts in Mississippi. His brand of “Black outreach” worked. Black voters helped Cochran raise his vote total by more than 38,000, from the 318,904 voters on June 3rd to the 375,000 voters on runoff day.

The daydream Black Mississippi voters created amounted to a mere 15 minutes of fame. However, that fame has quickly turned into infamy. The runoff, wrought with treachery, malfeasance and subterfuge should humiliate any clear-headed Democratic operative.

One of the keys to the Black turnout for Cochran turned out to be Atlanta-based political strategist, Mitzi Bickers. Bickers is pastor of Atlanta’s Emmanuel Baptist Church and a former president of the Atlanta school board. Organizations affiliated with Bickers, The Bickers Group and Pirouette Company, received $44,000 for get-out-the-vote “phone services.” Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Sr. was also instrumental in getting Black Democrats to vote in the Republican runoff. Senior pastor of Jackson’s New Horizon Church, Crudup’s All Citizens for Mississippi PAC spent “about $20,000” in media targeting Blacks. Alice Tisdale, publisher of the Jackson Advocate newspaper, said in a report that appeared in Richard Prince’s “Journal-isms” that the PAC spent $2,600 with her publication. The Advocate endorsed Cochran in the June 3 primary and again for the runoff. The Mississippi Link published an ad on behalf of Crudup’s PAC in late May.

Though the campaign provided the paradigm for successful outreach to Blacks, it proved to be deceptive. It now appears that thousands of Democratic voters cast ballots in both the Democratic primary and the Republican Senate runoff elections. Those votes are illegal. And they likely made the difference in the outcome of the election. Allegations of voter fraud abound and need to be investigated. All parties found to be involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted.

While all this political trickery was taking place, Mississippi remains mired at the bottom of virtually every measure of economic well-being with the highest rate of poverty and the lowest median household income of all 50 states.

William ReedWilliam Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the

The Family Business

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , on April 10, 2013 by Gary Johnson

William Reed

By William Reed

In American politics, many object to power flowing through blood rather than through the ballot. A “dynasty” is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Among Blacks, some prominent families regard politics as business operations.

Blacks elected immediately after the civil rights era, gained office as mayors or to the House of Representatives in majority-Black areas. Younger Black politicians are now seeking to win political posts of governor or senator in which they would represent much larger and diverse groups of voters.  In theory, having a parent already in politics provides political base younger politicians can use to reach wider multi-racial constituencies.

Several scions of Black political families that came to high political office by virtue of birthright are on the decline. New York Gov. David Paterson, whose father Basil is a powerful figure in Harlem politics, left his appointed office in disgrace.

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Malik Kilpatrick is now a resident in the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan, Mich.  A former Michigan state representative, Kilpatrick, was recently found guilty on 24 of 30 federal corruption charges. In 1996, Kilpatrick was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives after his mother vacated the seat to campaign for Congress. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick represented Detroit in the Michigan State House from 1979 to 1996 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2010.

Jesse L. Jackson has a family that has benefited from his impact on politics.  The son that was first elected to Congress in 1995 now faces a prison sentence ranging from 46 to 57 months.  Jesse Jackson Jr., was convicted for spending approximately $750,000 in campaign money on high-end items, including a Rolex watch and furs. The extended Jackson clan includes Jonathan and Yusef. Jonathan Jackson is a business professor and entrepreneur. He owns a Cricket Wireless franchise operation, and is a partner with Yusef, in a Chicago-based Anheuser-Busch distributorship – River North Sales and Service, LLC.

In Memphis, the Ford name became legend as Whites moved from the city to the suburbs. By 1974, the percentage of Black voters had increased enough for three sons of a local funeral director to win an unprecedented electoral victory: John was elected to the state Senate, Emmett was elected to the state House, and Harold became the first African American from Tennessee elected to the U.S. Congress in the 20th century. In 1996 when Harold, Sr., decided not to seek a 12th term in Congress, Harold, Jr., easily won the race, taking office at age 26. “Junior” was only 30 years old in 2000 when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. He ran for the U.S. Senate seat but lost. Scandal and corruption followed the Fords ascent in politics.

William Lacy Clay, Sr., was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968. In 2000, Clay, Sr., retired from the seat after 32 years and Clay Jr., known as Lacy Clay, became the U.S. Rep. for Missouri’s 1st congressional district.

Carrie P. Meek was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1978 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. Kendrick Brett Meek lost the U.S. House seat that his mother had handed him in his 2010 bid for the Florida Senate seat. Kendrick was the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 17th congressional district from 2003 to 2011, after having served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998.

Representative Donald M. Payne, from New Jersey, died of cancer in March 2012 after serving in the House for 23 years. He was 77. His son, Donald M. Payne, Jr., was elected to Congress in November 2012. Brother, and uncle, William D. Payne served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998-2008.

Black voters have to discern if there’s a disconnect between the agenda of Black political leadership and their constituent communities. Will Black voters ever shun political dynasties revolving among husbands and wives, brothers, sisters and children in the guise of serving the public?

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via the

Hypocrisy in the Democracy

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , , , on April 6, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Now that both political  parties nominee’s for president are set, I began reflecting on some of the TV ads I have seen and various statements candidates have made.  My conclusion about both parties?  There is hypocrisy in the democracy of the United States.

For example, Republicans claim to be against preference programs—affirmative action, minority set-asides, etc.  But, yet they support preference programs for veterans (those who served in the military).  The Republican rebuttal would be that they are only against preference programs based on race.  According to their thinking, preference programs based on race is “reverse” discrimination (I will deal with this idiotic line of reasoning in a future column).  That type of thinking is akin to saying I am only against racism if it’s against Blacks.  Either you support preference programs or you don’t!

By definition, all preference programs are necessarily discriminatory.  I never served in the military, therefore I do not qualify for any of the programs set up for veterans.  It’s discriminatory, but it’s been deemed by society as an acceptable form of discrimination.  Not all discrimination is necessarily bad.

Democrats, in general, claim they support providing a good education to everyone, especially those who are considered low income.  But, I find it amazing that most members of Congress send their children to private schools—because they have a choice—they can afford to pay for private schools for their kids.

President Obama had every opportunity to send his kids to a public school, but he chose to send them to one of the most elite private schools in the country—Sidwell Friends.  But Democrats don’t think “poor” parents have the ability, to do what’s in the best interest of their kids.  This is what former President George W. Bush called the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

As this year’s presidential campaign heats up, listen carefully to what both candidates are saying and don’t be afraid to question their 30 second answers to complicated issues.  When they say they are going to cut the budget deficit, notice that they won’t tell you what programs they will cut or which taxes they will raise.  When they say America is an “exceptional” country, what does that mean?

Voters say they want less government, but then they don’t want “their” programs cut.  Voters say teachers should be paid more money, but they don’t want to pay higher taxes to pay for it.

We, as voters, are the democracy.  The politicians are merely temporary representatives of our desires.  If we want more government services, then we will have to pay more for them.  If we don’t like what’s going on in Congress, then vote them out, regardless of party.

An educated voter is the most dangerous person to any politician.  Most Americans are lazy when it comes to being informed about issues that impact their daily lives.  But, yet these same voters who claim they don’t have time to keep informed of the issues; know when Beyoncé has a baby or when Lady Gaga does something stupid!

We have to be what we are looking for.

Democracies work best with an informed, engaged people.  We must hold politicians accountable by forcing them to share their detailed vision for America with the voters.  Politicians should be a reflection of our engagement in society.  For us not to exercise this engagement, through voting, is very hypocritical and harmful to our democracy.

Our lack of engagement makes a mockery of our democracy because it all leads to hypocrisy.

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 Black Enterprise Magazine, ExcellStyle Magazine (, Freedom’s Journal Magazine (, and U.S. Africa Magazine (


Posted in Black America, Black Men, Politics with tags , , , , on September 24, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

Remember a scant few weeks ago when Indiana Congressman Andre Carson continued his ‘rant’ against the Tea Party, calling them–in short–a bunch of racists who wanted to lynch Black folks.  His tirade may have been one of the sparks that started the Florida fire which led to Herman Cain’s sound trouncing of many of the so-called ‘leaders’ in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.

It is not know whether or not Carson sent a congratulatory note to Cain for the straw poll victory.  It IS known that Carson refused to apologize for his remarks.  However, in a year when one political party is trying to hold onto Black and Hispanic votes by trickery, it seems like the other–at least in the grass roots level has a message for ALL established politicians:  “We ain’t buyin’ the rhetoric!”

Black voters are going to have to makes some real choices in the presidential vote in 2012.  Our unemployment rate is double the national average, and heading for higher levels as well.  Black teen unemployment is through the roof.  Retailers have ALREADY announced that they are NOT going to be hiring as many workers for the Christmas shopping season (which begins, unofficially, just after the first week of November.)  And, yes, we have NOT left the last recession (which continues into the textbook realm of an economic depression).  The late Ronald Reagan said it best: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  Like it or not, this is what is going to be guiding a lot of voters to the polls this November–and next–as incumbency is steadily becoming a political millstone in a season of rising taxes, lower job growth, and a bushel basket full of excuses from both parties.  In the words of author and talk show host Tony Brown from years ago: “The Black community can not afford to keep their votes in one political basket any longer.  Our votes NEED to be mobile.”


Those who doubted that Cain was a viable candidate.  Those who thought that he was ‘merely’ a good speaker, and dismissing him got a rude ‘sock and shock’ during the first official weekend of an American fall season.  Cain’s percentage numbers in the Florida straw poll, according to posted Internet and published results, showed him as having 37% of the more than 2,500 votes cast.  Thus, Cain made Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney D-I-S-T-A-N-T second and third place finishers, respectively.  In prior poll stops, Cain finished low, but was a popular debater.

Gee…didn’t people ‘write off’ President Obama BEFORE the Iowa primaries?

But, I digress.

There are several lessons that can be immediately learned which should prove inspirational for any other future candidates in future elections.  Ironically, these same reasons are how President Obama first became Senator Obama, then marched on to the White House.

The first lesson?  You have to work your voters!  Meaning, you have to be around to shake hands and kiss babies and drink coffee before AND after the debate process and court your base!  MOST people who are registered to vote WANT to be courted and counted.  They want to have a voice in the process along with their votes.  Cain asked them for their vote, and spent time in the Sunshine state whereas other candidates thought that their ‘frontrunner’ status gave them a lock on the straw poll.

It’s still a LONG way to the convention, baby!  For BOTH parties!


Cain stayed on a CONSISTENT message in the debates, in his literature, and in his meeting with the poll participants.  He didn’t put forth a ‘canned pitch’ as the salesmen like to say.  His conservative credentials were not ‘accidental’ nor ‘discovered’ overnight.  Cain is what you got in week one and are now seeing as the campaign season progresses. If he has ‘shot himself in the foot’ it hasn’t showed up on the political landscape as of yet.  He is proud of his politics…period.  No apologies or excuses.  Herman Cain has ‘represented’ on the biggest stage that a Black man can stand…for the presidency.  And, like it or not, Obama HAS opened the door; cleared the way for Cain to be taken seriously.  One cannot ‘stutter’ and be expected to make it to the top of any profession.

Is that ‘Black enough’ for the Congressional Black Caucus?


Whenever Democrats or Republicans ‘think’ that they ‘deserve’ a higher office merely because of name recognition instead of hard work and dedication, this makes for an insult to the voting public.  American voters are not all that ‘anxious’ for the backroom deals and ‘vote buying’ that may have propelled the political machines of the past.  They are smart enough to know that every election is ‘showtime’ for those running for public office.

The current GOP field–sans Cain–is nothing more than a bunch of retreads, has beens, never-have-beens, and weaklings.  They ‘may’ have had something to say a few years back, but today is a NEW day, baby!  No one has a ‘lock’ on their office.  It is God whom sets up one king, and takes down another.  And He works through interested, articulate and involved VOTERS.  When the stakes are high enough, and the electorate is mad enough, and they are courted by sincere and passionate candidates, people VOTE!

There were some messages sent from this straw poll meeting,  First, Cain’s victory in Florida JUST sent a bolt of political lightning to the leadership of the GOP:  “The Voters WILL Vote…when given REAL choices!”  Another message, in-between the headlines, this going to the Indiana Democrat party.  While this was a straw poll in Florida, the Democrat establishment in Indiana had better remind Rep. Carson that he has his OWN re-election effort coming soon.

Herman Cain, just for grins, may provide a case of ‘tea’, to the local Indy GOP!

RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world.  To correspond, email  © 2011 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.

Happy Birthday Mr. President…No Matter What The Racist Say

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, President Barack Obama with tags , , , on August 11, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Jeff Bowden

Five years ago I hosted my 50th birthday party.  Heck I was half way to being 100 and I do plan on being 100. I invited all my closest and choices friends and family. I enjoyed best wishes and wonderful (Gary) tributes.  I was celebrated in sign language and in dance, I was fifty years old and I had a great time.  Everyone I know who reaches their fiftieth will do something special.  I went skydiving, didn’t go Rocky  Mountain climbing, and I’ve seen a guy go 3.7 seconds on a bull name…

Okay, what’s my point.  I am sick and tired of the ganging up, lambasting, criticizing, marginalizing and outright no holds barred, blatant, over the top, racism against Barack H. Obama.  Recently this strong, intelligent, noble Black man who is the President of the United States celebrated 50th years young.  He deserves it; like anyone else, he has a right; like anyone else, he’s earned it; like anyone else but for some reason the social construct that is the media, political system, and economic organizations don’t see it that way and so when George W. Bush can enjoy his birthday with his Texas cronies and not have it called a “redneck” gathering, when George H.W. Bush can celebrate by jumping out of a plane, it’s not called a “senior moment” or when Bill Clinton celebrate his birthday it not called an “outdated American Bandstand revival”.  President Obama when he has a birthday party that included people of all races, nationalities, social strata and professions. The racist media skips right past the Marine Corp Band, Stevie Wonder, Tom Hanks and Oprah and went straight to Jay Z, Charles Barkley, and Chris Rock and called his birthday party a “Hip Hop BBQ” and that for some reason that defies logic the party was supposed to stimulate job growth.  WTF?

Do these political, social and economic institutions really want a total collapse of the American society, it is really their aim to completely obliterate the systems of civility, do they really want a class and race war.  Because if this is what they want and all indications points to that, then what a rude awakening is before them when they invite folks to that Tea party and nobody comes.  What is equally troubling is the lack of a strong voice from person of other cultures and ethnic back grounds not yelling from the highest podium that we too are sick and tired of this.  Where is the voice of the notable leaders of other racial heritage speaking from their pulpits, universities, and businesses standing up and standing out against this nastiness. In a couple of weeks we will be unveiling the first and only national monument on the National Mall that will honor a man who neither achieve the office of president and was a Black man, never held a public office and was a Black man, never worked for the military and was a Black man, all he did was walk and talk, organized and spoke up, shared his vision and criticized racist and racism, liberated all people from a myopic perspective on equality and freedom.  This monument will honor sacrifice and selflessness for the greater good and yet when we celebrate with marches, songs, reading, speeches and prayers, waiting in the wings will be ignorance, prejudice and bigotry.  And we must insist that everyone speaks out.

Herman Cain 2012

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , , on June 4, 2011 by Gary Johnson

This post is NOT an endorsement of Herman Cain.  Nor is it a swipe at President Obama.  As candidates prepare for the 2012 election, Herman Cain is the hottest thing in the Republican Party’s Presidential showcase.  We know it is very early in the race, but the question has been put out there.  Could Herman Cain by the next President?

Many of you are asking:  “Who is Herman Cain?”  Herman Cain is a black Republican running for President of the United States of America.  Cain, 65, is the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, a cancer survivor and an Atlanta radio talk-show host.  He gets sustained standing ovations at almost every public appearance.  His “tell it like it is” style couple with his Tea Party-style rhetoric and his disdain for mainstream Republicans has made him popular candidate.  Recent polls have him ahead of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

Cain is a smart and polished candidate.  The fact that he has never held elected office is seen by him as a positive.  Cain is quick to point out that the people who are running the country have political experience and that’s not working well for the citizens of this country.  So remember the name Herman Cain.

You can learn more about Herman Cain by visiting his official presidential campaign web site at:

For the latest information on what President Obama and his administration are doing visit:

Herman Cain Photo Credit:  AP


Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Latino Interests, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , on June 4, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Raynard Jackson

I have worked around 3 Republican presidents (Reagan, Bush, and Bush) and I can tell you for certain that one sure-fire way of learning a president’s priorities, is by who he agrees to spend time with (as in meetings).

A president’s time is scheduled to the nth degree.  So, if the president is meeting frequently with the oil industry, it’s a safe bet that he will be pursuing legislation that will impact that industry.

So, with that as my premise, I think one could safely conclude that Obama sees little value in the Black community!

Obama was sworn into office on January 20, 2009.  In less than 2 months (March 18, 2009), Obama had his first meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss giving amnesty to the 30 million illegals in the U.S.  After the meeting, the White House’s Press Office issued this statement in part: “The President had a robust and strategic meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus today on the topic of immigration. The meeting lasted approximately one hour. The President discussed how the administration will work with the CHC to address immigration concerns in both the short and long term.  Notice that only Hispanics were in this meeting and the purpose was to discuss an issue that is of particular importance to only them (though other groups that support amnesty would also benefit if amnesty were made into law).

But Obama has repeatedly stated that he is President of all of America.  He made this comment last year when asked what he was going to do about the high unemployment rate in the Black community.  His point was that his policies would be “color blind” and that his policies would benefit everyone.  So, can someone please tell me how injecting about 7 million more low and under skilled people into the labor force is going to decrease the unemployment rate in the Black community?

Juxtapose that meeting with the one Obama held in February of 2010 with Ben Jealous (of the N.A.A.C.P.), Mark Morial (of the National Urban League), and Al Sharpton (National Action Network).  The purpose was to discuss with these 3 (who have never created a job), the high unemployment rate within the Black community.  Unlike with the Hispanics, the President had no legislation to offer; but it was more of a symbolic meeting.  Of course, these 3 were more than happy to attend so they could leave and brag about having a meeting with the President.  Nothing was accomplished, but they had a meeting!

I find it astonishing that it was well over a year into his term before Obama met with the Congressional Black Caucus!  Again, it’s about time.  Who the President meets with and for how long, will tell you where his priorities are.  Black folks, are you getting the message?

During the month of April 2011 alone, the President met with Hispanic groups 3 times to discuss amnesty for them and the DREAM Act.  So, in 1 month, Obama has met more with Hispanics than he has with the entire Congressional Black Caucus in 2 ½ years in office.  Black folks, are you getting the message yet?

Obama has never called a meeting of the leading Black entrepreneurs to discuss the state of the economy relative to the Black community!  People like Earvin “Magic” Johnson, K. David Boyer, UlyssesJuniorBridgeman, Michael “Scooter” McGruder, Rick “Doc” Walker, Dave Steward, or Earl Graves (google these names to find out more about them).

Most of the Blacks who have been invited to the White House have been athletes and entertainers.  Black folks, you got the message!

Let’s be perfectly honest, Obama and his team have made a political calculation that they can ignore the Black vote, knowing that we surely will not vote Republican.  They also realize that doing so will anger the Black community; but they also know that we won’t do anything but complain and continue to blindly follow.  There is no fear factor in ignoring the Black vote.

Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time pushing the agendas of the Hispanics, gays, and women.  But, when it comes to Blacks, he is President of all of America.

Black people need to wake up and realize the game that is being perpetrated on us.  We need to do more than get angry.

To the White House, please realize that anger is just one letter short of danger; and if you continue this perverted strategy, your reelection might be in danger.

Hopefully, this column will light a fire under the most ardent of Democrats and cause them to think strategic, not emotional.

Please, it’s about time!

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 (

A Stronger America: The Black Agenda

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , , , on April 11, 2011 by Gary Johnson

MSNBC’s “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda” had some extremely lively discussion – especially between Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Al Sharpton.  Other thought leaders were featured on this special discussing politics, education, incarceration rates amongst African Americans, and so much more.  If you missed the special you can check out the highlights below.

Clips from “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda”

1. Politics and the black agenda: Have the recent political debates brought to light issues African-Americans care about? Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, Democratic strategist Karen Finney and NAACP’s Ben Jealous discuss.

2. Dr. King’s legacy: If Dr. King were alive today, would he be in the front in the fight for unions?’s Jeff Johnson, Marc Morial of the National Urban League, and journalist Karen Hunter, talk about Dr. King’s legacy.

3. Closing the education gap for African Americans: NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo shares the stark statistics about how the U.S. education system isn’t working for African Americans. American Federation of Teacher Randi Weingarten, Department of Education’s Russlyn Ali, and director of “Excellent Education for Everyone,” discuss on msnbc.

4. Incarceration vs. education: Why does the world’s richest country spend more money to keep African Americans behind bars than it does to provide them with the education that could lead to success? Panelists for “A Stronger America: The Black Agenda” discuss on msnbc.

5. Jim Brown: Focus on at-risk youth: Football hall of famer and founder of Amer-I-Can Jim Brown, a non-profit that focuses on education of at-risk youth, says addressing family and community issues will also improve the opportunities for young African-Americans.

Truth In Advertising

Posted in Black Interests, Guest Columnists, Politics with tags , on October 16, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

With the mid-term elections fast approaching, I thought this would be a good time to give my views on the state of the political landscape.

Let me start by saying publically what I have been telling friends all year—if you are an incumbent, you will not be getting my vote!

Politicians from both parties have made a mockery of our political process.  I was taught as a child that in a democracy—the majority rules.  But, no one notified our U.S. Senate because in order to get anything passed, you now need 60 votes (to end a filibuster).

I totally disagree with many things Obama and the Democratic congress have passed or attempted to pass, but if they get a majority (not a super majority) of the votes—they deserve to win.  This includes judicial and other presidential appointments.  Elections have consequences and to the victor goes the spoils.

I am not a supporter of using parliamentary tactics to obstruct the legislative process.  I believe in taking your case directly to the American people and letting them have their say.

Political consultants have an axiom:  “the masses are asses.”  They will never admit this publically, but privately, that’s how they view voters.

Republicans tell voters, vote for me and I will repeal Obamacare.  Well, that may sound nice, but next time you hear that from a candidate, I want you to ask a simple question.  Ask him to tell you specifically how he will accomplish this.  What Republicans won’t tell you is, even if legislation to repeal Obamacare passes both houses of congress, president Obama surely would veto the measure.  So, when the Republicans don’t deliver on this promise there will be a voter backlash that will manifest itself during the 2012 elections.  Republicans are setting themselves up for failure on this and a whole range of issues they won’t be able to deliver on.

Democrats, Obama specifically, tell voters Republicans drove the car in the ditch and now want the keys to car back.  This is a statement of fact.  But, let’s look a little deeper.  When a person gets a divorce and then remarries, the last thing the new spouse wants to hear is what the previous spouse did to mess up the marriage.  The new spouse is only concerned about making this marriage work.  Obama needs to stop injecting Bush’s name when talking about the state of the economy.  Obama wanted the job so he should fix the problem and stop blaming Bush.  Democrats control the levers of power; therefore, they will get the credit or the blame come November.

Obama was elected, not to continue to give history lessons about how the country arrived at the position it’s currently is in; but rather to solve the problem.  Obama and the Democrats have controlled the government for 2 years.  One could argue that they have stopped the bleeding, but the wounds are not any better.

So, to both parties, give us a little truth in advertising.  There are no easy answers to the problems facing this country.  You can not reduce the deficit without cutting spending in entitlement programs (social security, medicare, etc.), reducing defense spending, or increasing taxes (or some type of combination).

If Republicans want to continue to cut taxes, how will they pay for it?  What programs are they going to reduce to pay for them?  If Democrats want to continue to create government programs, how will they pay for this expansion of government?  What taxes are they going to raise or what programs will they cut to off set the spending?

To continue to borrow money for tax cuts or the creation of new programs is totally irresponsible.  But politicians only do to us what we allow them to get away with.

We voters have become lazy and want to be told sweet nothings when the reality is that our country is in bad shape; and both parties are to blame.  Voters get what they deserve.  So, we must be what we are looking for.  It’s not enough to vote and then to disengage.  Once we vote, accountability begins.  We are obligated to hold elected officials accountable for the votes they make.  This is the ultimate free market exercise.

So, as you listen to candidates from both parties promise you the world; be mindful that with every choice, there is a consequence.  The consequence of voting for more of the same is to get more of the same.  Therefore, I will not be voting for any incumbents.  This, my friend, is truth in advertising.

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 ( & U.S. Africa Magazine (

Republicans are the Mecca of Hypocrisy

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , on August 5, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Here we go again.  We Republicans are supposed to be the party of the rule of law, smaller government, and individual freedom.  But every time I turn around, I am confused by the hypocrisy our party will display for political expediency.

The most glaring example of this in recent time was the case of Terri Schiavo back in 2005.  She became brain dead due to an accident and her husband wanted to remove her from all life support.  Her family asked Republicans to usurp the authority of her husband by way of various political maneuvers to strip the husband of his right to make medical decisions about his wife.  Ultimately the federal courts sided with the husband and she was removed from life support.

Republicans were more interested in scoring political points than protecting the rights of an individual not to have the government interfere in the private affairs of a spouse.  Whether you agreed with the husband’s decision or not was totally irrelevant.  This was one of the reasons Republicans lost control of congress in 2006.

Now, they are repeating the same mistake in 2010 in the case of the proposed mosque near the site of the twin towers in New York that were destroyed during the attacks on 9/11.

Two days ago, The Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York City voted 9-0 to reject landmark status for the building that is on the site of the proposed mosque.  If the commission had granted landmark status, the building could not have been torn down, thus killing the project.

The decision paves the way for construction of the project to begin.  The project is to include a mosque and an Islamic community center.  The project is being spear-headed by a group called the Cordoba Initiative.  According to them, they are a group of moderate Muslims.  The total project cost is approximately $ 100 million (raised by private money).  So, what is controversial about this?  Absolutely nothing.

Republicans have decided to play politics and play on religious intolerance to score political points.  But, as in the Schiavo case, this too will backfire.

Now, I will give you the stated reason why opponents are against this project.  I hope you are seated—with seatbelt on.  Their opposition is based on the great “legal” principle that the “location would be insensitive (because the group is Muslim) and it disrespects the memory of 9/11 victims.” Yes, you heard me right—INSENSITIVE.  They claim the site is too close to the twin towers that were destroyed on 9/11.

Now, I will tell you who “they” are.  Some of the most notable opponents of the project are:  9/11 first-responders, family members of those killed in the attack,  former New York congressman and current Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rick Lazio, Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League, former speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, radio entertainers, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, to name a few.

These are all people that are supposed to be big supporters of the first amendment (freedom of speech) and the right of the individual and the rule of law.  But yet, they supported the attempted hijacking of a government body in their attempts to strip away the rights of Muslim Americans to erect a building.

Is this what Republicans mean when they talk about “limited government?”  Government that is limited only to what they believe?

After the vote to allow the buildings to go up, Foxman arrogantly stated, “the group’s proposal fail to address the crux of opponents’ criticism that erecting the mosque near ground zero is insensitive to 9/11 victims’ families.”  Foxman continues, “Some legitimate questions have been raised about the Cordoba Initiative’s funding and possible ties with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values.”

Has he lost his mind?  So, he believes in individual freedom as long as it’s agreeable to him?  This issue is not about terrorism or Muslims, or 9/11.  This is about the rule of law—I thought a core bedrock Republican principle.

These are the same Republicans who want Obama to enforce our immigration laws, but don’t want New York City to enforce the laws that give these Muslim Americans the right to build their Islamic community center near ground zero!

To the family members of those killed during 9/11, your personal pain should not be used to deny an American citizen the exercise of his constitutional rights.  Would you feel the same way if the Catholic Church was erecting the building?

This whole debate has an undercurrent of religious intolerance.  Politicians and talk radio are trying to push specific agendas at the expense of individual liberty and freedom.  Did Republicans learn nothing from the Terri Schiavo disaster?

Maybe we should build a shrine to the Republican Party at ground zero and call it the “Mecca of Hypocrisy.”

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 (

Don’t forget to register to listen to my radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to to register and then click on host, and then click on my photo to join my group.

Raynard Jackson has been named to Talkers Magazine’s “Frontier Fifty.” The “Frontier Fifty” is a selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.

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