Tag Archives: Melissa Harris-Perry

Please Listen: Enough Is Enough

This is a power commentary. Thank you Melissa.


Tricky Dick

3There has been a lot of talk about Richard M. Nixon, AKA Tricky Dick, as we remember the upcoming anniversary of his resignation for crimes committed during his presidency. I remember that time well and thought his six years in the White House was pivotal in American military, diplomatic, and political history. Let me be clear, based upon my recollection of that time and the tremendous amount of information released since he resigned to avoid impeachment and possibly prison was that he was a crook. Plain and simple!

Nixon’s presidency was for Nixon – not America, which is why it was cut short by Watergate and his many crimes. Nixon was no doubt “complex” and often “contradictory”. Some scholars view him as liberal, others as moderate, and many more say conservative; all can find ample evidence for each label and conclusive evidence for none of them. As President, Nixon was only as conservative as he could be and only as liberal as he had to be. This was a President, who meant to move the country to the right, and he did. Maybe this is why his personality caused him to be a transitional political figure.

Nixon’s most-celebrated achievements as President was the nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union and the diplomatic opening to China that set the stage for the arms reduction pacts and careful diplomacy that brought about the end of the Cold War. Likewise, the Nixon Doctrine of furnishing aid to allies while expecting them to provide the soldiers to fight in their own defense paved the way for the Reagan Doctrine of supporting proxy armies and the Weinberger Doctrine of sending U.S. armed forces into combat only as a last resort when vital national interests are at stake and objectives clearly defined.

While his slow withdrawal from Vietnam appeared to be a practical application of the Nixon Doctrine, his secretly recorded White House tapes reveal that he expected South Vietnam to collapse after he brought American troops home and prolonged the war to postpone that collapse until after his reelection in 1972.

The Nixon years witnessed the first large-scale integration of public schools in the South. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. His hope in doing this was doing well in the South in 1972; he sought to dispose of desegregation as a political issue before then. Soon after his inauguration, he appointed Vice President Agnew to lead a task force, which worked with local leaders, both white and black, to determine how to integrate local schools. This became known of his “Southern Strategy.”

By September 1970, less than ten percent of black children were attending segregated schools. By 1971, however, tensions over desegregation surfaced in Northern cities, with angry protests over the busing of children to schools outside their neighborhood to achieve racial balance. Nixon opposed busing personally but enforced court orders requiring its use. In addition to desegregating public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970; the first significant federal affirmative action program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification.

In light of his loss of political support and the near-certainty of impeachment, Nixon resigned the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974, after addressing the nation on television the previous evening. The resignation speech was delivered from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. Nixon stated that he was resigning for the good of the country and asked the nation to support the new president, Gerald Ford. Ford was conveniently chosen as his replacement to pardon him for his crimes, meaning “he got away” with all crimes.

His downfall was the result of the Watergate break-in and the tapes recorded by Trick Dick himself. He said, I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, while famously saying “I am not a crook.” Nixon’s speech received, generally, favorable initial responses. However, it was an unprecedented humiliation as he was the first American president to resign the office.

Ultimately, the White House tapes did shape the assessment of Nixon’s impact and legacy. They ended his presidency by furnishing proof of his involvement in the Watergate cover-up, fueled a generation’s skepticism about political leaders, and today provide ample evidence of the political calculation behind the most important decisions of his presidency. They make his presidency an object lesson in the difference between image and reality, a lesson that each generation must learn anew.

In my opinion, his worst crime and shameful legacy was his initiation of the “War on Drugs” that was the beginning of the mass incarceration of black people. Frankly, his presidency is responsible for the prison industrial complex that has destroyed millions of lives and families. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Brownsville: Georgetown In Washington DC

2As you travel with me on this journey exploring the rich history of those African American communities that have become little more than footnotes in the annals of time. These segregated communities were the result of an unholy system imposed upon people of color commonly referred to as “Jim Crow” and every city or town in America had such a place.

This leads me to the next examination of a “Brownsville” – Georgetown in Washington DC. The entire world knows that DC is the capital of the free world with its avenues of grand marble structures that are more or less a crystallization of magnificence for tourist to admire. These magnificent architectural marvels are symbols of the power associated with America’s wealth. This area downtown is known as the Federal Triangle because it is an area established for federal government entities.

However, there is a hidden Washington that some have called a tale of two cities. Just blocks for these symbols of opulence live the disenfranchised, downtrodden, and neighborhoods of the forgotten. Prior to 1967, the city was run by and under federal control, which is why it is called a District – i.e., the District of Columbia. It was President Johnson who appointed Walter Washington, an African American, as the city’s first ever Mayor-Commissioner in an effort that came to be known as home rule.

The city has always been predominately African American with no real authority over its direction. The “District” as many locals call it was at that time a sleepy southern town not much different from any town in South Carolina or Mississippi as far as African Americans were concern. It was run by Dixiecrats to this point, and the Dixiecrats were worst than what we know today a Conservatives or Republicans. What you may not know, even today Washington has no voting representing in Congress making the capital of the free world, which is basically a plantation.

Washington has many African American enclaves that have long storied histories, but did you know Georgetown, one of Washington’s most renowned upscale communities, was once one of them. It is probably best known today as the home of Georgetown University and its championship basketball teams coached by the legendary John Thompson, and now by his son, or the many luminous sports figures produced by the institution. You may also know Georgetown because of its world-renowned nightlife, shopping or maybe a place home to famous people. One of its most famous residents was a young John Kennedy and his new bride Jackie, who called Georgetown home prior to moving into the White House.

It is also worth mentioning that many notable African American figures resided in communities around town such as the great orator Fredrick Douglass, who owned a home in Anacostia. Carter G. Woodson the creator of the concept “Black History Month” also owned a home in the city. These great men and all prominent African American politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars, athletes and socialites were relegated to live in a town divided by the harsh separate but equal laws of the day.

Georgetown began as a Maryland tobacco port on the banks of the Potomac River in 1751. When Congress created the District of Columbia to be the nation’s capital in 1791, its 10-mile square boundaries were drawn to include this port town, as well as a very similar Virginia tobacco port of Alexandria just across the river. Alexandria was given back to Virginia in 1846, but Georgetown remains as one of Washington’s most lively urban neighborhoods.

Georgetown historically had a large African American population, including both slaves and free blacks. Slave labor was widely used in the construction of new buildings in Washington just as they were used to provide labor on tobacco plantations in Maryland and Virginia. Let me be very clear, slaves and their labor was the workforce that built the White House, Capital, and most of the grand marble structures of opulence.

Georgetown was also a major slave trading depot that dates back as early as 1760, when John Beattie established his business on O Street and conducted business at other locations called “pens” around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street; with both locations being just a short distance from the White House. Slave trading continued until the mid-19th century, when it was ended on April 16, 1862. Many former slaves moved to Georgetown following their freedom establishing this thriving community.

When African American’s settled in Georgetown the free men established the Mount Zion United Methodist Church that remains today, which is the oldest African American congregation in Washington. This feat due to their strong religious convictions was a testament to their fortitude after experiencing the horrors of slavery. Mount Zion also provided a cemetery for free burials to Washington’s earlier African American population. Prior to establishing the church, free blacks and slaves went to the Dumbarton Methodist Church where they were restricted to hot, overcrowded balcony.

I’m sure a sense of extreme prided was evident in Washington at the time because it became the home of Howard University. Although not in Georgetown, this preeminent university was established for Blacks in 1867 with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau. It was named for the commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, General Oliver Otis Howard. The Freedmen’s Bureau was intended to help solve everyday problems of the newly freed slaves, but its most widely recognized achievement was its accomplishments in the area of education. Prior to the Civil War, no southern state had a system of universal, state-supported public education for “Coloreds” but Washington now had an advanced school of learning.

In the early twentieth century, new construction of large apartment buildings began on the edge of Georgetown. The eyes of the elite became trained on the area. John Ihlder led efforts to take advantage of new zoning laws to get restrictions enacted on construction in Georgetown. However, legislators largely ignored concerns about the historic preservation of Georgetown until 1950, when Public Law 808 was passed establishing the historic district of “Old Georgetown.” The law required the United States Commission of Fine Arts to be consulted on any alteration, demolition, or building construction within the historic district. As you can imagine, this proper and official sounding solution was not designed to benefit the African American citizens living in Georgetown.

Georgetown began to emerge as a fashion and cultural center of the newly identified community. While many “old families” stayed in Georgetown, the neighborhood’s population became poorer and more racially diverse; its demographics started to shift as a wave of new post-war residents arrived, many politically savvy, well-educated, and people from elite backgrounds took a keen interest in the neighborhood’s historic nature for their own benefit. It was during this time that the Citizens Association of Georgetown was formed. It is my understanding that the Old Georgetown Act was really a polite, or maybe not so polite, way of saying gentrification.

I am not implying nor suggesting that the Act was designed to remove African American’s and poor residences from the community (wink), but it did create an environment where people of low to moderate income could no longer afford to live there. High-end developments and gentrification have revitalized the formally African American neighborhood and what was viewed as a blighted industrial waterfront.

Some say what happened in simple terms, according to the thinking of the day; someone decided to trade a penny for a pound, and very effectively. In other words gentrification!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


America Is No Longer For Sale: It’s Been Sold

11It used to be thought that America was for sale. Well, as a result of the Supreme Court ruling last week; what we see is that America has been sold. The “Citizens United” decision was one of the worst court decision rendered by any Supreme Court since the Dread Scott Decision. Make no mistake, when the ruling allows the richest people in America and in fact the world to spend unlimited amounts of money to fund a political candidate means – they can buy the government!

The Citizens United Supreme ruling says that corporations are viewed as people and have the right to contribute like a person. This ruling was unconscionable because it is a fact that corporations have far more resources to fund a candidate to support their interests than an individual. Oh, what they are saying is that a corporation is an individual! This was surely a huge gift for the Republicans because their souls rest with big business and their interests. Whereas, the fact is most people and individuals of the country cannot and are frozen out of the system and virtually silenced.

The recent McCutien court’s decision accomplishes exactly what the chief justice claims to abhor: it enhances the free speech rights of the wealthy and restricts the free speech rights of the many who cannot afford to donate millions. It gives clearance by law for a single person to give as much money as the want to anyone and how many candidates they want. For example, in the 2012 election cycle just about 600 people were able to give more money to candidates than 4.4 million of the rest of Americans.

This takes America back to the days of the Robber Barons of the beginning of the twentieth century when the richest people in America owned America. Laws were passed then to correct the inequities.  Accepting for the sake of argument that money is a form of free speech, the court ignored that our political representatives have only a finite amount of time and resources to respond to those of us who require their attention. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was wrong when he characterized the purpose of campaign finance laws as “to restrict the political participation of some in order to enhance the relative influence of others.”

Roberts’ view of the laws was enacted not to enhance the influence of some but to maintain the ability of the many to have their voices heard. What he is saying here is that a few can in influence the many with the power of the money in this age of media.

I’ll just say now we know what they mean when they say, “We the people” the people are talking about is the rich, and they create the means for them to get richer! The effects of what this court is doing will be devastating!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Urban Leagues State Of Black America 2014 Report

11WASHINGTON (AP) this article was taken from Huffpost speaking to the state of African-Americans and Latinos saying they are losing economic ground when compared with whites in the areas of employment and income as the United States pulls itself out of the Great Recession, the latest State of Black America report from the National Urban League says.

The annual report, called “One Nation Underemployed: Jobs Rebuild America,” noted that the underemployment rate for African-American workers was 20.5 percent, compared with 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers. Underemployment is defined as those who are jobless or working part-time jobs but desiring full-time work.

The report also said African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. The unemployment rate for blacks was 12 percent in February, compared with 5.8 percent for whites.

“Many Americans are being left behind, and that includes African-Americans and Latinos who are being disproportionately left behind by the job creation that we see,” National Urban League President Marc Morial said.

Despite the dismal numbers, an analysis by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found African-Americans significantly more optimistic about their future standard of living than whites, regardless of income level, education or partisanship. Overall, 71 percent of blacks surveyed in the 2012 General Social Survey agreed that they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, outpacing the share among whites by 25 percentage points.

The survey found high optimism even among blacks who say racism is a cause for economic inequality.

Such findings illustrate “a level of optimism in the African-American community and it’s important to lift that up,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which released similar findings this week in separate research.

The National Urban League is pushing for several economic measures, including an increase in the minimum wage, an issue being debated in Congress. Democrats backed by President Barack Obama want to force election-year votes on gradually increasing today’s minimum to $10.10 by 2016, an effort that seems likely to fail in Congress. Republicans generally oppose the proposal, saying it would cost too many jobs.

“More must be done in post-recession America to try to help people and help communities close these gaps,” Morial said.

The National Urban League derives its numbers from an “equality index” that is based on nationally collected data from federal agencies including the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With full equality with whites in economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement set at 100 percent, the National Urban League said this year’s equality index for blacks stands at 71.2 percent, a slight improvement over last year’s index of 71.0 percent. However, the economic portion of the index dropped from 56.3 percent to 55.5 percent.

The equality index for Hispanics improved to 75.8 percent, compared with 74.6 percent last year, while the Hispanic economics index declined from 60.8 percent to 60.6 percent.

The report for the first time ranked large American cities from most equal to least equal when it comes to income equality and unemployment equality.

Memphis, Tenn., ranked the most equal for Hispanics when it came to unemployment equality, because in that city the Latino unemployment rate was only 3.8 percent, compared with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate for whites. For blacks, the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., metropolitan area was most equal, with a 13.3 percent unemployment rate for blacks and an 8.5 percent unemployment rate for whites.

When it came to income, the most equal city for blacks was Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., where the median black household income was $44,572, while the median white household brought in $57,252. For Hispanics, Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., was most equal, with median Hispanic income of $39,434 and median white income of $44,014.

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Follow Jesse J. Holland on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jessejholland

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AP-NORC Center report on the public mood:http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/the-public-mood-white-malaise-but-optimism-among-blacks-hispanics.aspx

National Urban League: http://www.nul.org


What Would Jesus Say?

22

Let me offer a few thoughts concerning the current political discourse revolving around the health care bill. I wonder, how can the conservatives claim to be Christian and love God who they cannot see, but cannot love the people who they work for and can see?

The Affordable Health Act is something that all moral people of other nations provide their citizens with the ability to afford medical treatment when they are sick. We know that we are being poisoned by the food we eat, air we breathe and probably everything else we encounter in our environment that many think is by design; it allows the cartels to profit. However, we have a great president who has won the Nobel Peace Prize and have accomplished something that no administration has done since the idea of health care reform was first introduced over a hundred years ago.

I’ve watched the outrageous antics displayed during town hall meetings where the opponents of something as morally correct as helping the sick be able to afford the cost of staying alive – “act a fool”. Many of these folks are Republicans, and it’s safe to assume they call themselves compassionate conservatives or Christian Conservatives. Yet, they display such outrage and bigotry over an issue that would greatly benefit the lives so many human beings.

These same folks are all for bringing democracy to countries around the world to care about those people, but they apparently are not willing to accept it here unless it is financially beneficial to them. At a town hall event, a news report covering the issue asked someone attending the rally; what are your concerns? She said, “We want our country back”. As if the country was overthrown. The elderly woman went on to say “she wanted to restore the country back to what the founding fathers wanted in the Constitution”.

I looked at her wondering if she was aware that the Constitution was signed in 1787 by all white men excluding everybody but them. The founding fathers she referred to lived in a time when they owned human beings as chattel and women had no rights whatsoever. Nonetheless, she was correct in that the Constitution affords us the right to free speech no matter how ridiculous it might be. I suppose this is the hypocrisy of democracy.

In her rage, she also said she does not want the government in her life making medical decisions for her. Hmmm – but it is ok when it’s the insurance company’s and HMO’s. The woman claims “Obama wants the government to kill old people, socialize medicine, and take away our Medicare”. The lady who looked to be in her seventies and was wearing a t-shirt that said support the troops obviously did not understand that both entities are government systems providing medical services that are socialized. I’ll bet receives and takes advantage of Social Security.

The most disrespectful was a sign that had the president looking like Hitler, arguably the worst man to every live. This might just be the reason for the all the Nazi remarks that could very well be a codeword for N- — (n word), just like they throw around words like communist or socialist, when referring to our president. Let’s be clear, the real issue is the face of what America looks like; a black President, Department of Justice head – black, a Latin Supreme Court Justice the new faces of ultimate power that are no longer all white men.

I don’t have to go back thirty or forty years because these people are the same ones we saw last summer attending rallies held by President Obama’s campaign opponent. However, I am old enough to remember the Jim Crow era when bigotry was a way of life and segregation was the law of the land. The problem is, I think, most African Americans have forgotten what it was like to be “Colored” and in spite of wanting to forget it, I believe we are witnessing a “Columbus Experience”. By that I mean, we are discovering America or at least that segment of the “Real America” the now former Governor decried during the presidential campaign. Because, the actions of these people are eerily similar to the racism of a time I’d hoped to never see again.

If we were to witness the Second Coming of Jesus, another question would be; what would he say about you? Believing and knowing that his life was lived in service of the least of thee and also died to save us – I wonder if he would react much in the way he did with the thieves in the temple. I am certain he will not be happy! Frankly, if he does those people who pretend to love him will quickly find out that he is not going to be happy. He is not going to be happy! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


KKK Leader: ‘We’re A Christian Organization’

22Let me share this ridiculous article I read today in the Huffington Post. Since they don’t have a way of sharing, I want to give them their just due and re-blogging it to my audience. These clowns are saying what they’ve been saying since the first day they hide behind the sheet. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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The leader of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is tired of “a few rogue Klansmen” ruining the group’s reputation, and argues that the group is a non-violent Christian organization.

“We don’t hate people because of their race, I mean, we’re a Christian organization,” Frank Ancona, the group’s Imperial Wizard, told Virginia’s NBC 12 on Thursday. “Because of the acts of a few rogue Klansmen, all Klansmen are supposed to be murderers, and wanting to lynch black people, and we’re supposed to be terrorists. That’s a complete falsehood.”

Ancona’s group has come under fire from residents of Chesterfield County, Va., about 20 miles south of Richmond, for distributing KKK recruitment fliers in people’s yards since January.

“We picked ours up out of our driveway and threw it in the trash,” Sarah Peachee told NBC 12. “We weren’t interested in even reading about it.”

Ancona defended the strategy, however, citing a boom in KKK membership across the country since 2008.

“In the last six years that I’ve been president of this organization I’ve seen the numbers probably triple,” Ancona told NBC 12. “The funny thing is the same neighborhoods where you’re saying there are people who don’t want the flier are neighborhoods where our members live, and neighborhoods where people are sympathetic to our cause and are glad to hear from us.”

Although Ancona insisted that the KKK is not a hate group, he added that “We just want to keep our race the white race.”

“We want to stay white,” Ancona said. “It’s not a hateful thing to want to maintain white supremacy.”

Similar activity by the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was reported in Tinley Park, a suburb of Chicago, in December, after promotional fliers were found in several driveways throughout the town.

“You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake!” the fliers said, according to the Chicago Tribune.


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