Top Ten Reasons Why Black Leaders Are Ignoring President Obama’s Attack on Social Security

After a decades-long drumbeat led by the Peterson Foundation, corporate media, Wall Street and their minions of both parties, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are under attack. The current raid is being led by nobody less than Barack Obama himself. Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton could end welfare, and only a black Democrat can undermine Social Security. But where is black leadership? Why are they silent? We think we know…

Top Ten Reasons Why Black Leaders Are Ignoring President Obama’s Good Cop-Bad Cop Attack on Social Security

by BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

In the full week following the November 10 release of draft proposals by President Obama’s Commission on fiscal Responsibility, also known as the Cat Food Commission, the silence of black leadership has been deafening. Among other things, the president’s commission would cut Social Security benefits and exacerbate unemployment by raising the retirement age, would lower taxes still further for corporations and wealthy individuals, while instituting co-payments for all veterans medical services, all in the name of austerity and stabilizing the national deficit.

The president’s political strategy, as Glen Ford pointed out last month, is clear. Obama’s commission and its draconian cuts will be the bad cop. President Obama will then play the part of “good cop” offering some “compromise,” a point between actual hell, and just a very, very hot and uncomfortable place. When Bill Clinton did this, it was called “triangulation.”

But the burning question is this: Why is there no visible opposition among black leadership to these awful economic measures, measures which penalize every working and poor person in the United States? Since an outsize number of these are African Americans, that ought to make it a black issue. Nevertheless, black advocacy organizations, the black churches, who, to hear them tell it, were the sole authors and inventors of the Freedom Movement, along with virtually all the black politicians, journalists, academics and opinion leaders, are silent. Why?

We think we know. Hence and herewith, we offer the top ten reasons black leaders are silent on Obama’s campaign to cut Medicaid, Medicare and social security.

Reason #10

Quite a few black “leaders” have no idea the Cat Food Commission even exists.

This kind of radical cluelessness says a lot about the content and style of their “leadership.” Let’s just say their eyes are elsewhere. Watching God, maybe, in some cases.  Lots of prominent black preachers, for instance, are busy campaigning against gays and vying for faith-based funding for their ministries. Both these pursuits consume copious amounts of time and energy, and the latter can be quite lucrative

Reason #9

Some black leaders with a vague idea that the Cat Food Commission exists haven’t read its recommendations or just aren’t paying attention.

Like the ones who have no idea at all, these are busy and important people. You can’t expect such folks to spare the time to read a 50 page report, or even talk to anybody that has. There are just so many more important things to do.

Reason #8

Some others are silent because they DO KNOW the Cat Food Commission exists.

Black leadership these days, such as it is, is dependent on corporate and foundation largesse. SCLC’s Atlanta headquarters was paid for by a major utility company. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is run by corporate execs and puts on its annual CBC Week with funds from Wells fargo, Lockheed, Bank of America and Wal-Mart. Telecom, insurance and other corporate execs on the “business roundtables” of everyplace from the NAACP to the National Association of Black State Legislators fund the activities, provide the “research” and literally set the organizational priorities. Even the black church, once financed solely by contributions from the faithful, has become shamefully dependent on faith-based taxpayer dollars. The corporate sector which bankrolls them all has unalterably opposed Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare since their inception. None of these “leaders” will bite the hands that feed them.

Reason #7

Some of what are called “black leadership” actually believe the corporate okie-doke about Social Security already being insolvent, a Ponzi scheme, or immoral.

For a significant share of “black leadership” being a leader means getting your opinions from the Washington Post or CNN or the New York Times. These established “leaders” value being accepted by the folks they regard as their peers, their donors, their party leaders, their professional colleagues, golfing buddies and the people that fly them to conferences and endow their departments. Not foolish enough to bite the hands that feed them, many black leaders regard it as their job to take the cues of the business world and corporate media, rather than to respond to the multiple crises of debt, incarceration, housing and joblessness experienced by the great mass of ordinary black families. Corporate media and their peers say the deficit and “entitlements” are the problem, and plenty of “black leaders” actually buy this crap.

continue reading this over at Black Agenda Report

You can also peep the Hard Knock Radio Interview we did with Bruce Dixon by clicking the link below

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65385

TSA Full Body Searches: The People Crying are Hypocritical

I find it funny that all these people are upset about full body searches and pat downs at the airport when just two months ago many of these same folks didn’t seem to mind when Muslim-Americans were complaining about being profiled and singled out for searches. It was just two months ago when the rhetoric was thick, the words hateful and very few of us ‘good ole Americans’ was the least bit concerned about ionized radiation from body scanning machines or some college drop out turned TSA agent feeling up yours or your spouse’s private parts. After all many of us rationalized that ‘sacrifice was required’ when fighting the war on terror. Many of us emphatically insisted that in order to  really fight terror successfully some of our freedoms would fall to the wayside.

Certainly I’m not the only one who recalls pompous sounding pundits on TV saying such things like; ‘We’ll if they have nothing to hide, they won’t mind being searched’ ,’We now live in extraordinary times which requires extraordinary measures to keep America safe‘ or ‘I think most people would rather be searched and profiled than be blown up’.

We really heard this type of talk a year or so ago when the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a failed attempt and GOP leaders went in on President Obama claiming he was soft on the war on terror. Many of them called for increased profiling and searches in order for us to be safe. They scoffed at the idea of people’s civil liberties being violated and said it was sign of weakness to give into the concerns voiced by organizations like the ACLU or CAIR.

Now that  everyone is getting searched  have things suddenly changed? Are we no longer willing to sacrifice our freedoms or do we just want ‘THEM’ (Muslims and ‘other suspicious folks’ ) to be searched and forced to do full body scans? How hypocritical is that?

Newt Gingrich

Wasn’t it just two months ago this country was up in arms about the proposed building of an Islamic Community Center (Mosque) near Ground Zero? Here we saw everyone from high-ranking political leaders like former House speak Newt Gingrich compare Muslims to Nazis to Texas lawmakers Debbie Riddle and Louie Gohmert warn us about ‘terror babies‘. We saw former NPR host Juan Williams admit that he ‘got nervous’ when he saw a Muslim passengers getting ready to board a plane.

These types of publicly expressed sentiments led to many of us further demonizing and marginalizing entire segments of our population which in turn left us being unsympathetic to what we now see and hear are similar concerns they expressed about ‘invasive’ searches.

Many of us turned a blind eye reports surfaced about all the Muslim Americans in addition to being profiled and searched were also increasingly being put on NO-Fly lists resulting in more than a few being stranded after being rejected from boarding. Many found themselves in legal limbo when trying to remove themselves or even find out why they were put on a No Fly list in the first place. Sadly some mean-spirited pundits celebrated these No fly list violations because the resulted in the unintended consequences of Forced Exile

With all this in mind, one has to ask the hard questions; are folks crying about  TSA full body searches because they feel their constitutional rights are being trampled or are they concerned that they personally are being violated? We really need to be honest when answering this question. Whats really going on here?

Ron Paul just introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act

It’s interesting to note that two days ago (Nov 17th) Texas Congressman Ron Paul just introduced legislation called the American Traveler Dignity Act. He’s concerned that travelers are being subjected to humiliating conditions. He’s outraged. Here’s what he wrote

“Imagine if the political elites in our country were forced to endure the same conditions at the airport as business travelers, families, senior citizens, and the rest of us. Perhaps this problem could be quickly resolved if every cabinet secretary, every member of Congress, and every department head in the Obama administration were forced to submit to the same degrading screening process as the people who pay their salaries.” Perhaps the political elites would re-evaluate their position on the peeping and probing Toms at the TSA; perhaps they would be willing to support the Congressman’s legislation.

Paul wants the TSA and other law enforcement to be held accountable if they cross the line and that’s not only understandable, but appreciated. However, one has to wonder where was Ron Paul pushing a bill or  all these outraged people when several years ago, Black women were aggressively being stripped searched at airports by custom agents. Back in 1999 when this was at its height, we were fighting the  ‘War on Drugs’ . The overwhelming majority of Black women searched were innocent, yet they were subjected to these invasive body searches. Their cavities were probed and their bowel movements were monitored. Pundits who supported this policy were insistent it was necessary to stop the flow of drugs. ‘We had to protect America’.. Does that sound familiar?

People weren’t outraged back then if anything, many were dismissive of the concerns expressed by African-American women who were made to feel totally violated and unfairly profiled. Sadly we heard the same retorts back then as we do now toward Muslims; ‘If-they-have-nothing-to-hide-why-complain’.

Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standard Act in 2001

There were lawsuits and alot of pressure put on airports screeners and custom agents. Eventually in 2001 Senator Richard Durbin introduced the Reasonable Search Standards Act.

Reasonable Search Standards Act – Prohibits U.S. Customs Service personnel from subjecting travelers to detention or searches based upon race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation, except when acting upon specific information that a particular traveler suspected of engaging in illegal activity is described by one or more of such characteristics.

Requires Customs Service personnel, before a pat down or intrusive non-routine search, to document reasons to support a belief that an individual may be carrying contraband in violation of Federal law. Waives such requirement with respect to anyone suspected of carrying a weapon.

The bill was read twice and referred to the finance committee, well see where Paul’s American Traveler Dignity Act bill goes.

Rodstarz of Rebel Diaz was recently searched & detained for 10 hrs at an airport

It’s a shame that many of us have short memories and selective ways in which we like to see laws enforce or who we show concern for when rights are violated. Sistas being jammed up at airports where we had dead silence and people siding with custom agents is one example. Now that we have this new war on drugs south of the border quite a few Brown folks are going through  the humiliation. The popular Bronx-Chicago based rap group Rebel Diaz on a recent Hard Knock Radio show detailed what happened when they returned to the US from Chile. They were detained searched, questioned and made to feel violated when they returned from their native Chile. What folks are complaining about now is routine procedure in some communities

For folks who live in the hood, strip searches in public are not usual. belligerent cops ‘looking for drugs and weapons’  are always jacking people up, making them drop their pants in full view of others. In cities like LA, young teens have been made to strip in front of parents. Husbands and boyfriends have been subjected to watching their spouses and girlfriends be felt up and probed by police who turned a routine traffic stop into a nightmarish search.Parents have been made to undress or be felt up by cops looking for drugs and weapons in front of their kids.

The movie CRASH depicted a scene where the character played by actor Terrence Howard had to watch his wife get felt up by police. Many thought it was just a dramatic scene for the movie, but for those who live in the hood especially in places like South Central LA, what was shown on the big screen was as real as day. It’s all too commonplace. It’s a reality and indignation that many have endured for years. Speaking out about this and detailing this is often met with disbelief or outlandish justification where folks rationalize that folks in the hood are all criminal and deserve to be searched.

LA rap star and longtime activist Mykill Miers who actually works with at risk youth inside the system noted the other night over the years he himself has been subjected to such humiliating treatment on 4 different occasions.

In New York City pat downs and invasive searches was the hall-mark of the police serving under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In one year alone more than 500 thousand people were stopped and searched on the streets of NY, over 70% of those stopped were Black and Brown men. We certainly could’ve used a Dignity Act type bill then..

How are police searches in the hood connected to searches and pat downs at airports? Well to start have large numbers of citizens who are being subjected to searches that they find invasive and in violation of their constitutional rights.  The overwhelming majority of those searched are obviously innocent. No weapons are found, no bombs are found, no drugs are found. Law makers insists such measures are needed to keep us safe and act as a deterrent. For the most part far too many of are willing to go along with this until they’re the ones made to drop their drawers.

Who should we be screening the thuggish looking Black guys who are Ice Cube & his crew or the Columbine shooters Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold?

As long as we have scapegoating caricatures that fits into our collective stereotypes like the Black thug, Mexican drug dealer, or a Arab terrorist, then we don’t mind the searches. In fact, as I mentioned before, we actually insist that they take place. But as soon as it things land in our direction we wanna have mass protests.

The bottom line is this, the constitution should apply to us all. If anyone has a hard time accepting that then they deserve this mistreatment they want imposed on others. It doesn’t matter how big your boobs are, how sagging your butt is or how small your ding-a-ling is. It doesn’t matter if you’re grandmother 80 years old or outstanding pillar in your community, if its ok to search Mr Muhammad, Ray Ray and Jose ‘to keep us safe’ then it’s perfectly ok to profile and search Mr and Ms Cleaver as well. After all, some of the worst terrorist this country has seen are those who are homegrown and blend in with the mainstream population. From Oklahoma City bomber Ti mothy McVeigh to American Taliban John Walker Lindh to Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to members of the Ku Klux Klan.

If this really is about protecting our 4th amendment rights, then let’s be principled. Stop all invasive searches of innocent people everywhere, both at the airport and in the hood. If this country truly stands for freedom then let’s make sure it applies to all sectors of our society. Until then as long as innocent young Black and Brown men are being humiliated and strip searched in their own neighborhoods, and we’re advocating for Muslims to be singled out and searched then one should not show an ounce of sympathy or be concerned when someone cries out about being ‘their junk being touched’ by a TSA agent at the airport.

As the loud mouth pundits like to say.. ‘If you have nothing to hide, why complain…’

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

 

Manny Pacquiao the People’s Champ: Is that too Much for Floyd to Handle?

The other night many got a chance to witness history in the making as the greatest fighter of all-time next to Muhammad Ali show and proved that he’s no joke. Manny Pacquiao let all doubters including his opponent Antonio Margarito know that no matter how big, no matter how fierce and no matter how much heart you have, you will undoubtedly lose to a man far too many people have underestimated.

While the world watched and cheered, we’re sure a certain boxer with a big mouth and lots of money sat at home also watching. There is no doubt that Floyd ‘Money Making’ Mayweather has come to realize two unshakeable truths. First, he can’t beat Mr Pacquiao.  Yeah, yeah, we heard all the talk about how he’s a skilled precision fighter, a true student of the game blah, blah, blah…Save it. He knows it, I know and you know it. Mayweather watched and realized this past Saturday night this is man he can’t beat.

The other thing he realized is that he’ll never be seen as one of the greatest, even with an undefeated record. As a world champ, he misread history and what it means when you hold such a title especially as a Black man. The ring was always symbolic of power we did not have.. Even with boxing legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, part of what made him great was his accomplishments in the midst of hard oppressions. the accomplishments of boxing greats like Joe Louis and Jack Johnson became a symbolic victories for all those who felt marginalized and oppressed. Their victory was our victory.

Manny Pacquiao has captured that spirit globally. Sadly Floyd Mayweather has misread the signs of today’s times and missed the opportunity to be ‘the people’s champ‘.  If Mayweather and Pacman were to fight and he somehow won, Manny would still be seen as champ all over the world. A Mayweather victory would be a hollow victory. Mayweather  does not have the admiration of the people especially globally, and no matter how much he brags or ‘adroitly ‘plays the role of villan’ aka the ‘man you love to hate’, he’ll never be seen as a man for the people. What a wasted opportunity.

Understandably that assertion is hard pill for many to swallow, but it’s a truth that Mayweather and many who have come to admire him will have to come to terms with. There are a few thresholds that must be met to truly make a fighter GREAT. The standard is Muhammad Ali..

Ali was and will forever be the greatest even if we could make the case that he was not the ‘best’ to step in the ring. Yes, there were many who threw harder punches. There were some who had faster jabs. There were some who had better defense. Ali was the greatest because he combined all his skills transcended the ring and became a champ on the world stage. He knew how to seize the moment. He always had the pulse of the people. As champ Muhammad Ali came to represent the underdog. Floyd Mayweather as fast and as technical as he is, DOES NOT represent that..

He reps a shallow and ugly version of Americanism that quite frankly we as Black people should not be about. He’s ‘Money Making’ Mayweather when much of the planet including many of our own here in the states are impoverished, unemployed, under employed and clear that big corporation have done them dirty.  He’s flossing when folks are starving, no different then the big Wall Street Bankers flossing and justifying bonuses after being bailed out and folks are losing homes.

Mayweather is not seen as the guy who makes the loot on behalf of the people. He’s not seen as the guy continuing the historic role of trickster who has out-thought oppressive situations and with each blow landed and each dollar earned has done it for those who have long done without. Sadly Floyd Mayweather has allowed himself to be positioned as the face of the ‘money making corporation. He’s the establishment. Someone best described him as a Black man who has lost his way.

Unless Floyd is doing some incredible work behind the scenes similar to the way Steelers corner back Troy Polamalu has long gone out in the night to feed, cloth and give money to the  homeless, he’ll always be known as the man who bragged and bragged without purpose or politic.

What eluded Mayweather was truly understanding the man who he borrowed a page from in terms of bragging. When Ali fought and bragged, a lot of the times there were political undertones attached to it. Ali became the ‘people’s champ’ by depicting all his opponents both Black and White as figures who were standing in the way of freedom and thus needed to be conquered. He did that with George Foreman. He did it with Ken Norton. He did it  Sonny Listen. He did it with Joe Frazier. He especially did this with another boxing champ named Floyd.

Two time champ Floyd Patterson was quick, agile and had great technique, but he’ll always be remembered as the guy Muhammad Ali called an ‘Uncle Tom’ for siding with the system and refusing to call him ‘ Ali’ and instead insisted on calling him by his ‘slave name’ Cassius Clay.

For those who don’t recall, Ali born Cassius Clay changed his name upon joining the Nation of Islam then known as the Black Muslims. It represented him shedding a name imposed upon him and his family by slave owners and Ali was not shy in asserting this and  demanding he be addressed by his new name. Most complied, but there were some white sports writers annoyed with Ali’s bragging who refused. For whatever reason Floyd Patterson also refused which led to Ali shrewdly pointed out that Patterson, a black man was Uncle Tomming for the establishment. When the two entered the ring Ali ruthlessly beat Floyd and humiliated him. With each punishing blow he could be heard yelling ‘Whats my name’?

Patterson became the symbol of a good man being on the wrong side of history and while no one is even remotely suggesting that Floyd Mayweather is an Uncle Tom, he’s definitely on the wrong side of history. He’s embraced a mindset and ideology of ‘greed’ and he has the potential to be better than that.

Some have said Mayweather with his flashiness and crudeness is simply representing today’s society. That may be true, but deep down inside he knows he can be so much more.  being champ has always meant being so much more. The question is, with Mayweather refusing to fight Pacquiao is he really symbolizing that he’s afraid to step up and be a true champ? Is he afraid to really wear the crown and sit on the throne? Some folks simply are afraid of success on that level. They are comfortable just getting by. Is that how Mayweather  feeling inside?

Sadly Mayweather  via his actions has become the quintessential American; shallow, crude, materialistic and only about himself. We don’t see him taking hard stands on political issues. We don’t see him in Haiti?  We don’t see him in New Orleans.. We don’t even see him in Detroit.. This is not to say he hasn’t done those things..We know he has a charity and this is not to say he’s required to do such things. Is that unfair to put that burden on him? Technically yes, but in the larger scheme of things ‘No’. To not rise to the occasion, Mayweather eludes being ‘Great’ and in many ways he actually cheapens his position. He’s not seen as rebellious or even street so he can’t play the role of being anti-establishment the way a Mike Tyson did.

Mayweather has allowed himself to be the face of a corporatist way of thinking that has long been problematic. He’s the hedge fund head of boxing and to be honest thats the real fight. On the other hand, Pacquiao seems to know what he’s come to symbolized and has continuously moved onto the world stage to be among the Greats.

Manny Pacquiao has come to understand that with much comes great responsibility and thus he’s been out and about doing things that transcend boxing. It could be him dabbling in politics, including being elected to office in the Filipines or it could be him having fun and dabbling in singing. Whatever the case Manny has made himself accessible and has positioned himself to be guy the working class poor person all over the world can relate to and will back up.

Say what you want, but at the end of the day, money and lots of it will only take you so far. Floyd Mayweather knows this. he knows that this is not just about matching skill sets in the ring. Mayweather has to figure out what he really represents. What does he stand for? It can no longer be just the money its got to be something more. Mayweather is wrestling with this knowing that the longer he avoids fighting the ‘people’s champ’ Manny Pacquiao the more he’s likely to wind up be just a footnote in the annals of boxing even if he remains undefeated

Something to ponder

Davey D

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