Friday, December 4, 2009

Congressional Black Caucus got juice??? - Ah, No...

Lawd have mercy!  NOW the Congressional Black Caucus is tryin' to flex?
"But Waters says the CBC’s point was a larger one — a statement that the group would “use our strength and our influence to better represent our communities.” (emphasis mine).
What the hell??  Strength and influence??  Please.

I read Frustrated Congressional Black Caucus plays hardball with White House and  I'm sorry, it's just so chock full of what my play-sister-blogger-friend, Cinie has so entertainingly described in -"What, You Thought He Was Kidding?" - that I need to apologize right now for how much I'm getting ready to quote this Politico piece.
"The long-simmering family feud between the Congressional Black Caucus and the first African-American president...The 43-member caucus — which included Illinois Sen. Barack Obama from 2004 to 2008 — has chafed against President Obama and his top aides since the Inauguration, complaining that the White House takes it for granted and plays favorites with conservative Blue Dog Democrats." (emphasis mine)
What "family feud? "The Black family feud? Some white folk tickle me.

Anywa-y-y-y.  The CBC, in full, mask-wearing-mode, apparently thought their Undercover Brotha was going to reward them like he did all those high-dollar donors in exchange for them selling out Hillary throwing all their "strength and influence" behind him.  First of all, God don't like ugly.  Second of all, weren't they studying him while he was obviously studying them for four damn years?  I can see why he's taking them for granted - they made it too easy.
"The bill passed easily..." (emphasis mine)
Guess that shoots that "strength and influence" thing to hell.
"...but Waters suggested the CBC’s 43 members could vote with the GOP to scuttle a variety of Democratic bills if Obama and Emanuel don’t address what she thinks is a lack of understanding of the CBC’s wide-ranging goals of reducing urban unemployment, home foreclosures and bank failures." (emphasis mine)
Now, how much sense does this make?  What if some of those Democratic bills are worth voting for?  They're threatening to vote with the GOP to do what?  Prove a point?  Get revenge?  What about their constituents who might  possibly benefit (you never know!) from the passage of some of those bills?

Wide-ranging goals?  Maxine Waters has been in Congress for what - 18, 19 years?  Can any of you Compton people tell me how many of those "wide-ranging goals"  have been met?  The state's supposedly broke, the 'hood is still the hood, police officers are still, in 2009shooting young, unarmed, belly-down Black men on train platforms

How about some of you Brooklyn or Bronx people, or Chicago people, or DC people, or some non-PG County Maryland people?  How 'bout some of you Philly people, or Overtown, FL people, or Dillon, SC people?  Anybody?  Anything?  Guess"wide-ranging" also means very long-ranging too.

And if I were Rep. Waters, I'd  try to tip-toe around mentioning anything to do with bank failures - at least until that pesky little investigation is completed anyway.
“I think that it is important for us to educate those people around [Obama],” Waters told reporters. “We’ve got to get his people educated and moving. We have not brought these issues to him personally — it is important first to educate those people around him so they understand.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), who recently accused Obama of bowing down to the GOP on health care reform, was more pointed, shouting “Yes!” when asked if he was disappointed with Obama’s level of attentiveness to African-Americans’ needs.

He added that he had an extensive list of issues with the president — a list he said was too long to disgorge in a hallway conversation with a reporter." (emphasis mine)
What the hell - again?!  We'll talk about our issues and our problems with him - TO SOMEBODY ELSENOT DIRECTLY TO HIM?  Jeezus H. Christ!  What is this kindergarten?  Yeah I know, that's not "how it's done" in Washington.  Main reason I'd never be a politician.

“There are those who choose not to speak about African-Americans or the working class,” Waters said. (emphasis mine)
Guess that one was meant for HIM.

"And many felt Obama waited too long — nearly two months into his term — to invite them to their first White House meeting." (emphasis mine)
This is too funny!  Their feelings are hurt?  Why should he buy the cow, when he got the milk for free??
"CBC members have long said they would rather deal with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is black, but have been forced to negotiate with Emanuel, Obama’s point man in the House." (emphasis mine)
Jesus please take the wheel! Forced?  Do they really believe Valerie Jarrett wants to deal with them??  She's the Changeling's second (first?) brain!  And I'm not even going to go into the whole Blue Vein Society thing that is still very much alive in this country today.

According to Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, “We have not been informed of the reasoning behind their decision not to vote on the bill, but we continue to think it is important to move financial reform forward to prevent future crises from damaging our economy and disrupting the lives of millions of Americans, including African-Americans.” (emphasis mine)
More of that "rising tide lifts all boats" bullshit.

Back in April, I read this on - "Useful Idiots Of The Congressional Black Caucus" - about six members of the CBC visiting Cuba.  My immediate response to the headline was visceral (and maybe a tad schizophrenic given the content of the piece), but all I could say was:

"Damn, that's crass!"

I saved the link among my many drafts though, mentally filing it away under, "Get back to this shit when that "Mississippi Burning" feeling's under better control."  I'm a link hoarder, what can I say.

The link no longer exists at the site (maybe all those announced cutbacks this week has something to do with it) however, the Examiner's piece originally  linked to Mona Charen's, April 9th National Review piece entitled,  "Useful Idiots Caucus - Genuinely Castrophilic.  More a "Mississippi Simmering" title.

But since most of what I know about Cuba, I first learned under the auspices of the military - AND, because I get so tired of white folk always being one minority or other's mouthpieces, I went digging for a Cuban perspective.  I found this interesting post by Anatasio Blanco at Babalú Blog:  The Bigotry of the Congressional Black Caucus.

And this is where the schizophrenia comes in for me.

On the one hand, I've always felt that - after having gone through all the horrors of Jim Crow, culminating in a real change movement which finally made it possible to get more of our "kinfolk" (not "skinfolk" like the Changeling) elected to Congress - said elected Congress persons deserved the same public respect as their white counterparts.  So the "idiots" thing offended me.

That being said however, a lot of us, upon becoming "successful," (as defined by the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy), are so busy doing what the WSCP says is required to keep on being successful, any semblance of critical thinking just flies straight out the window.  I can't lie, in my formerly, totally colonialized state of mind - that was me too.  But after awhile, I began to feel more stupid than successful,  because that "rising tide wasn't lifting all boats" - even with more of our "kinfolk" in office. 

And over the more than 20 years of working on de-colonializing this mind, I've realized it was never designed to lift everybody's boat - we have to make it.  Now, I've still got plenty of work to do, but at least I'm working on it.  Maybe the CBC should consider at least embarking on such a journey if they want to be taken seriously - by anyone.

I'm sure Reps. Rush and Cleaver - having been a part of that "real movement" in their early days - saw praising Castro on that visit as some kind of show of  "brotherhood in resistance" or something.  Apparently they didn't realize that was then, and this is now - for the three of them.  And then-n-n, after they went and made all those school-girl crush sounding proclamations, they come back home and now say something altogether different, bringing the wrath of the Cuban government down on their heads just this week - Cuba blasts US black leaders for charges of racism.  Seems the CBC is "useful" to everybody but Black folk.

Last year around this time, brotherkomrade, a former commenter here, suggested I do some reading on Assata Shakur.  I did, and soon after, started another draft that I didn't finish.  So, I thought I'd just move a little of it here since we're talking about Cuba. 

In this open letter written in 2005 - “My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th-century escaped slave" - she tells her side of what happened that landed her in Cuba as a political exile.  If you've not read it, please do.  If you don't feel like it, watch the two videos below.  And once you have, tell me if you think she met with any of those CBC members when they met with Fidel.  Like I said, I'm still "working on it" - but I have to believe she did not.

In her own words...


Cinie said...

Deb, I've got a bad case of unfinished post-itis, too, but I'm trying to get one together sometime today that addresses the Obie/CBC un-lovefest. Suffice it to say, even though there's a lot to blame the CBC for, at the end of the day I have to come down on their side.

My take? As for Maxine's "those people around him" quote, it's a damned shame that those same people have engineered such a successful "wrong side of history" campaign for their candidate against black people, at their expense, with their complicity, by beating his "(s)kinfolk" drum for him on the black radio/barber/beauty shop grapevine, that other black people have to use code language to try to call a spade a spade, so to speak. Too bad nobody wants to risk being John Lewis-ed or Tavis Smiley-ed in the mainstream media. Oh, for Maxine or somebody to come out and say "Obama's white advisers are running the show and won't let us near him because he doesn't want to have anything to do with anybody or anything too black. And never has." Ain't that why Jesse wanted to perform indelicate corrective surgery on his privates? And we saw what the "shut up whiny old school Negroes, we're post-racial, now" Axelturf fed media did with that, didn't we?

Funny nobody wants to examine the role of class within the black community. Hasn't Obie always looked down his seditty nose at the rest of the CBC, as well as most other blacks? Lowly Congresscritters, the lot of 'em, as far as he was concerned. He was a Senator after all, doncha know? I've also read where it was said that his disappointment with the behavior of the residents of Chicago's Altgeld Gardens (who he was trying to tell how to organize their housing project mini-city community) was what made him decide to cut and run to law school. At any rate, I think the CBC saw through Obie from jump, but individual members decided early on how to play the situation to their advantage. Some jumped aboard the "brotherhood train" right away, but, for the ones who didn't, the back door Astroturf sales job to "da homies" put them in a no win situation, facing a potential backlash from their constituencies if they didn't at least pretend to embrace him. But, at least a third of them stayed with Clinton to the end, then got into it with him at their first post-campaign meeting when he told them his feelings were hurt that they didn't back him all along and Sheila Jackson Lee got pissed that he said they should help women "get over it." They didn't back him on the stimulus, either. Little by little, they've been doing as much as they thought they could get away with given that their hands were tied behind their backs because their constituents were deliberately blindfolding themselves. JMHO.

As for the Cuba thing, I truthfully don't know enough about it to comment. I'll have to what the videos you posted and delve into it more soon. For now though, it'll have to be another link on my neverending to do list.

ea said...

I think most members of the CBC won't lift a finger on behalf of their non-wealthy constituents because they don't want what happened to Cynthia McKinney to happen to them. The evolution of the CBC is the natural progression from the go-along-to-get-along stage to the self-imposed isolation of the Black Elite.

Deb said...

Hey Ladies! I tried to reply to you twice, but I was a little too - pensive. So this is a two-parter:

I agree with you both – mostly. Classism is ONE of the issues with the CBC here. Instead of alluding to it (Blue Veins; busy doing what the WSCP says is successful), I should’ve addressed it, but the post’s already too long!

Plenty Black folk - if they’re honest - know about classism in our community. They might not own it, but they know. And white folk know too. Hell, since we got here, House Negro vs. Field Negro has been, and continues to be sport for them.

Though I co-sign EVERYTHING you said and the reasons for it, Cin - for me, coming down on the side of the CBC goes completely against that whole, living-in-truth walk that I’m demanding on this “journey of me.” I don’t wear the mask anymore, choosing instead, to keep Harriet’s words, “You’ll be free or die (a slave),” firmly planted to stay focused on that freedom. And when I falter - which I sometimes do - I keep her “gun” pointed at me so I keep moving forward.

But plenty people still wear it, still live it - and that’s fine if that’s their truth. People tend to get it twisted, thinking I’m demanding they be like me. I'm not. I just don’t want them shining up shit and calling it gold and thinking I’ll believe it. I’d just appreciate the CBC standing in whatever's their truth and dealing with the consequences like grown - not greedy, nor vain - folk do. If they can’t, they shouldn’t expect me to join in the pretense. I won’t. “We’s free ya’ll!” means too much to me.

You’re more than right though, “it's a damned shame” the CBC was complicit in the engineering “of such a successful ‘wrong side of history’ campaign” because “nobody wants to risk being John Lewis-ed or Tavis Smiley-ed in the mainstream media.” But what exactly would they be risking?

ea, I think your comment answers that question quite nicely. To paraphrase, they’d be risking plenty of faux classism (for those who come down on the, ancestors-of-a-Field- Negro side of the equation) wrapped up in the fear of being “Cynthia McKinneyed” by the real classists!

And yeah, Jesse suffered the wrath of the Axelturf-fed media. But so what? They already think he’s too Black! But instead, he melted into the background, not speaking up about what he meant – and what it meant for us – because, why? Who’s served by that? Only the Black – “Why you performin’ like that in front of those white folk?” -Elite (and those who want to be the Black Elite).

Deb said...

Part II:

Cin, if they DID see through him (and they sure should have!), that's yet another damned shame. Here we have these grown, supposedly free, Black folk still feeling they have to “play the situation to their advantage” instead of doing what’s right - instead of doing what people sent them to Congress to do (I know, I know, I’m naïve and that’s not how politics works. But dammit! It should!).

Funny thing is, the CBC’s already been "McKinneyed," just differently - although Maxine Waters came pretty close:

Who takes them seriously? Not their fellow Critters, who easily passed this reform – without them; not their constituents, who pimped most of them into abandoning Hillary, their long-time ally and in some cases – friend; not their Cuban “brothers-in-resistance” once they came back here and flipped their script; and certainly, not their café-au-lait president and his Brown-bag-tested-and-approved Ms. Jarrett, neither of whom will even give them (or us) the time of day! I gotta say, Cin - I can’t see to what advantageous end they played the situation.

You said (a little condensed), “Little by little, they've been doing as much as they thought they could get away with given that their hands were tied behind their backs…put them in a no win situation…”

Man! That right there makes all that, “We’s free ya’ll!” hair stand right up on the back of my nappy neck, Sister-friend!

All I can say to that is,there IS no, "no-win situation.” Simply depends on what you’re trying to win. And if - after all this time - these grown, free, Black folk still have to do “what they can get away with” - it ain’t about winning jack for the people. More like them, operating in their “fog” of importance, IMHO.

I believe Sister McKinney – somewhere along the way – realized, “We’s free ya’ll” really meant something – to her. That’s why I voted for her. And as long as I can critically think (to which her vocal stand against Obama & Co. contributes), I most certainly will again. I just prefer people living in truth and willing to speak it - loudly (she HAS been accused of “performin’ now and again herself). Who does that serve? Us lower-crusters, providing the information for critical thinking before we pull that lever again.

Sure I want results. And her not being in “the halls of power” with her “mind set on freedom” (Cin, do you know that song?) certainly sidetracks that – for now.

But let me see, what results have we gotten from them so far? Obama & Co; More war; fucked up health care reform; record unemployment and home foreclosures; homelessness; fatter Wall St. cats; continued disparity in crack and cocaine sentencing (Hell, IL has a brand-spanking, new, super-max prison that's been sitting empty for about 8 years, just waiting for new residents!); more separate and unequal, corporatized education, etc. , etc.

Think I’ll come down on the side of Sister Cynthia any day over those with their “hands tied behind their backs.” JMHO

Citizen Ojo said...

CBC is useless, a large percentage of black politicians are useless. They make promises they don't keep and collect money from the same structures that are against the very people they represent. With that being said many white politicians are useless too. So it's a toss up and uselessness.. ha ha ha

Deb said...

Citizen Ojo...As the CBC is now - I agree. On politicians in general, I also agree. But I take special umbrage when people who look like me, forget people who look like me, especially when we all had been forgotten before. But that's just me.

Cinie said...

Hey Deb, did you see this?

"By boycotting a key House committee vote last week and threatening to abandon support for banking regulations, members of the Congressional Black Caucus got $4 billion added to a Wall Street regulation bill and $2 billion to a proposed House jobs bill in spending they sought for African American communities."

Deb said...

No Cin, I hadn't. And good on 'em for the result. Your point is well taken (but you know I have a "however," don't you?).

My point is - if 10 of them could boycott this reform (that passed anyway)and get this...

"House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., this week inserted $3 billion to the legislation to provide low-interest loans to unemployed homeowners in danger of foreclosure. He added $1 billion for neighborhood revitalization programs."

...then why, as the piece goes on to say...

"With 40 members in the House, the Congressional Black Caucus can be a potent force.

...haven't/don't they "just do it" for the many issues facing our community. Ms. Waters (for example) has been there for almost 20 years!

Okay, to be fair, the first 10 years were probably and understandably difficult. But the last 8 or 9? When Dems had the majority under Shrub? During the time stuff-the-money-in-my-freezer Jefferson, among others were getting theirs while we wait for ours?

I know you think I'm naive about the whole politics thing, Cin - but it's not that I'm naive, I'm just not an admirer of/nor ever want to be, a participant in those "Games Mother Never Taught You" (interesting old book I read when I thought I wanted to be in that world).

As potent a force as they could be, after all these years, they still aren't. It'll be interesting to track that money and see exactly who it helps. Maybe I'll see if ProPublica's tracking stimulus $$$

This statement's pretty interesting and illustrates my point I think:

"Since last September, we have continuously voted for bailout and reform for the very institutions that created this devastation, without properly protecting the African-American community or small business," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said on the day of the boycott. "That stops today."

Now if it really stops today - great! But since it was only 10 of the 43(?) boycotting, I'll take a wait and see - for at least as long as they've been impotent. JMHO.

Cinie said...

When did the words "Deb, I think you're being naive" come out of my mouth? Because that's not hardly what I think. Truth be told, I can't hold a candle to what you know about politics. That's what I think.

I posted that link without comment because I wanted to know what you thought of it. As for the CBC, I still credit the 10 who never embraced Obie for standing up when and how they thought they could, all things considered. Inside looking out, they musta been feeling some kinda heat for quite a while, especially given the way Obie and his suckophants and bootlickers play.

Perfect? No. A'ight? Yeah, I'll give them that.

Deb said...

You never did, Sister-friend. I just took "I'm a little older and more cynical" and ran with it! :-)

It's a "mutual admiration society" as far as how much each of us knows about politics, Cin. Really, I just think we both pay attention and critically think more than most. But thanks for the compliment.

"Perfect? No. A'ight? Yeah, I'll give them that."

I agree. The 10 deserve some credit for taking a stand - I'll give them that. I just have to wait, watch and see where they go from here. The rest? Nada, zippo, ничего (nothing in Russian)!

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