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NEWPITTSBURGH COURIER


Democrats need a Hot Chocolate Party


(NNPA)—It is becoming increasingly clear


that President Obama and Democrats need pressure from within the party to force them to stand their ground against the Tea Party in- surrection in Congress. As was evident in the recent debt ceiling fiasco, conservative House Republicans have gravitated even farther to the right because of pressure from the Tea Party movement. Democrats are being towed along kicking and screaming. Well, screaming. That’s why there is an urgent need to form a Hot Chocolate Party to force Democrats to start acting like Democrats. Democrats control theWhite House and the


Senate but they don’t act like the party in con- trol. And that’s because they rarely control anything, including their own party members. The public agenda is being driven by the Tea Party, a small sect that has become so power- ful that its members forced an embarrassed House Speaker John Boehner to withdraw his debt ceiling bill from the floor. To his credit, Boehner was smart enough to


George E. Curry Commentary


regroup and give the Tea Party what it wanted. To their discredit, President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to give the Tea Party zealots nearly ev- erything they asked


for. In the end, that still wasn’t enough to sat- isfy them. How did Democrats lose their way? President Obama, the titular head of the


party, has usually adopted sensible public pol- icy stances on such issues as the public option in health care and letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. In the face of withering Republican opposition, however, Obama has usually capitulated. For example, candidate Obama campaigned


for universal health care.At the time, the U.S. was the only industrialized country in the world that did not provide universal health care.Many progressives wanted a single-payer plan similar to the one in Canada.With such a powerful health care lobby inWashington, there was little chance of achieving that goal. So they agreed to go along with the public op- tion, a government health insurance agency that competes with private insurance compa- nies. Thanks to a president eager to strike a deal


with the Party of No, the public option was re- moved as an option before the legislation was passed and signed into law. This was the be- ginning of the end. Last December, Republicans pretended to op-


pose extending long-term unemployment bene- fits, a major goal of Democrats. But the quid pro quo was that Republicans would go along with the extension if Obama would agree to a 2-year extension of all Bush tax cuts. That was another time I wanted President Obama to call the GOP bluff, but apparently fighting is not in his DNA. With high unemployment in his native Ohio,


Boehner could not afford to look into the eyes of jobless voters back home and tell themunem- ployment benefits should not be extended. But a deal was struck giving Obama the unemploy- ment extension and allowing Boehner and his GOP comrades to protect the super rich. If theHot Chocolate Party were in place, it


could have insisted that the Bush tax cuts ex- pire, something that would have cut the federal deficit by half. It also could have curtailed the practiceU.S. companies hidingmost of their as- sets overseas to keep frompaying corporate taxes and ending the public subsidizing vacation homes, private jets and boats for the upper class. As bad as past deals were, this deficit show-


down was perhaps the worst example of Democrats being impotent. An angry Barack Obama acknowledged how


bad the deal was after Boehner walked out of their deficit reduction talks and refused to re- turn his telephone calls. Listen again to why Obama was angry: “Es-


sentially, what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and de- fense,” Obama said in a July 22 news confer- ence. “We then offered an additional $650 bil- lion in cuts to entitlement programs—Medi- care,Medicaid, Social Security.” Here’s the part that proved that the presi-


dent was willing to give up too much: “We were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the Gang of Six [a panel Democratic and Republican lawmakers]. We were calling for taxes that were less than what the Gang of Six had proposed.” SenateMajority Leader Harry Reid was


equally pathetic in trying to advance his deficit proposal.He said his bill did not require any new taxes, something he hoped would satisfy Republicans. It didn’t. Enough of these wimpy Democrats.When


challenged by Republicans, they roll over early and often. Democrats roll over so easily that they should be renamed the Roth IRA Party. To let Democrats tell it, they roll over be-


cause they want what’s best for the country and avoiding default, for example, was achieved only because they were willing to give Tea Party fanatics what they wanted. Compromise is now a one-way street. It’s time to take another road. Let’s put the Hot Chocolate Party in the


driver’s seat to say no to the Party of No. If they again threaten to drive the country in a ditch, to borrow a quote fromPresident Obama, pro- vide themwith the directions. I suspect that once they realize Democrats won’t keep giving in to their empty threats,we will find out that they are not as crazy as they appear. (George E.Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emergemag-


azine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his Web site, www.georgecurry.com You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/currygeorge.)


FORUM


some years ago. During that pe- riod of time we went overwhelm- ingly to Black churches, ate at Black-owned es- tabl i shment s such as B&M, Mama Lucy’s, Boykin’s, and others. We were generally treated as second-


The Truth


class citizens at parks such as Kenny- wood,Westview and South Park.We were denied access to swimming pools, skating rinks, major hotels and the job situation was deplorable. However, there came a timewhen Blacks said, “ain’t going to take it anymore.” Thismood swept the nation aswe began to


pray more, picket, boycott and file lawsuits. We were selective in voting and the result was positive changes began to occur. Blacks now began to become an integral part of the AmericanDream.Wenowoccupied positions in corporate and government sectors thatwe had always been denied. Across this nation Blacks began to ascend to seats of power we had never dared to dreamsuch asmayors in Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., Cleveland, Ohio, Los Angeles, Calif., Detroit, Mich., Newark, N.J.andother cities.Therearestatesenators, U.S. congresspersons, lieutenant governors, state attorney generals, police chiefs, police commissioners, U.S. senators and CEOs of worldwide corporations. The question is WHAT HAS GONE


WRONGWITH US? Let’s focus on Pittsburgh where election


after election Blacks argue, lose friend- ship, cease to speak to each other and sometimes become physically combative, over political candidates that don’t look like us. Allow me to list what should be embar-


rassing statistics to Black residents of Al- legheny County. Throughout the entire history of the city


of Pittsburgh former city councilman LouisMason was the only Black person to ever be president of council. Allegheny County Council has no Black employees. Allegheny County has only elected one


Black in its history to a row office. There were only two Blacks in the history of Allegheny County to ever campaign for the position of state senator and no Black was ever endorsed.Two Blackmen ran for congress in Allegheny County, but the Re- publican Party was the only party to ever endorse a Black in1978, 33 years ago. Do you remember the last time a Black


women or man ran for mayor, Allegheny County District Attorney or Sheriff? What kind of message are we sending


our children or ourselves? It is my absolute conviction that Blacks


To Tell


What has gone wrong with us? Louis ‘Hop’ Kendrick


Let’s go back


across Allegheny County need a revival. We seem to have for- gotten that period of time that we were in- troduced to the estab- lished facts that Black pridewas an all impor- tant aspect of our lives and that definitely “Black is beautiful.”


Alarge number ofmy generationworked


hard, some for themselves but mostly for the man. But they made the necessary sacrifices throughout their lives that en- abled them to provide for their families. We bought homes, sent our children to col- lege, provided expensive weddings for our daughters and convinced ourselves we did all right.Then came a time we traveled to places we use to read and dream about. We drank martinis and convinced our- selves we had arrived. There was a time we would express our admiration for those whose shoulders we stood on, but a tragic change occurred—the admiration was changed to “I did it on my own.” The current generation is definitely not


cut from the same bolt of cloth as their grandparents and too frequently not their parents. They now have impressive titles, substantial salaries and opportunities Blacks at one time dared not dreamabout. This generation has attended the finest educational institutions in the nation, but an overwhelming number did notmajor in the Cs—caring, concern, compassion, and commitment (particularly to other Blacks). This generation failed to read Black history in entirety.Therewas a time we were polite,well-mannered, courteous, non-violent, passive, practiced turning the other cheek and we definitely prayed. However Black advancement had stalled, but across this nation a new sense of Black consciousness arose and there was a new cry "burn baby burn." These per- sons were branded thugs, hoodlums, crim- inals, gangsters and worse, but it was their actions that helped change the course of this country.The pictures of their actions were shown across the world and it was the driving force for President Johnson to institute "The Great Society." Their actions were questioned at that time by a vast number of persons, but most of them passed the C test. On a rare occasion I was subjected to a


person who played the role of “THE SPOOKTHAT SAT BY THE DOOR.” It is becoming increasingly more apparent to me that our voices have grown too silent and passive once again and it’s giving those who don’t care anyway the false im- pression thatWE DON’T CARE. Please remember Kingsley Association. (Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)


ous groups and or- g a n i z a t i o n s throughout the country that claim to speak for and represent the in- terest of the Black community, locally and nationally. Why such ineffec- tiveness and ineptitude? Too many of our groups and Black “leaders” are not inde- pendent themselves, so they are unable to forcefully advocate ideas, strategies and programs that are really in the best inter- est of Black people. Much of this is connected to the unpro-


From the Grassroots


ductive and thoughtless allegiance we have to the national Democratic Party machine. A political party, which over the last two decades has consistently pushed an agenda that is geared toward the lib- eral White establishment and the White middle class. Issues that are very specific to the Black


social reality are conspicuously omitted for inclusion in any national platformpre- sentation or discourse. For example, dur- ing recent presidential and congressional campaigns, there was no discussion re- garding community violence, mass incar- ceration, policemisconduct or plans to ad- dress Black unemployment (which has consistently doubled the national aver- age). This political disposition is transmitted


to local politicos, hence oftentimesmaking it even more difficult and challenging for progressive politicians and activists to push forward transformative platforms and legislative initiatives. I’m describing initiatives that radically transform power relationships and empower the Black community, among others. A local example would be the proposed


legislation for police accountability. Also, the demand that District Attorney Zap- pala charge the three White Pittsburgh police officers who viciously beat former CAPA student JordanMiles. Another compromising element which


further restrains and controls genuine Black leadership are the numerous corpo- rate sponsorships and endorsements.This is particularly true of our larger, tradi- tional and national civil rights organiza- tions. The ‘Fortune 500’ are comprised of some of the most racist and sexist busi- nesses in the nation. Yet, we continue to seek major endorsements and financial support from companies that routinely are reluctant to hire us, and, if they do, are quicker to fire us. We have more of the same within the


Non-Profit Industrial Complex. Folks who started out as sincere and passionate ad- vocates for social justice now pander to


Re-thinking Black leadership, Part II Khalid Raheem


We have numer-


AUGUST 10-16, 2011 A7 Dr. Jason Johnson Commentary 2012 referendum (REAL TIMESMEDIA)—I know a


lot of Americans are so sick and tired of partisan fights from the debt ceil- ing debate that they just can’t wait to watch some football and forget about politics until Iowa next year. Unfortunately, unlike football politics is always in season and the kickoff to the 2012 shenanigans begins with a blood and guts in the trenches battle in Ohio that will in fact be a bell- wether for Obama’s success in his re- election bid next year. Ohio is a funny place when it comes


to electoral politics, especially on the presidential level. It is almost impos- sible to win theWhite House without winning Ohio but at the same time the state flips governors fromDemo- cratic to Republic and swings for Re- publican or Democratic presidents faster than you can say, “Ken Black- well cheated.” Likemany states in the fall of 2010 Ohio saw a blood red sweep fromtop to bottomwith Re- publicans taking the governor’sman- sion,most of the top statewide seats and the state legislature.This is par- ticularly shocking since John Kasich’s victory over Ted Strickland was fairly slimbut he still ended up with almost absolute power to push through pol- icy in the state.The result of this has been a concerted effort on the part of the GOP to push through policies that are not only examples of core conservative principles but also direct attacks on any constituencies that might support Democrats, state wide or nationally in the future.That’s why the Obama campaign has decided to plant their flag smack dab in themid- dle of the Buckeye state this fall. Avid news watchers probably al-


the dictates of neo- progressive philan- thropists.My view is that the majority of these


philan-


thropists and grant- makers would rather ‘feel good’ and experience ‘self-ac- tualization’ than be living witness to in-


dependent and dynamic Black families and communities. Some non-profit leaders are so fearful of


the funding establishments rebuke, they don’t make a sound. They preoccupy themselves with providing services to the “marginalized and at- risk populations.” They aren’t concerned with changing the conditions that created the risk and marginalization to begin with. They don’t support groups and initiatives deemed too radical, and will actively discourage other non-profits from mutual association and support. And certainly within the nonprofit sec-


tor, we have no shortage of poverty-pimps, opportunists, charlatans and parasites that prey on the misery of Black people. They have no shame and will use what- ever is convenient to advance theirmostly personal and selfish agendas. Whether draped in the garb of traditional civil rights or afro-centrism, they are adept at deception andmisguidance.Their inflated egos are equally matched with their in- flated salaries. They have no conscience whatsoever


and will pimp the Black community as long as they are allowed. These folks are not original thinkers at all. They latch on to whatever funders or bureau- crats declare as popular; substance abuse, gang violence, homelessness, or children of incarcerated parents. They have never seen a Request for Propos- als they didn’t like. In conclusion, we must correctly define


the central challenge and obstacle to both the immediate survival and long-term de- velopment of Black people in Allegheny County and throughout the United States.Wemust initiate and develop prin- cipled unity among and between a cat- alytic core of sincere and mission-driven Black leaders.We need a “talented tenth” of activists, organizers, entrepreneurs, parents, youth, public servants, business leaders, scholars, clergy, etc. who are un- afraid to develop and pursue a Black agenda. Black people are in dire need of a revo-


lutionary paradigmshift. Such a shift will most definitely help us in analyzing our communities, friends, foes and leadership. A failure to do so will continue to result in anger, frustration, ineffectiveness, mis- trust and prolonged defeat.


ready heard about SB5 in Ohio, which was essentially the same anti- union bill that is causingWisconsin to go into conniptions since ScottWalker was elected. But there is a lesser known but equally important bill that passed HB 194 that could radically alter next year’s elections.The bill if fully implemented would severely hinder voting opportunities for citi- zens in the state, targeting the poor and lessmobile, essentially key Obama voters. In one fell swoop the bill would: Shortens the window to vote bymail to just 21 days, shortens the in-person vote window to just 17 days, eliminates the period where vot- ers can registers and vote on the same day,mandates that you cannot early vote the week before an election and if that wasn’t all JimCrow enough for you, the law forbids poll workers fromdirecting you to another polling station if you accidentally ar- rive at the wrong one.Needless to say these aren’t truly ‘reforms’ by any stretch of the imagination but simply slow and steady attempts to chisel away at voting rights progress that has occurred over the last 15 years in America. In particular, early voting is one of themain reasons that turnout has actually increased in American elections over the last decade and was instituted in large part to limit some of the problems that occurred in 2000. Organizations across the state of


Ohio have been rallying to put a ref- erendumon the ballot this fall that will repeal the bill for this upcoming election. Progress Ohio, the ACLU and yes now even Obamaminions aremaking the repeal of this bill the most important election for the fall of 2011.Of course why is Obama send- ingmillions of dollars and his team to collect signatures to get a repeal vote on the ballot in Ohio when he was relatively silent inWisconsin, Michigan and other states when anti- union bills were coming through? Be- cause in the end, it’s about voting, the Obama administration is obvi- ously luke warmon unions given their tepid support in the past but they certainly are not going to stand by and let a state push through a bill that will limit voters,which is what the president needs to get re-elected. In the long game of presidential


politics, 2012 is likely the end of the road for the state of Ohio. Diminish- ing population, the flight of the in- dustrial base and tech jobs,mixed with the rising electoral vote counts of states like North Carolina,Vir- ginia and Colorado after the last cen- sus have all made Ohio pretty close to obsolete. The need to stump through Cleveland and Columbus will be more symbolic than strategic by the 2016 elections, but in this last race the crucial votes of this state still might matter. Therefore team Obama is going to do everything they can to make sure that Ohio’s last swing voters are all in camp in time for the election. (Dr.Jason Johnson is an associate professor at Hiram College in Ohio.)


This fall Ohio is Obama’s


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