Category Archives: The Bush Administration

The Novocaine Effect | Obama and Black America | By Kevin Alexander Gray

“It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer – peacefully.”

Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Message to the Grassroots (1964).

There’s a picture of Barack Obama next to one of Jesus in the front window of the small, black art gallery that I drive past almost every­day. And I still see someone wearing an Obama t-shirt maybe once a week, but sometimes it’s the same guy. If you’re looking, you can a find a variety of shirts in just about every corner store where I live. They’re on the wall, next to the Bob Marley, Tupac, Biggie Smalls and Al Pacino “Scarface” t-shirts. You can get an Obama hat and a presidential calendar there too. There are still a few Obama yard signs in the neighborhood, usually in a window. A few people still have an Obama bumper sticker on their cars. Not as many as some might think. Certainly not as many as the number of Confederate flags on vehicles in this part of the country.

Racial solidarity is the mood that helped get Obama into the White House. The traditional source of power and sur­vival among blacks, it is also the novo­caine of the moment, a numbing agent as people suffer through what, despite the more hopeful official forecasts, feels like a full-blown depression where I live. The pride is real, but so is the pain, and it’s coming in sharp stabs despite the shot. The novocaine is still working, just not so well, and the result is a discomfiting confusion.

In late September I spoke at a ‘‘Black Male Summit” about 80 miles north­west of Columbia in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is famous in civil rights’ lore as the first stop in the Deep South for the Freedom Riders testing the 1960 Supreme Court decision outlawing ra­cial segregation in all interstate public facilities. Rock Hill is where Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist John Lewis and another man stepped off the bus and were beaten by a white mob. The town is mentioned in Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” – only the “poor boy” on the Greyhound is lucky as his bus “bypassed Rock Hill” in the song. Things are still tough in the town just south of Charlotte. Since February of 2008 the number of jobs here has fallen by 15 per cent, and the average salary for people lucky enough to be employed is about $28,000. In June of this year, Yvette Williams, a 15 year-old black girl, was shot and killed by two police officers after she robbed a grocery store. The two of­ficers fired on Williams five times after she pointed a gun at them and refused to drop it, according to Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory. He said he felt the police response was justified. A witness who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, told the local paper she was in bed when she heard shots and got up, looked out her window and saw the girl fall to the ground. She said she then saw an officer shoot again.

The theme I was asked to speak on in Rock Hill was “How do we restore dignity back to black communities?” My initial response was I didn’t know we’d lost it. But I knew the idea was a nod to Obama’s tough-love trick bag. “Post-racialism” is nonsense, but as an ideological concept it’s real, with real political consequences. On the right, it is license for white blow­hards to go on any racist tirade they like so long as they don’t actually broadcast the word “nigger.” In the black communi­ty it’s alive wherever blacks argue among themselves as to whether they are indi­vidually or collectively responsible for the conditions they face, or if they’re as criminal or immoral or lazy or violent or promiscuous or stupid as racists believe them to be. Sherman Porterfield, one of the organizers of the event, was quoted in the local paper, “Obama talked about it,” this claimed loss of dignity; “he has challenged us. The question now is, are we up to the challenge? Our young peo­ple are dropping out of school in record numbers, and it’s our fault. Nobody is shooting water hoses at us anymore. But we are allowing our young brothers to shoot each other. And that is not accept­able.” Continue reading

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Filed under 1ST LOOK | KAG 2009 Essays, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Black Politics, Civil Rights, Congressional Black Caucus, Economics, Human Rights, Obama Administration, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies, Political Ideology, racism, The Bush Administration, The Obama Administration, Third Party Politics, white supremacy

March for Jobs at the G20! | Bail Out the People Movement

march4jobsWhy are we demanding jobs or income at the G-20 Economic Crisis Meeting in Pittsburgh in September?

30 million people in the U.S. are unemployed or underemployed – We say NO!

 

 

What is the G-20?

It’s a group of Treasury officials and central bankers from 20 countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Its goal is to protect bank profits, whatever it costs the people of the world.

The U.S. delegation is led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve System (The Fed). They organized a bailout of the banks, insurance companies and stock brokerages that totals $12.6 trillion–or $42,105 for every adult and child in the U.S.

How much is a trillion dollars? It is 1,000 billion. And a billion is 1,000 million.

The Federal Reserve controls this money, yet most people have never heard of it. The Fed has seven governors, all bankers, appointed by the U.S. President for 14-year terms. George W. Bush appointed Bernanke Chairman of his Council of Economic Advisors and then head of the Fed. The Fed operates in secrecy, even from Congress, yet makes decisions affecting whether we work, have homes, or eat.

Geithner, the former chief of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, worked with the Fed under the Bush administration to devise the bank bailout. He invented the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) and eight other programs to funnel taxpayer money into the banks. His top aide is from Goldman Sachs Bank. He changed bank regulations to prohibit congressional audits of the Federal Reserve.

Who is representing the people at the G20 conference? No one!

Profit recovery for banks –
Jobless ‘recovery’ for workers
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Filed under Actions, Actions | Events, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Economics, Foreclosure/Housing, Obama Administration, Protest, The Bush Administration

Ramsey Clark | Why indictment is a must

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark:

More than a million people came forward to demand the impeachment of Bush and other high-ranking officials in the Bush administration.

I am appealing to you to make a donation to a growing new movement for the indictment and prosecution of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and other high officials of the Bush administration who engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

Please make an urgently needed donation today to help the IndictBush movement grow by clicking this link.

The greatest danger arising from impunity for President Bush and his cohorts would be that all subsequent officials will feel secure in committing the same crimes and the people, having failed to compel impeachment for such open, notorious and egregious crimes, will feel even more helpless to prevent them. Ultimately the power and the responsibility to prevent criminal acts by government is with the people.

The movement for accountability is sweeping the country. The Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers, and the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, are both proposing to launch investigations into the possibilities of criminal conduct by high officials in the Bush Administration.

Now is the time for massive outreach and publicity. This requires organizing national call-in days to pressure Congressional representatives, intensive media work, and providing literature for people of conscience to distribute in cities and towns across the country. Continue reading

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Filed under Criminal Justice, The Bush Administration