Graduation Time — May 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 19th, 2015

By the time you read this article millions of college students will have graduated and are now looking for jobs; many will be going on to grad school. Millions will suddenly be faced with paying off college loans or contemplating obtaining a loan for graduate studies. Where the money is concerned, neither option is attractive.Howard grad2

Even if students are fortunate enough to have a job when they graduate, if they are laden with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, it will be very difficult to save money for their future, pay living expenses and those associated with the job they accept, and make $300-$600 in monthly payments for college loans.

For those moving on to grad school, unless they have a fellowship or some other kind of grant, they will have a tough decision to make when the loan officer at their school or the bank says, “No problem, here’s a $30,000 check to pay for your degree.” I hate to think what it costs for an M.D. degree these days.

At more than $1 trillion, having surpassed credit card debt, college loan debt is an albatross around the necks of students, some of whom had no idea of what they were getting into and some who did know but refused to do anything about it until now, when it’s too late.
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With the job market the way it is and has been for Black people for decades now, some graduates will have an overpriced college degree without a commensurate job prospect. They will be faced with the challenge of paying back their loans while looking for a job that does not exist. Or, they will have to accept the prospect of joining the ranks of the “underemployed.”

This is indeed a sad state of affairs for our best and brightest, the grandchildren of the baby boomers. It is said that “millennials,” as they are called, are the first generation that will be worse off than their parents. Most parents want their children to do better than they did, and most parents participate in that aspiration by putting a little money aside to help their children get off to a reasonable start in life. However, in today’s economic climate there is very little of that kind of help available from parents who are struggling just to pay the rent and keep the lights on.

What can we do? High on our agenda should be a demand made, to Congress and whoever is running for President, for student loan debt forgiveness. A strong independent bloc of voters must go to candidates in both parties and make this demand. Keep in mind, however, as I have said before, a demand with power backing it up is just rhetoric. I think we have heard enough and had enough of empty words by some of our leaders to know that it will take more than just asking for what we want. We must be willing to withhold our votes in order to get what we want—and that goes for both parties.
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The banks and other financial entities got their $780 billion bailout; where is ours? Why not bail the students out, and why not bail the homeowners out rather than merely “adjusting” their loans? The bankers were given billions that they used to make even more money from the taxpayers (That be us, y’all) who paid their bills. Contrary to what we were told, lending was curtailed rather than extended, and hundreds of thousands of folks are still homeless because there was no real bailout program for them.

The so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as of January 1, 2014, had paid out $816.3 billion, in three categories: tax benefits; grants, contracts, loans; and entitlements. Who got that money? In my neck of the woods the folks who got the most were those who worked on the roads and expressways; of those contractors and workers, few if any were Black.

Georgia recently embarked on a $1 billion+ road improvement project, and even with 3,150,435 Black folks in that state, the most of any other state, Black contractors and workers will benefit disproportionately. Department of Transportation inclusion rules are based on Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Programs, in which White female businesses get a significant share of the contracts, and “front” companies rule the day.

So with all of the barriers facing our 2015 graduates, and the bleak outlook for improvement of their lot, the least we could do is bail them out of their student loans. Politicians said the banks were “too big to fail,” and I guess the bankers were “too big to jail.” They caught a huge break from Bush and Obama. It’s time for a break for Black and poor people now. Hey politicians, forgive student loans! HBCU grads

 

 

News from the dark side — May 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 11th, 2015

You won’t believe the latest tactics being used by the folks at the national and state levels of the NAACP; then again, those of you who are familiar with their evil doings in the past will believe it.

You may recall that the Cincinnati Branch won a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the national office for voter suppression in our local election process. Since that time the Cleveland and Columbus branches have had similar run-ins with the national and state office, headed by Sybil McNabb, a lackey of Gill Ford, the national representative who has left a “trail of tears” across this country in various branches, by interfering with local elections and trying to “select” the candidates of his choice.

The Cincinnati branch is still in court, after several delays caused by the national NAACP and their local attorney. The final hearing on the matter will now take place in August 2015, after depositions are taken from National President, Cornell Brooks, and Gill Ford, in Baltimore and St. Louis, respectively.

The latest attempt to circumvent the judge’s order in Cincinnati, and to get around similar issues in Columbus and Cleveland, comes from Sybil McNabb, who a couple of years ago during the State of Ohio NAACP election, in Chillicothe, Ohio, lost her bid to remain in that office. A young lady named Jocelyn Travis won, fair and square, but the election was overturned by Ford and McNabb, who refused to relinquish her office to Travis.

A new election was held, in which ineligible people and even children, I was told, were allowed to cast votes. Well, wouldn’t you know it? McNabb won. So now, I suppose in return for Gill Ford’s assistance to keep her on as State President, McNabb sends a letter out to Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, saying she will conduct an election in all three “Prospective” (Her word, not mine) cities on May 23, 2015, ignoring the judge’s order in Cincinnati.

If that doesn’t take the proverbial cake. Why do the State Officers, local branch officials, and local members allow this kind of nonsense to go on without saying or doing anything about the likes of McNabb, Ford, and other crooked NAACP leaders? What can they do to you? Fire you? How do you fire a volunteer? Members need to stand up and speak up against these wrongdoers. A cryptogram: “Never Accept Alibis from Corrupt People.”

If the three largest Ohio cities and I would add Dayton, Toledo, and Akron as well, cannot or will not stand up against corruption in the NAACP’s state and national offices, what’s the point of being a part of it all? If they can pull off what would be the biggest “back-down” and branch intimidation in their 106-year history, what will happen to the smaller less-funded branches around the nation? They don’t stand a chance.

As if that sham of an election in Chillicothe, Ohio was not enough, we now have a tainted State President, operating under the aegis of Gill Ford, attempting to usurp the authority of a sitting judge in the State of Ohio. What arrogance and disdain! I thought it was bad when Ford’s attorney suggested an election be held in Cincinnati anyway, despite the TRO, with only one candidate on the ballot—Ford’s. I was right, but shortsighted.

Now they have stooped to a new level with McNabb saying she will hold elections in the three largest branches in the State of Ohio. A corrupt official holding honest and fair elections? Let me think about that for a second. Naah, I don’t think so.

These people would do anything to maintain control of the money that comes into the local branches, which is a major reason for the attempted takeover in Cincinnati. So since money is the underlying issue in the whole matter, here is what should happen, at least in Cincinnati, where the National NAACP Convention is scheduled to be held in 2016.

If the corporations and other donors to the NAACP refuse to give these crooks their $200,000 – $300,000 as incentive money to hold the national convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, it just might make them straighten up and fly right. If the National NAACP and its President, Cornell Brooks, who is also a minister, do not stop the voter suppression and their representative’s attempt to steer the local election his way, the corporate donors should refuse to give their money to bring the convention to Cincinnati.

As embarrassing as this is, it would be even more so if hundreds of thousands of dollars were given to an organization that purports to fight against “voter suppression,” and has filed suit against the State of Ohio under that rubric, to hold its convention in our city. What’s that called again? Hypocrisy? Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for.

 

 

Reruns and Sequels — May 2015

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman May 4th, 2015

The movie we are watching in Baltimore is a rerun and a sequel. Old Riot3 The price of admission has always been too high, but we continue to pay the exorbitant price anyway. As the opening line in the old TV show, Dragnet, said, “The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.” In today’s society, that second line should say, “The names have been changed to protect the ‘guilty’.”
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My eleven year-old nephew (The one in the green shirt), 018since the age of five or six, has been reciting, verbatim, the words from his favorite movies. He knows the directors, the release dates, and the bios of the stars in those movies. He has seen his favorite movies many times over and, thus, knows everything about them. He reminds me of Black people, as we watch the same movie over and over, except we do not remember the vital information contained in the movie, and we even forget who the main characters were and the roles they played.

The latest movie being run in Baltimore is a sequel to the ones we watched in Ferguson and Staten Island. It is a rerun of what we saw in Los Angeles, Cleveland, and North Charleston. How many times are we going to pay the price of admission to see the same movie without memorizing the lines and learning from them?

How many times must we go through the same experience before we change our response to it? Some very interesting and pitiful responses (reviews) have come from some of the “leaders” in Baltimore in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death.

We knew what the politicians’ reviews would be; they are always true to form. But the older folks, who decry the violence as “insulting” and “disrespectful” to Freddie’s family, are even more disingenuous. They seem to have forgotten about 1968 when their generation, and maybe even some of them, burned down buildings and looted all across this nation, in the aftermath of MLK’s assassination. Were their actions deemed insulting and disrespectful to King’s family? If so, did that stop them?Old Riot5

The self-righteousness I hear from those in my generation about the youth who are doing the same thing they did in the 1960’s is unfortunate. Where were they before the looting and burning started in Baltimore? Were they busy teaching the youth that what took place in the 1960’s was detrimental to their neighborhoods, as they now like to say to TV news reporters? If they have not, until now, passed on those lessons to younger folks, their words ring hollow today.
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Some of the sanctimonious comments being made by my generation very strongly suggest that even though we have seen this movie many times, we are content to watch it again without having shared its lessons. Is it because we are ashamed of ourselves now? Do we think we are better than our youth today? We should be bringing the generations together rather than separating them and acting like we have not been where they are.

Amos Wilson said, “The violently oppressed react violently to their oppression.” He also said, “Just as power corrupts, powerlessness also corrupts.” This is the main plot of our 21st century version of the 1968 movie. Same theme, different characters. Why do we only react to what young people do, rather than work with them every day by giving them alternatives to prevent their negative behaviors? It irks me to see our grown men saying, “They need jobs.” Well, create some jobs to give them. It’s so sad to hear our adults crying out, “They need education.” Then provide them with education. Our youth see many of us as weak and impotent when it comes to protecting them.

We have the resources to provide everything we say our youth need. What must they think of our words, our prayer sessions, our news conferences, our political speeches, and our tepid efforts now to stop and correct their behavior, when we have not used our resources to take care of them? Our answer is to run to those who don’t care about them and beg for jobs, food, education, and everything else they need.
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Frederick Douglass’ words are clear regarding power, but as I always add, a demand not backed-up by power will not come to fruition; and the real power in this country is the almighty dollar. Just look at what happened in Indianapolis when the LGBT folks were upset. They did not burn anything down or throw one brick, because they know that dollars rule the day. Their threats to withdraw their dollars were immediately addressed by the politicians.

People whose families own storefront businesses are very unlikely to throw bricks through the windows and burn them down. FridaySargent Friday had another saying in Dragnet: “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.”

 

 

New Book: Black Dollars Matter

Books | Posted by admin May 2nd, 2015

book cov2Black Dollars Matter – Teach your dollars how to make more sense

AVAILABLE NOW! in hard copy and Kindle eBooks on Amazon.com, the latest offering from the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people, Clingman’s 5th book on the subject aptly describes the dominant-submissive relationship between economics and politics, respectively. It contains stark and sometimes biting commentary, statistical data, and documentary information, with thought provoking quotations sprinkled throughout.

Beginning with the run-up to the U.S. Presidential election in 2007, and ending with practical tactics and strategies for economic and political success heading into the 2016 election, Black Dollars Matter is a searchlight to find solutions; it is also a spotlight that illuminates the way forward, and it definitely admonishes us to “teach our dollars how to make more sense.”

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