Archive for March, 2016

A Piece of the Action – Or, all of it? — March 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 27th, 2016


I remember a line from Gil Scott-Heron, whom I often quote in my articles. In his rendering called “The Bicentennial Blues,” he was discussing the Nixon administration and this nation’s penchant for getting in on the economic action of other nations. He called Henry Kissinger the “International Godfather of Peace, a ‘piece’ of Viet Nam, a ‘piece’ of Laos, a ‘piece’ of Angola, a ‘piece’ of Cuba.” KissingerThat line is so fitting forty years later as the POTUS goes to Cuba and takes a dozen business executives with him.

I certainly support entrepreneurship and business development, especially for Black people, and the opportunities for such abound in Cuba if the militaristic government allows it to flourish unfettered. After all, the monthly income for Cubans is around $20.00, so they could use the sales and marketing opportunities that will surely come with increased tourism and business.

Additionally, forward-thinking entrepreneurs from the U.S. can take advantage of these opportunities as well; I trust that many Black business persons will act accordingly. The protracted embargo against Cuba can now be reversed to such a degree that all sides can win. But there are caveats.

An article in the International Business Times, by Elizabeth Whitman, stated, “Some American businesses are positively salivating at the prospect of finally tapping into Cuban markets, and now, U.S. President Barack Obama’s three-day trip to the island nation is offering a tantalizing taste of the possibilities — particularly for the select crew of business leaders who are tagging along.”

That statement conjures up visions of lions going to visit a few sheep to show them how to take better care of themselves. Black Cubans have suffered discrimination and mistreatment for decades. They are at the bottom level of the Cuban economic strata. If our revised friendship fails to bring positive economic change to Black Cubans, baseball, boxing, and entertainment notwithstanding, then once again, as we saw in South Africa, Black folks will be relegated to a narrow and crowded path to Cuba’s new prosperity.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic are examples of what happens to Black people, especially when it comes to economic discrimination, preference, and skin tone. The island, historically called Hispaniola, is now divided into two countries, separated by a mountain range and skin tone, those who are lighter skinned and those who use bleaching cream to get that way versus darker people. The Dominican Republic has flourishing tourism and accommodating infrastructure, far from what we see across the border in Haiti. But, you do remember who stepped in to “help” Haitians, don’t you?

In January 2010, Time Magazine featured an article by Alexandra Silver, Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries, which stated, “Haiti had long been exploited, by foreign powers, neighbors, and its own rulers. France not only milked Haiti for coffee and sugar production but also extracted an indemnity from it: the young nation had to pay a burdensome sum [reparations] to its former colonizer in order to achieve France’s diplomatic recognition. The lighter-skinned Dominicans looked down on the darker-skinned Haitians: in 1965, even as the Dominican Republic was embroiled in civil war, Haitians were working in Dominican fields and not the other way around.”

Jalisco Lancer wrote, “Today, to be a Dominican is above all else not to be a Haitian. Schools and newspapers spread propaganda with the goal of dismissing the African heritage of the Dominican Republic and to distinguish between Dominicans and Haitians. The Dominican people are described as a White people of Hispanic descent.”

Cuba and Black Cubans especially, should be wary and of what is being proposed as help for their island and be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities when they appear; so also should small Black business owners in this country.

Charlie Rangel said, “As soon as our multi-national corporations start receiving the benefits of the profits that will be made with trade, I think in the next election we will move any impediments to bring peace, tranquility, and trade to our brothers and sisters in Cuba.” Really?

An article titled, Amid sweeping changes in US relations, Cuba’s race problem persists (August 2015) cited, “When Soviet subsidies ended…racial inequality became more pronounced…[Employees] in the country’s lucrative tourism industry were also white.”

The article continued, “Blacks spearheaded more black-market activities; jails held 85% darker-skinned Cubans. In Cuba’s particular version of stop-and-frisk, Blacks were stopped on streets at far higher rates than whites.” Aljazeera America, Julia Cooke

Cuban expert, James Early, offers outstanding perspective on the opportunities that exist in Cuba for Black entrepreneurs. He surmises, “Despite much racial progress since 1959, the period…has revealed the yet unbridged fissures around racial identity and racism in today’s Cuba.”
Lions and sheep
The lions are at the Sheep Gate. Be prepared to get your “piece” of the action.



Do Black organizations really have our backs? — March 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 19th, 2016

“Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices”

While Black people are bogged down in shallow and meaningless political discourse, our vaunted Black organizations continue to be M.I.A. except for their time in front of the cameras with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They say they cannot endorse candidates, but we all know that’s a sham.

In an article written by Freddie Allen, of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Marc Morial said the nine Black organizations that met with the candidates wanted to “provide to every candidate who is running for president of the United States, be they Republican or Democrat, the opportunity to hear from us on issues of civil rights, social justice, and economic justice in America, today.” Any real demands made on our behalf?

Al Sharpton said, “For the first time in American history, we will watch a Black family leave the White House and we do not want to see the concerns of Blacks leave with them.” So that’s where our concerns have been hibernating for the past seven years; and all this time I thought Sharpton and the POTUS were taking care of them.

And, I suppose to give comfort to Clinton and Sanders, Morial said the nine historic civil rights organizations represent tens of millions of Americans and that all of their organizations were “multicultural and multi-ethnic.” Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic? That’s strange; I thought they were Black or at least “colored.”

Speaking of colored, let’s look at one of these “Black” multi-cultural/ethnic organizations. In case you missed the cryptic message at the beginning of this article, “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices,” think about the NAACP. You may know it as the group whose answer to the Ferguson issue was to walk 130 miles to the Missouri Governor’s office, followed up by a 1,000 mile stroll from Selma to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in search of justice. Guess they didn’t find it when they got there.

This is the group that practices outright hypocrisy by railing against voter suppression and voter ID laws, while accepting and even promoting those corrupt practices within their own ranks. More specifically, this is the group that has wreaked havoc in Ohio by conducting four elections for State President, two of which were legitimately won by Jocelyn Travis over Sybil McNabb, and two of which were do-overs by the national office via its henchman, Gill Ford, to keep their chosen candidate, McNabb, in office.

In the first corrupt election over which the national office presided, children were allowed to vote for McNabb—yes, children! In the second corrupt election, which just took place on March 12, 2016, again under national supervision, the same corrupt practice used in Cincinnati was used by Gill Ford in Columbus. He suspended Travis three days prior to the election, just as he did the Cincinnati president, whom he suspended the day before the election in an obvious effort to have his chosen candidate run unopposed.

The NAACP’s “Nonstop Aiding and Abetting in Corrupt Practices” is shameful, especially in light of holding themselves up as the national champion for fairness in the voting process. Even more shameful is the fact that only a relative few members, among those who have actually seen these shenanigans take place, are willing to stand up against the NAACP’s corruption.

The good news is that a group of members throughout Ohio have followed the lead of the Crittenden County (Arkansas) and Cincinnati branches by seeking and winning a Temporary Restraining Order against the NAACP’s continued interference in local elections. The results of the March 12th election are being held in abeyance by a Columbus, Ohio judge, who will conduct a hearing on April 7, 2016. You can be sure that all evidence of corruption, voter suppression, and election-rigging will be brought forth at that time.

Aside from the obvious hypocrisy displayed by the national leadership of the NAACP, not only in this case but in several other branches across the country, their corrupt practices also point to a larger problem. So-called Black organizations like the NAACP, despite their implied social contract with Black folks, can be swayed, bought, rented, or leased with nothing expected in return except a few dollars under the table, a political photo-op, or a nice hotel suite. The NAACP needs to stop abusing its members’ rights before purporting to speak on our behalf.

As for nine Black organizations suggesting they are the repository of Black power, here’s a question: If they have power, why after nearly eight years of a Black President are we, as cited in Morial’s State of Black America Report, worse off now and in “crisis”? As the heads of those organizations now intercede on our behalf, by meeting with presidential candidates, what would make us believe Blacks will get anything specific from the next administration?



Hypocrites and Hucksters—Histrionics and Hype — March 2016

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman March 7th, 2016

Aren’t you tired of the rap and clap sessions by political wannabees and their respective contingents? I know I am. The so-called “debates” are downright insulting and embarrassing, especially on the Repub side, reminiscent of a stand-up comedy show, or “throwing shade” as young folks say. Over on the Dem stage (Or should I say in their “ring”?), what was a fight has turned into a face-saving swansong for Sanders since he was, in his own words, “decimated” in South Carolina. Black folks strike again!

With all the money these candidates have in the bank this “theater of the absurd” could go on for months, and when it’s all over Black folks will have not moved one inch toward real empowerment. Unless we get serious about our own economic and political future, by establishing our political platform and being willing to promote, support, and leverage it, Blacks will continue to be relegated to the clown ring in this current political three-ring circus. We will be the diversions, the ones who turn the lion’s attention away from the performers, the clowns who turn the bull’s ire away from the bull rider by yelling and then jumping into a barrel.

The “Yo Mama!” debates in the Republican ring are really not debates, in case you have not noticed; they are rap sessions, Ronald Reagan séances, and pseudo-patriotic diatribes, repeated ad nauseam by guys who swear they are the answer to our problems. The only one who has any kind of real record of having actually solved a few political problems is John Kasich. But he’s so far behind the others that a victory for him is very unlikely.

Over in the Democratic ring we have two combatants who offer condescending words and platitudes directly to Black folks, as opposed to the Republicans who say absolutely nothing to Blacks. The Dem candidates rail against the business establishment and tell us that we really need more jobs to solve our problems. I don’t know how they expect to bring us more jobs, which are created by private businesses, when they are constantly denigrating business. It’s just hype. By the way, why do you suppose the Black candidate, Willie Wilson, has been invisible?

Post Super Tuesday shouting matches about who cares for Black people the most now dominate, as though being embroiled in these kinds of discussions will move us forward. Top that off with MSNBC’s U-turn in firing, demoting, or exiling their Black Barack Obama-can-do-no-wrong hosts and we have a real firestorm on our hands, don’t we?

Aren’t you tired of being hustled and huckstered? Aren’t you tired of the hype and the political histrionics? Those of us who are absolutely tired of it all have made a commitment to DO something about it. First of all, we refuse to be swayed by patronizing pundits and condescending candidates. It matters not what they say; their actions are what matters.

Understanding how the system works with regard to what they said versus what they do when they get into office, why are many of our people spending inordinate amounts of time arguing over whose plantation is more comfortable? Rather than organizing ourselves into a voting bloc that must be reckoned with and leveraging our votes, we end up acquiescing to political parties and their selected candidates. Rather than asking the candidates what they will do for us, we must present our demands to them, and rather than settle for lip-service we must have them sign an agreement signifying their support of our issues.

I can hear the moanin’ and groanin’ now. “Jim, they would never do that; so why ask them to?” That kind of defeatist attitude and subsequent surrender is indicative of why we are in the shape we are in today. If they refuse to support our demands, verbally and in writing, then why should we vote for them? What do we have to lose? Why vote for any candidate who does not support reciprocity for those who vote for him or her? That’s just stupid.

We must stop accepting the hypocrisy of candidates who say one thing and do another; we must not get sidetracked by arguments among political hacks and commentators that mean absolutely nothing to us in the scheme of things. We must stop doing our best impression of Pavlov’s dog when they come to call on us. If nothing is funny, don’t laugh; if you are not itching, don’t scratch. We must change the silly way we deal with politics by collectively leveraging something of substance in return for our votes. If we don’t change, the hucksters, Black ones and White ones, will always win.

Join the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors, and let’s make a real difference this time.