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The Black Caucus’ Relentless Pursuit of Insubstantial Symbolism

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    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    If only the Congressional Black Caucus would pay as much attention to the substantive areas of government policy – “how government policies affect the great mass of Black people” – rather than huff and puff over the symbolic trappings of power. Unfortunately, for the Caucus, “it’s the appearances that count.”


    The Black Caucus’ Relentless Pursuit of Insubstantial Symbolism

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

    Obama’s cabinet in his second term looks just about right: its full of rich white folks, the same class that his administration really works for.”

    Marcia Fudge, the Cleveland congresswoman who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, is pressing forward with her campaign to get more African Americans on President Obama’s cabinet. Fudge is saying, in effect, that Obama isn’t rewarding his most loyal constituency commensurate with the support Blacks have given him at the polls. The kind of reward she’s talking about is symbolic. She’s not talking about policy – that is, how government policies affect the great mass of Black people – but about the appearance of things.

    Obama has lost two of his Black cabinet members, two Hispanics, and two Asians. However, these exits didn’t have anything to do with policy, but with personal career decisions. Black employees were treated viciously in the Environmental Protection Agency when an African American woman, Lisa Jackson, was in charge, according to the No Fear Coalition, and environmental racism was never a priority of the EPA under Jackson’s watch. Why, then, is the absence of Lisa Jackson, or some other Black person just like her, considered a loss to Black America as a whole?

    The congressional Black Caucus would do better to push for specific policies at each of the cabinet level departments of government; that would be something substantive and useful to do. But instead, they complain that Obama isn’t providing enough symbolism. Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel says its damn “embarrassing” that Obama’s cabinet is so devoid of color. But, what he should be embarrassed about, is that the Obama administration does not take race into consideration, at all. The Black Caucus keeps saying that the cabinet should “look like America.” However, I think it is best that an administration look like the people it actually serves, the people who benefit from it, so that everybody will understand how policy is really formulated, and for whose benefit. In that sense, Obama’s cabinet in his second term looks just about right: its full of rich white folks, the same class that his administration really works for.

    It’s best that an administration look like the people it actually serves, the people who benefit from it, so that everybody will understand how policy is really formulated.”

    The Congressional Black Caucus and the whole of the Black Misleadership Class were greatly disappointed that Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice didn’t get the Secretary of State job. The fact that Rice is a rabid militarist who was in some ways to the right of the Bush administration on Africa policy, and has sheltered those who are responsible for the death of millions in the Congo, doesn’t bother the Black Caucus. U.S. Africa policy is not the Caucus’s real concern; it’s the appearances that count.

    The Black Caucus once put forward Congressman Sanford Bishop’s name for Secretary of Agriculture. Bishop is one of two Black members of the Blue Dogs, a coalition of right-wing Democrats. Bishop was one of four Black congresspersons to vote in favor of George Bush’s War Powers Act, in 2002, while the vast majority of Black people opposed the war. So, how would appointing Sanford Bishop to the cabinet reflect the political will of Black America?

    Frankly, I wish Obama wouldn’t appoint anybody Black to high positions in his rich man’s government. You can be sure that any Black person who gets a significant job in this administration will be worthless to the rest of us – unless, of course, you're counting Black faces in high places.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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    Not just........all of the above, but more, sadly

    Certain rather immutable truths have emerged in the past 4 or 5 decades: (1) capital flow into political campaigns-- and their evil twin lobbyists-- run our federal government, by funding campaigns and writing laws, (2) Black politicians (as Dosamuno (sic) attempted to inform us... are no different than White ones.  In fact, I think most persons running for political office are need some psychological profiling.

    Black elected officials at the federal level are actually in many respects much worse that their White counterparts.  The Tea Party (which is the former Bush Base and the true 'Authoritarians," Altemeyer described) speak loudly, and unabashedly.  Nothing but  a bunch of  resurrected Rethugs, in no small thanks to Obama's right-ward embrace.  Funny how they have no problem saying what they want and MEAN whereas  Black politicians like Obama  and the C. B. C. are cowered and cowards, for the most part.  They speak in hushes and whimpers, while true, died-in-the wool White Nationalists they share the rotunda with, yell from the mountains and valleys, and the bowels  and halls of Congress.

    I've talked about symbolism being the Holy Grail of so-called Black politics for a long time, so I am thankful for this essay.

    I mean, really, how much more pathetic is the state of Black Affairs that the Cong. Black Caucus has to beg the so-called "Black President" living in the "White" House to hire some of them Harvard Negroes?   Gotta be some competent persons of color from the several Ivy League schools.   Is this the B.C.'s key achievement on Capitol Hill?  I mean, can't Obama do an executive search and locate some of dem Negro Rhodes Scholars, of today or yesteryear?   I'm talking about dem Black Folks with better resumes than him?

    The point is that Obama can't even give "Black Folk" symbolic crumbs and some bullshit token of "victory" to the C.B.C. "our  empty-suited elected officials, so they can pull wool over their symbolically-intoxicated constituents about his "Blackness".

    It would be laughable if not pathetic if one assesses the lengths to which the Black "Mainstream" Intelligentsia & Political Class has sunk.  This collective mental stupor is the epitome of the scourge of social media and celebrity IMO.  Broke-ass Black folk stuck on stupid symbolism while their leaders game the system and they sink further into oblivion and "silent-suffering," like the non-reported suffering in Iraq.  Ha!  The Blacks get "Blacked-Out" of the news the Black Prez and the B. C....or is that happening already???

    I got a prediction for the next potential mind "f***k.  Lord Please don't let the Supreme Court over turn the Voting Rights Act.  If that happens, we gone be stuck on stupid for a long, long, time... singing "We shall overcome," instead of engaging in commerce and self-empowerment.  Realizing how displaced our energies are on elections.

    The only thing that Obama will give African Americans is his disdain, scorn, scoldings, and the back of his hand, to the pleasure of his TRUE base:  White, Middle-Class, Social Liberals/Fiscal Conservatives.

    Btw, any indictment of the Cong. B. C. is justified, and sadly so easily accomplished.  But it is also an indictment of the State of Black America, whether political, intellectual or working class.... if, in fact a "Black America" ain't going the way of Black Studies.




    Voting is a scam, not a right.

    A little essay I wrote way back when Cindy Sheehan was running for Congress, based in part on the experiences of John Conyers, is called "The Fable of Lanova Messiah," and is the first in the collection of five that make up my free little book, Consent to Tyranny: Voting in the USA:

    (Also available on Kindle for 99-cents, for those who don't mind a little genocide in Africa to obtain the coltan for mobile devices.)

    Neither voting, nor running for office, nor achieving office is going to change anything. Do a search on my website for "The Counterrevolutionary Constitution" or read Lysander Spooner's book, No Treason: The Constitution of No Account.

    Tokenism is not progress. Tokenism is not equality. A few moments ago I saw a Tweet that mentioned, "Uncle Tom's Cabinet." Politicians are dependent upon corporate money and answer only to corporate money. Even if not for themselves, as in Conyer's case, they are obliged to raise money for their political party, without which neither party could compete with the other one for corporate money. And since the same corporate money funds both parties, they both advance the same agenda, the agenda the Federalist Constitution was written to ensure, that those who owned the country (through having taken it by force) would always run the country.

    So what if the Supreme Court repeals the Voting Rights Act? What do nine unelected clowns whose decisions cannot be appealed, have to do with democracy, freedom, or equality? Wasn't the right of tyrants to issue edicts which could not be appealed, supposedly part of the basis for the revolution against England? Have you forgotten when the Supreme Court found in Bush v. Gore 2000 that the popular vote doesn't have to be counted? Of what earthly use are votes that don't have to be counted?

    Hat tip to David Graeber for this joke:

    Q: How many voters does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: None. Voters can't change anything.

    Well, guess what? Neither can politicians. It takes a revolution to change things. It doesn't have to be a violent revolution, as Iceland recently demonstrated, but there has to be a people united in the knowledge that, despite their material privileges or lack thereof, they are slaves, and the determination that they would rather die than continue to be slaves.



    She’s not talking about policy – that is, how government policies affect the great mass of Black people – but about the appearance of things. RSJ Support

    The socalled sequester

    The ever increasing faith of the televangelist and the architect of The Great Sequester does not affected me at all. If my dear Brother Obama is trying again for his so-called " Grand bargain ", Houston, we have a problem . "Trickle-down economics" and "the trickle-down theory" are terms in United States politics to refer to the idea that tax breaks or other economic benefits provided by government to businesses and the wealthy will benefit poorer members of society by improving the economy as a whole.The term has been attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression that "money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy."The term is mostly used ironically or as pejorative. Today, "trickle-down economics" is most closely identified with the economic policies known as Reaganomics or laissez-faire. David Stockman, who as Reagan's budget director championed these cuts at first but then became skeptical of them, told journalist William Greider that the "supply-side economics" is the trickle-down idea: "It's kind of hard to sell 'trickle down,' so the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really 'trickle down.' Supply-side is 'trickle-down' theory."
    I loves My Dear Brother Obama ,but with four years of the hustle of bump-ing and grinding and giving the banks and Wall Street all the money that God and we had, you would think that would be enough. Now President Obama is channeling resources that were only available to The Late Great Ronald MacDonald Reagan and acting like Chicken George W. Bush hollering "the sky is falling" because he wants grandma Social Security cut and The Veterans benefits cuts(change in the CPI). Some has the audacity to auguring for this change because they are The President Obama Peasants and not his peons .I feel "looking forward", they are The President Obama "Hope and Change" Peasants that been peed upon. Now I 'm hearing words that a Clintionian refugees surge in in the wind for 2016 as if they didn't give always all the shit the first time they were in office. All my life I been voting for change . I probably have better chances hitting The lottery that getting any thing from these Bastards of a thousand fathers in This Congress. How many time must the so-call leaders in Black Face  keep blaming the other side for nothing that being done for the people who elected them.



    I probably have better chances hitting The lottery that getting any thing from these Bastards of a thousand fathers in This Congress.. Reviewslab

    US Africa policy exemplifies: "all you need to know"

     I don't necessarily disagree with you statement about the collective ignorance and intellectual ineptitude of the CBC.  I believe some of them know nothing and so know a whole lot. Although one has to ask themselves:  "Don't these stupid mofos pick up some information through osmosis?  From just being in the "playground?"  Perhaps from skimming a few papers?

    Or here's an even better question:  "Even if you can't spell or pronounce AFRICOM or break down the acronym, don't you know that it still boils down to the White Elites continue to rape  African as they have for centuries?  You don't need a Black Studies degree to figure some shit out, that's all I'm saying.  Sometimes "mother wit" will do.  Like Blacks couldn't forsee gentrification acclerating in Harlem after Bill Clinton moved there?  How stupid are we?

    One has to only look how African Americans and Blacks throughout the Diaspora have allowed the rape of African to continue post-colonial to see that we have not arrived at all and remain in the proverbial back of the bus.  U.S. Africa policy speaks volumes about the failures of the Black Political, Business and Educational Class not only in the U.S. but abroad.

    Fact is the CBC doesn't give a damn about no one but themselves, they are petty careerists just like Obama. They know Susan Rice ain't about shit, but they are institutional whores just like her... takes one to know one.  But they also know their constituents are dumb as a fence post because they too are stuck on some empty symbolic bullshit.  Susan Rice will likely become Obomber's National Security Advisor, so she will continue to be a scourge and blot on the planet.

    The CBC and Obama love channeling Rodney King:  "Can't we just all get along they cry?" as they tread water amongst sharks and barracudas.  LOL


    Black Caucus = holocaust

    The fact is that the CBC is participant in a pseudo-industrial black holocaust in this country that sweeps any person, black, white, asian or hispanic, into an abyss if you do not go along with the greedy and murderous agenda of the elites.  If you do not join, you are subjected to the death machine.

    Fortunately, mother nature is the only entity capable of taking care of the situation.  Not only will she reign supreme but we are all doomed to toast.  Dust to Dust!  It is inevitable and all because of the white man.  What idiots and fools!


    She’s not talking about policy – that is, how government policies affect the great mass of Black people – but about the appearance of things. best wrinkle treatment

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