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Who is Jeh Johnson, and Why Should Black People Be Hanging Our Heads in Shame?

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    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    The Department of Homeland Security is a secretive, lawless, largely privatized police and surveillance agency, with its own prisons and soon, its own drones. Now it's headed by a black man, a progressive Democrat, a Morehouse man & Pentagon lawyer who invokes Dr. King as patron saint for murderous US global empire, a certifiable member of the black misleadership class.

    Who is Jeh Johnson, and Why Should Black People Be Hanging Our leads in Shame?

    By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    Remember the scary Obama administration lawyer who claimed in sworn testimony before Congress in 2009 that his bosses had the intended to imprison anybody they imagined was a terrorist even after those persons were acquitted of any and all offenses by a civilian court? That was Jeh Johnson.

    Remember the well-connected administration official who justified the separate drone murders of a US citizen and his son in Yemen, declaring that the president had the right to summarily execute anybody they declared a terrorist? That was Jeh Johnson too.

    Remember the wildly delusional Pentagon official who declared that if Martin Luther King were alive he would embrace the US military as our defense against terrorism in this “complicated world”? That was also Jeh Johnson.

    Jeh, (pronounced “Jay”) Johnson is a former federal prosecutor, Pentagon lawyer and a Morehouse man, class of 1979, who raised more than $200,000 for Obama's 2008 campaign and was rewarded with the post of general counsel at the Pentagon. President Obama has just appointed Jeh Johnson to head his Department of Homeland Security. According to the president, Johnson has been a constant presence in the Obama situation room dealing with the ongoing threat of Al Qeda, which in plain language means that he was a regular at the president's “Terror Tuesday” meetings in the White House basement during which the chief executive and his honchos decide who to murder without accusation or trial each week, often on the basis of mere profiles.

    Jeh Johnson is a Democrat, one of those they call a “progressive” because he used his leadership position at the Pentagon to champion the right of gay and transgender people to serve in the US military. That should be a comfort to Pvt. Chelsea Manning. But of course it's not.

    On the face of it, Jeh Johnson is a serial killer and Constitutional scofflaw who operates from the highest levels of US government and corporate power. But he's black, and a Morehouse man, which should be enough for “progressive Democrats” members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and our larger black misleadership class, whose entire claim to legitimacy is the notion that their glittering careers somehow lift up the fortunes of entire oppressed communities of color. Of course they do not.

    Fifty years ago whites were the majority in US prisons and jails, black unemployment was double that of whites, and the gentrification of black urban neighborhoods was a national problem. There were only a handful of black faces in Congress, and no black behinds in the chairs of big city mayors, state speakers of houses or presidents of senates, and the like. Now we have a thriving and empowered class of more than 10,000 black elected officials on every level --- and that's not even counting the appointed ones, the Jeh Johnsons, the Susan Rices, the Colin Powells – who wield immense power on every level from local counties to the oval office. But black unemployment is still double the white unemployment, gentrification is still a big problem, and the nation's prisons and jails are full to bursting with black bodies, far out of proportion to our numbers.

    Henry Louis Gates was on TV earlier this week calling the president a “paradigm shifter.” We don't agree with Dr. Gates often, but this time he's nailed it. President Barack Obama swept into office on the delusions, eagerly sold to the American people by “progressive Democrats,” that he opposed the war in Iraq, would stand up for unions and the poor, address black unemployment, rein in polluters and banksters, and deliver universal health care and a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants. Instead, the first black president increased the military budget, tried and failed to keep the troops in Iraq, doubled down on Afghanistan, and unleashed drone wars in Africa and Asia. The first black president froze wages of federal employees and scapegoated unionized federal workers and public school teachers. The first black president quadrupled down on the Bush bankster bailout, and passed new legislation shielding mortgage fraudsters, telecom snoopers, war criminals, torturers and more. The first black president promotes gentrification, ignores black unemployment. He threw away his mandate for single payer health care and immigration reform to give us a blanket full of holes cynically misnamed the “Affordable Care Act” and deport 1.1 million people, more than any three or four previous presidents combined.

    And now a black man, a Morehouse man, a certifiable member of the black misleadership class who invokes Dr. Martin Luther King as the patron saint of the US Army in Afghanistan is in charge of the Department of Homeland Security, with its private prisons, its border walls, its “fusion centers” distributing unfounded rumors, illegal surveillance data and more on citizens to local cops and private security contractors. The paradigm has indeed shifted. A black man will take charge of hounding and profiling Latino immigrants, locking them up in privatized prisons. The black misleadership class are now certifiable junior partners in the business and more important, the culture of empire. Their fortunes are as separate and distant from those of the black masses as can be imagined.  We have allowed our historic legacy as a people of struggle to be hijacked in the service of empire.

    If this is where being a “progressive Democrat” leads, maybe it's time we looked in some other direction. If this is where black leadership has led us, it's time to hang our heads in shame for a minute or two, and resolve to lead ourselves in some other directions. It's time for black America to shed its black misleadership class of “progressives” and throw up some new leaders, and some new models of leadership.

    Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
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    I hate Obama

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    The Kingdoms of the World Are Yours, Said the Devil

    Yes, we are truly living in Sophia's Stewart's "Matrix", where anybody can be a potential agent! So whether it's Obama, Johnson, or some black girl with so much weave that she looks like "Cousin It", we have so called intelligent people willing to sell their souls for a cultural pathology that will ultimately fall into the abyss by the weight of its own ignorant-arrogance!

    IMO Jeh Johnson like Obama is a 'Sleeper' for the Status Quo

    IMO Jeh Johnson is likely cut from the cloth as Obama. We know Johnson was NOT Obama’s preferred pick to head DHS- NYPD chief Ray ‘Stop & Frisk’ Kelly was. But when Obama floated Kelly’s name to head DHS, it was in the immediate wake of the KILLER Z’s mis-verdict [RE getting away clean w gunning-down Trayvon]. Then a judge ruled that NYPD’s ‘Stop & Frisk’ prog routinely targets & violates the rights of Black & Brown men & youth, meaning Kelly was going to be a hard sell for Obama. So he came up w a ‘sleeper’ in Johnson.

    Johnson, just as Obama kept the Bush-Cheney Gang’s policies in place, will likely keep &/or roll-out the same SOS at DHS  that ole ‘Stop & Frisk’ Kelly would have if he had become DHS chief. Which, just as in the case of Obama vis-à-vis Bush / McCain / RMoney, as more problematic cause Johnson’s likely far more ‘palatable’ than Kelly would have been [IE: a ‘more effective evil’].

     

    This is similar to Obama hyping Larry Summers to head the FED. Summers was certainly the Wall St Bankster choice, but Summers brings a lot of excess poly-trickal ‘baggage’ to the table, & Obama saw that more ‘progressive’ Dims might buck his choice of Summers as FED chair. So they pick this Yellin woman to appease the so-called ‘progressives’ [it’s easy for a woman to look like a ‘progressive’ compared to Summers]. But the reality is- Ms Yellin will most likely continue the same policies at the FED that Ben Bernanke did & more or less the same that Summers would have kept.  

    IMO Jeh Johnson is likely cut from the cloth as Obama. We know Johnson was NOT Obama’s preferred pick to head DHS- NYPD chief Ray ‘Stop & Frisk’ Kelly was. But when Obama floated Kelly’s name to head DHS, it was in the immediate wake of the KILLER Z’s mis-verdict [RE getting away clean w gunning-down Trayvon]. Then a judge ruled that NYPD’s ‘Stop & Frisk’ prog routinely targets & violates the rights of Black & Brown men & youth, meaning Kelly was going to be a hard sell for Obama. So he came up w a ‘sleeper’ in Johnson.

    Johnson, just as Obama kept the Bush-Cheney Gang’s policies in place, will likely keep &/or roll-out the same SOS at DHS  that ole ‘Stop & Frisk’ Kelly would have if he had become DHS chief. Which, just as in the case of Obama vis-à-vis Bush / McCain / RMoney, as more problematic cause Johnson’s likely far more ‘palatable’ than Kelly would have been [IE: a ‘more effective evil’].

     

    This is similar to Obama hyping Larry Summers to head the FED. Summers was certainly the Wall St Bankster's guy, but Summers also brings a lot of excess poly-trickal ‘baggage’ to the table, & Obama saw that more ‘progressive’ Dims might buck his choice of Summers as FED chair. So Obama then picks this Yellin woman to appease the so-called ‘progressives’ [it’s easy for a woman to look like a ‘progressive’ compared to Summers]. But the reality is- Ms Yellin will most likely continue the same policies at the FED that Ben Bernanke did & more or less the same that Summers would have kept.  

    Answering Call for New Models of Leadership

    Quite agree with this article's conclusion! Yet although President Obama, indeed, had a "mandate for single payer health care," he never embraced that mandate, and instead championed the private insurance "industry" subsidy we got with the Affordable Care Act. So, taking the good with the bad, we should go forward organizing to make the ACA a single payer plan (i.e. Medicare for all).

    White or black, whores for Empire are loathe to reign in bankers. Yet this is where dissent could prove most effective, and REAL progressive change might begin. The "Tax Wall Street Party" recognizes this need to reign in bankers with a policy to stabilize the social safety net through a 1% sales tax on stocks, bonds and derivatives (generating over $1 trillion in tax revenue per year to be split between federal and state governements), while financing the build out of a physical economy worthy the 21st century by nationalizing the Federal Reserve and turning it into the Third Bank of the United States.

    So, to answer the need for "new models of leadership" consider the "Tax Wall Street Party," because money talks and BS walks, and this party's platform is the means not only to do a lot of talking, but take substantive, progressive action, returning command over finance to its rightful place where sorely lacking accountability can be restored through political leadership responsive to those whose interests continue being neglected by whores of Empire, white and black.

    comments

    Sometimes you can say something and what you have said is so destructive to another's reality that they act out. That may the case with two of these comments below.

    I am calling for the Democrats and Republicans to get together and make a balanced bipartisan budget for january. I know its crazy to imagine but it is what it is.

    It seems to me you are factually correct in your article so anybody it gives pain should check themselves.

    SCREW a balanced bipartisan budget!

    NO to any "grand [fascist] bargain!"

    'nuf said...

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