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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

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Cool Hand Luke

On Thanksgiving 2016, the Civil War is heavy on my mind.  You might ask “which civil war” and that would be a good question.  The purpose of this writing is to propose a new Great Triumvirate similar to the original one formed by statesman Henry Clay of Kentucky, Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.

clay

Do we even have any statesmen around the current messy political/policy system?  Possible new triumvirate members include Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Governor John Kaisch, Senator Bernie Sanders, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary Colin Powell, Michelle Obama, Secretary Condi Rice and Governor Jon Huntsman.   Personally, I feel these people love righteousness and compromise more than political parties and one-upsmanship.

When you live in a place with extremely opposing opinions, you need a Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, who would seek reasonable solutions and avoid taking the nation over the cliff.  Yes, some folks have a “my way or the highway” mentality and actually love bickering, conflict and war.  Remember, Clay brokered compromises that settled disputes between free states and slave states…putting off the coming civil war.

With all of this current talk about people leaving the country, we should remember that Clay was president of the movement that created Liberia, an African colony for free American Blacks, because he was a slaveholder who knew the institution would be a problem for a young nation.  Dr. Condi Rice says today that racism is America’s birth defect.  I say we will learn to work together as brothers or perish as fools.

We can’t just say “Civil War” anymore because there are several in my mind.  The Civil War of 1864 still simmers in the blood of many southerners.  Those confederates wish the South won the war and wish Blacks were still slaves, all dead or sent back to Africa.  Arguing with them is a fool’s errand but make no mistakes about it…that war goes on today in hearts and minds.

In the Black community, we have an ongoing civil war over the role of government.  On one side, we have people who think the government will protect and promote them…government is my daddy.  If you think government cares about you, you should grow up and that liberal mentality stops us from becoming who we really should be.  On the other side, you have my friends who think Black improvement in this nation always started with a well-designed and well executed personal life which leads to economic power similar to the visions of Marcus Garvey and Malcom X.

Another serious civil war in my life is the cultural battle between traditionalists and the hip hop culture.  As I often write, hip hop is doing more inadvertently to destroy the Black community than the Klan.  While I support artistic freedom of expression, the glamorization of thugs, crime and street life is a cancer on the minds of our youth….it’s the inmates running the asylum.

Inside the Democrat Party, we see a battle between the real liberals who supported Bernie Sanders and the southern old school Blacks.  Remember, the South’s support of Hillary Clinton is the only reason she didn’t fall to Sanders in the primary.  I wonder who is left in the Dem Party since Dixiecrats are long gone, Rust Belt blue collar Whites just left and church-attending Black southerners are uncomfortable with some social issues.

The Republican Party is also in a civil war because the country club establishment has been overtaken by the fiery “my way or the highway” people.  Some of these people think the recent election results were the start of a second actual civil war.

I wish I knew what Henry Clay would say about our nation today.  For the record, some of those free Blacks who when to Liberia ended up oppressing the Africans they found there…the hell you say.

In 1991, the rock band Guns N’ Roses had a song called “Civil War” that started with a sound snippet from the movie Cool Hand Luke “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

We don’t have statesmen anymore.  The people who I think should be in a new Triumvirate should function outside of government because as President Reagan said “government is the problem.”  Failure to communicate has some Americans thinking they are more American than others, has some people thinking government has a blank check to support their weak behinds and has working people thinking that voting isn’t important.

Hell, America almost feels like Luke rolling down the hill in that movie.  But, America always gets back up.  Adversity made this great nation and we are still a work in progress.

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Clinton Crime

A million years ago, I was a congressional staffer and the 1994 Crime Bill was my baby. Since I wasn’t a high-profile staffer like the cats on House of Cards, I generally did the less sexy issues involving national parks, crops and naming post offices. But I was knee deep in that crime bill drama.

That legislation was driven by years of high crime rates and drug addiction.  In 1986, Maryland basketball star Len Bias died shortly after signing with the Boston Celtics and House Speaker Tipp O’Neill demanded that legislation addressing crack be ready after the August recess.  I was in college then but word is that a staffer from legislative counsel sat at his dining room table and just made stuff up—no hearings, no research.  That is the reason we had that crazy difference in sentencing for crack crimes and powder cocaine crimes.

Anyway, our Crime Bill was well researched and well fought over.  While Black Lives Matter is tripping on Bill Clinton, they need to see how many members of the Congressional Black Caucus crafted and voted for the Crime Bill.  And for the record, I appreciate the spirit of activism of the Black Lives Matter movement but I generally don’t care for people jumping up inside anyone’s event…there is a time and place.

The 1994 Crime Bill was a balance of prisons, prevention and policing.  I want to say that the community policing provisions could be used by local police today.  At times, I feel that the local police seem like overseers in my community—the average citizen isn’t the enemy and the average citizen hates crime more than anyone.  Some police have been hardened by the constant battle with the worst 10% of the community but that is no reason to treat the community a certain way.

With community policing, the officers develop personal relationships with folks on their beats.  They get out of the cars and pull off those mirrored Cool Hand Luke sunglasses to connect with citizens…Mrs. Jones didn’t turn on her porch light at dark, check on her.  I will always have a glass of Crystal Light Peach Mango Tea for any officer literally walking a beat.

Officers, deep inside, don’t want to see youth in jail but they must do their jobs and as Beretta said, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”  It’s the community’s job to offer options and opportunities to young people so they don’t go down that wrong path.

Finally, I can’t remember if the assault weapons ban was in the final Crime Law but I told my boss that people should have a certain amount of fire power to defend their families and to hunt.  However, military style weapons for home defense in  subdivisions is too much; good news is you got the bad guy…bad news is you blasted Mrs. Jones’ porch light across the street.

On the other hand, Worth County, Georgia, is half the size of Rhode Island and if the bad guys are at your rural house on one end of the county, your family could be cold by the time the deputies arrive.  In that case, you need to let that clip sing.  Biggie Smalls said, “Call the coroner..there’s gonna be a lot of slow singing and flower bringing if my burglar alarm starts ringing.”

So, Hillary Clinton isn’t responsible for everything President Bill Clinton and the Dems did back in the day.

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Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman should stay in the presidential race for the long haul.  If you think about it, Cain’s alleged actions were no worst that those of Bill Clinton, JFK, RFK, or FRD.  We would have had another Civil War before the two finalists for presidents were both Black so stop tripping about Cain can’t win.  He wins if he pushes the nation toward a flatter, simpler tax code.

Like Sarah Palin, Cain electrifies crowds and heaven knows Romney and Gingrich don’t have that ability…one of them will need Cain.

Jon Huntsman has no business leaving the race until a cross-section of the nation gets a good look at him.  He is the conservative Obama and a type Republican most people have never seen.  It is no secret that I want him to be on the ticket with Newt because Gingrich would need a VP who is grounded and cool.  Huntsman could get more southerner primary non-GOP votes than GOP votes and that is saying something. 

Obama is a great guy but we must think about what happens if the economy doesn’t improve in the next six months.  We must have a Plan B and I for one don’t want the GOP voters making the decision on who that would be alone.    Luckily, I live in a state where Dems can vote in the GOP primary and Georgia will be prominent in the presidential process with Newt and Cain on the stage.

Let me rant about marriage for a second:  Mrs. Gloria Cain, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Maria Shiver Schwarzenegger and the late Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards are quality ladies whose husbands got involved with jumpoffs.  We shouldn’t forget that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels left the presidential contest because his marriage was damaged by his wife leaving for another man then coming back.  Powerful men sometimes like certain “private actions” that quality women don’t or shouldn’t do—let’s not go into graphic details.  Also, some people involved in long marriage sometimes miss “strange.”  After standing before God and family to take vows, these people are dead-a— wrong but in happens.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  As a bachelor, I don’t enjoy the upside of being marriage (nightly kisses) and conversely married dudes shouldn’t enjoy the variety of being single. If I could have married Holly Robinson (before she was Peete,) I would have been happy for life but some guys won’t do right for aynthing. 

Honesty is the key; tell the truth.  If you want different folks every so often (Tiger Woods) stay single or make that clear from jumpstreet.  Many grand matrons delegate minor family duties to “the help” without blinking and evidential sleeping with old dudes has been included on the list of hired out chores.

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People get and give insults in the South all day every day.  If you have thin skin, you should move.  These insults come to mind.

The Michael Basiden Show’s list “8 Reasons Black Women Should Date White Men: First, Black Women should date whoever makes them happy and treats them well.  But, the list from Basiden’s show ticked me off because I don’t think the desired traits are rare among my friends. I did like the list’s view on our community’s glorification of thug life.

http://madamenoire.com/22660/8-reasons-to-date-a-white-man-30188/

Obama vs. Cain: I once worked at the U.S. Congress across the hall from Rep. John Conyers’s office and he had a young bright chief of staff named Julian Epstein.  At my Black college homecoming last weekend, many old classmates asked my opinion of the Herman Cain presidential candidacy and I told them that Obama vs. Cain was great for several different reasons from several different angles. I am insulted by Black people who think the Black electorate isn’t intelligent and crafty enough to vote for Cain in the open primary states if they want to see him faceoff with Obama.

While watching Fox News yesterday (yes, I watch Fox News sometimes), Julian Epstein let the cat out of the bag by saying that Democrats aren’t behind the recent Cain drama because smart Democrats want Cain to be the G.O.P nominee.  Epstein then seriously said that Democrats would donate to Cain’s campaign.  As we say in the South, Julian should “hush” because he is telling family business in the streets but he is so right.

Cain is to Obama as LBJ was to Kennedy: Yes, I can insult my political friends by stating that crass LBJ passed bills that smooth Kennedy didn’t get to before his tragic departure.  Those Kennedy boys were no match for the Dixiecrats but old Lyndon knew how to fight fire with fire.  LBJ said that he was insulted when a lifelong Black employee of his family would drive from Texas to the White House and if she need to use the bathroom in route, she had to squat in the woods. 

Obama is my favorite president but possibly too nice to turn the nation around.  He is too nice with the loyal opposition and he is too nice with his base regarding personal responsibility.  If you read the 8 reasons Black women should date White men, you will see that the president and the first lady could say more about their development and growth relative to teaching the next generation of all colors.  If Obama won’t get brass, Cain certainly would and that might be the answer.

Herman Cain, Bill Clinton and Thomas Gipson:  I worked at Albany State University with old school southern gentleman Thomas Gipson..God rest his soul.  Mr. Gipson, like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had knowledge and wisdom for you everyday but he got a pass or was grandfathered on political correctness.  Gip said that the university’s harassment policies were nonsense and that he would never stop complimenting lovely women. 

Bill Clinton, one of my three favorite presidents, insulted me with that whole Monica mess as did Bush 43 with weapons of mass destruction.  If I gave Clinton and Bush passes, Herman Cain gets one also.  If people from Albany, Georgia, want to know what Cain likely said, they should remember Thomas Gipson and know that what was once tradition is now litigation.

In summary, “yes we can.”  We can reelect President Obama.  We can elect a Georgian as president if not Obama.  We can better position ourselves to enhance the lives of Black women.  We can understand if said women find happiness elsewhere.  We can understand that no candidate is perfect and neither are we.  We can use insults as positive dialog starters.   

We can put on that Sade’s remake of Timmy Thomas’s 1972 classic “Why Can’t We Live Together,” sit back and explain to Cain’s supporters why they are alienating the massive political center.  You can’t win the White House without the center.

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People who skip voting this year are nuts who should be shunned.  In rural Georgia, we spend hours every Friday night at high school football games but early voting takes less time than a marching band’s halftime show.  What’s up with this one or two tubas stuff?  We had an army of tubas back in the day but today I can’t feel the bass.  In the political arena, I am hearing too much from the highs and little from the bottom (the bass or base).  We are selecting decision makers and nothing tickles off your fancy boss more than knowledge that his vote carries as much weight as yours. 

After the success of the Clinton’s presidency, Gore should have been a shoe-in if the working people they helped simply would have voted.  If you don’t vote, you have zero right to gripe and moan about governmental policy.  Hell, we should have paid attention to the process starting in the primary season because good candidates from any party should be heard. 

South Carolina GOP Rep. Bob Inglis has spent the time since his primary defeat telling it like it is. He should have spoken sooner because some of the cats about to take power are out there–really out there.  As President Obama says, they are concerned Americans and their commitment is admirable but let’s be civic.

Support reasonable candidates from both major parties because those people Inglis calls the Flame throwers are reckless.  You don’t want to win a high school football game in a dirty manner and the same should apply to elections and governing.  After winning elections, winners must then govern.

http://cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2010/09/21/am.inglis.gop.moderates.cnn

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In the Fall, Georgia should have a campaign visit from one or more of the Democrat Big Three: President Obama, President Bill Clinton or First Lady Michelle Obama.  Where is my ticket or can I get the hook-up.  The logical facility for this historic event would be the Macon Coliseum because Georgia is the biggest state this side of the Mississippi River and logistics can be a bear. My county, Worth County, is half the size of Rhode Island.   

Macon would mean that Georgians could drive equal distances to the venue and the congressional districts that need a little Dem star power converge in that region (the 2nd, 8th and 12th districts.)  The problem that the congressmen from the 2nd and 12th have nice relationships with the White House while Rep. Jim Marshall from Macon has chosen to go it alone. 

In the early 90s, I was worked for the Democrat congressman who represented Augusta and Athens, and a visit to the district from Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary was on the schedule.  A reporter asked my boss if he wanted Bill Clinton to campaign with him in Georgia and the congressman said basically he would do his own campaign.  O’Leary call our office and when on about “Bill is my friend and you don’t ask me to help you and disregard my friends.” 

Secretary O’Leary is currently the president of Fisk University and is saving that historically rich Black college from the brink of closure.  Fisk alumni include W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Congressman Alcee Hastings, James Weldon Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Mrs. Alma Powell and Secretary O’Leary.  In 2005, the financial situation at Fisk was so dire that they considered selling artwork given to the school by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.  If anyone can save Fisk for future generations, O’Leary is that person. 

When the White House and the DNC consider where to dispatch the big guns, Macon should be at the top of the list.  If not, Rep. Marshall must have said “no thanks”—a move that hurts the entire Dem ticket in Georgia.  Albany State University or Fort Valley State University would host a big three event but the Georgia Dome will likely get the nod and Rep. Marshall will not think about being on that stage.  They should send Hazel O’Leary to rap with him.  “Look here…let me holler at you for a second, partner….you don’t ignore Bill nor this outstanding young couple in the White House.  Keep this up and you will find yourself by yourself.” 

Secretary Hazel O'Leary

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An old friend from Capitol Hill sent me the following email about the subgroups in Black America.  Among Black males in the Georgia delegation in the 90s, the guys would often turn to me for a certain angle because I was familiar with a range of “us.”  In other words, I did not want for anything as a child but I still had a valid Hood card.  My boyhood home was in a subdivision that was/is “hood adjacent” so I can swing if I need to and would have done a better job mama-talking than Henry Louis Gates.  In my town, the second “your mama” came out of someone’s mouth, dude was about to get slammed on the hard pavement or that G.A. red clay.

T
Did you happen to catch the Black in America II special? I was inspired to see our younger folks exploring that entrepreneurial spirit. However I was also disturbed by our wealthy brothers and sisters establishing cliques based upon status. To me it sends the message if you were born with the silver spoon you are in. But if you were not, too bad, and by the way our door is closed and we are not going to help you get in. But if you somehow do gain wealth (hook or crook) then you are welcome. For me and you I am not so concerned, but in the case of my younger brother I am. He has consistently been at the top of his class and is destined to be a great achiever. But unless he scores the big dollars he can’t get into the club. That is pure BS!Your thoughts?

 V 

Once and for all: fancy folks don’t necessarily related to non-fancy people who look like them and humbly-raised southerner Bill Clinton might actually have a more valid Hood card than Barrack Obama.  Remember, Obama was raised in Kansas and Hawaii by some of the nice people you will ever meet.  Clinton came from rough and rural Hope, Arkansas.  Have you ever seen the picture of Bill Clinton shaking hands with President Kennedy at American Legion Boys Nation in 1964?  I was a Boys Nation alternate in 1981so I have always like that photo and noticed that the young man in the picture waiting to shake hands with Kennedy is Tom from Sylvester, Georgia, my hometown.  Tom became an All-American football player at UGA and a surgeon but Bill Clinton had him crying in the dorm at Boys Nation.  Clinton was campaigning to make history by electing a Black kid from California the first Black Boys Nation President but Tom said he could not make that vote because Blacks were genetically different from White people according to the teaching at his high school. 

 

Bill Clinton and JFK

Bill Clinton and JFK

 

I remember this story because Ted Koppel did a show about it on Nightline in 1994 when the Boys Nation class of 1964 reunited for their 30th anniversary with a member in the White House. 

Gates, Obama, and children of Blacks who are third and forth generation doctors and lawyers have grown removed from the experience and culture of Blacks on the other end of the socioeconomic range and I am proud of Black parents who have provided better living for their children.  Some of these Blacks are unaware of poor Whites struggling and there are Whites who never knew that there have been presidential quality Blacks in America since America became America. 

As a kid reading Jet and Ebony magazines, I questioned the loyalty of Adam Clayton Powell and Thurgood Marshall because they did not looking me but I was so wrong because MLK just presented the whole “content of their character” thing.  Powell was a Harlem congressman who grew up as Black elite in New York and my daddy would tell us stories with pride about attending Powell’s father’s Abyssinian Baptist Church with it’s 5000 members.  Congressman Powell never lost his connection to average people in Black America because he was always in the restaurants and barbershops teaching and listening

 

Rep. Adam Clayton Powell

Rep. Adam Clayton Powell

 

In “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” Malcolm said that Powell told him in a Harlem barbershop that the poor people’s march on Washington was taken over by powerful people from outside our community.  Originally, the protest was designed to be poor people laying down on the steps of the Capitol and the runways of the airport.  But, some money guys came in with a peaceful plan and some big checks..with equally big checks to follow if the plan was executed properly.  The rest is history but think about it: the civil rights movement was not about poor people solely.  It started with Blacks who served in World War II returning home and wondering why they fought for freedom overseas yet did not enjoy fair opportunity or fair treatment at home.  When you look at pictures from the civil rights movement, you see neatly dress and well-groomed people protesting their systematic denial from the America middle class.

Who knows what the next phase will bring but I keep hearing that line from the old Police reggae song “One World is Enough for All of Us” that said “we can not sink while others float because we are all in the same big boat.”  Many successful Blacks are weary of certain elements inside the Black that hold back progress or actually reverse past gains.  I saw Chris Rock’s wife taking the kids to Africa on “Black in America II” and had to think about Rock’s standup routine that started, “I love Black folks but I am……”  CNN’s Black America II was nothing new to most Blacks because we all know about the Black clubs and institutions that did not want Blacks darker than a brown paper bag or those without “good hair.” 

V, we both worked as congressional staff together and knew that most Black Americans assume that the actions of Black members of congress were driven by the best interests of America in general and Black America in particular.  We knew that some of those members were primarily concerned with securing campaign funds to keep their high-profile jobs.  You know I like Obama, Artur Davis in Alabama and Harold Ford Jr. because they expanded the issues of concern for Black America to include every federal issue.  They are standing on the shoulders of Rep. Sanford Bishop and that generation of CBC members who were freshmen in the 90s.  The next generation of CBC members (in my opinion) should included more diversity from the center and even a conservative or two.   A conservative member might choose to skip membership in the CBC like former members of congress Gary Franks and J.C. Watts but we realize that there is a subsection of Black America more interested in business development and self-determination than governmental intervention.  That is nothing knew because a sizable portion of Black America has always felt that way.   

 

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