How are you doing with reading, studying and knowing your instruction manual?
How are you doing with reading, studying and knowing your instruction manual?
Alexandria, VA – You’ll hear a boatload of promises this election year, especially from presidential candidates bellowing about simplified tax codes. Will they happen? Don’t hold your breath.
The separation of church and state has been a fundamental principle since Thomas Jefferson coined the phrase in 1802. But centuries later in the 2016 race for president, some politicians appear to be preaching behind their podiums, making this concept the center of much debate. Howard University News Service reporter Erin Winters has more.
by Mikel Kwaku Oshi Holt
The World According to Chris Larson
The man who SHOULD NOT become king of the county
The race for Milwaukee County Executive may be the most defining political campaign in decades. Not because it pits two high profile Democrats against each other, but in a larger sense, its outcome will determine who controls the direction of our political “Freedom Train,” and who will serve as its conductor.
In one sense, the county executive race pits political pragmatism against the new “progressive” agenda. But in this scripted screenplay, “progressive” has taken on a new meaning, one that does not bode well for our future.
In a broader sense, the stakes transcend who should be the chief executive of county government, but instead will put into play the Black community’s level of political sophistication, and our seemingly blind allegiance to special interests and any White benefactor who says they can “relate” to our plight.
For the record, the county executive race pits incumbent Chris Abele against former County Supervisor and current State Senator Chris Larson.
What won’t show on the ballot, however, is that this election is clearly and almost exclusively about Larson the king maker; a political power broker whose true agenda is to expand his so-called progressive power base by serving as puppeteer of union forces and obligated Black politicians, many of whom he put in office.
Sound like some episode from the television show Empire? In many respects, it appears to come straight from the pen of Lee Daniels.
King Larson began his political career as a Democratic Party organizer. His skills were honed in 2004 when he was selected to participate in an exclusive Democratic Party training program. He emerged well versed in strategy, tactics and organizing, but also with a far-reaching agenda, a fellow trainee told me recently.
Larson was ambitious, and had an itinerary that called for changing the very structure of the state party, and anointing himself king, the consultant said.
For Larson’s purposes, the progressive label is a front, as is the inappropriately named Wisconsin Working Family Party, both of which are conduits for resources and manpower.
Larson’s agenda, according to many who have watched from the sidewalk as his caravan has sped down State Street, in front of the state capital and now back outside the Court House, is to establish a new world order, one that all but ignores the true interests and concerns of the Black community.
And if all goes according to plan, and unless Black voters take the blinders off, Chris Larson will soon crown himself king of a new empire that would put the script of the drama by that name to shame.
What makes this journey all the more interesting is that Larson has accomplished his goal thus far without much fanfare and under the political radar, even though during the last few years he has had his hand in a half-dozen electoral campaigns involving Black candidates, most of whom he “sponsored.”
They say the greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince people he didn’t exist. I’m, obviously not calling Larson the devil, but the analogy in this case is appropriate.
Ask the Black recipients of Larson’s manipulations of the validity of this scenario and they will shake their heads in the negative (none, however will verbally deny his involvement, or lie to your face).
But ask those who have been victimized (from former State Representatives Jason Fields, Beth Coggs and State Senator Lena Taylor) and you’ll hear a different story.
The late State Rep. Polly Williams was among the first to cry foul when she witnessed the Larson parade engineer the election of Sandy Pasch, a white suburban woman with little understanding of Black issues or concerns, for her 10th Assembly district.
Polly, one of the few truly independent Democrats who espoused a Black Nationalistic philosophy, was horrified and shocked that Pasch was chosen to represent her predominantly Black district.
But give Larson and crew credit. They campaigned almost exclusively in the suburban areas of the district (which were added in 2010 as part of the redistricting process) with high White turnout, and when Black voters failed to show up at the polls, the die was cast.
Score one for Larson. There were many more to come.
In the past few years he set up challenges in three legislative races in predominantly Black legislative races, engineering campaigns against Black independent thinkers who refused to subscribe to his “progressive” agenda.
After being named Minority Leader, he used his power to reward the faithful and punish those Black pols that refused to bow down and kiss his ring.
How powerful was his influence over Black lawmakers whose careers he influenced? One of the first actions by State Rep. Mandela Barnes, who was also a Larson “appointee,” was to propose amending the structure of the Black Legislative Caucus to allow White members. Really?
When Taylor revealed how ridiculous that proposal was, it was withdrawn. But the scenario revealed Larson’s thumbprint.
As political consultant and WNOV radio host Sherwin Hughes has noted on his “The Forum” show, Larson has manipulated the Black agenda, and made the Black legislative corps meaningless and ineffective.
That’s why, Hughes has noted, no legislation of substance has been introduced or passed by Black lawmakers, and why the Black community has remained politically and economically stagnant.
Jason (Fields) was able to work to get bills passed by manipulating the system even with Republicans in control, Hughes once noted. But in this era when progressives charge you with a crime for even looking at a Republican, Jason committed a cardinal sin, even if it benefitted our community.
And therein lies another aspect of this defining race, one that can only be described as a new dance called the “political okey-doke.”
Milwaukee County government is a constitutional extension of state government. Republicans hold the majority in the assembly and senate, and a Republican is governor. But to follow Larson’s reasoning, you cannot talk to those in power, you can’t co-sponsor legislation, and you surely can’t address the issues of poverty, crime, or education.
Back in the day, “Progressive” meant being a supporter of civil rights—liberals who marched beside us to secure equal opportunity. They sponsored legislation that would otherwise be ignored if introduced by Black lawmakers. Progressives met with us in back rooms and served as our conduits.
Today, the new progressive platform focuses on environmental issues, gay and women’s rights, educational monopolies and support of organized labor.
“Black concerns are put on the backburner, or excluded entirely,” Hughes explained. “And when some Black politicians question that platform, they are told ‘there are Black gays, Black women, and the environmental issues affect your people too. So shut up and be glad you’re on the bus.’ ”
Obviously, Larson, the county executive candidate, the man who wants to expand his influence over Black pols to county and city elected officials, carries with him baggage that should scare the hell out of Black voters. Unfortunately, they have been lied to, bamboozled and led astray, as Malcolm X once said.
The April 5 stakes are high, and left unchecked, Larson’s bold agenda could leave us impotent, if not politically sterile.
Dangerous? Consider the following:
• As minority leader and self appointed king of the “new progressive” wing of the Democratic Party, Larson not only rewrote the Black agenda, but created a slate of “Black” candidates to carry it out.
He “not so” secretly sponsored candidates who successfully ran against incumbent Black lawmakers Beth Coggs and Jason Fields. Their crimes? Both touted their independence and allegiance to their people before their (Democratic) party.
• Larson removed State Senator Lena Taylor from the powerful Joint Finance Committee, and even boldly attempted to restructure the Black Caucus by expanding its membership to include Whites. (Some say State Rep. Fred Kessler was behind that defining move, and is secretly behind Larson.)
• When Taylor questioned his motives and refused to bow down, Larson responded by orchestrating the soon to be announced candidacy of State Rep. Mandela Barnes to run against her this fall. The fact that Taylor is the most powerful and respected member of the legislature was irrelevant.
As Hughes said on his radio show Monday, “Taylor’s crime wasn’t that her constituents were angry, but that White ‘progressives’ and liberals outside her district considered her a threat to their new status quo.”
• Larson is a founding member of the so-called Wisconsin (White) Working Family “Party,” whose founder included a Koch brother operative, according to the Kingfish website, lied about being an independent political party, but is instead a PAC, funneling money to select candidates, including Larson. The “Family Party” is also paying for Larson’s campaign mailings and funding over 200 field workers for his campaign.
• Despite the fact that Milwaukee is home to the nation’s highest Black poverty rate, Larson boldly announced last week that if elected he would raise the regressive sales tax. That process would disproportionately impact the poor.
• Although Larson, the Southsider, attended a private school, he opposes poor Black families taking advantage of the Parental School Choice program to send their children to one.
• Larson was said to be behind the derailment of highly regarded Democrat Party strategist and devoted member Michelle Bryant’s quest to become vice chair of the county Democratic Party. States Rep. David Bowen, a former county supervisor and ally of Larson (who benefitted from his sponsorship in his bid for state office) boldly told local Democrats not to vote for Bryant, Hughes revealed.
• Lies and misconceptions. Politifact revealed that Larson lied when he claimed Abele sought to curtail funding for the homeless. He also has lied about Abele seeking to privatize failing public schools, when in fact the incumbent county executive has appointed a highly regarded Black educational pioneer to engineer a new program to lift the families of at risk students out of poverty.
• In a related move, Larson has used the local teachers’ union to cast doubt on Abele’s educational agenda, staging protests at the courthouse and elsewhere to denounce the incumbent.
Larson has personally led several of those demonstrations, leading some of the same MTEA members who demonstrated outside the home of School Board Director Wendell Harris after he voted to allow a successful charter school to be integrated into a failing public high school.
•Black folks are still reeling over rumors that a White union member supposedly carried a sign calling Harris, the vice president of the state NAACP and a highly regarded proponent of public education, an Uncle Tom!
One of the most interesting aspects of the teachers’ union’s attacks on Abele and the state law, introduced by Republicans to require local government to seek remedies for the city’s 50 failing schools (which in laymen’s language means thousands of Black children failing to read, write, add and subtract), is that it implies failure is acceptable and should not be questioned.
Think about that. The union and Larson are, in essence, saying that Black student failure is okay, and to seek solutions is an affront to the status quo and will invite the wrath of the teachers’ union.
Not by coincidence, that insult to Black folks fits squarely in the scheme of the new progressives’ and Larson’s agenda.
Check the records, what has Larson done for the Black community as supervisor, state senator, minority leader? Has he even addressed our nation leading poverty status?
Has he given more than lip service to the fact that Wisconsin has the highest Black incarceration rate in the country? Milwaukee has the highest Black male unemployment rate in the United States. Has Larson or his “progressives” engineered the employment of even one Black man since he has been in power?
In a nutshell, what has Larson done for the Black community? Absolutely nothing, even though his Black anointed political followers claim he is a champion of Black causes and the “czar of civil rights.”
But they can’t tell you one thing he’s done for us.
What can we expect from King Larson if his agenda to control local politics is confirmed on Election Day next month? Nothing…or worse!
Given the stakes, our obvious lack of political and cultural maturity and the uniqueness of the April elections, what we—voters and Black leadership—confirm and advocate in the next few weeks will determine our political future.
Old alliances will be tested. Our agenda will be solidified, or rewritten and we will reassume control of the Freedom Train, or leave it at the station.
There are far too many variables to count if Larson is elected county executive. But one thing is sure, if his agenda is carried out, we will again find ourselves at the “back of the bus!”
By Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
Moments after Mayor Tom Barrett applauded my years of journalistic advocacy during the Wisconsin Black Media Association’s tribute Sunday, I woke up anyone who had dozed off during the ceremony by announcing my plans to take the mayor through the ringer during the next six weeks.
I have yet to meet anyone who dislikes Mayor Barrett. But more often than not, when the conversation turns to “Da Mayor,” that accolade is followed by a big, fat “BUT!…”
Not the “behind” version you’re probably thinking of, but a “but” as in a conjunction, or from a political standpoint, a dichotomous situation for Black Milwaukeeans who have provided the majority votes for Barrett as a state senator, U.S. congressman and mayor (save for his first campaign against Marvin Pratt).
We have supported Barrett for good reason, but…
The metropolis Barrett has been chief executive of for the past eight years is also the municipality determined by several national organizations to be the worse city in the United States for Black and poor people.
Milwaukee leads the nation in seven negative social indicators, including the widest gap between Black and White income, fourth highest poverty rate, widest academic achievement gap between White and Black students and highest Black male unemployment rate, last counted at 55.6%.
That phenomenon exists despite the fact that we are the city’s largest ethnic group, channel over $2 billion annually to the local economy and can determine or greatly influence every major election in the county.
Our economic prowess and population should mean (and if we were White and politically sophisticated would mean) that we should be dictating from up high, instead of hanging-on from the ledge.
Milwaukee should be the Atlanta of the North. Instead, we are so low on the totem pole Chinese should be our second language.
Let me put this scenario another way:
No one doubts Mayor Barrett is a good friend to the Black community. Or, that during his political career, he has been a champion of civil rights, in some respects spearheading political campaigns that one would think a Black lawmaker would have assumed ownership of.
As a state senator, representing a largely Black district, Barrett led the fight to end insurance redlining. And, as some may have forgotten, he was the first mayor of a large city to endorse a presidential candidate named Barack Obama.
His record of introducing various programs aimed at creating jobs and vocational opportunities for Black youth, undertaking initiatives to link lower income families with health insurance and earmarking vacant and foreclosed housing for marketability aside, Barrett’s unfinished narrative today casts a negative shadow on his legacy.
Yet, not since Pratt has Barrett faced a serious challenge to his candidacy, including the most recent primary in which he faced Joe Davis, a Black tenured alderman who is widely respected, if not widely supported.
That was evidenced by Davis’ third place showing in last month’s primary, far behind the second place finisher, Southside Alderman Bob Donovan.
Was Davis’ finish a reflection of Barrett’s approval by Black voters (the overwhelming majority of whom stayed home to watch reruns of Family Feud), or was it apathy? Or both.
You can debate that question, but there was but a singular reason for the reaction of many Black “leaders” when Davis immediately endorsed Donovan, a conservative, law and order advocate.
Knowing Davis as I do, his endorsement wasn’t so much a matter of supporting Donovan but, instead, a statement that the status quo is not benefitting Black Milwaukee.
Davis’ declaration immediately prompted an orchestrated press conference to throw the brother under the bus.
It was a sophomoric move on its face, but some felt it pragmatic nonetheless.
Common sense prevailed, as State Senator Lena Taylor, my sources told me, interjected by explaining that to denounce Davis was as counterproductive as it would be to endorse Barrett without getting something in return, like initiatives to reverse the abysmal status of Black citizens.
Since the organizers of the press conference didn’t invite me for obvious reasons, or other Black people of influence who put the people before the pocket, I don’t know what, if anything was actually put on the table.
And to be honest, knowing the agenda and personal motivations of some of those involved, I really don’t expect much out of whatever “deal” was agreed upon (other than to enhance opportunities for a few).
But, Taylor’s strategy is sound and should be advanced at a higher level, with a consensus agenda at its core.
We must demand more from Barrett in exchange for our vote. In fact, we shouldn’t just hold his hands to the fire; we should put together a realistic agenda and demand that city and county Black politicians advance it as well.
That’s the foundation of meaningful political involvement.
I jokingly said in a tweet last week that our complicity in local politics in recent years meant all we could expect under the current status-quo was a seat at the back of Barrett’s new street car, which some confused with the Freedom Train.
For whatever reason, local Black politicians have shunned opportunities to serve as conductor on our locomotive, instead allowing others, including the Democratic Party, to direct our path and speed.
And therein lies the other half of the equation that has resulted in our abysmal state of reality.
Along with Barrett, we elected Black elected officials to specifically resolve the myriad of problems facing our community. That hasn’t happened, even remotely. Not only have they not come up with solutions, they have not put the pressure on Barrett to do likewise.
And we shouldn’t put the onus solely on Black aldermen, since they should be working with Black county supervisors and state representatives.
Instead, our supervisors seem focused on whether to tear down dams, spending millions on a new jail passageway and how to make a part time job appear to be full time.
And our state lawmakers? Well, they should be screaming bloody murder every time they drive up to Madison to collect their $100 a day pro diem and not see any Black workers along I-94. But when was the last time you heard a peep, or beep, from them?
Bottom line: It’s time our local leaders and beaters, poverty pimps and profiteers be forced to sit down, lay out an agenda and present it to Barrett and Black elected officials.
During that same meeting, which would be open exclusively to Black folks (and not just hand picked “Knee-groes” with self-serving agendas), we should also put back on the table our agenda from 1994 when a wide range of Black leadership mandated a Black Political Unity Caucus.
The clarion call was for a body of Black elected officials to put the interests of Black folks before special interests, political parties or egos.
With an agenda and a caucus, we can control the city and rewrite our collective future.
(Next week, the “other” local race that will influence our status quo, and how Black folks are being pimped by a political agenda that will keep us confused and pacified.)
Houston, TX — Writer, Demetrius Walker, has launched CapitalizeTheB.com, a website that calls for all media, schools, and others to use an uppercase “B” when referring to Black people.
Walker believes the “B” in Black should always be capitalized to acknowledge the people of the African Diaspora (more than 1 Billion people). By definition, black with a lowercase b is merely a color in a crayon box; Black represents culture and people. “Writing about Black people with a lowercase b is therefore insulting,” he says.
He adds, “The absence of light is black; this does not define my people. We are Black – connected by rhythm, roots, and a light that cannot be extinguished.”
CapitalizeTheB.com serves as the launching pad for a social media movement designed to raise awareness of the incorrect grammatical usage of the lowercase “b” as currently written to denote Black people. The site encourages people to follow its Twitter and Instagram pages, while also referring people to professor Lori L. Tharps’ petition to the New York Times and AP stylebook.
For more details, visit www.CapitalizeTheB.com
Ryan Grim -Huff Post Black Voices
It’s a terrifying time to be a young person without a vote in this country. There’s so much at stake for your future, and it’s you, after all, who will have to live with the consequences if adults elect say, Donald Trump, to be our president.
“I don’t want to have to live down a reputation of America as racist and hostile throughout my late teens and early twenties, and no young adult should have to either,” 13-year-old Matthew Wieseltier wrote in his viral essay-turned-video, Why I Do Not Want to Grow Up In Donald Trump’s America.
His essay got us thinking: Why not let other young people share their takes on The Donald and what he means for America? So we launched an essay contest, and #TeensAgainstTrump was born.
We suggested teens answer the question: What does Donald Trump misunderstand about America? It didn’t take long before our inbox, [email protected], was flooded. (We assume that there must be some Trump-supporting kids out there, too. If so, feel free to let us know why. We’re genuinely curious.)
The winner of the contest is Zia T., a 19-year-old English major at Howard University in Washington, D.C. You can read her essay, Making America Great, here.
We also chose 13 fantastic runners up. You can watch a video of some of the winners reciting parts of their essays above.
Read their full essays below:
Nearly seven in 10 Americans experience some form of discrimination, and that discrimination can contribute to higher stress levels and poorer health, researchers report.
The online poll found 61 percent of more than 3,300 respondents reported daily discrimination, such as disrespectful treatment, receiving poorer service than others or being threatened or harassed.
And nearly half of those surveyed said they had experienced major discrimination, such as unjustified questioning or threats by police, unfair treatment when receiving health care, and being fired or passed over for promotion at work.
“It’s clear that discrimination is widespread and impacts many people, whether it is due to race, ethnicity, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation,” Jaime Diaz-Granados, executive director for education at the American Psychological Association (APA), said in a news release from the group.
“And when people frequently experience unfair treatment, it can contribute to increased stress and poorer health,” he added.
The survey was conducted in August by Harris Poll on behalf of the APA.
Blacks were the most likely to report discrimination. More than three-quarters of black adults reported daily discrimination, and nearly two in five black men said police have unfairly stopped, searched, questioned, physically threatened or abused them.
Black, Asian, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native adults cited race as the main reason they have faced discrimination, the researchers noted.
Even the anticipation of discrimination can cause stress, the researchers added. Thirty percent of Hispanics and blacks who reported regular episodes of discrimination said they feel they must be very mindful of their appearance to avoid harassment or get good service.
Poor health was linked to stress in the survey. Twenty-three percent of adults who rated their health as fair or poor had higher stress levels, on average, than those who said they were in very good or excellent health.
Groups of people with higher stress levels included Hispanic adults, younger adults, women, people with disabilities, and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
“Stress takes a toll on our health, and nearly one-quarter of all adults say they don’t always have access to the health care they need,” Cynthia Belar, the association’s interim chief executive officer, said in the news release.
“In particular, Hispanics — who reported the highest stress levels — were more likely to say they can’t access a non-emergency doctor when they need one,” Belar said.
“This year’s survey shows that certain subsets of our population are less healthy than others and are not receiving the same level of care as adults in general. This is an issue that must be addressed,” she said.
Copyright HealthDay News. All rights reserved.
This past weekend was spent at a Men’s Retreat. We had a wonderful time of worship and fellowship. The topic of God’s love came up. We were asked “Do you believe that God loves you?” Your answer to this question affects so much of your life.
So, do you think God loves you? Why? or Why not?
When it comes to Leslie Jones playing an MTA employee in “Ghostbusters,” haters think it’s strange, and it doesn’t look good. But the movie’s director Paul Feig is about to change everything.
After the “Ghostbusters” trailer dropped, many criticized Leslie Jones’ role for supposedly perpetuating racial stereotypes — Jones plays an MTA clerk while her white female co-stars play scientists. In an interview with Empire (that took place before the controversy), Feig makes a big reveal, proving stereotypes weren’t what he and co-writer Katie Dippold were thinking about.
“We had written the role with Melissa [McCarthy] in mind,” says Feig. “But then I thought I’ve seen Melissa play a brash, larger than life character. She’s done it in my movies before!”
Feig says he doesn’t normally like comedy that’s “big and loud,” but Jones is able to “pull that off in a way that feels real and it’s her.”
The director says, “I wanted to unleash Leslie on the public in the same way we unleashed Melissa on the public in ‘Bridesmaids,’ with a very showy role.”
Since the trailer’s release, Jones was basically forced to defend her part in the movie due to criticism that was spiraling out of control. Feig also came to his actor’s aid, tweeting that haters have “crossed the line.”
“Grow up and leave my cast alone,” he wrote.
Click here for tweets and full post.