Daily Archives: July 20, 2010

My Last Word On The NAACP Who Says The Media “Snookered” Them

Just as the MLK, Jr. civil rights movement was a bit too slow for me back then,  the NAACP’s adaptation of a similar pace, in terms of litigating “change”,  was just as slow, in my opinion. 

Having grown up in New York City, I was not aware of the outward racism experienced by those in the south.  I was not aware of reason for the deliberate caution and baby steps made by both leaderships. 

My impatience with racial issues and racial change was like that of any northern youth who had not experienced blatant racism, but knew all too well, the subtleties that took place in the north.  Mainly police misconduct, school teachers and “red-lining”.  I knew things had to change but I wasn’t into  the way the Black Panthers and other “radical militant” groups rallied to achieve change.

I was more of a middle of the road person, listening to Malcom X speeches and reading books by James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Na’im Akbar, Hakim Madhubuti and John Henrik Clarke.  Deemed “militant” by older folks in my family (I loved my Angela Davis afro), my mom knew I wasn’t at all militant.  Just curious and politically aware.  You see, it was from HER book collection that I first read Baldwin, Wright and Ellison at 11 and 12 years old.

That political curiosity was the root of my interest in politics today.

I simply feel that the NAACP, as we know it today, has outlived it’s time.   There needs to be a serious paradigm shift in that organization and I hope it comes soon.

Here’s why (they should have checked the facts FIRST, before reacting as they did!):

Think Progress

Yesterday, following the forced firing of former Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod, the NAACP rushed out a statement saying that it was “appalled” by her “shameless” actions. While the Obama administration is standing by its decision to force Sherrod’s resignation, the NAACP has courageously reversed course, saying it had been “snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart.” The civil rights organization says the incident highlights “the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.” “This is a teachable moment, for activists and for journalists,” the statement reads. Read it below:

NAACP STATEMENT ON THE RESIGNATION OF SHIRLEY SHERROD

(BALTIMORE, MD) NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous issued the following statement today after a careful investigation into the presentation of former USDA Official, Shirley Sherrod.

The NAACP has a zero tolerance policy against racial discrimination, whether practiced by blacks, whites, or any other group.

The NAACP also has long championed and embraced transformation by people who have move beyond racial bias. Most notably, we have done so for late Alabama Governor George Wallace and late US Senator Robert Byrd–each a man who had associated with and supported white supremacists and their cause before embracing civil rights for all.

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA.

Finally, she was sharing this account as part of a story of transformation and redemption. In the full video, Ms.Sherrod says she realized that the dislocation of farmers is about “haves and have nots.” “It’s not just about black people, it’s about poor people,” says Sherrod in the speech. “We have to get to the point where race exists but it doesn’t matter.”

This is a teachable moment, for activists and for journalists.

Most Americans agree that racism has no place in American Society. We also believe that civil and human rights have to be measured by a single yardstick.

The NAACP has demonstrated its commitment to live by that standard.

The Tea Party Federation took a step in that direction when it expelled the Tea Party Express over the weekend. Unfortunately, we have yet to hear from other leaders in the Tea Party movement like Dick Armey and Sarah Palin, who have been virtually silent on the “internal bigotry” issue.

Next time we are confronted by a racial controversy broken by Fox News or their allies in the Tea Party like Mr. Breitbart, we will consider the source and be more deliberate in responding. The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed. This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.

According to the USDA, Sherrod’s statements prompted her dismissal. While we understand why Secretary Vilsack believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider and give everyday Americans a chance to surprise him.

Finally, we hope this incident will heighten Congress’s urgency in dealing with the well documented findings of discrimination toward black, Latino, Asian American and Native American farmers, as well as female farmers of all races

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NAACP retracts criticism of USDA worker

 

I am really upset at the knee jerk reaction from the NAACP and the USDA Secretary, Vilsack for forcing Shirley Sherrod out of her job!  She should be reinstated immediately.  

As for the NAACP, get your act together!  You’re showing your age!   I believe we need an infusion of younger people who see the world as it is today, not fifty or sixty years ago when appeasing “massa” was tantamount to everything else. 

NewsOK 

The Obama administration is standing by its quick decision to oust a black Agriculture Department employee over racially tinged remarks at an NAACP banquet in Georgia, despite evidence that her remarks were misconstrued and growing calls for USDA to reconsider. 
Shirley Sherrod, who until Tuesday was the Agriculture Department’s director of rural development in Georgia, says the administration caved to political pressure by pushing her to resign for saying that she didn’t give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago, when she worked for a nonprofit group.

Sherrod says her remarks, delivered in March at a local NAACP banquet in Georgia, were part of a story about racial reconciliation, not racism. The white farming family that was the subject of the story stood by Sherrod and said she should keep her job.“We probably wouldn’t have (our farm) today if it hadn’t been for her leading us in the right direction,” said Eloise Spooner, the wife of farmer Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga. “I wish she could get her job back because she was good to us, I tell you.”The NAACP, which initially condemned Sherrod’s remarks and supported Sherrod’s ouster, joined the calls for her to keep her job. The civil rights group said it and millions of others were duped by the conservative website that posted partial video of her speech on Monday.“We have come to the conclusion we were snookered … into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias,” said the statement from NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous.

The website, biggovernment.com, gained fame last year after airing video of workers at the community group ACORN counseling actors posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend. It posted the Sherrod video as evidence that the NAACP, which recently passed a resolution condemning what it calls racist elements of the Tea Party, condones racism of its own.

Sherrod said she was on the road Monday when USDA deputy undersecretary Cheryl Cook called her and told her the White House wanted her to resign because her comments were generating a cable news controversy.“They called me twice,” she told The Associated Press in an interview. “The last time they asked me to pull over to the side of the road and submit my resignation on my Blackberry, and that’s what I did.”

Sherrod said administration officials weren’t interested in hearing her explanation. “It hurts me that they didn’t even try to attempt to see what is happening here, they didn’t care,” she said. “I’m not a racist … Anyone who knows me knows that I’m for fairness.”The administration gave a different version of events.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack — not the White House — made the decision to ask Sherrod to resign, said USDA spokeswoman Chris Mather.   She said Sherrod willingly resigned when asked.  

In a statement, Vilsack said the controversy surrounding Sherrod’s comments could, rightly or wrongly, cause people to question her decisions as a federal employee and lead to lingering doubts about civil rights at the agency, which has a troubled history of discrimination.“There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA,” Vilsack said. “We have a duty to ensure that when we provide services to the American people we do so in an equitable manner.”

The administration is sensitive to the issue because the Agriculture Department has for decades faced charges of discrimination against black farmers who said they could not get aid that routinely went to whites. The department agreed to a final $1.25 billion settlement earlier this year in a class-action suit that has been pending for more than a decade. The payout of that settlement is pending in Congress, and Vilsack has made fixing past wrongs over civil rights a top priority.The current controversy began Monday when biggovernment.com posted a two-minute, 38-second video clip in which Sherrod describes the first time a white farmer came to her for help.

It was 1986, and she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group. She said the farmer came in acting “superior” to her and that she debated how much help to give him.“I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with helping a white person save their land,” Sherrod said.Initially, she said, “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do” and only gave him enough help to keep his case progressing.

Eventually, she said, his situation “opened my eyes” that whites were struggling just like blacks, and helping farmers wasn’t so much about race but was “about the poor versus those who have.”Sherrod said Tuesday the incomplete video appears to intentionally twist her message. She says she became close friends with the farmer and helped him for two years.“She’s always been nice and polite and considerate. She was just a good person,” Eloise Spooner said. “She did everything she could trying to help.”Locals said the controversy was unwelcome.“This is a shame,” said Olivia Pearson, a local commissioner for rural Douglas, Ga., who attended the event. “I can assure you that what Mrs. Sherrod said was not a racial statement. She was just trying to tell them about life.”

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Filed under NAACP, Right-wing Media

Unemployment Extension Bill Clears Hurdle, Standoff Likely Over Until November

Senate Finally Breaks Filibuster, Approves Aid For 2.5 Million Unemployed Americans

As I said earlier, when Obama stopped chasing  “bi-partisan windmills”  and told the American public what the GOP was doing to our unemployed, the GOP did an about face, rather than appear as they really are, stingy, rich, old fogies who have no clue outside of their elite DC bubble!

Kudos to President Obama and to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).

Huffington Post

The Senate voted 60-40 on Tuesday to move forward with reauthorizing unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, 2.5 million of whom have missed checks since the end of May as Republicans and conservative Democrats filibustered several bills to renew the aid. After a final Senate vote, the bill goes to the House, which will vote on Wednesday.

“It shouldn’t take a supermajority to help families afford the bare necessities while unemployment is rising,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) after the vote. “It shouldn’t take the slimmest of margins to do what is right.”

Defeating the filibuster clears an easy path toward the president’s desk this week. People who missed checks will be paid retroactively; people who exhausted all weeks of benefits available before the lapse will not get anything.

The great debate pitting deficit reduction against jobless aid is over — until November, when it is certain to return. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that the president will push for an additional extension of benefits when the current one expires shortly after the midterm congressional elections.

“I think it is fair and safe to assume that we are not going to wake up and find ourselves at the end of November at a rate of employment one would not consider to be an emergency,” Gibbs said, in one of the most affirmative statements from Democrats about their plans for the next lapse in benefits.

Historically, Congress has never allowed federally-funded extended benefits to lapse when the national unemployment rate has been above 7.2 percent. The current rate is 9.5 percent, and few projections show it coming down any time soon.   Continue reading…

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Filed under Rep. Alan Grayson, Senate Republicans

BP photoshops fake photo of crisis command center, posts on main BP site

America Blog

UPDATE 12:08PM Eastern 7/20/10: BP has faked yet another oil crisis response photo on its Web site.

UPDATE: 11:14PM Eastern: BP has now posted the “original” photo, they claim. Except – surprise – they are refusing to post the high-resolution version of the new “original” photo (update: they’ve now posted the original photo). They posted the high-res version of the altered photo earlier, and in fact, that version is still live via a link below the new photo. Why not post the high-res version of the new “original” photo? Afraid someone is going to enlarge it and find out it’s fake too?

UPDATE 10:37PM Eastern: The Washington Post has the story now. Oddly, BP is now claiming that the photo is real – but it showed blank screens, and rather than show blank screens at AP’s crisis center, they instead put fake content-filled screens in the photo. Uh, a few questions.

1) Why were the screens in the crisis center blank in the middle of the crisis? Coffee break?
2) The BP spokesman claims that the photographer photoshopped the changes. Really? A professional photographer hired by BP Photoshops so poorly that a 12 year old kid could do a better job. Really? Let me show you what BP said exactly, and then the photo that supposedly this “professional” edited:

Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, said that there was nothing sinister in the photo alteration and provided the original unaltered version. He said that a photographer working for the company had inserted the three images in spots where the video screens were blank.

Now here is the Photoshop job that the “professional” photographer did – this is just one part of the photo that he screwed up.

Continue reading…

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Filed under U.S. Politics

Obama calls out Republicans as deficit frauds

It sure helps when the POTUS decides to abandon chasing “the windmills of partisanship” and face reality!

The Plum Line - 7-19-10

The interesting thing about President Obama’s hard hitting remarks about Republicans in the Rose Garden this morning is that he argued as explicitly as he has yet that Republicans who profess concern about the deficit are, well, full of it:

For a long time, there’s been a tradition — under both Democratic and Republican Presidents — to offer relief to the unemployed. That was certainly the case under my predecessor, when Republican senators voted several times to extend emergency unemployment benefits. But right now, these benefits — benefits that are often the person’s sole source of income while they’re looking for work — are in jeopardy.

And I have to say, after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans like Jim or Leslie or Denise, who really need help.

Also noteworthy: Obama took his most direct shot yet at the suggestion by some Republicans that unemployment discourages people from finding work, claiming they lack faith in the American people:

Over the past few weeks, a majority of senators have tried — not once, not twice, but three times — to extend emergency relief on a temporary basis. Each time, a partisan minority in the Senate has used parliamentary maneuvers to block a vote, denying millions of people who are out of work much-needed relief. These leaders in the Senate who are advancing a misguided notion that emergency relief somehow discourages people from looking for a job should talk to these folks.

That attitude I think reflects a lack of faith in the American people, because the Americans I hear from in letters and meet in town hall meetings — Americans like Leslie and Jim and Denise — they’re not looking for a handout. They desperately want to work.

Obama blames “leaders in the Senate” for making these claims, though I think they’ve mainly come from Senate candiates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul. Either way, this is some of the harshest stuff we’ve heard from Obama about Republicans. It’s a reminder that there really is no substitute for the presidential podium in driving this kind of attack, and signals what’s to come this fall.

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NAACP receives racist death threat: ‘The streets will run red with your blood.’

Ok, so there is no racism within the Tea Party according to most tea partiers.  That has been proven woefully wrong by Mark Williams’ racist tirade in a satirical letter published on his site recently.  

Now the racial tension in this country has gone up a notch or two.  Witness the following caller’s recorded message:

Now tell me, wtf is a “racist nigger”?  Is that a case of the proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle BLACK??

Sheesh…gimme a break already!

Think Progress

Last week, the NAACP passed a resolution asking the tea party movement to repudiate any racism within its ranks. Since then, right-wing pundits and politicians have pounced on the civil rights organization, attacking it for pointing out that there is some racism present in the tea party movement. Now, the NAACP reveals that it has “received a number of death threats at local units and chapters around the country” following the passage of its tea party resolution. In one particularly explicit and offensive death threat that the NAACP posted on its blog, a caller references the controversy over the New Black Panthers case and asks, “You want a race war? You got one!” He repeatedly uses the N-word to refer to African Americans, and says that they are a “have-not bunch of bums.” Towards the end of the call, the man warns, “The streets will run red with your blood.”

The death threat comes at a time when many conservatives have denied that the NAACP and African Americans face any racism from the far right. Conservative blog Dakota Voice wrote just today, “A whole article full of lies against the Tea Party was presented by [NAACP president] Ben Jealous in his op-ed for CNN online. Since adopting the resolution against the Tea Party, he says they’re getting all kinds of death threats. Yeah, sure.”

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Filed under Racism, Tea Party

Breitbart’s Sherrod/NAACP story disintegrates | Media Matters for America

 

 

So…my question is this: When will Andrew Breitbart and his ilk learn that progressives have the ability to see their mistakes and make amends.  Ms. Sherrod admitted on the tape which Breitbart so conveniently edited, that what she did years ago was a mistake and that racism or classism had no place in government.  Why did Breitbart leave THAT pasrt out of his “hit piece”?   Just like Fox News’ NBP “expose”, this too, is an epic FAIL!

Media Matters 

Yesterday, Andrew Breitbart released heavily-edited video of a speech that Shirley Sherrod, then-USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development gave at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia this year. Breitbart writes that in the video, “this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.” 

But Breitbart’s suggestion that Sherrod was describing actions that she recently took as an Obama administration official is clearly false. 

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sherrod said that her comments had been taken out of context, and that the story she had described took place decades ago, when she worked for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund

But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund. 

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife. 

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.” 

The facts corroborate Sherrod’s statements about when the story she described took place. In the video, Sherrod describes her work helping a “white farmer save his farm.” Sherrod says in the video that she took the farmer to a lawyer who “had attended some of the training that we had provided, because Chapter 12 bankruptcy had just been enacted for the family farm.” 

Chapter 12 bankruptcy was enacted in 1986. In a June 2009 press release touting Sherrod’s appointment to USDA, the Federation/LAF states that Sherrod had worked for them “Since 1985.” 

Breitbart has still yet to release the full video of Sherrod’s speech. 

In a CNN interview today, the wife of the farmer called Sherrod a “friend” and praised her for having “helped us save our farm.”

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Filed under Media, MediaMatters, Racism

Fox News Lies Are Legal…

A few months ago I asked myself why does Fox News lie with such a blatant disregard for truth?  I researched for answers to my question.  The result can be found in the following post. 

Revisiting…

The Origin Of Fox News Blatant Lies

Why does Fox News lie so much with impunity?  Why are they able to get away with the things they say?  Why does EVERYONE on Fox news tow the company talking point for the day with no guilt or shame?

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John McCain still battling Barack Obama

This issue reminds me of a confrontation Obama and McCain had at the Health Care Summit earlier this year:

Politico

TUCSON, Ariz. — Fighting the last war is supposed to be a bad idea. For Sen. John McCain, however, it might end up being the path to reelection.

As he faces a smash-mouth Republican primary challenge in the shape of former congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, McCain seems to be reliving his 2008 campaign experience — competing with a younger, more charismatic opponent whom he does not like. He’s still dodging criticism about an aimless and dull presidential campaign.

And listening to McCain, it’s sometimes hard to tell that he’s not still running against Barack Obama.

 At debates in Phoenix and Tucson this weekend, McCain refrained from matching Hayworth blow for blow and instead aimed many of his punches at a man who is not on the ballot.

 When Hayworth attacked him for supporting the 2008 bank bailout, McCain blasted the Obama administration for “committing generational theft.” When he was accused of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants, McCain repeatedly blamed Obama for failing to secure the border. On Afghanistan, the Arizona senator called Obama an “uncertain trumpet.”

 Other embattled incumbents this year — Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) — attempted to survive difficult primaries by casting themselves as strong advocates for their states. McCain, however, only gestures in that direction, campaigning instead as the national politician that he is and casting himself as the leader of a resistance movement that extends well beyond the Arizona border.

 “I am proud of the leadership position I have taken fighting this administration,” McCain said at the Phoenix debate Friday. Rattling off a list of conservative organizations that support him — the National Right to Life Committee, the National Rifle Association and others — McCain concluded: “They all support me because they know that I’m not only going to go back to Washington to fight but to lead.”

 McCain’s failed run for president comes up often in the campaign — Hayworth ridiculed him during the two debates for his defeat. When McCain mentioned on Saturday that Hayworth had been voted out of office, Hayworth shot back that McCain was “rejected by the United States twice” and jabbed that the media “rejected you to fall in love with Obama.”
Continue reading more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39877.html#ixzz0uCQ3Vkvm

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Churches are looking at immigration’s upside

Politico – Ben Smith

Evangelical groups in recent weeks have become key players in the Obama administration’s efforts to get immigration reform moving in Congress. And while they have largely couched their arguments in moral terms or with references to biblical teachings, top leaders acknowledge another important reason:

Latino immigrants, legal and illegal, represent fertile prospects for proselytizing.

“First and foremost, it’s a kingdom issue, and, second, it’s a moral issue,” Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told POLITICO. “We have hundreds of thousands of Hispanic Southern Baptists and many of them are undocumented. … It’s no secret that we practice aggressive evangelism. Many of these people were converted after they got here.”

Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, puts it another way. “When people migrate, they’re open to all kinds of change, including religious change. Evangelical denominations have historically drawn immigrants. … The growing edge of many of our denominations is through immigration from all over the world.”

Anderson insisted, however, that his organization was urging the government to act because of broader moral and social concerns — and not to help churches fill their pews.        Continue reading…

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Filed under Immigration, Immigration Reform, Southern Baptist Conference