Commercials You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough

You couldn’t pay me enough to do some of these commercials I have seen especially the ones about twisting the words when “our” President said, “You didn’t do it alone.”

This commercial reminds me of the following quote: "Ignorance will never end. Even those with money can’t buy SENSE!!" Author: Curmilus Dancy II The Political Agitator

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The African-American Divide Over Sudan by William Reed Columnist

Hodari Abdul-Ali, an African-American Orthodox Muslim called it “a disaster for Africa, for the African Diaspora and for Sudan.”  The separation of Sudan is perhaps the most contentious foreign policy issue among Black Americans. Some African Americans support dismemberment of Africa’s largest country, and some, like the late Mr. Abdul-Ali believed it to be “a disaster.”

When the people of South Sudan split from Africa’s largest country, they formed the world’s 193rd and youngest country.  South Sudan, officially the Republic of South Sudan, marks its first anniversary on July 9, 2012.  A landlocked country in east-central Africa, South Sudan experienced a challenging first year and several issues remain unresolved.  The two countries, formerly one, are locked in delicate negotiations after the failure to agree on the amount the South should pay Sudan to use its oil pipelines.

When Southern Sudan’s voters broke away, it was one of the least developed countries in the world.  Revenue from oil provides 98 percent of South Sudan’s budget.  The new nation’s economy is heavily reliant on oil.  It’s not surprising therefore that its decision to shut down production has left the economy in a precarious state.  After South Sudan became independent, southern and northern negotiators were not immediately able to reach an agreement on how to split Southern oil field revenue. Around 80 percent of the oil deposits are in South Sudan, while the pipelines flow north.

Many in government in South Sudan are imploring the U.S. to help the new nation obtain its “economic independence.” Black newspaper columnist and former NAACP Executive Director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., said “African Americans should be paying attention, reaching out to South Sudan for humanitarian and economic reasons and see that there are significant and immediate economic and growth opportunities. At a time of very high unemployment among African Americans, this is a great moment to develop new business relationships with Africa, and with nations like South Sudan.”

The stories you’ve been hearing about “helping the poor Africans” should be discounted as a lot of hype. Whether you are of the Christian or Muslim persuasion, Southern Sudan is a resource-rich land many want to rule. It is ripe for agricultural development, but less than 5 per cent of the land is currently cultivated.  In terms of overall income generation; South Sudan does quite well compared to its East African neighbors. The 2010 GDP per capita was estimated at U.S. $1,546 compared to U.S. $769 in Kenya. South Sudan is bordered by Ethiopia to the east, Kenya to the southeast, Uganda to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, the Central African Republic to the west, and Sudan to the north.

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has fought for decades against the Americans’ designs on breaking up Sudan, but Washington, D.C.–based businessman Malcolm Beech agrees with Chavis in that African Americans should get a piece of the South Sudan action saying, “U.S. Agency for International Development and State Department funds will be flowing to that part of the world and we need to be in the deal.”

South Sudan has a population of around 8 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period, resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced persons or have become refugees as a result of the civil war.

The capital of South Sudan is located at Juba. However, due to Juba’s poor infrastructure and lack of centrality, the South Sudanese government adopted a resolution to study the creation of a new planned city to act as its capital seat. This proposed project is functionally similar to those which resulted in the construction of Abuja, Nigeria; Brasília, Brazil; and Canberra, Australia. This will be just a part of the building from the ground up that will be occurring in South Sudan.

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via the Bailey Group.org)

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Did You Hear What Was Said at the NAACP? by William Reed Columnist

Mitt Romney’s effort to win the support of the NAACP is an important strategy and speech that should not go unnoticed.

Amid all the reports and punditry that Gov. Romney received a hostile reception at the civil rights group’s Houston conference, the standing ovation he received at the end of his speech has been largely overlooked by mainstream media. Since the Republicans’ presumptive nominee made his appearance and speech to the NAACP, most likely you’ve heard that Romney was booed. But, what you may not have heard is that Romney left the stage to a standing ovation.

The mainstream media always seeks to set the tone of the discussion – suppose you owned a newspaper or were a news program host, which headline would you prefer:  "NAACP Boos Romney during Speech about Obamacare" or "NAACP Convention Gives Romney Standing Ovation”? It’s time to give Romney credit for going to the NAACP. He stood his ground and told the truth, something Obama has yet to do with Blacks. It’s true he was booed at the mention of "Obamacare" and his intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act as a program he deems “too costly.” It’s likely that Romney knows the vast majority of Blacks support the nation’s first African-American president and are favorably inclined toward his signature health care act.

Romney has always said he would “repeal Obamacare.” What needs to be discussed in public forums is the fact that Romney showed up and said: "If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him."  He made the point that the economy is “worse for African Americans in almost every way. … In June, while the overall unemployment rate remained stuck at 8.2 percent, the unemployment rate for African Americans actually went up to 14.4 percent.” Romney said, “By any standard, African Americans … do not appear to have advanced much toward steady jobs … a serious argument could be made that they are falling behind. Equally disconcerting are the number of births to single African-American women, the incarceration rate for African-American men, the number of failing public schools that sustain the cycle of poverty and crime in disadvantaged communities and … a dependence on taxpayer dollars.”

Romney spoke to the NAACP of an economy that creates jobs, and of creating stronger families and more opportunities for all Americans. And, he endorsed school choice. But, it was NAACP President Ben Jealous who gave the media the negative spin, saying of Romney’s speech: “He really wasn’t trying to talk to them [the audience]. He was trying to talk to somebody else.” He’s right. Probably Romney was speaking to African Americans seeking jobs and better lives.

President Barack Obama did not make the NAACP convention, citing a scheduling conflict. If he had shown up, he might have had to face questions about his failure to deliver on his 2008 campaign promises. Instead, Vice President Joe Biden attended and imagined what a Romney Justice Department would look like. While the NAACP convention was an Obama/Biden “love fest”, the nation’s Black newspaper publishers were expressing anger and frustration at President Obama’s failure to reach out to them or recognize their publications’ audiences in productive ways. “We don’t think the president has ever spoken to us. He’s spoken to the Latino community and he’s been specific,” said Robert W. Bogle, publisher of the Philadelphia Tribune and a former [NNPA] president.

It’s time for more balanced dialogue.  Gov. Romney may want to use the rife between Black publishers and the Obama campaign to get his message out to Blacks. Sonny Messiah Jiles, publisher of the Houston Defender, comments apply equally to Obama or Romney: “We’re trying to give you feedback … and educate you on how to shape your message to our readers and their communities.”

While Obama thinks that he’s got the Black electorate “in his pocket” Romney may want to give a shout out to Ms. Jiles and the nation’s 200 Black newspapers.

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via the Bailey Group.org)

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BLACKS AND REAL ESTATE by William Reed Columnist

Are you middle-class?  One way to know this for sure is through homeownership.

Unfortunately, for many Blacks, the American Dream of homeownership is quickly fading. Among racial demographic groups, European Americans have the highest homeownership rate, while African Americans have the lowest. After peaking at 50 percent in 2006, the African-American homeownership rate has fallen to 44.8 percent. By comparison, the homeownership rate for Whites is 74.1 percent, and the national rate currently stands at 66.4 percent.

Right now, the outlook for Black homeownership isn’t good. Over the long run, it’s downright scary.  The Center for Responsible Lending calculates that about 11 percent of African-American homeowners are in some stage of foreclosure, and that by the end of 2012, 1.1 million Black families will lose their homes.

It’s the same old story when it comes to class, race and wealth. The median wealth of White households is 20 times that of Black households. And Pew Research analysis indicates that when the housing market bubble burst in 2006 and the recession followed in late 2007 to mid-2009, it took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than Whites. From 2005 to 2009, inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 53 percent among Black households, compared with just 16 percent among Whites.  As a result of these declines, the typical Black household had just $5,677 in wealth [assets minus debts] in 2009 and the typical White household had $113,149.

Sadly, the alarmingly low number of Black homeowners is likely to dip further. You may want to pull your Congressional representatives’ coat regarding your concerns about legislation called, the Qualified Residential Mortgage Rule or QRM, that can make it tougher to get loans by requiring all prospective homeowners to put at least 20 percent down when purchasing a property. The new requirement could make homeownership as we know it a thing of the past. The higher down payments could exclude 75 percent of African Americans from obtaining a fairly priced mortgage. Trade groups that oppose QRM say it would take 14 years for the typical American family to save enough money to amass a 20 percent down payment.

A series of ongoing challenges from the banking industry continues to erode Black homeownership. As the collapse of the housing market lingers, African Americans are being disproportionately impacted by bank lending practices, including stricter credit score requirements, a severe decline in loans made to Blacks, and predatory lending that has made it difficult for Black homeowners with costly subprime loans to swap out of those mortgages and exchange them for more affordable home loans.

The sky hasn’t fallen yet, but a recent Pew Research Center analysis found that after years of prosperity, homeownership rates among Black Americans have plummeted to their lowest levels in 16 years. Unemployment has reached levels not seen since the 1980s.  And, current and prospective African-American homeowners are being hurt by high levels of unemployment. The jobless rate for Blacks now tops 16 percent nationwide. It’s obviously tough to buy or refinance a home – much less save it from foreclosure – if you don’t have a steady paycheck.

Two African American titans in real estate have survived the recent real estate downturns in grand style. The grandson of a hotel doorman, Don Peebles is worth $350 million and runs one of the country’s largest minority-owned real estate development companies. Peebles Corporation’s portfolio includes hotels, apartments and office space in Miami Beach and Washington, D.C.  In 1979 Peebles became a real estate agent in the District of Columbia. Today he owns 13 acres of prime Las Vegas land.

Quintin E. Primo III is a minister’s son that grew up in Chicago. He earned his MBA at Harvard in 1979 and took a job in Citicorp’s real estate lending division. Primo founded Capri Capital in 1992 and achieved initial success extending mezzanine loans to small borrowers that larger firms neglected to serve. Today, Primo is worth $300 million and Capri’s portfolio is loaded with apartment complexes. The firm’s assets under management are $4.3 billion.

(William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via the Bailey Group.org)

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A FAMILIAR STORY by Curtis Gatewood Columnist

A FAMILIAR STORY

(pass it on)

There was a little baby boy born in a strange land. God arranged it so a portion of the boy’s childhood would be spent in Africa.
Being raised through untraditional circumstances, his African father was frowned upon. The little boy was close to his mother. And although the child was born without financial wealth, the child would show charac…teristics of a King and began to powerfully emerge.

The poor, the sick, the young, the captives, the unemployed , the hopeless, the young, the oppressed, and others who sought hope, change, and a new life began to gather in multitudes. Large crowds like never seen before began to form throughout the region to see him and hear him speak as he traveled.

This new leader demonstrated power that seemed uncommon and foreign. Against the wishes of other leaders, he offered those who were sick and had never been provided care, a new form of healthcare and hope.

This leader’s philosophy toward the rich, angered those who were rich and politically powerful as he appeared as a “socialist” who demanded the rich redistribute their wealth and share it with the less fortunate.

This powerful new leader who appeared to be favored by God angered the religious leaders. Chief Priests and religious elders showed great outrage when this new leader offered compassion and favor toward those viewed as sinners.

New laws were created to stop the new leader from saving others.

He also began to powerfully transform long-fought wars toward peaceful end. More and more religious and political leaders began to call for this gifted leader to be removed from power and be destroyed. Jealous religious and political leaders used their money to make deals that would endanger the status and life of the more gifted and compassionate leader. Even members of his own circle began to betray him.

Ultimately, after being powerfully persuaded by loud and evil influences, when provided a choice between the two, the people showed favor toward a known criminal over the good man. Aiming their hatred, anger, and calls for demise toward the better man, they allowed the known criminal to get his wishes. Therefore, the compassionate leader who was sent and on his way toward bringing relief for the sick, the poor and the bruised was bitterly crucified.

Does this story sound familiar? Well, on November 6, 2012, make sure you pray and WORK until there is another RESURRECTION!

The Rev. Curtis E. Gatewood

While I serve as a North Carolina NAACP worker, the above editorial is not written to in any way speak on behalf of the NAACP.  These thoughts are based upon my personal commitment to justice and ministerial/religious beliefs.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR A BLACK MAN TO ‘LEARN HOW TO BE AN AMERICA?’ by Curtis Gatewood Columnist

YES, THEY WANT "PRESIDENT OBAMA TO LEARN HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN." BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE, ONCE THIS BLACK MAN NAMED BARAK HUSSEIN OBAMA "LEARN HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN" HE WOULD UNDERSTAND HIS ‘PLACE’ IS IN PRISON RATHER THAN THE PRESIDENCY. THAT IS THE ‘AMERICAN’ WAY! IT IS ‘UNAMERICAN’ FOR A BLACK MAN TO SUCCEED TO SUCH AN EXTENT. THEY ARE SAYING BLACK OBAMA MUST COME TO REALIZE IT IS ‘UNAMERICAN’ TO HAVE A JOB THAT A WHITE MAN WANTS. THANK GOD OBAMA HAS NOT LEARNED HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN!

By Rev. Curtis  E. Gatewood

While I serve as a North Carolina NAACP worker, the above editorial is not written to in any way speak on behalf of the NAACP.  These thoughts are based upon my personal commitment to justice and ministerial/religious beliefs.

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Letter to editor: Gay families are taxed the same as you. Yet, in the end, our contributions to this same system are used to deny us equal rights to the same benefits as married families

Was not our great country founded because of religious persecution and is said to be the land of the free?   Yet, same sex couples are persecuted, beaten, shammed, and live in fear because of whom they love. I am hurt by the actions of some in the Christian community because of their hypocrisy, historical revisions, and selective application of biblical law. 

In case you didn’t know, Gay families are taxed the same as you are with our houses, our levy for schools, and our dollars support all public institutions, such as the courts, police, and hospitals.   Yet, in the end, our contributions to this same system are used to deny us equal rights to the same benefits as married families.   For example, married families get to combine their incomes and can claim a larger tax refund because of additional deductions for their spouse.  And, the same public hospital that we support with our tax dollars has the legal authority to deny us access to our committed spouse when even in a critical emergency or even on their death bed.  There are nearly 1400 benefits that we, Gay Taxpayers, contribute to in our country, and still, we are denied the same use as married families and denied freedom to love and share life with whom we want.  

It wasn’t so long ago that Blacks were not considered a whole person and thought to be “simple minded” and needing guidance for even the most basic of tasks.   And, whites and blacks weren’t allowed to drink of the same water, marry, or use the same bathroom for fear of contamination – yet, they were allowed to breast feed and groom the white children for a successful life by teaching them manners, values, and a sense of self.   This fact is the zombie contradiction of the seemingly reasonable and the irony of their hypocritical lies.   Now, the black church dares to join in on the carnage, cannibalism, and “lynching” like style of a persecuted group – they choose to throw rocks at the victim from the supposed sanctity of holiness and “God Word” when many of their own Houses are in desperate need of a cleaning and sweeping before running and judging us.   Just take a look at the state of much of the “church” given the continuous scandals, low memberships, and the preference for passively ignoring the economic poverty and crisis endemic in our communities on squarely on their door steps.  Whatever happened to the historical leadership in difficult times shown by the church?

For those that asserted that “marriage was founded and sanctioned by GOD between one man and one woman, as recorded in God’s word from the beginning.” This was apparently gleaned from the Bible.  If this book does indeed set forth as the only divinely ordained human union, one man and one woman, then its historical contents should support and advance this. But this is where it gets confusing given that nearly 55 percent of all marriages already end in divorce and the Catholic Church, which calls their divorces “annulments,” are no exception to the rule.   So, here is a bit of history that seems forgotten by my “good Christian” brothers and sisters – I intentionally used a small “c” in use of the word Christian with those who claim more “HOLY” and have more “Devine Authority” than they should.

The believed father of both Jews and Arabs, Father Abraham, had a wife, Sarah, but he also had a concubine, a secondary wife, by whom he had a son.  This arrangement posed no problem for God until the issue arose to which woman’s son was the rightful heir.

The progenitor of the Hebrew nation, Jacob, later renamed Israel, had two wives and two concubines, his wives’ slave girls. God didn’t condemn Jacob for his bigamy, but instead blessed this family unit with many sons, who became the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel.

King David, God’s anointed one, divorced his first wife after she criticized him for dancing naked in the street, had Bathsheba’s husband killed and then married her, had multiple wives and concubines by whom he sired many children.   In later years, he had a beautiful young woman as his regular bedmate (“to keep him warm”) while Bathsheba slept elsewhere.  His son Solomon had 700 princesses and 300 concubines.  What a guy!!!!

Ezra, an advocate of ethnic cleansing, ordered all Israeli men who had married Canaanite women to divorce them and send them and their children away.  Later, God commanded the prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute who would be unfaithful and whose children would be immoral.

Where is the so-called “sanctity of marriage” as defined by the “family values” organizations and ministers in these biblical stores???   Even Genesis 19:36 has Lot sleeping with both his daughters (they got him drunk, not his fault), but shortly after we find old Abraham admitting that his wife Sarah is his half-sister.   Jacob then pledges himself to Leah, Rachel and Bilhah, and, not to be outdone, wise Solomon had racked up 700 wives!  Deuteronomy 21:15 has some good advice on what to do with two wives – and so on.

Yes – I am cherry picking and I’m certainly no biblical scholar, but I know better than to deny my own prejudices and judgments by claiming intimacy of GOD’s will and intentions.  To claim that, beyond GOD’s personal message to me, is to attempt to equate myself with Him who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and all knowing.  It is amazing how so many readily claim this place next to him in “holiness” when they themselves are not foughtless to stand before HIS throne.  

I hope now that you can see and remember that the church and life are not so simple.  If it is difficult for you now, just imagine what it is like for us who love and happen to be Gay?   We are simply asking for the same rights you already have and allow us to do as GOD commanded us too when HE said “…the greatest commandment is that you love one another…”

Believing that GOD is STILL my savior and redeemer,

Annoymous