Oliver Willis writes a good piece covering the soon-to-be-released book “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction“. It’s written by a former Special Assistant to Bush and Deputy Director of the Faith-Based Initiative, David Kuo and unmasks the contempt Bush Republicans actually have for evangelical Christians, their values and their leaders. There’s an MSNBC article too.

He says some of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as “the nuts.”

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy,’” Kuo writes.

This is important news for black folks because we all remember the pastors who got into bed with Bush for the 2004 election, most notably mega-pastor/author/movie producer/TV personality T.D. Jakes. With the help of people like Jakes, Bush’s campaign actually made inroads and attracted votes away from John Kerry.

My own mother told me that her hairdresser and her daughter both told my moms they planned to vote for Bush. Their minister had told them to do so based on his superior Christian values. She called me right after getting out from under the dryer in the parking lot, she was so shocked and disturbed. I thought she might actually start crying. That’s when I knew Kerry was in trouble.

Bush made a modest inroad into the Black community, but that’s more than enough to let Republicans crow. Surveys of voters after they left the polls indicated that 11 percent of African Americans voted for him, up at least two points from 2000. In some places, like Ohio, Bush took 16 percent of the Black vote, an increase of seven points.

Kerry won a solid 88 percent of the national Black vote, but that was two points lower than Al Gore’s African American support in the last presidential election. (Source: BET)

Based on the Foley scandal and Bush’s support for Dennis Hastert, we can all see how hollow those so-called Christian values really are. Spirituality and living your values is something I welcome like many African-Americans. But church-going brothers and sisters should all remember those folks who show up every weekend at church yet sin regularly all the rest of the week. You know who I’m talking about. The usheress who runs off with the deacon and so on. On issue after issue — education, faith-based initiative funding, Iraq, Katrina, etc — Bush sins against African-Americans. I just hope that now that the truth is coming out, that folks will be a little more careful who they vote for in the next go-round.

Interesting look at Barack Obama over yonder at FDL. Obama has become the Great White Hope (no pun intended – he is half-white, you know). Yet there is the experience thing and the leadership thing. Martin Luther King talked the talk really well — not unlike Obama. But he also walked the walk.

OK Democrats, deep breath. Despite Obama’s undeniable magnetism and star power, he’s not your guy. Not yet.

For now, Obama is a cipher, an easy repository for the hopes and dreams of liberals everywhere. He had the good fortune to run his first statewide (and nationally noticed) election against Chicago investment banker Jack Ryan, who dropped out because of a sex scandal, and then the brilliant performance artist (c’mon — you don’t really believe that guy’s serious, do you?) Alan Keyes. It’s easy to focus on lofty ideals and shining rhetoric if you don’t have an opponent and need never enter the muck of a competitive campaign.

But if Obama avoided being battle-tested in 2004 by the grace of God, it’s his own timidity that has kept his name clean since.

Given his national profile and formidable political talents, he could have been a potent spokesman for Democratic causes in the Senate. Instead, he has refused to expend his political or personal capital on a single controversial issue, preferring to offer anodyne pieces of legislation and sign on to the popular efforts of others.

Obama has led on energy reform and helped pass a landmark bill: the Coburn-Obama Transparency Bill which will create a public searchable database of public spending. The ramifications for government of this act will be astonishing when American taxpayers finally get a chance to see where their money really goes. Let’s give him (and the bloggers who helped) some credit for that.

It would be great to see this kind of leadership from Obama on healthcare, education and the “war on terror”.

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Today is clearly “Educational Black Video Day” here at Jack and Jill Politics. This is why YouTube is so amazing. This video (Props: PlayaHata) is like Eyes on the Prize 2.0 — the extra short version (4 min). I feel like you need to watch it maybe 3 times to dig the full message. It’s a valid question — what happened to the promise of the Movement? Why is it that the emerging prosperity among African-Americans has not translated into even more political power and awareness? Why are so many of the current leaders seen as weak or corrupt with cultural leadership ceded to the meek athletes and sorry rappers out for nothing but benjamins and hos? This is not meant to disrespect those doing the right thing like Dead Prez, Mos Def, etc. It’s just that conscious leadership from those with the resources to make powerful statements seems to be the exception, not the rule.

“Evolution of Oppression” is the title of this piece:

BTW, if you haven’t seen the PBS documentary Eyes on the Prize about the civil rights movement like I did as a kid with my family, I recommend it highly. It would be hard to think of a family viewing event that had more impact on my personal beliefs than this. Roots comes close. If you have any kids or just want to understand what it actually took to achieve equal rights under the law for African-Americans, this is a good place to start.

Some 41 years after the signing of the Voting Rights Act, it has become popular for white folks to ask, “Isn’t racism dead?” We’ve got prominent black people being talked about as presidential contenders, and the issue of Affirmative Action is under renewed attack and confusion, as evidenced by recent polling in Michigan.

Racism, however is frighteningly, intensely alive and well.

Please watch Kiri Davis’s A Girl Like Me. It’s only 8 minutes.

This short film addresses issues of beauty and ideals of good and bad among black girls and young children. Over 50 years after Dr. Kenneth Clark’s “doll test,” 75 percent of these young children prefer a white doll, saying white dolls are good and black dolls are bad.

Can ignorance of your history create anger?

What happens to a people who are cut off from themselves?

This film is heart-breaking.

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Sharpton releases statement asking, “Joe, why the race-baiting hate?”. Ok, he didn’t really say that. He says instead:

Open letter to Senator Joe Lieberman from Rev. Al Sharpton

Dear Senator Lieberman:

Though I have resisted getting involved in the political hysteria around your re-election campaign, an October 5th New York Times article prompted me to break my silence. The article reports that you, accompanied by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, raised questions before and audience of supporters of Israel about my presence in the support of Ned Lamont, who defeated you with my assistance in the primary for the Democratic nomination for United States Senate in Connecticut. Though much has been said by surrogates of yours since Mr. Lamont’s victory, I have not seen anything directly attributed to you until this article. Frankly, I thought that you having called me personally before my endorsement of Lamont, and asking for my support, or at least to not support your opponent, in the name as you stated to me by phone, that “we were old friends,” meant that you were above petty politics. For you to then turn around and try to demonize someone you yourself had befriended and were comfortable enough to talk to at anytime either of us reached out to one another was unimaginable to me. You see, I even said in endorsing Ned Lamont that I disagreed with you on policy, but considered you a decent man.

Read the rest over at PlayaHata.

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(Ever the kidder, Bush patronizes reporter Suzanne Malveaux on C-SPAN back in July for her pointed questioning on America’s North Korea policy and advancing nuclear threat. Still laughing, Dubya?)

I didn’t sleep so well Sun night and couldn’t figure out why until I heard the news that North Korea had tested a nuclear bomb underground overnight. Watching Bush’s brief remarks Mon am– his pinched, blank face and unfocused, rapidly blinking eyes, I could tell it was bad.

Meanwhile, Condi Rice is nowhere on the scene — oh wait, she’s all smiles and flak-jacketed in Baghdad! Of course, that’s where we should be spending all our diplomatic time. Never mind that crazy Kim Jong Il! Given that crazy seems contagious though, I figured it was time to get on the good foot and drop a line about this.

Kim, his rapper/pimp lifestyle notwithstanding, is a paranoid, meglomaniacal dictator. No one is talking about it, but I am willing to bet that some of this bad behavior has something to do with the fact that — what a coincidence! — Ban Ki-Moon, the foreign minister (equivalent to Condi here) of South Korea, is being elected to lead one of the chief world bodies of government (the United Nations) when Kofi Annan steps down at the end of the year.

Now if I’m a pimp/rapper/dictator, such a development would make me nervous. It might even piss me off. All that talk about Ban reforming the U.N.? Right now he’s holding his gun sideways and telling the world he’d like to pop a cap in our collective asses for dissing him. It’s like the Game coming in and taking over 50 Cent’s record label or something.

Sanctions are a good idea, though, the impact of yanking some Hennessey away from say, Snoop Dog would likely make him more belligerent, not less. I agree with Bill Richardson: the time for talking — six-way, one-way, menage-a-trois, whatever — has long since past. It’s not too late to start talking tough face-to-face though. Bush, once again, proves he’s asleep at the wheel when it comes to protecting our nation.

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Bill Gibson over at DailyProgress follows the N-Word scandal (hopefully not coming to a cable station near you). Both of the Virginia Senate candidates, Jim Webb and George “Macaca” Allen reportedly used the term back in the 1970s. However, Allen says he never said it. Bill Gibson’s point, and one well worth considering, is to never say never.

Mom taught school in Fairfax and Arlington counties and insisted that when a question includes the word “never,” the wiser course is almost always to reject the never answer.

I think Allen, R-Fairfax County, would not be struggling with a campaign bogged down with as large a bunch of questions about his character and charges of racial insensitivity if he had avoided making a full denial when asked if he had ever used the n-word.

I cannot pretend to be surprised that any white person who was alive in the 1950s, 60s, 70s or even 80s would have referred to black people as niggers. Truth be told, I’m not too surprised when finding those who use the term today. I’m only surprised to find myself in a position of knowing that. More truth be told, I would probably question a man’s whiteness who did not refer to black people as niggers (at least behind their backs) during the 1970s. Just what kind of white man would you be, especially a UVA-attending, quarterbacking, Confederate flag-collecting, noose-displaying-in-your-office one?

That’s because we’re talking about people who were raised by people alive in the 1930s, when “nigger” was about as derogatory to the mainstream as “blue” or “tall.” And we all know how influential parents can be over a child’s vocabulary, if not values. So part of me is actually happy to see that George Allen used the N-word. It makes him human. It confirms his whiteness.

To Gibson’s point, however, I must aggressively agree. Given that white people all over the country were trained to see and refer to Blacks as niggers, for him to say he never said it, is about as believable as him saying he didn’t know what the word macaca meant.

Some lies in the name of political expediency can be forgiven, but when that lie assumes we’re all a bunch of idiots, well that’s just triflin’. Hurry up, and lose already, Senator Allen. I’m tired of your story. Google just bought YouTube, and North Korea is testing nukes! Stop wasting my media consumption budget.

Cross-posted at MyDD.com

It’s a grey Saturday here at Jack and Jill Politics. The perfect weather to spend listening to the soothing bluesy sounds of “The Incredible Jimmy Smith” album: Back at the Chicken Shack. Don’t take my word for it. It says right on the cover art over the chicken coop and above the black-and-white dog in big red letters that he’s incredible.

First a word: Jack and Jill Politics is looking for local minority-authored blogs to start building a blogroll. We want to find more progressive blogs covering politics in the states like CTBlogger (CT), Where Is the Outrage (NC), Vivian Paige (VA) and Black At Michigan (MI) with voices that can add new perspectives. If you are a local minority blogger or know a local minority blog that deserves a little more attention, please leave the link in the comments or email us at jjpolitics at gmail.com. Thanks in advance!

Mama’s got a lot to do today and I bet you do too. So I’m gonna hit you with some quick links to check out in our weekly roundup of what’s happening at the crossroads where minorities and politics meet.

Gang of Pervs
* First, this Mark Foley Predatorgate coverup thing is not partisan despite Republican efforts to make it so. That’s why they are going to lose and lose big in the elections. It’s not Democrat vs. Republican; it’s Right vs. Wrong. The cover-up caused even conservative Christian Black blogger La Shawn Barber to dig deep and question her loyalty to the current GOP leadership. Furthermore, Wanda Sykes would like you to know that Foley is giving alcohol a bad name. (Thanks to the Huffington Post for the link!) I would like to know why Mark Foley is in rehab and not in jail. Isn’t what he did somehow against some law somewhere?

* Republic of T breaks it down on attempts to connect homosexuality and pedophilia. This is wrong and ignorant, Margaret Cho agrees. Hopefully, pastors will keep that in mind in church this Sunday. Let’s keep the hate where it belongs: directed at child molesters and not at the GLBT community, ok?

More after the jump…

* Colin Powell has more luck this week finding his balls than those elusive WMDs and hits hard on the Bush Administration for its “stay the course” policy in Irag.

* President Bush signs the Secure Fence Act over the protests of major Latino organizations like LULAC, NCLR and MALDEF.

* Condi Rice gets caught in a big lie about what she knew and when she was briefed prior to 9/11. Black people across the nation sigh in shame.

* Republican Kerry Healy running for governor in Massachusetts runs a Willie Horton-style ad against Black Democratic opponent Deval Patrick. It’s kinda semi-factual and racist. Read more and watch the ad here.

* Want to know why VA State Sen. Benny Lambert endorsed George “Deer Head in Your Mailbox” Allen and why this is wrong? The BlackProf has answers for you. BTW, BlackProf is doing a census of blogs dedicated to covering African-American issues. Help him out if you can.

* Joe Lieberman plays the race card and disses his former ally, Rev. Al Sharpton.

* There was an Activists vs MinuteMen brawl at a Columbia University event this week. Both Latino Pundit and Huffington Post cover the story.

* YouTube.com finally decides to take on hate on their network more actively and gives Michelle Malkin the boot. Heh.

Flickr photo by James @ mannequindisplay.com

Several days ago, I was following a discussion on a Black folk message board. The subject of Beyonce’s latest album came up, and one woman objected to the fact that young B had made an MLK reference that was a little “off.” I decided to listen for myself and see what the todo was all about.

Sitting at home on a Friday night, I was straight jammin to the album, B’day. The first thing I noticed was Jay-Z on a bunch of songs. Didn’t this cat retire from rappin? How’s he gonna keep showing up on all these albums? He’s really trying to be like Mike. Anyway, I’m really into this track, and the next one, Upgrade U, pops on, and even though it’s a digital track from iTunes, I swear I heard the record scratch. Here’s what sista B says…

I can do for you what Martin did for the people

Ran by the men but the women keep the tempo

It’s very seldom that you’re blessed to find your equal

Still play my part and let you take the lead role

Yeah, that’s an MLK reference. Nice job, B. Educate the people right? Wrong!

The overall message of the song is that B can “upgrade” Jay-Z from his previously paltry status as super-successful-hip-hop-business-and fashion-mogul-with-mad-cars to super-successful-hip-hop-business-and fashion-mogul-with-mad-MAD-cars. The song reads like a cross between Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Cribs and The Mis-Education of the Negro.

B will provide Jay-Z with the things his life is truly missing, such as:

  • Audemarts Piguet watches ($20K – $50K)
  • Purple Label neckties from Ralph Lauren ($145)
  • Hermes briefcase ($4,400)
  • Cartier Top Clips ($200), and when you google it, Beyonce’s song holds five of the top 10 results!

Now, I wouldn’t be so put off about yet another Hip Hop / R&B album promoting extremely unaffordable luxury items, but she does it in the name of Martin Luther the King, yall! No, No, No! That ain’t cool, B. Martin did not seek to hook his people up with bling. His goal was liberation, and addiction to high-priced material things is anything but that.

As a bonus, I found some YouTube links to share. Another track on B’day is called “Ring the Alarm,” where B is playing the super jealous wife, talking about how she ain’t having no other woman getting all her things!

Beyonce’s original video.

And a better parody.

Bon Weekend my peoples. bon weekend.

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Kerry Healy’s advertisement in the MA gubenatorial race attacking Deval Patrick might feel less racist if there wasn’t an hint of an implication that African-Americans are soft on crime, sympathetic to cop killers and possibly even criminal themselves.

I’ve heard Boston and Massachusetts in general called one of the most racist areas in the U.S. In that context how can this ad not be seen as racially loaded. Healy even has it on her homepage — she’s that proud of it. Too bad for her that Patrick, a great candidate, has received numerous endorsements from police and public safety professionals, including the International Brotherhood of Corrections Officers and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers.

I’m with SkepticalBrotha on this. This is a classic Willie Horton smoke-and-mirrors maneuver to spread terror of a Negro Governor.

Healy — What’s the old saying about niggers?

He said to his friend, “If the [Niggers] march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower, as a signal light, –
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.

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Earlier this week, one leading Native American blogger — Native Blog — interviewed another leading Indian blogger — Voice of a Native Son (AKA AngryIndian — a name I love). Why should you care? You probably aren’t even Indian or maybe you’re like 1/32 Cherokee or something, right?

Well, as it turns out, some Native Americans happen to be voters. As a matter of fact, some folks both in and outside of Indian Country noticed in the 2004 election that in some states, Indians represent a powerful swing vote. Hmmm. Interested now? Check it out. (Shoutout: African-American Opinion)

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Why Joe Lieberman is leading in the polls in CT against Ned Lamont is seriously beyond him. I mean, how pathetic and desperate can one man be? Put aside his pro-Iraq war, pro-torture, pro-Republican, pro-child sex predator cover-up stances.

Why would he criticise and turn his nose up at Rev. Al Sharpton, a popular figure especially in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut metro area, when he was once glad to get his endorsement?

In his remarks, Mr. Lieberman also recalled the appearance of the Rev. Al Sharpton at Mr. Lamont’s side on primary night, calling it “a remarkable moment.”

Since primary night, Mr. Lieberman and his aides have repeatedly raised questions about Mr. Lamont’s alliance with Mr. Sharpton, whom they have described as divisive. (Source: NYTimes)

Why — because he is hoping to pick up conservative white voters. He apparently doesn’t care about alienating his former base of mostly Democratic African-Americans. That’s not who he cares to impress anymore.

Can this be the same man who cuddled and chuckled with Rev. Al Sharpton during the 2004 elections when Gore-Lieberman needed a strong black turnout? What a traitor.

In the news:

* 2 members of the Congressional Black Caucus from Florida — Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) are speaking out on the handling of the Foley matter. They are demanding an independent investigation.

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL):
“The House leadership should let us know what they knew, when they knew it and what kind of action was taken,” Meek said. (Source: BlackAmericaWeb)

* President Bush signs the Secure Fence Act over the objections of Latino organizations like MALDEF, NCLR and LULAC.

“Constructing a wall will not deter illegal immigration to the United States, however it will result in more tragic deaths along the U.S. – Mexico border as immigrants are forced into more dangerous crossing points. Only comprehensive immigration reform that includes a legal avenue for immigrants to come to this country along with border security measures will result in a reduction of undocumented crossings into the United States. Building a wall is a waste of taxpayers’ money and will not stop undocumented immigration,” stated Brent Wilkes, Executive Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). (Source: LULAC Press Release)

But Hadrian’s Wall and the Great Wall of China both worked so well in keeping out the barbarians…ahem, I mean illegal immigrants. Won’t this wall be at least as effective???

* Colin Powell puts the smackdown on the Bush Admistration on the Iraq war. In Iraq, “staying the course isn’t good enough because a course has to have an end,” Powell said. Nice to see some gumption and moral fortitude again, General. I might have to stop referring to you as Uncle Tom’s Colin. (Source: MyDD)

* Peter Norman, Australian sprinter, dies. He was a brother to a couple of famous brothers and shows that a desire to join the fraternity of human rights knows no color, no division. He shared space in a photograph that shocked 2 nations and promoted social change for the better.

“I couldn’t see why a black man wasn’t allowed to drink out of the same water fountain or sit in the same bus or go to the same schools as a white guy,” Norman said. “That was just social injustice that I couldn’t do anything about from where I was, but I certainly abhorred it.”

Norman also recalled an almost surreal detail before the medal ceremony. “The guys probably don’t even remember, but it was my suggestion that they split Tommie’s gloves,” Norman said. (Source: Washington Post)

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In the midst of the Foley Feeding Frenzy, it seems all too easy to forget that there is a war going on and that people are dying. Ask a Black person you know and chances are good that they know someone personally affected by the war in Iraq — a co-worker, a cousin, a brother, a mother, an uncle, etc has been called to serve in the “war against terror”. Go ahead, I dare you. Let’s call it: Ask an African-American!

Me — I’ve had 2 cousins serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. One is a career soldier. The other was called from a comfortable life back into uniform. Everyday they’ve been there, the entire extended family has prayed for their safe return — alive and with all limbs intact. When 8 soldiers are killed in one day in Iraq, it causes a ripple through our society that encompasses all who knew those young men and women. That’s why this war is unpopular. That’s why this war is not just a comma to those it impacts.

Americans stand ready to sacrifice when sacrifice is justified. We’re sick of hearing Bush’s ever-changing, hollow justifications for the bloody occupation of Iraq. It’s time to re-focus our efforts so that lives taken or disrupted truly build toward a safer America.

Not to over-generalize, but I think Wanda captures much of the general thinking of African-Americans on the Foley Fiasco. What exactly does alcohol have to do with emailing 16 year old boys? (Peace: Prometheus 6)

Why is former Rep. Mark Foley in rehab and not in jail? After all, America would have found it very satisfying to see cops jump on Foley as he left Congress and drag him off to jail like the rest of the creeps on Dateline NBC.

Well, the laws are a bit murky. The age of consent in D.C. is 16. Yet, federal law which Foley helped to pass prohibits solicitation of a minor (under 18). Is he hiding inside a rehab center to avoid facing charges? Some of his friends and acquaintances seem surprised by his claims to be an alcoholic. Is Foley receiving special treatment as a former Congressman despite his new status as child sex predator?

Foley himself advocated harsh punishment for sex offenders saying: “when you violate a child, you lose your civil liberties.” I agree! Here’s more info on D.C. local laws. From the former tough talker, and a lot of Republicans it seems, right now all we hear are excuses.

I want to know why the NRCC feels the need to keep Mark Foley’s contribution to its campaign funds. I want to know when this guy gets registered as a sex offender who solicits and entices minors. And I want to know now.

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Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

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