The Pardu

Cornel West And Anti-Obama Indignation Continues!

In black poverty, Cornel West, Cut-N-Edge Cartoons on January 23, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Cut N Edge Cartoons
The inimitable and increasingly irrelevant Cornel West
Cornel West has stepped completely outside the realm of sanity with his latest attack on President Obama.  The outspoken professor has expressed disdain for President Obama’s Second Term Inauguration ceremony being conducted with Martin Luther King, Jr’s Bible.  Let’s explore a bit.
The following photo and video are a bit dated.   We are using the photos and video to make a point that supersedes dates of each visual.  A critical point is the fact that each was either taken or recorded during Barack Obama’s presidency. Timing of such visuals are important, but consideration of a time range encompasses our concerns with West (and Tavis Smiley). We decided to press-on with our argument, after reading an internet troll’s attempt to dismiss the photograph as not worthy of consideration based on its published time frame.  We say poppycock!

I found the original picture in an article dated May, 2011.  Apparently, the picture was taken in July 2010 after President Obama spoke at an Urban League 100th Year Anniversary event.   Regardless of the age of the image, it was taken within the time frame of West’s and Smiley’s onslaught against President Obama. 

The picture shows Cornel West shaking hands with President Obama while showing a great deal of reverence. The reverence appears counter to all attacks against President Obama from West and Smiley since shortly after he took office in 2009. One has to wonder about consistent disparaging of the president after seeing such an image. Are there sinister or  counterproductive motives for the following oratory?  “He has not done enough for the black community!” 
Let’s consider the photo (even if an old photo) as backdrop for the following video. The video was apparently recorded well after the 2010 image of West as a participant of  the Urban League event.  

The video has been extracted from a video of a panel on Poverty in America. As you view the video, notice those who sat on the panel.  We will revisit that point in a moment.  

During the appearance, West made additional comment on other topics, but for brevity sake we have embedded a NewsOne Dot Com version  of the related to President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration. It appears West was asked a question about his latest ill-advised and ill-conceived diarrhea of the mouth statements against the president.   How about giving a few minutes for a viewing?

 See more after the break below

The panel members are intriguing to say the least. In fairness to the quorum, all panelist are not anti-Administration. Yet, West and Smiley seem to consistently surround themselves with noted Obama-haters. I quickly recognized Newt Gingrich sitting among the panelist.   Isn’t it true that West and Smiley are sharing a stage with a man (Gingrich) who campaigned to win the GOP primaries in 2011/12 via use of the “food stamp president” southern strategy? I have to wonder if the panelist were paid to join the panel. 

Two questions.  

Was it Newt Gingrich who postulated employing inner city kids after firing janitors and giving the jobs high school kids?  Would that really help with black poverty or was that simply Gingrich ridiculous racist paradigm oozing from his mouth like colonies on the Moon in his second term? 
The second question. 
Was it the Obama Administration that stopped our slippery slide into the abyss of an economic depression?  What ethnic demographic segment of our population would have suffered most via a depression?    As to the matter of the economy,  it took George Bush and his team eight years to bring our economy to a complete financial failure.  Why would people like West, Smiley and others feel that black poverty can be fixed within the president’s first two to three years in office? The prospect of removing people from the poverty roles has a direct correlation with an improved economy.  If the economy had not improved since 2008, the issue of black poverty would have been exponentially worse. 

From another angle, the president cannot quickly reverse hiring practices that continue to show African-Americans are hired far less than whites in non-government jobs.  The Federal and State Government have a history of being “the places” of employment for African-American men.

National Black News Journal
According to the Labor Department, for example, since January 2008, 375,000 government jobs have been eliminated. Blacks disproportionately become unemployed when government job cuts take place because although they are roughly 13 percent of the nation’s population, they are nearly 21 percent of the working adults holding government jobs.

By way of comparison, 17 percent of white adults and 15 percent of Hispanic adults work for state, local or federal governments. Indeed, one reason the current Black unemployment rate is much higher than the rates for other major population groups is because Blacks are losing government jobs at such a rapid pace. For example, last month the Black jobless rate stood at 16.2 percent “up from 15.5 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, the white jobless rate was 8.0 percent ” down from 8.8 percent a year ago.

Further, Labor Department data suggests that African Americans will continue to be disproportionately affected by government job cuts. Right now, government agencies are the single largest employer of Black men and the second most common employer of Black women. Why are Smiley and West blasting private sector employers for such hiring practices?

 Read more

State and Local Emplyomenht (Payroll) Linked Source
Federal Employment Linked source
Again, I wonder if such a crusade against private sector employers would help to reduce poverty in the African-American Community. Private Sector employment has improved significantly since President Obama took office in 2009.   (See Private Sector Employment chart below) Simultaneous to the improvements in the private sector employment we experienced the ‘anvil’ drag and immovable weight of significant reductions if state and federal employment.  Jesse Jackson’s PUSH (People United to Save Humanity organization) once found a degree of success in influencing employment practices of major employers of consumer products. 


Through PUSH Jackson was able to continue pursuit of the same economic objectives that Operation Breadbasket had pursued. In addition, his new organization was able to expand into areas of social and political development for blacks in Chicago and across the nation. The 1970s saw various tactics to pursue the organization’s objectives including direct action campaigns, weekly radio broadcasts,[5] and awards through which Jackson protected black homeowners, workers, and businesses, and honored prominent blacks in the U.S. and abroad. The organization was concerned with minority youth reading,[6] and it championed education through PUSH-Excel, a spin-off program that emphasized keeping inner-city youths in school while assisting them with job placement.[7] The program, which persuaded inner city youth to pledge in writing to study two hours per night and which involves parental monitoring,[8] impressed Jimmy Carter whose administration became a large sponsor after Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph Califano and Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall courted Jackson.[9][10]

The organization was very successful at committing major corporations with large presences in the black community to adopt affirmative action programs in which they hired more black executives and supervisors and to buy from black suppliers, wholesalers, and distributors.[9] The organization employed prayer vigils as a technique to call attention to issues.[11] The organization opposed Ronald Reagan‘s workfare initiative to compel that welfare recipients work for part of their benefits.[12]

The organization staged several boycotts including early 1980s boycotts of Anheuser Busch and Coca Cola as well as a 1986 boycott of CBS television affiliates.[13][14] The boycotts became so well known that at one point David Duke supporters referred to a boycott of Nike, Inc. as if whites were being oppressed by blacks.[15] Nike spokespersonMichael Jordan, disavowed the Nike boycott.[16] The boycotts of Budweiser, and Coke as well as one against Kentucky Fried Chicken were touted for having won minority job concessions from white businesses.[17]

If West and Smiley focused their efforts on employment in the private sector via equal “zest’ and oratory, it is possible some who are impoverished might have improved their position in life. Alas, I suspect such endeavors from West and Smiley would not prove as personally lucrative?

Newsone Dot Com and other  sources are reporting on West’s specific comments about the swearing-in of President Obama with Martin Luther King’s personal bible.

Newsone Dot Com reported….. (along with the video embed above)

“You don’t play with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you don’t play with his people, said West. “By his people, I mean people of good conscience, fundamentally good people committed to peace and truth and justice, especially the Black tradition that produced it. 
“All of the blood, sweat and tears that went into producing a Martin Luther King, Jr. generated a brother of such high decency and dignity that you don’t use his prophetic fire for a moment of presidential pageantry without understanding the challenge he represents to all of those in power regardless of what color they are.

West continued….

West said that, while he’s happy that Mitt Romney didn’t win the presidential election, our foreign policy is still imperialistic, politicians should be ashamed of spending billions on campaigns while people are living in poverty, and that President Obama is nothing but a “Rockefeller Republican in blackface.” 
I think that it’s morally obscene and spiritually profane to spend $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion—poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people. So we end up with such a narrow, truncated political discourse, as the major problems—ecological catastrophe, climate change, global warming. So it’s very sad. I mean, I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies. 

 Read more 

We have published previous pieces related to the Smiley/West’s campaign against President Obama.  While we have feelings and thoughts, West and Smiley have a positive motive in their incessant bashing.  We also find a place in our mind for wonderment about the usefulness of completely ignoring the ailments in our nation and the fulfilling yet precarious election of the nation’s first African-American president. 
Most who read The Progressive Influence beyond that of infrequent visitor, know that we are not, and The Pardu is not, about avoiding political criticism where it is warranted and deserved. Criticism of the Obama Administration has been part of our dialogue and sit as site archive pieces.  Of course, we want to see the nation’s unemployment rate drop along with substantial movement of families from impoverished to that of income middle class.  The answer to both critical issues is an improving economy.  We see evidence almost daily that the economy is improving. 
The Desert Deacon (wordpress dot com) August 2012
 “Haul out your handy calculator, and you’ll discover that since March 2009 the DJIA has increased by a tidy 100.322%.”  The DIJA yesterday hit a five year high of 13,700 plus.  March, 2009 DIJA 6627 (rounded); January, 2013 13,700 (rounded): increased by a hefty 106.730 percent.  

Households are shedding debt
Is it a stretch to think, feel that continued improvement will affect black families as well as other American families?   Is it ridiculous to think that President Obama could have done more to improve the plight of black families without improving the plight of all who live in at the level poverty?
We feel that West and Smiley, while possibly, well intended are expending copious amounts of negative energy and wasting valuable platforms opportunities slamming President Obama.  Both men are intelligent individuals and the very same thoughts and comments we have shared here has to have run through their minds.  We fear, despite their claims of misguided efforts by the administration, the real prospect that each has personal motives for what can only be described as vitriol. 
West by his actions claims the right and privilege to negatively speak about President Obama use of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a oratorical weapon. There is something about such characterization that strikes me as not only disingenuous and self-serving, I am struck by divisiveness that has roots in black history, and continues to manifest today.

Other pieces on West and Smiley are available via the search box above right. 

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