02-19-2017  3:17 pm      •     

Just as it did in 2000 and 2004 the Democratic Party is preparing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
It did this in 2000 by choosing Senator Joe Lieberman as Vice President Al Gore's running mate. It did it again in 2004 by choosing charisma-challenged John Kerry as its candidate rather than strong anti-Iraq-war retired General Wesley Clark as its candidate against President Bush. Now, in 2008, it is preparing to choose Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton or Senator Barack Obama to run against John McCain. If it had chosen let's say, Senator Joe Biden, as its candidate, a 2008 election victory would be a sure thing. Instead the Democrats have made a conscious decision to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Black History
The best definition of Black History that I am aware of is a statement made by journalist/historian, Lerone Bennett, Jr., in a 1981 Ebony Magazine article, "Why Black History Is Important To You." Wrote Bennett, "People are always telling me that they are too busy making the future to bother with the past. But people who say this give up on both the future and the past … The past is not something back there; it is happening now. It is a bet your fathers placed, which you must now cover …" Ask yourself if you are now covering the bet that your ancestors placed.
In recognition of Black History Month, the following observations are presented for you to learn from and act on:
Carter G. Woodson: "In the schools of business administration, Negroes are trained excessively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street and are, therefore, made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners who have not studied economics, but have studied Negroes, take up this business and grow rich."
Mary McLeod Bethune, in her last will and testament:
"I leave you (Black people) the challenge of developing confidence in one another. This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and plowing them into useful channels."
I. Garland Penn, in the introduction to his 1891 book, "The Afro-American Press and Its Editors":
"The object in putting forth this feeble effort is not for the praise of men or for the reaping of money, but to promote the future welfare of Afro-American journalism by telling to its constituents the story of its heroic labors in their behalf. As I have said in my circular to editors, Jan. 1, 1890, so say I now: 'I believe that the greatest reason why our papers are not better supported is because the Afro-Americans do not sufficiently comprehend the responsibilities and magnitude of the work.' If the eyes of my people shall be opened to see the Afro-American Press as it is, and as it labors with the greatest sacrifice, I shall feel that Providence has blessed my work and that I have been amply rewarded. This volume may find its way to the cottage of the lowly and humble, the home of the scholar and the hands of the critic. I would invite its earnest perusal by each and all, and, at the same time, pray your most lenient criticism of its make-up, construction and thought. I would ask you to speak a good word of it, not in the hope of placing honor upon my head or the dime in my pocket, but in the hope of forming a favorable sentiment and creating an able and constant support for the Afro-American editor whose labor unites with all in building up and furthering the interest of our common country."
These ancestors not only talked the talk, they walked the walk. They were activists. They and others like them placed the bet that Lerone Bennett wrote about that we must now cover. Too many of us in 2008 are not doing so.

A. Peter Bailey is the former editor of "Blacklash," the publication of Malcolm X's Organization for Afro-American Unity.

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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