OUR COMMON GROUND “In Conversation with George Curry”

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Transforming Truth to Power, One Broadcast At a Time”

“In Conversation with George Curry”

October 26, 2013 
10 pm ET                                     LIVE and Call -IN

10-26-13 Curry

About our Guest George Curry

George E. Curry is the editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service. The former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, Curry also writes a weekly syndicated column for NNPA, a federation of more than 200 African American newspapers.

Curry, who served as editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service from 2001 until 2007, returned to lead the news service for a second time on April 2, 2012. His work at the NNPA has ranged from being inside the Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases to traveling to Doha, Qatar, to report on America’s war with Iraq.
As editor-in-chief of Emerge, Curry led the magazine to win more than 40 national journalism awards. He is most proud of his four-year campaign to win the release of Kemba Smith, a 22-year-old woman who was given a mandatory sentence of 24 1/2 years in prison for her minor role in a drug ring. In May 1996, Emerge published a cover story titled “Kemba’s Nightmare.” President Clinton pardoned Smith in December 2000, marking the end of her nightmare.

Curry is the author of Jake Gaither: America’s Most Famous Black Coach and editor of The Affirmative Action Debate and The Best of Emerge Magazine. He was editor of the National Urban League’s 2006 State of Black America report.

His work in journalism has taken him to Egypt, England, France, Italy, China, Germany, Malaysia, Thailand, Cuba, Brazil, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Mexico, Canada, and Austria. In August 2012, he was part of the official US delegation and a presenter at the US-Brazil seminar on educational equity in Brasilia, Brazil.
George Curry is a member of the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. His speeches have been televised on C-SPAN and reprinted in Vital Speeches of the Day magazine. In his presentations, he addresses such topics as diversity, current events, education, and the media.


OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Speaking Truth to Power and Ourselves” 

email: OCGinfo@ourcommonground.com

LISTEN LIVE and Join the OPEN Chat: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/OCG
Community Forum:http://www.ourcommonground-talk.ning.com/
Twitter: @JaniceOCG #TalkthatMatters
Web: http://www.ourcommonground.com/
OCG Blog: http://www.ourcommongroundtalk.wordpress.com/
Pinterest : http://www.pinterest.com/ocgmedia/boards/
Visit our Tumblr Page: http://ourcommonground.tumblr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OCGTALKRADIO




OCTOBER 09,2013

President Obama must stand firm 

[The View From Washington]

 The Obama Administration Let Republicans Control Narrative

Since the Republican led House of Representatives shut down the government, polls show a continued shift in public sentiment away from Republicans and in favor of the President.

According to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll  Americans disapproval of the way Congressional Republicans are “handling negotiations over the federal budget” has jumped to 70% with a mere 24% approving of Congressional Republicans.

The disapproval rate of President Obama’s performance on the budget negotiations has narrowed, 51% to 45%. That’s a small improvement from the previous week’s 50% to 41% disapproval ratio.

The issue is not with the poll numbers.  If you are a member of the administration the numbers are trending in the right direction.

Their concern should be with the construct of the narrative by the corporate media. Programs such as Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and This Week are following the narrative articulated by Speaker Boehner and other Republicans: “Why won’t President Obama negotiate?”

Savannah Guthrie from Meet the Press asked Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, “Is the president ready to watch this country go into default rather than negotiate with Republicans?”

Later she tells Representative Fudge (D-OH), “As this goes on and on, the president’s stance is, ‘I won’t negotiate.’ And even if there’s a host of reasons why that is a responsible position, as a bumper sticker, it’s not the greatest, is it?”  Supporters of the administration’s position are allowing themselves to be brought into a debate based upon a false premise. The nature of Guthrie’s questions presumes that the Republican’s position has merit.

It does not.

George Stephanopoulos from This Week opened his round-table discussion by allowing his guest Paul Gigot to say, the President is playing with fire by failing to negotiate; as though the Republicans position is intellectually honest. Gigot went on to recount how many continuing resolutions (CR’s) have been negotiated by previous presidents; as though that history is relevant to the current circumstance.

It is not.

This time Republicans are holding the country hostage to reargue established law; the Affordable Care Act. Even Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has said, “We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost…”

The hosts of these news programs and others may consider themselves to be unbiased journalists by allowing the Republican spokespeople and pundits to go unchallenged but they are really doing the public a great disservice.  Facts matter. The truth is important and should always be paramount.

The shutdown of the government is being led by a small band of elected officials who are more focused on their narrow political ideology than operating in the best interest of the American people.  According to The New York Times, “Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy.”

The result was the “blueprint to defunding Obamacare.” According to the Times “It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

This of course comes on the heels of the infamous January 20, 2009 dinner where according to Robert Draper’s book, “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives” Republican leadership “met and plotted to sabotage, undermine and destroy America’s Economy.” The senior GOP members plotted to bring Congress to a standstill regardless how much it would hurt the American Economy by pledging to obstruct and block President Obama on all legislation.

Contrary to how John Boehner, Eric Cantor, et al, try to position the current shutdown we are exactly where they wanted us to be. It is not a noble gesture that the Republicans are championing on behalf of “the American people”.  This is, according to the Times, “the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups (such as the Koch Brothers) with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.”

It is also the Republican Party playing to a bigoted ideologically driven element of their party, the White Southern Republican base.  According to The Nation “Many factors play into the shutdown, but a leading cause is the fact that the Republican Party is whiter, more Southern and more conservative than ever before.”  As a result of the 2012 census and restricting, “while the country continues to grow more racially diverse, the average Republican district continues to get even whiter.”

Contrary to Boehner’s mantra, Republicans are not listening to “the American people,” they are playing to the narrow structural base of the Republican party.

For mainstream American journalists to allow Republican representatives to justify their “negotiating” position as though it is valid perpetuates the lie.  For Democrats to participate in television and radio programs where the questions they are being asked are based upon faulty premises and they trying to answer the questions without highlighting their flaws is a formula for disaster.

It is also interesting how journalists, Democratic strategists, and Democratic members of Congress have adopted the Republican created pejorative term “ObamaCare.”  When you allow your enemy to define your position you’ve already lost the argument.

Not once have I heard Representative Fudge (D-OH) or other’s say, “no, it’s not ObamaCare; it’s the Affordable Care Act. (ACA)” Polls have shown many Americans oppose “ObamaCare” but support the ACA, demonstrating how effective Republican marketing has been and how the administration has failed to explain its flagship legislation.  He who defines reality controls others perception of reality.

Even though the polls are showing Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are “handling negotiations over the federal budget” I believe the administration has lost control of the narrative, again. They can’t seem to construct a consistent and cohesive message. The ACA is not a takeover of health-care; it’s a change to health insurance which provides greater access to care for the previously uninsured.

In terms of corporate “mainstream” media, the administration has failed to get program hosts to focus on why Republicans are opposed to expanding healthcare to more Americans and are willing to shut down the government in order to prevent it.  Also, why should the President negotiate issues (ACA) that are unrelated to a clean CR?

By failing to force the narrative to address these issues, as the day’s pass and the country again get’s closer to the fiscal cliff, the winds of public sentiment may shift; forcing the administration to concede defeat when the battle, if properly fought, was already won.

Dr. Wilmer Leon, an OUR COMMON GROUND Voice is the Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to  www.wilmerleon.com or email: wjl3us@yahoo.com.  www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com  © 2013 InfoWave Communications, LLC 

 04-06 Wiler2 Leon

– See more at: http://www.blackstarnews.com/us-politics/us-politics/government-shutdown-why-obama-shouldnt-negotiate-with-republican-hostage#sthash.x77CNbJM.dpuf

Beneath the Spin: The Reason why Black People Hate Tavis & Cornel – Wattree Chronicles

Beneath the Spin: The Reason why Black People Hate Tavis & Cornel

September 3, 2013
by Eric L. Wattree

Let’s Set the Record Straight – Black People Don’t Hate Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Simply Because They’re Critical of Obama.

*Why is it that most Tavis Smiley and Cornel West supporters always jump to the unwarranted conclusion that the only reason that Black people dislike Smiley and West is because they’re criticizing President Obama?

That’s an extremely presumptuous point of view, and it’s not true. The majority of Black people aren’t hostile toward Tavis and West BECAUSE they criticize Obama, but for the WAY they criticize Obama.

The reason we become angry every time they criticize Obama is because Tavis and West are arrogant, petty, self-serving, condescending, and disrespectful, and those flawed character traits come to the forefront whenever the subject of President Obama comes up. In addition, they’re criticisms never come coupled with constructive solutions, so it’s obvious to the Black community that they’re not actually interested in the issues; they’re merely USING the issues as a pretext to attack the man – and Cornel’s repeated racial slanders clearly validates that perception.

Black people clearly understand that ALL politicians’ feet should be kept to the fire, and that includes Obama’s. I’ve written several articles criticizing President Obama, and I’ve also written articles explaining WHY it’s important to hold his feet to the fire (http://wattree.blogspot.com/2011/01/obama-supporters-vs-cheerleaders.html), but when I criticize Obama I make sure that my criticisms are respectful, issue-specific, constructive, I ALWAYS come armed with solutions – and I send them to him. A case in point is an article I wrote in November 2009 entitled, “Could Obama Fall Victim to a Change We Can’t Believe In,” where I said the following:

“The President needs to recognize that there is nothing he can do that’s going to make him acceptable to the GOP – that is, unless he agrees to appoint a Republican vice president, then resign. By now it should be clear that even while he’s asleep, the GOP is trying to hatch plans to destroy him. So by spending more time thinking about them than he is his base, he’s playing right into their hands.

“I mentioned power as one of the reasons that Cheney’s trying to rush the president into Afghanistan. I wonder if the president has considered the fact that Cheney just might be trying to get him to make the same kind of mistake in Afghanistan that the Bush Administration made in Iraq in order to take the Iraq issue off the table for the 2012 election? If during the 2012 campaign America is bogged down in Afghanistan with the useless death of thousands of U.S. troops, all of a sudden, Bush, Cheney, and the GOP won’t look all that bad. The president should think about that possibility, since the machinations of Dick Cheney make Machiavelli look like a trainee.

“On the other hand, if the president would have the CIA go after Osama Bin Laden (through the use of intelligence, instead of blindly shooting at rocks), then pull out of Afghanistan, and then make an agreement with the government of Pakistan to help them protect their nuclear arsenal, he’ll be looking pretty good in 2012, and he won’t have the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops to have to justify.”

Thus, Black people are way out in front of Tavis and West on MOST issues, so the repeated suggestion by Tavis and West that Black people are blindly working on “Obama’s plantation” is a slap in the face of the Black community. They’re saying the very same thing that White racists are saying – that Black people are just a bunch of stupid zombies – “Dem niggas ain’t got sense like we do, boss.”

That attitude is not lost on the Black community for a minute. They don’t like it at all, and as a direct result, they don’t like them at all. The Black community looks upon them in the very same way as they do any other slanderous bigot.

See more from  Wattree

Eric L. Wattree is also a writer, poet, and musician. Additionally, he is the author of “A Message From the Hood.” Contact him at Ewattree@Gmail.com




By Jamye Wooten | NEWS & VIEWS

 “The staggering toll of gun violence—which claims 31,000 U.S. lives each year—is an urgent public health issue that demands an effective evidence-based policy response.”– The Case for Gun Policy Reform in America

There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth.”– Maya Angelou

There has been a lot of attention given to gun violence, since the day Adam Lanza armed himself with hundreds of bullets and took the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. This tragic story has gotten the attention of corporate media, the nation, and even a President who hails from one of the deadliest cities in the country. “We won’t be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try,” stated President Obama.

English: New York Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.New York Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also joined the chorus launching  Demand a Plan, a celebrity backed PSA campaign to reform gun laws.

Mayor Bloomberg has been supportive of the controversial, “Stop and Frisk” program of the NYPD that has resulted in over 4 million stops and street interrogations of mostly Black and Latinos in New York City since 2002. According to New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) guns are found in less than 0.2 percent of stops, prompting concerns over racial profiling.

Gun Policy Summit

The staggering toll of gun violence—which claims 31,000 U.S. lives each year—is an urgent public health issue that demands an effective evidence-based policy response.

The staggering toll of gun violence—which claims 31,000 U.S. lives each year—is an urgent public health issue that demands an effective evidence-based policy response.

Last month, I attended a two-day Gun Policy Summit hosted by Mayor Bloomberg and the John Hopkins University School for Public Health. I was interested in hearing what sort of gun policy recommendations would be proposed and their potential impact on the Black community.

According to the research there are over 31,000 incidents of gun violence each year in the United States, but while homicides often make the headlines, there is a less known fact when dealing with issues of gun violence.

Out of the 31,000 lives lost due to gun violence, every year 19,000 or almost 2 out of every 3 are suicides. White males accounted for over 80% of gun related suicides in 2010. And according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, yearly medical costs associated with suicide, is nearly $100 million and 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

Every night we watch Black men on the nightly news who have been involved in gun violence. Gun violence in urban America is a serious issue and Black youth are disproportionately victims of it. When addressing the high rates of homicide in the African-American community, Dr. Linda Frisman told the audience at John Hopkins “that being African-American and Hispanic are really proxies for social and economic disadvantage.” This is something that most Blacks understand. Addressing gun violence in urban America will not be solved with more police and school resource officers as President Obama has recommended or by adding additional security cameras to our schools that stream live to patrol cars and police precincts. If we are serious about reducing gun violence, we must address the social and economic disparities in communities of color. Strong economically secure communities that provide family sustaining wages, affordable housing, culturally relevant and enriching education that equips children with skills to succeed in the 21st century, and love will make schools and neighborhoods safe for our children. Successful faith and community-based programs should be rewarded with additional funds with less money being poured into Police departments that normally respond punitively when dealing with our children.

Another forty white men have killed themselves tonight

I begin to think, what if each night the local nightly news began by stating, “Another forty white men have killed themselves tonight?”

There are studies for every social pathology in the Black community, and policy responses crafted by “experts,” that are often punitive and never seem to be systemic. But for some reason, you can’t find much research on white males and why they are killing themselves at an alarming rate, or why there is a fascination with weapons. What if we began to take the same data and create policy around it? What would it look like? Would it stigmatize white males? Would we have to dispatch mental health professionals to workplaces every time they were laid off? Would we need to send the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to their homes to search and remove their guns? How safe would White women and children feel when their husbands and fathers were laid off? Would white men be considered a High-Risk group for firearm ownership? Or would there be a stop and frisk policy implemented for White men over the age of 50?

In October of 2012, leading experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health produced a report entitled, “The Case for Gun Policy Reform in America.” Many of the policy recommendations from the expert reports concentrated on Firearms Prohibitions for High-Risk Persons. Though suicide is the leading cause of death by firearms, with White males accounting for over 80%, they were not mentioned in the high risk category.

Well, who are the High Risk groups that should be prohibited from owning firearms? Under the section entitled, Why Firearms Prohibitions for High-Risk Persons Should be Broadened the categories include Criminals, Substance Abusers (Illegal Substances) and Youth Under Age 21.

Criminal Prohibitions

We believe the evidence above justifies an extension of firearm prohibitions for persons with a history of criminal behavior to include persons convicted of all misdemeanor crimes of violence, as well as individuals who have committed felony crimes as a juvenile.”

Substance Abusers

The number of drug abusers prohibited from possessing firearms might be increased significantly by revamping these regulations to, for example, expand the period following a drug conviction for which a person is prohibited from possessing firearms.”

Youth Under Age 21

Restrictions on youths’ ability to purchase and possess firearms should be broadened. Although federal law and most state law allows youth 18 to 20 years of age to legally possess a handgun, youth of these ages have some of the highest rates of homicide offending.”

These policy recommendations are about narrowing access to who can legally own a firearm, by identifying the most high-risk persons. The criminal prohibitions and substance abusers recommendations would narrow the number of Black people who have access to guns. Not because Blacks use illegal substances at higher rates than Whites. According to the NAACP, “5 times as many Whites are using drugs as Blacks, yet the Black population, especially men are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.”  The NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheets states that “in 2002, despite that fact that more than 2/3 of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic, blacks constituted more than 80% of people sentences under federal crack cocaine laws.”

It is also important to remember, as Dr. Matthew Miller pointed out, the vast majority guns that kill are handguns and legally owned.

United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty

Internationally the United Nations appears to be pursuing the same policies. In March of this year they will convene the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The conference is designed to tighten import, export and transfer of conventional arms. The UN states that ATT “will not aim to ban any weapon.” And why would they? White men control the most deadly arsenals of weapons of mass destruction in the world. Instead, the conference wants to make sure weapons don’t fall “into the hands of terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal cartels.”

Drug traffickers and Criminal cartels? I think you already know who the target groups are. This sounds very familiar to the language in the Hopkins report. Identify high-risk populations, mostly communities of color and limit their access to acquiring weapons while leaving out the highest risk group, White men. No group has manufactured, proliferated or used more weapons of mass destruction than White males, yet they conveniently label communities of color as “terrorists” or “high risk.”

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. – Isaiah 2:4

I pray for the day when we will beat our swords into plowshares and study war no more. But until then, we must make an honest effort to make sound gun policy. We must make sure that the War-on-Guns does not unfairly target people of color in the same way the War-on-Drugs have devastated our community.

READ MORE on Kinetics LIVE