Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

The Gosnell Protection Act

Democrat politicians and the Democrat media are out of touch with the rest of America, including a lot of Democrat voters, when it comes to abortion.

This is why the Democrat media does not want you to know about Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who murdered babies by causing pregnant women to go into labor, delivering their babies, and then killing them in his “abortion clinic.” He also had a segregated clinic, and sent his black patients to a squalid, disgusting waiting area and operating area while his white patients had somewhat cleaner, nicer facilities. And, his negligence led to the overdose & death of a pregnant women when his unlicensed, untrained teenager “pharmacist” gave her the wrong amount of drugs to prepare for her abortion.

The abortion industry “pays the piper,” so to speak, in the Democratic Party, and Democrats will always oppose abortion regulations to help their favorite special interest industry operate in the shadows – and the abortion industry and their party reward the standouts.

Then-Illinois state Senator Obama was greatly rewarded and his political career boosted when he defended “aborting” born-alive babies in the Illinois legislature. The only reason Texas state Senator Wendy Davis ascended to the Democratic nomination for Texas governor is because she filibustered to defend late-term abortion and unregulated, Gosnell-type abortionists in Texas.

And now, Democrats are pandering to the abortion industry and the abortion lobby with the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” that would more accurately be called the Gosnell Protection Act.

The abortion industry believes that women have some sort of Constitutional right to sex without a baby, even when they get pregnant. They also believe that abortion clinics have a right to perform abortions without any government oversight or regulations.

Through their partial ownership of the Democratic Party, the abortion industry’s view has become the official Democratic position on abortion: “pro-choice” no matter what, in any and all circumstances, up to and even beyond birth.

America, including even many Democratic voters, does not agree with these radical views, which is why the abortion industry & Democrats don’t want you to know about Kermit Gosnell or the Gosnell Protection Act.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

What Would You Do?

In 1787 when William Wilberforce introduced his first bill to abolish the slave trade in Great Britain, it was said that the slave trade had 300 M.P’s (Members of Parliament) “in their pocket” and the abolitionists had only Wilberforce.

The slave trade accounted for a huge portion of the British economy, with British ships exporting British goods to Africa, African slaves to the Indies, and plantation produce back home on the triangular trade route.

If you could go back in time to 1787, and across the Atlantic to England, would you be willing to anger the ship builders, the seamstresses, the blacksmiths, the carpenters, etc. whose livelihoods depended on the slave trade by standing with Wilberforce and the abolitionists? Would you risk angering the financiers and plantation owners, and the people who enjoyed cheap plantation products?

Or would you be content to live your own life, focus on your own family, build your own career, sit in your own church pew, and avoid “upsetting the apple cart” over slaves who were out of sight and therefore easily kept out of mind?

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scandalous.

The Obama administration gets away with scandals because of scandals.

Think about it.

People stopped talking about the Fast and Furious scandal, where the Obama administration directed gun store owners to sell high-powered guns to straw purchasers who would be allowed to “run” the guns to Mexican drug cartels, because the Solyndra scandal happened.

People stopped talking about the Solyndra scandal, where the Obama administration gave a $500 million Department of Energy loan to a faulty solar company owned by an Obama campaign donation bundler shortly before Solyndra went bankrupt, because the Benghazi scandal happened.

People stopped talking about the Benghazi scandal, where the Obama administration denied security requests in an effort to make our Libyan military invasion appear successful and then covered up the Islamic terrorist attack while the president had an election to win, because the IRS scandal happened.

People stopped talking about the IRS scandal, where the Obama administration’s IRS targeted and harassed conservative groups in order to keep them from influencing the 2012 election, because the VA scandal happened.

People stopped talking about the VA scandal, where the Obama administration’s VA gave taxpayer-funded bonuses to hospital administrators who were letting veterans die without the healthcare they earned by fighting for our freedom and safety, because the border security scandal happened.

I had a college professor who once joked to a student who had just had a relationship “break up” that nothing gets you over the last girl like the next one.

For the Obama administration, it seems that nothing gets them past the last scandal like the next one.

July 11, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Time for Republican Party Unity

The Republican Party is made up of:

1) people of faith, who believe that God is sovereign over all of life, including civil government and the “public square;” who stand for the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage,

2) fiscal conservatives who realize that conservative policies like personal responsibility, free markets, and competition grow the economy and create jobs, and

3) those who are serious about national security and understand that only the Republican Party puts our safety above partisan political games and two-year election cycles.

Some of us think that social, economic, and security issues are equally important, while others believe that one or two of them are more important.

Republicans have to work together and get past these minor differences, because Democrats will always put partisan politics over any and all principles.

Democrats openly reject “God in the public square” as they push their social agenda, reject any and all fiscal responsibility efforts, and choose to score political points rather than enhance our national security, foreign policy, or border security.

Our nation faces critical challenges, and we must have a unified Republican Party working together to “restore the blessings of liberty” “for ourselves and our posterity!”

June 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

President Obama’s Anger

President Obama told America that he’s angry about the VA scandal, and that he’s going to make sure we get to the bottom of it.

Which is comforting, because…

He also said he was angry about the Fast & Furious gun-running to Mexican drug cartels scandal, and that he’d make sure we get to the bottom of it.

Still no justice. Still no answers.

He told us he was angry about Benghazi, and he’d make sure we get to the bottom of it.

Still no justice. Still no answers.

He said he was angry about the IRS targeting scandal, and he’d make sure we get to the bottom of it.

Still no justice. Still no answers.

If his other scandals are any indication, the Obama administration will drag out and delay the VA investigation until they can say the investigation is “old news” and a “Republican witch hunt.”

May 29, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wilberforce, Slavery, and Abortion

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” –William Wilberforce

The horrors of the slave trade, and slavery itself, went on far too long in England and America because most of the cruelty was hidden from most of those who could end it.

The slaves who were shackled and cramped onto slave ships, beaten and worse were “out of sight and out of mind” for the majority of voters in England. One of my heroes, Member of Parliament William Wilberforce, took a group of well-to-do men and women on a field trip aboard a small ship in the English Channel. When the boat stopped, a cruel stench commandeered their nostrils. Wilberforce had the ship stop next to a slave ship, and explained to his audience the horrors of the slave trade while their noses were assaulted.

Many in England looked the other way and did not oppose the slave trade because they did not know of the horrors. As Wilberforce and others sought to inform the public, he would tell them, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Historians say that Wilberforce played the key role in abolishing the slave trade in England, and slavery itself was abolished a few days before his death. His efforts carried over to “New England,” and Americans who abolished the slave trade in 1808 and slavery itself at the end of the Civil War often quoted Sir Wilberforce.

Today, the horrors of abortion have gone on far too long in America because most of the cruelty was hidden from most of those who could end it.

As its defenders spoke of property rights and the economic benefits of slavery then, so now the abortion apologists are able to speak of women’s rights and economic benefits because the horrors of cutting, plucking, and sucking unborn fetuses from their mothers’ wombs is “out of sight and out of mind” for many of us.

It took heroes of humanity like William Wilberforce connecting the senses of the masses to the horror of slavery for that wretched institution to be destroyed. Please take a few minutes to examine the horrors of abortion by clicking here, but know that just as Wilberforce said:

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

May 6, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Has the Jewish Messiah Come?

The Jewish Scriptures foretell the coming of the Messiah, the annointed one of God – and then end before He comes. What Christians call the Old Testament and Jewish people call the Tanakh is incomplete because it ends with the people of Israel waiting for the promised Messiah.

The people of God were awaiting the coming of the “seed of woman” who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), the “seed of Abraham” in whom all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3), the “lion of the tribe of Judah” who would reign and rule forever (Genesis 49:8-12), the “star of Jacob” (Numbers 24:17), the “son of David” who would reign forever (2 Samuel 7:16), the forsaken one who would be scorned, despised, mocked, and pierced (Psalm 22), and the “suffering servant” who would be “despised and rejected by men,” who would bear our griefs and carry our sorrows, be “stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted,” pierced, and crushed (Isaiah 52:13-53:5).

Why would the anointed Messiah be despised, rejected, stricken, smitten, inflicted, pierced, crushed, etc.?

For our iniquities and transgressions, not His own (Isaiah 53:5). To bring us peace, heal us, make us righteous, bear our sins and intercede for the transgressions of many (Isaiah 53:5-12).

Christians believe that the Jewish Messiah has come, that His name is Jesus, and that He ushered in the New Covenant foretold in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

The Christian apostle Paul was a Jewish leader who persecuted Christians, later became convinced that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah, and then was persecuted for his faith by his former friends the Jewish religious leaders.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul writes:

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”

Jesus is the promised “son of David, son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1) who came to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

The Jewish Messiah has come!

May 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet David Hamilton, Candidate for HD27 State Rep

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Meet David Hamilton, Candidate for HD27 State Rep

For Immediate Release – April 24, 2014                Contact: Lauren Johnson at lkpjohnson@gmail.com

Texas House District 27 covers Missouri City, Sienna Plantation, Meadows Place, and Stafford.

David Hamilton was born and raised in Arkansas, but says he got to Texas as quickly as he could. Both of his parents are retired public school teachers, and much of David’s early years were spent on basketball courts throughout the South. He is very tall at 6’6” and played four years of basketball at the University of the Ozarks. After graduating with a political science degree, David played one season of semi-pro basketball for the Mississippi Miracles of the American Basketball Association.

David and his wife Katie have lived in Fort Bend County since 2011 when they got married. In 2012 their first child Brad was born, and Lord willing their second child is due in August. They recently found out that they are having a girl and plan to name her Brooklynn Grace. David currently works for USA Industries in business development, where he supplies products to major oil & gas companies that make industrial maintenance more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. He also has business experience in healthcare marketing and finance.

When asked why he is running for office, David says, “Like a lot of Texans I am frustrated with our national government and the direction of our country. The federal government takes a huge bite out of our paychecks up front, and then every dollar we spend, save, or invest is taxed again. Every day our government looks more and more like the tyranny from which our Founding Fathers declared independence, by violating our 1st amendment freedom of religion, press, assembly, and speech; our God-given and 2nd amendment-protected gun rights; our 4th amendment privacy rights; and so on. We need leaders at the state level who will fight against these federal government intrusions and be mindful of our federal tax burden.”

David believes that if we keep electing the same kind of politicians, then we will continue to see the same results. He says, “Our Founding Fathers sought to ‘Secure the Blessings of Liberty,’ for themselves and also for us. We need to elect public servants who will ‘Restore the Blessings of Liberty.’ I have a track record of public service as a volunteer basketball coach, pro-life advocate, and Sunday school teacher. I believe my career success has been a direct result of my ability to build relationships and earn trust. My vision for what a State Rep should be is more of the same: build relationships with constituents, earn their trust, and represent their values in Austin.”

Hamilton pledges to be a leader we can trust who will serve the people he represents rather than any political party or special interest group. His campaign website is http://www.Hamilton4TX.com and http://www.facebook.com/Hamilton4TX is his campaign facebook page.

April 24, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Obama’s Recovery?

From NoisyRoom.net:

  • Quiznos has filed for bankruptcy, USA Today reported, and could close many of its 2,100 stores.
  • Sbarro which operates pizza and Italian restaurants in malls, is planning to close 155 locations in the United States and Canada. That means nearly 20 percent of Sbarro’s will close. The chain operates around 800 outlets.
  • Ruby Tuesday announced plans to close 30 restaurants in January after its sales fell by 7.8 percent. The chain currently operates around 775 steakhouses across the US.
  • An unknown number of Red Lobster stores will be sold. The chain is in such bad shape that the parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc., had to issue a press release stating that the chain would not close. Instead Darden is planning to spin Red Lobster off into another company and sell some of its stores.
  • Ralph’s, a subsidiary of Kroger, has announced plans to close 15 supermarkets in Southern California within 60 days.
  • Safeway closed 72 Dominick’s grocery stores in the Chicago area last year.
  • Office supply company Staples has announced plans to close 225 stores by 2015, which is about 15 percent of its chain. Staples already closed 40 stores last year. Industry analysts expect Staples’ main competitor, Office Depot, which bought OfficeMax last year, to announce its own round of store closings soon.
  • Radio Shack has announced plans to close 20 percent of its stores this year, which is as many as 1,100 stores. The company, which operates around 4,000 stores, reported that its sales fell by 19 percent last year.
  • Albertsons closed 26 stores in January and February according to Supermarket News. Analysts expect many more Albertsons could soon be shuttered because Albertsons owner hedge fund Cerberus Capital Management just bought Safeway Inc. Some Safeway stores could soon shut down as well.
  • Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is planning to close 220 stores by the end of 2015. The company is also planning to shut down an entire chain it owns, Gilly Hicks, which has 20 stores, 24/7 Wall Street reported.
  • Barnes & Nobles is planning to shut down one third of its stores in the next year: about 218 stores. The chain has already closed its iconic flagship store in New York City.
  • J.C. Penney is closing about 33 stores and laying off about 2,000 employees.
  • The Record newspaper in New Jersey reported that Toys R Us has plans to close 100 stores.
  • The Sweetbay Supermarket chain will close all 17 of the stores it operates in the Tampa Bay area, The Herald Tribune newspaper reported. Many of the stores might open as Winn-Dixie Stores. Sweetbay closed 33 stores in Florida last year.
  • The entire Loehmann’s chain of discount clothing stores in the New York City area shut down. Loehmann’s once operated 39 stores, The New York Times reported, and was considered an institution by generations of New Yorkers.
  • Industry analyst John Kernan told CNN that he expects Sears Holdings, which owns both Sears and Kmart, to close another 500 stores this year. Sears has already shut down its flagship store in Chicago.

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Late Robert Fitch on Obama: “The Change They Believe In”

The late Robert Fitch was called by some “Obama’s harshest critic on the left.” In this speech, given shortly after President Obama was first elected in 2008, Fitch tried to predict what an Obama presidency would look like, based on his track record in Chicago and those in his inner circle.

The Change They Believe In
Speech for Harlem Tenants Association, November 14, 2008
By Robert Fitch

Nellie asks us to foretell what an Obama Administration is going to do for cities, housing and neighborhoods. Of course we can’t really know what’s going to happen in the future. We can only know what’s already happened. So it’s an exercise that reminds me a little of Johnny Carson’s old late night TV routine with his sidekick Ed McMahon. Carson played Karnak the Magnificent. McMahon would give him an answer. And Karnak, wearing a giant turban, and holding an envelope to his forehead, would guess the question inside the envelope. Ed would give an answer like. “A B C D E F G.” Karnak would reply with the question: “Earlier versions of Preparation H.”
What’s President-elect Obama’s prescription for urban pains? I’m going to put on my urban turban and try to play Karnak. It’s a difficult role not only because the future is hard to predict; but because Obama himself is not easy to read. In my lifetime, we haven’t had a politician with his gifts: his writing talent; his eloquence; his charisma; his mastery of public policy; his ability to run a national campaign against formidable rivals. Obama projects so brilliant an aura that it’s almost blinding. He’s become the bearer of pride for forty-five million African Americans who want to be judged by the content of their character. He’s the prophet of hope; the apostle of change and the organizer of “Yes We Can.”
All this makes Obama’s actual politics very hard to put in any critical perspective. By actual politics I mean above all, the principal interests he represents; his authentic political philosophy. Where he fits on the Left-Right political spectrum. Obama resists being identified with either the Right or the Left. Even when he talks about his mom’s liberalism, it’s with a certain irony. “A lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for the New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism.” Obama is a partisan of the Third Way. In Europe, the Third Way means you’re neither socialist nor capitalist. In the U.S. it means you’re neither for liberalism nor conservatism. The Third Way is expressed very well in Obama’s 2004 convention speech.
“Well, I say…tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
“There’s not a black America and white America…there’s the United States of America.
“The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States: red states for Republicans, blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too.
“We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”
Are traditional political vocations now obsolete? The Left stands for the interests of those who have to work for a living; for the tenants and the poor. For the victims of discrimination. The Right in America stands for the interests of the employers and the investing class. For those who own the land, the houses, the banks and the hedge funds. For Joe the plumber who was really Joe the plumbing contractor. And for those who see themselves as the victims of affirmative action.
In a way, though, the Left and the Right have more in common with each other than they do with the advocates of the Third Way. The Left and the Right argue that different interests matter. The Third Way says they don’t. According to them, the oppressed and the oppressors, the lions and the lambs should set down together and celebrate their unity in one great post-partisan, multi-cultural 4th of July picnic. One of Obama’s most repeated mantras resonates here: “a common good and a higher interest,” he says. “That’s the change I’m looking for.”
Where in the world most of us reside do we find that higher interest? I don’t know except perhaps in the higher interest rates that kicked in with variable rate mortgages.
What is the common good that tenants and landlords share? Not a lot I can think of. Maybe that the building doesn’t burn down? But some of you remember the ’70s when landlords burned down their buildings in poor neighborhoods to cash in on the insurance.
The haves and the have-nots have different and opposing interests—landlords want to get rid of rent stabilization; tenants have an interest in keeping it. Workers want to save their jobs; bosses want to save their capital, which means cutting workers. In pursuing their opposing interests, the have-nots are forced take up the weapons of the weak—demonstrations, direct action; filling the jails with conscientious objectors; taking personal risks. Who benefits when one side gives up without a struggle? The Have’s or the Have nots? Frederick Douglass reminds us: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did. It never will.”
When the Third Way advocates insist that we share a common good; when they refuse to recognize that the interests of the oppressed and the interests of the oppressors don’t exist on the same moral plane; when they counsel us to stop being partisans of those interests—they’re not being non or post partisan; they’re siding with the powers that be.
In the same way, Obama’s notion of change claims to transcend the politics of interest while it steers sharply to the right. What kind of change does America need? Above all, America needs a change of heart: her people need to give up selfishness; all Americans rich and poor, white and black; the hod carrier and the hedge fund operator must give up self-interest; stop always asking “what’s in it for me?”
In a word, with his emphasis on change coming from people giving up group egoism and together pursuing the common good, while practicing old fashioned virtues, Senator Obama is a communitarian. In The Audacity of Hope he invokes the legacy of Ronald Reagan who, Obama believes, recognized America’s need to rediscover the traditional values of the American community: hard work, patriotism, personal responsibility, optimism and faith.
Communitarianism flows from belief that we all share a common good. What’s needed to achieve the common good, communitarians insist, is sacrifice. But some parts of the community have to show the way in giving up their selfish, anti-communitarian habits. For communitarians, the first responders must be the poor. For black communitarians like Bill Cosby and Barack Obama it’s chiefly the black poor.
Obama insists that the key to change is not resistance to oppression; not a battle against the exploitation of workers; or against institutional racism, or the domination of unaccountable financial elites; or the interests promoting gentrification.
These all fade away compared to the need for community self-help, strengthening the community by building strong families; by the need to convince the African American poor to pull up their socks. And stop engaging in anti-social behavior. Speaking recently to a group of black legislators, Obama said, “In Chicago, sometimes when I talk to the black chambers of commerce, I say, ‘You know what would be a good economic development plan for our community would be if we made sure folks weren’t throwing their garbage out of their cars.’”1
In fact, as Obama knows very well, for most of the last two decades in Chicago there’s been in place a very specific economic development plan. The plan was to make the South Side like the North Side. Which is the same kind of project as making the land north of Central Park like the land south of Central Park. The North Side is the area north of the Loop—Chicago’s midtown central business district—where rich white people live; they root for the Cubs. Their neighborhood is called the Gold Coast.
For almost a hundred years in Chicago blacks have lived on the South Side close to Chicago’s factories and slaughter houses. And Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. The area where they lived was called the Black Belt or Bronzeville—and it’s the largest concentration of African American people in the U.S.—nearly 600,000 people—about twice the size of Harlem.
In the 1950s, big swaths of urban renewal were ripped through the black belt, demolishing private housing on the south east side. The argument then was that the old low rise private housing was old and unsuitable. Black people needed to be housed in new, high-rise public housing which the city built just east of the Dan Ryan Expressway. The Administration of the Chicago Housing Authority was widely acclaimed as the most corrupt, racist and incompetent in America. Gradually only the poorest of the poor lived there. And in the 1980s, the argument began to be made that the public housing needed to be demolished and the people moved back into private housing.
For a while, the election of the city’s first black Mayor, Harold Washington, blocked the demolition. But Washington died of a heart attack while in office, and after a brief interregnum, the Mayor’s office was filled in 1989 by Richard M. Daley—whose father had carried out the first urban renewal. Daley was his father’s son in many ways. By 1993, with subsidies from the Clinton Administration’s HOPE VI program, the public housing units began to be destroyed. And by 2000 he’d put in place something called The Plan for Transformation. It targeted tens of thousands of remaining units. With this proviso: That African Americans had to get 50% of the action—white developers had to have black partners; there had to be black contractors. And Daley chose African Americans—as his top administrators and planners for the clearances, demolition and re-settlement. African Americans were prominent in developing and rehabbing the new housing for the refugees from the demolished projects—who were re-settled in communities to the south like Englewood, Roseland and Harvey. Altogether the Plan for Transformation involved the largest demolition of public housing in American history, affecting about 45,000 people—in neighborhoods where eight of the 20 poorest census tracts in the U.S. were located. 2
But what does this all have to do with Obama? Just this: the area demolished included the communities that Obama represented as a state senator; and the top black administrators, developers and planners were people like Valerie Jarrett—who served as a member of the Chicago Planning Commission. And Martin Nesbitt who became head of the CHA. Nesbitt serves as Obama campaign finance treasurer; Jarrett as co-chair of the Transition Team. The other co-chair is William Daley, the Mayor’s brother and the Midwest chair of JP Morgan Chase—an institution deeply involved in the transformation of inner-city neighborhoods through its support for—what financial institutions call “neighborhood revitalization” and neighborhood activists call gentrification.
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condo’s and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs.
Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins. But it’s more than just Chicago FIRE. Also within Obama’s inner core of support are allies from the non-profit sector: the liberal foundations, the elite universities, the non-profit community developers and the real estate reverends who produce market rate housing with tax breaks from the city and who have been known to shout from the pulpit “give us this day our Daley, Richard Daley bread.”3
Aggregate them and what emerges is a constellation of interests around Obama that I call “Friendly FIRE.” Fire power disguised by the camouflage of community uplift; augmented by the authority of academia; greased by billions in foundation grants; and wired to conventional FIRE by the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1995.
And yet friendly FIRE is just as deadly as the conventional FIRE that comes from bankers and developers that we’re used to ducking from. It’s the whole condominium of interests whose advancement depends on the elimination of poor blacks from the community and their replacement by white people and—at least temporarily—by the black middle class—who’ve gotten subprime mortgages—in a kind of redlining in reverse.
This “friendly FIRE” analysis stands in opposition to the two main themes of the McCain attack ads. Either they try to frighten people into believing that Obama is a dangerous leftist who hangs with Bill Ayers the former Weatherperson; or they assert he’s a creature of the corrupt Chicago machine.
There are a few slivers of meat floating in this beggar’s broth of charges. Yes, Obama worked with Ayers, but not the Ayers who blew up buildings; but the Ayers who was able to bring down $50 million from the Walter Annenberg foundation, leveraging it to create an $120 million non-profit organization with Obama as its head. Annenberg was a billionaire friend of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Why would he give mega-millions to a terrorist? Perhaps because he liked Ayers new politics. Ayers’ initiative grew out of the backlash against the 1985 Chicago teachers’ strike; his plan promoted “the community” as a third force in education politics between the union and the city administration. Friendly FIRE wants the same kind of education reform as FIRE: the forces that brought about welfare reform have now moved onto education reform and for the same reason: crippling the power of the union will reduce teachers’ salaries, which will cut real estate taxes which will raise land values.
Is Obama a minion of Richie Daley? It’s true that Obama has never denounced Daley. He actually endorsed him for Mayor in 2007. Even after federal convictions of Daley’s top aides. After the minority hiring scandals. And after the Hired Truck scandal which showed that the Daley machine shared its favors with The Outfit.
But the Daley dynasty has expanded far beyond wiseguy industries. The Mayor’s brother, William Daley, who served on Obama’s transition team, also serves now as a top executive of J.P. Morgan Chase. He heads the Midwest region. And chairs J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, the core of friendly FIRE. Here’s an excerpt from a recent report:
“…[we] achieved significant progress toward our 10-year pledge to invest $800 billion in low- and moderate income communities in the U.S.—the largest commitment by any bank focused on mortgages, small-business lending and community development. In 2006, we committed $87 billion, with total investment to date of $241 billion in the third year of the program.
“Played a leadership role in the creation of The New York Acquisition Fund, along with 15 lenders and in conjunction with six foundations and the City of New York. The Fund is a $230 million initiative to finance the acquisition of land and buildings to be developed and/or preserved for affordable housing.”4
It’s also true that key Black members of the Obama inner circle are Daley Administration alumnae—but they’ve moved up—now they’re part of Chicago FIRE. Like Martin Nesbitt. Obama is Nesbitt’s son’s godfather. He’s the African American chairman of the CHA. But his principal occupation is the vice presidency of the Pritzker Realty group. Although they’re not well known outside of Chicago, the Pritzkers rank among the richest families in the U.S. There are ten Pritzkers among the Forbes 400: Thomas is the richest at 2.3 billion. Anthony and J.B. are next at $2.2 billion; Penny in fourth, at $2.1 billion—Daniel, James, Gigi, John, Karen, and Linda weigh in with $1.9 billion.
Penny is finance chair of the Obama campaign. Martin is the treasurer.
Penny Pritzker herself has had a rocky career as a commercial banker. In 1991, she founded something called the Superior Bank of Chicago which pioneered in sub-prime lending to minorities. Superior was an early casualty of the sub-prime meltdown, though, crashing in 2001 when it was seized by the FDIC. Depositors filed a civil suit against Penny charging that Superior was a racketeering organization. The government charged that Superior paid out hundreds of millions of dividends to the Pritzkers and another family while the bank was essentially broke. There was a complex settlement in which the Pritzkers were forced to pay hundreds of millions in penalties; but the agreement contained provisions that may enable the Pritzkers to earn hundreds of millions. Notwithstanding the Superior bank disaster, Penny is being touted as Obama’s next Secretary of Commerce.
Valerie Jarrett is another black real estate executive. Described as “the other side of Barack’s brain,”5 she also served as finance chair during his successful 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. Jarrett was Daley’s deputy chief of staff – that was her job when she hired Michelle Obama. Eventually Daley made her the head of city planning. But Jarrett doesn’t work for Daley anymore. She’s CEO of David Levin’s Habitat—one of the largest property managers in Chicago—and the court-appointed overseer of CHA projects.6 Habitat also managed Grove Parc, the scandal-ridden project in Englewood that left Section 8 tenants, mostly refugees from demolished public housing projects, without heat in the winter but inundated with rats. Grove Parc was developed by Tony Rezko, who’s white. And his long-time partner Allison Davis, who’s black.
Let’s look at Rezko and then Davis. It was Rezko’s ability to exploit relationships with influential blacks—including Muhammad Ali—that enabled him to become one of Chicago’s preeminent cockroach capitalists. Altogether, Rezko wound up developing over 1,000 apartments with state and city money. There was more to the Obama-Rezko relationship than the empty lot in Kenwood. Rezko raised over $250,000 for Obama’s state senate campaign. While Obama was a state senator he wrote letters in support of Rezko’s applications for development funds. But Obama ignored the plight of Rezko’s tenants who complained to Obama’s office.7
Rezko’s Grove Parc partner, Allison Davis, was a witness in the Rezko trial, he’s pretty radioactive too. But you could see why Rezko wanted to hook up with him. Davis was the senior partner in Davis Miner Barnhill & Galland, a small, black law firm, where Obama worked for nearly a decade. As the editor of the Harvard Law Review, Obama could have worked anywhere. Why did he choose the Davis firm?
Davis had been a noted civil rights attorney and a progressive critic of the first Daley machine. But in 1980 Davis got a call from the Ford Foundation’s poorly known, but immensely influential, affiliate LISC—the Local Initiatives Support Corporation—that had just been founded. LISC, whose present chair is Citigroup’s Robert Rubin, connects small, mainly minority community non-profits with big foundation grants and especially with bank loans and tax credit-driven equity. LISC wanted to co-opt Davis in their ghetto redevelopment program. He agreed and the Davis firm came to specialize in handling legal work for non-profit community development firms. Eventually Davis left the firm to go into partnership with Tony Rezko.
Meanwhile, Obama did legal work for the Rezko-Davis partnership. And for Community Development Organizations like Woodlawn Organization. In 1994, the LA Times reports, Obama appeared in Cook County court on behalf of Woodlawn Preservation & Investment Corp., defending it against a suit by the city, which alleged that the company failed to provide heat for low-income tenants on the South Side during the winter.8 There were several cases of this type, but as the Times observes, Obama doesn’t mention them in Dreams from My Father.9
In the 1960s, under the leadership of Arthur M. Brazier, Bishop of the Apostolic Church of God, Woodlawn gained a reputation as Chicago’s outstanding Saul Alinsky-style community organization. Mainly, TWO [The Woodlawn Organization] battled the University of Chicago’s urban renewal program. But gradually, Brazier’s political direction changed. Now TWO is partnering with UC in efforts to gentrify Woodlawn. When Barack Obama left Jeremiah Wright’s church, he switched to Brazier’s Apostolic Church of God.
Brazier is typical of a much larger group—real estate reverends—who play the Community Development game and in the process have acquired huge real estate portfolios. But it’s really a national phenomenon. Here in New York we have Rev. Calvin Butts whose church has a subsidiary, the Abyssinian Development Corp. In partnership with LISC, the ADC now boasts a portfolio of $500 million in Harlem property alone. Rev. Floyd Flake of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamaica, Queens has a sizeable portfolio of commercial property too.
Chicago’s disciples of development include Wilbur Daniel. He’s the Pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood who really did exclaim “Give us this day our Daley bread,” meaning free land and free capital for real estate development. Daniel’s prayers were answered in 2001, when with Daley’s help, Antioch was chosen to be the lead church in Fannie Mae’s $55 billion House Chicago plan for the redevelopment of the South Side.
How has Obama earned the support and allegiance of friendly FIRE? Where does he stand on the Plan for Transformation? Generally speaking, he’s been careful not to leave too many footprints. If you google Obama and public housing, nothing comes up. But in 1995, a year before he ran successfully for state senate seat from South Side, in Dreams from My Father he wrote about his encounters with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama says he was impressed by Wright’s emphasis on the unity of the black community. But he’s a little skeptical of too broad a unity; of achieving unity without conflict. He says, “Would the interest in maintaining such unity allow Reverend Wright to take a forceful stand on the latest proposals to reform public housing?” (Here he’s referring to Clinton’s Hope VI—that provided matching federal money for the demolition of public housing. And the corresponding local initiatives, which culminated in the Plan for Transformation. “And if men like Reverend Wright failed to take a stand, if churches like Trinity refused to engage with real power and risk genuine conflict, then what chance would there be in holding the larger community intact?”10
I have to stop now and put Karnak’s envelope to my forehead. What we see is that the Chicago core of the Obama coalition is made up of blacks who’ve moved up by moving poor blacks out of the community. And very wealthy whites who’ve advanced their community development agenda by hiring blacks. Will this be the pattern for the future in an Obama administration? I can’t read the envelope. But I do believe that if we want to disrupt the pattern of the past we have to make some distinctions: between the change they believe in and the change we believe in; between our interests and theirs; between a notion of community that scapegoats the poor and one that respects their human rights—one of which is not to be the object of ethnic cleaning. Between Hope VI and genuine human hope.

Footnotes:
1. Perry Bacon Jr.,“Obama Reaches Out with Tough Love,” Washington Post, May 3, 2007, p. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/02/AR2007050202813_pf.html [back]
2. Pam Belluck, “End of a Ghetto, A special report: Razing the Slums to Rescue the Residents.” New York Times, September 6, 1998. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A07E0D7173EF935A3575AC0A96E958260 [back]
3. John Kass, “The New Mayor Daley,” Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. August 25, 1996. [back]
4. http://www.jpmorganchase.com/cm/cs?pagename=Chase/Href&urlname=jpmc/community [back]
5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-sweet/valerie-jarrett-steps-up-_b_65350.html [back]
6. Jarrett’s father was Robert Taylor, head of CHA, after whom a dozen of the now demolished projects were named. [back]
7. http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/425305,CST-NWS-obama13.article [back]
8. http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/06/nation/na-obamalegal6 [back]
9. Ibid. [back]
10. Dreams, p.286 [back]

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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