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Still Fixing the Bush Mess – Diversity as a National Security Imperative

Back during the Bush Administration era, the folks who brought us the 7 year futile search of incidents of discrimination against white people also brought us privatization of government. Black folks, due to the sometimes burdensome Government regulations which assured the highest level of employment access and anti-discrimination work for the Government in very high numbers. It is one of the few places where color isn’t a bar to getting a job or rising in the ranks.

Of course, Republicans could not let that continue. So they came up with the idea of privatizing government functions and jobs. Meaning, the hiring and promotion process would be left entirely up to private industry.This led to the whitening of the Federal workforce by several means.

1. The private companies weren’t subject to vigorous review of their hiring practices. A Republican Congress, Extreme Court, and Presidential Appointees fought to reduce or eliminate any penalty for racial or ethnic discrimination.

2. The “Gentrification” of jobs, making the educational and or post educational training requirements (Certifications) requirement substantially higher for the same job, making it more difficult for minorities to apply. This resulted in a number of low level jobs suddenly requiring college degrees, and specific industry certifications which were out of reach of many minorities financially.

3. Allowing contracting companies to easily deny that they couldn’t meet requirements by announcing there was a shortage of “qualified” minority companies or candidates.

This insidious racism also infected the Intelligence Agencies.

8 years later, the Obama Administration finally “gets it”.

Improving workforce diversity a ‘national security imperative’

Before we realized Bill Cosby’s halo was broken, he played a U.S. intelligence officer on NBC’s “I Spy.” There weren’t many black folks on television in the 1960s, and there is too little diversity among the spies and others in national security agencies now.

That’s why President Obama directed agencies “to strengthen the talent and diversity” of their organizations.

“Our greatest asset in protecting the homeland and advancing our interests abroad is the talent and diversity of our national security workforce,” said apresidential memorandum issued Wednesday.

National security agencies “are less diverse on average than the rest of the Federal Government,” including at the senior leadership levels, Obama said in the memorandum. “While these data do not necessarily indicate the existence of barriers to equal employment opportunity, we can do more to promote diversity in the national security workforce.”

Obama told the agencies to take a series of steps to improve diversity, including collecting, analyzing and disseminating workforce data, providing professional development opportunities and strengthening leadership accountability. He said his directive “emphasizes a data-driven approach in order to increase transparency and accountability at all levels.”

Wade Henderson, president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, praised the data collection as “a necessary first step in recognizing the scope of the problem” to design appropriate solutions.

Obama pointed to the pervasive, insidious role of implicit bias, making “implicit or unconscious bias training mandatory for senior leadership and management positions, as well as for those responsible for outreach, recruitment, hiring, career development, promotion, and security clearance adjudication.”

In June, the Justice Department mandated implicit bias training for its law enforcement officers and prosecutors. In May, acting Office of Personnel Management Director Beth Cobert told federal officials that unconscious bias is a major barrier to diversity and inclusion.

Obama also wants agencies to interview a representative cross-section of staffers, including “exit interviews or surveys of all departing personnel to understand better their reasons for leaving.” That information will analyzed by demographics.

Increasing federal workplace diversity has long been a priority for Obama, as demonstrated by his 2011 executive order promoting diversity and inclusion.

This current effort was driven by National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice. During the last several months, she assembled national security officials in the White House situation room to discuss ways to promote diversity. Her May Florida International University commencement address largely focused on the need to improve national security diversity.

Quoting former Florida senator Bob Graham (D), she told the graduates the workforce is too often “white, male and Yale.” Noting that people of color are almost 40 percent of the nation’s population, Rice said they are less than 20 percent of senior diplomats and less than 15 percent of senior intelligence officials and senior military officers.

“I’m not talking about a human resources issue,” she added. “I’m highlighting a national security imperative.”

Vernon Jordan, a veteran civil rights activist and Washington insider, examined the CIA’s poor diversity record in a blunt 2015 report commissioned by the agency. The CIA went backward in at least one key diversity point during the 2004-2014 period, Jordan wrote in the forward to the 54-page report – the number and percentage of African American senior intelligence officers declined.

Jordan cited a “failure of leadership,” “a general lack of accountability in promoting diversity,” “the absence of an inclusive culture,” and “a deficient recruiting process.”

While racial and ethnic minorities were 23.9 percent of the CIA’s workforce, they were just 10.8 percent of the Senior Intelligence Service.

“The Director must also act promptly and aggressively to identify and promote senior minority intelligence officers to positions that will send an unmistakable message of change,” said the study Jordan led.

Pointed words. But it’s action that counts.

Rice understands that.

The United States, she wrote on the White House blog Wednesday, “must lead the world not by preaching pluralism and tolerance, but by practicing it.”

 

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Presidential Class Acts

Lets face it, George W. Bush has been a far better ex-President than President. And if you have a heart that is still beating, it is very hard not to fall under Michelle Obama’s spell.

In any event, the two couples have tried to exemplify what Politics should be in this country.

For Some, Bush-Obama Rapport Recalls a Lost Virtue: Political Civility

Maybe it was the unexpected warmth of the gesture, the sheer enveloping display of affection.

Maybe it was his response, the beatific expression on his face, eyes almost closed, head tilted toward her shoulder.

Maybe it was the moment: tenderness at a time when presidential politics has become a festival of cruelty.

But when Michelle Obama hugged former President George W. Bush on Saturday, at a ceremony to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the image quickly took flight online.

However one chose to interpret it — and overinterpretation is a hazard in such exercises — it became an instant metaphor. Some saw the lost virtue of civility in politics; others, the unlikely friendships that blossom at the rarefied heights of public life. To critics on the left, it was a shameful case of political amnesia by the wife of a president who spent years cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor.

Mrs. Obama and Mr. Bush have had a few such memorable moments. In July in Dallas at a memorial service for five police officers killed by an Army veteran, the two held hands while singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” When Mr. Bush began swaying to the music, Mrs. Obama gamely let him swing her arm back and forth. At one point, as the choir sang “glory, glory hallelujah,” he turned to her in a burst of enthusiasm, causing the first lady to crack up, despite the solemnity of the occasion.

In June 2012, when Mr. Bush returned to the White House for the unveiling of his official portrait, he aimed a few wisecracks at President Obama. But he saved his best material for Mrs. Obama, reminding her that when British soldiers set fire to the White House in 1814, another first lady, Dolley Madison, rescued the portrait of the first George W. — as in Washington.

“Now, Michelle,” he said, gesturing to his own painting, “if anything happens, there’s your man.”

Some of these encounters are explained by proximity. When the Obamas and the Bushes appear in public together, protocol dictates that Mrs. Obama stand next to Mr. Bush. Some of it is a function of the former president’s playful manner, which by all accounts has become more playful in his retirement.

But some of it also has to do with the relationship between the couples, which current and former officials say has deepened over the past seven and a half years, both because of the shared bond of living in the White House and because of Mr. Bush’s decorum as an ex-president.

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Getting Ready to Open a Can of Whooop-A***

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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Drugbo Alert! Lesbian Farmers Invading the Homeland!

Just when you though the deranged right couldn’t get any more insane. Rush (AKA Drugbo) Limbaugh is trying to save his rapidly falling career as “Chief bloviate of the radio right” by claiming knowledge of a secret plan by the Obama Administration to invade the “Red Zone” with (gasp!)…

“Lesbian Farmers”.

Having just moved to such a rural area a few months ago I find this singularly amazing. In my 20 years of owning a home in this area, I certainly have run into, and in several cases befriended Lesbian couples living in the area – one of whom owns a successful seafood store…But to be honest with you, I haven’t noticed a massive uptick in the number of women shopping together in the local Southern States store. Not to mention it’s a bad health move to ask everyone you see in overalls and a baseball cap about their sexual orientation.

Being a straight male, maybe I’m just not plugged into the scene at the local Farmer’s Market.

And what sexual orientation has to do with a desire to live in the country, or farm for that matter utterly escapes me. Although I am sure the local Trumpazoids being replaced by Lesbians…Makes the farm animals sleep better at night.

A note to Rush Limbaugh: Obama is not building an army of lesbian farmers to take over red America

A note to Rush Limbaugh: Obama is not building an army of lesbian farmers to take over red America

Programs to help rural LGBT people not only help them, but also small American towns

Rush Limbaugh wants his listeners to know that lesbian farmers are coming to get them. Or not them, exactly — most Republicans live in suburban, not rural areas — but the kind of people that his listeners imagine themselves to be. In a recent program, Limbaugh went on a rant about an Obama program that President Barrack Obama supposedly set up to infiltrate rural communities with “lesbian farmers” and destroy them from the inside:

So here comes the Obama Regime with a bunch of federal money and they’re waving it around, and all you gotta do to get it is be a lesbian and want to be a farmer and they’ll set you up. I’m like you; I never before in my life knew that lesbians wanted to be farmers.

I never knew that lesbians wanted to get behind the horse and the plow and start burrowing. I never knew it. But apparently enough money it make it happen, and the objective here is to attack rural states.

The fact that Limbaugh thinks farmers still use a horse and plow speaks volumes about what is going on here. This isn’t about protecting real farmers from anything or even trying to understand how rural Americans actually live. This is about exploiting his suburban audience’s romantic Farmer John fantasies and pretending that this group is somehow under threat from evil lesbian infiltrators.

Other conservative outlets picked up on the same story, which is unsurprising, as this is standard right-wing scare-mongering. Stories about the federal government’s funneling o fmoney through frivolous giveaways to minority groups in an effort to destroy straight, white America is hands down the right-wing media’s favorite form of bullshit since Ronald Reagan popularized the term “welfare queen.”

But as with stories about “Obama phones” and “midnight basketball,” a deeper look shows that these programs are not subversive or frivolous at all but good programs that help revitalize communities.

“We kicked off our #RuralPride campaign really to animate the truism that LGBT people are everywhere,” Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, explained over the phone.

While the right-wing press is trying to frame this story as one of Obama’s bribing LGBT people to move to rural areas, the reality is very different. The lesbian-rights organization partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the True Colors Fund to enter rural communities to connect with the LGBT people who are already there, whether they work directly in agriculture or are part of the small-town communities that exist to support agricultural economies.

“Contrary to myths that the LGBT community lives exclusively in metropolitan areas, members of our community are proudly living, working, raising children, going to school, and making homes for themselves and their families in rural America,”  the one-sheet explainer sent to me by the national lesbian group explained.

“It appeared to be the first time that it occurred to these anti-gay voices that LGBT people already live in rural communities,” Kendell, who was openly amused at the conservative ignorance and hysteria, told me.

The right-wing media would like to promote the idea that these are training camps for queer sleeper cells, but the programming that Kendell described was straightforward and pleasantly mundane: panels of attorneys, activists and federal officials providing education about resources to help improve their lives, find economic stability and escape the isolation that LGBT people can often feel in small communities. Some summits also have anti-bullying programs to help rural LGBT youth.

 

 

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President Obama Hangs Ten in Chumph Tush Over Loose Talk

The Pres has no reason to put up with the bullshit anymore. I think the Reprobates are going to find it very painful to attack Obama’s Presidency from now on with nothing more than hate speech and mirrors.

I am listing this under “Domestic Terrorism” because the Chumph is ISIS’s biggest friend in America. Quite frankly if Obama was indeed the Dictator the froth mouth right wing racist types claim him to be…

Chumph, and the rest of them would be hanging from the lamp posts lining Pennsylvania Avenue right about now, as a reminder to other traitors.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Domestic terrorism

 

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The Prez Does the Tango

The Prez cuts a step in Argentina –

Of course some of the media criticized the Prez’s moves – but nowhere on the list of Presidential duties is being a professional dancer.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Cuba and Race

The diaspora after the Cuban Revolution actually did the country a huge favor in terms of race relations. Like other places in Latin America and the Islands who got jobs, ownership of import-export franchises, and business opportunities was largely driven by the racial strata of their chief customer (and sometimes occupier) the United States until late in the 60’s. And that meant the lighter and whiter the better.

As such the Cuban population of first generation refugees look nothing like the population on the Island.

Despite protestations to the contrary, including in the American Press – the Revolution did not entirely kill the Devil. It just drove it underground and made it a bit more nefarious.

One of the major issues of rapprochement, either by the US or European countries is who specifically will benefit from the emerging tourism and product marketplaces. And whether the “new invasion” of foreigners will apply or wittingly or unwittingly support the old color structure. I would guess there is some trepidation in welcoming the Cuban-American diaspora back.

The diaspora aren’t going to be real high on the list for either this, or the next Democrat President, because they, alone among Hispanic and Latino groups in the country have been a reliable voting block for Republicans.

Cuba Says It Has Solved Racism. Obama Isn’t So Sure.

President Obama spoke of his Kenyan heritage. He talked about how both the United States and Cuba were built on the backs of slaves from Africa. He mentioned that not very long ago, his parents’ marriage would have been illegal in America, and he urged Cubans to respect the power of protest to bring about equality.

“We want our engagement to help lift up Cubans who are of African descent,” he said, “who have proven there’s nothing they cannot achieve when given the chance.”

Mr. Obama’s speech on Tuesday, in an ornate Spanish colonial-style hall in Havana, was not only strikingly personal. It was also an unusually direct engagement with race, a critical and unresolved issue in Cuban society that the revolution was supposed to have erased.

For many Cubans, Mr. Obama’s comments were striking for their acknowledgment of racism in both countries. His remarks served as a reminder that their particular kinship with him — as reflected in dozens of conversations and responses to his history-making three-day visit this week — involves not just policy, but also identity.

“It’s a revolution,” said Alberto González, 44, a baker who was one of the few Afro-Cubans to attend a discussion with the president about entrepreneurship on Monday. “It’s a revolution for everyone with a background descended from Africa.”

Defensiveness has long hovered over the subject of race, in part because Fidel Castro said shortly after the revolution that racism had been solved, making the subject taboo.

The discomfort, in part, came from pride: Some of the revolution’s most visible achievements involved ending institutionalized segregation, at beach clubs, at schools and in neighborhoods where the homes of wealthy white Cubans who fled were often given to Cubans of color.

Socialized medicine and education also helped create a society more deeply shaped by interracial interactions and marriages than the United States.

And yet, Cuba is no more postracial than anywhere else. Many Afro-Cubans in Cuba and abroad have been quick to point out that the presence of Mr. Obama, the first black president of the United States, only highlights that the Cuban government does not reflect the demographics of their country.

On an island that is around two-thirds black and mixed race, according to a 2007 study by the Cuban economist Esteban Morales Domínguez, the civil and public leadership is about 70 percent white. He also found that most scientists, technicians and university professors, up to 80 percent in some fields, were white.

“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented,” said Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University.

She added that elements of Mr. Obama’s trip reflected some of the same dynamics: The Cuban-Americans traveling with the president were nearly all white, as were the Cuban officials who interacted with him on the island. Indeed, much of the audience for his speech on Tuesday was white.

In that context, the president — along with his wife, daughters and mother-in-law, who joined him on the trip — offers a clear contrast.

“What you see is confirmation of black empowerment, which has generally been denied in Cuban society,” Ms. Casamayor-Cisneros said. “For black Cubans, the mere existence of Obama is unusual and overwhelmingly symbolic.”

Some Afro-Cubans, like the hip-hop artist known as Soandry, linked the president to “what can be achieved in a capitalist system.”

Other Cubans brought up race more directly, without prompting, arguing that because Mr. Obama is African-American, he understands their country.

Mr. González, whose bakery counter is adorned with photographs of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, said it was not just the president whom people admire. “Look at that family,” he said, smiling broadly. “Can you imagine? Have you ever seen a more beautiful family?”

The challenge, Mr. González and other Cubans said, is turning that inspiration into something more substantial, starting with a more open conversation about race….Read The Rest Here

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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