Is the Ethics Investigation really an Ethnic Investigation?

Truth be told you can find some amount of corruption with a 10-year-old girl's lemonade stand if you lack enough of a life to devote time to it. What with zoning laws, how many feet from the curve it has to be, etc., and before you know it, little Vanessa is visited upon by two stuff-shirts in 90 degree weather serving her with a citation before she can say 'whaaaaat...' Thus we've had similar childish scrutiny of 8 black Democratic lawmakers from earlier this year by the House Ethics Committee that boggle the mind.

The best-known targets of these are of course Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. East Coast/West Coast under concurrent attack. It is also Congress that has been holding up funds targeted for Haiti while at the same time financing Afghan terrorists along with the Paskistani government. Even beneath the Shirley Sherrod set-up, the Senate sends the black farmers home empty-handed right at the deadline of their eligibility, 8/6. Feel free to toss in the Republican Senate's repeated attempts to block unemployment benefits extension due to their view that most of these monies are seen as aiding blacks (although it stands to reason many of the beneficiaries will be white conservatives also).

What's the common denominator to all of this? Try the lack of importance given towards aiding large numbers of blacks already undergoing some form of economic suffering. This is deeper than racism by omission. What I'm seeing is the same disposition toward these blacks that George W. Bush so effectively taught them after Hurricane Katrina. With the exception of the black farmers – which has been on the floor since the 80's – much of this has to do with the rising hostility towards and legislative shutdown of the policies of the nation's first black president. In a previous column I called it the MAO Syndrome; Mad At Obama. Simple anger by conservatives over the existence of a black Democratic President that sparks a refusal to acknowledge or cooperate with him or his policies.

Rest assured the same thought-process behind the denial of Haitian and black farmers relief money by the right is what drives the probes of Rangel and Waters. Unless of course you subscribe to an impossible notion that there are no white congressmen in violation of similar. America's leading smart-aleck white guy Rush Limbaugh of course debunks the suspected racism by blacks and many on the left and sarcastically suggests that blacks are implying "ethics are racist." This is the same guy who said of overweight people back on June 23rd "even round people are in shape, because it's a shape." Just imagine someone of such limited insight gauging the racial divide.

A major part of the right's problem with Ms. Waters is her dealings with a bank once headed by her husband who still owns stock in it. Top execs from OneUnited Bank were also cited by the United States House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (or House Ethics Committee) to have been her major campaign contributors. Says one website "Ms. Waters said she is simply standing up for an association of minority banks, not a bank that her husband owned stock in." The association she refers to is the NBA. Not the Allen Iverson/Lebron James NBA, but the National Bankers Association (formerly the Negro Bankers Association). This is actually a pretty old organization of minority-owned banks formed in 1927. This regulatory and trade organization is a non-profit that is habitually underfunded in favor of the big white banking conglomerates as you can imagine.

Waters unofficial problem with the ethics board could be her refusing to frame certain events the way many whites want her. In '92 she called the LA riots a "rebellion." In the wake of the Shirley Sherrod issue she admonished African American listeners at an Urban League meeting to stop being so afraid of whites, that they hurt blacks. A direct shot at the NAACP and the President himself. Laura Ingram, one of an endless list of talk-radio Lauras called her words "divisive." They weren't really, Waters' words pushed a unification seldom seen in blacks today. Waters stinging accusations against the CIA and their role in crack cocaine development and target marketing towards the black community still leaves a wound open that still stings White America. Blacks are hated in many quarters still, but blacks who defend other blacks become a target themselves.

This investigation brings to mind Operation Bowtie that almost endlessly targeted black politicians like Richard Arrington, Maynard Jackson, and Harold Ford Sr., for the purpose of at least tying them up in court to make them less effective even if they couldn't get them ousted, is being played out again. And this time they won't stop until they reach the top. Waters is likely to face trial sometime this fall. Rangel may be in position to work out a deal, but a trial may be imminent for him this fall as well.

Obama is seen as such an ultra-liberal so as to be compared to a communist. Of course to most on the right anything can be considered communist, especially if it's dead center. In truth Obama really is a centrist. Nothing wrong with that in itself really, he's done quite well in actuality. It's when it comes to race dialogue that Obama has two-left feet. Perhaps in time Michelle will be his left-leaning influence just as Nancy Reagan was to Ron from the right, because it doesn't seem like anyone of us pundits will be able to get through to him and no such appointments by him to replace any of his inner-circle with Shirley Sherrod-type blacks seems to be materializing.

This is not good with mid-term campaigns looming this fall as well. Having two long-time powerful black Congressmen under such scrutiny is never healthy. Whatever level their guilt or innocence, I can't say, but I'm suspecting were Waters and Rangel white, you wouldn't be reading this column.

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