All Blog Posts Tagged 'johnson' - The Hutchinson Report News 2016-05-25T00:27:10Z Petition Launched Demanding Dropping of Charges Against Spring Valley High Students,2015-10-28:6296329:BlogPost:86603 2015-10-28T20:32:38.000Z Earl Ofari Hutchinson


Press Advisory

Contact: 323-383-6145


Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was fired for his brutal…


Press Advisory

Contact: 323-383-6145


Richland County Senior Deputy Ben Fields was fired for his brutal assault on a Spring Valley H.S. student. But the charges against the two girls stand. That is not justice," Says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, President Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.
A petition will be started demanding that Richland County Solicitor Dan Johnson drop all criminal charges against the Spring Valley H.S. students arrested after the attack by Fields. Discipline, when warranted against students, must be the sole responsibility of Spring Valley H.S. school officials.
Richland County Solicitor Dan Johnson
Address1701 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201
Phone 803-576-1800
Fax 803-748-4790
Selma got it Right about Johnson, the FBI and King,2015-01-02:6296329:BlogPost:84031 2015-01-02T04:30:00.000Z Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The debate is sharp over whether the movie Selma got it right about Lyndon Johnson and his relationship with and to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A counter argument challenges the film’s depiction of Johnson as at best wary of King and his mass street action campaigns in Selma in 1965 and the South for the passage of a voting rights bill, and at worst outright hostile to King’s actions. This debate will likely rage for years to come.  But even more worrisome, Selma strongly hints that Johnson aided and abetted if not an active plotter in the FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s dirty, illegal, and covert war against King. 

Whether Johnson knew every gruesome detail of Hoover’s assault on King is not known. However, there are tell-tell clues that Johnson’s involvement with Hoover’s covert campaign went deep. The first tip was his executive order on New Year’s Day, 1964 which in effect assured Hoover his tenure as FBI Director for life. He reaffirmed that in November 1964 in a meeting with his then Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. Katzenbach had pressed Johnson to rein Hoover’s wiretapping excesses in. Johnson made it clear that he would he not take action against Hoover. He considered him a much valued source for information. That information was the steady stream of illegal wiretaps on the sexual antics and personal activities of any and every one from entertainers to Johnson’s political foes. The biggest haul of tapes though was those that Hoover had stockpiled on King. At the same meeting, Katzenbach explicitly told Johnson that Hoover was trying to peddle the tapes on King’s private doings to cooperative journalists.

At a follow-up news conference, Johnson feigned indignation at both Hoover and King and pledged to damp down the friction between the two.  Hoover took that as a tacit endorsement and green light to step up his by then virtually open assault on King. That campaign went beyond simply collecting salacious tapes on King. As Selma graphically showed, Hoover sent one of the tapes purporting to show King in an adulterous sexual liaison to his wife Coretta Scott King. The tape was recorded and sent to Southern Christian leadership Conference headquarters in late 1964 just about the time that Johnson again declared his support of Hoover.

Hoover’s brutal and systematic covert campaign against had a two-fold aim. One was to discredit King as the nation’s paramount civil rights leader and to discredit the entire civil rights movement in the process.

Hoover, and other top FBI officials routinely spit out these choice expletives about King “Dangerous,” “evil,” and a  “colossal fraud.” They didn’t stop at name calling. They talked ominously of “neutralizing” him as an effective leader. And even more ominously they sent him a poison pen letter flatly saying “King you are done” and suggesting he kill himself.

Hoover assigned Assistant FBI director William Sullivan the dirty job of getting the goods on King. Sullivan branded King as the “most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation.” In his book My Thirty Years in Hoover’s FBI, Sullivan described the inner circle of men assigned to get King. The group was made up of special agents mainly drawn from the Washington and Atlanta FBI offices. Their job was to monitor all of King’s activities. Much of their dirty tactics are well known. They deluged him with wiretaps, physical surveillance, poison-pen letters, threats, harassment, intimidation, and smear sexual leaks to the media, and even at the time of his murder, Hoover had more plans to intensify the spy campaign against King. Decades later, Sullivan still publicly defended the FBI’s war against him, and made no apology for it. The FBI patterned its spy and harassment campaign against King on the methods used by its counterintelligence division and internal security sections during the 1940s and ’50s. The arsenal of dirty tactics they used included unauthorized wiretaps, agent provocateurs, poison-pen letters, “black-bag jobs” (breaking and entering to obtain intelligence) and the compiling of secret dossiers.

In the 1960s, the FBI recruited thousands of “ghetto informants,” for their relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation against African American groups. The bureau even organized its targets into Orwellian categories agents gave such labels as “Rabble Rouser Index,” “Agitator Index” and “Security Index.”

By the time Johnson assumed the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, Hoover’s obsession with and campaign against King was in high gear. And the few times,  Hoover’s campaign of slander and vilification of King was hinted at publicly,  Johnson would shrug it off and reaffirm either publicly and privately Hoover’s absolute invaluable importance to him. What Johnson knew or worse authorized Hoover to do to thwart King will never be fully known. But as Selma pointed out, Hoover’s gutter campaign against King happened on Johnson’s watch, and he did nothing to stop it.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour heard weekly on the nationally network broadcast Hutchinson Newsmaker Network.

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Mark Ridley-Thomas and Crony, Alex Johnson - An Insidious Virus Within the Black Community,2014-07-30:6296329:BlogPost:82796 2014-07-30T03:57:55.000Z Earl Ofari Hutchinson




Mark Ridley-Thomas, Alex Johnson

Three of the most tenaciously destructive problems endemic to the Black community is political apathy, a lack of education, and the self-serving corruption of some of our politicians and so-called "community leaders," and the race for District 1 of the Los Angeles Unified School District has revealed conclusively that County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and his new young crony, Alex Johnson, are the resulting embodiment of all three of those problems.
Subsequent to the sudden and untimely passing of longtime LAUSD board member, Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte, a large coalition of parents, clergy, politicians, local activists, and groups within the education community came together to support the interim appointment of George McKenna to complete Ms. LaMotte’s term of office. That’s how such matters have been routinely handled in the past. 
McKenna is a lifelong educator with an illustrious background, a proven track record, and is highly respected - in fact, esteemed - within the educational community. He became nationally renowned after being portrayed by Denzel Washington in the movie, "Hard Lessons," chronicling McKenna’s stunning turnaround of George Washington Preparatory High School in South Central Los Angeles. McKenna enjoys the endorsement of the Democratic Party, the United Teachers Los Angeles, the LA Times, La Opinión, LA Sentinel and over 100 leaders in the education, ecumenical, political, civic community, and now, 4 of 5 of his former June 3rd opponents.
Yet, in spite of all of the support that George McKenna enjoys from within the community and the fact that by forcing a special election the community was left without representation for months and it cost the district over $2.5 million that could have been going toward our young people’s education,  Mark Ridley-Thomas completely ignored all of that, used all of the political influence that he could muster to force a special election. And why did he thumb his nose at the best interest of the community? - so he could promote the candidacy of a political crony, Alex Johnson, one of his deputies on educational affairs. It was a clear case of giving the political consolidation of power priority over the best interest of the people.  In short, cronyism - or the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority without proper regard for their qualifications (or lack thereof), or the interest of the people.
Of course, Johnson/Thomas supporters might ask, how do we know that Supervisor Ridley-Thomas doesn’t simply feel that Alex Johnson is the better man? That’s a very simple question to answer - the tone of the Johnson/Thomas campaign.
Whenever you have a candidate whose primary concern is to better the plight and conditions of the people, that’s what their campaign will focus on. Such a politician will generally come to the people with an agenda, tell the people what he or she hopes to accomplish, and then begin to explain why they think they’re the better candidate. But that certainly doesn’t describe the Johnson/Thomas campaign. They came out slinging mud and feces everywhere.
Alex Johnson and Ridley-Thomas have taken a page right of the Republican play book. They’re using the EXACT same tactics against George McKenna as the GOP has been using against Obama, and that fact alone should tell us that these two individuals are bad news. They have no sense of integrity. They hope to benefit from anger, animosity, and turmoil rather than competence. That accounts for why they're slinging mud instead of an agenda, because they clearly don’t have a presentable agenda to present. 
They don’t want that seat because they want to help the people. They couldn’t care less about the people. They want that office - or ANY office - because it helps to consolidate the PERSONAL political power of Mark Ridley-Thomas. Period.   
Ridley-Thomas’ behavior seems to indicate that he sees himself as the big city version of "Boss Hog"(no pun intended) - and this sort of thing has been going on for quite some time with him. In the 2010 article, "L.A. County supervisor gives his side of the story," that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez writes:
"L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas greeted me warmly Monday afternoon, even though I'd come to hear him explain why he used $25,000 in taxpayer money to buy a place in "Who's Who in Black Los Angeles." I wanted to ask him whether his decision to buy the spread had anything to do with the fact that the book's associate publisher has made campaign donations to the supervisor and is a longtime ally.
"But first Ridley-Thomas wanted to give me a tour of his office, which he had intended to refurbish at a cost of $707,000 — until the project made the news . . ."
In the same article, Lopez gives Ridley-Thomas’ explanation as to why he paid $25,000 of the taxpayer’s money to be featured in "Who’s Who in Black Los Angeles":
" Ridley-Thomas told me it was worth honoring those county employees because many in the African American community ‘don't know’ there are black people ‘in positions of leadership’ in the county. I thought he must be kidding, but he said he wasn't. I suggested that it might be cheaper to use his newsletter to break the news, rather than "Who's Who," especially since I don't think anybody's buying the book unless they're featured in it.
"I wasn't all that surprised to learn that the associate publisher of "Who's Who," Anthony Samad, happens to be a longtime friend of Ridley-Thomas. But I was a little rattled to discover when I looked up campaign contributions that Samad donated $1,250 to Ridley-Thomas' campaign in 2007 and 2008. And that's not all. I also laid my hands on a document showing that Samad had been awarded a $24,999 consulting contract in 2002 by the city of Los Angeles, at the behest of then-Councilman Ridley-Thomas."
Now, I suppose if one is a logical contortionist, one could say that by funneling that money to Anthony Samad, it COULD be considered funneling it back into the community. But I’m not a contortionist, so it looks to me like cronyism - especially considering the fact that Samad is one of Ridley-Thomas’ longtime friends and political contributors. But I’m not going to past judgment on whether this kind of palm-greasing is improper or not. While it looks highly suspect to me, I’m going to leave it to the reader to make that determination for themselves.
But it does make one thing irrefutably clear, however - Mark Ridley-Thomas feels absolutely no reluctance in using his office to promote his own interest and benefit friends, and that’s exactly what he’s doing in this race for District 1 of the LAUSD. But this time it's a little different from greasing a friend’s palm. This time around, by supporting his friend, the eminently inexperienced Alex Johnson over the renowned George McKenna, he’s clearly demonstrating that his loyalty to self, friends, and cronies is given a much higher priority than you and your children. 
So the bottom line is this - with all the adversity that we're already forced to face in the Black community, can we afford to also have politicians in office who place their needs before our own?  I don't think so, and we need to keep that thought in mind, not only for this election, but also when Mark Ridley-Thomas faces the voters again.  When a politician becomes so comfortable that he begins to think HE'S runnin' things, it's time to get rid of him.

Fifty Years Later the 1964 Civil Rights Act is Still Under Assault,2014-06-26:6296329:BlogPost:82645 2014-06-26T17:36:37.000Z Earl Ofari Hutchinson



Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the monumental 1964 Civil Rights Act in July, 1964 was accompanied by a wave of celebratory events back in April at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.  President Obama gave the keynote address and three other living presidents, Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton also gave their thoughts on the significance of the Act. They paid due homage to the profound impact the Act had in serving as a powerful wrecking ball that demolished the walls of legal segregation and ushered in an era of unbridled opportunities for many blacks. The changes are unmistakable today. Blacks are better educated, more prosperous, own more businesses, hold more positions in the professions, and have more elected officials than ever before.

Yet the towering racial improvements since Johnson put pen to the bill a half century ago masks a harsh reality. That is that the challenge and threats to civil rights 50 years later are, in some ways, more daunting than what Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders of that day faced. 

When Johnson signed the bill, black leaders had already firmly staked out the moral high ground for a powerful and irresistible civil rights movement. It was classic good versus evil. Many white Americans were sickened by the gory news scenes of baton-battering racist Southern sheriffs, fire hoses, police dogs, and Klan violence unleashed against peaceful black protesters. Racial segregation was considered immoral and indefensible, and the civil rights leaders were hailed as martyrs and heroes in the fight for justice.

As America unraveled in the 1960s in the anarchy of urban riots, campus takeovers, and anti-war street battles, the civil rights movement and its leaders fell apart, too. Many of them fell victim to their own success and failure. When they broke down the racially restricted doors of corporations, government agencies, and universities, it was middle-class blacks, not the poor, who rushed headlong through them. As King embraced the rhetoric of the militant anti-war movement, he became a political pariah shunned by the White House, as well as mainstream white and black leaders.

King's murder in 1968 was a turning point for race relations in America. The self-destruction from within and political sabotage from outside of black organizations left the black poor organizationally fragmented and politically rudderless. The black poor, lacking competitive technical skills and professional training, and shunned by many middle-class black leaders, became expendable jail and street and cemetery fodder. Some turned to gangs, guns and drugs to survive. 

A Pew study specifically released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington celebrations in August 2013 graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white perceptions of the workings of the criminal justice system.

A half century later, the task of redeeming the promise of the Civil Rights Act means confronting the crises of family breakdown, the rash of shamefully failing public schools, racial profiling, de facto Jim Crow housing segregation, the obscene racial disparities in the prison and criminal justice system, and the HIV/AIDS plague among blacks, the gut of affirmative action, and the full blown assault by the GOP on the Voting Rights Act. These are beguiling problems that define the racial battles today and these are the problems that King and the civil rights movement of his day only had begun to recognize and address. Civil rights leaders today also have to confront something else that civil rights leaders in 1964 did not have to face. They had the sympathy and goodwill of millions of whites, politicians, and business leaders in the peak years of the civil rights movement. Much of that goodwill has vanished in the belief that blacks have attained full equality. Things have regressed so much that there’s much speculation that the 1964 Civil rights Act would have tough sledding getting through the heavily tea party influenced GOP controlled House today.

Then there’s the reality that race matters in America can no longer be framed exclusively in black and white. Latinos and Asians have become major players in the fight for political and economic empowerment and figure big in the political strategies of Democratic and Republican presidential contenders. Today’s civil rights leaders will have to figure out ways to balance the competing and sometimes contradictory needs of these and other ethnic groups and patch them into a workable coalition for change.

Still, civil rights leaders can draw strength from the courage, vision and dedication of those who battled for the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s passage. They can and must continue to fight hard against the racial and economic injustices that still plague the nation fifty years after Johnson’s landmark signing.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He will host a Civil Rights Leaders Panel on the Fifty Year Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on his weekly The Hutchinson Report Radio Show, KTYM 1460 AM, Friday, June 27, 9:00 AM

Councilman Bernard Parks at the urging of his organization the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable will introduce a resolution in the L.A. City Council, Wednesday July 2 commemorating the passage of the Act.

Poverty is America’s Taboo Word,2011-09-14:6296329:BlogPost:10901 2011-09-14T16:53:22.000Z Earl Ofari Hutchinson

There are two new rituals about the yearly census reports on poverty in America. One is that the census figures show more Americans continue…

There are two new rituals about the yearly census reports on poverty in America. One is that the census figures show more Americans continue to sink into poverty. The poverty rate this year jumped to the highest level in nearly two decades. Those hardest hit remain the same. Blacks and Hispanic were nearly twice as likely as whites to be poor. But racial distinctions aside, the census figures showed that there were a lot of poor whites too, and what’s become an increasingly even more common trend many of those who tumbled into the poverty column are those who at one time were by all measures considered middle class.

The other ritual is that the news of rising poverty makes headlines one day. And the next it is forgotten.  This year is no different. Not one of the GOP presidential candidates made mention of the poverty rate jump. The White House was equally mum on the report. Poverty remains the taboo word on the campaign stump, among lawmakers, the media, and the general public. It remains even a taboo word among many of the poor.

Political and public references to poverty virtually disappeared from the nation’s vocabulary by the end of the 1960s. The continued existence of so many poor people after a decade of civil rights gains, the rash of initiatives and programs to end poverty, and massive government spending on the poverty programs by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, was ultimate proof to many that tossing money and programs at ending poverty was flawed, failed, and wasteful. It seemed to fly squarely in the face of the embedded laissez faire notion that the poor in America aren’t poor because of any failing of the system, but because of their personal failings.  This is not just the hard bitten attitude of GOP free market conservatives. It is the attitude of the majority of Americans, including many of those who were poor.  When poverty started to inch up in 2001, National Public Radio (NPR), the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University's Kennedy School, conducted a national poll to find out just what Americans attributed poverty in the nation too. The terms that were bandied about by many of the respondents no matter their background was that the poor were “unmotivated,” “lacked aspirations to get ahead,” and “didn’t work hard enough.” A majority believed America was a place where with hard work and determination anyone could succeed. In other words, the loud message was that if you’re poor, it’s your fault, don’t blame society, and especially don’t look to government to be the cure.

Democratic presidents and presidential contenders took this message to heart. Still reeling from the fierce conservative backlash to the perceived failure of Johnson’s war on poverty, they gingerly moved around making any public pronouncements about massive government spending hikes on welfare, income supplement, and health care programs for the next two decades. The Democrats trembled that such talk would only stir up white anger by reinforcing the old perception that Democrats tilt toward minorities, and especially blacks.

But the poor stubbornly refused to go away. There was some hope during the 2008 presidential campaign that Democrats might lift the taboo about talking about the plight of the poor.  Democratic presidential contender John Edwards fueled that hope when he openly talked about poverty, and that he would the issue one of the centerpieces of his campaign. In a well publicized appearance, Edwards launched his presidential campaign in the front yard of a mangled brick house in New Orleans’s mostly black, Katrina and poverty devastated Upper Ninth Ward. He talked boldly about the need to crusade against poverty. Democratic presidential rivals Obama, and Hillary Clinton, not to be outdone, also gave speeches challenging the nation to do more to alleviate poverty. The talk didn’t last. With the exception of Edwards, whose candidacy quickly disintegrated after public revelations about his love tryst, the candidates didn’t utter another word about poverty during the rest of the campaign. The GOP presidential contender, John McCain, as expected, made no mention of poverty as a policy issue either.
The mantra for the GOP and many Democrats are deficit reduction, tax cuts, and measured, and narrow spending on infrastructure projects to jump start the economy. The widespread view that government should play a minimal role in assisting the poor has crept through in President Obama’s speeches and talks in which he touts personal responsibility as the key to uplift. It would be the height of political and fiscal incorrectness, even heresy, to expect that to change in Obama’s drive to keep and the GOP’s drive snatch back the White House.

The ritual census figures that show that the number of poor continue to grow with little end in sight to the rise hasn’t budged the nation to do anything about their plight. Poverty is the forbidden word that sadly is doomed for now to remain America’s taboo word.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on podcast on and internet TV broadcast on
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