On healthy living, one would assume that also encompasses the healthcare debate where members do not only have to state their positions through press releases but also by creating talk sessions among constituent groups to take a firm stand on the healthcare debate.
Where was the CBC when the GOP and their right wing machine successfully carried out mob-like town hall meetings to disrupt the facts and tried to strain the debate on health reform?
Did the CBC conduct a full force nationwide healthcare tour of cities that are heavily concentrated with African Americans to engage our communities on the facts and benefits of a health reform?
In the article, the Times reported that the CBC is in bed with “cigarette companies, Internet poker operators, beer brewers and the rent-to-own industry, which has become a particular focus of consumer advocates for its practice of charging high monthly fees for appliances, televisions and computers.”
Meanwhile, the CBC in 2008 spent roughly $700,000 for its much-publicized legislative conference, the high point of which is the dinner attended by thousands more than it spent on scholarships for Black children.
Last year’s function was keynoted by President Obama, himself a former but non-active member of the group.
Because of the massive support CBC receives from companies whose business practices and ethics are most of the time diametrically opposed to the well-being of African Americans, the members are struggling to walk a fine line that a third grader can see as very blurred.
Of note in the damning CBC story is the love relationship between rent-to-own companies that prey on the financially illiterate and low-income earners — Blacks in particular — and CBC members.
An article in the New York Daily News last year where Sen. Chuck Schumer called rent-to-own companies “one of the most despicable industries around,” showed how poor people are being slaughtered on the alter of financial greed.
“Schumer’s staff found that a $37-inch television which was being offered at Rent-A-Center for 104 weekly rental payments of $31.99 each — a total of $3,326.96. That same model could be purchased outright at Best Buy for $850,” the New York Daily News reported.
So CBC member Congressman Danny K. Davis from Illinois supported legislation that would have strictly undercut the rent-to-own industry thriving in urban centers, including his own Chicago west side district, but later backed off from his opposition according to the Times article.
Instead, Davis co-sponsored legislation, supported by the industry after a financially oiled campaign to win the CBC, and a promise to donate computers to a jobs program named after Davis.
Larry Carrico, former head of the rent-to-own trade association traveled to Chicago to hand over to Mr. Davis his well deserved gift for supporting an industry that rips off the Black community: a van with “Congressman Danny K. Davis Job Training Program” on it.
Another example of CBC members hustling for their own selfish gains, which may be based on the fact that the majority of Blacks who elect them don’t have the money to buy their influence in Congress, is Congressman William Lacy Clay Jr. of Missouri.
He received $14,000 from the rent-to-own industry in 2008 for a golf tournament his family organizes in St. Louis.
“I will always do my best to protect what really matters to you,” the Times quoted Clay as telling the industry after it agreed to hold its 2008 convention in St. Louis, his district.
Apparently, Clay forgot who sent him to Congress. There is no sense of recourse to the actions of some of these lawmakers who are willing to deal and negotiate their Congressional seats and trade their influence at the expense of their district members.
No wonder most of their Congressional districts remain so poor and disadvantaged. The members have shown no decency in their dealings with companies preying heavily on their constituents.
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