Saturday, April 16, 2011

Robin the Hood’s

When I was a child, and even today, I loved the fabled story of Robin Hood. You know the legendary English outlaw who gave to the poor what he stole from the rich. What a noble concept? I think my reason for loving the story so much was because I was poor and this could well be your reason too. Certainly, this was central to the story’s appeal.

What I see happening today is the same thing only in reverse when you look at the state of our nation’s political environment. We’ve all heard the saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”; a truth so well spoken. However, what is profound about that statement now is that today the thief is getting help from a den of thieves, crooks in high places, and the right-wing. The GOP, who I view as being akin to the Citizen Councils of old, are major culprits in this conspiracy or dare I say crime.

Let’s look at the GOP proposed budget for instance with schemes, smoke, and mirrors that defy the rules of sanity. It decimates the helpless, the poor, the elderly, women, and minorities affecting everyone but the rich. Or maybe I should say it differently by saying “the least of Thee” all the while fighting for dear life to maintain the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest of Thee.

I’m having hard time discerning which is more galling the voodoo economics, which we have seen tried before; remember the trickledown theory upon which GOP plan is built. Or those who try to legitimize it when it’s more like something from Homer Simpson. It sounds to me that the GOP’s 2012 Republican budget proposal is nothing more than an economic suicide pact. Comparing the plan to my Robin Hood colloquial literally all the tax cuts in the plan are directed at the wealthy. Not to mention the fact that this budget will actually increase the deficit over the next ten years.

The estimated cost of giving the wealthiest Americans a multi-trillion dollar welfare package is just about equal to the proposed cuts in food stamps, Medicaid, and other programs targeted at low-income families. In a society where the top 400 families possess more wealth than the bottom 50% seeks to further magnify this vast disparity by scraping crumbs from the poor to subsidize the rich.

We’re being told that the country is about to fall off a cliff. Yet, they’ve forgotten that it was the Republicans who pushed it to the edge of that proverbial cliff. The Banks and Wall Street, not Main Street, have more power than at any time in our history. The right-wing conservatives are complicit and guilty as sin as they help the mighty rob the weak. Their draconian approach in doing so is no longer hidden from view, as it once was, it’s so blatant and transparent that Ray Charles, who is blind and dead, can see it.

They want to privatize Social Security so Wall Street can pillage the money that each of us have paid into an accoount. The big Corp’s and Banks don’t have to pay taxes like the rest of us. For example, Bank of America is said to hold 35% of all the financial banking market and paid less last year than they charge for a single, one, ATM transaction fee. But, when they got in trouble the Republicans robbed us all by giving them, and others, trillions of our dollars from the treasury and of course they blamed Obama.

They have somehow harkened the notion that America should go back to its roots; back to the time of the founding fathers as they tout the Constitution. Well, if memory serves me correctly, these were the original gangsta’s who robbed England playing by one rule –“White Men Only”. Slavery was the law, people of African descent were viewed as not being human, and they extolled profits from the least of thee - slaves. They went so far as to fight and kill each other in a war where 600,000 people died to preserve this amoral institution. Today, they righteously call themselves the “Tea Party”.

So the game is to rob every “hood” (Main Street) and give to the rich (Wall Street) in reverse of the heroic outlaw that robbed the rich and gave to the poor. Listen to the voices. Hear what they are saying or maybe what they are not saying because it is no doubt loud and clear. You, me, nor us don't count; it is all about the haves and unfortunately we are the have not’s. And, if you can’t hear what they are saying – “we are the have not’s” and that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wake Up Everybody

Since the year of our Lord 1619, when people from Africa were first dragged onto American shores; African Americans have been chastised, criticized, punished, beaten, robbed, and murdered in the name of freedom and justice. All while the culprits have enjoyed wealth and prosperity as a result of our never ending allegiance and patriotism, often blindly. Even today when we have ascended to the White House there are those who castigate much vial abuse upon this uniquely qualified man of African heritage.

We are a unique people, a forgiving people, a steadfast people, and a brave people unlike any known to the world. It was our labor that built this country and is responsible for the great wealth America enjoys to this very today. When you look upon America’s enormous wealth and the power derived from its tremendous control of resources, think about the sacrifices our families made to make all of this possible. We have looked out for this country for hundreds of years and still doing today, which is simply amazing.

Upon our backs, laden with the stripes of punishment for what they believed was for discipline and in spite of our loyalty, diligence and tenacity - we loved America. Even when America refused to allow us to even walk in the shadows, we followed, believing that someday we would come to accepted and treated like men and women. Our strength in the face of adversity is vastly understated.

Our history is one of unbelievable struggle. We’ve been brave on the battlefield, despite being classified as three-fifths of a man. This was, and is, outstanding and frankly beyond the call of duty considering that we have lived through slavery and under an Apartheid like system. We have raised America’s children, attended to its sick, and prepared their meals while those forefathers were occupied with the trappings of the good life.

Even during the times when they found pleasure in our women and enjoyment in seeing our men lynched, maimed and burned - we continued to watch over America’s soul. We labored in the hot sun for 12 hours to assist in realizing the dream of wealth, good fortune, and made America a great world power. We were there when it all began, and you are still here today, protecting the system from those Black people who have the temerity to speak out against America’s past transgressions.

It was us who warned about Denmark-Vessey, told you about Gabriel Prosser's plans, called your attention to Nat Turner, Malcolm, and yes Martin too. It was us who sounded the alarm when old John Brown came calling on Harper's Ferry and there are still some sounding warnings today. Black Nationalism has died and as result our community brings 95 percent of what it earns to other businesses and keeps little for themselves in spite of the fact that other people controlled at least 90 percent of all the resources and wealth of this nation.

We purchase things like Hilfigers, Karans, Nikes, and all of the other brands that I assume make people feel as if the system is giving back something for their patronage. After all, in the past, the brands and scares placed upon us were worn quite painfully, but those of today are proudly worn because they give a false sense of self-esteem. Our community’s super-rich; athletes, entertainers, intellectuals, and business persons, both legal and illegal, exchange most of their money for cars, jewelry, homes, and clothing. The less fortunate among us spend all they have at neighborhood stores, enabling other cultures to benefit by opening more stores and taking our wealth; this is the result of our not doing business with each other.

In today's business environment, we do not support each other and just keep doing business with the larger community or in fact any other community. Some say we, as a people, were very successful doing this after slavery ended and even as recently as 1960, but you know what happens when you began to build your own communities and do business with one another – you’re pitted against one another and destroy ourselves.
We dance, sing, fight, get high, go to prison, back bite, envy, distrust, and hate one another. Oh, less not forget we pray a lot.

We resisted the messages of trouble-making Blacks like Washington, Delaney, Garvey, Bethune, Tubman, and Truth for fighting and dying on the battlefield for us all. Yet, most have forgotten the names and take no reverence in their sacrifice due to a lack of reciprocity and equity.

This includes our acquiescence to political agendas, abdicating our own economic self-sufficiency, and working so diligently for the economic well-being of other people. Even though the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were written and many died for the rights described therein, we did not even resist when they changed Black Rights to Civil Rights and allowed virtually every other group to take advantage of them for their progress. This goes beyond the imagination, irrespective of the many promises that have been made and broken. A lass, don’t worry, when you die you will find a place where there is a mansion waiting for you and streets paved with gold somewhere in the sky.

Moreover, we went beyond the pale when we allowed our children to be turned over to the American educational system. With what is being taught to them, it's likely they will continue in a mode similar to the one we have followed for the past 45 years. Remember, Mr. Lynch when he walked the banks of the James River in 1712. He prophetically said he would make African’s slave for 300 years; little did he realize the truth in his prediction. Just one more years and his promise will come to fruition.

But with two generations of children going through this education system, we can look forward to at least another 50 years of despair. We can change that come to understand that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When you continue to do what you’ve always done; you will get what you always got and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

By John T. Wills
Author of “Just a Season”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who Killed Brotha Minister?

It’s been Forty-six years since Malcolm X predicted his own assassination. What is more interesting is the question of who pulled the trigger remains unanswered. Also ironic is that a new book was released resurrects the long-standing mystery and suggests that some of those responsible for the activist minister’s death have never been prosecuted. The Author/Historian Manning Marable who pinned this riveting book died last week after a long illness. Marable offers a theory about Malcolm X’s assassination and tells a much fuller story of the man who at various was a street hustler, a minister who preached racial separatism and a civil rights icon.

It is ironic that this powerful book was released during the commemoration of another icon of our time – Dr. Marting Luther King, Jr. Is all of this coincidence, timing, or a message? Let’s review the day Malcolm X was gunned down in 1965 at Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom. The so called investigation reports that three men who viewed Malcolm X as an enemy and hypocrite for renouncing the Nation of Islam were quickly arrested and prosecuted. The case was closed as far as law enforcement was concerned, but many have doubted if the police captured the right men.

Marable, who began studying Malcolm X in 1969 uses the biography, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” to search for answers and name five alleged conspirators of which only one has served time for the crime. While the riveting 592-page book examines Malcolm X’s life, it is the research into his death, which publisher Viking Press describes as “the never-before-told true story of his assassination,” and could prove most controversial. Marable goes further than any other mainstream scholar in pointing to specific individuals who he alleges plotted to kill the minister. The man who fired the first and deadliest shot, Marable alleges, is still alive, while another conspirator has died. The book does not include definitive information about the fate or whereabouts of the other two.

“Here is a real assassination, with real assassins who are out there,” said David Garrow, an American historian and author of a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Martin Luther King who says “it has never been pursued”. Garrow wrote in 1993 an opinion piece titled “Does anyone care who killed Malcolm X?” and calls Marable’s book a “huge achievement.”

Marable alleges that one of the killers is 72-year-old Newark resident whose attorney says “It’s unfair to try someone in public based upon an allegation,” and that his client “was not directly or indirectly involved with the assassination of Malcolm X.” He added that his client has not read the book, but is reviewing his legal options.

Three members of the Nation of Islam, the religious group for which Malcolm X was chief spokesman before he repudiated it in the year before his death, were convicted in the killing. Two of the men, both paroled in the late 1980s, maintained their innocence. Talmadge Hayer, who was released last year, was caught at the scene by Malcolm X’s supporters. He later confessed to his involvement, declared the two other convicted men innocent and in a court affidavit named four accomplices who have never been tried.

For his conclusions, Marable relies heavily on both Hayer’s affidavit, which a judge ruled in the late 1970s was not a credible reason for reopening the case, and previously untapped notes from Hayer’s attorney. The notes and the affidavit describe how a small crew of Nation of Islam members in Newark plotted the assassination, scoping out the Audubon Ballroom, where Malcolm X frequently held meetings, as an ideal place to target him.

Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, a historian whom Marable cites as a source in his book, first asserted that a triggerman was alive in a blog posting last year and named Shabazz. Marable was also interested in the involvement of the Nation of Islam leaders, and law enforcement officials who wiretapped Malcolm X and other black nationalist and civil rights leaders. In hours of interviews, Marable draws Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan into a conversation about whether he played a role in creating an atmosphere in which Malcolm X was killed. “Even now there are some black people calling for a grand jury — because there’s no statute of limitations on murder — to bring me into a grand jury to question me,” Farrakhan tells Marable, according to the book.

Marable accuses police of failing to investigate the threats on Malcolm X’s life and of “almost waiting for a crime to happen,” something police officials have called an unsupported conspiracy theory. Some scholars and followers of Malcolm X have said the case should be reexamined by authorities. “Marable’s work calls for the case of Malcolm’s assassination to be re-opened,” Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor and an author of a book about Kings Death, said in an e-mail Sunday. Peter Goldman, a journalist who interviewed Malcolm X several times and spoke with Marable for his book, said: “The question I’d like to see explored — preferably by a body with subpoena power — is the chain of command. Who ordered the killing? Who said what to whom? But nobody seems interested.”

Marable writes “History is not a cold-case investigation”. In his book, Marable deconstructs Malcolm X’s famed autobiography, a collaboration with Alex Haley. The classic book, published nine months after Malcolm X’s death, painted a false picture of its subject’s political and social evolution, according to Marable, who was associated with the political left. “A liberal Republican, Haley held the Nation of Islam’s racial separatism and religious extremism in contempt, but he was fascinated by the tortured tale of Malcolm’s personal life,” Marable writes.

Scholars have predicted that Marable’s book will prompt a new focus on Malcolm X. In the early 1990s, Spike Lee’s biographical triggered a revival, and hip-hop groups embraced Malcolm X as a political icon. In 1999, his picture was placed on a U.S. postage stamp. The aim of the biography, Marable writes, is to “get beyond the legend.” Should we be compelled to find truth in the mist of what is said to be fact. Or does the ghost of Malcolm X continue to instill fear.

As reported in the Washington Post; this information was gleaned from an article by Krista Thompson, Sunday, April 3, 2011 to which I felt the need to share as a Thought Provoking Perspective - Great Report and a must read book!!!