Monday, May 23, 2011

Dr. West - The Old Divide and Conquer

Is anyone else as disgusted as I am with Dr. West for joining the “Hater Nation”. I am sure by now everyone has heard about the very public rift between the Chief (Obama) and the scholarly Dr. Cornel West; albeit coming from one side. This thing has brought out some heavy hitters from across the African American spectrum taking sides with respect to Dr. West’s scathing critique of President Obama’s in a series of recent interviews. This furious debate among African American bloggers and commentators could well be explained as the ol’ divide and conquer routine or is it something more sinister; say a tinge of Willie Lynch.

Of course we all know and respect Brotha West but I was surprised by many of his public remarks: “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.” And there are others, “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men. . . . It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.” West went on to say that Obama’s politics are more centrist than progressive and do not uplift the poor, calling the president a “newcomer .  .  . who wanted to reassure the establishment” and “someone who was using intermittent progressive populist language in order to justify a centrist, neoliberalist policy.” Hmmm!!!

Law and Order theme…

Some of the best and brightest African American has chimed in on this very public foray. While not placing myself in this group, I can say that I am concerned, or dare I say dismayed with respect to West’s take on Obama and race. Dr. West must remember the situation with his partner Brother Tavis during the election; he was ostracised by most for his actions that were not relevant and for not being on “the right side of history”. I don’t think anyone objects to him having an opinion but these remarks seem to be more about personal issues.

Brother West’s comments continued Tuesday night during an MSNBC interview intensifying the criticism of Obama that began shortly after the election. During the 2008 campaign, West said he traveled to 65 campaign events for the presidential candidate. Later, West complained that he was not given inauguration tickets for his brother and mother, and that Obama did not return his phone calls. In 2009, West told the New Yorker magazine that he was displeased with Obama’s well-received speech on race, which, in part, compared racial anger in the black community to that in the white community.

Melissa Harris-Perry, a Princeton professor of African American studies and politics, wrote a column for the Nation calling West’s comment “utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. . . . Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.”

Eddie Glaude, a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton, said African Americans in academia had been discussing West’s comments for days, particularly looking at how he had deployed race in his critique of Obama. “West came out swinging,” said Glaude, who engaged in the debate on Twitter, saying he found West’s political critique much more substantive than his “racial reasoning.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a close Obama ally who has sparred with West over the president, said Tuesday that the issue comes down to a misunderstanding of Obama’s role. “This is the first time in this country that we have an African American president. He is not the president of African Americans,” Sharpton said. “The problem we’re seeing with too many older-minded people is you don’t want the next generation. You want clones. And people don’t have to be your clone to validate your sacrifice.”

My thoughts on these comments are this: Brotha West’s comments are extremely patronizing and arrogant, and just what is expected of us, i.e., Willie Lynch. It gives the appearance that Brotha West thinks he is sitting on high and is worthy to judge who is and who is not an authentic African American. There’s nothing West has done or written that merits this self-regard or authority. In fact, this nonsense could be akin to the “birthers” claims. These comments also indicate the degree to which Dr. West believe liberal social policies are synonymous with caring for the poor, despite the evidence that the opposite may be often true.

Brotha West must also know these comments are damaging. It would be fair for West to offer a harsh critique of Obama’s policies, if he believes it’s warranted. But to make the claim that the president’s deviations from left-wing orthodoxy are a manifestation of a “certain fear of free black men” is preposterous. Why would this Brotha inject race into this discussion? It seems as if he is saying, when it comes to politics and political philosophy there is a single “black” position or maybe “HIS” and those who don’t embrace it are racially suspect. In the case of Obama, he is said to be a “white man with black skin.” To suggest the president is a mascot and a puppet is a shamefully ugly. He need to chill!!!

Thankfully, White House declined to respond to this nonsense leaving it to others to come to the president’s defense. It’s not like the Chief, the most powerful man in the world, does not have enough to do. West sent out this message via Twitter in response to the criticism: “This discussion is in no way about me, it has to do with poor and working people having low priority in US governmental policy including the Obama Administration. My personal words had to do with being disrespected by the President. People are disrespected every day, and they can raise their voices in response to it.”

After four hundred years, its time to show unity. The Chief has been president of all people for the first term; serving all people and us too. Yes, it is true that he is only half black and identifies with both cultures. But trust and believe when he looks at himself in the mirror he knows what he sees and its black, as others do. His wife is black and his children are black. Therefore, I believe this man who is thoughtful and calculating will produce effectively that which will benefit our community.

Lets just say he appoints two more liberal Supreme Court Justices, that alone would change the course of our lives for fifty years. Then, given the benefit of doubt that once re-elected he will be able to do things that at this moment he cannot. He has performed admirably under the circumstances. When you look at what he was handed from day one. With the right wing nuts coming after him for everything that he does. If he is for it they are against it.

Then factor in the Tea Baggers – Brotha West you are behaving no different. I would suggest that we remember the last bunch that was in office and ask yourself – which would you prefer. Brotha you are not helping the cause – you are support the age old Euro tradition - Divide and Conquer. And that's my Thought Provoking Perspective...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Eye of Newt - Wide Shut

Richard Cohen wrote a great piece in the “Post” where he summed up Newt Gingrich as follows: “There is more than a little Richard Nixon in Gingrich — the same lack of place, the same keen intellect, the same petty fights and imaginary enemies, the same hallucinatory grievances, the same willingness to lie, exaggerate and smear. On a given day, Newt Gingrich could be a brilliant president. On any night, he could be a monster.” Having lived during the era of “Trick Dick” I think this is a fair description. By the way, Mr. Cohen also called Newt “the Pinocchio candidate” – again I agree.

As we approach and the 2012 election near, we can be certain that there will be lies, more lies, and damn lies. It’s not like we don’t know Newt. He’s been around for decades with the same self-serving hypocrisy. So we should know his character and completely reject his new bid for the spotlight. I watched him on a Sunday morning talk- show and true to form like his comrades anything Obama is for they are against. The fact that they were for a policy before Obama announces his support makes no difference.

Newt was for going after Gaddafi until Obama went after Gaddafi. Romney was for the same health care plan that Obama signed, until Obama was for it. This trait is not exclusive to the male candidates vying for Obama’s spot; the potential women pretenders share this overriding trait as well. The unifying theme in their message is consistent with anyone who opposes them as a Socialist/Communist/Nazi/Terrorist who wants to destroy America.

Let’s not even forget the tried and true "Southern Strategy", which is nothing more than bigotry disguised in what he calls conservative values. Just this week, he called Mr. Obama the “Welfare President” and referred to him as Motown. He’s talked about his mother and derided the black father from Kenya. What do you think he’s implying? I will be kind and say at best the use of coded language, race baiting, directed at the so-called “Real Americans” is clear. This ugly language of demagoguery is nothing short of bigotry – plain and simple.

I will give him credit for being creative in that he brilliantly explained his moral commitment surrounding the adultery issues. He said, “How passionately I felt about this country” – that is original. This was done at a time when he led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for his misgivings. It is also said that he left and divorced a wife dying of cancer in the hospital and this is his third wife. I will applaud his sister, if reports are true, she does not support him.

Therefore, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign will destruct as fast as the Donald’s did. Particularly, after throwing his party under the bus on Sunday by assassinating the republican platform, namely Rep. Paul Ryan's draconian budget plan which amounts to social engineering and semi-supporting an individual mandate for health care they call “Obama Care”. Newt has also said he wants Medicare to die on the vine. Now it has come to light that the so-called “fiscal conservative” is being stung by a report that he carried up to $500,000 in debt to the Tiffany jewelry company - and may still be carrying it. This is the death knell for his campaign for sure.

I don’t like to predict the future but I will say with certainly that this guy will NEVER be Commander in Chief. Richard Pryor once famously said “Who do we believe me or you’re lying eyes” or ears in this case as his moral compass leaves a lot to be desired when you consider his documented history. Let the right keep coming with the absurdity of these republican candidates and our president will keep his job. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

REPENT – The end is near!

I was in downtown DC a few days ago, when I noticed a group handing out fliers. A lady in the group wearing a highlighter-bright yellow shirt that said “Earthquake So Mighty, So Great” approached me. She was shouting “have you heard the awesome news that Holy God will bring judgment day on May 21, 2011.” Since, I hadn’t heard - it got my attention. So I thought I’d inquire because something this important was valuable information. She gleefully said, “The End of the World is Almost Here. Awesome!”

Now, this notion or dare I say claim has been made since Jesus left us, meaning he would return and according to the Book of Revelations. I will admit I believe Jesus is coming back and the world will end one day, but I don’t think it will happen this week. With that said, I began to converse with this group wondering how they knew this secret. Moreover, I wanted to hear their explanation as to why the world ending was “great news”. Needless to say, I did not get anything from the lady that convinced me that she was sane. She was, in my opinion, simply a delusional foot soldier for some preacher, who she admits had predicted such a thing a few times before. I thought this should have been a clue.

I know the world is in turmoil: hurricanes, flood, tornadoes, earthquakes, wars, ect, ect. But these things have always existed since time began. So what would make someone represent such a position? Particularly, when this woman said she left her husband, children, home, job, and all worldly possessions to be with the Lord. Let me be clear, I also want to be with the Lord one day but not Saturday.

Law and Order theme!

Seems like every so often some nut comes out of the woodwork with an end of the world prediction or maybe scam. Especially when times are bad but the reality is times have always been bad somewhere in the world. This is not new; many people have been captivated by the idea of the end of time since man first walked the earth. Some have even been so bold as to pick a date. William Miller, who spawned a 19th-century religious movement that remains visible today, was the classic example. He created a nationwide stir when he predicted that Jesus would return and the world would end on March 21, 1844. He was stood up.

In fact: End Times, as the phenomenon is known, has spawned an economy that rivals the GDP of small countries. There have been scores of books, movies, video games and albums that revolve around Armageddon and the end of the world. Johnny Cash even dabbled in End Times lyrics, particularly in his popular song “The Man Comes Around”. In short, this is a cottage industry. For many Christians, it is a core part of their beliefs. About 41 percent of Americans thinks Jesus will return before 2050, according to a 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

The man pushing the current forecast is Harold Camping, an 89-year-old Christian fundamentalist radio host and co-founder of the Family Radio network, which broadcasts on dozens of stations across the country. As his foot soldiers told me this is not Camping’s first end-of-the-world prophecy. In a 1992 book, he predicted that the world would end in 1994. When he woke up in 1995, clearly something had gone wrong. His excuse was “It’s just like anyone who invents something or comes to a truth or any technician — they don’t immediately make a finished product”. He went on to say, “I did not come to the finished product until three years ago. It was at that time that God showed some exquisite proof. We are at the threshold of being destroyed by fire and brimstone.” WELL!!!

REPENT: The end will come sometime around 6 p.m. on May 21 — not 6 p.m. California time or New York time or Hong Kong time. The world will end at 6 p.m. only when it is 6 p.m. locally, Camping said, citing his calculations. “People will see this coming to them from around the world… It will follow the sun around.” Camping doesn’t seem exceptionally sad to at the notion of seeing the world go: he says, “Frankly, I wonder why this hasn’t happened sooner.”

In 1844, when the news spread that the world was coming to an end: A priest ran into a salon and shouted, “Repent, the world is coming to an ending. What are you going to do?” There were three men playing cards at the time. One said, “Father I am going to the church to pray. I’ll be ready.” The second man said, “I am going to get a bottle, two women, go upstairs and go out with a smile”. The third man sat back in his chair at the card table and said, “I sir shall finish the game”.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Commander in Chief – Gangsta

I can’t say I have ever agreed with the likes of a Michelle Backmann who has called our great president a gangsta and his administration gangsters. However, after the events involving the most expensive killing of all times; she may have a point. I say this because of the way the president, who I will call the Chief, handle the mission to take out the most wanted man on the planet, which was as cold and calculating as anything I've seen. It could not have been scripted any better if it was a made for TV movie.

Let’s recap: last week the Chief and his family flew to Alabama to spend time and offer comfort to the victims of the tornado devastation. Then, while flying to Florida to watch the final flight of the space shuttle, he issued the order to raid Ben laden’s secret hideout. The next day, he lambasted the Donald at a black tie affair, which by the way, he did very well. All in a day’s work – as cool as can be. Wait, there is more, and this is the gansta part! His team accomplished the mission. They killed the target, they threw Ben laden’s body into a chopper, flew it to a ship somewhere out at sea, and then threw it overboard. WOW!

This was the end result of a ten year manhunt, two wars, more than a million lives lost, countless maimed, injured, and a financial cost in the trillions. Of course, the Chief’s opponents are crediting the last administration, namely “W”, for this dastardly feat, which I suppose is to be expected, as well as national unity lasting maybe a week. I remember being taught in school that as Americans it is one for all, all for one, and not every man for himself as the right tend to believe.

I think the Chief demonstrated that he can be bold at an operational level, even as he remains cautious at a philosophical level. His actions proved that can be a cold, tough hardhearted man when issuing orders as of the president of the United States and anyone who doubted his willingness to project our might need only look to the events in Abbottabad. Frankly, he executed the duties of Commander in Chief with the heart of a stone gangster.

Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts. I feel much sorrow for the thousands who have suffered and been affected by Ben laden’s horrendous deeds, or misdeeds, inflected upon innocent people and their families. Therefore, I will not offer an opinion with respect to the killing – that is a task for someone greater than I. But, what I will ask is “now that we got the boogieman” – NOW WHAT?

What are your thoughts?


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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthers: Just like Slavery

I said I would not dignify comments from the realm of the absurd but I could not resist. So, let me first say that I am very disappointed in the most powerful man in the world, a black man, who has had to show his papers like a runaway slave. This simply furthers the image of him held by the extremists who view the president as “the other” or an illegal alien sent to steal America. Did I just step out of the “way back machine” and journeyed back to the 1850’s or did we ever leave?

This ruckus is due in part to the Donald’s latest demand is nothing more than race baiting. The whole birther conversation is disgraceful at best; no I will go further and call it exactly what it is – INSAME. This request, from the Donald and others, by the side show folks demanding to see this distinguished black man’s papers to prove he is an American is more than absurd. Let’s remember that this guy, Trump, who according to him, has a good relationship with “The Blacks” is a huge step back to a disgraceful time long ago. Hmmm. It actually sounds like something a slave master might say - don’t you think. Then to add to the ridiculous, the huckster asked to see the president’s academic records. Shocking!

First, he didn’t believe the president was born and now he doesn’t believe the president went to school. This is something never suggested of the other forty-three presidents, and there have been some bad ones. It seems to me that this is really just because Obama was born to a white woman. Maybe the Donald is saying to those like minded “Real Americans”, i.e. Tea Party and right-wing nuts that it is indeed all about the color of his skin and not the content of his character. Not exactly what Dr. King meant I’m sure.

Let’s face it “The Blacks” see America through a very different prism concerning racism and bigotry as a result of 400 years of persecution. Which they will not admit but it cannot be denied. Frankly, a black man having to show his papers to prove to white people that he is a citizen harkens back to slavery or the black codes imposed back in the day.

Let’s remember the 3/5 rule! Was the Donald and his “Klan” implying or reminding the president of something more ominous? Regardless of the position he holds; he is not viewed as human or not a man as originally stated in the founding documents? I suggest we flip the script and ask Mr. Trump to show us papers for his business dealings. Ok, enough about the “wing-nut”.

Now to you Mr. President: you will be viewed as one of “The Blacks” regardless of what you do. It is their code; one drop of black blood requires it. Like Manifest Destiny which they believe God himself decreed the new world to “The Whites” to which you are not one. So I respectfully as why do you avoid black issues, and there are many, take a stand, we need your help. You have the power to right the wrongs of a system that has imposed the single worst most continuous crime against people of African descent since time began.

Mr. President, I support you. Love your family and what you stand for but when you look in the mirror ask yourself when do you begin to stand for those Americans who are in need who look like you and your family. Lastly, Remember Don Imus? Well let’s do the same thing to the Donald – BOYCOTT!!! As one of the blacks I will, and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…