Sunday, September 25, 2011

Citizens Council's – déjà vu

I find it very difficult to see why many people can’t see what is painfully obvious to me. I suppose that’s why I have a passion for writing my Thought Provoking Perspectives. Let me take a moment to thank my many follows. I read this article written by Jack White, a frequent contributor to The Root, is a longtime observer of national politics that got me to thinking about a time most thought to be long gone. Then I looked at the striking similarities between the two pictures and said Hmmmm! You decide.

During the turbulent 1960s and '70s, segregationists like Alabama Gov. George Wallace and Boston anti-busing rabble-rouser Louise Day Hicks whipped up what was then known as "the White Backlash." It was nothing less than an all-out effort to use mob rule to roll back the gains of the civil rights movement and drive blacks back into second-class citizenship. It was a tactic that propelled Richard Nixon and, later, Ronald Reagan, to the presidency.

And now, 50 years later, we're going through what Yogi Berra might call déjà vu all over again. Or maybe it's a true-life version of Ground Hog Day. But whatever you call it, we've seen this horror movie before -- call it White Backlash Part Deux. The Tea Party is no prettier this time around than it was in its previous incarnations. If Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry ever makes it to the White House, the backlash will deserve much of the blame.

That's the gloomy conclusion I reached this week after reading a portrait of the Tea Party movement drawn by political scientists David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, authors of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, Campbell and Putnam confirm what many of us already knew and were deeply troubled about: Rather than being something new and spontaneous, the Tea Party is just the White Backlash gussied up in a tricornered hat, waving a flag reading, "Don't Tread on Me."

Despite the prominent presence of token African Americans like presidential candidate Herman Cain, Campbell and Putnam found, Tea Partiers are "overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do." Many of them are long-term hard-core GOP activists whose top priority is for their brand of evangelical Christianity to play a prominent role in politics.

They're the same old Bible-thumping, gun-toting, anti-government, racially resentful crowd who made Wallace a national political figure and helped Hicks turn Boston into a racial battlefield. It was their defection to the Republican Party back in the day that laid the basis for the nasty tone of our present-day racial politics, in which conservatism is equated with opposition to black equality. Their hostility to blacks predates Obama's ascent to the White House but was renewed and strengthened by it.

Don't take my word for it. Writes Joan Walsh at Salon, "These are the same people who've been fighting the Democratic Party since the days of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the beginning of the War on Poverty, almost 50 years ago. They associate those long overdue social reforms with giving folks, mainly black people, something they don't deserve. I sometimes think just calling them racist against our black president obscures the depths of their hatred for Democrats, period."

The Tea Party's leaders, of course, deny that racial bigotry has anything to do with their movement -- just as Perry denies that his loudmouthed campaign to restore state sovereignty has anything to do with the anti-black states' rights movement of the past. Indeed, black Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) had the nerve to compare himself favorably to legendary freedom fighter Harriet Tubman.

I grant that the Tea Party's grievances go beyond racism to legitimate differences of opinion about taxes and government spending. But that doesn't explain why Perry feels comfortable insinuating that Obama's lack of military service suggests that he does not love America the way the Texas governor does.

Our first black president couldn't be more different from Perry, who, in his book Fed Up, describes himself as "the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning, packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow-point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter's dog."

When I read that kind of self-congratulatory chest-thumping, when I hear Perry sneering that the chairman of the Federal Reserve should get "ugly" treatment for his potentially "treasonous" conduct of monetary policy, or that global climate change is a hoax cooked up by scheming scientists, the rhetoric is all too familiar.

It's the voice of George Wallace, inveighing against "pointy-headed intellectuals," and Nixon's hatchet man Spiro T. Agnew denouncing the "nattering nabobs of negativism."
This isn't how you have a reasoned debate over serious national problems. This is how you stir up a mob.
I could not have said it better and that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Troy Davis † Executed - "Amazing Grace" *RiP*

I am often moved and saddened but never surprised when racism or injustice rears its ugly head. I have lived through the horrible period of segregation so I am keenly aware of unfairness and injustice, which still exists. Having said that it is time for us to take a serious look at the times in which we live. I view the criminal justice system as the new Jim Crow. I am saddened by the murder of one Troy Davis. So let his death remind us that there are thousand living in the belly of the beast and hundreds waiting to die in the same manner as Davis. This system of state sanctioned murder is akin to or nothing more than retroactive abortion at the hand of power.

“In justice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” And with sadness that is my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…

Please watch these powerful videos.

Troy Davis Execution 9/21/2011

Judge Mathis Weighs in on the Execution of Troy Davis

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Justice Deferred – Troy Davis

I often chose topics that allow me to offer a view from a different perspective that is intended to produce a thought provoking reaction. With that said I do not wish to imply that when someone has done something wrong or committed a crime and found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt that the appropriate punishment or sanction should not be applied. Now, as the great Richard Pryor so amply stated “when justice is rendered to us in the courts. What we get it is ‘Just Us!’”

Everyone knows that fairness in the realm of justice is highly suspect at best when it comes to the African American community and black men in particular. This brings me to the Troy Davis case. Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday Sept. 21 more than two decades after someone pointed him out, following a 1989 shooting death of a police officer in Savannah, Ga.

The Davis Case has drawn global support from Amnesty International to the NAACP, and I will include myself. Even conservative figures, including former Rep. Bob Barr and ex-Justice Department official Larry Thompson, have urged Georgia officials to spare Davis’ life. The concern here is that since his conviction several witnesses have recanted there testimony. New witnesses have come forward to say another man was at the scene of the crime who is actually the killer. None the less, the courts have upheld the conviction repeatedly and a judge who was ordered to review Davis’ innocence claims said his arguments amount to “smoke and mirrors.”

To be fair, I don’t know if Davis is innocent or guilty but if witnesses have recanted and there’s reasonable doubt, the execution should be stayed and this Defendant should be granted a new trial. From what I have read there are too many questions and no hard evidence. It is not unheard of for the courts to reexamine cases where there are factual concerns but this usually happens when the Defendant has money – we know that. The prison population is full of minorities who can ill afford adequate legal representation.

Davis now 41 has been on death row for the last two decades for killing Savannah Police Officer. We also know of cases all over the country where people are wrongly convicted, serve years in prison and put to death. With the advent of DNA cases are reversed frequently and several states have halted executions altogether. Just this week the Supreme Court Halted Duane Buck's Execution because of errors made in this Texas case where an expert testified that a black man was more likely to commit further crimes because of this race claim.

Davis was 19 years old when he was arrested for killing officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. People are concerned about this case and protesting because no murder weapon was found and there was no DNA evidence. He was arrested due to questionable witness statements; 10 questionable witnesses in the case have signed affidavits withdrawing their statement saying that police forced them into accusing the 41 year old. This is reason enough for a new trial in this case in my opinion.

One of the jurors in the trial told Brenda Davis CNN in a 2009 interview that "If I knew then what I know now Troy Davis would not be on Death Row. The verdict would be 'not guilty.” Last night, there were more than 2000 coordinated rallies from downtown Atlanta to Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue on Friday showing support for Davis. Martin Luther King III, son of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., also joined the march. For years the case has been attracting much attention. Many notables like former president Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu have urged authorities to spare Davis' life.

Laura Moye, the Death Penalty Abolition campaign director for Amnesty International USA, said that rallies for Davis were first started in Hong Kong. Those rallies went on throughout the day in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. There were 10 events in France on behalf of Davis. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles received petitions with 663,000 names urging clemency on Thursday. The board is scheduled to meet on Monday to consider whether to stop Davis' execution by lethal injection.

The U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Davis in August 2009 to judge what he said was new evidence showing his innocence. The U.S. Supreme Court then transferred the case to a U.S. District Court in Georgia for the trial. But a year later, the judge, William T. Moore Jr., discarded Davis' claims of innocence.

I am opposed to the death penalty because lady justice shows that the scales are unbalanced and she is blind. Moreover, I agree with Richard “what we get is JUST US. And that is my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wake Up!!!

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 Timberlands, 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.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Day that Will Live in Infamy

It has been ten years since the attacks upon America's homeland and a day that will live in infamy, which has become known as 9/11. I can remember that day as if it was yesterday. To be honest, I can only come up with two words to describe my feelings – “Shocking and Horrifying”. I would like to take this moment to send my heartfelt sympathy to all who have suffered, still suffer, and died.

A few days ago I watched a documentary that cause me to think about what those terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to do, and did to the soul of America. Then I began to wondered if Osama bin Laden realized what those attacks that morning would do to the nation. It brought about George Bush’s immediate response to the attacks that in many ways compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda, which has been proven as there has been no evidence that bin Laden ever entered the country. Although the last administration tried to establish such a link. In my opinion it was a war of choice that quickly became very expensive to the order of more than $60 billion, which was claimed at the beginning and a war of incompetence coupled with dishonest misrepresentation.

Some have calculated a conservative tally at more than $3-5 trillion, which I believe to be a low ball figure and another lie. When you consider that it’s been ten years and 50% of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities. Adding that some estimate that future disability payments and health-care costs will total $600-900 billion. This is not to forget the human cost of our brave soldiers who die or commit suicides that have topped topped 18 per day in recent years, not to mention family breakups that no one can calculate.

I cannot forgive Bush or anyone in his administration for taking America to war and I’m sure not many sane people can either for this war created on false pretenses and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture. If you really think about it there was no excuse for how those crooks chose to finance it. This was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit while deficits soared as a result of his 2001 tax cut. But they did it anyway and passed yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy.

Today as the Republicans who joined him are focused on unemployment and the deficit. The deficit they created as a result of the wars. Both of which are threats to America’s future and has worsened America’s reputation around the world. Let’s be clear, the increased defense spending and the tax cuts is a key reason why America went from a fiscal surplus of 2% of GDP under Clinton to its parlous deficit and debt position today. Direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion – $17,000 for every US household – with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50%.

Let us also remember that then, as now, disruption in the Middle East led to higher oil prices, forcing Americans to spend money on oil imports that they otherwise could have spent buying goods produced in the US. But then the US Federal Reserve hid these weaknesses by engineering a housing bubble that led to a consumption boom. It will take years to overcome the excessive indebtedness and real-estate overhang that resulted.

Ironically, the wars have undermined America’s security, again in ways that bin Laden could not have imagined. An unpopular war would have made military recruitment difficult in any circumstances. But, as Bush tried to deceive America about the wars’ costs, he underfunded the troops, refusing even basic expenditures. Like, for example, armored and mine-resistant vehicles needed to protect American lives, or for adequate health care for returning veterans. A US court recently ruled that veterans’ rights have been violated. Maybe this is what is meant by “Support the Troops”.

Military overreach has predictably led to nervousness about using military power, and others’ knowledge of this threatens to weaken America’s security as well. But America’s real strength, more than its military and economic power, is its “soft power”. It is moral authority, which has be weakened as the US violated basic human rights like habeas corpus and the right not to be tortured, its longstanding commitment to international law was called into question.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, the US and its allies knew that long-term victory required winning hearts and minds. But just as in the last war America lost mistakes in the early years complicated that already difficult battle. The wars’ collateral damage has been massive and no hearts or minds have been won. There are some who say more than a million Iraqis have died, directly or indirectly, because of this war. According to some studies, at least 137,000 civilians have died violently in Afghanistan and Iraq in the last ten years; among Iraqis alone, there are 1.8 million refugees and 1.7 million internally displaced people.

Not all of the consequences were disastrous. The deficits to which America’s debt-funded wars contributed so mightily are now forcing the US to face the reality of budget constraints. America’s military spending still nearly equals that of the rest of the world combined, two decades after the end of the Cold War. So the idea of a broader Global War on Terrorism was created for only the rich to benefit from and frankly against enemies that don’t exist.

They tell us Al Qaeda is on the run - not conquered. bin Laden is dead and they say many of his cohorts. Are we safer? The argument is that there has not been another attack – very good – but there was no attack before 9/11. The question then that must be asked is; why are we still there? Bring the troops home! That is how you support the troops. The price paid has been enormous and mostly avoidable. The legacy will be with us forever. It is my opinion that if we bring the troops home they can protect us, which is their mission. The best thing all of us can do is say it loud – stop the wars!!!