Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time to Boycott Lowe's?

America has evolved. At least in law and theory, discrimination is no longer acceptable. It is not longer acceptable to discriminated against African Americans, Jews, Catholics, women and the physically disabled. Nowadays, even the most rabid reactionaries try to avoid being labeled as racist.

However, it remains acceptable to discriminate against and to hate Muslims. Mainstream politicians openly express hatred against Muslims with impunity.

The most recent example of this hatred is the Lowe's situation. Under pressure from the Florida Family Association, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse decided to pull advertising from the All American Muslim program on TLC. The Florida Family Association opposes the show the following reasons:
"The Learning Channel's new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish."
The Florida Family Association's argument is absurd. That is analogous to condemning the Cosby Show for excluding drug dealers, gangsters, buffoons, hoochie mamas, pimps, and "welfare queens" from the show.

In preparation for this article, I watched a couple episodes of All American Muslim. It is a wholesome family show. The viewers see mothers give birth, men coach football, boys play sports, families discuss business ventures, families dining together, people attending religious services and people working. We see Muslims, religious and non-religious, doing things that normal, ordinary people do. That is too much for the Florida Family Association.

They call it propaganda because it does not fit their narrow, stereotypical image of Muslims. The Florida Family Association does not want people to see positive images of Islam and Muslim like this.

Instead, the images below are what they want the world to see when they think about Islam and Muslims.

They can only envision Muslims as wife beating, turbaned, gun toting, suicide vest wearing maniacs. They cannot see Muslims as fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, police officers, doctors, coaches, business people or as patriotic Americans. As far as Florida Family Association is concerned, any attempt to portray Muslims as typical American citizens must be propaganda. This is no different from antisemitism. It must be condemned as antisemitism is condemned.

When Muslim groups complained about Lowe's decision to cancel advertising on All American Muslim, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lowe's issued this lame "apology":
"It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective – social, political and otherwise – and we’ve managed to make some people very unhappy. We are sincerely sorry. We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, across our workforce and our customers, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment.

Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.

We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.

Thank you for allowing us to further explain our position."
If Lowe's truly supports diversity, it would not defer to bigots like the Florida Family Association. Lowe's should be ashamed of itself for bowing down to the demands of bigots.

All people of good will should urge Lowe's to reject bigotry. If Lowe's does not understand the language of tolerance and acceptance, maybe they will understand the language of money and boycott.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Herman Cain's Minstrel Show Has Finally Come to an End!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Yesterday, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain finally ended his minstrel show. Opps. I mean his campaign. Hopefully, this is the last time I will have to mention his name.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This is What's Wrong with the American Political System!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This video summarizes the problem. Through campaign contributions, the power elite dominate both political parties. They own and control the American political process.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Herman Cain, The Day of the Geechie is Gone!

“See, the black race can’t afford you no more. Oh, there used to be a time we’d see somebody like you singing, clowning, yes sir bossing and we wouldn’t do anything. Folks liked that. You were good, homie kinda nigga. When they needed someone to mistreat, call a name or two, they paraded you. Reminded them of the good old days. Not no more. The day of the geechie is gone boy and you goin’ with it. We can’t let nobody go on believing that we're all fools like you.” Sergeant Waters, A Soldier's Story

It looks like Herman Cain's 15 minutes of fame are over. A couple of weeks ago, it was all good for Herman Cain. He was the front-runner for the Republican Party nomination. He actually started to believe that he could garner significant support from the African American community. The Washington Post reported that:
"Herman Cain’s turn atop the polls in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination captured the attention of journalists and pundits and sparked excitement among grass-roots conservative activists. But is it really possible that he — a black man who overcame poverty in the segregated South to become a wealthy entrepreneur and front-runner in the GOP race — would be the one to bring African American voters back to their original political home?

Cain seems to think so. In a mailer sent to Iowa voters recently, the candidate says “as a descendant of slaves I can lead the Republican party to victory by garnering a large share of the black vote, something that has not been done since Dwight Eisenhower garnered 41 percent of the black vote in 1956.”

It is a proposition that was quickly dismissed by political scholars and analysts, including some members of Cain’s party. Although he has done better than any other black Republican presidential candidate in terms of attracting support, few believe Cain could snare a sizable number of black voters in a general election, especially against President Obama."
Yes, some of us identify with the fact that Mr. Cain attended a historically black college, Morehouse College. Yes, some of us may identify with the fact that Cain was poor and raised in the segregated South.

However, most African Americans do not vote for candidates based solely on the pigment of the candidate's skin. The overwhelming majority of African Americans would never vote for Herman Cain, not because we are brainwashed, but because him and his political party are diametrically opposed to our interests.

Cain and his party oppose affirmative action, health care reform, workers rights, federal student financial aid and other issues that matter to African Americans. In addition, our people's support for President Barack Obama is unwavering. So, Cain never had a chance to win over a substantial segment of the black community.

His temporary popularity among Republicans was probably due to a couple of factors. First of all, the Republican field is garbage. All of their candidates stink. In such an environment, any charismatic and personable candidate would shine and steal the limelight. Also, he reminded the white Right of the good old days before we had an intelligent, relatively progressive African American president.

He gave the racist, xenophobic elements of the Tea Party cover. As a black man, his extremist and buffoonish anti-black, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim statements made it ok to be bigoted again. Such statements are nothing but modern day "yes sir bossing". Knowing that he never had a chance to be president, the Right was amused and entertained by his nonsense. They laughed when he sang hymns and "clowned" about "po".

Although the Right initially supported Herman Cain when the sexual harassment allegations emerged, I knew that his demise was inevitable. Let's face it. The Republican Party is a racist, white male dominated institution. Did Herman Cain really think that he still had a chance of winning the nomination after at least four WHITE women accused him of sexual harassment? There is no way that such a party would nominate a black man, especially one who is accused of defiling their precious white women.

Now, another WHITE woman claims that she had a 13 year long affair with Herman Cain. Consequently, according to CNN, Cain is now reassessing his campaign. The Republican Party is also socially conservative and self-righteous. I doubt that they would nominate a known adulterer to be President of the United States. Cain's 15 minutes of fame are over. In the words of Sergeant Waters from A Soldier's Story, the day of the geechie is gone and Cain is going with it!

This article is cross-posted at Jack and Jill Politics.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Herman Cain Finally Addresses Sexual Harassment Allegations

Today, Herman Cain held a press conference to finally address the sexual harassment allegations.  I plan to follow up this article with in depth commentary.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is Right!

The Occupy Wall Street Movement is right!  The 99 percent must unite and demand more equitable economic, social and political policies.  If the Republicans want to call that rhetoric "class warfare", so be it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seven Reasons Not to Vote for Herman Cain

Here are seven reasons why no one, especially African Americans, in their right mind should vote for Herman Cain.

1. He has NO political or foreign policy experience. He was a pizza man for crying out loud. His claim to fame is being the President of Godfather's Pizza. He has never held public office.

2. His 999 plan steals from the poor and working class masses and gives an unprecedented amount to the super rich.

3. He opposes the Occupy Wall Street Movement and supports the plutocrats.

4. He holds extreme anti-immigration views which border on racism. Listen to him talk about creating an electrified fence to keep illegal immigrants out of America.

5. He holds bigoted views against Muslims. He is on record stating that he would not appoint any Muslims in his administration. If he said the same thing about any other religious group such as Catholics, Jews or Mormons, there would be much public outrage and discussion. View this video.

6. Mr. Cain will appointed judges like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. As we all know, Justice Thomas has an abysmal civil rights record. Listen to Mr. Cain praise Justice Thomas.

7. Mr. Cain basically rejects his African heritage and refuses to use the term African American. Equally as important, Mr. Cain has made disparaging generalizations about African Americans and fails to acknowledge the continuing impact of the institutionalized racism.

By the way, what did you think about his political ad?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Does Muammar Gaddafi's Death Mean for Libya and Africa?

CNN reports that Muammar Gaddafi has been killed:
There are reports that deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been either captured or killed. This story is fast developing.

[Update 9:56 a.m. ET] A State Department official familiar with the latest information coming out of Libya said it “looks like he’s been killed," but the department is still awaiting official confirmation. The official would only speak if his name not be used.

If the reports are true, what does Muammar Gaddafi's death mean for Libya and Africa?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Should We Vote for President Obama Because He is Black?

The Washington Post reports that:
Even as Obama and his campaign play down the suggestion that support among African Americans is flagging, a cadre of powerful allies is snapping back at critics in the black community and making explicit appeals for racial loyalty.

“Let’s not even deal with the facts right now. Let’s deal with just our blackness and pride — and loyalty,” Joyner wrote on his blog. “We have the chance to re-elect the first African-American president, and that’s what we ought to be doing. And I’m not afraid or ashamed to say that as black people, we should do it because he’s a black man.”....

But the focus on sticking together has prompted criticism from some who call it an overly simplistic view that shuts off dialogue about Obama’s achievements and his failures.

“It truncates vibrant conversation in the black community,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University. “What I hear them saying is, ‘Black folk need to get in lock step because we don’t want Republicans to take the White House.’ There is a kind of disciplining of the black polity that doesn’t lend itself to a vibrant and detailed consideration about political issues.”

The calls for racial solidarity have not come from the White House, and Obama has been careful to speak in broad terms, even when talking about how his policies have helped African Americans. At the same time, his campaign has welcomed the support of black media figures. Those “validators” make clear that they back the president’s policies, and a White House aide noted that their support is deeper than the color of Obama’s skin. “You don’t see them supporting Herman Cain or Alan Keyes,” the aide said....

Sharpton said he learned an important lesson about supporting black politicians in the early 1990s, when David Dinkins, who was New York’s first black mayor, was running for reelection. Sharpton criticized Dinkins’s “deliberative” style and thought his policies were not progressive enough. Dinkins was hurt by the diminished enthusiasm and turnout among black voters.

“We beat up on him. He went down and we ended up with eight years of Rudy Giuliani,” said Sharpton, who has been among Obama’s most aggressive supporters. “I said I’ll never make that mistake again.”
This article raises interesting political and philosophical issues. Here are my thoughts.

It is inappropriate for African American radio hosts and commentators to urge their listeners and viewers to vote for President Obama just because he is black. Such appeals tread dangerously close to demagogy and prejudice. If a white person urged their listeners and viewers to vote for a candidate because the candidate is white, the black blogosphere would strongly condemn that person as a racist.

Rather than appealing to the intellect of the listeners, such arguments appeal to the emotions. They reinforce and perpetuate the false and stereotypical notion that African Americans are politically unsophisticated people who vote for candidates based on race, not policy.

Instead of telling listeners and viewers to support the President based upon his skin color, Tom Joyner and other African American public figures should provide substantive reasons as to why African Americans should continue to support President Obama. They should be able explain how President's policies have improved or will improve the lives of African Americans. If they are unable to do that, they need to just be quiet and let more qualified individuals fulfill that role.

Such appeals are problematic for another reason. While surrogates such as Warren Ballentine and Tom Joyner urge voters to support the President because he is black, the President continues to speak in broad, non-racial terms. He continues to propose general policies, without developing targeted policies designed to address the disproportionate unemployment and poverty in the African American community.

Sadly, when people make such arguments, they are quickly dismissed as "haters" and told that Obama "isn't just the President of black Americans."

In sum, we must be interests driven, not personality or pigment driven. Otherwise, our issues will never be addressed.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Herman Cain Appears on Meet the Press

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Yesterday, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on Meet the Press. How do you think he did? Do you think that he will actually win the nomination?

President Obama's Remarks at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication

As stated on the White House Blog, yesterday,
"President Obama, joined by the First Family, toured the memorial and then spoke at the dedication ceremony in honor of Dr. King's work to make his dream a reality for all. During his speech, President Obama reminded us that the progress towards Dr. King's vision has not come easily and there is still more to do to expand opportunity and make our nation more just."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Obama Sends US Troops to Central Africa

CNN reports that:
President Barack Obama is sending about 100 U.S. troops to Africa to help hunt down the leaders of the notoriously violent Lord's Resistance Army in and around Uganda.

"I have authorized a small number of combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield," Obama said in letter sent Friday to House Speaker John Boehner and Daniel Inouye, the president pro tempore of the Senate. Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army.
During the 2008 Democratic Primary, President Obama distinguished himself from the other leading candidates by essential running as the peace candidate. He emphasized his early opposition to the Iraq war. Ironically, in addition to managing the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama has deployed troops to Libya and Central Africa.

Like his predecessor, President George W. Bush, President Obama is a war president. Similar to the Iraq situation, Muammar Gaddafi and the Lord's Resistance Army do not pose a direct or indirect threat to U.S. national security.

Is such militarism and interventionism change you can believe in?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Truth About Uncle Herman Cain and His 999 Plan

"If the master's house caught on fire, the house negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house negro would say "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than the master identified with himself." Malcolm X

In sum, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain's 999 plan would require the working poor to pay higher taxes. Oddly, the rich would pay much lower taxes under his plan. Even worst, the 999 plan would abolish Social Security and Medicare.

Clearly, Herman Cain's plan will have a devastating impact on black people. A disproportionate percentage of the working poor are African American. Most African Americans, like the vast majority of other Americans, depend on Social Security and Medicare during their retirement years.

In addition, Mr. Cain has made many disparaging racial comments about President Obama and the black community. Dr. Boyce Watkins was right when he said this:

In his book, The Destruction of Black Civilization, Chancellor Williams states that:
"[M]any Africans became enmeshed in the horrors of the [slave] trade, knew what they were doing and, in the pursuit of guns and riches, became as brutal as the whites in dealing with their own kind."
Similarly, Herman Cain, in pursuit of wealth and political power, has adopted policy positions and made racist remarks that are brutal to the interests of his own people.

This is not surprising given Mr. Cain's history. He remained silent and passive during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. While brave brothers and sisters were arrested, jailed, beaten and killed fighting for freedom and equality, Mr. Cain was a good Negro. He stayed in his place at the back of the bus.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Do You Think About the Occupy Wall Street Movement?

What do you think about the Occupy Wall Street Movement? What impact will it have on the 2012 Presidential Election?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Are Black People Brainwashed Slaves on the Democratic Party's Plantation?

Recently, Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain described African American voters as being brainwashed to oppose conservative candidates. Please watch this video.

Supporting Herman Cain's assertions, conservative commentator Pat Buchanan described the Democratic Party as a plantation. Please watch Pat Buchanan's MSNBC video.

African Americans are not brainwashed. The majority of black people support the Democratic Party because it is their interest to do so, at this point in time. Democratic administrations enacted major civil rights legislation ending Jim Crow. Democrats supported and continue to support affirmative action. Democratic presidents have appointed judges and Attorney Generals who have defended civil rights. The opposite is true for Republican administrations.

The Democrats were the first major political party to nominate an African American for President. The Democrats were the first party to appoint an African American as a Supreme Court justice. Most black elected officials are Democrats. Many African Americans hold key positions and wield substantial influence in the Democratic Party. That is not true with respect to the Republican Party.

In response to the enactment of civil rights legislation, Dixiecrats left the Democratic Party and fled to the Republican Party. To win over Southern segregationists, the Republican Party adopted the Southern strategy and became hostile to civil rights, workers rights and welfare. Instead of being the Party of Lincoln, the Republican Party became the party of Strom Thurman and Jesse Helms. In effect, the Republican Party became the new White Citizens' Council. It is no coincidence that Republicans are at the front line defending symbols of the racist Confederate past.

The recent Rick Perry controversy is a prime of the Republicans' callous disregard for the concerns of black people. For years, Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry used to hunt in an area called Niggertown. Except for Herman Cain, none of the Republican candidates have condemned Perry for doing so. Their silence speaks volumes. Some of the candidates have actually defended Perry. Under pressure, even Mr. Cain was forced to tap dance to tone down his response.

Although the Democratic Party is the better choice, our unconditional loyalty to the Democratic Party has weakened our ability to
negotiate and further our interests. Despite our unparalleled support for the Democratic Party, our interests are made secondary to the interests of white moderates, time and time again. President Obama's approach to addressing unemployment and poverty in the black community is one example. The Bill Clinton/Sista Souljah controversy is another example.

Whether we realize it or not, the Democrat Party is not the solution to the problems facing our communities. Decades of Democratic rule in our inner cities has not eliminated poverty, high employment, inferior education, drugs and violence. Certainly, Republicans will not address those problems either. Although the Democratic Party is not a plantation, we need to create a viable third party alternative.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This is Why I'm Voting for Obama in 2012 (Part 2)

"But know this: the next election is 14 months away. The people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now." President Barack Obama

This week, I listened to the Republican Presidential Debate and President Obama's speech to Congress. The two parties views are starkly different on job creation, health care reform, social security, Medicaid, Medicare, corporate regulations, etc.

President Obama summed up the Republican prospective well when he said the following. "In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone's money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they're on their own – that's not who we are. That's not the story of America."

Essentially, Republicans believe that the answer to all of America's problems is laissez-faire capitalism, deregulation and tax breaks for the richest Americans. They support ending government programs that are vital lifelines for the poor and elderly. Their solution to poverty and unemployment is welfare reform, i.e. kicking poor people off welfare and forcing them to fend for themselves in this harsh economy where jobs are scarce. By the way, several of the Republican candidates even support ending the minimum wage.

The Republicans could not care less about disproportionate poverty and unemployment in the black community. Clearly, the Republican Party callously disregards our Black Agenda. According to candidate Michele Bachmann, black families were stronger during the slavery era. Despite the fact that the states rights doctrine was a used to defend racial segregation, African American Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain had the audacity to use states rights as a talking point during the debate.

Republican forerunner Texas Governor Rick Perry continues to describe social security "a ponzi scheme". He and many other Republican candidates support ending social security. Without social security, our seniors would not be able to pay for the bare essentials -food, housing, clothing and medicine. What kind of people abandon their elders?

They have no compassion for the elders, the poor and the minorities. All they care about is making life easier for fat cat millionaires and billionaires and corporations. While cutting off unemployment benefits, ending welfare and defunding education, they help the rich get richer through tax breaks and deregulation. We had several years of tax breaks and deregulation under the Bush Administration. If such schemes were the answers to America's problems, there would not have been a recession. Deregulation led to the financial crisis.

Moreover, Republicans like candidate Ron Paul cling to the idiotic and rigid notion that all government regulation is inherent bad  for the American people. His answer to America's problems is the capitalist market. Without government regulations, there would be no anti-discrimination laws for businesses. Businesses would be able to refuse to serve or hire people based on their race, gender and religion. We would have no child labor laws, no minimum wage, no labor rights in general, no food and medicine safety, no anti-trust laws, etc. Basically, America would be an even more racist, sexist, oligarchical and unsafe society if Ron Paul had his way.

Most, if not all, of the Republican candidates oppose health care reform. If it was up to them, health care insurance companies would continue to deny thousands of people coverage due to preexisting conditions. Many people would continue to go without any health insurance.

Although it is not revolutionary or innovative, Obama's view of the role of government is far more progressive than the Republican view. To illustrate that point, here are a few key excerpts from the President's speech that highlight the contrasts between the two parties:
"I am also well aware that there are many Republicans who don't believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share. And by the way, I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that, if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.

I'll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Our tax code shouldn't give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America.

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, "What's the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?"

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can't afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can't afford to do both.

This isn't political grandstanding. This isn't class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I'm pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It's not even close. And it's time for us to do what's right for our future. The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can't stop there. As I've argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future – an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, and out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth.

Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world.

But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.

We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set. Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn't had that chance?

How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result? No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities."
Although I disagree with the President on important issues, I am convinced that he is far more concerned about the plight of the unemployed, the poor, the working class and the middle class than the Republican opposition. Therefore, I plan to vote for Obama in 2012. The Republicans will only take this nation backwards. We need to move forward.

This article is cross posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Black Leaders Must Pressure the President to Address Unemployment and Poverty!

As reported on the Grio,
Sparks flew Tuesday during the Congressional Black Caucus "For the People Jobs Tour" town hall in Detroit, MI, as black caucus members told the mostly black audience to "unleash" them to confront President Barack Obama on the issue of jobs.

California Rep. Maxine Waters expressed her and other Black Caucus members' dilemma of having to walk a line. As representatives from communities that have had great love for President Barack Obama, it can be anywhere from difficult to impossible for Waters and the other members to be as critical of the president as she wanted to be.

"We don't put pressure on the president," said Waters. "Let me tell you why. We don't put pressure on the president because ya'll love the president. You love the president. You're very have a black man [in the White House] ...First time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the president too hard, you're going after us."

"When you tell us it's alright and you unleash us and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation. The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president too. We're supportive of the president but we're getting tired ya'll...we're getting tired. And so, what we want to do is...we want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do and what he's prepared to lead on. We want to give him every opportunity...but our people are hurting. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is. We don't know why on this trip that he's in the United States now, he's not in any black community...we don't know that."
Unemployment and poverty are major problems in the African American community. Here are a few sobering statistics cited on The Poverty Tour website:
"Between 2008 and 2009, the poverty rate increased for non-Hispanic Whites (from 8.6 percent to 9.4 percent), for Blacks (from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent), and for Hispanics (from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent). For Asians, the 2009 poverty rate (12.5 percent) was not statistically different from the 2008 poverty rate.

In 2009, 43.6 million people were poor, up from 39.8 million in 2008 — the third consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. The nation’s official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008 — the second statistically significant annual increase in the poverty rate since 2004. (Census Bureau 2010a p.13)

The poverty rate in 2009 was the highest since 1994, but was 8.1 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. The number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available.(Census Bureau 2010a p.13)."
According to CBS News,
"While unemployment among the general population is about 9.1 percent, it's at 16.2 percent African Americans, and a bit higher still for African American males.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that, historically, the unemployment rate for African Americans has always been higher than the national average. However, now it's at Depression-era levels. The most recent figures show African American joblessness at 16.2 percent. For black males, it's at 17.5 percent; And for black teens, it's nearly 41 percent."
It is a disgrace that many activists and elected leaders are afraid to pressure the President to address this crisis. Our people's cult like devotion to the President is even more disturbing.

I understand why our leaders are so hesitant to criticize the President. Look at what happened to respected scholar Dr. Cornel West and radio host Tavis Smiley. For attempting to hold the Obama Administration accountable, they have been vilified by black bloggers, activists and other segments of the African American community. Despite decades of proven commitment to the advancement and empowerment of black people, those brothers have been called poverty pimps and uncle toms.

They have become victims of group think. Frankly, I cannot understand how any rational person could actually believe that Dr. West and Mr. Smiley would conduct a nationwide poverty tour simply to settle a personal vendetta against the President. Dr. West is not raising this issue simply because he didn't get inauguration tickets. Mr. Smiley is not raising this issue simply because President Obama did not come to the State of Black America forum in 2008. Awake up people!

The election of Barack Obama was a major milestone in America history. It was a sign of major progress in race relations. It represented hope and change. A black man and his beautiful black family in the White House is powerful symbolism. The African American community is completely enamored by that symbolism. Unfortunately, that symbolism has become more important than substance. Protecting the symbol has become more important than protecting the interests of black people. The people are mesmerized by President Obama's larger than life cult of personality.

Anyone who legitimately criticizes the President's policies is blindly attacked and reduced to persona non grata. Ironically, while we push for racial commitment to the President, he fails to directly address the problem of disproportionate unemployment and poverty in the black community.

Sadly, too many of our politicians have exchanged their principles for access to the White House. Like a bunch of mindless groupies, our so-called leaders are content with just being in the presence of the President. Instead pressuring the President to address the issues facing poor and working class people, they just clamor for the opportunity to be seen with the President.

Real leaders don't ask the people to unleash them. Real leaders lead, inspire and motivate the masses. Real leaders like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. sacrificed their precious lives for our freedom. Surely, our politicians, if they are sincere, should be willing to face criticism from the Obamaholics. Our politicians should be willing to sacrifice their political careers for the love of the people. Our issues are too vital for them to do otherwise. Congressional Black Caucus, Cornel West, Tavis Smiley, keep up the pressure and turn up the heat! If you don't, nobody will.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics. Follow me on Twitter @AnsonAsaka.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Let's Go F*** with Some Niggers!"

As reported on CNN,
"On a recent Sunday morning just before dawn, two carloads of white teenagers drove to Jackson, Mississippi, on what the county district attorney says was a mission of hate: to find and hurt a black person.

In a parking lot on the western side of town they found their victim.

James Craig Anderson, a 49-year-old auto plant worker, was standing in a parking lot, near his car. The teens allegedly beat Anderson repeatedly, yelled racial epithets, including "White Power!" according to witnesses.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith says a group of the teens then climbed into their large Ford F250 green pickup truck, floored the gas, and drove the truck right over Anderson, killing him instantly...

As the teens were partying and drinking miles away from Jackson that night, in largely white Rankin County, Dedmon told friends they should leave, saying "let's go fuck with some niggers," according to law enforcement officials.

Then, the gang of teens climbed into Dedmon's green truck and a white SUV Cherokee, and drove 16 miles down Interstate 20, to the western edge of Jackson, a predominantly black area.

The teens would have seen Anderson immediately as they exited the highway, as the parking lot where he was standing is just beside the exit ramp."
This tragedy is a wake up call. Mr. Anderson is a modern day Emmett Till. Racism is alive and well. I guess that talk about a post-racial society is just a bit premature.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

It is Time to Leave Afghanistan!

The Washington Post reports that:
"U.S. forces in Afghanistan suffered the deadliest day of the decade-long war Saturday when insurgents shot down an American helicopter, killing 30 U.S. servicemen and eight Afghans in the latest of a series of setbacks for coalition forces whose numbers are set to decline over the coming months.

As U.S. troops have pushed the Taliban from havens in the south, the insurgents have retaliated in recent weeks with high-profile attacks and assassinations of Afghan officials. The incidents have challenged U.S. assertions that the military is making steady progress in preparation for turning control of the country over to its Afghan partners. Insurgents have also stepped up attacks in the mountainous east, the site of Saturday’s incident.

The dead in Saturday’s attack included 22 Navy SEALs, most of them members of SEAL Team 6, the counterterrorism unit that carried out the mission to find Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said. They added that none of the commandos who died Saturday were involved in the cross-border mission that killed the al-Qaeda leader."
I have written several articles opposing the war in Afghanistan. This latest tragedy is a shocking reminder that U.S. has failed to accomplish many of its key objectives after 10 years of war. It is time to bring the troops home.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Fight is Not Over!

“The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

As reported in the Washington Post,
“President Obama signed the compromise deal to raise the debt ceiling and take the first steps toward deficit reduction after the Senate passed the measure Tuesday morning. As Paul Kane, Lori Montgomery and William Branigin reported:

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a plan to raise the federal debt limit and cut government spending, ending a bitter partisan stalemate that had threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.

One day after a climactic vote in the House, the Senate easily approved the measure, 74 to 26, with significant majorities of both parties supporting it. President Obama promptly signed the bill and submitted a formal request to Congress to lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, instantly giving Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing power.

With the immediate crisis averted, Obama and congressional leaders quickly turned their attention to the next front in the war over the federal budget: a new legislative committee that will have the job of developing a broader plan to control the government’s debt.

The bipartisan panel, to be named this month, is likely to confront the same ideological divide that caused an almost crippling impasse in the debt-limit debate. Republican leaders are warning that they will not include anyone on the panel who is willing to raise taxes, prompting Democrats to threaten a hard line against cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits.”
CBS News summarized the compromise as follows:
“The compromise allows debt ceiling increase by as much as $2.4 trillion dollars in total. Included is an immediate increase of $400 billion dollars. President Obama would be permitted to request another $500 billion increase in the coming months, which Congress could vote to disallow by a veto proof two-thirds margin. A further increase of between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion would be available after a special committee identifies matching levels of additional spending cuts.

The agreement calls for cuts of more than $900 billion over ten years in spending from programs, agencies and day-to-day spending. It would include security-related and non-security-related cuts. According to the Congressional Budget Office, "discretionary" spending would be decreased by $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013.

The agreement creates a 12-person House and Senate special committee to identify further spending cuts. The committee must complete its work by Thanksgiving - November 23 - and Congress must hold an up or down vote on the committee recommendations by December 23. The committee could overhaul the tax code or find savings in benefit programs like Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. Congress could not modify the committee's recommendation.

Should the special committee deadlock or should Congress reject the committee's recommendations, then automatic across the board spending cuts of at least $1.2 trillion would go into effect.

The agreement requires that the House of Representatives and the Senate vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, although its passage is not guaranteed.

The deal also includes changes to Pell Grants and student loan programs. Pell Grants will receive a $17 billion increase for low-income college students, which will be financed by the elimination of subsidized student loans for most graduate students.

The compromise does not include any immediate revenue additions or tax increases.”
When I first read about this big compromise, I was ready to criticize the President for surrendering to the demands of the hostage takers also known as Republicans. Clearly, the President and the Democrats have poor negotiating skills. Instead, I will focus on the primary source of the problem, the Republicans.

The Republicans are slaves of the rich power elite. In order to protect the record profits of Wall Street, the Republicans were prepared to commit treason by forcing this nation to default on its debt obligations. The Republican Party is simply “a committee for managing the affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” They are devoted to preserving tax breaks and tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans by any means necessary.

Yet, they do not give a damn about the rest of us. The Republicans are ready to cut life lines to the poor, working class and middle class. The GOP is eager to place vital social programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. If the Republicans have their way, the poor and elderly will be deprived of health care and forced to fend for themselves in this bad economy.

How many poor and elderly people will forced to choose between buying groceries and buying medicine? In one of the world's wealthiest nations, no one should be forced to make such an outrageous decision. How many students will not be able to pursue higher education as result of these Republican budget cuts?

Instead merely complaining about this ridiculous compromise, we must prepare for the next phase of the struggle. We must strongly lobby the White House and Congress to ensure that the special committee includes members who will fight for average Americans. We need people on that committee who will vigorously defend Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other crucial social programs. We must make sure that the President fulfills his campaign theme of hope and change. The fight is NOT over! Stand up people!

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Frederick Douglass's 4th of July speech has great historical value. It exposes America's hypocrisy. However, the America that Douglass spoke about is not the America of today.

Through our sweat, blood and tears, we, the descendants of enslaved Africans, have chiseled and shaped this nation into a more democratic country. Through marches, rallies, civil disobedience, litigation and lobbying, we forced this nation to, in the words of Dr. King, live out the true meaning of its creed. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

As result of our struggle, we have the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and many other civil rights laws that protect all citizens from racial discrimination. We went from being slaves to becoming mayors, Congressmen, governors, and even President of the United States.

African Americans have fought in every single American war from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. This is our country. The 4th of July is our holiday too. Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

All US Troops Should Leave Afghanistan Now!

It is time for the US to end that senseless war in Afghanistan. The President's decision to withdraw 33,000 troop definitely is a step in the right direction. However, it does not go far enough. The Washington Post reports that:
"In a prime-time address from the White House, Obama said he will bring home 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year and 23,000 more by next summer, a withdrawal window that will conclude two months before voters decide whether to give him a second term. The first troops will leave Afghanistan next month.

The pullout schedule he outlined Wednesday will leave 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the end of next summer, and Obama said their departure will continue steadily through 2014, when the Afghan army is scheduled to take over security."
After the 9/11 terror attacks, President Bush, with Congressional authorization, declared war on Al Qaeda and those who harbored them, the Taliban in Afghanistan. At that time, the war was a righteous cause. It was a war to protect our national security.

Here we are 10 years later. If America's goal was to defeat Al Qaeda and to remove the Taliban from power, that goal has been accomplished. Al Qaeda has been defeated in Afghanistan. Less than 100 Al Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is dead.  By the way, the terrorist leader was found in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. The Taliban has been removed from power. Since the mission has been accomplished, there is no need for US troops to remain in Afghanistan.

Our goal should not be rebuild a failed state. That is virtually impossible. After almost 10 years of intervention, the US has not been able to transform Afghanistan into a sustainable and democratic nation. I doubt that an additional three years will make any difference. 

As President Obama said during his address last night, our focus should be on nation building here at home. We should not be building schools in Afghanistan as we close schools in Detroit and New York. We should not create jobs in Afghanistan while the African American unemployment rate remains in the double digits, twice the national average.

In these tough economic times, it makes no sense for the US to continue to squander billions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Before even discussing cutting Medicaid, Medicare, education and other vital services, this nation must stop funding those three wars.

Not one more US soldier should be injured or killed to prop up a failed, balkanized, narco-state. The Afghans must determine their own destiny. All US troops should leave Afghanistan now!

This article is cross posted on Jack and Jill Politics.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rapper Lupe Fiasco Explains Why He Called President Obama a Terrorist

Shout out to YBF. Please tell me what you think about Lupe Fiasco's comments.

The President is Violating the War Powers Act

As reported in the Washington Post last week,
"The Obama administration argued Wednesday that its nearly three-month-old military involvement in Libya does not require congressional approval because of the supporting role most U.S. forces are playing there, a position that puts it at odds with some Republican leaders and the antiwar wing of its own party.

The White House reasoning, included in a 32-page report to Congress, is the administration’s first detailed response to complaints from lawmakers of both parties, who say President Obama has exceeded his authority as commander in chief by waging war in Libya without congressional authorization.

The report came on the same day a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed suit in federal court against Obama seeking to end the U.S. participation in Libya, pushing what has been a slow-moving confrontation over the power of the president at a time of war toward the center of the political debate...

The United States has spent $715.9 million in Libya, the vast majority of it on military operations, according to the report. The administration estimates that the cost will rise to $1.1 billion through September, although it does not plan to request additional funds from Congress to pay for the mission...

The report says that “because U.S. military operations [in Libya] are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the resolution,” the deadlines for congressional approval or force withdrawal do not apply.

“We’re not engaged in sustained fighting. There’s been no exchange of fire with hostile forces. We don’t have troops on the ground. We don’t risk casualties to those troops,” said one senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity during a conference call arranged by the White House. “None of the factors, frankly, speaking more broadly, has risked the sort of escalation that Congress was concerned would impinge on its war-making power.”"
However, this week, the Washington Post reported that:
But at the Pentagon, officials have decided it’s unsafe enough there to give troops extra pay for serving in “imminent danger.”

The Defense Department decided in April to pay an extra $225 a month in “imminent danger pay” to service members who fly planes over Libya or serve on ships within 110 nautical miles of its shores.

That means the Pentagon has decided that troops in those places are “subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger because of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions.”

Many in Congress have said they were outraged by Obama’s argument last week.

“Hostilities by remote control are still hostilities,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), normally a close Obama ally, on Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” “We are killing with drones what we would otherwise be killing with fighter planes. And we are engaged in hostilities in Libya.”

Legislators have proposed resolutions that would express disapproval of the operation or cut off its funding — or authorize it outright. Congressional leaders have not said when any of those options will be voted on.
For the record, I oppose the war in Libya for the reasons outlined in my article entitled I'm Not Buying What Obama is Trying to Sell. I support Rep. Kucinich's and Rep. Conyers' War Powers Act lawsuit.

Clearly, by any definition, the United States is engaged in hostilities in Libya. According to the New York Times, "since the United States handed control of the air war in Libya to NATO in early April, American warplanes have struck at Libyan air defenses about 60 times, and remotely operated drones have fired missiles at Libyan forces about 30 times, according to military officials."

Moreover, NATO action is US action. NATO is led and funded by the United States. As stated on the AP, "in transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show."

Al Jazeera reports that NATO has hit 1,000 targets, killed approximately 718 (according to Libya), and injured 4,000 people. This past Sunday, NATO bombed a two-story house and killed two children and seven adult civilians. The Washington Post reported that "Libyan officials on Monday accused NATO of killing 15 noncombatants, including three children, in a massive strike on a farm in western Libya." Again, the US is essentially waging war in Libya. Therefore, the President's failure to get authorization from Congress is a violation of the War Powers Act.

This nation is supposed to be a democracy, not a monarchy. Article One, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, not the President. The War Powers Act enshrines that general principle into law. If properly enforced, the War Powers Act can prevent an abuse of power. If we elect progressive members of Congress like Conyers and Kucinich, the War Power Act may be able to curb America's natural, imperialistic and militaristic impulse.

Some may suggest that members of Congress are taking action because the President is African American. That argument does not have much merit because similar action has been taken against other Presidents. According to the CRS Report for Congress - War Powers Resolution After Thirty, in May 1981, members of Congress took action against President Reagan for sending military advisers to El Salvador. The same report notes that members of Congress filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Reagan's invasion of Grenada. According to the report, in 1999, members of Congress sued President Clinton for violating the War Powers Act with regard to US military operations in Kosovo. In sum, the War Powers Act has been raised during many conflicts during several Administrations. Obama is not being singled out because of his race.

Sure, the Republicans who support the lawsuit and proposed resolutions are probably political opportunists. I am sure that many, if not most of them, are merely looking for an opportunity to undermine the Obama Administration. While that may be true, it does not negate the fact that the President is violating the War Powers Act.

This article is cross-posted on Jack and Jill Politics.