Thursday, November 29, 2012

Barack Obama and Susan Rice are on the Wrong Side of History

As the New York Times reports:
More than 130 countries voted on Thursday to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations, a triumph for Palestinian diplomacy and a sharp rebuke to the United States and Israel...  
The new status will give the Palestinians more tools to challenge Israel in international legal forums for its occupation activities in the West Bank, including settlement-building, and it helped bolster the Palestinian Authority, weakened after eight days of battle between its rival Hamas and Israel....  
Still, the General Assembly vote — 138 countries in favor, 9 opposed and 41 abstaining — showed impressive backing for the Palestinians at a difficult time. It was taken on the 65th anniversary of the vote to divide the former British mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab, a vote Israel considers the international seal of approval for its birth...  
As expected, the vote won backing from a number of European countries, and was a rebuff to intense American and Israeli diplomacy. France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland all voted yes. Britain and Germany abstained. Apart from Canada, no major country joined the United States and Israel in voting no. The other opponents included Palau, Panama and Micronesia...  
Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations, was dismissive of the entire exercise. “Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade,” she said. “And the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed, save that the prospects of a durable peace have only receded.” A major concern for the Americans is that the Palestinians may use their new status to try to join the International Criminal Court. That prospect particularly worries the Israelis, who fear that the Palestinians may press for an investigation of their practices in the occupied territories widely viewed as violations of international law.
During his flowery inauguration speech, President Obama talked about extending a hand to the Muslim world. He talked about promoting peace in the world. Obama said, "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward based on mutual interests and mutual respect...We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Instead of extending a hand to the Middle East, he launched more predator drones than George W. Bush and dropped bombs on innocent civilians. He passively allowed Israel to massacre and maim women and children in Gaza.

Today, as 138 countries voted in favor of recognizing Palestine as a nonmember observer state in the United Nations, the United States was 1 of only 9 nations to oppose recognizing Palestine. Through that vote, the United States voted to allow Israel to commit crimes against the Palestinian people with impunity.  It was a vote for imperialism.  It was a vote for injustice.  Oddly, we have the audacity to wonder why that region of the world is skeptical and hostile towards the United States.

Like the racists who sought to preserve apartheid in South Africa and like the segregationists who sought to protect Jim Crow in the American South, President Obama and Susan Rice are on the wrong side of history. I am appalled and disappointed, but not surprised.

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

The Great Debate - The Slave Catcher vs. The Free Black Man

Good morning y'all. A couple of days ago, I was on Twitter and I saw a video link. The video features a self-hating, black Republican bashing black people and President Obama. Check it out.

I felt compelled to respond to his nonsensical rant. Since he refused to post my video response, I decided to post my response on my blog. Check it out.

Feel free to join the discussion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What is A Black Agenda?

The Root reported that:

But despite the nearly universal support he enjoyed among African Americans in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, some of his most impassioned critics have come from within the black community, and some of their most passionate criticism has focused on the concern that the first black president has not focused on addressing issues of particular importance to the black community or on successfully tackling a black agenda. The Congressional Black Caucus was especially critical of the Obama administration's silence on black unemployment, for instance. 

After the 2012 election Yvette Carnell wrote in the Black Agenda Report, "Now we are all left hoping and wishing that, for the sake of his legacy, President Obama doesn't forget about us during his second term. The smart thing to do would've been to secure something, such as legislation to reduce black unemployment or mass incarceration, before the election, but we weren't smart. We were tribal."

In a piece for the L.A. Progressive titled "Black America Calling for a 'Black Agenda,' " Anthony Asadullah Samad wrote, "Of course, we know he's President of all the people. We got that, but what is the real significance of laying claim to the first African American president if a core constituency cannot ask for anything?"

He then continued, "What are 'black issues'? Historically, they are jobs, education, health care, prison re-entry and economic development of deprived communities -- all issues listed in Smiley's covenant." Samad was referring to PBS host Tavis Smiley, whose relentless criticism of the president's leadership on poverty and issues important to the black community has made him a target of criticism.

Read more here.

The Root article raises some interesting questions. What is a "Black Agenda"? Does it even exist? Who defines the Black Agenda? Is the concept of "black leaders" obsolete in this age of Obama? How do we effectively demand more from the President? Why are we even relying on the government to address our problems? What can we do for ourselves to improve our own condition as a people? Tell me what you think.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Moment of Peace

On this day of Thanksgiving, the people of Israel and Gaza have so much to be thankful for. At least for this brief moment in time, they have been blessed with peace. I commend President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for stopping the bloodshed. I hope that the President will take this opportunity to forge a long term solution to this ongoing crisis in the Holy Land.

Al Jazeera reports that:

A ceasefire has gone into effect in and around the Gaza Strip, after Israel and Hamas agreed to cease hostilities.

Many Palestinians in Gaza City took to the streets to celebrate the truce on Wednesday night, blasting car horns and setting off fireworks from rooftops amid celebratory gunfire.

The Egyptian foreign minister announced the ceasefire agreement hours before it took hold at 19:00 GMT on Wednesday.

Mohamed Kamel Amr thanked all parties involved in mediating the truce as he made the announcement in a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

Under the ceasefire terms, Israel was to stop all aggression against the Gaza Strip from land, sea and air, including cross-border incursions and targeted killings.

Palestinian factions were to cease all rocket fire and attacks from Gaza towards Israel, including along the border.

Twenty-four hours after the ceasefire takes effect, Israel will also be committed to opening of all border crossings and ease restrictions on movements of people and goods in and out of the enclave.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Obama Makes Excuses for Israel's Brutality

Shout out to the Root

As the bombs fall and the babies die in Gaza, the President makes excuses for Israel's brutality. Mr. President, that is not change that we can believe in.

Al Jazeera reports that:

Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip have continued for a seventh day, despite calls for a truce, with the overall toll reaching 111, according to medical sources.

In the latest Israeli airstrike early on Tuesday morning, at least four people were injured when F-16 fighter jets hit the Islamic National Bank in Gaza City, which is located in a residential area.

In other violence on Monday, two boys, aged two and four, and their parents were killed in Jabaliya refugee camp late in the evening. More than a dozen people were injured, mostly women and children.

During the afternoon, one person was killed and another two wounded when a missile struck a car just north of Gaza City.

Elsewhere, a missile hit a motorcycle east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, killing two men and critically wounding a child who was with them, Gaza's ambulance service said.

Earlier in the day, two women and a child were among four killed in a raid on Gaza City's eastern Zeitun neighbourhood.

The Israeli military has struck more than 1,350 targets in Gaza since attacks began on Wednesday, Israel says it launched the operation to deter Palestinian fighters from launching rockets into its territory.

Since then, 640 rockets have hit Israel while more than 300 others have been intercepted by Israel's anti-missile system, the Iron Dome, according to the Israeli army. Three Israeli civilians died on Thursday in a rocket strike.

The Israeli military said that 67 rockets had been fired at the country on Monday, and that three Israelis had been wounded.

Many residents of southern Israel have left the area and schools have been closed since the start of the crisis.

More than 30 people were killed in Gaza on Monday.

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Former President Jimmy Carter Speaks the Truth About Israel

Shout out to - Akanke Washington

Good morning family. Listen to former President Jimmy Carter speak the truth about Israel.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our Fight is Far From Over!

The choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama was clear and obvious. The idea of Romney being president was frightening and unthinkable. We are all relieved that Obama won.  The reelection of Barack Obama is a tremendous victory.  Obama's reelection confirms that America has made some progress as a nation. We now know that his election was not an anomaly. For hundreds of years, the White House was an office reserved for white men. With the election and reelection of Barack Obama, that racist notion has been shattered into millions of pieces.

Before we start popping bottles and dancing in the streets, we must realize that our work is far from done. The reelection of Barack Obama is a significant symbol of progress. However, it is just that, a symbol. Despite all of chatter about changing demographics and the new electorate, white supremacy is alive and well. Racial disparities continue to exist in every sphere of life, including education, wealth, health, criminal justice, etc.

The backlash against Obama's reelection is evidence that racism and hatred still thrive in America. The flood of racist tweets following Obama's reelection proves the racial hatred continues to exist. After the election, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, Southern right wing fanatics signed petitions seeking to secede from the nation. Again, more proof the racial hatred continues to exist.

Despite the changing demographics, the Right will find ways to preserve white supremacy. For example, the Right is attacking the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action. Over a month ago, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas.

Moreover, as reported in the Washington Post, the Supreme Court will hear the case of Shelby County v. Holder.  In that case,  the court will consider whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional. Section 5 requires jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against African American voters to seek preclearance from the United States Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia before they can change their voting laws. Without such preclearance requirements, states such as Texas and South Carolina would have been able to pass strict voter ID laws. Such laws are designed to suppress the black vote.

On the day that the Supreme Court hears arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, thousands of black people and progressives should swarm the outside of the courthouse and demand that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act be upheld. Our turnout should mirror the massive pro-immigration demonstrations. If we do not act, the gains of hundreds of years of struggle may be erased with the stroke of the pen. 

Obama's reelection is not the end. It is just a means to an end. Voting is just one tool in our arsenal for reform and progress. Other vital tools are lobbying, protesting and litigation. While the Republicans do their soul searching, we must develop strategies to make the next four years better than the last four years.

Progressives cannot sit on our couches and wait for Obama to perform miracles. We cannot exchange the truth for access and notoriety. Obama is a politician, nothing more and nothing less. He is not a freedom fighter. We must never forget that. If real change is to happen, it will be because movements have put pressure on the President and the Congress.

Instead of being surrogates and apologists for Obama, progressives and African Americans must be prepared to stand up to the Republican Party and the White House. Our blogs should not be echo chambers for the White House and MSNBC. We must be bold and truly independent.

We must speak truth to the President and the Congress. We must demand that the government launch a major initiative targeted to address high employment and poverty in the black community. The "rising tide" definitely has not lifted all boats. As reported on RT, "while national unemployment decreased to 7.9 percent in Oct. 2012, the numbers are grim for African-Americans, whose unemployment rate jumped from 13.4 percent to 14.3 percent in just one month, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics." Instead of personally attacking Cornel West and Tavis Smiley for raising these issues, we should analyze the substance of their remarks. As Tavis Smiley wrote in the Huffington Post,
We celebrate this electoral victory today, but what about tomorrow? How tragic would it be at the end of eight years to be confronted by economic data which suggests (as the data does now) that in the Obama era Black folk lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category? I shudder at the very thought. So should you.
In addition to demanding economic justice, we must demand that the federal government address the problem of the mass incarceration of black people.  We must demand the total and complete end of sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine. Even under the Fair Sentencing Act, there is still an 18 to 1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. On another note, we should demand that the President use his pardon power to free all political prisoners such Mumia Abu Jamal and other victims of the Cointelpro era. 

We must demand that the President resist the terrorist tactics of the GOP.  The Republicans are essentially holding the American people hostage in order to preserve tax cuts for the rich.  Last time, Obama surrendered and agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We cannot allow him to surrender this time.  We cannot allow him to cave to the GOP's austerity demands. We cannot let him wimp out and cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Along with domestic policy demands, we should make several demands with respect to foreign policy.  According to, U.S. may remain in Afghanistan past 2014.  We must demand an immediate end to the senseless war in Afghanistan.   Furthermore, during his first Presidential campaign, Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. He said that it was inconsistent with America's values. We must hold the President to that promise. We must demand that the Obama Administration stop allowing U.S. drones to bomb innocent civilians. Moreover, as bombs drop on innocent women and children in Gaza, we cannot remain silent while the President continues to defend Israel.

If the President ignores our demands, we must be prepared to make telephone calls, sign petitions and yes, march on Washington. The election is over. There are no more excuses for inaction. It is now or never. Our fight is far from over.

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama Marches Forward to Victory!

As reported in the Washington Post,

Barack Obama was elected to a second presidential term Tuesday, defeating Republican Mitt Romney by reassembling the political coalition that boosted him to victory four years ago, and by remaking himself from a hopeful uniter into a determined fighter for middle-class interests.

Obama, the nation’s first African American president, scored a decisive victory by stringing together a series of narrow ones. Of the election’s seven major battlegrounds, he won at least six.

Last night, the truth prevailed over falsehood. Progress prevailed regression. Tolerance prevailed over intolerance. The 99 percent prevailed over the 1 percent. Compassion prevailed over indifference. Thank God that this nation will continue to move forward.