Intervention by any other name

Imagine for a few moments what political life must have been like in Antebellum America. As the Civil War erupted, high ranking politicians abandoned the “Unionist” side and joined the Rebels. A former member of Congress became President of the new Confederate States of America.

The Rebels had their own flag–The Stars and Bars–which was distinct from the American flag–Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes.

Soon, some of the finest graduates of the U.S. Military Academy were casting their lots with the insurgents. Indeed, President Abraham Lincoln’s first choice to command the Union Army–Gen. Robert E. Lee–defected to lead the Rebel Army in its campaign against his native land, against the Constitution he had sworn to defend.

The traitorous Rebels hoped that Britain and France–where they shipped much of the cotton they produced with free labor from millions of African slaves–would support their cause by restricting the Union Navy’s ability to control the shipping lanes. They wanted an Allied “No Sea Zone,” if you will. Continue reading

The ‘King’ of Homeland Hypocrisy

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is the undisputed Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and in my view the uncrowned “King of Homeland Hypocrisy.”

In what critics described as nothing less than a modern-day form of McCarthyism and unbridled scapegoating, King tried his best to stoke fear and hatred against Muslims in this country by convening a day-long hearing March 10 on the “radicalization” of the Muslim community.

Let me make it clear today that I remain convinced that these hearings must go forward, and they will. To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee: to protect America from a terrorist attack,” King said in his opening remarks.

His hearings did little to protect America. There is no “legislation” associated with his witchhunt, a so-called “legislative hearing.” No laws are pending no laws are proposed. It was simply a chance to unload against the Muslim community, while ignoring other potential home-grown terror suspects. Continue reading

Blacks and the Public Workforce

The Recent scam caused by unscrupulous Republican elected officials to “starve the government beast” by first giving unwarranted tax breaks to the wealthiest citizens, thus bankrupting public treasuries then balancing the budgets on the backs of the unionized workers and by slashing the so-called “safety net” which helped support the most vulnerable in the society, is as the British say a “cheeky” thing to do.

But wait, that’s not all. Governments, universities, union pension funds, even homeowners–everyone who had any money at all invested in the stock market (into which these same cheeky politicians want to invest future Social Security payments) or anywhere else–everyone who had any cash money lying around in the last decade is also crying broke now because of greedy mortgage bankers and Wall Street tycoons who literally raided the cookie jar and spent all the money on exorbitant salaries and such.

A number of Midwest governors are now conspiring wholesale with their Tea Party-minded legislative allies to eliminate the gains obtained by public sector workers. If successful, their ploy will have devastating consequences for Black people, a number of labor and rights advocates agree. Continue reading

The Colonel Qaddafi I Know

I first met Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the leader of Libya in 1978. I was a member of a delegation of 100 or so, which was led by former U.S. Senator William Fulbright. We were a people-to-people “friendship”

Libya was on a downward diplomatic spiral at that time because of Col. Qaddafi’s leadership in what was called the “steadfastness and rejection front.” This bloc–which included Syria, the Palestine Liberation Organization, as well as Libya–was so named because of its steadfastness against, and rejection of Israeli usurpation and occupation of Palestinian land.

The U.S. was ramping up its pressure against Libya, and despite the friendship which Col. Qaddafi showed to Billy Carter, the younger brother of then President Jimmy Carter, soon diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Libya, and Col. Qaddafi and his countrymen were labeled “terrorists.”

I wrote articles which appeared in major corporate-owned newspapers defending what was then called “The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,” or “people’s land.” While I could defend what I thought was a peaceful people, it became increasingly difficult to argue with Col. Qaddafi’s world image. He was frequently referred to as “mercurial” and that was the best of what was said of him in those days.

Col. Qaddafi helped fuel the rumors. He wrote a book of sayings. It was called “The Green Book.” Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Tse Tung had written “The Red Book,” and it became an essential item in the ideological toolkit of many (if not most) campus revolutionaries in the 1960s. Continue reading

Where’s The Money? In Wisconsin and Elsewhere

I recently overheard a group of young people chatting about the best places in this area to live. One young man, who admitted he was a Maryland resident, asked a member of the group who lives in the District of Columbia, why she wouldn’t want to live in Virginia. After all, he pointed out the taxes there are lower…

I remembered the time when George Allen was governor of Virginia. Rep. Bobby Scott, a brilliant member of Congress from the Commonwealth, pointed out to me that his governor had embarked on a clever plan.

Back in the “New Jack City” days when drugs and crime were among the main concerns Rep. Scott told me, Gov. Allen set about to build a number of new prisons, even though there was no real overcrowding in the state’s existing jails. His strategy was to commit the state government to having to staff and maintain those prisons, forever, and ever, and ever, amen.

Voila! Continue reading

The Birth of Black History Month

Carter G. Woodson Mural, Washington, DC

It never fails. Every year during February, I hear some uninformed Black person complain about Black History Month. “Why did they give us February? It’s the shortest month of the year.” It never fails.

Here are some of the facts. Black History Month began as a weeklong commemoration 85 years ago, in 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History” education in this country, and the second Black man to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University, proposed to members of his Greek letter fraternity–Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.–that a week be set aside each year to study and reflect on Black contributions to this society. Just a week, mind you.

That observance was first called “Negro History and Achievement Week,” by Dr. Woodson, who founded both the Journal of Negro History (now the Journal of African American History) and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). It was held from Feb. 11-17, because two seminal figures in Civil War history were born during that week. Pres. Abraham Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809 and abolitionist and runaway slave Frederick Douglass was born on Feb. 14, 1818.

Black people put Dr. Woodson’s advice into practice. Continue reading

The Washington NFL Team Needs a New Owner!

This year will mark the 518th anniversary of the “discovery” of the “New World” by Christopher Columbus. For the last 17 years plus, Native American groups have officially and publicly protested the name of the Washington NFL franchise because they say it is a racial epithet. I agree.

For the last 17 years I have refused to repeat the name of the team, and I try to gently correct people (even in the Barbershop) when they toss that disgusting name around.

I point out to anyone who will listen to me that they would not cheer for a team called the “Washington Picaninnies,” or the “Washington Kikes,” or the “Washington Chinks…” I think you get the idea. A slur is a slur, is a slur.

My Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary defines the name “redskin” as a “noun, usually offensive: American Indian.”

Wikipedia says: “The term is controversial and considered by some to be offensive.”So, what part of insult do people who cling to that descriptor not get? Most especially, the “stupid, incompetent, or foolish person” who is the owner of the Washington NFL franchise: what is it about offensive that he does not understand?The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office actually rejected the team’s exclusive license to use the logo and name because it is offensive, but the decision was reversed in court because a statute of limitations expired before the claimants involved complained. Another case is proceeding through the courts with younger Native American plaintiffs.

Doofus Dan Snyder is the stupid, incompetent, foolish owner of the Washington NFL team. His stupid antics are the stuff of legend. He recently sued a 72-year-old woman who could no longer afford season tickets because she had financial trouble. Now, he has sued the Washington City Paper for libel over an unflattering article about him. Continue reading

To the Streets of Cairo by way of Watts

Sunset: The Great Pyramid at Giza

As I watched the mayhem of the “Jasmine Revolution” televised from the Streets of Cairo last week, I couldn’t help but think back on the similar revolution in which I was a participant, on the streets of Watts, California.

We did not have Facebook, or Twitter to help us organize mass participation in our uprising. There was no Internet at all, and we certainly did not have cell phones. In fact the only computers in existence at that time were the size of a rail car, and we didn’t even have fax machines.

We did have the “Magnificent Montague,” a Soul Radio deejay, who gave us our anthem–”Burn Baby Burn”–but he did not cause our discontent. No. Weeks before the uprising, Montague invited his listeners to call in every morning, identify themselves and their neighborhood, and then tell the world how they just wanted to “Burn Baby Burn,” as in “burn” meaning to offer the most soulful expression ever heard on the radio.

No, our discontent had been seared into our souls by the brutality of the Los Angeles Police Department under the command of Police Chief William Parker. We were leaderless, but united in the cause in opposition to police brutality. Continue reading

The shooters: Sniper John and Ft. Hood Nidal

I am not proud to say, I have a lot in common with both John Allen Muhammad (what has he ever done to deserve to be called by the name of a Holy Man??? But I digress), the Washington, D.C. area sniper, and with Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan. All three of us are said to be Muslims.

Like John, I too was born and bred Christian and in adult life became a convert to the religion of Islam–the religion which is self-defined as a religion of “peace.” And like Nidal, who was born Muslim, I once dreamed of becoming a U.S. military officer.

As far as John is concerned, I can only say: May God have mercy on his soul.

And it’s already too late for the advice I would have given to Nidal. He made his choice–a very, very, very bad decision in my opinion and the rest as they say is history. I faced similar demons that Nidal apparently encountered, but I chose a different path. Continue reading

Farrakhan in Memphis

MEMPHIS–Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan issued blunt warnings in this Southwestern Tennessee city Oct. 18–commemorating the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March which took place in Washington, DC.

Another Memphis was the ancient capital of the first nome of Lower Egypt, and of the Old Kingdom of Egypt from its foundation until around 2200 BC and later for shorter periods during the New Kingdom, and an administrative centre throughout ancient history.

Washington, DC, the site of the Historic Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement is the seat of the United States government, and it is designed and constructed, many scholars insist, on an ancient Egyptian axis as well.

Min. Farrakhan’s warning was directed at the U.S. government, the Black community at large, and to Black clergy and other leaders, that conditions today in this country are as bad as they were before the historic march, except that now there is not enough time before a catastrophe that is looming, to stage another march to save Black people and the country. Continue reading