President Obama had a pretty good week

President Barack Obama fashioned for himself a pretty good first week of May.

Just a few short days ago, the President was depicted by a Southern California Republican official in an email as a baby chimpanzee, with a note attached reading: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Then there was TV celebrity and real-estate heir Donald Trump and his shrill exaggeration of the merit less “birther movement” campaign. The birthers argued that Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore he was not a “natural born Citizen” as the Constitution requires, and as a result ineligible to be President.

The President silenced most of his critics with a brief appearance in the White House Press Briefing room, where he announced that the White House had prevailed upon authorities in the state of Hawaii to release his “long form” birth certificate, complete with signatures from the attending physician, and other details from the hospital, attesting that he was indeed born on Aug. 4, 1961 on U.S. soil, to an American citizen mother, and an African national father.

He said the nation had more important business at hand than to waste time being distracted by people he described as “carnival barkers.”

“Hi-yah, hi-yah. Got somethin’ fuh yah,” is the refrain I remember from barkers at the carnival selling everything from chances to win cheap prizes by proving one’s masculinity throwing balls at metal bottles, to selling sure-fire cures for “what ails yah.” Continue reading

Why I don’t believe in Jury Duty

I realize that it’s flat out unpatriotic, what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. I refuse to sit on juries.

It’s like the bromide: “If nominated I won’t run. If elected I won’t serve.”

If I get a summons (and it seems like I get one every other month or so, rather, than every three years as authorities profess) I try to respond immediately with a letter proclaiming my hostility to what I describe as the Criminal Injustice System. It’s not a “justice system,” it’s just us, in the system. Continue reading

The fake Trump-for-President campaign

During the 2008 presidential campaign I made a flat-out boast to several acquaintances: former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would not be elected President of the United States in 2008.

In recent history, Southern governors who have become President have mostly been Democrats: Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton. So Republican Gov. Huckabee (just like Mississippi Go. Haley Barbour this time around) would have had too much Deep South “baggage” in the general election, and unlike the Southern Democrats, he would have had zero support from Black voters. Zilch. Nada. No Soul Brothers.

Don’t tell me Pres. George W. (for Worst in History) Bush was a Southerner. He was a Kennebunkport, Maine (like his Daddy and his Granddaddy), C-average, Yale University student, who adopted Texas later in life so he could deride New England pointy-headed liberals the way conservatives like to do.

And besides, “W.” was “selected” by a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court vote, not “elected” by the voters, who gave more votes to Walter Mondale than to Bush in 2000. And Texas is no way an Alabama, Mississippi, or an Arkansas in its “Southern-ness.”

Finally, the world was not ready for the leader of a nuclear-armed Superpower named “Huckabee.” The name itself was ripe for monologues by late-night television comedians, not for diplomatic respect. I still laugh to myself when I think about it: “President Huckabee.” Continue reading

Africa, meet COINTELPRO

The cat is now finally out of the bag. U.S. CIA operatives are operating in Libya.

Africa, meet COINTELPRO.

It has long been know that the United States appropriated more than $150 million to finance covert operations to bring about regime change in Iran. But for the last few years this country and Europe‘s major partners–Italy, France, the United Kingdom–had been making nice with Libya. Full diplomatic relations had been restored, embassies opened, full ambassadors exchanged, presidential visits.

For its part Libya renounced its interests in acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and in an internationally supervised process destroyed its capacity to manufacture WMD. Libya also compensated victims of the Lockerbie airline sabotage over Scotland, and stepped back from meddling in Middle East affairs, in favor of greater engagement in Africa.

But Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi (there are at least 400 English language spellings of his name based on transliteration from the Arabic, and I just prefer sticking with the Old School 1990s official Libyan spelling, by the way) has remained in power, seeking to become an African transformative figure in the mold of his North African, socialist neighbor and mentor Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser, and West African icon, former Ghanaian President Osageyfo Kwame Nkrumah. Continue reading

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

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