Bigwigs behaving badly

The list of local, national, and international bigwigs volunteering for scandal and humiliation with highly paid attorneys is an ever-growing one, like the list of publicly nameless wannabe thugs volunteering for their brand of criminal beefs, often with the aid of public defenders. They seem to never learn.

            Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson seems to me to be the most witless, although former California Governor Arnold Schwartznegger, and former Nevada Senator John Ensign, and former International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strass-Kahn are certainly no slouches in the department of stuck-on-stupid.

            After being confronted by FBI agents who had been investigating him for several years, with evidence they had the goods on him, Johnson called home, and directly implicated his wife (a former judge who should have known better) in his dastardly deeds.

Uh, Mr. Johnson, you just left a meeting with the FBI where you were confronted about a crime and you called your wife on your cell phone? Continue reading

Some Myths About Malcolm X

  Minister Malcolm XBrother Malcolm X looms–on May 19, 2011, the 86th anniversary of his birth–as an icon, almost larger than life itself.

I admit, I never met Brother Malcolm. I never heard him speak in person. I do know however several people who knew him very well. I also know at least two highly respected writers, intellectuals, who told me that they had “intended” to go to the Audobon Ballroom in Harlem on Feb. 21, 1965 to hear Brother Malcolm reveal the platform of his new movement–the Organization of African American Unity (OAAU)–but they failed to attend. Brother Malcolm was assassinated that day with about 450 people in attendance.

Today, there are legions of admirers of this incredible leader, but there were only 450 with him at the Audobon Ballroom that tragic day.

Myth No. 1: “The Black Muslims Murdered Malcolm X.” Continue reading

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

Chinks in the Republican Presidential Armor?

The early line-up of Republican presidential prospects hoping to challenge incumbent Pres. Barack Obama is weak 18 months before Election Day, Nov. 6, 2012.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (who had less than a snowball’s chance in Hades, to begin with, in my view) has voluntarily stepped out of the race. That was smart. Keep your good government job, Governor.

It looks like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s star has begun to dim. Besides, she and others in her family seem content to cash in on their celebrity status. Daughter Bristol, the one who got pregnant before getting married, went to the bank with Crazy Six-Figure Dollars preaching abstinence around the country: “Do as I say, not as I do.” 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.” 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

The GOP Sham-A-Lamma-Ding-Dong-Budget

Back in the Day–1980 to be precise–GOP presidential candidate George H.W. Bush referred to fellow candidate Ronald Reagan’s “supply-side” financial theories as “Voodoo Economics.” He was correct. He went on to join the Reagan ticket, became Vice President and then President and so much for his critique of Reagan’s policies.

Today we’re living with Republicans whose economic philosophy amounts to Reaganomics-on-Steroids, and there are probably not enough pejoratives to accurately describe their notion that tax cuts for the wealthy and spending cuts in services everyone else depends on are good for a society trying to crawl out of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Cut spending. Cut spending. Cut spending. Cut spending. That is the Republican formula for solving the economic crisis that has been decades in the making. 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

Free The Cuban Five

Imagine an espionage defendant convicted of a crime in which no classified documents or information was compromised. Now, imagine five such defendants.

Imagine a group of pro-Castro Cubans standing trial for espionage, in Miami, Florida, of all places, where hundreds of thousands of anti-Castro, Cuban exiles reside. There is an African proverb which describes their plight: “In a court of fowls, the cockroach never wins his case.”

Imagine such a Kangaroo Court where the principles of law and justice are disregarded and perverted, but just to make sure things go their way, the government made extensive payments to Miami journalists covering the trial of the five men, in order to manipulate public opinion against the defendants.

Sounds like a Banana Republic, and not the Good Old U.S. of A., doesn’t it? Continue reading