Point of View Columns

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear

In 1933, in an effort to raise the spirits of an America that was in the seeming death spiral of the Great Depression, then President Franklin Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. Having read “Fear”, Bob Woodward’s epic account of the chaos in the Trump White House it is now appropriate to say that we have to fear is fear.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump is an agent of chaos. It may also be true that Trump is a punishment visited upon America for all of its collective sins. What is undeniable is that his disruption and attempts at destruction of American institutions is more dangerous than all of his foul rhetoric and dismaying disregard for anything resembling the truth. To be clear – the man lies….all the time, every day, every time that he opens his mouth or tweets his latest institutional obscenity. But that aspect of the Trump terror is not what we should fear the most.

There is this prevailing notion that the possibly mythical “Blue Wave” will cleanse this nation of the Stain of Trump in the November 2018 midterm elections. And in any event, so the thinking goes, there is no way that Trump will be reelected in 2020 and his successor will right all of his wrongs and wash away the trash and garbage that characterizes his presidency.

That kind of thinking is reflective of the kind of distraction that has allowed Trump to wreak such horrific damage to the environment, social justice, immigration equity, foreign relations, criminal justice and healthcare. The notion that a new Congress or a new president will be able to right the Trump wrongs is a dangerous misperception and diminishes the understanding that the time to resist Trump and all that he stands for his today, every day – and at the rate Trump is going, that will not be enough.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency as an example. The EPA has, over the last 18 months embarked on a campaign to roll back, diminish or eliminate literally hundreds of rules and regulations that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the national park lands that we treasure and the health of millions of Americans. The sludge that is flowing into rivers, the mining that is taking place in former national parklands, the lead that is being consumed by children as you read these words, cannot be reversed by a new EPA director in another 18 months. The damages are real. The harm is in many ways irreversible for today’s victims. And all the while we watch in horror as Trump lurches from obscenity to tragedy to horror show.

Take the Department of Justice as another example. The successful efforts by the Session DOJ to increase incarceration penalties for various offenders means that as you are reading these words there are thousands upon thousands of Americans (and their families) whose lives are being ruined by such draconian measures. And a new President, a new Attorney General, a new Congress, will have an uphill battle to reverse these tragic consequences.

It is important to vote in November. It is important for Democrats, Progressives and any Americans who truly care about something more than tax cuts and bully talk to find a way to reclaim the federal government apparatus that has been hijacked by Trump and his feckless enablers.

But is it truly important to realize that whatever happens in November 2018 or November 2020 that the damage has already been done. The damage is real. And while that damage is reversible there will be no miracles as the planet is fresh out of magic wands.

Any commitment to change needs to be a commitment to a lifetime of change. That is only answer to the Fear that is Trump.

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Point of View Columns

Revisiting “A Day of Infamy”

As the funerals begin in Paris, and another round of bombings begins in the Middle East, as the blood is washed away from the streets of France and the blood begins to flow again in Syria, it may be useful to read this column, first published on March 19, 2015, although it could have been written yesterday:

March 19, 2003 – A Day of Infamy

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt termed it “A Day of Infamy”, as indeed it was. It also presaged the formal entrance of America into World War II and the eventual death of over 400,000 military personnel. Historians looking back on the 21st century may call March 19, 2003 “A Day of Infamy” as it was the day that the United States wrongfully invaded Iraq, presaging the deaths of millions and the destabilization of virtually the entire planet.

We know now that even before the dust of 9/11 settled, the Bush-Cheney administration was determined to invade Iraq. Even though there was no credible (or even plausible) evidence that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, it soon became a doctrine of American foreign and military policy that the regime of Saddam Hussein would be targeted and destroyed.

The straw man of Weapons of Mass Destruction has been debunked and degraded so that even the most gullible Teapublican zealots choose to avoid a serious discussion of this exercise in mendacity by the Bush-Cheney team. The right wing of the right wing in this country chooses to ignore the cascade of lies and the torrent of misinformation that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

The American people, and the world, were told that this military action would bring democracy to Iraq and set the framework for regional peace throughout the Middle East. The Bush-Cheney team even bribed and cajoled members of a faux alliance into supporting this adventure to put a multinational fig leaf on its naked aggression.
The entire world now knows the consequences of this misadventure. By precipitously collapsing the most powerful military force in the Middle East, America destabilized a region that has been a ticking bomb for decades. By dismantling the Iraqi military structure every religious and political faction with a grievance in that country had the opportunity to arm, mobilize and terrorize its perceived opponents, enemies and competitors for power and domination.

The reason why this retrospective is important is due to the fact that revisionist historians and delusional politicians are creating the narrative that the rise of ISIS and the death spiral in Syria and the homicidal outrages in Libya and Egypt and Yemen and Somalia and Afghanistan are somehow related to the “weakness” and “lack of leadership” of the Obama Administration. We are already witnessing what appears to be the Quadrennial Teapublican Clown Dance, where presidential aspirants from this political cohort find multiple combinations of the words “leadership”, “American exceptionalism”, “power”, “strength” and “democracy” to characterize their foreign policy vision.
One quickly notices that words like “restraint”, “intelligence”, “vision” and “consequences” don’t make the cut when Teapublican speechwriters are at work. Other missing words are “casualties”, “collateral damage” and “unexpected consequences”.

What we know with certainty is the misguided and deceit-drenched policies of the Bush-Cheney regime in Iraq resulted in thousands of American deaths and economic damage to this country in excess of a trillion dollars. What we know with certainty is that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died unnecessarily and that the infrastructure and national identity of Iraq have been compromised, if not forever, than at least for a generation. What we do know if that without the March 18, 2003 invasion the malevolence of Al-Qaeda does not become a force in that region and the apocalyptic ISIS is never born and is not threatening the planet as it does now.

It is important to understand that as the Teapublican Clown Dance begins that we do not listen to a replay of the music and lyrics that were first released in March of 2003. We literally cannot afford a repeat of the consequences of the Bush-Cheney misdeeds that were not “mistakes”. These misdeeds were the result of a malevolent and deceitful world view that should be denounced and renounced by anyone and everyone who presumes to run for the presidency of the United States.

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Point of View Columns

March 19, 2003 – A Day of Infamy

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt termed it “A Day of Infamy”, as indeed it was. It also presaged the formal entrance of America into World War II and the eventual death of over 400,000 military personnel. Historians looking back on the 21st century may call March 19, 2003 “A Day of Infamy” as it was the day that the United States wrongfully invaded Iraq, presaging the deaths of millions and the destabilization of virtually the entire planet.

We know now that even before the dust of 9/11 settled, the Bush-Cheney administration was determined to invade Iraq. Even though there was no credible (or even plausible) evidence that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, it soon became a doctrine of American foreign and military policy that the regime of Saddam Hussein would be targeted and destroyed.

The straw man of Weapons of Mass Destruction has been debunked and degraded so that even the most gullible Teapublican zealots choose to avoid a serious discussion of this exercise in mendacity by the Bush-Cheney team. The right wing of the right wing in this country chooses to ignore the cascade of lies and the torrent of misinformation that led to the U.S. invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

The American people, and the world, were told that this military action would bring democracy to Iraq and set the framework for regional peace throughout the Middle East. The Bush-Cheney team even bribed and cajoled members of a faux alliance into supporting this adventure to put a multinational fig leaf on its naked aggression.

The entire world now knows the consequences of this misadventure. By precipitously collapsing the most powerful military force in the Middle East, America destabilized a region that has been a ticking bomb for decades. By dismantling the Iraqi military structure every religious and political faction with a grievance in that country had the opportunity to arm, mobilize and terrorize its perceived opponents, enemies and competitors for power and domination.

The reason why this retrospective is important is due to the fact that revisionist historians and delusional politicians are creating the narrative that the rise of ISIS and the death spiral in Syria and the homicidal outrages in Libya and Egypt and Yemen and Somalia and Afghanistan are somehow related to the “weakness” and “lack of leadership” of the Obama Administration. We are already witnessing what appears to be the Quadrennial Teapublican Clown Dance, where presidential aspirants from this political cohort find multiple combinations of the words “leadership”, “American exceptionalism”, “power”, “strength” and “democracy” to characterize their foreign policy vision.

One quickly notices that words like “restraint”, “intelligence”, “vision” and “consequences” don’t make the cut when Teapublican speechwriters are at work. Other missing words are “casualties”, “collateral damage” and “unexpected consequences”.

What we know with certainty is the misguided and deceit-drenched policies of the Bush-Cheney regime in Iraq resulted in thousands of American deaths and economic damage to this country in excess of a trillion dollars. What we know with certainty is that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died unnecessarily and that the infrastructure and national identity of Iraq have been compromised, if not forever, than at least for a generation. What we do know if that without the March 18, 2003 invasion the malevolence of Al-Qaeda does not become a force in that region and the apocalyptic ISIS is never born and is not threatening the planet as it does now.

It is important to understand that as the Teapublican Clown Dance begins that we do not listen to a replay of the music and lyrics that were first released in March of 2003. We literally cannot afford a repeat of the consequences of the Bush-Cheney misdeeds that were not “mistakes”. These misdeeds were the result of a malevolent and deceitful world view that should be denounced and renounced by anyone who presumes to run for the presidency of the United States.

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Point of View Columns

Fake Fuss over Obamacare

The frenzied farcical furor surrounding the technology challenged rollout of the latest phase of the Affordable Care Act would be laughable if the subject matter wasn’t so serious. The Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, was passed into law in order to address a critical challenge for the people of the United States – quality affordable healthcare being made available to a third of a billion people. While the record is quite clear that Obamacare has begun to address the healthcare inequities of Americans, the Usual Suspects are only too happy, indeed gleeful, to celebrate even any misstep.

A bit of historical perspective is always useful. At the beginning of the 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt advanced the concept of universal health care, an obvious product of the Progressive Movement that initiated so many beneficial reforms in these United States.

Since that time, many presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton have all tried, and failed, to implement a universal health care system that would guarantee medical care for all Americans. And since that time virtually every developed country on this planet (and many that are not so developed) has implemented a universal health care system for its citizens.

When Barack Obama became president in 2009 over 40 million Americans had no medical insurance and millions of other Americans were hopelessly underinsured. And this societal disgrace existed in a country with the best medical technology in the world and the highest medical costs in the world. That the Obama administration was able to shepherd a healthcare bill through a Congress that was already careening towards the partisan poisoned train wreck that it is today, will one day be noted as a great legislative and political achievement.

It should be no surprise that the Teapublicans have led the full throated disparagement of every aspect of Obamacare. But they are silent when it is pointed out that Americans with pre-existing medical conditions can no longer be denied health insurance – an established procedure in the health insurance industry prior to the passage of Obamacare.

They are also silent when it is pointed out that, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act Americans can no longer lose their healthcare coverage when they are afflicted by a catastrophic illness. Dropping people with such illnesses from health insurance coverage was standard operating procedure prior to the passage of Obamacare.

And the Teapublicans simply don’t want to talk about the fact that millions of Americans can keep their children covered by the family health care plan until that child turns 26. This is another new feature that was the stuff of fantasy before the passage of Obamacare.

So why would the Teapublicans and their right wing cohorts want to repeal Obamacare? The House of Representatives has voted to repeal Obamacare 47 times. The right wing zealots who populate that chamber have shut down the federal government and taken the entire global economy to the brink of an unthinkable cataclysm – all in the name of derailing a law which provides healthcare to Americans.

It has to make one wonder what is it about Obamacare that makes the Teapublicans cross-eyed crazy? Can they be so opposed to children with cancer receiving healthcare? Are they that opposed to men, women and children being able to see a doctor without the specter of bankruptcy looming over them if they get sick? And, have the Teapublicans ever offered a credible alternative to Obamacare?

The answer to the last question is “no”. And the answers to the other questions are probably “no” as well. In which case it is clear that the magma of hate for President Barack Obama has spewed forth in a volcanic eruption of opposition, confrontation, disrespect and invalidation that continues to this very day as Teapublicans are holding up President Obama’s third judicial nomination to the United States Court of Appeals. And there should be no doubt that there is a racialist and racist source to the white hot magma that flows through the halls of power of Washington.

And now we are supposed to believe that the Teapublicans are caterwauling over the technological missteps in the next phase of Obamacare because they care about the healthcare of Americans being jeopardized. Their record of crass and senseless opposition to All Things Obama makes them all look like they are crying crocodile tears.

The computer failures of Obamacare will be fixed. Obamacare will continue to be the law of the land. More Americans will have access to affordable quality healthcare because of Obamacare. And the opponents of Obamacare will find themselves being footnotes to footnotes of history.

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Point of View Columns

What Didn’t Happen on Election Day

For supporters of Barack Obama 11.6.12 was a good and great day. That Barack Obama was elected president for a second term was truly historic. He became on the 7th president in history to win two terms by more than 50% and the first since Franklin Roosevelt. November 6th was also the day that Mitt Romney lost giving Ann Romney much needed time to attend to her dressage horses. And Alan West lost meaning that he will probably be joining the cast of chuckleheads at Fox News real soon. But what didn’t happen on Election Day is also very important.

It is now almost a given that a defeated and chastened Republican Party will recognize that it is time for a new and more inclusive attitude. We have been led to believe that rising phoenix-like out of the ashes of defeat that the Republican Party, with leaders like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Nicky Haley, will build a bigger tent while muzzling the Neanderthals and misogynists who seem to lurk in every Teapublican gathering.

What sounds like wishful thinking also ignores the history of the Republican Party over the past fifty years. Until 1960 the legacy of Lincoln and the presence of influential progressives combined with the vicious racism of Southern Democrats resulted in significant support of the Republican Party by black Americans. Indeed, John Kennedy and Richard Nixon pretty much split the black vote down the middle in their historic confrontation in 1960.

In 1964 Barry Goldwater secured the Republican nomination for president and part of his personal platform was opposition to the Civil Rights Act. In 1968 Richard Nixon was elected as the Republican nominee for president his success due in large part to his pursuit of a “Southern Strategy”. Put simply, this “strategy” entailed attracting disaffected southern white men who hated the notion of civil rights, minority rights, inclusion and racial and gender equality.

Since 1968 the Republicans have had a pretty good run winning every presidential election but one from 1968 to 1992. Over that time the Republican Party has turned black Republicans into a rare and exotic species and has become the haven for refined racism, the Radical Right, neoconservatives and evangelical zealots.

However, since 1992 the electoral scoreboard is a little more evenhanded. Democrats have four of the last six presidential elections and right now their prospects for 2016 are fuzzy at best. On 11.6.12 Barack Obama won 93% of the black vote, 55% of the female vote and 73% of the Latino vote. National demographics don’t paint a pretty picture for the Republicans going forward.

But one should never underestimate the passion of zealots. The right wing of the right wing has been embedding itself into American politics for almost fifty years. The sting of losing the White House – again – is softened by the fact that the Republican Party still controls the House of Representatives by a sizable margin and the Senate is still not filibuster proof. There are currently 29 Republican governors in the United States and the serpent that is the right wing of the right wing remains coiled around state legislatures from coast to coast.

And it should be noted that at the state and local level the right wing of the right wing is much more strident, virulent and radical than anything that we may have heard from the likes of Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. And at the state and local level of government we are seeing legislative initiatives that will continue to restrict the reproductive rights of women, the rights of immigrants and access to everything from healthcare to civil rights.

What didn’t happen on 11.6.12 is that the right wing of the right wing of the Teapublican Party did not melt and disappear like the Wicked Witch of the West. A better analogy would be to liken the right wing of the right wing to Jason of “Halloween” movie fame who never seems to die.

On January 21, 2013 millions of Americans and millions more around the world will celebrate the second inauguration of Barack Obama. But it is more important than ever to realize and recognize that the right wing of the right wing may have lost the battle of 2012 but is more intent than ever on winning the war. The battle continues.

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Point of View Columns

R-E-S-P-E-C-T 2012

One of the notable aspects of the presidency of Barack Obama has been the blatant disrespect that the right wing of the right wing has been directed towards him, his administration, his policies and anything and everything that is associated with him. There can be no doubt that the spigot that has spewed this sewage has racism contaminating its source. The question now stands as Election Day arrives on November 6th – do Americans have the ability to overcome America’s original sin and vote rationally and in their own best interest?

It is true that the presidency of the United States has been a bull’s-eye for horrible insults and horrific personal attacks. George Washington was termed an idiot, Abraham Lincoln was likened to an ape and Franklin Roosevelt was rumored to be part of a global Zionist cabal. And certainly, the freedom of speech that is one of the foundations of democracy does result in personal attacks. Anyone who steps into the political ring should certainly wear their Big Boy or Big Girl Pants.

Nevertheless, an honest and thoughtful analysis of the sludge storm directed at President Obama will discern a difference from historical patterns of political attacks and criticism. The so-called “birther” controversy can serve as Exhibit A because it has meant so much more than a search for a birth certificate. It has been a concerted and focused effort to delegitimize the first black president of the United States.

Mitt Romney has “joked” about having no need to show his birth certificate (even though his own father was born in Mexico) sending out the same, tired, dog whistle – “Barack Obama is not one of us…..he’s black”. Rather than taking the high road, Mitt Romney has to wallow in the racially-tinged mud that has been tossed around by the birthers ever before President Obama was elected.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, Teapublicans and media outlets have managed to give a patina of respectability to the really awful behavior of Donald Trump with regards to President Obama. It is bad enough that he refueled the flagging birther crusade a year ago, his latest demand for the school transcripts of Barack Obama was insulting, disrespectful and stupid. But somewhere under that fake hair Donald Trump’s mind was working overtime to rebroadcast the dog whistle message – “Barack Obama is not one of us…he’s black and he could not possibly have honestly and legitimately attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School”.

Not to be outdone, Tagg Romney, the self-satisfied, pampered and entitled son of Mitt Romney was quoted as saying that he “wanted to take a swing” at President Obama. And while the Secret Service probably realized that Romney the Younger probably never threw a punch in his life, the disrespect offered by Tagg Romney was not followed by an apology from Tagg Romney, his father, the Teapublican Party or supporters of Mitt Romney. The dog whistle plays the tune – “Barack Obama is not one of us and I don’t care if he is president of the United States, he is black and is not worthy of even basic respect in our white right wing universe”.

Bringing up the rear, Sarah Palin and John Sununu seem to be in some kind of demented contest to come up with the most racially charged epithet to hurl at President Obama. John Sununu called the president “lazy” and claimed that he needed to learn how to “act like an American”. The Grizzly Mom decided to accuse President Obama of “shucking and jiving” when it came to Libya. The racist and racial implications of these statements and thousands more are clear and sad.

What is truly sad is that there are millions of white Americans who are prepared to vote against their own personal and family interest because their judgment has been clouded by the dog whistle politics practiced by Mitt Romney and the Teapublicans. Millions of white Americans are part of the 47% that Mitt Romney has derided and charged with lacking personal responsibility. Millions of white Americans are uninsured or underinsured and will suffer greatly if Obamacare is repealed.

And millions of white women will be given a real time history lesson of what life was like before reproductive rights were established. That life will be absent of choice, contraception services and not only will pregnancies from rape be the “will of God”, the outcome of any pregnancy will not be a woman’s choice.

It is sad that millions of white Americans might allow appeals to racism overcome their own instincts for survival and self-preservation. This election is not about race it is about the choice between competing visions for this country. Those who have chosen to make this election about race are the ones who have sought to cloud and blur their real message until they are able to seize power.

We can only hope that every American who votes does so with his/her eyes open and that we all can ignore the dog whistles.

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Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – August 19, 2011

One of the important things about history is that it reminds us that there isn’t much that is really new. In that vein, President Obama (and all of us) should check out a speech given by Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 – it could have been written tomorrow. Meanwhile Rodeo Rick Perry, the erstwhile governor of Texas and now a contender for the presidential nomination of the G.O.Tea Party has been running around the country with his mouth ‘a blazing. I don’t think that it will be too long before he shoots himself in the foot while trying to put it in his mouth. Finally, I am assuming that the Barnum & Bailey Circus has imposed a hiring freeze. That is the only explanation for Dr. West and Mr. Smiley running around America like a bunch of clowns on their “Speaking Truth to Empower” sham of a tour. Where’s the delete button when you really need it?

Wise Words to the Wise

The deluge of hate, calumny and rage that has poured upon Barack Obama since he became President of the United States is not without precedent. Historians refer to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln for an analogy but 74 years ago Franklin Roosevelt was the object of furious opposition to the change that he advocated and articulated. President Obama would do well to consider the following:

“For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent………………..For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up…………….We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace‹business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering…………………They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been as united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred.”

It’s pretty amazing that these words, spoken 74 years ago, could be spoken by President Obama tomorrow with incredible accuracy and relevance. Perhaps it is time for an encore.

Rodeo Rick!

You have to hand it to Rick Perry – the man certainly knows how to make an entrance. In his first week as an official presidential candidate he managed to question whether President Obama “loves America”. Presumably Governor Perry’s love for America is a fact of nature.

He also contended that the monetary policies of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were “treasonous”. He went even further, darkly muttering that Chairman Bernanke would get treated “pretty ugly” if he ever came to Texas. Many will recall that the last prominent federal official to be treated “pretty ugly” in Texas was John F. Kennedy, making Perry’s remarks all the more awful.

Just getting warmed up, Rodeo Rick said at a New Hampshire campaign stop that evolution was a theory “with a lot of gaps”. You probably did not know that, in addition to being governor of Texas, Rodeo Rick Perry was a noted geologist, paleontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist with all the credentials necessary to question the validity of the theory of evolution. By the way, he also thinks that Adam and Eve walked with the dinosaurs.

Rodeo Rick also said that the American military did not respect President Obama since he never served in the military. It may come as some surprise to Governor Perry that Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson were all wartime presidents and that respect from the military was never a problem for them. The right wing of the right wing icon Ronald Reagan never served in the military and what little military record that George W. Bush had is best forgotten.

In trying to outdo….himself (????) Rodeo Rick also contended that “America needs a president who loves America”. When asked whether he believed that President Obama loves America he replied, “You have to ask him”. And so Rodeo Rick has staked out the neo-birther position of no longer questioning Barack Obama’s place of birth, questioning instead the location of his heart and the coordinates of his allegiance.

I think it is just a question of time before the presidential campaign of Rodeo Rick Perry explodes from bombast and idiocy or implodes from the weight of hypocrisy and illogic.

A Damned Shame

It has been said that there are lies and then there are damned lies. I would amend that statement by adding, some things are a shame while other are a damned shame.
Into this latter category I would place the Tavis Smiley-Cornel West “Speaking Truth to Empower” speaking tour, appearing in a hole in the wall near you soon.
During the past few months Dr. West and Mr. Smiley (reminds one of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde???) have gained more attention than they could ever deserve by attacking and sliming Barack Obama.

While President Obama should never be immune to criticism but calling him a “lap dog of Wall Street” and implying that he has somehow betrayed black America presumably because he did not become a civil rights leader on January 20, 2009 is just plain wrong – and in the current political climate, dangerous.

The fact that Dr. West and Mr. Smiley are the arbiters of blackness would be laughable if it were not so pitiful. Their irrational, barbershop quality rhetoric directed at President Obama would fit in well at a Tea Party rally. They are getting the same attention as a “Man Bites Dog” story and seem to be satisfied with the attention as long as their names are spelled correctly.

Cornel West, while he may have missed a haircut or two, hasn’t missed a meal in a long time. He is a comfortably tenured professor at an Ivy League university that has never been mentioned in the same breath with Howard University, Morehouse College or Medgar Evers College when it comes to be centers of higher education for black Americans. Tavis Smiley has a list of multinational corporate sponsors whose predatory tactics have caused more suffering in the black community than all of the lies and half-truths he has broadcast over the years.

It is, however, a shame that some people will listen to this daffy duo. It is a damned shame that some people will not vote for Barack Obama in the 2012 election having mistakenly placed their faith and trust in these poseurs. And it is truly a damned shame that West and Smiley might in some way contribute to the election of Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry as president of the United States.

Unlike Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. West and Mr. Smiley will be just fine. But many of us may suffer from their prideful misdeeds.

Have a great weekend!

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