Barack Obama

Decision 2012: Truthy or Filthy?

Global Unemployment??

Are European heads of state to blame for the current employment crisis in Europe? Should they all be replaced, en masse, or is there a deeper truth? To what extent do CENTRAL BANKS, which operate beyond the powers of elected executive officers, bear responsibility for unemployment? Does an electable candidate have to have a platform that seeks to reform that relationship?

Washington Post Slide Show
European Unemployment

“While austerity measures were introduced to ease the financial crisis by lowering public debt, they are also slowing down economies as government spending drops off. This is also pushing unemployment higher and threatening the continent with recession. Some experts urge leaders to instead loosen spending to encourage growth. This is a battle between Keynesian economics and the free market, whether increased government spending would save the economy or ultimately destroy it by replacing the free market with dependency on government.

But many European countries have completely mismanaged their budgets for continued government stimulus, which lends to the argument of free market supports that Keynesian economics is unsustainable. Greece is relying on the most recent bailout to pay its bills and creditors want to see further cuts. Spain is also cutting spending, while dealing with a revived separatist movement of the Catalan province that does not want to pay the country’s bills. Both of these countries have the eurozone’s highest unemployment rates of 25 percent apiece.”


Strikes on Libya set to slow, stalemate feared

Strikes on Libya set to slow, stalemate feared

The media has begun to say that Libya is in the midst of a civil war.  What degree of military engagement by the reactionary right in the US would be required to attain that designation? 

Libya: Minister Farrakhan’s Caution to Obama

Excerpted from The Final Call:

Libyan Oil Fields

When the western media began reporting on Libya, Feb. 15, it seemed as if it was a foregone conclusion that Col. Muammar Gadhafi would be ousted in the country he has led for over 42 years. Now, nearly a month later, he remains in power.

On Mar. 12, the Arab League agreed on asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, days earlier, the African Union voted against it.

Al-Arabiya reported March 14 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris to sit down with Foreign Ministers from Russian, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. A no-fly zone plan is reportedly being presented to NATO on Mar. 15, according to Secy. Clinton.

It is no secret that the Nation of Islam and Minister Farrakhan have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Libyan leader for decades. The United States has long opposed Col. Gadhafi and attempted to force him out of office even bombing his country during the Reagan administration, Min. Farrakhan noted.

The Minister blasted President Obama and Secy. Clinton for their arrogance in meddling in another sovereign nation’s affairs and publicly recommending regime change.

Min. Farrakhan instructed Americans to look beneath the surface to see who stands to benefit from the unrest, and warned Pres. Obama to be careful of the words coming from advisors lobbying him to move in with military forces to depose Col. Gadhafi.

“Well, today our dear brother (Obama) has to be very, very careful in this decision that he and his Secretary of State, and [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and [British] Prime Minister [David] Cameron and others are planning. They would love to go into Libya and kill Brother Gadhafi, and kill his children as they did with Saddam Hussein and his sons, Qusay and Uday. You must remember, dear people of America, that whenever government wants you to think and act in a certain way that would bring justification to an action that they are already planning to make, they must make the person that they hate a ‘boogey man,’ ” he said. Col. Gadhafi, who led a bloodless coup against a U.S. ally over 40 years ago, has seen constant negative publicity and was once called the “Mad Dog of the Middle East” by American leaders and analysts.

People unhappy with government are not solely in Libya, he pointed out. Many are unhappy with Mr. Obama, he said.

The U.S. government has a long history of deposing leaders of other nations in order to get natural resources, more specifically—oil, he continued, saying the imperialistic forces are not interested in saving those being killed, it is just a “noble motive to hide your (the U.S. government’s) wicked agenda!”

“When George W. Bush was president, he said they wanted regime change in Iran, in (North) Korea regime change—how do you get regime change America? How do you do that? Congress, the Congress of the United States, voted to spend $150 million to replace the government in Iran that America doesn’t like, so they send their agents in to work among the dissatisfied. So when they had this election, and the people in Iran rose up, they have legitimate grievances, all right—but stimulated from the outside,” Minister Farrakhan continued. “Well, what about Libya? How much money is being spent to arm the so-called rebels? They’re dissatisfied! Well, what is their dissatisfaction about? Do they (Libyans) have jobs? Yes. Do they have food? Yes. Has Gadhafi used the oil money to build Libya? Yes. Did Gadhafi use oil money and discover water under the Sahara Desert, and brought that water to the surface; and brought water from Benghazi all the way to the border almost of Tunisia? Did he impose farming in the desert so that they could feed their own people? Yes. Are there billions of dollars that he’s spending building homes, building apartments for his people? Yes. So something is under this!” said Min. Farrakhan.

“Is it that you’re (U.S. officials) so concerned over the blood that is being shed in Libya, when you looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force was bombing the innocent people of Gaza, unarmed men, women and children? … You looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force went into Lebanon thinking that they were going to have an easy victory, then you had to come out with your tail between your legs?”

Min. Farrakhan said Col. Gadhafi has been investing money in Africa, enjoys international friendship, and should not be killed simply because he is not America’s friend.

“Now, I want to warn you, in the Name of Allah, that this is more complex than what you think! Go into Libya if you want to. The Libyans do not want foreign occupation on their land. And when you make that kind of move, if you’re not careful, you’ll unite the Libyan people against you!”

Inside America members of the Branch Davidian religious sect were killed in 1993 in Waco, Texas, by federal law enforcement, while men, women and children of the MOVE organization were killed when police bombed their home during a 1985 standoff in Philadelphia, he said. Current American outrage is nothing but hypocrisy, the Minister said.

To President Obama, Minister Farrakhan delivered a pointed warning: “Don’t let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world. They don’t like the way you handled (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak! They don’t like the way you’re handling the situation in the Arab world! So I would advise you to be careful—and move with wisdom and skill.

And then, Min. Farrakhan offered Pres. Obama some divine advice.

“Why don’t you organize a group of respected Americans, and ask for a meeting with Gadhafi? You can’t order him to step down, and get out—who the hell do you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him step down and get out? Can anybody ask you? Well, well there’s a lot, now, [that are] going to ask you to step out of the White House, because they don’t want a Black face in the White House,” said Min. Farrakhan.

“Be careful, brother, how you handle this situation because it is coming to America! It has already started. Look in Wisconsin! Look in Ohio! Look at what’s going on in your country! And remember your words because the American people are rising against their own government: It’s not Muslims; it’s not Black people! It’s White militias that are angry with their government, and they are well armed. Are you going to tell them—‘Put your arms down, and let’s talk it over peacefully?’ I hope so. But if not, America will be bathed in blood, not because Farrakhan said so, but because the dissatisfaction in America has reached the boiling point. Be careful how you manipulate the dissatisfaction in Libya and other parts of the Muslim world,” he warned.

Here are some other maps that illuminate the intentions of the United States and Western nations like France, the U.K., Belgium and the firms whose interests they serve.

Map 2

Map 3

Political Subdivision Map of Africa

The people who hired Barack Obama to administer the executive apparatus of the United States government have obvious intentions in Africa and in energy-rich nations.  Some may mistaken his hesitancy to establish a no-fly zone as an act of empathy with the current regime.  Far from it.

The United States’ stalling tactics compelled other European nations to step forward, again, in their economic interests.  The US, then, has the “moral luxury” of following rather than explicitly leading.  In the end, the French, the British and the Belgians cannot hope to forestall the advances of the US.

That work will fall to the Libyan people — and it is unclear whether or not that work will continue as it has with Col. Muammar Gadafi at the helm.

Eyes Off Egypt

On Friday, February 11, 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office and left the capitol city of Cairo.

Even before he had finished speaking, protesters began hugging and cheering, shouting “Egypt is free!” and “You’re an Egyptian, lift your head.”

“He’s finally off our throats,” said one protester, Muhammad Insheemy. “Soon, we will bring someone good.”

The departure of the 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak, at least initially to his coastal resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, was a pivotal turn in a nearly three-week revolt that has upended one of the Arab’s world’s most enduring dictatorships. The popular protests — peaceful and resilient despite numerous efforts by Mr. Mubarak’s legendary security apparatus to suppress them — ultimately deposed an ally of the United States who has been instrumental in implementing American policy in the region for decades.

His departure came after a 24-hour period that mixed celebration and anger, as Egypt and the outside world at first anticipated Mr. Mubarak’s imminent resignation on Thursday afternoon, then recoiled in outrage when he continued to cling to power in a combative televised address Thursday night.

From the New York Times:

“President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military on Friday, ending his nearly 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.

The streets of Cairo exploded in shouts of “God is Great” moments after Mr. Mubarak’s vice president and longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, announced during evening prayers that Mr. Mubarak had passed all authority to a council of military leaders.

“Taking into consideration the difficult circumstances the country is going through, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Mr. Suleiman, grave and ashen, said in a brief televised statement.

From the Huffington Post:

Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square exploded into joy, waving Egyptian flags, and car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.

Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soliders stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building.

“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” a grim-looking Suleiman said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”

Not everyone’s eyes are on Tahrir Square right now.  Some people are watching the Central Bank and the economy.  Some people need to know when “normalcy” will return; when they can begin to hedge new bets; and, perhaps most importantly, what new systems of knowledge and information acquisition need to be in place before another 18 Day Revolution catches the world by surprise.

The truly arduous work is just beginning in Egypt.  Saboteurs of all stripes and colors will seek to seize upon this opportunity to turn sister against sister and brother against brother.  This is the time to determine how history remembers this revolutionary moment.  As this interpersonal struggle ensues, will the world turn away?

Tahrir Square -- Cairo, Egypt

On Helen Thomas and Feigned Offense

“I am offended.  I am outraged.  This is just outrageous and offensive.  Well, I never.”

It’s the oldest trick in the book and it is best used when the outraged person has insufficient funds to pay a bar tab or a militaristic nation state has insufficient moral credit to defend ruthless murder.  In both cases, the best dupe of all is that room full of partially inebriated patrons who weren’t actually watching you spill your own drink in your lap or looking at you put that fly in your beer.  Free drinks on the house.  “Sanction-free murders of Palestinians on the house!  No charge Bibi.  Fire away!!”

Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas made news recently for opting to resign over facing the wrath.  While I do derive some pleasure from seeing the white supremacists over at Hearst Publications gave to the outcry of a deficit moral spender, I can’t help laughing out loud at the feigned offense of people who believe in the legitimacy of the gun-toting Israelis.  And to think, all this drama on the anniversary of the day US foreign policy swallowed Israel’s testicular fortitude hook, line and sinker (as in the USS Liberty — sinking to the bottom of the sea.)  Political bondage is a bitch.  And now, the press wants America to think Helen Thomas is an anti-Semitic bitch.

What’s really wrong with going home to Poland and Germany — if that’s where you’re from?   For the handful of folks who might have a plausible case for claiming an indigenous root, passes might be in order.  However, for the rest of these European transplants, the jig should be up.  It’s time to go home and shoot innocent Polish and German children for a few decades.

Helen knows the way home.

Oh, and shame on her for telling those gangsters and their molls to get out.

A Challenge to the Pittsburgh Steelers

You love to hear the story, again and again, of how it all got started way back when.” — MC Shan

Earl Campbell: 17 carries, 15 yards. STEEL CURTAIN.

I am a fan of the game of professional football.  I am a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  That’s been my team since the early 1970’s.  My affection for the team was born of a rivalry with a dear cousin who had pledged his football soul to the Minnesota Vikings and the Purple People Eaters.  He taught me most of what I knew about the game: players, teams, formations, terminology.  For him, it was all about Sir Francis (Tarkenton), Sammy White, Ahmad Rashad,  and Chuck Foreman.  We both felt like we’d lost a loved one when Drew Pearson caught that Hail Mary pass back in ’75.  Still, I liked the team with the black uniforms and the black helmet and the logo on just one side.  I liked Terry Bradshaw and Jack Lambert and Joe Greene and Mel Blount and Lynn Swann and Franco Harris.  I even liked Frenchy Fuqua.  What a name!  Maybe it was as simple as just liking the team that could beat the Cowboys. (more…)

A Police Story and a Daddy Story

Comedian Paul Mooney once said that every Black man in America has a police story.  I certainly have one or two or three, but that’s not I thinking about this morning.  I’m not even thinking about Henry Louis Gates’ police story or his Beer Summit with President Barack Obama and James Crowley.

I’m actually thinking about a corollary to Mooney’s Maxim — that Black men with police stories also often have daddy stories; that fathers, whether active or missing, dead or alive, good or bad, are often at the core of our narratives.

Mbrace Fatherhood

I had the distinct pleasure of a summer visit from my twelve-year old nephew, and he has a daddy story.  We are related by matrimony and adoption, not blood, but our kinship ties are deeper than the dried ink on my marriage license.   His daddy story begins with abandonment and moves at a steady pace through confusion, resentment and deep-seated anger.  Still, he has found the wherewithal to retain a child-like innocence.

When I was 12, I had already surrendered much of my innocence and had spent more days than not without my father.  I was already enrolled in high school more than 3 hours from my home.  I was making my own decisions about things that parents believe to be their prerogative.  I wasn’t an adult, but I wasn’t a child, either.

He was very much alive, but also very much incarcerated for youthful indiscretions he knew to avoid.  Of course, my father did not grow up in a vacuum.  He too had a daddy story.  His daddy story was not so much about abandonment as it was about priorities — the priorities of his father, my grandfather, placing work before family.  The economics for Black families in 1940’s and 1950’s New York City were acutely challenging.  Times were different and a man’s first obligation was to provide.  In that respect, not much has changed, except that in the 1960’s and 1970’s, something did change.

The taboo of abandoning one’s progeny for the pursuit of more ass or more frivolity faded from sight.  My nephew’s father lives from that ethos.  And yet, he didn’t learn it from his still-at-home daddy who does not share his value system.  Nonetheless, he picked up this spiritual virus somewhere and has infected his own child.  The solution to my nephew’s daddy story must ultimately become one of reconciliation — with himself (his true self — not the self he likely blames for his father’s choices), with his father (and all of his flaws, and the positive traits he has passed on), with his mother for choosing his father, and with the world for always seeming to judge him before ever getting to know him.

Of course, the world cares little about your pedigree at the end of the day.  Dust to dust and ashes to ashes.  The world only cares what you can do.  My hope is that my nephew finds a way to continue to do things for himself and others before he ever has a police story.

My hope is that he understands that what will define him is not that he shares this experience will millions of other boys.  After all, our common bonds and bruises are the essence of hot Saturdays in air-conditioned barber shops — and not much more.  Our bonds announce to whom we relate, but not how we relate.  There is another level.  Most of all, I want him to know he will be defined by how he responds to his life experience.  He has tremendous personal power because he has the power to choose and he must know that freedom means that he must not be a prisoner to reactionary police or the choices of his father.

What Iz This Witch Talking About?

The New York Times is at it again.  (I think they have one big fuck up like this EVERY DAY.)  This time it is Katharine Q. Seely with a myopic piece that includes a juicy tidbit about ubiquitous black failure.

Americans got a rare glimpse Wednesday night of what it means to have a black president in the Oval Office.

In response to a question at his prime-time news conference about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., the black Harvard professor, in his own home over the weekend, Mr. Obama declared that the Cambridge, Mass., police had “acted stupidly.”

Mr. Obama’s response was his most animated performance of the hourlong news conference, and represented an extraordinary plunge by a president into a local law-enforcement dispute. And it opened a window into a world from which Mr. Obama is now largely shielded, suggesting the incident had struck a raw nerve with the president.

Katharine Seelye -- New York Times reporter

In the public spotlight, Mr. Obama has sought to transcend, if not avoid, the issue of race. As a candidate, he tried to confine his racial references to the difficulty of catching a cab in New York, although he was forced to confront it directly during the Pennsylvania primary when his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, became an issue. And last week, at the 100th convention of the NAACP in New York, he spoke in uncharacteristically personal terms about his rise to power as a black man, while warning black Americans not to make excuses for their failure to achieve.


We know the New York Times missed the point of the NAACP speech.  The President himself said so.   And he was not alone.

From Ta-Nehisi Coates

From Eugene Robinson

Now, based on any empirical measures available to the writers at the times, I am certain they would find that the achievements of Black folk in this nation state are quite beyond dispute.  There isn’t an aspect of American life that is untouched by the hands and hearts of Black folk.  Whether you’re talking about the construction of the great ice road in Alaska or the guts of the subway system in New York City, we were there.  And it is far more than labor.  As a group, we’ve been here far longer than most Europeans and have the scars to prove it.

The Times has reached a point where they continue to overreach.  The editors and writers simply lack the education, discipline, experience and skill to cover much of the world.  Perhaps their desperate reach to become relevant online (amid ever dwindling street sales) will fail in large part because of their inability to actually get the story right.

I continue to find it important to read the Times not because they are “the paper of record” but because they are the architects of distortion.

FDIC and Bank Buy-Outs

From the Financial Times:

A statement from FDIC President Sheila Bair —

On May 21, 2009 the FDIC issued a press release stating that we would provide guidance concerning acceptable structures for acquiring failed institutions. This Proposed Policy Statement would provide guidance to private capital investors interested in acquiring or investing in failed banks or thrifts regarding the terms and conditions of the investments or acquisitions.

I am particularly concerned with new owners’ ability to support depository institutions with adequate capital, management expertise, and a long term commitment to provide banking services in a safe and sound manner. Obviously, we want to maximize investor interest in failed bank resolutions. On the other hand, we don’t want to see these institutions coming back. I remain open minded on many aspects of this proposal, including the categories of investors to whom it should apply, the appropriate level of upfront capital commitments, and the operation of cross guarantee provisions and limits on affiliate transactions. I look forward to receiving comments in these areas.

I support the transactions we have completed to date which have involved sales to private equity owners. We have imposed some special restrictions on these, including higher capital requirements. However, some have suggested that capital requirements should be even higher, given the difficulties in enforcing source of strength obligations outside the initial capital investment made by the acquirers in so-called “shell” structures. I know that this will be a contentious area, and we are opening high, with a proposed 15% requirement.

I am also troubled by the opacity of some of the ownership structures that we have seen in our bidding process, though these have not been winning bids. We have seen bids where it has been difficult to determine actual ownership. We have seen bidders who have wanted permission to immediately flip ownership interests. We have seen structures organized in the secrecy law jurisdictions. So based on the experiences we have gathered, I think it is prudent to put some generic policies in place which tell non-traditional investors that we welcome their participation, but only if we have essential safeguards to assure that they will approach banking in a way that is transparent, long term, and prudently managed.

Obama Carries Dirty Water to Cairo

From the New York Times:


“I consider Mr. Obama’s speech a morphine injection to numb the minds of Muslim and Arab people,” said Mr. Abdullah, the Syrian electrical engineer, “so that they don’t mind so much the injustices carried out by the United States in the region, as long as Mr. Obama respects Islamic culture and heritage.”

I’m sleepy already.


Now that we’ve established that the critical issues are: 1) violent extremism 2) unbreakable bonds with Israel  3) nuclear weapons 4) democracy 5) religious freedom 6) women’s rights; it must be plainly said that today’s speech had some limits.  It wasn’t “real talk to real people,” it was an introduction to an international community — but to be clear, everyone who shows up for the next conversation must know that the first conversation requires some clean up. 

The speech sounded wonderful. 

It sounded genuine.  It also sounded unlike anything ever said by a Western (let alone American) head of state.  It was delivered in clear, crisp, clean cultural tones that appealed to the ear of the listener.  Well-chosen words reflected a commitment to reframe a new relationship, but (and this is a big one) there are some positions that are so deeply entrenched that even a commitment to speak truth from the outset can be waylaid by a superior agenda.

“That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings. This is a difficult responsibility to embrace, for human history has often been a record of nations and tribes, and, yes, religions subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests.Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership, our progress must be shared.

Now, that does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite. We must face these tensions squarely. And so, in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.”

All rational adults know that violent extremism simply cannot be Barack Obama’s first REAL talking point.  Frankly, its patently absurd for a grown ass man who controls the world’s largest military to even raise this issue.  That would be like Bill Gates agreeing to gift computers to every elementary school in New York City on the condition that every child surrender their Apple t-shirts. 

Obama needs a new introduction.  It’s not that the acts of violence engaged in by these persons are “cool” or “acceptable.”  Far from it.  It’s that in the specific case of Al-Qaeda and Osama bin-Laden, these acts are a response to the United States military establishing a presence in Saudi Arabia.  That was never discussed.  Presumably after a nice visit to Riyadh (perhaps a red phone conversation to the hills of Afghanistan or the South of France or wherever Osama is getting dialysis), Obama knows all about the reasons why talking point Number 1 is a Red Herring.  He also knows that for the game to be the game, talking point #1 must remain talking point #1.

The Pentagon operates an untold number of bases, directly and indirectly.  They own or lease millions of acres of land, hire millions of people and have conducted operations all over the planet.  Soldiers and American contractors have committed crimes, skirted local jurisdictions, killed, raped, maimed and otherwise trod on the sovereingty of many nations with impunity. 

This is a brand of sanctioned and subsidized violent extremism.  It is exported to the ends of the earth: Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and so many points along the way.  This brand of violence is advanced and it is ongoing.  It has not ceased or abated in any demonstrable way. 

If it had, that should have been talking point number 1.  The world has been witness to American violence for decades.  You cannot begin a conversation with someone you respect by acting as if you have no history.  You cannot authentically and honestly claim that history by claiming the gun in your hand while seeking to take the slingshot in theirs.

For all the things that President’s Obama’s speech was, it was not a commitment to pull back from a military presence and aggression in areas where it can be sustained.  It was an acknowledgment that the US is willing to “retreat” from certain locations, but we should know by now that this is a function of being overextended. 

It occurred to me, while listening to the speech, what tremendous difficulty the Native Americans must have had in negotiating treaties with the United States of America.  Even as far back as the 1880’s, it must have been nearly impossible to truly grasp the perfidious American predilection for shades of truth.  One side of the forked tongue opposes torture.  The other side defends it and avoids prosecution for war crimes.  One side of the forked tongue defends the rights of oppressed peoples.  The other side professes an unbreakable bond with three settler-colonial apartheid regimes on three continents (Israel, South Africa, Australia).  At some point, the Indians must have simply said, “Who the hell are you?” 

In fact, the answer was probably, “I am no one in particular.  I am elected for a short time to serve a people who know not what I do in their name.  I will soon be gone and be replaced by another with an unknown name and an unknown game.  Know this, if nothing else.  Whatever it is on which we agree today, know that it will be torn asunder tomorrow.  Do not trust in what I say because my words come with an expiration date.  My truths work best if believed by November 20, 2012.  In the end, I am a proxy for the genuine article.  If you must know me for me, look at my guns and my money.”

Dirty water is deadly on both sides of the Atlantic.