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Chicken Hawks: All Talk and No Action

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By A. Peter Bailey –

The shrillest chicken hawk supporters of United States military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan repeatedly insist that the country’s national security is at stake, that anyone who opposes these military adventures is literally putting everyone in the country in danger. Which, in my opinion, raises a very obvious question.

If the desk-bound warriors sincerely believe that the nation’s national security is at stake, why aren’t they or their children or other close relatives in the military where they can directly confront the enemy who they insist threatens the system from which they have reaped huge financial benefits? It would seem that the most productive way to support the troops fighting in the two wars is to join them in the trenches instead of blissfully preparing to celebrate upcoming holidays.

If all the chest-beaters and their viewers, listeners, and readers would do that there would be no need to continue sending the children of low-income Black, Latino and White families on 3-5 tours of duty in the combat zone. Because the chicken hawks talk the talk, but won’t walk the walk, there is basically an unofficial draft in place that sends youngsters on repeated tours of combat duty, while their offspring are attending college, partying in Las Vegas or Florida or launching potentially lucrative careers.

The chicken hawks pontificate on television and radio programs and in newspapers and magazines about what “we” must do to stop the enemy. “We” must fight for total victory; “We” must be willing to fight however long to defend national security; “We” can’t talk to terrorists; “We” must show AL Qaeda who’s boss; “We” must destroy the Taliban; “We” should not set any time table about leaving Afghanistan; “We” conducted a successful surge in Iraq; “We” don’t take no stuff from nobody. Sometimes such trash-talking is accompanied by the chicken hawk slamming a fist on his desk or sternly pointing a finger at anyone who dares to challenge his flagrant hypocrisy.

Much more often than not, the most ferocious we-spouters are people who managed to avoid being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, another military adventure they insisted involved concerns about national security. General William Westmoreland, former commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam, has been quoted as saying that “the military don’t start wars. Politicians start wars.” I would say that politicians and trash-talking radio and television talk show chicken hawks and their counterparts on newspaper op-ed pages start wars, wars in which they have absolutely no intention to fight or send their children and grandchildren to fight in.

Personally, I will believe that the national security of the U.S. is at stake when I see the chicken hawks or their children in the trenches in Iraq and Afghanistan. Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at apeterb@verizon.net.

Black Press of America Stands With Black Caucus' 'Ben 10'

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By Charles W. Cherry II, NNPA Special Commentary –

In one of the most honest self-assessments in recent American political history, 10 Congressional Black Caucus members ruefully admitted that they fell asleep at their posts as the traditional political guardians of Black America.

The “Ben (for “Benjamins”) 10”: U.S. Reps. Andre Carson, William Lacy Clay, Emanuel Cleaver, Keith Ellison, Al Green, Gregory Meeks, Gwen Moore, Maxine Waters, David Scott, and Melvin Watt – all serve on the House Financial Services Committee. The committee is, in the words of P. Diddy, “all about the Benjamins.”

It oversees America’s banking, insurance, real estate, securities, and public/assisted housing sectors. “Each of us served on the Financial Services Committee and we have not been forceful enough in our efforts to protect the most vulnerable of our population,” a joint statement issued from Rep. Waters’ office said.

“…Since last September, we have continuously voted for bailouts and reform for the very institutions that created this devastation, without properly protecting the African-American community, or small business. That stops today.”

Thank God.

We slept Much of Black America was lulled into slumber by the images of Malia and Sasha playing in the White House’s backyard and by the knowledge that their grandmother, Marian Robinson, is one of their primary caregivers. We swell with pride – then go back to sleep – when the elegant Michelle Obama hosts White House parties. We marvel at the sight of a Black U.S. president – then we take another nap.

Snap out of it. The Ben 10’s joint statement should be the cold water to our faces. President Obama’s reaction to the statement should be the slap upside our heads.

Obama was quoted in USA Today as saying, “The most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy moving again and get people hiring again…It’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we all going to get out of this thing together.”

Cough medicine Black-owned newspapers reported that Black America was already in economic depression in 2006, two years before the deep American recession arrived. If the general American economy has pneumonia, the economy of Black America has full-blown AIDS. The Obama administration has given Wall Street the financial blood transfusion it demanded, while treating Main Street and MLK, Jr. Boulevard with slow-acting cough syrup. If we wait long enough, the cough syrup will work and the coughing will eventually stop – when the patients die.

Obama still believes in Ronald Reagan’s “rising tide” theory that all Americans’ economic conditions rise and fall together. (Statistics disprove that.) Yet, in the USA Today interview, Obama considers the possibility of a “surgical” financial stimulus that would incentivize people to buy home insulation from Home Depot and Lowe’s.

The Ben 10’s statement mentions a few racial disparities regarding economics. We all know there’s a lifelong American ‘Black tax’ that follows us from cradle to grave. It increases our chances of stillbirth, infant mortality, being disciplined in school and dropping out, unemployment, imprisonment, small business failure, poverty, sickness, homelessness, and early death. As the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, said, “It ain’t White or Black –it’s a fact.”

But it’s the hypocrisy and denial of historical and institutional racism and its continuing impact that sandpapers Black America’s racial ‘scar tissue’ daily. The fact is that we know that the U.S. government – now purportedly led by our Black president – won’t confront the disparities. This drives Black America’s collective blood pressure to hypertensive levels.

We won’t wait In his 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., castigated White moderate clergyman who believed the civil rights movement was moving too fast. “For years now, I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity,” Dr. King wrote. “This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never’…(W)hen you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society…when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” – then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

We of the 200-member National Newspaper Publishers Association, “the Black Press of America,” will continue to stand – as we always have –with the Ben 10 and everyone who intelligently advocates for the Black community’s permanent interests. Mr. President, we won’t wait for your slowacting cough syrup to work. And we’ll fight you – if necessary – to get the targeted financial help Black America deserves.

Charles W. Cherry II, ESQ. is an NNPA national board member and is the publisher of the Florida Courier and the Daytona Times. He is a practicing attorney and former South Florida prosecutor. Contact him at ccherry2@ gmail.com.

 

Students Respond to President Obama's Speech: Part II

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DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA:

The speech of our president Barrack Obama was very deep and outstanding. It’ got to my head that I can’t stop thinking about every little word he said. I liked when he said that when you fail you fail to your self and that is true because I have failed to myself many times and when I go back to it I feel down to myself for not keep going in school.

After hearing him speak I feel motivated to finish school the way I’m supposed to and to try my very best to graduate. I would like to go to college and become a dentist and I always remember of that little phrase he says yes we can. What got to me was when he said that it doesn’t matter who you are the most important thing in your life must be your education.
Jessica De La Torre

I thought your speech was great however I a not a fan. I think stunts like the appearing during term on the tonight show and others demean the title of President. However back to the speech I did like I really enjoyed the fact someone in this corrupt world gives a care at all about how our generation takes advantage of the blessing of school bestowed upon us, many other countries don’t even have the opportunity to go to school, or to take courses for careers that WE choose to pursue. Unfortunately this day and age fools choose not to listen and take advantage of the opportunities in front of them years ago some of these things were not available to the less fortunate people in the Americas, or the minorities in America.

I thank you for caring about our youth and our country by speaking to us and providing us with opportunities to go to school pursue a career and make our country great again. Thank you not just caring about the economy falling and worrying about the economy’s problem, but you are reaching the source of the solution to the success of our economy, our youth, pursuing careers, strengthening our country. Once again thank you President Obama for caring about our country.
Joel Smith

I think you inspired me to get educated. Also you convinced me not to dropout of high school. I think you can wake the world a better place. Your so inspirational I think you can inspire anybody to do anything. You inspired me to do something with my life I want to be president one day. I know you can lead the nation on a good path and get us out of the recession. I thought your speech was really good you inspired people around the world to get an education. I also think you make people want to stop living a life of crime and get involved with school. You make me want to make me want to set a example for my little brothers. I want to show them that they can do anything they put their mind to and just don’t give up on school. I will try to teach them that dropping out of school is a really bad decision. I think that I could do anything I want to do I can be a doctor or a fireman or the president your speech really inspired me to do more than just sitting on my ass I actually want to do something with my life now.
Juan Ramirez

My name is Lisbet Dimas; I attend Provisional Accelerated Learning Center in San Bernardino CA. I am 17 years old and am a junior. I saw the speech you attended at West Brook high school. I was motivated by your speech as well as many other students. I enjoyed hearing you speak about how to be successful in life; you’re an inspiration to me I like how you put things together and make sure we understand what you’re telling us. I could listen to you talk about never giving up for days and wouldn’t get tried.

There are a lot of things I want to do in life. Even if somehow something slows me down from getting to where I want to go, I know not to give up because you never gave up to be where you are right now. I understand that you don’t just wake up one day and just become successful from one day to another. I know you have to work hard to be successful. Like that saying goes you crawl first so we can start walking. Your speech was one of a kind. It was more impressive how you showed up in person to motivated student I really liked that and I bet the other thousands of people feel the same way. You really did a great job. You’re my hero!
Lisbet Dimas

What I truly think about your speech you did today, September 8, 2009 it was a really great speech. And thank you very much for every thing that you told us about going to school it is very important to me. But that story you told us about you I was really thinking about it, that I’m going to school, a free education I should take advantage and graduate. And that was great that you were in that high school they were all happy because you were right there. I really wish you could come to our school.

And I really want to thank you for improving our schools. But you have been a good president so far I really do like you as our president. Also you have been standing there for us the people from United States of America. And you’re my role model. I am going to try my best in school so some day I can be like you. And I really want to thank you for all the things you done for is thank you sr.Obama.
Luis Alonso

Black Folks Must Wake Up and Smell the Colored Greens

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By A. Peter Bailey, NNPA Columnist --

It is time for Black people to wake up and smell the collard greens. It has become increasingly and ominously clear that significant numbers of Whites in this country consider the presence of Barack and Michelle Obama in the White House as an abomination, an unnatural state of affairs, a betrayal of all they have been taught about the proper place for Black people to occupy in the scheme of things. The malcontents include many, if not most, of Rush Limbaugh’s Limb-Addicts, Sean Hannity’s Haters, Ann Coulter’s Coulterats, Glen Beck’s Beckaholics, Bill O’Reilly’s Factorcides and Laura Ingraham’s Ingramaniacs. Absolutely nothing Obama does will satisfy such people. Most of them wouldn’t want to even see a Black conservative such as Clarence Thomas or Star Parker or Thomas Sowell or Michael Steele etc. in The White House as president. A commentator in the Washington Post recently wrote: “…. If Clarence Thomas were president, the crowd probably would have stayed home watching Fox News’ laudatory coverage of the Thomas administration….” I don’t think so. That position, they believe, should always be held by a White man or maybe a White woman but never by a Black man or Black woman no matter how accommodating or subservient.

Of course, none of this surprises those of us whose national and international perspectives, especially on the subject of race relations, are greatly influenced by the great visionary and master teacher, Malcolm X. It also shouldn’t surprise those who have read Martin Luther King Jr’s last book, “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” We were aware from the very beginning that all the campaign rhetoric about a “post-racial” America was at best, naïve and at worst, a deliberate hoax. We also never forget what too many Blacks, in their euphoria about Obama’s elections, tend to ignore - - which is that nearly 60 percent of Whites voted against Obama in 2008.

Black folks must now wake up and smell the collard greens. For personal political reasons, President Obama may insist that race is not a factor in the ongoing attacks, but those of us who have to function in the real world know better. As a first step, Black organizations and civic associations on every level must begin to identify the organizations, groups and their leaders who now feel free to openly denigrate us so as not to be caught by surprise. Black newspapers should regularly run brief bio sketches on such organizations and their leaders so they will be imbedded in their readers’ consciousness. Businesses, local and national, who support the purveyors of hate and lies should also be identified and denied our patronage if they continue to do so.

Acquiring such information and knowledge is critical if we are to be in a position to promote and defend our economic and political interests in a menacing environment.

Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at apeterb@verizon.net

Why Obama is Right on Health Care

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Marc H. Morial

On September 9, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama made his most detailed and impassioned case to date in support of legislation to fix our broken health care system and at long last make health insurance affordable and accessible to every American.

In summary, the President’s plan will provide more security and stability to those who have health insurance. It will provide insurance to those who don’t. And it will lower the cost of health care for families, businesses and our government.

If you have health insurance, the President’s plan will prevent insurance companies from denying you coverage due to a pre-existing condition. It will also put a cap on out of pocket expenses so people don’t go broke when they get sick. It will ensure that all Americans have access to free preventive services like mammograms, flu shots and diabetes tests to improve health and save money.

And it protects Medicare and closes the so-called prescription drug “donut hole” which has resulted in an average of $,4,080 in out of pocket costs for beneficiaries who reach a coverage limit and who lack another source of insurance.

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance, half of whom are people of color, the President’s plan creates a new insurance marketplace – the Exchange – that allows people without health insurance and small businesses to compare plans and buy insurance at competitive prices. It provides new tax credits to help individuals buy insurance and to help small businesses cover their employees. It offers new low-cost coverage through a national “high-risk” pool to protect people with pre-existing conditions from financial ruin until the new Exchange is created. And it offers a public health insurance option to provide the uninsured who can’t afford coverage with a real choice.

The President also sought to dispel a number of myths, lies and distortions that have fueled so much misinformation and confusion about his plan. The National Urban League shares his outrage at the deliberate attempts to defeat reform through the spreading of outright falsehoods. That is why on the morning of the President’s speech, I joined members of the Congressional Black Caucus and NAACP president, Ben Jealous in a Capitol Hill press conference to help set the record straight. We made it clear, as the President did later in the evening, that the plan would not create so-called “death panels” with the power to kill off senior citizens; coverage will not be extended to illegal immigrants; and no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.

Finally the public option, which we strongly support, is not a “government takeover” as some have irresponsibly claimed. It would be an essential option to hold down costs. It simply increases competition. That is the very essence of capitalism.

America stands alone among industrialized nations in not affording its citizens comprehensive health insurance. We have been fighting this battle for over a century. Now is the time to get the job done.

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