Archive for March, 2009

The False Comparison of Iraq and Afghanistan on the Left

Posted in Black Interests with tags , , on March 27, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

I’m a progressive; I believe in progressive values and am generally anti-war. I believe the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and that many lives and valuable resources were lost because of it. I believe that a great deal of war profiteering took place in Iraq which is borderline treasonous, and that there should be some prosecution to that affect. What I don’t believe is that Iraq should be used as an excuse to leave the job unfinished in Afghanistan.

A lot of arguments have been made for leaving Afghanistan. Vietnam and the pointless loss of American lives there is often brought up. The sin of invading Iraq is often used in the argument for leaving Afghanistan. The anger in the Arab and Muslim world at the presence of Westerners in their lands is also used as a reason for pulling out of Iraq. It has even been said that because no nation has ever successfully conquered Afghanistan is used as a reason for leaving. All of these arguments do not address the principal issue and purpose of sending troops to the country. We invaded Afghanistan in order to catch or kill Bin Laden and destroy the Al Qaeda network.

We are not invaders in Afghanistan; the use of the term was foolish in the beginning and has lead to an obfuscation of the issues. We are there to catch Bin Laden. The Taliban were an oppressive regime, with whom we had ties, and with whom we were indifferent unless they stopped us from catching Bin Laden. When they got in the way, they became our enemies. We must catch Osama Bin Laden because he is still a threat. I know that the previous administration used that fact as a blunt instrument that was used to crush opposition and rush through bad legislation, but is also the truth. If we squander an opportunity to crush Al Qaeda and their allies and we allow Pakistan to become a tool of extremist we are allowing ourselves to be put into mortal danger.

Afghanistan is a nation which is attempting to be born into the fraternity of democracies, and it needs our help. This does not mean we are trying to conquer the nation, or even force them to have a government that mirrors our own form of democracy, but it does mean that we cannot, as we have done to so many nations in the past, leave a strongman in charge because it’s the simplest thing to do. This effectively passes on a great burden to our children and increases the level of animosity towards our nation in that part of the world.

Finally, Bin Laden is still free and will attack us again if the opportunity presents itself. Before 9/11 the World Trade Center was bombed. They failed to destroy it. On September 11, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were successfully attacked and the WTC was completely destroyed. Bin Laden is not going to stop attacking us. I do not state this in order to start a wrong headed crusade against all of the Middle East. We are not at war against the Muslim world, or terrorists. We are not trying to bring democracy to the world through force. We are trying to catch the man who successfully planed an attack against us and shows a willingness to do so again. To disengage in our attempt to seek him out in the places where he is most likely to dwell is not naïve, it’s suicidal.

brandon-head Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic Party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues.  He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

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John Hope Franklin

Posted in Black Men with tags , on March 27, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

I was a History and Political Science major at Virginia Union University when I first found out about John Hope Franklin. I actually had to do a paper on the Oklahoma born historian for a History research methods class. John Hope Franklin was a man who did much for the understanding of African American history. A great deal of who we are as a people is documented because of his efforts.

Oklahoma was intended, at one point, to be a state for America’s newly freed Black population. Because of this there were many African Americans who lived there. John Hope Franklin was among them. He endured severe racism in Oklahoma and, when he became a historian, allowed his experiences to make him a better scholar. This is a man who, when he attended Harvard, had to struggle just to get access to the library facilities. He assisted Thurgood Marshall during the Brown vs. The Board of Education, one of his greatest scholarly works, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, is one of the most important documentations of African American history ever written. He is an giant in the world of history.

Here is why John Hope Franklin is important to me. Franklin wrote a book called Runaway Slaves. In this book, John Hope Franklin explains that the slaves rebelled against their captivity in a number of ways. They stole from those who kept them captive. They formed allegiances with one another against their masters. The slaves hid in the Great Abysmal Swamp and raided slave plantations. They escaped to freedom, a very difficult and dangerous task. John Hope Franklin presented factual information that showed me that our ancestors the slaves were not cowards or weak. Franklin showed me that the slaves had fought in numerous ways against oppression until Jubilee. I was proud of my heritage before I read Franklin, but a sliver of doubt I had not known existed was removed by his book. A burden I hadn’t even known was there was lifted. Rest in peace John Hope Franklin, you will be missed but you will not be forgotten.

We Remember John Hope Franklin

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men with tags on March 26, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Gary A. Johnson

The passing of Duke University professor John Hope Franklin at the age of 94 on March 25, 2009, went rather quietly, much like the man who broke numerous color barriers during his long life.  Professor Franklin is probably best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, is still considered the definitive account of the black experience in America.  More than three million copies have been sold.

Born and raised in an all-black community in Oklahoma, Franklin was among the scholars who assisted Thurgood Marshall in winning Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 case that outlawed the “separate but equal” doctrine in the USA’s public schools.

Franklin joined civil rights protesters in a 1965 march for voting rights led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1997, he was appointed chairman of President Bill Clinton’s One America Initiative, charged with directing a national conversation on race relations.

“Because of the life John Hope Franklin lived, the public service he rendered, and the scholarship that was the mark of his distinguished career, we all have a richer understanding of who we are as Americans and our journey as a people,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Many of us owe Professor Franklin and countless other citizens a huge debt of gratitude for their many sacrifices.  In 1995, Professor Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Obama Drama

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , on March 26, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Raynard Jackson

Last year, President Barack Obama ran the closest thing to a perfect campaign ever seen in this country.  There was no senior level turnover during the campaign.  There was no public feuding from various factions within his campaign (unlike Hillary Clinton’s).  Even the transition was extraordinarily smooth.

So, I am dumbfounded by all the drama surrounding the early days of his presidency.  Seems like Obama went from a serious drama to a sitcom in short order.  When he made his announcement in Springfield, IL in 2007, it was All in the Family, with his wife and children.  The media portrayed him as the ultimate Family Guy.  He campaigned One Day At A Time with his cast of Friends.

He campaigned with a discipline unseen in presidential politics.  With his upset victory in the Iowa caucuses, his supporters were feeling Good Times.  But with the unexpected loss in New Hampshire, they felt Bewitched and Lost.  But, he proved to be a Survivor heading into Super Tuesday.

He refused to take his campaign into the Weeds, even when Hillary’s campaign went very negative on him.  For that, he received Big Love from the voters.  The Obama campaign got hit with The Facts of Life of politics as the Clinton’s showed their true Colors in South Carolina.  Bill Clinton basically said welcome to The Real World.  Obama tried to knock Hillary out in Texas, but they went down to the Wire.  But, he did ultimately destroy the Clinton’s Dynasty.  They never thought he could win The Office.  Their explanation was definitely from Spin City.

The Democratic convention was one of the best run conventions ever.  The huge crowds gave him loud Cheers, thereby making him an American Idol.   During the general election, Obama ran an Amazing Race, with John McCain being the Biggest Loser.  His campaign made McCain’s team look like a bunch of Scrubs and subsequently, they all disappeared Without a Trace.

Now that Obama made his Bones, it was time to move to the West Wing.  He found that it was a Different World than he thought.  He inherited an economy that was in the General Hospital, but is now in the ER.

There is no doubt that Obama has one of America’s Toughest Jobs.  But, with 20/20 hindsight, it’s quite obvious that his budget will turn our country into a Supernanny state.  As the World Turns and Obama searches for his Guiding Light, our country seems to see nothing but Dark Shadows.

Seems the Commander in Chief wants us to live on Fantasy Island—a place where the government is the answer to all that ails us.

But What’s Happening is no one trusts the government.  We know every president has Different Strokes once they get In the House.  But Gimme a Break. Before you start expanding the government, you must reform it and make it functional.  The government couldn’t protect people from Bernard Madoff.  The Securities and Exchange Commission couldn’t protect us from Wall Street.  If we are not careful, we are all going to end up in the House of Payne!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm.   You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.

What Advice Would You Give To Young Boys and Young Men of Color?

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on March 19, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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Check out the new groundbreaking documentary from the man who brought you What Black Men Think,” the most talked about documentary of the past two decades.  Award winning and critically acclaimed filmmaker Janks Morton is back with Men II Boys, a 42 minute documentary featuring Congressman Elijah E. Cummings; NFL Player Daniel Wilcox (Baltimore Ravens); Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President of University of Maryland Baltimore County; TV Personality/Activist Jeff Johnson (BET) and men from all walks of life, delivering words of wisdom for boys and young men of color as they ascend to manhood.

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lamarr2 The film is the video component to the book written by LaMarr Darnell Shields entitled “101 Things Every Boy of Color Needs To Know.”

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“It’s not just a movie, it’s a movement.”

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For more information on the documentary, the book and the tour visit the official Men II Boys web site at http://mentoboys.com.

Mark Sanford

Posted in Money/Economics with tags , , on March 16, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

If there is justice in the world, people like Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, will get their just deserts. In his case this would mean losing his next bid for governor and being shunned in the state in which he resides. Rather than use the stimulus money to stimulate his state’s economy, he is planning to use it to pay down their debt. In this author’s opinion he is doing this in order to have a chance at running for President. The opportunity cost is the education of many of South Carolina’s poor and disenfranchised.

It is a fascinating phenomenon that many who yell most loudly of America’s greatness, the power of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps, and the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity are also the first to ignore the importance of education. The right has, thus far, been anti-education for the common American. They have allowed student loan interest rates to go up, they have failed to regulate the relationships between private lenders and universities, and they have failed to fund No Child Left Behind initiatives or set serious standards therein. How can you love America and fail to provide for its future? What can we accomplish as a nation if we are behind our first world counterparts in terms of education?

We are not just failing our children when we don’t fund education initiatives. We are failing our nation. Italy was once Rome. It was once the heart of an empire. In a time when most places depended on a nearby river for a water source they had running water in the city. There was a time when the concrete of Rome, the roads of Rome, and the people of Rome were the envy of all of Europe. Their descendants devolved into region of city states and then a nation that, even to this day, struggles to regain their past greatness. We can become Italy if we coast on past glories and fail to act in ways that will ensure the continued growth of our country. We will not get there by coddling the rich and successful as the extremist of the right want us to do. We have been a socialist nation for decades, as the policies of Bush I, Bush II, and Reagan have turned us into a nation whose government protects the wealthiest of us from hardship by placing the tax burden on the poorest of us. Mark Sanford represents those who care more about the class in which they reside than the nation in which they live. If there is any justice in the world, people like him will find themselves replaced by patriots.

Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic Party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues.  He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

The Fall of Michael Steele

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , , on March 13, 2009 by Gary Johnson

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By Brandon Whitney

Mike Steele is in bad shape, but then so is the Republican Party. A party that has been very much unified, but that has used a short term strategy deficient in practicality but heavy in ideology, is on the ropes. Mike has gotten a Republican party that is in the same condition as the nation, battered and bruised. Both Barack and Steele are African American men who received leadership positions after their organizations have been put into precarious positions, the difference is the level of skill and competence level that the men possess.

Barack Obama is a grassroots guerrilla guy. His approach to government is asymmetrical, he thinks creatively and outside of the box. Obama is an imaginative thinker who attacks problems in new ways. Barack is revitalizing American government and Mike Steele, if his approach was similar, could do the same to the Republican Party. He won’t, or at lest hasn’t so far. Mike Steele seems unsure of himself. His attempts at being more inclusive of minorities have been clumsy at best. Mike has be inconsistent in his message, he has appeared weak an ineffectual in his leadership, both because of his apology to Limbaugh for stating his opinion, and because he has yet to hire a staff for the RNC.  He is failing and is probably going to be drummed out of leadership.

As a Democrat, I see the dissolution of the Republican Party and Michael Steele’s failure as an opportunity to push the progressive agenda. However, as an American, I find the destruction of the opposition party, or its return to extremism, to be unfortunate. It is best when the two sides of the debate are moving in a common direction even if they have different ways of getting there. The extremist Republicans vision of America is narrow and self-limiting. It is my hope that the Republican Party reemerge as a useful part of our nation’s political process. Unfortunately, at this point it seems that both Michael Steele, and his party, is sinking into a mire of self delusion and bitterness. Hopefully, the Party of Reagan will reemerge as the Party of Lincoln and political debate will replace the foul and disheartening monstrosity that we have been victim to since the 1994 revolution.

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Brandon Whitney is the creator of Homelandcolors.blogspot.com a blog that focuses on issues that affect the African American community. He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. Brandon has political experience as an Outreach Director for the Democratic party and is passionate about being a positive force in his community regarding African American issues.  He is also a frequent guest on News and Notes’ Blogger Roundtable. You can read more of Brandon’s work at Homeland Colors.

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