Tag Archives: policy

Living Yesterday – Today!

Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.

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I WILL HOWEVER, TODAY, ASK EACH OF YOU FOR SOMETHING. PLEASE SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS MURDER, ASK FOR JUSTICE, AND RAISE YOUR VOICES IN PROTEST OF THIS INJUSTICE!!!

I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.

It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!

Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.

Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!

Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.

Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.

If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…

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Drum Beats of Yesterday

The drum beat of the Republican Party’s dogma looms large in this political season as the GOP desperately try to find someone to unseat President Barack Obama. We have witnessed endless debates with the kind of political rhetoric unlike any that I’ve ever seen. Wait a minute; let me qualify that by saying not since the last Presidential election. At which time America, because of the republicans, was facing financial Armageddon and now in 2012 we are about to really see Armageddon; if one of these right wing-nuts were to become president.

I read an article recently written by the author Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad where he said:

“Four years ago, they were predicting terrorist attacks in the first month of his administration if Obama was elected. Of course, it didn’t happen—but the rhetoric sounds good. The Republican’s “Big Three,” which many call the last three, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul sound like the Supremes singing “Baby Love” asking the American People, “where did our love go” for President Obama. Stands to reason it went the same place our love for every incumbent President facing re-election went…in the gutter. Mud-throwing is a professional sport in politics. No matter what the incumbent does, it will never be good enough for the party out of power. Same goes here.

The real question is how far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Will they say anything to get Obama? Will they be, God-forbid, unpatriotic in their attacks of the nation’s Commander-in-Chief, that ended the war they started, soft-landed an economy that was falling fastest than a safe pushed off a roof, and had to fight for every single concession—even perfunctory tasks like debt-ceiling raises and payroll tax extensions. The rhetoric of refusing to compliment Obama, on anything, is not healthy for the national morale. Stands to chance that none of them would have done any better they been in the President’s shoes and the rhetoric toward healing our wounded spirits would be much different.

Under Nixon, Reagan and Bush II, the nation did what it was asked to do for the national good during recovering economies and re-election bids. The opposite party was asked to tone down the rhetoric for the good of the nation’s morale. There has been no such call from the Democrats for this President. In fact, some Democrats have added to the rhetoric. While the President has no party opposition (at this time), some in his party have kind of been getting their “digs in” on the slide… And then there’s the Tea Party rhetoric, an obstructionism that makes no sense.”

I could not have said it better. However, the difference in this election season is that the last crop of pretenders projected their bigotry vaguely in subliminal coded language. This “pool of fools” has no shame in their game. The race card is being displayed so transparently that Ray Charles can see it. One of these pretenders owned a lodge named “N-Word Head” and another had a news letter that espoused racial hatred so vial that one would think he was the Grand Wizard of the Imperial Knights. Another Republican candidate has said that “black children where better off during slavery” than today.

Wait there’s more! One of them has publically talked about succession. Another said, get off welfare and get a check. It was this guy who went on to say if you’re twelve years old you should be cleaning schools. This is not the same candidate who said if you’re black and twelve or thirteen this “buck” should be treated as an adult if he were to be punished in the criminal justice system.

Who are they talking too or speaking for? I seriously doubt these people would say that about an enemy captured in a time of war. Oh sorry, when they were in power they did and brought them to a place Called Gitmo.

This language takes me back to a time I thought had long past. This kind of thinking conjures up images of Bull Connor and Strom Thurmond. Let’s face it because the man duly election to be the Commander in Chief is a man of color. It appears to me from the rhetoric that is being hurled with such distinction that these folks have come from under the hood and taken off the sheets.

Whichever candidate might emerge as the GOP contender to which each of them has used the coded language like “take back our country”. They WILL DO damage under a cloak of cover and not worry about the law coming for them because they will be the law.

So, we are back to the question: How far are the Republicans willing to go to get Obama? Moreover, what will they do to us, if elected! And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE…

Legacy – A New Season the sequel to “Just a Season” is soon to be released.

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The Right is Wrong

We all know the Right-wingers are engaged in an ideological battle with the intent to make the rich richer and marginalizing those who are not. This false narrative is being done by using the tried and true method of quoting the Constitution and those good Ol’ Boys, the so-called Founding Fathers, as a convenient way to get the American people or some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.

One of those candidates is Rep. Ron Paul who has lured a lot of these so called “Real American” into that camp by creating a false narrative about America’s Founding, claiming that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a weak central government and one that was equal for all people. But that’s not the real or accurate history.

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who has topped 20 percent in the first two Republican contests, is fond of claiming that the U.S. Constitution was written “to protect your liberty and to restrain the federal government,” thus making modern laws, from Social Security, to civil rights statutes, to health-care reform, unconstitutional. But that isn’t true either.

While the framers of the Constitution in 1787 undeniably cared about liberty, at least for white men, they were also practical individuals who wanted a vibrant central government that would enable the new nation to protect itself both militarily and economically, especially against European rivals.

The broad powers that the Constitution granted Congress were designed to let this central government address national problems that existed then as well as any that would arise in the future. For instance, the Constitution gave control over interstate commerce to Congress in order to counter economic advantages enjoyed by foreign competitors.

Far from Paul’s assertions that the Founders wanted a weak central government, the Founders, at least those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, understood that a great danger came from having a national authority that was too weak, what they had experienced under the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777 to 1787.

The Articles of Confederation embraced the concept of state “sovereignty” and called the United States not a government or even a nation, but “a firm league of friendship” among the states. In the Confederation’s Article II declared: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” And very few powers were delegated to the federal government.

So, in 1787, the framers of the Constitution led by Gen. George Washington, James Madison and others in the Virginia delegation scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

The Commerce Clause wasn’t some afterthought it was part of the original proposal outlined on the Constitutional Convention’s first day of substantive business on May 29, 1787. The Virginia delegation had one of its members, Edmund Randolph, include it in his opening presentation.

Virginia’s plan laid out the framework that would later become the U.S. Constitution, transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “we the people of the United States” as represented by a new national Republic.

Where Rep. Paul claims the Constitution was designed to let the American people do what they want using the word liberty as his reference point. This is just not true! Unless, of course, he is referring to the people that represent the privilege class of Americans, who happen to be wealthy and white. We needed a government that could co-ordinate commerce in order to compete effectively with other nations. So, from that first day of substantive debate at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that a legitimate role of Congress was to ensure that the nation could match up against other countries economically.

Many conservatives to include Ron Paul have worked hard in recent decades at constructing an alternative narrative. Claiming that the Founders envisioned a weak national government and were big supporters of states’ rights happen to be a storyline that is simply not supported by facts. Key framers of the Constitution even objected to adding a Bill of Rights to the original document, accepting the first 10 amendments only later as part of negotiations over ratification.

The other thing they cry about is Obamacare. This speaks to Congress’s power to address difficult national problems, like the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance but whose eventual use of medical services would inevitably shift billions of dollars in costs onto Americans who must pay higher insurance rates as a result, what courts have described as “substantial effects.”

Paul claims: It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family. They also pray for fewer regulations to the benefit of the rich.

There are some conservative legal scholars examining the Constitution and precedents who could not find a convincing argument to overturn “Obamacare” and that is because the Founders intentionally empowered Congress to address national economic problems. It was, as the Virginian delegation understood, one of the key reasons for the Constitutional Convention.

Now I say the larger goal of the right-wing is not to uphold the ideals of the Founders, who wanted a vibrant central government, but to reverse government policies dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan is to return the United States to a pre-Depression “gilded age” of a society divided into a few haves and many have-nots.

And that is my THOUGHT PRROVOKING PESPECTIVE!


ROBBER BARON’S OF TODAY

There was a time at the end of Reconstruction and at the turn of the 20th century when a few men controlled all the wealth of America. Sounds like today right.

These guys robbed everyone because slavery had ended but it didn’t mean greed was removed from their hearts. You see, in a capitalistic society greed is a necessary component of the system. What most fail to realize is that “the system is designed to protect the system”, which means there MUST be a permanent underclass for it to work.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Little attention is being paid to the unraveling of a public policy in the United States for more than a century, which emerged in stages between the 1890s and 1930s. During this period they called it an institutional framework to balance the needs of the American people with the vast inequalities of wealth and power fashioned by the triumph of industrial capitalism. What I am talking about is the efforts to design policy for the benefit of the wealthy.

Their scheme then was originated in the widespread apprehension that the rapidly growing power of the railroads robber barons, national corporations (the Rockefellers) and banks (like J.P. Morgan’s) was undermining fundamental American values that threatened democracy. What the MIGHTY did was strangling the MEEK or crucified mankind upon a cross of gold much like Wall Street is doing today. A hundred years ago a commented a programmatic and radical group took a stance for labor. They were the American Federation of Labor and their convention delegates who in 1894 advocated nationalizing all major industries and financial corporations. If you missed that “they were called Unions”.

I am one who would argue that, like a century ago many, this form of capitalism needs to be replaced with some form of “cooperative commonwealth”, meaning that large corporate enterprises should be broken up or strictly regulated to ensure fair competition, limit the concentration of power and prevent these interests from overwhelming the public good. Now, before you go all Tea Party on me this is simply a “progressive” view of the system today.

I am well aware that such views, in most instances, will be vehemently and sometimes violently opposed by the more conservative political forces. And you know who they are! Therefore, we need to remember that it was political pressure from anti-capitalists, anti-monopolists, populists, progressives, working-class activists and socialists led, over time, who accomplished a lot for the working class people. Moreover, the state, meaning a government for the people should service and promote private enterprise. Thereby, fostering growth and this illusive ideal called the American Dream.

In exchange, the federal government should adopt a series of far-reaching reforms to shield and empower citizens from these powerful entities safeguarding society’s democratic character. Such as real regulations for business and banking to protect consumers, limit the power of individual corporations and prevent anti-competitive practices.

It was my understanding that these principles were the underlying measures and the reasons for the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890), the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) and the Glass-Steagall Act (1933) — which insured bank deposits and separated investment from commercial banking — was that government was responsible for protecting society against the shortcomings of a market economy. As we can clearly see the profit motive cannot always be counted on to serve the public’s welfare.

I believe the government should guarantee workers’ the right to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. The core premise of the 1914 Clayton Act and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 was that individual workers lacked the power to protect their interests when dealing with large employers. For the most poorly paid, the federal government mandated a minimum wage and maximum hours.

With these guarantee’s every American citizen should be entitled to social insurance: Unemployment insurance (1935), Social Security (1935), and, later, Medicaid and Medicare (1965) were grounded in the recognition that citizens could not always be self-sufficient and that it was the role of government to aid those unable to fend for themselves. The unemployment-insurance program left unrestrained employers’ ability to lay off workers but recognized that those who were jobless through no fault of their own ought to receive public support.

These measures shaped the contours of U.S. political and economic life between 1940 and 2000: They amounted to a social contract that, however imperfect, it does preserve the dynamism of capitalism while guarding citizens against the power imbalances and uncertainties that a competitive economy produces. These gains in the area of humanity have been and are under attack by conservatives and the attacks have been escalating today. We need to take a stand because the rich and wealthy are not going to give you anything. All of these gains like Civil Rights were fought for and many died so we can have a reasonable work day or a vacation.

The conservatives decried regulation for business now, just as they did in 1880, as unwarranted interference in the workings of the market: Regulatory laws (including antitrust laws) are weakly enforced or vitiated through administrative rule-making; regulatory agencies are starved through budget cuts; Glass-Steagall was repealed, with consequences that are all too well known; and the financial institutions that spawned today’s economic crisis. This thinking creates the reckless behavior predicted by early-20th-century reformers and fight against further regulation tooth and nail.

Private-sector employers’ fierce attacks on unions since the 1970s contributed significantly to the sharp decline in the number of unionized workers, and many state governments are seeking to delegitimize and weaken public-sector unions. Meanwhile, the social safety net has frayed: Unemployment benefits are meager in many states and are not being extended to match the length of the downturn. When in fact the real value of the minimum wage is lower than it was in the 1970s.Today the Republicans are taking aim at Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and Obamacare.

To a person who knows history, the agenda of today’s conservative’s looks like a bizarre effort to return to the Gilded Age, an era with little regulation of business, no social insurance and no legal protections for workers. This draconian agenda calls for the destruction or weakening of institutions without acknowledging why they came into being.

In a democracy, of course, the ultimate check on such campaigns is the electoral system. Therefore, I say all we have is the vote – we must use it because the Titans of industry may wield far more power in the economic arena than average citizens, but if all votes count equally, the citizenry can protect themselves through the political arena. Just look at what Republicans across the nation are doing. They have sponsored ID requirements for voting that are far more likely to disenfranchise legitimate and unprivileged voters than they are to prevent fraud.

Last year, the Supreme Court, reversed a century of precedent, ruled that corporate funds can be used in support of political campaigns. Some Tea Partyers even want to do away with the direct election of senators, adopted in 1913. These ideas are rooted in the Gilded Age when Jim Crow was the law and society was unjust. It is time to stand up! Take a stand and fight for our rights! VOTE…

Parts of this blog were captured as a result of reading Alexander Keyssar the Stirling professor of history and social policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. And this is my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE thanks to the professor.


Arizona on my Mind

I am of the opinion that something’s are right and something’s are wrong. Then there are something’s that I’ve witnessed and something’s I know. As an African American, I can report that I was once Negro, Colored, or worst; so I know mean spirited inhumane laws. The draconian immigration law passed last week in Arizona, directed at a particular group of people, seems like the modern day version of “Separate but equal” or Jim Crow raising like a Phoenix for the “wing nuts”, which brings me to Arizona.

In light of what we know, Arizona has passed and signed a law that directs the police to stop anyone under the guise of “reasonable suspicion” to verify that they are not in the state illegally. I guess the real question is how are the police supposed to decide whom they view as a “reasonable suspect” for being in the country illegally? Since the great majority of undocumented immigrants in Arizona are from Mexico, aggressive enforcement of the law would seem to require demanding identification from anybody who looks kind of Mexican. Or maybe just hassling those who are brown and poor. So the state of Arizona wants us to believe that this law is not ripe for abuse. We have been down this road before and know all too well its impact.

This law is appalling, in my opinion, and on so many levels. It stinks of racism; it’s arbitrary, oppressive, and frankly bad policy. It invites racial profiling because it compels police to search for undocumented immigrants based on an ill-defined “reasonable suspicion” of illegality. This means local police will use skin color, accent or limited proficiency in English as the basis for suspicion. There already are many cities in Arizona that have been widely and credibly accused of doing just this in hundreds of lawsuits. When you consider that the police lack any sure fire method for spotting illegal immigrants based on “reasonable suspicion,” Arizona police will inevitably target the legal sort as well, in blatant violation of their civil liberties.

Now here comes the insanity. The law allows any citizen to sue local police for failing to enforce immigration law. This means police will be distracted and diverted from other priorities. It is compounded by the threat of fines of up to $5,000 per day for police agencies that fail to enforce the law. It also poisons police relations with immigrant communities. By fomenting the justified fear among immigrants that any contact with law enforcement agencies will lead to questions about their status. The law makes it increasingly unlikely that immigrants will not report crimes, cooperate as witnesses or provide tips to police. Not to mention is it preempts federal law. Federal law treats illegal immigration as a civil violation; Arizona law criminalizes it by using the legally dubious mechanism of equating the mere presence of undocumented immigrants with trespassing.

Now let’s revisit some recent history that speaks to overzealous police actions and we have seen the video’s of what happens. Let’s go back the infamous Rodney King beating, for example, we saw the video and they tried to convince us that we didn’t see what we saw. We must also remember that the cops involved were acquitted at the first trial. You know the “Blue Shield” – protect their own will also happen here. Then there was the young man in New Orleans who was shot in the back multiple times as he ran across a bridge when police said he was charging and shooting at them. Or the bachelor about to be married was murdered leaving a party in New York the day before his wedding.

More recently, there was a situation where a student at the University of Maryland was attached and beaten unmercifully by three officers, who falsified (lied) in the official charging documents. If not for a video surfacing their crime would not have been known. I think it is worth mentioning that this victim was “white”. In Prince George’s County Maryland, it is common knowledge that an interaction with that police force could likely be a death sentence, or a beating for sure, and there history proves this to be true. These are just a few examples to remember in light of this new law. Oh, does anyone remember Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., B.A., Ph.D. arrested for being in his own home. I don’t have enough paper to list the many occurrences.

Let me take you back to another act of unconsciousness concerning the history of this place in the desert. They were the last state to consider or honor the Martin Luther King Birthday, after it became a federal holiday. The state was boycotted and when the loss of revenue began to hurt, they reluctantly agreed to recognize it. Then there was the guy who ran for president, who was staunchly against the holiday and like then he supports this too. He calls himself a maverick, but said last week he is not a maverick, never called himself a maverick. Dude there is video. However, he proclaims to be a practitioner of “straight talk”. Could this be described as xenophobic or unprincipled?

It sounds like the people who are responsible for this law probably only had contact with those Hispanics who trim their lawns. This is what I know!!! The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant. It is a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing, jailed, or deported.

Don’t forget, these were the same types of sanctions imposed upon “Negro” not very long ago. This could very well be what the comedic genius Richard Pryor meant when he famously said, “America got them some new Nigger’s”.

JUST A SEASON


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