Politics

0 18
Rabbi Lerner

By Rabbi Michael Lerner

(Editorial note: While a cease fire has been called in this aggression as of Wed., Nov. 21, 2012, the words of Rabbi Lerner remain words for contemplation on creating a cessation of deadly violence/undeclared war. G-d Willing, the cease fire remains in effect at least until you get this Muslim Journal.)

All the usual suspects have been cheering on their respective sides in the latest struggle between Israel and Palestine being fought out at the expense of some Israeli and more Palestinian civilian lives.

I’ve been overwhelmed with sadness at the tragic loss of lives and harm to the bodies of Israelis and Palestinians and outraged at all those who continue to justify their side and demean the other, implicitly cheering on the violence, even as they officially deplore it!

Enough is enough. Stop the violence immediately!

First step: The international community, led by the U.S., should impose an immediate cease-fire on all sides of the struggle and should introduce an international peace force to restrain and if necessary arrest anyone involved in any side of this struggle who is acting to continue the violence.

That force should be equally charged with arresting any military figures on the Israeli side or guerrilla forces on the Palestinian side that are attempting to engage in hostilities.

Second step: Hold an international conference to create a politically and economically viable Palestinian state living in peace with Israel (details on what that would look like are in my book “Embracing Israel/Palestine”; for more information, go to www.tikkun.org/eip).

Third step: Begin a truth and reconciliation process to coincide with implementing the creation of a politically and economically viable Palestinian state.

So how do we get there, given the apparent willingness of everyone from Obama to the most liberal Dems in the Congress to want to be seen as giving Israel carte blanche to do what it will to punish Hamas, and even the normally predictable peace voices are keeping a very low profile?

We have to move the focus from who did what to whom and how badly should we feel to the more significant question: How do we use this moment to push beyond the usual cacophony of righteous believers in the goodness of their side’s cause so that we can realize that the issue for all humanity is how to put love, kindness and caring for each other and for the earth on our collective agenda, realizing that the human race simply cannot allow itself to be distracted by outrageous and endless vicious nationalist struggles.

There are steps that could be taken to guarantee a lasting cease-fire. Israel could offer to end the blockade of Gaza (which in any event has been ineffective in keeping Hamas from gaining long-range missile capabilities) and end all drone over flights in both the West Bank and Gaza and all targeted assassinations.

This will be in exchange for Hamas agreeing to allow international monitors search all forms of entry to Gaza to prevent that military hardware from being imported and simultaneously agreeing to prevent all future bombardment of S’derot and any other Israeli targets and to punish those engaged in rogue actions of that sort (e.g. Islamic Jihad or whoever else tries to provoke war by shooting at Israel from Gaza).

This same force should be policing West Bank settlers (Jews/Israelis), some of whom are committed to disrupting any peace process that might lead to a reduction in the West Bank settlements.

But no such moves are likely to work without a fundamental change of attitude: A new approach of compassion for each side by the other, the adoption of a zero tolerance of war as a solution to anyone’s problems, and the replacing of the strategy of “we’ll show them how tough we are” attitude that I call a strategy of domination.

Change this to a new strategy of generosity (“we’ll show them how much we can care for them beyond all reasonable expectations”). Cancel the endless attempts in the media for each side to try to prove that their side is the righteous victim and the other side the “evil other.”

Most important: Develop a societal wide therapy to help Israelis overcome their greatest fear – the fear of being seen as a “fryar,” someone who is too optimistic about the decency of other human beings and the potential for turning enemies into friends. Until this Israeli pathology is overcome, no amount of rationality is likely to emerge in Israeli discourse or politics.

The first steps in this process:  It is time the Israelis acknowledge the cost of their Occupation and denial of fundamental democratic and human rights on the Palestinian people. Much of the Israeli media gives little attention to the ongoing violence directed at Palestinians, such as outright stealing of land from Palestinian farmers, IDF suppression of non-violent demonstrations against the Occupation, and holding Palestinians without charges.

Targeted assassinations now carried out by drones whose daily presence in the skies over Gaza make that tiny area the world’s largest outdoor prison. Ironically, except for the tiny percentage of Israelis who read Ha’aretz, most Israelis don’t even have a clue about what the daily oppressive reality is like for people in the West Bank, much less for the million plus human beings living in Gaza.

The majority of Israelis go about daily life oblivious to the suffering that the status quo generates until Palestinians launch their (thankfully mostly ineffective) missiles against hapless citizens in S’derot and other southern Israeli towns.

When Israelis flex their overwhelming military muscles, the leaders of the organized Jewish community in the U.S. jump into line, screaming that Israel’s existence is in danger (a complete fantasy) and that the U.S. must support its “ally” (which meanwhile is scheming how to drag the U.S. into a war with Iran).

While it is true, as Palestinians and their global supporters purport, that Israel can (and does) murder far more Palestinians than Hamas murders Israeli civilians, nonetheless, the murder of civilians on either side only builds resentment and entrenches both sides in their self-righteous indignation.

As civilians on both sides hide in terror (one in their bomb shelters, the other hiding wherever they can), their political leaders play a game of chess to promote their position and prolong the fighting.  When in actuality, neither Hamas nor the Netanyahu government wants peace.

To be continued….

 

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Bakeer

 

By Donald Bakeer, Los Angeles

My issue in 2008 was Iraq; I painted “Stop the War in Iraq; Vote for Barack!” signs all over my white van for the man! And he came through; we’re almost completely out of Iraq and close to being out of Afghanistan. President Barack Obama is much more likely to keep us out of Iran than his challenger Mitt Romney.

I don’t believe President Obama has that love for killing disease that the Military Industrial Complex “types” think he needs to be President. My most vital concern was at the end of the next term which one will have been responsible for the most murders?

I can’t be angry at Black people, as most don’t know that we had 500,000 abortions of black Babies in the last recorded Census year. As a father of seven and a granddad of 12, frankly I feel threatened by this environment. Was I voting to make it conducive to killing my future grandchildren?

It was a chilling thought.  But are we allowed to think like that if we are Democrats? To put it another way, what if the Crips killed 500,000 Black children last year and were going to kill at least that many this year?  What if the Ku Klux Klan hanged, tarred, feathered and burned a half a million Black kids?

Would this be historic to us? Would we African Americans stand up and say, “No, we will stop this genocide by any righteous means necessary and make our own mark on history.“ Or would we pathetically say, “There’re too many bad Black kids, anyway?”

I concluded, ultimately, that I would vote for Bro. Barack. But the day after the election, I would be lobbying to change the traditional policies that accept, even recommend “abortion for fornication gone awry.” We have given morally immature mothers a license to kill potentially marvelous Black human beings.

I have daughters like you our President, and I feel responsible to protect them from harm.  The thought of  them having an abortion and depriving life to a baby at the risk of their own souls is commensurate to  my utter failure as a father.

Let us do everything we can to dismantle this environment that has conceded our youth to fornication for hetero or homosexuals.  Let us create and support hip hop with profoundly moral messages and movies that are cutting edge and uplifting, like “South Central.”

Let us infuse African American culture, deliberately, with values that disdain murder and substance abuse – values that champion morality, intellect and our own dynamic literature.

Let’s stop giving away condoms and have book giveaways – thousands of books that even the “bad” kids want to read.  Let’s eliminate Black illiteracy as a tradition.

Then let us set a goal of reducing our abortions by at least 100,000 in 2013 and make strategies to achieve it.  Before you spiritually blind people retort – “A woman has a right to determine what she wants to do with her body” – be aware of putting your fate and your faith on Yaum al kiyama (The Day of Judgment) rather than in the truth of a cliché.

Do not let The Whisperer trick you into joining the ranks of the murderers (or those who are complicit to murder) on That Day. If we are sincere, we will admit that we must acquiesce to the truth for the good of America and the world, even if that truth comes from a Republican.

Approximately, 16 million Black children were aborted since 1973.  We have been duped into complicity in our own genocide. To our President Barack, use your bully pulpit to continue to save lives. But now let us focus on saving at least 100,000 of the Black babies here in America who are otherwise doomed.

(Donald Bakeer’s latest book is a memoir, I, Too, Can Create Light  (From Negro to N*GG* to Muslim). He  also authored the novel, CRIPS and  adapted it into the movie, “SOUTH CENTRAL.” He can be reached at DBakeer107@att.net)

 

GAZA

By Leila Diab

On Nov. 16, 2012, one of the most heavily dense populations in the world, the Gaza Strip in occupied Palestine, with a population of 1.7 million Palestinians was bombarded once again with hundreds now, possibly over a thousand of Israeli military F 16 fighter plane air and sea strikes, rocket missiles, drone attacks while the population of Gaza was sealed off from the outside world.

These attacks viewed from all over the world on the Palestinian men, women and children have been described by many people of conscience as “a merciless Israeli military army killing field.” And the international world community from Malaysia, Ireland, Italy, the United States of America and nearly every corner of the world have vehemently protested with daily demonstrations to SAVE GAZA, its young and the old, from this systematic Israeli Defense Force (IDF) genocide.

These are the sentiments of one living under literal siege – hemmed in, blockaded –  in Gaza: “In Gaza, there is no place to flee. Everyone of us is waiting for his/her destiny. In other words, every single minute, you have the feeling that you could be the next victim in Gaza. Israel is using an insane amount of force and power against us....

“My father went to the market to buy us food, and we were scared to let him go since the Israeli drones were targeting anything that walked the streets or moved. Please help call out to any world leader and ask them to help stop this slaughter. I cannot handle this anymore!”

This person fired to rockets at Israel, fought no war, even though pushed off their land like the early settlers did to Native American Indians, some drove to the death through starvation, drove from their own land.

This above testimony from a sister in Gaza was posted on the internet, sent to her brother to go out and speak for all the Palestinian people in Gaza. In a small footnote in the international news, it was reported at 10 million cyberspace attacks were directed at Israel when it tried to block internet messages from leaving the besieged Gazans.

The accelerated Israeli Defense Force (IDF) assaults, was poised for an all out assault on a defenseless and horrified Gaza population, without an army of their own – the fifth largest military in the world, Israel, pulling up all its tanks and soldiers to march on Gaza.

Remember the flotillas and those blockades; they were trying to break the siege of no supplies going into the Gaza where there was no accessible medical supplies, water and food.

Many want to ask, “Who started this dreadful situation?” There are many answers to this question that all lead firmly back 45 years when the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian people began, many Palestinians still living remember the day they were driven from their homes.

Forty-five years later, the Palestinian holds on and is punished with escalated strangulation of economic growth and enforced sanctions on basic humanitarian needs, walled off from the world.

There was a time when we ceremoniously printed all of the UN resolutions calling for justice for the Palestinian people, all snubbed by Israel and overlooked by its staunchest allies. The U.S. gives Israel without debate $3 billion (that’s billion) a year for military aid.

As Israeli government officials look at the rockets fired by Hamas and try to make a case for furthering their aggression on into Iran, say “These rockets are made in Iran.” But how does it feel for the Palestinian who picks up the scraps from their homes and see the remnants of bombs and they know that they are “make in America” or “made with American money.”

Israel has been very vocal to make this also an American war with the endorsement of President Barack Obama.

Drones are the new warfare that blow up cars on the streets and then Israelis give themselves a High 5 that they took that life – a man and his son. As the “hate that hate produced” and the abused becoming the abuser,” Israeli forces appear determined to “drive the Gazan mad.”

Does it really matter if the IDF drones murdered the Palestinian Hamas leader while negotiation talks were under way to resolve any mutual differences? Does it matter at all, if the Gaza population consists of 47.7 percent young children under the age of 14, with 52.3 percent male and female between the ages of 14 - 64, and less than 3 percent who are over the age of 65? Does it really matter that 98 percent of Gaza are Muslims?

According to United Nations sources, “in 2008, from December 27 – January 18, 2009, the Israeli offensive on Gaza killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, 23 days of war, 928 days of closure, being sealed off from the world, destroyed their homes, and targeted refugee camps.

A special commission of investigation into this assault, conducted by many human rights organizations and several other organizations, including the United Nations' (UN) Board of Inquiry, the Independent Fact Finding Mission mandated by the League of Arab States, and the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Mission), concluded that Israel committed numerous violations of International Law, many of which give rise to individual criminal responsibility.”

Now, three years later, on Nov. 16, 2012, an even more despicable crime against humanity was replicated – again. The world and government leaders must condemn these aggressions and hold the Israeli government's policies accountable for this sea of injustice.

The Israeli official said, “They have made us killers.” But did they make you occupiers? Did the Palestinians invade the Jews or did the Jews invade the Palestinians; 45 years are not long years – memories are still clear of the establishment of the state of Israel on top of the population there who never left – the Palestinians.

The Freedom Sailors in 2009 and 2011 banded together from all over the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to break the siege of medical supplies, food and water from coming into Gaza. They were unjustly attacked and several humanitarian non violent aid workers were killed by the IDF.

Yes, there are people who had and still have the human courage and steadfastness to save the people of Gaza, who now more than ever are in dire need of help and support to save their bodies and their souls.

Yes, hope, humanity, freedom, justice and equality are the zenith of human elements that matter, and so does the international court of law in the Hague, especially now to Save Gaza; these are human beings. Gaza matters.

Pride and Fury, a poem written by Mahmoud Darwish, best describes the plight of the Palestininian people, who continue to be steadfast against all odds, living in years of no rightful decisions to rectify their fate and destiny.

Pride and Fury

“O Homeland! O Eagle,
Plunging, through the bars of my cell,
Your fiery beak in my eyes!
All I possess in the presence of death
Is pride and fury.
I have willed that my heart be planted as a tree,
That my forehead become an abode for skylarks.
O eagle,
I am unworthy of your lofty wing,
I prefer a crown of flame.
O homeland!
We were born and raised in your wound,
And ate the fruit of your trees,
To witness the birth of your daybreak.
O eagle unjustly languishing in chains,
O legendary death which once was sought,
Your fiery beak is still plunged in my eye.”

0 20

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward It moves forward because of you.

It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election. Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. By the way, we have to fix that.

Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone,  whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference. I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.

We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. … In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden. And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago.

Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady.

Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you’re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics, the best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful President. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.

You lifted me up the whole way, and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests.

But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity.

You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift.

You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated.

We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers.

A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow.

We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.

We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known.

But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.

To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president – that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go – forward.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.

By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin.

Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over. And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better President.

And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.

Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.  But that doesn’t mean your work is done.

The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I’ve seen the spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbors, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

I’ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.

I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.

… And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future. I have never been more hopeful about America.

And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.

America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class.

I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

0 25
Christie On Obama

By Raynard Jackson

NNPA Columnist

          As the dust settles on this year’s presidential election, the real winner will prove to be Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie is finishing his first term as governor and will be seeking reelection in 2013.  He has built a reputation as a rare no-nonsense, straight-talking politician. The public claims they want an honest politician, but when they see one, he gets roundly criticized for being honest.

The governor has been given high marks for his response to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated both New Jersey and New York City.  He is a living example of how a politician can set aside partisanship for the betterment of the people.

The way he and President Obama joined together to comfort and help those affected by the storm was remarkable in light of the polarization of our body politic.

Christie served as one of Mitt Romney’s most visible and staunchest surrogates.  Christie can be very partisan, but seems to have the maturity and wisdom to know when to put partisanship aside. This seems to have led him to be in trouble with many in the Republican Party.

Christie has been effusive with his praise of President Obama’s handling of the storm. The president, in turn, has been just as effusive in  praise of Christie.

As a top surrogate for Romney and with the election less than a week away, many in the party seemed to be taken aback at this “love-fest” between to politicians from opposite parties.

Many Republicans thought Christie was providing a huge “political” boost to Obama at a critical time in the election.

Christy made it perfectly clear to media outlets that his focus was totally on getting help for his people without any political considerations.  But, Fox News would not accept the governor’s words and proceeded to ask him about whether he would tour the state with Romney.

In classic Christie style, he smacked the Fox anchors right across the lips with a stinging rebuke, “I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.

 I’ve got a job to do here in New Jersey that’s much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff… If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don’t know me,” he said.  The Fox anchors looked like a deer in the headlights.

In other interviews Christie said, “The federal government response has been great. I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally,” he told NBC’s “Today” program.

During a press conference Christie said, “The president has been outstanding in this. The folks at FEMA … have been excellent…I don’t give a damn about Election Day. It doesn’t matter a lick to me at the moment…I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Wow! We heard a national Republican who actually believes that there is a legitimate role for the federal government to play in our lives.

Maybe Christie is that “adult” the Republican Party needs to get our party back on track and to tone down some of the craziness happening within the party –  “legitimate rape,” “the president is lazy,” “the president should learn how to be American,” etc.

In a country that has become hyper-partisan to the point of total gridlock, you have a politician who is determined to put the people first, even if it helps the opposition party right before a major election.

Did Christie want Romney to defeat Obama in the election?  Certainly he did. But it was more important that he got his people the help they needed.

Without a doubt, Christie was the true winner of this year’s election. And the Republican Party can win, too, if it adopts his road map for balancing partisanship with governorship. This is the only way to get the GOP back to relevancy.

          (Raynard Jackson is president and CEO of Raynard Jackson and Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site,  www.raynardjackson.com)

0 24

By Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

NNPA Columnist

There is abundant evidence that this will be a close contest between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.  Of course, the election is not really about race, religion or about a random celebrity or publicity quotient.

This election is actually about the future of the nation politically and economically as well as the global leadership of the United States for the next four years.  For many people who have already voted early or who plan to go out to the polls in record numbers on Tuesday, the campaign endorsements by various public officials does have a significant impact.

Even though former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell explicitly stated the public policy issues and leadership qualities of President Barack Obama as the reasons for his endorsing the re-election of President Barack Obama, one of Mitt Romney’s most senior campaign officials, former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, asserted that General Powell’s endorsement of President Obama was based on race.

Sununu’s racially-motivated slur to attack General Powell for having the political courage as a Republican statesman to endorse President Obama was not just some random rhetorical misstatement.  Sununu knew exactly was he was doing a few days before the election.

Sununu deliberately interjected the issue of race into the presidential campaign hoping to make a “backward” political gain to assist Mitt Romney’s ambition to defeat President Obama.

It is important to state for the record that General Colin Powell not only made the right move, but also he did it with admirable courage and brilliant statesmanship.

As the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State who has served Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, General Colin Powell is an iconic, retired four-star general, veteran leader and seasoned visionary admired by millions of Americans.

Thus, Powell’s endorsement is important, timely and very significant.  The fact that General Powell is also a moderate Republican is noteworthy and could help other Republicans and independents to see the value of reelecting President Obama.

Powell stated, “I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.” In reference to his choice of President Obama over Romney, Powell further affirmed, “I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012.”  He listed President Obama’s outstanding record in effective counter-terrorism and the ending of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as points of strategic leadership that are important to maintain in the White House.

“In terms of the prospects about Governor Romney, Powell emphasized, “There’s some very, very strong neo-conservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with…… I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we’d be getting with respect to foreign policy.”

In the aftermath of Sununu’s charge that Powell endorsed President Obama because both are Black, the general’s former chief of staff, retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, candidly stated that the Republican Party is “full of racists.”

 Wilkerson went on to explain, “And the real reason a considerable portion of my party wants President Obama out of the White House has nothing to with the content of his character, nothing to with his competence as commander in chief and president, and everything to do with the color of his skin.  And that’s despicable.”

We are proud of General Colin Powell.  We are proud of President Barack Obama.  It is not about race, it is about leadership and accomplishment.  Let no one make you think that this election is not important and vital to all Americans.

This obviously also transcends partisan politics.  Both Democrats and Republicans should be voting to reelect President Barack Obama.  The old plantation tricks, divisive mischief and vile rhetoric of the past will not suffice in diverting our attention and responsibilities from pressing “forward” in 2012.

We, therefore, are resolute in our expressions of recognition and tribute to General Powell’s courage on the battlefield for freedom, justice and equality.  In short, we salute General Powell and vote for President Obama.

                (Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is president of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) and Education Online Services Corporation and can be reached at drbenjamin.chavis@gmail.com)

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American Coalition For Good Government

 

By Marvin Muhammad

The American Coalition for Good Government (ACGG) conducted a political survey, beginning Feb. 1, 2012, and extending through Sept. 30, 2012.

The purpose of the survey was to measure the following among Muslim Americans who identify with the leadership of Imam W. D. Mohammed:

  • The percentage of registered voters within the association;
  • The percentage of those surveyed who voted in the 2008 Presidential Election;
  • The percentage of those within the association who reported they will vote in the 2012 Presidential Election;
  • Others factors such as city and state, racial/ethnic background, religious preference and age.

The premise of the survey is rooted in the following assumptions:

~ Muslim Americans are fully engaged in the American way of life.

~ Muslim Americans are active participants in the political life of America.

~ Muslim Americans are equally involved and/or in some situations more involved in the American political process than the General American Public.

~ To achieve this goal, the ACGG conducted the survey by identifying seven areas of interest utilizing the following survey questions:

1) Are you registered to vote?

2) Did you vote in the 2008 Presidential Election?

3) Will you vote in the 2012 Presidential election?

4) Identify the city and state you reside in.

5) Indicate your religious preference.

6) Indicate your ethnic/racial group.

7) Indicate your age.

Mosques/masajid, centers, organizations and individuals within this Muslim American association where utilized to distribute and gather the surveys.

This association of Muslim Americans has existed as a recognizable Islamic community in America since 1933. The majority of the Muslim Americans in this association or indigenous Muslims who are converts to Islam. However, it is felt that this association best reflects the involvement of Muslim Americans in the American political process.

A total of 2,655 surveys were collected. The method used to collect and distribute the surveys is as follows:

  • The ACGG Website;
  • Mosques and Centers affiliated with the leadership of Imam W. D. Mohammed, throughout America;
  • Events sponsored by members of this association; a few of the events were 2012 Annual The Mosque Cares Convention (Secaucus, N.J.); 2012 The Mosque Cares Saviors Day (Chicago, Ill.); 2012 National Muslim Business Conference (Los Angeles, Calif.); 2012 Midwest Sectional Conference (Indianapolis, Ind.); and the 2012 Southwest Sectional Conference (Little Rock, Ark.).

A total of 34 states, including Washington, D.C., participated in the survey. This clearly represents the survey as a national survey.

The top 10 contributing states in the survey were (this percentage represents the percentage of total surveys collected by state):

State Percentage
New Jersey 19%
Georgia 16%
California 9%
Texas 7%
New York 6%
North Carolina 5%
Pennsylvania 5%
Illinois 5%
Missouri 5%
Florida 4%

 

 

Percentage of Surveys by ACGG Region:

 

Region Percentage
Northeast 30%
South 23%
Midwest 17%
West Coast 11%
Mid-Atlantic 10%
Southwest 9%
New England 0%*
Total 100%

 

The number of surveys from the New England Region represented less than 1 percent.

The percentage of the Muslim Americans who are registered to vote is 92 percent, with 88 percent of those surveyed reporting they voted in the 2008 Presidential election;  94 percent of those surveyed reported they were going to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 64.9 percent of Americans reported they are registered to vote. Of this number, 58.2 percent reported they voted in the 2008 Presidential Election.

Visit: http://www.census.gov/hh/www/socdemo/voting/publicationtions/p20/2008/tables.html

When comparing these numbers (U.S. Census Bureau and the ACGG political survey), it is obvious that the Muslim Americans surveyed are registered to vote at a higher percentage than the General American Public (Muslim Americans 92 percent - General American Public 64.9 percent), as well as the percentage of Muslim American who reported they voted in the 2008 Presidential Election (88 percent) compared to 58 percent of the General American Public.

An interesting point related to voter participation among the Muslim Americans, who reported they will vote in the 2012 Presidential Election, is the percentage increase from 88 percent of those who reported they voted in the 2008 Presidential Election to 94 percent for those who reported they would vote in the 2012 Presidential election, an increase of 6 percent.

 

Muslim American Voting Percentage by ACGG Regions

 

Region % voted in 2008 % who reported will vote in 2012 Percentage (+/-)
Midwest 89% 95% +6%
South 89% 92% +3%
Southwest 79% 87% +8%
West Coast 88% 95% +7%
Mid-Atlantic 91% 96% +5%
New England 100% 100% ----------
Northeast 89% 95% +6%
National 88% 94% +6%

 

The ACGG Political Survey identifies that Muslim Americans are engaged in the American way of life. Muslim Americans are active participants in the American Political system. Muslim Americans impact the American way of life and political system in a positive manner and in certain areas Muslim American appear to be more engaged in the American political system that the General American Public.

The survey also identifies trends in voting by age, city, state and ACGG region. The survey offers a glimpse into the racial/ethnic breakdown of the participants as well as the religious preference of the survey participants.

Join the American Coalition for Good Government at Muslim Journal’s 9th Annual “A Time to Be Grateful” weekend event in Atlanta, Ga, Dec. 14, 15 and 16. While there, the ACGG will conduct a Public Forum and present the political survey findings on Sun., Dec. 16, 2012. (See pages 17, 27 and 28 for details.)

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Ban Assault Weapons

Assault WeaponsBy Larry Miller,
Special to the NNPA

from the Philadelphia Tribune

At the Democratic National Convention, a number of issues were brought to the spotlight, showing the vast differences between the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan platform and President Barack Obama’s Administration.

The Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julian Castro, electrified the audience with his speech, as did First Lady Michelle Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. They touched on women’s rights, the continuing political wrestling over same-sex marriage, veteran’s benefits and other national issues and problems.

Absent was any statement regarding the national epidemic of Black on Black violence – violence which consumes cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Camden and Chicago. Even President Barack Obama has been noticeably silent on the issue, according to some community leaders – and they’re starting to ask why.

“I’ve noticed this, and normally they’re quiet on this issue, but there’s a silence on many serious domestic issues like structural poverty. There are issues that need to be addressed and aren’t,” said author and sociologist Dr. Elijah Anderson.

 “When it comes to the problem of crime and violence in Black and Latino communities, could it be indifference? We can speculate that it is. Certainly, these communities are hurting; there is a national recession and a depression in inner city poor communities.”

Bilal Qayyum, executive director of the Father’s Day Rally Committee, also said that he noticed the silence on the part of various speakers regarding the high numbers of young Black and Latino men who are killed every day in America.

Qayyum said both parties are afraid of the National Rifle Association. “Both parties have been very silent, haven’t they? I think it’s because they’re scared of the NRA,” Qayyum said.

“Now in the light of the shootings in Colorado, there’s renewed discussion on banning assault weapons. But when it comes to Black and Latino males gunning each other down, I can tell you that Mitt Romney doesn’t really care – but then both parties have been silent on the issue of violence in America in general.”

Qayyum also observed, “Mayor Castro didn’t say anything about it and neither did the First Lady. Patrick did mention the problem of crime but didn’t get into specifics. It’s an issue that they’re not really sure how White voters would respond to. What they could do is cloak the subject by speaking about crime and violence in general because really, when it comes down to it, it is an American problem, not a Black American problem.

“I’d bet that if you took a national poll and asked the average American what were their two biggest concerns, the first would be jobs and the second would be crime. I also think that if you politicize this, you’ll find yourself in a fight with the NRA. The only person who is likely to mention this problem is Mayor Michael Nutter, who has spoken about this before as a national issue,” said Qayyum.

Speaking at the Democratic Convention, Mayor Michael Nutter, as president of the United States Conference of Mayors, has been outspoken concerning the high murder rate among young Black and Latino men and the issue of illegal guns that fuel the violence.

According to figures from reports researched by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 85 percent of the Black victims of homicide are male and 51 percent are between the ages of 17 and 19. Across the Nation, Blacks accounted for 49 percent of all murder victims in 2005.

Black males accounted for 52 percent. If those figures were reversed and White males were killing each other at such a rate, no national resource would be spared to stop it, said Chad Lassiter, president of Black Men at Penn.

“We know why there’s a silence on this issue,” Lassiter said. “There’s lots of jibber-jabber and well-rehearsed, well-written speeches that are calculated to get an emotional response – but are thin on substance. I’m not surprised there’s no real discussion on the issue of Black and Latino males murdering each other, because we’re talking about a segment of the population that’s not part of the landscape.

“These young men are seen as a permanent underclass, as sub-human and ostracized from society. To raise these issues means you have to talk about institutional racism, the high incarceration and drop out rates – and they’re not going to risk their lobby contracts or their political futures. When it comes to this kind of violence, there isn’t a real effort on the part of the power elite to address it. Poverty is a ‘no-no’ and Black male violence is a ‘no-no,” said Lassiter.

Philadelphia criminal defense attorney and community activist Michael Coard said the problem won’t be raised because of racism.

“Why isn’t this issue being raised? Because Romney doesn’t give a damn and Obama is afraid to give a damn,” Coard said. “But really, if you think about it, there’s no such thing as Black on Black crime. People don’t commit crime because of race, but because of opportunity and because it’s convenient.

“Iit’s neighbor on neighbor crime. Statistically speaking, White males commit more crimes because they’re a larger segment of the population, but the White media doesn’t report that. And why? Because just like America is racist, the media is also racist.”

 

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Obama Homecoming

By Cloves C. Campbell Jr.

A few years ago, NNPA was holding its annual board meetings in March in Washington, D. C., and then Senator Barack Obama walked in the room to welcome the Publishers to Washington.

He also indicated he wanted to share some news with us.  The news was that he was planning on seeking the office of the President of the United States of America.  He said if any of us would like to talk with him in the lobby, he would be happy to share his thoughts.

There were some young and many older Publishers in the meeting.  I remember many of the Publishers being very excited.  Francis Page and I were especially interested in talking with Senator Obama.  During our Black Press Week events that week, then NNPA Foundation President, Brian Townsend was honoring the Senator as well.

As we listened, we too saw what many people already knew and millions more would eventually learn about this very charismatic man.  There was something special about him.  Something that would change the history of Black Folks in politics forever.

It was then that I and the other members of NNPA voiced our support first for the 44th President of the United States of America.  The Black Press was there first.

Fast forward, to August 2012.  It was then that I asked the question about the President’s campaign spending.  It was then, when several members of the campaign questioned my article.  As I stated then and I will state again: THE NNPA, THE BLACK PRESS of AMERICA has always supported President Obama.

We have encouraged Black folks to get registered to vote.  We encouraged Blacks to go to the polls and exercise their right to vote.  We have published hundreds of articles about President Obama, his administration and his programs.  We also have, on numerous occasions, championed his issues on our front pages.

There is no doubt that when other media outlets brought unnecessary criticism on the President, it was the BLACK PRESS that was there to support him. As we prepare to go to the polls in November, I am here to say that the National News Paper Publishers Association endorses President Barack Obama once again.

It is our belief that the United States of America can be best served with President Obama being re-elected.  We at the NNPA look forward to working with the Presidents' Administration in the formulation of strategies for the next four years.

It is our hope that those plans include more opportunities for Blacks to procure Business with the Federal Government, greater employment opportunities for Blacks in America and enhanced opportunities for all students seeking higher education.

We encourage our readers to register to vote, go out and vote and be sure to take the proper identification with them to the polls on election day. Vote to re-elect President Barack Obama Nov. 6.

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Representative James Clyburn

By Cash Michaels

Special to the NNPA from

The Wilmington Journal

WILMINGTON, N.C. (NNPA) – Rep. James Clyburn, the third most powerful member of Congress, charges that from the moment President Obama assumed office, Republicans in Congress placed party politics ahead of the interests of the Nation.

In an interview recently on the WAUG-AM radio program “Make It Happen,” Rep. Clyburn said.

“They met on the night that he was sworn-in and took a blood oath to each other that they would be obstacles to [Obama’s] Administration,” Clyburn maintained.

 “They set out to do so in a way that demonstrates the ultimate in disloyalty to the country.”

Assistant Democratic Leader Clyburn,  added, “Every attempt by President Obama has made to ‘light a candle’ to help show the way for progress, for opportunity, for bringing us out of the darkness of the great recession that we just experienced, he had seen those candles, those flames blown out time and time again by these Republicans.”

Clyburn charged, “And then they have stood on the sidelines cursing the darkness.”

Democrats held their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., hoping to draw a sharp contrast between the policies of Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

“We were teetering on the brink of [economic] disaster,” when President Obama first came in, Clyburn stated. “That is what greeted this President.”

He said Republican “trickle-down economics,” advocated President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, failed. That was by two George W. Bush tax cuts that contributed to the national deficit. More than 2 million jobs were lost under Bush, crippling America before Obama ever took office.

The South Carolina Democrat credits Obama’s quick work to shore up the economy by pumping in tens of billions in stimulus, and saving the auto industry from bankruptcy.

But Clyburn also recalls how Republicans in Congress refused to work with the President to shore up job growth, even before the Tea Party took over Congress in 2010.

“The loyal opposition has been anything but loyal,” Clyburn said. “We expect for them to be in opposition to [Obama’s] policies, but we would hope that they would be loyal to the country. They have made it very clear that the only reason for their existence…, their number one reason…, is to make sure that Barack Obama is a one-term President.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stated publicly that the GOP’s No. 1 goal was to prevent Obama from being re-elected.

“…The number one priority for every elected official, especially those sitting up here in Washington, should be to protect the American people; to secure the futures for the American people; to maintain safety in our communities, and to keep moving our country forward,” Clyburn said.

 “When you tell me all of that should take a backseat to unseating a president, then I think it tells the public all they need to know about your priorities.”

Some of that opposition is based on race, Clyburn believes.

“There has been a theory put forth in this country, from its inception, that there are certain gene pools that are not as good as other gene pools, and by that I mean that some people are just inherently unequal,” Clyburn said.

“[The theory says] there are some people who are just inherently inferior and not capable of doing certain things. When people see that this longstanding philosophy that [has been] perpetuated forever is getting a very, serious, in-your-face denigration of its own veracity or validity, then they try to fight it off.”

Warming to his topic Clyburn continued, “No African American is supposed to have the capacity, least more the capability, of being President of the United States. There are people who actually feel that way.”

He made it clear, however, that he doesn’t think that’s the view of a majority of White Americans. “But there is a big minority of White voters who are absolutely upset that an African American is President of the United States,” he explained.

Clyburn said voter ID laws that require certain state-approved identification is designed to curb the impact of Black voters.

“We can dress it up anyway we want to; we can talk about it anyway we want to, but you know the good Lord has allowed me to live long enough – I’m 72 years old – to call it as I see it,” Clyburn said.

“That’s what the fact is.”

 

Politics

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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (nusayba@uscpr.org) WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...
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