Robert Gates’ “Duty” Presents ‘Fortuitous’ Insights

-A Book Review-

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway
http://www.blackinformationhighway.com

I was finishing up the first draft of a book review of “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War” by former Secretary of Defense Robert “Bob” Gates when all hell broke out in the Ukraine. It was almost fortuitous how Gates’ book provided an uncanny insight into what is now an ongoing crisis.

As a matter of fact, my receiving a copy of Gates’ book was fortuitous in itself. I had once met Gates. I was one of 12 journalists invited to have luncheon one afternoon in the Roosevelt Room with President George H. W. Bush. My place card seated me directly across from the President and on my right side this little white card seated me next to Bob Gates. I glanced at him, hopefully I minded my manners and said ‘hello’, but I don’t remember. All I do remember is thinking: ‘Why are they sitting me next to the CIA Director?’ and then I went back to semi-hammering the President about what would become an impending Gulf War with such pseudonyms as “Desert Storm” and “Shock and Awe”. Anyway, I doubt very seriously if Gates even has any memory of this, and in spite of my semi-hammering the President, I did receive a surprising second White House invitation.

This was an animated afternoon which is now stilled in an official White House photograph which has become part of the history of my life. (Just for the record: To those who are staunch this or staunch that, I play no political favorites for I have interviewed presidents, senators, and other politicos across party lines and have covered national conventions of both Democrats and Republicans and their respective politics… Now let’s get on with this, shall we?)

“Duty” does not deal with George H. W. Bush’s presidential term except for a tad bit reference here and there. Gates has served under eight presidents. “Duty” deals with two of them: President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

The book jacket shows a full face photo of Gates which I thought depicted a man not to be F— ed with. I thought it mirrors not only Gates’ frustration and seriousness – but yes, his anger and disgust in an environment where ‘duty’ had perhaps become a four-letter word.

When “Duty” was released, the controversy surrounding it centered on whether or not it should have been released while President Obama was still in office. Well, seeing that Edward Snowden is sipping a Black Russian cocktail and munching on caviar with Vladimir Putin releasing “Duty” seems inconsequential. And seeing what is presently going on in the Ukraine with Crimea, I am glad it hit the bookshelves and Kindles because what Gates does is provide a background of both Bush and Obama which gives insight into Russia becoming a 21st Century international player. It examines the fumbles and miscalculations of both administrations regarding Russia’s reentry into Georgia and Ukraine, respectively.
In flashback and in light of the Ukrainian fiasco, Gates first gives insight to Obama as a commander- in-chief on how Obama handled the hotly debated question of whether or not to send in a surge of new troops into Afghanistan:

“The meeting was unlike any I ever attended in the Oval Office. Obama, Biden, Mullen, Cartwright, Patraeus, Emanuel, Jones, and I were there…Then there was an exchange that’s seared into my memory. Joe Biden said he had argued for a different approach and was ready to move forward, but the military ‘should consider the president’s decision as an order’. ‘I am giving an order,’ Obama quickly said. I was shocked. I had never heard a president explicitly frame a decision as a direct order. With the American military, it is completely unnecessary….Former Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, in his book ‘It Worked for Me,’ writes, ‘In my thirty-five years of service, I don’t ever recall telling anyone, ‘That’s an order’. And now that I think about it, I don’t think I ever heard anyone else say it.’ Obama’s ‘order’, at Biden’s urging, demonstrated, in my view, the complete unfamiliarity of both men with the American military culture. That order was unnecessary and insulting, proof positive of the depth of the Obama White House’s distrust of the nation’s military leadership.”

This is all detailed in the chapter “Afghanistan: A House Divided” and is one of the most compelling. Good stuff. Really good stuff.

But if you want a douse of cold vodka thrown in your face then read and re-read the Russia section of the chapter entitled “Difficult Foes, Difficult Friends”. Gates doesn’t hold back when he elaborates on what the Obama administration called a “New Start” which morphed such ‘strategic arms reduction treaties’ as SALT, START, and SORT —or as Gates called them “acronym hell”—into yes, a ‘New Start’ initiative with Russia. He writes: “…I informed the president a few days later that at the exact moment of the signing ceremony, the Russian military had been conducting a nuclear attack exercise against the United States. A nice Putin touch, I thought.”

If the reader is expecting a stilted style of writing, this is not. The narrative flows easily; therefore, in that sense it is commercially written. “Duty” would make a good summer beach read (though not a quick one!). Okay, I would like to see “Duty, the movie”, for it lends itself to that “Primary Colors” or “All the President’s Men” movie niche.

And speaking of the latter, a Washington Post story written by famed Watergate busting reporter Bob Woodward which allegedly resulted from 21st Century White House leaks became the object of Obama’s ire. From that Afghanistan chapter, Gates says: “The Post had given us advance warning it was going to run the story, and over the weekend Cartwright, Flournoy, and Geoff Morrell negotiated with Woodward and others from the Post to remove sensitive numbers, references…They had some success, but they could not redact the political bombshell the story represented…After I left office, I was chagrined to hear from an insider I trust that McChrystal’s staff had leaked the assessment out of impatience with both the Pentagon and the White House….”
Gates goes on: “Anger and suspicion were further fueled six days later when CBS-TV program 60 Minutes aired an interview with McChrystal…An infuriated president, Mullen and I repeatedly discussed what he regarded as military pressure on him… ‘Is it a lack of respect for me? Are they [‘he meant Petraeus, McChrystal, and Mullen] (Note: These are Gates’ brackets) trying to box me in? …Do they resent that I never served in the military? Do they think because I’m young that I don’t see what they’re doing?’ …Again and again I tried to persuade Obama that there was no plan, no coordinated effort by the three military men to jam him…”

In spite of the controversy regarding how maybe Gates trashed Obama, he in fact provides a balanced assessment of both Obama’s and George W. Bush’s administrations and of the men themselves. Gates even provides some accolades of Obama such as: “But Obama and I were both embarking on uncharted waters in the middle of two wars. There was no precedent, since the creation of the Defense Department in 1947, for a sitting secretary to stay on in a newly elected administration, even when the same party held on to the White House…”

And in all fairness regarding that “uncharted waters in the middle of two wars…” it is George W. Bush who was responsible for that ‘water’ even if Gates found it upsetting that Obama did not take ownership of the two wars he inherited. Gates’ reasoning was that once you are elected president whatever mess is leftover you inherit it and you would do best to man up to the task. Just as presidents inherit debts, presidents also inherit wars.

What is also pronounced in my opinion is how undermined Gates was in the Obama administration; how Gates, a political veteran, is thrown into an administration and into a protocol of nouveau politicos where ego serves as the adrenaline for getting something done—or not done—or undone. It was a typical case of classic Generation Gap which should have had no place in structuring foreign policy.

Gates writes: “… [F]or the first several months under Obama, it took a lot of discipline to sit quietly at the table as everyone from the president on down took shots at Bush and his team. Sitting there, I would often think to myself, ‘Am I invisible?’ During those excoriations, there was never any acknowledgement that I had been an integral part of that earlier team.”
The further I read into Gates’ memoir, the more I viewed Vice President Joe Biden as being more cause-and-effect on the Obama administration than perhaps he should be. Biden serves as a quasi-envoy between the generations, though I’ve often suspected that Biden was a trial balloon incarnate or the prankster who opens his big mouth and controversial issues spew out like the green vomit in the Exorcist (e.g. the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy which Biden commented on allegedly before the administration was ready to deal with the policy or even before the military could revisit it. Gates does discuss this topic’s ramifications at length.)

Gates writes that he was surprised that President Obama asked him to serve as Secretary of Defense in the first place, yet he felt a ‘duty’ to do so as he had with previous presidents who had asked him. (One has to only read how he came back into this White House world with President George W. Bush to see this public servant quality about him).

What is missing in “Duty” is that elephant in the room that these recent books/memoirs in this ilk fail to address which is that Barack Obama is unique in that he is America’s first Black president. That in itself should serve as a legitimate variable in Gates’ or anybody else’s panoramic assessment of the Obama administration in comparing it to lily white presidencies. Not that it is the only variable; but nevertheless, a very significant variable. (It would be the same once the first female is elected president, though I highly suspect that discussing the first female would be less cumbersome and less sensitive than discussing the first Black, a point very much indicative of how race remains a factor in the political-socio makeup. Besides, the first female more than likely will be Caucasian anyway. )
In somewhat addressing this elephant in all its political correctness, Gates simply points out that America is a great nation because it provided this unique opportunity “…where dreams come true. Where an African-American can become president. And where a kid from Kansas…became secretary of defense of the most powerful nation in history…”

What Gates provides – albeit inadvertently—is a disturbing picture of the naiveté of a post-Civil Rights generational Black (Obama) believing because he is the total package (e.g. pedigree degrees, social set, etc.) that he actually resides in a Post Racial America and what is even more disturbing is that Gates—albeit inadvertently– depicts a post-Civil Rights generational Caucasian (Obama’s staff) which believes it too resides in a Post Racial America.

Ironically, this is the beauty of Gates’ book: He is perhaps among the first (if not the first) to define this political-socio paradox of race in the highest quarters of the Executive Branch, the presidency—without setting out to do so.
An Old Guard like Gates knows race can be a factor but moreover he feels himself as having a “Duty”—(pardon the pun) to carry out because whoever holds the title of president is to be respected as such. He’s built that way. It is his type of glue which the Obama administration pulled apart then set outside to freeze.

I am suspecting that Gates would not have published a memoir while Obama’s predecessors were still sitting presidents. But it was a different world even when George W. Bush ascended to the Oval Office in the 21st Century. It was not an era of Facebook, Tweets, Yahoo, Google, Bing, blogs, websites—you get my drift. That different world aspect also represented a protocol, a rule of thought, a rule of carrying out presidential directives (whether one agreed with them or not). What Gates constantly kept experiencing was that ego played on a Generation Gap landscape continued to be the driving force in policy making. To reiterate, this is where the immaturity lies in the Obama administration.
Gates observes how Obama is constantly viewing that his policies are being questioned because of his youth. As a reader, I am asking myself ‘what youth?’ The youngest president was Theodore Roosevelt; the youngest ‘elected’ president was John F. Kennedy–and there have been others in their 40’s elected to the highest office in the land such as Bill Clinton. Or could it be that the president in some Freudian fashion wants to say ‘race’ instead of ‘youth’? But, of course, that’s being politically incorrect.

“Duty” is important. It should be a mandatory read to political science and history students because it is among the first—if not the first—of an interwoven historical account of America fighting two wars at once and because it deals with the historical significance of America’s first Black president. Gates provides solid accounts which neither shy away from objective and subjective analysis nor from the rocky landscape of executive decision making. Gates’ boldness is why the book became raw meat for a dog pound of pundits.

“Duty” is also important because—aforementioned– Gates provides an insight into Russia which has eerily projected itself onto what became events that unraveled a 2014 Ukraine and possibly brought back the Cold War.

If one were to do a content analysis, “Duty” morphs into a paradigm in analyzing America’s foreign policy for future crisis management.

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The White House Bratmobile and Col. Charles Young

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

Since the Commander-in-Chief cannot fight the Russians, he has chosen to fight the National Coalition of Black Veterans. For this, he has unleashed what can be called the White House Bratmobile which consists of pseudo white liberals (I refer to them as Jungle Jims because they’re only happy when they ‘lead’ silent Black people) on his staff. When these pompous ass brats do not get their way, they resort to mobilizing a Willie Lynch campaign which moves on temper tantrums and retaliation when it comes to the African American community. I mean, many African Americans know that some of the most racist Caucasians are in fact those who view themselves as liberal whites. Blah! Blah!
This piece is going to get dirty. However, I figure since the Bratmobile has gotten into the mud then I might as well get into the mud, too. So, to those who don’t want to read further or think that I am disrespecting America’s first African American president, be that as it may. Moving on into the mud pit.
First of all the Bratmobile has released a blitzkrieg of publicity on now recognizing minority soldiers with belated medals of honors. On Tuesday, March 18, in the year of our Lord, 2014, the nation’s first Black president hosted a beautiful ceremony for these soldiers who deserved to be recognized. Before these, the White House honored nine other minority soldiers with belated medals and they, too, deserved to be recognized. But these gestures are not what they seem: Sincere. These gestures are in response to and a retaliation against the National Coalition of Black Veterans which has been campaigning for an “Honorary Promotion” of Col. Charles Young.
We’ve been writing about Col. Young’s achievements in our strong support of the National Coalition of Black Veterans. We shall not repeat all of the Colonel’s achievements here due to space.
For two years, the Coalition has politely asked the White House and the Commander-in-Chief for an “Honorary Promotion” for Col. Young to the rank of “Honorary General”. Among his numerous achievements, Col. Young was the third African American cadet to graduate from West Point. At the time of his death in 1922 he was the highest ranking Black officer in the military– a segregated military.
So, to those African American soldiers and others who received their belated medals, you need to thank the National Coalition of Black Veterans for being the impetus in making this happen. The point being that their medals and ceremonies emanated from the White House’s retaliatory measures against the National Coalition of Black Veterans.
Let’s get deeper into the mud: The President’s Bratmobile snubbed again the National Coalition of Black Veterans when the President refused to come for a Black History event to honor Col. Young. This snub came after the White House had promised several times to call the coalition months before the event and led them on that the President would participate. The Black Veterans inquired again; the Bratmobile promised yet again. But no cigar.
Since then the President has had time to display his comedic skills on a web series.

At the National Coalition of Black Veterans’ Black History ceremony, Cong. Barbara Lee gave her letter of support to the National Coalition of Black Veterans for Col. Young and sent a representative. All members of the Congressional Black Caucus have signed off on letters of support. Haitian Ambassador Paul G. Altidor and Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf along with other notables have sent letters of support (Col. Young served in Africa while in the U.S.A. Army). World War I hero General Jack Pershing supported Col. Young in spite of risking his own career, knowing that Young did not get his next step of promotion because white soldiers made it clear that they would not salute a Black general.
W.E.B. Du Bois gave the eulogy for Col. Young in 1922.
Said Du Bois who knew Young: “…No one ever knew the truth about the hell he went through at West Point. He seldom even mentioned it. The pain was too great. Few knew what faced him always in his army life. It was not enough for him to do well—he must always do better; and so much and so conspicuously better, as to disarm the scoundrels that ever trailed him. He lived in the army surrounded by insult and intrigue and yet he set his teeth and kept his soul serene and triumphed.”
Fast forwarding to the 21st Century: Col. Young is still being trailed by
scoundrels and going through hell—from the first African American Commander-in-Chief who has let loose his Bratmobile to inflict more pain in his memory.
Cong. Lee has been one of those leading this fight to get this honor bestowed on Col. Charles Young who was also denied his promotion due to the influence segregationist Mississippi Governor Bilbo had in President Wilson’s White House.
To beef up this denial of Col. Young’s Honorary Promotion, the White House Bratmobile has utilized what I call the Triple Willie Lynch strategy of squashing the National Black Coalition of Black Veterans. Now, with all due respect, many African Americans know about the Willie Lynch approach; yet, because Black citizens want to respect America’s first African American president, they have inadvertently allowed the Bratmobile to structure the following strategy to punish and to step up its retaliation against the Black Veterans.
This is the Triple Willie Lynch strategy : 1). If you ignore a Black long enough, he/she will just go away like a gnat; thus, this is why the Bratmobile has ignored the National Coalition of Black Veterans. That didn’t work. 2). Politicos know that you can promise African Americans anything but you don’t have to deliver anything; thus, the Bratmobile promised over and over and over that the White House would get back in touch—for two years this promise was made. But the National Coalition of Black Veterans didn’t stop pursuing. So, that didn’t work. 3). African Americans know of the ‘We have one’ approach. This means that if you reward one Black or Black group, you are at liberty to punish the “troublemaking” Black by any means necessary. In this case, that would be the National Black Coalition of Black Veterans which now is being punished with this slew of belated medals bestowed on other minority soldiers ‘to teach them a lesson!’ This way the Bratmobile can say “See, we have done right by Black veterans… see, we are good people… See, we’re Democrats which means we can do what we want to African Americans because we now have a Black president…so if we disrespect the National Black Coalition of Black Veterans, it doesn’t matter…” and all the while they’re styling, smiling and profiling for the mainstream press. The Bratmobile is grinning because it has trounced the National Black Coalition of Black Veterans for not keeping its proverbial Black place and for being the proverbial Black troublemakers, especially during a mid-term election year.
The White House Bratmobile is known for its temper tantrums and how it goes after anybody or any entity which does not acquiesce.
We shall not acquiesce on this matter and will continue to strongly support the National Coalition of Black Veterans in this effort.
For the record, some of the members of this venerable group of Black Veterans are: The American Legion-Charles Young Post #398; Los Banos Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Cavalry, Los Banos, CA; The USCG National Association of Former Stewards and Mates; The Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Committee-Inland Empire Heritage Association; The Association of the 2221 Negro Infantry Volunteers World War II; The National Association of Black Veterans; The African American Patriots Consortium, Inc.; The 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association; The 555th Black Paratroopers Association; 369th Veterans Association; Montford Point Marine Association, Inc.—among others.
The National Coalition of Black Veterans does not deserve this treatment. It has done nothing to deserve this type of disrespect. It has done nothing to deserve this type of retaliation. It has done nothing to deserve this type of on-going two-year attempts at humiliation. These honorable men and women have done nothing but exhibit the finest example of bravery, commitment, and patriotism. Col. Young does not deserve this treatment.
The White House has delivered the lowest form of behavior one can towards the front defenders of this nation. And that is a downright, lowdown dirty shame.
The White House Bratmobile has temper tantrums. When it has temper tantrums it does not care about the repercussions.
The National Coalition of Black Veterans continues to remain respectful to the Commander-in-Chief; each member remains dignified.
But I don’t have to be dignified. I choose to get into the foxhole. And in the history of my life, this will not be my first mud fight. We have made a commitment to continue our strongest support of these Black Veterans and if this means writing about it until a new president is elected, then so be it.
And to you Black soldiers who received your medals belatedly, send a thank you note to the National Coalition of Black Veterans and send up your prayers for Col. Young that the right thing is done by him.
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*The above is on the Editorial, Op Ed, and Africa lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and Black Information Highway at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com .

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Putin’s Ukraine Invasion, Robert Gates, and Russian Roulette

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway
http://www.blackinformationhighway.com

I remember watching NBC’s Olympics coverage and watching Vladimir Putin and watching what was going on in Ukraine. I remarked to those around me: “When the Olympics are over, he’s is going to kick ass, and Mitt Romney is going to get the last laugh.”

I did not agree with Romney on much, but I was in perfect accord with him when he spoke of Russia and the Cold War. The political pundits and even the President himself had a field day with the one-time presidential candidate saying that he was out of touch with reality. I never felt the Cold War was over but rather was put in the refrigerator with the rest of the ice cubes.
Coincidentally before this Russian Roulette with Ukraine started I was finishing up a rough draft of my review of “Duty” by former Secretary of Defense Robert ‘Bob’ Gates. Because of my intense interest in Russia and being a Putin watcher, I was especially drawn to Gates’ chapters on America’s foreign policy relating to Russia and member nations of a collapsed Warsaw Pact. “Duty” covers only Gates’ tenure under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (For the record, Gates has served under eight presidents).
You see, I’ve always thought of Czar Putin as a bastard, but a brilliant bastard. He thrives on underestimation. Presently, he has checkmated the U.S. and Obama. When the Czar comes out of this he either will be closer to sitting on a re-constituted Balance of Power scale or in fact sitting there.
If America’s foreign policy continues in its naïve Euro-centric mode of thinking which floats in that river called denial which allows the U.S. to get into major conflicts without reasonable exit strategies, China will be on the other end of that scale along with Russia. This nation cannot keep going to war and remaining on foreign territory for generations then look up and wonder why it’s hated, resented, and why guerilla tactics are geared up to drive out America. Practically every Euro-nation has had to learn this valuable lesson colonialism provided.
Also, if America’s foreign policy continues to define itself by whittling down a Defense budget with more regard to appeasing those who want to ‘give peace a chance’ rather than deal with the cold reality that there are those who want to take down Number One (U.S.A.) just to say they took down Number One. Having said this, any rational person wants peace and tranquility. Oh, if the world were comprised one-hundred percent of rational persons!

While in Bush’s administration, here’s what Gates says about Putin during the Georgian crisis: “The Russians had baited the trap, and the impetuous [Mikheil] Saakashvili walked right into it. The Russians, Putin in particular, wanted to reassert Russia’s traditional sphere of influence, including the Caucasus. I was asked by a reporter if I trusted Vladimir Putin ‘anymore’? I responded, ‘Anymore’ is an interesting word. I have never believed that one should make national security policy on the basis of trust. I think you make national security policy based on interests and on realities.’ I said to some of my colleagues privately that I’d looked into Putin’s eyes and, just as I expected, had seen a stone-cold killer.”
In reading “Duty” especially in light of the ongoing Ukrainian crisis, I am more than convinced that in the Obama administration those who had the expertise, knowledge and maturity about foreign policy constantly were either being undermined and/or sabotaged. I am convinced that Gates (along with a few others) had to get the hell out of Dodge to save his sanity if not his soul. Strong words from yours truly? Yes. Moving on.

One has to wonder what assessment Gates would make of current events; and by the same token I was wondering if he himself made a fatal flaw in thinking that Ukraine should not have been fast-tracked into NATO when he was in the first Bush administration.
He writes: “But moving so quickly after the collapse of the Soviet Union to incorporate so many of its formerly subjugated states into NATO was a mistake. Including the Baltic states, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary quickly was the right thing to do, but I believe the process should then have slowed…The Russians had long historical ties to Serbia, which we largely ignored. Trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching. The roots of the Russian Empire trace back to Kiev in the ninth century, so that was an especially monumental provocation.”
It would seem that not fast tracking Ukraine has come back to bite the U.S. in the buttocks.
To reiterate, now Putin has checkmated the U.S. and Obama. Granted this checkmate did not start with Obama but like it or not, Obama can use the same advice parents give their teenage daughters: As long as you’re the one left literally holding the bag, you’re the one who had better be the most responsible.

Of course, Czar Putin is correctly predicting that any U.S. –led sanctions placed upon it will backfire against the West. I believe he is right, because these sanctions rest in the sphere-of-empty words. Putin just might feel that he can hold out against any sanctions until after 2016 just to negotiate with a new president and to embarrass Obama. Besides, I would ascertain that our allies are tired of following America into seemingly non-ending wars. Putin is quietly chortling every time President Obama makes what can amount to no more than empty threats. Putin is mockingly saying: ‘What are you going to do? Fight three wars at the same time?’

Furthermore, don’t think Putin has not looked at how many American generals and others with high military rank have been behaving badly? And why is the military morale so low? There is a reason for this that the President/Commander in Chief needs to examine along with a nation which has been disrespecting its soldiers since Vietnam.
Yes, the real truth—long before Obama took office—is that America has been looking like a ‘loser’ on the war front since Vietnam. In international relations, perception is a very determinate variable in any realistic framework of analysis. That variable eventually morphs into an indicator—into a measurement– to determine the effectiveness of a foreign policy. America’s foreign policy is murky at best; indefinable at worse.
The global stock markets are precarious with this crisis of a renewed – yes—Cold War. But in the 21st Century it is beyond me why the international money makers (e.g. multi-national banks and companies) are not formally thrown into the mix in determining foreign policy—here or in Russia, for I am sure if I were a little birdie on the wall, Putin, who is one of the world’s wealthiest people, has received clandestine calls or messages from his fellow billionaires and zillionaires who are watching their purses on the monetary global front. Why the world’s ‘One Percent’ is not viewed as more of a substantial player in the international relations framework of analysis has puzzled me. I feel underneath this crisis, this player might be the catalyst to slow down Putin, seeing that his personal billions are at stake because unlike his old communist Russian counterparts, Putin is the new hybrid of capitalism and communism. He is the communist poster child for Adam Smith. He’s learned well the lesson from that Chinese model of capitalism with a red twist. Yes, money makes the world go ‘round. Unfortunately.

Gates writes the following on the suggestion of any sanctions tactics during Russia’s Georgian invasion: “…President Bush and all his senior advisers knew that if we took strong unilateral political and economic action against Russia, we ran the risk of the United States, rather than the Russians, becoming isolated over the invasion. A statement by the European Union criticizing the invasion by [sic] was predictably tepid. So as much as most of us wanted strong action against Russia, we suppressed our feelings and agreed to march in lockstep with our NATO allies…”
Putin’s fatal flaw might have been in not moving quicker to hem up Ukraine. In hindsight, when the Soviet Union collapsed the U.S. should have moved quicker (contrary to what Gates asserts) with rough edges and all to lead those Soviet “subjugated states” into NATO. After all at that time, what could Russia have done? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This time if Czar Putin had moved quicker, with all due respect, what could the United States have done? Nothing. Absolutely nothing but bitch (which is all it is doing presently coupled with Secretary of State Kerry offering a weak Ukraine government $1 billion in aid). To reiterate, this nation cannot fight three wars? Europe wishes to do no more than pay lip service in the form of sending in some team to investigate Ukraine’s complaint (I am sure Putin is chuckling over that!) after all is said and done, pretty much like Gates summed up during Russia’s 1968 invasion of the Czechoslovakia crisis regarding sanctions: “As horrified as the Europeans said they were by the brutal invasion, for them, everything was back to business with the Soviets within three or four months.” So it will be in 2014.
Even if Putin were to half-step back, he still comes out smelling like an international proverbial rose because he at least has the façade of being a winner—of being a leader—of being a czar. Like him or not. He is theoretically closer to bringing back the Balance of Power. All because America has an administration which was caught with its pants down due not to an earnest blunder but due to an arrogance of a new generation of powerniks who are more adept to working social media technology than working real time in international politics which old fogies like Putin and Gates who can put them out to pasture on “Animal Farm” with their knowledge base.

How do you Tweet ‘screw up’?

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President Obama, Sergeant Cory Remsburg and Col. Charles Young

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

“Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble, we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress—to create the build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice; and fairness, and equality under the law so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen…”

The above is a quote from President Barack Obama’s January 28, 2014 State of the Union Address as he pays homage to Sergeant First Class Rory Remsburg whom he’d visited four times while this brave American was recovering from what could have been fatal wounds when a mine went off in Afghanistan. Sergeant First Class Remsburg received well worthy cheers and a standing ovation from members of both parties. These cheers and ovations lasted longer than anything the President said that night and these accolades were respectfully accorded in a bi-partisan spirit to honor this soldier. At the end of the day it is the soldier who protects citizens be they Democrats, Republicans, independents, Black, White, Hispanic, Oriental, Native Americans – all citizens regardless of race, color, sex, or creed.

“Col. Young is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Col. Charles Young never gives up, and he does not quit. My fellow Americans, men and women like Col. Young remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble, we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than 200 years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress—to create the build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice; and fairness, and equality under the law so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen…”
Of course, the President made no reference to Col. Charles Young in his State of the Union Address. Col. Charles Young died in 1922. Col Young was the highest ranking Black officer in the Army at the time of his death.

For nearly two years, the National Coalition of Black Veterans*, which represents every branch of the military, has been practically begging for the Commander-in-Chief to give Col. Charles Young an ‘Honorary’ promotion to General. You see, Col. Young should have been promoted but because he was African American, he was not.

The National Coalition of Black Veterans had put in numerous requests to the White House to present a bronze maquette of Col. Young on horseback by renowned sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez.

The Black Veterans finally had to resort to the Congressional Black Caucus for a second time, and for the second time it was Cong. Barbara Lee who so passionately stepped in and sent a second letter to the President only to be met with a steel wall of indifference. Should such treatment have been news? Of course not. This is the same President/Commander-in-Chief who scolded this respected organization of African American congressional leaders for “whining.”

“What are you whining about?” he chastised them standing on a podium for all the nation and world to witness. Never mind that he kept refusing to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus in 2009 after he became America’s first Black president, when the Congressional Black Caucus like so many African Americans were foot soldiers in getting him elected. Never mind that he had met with everyone and every other group that did not have ‘Black’ and/or African American as an adjective attached to it. This modus operandi has been this administration’s strategy—or shall we say ‘marketing’ strategy to sell the President as an unthreatening Black male from day one. Why it continues is beyond our understanding.

So, it came as no surprise when Cong. Barbara Lee, obviously a Black woman and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, was put in her proverbial place of being ignored, just as was done to the National Coalition of Black Veterans.

We have been following this story very closely. We have written editorials regarding the matter. So, when we asked and were told that the White House had called Mr. Charles Blatcher III, chairman of the National Coalition of Black Veterans and founder of the National Minority Military Museum Foundation, there was hope that the right thing would be done by Col. Young who loved his country even when his country did not love him back.

Seeing that this is Black History Month when the Black Veterans had this event scheduled to present a bronze maquette to the President, we asked again how things were coming along with their requests. We were told that the White House had called in early December 2013. At that time the Coalition was led to believe the President would accept this honor. We double-checked during this Black History Month, and we received the following statement on February 15, 2014 from Blatcher:

“Members of the Coalition are extremely disappointed in what appears to be the run-around in how the White House Scheduling Office has dealt with our request for an audience with the President. We received a telephone call from the Scheduling Office in December informing us that our request was being processed. We were told to expect a follow-up call in a few weeks. The second call came approximately six weeks later on February 3rd from the same office. However, this time the caller was offering an apology for the President missing the February 1st program. We informed him that no program happened on February 1st. We have been waiting for a response to our request for a
meeting with the President to make a presentation of the Colonel Young maquette to the nation. He apologized for his misunderstanding of the facts and asked that we re-submit the request by e-mail. Again, we were told someone would be in touch. Well, it has not happened yet. While we still maintain a sense of optimism, our hope is fading with the passing of each day. February is a short month. We would hate to think the White House could not find time in the President’s schedule to accept the small statue of a Black American Military Hero who symbolizes the dedication, courage and pride in which Black Veterans have historically served this nation. One could certainly argue those historic contributions made it possible for him to occupy the office of Commander-in-Chief.”

All right, I’ve had enough. I don’t care if I am condemned to the dungeons of hell for saying what I am about to. Besides, in the history of my life I have had the KKK pick up the phone and call me choice names (which I returned)—and this was in the 1990’s. This man who is America’s first Black president has continually let be implemented a political strategy to disassociate himself from practically anything and everything associated with his race, outside of his immediate family. He has been paraded by white pseudo liberals whom I have labeled Jungle Jims and has bent over so backwards not to seem that he’s giving favors to Black Americans that he’s one step from being up there with ‘Step ‘n Fetch it’. I mean, can you imagine America’s first Jewish president (and there will be one one day) chastising a Jewish organization with “what are you whining about?” or America’s first Hispanic president (and there will be one one day), saying to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus: “What are you whining about?” John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic president, and I cannot imagine he would have said to Irish American Catholics: “What are you whining about?”

Of course, the Congressional Black Caucus still wanting to give him the respect of being America’s first Black president constantly has been put in a position of whenever the President says ‘jump’, they ask ‘how high?’ or if he needs votes, they deliver them then crawl back down into the belly of the beast (Congress) until he needs their votes again. How pathetic is this ‘one-sided’ symbiotic relationship? They’ve been respectful for longer than he deserves because they know and he knows that if they give the appearance of being disrespectful to a Black man who is President, they would catch holy hell from Black constituents. Perfect Catch-22 for them; a win-win for him.

During World War I Secretary of War Newton Baker pushed for Young’s promotion until President Woodrow Wilson backed down at the behest of Mississippi Gov. Theodore Bilbo, an avowed segregationist. Even General John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing canvassed for Young’s promotion. During World War I, Pershing took command of the all-Black 10th Cavalry Regiment (an original Buffalo Soldier regiment), because African American soldiers were not allowed to have command of their own troops. Pershing was so derided for commanding a Black regiment that he was known first as ‘Nigger Jack’ which later transformed into ‘Black Jack’ as he became a popular ‘white’ war hero.

President Truman crossed the color line and integrated the Armed forces. Truman also promoted posthumously Colonel William “Billy” Mitchell to rank of Major General; President George H.W. Bush awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to Freddie Stowers of World War I; President Bill Clinton pardoned Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, the first African American West Point graduate who was wrongfully discharged because of racism.

Here we are in the 21st Century and still no promotion for Col. Young– honorary or otherwise.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia sent a letter of support. Haiti’s Ambassador Paul G. Altidor sent a letter of support. Chief Methuselah Z.O. Bradley IV of the Republic of Sierra Leone sent a letter of support. Oh, but, of course these letters of posthumous support were from Black people. Of course, if these letters had come from the Queen of England, the honorary promotion would have been a done deal. The Jungle Jims around President Obama would have immediately seen to that! Then, of course, he never would have asked the Queen of England, “What are you whining about?”

This type of disrespect never should have been exhibited toward this Black soldier.
This President—of all presidents—should have never disrespected Black Veterans.
Let us remember during this Black History Month, the National Coalition of Black Veterans never would exist had it not been for the fact that this country—home of the brave and free—divided the Army into black and white. Never mind that the same blood shed was red.

This President—of all presidents—never should have disrespected a Black Congressional female who represents the likes of Cong. Shirley Chisholm who was the first African American to run for president— before Rev. Jesse Jackson; before Rev. Al Sharpton.

This President—of all presidents—should have never, never, never, never have stood before the world and said to the Congressional Black Caucus, “What are you whining about?” These were the men and women who combed the bushes, stomped the grounds, stood up in Black church podiums… some of whom started the task before he was thought of – who supported him. Such honorable men as Gen. Colin Powell even crossed party lines—to make ‘American’ history… and we cannot even imagine if Cong. Shirley Chisholm or Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al Sharpton or Gen. Colin Powell had become America’s first Black president standing up in front of the world in a day of advance technology saying to the Congressional Black Caucus: “What are you whining about?”

This matter is not about political affiliation any more than it was when the brave Sergeant Cory was lauded for his contribution before the nation—before the world. Whatever color, creed, sex or race that soldier is, he or she is to be respected for being America’s warriors. So when there was one such as Col. Charles Young who protected this nation under segregation so that Sergeant Cory one day may protect his country under desegregation is constantly being denied this rightful honors, his accolades, his applause, his standing ovation, it’s a lowdown dirty shame that he gets snubbed by America’s first Black Commander in Chief.

Never, never, never should this type of disrespect have been shown to the National Coalition of Black Veterans. Never, never, never should this type of disrespect have been shown to the Congressional Black Caucus.

Never, never, never should this type of disrespect have been shown to this Black soldier, to this Black Colonel, to this Black patriot! May he rest in peace!

Never, should this type of dishonor be accepted. Never, never, never!

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For full list of Coalition members, travel on the Black Information Highway and The Mid-South Tribune at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com.

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Ted Cruz ‘Faces the Nation’ 13 Eggs Short of a Dozen on CBS

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

When I got up Sunday morning on January 26, 2014 to ‘Face the Nation’ with Bob Schieffer as he interviewed Senator Ted “Monkey” Cruz, I thought I would stroke out with laughter. This was one of the most entertaining interviews I’ve seen in a while, for there was nothing newsworthy about it. I don’t even think Bob thought he would be interviewing a monkey on an early Sunday morning amid viewers’ coffee and pancakes.

Schieffer attempted—and oh did he attempt—to interview Cruz as if Cruz were an intelligent politician but to no avail. Schieffer graciously showed every ounce of respect and decorum he could for this infamous political figure and America’s latest WMED (Weapon of Mass Economic Destruction). Schieffer’s trying to interview Teddy was like trying to interview a trick monkey in a barrel of Jack Daniels.

Once again Cruz proved that he is 13 eggs short of a dozen.

This was not about a politician being labeled a conservative, liberal, radical, or moderate. Schieffer has interviewed them all and if that politician has a certain ideological leaning then that would be discussed and argued intelligently regardless if one agrees or disagrees with said politician. But whatever question Schieffer asked, Cruz answered as if he were so intoxicated with his own ego that he failed the sobriety test.

Cruz sat there in some metaphysical stupor and told Schieffer that he neither caused nor led the government shutdown, and he blamed President Obama for causing the shutdown. Oh really???

Towards the end, Schieffer asked Cruz if he planned on running for President. Naturally, Cruz didn’t provide an affirmative answer (which in all due respect most politicians don’t on the side of the cautionary façade of being humble. You know, as in that spirit of “… if elected I will not serve…”). However, I wished Schieffer had clarified ‘President of what?’ But “Planet of the Apes” might not have been a proper response from Cruz during mid-term elections.

(I am sure you can go to CBS.com and watch Face the Nation’s first historical interview with a primate).

What I was remembering during this interview were my own thoughts on what was probably happening behind closed doors during the infamous Shutdown of 2013. Yes, there were numerous reports of how Cruz was hurting average everyday hardworking Jo or Joe Citizen. But I do not believe that Jo or Joe Citizen was the reason Congressman John Boehner and the Republican leadership began to flex some muscle; I believe that it was the Koch Brothers and other zillionaires on their I Phones and smart phones calling the Republican chair and Boehner, turning cussing into the latest Rosetta Stone, “If you don’t do something about that blankety-blank…. He’s taking us down with them… he’s ruining our fortunes…” You see, someone forgot to tell Cruz that the One Percent’s fortunes are so interwoven into the U.S. budget that if government shuts down, Wall Street goes with it, treasury notes no longer carry a treasure, the domino of big banks fall, etc. Can you say, “Bailout?” So, to you fellow peasants who think you were the reason for Boehner’s ‘I have seen the light moment’, you weren’t. Not the main reason, at least. During a shutdown, the poor gets poorer, but the One Percent gets screwed.

Of course, if Cruz chooses to oppose any immigration bill, he could use his Canadian-born self as the primate-example of the type who should not be allowed into this nation of immigrants (Note: As I’ve written earlier, African Americans should think of themselves as Involuntary Immigrants). Only the Native American can legitimately argue anti-immigration.

Yep, when one chooses a monkey to lead the Republican Party into a shutdown, you do not get an elephant; you get a monkey. Now what did the Republic Party learn from following Cruz on Shutdown 2013? What many have learned as I myself have in the history of my life: Any fanatic can have a lunatic following.

Yes, there are those who say that I am being completely unprofessional in calling Ted Cruz a monkey. And yes – yes, they are right. I am an Un-Professional. But I shall tell you this as I stand here leaning over the fiscal cliff drinking my peach mango Kool-Aid that I have with all my heart and soul and mind apologized to all the monkeys of the world for calling Cruz a monkey.

But they have yet to forgive me.

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*The above is on the Op/Ed and Editorial lanes on the Black Information Highway and The Mid-South Tribune at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com . Welcome, Travelers!

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The Summer of 2013: Big Brother, Cheerios, Paula Deen, Julie Chen, and Ann Coulter

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

Sex sells. Race sells better.

Outside of the really serious stuff (such as death, government shutdown, ObamaCare website crashing, mayhem, earthquakes, authentic racial issues, taxes– you know, real problems), the summer of 2013 was downright hilarious in the Twilight Zone; otherwise known as that Politically Incorrect Realm.

I don’t know about the rest of the nation, but I do think we all need to get back to the art of name calling. (Okay, in some cases). That would cut down on a lot of this so-called politically correct bull, let alone lawsuits and taking away people’s livelihoods over a loose lip borne more out of anger and frustration more so than out of hate. I mean I don’t think Paula Deen would lynch anyone or that Anne Coulter would advocate killing Black babies.

I myself have not always been politically correct. Never have been, never will be. In fact, there have been some funerals I’ve attended in the history of my life that were just plain funny and I nearly died to keep back the laughter. I can say that because I know there are those who will attend mine just to make sure I no longer walketh amongst the living or even return as the walking dead. It was my dentist who first informed me that I was being called Ms. Poison Pen. My feelings would have been hurt had I had any for those who were doing the name calling.

And speaking of the Walking Dead…Mitt Romney hasn’t been around for a while, has he? Then during the Great Shutdown of 2013, there was John Boehner standing at the podium impersonating a zombie. I’d heard Ted ‘Monkey’ Cruz was called in to try out for the role of ‘Chucky’ in “Child’s Play 2013”. Teddy didn’t get the role and as revenge, he shut down Hollywood. Teddy also later lost the lead role in Fox’s new “Almost Human” series.

Okay, let’s get started in this dissension of what will have yours truly serving in the penitentiary of life for behaving badly.

For the first time in its 47th season, CBS’ “Big Brother” had to put on a disclaimer because the ‘Aaryn Nation’ had come on the scene in the form of the reality show’s contestant, Aaryan, who verbally attacked Black girl, Candace, who came close to knocking her block off had it not been for Black male contestant, Howie. Didn’t Aaryn know about ABA– Angry Black Woman—syndrome? That’s a stereotype (but truthful) given. Then there was finalist GinaMarie who put in her would be racial slurs. These two contestants were quick to join the ranks of Paula Deen in the unemployment line. Big Brother’s ratings went through the roof. Aaryn and GinaMarie were fired from their jobs without knowing it until they emerged from the show, but CBS needs to give them a bonus for blowing up the Nielsen Ratings. GinaMarie, of course, got her $50,000 for coming in second place.

Then “The Talk” host Julie Chen (who also happens to be Big Brother host as well) wiki-leaked that she had her Chinese eyes westernized to move up the Corporate Ladder of mainstream journalism. Hold the Twitter button! Julie showed before and after eye surgery photos. Being politically incorrect, the consensus would probably be that she looked prettier after eye surgery. I went, “Good heavens!” (Not that I’m any raving beauty myself, but I’m doing the writing here and I can say anything I want!) Not because Julie was ugly then, because she wasn’t, she just looked like a semi-plain Chinese-American Jane, but, frankly and truthfully, I thought it was due to her youth and some baby fat around the face and that eventually she was going to grow into what she is now anyway, except for the eyes. Her white boy boss at the time told her that she looked as if she were disinterested when interviewing, but I’m betting he was more upset because she was looking ‘disinterested’ in him. I put Julie in the category of those people who look better as they add some age, and I’m saying this as I watch Julie laugh all the way to the bank. I am imagining the former white boy boss who told her that he would never make her an anchor because she was Chinese American is now saying, “If I knew then what I know now…” I can see Julie sticking out her tongue and going “nana-nana-naaaaan.” (My quotes). But what I truly found astonishing on the day Julie revealed her secret was how her mostly lily white audience gasped as if it were surprising that an HHIC (Head Honky in Charge) of a mainstream network would tell Julie that she would never be good enough because she was Chinese American. Now, some of my best friends are Chinese Americans. Okay, maybe not in the technical sense, but I do watch Julie on Big Brother (and have from day one) and tape The Talk. That ought to qualify me for some political correctness.
Of course, Julie went on to marry the HHIC of CBS after working her way to the top on her own terms.

However, I do remember our late coach from childhood telling us kids that Chinese people named their children by going into the kitchen, taking out the utensils, dropping them on the floor and what ever sound hit would be the child’s name. Of course, this same teacher snickering would tell us to “Stop acting like you are at home or some other dirty place. Clean that desk off!” We were, of course, too stupid to realize he was in the politically incorrect realm and too stupid to realize that he wasn’t telling the truth. But we knew he didn’t hate Chinese or even us when he marched us up and down the playground “getting us ready for real life”, in his Captain Von Trapp mode.

Oprah had the best comeback this summer as she sat on her throne like a Black Elizabeth I, smooth as Shakespeare and said after all the international fracas that the Swiss Miss who told her that she—The Oprah—the Supreme Black Woman—The Black woman who owns OWN—the 184th Richest Person Woman in America could not afford a $40,000 Tom Ford handbag– might not have been a racist after all. Oprah went on with Emily Post reserve that this poor white Swiss Miss sales clerk could not have possibly meant to be racist towards her by not getting down that handbag. Oprah knows that she could have stayed home and received the same treatment at Barney’s.

I watched on all those Entertainment Tonight-like programs and laughed all the way through Oprah’s interviews, because if anyone has ever read “Pride and Prejudice” as it was meant to be read, as more satire than romance, you can appreciate the witticism of Oprah’s subtlety and her art of name calling without name calling. I, frankly, don’t have that much class in spite of being raised on Emily Post and going to one of ‘those’ schools which required that you walk up a flight of stairs with a book on your head and know how to maneuver ladylike out of a limousine, a Ford, and a sports car, respectively. A trick Britney Spears could learn. I mean I believe in being a lady but not when you’re being strangled (figuratively speaking).

“I is who I is,” will go down in the annals of philosophical pedagogy from America’s foremost deep thinker, Popeye, as quoted by that bawling Paula Deen who was the epitome of Aunt Pitty Pat from “Gone with the Wind” during her exclusive interview with Matt Lauer who at the time was allegedly not getting on favorably with Ann Curry, his former part-Japanese Today Show co-host. After Paula’s famous “I is who I is,” mea culpa, nobody can doubt that Paula loves her some Black folks now – well, at least she loves Popeye who was white.

Black folks and those pseudo white liberals went clean stone off on Paula. Now, let’s pause. It was the New School of Black Leadership who went crazier. If the Old School-Black-Boy Network had been totally in charge, they would have met Paula behind closed doors and said: “Now look here, Miss Paula, we understand you made a mistake. And ‘you is who you is’, so having said that, we want you to give jobs to Leroy and Temeka at those fine restaurants of yours in Atlanta, Jaw-JA.”

And then, there was the firestorm about Ann Coulter seemingly referring to our first African American president as being made to look like a monkey during the recent Syrian crisis. The Black and White Liberal gang demanded an apology from Annie-Get-Cha-Gun Coulter. This could have been handled better. Black folks should have simply called ‘Miss Ann’ some names back. For example: Ann Coulter is the only blonde King Kong would have thrown back; or when King Kong finally accepted Ann, Kong’s mama has never forgiven him for marrying someone hairier than himself; or Ann Coulter is so ugly that sleep had to sneak upon her (ala Moms Mabley); or Ann Coulter is so dumb she thought Brer Fox was Rupert Murdock’s first cousin twice removed. Now see. No lawsuits had to be filed. No fist fights. Everybody is happy, including Ann’s mammy.

You gotta love my bad boy Sen. John ‘Wyatt Earp’ McCain who knows how to get on Czar Putin’s level and did exactly what I was saying El Presidente Obama should have done when Putin wrote his elementary style “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay for the New York Times. What did that gun-slinging Johnny do? Nothing but wrote his own version of ‘I’m Gonna Kick Your Red Ass, Commie’ essay and submitted it to the Russian press. Now that’s really having no class while having class.

Jumping along: The Food Network (whom Deen has brought in some millions to as well) kicked Paula off so fast the woman didn’t stand a grit chance in hell. And what is the lesson here? Simple. The Food Network execs saying, “We giveth the bread, Paula baketh the bread, and we taketh the bread away.”

And we all know of those quiet moments when Blacks and Whites sit in their respective living rooms while a match (of any kind) is going on between a Black and White human being. “If you let that white boy win…” or “if you let that Black boy win…” And then we all know during any Olympics you can see the flag waving of Black, White, Yellow, Red, and Brown Americans chanting “USA! USA! USA!” or thinking ‘If you don’t beat that Russian….’ Yes, we all come together during the Olympics!

Ranting on: I had to stop watching “The Talk” for a day or two when Aisha Tyler came on, because she talked so fast I thought I would suffer a brain clot. I politically incorrectly remarked, “Good Lord! I didn’t know a Black person could talk this fast! Has the Road Runner had a baby? Shoot!” I was never more appreciative of a southern draaaaaawl. But hey, she’s witty, and because she came from one my favorite shows, “Ghost Whisperer”, I have learned to tolerate her anti-Stepin’ Fetchit text speed speech. But frankly, I thought only white Minnesotans talked this fast. Hold the stop watch!

Speaking of “The Talk” again, Sheryl Underwood had to apologize for using ‘nappy’ hair. Now for those who have seen “The Talk”, you realize that Sheryl is African American. She looks Black, but she could be white (I’ll get back to this in a moment). But in her defense any woman who can come on national and international television without a stitch of make up and without her wig can say anything she wants! I personally know how hard this can be, because I was once made to take off all of my makeup, lipstick, and remove my fingernail polish before going into surgery. I had painstakingly gotten ready for surgery, figuring if God took me on the operating table, I would at least make a presentable corpse. Oh the vanity!

Now this other dilemma I’m having about Sheryl Underwood is about her being Black or White has to do with the Cheerios commercial which allegedly features an interracial little girl (as most Black Americans are anyway) asking her allegedly white mother about heart health and Cheerios. The little girl goes in and puts Cheerios on her allegedly Black father’s chest. What we are suppose to get from this is that this is an interracial couple (the Big I.C.!)–you know as in Black man and White woman – that deadly combination in the annals of American politically incorrect history of forbidden fruit. I honestly can swear on a stack of Bibles I could not see what the controversy was about until it was explained to me that the woman was White. All the times I had watched this Cheerios commercial I just thought she was a light skinned Black woman. I have Black friends and family members who look whiter than she does! If Cheerios had put an afro on her, they would have lost their ‘controversy’ altogether.

Ranting further: I have a Black male friend who once upon time made no bones about not believing in interracial marriage, stating emphatically that Black men and White women should never marry because they were both dumb. And he elaborated as seriously as two strokes and a heart attack that Black men needed Black women because Black women were smarter than Black men, and that White women needed White men because White men were smarter than White women; therefore a Black man should never marry a White woman because two dumb people should never marry each other. I have yet to figure out his logic. Of course, he went on to marry a White woman in the spirit of many Black NBA players. I hear the politically incorrect mob squad outside, ready to word-lynch me.

Then things escalated when Miss America was named. I said, “Oh a Black girl has won. We haven’t had that in a long time.” Then I found out she was an American Indian via parents from India, but, nevertheless, an American. Of course, the true haters came out calling her everything but an American. But at the end of the day, I must admit she still looks Black to me.

So, in referencing Cheerios and Miss America, for all we know Sheryl Underwood could be a white woman passing for Black to make more money. I mean it’s getting to the point of not being able to tell who is Black and who is White these days, and that’s no fun!

I have a friend (No, it is not I) who looks forward to seeing the “Grapes of Wrath” every time it’s on TCM. I thought at first this was because of Henry Fonda’s excellent performance, until I watched it with him and he was mocking every line and falling into fits of laughter. I quickly learned that he loves this movie because it shows “poor white trash struggling in America.”

A childhood friend of mine remarked that she didn’t know how white fathers could tell who their children were. Being all of maybe 9 or 10, I asked, “Why not?” And she replied that how could a white father tell who his children were when they all had different hair and different color eyes and they were in the same family. So, their father could be a bunch of white men having children by the same mother, she said. Of course, the word ‘whore’ wasn’t in my vocabulary at the time.

One of my reporters had to stress to me that Jennifer Lopez was Hispanic when I thought she was a Black girl. I mean she was going with Puff Daddy at the time and I just assumed… (and we know what assume is…). But nowadays, would she be a Black Hispanic or a White Hispanic—as reclassification of Hispanics is trending these days?
… And at the end of the day, I still have to say she still looks a Black woman to me.

Then, of course, there was New ‘Yok’ Mayor “Health Police” Bloomberg, one of the richest men in America and a poster boy for that One Percent, who wanted to outlaw jumbo drinks, which would have been an easy thing for him to do. All Bloomberg had to do was pay every New Yorker not to drink, and then pay Coke, Pepsi, RC Cola, or Dr Pepper not to produce these vile company drinks, then pay every carton maker not to make jumbo containers. Then pay those who got laid off from these respective companies. Instead of advocating for the return of physical education in the school system, Health Czar Bloomberg actually sat down all by himself and drew up elaborate war tactics to annihilate jumbo drinks and kill Coke and Pepsi in the process. Now he should put his billions where his mouth is ‘not’ on the pop bottle.

Then there is the thing about what Atlanta’s transit system really stands for—MAARTA—Moving African Americans Rapidly through Atlanta.

The term ‘lazy’ has been applied to this President more than any other president. We know this is classic stereotyping of African American males; however, the laziest person I’ve ever encountered was a young white man who was so lazy that had not breathing required taking in oxygen, he would have been still born.

If the truth be told, we all know an Archie Bunker or George Jefferson and we all share a little bit of them in ourselves, but we must learn to laugh more about it and not start hating as in real hatred. Or at least learn the art of name calling to cut down on the tension. As children we all name-called then in a few minutes would go back to playing with each other. You know why? Because the name-calling didn’t come from hatred; it came from temporary anger and that’s curable. Hatred is not.

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*The above is also on the Op/Ed and Editorial lanes on the Black Information Highway and The Mid-South Tribune at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com . Welcome, Travelers!

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NFL Bullying, the N-Word and Common Sense

By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

I had another column I was going to run which this one could have served as a companion piece, but this Sit-U-Ation with the NFL African American player who had to check himself into the hospital to have a nervous breakdown because a white fellow player called him the infamous ‘N-word’ was too stupid not to comment on.

First of all, it must be nice to afford a luxurious nervous breakdown by checking yourself into a hospital before the ObamaCare website is working properly, and then to have your daddy on television telling the world that you’re going to be fine after allegedly being bullied and called the N-word numerous times. Of course, the NFL Commissioner is now calling for an investigation into a white boy calling a black boy the ‘N-word’. Gee whiz! So much for the post-racial myth.

Life is life. Long after we’re all pushing up daisies, someone still will be calling someone a racial slur. And we all must thank God that we all don’t have nervous breakdowns over that or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Jackie Robinson would have checked themselves into a hospital (albeit a segregated one) to have the luxury of a breakdown because they were called the N-word.

I went to ESPN.com to read the transcript of the text Richie Incognito sent to Jonathan Martin. First of all, let me pause to say that when I first heard about the fuss, I couldn’t understand why Richie was incognito. What’s wrong with the boy? Is he hiding? I was quickly informed that his surname was Incognito. Moving on… I read the text of F bombs, S—t torpedoes, N-words, etc. Now, unless, Martin was born five minutes ago, why wouldn’t he have heard these words? Especially in a locker room and football setting? Or in life, for that matter?

Call me politically incorrect or politically insensitive, but couldn’t Jonathan Martin have called Richie Incognito a few choice words reserved for ‘whitey’—like the H-word (as in honkey), redneck, cracker, peckerwood? Or as we say in the South, couldn’t he just have slapped the fire out of him (but I suppose NFL players don’t slap each other) or as some have said, couldn’t Martin have ‘punched him out’?

Two five-year-olds could have handled this better. Sure, mommy would come in to pull them apart and after that life would go on.

Now what do we have here? A full-blown investigation that will cost money; time spent on the full blown investigation; the hiring of a prominent attorney to look into the matter (that ought to be a couple of millions there) and one heck of a distraction for the Dolphins. And, of course, baby boy Martin has reportedly hired his own lawyer for a possible lawsuit for “emotional distress.” Can’t common sense make a touchdown here?

I hear that the History Channel is re-making “Roots”, and it should for a generation of Black kids who are increasingly becoming dumber about their history, because unlike Jewish parents, Black parents are failing to pass on Black History. James Brown needs to come back to yell out “Say it Loud! I’m Black and Proud!” Or better yet, Brown would have said that white bully boy Incognito was “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothin’”. Once upon a time there was no way in hell a Black man would have let a white man get away with this without laying his white ass out on the floor. After that, they both would have gotten the name calling out of their system and would have an understanding, and as Ray Charles would say, “Understanding is the best thing in the world.”

With all due respect, his daddy needs to sit his son’s black butt down and instruct him on Black history and what real Black men had to deal with—and it was more than being called the N-word by some namby pamby white boy who smelled fear on him and took advantage of it. Besides, Johnny boy could have stood up to him. Most bullies are cowards anyway. Richie boy is probably no exception to that. And if it were hazing and you didn’t like it, didn’t you have two legs to walk away or run away to live to fight another day? And why have hazing anyway? The NFL is not a college fraternity.

Having expressed that: The NFL has real problems to deal with such as football safety, brain injuries, doing right by those former players who had to work two and three jobs to make ends meet to entertain the world and make millions for owners who didn’t give a damn about them—you get my drift. This is where the NFL’s time and money should go. It would do the NFL good to call OWN and put these two little boys on “Iyanla Fix My (Football) Life” and they can become reality stars.

I don’t mean to tell the Commissioner how to do his job (actually I do, but, hey I’m trying to be politically correct), but this crybaby needs to be sent home with a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to mommy and daddy, because he is no more NFL material than I am. (In fact, being a girly girl, I have yet to watch a full football game without covering my eyes, but I have sports reporters who cover these events and they have my utmost respect!). In fact, I am almost suspecting that Jonathan Martin has discovered after about two years in the NFL that he doesn’t want it anyway, and this excuse of being terrorized by a bully ‘Incognito’ is as good as any to leave. I mean there are guys (regardless of race) out there who could man up and not let anyone run them off the field or out of their dream.

But I can tell you this (as crazy as I am) that if this 300 lb. white boy had called me the “N-word”, I would have simply said, “and your mammy is a hoe!”

Now, are you ready for some football!

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*The Op/Ed piece is on the Op/Ed, Editorial, and Sports lanes on the Black Information Highway and The Mid-South Tribune at http://www.blackinformationhighway.com . Welcome, Travelers!

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