SELMA and LBJ Spinners

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

In the last century, an elderly African American gentleman, who was also an activist, political advisor, businessman, and historian, said to me that if Black people did not record and pay attention to their history that it wouldn’t take long before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be portrayed in movies as a white man leading Black people out of Jim Crow bondage. His prediction came pretty close with the controversy surrounding the movie “Selma” with LBJ spinners asserting that the Selma march was President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s idea. They have spun their web to the point of having mainstream media believe that had it not been for Johnson the Selma march never would have taken place. Because the movie was so heavily criticized by LBJ agitators, the Academy Awards snatched up their spin to justify not giving the film its due respect and reason to go back to a lily white field of nominees in every major category, saving one black spot for “Selma” in the Best Picture category.

One must remember Marshall McLuhan saying that “the medium is the message,” and when the mainstream media decided to give its medium to LBJ anti-Selma agitators without presenting adequately the other side’s viewpoint(s), it further begrudged the movie of its due respect. Interesting how no ‘white liberal’ came out openly to defend the movie (and if one did, you have my apology).

“Selma” the march is history; “Selma,” the movie is history. And politics as back then abounds as it does now when it comes to American Black History. If this message of how Blacks themselves not only thought of Selma, but created it, marched in it, led it, and took the brunt of it fails to get out, it allows LBJ spinners to get away with killing the messenger (the movie) and the message (history) while controlling the (mainstream) medium, and to further belittle King as no more than LBJ’s puppet and African Americans as insignificant in securing their march towards freedom.

I recently received an advance copy of “Eye of the Struggle,” the biography of Ms. Ethel Payne, which I shall be reviewing at a later date. The biography, written by James McGrath Morris, clarifies even further my assertion and the movie’s portrayal of Johnson’s role in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights bill. Johnson’s role in Morris’ book is in black and white (pun intended) but blends into ‘gray’ into a body of chapters detailing Ethel Payne’s journalistic coverage of Johnson from the 1950’s to his White House years. Payne, known as the First Lady of the Black Press, was the only Black journalist Johnson gave a souvenir pen to after signing the 1965 Voting Rights Bill.

“Eye of the Struggle” (HarperCollins Publishers) will hit the bookstands and e-book stands on February 17, and it should be read by every white journalist working in mainstream press—if they’re brave enough to do so (which probably they’re not because their self-righteousness ‘objectivity’ might not be able to take it…moving on).

When there are movies which portray Blacks as being in charge and taking charge of their socio-economic-political predicament, it produces white fear. This is a harsh assessment, and I make no attempt to politically correct it. “Selma” produced white fear albeit unnecessary fear. That ‘fear’ protruded its fangs from these LBJ spinners. Because sometimes, you see, a movie is more than a movie. It is a political statement. It is a socio-economic statement. It is vomit. And vomiting is not a pleasant thing. Yet, it is sometimes induced. Selma induced vomit. It made a political statement just as “To Kill A Mockingbird”; but unlike, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” it did NOT present African Americans as victims. Its message was to create white guilt through symbolically representing Black people as ‘mockingbirds’— creatures so small and helpless that it is a sin to kill them. And throughout cinematic history and American history, Blacks have been viewed as hapless victims or happy victims; nevertheless, victims; thus, creating a medium for “To Kill A Mockingbird” to be praised and for “Selma” to be slammed.

As stated earlier, Selma induced vomit. For it to have done that made it a strong, smelly movie to stomach for those who want to rewrite history by ‘not’ putting President Johnson in his historical perspective which is that Johnson wanted no more to deal with Black civil rights than Kennedy did or Eisenhower or Nixon. (Again, I underscore the Ethel Payne biography as further testimony to these men’s dilemma and the politics of Southern appeasement).

Some LBJ spinners have held up the secret FBI tape of a conversation King and LBJ had in which LBJ is telling King that if he (King) could stir up enough discontent that could drum up enough outrage then it might be easier for him (Johnson) to get a Voters Rights bill passed. The movie also depicted Johnson offering King a position in his administration. Both of these gestures were not so much about Johnson suggesting a Selma march as about Johnson trying to stop the march or at best get King off the subject of voting rights in that usual white modus operandi of telling Blacks to ‘wait’ longer because in Johnson’s estimation he’d done enough by signing the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Remember, it is now 1965 and King and other Black leaders are viewed as Negro radicals and troublemakers’ because they went against the status quo. King and others had been thrown in jail for their civil protests countless times. (During these times not only were King and other Black activists being wiretapped by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, but Black press journalists as well. This, too, is documented in “Eye of the Struggle”.)

Johnson made his ‘stir up’ suggestions with the same ‘logic’ whites have used on Blacks to slow them down: Now if you do ‘ABC’ then you can have it. And once the Black American citizen does ABC and he returns and then it comes to ‘Now if you can do DEF,’ then when all the alphabets are used up, it becomes now if ‘you can do 1, 2, 3’…’ This has long been a southern plantation-like political tactic not only employed in the South but the North as well. Why? Because the one suggesting the ABC-1,2,3’ lingo figures that if he can delay or waylay a Black from action long enough then the Black would tire himself out and forget the whole thing. (To those who don’t understand this maneuver, I really don’t care… moving on). And the other tactic is to offer the Black a nice fat cushiony position so the target Black can ‘forget’. This is why LBJ offered a Nobel Peace Prize-winning King a position in his administration. Not from the goodness or his heart but from the Willie Lynch maneuvering of taking out and down the troublemaking Black who is well—making—trouble and cannot ‘wait’.

Civil rights events were forced on both Kennedy and Johnson and where they are to be credited is that they made a moral decision in spite of that morality having been forced by politics—national and international. One has to remember that African nations were coming out from under Euro-colonialism and these nations were cradles of oil, diamonds, and other natural resources. Neither LBJ nor JFK was a Quaker. They were not ‘John Browns’. In fact, they were not white men who would volunteer to go to the frontline to endure the pangs and pains of Freedom Summer, street beatings, and being killed and maimed alongside their fellow Black American citizens. Those were the ‘unknown’ white American citizens who hit the street or dug through the Underground Railroad on moral grounds and there is no ground deeper than moral ground. There is no ground bloodier than moral ground. It is the moral ground where graves are dug to six feet but where humanity springs up six thousand feet because it springs from blood, bravery and the gall to say hell NO!

Perhaps in the scheme of what I think of as ‘spiritual’ history, I view the 1960’s Johnson as rectifying what the 1860’s Johnson did not do after Lincoln’s assassination. That (Andrew) Johnson did not live up to the promises of the 13th , 14th, and 15th Amendments or Reconstruction which if had been done right, we as a nation would not be having the racial issues we have in the 21st Century.
And still as history will bear out: Black Americans themselves took the lead FIRST in securing their freedom. Nat Turner did not ask the white man’s permission to rebel. Rosa Parks did not ask the white man’s permission to sit down in the front of the bus. Emmett Till’s mother did not ask the white man’s permission to open her son’s coffin. Ida B. Wells did not ask the white man’s permission to print the names of those Blacks lynched throughout the nation—not just in the South—while a federal government aided and abetted in silence. Frederick Douglass did not ask the white man’s permission to put forth his philosophy that Blacks needed to make ‘demands’ if they wanted equality. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did not ask white permission to lead the Selma march no more than he did to lead what was in fact the ‘second’ March on Washington. (Again, the first March on Washington is historically laid out in Payne’s bio).
Those Blacks who sat at their kitchen tables or in church basements or in front bedrooms did not ask permission to plan, organize and execute this march. The FACT that Blacks did it and the FACT that this movie portrays their ‘strategizing’ – this ability of Blacks to ‘think’—can be a disturbing consequence of the movie for those—such as the LBJ spinners—who would like to ‘think’ that Black Americans cannot ‘think’, plan, and execute and—yes—rise up from the blood that spilt that day as it drained into AMERICAN HISTORY as America’s white terrorists beat them mercilessly. These LBJ agitators do not want to think that Blacks can sit in a room, argue over ideals and ideas, and then come out unified and walk over a damn bridge their tax money paid for!
They walked over that damn bridge to the other side. They spilt the blood to cross bridge. They endured the ‘terrorism’ in America’s culture against its Black citizens. To call Klan and Klan-like atrocities anything other than terrorism is to dignify hate.

They. Walked. Over. The. Bridge.

And to you LBJ spinners who dare not put his actions in historical perspective, and to those in mainstream media who are too lazy to speak to those Black Americans who are alive and who took the brunt of this march, and to those in the Academy Awards who seek to revert to Clorox white by any excuse necessary, you don’t have the power to kill this movie or its message, because you will never bury Selma because Selma rests in moral grounds, the bloodiest of grounds.
And as God is my witness: The African Americans who wrote, produced, acted in, and marched out front with “Selma” did not ask permission to make this movie or needed Hollywood’s green stamp of approval. They made it anyway and in the fashion Blacks have always had to create and make it: On air and prayer.

And they damn well did it up!

And lest we forget–

They. Too. Walked. Over. The. Bridge.


The above is on the Editorial, Op Ed, Black History, and Black Paper lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway at . Welcome, Travelers!

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President Obama, Cuba, and BRICS

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

Finally! Someone has used common sense and brought down the ‘wall’ between the United States and Cuba. That someone is President Barack Obama who deserves the same credit with the same verve as President Ronald Reagan who boldly prompted, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And the wall between East Germany and West Germany eventually fell.

Obama did what should have been done 20 or 30 years ago, though I highly suspect this giant move was made to checkmate Putin and BRICS more so than from an antiquated American foreign policy regarding Cuba. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway: This policy has made America look stupid. If this nation can recognize Russia and China–the biggest purveyors of Cold War communism– and not recognize Cuba was not only making the U.S. look stupid but bullying—and that was long before Obama took office. This was a policy of cutting off one’s nose in spite of one’s face which demonstrated that this country was making a mockery of its own Monroe Doctrine—you know, the vestibule of that ‘sphere of influence’ concept. Last July, Vladimir Putin figuratively mooned Obama and the U.S. when he came to this tiny island nation to wine and dine the Castro boys and maybe—just maybe—finish what Khrushchev started by making Cuba a platform for Russia’s strategic arms.

BRICS is an economic organization consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRICS was founded roughly in 2009 (with a bunch of meetings leading up to its official founding) on the premise that the U.S.A. and its traditional Euro-allies did not give a damn about nations of color and emerging nations. Russia considers itself an emerging or rather a re-emerging nation as it comes off a collapsed Communist economy. It doesn’t take an accountant to see that two of Earth’s most populous nations—China and India—are already members of BRICS. South Africa, its newest member added the ‘S’ to what was then BRIC. South Africa is a nation of color and a prototype of what is to come to a 21st Century Black Africa: Capitalism and the ample supply of Black consumers.

Continent Africa offers new markets for both neo-capitalists and neo-communists who may morph into neo-colonialists if Africans don’t watch their backs and remember their history of Euro-colonialism. China has already begun laying out its wares in Continent Africa and building an economic infrastructure there to benefit itself. And please don’t think the U.S. called its first U.S.-Africa Summit because it has seen the light of historically violating its own Constitution in reference to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which beget segregation birthed by Jim Crow.
By the same token, it is no coincidence that America elected its first ‘African’ American president more so out of economic pragmatism than out of moral ‘naturalism’ (that all men are created equal or with those ‘inalienable rights’). Most of those billionaires and zillionaires who initially jumped on Obama’s presidential bandwagon were looking 10 and 20 years down the road—that’s why they’re billionaires and zillionaires. So to those few Black American entrepreneurs and business persons who were invited to the first White House U.S.-Africa summit, you served no more than a welcome doormat for white Corporate America and an equally white Corporate Silicon Valley to come in to personally wine and dine leaders of African nations while leaving your black butts on the doorstep– if you don’t find a way to get a piece of the action. Hate to break it to you: You’re not part of this economic equation called Africa. This is a subject matter upon which I shall visit but I have neither the space nor the inclination to do so now.

Dare I say that Czar Putin was looking forward to adding another alphabet to BRICS? Yes, I dare and I dare say that this latest downfall of the ruble has to do with BRICS’ attempts to create its own central bank that would afford loans and access to capital to nations of color and a monetary unit equivalent to the Euro.

BRICS also has been eyeing Nigeria, one of the world’s leading oil producing nations. The president made the historic and welcomed announcement on Cuba on December 17, 2014. The next day I participated in a press conference call on the upswing of the American economy. That, too, was good news, but what I found interesting was a reporter bringing up why the United States was not buying more oil from Nigeria? The answer was murky at best from the White House participants of Jeff Zients, National Economic Council Director; Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Secretary Thomas Pérez, U.S. Department of Labor. (And if one were to be really a tad sarcastic, one sees there were certainly no Black economists involved from the White House— oh, but (a ‘sarcasm’ alert here!) how could I forget? There are no Black economists…but I digress). But, of course, in light of the slaughter of towns and the kidnapping of young girls, it’s understandable why the Nigeria question was murky.

To reiterate, BRICS has already added that ‘S’ as in South Africa and there is a profound reason why South Africa joined BRICS, and that is because the United Nations and its IMF draw a dark broad color line between Euro/Western nations and nations of color. Underneath hugging Cuba, there is an economic war between BRICS and the UN; between BRICS and NATO. And underneath this is yet another chess move of the U.S. being forced to play nice with its Latin American and South American neighbors. Yes, the U.S. has to look at forming better cross-national relations with its ‘sphere of influence’ neighbors because one day it may have to lead the dollar in creating a new monetary unit with these neighbors to offset and/or compete with the Euro—oh, but wait! BRICS has already begun to dance down that yellow ‘brick’ road because these ‘sphere of influence’ nations are not enamored of the Euro, seeing it as a symbol of discriminating against emerging nations and nations of color.

One indicator being when Putin made his summer tour to court other Latin American and South American nations, throwing in Russia’s $30-plus billion forgiveness of Cuban debt to Russia. Another chess move was for the U.S. to undermine the ruble because if it is to weaken BRICS then it needs to damage the lead player, which is Putin. So, if the ruble is diminished the dollar will rise and should at least (for the time being) put a stop to whatever BRICS monetary unit being created as I write this. But if the U.S. leads in creating one monetary unit that can be used throughout the Americas then that’s a game changer.

You see, not only is there the classic scale to balance in nuclear arms, there is a 21st Century scale to balance in currency invoking yet another warfront. Money has yet to fail in being utilized as a weapon of mass destruction in its own right.
Now having said all this, let me do add that I was jumping with joy when Jay-Z and Beyonce—two African American entrepreneurs– made their special tour of Cuba. This should serve as a model that Black American entrepreneurs and Black business owners had best get in the game of this new Cuban market opening. The Black American business community should not do as it has done too many times which is to stand back and wait for the cows to come home, because too many times the cows come back as packaged beef ready to be consumed by Blacks with no capitalistic benefit to them. Yes, it’s time to get those passports ready, Black ‘American’ business folks, to do business in a nation that was once your brethren Black slave-holding nation, too.

Again, President Obama should be applauded for having the guts to make this decision on December 17, 2014. And he really shouldn’t worry about those Republicans who are threatening to stop this move. I mean I am willing to go to the casino and bet my bottom dollar that these particular Republicans’ lobbyists and BFFs in Corporate America and Silicon Valley have already called them up and simply said: “Shut the ‘Duck’ up! There’s gold in them thar Cuban hills!


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

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Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, Janay, and Holy Hell Matrimony

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

If Roger Goodell loses his position as NFL commissioner over the Ray Rice vs. Janay Rice Elevator Theater, he may very well be like the cop who intervened in a domestic violence dispute between husband and wife and ended up pushing up daisies. And guess what? After the cop has been buried six feet under, wifey and hubby will rush lovingly into each other’s arms while the cop’s widow(er) cries at the funeral with their children short of a parent. The couple will continue this cycle drawing more victims into their web of holy hell matrimony.
Of course, Ray Rice should not have knocked Janay out cold, but apparently he knocked her into amnesia because she quickly forgot that he did it then dragged her out of the elevator as if she were a corpse not even bothering to call 911.
One has to wonder what’s love got to do with it? (Echoing Tina Turner).
Outside of the outrage and manic calls for zero tolerance regarding this prize fight in the elevator, there is an equal outrage when one attempts to utter the question of why did Janay Palmer decide to walk down the aisle with the bastard after he’d knocked her a few steps from Kingdom Come? But I’ll get back to this in a bit.
First of all, I don’t believe in a Zero Tolerance policy. That is about as much of a sick joke as a One-Hundred Percent Tolerance policy—and can be about as brutal in enforcement. But I’ll get back to this, too, in a bit.

Everyone is on a media seesaw of whether or not Goodell saw all of the TMZ/police- provided tapes. And if he did, why didn’t he dish out a meatier punishment to Ray Rice? Oh let me go ahead and say the unpardonable with utmost political incorrectness: Whether Goodell saw the tapes or not should be placed in another frame to get a more realistic picture.
That fancy frame is called MARRIAGE. And one might even subtract a few letters and call it a mirage, because no one really knows what’s going on inside this venerable institution which sometimes has the illusion of being something it is not.
I am willing to bet my best wig that this wasn’t the first time Rice has used his wife for helmet practice, and I am sure someone in both their respective families knew of incidents and probably tried to talk to them out of continuing this relationship.

Then Goodell gets dragged in this situation called marriage which is probably worse than any situation he’s been in since he took the throne of commissioner in the land called NFL.

Marriage is not so easily dealt with as matters such as Jonathan Vilma (whom Goodell overly punished when Vilma demanded that the NFL prove the charges brought against him), or his stiff punishment of New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton or when he dealt with the Miami Dolphin crybaby who wept because some white boy called him the N-word (a situation where one 300 pound-plus player bullied another 300 pound-plus player), or Michael Vick and the dogs.
But in the Rices’ case, Goodell is actually behaving like an average person.

Now how will the average person behave after he or she sees such a tape then learns that the fiancée instead of calling off the engagement chooses to put on her lovely white gown, invites over a slew of guests, and walks down the aisle with a man who has beaten the hell out of her — all this within a span of a day or two of knocking her out. Sometimes these average human beings are invited to such weddings when they know of or have witnessed such domestic violence with said couple. They’re there with eyes bucked wondering how such a couple could tie the knot but choose to hold their tongues when the minister asks if anyone objects to the marriage.

Yes, one gets suspicious how quickly Janay Palmer Rice walked down the aisle then did a ‘stand by your man’ press conference with Rice. Suspicious of what? That this was an attempt to save Rice’s career on behalf of Rice himself and herself. Losing $40 million and a slew of Nike commercials can put a dint in a young couple’s lifestyle of the rich and infamous. Hopefully, Janay had enough sense to get an ironclad prenup agreement which can guarantee her a great lifestyle if d-i-v-o-r-c-e happens or a good burial plan if he gives her the fatal blow. Either way, she might do well to meet with both an attorney and a mortician (and yes, I am being dead serious, pun intended).
To reiterate this is about domestic abuse inside a marriage, and those who saw the first Godfather movie know that Sonny got riddled with bullets when he rushed over to defend his pregnant sister whose husband was beating the crap out of her. Sonny didn’t make it, and in the end of this domestic dispute, his sister went back to hubby and stayed with him until Michael had him strangled.

Should Goodell have Ray Rice strangled?

There have been cases of women who knowingly go into and remain in marriages and willingly take beatings so they can remain Mrs. V.I.P. Now how do you explain them?
Again, marriage is a different beast. Historically it is understood that there are certain grounds of holy matrimony that both church and secular laws protect such as a wife cannot testify against her husband or vice versa or that divorce is a sin or a wife must ‘obey’ and submit to her husband and all the other concoctions of excuses to accommodate domestic abuse. Yes, this Rice marriage may be as perverse as she may love him, but she may love his pocketbook more; he may love her but he may love beating her more to empower some sick ass ego.
This brings us back to the aforementioned paragraph regarding the outrage of how dare anyone ask Janay Rice why she chose to walk down the aisle with Ray-Ray? Why many are equating this question with ‘blaming the victim’ when in fact it is a legitimate question and she should answer it. She did not file charges of assault and battery or whatever other charge she could have thrown in the legal kitchen sink.
Goodell might have felt a little more empowered to act stronger had the former Miss Janay Palmer not married Rice a day or two or less or whatever fraction of a time frame after the elevator drama?
All of which is to bring out the point that Goodell is not a marriage counselor, he is not a minister, he is not the law. He’s about as bewildered as many, thinking that if she married him maybe the two straightened out everything as obnoxious as it was. Yes, there should be a Domestic Abuse policy in the NFL corporate code of conduct, but even with such a policy, marriage remains a murky area fraught with legalities, moralities, and religiosities which no man (not even Goodell) can safely put asunder.

As for any Zero Tolerance policy, that can be abused as much as those who abuse, and it has been when one looks at cases where a six-year-old boy can be accused of sexual misconduct and kicked out of first grade because he kissed his little girl classmate; or a teenage girl takes an aspirin and gets suspended from school with the same severity as one who took cocaine. Zero Tolerance in the public school system has been implemented more to punish Black boys than white boys for the same violations or to punish Hispanic and poor white children.
In extreme cases one thinks of Emmett Till who was tortured for whistling at a white woman which was apparently against Jim Crow law!! This was a race-based Zero Tolerance policy which immediately called for the castration or downright killing of any Black male glancing at a white woman (e.g. a sort of “To Kill a Mockingbird” syndrome) or another case where a Black woman cried rape and an entire lacrosse team of white boys was suspended and some of its members kicked out of school only later for the public to discover that she lied simply because no one bothered to ask her ‘why did you go back inside to get your purse after you’d been raped?’ I remember thinking of this question because I knew no woman in her right mind would return to a place where she’d been raped to get her purse? She might return with a shotgun or the police but not to retrieve her purse. And then one looks at super stars Rhianna and Chris Brown who seem to be lovey dovey after he painted her face black and blue which didn’t come from makeup. And those who had involved themselves or gotten themselves dragged into their mess have every right—let me repeat—every right to ask her ‘why is she so cozy with him now? Why has she gone back into his arms?’ I am sure she would say that it is ‘none of the public’s business’, which is essentially what Janay Rice is espousing on her Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social P.R. media account where she is begging for the public’s understanding. I don’t understand it. To be blunt at this stage of whatever game they’re playing, I don’t even care to understand it, because there are real victims out there trying desperately to get out of dangerous relationships.
Like it or not, Goodell is part of that average Joe (or Josephine) who just might not understand as well, but wrings his hands in frustration because he is damned either way he goes; he is like the cop who got caught in the middle only to get his head blown off; he is the relative or friend who waits for that call from the emergency room or morgue because they have tried everything in their power to help.
In the history of my life as a journalist, I have seen on occasion both men and women make accusations about each other abusing the other just to get the other into legal trouble. Such deadly games can be played inside marriages; thus, giving a bad name to true victims of domestic abuse and violence.
Even after punishment by law or the proverbial public lynching or job suspensions or the guilty verdict from the court of public opinion, there is a type of woman who runs back to these men who abuse them.
Yes, I use the word ‘type’ because there is also the other ‘type’ of woman who doesn’t take this crap, who doesn’t tolerate it or who fights back as best she can. These are real victims of abuse and should not be blamed. These are the lost voices with only a Tina Turner serving as a role model of a woman who went through hell before getting away. She left with a gas credit card and a few pennies, and never went back. Turner had less legal protection then than what women have now. There are some women who still cannot get away because the men are tracking them down to get revenge or to inflict on them some other abuse one can only imagine or not. Funds, counseling, and jobs should be provided to aid and abet these women in getting away.

With all due respect, those who are screaming for Goodell’s head should advocate for women who are really going through hell, who can’t afford legal aid, who have no place to go. Ray Rice should make a sizable contribution to them, even if I believe that he is feeling more sorry for being caught than for knocking out his now wife. And now that NOW has the NFL by its balls, it along with the National Council of Negro Women (the oldest Black women’s organization in the country) should use this predicament to develop in conjunction with the NFL a comprehensive program for these rich boys to learn to keep their fists to themselves.
What there should be is a Common Sense Tolerance policy. Any case of domestic abuse should be done on a case by case basis. To further stretch the point: That catchall zero tolerance policy is about as fair as cutting off a person’s hand who stole a loaf of bread instead of finding out ‘why’ he stole the loaf of bread: from hunger or because he felt like it. Either way, losing your hands does not fit the crime. And having said that, someone needs to ask Rice ‘Why?’ before they condemn him to a career of no return like in forever. There have been many stories in the rumor mill such as she allegedly spat on him and he reacted or that she came at him first and he reacted.

Make no mistake: I am neither on Rice’s side nor on hers. As a man, he should have never put his hands—hard fists—on her; as a woman she shouldn’t have walked down the aisle with him practically within a 48 hour period. Bottom line: The real problem is in this couple which believed marriage could offset a violent relationship which could more than likely escalate.

But like so many who have involved themselves or gotten caught up in such holy hell matrimony, Goodell has found himself in a mess of trouble which rhymes with ‘hit’.


*The above commentary is also on the Op/Ed, Editorial, and Black Paper lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and Black Information Highway at . Welcome, Travelers!

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Obama vs. Putin, Timetables, Ukraine, and Terrorists

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

When President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would pull out of Afghanistan in 2016, I did not so much think that he had given a timetable to the terrorists (which he did) as some have argued but rather that he had inadvertently given one to Vladimir Putin.

Now Czar Putin knows that he has roughly two years to take control of all of Ukraine under the guise of a civil war as he awaits for a new American president (an unknown entity) while taking full advantage of America fighting two wars simultaneously. And as of this writing, the group ISIS seems to be gaining ground in Iraq and that, too, adds to America’s preoccupation. Putin more than likely will never have this perfect storm opportunity again to climb back onto that Balance of Power scale where the Soviet Union once stood in the era of Nikita Khrushchev. Putin wants this; he wants Russia to return as a player on the international game board. And from the looks of it, he is enjoying toying with President Obama knowing that he doesn’t have to play chess or checkers when he’s dealing with an opponent who is playing jacks. He’s had Obama standing at podiums announcing that he and Putin are speaking via phone, discussing, and all the other pronouncements that talks with Putin were moving towards some meaningful resolve to the Ukrainian crisis only to end up as one-sided conversations.

On May 28, 2014 when President Obama gave his commencement speech to the graduates of West Point Academy, I listened to him not so much as his being the president of the ‘Number One Nation’ in the world but as his being a commander-in-chief of the ‘Number One Nation’ in the world. I am sure Czar Putin was listening, too, along with terrorist groups ranging from the sophisticated ones who know the primer of chemical warfare and guerilla tactics to the ragtag ones who get their kicks from kidnapping defenseless little girls. Both sectors want to take down the Number One Nation mainly for no other reason than just to say they took out the Number One Nation. By its very nature being Number One invites challenges. That type of warfare mindset goes back all the way to ancient times and not much has changed in a 21st Century. There will always be those who ‘want to rule the world’ and that forces war and change.

All roads at one time led to Rome and once upon a time the sun never set on the British Empire.

What was monumental in the president’s speech as the commander-in-chief was his making a demarcation that the U.S.A. will not continue to act as a savior to nations that find themselves in conflict and running to the U.S.A. for help. Ironically, this is what is happening now with Iraq which now wants the U.S.A.’s help in putting down the group ISIS which is said to be more aggressive than Al Qaeda.

Of course, when the U.S.A. stays beyond that help, it is run out of town on a rail; thus, incurring the tag ‘loser’ which this nation has been labeled post World War II. Then, of course again, nations are more prone to become saviors to secure their own interests when it’s about oil and other natural resources than they are when it’s about humanitarian reasons. Historically, powerful nations have the propensity to put in place the weakest of leadership they know they can control; thus, such situations as ISIS moving into Iraq should have been expected because ISIS knows, too, the leaders put in place in the name of democracy are essentially rabbits and will run at the first sign of a scuffle (I haven’t the space to expound on this but will do so in a later article).

I agree with Obama that this nation must send the message that it is not the world’s savior. However, in foreign policy, even though the average citizen doesn’t want to think about foreign policy to begin with, perception is a quasi-living being. At the West Point commencement, he sent this message with a posture of weakness, and somewhere Theodore Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a Big Stick” posture was lost in Obama’s highly anticipated speech to set his “vision” for America’s foreign policy.

He began strongly: “Today, according to self-described realists, conflicts in Syria or Ukraine or the Central African Republic are not ours to solve. And not surprisingly, after costly wars and continuing challenges here at home, that view is shared by many Americans. A different view from interventionists from the left and right says that we ignore these conflicts at our own peril; that America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America’s failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future. And each side can point to history to support its claims. But I believe neither view fully speaks to the demands of this moment. It is absolutely true that in the 21st century American isolationism is not an option. We don’t have a choice to ignore what happens beyond our borders…”

After the president began with this strong statement that the nation would no longer engage itself in every (or every other) conflict, he dragged his speech into what I thought was one for goldfish to swim in. The fish were pretty but they really weren’t going anywhere.

The speech became so intellectualized that it was sanitized. It gave little reference to the Russo-Ukraine conflict other than the Ukrainian citizens had voted for a new president and a few other mild mannered sentences.

There was no force or fire which would have stressed his vision that America’s new stance did not mean that the world and/or terrorists should take its kindness for weakness.

The speech dragged on in such an unconvincing tone that West Pointers seemed about as disinterested as Obama himself in the speech. He even went into global warming so I can only view that if the sun went out that would end all wars anyway. This speech created a ‘disconnect’ between himself as commander-in-chief and those under his command. There was nil applause where he obviously wanted more enthusiasm. Sure, he made reference to Dwight D. Eisenhower, stating: “As General Eisenhower, someone with hard-earned knowledge on this subject, said at this ceremony in 1947: ‘War is mankind’s most tragic and stupid folly; to seek or advise its deliberate provocation is a black crime against all men.’ Like Eisenhower, this generation of men and women in uniform know all too well the wages of war, and that includes those of you here at West Point…”

What Obama failed to mention is that Eisenhower was a realist. I would venture to say that Eisenhower as most people didn’t want war or liked war, but there are in fact people who do like war and people who want war and people who have no problem in engaging in war. How hard is that to figure out? Eisenhower was a manager of warfare, a strategist in warfare. Had America gone to war after he had become president, you can bet your bottom dollar Eisenhower would have behaved as a true commander-in-chief. Allies or not, Khrushchev would not have tested Eisenhower as he did Kennedy. Kennedy stood up and Khrushchev backed down; thus, mutual respect and maybe even mutual fear set the agenda. Yes, Eisenhower had met enough tests in World War II. Kennedy served in World War II and knew war up close and personal having been wounded in it. The point being made here is that neither presidents wanted war but they found themselves engaged in war and stepped up to the plate either on the battlefield or from the Oval Office.

Obama is such an elitist, such an intellectual, that he seemingly thinks he can continually sit down and talk and talk to the enemy and make them see reason because underneath his own reasoning is that he has the upper hand because he is the suave sophisticated intellectual who prides himself on being so above the fray that he doesn’t recognize the fray. To make matters worse, he views (or rather gives the impression) those whom he is trying to make see reason as essentially having no intelligence. This is not an administration which seeks out those with different opinions or those with expertise; this is an administration which seeks heaven on earth. It is an administration that seemingly thinks the likes of a Sen. John McCain or those in his ilk are so Vietnam-centric and hawk-driven that they are relics in a 21st Century. When in fact McCain is a realist who does not love war, but knows there can be war. Furthermore, he knows you damn well better win the war or there will be hell to pay in trying to attain heaven. One cannot give out timetables and have nothing to back it except goodwill and smiles. ISIS loved the goodwill and smiles and more than likely loved Obama’s pretty little speech before the nation’s most esteemed warriors. These groups, too, are warriors. They thrive on war. And their perception of a leader is their truth. And to reiterate, perception in international relations is a quasi-living being.

Ironically, Obama’s viewpoint and estranged philosophy is no more than the extreme left version of why America’s foreign policy fails just as it does with the extreme right version. Why? Because both versions reside in an archaic Western/Euro-centric thinking that the ‘natives’ can be controlled, never realizing that the ‘natives’ can think, too. The natives epitomized as the Third World/Developing Nations and/or the terrorist groups from those with a sophisticated technological network to the rag tag terrorist groups that kidnap little girls now perceive America’s commander- in-chief as weak.

And to be politically incorrect, let me mention the elephant in the room because he’s sitting right there: Unfortunately, Black males in America are already perceived as ‘weak’ post King and Malcolm X. For the record, I did not say they were ‘weak’ but perceived as weak. Whoever becomes the first female president will have this same problem to deal with. This is a world perception of the Black American male and of females regardless of female’s race, color or creed. Any woman who aspires to achieve can attest to the latter. Mandela, an African male leader would not have been tested as would have an African American male head of state. Moving on.

Putin certainly sees Obama as weak; he toys with him while the ‘natives’ are sitting in the balcony eating popcorn watching these two world leaders duke it out. And they are rooting for Putin in that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. They may not like him, but they respect him because he comes off as strong by telling Obama to go to hell in so many words and gestures.

America’s foreign policy remains common-sense challenged, because the foreign policy makers have yet to learn – from left to right—that when weak and controllable persons are propped up as ‘presidents’ of newly formed democracies (e.g. South Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) they will be easily toppled when America pulls out, especially when a ‘specific’ timetable is given. You don’t put the cats in charge and not expect the dogs to come in.

And getting back to the man of the hour, Putin: He picked up on Obama’s naiveté when Obama threatened sanctions on him and his inner circle of plutocrats. They were no doubt filing their fingernails as Obama gave them weeks upon weeks notice that he was going to put sanctions on Russia’s billionaires. If you were a Russian billionaire, would you not move your funds and secure your funds seeing that you got weeks of advance notice that someone was coming after your money? How dumb was that? That was so dumb that I am sure the Russian plutocrats and Putin (one of the richest men in the world) are munching on caviar and vodka resting their feet on gold bars while managing to see secure international bankers who had no problem accommodating them for the right price. Putting sanctions on Russia has made Putin more popular to Russians who view this act with the same indignation as Americans who would behave the same way were sanctions put on the U.S.A. Like it or not: Russia is Russia and to have put sanctions on it is also in the same vein as putting sanctions on Great Britain or France. As a matter of fact, one does not see Great Britain or France or Germany—our allies—chomping at the bit to really punish Putin. They need Russian pipelines and if the truth be told, they are sick and tired of engaging in America’s wars where there are no exit strategies or as in Obama’s case, no common sense of any consequence of what can happen once you pull out.

Then the Czar has stood before the world and announced that he wants America to get the hell off the International Space Station by 2020 and that Russia will no longer be NASA’s BFF. Of course, he can smile and tell this president anything and could very well kick NASA out before 2020. As I said before, Putin thrives on underestimation. Coupled with all this is the waltz Putin has orchestrated in Ukraine by bringing his troops two steps inside Ukraine and taking one step back as his ski-mask wearing agitators work their way inside Ukraine’s belly to provoke civil war while he cuts off Ukraine’s utilities. To reiterate, he probably now has a two-year plan to pull off a ‘civil war’ victory—physically and symbolically.

Yes, Putin is making all of these overt moves before 2016, because he knows he’s dealing with a president who wears rose-colored glasses.

As I’ve written: Czar Putin is a bastard but a brilliant bastard. He continually makes a fool of Obama each time Obama picks up the phone thinking Putin is going to see reason. Seemingly Obama actually believes he can talk the Czar into seeing reason. Seemingly he actually believes he is the more intellectual of the two and that somehow intellectualism will win out. Putin laughs and instead runs to the U.N. demanding that the U.N. should make Ukraine cease fire immediately. He paints Ukraine as the aggressor, knowing no one believes it, but it makes a mockery of the Obama.

At the end of the day Putin would have positioned himself to go into Syria, Iran or anywhere else that is anti-American or anti-American inclined and set up his own NATO-like organization to reincarnate the Warsaw Pact. So what will we have here? A New Axis? Already he is more welcomed in these places because he stood up to the U.S. sanctions. If he takes all of Ukraine under the guise of a civil war, he can send his own envoys in to dialogue with practically every terrorist group from the sophisticated (such as ISIS) to the ragtag ones at some point in time.

What should the U.S. do now? Certainly not boots on the ground because that’s embracing the conventional for the unconventional. What has to happen is for newly-elected Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (with all his billions and contacts) to bring in his own mercenaries and soldiers under that same guise of civil war as Putin has done. Poroshenko needs to play the same mind games as Putin. Such as when Putin went to the U.N. to demand that Ukraine cease fire; Poroshenko needs to go to the U.N. and to make worse accusations against Russia. In other words, Ukraine needs to be ready to win its ‘civil war’ and play chess. The U.S. needs to be even more open about supporting Ukraine’s efforts and then clandestinely aid and abet Ukraine to provide weaponry to Poroshenko’s ‘loyal’ mercenaries who should be expert in guerilla warfare. Furthermore, Polish troops also should go in clandestinely in with their ski masks, and other troops from nations that feel themselves threatened should Russia revert to re-gathering Cold War territories.

Yes, one can certainly see the role of “Captain Phillips” being recast. Putin is now simply saying to Obama: “Look at me. Look at me. I am the Captain now.” Getting Crimea was good; getting all of Ukraine would be even better in re-establishing Russia on the Balance of Power.

Bottom line: Ukraine has to win the ‘civil war’ because it is the ‘civil war’ which is the real war, and the U.S. has to at least look like it has backed a winner for a change.


*The above is on the Black Paper, Op/Ed, Editorial, and International lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway on . Welcome, Travelers!

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Adam Silver Flexes Muscles; Time for Players to Black Man-up

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

Adam Silver. Need we say more? This is the power of real leadership. We were in the process of releasing what might border on extreme to some, but when one is caught between tornado warnings and stuck with no electricity, Mother Nature rules even technology.

Perhaps the tornado was symbolic of what was to come.

But never would we have thought the NBA Commissioner would have the guts to do what he did to this billionaire racist a.k.a. Donald Sterling. Silver’s denouncement along with his “personal outrage” called for a rewrite in some instances. We, too, had written that the L.A. Clippers should be taken from Sterling. We didn’t know about the wherefores and therefores of what constituted ownership of an NBA team to be taken away. But that wouldn’t have been our point, because this was not only about sports but the politics of sports. And in politics, there is the power of ‘force’ just like a tornado which doesn’t care about your bank account or what you own. Silver’s NBA Lifetime Ban should dovetail nicely with Sterling’s NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award. Maybe he can use them as book ends.

In contrast to Silver, one saw a further weakened NAACP, especially when the L.A. NAACP president sat at a press conference on Tuesday before Silver’s denouncement and said that there “was room for forgiveness” for Sterling. Would someone tell this Black ‘boy’ that there is a profound difference between being a fool and a Christian? Today’s NAACP has already become a semi-joke in the Black community because everyone knows that a white can buy such awards as the Lifetime Achievement with the purchase of an annual banquet table and a cockroach in a glass jar. After which, quite miraculously the white perpetrators are forgiven of their sins! They’ve seen the light! Glory Hallelujah! Praise de Lawd! Everybody knows that you can promise the Black community everything and deliver nothing. Furthermore, you can go back and keep doing this. If you don’t believe this, ask worshippers of the Church of the Democratic Party as they bow before the Golden Donkey while the Elephant stomps on them.
The Jewish community says, “Never again.” The Black community says, “There’s room for forgiveness.” And we wonder why there’s a crisis in Black leadership, especially in Black economic leadership (which is nil)?

It’s time to Black man-up.

Now that Silver has stated that it is his intention to force Sterling to sell the L.A. Clippers, Blacks should back him with action. A Black group should take ownership. If Sterling fights it legally, so what? Declare war and Black man-up. Get your Black lawyers and go after him in court. That’s what Black lawyers did during the Civil Rights Movement. In this ‘war’, one flank (group) should be ready to take on the owners. Get ready to march (and this is where marching can be effective) at stadiums and if that means taking up funds to pay—or rather ‘employ’ out-of-work people to keep that line strong and going, then do it. There’s nothing unethical about that seeing that white plantation owners got poor whites to take their place during the Civil War. A second flank should consist of a group of Blacks to march on the sidewalks (public property) in these owners’ upstanding zillionaire neighborhoods and at their places of business. This should include Sterling’s neighborhood and his place(s) of business. To reiterate, there should be a specific group formed to get this done. Since Sterling declared ‘war’ on Black people and Black Jews he should be made an example of just as Blacks have historically been made examples of with worse such as with lynching, castration, slavery, and Jim Crow. Sterling would be getting off easy considering he has not had to suffer these!

This group should next head for the NFL. Goal: Black ownership of some NFL teams. About a year or two ago, Advertising Age had an article in which there was speculation that the NFL would be expanding in China. You can bet your bottom dollar Black ownership is nowhere on the agenda, but worse yet, you can bet that same bottom dollar Blacks are not looking at these expansion efforts of the NFL and NBA into Europe, Africa, and China or Mars for that matter. They’re too busy being employees rather than employers when the community needs both! Sit your Black ass down with your strawberry drink and pull your straw chair up to the table. Don’t ask. Just do it. Make demands. You don’t have to be rich to demand to be treated like a Black human being, and you don’t have to be rich to win the economic war. This is the reason why most monarchies don’t have power.

It has been the Black players who have fed white owners, clothed white owners, kept white owners in limousines, gave white owners fatter bank accounts. We don’t see any white owners out there making baskets. We don’t see them running up and down the floor bringing in crowds. We don’t see any white owners as white Magic Johnsons, white LeBron Jameses, or white Michael Jordans. White owners need to realize this is a two-way street. This should be about mutual capitalism. And mutual respect.

Also, what is interesting to note in Sterling’s tirade is the fact that he brought in a dialogue on ‘white Jews’ and “Black Jews”. He said that even ‘white Jews’ don’t want Black Jews in Israel. What makes this situation even sadder is that Sterling is of Jewish heritage, and of all people he should know better. He probably changed his name (unlike Blacks who cannot change their skin color) from Donald Tokowitz to Donald Sterling because he was discriminated against because of his Jewish roots. Has he been ‘passing’ as an American WASP as much as he could get away with? Changing his name might have been one way of Donald Tokowitz sneaking into the country club.

We wonder what the Anti-Defamation League has to say about Sterling’s assertion in his hatred of ‘Black Jews’? Or of his derision of African Americans, one of the Jewish community’s closest allies? Many Black soldiers helped to free Jews from Hitler’s Holocaust only to come home to live under the Jim Crow Holocaust. So where is the Jewish community on this matter?
We don’t see the Hispanic community coming out on this matter. Where are the women groups? We don’t see any Oriental Americans coming out? We don’t see the Gay community coming out (pun not intended)? We don’t see groups who advocate for the Disabled or Seniors coming out? All these groups benefited from the 1964 Black Civil Rights Movement. Ironically, it has been the advertising community which has acted as a quasi-civil rights group by pulling ads (money!). How strange is that?

Most of these little ethnic leeches have sucked the blood out of Black skin and gotten what they wanted, and Blacks have often found themselves in the same position as God (no blaspheme intended) that other ethnic groups don’t come to them unless they’re the ones in trouble. (And that includes the Democratic Party).

To the Black community, stop giving away the store. Get off de-fense! It’s time for a proud Zulu Warrior spirit to emerge. Force Donald Sterling to sell. By any means necessary. If that sounds radical, then it is no more radical than the Civil Rights Movement itself! Than King and Malcolm X! Ironically, it is no more radical than when the federal government aided and abetted white-owned banks in stealing Black farmland.

Like his alleged mistress or not, it took a woman to take down Sterling; just as it took Rosa Parks to stand her ground.

It’s time to Black man-up.


Posted in African American and sports, Black Information Highway, Mid-South Tribune ONLINE, race in America, The Mid-South Tribune ONLINE | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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.


Posted in Black Information Highway, democrats, Mid-South Tribune ONLINE, Obama, republicans, The Mid-South Tribune ONLINE | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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.

*The above is on the Editorial, Op Ed, and Africa lanes on The Mid-South Tribune and Black Information Highway at .

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