Cornel West…And President Obama

Cornel West certainly has a problem with President Obama – and this isn’t the first time it has come out. The last time his criticisms were so ill formed and logic so convoluted he got his head handed to him.

Well…Maybe Dr West has learned something, although it must have been a tremendous blow to his over-sized ego to do so.

This is actually a pretty reasonable critique of Obama’s Presidency sans a few things I will discuss below.

Cornel West’s 8 Most Eye-Opening Critiques of Barack Obama’s Presidency

Very few progressive voices articulate more vitriol and uncompromising disdain for President Barack Obama than Cornel West. During Obama’s six years in the White House, West has critiqued every layer of the president’s policies, from his use of drones in the Middle East to what he feels is the president’s cozy relationship with Wall Street.

In 2011, West wrote in the New York Times that Obama has fallen short of epitomizing Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.

“The age of Obama has fallen tragically short of fulfilling King’s prophetic legacy,” he wrote. “Instead of articulating a radical democratic vision and fighting for homeowners, workers and poor people in the form of mortgage relief, jobs and investment in education, infrastructure and housing, the administration gave us bailouts for banks, record profits for Wall Street and giant budget cuts on the backs of the vulnerable.”

West’s commentary is a breath of fresh air for some who feel they’d be blacklisted in liberal circles for criticizing the president, while others see his remarks as coming from a space of personal bitterness. Regardless of where you stand on West’s opinions, his remarks are always worthy of further inspection.  In an excerpt from his new bookBlack Prophetic Fire, West outlines why he believes Obama has turned his back on the black philosophical traditions that put him in the White House. Here are eight of the most insightful quotes.

1. African Americans Have Done Worse Under Obama

“The great irony of our time is that in the age of Obama the grand black prophetic tradition is weak and feeble. Obama’s black face of the American empire has made it more difficult for black courageous and radical voices to bring critique to bear on the U.S. empire. On the empirical or lived level of black experience, black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality.”

2. Leadership In The African-American Community Has Weakened

“First, there is the shift of black leadership from the voices of social movements to those of elected officials in the mainstream political system. This shift produces voices that are rarely if ever critical of this system. How could we expect the black caretakers and gatekeepers of the system to be critical of it?”

3. Upward Mobility Is The Worst In The Modern World

“Second, this neoliberal shift produces a culture of raw ambition and instant success that is seductive to most potential leaders and intellectuals, thereby incorporating them into the neoliberal regime. This culture of superficial spectacle and hyper-visible celebrities highlights the legitimacy of an unjust system that prides itself on upward mobility of the downtrodden. Yet, the truth is that we live in a country that has the least upward mobility of any other modern nation!”

4. Leaders Who Challenge the Statue Quo Are Silenced

“Third, the U.S. neoliberal regime contains a vicious repressive apparatus that targets those strong and sacrificial leaders, activists, and prophetic intellectuals who are easily discredited, delegitimated, or even assassinated, including through character assassination. Character assassination becomes systemic and chronic, and it is preferable to literal assassination because dead martyrs tend to command the attention of the sleepwalking masses and thereby elevate the threat to the status quo.”

5. Mass Media Ignores Voices That Take on Issues Such as Use of Drones and War Crimes

“The central role of mass media, especially a corporate media beholden to the U.S. neoliberal regime, is to keep public discourse narrow and deodorized. By ‘narrow’ I mean confining the conversation to conservative Republican and neoliberal Democrats who shut out prophetic voices or radical visions. This fundamental power to define the political terrain and categories attempts to render prophetic voices invisible. The discourse is deodorized because the issues that prophetic voices highlight, such as mass incarceration, wealth inequality, and war crimes such as imperial drones murdering innocent people, are ignored.”

6. Obama Doesn’t Really Care About Protecting Working People

“The state of black America in the age of Obama has been one of desperation, confusion, and capitulation. The desperation is rooted in the escalating suffering on every front. The confusion arises from a conflation of symbol and substance. The capitulation rests on an obsessive need to protect the first black president against all forms of criticism. Black desperation is part of a broader desperation among poor and working people during the age of Obama. The bailout of Wall Street by the Obama administration, rather than the bailout of homeowners, hurt millions of working people.”

7. First Lady Michelle Obama Legitimizes Obama’s “Symbolic Status”

“Needless to say, the presence of his brilliant and charismatic wife, Michelle—a descendent of enslaved and Jim-Crowed people, unlike himself—even more deeply legitimizes his symbolic status, a status that easily substitutes for substantial achievement.”

8. To Be Successful and Black, One Must Turn His Back on the Poor

“To be a highly successful black professional or politician is too often to be well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference toward poor people, including black poor people. The black prophetic tradition is fundamentally committed to the priority of poor and working people, thus pitting it against the neoliberal regime, capitalist system, and imperial policies of the U.S. government.”

Toward the end of the book, West writes how modern black leadership has abandoned the traditions that have helped position it and President Obama. “What does it profit a people for a symbolic figure to gain presidential power if we turn our backs from the suffering of poor and working people, and thereby lose our souls?” he writes. “The black prophetic tradition has tried to redeem the soul of our fragile democratic experiment. Is it redeemable?”

With all that said, I have to disagree with West in two areas. The first is his concept of “Prophetic” leaders. The time is long past for that. The Black Community is no longer powerless under the boot heel of Jim Crow, and group organizations like Color of Change, which find and their strategy and ideas from essentially crowd funding the ideas of the group are far more effective than the Big Man on the podium Dr West so desperately seeks to be. No Big Man – the entire strategy of suppression through attacking an individual become naught.

Second is his use of the term neo-liberal, and assigning it’s anchor to one political group. We are in the post Raygun era of neo-liberal destruction of the country’s basic beliefs and foundations (including the destruction of the Middle Class) – but that neo-liberalism and destruction isn’t being wrought by one party – both are guilty.

And picking on Michelle…

Will get you Pimp Slapped.

I’m putting this one under Giant Negroes.

Oprah Interviews Rev. Al Sharpton – “Angry Black Man”

The Reverend Al, on the source of his pain and anger…

Interestingly enough the source was not race based.

 

Chris Rock on Life and Race

Chris Rock comes up with an interesting viewpoint…

Daring Rescue By Family in Louisiana Kidnapping

In one of those rare instances where things actually work out, members of a kidnapped woman’s family were able to save her life, after efforts by the police failed.

This one also goes under “benefits of a big family”, as over 20 of Bethany Arceneaux’s relatives joined in the search to find her after she disappeared, and kept looking after Police had given up for the day.

A bloodied and battered Bethany Arceneaux is carried from the car to the hospital by her cousin Marceus Arceneaux. Police have withheld the name of the Cousin who rescued her from her kidnapper apparently seconds before he killed her.

Kidnapped woman rescued by cousin in Louisiana, police said

A woman who had been kidnapped two days earlier was found Friday with multiple stab wounds inside an abandoned house in Louisiana — and freed by family members in a daring operation, police said.

The man who allegedly held her hostage for 30 hours in a vacant home in Duson, La., was shot and killed by the woman’s cousin as he rescued her, police said.

Authorities of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office had been searching for Bethany Arceneaux, 29, since late Wednesday, after her car was found abandoned outside her child’s day care center, Capt. Kip Judice told NBC News.

Judice said police believed Scott Thomas, 29, the father of Arceneaux’s son, was the abductor. The two had domestic troubles, and Arceneaux had a restraining order against Thomas, Judice added.

The woman’s family decided to look for Arceneaux themselves. On Friday, about 20 relatives formed a search party and began to search on foot, Judice said.

Arceneaux’s cousin heard cries coming from an abandoned home in a sugar field about 10 miles from where the woman was last seen.

Armed with a gun, the man forced his way into the home. As the cousin made his way through the house, Thomas allegedly stabbed Arceneaux several times. The cousin then fired several shots at Thomas and then fled with Arceneaux, Judice said.

The woman confirmed to authorities that her cousin shot Thomas as Thomas was stabbing her.

Arceneaux is undergoing treatment at the Lafayette General Medical Center and is in good condition, Judice said.

Police found Thomas dead in the vacant home. He had allegedly held Arceneaux at knifepoint for 30 hours before she was rescued, Judice added.

Arceneaux’s cousin is not in police custody and has not been charged with a crime. He is cooperating with authorities, Judice said.

Under Louisiana law, a justifiable homicide statute allows an individual to defend himself as well as others he feels are in danger, which includes great bodily harm or death, police said.

Celtics Great Bill Russell Detained At Airport For Carrying Loaded Gun

Things that make you go…Hmmmm…

 

Bill Russell detained at Seattle airport

 

 

Celtics legend Bill Russell was briefly detained and cited for bringing a loaded handgun into a Seattle airport in his carry-on bag on Wednesday night, officials said.

Perry Cooper, a spokesman for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area, and he was released to continue his travels after being detained for about 30 minutes. The gun was confiscated, Cooper said.

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said the loaded .38 caliber Smith & Wesson was detected during routine screening of carry-on luggage.

Russell was scheduled to fly to Boston. It was not clear if he boarded his intended flight or a later one.

Condo Rice – You Thought Dealing With Al Qaeda was Tough?

Wait until you get between the SEC and Big 10 Fans!

This one seems to be headed into cluster-doodle world. And it’s already started…

ESPN’s David Pollack: Women don’t belong on playoff selection committee

To say this one will be challenging, is an understatement.

Condoleezza Rice, Archie Manning on playoff committee

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and football Hall of Famer Archie Manning are two of nine people expected to be part of the selection committee for the College Football Playoff that begins in 2014, a person familiar with the decision told USA TODAY Sports.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the committee has not been announced, also confirmed the following members: Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez, USC athletics director Pat Haden, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long, West Virginia athletics director Oliver Luck and Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich in addition to Rice, former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Manning, former NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt and former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese as at-large selections.

The person said there will only be one sitting athletics director from each of the five power conferences, so those places are set.

“It’s an all-star cast,” the person said.

A second person familiar with the makeup of the committee who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it has not been announced said the committee also will include Lt. Col. Michael Gould, former Superintendent of the Air Force Academy and a former player for the school.

The first person said Rice’s diverse background made her appealing.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Rice holds degrees from the University of Denver and Notre Dame, and is a professor of political science at Stanford. She served as National Security Advisor from 2001-05 and Secretary of State from 2005-09. She also was Stanford’s Provost from 1993-99. She has been on faculty at Stanford since 1981.

The makeup of the 12- to 18-person College Football Playoff selection committee is expected to be set by the end of this season, and possibly by the next meeting of its managing directors in November in Washington, D.C. Potential committee members have been asked to keep their involvement confidential until the announcement is made, but College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the names wouldn’t be a surprise to many.

“You’ll know almost all of them,” Hancock said recently.

Although Hancock and several commissioners have taken to referring to the selection committee as “the most prestigious committee in sports,” its business – and its members – will also be the subject of intense scrutiny.

“If they’re gonna be scrutinized the way they’re gonna be scrutinized, we’ve got to be ultimately careful and do every bit of due diligence,” Delany said recently. “You can expect that media – new media, old media – when someone says, ‘Oh, that guy voted that way for that reason,’ they’re gonna be under a fine-tooth comb. We’ve got to make sure, for everybody’s sake, that we’ve done everything we need to do to understand that.”

The Redskins, Leroy Jackson…And Jack Johnson

For those unfamiliar with sports history, Jack Johnson was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion around the turn of the last century. His life and experiences were chronicled in a movie – “The Great White Hope”.

Unable to find anyone who could defeat Johnson, he was jailed for his relationship with a white woman.

Now, allegations have surfaced that the Washington Redskins, an NFL Football team which was the last in the NFL to bring on black players, because of then owner George Preston Marshall’s racism – fired one of their first black payers for the same “crime”.

Now, to be honest – growing up in the Washington area, during the time before the Redskins recruited Bobby Mitchell – most black folks rooted for and followed the Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas, and running back Lenny Moore. while the team had several black players before Bobby Mitchell, it was the thrilling combination of Sonny Jurgensen’s long “bombs” to Mitchell which turned things around.

Leroy Jackson, Former NFL Player, Cut For Getting Caught With White Woman: Nephew

A relative of a former NFL player who was a pioneer for civil rights in sports made a bombshell allegation.

David Irons, the nephew of former Redskins running back Leroy Jackson told Yahoo Sports that his uncle was cut from the team “because they caught him in a hotel room with a white woman.”

“Can you believe that?” Irons said, “They cut him for something that’s so common today. It’s unreal.”

In the Yahoo Sports interview, Jackson seemed to confirm Irons’ claim.

When asked why he was cut, Jackson said, “I think it probably was about a woman… interracial things and not being able to hold onto the ball.”

Jackson made history for being one of the first black players to be drafted for the Washington Redskins. While other teams in the NFL integrated much earlier, the Redskins held out until 1962. Yahoo Sports points out that owner George Preston Marshall was dead-set against hiring any black players until the Kennedy’s administration pressured them to do so.

Jackson wasn’t the first black player drafted, but he was the first to actually play a game.

The NFL has a long history of racism that extends far beyond the Redskins. James Harris, the first black quarterback in the NFL, described the alienation and humiliation he suffered. In once instance, he told 60 Minutes, all of his fellow teammates were put up in a hotel– except for him. He stayed at a YMCA and was asked to clean the equipment.

Today, out of 32 teams, only nine havestarting quarterbacks who are black.

Former Redskins Running Back, Leroy Jackson

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers