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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Domestic and Foreign Policy Information

I am going to keep it real. Africa is obviously our ancestral homeland. What we see is a situation of irony. Western powers heavily mistreated and exploited Africa. Now, these same Western powers claim that these billions of dollars of investments are done with sincerity and goodwill. Also, China has invested much more into Africa than the West. When we look over the rhetoric, people see the truth. No one gives money in that scale for nothing. The West wants African resources in exchange for token respectability. The truth is that the West now is exploiting the mineral resources of Africa not as a means to help the poor (in a revolutionary fashion) or to establish truly progressive governments in Africa. They do that as a means to increase Western profits, prop up bourgeois regimes, and to compete against the Chinese hegemony. We know that the West invaded Libya and funded terrorists, who killed Black Brothers and Sisters. We know that AFRICOM has military bases in many African nations as a means to advance militarism. China’s two-way trade with Africa last year stood at $170 billion. It outstripped the US five years ago and now boasts a volume of trade that is more than double that of the US, which has been in decline in recent years. For the first quarter of 2014, total trade between the US and sub-Saharan Africa totaled $11.9 billion, a 27 percent decline from the same period in 2013. China’s trade with Africa has increased 17-fold from just $10 billion in 2000. The European Union, including the continent’s old colonial powers such as France, Britain and Belgium, remains Africa’s largest trading partner, with a total two-way trade of $200 billion in 2013. America must embrace a foreign policy that views Africans as people not as commodities (or tools of imperial, corporate aims). AFRICOM existed from the Pentagon and the Pentagon is the engine of the military industrial complex. They bombed Somalia and Somalia is filled with toxic waste via corporate corruption. We know the truth. The truth is that Africa needs tools for political independence (in contradiction to the IMF, World Bank interests), self-sufficiency, stronger infrastructure, and economic justice. Three African countries—Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe—were not invited to the summit because, US State Department officials said, they were not in “good standing” with Washington. That means that economic inequality and poverty in Africa must be fought against for real. There is nothing wrong with trade, but trade must be fair. That means that the poor and the workers in Africa should unite in overthrowing corrupt regimes and forming revolutionary solutions. Also, human rights issues must be addressed in Africa as well. People can never be deprived of human rights at all.  

There is a lot of blame to go around for educational problems. In my view, it is not just the parents, but school systems and other factors. What I have learned is that we need to follow basic procedures in creating educational justice. Regardless of our ideological differences on this issue, we all want educational justice for students. Better resources must be invested in schools. When I mean resources, I don’t just mean money. Poorer schools need resources as in modernization, updated textbooks, qualified teachers, and community action programs. These things combined can improve the education of students. Parents have the preeminent responsibility to help their children understand concepts too. Parents ought to not only help their children in their education, but to encourage their children plus inspire them. Many teachers have complained about corporate-funded standardized testing as well. An one sized fit all solution won’t cut it, because educational problems may be different in various regions of America. So, the solution has to be multifaceted. There has to be a promotion of smaller class sizes, a greater preparation of teachers, poverty and social inequality must be address more thoroughly in communities, parents should handle their responsibilities, and schools ought to advance the goal of excellence. Parents, teachers, and the community in general should have a greater control in curriculum formation. It will take a village to solve this problem. Educational justice should be the goal for society to embrace. One thought came to my mind on this issue. That thought is that a person can never be a revolutionary if that person is a sexist. Western society is to be blamed for promoting evil misogyny in society. Also, many males have to accept blame for not only promoting misogyny, but condoning sexism in numerous ways (from saying profane words about women to believing in the suppression of the basic human rights of women). The black community in general must not only have strong discussions about this issue. We also need a program or a plan to combat misogyny effectively. This is a crisis and we have to treat this issue like an emergency, because a lot of black women (including black girls) have suffered then and now as a product of vicious people. Nicki Minaj being made a scapegoat for every ill in the music industry is truly wrong and sad. The truth is that one woman never caused all of the abuse and the degradation of women at all. Also, there are plenty of strong black men in the world. Strong black men should be respected, but the existence of strong, upright black men should never be used as an excuse for some to omit the evil actions of ignorant black males. That is the point. We have to be honest with ourselves and hold people accountable who seek to slander the dignity of Sisters.

Obviously, the Iraq War was partly about oil, but it was bigger than that. The neo-con PNAC's document wanted Iraq to be changed in order for it to be more aligned with Western interests. Ironically, Saddam was supported by the West. Rumsfeld shook Saddam Hussein's hand back during the 1980's. Saddam also, just before the invasion came about, wanted to have an independent economic currency situation. Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro of Iraq's oil exports in the fall of 2000 was an important development. That influenced the neo-cons' war strategy in Iraq. The problem with the Iraq War is that neo-cons did not fully understand the long, complex ethnic tensions in Iraq. Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, etc. have been fighting each other for centuries. Iraq can never be a successful nation unless all of these ethnic groups ought to have fair political representation in the government (or you will have a partition of Iraq, which seems to be a great possibility, especially with the advance of ISIS). Not to mention that Western democracy should not be a panacea for every nation on Earth. A long term political solution is needed in Iraq, but that will be a difficult process. Nations have to develop their own style or their own unique qualities per se. History deals with Empires all of the time. Also, one fact must be known as well. In history, many Western Empires have exploited tensions or even caused tensions among ethnic groups in order for societies to be influenced by Western powers. One example is the Berlin Conference of the 19th century. The Berlin Conference was about Europeans exploiting the ethnic and religious diversity of African lands as a means for European powers to form territories based on Western interests not on the true boundaries of ethnic groups (that is why many territories of imperialists back then overlapped many ethnic groups' lands). The British did the same in the Middle East. The British including the rest of the Allied Powers defeated the Ottoman Empire and carved up the Middle East in their own image without regard to the sensibilities of the people living in the Middle East. Saddam was used and killed by the West. The U.S. even gave Saddam weapons of mass destruction back during the 1980's and then he was ironically killed by U.S. forces. Empires cause strife, because imperialism is antithetical in my view to human rights. Empires thrive on imperialism. Imperialism is unjust, because human beings deserve their rights to be maintained without unjust corporate or international domination by an outside power. Imperialism readily denies the democratic rights of the people in general. Using coercion to mold states into a certain image without the consent of the people is blatantly immoral. I don't know about the future of Iraq. I hope the best for Iraq though.

The late President John F. Kennedy has been studied all of the time. JFK dealt with the civil rights struggle in many ways. President John F. Kennedy did more for civil rights in less than one term in office than the previous 18 Presidents had done in a century. Here’s the truth. On the procedural question, Kennedy wrote a strongly worded letter to a constituent on the point. He wrote that, "I would be the first to sign a discharge petition to bring the civil rights bill to the floor." (Letter from Kennedy to Alfred Jarrette, August 1, 1957) Kennedy then added that, "I have fought long and consistently for a good civil rights bill. I was one of only 38 senators who voted to retain Title III in the present bill, the section which would extend civil rights to areas other than voting privileges.” JFK supported Title III of the 1957 Civil Rights Act. By 1963, the number of lawyers in the civil rights section of the department quintupled. In October of 1960, at a meeting of his civil rights campaign advisory board, Kennedy told them this was the method he had decided upon to break the back of voting discrimination in the South. He appointed the illustrious civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall to the federal bench in 1961. Through Abraham Bolden we know he didn't like the fact that there were no black Americans on the White House Secret Service detail. This ended in 1962. At one of the first Cabinet meetings he noted that there were only ten African American lawyers employed by the federal government. That figure went up by a factor of seven in six months. In March of 1961, just two months after being inaugurated, Kennedy first proposed an executive order decreeing there would be no racial discrimination in hiring by contractors working for the federal government. This was signed into law nine months later. In two years, 1700 complaints were heard. Over 70% of the cases ended with the employer being disciplined. Under Eisenhower, only six such suits were ever brought. Kennedy tried to create a new cabinet department, Housing and Urban Development. He announced that African American Robert Weaver would be the Secretary for the new department. The House Rules Committee then rejected the proposal. Kennedy also made it clear that he would not attend functions at any institution that practiced segregation. He gave his 1963 speech to approve of a Civil Rights bill. Kennedy predicted in November of 1963, and as Thurston Clarke proved in his book, the civil rights act was going to pass the next year. As both Johnson and Kennedy understood, the key in the senate was Everett Dirksen, who JFK had good relations with. JFK’s tax cuts were weighed to the working class and the middle class not the superrich. After discussing the issue with Heller, Kennedy thought this was the best way to get the economy moving immediately, with a demand-side stimulus program. (In fact, Kennedy first thought of a New Deal type government-spending program). He wanted to bring top rates down from 91 percent to 65 percent. JFK was never a conservative though. He strongly supported the labor union movement. The JBS, and many reactionary people including H. L. Hunt opposed his policies. He supported medical insurance for the elderly (which we would call Medicare today). His foreign policy was heavily progressive for negotiating a post missile crisis with Castro, signing a nuclear test ban treaty, supporting nationalist movements in Africa & Asia, and he wanted to visit the leader Sakarno in Indonesia (when Sakarno was in the Nonaligned movement). JFK strongly believed in the separation of church and state. President John F. Kennedy called himself a liberal in a speech when he accepted the Presidential nomination of the New York Liberal Party on September 14, 1960. The speech is commonly called, “Why I Am a Liberal.” JFK supported the Peace Corps and the plan to put man on the moon. Kennedy had been in office less than two weeks when he delivered his “Special Message to the Congress: Program for Economic Recovery and Growth” on Feb. 2, 1961. That plan called for extension of unemployment benefits, aid to children of unemployed workers, redevelopment of distressed areas, an increase of the minimum wage, etc. The Tea Party members would never support this plan. He expanded the AFDC program. He funded the physical programs in schools nationwide. Obviously, JFK was not perfect on civil rights (he could of done a lot more for black people), but he was not like Woodrow Wilson on the issue either.

Maybe the choice is not following many of the extremists. Maybe the answer is following the principle of justice for people in the region irrespective if they are Jewish or Arabic. There are many Jewish and Arabic people who are racist against our black people. I don’t support them. Yet, there are many progressive voices among both sides in the region who seek real peace. Fundamentally, the Palestinians have the right to express their self-determination. The deaths of civilians in Gaza are tragic and Israel has used excessive responses in their conduct, because many people in Gaza are trapped. Many have nowhere else to go. Gaza is fortified by an Israel blockade and walls surrounding its borders. So, in the long term, a 2 state solution is something that I agree with. Yet, Israel has to clean up its house too. It has to end all of its apartheid, discriminatory laws point blank period. It has to reject the reactionaries that dominate its government. Many black Israelis have protested in Israel, because they are against racism in Israel. True justice means that the human rights of the people are respected not suppressed via tedious checkpoints and overt militarism. Our people have a great legacy of defending the oppressed and fighting against imperialism. We have to continue that legacy today. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore what our people are suffering in America. It does mean that we advance the tenets of freedom, justice, and equality for people globally. We, as people of black African descent, exist internationally not just nationally. It is obvious that Israel is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have done it not only in the military engagement of Gaza, but for numerous decades. There has been a unanimous resolution from the U.S. Congress that has blamed Hamas for the Israeli attack on Gaza. The U.S. Congress' resolutions stand in stark contrast to the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee vote to conduct an investigation into war crimes in Gaza, as well as positions by Amnesty International and international law and human rights scholars and activists from around the world who determined that the Israeli military assault on Gaza violated most of the norms of international humanitarian and human rights law. Eran Efrati, a company sergeant of the IDF, posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday, July 29 that Palestinian civilians killed during the Shuja’iyya massacre of July 20 were deliberately targeted in order to “punish” the population for the killing of seven Israeli soldiers serving in the Golani Brigade by sniper fire. We know that many Democrats, Republicans, etc. supporting the Gaza slaughter show contempt for international law and the principle of the equal value of all human life. So, the people of Gaza deserve an immediate ceasefire. There must be humanitarian aid given to the Gaza residents. For the White House to give Israel even more military munitions is totally wrong. To her credit, Sister Barbara Lee has shown a great anti-war record.

By Timothy

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