Thursday, March 27, 2008

Was She, or Wasn't She...and matters from/of the heart

If you believed Hillary Clinton before this week, she appeared to have been a miraculous sort of First Lady. You know, the kind that dreams up exotic health care programs, reforms medicare, negotiates free-trade agreements and best of all, goes into a war-torn country and dodges bullets and grenades to get to her car from a helicopter. Sounds like Wonder Woman, doesn't it? Except it isn't true...none of it.

Based on transcripts belatedly released last week, after much pressure from the Obama camp (and strangely, none from the media), it has been shown that she exaggerated her role in several of the so-called policy decisions of the Clinton Presidency. Now, I'm by no means suggesting that First Ladies do not influence the decisions of their husbands, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure no first lady has done any of the things listed above. My issue with this whole matter has been the role of the press, which "appeared" to believe her stories without cross-checking their facts. After all, weren't CNN, Fox etc. on air in the mid to late 90s? Surely, we shouldn't have to rely on her private documents to reveal that this is one demagogue who will say anything to get elected!

It may sound twisted, but I'm actually hoping Hillary wins that Democratic nomination, so that she can go up against McCain in November. That, my friends, promises to be a spectacular event...if you are a Republican, and absolutely catastrophic...if you are a Democrat. If, like me, you want to see the better person and candidate succeed, it will be the perfect result because the Hill-Bill machine shouldn't be let near the White House. Perhaps, now that we know that Hillary wasn't really part of the machine, we should come up with a new name for it.....nope, I like Hill-Bill and Hill-Bill it is. Mostly because it leads into a more appropriate word - hillbillies :-)

In other matters, The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Convention was held in Orlando last week. It's always a great inspiration to see young black men and women who are excelling in their studies or professional fields, and I wish more mention was made of such positive events, rather than the focus on the negative that seems to stymie the progress of black persons the world over. Think about it, when was the last time you heard about Africa without hearing about wars and conflict, or about black America without hearing about violence and instability, or even about black Canada without hearing about gun crimes and teenage mothers? Yet, over 9,500 black engineers and engineers-to-be gathered in Orlando, and not one peep was heard. Of course, I'm not advocating that every small achievement of black folks be highlighted, because that would ultimately defeat the purpose...but a bit of balanced coverage (or no coverage at all, good or bad) wouldn't hurt.
Just my own 2 cents.

P.S. - The Black Conservative is in love...and the lucky lady doesn't even know who she is! More on that later, perhaps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An important speech on race relations

Yes, Sir. I was proud to hear Barack deliver that profoundly refreshing speech last night. It may not win him the election - it may even lose it for him - but I thought to myself, "this is one man of integrity". I disagree with his Pastor's brand of God's message because it strikes me as the overly venegeful, vitriolic type that hasn't moved black people forward and if anything, has only earned the resentment of white people, but I felt Obama struck the right tone in his speech. Even if he loses, he should hold his head high and move on.

For those wondering why he disowned the Pastor's comments, but not the man himself, they should ask themselves this question - when Clinton stood by her husband in 1998 and disowned his actions but not his person, was she accepting adultery as a fact or approving of it? If the answer is no, then neither should Obama's non-distancing be equated with approval and support for Rev. Wright's ill-advised comments. I was also happy to hear Obama speak boldly about his faith, since it seems in this day and age, most Democrats have abandoned God, or only mention Him in passing when canvassing votes in the red states. Then again, there's got to be a proportional relationship between supporting the right to choose and not believing in God.

Dick Cheney, who is Obama's VERY distant cousin, apparently thinks the speech was "important". When a racist old foggy like Dick, who clearly doesn't like blacks yet refuses to criticize his lesbian daughter (I digress), approves of a speech by a progressive black man - cousin or not - it really must be important.

At the end of the day, Obama's speech echoed most of what I've parroted on this space. Affirmative action and other such pro-black moves are only alienating our people from the mainstream. I could care less about how the white man feels, but until African-Americans stop seeing things as black/white and demanding proportional share instead of working for it, they will continue to have to deal with issues of credibility when facing a mixed multitude who believe that everything any black man has achieved is as a result of AA, and so should be grateful to the white majority instead of complaining.
A word is enough for the wise.

We'll keep watching further developments...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Making NON-Sense of the Hillary Apology

There was a song by Jacksoul a few years ago with one particularly poignant line - "I swear the woman was crazy". Obviously Jacksoul, with all his unrequited love, was not talking about the Democratic Party nomination race, but he may well have been. Yes, he may well have been referring to the lady known as Hillary.

Apparently, she met with about 200 African-Americans yesterday, and on a whiteboard posted several notes expressing how sorry she was about her campaign's use of race to define this election. There are several things that bother me about this about-face, and which lead me to question its sincerity.

Firstly, why now? Why not at the time it happened in South Carolina, in Mississippi and in Ohio? If she had those strong, decisive traits she would have us believe she does, why did she wait?

Secondly, why did she have to write several apology notes on the board? Does she think there's a proportionality constant between the number of notes she writes and the sincerity of her apology? If so, she must be well and truly off her rocker, and Americans would be cautioned to take note.

Thirdly, why did it take 2 days for Geraldine Ferraro to resign from the campaign? Why wasn't she let go immediately she made those inflammatory comments by the Hill-Bill machine? In fact, Hillary came out to defend Ferraro's right to free speech.

The whole apology smacks of the same two-bit attitude the Hill-Bill machine has constantly demonstrated towards black voters - assuming them, insulting their intelligence and ultimately providing no real sense of belonging for what remains the most underserved group in the United States. I only hope those people came out, ate Hill-Bill's food, drank Hill-Bill's water and went away convinced more than ever that she should not be their President.

Jacksoul may still find it in his heart to believe in love, but in this particular crazy woman's case, I've lost any shred of respect I had for Hillary.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Politics of Thuggery, Nepotism and Godfatherism in Nigeria

Those who know me well will have wondered when the gaze of my ever-crticizing eye would fall on Nigeria and Nigerian politics. It's fair to say that so many other issues affecting black people, especially in North America have taken precedence over the nefarious activities of the rulers of a country that claims to be the "giant of Africa".

A brief history of politics and corruption in Nigeria will not be brief at all, and most of that information can be found from various sources on the internet. This article is not about that. No, this piece is about the brazen manner in which public officers who have been convicted of crimes (financial, political, moral, etc) still parade themselves about the country with impunity, with the arm of justice sufficiently short and unable to reach them.

This article describes an interaction between 2 Senators and the immediate past Nigerian President - Senator David Mark wants to review the sale of government properties in the federal capital, Abuja, by ex-President Obasanjo, while another Senator, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, wants this review to be halted or "forgotten"! I will explain my reasoning for choosing this article by describing each of these 3 individuals.

Senator Mark (Senate President) - A former military officer who was part of the cabal that robbed Nigeria blind in the 80s and 90s, Mark's election in 2007 was the usual Nigerian tale of stuffed ballot boxes and election thuggery. This election (like countless others) was nullified by the Appeals Court early this year. In any civilized country, once the election of a public officer has been nullified, that officer has to resign immediately, until all appeals have been exhausted and a final solution reached. Yet, this man continues to answer to "Senate President", and presumably is still being paid his salaries and allowances. When the number 3 citizen of a country is above the law, are we surprised at the breakdown and near-anarchy of such a country?
His view on this topic has to be viewed with suspicion. Mark probably wants the sales reviewed, so that he can collect a bribe or two from the guilty customers and "enjoy" his own share of the largesse. Surprised? Don't be...this is Nigeria.

Fmr. President Obasanjo - This is man who came to power talking about all sorts of economic reforms and the stamping out of corruption. The economic reform part was achieved SLIGHTLY, but if anything, the corruption levels in Nigeria attained new heights between 1999 and today. This is a man who used a petroleum trust fund (to be used for schools, hospitals, etc in oil producing areas) as his own slush fund to pay for political gallivanting, private oil blocks, private universities, etc. This is a man who according to his own son, slept with his daughter-in-law in exchange for lucrative oil and finance deals. Despite this abomination, neither Obasanjo nor his daughter-in-law has refuted the claims of the son. This is a man who apparently "spent" $10 - $16 billion on power projects (depending on whom you ask) in a country whose citizens receive power, if they are lucky, for 1 hour a day.
Finally, this is a man who sold properties in the nation's capital, the monies for which have not been accounted for. A man like this should be locked up, yet he continues to insult the country by posing as an 'elder statesman'.

Senator Obasanjo-Bello - As the former President's daughter, perhaps it can be understood that she would support her father - crocodile tears and all - except that she is a Senator of the Federal Republic. Of course, this is Nigeria, where there is no threat of public umbrage at such a crass display of fatherly affection by someone who is a sworn legislator for people whose economic futures have been mortgaged by her father and his policies.
Any shred of sympathy stops once you realize that this is the same Obasanjo-Bello who used her father's stolen wealth to appropriate and corner several of those same 'power projects' that her father siphoned money from. Oh, I should have mentioned that she used a fake name in those transactions, didn't cut her Austrian partners in the deal despite the bribes they paid her (incl a fully loaded Toyota Land Crusier 4WD and cash), and is now being sued by those same Austrian partners both in Nigeria and in Austria.
Again, in any civilized country, the official would have been forced to step aside or resign (witness Elliot Spitzer) till the court case has been settled, and if the person refused to do so, the press would have harangued, editorialized and generally disturbed until they were forced to.
It also begs the question - how did she get elected as a Senator, or even better, if her papa was not in Aso Rock (the Nigerian version of the White House), would she have been elected?

Only in Nigeria can these 3 crooks operate with the impunity and braggado that they have. Only in Nigeria can the common person on the street not react to such high-handed behavior because the common person on the street is waiting for their turn to plunder the wealth of the country. Only in Nigeria will the mainline press refuse to call these people to order, because they are hoping to be made Special Assistants on Media, Media Advisors or Public Relations Secretaries to a politician/public officer in the future.

I make mention of this article and its protagonists, because I'm constantly besieged with calls from extended family, friends, etc wondering whether I plan to return to Nigeria to settle down and "bless" the country with my talent and abilities. The answer is - NOT ON YOUR LIFE!
Call me selfish, call me unforgiving, call me westernized, but never will I give anyone the chance to call me corrupt, or in the absence of that, become another frustrated technocrat because the country of my dreams is falling apart like a deck of cards; and its inhabitants could care less, merely waiting their turn to attain a higher status and join in the looting of the nation, like hyenas at a zebra's carcass.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The (Hypocritical) Democratic Party and Race

Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, but the woman has balls. Massive balls. I'm not even kidding...I wouldn't be surprised if she literally had them, which may explain why Bill is never in her bed....
All jokes aside, how someone who is over a hundred delegates behind the front-runner can suggest, not to mention insist, that the party would be best served by having her on top of a Hillary-Obama ticket is unfathomable. Read some views and takes on the story from Jack Cafferty, as well as some inflamed readers, including a few from the Great White North (no, I wasn't responding in disguise) :

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees Hillary for the bitter, greedy old hag she is. I've been preaching it on this blog from Day 1. Hill-Bill will do anything to become President of the United States. Hill because she wants to prove at all costs that she was the brain behind Bill's presidency, and Bill because he wants to prove to his wife that despite his loose morals, he loves her and would do anything for her, including twist a few superdelegate arms and make inflammatory comments. I guess the 'ghosts' of Lewinsky and Paula Jones (and who knows how many other average-looking secretaries) still haunt the Clintons.

In a related issue, wasn't it funny to see a so-called Liberal (and former Democratic Party VP candidate) Geraldine Ferraro play the race card and get all the media flak? Funny because she wasn't the first to do it, despite the media trying to make it seem like she was. Yes, Bill himself - the self-appointed "first black President" - who sees himself as the Messiah of black people was the first person to bring race into this race (pardon the pun).

What is not funny, and what has continually been revealed in this race is the apparent willingness of white folks who claim to be liberal to come out and showing their racist tendencies. This is a group that will go to war for gays, criminals, the so-called right to choose (otherwise known as the right to kill) and other despicable practices/elements of society, yet will continually try to insult and demean the black race. Even when they do something positive for our race, they try to rub it in (a la Clinton) and assume themselves to be our Saviors. They don't mind doing anything for us, as long as we stay perpetually under them.

This is at the heart of the reason why I've never cottoned onto the political left. At least with the right-wing of politics, you know where you stand on issues. Frankly, anyone telling me the Republican Party is more racist than the Democratic Party (or Conservative Party vs Liberal/NDP Parties in Canada) should have their heads examined. The difference between the right and the left is that the left will say anything to win votes, but they are all the same at the end of the day, run by white men and increasingly by white women, who are beginning to show that they are just as vitriolic, racist and "patriarchial"(we'll need to find a new word, because matriarchal is too gentle) as their male counterparts.

I can make a bold declaration - If Obama was a white man, with the same intellect, charisma and ideas, this race would have been over in New Hampshire. The Senator from New York would have been knocked out a long time ago.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Affirmative Action on the way out?

So a dear friend (CC) points out that I haven't been posting for a few days. Finally, a 'fan' who cares (although I'm not sure she agrees with everything I write).

Anyway, speaking on the issue of the US elections, isn't this the meanest-spirited election year ever? And all of it coming from the Democratic Party cabal of Bill-Hill. Americans, do not make that mistake this year. McCain IS a credible alternative if you decide you want experience, not the nonsense that Hillary projects. Of course, at this point, I'm guessing the Bill-Hill machine, while losing the popular vote among delegates, leans into a few super-delegates and forces them (overtly and covertly) to support her and turn the tables against Barack. Then, watch the Republican machine go to work against the Bill-Hill ticket. It'll be an ugly 3 or 4 months, but I'll enjoy every minute of it.

I was also sent an article this morning. Find it linked here:

This is VERY interesting! In principle, I agree with the fellow (of African and Native American ancestry) who is proposing this idea. I don't need to waste any more virtual space, but I think my views were appropriately espoused in my write-ups on Afrocentric schools. In practice, however, I find it a little bit hypocrtical coming from someone who has probably benefited from affirmative action. If Mr. Connerly is willing to rescind all benefits he probably gained from affirmative action, then I'm with him. Of course, it's darn near impossible to gauge what benefits he may have realized...
That being said, the one group to have benefitted the most from affirmative action is the white female group, so perhaps Mr. Connerly is onto something in disguise...
My point is that I expect African-Americans to lay into me when I criticize affirmative action, because it probably has had some benefit to them, or someone close to them. I'm not sure it's the best response to slavery and the lack of opportunities that followed from that, and I would rather that a better solution - perhaps increased funding for inner city schools - had been implemented instead, but since it's here, it should be left alone.
I can criticize it though, because I have never benefitted from it, nor will I ever do (likely). An African-American wanting it banned is an interesting concept, so let's see how it plays out.

CC wanted to know how the afrocentric issue is playing out...what can I say? The proposal has been approved, the Premier of Ontario has voiced his displeasure (although he hasn't exactly come up with a way to solve the problems afrocentric schools claim they will), but in the end, the school will be established. It remains to be seen if there'll be any benefits, but I'm not even counting on anything close to that happening.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Of black leaders and American politics

So, it's been awhile since I wrote. In that time, Hilary Clinton seems to have found her mojo, and may be on the verge of regaining the momentum in the Democratic race. I can't begin to express how disappointed I will be if this happens, but we'll find out for sure tonight when the results from Texas and Ohio roll in...apparently, Vermont and Rhode Island will be voting as well. Like anyone noticed.

Further to my last posting, I've received some vitriol and some praise from friends and foes alike on the subject of Afrocentric schools in Toronto, and my distaste for the concept. In response, I would like to say - "post your comments on the blog page, not in cryptic facebook messages or e-mails" and secondly, "I don't care what you think, that's why it's a blog" :-)
Seriously though, I appreciate the comments, though few and belated, that I have received.

I mentioned that I was going to talk about why black leaders generally try to deflect the blame for any negative issue in the African, African-American or African-Canadian communities onto someone else. I realized this could be a hot-button topic, so I'm still perfecting my research in this area, so that I can present an objective riposte of my ideas. However, I should mention that it is sad that the vast majority of black leaders rarely call out members of the community who are messing up, whether it be parents, teachers, the youth or even other black "leaders". The few who do, like Bill Cosby (although his shady morals smack of hypocrisy) in the US, and Michael Thompson in Toronto are often vilified by their own people for speaking the truth. This is a darn shame, and prevents other people from speaking their minds. It won't stop me though, whether my platform is global, regional or internet-based.

I hope to have a provocative piece in tomorrow, but till then, I will be watching CNN this evening to see whether Mrs. Clinton's negative campaign has paid dividends. I'm betting the house that it has.