I just love the third installment of Pirates of the CaribbeanAt World’s End.
Especially the scene where the Pirate Lords are trying to free Tia Dalma/Calypso in hopes that she will help them vanquish Davy Jones. They burn the nine Pieces of Eight and Barbosa shout the incantation, “CALYPSO, I release you from your human bonds!!!!!”  …Nothing happens. (Side eye from Calypso.) Then, One-Eyed Ragetti says “You didn’t say it right. You have to say it right,” and whispers lovingly, “Calypso, I release you from your human bonds…”  …That’s the trick!

Well, for the past week I’ve listened to GOP leadership, Republican pundits and Right Wing rank and file regarding their spanking at the hands of President Obama.  They blame messaging for their defeat. (What?)

“Republicans fundamentally failed to communicate a message that spoke to our hopes for prosperity, for ourselves and especially for our children. “—Michael Steele

“On the immigration issue, which turned out to be very important, and some issues about women too, some mixed messages were sent.” —Condoleezza Rice

“Chris Christie undermined the Republican message.” —Robert Costa

“When our values are clearly and unashamedly articulated, we win.”—Mat Staver

“We had no message, and we gave it to the worst communicator in the world.” —Romney campaign donor

In other words, most of them feel that their vision for America is on point, but they just did not “say it right.”

Well, the majority of Americans did listen to your message. We got the memo. Folks were copied on the email. The fax went through.  For the past decade or more, the Republican party has sent a message about who they are and what the party represents.  We have experienced a level of disrespect for the President of the United States that is unparalleled—the vast majority of it race-based.

We saw the GOP run on a jobs platform in 2012 only to not introduce one jobs bill in the House of Representatives to this day. Republican governors mounted a war on labor, poor people and women.  With America still clawing its way out of a fiscal a crevasse, the right took social issues to center stage. Seriously?!

And, as if that was not enough, a cabal of GOP leaders plotted obstruction on the very night of Pres. Obama’s inauguration.  One could go on to mention vaginal probes, legitimate rape and talk radio hosts calling coeds sluts, but that might be overkill. Can I add one more thing—the Bush years were hardly a template for fiscal conservatism! (BTW: Still waiting on the trickle to come on down.)

Then, to make sure America got the picture, Republicans nominated an out-of-touch, veracity-free with hypocrisy on top candidate for president.  Next, Republican governors from Pennsylvania to Texas to Ohio to Florida took to voter suppression like Jack Sparrow does to a bottle of rum in an attempt to seal the electoral deal.  “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine,” said Franklin County GOP Chair Doug Preisse.

I was taught that when people show you who they are, believe them.  The GOP has shown that they think nearly half of Americans are moochers, that they don’t much care for Black people (especially in positions of power) and Brown people NEED TO SPEAK ENGLISH (or, just self-deport to Mexico). Republicans like women though—as long as they stay in their place.  On November 6, 2012, 69,456,897 Americans let the GOP/TEA Party know that they saw them clearly, as well.  It was the largest number of votes ever received by a United States presidential candidate.

Republicans sent a message. They just forgot that actions speak louder.

And America was listening.


“You gotta have somebody at yo’ back, man.
That’s just a lie them white men give ’bout makin’ it on they own,
They always got they backs covered.”
Raymond “Mouse” Alexander

Everybody needs a friend like Mouse.
Even tough guys need a partner who sparks fear in those who might consider crossing them in any way.  It’s good to have a loyal associate who will do “whatever” for their main man.  For the record, Mouse is a fictional character found in a series of books written by Walter Mosley, most notably Devil in a Blue Dress. The novel’s main character, Easy Rawlins, stumbles into a career as a private investigator after losing his day job and Mouse ends up coming along for the ride.  In the course of their adventure, Mouse saves Easy’s ass and wreaks havoc and does the things Easy can’t/won’t do to get the job done.

There are other [fictional] examples of proactive enforcers who relish violence and death, yet,  live by a code that is oddly honorable.  Take Doc Holliday, as brought to life so vividly by Val Kilmer, in the movie Tombstone. I mean, Wyatt Earp was pretty bad-ass, but Doc was an ambulatory nightmare.  Witness the final duel he had with his rival, Johnny Ringo.

Ringo: [Expecting Wyatt Earp.] Well, ….didn’t think you had it in ya.
Doc: I’m your huckleberry.
Ringo: My fight’s not with you, Holliday.
Doc: I beg to differ. We started a fight we never got to finish. Play for blood.. remember?
Ringo: I was kidding about that. [A Cheshire grin comes over Doc’s face]
Doc: I wasn’t…

That was a cold and prophetic example of loyalty because Wyatt could never have beat Ringo to the draw.  It is also a quintessential example of what to look for in partner.

But there’s a catch.  There always seems to be one, doesn’t it?
Remember the code mentioned above? Well, that code for the Mouse and Doc Holliday types holds loyalty to the person whose back you are covering as a core tenent.  Here’s where things get tricky with the lunatic fringe—if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself aligned with a confederate who loves mayhem and self with equal ardor—not you or anyone else who stands in his way.   That is exactly the position the Republican party finds themselves in right now.

The Republicans lost big in 2008.  The White House—gone!  House of Representatives_lost!  The Senate—forfeit!  Hope? Yes—The Tea Party!  In the Tea Party you have a group of white folks driven by ideology and race and little else. These people helped usher in major victories for the Republican party in 2010, but they are unpredictable and extreme.  And I do mean extreme… Just think about it, these folks were holding “open carry” meetups all across the country in 2009.   Let’s be clear, open carry did not mean crack the top on your Jack Daniels and drink it from the neck. No, the Tea Party said—”Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to wear a holstered sidearm to exercise their God given RIGHT to self defense.”  Just imagine if just five Black men showed up anywhere with a “piece” on their hip talkin’ ’bout their God-given right to self defense!  We would have five less Black men at he hand of the local constabulary, for sure.  Apparently, the GOP had found their Mouse.

Yep, the GOP has embraced the Tea Party.  But, the tail is wagging the dog to the detriment of the country.  See, the Tea Party has one goal—that Barack Obama be a one term president. Period. End of story.  If they have to crash the entire country to get that done, so be it!  Therefore it makes perfect sense that the Tea Party faction of the Republican party would scuttle the extension of the payroll tax cut that the Senate approved and the President supports.  After all, if President Obama is for it, the Tea Party must be against it!  “The rebellion of the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party in the House has once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory,” declares Steve Bell on FrumForum.com.

Well, the good news for the GOP is that they are riding with folks who are as unhinged as Mouse and Doc.  The bad news for Republicans is that their posse doesn’t live by the same code.


I like to watch Morning Joe in the a.m.  I think Scarborough needs to let Mika talk, but for the most part the show has great commentary and passable journalism.  And, to be honest, sometimes it’s just background noise for my daily routine—but not this Tuesday [11/29 for the record]—the always “entertaining” Ann Coulter was on.  I couldn’t wait to see how she would top her “Our Blacks are better than their Blacks” statement. Top it she did by stooping so low that the Sweet Chariot couldn’t collect her ass.

Here’s the ‘no, she didn’t go there’ thing—
During a segment on presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s flip-flopping, Coulter referred to the late Senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, as—“that human pestilence.”  WTWTF?!??!  I mean, seriously, this is one of the GOtP’s brightest stars? That is the best commentary she can muster? Dissing a dead Senator is sport to the GOtP, I guess.  I mean, even the ancient Romans comported themselves better.  Coulter was rude, crude and revealed herself as being weak.

Here’s the Black [or Southern or My Momma Raised Me Right] thing— 
You do not go around calling people “human pestilence.” You just don’t.  PERIOD. [Well, Hitler, maybe. But he was special.]  That type of speech is just vulgar.  If my Momma heard [or even heard about] me saying that, or anything close to that, it would be my ass.  She would destroy me so completely, without raising her voice or laying a finger, that I would be on a 90-day “what was I thinking please forgive me” tour that began with a heartfelt mea culpa at the Kennedy compound.  That family has been through so much that they have to be tough.  But Coulter’s churlishness had to cut to the quick.

Here’s the troubling thing—
Ann Coulter wouldn’t understand what she did wrong if you made her write “I am sorry for my crude remarks about Senator Kennedy” 1000 times on the blackboard!  Human pestilence? On air? Morning drive, no less. Seriously, Ann? Really.  O.K.

Here’s the funny thing—
By being cruel, Coulter revealed her weakness.  It’s like when you’re hangin’ with your boys and folks start crackin’ jokes on each other. Sooner or later, one cat is going to get caught sans a comeback.  The strong one will say—”Man, that was good! You got me!”  The weakling would either want to fight, or say something way out of bounds—like saying your dead Dad started the AIDS epidemic.

Here’s the really, really sad thing—
It’s crickets on the right. I’ve not heard one GOtP leader take her to task. Coulter unleashes vitriol without a challenge?  Even Joe Scarborough, whose show she was on, a card-carrying Republican and journalist said jack. Nada, Nilch. Not a mumblin’ word!  Was his silence was tacit approval?

Yep. it’s mourning in America, alright.


Mic check!
MIC CHECK!

I’m not going to camp in a park.
I’M NOT GOING TO CAMP IN A PARK.

Drum Circles are not my thing.
DRUM CIRCLES ARE NOT MY THING.

But I am the 99%.
BUT I AM THE 99%.

I’m here to Occupy Your Mind!
I’M HERE TO OCCUPY YOUR MIND!

OK, OK. The title is tongue-in-cheek.
It’s an inside joke meant to catch your eye and make you click.
So, since you are here…check this out.

Seems to me that #OWS has made its point—there’s a lot of money concentrated the hands of a few people, and that’s not good. Even billionaire, Warren Buffet, says—”There’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won.” I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the really, REALLY, really, rich guy and the “American Spring” protestors on this one. Fact is, the top 1% of U.S. households (ranked by income) hold about 20% of after tax earnings. Now, as far as I am concerned, if you’ve figured out how to make lots of money, or your great-great-great grandfather built a fortune and the following generations held on to it—bully for you! My concern kicks in when people become hoarders. [In this case people would include corporations, just because The Supremes said so.] Hoarding money is no different (psychologically) than amassing newspapers, or clothes, or cats. Here’s how the Mayo clinic defines it—”Hoarding is the excessive collection of items, along with the inability to discard them.” Can you feel me?

So, here’s the idea.
A solution to our problem.
It does not call for an increase in taxes.
It’s not socialist or communist or a scheme to punish the rich.
But it does remind (rich) people that the words cash and flow are meant to go together.

After a person hits a certain financial threshold, they should give away half of their money. Not half of everything, just 50% of what they make each year.

I’ve thought about this a lot, because I plan to be rich. So, here’s what I would do if I had a million (my personal threshold) squirreled away. First, I would feel really blessed. Second, I would basically be making money as a way to keep score. Third, I would not want money to become the love of my life. [One must remember that God is GOD, after all.] My personal scenario would go like this–if I earned $500,000 one year, I would part with $250,000. Knowing me, I would gift some of it, be a venture capital “angel” with some, guarantee college tuition for kids that have strong academics but challenges paying for school, rehab some houses, establish a scholarship in my Mom’s name and my Dad’s name, whatever. Point is, I would keep the cash flowing! Instead of being a hypothetical job creator, I’d spend money and be an actual job creator. Not to be simplistic, but that’s how the economy works—somebody has to spend some money! Got it?

Some folks will say this idea is craaaaaaazy. That’s cool. But, just THINK about it. The average income of the top 1 percent of US households in 2011 is $1,530,773! If 100 average millionaires recycled $750,000 each that would come to $75 million annually back in circulation. It’s voluntary AND people would have control over where their money went! So, if you’re into animals, build a rare bird exhibit at the zoo—and name it after yourself, of course! Like nature? Build or renovate a park. If you’re a foodie, renovate an outdated kitchen at the church down the block. And so on, and so on. The ripple effect would be tremendous. That guy called GE has an entire department dedicated to tax avoidance. Just imagine if he added another department dedicated to helping him give away half of his money!!! He’s creating more jobs right off the bat. Now, that’s imagination @ work!

Mic check!
MIC CHECK!

Rich people, I have an idea.
RICH PEOPLE, I HAVE AN IDEA.

Give away half of the money…
GIVE AWAY HALF OF THE MONEY..

You make every year.
YOU MAKE EVERY YEAR.

The world will be a better place.
THE WORLD WILL BE A BETTER PLACE.

And you can always make more.
AND YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE.

I am the 99%.
I AM THE 99%.

I’m here to Occupy Your Mind!
I’M HERE TO OCCUPY YOUR MIND!


“It’s outrageous the way liberals treat a black conservative,”
she told Geraldo.  “This is another high-tech lynching…
Nothing liberals fear more than a black conservative.”
Ann Coulter, Fox News, October 31, 2011

You’ve got to give it to ’em.  Right wing GOtPers know how to circle the wagons!  Immediately after news broke in Politico that Presidential candidate Herman Cain had been accused of sexual harassment, they came to his defense.  Led by Ann Coulter—”It’s another high tech lynching,” they cried!  Well, they get points for being on message, but the missive itself is offensive.  They must have no idea what an actual lynching entailed.

ahem/ahem/let me clear my throat

So, let me drop some knowledge.  Low-tech lynchings were festive, brutal, souless affairs.  Witness this account of the lynching of Henry Smith (shown above) from the February 2, 1893 edition of The New York Sun—

Words to describe the awful torture inflicted upon Smith cannot be found. The Negro, for a long time after starting on the journey to Paris, did not realize his plight. At last when he was told that he must die by slow torture he begged for protection. His agony was awful. He pleaded and writhed in bodily and mental pain. Scarcely had the train reached Paris than this torture commenced. His clothes were torn off piecemeal and scattered in the crowd, people catching the shreds and putting them away as mementos. The child’s father, her brother, and two uncles then gathered about the Negro as he lay fastened to the torture platform and thrust hot irons into his quivering flesh. It was horrible—the man dying by slow torture in the midst of smoke from his own burning flesh. Every groan from the fiend, every contortion of his body was cheered by the thickly packed crowd of 10,000 persons. The mass of beings 600 yards in diameter, the scaffold being the center. After burning the feet and legs, the hot irons—plenty of fresh ones being at hand—were rolled up and down Smith’s stomach, back, and arms. Then the eyes were burned out and irons were thrust down his throat.

And the GOtP wants to compare a little pressure, some critical journalism, asking hard questions, doing one’s due diligence regarding a man who wants to be the leader of the free world to that? Really? Seriously?

Strange fruit is hard for me to digest. Every time I pass by that poplar tree I get angry and sad and have to check my feelings.  So, to save myself, I’m not going to post more of the photos and accounts here. But the truth is the truth. Check out these links and ask yourself—What is Ann Coulter talking about?

http://www.nathanielturner.com/lynchingindex.htm

http://asylumeclectica.com/grim/2011/04/page/2/

http://www.greatblacksinwax.org/Exhibits/lynching.htm

http://cuip.uchicago.edu/~swyatt/The%20Great%20Migration/lynching_south.htm


I love the HBO series The Wire. Maybe it’s because the show is set in Baltimore, where my Mother’s people live. It could be those characters—white, Black, straight, gay, thug, intellectual, male, female—all so complex and well-developed.  The show feels raw and familiar with plots that grab you and take you along for the ride.

I’m into The Wire for all of the above reasons plus one more—the show is, in many ways, a metaphor for American politics.  Our two-party system is a rough and tumble, money-driven, maintain power at all costs, if-your-not-cheatin’ you’re-not-trying game—just like policing, pushing and governing are portrayed in The Wire.  As a matter of fact, we have had our share of political assassinations of Americans in America by Americans, just like the warring factions on that HBO series.  Most days it seems that we are only a step or two away from street-level violence in the name of what “the American people want.”  Only our populist movements—The Civil Rights movement, The Anti-War movement, the Women’s movement, the Union movement—have been the levy that keeps the flood of naked political power at bay.

I know, lots of ya’ll are disappointed with the POTUS.  I get that. But the GOtP?—they HATE President Obama.  And, they are not playing, either.   Their platform has one plank—”Make sure Obama is a one term president,” according to Sen. Mitch McConnell. They do not even respect the man enough to call him President Obama!  Even Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, a former congressman and the lone Republican in the (Obama) Cabinet, says he believes his own party has put defeating President Obama ahead of creating jobs in America. “I’ve been in Washington 35 years… and I’ve never seen a time when people have put their own personal political feelings over how we can get the economy moving,” he says. “Republicans made a decision right after the election—don’t give Obama any victories. The heck with putting people to work, because we can score points.”  [The Daily Beast, Oct 31, 2011]

The People bear some responsibility for our current political landscape, too. If I remember it correctly, candidate Obama’s message was—”Yes, WE can,” not, “I got this.” In a way, we (those who voted for Barack Obama) were like the Hebrews who after the Red Sea was parted and traversed thought it would be all gravy from that point on. NOT!  There is still a lot more work to do and support to be given.  As a matter of fact, we should have never sat down, never relaxed. We should have launched Occupy Health Care, Occupy Stimulus, Nullify Tea Party movements on January 21, 2009.  Instead of building on the momentum of 2008, we now have a GOtP party powerful enough and crazy enough to block everything we fought for. Obamanot?  Yep, that’s me. Apologist for Barack? I’ll take that. Brainwashed by Democrats? Ummmmm, no. I realize both parties have issues.

And, the meaning of this all is? Glad you asked. The meaning is that in all things political, just as in all things street, you need the loyalty of your inner circle, people who watch your back, allies willing to go to war for you, wisdom so deep that it is scary and an accurate sixth sense to survive.  The next twelve or so months are going to be intense. We (Black Folks/Young People/Progressives/#OWS) need to pick a side and man up, not stand on the sidelines like some are starting to advocate.  You know I’m going to roll with POTUS.  Even Omar, The Wire’s resident denizen of drug dealers had a crew!  Like the man said—“…the game’s out there, and it’s play or get played. That simple.”


“The whole world is watching!”

“The whole world is watching!”

“The whole world is watching!”

I can’t speak for the entire world, but I know I was.  My parents were active in the Civil Rights Movement.  So, even though I was only eleven years old, I had seen and heard and experienced much of the tumult that the struggle for change brings. But, I had never seen anything like this.

There it was on the nightly news—young, middle-class white kids being beaten by police while protesting at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  And, in the midst of the melee, this chant began to swell— “the whole world is watching, the whole world is watching, the whole world is watching!”  I remember my Dad saying, “This changes everything. White kids marching and being treated like Black protestors? Wow! It’s all about to change…”  America did change. Not overnight, but certainly much more surely and quickly than it would have without the protests of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Perhaps it would be accurate to say that we witnessed a cultural shift during those years.  It was shift along generational, racial, class and gender fault lines. People (or, The People in the vernacular of the time) wanted a seat at the table and were willing to do whatever it took to fully participate in the promise of America as first class citizens.

To an extent, media coverage was a change catalyst.  Television allowed America to see things that were previously hidden—Southern racism, police brutality and the horror (the horror) of the Vietnam War.  Jet Magazine shocked the world when it published photos of Emmett Tills’ disfigured body.  And, when National Guardsmen fired on a crowd of unarmed students at Kent State University, killing four of them, newspapers across the country chronicled the event on A1.

The whole world was watching.

Fast forward from 1968 to 2011.  Once again, people are marching in the streets. But, instead of protesting war on foreign soil, they are protesting what they feel is a war on the middle class.  We are witnessing another cultural shift—and this time the revolution will be televised, and tweeted, and seen on YouTube.  Every footstep, every chant, each bad act by a police officer, every meet-up request, all the minor and major details sent and received without gatekeepers to decide “what is news.”

The People are not happy.
Change is in the air again.
But, this time the marchers are young, old, middle-aged, black, white, asian, professional, blue collar, urban dwellers, suburbanites and farmers—in short, 99% of AMERICA.

“The whole world is watching!”

“The whole world is watching!”

“The whole world is watching!”