Hot Topics

Marking Earth Day In The Era Of Mass Industrialization And Global Disease

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Can we love the Earth? That’s the fitting Socratic response to the famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be” uttered by Hamlet so many moons ago. But yet, here we are playing the role of lover as we celebrate another Earth Day. A day of Man’s professed love and appreciation for the planet they inhabit. What a farce. Our illusion of self and our destruction of the planet knows no bound. And yet, here we are pretending to care about our only source of life while smoke billows behind us from massive machines and factories, inhabiting life next to pits steadily being dug deeper into the Earth’s crest in search of more riches for Richie Rich, while fracking is having a field day smashing through Mother Earth’s platelets. Happy Earth Day, fools!

Since 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War and two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when certain people started to gain a level of conscientiousness of nature and its value, Earth Day became an annual celebration around the world to demonstrate love and support for the environment. I say certain people because indigenous and tribal peoples have always known and understood the value of nature. That’s why they respect Mother Earth and only take what they need. But not the rest of mankind with their unsatisfied appetite for the riches embedded in her bosoms.

During a webinar on Earth Day, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. said, “Every day should be affirmed as Earth Day.” Dr. Chavis, Jr., an assistant to Dr. King, Jr. in his youth, coined the term “environmental racism” which is, “racial discrimination in the deliberated targeting of ethnic and minority communities for exposure to toxic and hazardous waste sites and facilities, coupled with the systematic exclusion of minorities in environmental policy making, enforcement, and remediation.” The civil rights movement and the environmental movement intersected during this era to combat the destruction of underserved and poor communities across the country and the world. And that fight is still ongoing as landfills, mine pits and fracking stations litter the places were only the poor call home. Dr. Chavis says this day is a time to be reminded of the oneness of humanity adding, “Earth Day is also liberation day.” He says, “The Earth needs to be liberated from all the climate change deniers and from all the polluters who are damaging and destroying the lives of millions of people.” He also points to Native Americans who have long worked to get their European conquerors to see value and affirm the sacredness of Mother Earth … of little, or no avail.

Human beings must resist the evils of environmental destruction or face extinction. It’s unimaginable witnessing the Coronavirus pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, in turn, clearing the polluted waters of Venice, encouraging wild animals out from hiding to venture into formerly crowded streets and towns. Even jellyfish and dolphins are floating through clear canals in Europe again. It took death by an unknown disease to resuscitate environmental life. Why must it take disease, death and destruction to curb our enthusiasm for pollution? Our carbon footprint is killing the only planet we have and yet we have the audacity to celebrate Earth Day like lunatics. Charles Simmons said, “No man has a right to do what he pleases, except when he please to do right.” It’s time to do right by Mother Earth. And an annual celebration marking our love for her won’t cut it. We must face the reality of the role each and every one of us plays in the destruction of the Earth and change. Or, we can keep the “party” going … while we can.

 

America Needed Bernie Like A Drowning Man Needs A Lifebuoy

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

A little birdie told us, but we didn’t listen. And now the gap to enter the portal to take us to the promised land Dr. King envisioned is permanently closed with the end of Senator Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. We may never get the chance to equal the playing field of our times because the political structure supported by both Republicans and Democrats benefits the status quo: the powerful against the powerless. And as the source of cheap labor that allows rich corporations to prolong their feeding frenzy on Wall Street, we might as well accept our fate as 21st century slaves.

As we journey along the COVID-19 highway of death, it’s important to take note of how inequality and racism will impact the response to this pandemic by simply paying attention to those who help, and those who help themselves. While government officials and lobbyist fight for their take of the $2.2 trillion relief aid, the first of several promised, essential workers and communities across America are pulling together to help each other, coming up with inventive ways to survive this pandemic, all while they continue to fill the belly of the beast with gold coins as “essential workers.” It has become more evident how profoundly dependent the rich are on working class and poor people. And all along, Sen. Sanders has been fighting for, and alongside us, to bring about the equality, reform and justice this country’s working-class people desperately need. I’m sorry we failed him, again.

Sen. Sanders was the “come to Jesus moment” we could’ve had. He defended our human rights, workers rights, access to healthcare and education, tirelessly working to usher in opportunities for common, hard-working folks to taste the fruits of their labor that, since Reaganomics, only the wealthy get to enjoy. Sanders was unsuccessful in his bid to unchain us from our economic bondage to our inhumane capitalism structure because the nation is suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome. Some lawmakers even have the audacity to argue against people making a living wage, while defending billion-dollar companies who don’t pay taxes and take American manufacturing jobs to desperately poor and suffering people in developing countries to squeeze all they can from an unsustainable global workforce model. Having your cake and eating it too is more than a proverb for having it all, it’s the reality of our capitalistic system coveted by the rich and powerful. And who gets saddled with the costs of being an American? Poor and working-class citizens that these corporations apparently can’t live without. There is no justice here, just us … 244 years later, still unable to right so many wrongs, especially now with the exit of our last hope, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It seems as if no one paid attention when Sanders exposed Joe Biden as a fibber and a pawn in the scheme to tighten the grip on power of working class people during one of their debates over freezing government benefits for veterans and the needy. Last week, he was arguing on our behalf on the Senate floor, even shaming Republicans who fought to limit how much money poor people should get from the Coronavirus relief aid. The people of this country, especially those who could have directly benefited from a Sanders White House, clearly forgot who marched, picketed and got arrested along side them. And black leaders throwing their support behind Biden, the man who lied about being part of the black struggle on the front lines of the civil rights movement, the man who publicly shamed and dismissed Anita Hill, the man who helped usher in an era of mass incarceration of black people, is not just misguided and unfortunate, it’s evidence of their failures applying the lessons that come with American history. We aren’t just at war with the Coronavirus, we’re at war with ourselves.

I am reminded of the late brilliant Dr. John Henrik Clarke who said Democrats use black people as political playthings. He argued that black people must not be fooled into thinking that Democrats want to cultivate our strength as a people. He said, “It wasn’t meant to be. No one ever got the simple thing: people never educate you in the technique you can use to take their power away from them. See, education has but one honorable purpose, one alone, everything else is a waste of time. That is to train the student to be a responsible handler of power. No one ever wants us to be responsible handlers of power. It has nothing to do with political lines. The left doesn’t want us to be responsible no more than the right. But they want to dominate us in a different way from the right. And they think they can dominate us better. It’s an argument of not whether or not we will be free, but who will enslave us.”

With Biden as the clear Democratic nominee in this highly contentious presidential race, it’s apparent we are partly to blame for what is happening in the country. If this virus doesn’t kill all the voters among us, I hope it wakes us up to see who our allies are. Not just in words, but in deeds. James Baldwin asked the poignant and still relevant question worthy to be asked today: “how much time do you want for your progress?” And even the peaceful Dr. King talked about reaching the regrettable conclusion that black progress must heel to, “the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.”

“We are the richest country in the history of the world. Every worker deserves a living wage, paid leave, health care, and a union—at all times, not just during crisis,” said Sanders. What a radical. We should all be grateful we dodged that bullet and stick to what we’ve become accustomed to; modern day slavery with a spoonful of freedom. Sarcasm aside, it’s time to wake up America. We need a lifebuoy. And Biden is not the candidate to ask for mouth to mouth resuscitation as we gasp for air. Despite how “articulate” he is.

How COVID-19 Is Unfolding The Mighty Eagle’s Paper Tiger Experiment

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Welcome to the new world brought to you by an invisible virus responsible for bringing countries to their knees, forcing people indoors or six feet apart in public to avoid being put six feet underground. We are at war with Coronavirus and the combatants are the common man against their governments and the wealthy corporations politicians are indebted to protect, first. History repeatedly proves gluttony for power and money comes with the license to govern. And it’s been long forewarned our planet has been churning to be in this exact position; a toxically divided space of rich and poor, weak and strong, environmentalists and climate science deniers, the sick and healthy, able and disabled bodies all in their respective corners holding onto the last threat of our common bond; humanity. We just lost our grip on sense and sensibility for fear of taking certain positions. As James Baldwin would put it, we are in the middle of a terrifying senility. To be black in America may be a terrible thing but worse is what America has done to itself as we stew in this disastrous Coronavirus vacuum due to lack of leadership and a firm commitment to human and civil rights.

The American illusion is comparative to a paper tiger. In theory, what this country imagines itself to be is certainly mighty, but tested, our vulnerabilities reveal otherwise. Public health crisis’s like Covid-19, SARS, Ebola and even the 1918 flu pandemic have consistently proven our dislocation to reality and full participation in democracy. As people drop dead without a cure or access to basic equipment and safety items like masks and gloves, Mitch McConnell and the GOP are fully engaged in lobbying on behalf of wealthy corporations and American elites to ensure they get first dibs at the Coronavirus Relief Act or The Cares Act. Unfortunately for those largely impacted by this pandemic, these greedy politicians’ only “Cares” are that the rich, once again, get to feed first from the government trough.

A recent article in The Atlantic, citing the Global Health Security Index—the issuing body of pandemic preparedness report cards for every country—found America holding the world’s highest score of 83.5 percent. So, how is the world’s valedictorian failing so miserably when millions of lives are at stake? Our country is deteriorating under bad management, racism and apathy. When basic human needs during a world crisis aren’t being met, it’s time to face the truth … American agony is American life.

Let’s do some unfolding. Schools are closed. Workers are laid off in mass numbers. Nurses are wearing trash bags to save lives. America doesn’t have enough gloves and face masks, or apparently the green light to mass produce them. We don’t have enough ventilators to help people breathe when they reach the peak of this respiratory disease. The bad blood between the President and journalists serves no good purpose, as their interactions continues to propagate global discontent. Trump is even accusing hospitals and governors of hoarding crucial supplies like masks and ventilators in an effort to smear him and his handling of the health crisis on our hands, surfaces and in droplets in the air. Don’t touch your face!

Honesty, decency, brains and basic trust in government left the White House with Obama, leaving us with a President only capable of passing out PTSD like the paper towels he enjoys throwing into crowds. There’s also the ever present media frenzy to capitalize on the business of tragedy, fueling hysteria and confusion among people they’re “informing.” Healthcare workers are dying from exposure and forced to work long hours to bridge the gap of America’s overburdened, underpaid and exhausted workforce. America needs more than a political revolution to reign in this chaos and breakdown in government. We need a moral and economic revolution to right their wrongs, because we have to exist more than to fill the interests of the rich. James Baldwin said, “Freedom is a dangerous thing but anything else is disastrous.” The sentiment touches the heart of this moment in our history. If our current response to the Coronavirus epidemic isn’t clear evidence we’re confronting it shaped like a paper tiger, the mighty Eagle will continue this trajectory of weakness and never find its way out of our idealistic labyrinth.

10 Ways Trump Is Inadvertently Making America Be Best

By JEANETTE LENOIR

It’s true; America can’t escape the shame of Donald J. Trump. Like an unruly toddler, the 45th president of the United States is marking up the entire planet with a sharpie, as mother nature and most of her inhabitants tightly cross their fingers hoping he’s not using the permanent kind. Nonetheless, it befits us to see the silver lining in our current affairs at the mercy of our Emperor. So, here are ten ways Trump has inadvertently made us a better country:

  1. A Collective Rejection. Even before taking office, Trump forced Americans from all walks of life to reject him and his brand of politics. His birtherism rhetoric targeting former President Barack Obama, his unapologetic prejudice during his testimony in congress concerning Native Americans and his casinos, accusing a Judge for being unable to be impartial because he’s “Mexican,” discriminating against black renters, the Central Park Five case, mocking people with disabilities, boasting of getting away with murder on 5th Ave and grabbing women by the genitals will forever stain the path toward our nations ideals. Nonetheless, Trump forced Americans to stop and look in the mirror to bear witness to what he inadvertently exposed of us. And that is: our freedom is an allusion, economic and otherwise, and racism is still an institutionalized and structural anomaly.The Klu Klux Klan, today with gnashed gums, have risen from our cultural graveyard where they’ve existed as our haunting ghosts, and exposed their secret operation within our entire system of governance and social structure. Nazi’s and emboldened white supremacists, and other hate groups have taken comfort among us. And Russia’s involvement in our political system was not just telling of our vulnerabilities, but also the problem with career politicians and the pay to play operation of congress. The silver lining, you ask. Thanks to Trump being “Trumpy,” he unintentionally helped usher in movements like The Resistance, Women’s March, March For Our Lives, No Muslim Ban Ever, Stop Trump Movement, Need To Impeach, Impeach Donald Trump Now, Organize Against Trump, Indivisible, The New Civil Rights Movement … the list goes on and on. Trump has galvanized and empowered average Americans to rise in defense of the ideals and promise of this country. And that makes America better. 
  2. Exposing Democratic Vulnerabilities. Another important change 45 ushered in takes direct aim at the Democratic Party. Trump exposed a painful truth about the Party, and that is its ineffectiveness, and disregard of the overall sentiments on issues concerning immigration, healthcare and education. Also, the DNC’s lack of accountability for a flawed system fashioned by Clinton Democrats that created the effect that led to Trump. And taking African Americans and other people of color for granted through their use of transactional politics verses relationship politics. The lack of investment in organizing and investing in communities across the country, and not building on the success of Obama’s presidency after more than twenty years of a Republican majority in congress is evident in the ROI outcome; President Trump. Trump, riding his horse to the old white house, weakened the Democratic Party on the way and forced liberal and middle of the road Americans, high on Obama’s legacy, to see our democracy as it really was; flawed and ill-prepared to stop Trump, the GOP and Russia. The three allies are still swinging to the tune of Old Town Road, as they ride to systematically dismantle Obama’s legacy. Trump killed our Barry buzz, man! But he also woke the Democratic Party up, galvanizing leadership to refocus, listen to and invest in the American people and work to resuscitate our collective humanity. After all, raising our collective conscientiousness and civility can only make America better. 
  3. The Era of Social Media Governing. It’s no secret that our president is always plugged in, leading our nation with tweets, hashtags and emoji’s, and even using his social media platform to antagonize everyone he disagrees with. This includes his flippant involvement in highly sensitive foreign relations matters. The world is changing at a rapid pace thanks to the internet and technology. And Trump has jumped on this band wagon, disregarding long standing practices by applying his own brand of boorish engagement. Trump uses social media to mock and threaten hostile nations like North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, while FLOTUS Melania Trump struggles to make sense of her Be Best campaign to stop cyber bullying. There’s no telling if Trump will abuse the FCC emergency alert system to mass text the U.S. like an unwanted booty call. And it’s arguably only a matter of time before he starts using AI to project himself across our skies in hologram form as Trumpzilla to boost his bloated ego. The silver lining here is a folklore befitting of an Anansi tale. If one is unwise, they will use social media like Trump does, if one is wise, they will not. Thus, canceling Trump makes America better. 
  4. A Renewed Civil Rights Movement. Despite the many movements that have brought us out of our shameful past into the 21st century, Trump, in his relatively short time as President Twitter Fingers, has forced us to take a harder look at the progress of human rights in America. As a nation, Trump reminds us of how comfortable we’ve become at accepting bits of progress to pull African Americans out of the pit they were shoved in after emancipation and expected to climb out of by sheer will and some magical bootstraps. Even though they were dumped into this metaphorical pit without boots after creating massive wealth for a country that enjoys world superpower status today. Trump’s brand of politics has forced our nation’s leaders to seriously address, not only the current state of racism and discrimination in America, but its influence embedded in workplaces, schools, our government, law enforcement, the justice system and other institutions in the country. Indifference of racism was becoming the norm, especially after the election of Obama. In some circles, the mere mention of racism, pointing it out or boldly expecting equality, was met with flippancy and an attitude of disdain and even disgust. Those who turned a blind eye to the reality of racism in America readily used phrases like, “pulling the race card” or “race baiting” to delegitimize or downplay the truth of discrimination and racism. This moment is a significant turning point in the struggle for equality and justice. The deep pain of racism is being acknowledged by more people because of Trump’s character. It is steadily paving a way for a renewed and emboldened civil rights movement in the country. And for that, Trump is making America better. 
  5. Women and Minority Office Holders. Katie Hill may be exiting stage left after a sex scandal, but there are more women office holders in America today, especially in congress. Women make up 24.16 percent of the 116th Congress, an increase of 2.36 percent since the election of Donald Trump, and there’s also been an increase in racial and ethnic diversity among elected officials. It’s safe to say many ran for office to protect the country from Trump and his ilk; out of touch elites, and the heartless Grand Old Party, better known as RxNRA, I mean, the GOP. Gil Cisneros, a proud Latino and new Congressman from California was galvanized to serve in congress after his predecessor voted against Obamacare. Cisneros ran for office even after winning a $266 million lottery jackpot that could have easily afforded him anonymity. And for that, the country is better off. And not just at being more inclusive of the people that make up our identity, but to regard the lessons from our past. Never forget, ignoring red flags is what led to Bush ’41 being asleep at the wheel. 
  6. Noticing The Red Flags. Trump could easily be our second 9/11 moment if we don’t heed the deafening warning signs and see the man in the mirror for what he is; a bona fide threat. It’s hard to admit that the orange fat man is us, but he is. And Trump has no interest in learning how to land either. The president of the United States cancelled a meeting with the Taliban at Camp David three days before the anniversary of 9/11. Reread the last sentence. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. He’s using military dollars to build the wall he shamefully boasted Mexico would pay for and making appearances at rally’s threatening to stay in office longer than the Constitution allows. It’s simply unreal this is our current trajectory as a country. If the 45th G7 summit held in France didn’t give you a clue about our global economic standing, you’re either Diamond or Silk planning to attend the next G7 summit at Doral. Trump appointed all his key players, I mean his best people, to hold high office in his Administration; a handful of individuals worth billions in a country where over half the population is experiences some level of poverty. He’s leapfrogging us into the greedy hands of corporations only interested in their bottom line. The wheels are hard turning toward an inhumane direction the country hasn’t seen since the first American slave ship, the Desire, set sail from Marblehead. Trump gets credit for driving us into a ditch. Will it make America better? Yes. If we fire him, get out of the ditch and work toward a more just Republic. 
  7. The NFL Culture. Trump brought to the surface the ugly truth about the NFL and its longstanding colonial system, including its ever-successful divide and conquer strategy that snagged the voracious snakehead, Jay-Z. Hook, line and sinker. How many black NFL team owners do you know of? Me either. And, it wasn’t that long ago when the president was disparaging NFL athletes, calling a league of mostly black athletes “bastards” and condemning the peaceful and just police brutality protest started by Colin Kaepernick. The president and his supporters’ efforts to turn the aim of the protest into an attack on the flag and law enforcement is disturbingly telling of the harsh truth many don’t want to accept; America is overwhelmingly controlled by a government deeply invested in solidifying and advancing white dominance and white prosperity. The NFL is symbolic of this truth like Obama and Trump are symbolic of the reality of being black or white in America. But change is inevitable, and although the entire Trump family are representative of the sickness infecting our collective humanity, they’re also a reason to hope, because it’s not despair that make successful revolutions as the anti-Trump one seems to prove.  Hope makes America better. 
  8. The Chest Game. The NRA and wealthy corporations’ choke hold on congress is maddening to comprehend in a “Woke” world. Tragedy after tragedy and congress still can’t pry the tight grip of the gun lobby from its neck. It’s no secret they have a running tab that pays for numerous elected officials like Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn to occupy powerful Senate seats. In turn, those feeding at the trough are helping the powerful gun group maintain the status quo on gun laws, blaming the mentally ill for mass shootings all while making money selling their precious guns under the guise of shielding The Second Amendment. The winning move on the board should be sensible and modern gun laws that won’t infringe on a person’s right to bear arms. Trump’s lust for a more white dominant country, a romantic and nostalgic throwback of the past when elites lived comfortably above the laws they wrote, is perhaps why the president and the GOP have shamefully put Party over country by co-signing his behavior and the complete debauchery that his administration represents. Trump ushered in this unfortunate truth and for that, we’re certainly better off knowing the real devil this country is up against is structural racism and a corporate run government. 
  9. The Big Money Grab. Yes, it’s still shamelessly underway since this administration took root. From Ivanka’s Chinese trademarks, billionaire Betsy Devos’s disregard for realistic education standards and needs, to Mnuchin and his wife sycophantic gripping of an enlarged image of the all mighty dollar. This white house loves capitalism and wealth so much, they’ve become experts at spending our tax dollars to enrich themselves. During his last visit to congress Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was grilled on his knowledge of some backroom dealings involving Senator Mitch McConnell and the second largest aluminum company in the world, RUSAL, owned by Russian tycoon, Oleg Deripaska. Mnuchin denied giving preferential treatment to the company after lifting sanctions 8 months after they were imposed. Coincidentally, and shortly after, RUSAL announced it was investing $200 million into a project in Kentucky. Deripaska is detailed in the Mueller report to have dealings with Paul Manafort who is now in jail. Shirley Graham Du Bois once said that if a country’s economy is controlled by outsiders, it cannot claim to be an independent state, no matter how many national anthems and flags it has. Trump exposed our delusion of economic freedom. From the threat of a recession to our trade war with China, the aftermath of which is still building up like a tsunami for American farmers, we can congratulate Trump’s recklessness for bringing attention to his Administrations’ handling of international trade, and their collusion with Putin to advance his interests in the U.S. Nonetheless, evidence of Trump’s crimes and collusion is half the battle, and impeachment makes clear that America is better than Trump. 
  10. Risking the Intelligence Community. Exposing our intelligence community’s paranoia and dysfunction, even amongst themselves, has dampened the mood in the country like a heavy, rain soaked medieval cloak. From the Clinton email scandal to the Mueller investigation, we’ve uncovered a trove of misconducts, overlooked outrageous and predatory practices from Trump, his brand, his family and now, his Administration. The president and his Attorney General, William Barr, are working to overturn Mueller’s investigation findings. Evidently, they’ve been on a world tour asking foreign governments for help investigating the FBI and CIA. Our intelligence service is under scrutiny from within, showcasing deep divisions and distrust amongst our highest ranked. These are ever changing times, indeed. Today, the world belongs to those who stand to lose it tomorrow. And like Jim Thorpe, we have to do something about it now, regardless of what stands in the way. Thorpe, the first Native American to win a U.S. gold medal despite the obstacles he faced, embodied the spirit of what truly makes America great. And although Trump is the antithesis of this holy Sa ki wa ki man, he serves as a reminder of what America can’t afford to see; a hateful orange fat man in the mirror. And that makes America … Be Best? Don’t try to blame that on the young. It’s time for all of us to be better and the Trump clan is mnemonic of that.  

ABC: Meghan McCain, John McCain’s Daughter, Has A License To Shrill And Flaunt Her Bratty White Privilege

 

By JEANETTE LENOIR

 

“I love Meghan McCain on The View,” said no one ever. McCain, who somehow climbed her way to a seat on the set of The View while most Americans were distracted by the antics of our naked Emperor and his ilk, is wreaking havoc on the daytime talk show. And clearly, ABC has given her a license to shrill, throw tantrums and expose herself as the god awful specimen raised by the late Senator John McCain, something she will never let anyone forget. Little does McCain know she’s telling stories of her family and her upbringing that’s reflective of an ugly truth; obnoxious white privilege. Can you imagine how she treated the hired help her wealthy family undoubtedly had throughout her life? I can, and that image is vomit inducing. Lorraine Hansberry depicted her life in A Raisin in the Sun as the white community; keepers of their white traditions and all white neighborhood. Today, and in this case, McCain, you know, John McCain’s daughter, wants to keep her grip on guns despite their disproportionate impact on minorities and large support for more sensible gun laws. This angry blowhard and female counterpart to Alex Jones is beyond the pale. Can you envision Whoopi Goldberg or any of her other co-hosts emulating her appalling behavior? I doubt the same angry, insufferable bratty behavior would be tolerated by ABC executives or viewers. And yet, her behavior is. Why? A combination of white and rich privilege, oh and she’s John McCain’s daughter.

Not to compare Soledad O’Brien with Meghan Kim Jong-Un McCain, however during her time hosting Starting Point on CNN she was a very tough, even snarky and an in your face kind of host. She lost that gig. The difference is uncomfortably clear: white woman can get away with blatant boorish, bratty and entitled behavior while black woman can’t. Black women are expected to walk on eggshells while white women can proudly and comfortably express themselves—good or bad—in American society. Black women, and men, who show strength and confidence are perceived as aggressive, angry, cocky and not keeping themselves within the boundaries drawn up by American culture. Symbolically, we’re still drinking from separate water fountains, we just can’t speak this ugly truth to power without repercussion.

If moderator Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar could speak freely without losing their jobs or face the inevitable backlash that would accompany their truth, McCain would probably feel their wrath like slaves felt their masters whip. And, we see these examples play out all the time these days thanks to technology. McCain, John McCain’s daughter, is no different than Permit Patty, BBQ Becky or Pool Patrol Paula. Sitting high on their entitled white women throne demanding passage of their will simply because they’re white. Thankfully America is also full of white women, and men, who recognize this trait and fight alongside minorities to bring about change. I’m talking about those who continue to benefit from this social disease. Regrettably, McCain has swallowed her entire family’s legacy, diluting all traces of any other McCain that have walked this earth. It’s shameful. But this is the monster they created and that the world—or at least The View audience—must endure.

And, her permanent scowl speaks volumes too, and it’s screaming: I’m better than you. I know more than anyone. I’m the smartest person in the room and no one can tell me anything because I know it all, see it all and have it all. And yet, she remains high on her throne thanks to the network, ABC, who pays her handsomely to project all the seven deadly sins the bible warns of: Lust; her intense desire to be right. Gluttony; one AK 47 just isn’t enough. Greed; for all the attention and air in the room. Laziness; pretends to know so much despite evidence to the contrary. Wrath; her angry scowl says it all. Envy; of her father’s legacy. Pride; her haughtiness is always on display as she occupies the corner of the table opposite Whoopi chomping at the bit to strut like a proud all-knowing naked peacock, unaware that it lost its tail and feathers a long time ago.

The nasty, and I don’t mean the Janet Jackson kind, McCain is a tyrant and ABC is the creator of this white privileged monster we’re seeing on daytime TV. The late Toni Morrison once said, “There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” How America will overcome the symbolism of white privilege McCain embodies is a cultural battle still being fought. And although culture is the most difficult thing to change, time never stops, and neither will the fight for a more just and equal world that has no tolerance for the likes of Meghan McCain, better known as John McCain’s daughter. Occupying a powerful seat on The View must come with certain responsibilities external of ratings, especially when it impacts our larger culture.

 

If True, Jussie Smollett Only Proves The Thirst Is Real

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

I have to admit, when news broke of the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett, I had to Google the name first. I haven’t seen the popular show Empire; however, I am familiar with the series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong. Mainly because I love reading about Taraji P. Henson and her character Cookie that has taken a life of its own. Now I know Smollett plays Cookie’s middle son Jamal, who is gay.  Here’s my other confession; I was suspicious from the start. Organic skepticism aside, the story just didn’t sound believable to me considering time and setting. It sounded like a lie. Not a white, black, blue or pink lie but a big fat lie like the ones our dear leader Donald Trump buoys on to con the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump sniffed it out of Smollett’s lie hole like a terrier after a rat, automatically prompting him to chime in on the controversy. It’s true folks, the 45th president of the United States is not just the best liar on earth; Smollett proves he’s also the best lie magnet…allegedly.

Each day, following the alleged homophobic and racist attack and the outpouring of support from celebrities and politicians, my skepticism grew, along with many others who voiced their opinions on social media. The incident reported by Smollett even birthed a new media campaign addressing the real issues facing the LGBTQ community. The NowThis video, (It’s been taken down) supporting Jussie and condemning the homophobic attack is unfortunately relevant in today’s society, with or without Smollett making up a hate crime. And, if it’s proven to be a hoax concocted by Smollett to remain relevant as an Empire character or gay black hero among people of color and the gay community, he’s done irreversible harm to the larger struggle for human rights. Smollett, chasing the predictable outcome lure that promises fame, more fortune, more likes and followers, more time under the glare of flashing lights, red carpet events and awards shows, is crashing like a shooting star. And, Smollett is a star, don’t you know. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and now he’s paying a heavy price for his Hollywood moment. It’s hard to comprehend but Smollett should only remind us that Hollywood is a hoax, too.  And, despite how tantalizing it is to use this cheap trick to further or discredit the arguments around the many social movements of our time, Smollett’s alleged behavior has nothing to do with US but everything to do with HIM. He’s the product of our new digital world…the era of social media and a real thirst or desperation for attention; good or bad. They say the thirst is real. Well, Smollett proves he’s not just thirsty; he’s parched. The man needs a Big Gulp and a dose of reality, not our sympathy.

A lot of people are disappointed and point to Black History Month as a symbol of the alleged incident being a deeper pain, like a gut punch to the black community. Others have maintained their support for the actor and raise the other real issue of a fractured relationship between Chicago police and the community they serve.  All of these are valid points and worthy of deeper analysis. However, in legal terms and in the court of public opinion; it’s like coming to court with dirty hands or committing a wrong to shine light on what’s right. It doesn’t work. It’s clear; Smollett’s alleged hoax carries real consequences. And if his aim was to sip from the “Thirst Cup,” he’s finding out the hard way that bad behavior still comes with punishment, despite what Trump is doing. We’ve been here before with the likes of Smollett. Milli Vanilli blamed it on the rain. What will Smollett blame this nonsense on? Although dated, the wisdom here is still to Be Like Mike … not like Trump.

U.S. Resistance Returning Nazi Looted Art Resurrects Old Wounds

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

In a crowded media world the topic of Nazi looted art has taken comfort on the back burner of the national debate circuit. But things are changing and the push to return art plundered by the Nazis is gaining momentum and more of the world’s attention.

A ruling in July by U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, DC sided with Jewish heirs of the Welfenschatz art collection looted by Nazis in 1935. The ruling follows Germany’s attempts to dismiss the case claiming, among other things, immunity from suit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, (FSIA). Nonetheless, the district court rejected Germany’s arguments and denied their motion to dismiss the case.

And, hard to believe, Donald J. Trump played a small role in the push to bring justice to remaining Holocaust survivors. In the gloom of his support for American Nazis who marched in the Charlottesville rally, the president signed the Just Act into law in May of this year; about nine months after calling anti-Semitic, white separatists chanting “Jews will not replace us,” very fine people.The Just Act is another statute requiring the State Department to report on the progress of European efforts to return artworks stolen nearly 70 years ago.

Still, this question lingers: is the U.S. doing enough to return its own Nazi-looted art kept in high brow institutions like The Metropolitan Museum of Art? No, says Raymond J. Dowd, who serves on the Board of Governors of the National Arts Club and the Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association. Sighting a 2014 report by the World’s Jewish Restitution Organization, (WJRO) Dowd says, “The United States is not in the group of countries that are doing the right thing.” He says despite established laws laying out the process and groundwork of returning art forcibly taken from Jews, even deeming the taking a form of genocide, only a small fraction of stolen art has been returned to its rightful owners.

Dowd, who lectures on legal and ethical matters related to Nazi art looting, represented the heirs of Fritz Grumbaum, a renowned art collector who died at the Dachau concentration camp in 1941.

“It’s still our public policy in the United States that this property should go back to the people from whom it was stolen. The Holocaust Victims Redress Act of 1998, Congress reaffirmed that.” So why did the U.S. end up with so much Nazi looted art in our museums? Dowd says, “We have to take a hard look at American museums and our cultural traditions to understand why.” He says it started with J.P. Morgan who, for tax purposes, refused to move his large European art collection to put in U.S. museums. Being one of the wealthiest men in America, Congress obliged and enacted the Payne-Aldrich Tarrif Act of 1909. “And that Act added imports of original artworks from Europe that were more than 20 years old to the duty free list. So, that paved the way for the creation of some of our greatest museums.” Dowd says even Andrew Mellon legally challenged his tax bill by pointing to the vast art collection he donated to the National Gallery as reason to reduce his tax obligation.

“Mr. Mellon’s victory is enshrined in today’s tax code that says you get a fair market value deduction for a work of art regardless of what you paid for it. The significance over most of the 20th century is that if you’re wealthy you could avoid capital gains tax by donating to a museum and thus shelter all of your income from taxation.”

Dowd says it’s an ethical and social choice being made to help rich Americans shelter their incomes in museums. And although it led to America acquiring extraordinary art collections, it’s an unjust system. “When we think about tax fairness, people who give to museums are not giving to others in our community; they’re not paying for schools or housing or roads and most of the things that other people in the middle class are paying for.”

The tax loophole may be legal but it becomes problematic when stolen art, which doesn’t get properly scrutinized, is donated. “Particularly when we see that today in America there are more museums than there are Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.” Despite early declarations of nations not taking part in stolen art transactions, Holocaust survivors and their heirs are still searching for their plundered art, many of which are hanging in American museums.

According to Art Law Gallery an estimated 300,000 Nazi looted artworks are still missing today.

 

NBC Today: Megyn Kelly And The Awakening Of America

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

“Another one bites the dust,” as the saying goes and NBC Today host Megyn Kelly just bit a mouthful of it. Her comments dismissing the racist undertones of wearing blackface was just too much for her new NBC family to take, leading to her show “Megyn Kelly Today” being cancelled. This isn’t Kelly’s first time dancing with racist based controversy though. Kelly’s attitude, hostile political and social views she hotly defended during her time at Fox News has always been transparent to those it was aimed at; minorities. It’s always been hard for Kelly to see this demographic from her white privilege perch. She proudly chastised those she disagreed with politically and socially—regularly—on Fox News Channel alongside fellow haters; Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Carlson Tucker. America, including NBC, know who Megyn Kelly is; a staunch conservative with audacious white supremacist leaning views.

Kelly, on her all knowing perch, claimed Santa Clause and even Jesus Christ from the Middle East are white, and going even further by making the distinction that, “some people want Santa Clause to be black but he’s just not, OK kids,” she says looking straight into the camera as if sending comfort to all the frightened white children in America concerned a black Santa could come down their chimney on Christmas. Kelly publicly shamed Jane Fonda after an uncomfortable appearance on her show about plastic surgery by reaching so far back to her “Hanoi Jane” days to clap back at her for taking issue with her aggressive questions. It was, simply put; mean, petty and highly unprofessional. Kelly got to enjoy her privilege wholeheartedly in this gross display of bad behavior. NBC didn’t bad an eye. Can you imagine if Tamron Hall did that? And remember feisty Soledad O’Brien? She lost her CNN show real quick the minute she got comfortable in her power. The difference in how one is treated or “handled” is clear and has been since America’s birth. Kelly also validated hateful conspiracy theorist Alex Jones by giving him a comfy seat on her perch despite the outcry from his victims, particularly the grieving parents of the Sandy Hook massacre. Her unapologetic mean spirited conduct is used to gain the upper hand in ratings despite the damaging effects her rhetoric has on the collective culture. This is what white privilege looks and feels like.

“But was it racist?” Kelly asked feigning ignorance about Real House Wives of New York’s Luann de Lesseps wearing blackface with her Dianna Ross costume during the segment that got her show canceled. Yes, it was racist Megyn. Exactly as Roland Martin pointed out to you here in this clip. Nevertheless, the birth of blackface is merely a node on America’s black body dehumanizing highway. I’m always led back to one of the most prolific orator of our times, James Baldwin, when it comes to race relations in America. You see Megyn, Baldwin left America for France with only $40 in his pocket because as he puts it, “…nothing worse could happen to me there that hadn’t already happened to me here.” He was talking about social terror. The social terror he endured from his own country by people just like you who don’t care to see the racism and inequality dividing and defining our country … because it benefits you. Wearing blackface is stoking the same social terrors Baldwin talked about. And that’s exactly what you’ve done for years.

Kelly benefits from the social institutions that still keep blacks and other minorities subservient to whites. History, including NBC’s selection of “Fox News Kelly” over their own internal employee, Hall,  supports this assertion. And Kelly has defended this privilege all while blaming black victims of police brutality like Philando Castile and Michael Brown of their own murders. NBC knew this when they chose her over Hall. It’s difficult to have it both ways peacock; hiring a person who clearly embraces hostile social views dipped in intolerance, and then feigning shock when the person performs accordingly. It’s like buying a pet snake and expecting it not to bite you because you feed it.

Powerful institutions like NBC have a fine line to walk when it comes to these hotly debated and sensitive national issues. When it comes to Megyn Kelly, the network brought fire and water to the larger debate on race relations; they added fire when they hired Kelly and are using water to try and save face today. One can only hope that the network heeds the words from one of its own employees, NABJ President, Sarah Glover in her statement addressing the matter, “Megyn Kelly’s flip comments on blackface were inexcusable. It is imperative that media organizations work to maintain the trust of audiences. The media industry has the power to inform, and an awesome responsibility to dispel ignorance and not encourage it.” How the media embraces this awesome responsibility as we progress into an uncertain future with a degenerate leader at the helm will be determined by their stakeholders. Let’s hope they care enough about advancing the idealism of America and our collective humanity Today.

Melania Trump: When Your Frock Serves The White Power Agenda

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Make no mistake, though not your typical FLOTUS, Melania Trump is making blaring and uncomfortable statements with her wardrobe. Through her frocks she’s letting us all know who she is, what she values and supports; white supremacy and intolerance. And this tea is being served on the world’s stage.

Her “I Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket wasn’t even subliminal. It was a blaring truth about her husband’s humanity, something she wholeheartedly aligns with just like birtherism; the conspiracy theory surrounding Barack Obama’s birth certificate. And, standing in staunch support of him when he called for the Central Park Five’s execution; minority men later cleared of raping a white woman in 1989. Her latest outfit “oops, I did it again” moment was another attempt to send a powerful message. This time, the memo went out to the world from the belly of humanity; Africa. “Melanie,” as her husband refers to her when his Twitter fingers get tired, dressed like the Nazi in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Seriously. 

As a nation beholden to improving humanity we must put aside the easy mockery of this ridiculous outdated frock disguised as style and dig deeper into the dangerous dog whistle it’s blowing. Keep in mind, the first lady’s solo visit comes on the heels of an international campaign to perpetuate the myth of “white genocide” in South Africa. According to Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC) the misleading outcry from South Africa’s alt-right is reaching its intended purpose; fanning the flames of racism. And Donald Trump is making matters even worse when he takes to social media, irresponsibly feeding the myth by instructing his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo to look into “the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.” SPLC’s Justin Ward writes, “Collaborations between the racist “alt-right” and their South African counterparts have ramped up.” Whether the aloof and out of touch first lady’s visit confirms this or not, her attire and attempt to impersonate a racist colonizer only feeds this narrative. And it’s a bold move from the Trump crime family.

“He broke every rule, every traditional concept with extraordinary success. In a civilization based upon reason and knowledge, he introduced absurdity and unreality, and cultivated insanity among the masses as a dedicated scientist would a bacteria growth,” wrote Chandler Brossard in The Insane World of Adolf Hitler.

History is repeated itself right in front of our eyes. But we’re too mesmerized and hypnotized, leading hyper-connected fast paced lives to work together to save the world from Trump and his ilk. Trump should scare the hell out of us like Freddy Kruger in a corn field but we’re too numb or afraid to fight back hard like former Attorney General Eric Holder recently suggested, “When they go low, we kick ‘em”.  If We The People don’t stand up and fight to take back our country, our indifference and disconnection to our sacred belief of being keepers of one another and mother earth, allows “Melanie” to use her frocks as alt-right dog whistles. Similar to the boldface and unapologetic lying, tax cheating from Trump and his staff, and the “OK” finger sign some in his circle are using, including Zina Bash during Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing, to openly express white power unity. The end game is to take us back to a time when America was great for whites only.

Now, they’ve taken this messaging to the global market place. It came beautifully wrapped too. Melania Trump dressed like a colonial era figure, posing like the rich entitled white woman she is, while being courted by Africans on safari. Images are powerful. They convey emotions and capture moments in time that highlight our humanity and the world we live in. The first lady’s Nazi like outfit did just that.

That’s where you can go with the colonizer getup.

These are frightening times … and it’s not even Halloween yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brett Kavanaugh: America’s Privileged Good Ol’ Boy Demands His Due; A Supreme Court Seat!

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

One did it as their civic duty, the other as their defense against a terrible sex crime. And GOP Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee want us to pretend we didn’t see the blaring truth during the hearing; that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a rotten person. One who led a life currently catching up to him at the peak of what should be the greatest honor of his professional life. If karma could be picked out of a crowd, it would look like the sniffling, bombastic image of a lying man we all saw following the testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing him of attempted rape when they were both teenagers 36 years ago.

Ford’s testimony was not just credible, it was impactful. And that impact is still rippling across America, encouraging many to speak their own truth about sexual assault. The angry senators not courageous enough to treat Ford equally and respectfully, in step with the social movements of our times, are doing more damage to our country and culture in their sunset years that may take another civil war to settle. It’ll be a fight they won’t be around for, and with their wealth, ensure their sons and daughters won’t have to fight either. The spectacle surrounding the Kavanaugh hearing is yet another reminder that the most out of touch Americans, remain the most powerful, making culture shaking political moves that largely impact a demographic on shaky grounds; the average American forced to live (and give) on a minimum wage not one of these power wielding old white men could, or have ever been forced to survive on.

We the people have gone from movement to movement to bring about change; positive change.  And this moment being led by women and supportive men is no different. Unfortunately, some who claim to be leaders for their people are instead the barriers of our inevitable social justice evolution taking root. In other words, a gang of old white rich men are forcing their will upon us like Kavanaugh allegedly did to Ford.

“I remember their laughter … I was underneath one of them while the two laughed,” Dr. Ford testified, adding, “Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life.” And yet, despite her powerful testimony, GOP Senators saw fit to throw a fit to shield their good ol’ boy, “Bart.” And Donald Trump, aka “Cult 45” boarding Air Force One yesterday with what looks like toilet paper on his shoes kept his special kind of crazy exactly as is; going from being sympathetic to Ford, and quickly turning to feed his cult members a basket of undignified mockery of an alleged sex assault victim at one of his strange rally’s. I can only hope the toilet paper on his shoes is God’s way of telling the world; don’t worry, I got this.

But are we really in good hands?  The Senate held a procedural vote on Judge Kavanaugh today. The angry, dismissive old man gang is moving ahead despite the lies Kavanaugh told under oath. They’re defending his temperament, his disrespect and blatant partisanship by rewarding him for his good ol’ boy loyalty with a Supreme Court seat. It’s clear they need his vote to protect their larger agenda and grip on power. Today they voted 51 to 49 to move the procedural vote to a final one. If confirmed, angry “Bart” could be cloaked and seated by next week.