A King For Obama

Dr. Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King

Just rambling off at the keyboard…

Almost two years ago, I sat down to place finger to key to talk about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would stand against President Obama’s policies. King was an advocate for the plight of the poor and talked about why America had no moral footing to position itself as the police of another country without addressing the immoral treatment of blacks in America.

On Wednesday, Obama will stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial to give a speech about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Obama said that King “captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation…” with his words on that historic day. King ad-libbed the portion of his text where he talked about dreaming of his kids being judged for the content of their character, and not the color of their skin.

It is one of, if not, the most famous speeches in American history.

But going back to my original editorial about my assertion of King’s implied posthumous criticism of Obama; it will be tough to listen to Obama’s words about King on Wednesday without thinking of King’s radical nature.

As we sit, Obama is grappling, or maybe easing, into a decision about striking Syria, or Bashar al-Assad, for using nerve gas to exterminate his own people. Whether the government or rebels used the gas is still up for minor debate, but the U.S. has buttressed its position as the world’s morality police by promising to punish al-Assad, Syria’s president, for using chemical weapons.

Outside of that, Obama has failed to address issues of income inequality, Wall Street cronyism and malfeasance, and etc…, but you get the picture. Obama isn’t King and the only thing they share is the same skin color.

To truly honor the legacy of the march and Dr. King, Obama should announce new policy plans to truly address economic injustice and ways to combat high unemployment amongst black folk.

Dr. King’s so-called dream involved a radical makeover of how America treated and viewed black Americans. That dream didn’t involve a black man acting as a placeholder for the nation’s highest office, that’s not the manifestation of King’s vision of America.

But without knowing Dr. King, my thoughts about him and his view of Obama are strictly opinions and wishes.

Still, it would be nice to know that Obama truly believed in King’s legacy. If so, we may have real economic and racial progress in this nation.

-JH

Listen to the latest Jason Henry Project for news on Syria, Egypt, an interview with University of St. Thomas law professor Mark Osler about the DOJ’s new drug policy, and much more!

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The Jason Henry Project Podcast

Check out this week’s edition of the Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Eric Holder’s big speech, my interview with University of St. Thomas law professor Mark Olser about the DOJ’s shift in drug policy, Egypt, Syria, and much more!

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Meet The Democratic Lawmakers Who Voted Against SYG Special Session

ImageThe Dream Defenders camped out at the Florida Capitol for days and weeks in an effort to get Florida Governor Rick Scott to call a special session on the state’s most controversial law, “Stand Your Ground.”

The Florida Secretary of State’s office revealed that seven Democrats decided to vote against calling a special session to discuss SYG.

The law has been in the news everyday since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. Some, including the Dream Defenders, believe that SYG is one of the reasons why Zimmerman was able to walk out of the courtroom a free man.

In regards to politics, the Florida Democratic Party led the charge against the law. Democratic Representative Alan Williams has filed legislation to repeal SYG. In addition, Representative Bruce Antone has filed a bill that will amend some of the contentious language embedded in the law.

But just as most political votes go, there will be some who choose to go against the grain. Those lawmakers will face the ire of some angry leftists because of their decision, but that’s why being a politician is so…rewarding.

Read the list, digest it, and react appropriately.

The Infamous Seven

Rep. Mike Clelland, Lake Mary

Rep. Dwight Dudley, St. Petersburg

Rep. Katie Edwards, Plantation

Rep. Mark Danish, Tampa

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda, Tallahassee

Rep. Linda Stewart, Orlando

Rep. Carl Zimmerman, Palm Harbor

In addition to the seven, there were four Democratic lawmakers who thought it not robbery to sit this one out. Those four lawmakers are below.

The Four Non-Voters

Rep. Ricardo Rangel, Kissimmee

Sen. Joe Abruzzo, Wellington

Sen. Darren Soto, Orlando

Rep. Daphne Campbell, Miami

Representative Clelland, the political giant killer, stated that he would rather see an organic repeal of the law instead of a special session. Clelland also added that he’s unsure as to where he stands on the law.

Without calling a special session to address the law, what does this mean for the future of SYG?

-JH

Check out the latest Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Egypt, Eric Holder, Allie Braswell, and much more.

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Listen to the latest Jason Henry Project podcast!

TJHP logo ROUND TWO - 1Evening, gents and ladies.

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading my version of the written word, and if so, I thank you. In addition to writing, I also have an affinity for talking.

My podcast deals with the world’s, and Central Florida’s, most pressing issues. Take a ride with me as I talk Egypt, the DEA, the NSA, Eric Holder and the DOJ, and much more.

Have a seat, shake the crumbs out of that shower cap, and listen to my latest offering. You won’t regret it.

-JH

Check out the latest Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Egypt, Eric Holder, Allie Braswell, and much more.

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How The DEA May Have Lied To Arrest You

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

In a news story first featured via Reuters, it was revealed that the National Security Agency funnels private information about American citizens to the Drug Enforcement Administration that may be used to instigate criminal inquiries.

Once the DEA receives the information, they are instructed to create a faux investigative trail in order to cover up where, and how, the information was first gained. In essence, their initial investigation may be a tangled web of lies.

While the individual perpetrating the crime may be wrong, how he or she is arrested is wrong as well.

The article also states that this program may be a direct violation of a individual’s “Constitutional right to a fair trial.”

So your friend who was arrested and sent away for “slangin’ cain,” may have been spied upon by the United States government.

Just think about how wide that net must be for the NSA to give personal, and private, information to the DEA so that we can remove drug criminals off the street.

Kind of gives you chills, doesn’t it?

-JH

Check out the latest Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Egypt, the July jobs report, the Dallas Cowboys, and much more.

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Three Cases That Prove That Justice Has a Set of Brown Eyes

Image

Photo courtesy of http://www.salon.com

In the cold aftermath of the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, many who disagreed with the exoneration of Zimmerman found themselves staring sternly at the blindfold wrapped around the eyes of Justitia.

Once again, she failed to protect the life of another young black kid. Americans have always been fed the line that “justice is blind,” but she always seemed to have an affinity for the color brown. Allowing Trayon Martin’s killer to walk free was just affirmation of that opinion.

In Raphael’s portrait of Lady Justice, she’s wielding a sword, holding the scales of justice with her eyes closed. In that depiction, it would seem that justice has her wrath set on some one or some thing. I think I may have an idea of what it may be.

Whether it’s a blindfold or eyes closed, her inability to see is supposed to represent balance and impartiality. For far to many Americans, particularly black Americans, she’s only been partial to three colors: Black, brown, and green. The balance on the scale that she holds isn’t there when it came to sending scores of black men to prison for petty drug crimes.

So that’s why so many black Americans felt the scale tip in their favor yesterday when Attorney General Eric Holder made a monumental announcement.

In a speech to the American Bar Association, Holder gave brief detail to how the United States Justice Department will treat drug offenders. In a three-page memo outlining the sweeping changes, the Justice Department will no longer pursue mandatory minimum sentences based on “drug type and quantity.”

That’s a big friggin’ deal.

For years, black and brown folks have been unnecessarily shipped to prisons for paltry drug crimes. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was supposed to adjust the unfair sentencing practices levied toward African-Americans. Prior to the act, the crack-to-cocaine disparity was 100-1. It is now 18-1, which still represents a level of injustice, but is a decent start toward fairness.

Holder’s announcement doesn’t do much to alter those already sitting in prison for holding a small amount of marijuana, but it does ensure that many of those who will face time in the future will not be subjected to the same unfair treatment of those before them.

Yet with all of the fanfare surrounding Holders speech, his words still confound me. Just a few weeks ago via the Guardian, it was revealed that the Obama administration is fighting to guarantee that those sentenced to harsh prison terms prior to the enactment of the Fair Sentencing Act will serve out their full sentences.

There seems to be no justice in that fight, so why give up on one battle and quietly fight another?

Lastly, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy violated the Fourth Amendment privilege of the city’s minority population. In the broad 195-page ruling, Judge Scheindlin writes that the city’s use of this tactic represents an extensive breach of an individual’s Fourth and 14th Amendment right, which is in direct conflict with the doctrine of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Responding to the judge’s ruling, Bloomberg said that he plans to appeal the ruling and that the city was denied a “fair trial.”

Those three cases, stop-and-frisk, Holder’s big drug announcement, and the DOJ’s decision to fight against the Fair Sentencing Act, shows that justice is only blind for certain individuals. Not only that, her eyes seem to shine to the hue of brown.

It is fantastic news that the United States government’s role in breaking a part the black family will diminish, but it is with great pause that I celebrate this change in direction as I see just how two-faced my government can be.

I just wish that blindfold wasn’t so translucent.

-JH

Check out the latest Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Egypt, the July jobs report, the Dallas Cowboys, and much more.

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Why Are Black Americans Ok With Secret Government Surveillance?

Ever since Edward Snowden decided to leak secret National Security Agency documents to give proof that the government may not be as truthful as they claim, many black Americans have either flipped the page and turned the channel, or decided to cozy up a little more to the federal government.

In a recent poll by the Washington Post, black Americans were the most comfortable with the federal government monitoring e-mail and other online activities. 55 percent said that yes, they should monitor while 44 percent said no.

While this more than interesting dynamic has been opined, documented, and debated; it still baffles me that so many African-Americans are ok with the government intruding upon their privacy.

Back in 1919, a young J. Edgar Hoover planted the seeds for COINTELPRO, a secret Federal Bureau of Investigations program geared toward dismantling domestic political organizations and activists.

The cross-dressing Hoover trained his eyes on Marcus Garvey in 1919, stating in a memo that Garvey was “active among the radical elements in New York City in agitating the negro movement.” Hoover also showed his sweeter side by calling Garvey an “exceptionally fine orator,” but that’s where the pleasantries ceased.

Hoover’s infatuation with Garvey eventually led to Garvey’s imprisonment in Atlanta on a charge of mail fraud. Soon after serving only a portion of his sentence, Garvey was deported to Jamaica.

In addition to Garvey, Hoover and the FBI’s surveillance of “negro political organizations” led to the destruction of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Hampton, Geronimo Pratt, Huey P. Newton, and many others.

For me, it seems that there should be a cracked, if not missing, foundation of trust for the government from black Americans. Some, if not all, of those who are considered heroes to the black community have been taken down by the very entity charged with protecting them.

But what may confound the already gentle situation is President Barack Obama. While campaigning for president, Obama strongly denounced the government’s illegal wiretapping program of Americans and declared “no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens.”

Needless to say, that has become a failed campaign promise. But Obama has positioned himself as a leader limited power. His speeches are filled with rhetoric of protecting the least of us. He promotes policies that will aid the middle class, as well as black Americans, but he is turned back by thick headed Republicans who only care about stopping anything he pushes forward.

Some of that is true; Republicans are hell-bent on emasculating Obama at every turn. I think if Obama gave Republicans everything they asked for, it still wouldn’t be enough.

At any rate, because Obama made a 180 degree turn on domestic security, many black Americans may feel as if Obama is only looking out for their best interest.  Because he sits behind the big desk in the Oval Office of the White House, and because he is America’s first black president, and because he’s given life to the plight of black Americans nationwide, and because he is privy to information that we are not, he must know more than we do.

I’m not disputing that he doesn’t know more than regular Americans, but what I will quarrel with is the notion that he concerned with the well-being of black Americans.

The little bit of history that I mentioned above should be enough to prove that any surveillance program put forth by the federal government should be met with a serious side eye.

Why in the world are we so willing to give up our privacy for access to freedom that many of us feel we don’t have?

For the answer, use history as a compass.

-JH

Check out the latest Jason Henry Project podcast for news and commentary on Egypt, the July jobs report, the Dallas Cowboys, and much more.

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