Saturday, February 16, 2013



Cornel West: race baiting, self-described “activist” & “intellectual”
wants President Obama charged as a “war criminal”

(Saturday February 16, 2013.  Princeton, NJ) Outside the insular confines of academia’s ivory towers and the even smaller elite cadre of “African- American Studies” professors, self-described Black activists, intellectuals, and fans of the Tavis Smiley radio program, the overwhelming majority of Americans are unacquainted with Cornel West and well they should be.  Currently Dr. West is a professor at Princeton University, a rather prolific author of semi-original works dealing with race, gender, and class in America and in particular voices, in his arrogant, racially skewed, opinion, his belief that the United States is a "racist patriarchal" nation where white supremacy continues to define everyday life. 

West is a member of that slender slice of African-American, affirmative action benefiting pseudo-philosophers more rabblerouser than thinker; more charlatan than legitimate scholarly author, more radical activist than dedicated advocate for any cause.  His main cause apparently is to advance his own skewed perspectives on racial and societal matters while enriching himself by hawking his books and charging exorbitantly high speaking fees to “preach” his message and “educate young brothers and sisters” about the “true nature” of our culture as he myopically views it from his lofty perch. 

One might assume that a man who proclaims to be an advocate for racial equality and especially dedicated to the plight of Black America, Cornel West would be a strong supporter of this country’s first African-American president but you would be mistaken.  West has never been a true backer of President Obama and in print and in speech he derisively refers to our president as “Brother Barack”.  It seems that West has a litany of complaints about Barack Obama and his latest accusations reveal just how deep his animosity for Obama is.

Prior to the second Inauguration of President Obama Dr. West assailed him for planning to use Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible to swear the oath of office.  West contended that Obama didn’t “deserve to use” Dr. King’s Bible because Obama’s experience as a Black man in America was uniquely different from that of the rest of Black American men.  This is an odd allegation considering the fact that Cornel west has about as much in common with the rest of Black American men as he does with white Jewish women on Long Island.  West is a product of the affirmative action programs that provided him entry into Harvard for his undergraduate degree and ultimately onto the faculty at that prestigious Ivy league school. 

West is on the faculty here at Princeton University since his dismissal from Harvard in 2002 for his “sub-par performance, failure to conduct any original research or produce peer reviewed writing”, all of which are essentials for faculty members at such a university.  Then Harvard president, Larry Summers, dismissed Dr. West also citing the fact that West spend an inappropriate amount of time away from his duties at Harvard to promote and enrich himself by hawking his books and collecting large speaking fees. 

Earlier this week West made the news with his wild accusations that President Obama should be tried as a “war criminal” because of the number of deaths related to drone strikes in countries the Administration has targeted known terrorists and their encampments.   The United States military goes through great lengths to avoid injuring or killing innocent people.  “Collateral damage” is the undignified euphemism to describe such unintentional deaths and each one is a tragedy.    Professor West may serve his students and followers better if he were to focus on the reasons President Obama in his role as Commander-in-Chief approves of the tactical and strategic utilization of the unmanned aircraft called drones.  Instead, the rabble-rousing, flame throwing “intellectual” has chosen the lowest common denominator in a very complex equation to attack the President, an African-American man who does not seem to meet the strict criteria of what he considers an African-American man imposed by Professor West. Even the most cursory review of West’s writings, lectures and speeches show that “Blackness” is a favorite topic for the esteemed Professor.

While Dr. West and his opinions occupy a far outpost of legitimacy, he is not totally alone on the fringe.  There are other Ivy League schooled and employed African-American “intellectuals”, “activists”, and “thinkers”, who have made their reputations and careers by being “professional Black” provocateurs.  Characters like Michael Eric Dyson and Henry Louis Gates have at one time or another headed a university “Black Studies” department or, using the more recent politically correct vernacular, “African-American Studies” programs.  These were positions created to fulfill the mandates of affirmative action as well as by a strain of academic liberals with some oddly acquired sense of “White Guilt”.  That slavery is an indelible stain on the soul of this great nation is undeniable; that 400 years of slavery in America created a legacy that contributes to this day to some of the very real, serious dysfunctions in the African-American community writ large from coast to coast.  Despite profound endemic problems in “Black America” all the African-American Studies professors in the country have done nothing of substance to enact change, to bring their high powered intellects and influence into the communities that suffer most.  No, they spend their careers in the scholarly assembly of lists of all the problems, all the ills, all the injustice, poverty, despair, violence, unemployment, under-education, and helplessness in those communities.  Perhaps they are unable to offer suggestions and recommendations and actually work towards improving the lot of their “brothers and sisters” but they are so far removed physically, mentally, geographically, financially and in every other way from their beleaguered “community” that they would not know where to start.

President Obama has done more to elevate the spirits if not the prospects of a generation of African-Americans simply by having been twice elected to the highest office in the land than Dr. West has or will ever accomplish.  The ascendancy of Barack Obama is precisely what makes West fume.  After all he and his ilk have made their careers exploiting the conditions and circumstances in the African-American population and much of the wind has been blocked from his sails with an African-American in the White House, twice elected by significant if not impressive majorities.  Black America alone did not place Obama in the White House, a broad coalition across all demographics did.

If anyone should be held accountable for “war crimes” it should be Dick Cheney and his imbecile side kick George W. Bush.  It is their legacy of an ill-conceived military doctrine of preemptive war and the host of extra-constitutional policies and tactics that should be investigated; the current President inherited that host of toxic weeds overgrowing our historic military philosophy.  But that is beside the point here; Dr. West and his ignorant, hostile rhetoric and thinking is the point.

The election of Barack Obama did not automatically eradicate the problems in Black America; it did not bring them more jobs, better schools, health care, or housing.  It did however bring Black America and all Americans the very real positive message that anything is possible.  In a nation as young and dynamic as ours, despite the anger, rancor and bitter partisanship that has come to define the political process and holds the legislative process hostage, our first Black President represents truths far beyond the details of his own unique journey.  One might think that African-American intellectuals, activists, professors, and philosophers all across America would celebrate his presidency but, if they listen to Dr. West they would be sadly mistaken and that, in and of itself is sad.  Dr. West should be ashamed of himself but men like him lack the capability to be shamed.



Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 13, 2013



Senator Marco Rubio and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi: And we
wonder why nothing gets accomplished in Washington DC?

(Wednesday February 13, 2013.  Washington, DC)  After President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress and millions of American television viewer, both the Democratic and Republican Party’s were able to put before the American public prime examples of their respective Party’s gross incompetence and sub-par intellects.  In what has become a tradition a specially selected member of the opposition Party, the Party not holding the White House, is given the opportunity to telecast their “response” to the President’s address.  Since the Democratic president has been in Office now for five years, the Republicans have had five chances to showcase one of their “best and brightest”, one of their internally designated “rising stars”.  In the last four years we have had to painfully watch as the Republican designated to perform this politically important task have not been able to make the grade.  Actually, the last four Republicans each bombed in their own unique moronic ways and clearly Florida Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, honored that expanding tradition.  The young freshman Senator likely removed himself from the ranks of his Party’s up and comers by being down and out before a large national audience.

The GOP chose the boyish looking Senator for obvious and crass political reasons.  Having lost the last election by huge margins in the Latino and African-American segments of the populace the telegenic Cuban American has the superficial cosmetic appeal his Party feels they need to reach voters not inclined to vote Republican.  This could have worked to their advantage in a very small way but instead it backfired miserably as Rubio delivered an incoherent, convoluted, contradictory speech in a clumsy, fumbling manner.  Even if one had watched Rubio with the sound turned off it was painfully obvious he was so ill-suited to the moment and task that he resembled a little boy wearing his daddy’s business cloths as a costume. 

If one had been listening to the speech itself it was delivered in short bursts of sentences that he seemed unable to read properly from the Teleprompter; either he does not read aloud very well or the speech was presented to him without punctuation.  He was in obvious distress as his audible inhalations and exhalations sounded alternatively like a vacuum cleaner being rapidly switched on and off.  He demonstrated an odd nervous tic occasionally swiping at his temples perhaps as a way to staunch the perspiration flow or perhaps not.  It was difficult to determine.

 Much is being made about Rubio’s mid-speech awkward stretch for a small bottle of drinking water to add some much needed moisture to his dry mouth but that was not really that big of a deal.  By that time he had already amply shown the American public that he is just another empty suit; another idiot politico uninterested in the nuts and bolts of legislating but rather in Washington DC to pursue his own self-serving ambitions.  Yes, Marco had a featured role at the Republican National Convention last year in Tampa.  He delivered to that moribund crowd a speech that was essentially nothing more than an autobiography of the life of Rubio up to that point.  But, he is young, good looking and Latino, three big assets in the eyes of the powers that be in the GOP.  Had they kept him under wraps for a few more years, at least until he matured a bit, gained some experience, and became more polished as a politician he may have been a viable candidate in 2020.  Instead they have used him to put a different public face before the voters who perceive the republicans as the Party of old, rich white, conservative men.  Based on his abysmal performance last night they seriously miscalculated their hand. 

So desperate are the Republicans to find an identity that will have a broader appeal beyond their traditional base that they will use anyone as a dupe.  In his naivety Rubio likely thought his selection to make the GOP response was an honor bestowed to him because of his political viability as a candidate who could attract a more diverse segment of the voting population , i,e,: African-Americans & Latinos,  to support Republican candidates and causes.  How sadly mistaken he was.  Perhaps if he had come across as an intellectual with feasible ideas and a willingness to compromise with the President and the Democrats on some of the most serious issues of the day, those issues that resonant most strongly with the vast majority of Americans, he may have furthered his and his Party’s caused.  Instead he embarrassed himself.  After giving the American people such a rotten first impression it may be difficult for the ambitious youngster to recover.

From the other side of the aisle the viewing public who stayed tuned after the President’s address had concluded were treated to an interview starring the House Minority Leader, the addled California Democrat Nancy Pelosi.  On the cable network MSNBC old Nancy was interviewed by on air personality Ed Schultz.  Ed lobbed soft ball questions at the aging Congresswomen and had to suffer through her disjointed, nonsensical replies.  Nancy is either unable to speak as the result of the 20 or 30 facelifts she’s had or her Botox and red Bull addictions have left her permanently impaired.  She seemed to not be aware of her surroundings and glanced at loud mouthed Ed like he was a leper. 

Pelosi is at the other end of the spectrum from Rubio.  A long time Congresswoman from a very secure California district she has been in the House since Rubio was basically still in diapers.  She is the consummate political hack from a family of political operators.  She was the first female Speaker of the House before the GOP regained control of that useless corrupt body and installed the vapid orange tinted man, John Boehner for Ohio.  He’s been even less effective as Speaker than was the geriatric Pelosi. Pelosi is usually so befuddled that she no longer even makes an effort to appear as if she understands questions being asked of her.  She answers virtually every question with a rictus of a smile and some boilerplate blather that makes sense ot no one aside from her.

Perhaps Ms. Pelosi had a solid excuse for her incoherence, confusion, and florid dementia; she is, after all well over 70 years old and partially mummified.  It was difficult to determine if the old gal had intentionally applied her own lipstick or if a drunk had been hired to accomplish that task.  In any case she looked like a cross between Mommy Dearest and a wrinkled crack whore.  Her performance was a strong argument for term limits as well as some basic competency testing for all members of Congress who’ve held office for more than 10 years.  Thankfully MSNBC kept her air time limited and spent the balance of their post-address broadcast allowing the blithering, spitting, buffoon Chris Matthews spout out his usual voluminous partisan tripe.

After watching Rubio and Pelosi it is easy to see why the Congress has its lowest approval level in history and why they are unable to accomplish anything of substance or value for the American people.  These people and their colleagues have no agenda other than their own.  Incumbency afforded them a host of benefits that make the prospect of a rival unseating them come election time a very difficult prospect.  Such job security breeds complacency, arrogance, and effectively disconnects them from the very real pressing needs of their constituents.  Committee assignment often vault obscure back benchers into positions of Chairmanships that they have no right having.  They rely on their bloated staffs to do all the research into every issue and the Congress members themselves serve as pre-programmed mouthpieces reminiscent of the greatest mouthpiece of modern politics, the Alzheimic Ronald Reagan. 


There was a time not very long ago in our history when the Senate and House were occupied by men (primarily) who were politicians, yes, but functioned in their roles ever cognizant of the responsibilities that came with the office. They not only felt obligated to serving their country and constituents but were more than willing to put partisan differences aside and work together in common purpose for the great good.  That era of Congressmen were of such a higher quality than the self-serving, money hungry, power obsessed, imbeciles that walk the corridors of the Capitol today.  Perhaps our elected officials are but a reflection of the electors, of the voting public.  As our national character has changed so dramatically in the last 30 or 40 years and our society and culture have learched through these very same changes,  so too has the quality of those we elect.  They collectively lack the integrity and intelligence, the shared sense of responsibility and purpose, and for doing the duties that would fulfill their oath of office.  There are no grand thinkers like Fulbright, Dirkson, and Moynihan.  There are no expects in special fields sitting on committees that deal with what they no best like Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar, Les Aspin, and Gerald Ford.  No, there are no statesmen or individuals of character and dedication.

All we have today are corrupt hacks, flacks, and men and women bought and paid for by the entire array of lobbyists, special interest groups, big corporations, political action committees (PAC) and any other organization or individual who can financially help them stay in office.  The members of both chambers of Congress are there to be reelected again and again.  That is their only purpose and that is why we have the ilk of people we do occupying The Capitol.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013


 Lightning strikes St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican in Rome Italy
Monday night after Pope Benedict XVI announced resignation.

(Tuesday, February 12, 2013.  Vatican City, Rome, Italy)  For the first time in six centuries a reigning Pope will resign from that exalted position as the leader of the one billion members of the Roman Catholic Church.  Pope Benedict XVI announced his plan to resign in Latin here yesterday while speaking at a routine meeting of cardinals.  In his brief unemotional statement he informed the cardinals that his resignation would be effective on February 28 of this year. The 85 year old Pontiff cited health issues as his reason for abdicating his seat as “the direct descendant of St. Peter”.  While the Pope does have a cardiac pacemaker implanted in his chest he has maintained a relatively public life and travel schedule although he has, at times shown signs of fatigue.  Vatican officials reacted with surprise although there has been some indication that Benedict XVI may have made his decision as long as a year ago.  Upon his resignation a meeting of the College of Cardinals will convene to select a successor. 

In a Church that historically has held its secrets close and its cherished rituals virtually unchanged throughout the ages, the process of selecting a new Pope is the most highly guarded secretive and private Vatican function.  Steeped in tradition and shrouded in mystery the machinations of the College of Cardinals have never been fully revealed. In keeping with the centuries old tradition, once a new Pope is selected white smoke is released from a fireplace in the Vatican signaling the end of the process.

To many Catholics and non-Catholics the heavy cloak of ceremony, rites and rituals is an arcane, antiquated weight on the Church that has been rocked by sordid scandals over the last two decades.  Aside from the scandals many Catholics feel that the Church has simply not “kept up with the times” and has lost relevance in their lives.  The Catholic Church has long been on the “wrong” side of many social and cultural issues and seems to see no reasons to change.  American Catholics in particular have drifted away or simply left the Church in large numbers since The Vatican II Council of 1966.  Much of what came out of Vatican II was intended to “modernize” the Church or at least make it less restrictive on certain matters such as fasting before receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion and conducting Mass in English as opposed to Latin.

The Roman Catholic Church has made minor changes that amount to little more than cosmetics; the bedrock tenets and teachings of the Catholic Catechism remains unyielding over the issues that matter most to American Catholics such as the matter of priests maintaining the Vow of Celibacy and the ban on women priests.  The Vow of Celibacy has been most under fire in light of the revelations of widespread sexual abuse by priests on young boys.  Thousands of sexual abuse victims, now adults, have come forward in recent years, formed support groups and sought legal recourse through the Courts.  The Church has made huge financial settlements to some of the victims; these settlements have left many parishes and dioceses bankrupt.  These scandals have taken on an even more sinister aspect as it has come to light that many senior priests and parish leaders, high ranking Monsignors, Bishops and Cardinals were aware that clergy members under their domain had repeatedly over the course of many years sexually abused children.  These Monsignors, Bishops and Cardinals often covered up for and went as far as actively protecting some predator priests. 


Being a Catholic, an actually full time practicing Catholic has never been easy.  After all, for centuries Catholicism was considered an unholy unwanted cult forcing the early followers to worship in secret.  It took many years and much blood before Catholicism could come out of the shadows and catacombs of Europe and flourish in the light of day.  But as interesting as that dark era was for Catholics it is ancient history.  It has been centuries since Catholics were persecuted and fed to Roman lions yet even here in the United States Catholicism remained poorly understood and not “acceptable” well into the 20th century.  With the election of the first Catholic president of the United States, John F. Kennedy in 1960, Catholicism began to gain wider understanding and acceptance.  It certainly was a strong and growing denomination up until that point.  Kennedy addressed his religion in a speech while campaigning for office in which he clearly stated that he would not be “beholden” to the Pope or his own personal religious beliefs.  It seems that the concept of the Pope has always been a troubling component of the RC Church.  No other denomination, sect or congregation has a similarly singular “Holy Authority” or a counterpart to the Roman Catholic Pope.  Many non-Catholics and arguably a near majority of self-described Catholics find the office of Pope to be a Byzantine remnant that has no place in modern times.  There is also no other religion that has a parcel of land that has “near country sovereignty” as does the RC Church and The Vatican.  They even have a non-voting seat at the United Nations General Assembly; they certainly have come a long, long way since their days of accused heathens and blasphemers.

It still remains challenging to be a practicing Catholic.  No one is being flogged or fed to wild animals but there exists a level of commitment, discipline, sacrifice, and unquestioning adherence to the tenets and teachings of the Church that many find too onerous to abide by. 


Many who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church or who have congenital Catholicism feel estranged from the Church of their youth.  Some have had traumatic experiences in Confession or counseling with old-time hard core priests refusing to grant Absolution for certain “sins”.  There are countless tales of Catholics being “excommunicated” by some priest in the dark confines of the old Confessionals.  The Church still teaches that divorce is a sin, pre and extra marital sex are sins, the use of birth control (aside from the “Rhythm Method”) is sinful as are abortion, adultery, and an impressive list of other behaviors, behaviors that other religious denominations do not ostracize their members for.

As American Catholics became increasingly restive with the Church they were raised in, the phenomenon of “Cafeteria Catholics’ emerged in the late 1980’s.  These are Catholics who pick and choose what doctrine they will and will not adhere to making their choices cafeteria style.  Some attend Mass and receive the Sacrament of Communion despite being sexual active, divorced, or not fully observant of all the Catholic Church expects of her flock.  Most members of the RC clergy and certainly the hierarchy all the way to The Vatican do not accept such cafeteria style worshippers as true Catholics.  This has kept ever more Catholics away from their Church and been a real hindrance to the American flock growing.

The largest growth of Catholics is taking place primarily in Third World countries.  In Central and South America, The Philippines and some African nations Catholicism is on the rise despite the hardships that come along with it.  In these very same countries prenatal and postnatal care is often nonexistent, infant mortality rates are alarmingly high yet the RC Church’s absolute ban on birth control prohibits millions of women from exercising control over their bodies and the destiny of their families.  Every time the World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to fund family planning initiatives in these emerging Catholic countries, The Vatican adamantly opposes their efforts and threatens to sever funding of other services to help meet the needs of those people.  It is this level of hypocrisy that has driven so many American Catholics out of the Church of their faith.  It is difficult to justify the Vatican’s dictates and reality.


To say the Roman Catholic Church is at a crossroads is to set a new standard for understatement.  The Church has been so damaged by the sex scandals, the cover ups, and its failure to give any ground and adopt a more progressive dogma that it is shrinking fast in America.  There are fewer parochial schools because so many dioceses have been bankrupted by the enormous – and just – financial settlements made to the surviving victims of predatory priests.  The priesthood itself is severely diminished as a vocation and the shortage of priests, brothers and nuns reflects the church’s loss of stature and arguably relevance in the eyes of so many who would like to call themselves Catholics but in good conscience they cannot.

Now with the resignation of Benedict XVI looming large on the horizon once again the argument about the role of The Pope is seeing renewed life.  The Papacy as it has stood for the last thousand years is ostensibly unchanged.  There is a strong current of thought among some catholic theologians and secular scholars that the Office of the Pope has outlived its utility and supposed divinity.  This is of course open to debate as well it should be.  Unfortunately the Catholic Church is not receptive to debate and it will not tolerate a debate of such profound significance. 

No doubt there will be a new Pope appointed probably by Easter Sunday and it is not reasonable to think that the new pope will be any different from the last one or any of the other 220 plus predecessors.  That is a sad statement and a sad state of affairs from an institution that once had a real place in the lives of American Catholics.



Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2013 © All Rights Reserved