Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?

Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Mr. Obama’s warmongering is a negation of who I am, one who is steeped in the social morality,

social justice, and ethics of Martin King, and the defiant black universal manhood of Malcolm X. If

I settled for Mr. Obama’s fourth war, I could not be me in my sense of integrity and self-respect.



Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?

Mr. Obama as Captain of the Titanic

By Rudolph Lewis


It hurts to witness your pain.   I have always been cynical about Obama, and I never expected anything different.  But for you and others these recent revelations must be traumatic. . . . I think we made him captain of the Titanic.—Anonymous

My pain is no greater in extent than any other caring soul interested in the welfare of human beings on the planet, especially those of the colored variety so sorely oppressed by African depopulation and exploitation. There have indeed been those more insightful than I, as can be verified by reading articles on Obama written in 2008. There are records that clearly point out who Obama was/is, that he was in the political tradition of Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton. But as afar as the flesh and blood of the matter many of us overlooked or turned away with rose-colored glasses. But even with all that insight or bright-colored oversight, I do not think any black folk who voted for Obama expected he’d keep a fearful respectful distance and take us into a fourth war.

Though I tend not to be cynical, I too had my suspicions, as can be verified by a piece published by Black Agenda Report and ChickenBones: A Journal, namely, “Hunger for a Black President.” A few may also remember my call for a black independent party and realizing that was a present practical impossibility I recommended a black boycott of the polls. I am on record countering Amiri Baraka’s attack on the “black left,” especially Black Agenda Report, in his vigorous support of Obama: “The Parade of Anti Obama Rascals” and “Act Like We Know.”

Though I did not care for his elitist campaign tone, I yet appreciate where Baraka was coming from and allow now that he may have had his eyes wide open. My views were striking a brick wall of impossibility. So I made a turn-around with open eyes and with the hope that Mr. Obama might not be as worst as the alternative. And so I went along and voted for Mr. Obama and have gone along in his presidency and made justifications for his milksop and half-stepping domestic policies as mere pragmatic politics and his war against the Afghanis and Pakistanis, though hurtful (even noting the first death by a drone he shot into Pakistan) I merely covered my nose from the stench..

November 2010 the domestic situation rose to a near boil. So I began to heat up as well to Mr. Obama’s lack of a principled stance against those who would make war against ordinary Americans, e.g., black working middle classes (their unions and pensions and unemployment benefits), the aged (their food and social security and health care needs), students (rising costs and threats to eliminating needed loans), and the black poor (heightened street searches and murderous police repression).

And now in 2011 even before we get to spring flowers and the songs of birds, Mr. Obama has instigated a war against Libya and Muammar Gaddafi. Moving needed resources from domestic needs to an unnecessary foreign war. That broke the camel’s back, so much so that I could not remain silent and sanguine. So I abandoned my stillness and patience and picked up my pen to express my dissatisfaction and outrage to state outright that the man now lacks any of the principles he so forthrightly and courageous spoke against, e.g., making of war against weaker nations. This new startling contrast between candidate Obama and President Obama is indeed unsettling. My response is not one of mere unthinking emotion of one who has no political, ethical insight.

Mr. Obama’s warmongering is a negation of who I am, one who is steeped in the social morality, social justice, and ethics of Martin King, and the defiant black universal manhood of Malcolm X. If I settled for Mr. Obama’s fourth war, I could not be me in my sense of integrity and self-respect. That is, I would have to negate my being in the world. For the matter of life and death has come home, not merely the death of Libyans and American soldiers, but a mortal threat to my very soul.

I am not one of those naive black church ladies who voted for Mr. Obama out of simple racial pride to create another “Negro first.”  I ended that phase of my life in the mid-70s. I was not a Jesse Jackson presidential supporter. We have had black mayors, black representatives, black secretaries of state and a black associate justice that have been utterly disappointing. I have been sickened by the nigger game of tokens in high places and “gotten negroes” who would sell their mamas for artificial comforts. My objections are far more philosophical and ethical than those who may suffer now because Mr. and Mrs. Obama have stained racial pride and appreciation.

It’s not that we made or forced Mr. Obama to be captain of the Titanic. And it’s not that he did not know that what before him lay a sinking ship. He chose to take on the task of making it a more perfect ship. And we seconded his willingness to be champion in the nation’s hour of distress.  That the ship is sinking is not our grievance, rather the Captain is causing the ship to sink at a greater rate and not doing the things to save those who can be saved. And rather than taking care of his shipmates sinking, he had chosen rather to devote his energies to sinking out of revenge other ships.

At this hour, my backbone is stiffened by that defiant folklore hero Shine, one who was able to recognize conmen and vigorously refuse a pig in a poke.

Shine and the Titanic


                      Excerpt by Professor Arturo


Shine said: “You can giggle from the weed; you can laugh from the coke

But gitcha booty in the water and cutchoo a stroke

You can have all yo’ money, yo’ friends and yo’ foes

You can finance yo’ wars and yo’ G.I. Joes

You gots mo’ money than a human had oughta

so gitcha butt out cheer in this freezin’-cold water

You rich and you greedy—ain’t never been broke

so gitcha butt in the water and cutchoo a stroke

You can call on the Mounties and the CIA

but they gon’ git they dry-y-y-y-y-y behinds wet today!

Sorry, Mr. Banker; I don’t need Jah-pain

‘cause I’ll be sittin’ wit ma baby justa listenin’ to Trane

I’ma swim to New Awlins for some panné meat

gon’ do the Mississippi Mambo down on Claiborne Street

gon’ wear orange and gold and purple and greens

-go runnin’ wit the Injuns—eat all the red beans

You might like CHAKA. You might like Rufus

Even Leon Spinks know you lyin’ through yo’ toofus…”

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OK, Rudy . . . I have a question for you. 🙂 At the time of the election, Obama was the best choice. McCain is a ticking bomb. If you know anyone who has PTSD, you can easily see the signs in McCain. I was actually hoping during the debates that he was pushed harder than he was. You could see him tensing up, etc. . . . McCain would have had us in deeper doo doo than we are now. What were your expectations of anyone who had been elected? Remember, I’m living in AZ now and I know how the national media has misrepresented some of the things that have happened here in the last year.—Linda Threadgill

I did not vote for McCain. I have no defense for McCain. I have no ball capable of seeing the future. I am no doctor. . . . Well, you forgot to put Hillary into the equation. . . . But all of that aside, one has to speak the truth of the now.—Rudy

My question is still the same. Hilary was out of the picture. As you mentioned there is no crystal ball. No one knew what was going to happen. We still don’t. We had 2 choices. We would have been worse off with McCain. Also unless people are privy to all info regarding Libya we don’ t know if correct decisions are being made or not.

I was not pro Obama, but realized he was the lesser of the 2 evils.—Linda Threadgill

Maybe you are right about the two evils. But it is rather difficult to differentiate between a little evil and a lot of evil when killing begins, when bombs begin to fall, when large nations begin to invade small, weaker nations. I’ll allow you are right, Obama was the better choice at the time of the election. I too voted for him. Now that’s all under the bridge and downstream. My subject is now. What is Obama doing now? According to the Times and other corporate media Obama has “boots on the ground” plotting and arming insurrectionists to kill Gaddafi and his sons to bring down the Libya government. I submit what we have before us is international immorality and lawlessness, a violation of UNSC Resolution 1973. Are we to use this kind of behavior as a community standard? Will these be the ethics we teach our children? My concern first and foremost is the soul of Black America.—Rudy

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Poll: 27% of Blacks Lose Faith in Obama Over Libyan Attack—by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University—According to a recent survey conducted by,  27.3% of African American respondents claim that President Obama’s most recent actions in Libya have reduced their faith in his leadership ability.  Roughly 20.8% of respondents claim that the Libyan intervention has increased their faith in Obama’s leadership.  Equally interesting is that over half (51.8%) of all black respondents to the survey said that the Libyan intervention has no impact at all on their perception of President Obama’s ability to lead. . . . Also, since more African Americans have lost faith in Obama as a result of the Libyan intervention (vs. the number that have increased their faith), it appears that the Libyan situation may result in a net loss of black support for the president.—BoyceWatkins

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US NATO bombings kill civilians in Tripoli—By Bill Van Auken—1 April 2011—US-NATO air strikes on Tripoli and other Libyan cities have claimed growing numbers of civilian victims, according to the Vatican’s top representative in the Libyan capital. The report represents a severe blow to the attempts by Washington and its NATO allies, backed by the overwhelming majority of the Western media, to dismiss the Libyan government’s claims of civilian casualties as “propaganda” and portray the continuous air raids as a “humanitarian” defense of the population.

“The so-called humanitarian air raids have taken the lives of dozens of civilians in various areas of Tripoli,” Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli told Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news service.“Of particular concern, in the district of Buslim, a building collapsed because of the bombing killing 40 people,” he said “Yesterday I reported that the bombing had affected some hospitals, albeit indirectly. I can now confirm that one of these hospitals is in Misda,” a town about 110 miles south of Tripoli. The Euronews television channel reported that a bombing raid on an ammunition dump in Misda had caused damage to the hospital and nearby homes, wounding at least 13 civilians.— WSWS

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Africans Beware the Saviors of Libya  / US Senate discusses sending troops to Libya

  Libya, Africa, and the Victorians (Manheru)

Rehabilitating U.S. Military Intervention in the Age of Obama

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Sewing the Mustard Seed

The Struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Uganda

By Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

The autobiography of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Museveni led a guerilla war to liberate his country from tyranny and, as President of Uganda, has established a reputation as one of the most widely respected African leaders of his generation. This is an excellent book by an African leader who is not well known in the West. This man managed to turn his country around after he was almost completely destroyed by two of the worst dictators the world has seen namely Idi Amin and Milton Obote. Early years – (1944-1958); youth and politics – (1958-1966); Dar Es Salaam University – (1967-1970); a brief historical review; fighting Amin (1-4) – (1972-1979); the Uganda National Liberation Front – (1979-1980); fighting Obote (1-2) – (1981-1983).

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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House of Nehesi Publishers

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 1 April 2011




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Related files: Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?  / Experience, Wisdom, and a National Mystic  / Obama, Political Cynicism, and the Tea Party  Obama’s Mojo Ain’t Working Like It Used To  

Oedipus and Ordinariness: A Meditation on Barack Obama  / Speech on Libya Situation  Gaddafi: A System of His Own   / Libya Getting it Right: Pan-African   / Libya Geopolitics   Qaddafi Apologizes for Arab Slave Trade  

 Straying from official orthodoxy    Libya Needs Dialogue: Yoweri Museveni  White Cloud Storms Africa  Obama Bombs Africa: Targets African Unity  The Wealth of the West  Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination 

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