Loretta E. Lynch Becomes 83rd USAG, Making American History!

Loretta_E_Lynch, 83rd US Attorney General (April 27, 2015)-1It’s official. Swearing-in has been completed and today, April 27, 2015, another important note in American history has been made. Loretta Elizabeth Lynch is now the new U.S. Attorney General. Lunch is the 83rd person to hold the post and more significantly is the first Black woman to hold the presidential cabinet-level office. Lynch succeeds Eric H. Holder, the 82nd U.S. Attorney General who was the first Black man to have held the office (February 2009 to April 27, 2015).

Washington, D.C. – at the Justice Department, Monday, April 27, 2015: U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden (L) swears in Loretta E. Lynch (R) as Attorney General as her husband Stephen Hargrove (2R) and father Lorenzo Lynch (2L) look on. Lynch becomes the 83rd Attorney General, replacing Eric H. Holder. (Photo, credit by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Washington, D.C. – at the Justice Department, Monday, April 27, 2015:
U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden (L) swears in Loretta E. Lynch (R) as Attorney General as her husband Stephen Hargrove (2R) and father Lorenzo Lynch (2L) look on. Lynch becomes the 83rd Attorney General, replacing Eric H. Holder. (Photo, credit by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Thank you Eric for your outstanding patriotic service to country!
Congratulations and all my best to you, Loretta!

Keepin’ It...REAL!

President Obama, Our Flag and Nelson Mandela

U.S. Flag at half-staff in Remembrance of Nelson MandelaIt helps to know the history of your country, the rules and etiquette of your nation’s flag and the authority your nation’s leader has regarding the nation’s flag.
If you haven’t already, keep reading the internet web and/or listening to the news and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. There you’ll see, read and/or hear trending stories of people and pundits making a fuss over President Barack Obama’s order to lower our nation’s flag to half-staff in memory of former South African president Nelson Mandela who passed away Thursday, December 5,Barack Obama 2013. Click Nelson Mandela: A Timeline to read my post and get a quick view of his life. On that date, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation ordering our flags to be lowered to half-staff until sunset Monday, December 9, 2013. Click Presidential Proclamation – Death of Nelson Mandela to read the proclamation. There is one particular story trending where a sheriff in South Carolina is defying the president’s flags at half-staff order in his department. Read that story here. NOTE: There is no legal penalty for defying the presidential order.

Some people are saying that lowering our flag for foreign leaders is not customary – which would be true to some extent if American history of the past forty-eight years didn’t suggest otherwise. Others are saying that since Mandela was not an American citizen then President Obama is/was wrong to order that the flag of the United States be lowered in his honor. And, as has so often been the case where half-staff-flags2Barack Obama is concerned, there are those people who are jumping on the ever-moving and ever-growing Obama-hate bandwagon to add their own senseless criticism of our president against something which they know little to nothing about. All of these people apparently refuse to check facts or do any research. As usual, I’m here to set the record straight and help quell the senseless argument(s) on this non-issue!
Here are the facts:

  1. By law, the President of the United States has the authority to order the U.S. flag flown at half-staff upon the death of a foreign dignitary. Click to read the U.S. Code regarding the Flag of the United States.
  2. The rare or customary practice (these terms are debatable so take your pick) – if we are to judge American history on this issue, was most notably first put into place by:
    • President Lyndon B. Johnson – upon the death of England’s former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965 
      followed by
    • President Ronald Reagan – upon the death of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981
    • President Bill Clinton – upon the deaths of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and of Jordan’s King Hussein bin Talal in 1999
    • President George W. Bush – upon the death of Pope Paul II in 2005.

    Keep in mind that by the United States lowering its national flag for our friendly yet deceased foreign dignitaries in these situations, we show Nelson Mandela 1918-2013solidarity and respect as a nation to our allies. President Obama is/was legally and morally correct in his action in giving the order to have our nation’s flags lowered to half-staff in memory and respect of the late Nelson Mandela.

    Now, how do I know all of this? Simple. Not only did I live in all of those moments just mentioned, I also spent twenty years in the Navy and had lots of burial detail duty. I recall quite a bit about flag etiquette. I also did my homework and rechecked my dates to make sure my memory of these facts was accurate. I encourage each of you to do the same.
    ** And now, this quick semi-related “NTK” (nice-to-know) info **
    Perhaps you’ve heard the terms half-staff and half-mast used interchangeably and wondered which term was correct.
    Here’s all you need to know:
    In American English, a flag flown halfway up its flagpole as a symbol of mourning is at half-staff  while a flag flown halfway up a ship’s mast is to signal mourning or distress and is referred to as being at half-mast.. Outside North America, half-staff is not a widely used term Flag at half-mast on ship inportand half-mast is used in reference to half-raised flags both on land and at sea. The term half-mast is also preferred in Canada for both uses, though half-staff appears more frequently there than it does outside North America.
    Reference: My personal U.S. Navy experience – supported by Grammarist.com
    Now you know!

    Keepin’ It…REAL!

LGBT Pride Month: What It Means to Me As A Veteran

Almost two weeks ago, on May 31, 2013, an important event took place in ourPresident Barack Obama, soldiers, LGBTQ flag nation’s capital. Unfortunately, certain news media outlets either didn’t cover the story or it was quickly glossed over.  So I’ll mention it here. President Barack Obama, in a Presidential Proclamation, named June 2013 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. You can read the president’s proclamation here.

In that same week, fellow blogger, nudist and friend Roger Poladopoulos, knowing I’d served a full career in the Navy and am a supporter of many LGBT issues and causes, asked me to write an article for his then-blog, A Guy Without Boxers (now ReNude Pride), sharing my thoughts on what LGBT Pride Month means to me as a veteran. I was more than happy and honored to do that for it gives me an opportunity to give a retired veteran’s view since the lifting of the ban against LGBT/GLBT people serving in America’s armed forces.
Here’s the article.

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The death of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)Since President Barack Obama did away with the highly ineffective policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) almost two years ago, LGBT Pride Month has had – and it continues to have, more of a significant meaning to me as a veteran. I served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, joining at the tail-end of heavy U.S. NCIS (United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (formerly NIS)) witch-hunts and screenings designed to detect and eradicate any Sailor or Marine thought or suspected to be gay or bisexual. Such actions were not only being conducted in the Navy and Marine Corps but in all of America’s armed forces!

United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (seal)Over the span of my career, up to the point after the DADT policy was established (under President Clinton in late 1993), and training implemented at the naval command bases and ships where I was stationed, I have witnessed several loyal, honest and dedicated men and women get discharged or forced out of the Navy and Marines for being gay or suspected of being gay or bisexual. Many other gay and bisexual men and women who were still serving decided not to reenlist due to the stresses of having to live undercover or “on the low” because of their sexuality. I was a telecommunications specialist in the Navy. Often my job meant being privy to the knowledge of some of those Sailors or Marines being discharged from military service due to homosexuality. It always broke my heart to see the names of people I knew, some who wereus-military-seals1 friends or acquaintances, being kicked out and being made to start their lives over simply because of found or suspected homosexuality. I always counted myself as being one of the fortunate ones whom some of those fine men and women – my brothers and sisters in uniform, considered to be a trusted friend and confidant.

There is an adage that says, “If one is chained, then all are chained; if one isn’t free, then no one is free.(or words to that effect). I’d like to think that whenever one of the world’s greatest armed forces allows for bigotry and hatred to function within its leadership and ranks, that military entity DoD_Pride_Month_2013_postercannot be an effective defender of a nation or its people, let alone the world. President Harry S Truman must have realized this when he ordered the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces in July 1948.

With gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women now free to serve openly in America’s military, the chains that once bound its potential for growth have been severed. This means that except for those few dissenters who protest about having to serve alongside known gays and bisexuals, overall EVERY man and woman, regardless of their sexual orientation, can now serve their country with much fuller distinction, individual potential, honor and pride; pride not just in the respective branch of service in which that person serves but pride as in being recognized, respected and accepted for being a complete individual who wears the military uniform!

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Where Are Our Priorities?

President Obama speaking at Newtown CT memorial service (16DEC2012)“There is no racism in America.”
“American is a compassionate nation.”
REALLY? Yes and No. Check our domestic AND international history!
“Americans can lay aside bigotry and politics in the wake of a national tragedy.”
 REALLY? Again, it depends!
“Americans respects any U.S. president who takes charge in a national crisis or tragedy.”
 REALLY? There are still many Americans who certainly don’t respect THIS President…a BLACK man named Barack Obama!

Where the hell are our priorities if we can tweet (and most likely Facebook post) bigoted, racist slurs and disrespectful comments because some damn football game was preempted to cover a memorial of the loss of innocent lives – a loss that could have happened anywhere – and in fact, HAS happen in other parts of this country? Do we actually need another event like September 11, 2001 (aka 9/11) to bring the nation closer together?

Last evening (December 16, 2012), in Newton, Connecticut, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, addressed those attending the memorial service for the lives lost at the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre there last week. The NBC television network felt it necessary to preempt its San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots football game to cover the memorial service. Viewers were advised accordingly.  But… as often is the stereotype, some football die-hards didn’t like it and not only expressed on Twitter their displeasure of the preemption but also their racist feelings about the President.  This mess was started by Bradley Patterson, a University of North Alabama Lions football player who first tweeted to a racist slur comment to NBC. Story here:

According to a tweet last night by UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder, Patterson is no longer on the team. The tweet was confirmed by a university official.  Unfortunately, the racist tweets didn’t end there. Others had to jump on this band wagon of hate and do the same! Read the story here.

Granted, perhaps for some the timing of the memorial service was awkward. So fuckin’ what! Most caring, sensitive people in America felt or could identify with the loss of life in Newtown, Conn. which had occurred a mere few days earlier.  I’m sure that in this case, they didn’t mind too much NBC’s preempting the game to cover the memorial service, if not also the leader of our country being there – center point – to express the heartfelt sentiments many of us felt to the families and friends who loss so much last week.  Certainly the families and friends who lost their loved ones in these places in the U.S. and who lost loved ones over the years in shootings not related to schools in particular could relate to the loss felt in Newtown, Conn. and probably didn’t mind the game preemption.  The Connecticut massacre incident last week was indeed a national tragedy! But…back to the tweets.

First, let’s remember one thing:  NBC preempted ONLY a football game!  A football game! Anyone who was that interested in the game could have followed the results on the internet or on Twitter. Perhaps had someone told that to Bradley Patterson he might still be a member of UNA’s football team!

Second, what the fuck is wrong with some people? I started reading the tweets in that story until I could stomach no more. The first several tweets following Patterson’s were laced with the racist slur “nigger” towards Barack Obama.  Later in this story followed other disrespectful and moronic comments from others who disliked the football game preemption by NBC.  As a Black man, I cannot help but doubt seriously that had a White man been standing at the memorial service during the preempting of some “valued” football game, there would have been little to no racist slurs tweeted; perhaps maybe comments against the person based on political views but not racist slurs. I say this because before Barack Obama, Blacks had always been used to seeing a White man as President on TV.  Some Blacks may have been upset that some favorite television show was preempted. Well, I’ve never said nor have I ever heard a Black person throw any racist slur against any president on TV who was White.

Finally, LET’S GET REAL: I’ve often heard people say that it is “always BLACK people who play or pull the “race card”. I say, many of those people are so very wrong with that statement!  All one has to do is look through American history on through to today and he or she will discover to their disbelief and likely ignorance that it is usually – if not almost ALWAYS – more White people (but thankfully and fairly, not all) who tend to play, pull and even throw the damn “race card” on the table first! For me to elaborate of the “race card” issue would require me writing an entirely different blog post. I’m not ready to go there just yet, but rest assure, at some point, I will!

In the meantime, some people need to get their priorities in order and just grow the fuck up!

Keepin It…REAL!