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Friday, December 23, 2011

Ron  Paul's racism exposed.  The Libertarian views of Ron Paul that were published in his newsletter reveal his views about blacks.  Particularly repugnant were his views about blacks and welfare in the '90s following the Los Angeles rebellion and his assertion that all District of Columbia black males are criminals, or at least prone to be. RGN.  


Ron Paul Dogged by Racism Charges

By: Martin Gould
Ron Paul may be flying high in the Iowa polls, but his newsletters from the early 1990s continue to haunt him.

On Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidate stormed out of an interview with CNN when chief political analyst Gloria Borger pressed him on claims that he made disparaging comments about blacks and Jews, among other incendiary remarks found in the letters.

Though the newsletters were published under several names — including “Ron Paul’s Freedom Report,” “The Ron Paul Political Report,” “The Ron Paul Survival Report” and “The Ron Paul Investment Letter”— the Texas congressman has insisted that he knew nothing about the offensive remarks made in the newsletters.

“I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them,” he said before unclipping his microphone.

Paul did admit to making money from the newsletters that bore his name but he suggested that he didn’t pay any attention to what was written under his name on the newsletter masthead.

“I never read that stuff. I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written, and it’s been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this. CNN does it every single time. When are you going to wear yourself out?” he said.

And when Borger insisted, “These things are pretty incendiary,” Paul belittled their importance, saying: “Only because of people like you.”

The full article:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Labor and Progressives Join Occupy Wall Street

The most important event today is the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  This movement is going to change politics in America.  With the union movement joining this spontaneous movement there is a chance that this will be a counter to the right wing hegemony.  This movement will provide the President with the momentum to become that transformational presidency he promised.  We need to thank the young people for changing the course of this nation. RGN
 Labor and Progressive Groups Join Occupy Wall Street in Solidarity March
By Josh Eidelson, AlterNet
Posted on October 5, 2011, Printed on October 5, 2011

The increasing labor and left support for the Occupy Wall Street movement will be on full display this evening, as members of unions and long-time community groups march from New York City Hall to meet the occupation activists in Zuccotti Park, AKA Liberty Plaza. The march arrives as the two-week-old occupation is capturing national media attention, receiving ugly police pushback, and spawning dozens of actions across the United States.
While union members have been part of Occupy Wall Street from the beginning, the past week has been marked by increasingly broad and public union support. Friday AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka described the action as "a valid tactic," and "being in the streets" as "sometimes the only recourse you have." Sunday the AFL-CIO distributed a statement passed by delegates at its Young Workers Summit declaring solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. Trumka yesterday told Mike Elk of In These Times that the AFL-CIO will vote on an official endorsement today. Occupy Wall Street this week drew the official support of large international unions including the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the United Steel Workers (USW), and the nation's largest public sector union, the American Federation of State County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME).
Meanwhile, several major New York unions and community groups last week announced today's march, which leaves City Hall at 4:30 PM. "In this case," says Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the labor-backed Working Families Party (WFP), "labor is following the youth of America."
Mary Clinton, an Occupy Wall Street activist, led a training on encampment activism at the AFL-CIO's national Young Workers Summit in Minneapolis and proposed the solidarity resolution passed there. Clinton says she was encouraged by the broad support among the summit's 800 participants, and sees supporting Occupy Wall Street as a chance for unions "to participate in a broader struggle which I think will be necessary in order to make the gains we want to see and will benefit their members." Clinton, a former organizing intern with the Writer's Guild of America, is now a graduate student in labor studies at the City University of New York (CUNY). She describes linking arms with Occupy Wall Street and community allies as a better way forward for labor unions. Too many, she argues, approached the New York City budget debate by "trying to cut backdoor deals." "In order to see a budget that doesn't have cuts in social services and lay off teachers," Clinton says, "we need to see a stronger movement," working more closely with other allies.

Friday, September 23, 2011

From TruthDig: "The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace"

This piece by Chris Hedges is an important contribution to our understanding of President Barack Obama.  In his interview with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, many of the President's basic instincts, his fundamental values, are revealed.  Yet, Hedges paints a picture of the President as one who sold out his pastor.  It was Hedges who provided us with Cornel West's demeaning characterization of the President.  Hedges is to be applauded for his principled progressive ideas when it comes to "the system."  On the other hand, it must be recognized that the ideas he promotes, in their unadulterated form, are not compatible with pragmatic politics.  
Obama did not sellout Reverend Wright.  When Fox News went on its campaign to discredit Obama's candidacy, in an endless loop of video clippings,  Fox displayed Wright with his rant to "goddamn America" as Obama's pastor and close confidant.  In response to Fox's determined and racist efforts to derail his candidacy, Obama was so committed to maintaining his relationship with Reverend Wright, he gave what was considered to be a historic speech on race.  In essence, that speech was in defense of Wright, whose relationship he in some ways maintained to be as important as that of his grandmother.   
On Sunday April 28, 2008, I attended Detroit's NAACP Freedom Fund dinner at which Wright was still a hero in the Black community.  Later that week, he appeared on the Bill Moyers show in which Moyers allowed Wright to show is allegiance to America  by presenting the record of his military service and an opportunity to explain to the nation the precepts on black liberation theology.   But then Wright made a mockery of himself at the National Press Club on that following Monday, leaving Obama no choice but to distance himself from Wright.  Obama did not sellout Wright.  Wright's behavior was an embarrassment.  He discredited himself and his theology at that press conference.
What is revealed in this interview is Obama's integrity and commitment to the American people and the black community.  The Hedges, West/Smiley and Wright criticisms of the President have more to do with America's economics and politics than Obama's personal commitment, or lack thereof.  Wright discusses an Obama who did not want to run for the Illinois senate if Carol Mosely Brawn was going to run.  Wright also pointed out the Obama being brought to tears when he came to understand the limitations of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Wright pointed out as well, Obama's commitment to the poor as exemplified by his community organizing to combat poverty in Algelt Housing Projects.  Wright pointed out this essence of Barack Obama, a person of compassion, integrity, and fairness.  
Yet Hedges uses Wright and West criticisms as examples of Obama having "squandered ...[his] soul" through "cowardice and moral bankruptcy."  These personal attacks are disgraceful because they lie about the man.  It was his decency that got him elected.  The attacks ignore the fact that Obama must perform the role of president in a hostile white nationalist America and obstructionist Republican party.  He is not a dictator.  Obama was elected to the "institution of the AMERICAN presidency."   Any major deviation from his "responsibility" as president in protecting "American values" would lead to his being discredited and delegitimized.  As Obama said on the night of his election, he was elected to be the president of "even those people who did not vote for me."   To not recognize that is naive at best or nihilist, at worst.  These attacks make it hard to hard to distinguish which is which.  RGN

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright Recalls Obama’s Fall From Grace 

Barack Obama’s politically expedient decision to betray and abandon his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, exposed his cowardice and moral bankruptcy. In that moment, playing the part of Judas, he surrendered the last shreds of his integrity. He became nothing more than a pawn of power, or as Cornel West says, “a black mascot for Wall Street.” Obama, once the glitter of power fades, will have to grapple with the fact that he was a traitor not only to his pastor, the man who married him and Michelle, who baptized his children and who kept him spiritually and morally grounded, but to himself. Wright retains what is most precious in life and what Obama has squandered—his soul.
The health of a nation is measured by how it treats its prophets. When these prophets are ignored and reviled, when they become figures of ridicule, when they are labeled by the chattering classes and power elite as fools, then there is no check left on moral decay and the degeneration of the state. Wright, who spent 36 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side, since the 2008 presidential campaign has endured slander and calumny and weathered character assassination, misinterpretation and abuse, and yet he doggedly continues Sunday after Sunday to thunder the word of God from pulpits across the country. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fascism's American Expression in Century 21: Tea Party Reveals Itself to the World

Paul Krugman

The Tea Party has revealed itself for the fascist movement that it is.  The NAACP provided ample research that the movement was racist.  Among other things, the Nazis were racists.  But their racism was just one indicator of their backward misanthropic beliefs.  They don't just hate people of color. They don't like people who are not "  just like" them.  They have no humanitarian compassion.  They are selfish. But more importantly, they believe that might is right.  An essential characteristic of white supremacy is its "iron fist" fascist tendencies.  How else could lynching and Jim Crow be explained?  Being intolerant is not limited to the issue of race.  At the CNN-Tea Party debate this past week, the audience cheered at all of the wrong times.  They cheered when Governor Rick Perry defended the 235 executions that have taken place during his tenure as Governor.  Even more, they cheered when Congressman Ron Paul, in response to a question about what should be the fate of a young (white) male in a coma but no health insurance?  Should there not be a safety net, provided by the government?  Should he be just left to die??? Congressman Paul said the young man had made his choice and that the government had no role in providing him support.  To the amazement of host Wolf Blitzer, the cheers from the audience were in enthusiastic support for the notion that he was "free to die!!!"   Columnist Paul Krugman explores the real meaning of Ron Paul's and the Tea Parties' stance on Americans being "Free to Die."   RGN
Free to Die
Back in 1980, just as America was making its political turn to the right, Milton Friedman lent his voice to the change with the famous TV series “Free to Choose.” In episode after episode, the genial economist identified laissez-faire economics with personal choice and empowerment, an upbeat vision that would be echoed and amplified by Ronald Reagan.
But that was then. Today, “free to choose” has become “free to die.”
I’m referring, as you might guess, to what happened during Monday’s G.O.P. presidential debate. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Representative Ron Paul what we should do if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance suddenly found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Mr. Paul replied, “That’s what freedom is all about — taking your own risks.” Mr. Blitzer pressed him again, asking whether “society should just let him die.”
And the crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of “Yeah!”
The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.
Now, there are two things you should know about the Blitzer-Paul exchange. The first is that after the crowd weighed in, Mr. Paul basically tried to evade the question, asserting that warm-hearted doctors and charitable individuals would always make sure that people received the care they needed — or at least they would if they hadn’t been corrupted by the welfare state. Sorry, but that’s a fantasy. People who can’t afford essential medical care often fail to get it, and always have — and sometimes they die as a result.
The second is that very few of those who die from lack of medical care look like Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical individual who could and should have bought insurance. In reality, most uninsured Americans either have low incomes and cannot afford insurance, or are rejected by insurers because they have chronic conditions. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Attacks on Obama are Wrong Headed: Right and Left

The racist Tea Party has been on a constant vicious attack since the summer of 2009 beginning with their town hall attacks on the health care legislation.  Mitch McConnell, following Rush Limbaugh's declaration that he wanted Obama to fail, stated his commitment to make the President a one-term president.  McConnell and his Republican legislators oppose everything Obama proposes for two reasons: 1) he's a Democrat and 2) he's black.  More recently, this chorus has been joined by members of the left.  Unlike the Republicans, the attacks on the left are that the President is not black enough or not committed to helping black people.  This is the position of  Cornel West and Tavis Smiley. Likewise, Clarence Lang, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education  has been very critical of the Obama for not addressing the major economic disparities facing the black community. 

Like his right wing counterparts, Cornel West has called for the President's defeat.  His was a plea for Senator Bernie Sanders to challenge the President in the primary elections would, like Ted Kennedy's challenge of President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 campaign lead to his defeat in the general election.  

In his analysis Jonathan Chait (below) provides an analysis of why the left is wrong and short-sighted in its attack on the President.  What the left does not realize is that the President is up against a racist right wing opposition that is committed to his defeat and secondly he is not a dictator that can command his every policy desire.  Consequently, Chait argues that the highly partisan right and its polar opposite the highly partisan left are both wrong headed in their attacks on the President.  RGN

What the Left Doesn’t Understand About Obama
Published: September 2, 2011

This has been the summer that liberal discontent with Obama has finally crystallized. The frustration has been simmering for a while — through centrist appointments, bank bailouts and the defeat of the public option, to name a few examples. But it has taken the debt-ceiling standoff and the threat of a double-dip recession to create a leftist critique of the president that stuck.

Obama’s image as a weakling and sellout on domestic issues now centers on his alleged resistance, from the very first days of his presidency, to do whatever was necessary to heal the economy. “The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history,” wrote the Emory professor Drew Westen in this newspaper, “was his handling of the stimulus.” Just as the conservative repudiation of George W. Bush boiled down to “he spent too much,” the liberal repudiation of Obama has settled on “he didn’t spend enough.”

There’s truth in that. President Obama underestimated the depth of the crisis in 2009 and left himself with bad options in the event the economy failed to recover as quickly as he hoped. And yet the wave of criticism from the left over the stimulus is fundamentally flawed: it ignores the real choices Obama faced (and the progressive decisions he made) and wishes away any constraints upon his power.

The most common hallmark of the left’s magical thinking is a failure to recognize that Congress is a separate, coequal branch of government consisting of members whose goals may differ from the president’s. Congressional Republicans pursued a strategy of denying Obama support for any major element of his agenda, on the correct assumption that this would make it less popular and help the party win the 2010 elections. Only for roughly four months during Obama’s term did Democrats have the 60 Senate votes they needed to overcome a filibuster. Moreover, Republican opposition has proved immune even to persistent and successful attempts by Obama to mobilize public opinion. Americans overwhelmingly favor deficit reduction that includes both spending and taxes and favor higher taxes on the rich in particular. Obama even made a series of crusading speeches on this theme. The result? Nada.

That kind of analysis, however, just feels wrong to liberals, who remember Bush steamrolling his agenda through Congress with no such complaints about obstructionism. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald recently invoked “the panoply of domestic legislation — including Bush tax cuts, No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Part D prescription drug entitlement — that Bush pushed through Congress in his first term.”

Yes, Bush passed his tax cuts — by using a method called reconciliation, which can avoid a filibuster but can be used only on budget issues. On No Child Left Behind and Medicare, he cut deals expanding government, which the right-wing equivalents of Greenwald denounced as a massive sellout. Bush did have one episode where he tried to force through a major domestic reform against a Senate filibuster: his crusade to privatize Social Security. Just as liberals urge Obama to do today, Bush barnstormed the country, pounding his message and pressuring Democrats, whom he cast as obstructionists. The result? Nada, beyond the collapse of Bush’s popularity.

Perhaps the oddest feature of the liberal indictment of Obama is its conclusion that Obama should have focused all his political capital on economic recovery. “He could likely have passed many small follow-up stimulative laws in 2009,” Jon Walker of the popular blog Firedoglake wrote last month. “Instead, he pivoted away from the economic crisis because he wrongly ignored those who warned the crisis was going to get worse.”

It’s worth recalling that several weeks before Obama proposed an $800 billion stimulus, House Democrats had floated a $500 billion stimulus. (Oddly, this never resulted in liberals portraying Nancy Pelosi as a congenitally timid right-wing enabler.) At the time, Obama’s $800 billion stimulus was seen by Congress, pundits and business leaders — that is to say, just about everybody who mattered — as mind-bogglingly large. News reports invariably described it as “huge,” “massive” or other terms suggesting it was unrealistically large, even kind of pornographic. The favored cliché used to describe the reaction in Congress was “sticker shock.”

Compounding the problem, Obama proposed his stimulus shortly after the Congressional Budget Office predicted deficits topping a trillion dollars. Even before Obama took office, and for months afterward, “everybody who mattered” insisted that the crisis required Obama to scale back the domestic initiatives he campaigned on, especially health care reform, but also cap-and-trade, financial regulation and so on. Colin Powell, a reliable barometer of elite opinion, warned in July of 2009: “I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president — and I’ve talked to some of his people about this — is that you can’t have so many things on the table that you can’t absorb it all. And we can’t pay for it all.”

Rather than deploy every ounce of his leverage to force moderate Republicans, whose votes he needed, to swallow a larger stimulus than they wanted, Obama clearly husbanded some of his political capital. Why? Because in the position of choosing between the agenda he came into office hoping to enact and the short-term imperative of economic rescue, he picked the former. At the time, this was the course liberals wanted and centrists opposed.

The full article

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Michelle Bachmann's Crazy Ideas About Black Farmers

A Short History of Black-Owned Land in America
Michelle Bachmann's Crazy Ideas About Black Farmers
A few months ago I was asked to speak at Georgia State University about Black-owned land issues and the plight of Black farmers. This was a presentation before professors and students in urban Atlanta. I realized as I spoke that my audience was not informed about rural issues and ongoing racism in the deep South. Social change is a painstakingly slow process and when you are in the city it's hard to conceive what happens in rural areas - often isolated rural areas. This is why I was asked to speak, of course, but still it was a revealing experience. They also wanted me to refer to the second phase of the Black farmer lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture.

I began the presentation at Georgia State University with a delineation of historical dates of the rather constrained opportunities for Black land ownership in America. Invariably the policies in America resulted in some kind of betrayal followed by Black resistance. I started with the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. Then Congress creates the Department of Agriculture in 1862. Then also in 1862 was the Homestead Act – here's a description:
Congress passes the Homestead Act to open western lands to independent farmers rather than slave owners. This land was available also for freed slaves but there were few as slavery was still the law of the land. The parcels were 160 acres. Eventually 1.6 million homesteads were granted and 270,000,000 acres of federal land was privatized. It also dispossessed Native Americans of land and wealth. This was land reform largely for whites the likes of which was never offered to freed slaves after the Civil War or at any time in history.
Clearly, the Homestead Act, as well as the creation of the Department of Agriculture, was partly a response by the federal government to the South and its southern plantation owners. The South had successfully seceded from the Union, was engaged in war, and had wanted to extend the slaveocracy to the western territories.

A little known fact is that prior to the south seceding from the Union in the 1860's, in the May 1844 edition of "The Liberator" the renowned abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison called for the north to secede from the government for precisely the opposite reason. The reason being that the Constitution of the United States adopted after the Revolutionary War was "at the expense of the colored population of the country." With the three-fifths clause allowing the enslaved individuals to be counted as three-fifths of a person – albeit a non-voting person - the South controlled Congress and the nation. Garrison said it was time "to set the captive free by the potency of truth."

By January 1865 Congress adopted the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. Also in January1865, while in Savannah after his famous trek through Georgia, General William T. Sherman issues Field Order 15– here's a description:
After meeting with freed slaves in Savannah, Georgia - in what became known as the Savannah Colloquy - General William T. Sherman responded to their pleas for land. In January, he issued his famous Field Order 15, which set aside a huge swath of abandoned land along the Georgia and South Carolina coast for black families to have forty acres plots. He also said that army mules no longer in use would be offered to Black farmers. This is likely where the "Forty Acres and a Mule" legend began. Sherman never stated whether this was to be a permanent or temporary land acquisition.
With hopes being raised by many in the Black community, Sherman's Field Order was ultimately the beginning of betrayal by the federal government on land distribution. Here's more:
• 1865 (March) Congress establishes the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen's Bureau) providing for the allocation of 'unoccupied land' to freedmen (not to exceed 40 acres). Rather than 40 acres as requested, Congress allowed the Freedmen's Bureau to sell only 5 to 10 acre tracts of land to freed slaves.
• 1865 (April 9) Civil War ends.

• 1865 (April 14 ) Republican President Abraham Lincoln assassinated and succeeded by Vice President Andrew Johnson (former U.S. Senator from Tennessee).

• 1865 (May) President Johnson announces his Reconstruction Plan. The plan calls for the Southern States to abolish slavery but does not offer a role for Blacks in Reconstruction. The southern states are to determine the role for Blacks without a federal mandate.

• 1865 (June) Some 40,000 freed slaves were settled on what was referred to as "Sherman's Land" on some 400,000 acres of land in Georgia and South Carolina. Much of this land was for rice cultivation. The Freedmen begin to create their own government; white access to the area was denied; and they begin to cultivate their land.

• 1865 (Summer) President Johnson reverses Sherman's Field Order 15 by ordering that virtually all plantation lands given to freed slaves be returned to the original plantation owners.
The history, of course, moves into the 20th century with the struggles of Jim Crow in the South. The important point to be made, however, is that there has always been resistance and action by the Black community to the constraints on their achieving freedom and justice. By the early 1900's, for example, Blacks owned some 15 million acres of land – this was an enormous achievement.

Fast forward to 1946 when the USDA's Farmers Home Administration was created to provide credit to farmers – it was known as the "lending institution of last resort". But Blacks have rarely been able to access adequate credit from USDA offices across the South. These county offices have invariably been headed by whites that clearly wanted to make sure that the monies were going to the white community and to white farmers. This is the legacy of actions, for example, of white planters in the Mississippi delta who made sure that New Deal agriculture policies of the 1930's, such as the Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA), benefited them and not Black farmers.

Ultimately, in the 1990's, Blacks sued the government and settled what is now the Pigford v Vilsack lawsuit.

A colleague of mine from Tuskegee University once said that the closer you get to farmers the harder it is for policies to be implemented. This is true. The Secretary of Agriculture might give directives from his office in Washington DC; the directives will then be given to the state directors of the USDA; and then the state directors will send policy information to the various counties in the state and this is where the rubber hits the road as it were. This is where the policies should impact farmers and be offered to farmers but it is also where the entrenched social prejudices and cultural alienation are most keenly felt. Black farmers have always received abysmally poor treatment in these county offices and comparatively relatively little capital in loans for their farm operations or farm ownership opportunities have been provided – thus the lawsuit.

Nevertheless, Obama's Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been attempting to change the system starting with civil rights directives in the department when he was first appointed; engaging in a study of civil rights abuses; developing a "strike force" in the South to ensure fair treatment for all in the implementation of farm programs, etc. We are also witnessing some changes at the local level thanks to his initiatives and the result of the Black farmer lawsuit.

Regarding the Pigford lawsuit, Blacks led the way yet again in seeking justice. By the time Vilsack became Obama's Secretary there were lawsuits pending from women, Native American and Latino farmers thanks to the leadership of Black farmers in the rural south who's lawsuit provided opportunities for others who were also being marginalized by USDA offices.

Suffice it to say, Representative Michelle Bachman (R-MN) decries the Black lawsuit against the USDA as reparations. I wish the lawsuit was, in fact, reparations for centuries of abuse of Blacks by white supremacists in America. Alas, it is not. Word has it that Bachman is also enamored about a book by Robert E. Lee that purports the benefits of slavery. Perhaps Bachman should first be a slave and see how she benefits. At the very least, Bachman and her co-hort, Representative Stephen King (R-IA), provide the opportunity for us to share more information about the Pigford lawsuit. (See the October 6, 2010 response "Pigford advocates respond to congressional critics")

Eugene Robinson: The straw poll winner -- Barack Obama

Even though President Obama's approval rating has dropped below 40%, Eugene Robinson believes that with Michelle Bachman winning the Iowa straw poll, saneness in the person of Obama will win out.   Surely, White Christian  Nationalism will not become the ruling politics because it is so extreme.   Recall, Michelle Bachman was among those who opposed raising of the debt ceiling.  Eugene Robinson assures us America is not that crazy.  RGN 
The straw poll winner: Barack Obama
By Eugene Robinson, Published: August 15
AMES, Iowa
Strolling through the pageant of unhealthful food and unsound ideology that is the Iowa straw poll, amid the good-natured Republicans who swept Michele Bachmann to an impressive victory, I couldn’t help but reflect that this quadrennial exercise is one crazy way to pick a major-party candidate for president.
You’ll note that I used the words “Michele Bachmann” and “president” in the same sentence. That someone with views as extreme as Bachmann’s could win — and that Ron Paul, who seems to inhabit his own little reality, could finish second — would seem to rob the straw poll of all but comic value, making it analogous to the opening joke a speaker might tell to warm up a stone-faced audience. But the ritual is serious business, as poor Tim Pawlenty found out. Less than 24 hours after he finished a distant third in the straw poll, “former candidate” became his new honorific.
Long before the results were tallied, it seemed clear that Pawlenty was in trouble. Like the other candidates who participated Saturday, he had a big tent on the grounds of the Iowa State University coliseum where voters could enjoy free food and entertainment. People were happy to line up for the Famous Dave’s barbecue that Pawlenty was serving, but they didn’t stay long — and when they walked away, they weren’t wearing the green Pawlenty T-shirts that signaled support. By mid-afternoon, volunteers were glum.

Lessons from Iowa: White Christian Nationalism the New Face of Fascism

A major force in Republican and conservative politics has been white Christian nationalism.  What's not clearly articulated is that what we call the evangelicals are really white Christian nationalists.   Under the guise of religion, white Christian nationalism is a political force.  Their religion is used to promote white nationalism.   At this point in the winnowing of Republicans presidential candidates, two white evangelicals are in the lead,  Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry.  These candidates are idolized by a large segment of the electorate.  It is not likely to be Bachman, because she has made several flawed assertions.  She is not likely to stand the scrutiny of campaign.    Rick Perry, the Govenor of Texas since Bush's ascendancy to the White House, seems the ideal candidate.  Perry's closest affiliations certainly lump him among some of the nation's foremost white Christian nationalists.  This strain of American politics under girds the promotion of intolerance.   The historic Bob Jones case of racist policies relative interracial dating is one of the best known cases, but Jerry Falwel and the so-called religious right are largely, though not exclusively southern, in its base.  Mix this white religious fervor with an electoral majority is a very dangerous contradiction.    A "rightness of whiteness"   cloaked in the flag and the Bible will be nothing less than American fascism.  Its enemies will be: people of color, the poor, sexual orientations they don't like, women who want the right to choose, and others wanting to protect the democratic rights all.   Knowing the possibility of this outcome, we need to make sure that these forces, including Rick Perry, are defeated in our next election and our future as a diverse democratic America.  The article below by Michelle Goldberg raised the essential question what of "A Christian Plot for Domination?" RGN  
 A Christian Plot for Domination?
Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry aren't just devout—both have deep ties to a fringe fundamentalist movement known as Dominionism, which says Christians should rule the world.
by Michelle Goldberg | August 14, 2011 10:51 PM EDT
With Tim Pawlenty out of the presidential race, it is now fairly clear that the GOP candidate will either be Mitt Romney or someone who makes George W. Bush look like Tom Paine. Of the three most plausible candidates for the Republican nomination, two are deeply associated with a theocratic strain of Christian fundamentalism known as Dominionism. If you want to understand Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, understanding Dominionism isn’t optional. 
Put simply, Dominionism means that Christians have a God-given right to rule all earthly institutions. Originating among some of America’s most radical theocrats, it’s long had an influence on religious-right education and political organizing. But because it seems so outré, getting ordinary people to take it seriously can be difficult. Most writers, myself included, who explore it have been called paranoid. In a contemptuous 2006 First Things review of several books, including Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy, and my own Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, conservative columnist Ross Douthat wrote, “the fear of theocracy has become a defining panic of the Bush era.”
Now, however, we have the most theocratic Republican field in American history, and suddenly, the concept of Dominionism is reaching mainstream audiences. Writing about Bachmann in The New Yorker this month, Ryan Lizza spent several paragraphs explaining how the premise fit into the Minnesota congresswoman’s intellectual and theological development. And a recent Texas Observer cover story on Rick Perry examined his relationship with the New Apostolic Reformation, a Dominionist variant of Pentecostalism that coalesced about a decade ago. “[W]hat makes the New Apostolic Reformation movement so potent is its growing fascination with infiltrating politics and government,” wrote Forrest Wilder. Its members “believe Christians—certain Christians—are destined to not just take ‘dominion’ over government, but stealthily climb to the commanding heights of what they term the ‘Seven Mountains’ of society, including the media and the arts and entertainment world.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

West/Smiley "Refudiated" in Detroit

West & Smiley's  poverty tour hits a bump in Detroit.  Their attacks on the President are rejected.  RGN

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Award winning public television host Tavis Smiley along with former Harvard professor Dr. Cornell West drove their poverty bus tour into Detroit Monday.
The town hall meeting was held in the auditorium at city hall and was packed with people supporting President Obama.
They had heard Smiley and West would be bashing the president for failing to make the plight of the poor an issue.
There was some rowdiness and rudeness that made it tough for Smiley to make some of his points but not enough to disrupt the meeting.
Earlier, Smiley told Action News "this is not an anti-Obama tour." However he also said the debt ceiling deal the President struck with Congress "does not extend unemployment benefits, close corporate loopholes or raise one cent for the poor."
The tour will travel to about two dozen cities.

See the video

Cornel: The President is Dissing Me!

Cornel  West suffers from delusion.  His notion of his self importance is bizarre. It is interesting that Larry Summers informed him that he was an embarrassment to Harvard.  RGN

Cornel West Flunks the President

What’s with the black suit, white shirt, black tie outfit you always wear? Do you have anything else in your closet?
I’ve got four black suits that I circulate, and they are my cemetery clothes — my uniform that keeps me ready for battle.
Your cemetery clothes?
It’s ready to die, brother. If I drop dead, I am coffin-ready. I got my tie, my white shirt, everything. Just fix my Afro nice in the coffin.
So let me ask you: in 2007, you introduced Barack Obama as your “brother, companion and comrade.” But in May, you referred to him as “the black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs” and the “head of the American killing machine.” What in the world happened?
It was a cry from the heart. What happened was that greed at the top has squeezed so much of the juices of the body politic. Poor people and working people have not been a fundamental focus of the Obama administration. That for me is not just a disappointment but a kind of betrayal.
But you have also acknowledged that this is more than just political — you’ve said that after campaigning for him at 65 events, you were miffed that he didn’t return your phone calls or say thank you.
I think he had to keep me at a distance. There’s no doubt that he didn’t want to be identified with a black leftist. But we’re talking about one phone call, man. That’s all. One private phone call.
He was running a successful candidacy for president. He might have been busy.
So many of the pundits assume that it’s just egoism: “Who does Cornel West think he is? The president is busy.” But there’s such a thing as decency in human relations.
O.K., but did you also have to say that Obama “feels most comfortable with upper-middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart”?
It’s in no way an attempt to devalue white or Jewish brothers. It’s an objective fact. In his administration, he’s got a significant number of very smart white brothers and very smart Jewish brothers. You think that’s unimportant?
When Larry Summers was president of Harvard, he told you your rap album was an “embarrassment” to the university, and you quit soon after. He was one of Obama’s first appointments. Did that strike a particular feeling in your heart?
I couldn’t help it. I’m a human being, indeed. Given the disrespect he showed me? Oh, my God. Again, it’s political much more than it’s personal. Summers was in captivity to Wall Street interests. But it’s personal too.
You have 30 seconds of private time with the president — what do you say to him?
I would say: “Look at that bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office and recognize that tears are flowing when you let Geithner and others shape your economic policy, when you refuse to focus on poor and working people or when you drop the drone bombs that kill innocent civilians. Tim Geithner does not represent the legacy of Martin King.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Obama Presidency: Racism Run Amok

It's a Great Time to Be Racist

Racists have officially lost their minds. In recent weeks, the venom spewed at President Barack Obama would leave one to believe that we are in the midst of a racist renaissance. "A dick," "jackass," "tar baby, "your boy" -- you name it and the president has been called it. For some reason, some people are so enraged by how this country is purportedly being run that they cannot separate a real critique of the president's decisions from mean-spirited name-calling related to his race.

Yes, the country that likes to pretend that it is far removed from its racist past has engaged in the verbal equivalent of a throwback jersey. Some people have reached far back into that Reconstruction-era closet, pulled out that dingy jersey adorned with racial slurs, shaken it out and put it on proudly. Elected officials have reduced themselves to behaving like petulant children, storming in and out of meetings and running to the media to lob personal attacks at the president, then offering lame apologies shortly afterward.

Is this the postracial era that so many people theorized about following the election of the nation's first black president? Try post-Reconstruction, because the harmful slurs and images being tossed around the Internet and in public spaces hark back more to a racist past than to a racially ambiguous future.

It's not surprising that President Obama is being received in such a way.

Trouble From the Start
We got a peek at what was to come just seven months into President Obama's tenure. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) shouted, "You lie!" during the president's speech about health care reform. Clearly Wilson had a flashback to legalized segregation, when folks publicly bullied, threatened and heckled blacks to remind them of who was "in charge."

Wilson subsequently issued an apology, saying his actions were "regrettable" and he'd let his emotions take over. He was just the first of a series of elected officials acting like fools and then offering weak apologies as a remedy for said actions.

To be clear, "You lie!" is not a racist exclamation. Yet and still, it is insulting and in recent memory has not been used against any other president, even when he may have been lying about one thing or another. President George W. Bush and the weapons of mass destruction, for example, or President Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal could have triggered such a response.

The full article