Take Racism Of The Pedestals Of History

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Who knew Trump would turn the monumental ugliness of racism and fascism into things “beautiful”? That white men no one can identify, astride iron horses are three . . . → Read More: Take Racism Of The Pedestals Of History

The New GOP Messaging

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Climbing the ladder of power, the administration and Republican message becomes more strident and direct: now, we are a short step away from genocide, an executive order away from box cars and fences. . . . → Read More: The New GOP Messaging

“Today I Know I’m Living But Tomorrow Could Make the Past”

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Race As National Policy Potpourri

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DDIn philosophy, where the ideas and logic that are mental models for appropriate acts and policy reside, a single person and a single idea have driven American elections since 2008—President Barack Obama and race. These two factors have influenced policy, changed political ethics, and revealed a new American challenge: a fight for truth and a new future opposed by bedfellows of special interests, wealth and hate. Conservative voters and candidates speak of freedom but really fight for power: to weaken the Presidency, the executive agenda, and seek to affirm the wrong and rich as the strong.

Votes are justified and driven by anger and fear. Every GOP official trumpets or complains the President’s agenda is driven by race, expense and incompetence. At state and national levels, elected officials claim every idea President Obama proposes is a threat to America and American lives (whether death panels, debt, immigration, Ebola, ISIL, food stamps). Every judgment and pronouncement is distorted by a lens colored with racial prejudice (labels of “buckwheat-in-chief,” posters of bones through Obama’s nose, nasty “nigger” jokes, lynched chairs swinging from nooses strung over tree limbs). The Democratic rearguard retreat in the last election reinforced these jaded reasons by not revealing their ridiculousness.

So political stupidity grew exponentially. In South Carolina, a retired school teacher loudly, publicly accused—in fact was assured and certain—the President attempted to explode Charleston with a nuclear strike during a military training exercise. Because of Obama’s orders, she claimed two generals retired. Rick Santorum stood stoically, listening, when he knew it was all a lie.

The oppositional conditioning is so pervasive that the opposition no longer cites the kinds of examples of myths and mistakes that Ronald Reagan famously employed. Now, officials declare the power of winning as the power to turn back, turn over, turn in, turn out, citing the actions and examples of progress that their change seeks to reverse.

Gay marriage. Out. Affirmative action. Ended. Rape. Harder to persecute. Taxes. Lower (for the rich!). Higher education. Cut. Education, K-12. Privatized, underfunded. Government services payments. Billions given away (ask Rahm about Chicago’s parking meters). Abortion. Denied. War. Endorsed. Air and water. Unregulated. Income. Stifled. Immigration. Unaddressed. Safety nets. Cuts lurking. Healthcare. Barack Obama. The source of all evil. Race. The source of all waste. Denial: “I am innocent of all blame.”

I recently realized a valuable lesson watching Jimmy Stewart westerns. The more the Native Americans defeated the cavalry and settlers who precipitated the attacks against them, the more they were hated, mistreated and dehumanized. With each victory, the natives were condemned for lacking honor and virtue, even when their efforts were in self-defense or intended to promote peace. As the Indians won, hate reached a fever pace and objectivity and morality were abandoned. Think: the Iran agreement being negotiated to halt its development of nuclear arms, hasn’t it attracted a rising swell of voices whose accusing judgment is based on a desire for power rather than justice?

Haven’t those same voices, in the name of security, created the outlines for a global and local alliance, well funded internationally by Sheldon Adelson, the modern counterpart of Augsburg’s Jakob Fugger or England’s Baring brothers for funding geocentric, xenophobic ruling alliances. Adelson’s work in building a supra-alliance that tacitly benefits the Chinese and that is a loose but well connected ideological cult of eugenics is deeply (and darkly!) rooted, a part of the history and world view of the family policies of the Koch brothers and their father, who marginalized and expressed stereotypes for global ethnic groups, and propped up ideas of ethnic superiority for European genes by pointing to individual gaps and the failures of social programs fighting sophisticated neo-colonial structures and directed wealth flow.

Barack Obama is their evidence of what happens when one slips through the cracks and refuses their bidding, and wins despite their sustained plans for his defeat and collapse, their desire for his being driven out of office and humiliated, his character and intellectual virtues destroyed, his humanity stripped without apology or defense. Continue reading Race As National Policy Potpourri

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Race and Hate Speech

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This has got to stop! But before I tell you how to end it (or what it is!), a few preliminary questions.

1) Where is the love that produces the outrage about verbal expressions of racism—unparalleled even in the literature, letters and diaries penned during the eras of slavery, reconstruction, segregation, or the racial nadir when lynching was at its height?

2) Is this (yet undefined!) what is meant when the public conversation turns to the question of whether America is post-racial?

3) And what number and quality of posts like these have to occur before they are no longer seen as an unacceptable, non-mainstream view by a fringe group?

Conventional wisdom has become too convenient and is failing to meet the dangers implicit in hate speech. I deliberately left vague and undefined (and confusing!) the topic, to parallel how media discusses, or fails to discuss, race and speech. Another question: I see the comment below as a danger; do you?

Do you think it’s unjust to compare you and Barack to all other criminal lying and stealing negroes in this country? I don’t!

The comment comes from tweets sent directly to the First Lady during an online White House twitter chat she held on nutrition. It’s not a part of background chatter on the net, nor an exchange between people of similar views. It’s a sub-140-character post sent directly to the President’s wife during an internet chat hosted to urge America’s families to improve the health and life survival of their children through exercise and better nutrition. Another:

@#AskFLOTUS STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY!!! STOP TELLING US WHAT WE CAN EAT! STOP DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY!  AND OBEY THE CONSTITUTION FOR ONCE!

Mrs. Obama received hundreds of posts like this, many far worse, many attacking her or the President physically (by description or sexually, which you can review by clicking here or here. They bring up four additional questions.

1) If you point out, cite and quote these posts, are you giving visibility to and encouraging hate? Isn’t it better to ignore this type of irrational vitriol?

2) Since the words don’t threaten violence, as ugly as they are, aren’t they free speech?

3) If we slime back, won’t that drag us into the quagmire?

4) What can we do?

Hate speech in our time is both insulting and absurd, a point I made two weeks ago in talking about the Onion incident. The insulting parts use the most disparaging, hurtful, emotional, cruel words in institutional memory to inflict emotional violence not only on the person targeted by a post but also to inflict pain on its broader audience. You are being attacked too! Digital media has a built-in default that instantly aims its sword of words at every heart. The ripped echo of hate speech is a key to insights about its digital postmodern form; its attributes: autonomous,  unaccountable, inflammatory, copy-catted, self-satisfying, unstoppable, impulsive; its substance: emotionally and psychologically targeted extremes.

I argue it must be examined, reviewed in the open, and discussed. And that to do so doesn’t give it comfort. Historically, the argument for silence fails. From Anne Frank to rape and violence against women to Trayvon Martin, a failure to speak up brings increasingly greater travesties, not reductions in their ranks. While everyone may not feel comfortable personally speaking up, silence is the wrong strategy. A simple historical review shows silence doesn’t work and has never been effective in confronting issues of social justice, fairness, safety, and protecting the humane values that bring progress.

The idea of all speech being “protected” as free speech is creeping into American thought, virtually unchallenged. The constitutional protection of an act by the Bill of Rights does not mean it is absolute or has absolution. An ill-framed attack is not by “rights” exempt from being wrong. Continue reading Race and Hate Speech

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The Government Has a Right to Be Paid

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Hate looks an awful lot like stupidity until you realize it’s even worse than you thought. Of course, the visceral dislike for our President has been evident since before his swearing-in during his first term, and it has increased its intensity and scope in the early days of his second term.

The ways are familiar by now; ugly criticisms of his policies, one-sided attacks, a litany of invented character flaws, pushes for a series of single agendas without a review of facts or alternatives offered by the White House; scorn and blame, a variety of symbolic and real gestures of disrespect, including the latest: a bill entered into the hopper by a Texas Congress member that would specifically prohibit the President from being transported to play golf for as long as tours of the White House are shut down because of the sequester the same Congress member and his party voted for.

Many who are deeply vested in following politics report being physically and emotionally affected: experiencing loss of appetite, bouts of anger or lethargy, frustration and anxiety. Wouldn’t you have dread if you thought the Mayan calendar was more accurate than the President’s sequester predictions, as the website for the Republican Study Committee (RSC) claims?

What makes this hatred worse is the way it covers up the hatred Republicans have for America. They love the losing side of our history and hate the values, traditions, communities, families, and politics of progress by opportunity rather than privilege. Only in the most extreme times in our history have individuals and states taken positions which are now the Republican norm. Those extremes led to a Civil War, when states with positions so reactionary to progress decided to withdraw from the Union. Today, these reactionary extremists employ a new strategy: destroy the Union from within. Dismantle the government. Empty its treasury. Destroy its power.

And what makes the current Republican hatred of America even worse is the way this hatred and its stupidity–aimed at women, immigrants, Democratic voters, disaster victims, Native Americans, the ill and retired, minorities, youth, public employees–is being used to conceal the clear-headed, relentless pursuit of wealth and power.

Clear-headed hatred maybe the ultimate oxymoron, but it is the prime Republican strategy, and is the basis of the budget, tax and revenue policy of nationally elected Republicans, especially in the House.

Budget deficits are driven not by spending, as the Speaker implies, but by collections, the huge annual loopholes that forgive the tax obligations of big corporations and industries. Big Oil will receive $44 billion in federal tax breaks over the next ten years. Yet amazingly, meeting the obligations of the taxes owed if the loopholes were removed is seen as a tax increase. It’s not. It’s an honest fair share. Government has a right to be paid. Continue reading The Government Has a Right to Be Paid

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Romney: United We Hate

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The Republican Party is a decided national political minority. The small party is running a big campaign whose entire strategy consists of proxy by hate. If the phrase seems out of order—how can a candidate be a proxy for hate?—then you see the evil brilliance of a campaign whose cultural sophistication belies its raw, putrid appeal. Rather than clearing the air and offering a map to progress and using the wisdom of its aged members, Republicans have seized as shields the American virtues of freedom, liberty, the American Promise of prudence, charity, merit and fairness, and have put them through a labyrinth, soaked the foundational ideas and values with fear, blame, shame, disgrace, pain, death, war, and wealth that splashes fault on others. The common element of fault feeds and inflames the hate. And it’s the best hate that money can buy.

That hate is distributed to every government action, every social policy, every view of the world, every collapsed dream and fat desire and to those who make up the government itself, especially the chief executive, an office whose powers have increased and contract power goes unnoticed. Within the government, can you name the ten largest federal contractors? The size of their 2012 revenues?

Among 2012 newcomers on the top 100 list, D&S Consultants of Eatontown, NJ came in 77th with revenues of $215.575 million, $211 million from defense contracts. (I don’t know what they do!) Fifty-one of the top 100 are privately owned (small businesses!); the largest, DynCorp International (a security company) received contracts worth $3.346 billion this year. The top three? Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Boeing; followed by SAIC, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Hewlett-Packard, Booz Allen Hamilton, Computer Science Corp, and DynCorp. Hate, suspicion, death, deadly force have high tech forms that are very profitable (Wait—did they build that?). No wonder Barack Obama is under siege.

He is besieged by a micro-targeted, media-ignored hate that has a single size to fit all and to fix its object by single action—by brutal government fiat, beginning with a directed, managed vote! The party that hates government, its expense, its intrusion, its abridgment of rights, wants to use government to increase all of the above! And to win the election, they are expanding their financed appeals.

We know your hate, Republicans say, just put power in our hands, and the rich will no longer suffer—and neither will you. Why, the rich are suffering, losing their competitive edge, burdened by the world’s highest taxes (appropriate, I think for the world’s richest people!). They argue: imagine what Barack Obama has in store for you? Hate is a surprisingly effective tool. It is irrational; defiant, easily denied, indifferent to truth, shadowed by doubt. Hate is malleable and rewards misinformation; it easily links false causes; its anger trounces mercy; its doctrines are deeply embedded and widespread. It polls well. That Barack Obama is a Muslim persists. This election will determine if hate has limits or can be leveraged in its unique American character. Republicans intend for it to pay off.

Who do Republicans hate? They hate the weak. The sick, young and old, the poor, the broken in spirit, the mentally and physically handicapped. Women; they are the party of rape. They are the party that defends a fertilized cell even before it has been fertilized. They demand women be humiliated by government probes without consent or necessity. People of color who do not serve a political purpose. Where was the once-leading contender, Herman Cain, at the GOP convention? Anyone heard from Allan Keyes this year? Or any of the hundreds of black Republicans who ignore party-inflicted wounds in the name of free enterprise—an identity strategy that voids the oldest human principle of self-preservation by protecting the community above self and sacrificing self for community—all sell-outs put self first, scramble history, embrace the oppressor, and offer empty promises.

Republicans hate regulations; they get in the way of profit. You hate wearing motorcycle helmets? You are in; join us, Republicans say. Property taxes, public schools? Safety and environmental standards, elevator inspections? Democrats? Truth? Equal pay? Marriage freedom? Sharing and fair shares? Nuclear treaties? China? Immigration? Except on drone strikes and spray tans, Republicans are there for you. Even if they don’t change it, they know your rancor.

You know the list of their ire, but pay closer attention to their closing strategy.

For Republicans, the final month and tonight’s debate are in search of hot button hate. So far, neither race nor the economy, two historic staples, have tilted the field. Neither have debt nor deficits brought new recruits. Foreign policy and moral attacks are the new lines: in Florida, live calls are being made to Hispanic households, reminding them of Barack Obama’s position on gay marriage and a woman’s right to chose, both against the Catholic Church’s teachings. And the closer: his father was a drunk and his mother didn’t love him. Continue reading Romney: United We Hate

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New Trade School Teaches Students to Profit from Hate

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The Amalgamated School of Social Hatred and Organized Lunatic Entrepreneurial Studies, Inc., a for-profit corporation fully accredited by the Arizona Department of Education, is a joint venture of FreedomWorks, the Fox News Network and the Christian . . . → Read More: New Trade School Teaches Students to Profit from Hate

Digging Deeper: Sununu's Gallows of Hate

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At first, for a fleeting second, the irony seemed delicious. A sycophant of Mitt Romney, the American candidate with foreign bank accounts, says, “I wish this President would learn how to be an American.” But this quickly turned ugly. It was worse than being called “nigger.” That word has a history, is anchored in the nation’s fabric, is a backlash that marked progress, represents barriers climbed and conquered, and sounds the warnings that those who lynch and burn are coming again. That word has hate but has a life tied to the blood and sweat spilled as a people moved from slavery to freedom. It is a racial slur but it is also a moral compass that marks the cliff, the place America has currently claimed as too far. Ironically, it was a common public word in the 19th century. It routinely appeared in newspapers and in conversation.

But there is no fleeting irony or routine sentiment in John Sununu’s view of our President’s past. His is the kind of insubordination and attitude for which those enslaved were physically whipped or put on wheels, punished within an inch of their lives, but he drew his bias with impunity:

“He has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure.”

To which a reader of the Atlantic replied, “Romney needs more Sununus.”

Hatred meet causal indifference, a hate that does not have to be inflamed, but is a snack food, a lollipop flavor, easily consumed for its comfort, embraced by its supporters with a smug revelation that the sky will not fall in their hatred of undeserving, non-American (or American!) Negroes. So hate is the new feel-good fitness track, the workout that makes others sweat, the stress reliever of American politics. It has taken on a creative life. But its purpose is the same: to strip anyone who isn’t ideologically white of any shelf space in American life. Hate is the post-date expiration for the American dream. Continue reading Digging Deeper: Sununu’s Gallows of Hate

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