I have been saying this for 2 years now…and I can’t say it any better than Krugman just did…
Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system.
And no, I don’t mean the fanaticism of the right. Well, OK, that too. But my feeling about those people is that they are what they are; you might as well denounce wolves for being carnivores. Crazy is what they do and what they are.
No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.
Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.
So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.
What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.
You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.
And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.
It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price. – Paul Krugman
A must read by ALL on July 4th. This was written before the end of slavery…over 150 years ago…
Contextually, while some things have changed since July 5, 1852, I am struck, every year when I re-read it, at how the themes he discusses apply to myself and my community even today.
I would love your thoughts on this piece once you have read it…
Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too Ñ great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….
…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?
Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”
But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.ÑThe rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, 0 Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”
Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America.is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery Ñ the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.
But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, an denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They acknowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may consent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!
For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!
Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Amercans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.
What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their mastcrs? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.
What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival….
…Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery. “The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated. — Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.
The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. ‘Ethiopia, shall, stretch. out her hand unto Ood.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:
God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,
And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign,
To man his plundered rights again
God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;
That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
God speed the hour, the glorious hour,
When none on earth
Shall exercise a lordly power,
Nor in a tyrant’s presence cower;
But to all manhood’s stature tower,
By equal birth!
That hour will come, to each, to all,
And from his Prison-house, to thrall
Until that year, day, hour, arrive,
With head, and heart, and hand I’ll strive,
To break the rod, and rend the gyve,
The spoiler of his prey deprive —
So witness Heaven!
And never from my chosen post,
Whate’er the peril or the cost,
The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass, Volume II
Pre-Civil War Decade 1850-1860
Philip S. Foner
International Publishers Co., Inc., New York, 1950Africans in America/Part 4/Frederick Douglass speech.
Krugman is on point…once again.
Bear in mind that G.O.P. leaders don’t actually care about the level of debt. Instead, they’re using the threat of a debt crisis to impose an ideological agenda. If you had any doubt about that, last week’s tantrum should have convinced you. Democrats engaged in debt negotiations argued that since we’re supposedly in dire fiscal straits, we should talk about limiting tax breaks for corporate jets and hedge-fund managers as well as slashing aid to the poor and unlucky. And Republicans, in response, walked out of the talks.So what’s really going on is extortion pure and simple. As Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute puts it, the G.O.P. has, in effect, come around with baseball bats and declared, “Nice economy you have here. A real shame if something happened to it.”And the reason Republicans are doing this is because they must believe that it will work: Mr. Obama caved in over tax cuts, and they expect him to cave again. They believe that they have the upper hand, because the public will blame the president for the economic crisis they’re threatening to create. In fact, it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that G.O.P. leaders actually want the economy to perform badly.Republicans believe, in short, that they’ve got Mr. Obama’s number, that he may still live in the White House but that for practical purposes his presidency is already over. It’s time — indeed, long past time — for him to prove them wrong. – Paull Krugman
I just can’t say or write it any better than this!! Race, racism, white privilege & entitlement, and supremacy is written all over this incident. The implications are long and deep. Hopefully, not just those who are victimized by this type of behavior and thought will speak on it. For it is those with the power that must work to change themselves and their effects on those they victimize.
Racism = Prejudice + Power… Do the Math!
If you understand nothing else, know this. To be Black in America means “we can’t do what they do.” A dear friend spoke those words to me over 20 years ago and I have never forgotten them. Forget making derisive remarks about others in the public square, the fact is we aren’t allowed to get angry or show disappointment openly. To be labeled “difficult” or “angry” is to be marginalized. For African American men and women the vicious stereotypes around what is deemed “aggressive” for us but standard behavior for others is often the difference between a paycheck and the soup line.
“Who do you think you are?” I’ve been asked. “You think a lot of yourself,” the same boss said. I collected myself and quietly left his office that day. I ain’t nobody’s saint but, like Obama, there was nothing I could say without getting frog-marched out of the building.
So Obama will say nothing. He will never address the malicious attacks on his character by respected journalists or side-show carnival barkers. He can’t. He cannot say a nary word about how utterly indecent it all is.
There is something to be said about what we’re becoming. Or maybe it’s about what we’ve always been. A nation with two sets of rules. Mark Halperin may as well have called the president an “uppity Negro.” We’ve been here before. – Goldie Taylor
An address to the President… I hope he hears it and follows through with these suggestions…
As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16000 people by the time he completed his speech. Sign the letter » http://www.sanders.senate.gov
Without coalescing around some type of political power, legislators too often don’t give those most in need top priority. The poor don’t “butter their bread” so they fall down the list of important constituents…
It is in that context that I am forced to assume that if Washington politicians ever knew the sting of poverty then they have long since vanquished the memory. How else to qualify their positions? In fact, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly half of all members of Congress are millionaires, and between 2008 and 2009, when most Americans were feeling the brunt of the recession, the personal wealth of members of Congress collectively increased by more than 16 percent. Must be nice.
Poverty is brutal, consuming and unforgiving. It strikes at the soul.
You defend yourself with hope, hard work and, for some, a helping hand. But these weapons grow dull in an economy on the verge of atrophy, in a job market tilting ever more toward the top and in a political environment that would sacrifice the weak to the wealthy. – Charles Blow
His critique is and has always been…legitimate. You cannot argue with his point of view…
A voucher program is not “premium support” no matter what type of spin Ryan gives as it relates to his program. This to me is a classic example of Republicans saying they are benevolent while only holding dear the causes of their corporate masters. What they should be offering to do is stopping the corporate welfare that they endorse through tax cuts for the rich and bailouts for the financial industry and subsidies for big oil and other powerful lobby interests. Why is it that the Republican plans only discuss monies that will help regular people while they ignore putting any additional burden on their corporate benefactors? Its ideological. And I, for one, will not lend it any credence.
Some commenters have asked a good question, albeit in a belligerent tone: how does the Ryan plan differ from the Affordable Care Act? After all, in both plans people are supposed to buy coverage from private insurers, with a subsidy from the government.
Well, the answer is that the ACA is specifically designed to ensure that insurance is affordable, whereas Ryancare just hands out vouchers and washes its hands. Specifically, the ACA subsidy system (pdf) sets a maximum percentage of income that families are expected to pay for insurance, on a sliding scale that rises with income. To the extent that the actual cost of a minimum acceptable policy exceeds that percentage of income, subsidies make up the difference.
Ryancare, by contrast, provides a fixed sum — end of story. And because this fixed sum would not grow with rising health care costs, it’s almost guaranteed to fall far short of the actual cost of insurance.
This is also why Ryancare is NOT premium support; it’s a voucher system. No matter how much they say it isn’t, that’s exactly what it is. -Paul Krugman
Listen to Harry Belafonte’s critique of President Obama and the lack of an earnest effort to help the poor and ravaged ethnic communities…
Is he a “hater” too?? Is he jealous of the President?
The Belafonte interview starts at 43:55…
Cornel West’s policy critiques of this President should not be ignored. While his phrasing and word-smithing may need some work, the issues he discusses mirror my own…and I’m certainly happy he is lending his voice to it. Professor West is not lessening Obama’s blackness. But he is calling into question what a president who is supposed to be more attuned to Black issues is doing (or not doing) for that community. As Wilmer Leon, so eloquently says in this video clip, if AIPAC is a constituency that the President must address (peace with Palestine), and Latino’s are a constituency that must be addressed (immigration & Judge Sotomayor), and Gay issues must be addressed (DADT & DOMA), and if Labor issues can be addressed, and of course the corporations and the financial systems have to be spoken too (TARP under Bush & the bailouts of the banks)….why is it so taboo to critique the President for not dealing with a constituency that voted in the upper 90 percentile for this President?? Are our issues not important enough… This is POLITICS people…
Let me know what you think of this clip:
Reminds me of Cornel West’s latest policy critique of the President… I concur.
I support the President. I believe in Hope and Change we can believe in. I campaigned and walked city streets in 2008. And I will vote for him again in 2012. Let’s be clear… I’m not a registered Republican hiding in the cloak of conservatism or acting like I’m an independent. I support the President and my critique doesn’t come from the mindset of nullification or reflexive disagreement for any and everything the President does. They are haters… I am not. Critique does not equal haterade.
Too much of the heat coming from the Chris Hedges piece is focused on the personal rift between West and Obama and not enough on the policy critique that actually is more of a focus of the piece. This Gary Younge post discusses a point of view that is not getting the media attention that is emanating from the discussion of Cornel West’s critique of the President… Let’s talk about it…
“…the post–civil rights era concept of corporate diversity, which many black people have embraced, is central to his symbolism. Racial advancement is increasingly understood not as a process of social change but of individual promotion—the elevation of black faces to high places. Instead of equal opportunities, we have photo opportunities. “We have more black people in more visible and powerful positions,” Angela Davis told me before Obama’s nomination. “But then we have far more black people who have been pushed down to the bottom of the ladder….There’s a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference, the change that brings about no change.” – Gary Younge
I found this interview between Sam Seder and Professor Eddie Glaude so fascinating. If you don’t do anything else please listen to this interview and note the points that Glaude makes about the difference in Cornel West’s personal feelings of deception and his very valid policy critiques of the Obama administration. I also found it worth noting that Sedar makes the case that West’s critiques mirror those of former Treasury Secretary Robert Reich but Reich doesnt get the label of “hater” and how on the right The Tea Party has the room, politically, to hold Republicans accountable to what I would consider harmful policies, but they are allowed to hold their politicians accountable and it seems that type of room is not permitted on the Left by progressives and the poor. Please hear this interview… Click the link below:
This is a very touchy area, one I’ve discussed recently as a guest of Mark Thompson on “Make It Plain,” a progressive radio show on Sirius XM. African-American callers responded by talking about their personal pain over Obama’s economic policies and wanting to push him, yet feeling compelled to defend him as America’s first black president — and not quite knowing how to do both. Every caller made clear that this is a real, visceral problem.
It’s also notable that, as always, class is still the dividing line. The most heated defense of Obama in the black online community seems to come from high-status professionals (or students studying for high-status jobs), people who see him as a peer. The people who called into Mark’s show? They’re living from paycheck to paycheck. That perspective makes a difference.
Sam Seder discussed this today with Eddie Glaude, chair of the the Center for African-American Studies and the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African-American Studies at Princeton University, and they address West’s statements. (Seder points out several times that West’s remarks sound identical to those made by Robert Reich.)
But see, white people don’t have the same type of emotional connection with a black president as black folks, and on this issue, I come from a place of privilege. I’m disgusted by the right wing racism and call it when I see it, but as a white progressive, I also feel perfectly entitled (key word “entitled”) to criticize Obama’s policies. Obviously, many black Americans don’t, and Professor Glaude pointed out that they should do the same thing we did under George Bush: Organize and push the policy to the left.
Scholar Cornel West’s scathing critique of President Obama’s liberal bona fides in a series of recent interviews has ignited a furious debate among African American bloggers and commentators.
The well-known Princeton professor and author, who has released rap albums and starred in Hollywood films, supported Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign but now calls the president a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats.”
“I was thinking maybe he has at least some progressive populist instincts that could become more manifest after the cautious policies of being a senator,” West told Chris Hedges in an interview for the liberal political blog Truthdig.
Focusing on Obama and race, West said: “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men . . . It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is just as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.”
White House officials declined to respond to West’s remarks, which have sparked a hot conversation this week. And Obama aides have have been content to allow others to take up the president’s defense.
Several commentaries from African American scholars and bloggers have particularly disputed West’s take on Obama and race.
Melissa Harris-Perry, a Princeton professor of African American studies and politics, wrote a column for the Nation calling West’s comment “utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, MA and Princeton, NJ. . . . Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.”
Imani Perry (no relation), also a professor at the Princeton Center for African American Studies and a former professor of law at Rutgers, defended West on Twitter this week:
Cornel West opened the space. Period. And in my tradition we respect elders, period. Disagreement can be consistent w/that. And I can’t stand “piling on” attacks. Debate, dialogue, don’t mob!
As a student, Cornel West modeled 4 me, commitments 2 the poor and marginal AND scholarly excellence. Amazing footsteps. Required courage.
West has an impressive body of rigorous brilliant scholarly work that even many academics aren’t aware of. But he always has kept connections with regular folks outside of camera view. That’s really rare.
So…It saddens me that many ppl who attack him (or silently cosign) are the explicit beneficiaries of his advocacy and kindness. He has done so much for so many that folks don’t know about. And never asks anything in return. so, agree, disagree, whatever, but respect. – Susie Madrak
- Attacks on Cornel West Highlight Class Divide Among African Americans (crooksandliars.com)
So… when we were running a budget surplus under Clinton, the Republicans advocated for tax cuts because, essentially, the government was over-taxing it’s citizens. Then the Bush administration got two massive tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefitted the wealthy, didn’t pay for the Prescription Drug Plan and got into two massively expensive wars without paying for any of it. And even after all these tax cuts the economy fails in 2008 and Bush introduces TARP to bail out the banks. After Obama wins in 2008, he tries to revive the economy by borrowing more money and stimiulating the economy only to have these same Republicans advocate for MORE tax cuts while proclaiming the government still taxes it’s citizens too much… So the debt we have today, to a very large extent, is due to Bush economic policies in the 2000’s and, to a very small extent, Obama, in an attempt to revive the economy. The context is important to review.
And let me get this straight… Republicans want to cut taxes when you have a budget surplus AND cut taxes when you have a massive budget deficit and debt!? Is there ever a time to raise revenue with these guys? How little should taxes be to have an infallible humming economy and still provide the services that Americans require? Can someone explain to me how cutting taxes now will create any new jobs!? Aren’t corporate profits the highest they have been in our history?? Aren’t high corporate profits supposed to trickle-down to the masses through corporate hiring? So then where are the Jobs!!!??? (and I don’t mean McJobs either…)
Polls show that a large majority of Americans blame wasteful or unnecessary federal programs for the nation’s budget problems. But routine increases in defense and domestic spending account for only about 15 percent of the financial deterioration, according to a new analysis of CBO data.
The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years. – Lori Montgomery
At the signing of the historic Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965 striking down the discriminatory practices many states had put in place to prohibit Blacks from exercising their right to vote, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield.” Many Americans think of the fight for voting rights as a struggle that was settled once and for all during the Civil Rights Movement in that celebrated “triumph for freedom,” and is now a piece of history. But that’s a dangerous assumption. While the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, language, ethnicity, religion and age, there is still no law that affirmatively guarantees citizens the right to vote. Just as we are experiencing a quiet but systematic rise in school segregation across the country, many people don’t realize that there is once again a quiet but systematic movement that would deny many African Americans and other American citizens the ability to vote with 21st century versions of old exclusionary practices. – Marian Wright Edelman
From my perspective, these are some of the truest words I’ve ever heard. I, for one, will not apologize for conscious, truthful, hard-hitting, soulful Black art…and those that produce it.
This manufactured controversy surrounding Common is just another iteration of right-wing racism where the mirror is positioned in front of the collective face of the majority culture and they refuse to see themselves. They refuse to hear any critique of this country from people of color. The same people that built this country and have been and continue to be oppressed by systems, institutions and people that continue to undervalue, underestimate and marginalize us. They continue to talk about “personal responsibility”, all the while dismissing their own as it relates to race and its continued effects. And they have the power to do so. Racism at its finest.
Conservative/Republican/Tea Party members will try to find ANYTHING to be outraged over. This is another in a long line of made up controversies that right wing media has manufactured. Let’s be clear, I don’t care for a lot of the music porported by the right wing media. Some of it I find highly offensive and racist but that never seems to be an issue with them being invited to a Republican Whitehouse or Hannity’s show. Likewise, the President’s choice of vistors doesn’t have to be ok’d by a constantly nagging and perpetually inane right wing media. And its time the media stop being led around by the nose as the right-wing media manufactures another nothing story. After Van Jones, Sherrod, NPR, Planned Parenthood, ACORN, Black Panthers, birthers, deathers, Donald Trump and the like, you would think they would learn.
Common has been an advocate of Obama’s since his presidential campaign. Get a life. And listen to some good music while you’re at it… Check the lyrics.
Updated: Common performs at The White House…
- After White House Invite, Conservatives Get Tough on Soft Rapper | The Nation (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
- Ari Melber: After White House Invite, Conservatives Get Tough on Soft Rapper (huffingtonpost.com)
- Conservatives upset over rapper Common’s White House invite (cbsnews.com)
- Fox News & Palin Attack White House Poetry Event & Rapper – Common – As “Vile” (jackandjillpolitics.com)
Again, the N-word is not necessary for racism to exist…
Obama: Affirmative Action Figure
“Obama had horrendous grades! He only got into Harvard via affirmative action! Good white students have tried to get into Harvard, and they were bounced, but the Negro who wasn’t even trying got in!”
Now, a lot of you with common sense probably thought, “Um … if Obama got in with affirmative action and became the president, isn’t that the best advertisement for affirmative action ever?” Sure. That is, if you cared about the historical context for affirmative action in the first place. Other people don’t agree. They look at affirmative action as yet another way to cater to minorities — you know, like white women, who are the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action.
It’s not really necessary for me to explain how this particular talking point works. It’s been explained ad nauseam by many. Even the way Trump explains why he was so interested in seeing the president’s birth certificate is a classic game of “Look at the other! He might not be from here! His real certificate might say he’s a Muslim!”
And God forbid that it says that, because of course, when you’re born into the world, you’re forced to keep the religion (even super-evil religions like Islam) of your parents. What? That’s not how it works? Oh. Let’s move on.
Relations With “the Blacks”
We all shook our heads and did a collective “Really?” when Trump bragged about his great relationship with “the blacks.” This statement was immediately followed by Trump’s commentary about how it’s “frightening” that so many blacks support Obama.
“The blacks” went full swing on him for this, but one group wasn’t upset at all — the white Americans who have thought or perhaps even talked out loud about the blacks: “That doesn’t make him racist. I mean, come on! You’re going to attack Trump for a simple slip of the tongue? This is what’s wrong with the liberals and their political correctness. White people can’t say anything!”
And voilà. Support for Trump stays amazingly high within conservative circles, while the media, which are largely responsible for his rise in the GOP ranks, act flabbergasted by his popularity. We aren’t postracial, no matter how much everyone says we’ve gotten past our race issues or denies the racist language of so many in the GOP — including Trump. Perhaps there should be some rephrasing: The folks who have gotten past race are largely the same folks who didn’t have to deal with it in the first place. Privilege has its, well, privileges.
Jesse Jackson recently came out and said that the Birther nonsense is racial code. Is it really code when anyone who’s paying attention can plainly see it? The media are so afraid of playing the “race card” that when something is actually about race, they stand impotent.
It’s this failure to call Trump and others like him on what they’re doing that keeps Trump looking like a contender within the GOP presidential-nominee race. And if Trump isn’t aware of the code he’s dropping, he’s more ignorant than we could ever imagine.
Many people, myself included, are full of rage after the president’s birth certificate press conference and the crowing from Trump that immediately followed. I’ve had friends shed tears over the overt racism seen in Trump’s messaging and its delivery through the mainstream media. Some people have asked, “What do we do now?”
I think the answer is simple: We hold the media responsible. Rage without action equals complacency. We can’t allow this type of backward messaging to go unchallenged. We can’t be afraid of the race card because, for millions and millions, it’s not a card. It’s their life.
To allow the silencing of real issues out of discomfort or fear is unacceptable. Not calling out racism doesn’t make the act less racist. It makes an entire race of people less American. – Elon James White
Agreed. Personally, I wouldn’t have characterised Mendenhall’s tweets on 9/11 or the killing of bin Laden as a “poor decision” because I assume he was smart enough to weigh the consequences of his tweets and it must have been worth it to tweet HIS truth as opposed to staying silent…but I generally agree with everything written here. I was especially stricken by the quote, “…the new definition of insanity (as opposed to the other one that deals with repetition of an old act expecting new results) should be expecting a group of people to be loyal to a country that hasn’t treated them well. It’s like an abusive or neglectful lover getting angry when their partner doesn’t throw them a birthday party; shouldn’t you just be glad she didn’t set your house on fire and leave?” because I don’t think some people of the majority culture get the emotion behind this type of writing. Generally, there is a lack of the ability to see the world with the same eyes as those that have been oppressed in this country. Oppression is not a “one-off” event. There are deep scars and emotional sequelae as the result of oppression. And we don’t spend enough time discussing it.
Speaking of, the treatment of President Obama is a prime example of the way Black people are treated as ‘less-than’ Americans. We are expected to pledge allegiance and commit our loyalties to this country, yet not made privy to the rights and privileges that are guaranteed to its citizens. A White athlete may have been slapped on the wrist and chided for his poorly timed thoughts, but it is unlikely that he would have been attacked in the way that Mendenhall has. If the persons who are so quick to denounce the running back had the same historically abusive relationship to this country, perhaps they would understand how easy it is to question it’s actions.While there is no universal Black American consciousness, there is a long history of Black reticence to accept what has been presented to us by the US government as indisputable truths. Why? Because we have been manipulated, lied to and abused by this country so long as we’ve been here. When we stand up and denounce our mistreatment, we hear “America’s the greatest country in the world! If you don’t like it, leave!” Spoken like a true patriot: someone so blindly loyal to this country- White supremacist patriarchy and all- that they can’t or don’t want to see the misdeeds it has committed against the Colored, the poor, the gay, the female, the immigrant…While I wish that this young man knew better than to use social media to express these particular thoughts, I’d be lying if I said I could blame him for feeling like he doesn’ know the entire story. Sadly, Mendenhall’s race made him a ‘less-than’ American before he opened his virtual mouth and his thoughts confirmed what a lot of folks felt in the first place: that he doesn’t love this country like a ‘real’ American ought to.But why should he?While Mendenhall’s words didn’t seem particularly patriotic, was he not exercising his right to freedom of speech? One of the many rights that the enemies of America seem to resent? One of the freedoms that those like Osama Bin Laden cite as evidence of this country’s evils and reason that we should be taken down? Rashard Mendenhall made the mistake of acting like an American and got a good old fashioned ‘Black wake-up call’. – Jamilah Lemieux (Sista Toldja)
For those that wanted the bin Laden photos released for purely ideological reasons and just because they HAVE to be on the opposite side of the President on every issue…
Since you want the bin Laden photos, should we release the Bush torture photos at Abu Ghraib too?? Be consistent.
The President has decided NOT to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden. Good for him. We killed him; did the DNA test on him, he’s dead, that’s the end of it.
So, why are so many GOPers ‘insisting ‘ that the President release the photos of Bin Laden?
I could go into a long treatise about why, but I think I’ll leave the explanation to our poster coop10, who dropped this knowledge yesterday, and all I could say when I read it was AMEN.
So, why are some GOPers saying that the President should release the photos?:
Let’s not get it twisted. It’s not about the photo of Bin Laden. It’s about exerting power over President Obama. “Boy, since you got Bin Laden on your own without our (Obama-haters of all stripes) input, you bedda damn well put them pictures out.”
What President Obama did, ladies and gentlemen was to emasculate the white man, and they are furious about his doing so. If they can force his hands on those photos, then they can maintain their control over him and the narrative. But he trumped them this time with the mother of all trumps –the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
But what do white men do? They minimize, denigrate, doubt, deride, scorn,and equivocate.
“He didn’t give Bush credit.”
“He just signed off on the mission.”
“He didn’t release the photos. ”
“We don’t know if he’s really dead.”
That a black man with the name of Barack Hussein Obama achieved the ultimate white male fantasy –killing America’s number one enemy–is unforgivable to white men. Obama’s achievement rendered the white man impotent, and so they try to reclaim their power –by demanding the pictures….“Give me those pictures, boy.”But the President of the United States, Barack Obama, won’t give them the chance to assume their white machismo. Instead, he says that we don’t do trophies. We don’t do heads on spikes. We don’t do drunken frat boy stunts.
The black president is rewriting the rules on manhood and American-ness, and the white boys can’t stand it. But after the slap down of Paul Ryan and Donald Trump, the release of his birth certificate and the killing of Bin Laden, President Obama stands as a man among boys– white boys — so they better grow up, in a hurry.