A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

The TRUTH is the light (As Granny would say…)

The Cult That Is Destroying America


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

via The Cult That Is Destroying America – NYTimes.com.

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Dear Mr. President


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


Why Am I Not Surprised?: Racism = Prejudice + Power (Part 1)


While searching and researching my own thoughts on race/racism/white supremacy I happened upon this blog post. Upon closer inspection, this blog deals with race and racism in ways that seemed to fit my perspective. THIS is my new favorite blog…

Read this excerpted take on racism…

Similarly, people in the United States, and most particularly European-Americans, spout a supposed belief in “equality,” whatever we think that is, while being unconscionably comfortable with the greatest gaps (between rich and poor, between White and Black) of any industrialized nation of the world. And we are so committed to this idealized belief in equality–as opposed to the actual practice of it–that people who look like me purport to be stunned when presented with the idea that the equal treatment does not, in fact, exist, however well documented this reality may be.

One way to protest or mask the reality of racial oppression and its ramifications is to use the word “racism” to mean any prejudicial attitude by anyone of any “race” anywhere who feels superior in any way to someone of a different “race.” That way, a European-American can point at an African-American who has buckled under his or her grief, frustration, and discouragment, finally becoming filled with bitterness and maybe even hatred toward the White establishment and those it privileges–and call that person of color a “racist.” Which, in turn, allows White folks to declare, “See–anyone can be a racist.”

The reason this doesn’t hold for me is that, to start with, as I mentioned before (see “‘Black.White.’ Part Two or Keep My Name Out Your Mouth,” March 4th), Europeans expressly constructed the very concept of “race” in the first place. And they didn’t do it to make it easier to identify someone in a crowd either. They did it to create a hierarchy wherein people that look like me would automatically get the most of the best and the least of the worst–primarily by stealing from everybody else in one way or the other–while whoever was left got what they could, if anything. This was done for the purpose of making a very specific group of Europeans extremely rich. And White-controlled science, White-controlled law, and White-controlled religion worked together to legitimate this construct by announcing in no uncertain terms that White folks are superior to all other peoples on the face of the earth.

via Why Am I Not Surprised?: Racism = Prejudice + Power.


We Can’t Win the Fight if We Can’t Tell the Story


This article speaks for itself. And makes the points I’ve been making for a while now. The Progressive counter-narrative is lacking from this administration…and SORELY needed.

Once again the extremist elements of the GOP have managed to tell the most legible and convincing stories. Republicans hammered home the idea that the national budget ought to mirror household budgets. “When the going gets rough,” the GOP says, “people have to tighten their budgets, the American government ought to do the same.” This is a compelling story. People hear this and think to themselves, “Yes, yes, I have cut my cable bill, cancelled my vacation, and started cutting coupons; the government should do the same.” This is a false equivalency.

Household budgets are not the same as national ones. In fact, this narrative obscures the reason that Americans are tightening their belts—because the failed, short-sighted fiscal policies of GOP-led governments brought our economy to the brink of disaster. By telling the story this way Republicans effectively dodge the main point that massive tax cuts redistributed wealth to the top 1 percent but failed to stoke job growth. They ignore that disinvestment in educational grants made college more expensive for Americans. They ignore that their deregulation of lending practices foreclosed on the American dream for millions. The government (under Republican direction) created a mess for American households and has an ethical obligation to address the mess it made. To ask poor, disabled and elderly citizens to sacrifice basic needs to underwrite the extravagant choices of their wealthier neighbors is profoundly un-American. In my house, when somebody makes a mess we clean it up. When somebody is sick, we care for them. When somebody needs a hand, we lend it. All of these basic realities are obscured by the good story about household budgets and fiscal responsibility. – Melissa Harris-Perry

via We Can’t Win the Fight if We Can’t Tell the Story | The Nation.


The Mellon Doctrine


Two weeks ago, Republican staff at the Congressional Joint Economic Committee released a report, “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” that argued that slashing government spending and employment in the face of a deeply depressed economy would actually create jobs. In part, they invoked the aid of the confidence fairy; more on that in a minute. But the leading argument was pure Mellon.

Here’s the report’s explanation of how layoffs would create jobs: “A smaller government work force increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.” Dropping the euphemisms, what this says is that by increasing unemployment, particularly of “educated, skilled workers” — in case you’re wondering, that mainly means schoolteachers — we can drive down wages, which would encourage hiring.

There is, if you think about it, an immediate logical problem here: Republicans are saying that job destruction leads to lower wages, which leads to job creation. – Paul Krugman

So let me get this straight… The GOP wants to CUT government spending and thereby CUT public sector jobs so the market will be FLOODED with workers who will be willing to take LESS money in a more competitive jobs market which LOWERS their labor costs…

So you might have a job but you will be paid less. How does this philosophy help the average working person and their family? It does not. The only entities these types of policies help are the corporations and the wealthy elite. This also PROVES that Republicans never believed that Reaganomics or “Trickle-down” economic policies would benefit working Americans.

I don’t need anymore reasons to not vote for any Republican who supports these policies. But for any of you who remain committed to this debunked theory of economics and continue to vote against your own economic interests (or not vote at all)…consider this another warning of how little respect the Republican party has for average working Americans as they continue to line the pockets of their corporate donors.

via The Mellon Doctrine – NYTimes.com.


Are We All Black Americans (Niggers) Now?


Wow… The descriptive nature of this piece is so intense…I have nothing more to add.
Please share this with anyone who will listen…

Are we All Black Americans Now | The Nation

In the months following September 11, my colleague Cornel West offered this insight: national political elites used the devastating attacks to promote the “niggerization of the American people.” West understood that long before 9/11, African-Americans were intimately familiar with terrorism. Through the Jim Crow century, they were routinely and randomly brutalized and murdered by well-organized groups of whites acting beyond the confines of the official state but with the tacit consent of their society. Under the shadow of lynching, black Americans learned what it meant to feel, as West describes, “unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated for who they are.” After 9/11 far too many Americans, unaccustomed to this sense of collective intimidation, felt helpless to halt an unjustified war or the erosion of civil liberties. Thus, whether or not they were black, Americans were “niggerized” by the attacks.

In recent months, I have been reminded of Professor West’s analysis because one way to read our current moment is as a blackening of America. The social, economic and political conditions that have long defined African-American life have descended onto a broader population, and it has been instructive to watch how the nation has responded.

Initially, conservatives argued that Tea Party activists had every right to be disgusted with national leadership and to demand swift economic intervention to combat the near 10 percent unemployment rate. Since the mid-1970s, except for a brief dip between 1998 and 2002, unemployment among African-Americans has routinely exceeded 10 percent, yet African-Americans were rarely encouraged to blame systems or organize collectively. Instead blacks were stereotyped as lazy and undeserving. This characterization has been an effective ideological tool for politicians intent on limiting social programs, cutting welfare, ignoring cities, slashing job training and neglecting housing.

Within months, the Tea Party shifted its focus to the deficit. As it did, policy debates about the poor and unemployed came to mirror decades of discourse about black Americans. Extensions of unemployment insurance were decried as “creeping socialism.” Echoing theories of dependency leveled against African-Americans for decades, one conservative blogger suggested that extending unemployment benefits would create “a permanent entitlement and would perpetuate unemployment.” Perhaps, in this moment, Americans understood how dangerously corrosive the characterization of the poor as “idle” is for black people.

This past November the TSA introduced screening procedures that many Americans—liberals and conservatives alike—deemed intrusive, random and demeaning. But for decades urban police forces have regularly employed race-based traffic stops and pedestrian stop-and-frisks in African-American communities. These policing practices have done little to make neighborhoods safer, but they have contributed to massive incarceration rates for black men. Justifying their racially punitive behavior as a reasonable response to potential crime, police forces have acted largely with the consent of white Americans, some of whom later decried the TSA’s new procedures. Perhaps, for a moment, they felt the stinging humiliation that routinely accompanies black life.

Few events more clearly demonstrated the blackening of America than the standoff in Wisconsin. Like the nineteenth-century leaders of Southern states who stripped black citizens of voting rights, public accommodation and civic associations, Wisconsin’s Republican majority dismantled the hard-won basic rights of Wisconsin workers. Like those Confederate leaders, the Wisconsin GOP used intimidation, threats and even the police against demonstrators and rival officials. As the saga unfolded, many Wisconsin citizens felt stunned that their once-secure rights might be eliminated. For a moment, perhaps, they glimpsed the experience of black men and women who watched the shadow of Jim Crow blot out the promises of emancipation.

The 1880s were also the decade when efforts to create corporate personhood were initiated by wealthy railroad barons. In a 2010 article, James and Tomilea Allison (psych professor at Indiana University and former mayor of Bloomington, respectively) traced how these corporate interests misrepresented past cases so that the Supreme Court eventually relied on nonexistent precedent to twist Fourteenth Amendment protections intended for newly freed slaves to instead offer shelter for profiteering corporations. More than a century later, these arguments were crucial to the Citizens United decision, which putatively endowed extraordinarily wealthy corporations with an “equal” right to electoral influence but in practice gave them breathtakingly unequal representation. Perhaps, as they are reduced to a fraction of a citizen, other Americans now catch a glimpse of what it means to be codified as only three-fifths of a person.

Today corporate greed, conservative ideology, manufactured right-wing populism and progressive complicity are making more and more Americans into, as Professor West might characterize them, “niggers.” Rather than try to escape the pain of experiencing some small familiarity with blackness, Americans could choose to learn from generations of African-Americans who resisted dehumanizing processes of domination and inequality. During the 2008 election Obama’s detractors tried to smear him by suggesting that “Hussein” was a terrorist’s moniker. As a demonstration of solidarity, thousands of Americans informally declared that they too would be known by the middle name Hussein. It was purely symbolic, but it rested on a belief in the power to change meaning by embracing rather than eschewing that which is labeled subordinate, alien, dangerous and shameful. By embracing our collective blackness, perhaps we can find the fortitude and creativity necessary to face the continuing erosion of our national social safety net in the face of a persistent economic crisis. – Melissa Harris-Perry

 

Your thoughts!!??  Please share…

Are We All Black Americans Now? | The Nation.


Losing Our Way


I have nothing more to add…

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.

As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.

Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed. – Bob Herbert

via Losing Our Way – NYTimes.com.