Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tim Wise nails it (as always)...

The original article that inspired the "What if the tea party was black" video...

25 April 2010
San Francisco Sentinel

By Tim Wise
Ephphata Poetry

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

"Make History Again"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Olbermann interviews a clown and a witch...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

There's a storm a brewin'...

...and the Obama administration is bracing for it.

Peter Nicholas and Christi Parsons write for the LA Times:

As President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress.

A flurry of staff departures and promotions is playing out as the White House ends a nearly two-year period of intense legislative activity. Where the original staff was built to give Obama maximum clout in Congress, the new White House team won't need the same leverage with lawmakers.

"It's fair to say that the next phase is going to be less about legislative action than it is about managing the change that we've brought," White House senior advisor David Axelrod said in an interview.

Rahm Emanuel, a former member of Congress who helped establish the Democratic majority in the House, resigned last week as White House chief of staff. His successor, for now, is Pete Rouse, a former congressional aide who has never held elective office.

Rouse won't emulate Emanuel, who was able to negotiate with lawmakers as a peer. Instead, the interim chief of staff will have a more operational role.

Winning passage of legislation wasn't easy for Obama, even with Democrats in firm control of both houses of Congress. Conditions will get tougher if, as expected, the Republicans pick up seats in the midterm election next month, or possibly take control of Congress.

"Whether or not the Republicans take over majorities in one or both houses, the margins will be so much narrower that the strategy of putting together a Democratic bill and picking off a handful of Republicans to push it over the top won't be viable anymore," said William Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

So the best arena for Obama to execute his plans may be his own branch of government. That means more executive orders, more use of the bully pulpit, and more deployment of his ample regulatory powers and the wide-ranging rulemaking authority of his Cabinet members.

(Full Post)

It's sad that this has to happen.
The Obama administration made a valiant effort to to gain bipartisan support for their policies.
But the "party of no" (which is about to become the party of No-er) necessitates more extreme measures.
I, like many, had hoped that President Obama could govern in a far more democratic fashion than his predecessor.
But I now see that power-hungry Republicans will never allow this to happen.

This, of course, is part of the reason it's so crucial that we turn out to vote en masse.
But regardless of the mid-term outcome, it's comforting to know that the Obama administration will be fortified and ready for the coming onslaught.

The GIANT Word: Why I'm Scared of Christine O'Donnell

"Obama: The Last Airbender" & other silly ideas...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two-Thirds Of Americans Support Raising Minimum Wage: Poll

Arthur Delaney writes for HuffPo:

Two-thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, according to a new poll. The federal minimum wage rose in 2009 to $7.25, which amounts to about $15,000 a year.

"This poll is yet another affirmation that maintaining a strong minimum wage is a core American value," said National Employment Law Project director Christine Owens in a statement. "Americans overwhelmingly support a minimum wage rate that will help working families make ends meet and provide the boost the economy needs for full recovery."

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute to plumb American attitudes on religion, values, and politics, found that 67 percent of respondents favor hiking the minimum wage to $10 an hour. Even a majority of Republicans -- 51 percent -- favor the higher minimum wage. But among people who identified themselves as belonging to the Tea Party, 50 percent oppose raising the minimum wage and only 47 percent favor doing so.

(Full Post)

This is a key issue for Dems. And one they are (as they should) going to really run with.
Pelosi's strategy of hanging this around the GOP's necks is one we should try to promote as much as possible.

One Nation Rally in Washington, a personal account...

Denise Oliver-Velez writes for Daily Kos:

Continuing the struggle

As I clear my head and think back over my impressions of the rally in Washington, I will take away with me images of the many young faces I saw there; on the buses, in the DC Metro, in the crowd, and as speakers on the program.

Not that there weren't plenty of middles and silver-hairs in the crowd.
But what gives me hope for the future was the engagement of youth. For they will continue a struggle begun before we were born and they will continue that struggle long after many of us who are reading here have passed on.

Black Kos's diary :: ::
I am not much of a photographer. Most of the time I forgot I had a camera with me, so I'm grateful that our Sister Blue Jersey Mom sent some of the pictures she took there too. Thank you BJM.

Hope some of you will share your pics too!

I started my journey to DC at 4AM on Saturday in Ulster county NY. I drove to the home of two of my favorite union organizers. One a former Black Panther Party Member, and one a former member of the Young Lords. They are married, to each other, and to the fight for change. Both now organize full time in SEIU-1199 because health care workers have been a core base of progressive fighters for many long years.

We drove through the dark to St. Lukes Hospital in the city of Newburgh in Orange County. A hospital that services a very poor, mostly minority but also white poor population; one of the most depressed areas in the Catskill region.

There was a convoy of buses waiting, filled with nurses, lab techs, dietitians, and maintenance workers. Many brought their children with them. It was not yet daylight when we pulled out, headed for DC to the sound of cheers in Spanish and English.

Our bus driver was young Dominican. My guess is he was in his mid-twenties. I got to sit right behind him for the next 6 hours, and we had an interesting conversation as we headed towards the turnpike. He is voting for Democrats, but was a bit disgusted with the inability of the Democratic Party to take a hard line progressive stance, pointing to the obdurate solidarity that Republican teabaggers espouse. He wished that we exhibited more of that unanimity - but towards moving forward.

But he told me he will vote. In spite of his criticisms. He said "any Latino who votes for the "Party of Racismo" is "loco".

The union bus captains took a roll call, and handed out sign-up sheets for folks traveling on the bus to sign up for the get out the vote efforts for the upcoming election. The travel time between NY and DC was not wasted in simply sight-seeing.

Our trip into DC seemed to take forever. We got stuck in a traffic jam caused by construction, near the beltway so by the time we rolled into the RFK stadium parking lot it was already after 12 noon.

There were lines and lines of buses as far as I could see, and as we streamed off the buses we were given detailed maps, a roundtrip metro pass from Stadium to Farragut West and had been given wristbands with the cell phone number of the Bus Captain and the bus number - in case we got separated.

In the stadium lot there were several huge tents and what looked like thousands of cases of bottled water, along with huge stacks of signs which we could pick up to take to the rally. Union members serving as Marshals directed us towards the walk in the hot sun to the Metro station.

(Full Post)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Seriously people? This is what we're losing to?

Christine O'Donnell Said In 2006 She Had Classified Information About China Plotting To Take Over U.S.

BEN EVANS | 10/ 4/10 05:56 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware said in a 2006 debate that China was plotting to take over America and claimed to have classified information about the country that she couldn't divulge.

O'Donnell's comments came as she and two other Republican candidates debated U.S. policy on China during Delaware's 2006 Senate primary, which O'Donnell ultimately lost.

She said China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America" and accused one opponent of appeasement for suggesting that the two countries were economically dependent and should find a way to be allies.

"That doesn't work," she said. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."

"A country that forces women to have abortions and mandates that you can only have one child and will not allow you the freedom to read the Bible, you think they can be our friend?" she asked. "We have to look at our history and realize that if they pretend to be our friend it's because they've got something up their sleeve."

O'Donnell's campaign didn't respond Monday to requests for comment.

At the debate, opponent Jan Ting countered that China has the potential to become a more democratic country and an important ally.

"I think our China policy has to be handled very carefully," Ting said. "We have the capability of making an enemy or a friend out of China."

When Ting challenged O'Donnell's claim about having secret information, O'Donnell didn't answer specifically but suggested she had received it through nonprofit groups she worked with that frequently sent missionaries there.

It boggles the mind that these mid-term races are so tight when the field of competitors is this frightening.
But this will be the reality if we do not turnout and vote in force in November.
Put aside the apathy and "liberal/progressive rage".
Put aside nitpicking a fledgling presidency.
If you refuse to act, we will doomed to repeat the Bush years several fold.
Theocratic fascism can and will happen here.