Monday, October 24, 2011

The Phony Post-Racist America of Herman Cain

There is something about the sight of a black man talking like a white Southerner from the 1950s.  Yes, that sounds like a harsh assessment of Herman Cain, but there is no other way of judging a person who says the things Herman Cain says.  You know something is wrong when an African American who lived through the civil rights movement, while freely admitting he never took part in it, spends his time talking about states' rights, the very concept used by the Dixiecrats of his era and state to rationalize opposition to the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act.  

If Herman Cain's worldview had won out in the 1950s and '60s, he would not be voting or running for higher office.  Whether he likes to admit it or not, he is a free rider and beneficiary of a social and political movement supported by the very forces he claims have "brainwashed" his own community.

This is not to say that one must be a liberal or leftist in all cases without being something like a 'traitor' (fill in community appropriate treasonous name).  Actually, I have worked with African American academics in the past who were fairly conservative, a more prevalent phenomenon than people realize.  It should be no more notable than being a white leftist (as I am), in a country filled with white people, especially white men, who are predominantly right-wing in their political orientation.

What I do not find acceptable is the notion that anyone joking with a white supremacist like Neal Boortz (a man who started his political career as a speech writer for Lester Maddox [the last open racial segregationist governor in the U.S.]) about having possibly been owned by Mr. Boortz's ancestors, as though there should be nothing funnier than the notion of a black person being owned by a white supremacist's family 150 years ago. 

What I do not understand is how anyone, black or white, can call himself a believer in a religion whose founder told us to love everyone, including our enemies, can publicly declare that under no circumstances would he ever employ a Muslim (imagine, Herman, if the boards of exec two decades ago at Godfather's Pizza had the same attitude about employing black people?). Again, I will let Mr. Cain speak for himself.

What I will never understand is how anyone, regardless of your race, can say that racism is not a factor in economic inequality in American life.  I write this as a white man (transplant) living in the South, it is noticeable down here as much as anyplace in the U.S.--something Herman Cain should know as a lifelong Southerner.  So, am I to believe the fact that black unemployment is twice as high as white unemployment, all of this is based solely on the inability of black people to find a job?  Until the 1960s most African Americans in the South were not even allowed to vote and were systematically cut out of housing and jobs by discrimination.  The residue of that still persists in this country today in our inner cities and rural areas, and even our suburbs.  Tell me, dear white readers, when was the last time you were pulled over for "fitting the description" of a crime suspect?  When was the last time one of our so-called brethren of a lighter hue experienced the opportunity to have 41 bullets unloaded into us for reaching for our wallet or just shot in the back, execution style, while being restrained (without cause)?  When was the last time you ever saw a white presidential candidate have his citizenship challenged (note, John McCain was born outside of the U.S.)?

Herman Cain knows all of this, or at least he should, since he is on the side of the people who claim that Barack Obama is a Muslim socialist/terrorist sympathizer from Kenya.

And for those who say I am being overly critical, I challenge you to ask Mr. Cain his view on the Confederacy and the Confederate battle flag, or about the efficacy of joking with the speechwriter for Lester Maddox about being owned by his ancestors, etc.  Cain knows good and well the Confederate battle flag was put on the Georgia state flag back in 1956 as a protest against the civil rights movement and the Brown v. Board of Education decision (a decision that, like the civil rights laws of the '60s, Cain was a beneficiary of).  You will probably not see Herman Cain talking about that issue anytime soon, unless compelled by reporters, because he is campaigning for the votes of people who support the Confederacy and Confederate battle flag, and who 50 years ago thought Mr. Cain should not be allowed to legally vote or sit next to them on a bus.  Doubt me?  Go to rural Georgia (Cain's home state), say Watkinsville, and ask a native 70 year old white man there his view of Atlanta or Detroit, and then listen to the response (which you already know will be coming).  Those are Herman Cain's voters.  

Is it any wonder he thinks black people are 'brainwashed'?  Long before Mr. Cain and his friends thought universal healthcare was a Communist plot, they thought something else was proof of America's leftist conspiracy against freedom and democracy.  Yes, civil rights.

And that is why in Herman Cain's world, a white Republican who goes hunting at a place with 'n*gg*rhead' inscribed on a rock, and calls him brother onstage at a debate is not racist, but a liberal comedian who makes fun of his campaign is.  And that is why Herman Cain is on the wrong side of history now, as his supporters (i.e., the opponents of the "negro Soviet republic" they deemed the civil rights movement to embody) were five decades before.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Wall Street Demonstrators

It is rare that a group of demonstrators in this country spark something in me that gives me a ray of hope.  Mostly because people in the U.S. are so utterly docile, it is very difficult to feel anything but despair and cynicism about the polity.  Then every once an awhile my fellow citizens will surprise me.  This last week has been a pleasant surprise.

To be sure, our beloved respectable fourth estate thinks the youngins' to be misdirected.  How dare they spend time going after the same people who gave us the greatest economic destruction in the past seven decades?  Here is that bastion of leftist bolshevism (according to the right), The New York Times:
Members retained hope for an infusion of energy over the weekend, but as it approached, the issue was not that the Bastille hadn’t been stormed, but that its facade had suffered hardly a chip.
That blurb in itself is enough to elicit my support.  

Here they are getting arrested and treated like criminals by the armed guards for our criminal business class.

Speaking of which, here is how the New York Times initially portrayed the mass arrest, before realizing that it made the mistake of telling the truth the first time.

What about the veracity of the critiques of the demonstrators from the mainstream, corporate-owned media (i.e., media with a vested interest, even the liberals, with protecting Wall Street)?  The one most bandied about by the respectables is that the demonstrators have no direction, no organization, no demands, and a lack guidance, and that it is just a bunch of young people letting off steam.  I wonder, dear readers, was this question ever thrown out to any of the business-backed teabagger demonstrators?  No, that never happened.  In fact, here is a New York Times article neutrally reporting on a teabag demonstration on Tax Day back in 2009.  Notice, from this liberal icon of newspapers, nothing about how they were unable to figure out the electoral demands of the demonstrators.  Of course, you could tell by when/where they were demonstrating, but I digress.   

How about the teabaggers who showed up at presidential speeches with firearms, threatening violence?  No, the media had a very different response to them.  In fact, since when was it a rule that demonstrators needed to have a five point political agenda with electoral demands?  Is it not obvious enough what they are demonstrating against by their presence?  Of course, they had the same response to the anti-war demonstrations back in the '60s.  

Then again, just envision what the response would be from Fox "news" if one of the demonstrators showed up on the doorsteps of Wall Street like this: guess is they would have called for the death penalty or a surgical strike from one of our drones.  Oh, but the kids lack direction in their demands.
All of us, every non-millionaire in this country, should be supporting what these demonstrators are doing.  They are not just getting arrested and brutalized by the thugs in the New York City Police Department.  They are laying themselves on the line for us and our future.  I cannot count the number of students I have seen graduate in the past few years working as barristas and entry level, minimum wage jobs (and those are just the ones working).  Just like in the UK and Tunisia, this world's governments are run by old people who are taking the futures of this planet's youth and relegating them to a lifetime of poverty and economic servitude, without a care in the world.  

Unless the people getting dumped on by their governments stand up and scream, from the rooftops, and on the streets, I can guarantee you that not a single one of those phony, do-nothing candidates will even pretend to care.  The system is broken, everyone can see it.  Our government represents the interests of the business class of this country, the sponsors of our politicians, like the Roman patritians of old.  These criminals run our economy and way of life with a gun to our heads, knowing that they can pull the trigger at any moment and finish us off, and then have the same government rob our futures and bail them out for their malefesceance.  There is probably not a single corporate executive for a Fortune 500 company who deserves anything less than a lengthy prison stay and transfer of their loot to the very people they have spent the past few decades pilfering.

Remember the 'too big to fail' banks?  The institutions, like Bank of America, we gave nearly a trillion dollars of tax monies to (all pure deficit spending)?  Now, that same Bank of America, not satisfied with stealing our money and using billions to give their executives bonuses on our dime, have decided to charge us an extra $60 a year to use our debit cards (i.e., we have to allow this capricious company to charge us $60 to have the privilege of taking out our own money).  Such believers in financial responsibility.

These folks are fighting our fight, fellow progressives (for that matter, anyone who is willing to read and think).  And the response of the thugs of the NYPD have had one positive affect.  It has led to the intervention of many of our members of the armed forces, including the Marines (with respects to

Semper Fi: Marines Coming To Protect Protesters On Wall Street
October 1, 2011

The thousands of indefatigable Wall Street protestors, risking their eyes and recording equipment against Wall Street’s personal jack-booted thugs in the NYPD, recently garnered even more support– the US Marines. That’s the type of support that may make an NYPD cop think twice before he decides to go all Tiananmen Square on a group of teenage girls, armed with chalk and cardboard signs (maybe it’s because they are spelled properly?).

The Occupy Wall Street movement may have thought it broke new ground when the NYC Transit Union joined their movement, but that ground just tipped the Richter Scale with news that United States Army and Marine troops are reportedly on their way to various protest locations to support the movement and to protect the protesters.

Here’s the message Ward Reilly relayed from another Marine, on his facebook page:
“I’m heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform. I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:I didn’t fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it’s Congress’ turn.
My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the Fucking Marine Corps first. Let’s see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets.I apologize now for typos and errors.
Typing this on iPhone whilst heading to NYC. We can organize once we’re there. That’s what we do best.If you see someone in uniform, gather together.
A formation will be held tonight at 10PM.
We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That’s what we will be doing.
Hope to see you there!!”
Kudos, Mr Reilly!Thank You for having the courage and foresight to see past the transparently false and empty patriotism perpetually touted by the defense skanks and petro whores in Congress in order to keep their campaign coffers filled to the brim. Meanwhile, your brothers and sisters suffer massive cuts and are forced to live with PTSD, with little if any help from the very government and country for which you have sacrificed so much. Thank you for recognizing this movement not as a bunch of screaming white liberal kids with Henna tattoos, but as a universal and profound rejection of the unchecked and undue influence the plutocrats on Wall Street have had on the decision-making in Washington. Thank You for your service, and thank you for seeing through all the mountains of bullsh#t being shoveled around the clock by the Koch Bros. puppets in Washington via their lapdogs in the media.

It’s safe to say to if Mr. Reilly and his fellow marines lend their voices, it could be a defining moment that gives the Occupation of Wall Street movement the just right amount of fuel it needs to catch fire. After all, it would be interesting to see the media ignore  NYPD cops pepper spraying decorated war veterans, assuming the donut marchers dared to even consider the notion of trying.
Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for affiliated Cagle. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you photos of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.


This makes even more sense than the students, when you think about it.  No one has been sold a bigger bill of goods than the people in our military.  Being sent off for several tours, fighting wars of preemption for no good reason, watching many of your friends die, and meting out numerous killings on others (while having PTSD issues ignored by your superiors and branch, under the false notion that only 'weak' people seek help), from all that our government has compelled these men and women to endure.  And for what?  So, the capitalists of this country can keep the sweeper on, sucking dry like vampires the middle-class into extinction, and subsidizing politicians who blame it all of gays and Mexicans.  No one has a greater interest in the future of this country than those who have most recently served it, and to those young men and women on those streets I wish I was near New York to join you.  I think this the happiest I have been in many a year.  You give all of us hope.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Assassinating The Constitution: The Murder of al-Awlaki

With the recent murder of Anwar al-Awlaki by the U.S. government, courtesy of President Obama, you would think that such a blatant disregard for our Constitution would be controversial and widely opposed.  Of course not.  This is how you can tell we are becoming increasingly a police state.  Few, if any, pundits, politicians, or people in the know even bother to publicly express that an accused terrorist, born and raised in the U.S., deserves the same right to a public trial (with presentment of evidence) that we afforded Charlie Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. 

Why?  After all, al-Awlaki was a Muslim of Arab descent, so you know most people on the right have no qualms about disemboweling him.  Because tomorrow it may likely be you, if you ever bother to dissent or oppose the actions of your government, that's why.

Credit to be given, because I do not pretend to be a fan of a person who thinks that the slaveholders were right in the Civil War, Rep. Ron Paul has been one of the few Congressional voices of reason on this issue.

The fact Paul would talk like that while running for President of the U.S. in the Republican Party, where candidates trip over themselves to love Jesus and hate Muslims more than the next person (just ask Herman Cain how many Muslims he plans on employing), that is no small thing.  It takes guts, and if nothing else I give the man his due for saying the obvious:  we are killing our own citizens without charge, based on a claim by an official without evidentiary offering, or public trial, on the notion that they deserve to die for being who they are.  This is an assault on our Bill of Rights and every one of our rights as citizens of this country.

How can one say that al-Awlaki ever was a terrorist?  What evidence does our federal government have?  Even if we assume that al-Awlaki was a spiritual godfather of the Fort Hood shooter, and inspired al-Qaeda converts, and was genuinely an unrepentant terrorist, what evidence do we have that he is guilty of these crimes?  Notice, you do not see too much offered by our government in that department.   Assuming they have evidence, why do we accept that our government would keep secret evidence that it supposedly has that one of our own citizens (born and raised in this country no less) is who they say he is?

And who is to say that if it is acceptable to have our government kill our own citizens without charge of any crime, and if it is OK to have 'enhanced interrogation' techniques (which it would not surprise me to find out that we are still using, in spite of what President Obama says), why not extend this to other groups of people?  Why not anti-Wall Street demonstrators?  It is not like the same federal law enforcement agencies had any problems with engineering the murder of Fred Hampton through the Chicago Police Department.  Why not just kill on sight anyone accused of being a violent criminal and just be done with the 4-6th Amendments altogether?  If killing Anwar al-Awlaki without anything resembling a trial is OK, we can have that discussion now, because it seems unlikely that our government is going to stop committing these kinds of crimes, and is almost certain to expand them.  Indeed, unless our courts step in and put a stop to it, this murder is just the beginning, the harbinger of only worse and even greater volume of abuses to come.  
You think not?  How many of you know that a good chunk of the employment pool for Google comes straight from the NSA in Fort Meade?  How many of our citizens know that our president has a hit list with other Americans on it, to be killed on his orders alone, without charge, without trial, without any respect for the rule of law?  How many of our citizens know that our government actually has a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act that allows the administration to do whatever it wants with regards to the law, and then not explain itself to us or even Congress?  And how many of our citizens know that our government can come into your home, without warrant or cause, take your property without telling you and get away with it (on the condition that you are a suspected terrorist [not according to any legal standards, but the subjective opinion of a non-legally trained bureaucrat])?

And to those deluded white conservatives who continue to live the dream that Obama is a Marxist-Leninist, ask yourself: do you not find it odd that Dick Cheney and George Bush Jr. praise Obama for what he has done in assassinating bin Laden and al-Awlaki?  That is hardly an accident.  They understand that your supposedly Islamist president is no different than any of you.  You just cannot own up to it.   Well, maybe you should ask al-Awlaki's family.  I am sure they could give you an earful.