Tag Archives: Jeremiah Wright

Millions murdered Trayvon Martin

These editorial cartoons pretty much sum it up, methinks.

I haven’t written much, if anything, about the Trayvon Martin case, since I usually don’t blog about incidents of shootings, stabbings, rapes, etc. unless they have a wider significance.

But the Trayvon Martin case, of course, does have a wider significance.

I don’t know which individual on that fateful night of February 26, 2012, in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, physically posed the larger threat to the other, the 17-year-old Martin, who was black, or the then-28-year-old half-Latino-and-half-white George Zimmerman. (Yes, in this case, the race of the individuals involved has mattered.)

But the indisputable facts are that Zimmerman had a gun and Martin did not, and that Zimmerman shot Martin dead.

The indisputable fact is that Zimmerman was playing cop in a gated community (those two words, “gated community,” speak volumes as to the sociological context of Martin’s death*), and that such vigilantism should be illegal in all 50 states.

There is a reason that actual cops, in order to become actual cops, in most instances have to demonstrate a minimum amount of intelligence and a minimum amount of psychological health: Because you don’t want morons and/or those who have head issues walking around communities with guns, playing cops.

And I can’t see that Zimmerman wasn’t racially profiling Martin: What’s a young black man doing in this gated community? (Let’s fucking face it: The No. 1 function of a gated community is to keep certain “undesirables,” who more often than not have darker skin, out and away from the wealthier and usually lighter-skinned denizens of the gated community.)

Oh, wasn’t that Zimmerman’s mindset? Would Zimmerman have pursued, with his loaded pistol, a young white man who was dressed as a preppy?

And once you have made yourself into a pseudo-cop, don’t you want to “have to” play the role at some point? So wouldn’t you be looking for such an opportunity?

Zimmerman was just acquitted in Martin’s shooting death, but, it seems to me, Zimmerman was guilty at least of manslaughter. In a saner and more just state, such as my state of California, Zimmerman most likely would have been found guilty of at least manslaughter, I surmise. However, the backasswards state of Florida (along with other backasswards states) allows yahoos to walk the streets with guns, and to use those guns to “stand their ground.”

That’s Wild-West bullshit.

Martin wasn’t pursuing Zimmerman on that night. Zimmerman, playing cop, was pursuing Martin. Zimmerman was acting offensively, not defensively. He wasn’t “standing his ground” against an unprovoked attack on his person. No, he was playing cop.**

The state of Florida, along with George Zimmerman, killed Trayvon Martin, along with the gun-nut lobby and, of course, the institutional racism that of course still persists and will persist in the United States of America for some time to come. Martin’s murderers number in the millions.

These “stand your ground” laws need to go, or at least need to be modified to make clear that you aren’t “standing your ground” if you are the fucking aggressor — especially if you are the armed aggressor against an unarmed (or hell, even armed) individual who has made no threatening advance toward you in public. (“In public” is key there; no, I do not assert that an individual does not have the right to defend his or her own home against an actual intruder, for instance, and for actual self-defense I do support the Second Amendment.)

For the reasons that I have just laid out, I support the NAACP’s and other black community leaders’ push to have Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, even though such an action probably would touch off a race-based firestorm, given that the U.S. president and the U.S. attorney general are black.

(President Barack Obama is conflict-adverse, however, perhaps especially when it comes to issues of race — recall that he quickly and summarily threw the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, all of whom are black, under the bus when they came under attack from the white-supremacist right wing — so I certainly don’t expect the Justice Department to file federal civil-rights charges against Zimmerman, regardless of how appropriate doing so might be.)

However, the seeking of justice for the very apparent race-based murder of Trayvon Martin needs to go waaay beyond George Zimmerman. It needs to encompass the entire state of Florida and every other state with the so-called “stand your ground” laws, which are a white supremacist’s or other racist’s wet dream: the opportunity to commit race-based murders while claiming self-defense.

If you believe that the U.S. Department of Justice should file civil-rights charges in the Trayvon Martin case, you can sign this petition and/or this petition. I have signed both of them.

*On that note, I very much look forward to the upcoming sci-fi film “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and written and directed by “District 9” creator Neill Blomkamp, whose 2009 “District 9” apparently was a statement on the white-on-black racism in South Africa.

From the previews, “Elysium” appears to be a bold statement on the direction in which the United States of America — as well as other nations, too, of course — with their haves and their have-nots, are going.

**A friend of Trayvon Martin, Rachel Jeantel, infamously testified that while she was talking to Martin on his cell phone shortly before he was killed, Martin reported that he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker.”

While I don’t know that I’d call George Zimmerman a “cracker,” as he looks Latino to me, and technically isn’t a “cracker,” I imagine that on the night of February 26, 2012, he indeed looked “creepy-ass,” pursuing his victim with a loaded pistol while playing cop. He probably looked crazed, because he apparently was.

And Rachel Jeantel, was treated horribly in the courtroom, was treated as though her English was not clear when it was quite clear if you actually just listened to the words that came from her mouth. Her mistreatment smacked of racism, and that the court allowed this mistreatment of her is yet another indication that there is a huge fucking problem in the state of Florida — and so that, again, it would be quite appropriate for the U.S. Justice Department to act on this.

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Burn your race cards, Obamabots!

Gee, I guess that I’m a big fucking racist for expecting more of Melissa Harris-Perry than her race-baiting article in The Nation.

All kinds of excuses have been put out there to cover for Barack Obama’s lackluster presidency:

He inherited a huge fucking stinking, steaming mess from the unelected Bush regime. The Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress have been fighting him tooth and nail, have been doing everything in their power to ensure that he is a one-term president, regardless of the damage that this is causing the nation.

These excuses are legitimate enough. Obama did inherit a huge fucking stinking, steaming mess. The Repugnican Tea Party traitors have done all that they can to cripple him.

But Obama won’t win re-election on excuses. I know of no president who ever won re-election based not upon his actual accomplishments while in office, but upon his making even a strong case that others were responsible for his lack of accomplishments.

And although he’s not responsible for what he inherited, the fact of the matter is that when the iron was red hot, Obama didn’t strike. While he should have come in with guns a-blazin’, Obama instead has used a drinking straw and spitballs. Timidly.

The result is that although he had both houses of Congress in his party’s control for all of 2009 and 2010, and when he had the nation’s good will for most of that time, Obama did diddly squat. Oh, he achieved health care “reform” — “reform” that the health care weasels gave their blessing to and “reform” that isn’t scheduled to kick in until 2014, for fuck’s sake.

Obama is guilty of having squandered spectacularly what probably will turn out to have been his one and only shot at making a big difference. He had his big opportunity and he blew it. Forever.

But no. The problem actually is that white liberals are actually racist.

That is the poisonous talking point that Nation writer and MSNBC talent Melissa Harris-Perry has injected into the national conversation. The title of her Nation piece pretty much says it all: “Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama.”

My God. (And I don’t even believe in God.)

Um, for starters, we white liberals didn’t abandon Obama. Obama abandoned us. Or, perhaps more accurately, he punk’d us from the very beginning, telling us what he’d figured we wanted to hear in order to get our money and our votes.

The main idea of Harris-Perry’s piece is that white liberals have been harder on Obama than they ever were on Bill Clinton because Obama is black and whites generally are harder on blacks than they are on other whites, that whites expect more of blacks than they do their fellow whites.

Certainly that phenomenon can manifest itself in some situations. Certainly racism continues in the United States of America, not only against blacks but also “illegals” and other racial minority groups. Certainly there is no “level playing field” in the United States. Blacks, kept down for generations, never had the wealth or other privilege to hand down from generation to generation, like many whites did, so the “level playing field” argument is bullshit.

Of course the majority of the “tea party” fascists are white supremacists and racists whose gatherings look and feel like KKK rallies. I agree 200 percent with Morgan Freeman on this. I’ve written about it many times.

But to pull out the race card on your allies?

Really?

So basically, to the race-card-carrying Obamabots, Barack Obama is beyond reproach. Anyone who has any problem with him must be racist. There can be no other possible explanation.

This is convenient for Obama and his Obamabots, of course. The race card in this case would serve as a perpetual get-out-of-jail-free card for Obama. He would out-Teflon right-wing icon Ronald Reagan, whose praises Obama can’t sing loudly or frequently enough. (You never heard George W. Bush worshipping a Democratic president, did you?)

Or maybe instead of calling it the race card, we should call it the race mace — you know, you hit someone over the head with a mace.

Anyone who even thinks of being critical of Obama will keep his or her mouth shut, lest he or she be clobbered publicly with the race mace.

You know, this is, in spirit, thuggery. This is, in spirit, terrorism (which I define, broadly, as the use of intimidation on others in order to get one’s own way). Oh, and it’s slanderous or libelous, too. It’s not much different, in spirit, from the right wing’s calling someone a Communist in the 1950s in order to silence him or her. Defamation is fun!

But the race mace doesn’t work on this white liberal.

As someone who has had black boyfriends, charges by people who don’t know me that I’m a racist fall off of me like water falls off of a duck’s ass. And as someone who gave Barack Obama hundreds of dollars and my vote in 2008 — not because I’m a guilty white liberal but because I truly believed that he was the best viable candidate — I really don’t need some race-mace-carrying terrorist calling me a “racist.”

Why did I give Obama hundreds of dollars and my vote? Well, most if not all of the money that I gave him for the 2008 cycle I gave to him during the drawn-out 2008 Democratic primary contest. Why? Because I wanted him, not Billary Clinton, to be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

Why?

Because I’d figured that a Billary Clinton presidency would be just like the first Clinton presidency. I didn’t want another sell-out, triangulating Democrat in name only in the White House. I wanted a progressive in the White House.

And although Obama and the Obamabots deny it now, Obama did offer himself up as the anti-Billary, as the true progressive in the race. “Hope” and “change” are about progressivismnot about maintaining the status quo or speaking softly and carrying a tiny twig.

Now, however, in Obama’s third year, many have speculated that he has governed even further to the right than Billary would have governed had she become president. Many have speculated that a President Billary would have smacked down the Repugnican Tea Party traitors in Congress, unlike the balls-less Obama, who stupidly only spoke about singing kumbaya with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors while their supporters portrayed him as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose, as a chimpanzee or a monkey, as a cultivator of watermelons on the White House lawn, etc. These aren’t people you try to play nice with. These are people you take down.

Comparing Bill Clinton’s presidency to Obama’s presidency is comparing apples to asparagus. I don’t need to go into the details of that — writers David Sirota and Joan Walsh (both “racist” white liberals, don’t you know) did a pretty good idea of deconstructing Harris-Perry’s bullshit thesis, and so I don’t need to do that here, but mostly, the economic times of the two presidencies are so different that it renders the comparison of the two fairly pointless.

Obama is not being judged by white liberals based upon the color of his skin, but based upon the content of his character. His character defects include his unwillingness to fight for those who put him where he is with our money, our time and energy, and our votes; his breaking one campaign promise after another; and his habit of throwing his former supporters under the bus when he finds it politically expedient to do so.

He threw the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, all of them, under the bus. As soon as the white supremacist fascists on the right started to attack these individuals, Obama just dropped them like flaming dog shit. That alone speaks volumes about his character. (To be fair and balanced, when Bill Clinton very similarly threw former surgeon general Jocelyn Elders under the bus, that was a travesty of justice, too. And again, I’d supported Obama over Billary to prevent that kind of thing from happening again. And speaking of the Rev. Wright, you really should read his recent interview with Chris Hedges. Wowser.)

The fact of the matter is that whether they like it or not, blacks need the support of us white liberals. Blacks can’t afford to alienate us en masse. They just can’t. Politics is a blood sport — not a kumbaya marathon — and you need as many players on your side as you can get.

(We gay people, too, can’t do it on our own. We need the support of heterosexuals. It would be incredibly fucking stupid of us to alienate those liberals who support us by claiming that in actuality they are
homophobes.)

What I’m saying is: Burn your race cards, Obamabots.

The president of the United States of America, whoever that is at the time, must be open to criticism from the left and from the right. No president or other leader should be exempt from criticism because of his or her gender, race or sexual orientation.

A leader should be judged for such things as his or her accomplishments — or lack thereof — and for his or her character. On these measures, white liberals (and black liberals and other liberals) have not judged Barack Obama unfairly.

To give Obama a break because he is black is as racist as is expecting him to outperform his white cohorts, although since there can be only one U.S. president at a time, and as every presidency is different because times change, Obama doesn’t have any true cohorts, and certainly not Bill Clinton, whom he at least tacitly promised us he wouldn’t be.

To support Obama primarily because he is black is as racist as opposing him primarily because he is black.

Ironically, those who so casually try to pin the slanderous or libelous label of “racist” on white liberals who dare to criticize the nation’s first black president are racist themselves.

I still love Melissa Harris-Perry, though. I’ve seen her on MSNBC and I like her.

Her Nation article and the shit that she has stirred up, though — not so much.

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Stop lynching Cornel West and hold Barack Obama accountable for once

 Harsh words: Professor Cornell West, seen here with then-senator Barack Obama on the campaign trail in New York, has turned on the president

So many black progressives have been thrown under Barack Obama’s bus (Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones, Shirley Sherrod, et. al.)  that the bus no longer can move an inch. Let’s not add the corpse of Cornel West (pictured above with Barack Obama when Obama was campaigning for the White House) to the under-bus body count.

Left-wing activist and scholar Cornel West is under fire for, among other strong statements, recently having called President Barack Obama “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats,” adding, “And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

I have no real problem with those words because I have no problem with the truth. The truth is the truth, even if only one person in a thousand (or ten thousand or a hundred thousand or a million or…) is willing to utter it in a sea of lemmings. (Or, as Ted Rall aptly calls Obama’s allegedly left-of-center followers, “Obamabots.”)

The only exception that I can take to calling Obama “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats” is that I don’t know that it’s necessary to emphasize “black.” A mascot of Wall Street oligarchs or a puppet of corporate plutocrats is a problem, regardless of the mascot’s or puppet’s race, sex, sexual orientation, religious orientation, age, etc.

Maybe West emphasized “black” because at least on some level he expects a fellow black man to be progressive, like he is. But, as West himself has acknowledged, Obama “[grew] up in a white context,” so “all he has known culturally is white.”

Because Obama is not the descendent of African slaves and because he was raised by his white mother’s family, it is unfair for descendents of African slaves, like West, to expect Obama to be a carbon copy of themselves*, and, it seems to me, because he is half white and half black, it always has been Obama’s own prerogative to embrace one half more than the other, even if he had a choice in the matter, but, given his upbringing, I don’t see that he had much of a choice. (Children don’t get to pick who raises them.)

My problem with Obama is that he has betrayed his progressive base. He made campaign promises — promises that I took seriously, not cynically, as in the assertion that all politicians make and then break their promises, and so you’re stupid if you believe otherwise — and then he systematically proceeded to break his promises, denouncing his left-wing critics as hopelessly delusional about political reality as he did so (and his “bots” dutifully, blindly follow his lead in that).

Obama promised “hope” and “change,” and because of his promises I gave him hundreds of dollars and my vote. But instead of “hope” and “change,” we still have an economy in shambles, we still hand over billions of dollars to corporate welfare recipients, and we still give the war profiteers billions of our tax dollars via the bogus warfare in the Middle East and elsewhere while the American empire rots from within here at home.

Oh, but we got Osama bin Laden! But that and a quarter won’t even buy us a Coke and a smile.

I don’t claim to agree with West on everything, because I don’t know everything that he has proclaimed, but I like him. I saw him speak here in Sacramento (where he was raised) some years ago, and I was moved by his talk about the black American experience to the point that I got tears in my eyes. (Unfortunately, I was one of the only white people in the audience, and maybe even the only one, and brother West was, for the most part, preaching to the choir; those who really should have been there, who really needed to be there, were not there. [But doesn’t it almost always seem to go that way?])

Yes, I consider Cornel West to be a brother, but I am concerned that perhaps he and I define the term “brother” differently. I consider someone who shares my progressive values and worldview to be my brother or sister, regardless of his or her race, age, sexual orientation or even religious orientation. As a fellow democratic socialist, I consider West to be my brother. But, because I am white, would West call me “brother”? I would like to think so, but I’m not certain.**

I can’t know what it’s like to be a descendent of black slaves, and I would never, like Bill Clinton or at least John Kerry did, insinuate that I, who although I’ve always been middle class was born into some degree of white privilege, truly feel black Americans’ pain. I have not walked in their shoes, so I cannot, and so I do not, make that claim. (Bill Clinton was called by many as “the first black president,” and Kerry once stupidly stated that he wanted to be “the next black president.” I find such faux familiarity to be disrespectful as well as false.)

Even if he would not call me “brother,” I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of throwing Cornel West under the bus like Barack Obama threw his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, under the bus, and then Van Jones and then Shirley Sherrod. I think that such rhetoric as that of Salon.com editor Joan Walsh (who was a staunch Billary Clinton ’08 supporter before she became an Obamabot) that West has had a “tragic meltdown,” not only is overblown but is deleterious to progressivism.

Walsh writes of “the unrealistic left” (which is, I surmise, akin to the Obama administration’s “professional left”) and proclaims:

I’m on record saying that despite my disappointments on the economic and civil liberties front, I support Obama’s re-election: He’s as progressive a leader as we’re able to elect right now, and if you have issues with him – as I do – it’s time to work to elect strong Democrats at the state and local level. I’m pro-Obama – and also pro-reasonable organizing efforts to push him left.

“[Un]reasonable.” “[Un]realistic.” These are interesting terms. Fucking fact is, Obama had the nation’s good will and both houses of Congress controlled by his party for two fucking years, and he squandered that rare opportunity to push through a progressive agenda.

For that alone he does not deserve re-election, but sellouts — Obamabots — like Walsh, who actually make such statements as “despite my disappointments on the economic and civil liberties front, I [still] support Obama’s re-election” since Obama is the lesser of the politically viable evils, are destroying what’s left of the left.

How can we actual leftists have “unrealistic” expectations when so-called “Democratic” sellouts like Obama don’t even try? How can you know what’s possible and what’s impossible to achieve, what is realistic and what is unrealistic, when you surrender from the very fucking beginning? The establishment Democrats almost always surrender before the game even begins. Meanwhile, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors roll out such radical ideas as decimating Medicare. Yes, they are stupid, but they’re bold.

As the Repugnican Tea Party traitors succeed in pushing the nation’s politics further and further to the right, Obamabots like Joan Walsh help the wingnuts by contributing to the rightward drift of the Democratic Party, which began under Bill Clinton, by excusing anything and everything that establishment/Clintonesque Democrats do or don’t do, simply because they use the “Democratic” label — and because these Democrats in name only are, the Obamabots assert, the best that we can do. (And besides, what do you want? A Repugnican president?)

That Barack Obama isn’t as bad as are the Repugnican Tea Party traitors who want to be president just doesn’t fucking cut it for me. He’d have to do much better than that for me to give him another penny or my vote again.

Obama’s new campaign in which you can buy a T-shirt or a mug displaying his birth certificate and the words “MADE in the USA” under his portrait —

— is clever, but the nation needs an awful lot more than more clever Obama campaigns right now, and on the heels of having been punk’d by the “hope” and “change” campaign, I, for one, am just not in the mood to fall for yet another clever Obama campaign. (Although if I were working on the Obama campaign, my snappy slogan might be something like: “Barack Obama 2012: Really This Time!”)

I suppose that I have to give props to Team Obama for finding a way to turn the pathetic and racist birth certificate bullshit into a fundraising campaign, but I cannot, in good conscience, give Team Obama even a penny, as clever as the new campaign is.

At some point this sellout shit has to stop. I, for one, don’t want to be responsible, even minutely, for its perpetuation — even by buying one of the clever T-shirts or mugs.

But back to brother West.

Let’s not make him into a scapegoat for the serious failings of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America. Instead, let’s continue to talk about identity politics versus political ideology and what roles they have and what roles they should have in rescuing the American experiment from the edge of the abyss.

As a gay man, for instance, while it would be great to have a gay or lesbian president, I’d much rather have a heterosexual president who actually is progressive than a gay or lesbian president who, like Obama, is too cowardly or too personally comfortable (or both) to pursue a progressive agenda.

Similarly, I’m not impressed by the mere fact that Obama is the first actual (half-)black president. There are plenty of wingnutty black men, such as (not in any certain order) U.S. Supreme Court “Justice” Clarence Thomas, recently booted Repugnican National Committee chair Michael Steele, former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (who delivered the pivotal state of Ohio to George W. Bush in 2004 much as how Katherine Harris had delivered the pivotal state of Florida to Bush in 2000), and presidential aspirants Herman Cain and Alan Keyes, and I’d never want any of them anywhere near the White House, not because of the color of their skin, but because of the content of their character. (On that note, I once saw Al Sharpton speak here in Sacramento [in early 2005, I believe it was], and I still remember his quip that “Condoleezza Rice [yet another black wingnut, as well as a war criminal] is of my color but is not of my kind.”)

The problem with Barack Obama isn’t that he isn’t “black enough.” The problem is that he isn’t progressive enough — and that he had promised to be progressive, but broke that promise.

That is the discussion that we need to be having instead of kicking around brother Cornel West.

P.S. I highly recommend the article on Cornel West by Chris Hedges that stirred the West brouhaha. It is here. In the article, Hedges quotes West as having said other things that are making people butt-hurt, such as that Obama “feels most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they want,” which to me more or less seems to be true, whether it’s considered politically correct or not, but Hedges also quotes West as having said other things that aren’t being repeated as much as are his “controversial” statements, such as

“This [Obama’s presidency] was maybe America’s last chance to fight back against the greed of the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, to generate some serious discussion about public interest and common good that sustains any democratic experiment.

“We are squeezing out all of the democratic juices we have. The escalation of the class war against the poor and the working class is intense. More and more working people are beaten down. They are world-weary. They are into self-medication. They are turning on each other. They are scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful.

“It is a profoundly human response to panic and catastrophe. I thought Barack Obama could have provided some way out. But he lacks backbone.”

and

“Can you imagine if Barack Obama had taken office and deliberately educated and taught the American people about the nature of the financial catastrophe and what greed was really taking place?

“If he had told us what kind of mechanisms of accountability needed to be in place, if he had focused on homeowners rather than investment banks for bailouts and engaged in massive job creation, he could have nipped in the bud the right-wing populism of the tea party folk.

“The tea party folk are right when they say the government is corrupt. It is corrupt. Big business and banks have taken over government and corrupted it in deep ways.

“We have got to attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful. It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream. In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire.

“I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties….”

Yup. This perhaps was our last chance to turn it around, and Obama thus far has only blown it. Ironically, West could have been talking about himself when he noted that the people “are turning on each other,” “scapegoating the most vulnerable rather than confronting the most powerful,” because right now they’re scapegoating West instead of confronting Obama, who apparently likes the presidency only for its perks. He certainly has no stomach for the hard work that a truly progressive president has before him or her.

Anyway, I also recommend Chris Hedges’ book Death of the Liberal Class, which is about “liberal” sellouts like Joan Walsh who in their cowardice, laziness, selfishness and hypocrisy aid and abet the right wing in the right wing’s destruction of the nation and the planet.

*West also remarked that “Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, [with] white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

“Deracination”? Is an identification with a history of slavery required to be considered to be black? Is Obama really required to identify with the descendents of black slaves when he is not such a descendent and was not raised by the descendents of slaves? Is this not demanding too much of Obama?

**West has referred to economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman as “brother Joseph Stiglitz and brother Paul Krugman,” and so I tend to believe that his definition of “brother” is about ideology, not race, but he also has referred to Obama as “brother,” yet rather clearly disagrees with Obama’s politics, so I am uncertain as to his own personal definition of the term.

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

Voters are suckers.

Even though Barack Obama has failed miserably to deliver upon his campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” voters still believe that there are political candidates out there who are going to change the status quo.

But corporations and the corporatocrats that run them and those who love the corporatocrats (a.k.a. politicians), not the voters, call the shots.

British Petroleum, for instance, was able to keep the federal government at bay until it became glaringly apparent that BP did not have its “little” oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico under control. It should have been the other way around, with the federal government telling BP what to do — right off the bat.

Only after the oily corporate environmental disaster became undeniably apparent did Obama feign anger at the corporatocrats who have filled his campaign coffers.

And we still have our perpetual war in the Middle East for the military-industrial complex, because without war, war profiteering isn’t possible.

It’s almost enough to make you miss George W. Bush. (Almost…)

Obama “threw [him] under the bus,” Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, recently wrote in a letter that he probably didn’t intend to become public.

Obama threw all of us under the bus, and the bus is leaking BP oil all over us.

Voters want to see yesterday’s primary election results as a harbinger of that long-promised-but-yet-delivered “hope” and “change.”

“Will the insurgents sell out?” The Daily Beast asks of wingnut Republican Rand Paul, the son of libertarian wingnut Ron Paul, who won Kentucky’s Repugnican U.S. senatorial primary yesterday, and Democrat Joe Sestak, who beat Democrat-come-lately Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. senatorial primary election yesterday.

My answer to that question: Of course they will.

But I’m happy about Specter’s defeat. There is a special place in hell for politicians like Specter and recently Repugnican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman who switch parties or become independents in order to save their political skins instead of upon principle.

And all of the fossils in the U.S. Senate (Specter is 80 years old) need to retire or to be retired by the voters, like Specter was yesterday. Who do they think they are? U.S. Supreme Court justices with lifetime appointments?

As far as “tea party” favorite Rand Paul is concerned, it would be bullshit to assert that as Kentucky (cue banjo) goes so goes the nation.

The U.S. Census put Kentucky’s white population at 92 percent in 2000. The state’s estimated 2005 white population was 91 percent. I don’t expect the 2010 Census results to be much different. Not exactly a diverse state, Kentucky.

And Kentucky went to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 and to John McCainosaurus (another U.S. senator who sorely needs to retire or to be retired) in 2008.

So it’s not surprising that white supremacist “tea party” favorite Rand Paul won yesterday’s Repugnican U.S. senatorial primary in a far-right, white supremacist state.

No one anywhere on the ideological spectrum should expect Rand Paul or Joe Sestak to bring about any “hope” and “change.”

We of all ideological stripes get punked every fucking election.

As long as the corporations continue to call the shots, we, the people, are just window dressing in this little pay-to-play charade that we call “democracy.”

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The Rev. Wright is right (again)

From The Associated Press today:

Hampton, Va. – President Barack Obama‘s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is blaming “them Jews” for keeping him from speaking to the president.

Wright, the former pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, said he hasn’t spoken to Obama since he became president.

“Them Jews ain’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office,” Wright told the Daily Press of Newport News following a Tuesday night sermon at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.

“They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is…. I said from the beginning: He’s a politician; I’m a pastor. He’s got to do what politicians do.”

Obama was a longtime member of the church but resigned from it and cut ties with Wright after videos surfaced during the presidential campaign showing Wright’s sometimes provocative sermons. Wright’s incendiary comment included shouting “God damn America” and accusing the government of creating AIDS.

In the interview Tuesday, Wright also criticized Obama for not sending a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism held recently in Geneva, Switzerland, saying Obama chose not to for fear of offending Jews and Israel.

Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing (by) the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel,” Wright said.

The White House declined to comment to the Associated Press [today] on Wright’s remarks. A phone message left by the AP at Wright’s home wasn’t immediately returned.

Politico follows up, reporting that Wright has clarified, “I’m not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I’m talking about Zionists. I’m talking about facts, historical facts. I’m not talking about emotionally charged words.”

My sentiments exactly. To criticize even the genocide of the Palestinians at the hands of the “victimized” Israelis is to be called an anti-Semite, and this bullshit has to stop.

So does the unchecked power that the Zionists have in Washington. As I noted earlier today:

A total of 14 U.S. senators, or 14 percent of the U.S. Senate, are Jewish; there will be 15 Jewish U.S. senators once Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race is finally decided, as both Democrat Al Franken and Repugnican Norm Coleman are Jewish. Jews comprise no more than 2 percent to 2.5 percent of the American population, yet they are wildly overrepresented in high political office. Two of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, almost a quarter of them, are Jewish. But nooo, American Jews are such powerless victims!

Not all powerful American Jews in Washington are Zionists, of course, but I wholeheartedly agree with Wright’s assessment that the Israel-first lobby has such a grip on Washington and on the White House that yes, indeed, President Obama skipped the World Conference on Racism in order not to piss off the Jews and Zionists who are so powerful in Washington.

(Wright’s assertion that “them Jews” — er, Zionists — are preventing his meeting with President Obama I am not nearly as sure of, but I don’t dismiss his assertion out of hand; I’d need to know more before I could decide one way or the other.)

No one who wants to be elected president of the United States would dare to piss off the Israel-first lobby, represented most prominently by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, whose logo shows how much in bed the Zionists are with the power elite in Washington:

Yes, that’s the Star of David, which is on Israel’s flag, mashed up with the red, white and blue of the American flag, symbolizing that the United States and Israel are one and the same. “Fucking presumptuous” would be to put it mildly.

The problem that the likes of Wright and I — who don’t have a problem standing up to the Zionists — have is not a matter of one’s religious affiliation or ethnic background. It’s not about the crazy neo-Nazi belief that Jews are inferior to any other group of people, like the majority of the Israelis seem to believe that the Palestinians are inferior to them.

It’s about THE ABUSE OF POWER IN A SO-CALLED DEMOCRACY.

When fewer than 3 percent of Americans are Jewish but Jews and Zionists hold as much power as they do in the United States, it’s time to examine how it came to be this way, what it means for the future of the American democracy that such a small group of people have gained so much power, and what, if anything, should be done about it.

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