Tag Archives: Shirley Sherrod

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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TIME’s lazy, unimaginative choice

TIME magazine cover of Barack Obama as Person of the Year 2012

TIME magazine’s having made Barack Obama its “Person of the Year” yet again (it first gave Obama that designation for 2008) reminds me of the ludicrously premature awarding of the Nobel Peace Price to President Hopey-Changey-Droney for 2009.

Not that TIME routinely is exactly creative or visionary in its naming of its annual “Person of the Year.” Winning a U.S. presidential election often if not usually is enough of an accomplishment/“accomplishment” for an individual to win the designation. Jimmy Carter won the designation in 1976 and Ronald Reagan did in 1980. Bill Clinton won it in 1992 and even George W. Bush won it in 2000 and in 2004 — and then, as I noted, Obama won it in 2008 and then again this year.

The Nobel Peace Prize selectors are a lot more creative — the only two U.S. presidents to win the prize during my lifetime (I was born in 1968) were Jimmy Carter in 2002 and, as I noted, Obama in 2009. (Well, Al Gore, who actually won the presidency in 2000, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, but he wasn’t coronated as president by the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court.)

I fail to see why, other than TIME’s lack of vision or creativity or imagination, Obama was named the magazine’s “Person of the Year” again this year.

I mean, TIME’s selection comes right as Obama apparently just handed over U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice’s scalp* to the KKK, headed by Grand Dragon John “Sore Loserman” McCain, so that the much more acceptable old white guy (John Kerry) can be made U.S. secretary of state instead, and as Obama apparently is poised to sell us out to the Repugnican Tea Party fascists on Social Security, and Goddess knows what other historic Democratic achievements the center-right DINO Obama will dismantle during his second term. (Surely Obama will be a progressive president in his second term, the Obamabots theorized. The gloves will be off! Yeah, right. I’m so glad that I voted for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on November 6.)

TIME’s 2008 designation of Obama as its “Person of the Year” I can accept. He not only beat Billary Clinton in the protracted Democratic presidential primary season, which was a political feat, but his election as the nation’s first non-white president was at least a milestone if not technically a great accomplishment.

But TIME’s 2012 designation of Obama is just fucking lazy.

True, Obama, given his dismal first term, is damned fucking lucky to have been re-elected. He promised “hope” and “change” but delivered more of the same. Instead of pushing through a progressive agenda when both houses of Congress were in his party’s control in 2009 and 2010, he squandered his once-in-a-lifetime political capital by trying to sing “Kumbaya” with the Repugnican Tea Party traitors — and thus his party lost the House to the “tea party” traitors in 2010.

Obama won re-election last month only because the Repugnican Tea Party dipshits incredibly stupidly nominated one of the most unlikeable people on the planet as their presidential candidate for 2012.

Multi-millionaire Mormon Mittens Romney is so freakishly unrelatable that even many if not most Repugnican Tea Party traitors had to hold their noses while they cast their votes for him (better the despicable white guy than the black guy again), so of course Mittens lost the so-called “swing vote.”

Obama didn’t win re-election because he’s so great, but because his opponent was so unbelievably bad, replete with telling his Richie-Rich donors on hidden camera in May that he already had written off 47 percent of the American people as being lost causes.

Fuck, make David Corn of Mother Jones magazine, who broke the “47 percent” story in September, the “Person of the Year.” He did more to win Obama re-election than Obama did.

Even TIME magazine’s editor seems to credit changing U.S. demographics to Obama’s re-election more than to Obama himself. Reports Reuters:

[TIME magazine] has tapped U.S. President Barack Obama for its Person of the Year for the second time, citing his historic re-election last month as symbolic of the nation’s shifting demographics and the rise of younger, more diverse Americans.

In announcing its annual selection [today], the magazine called Obama the “Architect of the New America.”

“He’s basically the beneficiary and the author of a kind new America — a new demographic, a new cultural America that he is now the symbol of,” TIME editor Rick Stengel said of Obama, who was also selected for the honor in 2008 when he became the nation’s first black president. …

Obama is the beneficiary of demographic changes and the resultant national cultural changes, to be sure — as well as he was the beneficiary of what Howard Dean built in his failed 2004 Democratic presidential bid (indeed, in 2008 Obama rode Dean’s wave right on into the White House) — but how, exactly, is Obama the “author” or the “architect” of these changes?

Um, aren’t national demographic changes a lot bigger than just one individual?

Barack Obama could fart or sneeze and it widely would be called a great fucking accomplishment.

Only in a dying empire, it seems to me, could this be the case.

*If you thought that Obama actually was going to defend a person of color from the lynch mob to the death, don’t feel too badly. I also actually thought that maybe this time Obama wouldn’t throw a person of color who is under attack by the white supremacists under the bus, but, of course, just as he did with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Van Jones and Shirley Sherrod, he apparently tossed Susan Rice right under those big wheels.

Because he’s a man of character and courage, you see.

Let’s make him the “Person of the Year” every year!

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Andrew Breitbart goes to hell

FILE - In a Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009 file photo, Andrew Breitbart attends a news conference, at the National Press Club in Washington. Breitbart, who was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner and former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, died Thursday, March 1, 2012 in Los Angeles. He was 43. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

Associated Press photo

Wingnut Andrew Breitbart died today, and I celebrated the news. (The racist, right-wing fascist is shown above in October 2009.) Breitbart and I had some things in common — he was a white man with blue eyes, and so am I, and he keeled over at age 43 (I’d thought that he at least was pushing 50), while I just turned 44 yesterday — but that’s all that he and I had in common.

Why do people act as though people who were major assholes in life suddenly somehow become angelic in death?

Wingnutty slanderer and white supremacist Andrew Breitbart, whom I always thought of as Archie Bunker Jr., was a piece of shit who, long before he reportedly died this morning, should have donated his organs to someone else who could have made much, much better use of them.

Breitbart kicked the bucket just a day after my birthday, but it was a great belated birthday gift nonethless; truly, when I read the headline this morning, I was elated. Breitbart and his kind seldom seem to die young, but seem to live forever, fueled by their spite (Pope Palpatine comes to mind).

When evil people like Andrew Breitbart do die young, it’s a boon to humanity. Statistically speaking, Breitbart could have lived to do even more damage for more than the next 20 years.

Andrew Breitbart was not, as Texas Gov. Prick Perry said of him, a “mighty warrior!” (Sarah Palin also called Breitbart a “warrior.”) Breitbart was a fucking liar and a fucking coward, a self-serving race-baiter and scandal-monger without whom the world is much better off.

Breitbart’s crimes against decency and morality were many, but probably his worst crime was his selective editing of the video of a speech that former U.S. Department of Agriculture employee Shirley Sherrod gave at an NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010.

Breitbart’s selective editing of the speech made Sherrod, who is black, look like an anti-white racist, when, in fact, her speech was about the evil of all forms of racism. Sherrod, who knee-jerkedly was fired by the beyond-pathetic Obama administration before she had received anything like due process — the Obama administration, apparently terrified of being accused of favoring black Americans, loves to throw black Americans like Sherrod and Van Jones under the bus at the very first whiff of a hint of an impending lynching by the KKK — sued Breitbart for defamation last year. The slanderer croaked before the defamation suit could run its course through the court system.

Breitbart was also known for having brought the world lurid images of former Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned as a result of the petty sex scandal that should not have been the end of his political career. (Weiner did nothing illegal, and the matter was between him and his wife, but the craven Democrats [well, DINOs] in D.C. couldn’t distance themselves from him enough. This was yet another instance of Democratic caving in to the right-wing fascists.)

Those are the two things that Andrew Fucking Breitbart was most known for: slandering Shirley Sherrod as a whitey-hating racist and exposing Anthony Weiner’s wiener. Yeah, that’s the stuff of a “mighty warrior!”

Really, if Prick Perry and Sarah Palin are praising you, then you are one fucking worthless asshole.

Had Andrew Breitbart fought to improve the lives of the many, instead of to aggrandize himself, if he had fought the plutocratic powers that be instead of helped them to carry out their agenda in which the filthy rich few benefit at the expense of the many, then we could say that he was a “mighty warrior,” but again, he was no such thing; he was a pathetic fucking coward.

And before you leave some stupid fucking, wholly predictable comment slamming me for “speaking ill of the dead” or the like, know that Wikipedia notes that “In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, Breitbart called Kennedy a ‘villain,’ a ‘duplicitous bastard,’ a ‘prick’ and ‘a special pile of human excrement.'”

Some “mighty warrior,” indeed. Andrew Breitbart in death deserves no better than what he gave in life.

And, unfortunately, it’s not just his fellow KKK members who are proclaiming nice things about Breitbart. The hypocritical millionairess Arianna Huffington, the pampered princess who fancies herself a progressive who stands up for the little guy against the “pigs at the trough” even though she raked in millions of dollars on the backs of unpaid writers for her website The Huffington Post, gushed:

“I was asked many times this morning for my thoughts on what Andrew meant to the political world, but all I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together — his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I’m thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now.”

Fuck you, Arianna. You could have just kept your mouth shut. (Many if not most evil people throughout history have had families — that simple fact doesn’t make them and their deeds any less evil.)

That Huffington calls Breitbart a “friend” — indeed, I think, we can judge people by the company they keep.

Anyway, now, if James O’Keefe would just die…

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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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Sherrod says she’ll sue Breitbart; racist wingnuts keep lynching her

Shirley Sherrod, who recently was lynched by the right-wing “media,” says she “definitely” is going to sue lying right-wing racist blogger Andrew Breitbart for defamation.

The response of the racist right wing (redundant) to Sherrod only further proves their racism.

Presumably, Breitbart’s stance remains that his heavily altered video “proving” that Sherrod actually is a “racist” (when, in fact, she was talking about racial reconciliation in her speech) was “not about Shirley Sherrod.” (He just told the world that you’re a racist, Shirley, but don’t take it personally!)

“Andrew Breitbart is going to be fine. He’s done nothing wrong,” Politico quotes assbite Brent Bozell, president of the wingnutty Media Research Center, as having huffed and puffed. “I wonder if Ms. Sherrod, who is such a champion of transparency, will publicly disclose who is putting her up to this. And I also hope this champion of honesty will stop lying about Fox News. I’m also waiting for Ms. Sherrod to publicly apologize for accusing anyone opposed to nationalized health care of being racist. Last time I checked, that was more than half the country.”

Uh, when did Sherrod ever say that those who stupidly oppose health care reform, like the chickens pledging their allegiance to Colonel Sanders, are racist? She didn’t. So that isn’t just a stretch — it’s just a fucking lie. So Brent Bozell is a fucking liar. He continues the lynching of Shirley Sherrod by spewing forth even more fucking lies about her.

And I love Bozell’s assertion that someone “put” Sherrod “up” to suing someone who clearly defamed her.

Because a black woman, you know, on her own, just wouldn’t have the brains or the courage to sue someone when she has been wronged. It must be a vast left-wing conspiracy. There can be no other explanation!

Sherrod also says that she quite understandably refuses to go on Faux “News.” I never would go on that Fascist “News” Network, either. Nor would I attend a KKK or “tea party” gathering. There are just certain low-lifes with whom I never voluntarily would associate.

Anyway, I hope that Sherrod sues and wins a huge chunk of change from Breitbart. But I would fully expect his fellow Klan members to help him out with donations in that event.

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Why can’t Obama get any love?

Obama asks Senate to pass small business jobs ...

Reuters photo

A beleaguered President Barack Obama called a last-minute press conference in the Roosevelt Room of the White House yesterday afternoon after a self-induced politically disastrous week. Meanwhile, Obama administration betrayee Shirley Sherrod says that she’s still deliberating whether she will return to the Obama administration or whether she could be a more powerful and more effective agent of hope and change from outside of the administration. (I hope that she chooses the latter course of action, that she writes a book and goes on a lecture tour, perhaps.) 

Rachel Maddow (whose stuff I should watch more often) has a piece on how President Barack Obama just can’t get his legislative and other accomplishments acknowledged. She notes that the Beltway has dubbed this phenomenon “the Obama paradox.”

Eh. It’s not rocket science. Let’s look at the pieces of it:

Obama never was going to get and never will get the support of the Repugnicans, something that he knew or should have known even before he was inaugurated. Not only is he a Democrat (at least titularly), but he isn’t a white man. Two strikes and he’s out.

I’m not sure whether Obama’s (rather lame) attempts at bipartisanship were naive or whether they were political kabuki — that is, he knew that he’d never get any significant bipartisan support, but he figured that he’d better put on a good show of trying for it.

Also, because they’ve coined “the Obama paradox,” I’ll coin “the Bush effect.”

“The Bush effect” is the phenomenon in which the president who preceded you was so fucking awful that the presidential bar has been lowered all the fucking way to China. Therefore, in order to be perceived as anything near a Lincolnesque or Washingtonian president, you pretty much have to raise the dead — or at least heal the blind.

Then, there is this phenomenon in which, because American standards have dropped so low, too many Americans want praise and special recognition for just doing their jobs.

This, of course, ties in with the Bush effect, but the fact is that Obama has just been doing his job. (Minimally, that is; the legislation that he’s been able to pass has given too many concessions to the corporatocrats and has not been progressive enough.)

Obama is supposed to lead the nation in a way that benefits the most number of Americans. That’s the job of the president of the United States. (If the POTUS is a Repugnican, then the job description changes: the Repugnican POTUS leads the nation in a way that benefits the richest.)

For Obama to brag about just doing his job is pathetic and sad.

And then there are the Obama administration’s fuckups. The Shirley Sherrod debacle, most recently and perhaps most notably.

As Maddow recounts, Obama yesterday added an unscheduled afternoon appearance before the press corps to recap his legislative accomplishments of the week.

However, even that was a tactical mistake — it only served to underscore the fact that his administration had fucked up royally by knee-jerkedly throwing Shirley Sherrod under the bus at the very first whiff of the approach of the right-wing, white-supremacist lynch mob.

To betray your own supporter, to sell someone who helped to put you where you are down the river — can you go lower than that?

Maybe we should start calling him Judas Obama. (If he kisses you, be afraid — be very afraid.)

Obama’s refusal to dance with those of us who brought him to the dance — we liberals/progressives (I gave him hundreds of dollars [primarily to knock DINO Billary Clinton out of the primary, admittedly]) — has made us disgusted with and deeply disappointed in him.

So Judas Obama gets no love (and never was going to get any love) from the Repugnicans and their “tea-partying,” cross-burning ilk, and because he has betrayed us after snookering us with his promises of “hope” and “change,” he gets no love even from us progressives.

That leaves him only with the “swing voters,” whom I prefer to call the dumbfuck voters.

And they wouldn’t know a competent president from their bungholes. They still believe that George W. Bush legitimately was elected as president in 2000 and that Saddam Hussein orchestrated 9/11 and had weapons of mass destruction, for fuck’s sake.

So Obama’s only potential allies, that I can see, were those of us on the left.

And he has burned us.

Repeatedly.

Obama finally seems to maybe have something-like-sincerely acknowledged the errors of his ways, but this far into the game, my sense is that it’s probably too little, too late, and that his latest appeal to liberals (which he made just today) rings among the vast majority of us as hollow.

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