Saturday, March 29

One Black Perspective on the Wright Discussion and Race

I'm writing today in response to this Diary:

Rev Wright and the White Observation of History which is a good diary, and a fair summation of how (some/many) white people may view the issues of Race in America and it's History.

The discussion was robust, but apparently now has some formatting problems in it's comments and can't be responded to.

I wanted to respond to this comment:

I see Wright engaging in the same bullshit, but from the opposite direction. The answer now isn't to tear down Jim Crow - that structure is long gone. What we have to do now is the profoundly unsexy, technocratic shit of improving education in inner cities, fostering development in urban areas, and making colleges affordable. IMHO, Wright's "get whitey!" rhetoric certainly doesn't help, and arguably hurts that effort.

We have to do all that, but "getting whitey" isn't neccesary.

Many white people may see the success of Tiger Woods or Barack, P-Diddy, BET or Hootie and the Blowfish and figure our dark racial past with hardcore discrimination has long ended. People like Pat Buchanan.

What is wrong with Barack’s prognosis and Barack’s cure?

Only this. It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, "everybody but the rioters themselves."


White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Just because we went from open oppression to only occasional oppression - like shifting from regular monday morning floggings to a being possibly blindsided every other fortnight on the evening news is not an improvement.

Welfare is not a "Payback" for Slavery, and even if it was - how long would it really take to payback 350 years of it?

Wright Discussion from "Real Time" Last Night.

Tavis Smiley makes a ton of great points, the fact that Dr. King's anti-Vietnam speech (Video) was just as incendiary as anything said by Rev. Wright. (Transcript)

Let me say finally that I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world. I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism.

At the time, King - who had been the darling of so many - was cursed and marginalized for speaking out, just as Wright has been.

But the real problem - and the core of the divide between black and white - is that it hasn't gotten "Better"

Yes, Official Sanctioned Overt Racism and Discrimination have been banned - but that doesn't mean that Covert Discrimination doesn't continue. And frankly, it's a lot more difficult to find, fight and stop something that's in hiding, than something that's out in the open.

Since Jim Crow ended we've had brutal racial murders such as James Byrd, and an overall rise in Hate Crimes (aka Racial Terrorism) predominantly against black people. Since Jim Crow ended we've had horrid racial specticle such as the OJ Trial, the Rodney King Beating and Riots, we've seen continual erosion of the voting rights act to the point that someone who openly used Racial Caging of African American Voters was able to secure a position as a U.S. Attorney, we've seen situations where the authorities excused the use of terror devices (hanging nooses) and intimidation (attacks with bottles and shotguns) which ultimately led one set of young black men - feeling they had little recourse but to take matters in their own hands and protect themselves - retaliated violently in Jena, LA, and left one young man nearly comatose, we've seen Driving While Black, Walking while Black and even having your city DROWNED and Abandoned While Black, we've heard about the "Nappy Headed Ho's" and the "MF-ing Iced Tea" we've seen the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department - the place that is supposed to protect the rights of the vulnerable - Purged of black and females attorneys showing they can't even protect themselves, let alone the rest of us.

None of this has gotten any better, if anything it's gotten worse - and less covert - than it used to be.

The difficulty has now come from identifying what is and isn't racism, and what you can and can't do about it. Since when it happens, it is done covertly, black people can sometimes point the finger of race too quickly (Duke) - but then there is also danger is ignoring it until it becomes far too large and powerful to deal with (Katrina).

We have a lot of work still to do, we will need to be very patient with each other as we try and do it. We have to honestly listen to one another, when blacks complain they've been profiled and harassed, they just might have a point - when whites complain they've been frightened and passed over for a promotion due to "diversity" goals - they might have a point too.

It's going to take Courage - the courage to take the chance that our worst fears about each other, just might have a kernal of truth to them in some isolated instances, but in the vast majority of cases aren't true at all. It takes being willing to ignore who the Crimes Stats tell you should be afraid of - it takes being willing to ignore every time you've been put down for not "speaking proper" in mixed company or having an experience or an opinion that others might find "extreme".

There's only one way out of this, and that's through it - together.


Tuesday, March 25

Cheney: Let them Eat Death

When confronted with the deep poverty and starvation of the French people due to a lack of bread, legend has it that Queen Regent Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen - allegedly stated "Let them eat Cake."

This week we may have discovered another neo-Regent whose callousness and insouciance makes that infamous utterance appear practically heartfelt.

When asked about the fact the nearly 70% of Americans Oppose the Iraq War - Vice Present Richard Cheney stated:


RADDATZ: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

Fluctuations? Fluctuations? Not according to Gallup.

Does this look like a "fluctuation" or a slow inexorable slide into hell?

Cheney statement prompted the following exchange in the White House Press Room.

HELEN THOMAS: The American people are being asked to die and pay for this. And you’re saying they have no say in this war?

PERINO: No, I didn’t say that Helen. But Helen, this president was elected...

THOMAS: But it amounts to it. You’re saying we have no input at all.

PERINO: You had input. The American people have input every four years, and that’s the way our system is set up.

No, Dana, actually the people also had input during the 2006 midterm elections, where Republicans - who overwhelmingly support th was - received a massive "thumping".

But I digress, back to Darth and his heartfelt response to the information that we have now lost 4000 soldiers in Iraq and how that has affected their families.

Cheney: The president carries the biggest burden, obviously. He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.

RADDITZ: "When you talk about an all-volunteer force, some of these soldiers, airmen, Marines have been on two, three, four, some of them more than that, deployments," Raddatz said. "Do you think when they volunteered they had any idea that there would be so many deployments or stop-loss? Some of those who want to get out can't because of stop-loss?"

CHENEY: "A lot of men and women sign up because sometimes they will see developments," Cheney said. "For example, 9/11 stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country."

Nice way to completely duck the question about STOP-LOSS, Dicky.

But sure, lots of people did sign up after 9/11 in order to go after Bin Laden! Unfortunately Bin Laden isn't in Iraq, he never in Iraq and our country didn't need defending against Saddam Hussein.

Last week the Pentagon released a report on Hussein and Al Qaeda.

On Monday, McClatchy reported that a "review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents" captured after the U.S. invasion "has found no evidence" that Saddam Hussein "had any operational links" with al Qaeda

We also found no nuclear materials or programs, no chemical weapons or programs and no plans to begin any weapons programs. Nothing. Nada. ZIP!

And as far as the President "carrying the heaviest burden" - he himself doesn't seem to think so.

I can only tell you what people on the ground, whose judgment — it’s hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you an assessment, firsthand assessment. I haven’t been there; you have, I haven’t.

And then there's of course the fact - and it is a fact - that resources we have dedicated to Iraq have hurt our campaign against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan- not that John McCain knows it.

"I know of no one who believes attention to Iraq at that point diverted our attention from Tora Bora," McCain said. ...

"We should have put more boots on the ground there to apprehend [Bin Laden]. Everyone agrees. But I have no reason to believe that because we urged attention to Iraq, it had any tactical effect on the battleground."

Which I guess means that Bob Woodward is "No One" since he reported that Bush and Rumsfeld began planning to attack Iraq - even before Tora Bora.

On Nov. 21, 2001, 72 days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush directed Rumsfeld to begin planning for war with Iraq. "Let’s get started on this," Bush recalled saying. "And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to." ...

Bush’s order to Rumsfeld began an intensive process in which Franks worked in secret with a small staff, talked almost daily with the defense secretary and met about once a month with Bush.

And how about Gen Franks what did he think?

"They were in the midst of one war in Afghanistan, and now they wanted detailed planning for another? Goddamn," Franks said, "What the f*** are they talking about?"

What the f*** indeed.

But here we are, five years later, and Cheney is still talk through his A**. Especially about Iraq.

In an interview with ABC News yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that President Bush "carries the biggest burden" of the Iraq war and even compared staying the course in Iraq to the pardoning of President Nixon.

    CHENEY: Thirty years later, nearly everybody would say it is exactly the right thing to do, that if he’d paid attention at the time to the polls he never would have done that. But he demonstrated, I think, great courage and great foresight, and the country was better off for what Jerry Ford did that day. And 30 years later, everybody recognized it.

    And I have the same strong conviction the issues we’re dealing with today — the global war on terror, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq – that all of the tough calls the president has had to make, that 30 years from now it will be clear that he made the right decisions, and that the effort we mounted was the right one, and that if we had listened to the polls, we would have gotten it wrong.

But Cheney also took time out to insult Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) for "announc[ing] that the solution in Iraq is to withdraw," calling them "wannabes."

Wannabes? For wanting to turn away from a purely military plan - which has gone on longer than the Civil War and World War II and has failed - to one of diplomacy. To a plan that recognizes the simple fact that invading and occupying Iraq was a tragic mistake. That buying peace with cash payoffs is a bad idea, especially when the check start to bounce. That our troops are nearing and passing the breaking point, which makes us far more vulnerable and weakened on the other fronts we have - particularly Afghanistan. A plan that recognizes that a strategic retreat is often the best course of action to ultimately win.

It's well past time we got past the mudslinging over former pastors and former visit to Bosnia with or without sniper fire and got back on the real subject, redirecting this country away from the failed ideology, failed poilcies and failed strategies of the Neo-Cons and move forward to true peace, and true victory.

Like Marie Antoinette's eventual grisly end, we need to cut off the Bush/Cheney/McCain Administrations head, and end these insane policies permanently.