Sunday, September 18, 2011

Obama and Axelrod Living in a Dream World of Political Plenty

David Axelrod, President Obama's chief political adviser, has achieve the seemingly impossible, by navegating to elect the US's first Black president and by ending the 43-term white male monopoly of the United States presidency.  However, he seems to be living in a fantasy world as President Obama's first term plays out and his re-election campaign gets going, like a car that has been up on cinder blocks for three years.

The Washington Post reported:
Obama campaign officials have rejected descriptions of wholesale disenchantment on the left, but they are following a two-pronged strategy: Play down the disappointment in the media, and pay added attention to the groups that are complaining. In a memo Friday, senior strategist David Axelrod said Obama’s support among key groups remains solid.
Here is a quote from Axelrod, followed by my bullet points of disagreement.  Axelrod told the Washington Post:
“Despite what you hear in elite commentary, the president’s support among base voters and in key demographic groups has stayed strong,” he said. “The base is mobilized behind the president.”
Axelrod is smart, perhaps to say this, but a fool if he believes it.
  •  Blacks' unemployment rate and the poverty rate, led by Blacks, has increased to a fifty-year high under Obama's presidency, which leads to the conclusion that, whether with a Democratic Congress or a Republican one, President Obama simply isn't up to the job for which this base constituency sent him to Washington.  The President says that he will not direct programs toward Blacks, but rather toward everyone who is "hurting."  Everyone who is unemployed and living in poverty is hurting and President Obama has done nothing prevent the chasm he found when he came to office from turning into an abyss.
  •  President Obama's base has not been mobilized since Election Day 2008.  On issue after issue when he could have called his supporters into the streets to bang on pots and pans, he instead "negotiated" with Republicans and the right-wing of the Democratic Party,  and then capitulated on issues of central importance to the American Left and Blacks.   He capitulated to the insurance companies by not insisting on a Government Option insurance plan that all in America could participate.  In doing so, he effectively left the cash register, credit card swiper and insurance bureaucrat entrenched in the interface between the public and health care providers.  That's not change you can believe in.  That's buggery that only insurance executives and their hand maidens in the US Congress can believe in.
  • President Obama was elected with a strong mandate for change.  Although there have been some technical changes, like rights for gays in the military and for women to sue employers when they have been short-changed based on their sex, most of Obama's changes have been . . . forgetable.
  • By announcing that he is mobilizing his base, Obama is tacitly conceding that he ignored and sidelined his base for three years.  He still has a Rolodex, but it has been gathering dust, while many of the names in it represent people who are disillusioned and not motivated, much less mobilized.  President Obama won the Office with massive campaign rallies, but he seems not to have organized any behind the Public Option or behind any of this other initiatives.  For example, Obama may find that many of the students who voted for him from their college dorms are now back living with their parents and not even registered to vote.  With the high unemployment among the young and particularly Blacks, and with Obama unable to offer a credible solution, these voters may not have the energy to vote in 2012.
  • The Left is disenchanted.  We are tired of the endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and with the list seemingly growing by the day.  We are concerned that if the President can send drones and fighter jets to Libya without consultations, then maybe he will secretly do the same thing in Venezuela.  If not, then why does he need seven new military bases in neighboring Columbia?
  • The first bank bail-out organized under George W. Bush, was arguably not Obama's fault, although he could easily have opposed it.  But the hundreds of billions of dollars that flowed afterward are squarely on Obama's shoulders as he meets the voters who lost their houses while the banks were being bailed out.
  • Inexcusably, Obama has billions of dollars already allocated by Congress to bail out those whose houses have been in foreclosure since Obama took office.  Instead of helping those people, Obama listened to the most punitive of right-wing moralists who argued that people who took bad risks shouldn't get help from people who took good risks.  Apply the same principle to auto insurance and no one gets their damages repaired by their own insurance company or anyone else's if they were arguably (but not demonstrably) at fault when their bad luck befell them.
Frankly, I'm sick and tired of President Obama and his banking and finance economic guru-zillas.  I wish Hillary would challenge him, arguing that she could do what he failed to do.  But, Blacks would probably still support Obama, perhaps with even greater energy and Hillary might fail, after spending hundreds of millions of dollars that the Democrats need for the General Election.

So, those of us who intend to vote at all will be forced to support Obama as the alternative to his even worse Republican opponent.  But, one has to ask himself the following:
  • Would a Republican president have or continued as many wars as Obama?  It's hard to imagine how any of them could.
  • Would a Republican president have effectively pardoned the war crimes of George W. Bush, his vice president and those in the Defense Department and CIA who participated in war crimes committed by a Democratic Administration? 
  • Would any other administration see such rampant fraud in the mortgage industry and trading, without massive investigations, a federal grand jury and some indictments?
  • The Left wanted at least some truth and justice commissions and what we got instead were blanket defenses of unpardonable sub-prime mortgage fraud and torture, here and there, under color of law.
  • Would a Republican Administration have fired someone with the creativity, energy and acuity of Van Jones, just because Democrats were grumbling about a chief Republican strategist?  Karl Rove stayed on even though he was reviled by Democrats and feared by Republicans, and hadn't graduated from college?
In 2012, I will vote against Obama's opponent, but I'm not sure that others will bother to do so and I'm not sure it makes any difference.  Could the poverty rate have been higher under a Republican administration?  It never has been since the Great Depression.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mr. President, Get Your Veto Pen

Today, I received a frank e-mail from Democrats Abroad/Guatemala, saying:
The Tea Party capture of the Republican majority in the House has led to an endless series of efforts to emasculate the Federal Government. And, this warfare against constructive Federal Government is certain to resume as soon as the Congress returns to Washington at the end of the month.
Remind me if I'm wrong, but the Tea Party and the Republican Party have not passed a bill that the President didn't subsequently sign.  It seems that there is no bill too ridiculous for the President to put his name on it.  Likewise, there is no bill so obscene that the President would consider vetoing it.

The President should ignore what the Congress does, except to say that he will veto anything obscene (e.g. cuts in Social Security benefits, medical safety net programs and pensions for those who have served in the military.  The President must announce that, by virtue of the US Constitution, it is HIS obligation to make sure that harmful, dangerous or obscene bill turn into law, by virtue of his veto pen.  If there is nothing that President Obama cannot accept, then President Obama stands for nothing at all.

Is the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation Excluding HBCU’s From Research?


by L.N. Rock

According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes as 3.7 million or 14.7 percent of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes. In addition:

-African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes as non Hispanic whites
-25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.
-1 in 4 African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (the Association) is a not-for-profit voluntary health agency that works to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. In October 1994, the Association’s Board of Directors established the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc. (the Foundation), as a subsidiary of the Association. The objective of the Foundation is to fund diabetes-related research leading to the prevention and cure of diabetes, the prevention and cure of the complications of diabetes, and new and improved therapies for individuals affected by diabetes.

Get this, the Foundation is exempt from income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (the Code) and charitable contributions to the Foundation qualify for charitable tax deductions as described in the code. The Foundation has been classified as an organization that is not a private foundation under Section 509(a) of the code. Even though they appear to have a bias against HBCU’s and black researchers. More on this later…

Research grants awarded by the Foundation generally extend over a period of one to three years, subject to renewal on an annual basis.

Upon investigation and review of the financial reports and records, this writer has found that Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been totally left out of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc ward process as selected grantees.

Compared to the general population, African American researchers and HBCU’s are not receiving grant research dollars from the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation.

As an example, the Foundation provided over $33 million in research grants in 2010 without one gong to a HBCU. If one looks at their annual reports for ADA 2009 Research Foundation Financials and 2009 IRS Form 990 you will see the same challenge in the 2008 IRS Form 990, (check out the grantee database for information on ADA-funded research grant awardees), 2007 IRS Form 990 and 2006 IRS Form 990, no black awardees, no HBCU’s researchers

In other words the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation, Inc has not awarded not one research grant to HBCUs, even with the high incidence of black Americans with diabetes.

It is clear to this writer that the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation is saying that it has no interest in developing a strong research relationship with HBCU’s in relationship to issues of research related to the prevention and cure of diabetes, the prevention and cure of the complications of diabetes, and the development of new and improved therapies for individuals affected by diabetes.”

Although the ADA Research Foundation asks Americans to make a donation to the American Diabetes Association to help fund leading-edge research that affects the health and well-being of millions of people living with diabetes. It’s clear that funds are being awarded to friends and pals of the Board of ADA, and HBCU’s are being left out of the grant awards.

This should be no surprise. Rob Stein over at The Washington Post just reported on how Black scientists are significantly less likely than white researchers to win grants from the National Institutes of Health, according to an audit released Thursday that confirmed disturbing suspicions inside the agency about a lingering bias against African Americans.

Who said education is the great equalizer? When it comes to color aroused bigotry, it makes no difference if it’s NIH or the American Diabetes Association Foundation; color continues to play a factor in the way we address research of diseases in this country, particularly as it relates to African Americans.

It’s too bad for America, too bad for those with diabetes, and too bad for HBCU’s and black researchers.

L. N. Rock is a management consultant, Democratic strategist, and 2008 credentialed blogger at the Democratic National Convention. He blogs at African American Pundit.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Obama's CIA Efforts Wildly Successful in Middle East and Africa, but He Still Can't Be Re-Elected


With rebels entering and apparently capturing Tripoli, the capital of Libya, (on the south side of the Mediterranean Sea, and on the north coast of Africa, President Obama will have one more notch on his belt when he debates Republicans over foreign policy.  President Obama can (probably quite truthfully) assert that his Central Intelligence Agency's efforts were essential to regime change in Libya, but it was not possible to publicize these efforts at the time, lest Quaddafi use US interference to undermine Libyan public support for the "freedom fighters" (oops, "rebels").

President Obama can tick off a list of countries in which regime change has occurred or is the process of occurring.  I, frankly, cannot remember them all, so long is the list.  If President Obama is smart, and I believe that he is, he will neutralize and even win over some Independent and Republican foreign policy hawks by pointing to the success at Middle East and Africa regime change that Obama has presided over during his presidency.  Arguably, these changes are second only in importance to fall of the Soviet Union during Ronald Reagan's watch, and Obama will surely point that out.

President W. Bush (and candidate John McCain and his advisers) made no secret of their desire for regime change in various in the Middle East and Africa.  Neo-conservative foreign policy visionaries (once believed to be hallucinatory) can only be ecstatic with the "Freedom Spring" in the Middle East and North Africa, or whatever the US-supported and trained "freedom fighters" (excuse me, "rebels") are calling it.

So, even as Republican Presidential and Congressional candidates criticize Obama on domestic economic policy, they will be compelled to acknowledge the dramatic and (to them) highly desirable change in regimes in various countries in the Middle East and Africa.

For example, if the President of Syria leaves office, Obama can claim a major behind-the-scenes role.  If he doesn't leave office President Obama can insist that it's only a matter of time, and recently history makes this claim credible.

In spite of the likelihood of a number of failed states as a result, considerable violence and some civil wars in which "regime derailment" has occurred but "regime-change" (to another solid regime) has faltered, (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan,  and what was the other recent one?), Obama can claim that democracy (otherwise known as the US's unfettered access to oil, supply routes and markets) has been achieved in an astounding array of countries under Obama's watchful manipulation of CIA assets in the various countries.

(In fact, a lot of people are checking with the Truth About Kos blog to see if Warren Weinstein, who worked with US-AID, and was a US contractor in Pakistan when kidnapped recently, might also be a CIA agent or asset.)

It is well-known that the US Government and USA "democracy-oriented" non-government organizations have been training citizens in countries across the Middle East and Africa to take part in just the sort of non-violent civil resistance (followed by violent challenges to governments) that has been occurring.  As US Election Day 2012 draws near, Obama's CIA spokespersons will speak out proudly about some of the CIA/USAID dots that only conspiracy observers such as myself have seen as highly probable or obvious all along.

And hasn't Obama attacked Libya with drones and then direct air strikes, under the cover of NATO?  Obama may have presided over a lousy and worsening economy that will be at its lowest point on Election Day 2012, with the largest transfer of wealth from the population and the people's Government to the banks and brokerage houses of the rich in the history of America, but no one can doubt his willingness to use force in ways that minimize US soldiers' exposure and also minimize the overt appearance of meddling in foreign countries' internal politics, in order to achieve neoconservative foreign policy goals, but without being seen within these countries as the rebels' puppet master, even when the US is the rebellion puppet master.

Give Obama a "ten" on regime change and expert use of US forces in the Middle East and Africa. I am unalterably opposed to all that he has done, and I do not agree that he and other unseen US forces and organizations have the right to do as they have.  But, they have succeeded at the neoconservatives' expressed foreign policy goals, and that is what counts in American foreign policy debates.

However, let's recall that George H. W. Bush (the first Bush) won the first Gulf War and then lost the 1992 Election (in far less seriously economically disastrous times), because people just didn't believe G.H.W.B. had the awareness and determination to deal with America's economic malaise that Bill Clinton did.

Don't compare Obama with Jimmy Carter, because Obama has been far more successful in foreign policy.  Instead, compare Obama to George H.W. Bush, who lost his 2002 re-election campaign because Americans just didn't feel confident about G.H.W.B's awareness of the need to improve the economy and his ability to do it, as compared to the proposals and energy of Bill Clinton.

If President Obama is fortunate and tends to his international interventions carefully, he will still be a "war president" on Election Day 2012.  With an abominably lousy opponent who embarrasses the Republican Party (as McCain and Palin did in 2008), Obama could win.

Personally, I would prefer that he bow out and bring Vice President Hillary Clinton to the fore as the Democratic Party's candidate.  Victories in the Middle East do not pay our mortgages, save our homes or put hot dogs and beans on the table.  We need victories in the unemployment rate and in mortgage re-negotiations with the banks that only exist today because of the largess they received in multiple Bush/Obama bail-outs.  We need to stabilize and "grow the economy" in ways that the Republican Congress will absolutely not permit while Obama would receive the credit.  We need a new and different president, without turning the White House over to the Republicans.

I personally no longer believe in Obama's commitment to basic Democratic Party policies, such as the maintenance of Social Security and safety-net programs.  I suspect that he has allowed or even suggested debacles like the debate over the debt ceiling so that he could accede to Republican demands that no Democratic voter can accept otherwise.

I simply do not trust President Obama anymore.  I have no confidence in his ability and determination to defend programs that the middle class and working poor depend upon and hold dear.  With each day, my concern increases over the aspects of the New Deal contract with America that President Obama may reluctantly throw overboard while blaming the Republicans for having made him do it.  I am afraid that Obama may be a Republican in Democratic bunting.

So, I would welcome a situation in which the vice president steps down, Obama nominates Hillary Clinton, and then Obama exits the national stage, leaving Hillary Clinton as the incumbent on Election Day, with her promise not to do what Obama has done in domestic economic policy.  It would not be constructive for a Democrat to challenge Obama, as Ted Kennedy challenged President Jimmy Carter in 1980.  But arguably it didn't make any difference then and it won't make any difference now.

I prefer that Obama acknowledge defeat in terms of domestic economic policy, and then clear his desk for Vice President Hillary Clinton to hold onto through and beyond Election Day 2012.  In a close race, we chose Obama over Clinton in 2008.  He has turned out to be a bitter disappointment, even to many Black bloggers such as me, the African American Pundit and Black Agenda Report.

As Rebecca Traister points out in today's New York Times, we cannot know that a Clinton presidency would have been different or better. What we DO know is that voters will be looking for change in the 2012 presidential race. We should give them a way to opt for change without opting for the Republican presidential candidate.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brazil is Half Brown, But Has No Brown-Skinned Women Among 27 Miss Brazil 2011 Candidates

Look at this year's candidates for Ms. Brasil. Of approximately 27 from each state and the Federal District in the country, not a single one has brown skin, even though the population of Brazil includes 50% of Brazilians with brown or tan Afro-descendent skin (see statistics below).

Fonte: IBGE * 2005 , ** Censo 2010

Etnias (Ethnicities) no Brasil

Pardos: 42,6%  (means brown skin, like e.g. Francis L. Holland)
Brancos: 49,7%
Negros: 6,9%   (means brown or black skin)
Indígenas: 0,3%
Amarelos: 0,5%

The population of the state of Bahia, where I live, has a ratio of ten brown-skinned people for every three white-skinned people, and yet the state's representative at the Miss Brazil contest will be white-skinned, whatever her heritage may be.  And for at least the last two years, Ms. Bahia has been white.

In all fairness and reality, if you carefully study the faces of each of the women in the above video, specialist in who has recent African ancestry may be able to identify three or four women whose noses and lips are of a shape often associated with brown skin, even though their skin is not brown.  And some of these women may proudly state that they are Black.  However, the skin color test is quite evident here, as it is in many other parts of Brazilian society.

Miss. Amapá, Miss Ceará, Miss Espiritu Santo, Miss Maranhão, Miss Mato Grosso, Miss Paraíba, Miss Paraná, Miss Sergipe and Miss Tocantins' skin colors represent the outer limits of brownness for those seeking employment as dancers, guests and actors on many television soap operas and variety shows.  Any darker and they become invisible.

Just look at the all-white cast of a recent miniseries, called "Tí, Tí, Tí, to confirm that only three out of seventy-six characters have unambiguously brown skin, and one of the two Black women plays a maid.  In a country that is half brown, a television series has whites out-numbering Blacks by a ratio of 25 to 1.  Color-determined roles are worse on Brazilian television than politics South Africa's historical apartheid regimes.

The Ms. Brazil website foresees the controversy over an all-white competition and so it points out, in a special section entitled "Black Beauty," that one of the candidates for Ms. Brasil in 2010, Ms. Ceará, had copper-toned skin.  So, if you wait until next year, you may discover that a 50% brown and black-skinned country has at least one brown or black skinned contestant for Miss Brazil.  This year, the contest might as well be for Miss Switzerland.

I do not refer to "race" above, because it is entirely possible in Brazil that one or more of the women in the video has a brown-skinned parent or grandparent. So, it would be arbitrary and speculative to say that all of these women with white skin are from the "white race."

Instead, it is entirely possible that one or more of the women shown here considers herself to be Black. But NONE of them, out of approximately 27, has brown skin.  (There are 26 states and the Federal District in Brazil, each with a contestant for Miss Brazil.)

I would mention something like this to my beige-skin step-daughters, but they wouldn't understand how it was relevant that they had virtually zero percent chance of becoming Ms. Brazil, simply because their skin is too dark.

My obsession with realities such as these is one of the reasons I could not get along with my wife's daughters (e.g. I felt disgusted at the smell and the reality of their hot irons burning their hair straight, and their inability to understand why all-white institutions bothered me so), and so we split up.  You might well say that my family was a victim of color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, at the individual, familial and societal levels.

Their mother would understand.  She has Rasta Locks, unlike the entire herd of Ms. Brazil candidates, all with straight and/or straightened hair.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Suspected Police Assassination of Black Father of Three Catalyzes Riots in British Cities and Towns

The Great Britain website, The Guardian, reports that the, Mark Duggan, a "29-year-old father-of-four was shot by police during an attempted arrest in Tottenham, north London, on Thursday," but there is suspicion that the police had decided to execute Duggan before the stopped him, or made that decision at the scene.  The Guardian also ran a story today whose title and subtitle say:
Mark Duggan did not shoot at police, says IPCC. [Independent Police Complaints Commission].  IPCC releases initial findings of ballistics tests in police shooting of Mark Duggan, whose death sparked London riots."
Explaining the initials and role of the IPCC, the agency's website says:
The IPCC was established by the Police Reform Act and became operational in April 2004. Its primary statutory purpose is to increase public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales.
The IPCC also investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales, as well as handling appeals from people who are not satisfied with the way police have dealt with their complaint. 

Just as some of the rioters must have believed during the riots before the IPCC report was released today, Mr. Duggan may not have been shot in the chest by police for any justifiable reason.
The BBC says:
Mr. Duggan was killed in Ferry Lane, Tottenham Hale, by Metropolitan Police officers working for Operation Trident, which investigates gun crime in the black community.
The same BBC article says:
Speculation that Mr Duggan was "assassinated" in an execution style involving a number of shots to the head was "categorically untrue", the commission added.

Mr Duggan's brother Shaun Hall told Sky News that the family was "devastated" by his death and dismissed as "utter rubbish" claims he had shot at police.
Certainly, the suspicion that Mark Duggan was assassinated by police might be fueling riots, just as shooting such as this one triggered riots in the United States in the 1960's and early 1970's.  One white female British blogger, whose blog is called "Penny Red," describes the riots that seem to have taken over Great Britain in recent days:

I’m huddled in the front room with some shell-shocked friends, watching my city burn. The BBC is interchanging footage of blazing cars and running street battles in Hackney, of police horses lining up in Lewisham, of roiling infernos that were once shops and houses in Croydon and in Peckham. Last night, Enfield, Walthamstow, Brixton and Wood Green were looted; there have been hundreds of arrests and dozens of serious injuries, and it will be a miracle if nobody dies tonight. This is the third consecutive night of rioting in London, and the disorder has now spread to Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham. Politicians and police officers who only hours ago were making stony-faced statements about criminality are now simply begging the young people of Britain’s inner cities to go home. Britain is a tinderbox, and on Friday, somebody lit a match. How the hell did this happen? And what are we going to do now?
The Guardian provides additional details showing that the police vigilance and killing of Mark Duggan was not an ordinary traffic stop, but a well-planned confrontation:

A father of three died instantly after an apparent exchange of fire when police attempted to arrest him in north London, it emerged on Friday.

A police marksman escaped with his life when a bullet lodged in his radio during the confrontation that ended in the death of Mark Duggan, 29. The Scotland Yard firearms officer was taken to hospital and later released.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating the fatal shooting, said the bullet and a non-police-issue handgun found at the scene had been sent for forensic tests.

IPCC investigators believe two shots were fired by an armed officer. A spokesman for the IPCC said that at around 6.15pm on Thursday officers from Operation Trident, the Metropolitan police unit that deals with gun crime in London's black communities, with officers from the Specialist Firearms Command (CO19), stopped a minicab to carry out a pre-planned arrest. (Emphasis added.)
How did a pre-planned arrest of a man believed to be armed nonetheless result in a "shoot-out"?  The perception, and the belief among rioters that police should not execute members of the public, might be the simple explanation of why Blacks and others are rioting in Great Britain.  Now that an official agency reports that the victim didn't fire at police, the riots could continue and even spread.

Penny Red says:
As I write, the looting and arson attacks have spread to at least fifty different areas across the UK, including dozens in London, and communities are now turning on each other, with the Guardian reporting on rival gangs forming battle lines. It has become clear to the disenfranchised young people of Britain, who feel that they have no stake in society and nothing to lose, that they can do what they like tonight, and the police are utterly unable to stop them. That is what riots are all about.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Black US Senators May Be Elected from Vermont

There is not a single Black representative in the US Senate, and this is unlikely to change significantly because US Senators are elected state-wide and Blacks are not the voting majority in any US state.

If slightly in excess of four hundred and twenty thousand voting age Blacks moved across the border from New York into Vermont, from the relatively close cities of Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Poughkipsee, with reinforcements from the boroughs of New York, then these Blacks could become the voting majority of the state of Vermont. The successful organizers of this effort would be in line for campaigns to represent Vermont in the US Senate and House, as well as assuming the roles of Governor and the many other elected and appointed governmental roles in Vermont.

Is is worth it for 425,000 Blacks to move to Vermont in order to regularly elect two Black US Senators for the first time since Reconstruction. Given the tens of millions of dollars that whites and Blacks spend to win (and lose) US Senate seats, whites clearly believe that winning even one is very important. Is it less important for Blacks to win TWO seat?

In election campaigns, it is typical of candidates to ask supporters for many kind of support, from donating money to talking to their friends, to holding events. In the Black Vermont effort, the only thing that would asked of Blacks is that they move to Vermont and vote for the candidate who most represents our needs and aspirations as a group.

Naturally, I have heard a lot of reasons why the above might not work, but those reasons are unconvincing. It is true that the weather is cold in Vermont and Vermont receives a lot of snow, but so do cities like Chicago, Boston, and Detroit. How could cold weather dissuade a person living in Chicago or Albany from moving to Brattleboro?

Although many Blacks would prefer warmer weather, we left the South in the 1940's, in spite of the cold weather in the North, with political, economic and social mootives. If all of the Black in the US moved to Vermont from cities that are as cold or colder than Vermont, the Black would elect two Black US Senators without the need for raising millions of dollars and convincing whites to go along.

My brain was not created to travel the ruts that others travel unquestioningly. Working, as we have a few times, to elect Black US Senators from white majority states, works sometimes (about five times in the last hundred years), but Blacks must take over a state if we are to determine who will represent that state in the US Congress.

Whites already have this advantage because white candidates are virtually always elected from white majority states. The simple difference between their success and ours may be that Senate seats must be won at-large, by the entire voting majority of each states' (white) majorities. If US senators were elected in two districts of each state instead of electing both of them at-large, Blacks would have a better change of winning US Senate elections in a number of states.

However, that would require whites to willingly give up US Senate seats to Blacks. That is only slightly less likely than restitution to Black's wages and interest from the days of American slavery. If a revolutionary solution that takes power from whites also depends upon the support of whites, as would two-district US Senate elections in the several states, then Blacks will wait and until every one of our dead Black skeletons are black with the dirt of the ages.

Whites need not change states to be from among the voting majority. That's why they have not made any effort to be the white majority of a state, although they make very intense efforts to create districts in which whites will win city council, school committe and Congressional seats. We cannot copy whites' path into the US Senate because we do not have the demographic advantage with which whites start in every US Senate election.

The only solution is to band together and CREATE the demographic advantage that whites have always taken for granted.

When I told Blacks and whites that 2008 must mark the end of the white male monopoly of the US Senate, many Blacks seemed disinterested, while others thought it could not come to pass. Some Blacks were willing to their hopes in laughable and risible John Edwards rather than bet on the end of the white male monopoly of the presidency.

Just as Blacks realized that a Black man could be president, Blacks will eventually realize that Vermont can send two Black US Senators to Washington. Our imaginations and conceptualizations may not yet have realized the opportunity, but Blacks aren't stupid and whites cannot hide the Easter Eggs from us through Election Day.

Of course many whites would snort angrily and inveigh against the new version of Black nationalism, but Vermont is not a nation. It is a state in a federal system of government whose Constitution gives Blacks the right to travel, including to Vermont. Let the white snorters stand at the borders of Vermont, trying to intimidate Blacks who are moving to create political power just as white parents move from town to town in order to put their kids is the best school districts.

There is nothing illegal about moving to Vermont in order to vote there, and the plan does not require any approvals from a majority-white US Congress or from the majority white and ultra-conservative US Supreme Court. No, this is a plan that we Black can implement on our own. That causes whites who voted for John McCain shiver in their boots. The more white talking heads and politicians inveigh against Blacks move to take over New Hampshire, the more they will publicize the concept and convince Blacks that it must be good for us if Fox News is so unalterably against the idea.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Field Negro Targets "Color-Arousal" and "Color-Aroused" Behavior

Field Negro (AKA Wayne Bennett), recently cited by the Washington Post's "The Root" Black blog as among "Thirty Black Bloggers You Should Know," is informing the Black public about "color-arousal" and "color-aroused" ideation, emotion and behavior. 

On June 15, he wrote, for example:
For all of you wondering how much the wingnuts and the folks in the GOP will play on white folks "color arousal" issues this upcoming election season, please note that it has already started.
He was referring to the above YouTube video, using blatant color arousing imagery, whose voice over says,
To reduce gang violence, Janice Hahn [California candidate for the US House] hired hard-core gang members with tax-payer money to be "gang intervention specialists."  She even helped them get out of jail, so they could rape and kill again.  Congress has enough gangsters.  Janice Hahn.  Bad for LA.  Bad for America.
Then Black men in ghetto garb sing,
Give me your cash!  Bit so we can shoot up the street!  Give me your cash, girl so we can buy some more wheat
The Urban Dictionary confirms my immediate suspicion that "wheat" is slang for "marijuana."

The Republican candidate says, in essence the ad is not "racist" but is admittedly color-aroused.  

Meanwhile, the advertisement shows vulgar images of a white woman candidate consorting with what it presents as the prison and pre-prison population, with a white woman's barely covered ass shaking in front of a stripper's polc, while Black men put money in her skimpy tights.

Janice Hahn seems to have the support of virtually everyone who is anyone among Democrats, so the video appears to be an act of desperation.  However, Congressional District 36 is only 7% Black, 14% Asian, 29% Hispanic, 49% White, so the promoters of the YouTube video are not concerned about offending Black voters.

However, the District gave 60% of its vote to Obama in 2008, so it seems just as likely that this video will offend white voters as attract them.  The Republicans hope for a heavier color-aroused antagonist white turnout as a result of this dog-whistle anti-Black hatred YouTube video.

As for the video, here are the color-aroused and antagonistic stereotypes, in order of appearance:
  • That Black men desperately want sex with white women and see them strictly as sex objects (the black booty tights and the stripper's pole and the money in the tights in exchange for sexual behavior;
  • That white men are at risk of losing white women to Black men and therefore Black men present a profound threat, even when we are doing nothing illegal, and have no intention of doing anything illegal;
  • That donations to the white woman candidate are effectively supporting the lurid and emotionally color-arousing behavior seen in the video;
  • That white people's precious tax dollars are being paid to reprehensible Black men gang-bangers;
  • That Black men are all gang-bangers who do not deserve any representation in Congress;
  • That Black men and machine guns are synonymous and so Black men present a threat to our very lives.
  • That addressing the issue of the color-aroused antagonistic prison-industrial complex is not a worthy goal for a Congressperson;
  • That Black men are inherently criminal and incorrigible. 
Klan Master David Duke could have made a more color-arousing presentation, but the question is whether such ugly and vile characterizations both of the white woman candidate and of Black men will rally white voters or nauseate and alienate them.
    In another article, Field Negro says:
    There are no bigger race baiters in the news business than the folks over at FOX. There is good money in scaring those red state folks about the black "boogeyman" around every corner. That color arousal (thanks for the word Francis) will stir their passions every time.
    As Field Negro says, "color arousal" is about using skin color to "stir passions".  We all know that white people (and Black people) have come to experience intense emotions (fear, anger, rage, resentment, envy, jealousy) when we are presented (or confronted) with skin color-associated verbal or physical presentations and advertisements (speech), ideation (thoughts) and behavior (verbal or physical acts).

    Since politicians know just how powerful these skin-color-cues (calls to thoughts, emotions and action) can be, precisely because they are so ancient and well-worn into our society, starting during slavery and continuing in the mainstream media through the present, therefore white politicians often try to use antagonistic color-arousal "cues" to their political benefit.  These messages send a potent message against Black people just by reminding white people of what they already fear and believe.

    These messages also endeavor to demoralize and dehumanize Black people and hurt our self-esteem and identities, trying with force of their will and societal power to turn us into the very kind of people they say they so despise.  

    However, some white people are tired of being manipulated in this way and so they vote for candidates like President Obama and AGAINST the white candidate precisely because the white candidate is trying to "arouse" and manipulate people using skin color-cues and stereotypes.

    Is the above YouTube video "racist."  Please forget about that paleolithic "racism" nonsense.  Ask yourself, "Does the ad intend to arouse ideation, emotion and voting behavior based on skin color?"  Obviously it does.  Case closed, as my friend African American Pundit as well as Sojourners Place would say.

    Unfortunately, too many Black people use the jargon of "racism" and "racists" that let's color-aroused white antagonists off the hook.  These Blacks will jump into the public forum to claim that the producers of the above video are "racists."  However, to prove what someone "is," you have to demonstrate that they have engaged in the same type of behavior over a period of months or years.

    No one is sure how many acts of color-aroused antagonism are required in order to declare that someone is a "racist."  Likewise, no one is sure how much anti-Black stereotyping and negative images are necessary to declare and prove that a video is "racist."  And, once having determined, based on more evidence that should ever be gathered in any case, that a person "is a racist," then it remains unclear what to do about it, if anything.  It is obviously far easier to change people's behavior than to change what they "are."  When you say someone "is a racist," you are effectively saying that they should be punished for what they are instead of for what they did.

    It is far easier to ask whether this advertisement shows color-aroused ideation (Black men are the primary characters in this video) and the the voice over specifically presents assertions about gang-bangers, rape and murder while showing Black men's faces.  Using skin-color to send a message is color-arousing, even if it only happens once.

    As lawyers, Field and I know that when you increase the burden of proof, you reduce the likelihood of a conviction. When we have to prove that a person "is a racist" before we confront a specific act of color-aroused antagonism, we set our burden of proof far too high, and much higher than white people set the burden of proof for criminal and civil convictions in general.

    For example, imagine rape statutes required proof that a man had raped several women over a period of time and therefore he is a "rapist."  If he "only" demonstrably raped one woman, then we could not punish him for being "a rapist" and he would go free.  By analogy, insisting that multiple and repeated acts of "racism" are necessary to prove that someone is a "racist" and deserves punishment is an absurdly high burden.

    In our society, we don't decide what someone "is." We decide what someone did.  If they are convicted for what they did, then they have earned the name associated with the crime they committed.  For example, when a man is convicted of ONE act of rape, then he is a "convicted rapist."   He is a rapist.

    When we assert that someone is a "racist," we put the car before the horse.  The question is, 'Did this person commit one act of color-aroused antagonism?'  If they did, then they have shown that, in that instance, they were a color-aroused antagonist.

    Here's another critical question about the burden of proof.  If instead of proving that a person committed a rape, you had to prove that he "is a rapist," then how many rapes would he have to commit before he could be punished or at least receive state intervention?  Would we have to prove that he committed six or eight rapes, before concluding that he is a rapist and should go to jail?
    Well, how many instances of rape individual instances of rape must be proved to prove that an individual "is a rapist?"

    White people resolve this issue by charging people with having committed, in ONE instance, an action that is illegal. If the person is convicted of ONE act of murder, then he is a murderer by definition, and for all time.

    So, why should we Blacks have to prove several or hundreds of acts of color-aroused antagonistic behavior?  It's because we assert that a person "is a racist" instead of asserting that they committed an ONE act of color-aroused antagonism.

    Instead, we should be focusing on the question, "Did this person commit ONE physical act or speech act that was color-aroused and antagonistic?   If the act of speech or behavior was color-aroused and antagonistic, then the person has engaged in one act of color-aroused antagonism, which is unacceptable.

    Here's an analogy: Imagine a rape statute that says that rape is "involuntary penetration with pregnancy resulting." Most rapes could not be prosecuted under that statute.  The burden of proof is too high, because it includes "with pregnancy resulting."  So, why would we increase the burden of proof by inserting "with pregnancy resulting" in the criminal statute?  The answer is that we never would include such a clause that heightened the burden of proof to the point where virtually no one could be convicted of rape.  Rapists could wear condoms and rape women all day long.

    When we try to prove that a person "is a racist," we have to prove a series of color-aroused antagonistic acts over an undefinite period of time. That burden of a series of acts is like is like the "with pregnancy resulting" burden of proof for rape.  When Geraldine Ferraro says that Obama got where he is because he is Black, who has the time to look for a series of such acts in her past before confronting her about what she has said today?  The burden of proof is too high.

    The question should always be, has the individual committed ONE (or more) act(s) of color-aroused antagonism in this particular instance?

    How many rapes do you have to commit to be a rapist? Isn't a conviction on one rape count enough? In our system it is. If you are convicted of ONE rape then you are a "convicted rapist."

    This is how our system of justice works in the United States. The question in criminal courts, except in complex cases, is "did the person commit each the crime on ONE occasion?  If so, the person is convicted.

    Let's stop trying to figure who who "is a racist" and focus on the question, "Has Sam committed an act of color-aroused antagonism today?"

    Latinos and Blacks Could Stay Home in 2012 Presidential Election

    Cross-filched from African American Pundit, comments and all.

    Are Latinos and Blacks Being Taken for Granted
    in Terms of Our Substantive Issues?

    Just finished reading an article in WaPo about Latinos' voters and how Hispanics loom as key bloc for Obama.

    The article notes how Hispanics were in love with Obama when he was elected — even more than other demographics — but they moved towards Republicans a little in 2010. They’ve also shown a willingness to vote for the right kind of Republican, as George W. Bush was able to take 45 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

    They will be very important to Obama for two reasons.
    One: They don’t view him nearly as favorably as they used to.
    And two: They are entirely willing to stay home.

    AAP says: "The President should also be concerned about black voters for two reasons as well.

    One: The folks are hurting, African Americans have double the jobless rate of whites and the Obama administration has failed to support National Urban league plans to address the urban unemployment crisis.

    Take for example, the recent Clarence Lusane article in the Huffington Post highlighting how joblessness continues to rise -- above 16.5% among blacks, as opposed to 8% amongst whites -- housing foreclosures devastate black families, and criminal justice practices continue to disintegrate black family structures and prosperity, black America is openly struggling against a potentially historic social and economic collapse during the very time that the first black president is in office.

    As Clarence notes, "There seems to be little doubt, at least as Obama's first term comes to an end, that African Americans will have fared worse than when he came into office. For Obama's opponents, black and otherwise, that data will be the central theme for judging his administration." Two:  Black folks like Latinos are entirely willing to stay home," if they have a home.


    Francis L. Holland said...
    I would expect lower turn-out for Obama, except for one factor that we haven't seen mature yet: ugly color-aroused campaigning by the Republican Party and their surrogates. Just as Hillary Clinton's color-arousing campaigning and that of her surrogates pushed Blacks into supporting Obama, the same will happen in 2012. White candidates will have their "macaca moments," embarrassing those voters who had intended to support the white Republican candidate. A vote against the alternative is never as enthusiastic or positive as a vote for the candidate of our choice. That's where Obama risks losing. His ability to win in states like Florida will depend on voter turnout. If he can get Blacks and Latinos to the polls, then he can win. If we're busted and disgusted, then he loses. Obama still has great popularity among Blacks, and may support him because he fought his way into a job that no Black person had held before. That counts for something, in the same way that ten cents counts toward the price of a hamburger at Burger King. I think we'd better just hope the Republicans nominate Sarah Palin. She's not in the race yet, but I'm sure she will be. I feel sure.
    Constructive Feedback said...
    [quote]ugly color-aroused campaigning by the Republican Party and their surrogates.[/quote] Mr Hollland: Is an "Ugly Color-Aroused Campaign by WHITE REPUBLICANS" functionally any better than a coordinated campaign between White Liberal Snarling Foxes who keep an eye on what their White Brothers are doing and keep pumping it into the CONSCIOUS AWARENESS of Black people (Media Matters) with the goal of promoting RACIAL DEFENSIVENESS upon Black people - so that we VOTE OUR "PERMANENT INTERESTS" but those interests are THE SURVIVAL INSTINCT rather than: * Quality Education * Safe Streets * Thriving Local Economies DON"T YOU SEE - the challenge IS NOT "Black People Staying Home" and not voting for OBAMA. The real threat is that yet another election cycle will be conducted in America and Black folks will be ensnared into the 'AMERICAN POLITICAL DOMAIN', investing our EQUAL BLACK BALLOTS into the process - while failing to develop our INTERNAL ORGANIC INSTITUTIONS FOR COMMUNITY UPLIFT. Our Community Consciousness is FUSED TO the "American Political Domain". Our biorhythm is linked to the Democratic Party's success. Unfortunately Mr Holland - even in the places where DEMOCRATS RUN EVERYTHING (Chicago and Philly - where your buddy Field lives) our FATE AS A PEOPLE is just as BAD. WHO should be held accountable for the HIJACKING OF OUR CONSCIOUSNESS in ways that MALCOLM X WARNED US ABOUT? How Do You Get Black People To Do What You Want Them To?

    There's Black Political Power in Iowa

    Cross-filched from African American Pundit.

    Black Political Power in Iowa

    I'm not sure how many black folks are in Iowa or for that matter the state of Vermont but one thing is for sure unlike Vermont there is real black political power in Iowa. Oh, and Yes, Black people do live in Iowa. Infact a black woman is running for Mayor (again) in an Iowa city. You see, Lameta Wynn was first elected mayor in 1995 and was the first black woman elected mayor of an Iowa city. She served three terms until deciding not to seek re-election in 2007.

    LaMetta Wynn

    Wynn told a small group of supporters and family she had been asked by several residents, business leaders and city officials to seek a return to the mayor's office and said she was "humbled" by their support and encouragement. Congratulations to Lametta Wynn, and good luck on the election.
    Francis L. Holland said...
    Good for her! According to US Census Quick Facts, there are only 3.7% Black people in Iowa City, so LaMetta Wynn has surely shown white people that she is the best woman for the job. I wish her well.

    Mitt Romney Jokes about the Unemployed

    Cross-filched from African American Pundit.

    Mitt Romney got jokes: The Unemployed

    Multi-millionaire, Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney got jokes: The Unemployed

    After listening to a group of out-of-work Floridians tell their stories, Romney started this way: “I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.”

    AAP says: Yes, Mitt Romney got jokes: The unemployed are a big joke to him. Read more HERE

    With All His Wars, It Must be Hell Being President Obama

    It must be hell to be President Obama, with a perceived responsibility to direct or at least manipulate and influence the so-called "democracy movements" in so many countries simultaneously.  I admit that I haven't researched any of these countries enough to provide convincing back-stories to the chaos that is breaking out all over the Middle East and North Africa.

    As African Americans, we certainly should be concerned that three countries--Tunisia, Libya and Egypt--are in some state of chaos as we speak, while the pink and purple revolutions driven by conservative US think tanks and facilitated by Facebook and Twitter are setting snowballs in motion, in the US' arrogant belief that chaos is better than the strong and stable leaders of the present.

    As CNN says,
    Nearly four months ago, longtime Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak finally yielded to political reality and stepped down from power. Mubarak's fall -- coming on the heels of the ouster of neighboring Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali -- was seen by many as part of a domino effect.
    The Arab world, it seemed, was finally on the brink of a peaceful democratic transition that had eluded the troubled region for generations. 

    Today, however, the promise of a peaceful Arab Spring appears to be yielding to the reality of a long, violent summer as dictators across the Middle East and North Africa draw a line in the sand and fight to maintain control of their countries.
    In fact, CNN has a round-up of the many "powder kegs" where CIA and neo-conservative "democracy movements" that are really just destabilization movements  are taking their tolls

    What in the world could ever have made conservative American think tanks and the Government believe that strong and well-established leaders in these countries would go without a fight?  Would President Obama leave office because NATO and the UN said he should?

    The truth is that, with the experience in Iraq and Afghanistan ongoing, it should have been obvious to all that dictatorial regimes maintained peace and order, while destroying these regimes in the absence of a clear alternative just leads to chaos and mass deaths, refugee movements and . . . chaos.

    And yet there are those neo-conservatives in Washington and Virginia who have been yearning for "regime change" in these countries for decades.  They seem finally to have gotten close to their wishes in a number of countries, but the CIA and Defense Department cannot control what fills the voids when these regimes are changed.  Before you ask your daughter to go change her clothes before she goes to a party, shouldn't you have some way to predict and influence what she changes into?  What if she changes a skimpy dress for a bra and panties?

    That's the problem the US is facing right now, from--let's look at the map--from Tunisia (in African) west to Pakistan and from Syria south to Yemen (in Africa).  Will all of these countries adopt western-style democracies, or will they end up like Iraq and Afghanistan:  failed states unable to control their borders and impossible to contain warring factions, some or all of which are supported financially and sometimes militarily by the US Government.

    When you consider that the very existence of the European Union is in doubt because of the world banking crisis whose architects hailed from the USA, and add that to chaos potentially throughout northern Africa and the Middle East, Obama may be creating an election strategy that he hasn't yet perceived:  turn the entire world into a war zone or an economic basket case, and then say:
    'I'm a "war president" and no one has faced (created) as many crises as I have, while successfully preventing them from reaching our borders.  The potential for regime change in every country that annoys us has never been better, but the challenges are so complex that there is no time for a governor with no foreign policy experience to get up to speed on all of this mayhem.
    There is a method to our map-changing madness, but I am the only candidate who knows what that method is.   Not everyone can play sixteen dimensional chess the way I can."
    I'm sure that's true.  People who have worked on far simpler political campaigns have felt more overwhelmed than the President does in the midst of all of this madness.  Obama is steady at the wheel, even when the wheel spins out of control.

    Meanwhile, the CIA and Defense Department know that the best result in all of these countries is for the competing factions to kill each other off entirely, so that the US can have unfettered access to all of the oil and other raw materials, with no local populations to get in the way.

    Who ever imagined that the US would go to war again Libya this year.  But it is!

    Who imagined that the US would be firing missiles into Pakistan?  But it is!

    Who imagined that Obama, who said he would have voted agains the war in Iraq, would nevertheless create and amplify more wars than George W. Bush?  But he has!

    I think I can see a way to support Obama for President in 2012.  Like it or not, President Obama has created, catalyzed and/or meddled in more intra-national and international wars than any other Black President in the history of the United States and even the history of the world.  That has to stand and be counted for something, even if nothing good comes of it.  At least it's one for the history books.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Can Blacks Elect Two US Senators from Vermont?

    There's something missing from this article entitled, ". . .Alabama Set to be US Whitest  State, over at Rippa's blog.  What's missing is proof that Alabama is "about to become the nation's whitest state."US Census Quick Facts says that whites are 68.5 percent of Alabama, while Blacks are 26.2% and Latinos are 3.9%.

    I know the article title, "Alabama Set to Be Whitest State" is intended as an exaggerated criticism of the State of Alabama, but the assertion risks misleading and misinforming people, like foreigners, children and people who don't use US Census Quick Facts.

    The question of which state has more Black people is vitally important because it figures into the question of what state we should move to in order to become a majority and gain two Senators in the US Congress (instead of ZERO now), as well as gaining House seats, a governorship and many other elected officials in the one Black state in the United States of America.

    For example, if six hundred thousand voting age Black people moved to Vermont, Blacks would become the voting majority in Vermont and we would politically take over a state and its political apparatus and representation in Washington, with two Black US Senators from Vermont.

    Does this sound like a crazy idea?  If anyone can come up with a more reliable way of having two Black US Senators instead of none, then I am all ears.

    Quick Facts says there are approximately three million Black people in the state of New York.  On average 75% of the state of New York is of voting age, which would mean that there are about somewhere around 2,250,000 Blacks of voting age in the State of New York.

    If about one third of the voting-age Blacks in the state of New York moved across the border to the contiguous state of Vermont, then Vermont would become a majority Blacks state and send two and send two Black US Senators and a couple (?) of House member to Washington, as well as elect a Black Governor.

    If anyone asks you why there are no Blacks in the US Senate, tell them the real reason: Blacks in New York have not realized how important it is that one in four of their voting age population move across the border into Vermont.

    Now, readers will demand to know how Blacks could find jobs and housing in Vermont.  I Black seniors with Social Security Insurance (SSI) moved, then would have to work in Vermont at all to support themselves, just as they do not work in New York at all to support themselves today.  Their income comes from an entirely mobile sources and changing their state of residence would have no effect on their income.

    Likewise, Blacks who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and private pension could move to Vermont with no need to work and only positive effects on their cash flow.  Real estate, bought or rented, is less expensive in Vermont, and so Blacks would see their incomes stretch further by moving to Vermont than by staying in New York.

    Based on past patterns, it is reasonable to assume that some Vermonters, who have never seen Black people up close, would be spooked into selling their homes to escape neighborhoods that became increasingly Black.  This would actually help Blacks because the increased available housing on the market for purchase would drive down housing prices and enable Blacks to purchase housing in Vermont for a fraction of what the same house would cost in New York State.  By moving out, whites would make it less expensive for Blacks to move in.

    So, be careful how you characterize demographic information.  The only reason we won't have two Black US Senators is that Black in New York state have not studied the census numbers in New York and Vermont, and so they haven't realized the national impact they could have by moving across the border into Vermont.

    White people don't seem to care that we have no representation in the US Senate.  But, when we start moving to take over a state and turn its politics brown, they will take a strong new interest in our franchise behavior.

    Our perfectly legal but revolutionary voting strategy would drive SOME white people completely out of their minds.  That alone is a good reason for doing what the Census numbers recommend:  Make Vermont the only majority Black state in the entire country and win the electoral benefits that come along with that demographic change.