Nel's New Day

July 5, 2015

White Terrorists Spread Lies to Keep Power

 

The horror of tragedies in the United States is short-lived. The more optimistic of us thought that there could be a change in laws after 20 children were killed in Newtown (CT) because of the country’s lax gun laws. After a few weeks of the NRA railing against the “politicizing” of these deaths, the U.S. went back to normal, increasing the number of guns in the hands of irresponsible people. Since then every mass shooting has resulted in decreased responsibility for these deaths and looser gun laws.

Not even a month ago after a white terrorist killed nine black people at a bible study class in a Charleston (SC) church, an uproar against the praise of the Confederate flag, a symbol of treason against the United States, seemed to be making a difference. My conservative newspaper in Oregon commended Republicans such as South Carolina’s governor, Nikki Haley, for asking that the flag be removed from the state grounds. The article failed to mention that no action has been taken, even to protect blacks from having to walk under the despicable flag to honor black state Sen. Clementa Pinkney, one of the slain in the church. South Carolina needs a two-thirds vote to take down the flag, and it’s most unlikely that this will happen. For example, State Rep. Lee Bright compared removing the flag to a “Stalinist purge,” brutal murders of ideological dissidents by a totalitarian dictatorship.

The civil war against the flying of the Confederate flag is over, and the terrorists have won. The United States maintains its exceptionalist approach toward stupidity after a poll shows that 57 percent of people in the United States perceives the treasonous flag as a symbol of “Southern pride” rather than its reality of racism. That’s only two percent less than 15 years ago.

The recent polling has undoubtedly put GOP members recommending the removal of the flag in a quandary. Their first reaction was undoubtedly in response to massive media objections after the killing, and the state General Assembly was scheduled to being debate tomorrow about removing the flag that was installed on state grounds in 1961 in protest of civil rights. The poll puts the issue in a different light for them, especially after South Carolina residents began getting robocalls on Friday comparing the movement to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds to ISIS. The newly formed Conservative Response Team (CRT), a pending non-profit organization with unspecified funding, started with 40,000 robocalls.

South Carolina officials has given approval to the white supremacist “Loyal White Knights” chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to hold a pro-Confederate flag rally at the state capitol on June 17, one month and one day after the killings in the Charleston church. The chapter calls the killer a “warrior.”

Part of the positive polling about the Confederate flag is that white Southerners, unlike Germans after World War II, never accepted blame for the war’s devastation and its bigotry. Schools in the South still teach that blacks were happier in slavery, that the North was really responsible for the war, that the issue was more about interpretations of the Constitution, and that white Southerners were the true victims in “the war of Northern aggression.” Confederate pride led to lynchings of blacks and continued with the use of the Confederate flag to declare white supremacy as a license to kill innocent black people.  The recent Charleston killing came from these beliefs, the racist propaganda and lies about black-on-white crime.

Whenever approached with a question that might cause a GOP presidential candidate trouble with part of his constituency, the response is using to let the state make a decision. That’s Mike Huckabee’s response to the removal of the Confederate flag. Rick Perry went farther into stupidity to find a reason: prescription drugs.

 “This is the (modus operandi) of this administration, any time there is an accident like this. The president is clear, he doesn’t like for Americans to have guns and so he uses every opportunity, this being another one, to basically go parrot that message…. It seems to me, again without having all the details about this, that these individuals have been medicated and there may be a real issue in this country from the standpoint of these drugs and how they’re used.”

Former 1960s pop singer Pat Boone represents the epitome of the white Southerner reaction to the killings at the Charleston church in his excoriation of President Obama, a black man who Boone says failed to stop racism:

 “At no time do I recall your mentioning the far greater instances of ‘black on black’ crimes, the high percentage of crimes of all types committed annually by blacks, or the senseless looting and violence that follows the inflamed ‘protests’ after one of the above-mentioned incidents. Strange that you, our half-white president, have little to say about these things.”

Indeed, the president talked about the subject and started My Brother’s Keeper Initiative while the MBK Task Force has issued a 1st Year Progress Report. Yet white supremacist blogs—and the Fox network—continue to lie about the danger of blacks to the whites in the United States.

After Fox reported that 92 percent of murdered black people are killed by other blacks, there was no big announcement that 84 percent of white murdered people were by other whites. Even worse, this data shows only those murders with one offender or one victim. That leaves out the Charleston killer because there were nine victims—and all the other mass shootings which are primarily done by white males. The actual percentage of blacks killed by blacks is 55 percent while white-on-white murders is 62.7 percent, 7 percent higher than blacks.

According to the FBI, terrorism is “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives,” and Title 22 of U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) defines it as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

The mission of the killer in the Charleston church was to kill black people in order to start a new civil war against blacks. Two weeks after the tragedy, FBI Director James Comey refused to call the gruesome attack “terrorism” because he doesn’t see it as a “political act.” To Corney, starting a race war is not “political.” Floyd Corkins II, a black man, was labeled a terrorist when he only intended to shoot people in the offices of the Family Research Counsel. That’s white entitlement.

PULASKI, TN - JULY 11:  Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Clan participate in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tennessee. With a poor economy and the first African-American president in office, there has been a rise in extremist activity in many parts of America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2008 the number of hate groups rose to 926, up 4 percent from 2007, and 54 percent since 2000. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War and played a role in the postwar establishment of the first Ku Klux Klan organization opposing the reconstruction era in the South.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PULASKI, TN – JULY 11: Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Clan participate in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tennessee. With a poor economy and the first African-American president in office, there has been a rise in extremist activity in many parts of America. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2008 the number of hate groups rose to 926, up 4 percent from 2007, and 54 percent since 2000. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War and played a role in the postwar establishment of the first Ku Klux Klan organization opposing the reconstruction era in the South. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The continued practice of flying the Confederate flag on the capitol grounds demonstrates the willingness of whites to humiliate and intimidate blacks. The whites are declaring that their right to pride and power is more important than any other belief. The Charleston killer didn’t celebrate the pride of the Confederate flag when he went to the church to kill black people. He wasn’t celebrating his belief in the violent use of force against blacks in the United States. As GOP presidential candidate said, the flag is “who we are.” Yet that image of the  Confederate flag supporters demonstrates danger to people in the United States.

January 19, 2015

How Some People Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.

Filed under: Racism — trp2011 @ 10:17 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Forty-four years after his death, Martin Luther King, Jr. is commemorated by a federal holiday, despite past legislators’ objections. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) was one of those objectors: he voted twice against celebrating King in Louisiana. Three Southern states have diluted their dismay at the MLK Day by celebrating Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s birthday on the same day. Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi use the same day to honor Lee.

The Ku Klux Klan scattered leaflets in the Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh (PA) with King’s mug shot from an arrest under the name “Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Similar ones appeared in Chester (VA), and Sam Green, who claims to be the Great Titan of the Richmond area, asked “why people would be upset about the truth.” KKK Imperial Wizard Chris Barker said about the flyers in Georgia, “We told our members to go out and pretty much counteract Martin Luther King’s birthday, who was a known communist–and we decided to put out Klan literature.”

The DeKalb County (AL) Superintendent Hugh Taylor banned a school history club from its collective attendance at a viewing of Selma because of “racial profanity.” The film features such icons as Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, Hosea Williams, and James Bevel as they marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to fight for voting rights in the Jim Crow South. Rev. James Stanton, the black parents of a senior in the history club, spoke out against the white school official’s decision asking whether the school wants to keep students from knowing about the march. “I don’t believe it is just about the profanity,” he said. Stanton remembers watching Saving Private Ryan in that same school. That movie has an R rating for “battleground chatter” (aka frequent four-letter words) and the use of “Krauts” for Germans. Selma is rated P-13.

In other parts of the country, over 285,000 students in 24 cities saw the movie, thanks to the $2.1 million raised by a group called Selma for Students.

The Tea Party invited Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and possible African-American GOP presidential candidate, to celebrate the legacy of MLK on King’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, mostly overturned by the Supreme Court. A caller responded to Carson’s appearance on the Fox network:

“You embody what MLK wanted for the black community. If you run for president, I’ll spread the word for people to vote for you.”

Carson told the caller not to worry about the negative impact of President Obama’s actions as the first black president because he was “half-white.”

President Obama is biracial, but he is perceived as black because of his appearance. Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has been declared black, especially by all his racist haters.

Carson has a history of ignorant statements, many about the Affordable Care Act which benefits the blacks:

 “ObamaCare is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. In a way, it is slavery, because it is making all of us subservient to the government.”

“[The ACA is worse than the 9/11 terrorists attacks] because 9/11 is an isolated incident. Things that are isolated issues as opposed to things that fundamentally change the United Sates of America and shift power from the people to the government.”

“I think what’s happening with the veterans [dying] is a gift from God to show us what happens when you take layers and layers of bureaucracy and place them between the patients and the health care provider.”

He also compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia and tried to spread a rumor that President Obama would continue to be president by calling off the 2016 election through declaring martial law. According to Carson, the Advanced Placement history curriculum will cause students who learn about civil disobedience to join ISIL. He also wants to have the citizenship of non-citizens revoked if they are caught in voter fraud, a statement so ignorant that it was removed from his WND column. [For a taste of how wacko WND is, check out their website.]

The conservative National Center for Public Policy Research’s Project 21 black leadership network bends King’s words and intentions:

“One of Dr. King’s most important contributions was that he exhorted Americans to resist the gravitational pull of racial identity and famously challenged us all to value the content of character above skin color. Some contemporary ‘race leaders’ seek to limit Dr. King’s legacy by ghettoizing his impact and identifying him as a black leader.”– Joe R. Hicks

“Many of the so-called and self-appointed leaders of the racial grievance industry are guilty of bastardizing his mission. They use his legacy as an instrument to contribute to racial hostility under the false guise of racial justice.”– Derryck Green

Meanwhile, legislators refuse to return voting rights to everyone after the Supreme Court overturned the law that would help give these constitutional rights to all eligible people. Conservatives oppose affirmative-action laws using the false justification that King called for an end to “playing the race card.” Their belief is that a black student scoring 1820 on the SAT shouldn’t be admitted to UCLA over a white student who scored 1840.

As King wrote in Why We Can’t Wait: 

Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic… A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro.”

Preferential treatment for blacks in the 21st century means that blacks can sometimes be beaten and killed with more impunity than whites. It means that they can be turned down for jobs or refused housing with little justification. At the same time, people celebrate MLK Day and the man for which it is named without any anger about the rampant prejudice throughout the nation.

Almost 50 years after his death, the United States has sanitized King and his mission against injustices, turning him into a nice black man who quietly marched and gave eloquent speeches. Republicans claim that King is really one of them, and people who want unlimited gun ownership talk about King owning a gun. They forget that Southern Democrats during much of the 20th century blocked racial progress, and King decided not to keep the gun.

Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted a guaranteed minimum income for all people in the United States, connected to the median household income of the time. He wanted the United States out of Vietnam and called for reparations to blacks for their past centuries of mistreatment. He campaigned for class equality by addressing poverty, slums, housing segregation, and bank lending discrimination through a “radical redistribution of economic and political power.” A strong ally of labor unions, he was killed in Memphis where he was supporting a sanitation workers’ strike.

In the years before King’s murder, 63 percent of people in the U.S. had an unfavorable opinion of him. Now 94 percent of the population approve of him because he isn’t here to fight for his beliefs. If he were alive, he would be standing with poorly paid workers and against the NRA and bank abuse. He would call for taking money from the military to put into infrastructure, education, health care, and especially jobs. He would march with immigrants for immigration reform and with activists to end racial profiling, mass incarceration of youth, and the killing of young black men by police.

As a young person, King said, “A society based on making all the money you can and ignoring people’s needs is wrong.” He recognized that a purpose of racial segregation was to oppress working-class whites by letting them feel superior to blacks. He wrote, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” He called America the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” He’s still right.

July 8, 2012

Bigoted Christianity Rampant in the U.S.

The “Nuns on the Bus” have finished their 15-day tour with Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Susan Collins (R-MA) introducing a resolution honoring nuns. The senators said that the resolution “recognizes the Catholic Sisters’ fulfillment of their vital missions to teach our children, care for the sick, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, lead major institutions, demand corporate responsibility and fight for policies that promote human dignity.” These brave women are opposing Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who ignore the Christian belief in aiding the poor and avoid the nuns.

Republicans are not only busy keeping the poor in poverty but also industriously using religion to destroy the credibility of Democrats. Preening themselves on their fiscal responsibility, the conservatives accuse Democrats of having a way on faith. Fiscal responsibility seems to be a problem at the Vatican, however; they have a $19 million deficit. The Rev. Federico Lombardi said that they need to get savings from somewhere although probably not from the layoff of any of the 2,832 Holy See personnel.

Meanwhile Republicans make it very clear that their definition of faith is only Christian. Colorado state Sen. Kevin Grantham wants a law to ban building new mosques: “Mosques are not churches like we would think of churches. They think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches–we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.”

Even the government suffers from serious religious prejudice. The military found it appropriate to use the depiction of a Muslim woman for target training for the Navy SEALs until they received complaints. Hanging on the wall behind the woman were verses of the Quran, a holy book to the second largest religion in the world with almost as many members as Christianity.

Some Christian leaders clearly show bigotry toward those of their same faith. The Rev. Mel Lewis, organizer and keynote speaker of last week’s Christian Identity Ministries’ three-day conference in Alabama, invited “all white Christians.” Asked about the discrimination, he said, “We don’t have the facilities to accommodate” those who are not “part of the chosen race.” The event, surrounded by Ku Klux Klan flags and supremacy slogans, culminated Friday night by what they call a “Christian cross lighting” as they hold a cross-burning. Some of those who attended also wore KKK garb.

Christians are sinking lower and lower on the scale of belief in the Constitution’s statement “for the general welfare.” Only 40% of Republicans agree that “It is the responsibility of the government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves.” This number has gone down 18 points in the past five years; in 2007 58% of the Republicans thought that people who cannot take care of themselves deserve help. In three surveys during the George W. Bush administration, no fewer than half of Republicans said the government had a responsibility to care for those unable to care for themselves. In 1987, during the Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62% expressed this view.

One example of right-wing selfishness comes from many Republican governors’ refusal to accept billions of dollars in Medicaid funds to insure millions of people. According to those whose incomes are below 133 percent of the poverty level may receive federal Medicaid but cannot receive the subsidies that are provided for others of lower income.  If governors accept the federal money, everyone can be insured. Without this acceptance, between 3.5 million and 9.2 million people will have no health safety net. Ten Republican governors have stated that they will refuse the funds, and another 19 are considering it. Even three Democrat governors are questioning whether they will take the federal funding in Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Republican austerity is only for the poor and middle-class, however. Corporate taxes are at a 40-year low, with an effective tax rate paid of 12.1 percent. They’ve fallen from about 6 percent of GDP to less than 2 percent.

Radio host Jan Mickelson shows the conservatives’ lack of respect for others in his comment about the nuns on tour to Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA). “Do you guys, do you have any power to pull the nuns on the bus over and pistol whip them? They say [Paul Ryan] is evil, they say he is fake Catholic. They’re the ones that threw the first punch.”

Several years ago leadership of the Mormon church used its political clout to defeat California Proposition 8’s ban on marriage equality; now it is providing its resources, against church rules, to elect Mitt Romney. One action is giving away LDS Tools that provide full directories of church members including that of stake and district presidencies. The app also offers event calendar listings and a “birthday list,” and the Mormons are reaching out through Facebook and Twitter.

Cheers for the nuns! According to sister Simone Campbell, bus tour organizer and executive director of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, “Congressman Ryan [is making] an outrageous claim … that the Catholic faith, that is all about serving the poor, validates his budget—which does nothing but decimate services to the poor and provide further tax cuts for the wealthy. By lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated by the House budget.”

The country needs to look back at another Ryan—John Ryan, a prominent theologian who published A Living Wage in 1906. He claimed that economics must be shaped by and rooted in morality as he advocated fair and equal pay that started the living wage movement. His “Program for Social Reconstruction” (1919) was considered a blueprint not only for President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal including Social Security but also for collective bargaining rights, the right to organize, and the prevention of child labor—all aspects of the Labor Relations Act in 1935; comprehensive insurance—realized in the Social Security Act of 1935; and a minimum wage—that fueled the movement toward the Fair Labor Standards act of 1938

A century after the first publication of A Living Wage, we have similar economic conditions with rampant economic inequality and wealth in the hands of a few. The top one percent took over 40 percent of the national wealth last year. I prefer the philosophy of John Ryan over Paul Ryan when he declared the three guides to equality: Laws should promoting the general welfare; every individual has inherent dignity; and individuals are stronger through community.

On the eve of the nun’s bus tour, Sister Simone Campbell avowed, “This is a fight for the soul of our nation. Catholic social teaching says that the positive role of government is to counter the excesses of each culture. Our excess at this point is individualism, so the work of government is to counter that by emphasizing our responsibilities to each other.”

Paul Ryan needs to learn that.

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