Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tea Party in Tennessee: Slavery Did Not Happen?

The plot thickens: Apparently the clueless folks in another confederate southern state (remember Texas School Board) - Tennessee this time - wants to literally white wash American history to fit their Tea Party agenda/narrative. They want to remove all negative historical facts in the education curriculum that fails to show our American forefathers in a glowing light.

The Rebirth of a Nation: Directed by D. W. Griffith

Native American genocide - Get the white-out and presto - it never happened.
Brutality of Slavery - Gone With The Wind.
Terrorism of KKK - just some good ole boys expressing their 1st Amendment Rights.
Mexican/American War - apply the airbrush.

Yeah just like that. According to these folks, one can just pick-chose-ignore American history at one's discretion. If the portrait is disturbing just recast it to be more favorable - get rid of the inconvenient truth.

Read On:

A little more than a year after the conservative-led state board of education in Texas approved massive changes to its school textbooks to put slavery in a more positive light, a group of Tea Party activists in Tennessee has renewed its push to whitewash school textbooks. The group is seeking to remove references to slavery and mentions of the country's founders being slave owners.
According to reports, Hal Rounds, the Fayette County attorney and spokesman for the group, said during a recent news conference that there has been "an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another."
"The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn't existed, to everybody -- not all equally instantly -- and it was their progress that we need to look at," Rounds said, according to The Commercial Appeal.
During the news conference more than two dozen Tea Party activists handed out material that said, "Neglect and outright ill will have distorted the teaching of the history and character of the United States. We seek to compel the teaching of students in Tennessee the truth regarding the history of our nation and the nature of its government."
And that further teaching would also include that "the Constitution created a Republic, not a Democracy."
The group demanded, as they had in January of last year, that Tennessee lawmakers change state laws governing school curricula. The group called for textbook selection criteria to include: "No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership." source

Friday, January 27, 2012

Marco Rubio to GOP: Cut out the harsh anti-immigrant language

Take note: My black conservative friends, if you want more blacks to consider joining the GOP it may help to speak out - like Senator Rubio - to chastise your party when they use over-the-top rhetoric against the African-American community (Herman Cain and company, the perfect opportunity was when Newt suggested that blacks should demand jobs and not settle for food stamps).

I know former RNC chairman Michael Steele once stepped up to the plate to voice his concerns of race baiting language by Rush Limbaugh; unfortunately he was taking to the shed - You name is Toby, Boy style - and we never heard a peep out him again on this subject.

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told CNN's D.L. Hughley Saturday (February 28) that Rush Limbaugh was "entertainment," agreed he was "incendiary" and said, "Yes, it's ugly." Two days later, in a statement reported by the Associated Press, he apologized for his words, saying he respected Limbaugh as a "national conservative leader" and did not want to "diminish his voice."
Why apologize? What did he say that could have been construed in any way as to necessitate an apology? Nothing he said about Limbaugh was either untrue or impugning.
Except to Rush Limbaugh.
Rush Limbaugh -- who has found that with the election of Barack Obama, he has become a driving force within the Republican opposition to the Democrats -- took exception to Steele's words and suggested he resign on his nationally syndicated radio talk show Monday. "Why are you running the Republican Party?" he asked. "Why do you claim you lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it that President Obama succeeds? ... I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it's in, I would quit."
In his statement late Monday, Michael Steele said, "I respect Rush Limbaugh, he is a national conservative leader, and in no way do I want to diminish his voice. I'm sure that he and I will agree most of the time, but will probably disagree some as well, which is fine."  source

Rubio, on his home turf stated enough is enough:

Marco Rubio condemned unnamed members of his own party Friday for using "inexcusable" rhetoric about illegal immigrants.
"For those of us who come from the conservative movement, we must admit that there are those among us who have used rhetoric that is harsh and intolerable, inexcusable," Rubio said at a conference for the conservative Hispanic Leadership Network. "We must admit, myself included, that sometimes we've been too slow in condemning that rhetoric."

Rubio, a Republican senator to Florida who is often floated as a potential vice presidential nominee for the party in 2012. source

Let's hope Rubio sticks to his guns and doesn't cave. But then again, this may be nothing more than a coordinated  and cynical ploy (I smell Romney and potential VP nomination for Rubio as the impetus) to win over the valuable Latino vote.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The GOP:The Party Of Exclusion

In his State of the Union rebuttal, Mitch Daniels, in a measured tone, lambasted President Obama for being and supporting divisive policies.

Presenting the Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union address, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) attacked President Barack Obama, saying his administration’s extreme and divisive policies have held back economic recovery. He said the country must instead be righted by a pro-growth agenda, a simpler tax system, and a balancing of deficits. source

Now, granted, we should always strive to be grown-ups in the room. I am aware that the politics of name calling represents a breach of decorum. But how else do you describe Mitch Daniels and the GOP/TeaParty without suggesting that they suffer from sociopathic behavior?

For starters, the GOP has perfected the dubious strategy of campaigning by using the Southern Strategy of divide and conquer. Via exploitation of white resentment, the GOP's claim to power is based on  Us against Them.  Consequently, the GOP's tent is remarkably absent - except for a few tokens - of diversity.

Their campaigns are based on wedge issues against blacks, immigrants, feminist, Arabs, gays, urban dwellers and the list goes on. And their mantra is: We want our country back. They are the party of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman,FOX News, Rupert "Phone Hacker" Murdoch - the party of extremism.

The Alternet featured an article that further underscores this point.

The 10 Most Racist Moments of the GOP Primary (So Far)

The Republican Party is digging deep into the old bucket of white racism, using the politics of fear, hostility and anxiety to win over white voters.
One cannot forget that the contemporary Republican Party was born with the Southern Strategy, winning over the former Jim Crow South to its side of the political aisle, and as a backlash against the civil rights movement. This is a formula for a politics of white grievance mongering and white victimology; a dreamworld where white conservatives are oppressed, their rights infringed upon by a tyrannical federal government and elite liberal media that are beholden to the interests of the “undeserving poor,” racial minorities, gays, and immigrants.
In keeping with this script in order to win over Red State America, the 2012 Republican presidential candidates have certainly not disappointed. Both overt racism and dog whistles are delectable temptations that the Republican presidential nominees cannot resist. With the election of the country’s first African-American president, and a United States that is less white and more diverse, the GOP is in peril. In uncertain times, you go with what you know. For the Republican Party, this means “dirty boxing,” digging deep into the old bucket of white racism, and using the politics of fear, hostility and anxiety to win over white voters by demagoguing Obama.
Racism is an assault on the common good. Racism also does the work of dividing and conquering people with common interests. While the 2012 Republican candidates are stirring the pot of white racial anxiety, this is a means to a larger end—the destruction of the country’s social safety net, in support of vicious economic austerity policies, and protecting the kleptocrats and financiers at the expense of the working and middle classes. read more

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do You Trust Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney gives me the creeps - for many reasons.

First, he has a long track record of saying anything to be elected. If he needs to be anti-abortion, he will adopt that position. If he needs to be pro-health care or anti-health care, he is comfortable with both positions. He told the state of Massachusetts that he would govern to the left of Ted Kennedy; now he pleads for conservatives to let him carry their water.

Second, he made his several hundred millions as a greedy corporate raider who put profit over people.  Similar to the fictional character Gordon "Greed is Good" Gecko of the movie Wall Street, Romney made his loot by bleeding dry companies purchased by leverage buy outs. Here's one example:

In 1992, Mitt Romney was running Bain Capital, a private equity firm. Bain Capital bought American Pad & Paper Co. (Ampad) for $5 million.
Over the next several years Romney's firm bled the company dry. Hundreds of workers lost their jobs. Stockholders were left with worthless shares. Creditors and vendors were paid less than 50 cents on the dollar. While they were exploiting the company, Romney's firm charged Ampad millions of dollars in "management fees." In all, Romney and his investors reaped more than $100 million dollars from the deal. source

Third, not only did Romney amass his fortune at the cost of thousands of American jobs, he used shady tax loopholes to pay a lower tax rate than the average middle-class family - 14%. Additionally, he had millions of dollars in a Swiss bank account and hidden in the Cayman Islands - both notorious for serving as havens for people trying to hide money or escape tax collections.

Romney's tax forms show he had a bank account in Switzerland, which he closed in 2010, and accounts in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. All three have reputations as offshore havens where the extremely wealthy keep their cash, sometimes to avoid paying taxes. source

Most of all, Romney, who has declared Corporations are People, embodies virtually every economic inequality that has crushed the American middle-class for the last 30 years. And now he wants to be our president - like I said, Mitt gives me the creeps.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Box Office: Red Tails Scores Well

It is gratifying to hear about the successful box office debut of Red Tails. This box office performance dispels Hollywood's entrenched belief that an African-American cast is not marketable. Hopefully this serves as a cure for, as Roland Martin states, Hollywood's irrational allergy to black films.

The next big opener was the surprisingly solid debut for Red Tails (review).  The Lucasfilm-produced Tuskegee Airmen action drama debuted with a pretty terrific $19.1 million.  The longtime passion project for George Lucas was a rarity in today's marketplace, a big budget ($58 million) action film centered entirely around an African-American cast.  Even with the financial strength of six Star Wars films, Lucas was unable to get funding for the film, so he dipped into his own pockets to produce and market the picture while allowing 20th Century Fox to distribute.  The success or failure of this one will depend on legs and word of mouth (it apparently received an A from Cinemascore), but the 3.1x weekend multiplier bodes well.  As expected, the film was marketed heavily in African-American communities and the opening weekend was apparently made up partially from African-American schoolkids who had been bused to matinĂ©e showings.  Fair or not, the film will likely be seen as a test case for larger-budget genre fare starring African-Americans, so it's worth rooting for even if you liked the movie less than I did. source