Saturday, September 19, 2009
By Tony Pugh
Published: Saturday, Sep. 19, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
WASHINGTON – In the predawn hours of last Nov. 5, while much of the nation celebrated Barack Obama's election as the nation's first black president, three white men in Springfield, Mass., doused the partially completed Macedonia Church of God in Christ with gasoline and burned it to the ground.
After their arrests, the men told police they'd torched the black church because they were angry about Obama's election and feared minorities would be given more rights.
About the same time, newspaper Web sites were filled with millions of hateful messages about Obama, and the computer servers of two large white supremacist groups, the Council of Conservative Citizens and Stormfront.org, crashed because they got so much traffic.
"You immediately got the sense that something significant was happening," said Mark Potok, who investigates hate groups as the director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.
Potok's instincts were correct. Obama's victory had stirred immediate racial anger among a small portion of Americans.
That visceral backlash quickly subsided, but as the grip of the worst recession since the 1930s began to tighten, a different type of anger began to surface. Only this time, the hostility wasn't limited to society's fringe elements. It was everywhere.
The collapse of the housing market, the government bailout of Wall Street, record job losses, long-term unemployment, trillion-dollar deficits, shrinking retirement funds, growing government intervention, foreign economic competition and America's changing demographic landscape left many Americans angry at the direction of the country, confused about the source of their problems and fearful about the future.
In this summer of discontent, much of that outrage, rightly or wrongly, has been trained on Obama. While it's an occupational hazard that comes with the turf at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., some of the criticism of Obama has the unmistakable stench of racism.
For example, a recent poster making the rounds shows Obama outfitted in full African witch doctor gear, complete with headdress, above the words "OBAMACARE coming to a clinic near you."
"I certainly detect a racial element in some of the hostility directed at President Obama," said Richard Alba, the distinguished professor of sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. "I'm certain there are white Americans for whom having a dark-skinned president in the White House is an enormous shock. This is really a complete overturning of what they thought was the natural order of things."
Potok agreed. "Anyone who's looked at some of the signs at the various 'tea parties' knows perfectly well that race is a significant part of this backlash," he said.
"I'm not suggesting that every person angry about health care or immigration is a Klansman in disguise," he said, "but at the back of this white-hot rage that we've been seeing are people who are genuinely furious about the way the country is changing and changing racially."
Obama himself says he does not think race is the main factor driving the angry criticism.
"Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are. That's not the overriding issue here," he said in a CNN interview Friday.
No one symbolizes the changing face of America more than Obama does. "I think hundreds of thousands of whites are taking these very real changes and attributing them to the race of the president," Potok said.
Pollster Cliff Young of Ipsos said his research suggested that the national anger, which, at least publicly, has been overwhelmingly centered among whites, was about more than just race. He said a "generalized fear of the unknown" was creating the tension.
Alba agreed, and said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton probably would have faced similar hostility as president because she is a woman, which would be another culture shock for many people.
"There's this tectonic shift going on in the United States, both economically and demographically," Young said, noting that in 2042 non-Hispanic whites are projected to become a minority in the United States. "And certain segments of the population are feeling left out. Is what we're seeing directly a function of Obama's race? I think not, actually. He's just an indicator of something 'different.' Of an America that's not the same as what's idealized by certain segments of the population."
Because racism is so personal and subjective, it's difficult to quantify and doesn't show up neatly in surveys and polling data. Much like pornography, racism is difficult to define, but most people think they know it when they see it or hear it. The problem is that everyone sees it differently based on experiences, biases and personal beliefs.
Former President Jimmy Carter, however, reopened Pandora's box this week by asserting that racism was a major factor behind the hostility that Obama has faced. Carter gave a respected, white and Southern voice to concerns that many had dismissed as the baseless whining of overprotective blacks.
In doing so, the former Georgia peanut farmer helped set off another round in America's 390-year-old debate about politics and race that many would prefer to avoid.
In his new book, "In the President's Secret Service," author Ron Kessler writes that racists and white supremacists probably account for more than a third of the estimated 30 death threats that Obama allegedly receives every day, about four times as many as were directed at former President George W. Bush. The Secret Service wouldn't confirm Kessler's claim.
Unlike Potok, however, Kessler said the citizen outrage expressed at town hall meetings and tax protest events known as tea parties didn't reflect racist sentiment. He disagrees with Carter.
"I think it's reprehensible for (Carter) to attribute racial motives to people who simply disagree with Barack Obama's policies," Kessler said. "Quite a few of the threats are racially motivated, which doesn't necessarily mean 'right-wing.' It means they're racists. It means they're white supremacists. They're jackasses, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're politically tuned in to any particular philosophy."
Posted by Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America at 8:47 AM on September 18, 2009.
Friday, September 18, 2009
But really, its not gunna happen... much ado about nothing... the insurance companies have 1/3 of the democrats, all republicans and media under their thought control and have done a great job of spreading fear and lies... you won't have to worry about a thing... nothing will change, the price of medicine will continue to skyrocket, and millions of people will not be able to afford health care and will continue to jam the emergency rooms...
When I lived in Brasil, I went to the pharmacy to get the daily water pills I take... the cost for two months was $R 2.80, about 1.80 US at the time... the co-payment here is 15 dollars for the very exact same medicine (same company same box!) It was, and continues to be the same... I buy a lot of things there because its cheaper than the co-payment here, and beside it feels good to sock it to the pharmaceutical companies! I also use some eye drops that here are not included in my Kaiser/health care plan... that cost $178, there they cost $R32 (about 12 dollars) again for the same... funny how the angry anti-health care folks can't see that the pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are taking us all for a ride...
Milton's dad went thru chemo etc for cancer before he died... and it only cost us $R138/mo (for the private room)... same quality as my Dad had for his work...
one of the many reasons I am considering early retirement and moving to Brasil permanently is the cheaper, excellent, and universal health care...
the others are:
I am now taking over a $880/mo hit in my salary for the furloughs and things are not going to get better, next semester they will begin firing faculty that are non-tenured... it makes our programs shoddy at best, simply put the vision and quality of education in the state is beyond repair now, the people of the state are so self centered and selfish now that they don.t want to pay for their kids (or grand kids) education... we had a good university, our kids are super, near 1/2 the graduation class is the first person to graduate form a university. It is the machine that makes a middle class, of people that work, contribute and pay taxes... it seems the people of California no longer want that.
I can immigrate as my husband's spouse... Brasil recognizes our marriage,indeed are proud and happy to help us as a married couple to get a permanent visa; a right that we do not have in this country, as it has cost Milton over$ 26,000 dollars now to be legal here... the hatred and homophobia spewed at Milton & I and our friends during the Prop 8 was really disheartening...
I no longer feel safe in this country, the self centered wacko racist homophobic people have taken over, I worry for Obama's safety. The neo-nazi religious nut cases like the guy in Oklahoma who blew up the building, and the boys near Redding who killed the gay couple, and came down here to burn 3 synagogues, or the guys who killed Matthew Shepard , are empowered by all this hate and racism...
I love this country, but I no longer feel safe or wanted...
Sounds like a movie script. Giant parasites stalk the American landscape disguised as benign upstanding participants in the "free market."
The dictionary defines parasite as:
"An organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment."
red the rest of this article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-creamer/time-to-just-say-no-to-gi_b_291102.html
Thursday, September 17, 2009
"It began with the Mayan calendar--a startling astrological artifact that reaches its end point in the year 2012. As major spiritual traditions, independent researchers, and archaeological findings all point toward this date as a critical moment in human history, readers everywhere are starting to ask the same question: What will happen in 2012? For the first time, the leading authorities on the 2012 phenomenon are all given voice in a single book, now available in paperback: The Mystery of 2012. An invaluable resource for readers who want to learn more about this time of change, this fascinating book features essays from dozens of prominent thinkers, including: * Gregg Braden's examination of the scientific evidence for a shift in the earth's magnetic field--and how it will affect all life * Barbara Marx Hubbard's and Peter Russell's explorations of the "accelerating pace of evolution"--why we may literally be transforming into a new species * John Major Jenkins' journey to the source for answers: the original Mayan calendar * Ecologist Joanna Macy's vision of "the Great Turning," and how we can take part in this shift to a life-sustaining culture * Daniel Pinchbeck on the meaning behind the rise in psychic phenomena as we approach 2012. Are we coming to the end of a cosmic cycle? Will there be an age of awakening, a new step in human evolution, or even an end to the world we know? For the growing audience of the "2012-curious," here is a thought-provoking and comprehensive exploration into the possibilities of this pivotal time."
Buy more progressive premiums to support BuzzFlash progressive news and commentary (we accept no advertising, corporate or otherwise to maintain our complete independence)by going to The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Former President Carter charges racism is behind Wilson's - and teabagger/birther - outbursts by: Pam Spaulding
read the rest of this article at: http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/13016/former-president-carter-charges-racism-is-behind-wilsons-and-teabaggerbirther-outbursts
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Second Inaugural Address
"Sixty years after Roosevelt's Second Inaugural, that egalitarian test, I think, is still the best measure of our progress and humanity, and the core of The Triumph of Meanness is the contention that as a nation we are failing that test."
Nicolaus Mills, The Triumph of Meanness - America's War Against Its Better Self.
Courtesy of PHB
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
LITIGATION • Sep. 15, 2009
Prop. 8 Supporters Subpoena Activist Who Revealed Contributors
By Matthew Pordum
Daily Journal Staff Writer
SACRAMENTO In its continuing efforts to protect the identity of those who bankrolled the campaign to pass Proposition 8, lawyers for The National Organization for Marriage have issued a subpoena for one of the leaders behind the opposition, Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger, who led boycotts and created websites outing top contributors.
The subpoena compels Karger to produce the group's financial records and all communications and documentation regarding affiliated websites and the dissemination of donor information. It also directs him to appear for a deposition on October 13th.
"This is harassment and they are trying to silence me," said Karger, who points out that he's not a party to the case. "I'm a citizen activist, and my organization is just me, funded entirely by myself versus the power of a group who has millions and millions of dollars behind it."
The subpoena, served over the Labor Day weekend, stems from a lawsuit filed in federal court in Sacramento in January by The National Organization for Marriage against California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Attorney General Jerry Brown and FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson. http://www.facebook.com/l/3ad1d;ProtectMarriage.com v. Debra Bowen, 09-0058.
The group referred a reporter to its lawyer, Illinois-based James Bopp Jr. of Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom. Bopp did not return several calls seeking comment.
According to court records, the group is challenging the constitutionality of campaign finance disclosure requirements, claiming donors to Proposition 8 have been ravaged by e-mails, phone calls, postcards and even death threats.
In the suit, Bopp claims that the requirements of California's Political Reform Act of 1974 are unconstitutional by virtue of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
Karger's website, http://www.facebook.com/l/3ad1d;www.californiansagainsthate.com, currently lists the names, addresses and donation amounts for the top 12 contributors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign, under the heading "Dishonor Roll."
The Yes on 8 campaign raised nearly $30 million and won the ballot battle over gay marriage last November by a vote of 52 percent.
Karger contends the subpoena is simply an act of revenge for the complaints he filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission against the Mormon Church for its alleged failure to report non-monetary contributions to the Yes on 8 campaign.
"This is all part of the PR [public relations] offensive being carried out by the Mormon Church," Karger said.
The Utah-based church did not directly donate to the campaign, but its members provided millions of dollars to it.
The Mormon Church is not a party to the January lawsuit.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown is defending the political reform act, arguing in court that disclosure requirements assist the state in detecting efforts to hide the identities of large donors and illegal spending of political funds for personal use.
"Political democracy demands open debate, including prompt disclosure of the identities of campaign donors," Brown said in a prepared statement.
The most recent action in the case came on Jan. 28, when U.S. Eastern District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. turned down the Yes on 8 group's request for a preliminary injunction exempting the group from campaign disclosure laws, saying that he was not persuaded that the threats were serious enough.
The group's subsequent report, made public Feb. 2, included its first disclosure of "major donors" who had given more than $10,000 to the campaign since June 30, 2008.
The Sacramento case is not the only effort by anti-gay rights groups to roll back campaign finance disclosure laws.
Bopp filed suit against the Washington Secretary of State July 28 to prevent the state from releasing the names and addresses of more than 138,500 Washington citizens who signed a petition in favor of Referendum 71.
The ballot referendum asks voters in Washington this November whether they want to expand domestic partnership rights and obligations in the state's originally limited domestic partnership legislation.
Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed off on an expansion of rights for domestic partners in May, but opponents of that move rounded up 137,689 signatures to have the issue brought to voters this year.
In an enormous win for the group, a federal district judge ruled on Thursday that Washington officials were not allowed to reveal the names of those who signed the petition.
Gene Emery, Reuters: "Most U.S. doctors favor having both public and private options in a reformed healthcare system, a survey published on Monday said."
US Leads the World in Sending Children to Adult Prison
Joe Lambe, The Kansas City Star: "After murders committed by juveniles spiked in the early 1990s, states toughened laws, making the United States the harshest nation in world in the legal punishment of children, according to a recent study."
Finally, a President With the Guts to Enforce Trade Laws
Leo Gerard, Campaign for America's Future: "Barack Obama proved Friday he's got grit. He enforced trade laws ... President Obama used these safeguard rules to impose tariffs on tires manufactured in China and imported into the U.S., following a recommendation by the International Trade Commission, an independent, bi-partisan group. The action made Obama the first president to execute sanctions under 'Section 421.'"
Mark Weisbrot | Michael Moore's Smash and Grab
Mark Weisbrot, The Center for Economic and Policy Research: "Moore's brilliant new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, will find an audience for its assault on America's political economy."
The Net Present Value test is a complex computer model used by loan servicers to determine whether a homeowner qualifies for the federal loan modification program. The test compares two scenarios -- modification and foreclosure -- and determines which would be more profitable for the lender. If it's foreclosure, the lender has no obligation to modify the loan. But the model is a black box. What goes in isn't entirely clear, and what comes out isn't always reliable. Check out the full article here.
Monday, September 14, 2009
I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to watch the health care debate and not be aghast at what the special interests are trying to do.
Since Congress left for August recess, these guys have shown they are willing to do whatever it takes to derail this debate, spreading myths and using scare tactics.
Well, I'm not going to sit back and take it anymore. I'm fighting back by spreading the truth about reform - and reminding Congress of what this debate should truly be about: the millions of Americans who so desperately need reform.
Divided We Fail is featuring one story a day until Congress passes reform. Check out today's story - and join me in reminding Congress who health care reform is really about.
The opposition might be loud and getting louder these days. That's why your help is so critical to making sure that myths and scare tactics don't drown out the voices of real people who need reform.
Thanks so much for all your help!
As you may know, right-wing talk show hosts have been bringing race-based fear mongering into the mainstream, but FOX's Glenn Beck has taken it to another level.
I signed ColorOfChange.org's petition to stop Glenn Beck's lies and distortions, and so far, 62 major companies have stopped their ads from running on his show. These companies have decided they don't want to be associated with Beck's race-baiting.
But Beck is only stepping up his fear-mongering, so we can't stop now. We have to make sure advertisers keep leaving, and stay away from his show.
Will you take a stand and be counted, and invite your friends and family to do the same? It takes just a moment:
This summer, Beck said:
This president has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people... this guy is, I believe, a racist.
That statement fits into a pattern of rhetoric from Beck designed to stoke racial paranoia and fear. He has claimed that President Obama has a "reparation appetite" and a desire to use his policies to settle old racial scores. Beck's overall plan is to create an atmosphere in which the White House can accomplish nothing, and he's carrying it out by preying on race-based fears and mobilizing hate. Beck relies on dishonesty, distortion and exaggeration, and he is embarking on character assassinations of Obama administration officials with whom he disagrees.
FOX has a horrible track record on pushing racist propaganda, but Glenn Beck appears to be taking the network to an even lower standard. He's trying to divide and distract America when we should be coming together and talking about issues that really matter--like health care and the economy.
The good news is that we have the power to stop this. Over 200,000 people have joined this campaign, and 62 advertisers have already stopped their ads from being run during Beck's show. Please help keep the momentum building.
Here are some links to more info:
"Beck: Obama has 'exposed himself as a guy' with 'a deep seated hatred for white people'"
"Glenn Beck: Obama agenda driven by 'reparations' and desire to 'settle old racial scores'"
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Special to The Bee
Last Modified: Sunday, Sep. 13, 2009 - 10:03 am
I write in response to The Bee's Sept. 5 editorial "Ticked-off profs punish students" about teaching and furloughs at California universities.
Why are faculty considering a walkout? This year's 40 percent reduction in state support for the University of California and California State University systems caps years of cuts. In 2001, California spent $22,300 per student in today's dollars; today, we spend half as much. Many faculty see a walkout as the only way to be heard, to focus attention on the harm the state – not the faculty – is doing to students.
Washington Monthly recently rated three UC campuses in the top five nationally in service to the nation. California's educated work force, our high-tech industry, our advanced agriculture and medicine all spring from research and teaching at UC and CSU. As top students and faculty look elsewhere, will our cutting-edge industries remain? While the budget crisis has accelerated the process, we are also victims of a fundamental shift in vision by UC leaders.
In a 2002 article in Change magazine, before becoming UC president, Mark Yudof wrote, "Public research universities will look to students to pay more of their educational costs. These students will be part of what I have dubbed the hybrid university, an institution with many traditions and functions still within the public realm, but with other characteristics that are more in line with those of private colleges and universities."
Do your readers want their public universities privatized? Do parents want their children excluded as fees rise to the level of private universities? Do they want an elitist university system where admission is based on wealth? Or do they want a system where every California student has equal opportunity? As a former undergraduate at UC Irvine, graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis professor, I also respond to The Bee's challenge to my commitment to education.
I received the 2009 UCD Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring, teach each summer in a high school science program and lead a UCD effort partnering faculty with undergraduate research students. I undertake these duties in addition to my "normal" teaching and maintain a research group bringing $300,000 a year in federal funding to California.
But I am far from unique. My colleagues at UC, CSU and community colleges have an enduring commitment to California's undergraduates. All we ask is that the Legislature and UC leadership share the same.
Sure, there are committee meetings and conducting research, but our routine week is preparing for class, teaching class, and grading papers and assignments for class. If we don’t take a teaching day off, do we not prepare for class, or not grade those papers?
Sure, students and their parents are angry – they should be angry. But how about that anger being directed at those who imposed these furloughs, not the professors who never wanted them in the first place?
Sure, we’ll do our fair share along with other state workers, but if you want to reduce what we do by 10 percent, you get 10 percent less of what we do. What we do, for the most part, is teach. You do the math.
– Larry Boles, professor, CSUS Speech Pathology Department
'Spectacularly dumb opinion'
Re "Ticked-off profs punish students" (Editorial, Sept. 5): To both paraphrase and critique the recent editorial on faculty furloughs, it was a spectacularly dumb opinion by supposedly smart people (who don't seem to be running their own business very well).
The typical California State University faculty workload is 80 percent teaching, along with a blend of service, student advising, and scholarly and creative activity. If we stopped attending meetings, no teaching would be reviewed, no policies would be changed and no new courses would be approved – and the editors would criticize us for being unwilling to change with the times. If we stopped advising, students would have more trouble graduating than as the result of a missed class or two. If we stopped our scholarly and creative activity, untenured faculty would lose appointments.
A significant proportion of the work of teaching is undertaken outside the classroom, and furloughing faculty without allowing any canceled classes would mean a disproportionate cut to class planning and preparation, or grading. That would be like furloughing The Bee's writing staff without reducing the number of articles that they write, by cutting out much of that time-consuming research and fact-checking.
But why not? Apparently that streamlined approach already works for the editorial board.
– Tony Sheppard, Sacramento, CSUS professor and Faculty Senate chair
UC professors' work ethic
Re "Obama speech boycott teaches an ugly lesson" (Our Region, Sept. 6): Marcos Breton joins a long Sacramento Bee tradition of bashing the University of California and California State University faculties by writing, "Mind you, most (UC professors) teach only a couple of days a week."
I am not at all sure that is true, but I have the distinct impression that Breton is implying UC professors are not working as hard as they should be.
An Internet search of The Bee reveals that Breton has written six columns since Aug. 26, a period of two weeks. I don't want to imply that Breton is malingering, because I'm sure that he spends a great deal of time researching newspapers, magazines, reports, blogs and so on, and that he tries diligently to get his facts right.
University professors also engage in original research, lecture preparation and other activities that are essential if they are to be effective teachers and contribute to the wider community.
Breton's column shows that facts out of context, like statistics, can lie.
– Rod Sime, Sacramento
'Issues … more complicated'
Re "Ticked-off profs punish students" (Editorial, Sept. 5): The issues are far more complicated than your editorial suggests, and educators are thinking deeply about the future of California higher education as well as the immediate actions to be taken.
Your position seems to be that professors should show up and lecture without considering what larger issues are at stake. The mandate for the University of California is a combination of teaching, service (to campus, to community) and research; the manner in which each is affected by budget cuts is far from the triviality your editorial suggests.
The fact is that these larger issues are under great scrutiny in a time of enormous uncertainty about public financial support of higher education. While differences of opinion persist about how to react and to act, in all deliberations, the welfare of students and their education is at the forefront.
Faculty and administration are addressing the reality that teaching, service and research are much more complex an issue than simply standing up front, lecturing.
– Warren Pickett, Davis, chair, UC Davis Department of Physics
courtesy of the Sacramento Bee