Tag Archives: GOP

Racism and Hillary Clinton

 

 

 

If it wasn’t for seven years of the blatant resurgence of racism in America then we might not need Hillary Clinton. Sadly Obama’s presence in the Oval Office allowed racial meanness to rise to the surface in Washington, DC and outside our nation’s capital. When we should have felt proud of America on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when we should have been celebrating, we were instead seeing the festering remains of racism being exposed in far too many areas of American society.

The Supreme Court struck a huge blow when it said that certain southern states were no longer subject to clearance before they could change their voting laws. The GOP shamelessly began passing restrictions on voting in those same southern states where clearance had been used to guarantee racial fairness in voting. They justified their actions as necessary to circumvent voter fraud, which turned out to be almost nonexistent. They said they were not being anti-Black, they were just making it harder for Democrats to vote, but they knew, all the time, how important the Black vote was to Democrats. They got two licks in for the price of one.

We have seen all too many unarmed Black folks shot under suspicious circumstances by policemen. It begins to seem as if certain individuals join the police force to deliberately wipe out Black people, a sort of vigilante routine. I don’t know if there is a group that has planned this or if this is just lone racists acting on their own and I admit I may be seeing a trend where there is really only a series of terrible accidents, but we should not have racists on our police forces and if there is any way to root them out we should do it.

We have allowed Black folks to languish in poverty in our inner cities – and I don’t mean languish in a nice way – I mean it in a hopeless way. We have not found strategies to entice all young African-Americans into the schools and that is what we need to do. We also need to learn how to make school relevant enough that they will stay and go “all the way” through. We need to stop concentrating poor black, brown, and Asian people in our center cities and find ways, perhaps through real estate options, to intersperse poor Americans in more affluent neighborhoods where people can afford to help lift them up.

Yes, we have finally been made aware of how over-zealously and unequally the War on Drugs was conducted. We have been shocked by the staggering numbers of Americans of African Descent incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the role unaffordable cash bails have played in this. This was one of those cases where a program that folks thought would help solve a problem, exacerbated the problem and created new ones. I’m not sure it was intended as a “racist” policy, it was supposed to “scare people straight” in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, but, in retrospect, we can see that the enforcement of this program affected Africans-Americans far more than white Americans and either the program and/or the enforcement of the program was racist in the way it was implemented in the lives of real people. In this case a flawed answer intended to solve a social problem has produced terrible consequences and most of these consequences were visited upon Black people. If may take decades to turn around the effects of over-incarceration and inappropriately harsh sentencing.

We have also seen how we have allowed the South to revere the defeated Confederacy and to turn the white folks in Southern states into martyrs and heroes in a Civil War we should never have had to fight. We see how this has become another way to keep racial hatred alive – to remind Black folks of their “shameful” roots in our nation and to insure they don’t get “uppity”. How any of this shame accrues to Black folks is impossible to even imagine, unless you grew up in the South I guess.

Americans of African Descent have been here longer than most Americans, although not by choice. If they did not have black or brown skin they would have blended in long ago. Why can’t we get over this idea that the more pigment one has the less human one is? We have to all get past this. What will happen if we are confronted with a truly alien species?

Because the GOP has shown itself to be especially prone to letting “racial” traits and their own fears inform their behavior (or misinform it) we cannot elect a President from among the Republicans. If you consider all of the candidates for the 2016 election Hillary has shown the best understanding of what America needs to do to address fairness, equality, and opportunity for Americans of African Descent. I don’t think Bernie is any more racist than any of us, but I do think he believes his policies will lift all boats and perhaps doesn’t understand the unique obstacles Black Americans face.

I think it might be true that we are nicer when we feel more affluent, when our economy is humming along; but how long must these Americans, who have been here since our beginnings, be kept from the freedoms that should be theirs as well as ours. Clearly this particularly stubborn issue of “racism” did not disappear in more prosperous times, but there was a more generous spirit and it looked, for a while, like things might have turned a corner.

If the existence of all this hate and inequality and separation had not bubbled up from the depths it had been stuffed into, up into the light of day – that would be a bad thing. Let’s not try to contain it away from view of white eyes once again. Let’s try to solve this and heal America once and for all. At the risk of sounding corny perhaps that is what Hillary means when she talks about making America “whole”.

By Nancy Brisson

 

The GOP War on Women and Hillary Clinton

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We might not have needed Hillary Clinton if the Republicans had not spent the last seven years (at least) making women’s lives miserable. Women, no matter how men feel about it, have been under attack by the GOP and especially by Conservative Evangelicals.

We remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut because she wanted to continue to have access to birth control pills. BIRTH CONTROL PILLS! I’m surprised no one recommended that clitoral mutilation should perhaps be adopted as an American rite of passage. There was an implication that women should not get any pleasure from sexual relations. Representative Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) wanted women to be submissive to their husbands as a way to “fix America”. Women were blamed for the demise of the families which then led to the demise of the entire social order in the US. OMG – we went to work – and we liked it. It gave some of us a sense of purpose and sometimes prevented negative female problems like frustration, depression, etc. So the GOP told America that “liberated” women can be blamed for the holes in the fabric of the American Dream.

We might not have felt we had to insist on a female President except for the number of times Congress has tried to “defund” Planned Parenthood and threatened to shut down the US government in order to do it. We value Planned Parenthood. It has helped huge numbers of women at times when they needed safe, inexpensive, and confidential attention in their lives for a variety of reasons (and it still does). It sort of stands as a symbol of the freedoms women have won. I have a tough time understanding anyone who does not see that the GOP has been obsessed with women and issues that should only concern women, and perhaps their partners, ever since Obama took office. But none of this is Obama’s doing; he has no beef with women and vice versa.

Clearly the GOP does not intend to wait until numbers are on their side to overturn Roe v Wade and perhaps make some forms (or all forms) of birth control illegal. They can do this if they control all three branches of government and there will be almost nothing we can do to stop them. The Republicans have created such a threat against women that the only way we will feel safe from losing hard-won rights, granted by law and bolstered by scientific advances, rights that offer freedom to women, is to put a woman in the White House. One reason many women will support Hillary is because things look really grim for us if we don’t.

The GOP has spent seven years riling up all of the groups of Americans who are not white men or Evangelical women and now they act surprised that the only people in their tent are old white people, including white supremacists like David Duke and the KKK. The Republicans will reap what they sowed, we hope. The media, on the other hand, seems to have suddenly come down with collective amnesia. Hillary Clinton might rather just enjoy being a grandmother, but we can’t let her do that yet. So when the GOP starts in on Hillary, and they will, I hope that at least the women of America will remember what they stand to lose if we put a Republican in the White House.

Why We Can’t Elect Donald Trump (or any of the Bully Boys)

Donald Trump 2

Donald J Trump could become the leader of America, but if he is elected and if he does the things he says he will do, America will be a substantially different nation than it has always been. We can kiss our forefathers good-bye, and the high ideals they wished us to strive for as a nation. By the time we build that wall, send all undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin, build up a huge military presence and bully China, I’m not sure what America will be left with, but I think we will finally understand the word Fascism.

Older Americans shudder at the thought of a Socialist taking over our Democracy but tend to have little or no reaction when someone exhibiting signs of Fascism (Donald Trump) begins to climb in the election polls. Fascism is far more at odds with Democracy than Socialism is but we just don’t have enough understanding of what the term means for it to call forth the intensely negative visceral reaction that it should. I have written warnings about this twice before, but this time I have help from a very famous writer, Umberto Eco.

Writing from Paris, Christopher Dickey begins his article in the Daily Beast with this statement, “Here in Europe, people know a thing or two about fascism.” He is remembering an article he read twenty years ago by the deeply philosophical Italian author Umberto Eco, who died last week.

No, here in Europe, by various names—as Fascism, Nazism, Stalinism—it was the living, vibrant, vicious force that led directly to the most horrific global war in history. More recently, it took root and lingered as an active ideology in Latin America, providing a crude foundation for the repressive revolutions and dirty wars that raged from the ’60s through the ’80s.

Indeed, the fundamentals of fascism are with us today, in the killing fields of ISIS-land, in the madness of North Korea, and also, sadly, in battered democracies from newly militaristic Japan to xenophobic, isolationist parties in Europe. And, yes, in somewhat more subtle forms fascism can be found on the campaign trail in the U.S. of A.

Umberto Eco, in his article (title not given) gives a list of the attributes of a Fascist:

Makes a cult of tradition

Rejects modernism

Takes action for action’s sake  (“thinking is a form of emasculation”)

Distrust of the intellectual world

Disagreement is treason

Racist by definition   (“seeks for consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference”)

The appeal to a frustrated middle class   (“a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”)

Obsession with a plot

Followers must feel humiliated   (“by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”)

Popular elitism   (“Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are among the best citizens, every citizen can or ought to become a member of the party.”) (“[T]he leader knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler”)

Life is permanent warfare  (“pacifism is trafficking with the enemy”)

Official heroism   (“martyrdom”)

Machismo   (“implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality”)

Selective populism   (“citizens do not act, they are only called on to play the role of the People”)

“Newspeak”   (from 1984, George Orwell)   (“All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”)

Umberto Eco sounds like he is speaking about the Republican Party candidates and members of Congress, and especially of Donald Trump, as we know them right now, but he wrote this 20 years ago.

Here’s the link:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/22/how-umberto-eco-tagged-today-s-fascists.html

I think that all of the Republican candidates are unelectable and everyone is feeling this even if they will not admit it. I am guessing that people are thinking that Donald Trump is the least dogmatic. He is not toeing the party line. He is his own man. And for some reason people cannot see the dangers in turning over our governance to this man. They want the 50’s back and Donald promises the 50’s. But they will return under his terms. He humiliates anyone who questions his leadership and people back down, even scary people like Ted Cruz. If we give him carte blanche to “make America great again”, it will be his vision of America, not ours and he may have a hard time ever leaving office. He may make himself President-for-life. We cannot control this man. He brooks no disagreement. In the scary GOP line-up of future Presidents perhaps the man who seems most benign is the biggest nightmare of all, but we may not know it until it is too late.

At the end of his article Dickey draws parallels between Europe then and America now.

But where does Eco’s Eternal Fascism fit in American politics? Can it be that many of the figures parading before us in this presidential campaign year appeal to the worst instincts of “the People”? Do they play on atavistic fears and resentments, frustrations and humiliations? Are they marked by their irrationalism and anti-intellectualism, their hatred of things foreign, their desire to be seen as heroes and their gun-toting machismo?

Oh, hell yeah. But I don’t need to point the finger. Umberto Eco is doing it from the grave. As he wrote more than 20 year ago:

“Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: ‘If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.’

“Freedom and liberation,” Eco wrote, “are an unending task.”

How do we get angry Americans who think any of these guys are the answer to “setting America on the right path” to understand that they will do just the opposite? How do we get Donald Trump to leave the Republican race now that all of the non-scary candidates have been chased away? Getting rid of Donald is not enough. We must elect a Democrat in 2016 or American Democracy will not survive. I have no idea how we convince what I call “the pod people”, brainwashed by right wing media, that they must vote against the positions they have been taught to believe in.

10/27/15 On Megalomania, and the World https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=2896814823017990171;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname

11/24/15 A Plague on Both Your Houses https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=453069755357542576#editor/target=post;postID=8679697109120850499;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=1;src=postname

By Nancy Brisson

Why Would Anyone Be a Republican?

Somedays it seems that there are so many things to say about the GOP that it is impossible to pick just one. When I hear the ridiculous, tone deaf things Republicans say I can’t believe that anyone claims an affiliation with this particular party.

It is not just because Ben Carson says that the students in Oregon should have attacked that gunman en masse and that if they did attack then the gunman would probably be able to shoot only the first person to oppose him. We all know what this is – it is blame the victim.

If we should all be ready to attack an armed person at any moment then I think we need to be like Israel and require everyone to serve a stint in the military. That way we will be trained in combat, our reflexes will be quick, and we will be skilled in the correct approach to disarming an armed person intent on taking us out.

Carson, not yet sure he had made his point, continued on to say that he would rather see someone riddled with bullets than give up his guns. Who was ever actually offered that choice? Do we all get a chance to answer? Is he actually saying that he would rather see people shot to death than give up his guns? This is not in the context of a revolution, it is in the context of a massacre. He is not Patrick Henry saying ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ He is saying I will never give up my guns to protect your son or daughter from being senselessly slaughtered. No one has asked for your guns Ben Carson. We have asked for your commonsense as a fellow citizen and a responsible and well-educated adult. But we wish we did have the guns that the shooter took to classrooms in Oregon, Sandy Hook, Columbine and more.

Our clothing is not designed to make carrying guns easy or stylish. Will we all buy gun belts with holsters and learn how to twirl our six-shooters? We will have to put fashion designer on notice about this new style. Do the comments made by Ben Carson fall into the category of ridiculous, or in the tone deaf one? I pick both.

Next we get the news that a new committee will be formed in Congress to investigate Planned Parenthood. Americans do not react. They just keep texting one another and sharing cute jokes on Facebook and I do these things too. But these men are using our money to hound poor women and take away their health services and they are using sneaky tactics to close down all the centers where any woman can get an abortion, in their own state at the very least; but their true target is the entire nation.

I’m surprised they don’t offer a deal. If you liberals give up abortion rights we’ll be quiet about same-sex marriage. But they cannot be quiet about either because their religion won’t let them.

We don’t need a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. Isn’t there any way to stop these guys? Isn’t anyone angry about the atavistic bombardment of women by these reactionary males trying to prove their alpha male bona fides? Or if not isn’t anyone at least angry about our tax dollars being spent to form another committee we don’t need.

Few people speak up. Do they like what the Republicans are saying and doing or is it that they have no desire to be an activist? Ours is a country which relies on us to govern (of the people, by the people, for the people). Sometimes we need to let our representatives know when we are displeased. If you don’t want to march or carry a sign at least you can sign a petition online or drop an email to your Congressperson. All their email addresses are available online.

I could go on and list more ways the GOP ticked me off this week but, for now, enough. You’ll be happy to know there will be more later.

By Nancy Brisson

Priorities

We all know the Republican priorities by heart: small government, stop molly-coddling deadbeats, send foreigners home, end abortions and perhaps contraception, restore Christian morality in America, drastically expand the military, suppress Democrat votes through actual voter suppression and extensive gerrymandering and union busting, restore jobs by cutting corporate taxes, build a wall, electronically control visas, drill baby drill, no new environmental restrictions, and much more. One thing Republicans have done a great job of is making Americans aware of their agenda. They have also been great scandal-mongers keeping citizens riled up and screaming for the heads of the President and his staff. They have been so good at these things that even Democrats can barely remember their own priorities.

Bernie Sanders reminds us that regulating Wall Street and banks in order to protect citizens from another economic downturn should be a top priority. His list of priorities also includes passing changes to current tax laws so that we are not sending all our money to the wealthy while leaving out the middle class. He would like to see more support for workers with families, especially for women in the workplace, but not only for women. He advocates things like paid sick leave, paid family leave and equal pay for equal work to close the male/female pay divide. He sets a high priority on doing whatever we can to combat climate change. And he would like to make higher education economically feasible for all.

Hillary agrees with all these things and adds in decriminalizing drug addiction to focus on treatment, getting petty offenders out of jail, and she is still rolling out policy statements, each time addressing a new area that requires action. In terms of foreign affairs Democrats are not so hawkish right now, preferring diplomacy, but Hillary makes it clear that she can do “hawk” if necessary.

There is not a lot of overlap in what Republicans consider important and what Democrats see as important and even where there is overlap, solutions offered are not at all the same. This has put governance into stalemate territory making it almost miraculous that the President was able to accomplish as much as he did. Of course, the GOP chorus repeats the refrain that Obama is a “weak” President. They also like to use the word “feckless”. The one I love (not) most in their repertoire is the insistence that Obama “has blown up the world”. They blame all change in the Middle East and Syria and Russia and China on Obama, but their recall of historical facts and their chain of causations lack a foothold in reality and the blaming is therefore unsupportable. They keep getting away with this shoddy, politically expedient reasoning by skillful propagandizing because they do not want the blame for George W. Bush’s actions laid at the feet of the GOP. However, 43 is definitely the one who took the lid off the boiling pot and let old animosities loose in the modern world. What is done is done, but at least accept that your party lied and had a great big hand in creating the current chaos.

Given all this, why, oh why, do we spend our days talking about women’s issues? Why do we spend hours trying to undo Planned Parenthood, with its long history of helping poor women especially, even threatening to close down the government over it? Why do we have an American political party arguing about contraception? These guys have discussed this among themselves and have decided that if the “sexual revolution” never happened then American families would still be intact. Well suppressing women’s rights has “Remember Prohibition” written all over it.

With all the important territory we need to cover to help America and Americans thrive, abortion and contraception never would have been on my list of priorities, and I would bet many other Americans feel this way. Perhaps the GOP is only pretending to be this interested in these issues to bide their time until they regain the Presidency. Of all the laws, such as tax loopholes that we might need to overturn, these laws seem really low on the list. This might be just about men holding dominion over women.

Well change the subject please! America, we must insist that these GOP men rearrange their priorities. I wish we the people had enough money to sue Ted Cruz et al for wasting the people’s money threatening to shut down the government and, indeed, shutting down the government. In that way we could speak to them in a language they understand, the language of the law.

By Nancy Brisson

NBD – Much Ado About Very Little

NBD3

I can’t believe the fuss being made about President Obama’s possible executive action on immigration. It is such a limited action and really will change very little for undocumented immigrants in American. The people whose concerns are being addressed are people who have lived in America for years, have had children in American, children who have attended American schools, have had jobs in America, but who constantly anticipate (and not in a good way) being deported. They know that if someone turns them in or finds out about their undocumented status they could easily be torn from their jobs and their families. They may have done something “illegal” but they did it years ago and they have lived productive lives since then, productive lives that could unravel at any moment (as could any of our lives, although not in this particular way).

What Obama is able to do through executive action is so small that it will not even cause a ripple in the surface of American culture or the American economy. It sounds like he plans to issue temporary work permits to parents of “dreamer” children so that these parents can continue to work and support their families while their children get an education. These workers, who may not have been paying taxes, who may have been paid “under the table” will now contribute tax money and they can more confidently seek to climb the employment ladder thus offering more skills to the American workforce. They are not taking American jobs away from citizens because they are already working.

The real issue here is not immigration. Republicans are determined to turn the Obama presidency into eight empty years in American history. It is their intention to stop anything that might give President Obama a legacy. They are not too keen on any Democratic policies and they are still just stalling until the next election. They are aware that Presidents have used executive actions in the past. Executive actions are not even the real issue. The real issues is to prevent America from moving too far to the left so that when they get a Republican President elected they will not have to move so far to swing right.

They have a back-up plan in case they don’t win the Presidency in 2016 and their back-up plan is to turn as many states red as they possibly can, a strategy with which they are having a great deal of success. We have already seen Republican politics in effect in Wisconsin and in Kansas and it is clear that their policies will not work out for anyone but the very wealthy. Things are not going well for the middle class in either of those two states. We need to passionately oppose the GOP because the ways in which they want to change America are wrong-headed and unacceptable. I know that I haven’t backed this up with many facts, but read about those two states, read about Wisconsin and Kansas, and you will see where the policies of the GOP lead.

What the President says he plans to do about immigration reform is very small and should be “no big deal” except that the GOP is just so angry whenever Obama tries to accomplish anything and their threats are so disproportionate to the actions taken by Obama that we know their threats are political and have nothing to do with the topic of immigration. I don’t believe Obama should fear impeachment because, one, the job of being President in these circumstances has been very stressful and our President has been demeaned, and, two, if the GOP impeaches this President, history will not be kind to them.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>