enlarge Each and every progressive/liberal should be furious over this debacle called the "secession ball" in Charleston, South Carolina. This isn't simply the province of the NAACP. It hits at the heart of our progressive values and Democrats' "big tent" coalition.
Conveniently disguised as living history, the $100 per plate event is a celebration of South Carolina's signing of the "Ordinance of Secession" on December 20, 1860, jointly sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Confederate Heritage Trust.
They indignantly claim it's not about slavery, but it is. It's part of the heritage of a state which has never, ever stopped fighting the Civil War.
?We could look back and say (the Civil War) wasn?t something to celebrate ? about 620,000 died in the North and South,? Simpson said. ?If you count civilians, you?re up to about a million killed in that war.
?Do we celebrate that? Heavens no,? he said. ?War and death is never something to celebrate. But we do celebrate the courage and the integrity of 170 men who signed their signatures to the Article of Secession ? the courage of men to do what they think is right.?
The problem with his denial is simple: What those 170 men thought was right was slavery. The old saw always goes thus: The Civil War was about states' rights. No. It was about states' rights to engage in human trafficking, something abhorent and evil.
The Institute for Southern Studies expands on this:
For what was behind the decision, we have to turn to a document the same convention drew up and signed four days later titled "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina From the Federal Union."
Slavery is its major theme.
That document plainly states the reason for South Carolina's secession:
"We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloigning the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection."
Celebrating the anniversary of this document is a slap in the face to every single black person in this country. NAACP South Carolina President Lonnie Randolph asked this:
"You couldn't pay the folks in Charleston to hold a Holocaust gala, could you? But you know these are nothing but black people, so nobody pays them any attention."
The thing is, attention isn't being paid over on the liberal side either. It's easy to blame bigots but they're just doing what bigots do, because bigots get away with it and no one really gets too outraged over it. There's plenty of outrage over human rights abuses in Uzbekistan because it's the newest WikiLeaks focus and yet a celebration of slavery and a state's decision to secede from the Union over it gets a shrug.
There is a growing divide opening between people of color and the white liberal "establishment" opening wide. As liberals, Democrats, progressives, or whatever you want to call this coalition, civil rights and equality have been pillars of our foundation but there's a a big racial elephant in the Democrats' living room.
Ishmael Reed's column in the New York Times editorial section Sunday lays it out:
I thought of [my D's in deportment in school] when I pointed out to a leading progressive that the Tea Party included neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers ? and he called me a ?bully.? He believes that the Tea Party is a grass-roots uprising against Wall Street, a curious reading since the movement gained its impetus from a rant against the president delivered by a television personality on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
And I?ve thought about them as I?ve listened in the last week to progressives criticize President Obama for keeping his cool.
Progressives have been urging the president to ?man up? in the face of the Republicans. Some want him to be like John Wayne. On horseback. Slapping people left and right.
One progressive commentator played an excerpt from a Harry Truman speech during which Truman screamed about the Republican Party to great applause. He recommended this style to Mr. Obama. If President Obama behaved that way, he?d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D.
At the edge of a very deep canyon:
When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama?s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter ? and a way to lose the black vote forever.
Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.
This tracks with other posts and conversations I've seen lately. There is a very real perception that personal attacks on President Obama, the hyper-loud derision and wails of bitter disappointment expressed all over the Internet lately along with primary threats rolling around are symptomatic of a larger disconnect between white liberals and black liberals and threaten to fracture what is already a fragile coalition.
When the African-American unemployment rate is 16%, 13 months of extended unemployment insurance feels like a godsend even if it means having to cede tax rates and a compromised estate tax. They don't see the deal as a sellout; indeed, they view it as an essential emergency parachute. When the African-American unemployment rate was 10% we were living in what could be reasonably considered a good economy. At least, good for everyone but them. Problem is, no one was paying attention to them. Not really.
It may be an insult to celebrate slavery and the 1860s, but a greater sting may be the general apathy toward the economic desperation of the African-American community. It did not develop overnight, but until the entire economy went downhill, it wasn't on anyone's radar either. Put together the slight with scathing and relentless criticism of this country's first African-American president, mix it with some Tea Party hate and it's a recipe for resentment and division.
African-American liberals don't think it's an accident that Charlie Rangel was censured while Newt Gingrich walked away with a slap on the hand. They see a Congressional Ethics committee aiming only at African-American representatives -- Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters specifically -- and look over at the Senate where Vitter and Ensign get off with nothing but embarrassment. They see Roland Burris sidelined after taking Obama's Senate seat. They look at a Senate that's pure white. Their conclusion: There is no real commitment to racial equality within the Democratic party and certainly there's no progressive movement afoot to bring attention to it.
These are perceptions based on a growing body of evidence. We can argue over whether the evidence leads to their conclusion, but it would be a mistake to ignore the anger simmering over these things.
enlargeDon't take my word for it. Go read Joy-Ann Reid's analysis of the tax deal and why criticism of 'the deal' is possibly unwarranted. Or get AngryBlackLady's take on who the Democratic base really is. Like Ishmael Reed, she reminds that it isn't homogenous.
It may be time for the President to update his race speech and invite a real dialogue. Leaving this simmering beneath the surface is probably not a good strategy, when we could be listening to each other more. African-Americans deserve our support against the outrage of celebrating a past that oppresses them to this day, and they deserve the respect of having a differing opinion from what seems to be viewed as common wisdom.
Because that's who we are. It's a core value, or at least, I thought it was.
Here's a bonus: A lack of respect
AOL.Black Voices, you are killing me with material tonight. (No, not this clown, he is just looking for attention. *Yawn*)
I think I will start down in that beautiful state of Georgia:
A white man from Georgia who beat a black female Army reservist as her young child looked on and begged him to stop has been released from jail early.
Troy Dale West (pictured above) had only been sentenced to six months in prison for beating Tasha Hill (pictured below), after they had words while both trying to enter a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
West allegedly punched Hill in the face, kicked her as she fell to the ground and yelled racial epithets.
An early release for a man who beat a woman-one who is serving our country no less- in front of her child while screaming racial epithets? Nice. (I know slave catchers and house servants, she had it coming. You can't just go walking around looking like a victim.)
"The sheriff in Clayton County, Georgia, said West received two days of time served credit for every day he painted trailers. He also acknowledged receiving pressure from West's friends to release him early, but said he did not relent. "
You can't make this stuff up. What gets me is not the ignorant racist who attacked this woman. I expect that in A-merry-ca. What is troubling is the justice system, once again, failing one of its citizens. It would have been nice if the folks in Clayton, Georgia decided to send a message to Mr. Deliverance. But I guess the sheriff wanted to get reelected. Old Troy Dale must have had a lot of friends. [Story]
Finally, you Negroes can pat yourselves on the back for contributing to modern science here in A-merry-ca:"University of Illinois professor Deborah McGregor has shed light on an important piece of American history. McGregor has noted that Dr. James Marion Sims, considered the father of modern gynecology, developed many of his techniques by operating on slaves, many of whom were not given anesthesia.
The new GOP governors are destroying tens of thousands of jobs and they haven't even started. You have to be a fool to run that many jobs out of your state during such an economic crisis. The Spanish high speed train manufacturer Talgo is the first to pull out of the states that are rejecting federal money, but with such attitudes, they won't be the last. ThinkProgress:
Talgo currently employs 40 people in Milwaukee, WI and ?was hoping to grow their staff to as many as 125 to fulfill the orders? that current Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and his administration had made in preparation for the project. Those orders would?ve spurred some 13,000 badly-needed jobs in a state facing a 7.8 percent unemployment rate. (Ohio will lose 16,000 jobs.) Instead, Talgo plans to take that business to three of the states that will share in the federal money taken away from Wisconsin and Ohio, most notably Florida.
Florida?s Gov.-elect Rick Scott (R) also sounded off against high-speed rail during his campaign but, unlike Walker and Kasich, has waffled on whether he?d actually kill the project. With over $2 billion in stimulus money and the prospect of new business flocking to the state, Scott isn?t as willing to shun such potential economic development as his Tea Party brethren.
But Wisconsinites should not be fooled by the flight of business. As he said on election night, Walker?s victory means ?Wisconsin is open again for business? ? regardless of what actually happens.
On Monday's broadcast of Countdown, Keith Olbermann and Howard Dean reviewed the litany of problems with Henry Hudson's health care law ruling, starting Hudson's investment in a Republican political consulting firm that includes as clients Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli who filed the lawsuit upon which Hudson ruled.
Dean argued that Hudson's ruling was basically irrelevant, pointing out that the judge found the individual mandate was severable from the rest of the legislation and arguing that it wasn't essential for health care reform to work because there are other ways to prevent free riders. For example, Dean said there could be enrollment periods for health care plans, and that anyone who doesn't enroll during an enrollment period would be responsible for all health costs incurred outside the enrollment period. He acknowledged that mandates were a more effective way of preventing free riders, but his point was that it would be possible to make the bill work even in the unlikely scenario that Hudson's ruling is upheld.
Transcript below the fold.
It seems like the value of former Vice President Dick Cheney's freedom, like all other goods, declines the closer you get to Christmas. Cheney better hope that Nigeria ratifies this deal soon though, because you never know what happens to goods left on[...]
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TONY PEYSER FOR BUZZFLASH
I was openly for the longest time a
Barack Obama defender
But lately he seems to be confusing
Compromise with surrender.
The Air Force is now blocking the web sites of the New York Times, the Guardian, and other news outlets that have posted diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks.
According to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, the Air Force ordered the sites blocked from personnel computers last month. An Air Force spokeswoman told Reuters that the Air Force "routinely blocks Air Force network access to websites hosting inappropriate materials or malware (malicious software) and this includes any website that hosts classified materials and those that are released by WikiLeaks."
She said 25 sites have been blocked.
The move goes further than those made by other branches of the armed services and the Pentagon, which has advised servicemembers to avoid looking at the Wikileaks documents on military computers.
According to the Journal, the message, "ACCESS DENIED. Internet Usage is Logged & Monitored," appears when servicemembers try to access the blocked sites. The message also warns that personnel looking at unauthorized sites may be punished.
The Air Force had told personnel in August not to go to the Wikileaks site or download any of the cables, according to a memo obtained by TPM.
[Additional reporting by Ryan J. Reilly]
New York Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, are facing charges that they stole over half a million dollars from clients of their nonprofit health care network, according to a six-count federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.
A grand jury handed up the indictment of the 57-year-old Bronx Democrat and his 37-year-old son, charging them with five counts of embezzling from their nonprofit, the Soundview HealthCare Network. Since that nonprofit receives over $1 million a year from the Department of Health and Human Services and millions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, the pair were also charged with one count of conspiring to steal government funds.
Espada and his son are accused of abusing their positions at Soundview in a series of schemes between 2005 and 2009 that diverted the nonprofit's money for their own purposes. The charges are the result of a joint investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
Prosecutors alleged that the elder Espada used the nonprofit's money to pay for pony rides and a petting zoo at the birthday party of a family member and even tried to use a $49,000 check as a down payment on a Bentley.
The feds also say that between 2006 and 2009, Soundview even paid for over $23,000 in tickets for the Espadas to shows like Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins and the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular; tickets to Mets and Yankees games; and even seats at a Kenny G. concert.
Espada's lawyer Susan R. Necheles told the New York Times that Espada and his son denied any wrongdoing and would fight the charges in court.
"Soundview has provided high quality health care to thousands of families, children and senior citizens in the Bronx," Necheles said. "Today is a sad day for Soundview and a sad day for the Esapada family."
Read the indictment below:
An unhappy Al Franken blames Obama for having "punted on first down" but will vote for the temporary extension of tax cuts for the wealthy: "I am taking the President at his word that he will fight harder to put an end to these wasteful tax breaks in[...]
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I was thinking it had been a while since one of our top politicians here in New York had been hit with a major felony indictment. And sure enough, the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Pedro Espada Jr (D-Bronx) and his son were just charged with stealing[...]
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