Category Archives: Race

GOP Racism: They just can’t help themselves

No sooner did former Reagan policy adviser Dinesh D’Souza label Barack Obama a ghetto “boy” who just couldn’t help himself than the New York Republican Party treated members to a graphic laden with all manner of intolerant bile, with the target being New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, a white liberal Democrat married to an African American woman.

Parodying those ubiquitous ads for an S&M flick now scoring big at the box office, the mayor is transformed into a cross-dresser dominated by a black man, the Rev. Al Sharpton.

At once the mayor is denigrated for treating an African American as his superior [a thought chilling to the hearts of racists], but he’s also implicitly labeled as either homosexual or transgender, both wholly unnatural in the eyes of most folks in the Grand Old Party:

BLOG Racism

Gothamist reports the GOP defensive line:

The state GOP defended its decision to mockingly compare the slap-and-tickle romance in “50 Shades” to the close working relationship between de Blasio and Sharpton.

“The parallels between the heroine of America’s hottest movie and New York’s mayor are striking: both have completely ceded control over their situation to outside forces, and the results are difficult to watch,” said spokesman David Laska.

Another New York Republican crosses the same line

Then there’s another prominent GOPer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who, Politico reports, told fellow Republicans:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

In other words, as D’Souza spouted, “You can take the boy out of the ghetto. . .”

Giuliani went way over the top in his denunciation, going from the hyperbolic to the outright absurd:

“What country has left so many young men and women dead abroad to save other countries without taking land? This is not the colonial empire that somehow he has in his hand. I’ve never felt that from him. I felt that from [George] W. [Bush]. I felt that from [Bill] Clinton. I felt that from every American president, including ones I disagreed with, including [Jimmy] Carter. I don’t feel that from President Obama.”

That argument would ring rather false in the Philippines, a country the U.S. effectively annexed for most of the first half of the 20th Century, and it would probably ring false in Iraq, too, as well as other nations where the U.S. has helped overthrow elected democratic governments [think Chile] and installed puppet regimes to ensure the continued flow of natural resources to the U.S.

And while the U.S. sometimes didn’t leave boots on the ground [though often they did, renamed “military advisers,” Washington did fund and armed their military forces and secret police, trained their officers, and provided endless intelligence of their potential opponents.

May Rudy and his fellow GOP mossbacks oughta put a LifeLock on their lips and keyboards.

Racism ain’t pretty, not matter how hard your try to obscure it.

A Reagan policy advisor flies the racist flag

As in calling an African American adult male a ghetto “boy.”

Dinesh D’Souza, for policy adviser to President Reagan and a convicted campaign funding fraudster, remains a darling of the Republican party.

He’s also an exemplar of the rotten racism embodied in the policies and practices of the party’s rotten neoliberal core, as witnessed in an infamous Tweet he vomited out today:

BLOG Dinesh

Really classy, Dinesh. One would hope the more reasonable Republicans [if any still exist] would be the ones cowering in embarrassment.

But thanks are due, for rarely is the racism implicit in neoliberalism made so delightfully explicit.

Everything you wanted to know about Uber

What Walmart is to shopping, Uber is to transport — a ruthless money machine stripping workers of their rights as it offloads both personal and corporate responsibility onto their backs — through that wonderful pretense of the “independent contractor” — and stiffing taxpayers with the costs of the inevitable disasters.

More than that, Uber is destroying yet another bastion of organized labor, that ultimate desideratum of neoliberalism, which resents any force, whether exerted by government or the workers who actually make the money that their financial overlords lay claim to by virtue of their social Darwinian pretensions to natural superiority.

But, damn, it sure is clever, ain’t it?

And what a name, an almost mocking allusion to the Nietzschean pretensions of the pseudolibertarians of Silicon Valley!

Dollars for the Ubermensch, peanuts — and liability — for the serfs.

So with that by way of context, here’s a fascinating Laura Flanders interview of Bhairavi Desai, a New York cabbie who is spearheading the fight to retain worker rights and dignity.

Oh, and Uber has just hired a key Obama staffer. But what else is new, right?

From GRITtv’s Laura Flanders Show via teleSUR English:

The Laura Flanders Show: Bhairavi Desai

Program notes:

The US media has been breathlessly reporting the spin about Uber, the new $40 billion dollar car service. This episode explores the other side, with Bhairavi Desai, co-founder and Director of the Taxi Workers Alliance.

The show also features an interview with 98-year-old civil rights activist Esther Cooper Jackson, co-founders of Freedomways magazine.

Kidnapping an African American baby legally

First the kidnapping, via news department of WESH 2, the NBC affiliate in Orlando, Florida:

3 days after missed payment, dealership repossesses car with 9-month-old inside

  • Mother went inside day care to pick up child when car was taken

A vehicle with a child inside of it was repossessed on Tuesday.

The Orlando Police Department helped the mother track down the vehicle and find the 9-month-old baby girl.

“I thought somebody kidnapped her because my oldest daughter said, ‘It was two white males [who] got in the car and they just left,'” Antoinette Jordan said.

Jordan went inside an Orlando day care to pick up her other two children, and when she went back outside, the car was gone.

Here’s the video report from WESH 2 News:

3 days after missed payment seller repossesses car with baby inside

Program note:

A vehicle with a child inside of it was repossessed on Tuesday.

H/T to Nothing To Do With Arbroath.

A WESH 2 News update answers the question provoked by our post-al headline:

A spokesman for Xpress Finance Inc. declined to appear on camera but said, “The rules are the rules.”

But what about the fact that the car was repossessed with her child still inside?

Because the men were in the process of reclaiming the car legally, under Florida law, WESH 2 legal analyst Richard Hornsby said they are not subject to arrest.

“I think there’s a gap in the law here. There’s no reason someone can take a car that has a child in it and be justified,” Hornsby said.

To which we would respond as we would’ve to high school friends fifty-some years ago, “No shit, Sherlock.”

So the argument, hewing to the letter of the law, is that it wasn’t a kidnapping because they didn’t intend to take the child, only the car, which they were legally entitled to do: After all, as the company says, “The rules are the rules.”

But to the mother, there was no different whether her daughter was taken by repo men or an intentional child-stealer. She only knew that her daughter had been taken, along with her car. The grief and horror she experienced — traumas by any definition of the term — were absolutely real, exerting profound impacts that can [as we can attest] last a lifetime.

One can also argue that the car-takers may have seen the child — how could they not have? — but took the car anyway [and how did they know she was there unless they had been following her, and therefore almost certainly knew of the infant?]. At the very least, how did they not know, given that car repossessers are legally obliged to preserve personal property in that car at the time of repossession?

But, hey, mom would no doubt call the cops, and every ethical repo man notifies the cops about repossessions, as, in fact, they did.

As ownership becomes increasingly a right retained by the seller and no longer transferred to the buyer, possession becomes ephemeral, save for those who have amassed virtually all the world’s capital stock, both material and virtual, employing the machinery of finance to accelerate the accumulation.

In this case one small African American and her family were simply collateral damage.

Quote of the day: San Diego has jumped the shark

From David Loy, writing in the American Civil Liberties Union’s Blog of Rights, describes the case of a California man who faces a possible life prison sentence for, well, rapping while black:

I’ve heard free speech isn’t free, and Brandon Duncan, who raps as Tiny Doo, has learned that the hard way.

Until recently, Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail on “gang conspiracy” charges arising from several shootings in San Diego from May 2013 to February 2014. Prosecutors admit he wasn’t at the scene of the crimes, and they have no evidence linking him to the shootings. Mr. Duncan, who has no criminal record, also says he had no knowledge of the crimes. But the district attorney charged him all the same because he raps about shootings.

That’s not only absurd; it’s a blatant violation of the First Amendment.

Mr. Duncan, after all, is an artist, whose music reflects what he’s seen. “I’m just painting a picture of urban street life,” he recently told CNN’s Don Lemon. “The studio’s my canvas …. I’m not telling anyone to go out and kill somebody or go do something. I’m not doing anything differently than [Grammy-winning rapper] The Game.”

But the San Diego district attorney thinks otherwise. Under an untested law, an “active participant” in a “criminal street gang” who “willfully promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits from” any felony committed by fellow gang members can be charged with “conspiracy to commit that felony.” Unlike traditional conspiracy, the charge doesn’t require any agreement to commit the crime. Instead, it requires either “promoting, furthering, or assisting” the crime, which means being a direct accomplice, or knowingly “benefiting” from the crime.

Whether or not this law can be used to prosecute others, the prosecution is abusing it to charge Mr. Duncan. To “promote, further, or assist” means to aid and abet, and there’s no evidence he did that. That leaves “benefit.” The district attorney alleges he has “benefited” from shootings committed by unidentified gang members through making a CD called “No Safety,” on which he raps about shootings, and through receiving “praise” for his music. As the prosecutor admitted, he wouldn’t be charged if he sang “love songs.”

That’s wrong on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start.

Addendum to a Berkeley police violence protest

Back in December, a brief furor erupted centering on what some perceived as a symbolic and racist event on the Berkeley campus, the appearance on the university’s Sather Gate and a campus tree of two life-size cardboard cutouts of African Americans hanging from nooses.

While many took their appearance to be an efflorescence of racism linked to the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, they were subsequently revealed as the opposite, a protest against violent racism directed at African Americans.

The figures were those of a mother and son, Laura and Lawrence Nelson, a mother and son lynched by an Oklahoma mob on 25 May 1911. The photo of Laura Nelson is the only image known to survive of 150 African American women known to have been victims of lynch mobs. Many photos survive the 3,300 African American males killed by lynchers.

Belatedly we’d like to add one more element to the story. . .

We just discovered that the killings were also memorialized by America’s balladeer, Woody Guthrie, the singer/songwriter best known for “This Land is Your Land.”

While we couldn’t find any performances by Guthrie himself, here’s a rendition of “Don’t Kill My Baby and My Son” by Brooke Harvey:

Breaking the Set: Detroit — Austerity run amok

Another excellent episode of Abby Martin’s Breaking the Set, this time focusing on the ravages of the neoliberal economy on the once great City of Detroit and the city’s curious two-track welfare policy, in which corporate scofflaws flourish and the poor are subjected to austerian brutalism.

From Breaking the Set:

Detroit Part I: Extinguishing the Homeless & Shutting Off Human Rights

Program notes:

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin, features BTS’ exclusive on-the-ground coverage from Detroit, Michigan, beginning with a look at a tent city outside of downtown, where the crew witnessed a cop putting out the only source of warmth for the homeless population there with a fire extinguisher. Abby then discusses the shutoff of water services for thousands of residents across the city and speaks with Andrea Malone, a Detroit resident struggling to pay her water bills about what it’s like to face having your access to this vital necessity taken away. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with Beulah Walker, a volunteer with the Detroit Water Brigade, an organization working to prevent water shutoffs and distribute water to residents most in need in the city.