Tag Archives: race

Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear

Billy Graham was a preacher man equally intent on saving souls and soliciting financial support for his ministry. His success at the former is not subject to proof and his success at the latter is unrivaled. He preached to millions on every ice-free continent and led many to his chosen messiah.

Graham also left behind a United States government in which religion plays a far greater role than before he intruded into politics in the 1950s. The shift from secular governance to “In God We Trust” can be laid squarely at this minister’s feet.

Graham’s message was principally one of fear…fear of a wrathful god…

More from CounterPunch News

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Is the Women’s March more inclusive this year?

This weekend is an important horizon on the U.S. landscape of women’s history: People across the nation will mark the anniversary of the historic Women’s March on Washington. But for some women, the anniversary is another reminder of the shortcomings of the 2017 Women’s March.

Critics said the march centered on cis white women at the expense of women of color and trans women, both groups who many felt had more to lose under a new administration many saw as hostile to human rights. At the start, organizers of the women’s march were almost all white, though they quickly course-corrected by bringing on Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

But some underrepresented women felt their issues — such as racism, discrimination, police brutality, LGBTQ inclusivity, and immigration — were relegated in favor of issues that matter most to straight, white, middle-class women.

“We have to decide: Do we want equality and justice for a select group, or do we want it for everyone, and we know all these issues are tied together,” said Ruth Hopkins, a Native American writer and activist. “Gender justice is related to economic justice and racial justice and we have to think about all these things.”

As the 2018 Women’s March and sister marches converge on Saturday and Sunday across the country, many women are asking: Has anything changed?

Women of color have a complicated history with feminism

Feminism’s long history of perceived racism, combined with what some women saw as a lack of intersectionality at last year’s march, resulted in many black women and women of color refusing to attend.

Intersectionality, coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is the recognition of how different backgrounds and the racism, sexism and classism that come with those identities overlap and impact the ways people experience oppression and discrimination.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl

Power, Race and Money: Why Jeff Sessions Loves Pot Prohibition

The announcement by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions that he’ll pursue federal pot prosecutions has two age-old motivations: power and money.

Financially, of course, the Republican party is vested in America’s vast private prison system. Every new arrestee means money in the pockets of the investors who own and operate them. Keeping those cells and beds occupied is the essence of the industry”and of Pot Prohibition.

The Drug War is a giant cash cow, not only for the prison owners, but for the cops, guards, lawyers, judges, bailiffs and all the other operatives whose livelihood depends on destroying those of the nation’s tens of millions cannabis customers.

Medical legalization in about half the country, and full legalization in California, Colorado and other states, represents a serious threat to this multi-billion-dollar incarceration scam. Sessions has risen to its defense.

Then there’s the power.

As long as so many millions of people smoke the stuff, marijuana’s illegality give police the ability to bust whoever they want, whenever they want. It is the core enabler of a police state.

In fact, Pot Prohibition is a major foundation of the Republican Regime stretching from the White House and Congress to state government, the courts and beyond.

The key is disenfranchisement.

Since the Drug War’s initiation by Harry J. Anslinger in the 1930s, the principle focus has been on people of color. Anslinger promoted the term “marijuana” to deal with cannabis because it has an Hispanic twinge and aroused paranoid bigotry among the white population.

While promoting films like “Reefer Madness” to make pot appear like some sinister force, Anslinger’s minions made cannabis into a racist menace.

But it was Richard Nixon who took the assault to its ultimate depth. Nixon hated blacks and hippies. He also had a serious interest in slashing into their communities, and depriving them of the vote.

In 1972 his own Blue Ribbon Schaefer Commission recommended against Prohibition. Chaired by Pennsylvania’s liberal Governor Richard Schaefer, it said the health impacts did not warrant a national campaign.

Nixon ignored all that. Amidst a terrible war and racial upheavals, he proclaimed Drugs to be America’s most serious problem.

His own staff knew better. As aide John Ehrlichmann put it:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

The Drug War gave Nixon the key to his “Southern Strategy.” Through a wide range of racist rhetoric and policy, he successfully campaigned to move southern white racists from the Democrats to the Republicans. But many southern states had substantial black constituencies. He needed to make sure they could not vote.

Slapping them in jail for pot was a powerful way to do that. Because pot is essentially everywhere, it also lets police arrest pretty much any black person they want at any time. According to Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW, tens of millions of blacks and Hispanics have since been busted. And independent survey by Prof. Bob Fitrakis has estimated the number of Drug War arrests since 1970 in the range of 41,000,000. At a cost of more than a trillion dollars, the US could instead have sent virtually everyone it busted for pot to a four-year university instead.

Instead, the assault has injected deep into the black and Hispanic communities a cultural toxin based in the prison culture. While busting peace, environmental and social justice activists for cannabis, politicians like Trump and Sessions damage the black and Hispanic communities while turning elections and driving the country to the right.

Sessions occasionally make absurd moral and public health claims for keeping cannabis illegal. But the damage it has done to individual lives and the broader community is incalculable.

Pot Prohibition has worked wonders for a fascist establishment keeps power only by using it as a way to crush its opposition, steal elections and fatten its pockets.

Anyone that says otherwise is blowing toxic smoke.

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Colin Kaepernick a finalist for ‘TIME’ Person of Year

Image: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was announced Monday as one of 10 candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2017.

Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, joins President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement, among others, on the short list for recognition. Each year, the magazine strives to identify “the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year, for better or for worse.”

Trump was recognized by the magazine in 2016, and German chancellor Angela Merkel was its 2015 recipient. TIME will announce its latest “Person of the Year” on Wednesday.

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem last year, describing it as a means of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. He became a free agent in March and has yet to sign with an NFL team this season, prompting him to file a collusion grievance against NFL owners.

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Posted by Libergirl


Roy Moore’s Neo-Confederate Sugar Daddy Has Deep Ties To Secessionists

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore’s top supporter is a hardline Confederate sympathizer with longtime ties to a secessionist group.

Image: Jeffrey Butler

Michael Anthony Peroutka  has given Moore, his foundation and his campaigns well over a half-million dollars over the past decade-plus. He’s also expressed beliefs that make even Moore’s arguably theocratic anti-gay and anti-Muslim views look mainstream by comparison. Chief among them: He’s argued that the more Christian South needs to secede and form a new Biblical nation.

The close connections raise further questions about the racial and religious views of Moore, the former Alabama supreme court chief justice and the front-runner to become Alabama’s next U.S. senator.

Peroutka, a 2004 Constitution Party presidential nominee who in 2014 won a seat as a Republican on the county commission in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, spent years on the board of the Alabama-based League of the South, a southern secessionist group which for years has called for a southern nation run by an “Anglo-Celtic” elite. The Southern Poverty Law Center designates the League of the South as a hate group (a designation Peroutka regularly jokes about). That organization, after Peroutka left, was one of the organizers of the Charlottesville protests last summer that ended in bloodshed.

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Posted by Libergirl






White Man Arrested In Deaths Of Two Black Men, Firing On Family In Louisiana

A 23-year-old white man was arrested Tuesday and accused of cold-bloodedly killing two black men and shooting up a black family’s home in a string of attacks last week that police say may have been racially motivated.

A law enforcement official said authorities found a handwritten copy of an Adolf Hitler speech at Kenneth James Gleason’s home, and investigators said surveillance footage and DNA on a shell casing link him to the crimes.

Authorities said he would be charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of a homeless man and a dishwasher who was walking to work. In each case, the killer opened fire from his car, then walked up to the victim as he lay on the ground and fired again repeatedly, police said.

“I feel confident that this killer would have killed again,” interim Police Chief Jonny Dunnam said.

Gleason’s attorney, J. Christopher Alexander, said his client “vehemently denies guilt, and we look forward to complete vindication.”

Authorities found the Hitler speech during a search over the weekend, according to the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on.

Asked whether police suspect the shootings were motivated by race, Sgt. L’Jean McKneely said: “We’re not completely closed off to that. We’re looking at all possibilities at this time, so we’re not going to just pinpoint that.”

District Attorney Hillar Moore said he may seek the death penalty.

“It appears to be cold, calculated, planned (against) people who were unarmed and defenseless,” he said.

Authorities also said that just after midnight on Sept. 10, Gleason fired into the home of a black family who lived three houses down from Gleason and his parents.

More from Talking Points Memo

Posted by Libergirl


Race and the Right’s War on “Government Schools”

The history of private school vouchers is inseparable from white resistance to desegregation.The history of private school vouchers is inseparable from white resistance to desegregation.

“These white property holders who suppressed the vote of all other citizens really did not want to pay taxes to support the education of any but their own children.”

Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America [1], is one of the most buzzed-about books of the summer. But her book is also about public education, and the right’s long crusade to privatize what they call “government schools.” In the latest episode of the Have You Heard Podcast, AlterNet education editor Jennifer Berkshire talks to MacLean about why public education is in the crosshairs of the radical right, and how the history of private school vouchers, a passion of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is inextricably linked to efforts by Southern white elites to resist desegregation.

Jennifer Berkshire: There’s a fierce debate [2] right now about the racist history of school vouchers. But as you chronicle in Democracy in Chains, the segregationist South was really the testing ground for conservative libertarian plans for privatizing what they called “government schools.”

Nancy MacLean: This was the moment, the crucible of the modern period in which these ultra free market property supremacist ideas got their first test, and it is in the situation of the most conservative whites’ reaction to Brown. What was interesting to me, in finding this story and seeing it through new eyes, is that Milton Friedman, I learned, had written his first manifesto for school vouchers in 1955 as the news was coming out of the south. That was after several years of reports on these arch segregationists, saying they were going to destroy public education and send kids off to private schools. Friedman wrote this piece, advocating school vouchers in that context. He and others who were part of this libertarian movement at the time, I was shocked to discover, really rallied in excitement over what was happening in the south. They were thrilled that southern state governments were talking about privatizing schools. They were applauding this massive resistance to the federal government and to the federal courts because they thought it would advance their agenda.

JB: The economist James McGill Buchanan, who is the subject of your book, was the architect of a plan to privatize Virginia’s schools, including selling off its school buildings and even altering the constitution to eliminate the words “public education.” He was basically making the same argument that school choice proponents continue to make today, that public schools were a “monopoly.”

NM: Two students from the economics department at the University of Chicago, James McGill Buchanan, who is my focus, and a man named Warren Nutter, who was Milton Friedman’s first student, started pushing these voucher programs in the South and pushing them very opportunistically. They wanted to take away the requirement that there be public education in the constitution, which would then enable mass privatization. Friedman himself actually came down to University of North Carolina in 1957 to a conference designed to train these new arch free market economists, and he actually made schools the case in point, so he was really pushing for this in the South at the moment that it’s happening.

They did not care what would be the impact on black students of their pushing this agenda, and they capture that in saying, “Letting the chips fall where they may.”

Ten days after the courts ruled that Virginia couldn’t shut down schools in some localities while leaving them open in others, Buchanan and Nutter issue this report calling for, essentially using the tools of their discipline to argue that it would be fine for Virginia to privatize its schools and sell off these public resources to private providers. In other words, what they were doing is using this crisis to advance their what some people would call neo-liberal politics or ultra free market politics or breaking down the democratic state. There’s many ways of describing this, but whether they were or were not consciously racist or most motivated by racism, I don’t know, and it’s kind of almost not relevant. The thing is, they did not care at what they could tell would be the impact on black students of their pushing this agenda, and they capture that in saying, “Letting the chips fall where they may.”

JB: Much of your book centers on Virginia at mid-century, in the years leading up to and following the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. Yet the story you tell feels so relevant to today. You argue, for example, that what we’ve long viewed as a battle over segregation was also a fight over who pays for public education.

NM: Actually, what the white leaders always said is that black residents weren’t paying enough taxes to have better schools in this situation of segregation, which was, of course, a total source of frustration to the black parents, because they said, “How can we make bricks without straw? If you don’t give us education, how can we get better jobs in order to pay more taxes?” I just raise that, because the way that I look at Brown and the fight over schools in this book is a little different from what we’ve heard over the years, in that it draws attention to the public finance aspect of racial equality in the schools, and shows how even back in the time of the cases that led up to Brown vs Board of Education, these issues of taxes were always foremost. These white property holders, these very conservative white elites in Virginia, who suppressed the vote of all other citizens, really did not want to pay taxes to support the education of any but their own children. In that sense, I think it’s a really contemporary story. It has such echoes of what we’re hearing now.

JB: I’m a devoted chronicler of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is an heiress to the right-wing libertarian vision that your book is about. One of my great frustrations is that people decided early on that DeVos is a dimwit and so they don’t challenge her ideas, where they come from or how extreme they are.

NM: I have to say I think that intellectual condescension is the Achilles heel of the left, particularly right now with the Trump administration and DeVos. There’s a sense that, “Oh, these people are stupid,” rather than, “No, these people are working with a completely different ethical system than the rest of us and a different philosophy, but it’s a coherent one and they are pursuing their goals with very strategic, calculating tools.” That’s also why the right is so focused on the teachers’ unions. It’s not because they are only concerned about the quality of education and think that teachers are blocking that. First of all, this is a cause that hated public education—what they would call government schools; they don’t even want to say public education—before there were teachers’ unions. We can go back and trace the lineage of that. Today, with so many industrial jobs destroyed or outsourced or automated, our main labor unions are teachers’ unions, and teachers’ unions are really important forces for defending liberal policy in general, things like social security and Medicare as well as defending public education. In targeting teachers’ unions, they’re really trying to take out their most important opponents to the plans, the kind of radical plans that they’re pushing through.

JB: DeVos actually spoke to the conservative group ALEC a few weeks ago and she quoted Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement “there is no society” to make her case for a libertarian vision of education that consists of individual students and families vs schools and school systems. Universal free public education, paid for by tax dollars, is among our most “collectivist” enterprises when you think about it.

NM: They hate the idea of collectives they would call them, whether it’s labor union, civil rights, women’s groups, all these things they see as terrible, and any kind of government provision for people’s needs. Instead, they think that ultimately, each individual, and then they sneak in the family because of course no individual could live free of being raised by a mother and parents. In their dream society, every one of us is solely responsible for ourselves and our needs, whether it’s for education or it’s for retirement security or it’s for healthcare, just all these things, we should just do ourselves. They think it’s a terrible, coercive injustice that we together over the 20th century have looked to government to do these things and have called on and persuaded government to provide things like social security or Medicare, Medicaid, or college tuition support or any of these things.

JB: Unlike some of the other causes that you just mention, the push to privatize public education has support among Democrats too. What do you make of this?

NM: Part of what’s happened with the Democrats that’s very sad I think is that once the spigots of corporate finance of elections opened and Democrats are trying to stay competitive with Republicans in this, they have gone overwhelmingly to the financial sector for contributions. There are so many hedge fund billionaires who are interested in transforming the education industry because it is such a vastly huge potential source of cash, right, that could go into new, private schools. There’s this whole education industry that’s developed, and a lot of Democrats are really connected to that agenda. Corey Booker would be a case in point, and I’m sure you know about his work, but many other Democrats. Obama and Arnie Duncan and all these other folks I think are destroying their party’s own base and capacity to fight back against this horrible, anti-democratic agenda by attacking public education and teachers’ unions as they have.

By Jennifer Berkshire/BlackAgendaReport

Posted by The NON-Conformist