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Member since: Wed Jan 18, 2012, 10:29 PM
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How many people even know about most races in their own area?

Let alone that even at the state and local levels, there are socialist and green candidates (whom I'm sure get plenty of media attention and campaign contributions! )

The right-wingers are the most reliable voters, and it's not just in national races. Add the fact that the money (which could just be local business groups i.e. the local Chambers of Commerce) and the media are almost always on their side, and it's a totally uphill battle.

This is what Republicans believe about women, minorities, and the poor

Charles Murray:
In September 2005, after Harvard University president Larry Summers was forced out for suggesting women were under-represented in fields of science because of a lower aptitude, Murray wrote an essay defending Summers’ statement.

In it he wrote, “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions.”

He also said “Women have produced a smaller number of important visual artists, and none that is clearly in the first rank. No female composer is even close to the first rank.”

He credits that theory to women and men are cognitively different — and women wanting to have babies, which pulls them out of the workplace during key times.

“I have omitted perhaps the most obvious reason why men and women differ at the highest levels of accomplishment: men take more risks, are more competitive, and are more aggressive than women,” he also stated.

Gregg Abbott:

Abbott’s reference to Murray was a footnote. The GOP nominee for governor’s plan talks about funding early education programs, but only those that meet certain gold standards. Abbott also says that universal pre-K education would be a “waste” and state money should be reserved for programs whose success can be measured.

Abbott cited Murray’s book Real Education when he stated, “Family background has the most decisive effect on student achievement, contributing to a large performance gap between children from economically disadvantaged families and those from middle class homes.”


Paul Ryan:

Citing Charles Murray, the libertarian academic and pundit who has previously argued that poverty is largely a consequence of low IQ and race, Rep. Paul Ryan told right-wing radio host Bill Bennett on Wednesday morning that poverty in America is largely a product of a “tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work.

“So there’s a real culture problem here,” Ryan continued, “that has to be dealt with.”


Jeb Bush:
Lowry asked Bush, "... is there any policy or anything public officials can do to help turn back what has been a rising tide of family breakdown crossing decades now?"

"Absolutely, there is," Bush, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said. "It's not exactly the core. My views on this were shaped a lot on this by Charles Murray's book, except I was reading the book and I was waiting for the last chapter with the really cool solutions — didn't quite get there."

Later in the interview, Lowry asked Bush what he likes to read. Again, he cited Murray.

"I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I'm a total nerd I guess," Bush said.

and finally, Charles Murray, again:
Murray is the author of the highly influential 1984 book Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 which argued that social welfare programs of the 1960s and 1970s actually hurt the poor rather than helped. It was and remains a seminal work in the conservative policy canon.

Ten years later Murray authored the highly controversial The Bell Curve, which he co-authored with Richard Herrnstein. Critics denounced it as racist, saying it essentially argued that African-Americans aren't as intelligent as white Americans because of genetic differences. In 1994 Bob Herbert, then a columnist at The New York Times, described the book as a "scabrous piece of racial pornography masquerading as serious scholarship."


These are all mainstream Republican politicians, FWIW. They have all had very successful political careers. And they are far from the only ones who are still citing the likes of Charles Murray.

This is what angers and terrifies me about the GOP. They have been trying to make racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, hatred of the poor, and other forms of historical prejudice- part of the ad hoc rationalization and justification for slavery, genocide, imperialism, colonialism, discrimination, domination, and subjugation of much of the world's population - intellectually fashionable, socially acceptable, and politically palatable. They might have already succeeded, to a significant extent in this country.

I hope I am wrong. But, I fear otherwise.

Hypothetical: Clarence Thomas leaves the USSC (for whatever reason). Who should replace him?

In this 2016 hypothetical/scenario, Democrats win both the White House and the Senate (the latter with plenty of seats to spare), and let's say at least come close to winning the House of Representatives - just for the sake of argument.

For whatever reason (say, an unexpected illness, or the Senate finally having the wherewithal and votes to impeach Thomas on charges involving his failure to report his wife's income- income which came from right-wing activist organizations), Clarence Thomas leaves the Supreme Court in early 2017. (And there was much rejoicing.. )

Now, imagine that you are a senior adviser to the new Democratic President. Keeping in mind the symbolism of having at least one "African-American seat" on the Court - with liberal icon Thurgood Marshall being there before Thomas, and both of them being black men - who would be your preferred nominee, that would replace Thomas?

A picture is worth a thousand words...

The article:


That kid knows what's up!

Bernie Sanders really matters: He doesn’t have to win to build a progressive movement (Salon)

Just saw this article...definitely food for thought, and adds some needed perspective to Sanders' candidacy!

Stop thinking about winners, losers and the dumb horse race. Let's build at the grass roots and debate what matters.

The first thing to recall is that there are many ways to be a “serious” candidate. Of Bernie Sanders’ first 20 races, many were just as hard as this one. Some were truly impossible; in his first four he finished in single digits. Yet each campaign helped build a movement that would eventually transform Vermont into the enlightened place it is today. You can’t get more serious than that.

Wouldn’t it be great to put America on a path like the one Vermont took? It could happen, but only if this latest Sanders campaign is as fearless and selfless as the first — and only if progressives see the opportunity and honor it with wise choices. The opportunity is the chance to define an agenda, build a movement and engage the nation in a real debate.

Sanders must look beyond the old Washington-centric left long since colonized by Democrats to a new left yet in its chrysalis stage. It’s the left of progressive unions trying out new forms of organizing and governance; of mass organizations like 350.org and Moveon.org who still cultivate grassroots democracy; of a Working Families Party battling the old Democrat hierarchy from within; of millions of low-wage earners, the underemployed and the self-employed; of pioneers working to strengthen the commons and experimenting with more democratic forms of ownership and production. The way to draw them in is to distill an agenda that speaks to their needs.

Sanders says elections should be “serious debates over serious issues.” He takes pride in never having aired a single negative ad, as well he should. There may be another politician of equivalent rank who can make that boast, but for the life of me I don’t know who it is. Democrats have come to believe that the politics we have is the politics we must have. They think vicious personal attacks, innocuous ads and empty catch-phrases are the only way to fight.

Sanders can teach today’s progressives how to be more like their forebears, who won elections and historic reforms by prosecuting their cases with fact and logic. Sanders is bright and articulate enough to pull it off. In so doing he could redefine what it means to be a candidate. He might even persuade a few folks that calculation and charisma count for less than intelligence, character and conviction.


Winning isn't everything. And what exactly is "winning", anyway? What matters more - winning the battle for the Presidency, or winning the battle of ideas in the broader American culture, at the grassroots level?

A better question to ask, IMO, is "what will it take to get more Democrats to the polls?"

When Democrats turn out -as we saw in the 2012 and especially the 2008 presidential elections - Democrats win. Simple logic, right? Unfortunately, the last two midterm elections saw a big drop off in the number of Democratic voters. I blame this on three things:

1) Democratic voters being disproportionately working class/poor, lower-income, and as a result, having a lot less time to even think about politics, or pay attention, because of the stresses of daily life - especially since the Great Recession and the deeeply uneven recovery.

2) Republican lawmakers in many states being acutely aware of who votes for them - and who doesn't (What do you think all those Voter ID and other restrictive voting laws were about? ).

3) Intense negative media attention directed at President Obama - and by extension, the Democrats. A lot of Democratic candidates for office last time around weren't even willing to say that they had voted for the Democratic President. Pathetic!

That's how I see it. Furthermore, we can't just go home once the elections are over. Elections are but one part of the democratic process. And the right-wingers have been pulling no punches, and are showing us no quarter.

All of this is why building truly grassroots social movements, organizing, agitating, etc. is the only way forward. You can't just passively rely on politicians to "do the right thing." That never happens!

Lynching and Race Riots in the United States,1880-1950 (Robert A. Gibson, Yale, 2004)

In light of recent events - in Baltimore, in NYC, in Ferguson, and all across America:

The historical record is brutally clear. This is incredibly ugly stuff, and the worst part is: not only does the impact of this history continue to be felt, but Black lives still are in grave danger-and often times, lethally so - on a daily basis.

This history matters, to understand the present...

The United States has a brutal history of domestic violence. It is an ugly episode in our national history that has long been neglected. Of the several varieties of American violence, one type stands out as one of the most inhuman chapters in the history of the world: the violence committed against Negro citizens in America by white people. This unit of post Reconstruction Afro-American history will examine anti-Black violence from the 1880s to the 1950s. The phenomenon of lynching and the major race riots of this period, called the American Dark Ages by historian Rayford W. Logan, will be covered.

Immediately following the end of Reconstruction, the Federal Government of the United States restored white supremacist control to the South and adopted a laissez-faire policy in regard to the Negro. The Negro was betrayed by his country. This policy resulted in Negro disfranchisement, social, educational and employment discrimination, and peonage. Deprived of their civil and human rights, Blacks were reduced to a status of quasi-slavery or second-class citizenship. A tense atmosphere of racial hatred, ignorance and fear bred lawless mass violence, murder and lynching.


In the last decades of the nineteenth century, the lynching of Black people in the Southern and border states became an institutionalized method used by whites to terrorize Blacks and maintain white supremacy. In the South, during the period 1880 to 1940, there was deep-seated and all-pervading hatred and fear of the Negro which led white mobs to turn to lynch law as a means of social control. Lynchings open public murders of individuals suspected of crime conceived and carried out more or less spontaneously by a mob seem to have been an American invention. In Lynch-Law, the first scholarly investigation of lynching, written in 1905, author James E. Cutler stated that lynching is a criminal practice which is peculiar to the United States.

Most of the lynchings were by hanging or shooting, or both. However, many were of a more hideous nature - burning at the stake, maiming, dismemberment, castration, and other brutal methods of physical torture. Lynching therefore was a cruel combination of racism and sadism, which was utilized primarily to sustain the caste system in the South. Many white people believed that Negroes could only be controlled by fear. To them, lynching was seen as the most effective means of control.


In the decade immediately preceding World War I, a pattern of racial violence began to emerge in which white mob assaults were directed against entire Black communities. These race riots were the product of white society's desire to maintain its superiority over Blacks, vent its frustrations in times of distress, and attack those least able to defend themselves. In these race riots, white mobs invaded Black neighborhoods, beat and killed large numbers of Blacks and destroyed Black property. In most instances, Blacks fought back and there were many casualties on both sides, though most of the dead were Black.

Gunnar Myrdal opposed the use of the term "riots" to describe these interracial conflicts. He preferred to call this phenomena a terrorization or massacre, and (considered) it a magnified, or mass, lynching. Race riots occurred in both the North and South, but were more characteristic of the North. They were primarily urban phenomena, while lynching was primarily a rural phenomenon.


If you're not angry yet, you're not and haven't been paying attention.

+1. All of the OP's examples are speeches from politicians

Guess what, Obama and both Clintons give inspiring speeches too.

Why do the Democrats* in the OP get a pass on their actual records-which were quite complicated, and had positive AND negative outcomes, depending on the issues, circumstances, and historical, political, economic, and social conditions of the time?

This isn't history, this is historical fiction. Or better yet, romanticizing the past.

*And it couldn't have anything to do with race or gender. No, even dare suggesting that would be "divisive" or "offensive." Well, I find this OP divisive and offensive, because it's being used to criticize contemporary Democrats for not being "tough" or 'strong" enough. For not standing up for "the American people". Assuming that FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ were all "principled" Saints, of course. Come on.

Feminism versus multiculturalism: Excerpts from the article by Leti Volpp (2001)

If you haven't read this article, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Volpp makes a compelling and provocative argument.

We identify sexual violence in immigrant of color and Third World communities as cultural, while failing to recognize the cultural aspects of sexual violence affecting mainstream white women. This is related to the general failure to look at the behavior of white persons as cultural, while always ascribing the label of culture to the behavior of minority groups.

The failure to see that not only racialized minority cultures conflict with feminist values reflects the habit of assuming people of color to be motivated by culture and white persons to be motivated by choice.

Those with power appear to have no culture; those without power are culturally endowed. Western subjects are defined by their abilities to make choices, in contrast to Third World subjects, who are defined by their group-based determinism. Because the Western definition of what makes one human depends on the notion of agency and the ability to make rational choices, to thrust some communities into a world where their actions are determined only by culture is deeply dehumanizing.

Recognizing that feminism exists within communities of color breaks down the equation between multiculturalism and antifeminism inherent in the notion of "feminism versus multiculturalism." (This equation breaks down as well when we realize that gender-subordinating values are also valued in the dominant culture of the West).

Citation: Volpp, L. (2001). Feminism versus multiculturalism. Columbia Law Review, 1181-1218.

Full article: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1008&context=facpubs

The divison between economic and social justice is a false one

And is generally a division that is conceptualized by people whose basic rights are not under constant assault, or whose opportunities are not being denied, or who are constantly being thought of as less than human by the dominant culture, or who are not otherwise being dismissed, marginalized, and oppressed.

Wanna talk about economic justice? Let's talk about economic justice.

How about the fact that the majority of American women work outside the home, and many of whom experience various forms of harassment and discrimination - some forms more obvious than others, but all of it dehumanizing - in their work experiences? From being paid less, to being passed over for promotions, to experiencing sexual harassment from employers or co-workers? (Let alone, what happens on the street).

How about all of the women, particularly many lower-status women (poor women, women of color, less educated immigrants) who can't afford to go to work because someone has to take care of their children?

How about all of the employment-based discrimination, and discrimination built into marriage law, against gay and lesbian couples?

How about how deindustrialization, the Great Recession, and economic downturns in general have hit the black working class and other communities of color the hardest - especially when you consider that many in these groups had little to no economic clout to begin with?

How about the fact that the solid majority of the American working class (if you include sub-minimum wage, under-the table labor, or unpaid labor in general - i.e. domestic, agricultural, etc. labor), the vast majority of the very poor, the hardest hit by cutbacks to social services and unemployment benefits and food stamps and other forms of "welfare"-are women, minorities, and immigrants?

Women (including the majority of women - who work inside and outside the home, and regardless of whether their labor is compensated or not by wages), people of color (including black Americans, Latinos, "Asian-Americans", and other highly diverse communities that all fall out of the white mainstream, and the majority of whom are poor and/or working class) LGBT (who, contrary to popular stereotypes, are by and large not upscale, effeminate middle-class white men living in gentrified, trendy cities )-all of these communities and groups have been on the FRONTLINES of struggles for economic and social justice.

The two are not separate. And violence -both state and interpersonal, committed against women, people of color, the LGBT community- is also an economic issue, for what it's worth. Put it this way: Whose wallets suffer more, when their son is killed, when their husband is arrested and sent to prison, when they can't go to work for a while because they've been victimized/traumatized by sexual violence, when their entire neighborhoods' housing values drop drastically as soon as they move in, because more affluent white people move away (out of racist fears of the potential attraction of the "criminal element" to the neighborhood)?

The so-called "social issues activists" have been on the front lines for economic justice for a long, long time. They are inseparable for those who have always been subordinated by the privileged and powerful. Maybe there's something to that inseparability.
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