Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Deadly Resurrection of the Doctrine of White Supremacy in American Politics Today

Newt Gingrich

Dinesh D'Souza

"The American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well."
--The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza, 1995


All the most vicious racist/white supremacist monsters in the country are now crawling up out of the slime that is the eternal Pandora's box of American society and politics. The notorious Dinesh D'Souza a truly evil bigot and utterly insufferable immigrant's son (his parents are of South Asian origin from Bombay--now Mumbai--India!) who for the last 30 years rivals the KKK's David Dukes and other luminaries of the criminally racist rightwing for sheer madness and snarling venom is now guiding the mindless rhetoric of Newt Gingrich one of the most reactionary demagogues and self-rigtheous hypocrites/liars/conmen/assholes in the history of American politics. Dowd nails these scumbags and calls them out on their protofascist bullshit. These are the real enemies of not only our President but ALL OF US and if we don't seriously unite on a national level to beat these All American neo-Nazis and pseudointellectual skinheads back down into the sludge where they belong we will live to regret it. This is the kind of organized mass psychosis that must be aggressively confronted and defeated. If we don't take these madmen/women seriously as the rancid national force for the thoroughly racist/sexist/homophobic/imperialist rightwing totalitarianism that they are and represent we (and the President) will be destroyed by them. This is NO JOKE and the ominous signs are everywhere...


P.S.-- For those of you who may not know who Dinesh D'Souza is please check out his ugly resume following the article below. I have always thought D'Souza was a "Goebbels-in-waiting" of the American right--seriously...

September 14, 2010

Who’s the Con Man?
New York Times


Harry Reid tweets Lady Gaga while Newt Gingrich is truly gaga.

The 67-year-old former speaker, who has a talent for overreaching, is more unbridled than ever. He’s decided he’ll do or say anything to stay in the game — even Palin-izing himself by making outrageous, unsubstantiated comments to appeal to the wing nuts among us.

The conservative who fancies himself a historian and visionary did not use his critical faculties to resist his party’s lunacy but instead has embraced it, shamelessly. He has given a full-throated endorsement to a dangerously irresponsible and un-Christian theory by Ann Coulter-in-pants Dinesh D’Souza.

Gingrich praised D’Souza’s article in Forbes, previewing an upcoming book called “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.”

Newt told The National Review Online that it was the “most profound insight I have read in the last six years about Barack Obama” and said D’Souza shows that the president “is so outside our comprehension” that you can only understand him “if you understand Kenyan, anticolonial behavior.”

Newt added: “This a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president.”

So the smear artists are claiming not only that the president is a socialist but that he suffers from a socialism gene.

“Our president is trapped in his father’s time machine,” D’Souza writes in Forbes, offering a genetic theory of ideology. “Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.”

Playing into the bigotry of birthers and haters who paint Obama as “the other,” D’Souza writes that the president was raised offshore, spending “his formative years — the first 17 years of his life — off the American mainland, in Hawaii, Indonesia and Pakistan, with multiple subsequent journeys to Africa.” The ominous-sounding time in Pakistan was merely a visit when Obama was a college student.

Gingrich, who ditched two wives (the first when she was battling cancer; the second after an affair with the third — a House staffer — while he was impeaching Bill Clinton), now professes to be a good Catholic. Evidently the first two wives don’t count because he hadn’t converted to Catholicism. He even had a big Catholic conversion Mass here with his third wife, Callista, celebrated by a retinue of eight priests and three bishops.

But he is downright un-Christian when he does not hesitate to visit the alleged sins of the father upon the son.

Some of Newt’s old conservative friends worry that he has gone “over the ledge,” as one put it.

If it wasn’t so sick it would be funny. It’s worse than a conspiracy theory because this conspiracy consists of a single dead individual. The idea that there’s something illegitimate about anticolonialism on the part of a Kenyan man in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s is stupid. And it’s inconsistent to accuse a president who’s raining drones on bad guys in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen of having an inherited anticolonial ideology.

It’s also really low. D’Souza and Gingrich are not merely discrediting the president’s father’s ideology. They’re discrediting his character and insinuating that the son inherited not just his father’s bad ideology but a bad character, too.

Newt has always displayed an impressive grandiosity. Who can forget the time during his Congressional heyday when he declared himself a “defender of civilization, a teacher of the rules of civilization, arouser of those who form civilization ... and leader ‘possibly’ of the civilizing forces”?

And he who thinks Obama is too messianic said in 1994: “People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz. I see evil all around me every day.”

This fear-mongering is ugly. D’Souza and Gingrich employ the tactics the Bush administration used to get us into Iraq — cherry-picking, insinuation, half-truths and dishonest reasoning.

If the conservatives are so interested in psychoanalyzing father and son relationships, why didn’t they do so back when W. was rushing to avenge and one-up his father by finishing what daddy started with Saddam?

On their Web site, Callista and Newt tout “Gingrich Productions” and promote an apocalyptic movie with the same kind of scary music that Fox uses, suggesting that the Obama administration is weak in the war against “radical Islam.” The movie and the Web site are called “America at Risk.”

It’s Newt and D’Souza and their ilk who put America at risk.

Dinesh D'Souza (born April 25, 1961) is an author and public speaker who once served as the Robert and Karen Rishwain Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.[1] He is currently the President of The King's College in New York City.[2]
D'Souza is a conservative writer and speaker and the author of numerous New York Times best selling books. He was born and raised Roman Catholic, but now considers himself an Evangelical Christian.[3]

Early life
D'Souza was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, to parents from the state of Goa in Western India. He arrived in the United States in 1978, originally through a Rotary International program, attending Patagonia Union High School in Patagonia, Arizona, and then Dartmouth College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in English in 1983.[4][5]
According to Boston Globe journalist Peter S. Canellos, in 1981, D'Souza published the names of officers of the Gay Student Alliance in an article for The Dartmouth Review, including the names of those who were still closeted.[6]
While at Dartmouth, D'Souza became the editor of a conservative monthly called The Prospect. The paper and its writers ignited much controversy during D'Souza's editorship by, among other things, criticizing the College's affirmative action policies.[7]
Early career
After his time in Dartmouth, D'Souza moved to Washington, D.C., where he served from 1985 to 1987 as an editor of Policy Review, an influential conservative journal then published by the Heritage Foundation (and since acquired by the Hoover Institution).[5] In "The Bishops as Pawns", D'Souza theorized that U.S. Catholic bishops were being manipulated by American liberals in agreeing to oppose the U.S. military buildup and use of power abroad and actually knew very little about these subjects to which they were lending their religious credibility, writing:
Interviews with these bishops suggest that they know little or nothing about the ideas and proposals to which they are putting their signature and lending their religious authority. The bishops are unfamiliar with existing defense and economic programs, unable to identify even in general terms the Soviet military capability, ignorant of roughly how much of the budget currently goes to defense, unclear about how much should be reallocated to social programs, and innocent of the most basic concepts underlying the intelligent layman's discussion of these questions.[8]
In 1988 D'Souza left the magazine to serve as an advisor in Ronald Reagan's White House. He joined the American Enterprise Institute in 1989, where he was the institute's John M. Olin fellow, before later joining the Hoover Institution as its Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow.[5]
Personal life
In 1992, D'Souza married Dixie Brubaker, whom he first met during his time in Washington, D.C. They have one daughter, Danielle, and reside in Fairbanks Ranch, California.[5]
Prior to his marriage in 1992, D'Souza had relationships with two well-known female conservatives, Laura Ingraham, a nationally syndicated radio commentator to whom he was engaged but never married, and best-selling conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter.
Human nature
D'Souza is a noted conservative, and defines conservatism in the American sense as "conserving the principles of the American Revolution".[9] In Letters to a Young Conservative, written as an introduction to conservative ideas for youth, D'Souza argues that it is a blend of classical liberalism and ancient virtue, in particular, "the belief that there are moral standards in the universe and that living up to them is the best way to have a full and happy life." He also argues against what he calls the modern liberal belief that "human nature is intrinsically good," and thus that "the great conflicts in the world…arise out of terrible misunderstandings that can be corrected through ongoing conversation and through the mediation of the United Nations."[9]
Social policy and affirmative action
D'Souza challenges beliefs and projects such as affirmative action, and social welfare. In the book Illiberal Education, D'Souza argued that intolerance of conservative views is common at many universities.
D'Souza has often stated his belief that idealizing the rebellion against slavery is a source of disability among some African Americans. In his book The End of Racism he asserted that the "American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well."[10] He speculates that slaves, to preserve a sense of dignity, in the circumstances of slavery, would by nature tend to be defiant. This defiance would become the central heroic reference for African-American slaves, restoring a degree of pride and dignity to all. But, he continues, the price of this would be the habitually ingrained attitude of defiance that is ultimately self-destructive. He extends his belief that these self-destructive habits still have a legacy today. D'Souza contends that the degree to which many slave descendants suffer from social and self-esteem issues is due to this concept.[citation needed]
D'Souza has attributed many modern social problems to what he calls the "cultural left". In his recent book The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, he wrote that:
The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11 ... the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the non-profit sector and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world.[11]
Multiculturalism and the greatness of America
D'Souza's book What's So Great About America (ISBN 0-142-00301-8) (Penguin, 2003), defends his adopted country against the criticisms that have been directed at it in the last couple of decades. In particular, he argues against the criticisms leveled by the Islamic world, domestic multiculturalists, those seeking slavery reparations, and especially America's left wing. Instead, he contends, Americans themselves are too critical and take for granted the blessings bestowed on them by living within the borders of the United States.[12]
He also takes this a step further and challenges the notion that all world cultures are equal. "If one begins with the multicultural premise that all cultures are equal, then the world as it is makes very little sense," he says. "Some cultures have completely outperformed others in providing the things that all people seek -- health, food, housing, security and the amenities of life."[12]
Critic of feminism
D'Souza has also criticised aspects of feminism in Letters to a Young Conservative, writing that:
The feminist error was to embrace the value of the workplace as greater than the value of the home. Feminism has endorsed the public sphere as inherently more constitutive of women’s worth than the private sphere. Feminists have established as their criterion of success and self-worth an equal representation with men at the top of the career ladder. The consequence of this feminist scale of values is a terrible and unjust devaluation of women who work at home.[13]
Jesus Christ
In a Christian Science Monitor article he indicated that "the moral teachings of Jesus provide no support for – indeed they stand as a stern rebuke to – the historical injustices perpetrated in the name of Christianity."[14]
D'Souza often speaks against atheism, nonbelief, and secularism. The most elaborate presentation of his views concerning these topics can be found in his book What's so Great about Christianity?, published in 2007.
To summarize his views, he is a proponent of intelligent design of the universe and in biology, and claims that intelligent design does not exclude the possibility of evolution. He argues that belief in the afterlife and in a supreme being are reasonable conclusions given the evidence available, and that atheists have misrepresented the case for Christianity on many fronts.
Separation of church and state
In a Catholic Education Resource Center article he shared his belief on the separation of church and state: "Groups like the ACLU, with the acquiescence if not collusion of the courts, are actively promoting a jurisprudence of anti-religious discrimination. In a way the Supreme Court has distorted the Constitution to make religious believers of all faiths into second-class citizens." Some, including the ACLU itself, state that the ACLU has a history though of defending the free exercise rights of various religious groups, including those of Christians.[15][16][17] D'Souza argues that by enforcing the separation of church and state, the government unfairly promotes secularism.[18]
Dinesh D'Souza stated that he has studied radical Islam for 3–4 years[19] and read the Qur'an[20].
Dinesh D'Souza debated Robert Spencer about Islam on March 1, 2007 at the Conservative Political Action Committee and labelled Spencer an "Islamophobe". D'Souza made the following points:
"In arguing his thesis Spencer locates all the violent verses in the Koran and all the hideous deeds performed by Islamic conquerors, especially in their early centuries of irredentist expansion. Then he links these to the words and actions of Khomeini, Bin Laden and today's Islamic radicals. Spencer is an effective polemicist."[21]
Spencer's "historical argument is dubious. It emphasizes violent passages in the Koran, while downplaying the passages that urge peace and goodwill. It applies a moral standard to Islamic empires that certainly could not be met by the Roman empire or the empires established by the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French and the British. In the Spain of Ferdinand and Isabella, for example, Jews had three choices: convert to Christianity, leave the country, or be killed. No Muslim empire legislated or systematically enforced such a policy toward its religious minorities."[21]
"Yes, the Koran says 'slay the infidels' but no Muslim empire actually did that. For example the Muslims ruled North India for two centuries before they were displaced by the British. The Mughal emperors could have killed the tens of millions of Hindus under their control, or at least forced them to become Muslims. They did nothing of the sort.[21]
"Spencer glibly jumps over entire centuries in linking, say, the savagery of the Ottomans in Constantinople with the savagery of Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Taliban in Afghanistan."[21]
Robert Spencer addressed Dinesh's claims mentioned above, in an interview after the debate.[22]
Same-sex marriage
In an interview with Enter Stage Right he claimed that same-sex marriage did not work because "Marriage does not civilize men. Women do. This point is even evident in the gay community: it helps to explain why lesbians are generally much better than male homosexuals in sustaining long-term relationships. The reason that society privileges marriage and gives it a special legal status is because marriage is the only known incubator for the raising of children."[23]
Abu Ghraib
With regard to the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, Dinesh asserted that the abuse to the prisoners was due to the "sexual immodesty of liberal America" and that Abu Ghraib reflected "the values of a debauched liberalism run amok." Dinesh also claims that had Charles Graner and Lynndie England been "professors at an elite liberal arts college, their videotaped orgies might easily have become the envy of academia. If they were artists staging these pictures in a loft in Soho they could have been hailed as pioneers and encouraged by leftist admirers to apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts."[24]
Media appearances
D'Souza has appeared a few times on CNN,[25][26] including on Glenn Beck. Other media appearances include ABC's Nightline, CBS's Face the Nation, Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, and CNBC's Dennis Miller.[citation needed]
On November 30, 2007, he debated Tufts University professor Daniel Dennett at Tufts on whether or not God was a man made invention.[27]
During an interview on The Colbert Report on January 16, 2007, while promoting his book, The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, D'Souza blamed liberals for causing the September 11, 2001, attacks. He says they convinced the Carter administration to withdraw support from the Shah, which allowed Muslim fundamentalists to take control of the Iranian government. He also stated that the distorted representation of American culture on television is one of the main sources of resentment of the U.S by Muslims worldwide. D'Souza believes that while traditional Muslims are not too different from traditional Jews and Christians in America, in the media only liberal America is depicted, which by traditional standards is morally depraved; and this false image of America that is broadcast to the world both turns people in traditional cultures against America and is destructive to the traditional societies themselves.
Stephen Colbert, while keeping with his character, mockingly agreed and suggested that Franklin Delano Roosevelt's liberal policies such as social security and the New Deal also contributed to the September 11, 2001, attacks. D'Souza stated that Roosevelt had an indirect influence by allowing the Soviet Union to take over Eastern Europe during the Yalta Conference. This paved the way for the Soviet Union to invade Afghanistan, allowing Muslim fighters to gain influence there and take over the country. On January 17, 2007, Keith Olbermann ridiculed D'Souza's statements on The Colbert Report on his show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann in his "Worst Person in the World" segment.[28]
On September 10, 2008, D'Souza debated Christopher Hitchens at the Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, Missouri, on the merits of belief in a god. The debate was titled "God on Trial" and hosted by the Fixed Point Foundation (a self-professed Christian "think tank").[29]
On December 3, 2008, D'Souza debated Peter Singer at Biola University. The debate was hosted by the Fixed Point Foundation and is titled "Can there be morality without God?"[30]
On October 7, 2009, D'Souza debated Bart Ehrman at UNC-Chapel Hill. The debate was also hosted by the Fixed Point Foundation and was titled "God and the Problem of Suffering: The Debate." [31]
On April 7, 2010, D'Souza debated Christopher Hitchens at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana. The debate was entitled "The God Debate at Notre Dame: Is Religion the Problem?" [32]
The Enemy at Home
In early 2007, D'Souza published The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and its Responsibility for 9/11, in which he argues that the American cultural left was in large part responsible for the Muslim anger that led to the September 11 attacks.[11]
The book was criticized in major American newspapers and magazines and called, among other things, "the worst nonfiction book about terrorism published by a major house since 9/11"[33] and "a national disgrace."[34]
D'Souza's book caused a controversy in the conservative movement, invoking a barrage of attacks back and forth between D'Souza and his conservative critics who widely mocked the thesis of his book, that the cultural left was responsible for 9/11. In response to his critics, he posted a 6,500-word essay on National Review Online,[35] and NRO subsequently published a litany of responses from conservative authors who accused D'Souza of character assassination, elitism and pseudointellectualism.[36]
Books authored by Dinesh D'Souza include:
1984: Falwell, Before the Millennium: A Critical Biography, Regnery Publishing (ISBN 0-89526-607-5)
1986: The Catholic Classics (ISBN 0-87973-545-7)
1987: My Dear Alex: Letters From The KGB (with Gregory Fossedal), Regnery Publishing (ISBN 0-89526-576-1)
1991: Illiberal Education (ISBN 0-684-86384-7)
1995: The End of Racism (ISBN 0-684-82524-4)
1997: Ronald Reagan: How An Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader (ISBN 0-684-84823-6)
2000: The Virtue of Prosperity (ISBN 0-684-86815-6)
2002: What's So Great About America, Regnery Publishing (ISBN 0-89526-153-7)
2002: Letters to a Young Conservative (ISBN 0-465-01734-7)
2007: The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (ISBN 0-385-51012-8)
2007: What's So Great About Christianity, Regnery Publishing (ISBN 1-596-98517-8)
2008: Foreword, Conspiracies and the Cross by Timothy Paul Jones, Frontline Books (ISBN 1-599-79205-2)
2009: Life After Death: The Evidence
2010: The Roots of Obama's Rage, Regnery Publishing.[37]
Articles written by Dinesh D’Souza include:
"Moon's Planet: The Politics and Theology of the Unification Church"
"Ten Great Things About America"
"How Ronald Reagan Won The Cold War"
"Technology And Moral Progress"
"We the Slaveowners: In Jefferson's America, Were Some Men Not Created Equal?"
"The Self Esteem Hoax"
"Two Cheers For Colonialism"
"Reagan Versus The Intellectuals"
"10 things to celebrate: Why I'm an anti-anti-American"
"God Knows Why Faith is Thriving"
"How Obama Thinks," Forbes, 9.27.10.[37]
^ "Hoover Fellow Dinesh D'Souza Discusses Cultural Differences".
^ "About Dinesh D’Souza". Dinesh D'Souza. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
^ a b c d "Dinesh D'Souza". NNDB. Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
^ Peter Cannellos (2007-04-19). "Conservatives Sour on Rebel Media". Boston Globe.
^ Template:Cite news He first became known as a writer for the "Dartmouth Review," which was subsidized by several right-wing organizations not affiliated with Dartmouth.
^ 20 years of Policy Review, Policy Review, July 1997
^ a b D'Souza 2002
^ David Weigel (2010-09-13). "Newt Is Nuts!:Why is Gingrich pushing Dinesh D'Souza's crazy theory about Obama's "Kenyan anti-colonialism"?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
^ a b, January 20, 2007
^ a b Thomas Sowell (2002-06-07). "What's So Great About America?". Capitalism Magazine. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
^ D'Souza, Letters to a Young Conservative, pp. 105-6
^ Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history, Christian Science Monitor, November 21, 2006
^ ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression
^ The ACLU fights for Christians
^ ACLU defends rights of all faiths
^ "Serge Trifkovic catches out Dinesh D'Souza", Jihad Watch, March 6, 2007
^ a b c d Dinesh D'Souza (2007-03-02). "Letting Bin Laden Define Islam".
^ YouTube clip of the interview
^ Q&A with Dinesh D'Souza
^ "Segregation now? Some still see racial divide on campus". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
^ Media Matters - "Distort D'Newsa" now a CNN analyst
^ "Daniel Dennett debates Dinesh D'Souza". 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
^ Bass, Warren (January 14, 2007). "Incendiary". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
^ The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 - By Dinesh D'Souza. - Books - Review - New York Times
^ The Closing of the Conservative Mind, Dinesh D'Souza, National Review Online, March 12, 2007
^ An NRO Symposium on The Enemy at Home on National Review Online
^ a b D'Souza, Dinesh, "How Obama Thinks", Forbes magazine, 9.27.10. Cited in Michael D. Shear, "Gingrich: President Exhibits ‘Kenyan, Anticolonial Behavior’", The New York Times "Caucus" blog, September 13, 2010, 10:02 am. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
External links
Dinesh D'Souza at NNDB.
Dinesh D'Souza at the Internet Movie Database
Dinesh D'Souza Official Web Site.
Dinesh D'Souza blog at AOL (now inactive)
Q&A: Dinesh D'Souza on Life After Death by Paul Kengor
"What's So Great About Christianity" Interview with Christian author Timothy Paul Jones.
Audio interview with National Review Online
"The Controversialist", San Diego Reader, April 14, 2005 (profile on Dinesh D'Souza).
"Is Christianity the Problem?" debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens at The King's College, October 22, 2007.
"Is Christianity Good for the World?" debate with Michael Shermer at Oregon State University, October 15, 2007, Part 1, Part 2.
"God Knows Why Faith is Thriving", San Francisco Chronicle, October 22, 2006 (opinion article by Dinesh D'Souza).
"Equal Opportunity: The American Dilemma," debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Tim Wise at The Evergreen State College, November 21, 1996.

The Sanity and Clarity of Filmmaker Michael Moore


Here's to the bedrock SANITY of people like Michael Moore. Far too many people these days have neither the common sense nor the courage of their convictions (if they have any) to actually stand up for the truth in public. Thank you Michael!...


If That 'Mosque' ISN'T Built, This Is No Longer America

Michael Moore's daily blog

I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.

There's been so much that's been said about this manufactured controversy, I really don't want to waste any time on this day of remembrance talking about it. But I hate bigotry and I hate liars, and so in case you missed any of the truth that's been lost in this, let me point out a few facts:

1. I love the Burlington Coat Factory. I've gotten some great winter coats there at a very reasonable price. Muslims have been holding their daily prayers there since 2009. No one ever complained about that. This is not going to be a "mosque," it's going to be a community center. It will have the same prayer room in it that's already there. But to even have to assure people that "it's not going to be mosque" is so offensive, I now wish they would just build a 111-story mosque there. That would be better than the lame and disgusting way the developer has left Ground Zero an empty hole until recently. The remains of over 1,100 people still haven't been found. That site is a sacred graveyard, and to be building another monument to commerce on it is a sacrilege. Why wasn't the entire site turned into a memorial peace park? People died there, and many of their remains are still strewn about, all these years later.

2. Guess who has helped the Muslims organize their plans for this community center? The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER of Manhattan! Their rabbi has been advising them since the beginning. It's been a picture-perfect example of the kind of world we all want to live in. Peter Stuyvessant, New York's "founder," tried to expel the first Jews who arrived in Manhattan. Then the Dutch said, no, that's a bit much. So then Stuyvessant said ok, you can stay, but you cannot build a synagogue anywhere in Manhattan. Do your stupid Friday night thing at home. The first Jewish temple was not allowed to be built until 1730. Then there was a revolution, and the founding fathers said this country has to be secular -- no religious nuts or state religions. George Washington (inaugurated around the corner from Ground Zero) wanted to make a statement about this his very first year in office, and wrote this to American Jews:

"The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy -- a policy worthy of imitation. ...

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens ...

"May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants -- while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid."

3. The Imam in charge of this project is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Read about his past here.

4. Around five dozen Muslims died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. Hundreds of members of their families still grieve and suffer. The 19 killers did not care what religion anyone belonged to when they took those lives.

5. I've never read a sadder headline in the New York Times than the one on the front page this past Monday: "American Muslims Ask, Will We Ever Belong?" That should make all of us so ashamed that even a single one of our fellow citizens should ever have to worry about if they "belong" here.

6. There is a McDonald's two blocks from Ground Zero. Trust me, McDonald's has killed far more people than the terrorists.

7. During an economic depression or a time of war, fascists are extremely skilled at whipping up fear and hate and getting the working class to blame "the other" for their troubles. Lincoln's enemies told poor Southern whites that he was "a Catholic." FDR's opponents said he was Jewish and called him "Jewsevelt." One in five Americans now believe Obama is a Muslim and 41% of Republicans don't believe he was born here.

8. Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?

9. Let's face it, all religions have their whackos. Catholics have O'Reilly, Gingrich, Hannity and Clarence Thomas (in fact all five conservatives who dominate the Supreme Court are Catholic). Protestants have Pat Robertson and too many to list here. The Mormons have Glenn Beck. Jews have Crazy Eddie. But we don't judge whole religions on just the actions of their whackos. Unless they're Methodists.

10. If I should ever, God forbid, perish in a terrorist incident, and you or some nutty group uses my death as your justification to attack or discriminate against anyone in my name, I will come back and haunt you worse than Linda Blair marrying Freddy Krueger and moving into your bedroom to spawn Chucky. John Lennon was right when he asked us to imagine a world with "nothing to kill or die for and no religion, too." I heard Deepak Chopra this week say that "God gave humans the truth, and the devil came and he said, 'Let's give it a name and call it religion.' " But John Adams said it best when he wrote a sort of letter to the future (which he called "Posterity"): "Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it." I'm guessing ol' John Adams is up there repenting nonstop right now.

Friends, we all have a responsibility NOW to make sure that Muslim community center gets built. Once again, 70% of the country (the same number that initially supported the Iraq War) is on the wrong side and want the "mosque" moved. Enormous pressure has been put on the Imam to stop his project. We have to turn this thing around. Are we going to let the bullies and thugs win another one? Aren't you fed up by now? When would be a good time to take our country back from the haters?

I say right now. Let's each of us make a statement by donating to the building of this community center! It's a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and you can donate a dollar or ten dollars (or more) right now through a secure pay pal account by clicking here. I will personally match the first $10,000 raised (forward your PayPal receipt to If each one of you reading this blog/email donated just a couple of dollars, that would give the center over $6 million, more than what Donald Trump has offered to buy the Imam out. C'mon everyone, let's pitch in and help those who are being debased for simply wanting to do something good. We could all make a huge statement of love on this solemn day.

I lost a co-worker on 9/11. I write this today in his memory.

"The man who speaks of the enemy / Is the enemy himself."
-- Bertolt Brecht

My Response To Amiri Baraka # 2


Thanks for your response. Schaeffer's piece obviously contains some very good and important points but it goes a little too far in its basically totally uncritical support of Obama. One can easily agree 100% with his general assessment of the complete disaster that the President obviously inherited from Bush and even with the equally obvious reality that 100% of the criticism of Obama from the right is thoroughly wrong, unjust, unfair, racist, idiotic, and destructive (to say the very least!) and yet still come away with independent, important, and necessary critical questions of this President. There's a much deeper responsibility and even obligation that the genuine and mature Left has that goes far beyond Schaeffer's not completely accurate or fair description of real political and ideological criticism of the President's actions and agenda. That said (and to reiterate--it MUST be said) it is still crystal clear where our larger priorities and focus must be and remain-- and that of course is fighting and defeating the maniacal and powerful right in this country no matter what. However, In that light it should also be pointed out (again justly, fairly, and accurately) that a nuanced, serious, dialectical, and sharply intelligent critique must always be made of this President whenever it is clearly called for and demanded under ongoing specific circumstances and conditions. After all that's what real mature, responsible, and truly progressive political engagement is all about...


On September 13, 2010, Amiri wrote:

I agree & have you seen this-very interesting.


Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author.

President Obama Will Triumph --So Will America

By Frank Schaeffer

Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support
of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of
the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer
and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter -- are sticking with our President.
Why?-- because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama's steady supporters will be proved right. Obama's critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully ignorant opposition - from both the right and left.

As the President's poll numbers have fallen so has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008 election.

The left's lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling "prophecy"-- snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn't have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office-- none of which was his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was really two countries

# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that
was unnecessary and immoral

# The worst economic crisis since the depression

# America 's standing in the world at the lowest point in history

# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture
of prisoners of war

# A health care system in free fall

# An educational system in free fall

# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions
(about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done

# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally
irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the
President's desk!

"Help" from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and
half-baked conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office -- do to "help" our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he
wasn't a real American, didn't have an American birth certificate, wasn't born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist", was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted "death panels" to kill the elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized "tea parties" to sound off against imagined insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) "commentators" from
Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the
utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who
was trying to actually do something about the poor, the
environment, to diminish the number of abortions through
compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And
in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: "No!"

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy
American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse
neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big
business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving
crazies, child-molesting acquiescent "bishops", frontier loons and
evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite
them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at
all costs!

"Help" from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of
them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad
choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan
that he'd inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President's
economic policies had "failed" before the President even instituted
them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been
fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office,
they'd been "betrayed"! (Never mind that Obama's vocal support to
the gay community is stronger than any other president's has been.
Never mind that he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific
emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how
"disappointed" they were that they'd not all immediately been
translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House!
Where was the "change"? Contrary to their expectations they were
still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay
attention for longer than a nanosecond. "Governing"?! What the hell
does that word, uh, like mean?"

The President's critics left and right all had one thing in common:
impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone
reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the
white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just
couldn't imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren't as smart as
they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their
president. He hadn't consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics' ideological ideas defined their idea of reality
rather than reality defining their ideas-say, about what is
possible in one year in office after the hand that the President
had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation
that voted Bush into office. twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community - in just 12 short
months -- President Obama:

#Continued to draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices
regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Restored America 's image around the globe
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort
to halt global warming
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and balances
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost
impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and patience
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and
dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting
people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and
carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the "blood of tyrants" needing to "water the tree of liberty".
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly (But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

Other than those "disappointing" accomplishments -- IN ONE YEAR --
President Obama "failed"! Other than that he didn't "live up to expectations"!

Who actually has failed...

...are the Americans that can't see the beginning of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers
behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned "news" into just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here's the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty "supporters" or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his
wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on
all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn't get everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president, please pass this on and hang in there! Pass it on anyway to ensure that his "report card" gets the attention it deserves.

My Response To Rayfield Waller's Letter


Thanks for the intellectual and political support for my work in this area and the substance of my response to Amiri. It's deeply appreciated. It's also good to know that someone is actually paying close attention to what's really going on and why and that they clearly understand what I'm actually saying and trying to say and do in my work as both activist and critic. We all have a lot of work to do to truly defeat the right and to seriously engage and when need be do a thoroughgoing critique and as you point out a NUANCED assessment of how we approach these political and ideological challenges strategically, tactically, and THEORETICALLY.

So thanks again brother for staying on point and doing the important WORK that we all must continue to pursue as the proto/neo fascist forces from the heinous Koch Brothers to the demagogic New American Brownshirts like Beck, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Palin, and Bachman and their Tea Party associates et al continue to sordidly "represent" them and their bigotry. As I've tried to say in well over 400 separate pieces that I've written and published over the past 3 years on these and many related issues we must remain crystal clear and focused on what really needs to be said and done in this society and culture and that includes STAYING ON AND IN BARACK OBAMA'S ASS-- not because we merely "envy" his obvious charisma, "blackness", intelligence, charm, and historical "firstness" (as far too may clueless and desperate positivists have falsely asserted uncritically on his behalf)--but because WE NEED TO. Needless to say our collective destiny as citizens in a country as dangerously divided and endlessly crisis ridden as this one demonstrates the stakes are far greater than the electoral fate of ANY single individual politician. The national U.S. Left had better wake up quick fast and in a hurry to what's really happening here or the immediate political and economic (AND cultural) future is truly bleak...Stay strong...


Open Letter from Rayfield A. Waller


You have written a very lucid and modulated response to Papa Amiri, Kofi.

Which is as it happens also compassionate, without compromising the integrity of your intellectual POSITION. I have every confidence that he will recognize the clarity of your position, and inasmuch as you and he DO share an ultimate belief in the struggle for justice we all must engage in, he will be persuaded.

You make it abundantly clear that your position is not personal but is political. Your writings over the past two years make that fact clear for those of us who have bothered to read you closely--and your commentaries have inspired me and others to be both realistic about the limitations of a Black democrat within the capitalist econo-military white supremacy system AND critical about his failure to push against those limitations--to expand political possibilities as we have seen CAN be DONE (FDR, for example with the WPA, and LBJ with the 'Great Society' programs, and even to some extent, the mendacious Richard Nixon, who despite his war crimes abroad and enemies list at home, instituted wage protections and price controls that stabilized an otherwise predatory economy and thus created real economic growth for the middle classes and strength in the manufacturing sector which meant strength for Black workers and a chance to earn a living wage--a distant memory under the far more destructive Reagan.

Nuance sometimes is uncomfortable, but as Angela Davis, after Marcuse, often warned us, it's what we must seek if we are to not only articulate change for this world but also actually CHANGE it. Hopefully, Obama's latest remarks about rebuilding America's infrastructure and about social justice for working Americans arguers a shift in his too often gutless unwillingness to FOLLOW THROUGH on his rhetoric, prefering instead to squander his support by seeking fruitlessly to mollify and to seek an impossible bipartisan support from those who are his unyielding, historical ENEMIES (and ours).

Indeed, one thing that is crucial about your many analyses which may have escaped Baraka for reasons I can only speculate about, perhaps because of Black cultural nationalist pragmatics, not to say reductiveness,, is the nuance of your writings over the years regarding American political reality in general and the politics of Obama's candidacy and presidency in particular. Melba Boyd, chair of Africana Studies at Wayne State where I teach, speaks often and eloquently of the need African American intellectuals have to work toward achieving and maintaining nuance. Your words, as I have noticed by reading you closely in the past few years, are always presented in a context of SHIFTING POSITIONS AND CRITIQUES IN SERVICE OF FIXED, UNYIELDING PRINCIPLES. If the principles we struggle for are freedom, justice, and equality/egalitarianism, then the positions we take must adapt to shifting political and ideological circumstances (often those shifts manifest themselves within public figures we claim to 'admire' or to 'despise' and, commensurate with the PROTEAN nature of late capitalism and of late capitalist figures, such as Obama, the shifts can be disconcertingly rapid, and contradictory). The positions we take as intellectuals therefore, must be adaptive in order to ALWAYS KEEP WITHIN OUR SIGHTS THE HIGHER PURPOSE OF THAT WHICH WE CLAIM TO BE STRUGGLING FOR. We do not struggle to protect Black 'leaders' who STAND for these things, but rather struggle FOR these things and struggle against anyone who threatens them and we must struggle WITHOUT anyone who is too frightened or compromised to struggle with US.

Thus, when appropriate, you have been a tireless defender, though a NUANCED defender, of Obama's humanity, legitimacy, and value,as a Black man, such as when he was depicted as a monkey (??!) in a white supremacist cartoon circulating in American newspapers; as a Black president who has ACTED in progressive decision making to alter or reverse structural injustice, such as your lauding him for his appointment and even more importantly his unafraid support of, Sonia Sotomayor; andas a symbol and enabler of transformational change, such as when you carefully warned that the black and white working class 'masses' are often as or more reactionary as and than the ruling white elites.

Your writing and your thought thus challenges us to not look at history and culture as merely a screen upon which we project our own wishful thinking, our own desire to see social, cultural, historical or ideological 'heroes' and 'demons'. Leaders are HUMAN BEINGS with the equal potential to ACT in a heroic or in a demonic fashion. DEEDS NOT WORDS you used to remind us, is the purpose of leadership. Likewise, it little matters if we idealize the masses in the name of our socialist dreams, our Marxist dreams, our bourgeois dreams, or our cultural nationalist dreams. What we are HISTORICALLY BOUND to do, is to remain ever critical, never cynical, always focused upon deeds in service of the principles these political modes of thought stand for without overly valorizing the modes of thought themselves. This is what made the prophet, Jeremiah a thorn in EVERYONE's side.

This is why, as I have noticed over the years, you write with nuance in your ongoing defense of Obama's value as a political catalyst in America, who at times articulates in a profoundly effective way a vision of change that can and does inspire the masses while his articulation invites us (ala FDR) to MAKE him LIVE UP to what he says. As you have often said and written, that is OUR historical role, one which we have not lived up to as fully as we could have. Likewise, you have, when appropriate, pointed out what is objectively TRUE: that he has many times FAILED to move and act MATERIALLY with the same integrity of purpose that he ARTICULATES human dignity and human needs.

So then, WHAT IS TO BE SAID? I am convinced that it is not true that we must speak in a univocal manner in lockstep behind perceived 'leaders' in the name of a siege mentality (even the leaders of the Warsaw rebellion against the Nazis, truly under siege, refused to give in to the despair of siege thinking, which would have limited their actions, commitment, and courage), but that 'we are not one, we are many,' as you have so often reminded us in the past--we are an absolute diversity of thought, interests, identities, races, persuasions, and modes of thought, united not be an ideology but by an awareness of our collective historical role: to bring about justice and then to defend it from those who will NEVER stop trying to take away from us. The battle is never 'won', but is eternal and requires eternally evolving strategies, critiques, POSITIONS in service of what lies behind all our work and writing and organizing and struggles: What is to be said is that, in your words:

"The most deadly, dangerous, and powerful enemies of African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans in general, Women in general, the poor in general, the working class in general, children in general, Freedom in general and Democracy in general in American society today is the truly heinous Republican Party and their endless number of severely bigoted and demagogic minions, mentors, sponsors, and supporters. Anyone who doesn't know or believe this blatantly obvious fact is not only a hopeless FOOL but ultimately deserves their fate."

To the extent that Obama recognizes THIS fact, and to the extent that he ACTS in that knowledge to preserve and to protect freedom and justice in America, we can call him a leader who exemplifies the same principles we do. To the extent that he FAILS to do those things, and to the extent that he fails to respond to our urgings (assuming we get OUR own shit together and bring our demands to his front door, giving him the impetus and the OPPORTUNITY to act), to the extent that he backs down from the horrific historical THREAT of the Republican party and its proto/neo fascist programs, we are quite justified to call him what it will be certain he must be: a FOOL and a COWARD. Because anyone who fails to see what must be done, is foolish and cowardly. That is all there is to be said.

Continue to do what we need you to do, Kofi, and don't let us off the 'hook'.

Yours in struggle,

Rayfield A. Waller
Department of Africana Studies
Wayne State University

say no to war,
no to violence against civilians and to pain,
say no to young men and women
being sent off to be slain.
-R. Waller

Frank Rich on the Necessity for President Obama To Stand Up To the Right and Not Fear Its Opposition

Hey Amiri,

I'm in complete agreement with Frank Rich because it's the truth...Read article below...If FDR could decisively stand up to and stare down his opponents Obama can at least do the same and we should all demand that he does...



Time for This Big Dog to Bite Back

September 11, 2010
New York Times

NO, he can’t. President Obama can’t reverse the unemployment numbers by Election Day. He can’t get even a modest new stimulus bill past the Party of No, and even if he could, there would be few jobs to show for it until (maybe) 2011. Nor can he rewrite the history of his administration. Its signal accomplishments to date are an initial stimulus package that was overrun by the calamity at hand and a marathon health care battle as yet better known for its unseemly orgy of backroom wrangling than its concrete results. While that brawl raged, the White House seemed indifferent to the mounting number of Americans being tossed onto the Great Recession scrapheap.

And so the odds that Obama’s party will survive the midterms seem less than Indiana Jones’s in the Temple of Doom — as we are reminded hourly by the Beltway herd flogging the latest polls. The Democrats are facing a “historic” rout, an earthquake, a tidal wave — well, you know the drill. End of story.

Unless it’s not. On Labor Day, the fighting Obama abruptly re-emerged, a far cry from the man whose Oval Office address on Iraq days earlier was about as persuasive as a hostage video. Speaking to workers in Milwaukee, the president finally started giving voice to the anger of America’s battered middle class. And he even let loose with a little anger of his own. The unspecified “powerful interests” aligned against him, he said, “talk about me like a dog.”

That inelegant line — “not in my prepared remarks,” Obama explained — landed because it was true and because he said it with a grin. Americans like their warriors happy, not petulant (cf, “You’re likable enough, Hillary”).

For a guy facing a tidal wave, the president was so ebullient, you had to wonder if he knew something we didn’t. Maybe he simply read the unabridged poll numbers rather than the CliffsNotes summaries of cable news. Those numbers are hardly as monochromatic as advertised. Obama’s approval rating, for months a consistent (not imploding) 45-ish percent, still makes him arguably America’s most popular national politician. The polls also continue to show that, while both political parties are despised, Democrats are slightly less despised than Republicans. In The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, for instance, 36 percent of those surveyed rate the Democrats positively, compared with the G.O.P.’s 30 percent. It’s only when the November horse-race matchup is limited to “likely voters” that the tidal wave rolls in, giving the Republicans a roughly 10-point lead.

That spread is the Democrats’ dread “enthusiasm gap.” And since that gap can’t be bridged in two months by new government programs or divine intervention for the nearly one in six Americans who are un- or underemployed, what could give the Democrats even a slender reed of hope? If there’s any plausible answer, it can be drawn from the single poll finding that is most devastating for Obama, the question (as worded by The Washington Post/ABC News) of whether “he understands the problems of people like you.” There his numbers really have imploded. When he arrived in office, 72 percent answered Yes and 24 percent No. As of last week, Yes had fallen to 50 and No had doubled to 48.

That a former community organizer and insurgent presidential candidate from a rocky middle-class background could be branded an out-of-touch elitist is not entirely the fault of his critics. Obama has perhaps never recovered from handing his administration’s plum economic jobs to Robert Rubin protégés with dirty hands from the bubble — Lawrence Summers, a deregulation advocate from the Clinton administration, and Timothy Geithner, an indulgent regulator at the New York Fed. Their presence has helped Obama’s more unscrupulous adversaries get away with the lie that his White House, not President Bush’s, created TARP. Indeed, such is the Obama administration’s identification with the tarnished Wall Street culture that even Michael Bloomberg mistakenly identified Geithner, a longtime public servant who never worked at an investment bank, as a Goldman Sachs alumnus at a public event in New York last month.

The White House’s not-on-C-Span deal-making with the health care industry behemoths only cemented the administration’s corporatist image, as did Obama’s meandering path to what still looks like a loophole-ridden compromise on financial regulatory reform. This is why even many Democrats have become lukewarm in their conviction that their president “understands the problems of people like you.”

For Obama to make Americans believe he does understand their problems and close the enthusiasm gap, he cannot merely make changes of campaign style. Sporadic photo ops in shirtsleeves or factory settings persuade no one; a few terrific speeches can’t always ride to the rescue. Nor would there be much point in firing Summers and Geithner — a political nonstarter anyway, now that it’s been opportunistically proposed by the G.O.P. leader John Boehner (his one good idea). Certainly Obama can add powerful new hands who might actually fight to protect ordinary Americans from the sharks; the star consumer advocate, Elizabeth Warren, should have been front and center, even in a Senate confirmation battle, long ago. But in the short term between now and Election Day, Obama may have the most to gain by sharpening his attack on those “powerful interests” who liken him to a dog. A top dog bites back (with a smile).

In a second forceful speech last week, delivered outside Cleveland, Obama titillated the political press by calling out Boehner by name eight times. But though Boehner is a nice soft target — he belittled the economic meltdown as an “ant” and has staked his political capital on extending tax cuts for America’s wealthiest 3 percent — he’s merely a front-man. Obama must also call out the powerful interests who are pulling the G.O.P.’s strings (and filling its coffers), whether on Wall Street or in Big Oil or any other sector where special interests are aligned against reform in the public interest.

If Obama can speak lucidly about a subject as thorny as race, he can surely do a far more specific job of telling the story of how we got to this economic impasse. He must join the many who are talking about why the top 1 percent of American earners now take home nearly a quarter of Americans’ total income — perhaps the single most revealing indicator of how three decades of greed and free-market absolutism have eviscerated America’s fundamental ideals of fairness. It can’t all be reduced to the shorthand of “George W. Bush.”

Obama might be so rude as to point out how these top earners are whining all the way to the bank even as the G.O.P. opposes extending more benefits to the unemployed and new tax cuts to small business. In June, the Business Roundtable chairman and Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg gave a speech so rank with self-victimization — he claimed that government was “reaching into virtually every sector of economic life” — that the normally polite Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein reviled him as “a corporate hack” peddling “much-discredited country-club nonsense.”

Seidenberg was soon topped by a multibillionaire Republican contributor, Stephen Schwarzman, who likened Obama’s modest financial regulatory package to “when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Among the clients of Schwarzman’s private equity company, Blackstone, is Goodyear, which signed on in 2004 to get advice on “optimal business configuration” and announced it was shipping more jobs to Asia the following year. That narrative, one of countless like it, might have come in handy last week when Obama was speaking in Ohio, just 30 miles from Goodyear’s headquarters.

As many have noted, the obvious political model for Obama this year is Franklin Roosevelt, who at his legendary 1936 Madison Square Garden rally declared that he welcomed the “hatred” of his enemies in the realms of “business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.” As the historian David Kennedy writes in his definitive book on the period, “Freedom from Fear,” Roosevelt “had little to lose by alienating the right,” including those in the corporate elite, with such invective; they already detested him as vehemently as the Business Roundtable crowd does Obama.

Though F.D.R. was predictably accused of “class warfare,” his antibusiness “radicalism,” was, in Kennedy’s words, “a carefully staged political performance, an attack not on the capitalist system itself but on a few high-profile capitalists.” Roosevelt was trying to co-opt the populist rage of his economically despondent era, some of it uncannily Tea Party-esque in its hysteria, before it threatened that system, let alone his presidency. Only the crazy right confused F.D.R. with communists for taking on capitalism’s greediest players, and since our crazy right has portrayed Obama as a communist, socialist and Nazi for months, he’s already paid that political price without gaining any of the benefits of bringing on this fight in earnest.

F.D.R. presided over a landslide in 1936. The best the Democrats can hope for in 2010 is smaller-than-expected losses. To achieve even that, Obama will have to give an F.D.R.-size performance — which he can do credibly and forcibly only if he really means it. So far, his administration’s seeming coziness with some of the same powerful interests now vilifying him has left middle-class voters, including Democrats suffering that enthusiasm gap, confused as to which side he is on. If ever there was a time for him to clear up the ambiguity, this is it.

My Response To Amiri Baraka's Letter

"So that it is distressing to read nominally intelligent black commentators lending their yowl to the hounds. Kofi Natambu’s characterization of President Obama as “gutless” is neither accurate nor does it add to the call for an anti –racist, anti monopoly united front. A call for the progressive democratic coalition that elected Obama to re-group and fight the right. We may, we have to, criticize Obama for his shortcomings, but our main fight is against the resurgent right wing...."

From: "Why are you all different from the Tea Parties?" by Amiri Baraka--September 7, 2010


I don't want to put my personal response to your remarks in the silly solipsistic category of merely "defending myself" since I think overall that you and I are mutually clear and in general agreement about who and what President Obama is and is not (despite your rather myopic out-of-context characterization of my remarks about Obama in your comments above). For the record however: As I've been saying since 2007 and have said repeatedly whenever I am either praising or criticizing him (or more likely BOTH): I will support the man and his agenda when necessary, I will openly criticize the man and his agenda when necessary, and I WILL ALWAYS FIGHT AND CALL FOR MORE THAN WHAT'S OFFERED IN THE MEANTIME. I bear no personal ill-will toward the President at all. In fact I have a great deal of respect for him and his situation--even if I don't always agree with or endorse what he says or does! My critical assessment of Obama thus remains in the much fuller and broader context of what I perceive the man and his administration to be doing and/or saying at any given time. As a result I have said what I thought when what he was doing was correct or courageous or important and when he has done the right thing and I also said what I thought needs to be said when he has not done so and at those moments I have attacked him accordingly. The simple truth of the matter is that from time to time (and especially in the last year or so) Barack HAS been "gutless" in his approach to certain issues and circumstances--which I have gone to great lengths in my writing for the Panopticon Review and other outlets to say clearly and fairly (i.e. within the proper and correct larger context). This does NOT mean however that I have forsaken in any irresponsible or dismissive way the ongoing need, desire, and commitment to seriously engaging this President and his program FROM THE LEFT and to at the same time not just throw up my hands in despair or frustration every time he does something that I know is wrong/incorrect/inadequate/ and-- yes!-- even "gutless." I don't see anything wrong with this nor do I think I am willfully supporting our enemies in making any necessary criticisms of the President's actions. I have made it very clear many, many times in my writing over the past two years that our greatest responsibility on the Left is to create, maintain, and expand a broad-based coalition of an "anti-racist anti monopoly united front" --as you put it-- in every single piece in which I've also criticized the President. In the same spirit and for many of the exact same reasons I have also consistently engaged in self criticism of the Left for not doing nearly enough to fight the right and that is and must always remain our major primary focus (for printed evidence of this fact please consult the following pieces in The Panopticon Review--see article and essay references below)...

So I wouldn't be too stressed or distressed about what I have said or what it means if I were you. My feeling is that intellectual honesty and integrity is still a very important aspect of what we all must do politically and ideologically and it is in that context that I make my remarks about Obama or anyone else. The bottomline however is that WE AGREE on where the movement among all of us should be going--whether we're openly criticizing Obama or not (which as you and I both point out MUST occur when necessary without losing sight or focus on the paramount necessity of fighting and defeating the right). So please RELAX brother (smile/grimace). We are still on the same page and will generally remain so for the forseeable future--again no matter what Obama himself does or doesn't do in the interim. The fact is that I vigorously campaigned for the man and his program--from the Left!--during his campaign against Hillary and fought very hard with many doubting friends and colleagues to convince them to do the same. I wanted Obama to win the national election and would gladly and openly campaign again for the man if necessary in 2012 in order to fight and defeat the loony dangerous right in this country. His election was indeed a provisional People's victory and should be embraced in those terms. NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WANTS OR WANTED the far right lunatics like McCain or Palin or any of their friends, associates, and acolytes to run the government and we still don't. By the same token that doesn't mean however that everything the President and the Democratic Party does is golden or can be lazily overlooked. We are NOT "aiding and abetting his/our enemies" when we criticize or even attack them when necessary. As you well know there must be a semblance of ideological and political clarity and commitment even under the most trying and demanding circumstances and my/our assessments of the President must, and should always remain, in that larger mature context in order for those of us on the Left to effectively impact the direction of the the general society and culture. It is in that light, and that light alone, that I make any comments--pro or con--about the Obama Administration and Barack himself...

I sincerely hope you can appreciate and understand where I'm coming from in that regard...

Peace & Struggle,


Here are the copies of the Panopticon Review articles I was referring to above (Please click on the following links):

Open letter From Amiri Baraka on President Obama, the Far Right, and What the Left Must Do Now

Marvin & Kofi: Why are you all different from the Tea Parties?

It is easy to pop Charlie Rangel up side his head ($6000 shoes & all) than to effectively attack the real enemy. I said about Rangel that the reason he is being attacked is that with his die hard support of Hilary, he had separated himself from his constituency, So his (and our) enemies pounced..

During the campaign I had written once when he was in his “death ground” support of Hilary Clinton, “Strangle Rangel”! Well, now somebody Has or is trying. And for the reasons I gave. Our enemies saw that he had gotten too far removed from his constituency. That isolation bid the attack!

The “sidestepping” Rangel did is very common among that congressional crowd, but we are not them nor represented by them, and we must demand integrity from those who represent us, they are so few, and our expectations of them so high. But, predictably, the response to Rangel’s doing is very different. Is it coincidence that it was Rangel who unseated the most famous Black congressman, Adam Clayton Powell, just as the House slave catchers expelled him from the House. Just as Rangel was chair of the powerful Ways & Means committee, till the ethics committee’s actions against him, so Powell was the First Afro American elected to congress to represent Harlem. He also became chairman of the powerful Education & Labor committee. He too was charged with ethics violations and expelled by the 90th congress.

The fact that, indeed, , there is a double standard in relationship to everything in America should not be news. One standard for the rulers, the corporations , the banks who are racist thieves and their synchophants. And another for everybody else. (Even for President Obama!) And the fact that both Rangel and Powell had reached power stations that are guarded jealously by the historic legacy of white supremacy. Certainly, Obama as President of the United States has set off the “GET HIM!” alarm throughout racist America. You can hear and see and read slave catchers blood hounds over all US communications systems.

So that it is distressing to read nominally intelligent black commentators lending their yowl to the hounds. Kofi Natambu’s characterization of President Obama as “gutless” is neither accurate nor does it add to the call for an anti –racist, anti monopoly united front. A call for the progressive democratic coalition that elected Obama to re-group and fight the right. We may, we have to, criticize Obama for his shortcomings, but our main fight is against the resurgent right wing.

Whenever there is reform or victory for the people, the reaction, the back lash, will be sharp. The slaves thought they were “free” after the Emancipation Proclamation. The Ku Klux Klan and Black Codes were the reaction to that assumption of equal rights and democracy for the ex-slave. The destruction of Reconstruction itself was the result of this reaction. By 1915 Blacks could not vote anywhere in the south!

We are in the same situation today. Obama’s victory was a people’s victory. Are you saying that one year later it was a fraud and that we would be better off with McCain (who is now attacking the immigrants in Arizona , remember he is a successor to Barry Goldwater in the state that opposed celebration of Dr. King’s birthday)? Instead of calling for the restoration of the Progressive Democratic coalition that elected Obama to close ranks to the fight the Right, in Unity & Struggle Marvin X calls Obama “a neo-colonial nigguh”. How are you, with such attitudes, different from the House Party retards?

Political Visionary of Note

In The sixties

George Romero warned us

About the Tea Parties to come

With his Night of the Living Dead

They, along with, Murdoch’s right wing Zionist slanted propaganda weapons( News Corporation NY Mirror, Wall St. Journal, Fox, channel 9, 11, HUNDREDS OF LOCAL CHANNELS, bombard us hourly with anti-Obma fusilades. Anointed imbeciles like the O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Sarah Palin who backed Schlesinger with the N word as 1st amendment denial. The courts told me I had no first amendment rights for Questioning Israel in the poem—Somebody Blew Up America – Apparently Palin’s handlers just want her to be a propagandist of the far, obviously any idea of running for president she has tongue -whipped into submission.

It is the vicious retards of Monopoly Capitalism who should be the main focus of our resistance. Of course we must criticize Obama but in the spirit of Unity Criticism Unity, We must demand that he lead the fight against our enemies. That struggle is always between Private Ownership and Public Development. Even after the Freedman’s bureau dispensed land to the ex-slaves after the Civil War. Lincoln and his generals had to fight private enterprise from seizing this land. Even today whether it is the Health Care struggle, Regulation of the banks and financial operations, or even opposition to the wars, it is always private ownership , super profiteers, that are our main enemies and these the Corporations, Banks, their lobbyists and running dogs who are our main enemies. Not Obama who should not be expected to overthrow the principal instruments of imperialism –monopoly capitalism just a year after becoming President. It is an infantile leftist bitter idealism that must be analyzed and discarded. No matter how frustrated we are with what it seems Obama is not doing, We must remember that even the microscopic reforms that he has made are actually monumental if we remember what we faced just a year and a half ago.

We must Fight The Right. That is Principal!! We should not let our frustration add to the chorus of would be super profiteers, corporate vampires, and right wing pseudo populists like the billionaire supported tea parties and the right wing Zionist media lord, Murdoch. We should remember the Weimar Republic , Germany’s last democratic government, which allowed Hitler to rise to power, while the “Left”, the Social Democrats, The Communists, The Progressives were arguing whether they had a socialist government or not! Unity Struggle Unity among the People’s Forces. Not an Inch to Reaction! Fight the Right. Death to Fascism!

Amiri Baraka