This is a discussion on Anti Racism, the media, and the African American experience.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OPERATION RECLAIM THE PRESS

UPDATED 1/18/2010

The first Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

I believe that the founding fathers included the press in the Constitution because they expected the press to be a watch dog of the government for the people. The Constitution was written by men who were trying to avoid an autocratic governmental system like the systems found in Europe at the time.
During the time the Constitution was being drafted, “the press” was not these mega corporations, controlling 35 or 65% and often as much as 75% of a given market, it was in most cases a one man shows. And often some guy with a printing press in his barn. It was the existence of these independent journalists that helped keep the larger papers honest. The same was true with the invention of radio, television and now the internet. It was the independent stations that could be counted on to have the least amount of tendentiousness and it is often blogs that call out the mainstream media outlets.

By the 1990s, with the help of the FCC’s lack of scruples, the industry was deregulated and large corporations were allowed to own the majority of media outlets in any given market. With the power of deep pockets behind them; the large conglomerates swallowed the independents. This can be seen in all areas, from theatrical distribution companies to radio to newspapers. However, what is most concerning and what threatens the health of this nation is not only that some markets only have one journalistic voice but also the redefining of what is considered journalism and news.

There was a time when news organizations were so concerned about their integrity that they had a separate Board of Directors from their sister entertainment arms. Today, it is hard to tell what is considered news and what is supposed to be entertainment. However, the Society of Professional Journalists have established a code of ethics to act as a guide. They read:

Journalists should:

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

  • Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.

  • Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.

  • Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story

  • Never plagiarize.

  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.

  • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

  • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.

  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

  • Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.


These are the guidelines that journalists have placed on themselves. With these rules in mind let’s evaluate some of the organizations that call themselves “news”.

In the last 10 days the White House finally spoke up about the dishonest media outlet called Fox News. Several of the Administration’s spokespersons, including president Obama himself, have admonished that Fox News is not truly news and should not be treated as such by real news agencies. FINALLY, someone says what we have known for a long time. Not surprisingly other news agencies jumped to Fox’s defense explaining that their nighttime commentary is very different from their daytime news reporting. This discussion with Jake Tapper of ABC and White House Press Secretary is telling:

Tapper: It's escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations "not a news organization" and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one -


(Crosstalk)


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.


Tapper: But that's a pretty sweeping declaration that they are "not a news organization." How are they any different from, say -


Gibbs: ABC -


Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?


Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o'clock tonight. Or 5 o'clock this afternoon.


Tapper: I'm not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I'm talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a "news organization" -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?


Gibbs: That's our opinion.



(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/20/jake-tapper-challenges-wh_n_327820.html)


Shame on Gibbs for not having the facts to back up “their opinion”. So, Press Secretary Gibbs, others have done your homework for you:
Fox News: A 24/7 Political Operation



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRx5ethd8JU

The first ethics rule:
“Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

  • Statutory Rape – INACCURATE (a lie)

  • Veteran Death Panels - INACCURATE (a lie)

  • Sotomayor is a reversed racist, DISTORITION (a lie)

  • 9/12 Tea Parties - DISTORITION (a lie)

    • actually organized by Fox News and then staged with applause signs and the works



  • Czar mania - DISTORITION (a lie)


The litmus test for accuracy at Fox News must be akin to the test to see who will play short stop in a 1st grade kickball game...nonexistent. On Sunday, November 1st Fox reported that Dede Scozzafava, GOP candidate for NY's 23d District, endorsed the teabaggers choice Matt Hoffman, once she suspended her campaign. The truth is, as everyone knows, she endorsed the Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who went on to win the Congressional seat for that district. The fact of the matter is that their ‘news shows’ often echo their commentary shows with distortions, mistruths, and outright lies. What’s worse is that CNN and to a lesser degree MSNBC, NBC, ABC and CBS continue the misinformation distribution. This is not my opinion this is fact and thank God for youtube and organizations like: Media Matters, Brave New Films, Fox Watch and others.
FOX Attacks! Obama - Part 2



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjvNSpsPu1k

And because the true art and nature of journalism seems to be a dying art form the rest of the mainstream media has once again picked up the latest Fox News talking point – “the White House has declared war on Fox News”.
Fox News' War on the White House





October 29, 2009: For Fox Sake! – Jon Stewart

jonstewart-foxsake

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-29-2009/for-fox-sake-

It is interesting that the right-wing of America has decided that they’re no longer interested in the freedom of the press nor a government for and by the people. Their actions say they are only interested in power. They realize to retain power you have to control the message and the only way to control the message is to control the media. Lessening the amount of media outlets enhances their ability to control the press; hence deregulation. I’m not sure when this began but I noticed the signs during the Reagan administration; the mantra during those times was “the liberal media”. As a progressive, the media has NEVER been liberal. It might have been center to center-right as opposed to far right; but NEVER liberal. With this campaign, to paint the right-wing as the victims, came the founding of FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting). One quick perusal of their website and it is obvious that they are not at all about advocating fairness and accuracy in journalism; they’re interested in forwarding the right-wing agenda. However, I never hear the press calling them an “extreme right-wing group” as they often refer to Media Matters and the Daily Kos as an “extreme left-wing or extreme liberal group”. This rhetoric from the likes of Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the spokesman for the right-wing, is almost laughable except too many Americans get all of their news from these men whose commentary fuels racism, anti-patriotism and to a few…violence.

Net neutrality is now under attack. For those who don’t know what net neutrality is, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia;

Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for residential broadband networks and potentially for all networks. A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams.[1][2][3]
The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of internet access, and another user pays for a given level of access, that the two users should be able to connect to each other at that given rate of access


Basically, what this means is that corporations cannot pay the people who control the pipelines (Comcast, Cox, Time Warner et al) to give them preferential treatment. Corporate greed and the need for some groups to control the media lets us know that left to their own devices, corporations would pay the pipeline controllers to allow their content to be accessed faster and more easily than other content. So Joe Blogger would not be able to have his content accessed as easily as say, Fox News. This is part of the fight, this is what we must stop.
Mac vs PC: McOld Prefers his abacus






John, “I’m computer illiterate” McCain has introduced a new bill:

"Today I'm pleased to introduce the Internet Freedom Act of 2009 that will keep the Internet free from government control and regulation," McCain said. "It will allow for continued innovation that will in turn create more high-paying jobs for the millions of Americans who are out of work or seeking new employment. Keeping businesses free from oppressive regulations is the best stimulus for the current economy."


Don’t you love how congress chooses the names for bills that are the opposite of what the bill is meant to do/be? The Internet Freedom Act allows as much freedom as the Patriot Act. For a guy who is quoted as saying:
When asked if he went online himself, the Arizona senator responded: "They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/johnmccain/2403704/John-McCain-technology-illiterate-doesnt-email-or-use-internet.html
It seems to me that anything that he introduces regarding the internet should be laughed off the Senate floor. However, knowing how our congress works, unless we intercede this might actually become law.

I believe that we need to start another revolution! A take back the media revolution, we need to urge our congress to re-enact the rules and regulations surrounding news organizations, anti-monopoly laws for media outlets, and of course keeping net neutrality. We can fight indefinitely for health care reform, regulation of the financial industry, prosecuting those who allowed torture, etc. But unless we have a news industry that is, dedicated to the tenants of the Professional Society of Journalists, with a strong and healthy independent media industry we will find ourselves in this position again. We need the media to help us shed light on the racketeering that has infected “Wall Street” and is now threatening our system of governance.

Write your representatives and let them know it’s time to Reclaim the Press

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

* About Statement read on NYC Radio Station re: black people OR WHO ARE WE AND WHO DECIDES?

I was just forwarded another email. Firstly, I looked online to check the veracity of it, I get so many forwarded emails that are part of hoaxes that have been traveling the Ethernet for more than a decade. This one has been traveling for over 6 years; though I cannot find any proof that it is real or false. I did find this statement on www.deelee.net in a 10 second search. This is the same Dee Lee pictured below…

————————————————————————

“If you are looking for the author of the “Blacks Don’t Read” article, you have reached the wrong Dee Lee. I did not author or nor did I read the article in question on air.

My life time work has been to educate people regarding money and helping them be good stewards of their resources.

This article has been circulating on the internet for over six years and over the years many things have been added to the gossip chain, my picture is one of them.

Dee Lee is a common name, continue your Goggle search.”

“A lie can make it halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.” —Mark Twain

I believe this email is a hoax. However, what’s more important is that a brother sent this to me and thought it was worth my time; so I must respond

————————————————————————————–

Subject: Statement read on NYC Radio Station regarding black people

BLACK PEOPLE, PLEASE, READ & HEED. POIGNANT!!!

The sad thing about this article is that the essence of it is true. The
truth hurts. I just hope this sets more Black people in motion towards
making real progress. Chris Rock , a Black comedian, even joked that
Blacks don’t read.

Help prove them wrong! Read and pass on.

Please Note:

For those of you who heard it, this is the article Dee Lee was reading
this morning on a New York radio station. For those of you who didn’t
hear it, this is very deep. This is a heavy piece and a Caucasian wrote it.

Dee Lee, CFP
Harvard Financial Educators
(her picture did not copy over; but it is the same one that is shown at the website listed above)

Dee Lee

THEY ARE STILL OUR SLAVES We can continue to reap profits from the
Blacks without the effort of physical slavery. Look at the current
methods of containment that they use on themselves: IGNORANCE, GREED,
and SELFISHNESS.

IGNORANCE: Perhaps they are speaking of the poor white folks off the Appalachian Mountains or their brothers south of the Mason Dixie line. Maybe there speaking about the idiot who sits in the cube next to you arguing that our President is not a US citizen and that he’s a fascist trying to move this country in to a socialist state? Maybe they’re talking about the idiots we see on the news spouting, “take your government hands off of my Medicare”. All of these people are the epitome of ignorance.

GREED: Hmmm, they must be talking about the investment bankers that have been playing a game of high stakes poker with our mortgage money and tax money. The same folks who asked for our tax money with one hand and gave $1,000,0000s in bonuses with the other hand. The same folks who purposely put na├»ve borrowers in good credit standing into mortgage loans with balloon payments or outrageous adjustable loans with extortionist’s penalties for paying off early

SELFISHNESS: Got to be talking about the GOP the ReTHUGlican Party – you know the party made up of 99% white men in suits. The one’s that love their health care THAT WE PAY FOR but will be damned before they let anyone else have such a luxury – you know… those folks.

Their IGNORANCE is the primary weapon of containment.

This is a true statement. Just look at all the poor dumb white folks who vote time and time again against their own interests as long as they can keep those same benefits from benefiting black folks (oh there’s that selfishness again)

A great man once
said, ‘The best way to hide something from Black people is to put it in
a book.’

What great man?

We now live in the Information Age . They have gained the
opportunity to read any book on any subject through the efforts of their
fight for freedom , yet they refuse to read. There are numerous books
readily available at Borders, Barnes &Noble , and Amazon.com , not to
mention their own Black Bookstores that provide solid blueprints to
reach economic equality (which should have been their fight all along),
but few read consistently, if at all.

20 years ago the Baldwin Hills Mall was revamped. The potential vendors made a lot of assertions on what would and would not be successful in a mall with a predominantly African American clientele. One assertion was that we don’t read. Well, the Baldwin Hills Chamber and other concerned folks got together and convinced Walden Books to put a bookstore in that mall. The last time I checked it was one of the HIGHEST GROSSING BOOKSTORES IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY!

GREED is another powerful weapon of containment. Blacks, since the
abolition of slavery, have had large amounts of money at their disposal.
Last year they spent 10 billion dollars during Christmas , out of their
450 billion dollars in total yearly income (2.22%).

Any of us can use them as our target market, for any business venture
we care to dream up, no matter how outlandish, they will buy into it.
Being primarily a consumer people, they function totally by greed. They
continually want more, with little thought for saving or investing.

They would rather buy some new sneaker than invest in starting a
business. Some even neglect their children to have the latest Tommy or FUBU, And
they still think that having a Mercedes, and a big house gives them
‘Status’ or that they have achieved their Dream.

This is not greed; this is a product of Cultural Incest… a byproduct of 400 years of protracted abject oppression. For more information on this, go to www.culturalincest.com. Moreover, this is an American problem – which is why we have not had a real GDP boost since the early 70s. It’s interesting to me that no one has mentioned the fact that our whole economy – the growth of America – was based on FREE LABOR. They received free labor some say until the late 1960s when forced labor camps (institutionalized slavery) were finally abolished.

Interestingly, shortly thereafter major corporations started exporting their labor needs overseas; in essence creating slave labor in developing nations. Once these nations got used to the income and started demanding more – the corporation would pick up and leave – moving on to another nation to exploit.

But all of the so-called intelligent white people didn’t say a word because it only affected non-skilled laborers. But because of THEIR GREED, what started as transference of slave labor morphed into transference of labor. And the silly majority watched as union semi-skilled and skilled-labor jobs started being shipped overseas.

They are fools! But we’re the fools?Mmaybe but certainly not the only fools. The vast majority of their people are still in poverty
because their greed holds them back from collectively making better
communities.

The vast majority of African Americans are not in poverty. The vast majority are working and middle class.

With the help of BET, and the rest of their black media that often
broadcasts destructive images into their own homes, we will continue to
see huge profits like those of Tommy and Nike. ( Tommy Hilfiger has even jeered them, saying he doesn’t want their money, and look at how the fools spend more with him than ever before!). They’ll continue to show off to each other while we build solid communities with the profits from our businesses that we market to them.

Who writes this stuff? White people don’t know about the Tommy Hilfiger lie that his been circulating since God knows when. BET didn’t perpetuate the negative AA images (no love loss for the sell-out Johnsons) the mainstream media did! WE DID ALLOW IT

SELFISHNESS, ingrained in their minds through slavery, is one of the
major ways we can continue to contain them. One of their own, Dub ois
said that there was an innate division in their culture. A ‘Talented
Tenth’ he called it. He was correct in his deduction that there are
segments of their culture that has achieved some ‘form’ of success..
However, that segment missed the fullness of his work. They didn’t read
that the ‘Talented Tenth’ was then responsible to aid The Non-Talented
Ninety Percent in achieving a better life. Instead, that segment has
created another class, a Buppie class that looks down on their people
or aids them in a condescending manner.

This is the only part I agree with. But the reference to DuBois and Buppie leads me to believe a black Judas goat wrote this. And this is not selfishness this is a typical crab in the barrel mentality that affects every oppressed people from white women to brown men.

They will never achieve what we have.. Their selfishness does not allow them to be able to work together
on any project or endeavor of substance. When they do get together,
their selfishness lets their egos get in the way of their goal Their
so-called help organizations seem to only want to promote their name
without making any real change in their community.

I will comment on the prior paragraph at the end
They are content to sit in conferences and conventions in our hotels,
and talk about what they will do, while they award plaques to the best
speakers, not to the best doers. Is there no end to their selfishness?
They steadfastly refuse to see that TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE (TEAM)

They do not understand that they are no better than each other because of what they own, as a matter of fact, most of those Buppies are but one or two pay checks away from poverty. All of which is under the control of our pens in our offices and our rooms.

Blah, blah, blah … okay you get the point. Go to the end for my comments and let this get passed around for 6 years like the previous!!!
Yes, we will continue to contain them as long as they refuse to read,
continue to buy anything they want, and keep thinking they are ‘helping’
their communities by paying dues to organizations which do little other
than hold lavish conventions in our hotels. By the way, don’t worry
about any of them reading this letter, remember, ‘THEY DON’T READ!!!!

(Prove them wrong. Please pass this on! After Reading it.)
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

————————————————————————————————

It is time for African Americans everywhere to stop looking at themselves through the eyes of white people. It is WAY PASSED time for US TO DEFINE WHO WE ARE. It’s time for us to stop ardently seeking their approval and start seeking the approval of God and each other. I believe that the reason this shallow dribble was passed on for 6 years is because it said a Caucasian wrote it. “Oh you know the white guy said it so it must be true…” (By the way, the original definition of Caucasian is: Of or being a human racial classification distinguished especially by very light to brown skin pigmentation and straight to wavy or curly hair, and including peoples indigenous to Europe, northern Africa, western Asia, and India. But I guess I shouldn’t know that since we don’t read.)

Though there is a bit of truth in this piece, the majority of it is either hyperbolic or straight out false. (The devil came to taunt Jesus with a bit of truth wrapped in lies) At best it is a surface scrapping of the opportunities that we still have before us as people at worst it’s not even worth the time that I’ve put into it so far.

To believe that you can reduce the repercussions of 400 years of protracted abject oppression down to: greed, selfishness, and ignorance shows that the author has the intellectual depth of an elementary school student.

Though I’ll be the first to say that we have work to do, that there are still great opportunities for growth as a people; I WILL NOT BE DEFINIED BY A WHITE MAN. And you shouldn’t either. I couldn’t care less what a white person thinks of me, unless they are signing my pay check. And then they will think what I want them to think of me. Those white folks whom I call friend do not think the way this author thinks (who I keep saying is probably black and just shows the depth of our sickness).

From this point forward let’s dedicate ourselves to self-definition and to community-empowerment. Love you – not because a white person says you’re okay but because you say you’re okay, because God says you’re okay.

Peace,

The Rabble Rouser

P.S. IF YOU SEND ME NONSENSE I WILL RESPOND WITH LOGICAL, RESEARCHED, TRUTH

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Responding to Wright controvery, Thomas asks, 'What kind of prophet?'



Written by staff reports
March 17, 2008

The Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president, released the following statement on March 17 on the rhetoric of preaching, in light of recent news coverage of Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., and Chicago's Trinity UCC.

What Kind of Prophet?
Reflections on the Rhetoric of Preaching
in Light of Recent News Coverage of Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
and Trinity United Church of Christ

The Rev. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Over the weekend members of our church and others have been subjected to the relentless airing of two or three brief video clips of sermons by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ for thirty-six years and, for over half of those years, pastor of Senator Barack Obama and his family. These video clips, and news stories about them, have been served up with frenzied and heated commentary by media personalities expressing shock that such language and sentiments could be uttered from the pulpit.

One is tempted to ask whether these commentators ever listen to the overcharged rhetoric of their own opinion shows. Even more to the point is to wonder whether they have a working knowledge of the history of preaching in the United States from the unrelentingly grim language of New England election day sermons to the fiery rhetoric of the Black church prophetic tradition. Maybe they prefer the false prophets with their happy homilies in Jeremiah who say to the people: "You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place." To which God responds, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. . . . By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed," (Jeremiah 14.14-15). The Biblical Jeremiah was coarse and provocative. Faithfulness, not respectability was the order of the day then. And now?

What's really going on here? First, it may state the obvious to point out that these television and radio shows have very little interest in Trinity Church or Jeremiah Wright. Those who sifted through hours of sermons searching for a few lurid phrases and those who have aired them repeatedly have only one intention. It is to wound a presidential candidate. In the process a congregation that does exceptional ministry and a pastor who has given his life to shape those ministries is caricatured and demonized. You don't have to be an Obama supporter to be alarmed at this. Will Clinton's United Methodist Church be next? Or McCain's Episcopal Church? Wouldn't we have been just as alarmed had it been Huckabee's Southern Baptist Church, or Romney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

Many of us would prefer to avoid the stark and startling language Pastor Wright used in these clips. But what was his real crime? He is condemned for using a mild "obscenity" in reference to the United States. This week we mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a war conceived in deception and prosecuted in foolish arrogance. Nearly four thousand cherished Americans have been killed, countless more wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqis slaughtered. Where is the real obscenity here? True patriotism requires a degree of self-criticism, even self-judgment that may not always be easy or genteel. Pastor Wright's judgment may be starker and more sweeping than many of us are prepared to accept. But is the soul of our nation served any better by the polite prayers and gentle admonitions that have gone without a real hearing for these five years while the dying and destruction continues?

We might like to think that racism is a thing of the past, that Martin Luther King's harmonious multi-racial vision, articulated in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and then struck down by an assassin's bullet in Memphis in 1968, has somehow been resurrected and now reigns throughout the land. Significant progress has been made. A black man is a legitimate candidate for President of the United States. A black woman serves as Secretary of State. The accomplishments are profound. But on the gritty streets of Chicago's south side where Trinity has planted itself, race continues to play favorites in failing urban school systems, unresponsive health care systems, crumbling infrastructure, and meager economic development. Are we to pretend all is well because much is, in fact, better than it used to be? Is it racist to name the racial divides that continue to afflict our nation, and to do so loudly? How ironic that a pastor and congregation which, for forty-five years, has cast its lot with a predominantly white denomination, participating fully in its wider church life and contributing generously to it, would be accused of racial exclusion and a failure to reach for racial reconciliation.

The gospel narrative of Palm Sunday's entrance into Jerusalem concludes with the overturning of the money changers' tables in the Temple courtyard. Here wealth and power and greed were challenged for the way the poor were oppressed to the point of exclusion from a share in the religious practices of the Temple. Today we watch as the gap between the obscenely wealthy and the obscenely poor widens. More and more of our neighbors are relegated to minimal health care or to no health care at all. Foreclosures destroy families while unscrupulous lenders seek bailouts from regulators who turned a blind eye to the impending crisis. Should the preacher today respond to this with only a whisper and a sigh?

Is Pastor Wright to be ridiculed and condemned for refusing to play the court prophet, blessing land and sovereign while pledging allegiance to our preoccupation with wealth and our fascination with weapons? In the United Church of Christ we honor diversity. For nearly four centuries we have respected dissent and have struggled to maintain the freedom of the pulpit. Not every pastor in the United Church of Christ will want to share Pastor Wright's rhetoric or his politics. Not every member will rise to shout "Amen!" But I trust we will all struggle in our own way to resist the lure of respectable religion that seeks to displace evangelical faith. For what this nation needs is not so much polite piety as the rough and radical word of the prophet calling us to repentance. And, as we struggle with that ancient calling, I pray we will be shrewd enough to name the hypocrisy of those who decry the mixing of religion and politics in order to serve their own political ends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Will Clinton ever STOP LYING?

"...Obama has been credited with foreseeing a troublesome war in Iraq primarily due to a speech he gave in 2002 while he was a state senator, where he spoke out against the war. Clinton said, “I started criticizing the war in Iraq before he did. So, I’m well aware that his entire campaign is premised on a speech he gave in 2002 and I give him credit for making that speech. But that was not a decision.”

Monday, April 7, 2008

McCain & O'Reilly: The White, Christian, male power structure

Racism is so rampant in our culture today - I'd venture to say even more than it was 30 years ago. Racists are so arrogant that on the MAIN STREAM MEDIA Bill O'Reilly and John McCain can sit there on TV and admit and defend the white christian male power structure.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia:

Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia:
Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and the Audacity of Truth

By Tim Wise

March 18, 2008

For most white folks, indignation just doesn't wear well. Once affected or conjured up, it reminds one of a pudgy man, wearing a tie that may well have fit him when he was fifty pounds lighter, but which now cuts off somewhere above his navel and makes him look like an idiot.

Indignation doesn't work for most whites, because having remained sanguine about, silent during, indeed often supportive of so much injustice over the years in this country--the theft of native land and genocide of indigenous persons, and the enslavement of Africans being only two of the best examples--we are just a bit late to get into the game of moral rectitude. And once we enter it, our efforts at righteousness tend to fail the test of sincerity.

But here we are, in 2008, fuming at the words of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--occasionally Barack Obama's pastor, and the man whom Obama credits with having brought him to Christianity--for merely reminding us of those evils about which we have remained so quiet, so dismissive, so unconcerned. It is not the crime that bothers us, but the remembrance of it, the unwillingness to let it go--these last words being the first ones uttered by most whites it seems whenever anyone, least of all an "angry black man" like Jeremiah Wright, foists upon us the bill of particulars for several centuries of white supremacy.

But our collective indignation, no matter how loudly we announce it, cannot drown out the truth. And as much as white America may not be able to hear it (and as much as politics may require Obama to condemn it) let us be clear, Jeremiah Wright fundamentally told the truth.

Oh I know that for some such a comment will seem shocking. After all, didn't he say that America "got what it deserved" on 9/11? And didn't he say that black people should be singing "God Damn America" because of its treatment of the African American community throughout the years?

Well actually, no he didn't.

Wright said not that the attacks of September 11th were justified, but that they were, in effect, predictable. Deploying the imagery of chickens coming home to roost is not to give thanks for the return of the poultry or to endorse such feathered homecoming as a positive good; rather, it is merely to note two things: first, that what goes around, indeed, comes around--a notion with longstanding theological grounding--and secondly, that the U.S. has indeed engaged in more than enough violence against innocent people to make it just a tad bit hypocritical for us to then evince shock and outrage about an attack on ourselves, as if the latter were unprecedented.

He noted that we killed far more people, far more innocent civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki than were killed on 9/11 and "never batted an eye." That this statement is true is inarguable, at least amongst sane people. He is correct on the math, he is correct on the innocence of the dead (neither city was a military target), and he is most definitely correct on the lack of remorse or even self-doubt about the act: sixty-plus years later most Americans still believe those attacks were justified, that they were needed to end the war and "save American lives."

But not only does such a calculus suggest that American lives are inherently worth more than the lives of Japanese civilians (or, one supposes, Vietnamese, Iraqi or Afghan civilians too), but it also ignores the long-declassified documents, and President Truman's own war diaries, all of which indicate clearly that Japan had already signaled its desire to end the war, and that we knew they were going to surrender, even without the dropping of atomic weapons. The conclusion to which these truths then attest is simple, both in its basic veracity and it monstrousness: namely, that in those places we committed premeditated and deliberate mass murder, with no justification whatsoever; and yet for saying that I will receive more hate mail, more hostility, more dismissive and contemptuous responses than will those who suggest that no body count is too high when we're the ones doing the killing. Jeremiah Wright becomes a pariah, because, you see, we much prefer the logic of George Bush the First, who once said that as President he would "never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are."

And Wright didn't say blacks should be singing "God Damn America." He was suggesting that blacks owe little moral allegiance to a nation that has treated so many of them for so long as animals, as persons undeserving of dignity and respect, and which even now locks up hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders (especially for drug possession), even while whites who do the same crimes (and according to the data, when it comes to drugs, more often in fact), are walking around free. His reference to God in that sermon was more about what God will do to such a nation, than it was about what should or shouldn't happen. It was a comment derived from, and fully in keeping with, the black prophetic tradition, and although one can surely disagree with the theology (I do, actually, and don't believe that any God either blesses or condemns nation states for their actions), the statement itself was no call for blacks to turn on America. If anything, it was a demand that America earn the respect of black people, something the evidence and history suggests it has yet to do.

Finally, although one can certainly disagree with Wright about his suggestion that the government created AIDS to get rid of black folks--and I do, for instance--it is worth pointing out that Wright isn't the only one who has said this. In fact, none other than Bill Cosby (oh yes, that Bill Cosby, the one white folks love because of his recent moral crusade against the black poor) proffered his belief in the very same thing back in the early '90s in an interview on CNN, when he said that AIDS may well have been created to get rid of people whom the government deemed "undesirable" including gays and racial minorities.

So that's the truth of the matter: Wright made one comment that is highly arguable, but which has also been voiced by white America's favorite black man, another that was horribly misinterpreted and stripped of all context, and then another that was demonstrably accurate. And for this, he is pilloried and made into a virtual enemy of the state; for this, Barack Obama may lose the support of just enough white folks to cost him the Democratic nomination, and/or the Presidency; all of it, because Jeremiah Wright, unlike most preachers opted for truth. If he had been one of those "prosperity ministers" who says Jesus wants nothing so much as for you to be rich, like Joel Osteen, that would have been fine. Had he been a retread bigot like Falwell was, or Pat Robertson is, he might have been criticized, but he would have remained in good standing and surely not have damaged a Presidential candidate in this way. But unlike Osteen, and Falwell, and Robertson, Jeremiah Wright refused to feed his parishioners lies.

What Jeremiah Wright knows, and told his flock--though make no mistake, they already knew it--is that 9/11 was neither the first, nor worst act of terrorism on American soil. The history of this nation for folks of color, was for generations, nothing less than an intergenerational hate crime, one in which 9/11s were woven into the fabric of everyday life: hundreds of thousands of the enslaved who died from the conditions of their bondage; thousands more who were lynched (as many as 10,000 in the first few years after the Civil War, according to testimony in the Congressional Record at the time); millions of indigenous persons wiped off the face of the Earth. No, to some, the horror of 9/11 was not new. To some it was not on that day that "everything changed." To some, everything changed four hundred years ago, when that first ship landed at what would become Jamestown. To some, everything changed when their ancestors were forced into the hulls of slave ships at Goree Island and brought to a strange land as chattel. To some, everything changed when they were run out of Northern Mexico, only to watch it become the Southwest United States, thanks to a war of annihilation initiated by the U.S. government. To some, being on the receiving end of terrorism has been a way of life. Until recently it was absolutely normal in fact.

But white folks have a hard time hearing these simple truths. We find it almost impossible to listen to an alternative version of reality. Indeed, what seems to bother white people more than anything, whether in the recent episode, or at any other time, is being confronted with the recognition that black people do not, by and large, see the world like we do; that black people, by and large, do not view America as white people view it. We are, in fact, shocked that this should be so, having come to believe, apparently, that the falsehoods to which we cling like a kidney patient clings to a dialysis machine, are equally shared by our darker-skinned compatriots.

This is what James Baldwin was talking about in his classic 1972 work, No Name in the Street, wherein he noted:

White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded--about themselves and the world they live in. White people have managed to get through their entire lifetimes in this euphoric state, but black people have not been so lucky: a black man who sees the world the way John Wayne, for example, sees it would not be an eccentric patriot, but a raving maniac.

And so we were shocked in 1987, when Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall declined to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution, because, as he noted, most of that history had been one of overt racism and injustice, and to his way of thinking, the only history worth celebrating had been that of the past three or four decades.

We were shocked to learn that black people actually believed that a white cop who was a documented racist might frame a black man; and we're shocked to learn that lots of black folks still perceive the U.S. as a racist nation--we're literally stunned that people who say they experience discrimination regularly (and who have the social science research to back them up) actually think that those experiences and that data might actually say something about the nation in which they reside. Imagine.

Whites are easily shocked by what we see and hear from Pastor Wright and Trinity Church, because what we see and hear so thoroughly challenges our understanding of who we are as a nation. But black people have never, for the most part, believed in the imagery of the "shining city on a hill," for they have never had the option of looking at their nation and ignoring the mountain-sized warts still dotting its face when it comes to race. Black people do not, in the main, get misty eyed at the sight of the flag the way white people do--and this is true even for millions of black veterans--for they understand that the nation for whom that flag waves is still not fully committed to their own equality. They have a harder time singing those tunes that white people seem so eager to belt out, like "God Bless America," for they know that whites sang those words loudly and proudly even as they were enforcing Jim Crow segregation, rioting against blacks who dared move into previously white neighborhoods, throwing rocks at Dr. King and then cheering, as so many did, when they heard the news that he had been assassinated.

Whites refuse to remember (or perhaps have never learned) that which black folks cannot afford to forget. I've seen white people stunned to the point of paralysis when they learn the truth about lynchings in this country--when they discover that such events were not just a couple of good old boys with a truck and a rope hauling some black guy out to the tree, hanging him, and letting him swing there. They were never told the truth: that lynchings were often community events, advertised in papers as "Negro Barbecues," involving hundreds or even thousands of whites, who would join in the fun, eat chicken salad and drink sweet tea, all while the black victims of their depravity were being hung, then shot, then burned, and then having their body parts cut off, to be handed out to onlookers. They are stunned to learn that postcards of the events were traded as souvenirs, and that very few whites, including members of their own families did or said anything to stop it.

Rather than knowing about and confronting the ugliness of our past, whites take steps to excise the less flattering aspects of our history so that we need not be bothered with them. So, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, site of an orgy of violence against the black community in 1921, city officials literally went into the town library and removed all reference to the mass killings in the Greenwood district from the papers with a razor blade--an excising of truth and an assault on memory that would remain unchanged for over seventy years.


At the risk of violating some copyright laws you will have to go to original pub. to read the rest.

to read the rest go here: http://www.lipmagazine.org/~timwise/NationalLies.html

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton relates her foreign policy experience

Please view this and let me know what you think of her vast experience with foreign policy.


Jeremiah Wright God damn America IN CONTEXT

John 8:32 - "...And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free..."


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Fox News combs through user-generated pages on myBarackObama.com

Apparently, today was a slow news day.

So Fox News evidently decided to pore through our millions of user-created pages on My.BarackObama.com and put a screenshot of inflammatory content on the front page of FoxNews.com.

You see, more than 700,000 people have created accounts on the system. You can create one right now if you choose, in about a minute -- anyone can.

Now, from time to time people get up to no good -- creating fake profiles (like one for Sean Hannity created today), or posting profane or inappropriate content. When they do, the community reports the offending content and if it violates our terms of service it is removed (as the Sean Hannity profile was).

My.BarackObama.com has been at the core of our bottom-up organizing strategy. The tools available have been put to work by a community of supporters that is bigger and more powerful than anything presidential politics has ever seen.

Evidently, Fox News didn't think it was a big deal that hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans are participating in the democratic process creating groups and local events in communities all across the country.

But they did think it was a big deal that one random person on the Internet, without the knowledge of the Obama campaign, posted a profile in the system with the image of the New Black Panther Party on it.

When we were alerted of the existence of this page, we pulled it down. Yet even after we pulled the page, Fox News continues to disingenuously and prominently feature this "story" on their homepage.

_____________________________________________________

MY RESPONSE


Dear FoxNews and every other so-called news agency:

I truly believe that we have come to a point in our history where we must make a decision about who we are as a nation. Are we a nation that’s only objective is to continue with the dumbing down of America? Or are we going to restart the nurturing of thoughtful and provocative analysis? Will we continue to sensationalize hyperboles, distortions, and histrionics or will we start taking a critical view of what it is really going to take to create the America that our Founding Fathers dreamed of?

The definition of patriotism is: devoted love, support, and defense of one's country; national loyalty.

True love for one’s country is exhibited by actions, not words. True love is illustrated by what one is willing to risk in order to help another grow and become greater. Some call it tough love. I call it nurturing. In order to nurture effectively you have to be willing to take the blinders off, recognize the character defects, and help them towards growth. The key phrase here is RECOGNIZE THE CHARACTER DEFECTS. Yesterday, Senator Obama potentially risked his presidential nomination for the good of this country. THAT IS PATRIOTISM. What has NewsCorp risked for the good of our country?

Now I understand that NewsCorp is a business and that the purpose of the business is to increase shareholder value. However, one has to question an entity that has portrayed itself as a source of true journalism yet has to answer not to the community in which it is supposed to serve; but to shareholders and the corporations that give it money to advertise. So in truth, NewsCorp’s true customer is not us, the consumer; but the mega corporations that advertise on its airwaves, etc. And that would be fine, if NewsCorp were honest about its true reason for being.

Unfortunately, the American public still views journalists as one of the checks and balances of our society. NewsCorp has absolutely failed in this regard. Not only have you compared one of the most courageous presidential candidates in recent history to Adolph Hitler, you are now scouring mybarackobama.com for rogue blogs. Your tactics do not alleviate my suspicion that FoxNews itself could be the perpetrator of these rogue pages. If Bill O’Reilly would compare our candidate to Adolph Hitler; if FoxNews will continuously give voice to verbal terrorists like Ann Coulter and portray it as news or true journalism; if FoxNews continues to report lies (as it did with the madrassa stories) pandering to fear and the lowest common denominator while only offering small insignificant retractions; then FoxNews has set itself up to be the object of suspicion when it starts to report on trivial matters as these.

You are on notice FoxNews and every other so-called news agency. This time is different. This time we will not follow blindly like lemmings. This time we will rise up and say, “That just won’t do”. This time we will rise up and say, “NOT THIS TIME”. We want truth, we want justice and we’re sick and tired of FoxNews lying to the American public and calling itself a voice of the people.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Pastor of the UCC church speaks out about Jeremiah Wright

Brothers and sisters (in honor of Jeremiah Wright), Hotlist

Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 04:50:08 PM PDT

It's been a painful couple of days.

As many if not all of you already know, I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. If the UCC were a ship, I'd own a plank: my family's roots go back to the Reformation in Westphalia. My grandfather was ordained in the Evangelical and Reformed church, a predecessor to the UCC, and served a church in suburban Detroit for nearly forty years. My father was in one of the earliest classes of ordinands in the new denomination, and pastored ably in Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin. I told God to look elsewhere for the fourth generation, which of course just about guarantees that one of our kids will grow up to become a pastor.

Scratch me and I bleed United Church of Christ. I was born in a UCC-affiliated hospital, grew up in a UCC congregation, found myself in another, and owe my sanity and career to the service to which I have been called.

You dis the UCC, and you dis mi familia, ese.

Honestly, I don't know what's been worse: the ignorant slurs against Jeremiah Wright or the well-intentioned inaccuracies. Some of the latter are understandable. As the national denomination says, Trinity UCC in Chicago is our "flagship congregation," yet it is also an anomaly: a black evangelical megachurch in a denomination that is overwhelmingly white, traditional and mostly small.

And while we have a long tradition of social activism, we're not even as liberal as some folks would have you believe. Like most mainline denominations, we're only modestly more Democratic than Republican, and only recently so. (Which makes us moderates, not conservatives, but drifting to the left.)

In any event, we're not all radical fire-breathers like Jeremiah Wright, but we do take a familial protectiveness toward him. Even when we can't live up to the preaching of the prophets, we pride ourselves in being goaded by the best.

And we are certainly not a gang of haters. Nor is Jeremiah Wright. To mention one example I'm familiar with, the Conference Minister of the very white Wisconsin Conference went to Wright to ask for his help in establishing a black congregation in Milwaukee. The Conference Minister thought he was going to get some advice and perhaps a commitment to help in the future. Instead, after a one hour meeting, Wright declared that one of his associates would plant the church, with one year's full financial support from Trinity, since extended to two or three. Does that sound like the actions of a hater to you? It doesn't to me.

I am likewise proud of Jeremiah Wright (and yes, Barack Obama), even if I can't always go where he does in his Afrocentrism. I have enjoyed the company of more than one black congregation, and know how vibrant their faith is, how deeply held it is and how deeply connected to the plight of their people. And make no mistake: they are still in plight. Perhaps the very richest African-Americans no longer know poor folks or the sting of continued discrimination. I've never met any who didn't.

In that, for all their other faults, black Christians live close to the gospel, where white folks should be but seldom can push themselves. It stings to see a political ally dragged through the mud, but it hurts, deep, to watch as someone who actually tries to live the message of redemption and liberation in Jesus Christ is pilloried as a hater, a racist, and a purveyor of violent rhetoric.

This one is for you, Rev. Wright:

The United Church of Christ Statement of Faith in the form of a doxology

We believe in you, O God, Eternal Spirit, God of our Savior Jesus Christ and our God, and to your deeds we testify:

You call the worlds into being, create persons in your own image,and set before each one the ways of life and death.

You seek in holy love to save all people from aimlessness and sin.

You judge people and nations by your righteous will declared through prophets and apostles.

In Jesus Christ, the man of Nazareth, our crucified and risen Savior, you have come to us and shared our common lot, conquering sin and death and reconciling the world to yourself.

You bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, creating and renewing the church of Jesus Christ, binding in covenant faithful people of all ages, tongues, and races.

You call us into your church to accept the cost and joy of discipleship, to be your servants in the service of others, to proclaim the gospel to all the world and resist the powers of evil,to share in Christ's baptism and eat at his table, to join him in his passion and victory.

You promise to all who trust you forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, your presence in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in your realm which has no end.

Blessing and honor, glory and power be unto you.

Amen.

Obama's Minister Committed "Treason" but When my Father Said the Same Thing He Was a Republican Hero

When Senator Obama's preacher thundered about racism and injustice Obama suffered smear-by-association. But when my late father -- Religious Right leader Francis Schaeffer -- denounced America and even called for the violent overthrow of the US government, he was invited to lunch with presidents Ford, Reagan and Bush, Sr.

Every Sunday thousands of right wing white preachers (following in my father's footsteps) rail against America's sins from tens of thousands of pulpits. They tell us that America is complicit in the "murder of the unborn," has become "Sodom" by coddling gays, and that our public schools are sinful places full of evolutionists and sex educators hell-bent on corrupting children. They say, as my dad often did, that we are, "under the judgment of God." They call America evil and warn of immanent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted "controversial" comments were mild. All he said was that God should damn America for our racism and violence and that no one had ever used the N-word about Hillary Clinton.

Dad and I were amongst the founders of the Religious right. In the 1970s and 1980s, while Dad and I crisscrossed America denouncing our nation's sins instead of getting in trouble we became darlings of the Republican Party. (This was while I was my father's sidekick before I dropped out of the evangelical movement altogether.) We were rewarded for our "stand" by people such as Congressman Jack Kemp, the Fords, Reagan and the Bush family. The top Republican leadership depended on preachers and agitators like us to energize their rank and file. No one called us un-American.

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Consider a few passages from my father's immensely influential America-bashing book A Christian Manifesto. It sailed under the radar of the major media who, back when it was published in 1980, were not paying particular attention to best-selling religious books. Nevertheless it sold more than a million copies.

Here's Dad writing in his chapter on civil disobedience:

If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force [against the US government]... then at a certain point force is justifiable.



And this:

In the United States the materialistic, humanistic world view is being taught exclusively in most state schools... There is an obvious parallel between this and the situation in Russia [the USSR]. And we really must not be blind to the fact that indeed in the public schools in the United States all religious influence is as forcibly forbidden as in the Soviet Union....

Then this:

There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate... A true Christian in Hitler's Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state. This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion... It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God's law it abrogates it's authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation...

Was any conservative political leader associated with Dad running for cover? Far from it. Dad was a frequent guest of the Kemps, had lunch with the Fords, stayed in the White House as their guest, he met with Reagan, helped Dr. C. Everett Koop become Surgeon General. (I went on the 700 Club several times to generate support for Koop).

Dad became a hero to the evangelical community and a leading political instigator. When Dad died in 1984 everyone from Reagan to Kemp to Billy Graham lamented his passing publicly as the loss of a great American. Not one Republican leader was ever asked to denounce my dad or distanced himself from Dad's statements.

Take Dad's words and put them in the mouth of Obama's preacher (or in the mouth of any black American preacher) and people would be accusing that preacher of treason. Yet when we of the white Religious Right denounced America white conservative Americans and top political leaders, called our words "godly" and "prophetic" and a "call to repentance."

We Republican agitators of the mid 1970s to the late 1980s were genuinely anti-American in the same spirit that later Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (both followers of my father) were anti-American when they said God had removed his blessing from America on 9/11, because America accepted gays. Falwell and Robertson recanted but we never did.

My dad's books denouncing America and comparing the USA to Hitler are still best sellers in the "respectable" evangelical community and he's still hailed as a prophet by many Republican leaders. When Mike Huckabee was recently asked by Katie Couric to name one book he'd take with him to a desert island, besides the Bible, he named Dad's Whatever Happened to the Human Race? a book where Dad also compared America to Hitler's Germany.

The hypocrisy of the right denouncing Obama, because of his minister's words, is staggering. They are the same people who argue for the right to "bear arms" as "insurance" to limit government power. They are the same people that (in the early 1980s roared and cheered when I called down damnation on America as "fallen away from God" at their national meetings where I was keynote speaker, including the annual meeting of the ultraconservative Southern Baptist convention, and the religious broadcasters that I addressed.

Today we have a marriage of convenience between the right wing fundamentalists who hate Obama, and the "progressive" Clintons who are playing the race card through their own smear machine. As Jane Smiley writes in the Huffington Post "[The Clinton's] are, indeed, now part of the 'vast right wing conspiracy.' http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-smiley/im-already-against-the-n_b_90628.html

Both the far right Republicans and the stop-at-nothing Clintons are using the "scandal" of Obama's preacher to undermine the first black American candidate with a serious shot at the presidency. Funny thing is, the racist Clinton/Far Right smear machine proves that Obama's minister had a valid point. There is plenty to yell about these days.