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Topic: Death Camp Thinking
Bill O'Reilly Admits the Truth: For Republicans Elections are All about Race
12/23/2016 4:24:39 PM
In the quote below the Fox News host Bill O'Reilly says there is a "hidden reason" that "the left" opposes the Electoral College system. It would allow the full weight of the black vote to count. He says "the left" does not want to allow white people to vote. Notice how this is phrased, it is white people who are the victims of the policies of "the left". This completely turns around the actual history of this issue. In fact, this history of this country is one characterized by whites trying to keep black people in their place without power or influence in society. Northern white people fought a civil war against the South on behalf of the rights of black people. O'Reilly talks as if the civil war never happened. And his comments support the idea of trying to keep black people from voting, something that Republicans in Southern states and elsewhere have been promoting in all sorts of new voting restrictions.
At least this exposes O'Reilly and Fox News for what they are: racists. No white person with integrity and a sense of fairness should listen to this kind of nonsense. The votes of black people should count the same as those of white people. Characterizing "the left" as anti-white is ridiculous.
From the December 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
Abolishing the Electoral College, that is the subject of tonight's Talking Points Memo. After Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, the left in America is demanding that the Electoral College system put into place in 1787 be scrapped. But there's a hidden reason for this.
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The Modern War on Drugs Began as Nixon's Racist Assault on Black People
3/24/2016 4:44:40 PM
It is coming as some surprise to many Republicans not in the South that the Donald Trump campaign is succeeding in no small way due to his explicit racist appeal, racism against immigrants, blacks, Muslims and anyone else who is placed in the category of being expected to be treated with political correctness. Trump wants to smear anyone he wants with any rhetoric he wants, and people are loving him for it. He is just saying what they themselves really want to say, but haven't been able to in the public context of civil speech.
It's very interesting to me to read that Nixon actually began his war on drugs as a way to justify police action against black people. Nixon didn't want to appear racist, but his whole electoral strategy was what was called the Southern Strategy to take the South away from the Democrats after the 1960s. Trump is directly saying what Nixon didn't want to say, that his policies are based directly on racism.
Below is an excerpt from Harper's Magazine. An article with the above title is located at Buzzflash.
In 1994, John Ehrlichman, the Watergate co-conspirator, unlocked for me one of the great mysteries of modern American history: How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results? Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “war on drugs” and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues. I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. I barely recognized him. He was much heavier than he’d been at the time of the Watergate scandal two decades earlier, and he wore a mountain-man beard that extended to the middle of his chest.
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Flint, Michigan: Death Camp City
1/22/2016 5:27:14 PM
In the news right now, finally, is Flint, Michigan, an old rust-belt town north of Detroit. What is happening there is so bad that people being told about it would have a hard time believing it. It is the result of intentional Republican attitudes and ideas which reject any serious notion of responsible governmental programs being established for the good of the community, which focus on taxes and costs before anything else. Well, now thousands of children have been drinking water full of lead seriously damaging their minds and bodies. How could it be?
Michigan has a law allowing the governor to by-pass local democratic bodies and appoint an "emergency manager" who would have total control over the city. Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed a man who shifted the city water source from an arrangement with Detroit to the local river to save money. But without the right additives the river water corroded water pipes throughout the city allowing lead from pipes to enter the drinking water. The city's water pipes all across the town have to be repaired at astronomical cost, let alone the costs of medical service to the people whose bodies have been damaged.
This is the result of what I call death camp thinking. The fact is, Flint is an old rust-belt town where the workers live. Workers don't get treated the same way as executives of business corporations. Workers don't deserve much in the minds of current politics. Over the past several decades the Republican Party has systematically made every effort to destroy the unions by which workers were able to make their views known in the community. And these efforts have been very successful. A Republican governor and the people around him could assume, "it's only the eldery and the poor and the workers who live in Flint, so let's get by as cheaply as possible." That's what happened.
And there is something else. Lots of black people live in Flint. And black people don't count for anything in the minds of Republican politicians. Let them die. That's why cities across this nation for decades have been allowed to descend into places of social chaos. The only tax expense allowed by these politicians is for police to use violence to keep people in order and put black men in jail.
It's death camp thinking. Very large numbers of white people vote for these Republican politicians who promise to keep them safe from what they fear the most, black violence. Let black people die in the city. Don't provide schools, don't provide jobs, don't provide health care, they deserve nothing. Let them die, that's the white attitude that has dominated politics now ever since the 1960s. And it is coming home to roost now.
In Flint, Michigan, children are dying from the water. A couple years ago I wrote a full piece on death camp thinking. It's worth looking at again for a fuller picture of politics today.
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Gun Manufacturers Cannot Be Christian says Pope Francis
6/22/2015 12:58:51 PM
Many of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have been cooperating with and encouraging the Republican Party in this country with their rather hysterical views on abortion and same sex marriage. The great majority of the American people now want the opposite of what those bishops want but the bishops hope to use the power of government to impose their authoritarian views on everyone, in the name of "religious freedom". This is not only hypocrisy it is a fundamental misuse of language and engaging in false political rhetoric.
But these bishops now have an opponent in their own leader, Pope Francis. Not only on the environment, but also on gun control, another favorite issue of the Republicans, he is very strongly exposing how ridiculous is the position of the National Rifle Association, which is basically a lobbying arm of gun manufacturers. And he is associating this with the Nazi death camps in Germany during World War II. Nothing can be worse for the NRA than associating its position with the death camps.
According to Reuters the pope's most recent comments came on June 21, 2015.
Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
Anyone who says "religion" or the pope should not be involved in politics has his or her head in the sand, of course. Since Ronald Reagan in 1980 actively pursued the vote of the white South with its form of religion, the religious right, or the Southern Baptists and Pentecostals, the Republican Party has relied on these type of voters who vote on the basis of anger over civil rights for blacks, women and gay people, and over issues of abortion, same-sex marriage and gun control. This has led to the decline of America over these past decades and the greatest economic inequality in the history of the country.
These so-called social conservatives vote for politicians whose political philosophy allows big business and the wealthy to control government and tax policy and destroy the environment. In the meantime our cities are falling apart and young people in the South walk into black churches and start killing people with their guns.
Finally we have a religious leader in Pope Francis that has the courage to simply speak the truth. It's great to see.
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Police Violence in Baltimore
4/29/2015 3:04:38 PM
I wrote the following as an introduction to this page about the loss of jobs in Baltimore.
On Fox News last night during the few minutes I watched, Brit Hume blamed black people in Baltimore for the rioting that occurred night before last after the police caused the death of a resident there. Freddie Gray is another victim of police violence.
To understand this, remember white people have left the city but send in the police to protect whites from the anger of blacks. The police, white and black, know this and have all these years been using excessive force against blacks. Only now there are some video cameras to catch them in the act.
I have been living in cities and watching what has been happening in them for over sixty years now and I can say without qualification that what has happened to cities is the result of both racism and economic factors beyond the control of people living now in those cities.
White people left the cities for the suburbs to get away from black people. And so did businesses and corporations run by white people. In the 1970s I read a big report on urban conditions; it was named "Throw-Away Cities". White America has thrown cities away on a trash heap of history. And then Fox News comes along and says somthing like this that absolves white people of all guilt; and that, of course, is exactly why white people love Fox News.
Below is a brief but helpful summary of how business left Baltimore. If you say that we live in a free society and business can do what it wants, then do you really mean that there should be no jobs unless business makes them? That is, we as a society allow business to be "free" as long as such a policy is good for society as a whole. But if business fails to provide jobs for the people of society then that society should do what is necessary to force business to do so. Government is the way to do this in a democracy where the people rule, not business. But, of course, today business controls government too, especially through the Republican Party, though Democrats since Bill Clinton have failed to support the people who elect them. Even a black president and a black mayor used the word "thugs" to refer to frustrated young people in Baltimore. The white media won't let them say anything else but what white people want to hear.
Black people in cities want and deserve jobs. That's the fact white people like to pretend is not true. The powerful blame the powerless for the sins of the powerful. And send the police to harass and kill them.
It takes a comedic news show to tell the truth it seems:
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The Terrible Mendacity of Stanley Kurtz
8/5/2013 3:17:56 PM
It is difficult to know how to respond to what one finds at some of the right wing think tanks. Something called the "Eagle Forum" at the Heritage Foundation was presented through C-Span a couple nights ago. It is an annual "Collegians Leadership Summit" where conservative speakers are talking to young people. I thought I would listen to what the younger generation was being taught by conservative thinkers these days. I happened to tune in just as a fellow named Stanley Kurtz was giving his speech. What he said was to me literally shocking and beyond belief. That is, it was hard to believe a grown man who purports to be a serious scholar at something called the "Ethics and Public Policy Center" would lower himself to engage in wholesale public lying to an audience of young people eager to learn how they can make a difference in society.
Kurtz said President Obama wants to steal the taxes of the suburbs and give the money to those who live in the cities. This is supposedly the goal of something called the regional equity movement which Kurtz treats as if it is a secret conspiracy of Obama's socialist Chicago pals involved in community organizing. Notice this is the language of the libertarian radio talk show hosts who say over and over a thousand times a day that "liberals" want to steal from the rich to give to the undeserving poor. This is the constant refrain of those in the Tea Party movement who listen to these talk show hosts who have found they can whip up anger and hostility among their listeners by attacking the poor. Here was a so-called serious scholar at a group with "ethics" in its name who is operating at the level of screaming talk show hosts.
I use the word "mendacity" for what Kurtz is doing. The word means lying, but with a sense of the sinister, lying with malicious intent. For Kurtz knows (he has a degree in social anthropology) that for a general political audience the word "suburbs" means white people and the word "city" means the black inner city. So it is an intentional racist appeal. So what he is saying is that Obama (and his socialist pals) wants to tax white people in suburbs and give the money to black people in cities. And Obama doesn't want you to know about it, he is being secretive, says Kurtz in a recent article at National Review. So this is a new conspiracy theory being promoted by Kurtz. But, of course, almost everything the right wing says about Obama is a conspiracy, he is secretly trying to destroy the country. He is secretly trying to take white people's money and give it to black people. This is racist, political trash talk, from a person who is supposed to be a scholar teaching the youth of the country.
Political consultants and others who watch politics carefully know that Republicans are having trouble getting votes in suburbs, especially suburban women, who reject the views of the religious right/Republican Party on abortion. So here comes Stanley Kurtz to give Republican political candidates some talking points in suburbs. He invents racist conspiracy theories. It is simply disgusting to me.
The fact is that regional planning has a very long history in this country, it is no secret. There are metropolitan planning agencies all around the country engaged in very important work. When I worked at the Metro Council of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, St.Paul, Minnesota) it was not socialists who were in charge, but major leaders of the business community. Kurtz in his C-Span talk attacked a project in Twin Cities which helps even out the benefits of major development projects in the area; this is an old project, installed in the 1970s, hardly Obama's fault. And hardly a conspiracy. Then he also attacks development planning where I live now, Portland, Oregon, which establishes an urban growth boundary around the metropolitan area to encourage new development inside the boundary rather than sprawl-type development outside it. This is something established years ago by the state legislature, not by Obama and hardly a conspiracy. If Kurtz was a scholar he would talk about these matters and discuss pros and cons. It is certainly his right to oppose regional planning around the country, but to do so he would have to disagree with huge numbers of people with many political views who support regional planning as crucial for wise development in the country. It is certainly not a conspiracy, and it is certainly completely ridiculous to blame all this on Obama.
Kurtz says one of the worst groups involved in the regional equity movement is Building One America. Well, here is a document you can read for yourself. See whether you think it is diabolical in some way. To learn more about regional planning, read this outline of a course taught by Scott Campbell of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University Of Michigan.
And especially read read this piece on the regional equity movement by Angela Glover Blackwell which I have placed on this website. It was written in 2008. It is sad to read now because it represents a hopeful enthusiasm for prospects for Obama's presidency. We now know that people like Stanley Kurtz have worked steadily and mostly successfully to attack every good thing the president has tried to do. And they themselves have nothing to offer in the way of solutions to the huge problems of American cities. Just let them die, let the people in them go away. They are black people, they don't count, they just want the money of white people in suburbs.
The institution which supports Stanley Kurtz is the Ethics and Public Policy Center, profiled here. It claims on its website: "Founded in 1976, the Ethics and Public Policy Center is Washington, D.C.’s premier institute dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy." But there is nothing in the "Judeo-Christian moral tradition" which supports the blatant racism of Stanley Kurtz. If his is the kind of "scholarship" promoted by this center then it is a perversion of that moral tradition. This center receives millions of dollars from right wing foundations to distort and wrongly politicize Christian faith.
I note that Mark Noll is on the board of this center. He is a distinguished scholar of religion in the United States. I have read his book America's God. He should not be lending his good reputation to a think tank which would provide a platform for such a person as Stanley Kurtz. I would hope he would resign from that board immediately.
Stanley Kurtz is a disgrace to himself, the students to whom he was talking, to the institution who calls him a senior fellow, to the magazine he writes for, and to the Republican Party on whose behalf he thinks he is promoting.
I am planning to write a longer article on Kurtz with more examples of the benefits of regional planning.
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About Death Camp Thinking
3/22/2013 6:41:44 PM
I have added an article on the website today introducing the concept of Death Camp Thinking. I began using this language in a conversation with a good friend during the 2012 presidential election. It has to do with the question of how good people can promote policies which lead to the suffering and death of millions of people.
People often object to the use of language associated with Nazi Germany because it is considered too extreme. Certainly people in this country are not as extreme in their views as in Germany under Hitler. But in the article I argue that the inner cities and prisons in this country can be considered "death camps", that what is happening in them is suffering and death on a scale people do not want to allow themselves to actually think about.
It is usually right wing ideologues who attack Hitler's policies, especially concerning issues like abortion. They do this to the degree that many liberals tend to reject any reference to Nazism compared to current politics in the United States. But this ignores, then, the importance of the very real lessons that can be learned from a study of that era in Germany. It means that we will not allow ourselves to learn how to make sure such terrible things never happen again.
The fact is that Hitler represents a right wing movement, what was called "conservative" in his time. The term "Nazi" includes a reference to "national socialism" but it is the first term which is most important here. It is "nationalism" that Hitler promoted, super-nationalism. He wasn't a socialist. Socialism was so popular in Germany that no party could be successful opposing it. But after he gained power in 1933 Hitler outlawed both socialists and communists and put them in jail.
It is those politicians in this country who holler and scream about socialism who should be viewed as the real "crazies" of today and dangerous in their political views. They are dangerous because their thinking, what I call "death camp thinking," could only result in great suffering and the death of millions of people. In fact, that is already happening in the inner cities and prisons in the country right now.
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Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness:THE NEW JIM CROW
11/14/2012 1:31:00 PM
Barack Obama won the election by an overwhelming vote from people living in cities despite the fact that he has in the last four years promoted no comprehensive urban development program to deal with the continuing deterioration of the major cities of this country. As the first black president he has been timid about promoting that which would be best for the black community. Now that he has been re-elected maybe we can hope he will finally begin doing something for the cities of the nation.
And what could be most significant is to deal with the harsh realities of what Michelle Alexander calls the mass incarceration of black people which has been going on since the early 1980s under the label of the war on drugs. A whole new public consciousness around this issue is necessary, a large social movement is being called for to address the incredible injustice that has been done to black men especially. Listen to the following lecture to begin to understand the dimensions of this problem.
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