American Nativism, The Tea Party, and the KKK

No big surprise here, the Tea Party’s driving elements are much the same as those which created the Second Clan in the early 20th Century. And while the Tea Party certainly isn’t in majority a terrorist group like the KKK – it is driven by one of the two major political forces in the United States, the other being Populism.

The question of the hour is whether the Tea Party has any staying power. Indications are that they have overplayed their hand in a number of states where their candidates got elected – and my be facing the sort of electoral donnybrook that has been a feature of American electoral politics since 1994, where each Party has suffered huge defeats changing the power structure in Congress.

Interesting Article –

The Tea Party’s Distant Cousin

Writing at the New York Times, historian Kevin Boyle has created something of a stir with his review of two recent books on the Ku Klux Klan. Here is the lede of the piece, which also doubles as the offending passage:

Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.

No, not that movement.

Naturally, this inspired a torrent of criticism from right-wing blogs and pundits. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg attacks the review as “lame” and complains that Boyle failed to mention the Klan’s ties to Democrats and Progressives (as if either group was the same in the 1920s), while the right-wing Media Research Center described the review as offensive. The Weekly Standard takes Goldberg’s approach, and points its readers toward proof that Democrats and Progressives were the real allies of the Klan.

A few things. Any honest historian will readily acknowledge the extent to which the Klan was entwined with the Democratic politicians in the early part of the twentieth century. Although both parties had largely abandoned civil rights by the beginning of the twentieth century, it’s fair to say that up until the 1940s, the Democratic Party was the unambiguous party of white supremacy in the United States, particularly in the South. That the Klan was involved with the Democratic Party through the 1920s isn’t a shock, given the degree to which both groups dominated border states like Kentucky in the early part of the century.

More importantly, Boyle says nothing about the Klan as an organ of Republican politics. Instead, he makes the (correct) point that the forces that animated the Klan—conservative Christianity, nativism, white populism, hyper-patriotism and racial prejudice—have manifested themselves throughout American history, including the present day. And while the Tea Party isn’t an anti-black terrorist group, it’s hard to deny the extent to which the movement is motivated by the same constellation of reactionary forces.

The facts bear this out. According to a recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 47 percent of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement also identify with the religious right, and 75 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party label themselves Christian conservatives. Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white, more likely to see immigration as a problem, and more likely to harbor racial resentment toward African-Americans. Put another way, it’s no accident that birtherism found a home among Tea Partiers. And of course, Tea Party rhetoric tends toward to loud proclamations of “real” patriotism, and a desire to return to the foundations of American political life.

The Tea Party is a classic reactionary movement in the American tradition, and as a result, it shares similarities with the Ku Klux Klan. I repeat, that doesn’t mean that Tea Partiers are Klansmen, but it’s simply true that the movement draws from similar threads in American life. Given the extent to which this isabundantly clear, the Tea Party’s conservative defenders are, perhaps, protesting a little too much.

More Questions About Wyclef’s Yele Haiti Charity

Met Wyclef a few months ago, and was quite impressed with his planning knowledge around his charity. This was a stand around over some coffee informal chat – so to be honest it certainly wasn’t some sort of in-depth talk like an investigative reporter might do. He’s a bit on the shy side, and I was rather shocked when he walked up to me and introduced himself. I had seen him in the airport lounge a half dozen times, but he was always surrounded by security. I don’t approach celebrities when I see them, because I feel that is a violation of their privacy.

I see all the stuff Yele is doing in Haiti with local people while travelling from place to place. One of their ongoing campaigns is to keep the drains along the streets clear so that runoff doesn’t pool and form potential locations for cholera to fester. They also hire crews of locals to sweep the streets, collecting some of the millions of bottles and water containers which seem to cover Port au Prince. Their bright yellow shirts are likely to appear anywhere, but I don’t know enough about all they are working on to say whether there is any overall strategy to it – or what other things they may be working on.

I suspect that when they are down to picking on Wyclef’s charity, there is a bit of cover up on how badly some of the International and US Governmental AID organizations have effed up. Almost everywhere you turn, little of the money promised has come through. Even money supposedly committed winds up being diverted, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Worse, there continues to be a massive level of confusion as to how to prioritize projects – despite the needs being pretty straightforward. Lastly, there is apparent collusion between some of those very same “Aid” and “US Governmental” organizations and the criminal drug cartels. If the Cartels are big enough to buy whole governments – they certainly can buy their own AID agency to promote and assist with moving their merchandise.

There was supposed to be $12 billion in International and US AID money… How that never got spent could well make the boys at Enron blush with envy. They are picking on Wyclef’s $16 million… But what about the $3.2 billion donated to the Clinton/Bush fund? As far as I know, none of the Clinton/Bush money has been “disappeared”, but there certainly are other fruitful areas to audit.

Wyclef Jean Defends Yele Charity, Again

The Washington Post is reporting that musician and activist Wyclef Jean is responding to a recent report by the New York Post questioning the spending of Jean’s charitable organization, the Yele Haiti Foundation, again. The New York Post reported that the foundation collected $16 million in 2010, but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts. The Post also says that $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist.

Jean says that he is proud of what the foundation has accomplished after the earthquake almost two years ago. He says his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

The star told the Miami Herald:

“The Post [New York Post] conveniently fails to acknowledge that the decisions that Yele made were a response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters in modern history and required an immediate humanitarian response,” Jean said in a written statement. “We made decisions that enabled us to provide emergency assistance in the midst of chaos and we stand by those decisions.”

We find it interesting that media outlets are so focused on following Jean’s paper trail while ignoring others. What about countries that pledged to send aid to Haiti and still have yet to do so — including the United States, because of congressional shenanigans? The lesson here should be that people should actually donate money to organizations that are in the business of rebuilding after disaster relief, not just famous faces that are known for being musical geniuses. The two don’t translate, much like the numbers.

Read more at the Washington Post.

Herman Cain – “Reassessing My Candidacy”

Looks like with the latest bombshell accusation of a 13 year affair with a woman in Atlanta…

Herman is toast.

Herman Cain ‘Reassessing’ 2012 Candidacy

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told his staff Tuesday morning that he is reassessing his candidacy and will make the decision whether to remain in the race in “the next several days.”

Cain’s campaign has been plagued by sexual harassment allegations, and Monday a woman came forward alleging a 13-year affair with the candidate.

The Des Moines Register has more quotes from the Tuesday morning conference call. Cain reportedly told about 90 staff that the latest affair story might create “too much of a cloud” around his campaign.

“If a decision is made, different than we should plow ahead, you all will be the first to know,” he said. “Now with this latest one we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud in some peoples’ minds as to whether or not they should support us going forward.”

He went on to deny the woman’s story as he did Monday when it broke.

Cain’s Iowa campaign chairman, Steve Grubbs, told the AP that the allegations have hurt Cain’s fundraising and taken a toll on his family. Still, Cain will continue his campaign for now and deliver a foreign policy speech in Michigan on Tuesday.

Top Republicans have called for Cain to drop out of the race:

“Cain is irrelevant, and the quicker he gets out of the race the better it will be,” said Ed Rollins, a longtime Republican strategist. “My fear is that he marches to the beat of his own drum and he may try to drag it on and deny and deny and deny. And my sense is that will likely be the pattern here. But there is no way he can be the nominee of our party. The quicker he gets out, the better for him and for us.”

Cain indicated Monday that he intended to remain in the race as long as he had the support of his wife, Gloria.

Tuesday the The Draft Herman Cain PAC, the Super PAC backing the candidate, abandoned him and changed its name to Beat Obama PAC.

“Lying Ass B….” Fallon and Michelle Bachmann

Quite a scandal this wek when Michelle Bachmann appeared on Jimmy Fallon…

The stage band played “Lying Assed Bitch” as she walked onto the stage.

Whoops…

“We Are Not Hiring Until Obama is Gone”

A businessman in Waco, Georgia has posted signs on his trucks that he is not hiring until Obama is out of the Presidency. Bill Loomis apparently owns a Construction Crane business. And since construction seems to have generously benefited from the billions of dollars of recovery money – more than any other industry…

I find Mr. Looman, the owner of US Crane – to be a bit on the looney-tune side. At least where I live, it is impossible to drive more than 500 feet anywhere in the metro area and not be confronted by a closed for construction road, cranes, bulldozers, and all the necessary equipment for major highway construction – my question has to be WTF happened to this guy? I think his problem isn’t business, although it may be business acumen… Combined with a strong dose of right wing stupidity.

One of the strongest criticisms of the various programs supposedly implemented to get the economy going again is that it is too focused on construction, and not focused enough to creating jobs for folks with college degrees and professionals.

Conservatism will indeed make you stupid.

 

Occupy Wall-Mart? Black Friday Shopper Pepper Sprays Other Shoppers

Inspired by UC Davis Police, apparently a shopper in Wal-Mart figured out a way to beat the crowds…

Customers hit by pepper spray at Wal-Mart describe scene of chaos

Matthew Lopez went to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch on Thursday night for the Black Friday sale but instead was caught in a pepper-spray attack by a woman who authorities said was “competitive shopping.”

Lopez described a chaotic scene in the San Fernando Valley store among shoppers looking for video games soon after the sale began.

“I heard screaming and I heard yelling,” said Lopez, 18. “Moments later, my throat stung. I was coughing really bad and watering up.”

Lopez said customers were already in the store when a whistle signaled the start of the Black Friday sale at 10 p.m., sending shoppers hurtling in search of deeply discounted items.

Lopez said that by the time he arrived at the video games, the display had been torn down. Employees attempted to hold back the scrum of shoppers and pick up merchandise even as customers trampled the video games and DVDs strewn on the floor.

“It was absolutely crazy,” he said.

Another customer said screams erupted after about 100 people waiting in line to snag Xbox gaming consoles and Wii video games got into a shoving match.

Alejandra Seminario, 24, said she was waiting in line to grab some toys at the store around 9:55 p.m. when people the next aisle over started shouting and ripping at the plastic wrap encasing gaming consoles, which was supposed to be opened at 10 p.m.

“People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray,” the Sylmar resident said. “I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes.”

The pepper spray wafted through the air, Seminario said, and she breathed some in and started coughing. Her face also started itching.

“I did not want to get involved. I was too scared. I just stayed in the toy aisle,” she said.

By the time she and her husband, 27-year-old Cesar Seminario, got to the cash register 20 minutes later with a Wii gaming console and some Barbie dolls, the air was still smelling of pepper spray, she said.

Wal-Mart employees were taking statements near the front of the store from about eight customers who had been pepper-sprayed, Seminario said. “After we paid, we saw five that were in really bad shape,” she said. “They had been sprayed in the face, it looked like, and they had swelling of the face, really extreme swelling of face, redness, coughing.”

Nakeasha Contreras, 20, of North Hollywood, said she arrived at midnight and hadn’t heard what happened. Even if she had, she said, she wouldn’t have minded: “I don’t care. I’m still getting my TV. I’ve never seen Wal-Mart so crazy, but I guess it could have been worse.”

Joseph Poulose, who said he was hit with the spray near the DVD and video games display, criticized the store for failing to control the crowds.

“There were way too many people in a building that size. Every aisle was full,” he said. Customers were stomping on photo frames and other items on the floor, said Poulose, who tried to protect his pregnant wife from the throng of shoppers inside.

“It was definitely the worst Black Friday I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

Pate Robertson and Condoleeza Rice on Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving

Enjoy everyone, dinner with family and friends wherever you are!

 

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