Republicans are unquestionably braver these days. Well, maybe not quite, but certainly more comfortable in their approach to political strategy. This may be drastically due to the understanding that popular dissent has been all but squashed by conservative separatist propaganda. Ironically, the same 1st Amendment advocates are the same who lead the charge against citizens who speak truth to power. When that power is maintained by Conservative ideology, that is. When a Democrat holds the highest office in the land, all is fair game.
Oh, what a difference one election makes. Notwithstanding the often veiled and sometimes blatant racist attacks by political opponents against the 44th President of the United States, Republican operatives are in a race to the bottom of the moral compass, in their efforts to ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term president.
It seems that Republicans aren’t ready to accept the reality that their scorched earth offensive works better in theory and rhetoric, but not quite so much pragmatically. For it is often the case where those with authority are bold and courageous on the frontlines, but found chasing their tales when the time calls for a swift exit strategy. Hence, the revered Sarah Palin having recently pulled the plug on her cross-country campaign tour, amid mounting reports of her increasingly improbable electability. And campaign woes aren’t limited to Palin, with each frontrunner having their own political trials to clean up.
Nevertheless, the strategy has transitioned into testing Obama’s vulnerability with perhaps his most loyal constituency, Black America. It was only a matter of time before Republicans shifted into highlighting the diminishing optimism Blacks invested into Barack Obama three years ago. Apparently, silly season has arrived early and at the luxury of Black America.
One must wonder how fit a leader could possibly be when they freely and unapologetically espouse such views as those by the likes of Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, who both recently have pointed out that President Obama has failed the Black community, in regards to coping with the recession.
This newfound candor, to speak to the quandaries between Obama and the Black community would be more welcome, if it were not for one small factor: some Blacks also attribute much of the credit to the Republican Party and its Tea Party faction for Obama’s disappointing performance on the economy. While the Right has shown no shame about appealing to the ignorance of the masses, I understand their willingness to carry on as though blacks have a short memory.
Republicans are undoubtedly playing on Obama’s economic vulnerability. Recognizing the contentious public debate within the Black community (see Cornel West and Lupe Fiasco), Republicans see it as a clear entrance for them to join the argument (a notion which likely served as a motivating factor behind many Blacks’ attempt to stifle Obama dissenters). But not so fast! Republicans definitely have a peculiar way of redirecting backlash, but with this issue hitting so close to home, they may want to immediately abandon the appeal to the sheep mentality, or tread much more softly.
While many Blacks are beyond convinced that President Obama can do more to attack the causes of Black poverty, there is even more certainty that Republicans have deliberately and consistently obstructed efforts to stimulate the economy and bring jobs to the Black community. There is also certainty that Republicans have deliberately sabotaged economic stimulus for the sole purpose of ensuring President Obama’s political demise. I know Blacks haven’t traditionally represented themselves as the savviest voting bloc, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to uncover this sinister plot.
Even if none of this were true, there is no mistaking the fact that Republicans haven’t mentioned a word about job creation, since their November sweep, if not only to promote more tax cuts for the wealthiest ‘job creators’ (a notion which has been proven false). Republicans have revealed where their priorities are held and Blacks aren’t so naïve to fall for the banana in the tailpipe. Republican governors and legislative majorities across the nation have all but declared war against Blacks with aggressive voting rights bills, significant social program budget cuts, union-busting and other legislative issues which have no aims to improve the quality of life for Blacks, but to certainly make it more difficult to pull themselves up out of poverty.
Perhaps, by the time I’m done writing this, someone would have gotten the word to the Right that their help isn’t needed on this issue and they would better serve themselves by staying out of the discussion.
Last Monday night (April 2nd), three teenagers and an uncle of one of the youth broke into an auto salvage yard in Milwaukee, WI, allegedly with the intent to rob the yard for auto parts. Unfortunately, only three of them would make out with their lives, as 16-year-old Shelton D. Smith suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the neck. Responding swiftly to cries for justice from family and friends of Smith, police charged David A. Helton with first-degree reckless homicide, several days later on Friday. Helton, who lives in a trailer on the scrap yard property, stated that his shotgun accidently discharged, causing the fatal wound that ended Smith’s life. Helton’s attorney, Steve Kohn, stated his client will plead not guilty, because his actions were not a crime…
This article was originally posted on The Young Writer’s Block. To read the entire article click here.
repost from youngwritersblock.org
I’m not a card carrying member of any political party, nor do I see myself making any commitment in the near future. During my status as a voting citizen of the United States, I have sought to find a Republican candidate who I could be excited enough to vote for. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself only (to the best of my recollection) casting a ballot for Democratic candidates, either in favor of the candidate or against their opponent. While one may like to peg me a progressive (to which I’ll proudly accept), they should be careful not to deem me to be some type of ‘left-wing liberal’. I’ve developed a heightened level of disgust for the Dem Party, especially as a result of what I considered to be an all but absolute docile approach to the Bush administration’s method of governance.
Recently, I’ve been feeling as though Barack Obama’s plunge into the Oval Office may not have been in the best interest of its intent and purpose. With “Hope and Change” came naked hate and bigotry. Of course, we’re living in an era where unless a person comes forward with an explicit admission of being a racist or bigot, then it’s inconceivable that they would fit the description and forbidden to call them out as such. We all know how firm that line of reasoning is, in regards to being assumed ‘innocent until proven guilty’, right? We all know how firm that line of reasoning is when we come across the laundry list of mottos, slogans and clichés that have saturated the public discourse (perhaps, “Hope” and “Change” fits the bill as well). At any rate, the election of President Obama has come with a huge cost to society and race relations in the United States.
Throughout the ’08 campaign, Obama’s opponents made it clear they would resort to racial undertones and covert signaling. His fellow party opponents cleared the way for those on the Right to adopt a similar strategy (with similar outcomes). While it would have been too blatant for John McCain to espouse the hate-filled rhetoric, which we now see has become the rule of day for the likes of Donald Trump, an ‘attractive’ middle-age Caucasian ‘soccer mom’ would be the ideal front-woman for this task. And Mrs. Palin has done quite well for herself, rising to every occasion possible, in her pursuit to cast the President as a political pariah. She enjoys the support of the Republican Party (recently rebranding itself as the Tea Party) being showered with media appearance and speaking engagement opportunities, where she incites the audience with Conservative propaganda and Tea Party ‘take our country back’ rhetoric. At this point, only the dim and gullible are maintaining belief in the ‘smaller government’, ‘lower spending’ talking points that these politicians are pushing. Nonetheless, these front-persons for the anti-change movement do indeed have a following large enough to enable them in their spectacle.
A longstanding strategy employed by the Republican Party is to portray itself as being in line with the American consensus, even whilst many pundits have long maintained the premise that the country seems to be evenly split along left and right ideological lines. After further consideration of routine widespread methods of voter disenfranchisement, I’m forced to reconsider just how narrowly split the divide really is among the two dominant competing ideologies.
Acting as the Interim Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile has recently hit the airwaves to denounce the Republican multipronged strategy of obtaining and securing power at the cost of democratic sanctity. My only concern is why Democrats haven’t vehemently pursued this issue previously, and with at least the same level of zeal held by Republicans in their efforts to [successfully] employ these grave tactics.
A recent New York Times editorial lays out several means used by Republicans to attack voting blocs that traditionally vote Democratic. These tactics include a blitz of legislative bills being passed through Republican controlled state governments, namely in the form of false allegations of widespread voter fraud and voter identification requirements. Personally, my interest peaked several years ago at the suggestion that voting machinery was being manufactured by corporations with political ties. I never bothered to look into these allegations, under the principle of ‘be careful what you go looking for’.
Nevertheless, I cannot recall the number of times I’ve been exposed to a situation where the party who were screaming foul play were merely doing so in an attempt to deflect attention from their own wrongdoing. This question has resurfaced in the wake of a highly contentious Supreme Court race in Wisconsin, where Conservative pundits had already begun beating the drum to allegations of voter fraud and intimidation when it appeared that the Democratic candidate, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg might defeat the Republican incumbent, David Prosser by a razor thin margin. Low and behold, after Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus held a press conference a day and a half after the election to report that she had committed a data entry error, which resulted in the omission of an entire city’s votes in her reporting to the Associate Press on election night, the Conservative tune went silent after Nickolaus’ error gave Prosser a more than 7,000 vote lead over Kloppenburg.
After the official numbers had been reported to the state elections officials, the tally provided Kloppenburg with a margin narrow enough to request a statewide recount at the expense of the state. In exercising her right to the recount, Kloppenburg played to chatter from her supporters by requesting a special investigation into the behavior of Nickolaus, who had also worked for Prosser approximately ten years ago, during the same term of which she had been granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against Republican and Democratic state senators for their roles in illegal campaign activities. Allegations against Prosser had ultimately failed to produce any criminal charges, due to a statute of limitation technicality. Since her election to the county clerk position in 2002, Nickolaus’ handling practices have been repeatedly examined and criticized, as a result of many instances of goof ups, which she always rationalizes to simple “human error”.
Perhaps, the perceived notion of the Republican Party as having support by some sizable voting populace throughout the United States has been trumped up by longstanding instances of ‘human error’.
It’s a long time coming, but eventually Generations X & Y must come around to the reality that no one is going provide us with a future; we must provide if for ourselves. Newly released surveys are showing that youth are less optimistic about their future than previous generations were and with good reasons. The Baby Boomers are hanging around the workforce, despite many of them having earned a decent nest egg. They refuse to spend their golden years withering away in some traditional mold of what retirement should look like. On the other hand, the cost of living has increased, while the outlook for financial prosperity has decreased over the past decade, causing many would-be retirees to postpone their plans to concede the vicious work cycle. These dynamics (among others) have significantly contributed to the bleak outlook of an already fragile generation.
The silver lining in the social squeeze on Generation Y is the fortune of this also being the “dumbest generation”. The Millenials who are working to distinguish themselves from their average peer shall benefit from a lowered standard of excellence. Inevitably, the Baby Boomers will throw in the towel and every ounce of prosperity won’t fall victim to outsourcing. Thus, we are indeed in a period of transition, which lends itself to an open playbook for the Millenials who can successfully navigate themselves through such a dynamic landscape.
Apparently, the most critical step toward positioning oneself to take the helm is developing a sense of social awareness. While this may seem simple enough, we have ample examples to demonstrate everything being simpler said than done. Nevertheless, we are indeed experiencing a transformation (of sorts) in the social awareness of black youth, who certainly seem to have the most urgent need for such. Black youth must begin to take on the task of defining their future, if they want to divert from the path of regression laid out by previous generations and make it out of the social squeeze with any bit of life remaining.
Developing adequate social consciousness requires regular examination of our assumptions about our own selves and the world; regular examination of how our interactions with others affect all aspects of society; and regular examination of how our attitudes about life affect our interactions with others. Only deliberate examination of these issues will afford the mind adequate development of the tools necessary to define and ultimately determine one’s place in any society. Unfortunately, so few Millenials will choose to indulge in such a mental exercise, ultimately leaving their future in the hands of those who have all but conceded not to be the least bit vested in the prosperity of their future.
With sweeping Republican victories in the state legislature and the election of an anti- labor union Republican governor (who ran on improving the relationship between corporations and government) Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has triggered a defining moment in the nation’s historical labor movement. While he would like to disguise his assault on unions behind a budget repair bill, he’s been less successful in other attempts to hide his party’s efforts to manipulate policy and ultimately election results in Wisconsin.
A provision in Walker’s proposal eliminates collective bargaining by public employees, with the exception of firefighters, police and state troopers (3 unions which supported Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial election bid). It’s not politically safe to repeal rights for employees in those sectors. With expectations that Walker’s proposal shall eventually pass, the provision will leave unions with only the right to negotiate on salaries. The move also leaves unions even less attractive to join than what they’ve already become (as part of historical efforts to dissolve workers’ rights).
Both sides of the issue are appealing to the public to prevent their message from being drowned out by the other side. A fact which does hold true on both sides is that the impact of Walker’s efforts to restrict collective bargaining in Wisconsin will have far reaching effects throughout this country. During a time of economic misfortune, coupled with a gradual extinction of unions, garnering and maintaining public support will prove to be a challenge for union members and advocates. Quite frankly, many citizens have bought into the ‘I’m suffering. So, you should too.’ propaganda. At this point, the ideologues on the Right will utilize every wedge issue to ensure the defeat of President Obama’s reelection bid.
Republicans may not want to rest indefinitely on the misfortune of America’s economy and the election of a black president to strengthen their political muscle. It seems inevitable that the longer these demonstrations carry on, this movement will pick up steam. Already, faith leaders, members of the newly crowned Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and even once supporters of Walker are joining in solidarity with the embattled protesters. Perhaps, this assault by Walker’s is the pivotal blow that compels the fighter with that final do-or-die thrust of urgency. It certainly seems to be the appropriate sentiment. At any rate, this battle will likely intensify before simmering down, which could very well mean serious voter efforts to recall the Governor.
A recent CBS article reported that college and university presidents are putting their heads together figure out ways to improve their students’ learning skills, after a new study shows college students aren’t seeing much improvement in the thinking department. More than 70 presidents around the country have committed to implement measures aimed at improving their student’s learning skills. Critics of the study contend that learning in specialized majors and influencing factors beyond the institution’s control aren’t represented in the study.
After tracking the progress of more than 2,300 students from 24 institutions, the study found that 45 percent of students made no significant gains in areas of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore year. The results can be found in a new book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” by sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and study, others (e.g. University of Charleston, West Virginia) are taking the results more seriously and have responded by increasing the writing requirements for students majoring in areas such as nursing and biology.
There are certainly many factors beyond the classroom to consider when examining learning trends, which ultimately poses the question of whether or not students are experiencing an increase in distractions prohibiting them from capitalizing on certain intellectual development. The simple ‘yes’ to that question is supported with the results showing better learning gains made by students who spent more time studying alone and less time studying with their peers and participating in Greek letter organizations. In fact, students in the latter categories actually showed a decrease in learning rates. Other trends by those who showed gains in learning include increased amounts of reading and writing, attending more selective schools and majoring in traditional arts and sciences. The study also shows that maintaining off campus jobs, volunteering and participating in school clubs had no impact on learning.
We would be wise to ask ourselves where does the desire to increase one’s critical thinking capacity rank as a priority for students seeking to further their education. We understand the design of modern education is meant to prepare students to become productive laborers and be active participants in the current economic-driven social structure. As the workforce has placed its bet on technology, it makes sense that the working class would see the bet and respond with an increased emphasis in technical industries.
“I want to be a public servant. I want to work toward government being accessible to the people.”, says Ieshuh Griffin, who’s running for Wisconsin’s 10th District State Assembly seat. But her lofty campaign ideal is not the issue that has garnered her a significant amount of local and national media attention. Griffin (who served as valedictorian for her high school) has ruffled a lot of feathers with the purpose statement that she submitted to election officials. As an Independent candidate she’s afforded a five-word platform descriptor, to be placed underneath her name on the voting ballot. Apparently, she prefers to be recognized as “NOT the white man’s ‘bitch’”.
State election officials deemed her purpose statement to be obscene/derogatory and rejected it. Thus, her name will appear on the ballot without any purpose statement. However, she does have the right to use the statement in any literature or advertisements that she chooses to have published.
According to Griffin, her statement implies that she won’t rollover (like a dog) to the power structure of society. She says she didn’t anticipate the amount attention the actual statement has garnered and received no complaints from the 250 residents who signed her candidacy petition in the district, where she canvassed door-to-door.
The obvious question goes to why Griffin chose to articulate herself in such a manner. If she believes that her choice of words best resonates with the people in her district, should she be concerned about the not-so-positive light, in which she portrays herself and her potential constituency? Should she be concerned that her gesture perpetuates some of the negative stereotypes given to African-Americans? I would like to think that she is savvy enough to know that type of language would likely be counterproductive during Assembly and lobbying sessions.
I do not think we are at a point in society where blacks are generally benefited by the use of such provocative gestures to obtain political influence and power (or anything short of selling rap albums). I also understand that we will likely never get to a point where the dominant culture genuinely respects the human dignity of blacks, such that these gestures are given the same dismissal as those by the Limbaughs and Gingrichs’. Whether the attention will benefit her push for office, we’ll find out. Nevertheless, my friend and I wouldn’t have been discussing this in my kitchen, last Sunday afternoon, had she not made the gesture.
Fresh off the Republican primary scene, Tea Party candidate (and Republican Party spoiler) Christine O’Donnell is stomping the pavement to repair internal Rep. Party division caused by her victory in Delaware’s Senate primary elections. She defeated nine-term Representative, Mike Castle, to run against Democrat Chris Coons in November’s general elections.
O’Donnell is trailing Coons in the polls to win the Del. Senate seat, once held for several decades by Vice President Joe Biden. Opposition are already reviving old soundbites from O’Donnell where she’s made statements like, “The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So, you can’t masterbate without lust.” This is but one of the [alleged] many unflattering statements made by O’Donnell, which will be used to portray her as unfit to lead. Apparently, Republicans around the country have deemed her unelectable and immediately began to express their disapproval of her nomination.
At today’s Values Voters Summit, O’Donnell attacked her opponents, saying, “They call us wacky.” Well, I’m not so sure that those soundbites, the Sarah Palin endorsement (credited for catipulting O’Donnell to victory), or the Palin physical and vocal makeover doesn’t hurt their argument…
“Beth said from what he’s heard since, the case was handled professionally and impartially and he wouldn’t have done anything differently.”
- Driver struck and killed 15-year-old Michelina “Micki” Combs, in Kenosha County (WI), on June 17, 2010
- Driver is former dispatcher for Kenosha sheriff’s department
- Driver was in the car with her husband, a Kenosha Police sergeant, when she struck and killed Combs
- Driver admitted drinking five wine coolers earlier that day
- Driver received no charges or citations
Oh, by the way, Driver is cousin of current Kenosha Sheriff David G. Beth.