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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Hillary Uses More Race Baiting

Hillary Clinton campaigning in West Virginia on Wednesday.Hillary has defined herself as the white candidate today, telling USA Today that “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on, [the AP] found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me… There’s a pattern emerging here. Hillary must feel pretty desperate when she has to specifically single out white voters as the hard working ones.

The Clinton’s previous comments on race where regrettable, and told black voters the Clinton’s where willing to use race baiting as their strategy. The strategy may have been offensive, but these comments are on a whole new level with Hillary implying that white voters are the only hard working voters.

Despite all her arguments that she can carry working class, rural, and Hispanic (she usually excludes blacks) voters, she needs the black vote to win in the Fall. If this group stays home or votes for an alternate candidate she will not win.

Blacks are not voting for Obama because he is black. Blacks are voting en masse for Obama because Hillary’s race baiting has driven them away. When the primaries started many African Americans where sketpical a black could win, or worried for Obama’s safety, or just felt Hillary was more likely to win in the fall. After nearly each contest more blacks vote for Obama because Hillary offends them in her attempt to court the racist vote.

It’s Hillary’s fault this primary season has turned into game a of race and gender. If she wasn’t so desperate to get back in the White House she wouldn’t have to pull tricks like this to win. If she had played less like a Republican, and more like a Democrat, maybe she’d be looking at being a vice president. But now she has shot her chance for a November win, and probably any primary wins in the future.

Hillary can try to pull in the “Regan Democrats,” but this will never work for Democrats like it did for Republicans, because they would loose their key group of civil rights advocates and blacks.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Politics, , ,

I Am an Angry Voter

I’m an angry voter. I worry that a Clinton or McCain administration will continue the same Washington politics that are destroying our nation. Like politicians getting free vacations trips to tropical destinations for signing free trade deals at the request of lobbyists.

There are many blacks like me that share this same anger, and even bitterness. But some of us might look at the white male factory worker as getting what he deserves, because for past generations he had  a free “white male” card. Blue collar workers might look at us as lazy, destructive people and wonder why we’re surprised Wal-Mart won’t open and bring employment opportunities in black neighborhoods.

But in the end the white father and the black father are both angry when they find it hard to place food on the table. Whether as Americans, they scrape money from the grandparents or from the federal government, the shame of not being able to provide for your own family creates anger at the system.

But the media (funded by corporations) and selfish politicians are seeking to divide Americans that are affected by the same failed economic policies, so that they can rake in more money and profits. They’re creating “voter outrage” of Barack Obama’s “bitter” comments. His statement was intended to help a group of elitist California fund raisers understand what the unemployed American feels. Every election cycle presidents and senators pose against shuttered factories and promise jobs. And the January after each election cycle we see more American jobs sent to places like Asia and South America.

The Washington and corporate establishment is scared that a candidate has finally called politicians on their economic BS. The establishment is worried that blue collar America and urban America might realize our economic issues are the same. If Americans are able to look past the small differences that separate us, and exercise our right to make America  a better place, corrupt politicians and companies looking at short term and selfish gains will be forced to change or leave.

Bitter is not a bad word. I am “Marked by resentment or cynicism” as the dictionary says, when it comes to politics. When watching you, your family, your community, and your country slowly dieing because of irresponsible decision making, it is no shame to be a bitter voter.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Politics, , , ,

Reflections

A group of kids and teens observes where the Twin Towers use to be.

A group of kids and teens observes where the Twin Towers use to be.

Photo by Joshua Davis (articnomad)

Filed under: Black Matters, Photography, , , ,

Ferraro Attacks Obama’s Conciliatory Remarks

Having Obama “Equate what I said with what this racist bigot [Jeremiah Wright] has said from the pulpit is unbelievable,” said Geraldine Ferraro. Obama even tried to dismiss Ferraro’s original comment saying, “We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card.” But she decided to pounce on another part of his speech referring to a quote in which Obama said Americans should ignore racist comments made from both camps:

In one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap . On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

This has pretty much confirmed my earlier positions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind the nearly incessant loop of the Reverend Wrights comments. But that’s not all Ferraro said, “What this man is doing is he is spewing that stuff out to young people, and to younger people than Obama, and putting it in their heads that it’s OK to say `Goddamn America’ and it’s OK to beat up on white people.”

Not one time has Wright encouraged young black men to beat up white kids. Wright wasn’t even saying “God damn America” because he doesn’t like this country. While I will admit his comments where inappropriate they’re not the end of the world. Here’s what he said in more relevant context, “The government gives [blacks] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people.”

He could have said God save America, but it’s fully understandable that a black man born in 1941 is angry with the system. He lived about thirty years of his life in overt racist oppression, and just as no one expect Jews from concentration camps to forgive Germans that sat back and allowed Antisemitism and the Germans that fully embraced Nazism, it also ridiculous for Wright to forget the oppression he grew up with.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, barack obama, Black Matters, Politics

Hillary Can Say Goodbye to Black Support

A Rasmussen poll shows that Hillary Clinton can only capture 55% of a key Democratic voting block, African Americans. Likewise Obama only gets 36% of votes from white males. Such identity politics plays right into the hands of John McCain, the same article even said “McCain currently leads Barack Obama 49% to 42% and Hillary Clinton 51% to 41% margin.”

I won’t blame this on Hillary Clinton, or on African Americans. The Hillary campaign has done it’s share of race baiting. But the media is one of the main culprits, running inflammatory comments over and over again to cause controversy and in turn get more viewers.

Nor is this the fault of blacks either. For about 150 years we’ve been voting for white men. We don’t have a problem if Obama looses to his only Democratic opponent. Where the problem stands is if he looses because of race baiting, and if he looses it certainly will look that is true.

For one Hillary’s campaign has used the race card (I won’t yet call her a racist) to gain votes. They are perfectly fine with loosing the black vote in the primaries, to gain a larger share of votes from people on other spectrums of the hue. Some think because eighty to ninety percent of blacks vote for him suggests that his campaign is somehow racist because the vote doesn‘t break down more evenly.
Second, if you’ll recall the Clinton campaign used the race card in South Carolina too. But then it seemed they backed down after they realised the element of the white vote that was racist, would go for John Edwards. But as soon as Edwards dropped out we saw this creeping back into the campaign.

The real issue is how will this affect the Democratic party beyond 2008? I’m starting to wonder if Hillary would rather see a Democrat loose in 2008 so she can run again in 2012. The poll certainly makes November look ominous for Democrats in November. But if Hillary is successful in using her race based politics, and then continues those same policies to ensure she’s still president until 2016 America might see a new coalition of progressive thinking Democrats and blacks.

The whole Reverend Wright controversy is of particular concern. I believe that Hillary was behind the timing. Why hasn’t she made any comments denouncing the press’s obsession with his comments, several of which where reported out of context? I remember when the New York Times ran the whole McCain affair story, Mike Huckabee simply denounced it as “politics.” I’m not asking Clinton to endorse Reverend Wrights inappropriate comments, but merely the way the media is using race baiting and distorting the comments to manipulate voters as if they where kids.

I for one was still willing to ignore the racist campaign in South Carolina and vote for Clinton in a general election. But now I can’t justify my people being used as a disposable pawn throughout this cycle. If Obama doesn’t win I’ll probably be voting for Ralph Nader. My mother has said she would write Obama’s name in. Meanwhile my dad and grandmother both feel Clinton would be better over McCain. With so much attention focusing on swing states, shouldn’t key demographics be viewed as important too?

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Media, Politics

Obama Transcends Race in Speech

Obama’s campaign has so far tried to ignore race, but in the past couple of weeks supporters of both Hillary and Obama injected it into the campaign. But his speech has far superseded a summary of black history, or him distancing himself from blacks. He transcended mere hues and instead showed that all of us middle class, lower class, and even the rich liberals should not let the few selfish divide us with the same petty sidetracks.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Without alienating his pastor he condemned the mans remarks without condemning the man, which shows his campaign can even reach out to the person, without endorsing their ideas. He even seemed to condemn the harsh reaction to Geraldine Ferraro’s racial comments, “We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction.”

He also finally challenged some of those comments that he wasn’t black enough:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

It was really an amazing speech that didn’t play the race card, and hopefully didn’t further alienate anyone from his campaign. You can read the entire transcript at his website.

Filed under: '08 Election, Black Matters, Politics

Home of the Free Ranked Number One For Imprisonment

When the US has more prisoners than billion person plus China, you know somethings wrong. Yet the Pew Center issued a report saying 1 in 100 adult Americans are in jail. Here’s what the AP says:

For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America’s rank as the world’s No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it’s more than any other nation.

The report also noted severe racial disparities in prison sentencing. 1 in 9 black males between 20 and 34 is in jail. The numbers are still pretty bad for men in that age group, with 1 and 30 of them behind bars.

One reason attributed to large inmate populations is because politicians are afraid to appear soft on crime. The moment a criminal is released on a newly created inmate reduction program and commits a crime, politicians usually face a campaign of fear mongering. The end result is less spending on education, and more men and woman in jail so politicians can keep their seats.

All these numbers are crunching state budgets. Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut all spend more money on prison then on higher education. But this budget crunch is accomplishing what common sense can’t. States are relaxing punishments for small probation violations, reviewing three strike laws, and looking at other means of reducing prison population.

What’s really shameful is communist China only jails 1.5 million of it’s citizens, while the Chinese population is over 3 times that of the America. Coming third is the former communist stronghold of Russia where businessmen are still thrown in jail for earning too much money.

The report was written by the Pew Center’s Public Safety Performance Project, who is also working with 13 states to reduce inmate populations.

Filed under: American Politics, Black Matters, News

Why Some Democrats Hate Hilary Clinton

Hilary would hand the election to Republicans. Republicans hate her because she has stood up to all their attacks and came out stronger. This shear hate would motivate non voting Republicans to show up.

Secondly this whole MLK flap, claiming Obama was a drug dealer, circulating fake Muslim rumors, and claiming Bill was the first black president has harmed her standing with African Americans, an important voting block even in a general election. We might just stay home if she wins.

Third Hilary is a polarizing figure. Her polarization in the primaries will turn off many Democrats from voting for her in a general election. Unless she of course can make us hate the Republicans so much we vote for her.

Lastly Kucinich who I support the most, will be giving his votes to Obama in case he doesn’t bring in enough to participate in the convention.

Also a pro Hilary union is suing to shutdown at-large voting locations that are in places where many Latinos vote. Apparently it’s thought the Latinos in Nevada will go for Obama. Talk about infringing on voting rights.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, , , , , , , , , ,

The Republicans continue their same tricks of racial discrimination, last month with John Tanner, the top ranking voting rights official at the Justice Department, was caught saying photo ID requirements do not disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters because: “Our society is such that minorities don’t become elderly the way white people do; they die first.”

In November comes a story about how Bush stacked the Civil Rights Commission, which is basically a government run watchdog group. As reported in The Carpetbagger Report, the commission should have no political majority. And technically they didn’t, because two Republicans suddenly changed their party to independent. Thus they have four Republicans and two Republican leaning independents.

Of course I don’t have a problem with the GOP being on the commission, except that GOP continually legislates against minorities. And just like many other agencies in the government now perform the opposite roles (USDA relaxes food rules, Homeland Security violates peoples security…) the Civil Rights Commission has released statements and reports that oppose their very name. As reported by the Boston Globe:

[T]he commission has put out a series of reports concluding that there is little educational benefit to integrating elementary and secondary schools, calling for closer scrutiny of programs that help minorities gain admission to top law schools, and urging the government to look for ways to replace policies that help minority-owned businesses win contracts with race-neutral alternatives.

The conservative bloc has also pushed through retroactive term limits for several of its state advisory committees. As a result, some longtime traditional civil rights activists have had to leave the advisory panels, and the commission replaced several of them with conservative activists.

How can the GOP expect to win if they continue alienating the black and Latino vote? Newt Gingrich has even admitted the Republicans are alienating the already small conservative-minority voting bloc. In a country with rapidly changing demographics it looks like the Republican party is headed down a path of self destruction. Which explains why the right is so fearful of abortion.

Filed under: American Politics, Black Matters

Why All The Focus on Just the Jena 6?

African American Opinion has another interesting blog, this time it’s about gender inequality in civil rights. The writer points out wonders why Meagan Williams has less media/blog/activist coverage than the Jena 6:

It came to my attention a little while ago that there was a rally in West Virginia for Megan Williams, the young lady who was tortured for days at the hands for a group of white people. There were a few hundred people rallying at the state capitol in Charleston. A few hundred people. UGGGGGHH! This makes me sick. I didn’t hear about this until the whole thing was over. And even when I did hear about the rally, it was only through an email list for black professional women. […]

Why on earth do we put more value and attention to the Jena 6, a bunch of teenage boys who beat up a white kid at school, than on Megan Williams, a woman who herself was beaten ans sexually assaulted by a bunch of whites? Why? What is so much more important in the Jena 6 than Megan Williams? Where are our so-called leaders? Oh, that’s right. It’s about a black woman, not a man.

This is ridiculous. Megan Williams and other black women in this country need our support just like black men do. Jesse and Al and Mike Baisden and all those other black radio hosts that were pushing for the National Blackout Day and telling everybody to wear black on that day in October should have been telling everyone to get to West Virginia to support Megan Williams.

She makes some interesting and valid points. But one arguable difference here is that “The System,” was against the six boys in Jena, and even continues to be. In West Virginia, at least the government is doing something to prosecute the six criminals.

Filed under: Black Matters