Trying To Understand The Obama Critics On The Left

I’ve been watching and trying to understand the harsh critics of the President since before he was elected in 2008. The ones that really bother me are the ones on the left who don’t seem to be living in reality, don’t seem to even try to understand the context of any given situation and are so knee-jerk in their criticism of the President, that they clearly have other reasons for those quick, over-the-top responses. And the reverse of that, they give no credit whatsoever for what he has accomplished. I’m a liberal, damn it, but I’m a pragmatist too. After spending many hours with my incredible mother watching C-Span and Sunday morning news shows and discussing the way things have worked and continue to work in our government, I’ve learned to be a pragmatist. My mother taught me as I kicked and screamed. She lived through the Great Depression, World War II and was witness to all the progress that has been made over the years for woman, minorities and our entire country. She tempered my idealism and made me realize that you have to compromise in order to move forward and make it stick.

Progress happens in stages and involves educating people, working together towards those goals and yes, speaking out so that pressure is brought on politicians who must make those changes. But it NEVER happens overnight and it can never be rammed down people’s throats. It causes an adverse reaction and push back, thus hurting the chance for progress. There are so many examples of this that you would think it would be obvious to thinking people, but you would be wrong. :)

In the recent uproar with Cornell West coming out full Anti-Obama (I’ll get to that later), he has given us a perfect example of that naiveté. In my reading, I came across this great post from Milt Shook at PCTC (Please Cut The Crap), that helps to explain reality. Here is one passage that said it well…(emphasis mine)

I am a true-blue, died in the wool, hard-core liberal/progressive. I have spent my life trying to do my little part to move this country in that direction. That last part is what makes me an actual progressive. Having all sorts of high ideals doesn’t make one a progressive; the desire to move the system in that direction – THAT is what makes me progressive. Got it? Good.

But here’s the thing.

This country has NEVER been all that progressive.  This country has NEVER fulfilled the promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Yet, I remain hopeful that it will. It’s moving in the right direction overall, but in recent years – about the last 40, give or take a few – there have been forces that are attempting to move it in the opposite direction, and they need to stop it.

This may surprise you, but I am not talking about the right wing. I’m talking about the extreme left wing of the political spectrum.  They suck at politics and, ironically, the very people they claim to be trying to advance in society are suffering as a result.

I highly recommend you go and read the entire post over at PCTC, I found myself saying out loud “damn right” and other positive grunts and utterances as I was reading it. Then come back and read my comments on the issue, please. I would also recommend that you buy Milt Shock’s new book, Not Another Savior, although I haven’t read it yet, I’m buying one myself later today. I really like the way Milt thinks and have to “believe” it is good, which is good enough for me to buy it. Kind of like faith. :) More from Milt at PCTC, saying things I’ve been thinking…freakin mind reader, anyway.

We live in a democracy. If you want to make policy, you have to win elections. Winning elections requires a majority. It’s depressing that I feel like I have to point that out to some on the far left, but I apparently do. If you want to be an ACTUAL progressive, then you have to take this equation into account. If you’re not prepared to do whatever is necessary to move in the right (as in correct) direction, which is to get a majority of the populace behind you, then you’re not really a progressive. You may agree with me on every issue above, but if you’re not doing what you can to make shit happen, you’re a phony. God, I hate to be that blunt, but it’s true.

If people who claim to want progress aren’t doing what needs to be done to make shit happen, they are just arm-chair quarterbacks, sitting on the sidelines lobbing grenades in the form of criticism, while at the same time weakening the very people who need strength in order to make that progress. As a “progressive”, very well defined by Milt, it’s fucking maddening to watch as these people tear down the only politician in Washington who seems to be trying to get shit done, President Obama. Individual congress-people and senators have very narrow interests, getting reelected in their districts being the main one. When the critics on the left attack and criticize the “congress”, that amorphous group of people who represent all variations of people in their districts and are sent to Washington for that purpose, I always see that as pretty naive as well. Who in the hell are they going to turn to, Gary Johnson, Ralph Nader? When it comes to the congress, the best analogy to me is the idea of trying to herd cats or chickens, good luck with that. So it takes a leader like President Obama to try to set the direction, educate people, and put pressure on the special interests who push Congress in the directions they want, even if they aren’t in the best interests of progress. It’s a tough job, and made much tougher when the loudest voices in the echo chamber are weakening you.

More from Milt’s excellent piece…

Once again, you can’t get policy done without winning elections. Elected officials make policy. Elected officials make judicial appointments. Elected officials put policies into effect and enforce laws.  And you can’t get elected with high ideals but no support. It literally does not matter how “passionately” you feel about an issue; if you don’t give politicians the tools they need to turn your “passion” into policy, you’re basically masturbating, politically speaking. When you vote for a “third party,” you’re a political jackoff. When you vote for a candidate with no chance of winning, you’re a political jackoff.  If you plan to “stay away from the polls to send a message,” you’re a political jackoff and a joke. Seriously, how delusional does someone have to be to think that not voting sends a message to anyone? For shit’s sake, folks; half the population stays away from the polls in most elections; that’s like saying NOT going to a Lady Gaga concert sends a message that you don’t like her music. Here’s a clue, folks; she doesn’t give a shit about non-fans, and the political system doesn’t give a shit if you stay away from the polls.

But what really angers me about this certain stripe of phony “progressives” is that they’re so loud and obnoxious about it, they end up handing elections to the right wing pretty much by default.

I’ve had a theory for a long time that much of the harsh criticism on the left, the stuff that doesn’t help us progress, is based on pettiness, selfishness, racism towards our first black president, greed and extreme naiveté (or some combination).

I haven’t weighed in much on the Cornell West tirade of late because being a white man, I don’t feel qualified to speak on many of these issues. I certainly have my opinions and have a few years of experience exploring a lot of issues that have faced African Americans. I produced, directed, co-wrote and co-edited a historical documentary on The Second Great Migration and I’m currently in pre-production on a few other similar stories. But I still would never presume to be able to speak to the ideas that Cornell West is pushing in the black community. I leave that to others like Melissa Harris-Perry (2016). Having read to this point in this post, please watch this clip from Ed Schultz’s show featuring Cornell West and Melissa Harris-Perry. And please notice how unspecific Cornell West’s ideas are and how chimerical. You might also notice how easily he dismisses President Obama’s many accomplishments, if only Cornell had gotten a few more phone calls from candidate Obama and a couple tickets to the inauguration.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I am probably Melissa Harris-Perry’s biggest fan, I think she should run for president in 2016 and I hereby nominate her. I would imagine that watching what President Obama has had to go through to this point, she’s probably not looking at the job as a step up at this point. But here’s to hoping she has a moment of dementia and runs for elected office. I read in this “chirpstory” that I created from her Twitter feed, that she hasn’t ruled it out. Woo hoo!

So I keep trying to understand how people who seem sane, with moderate to high intelligence, who claim to be “progressive” (whatever the hell that means anymore), can attack the very party and President who they stand the only chance of making progress with. We as real liberals (or progressives) have to keep calling them out on their pettiness and how they are hurting the progress they say they support.

A Saturday Smorgasbord Of Stories I Kind Of Liked

I’ve been learning about Ayn Rand lately, not reading her books, but learning about her. I remember as a teenager friends telling me I should read the Fountainhead and for some reason I was never that interested in it based on what I heard about it. The more I learn, the more it makes me laugh that some on the Right are embracing her ideas so vigorously.  Amy Sullivan at Swampland has this interesting piece about this phenomenon.

I came across this a while ago at Blacks4Barack, it has 244 accomplishments of President Barack Obama in categories.

I never understand why Republicans think that crying in the media about being picked on helps them somehow. They look like children.

Booman has a great post about minority voter suppression and how Republicans hate those groups, the hate part was mine!

Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station has a nice piece about old Newt Gingrich’s entry into the GOP horse race, giddyup!

Donald Trump wasn’t very fond of this story at the New York Times and went on CNBC to whine about it, Oliver Willis has the video.

Sometimes you just gotta love Stephen Colbert, he’s forming his own “Colbert Super PAC”. TPM has the full story with video, pretty cool stunt Stephen.

Racism And Politics Are More Powerful Than Patriotism!

Watch out, I’m about to rant. Profanity warning!!!

What – In – The – Fuck is wrong with this fucking country that the racists and right-wing partisans (one in the same) can actually protest the President of the United States going to ground zero after having killed the man responsible for the attacks of 9/11. I think I’ve lost any sliver of respect I had for these assholes who are obviously driven by their fucking racist hatred for our first black president. There can be no other reason.

Remember back to 9/11 when the whole country rallied around our one president, after the most contentious election in modern times. Democrats weren’t partisan, they stood behind President Bush, even if they had to hold their noses. There was no criticism from anyone that got any attention. I’m sure there was some out there, but they didn’t get paraded on the cable news shows to undermine our one and only President. I am so fucking disgusted with this bullshit that just keeps pouring out of the right-wing and the media, who are their enablers, and in many cases are the driving force behind it. Only after the Bush administration decided to use the event to push their stupid ass agenda of owning Iraq for no fucking reason at all, did the left start to ask serious questions, based in fact I have to say, not the lies and innuendo that drives the GOP these days.

I’ve written before about how up until the election of President Barack Obama, national security has always been pretty much a non-partisan affair. It used to be that politicians never criticized our country on foreign soil, it was not done. Not anymore, the extreme hatred for President Obama has obliterated that concept and many others. The wingnuts who are now running the GOP have no shame, no honor and in my opinion are unpatriotic and should be thrown on the stinking waste pile along with their new ideological leader, Donald Trump.

I hope the President gives a speech that shames those motherfuckers back into their rat holes and exposes their unpatriotic, shameless, racist asses for the whole world to see.

Donald Trump’s History Of Racism!

After how many weeks of Donald Trump peddling his racist tripe in the media, it seems like an eternity, the media is finally starting to look into Ole’ Donald’s background. It’s a typical progression for the media, give a platform to a nut, build them up, put them on a pedestal and then knock them down. I’m all for the knocking down part, but the building up should never happen in the first damn place. Throughout this whole charade, I’ve been waiting for someone in the media to look into his past, give us some context for why this man has such warped opinions and thought processes. Justin Elliot at Salon.com has dug up a little history about the Donald and I believe that if it had been brought to light a few weeks ago, the whole birther bullshit wouldn’t have gotten to the point it has…maybe, maybe not. From Salon.com…(emphasis mine)

The discrimination case began in the earliest days of Trump’s career, when he was still in his 20s.

Fred Trump, Donald’s father, was, unlike his son, a self-made man. He made his fortune by building thousands of units of middle-class housing in Brooklyn and Queens. But in the early 1970s, Donald was made president of the family company.

One of Donald’s first challenges came in October 1973, when the Justice Department hit the Trump Organization with a major discrimination suit for violating the Fair Housing Act. The Times reported:

… the Government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color.” It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.

The journalist Gwenda Blair reported in her 2005 Trump biography that while Fred Trump had sought to combat previous discrimination allegations through “quiet diplomacy,” Donald decided to go on the offensive. He hired his friend Roy Cohn, the celebrity lawyer and former Joseph McCarthy aide, to countersue the government for making baseless charges against the company. They sought a staggering $100 million in damages.

A few months after the government filed the suit, Trump gave a combative press conference at the New York Hilton in which he went after the Justice Department for being too friendly to welfare recipients. He “accused the Justice Department of singling out his corporation because it was a large one and because the Government was trying to force it to rent to welfare recipients,” the Times reported. Trump added that if welfare recipients were allowed into his apartments in certain middle-class outer-borough neighborhoods, there would be a “massive fleeing from the city of not only our tenants, but communities as a whole.”

They will ruin the neighborhood, you know. This is the classic “white flight” phenomenon that Wikipedia explains for us very well.

The business practices of redlining, mortgage discrimination, and racially restrictive covenants contributed to the overcrowding and physical deterioration of areas where minorities were confined. Such conditions are considered to have contributed to the out-migration of other populations. The limited facilities for banking and insurance, and other social services, and extra fees increased their cost to residents in predominantly non-white suburbs and city neighborhoods. According to the environmental geographer Laura Pulido, the historical processes of suburbanization and urban decentralization contribute to contemporary environmental racism.

It didn’t surprise me one bit that Donald Trump embraced that idea, just looking at the man makes me think I saw his picture in the dictionary under “racist landlord”. He could be the poster boy for the concept with that smug, arrogant look on his face. There is more to the story from Salon.com

But it didn’t end there. In 1978, the government filed a motion for supplemental relief, charging that the Trump company had not complied with the 1975 agreement. The government alleged that the Trump company “discriminated against blacks in the terms and conditions of rental, made statements indicating discrimination based on race and told blacks that apartments were not available for inspection and rental when, in fact, they are,” the Times reported. Trump again denied the charges.

It’s not clear what happened with the government’s request for further action (and compensation for victims), but in 1983, a fair-housing activist cited statistics that two Trump Village developments had white majorities of at least 95 percent.

At the very least, the case is something for reporters to ask about next time Trump touts his “great relationship with the blacks

It would have been awesome had the media thrown this information into his face every time he raised his racist birther crap, wouldn’t it? Is the media really that damn slow on the uptake? Or do they like the ratings and the hoopla at the expense of hurting this country and the millions of people who had to witness it. And the damage is there, it isn’t going away in a hurry and in fact there will be residuals for years to come. It has tainted a whole generation of impressionable minds, which is exactly what racists like to do, pass it on to future generations. I personally don’t have a lot of confidence in the media to moderate this type of event anymore, they are complicit in it and have found a way to make money off it. Shameful!

BOYCOTT NBC UNTIL THEY “FIRE” DONALD TRUMP! SERIOUSLY PEOPLE! Update I, II, III: Sponsors and Contacts

Bumped to the top!

I will not watch a single show on NBC until Donald Trump is gone.I’m dead serious. I encourage you to do the same and I will be posting the names and addresses of advertisers on his show and NBC executives as soon as I get a chance. This is serious, people, Donald Trump is a blatant racist and shouldn’t be allowed to spread his racist propaganda on television. We have to hit them hard and force them to get rid of that asshole.

Update IV: Updated sponsor list from NamelessGenXer

http://www.monikabrooks.com/1/post/2011/04/trump-affiliated-businesses.html

Update III: Are we having an impact? From ThinkProgress

We also need to THANK sponsors who hear the message and support standing up to racism and race-baiting.

Moments ago, a Groupon representative announced that, in the future, they will block their advertisements from appearing on The Apprentice website.

You can contact Enterprise Rental Car, which is telling customers they don’t sponsor The Apprentice, but are currently advertising on their website.

Update Groupon ads previously appeared on The Apprentice website. After hearing a bunch of complaints today, Groupon announced that they will not be advertising on The Apprentice website in the future. But Groupon spokesperson Julie Mossler does not consider placing website advertisements a “sponsorship.” In apparently related news, she also says the company will not offer Groupons for abortions. You can read Ms. Mossler’s statement here.
And Vince gave us these links and ideas in the comments, thanks Vince
To add, here’s a list of businesses to boycott for starters: Donald Trump Casinos/Resorts, Universal/NBC, Google, Facebook, Indianaplois 500. More comprehensive list on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump

Update II: Better links according to Nick, thanks Nick

Clorox: http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/contactus.html

Sprint: boardinquiries@sprint.com

Update: If you have the time and want to express how you feel about the outrageous, sideshow and carnival barker (no offense to carnival people, really) Donald Trump, let the sponsors of his NBC show know that you will not watch that show or the network until Donald Trump is fired. I’ve called and sent several emails myself today, spend some time and hit Donald Trump where it hurts HIM the most, in his wallet.

Sponsors of Celebrity Apprentice

Enterprise Rental Car

Clorox Bleach

Sprint-Nextel Cellphones

Bristol-Myers Squibb

The Walt Disney Company

Groupon

NBC Executives who might want to know how you feel too.

NBC Entertainment Rebecca Marks Executive Vice President, Publicity 818-777-3030 | Rebecca.Marks@nbcuni.com

Universal Pictures Cindy Gardner Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs 818-777-2581 | Cindy.Gardner@nbcuni.com

Universal Media Studios Curt King Senior Vice President, Publicity 818-777-3655 | Curt.King@nbcuni.com

Adriene Bowles Focus Features President, Worldwide Publicity and Executive VP, Marketing 818-777-7499 | Adriene.Bowles@nbcuni.com

The Birther Racism Continues – Can I Rant A Minute?

Look out, I’m about to rant. Warning, profanity is to follow. Republicans still don’t fucking get it, now they have shifted their racist talking points to “why did it take so long for him to release it, I don’t understand”. My answer to that stupid question is BECAUSE HE SHOULDN’T HAVE TO YOU FUCKING IDIOT! What other president in our history has EVER had to do it before? And obviously they don’t fucking understand it because it comes from a dark, xenophobic part of their hate-filled souls which has been confirmed by the media and leaders in the Republican party. It is fucking disgusting that we are even talking about this bullshit when their are important issues like people starving in our own country, people being forced out of their homes, people unable to care for thier children and crazy, dictatorial governors who are wielding axes on the poor, women, children, students and anyone else they can bludgeon who isn’t a member of their fucking country club.

As a white man who was raised to respect all people and to stand up to hatred and bigotry with force, I’ve experienced this subtle, “if they only went along” mentality and I’ve jumped down many people’s throats to reveal their fucking bigotry. I’ve lost a few friends that way, but I don’t need any bigoted or racist friends in my life. During the election, I remember a professor at the university I work at saying that the only reason Barack Obama got the nomination was because of affirmative action within the Democratic Party. Standing in the hallway outside my office, I jumped down his fucking throat, called him a petty fucking racist and many other choice words. This wingnut Republican who poses as this friendly, funny guy is masking his bigotry and hatred and it is because of people like him that we have this type of bullshit in the year 2011. I still have a hard time even looking at the man now, and he acts all nice to me still as if nothing ever happened. He may be reading this, sometimes I think he is one of the trolls who sends hateful comments to me that I don’t post.

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