Skip to content

Lament of the Neo-Confederates

July 18, 2015

“Those Yankees took our slave away and we’ll never forgive them for that! Boo hoo!, Feel sorry for us!”

“Even after the war was over they still didn’t give us our slaves back! That’s no fair!”

“That’s why we have been posing as Angry Victims for 150 years now.
Angry self-pity is our stock in trade. It is the fuel that keeps our engines running, our outrage going. It is what defines us. We have built our whole identity around this [Big Lie] so we can’t give it up now!

“Now you want to take away White Supremacy, the only thing we have left! How can you be so cruel?”

(this is really the heart of the matter)

Southern Ramblings and Rumblings

June 28, 2015

Random, rambling thoughts in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

Will the walls come tumbling down…finally?

I guess we have to specify which of dozens of walls. No doubt some will crumble, others will be breached but still standing, others will survive apparently untouched…

In the 1964 elections the white South abruptly defected to the Republican Party because the democratic candidate, Lyndon Johnson signed a rather modest Civil Rights bill into law. Shortly after the election I heard a woman active in Bay Area Friends of SNCC asked bob Moses what he thought the “emergence of a two-party system in the South meant” for the future. Moses replied he dint’ think there was a two-party system emerging. The election just “shows the [white] South would rather vote along racial lines than party lines,” that maintaining racial barriers trumps any other loyalty. That much was obvious from the recent election. He was right, right from the start….

Now the Southern Nostalgia Industry stands intellectually and morally bankrupt, unable to hide behind the fig leaves of “heritage” and “legacy.” We have a right to ask any white Southerner who uses the words “legacy” or “heritage”: what exactly is the content of the legacy or heritage you cherish and celebrate? When you eliminate nostalgia for slave society, the Confederate cause, and an ongoing commitment to White Supremacy, what is left to celebrate? I want to know what’s left. Tell me. I’m willing to listen but right now all I can imagine is food and drink recipes—mint julep and various ways to cure and cook pork….

Will commitment to the Southern Strategy hurt the GOP? There is no more denying this is all about racism and White Supremacy. The mask has fallen, no matter how much Fox news, Rick Perry, or president McConnell of the College of Charleston may want to pretend otherwise. The denial has finally broken down.  “If you have to lie to make your point then you don’t have a point,” a wise man or woman once said. They’ve got nothing but lies lieft.

The local college president spoke out against changing street names and taking down statues to KKK men and Confederate leaders, saying it was an attempt to “rewrite” or “erase history.” But was de-Nazification in Germany an attempt to pretend it didn’t happen? Clearly not. Germans don’t pretend the Nazi Era didn’t happen. They just don’t celebrate as their “legacy” and “German heritage.”

As a Westerner, not a Southerner, I don’t want to sound self-righteous.  Plenty of racism and White Supremacy scattered around the whole USA.. Even many anti-slavery whites objected to slavery as unfair competition to free labor but had no sympathy for black people as people.  There were the horrible Draft Riots of 1863 involving lynching in NYC and the burning of a black orphanage. At its inception the State of Oregon banned both slavery and black people from entry. Reconstruction ultimately failed because Northerners were racist, too.  I recently learned that here on the Western Slope of Colorado there were “sundown” signs and ordinances in towns like Montrose and Delta warning any black people to be out of town before nightfall.  This continued through the 1950s at least, I am told.

That said, you would be hard pressed to find a defeated side in a major civil war treated as gently and leniently as the defeated Conferees were. There were not treason trials. All that was demanded of them was promise not to rise up in armed treason against the USA again. And their full citizenship rights were restored. Everyone from textbooks, Hollywood, television to Ken Burns had whitewashed reality—literally whitewashed it– to coddle  the white Southerners’ tender sensibilities and indulge their illusions. Isn’t it time for that to stop?

There Is Noting “Senseless” About The Racist Murder Spree in South Carolina

June 21, 2015


Given that South Carolinian was the birthplace of the Confederacy, where the War of Southern Aggression in defense of Slavery and White Supremacy started and where even today that “heritage,” that cherished “legacy.” legacy is celebrated, glorified, and reaffirmed every day, the killings were not senseless. In context they make perfect sense.

Given that while white America had to finally give up slavery—tardily, being the18th of 20 Western Hemisphere nations to do so– it has never given up white supremacy, and therefore black people must repeatedly be forcibly reminded they are never safe but always vulnerable, even in church, in America, his behavior is in no way “senseless.”

Given that this resentful, feckless young white man, dissatisfied with his station in life, felt threatened by black progress and had his head filled with the nonstop right-wing racist propaganda that hundreds of media outlets spew out 24/7 with the couscous intent of instilling endless fear, resentment,, rage and thirst for revenge, there is nothing senseless about his actions. They ere the normal consequence of the world view he allowed himself to be immersed in.

It appears he was well within the mainstream of his family, peer group, and community in his attitudes, feelings, beliefs. He was not seen as a misfit, as abnormal, extreme or as strange and “different.” He and his mentality fit right in even if his cohorts didn’t act out as he finally did.
Tragically his behavior was thoroughly embedded in a deep-rooted American tradition.

Speaking as old white man and a 29-year veteran psychotherapist and mental health professional, Dylann Roof is no more “mentally ill” than a very large segment of white America is. There is not a case of individual psychopathology. Only people who remain stubbornly blind to the realist of racism and its consequences can belie this was not an act of malignant racial terrorism.

No, there was and is nothing “senseless” about this bloody massacre.

Is the “American Sniper” a Victim?

January 24, 2015

Is a sniper a victim?

Especially if he was a volunteer both for military duty and for training for a well-paid career position as a sniper?

When he becomes dehumanized, sociopathic, cynical, and shallow, mocks his victims as subhuman “savages” and “scum;” and works to impress people by bragging boastfully about how many people he killed without regret, and then solicits our sympathy as a victim of PTSD because readjusting to civilian life is difficult, does he merit our sympathy? Should we perceive him as poor unfortunate one?

Is he a victim? Who are the victims and who are the perpetrators? Is he a victim, a perpetrator? Both? Neither? Ares you sure?

Does he have (any) responsibility for who and what he has become?

Should we admire him? Celebrate him and thank him for his service? Are we in his debt?

On Colorado Public Radio I heard a bit of about Chris Kyle’s book and movie “American Sniper” after I’d already read on the internet about how many inventions, lies, and exaggerations his “true life story” contained.  One military man appeared to defend the film because he too had problems readjusting to civilian life. He defended his hatred and contempt for the enemy as “part of training. Dehumanize the enemy.”

Neither seemed to remember the old truism that you cannot dehumanize someone else without demonizing yourself. It is Christ Kyle not his targets that has become dehumanized. We used to know this. Fifty years ago degrading and dehumanizing others was clearly and easily recognized as revealing how diminished and degraded you yourself have become. “American Sniper” reveals more about Christ Kyle than it does about the people he targettted and killed. I suspect Chris Kyle doesn’t realize how revealing of himself his memoir is. That simple, obvious bit of folk wisdom seems to have disappeared in today’s frightened and angry America.

So many questions….perhaps he release of the movie is a good thing if it causes people to really reflect, really question the conventional wisdom and the surface view…if we cannot distinguish victims from perpetrators we cannot hope to have a moral and fully human understanding of events.

So many questions…

I am trying to start a discussion with this post, so fire away.

“We’re Scared! So That Justifies anything we do!”

December 31, 2014

“We’re scared! So that justifies everything and anything we do!”

The brutal cynicism and sadism of Americans keeps reaching new heights. “The hatred for the poor, the vulnerable, for the people we victimize, seems to know no limits. People cheer killer cops who run amok and demand freedom form civilian oversight. No one seems to care that our invasion(s) of Iraq have caused the death of close to one million (1,000,000) civilian men, women, and children. A Pious “Christian” congresswoman, Michelle Bachman, demands as her Christmas wishes that President Obama nuke Iran, and kill fifty or a hundred million people. Who cares that it would be a war crime of unprecedented scale, and that it would accomplish nothing except temporarily satisfy her Christian bloodlust?

Details of a massive, systematic, ongoing American torture program are revealed, Dick Cheney readily admits that at least one quarter of those tortured were and are completely innocent and says he doesn’t care. That doesn’t matter.”That’s right! So what?” say two-thirds of the American people? “It’s justified because 9/11 scared us! We’re scared to that masks it okay!”

“9/11 scared us! Yes, that was 13 years ago but we’ve never stop being scared to death ever since! That justifies anything we do, whether it’s invade, conquer destroy and occupy ten countries, or cause the death of a million Iraqi civilian men, women and children, or torturer hundreds or thousand of completely innocent people! We were scared so that makes it okay! We’re scared so our fear trumps everything else!”

I heard a local Wall Mart cashier, a middle-aged white woman, carry on to her customers about how tired she was of seeing African-Americans protestors on TV. “They shouldn’t put those people on the TV or the news! if everyone would just STFU there wouldn’t be any problem!” Ah, if only black people would just shut up and go away there wouldn’t be any racial conflict in America. Our cashier could retreat into fantasies of a pre-lapsarian all-white Disneyland America. Now there’s a sensible response.

A letter to the editor of the Grand Junction Sentinel recently asserted that: 9/11 justifies torture of thousands and anyway water boarding, anal rape, like all forms of terror and torture “cause no permanent damage” anyway. Everybody know that! What’s the big deal? I wonder what he will say when Americans solders re taken prisoner and subjected to the same treatment as calculated retaliation. “Hey, it’s only temporary! Quit talking about it!” Shut up about it and it will go away. If wont’ exist if we refuse to think about it or talk about it.

“If government says it was necessary to protect us, and then was’ okay with it, whatever it is… We’re scared!”

Fear. Fear. Fear. Be vewwy afwaid….

Fill the American people with fear and they will go along with anything no matter how totalitarian, how bloody, how brutal, how cynical, how sadistic, or how futile, in support of any murderous rampage and feel self-righteous about doing so.

What have we become?
Fear is eating the brains, the soul and the hert of the American peoople.

Why I Miss Communism

September 17, 2014

It’s not that Communism was a good thing in itself, but

I wish we still had Communism and the Cold War again.

Communism kept our capitalist masters somewhat in check.

Communism kept them somewhat restrained if not honest.

Communism was a system the capitalist ruling class knew they had to compete with.

Communism as a potential alternative forced the capitalists to pay some attention to human needs and wants, and grant some workers’ rights.

Communism meant the capitalists had to compete for the “hearts and minds” of billions of people”.

They couldn’t afford in those days to just sneeringly dismiss them, saying “fuck you if you don’t like it,” like they do today.Today the gloves are off and the Capitalist Masters of the Universe openly sneer at working people, voicing their brutal, dismissive cynicism and contempt of those who are not rich capitalists.

Fear of communism was behind the work of John Maynard Keynes, who knew Capitalism had to be reformed or it would be overthrown: reform or revolution that was the choice. Fear of communism and fascism fueled the New Deal reforms such as the Wagner Act guaranteeing the right to organize unions; the minimum wage; child labor laws; Social Security; unemployment befits, the 40-hour work week; gestures in the direction of recognition of the dignity of the common man.

In one of his fireside chats, FDR told a story of a rich man dressed in formal evening wear, top hat and tails, who fell into a river. Another man plunged in the water and saved him. The rich man, instead of thanking him for saving his life, cursed him for failing to also save his top hat. That is how FDR saw those idiots who accused him of being anti-business or anti-capitalist. Don’t’ you realize, he said, I’m not you enemy, I’m your best friend, and I’m pulling your chestnuts out of the fire. Norma Prinz’ book, All the President’s Bankers shows how the richest Wall Street bankers were FDR”s old chums at Harvard. The really “smart money” knew that FDR was their salvation, their protection from the danger of radial revolution and expropriation.

The creation of the Marshall Plan was motivated by fear that communist parties in Italy, Germany, and France might otherwise legally take power by winning nationwide elections.Billions of dollars were poured into West Berlin to make it a glittering showcase of capitalist prosperity..

Think about that: how much fear of communism was the motivating factor behind Keynesian economics, the New Deal and the Marshall Plan.Without that, the capitalist ruling class had no motivation for mitigating their boundless greed and abusive contempt of common people, and their insatiable lust for other people’s money, plus their asseriton that cpaitlaist prifteering shold be the only value in society.

When Communism collapsed, the gloves came off. Teh Capitalsit rulers openly announced their amazing, insane asseriton that workers do not create wealth but are only parasites mooching off the rich; that capitalist profiteering is not only the highest vlaue but the only real value; that rich individuals and corporaitons are a a law unto themsleves and have no obligations to society at all; that all of human society should be organized aroudnd a for-profit capitlaist coropriate model.

This mentality is really new and really unprecedented in human history. It is a radical departure form milennia of huma values and human philosophy. Think about it.

Raging at Russia

July 19, 2014


Will we ever be certain of the truth? I doubt it. I fear people will end up just believing whatever they want to believe.

I wasn’t there. I don’t know what happened. What sources of information do I trust? Not surpassingly, the US State Department is announcing more and more evidence points the finger of blame for 295 civilian deaths at the “pro-Russian separatists” of Eastern Ukraine, supposedly armed and directed by the fiendish Russian Emperor of Evil, Vlad Putin.

Maybe they did it. Maybe he made it possible. But is the State Department a trustworthy, independent, even-handed, source of unbiased factual information, not driven y a self-serving political agenda? Hardly.

You would never know, listening to the news in America that he downing of this airliner took place in the midst of fierce fighting in a war zone, where the Kiev government has been bombing and shelling its own people day and night for the past two weeks.

You would never know from following the MSM in America that France, Germany and Russia urged the Kiev government to extend the cease fire instead of declaring war on an opposition political faction of Ukrainian citizens that clearly seems to have the support of from one-third to one-half of the total Ukrainian population. Do they have no rights, no legitimacy?

You would never know that it was at the urging of the Obama administration that he Kiev government refused to do so and declared war on a large section of its own people. (no doubt we’ll hear nonsense about “precision bombing” and neat “surgical strikes” that minimize civilian casualties but we all know those are transparent lies we’ve heard before).

You would not be reminded that Putin has repeatedly urged the Ukraine separatists to settle for greater regional autonomy within Ukraine and not secession. Or that he publically accepted the outcome of the May elections despite the fact that much of the eastern half of the country did not vote.

Nor would you get a refresher on Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland’s intercepted announcement to the US Ambassador to Ukraine last February that the US government had decided it was now “time for regime change” in Ukraine and that’s when the violence dramatically escalated until an extra-legal parliamentary coup d’état deposed the legally elected president of Ukraine in favor or an openly anti-Russian cabal more docile towards US wishes.

I am not saying Vladimir Putin is a “nice guy” or that he couldn’t possibly have contributed to the downing to the Malaysian airline, but the hysterical demonization he has experienced in the US press, including Hillary Clinton comparing him to Hitler, is ridiculous. We are told his motives are inscrutable, insane, bloodthirsty and sadistic, with no rhyme or reason in terms of Russia’s legitimate national interests. (Apparently only the US has legitimate interests and in practice anyone insubordinate to US dictates is the very definition of a “terrorist”).

Maybe the eastern Ukraine pro-Russian armed forces downed the airliner, accidentally or by mistaking it for one of t he many Kiev bombers raining death down on them from the skies. Maybe Russia supplied their surface-to-air missles.

Or maybe this is just too convenient for the American agenda, the latest Gulf of Tonkin incident or the Mayaguez or the sinking of the Maine. Are we being primed for an exciting new case of “Shock and Awe” and the latest version of what Naomi Klein calls “The Shock Doctrine”?

Will we everknow before it’s too late to matter?