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Warren Blumenfeld
Warren Blumenfeld




Immigration as Official “Racial” Policy: A Tutorial for Nikki Haley

Jan19

by: on January 19th, 2016 | 4 Comments »

South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley criticized Donald Trump’s contentious immigration policies of restricting Mexicans and Muslims from entering the United States. In front of a group of reporters, however, Haley showed her extreme ignorance of U.S. history:

“When you’ve got immigrants who are coming here legally, we’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion. Let’s not start that now.”

As the governor of a large Southern state, and a possible Vice Presidential pick by a number of current Republican candidates for the presidency, I have very serious doubts regarding her academic background to lead. Unfortunately, Trump’s perverse proposals fit “right” in with the racist immigration history of the United States. So in the service of education, I offer Nikki Haley the following tutorial focusing on issues of “race” in our immigration and naturalization policies.

 

“Race”

Looking back on the historical emergence of the concept of “race,” critical race theorists remind us that this concept arose concurrently with the advent of European exploration as a justification for conquest and domination of the globe beginning in the 15th century of the Common Era (CE) and reaching its apex in the early 20th century CE.

Geneticists tell us that there is often more variability within a given so-called “race” than between “races,” and that there are no essential genetic markers linked specifically to “race.” They assert, therefore, that “race” is an historical, “scientific,” biological myth, an idea, and that any socially-conceived physical “racial” markers are fictional and are not concordant with what is beyond or below the surface of the body.

Though biologists and social scientists have proven unequivocally that the concept of “race” is socially constructed (produced, manufactured), however, this does not negate the very real consequences people face living in societies that maintain racist policies and practices on the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and larger societal levels.


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Obama Doing What He Can, Congress Must Run with Baton

Jan6

by: on January 6th, 2016 | 1 Comment »

I want to thank President Obama for his commitment and his passion in his long-standing attempts to reduce firearms violence and death in the United States. After lobbying Congress throughout his presidency to pass common sense gun regulations, and finding consistent confrontation, inaction, and intransigence on the part of legislators, Mr. Obama announced that he will issue Executive Orders to expand background checks for certain buyers of firearms.

Obama Announcing New Gun Control MeasuresThe Orders mandate individuals “in the business of selling firearms” to register as licensed gun dealers. This will close the so-called “gun show loophole” that has previously exempted gun hobbyists and collectors from maintaining official sales records. In addition, the Orders will increase funding for enforcement by hiring 200 new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents and investigators, and $4 million to track illegal online firearms trafficking.

The President is, however, realistic that the initiatives will not by themselves solve the epidemic plaguing our nation. Speaking at a press conference on January 5, 2016, he conceded:

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”

For this reason, he continued to challenge national legislators: “But we also can’t wait,” Obama added. “Until we have the Congress that’s in line with the majority of Americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives.”

The reaction from Republican leaders was swift and predictable. House Speaker Paul Ryan expected that the president’s Executive Order “will no doubt be challenged in the courts” and “can be overturned by a Republican President.”

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“Meritocracy” as Propaganda Lie and False Assumption

Dec28

by: on December 28th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

“This is America. We don’t redistribute wealth. You have to earn it!”

I witnessed this bumper sticker, decked out in bright red, white, and blue lettering, attached to the post holding my neighbors’ mailbox this week as I walked my dogs during unseasonably high temperatures. For my neighbors to display this placard proudly in their front yard, they would have to hold a number of assumptions not merely related to this country’s economic and social systems, but possibly even more essentially, about its very character.

Assumption: Unregulated “Free Market” Economics

During this highly-charged electoral political season, all the major presidential candidates, for example, raise issues and provide their solutions to the economic problems that plague us. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney ignited the discourse of “redistribution” of wealth when he argued:

“I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy – more free stuff.”

This year, Jeb (exclamation mark) Bush and Marco Rubio resurrected and amplified Romney’s warning of a Democratic Party’s liberal “give away” of “free stuff.” The Republican Party includes the phrase “personal responsibility” four times in its national platform to justify its philosophy of small government and laissez faire “free market” non-governmentally regulated economics, which relies on the notion of “survival of the fittest.” They consider as “free stuff” and justify their opposition to, for example, the Affordable Care Law and any manner of a governmentally-sponsored health care system, tuition-rate reduction and free tuition for deserving students to public colleges and universities, retirement benefits, and most of the social “safety nets” to assist people.

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Keynesian Economics and Neoliberalism: The Debate Rages

Nov12

by: on November 12th, 2015 | Comments Off

As I read about the presidential candidates’ stated views, and as I watch the televised debates, I see the battle lines clearly drawn over competing ideologies separating not only individual candidates, but also differentiating political parties in the United States and also throughout the world concerning the structure and purpose of government.

One argument rests on the ideas of John Maynard Keynes, a British economist who theorized that economic growth and reduced unemployment can be supported through governmental fiscal policies including spending to stimulate the economy, adjusting interest rates, and placement of certain regulations on market economics.

Another and competing philosophy has come to be known as “neoliberalism,” which centers on a market-driven approach to economic and social policy, including such tenets as reducing the size of the national government and granting more control to state and local governments; severely reducing or ending governmental regulation over the private sector; privatization of governmental services, industries, and institutions including education, health care, and social welfare; permanent incorporation of across-the-board non-progressive marginal federal and state tax rates; and possibly most importantly, market driven and unfettered “free market” economics.

These tenets taken together, claim those who favor neoliberal ideas, will ensure the continual growth of the economy while protecting individual autonomy, liberty, and freedom.

Neoliberalism rests on the foundation of “meritocracy”: the notion that individuals are basically born onto a relatively level playing field, and that success or failure depends on the individual’s personal merit, motivation, intelligence, ambition, and abilities. Those who are, however, born or enter into difficult circumstances can choose to “pull themselves up by their boot straps,” and they can rise to the heights that their abilities and merit can take them. People, therefore, possess “personal responsibility” for their life’s course, and the government should not give them “stuff.”

I can remember back to the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign and the CNN-Tea Party-sponsored Republican presidential candidates’ debate in Florida. (The former Congressional “Tea-Party Caucus” has since changed its name to the Congressional “Freedom Caucus.”) The debate facilitator, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, asked then presidential candidate Ron Paul the hypothetical question of what we as a society should do in the case of a 30-year-old man who chooses not to purchase health insurance and later develops a serious life-threatening disease. Before Paul had a chance to answer Blitzer’s question, a number of audience members shouted “Let him die. Let him die.”


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Trans* People Murdered for Truth-Telling

Oct29

by: on October 29th, 2015 | Comments Off

Abolitionists jointed together to work for the immediate end to the institution of human slavery and the cessation of racial discrimination and segregation. They faced steep opposition from many quarters including a number of Christian denominations who asserted that sacred scripture not only condoned, but more importantly, mandated the practice of slavery.

 

Trans* People Murdered:

Alejandra Leos, Aniya Parker, Ashley (Michelle) Sherman, Betty Skinner,

Gizzy Fowler, Jennifer Laude, Kandy Hall, Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis,

Young people conducted a number of sit-in demonstrations at Southern lunch counters to end Jim Crow laws of segregated public facilities, to the abusive taunts of onlookers and crashing batons of local police. Demonstrators faced imprisonment and the imposition of permanent criminal records.

Feminists formed a new wave in the fight for women’s suffrage against a high tide of obstructionism within a patriarchal system of male domination and misogyny, and an attitude that the enfranchisement of women would destroy Christianity and civilization itself.


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Open Letter to Dr. Ben Carson

Sep21

by: on September 21st, 2015 | 8 Comments »

Dear Dr. Carson,

I write to express my disappointment at best for your statements on the NBC Sunday broadcast of “Meet the Press” on September 20, 2015. Host Chuck Todd raised the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s failure to correct an audience member in a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week who asserted that President Obama is a Muslim, and then he advocated for the forceful deportation of Muslims from the U.S. Todd then asked you about your take on the controversy, to which you replied that a Muslim should not become president of our country: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

As a highly educated person, as a candidate for the presidency, and as someone who has co-authored, along with your wife Candy, a book titled A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, you should have a more enlightened understanding of our nation’s foundational document.

In the book you write generally about the “basic principles” of the Constitution and how “they relate to our everyday lives.” You go on to state: “I believe that making a difference starts with understanding our amazing founding document, the U.S. Constitution.” You assert that both you and Candy wrote the book to “help defend” the Constitution “from those who misinterpret and undermine it.”


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White Supremacy & Devaluation of African [Heritage] Lives

Aug11

by: on August 11th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

The philosophy and practice of white supremacy devalues all African and African heritage lives whether human or non-human animal. White supremacy links slavery in the “Americas” with the ongoing police murders of unarmed black people and to the murder of animals on the continent of Africa.

Primarily wealthy white people invade Africa, and then track, entice, snare, capture, kill, sometimes skin, and behead majestic and noble animals, some of which appear on the endangered species list, as trophies for their own personal ego fulfillment. These so-called “hunters” kill not for food, but rather, for sport. In so doing, they demolish complete blood and succession lines, and interrupt entire ecosystems placing species in peril. Surrounding their actions come their sense of entitlement from amassing the discretionary income to satisfy their desires for power over other forms of life. The world exists for them simply for the taking. They view other forms of life as cheap that do not matter, except to fulfill their pleasures.

Credit: TrophyHuntAmerica

Similarly, the institution of slavery in the “Americas” was built on a foundation of white supremacy. Primarily white people, backed by wealthy whites, invaded Africa, and then tracked, enticed, snared, and captured the proud people on the continent, chained and packed them like sardines into crowded ships’ cargo holds, and transported them across vast oceans to foreign shores stripping those who survived of their dignity, languages, cultures, families, and humanity. The kidnappers as well as the residents of these lands viewed the “cargo” as cheap lives that did not matter, except to fulfill their needs for unpaid labor and to satisfy their sadistic ego and sexual gratification. If the enslaved had the audacity to misbehave or to escape the reserve called “the plantation,” whites tracked, enticed, snared, captured and either returned them to the reserve where their so-called “masters” tortured them as examples to inhibit others from attempting escape, or they killed them.


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Attacks against Bernie Sanders Have Reached New Depths

Aug3

by: on August 3rd, 2015 | 7 Comments »

Cartoon depiction of Bernie Sanders.

Credit: CreativeCommons / DonkeyHotey.

In the Bernieverse, there’s a whole lot of nationalism mixed up in the socialism. He is, in fact, leading a national-socialist movement, which is a queasy and uncomfortable thing to write about a man who is the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland and whose family was murdered in the Holocaust. But there is no other way to characterize his views and his politics.”

Kevin Williamson, “Bernie’s Strange Brew of Nationalism and Socialism,” National Review

Though careful not to call Bernie Sanders “a Nazi” outright because of his Jewish heritage and past, Kevin Williamson, writing in the politically conservative National Review, more than implies that Sanders’ brand of protectionism favoring U.S.-American workers’ rights and jobs, when linked to this self-described socialist political philosophy amounts to his “strange brew of nationalism and socialism…leading a national-socialist movement,” which is a clear and obvious reference to the Nazi party.

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Donald Trump Has Been Located!

Jul24

by: on July 24th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

Donald Trump.

Credit: CreativeCommons / Gage Skidmore.

“[Mexico] are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

Donald Trump, June 16, 2015, Trump Tower, NYC,during announcement for presidential run

Trump later went on to declare that “I will win the Hispanic vote.” He has currently surged to the leader of the pack of 15 Republican hopefuls in national polls.

As a hot topic of discussion in political pundit circles, José Díaz-Balart, host of MSNBC’s The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart, brought up Trump’s claims and ever-increasing poll numbers on his show, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Talking with his guest, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto — of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas — about a number of Trump’s claims regarding the Mexican government and Mexican people, Díaz-Balart asked, “When [Trump] says the U.S. is getting the short end of the stick, what’s he talking about?”

DeFrancesco Soto answered the question with a question many pundits have been pondering even prior to Trump’s entry into the race: “What planet is Donald on?”

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KKK Posing as Victim of “Cultural Genocide”

Jul9

by: on July 9th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

An group protests a KKK rally by holding up signs delcaring love.

In Athens, Atlanta in September, 2007, a group protests a KKK rally. The Klan is discussing holding another rally in response to the anti-Confederation flag movement. Credit: CreativeCommons / 57allison.

For literally decades, calls have gone out by civil and human rights advocates to remove of the battle flag of the Confederacy from public sites like state capitol grounds and other government buildings. This movement gained enormous momentum recently following the brutal racist murders of nine parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlestown, South Carolina by an avowed white supremacist.

On his Facebook page, the 21-year-old gunman posed for pictures wearing a military-style jacket with insignia patches of flags of apartheid South Africa and white ruled Rhodesia (today known as Zimbabwe). In another picture, he waved a Confederate battle flag, and in another, he stood holding a burning American flag. In addition, he wore a T-shirt with the number 88 printed on the front, he had 88 Facebook friends, and he scribbled that number in the South Carolina sand. “H” is the 8th letter of the alphabet, and in white supremacist circles, “88″ symbolizes “Heil Hitler.”

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