Sunday, April 30, 2023

The top ten house Negroes in America. (Latest edition.)

Before I get into my list, I want to acknowledge the passing of a great man; fellow yawdie and icon, Harry Belafonte. A true field Negro in my humble opinion. The man was extremely talented, and he unapologetically fought for the rights of the downtrodden. He was also the personification of class and dignity. He will be missed. May he rest in power.  

I was thinking about Mr. Belafonte as I sat to write my list of the top house Negroes in America. They are the exact opposite of him and everything that he stood for. 

Anywhoo, without further ado, here are the top ten house Negroes in America. (Note that some Negroes such as Clarence Thomas are just a given for this list, and they are already in the House Negro Hall Fame. Therefore, some of the usual suspects will not be included on this list. I will have a Hall of Fame edition later.) 

  1. Byron Donalds, Congressman from Florida: I don't know how many times I have to say this: being a black conservative is not an automatic qualifier for this list, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. We need different points of views in a debate about how to move forward. But being a black conservative just to jig for the FOX crowd without any knowledge of the issues makes you a house Negro. 

2. Jason Whitlock: The bad toupee alone gets him house Negro recognition. But seriously, this clown should probably be in the House Negro Hall of Fame with Clarence Thomas.  I am going to include him on this current list because he has inserted himself into every high profile case where a person of color has been wronged, and, like a true house Negro, he has taken a contrary position to be patted on the head by his far-right benefactors.  

3. Charlamagne  the God:  I am not one of these people who believe that artists, athletes, and entertainers should not speak up politically, but I do believe that when you have a platform you have to choose your words wisely. And, most importantly, you have to do some research on the subject of which you speak. This Negro has done none of the above, which puts him in the house. 

4. Candace Owens: Another potential House Negro Hall of Fame candidate. She is back on this list because she continues to contribute to the downfall of political discourse and has captured the zeitgeist of the moment. Her writings for the Daily Wire, with titles such as: The Left And The Devil Tell You Lies So You Will Despair" is just gross and incendiary. 

5. Harris Faulkner:  Lying on the air to appease your FOX masters is not cool. To the house, Harris.   

6. Young Urban Terrorists: Gangbanging, selling drugs in your community, and killing other young black men for no real reason is house Negro behavior.  There is nothing cool about not getting an education and earning an honest living.  

7. Deion Sanders: I'm not mad at Coach Prime for taking the money and moving on to bigger things at Colorado, but taking a shot at JSU and the poor black folks of Jackson, Mississippi, on your way out of town, was house Negro behavior. 

8. Joseph Ladapo, Florida Surgeon General: This Negro altered the vaccine study in his state to appease his Master, Ron DeSantis.  That's as houseish as it gets. 

9. Vivek Ramaswamy, GOP Republican candidate: I know this guy probably resents being on this list because he doesn't consider himself a Negro. But I have some bad news for him: In America, a person of color such as himself, is considered a Negro. Having said that, calling for the abolition of the FBI with no alternative, and attacking transgendered children, is house Negro behavior. 

10. Kristina Karamo, Michigan Republican party chair: This election denier has called BLM members Marxist witches, accused Beyonce of secretly recruiting Black Americans to Paganism, and used Holocaust imagery to oppose gun control proposals. One has to wonder how she  made it this far with these extreme views. I think it's called the power of the house. And any Negro willing to sell their soul will be welcomed inside.  

*This post was previously written and was not published as the  gatekeepers at Google found it offensive.   

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Authoritarians at the gate.

There have been three high profile cases of innocent people shot because of trigger-happy shooters over the past few days, and we can blame the likes of FOX NEWS and their never ending programming of scary and out of control criminals marauding in the streets for that.  This is the right-wing narrative that allows a culture of more guns and destruction to thrive. And they wouldn't have it any other way.

The right wants a sick dystopian world of fear and authoritarianism which makes it easier for them to take control and implement their vision of what America should look like. They are already hard at work in various red states throughout the country that have become laboratories for their autocratic rule.  

See Florida if you want a classic example of this trend. The governor of that state wants to be our president, and he is using Florida as a practice run for how he wants to run the country. He is taking on Disney, banning books and the teaching of subjects that he doesn't like in schools, banning what can be said in schools, and consolidating power around himself and his cronies. He is even recreating his own military force to battle...whatever it is he wants to battle.  ("Woke" Floridians better watch out.) 

I am not sure where this all is heading, and I wish I could tell folks that simply voting will be enough.  Sadly, I don't think it will be. It's looking more and more like getting more votes doesn't necessarily mean getting to govern in this country. The right-wing might be losing the population war as America becomes more brown and more young, but they have found a way around that by manipulating the courts to their benefit. This is where I would write an entire essay about Clarence Thomas, and the Federalist Judges that the former guy appointed, but that's for another time. I think you get the picture.

I will leave you with some quotes from a recent article in The Atlantic by Brian Klaas:

"When gerrymandering is extreme, most elections become foregone conclusions, extinguishing the foundational principle of democracy: competition. Five years ago, in Wisconsin, Republicans won just 44.7 percent of the vote in races for control of the state legislature. Yet Republicans won 64.6 percent of the seats. In North Carolina, state Republicans drew such skewed districts in the 2018 congressional elections that the GOP won 10 out of the state’s 13 districts, even though the party’s candidates earned just 50.3 percent of the statewide vote. In Georgia, a state that voted for Joe Biden and has two Democratic U.S. senators, the newly drawn district lines mean that 57 percent of State Senate and 52 percent of state House seats can be considered “safe Republican” seats. Barring a major political shift, Republicans will continue to easily control the legislature in a competitive state trending toward Democrats.

When such blatant electoral manipulation takes place in other countries, the U.S. State Department denounces it. Here, it’s just a legalized part of the American system." 

That said, I am still encouraging you all to vote. Your vote still matters. At least for now. 

*Image above from HuffPost



Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Criminal Defendant Trump.


The MAGA crowd will try to spin the criminal prosecution of their leader to be something positive, but it won't work. How can it? Just think about what this means for a minute: A former president is being criminally prosecuted for alleged crimes against the state. And a Grand Jury of his peers gave the District Attorney the green light to go ahead and charge him. 

The following article in The Atlantic from McKay Coppins sums it up perfectly. 

 "He shuffled quietly into the courtroom and took his seat at the defense table. He looked strangely small sitting there flanked by lawyers—his shoulders slumped, his hands in his lap, his 6-foot-3-inch frame seeming to retreat into itself. When he spoke—“Not guilty”—it came out hoarse, almost a whisper. Pundits and reporters had spent weeks trying to imagine what this moment would look like. How would a former president—especially one who prided himself on showmanship—behave while under arrest? Would he act smug? Defiant? Righteously indignant?

No one predicted that he would look quite so humiliated.

Of course, becoming the first ex-president in American history to be charged with a crime is not exactly a coveted résumé line. But Donald Trump’s indictment yesterday marked a low point in another way too: For a man who’s long harbored a distinctive form of class anxiety rooted in his native New York, Trump’s arraignment in Manhattan represented the ultimate comeuppance.

The island of Manhattan plays an important role in the Donald Trump creation myth. In speeches and interviews over the years, Trump has repeatedly recalled peering across the East River as a young man, yearning to expand the family real-estate business and compete with the city’s biggest developers. For a kid born in Queens—even one who grew up in a rich family—Manhattan seemed like the center of the universe.

“I started off in a small office with my father in Brooklyn and Queens,” Trump said in the 2015 speech launching his campaign. “And my father said … ‘Donald, don’t go into Manhattan. That’s the big leagues. We don’t know anything about that. Don’t do it.’ I said, ‘I gotta go into Manhattan. I gotta build those big buildings. I gotta do it, Dad. I’ve gotta do it.’”

In the version of the story Trump likes to tell, he went on to cross the river, conquer the island, and cement his victory by erecting an eponymous skyscraper in the middle of town. His childhood dream came true.

But Trump was never really accepted by Manhattan’s old-money aristocracy. To the city’s elites, he was just another nouveau riche wannabe with bad manners and a distasteful penchant for self-promotion. They recognized the type—the outer-borough kid who’d made good—and they made sure he knew he wasn’t one of them. With each guest list that omitted his name, with each VIP invitation that didn’t come, Trump’s resentment burned hotter—and his desire for revenge deepened.

Today, the old hierarchies that defined the New York of Trump’s youth are largely gone, replaced by new ones. (Brooklyn, the middle-class backwater where Trump’s father kept his office, is now home to enough pretentious white people that even the snootiest Manhattanites have to acknowledge the borough.) Trump, meanwhile, isn’t even a New Yorker anymore, having changed his voter registration to Florida in 2019 and retreated to the more hospitable confines of Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House.

But Trump never forgot the island that rejected him. And this week, he was forced to return to it—not in triumph, but in disgrace. Hundreds of journalists descended on Lower Manhattan to chronicle each indignity: the courthouse door gently shutting on him because nobody bothered to hold it open, the judge sternly instructing him to rein in his social-media rhetoric about the case. At one point, shortly after Trump entered the courtroom, someone in the overflow room, where reporters and others were watching a closed-circuit feed, began to whistle “Hail to the Chief,” drawing stifled laughter.

In the past, Trump has succeeded in using his humiliations to his benefit. It’s a big part of why he excels at playing a populist on the campaign trail. When Trump railed against the corrupt ruling class in 2016, he wasn’t just channeling the anger of his supporters; he was expressing something he felt viscerally. Yes, his personal grievances with the “elites”—the ego-wounding snubs—might have been petty, but the anger was real. And for many of his followers, that was enough.

Now he’s trying to pull off that trick again. In the weeks leading up to his indictment, Trump has sought to cast Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation as an act of political persecution—aimed not just at him, but at the entire MAGA movement. “WE MUST SAVE AMERICA!” he shout-posted on Truth Social last month. “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!”

A modest contingent of pro-Trump demonstrators gathered in a park across the street from the courthouse yesterday, separated by a police barricade from a larger group of counterprotesters. But the relatively muted MAGA presence, compared with the crowds of onlookers relishing the moment, only underscored how alienated the former president has become from the city with which he was once synonymous. The scene was heavier on performance artists and grifters than outraged true believers. A woman in a QAnon T-shirt strutted and gyrated for reporters as she rambled about Satan and the financial system, periodically punctuating her comments with “Bada bing!” A Trump supporter burned sage to ward off evil spirits, prompting one bystander to ask, “Is someone cooking soup?” The Naked Cowboy made an appearance.

A handful of Trump’s New York–based supporters tried to convince me that this was still his town. Dion Cini—a MAGA-merch salesman who drew attention for his giant TRUMP OR DEATH flag and his liberal deployment of flagpole-based innuendos—told me he lived in Brooklyn. “Trump country!” he declared.

I asked Cini if he really believed that New York could still be considered Trump country. Cini responded by launching into an enthusiastic (and exaggerated) recitation of how much of the city had been built by the Trumps. “Sheepshead Bay was built by Trump. All 50,000 homes,” Cini said, claiming that he lives in a Trump-built house there himself. “How many towers were built by Trump? The Javits Center! I mean, you name it—the Wollman Rink, the carousel in Central Park. And they call him a Nazi. I mean, did Hitler ever build a carousel?”

After Cini wandered away, another Trump supporter named Scott Schultz approached me. Schultz said he also lives in Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay neighborhood, but he disagreed that it was “Trump country.” He can’t even put a Trump sign outside his house, because he knows it will be immediately defaced, Schultz said. He fantasized about a day when New Yorkers could celebrate Trump simply as a product of their city.

“Most other [places], when someone becomes president, they have pride in that,” Schultz told me. “There was no pride at all … They want to wipe him clean. They rejected him.”

Trump didn’t linger in the city after his arraignment. There was no impromptu press conference on the courthouse steps or chest-thumping speech to his supporters outside. Instead, his motorcade whisked him away to LaGuardia Airport for a flight back to Florida. He’d been in New York barely 24 hours. For now, at least, he seems intent on waging his battle with the Manhattan haters from a distance. Writing on Truth Social yesterday, Trump proposed moving his trial to Staten Island."

He could move it to Mars. It won't matter. Even if he is acquitted or somehow gets the more serious charges tossed on appeal, he will forever be an indicted defendant, and the humiliation that comes with that will be a nasty stain on whatever legacy he has left.