Republican hero Ted Nugent in his own words.

February 22, 2014

“If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!”
– Sarah Palin’s reason for endorsing Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign in Texas.

It’s been a terrible twelve or so months for the Republicans. An objective commentator might point out that the shift too far to the right, or to the left, will always spell trouble for a political party. Most voters are not looking to radically shift the direction of the country to either extreme, and so the more a party appears to offer such a shift, the more voters will turn away. Instead of addressing the issues that Republicans seem to have in connecting with anyone who isn’t a white, middle aged, Christian, heterosexual male, they instead have weirdly chosen to embrace that mentality of exclusivity. An extreme ideological mentality – moulded and set by overly paranoid conspiratorial ‘analysts’ like Limbaugh – that will without doubt see them fall further from electability and harm the party in the long run. Nowhere is this more pronounced than their odious courting and embracing of Ted Nugent by Republican Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign in Texas.

So here is the GOP’s new hero, Ted Nugent, in his own words:

Ted Nugent in 1992 on anyone who wasn’t born in America:

“… Yeah they love me (in Japan) – they’re still assholes. These people they don’t know what life is. I don’t have a following, they need me; they don’t like me they need me … Foreigners are assholes; foreigners are scum; I don’t like ’em; I don’t want ’em in this country; I don’t want ’em selling me doughnuts; I don’t want ’em pumping my gas; I don’t want ’em downwind of my life-OK? So anyhow-and I’m dead serious …”

Ted Nugent on those fighting to break down barriers to gender equality:

“What’s a feminist anyways? A fat pig who doesn’t get it often enough?”

Ted Nugent on the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin:

“Trayvon got justice.”

Ted Nugent’s letter to the girlfriend of a guy he’d met, who wouldn’t let him go hunting:

“I wrote her something and I said ‘Drop dead, bitch’… What good is she, trade her in, get a Dalmatian. Who needs the wench?”

Ted Nugent after explaining how he dodged the Vietnam draft:

“But if I would have gone over there, I’d have been killed, or I’d have killed all the Hippies in the foxholes. I would have killed everybody.”

– Instead, the ‘Patriot’ Ted Nugent worked up a plan to dodge the draft, whilst fellow Americans put their lives on the line.

Ted Nugent on rappers:

“MTV is a liberal lump of hippy snot. They are embarrassing. Those big uneducated greasy black mongrels on there, they call themselves rap artists.”

– Yes. The new hero of one of the two major political parties in the US, referred to people as “uneducated greasy black mongrels”.

Ted Nugent on what constitutes “real” Americans:

“You know what I’m on top of? I’m on top of a real America with working hard, playing hard, white motherfucking shit kickers, who are independent and get up in the morning.”

– In the same interview, and following this quote, when told that African Americans were just as hard working as white Americans, Nugent said:

“Show me one.”

Ted Nugent on President Obama:

“communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.”

Ted Nugent and Confederacy nostalgia:

“I’m beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War.”

– The South. You know, the region fighting specifically to uphold the institution of slavery.

Ted Nugent on Hillary Clinton:

“You probably can’t use the term `toxic cunt’ in your magazine, but that’s what she is. Her very existence insults the spirit of individualism in this country. This bitch is nothing but a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.”

Ted Nugent’s violent, misogynistic rant on what he’d like to do with his machine guns and women in politics:

“Hey, Hillary, you might want to ride one of these [machine gun] into the sunset, you worthless bitch. Since I’m in California, how about [Senator] Barbara Boxer [D-CA], she might want to suck on my machine gun. And [Senator] Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], ride one of these you worthless whore. Any questions? ”

Ted Nugent – having exhausted Confederate nostalgia, racism, and misogyny – now turns to repugnant homophobia:

“I got to tell you, guys that have sex with each others’ anals cavities – how can we offend guys that have anal sex?”

Ted Nugent solution to those people crossing the border from Mexico:

“In an unauthorized entry, armed, like they are right now, invading our country, I’d like to shoot them dead.”

Ted Nugent on Hillary Clinton:

“Our politicians check their scrotum in at the door. Even Hillary, but obviously she has spare scrotums.”

After Nugent’s most recent vile Benghazi tantrum, in which he referred to the President as a “chimpanzee” and “subhuman mongrel”, Texas Governor, Republican Rick Perry said that he didn’t take offence at the comment, and:

“That’s Ted Nugent. Anybody that’s offended sorry, but that’s just Ted.”

– A few hours later, it would appear that Perry had a change of heart, when he then told CNN:

“That is not appropriate language to use about the president of the United States.”

– A bit of an odd choice of words. I’d suggest it’s not appropriate language to use about anyone, not just the President. It’s horrendously racist terminology.

The cynic in me might argue that Perry issued this second comment on the controversy, because Nugent’s ‘chimpanzee’ and ‘mongrel’ analogy is incredibly damaging to the Republicans, and to the campaign of Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. It was perhaps Perry’s way of attempting to create distance between the Republican Party, and a horrifyingly racist, misogynist, homophobic, Confederacy sympathiser. Greg Abbott on the other hand, will be continuing to campaign alongside Nugent. It is frightening that in the US, in the 21st Century, Wendy Davis – a great advocate of women’s health rights – will almost certainly be defeated in Texas’s gubernatorial race, by a Republican candidate who has fully embraced a venomous human being like Ted Nugent.

The love affair between Ted Nugent and the GOP, reflects perfectly the hideous direction the Republican Party has taken in recent years. Indeed, Nugent is the personification of the Tea Party influence on the Republican Party; his violent, misogynistic, racist, homophobic rhetoric, subtly masked with conspiratorial (Benghazi) tones as its weak justification, is the very essence of the Tea Party. It is a brand new Republican Party falling over to the political extremes more and more by the day. It is therefore a Republican Party unlikely to win the White House again in a very, very long time.


Faith: The “get out of bigotry free” card.

December 20, 2013

The backlash over Phil Robertson’s homophobic comments and subsequent suspension from ‘Duck Dynasty’ on A&E over in the US this week, has revealed three things. Firstly, the Christian Right seem to be under the impression that bigotry – when it is faith based- is acceptable and should come with no consequences. Secondly, they appear to be more offended at a suspension for bigotry, than they are by bigotry itself (is this what it means to be Christian?); And thirdly, they wish all private business owners to share their bigotry, and if those business owners wish the freedom to suspend someone for comments disagreeable to the business or the owners, this can only mean persecution of Christians, the end of free expression, and something about Stalin and Hitler.

For what it’s worth, I am a big free speech advocate. As an Atheist, I have argued that Muslim speaker – Mehdi Hasan – should be allowed to say of non-believers, that we’re headed for eternal torture, and that we live like animals. As disgusting as I find his views, I recognise that he will equally find my views on his faith to be ugly. The same Muslim speaker – Mehdi Hasan – then demanded we all say nice things about his religion, in essence, promotion of blasphemy laws; this, I cannot abide. They exist to protect faith. Faith has no inherent right to be protected.

It is worth noting that in Phil Robertson’s case, the state is not threatening to punish him. This is not a free expression issue. His freedom to be a bigot, is not under threat. Robertson expressed his view, he wont be punished by the state for it. However, a private business can still suspend him, if they are unhappy at what he expresses. This is true of every other business across the World. If I were to go on TV and express a thoroughly racist opinion, I’d expect to be disciplined by the network for it. If private companies wish to suspend someone for an ill-conceived and hateful racist, or homophobic rant, it is their right to do so.

Here is what Phil Robertson said:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus, that’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

– Leaving aside the obvious irony in a man believing in book of magical fairy sky man, dust Adam, rib Eve, and talking snake, having the nerve to call anyone else “not logical”; Phil Robertson here compares beastiality to homosexuality. At this point, the Christian-right expected no one to take issue with this grotesque rant. It is true that if you hold such appalling and uneducated views, you’re likely to face strong opposition with equally strongly held views (though again, you should not be punished by the state). It is the nature of holding extreme views.

For example, we could all point out that whilst Leviticus calls homosexuality an abomination, 1 Corinthians 11:14 refers to Phil Robertson as a ‘disgrace’:

“Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him”

– But I don’t use this to build a system of bigoted privilege for those of us who aren’t a ‘disgrace’ For having long hair, Phil Robertson “won’t inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right”.

Indeed, the free expression narrative is an interesting one. For the Christian-right, it appears to mean freedom-to-say-right-winged-things, and to threaten action against those who don’t. In 2011, The American Family Association issued a sort of fatwa against The Gap and Banana Republic, calling for a boycott of the business. Effectively hurting business, thus hurting people who work for those businesses, around Christmas time, because:

“The boycott is part of our ongoing campaign to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to put Christ back in Christmas. The boycott runs from November 1 through Christmas Day.
For years, Gap has refused to use the word Christmas in its television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.”

– The AFA are quite the serial offenders for demanding private companies bow to their wishes. They demanded a boycott of Ford over its support for gay pride events. The AFA then announced that Ford’s drop in sales, was caused in large part by the AFA’s boycott. Congrats! Your free expression – according to you – hurt a business, thus hurting employees, all because the business didn’t come to you to draft it’s “What we’re allowed to support” memo.

Similarly, The First Baptist Church of Dallas, in 2010 launched a website designed to allow users to ‘name and shame’ companies who take ‘Christ’ away from the holiday period, in their ads and products. The Christian-right are naturally very talented at forcing their views on others, and silencing dissent, so to harm businesses – small and large – to harm the employees who work at these businesses by shaming them simply for not re-affirming the Christian aspect of Christmas every single second of every day.

In 2010, the late Helen Thomas made disparaging remarks toward Jews in Israel, when she suggested Jews should leave Israel and “go home” to Germany and Poland. Ari Fleischer – Press Secretary under George W Bush – said:

“She should lose her job over this.”

– Nine Speakers, Inc, the agency that represented Thomas then fired her, after the media backlash and ex-Bush staff calling for her to be fired. Sarah Palin expressed her anger at Thomas, and added to the media storm that eventually led to her firing. Palin today is standing by Phil Robertson for his equally disparaging remarks.

Indeed, conservatives were overjoyed that “they” managed to get Helen Thomas fired:
Untitled-2e

Three years later, the same conservatives expressing joy at getting someone fired for expressing their view, seem to have had a sudden change of heart:
Untitled-2

And again:
Untitled-3

Untitled-4

And again:
Untitled-5

Untitled-6
– When it’s speech that doesn’t adhere to their Theocratic standards, they get angry and demand action. When the speech absolutely adheres to their Theocratic standards, they get angry at those who demand action. It’s beautifully hypocritical.

In December 2012, Alex Jones over at infowars started a petition that eventually gained over 100,000 signatures on the White House website, earning an official response from the President…. to deport Piers Morgan for advocating gun control. Apparently you’re free to say what you wish, as long as it’s Tea Party-esque, and you’re not foreign:
Untitled-7

Untitled-8

And again:
Untitled-9

Untitled-10

Hell, it’s not just Piers Morgan they want to deport either:
Untitled-11

Untitled-12
– Essentially; give a voice to those who agree with us, and silence those who don’t.

As noted in yesterday’s article on the Christian-right in Oklahoma – they are not happy unless their faith dictates the operation of the state, the media, private businesses, the womb of every woman on the planet, and whom individuals are allowed to marry. The arrogance is astounding, and the religious supremacy that promotes and perpetuates homophobia is cancerous.

The use of the phrase “free expression” – which to the Christian-right means; freedom from any sort of repercussion or challenge – is only ever invoked when the views expressed confirm Christian prejudices. The same people then demand repercussions for anyone, or any business whose expression doesn’t confirm Christian-right prejudices. It’s a terribly hypocritical state of affairs, all in the hope of retaining the get out of bigotry free card for that which they call “faith”.


Ashamed to be a Republican.

October 3, 2013

“We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”
– Greg Walden (R-OR) on the government shutdown.

The BBC’s Washington Correspondent told BBC News yesterday that having spoken to a Republican Senator it is clear that at least 100 Republican Representatives believe their Party has is being held hostage by a Tea Party sect of extremists. As the Republican shutdown of government continues, and places heavy strain on a fragile economy, more and more Republicans in Congress are unhappy at the direction and the hostage tactics of their Tea Party colleagues. But it isn’t just in Congress that an incredibly undemocratic Tea Party is alienating Republicans. Their base support is also becoming increasingly angry with the direction of their Party, and they are taking to Twitter to register their disapproval:

3

5

6

7

14

8

9

10

11

12

13

Untitled-1

Untitled-2

– The Republican Party’s share of the vote in the Senate & the House dropped in 2012, so much so that they managed to hold the House because of gerrymandering after losing the popular vote. So when proud Republicans in 2013 begin not only to note their disapproval at a particular shift in Party mentality, but are actually ashamed and embarrassed by the tactics of their Party, that drop in the share of the vote could prove to be the nail in the coffin come 2014.


Battle for Virginia: The Cuccinelli Plague.

July 9, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Gage Skidmore.

Ken Cuccinelli.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Gage Skidmore.

By 2014 the Republican Party will have had two years following the Presidential defeat, to reposition their party as more inclusive of the demographics that voted overwhelmingly against them in 2012. As of July 2013, the Republicans have simply continued their war on immigrants, the poor, gay rights, and most notably, on women. And so it is those groups that will provide the strength to knock the Republicans from key positions in late 2013, and 2014.

My next few articles will focus on some key battlegrounds in the fight to turn America blue.

Virginia is one such place.

In November 2013, Virginia will head to the polls to elect a new Governor. Moderates have a choice, they can choose to vote for Democratic nominee, and ex DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe; a moderate himself. Or they can choose to elect the Republican nomination, current Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli.

Ken Cuccinelli is your typical Tea Party style Republican, dedicated to nothing more than rolling back gay rights, rolling back employee rights, and attempting to ensure that safe access to abortion disappears from Virginia. He has fought on this basis for quite some time.
Recently Cuccinelli worked to force abortion clinics to upgrade to hospital level, thereby threatening the existence of abortion clinics in Virginia. This is a common GOP tactic in restricting access to abortion. Cuccinelli provided support for his particular war on women, with a speech that completely rewrote history:

“Start right at the beginning – slavery. Today, abortion. History has shown us what the right position was, and those were issues that were attacked by people of faith aggressively to change the course of this country.”

– Yes. The Attorney General of Virginia compared abortion to slavery. The enslavement, vicious beatings, forced labour, abuse, rapes of a people based solely on the shade of their skin….. Cuccinelli compares to abortion. He also seems to be unaware of the split in Christendom in the US during the antebellum period on the issue of slavery. People of faith both supported, and opposed slavery. They certainly weren’t united. Maryland’s “Society of Jesus” owned slaves and heavy handedly put them to work. And despite the official anti-slavery position of the Methodist Church; Southern Methodist church’s continued to support slavery even after the civil war. Cuccinelli is entirely wrong to suggest Christianity was responsible for the end of slavery. Christian propaganda is a wonderful tool wielded by the Christian Right.

On gay rights, Cuccinelli wishes to ensure that gay people have few protections and rights as possible, stating:

“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification, as a protected class within its nondiscrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.”

Along with women, and gay people, Cuccinelli also isn’t too keen on reality. Ken Cuccinelli believes himself to be correct, and practically every reputable scientist on the planet to be incorrect, when it comes to climate change. So much so, that upon taking office in 2010, he filed a lawsuit requiring the Environmental Protection Agency overturn its ruling that greenhouse gases endanger public health. Of course, the case failed. He then …. and i’m not making this up…. mocked the EPA by suggesting everyone hold their breath for a minute to prevent release of carbon dioxide to please them. That is the extent of the potential Governor of Virginia’ understanding of rising Co2 levels.
He then attempted to launch a fraud investigation against a scientist at the University of Virginia. The District Court, followed by the Supreme Court threw his case out.
His one man political crusade against reality prompted the University of Virginia to state:

“His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline. Such actions directly threaten academic freedom and, thus, our ability to generate the knowledge upon which informed public policy relies.”

The Washington Post stated that Cuccinelli had:

“….declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry”

– Though, Cuccinelli’s position on climate change hasn’t been completely negative for him. During the first four months of 2013, he managed to raise over $2,500,000 for his campaign, mainly from gas and oil interests. That should certainly strengthen his anti-climate change position.

Cuccinelli’s current war, is on…… again, not making this up……. oral and anal sex.
Perhaps he thinks it’ll speak to a Virginian sense of heritage given that in the founding years of the nation, the Virginia legislature decided death was the appropriate penalty for “sodomy”. (Though, Thomas Jefferson did try to commute this to the much more liberal-minded punishment of castration).
All ‘Sodomy’ laws were scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2003. In Virginia, the law broadly criminalised oral as well as anal sex. Ten years later, the potential Governor of Virginia wants the law upheld. He insists that his new idea for Sodomy laws would only involve cases of rape and minors. And yet, in 2004 when a bipartisan group of State Senators proposed a similar law, Cuccinelli voted against it. Just how far Cuccinelli can be trusted in not prosecuting consenting adults, can possibly be deduced from a 2009 speech in which he states:

“My view is that homosexual acts — not homosexuality, but homosexual acts — are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that … They don’t comport with natural law

– Seems to me that Cuccinelli wishes to criminalise homosexuality. And this man is running for public office… not in 1950. But in 2013.

Cuccinelli is also a ‘Right-To-Work’ supporter; despite a recent ‘National Education Association’ study finding that:

“worker-friendly states are significantly healthier, are more productive, have less poverty, and with citizens who enjoy longer life spans. In four of the seven measures (GDP per capita, poverty, insurance and life expectancy rates) so-called “right-to-work” states come out significantly (and statistically) worse.

These findings have broad policy implications in those states where lawmakers are wrongly considering RTW measures, and should inform the good efforts of union members and allies to quell those efforts. Instead of pursuing laws that actually lower the standard of living in their states, policy makers should look for ways to elevate everyone’s standard of living. Enacting RTW laws is not only misguided, but in fact counterproductive to achieving such ends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works’.”

– Like with climate change, Cuccinelli is ignoring the facts on what actually works to provide a better standard of living for Virginians. He ignores facts, in order to progress a far right, damaging agenda. He is not a rational man. He is an extreme ideologue.

So you can see, a typical Tea Party-esque politician that cannot be trusted with an ounce of power. He cannot be trusted with women’s health and women’s freedom issues, he cannot be trusted with gay rights issues, he cannot be trusted to stay out of your sex life, and he cannot be trusted with free inquiry and scientific advancement. For McAuliffe to win (he currently trails in the polls), those inclined to vote Democrat, or those that consider themselves moderate, must come out in force on election day. It is the only way to defeat a very right winged, very anti-women, very anti-gay rights, very anti-science Tea Party extremist straight from the 1950s. His statements and lawsuits as Attorney General are bad enough. As Governor, Ken Cuccinelli would be a disaster for Virginia.

I hope that in November 2013, Virginia turns blue.


Tea Party: Pro-death.

September 14, 2011

The Republican debates have been quite an eye opener. I knew that those who subscribe to the Tea Party way of life, are pretty vicious in the ideological leanings, but I didn’t really know to what extent their bile was able to rise. It turns out, they are an utter disgrace. A cancer on the fabric of society. The worst type of person. The reason I take such a strict approach to the Tea Party, is that they are extremists. My staunch and outspoken Atheism takes the shape of a bullet aimed at the incompatibilities between dogmatic ideology and the humanity as a collective entity looking to survive.

The Tea Party simply represent a vicious dogmatic obsession with their ideology, which happens to be unabridged Capitalism. An ideology that insists massive Corporations are “job creators” (a phrase I hate. Demand creates jobs. Not Corporations). The Tea Party is a representation of everything that is wrong with the right wing.

During a debate, Ron Paul was asked a question about a man who has a good job, but has no medical insurance, and ends up in a coma, what should happen? Predictably, Ron Paul doesn’t particularly answer the question, he just insists the guy SHOULD have medical insurance. I am fully aware that right winged Americans believe healthcare is a luxury rather than what I believe it is; a necessity. But what struck me, to the point of speechlessness, which slowly became a distinct sense of disbelief and disgust, was when the guy asking the questions said “Should we let the man die then?” to which the Tea Party audience, yelled “Yes!!
– This mentality, is extremist. It is taking an ideology to the extreme. Capitalism, like Socialism, when taken to its limits, is extreme ideology; in this case it becomes extreme when it decides who lives and who dies. Ron Paul started his question, by suggesting that any form of tax payer funded healthcare is Socialist, and that’s bad. This is a rather extreme position, because it fails to take into account results. The system is judged on how strictly it adheres to its ideological dogma, rather than the success or failure.

Money, in a Capitalist society is based on nothing. Actually it is based on debt. So its power comes from a collective concept of what it means. Life on the other hand, is not a concept. It transcends ideology. It is far more important than ideology. The ideology requires a constant insistence that what we own, is what makes us who we are.

So, let’s look at the results of two rather polarised healthcare systems. The UK has a Nationalised Health Service. In 2009, the US had a largely Private Health Service, in which your ability to pay (a concept) is far more important than your life itself (reality).
Infant mortality rate (probability of dying between birth and age 1 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA: 7

Under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA 8

Adult mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 and 60 years per 1000
UK: 77
USA: 106

Case detection rate for all forms of tuberculosis (%):
UK: 94
USA: 89

Per capita total expenditure on health at average exchange rate (US$)
UK: 3285
USA: 7410

Life expectancy at birth (years)
UK: 80
USA: 79

General government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure.
UK: 15.1%
USA: 18.7%

A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is.

It isn’t just when compared to the Nationalised health system of the UK. The Nationalised health system of Norway provides equally as disastrous results for Tea Party enthusiasts. When a man is ran down by a car, and the first thought in the collective mind of a Capitalist society is “oh my god!! I hope….he has insurance”, who then walk away when it turns out he doesn’t, one has to ask ourselves how far they are willing to go? Is collective policing wrong? Should we have fire insurance? If our house is burning down, and we’re too poor because our insurance bills include health, road, and police, should we just accept that the fire department shouldn’t be burdened with our current predicament? Should we expect to get arrested for leaving our house if we haven’t paid our road insurance? How is that freedom? That seems to be to be substituting the ‘tyranny’ of Government for the tyranny of big business – a real tyranny because it has unaccountable, unelected powers. A two tier society, in which you’re absolutely second class if you are not propertied, is my idea of hell.

According to a World Health Organisation ranking list of 2000, the US Health System ranks 11. The UK 18th, and the USA…… a pathetic 37th. Even though, the US spends most per capita than any other Nation in that ranking list. Above the US, ranks Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, UAE, Andorra and Malta. The most powerful Nation on Earth, has a worse healthcare record, than Saudi Arabia; a desert. Japan is number one for Life Expectancy and 70% of healthcare costs in Japan are paid by the Government. The cost of an MRI scan in Japan is $US 98. In America, it is $US 1500. There is no excuse for it. A healthcare system based on the ideological position that a doctor should check your insurance before he saves your life, is doomed to fail every time. A system should be judged not on its allocated “ism” but on its success. Private health insurance is not benefiting mankind. It benefits one or two wealthy people, and a host of United Health shareholders, with private health insurance money then ending up in Rick Perry’s campaign pot.

It is interesting to note that the same group of people cheered in delight last week, as it was announced during a debate that candidate Rick Perry has overseen 234 executions in Texas since becoming Governor. It would seem that State sponsored healthcare that ultimately (as shown above) saves lives is Socialist and evil, whilst State sponsored murder is a perfectly acceptable way to spend tax dollars. This includes the execution of Cameron Todd Willigham, a man who was accused of setting fire to his family home, killing his three young children. Before he was executed, a scientist wrote to the parole board to point out the flaws in the original case against Willingham. Perry ignored the concerns, and Willingham was executed in 2004. In 2005, an investigation was set up by a new 9 member Texas Forensic Science Commission. Just before they started their hearings into the case, Perry fired all 9 members. Another nine of the USA’s top fire scientists say the science was faulty in convicting Willingham. It is quite possible that Willigham was innocent. People in that crowd last week, cheered the death of at least one innocent man. Pro-life apparently. What a disgrace to humanity.

If anyone tells you that the US healthcare system is the best in the World; be sure to point out that it isn’t. That it isn’t even in the top ten. Or top twenty. Or top thirty. That it barely reaches the top 40. That your children are more likely to die young in the US, than in the United Arab Emirites or Macau (I’m not even sure where Macau is). But be sure to let them know that if they want to execute someone based on flimsy science, Texas is the place to be!

The great Gore Vidal once said:

Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

– This is true of the religion of American Capitalism.

I truly feel for America if a Republican ends up in the White House.


Racism in America: Today

April 13, 2011

When the United States was beginning to form, there was a hierarchy of oppression that kept everyone subservient to someone above them. The King of England demanded goods from the Jamestown white elite who exploited and controlled the white frontiersman who, in order to appease the elite with money and land, slaughtered Indigenous people and brutalized African slaves. Many whites joined Indigenous and African rebellions. The white elite worked to stop this because they knew such an alliance would become too powerful and would succeed at overthrowing the control that the elite and the King had. So in order to separate the whites from everyone else, they started giving more privileges (land and better treatment) to the white servants. This worked. The working class whites effectively abandoned the movements for change and to this day these groups have problems working together.
– Howard Zinn, 1980.

46% of American Republicans in the State of Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. I will elaborate on and explain this later.

After my blog on the racism of Abraham Lincoln, I wondered whether race is still a divisive issue today as it has always been, in America. In the UK, race is still an issue, though it is far more subtle and much less noticeable, but it exists nonetheless. There isn’t this notion of white supremacy, nor do we have the history of the “founders” being slave owners or massive racial segregation up until very recently. We don’t have a KKK equivalent and we didn’t fight a civil war to protect the rights of States to own slaves. Race is certainly a problem in the UK though. We tend to become far more Nationalist during times of economic hardship and the need to blame immigrants or anyone who doesn’t happen to fit the narrow band of what it means to be “British” becomes an almost accepted narrative. Political parties push immigration reform to the top of their agendas, giving credit to such racial tension. Race is used as a divisive mechanism to subvert attention away from a failing class system.

Here in the UK, with talk of economic austerity, it was only a matter of time before the issue of race was introduced into the equation. We know that poorer areas like inner city Liverpool, Manchester, and Hackney are going to face the toughest council cuts. Low socio-economic areas are predominantly mixed race or black and Asian. So it was only a matter of time before David Cameron would bring race into the mix. He then suddenly made a speech against multiculturalism, in which he mentions the words “islam” and “muslim” 36 times, and “Christianity” once. Race is yet again being used as a divisive wedge.

Back to the USA, and the 19th Century, before the Civil War. It has long been argued by the rather hermetic Southern America that the Civil war was a war between the States (the South) and the big bad Federal Government (the North). Yes. The States rights to own and perpetuate slavery. The charge against a big bad Federal Government invading the lives of its citizens does not hold up when you look at the evidence, and is actually rather rudimentary.

The American lawyer and journalist William Walker, in 1854, after a failed attempt to set up a Republic of Sonora in Mexico, with the intention of it becoming a State of the Union; invaded Nicaragua for control of a vital trade route between New York and San Francisco. He succeeded in his efforts, and took control of Nicaragua, renaming it “Walkeragua” (seriously, i’m not making this up). In 1856, President Franklin Pierce, officially recognised Walker’s regime in Walkeragua as legitimate. His regime began to Americanise Walkeragua, by instating slavery, using American currency, and making English the official language. He advertised his new Country to American Southern businessmen by advertising the fact that his new quasi-State was pro-slavery and would remain so. By the time Walker revoked Nicaragua’s 1824 Emancipation Act, the rest of Latin America took note, and invaded. He fled and was bought back to the U.S where he was welcomed as a hero of the South. As “States rights” go, invading another sovereign nation and revoking its anti-slavery laws, is about as big and as bad as a Federal Government can get. He died before the Civil War kicked off, but the South referred to him throughout the Civil War as “General Walker“. The South did not just fight to preserve the institution of slavery, they wanted to expand it, on a grand scale, to the point where Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposed that the 36°30′ parallel north be a line that separates the northern free states, and the southern slave states, all the way down to the tip of South America. American racism has always been rife.

In 2011, membership of white supremacist organisations has increased tremendously. According the the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist organisations in the US, the number of members is up by 48% since 2000. Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement (the Nazi Movement) in America, who the FBI classify as terrorists, said:

“The immigration issue is the biggest problem we’re facing because it’s changing the face of our country. We see stuff in England and Spain like this. … They are turning those countries into a Third World ghetto.”

Well, I live in England, and he’s right!!! Here is the River Thames in Central London a few years back:

Here is the River Thames in Central London today:

Sad times.

The largest white supremacist group in America; Stormfront have a website with a forum, which includes systematic attacks on white jewish people. They appear to use “Jew” as a term of race. White, black, Jew. On a discussion about the economic crises, a member called “Crowstorm” whose nationality he has set as “Jewnited States of America” says this:

The problem is, Jews look White so when people see a Jew do evil, they don’t say “look at the evil Jew”… no, they say “look at that evil White man.

– It is an odd statement to make for a variety of reasons. First, a Jewish person is not the colour “Jewish“. It isn’t white, black, jew. If he’s a white man and Jewish, then he’s a white Jew. Jewish is not a race. But not just that, but race itself is not biological. It doesn’t exist. It is a fantasy. An abstraction. Like Nationality and Religion. All man made abstractions, meaningless nothingness used to create tension between low socio-economic groups to ensure disunity. If poor white people are blaming poor black people for all the trouble in New Orleans after Katrina hit, then their attention is on each other, and not on the very rich folk in Washington (both white and black) who washed their hands of the plight of anyone who isn’t a very wealthy lobbyist decades ago. And lastly, no one says “look at the evil white man”, because for the vast majority of people, race isn’t an issue; if you’re evil, I don’t care what colour you are.

Another quite extraordinary post on Stormfront was from a school teacher who taught apparently in black schools. Here are some of the quotes from it:

I was away about two minutes but when I got back, the black girls had lined up at the front of the classroom and were convulsing to the delight of the boys.

Many black people, especially women, are enormously fat.

Blacks, on average, are the most directly critical people I have ever met: “Dat shirt stupid. Yo’ kid a bastard. Yo’ lips big.” Unlike whites, who tread gingerly around the subject of race, they can be brutally to the point.

When a black wants to ask, “Where is the bathroom?” he may actually say “Whar da badroom be?”

Many black girls are perfectly happy to be welfare queens.

There is something else that is striking about blacks. They seem to have no sense of romance, of falling in love.

Pregnancy was common among the blacks, though many black girls were so fat I could not tell the difference.

My white students came back with generally “conservative” ideas. “We need to cut off people who don’t work,” was the most common suggestion. Nearly every black gave a variation on the theme of “We need more government services.” One black girl was exhorting the class on the need for more social services and I kept trying to explain that people, real live people, are taxed for the money to pay for those services. “Yeah, it come from whites,” she finally said. “They stingy anyway.”

It is impossible to get them to care about such abstractions as property rights or democratic citizenship.

– The “teacher” goes on to say he doesn’t understand why his black students think he his a racist. Surely it isn’t racist to think that black students are inherently lazy, fat, illiterate, racist, anti-democratic, communist sluts who just don’t understand why being indoctrinated in Conservative ideology is a wonderful learning experience and are incapable of love?

The days of burning crosses and wearing silly costumes are over. White supremacists tend now to fight their cause with mainstream language like “We just want to protect our children and live in a safe environment“, the language is manipulative because they are simply masking the fact that they blame anyone with slightly darken skin for why their neighborhood isn’t safe.

A study by the American economic review between July 2001 and May 2002 entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant.

Institutional racism is particularly subtle, and so less noticeable. If you are black, you are three times more likely to be pulled over in your car and searched for drugs than if you’re white, despite the fact that if you’re white, on the few occasions when you are pulled over you are four times more likely to have drugs on you. If you are white and you drive past the police without them pulling you over, you are experiencing the privilege of being white. The war on drugs then, is not a war on drugs, if it were, those statistics would be a hell of a lot different. The war on drugs would go where the drugs actually are, not where the people with dark skin are. It is a racist institution.

Christopher Columbus is hailed as the founder of America. He has a day named after him. It is not taught in any history class at American schools the true horror that started the day that Columbus found an island in the Lucayan Archipelago in the Bahamas that he named San Salvador, though it was actually already named, by the population who lived there, as Guanahani. Within years, Spanish adventurers had captured thousands of the native Taino population, enslaved them, and took their women captive as wives/sex slaves. The Spanish had utterly devastated the Taino population by the turn of the 16th Century. Epidemic disease brought by the Europeans was bad enough, but the Spanish settlers placed too much strain on local crop farmers, and the survival of the Spanish was considered more important than the survival of the Taino’s and so the food naturally ended up in the hands of the Spanish. Columbus when he landed, wrote of the natives:

“We can send from here, in the name of the Holy Trinity, all the slaves and Brazil wood which could be sold.”

– We know what he had planned. Nicolas Ovando, the governor of the Indies from 1501 to 1509, decided he needed to ensure the Taino’s knew their place once and for all. He did this by inviting the much loved Taino queen Anacoana and local tribal chiefs to a dinner to celebrate his governorship. When they were all in the room, the Spaniards set it on fire, killing most of those inside. The ones who got out, were tortured for days on end and then killed. Queen Anacoana was tortured and hung. By 1510, the Taino’s were virtually extinct.

To be honest, there really isn’t much you can celebrate about Columbus. Apart from bringing with him the biggest genocide in history, he was a rather simple man. He believed Cuba was in Asia, that he hadn’t discovered a new land, that the entire continent of South America was an Island, and to pay his debt to the Spanish crown he raped his way across Central America taking as many as 1200 women and children slaves for Europe; children who had, without a second thought, been stripped away from their families. But don’t take my word for, take it from the man himself:

“We shall take you and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault .”

I cannot think of a worse man to idolise.

Back to the present day, as if Stormfront and institutional racism and selective history aren’t enough to convince a person that racism is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, certain lovely little advertisements have deep racist connotations, still.

Aunt Jemima, a trademark for breakfast food owned by Quaker Oats is still going today. Aunt Jemima represents the notion of a good little black ex-slave girl who just loves her servile role as servant to a white middle class consumer.

Equally as subtle, is Uncle Ben’s rice. It would be ridiculous for a company now, to have as its fictional spokesperson, a black man using the name “Uncle” which was a term used by the children of white slave owners to refer to their slaves. If a newly formed rice company were to say “Well, you know that we white people used to ship Africans in to farm our rice fields, as slaves? Well why don’t we make our spokesmen black?” they would be lambasted as a hugely racist company. But Uncle Ben is a tradition, and so it appears acceptable, though the stereotype behind it perpetuates the racist sentiments it subtly encourages. This kind of subtle cultural racism has not gone unnoticed. In an episode of the Sopranos (the greatest show on TV) Tony warns a black guy away from his daughter. Tony then has an anxiety attack when he sees a packet of Uncle Ben’s.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh North Carolina, found that 46% of Republican voters in Mississippi think interracial marriage should be illegal. 14% said they weren’t sure. I cannot comprehend that number. It does indeed show that race is an issue, and especially with Republican voters. There is still the essence that the white race is superior and should be protected. This sentiment has found its outlet with the Tea Party movement of recent months. Whilst Glenn Beck spews his bullshit, insisting on top rated “news” channel that Obama has a deep seated hatred for the white race, his equally as vacant and mind numbingly moronic viewers stalk the streets with signs like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Now I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that the Tea Party is an inherently racist organisation, it is mainly a vehicle to promote the incoherent ramblings of an uneducated economically far right puritanical Republican group wholly run by Corporate America to advance its interest at the behest of even the idiots who indirectly fight for the rights of Corporate America, now slowly morphed to include racism as part of their base.

It is sad to see notion of race being such an issue in 21st Century America. One would have hoped that the social wedge of racism, placed to draw attention away from class and a deeply unequal wealth system would have crumbled away, or intellectually and politically dismembered for the disease that it is. Race is not real. Class is.