Late Night Thoughts: It’s Getting Ugly Out There

I’m not sure if this is going to give the President Republican or Independent creds or not but check this out.  I guess the hippies are bashing back.  First, the AFP is reporting that Peter Fonda is calling President Obama a “traitor” for his handling of BP.  Fonda is a big environmental activist.  He basically accused the administration of gagging scientists and the press and threw in some anglo-bashing while he was at it.

“I sent an email to President Obama saying, ‘You are a f(expletive) traitor,’ using those words… ‘You’re a traitor, you allowed foreign boots on our soil telling our military — in this case the coastguard — what they can and could not do, and telling us, the citizens of the United States, what we could or could not do’.”

The DC village is responding to the Cornel West hooplah with more hipster bashing.  Jonathan Capehart has upped West’s ante  by saying the West is no better than a birther.  The Washington Villagers are hammering back on both the Chris Hedges Truthdig interview and the Ed Schultz interview last night.

Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, knows that I have little patience for the “Blacker than thou” crowd. These are the self-appointed guardians of what it means to be black — a decidedly limited and ignorant perspective that has more to do with the accuser’s insecurities than the alleged transgressions of the accused. And the leader of the pack these days seems to be Dr. Cornel West. In an interview with the Web site Truthdig, the brilliant Princeton professor took off after President Obama in a manner that was myopic, offensive and embarrassingly petty.

Capehart reports on the Schultz interview as follows.. Be sure to check out this verbal body slam.

Challenging the president’s progressive credentials in that Truthdig interview, West slammed the president as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.” And then there was this:

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West said. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. . . . When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening.”

“Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folk who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive,” West said. “He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

Asked by MSNBC’s Ed Schultz last night to explain this, West doubled down by saying, “Obama has a predilection much more toward upper-middle-class white brothers and Jewish brothers.”

Okay, I’m just gonna let y’all discuss this.  It’s a free-for-all-late-night open thread.


57 Comments on “Late Night Thoughts: It’s Getting Ugly Out There”

  1. Seriously says:

    *shrugs* I feel like West had to have known he was opening himself up for pretty intense criticism by saying those things. He had to have known. Wonk shared some speeches or writing yesterday that were really on point–but, well, whether it’s true or not, saying O is so white-identified he fears Black men? Yeah, little controversial, likely. Specially because it was a pretty common trope during the primary that anyone who supported H over O lacked POC consciousness and was too white-identified. *shrugs again*

    • dakinikat says:

      The only vibe I’ve ever gonna off of Obama personally was big time preppie.

    • West knew what he was getting into…and he was being deliberately provocative imho. And, as I said before, I think Hedges muddied it with the way he presented it too. But I’ve written more than a few posts specifically about Obama fearing ordinary people. West’s saying the same thing, albeit provocatively.

      • Seriously says:

        Yeah, that makes sense. It’s not like any criticism of O is permitted, however judicious, so you might as well go for broke and get shouted down angrily when you’re going to get either shouted down or ignored however you approach it.

      • Yeah, as a general comment… these types of situations make me think of Mary Daly’s “there are and will be those who think I have gone overboard…” remarks.

        I dunno, I always think there’s a fine line there, though, where you risk crossing over the line and your own blindspots turn you into the hate/hypocrisy/etc you rail against and just alienate people instead of ever getting even just one person to reassess their previous assumptions. I understand though sometimes enough is enough and people just say to hell with it and just take the risk and let the chips fall where they will.

      • Seriously says:

        “where you risk crossing over the line and your own blindspots turn you into the hate/hypocrisy/etc you rail against and just alienate people instead of ever getting even just one person to reassess their previous assumptions”

        Oh for sure, but I think mostly being provocative plays better in trying to wake up a specific affected audience as opposed to a general audience. Sure, it’s alienating to the larger out group, but if it resonates with the smaller in-group, and actually helps to create an in-group where they don’t have that type of group consciousness going in and need it, maybe it’s worth it.

      • Right, deliberate provocation, if done right, has its payoffs… what I was saying, though, about alienating wasn’t about the larger group so much–they’d be alienated regardless–but the potential slice of the in-group that’s really almost there but kept subdued by peer pressure…if you’re not careful about your own blindspots then you’re bound to alienate the malleable subset and just push them back to the larger group. (Just as an easy concrete example of blindspots and such… Mary Daly and transphobia or her not responding to Audre Lorde’s open letter about women of color.)

        Not saying West has crossed that line yet, but…he might have done better without Hedges’ morality play starring Angel Cornel and Devil Rahm, the anecdote about his not getting a ticket to the inauguration, and the whole thread about Jews. It’s good to see him shaking things up, but there’s a trainwreck factor to all this nonetheless.

      • madamab says:

        I agree Wonk…West’s anti-Jewish overtones and Hedge’s morality play at the beginning (unbelievably off-base) turned me off big-time.

        However, to be real about it, he wasn’t speaking to me. I don’t think he mentioned women the entire time he was going on and on about “brothers.”

      • madaha says:

        yeah, the “brothers” thing turned me off, too. But other than not having any thoughts on his racial comments, the policy stuff he mentioned was right on. I think it’s great people are speaking out. I loved the Ted Rall article, especially.

      • madamab says:

        madaha, he was definitely right-on with the policy comments. It’s actually quite easy to attack him from that standpoint, like Ted Rall did. I hope more prominent lefties will be empowered to do the same.

      • WomanVoter says:

        madamab,

        No mention of women, Native Americans or Mexican Americans (The latter being the over looked or hidden groups as the narrative goes.).

        Also, Tavis Smiley said in an interview that the Hispanics got something, ‘immigration’ and what about jobs for the Black Community. I had to laugh, because they are actually helping create a myth, Obama gave a SPEECH and NOTHING more about immigration. Also, must Americans would have benefited from TRUE health care reform, instead of the money give away to the insurance companies and the rate hikes in the 90% and 200+% for young adults.

        When start comparing what others got, you end up making things up, in my humble opinion…

      • Though not in the Hedges interview, West often does the “sisters” thing along with his “brothers” thing.

        fwiw, it’s better than McCain calling us his friend and Obama telling us he’s going to be clear. 😉

      • Also, Tavis Smiley said in an interview that the Hispanics got something, ‘immigration’ and what about jobs for the Black Community.

        Woman Voter, got a link on that?

      • Seriously says:

        “Though not in the Hedges interview, West often does the “sisters” thing along with his “brothers” thing.”

        True, but (and I don’t mean West specifically, just in general) oh doesn’t that so often feel so obligatory, tacked on, after thought-y. 😉

        “but the potential slice of the in-group that’s really almost there but kept subdued by peer pressure…if you’re not careful about your own blindspots then you’re bound to alienate the malleable subset and just push them back to the larger group”

        Definitely, but then of course you always have that dance of trying to balance those who are almost there but have peer pressure and no trust versus those who are sort of already there but still have the potential to drop away entirely because they don’t have trust either based on their experiences with the larger group and fairly or unfairly tend to see familiar patterns. It’s incredibly complicated to navigate when you have two sides with valid concerns and understandably divided loyalties.

        “Not saying West has crossed that line yet, but…he might have done better without Hedges’ morality play starring Angel Cornel and Devil Rahm, the anecdote about his not getting a ticket to the inauguration, and the whole thread about Jews. It’s good to see him shaking things up, but there’s a trainwreck factor to all this nonetheless.”

        Yeah, absolutely. Don’t even know where to start on that. Maybe he had his reasons for going down the path of the more personal angle as it obviously matters to him despite knowing it’s going to completely distract from his message, but the other stuff, gah.

        • Seriously @ 6:01

          “Though not in the Hedges interview, West often does the “sisters” thing along with his “brothers” thing.”

          True, but (and I don’t mean West specifically, just in general) oh doesn’t that so often feel so obligatory, tacked on, after thought-y. 😉

          Indeed, and kinda stagy I’d add. My friends… brothers and sisters… let me be clear… we have always been at war with Easter! Lol. Verbal tics R Us.

          But yeah, not necessarily with West specifically… I guess ’cause I’ve heard him actually say Sister with a capital S to specific women (e.g. Sister Hillary, as in Clinton), his comes across less afterthoughty to me, but still it’s no Brother Sun, Sister Moon 😉

  2. jillforhill says:

    This is going to get good.

    There is a rapper name Lupe Fiasco, who wrote a song calling Obama a corporate sellout and about other things like the banks and the wars. There is a line in the song that goes I will not vote for Obama this time because I didn’t the first time. He is getting some hate for this.

    • dakinikat says:

      It’s possible that this will make him more interesting to independents in the middle of the road. All I can say is at least he’d lose the liberal label. Obama has always struck me as mostly Republican.

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey you want more Hippie bashing: The US Catholic Church is blaming the Hippie Love Ins for their priest molesting children.

    US Catholic Church study blames 1960s permissiveness for rise in sexual abuse | World news | guardian.co.uk

    A report on the child abuse scandal in the US Catholic Church has provoked condemnation for concluding that the permissive society of the 1960s was to blame for the rise in sexual offences by priests.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah, I saw that. I’m was born a WASP so I’m not even going to go there because I don’t know the culture but I’d say that smacks of a gross rationalization.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Here’s more backlash aimed at West from The Nation.

        In a self-aggrandizing, victimology sermon deceptively wrapped in the discourse of prophetic witness, Professor West offers thin criticism of President Obama and stunning insight into the delicate ego of the self-appointed black leadership class that has been largely supplanted in recent years.

        West begins with a bit of historical revision. West suggests that the President discarded him without provocation after he offered the Obama for America campaign his loyal service and prayers. But anyone with a casual knowledge of this rift knows it began during the Democratic primary not after the election. It began, not with a puffed up President, but when Cornel West’s “dear brother” Tavis Smiley threw a public tantrum because Senator Obama refused to attend Smiley’s annual State of Black America. Smiley repeatedly suggested that his forum was the necessary black vetting space for the Democratic nominees. He needed to ask Obama and Clinton tough questions so that black America could get the answers it needed. But black America was doing a fine job making up its own mind in the primaries and didn’t need Smiley’s blessing to determine their own electoral preferences. Indeed, when Smiley got a chance to hold candidate Clinton “accountable” he spent more time fawning over her than probing about her symbolic or substantive policy stances that impacted black communities. Fiercely loyal to his friend, Professor West chose sides and began to undermine candidate Obama is small and large ways. Candidate Obama ceased calling West back because he was in the middle of a fierce campaign and West’s loyalties were, at best, divided. I suspect candidate Obama did not trust his “dear brother” to keep the campaign secrets and strategies. I also suspect he was not inaccurate in his hesitancy.

        Bla, bla, bla. Anyone who defends Obama is defending torture, assassination, and sucking up to Wall St.

      • Seriously says:

        Damn, that seems unnecessarily harsh and personal, especially about Tavis (and throwing in the obligatory gratuitous Hill digs, of course). So I guess we’re back to throwing everyone wholesale under the bus for the glorification of Obama, thanks Nation! This is starting to remind me of how everybody had to agree that Cousin Pookie and Ray-Ray are irresponsible parents who feed their kids cold Popeye’s for breakfast, because O’s bs must be validated, not contradicted!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Seriously,

        It seems to validate what the Black Agenda Report has been saying for a long time. Obama has effectively neutered Black leaderhship for the foreseeable future. Now they’re quibbling among themselves over a President who has done nothing to help African Americans in general.

      • Seriously says:

        BAR’s pretty much always right, but it probably goes even farther than that. O’s neutralized just about everybody for the foreseeable future, I think. So many so-called liberal “leaders” went so deep into the cult of personality hivemind that they’ll never be able to climb down gracefully. Where will it end? They’ll be quibbling about his policies’ impact for years to come, but even more than that if we could get a Real Dem in, they’re likely to oppose reversing anything he endorsed, no matter how reactionary, because it all bears his personal imprint. Everyone is so co-opted they don’t even know where they end and he begins.

      • dakinikat says:

        I just remember my friend CJ saying he better be all that and a box of Godiva or there’d be no black’s in top leadership for some time. She followed that up with the bet that there was probably no that or chocolate. We were all knee deep with Nagin at the moment and thinking there was a lot of similarities there.

      • jawbone says:

        BostonBoomer, it anything, West has been saying these things for awhile, but is now getting attention. (I heard him on some program he does with Tavis Smiley on the radio.) Getting attention now is interesting in itself, come to think about it. Why now?

        He was very much for Obama back in the primaries and supported him throughout the general election, was very verbal and active in supporting him. Black Agenda Report, on the other hand, was raising the alarm about Obama as a Corporatist from before his entering the Dem primary. But, now, they’re both singing from same hymnal.

        I was thinking this gives people in the black community a way to raise their questions about Obama, if they have them. Remember the black woman who, prior to the 2010 election, told Obama she was exhausted from protecting him, from waiting for him to do something herself did shortly thereafter.) I thought she was amazingly brave. From what I recall, she did not get a lot heat from the black community. I could be wrong on that.

        West talking about this may make it OK for blacks to talk about what has probably been bothering some to many of them. Because there sure hasn’t been much action from Obama to help any the economically downtrodden.

        And, as was mentioned above, Obama and his handlers probably don’t mind letting white independents see that he ignored Cornel West and pretty much told him through his actions that he wanted him under the bus along with all the liberals and lefties. That may play well with some white voters.

        But…who knows? I sure don’t get any bucks, much less big ones, for advice to politicians.

    • Seriously says:

      I knew someone who knew someone who worked at a facility for priests and nuns with mental health issues a while ago, and they were supposedly like superstrong and they could never turn their backs on them because they were always trying to get at you sexually, and they’d just sit around muttering obscene things. The person concluded that sexual repression does not lead to a healthy psyche. 🙂

      • Branjor says:

        No sexual contact is generally the rule at mental health facilities, which does wonders for people with sexual repression issues.

    • WomanVoter says:

      I just watched a news cast, posted on Twitter and they are reporting that Gloria Allred is representing a ‘Groped’ woman and that the house staffer was going to go public and Arnold Schwarzenegger FIRED her! I hear ATTORNEY…Labor Commission etc.

      OH, and don’t anyone fall down…he is planning a Senate run and I guess he is hoping for the Republicans to Amend the Constitution of the United States so he can be the Groper Prez! The man has an EGO!

    • jawbone says:

      The cartoon is funny–but I don’t think today’s Ahnuld really thinks he needs to kick his younger, randy self in any way.

      If he loses his wife, he’ll get another whenever he wants one. Or any number of flings. Power and money and celebrity still makes for a strong attractant.

  4. jillforhill says:

    He had two sons 4 and 5. There were bullet holes everywhere.

    “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department will release no more information about the circumstances surrounding the killing of Jose Guerena during the serving of a search warrant by the department’s SWAT officers May 5 at his home.

    Two weeks after the shooting the department has yet to disclose exactly what they were searching for in the Guerena home …

    On May 5, five members of the SWAT team fired 71 shots at Guerena while serving a search warrant at the 7100 block of South Redwater Drive. He was shot 60 times.

    The 26-year-old former Marine was sleeping at about 9:30 a.m. after working the graveyard shift at Asarco’s Mission Mine when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and saw a man was at their window.”

    http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_13c1bf16-80b6-11e0-87f1-001cc4c002e0.html

    • jillforhill says:

      “On May 5, five members of the SWAT team fired 71 shots at Guerena while serving a search warrant at the 7100 block of South Redwater Drive. He was shot 60 times.
      The 26-year-old former Marine was sleeping at about 9:30 a.m. after working the graveyard shift at Asarco’s Mission Mine when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and saw a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.

      Guerena did not fire a shot and his gun had the safety on, deputies said, after initially saying he had fired on the SWAT officers.”

    • paper doll says:

      Two weeks after the shooting the department has yet to disclose exactly what they were searching for in the Guerena home

      jesus

  5. jillforhill says:

    youtube of the news coverage

  6. paper doll says:

    “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”

    Hey I agree with that!

    “I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West said. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white.

    oh HONESTLY… you know somehow I don’t think Obama fears being a white man with black skin. I think he fears the GOP won’t like him alot more

    • dm says:

      I read that interview yesterday…best laugh of the day. West’s story of the ‘personal’ betrayal was especially yummy, cause that is exactly how I have perceived Obama to be from other articles I have read through the years. I believe there are some prominent AA’s who have been grossly disillusioned and are perhaps now willing to speak out. As far as the Wall Street comment, I just read an article a couple of days ago about the Obama’s wealth and how it has grown since in the White House. They came in with roughly over 1 mil in assets…they’ve invested in the Treasury and apparently are now in the 10-12 mil range…wow, wish my 401 was doing that well.

    • The point about fear of being a white man with black skin is weirdly stated. Not even sure what it’s supposed to mean. It reminds me of Andrew Sullivan calling Obama GHWBush/temperamental WASP president though.

      You’re right that he fears the GOP, paperdoll… but I’d just add that Obama fears/respects/responds to power period.

      Ordinary people have that power too if they would rise up and stop giving Obama support for nothing.

      • Sophie says:

        The point about fear of being a white man with black skin is weirdly stated. Not even sure what it’s supposed to mean.

        It means that even though his skin is genetically not white, his upbringing was white, his culture is white, his world view is white. He has absolutely nothing in common with what is called the “Black American Experience.” He wasn’t part of the civil rights movement and it does not inform his opinions.

      • Sophie, I understand about him being culturally white and not sharing the black experience, that’s not a new criticism of him. I don’t think that’s what the phrase “_fear_ being a white man with black skin” communicates though. *If anything*, Obama seems to think “being a white man with black skin” is his gift to humanity or something.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          Suburban Guerrilla » Blog Archive » Attacking Cornel West

          Check this out from Suzie Madrak.

          American callers responded by talking about their personal pain over Obama’s economic policies, yet feeling compelled to defend him as America’s first black president — and not quite knowing how to do both. Every caller made clear that this is a visceral point.

          It’s also notable that class is still the dividing line. The most heated defense of Obama in the black online community seems to come from high-status professionals (or students studying for high-status jobs), people who see him as a peer. The people who called into Mark’s show? They’re living from paycheck to paycheck. That perspective makes a difference.

      • People don’t want Rush Limbaugh to succeed in making “the first black president” a failure. That IS visceral, and not just for Obama supporters.

        But it is absolutely doable to criticize Obama without enabling the rightwing and giving them ammo: just criticize him *from the left.*

        All it takes is commitment to principles.

  7. quixote says:

    I’m with dakinikat. The only vibe I’ve ever gotten from Obama is hanger-on-who-wants-to-sit-with-the-Biggest-Boyz. I’m not sure preppie is the right word. He’s more like the toadies orbiting aristocrats. Toadies who’d give both kidneys to be old money and not to feel like outsiders. (I think bostonboomer had a post about this a year or so ago?)

    I think that’s what Cornel West is feeling. He only says it differently.

    Of course they go screaming yellow zonkers over that. The absolute worst thing you can do to a pretender is point out the pretense.

    • I think that’s what Cornel West is feeling. He only says it differently.

      Quixote, didn’t see this last night. Great comment. ITA.

    • paper doll says:

      I think Cornel West does feel betrayed. But much of what he’s said and is still saying , is speaking about a made up Obama he has concocted from his own wants and needs … Wonk’s mentioning of Andrew Sullivan and Bush is on point … Cornel and Andy are talking to themselves about a dream person they made up. And then they are astonished when the actual person acts not in accordance with their wishes .

      and I will say once you make it so a President cannot fail…you make that failure more likely. kind of like banks that are too big to fail

      • jawbone says:

        Obama’s whole campaign strategy was to allow people to “make up” an Obama they wanted in the WH.

        After getting to know him better, many now realize with strong buyer’s remorse that they were had.

  8. Branjor says:

    Mary Daly and….her not responding to Audre Lorde’s open letter about women of color.)

    Just to set the record striaght, Mary Daly did answer Lorde’s letter. See p. 252 of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis De Veaux, Lorde’s hand picked biographer. There was a 4 month delay between Daly’s getting the letter and her answering it, but Lorde spent the rest of her life lying about it. The letter from Mary Daly to Audre Lorde was found among Lorde’s papers by her biographer after her (Lorde’s) death.

    • I actually did know about the private letter, Branjor. I should have been more precise and talked about her reluctance to respond publicly and her (imho non-response) response in Outercourse later on, but I was trying to be brief on that and not to get too sidetracked.

      A lot of Daly’s work is compelling, but trans issues and women of color were blindspots for her. We all have our blindspots

  9. fiscalliberal says:

    We need to remember that as a senator, Obama was given the chair of the Europe Forign Affairs. This was unusual for a first term senator.

    The record says that he never held a meeting of the subcommittee. — no accomplishments. One might even say that he is lazy in nature.

    Now Obama is trying to run middle east policy with out any diplomatic experience.

    It is time for the pundits to stop the adulation.

    • jawbone says:

      And I read yesterday that George Mitchell quit as envoy because he was undermined by Obama naming Dennis Ross as a top assistant to Mitchell. Ross refused to meet with the Palestinians. Period.

      Now I have to try to find where I read that….

  10. foxyladi14 says:

    and he wants to give them all more money that we don’t have 😆

  11. Pilgrim says:

    “lazy in nature” — I think so

  12. Pilgrim says:

    Minkoff referenced a quote that stated that “class is still the dividing line”

    I totally agree. It’s the point Shirley Sharrod tried to make.

  13. Branjor says:

    Love that tie dye.