Tag Archive for Newt Gingrich

Racism run amok. Where is the “dream”?

Martin Luther King Jr National Memorial | Photo credit: Tom LeGro/PBS NewsHour

Martin Luther King Jr National Memorial | Photo credit: Tom LeGro/PBS NewsHour

At the January 10th Longmont City Council meeting Mayor Dennis Coombs and the City Council designated the week of January16 through 20, 2012, as ‘Honoring Dr. Martin L. King Week’ in Longmont, Colorado. The proclamation honors Dr. Martin L. King’s legacy to continue furthering the cause for civil rights, social justice, diversity and inclusion. The Civil Rights Movement left lasting benefits for us all and it is important that this legacy be passed on to the next generation right here in Longmont.

It stipulated in part that “WHEREAS, January 16, 2012, marks the Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., holiday, in which we honor the Civil Rights work of Dr. King and the countless supporters who sacrificed to sow seeds for a movement of peace, equality and justice for all. We commemorate the universal unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.”

Yet in spite of the legacy left to our nation by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., racism was celebrated by Newt Gingrich and the South Carolina Republican Debate audience last weekend. Could there have been a greater slap in the face to the heritage of King’s accomplishments with his commemorative birthday just hours away.

Gingrich’s relegation of poor children to janitorial duties, the supposed lack of work ethic in the African-American community and the incessant references to the nation’s first black president in language that casts him an someone other an a genuine American is stomach churning. And the South Carolina audiences indisputable venom in applauding this racist likely got similar cheers from “sympathetic” audiences watching at home.

People of all colors have suffered because of the robbery of the financial industry that sent this nation into a tailspin, barely averting a second Great Depression. Those who caused the near economic collapse to this day have refused to accept responsibility for their actions and lack of moral character.

The damage wrought has affected the African-American community in far greater numbers and in even more severe circumstances. A recent email from former U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL), and who is again running for that office, placed the African-American situation in perspective.

“In America, whites have 20 times the wealth of African-Americans. So says census data.

Not 20% more. Not twice as much. Twenty times as much. Specifically, the median household wealth for whites in 2009 was $113,149, and the median household wealth for African-Americans was $5,677.

When I heard this a few months ago, it was not entirely news to me. When I was in Congress, I read the reports that the Federal Reserve sent to Members; to me, that was interesting reading. In the appendix to one of those Fed reports, from a survey of respondents selected in 2007, these numbers caught my eye:

White, non-Hispanic households – $149,900

Hispanic and African-American households – $23,300

So from $149,900 down to $113,149, and from $23,300 (including Hispanics) down to $5,677. These numbers confirm just how hard the Great Recession has whacked minority households.

But there is a deeper issue. Can someone please explain to me how, in a country where we are told again and again that we are ‘all created equal,’ one group ends up with 20 times as much as another?

MLK’s dream was that his four young children would ‘one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’ What are we supposed to think – that one group has twenty times as much character as another?

In the face of incredible numbers like these, you will still find right-wingers who insist that America is now a color-blind society (except for the scourge of ‘reverse racism’). But the numbers tell a different story. They suggest that America is not a color-blind society, but rather a racism-blind society.

And ask yourself: when has any elected official, ANY elected official, ever discussed this inconvenient truth, and tried to discern what should be done about it? Why is there a veil of silence over such a salient, central fact about the country we all share?

But here we are, 49 years later, his ‘four young children’ as old as I am, and one of them already gone from us.

And I have to say, about that dream of equality that he had, it’s still just a dream.

Just a dream.”

Cory Gardner and friends cause “dust up”

In his zeal to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency, Cory Gardner (R), Longmont’s congressional representative, created a dust-up over non-existent regulation of farm dust by the EPA.

In spite of EPA assurances that it had no plans for such regulation, the House went ahead with the vote.

Representative Diane DeGette compared the vote to the House of Representatives walking “into Alice’s Wonderland.”

And if that wasn’t sufficient, Gardner appears to have jumped on the Newt Gingrich bandwagon over child labor. Gardner, also on Thursday, authored a letter asking Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to halt proposed rules that would ban children on farms from participating in a variety of activities including operating a tractor, applying pesticides and working with livestock.

I often say of Colorado’s conservatives that they have one foot in the 1950s and the other in the 19th century. If ever proof was definitive, Gardner’s desire to put kids to work on farms sure meets that test.

Read more on the Beltway Blog.

Newt??? You’ve Gotta Be Kidding!

The Republican primary contest has been a highly amusing comedy of errors as first one and then another of a large group of misfits step forward onto the stage and do a series of prat falls that would make the old-time silent movie comedians proud. First, Herman Cain swept to the front of the pack in the opinion polls. Then a series of sexual harassment cases fell out of his closet and he began to lose a bit of his luster. Now, he seems to have suffered an intense amnesia in feeble attempts to reply to policy questions. The “heroic” former governor of Texas assumed that he would inherit the job so recently left by that hurricane of public policy, George W. Bush, and he soared like an eagle until he was felled by a black rock and lost his memory. Meanwhile, the old standby, Mitt Romney, peripatetic candidate for president, stand by once again, seeming to find it best to keep his mouth shut inasmuch as each opening of that orifice results in a charge of “flip-flopping.”

Eye of newt? Sounds like (more) witchcraft from the GOP

Now, the American people are being treated to another “front-runner,” none other than the indefatigable Newt Gingrich! This man was once the Speaker of the House but there was a little glitch. Just as they were preparing to impeach Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, it was learned that he was himself enjoying a wee fling with his own gorgeous secretary. This, of course, required his resignation as well as those of a couple of predecessors before a new Speaker was found who appeared to possess skirts that were clean enough. This resignation allowed him to be safely out of office before the investigation into the activities of Jack Abramoff.

Not happy with his lot as a happily-married, rich-and-getting-richer “advisor” to the firms affected by the activities of Congress, he has decided that he is suited for the presidency. And the movers-and-shakers of the party, counting on the recurrent amnesia of the voters, seem to have agreed. At first, it was such a crazy idea that laughter would seem appropriate. However, politics has not been funny for a very long time now. It is deadly serious and, if we did not eat George Bush’s mushrooms and we can remember further back than yesterday, this possibility is entirely sobering. As a reminder, Newt Gingrich is the same man who suggested that the answer to the problems with funding welfare would be to put all the children into orphanages. Those who cannot afford to support their children shouldn’t be allowed to have them. Shocking and abhorrent? Stay tuned! Now this paragon of virtue has a new answer for the shortages in educational funding. It is so simple on the face of it that somebody of limited intelligence just might take it seriously.

In a recent speech he said that the problem could be solved by “firing the union janitors and hiring the kids to clean the schools!” This would “teach them how to work.” This hare-brained solution was posited in a recent speech which was documented by Burns and Halberman in Politico.com. Yep, same ole Newt. The frightening part is that there will be some Republicans dumb enough to vote for him! You doubt it? They elected George Bush, didn’t they?

This writer is an octogenarian who has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family.  She spends her “Sunset Years” in writing and struggling with The System.

A message to SOME Republicans

I watched a video clip this afternoon. It gave me a type of hope I have not felt in a very long time.

I have watched the Republican Party for decades. I’ve seen it descend further and further into viciousness and selfishness.

Once before in my lifetime the Republican Party marched head long in that direction. It was during the era of the communist witch hunt, the era that sported the name of its visible symbol – McCarthyism. It was an era that birthed the resurgence of American plutocracy.

One Republican had the insight, the foresight, the decency to say NO. That man was a Republican President. He turned on Joseph McCarthy and his House Un-American Activities Committee. He warned of the coming power of the military-industrial complex. His name was Dwight Eisenhower.

Despite the evil harbored in the man of Richard Nixon, despite his personality disorders, despite the foundation he laid for the current conservative party, the march off the conservative cliff was slowed. Even Nixon signed into law progressive policies. He signed the National Environmental Policy Act. He signed the Clean Air Act. He instituted OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although he gave lip service to the Equal Rights Amendment for women, he was personally pro-choice. He signed the Supplemental Security Income Program into law, an anti-poverty program that still exists today.

The election of Ronald Reagan, and all the Republican Presidents that have followed, and the take-over of Congress in 1994 by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, and so many others, committed the nation to a hideous transformation. Its Constitution slowly and steadily began to be redefined into something unrecognizable by decent, honest and compassionate people.

I have wondered if this descent into national hell had any hope of being stopped. But today I listened to a Republican in the Colorado Senate. The honest and heartfelt speech of Senator Jean White on civil unions made me think of the question asked of McCarthy. In that case it was an accusation. The question – Have you no decency? Today the answer was YES. This Republican went against the fierce inhumanity of her party.

Listen and watch this video. And when you are finished, I ask Republicans who are still capable of hearing to “come out of the shadows,” and to reject the party that shames our nation. Help the rest of us to reclaim a nation still worth reclaiming.