The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

This Week’s Reading

It’s been quite a week for blogging here. At the start of the week, I didn’t expect to be writing about any of the stuff I actually did. Somewhere in the midst of all that writing, I managed to do some reading too, and Here’s some of the best stuff I read.

Bruce at Crablaw has post about how fascism starts, which covers an event I read about and had intended to blog about, but didn’t get a chance to.

When fascism takes over a society, fascism does not send every citizen/subject a certified letter noting the suspension of freedom of speech and of assembly and an option to opt out of the class of victimized slaves, as if it were a class action suit for an over charge on your cell phone bill.

And people tell me I am crazy and paranoid for being concerned about the rise of theocratic politics and an intrusive state.

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Meanwhile Prometheus links to a Guardiani article that sounds the same warning Bruce does in his post.

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are “at war” in a “long war” – a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president – without US citizens realising it yet – the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions – and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the “what ifs”.

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Jill, at Brilliant at Breakfast, posts a letter from a soldier that ought to make Laura Bush think twice about who “suffers the most.”

How do I dare say this to you moronic war supporters who are “Supporting our Troops” and waving the flag and all that happy horse shit? I’ll tell you why. I’m a Marine and I served my tour in Iraq. My husband, also a Marine, served several. I left the service six months ago because I got pregnant while he was home on leave and three days ago I get a visit from two men in uniform who hand me a letter and tell me my husband died in that fucking festering sand-pit. He should have been home a month ago but they extended his tour and now he’s coming home in a box.

You fuckers and that god-damn lying sack of shit they call a president are the reason my husband will never see his baby and my kid will never meet his dad.

And you know what the most fucked up thing about this Iraq shit is? They don’t want us there. They’re not happy we came and they want us out NOW. We fucked up their lives even worse than they already were and they’re pissed off. We didn’t help them and we’re not helping them now. That’s what our soldiers are dying for.

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I’ve already said my bit about the “now is not the time” refrain, so I’ll just agree with what Lindsey said.

Trying to enforce an arbitrary line between “human” and “political” responses to tragedies is a political strategy in its own right.

Remember the intense pressure to avoid “politicizing” 9/11? I’m talking about the taboo against criticizing the president that went virtually unchallenged in the mainstream media for years after the attacks. The real effect of the taboo was not to keep our reactions to the tragedy pure. When we shut down serious discussion and debate, we ceded interpretation of our history to the Bush administration. We let them own it. Those who wanted to keep the reaction to 9/11 “above” politics ensured the ultimate politicization of the event. If we had challenged the president from the beginning, he might not have been able to use 9/11 to goad us into war.

The administration loves to shield itself from criticism by accusing its opponents of “politicizing” some gaffe or scandal, or “exploiting” some monumental failure for political gain. It seems like a lot of Americans, liberal and conservative, are still taking their cues from Bush in this regard.

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Skeptical Brotha picks out Harold Ford’s gutless statement on the Imus controversy as proof he was right about Ford all along.

The Whore understands how power operates in this society and in whose interests. Ours is a capitalist society that comes with all of the attendant drawbacks and moral compromises, which stratify our society along, racial and class lines. He understands that for him to ascend to higher office, he must first genuflect to power and service it better than a crackhead ho on his knees. Dr. Michael Parenti, author of “Land of Idols” has eloquently written, “The problem with capitalism is that it best rewards the worst part of us: the ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, acquisitive drives, giving little reward and often much punishment-or at least much handicap-to honesty, compassion, fair play, many forms of hard work, love of justice, and a concern for those in need.”

Ruthless, competitive, conniving, opportunistic, and acquisitive are all adjectives, which couldn’t be better in describing the essential character of the Whore. In short, he loves the game and doesn’t give two sh$ts about anybody but himself. Ain’t no way in hell he intends to be sidetracked by compassion or pushing some good-government crap designed to help those in need.

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Speaking of “bling” Sonya over at Make It Plain has some trouble swallowing rapper Cam’ron “no snitching” ethic.

Excuse me for a moment while I gag.

Ethics? I call it moral bankruptcy. Inordinate selfishness. Absolute ignorance. What has taken hold of the psyche of a significant number of black people is a pathology so profound that it defies all logic and understanding.

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Meanwhile Jasmyne details her love/hate relationship with hip-hop.

What I find interesting is the poll results from my question on who’s to blame for the degrading lyrics in hip-hop, the labels, artists, or the consumers. Apparently, from my poll, it’s the consumers, which quite frankly is where I am at with the whole issue as well.

I’ve spoken to many people who say, don’t discount the label executives in all of this, and believe me, I don’t. But I think at the end of the day, they sign artists that can market and that they know we will buy. Then I get the line about white kids being the number one consumer of hip-hop. Yeah, okay, I guess. I think that as Black people we are still the trendsetters. If we don’t like, they don’t like it. We buy music too. On any corner in parts of Los Angeles I can get 3 CDs for $5. They must not be counting the black market, no pun intended, in their counts. I know we buy it because everyday I am in my car I end on the side of someone bumping it.

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Professor Kim posted about a rapper who spoke with her about sexism in hip-hop.

At the same time, Rahzel maintained that rappers who speak of women in derogatory terms have a right to do that, specifically if that reflects their life experience. He said that it doesn’t reflect his experience, and he doesn’t talk about women that way. Like many hard-core rappers, however, he says that he has experienced the hardships of urban life — including homelessness and hunger — but he always knew that life had something better to offer him. He said like the chance to “bring a Young Jeezy or TI to my world.” He also said that while artists have a right to say what they want, radio and televisions should restrict the broadcast of mature content to the hours when children are not likely to be watching.

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And just because I came across some stuff while “YouTube-ing” late last night, here’s a bit more about sexism and homophobia in hip hop, via Beyond Beats & Rhymes.

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