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Charlottesville Reality

Charlottesville Reality

Everyone has seen the awful events that took place in Charlottesville Virginia (8/12/17). Neo-Nazi, anti-semitic, alt-right racist planned an attack on our country and carried it out. Lives were lost, people were injured, and those of us who watched these things happen on the news were horrified. Our president Donald Trump made a statement immediately after the attacks and refused to call these attacks terrorism and refused to denounce the alt-right white supremacists by name. Some people were shocked by his comments, and a lot of people are still hoping he will denounce these hate groups by name. I do not share this hope. I am happy he didn’t denounce these hate groups, and here’s why.

President Trump hired a leader in the alt-right white supremacist movement and made him a senior advisor (Steve Bannon). There are many more like Steve Bannon who work in Trump’s administration with very close ties to hate groups and a well documented history of their racist beliefs. Most of the people who consider themselves a part of Trump’s base are well aware of the people Trump has chosen to surround himself with. They are aware of Trump’s racist well established world view (Central Park 5, housing discrimination, birtherism, Islamophobia, staffing choices in his casinos and hotels, encouraging police brutality, Judge Curiel, etc).

Charlottesville Reality

They got an earful of it at every Trump rally. The nastier the rhetoric, the louder they cheered. He didn’t try to hide his racist views so it always puzzled me why establishment Republicans believed this was an act that would go away after he took the oath of office. As if putting his hand on the Bible would change the ways of a 70 year old man.

This is why I believe his supporters who are holding out hope that he’ll make another statement with a more forceful unequivocal denunciation of the neo-Nazi white supremacist hate groups, aren’t really hoping he has seen the error in his beliefs and the hate in his heart. What they are hoping for is plausible deniability. They want to pretend they are unaware of Trump’s bigoted views. They want to pretend their support of him has nothing to do with him being a racist. They want to continue ignoring the background of his advisors. They want to continue to believe that his win in 2016 had nothing to do with race. They want to continue to believe that political correctness and not race are the real problems we’re facing right now. Events like Charlottesville rips away that cover. President Trump’s non-denouncement of specific hate groups that took the lives of Americans shines a light on something that was there all along. We have a racist president with racist views who will always sympathize with people and groups who have beliefs similar to his own.

That’s why I hope he doesn’t try to walk-back his statement about “hate on both sides”. From this point on, his supporters must be honest about why they thought he would “make America great again”. Or at the very least stop acting surprised and outraged at his behavior whenever that shield of deniability slips and gives us another peek at the bigot behind it. #Charlottesville #altRightWhiteHouse #SociallyUrban

Game Of Thrones Change

HBO’s biggest hit Game of Thrones just debuted the first episode of their 7th season this past Sunday.  I was a huge fan of the show from the very start.  I was hooked from the very beginning way back in 2011.  Before watching that first episode I hadn’t even heard of the book series.  I was a Game of Thrones newbie totally unaware of all the major plot twist, scandalous palace intrigue, and jaw-dropping cliffhangers.  Given how popular the books were I’m shocked I’ve managed to avoid spoilers (knock on wood).  For those who are loyal readers of my blog I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with politics.  This isn’t a review of the series and I wouldn’t waste your time by posting a blog just to gush about how great Game of Thrones is.  For me writing helps organize my thoughts flesh out ideas and find meaning within that process.  That’s exactly what I’m doing with this post.

After watching the first episode of season 7 I decided to go back to season one and watch it from the very beginning to see things I missed and to help remember some of the things I had forgotten.

Game of thrones change

King Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark

When I got to episode 7 of season 1 where King Robert Baratheon gets fatally injured during a hunting trip and names Eddard Stark as his successor, I was shocked at how differently I viewed the actions of Stark now in 2017 than I did in 2011.

Stark was the moral, always do the right thing type of character who believed in honor and fairness. His unflinching morality blinded him to the snakes and backstabbers who we’re all around him. When he was advised to take action immediately and order the detention of the dead King’s son and the king’s conniving wife before they try to grab the throne, nobel intentioned Stark refused to take the advice. He thought a written and signed letter by the recently dead King naming him (Stark) as his successor was good enough to protect him and he’d take the throne with no problems.

Watching it in 2017 I thought to myself, what a naive idiot.  If he wasn’t willing to spill blood and use his power to imprison the conspirators, he doesn’t deserve to sit on the throne and rule the 7 kingdoms.  Then I remembered how much I liked his character when I first watched this episode in 2011. Game of Thrones changeI admired him for doing the right thing and not stooping to the level of the evil Lannisters.  Even though his inaction eventually lead to his death I respected his decisions.  After realizing how much my view of him changed I wanted to know why.  What happened between 2011 and 2017?  What caused such a dramatic shift?  Then it came to me. Politics.

In 2011 Barack Obama was president and I was very optimistic about the President’s agenda and his ability to enact the ideas he campaigned on.  A black family living in the White House was very inspirational to me.  Then 2016 happened and winter finally came.  Trump vs Hillary was the most negative, dirty, and divisive presidential campaign I have ever witnessed.  Trump’s message was ugly, disingenuous, unpresidential, narcissistic and at times blatantly racist.  The lower he sunk Republicans seemed to cheer even louder. I just knew Hillary would win.  I thought there was no way Americans would reward his lies and nastiness by giving him the White House.  After I was proven wrong I think I became a lot more cynical and pessimistic about everything. Not just in politics, I mean everything everything.  When you’re disillusioned in that way you have to rethink your worldview to make sense of it all.  That’s why my opinion of Eddard Stark’s character changed so much.

Who knows how much of this is temporary.  I’m hoping after Trump’s term is up, America will come to it’s senses and elect someone who’s qualified for the job with a working (and frequently consulted) moral compass. I hope it’s enough to restore my faith in humanity.  I’ll let you know in 2020 after I rewatch season 1 episode 7 of Game of Thrones sometime after the election.

…to be continued.

Truth And Patriotism

This truth and patriotism post is a discussion that took place on a forum I participated in. The fact that it took place on Independence Day was purely coincidental, but the unintended relevance of the holiday is the reason I decided to share it with you. This person’s comment I responded to was talking about his dislike of President Obama and what fueled that dislike. The screenshot is his comment and my response to him is below the screenshot.

Truth And Patriotism

I’m not challenging your assertion that President Obama’s race had nothing to do with your disagreements with him on policy. I don’t know you and I can’t see what’s in your head, so I’ll take your word on that. But I do have to challenge your assertion that our country was built on “self-pride, self-support, and self-respect”. That is definitely not true. This country was built on the blood of slaves and kept afloat with the generational subjugation and oppression of the offspring slavery produced. Jim Crow laws and legislation that purposely disenfranchised African-Americans created a system of government where African-Americans were free on paper but oppressed by law. To pretend those facts don’t exist does a disservice to history which dooms us to repeat those atrocities and blinds us to the inequalities that still exist.

I have no problem with displays of patriotism and those who take pride in the greatness of America. But I believe owning up to America’s shortcomings can be a form of patriotism where we can all marvel at and take pride in how far we’ve come. That’s exactly what the founding fathers meant when they wrote about forming a more perfect union in our Constitution. To do that we must acknowledge the past and never ever stop working to make things better for the next generation.

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

Impeach Trump NOW

We’re at the 56 day mark for President Trump’s first term in office. We all knew this wasn’t going to be a traditional presidency and from watching Trump during the campaign I knew he’d make a disastrous president but never in my wildest nightmares did I expect it to be this bad this soon. The incompetence, the secrecy, the mismanagement, the infighting, the irreverent disrespect of norms and tradition, the lack of leadership, the paranoia, the toxic relationship with the press, the nepotism, the staff’s lack of government experience, constant scandal after scandal, and worst of all the avalanche of lies from Trump and his administration that bombards us daily.

Never in our nations history have we had a president who lies so easily and then forces his staff to deal with the aftermath and clean up the mess he made. We’ve seen this play out over and over again with each new lie he tells. This damage control process has become very familiar to us:

When Trump sent that absurd untrue tweet 2 weeks ago accusing President Obama of committing a felony (wire tapping Trump Tower), and insulting President Obama by calling him “a sick guy” that should have been enough to get republicans to start questioning the President’s ability to serve his full term as President. How can they say their party believes in integrity, honesty, and leadership and still support Trump? If those values meant anything to them they would call a meeting with the democrats and hammer out a plan to remove this corrosive cancer who’s a bigger threat to our democracy than terrorism. Each day Trump is allowed to stay in office, he makes us weaker as a country.

We’re only 56 days in and Trump had to fire his National Security Adviser for lieing about his contact with Russian officials during the presidential campaign. His attorney General committed perjury during his Senate confirmation hearing and had to recuse himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials who hacked the DNC to help Trump win. Trump’s first military mission was a failure that led to the deaths of a US service member and an American little girl. When interviewed about the disastrous mission Trump didn’t take any responsibility at all as commander in chief. Instead he blamed his generals. His executive order that issued a travel ban targeting Muslim majority countries got smacked down by 3 different courts. He lied about winning the popular vote. Has his family sit in on meetings and takes a vacation to Palm Beach every weekend to play golf, which costs US taxpayers $3.5 million for each trip. And his healthcare bill will fail in the Senate.No to trump

I just don’t see how we can live with a president who lies compulsively, who’s under investigation for collusion with a foreign government, and thinks he can take every weekend off. He spends more time speaking at campaign style rallies, flying back and forth between DC and his properties and playing golf than he does in the white house workingfor the American people.

HEY PAUL RYAN AND MITCH MCCONNELL, please put what’s best for our country before your loyalty to your political party and tell Trump to resign or get impeached. We can’t have this kind of cahos and incompetence bringing us down for the next 4 years. The way things have been going is absolutely unsustainable.

Rev Barber Undoing Trumpism

Rev Barber Undoing Trumpism

Like many progressives the election of Donal Trump left me in a very depressed withdrawn and sometimes angry state. I have read and listened to many of our leaders try to give pep talks but all of them were woefully inadequate.  Then I read an article written by Reverend Dr William Barber and found my inspiration.  “Birth Pangs Of A Third Reconstruction” is a brilliant assessment of our current political reality post-election and a diagnosis of Trumpism’s cancer.  Rev Barber traces the roots of our current political situation to America’s first Reconstruction at the end of the 1800’s.

…every stride toward freedom in U.S. history has been met with this same backlash.  We faced it during Reconstruction, in the shadow of slavery and amid the wreckage of the Civil War. African Americans joined hands with whites in the North and in the South who were willing to see one another as allies.

Within four years after the end of the Civil War, white and black alliances controlled every state house in the South. Together, they elected new leaders. Almost all of the southern legislatures were controlled by either a predominantly black alliance or a strong interracial fusion coalition. They hammered out new constitutions from a deeply moral perspective.

These fusion coalitions 150 years ago also built the first public schools and in state constitutions gave all persons a constitutional right to public education — somethingRev Barber Undoing Trumpism

that to this day has not been done in the federal constitution. In the state constitution of North Carolina they stated that “beneficent provision for the poor, the unfortunate, and the orphan is one of the first duties of a civilized and a Christian state.” They included labor rights and the right to “enjoyment of the fruit of your own labor” in 1868, long before the Knights of Labor came south with their first southern campaign.

They knew then — black and white together — from a moral fusion perspective, that labor without living wages is just a different form of slavery. They expanded access to the ballot and wrote a new fairness into criminal justice.

His plan to overcome the current backlash in response to changing demographics and 8 years of a black president, is so simple and left me thinking why I hadn’t heard more of this during our presidential campaign.

First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening.

They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’re working so hard this time to strangle it in its cradle — and we must know that. We have to recognize that helicopter leadership by so-called national leaders will not sustain a moral movement. What you need are local movements.

Obviously Trump and his supporters have no legitimate moral argument for any of the policies they are pushing just like the pro-slavery faction of the 1800’s, and the anti-civil rights faction in the 1960’s.Undoing Trumpism The lesson to take from that; if you appeal to the civility and inherent sense of fairness in an honest and sincere way, people will begin to open themselves and really listen to what you have to say. That’s how you build a diverse coalition of both democrats and republicans. But one thing progressives must do is make sure the leaders who take on this message have the credibility to say it with conviction. Local organizers, pastors, local social justice leaders, and advocacy group leaders are perfectly poised to take this on.

This new movement isn’t about “taking back America”. That kind of language implies that one party is more American than the other. It also implies that one group is more deserving of America’s promise than the other. That kind of thinking will never advance our ideas.  We’re all Americans. This movement is about restoring America. Restoring it back to the moral leader of the world. Restoring it back to the ideals that made us great. Reverend Barber has not only given us the blueprint, he has proven it can work. Now it’s time to upgrade the “Moral Monday” movement that ousted republican governor Pat McCrory in North Carolina, and replicate it in all 50 states.

Great article, great message, great man, great plan and most importantly, great inspiration. To read Rev Barber’s full article go to https://thinkprogress.org/rev-barber-moral-change-1ad2776df7c#.vn17l4ym7

Why I’m Voting For Hillary

Socially Urban Blog is proud to announce our support and endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States of America.

As the founder and editor in chief of Socially Urban, here’s why I trust Hillary and think she’s exactly the kind of president we need. I know some people think this is a bad word but I am not one of those people. The word I want to reclaim as something positive is “politician”. Hillary is an experienced politician who does the duties of that profession very well. A politician listens to the country and her supporters and then decides what direction would satisfy the people most. For example, during her primary with Bernie Sanders she wasn’t talkimg much about trade policy at the beginning. But as that issue became important she listened and adjusted her focus to accommodate this. Some may call it a flip flop, but I think it was a good politican doing what the job required. I think it made her even more suitable for the job as president. We want a president who hears the people. Who looks at polls, who constantly adjust to the will of the people. That is who Hillary is.

I always say activist would make horrible legislators because they aren’t swayed by public opinion and they don’t adjust when an adjustment is needed. They have an ideology that must be adhered to and their actions rationalized as the ends justifying the means. Those are great qualities to have if you’re leading a movement or if you have one specific cause or issue that you’re passionate about, but those are horrible qualities to have when you’re trying to run an entire country and make decisions that are in the best interest of our country as a whole.Socially Urban Blog The job of president is about consensus building, and compromise. Bernie Sanders is a great Senator, and he is passionate about income inequality. But his myopic view wouldn’t have made a good president (in my opinion).

We have all seen how Hillary operates over the past 30 years. We’ve seen her under pressure. We’ve seen her deal with foreign leaders. We’ve seen her listen and change with the times. She’s exactly who we need as president for the next 8 years. If you think she’s not progressive enough, make your case, organize, push her in that direction. That’s our job as citizens, as activist. I promise she will listen just like she listened in the primary. Politicans care about their approval numbers, they care about how they are covered in the media. That is our leverage.

If you sit home on election day because Bernie isn’t on the ballot, you are contributing to the apathy and cynicism that lost the house and Senate in 2010. If you’re a hardcore progressive who thinks Trump and Clinton are just alike, you really need to do some research about Obama’s 2 terms in office. If he didn’t win that first election gay marriage wouldn’t be legal in all 50 states, we wouldn’t have avoided a war with Iran by getting them to shutdown their nuclear program through diplomacy. The economy would have continued to spiral downward. We wouldn’t have the Affordable Care Act that gave 11 million people health insurance who didn’t have any before. The Libbey Ledbetter act for equal pay for women wouldn’t have been signed into law. Osama Bin Laden would still be alive planning new ways to attack our country. Don’t you think this is worth your vote? All of this happened because we elected Barack Obama instead of his republican opponet.

That’s why you need to support Hillary. If she doesn’t win I can guarantee her republican opponent will not do anything to reform our criminal justice system. He wouldn’t do a damn thing about police shooting unarmed black men. He even said he’d punish women for exercising their constitutional right to make decisions about their reproductive health. These two candidates are not the same. The two parties are not the same. Hillary Clinton is the only intelligent choice to make. The ideal candidate you have in your head doesn’t exist. Hillary is the only logical choice and I’m very happy to announce my support for her candidacy. As the editor and creator of Socially Urban Blog and as a private citizen I’m happily announcing my endorsement for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

Trump Is a Normal Republican Politician

Contrary to the narrative establishment republicans would like us to believe, Donald Trump’s rhetoric actions and campaign isn’t that different from your average republican politician. If you examine some of his most offensive remarks and tactics you’ll find a lot of other republican politicians who’ve said or done something very similar.

During Trump and Sectary Clinton’s 2nd debate, Trump invited 4 of the women who claimed to have some kind of sexual encounter with former president Bill Clinton. Trump sat them in the audience in an attempt to rattle Secretary Clinton and maybe gain some kind of edge over her. Establishment republicans claimed to be disgusted by this but the hypocrisy is too obvious to ignore.

In 2013 President Obama was set to deliver the first State Of The Union address of his second term.Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Debate 2016 Republican Congressman Steve Stockman chose to invite 1970’s has-been racist rocker Ted Nugent as his guest. Nugent called the president a “sub-human mongrel” in an interview a few weeks prior to the address. In that same interview he hinted at an assassination attempt if Obama won. In another interview he said Obama and Hillary could “suck the end of his machine gun”. The Secret Service took his comments very seriously and went to interview him in person to see if he planned to put any of his threats into action. Right after the election was over Nugent said “pimps hoes and welfare babies got their president”. ted-nugent-socially-urban-blog Knowing all of this republican congressman Steve Stockman thought it was a good idea to invite Nugent as his special guest. And surprisingly none of Stockman’s republican colleagues came out against this. None of them tried to stop him (which Speaker of the House John Boehner could have done), none of them tried to distance themselves from him or anything like that. It was extremely disheartening to see Republicans treating this as a joke while the people who protect the president with their lives were rightfully concerned.

I know republicans are trying their hardest to distance themselves from Donald Trump right now, but we shouldn’t let this kind of political cowardice and opportunism go without any kind of acknowledgement. Their newfound outrage over Trump making misogynist comments bragging about his ability to sexually assault any woman he wanted, shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. He’s been talking like that for decades. ted-nugent-steve-stockman-sociallyurbana In a Howard Stern interview he was asked if he respected women. Trump thought about it for a minute then said probably not. And that’s just one small example out of mountains of public easy to find evidence confirming his disrespect for women.

So when republicans begin to act outraged by the next Trump scandal (and we all know they’ll be another), please look at them with a heavy dose of skepticism.

20 Donald Trump Lies

Family Guy as Donald Trump

2016 republican nominee for President of the United States Donald Trump has a long disturbing history of lying about almost everything. Even trivial stuff that can easily be disproven. For example, Trump said he met Russian president Vladimir Putin when they both did a 60 minutes interview. Every journalist knew this was a lie as soon as he said it but he couldn’t help himself. Lying seems to be the only way he knows how to operate. This blog post would be way too long if I tried to list all of his questionable statements, so here are 20 Donald Trump lies that I find the most interesting.

1. The Mexican government is selecting criminals and rapists and sending them to sneak into the United States.

2. Undocumented Mexican immigrants commit more crime than native born United State citizens.

3. President Barack Obama is not a Untied States citizen and the birth certificate he produced was fake.

4. Trump said he hired a team of investigators and sent them to Hawaii where President Obama was born to obtain evidence that supported Trump’s unfounded theory that the President was not born in the United States.

5. Trump said his investigators found some unbelievable evidence that disputed the legitimacy of President Obama’s citizenship. Trump said he would release the information but 7 years have passed since those birther accusations, and in all that time he has made no effort to share the so-called “findings” with the public.

6. Trump claimed that President Obama never attended Harvard. Trump said he got the information from his investigators and they told him that no one remembered President Obama ever being on campus.20 Donald Trump lies

7. During the 2012 Presidential election Trump claimed that President Obama spent $4 million dollars to hide his school transcripts and conceal his passport information.

8. Trump claimed that the current unemployment rate is at least 42% and could be as high as 50%. The correct unemployment rate is 4.9% (5/2016). HUGE difference.

9. Trump said President Obama is accepting 200,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. The accurate number is 10,000.

10. Trump says he never supported the invasion of Iraq and warned people against it from the very start. In a taped interview in 2002 Trump seemed to support the invasion and said nothing against it in any interview until 2005.

11. Trump says he watched thousands of Muslim’s in New Jersey celebrate on television after the 9/11 terrorist attack.

12. Trump said the wives of the 9/11 terrorists knew what their husbands were planning and left the United States a few days before the attack. According to the 9/11 Commission report only 1 of the terrorists were married and none of them shared any plans with family members and none of their family in the United States left before the attack.

13.
Trump said he predicted that Osama bin Laden was going to attack the World Trade Center 2 years before it happened. There is zero evidence that this prediction took place.

20 Donald Trump Lies14. Trump says he’s a self made man who built a very successful company from nothing. This is untrue. His father was very wealthy and owned a lot of property in New York. When Trump wanted to strike out on his own, his father gave him $1 million dollars to start his company.

15. Trump claims he made $213 million for his NBC reality tv show “The Apprentice”. NBC said he was paid only $2 million for the series.

16. Trump claimed that the Russian president Vladmir Putin called him a genius in an interview. This is false. Putin called Donald “colorful”, not a genius.

17. Trump claimed to have met Russian president Vladmir Putin and got along well with him when they both did interviews on “60 Minutes” on the same night. This is false because Putin did his interview via satellite from Russia and has never even been in the same room with Trump.

18. Trump claimed that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved with the assassination of President Kennedy.

19. Trump continually claims that he is beating rival Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in every poll. This is false as of 5/13/16. There’s not even 1 national poll that shows he is leading Hillary.

20. Trump says President Obama will go down as the worst president in history because America has been in decline since Obama was elected in 2008.

 

Here’s the indisputable truth of President Obama’s term in office so far

This is what a successful presidency looks like. Donald Trump would destroy all the progress President Obama made because Trump is incapable of thinking about anyone but himself. How can republican voters put their faith into someone who lies as much as Donald Trump does? By no means is President Obama a perfect president but he sure isn’t “ruining America” (as Trump suggested). President Obama has been a public servant for the past 20 years with his integrity, beliefs and self-respect intact. Trump never had any of those qualities and it’s scary how close he is to the most powerful job on earth where every decision he makes can effect all of humanity. I’m pleading with republicans in hopes of getting them to see this man for what he really is. An insecure overcompensating egomaniac who looks you in the eye and lies, while flirting with elements of totalitarianism in every interview and rally speech he gives. After 4 years of Trump as president every single supporter he has right now will long for the good old days when that black family lived in the White House.

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