Saturday, July 4, 2015

'Rough Crossings' on Independence Day: Never Forget That More Black Folks Fought for the British than the Colonials


As you feast on entrails, drink high fructose corn syrup and other poisons, I hope that you enjoy the July 4th holiday, what is a celebration of a country built on the genocide of First Nations peoples, the enslavement of black people, and racist settler colonialism.

The United States is not a country of immigrants--immigrants assimilate into a new culture--rather it is a country of white settlers who wiped out the people already living here and then imposed their values on them while creating a founding mythology of "empty land", "Manifest Destiny", " and American Exceptionalism". As you watch the fireworks, most of them having been made in China, do reflect on those facts.

On July 4th, I, like many others in the so-called commentariat, share American icon Frederick Douglass' searing and brilliant speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"

Alternatively, I have also shared my adoration and affection for one of the baddest black men to ever live (and who deserves his own movie), a real life version of Tarantino's Django, the one and only former black slave turned scourge of white slavers in New York and New Jersey, he who was Colonel Tye, leader of the Black Brigade.

On this July 4th, we should be reminded that more black people fought for the British than the Colonials. Why? Because American Independence was a war to protect the institution of chattel slavery by creating a herrenvolk whites only democracy that defined freedom in opposition to the enslavement of African-American human property.

This fact is often ignored or obscured in American popular memory because 1) black leadership need(ed) to reinforce the loyalty and "real Americanness" of African-Americans as part of their freedom project and 2) White America's public memory alternates between viewing black folks as perennial outsiders and disloyal while pointing to the end of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement as proof of the inherent goodness of white folks and the American democratic project.

Simon Shama's book Rough Crossings is an excellent exploration of how both black human property and free peoples responded to and navigated The Revolutionary War and The Founding. After you have eaten and drank to the point of exhaustion, emptied your bowels and bladder, and perhaps rutted with a ready and willing person (or persons if you are so lucky) Shama's discussion of black freedom and slavery in colonial-era America will give you some clarity of thought about the real meaning of Independence Day.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Have You Read The New York Times' "Looking 'White' in the Face"? If Not, You Should

I hope that the weather is as nice where you are as it is here in Chicago.

The July 4th weekend is approaching so I will be asking more questions and sharing short posts here on the site than the usual habit of posting longer essays. We will pick up our normal routine next week. 

The speculative piece on Fox News and the burning of black churches is over at Salon as well if you want to check out the comment section there to see what the Right-wing sewer dwellers are up to.

I am also migrating the files for The Chauncey DeVega Show over to Libsyn (here is a link to the page as it develops and gets finalized if you are curious). Moving the files is time consuming and tedious. But, it was necessary and now that I am getting more accurate stats it would seem that folks are listening to and downloading the episodes even before my formal announcement that the site is "live". Good stuff.

I am also going to be attending some panels at the Socialism 2015 conference here in Chicago. If you happen to be there don't hesitate to say "hello". 

[Some questions. How do Socialists feel about cologne? Is my favorite pink shirt too individualistic and loud for the Socialism conference? Are there any room parties? Or are Socialists a dour and boring bunch?]

In can be pretty hard on the mainstream corporate news media and the 4th Estate. Given the high levels of journalists malpractice in the era of 24/7 cable news and corporate media consolidation, they are more than deserving of criticism and scorn. Nevertheless, there are moments when outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post do some good work.

The last few days featured some great writing and content that deserve to be praised.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

17 Ways That 'Fox News' Will Explain 'Who is Burning Black Churches?'


Black America's "blues sensibilities"--as well as that of other peoples who have historically suffered under Power and somehow found a way to survive and triumph--means that laughter is one of the ways that we navigate times of trouble and sorrow. Other people(s) crumple under the littlest of pressure and pain; to both our detriment and advantage Black America marches on, indomitable as the miner's canary, we who are the moral conscience of the United States. This is both a blessing and a curse.

White racial terrorist Dylann Roof has been arrested. He subsequently confessed to killing 9 black Americans in their Charleston, South Carolina church in order to create the spark for a "race war".

However, it would seem that America's white terrorist network is still operative, hitting "soft" but symbolically potent targets such as historic African-American churches.

To point. Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church is the 8th such building to burn down in the approximately 10 days since the Charleston Massacre.

On this unfortunate event, Time offered the following comment:
Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a prominent African-American church in Greeleyville, S.C., caught fire late Tuesday. It is the eighth black church in the southern U.S.A. to burn in 10 days. 
Greeleyville, about 60 miles northwest of Charleston, has seen similar fires before, the Charleston Post and Courier reports. Mount Zion was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995, part of a string of 30 fires in black churches that spanned two years. 
An investigation into the fire’s cause will begin after it is safely extinguished, chief of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Mark Keel told the Post and Courier. He noted that that the thunderstorm that pounded the town of 375 Tuesday evening could have ignited the church. Meteorologist Pete Mohlin of the National Weather Service told the paper there was a lot of lightning in the area around 7 p.m. but he could not say if it had caused the fire. 
Parishioners across the south are surveying the damage a string of similar fires has caused this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, starting in Knoxville, Tenn. on June 21 and moving to Macon, Ga and Gibson County, Tenn on June 23; Charlotte, N.C. on June 24; Elyria, Ohio on June 25; and Tallahassee, Fla. and Warrenville, S.C on June 26. 
Three of those fires have been ruled arson, one was determined to be caused by a falling branch and faulty wiring, and the others remain under investigation. Several have been blamed preliminarily on lightning; weather in the south this week has been turbulent.
While Twitter has been trending the #whoisburningblackchurches hashtag, the mainstream corporate news media has been relatively silent: there is no mass panic about what seems to be a highly unusual series of events in the aftermath of The Charleston Massacre, the F.B.I.'s report on the extreme threat posed by Right-wing domestic terrorists, and the increase in white hate group activities in the Age of Obama.

In these times, we cannot overlook how the Republican Party is the United States' largest white identity organization, and how Fox News and the Right-wing media are their propaganda arm. Together the two have created a logic and worldview that via "epistemic closure" functions as an alternate reality for it viewers. In this bizarro world, white people, Christians, the rich, men, heterosexuals, and "real Americans" are somehow made into "victims". To sustain the Right-wing media's white victimology paranoiac frame necessitates distorting black pain, suffering, and white on black racism, into a series of events that serve white privilege and the white racial frame.

As such, how will Fox News engage in "political aikido" and white victimology propaganda as they discuss (if at all) the repeated and highly suspicious spate of fires at African-American churches?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Harm That One Negro Can Do: Journalistic Malpractice. The Washington Post Runs a Story About Black People Who Love the Confederate Flag

 

I offer a question for a Tuesday night.

Today, The Washington Post ran a story on black Americans who defend the Confederate flag. The Treason Flag and American Swastika are symbols of white supremacy and anti-black violence. Yet, it has confused and wayward and bigoted defenders--apparently on both sides of the colorline if The Washington Post's story "Why this black defender of the Confederate flag says slavery was ‘a choice’" is to be believed.

Black folks who defend the Confederate flag belong in a human zoo; nevertheless they still have the ability to shape public perception and opinion.

Yes, and granting that it does feature racist writers such as Richard Cohen, The Washington Post is supposed to be a "journal of record". And yes, we do live in a twisted moment that is the bastard child of postmodernity where delusions and unfounded opinions are elevated to the same standing as established facts.

With those observations having been noted, would The Washington Post feature a story about Jewish people who are Holocaust deniers?


Shameless Self-Promotion: Chauncey DeVega on the RT Network and Ring of Fire Discussing the Charleston Massacre; The Podcast is Up and Running Again


As is my habit, just sharing some interviews about the Charleston Massacre from last week.

I did two interviews on the TV and Internet machine last week where I tried to broaden the conversation about the Charleston Massacre.

My first spot was with the good folks on Ring of Fire TV and Radio. I dropped a bionic elbow on the narrow discourse around The Charleston Massacre and tried to focus on guns, Right-wing domestic terrorism, and toxic white masculinity.


My promo was a solid one. Thus, I was invited back for round two on Friday as Mike Papantonio was sitting in for Thom Hartmann on the RT network's show "The Big Picture" during prime time. Mike was very generous as we put the pedal to the metal and talked about the deeper game where the Republican Party is willing to sacrifice the Confederate Flag and American Swastika in order to prevent any meaningful gun control public health legislation.

I was on point during that conversation--talking slowly, being pithy with my witty, and having fun with difficult topics in order to leave a memorable impression with the viewer (chess analogies are great; Michael Jackson allusions may be lost on some viewers). Of course, there was a "Dusty finish" (got to keep honoring the late great American Dream) as some damn interference popped up during the feed. Gremlins are mocking ol' Chauncey DeVega it would seem.

As always, please share any thoughts, criticism, or other insights.

The podcast known as The Chauncey DeVega Show is back up and running. The host's servers were down for 4 days. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. I am especially apologetic to the great guests Author Jonathan Lethem and Dr. David Reiss who should not have had their awesome sharing derailed by computer troubles.

To prevent this in the future, I am migrating the show over to Libsyn later this week--once that is done I will post the next episode early next week after the July 4th holiday. I appreciate your patience.

[I will post the new url and RSS feed info so that folks can resubscribe from Itunes, and other sources to the show.]

We have been doing too much great work on the podcast to have it derailed by technical problems. If you did not get a chance to listen to that last episode of the podcast please do so--between the great guests and the in the moment coverage of The Charleston Massacre--it is one of the best so far, and I suggest would hold up quite well against anything that you would find elsewhere.

I will be offering a proper thanks on the next episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, and also on site next week, but I want to give some preliminary love to the kind folks who donated to the June fundraising drive that helps to support the site and my other online work. I am so appreciative and moved by the kind donations and act of sending me positive energy. Thank you, so very, very much.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Whiteness of Science Fiction: From the Hugo Awards' 'Sad Puppies' to Dylann Roof and Harold Covington


I have shared my experiences with the Whiteness of science fiction on several occasions here on WARN and also on the podcast. I have also confessed to my embarrassment regarding my summer of "grokking", shame at discovering that Robert Heinlein was a white supremacist, and subsequently throwing his writing into the veritable dustbin of work to not be read for purposes other than strict critical inquiry, as opposed to pleasure or joy.

There is an alternative reality knowledge propaganda producing machine that sustains the White Right and the broader Right-wing Republican establishment in the United States and the West. I knew that white supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof was radicalized by cyber racism. 

But, I was surprised to learn that there may be some "science fiction" elements to Dylann Roof's sitting under the white supremacist hateful murderer learning tree.

The Guardian and Raw Story are reporting that Dylann Roof was (in part) radicalized by "science fiction" "author" Harold Covington.

From Raw Story:

Friday, June 26, 2015

How Does a Former Military Intelligence Analyst Make Sense of Dylann Roof, the White Right, and Domestic Terrorism?

We have a very smart and eclectic readership here at ChaunceyDevega.com and WARN.

One of those essential voices and frequent commenters is James Scaminaci III.

I always feel smarter after reading his comments and observations about national security issues and military affairs. Why? Because he is a very well-trained social scientist who also has experience as a working, in the field, military intelligence analyst. 

In the aftermath of the Charleston Massacre, and the commercial news media's many deficiencies in their coverage of the complexities regarding that horrible event, I reached out to James and asked if he would be so kind as to offer up a guest post.

He kindly complied. There is some excellent and smart work in James's essay. I do hope that folks take his insights to heart as they work to protect the Common Good and keep America safe from white supremacist terrorist thugs like Dylann Roof.

**** 

I am a former civilian senior military intelligence analyst that worked for the Department of the Army at the U.S. Department of Defense’s European Command (EUCOM).  During part of my tenure I was a member of Joint Task Force Provide Promise that was tasked with providing humanitarian aid to the Bosniak (Muslim) victims of Bosnian Serb genocide.  I also served four years inside Bosnia & Herzegovina (B-H) as a senior intelligence analyst attached to the Stabilization Force (SFOR) tasked with identifying the networks of political-criminal power structures thwarting implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.  Fundamental to that analytical task is understanding how words (policy and rhetoric) are translated into action, and, how words are used to frame and encompass a movement.

It is established fact that the genocide in B-H began with the Serbian Academy of Science’s false assertions that Croats and Muslims planned a genocide against all Serbs living outside of Serbia.  They were joined in this propaganda war by the Orthodox Church, which gave it a religious endorsement.  Promoting both of these efforts were state-controlled television, radio, and print media.  Of course, this propaganda barrage of Serbs facing an existential threat was the pretext justifying Milosevic’s attempted territorial conquests against Croatia and B-H, and, the genocide of the Bosniaks.

What has this to do today with the right-wing in America?  Everything.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Conversation With Author Jonathan Lethem About 'the Culture of Disreputability'

Jonathan Lethem is the featured guest on this week's installment of the podcast known as The Chauncey DeVega Show.

He is the author of many award winning books including Dissident Gardens, The Fortress of Solitude, and Motherless Brooklyn.

Jonathan conducted a master class and did some wonderful sharing about the culture of disreputability, the movie They Live, race and class, generational politics, and shared some stories about growing up in a pre-Disneyfied New York City.

This episode also features a conversation with psychologist Dr. David Reiss about the loss of the great and amazing professional wrestler known as "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, and why his death has hit fans of the sport so hard, and the reasons that so many people felt a personal connection to him.

In addition, portions of this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show were recorded in the very moments when The Charleston Massacre was a "breaking news event" on the cable news networks.

Instead of editing out those segments, they have remained in the show as a type of archive and online testimony to the power of that moment. At the end of this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey reflects on the week's happenings since The Charleston Massacre, the news cycle, and the Right-wing hate media and the GOP's efforts to derail any conversation about white domestic terrorism, guns, and toxic white masculinity.

This great conversation with Jonathan Lethem is the third podcast for the June fundraiser at ChaunceyDeVega.com and WARN.

June features special content and guests as a way of saying "thank you" to the friends and fans of the podcast, and also as a way of demonstrating to the listeners and fans of the show the type of quality content and value that we strive to offer every week.

I would like to thank all of the good folks who have donated during the fundraising drive, and who chip in on a monthly basis, to support ChaunceyDeVega.com and my various other online projects.

Your support for The Chauncey DeVega Show and its related projects is essential. If you can, and are able, please do throw some change into the collective begging bowl that can be found on the right-hand side of the screen under the Paypal link.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with Jonathan Lethem and Dr. David Reiss can be listened to below or "watched" on the official Youtube channel for ChaunceyDevega.com

The Chauncey DeVega Show can also be followed on Itunes and listened to via Stitcher on your smart phone or like device.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Corporate News Media's Coverage of Dylann Roof and the Charleston Massacre is a Car Wreck

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When I was in elementary school, the father of one of my classmates was a senior executive for one of the area's largest sporting venues. This was a wonderful arrangement because he would give the school extra tickets so that we, the students and staff, could go to the circus, hockey games, dirt bike racing, The Magical World of Ice, demolition derbies, and monster truck shows for free.

Because I was an 8-year-old boy, I was particularly fond of the monster truck and demolition rally shows. I loved all of the noise and excitement. I also didn't realize that all of the carbon monoxide filled fumes that were emitted by the trucks and cars in an enclosed space were giving me a headache and destroying my brain cells.

The mainstream corporate news media's coverage--with several exceptions see: Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell--of the Dylann Roof Charleston Massacre is a car wreck of unimaginable proportions. It is a mashup of the comedy UHF and Cronenberg's essential Videodrome.

Dylann Roof, a white racial terrorist who left a manifesto, photos of himself in white supremacist regalia and holding the Confederate flag, before killing 9 black people in a church in a state where said flag is still flown, is a lesson in the semi-permanence of white racism in the Age of Obama.

Dylann Roof is so perfect in his throwback racist Right-wing, white supremacist evil that he is a system shock. Intentionally or not, Roof further exposed the moral rot of today's Republican Party as they ran away from how he is their monster, and his rampage was racist and not "anti-Christian" as the GOP's propagandists originally suggested. Roof's murder spree has also, and again, demonstrated how the commercial mainstream corporate news media is incapable of having an adult, mature, and intelligent conversation about white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

In this spectacle and theater, loud, signifying nothing, and accomplishing very little, we have seen things I would not have imagined a week ago.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

White Economic Banditry Against Black America and Dylann Roof's White Racial Terrorism

I would like to continue with giving thanks to all of the kind folks who donated to our June fundraising drive. I have 8 or so "thank you" notes remaining to be sent off. Again, your kindness and generosity mean a great deal to me. If you can, are able, have the resources, and value my online work here and elsewhere, please do throw some change into the online donation pile and begging bowl if so moved.

Shameless self-promotion. I will be on Ring of Fire TV this evening. I did my best to drop a bionic elbow on the corporate news media's dishonesty and intellectually flaccid thinking about the Charleston Massacre. We cannot talk about the white domestic terrorist murder Dylann Roof without talking about the relationship between racism, the Right-wing media, the GOP, guns, toxic and aggrieved white masculinity, and Right-wing domestic terrorism. We tried to do that on Ring of Fire TV. The interview went about 15 minutes, so it may be edited down for broadcast (the full interview should be available online).

In these times of trouble and tumult, it is important to practice mental self-care, disconnect from the Internet, and do the things that make you happy. The ultimate goal of elites in this era of Austerity, Cruelty, Neoliberalism, Surveillance, and Necropolitics along both sides of the colorline is to exhaust, mentally and physically, their victims. The herd is more easy to manage when you alternate punishment and pleasure while playing them to exhaustion and extinction.

A trip to the local used bookstore is one of my small pleasures. There, I made some great finds. I picked up The Blitzkrieg Myth, a much discussed and controversial book on World War 2 military strategy (the first chapter has got me raising my eyebrow in some consternation....and I am just a hobbyist grognard), a neat gem called Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Man, Roger Ebert's autobiography (I will cry while reading it), and Gunning for the Red Baron, which is a gift for a friend.

I love the treasure hunt and surprises to be had in used bookstores. Online sellers like Amazon can never create the experience of discovery in the same way. Books have personalities and lives all their own. As I was picking up Roger Ebert's book, a felt an urge to look over my shoulder. Looking at me was a book called A Hammer in Their Hands.