He’s baaaacck!!


Keith Olbermann has found his voice again and the American airwaves are better off because of it.  You probably know the various manifestations from UPI to CNN to ESPN to MSNBC to Current TV.  His resume includes all the prominent broadcasting companies and now he’s added GQ to the company he’s worked for.  I have to admit a personal bias…..I love his passion and his commitment to political diversity so you will most likely find links to some of his commentaries here.

On this occasion he’s talking about Hillary Clinton’s remarks about Trump’s deplorable supporters.  You remember the controversy right, where she said this

You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.

Of course Trump and his supporters went on the victim campaign claiming they were maligned by Clinton’s remarks.  Olbermann sets the record straight on Clinton’s remarks

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American media’s steady decline


It’s amazing how history sometimes repeats itself.  Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC reminds me of the Phil Donahue firing which happened just before the last Iraq war, but without war drums beating so loudly.  Olbermann, love him or hate him, there was almost no middle ground judging by many of the comments I’ve read on the topic but I respected him for saying things that many given the same pulpit were afraid to say and that’s saying alot.

American media’s decline however BEGAN with the Phil Donahue firing and the media’s willingness to become a “stenographer” for the Administration in power.  Judy Miller et. co. were the waterboys/girls for an administration with imperialistic intent in mind and objective journalism went right out the window.  Of course, you could make the case for journalism’s demise occurring even before that, extending to the days of William Buckley’s association with the CIA and others, but we’re a shortsighted Nation that rarely thinks beyond the last debacle in our history, so let’s leave it at Iraq.

I’ve read where many people decried Olbermann’s personality, arrogance, etc. but those same people most likely tune in to Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, et.al who display an arrogance that makes Olbermann look like a pussycat in comparison, so was it his condescending personality or what he said that they detested?  Indeed, it appears America can no longer stand dissent even when it’s principled or factual. Juan Cole has a pretty good take on the Olbermann departure that you can read here.  I especially liked this line

It seems Olbermann is too extreme for US television. But Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, now they are mainstream. What universe could that proposition be true in? That of cranky old white billionaires. And television news is owned by them. Not by you.

which is why I’ve said repeatedly, citizenship journalism is much more worthy of your time and consideration than anything you might find on cable TV.  For example, do you think anyone now on television besides, perhaps Jon Stewart will say this

Hardly!  What America needs is as steady a droning voice for ‘the rule of law’, adherence to the principles of republican democracy as they are getting from the voices of hatred and racism that have taken over America airwaves.  Only then can one really “decide” because they will have had the ability to choose from this or that…something not available to the consumer at the moment.  I lament the departure of Olbermann…I liked him and linked to him several times here…but there are still many good citizen journalists whose voices have not been silenced who also deserve your time and attention.  Please read, listen to what they have to say.

The Rise of Racist Islamophobia


Good government, bad government


Sometimes there is reason to be hopeful that our Nation can self-correct and return to the principles it has finely tuned over the generations, of liberty, social responsibility and good citizenship.  The decision of the US Department of State to overturn the ban on academics Tariq Ramadan and Adam Habib are examples of hope and perhaps light at the end of the tunnel of darkness we have surrounded ourselves in over the last decade.  We’ve written extensively about Ramadan in the pages of Miscellany101 in what can only be termed an act of revenge against him and his family to keep him out of the mainstream of political, social and contemporary  dialogue.  When given the full weight of a judicial system, albeit imperfect, but still forming and trying to correct itself while being universally applicable, Ramadan’s visa revocation was first overturned by the judicial system in 2009  and then by the US Department of State just last week.  Initially he had been hired for  the Henry R. Luce Chair at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, but extremists who managed to infiltrate policy making positions in government were able to get the US government to revoke a visa they had originally granted him.  The reasons for it were spurious at best, lies at worse and so transparent that when given the light of day were thrown out post haste.  You can read one of Ramadan’s more recent musings here.  Good government.

Along with Ramadan’s decision the State Department overturned the revocation imposed on Adam Habib, a South African academic who is Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation & Advancement at the University of Johannesburg. It goes without saying the case against him was as empty and irrational as the one made against Ramadan. In fact, it seemed the only people afraid of Habib, besides American Islamophobes, were South African communists, which should have made Habib a significantly important figure with a right wing conservative administration the likes of George  Bush’s.  Habib’s case, like that of Ramadan, was wrapped up in the Islamophobic notions of Campus Watch, the Daniel Pipes led organization. You can read about them here and here.   It didn’t take a Clinton led State Department very long to overturn her predecessor’s revocation for either of these two men; in fact less than a year after being in office.  Says alot about a fanatically led Bush administration and even more about “good government”.

Euphoria however is quickly dashed when one reads about the US Justice Department’s quick reaction to the story of the three “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay and especially the reporting of that story by MSNBC’s  Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann reported on his show how Justice was upset with his coverage of the story that was reported extensively by Scott Horton of Harper’s magazine and picked up by a lot of people on the blogosphere, including here at Miscellany101.  It seems the Justice Department is only willing to comment negatively about the story, that is, to say Olbermann did a sloppy job of reporting it, but doesn’t see the need to comment on the essence of the charges made by US military men who have gone on record to say the series of events are not consistent with what they observed or were told later when promised an investigation.  This is the worse case scenario for bad government.  The leader of the free world, a designation we have heaped upon ourselves and which we wear proudly,  and which is acknowledged by others the world over, doesn’t need to engage in this type of intimidation and stonewalling with a free press.  Transparency, something promised by the Obama administration, means making all the facts available of  investigations and going on record to actively and judiciously clear the name of government when tarnished by accusations the likes of which are in the Harper’s story.  To do anything less than that is bad government….something  we’ve been used to for the last decade.

The South Has Risen Again!


I’m not talking about that “South” which steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that America can and is being led by an African-American, I’m talking about the South that acknowledges that racism is the source of Obama’s critic’s discontent, and it’s  Southern white men who are making the case.  They should be the ones who call out the racist critics of Obama, because as we all know, ‘it takes one to know one’, but this pot calling the kettle black (or in this case racist) is not coming from racist whites but rather from white people who have lived with them down in the deep south all their lives and know how they think and behave.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes.. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?  How long before we start(ing) “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

If you have policy differences with the POTUS, and God knows I surely do, that’s one thing but to resort to the behavior of Obama’s critics to the point of intimidation and threats on his life is another thing altogether illegal, despicable, and based on a belief he’s not worthy of being where he is. Look at the imagery used by his opponents to portray him as unfit for office, pictures that are steeped in the very images passed down through racist ranks about black Americans since their beginnings on this continent.

watermelon_patchobama-witchdoctor-muckAnd one can easily think the genteel looking men sitting next to congressman Joe Wilson below, with smirks on their faces because they have gotten one of their own to so disrespectfully call the president out were probably thinking of him in those terms as they posed during Wilson’s outburst for their constituents on national television.   They will no doubt say theirs is a measured response to Obama’s administration in much the same way as others, like myself, demonstrated our disagreement to the Bush administration, but it surely was not, because I cannot find images which denigrate Bush’s whiteness or call into question his ancestry in much the same way as the pictures above do for Obama; similarly I can’t find a news clip where a member of Congress acted so disparagingly towards the commander-in-chief as Wilson did on the floor of the Congress before a nationally televised crowd.  Yet, in many ways, I wish someone had called Bush out as a liar when he regaled us with stories of how big government was necessary to protect us.  The compatriots of Joe Wilson most likely hate to read New York Times’ columnists refer to Obama as elegant and erudite, because that’s not the notion they have of African-Americans and not the one they want the public to have either.

heckler_wilsonEveryone knows the look and the attitude, that is those who have had it flung at them during their life time.  Even the good natured Bill Cosby who has had some stinging rebukes to direct towards other African Americans admitted “During President Obama’s speech on the status of health care reform, some members of Congress engaged in a public display of disrespect….While one representative hurled the now infamous ‘you lie’ insult at the president, others made their lack of interest known by exhibiting rude behavior such as deliberately yawning and sending text messages.”

And so it goes, the dehumanization of another group of people at the hands of the Republicans who manage to foist this attitude on the people they claim to represent which further damages the social fabric of this once great Republic and turns it increasingly into a banana republic.  It was not enough that we turned on one another out of fear and handed over our liberties to protect the state, as we fought the global war on horror and demonized members of the Islamic faith, now we are asked to distrust the very official(s) we elected less than a year ago and accept the notion that his death might be the only solution to the problems for which he at the moment is not responsible.  In the interim we are abandoning all sense of civility and decorum in our opposition towards one another, and steering a course towards disorder and anarchy.  Are we our own worse enemy or what?


Again, Olbermann nails it!