Monday, January 30, 2012

Should what Mitt renders to GOD really be called charity?

By Subhash Kateel

Anytime I talk about a rich person or corporation that really sucks, I get a bunch of negative feedback.  I am usually reminded how said corporation or rich dude “does a lot” for the community and gives “tons” to charity.  That’s when I point out that drug dealers “do a lot” and give to charity too (a point I will repeat as often as needed).  As the Florida Republican primaries kicked into full gear and I try really hard to give a damn,  a whole set of conversations are popping off about how Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than much of the country.  Predictably, those conversations are promptly followed by some reminder of how much Mitt gives to charity.

If you look at his income tax returns, it is technically true.  He gave about $7 million (of his +$200 million net worth) over two years to tax deductible charitable institutions.  But as a few news outlets point out, a significant amount of that charitable giving resembles the ten percent tithe he is suppose to give to his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or the “Mormons” for short).  In case you don’t know, tithing is a centuries old religious practice requiring a person to give ten percent of something-livestock, grain, money or stocks- to a religious institution.  It has equivalents in Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism.  Way back in the day (until about the 19th century), when the church and the state often intertwined, tithing closely resembled taxes.

So is it sincere to consider tithes the same as charity?  That really depends on your religious and social beliefs. The funny thing is, some of my pro-Mitt friends that are the least religious are among the first to cite his charitable giving while defending his uncharitable tax rate.  Charity today implies that you voluntarily choose to give to something you believe in.  But historically, tithes were more a requirement, often enforceable by law (like when England raised money to fight the crusades).

Although most Americans in 2012 are not required to pay tithes (it was actually abolished in parts of Europe), in some churches it is still far from voluntary.  For Mormons, you must pay the ten percent in order to remain in “good standing” and participate in church practices.   If you’re Catholic, not tithing amounts to little more than being subjected to a sleep-inducing lecture by a priest at the end of Catholic mass. To be fair, although the Mormon Church is pound for pound one of the richest, it also boasts impressive charitable institutions and social welfare networks.  A Mormon friend once joked that for all the anti-socialist republicans in the LDS church, if it were a country, it would run more like Sweden than the United States (with a little more prayer and cake and a little less alcohol). 

In addition, even though Americans of all income brackets give a lot to charity, much of that giving is also through their religious institutions, making their giving not much different than Mitt’s.  But it doesn’t change the fact that if Mitt didn’t pay his ten percent, he would probably get more than a stern talking to from a Church elder.

It also doesn’t change the fact that even Mitt’s charitable giving reeks of someone making more of an investment decision than a donation.   For example, almost half of his donations were in appreciated assets (e.g. stock in Domino’s pizza).  Donating appreciated assets versus cash is an accountant’s trick that enables Mitt to deduct the higher value of the stock (rather than how much he paid for it) from his taxes rather than paying capital gains taxes on the increased value of the stock.  Smart bookkeeping?  Yes.  A sign of selfless giving? Eh… 

There are still people that point out that rich Mitt still gives a higher sum (even if not a higher percentage) to charity than the average American, so it must still be taken into higher consideration.  After all, charity-wise, it just pays for a lot more.  Once again, accepting that notion depends on your social and religious beliefs.  If you believe in Jesus, for example, you would notice that Jesus says very little about gay marriage or abortion, but specifically says in the Gospel that the poor giving out of their poverty is a higher attribute that the rich giving out of their abundance.

Does this make Mitt’s giving illegal?  No. As a general rule, I assume that the super-rich try to change the law before trying to break it.  As far as Mitt and our tax laws, that seems to be true.  But does Mitt’s giving count more than the cash-strapped working mother who saw the Haitian earthquake on TV, and dipped into her pockets to give immediately?    Does it matter more than the father who has two full time jobs and still volunteers at the local soup kitchen?

Growing up, virtually everybody I knew helped those around them that needed it, regardless of how much they themselves had.  You had the grandmother on a fixed income that still fed kids in the neighborhood that didn’t have much.  You had the atheist kid that hated church but still became a Big Brother.  You had the families that were struggling to survive and still took people in that lost their jobs or been evicted from their homes. You had the church folks that volunteered twice a week at charity events, bringing their bratty kids with them because they couldn't afford childcare.  Studies show that, if anything, the poor give more of their money to charity than the rich. But the most charitable people I knew growing up didn’t even think about or wouldn’t even know how to deduct the things they did from their taxes.  If anything, some folks would feel embarrassed if anyone made a big deal of the things they did in the community.  Anytime they would get an accolade, they would simply say, “I’m just doing what people are suppose to do for each other.”

That doesn’t mean that all of the super-rich are super-greedy.  Nor does it mean that all of their charity work is a massive tax evasion scheme.  But as the public gets smart to the fact that the super-rich often get more welfare than the rest of us, there will be a public relations push to promote the “good things” the 1% do.   There are probably plenty of good super-rich people out there, but the super-rich don’t get to become super-good just because they do things that the rest of us feel that we are “suppose” to do anyway.   

Don't forget to tune in to Let's Talk About It! every Wednesday at 7pm right here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aftermath: Local Casinos and Corps. that Pay Lobbyists instead of Taxes

Family!  If you missed the show, our blog will be up soon but if you missed the show, download it  here , or press play below...

1.  Are Casinos a Good or Bad Bet for Miami?  Listen to entrepreneur Norman Braman,  Dr. Gregory Bush (Prof. at University of Miami and blog Common Sense Miami), Oliver Gilbert III (Councilman of Miami Gardens and Member of Miami Dade Black Caucus), Mayor Cindy Lerner (Pinecrest) Prof. Robert Jarvis (Nova School of Law), Barry Johnson (Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce),  and make your decision.  Click here to download or press play below.

2. Should Corporations pay more for lobbyists than they do in taxes?  Listen to Tam Doan from the Public Campaign talk about their report as mentioned by Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren on the Daily Show two nights ago.  Click here or press play below

3.  Finally listen to Lynn Purvis of Occupy Palm Beach give an update on the GAIM conference and Jeff Weinberger of Occupy Fort Lauderdale update us about their anti-foreclosure work.  Click here or press play below.

Don't forget to check back next Wednesday at 7pm to listen to our show!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Should Miami Place its Bets on Casinos? Should Corps. Give More to Lobbyists than Taxes?

January 25 @ 7pm EST

1.  Are casinos a bad bet for Miami?
Right now, there is a proposal in Florida's state legislature to essentially turn Miami into Las Vegas on steroids.  Florida and Miami are barely recovering from one of the worst economic crises we have ever had.  Many people feel like we need something to boost the economy.  Others think that to do so is to invite each and every one of the deadly sins into our community.  What do you think?  Join us as we talk to people that are for, against, and in the middle of the great debate to bring destination gambling to the Magic City.

2.  Should corporations pay more to lobbyists than they pay in taxes?
Last night, Daily Show guest Elizabeth Warren mentioned a study that shows that some of the biggest corporations pay more to lobbyists that to the IRS.  Some of those corporations even received bail-out money from the government!  We'll talk to the organization that wrote the report, the Public Campaign, on our show tonight.

Plus you can check out our last show here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do New Yorkers really say that sh*t?!

By Subhash Kateel

Hey family, had to take a second away from real talk.  So this Youtube video has been circulating all over called the "Sh*t New Yorkers Say."

My first reaction, as a person that called New York (specifically Brooklyn) my home (via Michigan) for damn near a decade was "New Yorkers don't really say that sh*t!"  My second reaction was, "Ok, maybe they say some of that sh*t."  But it still doesn't fully represent the folks that I know and call family in the 5 boroughs.  So I decided to create a list of things that I thought New Yorkers say on my FB page.  And a bunch of comments ensued.  So I figured I would list them.  Now I'm not creating no youtube, cuz, I'm just not.  If you want to, knock yourself out.  But here goes...

1."Damn, I can't believe I miss the crackheads on this block!"
2."They closed that club down too?"
3. "How much you charging for beef and broccoli now?"
4. " Damn these bootlegs suck."
5. "Its a wallet not a gun."
6."They turned what into a freaking cupcake shop?"
7."I am sending this fake purse to my family in [insert country or state], they won't know the difference."
8. "Wait officer, you're giving me a ticket for eating on the train? Do you see what them two just did?"
9. "You got those sunglasses for $150? I got some from the old lady down the street for $5."
10. " Look man, I ain't afraid of you or your block. You live next to a Starbucks."
11. " No my kid is playing here, because its a park...go do yoga someplace else."
12. "No I am not gonna stop African Marcus Garvey Harlem...thank you very much."
13.‎"How many puma shoes does that guy own?"
14. "Why you tryna look scary? You got skinny jeans on.
15. "No, but boric acid really does work."
16. "All I ate all day was chicken and rice from the halal cart."
17. "You sound country, are you from New Jersey?"
18. "Michigan? is that by Texas?"
19. "So you're Hindu? From like Pakistan or something? That's cool...As Salaam Alaikum."
20. "So you're from Trinidad?"..."no I'm Indian"..."Cool, mind if I call you 'Trini?'"..."But"..."Yo, meet my man Trini everybody!" 
21."Yes I read the Daily f***ing News because it's cheap and I like me some Juan Gonzalez."
22."Was that fireworks or a gunshot? It was fireworks...right? 
23."If them dudes are 'Black Hebrew Israelites' why are they dressed like they are from Sparta?"
24.  "Ain't that the dude that made the 'sh*t New Yorkers say' video?"..."no man, leave it, don't try to rob him."
24."Oh you listen to [insert rapper]? He went to high school with [insert relative]."
25."This neighborhood ain't the same.  Everybody speaks English."
25."Man this place is on some bougie hipster sh*t....but it tastes good."  

1/20 addendum (the things I am told I miss)
26.  "Oye Mami, what's your number?"
27.  "As salaam alaikum sister, and what's your number?"
28.  "Konichiwa, and how do you say what's your number in your language?"
29.  "M***F***, you really think you're gettin my number? really? with that face?"

If you have any you want to add, feel free to comment.  If you see something you said and you want to be recognized, just let me know.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

AFTERMATH: The Capitalism show!

 If you missed the show, it's up!  Click the link here or press play below to hear the show in its entirety.

1.  SOPA-If you want to hear Bruce Wayne Stanley from Occupy Miami talk about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) click here or press play below...

2.  If you want to hear Lynne Purvis from Occupy Palm Beach to talk about the GAIM (Gathering of Investors or Managers) conference and their planned actions there, click here or press play below...

3.  If you want to check out the Free Market vs. Capitalism conversation with economist Marshall Auerback you can click here or press play below...

4.  What happens when workers own the company?  Find out as we talk to people that both successfully and unsuccessfully started cooperative businesses.  If you want to hear about cooperative business with special guests Maria Ferreira (Center for Family Life), Ramona Ortega (founder of Cidadao Global), Michael Elsas (Cooperative Home Care Associates), Gowri Krishna (Professor, Fordham School of Law) and last but not least Rodney North, answer-man for co-op success story Equal Exchange.  Click here to download the conversation or press play below. 

Don't forget to check out our radio show every Wednesday night at 7pm est right here.

The Capitalism Show!

WED. 1/18 @ 7pm EST

FAMILY!  Tonight we just might have an interesting show for you!  We talk capitalism; what it is, what it isn't, whether it is dead or alive, good or evil, and what people are doing about it.

1.  99 to 1 news update
We'll check in on some news that affects the 99% and the 1%, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), some occupy updates, and the GAIM conference.  What happens when the 1% of the 1% come to Florida for a conference?  We'll find out.

2.  Capitalism vs. the Free Market?!
In the news and on TV, people talk about these two as the same thing.  But is there a difference?  Is one good and the other evil?  Are greedy people using the values of one to justify the crimes of the other?  Join us as we hammer this one out.

3.  Cooperative Companies
What happens when workers own the business?  What happens when everyone's a CEO?  Is it like inmates running the asylum, or getting rid of the top-heavy dead weight?  Believe it or not, the are a bunch of worker owned business in America.  How do they do?  Are they the future of making money or a pipe dream? Join us as we talk about it!

You know what to do...Tune in!  Call in! and Let's Talk About It!

plus check out our tribute to MLK here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remembering King...

Family!  As you spend some time with your family remembering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we hoped to help you reflect by replaying our segment from last week.  Listen to the words of Dr. Paul Ortiz (University of Florida), Vjiay Prashad (Trinity College), Jill Hanson (Civil Rights Attorney), Robert Rooks (NAACP), Donald Anthonyson (Families For Freedom), and Marleine Bastien (FANM).

You can listen to our segment/tribute to MLK by downloading it here or pressing play below:


Dr. Paul Ortiz-"He would be embarassed, ashamed, and appalled at the state of human rights and civil rights that currently exist in this country."

"Dr. King...was saying[in his book Chaos or Community] 'let's open a dialogue about changing this economic system.'"

"It's almost as if people want to think about Martin Luther King day but don't want to read his own words."

"The March on Washington in 1963 was seen by the Kennedy Administration as a revolutionary action."

Vijay Prashad-"From when I came to the United States, I had never thought that Martin Luther King had been assassinated because his legacy, his meaning, everything he stood for seemed alive and well..."

"Just before he was assassinated he planned to create a city in Washington DC... where people who believed in the cause of ending poverty were going to create an occupation..."

"The most misunderstood piece of Martin Luther King's legacy is that he...was trying to create a society where race doesn't matter."

Jill Hanson-"I was about 12 or 13 when I first heard about him...I was a Catholic...he seemed to be really living the faith that I was taught."

"Today I think that he is equally relevant to the immigrant rights have a lot of very powerless people that have no other tools at their disposal, except for moral power."

"Today many people revere him and honor we tend to forget that in his time he was very often  despised...towards the end of his life he felt very depressed by the fact that he felt he hadn't made any we have to look at the long term of our actions and believe that someday "we will overcome."

Robert Rooks-"Before he was killed he was working on a sermon titled 'Why America may go to hell...'he had a more darker view of America."

"King had strong views...that I don't think we've totally unpacked as a nation and why I think we continue to do the things we do now."

Marleine Bastien (not played on show)-"King would be turning in his grave."

Donald Anthonyson-"We definitely don't need another Martin but we need more than one Martin...not only nationwide but globally..."

Enjoy your MLK day and don't forget to tune into our show every Wednesday at 7pm est.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

If MLK and WEB had a dream about the NDAA...

By Subhash Kateel

As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. this weekend, I am sure we will hear a few renditions of his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  In some ways, I wish I could hear his never written speech “I Would Have Never Imagined…” Because I am pretty sure that King would've never dreamed of a President Obama.  I am also certain that he would've never imagined that President Obama would sign a bill like the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would tarnish both of their legacies, and potentially revive the same practices used to target King during the Civil Rights Movement. 

If you haven’t heard, the NDAA is a bill recently passed by Congress and signed by the President over the holidays.   It would, among other things, give the President power to detain a US citizen indefinitely and without trial. If the NDAA has a legacy in common with King, it can be found in the insane things our federal law enforcement agencies did while trying to destroy King and his predecessors-leaders and thinkers they often considered enemies of the state.  I am sure that this weekend will be filled with a lot of clich├ęs.  I hope that one of them is the one about those forgetting history being destined to repeat it.

There are a few folks that feel safe in knowing that the NDAA would only affect “terrorists.” Others openly ask who under the NDAA can be considered one. History has easy answers in the lives of WEB Dubois, Marcus Garvey and King himself. 

WEB Du bois did many things that I can’t justify explaining in a few sentences. Besides his historic writings like the Souls of Black Folk, he is most well know for helping to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), one of the most respected African American organizations ever.   Just last week,  Newt Gingrich also called the NAACP "one of the most left-wing.”  Gingrich shared that belief in common with many of his early 20th century equivalents;  except when they said it back then, they referred to Du bois' belief that lynching Black folks by the thousands was a GOD-awful thing to do.   Du bois, despite being one of the most prolific social thinkers and writers in American history was falsely accused (because of his opposition to nuclear weapons) by the US Justice Department of working as an agent of a foreign state.  One of the preferred legal weapons used against him (under the McCarran Act) was the frequent confiscation of his passport, once hindering his travel abroad for eight years.  The last attempt to restrict his travel happened in 1963, while he was already in Ghana.  Considering this the last straw,  Du bois became a citizen of Ghana and died there two years later.

Marcus Garvey was a controversial person with incredible skill for building mass consciousness and organization to back it up (thanks to equally skilled first and second spouses). Him and Du bois rarely saw eye-to-eye,  unless eye-to-eye is being called “a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head."  But a lot of others adored Garvey, like 2 to 5 million others.  He created the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), what many consider the largest Black member-based organization ever.  The UNIA had a newspaper translated into three languages and read on three continents.  While some things he did, like meeting with leaders of the Ku Klux Klan, drew the scorn of established Black leaders, the enterprises he started, his bold ideals, and his insistence on Black being beautiful (long before it became popular) captured the imagination of millions.  His ideas and his immigration status (he was a legal immigrant from Jamaica) also caught the eye of the Bureau of Investigation (now the FBI) and its head, J. Edgar Hoover.  In 1919, the Bureau took the unprecedented move of actually hiring Black law enforcement agents to infiltrate Garvey’s organization, desperately seeking a reason to deport him.  This was despite an early memo from field agents insisting that “he [Garvey] has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against …from the point of view of deportation.”  The feds desire to deport Garvey finally gained ground as he was charged with  mail fraud through means that by any modern accounts would be considered entrapment.   In 1927, Garvey was deported to Jamaica and the UNIA soon fell apart.  J Edgar Hoover, on his way to becoming the America's most ruthless law enforcement agent, now had a model he could use to go after future Black leaders, including King.

Hoover and the FBI's particular fetish for destroying MLK is by now old news.  In 1963, he was considered “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country” by Hoover’s agency.  This led the feds to follow him, wiretap him (with the approval of both JFK and RFK) and send him letters that all but encouraged him to commit suicide.

Fast-forward to 2012.  J Edgar Hoover’s entire legacy is forever in question, while the bulk of Dubois’ and King’s legacies are forever vindicated.   Garvey’s entrepreneurial spirit and words of grand encouragement are either oft replicated or thoroughly missed (even if his crazy antics aren’t).  But soon to be missed are also the imperfect checks and balances that sort of kind of discourage law enforcement from doing to Americans what they did to King, Du bois, and others.   On Monday, as we celebrate the life of a King, we should ask ourselves, “will the next person with a courageous and controversial dream find themselves in a government sponsored, indefinite nightmare?”

Don't forget to tune into our radio program every Wednesday at 7pm, right here.

To listen to our segment on the NDAA, you can download it here or press play below:

To listen to our segment/tribute to MLK, you can download it here or press play below:

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Real Criminals on the Anniversary of Haiti’s Earthquake are…

As I am writing this, seven members of Occupy Miami and Occupy FIU (Florida International University) sit in Miami Dade County Jail.  Their crime was a severe one.  They were attempting to set up a concert at Florida International University to remember the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.  In the minds of members of Occupy FIU, they were given prior verbal approval for the event by the ombudsman.  In the eyes of the FIU police and Miami Dade Police, they were not.

There are others in the criminal justice world that are better suited to decide whether the newly named “FIU 7” deserve to be in jail or not.  But in the early morning hours, as I remember the original images of Haiti’s earthquake, as I remember the look on my friends faces as they were desperately trying to contact family members, as I remember wondering the fate of a few of my friends in Haiti at the time (they ended up being fine), I keep asking myself, “who really deserves to be in jail two years after the earthquake?”

On this week’s show, we interviewed lawyer and researcher Amber Ramanauskas and community leader Marleine Bastien about their thoughts on the anniversary.  This is what they had to say:

Amber, along with esteemed human rights lawyer (and Hurricane Katrina survivor) Bill Quigley wrote an enlightening and angering essay on where the money meant to help post-earthquake Haiti really went.  To read it is to gain perspective on who really deserves to be in jail. 

In the aftermath of the earthquake, the two most shocking things were how much the earthquake devastated Haiti and how much Americans wanted to help.  Within days, the majority of Americans either donated or wanted to donate to the relief effort.    Even more significant, Americans from all walks of life supported our government playing an active role in helping rebuild the proud island nation.  What did Americans get for their good will and Haitians for their epic suffering?  Nothing short of betrayal.

Within a year of the earthquake, most of the money for Haiti sat unspent in bank accounts.  Two years later, the money that has been spent raises even more questions.  Just consider that according to Quigley and Ramanauskas:

*The largest recipient of earthquake money was the US government,  and a third of that money went to the Department of Defense.  Many have said that the some of that aid funneled through the Department of Agriculture even helped cripple Haiti’s own rice industry.

*Only a small percentage of money went to Haitian companies, non-profits, or Haiti’s government.  This is even as Haitians have hit the streets demanding more jobs.  On our show, Marleine explained how Haitian American non-profits saw their funding cut and had to layoff workers as they were increasing their services to earthquake victims. 

*Some money went to for-profit disaster companies like Florida-based Ashbritt.

Even now, a lot of the money needed to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure still hasn’t been spent.  Yet two years after Haiti’s tragedy, both Marleine and Amber recount that Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two weeks ago.  On this day, two years after Haiti finally captured our hearts 200 years after it should have, someone deserves to be in jail.  But is it really the FIU 7?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

AFTERMATH: Haiti Revisited, King Remembered and Vote Rigging in 2012

A Dream Deferred and Re-directed.  Family, we will have a blog up soon.  But if you missed the show and want to listen to the whole thing download it here or press play below.

If you just want to listen to the segment on where the money we sent to help Haiti, download here or press play below

If you want to hear about voter suppression and vote rigging in Florida and the US click here or press play below.

If you want to hear our segment on MLK, click here or press play below.


Haiti Revisited, King Remembered and...Votes Rigged?!

1.  What Dreams May Come: MLK Remembered
What does Martin Luther King's legacy mean for the world in 2012?  Join us as we ask a few friends of the show.

2.  Voting in 2012:  The year that rights become privileges?
A major women's organization gives up registering voters because it is afraid of breaking an insane law.  Tens of thousands of people who thought they would have the right to vote are now told to wait a few years. Birmingham in 1960?  China in 2000?  Florida in 2012?  Tune in and find out.

3.  Haiti:  How resilient can resilience be?
On the eve of the second anniversary of the worst natural disaster in Haiti's history, we talk about how Haiti is recovering.

Wednesday, January 11 @ 7pm EST

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ron Paul Revisit Part II: The New Hampshire Debates and the New Jim Crow

by Subhash Kateel

After the amount of flak I caught from my last post on Ron Paul, I almost decided to never write about the guy again, lest I have to check under my car every morning.  I seem to have pissed a few people off, not because of what I wrote, but what I didn’t write. Apparently, defending the parts of Ron Paul that I don’t think are crazy isn’t enough.  I have to be willing to vote for the guy AND believe he has a real chance of becoming President. In the alternative, I have to pretend that he has never been right about anything and is only a dangerous racist demagogue.  Writing anything that says, “it’s complicated” is unacceptable to some people (thanks for reading anyway).

But after seeing him in action during the New Hampshire debates, I decided to go in one last time . In the process of defending himself from his own infamous 1990’s newsletters (if you missed the fun, you can get caught up here) he brought up stuff I wouldn’t expect to hear in a Republican debate. 

“I'm the only one up here and the only one in the Democratic Party that understands true racism in this country. It's in the judicial system. And it has to do with enforcing the drug laws. The percentage of people who use drugs are about the same with blacks and whites, and yet the blacks are arrested way disproportionately. They're prosecuted, imprisoned, way disproportionately. They get the death penalty way disproportionately.

How many times have you seen a white rich person get the electric chair or get execution? But poor minorities have an injustice. And they have an injustice in war as well.  Because minorities suffer more. Even with the draft, they suffered definitely more. Without a draft, they're suffering disproportionately. If we truly want to be concerned about racism, you ought to look at a few of those issues and look at the drug laws which are being so unfairly enforced.”
If a politician ever needs to divert a discussion away from the dumb things in their past in a principled way, this is probably how they should do it.  To find an example of how not to respond to a racially charged situation, look no further than Florida Governor, and only politician less popular than ghosts, Rick Scott.  On a few occasions the unloved gov responded to criticism from some members of the African American community by insisting that he understands Black folks because he grew up in the projects.  In New Hampshire,  jackass-in-chief Newt Gingrich (who I not really defend here) was handling fallout from his statements linking the entire Black community to food stamp use by simply saying more jacked up stuff.  
In a climate where so many politicians do such a bad job of removing the feet they put in their mouths, it is pretty refreshing to see a politician do a foot-in-mouth extraction while simultaneously highlighting a real societal injustice that disproportionately affects working people of color .

How bad are the disparities in the criminal justice system that Ron Paul refers to?  So bad that many, including author Michelle Alexander, have called the criminal justice system the  “New Jim Crow.   So  bad, that Desmond Meade of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition estimates that a million Floridians are stripped of their right to vote because of it.  So bad that Gov. Rick Scott and his Attorney General Pam “I enforce the law unless it's foreclosure fraud” Bondi seem to be using the disparities to prevent tens of thousands of people from voting, potentially setting the stage for a rigged 2012 election.  

For a Republican politician to essentially insert a discussion of the new Jim Crow into a election year debate is not lost on those that have fought for even a fraction of that attention during any Democratic debate.  Now Ron Paul isn’t right when he says that he is the “only” politician that understands the new Jim Crow. And before you start trying to book him for an MLK day speaking engagement, I should point out that, racist or not, his opposition to the Civil Rights Act is freaking bizarre.  But this whole racist newsletter fiasco brings up of a much bigger point -the difference between being personally racist and promoting policies with racist results.  You can have supposedly not-racist politicians like President Bill Clinton that enact policies via the War on Drugs and the death penalty that produce racist results.  You can also have really racist politicians, like President Harry Truman, who once said that one man is as good as another as long as he is not a “nigger or chinaman,” that  promote  anti-racist policies like de-segregating the military. As a whole,  the sooner we can have real conversations about the differences between the two,  the sooner we will be better at holding politicians accountable for the things they say and do.

Don't forget to tune in to our show Wednesdays at 7pm EST right here. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Post-Iowa Revisit of Ron Paul

By Subhash Kateel

Over the holidays, I was tempted a thousand times to write about Ron Paul’s recent problems.  Since writers throughout the political spectrum decided to inform me of the letters they "found" from twenty years ago proving he is a racist, xenophobe, and homophobe, I wanted to respond.  Some of the articles calling out his "isms" have actually been really helpful (like this one).  But others have really questionable timing.  Apparently, I am not the only one that thinks so.  In some ways, Glenn Greenwald wrote the article I would want to read on the topic.  But the Iowa Caucuses, with the enshrining of Mitt “corporations are people because I am one” Romney as the front runner and the emergence of this dude as a serious contender, reminded me that I have a few more things to say.  

To be clear, I am by no means a Ron Paul supporter.  Honestly, the only way I could ever vote for the guy is if he were running against Cobra Commander or Megatron.  But as a person that called the immigrant rights movement home for over 12 years, I don’t find anything about his alleged xenophobia surprising or newsworthy.  Ron Paul has long been an opponent of birthright citizenship, the concept that birth on US soil automatically makes someone a US citizen (what some people call the Fourteenth Amendment).  As a basic rule, I assume that most people who don’t like birth right citizenship decided this around the time US born children of immigrants started looking more brown, being less Protestant, and began putting hot sauce in their ketchup.  As I watched  the 2009 movie Bruno, where Ron Paul freaked out and ran around the room calling Sasha Cohen’s character  “a queer”after he came on to him, I assumed he meant it negatively and not because he really liked the organization, Queers for Economic Justice.  Considering that I sort of guessed him to not like immigrants and gay folks a lot, I kind of inferred that during the 90’s, when those racist newsletters in his name came out,  he wasn’t reading James Baldwin and listening to X-Clan.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

AFTERMATH: Iowa, NDAA, Occupy Caucuses, and Housekeeping

 Family, we want to ask you a question.  Who can talk to the Young Republicans, the Tea Party, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and members of the Occupy Movement all on one show?  We can, that's who!  If you missed our show and want to hear the whole thing, download the sound file here or press play below

1.  Iowa Caucus update:  If you want to listen to Bradley Gerber from the Miami Young Republicans and friend of the show and Florida Tea Party Patriots chair Everett Wilkinson chop it up about the Iowa Republican Caucuses, click here or press play below

2.  If you want to hear about how Occupy Des Moines and other ticked off fed up Iowans tried to "OCCUPY THE CAUCUS," you can listen to David Goodner from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement by clicking here or pressing play below

3.  The NDAA
Listen to Shahid Buttar from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee break down the"No Democracy for America...", I mean the "National Defense Authorization Act" (or NDAA) and how some politicians have a dream that one day all Tea Partiers, Occupiers, Hippies, Fundies, Peaceniks, and Redstaters can all come together and share one jail cell...without trial...indefinitely.  We even had one caller, a veteran, with some choice words for our politicians.  Download the clip here or press play below.

4.  A Good House "Keeping" update: The eviction of Angela Samuels blocked by community
If you want to hear about how 1Miami, Occupy Miami, the Miami Workers Center, and several other organizations came together to stop a post-holiday foreclosure/eviction/house-jacking, click here or press play below.

The show is dedicated to the memory of Rev. Doug Diehl, father of our Co-Host Kim Diehl, who passed away over the holidays.  May you rest until risen.

Don't forget to tune into our show at the same time and same place next week.

Who Cares about Iowa, the Bill of Rights, Good "House" Keeping or New Year's Resolutions?

WED. January 4 @ 7pm EST


We are glad to be back and ready to bring you the radio realness you have come to expect from us...

1.  Do you care about the Iowa caucuses?
You know we had to talk about the elections some time.  And what better time than the day after Iowa's Republican caucuses?  Everyone keeps talking about the caucuses like they are a reality TV show.  Whether that is true or not, we keep forgetting that the outcome of the race just might determine who will run the country next year.  Join us as we talk to Bradley Gerber from the Miami Young Republicans and friend of the show Everett Wilkinson from the Florida Tea Party Patriots.


2.  NDAA: the National Defense Authorization Act or the "No Democracy for America Act?"
Over the holidays, while most of us were relaxing (or arguing) with our families, the President signed the most controversial piece of legislation since the Health Care reform bill.  The NDAA gives the government the right to detain American citizens indefinitely.  What was Obama thinking?  Is this as bad as it sounds?  Is this really the death of democracy and due process?  What ever happened to that Bill of Rights thing anyway?  We'll talk about it with Shahid Buttar from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.


3.  More good House"keeping"
Last year we brought you the case of Angela Samuels, a Miami native facing eviction from her home of 40 years.  People fought hard to keep her in her home only for things to come to a head two days into the New Year. We'll give you updates about her case.


4.  New Year's Resolutions & Predictions...
We resolve to be resolute about bringing you the realest radio possible.  What's your resolution? Any predictions for the year? Peace in the Middle East? The world falls to pieces? President Santorum?  Occupy Hollywood? Holler at us and let us know.

You already know the time, you already know the place now...Tune In! Call In! and Let's Talk About It!

Plus check our two end of the year wrap-ups, "The Best of When You're Broke" and our "Best of the Worst 1%"