I have not written about the videotaped killing of Eric Garner by the New York Police Department--and their subsequent efforts to cover up the crime--because I did not want to contribute to the online necropolis of black and brown people unjustly killed by white American racism.

I have not watched the video of Eric Garner's death. I also would not have looked in the casket of Brother Emmett Till. I make that choice not because of a fear or disgust towards the corpse. My choice is also not one driven by some high-minded claim about a disgust at the spectacular pornography of death and its relationship to the black body.

I worry that to write about the killing of Eric Garner is to give the theft of his life power over me. I know that such a claim is intellectually specious. One cannot deny the fact of gravity because they choose to not think about it.

The naked reveal: meditations on black death are mentally and spiritually exhausting.

The "racism beat" can and does kill those who walk it. White supremacy extracts a high cost.

Moreover, what else is there left to say? Yet, the deed remains a tired repetition which still needs to be performed.

Black life is cheap in America. The historical irony is, of course, that the fluctuations in the value placed on black life, and the labor output it produced, were the basis of America's economy for centuries.

The blues sensibility of black folks has made us very comfortable with death and suffering. In many ways, we are numb to it. Our numbness does not mean that we do not feel hurt, pain, suffering, or anger at how violence against the black body is a routine fixture in American culture.

America was and remains a lynching society--where black bodies were once hung from trees, burned alive, cut apart, or otherwise brutalized by blood thirsty white mobs comprised of men, women, and children, now black people are shot dead by white cops and white street vigilantes.

Numbness here is a lack of surprise at how white racism kills innocent black and brown people, and how then the latter are made into criminals, and those who commit the heinous act are somehow "victims" of "reverse racism". The madness and insanity of colorblind racism in the post civil rights era is encapsulated by that process: America is so sick with white supremacy that calling white racists to account is somehow worse than the social evils they have committed.

White supremacy is a type of social insanity because through the deeply connected processes of the white racial frame, the White Gaze, and white privilege, it can invert and twist reality to suit the agenda of those who have, what George Lipsitz famously described as, a "possessive investment in whiteness".

Eric Garner's killing by the New York Police Department was videotaped. Like the decades-earlier Rodney King case, the visual reference should provide indisputable evidence of white on black police brutality. And as it did in the King case, white racist logic transforms the indisputable and obvious into doubt.

For example, Fox News lies and distorts in an effort to excuse-make for the killing of Eric Garner. The New York Daily News's Denis Hamill denies the obvious by suggesting that reckless and wanton criminal behavior by the police in black and brown communities can somehow be separated from institutional and interpersonal white racism. The online sewers of the Right-wing have instinctively defended Eric Garner's killing by the New York Police Department.

Once again, in the Right-wing media echo chamber authoritarian idealization and idolization of police authority combines with white racism to legitimate white on black murder. Because racism and conservatism are one and the same thing in the post civil rights era, there can be no other outcome.

The White Gaze is almost magical in its ability to commit acts of transmutation on the truth, twisting and distorting it, to serve the political, psychic, emotional, and social needs of whiteness.

The result? The truth-claims of black and brown folks about the reality that is white racism, as well as the contours of life in a white dominated society, are dismissed. Black and brown folks are made into the crazy ones, the overly sensitive, the reverse racists, grievance mongers, or "anti-white".

Eric Garner's slotting in the black necropolis was committed by the same logic that justified the murder of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBrideJonathan Ferrell, Jordan Davis, and Kenneth Chamberlain Sr..

In the United States, the black body is a crime. The black body deserves punishment. The black body is somehow dangerous and especially provocative. To be in the black body means that you are de facto a criminal until proven innocent. The legal dictate of innocent until proven guilty is inverted. Black humanity is existential criminality.

In the White racial imagination, Eric Garner provoked his own killing, Trayvon Martin's iced tea and candy were deadly weapons, Renisha McBride should have been shot in the face because she knocked on a stranger's door, Jonathan Ferrell was a giant black beast who scared the police, and Jordan Davis was "disrespectful" and "uppity", his "loud" music constituting an assault and threat that should be met with lethal force by any "reasonable" person. Lynching victims were killed by the same white logic too. They transgressed white authority and white norms. In doing so, the black lynching victim committed a type of suicide.

Following the Rodney King trial, the philosopher Judith Butler struggled to make sense of how the White Gaze can legitimate white on black racial violence in the face of obvious photographic (and other) evidence that clearly shows the black and brown body as the victim and not the perpetrator of a crime.

She frames her confusion in the following way:

The defense attorneys for the police in the Rodney King case made the argument that the policemen were endangered, and that Rodney King was the source of that danger. The argument they made drew from many sources, comments he made, acts he refused to perform on command, and the highly publicized video recording taken on the spot and televised widely before and during the trial.

During the trial, the video was shown at the same time that the defense offered a commentary, and so we are left to presume that some convergence of word and picture produced the "evidence" for the jurors in the case. The video shows a man being brutally beaten, repeatedly, and without visible resistance; and so the question is, How could this video be used as evidence that the 'body being beaten was itself the source of danger, the threat of violence, and, further, that the beaten body of Rodney King bore an intention to injure, and to injure precisely those police who either wielded the baton against him or stood encircling him?

In the Simi Valley courtroom, what many took to be incontrovertible evidence against the police was presented instead to establish police vulnerability, that is, to support the contention that Rodney King was endangering the police. Later, a juror reported that she believed that Rodney King was in "total control” of the situation. How was this feat of interpretation achieved?

The visual representation of the black male body being beaten on the street by the policemen and their batons was taken up by that racist interpretive framework to construe King as the agent of violence, one whose agency is phantasmatically implied as the narrative precedent and antecedent to the frames that are shown. Watching King, the white paranoiac forms a sequence of narrative intelligibility that consolidates the racist figure of the black man: "He had threatened them, and now he is being justifiably restrained." "If they cease hitting him, he will release his violence, and now is being justifiably restrained." King's palm turned away from his body, held above his own head, is read not as self-protection but as the incipient moments of a physical threat.

Butler continues, detailing how reality and intelligibility are distorted by white racism and the white racial frame:

It is not, then, a question of negotiating between what is "seen," on the one hand, and a "reading" which is imposed upon the visual evidence, on the other.

In a sense, the problem is even worse: to the extent that there is a racist organization and disposition of the visible, it will work to circumscribe what qualifies as visual evidence, such that it is in some cases impossible to establish the "truth" of racist brutality through recourse to visual evidence. For when the visual is fully schematized by racism, the "visual evidence" to which one refers will always and only refute the conclusions based upon it; for it is possible within this racist episteme that no black person can seek recourse to the visible as the sure ground of evidence.

Consider that it was possible to draw a line of inference from the black male body motionless and beaten on the street to the conclusion that this very body was in "total control," rife with "dangerous intention.'' The visual field is not neutral to the question of race; it is itself a racial formation, an episteme, hegemonic, and forceful.

The white paranoiac gaze killed Eric Garner. The white paranoiac gaze is not a peripheral concept, one that only describes outliers or aberrant behavior. Rather, the white paranoiac gaze is part of a system of power relationships which legitimates and rationalizes white on black violence (institutional; cultural; economic; political; interpersonal). It is also a central element in the psychic wages of whiteness: the white paranoiac gaze sustains the lie that whiteness is innocent, noble, vulnerable, and benign.

Ultimately, the white paranoiac gaze's greatest power is how it helps to sustain the moral authority of whiteness over people of color. Eric Garner was killed in an act which exposes that lie. Unfortunately, as it has done innumerable times before, the white paranoiac gaze will find a way to justify his killing by the New York Police Department. Those white folks who are most invested in whiteness will nod their head in agreement and validation because somehow whiteness is always innocent and blackness is a dire threat.

White supremacy and the white racial frame are moral and perceptual sicknesses of the mind and soul--and those who are sick often feel that they are perfectly normal and healthy.

Reality can be cruel. White privilege protects them from the consequences of their shared lie.

How much longer can that fiction be sustained in 21st century America?

Israel's butchery and campaign of mass punishment against the people of Gaza continues.

Israel has now started using flechette rounds, white phosphorous, and DIME munitions, against the civilians in Gaza. The American people's tax dollars are subsidizing wanton cruelty. And again, when the retaliation and blowback comes, the ignorant and the stupid will say, "why do they hate us so much!" American politicians, complicit agents in a civic culture where the masses have been made into asses, will reply, "they hate our values and way of life!"

To tell the truth--that America subsidizes Israel and her meanness, and that American made and supplied helicopters, artillery, planes, and other armaments deal out death to the civilians in Gaza and the other occupied territories--would mean the end of one's political career. Truth is almost always punished. Thus, there are few of us who practice parrhesia as a life mantra. Most will retreat from Socrates's virtuous death.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal's Thane Rosenbaum suggested that the civilian population in Gaza is complicit with their own misery.

He has indicted a whole population as "terrorists" and an existential threat to Israel.

Thus, the rules of war do not apply, because by definition there are no innocents or children in Gaza: the rank-and-file denizens of Gaza share responsibility for the actions of their political leaders.

Consequently, Israel's total war strategy is made valid by the objectification and dehumanization of a whole population.

Salon's Matt Bruenig has done an excellent job highlighting the hypocrisy of the American jingoists who were aghast and enraged when the same logic was used by Osama bin Laden and those others who "defended" his attacks on September 11, 2001:

When people — whether bin Laden, Rosenbaum, Churchill, or others — defend slaughtering civilians, they rarely intend to apply their arguments universally. Do you imagine, for instance, that Rosenbaum thinks that it would be legitimate to bomb his house, killing him and his family, because he is a loyal of the American government that fought an unjust war of aggression in Iraq? I suspect not. Do you imagine that he thinks Israeli civilians are legitimate targets of war because they continue to vote for the parties that they do? Again, one suspects not.

People who push the Rosenbaum-Laden argument do not seek to make a serious plea for a new category of quasi-combatant that it is legitimate to brutalize in war. Few if any people are willing to take any such argument to its logical and grisly conclusion. Instead, they seek simply to provide one-off cover to specific instances of civilian killings that they want to justify for other reasons. The “those civilians deserve it” point almost always comes unsheathed as a desperation move when the side you are deeply loyal to has done the indefensible.

Bruenig is essentially correct. American exceptionalism deems that the lives of Americans are more valuable than the lives of any other people. Moreover, American Exceptionalism means that all of the United States' actions abroad and at home are noble, righteous, and good. Rules of moral, ethical, or philosophical consistency are upended by American Exceptionalism and nationalism.

The argument made by "Hamas's Civilian Death Strategy" is supported by a scaffold of problematic assumptions about personhood, culture, and race that will be familiar to anyone who has reflected on, studied, or through lived experience, had to navigate the American and global color line.

Rosenbaum's logic is also an example of the white racial frame applied on an international scale.

To point:

On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than innocent civilians. And you have wittingly made yourself targets.

It also calls your parenting skills into serious question. In the U.S. if a parent is found to have locked his or her child in a parked car on a summer day with the windows closed, a social worker takes the children away from the demonstrably unfit parent. In Gaza, parents who place their children in the direct line of fire are rewarded with an interview on MSNBC where they can call Israel a genocidal murderer.

Questioning the parenting skills of those who you oppress and target for violence is a way of making them ultimately responsible for their own suffering. Children are made into adults because they are not allowed the innocence that "proper" home training would have given them. In the United States, we see the logic of "good" and "bad" parenting as a type of moral claim that is used to justify violence against the black and brown body by White people and those others who are overly identified with Whiteness as power, privilege, and normality.

When white vigilantes, police, and other agents of the white racial state shoot and murder unarmed black and brown teenagers and children, the first move by the defenders of Whiteness in their framing of black life as criminality is to question the parental training and upbringing of the victim.

Trayvon Martin was "asking for it" because he was a "thug" whose parents couldn't control him. Jordan Davis and his friends were "disrespectful" to Michael Dunn.

The adultification and niggerization of black children and their families is legitimated and circulated by the racist logic of the American media and other forces of political and cultural socialization.

Borrowing from the great historian Alexander Saxton, if "racism is a theory of history", then the claims by Rosenbaum in support of Israel's mass punishment of the people of Gaza are an extension of the white racist logic that was used to support colonization, imperialism, and Apartheid.

The white racial frame has blinded Rosenbaum to how his suggestion that, "On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations" also applies to the United States.

He is describing the slave regime in the United States where white slavers and their allies were engaged in a tyrannical relationship based on war and terror against African-Americans. The regime of Jim and Jane Crow, and its KKK thugs and other white racial terrorists, were also supported by and embedded throughout white society.

By Rosenbaum's logic there were/are no innocents in white society. If there had been a series of rebellions by black Americans in which they rose up and killed white people en masse across the South and elsewhere during the Slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim and Jane Crow regimes, would Rosenbaum, and by extension The Wall Street Journal, have supported their actions? What about Nat Turner? Would Rosenbaum and The Wall Street Journal have backed Turner's attacks on "innocent" white "civilians"?

Thane Rosenbaum is no John Brown. As offered by "Hamas's Civilian Death Strategy", I doubt that he would apply his logic to armed resistance by people of color against a white racist society.

The violence by Israel against the people of Gaza, and the rhetorical strategies which are being deployed by the "mainstream" American and global media to justify it, should be familiar to anyone would has lived in a slum, ghetto, Bantustan, or other "occupied territory".

It must be stopped. "Not in my name" should be a slogan of action across the global color line.

Last weekend, The New York Times offered a palliative for triumphalist American anti-racism with its essay "The Data of Hate".

Conservatives and liberals both indulge in the habit; the Times' piece should be a wake up call and incentive to see the world as it actually is, not as one would like to imagine it being.

The Right is desperate to portray white supremacists as throwbacks and rare outliers in order to advance the twin lie that white racism no longer exists as a significant social problem in the United States as a means to advance a narrative of white victimology where the end goal is maintaining white privilege and white power.

The Left enjoys anti-racist triumphalism as a way to declare moral superiority over conservatives and while also celebrating the hard fought victories of the civil rights movement which (in the popular imagination) culminated in the election of Barack Obama.

"We" want to believe that white supremacists are toothless wonders, hillbillies, or country rube Southern primitives who put on Klan robes and shoot cockroaches with guns. Those easy caricatures exist to fulfill a fiction of social/racial integration and cohesion along the color line that legitimates America's multicultural corporate liberal democratic political regime.

The NY Times' "The Data of Hate" subverts those stereotypes:

VIKINGMAIDEN88 is 26 years old. She enjoys reading history and writing poetry. Her signature quote is from Shakespeare. She was impressed when the dialect quiz in The New York Times correctly identified where she was from: Tacoma and Spokane, Wash. “Completely spot on,” she wrote, followed by a smiling green emoji.

I gleaned all this from her profile and posts on Stormfront.org, America’s most popular online hate site.

I recently analyzed tens of thousands of the site’s profiles, in which registered members can enter their location, birth date, interests and other information. Call it Big Hatred meets Big Data...

POLITICAL developments certainly play a role. The day that saw the biggest single increase in membership in Stormfront’s history, by far, was Nov. 5, 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected president.

The top reported interest of Stormfront members is “reading.” Most notably, Stormfront users are news and political junkies. One interesting data point here is the popularity of The New York Times among Stormfront users. According to the economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro, when you compare Stormfront users to people who go to the Yahoo News site, it turns out that the Stormfront crowd is twice as likely to visit nytimes.com.

Perhaps it was my own naïveté, but I would have imagined white nationalists’ inhabiting a different universe from that of my friends and me. Instead, they have long threads praising “Breaking Bad” and discussing the comparative merits of online dating sites, like Plenty of Fish and OkCupid.

White racism is not an opinion. It is a fact. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's empirical work in "The Data of Hate" buttresses that reality.

The "backstage racism" of the post civil rights era has moved to cyber-space. White supremacy is remarkably adaptable. Print, radio, TV, film, and other media have been used to circulate and sustain it. Cyber-racism is the most recent iteration of how white supremacist ideologies adapt to new technologies.

Anti-racist triumphalism is comforting because it makes the members of the post civil rights and "post racial" generations feel safe and secure. Of course, the facts undercut the illusion. There has been an increase in the number of white hate groups in the United States since the election of Barack Obama. Anti-black and brown hate crimes remain all too common. The KKK and other white supremacist organizations are recruiting both active duty and newly retired members of the United States military.

The White Right is resurgent and its brand of white supremacy, nativism, and racism has fully taken over the Republican Party. White supremacists have infiltrated the Tea Party and identified its members as prime candidates for full conversion to their ideology. The Republican Party's electoral strategy involves the use of white racial resentment to motivate white voters while also limiting the ability of black and brown people to vote.

The contemporary Republican Party--what political scientists call a "party in government"--is a de facto white supremacist organization. The pundit classes bloviate and hand wring over Tea Party GOP obstructionism as though the origins of the behavior are a "great mystery" when the answer requires no great riddle. The Republican Party is a racist organization that must, by definition and commitment to its members and brand name, destroy the United States' first black president.

Social scientists have documented how racists are more fearful of social change, have high levels of out-group anxiety and a need for in-group solidarity, use basic decision rules and cognitive schemas for decision-making, and are more prone to authoritarianism and social conservatism. Racists are not necessarily less intelligent than their peers: many white racists who score high on traditional measures of intelligence are very skillful at hiding their racial attitudes as they conform to the public "colorblind" norms of the post civil rights era.

However, one must be careful in how they interpret the above findings: macro-level analysis does not tell us a great deal about individuals or their personal behavior.

Anti-racist triumphalism yearns for the racist throwback. But, what of the more dangerous white supremacist who works as a school teacher, college professor, banker, police officer, financier, doctor, attorney, military officer, politician, or in the mass media? Anti-racist triumphalism provides cover for their social evil.

"The Data of Hate" details how white supremacists who frequent the website "Stormfront" are not necessarily stupid. They are socially unenlightened and lack cosmopolitan virtues. White supremacists (and white racists more generally) are also racially tribalistic.

It is easy for the public and the media to shame racists such as Cliven Bundy, George Zimmerman, Donald Sterling, Ted Nugent, or Paula Deen. Throwing garbage and rotten tomatoes at the designated racist "freak of the week" is easy sport. Confronting white elites, everyday white supremacists, and those black and brown conservatives who are their sycophants and boot lickers, that support, maintain, and advance a system of institutional white supremacy is much harder work. Thus, it is avoided by all but the most brave (or foolhardy?) souls.

"The Data of Hate" concludes with the question, "why do some people feel this way?"

This is a weak closing written to provoke thought and speculation by readers in the face of the faux "great mystery" that is white supremacy and white racism.

White supremacists hate people of color, Jews, those who are not "Christian", and the Other because they want to maintain, protect, appropriate, steal, and transfer any and all types of power, material, capital, and other resources to themselves while also sustaining and expanding the psychological wages of whiteness.

White supremacy is a social and political invention whose goal is maintaining white in-group dominance over people of color and "non-whites". Anti-racist triumphalism, and its idealistic dreamers on both the Left and the Right, want to deny the influence of white supremacy over American life and culture.

In reality, white supremacy is one of the core tenets and beliefs of the American political project, specifically, and "American civilization", more broadly. If anti-racist triumphalism blinds a person to that fact, they too, however unintentionally, are also doing the work of maintaining white supremacy.

In a recent interview with ABC, Attorney General Eric Holder told the truth about the role played by white racial resentment and racism in the White Right's opposition to Barack Obamawhere he said how:

“There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."

The readers' comments in response to Holder's statement are boilerplate "colorblind" conservative racism: they follow the tired, but still very revealing script, where white racists use racist logic and speech to deny that they are in fact racists.

Movement conservatism is a white supremacist ideology. Its adherents and advocates are unable to reason outside of that framework; white supremacy is their normal and foundational assumption about the nature of empirical reality. Moreover, white conservatives become extremely agitated and rageful when the role of white supremacy as a unifying ideology for their political belief system is exposed.

Religious fundamentalists act the same way when the concept of God is challenged as a childish myth and fantasy. Contemporary conservatism is a cult where white supremacy is one of the godheads. Both rage at their heretics and those others who are non-believers.

This is not the first time that Holder has stated some plain and obvious facts about how the election of a black man to the office of the President of the United States of America has caused a racist fever state among Republicans and Tea Party zealots.

Eric Holder is a "race man" who is more willing to tell the direct and raw truth relative to Obama's more restrained, "politically correct" and (too my eyes) pragmatic and tolerant (in the worst way) political personality. Holder was not elected; Obama has had to navigate the pressures of reelection. Those dynamics have guided how and to what degree both are willing to talk about white supremacy and white racism as the raison d'etre of conservatism in the post civil rights era.

On this point, Politico's very revealing and sharp examination of Holder's tenure as Attorney General suggested that:

But there’s another explanation, and according to the two dozen current and former Obama administration officials and confidants of both men I’ve spoken with in recent weeks, it may well be the main reason the first black president of the United States has stood so firmly behind the first black attorney general of the United States: Holder has been willing to say the things Obama couldn’t or wouldn’t say about race.
“He’s a race man,” says Charles Ogletree, a longtime friend of Holder’s who taught and mentored Obama and his wife, Michelle, as Harvard Law School students in the 1980s. “He’s gone farther and deeper into some issues of race than the White House would like, but I know he has the president’s well-wishes. It’s clear [Obama and Holder] believe in the same things.”

Holder himself recently told another African-American friend that he feels part of his job is “to talk about things the president can’t talk about as easily.” Asked to describe Holder’s role, one of his former top aides described him as “Obama’s heat shield.”

There is a paradox at the heart of white racial resentment and rage towards Barack Obama and Eric Holder.

Obama has done remarkably little to directly improve the life chances of Black Americans. Eric Holder presides over a prison industrial complex which disproportionately and unfairly incarcerates black and brown people. The White Right should be clapping at the relative lack of racial progress during the last few decades, and Obama's essentially conservative, center right approach to the politics of race in the United States. They instead to choose to hate the United States' first black president. The symbolic politics of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America are too much for those who are psychically invested in whiteness to accept.

Why is Eric Holder finally telling the truth about deep union between white conservatism and white supremacy in the Age of Obama?

Is he the mouthpiece for Obama's private frustrations where both men are now thinking about their historical legacies as "race men", either real or perceived?

Or is Eric Holder trying to goad and provoke the bigots in the Tea Party GOP into an overreaction, one that will further reveal their white supremacist allegiances?

America: Imagine the World Without Her is the newest propaganda hit piece from confessed criminal and Right-wing operative Dinesh D'Souza.

During my weekly visit to the movies, I saw Deliver Us From Evil. It was a movie with great potential (the connection to PTSD and the "demons" that our veterans carry home with them from war could have been more thoroughly developed) that needed a thorough rewrite and editing. I am a sucker for movies about the supernatural and occult. Therefore, I felt obligated to see Deliver Us From Evil.

Dinesh D'Souza's new "documentary" "America" was also playing at the same movie theater (I had already suffered through a viewing of that Right-wing tract). Thus, I decided to do some reconnaissance/observational research on the attendees of D'Souza's newest fairy tale propaganda hit piece.

The actual members of the Right-wing public who are high on the political meth of the Fox News echo chamber are more fascinating to me than the media which is used to create and propagandize them.

While listening to the impromptu debriefing and cult meeting in the lobby that followed a viewing of America: Imagine the World Without Her, I realized that 1) Deliver Us From Evil is far less frightening than D'Souza's newest creation and 2) "America's" view of empirical reality and history is also supernatural, existing outside of the realm of normal logic and reality.

Talking in the abstract about the dangerous and noxious civic culture which has been created by the Right-wing media is one thing; actually listening to and observing this public in person is an altogether different experience. There is nothing harmless about the impact of the Right-wing propaganda machine on the thinking and reasoning processes of conservatives in the Age of Obama.

As I learned earlier this week, their warped logic and skewed perception of social and political reality is extremely dangerous and can/will lead to more incidents of Right-wing domestic violence, because how else would a reasonable person deal with a government that is led by "traitors" and under the control of Satan?

What did I observe while listening to the people who went to see America: Imagine the World Without Her?

1. The small group of people who attended America: Imagine the World Without Her here in Chicago skewed older (50s to 70s). It was, surprisingly, a racially integrated group with several black and brown folks mixing in comfortably with the white viewers.

2. "America" seemed like a reverential and defiant experience for the viewers. Interpreting their chatter, it seemed that they were excited to stick it to Obama by seeing America: Imagine the World Without Her in his home town. The Right-wing troglodytes were also worked up about the fact that their--and America: Imagine the World Without Her's real nemesis--Saul Alinsky, is also a Chicago native.

3. An African-American man, a black conservative, led the sermon/cult meeting in the lobby of the movie theater. Playing the standard role of black conservative in contemporary movement conservatism, his presence gave permission to the other members of the group to talk freely about Barack Obama without the fear of being labeled as "racists".

4.  America: Imagine the World Without Her is a cinematic conduit for standard Right-wing talking points. The power of "America" is rooted in the shared group experience that comes with going to the cinema. The Right-wing echo chamber is a fantastical and bizarre world where the paranoid style and conspiranoid thinking is the norm. This effect is amplified by the face-to-face communal experience of attending the same propaganda film. The insider and special knowledge given to them by "America" can then be disseminated by the "elect" to the "non-believers".

The idea that D'Souza's movie has special knowledge--that the viewer is now obligated to share in order to counter "liberal lies" and "bias"--was repeated by several of the people leaving the theater.

5. America: Imagine the World Without Her should be taught in public schools as a corrective to the "indoctrination" of the state and liberal teachers. One viewer enthusiastically suggested to another member of the tribe that "kids" should be given a choice between America: Imagine the World Without Her and their standard history textbook--the latter is supposedly full of lies that will be exposed by D'Souza's "truths".

6. The black conservative suggested to his congregation that Obama is the devil and a tool of Satan. I was unsure how those two figures are related to one another in his cognitive schema. He also said that the movie was powerful for showing in clear terms how Saul Alinsky--a "communist America hating traitor"--met with Hillary Clinton at some point decades ago and has been orchestrating the destruction of America from behind the scenes.

In playing his role as black gatekeeper who grants permission to his fellow conservatives to be racists, the black conservative cult leader used the rhetorical strategy of "code switching" where he adopted "black" affected speech to talk about how he works "in the 'hood" and that black Americans--unlike him--are brainwashed and controlled by Obama and the Democratic Party.

Of course, the obligatory talking point, that the Democratic Party is the party of Jim and Jane Crow was referenced as part of his performance.

7. I also learned that Margaret Sanger was in cahoots with Charles Darwin's brother, and that they were all eugenicists who pioneered abortion in America as a "racist" tool for "liberals" to kill black babies.

8. America was apparently a "Christian Nation" at the Founding and the United States has been ruined by godless liberals led by Barack Obama. The United States will apparently be destroyed unless the Bible and "Biblical values" are renewed and made the center of public and private life.

9. There were white indentured servants in the American colonies. This is an important part of "America's" narrative as that fact somehow makes chattel slavery a less unique and less vicious social institution as practiced for centuries in the United States.

10. What did the lone white conservative do during the cult meeting/debriefing conducted by the black conservative in the lobby? He was quiet. He nodded enthusiastically when the black conservative would speak. The lone white conservative also smiled and seemed very pleased when his black conservative pet said that "black people have been tricked and brainwashed" by Obama and the Democratic Party.

America: Imagine the World Without Her's oeuvre is not new. It is a cinematic version of the Right-wing talking points and lies that are circulated on a daily basis throughout the Fox News echo chamber.

Epistemic closure is a real phenomenon. America: Imagine the World Without Her is a helpful reminder of how the use of technical and social scientific language often masks the real human experiences that underlie and are spoken to by theory and research.

To point. The audience members who I observed after their viewing of "America" were enjoying the sense of community that comes with encountering like-minded people...a feeling that is amplified if you have been told that you are somehow "oppressed" or "marginalized" by "the system", "liberals", "big government", "atheists", etc..

America: Imagine the World Without Her's lies and disinformation are poisons to our civic culture. However, I was most disturbed by seeing living and breathing examples of the people who have been brainwashed by the Right-wing media. Interacting with online trolls is tedious. Seeing online trolls made real, in person, alive, and not as ephemeral digital representations, is a reminder of how serious these political matters actually are.

Contemporary movement conservatism is a cult and religion. Its believers are immune to normal appeals to logic and fact. America: Imagine the World Without Her is a crystallization of Right-wing fantasies and distortions presented through the cinematic imagination. It is an artifact of the Tea Party GOP's madness. Consequently, the movie's real social value is how it serves as an insight into the paranoid style and conspiranoid fantasies that have possessed the Right-wing's foot soldiers and public--and which are a threat to all Americans' safety, security, and prosperity.

The slide towards American theocracy was nudged one more step forward by today's Supreme Court decision in support of the "freedom" of corporations with "religious" beliefs to restrict the rights of their employees. In essence, religious "beliefs" trump the obligations, rights, and responsibilities that come with being members of the polity and a broader political community.

The NY Times details the logic of the theocrats as:

The 5-to-4 decision, which applied to two companies owned by Christian families, opened the door to challenges from other corporations to many laws that may be said to violate their religious liberty.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the court’s five more conservative justices, said a federal religious-freedom law applied to for-profit corporations controlled by religious families. He added that the requirement that the companies provide contraception coverage imposed a substantial burden on the companies’ religious liberty. He said the government could provide the coverage in other ways.

The dissent offers up this chilling observation:

On that point, Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, said the court’s decision “is bound to have untoward effects” in other settings.

“The court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood,” Justice Ginsburg wrote, “invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faiths.”

The corporateocracy and the 1 percent are using the tricks, smoke, and mirrors of "religious faith" to expand their power and protections from civil authority and the social compact.

The tactic is Orwellian and dystopian.

Alas, if corporations are indeed "people"--an insult to the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution which was put in place to protect the rights of newly freed black slaves--then their behavior is sociopathic. The sociopath will lie, dissemble, and exploit others for his or her own gain because that is their essential nature.

There are many complications that will arise from the Supreme Court's "Hobby Lobby" decision.

The language of "religious liberty" and "free enterprise" are deified in American political culture and discourse. Those words are blinding and disorienting; therefore, they are also concepts that are not critically interrogated.

For example, "religious liberty" and "free enterprise" were used to justify slavery, as well as Jim and Jane Crow. The move towards privatized schools, "urban academies", and publicly funded religiously based secondary and primary education are the direct heirs of the "freedom academies" that whites used as a means to resist integration and the Black Freedom Struggle in the South and elsewhere.

[I wonder how many African-Americans and others who support school privatization are aware of that ugly history and the intersection between neoliberalism and white supremacy in the present?]

In practice, the language of religious liberty and free enterprise are in many ways antithetical to a true and expansive view of freedom, liberty, and civil rights.

The Roberts and Scalia court is operating under an assumption that Christianity is the United States' semi-official religion and that it should be legislated and protected in a way that other faiths are not. This is, of course, a misreading of the Constitution--despite what the deranged members of the Fox News Christian Evangelical Dominionist American public would like to believe.

Unintended consequences may lay bare the hypocrisy of the Right-wing and its agents on the Supreme Court.

How would conservatives and their agents respond if a company with Islamic beliefs (however defined) decided to impose its religious values on white, Christian, American employees?

Sharia hysteria would spread in such a way as to make the present day-to-day Islamophobia of the Right-wing echo chamber appear benign and muted by comparison.

What if a Black cultural nationalist organization such as the Nation of Islam or the Black Israelites claimed that they possessed a "religious freedom" to actively discriminate against white people in the workplace or elsewhere?

The White Right would explode with claims of "reverse discrimination" and "black racism".

The end game of the Supreme Courts' surrender to the theocrats and religious plutocrats could be the complete dismantlement of the liberal consensus politics of the post World War 2 era.

Consider the following questions.

Is there a "religious freedom" to practice housing discrimination if you are a member of a white supremacist "Christian" organization that leases or sells property? Does "religious freedom" for corporate entities trump anti-discrimination laws governing gender, sexuality, disability status, or race?

The beautiful thing about religious faith is its malleability and vagueness. "Faith" is a belief which cannot be proven by ordinary or empirical means: this trait makes religion dangerous and disruptive to a functioning democratic-liberal polity.

Religion can be anything to anyone.

The Framers understood this fact. Thus, their shrewd choice to separate church and state in the Constitution.

Movement conservatism is no longer a centrist force, one interested in stability or "tradition". Its members are radicals who want to fundamentally destroy and transform the standing bargains and norms which have guided American society and politics for decades.

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, what was once the United States' most respected political institution, is soiling itself by surrendering to the American Right's radical agenda.

The role of armed resistance and guns in the Black Freedom Struggle is one of America's hidden histories. The mainline Civil Rights Movement was publicly non-violent: this was essential for Dr. King's strategy of public shaming and provocation. It is also important to note how the Black Freedom Struggle's demands were/are remarkably centrist while simultaneously being radical in opposition to American Apartheid.

If it was widely known by the white American public that the Black Freedom Struggle included a component of armed self-defense (which included the Deacons for Defense, Rob Williams, other groups and individuals, and how even Dr. King's home contained firearms for his own protection) the moral certainty and superiority of the movement over the defenders of Jim and Jane Crow would have been jeopardized.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss that hidden American history during a great conversation with Professor Mark Grimsley on the podcast series for my site We Are Respectable Negroes (WARN).

Over the last few weeks, the left and right-wing media have discovered the role played by armed resistance in the Civil Rights Movement (and longer Black Freedom Struggle) with the release of Charles Cobb Jr.'s new book This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.

Media as varied as NPRThe RootAlternet, as well as Right-wing propaganda operations such as Hot Air and Breitbart, have reacted with a mix of surprise, fascination, and joy to Cobb's observation that:

I'm very much concerned with how the history of the southern freedom movement or civil rights movement is portrayed. And, I'm very conscious of the gaps in the history, and one important gap in the history, in the portrayal of the movement, is the role of guns in the movement. I worked in the South, I lived with families in the South. There was never a family I stayed with that didn't have a gun. I know from personal experience and the experiences of others, that guns kept people alive, kept communities safe and all you have to do to understand this is simply think of black people as human beings and they're gonna respond to terrorism the way anybody else would.
The novelty of Cobb's claims about black armed resistance are compelling because they stand against a white washed, childish, and flat version of the Civil Rights Movement, a narrative which robs it of complexity and ignores the radical politics that were the movement's beating heart.

In reality, as part of the long Black Freedom Struggle with origins dating back to the 17th century, the war against Jim and Jane Crow was an insurgency that involved many different actors, agendas, and theaters of struggle. Americans like simple stories; the effort to fold the Black Freedom Struggle into liberal consensus politics necessitates that some of its aspects are emphasized while others are left as footnotes and books known mostly by historians and archivists.

The Right-wing media's interest in Charles Cobb Jr.'s book This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed reflects a broader political agenda that fetishizes guns and is determined to sacrifice America's children on the altar of the gun gods. However, because contemporary conservatism is mated with white supremacy, such a relationship and idealization of "negroes with guns" does not neatly cohere.

The Gun Right's effort to stop any effort at reasonable gun control--or to treat gun violence as a preventable public health problem--finds cover behind the nobility of the Civil Rights Movement. If lions and American icons such as Brother King, the Freedom Riders, and other resisters can be somehow linked to the gun, then to criticize "gun rights" is "racist", and by extension a crime against human "liberty" and "freedom" as couched in the struggle against Jim and Jane Crow.

The facts are not kind to the Gun Right's insincere efforts to piggy back off of the Black Freedom Struggle. Movement conservatism has embraced the Neo-Confederacy and its language, ideology, and symbolism of Jim and Jane Crow. The white racists in the South are now solidly Republican.

Movement conservatism's racist bonafides in the post civil rights era and the Age of Obama are many (see: Birtherism; voter suppression; the Southern Strategy; the embrace of the Confederate Flag; the language of "Secession" and "nullification"; overt white racial appeals and "dog whistle politics"; etc.).

In all, the White Right and the Tea Party GOP of today are more likely to have used guns against African-Americans (and others) who were fighting for their rights in the Civil Rights movement than to have been marching with them.

For example, research on racial attitudes, gun ownership, and concealed carry laws has revealed a clear relationship between symbolic racism and racial animus by whites towards African-Americans. Here, white gun owners and supporters of concealed carry laws are more likely to be racist towards black people.

As a complement to the above findings, it is important to highlight how stand your ground laws are both racist in their application and enforcement, and are part of a long tradition of de jure and de facto rules and practices which empowered and enabled whites in the South and elsewhere to use guns as a means of controlling, terrorizing, and murdering people of color in order to maintain a white supremacist racial order.

Movement conservatives and the Gun Right like the idea of black freedom fighters with guns in the abstract. They do not like "negroes with guns" as neighbors. Nor, does the White Right embrace the principles and goals of the Black Freedom Struggle that armed resistance during the Civil Rights Movement helped to sustain and protect.

The knot of hypocrisy, racism, and conservatism is not easily untied.

Consider the following.

If two black men in the "New Black Panther Party" were a source of white rage and terror on Fox News and throughout the Right-wing media echo chamber, imagine the panic and "threat to national security" hysteria that would be ginned up if Cliven Bundy and his goon squad of "freedom fighters" were African-American.

The Gun Right's sick and twisted fantasies of white masculinity often involve using guns to stop "black" criminals and to suppress "urban uprisings".

As such, the online sewers of the White/Gun Right have produced such gun porn as the widely read "How America's Cities May Explode in Violence" in which "brave" white men with firearms protect suburban domesticity from blood thirsty rioting crowds of blacks and Latinos who are running amok because their food stamps and welfare monies have been suspended.

One does not have to think very hard about how the narrative surrounding the Trayvon Martin case would have been inverted by the White Right and the Right-wing echo chamber if Martin was armed and stood his ground against George Zimmerman, a man who hunted down and killed him for the "crime" of walking while black in a white neighborhood.

The Gun Right is part of a network of relationships that comprise movement conservatism in the post civil rights era. This alliance is tied together by hostility and racism towards people of color. A thinking and critical person should be immediately suspicious of any efforts by the White Right to claim ownership over, or to praise, any aspect of the Black Freedom Struggle. Why? The freedom and full equality of African-Americans is antithetical to the deep investment in white supremacy and white privilege which sustains and gives life to movement conservatism and the Tea Party GOP in the Age of Obama.

 

Once again, the Right-wing in America shows us who they really are. We should not be surprised.

On Monday, the "serious" thinkers at the Heritage Foundation hosted a panel on the faux Benghazi scandal. A Muslim-American woman named Saba Ahmed dared to ask a question about the panel's stereotypical assumptions regarding people of her faith. They harangued and bullied her. The Benghazi fetishists in the audience clapped with approval.

American movement conservatism is racist and xenophobic. In a healthy political society, the treatment which Ahmed received at the Heritage Foundation would be an outlier. It is not. Bigotry and racism are the trademarks and brand name of the Republican Party in the Age of Obama. To deviate from those values would cost the Republican Party the support of its voters.

The ugliness of the Tea Party GOP and its media is now expected by the America people. Thus, there is no consequence or substantial punishment for their bad behavior. Moreover, because of the extreme political polarization that the Right-wing media has helped to nurture, create, and expand, there is a whole public which embraces such bad behavior as proof of ideological purity and virtue. Compromise and civility are markers of weakness for the authoritarian bullies on the Right. Normal politics is imperiled because the basic principles that make it possible are no longer mutually shared across the divides of party and ideology in the United States.

Saba Ahmed's treatment at the Heritage Foundation has been much-discussed. However, the more interesting, and I would suggest even more important aspect of Monday's events, is the role played by panelist Brigitte Gabriel.

People buy the sizzle not the steak. Pointing out the ugly Islamophobia of the American Right-wing as exemplified by the Heritage Foundation's panel on Benghazi is easy and satisfying.

The more useful task is to detail who the players and participants are in a episode of political theater. Because politics is professional wrestling, every member of the show has a role to play.

The role can be explicitly detailed and told to the participants on a panel, news show, rally, or like event. The participants' performance can also be a direct reflection of their temperament, track record, and style.

The most "entertaining" moments in political theater are likely a function of both those variables.

Brigitte Gabriel, born Nour Saman, is a professional bigot and bomb thrower. Brigitte Gabriel's own (and some say discredited) personal life story as a Lebanese Christian whose family was threatened by "Islamic militias", gives credence and legitimacy to her Islamaphobia and hatred.

Brigitte Gabriel is proof of my observation that like black conservatives, women who hate feminism, and gays and lesbians who hate themselves, one of the easiest and fastest ways to become rich in America is to be a member of a marginalized group and to publicly criticize and disparage said group for the benefit of the Right. Professional excuse-making for the bigotry of movement conservatism is great work if you can get it.

Brigitte Gabriel's guiding principles in that role are summarized by her quote that she speaks up for, "what many in America are thinking but afraid to say out loud, for fear of being labeled a racist, bigot, Islamophobic, or intolerant."

Brigitte Gabriel is the character she embodied on the Heritage Foundation panel.

It is rumored that mafia hit man and serial killer"The Iceman" Richard Kuklinski was initially hired to be a leg breaker and debt collector. However, Kuklinski so enjoyed violence and hurting people that he was not able to moderate and control his behavior. Killing was joy for him.

The Right-wing propaganda machine deploys the likes of Brigitte Gabriel as the tip of the spear for their racism and bigotry in post civil rights America. The verisimilitude of her anti-Muslim bigotry is real because she is being herself "with the volume turned up".

[Saba Ahmed's role in the theater that was the Heritage Foundation panel, and Republican politics more generally, is very curious as well.]

"Public opinion" is not natural. It is shaped, massaged, and manufactured by elites and other actors. If the American people want to understand why the public discourse has become so ugly and coarse, and the political system so broken, they will need to ask basic questions about the players and stars in the show. Suspension of disbelief by the audience is the foundation, the buy-in, for a good and entertaining movie, play, TV show, or book. When pushed to the extreme, such a habit is a disservice to the common good and a healthy political culture and society.

The masses are asses. They were not necessarily born that way, someone had to teach them to behave in such a manner.

Earlier this week, I outlined how the Right-wing media will use Goebbels' principles to lie about and obfuscate the basic facts regarding the Las Vegas white supremacist shooters. Right-wing media "watchdog" and "advocacy" group Accuracy in Media took the bone dangled in front of them: apparently, Jerad and Amanda Miller are actually "Left-wing" "liberals" because they support the legalization of marijuana, and any effort to connect them to movement conservatism is a ploy and trick by the "liberal media." Cliff Kincaid offers up the following Right-wing comedy-propaganda:

John Avlon’s dishonest column on the cop-killers in Las Vegas should be studied by journalism students as an example of how to exploit a tragedy for political purposes. It is a shame he gets on CNN as an “analyst,” which gives him undeserved authority and prestige, when he deliberately confuses and misleads people. In this case, he tried to blame conservatives for the murders of two policemen. His Daily Beast column carried two titles, one of them being, “The Bonnie and Clyde of Ultra-Right Hate.” He said Jerad and Amanda Miller killed two metro cops while shouting, “This is a revolution!,” and then they “flung the Tea Party’s favorite coiled snake Gadsden flag and a swastika on the still-warm corpses and then moved to a nearby Walmart to murder a shopper before turning the guns on themselves.”
The reference to the Gadsden flag being “the Tea Party’s favorite” was an obvious effort to link the Tea Party to the murders. The flag dates back to the American Revolution and is used by various groups and people to protest Big Government. Miller’s notion of “Big Government” was a government that interfered with his marijuana smoking. A simple search of stories about his background revealed a series of confrontations with law enforcement over his drug habits.
Avlon wrote that Miller’s Facebook pages “detail a descent into a murderous rage, railing against a tyrannical government and parroting talking points from fright-wing radio hosts such as Alex Jones and militia movement groups such as the Three Percenters while ‘liking’ the pages of conservative activist groups ranging from the Heritage Foundation to Freedom Works and the NRA. Miller’s profile picture was a skull wearing an American flag bandana against a backdrop of crossed knives over the word ‘Patriot.’”

To lie so consistently and so brazenly takes a remarkable amount of discipline. I commend Cliff Kincaid for his efforts. Once again, groups such as Accuracy in Media demonstrate that the Right-wing echo chamber is akin to a trough urinal where a bunch of men with small penises are complementing each other on their "huge" lingams while mixing the streams of their pee together.

The Right-wing media is following a script designed to satisfy and make comfortable its authoritarian viewers. As such, the Right-wing echo chamber attracts ignorant people whose ignorance is in turn amplified and reinforced by the "news" sources they watch, read, and listen to. Goebbels is smiling. He wrote the playbook. It is hiding in plain sight for anyone who chooses to read it.

What shall we do with the white people...again?

I ask that question when white men commit mass shootings. I ask that question when Right-wing domestic terrorists kill innocent people. It is unfortunate, that in the aftermath of Sunday morning's murder spree by two white supremacists in Las Vegas, I am forced, once more, to ask said question.

Mass shootings by white men, as well as Right-wing domestic terrorism, have become events akin to those in the classic comedy Groundhog Day.

Unfortunately, there is nothing humorous of funny about how white Right-wing domestic terrorists have shot up Jewish community centers, planted bombs, seen a spike in their numbers since the election of Barack Obama, are coddled and encouraged by the Fox News echo chamber and the Republican Party, and now--with Tea Party regalia, Nazi bonafides, yelling "this is a revolution!"--they kill three people during a brazen daylight attack on Sunday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Las Vegas shooters were so contemptible that even the racist welfare king Cliven Bundy, and his band of anti-Obama brigands, apparently felt that they were too "radical" for their low tastes.

The Right-wing echo chamber helped to spawn the mass shooters named "Jared" and "Amanda".

Birtherism, an embrace of the neo-confederacy, a worshipful attitude towards the Confederate flag (i.e. "the American Swastika") and the CSA, along with an open embrace of anti-black affect and white racial resentment in a concerted effort to delegitimate the United States' first black president, are the "polite" face of American white supremacy in the first decades of the 21st century.

The Republican Party is a white identity organization.

Complementing this claim, social scientists have highlighted how the Tea Party, a herrenvolk organization motivated by white racism under the guise of "taking our country back"--which begs the question "from who?"--creates a sense of white racialized self-interest among its members. Moreover, Tea Party organizations are a way for "old school" white supremacists to recruit new members from the angry white men (and women) who constitute the more extreme elements in the Republican Party.

The Las Vegas murder spree is a clear act of domestic terrorism by members of the White Right.

Of course, the Right-wing media and its acolytes will find a way to spin and distort the facts.

"Jared" and "Amanda" placed the Gadsden flag, what is now a Tea Party icon, on the body of one of their victims; the shooters yelled "this is a revolution!" while committing murder, a seditious slogan that echoes within the Right-wing echo chamber; Nazi paraphernalia was found in their home; and the Las Vegas shooters sought out a natural alliance with Cliven Bundy and his thugs.

The Right-wing media machine will re-frame the Las Vegas shooting spree in keeping with the principles outlined by Joseph Goebbels and his genius insights about how to manipulate the mass public.

The Fox News echo chamber will chose to either:

1) ignore the events in Las Vegas;
2) highlight those tragic events as an example for why concealed carry gun laws should be the rule of the land;
3) offer the default answer: this is all somehow Barack Obama's fault;
4) advance a lazy, intellectually bankrupt, and morally empty deflection: black people in Chicago shoot each other all the time!;
5) argue that these people are "sick" and "crazy", so why are we even talking about their politics?;
6) lie and commit an intellectually rapacious and craven assault on the historical record by suggesting that white supremacist Nazis are in fact really "liberals".

The most fringe elements of the Right-wing media machine and its base will default to a standard script wherein the white supremacist Las Vegas murder spree is presented as a "false flag operation", one conducted by "liberals" to discredit conservatives with the goal of undermining "gun rights".

When Richard Hofstadter's timeless and brilliant work on "the paranoid style" in American politics is mated with Right-wing bigotry and "conspiranoid" delusions, no ready antidote is available.

Racism and conservatism are the same thing in the post civil rights era. They are the beast with two backs: the American people will need more than a garden hose to stop their deranged coupling.

Alas, all that reasonable folks who care about the Common Good can ask is, once more, what shall we do with the white people? And when will there be a "national conversation" about white people, guns, mass violence, and Right-wing domestic terrorism.

I know that the answer is "never". The humanistic and patriotic concerns driving the question remain nonetheless.