Monday, August 31, 2009

"White Metropolis" a history of Dallas by Michael Phillips

I finished this last weekend reading "White Metropolis," which is a history of Dallas, by Michael Phillips and published by the University of Texas Press. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the history of Dallas, and anyone who wished to understand how race can be used to pit one group against the other for the advantage of a ruling elite.

The web page for the book is at

The university press web page for the book is:

At this page you can browse the book.

I have been aware of different aspects of Dallas history as I have done my researches, but I never had the complete picture. This book gives a fairly complete picture. Also it is not a book of Dallas historical curiosities or a book of Dallas boosterism.

I especially liked his "caustic" review of some of the Dallas histories. Bad history needs to be publicly challenged and historians engaging in boosterism need to get castigated.

Since the Dallas elite has used race successfully to defeat democracy, I think that anyone living anywhere who is a supporter of democracy would find this book worth reading.

For your amusement, a local Dallas crackpot, Sharon Boyd, has her take on the book.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Birthers and Neo-Confederates, Obama's safety

I have gotten interested in tracking the Birther phenomenon recently. Mostly as an amusing freak show. My mother never allowed us to go to see the alligator boy when when we would visit the State Fair. Perhaps I am compensating in some way.

The neo-Confederate movement isn't monolithic regarding questioning Obama's birth in Hawaii.

The Council of Conservative Citizens,, has been covering doubts about Obama's birthplace since early in 2008 at least. I am not surprised, they are very accepting of wild fringe theories. The League of the South hasn't covered it, but they aren't denying it either. This is the link to Tuggle's League of the South blog on the topic.

Tuggle side steps the issue by saying it isn't important. Though in the comments for the blog, he states that Obama's birth is something that can't be proven and is a waste of time pursing.

I think Tuggle is afraid of offending the birther movement which as I will document here on this blog seems to comprise a lot of his potential base, but he also doesn't want to discredit the League of the South.

I wonder if there couldn't be a contest for the wackiest birther theory. For example, someone could theorize, the REAL Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, but he was replaced by an alien, and they can't release his other birth certificate since it would show some discrepancy and reveal Obama to be an alien. Here you have merged UFO conspiracy theories and birther theories.

Well, back to seriously considering the birthers. There seems to be mainstreaming of birther opinion in the South according to a Daily Kos poll:

According to the Kos poll, break down of opinion on Obama's birth in the South is that 23% don't think he is born in Hawaii, 30% aren't sure, and 47% believe he is born in Hawaii.

The obvious further analysis has been done, since African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority voters by a very high percentage don't believe in birther theories, that means that the percentage of whites in the South who believe in birther theories or have doubts on the President's citizenship may be higher than 70%. This is again another manifestation of popular Confederate culture in the South.

I think you could further argue that southern white democrats largely don't believe in birther theories, so the percentage of southern white Republicans who either doubt Obama's birth or don't believe he is born in Hawaii must be very high indeed.

Nationally the results for the Republicans break down to 42 percent who believe he was born in Hawaii, 28% how believe a birther theory, and 30% who have doubts on Obama's birth.

I think that for a large fraction of the public, they simply can't accept that there is a black president, someone who might call a white police officer's actions "stupid." They are becoming unhinged. Their banal white nationalism is surfacing. The following is my article on banal white nationalism.

I would like to see some other polls to confirm these percentages reported by the Daily Kos poll, I suspect that the percentages of white southerners believing in brither theories would still be substantial.

These high numbers explain why some Republican elected representatives, right wing websites, and broadcast conservatives have pandered to them. I leave you to read who and what elsewhere on the web. Though I should state that some prominent conservatives have spoken out against this. I think some conservatives calculate that the birther movement could pull down conservatism in general. These stories discuss the problem of the birthers for the Republicans.

Here is a video of birthers taking over a town hall meeting of a Republican congressional representative: It has been viewed at this time by nearly 800,000 people.

When talk radio, Republican congressional representatives, television commentators pander to them, it certainly must embolden the birthers.

Suddenly this birther movement isn't so funny. The birther movement with this extent of public support are no longer a tiny minority of harmless cranks, but a serious threat to the public peace.

If a person doesn't believe that Obama is legally president of the United States, what would be the possible logical consequences for that person. It might be quiet alienation from the government and the cessation of patriotic feeling for the United States of America, but I think that given who the birthers are, they will undertake an program of actions. I think birthers will be embolden by the fact that they are not a tiny fringe group, and in some places in the country a sizable fraction of the public. This could have alarming consequences.

Given the ridiculousness of the birthers arguments, many people seem to view the birthers as a great opportunity for mirth and embarrassment of the Republicans as their pandering to them is caught out, but not as a serious threat. However, just because an idea or belief system is ridiculous, don't meant that it can't be the basis of a major movement or have widespread support. Look at the percentages of people who don't believe in evolution or that the earth is immensely old, and the harassment of the school biology textbook publishers. If a significant fraction of people believe in the birther theories, then the movement is significant and can have real impact.

What are the birthers likely to do next? One thing is that they are forming "citizen grand juries" to indict Obama of various crimes and ask that officials prosecute Obama. Here is an article on these "citizen grand juries" at World Net Daily, a far right website which had been beating the drum for the birther theories. here is a You Tube "citizen grand jury."

If an attorney for a county or city or some Southern state is in the situation that he or she will certainly lose the next Republican primary election if they dismiss the claims of these "citizen grand juries" what might their actions? If they do dismiss the claims of these "citizen grand jury" and lose the election because of it, what might be the actions of an attorney who won on the basis of supporting the claims of the "citizen grand juries"?

Also, what might be the actions of Republican state representatives and state senators when they face the 2010 Republican primary in Southern states?

What happens if the birthers decided to send a posse of 100 or more to arrest Obama on their own authority when he is visiting their town or locality? What if they are armed? What if it happens in a town where a very high percentage have birther views? What is the safety of Obama if a majority of the police in that town have birther views? Or the mayor and city council members can expect that by opposing the birthers it will lead to their losing the next election by a sizable margin?

If this birther delusion persists over the coming months, represents a sizable fraction of the Republican base and becomes a threat to Republican office holders winning the primaries, it might be possible that the Republican party will succumb to it, as well as the conservative media. The Republican party has a shrunken base and it and the conservative movement in general is seeking a direction for the future, so it is vulnerable to movements like the birthers.

This birther movement comes at a time of national crisis and stress as unemployment continues to climb and jobless benefits will start running out for millions.

Of course it could be that the birther movement will be laughed off the national political scene and become a marginal phenomenon and largely profit the Democrats by tarnishing the reputation of the Republican party and conservatism in general. However, if it doesn't become marginal, if the Daily Kos poll numbers are largely true, and there is a mainstreaming of the birther movement among white Republican southerners, developments could be quote alarming.

I think it is time for less laughing and more apprehension. Remember what happened the last time in the South when the "Bottom rail was on top."

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