Memoria, igualdad y democracia

Romney

Romney (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

1. Igualdad y democracia

 

Las leyes medievales, como las recogidas y dictadas por los escribas de Alfonso el Sabio en el siglo XIII, afirmaban que todo lo prohibido y prescripto estaba basado en la voluntad de Dios y en las mejores tradiciones religiosas, cuyos siglos de permanencia probaban sus bondades. La tortura y la pena de muerte que se ensañaban con las mujeres, moros y judíos, pobres y vasallos, no eran aplicables a la nobleza. Obviamente, no se podía juzgar igual la nobleza de un noble con la vileza de un villano. Por eso, para defender su verdad y honor los caballeros, los “hijosdalgo”, podían lidiar a caballo mientras los hijos de nadie debían hacerlo de a pie. Por entonces, las leyes escritas se justificaban diciendo que ésta era la mejor forma de poner a salvo el honor de un noble, sin tener que exponerlo al terrible método de una investigación que podría perjudicarlo con las mentiras del vulgo. Todo según la voluntad de Dios, según sus intérpretes oficiales.

La historia ha traído algunos progresos, como el reconocimiento de todos los seres humano a ser considerados iguales por el derecho, lo que luego incluyó el igual derecho a ser diferentes. Aunque ahora el discurso de los arengadores conservadores intente secuestrar la autoría de estos logros, ninguno de ellos fue posible por las iglesias en el poder sino a pesar de ellas.

La igualdad fue un valor importante o incipiente entre los cristianos mientras fueron ilegales en el imperio romano, pero desapareció como por arte de magia tres siglos después de la primera crucifixión de Jesús, cuando el imperio los adoptó como la religión oficial.

Diecisiete siglos más tarde, cuando los “teólogos de la liberación”, mal o bien intentaron retomar aquel espíritu igualitario que favorecía a los pobres y marginados de este mundo, fueron literalmente asesinados poco después de ser etiquetados como “marxistas” o “curas rojos”.

 

 2. Memoria y democracia

 

Por tradición tendemos a confundir a la democracia con los sistemas que la sirven, como lo es el sistema electoral, el Estado de derecho, las voluntades de la mayoría, la protección de las minorías y de las libertades en general.

Estamos de acuerdo que es el menos malo de todos los sistemas. Pero todas las “democracias” sufren de sus propias deficiencias que distinguen la palabra y la idea con ostentosas comillas. Las comillas son su corona de espinas. La democrática Atenas se dejó convencer por los demagogos de Anito para ejecutar a Sócrates, uno de sus mejores ciudadanos y probablemente el griego mas universal de todos los siglos. En nuestro tiempo, por ejemplo, una de las mayores debilidades de la democracia es la memoria de la gente, intoxicada por las densas humaredas que emanan de la industria de la información. A su vez, esta debilidad de la democracia es la mayor fortaleza de los políticos, de los Anitos de nuestro tiempo.

Por ejemplo, en Estados Unidos se ha vuelto un lugar común culpar al Estado y a sus servicios sociales por la crisis económica. Obviamente olvidan que la crisis de 2008 fue creada por el sector privado, más específicamente por el sector financiero, por los bancos y por las mega compañías. Una vez instaurada una crisis sin precedentes desde la Gran Depresión de los años treinta, el Estado salió a salvar esos bancos y esas compañías, con relativo éxito. Esta operación no podía realizarse sin generar deuda publica. Ahora, como retribución de la mala memoria de la gente, se culpa al Estado por la deuda que tiene y como solución al déficit y a la ineficiencia estatal, se proponen nuevas reducciones de servicios y, por supuesto, nuevas privatizaciones.

Todo lo cual resulta a la larga muy lógico, desde una mentalidad maquiavélica: el sector de las grandes compañías y sectas privadas crean una deuda, son salvadas por el Estado, es decir por el pueblo, y luego, como solución al endeudamiento, proponen más privatizaciones. Y el pueblo, que se hizo cargo de financiar la salvación de las mismas sectas privadas que crearon la crisis, aplaude la solución con entusiasmo.

 

 

Jorge Majfud

Jacksonville University

majfud.org

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It’s the culture, stupid

“52% Of Mississippi GOP Voters Say Obama Is Muslim” h
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Obama’s Religion Still A Campaign Issue: Many Alabama, Mississippi Voters Believe President Is Muslim

The Huffington Post  |  By Chris Gentilviso Posted: 03/12/2012 11:12 am Updated: 03/12/2012 4:44 pm

US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on March 9, 2012. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Ask President Barack Obama about his religious affiliation, and he’s a Christian. Ask Mississippi or Alabama voters, and you might find a different answer.

In the midst of tight GOP primaries in both states, Public Policy Polling (PPP) hasreleased information showing that a majority of likely GOP primary voters in the Deep South do not see Obama as a Christian. PPP’s Alabama survey of 600 likely GOP primary voters found that only 14 percent consider Obama a Christian, while 45 percent said he is a Muslim and 41 percent answered that they were not sure.

A similar picture surfaced in Mississippi. Of 656 likely GOP primary voters surveyed, 12 percent said Obama was a Christian, 52 percent classified him as a Muslim, and 36 percent fell in the “not sure” category.

The survey emerges on the heels of a recent stream of public questioning regarding Obama’s religion. Back on Feb. 18, Rick Santorum took aim at the president’s beliefs, charging that his White House decisions are driven by a “different theology.”

“It’s not about your quality of life,” Santorum told supporters at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible.”

Three days later, evangelist Franklin Graham joined the chorus, leaning toward the same opinion of those unsure Southern voters. Obama “has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is,” Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Facing criticism from prominent black religious leaders, Graham later apologized for his remarks.

“I regret any comments I have ever made which may have cast any doubt on the personal faith of our president, Mr. Obama,” he said in a statement.

Religion rumors are nothing new for Obama. Back in August 2010, a poll showed that almost one-fifth of all Americans believed he is a Muslim. Obama responded in an interview with “NBC Nightly News” saying that “the facts are the facts” regarding his Christian faith.

[Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com ]

The patriotism of the rich

(en) John Boehner and President Bush in Troy, ...

John Boehner and President Bush

US Politics and Economics: the patriotism of the rich

Almost nowhere in the world do the rich emigrate. They rarely form part of the armies that they send off to wars, and that they then cover with honours and applause, and they curse the state that sucks their blood. When the economy is doing well, they demand tax cuts to maintain prosperity, and when things do badly they demand that the accursed state bail them out–with tax money, of course.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, the US middle classes have been worried about the deficit and unemployment, both inherited from the Republican government of George W. Bush. Within this party, the splinter known as the Tea Party has risen with such force as to dominate the discourse, but which could put paid to the Republican Party’s chances to win an election, which in principle would seem in their favor. Their banner is the Reagan-Thatcher ideology and opposition to any tax increases. They assure us that it is wrong to penalize the successful, the rich, with taxes, since it is the rich who create jobs when the riches trickle down from above. In a debate in 2008, Obama noted that those who propose this theory (or rather, this ideology) learned when the crisis struck, that when one waits for the riches to trickle down in droplets, the pain rises up from the bottom.
Contemporary data – to go no further – contradicts the “trickle down” theory which was brought to extremes by the last Republican government, since (1) the avarice of those on top has no limits, it is infinite, and (2) unemployment has not decreased in the last few years, on the contrary it has risen.
Even though the 700.000 jobs that were lost every month a couple of years ago has not continued, the creation of new jobs is extremely weak (between 15.000 and 250.000 monthly; a healthy rhythm to bring down the 9.2 per cent of unemployment would require 300.000 new jobs every month).
On the other hand, during the last year productivity has increased in much larger proportions, and above all, the profit levels of the big companies. Each week one can read in the specialized press the results of a financial, industrial or service giant that has increased profits by 30, 50 or 60 per cent, as something perfectly normal, even routine. Any of these percentages come to several billion dollars. This even includes the once fallen motor industries of Detroit. Without going into details as to how the middle classes, through the State, have financed the rescue of these giants, without an election and under the threat that if this were not done, worse things would happen.
Since the 1980s, wealth continues to accumulate at the top while unemployment, since 2009, continues at historical levels. Studies have demonstrated that the gap between rich and poor (Bureau of Economic Analysis), characteristic of Latin American economies, has grown significantly under the trickle down ideology.
Long before the crisis of 2008, when there was still a surplus inherited from the Clinton administration, the Republicans managed to lower taxes for the richest sectors of the economy, among others the oil companies. This period of grace is to end this year and was extended by Obama under pressure from the Republicans, shortly after the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives. At that time Obama was strongly criticized from within his own party for granting concessions to the Republicans without gaining anything in return.
Nevertheless, in recent weeks the positions have polarized. In one of the last meetings with Republicans Obama, who never loses his cool, stood up to them with the threat: “don’t try me.”
In face of negotiations to increase the debt limit (a normal practice in the United States and in many other countries; the Bush administration had done this seven times) the Republicans continue to attempt to suspend and eliminate various social programmes even as they deny any rise in taxes to the richest citizens (in many cases, billionaires).
On their part, the Democrats and President Obama oppose the reduction of social services and demand an increase in taxes for the very wealthy. I have heard a few millionaires asking why they shouldn’t pay more taxes when it is they who have more to contribute when the country needs it. When the country from the middle on down is in need, we might point out. But apparently these millionaires are not the ones who lobby the legislatures of the rich countries.
In any event, in spite of all this Republican mise-en-scène, I have no doubt that before the second of August Congress will vote to raise the debt limit. Why? Because this is good for the gods of Wall Street. Not because there are unemployed workers or soldiers without legs hoping for help from the State that sent them to the front in exchange for some speeches and a few medals.
– Jorge Majfud, Jacksonville University
(ALAI Amlatina, 18/07/2011. Translation: Jordan Bishop).

Rep. Davenport Depicts President Obama as a Chimpanzee – Terra

Rep. Davenport Depicts President Obama as a Chimpanzee – Terra.

Californian Republican has apologized for an email that she sent to “friends and acquaintances” of President Barak Obama’s face imposed as a chimp.

Tea Party activist, Marilyn Davenport, who represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County, sent a picture via email of three chimps; two being the parents and the third being the president as a child, with the tagline “Now you know why no birth certificate.”

Scott Baugh, the chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County released a statement saying he plans to investigate the incident.

Baugh also calls for Davenport resignation saying the email was “highly inappropriate¿it’s a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee.”

Upon hearing what Baugh had to say – Davenport says that she has no plans to resign.

Latino Population Surge Poses Challenge to GOP

Race and Hispanic Origin Population Density of...

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By PATRICK O’CONNOR

The explosive growth of the Hispanic population reflected in the 2010 census will remake the electoral map—and could present Republicans with a challenge.

Regional Remix

Republicans have broadly benefited from the nation’s continued population shift from the Northeast and Midwest to right-leaning Sun Belt states in recent decades, and those states are again expected to add seats in Congress in the next election.

But to take full advantage, Republicans will have to win over Latinos, who have fueled much of the population growth, and who lean Democratic in their voting. They accounted for 65% of the population growth in Texas over the past decade, 55% of the growth in Florida and nearly half of the population increase in Arizona and Nevada, census figures show. Those four states alone are due to add a combined eight congressional seats in the next election.

Republicans control the process of drawing the boundaries of congressional districts in Florida and Texas, which account for six of the new seats, while a Republican governor will spar with a Democratic legislature to draw a congressional seat in Nevada. A commission will decide the new lines in Arizona.

Hispanics have historically voted in lower proportions than blacks and whites. In 2008, they voted for President Barack Obama by nearly 2-to-1.

But some GOP leaders say Hispanic voters like the party’s message of low taxes and family values. They also note that a new cadre of rising Hispanic stars, among them freshman Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, has the potential to draw more Hispanics to the party.

In Texas last November, a pair of Republicans—one of them Hispanic—beat incumbent Democrats in majority-Hispanic districts, and Nevada voters elected Republican Brian Sandoval as their governor, even as Latinos voted overwhelmingly for the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid.

The risk, analysts say, is that tough language from some GOP officials on illegal immigration risks turning off Hispanic voters, many of whom view that rhetoric as a cultural affront.

“The Hispanic vote is increasingly important, and Republicans are going to need to do substantially better with this community to keep our majority for the long-term,” said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Democrats say they are best positioned to benefit from the demographic changes. “Even in typically Republican states, it’s the Democratic communities that are growing, and there is nothing Republicans can do when drawing lines that can alter the demographic realities they face,” said New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

Complicating the process, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may require officials to draw the House district boundaries in such a way that some of the eight new seats have a majority Hispanic population. Democrats and Hispanic advocacy groups argue there should be as many as four new majority-Hispanic districts in Texas and Florida, while some Republicans say they see at least one.

The law and related court rulings make it hard for officials to undermine existing districts in which minority groups hold a majority. In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s prior redistricting process violated minority rights by diminishing Hispanic representation in the 23rd House district, a protected majority-Hispanic district. That ruling had the effect of forcing state officials to redraw several districts in addition to the 23rd district.

In Texas, among states that must clear their new House maps with federal officials, Hispanics make up 38% of the population. Yet only six members of the state’s 32-member congressional delegation—fewer than 20%—are Latino. Although Republicans control every aspect of redistricting in the state, even some GOP lawmakers privately at least two of the new seats should have a majority of Hispanic residents to avoid dilution of minority voting strength.

Florida will add two new U.S. House seats in the next election, but a legal tussle over self-imposed redistricting requirements has delayed the process. Hispanics make up nearly a quarter of the state’s population, but Hispanics hold only three of the state’s 25 congressional seats. All three are Miami-area seats occupied by Republicans of Cuban descent.

Cuban Americans, unlike other Latino groups, tend to vote overwhelmingly for Republicans.

While Hispanics represent at least a quarter of the population in four other districts in the state, their overall population may be spread across the state in ways that do not force an additional majority-Hispanic district.

[…]

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Patriarchy with a Woman’s Face

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El patriarcado con rostro de mujer (Spanish)

Patriarchy with a Woman’s Face

Jorge Majfud


The same day that Joe Biden is selected as candidate for the vice presidency by the Democratic Party, the campaign of John McCain reproduced several videos of Hillary Clinton sharply attacking Obama. Probably these ads were designed with a selection of Clinton in mind instead of Biden. But even though this expectation was not fulfilled, Republican Party strategists must have thought that such critical work should not be thrown away and chose to put it on the air anyway. Immediately afterward, McCain’s advertising called explicitly for Clinton’s sad supporters to vote for the Republicans, just as the old democratic candidate Joe Lieberman does now, allying himself with his ex-rival from the 2000 elections, George Bush, in support of McCain with the argument for the latter’s greater experience.

Shortly before the Republican candidate was to announce his selection for VP, a radio station called me to talk about this process. At that moment there were three names in play, all men, but considering the electoral market it was my opinion that McCain’s vice presidential candidate would be a woman. Since then we have not stopped hearing women’s groups and Sarah Palin appeal to women’s consciousness in order to gain power. If it is indeed true that there is still a long way to go to eliminate the arbitrary inequalities of power, perhaps one particular woman is not the best substitute for women in general.

There are still feminists today who take pride in Margaret Thatcher for having been a woman of steel in power in one of the old empires, even though women who ordered their black slaves whipped had already been abundant for centuries. It remains paradoxical that it was precisely Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who put the brakes on the progressive movements, among them the feminists, that appeared in the 1960s and which represented a rebellion of minority groups and of the oppressed (although in reality this was only a consequence of a long historical process initiated, in my view, in the 15th century).

All of that, which was barely the visible and ambiguous face of a deeper historical change, was reversed by the conservative wave that, in my opinion, will be coming to an end in the next decade but which can be slowed down in its movement, depending on the success or failure of some political changes around the world, especially in the United States. In whatever form, even if postponed, inexorable generational change will not depend on any political party. But right now possibility matters.

Sarah Palin is recognized as one of the most conservative among the conservative politicians. She is associated, for example, with “pro-life” groups. The latest slogan prays “Pro-Life, Pro-Palin,” in the assumed ideolexicon suggesting that others are not in favor of life. This defender of life supports unconditionally the war in Iraq and anywhere else it might be necessary. She is a member of the powerful National Rifle Association. She can be seen in photographs posing together with her children, smilling as beautifully as Diana, with a rifle in hand next to a moose she brought down herself, lying in a pool of blood in the snow. It is likely that the fondness for hunting and weapons on the part of the governor of Alaska and “pro-life” conservatives is not for fun or for sport, but out of necessity.

Significantly, the major stir that Sarah Palin has produced in recent days came with revelations of the pregnancy out of wedlock of one of her daughters. The scandal of the revelation, not of the pregnancy, is attributed to leftist press like the New York Times. Nonetheless, the fact must be of interest to conservatives, who are always concerned about the sexual life of sinners. However, the diverse groups of conservative women, among them Jane Swift, the ex-governor of Massachusetts, declared that all of the criticisms of Palin are sexist, since Palin is a woman. It is not sexist that, according to Hillary Clinton, it is acceptable to McCain and the conservatives that a woman receives a lower salary for the same work as a man because women are less educated than men.

From the conservative wing of the U.S. political spectrum, to which Palin belongs, have come theories that can in no way be called progressive and where being feminist is an insult as serious as being gay, liberal or an intellectual. In fact the intellectuals of this ideological region hate intellectuals in general and their books, and with a deep psychological need to police they dedicate themselves to making black lists of people, almost always colleagues, who they subsequently call “dangerous” or “stupid,” as if a stupid intellectual could be dangerous at the same time, the way a stupid president can be. From their pens have come impoverished but well publicized theories, like the theories of the return of patriarchy according to which the fact that a woman complies with the fixed role of stay-at-home mother produces families with many children, and consequently sustains the hegemony of an empire. Toward this end they cite not only the decline of the Roman Empire but the high birth rate of conservative families in the southern states in comparison with the low birth rate of liberal families in the north (e.g., Phillip Longman).

One cannot say that this is a campaign filled with rhetoric because it does not even amount to that much. Everything is reduced to the repetition of six or seven clichés whenever possible and even whenever irrelevant. One of the preferred clichés consists in emphasizing the experience of the candidate and their family values. Question: “What is the central idea of your candidate?” Answer (eyes fixed on the camera, face impassive): “The other candidate does not have the necessary experience.”

Experience is the other supreme virtue that is attributed to Sarah Palin when it is suggested that she has none. Almost as much as George Bush, who has had more than enough experience even before the beginning of his career and who has been so unjustly criticized and attacked by Democrats and avoided by his own party, but recognized by the conservatives for his family values and for his respect for his self-sacrificing wife. A man who from the beginning stood out not only for his incredibly broad political experience but also for his intelligence and his culture, although to these last two faculties one might add the generous virtue of discretion.

In summation and in their own words, conservatives are defenders of the values of the family. That is, authority proceeds from the father and fathers have the biblical right to define what is a family and what are its values. They are respectful and do not invade the private life of gays and lesbians as long as gays and lesbians do not attempt to obtain the same civil rights as decent people. The traditional role of the woman has been established by tradition and questioning that is part of the corruption and lack of values, all characteristics of the “bitter leftists,” liberals, and feminists.

Nevertheless, according to the polls, millions of women who previously supported Hillary Clinton have gone over to the Republican side. The electoral market, like on other occasions, is nourished by the contradictions of its consumers: those women who passionately defend in the media and in the cafes their support for a woman as a strategic advantage for the feminist movement without caring that that woman represents the exact opposite, may signify for the more sophisticated a demonstration of false consciousness, of complete manipulation. Something along the lines of women’s liberation through the consolidation of patriarchy, or the feminization of feminism.

We hope, in this context, that such brilliant masters of political chess will continue then to promise more freedom, democracy, and justice, and to always speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Translated by Bruce Campbell