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John Dramani Mahama was inaugurated as president of Ghana in a well attended ceremony at Black Star Square in Accra.

Nana Kofi Acquah sums up the emotions many Ghanaians share:

Ghanaian culture thrives mainly on what is not said. Actually, it isn’t that some things are not said, but that they are said in not so plain language. What we think and believe as a people, is often shrouded in proverbs, symbols, songs, drum beats, dancing and even how we choose to wear our clothes.
There’s a Ghanaian proverb that says “it is the stranger that gets offered a blind chicken”. In other words, never fall for the sheepish, unending grin and amazing humility Ghanaians throw at strangers. We are smarter than we look. We are stronger than we pretend to be.

Our thriving democracy is not an accident. This country is built on belief systems that go far deeper than most people can imagine. There is more that unite than divide us. Ghana has proven beyond all reasonable doubt, that it is not just another unstable African country, in an unstable region, in an unstable continent in an unstable world. We knew governance when the Greeks were still barbarians. We believed in God, and even called Him “great friend” before the missionaries arrived. Our souls are rooted in history deeper than colonialism.

We are a people, blessed and powerful… and I pray we never forget this. The danger is when we forget. Once a people forget who they really are, they easily accept any identity someone else slaps on them.

Am I saying Ghana is special? Let me be “unGhanaian” for a moment and shout “YES. Ghana is special”.
Congratulations, Mr. President on this special day of your inauguration.
Congratulations, People of Ghana.

© Nana Kofi Acquah at 1/07/2013 02:38:00 PM

Nana Kofi Acquah is a professional photographer who takes stunning photos. Visit his blog to see more, and to read more of his observations.

The photos below came from tweets on Twitter using the #GHInaug hashtag.

Mahama giving his inaugural address

Mahama giving his inaugural address

Mahama giving inaugural speech in Black Star Square

Mahama giving inaugural speech in Black Star Square

Read the full text of Mahama’s inaugural speech He is sometimes known as Johnny Digital Mahama. He has a degree in Communications and usually uses a tablet computer as text teleprompter for his speeches. At the inauguration he used a Galaxy Note 10.1, but most of the accounts call it an ipad.

Ghana 2013 Presidential Inauguration dancers

Ghana 2013 Presidential Inauguration dancers

Ghana presidential inauguration 2013 Azonto dance troop.  Azonto is current popular dance, seach YouTube for videos and how to.

Ghana presidential inauguration 2013 Azonto dance troop. Azonto is a current wildly popular dance, search YouTube for videos and how to.

Ghana presidential inauguration 2013 Queen Mothers

Ghana presidential inauguration 2013 Queen Mothers

The Press at the Ghana presidential inauguration 2013

The Press at the Ghana presidential inauguration 2013

See more photos of the inauguration at GhanaWeb.

The Vim Views and Versions – Blogs of a MIghTy African gives us about as good an explanation as I have seen of Why John Mahama Won Ghana’s 2012 Elections - #GhanaDecides:

It’s clear many people voted for John Mahama the person vrs Nana Akufo-Addo rather than the NDC versus the NPP. Nana Akufo Addo is not liked very much in Ghana for his “arrogance and elitism”. Ask around.
… The NPP with its property-owning democracy and Republican-ish ness makes it appeal more to the rich and elitist folks in Ghana. The poorer folks, not so much? And we all know who makes the majority. 

The NDC focused on doing more around the country. If you don’t go around the country and sit in Accra or come to Ghana on holiday and sit around Accra, you wouldn’t know. Next time, travel around Ghana more. It’s quite clear that the NPP won in the urban areas. If you believe then they should be the true winner, . The real Ghana happens in the rural areas and those are the places that can really drive our economic development when they are up to speed with what we need to enjoy the Ghana we crave. I will suggest you pay more attention to these places if you care deeply about Ghana. 

We saw how Ghanaians lined up the night before to go and vote. We keep on celebrating our democracy. We see our democrazy selves demonstrate in the streets against politicians and policies. You know the demonstration of democrazy democracy I want to see? That we will hit the streets and demonstrate against indiscipline, corruption, bad mindset and the backward-thinking attitudes of Ghanaians. You know the beauty of this, you can actually make a difference here by influencing and impressing upon others.
 Let me give him a few pointers on being a great leader for Ghana and not just a president.  John Mahama should get the average Ghanaian to do more for him or herself and the community. Encourage us to work harder. Encourage us to take time off to help a child (and adult) learn to read and count, educate on health and cleanliness, teach people to be more efficient with time and resource, etc. He should motivate us to work for Ghana. Institute a volunteer day (preferably the Founder’s Day). That’s what I want from my president. Oh yeah, and leave a legacy. Like solving our electricity problems, once and for all. 

Follow the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, June 11 – July 11, online. The World Cup Wiki shows you the way.

… the world wide web is World Cup crazy. So put technology into play and follow the Jabulani no matter where you are.

The wiki contents include:

World Cup Websites
Follow News and where to Watch Video
Search and Twitter
World Cup for Mobile Web
Online Communities
Mobile Apps
Desktop Apps

Check out the World Cup Wiki.

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Photo gallery from GhanaWeb of Ghana v USA

These first two graphics come courtesy of The Strategist. I don’t know if this first one is intended for civilians or for military training. Let us hope it is not part of ACOTA or IMET ;)

US Air Force Aircraft Identification Chart

These first two are not new, but I got a chuckle out of them.  Right now I’m working hard on some farming projects, with not much time to write.  The need for this next one is obvious. Click on any of the graphics in this post to see the larger version.

Journalist's Guide To Firearms Identification

The following are not intentionally humorous. They come via The Strategist and Information is Beautiful, and come originally from The Guardian DataBlog. The following graphics are by David McCandless.  If you go to the originals at The Guardian DataBlog there is some commentary, but I prefer to present them without commentary.  As someone once said to me when I was trying to get a specific political opinion from them:  patriots may draw their own conclusions.

Who really spends the most on their armed forces?

Which country has the biggest military budget per year?

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The US military budget in context

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GDPs of major nations as combined earnings of US states

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Big spenders, yearly military budget as % of GDP

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Active forces - who has the most soldiers?

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Active forces - the number of soldiers per 100,000 people

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Total armed forces - the number of soldiers, reservists, and paramilitary per 100,000 people

With Haiti’s government “all but invisible” and its repressive security forces collapsed, popular organizations were starting to fill the void. But the Western powers rushing in envision sweatshops and tourism as the foundation of a rebuilt Haiti. This is opposed by the popular organizations, which draw their strength from Haiti’s overwhelmingly poor majority. Thus, if a neoliberal plan is going to be imposed on a devastated Haiti it will be done at gunpoint. (Arun Gupta)

And this is where the mercenaries come in.

IPOA conference in Miami, March 2010, how to capitalize on the Haitian earthquake

On March 9 and 10, there will be a Haiti conference in Miami for private military and security companies to showcase their services to governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the earthquake devastated country. (Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights)

On their website for the Haiti conference, the trade group IPOA (ironically called the International Peace Operations Association until recently) lists eleven companies advertising security services explicitly for Haiti. Even though guns are illegal to buy or sell in Haiti, many companies brag of their heavy duty military experience.

Patrick Elie, the former Minister of Defence in Haiti, told Anthony Fenton of the Inter Press Service that “these guys are like vultures coming to grab the loot over this disaster, and probably money that might have been injected into the Haitian economy is just going to be grabbed by these companies and I’m sure they are not the only these mercenary companies but also other companies like Haliburton or these other ones that always come on the heels of the troops.”

Naomi Klein, world renowned author of THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, has criticized the militarization of the response to the earthquake and the presence of “disaster capitalists” swooping into Haiti. The high priority placed on security by the U.S. and NGOs is wrong, she told Newsweek. “Aid should be prioritized over security. Any aid agency that’s afraid of Haitians should get out of Haiti.”

Security is a necessity for the development of human rights. But outsourcing security to private military contractors has not proven beneficial in the U.S. or any other country.

The U.S. has prosecuted hardly any of the human rights abuses reported against private military contractors. Amnesty International has reviewed the code of conduct adopted by the IPOA and found it inadequate in which compliance with international human rights standards are not adequately addressed.
Contractors like these soak up much needed money which could instead go for job creation or humanitarian and rebuilding assistance. Haiti certainly does not need this kind of U.S. business.
In a final bit of irony, the IPOA, according to the Institute for Southern Studies, promises that all profits from the event will be donated to the Clinton-Bush Haiti relief fund.

Jeremy Scahill reports:

Within hours of the massive earthquake in Haiti, the IPOA created a special web page for prospective clients, saying: “In the wake of the tragic events in Haiti, a number of IPOA’s member companies are available and prepared to provide a wide variety of critical relief services to the earthquake’s victims.”

The current US program under which armed security companies work for the State Department in Iraq—the Worldwide Personal Protection Program—has its roots in Haiti during the Clinton administration. In 1994, private US forces, such as DynCorp, became a staple of US operations in the country following the overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide by CIA-backed death squads.

As Scahill reported right after the earthquake:

We saw this type of Iraq-style disaster profiteering in New Orleans and you can expect to see a lot more of this in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months. Private security companies are seeing big dollar signs in Haiti …

Among the services offered are: “High Threat terminations,” dealing with “worker unrest,” armed guards and “Armed Cargo Escorts.”

From Arun Gupta:

… “Security is not the issue. We see throughout Haiti the population themselves organizing themselves into popular committees to clean up, to pull out the bodies from the rubble, to build refugee camps, to set up their security for the refugee camps. This is a population which is self-sufficient, and it has been self-sufficient for all these years.”

In one instance, Ives continued, a truckload of food showed up in a neighborhood in the middle of the night unannounced. “It could have been a melee. The local popular organization…was contacted. They immediately mobilized their members. They came out. They set up a perimeter. They set up a cordon. They lined up about 600 people who were staying on the soccer field behind the house, which is also a hospital, and they distributed the food in an orderly, equitable fashion.… They didn’t need Marines. They didn’t need the UN.”

These weapons they bring, they are instruments of death. We don’t want them. We don’t need them. We are a traumatized people. What we want from the international community is technical help. Action, not words.”

That help, however, is coming in the form of neoliberal shock. With the collapse of the Haitian government, popular organizations of the poor, precisely the ones that propelled Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency twice on a platform of social and economic justice, know that the detailed U.S. and UN plans in the works for “recovery” – sweatshops, land grabs and privatization – are part of the same system of economic slavery they’ve been fighting against for more than 200 years.

A new occupation of Haiti — the third in the last 16 years — fits within the U.S. doctrine of rollback in Latin America: support for the coup in Honduras, seven new military bases in Colombia, hostility toward Bolivia and Venezuela. Related to that, the United States wants to ensure that Haiti not pose the “threat of a good exampleby pursuing an independent path, as it tried to under President Aristide — which is why he was toppled twice, in 1991 and 2004, in U.S.-backed coups.

With the government and its repressive security forces now in shambles, neoliberal reconstruction will happen at the barrel of the gun. In this light, the impetus of a new occupation may be to reconstitute the Haitian Army (or similar entity) as a force “to fight the people.”

This is the crux of the situation. Despite all the terror inflicted on Haiti by the United States, particularly in the last 20 years — two coups followed each time by the slaughter of thousands of activists and innocents by U.S.-armed death squads — the strongest social and political force in Haiti today is probably the organisations populaires (OPs) that are the backbone of the Fanmi Lavalas party of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Twice last year, after legislative elections were scheduled that banned Fanmi Lavalas, boycotts were organized by the party. In the April and June polls the abstention rate each time was reported to be at least 89 percent.

It is the OPs, while devastated and destitute, that are filling the void and remain the strongest voice against economic colonization. Thus, all the concern about “security and stability.” With no functioning government, calm prevailing, and people self-organizing, “security” does not mean safeguarding the population; it means securing the country against the population. “Stability” does not mean social harmony; it means stability for capital: low wages, no unions, no environmental laws, and the ability to repatriate profits easily.

There is far more in Arun Gupta’s article about the connection between, and history of, US military occupation and neoliberal capitalism in Haiti.

Additionally, as Ashley Smith points out:

… the catastrophe in Haiti revealed the worst aspects of the U.S. government and the NGO aid industry.

… As Mike Davis in The Planet of Slums:

Third World NGOs have proven brilliant at co-opting local leadership as well as hegemonizing the social space traditionally occupied by the Left. Even if there are some celebrated exceptions–such as the militant NGOs so instrumental in creating the World Social Forums–the broad impact of the NGO/”civil society revolution”…has been to bureaucratize and deradicalize urban social movements.

Davis argues that NGOs are, in fact, a form of “soft imperialism.” They play a role very similar to the one that missionary religious institutions played in the earlier history of empire. They provide moral cover–a civilizing mission of helping the hapless heathens–for the powers that are plundering the society. And just as religious institutions justified imperial war, many NGOs, abandoning their traditional standpoint of neutrality in conflicts, have become advocates of military intervention.

Nowhere is this pattern more clear than in Haiti.

… “The emasculation of the state is no accident…It is partly the consequence of the neoliberal regime implanted in the country by the major international financial institutions. By advocating the withdrawal of the state from its social and regulating obligations, and by promoting the supremacy of the market, this regime has contributed to an economic, political and social disaster.”

Haitians now commonly refer to their own country as the “Republic of NGOs.” But that is a misnomer, since Haitians have no democratic control over the NGOs. In reality, Haiti has been ruled by an American NGO Raj.

WHILE SOME NGOs like Partners in Health have been set up to develop Haitian grassroots self-organization and control, most major NGOs have been accomplices in the neoliberal catastrophe the U.S. wrought in Haiti.

First of all, the NGOs have reproduced and exacerbated class inequality in Haiti. …
The NGOs themselves are in the business of poverty, not its eradication, and they have proliferated in lockstep with the collapse in the Haitian standard of living. This has led many Haitians to rightly see them as profiting off their crisis.

NGOs aided and abetted the “plan of death”; exacerbated through failure, mismanagement and corruption the impact of neoliberalism on Haiti; and then supported the coup against the democratically elected government.

In so doing, they undercut the sovereignty of Haitian people, all under the gloss of helping people overcome their poverty–poverty that they, in fact, helped create.

Haiti led the world out of slavery, from the Boston Globe in 2004:

Historian Laurent Dubois thinks the world indeed owes something to Haiti. “Anyone who lives in a democratic society in which race doesn’t equal a denial of rights has some debt to the Haitian revolution,” he reflected in an interview. “The very notion of democracy that we consider commonsense emerged because of that revolution. If that’s something we cherish then we owe that to Haiti, which has suffered more for its victory rather than been rewarded for it. That is how I would picture the restitution.”

Haiti deserves help that actually helps, or deserves to be left alone. The Haitian people are enterprising and can take care of their country and their people. We all owe Haiti a debt, moral and monetary. Instead Haiti is treated to exploiters and thieves. The country that led us out of slavery is having neoliberal neoslavery imposed on it at gunpoint, by the US and the international community, with mercenaries as the enforcers.

Marriage has made my life richer, more interesting and more fun than I ever expected. We’ve had our share of wartimes as well as peacetimes. Among our pleasures, we both like to watch nature films, sometimes applying what we see as ad hoc metaphors to our own lives and to current events. And we both enjoy dueling with metaphors.

To the love of my life, I hope I may enjoy at least 30 more years in the luxury of your company.

Companies principally used offshore subsidiaries to hire U.S. workers providing services overseas on U.S. government contracts in order to avoid Social Security, Medicare–known as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) — and other payroll taxes.

Considering the sheer amount of money that the Pentagon spends on contractors for support, approximately $396 billion on contracts for products and services in fiscal year 2008 according to the GAO, the money not spent on payroll taxes can amount to quite a lot. *

From AllGov:

Setting up foreign subsidiaries allows American defense contractors not only to utilize cheaper labor and more favorable regulations, but also avoid paying taxes that fund key government safety net programs. This conclusion was reached by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which examined 29 defense contractors and their reliance on offshore companies for their work overseas from 2003 to 2008.

GAO investigators found that companies primarily used offshore subsidiaries to avoid contributing to Social Security and Medicare. This avoidance was perfectly legal, thanks to the way Congress crafted the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Since then, lawmakers passed new legislation in 2008, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act, which sought to close this loophole.

From the report (PDF) released yesterday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Companies principally used offshore subsidiaries to hire U.S. workers providing services overseas on U.S. government contracts in order to avoid Social Security, Medicare–known as Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) — and other payroll taxes. This practice allowed contractors to offer lower bids when competing for certain services and thereby reduce costs for DOD. Our analysis of two contracts showed that the use of offshore subsidiaries saved DOD at least $110 million annually prior to the HEART [Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax] Act, through payroll tax avoidance. While this practice provided contract cost savings for DOD, it resulted in these companies avoiding payroll taxes that would have contributed to the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. The 2008 HEART Act resulted in offshore subsidiaries of U.S. companies paying FICA taxes for U.S. workers performing services overseas on U.S. government contracts. As a result, in fiscal year 2009, four of the case study contractors using offshore subsidiaries to support DOD work requested reimbursement from DOD of at least $140 million for new FICA payments. Federal and state unemployment payroll taxes, however, were not covered by the HEART Act, and several contractors that used offshore subsidiaries have continued to avoid these taxes. In one state, we reviewed documentation for about 140 former employees of several contractors who were denied unemployment benefits in 2009. State workforce officials indicated these benefits were denied because the employees worked for a foreign subsidiary and not an American employer.

David Isenberg writes in: Offshore Means Never Having to Pay Payroll Taxes

It seems ironically fitting that private military contractors — which are examples of the presumed benefits of outsourcing — devote so much effort to further outsourcing their operations. According to the GAO from 2003 through 2008, defense contractors increasingly used offshore subsidiaries. Their analysis of SEC filings found that in 2008, 29 of the top defense contractors — accounting for 41 percent of DOD contracting dollars in fiscal year 2008 — had at least 1,194 offshore subsidiaries.

Of the total offshore subsidiaries, about 200 were located in tax haven financial privacy jurisdictions such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, or Luxembourg. Firms like KBR, CSA, and AECOM all have subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, well-known for its excessive secrecy in facilitating tax evasion. …

Interestingly, as many private military and security contracting advocates claim that the private sector is inherently more cost-effective than the public sector because it can hire lower-cost foreign workers the GAO report noted that the need for security clearances for U.S. personnel working on certain DOD contracts, as well export control provisions, limit the types of defense work that can be conducted through offshore subsidiaries.

None of this is illegal and the Pentagon is aware of the practice. It does not object, as it receives cost savings as the practice allowed contractors to offer lower bids. Of course, the public ends subsiding contractors because it pays reimbursement to those offshore subsidiaries that do make FICA payments. So in the end the only people who suffer, besides taxpayers, are workers who don’t make Social Security, Medicare, and similar contributions.

This is just another example of shifting risk and burden to the lowest level of contractors, those actually working on the ground.

This may be legal, but it is certainly unpatriotic. And it does not represent a cost saving, merely a cost shifting, and very likely a cost increase over having government workers do government work.

Map showing the number of active hate groups by state in 2008 from the Southern Poverty Law Center.  See the interactive version that lists the groups by state at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp

Map showing the number of active hate groups by state in 2008 from the Southern Poverty Law Center. See the interactive version of this map that lists the groups by state at http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp

In Tangipahoa Parish Louisiana, slightly north of New Orleans, a white Justice of the Peace refused to marry an interracial couple:

NEW ORLEANS – Two civil and constitutional rights organizations called on a Louisiana justice of the peace to resign Friday after he refused to marry an interracial couple, saying any children the couple might have would suffer.

The leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union in Louisiana and the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice in New York said Keith Bardwell, a white justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish in the southeastern part of the state, should quit immediately. Earlier this month, Bardwell refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, who is white, and Terence McKay, who is black.

Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president,” said Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, referring to President Barack Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

Obama’s deputy press secretary Bill Burton echoed those sentiments.

I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good,” Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew to Texas.

Marjorie Esman of the ACLU said the group was calling on Bardwell to resign “before he infringes on the constitutional rights of another person.”

Humphrey and McKay were eventually married by another justice of the peace, but are now looking into legal action against Bardwell.

“A justice of the peace is legally obligated to serve the public, all of the public,” Quigley said. “Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades. No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow.”

Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government.

“However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”

Bardwell, a Republican, has served as justice of peace for 34 years.

Racism is still a festering wound in the United States. And every so often it bursts open, pouring out its poison. As offensive as this is, in this incident no one was hurt or threatened with physical harm. Although Mr. Bardwell has shown a lengthy pattern of painful and discriminating behavior that did not offend his voters, this couple is both able and willing to seek legal redress. That has not always been true within my lifetime.

Recently there has been an upsurge in public racist rhetoric and hate speech, even making its way into what is loosely termed “news” on television. We saw it in the people who came armed to town meetings, especially during August, bearing overtly racist signs and symbols, and the way their behavior was covered by the news. The leadership of the Republican party has allied itself with those delivering this hate speech, which has escalated and increased the real threat of violence, by making it more socially acceptable. Especially since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Republican Party has made itself the party of white supremacy, particularly in the south. Much of Republican opposition to social programs that help all the citizens of the US, comes from resistance to the possibility that any tax money might be spent to help people of color.

We are still hearing this from members of Congress, before Obama’s speech to Congress on Health Care in September: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said … “I think he’s gonna have to express some humility … “ or: During President Obama’s major health care speech on Wednesday, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson (R) yelled out “You lie!”, something that has never before happened in a presidential speech to Congress.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, traces the history and follows the activities of hate groups, as does the blog Orcinus. Both feature thoughtful articles and in depth research.

From a recent SPLC Report: Return of the Militias:

A key difference this time is that the federal government — the entity that almost the entire radical right views as its primary enemy — is headed by a black man. That, coupled with high levels of non-white immigration and a decline in the percentage of whites overall in America, has helped to racialize the Patriot movement, which in the past was not primarily motivated by race hate. One result has been a remarkable rash of domestic terror incidents since the presidential campaign, most of them related to anger over the election of Barack Obama. At the same time, ostensibly mainstream politicians and media pundits have helped to spread Patriot and related propaganda, from conspiracy theories about a secret network of U.S. concentration camps to wholly unsubstantiated claims about the president’s country of birth.

Almost 10 years after it seemed to disappear from American life, there are unmistakable signs of a revival of what in the 1990s was commonly called the militia movement. …

One big difference from the militia movement of the 1990s is that the face of the federal government — the enemy that almost all parts of the extreme right see as the primary threat to freedom — is now black. And the fact that the president is an African American has injected a strong racial element into even those parts of the radical right, like the militias, that in the past were not primarily motivated by race hate. Contributing to the racial animus have been fears on the far right about the consequences of Latino immigration.

… “All it’s lacking is a spark. I think it’s only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

In reference to Congressman Wilson’s outburst, and some of the other racist incidents and behavior around the country, I think President Carter is absolutely correct when he says:

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American,” Carter told “NBC Nightly News.”

“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shares the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans.”

President Carter grew up in racially segregated Georgia. I heard him say once in a television interview that he is good at monitoring elections around the world, because everything he has seen around the world he had already seen at home. He also knows first hand from long experience working through the civil rights struggles how to get people with uncompromisingly opposed views to talk to each other and to keep talking and to keep talking more, until some common ground and some progress can happen. We can learn a lot from his experience and wisdom. It is worth listening to what he has to say.

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