Friday, July 30, 2010

Racists' CYA Is A Fail

Dear White Racists:

Enough.  This ongoing bit of yours that everyone but you is a racist isn't working.  It never did.

You send out postcards and emails with images like these:

Then claim you didn't know they were offensive.  Uh huh.  Right.

Then when pushed on your racism, you start howling that people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and longtime civil rights groups like the NAACP are the real racists.  Bad news, boys - the NAACP started out with and still has white members and both Jackson and Sharpton have participated in demonstrations that included whites.  Both also campaigned with white audiences when they both ran for President.


When that one blows up in your face, you go to your next fallback position - the "blacks do most of the crimes" shibboleth.  Studies time after time show that police go after blacks more than they do whites and blacks are more likely to do prison time than whites as well.  This feeds unbalanced reports on crime statistics. You go after more blacks then let more whites slide and of course it'll seem like blacks do more crime.  Pretty damn stupid position to take, bigots.

Then there's my personal favorite - blacks being "racist" to other blacks.  That one should immediately set off alarms and flashing "STUPID!" signs.  You see, there is an important component to racism that this claim fails on.  Let's go to the dictionary:


1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

So, really.  Enough.  If racists are proud of their stands they should be proud to own the label that goes with it.  However, since it's still unaccepted in polite society to talk in racial epithets and push these hairbrained theories, they have to hide their racism and blame the victims of it. 

So, dear racists, embrace what you are.  Of course, you won't make many friends and the ones you do have will head for the hills to avoid you but keep this in mind:

Most of us already know what you are and don't think much of you anyway.

Have a nice, white sheet day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

OK, I Did It Again

Remember a post I did a while back about quitting the Democrats and joining the Working Families Party?

Well, at least that lasted longer than a month this time but I went back to being a Democrat.  Again.

It's not that I dislike the WFP but it seems...well...kinda quiet from them.  I'll root them on but in the meantime I need a party that can actually elect people and get things done.  They sounded so good, but as my best friend told me after I switched, "When will you ever learn?"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Is Sherrod The Final Nail In The Rightwing "Journalism" Coffin? Guess Again.

The tale of Shirley Sherrod and her smearing by rightwing hit man Andrew Breitbart is an amazing one.  In good ol' white resentment and race baiting style, a decades old speech by black US Department of Agriculture official Sherrod is edited to make her appear racist towards whites.  This is posted on Breitbart's site (you'll have to find that on your own, I refuse to link to it) and the fun begins.  Various other rightwing "media" echoes the "story" as the cowardly mainstream media does too.  Even the Obama administration gets into the fun, pushing hard for Sherrod to resign over it (which she did, being a loyal Obamaite) because she was "going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."  Even the NAACP denounced her.

It looked more and more like Breitbart had bagged another Obama administration scalp, with Sherrod joining Van Jones and ACORN on the spear.  The far right was celebrating and partying hearty.

Then something happened that the rightwing smear machine didn't count on:  the full video of the Sherrod speech popped up and guess what?  She wasn't bragging about getting whitey at all, she was talking about overcoming prejudices and doing the right thing!  UH OH!!

The NAACP backed off their denouncement of her fast enough to leave skidmarks on the road, saying they were "snookered" by the edited Breitbart tape.  USDA Secretary Vilsack and President Obama were on the phone to Sherrod, apologizing for pressuring her to resign and offering her another job at the USDA to make up for what they did.

In a perfect world, this would mean the end for Andrew Breitbart and people like him in the media.  Sherrod is threatening to sue and this would have killed whatever credibility Breitbart had.  He'd be left ranting to a few rightwing fringe visitors to his website and totally ignored by everyone else, if he could still afford the domain name fee.

However, as they say, what will really happen is that Breitbart will come through this unscarred and undamaged among his "base."  A few of his fellow rightwing media pals have made an effort to sorta kinda say what Andy B did was wrong and The Big B should they move to pull a secondary smear based on Sherrod and her family acting on their claims in a USDA discrimination lawsuit settlement.

But thousands of farmers missed the original Pigford deadline, due to shoddy work by their own lawyers and inadequate promotion, among other reasons. In response to a decades-long movement to re-open the Pigford class, Congress passed another $100 million in the 2008 farm bill to help settle new claims; earlier this year, the Obama administration announced an additional grant -- called Pigford II -- of $1.25 billion.

But the money hasn't been doled out, because Congress hasn't given the okay yet. It missed a March 31 deadline. Then a May 31 deadline. Currently, the money for the new Pigford settlement resides in the war supplemental -- which Majority Leader Harry Reid announced last Friday would be up for a vote some time this week.

Harry Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, said it "remains unclear" whether the bill could pass with the settlement attached. The money was also included in the unemployment insurance extension; but the Pigford settlement, and other funds, had to be stripped in order to break a filibuster.

Conservatives immediately jumped on the Sherrod video -- issued by Breitbart in the wake of Reid's promise to bring the war supplemental (including the Pigford settlement money) to a vote -- to condemn the Pigford case.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), for example, tweeted immediately on Tuesday morning, after the Sherrod case hit the news, that many Pigford claims amount to fraud:

Shirley Sharrod fired by Vilsack 4 racism in her USDA position. America needs to know that, not all, but billion$ of Pigford Farms is fraud.
The Washington Times mused that Sherrod resigned because she was afraid the attention would expose "sanctioned conflicts of interest" arising from her own settlement -- though there was zero evidence to that effect. In fact, Vilsack has since acknowledged that her experience as part of the Pigford class makes her uniquely positioned to understand the historical challenges faced by the USDA. Fox News piled on, saying the settlement "thickens the plot."
If that wasn't bad enough, now the rightwing echo chamber's usual suspects are trotting out their "blame the victim" routine and trying to claim Sherrod is a "Marxist."

Beck: Sherrod "obviously has some sort of Marxist or redistributionist qualities to her." On the July 21 edition of his radio show, Beck stated that Sherrod "obviously has some sort of Marxist or redistribution qualities to her." He further said that Sherrod is "class warfare just not race warfare." On his Fox News show, Beck said Sherrod should have been made a "czar" because "she fits in" with the "Maoists" in the Obama administration.

Mattera: "Sherrod shouldn't be given her job back. The broad is a Marxist. I have no sympathy for her." In a July 21 post on Twitter, Human Events editor Jason Mattera wrote: "Sherrod shouldn't be given her job back. The broad is a Marxist. I have no sympathy for her."

Limbaugh: Sherrod supports "Obamunism," "the haves versus the have-nots and the need for redistribution." On the July 21 broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh said that Sherrod supports "Obamunism," "the haves versus the have-nots and the need for redistribution."

Crowley suggested Sherrod may be among "radicals, racists, socialists" in Obama administration. On the July 20 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News' Monica Crowley suggested that Sherrod may be among the "radicals, racists, socialists" that have been "stocked" in the Obama administration.

Hoft: Sherrod is "a communist, radical, socialist, terror-sympathizer." In a July 21 post on his Gateway Pundit website, Jim Hoft suggested that Sherrod is "a communist, radical, socialist, terror-sympathizer." Hoft further wrote: "White farmer-hater Shirley Sherrod is linked to Bill Ayers." He then highlighted a "must-read story" at the Illinois-Review and The Washington Examiner which he said "reveals that Ms. Sherrod's husband is a former honcho in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee back in the 1960's."
What shall we make of all of this?  First, Breitbart will have to wait a little while for his Sherrod smear to cool down before he's back on Fox Noise and the Tea Party speech circuit.  The right's wingnutosphere will try to smear Sherrod some more then move on to their next target.  The MSM will buckle under and report their next lie as a "real" news story.  The Democrats will continue to act like battered wives and won't say much, if anything.

Total damage to rightwing "journalism"?   Not a thing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Other America

Following my post about the great things about the United States to contemplate on the Fourth of July, now it's time to take a look at the not-so-wonderful segment of America.

These are the people who think the USA is for them and them alone.  These are the so-called "Real Americans" - the ones that define themselves and their worth to the nation in terms of race and privilege. They rage at the very concept that people who look and think differently could possibly be as patriotic and as valuable to the country as they are.  They allow a few who have a different hue than them in on the edges so the Real Americans can point at them in order to deny their real feelings, but those few have to pass some tough tests to get there.

We've always had them and their numbers are diminishing, fortunately.  Not so fortunately, like any other dying beast they can still do damage.

One of the things that Americans like to take for a given is that when bad things happen, we drop our differences and come together to help our fellow Americans out.  There are tons of examples to support that too, with everything from coin jars on store counters to help pay for treatment for someone suffering from disease to volunteers taking it upon themselves to pitch in to help repair the damage from catastrophes natural and otherwise.

There's another current coming from the RAs (Real Americans) seeking to destroy that American impulse to help other Americans when they need it.  And it's just plain mean:

They keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn’t pay as much as the unemployment benefit does. … What has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job. … There are some jobs out there that are available. Because they have to enter at a lower grade and they cannot keep their unemployment, they have to make a choice now.

What?  We are suffering through what is being called "The Great Recession" and the unemployed are nothing but lazy welfare bums now?  Those words are from the Teabag Republican challenger for Harry Reid's Senate seat in Nevada arguing against extending unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for six months or more but she's far from being the only one with that sentiment.  This came next:

Ralston then asked, “if people lose their jobs through no fault of their own, as many have during this recession, Sharron Angle’s solution is to cut their unemployment benefits so low so they’re somehow gonna go out and find jobs that don’t exist?” “There are jobs that do exist. That’s what we’re saying, is that there are jobs.” Angle replied.
Ah yes, the old "But the newspaper classifieds are FULL of jobs!" argument (as false then as it is now) - but at least in the past it didn't include the concept that it was a good idea to have unemployed people have no income whatsoever to force them to go to work.  That's where the mean comes in.

Another example of the damage that can be done as the RAs get smaller and smaller is this charmer:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that it's OK for Orlando to restrict the group feedings that have brought dozens of homeless people to Lake Eola Park.

In a case watched by cities and homeless advocates across the country, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta reversed a 2008 ruling by a federal judge in Orlando who believed the city's rules were unconstitutional.

"We won on every single point. It's a complete vindication for the city," said City Attorney Mayanne Downs. "The point here was to protect Lake Eola Park. It's a very important part of our city's heritage and history, and all we wanted to do was to protect it from an unfair burden."

Advocates have continued to serve meals to large groups of homeless and needy people at Lake Eola Park since U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell ordered City Hall to stop enforcing its ordinance. In fact, in the nearly two years since his ruling, the regular feedings at Lake Eola have grown substantially, city officials say.

"Over 100 people have been gathering at the park every day, and it's really becoming a problem," said Commissioner Patty Sheehan, whose district includes the iconic downtown park. "It's gotten to the point where people are telling me they are no longer going to take their families to the park anymore."

The rules require advocates to obtain a permit for feedings of 25 or more people, and only two feedings a year are allowed in a given park. The City Council adopted the ordinance in 2006 after businesses and residents downtown complained that the feedings drew crowds of vagrants who caused problems outside the park.
So much for the RA's charity.  (h/t digbys)  Let's not only see to it that the homeless and the unemployed have no income, let's starve them too.  That'll show those lazy bastards a thing or two.

And here I thought doing charitable work was a good thing.

There are more examples but we'll stay with these two to demonstrate the diminishing RAs' lashing out and base meanness. If there's a silver lining to this cloud, it's the fact that the damage they do is limited to certain states and towns - their ability to do damage on a national level was taken away from them in 2008.

If the current nastiness from the RAs isn't a good reason to see to it that they don't get back the power to hurt Americans this November, I don't know what is.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July 2010

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.  It's a time to step back from the usual partisan sniping and count our blessings for being a part of a truly amazing country, whether we achieved that through birth or naturalization.  Let's take a look at why our country is still the one that most of the world looks up to:

First, our Constitution....

As much as we argue over the meaning of this article or that amendment we take this astounding document for granted so much that sometimes we think that the world lives under it.  In much of the world, whatever foundation of law they go by springboard's off the idea that government grants rights and be happy for what you've got.  Our Founders set about setting up our Constitution from a different tack - we were born with the rights we have and therefore the government is restricted so they may not infringe on those rights.  In other words, the Constitution set up for us a constitutionally-restricted democratic republic designed to protect rights and not grant them.

Let's take one of our most treasured and basic rights protected by the Constitution:  freedom of speech.  We Americans take this for granted so much that sometimes we'll look at something going on in another country and criticize it on the basis of freedom of speech.  Well, those countries don't protect speech like we do.  If you are a resident of Canada or the UK for example, you can be fined and imprisoned for something called "hate speech."  If we lived under that, Rev. "God Hates Fags!" Phelps, Louis Farrakhan, Glenn Beck and others as well as some of us from time to time would all be in jail right now.  As someone said once: Freedom of Speech doesn't mean that we only protect speech we like, it was put in place to protect speech we absolutely hate.

Our diversity

Some of our friends on the right absolutely detest that word but it is one of America's greatest strengths.  Americans come in and from many colors and backgrounds.  There are certain bedrock ideas that we share as Americans and we do so by also celebrating where we came from as well.  The idea that we can do that in peace is the amazing part.  Catholics and Protestants, Jews and Muslims and similar seemingly competing Americans live sometimes right next door to each other and there is no street warfare over it here unlike other countries. We are part "melting pot" and part mosaic:  Melting pot in that we all share American goals and ideals on a personal level - we all want to provide for ourselves and our families and keep them safe.  Mosaic in that we are a country made up of bits and pieces of differences that combined make up a beautiful picture.

Lastly for now,

We aren't done yet

America at its founding was called a "great experiment" in democracy and we're all still trying to perfect it.  As I do my political thing online and otherwise, one thing that strikes me is our patriotism.  We all love our country and want it to be even better than it already is.  Where the rhetorical battle comes into play is how we define "better" and the means to get there.  We've only come to blows over it once with the Civil War - something, despite the words from some, we are in little danger of repeating.

Have your barbecues, watch some sports and fireworks tonight - today is, after all, a birthday party.  We have a lot to celebrate too, but please keep in mind the words of a Vietnamese woman I talked with during my Navy days who sat me right down and told me this:  "Don't you DARE take what you've got in America for granted!"