Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"In the Name of God, GO!" *

Glen Beck. Lou Dobbs. And Rush Limbaugh, most of all. I've listened to their hate-filled screeds on & off for years (always keep an eye on your enemies), but with their latest rantings, they've gone over the top, far beyond the limit of "polite" political discourse, or political rabblerousing...Aw, hell, let's call it what it is: hate speech, said with the intention of inflaming racist attitudes towards our first black president. TPM listed the angry white men falsely attacking President Obama:

Above all others, the real celebrity here has been Rush Limbaugh. He's done this kind of thing before -- remember the "Barack, The Magic Negro" song? But in the wake of the Gates incident, he's managed to become even more hard-edged about it. "Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman," Limbaugh declared this past Friday. Yesterday, he shared a dream he's had about the dangers to capitalism: "I had a dream that I was a slave building a sphinx in a desert that looked like Obama." And he joked that food-safety advocates will go after all the unhealthy foods people like to eat, one by one -- but they'll have to wait until Obama is out of office to ban Oreos.

Glenn Beck said this today on Fox News: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture. I don't what it is. You can't sit in a pew with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years and not hear some of that stuff, and not have it wash over."

During his new crusade of Birtherism, Lou Dobbs suggested on his radio show this past Wednesday, right before the Gates flare-up, that Obama could be an illegal immigrant, tying this into his usual preoccupation. "I'm starting to think we have a document issue," Dobbs said. "You suppose he's un-- no, I won't even use the word 'undocumented,' it wouldn't be right."

Hey Rush, don't you know that "oreo" is an insult? Or will you next be calling the President a "jive turkey" in another lame attempt at humor? Glen Beck frankly, is on the verge of an on-air nervous breakdown--and I fully intend to post the video here when it happens. And Lou Dobbs is just......sad.

It's the Southern Strategy all over again, the divisive Republican political strategy designed to stoke racial fears and take white votes away from the Democratic Party, first successfully employed by Richard Nixon, enthusiastically adopted by Ronald Reagan, and perfected under Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

Lee Atwater, Karl Rove's political mentor, once said this about how the strategy evolved:
"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger'—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.

And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'”
It's 2009, but crying "nigger nigger nigger" seems to be coming back in style once more. As Rachel Maddow pointed out tonight, it almost seems that Public Enemy should update and re-release "Fear of a Black Planet." The fear amongst these wingnut pundits is vibrant and palpable, yet their attempts at stoking racial hatred seem almost....quaint, to borrow Alberto Gonzales' infamous expression. In the wake of the Gates arrest, America seems less "post-racial" than it did a few weeks ago, but I can't help but wonder exactly how many people are going to fall for this line of bullshit, this time around.

Tough economic times have always been a time of opportunity for race baiters and sowers of hate and discord. The recession and the health care debate have more people worried about the basics of life more than any time since 9/11. This doesn't excuse or condone the words and deeds of these far-right demagogues, but it does give us a glimpse at their worst fears: a time in which the primacy of white men will no longer be. Fortunately, they in truth have no say in that matter, and they no longer possess the power to forestall that time.

I believe that at the end of the day, a majority of Americans will not fall for their heinous lies. More and more people are intelligent and informed enough to be immune to the propaganda coming from Rush, Beck, and their ilk. These frenetic wingnut pundits, and their increasingly desperate and panic-stricken outrage can only, as Lincoln said, fool some of the people some of the time.

It's getting to that day that's the hard part.

* "It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil'd this sacred place, and turn'd the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!"

--Oliver Cromwell MP's speech on the dissolution of the Long Parliament, given to the House of Commons, April 20, 1653.

Sarah Palin: Buh-Bye, Nitwit!

Sarah Palin has resigned as the governor of Alaska. In lieu of posting a transcript of her farewell speech and confusing the hell out of everyone, I offer instead William Shatner's rendition of Palin's last official words as governor to the citizens of Alaska:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prof. Gates and "Post-Racial" America

The recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates has done one good thing, at least: Michael Jackson's death has been relegated to page 2.

Otherwise, it's been a true tempest in a teapot. Let's be serious: Gates and the president are friends; who wouldn't support their friend in the case of an unjust (and if it was justified, they why were the charges dropped) arrest? And as an African-American man, I have had my share of being pulled over for DWB (Driving While Black). The president's reaction is understandable, and frankly, I don't think he was out of line in saying what he did.

But to be arrested inside one's own home for telling some arrogant, warrantless cop that he was going to pay for this insult, and to get the fuck outta his house--that deserves arrest? Holy shit! If some cop ever tries that stunt with me in my house, they're gonna need to call in SWAT! No, Prof. Gates was well within his rights to tell that cop to go to hell.

So now we've got some Repug imbeciles sponsoring a resolution proclaiming that Pres. Obama abused his power" when he said that Sgt. Crowley "acted stupidly," instead of working on opposing health care...hey waitaminute, maybe this is a good thing! Keep the idiots occupied, yeah.....

I think this episode should put to rest any more blather about America entering the "post-racial" era. I don't think we'll see that happen until we all look Polynesian, and then there'll still be religion to fight over. Racist fools will always be with us, and find some reason to either abuse power, or be offended by its legitimate usage. Apparently, though, throwing one's weight around is reserved only for white celebrities; otherwise, Crowley would have said "good night to you, sir" and slunk out the house. Confronted with a black man with clout, Crowley resorted to the traditional method of taming "uppity Negroes": he arrested Prof. Gates. Nothing to see here folks, move along--no abuse of power whatsoever!

Eugene Robinson:

Apparently, there was something about the power relationship involved -- uppity, jet-setting black professor vs. regular-guy, working-class white cop -- that Crowley couldn't abide. Judging by the overheated commentary that followed, that same something, whatever it might be, also makes conservatives forget that they believe in individual rights and oppose intrusive state power.

[...]Is a man of Gates's station entitled to puff himself up and remind a police officer that he's dealing with someone who has juice? Is a woman of Sotomayor's accomplishment entitled to humiliate a lawyer who came to court unprepared? No more and no less entitled, surely, than all the Big Cheeses who came before them.

Yet Gates's fit of pique somehow became cause for arrest. I can't prove that if the Big Cheese in question had been a famous, brilliant Harvard professor who happened to be white -- say, presidential adviser Larry Summers, who's on leave from the university -- the outcome would have been different. I'd put money on it, though. Anybody wanna bet?

No takers here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stephen Colbert Knows He's White

From Colbert's Twitter feed tonight:

"people tell me i'm white, and i believe them because i've never been arrested in my foyer"

Lewis Black Blasts "the Party of No" on Health Care Reform

Lewis Black takes no prisoners in this segment from The Daily Show:

Thanks to Daily Kos and MNPublius

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tell It Like It Is

Firedoglake's Marcy Wheeler tells the plain truth on MSNBC today about the GOP's reluctance to investigate secret CIA programs under Bush/Cheney, with some choice language:
“Your idea is that after investigating Bill Clinton for a blow job for like five years, we shouldn’t investigate the huge, grossly illegal things that were done under the past administration, only because Alberto Gonzales was too much in the back pocket of Dick Cheney to do it while he was still in office.”

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I've Never Liked Philadelphia

A Philadelphia swim club expelled African-American children from their pool:

"I heard this lady, she was like, 'Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?' She's like, 'I'm scared they might do something to my child,'" said camper Dymire Baylor.

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.
Damn, but I really hate Philly now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

RrrROWL! Peggy Noonan Unloads On Sarah Palin

Peggy Noonan takes the gloves off:

Her history does not need to be rehearsed at any length. Ten months ago she was embraced with friendliness by her party. The left and the media immediately overplayed their hand, with attacks on her children. The party rallied round, as a party should. She went on the trail a sensation but demonstrated in the ensuing months that she was not ready to go national and in fact never would be. She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm.

In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.

Noonan is properly horrified at the prospect of a Palin candidacy; I imagine that Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are also recoiling at how Palin's poll numbers have increased since her addled resignation speech last Friday. Palin's children, I should also add, would never have been a target if she hadn't paraded them before the media at every opportunity. The Obama children were never a topic in the media for the simple reason that the Obamas, unlike Sarah Palin, never used them as political props.

That said, I must congratulate Peggy Noonan for finally recognizing and speaking the truth. Palin isn't just a joke, she's a bad one.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Was Just Thinking The Same Thing

Josh Marshall:
Which is more emasculating? Getting paid a hundred grand by the guy who screwed your wife? Or being a fifty-something United States senator and still needing mom and dad to cut the check to pay off your mistress and her husband?

A Farewell To A Nutjob?

Sarah Palin is a woman as stupid as they come. And anyone who thinks that Palin is qualified to be dog catcher, much less president, is an idiot and a damn fool, too. I'm sick of hearing about this ignorant, oversensitive, vindictive, uneducated, greedy, egomaniacal, arrogant woman even more than I'm sick of hearing about Michael Jackson (and believe me, that's saying something). Her never-ending ploys for attention, her bottomless cup of spite for anyone who dares to criticize her, her endless cries of "they're picking on me!"--it all has no ending and no merit. It's fair to criticize her for her cluelessness (her latest? The federal "Department of Law"); it's fair to decry her shameless use of her children as political props, and it's fair to question her, especially if (as is the case) she's a bewildered idiot who thinks she's qualified for national office.

Palin's surprise resignation speech was a big pity party for herself, and most likely her tacit admission that the jig is up: time to find a new con (a book deal and a FAUX News show, anyone?). I personally still think that there's a big negative story and/or investigation about to break about her, and that she got out while the gettin' was good. But seriously, does she really think that the media was unfair to her? I'll show her unfair:
Somewhere, you know the Clintons are laughing their asses off at Sarah Palin punking out of politics. And that'd be even as they shake their heads listening to bullshit pundit after bullshit pundit declare that poor Sarah Palin and her poor kids and her poor husband were treated oh-so-very cruelly by Katie Couric and the Bloggers.

[...]Fuck them and fuck her. Sure, people are gonna say mean shit about her. Sure, Andrew Sullivan might get a bit obsessed over whether or not Trig's Palin's kid or not. And if a candidate preaches abstinence but her daughter gets knocked up before marriage? That'd be kind of relevant. But the mainstream media, for the most part, when it wasn't jacking off about how mavericky this moose-huntin' twit was, questioned whether or not Palin was smart enough or experienced enough to be vice-president. Hey, those are legitimate lines of inquiry, even if George W. Bush took them off the table for a few years.

And as for who's been treated worse?

Whether or not Bill and Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered was discussed on mainstream news channels, not just dismissed as sheer madness. Elected Republicans made jokes about Chelsea Clinton's awkward adolescent looks. And when someone investigates Sarah Palin and talks about the shape of her vagina and how she sucks a dick, then we can even begin to talk about who is treated unfairly. It wasn't just some cranky-ass blogger. It was the way the national media functioned: as a nonstop Clinton attack machine. The Clintons fucking took it all, like Rocky against Apollo Creed, man, in Rocky II.

And all this shit was even before blogs existed. What kind of fucktarded shitstorm would have cycloned through the nutzoid right and the 24-hour news networks, desperately trying to fill time until the world ends, if blogs had been around? Oh, right, ask Barack and Michelle Obama about birth certificates, Bill Ayers, and secret Muslim terrorist agendas.
The Rude Pundit has a very valid point: Palin has no idea of what a hostile media barrage is like, and anything that's been written or said about her, she brought on herself. Palin's incomprehensible resignation speech last Friday was the latest in a long line of signs and indicators that should finally close the issue of whether she's a competent political leader or not. Hell, it should inspire questions about her fitness to be a parent, much less a politician! Her speech was a rambling, disjointed, incoherent mess, and the fact that it was a prepared address rather than an off-the-cuff speech is cause for grave concern about her level of intelligence and the state of her mental faculties. Did she really think that quoting her parents' kitchen magnet would made her sound profound?

In Sarah Palin's world, quitters win. She can abandon her duties as governor in a time of fiscal and political crisis, and be seen as "doing what's best for Alaska." In her world, Palin can dishonestly claim that by resigning, she's saving the state millions of dollars in legal expenses. In the Palin Reality Distortion Zone, it's unfair to take shots at her children, but it's okay to push them forward at nearly every public appearance she makes. Up is down, winners quit, and Russia can be seen from Sarah's front porch. It's almost too much for a member of the reality-based community to endure.

That Palin still appeals to 40% of the electorate says to me that we as a society are becoming irredeemably trivial and ignorant. It frightens me that citizens with the right to vote willingly choose to support such a demonstrably incompetent and corrupt politician, basing their decision on cultural myths, fringe religious beliefs, and gender and racial bias, while eschewing issues such as competence, intelligence, policies, and past performance. But it is only 40%, not a majority. I can only hope that, as Palin snowmobiles off into the sunset, she continues to ignore the counsel of those wiser and more experienced than she. If she just continues to be Sarah, all will eventually turn out right for the nation.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin Resigns, When Is The Other Shoe Dropping?

Still on the road tonight. So, Sarah Palin resigned from the governorship of Alaska today. How soon before an indictment against her comes out? Because she damn sure isn't doing this to improve her chances, such as they are, of winning the presidency in 2012. No, I'm betting that another, bigger scandal is on its way, and she's thinking that she can duck it by resigning. She's just not smart enough for this to be a shrewd political move, as her fans are trying to portray this development; her rambling, incoherent, barely literate statement today is proof positive of that.

Watch and see.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Michele Bachmann Is A Stupid & Crazy Bitch (Part 1,980 of a continuing series)

The fun never stops with our merry moron, Michele Bachmann. Her latest crusade against the Census has now attracted the ire of her fellow Republicans:

Three House Republicans on the subcommittee overseeing the 2010 Census are asking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to reverse her decision to boycott the national population count, fearing others will follow her lead.

“Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country,” Reps. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.) and John Mica (Fla.), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Achieves, said in a statement Wednesday.

Fighting the Obama administration is one thing, fighting her fellow Republicans is another. How much longer before a recall petition begins circulating? Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann points out how her fear of the Census could definitely have a negative effect on her political future:

Congratulations, Senator Franken!

Courtesy TPM

I'm on the road this week, so posts will be sporadic. But I couldn't NOT post congratulations to my new Senator, AL FRANKEN!! Sen. Franken (damn, I love saying that) proved in the end who the strongest candidate was, and I'm very happy about it.

Now, I'm just waiting for two more things, and then my happiness will be complete: first, seeing Norm Coleman indicted on corruption charges, then watching Bill O'Reilly's head explode, the first time he has to say "Sen. Franken met with Pres. Obama in the White House today." C'mon Bill, you can do it!

And to my new senator: I know that I don't need to tell you to "give 'em hell" sir, because you already knows that's what you have to do. Sen. Franken, thank you for your perseverance, intelligence, courage, and honesty. May you serve long and with honor.