Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rallying The White Folks

Donald Trump is getting some help for his campaign from a likely source.

William Daniel Johnson, founder and treasurer for American National Super PAC, told TPM in a Monday phone interview that he plans to reach out to voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire with recorded messages trumpeting Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. TPM first reported on the robocalls Saturday after receiving a recording of the call from a reader in the Hawkeye State.

The robocall featured endorsements from Johnson, who is also the chairman of the white nationalist American Freedom Party; Jared Taylor, the founder of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance and a spokesman for the Council of Concerned Citizens; and Rev. Donald Tan, a Christian radio host.

On the call, Taylor said that the U.S. should only accept “immigrants who are good for America.”

“We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture,” he said. “Vote Trump.”

And based on his past performance, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Mr. Trump to denounce or distance himself from this gang.  He’s been pitching for their support since he got into the race… no pun intended.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Card From Post-Racial America

Via TPM:

The images show cadets dressed in white and wearing pointed white hoods with eye holes. Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa said in a statement the students were apparently dressed for a “Ghosts of Christmas Past” skit and singing Christmas carols, and that an investigation is ongoing.

Rosa also called the photos “offensive and disturbing.”

The photos were posted to Snapchat and later uploaded to Facebook by a woman who does not attend The Citadel, local TV station WCSC reported. The woman said she has been “threatened, harassed, and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not ‘ruin their lives.'”

A university spokesman told the Associated Press that at this point in the investigation, there’s no evidence the incident was hazing.

There are around 2,300 students in the school’s Corps of Cadets.

I wonder if the song selection included “White Christmas.”

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Supremely Racist

During oral arguments in the University of Texas affirmative action case at the Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Antonin Scalia let it be known what he really thinks.

Referencing an unidentified amicus brief, Scalia said that there were people who would contend that “it does not benefit African-Americans to — to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less — a slower-track school where they do well.”

He argued that “most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.”

“They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re — that they’re being pushed ahead in — in classes that are too — too fast for them,” Scalia said.

He later noted, however, that they sure do have rhythm.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Notes From Post-Racial America

Via The New Republic:

For years, white supremacists in the Dothan, Alabama, police department planted drugs and guns on black people.

According to Internal Affairs records obtained by the Henry County Report, their superiors, several of whom have since been promoted, knew about the practice and helped cover it up. Indeed, the lieutenant implicated by the documents is now the chief of the department. The sergeant who obstructed the Internal Affairs investigation went on to become sheriff and then director of homeland security for the state, a position he continues to hold today. The district attorney at the time (still in office) sat on exculpatory evidence and proceeded with felony prosecutions against the individuals the officers had framed.

There’s a lot going on in this story, which the Alabama Justice Project helped break thanks to anonymous whistleblowers within the Dothan Police Department. But one detail that’s worth highlighting is the affiliation of the dozen or so officers involved with a secretive neo-Confederate organization that holds the Civil Rights Movement to be a Jewish conspiracy and believes the path forward on American race relations is to ship black people back to Africa.

But we elected a black president, so we’re good, right?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Not In A Vacuum

Is it just a coincidence that white supremacists showed up at a Black Lives Matter encampment in Minneapolis looking for trouble in the same news cycle that the leading Republican candidate told several large crowds and the news media that a Black Lives Matter protester “deserved to be roughed up”?

I am sure Mr. Trump will say that he had nothing to do with the shooting in Minneapolis — either the one by the neo-Nazis or the one by the police that started the demonstration.  In fact, he and his supporters probably think that they’re the ones who are the victims here because none if this would have happened if those uppity protesters knew their place.

This kind of thing does not happen in a vacuum.  Mr. Trump started it; he can end it.  But that would mean ending his campaign, so it’s not going to happen on his part.  That leaves it to the rest of us.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Roughing Up

Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Five protesters were shot late Monday night near the Black Lives Matter encampment at the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis, according to police.

Those who were shot sustained non-life-threatening injuries, said police spokesman John Elder in a statement.

Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, said “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.”

One of the three counterdemonstrators wore a mask, said Dana Jaehnert, who had been at the protest site since early evening.

When about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the group away from the area, Noor said, they “opened fire on about six protesters,” hitting five of them. Jaehnert said she heard four gunshots.

[…]

The protesters, angry over the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark on Nov. 15, have maintained a presence outside the police station ever since.

Eddie Sutton, Jamar’s brother, issued this statement early Tuesday morning in response to the shootings:

“Thank you to the community for the incredible support you have shown for our family in this difficult time. We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful. But in light of tonight’s shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step.”

I would hope that Donald Trump will denounce this type of “roughing up,” but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Short Takes

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made nice in their Oval Office meeting.

The Burmese opposition claimed a landslide victory in parliamentary elections.

The president of the University of Missouri system resigned due to protests over racial tensions.

The World Anti-Doping Agency accused Russian athletes, coaches and team doctors of systematic doping.

What is it with Republicans and making up personal history?

Tropical Update: TS Kate pops up north of the Bahamas and heads east.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Short Takes

Iran convicted Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, but they didn’t say of what.

Suicide bombers were behind the bombing in Turkey last week.

Russian warplanes are carrying out more airstrikes in Syria.

Confederate flag-wavers indicted for disrupting a black birthday party.

Dell Computers buys EMC for $65 billion.

The Nobel Prize for Economics went to Angus Deaton of Princeton.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Another Dispatch From Post-Racial America

Via TPM:

Politico reported that state Rep. Janet Adkins (R) made the suggestion regarding U.S. Rep. Corrinne Brown’s (D) district in a closed-door meeting of the North Florida Republican caucus.

“It’s a perfect storm,” Adkins said on the audio recording. “You draw it in such a fashion so perhaps, a majority, or maybe not a majority, but a number of them will live in the prisons, thereby not being able to vote.”

Adkins made sure there were no reporters in the room before she made her comments, according to the report.

Speaking of fashion, Janet, you look lovely in those flowing white robes, and the hood adds just the perfect touch of nostalgia for those old times there that are not forgotten.

Florida is undergoing redistricting because the lines drawn the last time were deemed to be in violation of the Florida constitution’s ban on making them blatantly partisan.  The legislature had to have a special session in August to try again, and they deadlocked.  Now it’s up to the court to do it right.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Short Takes

China devalued their currency to stabilize their place in the world market.

Right-wing armed militia freaks show up to “patrol” Ferguson with assault rifles.

Greece is on the verge of clinching a deal for a new bailout.

The EPA is hard at work to clean up its ten-million gallon mess in Colorado and New Mexico.

Watch the skies: The Perseid meteor shower peaks this week.

The Tigers lost 6-1 in K.C.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Short Takes

U.S. women’s soccer team for the win over Japan 5-2.

Greece votes “OXI” (“No”) to the bailout.

Secretary of State Kerry locked in negotiations with Iran as deadline approaches.

New York prison escapee returned to the joint.

South Carolina legislators brace for Confederate flag debate.

The Tigers had a topsy-turvy weekend against the Blue Jays.

(Footnote: this is the 2,400 edition of Short Takes.  Good morning.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

That Settles It

Well, what a relief.

“America isn’t a racist country, not even close,” she wrote in an op-ed in The Hill on Monday. “The left falsely saying so promotes not progress but division. American history includes slavery and racism, but its current status and future as a whole does not.”

And she should know because she has never heard a racist epithet about her.  So there.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Everybody On Stage For The Funeral Number

Jimmy Durante, the late great vaudevillian, once noted “Everybody wants ta get inta the act!”

This Friday’s funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckey, who was one of the people killed in the massacre in Charleston last week, will be a crowded affair.  President Obama will deliver the eulogy and Congress is shortening their business week so they can all be there, including the Republican leadership.  They’re also piling on to the “take down the flag” movement which, until Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) said she was in favor of, got a lot of “well, I don’t knows” from the GOP.  But once the Republican governor of one of the first primary states said it was okay, they all joined in.

Interesting, isn’t it?  None of these people bothered to show up to the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, which is just as potent a reminder of the struggle for civil rights as the Confederate flag, but now that they perceive it’s okay to walk away from the white supremacist base of the party, they’ll be there.

Charlie Pierce:

Now, of course, we will hear a lot of ahistorical braggadocio about how it was Republicans who freed the slaves, and passed the civil rights acts in the 1960s, Party Of Lincoln and all that. And we will hear about how great we are in general because we have all come together to agree that, in 2015, we decline to further glorify the symbol of a bloody insurrection launched in defense of chattel slavery. We rock. We are so very awesome. I give it a couple of weeks before the conventional wisdom congeals that we have “moved past the controversy” and we can all get back to gutting the Fair Housing Act and undermining voting rights and performing all the rites and rituals that have come to mark the Day of Jubilee.

Jimmy Durante was right; it’s all an act.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Proving His Point

President Obama:

We’re not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 or 300 years prior.

It’s ironic that the right-wingers are worked up about President Obama using that word when they’re the ones who shrug (or retweet) when one of them uses it about the president.

It’s even more ironic that their twitterpation is proving the president’s point.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Another Reason To Go To Quaker Meeting

So you don’t have to watch crap like this masquerading as “news analysis” on Sunday mornings.

While the country — and South Carolina, in particular — is once again debating racism in America, NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday offered a video of men in prison expressing regret for their own gun violence. All of the men in the video are black.

The segment was part of Sunday’s show, which focused on the recent killing of nine black people at a bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, is accused of making racist statements during the rampage and in an online manifesto that describes black people as “stupid and violent.” He has been seen in photos online holding a Confederate flag and wearing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and white-ruled Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

“The circumstances you are about to see are very different from the racist violence in Charleston,” Meet the Press host Chuch Todd said in the introduction to the video.

“But their lessons remain important, and we simply ask you to look at this as a colorblind issue,” he said.

[…]

“The last thing we wanted was to cloud the discussion of the topic,” Todd wrote on the NBC website after receiving a wave of negative feedback on social media about the video.

“The original decision to air this segment was made before Wednesday’s massacre. However, the staff and I had an internal debate about whether to show it at all this week. When we discussed putting it off, that conversation centered around race and perception – not the conversation we wanted the segment to invoke,” he said.

In a panel discussion responding to the blowback, Todd said, “It wasn’t meant to be a black and white issue. And I understand maybe it’s one of those moments when people are only seeing through black and white.”

Yessir, we’ll really get to the bottom of race relations in America by showing a bunch of pundits sitting around talking about what the black experience is like.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Crash of Symbols

If the Confederate flag was offensive enough to the Texas DMV to ban a license plate with it, you would think that it would be time to stop flying the flag on the lawn of the statehouse in South Carolina.

Ta-Nehisi Coates:

The Confederate flag’s defenders often claim it represents “heritage not hate.” I agree—the heritage of White Supremacy was not so much birthed by hate as by the impulse toward plunder. Dylann Roof plundered nine different bodies last night, plundered nine different families of an original member, plundered nine different communities of a singular member. An entire people are poorer for his action. The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it.

After the fall of the Third Reich, Germany banned the symbols of the Nazi era, including the swastika.  It was an ancient symbol used by many cultures including Native Americans, but Hitler and his gang turned it into  a sign of evil, repression, and mass murder.  (John Ross Bowie tweeted, “The confederate flag is about ‘states rights’ the way the swastika is about ‘fixing the German economy.'”)

Here in America we don’t ban symbols by law.  The First Amendment protects the right of people to fly whatever flag they want as long as it’s not obscene, and besides, banning the Confederate flag would only make it a martyr to a lost cause and give its believers something to rally around.  But we can remove it from our presence by shaming the otherwise reasonable people who defend the act of flying the flag into taking it down lest they be associated with the Dylann Roofs of the world.

It Was Racism

The way some people see it, Dylann Roof’s attack on the Emmanuel A.M.E. church Wednesday night that left nine people dead was an attack on “religious liberty.”  The people who are saying that are, to be charitable, out of their fucking minds.  Mr. Roof has a long history of racism and so when he opened fire, he wasn’t doing it because he objected to bible study.

Of course the chatterers at Fox News would do anything to avoid the racism charge because as we all know, America is no longer a racist country because hey, didn’t we twice elect that guy from Kenya with the sketchy birth certificate and the secret Muslim leanings?  Besides, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act so that means we’re all getting along just fine.