But what’s even more interesting to me is how, in talking about what might motivate white working class men to avoid the Democratic Party, journalists seem to have decided that it’s important to avoid talking about one set of issues at all costs: racism/sexism/homophobia.
For example, Politico recently published a story by Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelly titled: Clinton’s Real Opponent: Barack Obama. Interestingly enough, the article wasn’t about how Clinton’s platform was at odds with the President (because it isn’t). It was actually about how his approval rating in states with a large white population was lower than would otherwise be expected. Not once in the entire article did they mention that racism might be a factor. But a more appropriate headline might have been: Clinton’s Real Opponent: Racism Against Barack Obama.
Rebecca Watson takes on Sea World, and their attacks on John Hargrove. She takes them to task for attacking him, rather than even trying to refute his allegations, and in the process gives us a lesson in critical thinking.
I’m pimping my own blog here, but I think you’ll see it’s for a good reason. Our least favorite Internet troll posted a prime example last week of how he panders to white racist scum to get their clicks (= money).
The subject of Chuck C. Johnson’s latest Award Winning Journamalism is a smear of two African-American men: one a judge and the other a criminal. No facts are in evidence. Only innuendo.
Really, there are no surprises here for watchers of the Chuck C. Johnson/GotNews juggernaut, but his recent GotSmear of Louisville Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens takes the cake for lurid race-based clickbait.
Here’s the screaming GNDC headline:
EXCLUSIVE: Corrupt Black Judge Lets Black Thug Out of Prison Because White Victim’s Toddler Is ‘Racist’ #OluStevens
The headline bears little resemblance to what actually happened.
Wherefore art thou art wrong? Let me count the ways:
1. The judge is not corrupt, and Johnson offers no proof.
2. The “black thug” was sentenced to five years’ probation, not freedom.
3. The judge did not say the toddler was racist.
4. The man got probation because he had no prior arrests for violent crimes.
Four lies in one headline! Quite a feat.
More at GotNwes.com.
Johnson in the same blog post also manages to imply a black judge could not possibly afford a ritzy home, and that he shouldn’t live in a ritzy white neighborhood, because reasons.
Then, since the man who was sentenced to probation had no real history of “thuggery,” Johnson posts social media photos of the guy posing with guns and lists a series of charges — not fines or sentences — including speeding and driving without a license.
Also (ironically) libel and slander.
Why bother with all this? Since Johnson has zero proof the judge is corrupt, and the criminal in this case has a short nothingburger of a rap sheet, we can only presume Johnson wants bigots to visit his site and boost his ad revenues.
It’s not like he’s ever done this before.
Fox News interviews another person from the wingnut parallel universe. News Hound Ellen exposes the stupidity.
On The O’Reilly Factor, host Eric Bolling and guest Horace Cooper didn’t just deny that the killing of Walter Scott is part of a pattern of police shootings of black men, they actually argued that African Americans are “favored” when they have encounters with the police.
Substitute host Bolling sneered at the beginning of the segment that “the far left” is using Scott’s death “as evidence that police killings of black men are a systemic problem in America.” Bolling falsely claimed, “Police killings of African Americans are down 70% over the last 50 years, so why perpetrate these claims?”
But as Bolling should know, there are no hard statistics on the number of police killings in the past 50 years. However, we do know that blacks make up a disproportionate number of those whom we know are killed by the police. So why did Bolling perpetrate such a claim?
Sorry I didn’t get around to posting this earlier. I meant to, but I forgot. Doktor Zoom has an important message for Neo Confederates throughout the union,
One hundred fifty years ago today, the American Civil War ended with Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, which wasn’t a courthouse but a town named after a court house, and the actual house belonged to Wilmer McLean. This is generally considered a fortunate thing, since “The Surrender At Wilmer’s Place” would not look nearly as good on a commemorative print. The relentless romanticizing of the Southern cause — state’s rights, the Old Noble Ways, the Southern Aristocracy, and the Fight for Freedom for people of a certain pale hue — started well before the war, and the mere fact of Southern defeat did little to slow it. After all, what’s more romantic than a Lost Cause? It was a good enough reason for a delusional actor to shoot Abraham Lincoln just a week later, and it was a good enough pile of romantic mush to keep the Lost Cause ideology alive long after the Confederacy and all its leaders and followers were dead and in the ground.
If you’re in the mood for an awfully good thinky piece about the survival of Confederate ideology into a century when no one mourns other briefly existing nations of the 19th century — we’ll bet nobody has the flag of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806-1813) on a bumper sticker — check out this terrific essay in Politico Magazine by Euan Hague. Hague notes that it’s not just a benign interest in Southern genealogy that draws modern Confederate sympathizers to get passionate about putting the Confederate battle flag on state license plates, and also cautions that it shouldn’t be “simplistically understood solely as an exhibition of racism, although the power of the Confederate flag to convey white supremacist beliefs cannot be discounted.”
*Warning there’s a bit of immature mature language at the end.
Oh man, the religious right, is going to hate Brittney Cooper if they ever read this. She debunks the idea that being a Christian means that you will automatically support their extreme hate filled, Un-American agenda. I’ll bet that Bryan Fischer would never consider her a “true Christian” and would persecute her, if he ever got his way. Cooper is not someone people like him would like. She supports genuine religious freedom for people of all faiths, She’s a feminist and she supports the rights of people in our gay and lesbian community to be who they are.
Michele Bachmann, Mike Pence, Mike Huckabee (Credit: AP/Reuters/Susan Walsh/Michael Conroy/Joe Skipper/Photo montage by Salon)
Just in time for Holy Week, the State of Indiana has passed a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law explicitly permits for-profit corporations from practicing the “free exercise of religion” and it allows them to use the “exercise of religion” as a defense against any lawsuits whether from the government or from private entities. The primary narrative against this law has been about the potential ways that small businesses owned by Christians could invoke it as a defense against having to, for instance, sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding.
Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid. Usually, this means the country or, in this case, the state of Indiana is about to be treated to another round of backward time travel, to the supposedly idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them. While the unspoken religious subtext of this law is rooted in conservative anxieties over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana, Black people and women, and all the intersections thereof (for instance Black lesbians) should be very afraid of what this new law portends.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby decision that corporations could exercise religious freedom, which means that corporations can deny insurance coverage for birth control. Now this same logic is being used to curtail and abridge the right of gay people to enjoy the same freedoms and legal protections that heterosexual citizens enjoy.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, given the circumstances—a black man admitting to the murder of a white woman in the deep South—that some white jurors might secretly harbor racist views. The surprising part was that this juror, Thomas Buffington, came right out and said it. And what should have been the most surprising development of all (alas, it wasn’t) came this past August, when a federal appeals court, presented with ample evidence, refused to consider how racism might have affected Fults’ fate.
How do we know when we’ve crossed the line, when our system of justice simply can’t tolerate a result that its technical rules encourage? Here’s Buffington’s full statement: “That nigger got just what should have happened. Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what that nigger deserved.”
Racism doesn’t get much clearer than that. Now it’ll be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the rules of evidence might, just this once, take a backseat to the principle that no man should be judged by the color of his skin.
It’s a long article but a urge anyone interested to take the time to read it. The details are rather shocking. The criminal justice system in our country is, to put it mildly, flawed. When you inject the death penalty into it the results can be horrific.
If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the new social studies standards laid down by the right-wing-dominated Texas State School Board and found them to be a deplorable example of conservative wishful thinking replacing fact. At the top of list? Downplaying the role that slavery had in starting the Civil War, and instead focusing on “sectionalism” and “states’ rights,” even though the sectionalism and states’ rights arguments directly stemmed from Southern states wanting to keep slavery. There’s also a chance your kid might be misled to think post-Civil War racism was no big deal, as the standards excise any mention of the KKK, the phrase “Jim Crow” or the Black Codes. Mention is made of the Southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, but mysteriously, the mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party to punish the rest of the Democrats for supporting civil rights goes unmentioned.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
The red-baiting of the mid-20th century has gone down in history, correctly, as a witch hunt that stemmed from irrational paranoia that gripped the U.S. after WWII. But now, according to the Thomas B. Fordham report, your kid might learn that the red baiters had a point: “It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee—and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets).” Critical lessons about being skeptical of those who attack fellow Americans while wrapping themselves in the flag will be lost for students whose textbooks adhere to these standards.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work pushing for laws requiring that climate change denialism be taught in schools as a legitimate scientific theory. Unfortunately, as Neela Banerjee of the L.A. Times reports, they’ve already had some serious success: “Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change.” Other states are taking the “teach the controversy” strategy that helped get creationism into biology classrooms, asking teachers to treat climate change like it’s a matter of political debate instead of a scientifically established fact.
The reality is that climate change is a fact that has overwhelming scientific consensus. In 2004, Science reviewed the 928 relevant studies on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and found that exactly zero of them denied that climate change was a reality, and most found it had man-made causes. To claim that climate change is a “controversy” requires one to believe that there’s a massive conspiracy involving nearly all the scientists in the world. So, your kids are not only not learning the realities of climate change, they are also learning, if indirectly, to give credence to conspiracy theory paranoia.
Arthur Chu on the Bigotry and hypocrisy of “New Atheists”
One of the most obnoxious refrains you hear when you complain about Islamophobia in the United States being a form of racism is “Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion.” It’s a nasty derailing technique that’s endorsed by luminaries such as Richard Dawkins.
And it’s wrong for transparent reasons. You don’t need to look far for other examples where religion and ethnicity are conflated within the logic of prejudice. You only need to look as far as the Holocaust, the single bloodiest genocidal campaign in history, which targeted anyone of Jewish ethnic descent regardless of what religious beliefs they professed, based on stereotypes that explicitly invoked biological, racial difference.
You don’t need to look far in our own time to find people being targeted for “looking Muslim” regardless of their racial beliefs, and indeed, you can find Dawkins’ fellow luminary Sam Harris openly endorsing racial profiling as policy.
But the sheer hypocrisy of saying that anti-Muslim prejudice is a consequence of rational disagreement with the tenets of Islam rather than xenophobic distrust of people who look different from “normal” Americans becomes most obvious when you see how much of it falls on Sikhs.
As thousands marched across Selma’s Edmund Pettus bridge this weekend, a small band of white people were less than a mile away, mourning the loss of the Confederacy and guarding a memorial to a white supremacist.
Live Oak cemetery is a burial site for Confederate soldiers in the civil war and contains the grave of Edmund Winston Pettus, the general - and member of the Ku Klux Klan - after whom the town’s bridge was named.
There has been a growing campaign to rename Selma’s bridge given its association with the Confederate south, and dozens of students had planned a peaceful march to the cemetery. They quickly changed plans after discovering the neo-Confederates were waiting for them.
“‘March’ is a military term,” explained Todd Kiscaden, 64, who had traveled to Selma from his home in Tennessee to defend the memorial site. “In any military context, if you’re going to march on my castle, I’m going to man my barricades.”
Selma is most famous for the violent assault on peaceful civil rights marchers on the town’s bridge in 1965. But the Alabama town was also the site of another clash: a notorious civil war battle in which Union forces defeated the pro-slavery Confederate army.
The cemetery where Pettus is buried also contains a memorial to the fallen soldiers, and a controversial monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest, the lieutenant general in the Confederate army and first Grand Wizard of the Klan.
The graveyard has long been a flashpoint between African Americans and pro-Confederate historians in the town. The graveyard has been the focus of protests before; the memorial has been vandalised and, three years ago, a bronze bust of Forrest was stolen. Kiscaden, from the group Friends of Forrest, which tends the memorial site, said they were in the process of replacing the stolen bust.
Sunday’s aborted march to the cemetery was organised by Students Unite, the Selma-based youth group behind a viral online campaign to rename the Edmund Pettus bridge. They planned to march peacefully and respectfully to the graveyard, to draw protest against the Pettus bridge name and the existence of a monument to a white supremacist.
“We’re a non-violent group,” explained John Gainey, 25, executive director of Students Unite. “We didn’t want a confrontation.”
“The people in the south - the white people, who were being abused - organised a neighbourhood watch to try to re-establish some order,” he said of the nascent Klan. Slavery in the south was “a bad institution”, he said, but possibly “the mildest, most humane form of slavery ever practiced”.
“If you look at the wealth created by the slaves, in food, clothing, shelter, medical care, care before you’re old enough to work, care until you died, they got 90% of the wealth that they generated,” he said. “I don’t get that. The damn government takes my money to the tune of 50%.”
Kiscaden and Godwin insisted they were not racist. But they made plain that they hankered for a revival of some of the ideals most Americans believe were defeated in 1865.