Friday Reads: Racism Still

William Kay, active 1795, Seamstresses, St. Kitts, Caribbean, 1798, Watercolor over graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I have been fully overwhelmed and outraged by how the 2018 campaign season has devolved to overt, ugly, full frontal racism. No more subtle dog whistles and murmured references to culture these days; just naked, hateful racism on fully display. Can we stop talking about economic anxiety or white anxiety or fragility or some fancy schmanzy word that tries to cover the truth that our country has an issue with pervasive, systemic racism? It is time for the media and for all white Americans who see this for what it is to call it out for what it is.

It’s been one year since Charlottesville and four years since Ferguson. The Struggle continues.

Adam Sewer–writing for The Atlantic–believes that ‘The White Nationalists Are Winning.’

A year after white nationalists in Charlottesville chanted, “You will not replace us!” their message has been taken up and amplified by Fox News personalities. Tucker Carlson tells his audience that “Latin American countries are changing election outcomes here by forcing demographic change on this “country.” Laura Ingraham says that “the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore” because of “massive demographic changes” as a result of “both illegal and sometimes legal immigration that progressives love.” They echo the white-nationalist claim that America is at risk because the nation is growing more diverse, an argument that treats the mere presence of nonwhite people, citizen or noncitizen, as an existential threat to the country. White nationalists like Cantwell are cheered to hear their beliefs championed on Fox. Cantwell wrote last year that Carlson “is basically telling white America to prepare for war as directly as he can get away with while remaining on Fox News.”

American history is replete with tragedies that are epic in scale, but few are comparable to what has happened to the party of Lincoln, who struck perhaps the most decisive victory against the principle that America is a white man’s country with the proposal and ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment. There is no reason that this new generation of immigrants cannot become loyal Republican voters, much as a previous generation of despised foreign newcomers did. The obstacle is the conservative movement’s growing embrace of a definition of American citizenship that is inherently racial. Where prior conservative champions like George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might have seen a new generation of Republicans, today many conservatives see only an invasion.

While few sitting Republican legislators echo these sentiments publicly, Republican audiences are now being fed white-nationalist philosophy through mainstream conservative figures with national followings. Unless something changes, conservative constituencies will eventually begin to demand that their representatives adopt those views as well.

White nationalists win by activating white panic, by frightening a sufficient number of white people into believing that their safety and livelihoods can only be protected by defining American citizenship in racial terms, and by convincing them that American politics is a zero-sum game in which white people only win when people of color lose. While this dynamic has always been present in American politics, it has been decades since the White House has been occupied by a president who so visibly delights in exploiting it, aided by a right-wing media infrastructure that has come to see it as a ratings strategy. It is not just the white nationalists who win when racialized fears surrounding crime, immigration, and terrorism shape the political behavior of white voters. Donald Trump also wins. And both the Trump White House and the men who rallied in Charlottesville for the cause of white power know it.

Laurie Ingraham’s racist screed should deny her a public platform. This is the joint view of Tom Kludt and Brian Stelter writing for CNN.

It wasn’t so much a dog whistle as it was an airhorn. Or perhaps a primal scream. But whatever it was, Laura Ingraham’s forceful denunciation of “massive demographic changes” served as another raw example of a Fox News host echoing white nationalist language.

Perhaps it was a glimpse into President Donald Trump’s well of support, too.

The Fox News audience is almost 100% white, according to Nielsen. And on the channel’s highest-rated shows, the politics of white anxiety play out practically every day, as hosts and guests warn about the impacts of immigration and minimize or mock the perspectives of people of color. The talk show segments are clearly intended to appeal to people who perceive they are losing their grip on power.

In 2018, Tucker Carlson, at 8 p.m., and Ingraham, at 10 p.m., spend the most time on this subject. (The host in between, Sean Hannity, concentrates more on defending Trump.)

“The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Ingraham said Wednesday night. “Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

Ingraham said “this is related to both illegal and legal immigration.”

The commentary was amplified on social media by the liberal, anti-Fox watchdog group Media Matters. Many people who viewed it on social media were shocked, as her rhetoric went beyond what other conservative commentators have said in the past.

Nearly 24 hours later, Ingraham’s name was still a top trending topic on Twitter. Media Matters made a video asserting that Ingraham’s “anti-immigrant rant” was “ripped from white supremacists.” Some Democratic lawmakers also spoke out. Senator Tammy Duckworth tweeted that the “racist” comments “shouldn’t have been aired by @FoxNews.”

Fox News declined to comment.

1796 Thomas Rowlandson. Rachel Pringle of Barbados.

Of course they did. NFL Players resumed their #BlackLivesMatter protests and KKKremlin Caligula demanded they be suspended without pay on twitter.  Of course he did.

Several NFL players knelt, raised fists or simply refused to take the field during the playing of the national anthem as a controversial protest against police brutality dragged into the 2018 preseason.

As The Associated Press reports, in Philadelphia, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who suspended his protest last December, and cornerback De’Vante Bausby, raised their fists while defensive end Chris Long stood with his arm around Jenkins’ shoulder.

Defensive end Michael Bennett walked out of the tunnel during the anthem and walked toward the bench while it played.

Sports Illustrated reports that the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon did not join their teammates skipping the pregame performance of the anthem.

In Seattle, three Seahawks also declined to take the field.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt, while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his fist.

1844 Adoph Rinck. Possibly a portrait of Marie Laveaux.

Twitler on vacation keeps tweeting the ugly.

President Trump, who has been vocal in his opposition to using the anthem as a stage for protest, responded on Friday morning with a pair of tweets blasting Jenkins, Stills and others who didn’t stand at attention.

Meanwhile, ‘Omarosa says Trump is a racist who uses N-word – and claims there’s tape to prove it.’

Donald Trump is a “racist” who has used the “N-word” repeatedly, Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the most prominent African American in the White House, claims in a searing memoir.

The future US president was caught on mic uttering the taboo racial slur “multiple times” during the making of his reality TV show The Apprentice and there is a tape to prove it, according to Manigault Newman, citing three unnamed sources.

Trump has been haunted from around the time of his election in 2016 by allegations that outtakes from the reality TV show exist in which he is heard saying the N-word and using other offensive language.

In her book, Unhingeda copy of which was obtained by the Guardian ahead of its publication next week, the former Apprentice participantinsists that the reports are true, although she does not say she heard him use the word herself.

She also claims that she personally witnessed Trump use racial epithets about the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway, who is half Filipino. “Would you look at this George Conway article?” she quotes the president as saying. “F**ing FLIP! Disloyal! Fucking Goo-goo.”

Both flip and goo-goo are terms of racial abuse for Filipinos.

Critics have previously questioned Manigault Newman’s credibility and are likely to accuse her of seeking revenge against the administration after her abrupt dismissal last December.

At the time, she writes, she felt a “growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist. My certainty about the N-word tape and his frequent uses of that word were the top of a high mountain of truly appalling things I’d experienced with him, during the last two years in particular.”

Women in Santo Domingo wearing Tignons.

 

I believe these accounts even though the source is spurious.

Jonathan Capehart writes ‘Yes, Donald Trump, you are a ‘racist’’ 

Lemon interviewed Trump on May 1, 2011, and challenged Trump on his views on race and the promotion of the racist birther against then-President Barack Obama. The on-air conversation was fine. Lemon recalled after that interview, an irked Trump “vowed he’d never come back and do an interview with me because I was racist.”

When I read the item about all this in The Post’s Reliable Source on Thursday, I had a sense of deja vu. Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015. The same day he said Mexico was sending “rapists” over the U.S. southern border. By July 6, I’d seen and heard enough and wrote a post decrying Trump’s retweet (and then deletion) of an offensive dig directed at former Florida governor Jeb Bush:

That he retweeted such an offensive comment speaks ill of his judgment. That he would get so personal with a rival speaks ill of his temperament. That he felt comfortable endorsing such a hateful remark speaks ill of the GOP, which has turned a blind eye to this low-boil hate for so long that it has lost all ability to squelch it.

Well, that didn’t go over well with the Queens-born builder. As was his wont, Trump had my piece printed out, then he scribbled out a quick missive atop it and had a PDF sent to me.

Jonathan – You are the racist, not I. Get rid of your “hate.” Best wishes …

Trump’s response was laughable then. Three years later — more than 18 months into his presidency — such a remark remains stunning. There have been so many instances of Trump’s racism that I don’t have time to look for them all. But his wretched response to the white-nationalist mayhem unleashed on Charlottesville a year ago this Sunday remains the most egregious.

Portrait of a Woman in a Blue Turban by Eugene Delacroix, c. 1827

This seems to be a pattern now.  No, you’re the puppet!  No, you’re the racist!  I know you are but what am I?  I have yet to figure out why I get called out for being racist against white people by standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement and supporting black women for office. Is that even a thing?

This CNN interview with Spike Lee over his new movie discusses how the Oval Office is giving racists “a bullhorn.”

Spike Lee believes that racists in America have been given the “green light” from the White House.

“Since [President Trump] has gotten into the White House it is not even a dog whistle, it’s a bullhorn,” Lee said. “We’ve seen a rise to the right. It’s not just America, it’s worldwide.”

The two-time Academy Award nominee spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday about his new film, “BlacKkKlansman,” which tells the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police force in the 1970s. It chronicles how Stallworth, played by John David Washington, manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

“BlacKkKlansman,” is set to release Friday, one day before the one-year anniversary of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left counter-protester Heather Heyer dead.

Lee told Cooper that the release date for his latest film was intentional.

“The President of the United States had a chance to denounce hate,” the director said. “The whole world saw what happened and he didn’t do it.”

Lee is no stranger to films about race in America, gaining notary with films like “Do The Right Thing” and “4 Little Girls.”

Cooper went on to ask the director if he would sit down with President Trump to which Lee curtly answered “No.”

Lee added that he refuses to call Trump by his name, instead referring to him as “Agent Orange.”

I’m going to end with this essay in Salon by Chauncey DeVega: ‘Beyond Lebron James and Don Lemon: What James Baldwin can teach us about Donald Trump’s racism’  Is the GOP our country’s biggest white identity group?

Donald Trump loves “his” African-Americans.

As black conservatives their primary purpose is to serve as professional “best black friends” for white racists. This is very lucrative work. Being a black conservative is a right-wing American version of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

With Donald Trump they are very busy in their role as human deflector shields: Trump claims to be “the least racist person” but also believes that neo Nazis and white supremacists can be “very fine people,” puts nonwhite immigrants — including babies — in concentration camps, and with other Republicans is doing everything possible to take away voting and other civil rights from black and brown Americans. Quite logically, white supremacists such as Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claim Donald Trump as a hero.

But woe be unto those black people who do not bow before Donald Trump in deference and obedience. For Trump, black people who are deemed to be “uppity” and “disrespectful” are “low I.Q.” “sons of bitches” who are traitors that should be exiled from America perhaps back to “shithole” countries in Africa. And Trump possesses special rage towards black women who dare to defy him such as Representative Maxine Waters and sports journalist Jemele Hill.

Racism and sexism are intoxicants for Donald Trump; he cannot resist them. For example, Michael Harriot, who is a contributing writer at The Root, recently conducted an analysis of Trump’s tweets which showed that 93.4 percent of his comments on Twitter about African-Americans are negative.

Alexandre Alaux (French/New Orleans, 1851‑1932), “Portrait of Free Woman of Color Wearing a Tignon

But let’s jump to the voice of Baldwin:

It is perfectly timed that last week was James Baldwin’s birthday and his words are so fitting for how they describe the insecurity, and yes jealousy, that afflicts Donald Trump and so many of his white racially resentful, if not outright, racist supporters.

In the “Fire Next Time”, Baldwin observed:

The white man’s unadmitted—and apparently, to him, unspeakable—private fears and longings are projected onto the Negro. The only way he can be released from the Negro’s tyrannical power over him is to consent, in effect, to become black himself, to become part of that suffering and dancing country that he now watches wistfully from the heights of his lonely power.

These fears and longings also drive Donald Trump’s deep insecurities and his fixation on Barack Obama, the latter being a man whose shadow of excellence and achievement Trump will never be able to escape or equal. This obsession is further revealed by Donald Trump’s behavior on Twitter, where he has made at least three times as many comments about Barack Obama than his own family.

I fret over all of this like I do many things these days and feel powerless to do much other than speak up and write and share on social media.  I do know that none of this will be put right until our Congress gets more black voices.  My Congressman is head of the black caucus. My Senators are a huge part of the problem.   Just work wherever you are to get Congress right in 2018.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today? 


Lazy Caturday News and Open Thread

Good Morning All!

The 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in is coming up on June 17. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein published a piece about it in yesterday’s Washington Post.

Today, much more than when we first covered this story as young Washington Post reporters, an abundant record provides unambiguous answers and evidence about Watergate and its meaning. This record has expanded continuously over the decades with the transcription of hundreds of hours of Nixon’s secret tapes, adding detail and context to the hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives; the trials and guilty pleas of some 40 Nixon aides and associates who went to jail; and the memoirs of Nixon and his deputies. Such documentation makes it possible to trace the president’s personal dominance over a massive campaign of political espionage, sabotage and other illegal activities against his real or perceived opponents.

In the course of his five-and-a-half-year presidency, beginning in 1969, Nixon launched and managed five successive and overlapping wars — against the anti-Vietnam War movement, the news media, the Democrats, the justice system and, finally, against history itself. All reflected a mind-set and a pattern of behavior that were uniquely and pervasively Nixon’s: a willingness to disregard the law for political advantage, and a quest for dirt and secrets about his opponents as an organizing principle of his presidency.

Long before the Watergate break-in, gumshoeing, burglary, wiretapping and political sabotage had become a way of life in the Nixon White House.

What was Watergate? It was Nixon’s five wars.

The Post also provides links to it’s coverage of the Watergate Scandal back in the good old days when the press believed in exposing government corruption. Today, the Post admits that “investigative journalism is at risk.”

Remember this?

The sad thing about Watergate is that if it happened today there wouldn’t be any investigation or arrests. We’d be told to move along, look forward not backward.

To see how things work today, you can read the White House e-mails that detail President Obama’s sellout to the pharmaceutical industry on health care. Apparently this one was leaked by House Republicans. Down With Tyranny has some good commentary.

um…huh? Must have dropped off for a second there. Let’s see what else is happening.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Jeff Brinkley, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, now a Professor of Journalism at Stanford University finds Mitt Romney’s foreign policy positions deeply disturbing. He thinks it’s highly problematic that Romney has no experience and seemingly no knowledge about foreign policy. Brinkley notes that Obama already had to learn on the job, and now the Republicans have nominated another foreign policy naif who may be even less prepared than Obama was.

Romney…declared a couple of months ago that “Russia is America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.” What nonsense. The U.S.-Russia relationship is a bit strained, but what about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan? Every one of those states poses a strategic threat that Russia does not.

“Immediately, speculations surfaced that the former governor of Massachusetts continues to live in a Cold War world and has few, if any, insights about American foreign policy,” Klaus Larres, a German American academic, wrote for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. And former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told Romney to use his head and “check the time. It’s now 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

His advice on Afghanistan has been no better. Repeatedly he has called the plan to gradually withdraw forces “misguided” and “an extraordinary admission of failure.”

In the past, Romney has asserted that the United States and NATO need to defeat the Taliban before leaving. That has been the goal for nearly 11 years, and NATO is no closer today. The most recent National Intelligence Estimate asserts that the war is unwinnable as long as the Taliban maintains a safe haven in Pakistan and the Afghan government continues its corrupt, malevolent and counterproductive ways.

I wonder if Romney knows that one-third of the Western forces killed in Afghanistan so far this year died at the hands of Afghan soldiers they were training or leading.

There’s lots more at the link.

Charles Pierce is talking about “PUMA-ism” again, but I’ll forgive him because of this description of Obama’s defensive behavior of late:

In many ways, this president reminds me of the truck drivers in The Wages of Fear, trying to get the nitroglycerine over the mountains with blowing themselves all to hell and gone. In so many ways, he is still outside of things. In so many ways, he is still the flyer the Democratic party took in 2008. In so many ways, the path he has to walk to re-election is similar to the path he has had to walk through his life. It was hard not to notice the subtext present in all those earnest warnings about hurting the fee-fees of our financial titans. The president was stepping out of his place. The president was being uppity again.
This is also the case with what is perhaps the most noxious idea out there: that Barack Obama “failed” in his promise to “bring the country together,” and that he is now — Glorioski! — campaigning like he wants to be president all over again. He is engaging in politics. Mother of mercy, I swear David Brooks is just going to break down and go all to pieces on PBS some evening over the president’s betrayal of his role as the country’s anodyne black man and, of course, his upcoming role as black martyr to incivility and discord. It is his duty, dammit, to be all the things that people like Brooks wanted him to be so that he could lose, nobly, and then the country could go back to its rightful owners.

The Wages of Fear: now that was a great movie!

At Time, Tim Pagett has an excellent piece called The Catholic Contraction.

If you want some perspective on just how benighted the Roman Catholic Church looks today on the subject of women, consider Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard was a German Benedictine nun in the 12th century and a leading feminist writer of her time. But even though that time was the 1100s, the Vatican rarely hassled her for asserting that men and women are equal — that God’s true nature, in fact, is maternal — or that nonprocreative sexual pleasure is O.K.

In the 21st century, however, Hildegard would no doubt receive the same censure that Sister Margaret Farley is facing this week after the Vatican denounced her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. Farley, a Sisters of Mercy nun, a retired Yale divinity professor and a past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, condones practices that have been morally acceptable to most U.S. and European Catholics for quite a while, including divorce, homosexuality, nonprocreative intercourse and masturbation. But Rome’s doctrinal bulldogs are sternly reminding her that those acts are “disordered,” “deviant” and “depraved.”

Sadly, it’s the church that’s looking unhinged these days. The Vatican was apparently just warming up in 2010 when it declared, astonishingly, that ordaining females into the all-male Catholic priesthood would be a “grave sin” on par with even pedophilia. Since then, as if scapegoating women for the escalating dissent among Catholics toward its hoary dogma, the church seems to have embarked on a misogynist’s crusade. Its legal assault on the Obama Administration’s requirement that Catholic institutions like colleges and hospitals make contraception available to female employees as part of their health coverage is, ultimately, less about religious freedom than about women’s freedom. Then there’s the U.S. bishops’ absurd probe of whether the Girl Scouts are selling feminist theology as well as fattening thin mints — and Rome’s accusation of “radical feminism” within the Leadership Conference on Women Religious (LCWR), which represents most of the U.S. nuns doing genuinely Christ-inspired work with the poor and the sick.

In science news,

NASA has discovered "a massive algae bloom under the slowly diminishing Arctic ice."

The same year that NASA researchers launched the Icescape expedition to the Arctic — the project that resulted in NASA’s astounding new discovery — there was a dire report on the world’s phytoplankton.

A Canadian team said in the journal Nature, as The Times reported in July 2010, that the world’s phytoplankton had been disappearing at a rate of about 1% a year for the previous 100 years.

“A global decline of this magnitude? It’s quite shocking,” Daniel Boyce, Dalhousie University marine scientist and lead author of the 2010 study, told The Times.

Phytoplankton — the basis of the marine food chain — “are key to the whole ecosystem,” he said. “In terms of climate changes, the effect on fisheries, we don’t know exactly what these effects will be.”

Could his latest discovery of a mass of phytoplankton in the Arctic signal a turnaround for this crucial organism?

The jury’s out. But it’s a question scientists will be pursuing, according to Paula Bontempi, NASA’s ocean biology and biogeochemistry program manager in Washington.

I think I need another little break.

Okay, back. Wouldn’t you know it? Addicting Info: Koch Brothers Linked To Florida Voter Purge

Former Secretary of State Kurt Browning worked with [Gov. Rick] Scott on the purge. Just before Scott selected Browning as Secretary in 2011, Browning led a group, Protect Your Vote Inc., which was created to oppose fair redistricting. One of the biggest checks that Browning’s organization received for $100,000 in 2010 was from the Center To Protect Patients’ Rights. At the time of the donation, the source of the money was cloaked in secrecy.

Last month, Republic Report exclusively reported that Center To Protect Patients’ Rights is part of a collection of front groups funded by David and Charles Koch as well as other billionaires as part of an election-influencing effort. The Koch Brothers plan to use these front groups to finance $400 million of a $1 billion campaign in outside money to defeat President Obama as well as defeating congressional Democrats. Mitt Romney’s Super Pac and many other nonprofits run by Karl Rove will supply the other $600 million needed to accomplish their goal.

Here’s Here’s something I missed this week: 

Pranksters ‘Jiggly Puff,’ ‘Weedlord Bonerhitler’ sign anti-’Obamacare’ petition.

When the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) set about thinking how to engage the Internet in new and unique ways, it probably did not occur to them that sometimes, the Internet tends to engage you right back.

That misunderstanding apparently led to an NRCC petition drive this week seeking to trump up the number of people who want to see “Obamacare” repealed. Unfortunately for them, it all went horribly, hilariously awry on Thursday night after they hooked an office printer up to the Twitter hashtag #IWantRepeal, then turned on a live video stream.

It was not long before NRCC staff completely lost control and were forced to pull the plug.

In almost no time at all, their printer was spitting out pages of petitions signed by “Weedlord Bonerhitler,” “Jiggly Puff,” “Boner Junkmonkey,” “Pointless Empty Gesture,” “Turd Sniffer,” “Like 20 more boners” and “HelpI’mStuckInThisPrinter,” among many, many others. Screen shots of this Twitter debacle and links to the live video began circulating almost immediately.

Okay, I’ll sign off with this:

“How we behave toward cats here below determines our status in heaven.” – Robert A. Heinlein


One Person One Vote Died a Year Ago today

222px-Black_Ribbon.svgIn an important landmark case Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964), the Supreme Court established one of the most significant voting rights rulings impacting our Republic since the enfranchisement of woman and the election of U.S. senators by popular vote. Both of these occurred earlier in the century.  Basically, Reynolds v Sims established the means to ensure  that the United States was a truly representative form of government.  It provided a legal way to enforce the idea that legislatures are those instruments of government elected directly by and directly as representatives of the people. Because of this, all elected officials should be elected in a free and unimpaired fashion. One Person one vote is a bedrock of our political system.

That was until one year ago today, when the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee declared the voters of Michigan and Florida to be one half of a person. This decision, done in a closed room behind close doors, was done in the name of party unity and led to the famous “party unity my ass” uttered at The Confluence that led to the PUMA movement. It led to spontaneous outrage across the country.

What began as a Democratic Party initiative to change the caucus and primary schedule to appease some special interest groups, wound up as a means to disenfranchise two states as Florida and Michigan were selectively punished for their decisions to change the dates of their primary caucuses. While other states similarly changed their dates, these two states were singled out for retribution. This was a stinging indictment of our entire political system for those of us that supported Hillary Clinton and were still stinging from the earlier disenfranchisement of Florida under the Bush v. Gore ruling that essentially gave us a President who mostly likely did not win the election. Every one knows how well that worked out.

080530-vote-florida-hmed-1p.h2Here are some reports from the day. This one is from MSNBC’s Chuck Todd called Nothing is fair about Florida and Michigan. Here was his suggestion for the situation at the time.

Why not consider punishing the party leaders and not the voters? Couldn’t the committee take away the states’ superdelegate votes? After all, it wasn’t the voters who demanded the states break party rules, but rather the leaders of the respective state parties.

Of course, this is too logical. The likely ruling on Saturday will probably highlight the party’s inability or reluctance to punish the superdelegates. There is a challenge from a Florida superdelegate claiming the party violated its own charter by stripping the state of both pledged delegates and superdelegates. Most members of the Rules Committee I’ve talked to indicate that he may be right. Keep in mind members of the Rules committee are all superdelegates themselves.

The Golden Rule could apply: Do unto other superdelegates as you would want done unto you.

The second idea the committee should be considering but isn’t reflects everything we’ve learned throughout this long primary season.

As many have noted, census data for each state have been remarkably determinative of results since Super Tuesday. In fact, the support groups for the two candidates have been incredibly stable. Why not apply what we’ve learned about the support groups of both candidates and split the delegates accordingly?

Of course, we found out soon enough that the party leaders did have their agenda and it was to ensure that we had their Candidate. We’re still unraveling the reasons for this travesty. We endured sexism, misogyny, and race-baiting through out the entire election cycle. We will be paying for this most undemocratic of decisions for years to come. We could have had a President that supports Abortion Rights and Universal Health Care. We could have had a President that refused to vote for FISA. We could have had a President that wasn’t controlled by lobbyists, Wall Street Fat Cats, and was a policy wonk extraordinaire. Instead, as Ted Ralls of Common Dreams, puts it, we got this:

We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory …From healthcare to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied …Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now–before he drags us further into the abyss.

I don’t know about you, but I WILL NEVER FORGET THIS DAY OF INFAMY.puma-head


PUMA forward

puma-paw2You think it’s too late to plan some kind of commemorative/commiserative event for the 5.31 rules committee meeting that led to the birth of PUMA? Maybe make it net/blog based? Any interest?

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The “Incompetence Crisis”

rassie-pollAll last year,  ALL  I heard was how experience didn’t matter.  I heard that being ‘ready on day one’  was a meaningless campaign slogan.  I was told that what mattered was perceived good judgment, intelligence, and speaking skills.  I remember watching the first Democratic Debates and thinking, this guy isn’t ready to be dogcatcher, let alone President. There were no wonky answers on economics or foreign policy.  There was never a show of any detailed plan.  There was always just a nice speech read from a teleprompter with a preacher’s patois, incredible (somewhat contradictory) promises, and messages that could have come from a motivational seminar instead of a political campaign.  I never got on the bandwagon.

I finally found a home over here in the Pumasphere with people of similar thought after being treated like a scourge by other sites (blog or MSM) that had gone over to the hope side.  I’ve been getting used to my role as pariah. I was thinking I’d have to live with it for at least a year.  I figured I’d start getting the you were so right calls sometime in the fall.

Boy, was I wrong!

I figured that because of my experience during the early calls for the Iraq war.  I was the one saying “Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11.  Iraq is a different agenda.  Iraq is a bad idea.”   I actually had some one get up in a restaurant to tell me what a lousy, unpatriotic American I was that didn’t deserve to live in the US. I became a the scourge of all true American patriots.  I’ve been thinking that my 9/11 protest was just a character building experience that would serve me well during the Obama fascination period and that it would probably take a few years of, yet again, being a scourge to all true American patriots before the worm would turn.  Luckily, I found a other like minded out in the Pumasphere so I don’t have to be quite alone as I was with my opinion on the Iraq Invasion.

I think I can honestly speak for a number of us around here.  We didn’t expect to be proven so right so quickly.  At least I didn’t. I was hoping that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as my gut and head had deduced.  So many of my friends said, he’s not Dubya, so he’s got to be better, you’ll see.   After all, we’d get rid of a lot of really evil signing statements that restrict women’s reproductive choices, the right of all people to love and marry whom they wish, and we’d move ahead on science again.  I’ve said this before, but nearly any democrat would have done any of those things–including Joe Lieberman. Lieberman is one of those folks that I consider marginally a democrat, but even he would have done those things if he were POTUS.  We certainly wouldn’t see any nasty supreme court appointments either.  These were marginal hopes and small changes that I could cling to while knowing that eventually, I would be proven right.  I just didn’t even imagine it would wind up quite like this, quite so fast.

So, if I haven’t made myself clear here, Rush Limbaugh and Governor Jindal may be cheering for a failure.  I’m not in that camp at all.  I’ve just been quietly sitting here telling myself that with all the beautiful things written into the constitution as well as the resiliency of the American people, that perhaps it won’t be quite as bad as I thought it would be.   After all, we survived the incompetency of George Bush and the lunacy of Dick Cheney. Things can’t fall apart that fast!

Boy, was I wrong!

Pumas are the new Cassandras.  Our warnings, unheeded, demonized, and marginalized, are now the stuff of MSM op ed pieces.  I’d like to point you to a few that are searing Obama with legitimate criticisms.   I would think they came from one of the edgier Puma sites but they don’t.  One is from CNN. The other from the UK’s Prospect.  I also have two from the NY Times.  These comments are simply alarming.

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Astronauts for a Flat Earth vs. The Barbarian Hordes

barbariansburnbuildingThere are many things I’ve read in history that show how an unruly mob can change the direction of things.  The blogosphere is watching an unruly mob in action right now as Wonkette is trying to stack the WebBlog awards against all things PUMA.  I’ve started reading some of the threads coming in to The Confluence (example: here) and there’s a sense among some of the other folks in the other categories that they are the innocent victims of an unruly mob.  I’m sure that’s how the other Hun tribes felt when Attila assimilated them.

All you have to do is take a look back at the entire dark ages and the crusades and get a pretty good answer as to how this type of thing gets its start .  It basically starts with some ‘character’ who may or may not exist who gets an incredible amount of buzz placed around them that is clearly not based in history or fact or anything.   Thus, a mythical hero is born.  Some one to rape and pillage for … some one to use to justify an attack on other tribes, other religions, any other. It just builds and builds until you get a Spanish Inquisition or something similar.  

The King Arthur legends come to mind also.  A tribal king who may or may not exist turns into the great fictional hero just because tons of unruly mobs need some kind of  legend to mob around.  All kinds of morality plays develop to show that our legendary hero is just that mythical, legendary, and grounded more in a game of rumor than history and reality.  I know I just gave some examples of things way back when.  Why would I think that in an age of  ‘information’ we could possibly see the same kind of history repeat itself?

While many of the blogs are now upset that they’ve been caught up in the raping and pillaging which was no fault of their own, they too, now have been caught up in the creating the legends that turn the truth into a nice mythical legend that gets WAY out of hand.  In my first case, about 2000 years way out of hand.

MYTH NUMBER ONE:  It’s all about Hillary losing.  PUMAs just won’t get over it.  They are like Astronauts for a Flat Earth or WW2 Japanese Soldiers trapped up in the Hills refusing to believe the Emperor gave in.

While Hillary Clinton eventually wound up to be the candidate of choice for me, one year ago I had no preference.  What really drove me to the PUMA realization wasn’t Hillary loosing, it was HOW she lost or rather HOW the DNC went around constructing an OBAMA win.   If anything PUMA is about holding the DNC accountable for cheating that occurred in caucuses, how the distributions of delegates was determined, how lopsided the punishment of Florida and Michigan was compared to other states that moved their primaries up also against DNC ‘rules’, and the railroading of the democratic convention process.  If you think all of this is just one big conspiracy theory on the part of PUMAS either do some research or take up residency in the bat cave with Cheney.  I’m not certain he’s turning that over to Biden even though I know the Obama administration will want to lock him up there eventually. So that’s it, it’s not about HILLARY losing it’s about HOW Obama  “won”.  Yes, the “win”  (sic) is in quotes.

MYTH NUMBER TWO:  All Pumas are conspiracy theorists.  In every population there’s the average and there’s the extremes and outliers.  Yes, you can find the folks that went searching for that Holy Whitey Tape and the Kenyan Birth certificate, but the majority of the PUMA sites (especially The Confluence)  never jumped on to the wingnut stories. Again, I’ll go back to the basic reason PUMAs exist and that is how positively fucked up the primaries and caucuses were and how they were completely mishandled by the DNC and the DRC.

MYTH NUMBER THREE:  ALL Pumas are Racists and just can’t deal with the idea of a Black Man being president.  I’ll again point to the Bell Curve.  Of course there are Pumas that are racists but the majority are not.  The problems that PUMAs have with Obama has to do with his extremely small level of accomplishments and his overblown and now mythic intelligence and academic records (which by the way, the public has never seen).  It’s been debunked that he was the first black on the Harvard Review by Harvard themselves although mysteriously in Obama’s senate site there was a resume that said that he was.  It was  sitting there for the two years he pretended to be the Senator from Illinois.  The man has never been in an election where extremely weird things haven’t happened–like getting all your opponents thrown out on technicalities, having sealed divorce records of your opponents magically show up in public, or having the delegates to your caucuses in places like Texas leave the process with tons of forms in their arms.  I’ve looked and as far as I can tell, the man has never even had a full time job.  There are PUMAs of color. It’s not his skin color.  It’s his Chicago political career and his appalling lack of experience. For me it was, oh no, not another person who got into Harvard as a legacy.  I’m frankly tired of legacy Ivy Leaguers.  The hardest thing about the Ivy Leagues is getting in there if you’re anything but a legacy.  Getting out is nearly guaranteed.  Think DUBYA.

MYTH NUMBER FOUR:  PUMAS are bitter old white women who find sexism everywhere.  Considering the number of times during 2008 racism was found EVERYWHERE,  I just gasp at the total lack of awareness on the part of people on the obvious sexism.   If some one stood up  in a room and asked Obama if he’d shine their shoes, that would be such obvious racism that I doubt the KKK would rise to debate.  If every where he went there were folks wearing t-shirts with the N word emblazoned across them, there would have been riots.  If effigies of Obama hanging from trees on Halloween or  Little Black Sambo dolls were being manufactured with his face on them, the outrage from every where would have been swift and justified.  These things happened to the two women candidates in the white house races using language from sexist instead of racist tomes.  The outrage was nonexistent.

Side myth to this:  ALL Pumas are uneducated.  Just having spent time on any of the PUMA sites, I have to say this is really not true.  If anything, especially at the Confluence, there are a large number of PUMAS with advanced educations.  Not that this really matters because having worked for universities for years I can attest that there are some miserably stupid people out there with Phds.  I really get tired of the elitist meme.  Believe me, some times I really wish I was kat the plumber instead of kat the economist.  Last week would have been a perfect time for that in my house.

MYTH NUMBER FIVE:  PUMAS voted enthusiastically for Mcain and Palin, were basically Republicans all along and were just spoilers.   All you have to do is go back to The Confluence’s voting strategy series to see that there were very few PUMAS that fell into the enthusiastic Republican voters categories.  Yes, there were folks who eventually decided they felt more at home as Republicans.  Many decided to re-register independent.  But most of the PUMAS I’ve met are still your basic democrat with no party home any more because they feel the party has abandoned its root principles including, most importantly the ONE man ONE vote principle.  Most PUMAs I know disagreed with everything Sarah except for the fact that as a sitting governor, she didn’t deserve to be treated like a bimbo.

Now you can continue to rewrite history out there in the blogosphere, much like Constantine the high priest of the Sun God decided to invent Christianity, create the Jesus myth, and control slaves, women, pagans, children, barbarians and other Roman property or you can sit back and use the Internet to find the facts.  This is after all, the information age or have  you decided to ignore science and just restart the Spanish inquisition?


and Time’s #8 Buzzword of the year 2008 is …

Top 10 Buzzwords

8. PUMA

By John Cloud


Louise Ma
An acronym for “party unity my ass,” this term was the rallying cry of Clinton supporters who backed her candidacy even after many party leaders called for consensus around Obama in order to ensure a unified Democratic front going into the general election. As Barrett of doubletongued.org points out, PUMAs hoped to bring the Clinton-Obama fight “to a head-to-head smackdown vote at the [Democratic] convention.” Instead, Clinton threw her support to Obama well before the convention. This word, which disproportionately described female voters, recalls TIME’s 2007 buzzword of the year: cougar, i.e., an older woman seeking younger men.