Nel's New Day

August 10, 2012

U.S. Still Not ‘Post-Racial’

Previous elections have had one-day stories—here for a few hours and then gone. This year is different. Stories stick around. One example is Mitt Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns. Perhaps this might have been because people now are getting more news from the Internet that keeps the issues at the forefront. For whatever reason, the stories that pervade the Internet these days frequently depict the prevalence of racism.

The election of Barack Obama to the office of president created the myth that the United States had entered a post-racial era. Instead, racism has become more and more widespread. For example, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), commonly known as the deadbeat dad because he owed more than $100,000 in child support, is calling on the Tea Party to pat the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, on the head and call him “son.” (Walsh is also known for attacking the service of his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, for her value as a veteran; Duckworth is well known as a helicopter who lost both legs and damaged an arm when her UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.)

Andrew McCarthy renewed another story that won’t go away when he gave a speech at the National Press Club supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) horrific charges that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He went further than Bachmann, saying that she “actually understated the case” because “Ms. Abedin had a very lengthy affiliation with an institute founded by a top figure at the nexus between Saudi terror funding, Brotherhood ideology, and al-Qaeda’s jihad against the United States.”

McCarthy claimed that one connection came from Abedin’s exerting influence over Clinton by having her appear at a college that Abedin’s mother had founded in Egypt, the same school where George W. Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes spoke. Mother Jones reporter Adam Serwer asked McCarthy how the president supported sharia law when he also support marriage equality. And what about his position that the president killed Osama bin Laden because

“the Islamists [Obama] wants to engage have decided al-Qaeda is expendable” and counter to their peaceful takeover of American institutions.

McCarthy responded, “I’m a whack job, I guess.” But he keeps promoting whack ideas so that other whack jobs can follow him.

And Bachmann isn’t alone in her whack job attitude: her letters calling for an investigation about the Muslim Brotherhood’s “deep penetration” in the U.S. government were also signed by Trent Franks (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA).

Even anti-President Obama religious leaders condemned these far-fetched claims. One of 42 organizations signing a letter of protest to these letters is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which has opposed many of the president’s policies.

Gohmert called his critics “numb nuts.” One of the “numb nuts” is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who has seemingly returned to sanity after his campaigns for president (2008) and senator (2010). On the floor of the Senate, he said, “These allegations about Huma Abedin, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public servant.”

Wes Harris, the founder and chairman of the Original North Phoenix Tea Party, ranted against McCain and promised a recall. Harris’ blog piece against the senator ended with what sounded like a threat: “Go to hell, Senator, it’s time for you to take your final dirt nap.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) demanded “credible, substantial evidence” from Bachmann to back up her accusations. In response, he received a letter he described as “16 pages worth of repeated false allegations. Just regurgitated nonsense.” In the letter, Bachmann did omit one of prime sources, Frank Gaffney, so far right that even the far-right organizations have refused to allow him to attend their meetings. He is the source for Rep. Allen West’s (R-FL) claim that the House is sheltering 80 communists among the Democrats. On Gaffney’s radio show, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) endorsed Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) paranoia. Bachmann is a member of this committee.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) defended Bachmann in her Islamophobic quest. In a CBS interview with Charlie Rose, Cantor stated that her accusations came from her “concern about the security of the country.” Romney’s campaign advisor John Bolton joined Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in saying that there was nothing wrong with Bachmann’s investigation.

Bachmann’s website has posted this statement: “The letters my colleagues and I sent on June 13 to the Inspectors General of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Department of State – and the follow up letter I wrote to Rep. Ellison on July 13 – are unfortunately being distorted.”

One serious effect of Bachmann’s stupidity was the protesting against Secretary of State Clinton in Alexandria last month. Bachmann’s lies  led Egyptians to believe that the country’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, was pushed on them through a U.S. plot. One of them explained to journalists “that the Obama Administration is pursuing a closeted pro-Muslim agenda.” A Egyptian blogger used information from Gaffney’s radio show as evidence that the U.S. has a strong connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

After Japan won the 2011 Women’s Soccer World Cup by defeating the United States, U.S. fans flooded social media sites with racist comments about “Japs” and “Pearl Harbor.” The situation was no better this year when the U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 when U.S. fans  gloated about payback, comparing the defeat to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs (MS) refused to marry church members Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson because they are black. No black wedding is permitted at the church. The Southern Baptist Convention still supports slavery.

The killing of six Sikhs in Wisconsin last week is the culmination of over 1000 cases of random violence, killings, vandalism, bullying, beatings and intimidation against the Sikh community since 9/11.

The current Republican presidential nominee told the world in a speech that people in Israel are better off because the Palestinians are a “different” (aka lower) culture than the Israelites, in the same way that people in the United States are more productive than the people in Mexico because of U.S. “culture.”

Google “U.S. racism,” and you get almost 5,000,000 hits—from just the last month. This country is nowhere near “post-racial”!

Everyone in the country should heed McCain’s statement about Bachmann’s actions: “When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

June 1, 2012

‘Hurl Some Acid,’ Says Conservative

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:41 PM
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As hate speech ratchets up around the country, the worst is directed toward women and ethnic groups. Jay Townsend, spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) has gone far over the edge in a Facebook post, starting out with snarky comments to a constituent critical of Hayworth in a question about gas prices.  He ended up saying: “My question today… when is Tommy boy [the constituent] going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.”

Townsend’s reference was to the gender difference in the salaries of staffers employed by U.S. senators with Patty Murray (D-WA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) among the worst offenders. But throw acid into the senators’ faces?! Really?!

The Facebook page, NY19 U.S. House of Representatives Discussion Center, states that it encourages “civil multi-partisan discussion about issues impacting citizens of New York’s U.S. House District represented by Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.” But “hurl some acid”?! Not civil!

A response from Annie-Rose Strasser to Townsend’s virulent ranting eloquently sums up the issue: “Acid attacks are particularly brutal, aimed almost solely at women, with the intent to maim and disfigure. I couldn’t imagine a worse piece of invective from someone who puts the Republican war on women in quotes.”

It’s not as if Townsend is a beginner. His autobiography claims he has “worked in more than 300 different campaigns in more than 25 different states” over the last three decades. Townsend also self-describes himself as “an adept wordsmith.”

A petition asking Hayworth to fire Townsend is circulating on the Internet.

Jay Townsend is not alone in his stupidity. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who gained fame as the “deadbeat dad” who didn’t pay over $100,000 in child support for years, has taken on Hispanics and blacks. In his argument that Democrats want all these people dependent on the government, he said that civil rights activist Jesse Jackson “would be out of work if [African Americans] weren’t dependent on government.”

In April, Walsh said that Obama was elected because he’s black. About his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, he said, “She’s been the one working in Washington. She’s a bureaucrat.” Duckworth, now assistant secretary of veterans affairs, lost both of her legs and part of her right arm in 2004 after her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. Walsh describes her as “female, wounded veteran … ehhh … nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat.”

The LGBTQ community has experienced more open hate recently than in the past few years. A North Carolina pastor wanted to pen up all the gays and lesbians so that they couldn’t procreate, and a Seneca (KS) pastor recommended just killing all the gays and lesbians. An Indiana fundamentalist pastor cheered on a 6-year-old as the child sang, “Ain’t no homo gonna make it into heaven.”

As the election year moves on, events like these have become more and more extreme accompanied by crazy controlling laws from highly conservative state legislatures. According to some, these people do not take facts into consideration when they create their fantasies. As a result, they are unable to argue rationally or civilly, behaving like victims whenever anyone disagrees with them. Consider Mitt Romney who accuses President Obama of all Romney’s personal defects and misguided actions.

These conservatives also don’t like change. Think about Romney’s position of going backward. It’s impossible to keep change from happening, but the more that conservatives see change coming toward them, the more frightened they become and the more resistant they are. This resistance escalates, and they become like cornered animals, fighting tooth and nail toward anything. Eventually they must succumb to progress but not without great consequence to both themselves and the tide moving toward them.

The other position comes from the theory of the tipping point. People will only put up with only so much before the dominoes fall over, and we move in another direction. Just one tiny thing will cause this reaction, just one small “tipping point.” When it comes, we won’t know.

Now we’ll just wait to see if Jay Townsend gets fired for his outrageous statements.

November 12, 2011

Conservatives Continue War on Women

What do conservatives have against women? I don’t know, but I do know how they oppose considering us as equal human beings. Let’s start with Herman Cain. He seems determined to protect himself against allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse while blaming everyone else—the liberal media, Rick Perry (who blamed Mitt Romney), the Democratic machine, some mythical network, the women themselves, … Who’s next?! Some of these aren’t even allegations: the National Restaurant Association settled the statements against its CEO, Cain, thus admitting the accusations.

Cain always declares that he’s joking when he’s being offensive, for example, his comment at a campaign stop in Kalamazoo (MI). When someone mentioned Anita Hill, the woman who was pilloried for accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, to Cain, he responded, “Is she going to endorse me?” Not a horrible statement but certainly not appropriate, especially in light of statements from different women against Cain during the last two weeks. And an indication that he doesn’t believe in fair treatment of women.

As always, Rush Limbaugh manages to be the most offensive media representative. Consider his unbelievable statements about the women who have spoken out against Cain, for example slurping when he pronounced Sharon Bialek’s last name and repeating “buy-a-lick.” Limbaugh’s not alone in his offensiveness, however. On Fox News, Dick Morris asked when a Playboy spread would come. New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser was openly unprofessional, accusing Bialek of having “flirted like a tart” with Cain and declaring that “the gold rush is on” despite no evidence of her receiving money for coming forward. The Cain campaign trashed Bialek’s financial history, claiming that this proves that she’s lying.

Karen Kraushaar, the woman who was awarded money in her settlement after Cain’s sexual harassment, was treated in an equally shameful fashion. A pro-Cain website declared her an “ugly bitch,” and she has been criticized for having filed another, unrelated workplace complaint years later. When she asked for a joint press conference with other accusers, Limbaugh dived in again with his question, “Do they want to synchronize their menstrual periods? Why appear together?” He has a solution for women who are sexually harassed or abused: “You women, why don’t you just make it official and put on a burka and nobody will touch ya.”

Twenty years ago, Thomas declared himself the victim of media smears, and Cain is following his script. Yet the women end up suffering for coming forward, as shown two decades ago in the cruelly false responses to Hill’s openness about Thomas’ transgressions. Cain’s attorney, Lin Wood, knows that all he has to do to win his case is to spread slime over any woman who complains about Cain’s actions because most women cannot cope with this disgusting treatment.

Yet conservatives, supposedly the defenders of the country’s moral values, approve of Cain no matter what he might have done. Judson Phillips, perhaps one of the most extreme Tea Party leaders, writes: “Let’s assume for the moment, all of the allegations are true. Let’s assume for the moment Herman Cain, back well over a decade ago, made some inappropriate comments to some women who were coworkers and let’s say just for the sake of argument that he even propositioned one of those women as the New York Times claims. Does that affect my favorable attitude towards Herman Cain? No, it does not.”

Another example of the conservatives’ war on women comes from the far-right Family Research Council. Its pro-family 100% “True Blue” rating award went this year to Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), sometimes called “the deadbeat dad.” His consistent votes “to defend faith, family and freedom” have an inverse relationship with his personal actions. Walsh failed his first family by refusing to pay child support—over $100,000 as of last summer—and his second wife by rejecting the Congressional health insurance plan, despite her on-going bad health issues. Recently, a judge rebuked Walsh for his failure to even show up at a court hearing about the missing child support payments.

Despite the promise from the House of Representatives to find jobs for people and grow the economy, the conservatives there are spending their time—after protecting “In God We Trust”–ratcheting up its war on women. After Mississippi (one of the most conservative states in the union) failed to pass the infamous “personhood” initiative, a gaggle of Republican lawmakers introduced three separate bills extending “personhood” rights to fertilized eggs.

Sixty-three House Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) signed onto Rep. Paul Broun’s (R-GA) “Sanctity of Human Life Act,” which uses the Mississippi personhood language. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) cosponsored Rep. Duncan Hunter’s (R-CA) personhood bill, which would allow “the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.” Note that the Bachmann/Hunter bill doesn’t “require” prosecution,” which perhaps was the reason it has even more supporters, 91 to be specific.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) plans to introduce a bill again identical to the Mississippi personhood bill that would have amended the state’s Constitution so that “the term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”  If any similar bill ever passes, one wonders if its passage would affect such laws as the number of “people” (including fertilized eggs) who could be in an elevator or on a bus at one time.

It is encouraging to note that Cain has lost support among women, down to 15 percent, since late October when he had 28 percent of their support. Conservatives are also bailing out, from 30 percent to 23 percent, and Tea Partiers have gone from 32 percent to 19 percent. Meanwhile as Cain’s support shrinks, Newt Gingrich’s support is growing. His multiple marriages and reasons for divorce illustrate his personal war on women.

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