Nel's New Day

August 9, 2018

Stereotyping Republicans

Conservatives are fond of using one person as a “poster child” of everything wrong with laws and policies that they hate. The anecdotal myth of the “welfare queen” came from one person who supposedly saw food stamps used to purchase lobster. In her rant against “illegals” on her show, Laura Ingraham played a clip from “Travis from Nevada” who reported that her brother was hit and killed on his bicycle by an “illegal alien” who was “doing 60 miles an hour on a side street.” Ingraham responded with appropriate shock and said, “I didn’t see any news coverage of this story and track all of these stories.” When the caller said the news did not cover the story, Ingraham agreed. “He’s right,” she said.” She then played a clip from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

“The media doesn’t talk about the American families permanently separated from their loved ones because Democrat policies release violent criminals into our communities.”

Like DDT, Ingraham uses this report to push her ideology that all undocumented immigrants are horrifying, vile people who must be ejected from the United States. The man driving the car was drunk, but Ingraham said nothing  about the problem of drunk drivers. She needed Travis’s claim about the man to support her narrow position.

In accord with this system of vilifying a large group of people by using one example, I choose Steve West, GOP primary winner for the Clay County seat in the Missouri House by almost 25 points, as an example of all Republicans. Hosting a show on KCXL, he raves about “Jewish cabals” that he says are “harvesting baby parts” through Planned Parenthood and other wacko conspiracy theories. On his YouTube channel, he wears a wig and fake beard to become “Jack Justice.” Front-page articles on West’s website include “The Coming Battle with Islam,” and his links to archives of his radio show promote anti-Semitism, anti-vaxxing, the “assassination” of Antonin Scalia, and pedophilia in liberal circles.

“Looking back in history, unfortunately, Hitler was right about what was taking place in Germany. And who was behind it,” West said on his January 23, 2017 show. Asked about this statement, he first denied it and then claimed it had been taken out of context. West stated that he believes all men are created equal, but not all ideologies are equal. He specifically criticized Islam and Judaism, accusing Islam of trying to create an autocratic theocracy in the U.S. West wants Islam stripped of all benefits and rights given religion by the law and the U.S. Constitution.

More of West’s quotes:

“Islam is a problem for America. … It is a political movement masquerading as religion and should not receive the benefits we provide religious institutions as well as access to our prisons.”

“Many parents and students don’t want to have to deal with alternative sex ed, and the LGBT clubs and staff at all the public high schools today.”

The Missouri Republican Party has disavowed connection with West, but he got 1,485 votes, almost as many as the three runner-ups combined. West refused to be interviewed by the Kansas City Star, but he did explain that “Jews today are a remnant of the tribe of Judah that rejected Christ.” Asked about Jewish people in Missouri, West said, “Well, maybe they shouldn’t vote for me.”

West’s platform can be found on his election website.

If just one person isn’t enough to prove an anecdotal perspective on Republicans, I’ve provided a few more examples of GOP candidates on this year’s ballots:

Arthur “Art” Jones, U.S. representative—Illinois: White supremacist, Holocaust denier, founding member with his wife of the neo-Nazi America First Committee.

John Fitzgerald, U.S. representative—California: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist, defender of Holocaust deniers, anti-Israel, believer in chem trails poisoning people and FEMA internment camps for U.S. citizens, supporter of falsehood that Planned Parenthood is working in concert with the United Nations to “sexualize” the nation’s public school children.

Joe Arpaio, U.S. Senate—Arizona: convicted of criminal contempt, refused to investigate child abuse while county sheriff, operator of brutal detention camps for undocumented immigrants, interviewed with white supremacist Holocaust denier, birther.

Paul Nehlen, U.S. House of Representatives—Wisconsin: white supremacist, anti-Semite, candidate for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district.

Corey Stewart, U.S. Senate—Virginia): Admirer of Paul Nehlen (above) for anti-Semitic and white supremacist positions and of Ian MacDonald, supporter of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell.

Seth Grossman, U.S. House of Representatives—New Jersey: White Supremacists with these quotes: “Diversity leads to Muslims killing Christians,” and “Kwanzaa is a fake holiday made by black racists to divide America.” Other positions: faithful Muslims cannot be good Americans; Islam is a cancer; and gay men with HIV should have been quarantined in the 1980s. [His local GOP chairman said, “The man doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”

Russell Walker, North Carolina State House of Representatives: There is “no such thing as equality” because of the “superiority” of white people. Jews are descendants of Satan.

Bryan Feste, Hawaii State House of Representatives: Expelled by the GOP, Feste stays on the ballot after his racist language.

To “prove” with anecdotal evidence that all Republicans are non-patriotic Communist supporters, I provide this photograph of DDT’s rally audience.

[Note: Rationally, I believe that one or a few crazies cannot be used to tar an entire group. Now I would ask that conservatives espouse a rational perspective and look at statistics rather than using a few people to denigrate everyone who fails to fit their ideal sense of humanity.]

September 20, 2016

Kaepernick Starts New Movement, Creates Dialog about Entitlement

I hate writing headlines. Long ago, as a journalism teacher, I learned that they needed verbs and should never use a form of the verb “to be.” But how to encapsulate almost 1,500 words into fewer than ten–almost impossible for me. This blog is about racism, sexism, peaceful protest, white entitlement, a new movement–and more. Here goes!

Colin Kaepernick has started a movement. In only three weeks since the San Francisco 49ers quarterback sat during the playing of the national anthem before a football game, professional athletes have been joined by athletes in colleges, high schools, and youth leagues throughout the nation to protest against the injustice for people of color and LGBT people in the United States. Instead of remaining seated, however, protesters are kneeling to show respect for the anthem and military while drawing attention to racial inequality and police brutality. The photo below is of Kaepernick and Eric Reid before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte (NC).

colin-kaepernick

The most recent protest came from four players on the Philadelphia Eagles who raised their fists during the anthem after Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man with raised hands, was shot and killed by Tulsa (OK) police officers. At least 15 black men have been killed by police since Kaepernick began his protest on August 26.

Death threats have been sent to youth as young as 11 years old, and professional players have lost endorsements. Ohio’s high school athlete, Rodney Axson, decided to join the protest after he heard his teammates refer to players on the opposing team with the “n-word.” Since then, he has been the brunt of this term as well as a message that reads “Lets Lynch Ni—gers.” The school now plays the anthem while the team remains in the locker room. The same thing happened after lesbian Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign’s professional soccer star, knelt during the national anthem.

Lincoln (NE) Southeast High School student Sterling Smith explained his kneeling:

“I’ve learned that walking in the ‘wrong neighborhood’ past 10:00 o’clock wearing colored skin can get you questioned by the police because you clearly have ulterior motives. I’ve learned that blatant racism is only humor and that I need to ‘not take it so seriously.’ I’ve learned that going to a store will get you followed by employees because obviously your intentions are to steal.”

Donald Trump led the hatred toward a man who conservatives call “unpatriotic,” and NFL executives have unleashed their anger, one of them going as far as to call him a “traitor.” The flag is sacred to these people while women are disposable as shown by Darren Sharper’s nomination to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Less a month ago, he was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison as a serial rapist after pleading guilty in May 2015 for drugging and raping women in four different states as well as pleading guilty or no contest to rape or attempted rape charges involving nine women. Sharper also has other pending cases, including those in state courts. Asked about the nomination, a Hall of Fame said that it’s not about “character.” And Sharper always stood for the national anthem.

David Brooks’ column criticizing athletes for kneeling in protest goes beyond absurd as he revises history to persuade athletes to stand instead of kneel. He describes America’s “civil religion” in 1776 being based on the “moral premise—that all men are created equal.” The omission of women is correct because women still aren’t equal, but the only “equal” men in 1776 were the white landowners. Blacks were considered three-fifths of the other white men as determined in the U.S. Constitution and white men who didn’t own property couldn’t vote. An attempted justification for the clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787) explains that only enslaved blacks were three-fifths of white people, but this clause remained in the U.S. Constitution until the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments passed almost 100 years later after the Civil War.

Brooks continues his history piece by explaining that this “promised land” is “a place where your family or country of origin would have no bearing on your opportunities.” The entitled white man producing this elegant rhetoric couldn’t be more wrong, and the facts are the reason behind the protests. Yet Brooks attempts to educate protesters that their belief comes from colleges’ not requiring U.S. history—the same high school class that has been co-opted by revisionist historians who want to conceal any bigotry or genocide in our “promised land.”

Another criticism from Brooks is that the number of people in the U.S. who feel “extremely proud” of the nation has fallen since 2003. That was the year of George W. Bush’s preemptive war on Iraq and the acceleration to move the country’s assets from the poor and middle-class workers to the wealthy coupon-clippers. One issue in which he might be right is that “we have a crisis of solidarity.” Unlike Brooks’ impression that the “solidarity” can come from standing instead of kneeling during the national anthem, however, it could come from a cultural shift away from Brooks white entitlement encouraged by Donald Trump’s support of white supremacy.

Missing from Brooks’ pap is that the protest comes from the verse of the anthem that “celebrates the killing of freed slaves who fought against a U.S. government that had kept them in bondage,” as journalist Adam Johnson wrote. Johnson also pointed out that the NFL started the standing for the national anthem in 2009 as the NFL got much more money from the Defense Department instead of being “passed down generation after generation,” as Brooks claims in his column.

Jim Aloisi wrote this statement—and much more—about David Brooks’ column:

“We don’t need the salve of fiction or myth to bring us together as Americans. What we need is a good dose of honesty about our past and our present, an honest conversation leavened and facilitated by civility. The last thing we need is repression of deeply felt emotions that lead to the kind of silent statements being made on sports fields across the nation. If Americans stand in solidarity for anything, it ought to be respect for the exercise of free speech and expression. In this instance, respect for the exercise of that freedom ought to be joined by a candid respect for our history, and a frank acknowledgment of conditions that today still cause many of our citizens to be treated unequally. If we get that right, solidarity will follow.”

Other white conservatives also trash Kaepernick. Columnist Jonah Goldberg thinks that politics has no place in sports. Wayne Newton said that Kaepernick should “get the hell out” if he doesn’t like racism. Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh, and others claim that Kaepernick’s wealth takes away his right to protest racism. People angry about street violence in protest to racial inequality also oppose peaceful protests.

Some treat the protest as an isolated event in sports, but Leonard Pitts wrote about Jackie Robinson long ago writing, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.” As Pitts wrote, protest in the United States “is an act of faith, an expression of the belief that a country founded on that great, self-evident truth can do—and be—better.”

The biggest accusation toward Kaepernick is that he is “un-American” for his actions—always a device to shut people up. (Think of Sen. Joe McCarthy’s committee on “Un-American Activities.”) Calling Kaepernick “a noble and courageous man,” Harry Belafonte said:

“To mute the slave has always been to the best interests of the slave owner … When a black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.”

The day after Kaepernick made his first statement about his protest, a black GI started #VeteransForKaepernick to answer complaints about the football player’s disrespect of veterans and soldiers. Answers showed their discontent with U.S. actions—police brutality toward black GIs, lack of treatment for those who return home with physical and mental trauma, homeless, lack of jobs, suicide, etc.

Women who want to protest the nomination of Darren Sharper to the Hall of Fame can sign this petition to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell.

February 21, 2015

Will Giuliani Bring Down Scott Walker?

Filed under: Elections — trp2011 @ 7:13 PM
Tags: , , , ,

“I know this is a horrible thing to say . . . ” That’s how former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani prefaced his announcement to about 60 right-wing people from business and the media at a private dinner honoring Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor, that the president “doesn’t love” America. Giuliani added, “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Caught “punting” about his belief—or non-belief—in evolution earlier on a panel in England, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stuck with the indecisive approach, saying that he doesn’t know whether President Obama loves America. Giuliani promised to endorse Walker if he can express that [we’re the most exceptional country in the world], do that and carry it out.” If not, Giuliani will “support somebody else.”

Some presidential wannabes are standing in line to get Giuliani’s support. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Obama “an apologist for radical Islamic terrorists,” and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal claimed that “the gist” of Giuliani’s remarks was true.

On the other side, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that he had “no doubt” that Obama loves America although “his policies are bad for our nation,” and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) followed suit. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) doesn’t “question [the president’s] patriotism or love for our country.”

Forced to defend his statement after the ensuing firestorm, Giuliani said:

“Well first of all, I’m not questioning his patriotism. He’s a patriot, I’m sure. What I’m saying is, in his rhetoric, I very rarely hear the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things that I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America.”

Giuliani followed that up by saying, “You can be a patriotic American and be a critic, but then you’re not expressing that kind of love we’re used to from a president.”

Last year the former mayor blamed the president’s “propaganda” saying it told everyone to “hate the police” for the deaths of two New York police officers. More recently, Giuliani said about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “That is a patriot, that’s a man who loves his people, that’s a man who protects his people, that’s a man who fights for his people, unlike our President.”

After Giuliani’s “horrible thing to say,” he couldn’t quit talking. “President Obama didn’t live through September 11. I did,” he insisted. Then he claimed that he shouldn’t be considered racist because the president was raised by “a white mother.” He accused the president of “anti-colonialism,” which would make Giuliani pro-colonialism. Finally he devolved into daring reporters to find examples of the president expressing love for his country. (USA Today found many of these examples, including the president’s most recent State of the Union speech.)

People like Giuliani forget that when they make inflammatory statements others will report on the speaker’s background. An example is this op-ed from Giuliani’s own biographer (Rudy: An Investigative Biography).  After an overview of Giuliani’s personal peccadilloes, he wrote about Giuliani’s half-dozen deferments to avoid fighting in the Vietnam War, his police commissioner who went to prison, and his father who served in Sing Sing for holding up a Harlem milkman and being a mob enforcer for the loan-sharking operation run out of his uncle’s Brooklyn bar. Giuliani is probably right when he says that the president “wasn’t brought up the way … I was brought up.”

The fallout from Giuliani’s comment may land squarely on Walker instead of the former mayor, who isn’t running for anything. As Dana Milbanks said in a Washington Post opinion piece, “What Rudy Giuliani did this week was stupid. What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender.” Milbanks was right about the stupidity: Giuliani wasn’t scheduled to speak at the dinner and didn’t know that any members of the press were there.

Milbanks described Walker as “spineless” for not refusing the “beyond-the-pale rhetoric.” During President Obama’s first campaign, John McCain shut down hateful supporters who were screaming that President Obama is a “terrorist” and an “Arab.” With Walker’s action, “the venom is being sanctioned, even seconded, by those who would lead the Republican Party.”

Walker can’t even answer a simple question about whether he believes in evolution. His response? “That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another, so I’m going to leave that up to you.”

As governor, Walker has revealed an auspicious lack of leadership. His tax cuts have caused the state a $283 million deficit which must be taken care of by mid year and a projected deficit of $2 billion for the two years following July 2015. His solution for the current deficit is to put off paying $108 million in debt due in May so that he won’t look so bad in the current fiscal year. The debt will only increase next year’s deficit, but by then Walker hopes to be on the national stage.

Walker also wants to borrow $1.3 billion funding over the next biennium for transportation needs, money that he could have gotten from accepting Medicaid expansion and not providing tax breaks to those who didn’t need it.  He had attended the private dinner with Giuliani to explain how he can do for the nation what he has done for Wisconsin. His ideas don’t bode well for the U.S. economy.

Senor establishment Republicans are displeased with Walker, saying that he is still not sure-footed on the national stage. Scott Reed, the top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and campaign manager for Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election, said:

“One of the challenges of running for president is how you handle events where you’re introduced and the news from the introduction overtakes your campaign message of the day. And how you handle those curveballs says a lot about your candidacy.”

Dan Senor, a prominent Republican adviser on a range of issues, said:

“There is a simple response: ‘I don’t challenge President Obama’s love for America; I challenge his agenda for America.’ Period. And then move off it. The last thing we want is to be drawn into a psychoanalytical debate about what is in the president’s heart.”

Leading GOP strategists know that Guiliani’s accusations aren’t successful because Mitt Romney used them in his losing 2012 campaign against President Obama. At a campaign event, Romney said, “Our president doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do. And I think over the last three or four years, some people around the world have begun to question that.”

Walker made things worse today by saying that he doesn’t know if the president is a Christian, that he had never read anything about whether he is. For damage control, his spokeswoman Jocelyn telephoned the Washington Post after the interview was concluded to say that Walker knows that the president is a Christian. She claimed that the governor was making a point of principle by refusing to answer the question.

Thanks to Giuliani, the campaign smearing leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign is in full swing, and Scott Walker, beloved by the Koch brothers, may be collateral damage. His campaign message is that as a representative of “fresh leadership,” he has “big, bold ideas and the courage to act on it.” There has been nothing bold or courageous about Walker on the world stage.

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