Pat Buchanan Blames Blacks and Hispanics For America’s Education Woes

Dec 29 2010 Published by under Featured News

In a 2009 study of students in developing and developed countries, the United States ranked lower than most countries in educational performance regardless that we spend more per pupil than any other country except Luxembourg. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “This is an absolute wake-up call for America,” and that, “We have to face the brutal truth. We have to get much more serious about investment in education.” It is true that America invests heavily in education, but there are factors that are not directly related to funding, and certainly not related to race.

However, without doing any research, Pat Buchanan cited a racist who claims that the statistics of the Paris-based OECDs Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests in reading, math and science skills of 15-year-olds in over 30 countries suggest that America’s low standing is because of the diminished learning ability of Hispanic and Black students. In other words, Buchanan believes that Black and Hispanic students have lower IQs than white and Asian students and are responsible for the decline in performance on standardized tests.

American students ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math; China ranked highest in the PISA tests. Buchanan cited Robert Weissberg’s assessment that the reason America ranks so low is because Hispanic and Black students do not have the intelligence to learn and are a drag on the educational system.

Weissberg’s claims are unfounded and nothing more than racist views that without Hispanic and Black students, America’s white students would score on par with any other country in the world. Weissberg writes:

America’s educational woes reflect our demographic mix of students. Today’s schools are filled with millions of youngsters, many of whom are Hispanic immigrants struggling with English plus millions of others of mediocre intellectual ability disdaining academic achievement.” He continues his racist rhetoric when he says, “To be grossly politically incorrect, most of America’s educational woes vanish if these indifferent, troublesome students left when they had absorbed as much as they were going to learn and were replaced by learning-hungry students.”

Weissberg’s comments may sound convincing to white Americans who are looking for reasons to disparage minorities *and immigrants, but he is speaking from a point of view that contradicts studies that say school success depends on one factor unrelated to race or any other demographic. Interestingly, Weissberg’s contention that 80% of a school’s success is dependent on two factors: the cognitive ability of the student and the disposition they bring to the classroom – is partially correct according to the Harvard Family Research Project.

The 2005 Harvard study cites family involvement as the overriding factor in a student’s success, and their continuing research has confirmed their findings in a 2009 study. The Harvard study’s results say that if families value education and reinforce the importance of learning at home, students excel in school and standardized tests. The results show that success is assured across all demographics regardless of low-performing schools or inadequately trained teachers. In short, performance has nothing to do with a student’s race or contrived cognitive ability.

Buchanan’s reference to VDARE, a White Nationalist group that bemoans the “darkening of America” shows his overtly racist bent, and is meant to play to the anti-immigrant crowd looking for any reason to rail against Hispanics and Blacks. In citing VDARE and Weissberg, Buchanan’s commentary points out that African and Latin American countries are the lowest scoring nations on the PISA tests and that immigrants from those countries continue to be cognitively challenged in the American educational system. Buchanan cites Weissberg’s claims that white students in America score as well as their counterparts in Europe, and that there is a serious disparity between white students and students of color.

It is nothing new that many people in America still cling to the notion that racial minorities are cognitively challenged and inferior to the white race. Racism is a vile disease that reared its ugly head with the election of Barack Obama, and one just needs to look at the makeup and rise of militia groups and the Tea Party to understand that America is filled with racists and there seems no end in sight.

As America becomes more homogenized into a racially diverse population, the white supremacist mindset that devalues people of color is desperately clinging to the idea that god has anointed white America as his chosen people. The fact that there are still people who believe minorities are inferior and damaging America’s standing in the world is disgraceful, and remains a divisive force that can only end badly.

After President Obama’s election, gun sales skyrocketed and have continued unabated with no end in sight, and racist politicians in the South are contributing to the problem on a daily basis. Buchanan’s commentary on education is nothing more than an overt attack on racial equality and his citing racist organizations as legitimate sources shows his true beliefs. There are numerous credible institutions and studies that contradict Weissberg and VDARE’s assertions that students of color are inferior, but Buchanan conveniently ignores them because they do not go along with his white supremacist rhetoric.

America is at the tipping point where there is not a racial majority and it frightens many Americans. Buchanan’s commentary on the education system serves no useful purpose except to stir up animosity toward people of color, and accusing them of hurting the education system in America is a ploy to engender more hatred for immigrants leading up to the incoming Congress that is bent on eliminating birthright citizenship guaranteed in the 14th Amendment.

Fortunately, the Hispanic voting bloc will remember the slights from people like Buchanan, and like they did in California and Nevada, will reject the racial hatred and vitriol that is rampant in the Republican Party at the ballot box. It may take another election cycle, but Buchanan and his Republican cohorts will find that as America becomes less white, their anti-immigrant, anti-minority mindset will be swept away like the garbage it is, and they will learn that Hispanics and Blacks are intelligent enough to see white supremacists and wipe them off the political landscape for generations to come, and America will be the better for it.

Image: MyHumbleOpinion.org

20 responses so far

Conservative Joe Rehyansky Advocates Corrective Rape for Lesbians

Nov 28 2010 Published by under Featured News

Joe Rehyansky – have you heard of this guy? He’s all over the blogosphere right now for acting like a stereotypical male, you know, the kind who thinks all goodness flows from the tip of his penis (obviously none is flowing out of his head).

Joe’s bio tells us only a little about him:What it doesn’t tell you is that Joe is a conservative unless you’re aware of the National Review as a conservative rag. It wouldn’t be exactly fair to conclude from this that Joe is a whack job, but if you did, well…who am I to tell you that you’re wrong?

Joseph A. Rehyansky is retired from the United States Army and the Chattanooga, Tennessee, District Attorney’s Office. He is a former contributor to National Review whose writings have also appeared in Human Events Online, The American Spectator, and other publications.

Joe wrote a little piece the other day for the Daily Caller called, Don’t hint, don’t wink: An immodest proposal and this is what has attracted the attention.

Joe thinks the lesbians should be allowed to join the military so that they can be raped into changing into good little heterosexuals. Subdue them with the penis, seems to be Joe’s battlecry. Because what lesbian can resist a penis or ten?

Joe is one of those dinosaurs who thinks in the “you people” mindset. I remember Harry Morgan in an episode of MASH best exemplifying this when demanding that a black soldier sing and dance for him because “his people” are good at that. Well Joe can stand toe to toe with that character (who thank the gods was fictional – Joe ain’t):

[M]ost gays are not inclined toward military service, but many lesbians are, and it is an open secret that they do well in the calling, especially in medical and administrative specialties.

I’ve always said that lesbian women are great administrators! Yessir!

But a few penises can take care of that.

In a final argument (now removed by the Daily Caller) Joe gets to the meat (pardon the expression) of his argument:

“My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

Joe seems to be advocating subduing lesbians with the penis and through corrective rape bringing them around to the “true religion” of “heterosexuality.”

Honestly, I’m surprised Joe still has a job, but then it’s difficult to be TOO extreme when you’re a conservative these days. In a sense what Joe is saying is not all that new. Misogyny runs rampant in Republican ranks (right alongside racism). Joe just upped the ante a bit by actually advocating not just hating women (and lesbians in particular) but raping them too. Republicans already advocate raping their own wives so maybe they don’t see this as a big departure from their existing belief-system.

The rest of us should be alarmed, however, and the more so since we’re not likely to see this clown condemned on FOX or any other media outlet. Joe Rehyansky is an example of why true, universal tolerance is an impossibility, because there will always be those things that cannot be tolerated, and the conservative hatred of women is bad enough. Advocating mass rape is beyond the pale, and even Republicans ought to recognize this. But you can bet you won’t see Sarah Palin go after Joe Rehyansky; she’s too busy accusing Couric of lacking journalistic ethics by asking her what she reads. Compared to that, how do a few raped lesbians even enter the conversation?

21 responses so far

Barack Obama, High Priest of Baal

God: You're ejected!

The Republicans long ago signaled their intention to decline governing unless they controlled the government. They won’t cooperate, they won’t compromise, and they won’t meet Democrats half-way. They have categorized liberals as vermin, as beneath contempt, and as traitors – as not only un-American but ANTI-American. They can’t very well be expected to compromise with criminals, can they? And so they haven’t.

For two years now they have sat on their hands and watched the United States take a nosedive. Wars have raged (wars they started), the economy has crumbled (an economy they destroyed) and they have tried to blame all this on a man who was himself only a Congressman when these events took place.

They have the strange idea that the minority should govern the country. Not the party which won the election, but the party that lost. This is a unique and rather puzzling viewpoint. After all, in what way is a defeat a mandate from the people?

And they haven’t even bothered to disguise the racism and xenophobia. They accused liberals and progressives of thinking of Obama in messianic terms but they call him a “Magic Negro” anti-colonialist Kenyan Muslim usurper living in a White House surrounded by Watermelon patches who has a “deep-seated hatred of white people.”

They don’t have time to govern. They don’t have time to ratify a much-needed START treaty President Obama negotiated with Russia in April of this year.

And now they don’t have time to meet with President Obama for a bipartisan summit at the White House.

I think in many ways liberals and progressives are shell-shocked; unable to deal with the enormity of the change that has taken place over the past few years, the reckless and unreasoning hate of a group that says nobody has the right to disagree with them; doesn’t even have the right to ask questions, let alone expect answers. How could anyone have been prepared for this?

Ideological certainty and religious certainty have a lot in common, and modern Republicanism combines the worst of both.  We can argue about when and where the politics of fear originated in the American political landscape. We can point at Nixon or we can point elsewhere. But what we have seen over the past two years is something of a degree so extreme that it was difficult to grasp its full extent. It is a new order of hatred.

There is a great deal of Old Testament feeling (and I say feeling and not thinking intentionally) in modern Republicanism. German scholar Jan Assmann (Moses the Egyptian, 1997:1-2) has said that monotheism put the “true” and “false” in religion; I would argue that the Republicans have put the “true” and “false” in politics. I mean by this more than simple agreement or disagreement, or even an ideologically motivated “I’m right and you’re wrong.” True and False (capitalized) have deeper, religious connotations as in ultimate truths and their opposites.

We all remember what happened to those in the Bible who turned away from God. Regina Schwartz (The Curse of Cain, 1997:18, 63) notes the manner in which the biblical narrative paints “inclinations toward polytheism” as “sexual infidelity” and how Israel itself “is castigated for ‘whoring after’ other gods, thereby imperiling her ‘purity.’” The land itself must be kept clean “or its inhabitants will be ejected, ‘vomited’ out of the land…when Israel is not monotheistic, it is filthy and it pollutes the land” (Lev 20.22-25). When Israel worships a foreign deity, she is a harlot, the land is made barren, and she is ejected from the land” (Jer 3.2-3).

This should all sound familiar to you, because it has been put to us again since the rise of the Religious Right, and ever more fervently since, even to the extent that even a president has said atheists are not really citizens. The narrative that America is a New Rome, chosen by God to advance his religion has gained new currency. God is even choosing our presidents and telling individual Republicans to run for office. The Ten Commandments should be preached on every street corner. If you’re not a Christian you aren’t a Republican and if you’re not a Republican you’re not an American. And other religions aren’t really religions at all, but cults. American exceptionalism wears the face of Christian exceptionalism. It isn’t religious freedom they want but religious privilege. The Constitution says all religions are equal. Christianity says the opposite:  all religions are inferior to Christianity.

The Pope and Protestant Fundamentalists are in agreement on this much, at least.

Why am I going on about all this? About religion? Because the American political landscape looks an awful lot like that of post-exilic Israel. Because the report spoken of above shows that “58% agree that God has granted America a special role in human history.”

Think back to what Regina Schwartz said. It is not polytheism that is the enemy here (thought it is still an enemy of the American Taliban). The enemy is liberalism, a term that combines atheists and secularists and feminists (and polytheists), gays and lesbians, and any other group included in and by the European Enlightenment. These were all groups rejected by the Old Testament. If you put “liberal” in place of “polytheist” you have the gist of it. Ann Coulter asserts that liberalism is a religion. Liberalism is turning away from God and liberalism is infidelity; it makes America impure and pollutes the land. And God punishes when he is rejected. Look what he did to New Orleans.

“Yeah, you’re hearing me,” God said.

All this being the case, how can any God-fearing Republican have any time at all for any liberal? It’s like inviting a Canaanite to dinner, or for the Republicans in this case, agreeing to meet with the high priest of Baal in his house.

There is a lot more going on here than simply declining to meet with the President of the United States. It is a rejection of Old Testament proportions. The degree of concern over President Obama’s religion is truly astounding. It’s not even that Obama is being portrayed as a Muslim. It’s that his religion is “different.” And the fruits of this attitude are shown in the fact that eight out of ten of those who see Obama’s religion as “different” from their own have a very (51%) or mostly (27%) unfavorable view of him (See the Public Religion Research Institute report on its 2010 Post-Election American Values Survey).

Differences are essential to modern liberal democracy. Plurality and tolerance are its pillars. But the Old Testament doesn’t teach plurality and inclusion; it likes sameness and exclusion. As Regina Schwartz remarks, “In the myth of monotheism, pluralism is betrayal, punishable with every kind of exile: loss of home, loss of land, even alienation from the earth itself. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” The Constitution is a list of rights; the Ten Commandments are a list of “Shall not’s.” The New York Times categorizes the Republican act of ignoring Obama’s invitation thusly:

Beyond the practical implications of this rudeness, there is an increasingly obvious lack of respect for the president and the presidency, with Republicans interpreting their electoral victory as a mandate to act with hubris.

But it is more than that; more than arrogance, more than hubris, as I have shown here. This is the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats today, a gulf of religious intolerance and rejection, a delegitimizing of the Other. It is not just fear; it is not just paranoia. It is fear and paranoia fueled by apocalyptic religious intolerance and certitude that they are speaking God’s will and that Obama is not.

We liberals need to realize that this is no simple disagreement on policies. This is a disagreement that goes much deeper than that. We need to understand this because it is a hate and a fear that allows no compromise, and we can reach our hands across the aisle until our arms fall off. They won’t accept them because we have no legitimacy. And until we understand that, we cannot begin to fight back.

15 responses so far

Sheriff Arpaio’s Freikorps

Nov 19 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

The German term “Freikorps” (Free Corps) applies historically to volunteer armies raised to defend the homeland, generally in a garrison role or other minor duties. During the 19th Century, a period known for it’s poisonous levels of Nationalism, the idea of the freikorps was glorified and their members seen as heroes. This myth was firmly in place at the end of the First World War, when new paramilitary freikorps rose up amid the ruins of the defeated German empire. During this period they were composed of disgruntled Germans eager to get revenge on one enemy or another, including especially communists. Unsurprisingly, many of these men wanted permanent have been described as

[men who] have found in nihilism their final confession of faith. Incapable of any true co-operation, with a desire to oppose all order, filled with hatred against every authority, their unrest and disquietude can find satisfaction only in some conspiratorial activity of the mind perpetually plotting the disintegration of whatever at any moment may exist.

Sound familiar? Full of hate, hating authority, nihilistic?

The man describing them was Adolf Hitler, addressing the Reichstag on July 13, 1934. These men had supported his rise to power. He had harnessed their rage and their hate (sound like anyone you know?). And now he had no need of them. Their rage and hate was an obstacle now that he was in power, a liability, and he had done away with them in the Night of the Long Knives.

The Republican and Tea Party fascination with firearms and militias and “Second Amendment remedies” seem to have a lot in common with these freikorps volunteers. Just as the German freikorps saw themselves as the final line of defense of the Fatherland, so too these American conservatives see themselves as the true defenders of the Constitution (ironically, a Constitution they have neither read nor understand).

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who styles himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” is typical. Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arpaio has run his domain like a private fief, much as would one of those post-First World War freikorps leaders. He is a law unto himself and likes to charge with crimes anyone who raises an eyebrow at his activities. As with Palin’s protege Joe Miller, it is illegal to ask questions. As with Bush, the law is anything Arpaio says it is.  He would probably arrest me for writing this if his jurisdiction reached into the Heartland.

As a result, it is not surprising that he has raised his own little freikorps. FOX News reports that on Wednesday he “swore in 56 members of a new volunteer sheriff’s posse group that includes “The Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno.”

Other prominent Arpaio Freikorps members are actors Steven Seagal and Peter Lupus of TV’s Mission Impossible, though Arpaio says they weren’t among those sworn in on Wednesday. Arpaio says “They will wear the same uniforms, so you can’t tell the difference.” I don’t know, I think Lou Ferrigno in particular might stand out:

Lou Ferrigno

Yes, the posse is armed, and yes, they wear uniforms. Like the freikorps.

The Freikorps already numbers some 3,000 members. Truly a private army to enforce Arpaio’s totalitarian regime.

Their duties? Fox News reports that,

The new posse group will specialize in helping deputies crack down on illegal immigration.

The sheriff says the volunteers’ duties will include bringing arrestees to jail and handling demonstrators who interfere with immigration patrols.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office website describes the posse thusly:

The posse, whose ranks have increased to 3,000 members under Arpaio, is the nation’s largest volunteer posse. Posse men and women help in search and rescue and other traditional police work as well as in special operations like rounding up deadbeat parents, fighting prostitution, patrolling malls during holidays, and investigating animal cruelty complaints. The posse’s contributions are invaluable and essentially free to taxpayers.

It is important to remember that after being officially disbanded many Freikorps joined the attempted Kapp Putsch in March 1920. That is, attempted to overthrow the government. These men also had guns and they didn’t want to give them up. Sound familiar?

Here is something else that will sound familiar:

Freikorps Poster - Protect your home

The caption on the above Freikorps poster? Should sound familiar to you. We are hearing it everyday. We hear it from Arpaio himself: “Protect your home.”

It’s interesting that the more the Republicans accuse liberals and Obama of being Nazis, the more Nazi they themselves look and act.

A little misdirection? Food for thought.

9 responses so far

Sarah Palin’s New Twitter Moment

Nov 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Mama Grizzly Winks at Reality

Sarah Palin has had another of those “I didn’t say that!” moments. Twitter seems to be the woman’s worst enemy. It’s ironic really, that she is the star of a reality show but reality is not a friend to her. She seems to be saying to reality (shrieking really), “Reality, you’re not the boss of me!”

You go grrrrl.

There must be a lot of fluff in the rarified air she breaths.

Atlah Church Sign

Her Tweet? It was actually a re-tweet of an Ann Coulter Tweet, which showed a photo of a church sign which reads:

“Blood of Jesus Against Obama/History made 4 Nov 2008, a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA Hussein”

Ann Coulter had Tweeted: “This is my new church!”

Ms. Reality Star re-tweeted it as one of her favorites. Gawker has a screen-capture, because of course you can’t see it anymore; Palin, in a rare moment of an intersection with reality said ‘Ooop!” and took it down and then denied any independent recollection of the incident.

By the way, the church is that of Pastor James David Manning, who ”once held a trial declaring Obama ineligible to be president because he says he wasn’t born in the US and who refers to him as a “pimp” and “long-legged mack daddy” in sermons.”

Palin threw an unknown staffer under the bus. She told ABC News:

“Jake, I’ve never purposefully ‘favorited’ any Tweet. I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was traveling to Alaska that day…it was an obvious accidental ‘favoriting,’ but no one can mistake that Ann Coulter was obviously being tongue in cheek with that Tweet. Shall I correct this with whichever wonderful media outlet ran with this (an obviously bored reporter…since there must be nothing going on in the world today, like, um, ramifications of a shake up of power in the U.S. House of Representatives?).”

I think she is right on one score, that of her increasing irrelevancy to the American political scene. Her candidates lost. Ms. King Maker Mama Grizzly Reality Star Politician Wannabe will have a difficult time remaining at center stage. A showdown will come between Wall Street Republicans and Tea Party Republicans. They have already been throwing dirt at each other and either Rove or Palin will remain standing. The GOP cannot go both ways and it does not seem there is any happy middle ground for two groups who insist on ideological purity.

I will leave you with this thought: Sarah Palin is out there, and reality is out there, and sometimes, the two actually intersect.

We live in interesting times.

13 responses so far

Tea Party Follows Ku Klux Klan Ideology

Oct 22 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Tea Party's Founding Fathers

For the past 21 months, and during this election cycle, there is an increase in hate and vitriol from groups like the Tea Party (led by Jim DeMint et al) that are directly tied to the Ku Klux Klan‘s ideology. There are members of the Tea Party who are not blatant racists, but for the most part, teabaggers espouse a return to a white-only America that is in direct contrast to the Constitution and freedoms it guarantees for all Americans.

Unlike the KKK, teabagger groups mask their bigoted philosophy with notions of protecting liberty and returning to the strictest interpretation of the Constitution. Regardless the teabag rhetoric, at the core is a hatred of gays, immigrants, Jews, people of color, and non-Christians, which is exactly the same philosophy of the KKK.

The “birther” movement that denies President Obama is an American citizen and the 14TH Amendment revisionist movement are a direct response to a black man in the Oval Office. Like the Ku Klux Klan, these bigots insist that America is a whites-only nation, and a black man as President is unacceptable; and in their opinion, illegal. The birther movement and the KKK share the belief that our first black president is not a real American.

There is an alarming movement in some states to deny citizenship to immigrant’s children in violation of the 14TH Amendment, and it is aimed primarily at Hispanics. The KKK hates immigrants and minorities, and now they have agents in the teabaggers who are trying to drive minorities out of the country. It is a step to denying citizenship to any person of color, and like Nazi Germany, people are getting caught up in the herd-mentality and joining the battle against non-white Americans. It is no coincidence that the KKK uses the swastika as their symbol, and it is ironic that teabaggers accuse President Obama of being a Nazi when they follow KKK ideology.

People who live in the southern United States understand that the culture of bigotry is ingrained in many from the South, and many southerners condone the KKK and teabagger philosophy. If the South had the assets, they would fight the Civil War again for the sole purpose of banning immigrants, people of color, Jews, gays, and non-Christians from being American.

Politicians like Jim DeMint, Ken Cuccinelli (VA-R), and many other Republican/teabaggers from the south are imposing their Christian morals on the American people by demonizing gays and Muslims. Teabaggers believe America is a Christian nation, and like the Ku Klux Klan, campaign to purify America by enforcing archaic biblical laws to purge non-compliant citizens from the country.

The Ku Klux Klan burns bible-crosses to glorify Jesus Christ and openly declare their hatred for Jews, Muslims, and Catholics. It is not far removed from Daniel Webster’s (FL-R) wishes to make biblical stoning punishment for heresy. In the case of Webster and the KKK, heresy is any teaching that is NOT evangelical Christian, and their beliefs are those of the Christian Reconstructionist movement.

This week the NAACP released a report showing the connection between 6 Tea Party groups and extremists like the Ku Klux Klan, supporting the idea that teabaggers are racially motivated. Observers have felt the teabags are racist based on the representation of white people at teabagger gatherings, and their hatred for immigrants; the NAACP report substantiates that belief.

With the rise in popularity of the teabag movement, the true bigoted nature of many in America is made manifest and one has to wonder just how prevalent the KKK’s influence on American politics will become. Obviously, the KKK and teabagger mentality is not confined to southern states and shows the scope and breadth of bigots all across America.

Hopefully, exposing the connection between the Ku Klux Klan and the Tea Party will alarm and anger decent Americans enough that teabag candidates and their racially motivated policies will be shunned. However, with the mood of the country becoming more hateful and bigoted toward minorities and non-Christians, it looks like very dark days ahead for everyone in America. Because just as hate and frenzy steered Nazi Germany, it is having the same effect here in America…land of the free, home of the bigot.

23 responses so far

GOP Organization Tells Latino Voters to Stay at Home

Oct 20 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Robert de Posada

The GOP will do anything it can to buy an election and if it can’t do that, it’s proven itself perfectly willing to steal one. Until recently we’ve been in the buying stages, as the GOP corporate machine spends millions in an effort to create a Corporate America, but with that not representing a sure road to success, the GOP seems to have moved onto the stealing stage, as demonstrated by a recent ad by a GOP-linked group called Latinos for Reform.

Media Matters calls it a “A third-party group headed by a GOP operative” – Robert de Posada – former Director of Hispanic Affairs at the Republican National Committee under Lee Atwater. Robert doesn’t want Latinos to vote. Latinos, of course, mostly voted for Barack Obama in 2008. So perhaps the timing of such a commercial immediately before the 2010 midterms will come as no surprise to you.

Here is the English-language version:

And the Spanish:

Obviously, not voting would be a egregious error for Latinos, with so much at stake. Giving the anti-immigrant Republican Party a victory is no way to show your displeasure with the Obama Administration. Yeah, that would show them!

Fortunately, people aren’t being so easily taken in. Huffington Post reports that, “The ad has quickly made waves in Nevada, prompting leaders in the Latino community to denounce the campaign’s message and to encourage stations to take it off the air” and Spanish language TV network, Univision, will not be running the ad:

Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting,” said a spokeswoman for the network, Monica Talan, in an email. “Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote.”

Huffington Post reports that “This effort to squelch the Latino vote may be particularly disturbing to Nevada Democrats considering a recent report showing that Latinos were more likely to vote Democratic in this year’s elections, but were already lacking the motivation to show up to the polls.”

This is a blatant and misleading attempt by the GOP to steal the election. Trick the voters not to vote. Yes, trick. Like the equally reprehensible Jews for Jesus (which is not Jews, but Christian fundamentalists) aiming at tricking Jews (who are not tricked) the conservatives have tried to co-opt the Latino vote by getting their token Latino to urge his fellow voters to stand on the sidelines.

The Latinos aren’t being fooled either. Letting the party of hate and bigotry win in order to punish the Democrats for failing to act is such an attractive option to the GOP that they let their fantasies run away with them. But then, look at the whole ACORN fantasy. You can almost see them rubbing their hands together in glee as they ready to pop their corks in an orgy of celebration.

Epic fail ladies and gentlemen. Do not pass go, do not collect your sought-after payday. We will beat you in 2010 because we do not want what you are selling. We will not go willingly into slavery for your corporate masters, we will not allow you to deprive of us social security and health insurance and minimum wage. This is our country – every American’s country – whatever their skin color, ethnicity, sexual leanings, or type and level of religiosity, and you can’t have it for your totalitarian fantasies.

I’m a Scandinavian American Heathen and I approve this message. Though it isn’t my native language, I think an Adiós! would be appropriate here.

13 responses so far

Some Thoughts on America’s Shame

Someday, future Americans will look back on the end of the 21st century’s first decade and feel shame, and perhaps a sense of wonder that such an advanced nation, one of the most free to have ever existed, could be home to such petty prejudice and superstition, that rights we once held thought defined us could be so easily and thoughtlessly trampled.

Just as we look back with shame on our treatment of the African Americans brought to these shores and kept in a state of slavery, future Americans will look back with shame on the treatment meted out to our first African American president, not because of his education or qualifications, but because of the color of his skin.

Thomas Jefferson, though he owned slaves, knew that slavery was wrong; he thought of it as a social contagion that was harmful to all, slave and free. He fully expected slavery to come to an end and took legislative steps to begin the process. He knew that extreme measures in his own day would lead to the fragile new union’s collapse if not outright war. It came to war anyway, of course, and over 600,000 dead and a president with the courage to say “enough.”

The road to true freedom for blacks in America did not come all at once, or even with the Emancipation Proclamation. The process has been long and hard and many battles for civil rights had to be fought and won before racism would yield. But racism did not die and is not dead yet, and some, myself included, were shocked when Obama was elected by the degree of racism still existing in this country, by the waving of Confederate flags under which slavery flourished and was defended.

Everyone is equal, the Founding Fathers said. We all have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But there are those today who disregard the utopian dreams of the Founding Fathers, people to whom egalitarianism extends only to those like themselves, of the same skin color, or the same religion, or the same political leanings. They live in a land of absolutes, where you are one of the chosen – or one of the damned.

We have seen the reactionary forces of this group of people displayed in all its unsavory rhetoric since Barack Obama announced that he would run for President of the United States. He has been accused of being a “Kenyan anti-colonialist” and a “Muslim” and of not even being an American citizen. Conservatives have danced to “Barack the Magic Negro” and refuse even to call him by his real name while they share pictures of the White House surrounded by a watermelon patch, and then play dumb when called out.

They have even accused the Democrats, those who put Barack Obama in office as the first black president of the United States, of racism and keeping black people down. If by holding them down they mean electing them to the highest office in the land, then I suppose they are right, but that is a strange use of the English language, stranger even then Sarah Palin’s unintentional non sequiturs.

Then there is the belief that the word Muslim is in some sense an insult. Barack Obama is not a Muslim, but according to the Constitution, it would make no difference if he was. The United States was founded on the idea of the separation of church and state, that there would be no state religion to sap our hard-won liberties, and the Constitution (Article 6, Section 3) ensures that there will be no religious test for office. The office-holders religious views are, according to the Constitution, completely irrelevant.

Someday, future Americans will look back and shake their heads sadly, wondering how such low arguments could not only be tolerated but bandied about on a major network and in major print newspapers, that a whole political party could operate on the assumption that the Constitution is irrelevant, for irrelevant it must be if what it says can be so easily disregarded.

Most of us may not expect something as free and open-minded as Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future to come to fruition, but we like to think we were further along than we turned out to be; we like to believe there is some hope yet that we may prove ourselves worthy of the founding documents’ lofty words, that liberty is not only for a few, but for all equally, that even if it could not become true all at once with the signing of a pen, that it would be true someday, that it was meant to be true some day.

That such levels of racism and bigotry could exist in the 21st century is a mark of shame for those alive today. We are not who we were supposed to be, ladies and gentlemen, and we share a responsibility in not having created and nurtured the society that we should have created. We have made advances, but not enough. There are still those who expect the wrath of God to befall us for our sins, or who assign natural disasters to God’s wrath, or who would deprive those they don’t approve of, of their allegedly inalienable rights.

You have no rights because you are black; you have no rights because you are a woman; you have no rights because you are gay; you have no rights because you are an atheist; you have no rights because you are a Muslim; you have no rights because you support what the Founding Fathers promised us: liberty and individual human rights – for all.

The forces of exclusion bring shame on all Americans. And the rest of us will bear that shame if we let them triumph, if we let the great experiment begun in 1776 expire because we do not have the courage to stand up and give a shout for what is right, and to shout down what is wrong. Someday Americans will look back in shame on this era, but it is within our power to bring that era to an end, if only we will do what is right in three weeks, and again in two years, and again in every election that follows.

21 responses so far

Republicans: Democrats Enslave Blacks

Right Wing Watch reports that “on a conference call for Rick Scarborough’s Vision America, Bishop E.W. Jackson” of contentiously named STAND (Staying True to America’s National Destiny) America PAC, “claimed that the Democratic Party ‘embraces this anti-Christian, anti-God’ worldview.”

RWW goes on to say that Bishop Jackson asserted that the Democratic Party is “nothing less than a party of dependence, [and] in effect created a new form of slavery on a liberal plantation that it wants to keep black people on.”

Hmm. Must be why most black folks vote Democrat. And it’s been that way for years. In fact, in 2008, a record 96 percent of blacks voted for Barack Obama.

Yet Bishop Jackson is not the first to claim that Democrats enslave blacks. It is an argument that rages in the black community and it’s a common claim coming from the right. Blatantly racist conservative blog Obambi.com posted in January that “Democrats have ENSLAVED blacks for over 50 years through welfare, food stamps, medicaid and other entitlements…..like keeping a crack addict dependent on you by keeping them addicted…” and Joey Farah of World Net Daily argued in August that, “leftists have not done anything positive for blacks since some of them supported the Voting Rights Act of 1964…”

Obviously, it wouldn’t even be worth our time investigating what Republicans have done for blacks or for any other minority group in the United States in the past forty years. Republicans point out correctly that in the early days of the Civil Rights movements Democrats were often opposed to the interests of the black population but they can’t seem to get past the idea that it is no longer 1963 and that positions have now reversed. As the Republican Party has moved further right it has become the party of conservative white people.

They can’t come to grips with their own racist views. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. Limbaugh infamous for repeatedly playing the racist ditty “Barack the Magic Negro” said in August 2010: “The Democrats are trying to keep black people out of politically powerful positions, it ain’t us.”Beck famous for saying Obama “has a deep-seated hatred of white people” said in January 2008: “Democrats, you just hate black people. It’s the only choice I can come up with. It’s the only possible reason: You are just racist. You hate black people. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.”

RWW says that,

Bishop Jackson and Rick Scarborough joined Tom DeLay and Phyllis Schlafly in releasing a voter’s guide that shows the average score of Republican and Democratic members of Congress from the American Conservative Union. Scarborough called himself “a Christocrat” but that “as a matter of principle I simply vote Republican 90 percent of the time.” Schlafly added that “you’re better off to vote the straight Republican ticket than the Democrat ticket.”

Of course, Tom DeLay and Phyllis Schlafly hardly make for a compelling argument, no more than do figures from “the American Conservative Union” which bills itself as “America’s conservative voice.” Yeah, we can hardly expect the ACU to find in favor of the Democrats.

The narrative they have constructed sounds very Old Testament: According to RWW Bishop Jackson “maintained that the Democratic Party represents ‘godlessness,’ and stands for ‘fiscal irresponsibility, moral relativism or amorality, anti-Christian bigotry, and a foreign policy of surrender and appeasement.’”

Gosh, I’m surprised Washington D.C. hasn’t turned into a pile of salt.

The Tea Party, on the other hand, received praise from Scarborough and his guests, which comes as no surprise to anyone keeping up with developments. Morning Joe was full of self-approbation: He says he receives “rousing ovations at Tea Parties when I talk about the God-factor.”

Good for you Joe. Tells anyone who knows nothing else about you everything they need to know.

But what about this modern form of slavery? Why is it Republicans insist that Democrats want to enslave blacks? Where is the evidence?

It’s not Democrats, after all, who marginalize and disenfranchise black or other minority voters. It’s not Democrats who are accusing America’s first black president of being a watermelon-picking white-hating racist and a Muslim. It’s not Democrats who go to Tea Party rallies and wave Confederate flags all over the place. That would be the Republicans.

Democrats like the American flag just fine. And Democrats don’t send the NRA around to whisper into the ears of the southern hill folk that Clinton or Obama is going to “take all their guns away and give them to the niggers.”* That, again, would be the Republicans.

So how is it exactly that the Democrats are trying to enslave the blacks? Blacks have been voting Democrat since Truman back 1948 (77% of the black vote). They gave LBJ a whopping 94 percent of their votes and that record held until Obama garnered his 96 percent. According to FactCheck.org, “Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. No Republican presidential candidate has gotten more than 15 percent of the black vote since.”

The numbers speak for themselves. And when those blacks gave Barack Obama their vote, they were accused – by the Republicans – of being racists by voting for Obama simply because he was a black man. Are whites racist when they vote for a white candidate?

It would seem in Republican eyes that the blacks just can’t win. Of course, neither can white folks, Hispanics, or anyone else – or the country itself for that matter. None of us are going to catch an even break from these theocrats. And make no mistake, the Tea Party and the Religious Right are bumping uglies as we speak, eager to produce a monstrosity that will destroy America.

Bishop Jackson (who is black) argues on his website that “We are unifying Americans around the Judeo-Christian principles which can save our country, because they are the principles which built it. Those principles are being lost. It is time to take a STAND, before it is too late!”

Of course, as we have noted many times over, Judeo-Christian principles did not build our country at all, but the principles of the liberal European Enlightenment. Jackson claims that “The vision of being “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” is nearly lost.” What Jackson does NOT tell you is that this phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance was not originally part of the pledge of allegiance but was added only in 1954. The vision Jackson endorses is not the vision of those who founded the United States of America.

Bishop Jackson says he is against “our country’s slide into secular atheism,” and “anti-Semitism” (apparently less than a blanket approval for every action the state of Israel undertakes makes you an anti-Semite for Jackson) “and anti-Christian bigotry.” Of course, he is for instituting a theocracy that stands against everything the Founders intended and envisioned, and for anti-gay bigotry. I’m not sure what Jackson has to be proud of here.

Ideology should never get in the way of facts, and for Jackson and his PAC and for the Republican Party, it has. The facts must fit the system; they cannot be allowed to contradict the purity of Republican ideology. Fortunately for America, most voters are not Christian extremists like Bishop Jackson or James Dobson. And fortunately, black voters know exactly who is trying to enslave them.

Notes:

*This story was related to me by a conservative Christian friend who does volunteer work in the Appalachians for his church. This is what he was told by these people both relating to the candidacy of Clinton and Obama. Obviously, Clinton did not take anyone’s guns away and neither did Obama. Guns laws, in fact, continue to be relaxed, not strengthened.

45 responses so far

Texas State Board of Education Announces Return to 13th Century

Sep 19 2010 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

In a stunning reversal of history, the Texas State Board of Education has ruled that the history of the past 2,000 years never took place.

They are considering a resolution that would warn publishers not to push “gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions” in world history textbooks. These text books are full of “Muslim propaganda.”

Because as any of us who actually attended public schools or have children attending public schools are aware, this pro-Islamic bias is a real problem.

The more likely explanation is that conservative Christians are miffed that text books no longer contain “gross pro-Christian, anti-Islamic distortions.”

In a breath-taking display of paranoia and xenophobia, these folks argue that “Middle-Easterners” are infiltrating the textbook market. And terrorists are crossing the Arizona border with their anuses stuffed with explosives.

I mean, what’s a gun-toting, god-fearing white Christian real-American to do?

Re-write history, that’s what!

What kind of world do these folks want to live in? I would say that taken on the whole, evidence suggests a return to the 13th century, when values were values and women and minorities ran scared.

But let’s not let rational thought enter into our discourse. We were talking about the Texas State Board of Education, after all.

Don McLeroy: A Creationist Dentist in Denial

Remember back in May of 2010 when the Texas State Board of Education by a 10-5 partisan vote embraced new high school textbook standards? Remember dentist Don McLeroy’s attack on the Enlightenment, how those nasty liberals erased Christian mythology from our system of education? “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left,” he cried.

And who would know more about a skewed Academia than a dentist?

As the New York Times reported, the new standards

[P]ut a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Back then it was enough to erase U.S. history. But it turned out that getting rid of Thomas Jefferson and Darwin and the pesky ideas of evolution that make sense of human biology and re-writing American history wasn’t enough. What world history survived the first massacre has to go too.

Those gosh-darn Muslims deserve more blame for the Crusades!

Harry Turtledove, the universally recognized don of alternate history, could not have done a better job.

“More such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the U.S. public school textbook oligopoly, as they are doing now.”

As is so often the case (and as I argued the other day), they offer no evidence for this fear-inspiring thesis. And as the Dallas Morning News reports,

The resolution cites examples in past world history books – no longer used in Texas schools – that devoted far more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than to Christian beliefs and practices.

The measure is not without its opponents, as the Dallas Morning News tells us:

“This is another example of board members putting politics ahead of just educating our kids,” said Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network. “Once again, without consulting any real experts, the board’s politicians are manufacturing a bogus controversy.”

I would say not just politics but ideology. The bogus controversy can’t exist without the bogus history conservative Christians have constructed, and the bogus history is tied into hate and intolerance and a need to justify it.

But then the 13th century was all about hate and fear and crusades and hate and killing people who were different from you. Those dark days have become a Golden Age for the folks who think the Middle Ages were the “true Age of Reason.”

I hate to break it to Mr. McLeroy and his supporters but you can’t vote unpleasant facts out of existence. The Church tried for centuries; the Nazis and Communists tried too, just as the Islamists are trying now.

You can’t wish 2000 years of history away; the facts will always come back to haunt you.

Nobody is denying, I believe, that there are not biases or inaccuracies in school textbooks. After all, how many of us were brought up to believe that George Washington chopped down a Cherry tree? (Unfortunately, some Republicans believe this actually happened and that as a consequence we know more about Washington’s childhood than Obama’s).

But arguments ought to be about facts not about ideology. And attacking books that haven’t been in use since 2003 makes the whole argument all the more ridiculous.

The matter will be decided in Austin next week (September 23-24), when the board votes on the resolution. Will world history survive? Will the Texas Board of Education turn back the clock on the European Enlightenment and cast Texas public school students (some 4.8 million of them according to the May resolution) into a new Dark Age? Stay tuned to find out.

10 responses so far

Older posts »