Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Cavalier Connection: Gene Lyons, Suck THIS Up!

When I was a small girl, growing up in rural Virginia, one of many things I learned from my mother was that overreaction to an accusation most generally always implied guilt. The person who cried loudest and longest at a funeral usually was the one person in the mourning congregation who wanted the deceased dead before they actually died. And the person who overreacted to a general criticism was usually guilty of the sin which the accusation entailed.

Lordy, the guilt is oozing from the pores of the Professional Left after Melissa Harris-Perry's observations of racism on the Left. seems to be at the forefront of this race row, with "Editor-at-Large" Joan Walsh challenging Dr Harris-Perry to prove her accusations and Walsh's latest bullyboy blogger, David Sirota, venturing as far to liken the professor's observations as tantamount to KKK tactics.

You can read Joan's disjointed rant here and Sirota's ad hominem-filled polemic, in which he accused Dr Harris-Perry of "arrogant elitism," here.

(Here's something for Sirota to contemplate: "arrogant elitism" is Northernspeak for "uppity.")

But the article which really made me absolutely, phsycically ill was Gene Lyon's despicably personal diatribe against everything Dr Harris-Perry discussed in her two articles.

Lyons is, first and foremost, a Clinton apologist. Before he blocked me from his Facebook page, for reckoning that subliminal racism was behind a lot of the Professional Left's disaffection with President Obama, he argued regularly that Bill Clinton suffered much, much worse criticism from the Right as President than our current President had. I mean, murder and drug-trafficking accusations are really just as personally reprehensible as being accused of being a fraudulent American, a Manchurian candidate intent on destroying America, someone who didn't deserve what he'd attained, simply because he was "different" and "not one of us."

Yes, Gene, Clinton was accused by the Right of being a Bubba and a poor white, but in Clintonland, the "poor whites" had something over African-Americans in the paleness of their natural melanin.

So now, Gene Lyons is exposed for being exactly what he is: a bitter, old white man, who's certainly a racist and, most definitely, a sexist. From the resonance of this article, Lyons has a problem with race, a bigger problem with educated African Americans, and a problem with educated women, in general.

The first four paragraphs of Lyons' article just ooze hatred, condescension and scorn:-

This just in: Not all the fools are Republicans. Recently, one Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane professor who moonlights on MSNBC political talk shows, wrote an article for the Nation titled "Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama."

See, nobody ever criticized Bill Clinton, another centrist Democrat who faced a hostile Republican congress. Indeed, he was "enthusiastically re-elected" in 1996. Therefore, "[t]he 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism."

The professor actually wrote that. See, certain academics are prone to an odd fundamentalism of the subject of race. Because President Obama is black, under the stern gaze of professor Harris-Perry, nothing else about him matters. Not killing Osama bin Laden, not 9 percent unemployment, only blackness.

Furthermore, unless you're black, you can't possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada. This unfortunate obsession increasingly resembles a photo negative of KKK racial thought. It's useful for intimidating tenure committees staffed by Ph.D.s trained to find racist symbols in the passing clouds. Otherwise, Harris-Perry's becoming a left-wing Michele Bachmann, an attractive woman seeking fame and fortune by saying silly things on cable TV.

Another valuable lesson I learned from my liberal, Democratic and Southern parents is that if you move too far to the Left in your political outlook, you'll suddenly find yourself on the Right.

Gene Lyons, within those four paragraphs, planted his feet firmly in the putrid mud that is Teabaggerland. He has revealed himself to harbour the sort of thoughts and attitudes which would be easily recogniseable in one of those fearful, elderly gentlemen bused in to congregate with the Glenn Beck faithful on the Mall back in August 2010.

In four short paragraphs, he's called Dr Harris-Perry no less than a "fool;" he's accused her of attaining academic and professional credentials by intimidation via race; and he's accused her of being a dilettante and a Leftwing version of Michele Bachmann, who only receives what attention is given her by virtue of being an attractive woman.

This is maligning this woman's character, her gender, her intelligence and her race.

If this isn't enough, he brings in yet another analogy to the Ku Klux Klan - the second in as many days, and yet another levelled against Dr Harris-Perry by an affluent, educated, allegedly liberal white male working for

Reading the Lyons analogy reminded me of how I've been watching the Progressive Alabama blogger Matt Osborne duke it out with Sirota in a Twitter war, where the latter proves he's little more than pithy, little spoiled prince-like bully, who blocks anyone in disagreement with his final word and pushes back by declaring that he's going to label anyone who criticizes him as anti-Semitic, just like MHP's labeled any Progressive who criticizes the President as "racist."

It occurred to me, in observing that Twitter war, that a fair few of the President's staunchest defenders in the blogosphere and their commentators, seem to be white Southerners - Osborne and Smartypants and the Blue Virginia bunch, as well as plebs like me and other Facebook commentators like Maria McGowen, Bill Dodson and Linda Donnell.

Maybe Shirley Sherrod is right. Maybe the late Joe Bageant is being vindicated at last. Maybe we, who support the President, whatever race we might be, really see people in terms of "haves" and "have nots" and not as all-knowing, faux-altruistic, patronising Progressives in search of the Magic Negro, who'll govern like Shaft.

If Gene Lyons considers this wake-up call to the real cause of divisiveness in the Left's ranks to be an inversion of racism on Dr Harris-Perry's part and something totally unjustified and insulting to such responsible Progressive voices as his, Sirota's and that of his "Editor-at-Large," then I reserve the right to call time on the incipient inverted Confederacy of dunces, originating in the North and residing primarily in the trendy-wendy cities of the "Left" side of the US - the sort of people who are elected Democratic Party officials in California and who want, effectively to secede the South as a lost cause to Progressive politics.

On the other hand - and consider this - the Southern anti-racism campaigner, Tim Wise, wrote an extensive essay concerning racism and white privilege amongst the Progressive Left, which pretty much covered much of the same ground as Melissa Harris-Perry's articles, but - unrestricted in length - in greater detail. This essay appeared a year ago and Wise has certainly lectured on this subject since, but none of the big Left voices have indicated they are offended by Wise's opinions and words in anyway.

But then again, Wise is a white man.

So whilst Wise's words are food for thought amongst liberals, Harris-Perry's induce resentment, rancor and abject ad hominem.

Well, if the shoe fits ...

But earlier today, when I read AngryBlackLady's excellent riposte to Lyons's invective, entitled Gene Lyons of Cavalierly Dismisses Racism and Calls Melissa Harris-Perry a Fool, one word jumped off the screen and smacked me in the face.


I don't know if ABL intended to use that word or not, but if she didn't, her use of it is sublimely ironic.

You see, ABL, Gene Lyons and I have something in common. We are all graduates of the University of Virginia, whose athletic teams go under the moniker "The Fighting Cavaliers." I took my undergraduate and masters' degrees there, ABL got her law degree from Virginia and Lyons his PhD.

The difference is this, and it might explain his attitude.

Lyons was a student in Charlottesville during the 1960s, when the University was all-white, all-male and all-rich. When students had to show up for class, dressed in a jacket and tie. When the only people of colour on Grounds (we don't call it "campus") were the maids who made your dormitory beds and the people who served in the dining hall. The only women to be found were nursing students, but they were off-limits. The WaHoos liked to "roll" down the road to various and sundry female colleges which dotted Virginia's landscape at the time and where women studied for their MRS degree; or the fellas imported their women from such places for the weekends. Either way, you didn't have to run the risk of running into your one-night stand on the way to class on a Monday morning.

As a college song of the time went:

Come all you girls from Mary Wash
Never let a Cavalier an inch above your knee
He'll fill you full of liquor
And he'll fill you full of beer
And you'll soon be the mother
Of a bastard Cavalier.

(This was in the days before Roe v Wade, mind.)

Lyons's days at Virginia were the last days of "the country club of the South," or - as William Faulkner described it, "the last vestibule of Southern decadence," where it was highly permissable, indeed, de rigueur to strive for "the Gentleman's C."

But then, Lyons left and the 1970s came in and ushered in a bunch of pesky people of colour and women, and things changed. I would imagine Lyons thinks they changed for the worse. And during that decade, the first Dean of African-American Studies arrived at the University, one Dr William S Harris. He brought with him, as you do, his family, which included his youngest child, Melissa.

Yes, Virginia, we're all WaHoos now - ABL, Melissa Harris-Perry (by virtue of being a child of an esteemed faculty member), yours truly ... and Gene Lyons, of course, who's just taken up residence in the University's Hall of Shame, alongside such disreputables as Ken Cuccinelli, Laura Ingraham, and Adam Green and his cronies Aaron Swartz and Mark Smoot. Call that a tea party!

Furthermore, there's one thing that Gene Lyons admits in his screed, at the beginning of his fourth paragraph, which by far and large, the meanest one. (It's the one where he makes the totally unfounded comparison with Michele Bachmann).

Furthermore, unless you're black, you can't possibly understand. Yada, yada, yada.

The tone of that sentence and its epithet is one of abject and disdainful boredom with the subject of race and what he interprets as a whiny complaint from someone who is far below Lyons's exalted status of both race and sex, a second-class citizen, doubly-over; but the truth is, Gene, you've nailed it.

Neither you nor I, Gene, are black, and we can't possibly understand. I've been beleagured by Gene Lyons types as one of the few women at Virginia in what was really a hostile environment in the first years for coeds. But it was in no way, shape or form as bad as anything any person of colour has to accept and withstand for most of their lives.

Gene Lyons, wrongly and insultingly, likens Melissa Harris-Perry to Michele Bachmann, going as far to say she's little more than an attractive lady, whose prettiness allows her to say batshit things on cable television. That is an insult to both women, but his introductory sentence (above) makes it even more insulting for Harris-Perry.

Yesterday, in a blog, I compared an ignorant and openly racist remark Katrina vanden Heuvel cracked as a poor joke, to some of the foot-in-mouth race-baiting practiced by Sarah Palin, as evidence of the Progressive Left's totally oblivious attitude toward people of colour, but in a pejorative way.

Every reference to the President as a "pussy" or as "spineless," every childish wish for a "gangsta" or a whine of "voting for the black man and getting a white man," is indicative of vanden Heuvel's white privilege and ignorance.

No, Gene, you can't begin to understand, but here's someone who can explain to you, exactly what it's like to have all the necessary qualifications, backed up by the intelligence, and then get blown off by your so-called liberal sponsors/supporters/faux friends, because of the colour of your skin.

A lady called Majii, who is, roughly, about my age, responded to my essay with the following comment, which I include in full:-

It's as if it's socially acceptable in the minds of some like vanden Heuvel to say some things about black people that they wouldn't dare say to a white person. I look at how they seem to have the ultimate respect for someone like the lying Sarah Palin, but have NO restraint when speaking of PBO. Since I'm black and lived under segregation and during our nation's Civil Rights Era, I know that for some, blacks are invisible and we don't have feelings. PBO has attained a level of education and accomplishment that many who speak disparagingly of him can never hope to reach, but because he identifies as a black man, he is not accorded the same level of respect as our other presidents. It is a stain on America when a POTUS is revered by people in many foreign nations and not respected in his own country, because it makes a lie of "American Exceptionalism." If we were really an exceptional nation of the sort we try to sell to other nations, PBO would be treated like all of his 43 predecessors.

I recall reading about the work of Gunner Myrdal in college. Myrdal did research on American ideals and racism and concluded that our ideals don't match our actions when it comes to affording POC the same privileges and respect as whites. He was right. I'm a retired teacher and graduate of UGA. I had colleagues who were also UGA graduates, but they never considered my degree as good as theirs. They let me know by their not so subtle references to affirmative action and/or with the phrase "when you were admitted to UGA, they were letting anybody in at that time" (1971.) I was given no credit for being smart enough on my own to gain admission to the university, the fact that my parents gave me financial assistance, or the fact that I graduated in 3 years instead of 4. All that mattered to them was making sure that somehow their degree from the same institution was better than mine because I was black. This is what is going on with the constant questioning and criticism of PBO's every move and decision by the vanden Heuvels, Adam Greens, Cenks Ugyars, and Greenwalds, and anyone who says this is not what underlies this constant nitpicking is not being honest with him/self. Even the actions of PBO's black detractors like Cornel West, Maxine Waters, and Tavis Smiley have their bases in race and racism.

One of the University of Virginia's trademarks is its football team, which is consistent in its losing. That is a tradition, but it is by no means guaranteed. One day the WaHoos might win a big one, but Gene Lyons's invective against Melissa Harris-Perry has ensured that he will always and eternally be a loser.

Wa-Hoo-Wah, Gene.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Katrina vanden Heuvel's Truly Palinworthy White Myth Moment

Since Joan Walsh's infamous "resentment" remark was inadvertantly uttered by her in a public domain, and since Joan challenged Dr Harris-Perry to "name and shame" the white Progressives she felt exhibited signs of racism in their lack of support for the President, that challenge reminded me of something that occurred on Bill Maher's Real Time program little over a year ago.

The guests on the panel then were Andrew Sullivan, Van Jones and the fragrant publisher/editor of The Nation and self-styled political pundit, Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Yep, the same Katrina vanden Heuvel who offers Melissa Harris-Perry column space to opine on various and sundry political current events.

Hmmm ... I wonder what Ms vanden Heuvel, who has singularly achieved every educational and professional accomplishment in her life by means of a high interest trust fund, a platinum Amex card and a wealthy, older spouse who happens to be a noted university professor, thinks about the rightful kerfuffle Dr Harris-Perry has caused with her two utterly honest articles, assessing the subtle racism inherent in the Progressive Left?

If Joan Walsh (who is one of those aspiring acolytes hanging hopefully onto the hems of Katrina's tailored Calvin Klein skirt, but who is really someone Katrina would treat as a sad and sycophantic secretary) wants an example of racist attitudes which pervade the Progressive Left, then she need look no further than Ms vanden Heuvel and her inane performance on Maher's panel in 2010.

You really have to watch the scene.

It must have been a slow news week that week, because the significant stories newsworthy of discussion were Rush Limbaugh's fourth marriage and Al Gore's divorce. After Judd Apatow, the usual extra show business guest appeared, the why's and wherefore's of the divorce question degenerated into a discussion of a particular part of Al Gore's anatomy, based on a shared memory Apatow and Andrew Sullivan had of a particular Rolling Stone cover shot of Gore from the 2000 Election year.

In the midst of all this inanery and cross-talk about the reputed size of a former Vice-President's member, for some reason, unbeknownst to anyone but her goodself, Katrina vanden Heuvel - seated beside Van Jones (the only panel member not to descend into the lowered tone of pseudo-political discourse) - offered the suggestion that the inordinate bulge seen in Al Gore's trousers, just might not belong to Al Gore at all. According to Katrina, it actually belonged to Eldridge Cleaver.


First of all, what has Eldridge Cleaver got to do with a Rolling Stone cover shot of Al Gore from more than a decade ago? Answer? Nothing at all.

Secondly, what has the purported size of Al Gore's penis bulge have to do with Eldridge Cleaver or vice versa? Answer? Absolutely nothing at all.

Except that it showed Katrina vanden Heuvel, the usually po-faced and phonily earnest scion of the Progressive Left, the publisher and editor of The Nation (which, incidentally, is the country's oldest newspaper) and a columnist in The Washington Post, made a pitiful attempt at a joke, screeching out the fact that - shock, horror - black men have big penises!

Funny-haha-moment. Not. Even moreso unfunny because vanden Heuvel was totally oblivious to Van Jones, sitting stoically and unsmilingly beside her.

That oblivion wasn't due to any post-racial awareness on vanden Heuvel's part. It was simply down to the fact that this aristocratic woman was totally unaware of his presence.

He was, to her, invisible, and as such, she could indulge in a little bit of white privileged crudity with the frat boys.

If my Southern mother were alive and had seen that, she'd mince no words in wondering why Van Jones didn't move himself well away from someone she would only describe as "a piece of scrubbed-up white trash."

At the time, Bob Somerby, writing in his Daily Howler blog, assessed the malaise this entire incident - call it "The War of Al Gore's Penis" or whatever - down to none other than my old nemesis, Gary Hart - he, who decided the Democratic Party were Progressive rather than Liberal, he who decided unions and the rural working classes of the South, the Midwest and the Rust Belt were inherently racist and he, who enabled the Republican Party to begin a forty-year culture quest to con these people into voting against their interests.

Hart, the Great Progressive Hope, who hoped to be President, was, as you recall, thwarted by a vigilant (some say vigilante) press, a woman young enough to be his daughter and a yacht appropriately christened Monkey Business.

According to Somerby, Hart's morphing into the 1980s version of John Edwards was the beginning of the ueber-trivialisation and tabloiding-down of political discourse - the blowjob in the Oval Office, the baby on the beach with the quirky mistress, Larry Craig in the airport restroom and Anthony Weiner's weiner.

As Somerby describes the incident on Maher's show:-

Andrew Sullivan mused about the size of Al Gore’s member, explaining what’s “well known in Washington.” If Katrina vanden Heuvel had any sense, she would have told him to stop playing the fool. Instead, this other High Lady played along with the fools, even making a joke on a deathless theme: Black men have the really large members!

Twenty-three years ago, rules were changed. We are left in this sad situation. Leading journalists discuss who has the big members—and the editor of The Nation sits on TV, making jokes about black guys’ large dicks. Has your computer ever been attacked by malware? That’s roughly what is happening here, as your nation’s political culture slides beneath the waves.

Now I know someone's bound to shout out, "But-but-but this remark doesn't prove anything! It certainly doesn't prove she's racist about the President!"

Vanden Heuvel is one of the most vociferous critics of President Obama, even to the point that she tweeted the night away with Glenn Greenwald when the President announced the appointment of the former Attorney General of Ohio as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wondering tweetingly and fleetingly with Glenn what bad things they could drum up about the man and the President's spinelessness in choosing him, until the next day when they found that Saint Elizabeth Warren had recommended him personally for the position.

It was the stuff of high school mean girls and certainly not the behaviour of the editor of the country's oldest news journal.

The remark made a year ago on Maher's show, whilst she was seated beside a man of colour, was tactless, insipid and just plain dumb. It puts paid to all the word saladry and placebic postings she makes paying lip service to a vague idea and demographic she can only describe as "the poor." It certainly was insulting to people of colour, and even more insulting was the fact that she made this remark, totally clueless about whom was sitting at her side.

You would have thought her mother, or her nanny, would have raised her better.

That one awful joke revealed, unmitigatingly, the fraud that is Katrina vanden Heuvel - that she practices a form of unwitting and subtle racism, inbred of her type and social class, or that she's so completely immersed in her white privilege and entitlement, that she's totally unaware of anything and anyone else who is not a part of that constricted community, or that she's simply stupid, possessed of the best education money can buy, but possessing precious little common sense.

She's either one of those things or all three. I think the latter.

And Katrina vanden Heuvel is a leading voice of the Left. Think about that, in relation to what Melissa Harris-Perry is saying.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yes, There Is Racism on the Left

There's a culture war erupting on the Left. I guess Melissa Harris-Perry started it, by claiming in her recent article in The Nation, where she dared to suggest that maybe, just maybe, our current President is held to a higher standard than previous Presidents of any political persuasion because he happens to be the first African-American to be elected to the Office.

The article has provoked an outcry amongst the left, notwithstanding several well-known talking heads - not only because of Harris-Perry's comparison of the current Administration with that of the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, but also because Harris-Perry dares to suggest that the underlying cause of many Progressives' abandonment of the President may be an indication of subliminal racism.

In 1996 President Clinton was re-elected with a coalition more robust and a general election result more favorable than his first win. His vote share among women increased from 46 to 53 percent, among blacks from 83 to 84 percent, among independents from 38 to 42 percent, and among whites from 39 to 43 percent.

President Obama has experienced a swift and steep decline in support among white Americans—from 61 percent in 2009 to 33 percent now. I believe much of that decline can be attributed to their disappointment that choosing a black man for president did not prove to be salvific for them or the nation. His record is, at the very least, comparable to that of President Clinton, who was enthusiastically re-elected. The 2012 election is a test of whether Obama will be held to standards never before imposed on an incumbent. If he is, it may be possible to read that result as the triumph of a more subtle form of racism.

I happen to agree with Harris-Perry's assessment, but I also accept that it's only natural that many on the Left vehemently deny that there be any racial motive at all in their perceived abandonment and disillusionment of the President.

After all, no one wants to admit to any racism of any sort. Even the most strident Tea Partier, standing under a banner of Barack Obama as a stereotypical African native or holding a stuffed monkey called "Little Hussein," would admit any sort of racism, no matter how overt their manifestations were.

In fact, more people on both the Right and the Left will admit to sexist attitudes than will ever admit to harbouring a racist thought; but funny enough, just as many on the Left are called out by their own for their sexism, they, too, revert to denial.

Yet this is also a fact: sexism and racism aren't confined exlusively to the Right. Regarding racism, I have a sneaking suspicion (and it's only my opinion) that many on the Left thought they'd purged the Democratic Party of its perceived racist element when, forty years ago, its new appropriators turned their back on the old base - the rural Southern and Midwestern working class and the industrial workers in the Rust Belt, as well as the old union chieftains.

As Senator James Webb and the late Joe Bageant both, painstakingly, reiterated in their books, Born Fighting and Deer-Hunting with Jesus, the newly-controlling element in the Democratic party, some forty years ago pushed, relentlessly, the idea that this particular abandoned demographic was totally and utterly racist, irredeemably so.

They were the herd-following albatross around the new Progressive idealogues who'd taken over. They were to be tolerated, but not encouraged; and they were definitely not for engaging. Just let them turn out in numbers when election day rolled around. After all, they couldn't really relate to Republicans, could they?

That thesis worked so well. Not.

Neither did it rid the newly-minted Progressive Democrats of any shred of racism either. Even though Joan Walsh's meandering rebuttal of her "professional friend's" opinion piece eventually ends with a smug, self-congratulatory pat on the back to Democrats for "fighting racism" for forty years (whilst ignoring economic issues, according to Joan, ever moving the goalposts in a tactic learned from the Tea Partying Right), the "fight" is really just a euphemism for sweeping the problem under the carpet and looking the other way.

Anyone who came of age during the 1970s - and that includes Joan, as well as myself - would know that Affirmative Action (which was designed to help both racial minorities and women) was only ever designed to give those minorities and those women a small piece of the pie going up the ladder. At the end of the day, the white male would always prevail in society.

I had no doubt from the very beginning of his Presidency, that Barack Obama would be held to a higher standard because of his race, just as I had no doubt, had Hillary Clinton won, that she would be held to almost the same standard because of her gender. People closely examined John Kennedy's Presidency for evidence that he was, in some way, kowtowing to the Pope instead of the Constitution. I suppose the same would hold true should Mitt Romney (heaven forbid!) assume the Oval Office, regarding his faith, which many assume to be a cult and unChristian.

Even the President's oldest daughter, who was ten when he was inaugurated, remarked that as he was the nation's first African-American President he'd "better be good." So much for out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.

The very unease and anger that's unleashed every time people from the Left try to call their own out on racist remarks - or rather, remarks that ooze white privilege - is remarkable. Recently, we've had the Michael Moore-Bill Maher kerfuffle as well as Markos Moulitsas purging his Daily Kos site of most of the African-American participants because they dared speak out on perceived racist remarks made by his overly-white, overly-male contingent of regulars.

Also interesting is how people respond when race or racism is presented. Suddenly, the person mentioning it is perceived to be racist, and in the remarks accompanying Joan Walsh's rebuttal, there are many Progressives alleging that Melissa Harris-Perry, herself, is racist in making these claims. Considering the fact that, like the President, Harris-Perry is biracial, those allegations not only reek of Teabaggery, they're straight from the Glenn Beck School of Deep-Seeded Hatred of White People.

One of the reasons Joan Walsh refutes Harris-Perry's claims is that the professor (another biracial professor, yes?) offers no proof through polling figures. Firstly, that's absurd. As I said, who, apart from white supremacists and open Klan members (one and the same) are even going to admit to racial tendencies?

Harris-Perry counters that eloquently in her inevitable response to Walsh's article:-

The first is a common strategy of asking any person of color who identifies a racist practice or pattern to “prove” that racism is indeed the causal factor. This is typically demanded by those who are certain of their own purity of racial motivation. The implication is if one cannot produce irrefutable evidence of clear, blatant and intentional bias, then racism must be banned as a possibility. But this is both silly as an intellectual claim and dangerous as a policy standard...

Progressives and liberals should be particularly careful when they demand proof of intentionality rather than evidence of disparate impact in conversations about racism. Recall that initially the 1964 Civil Rights Act made “disparate impact” a sufficient evidentiary claim for racial bias...

I believe we must be careful and judicious in our conversations about racism. But I also believe that those who demand proof of interpersonal intention to create a racist outcome are missing the point about how racism works. Racism is not exclusively about hooded Klansmen; it is also about the structures of bias and culture of privilege that infect the left as well...

It is completely possible that I am absolutely wrong about white racial bias on the left against President Obama. Certainly, it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong in my political analysis. But listen to this for a moment white allies: many African-Americans (not all, but many) feel that the attacks on President Obama are racialized on both the right and the left. This feeling has meaningful implications for the quality of our national, political fabric. When we tell you that the attacks are racially troubling, painful, we would like you to take our concerns seriously rather than working to simply defend yourself against the claims...

Taking race and gender seriously as objects of academic inquiry is widely maligned, particularly in a social and political world that sees itself through the rose-colored lenses of self-congratulatory post-racialism.

I totally agree with this. People who've experienced racism or sexism, either directly or indirectly, learn to recognise the dog whistles and the euphemism. No less than that great Republican ratfucker, himself, the late Lee Atwater, who would never call himself a racist, spoke about how, over the years, people learned to use different words and phrases that weren't directly racist, but were just as racially charged; and the political operative, Atwater, wasn't afraid to use these apparati to achieve his ends, either.

Friday night, in no uncertain words, former Congresswoman Jane Harman handed Bill Maher his ass because she was offended by an overtly sexist remark he made about another woman. Bill went into coniption fits of denial that only made him look all the more the creepy misogynist he is. (And the Left promotes women's rights). It was no coincidence that another member of the Maher panel, Michael Moore, who'd been castigated by women's groups for offhanded remarks made about alleged rape victims, kept his mouth shut.

Melissa Harris-Perry and other people of colour have easily and frequently detected the not-so-subtle racism and dog whistles emanating from the Left, particularly in the euphemistic language that reeks of Atwater, which all-too-often pervades the unending and wanton criticism of this President. In fact, the level of criticism from the Left this President has endured has resulted from the higher standard imposed upon him by those people who really should be his allies.

When Bill Clinton's compromises with the controlling Republican Party were, by-and-large, accepted by the Left, one wonders why the same demographic brands Barack Obama as "weak" when he effects a compromise with a Republican Party which would make that one controlled by Newt Gingrich look like flaming liberals. One has only to look at assorted pundits, prior to any Presidential address, tell the nation what they think the President should say, and then listen to their carps after the fact, regarding their perceived inadequacy of the President's performance. Or just consider the number of people from the Left who have publically ridiculed the President as a "moron" or a "pussy" or a "coward." I wonder if their white privilege abounds in the ignorance that it was a common myth propagated by white society of the weakness and cowardice of the black man?

No one, least of all Melissa Harris-Perry, is saying that the white Progressives abandoning the President are racist, but a lot of their criticisms - including the revising of Hillary Clinton as the Progressives' dream girl - is not without an element of racism.

Racism doesn't recognise any particular political idealogy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Finally ... the Left Calls Sexism Time on Bill Maher

I wasn't at all surprised that, on Real Time with Bill Maher this week, no mention was made of Troy Davis's unjust execution and the ensuing protests. Even though death penalty opponent, Michael Moore, was a guest panelist, the host, himself, is a viral proponent of the punishment, so I didn't expect what I considered to be one of the most important news items of the week to even get a mention.

I would have been interested in seeing Billy spar head-to-head with his other big-mouthed BFF and fellow eternal manchild, Moore, regarding capital punishment.

Bill consistently labels himself a Progressive, but I don't know of anyone from the Progressive end of politics (and few who call themselves "liberals") who espouse the right of the State to take a life as a means of punishment.

But that's all right. I wasn't disappointed, because this week saw Bill being handed his ass by a real, honest-to-Pete, Left-of-centre Democrat about his blatant sexism.

And that's another thing "Progressives" aren't supposed to be either - sexist.

Bill's built up a reputation as a love'em-and-leave'em ladies' man - ne'mind the fact that most of the "ladies" have been from the high end of the sex worker marked and almost all artificially and pneumatically enhanced via silicone and collagen, or that he probably paid most of them for their services. In the course of his career, he's made a mint, making remarks that are clearly disparaging about women in general.

As per usual, the people on the Left titter nervously and defend him as being "just a comedian," whilst people on the Right say nothing, unless he happens to insult one of their iconic mother superiors.

I must admit, I got more than a bit uneasy when he referred to Sarah Palin as a dumb twat or that he regularly calls her the ruder word for "twat", regularly, in his stand-up.

I am certainly no fan of Sarah Palin. In fact, I dislike her intensely, but for any man to refer to any woman by what I deem to be the ugliest word in the English language (and certainly the ugliest by which to deem any woman), transcends sexism and lands firmly in the dominion of misogyny.

Here's a New Rule for Bill to learn: Any man who openly refers to any woman as a "cunt" has neither liking nor respect for women in general - not their wives, not their sisters, not their daughters and not their mothers. Think about that. And that goes as much for John McCain making that reference to Cindy as it does Bill Maher hiding behind the comedian's mask to snipe shots like that at various Republican women.

Until now, people from the Progressive Left have afforded Bill the luxury of the comedian's claim and have ridiculed any criticism from the Right concerning this.

But Bill jumped the shark on Friday night.

Whilst discussing the most recent GOP candidates' debate, moderated by Fox News, he referred to Fox's Megyn Kelly as "the blonde twink," affecting not to know her name and dismissing her question concerning public support for the President's proposed millionaire's tax as "dumb" and linking her perceived lack-of-intelligence to the fact that she was both female and blonde.

Here's the segment. It happens quickly, so note former Congresswoman Jane Harman's quick pounce and Billy's pissy defence:-

Get that? Bill promotes the classic defence of a naughty and petulant little kid, caught by his mommy with his hand in the cookie jar. First, he offers the insipid rationale that it would be sexist if he didn't insult Kelly. (How, exactly?)

Secondly, he pretends not to know who the woman is, when Bill's as avid a Fox News viewer as Rush Limbaugh. When he's not tuning into MSNBC (or appearing there), he's watching Fox, where another of his BFF overgrown manchild friends, Bill O'Reilly, works. He knows very well who Megyn Kelly is, as much as he knows how she and the Fox and Friends female couch potato, Gretchen Carlson, are both ridiculed by people like Bill and Keith Olbermann for being stereotypical bottled blondes, the likes of which would be inevitable punchlines in blonde jokery.

In reality, Carlson has a degree from Stanford, whilst Kelly has a law degree and practiced law for ten years before leaving the profession to become a journalist. A bit like Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur.

when Harman registers her offence and reminds Bill that he's only just interviewed Ron Suskind, whose current book is all about alleged sexism in the White House, when she reminds Bill that she's the only woman present on the program this week and that she, herself, is blonde, Bill's final desperate defence is that his criticism of Kelly wasn't because she was a woman, it was because she was dumb.

So there.

Take that, Congresswoman.

Then, like the eternal adolescent hissy-fitting against having his ass smacked by the adult in the room, he further inserts his foot into his mouth and shoves, by whining that no one ever called him sexist when he was complaining about how dumb George Bush was.

Well, no, they wouldn't have, for the simple reason that there's no way Bill's criticism of George Bush - a white, affluent, Ivy League-educated man (like Bill, incidentally) - could be deemed sexist. It certainly couldn't be deemed misogynistic, because Bush isn't a woman.

The proper response to Harman's reaction - the adult response should simply have been, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you."

After all, Harman was a guest on his panel, and his remarks offended her as a woman.

Interesting, as well, to note that Michael "rape is hooey" Moore kept his usually big trap firmly shut during the exchange, only to aid and abet John Avlon in trying to move the discussion away from any perceived misogyny in Bill's remarks and onto the more familiar political sphere.

Such discussion hits too close to home for Moore, whose misogyny, along with that of Keith Olbermann's, was revealed for all to see as those two sniggered, last autumn, about the claims of the Swedish women against Julian Assange. Misogyny is also just a hop, skip and a jump away from another spot of hot water in which Moore recently found himself, and into which he submerged Maher - and that little kerfuffle should be next on the agenda ...

Now, that leaves me wondering which Democrat/Progressive/Liberal/Leftie/Whatever-as-long-as-(s)he's-not-from-the-Right person is going to find the fortitude and courage to be openly offended the next time Bill Maher makes a racist comment about the President?

The clock is ticking now ...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Pariahs of the Party

I truly think Californian Democratic "operative" David O Atkins needs to listen to this song:-

If he's a good boy, drinks his milk and goes to bed early and reads his history, he'll find that song applied to all but two Democratic Presidents in the 20th Century and the Vice-Presidents serving the Democrats who were from the North. It was a Southern Democrat who presided at Richard Nixon's Watergate hearings. Twenty years ago, when Derval Patrick was still a schoolboy, a Southern state elected the first African-American governor, who today is still respected and revered as the elder statesman of our party in Virginia. The Democratic candidate for Governor of Mississippi is an African-American. Whether he wins the race or not, in a state like Mississippi, that's a landmark achievement.

David O Atkins loves to remind people that he's been a "long-term" Democratic operative - long-term in his case, having been 2004, when he first worked on Governor Howard Dean's campaign. I can accept his version of "long-term." David O Atkins is still a very young man. A boy. A cucciolo, as the Italians would say; and so, he may not remember that Dr Dean devised the Fifty State Strategy, wanting the Democratic party's candidate to campaign in all fifty states, no matter how Right, no matter how Red those states were.

Yet David O Atkins must disregard that strategy as insignificant, because in his recent blog on Digby's Hullabaloo site, he literally wipes my demographic off the electoral map - nay, out of the ballpark, out of the country even - as totally irrelevant and insignificant. Too pigshit thick ignorant even to comprehend a simple message, even when the Warren Buffett of bumpkins, Toby Keith delivers a broadside against the wealthy and corporations and calls for higher taxes in the name of patriotism.

If David O Atkins bothered to cast his mind back to 2008, I'll bet, initially, he, like most Progressive voters and starfuckers, supported the candidacy of one John Edwards, born Johnny Reid Edwards, to poor hard-working hayseeds in South Carolina. Johnny Reid originally was a straight-shootin' triangulated Clinton Southern Democrat, when he ran in the Vice-Presidential spot with ueber Liberal Northeastern Brahmin, John Kerry (another effort to capture the Southern vote). Johnny Reid talked slow and pronounced the slang word for defecation with two syllables, instead of one (read: sheee-at). But in 2008, with Hillary Clinton, centrist, certain to run for President, Johnny Reid re-invented himself as a Progressive and became the EmoProgs' darlin'.

But David O Atkins selectively chooses not to rememeber that Edwards hailed from such a beknighted and insignificant place as the South, not even worth registering on the Democrats' electoral barometer.

Speaking effusively on how well Elizabeth Warren's common sense message of how no one in this country got rich on their own, initially, he - quite rightly assumes that this should be the real rhetoric with meaning which drives the Democratic Party.

(Hint: It's exactly what the President is promoting, but no one in the press or the media is going with that. They'd rather spin and interpret his remarks as though he were speaking a language foreign to the lot of us.)

At first, Atkins seems to understand the task at hand for Democrats:-

Changing the system will come from voting people like Elizabeth Warren into office all across the country, proving that they can win using this sort of rhetoric, and then holding them accountable to their campaign promises.

Absolutely. I've always said that if you want a more liberal/progressive Presidential Administraton, the first order of the day is electing more progressive legislators.

But then, David O Atkins qualifies his message in a way that's totally and unmitigatingly anti everything the Democratic party ever represented. (Again, the emphasis is mine, albeit the italics are the author's).:-

And here's the little secret the Democratic consultant class either doesn't understand or willfully refuses to understand: this sort of rhetoric won't just win in Massachusetts. It will win in Omaha, too. It will win the day from Annapolis to Anchorage, from Kalamazoo to Kailua-Kona.

Will there be places this message won't win, and voters whose heartstrings it won't touch? Yes, of course. Most of those places will be heavily rural or bastions of the Bible Belt and the Deep South. But those places were unwinnable and those people unreachable anyway without destroying everything the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for.

The amount of contortion necessary for Democrats to win in places Warren's message won't work means those places aren't worth winning in the first place.

The Democratic Party would be far, far better off maximizing voter turnout in places where this message does work, than in weakening its message so much that its support becomes a mile wide but an inch deep.

Wow, good to know that I come from a place so stultifyingly stupid that my demographic simply isn't worth the outreach. I take exception to that, but even more, I take exception to the fact that by reaching out to the rural South and its voters, this will destroy everything the Democratic Party represents.

This boy, this snotty child of white, Texan - yes, he's from Texas - privilege reckons that reaching out and engaging with the working class and the working poor is contrary to Democratic Party principles.

The Democratic Party isn't the stuff of the Left Coast or the Northeast Coast. It's not the stuff of Los Angeles or Ventura County or Eugene, Oregon or Chappaqua, New York. It's not latte-drinking people who are appreciative of fine wine and the opera - hell, the Koch Brothers own the damned Lincoln Centre in New York City!

If he's nasty nice about interacting with the Southern working poor, black and white, he'd do well to remember that these were the people for whom Johnny Reid Edwards worked, purely on a pro bono basis.

If he's pushing the myth that all Southerners are Boss Hogg racists, then maybe he should check out the vast numbers of sundown towns prevalent in his own adopted state of California.

The fact that this man, this boy who's barely out of his twenties, is an elected official at county level and aspires to be an influential operative in the Democratic party enough to present himself as such, is not only willfully seeking to write off a significant demographic which used to be an important part of the Democratic party and could be again, because Democratic principles are what they need to re-learn and re-apprise again; but they can't until they engage with people who have been systematically demonised by people promoting a sinister agenda.

Maybe David O Atkins should speak with his parents more. They might remember a time when Republicans were demonised in the Democratic heartlands of the rural South and Midwest. But then, I suppose David O Atkins is one of those sophisticated Progressives, who are just bored to tears by stories of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Because people like David O Atkins are bored to tears and embarrassed by people like Lily Ledbetter, to the point where they'd abandon her ilk as unreachable and unimportant to the Democratic Party's goals.

Well, that's not my Democratic Party, and I'll bet it's not the Democratic Party of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Bill Clinton or the Roosevelts and the Kennedys.

David O Atkins needs to know that three swing states in the 2012 electoral agenda are Southern states - Virginia, North Carolina and Florida; and if David O Atkins is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention next year, David O Atkins will have to experience the Southern hospitality of Charlotte, North Carolina.

And I hope they're so nice to him, they shame that little Scallywag.

So just to emphasize my message with a repetition of the song unto which David O Atkins should harken, here's a different version, by the man who wrote it, himself. I'd like David O Atkins to listen to the words, but more important than that, I'd like David O Atkins, co-chair of the Ventura County, California, Democratic Party to know that he can kiss my rural Southern BLUE Virginia Democratic ass. The Democrats where I come from are solidly behind the President of the United States and want him to succeed. Unlike David O Atkins.

Maybe the California Democratic Party had best be looking at the operatives they put in positions of influence out there.

Hidden Democrats

Toby Keith, Democrat, says:-

I don’t know, but I expect the wealthy to write a check ’cause it’s as bad as it’s ever been. It would be unpatriotic not to try to save the country. I’m sure people will bitch about it, but if it meant we get to operate in this country and live here another day, then so be it.

One way or another, before it’s over they’re gonna have to come and take big money from the earners and big corporations to save the country. I’m sure that everybody that has a patriotic cell in their system will say, ‘If it’s gotta be done, it’s gotta be done.’ I’d rather live here and not have as much money than live anywhere else and have twice as much.

Yes, that's right, that Toby Keith. In the morass surrounding 9/11 and all the kerfuffle about flag pins and stepping up to the plate and patriotism, faux and otherwise, it's easy to forget that Keith is a Democrat. That he supported Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq (like a lot of other Democrats serving in public office ... like Hillary Clinton. That he voted for Bush in 2004.

But the boy came home in 2008. The prodigal son returned.

In view of the fact that an elected Democratic official from the Ventura County Democratic party in California, a man, who, himself, was born in Texas, has - in his self-appointed capacity as Democratic-political-pundit-who-knows-all (and knows nothing) - completely wiped the South and the rural Midwest from the map of relevance when it comes to the Democratic party.

That's it. Kaput. Not only are we unreachable, we're near-as-damn-it untouchable, pariahs in the worst sense of the word, an embarrassment to the country. A Confederacy of dunces.

Ne'mind the fact that every Democratic President elected in the 20th Century, except Roosevelt and Kennedy, was a Southerner; and the two Yankees who served, at various times, had Southerners as their serving Vice-Presidents. Hell, Jeff Davis's descendent and Robert E Lee's lateral descendent is now serving as POTUS, after having served as Senator from Lincoln's own state. If that isn't putting a nail in the coffin of the Civil War, then nothing can.

But the fact is that Toby Keith - Toby-fucking-Keith - who calls himself a Democrat, says exactly what the President has been saying repeatedly, day after day, for the past couple of weeks and beyond that.

That ain't making hay and it ain't whistlin' Dixie. No less than Forbes magazine recently listed Keith as the highest-earning country-western performer. So the Warren Buffett of country music, a Democrat, is saying he, and others like him, should be paying more taxes. Because not to do so, dang it, is just plain damned unpatriotic.

You know, like Toby, I'm a Democrat from the South. I know the media and the Coastal sophisticates who effect to control the Democratic party - you know, those who think of the rest of the country as "flyover country" or "shitkicking Deliveranceland" - don't think there are many of us left down here.

Well, as we say in the South, they don't know jack shit. So maybe it's time they learned.

I imagine Toby was raised the way I was, which was to believe that there were only three things a body could trust in life - God, your mamma and the Democratic Party. I'll just be satisfied with two out of three. Leave God alone, but that's just me.

Now Toby Keith's the sort of person who, if he said what he said above, people of a certain tranche and demographic would sit up and take notice.

The South and the rural Midwest are there for the taking for the Democrats. The old base they threw out with the baby and the bathwater forty years ago, have been on one continuous con by the Republican Party, who couldn't really give a rat's ass about these people in any way, shape or form, except to get them to vote against their interests.

If the Democrats can use big Hollywood names on a regular basis, maybe it's time we learned to use those high-profiled show business voices who sound like ordinary people and who can show these folk that Democrats are just like them and that you don't just have to put on a uniform and grab a rifle to show your patriotism. Patriotism is paying taxes to keep the country moving too.

Look to country. Look to your Toby Keiths, your Tim McGraws and Faith Hills, your Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwoods, your Alan Jackson, who tweeted his excitement two weeks ago to be performing for the President and meeting him. Democrats all, who can get the Democratic message across in words the common man can understand and to which he can relate.

Use country.

Funny thing. As the late Joe Bageant, a great Southern Progressive, often said. If you come into the South, the South embraces you. More and more African Americans are moving South - either returning after many years living in the North or relocating for the first time. The rather snotty historian, Rick Perlstein, visited Americus, Georgia, and was actually stunned that African Americans and whites intermingled freely in bars and social settings throughout the area. Moreso than in his Chicago. Ignorance showing much?

Maybe someone would be wise to suggest such a tactic to Debbie Wasserman Schultz. If the medium is the message, then I can't think of better messangers than these folks.

And there's no better message for the President to convey than what Toby Keith conveys in his latest song, "Made in America." That's what the message is all about.

EMO-lution, or Quitting Before You're Ahead

This whole week has more than convinced me that the extreme Left of the Democratic Party - the Progressives, the EmoProgs, whatever you want to call them - are their own, and by extension, the Democratic Party's worst enemy.

Let me reiterate: These people are not the base. No base of a movement would turn on its own and willfully seek to exclude a demographic it should be reaching out to embrace (the working class, specifically the Southern and rural Midwestern working class). No state branch of the Republican Party and 49 state branches of the Democratic Party would elect a county official of its administration who spent most of his time crying online to all and sundry about how totally useless their party's President was. But Ventura County, in California, elected a co-chair of its Democratic party who has all but given up on supporting the President to the extent that he's a pejorative influence on anyone even thinking of voting in the 2012 election, much less supporting the President. (See David O Atkins's Twitter feed, @DavidOAtkins; specifically his exchanges with more pragmatically minded Democratic supporters, for proof in the first person that the extreme Left is as bloody narrow-minded as their brethren on the Right).

You see, these people - people like the whiny Atkins (and I've reserved a particularly special blog to come dedicated to his own brand of bigotry and exclusion), the white male privilegists who've managed to turn the Daily Kos website into a bastion of sexism and segregation from the Left, and the ubiquitous band of Firebagging trolls who are desperately trying to set up residency on the growing list of individual pragmatic Progressive blogs who are pushing back on their bullshit, their lies and their willfully misinformative celebrity talking head icons - are a danger to the Democratic Party and to the sociological way forward for our country.

If anyone doesn't think that the 2012 Election isn't going to be all-out culture war, then you've got another think coming. This is about whether or not public education from K-12 remains intact as we know it. This is about a woman's right to choose and about her right to determine her own reproductive life. This is about the future of Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare - and, NO, the President isn't about to cut any of that.

This is about understanding English language vocabulary - like realising that "reform" is a positive word meaning "to make better" instead of misguidedly believing it means "to cut."

This is all about common sense winning over stupidity, and right now, the Progressive Left, is one of the most useful tools the GOP has in its battle for the hearts, minds and soul of the American future.

They love to see dissent on the Left, particularly, since the extreme Left has spent the past 3 years focusing on fighting and belittling the President as much as they have. That's helped the Republicans.

They love watching the CBC, led by Maxine Waters, snipe and gripe at the President. The GOP knows that those EmoProgs urging the likes of Waters and Co on don't realise that Waters is, herself, a cynical politician, one of the most corrupt in Washington, who is using big-mouth tactics in criticizing the President to divert attention from her impending ethics trial.

They love the fact that Ron Paul, the Stormfront-endorsed Republican Presidential candidate, has promised a seat in his Cabinet to EmoProg favourite, Dennis Kucinich, even promising to create Kucinich's dream department, the "Department of Peace." A fantasy combination of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, two evil elves clothed in a faux moral disguise, would send the EmoProgs flocking to vote for Paul, simply because both men favour legalising pot.

Oh well. When you're stoned 24/7, you might not notice that Ron Paul's "property rights" mean a reinforcement of Jim Crow laws or that Kucinich is pallin' around with dodgy dictators. When he's not plotting with Gaddafi against the US government, he's rollicking around Syria kissing Assad's assad.

The GOP loves all of this. They love watching the EmoProgs back and support these losers, especially when the people they defend take the moral high ground to criticize the President - even when that means, in the cases of Waters, the CBC and Dennis Kucinich, that these legislators are actually abnegating their own responsibility in governing.

The GOP loves this, because they're watching the Democrats do what we do best: implode. And, boy, this implosion is going to be bigger than the one we suffered in 1980. That lasted 12 years and gave us the Big Dog. This will last at least forty, and there ain't no Jesus at the end.

The GOP loves this, because they love watching the Democrats quit before we've even got ahead.

I'd love to be able to tell these spoiled brats either to fall out or fall in line, but they won't listen. Many people have tried to engage with them, but they employ Teabagging tactics of moving the goalposts, making themselves the victims or finally just ugly snarking and name-calling. They hate supporters of the President (Obamabots or Obots) as much, if not more, than they do the Rightwing.

I can't tell them. I can't talk to them anymore, but I came across a comment, made by VCThree, the pragmatic Progressive blogger and Tweeter, in response to a Firebagging troll who'd tried to create a presence of dissension on one of AngryBlackLady's excellent blogs. I'll let VCThree use his own words, because this is the best comeback to EmoProgs I've ever seen (the emphatic parts are mine):-

Oh, stop it. What you are is a bunch of quitters. Those progressives have done nothing but kneecap their own progress and quit for well past 30 years now–over the course of my entire lifetime–and they’re set to fold and quit again. You guys don’t fight; you lay down your arms, then whine when you get ran over, and then blame everybody else for your failure to do.

In 2000, I saw how you did your own hero, Vice President Gore, with much of the same undercutting and whining you’re doing now. I could get into how you failed to get all the toppings on your pizza by not working Congress, but seeing as you quitters don’t think Congress exists, and you’ve bought into that Imperial Presidency bullshit you were selling from 2005-2008, why waste the time?

I’m just going to lay it out there: The CBC doesn’t do shit, period, except when it’s members are taking bribes for themselves. Dennis Kucinich doesn’t do shit; hasn’t written so much as an economic bill in his entire tenure in Congress. But he (allegedly) was trying to help Libya blackmail his own government, so there’s that. And West, Smiley, et. al., don’t do shit; all those years of Black State of the Unions where they sit around discussing the same fucking issues, never yielding a plan, never building on forward momentum; just a promise to meet again in a year, pimp whoever’s book, and make jokes.

Yet some of y’all want credit for door knocks? Fuck your door knocks. You didn’t follow up with calls to your senator or representative to get the things you claim you wanted–didn’t call to close Gitmo, didn’t call to pressure them on the public option–but you want credit for door knocks, like that shit was worth $100 per door. Get out of here.

Stop overstating your effect on politics. What’s plain to see, here, is that you voted for a president, and intended to sit back on your fucking asses, and watch as your dreams of progressive utopia came true. You thought this was Disney World or some shit. Well…it isn’t. It never has been. But until you start realizing this, you will continue to live in a mirage, and quit at every difficulty that arises.

Frankly, I don’t care what you do in 2012. But stop fucking our country up, and stop fucking over the people you claim to want to help, because you didn’t get shit from Column A or Column B on your personal list of whateverthehell accomplished by whoever you think should serve as your progressive wizard-lord. I’ve watched this bullshit for 12 years, now. I’ve studied on the 38 years this act has been playing. I have had enough.

Step up, show your work, or get the fuck out of here.

Bottom line: The President always reiterated, even when campaigning as Senator Obama, that the change we can believe in lies within us. Change comes bottom upwards, not trickledown. Lord knows, we had enough of trickledown, and that worked so nicely, didn't it?

Bottom-up change takes time to effect, even years. It's the long ballgame. It takes patience and endurance. Sometimes, there are setbacks, but you don't give up. And small, incremental change is there to build upon. That's how the Republican party shed itself of its liberal and moderate Rockefeller and Hatfield types. That's how it convinced the working classes of the South, the rural Midwest and the Rust Belt that the GOP viewed their particular interests far better than the Democratic Party, their former natural habitat did. That's why what you're seeing now, and what you underestimated in the wake of the 2008 electoral win, didn't happen overnight.

It took forty years. And it started with Gary Hart, who wrested control of the Democratic Party from the Hubert Humphrey-types, threw what he reckoned to be the demographic crumbs to a Republican Party that was already a budding brew of Birchers and Dominionists. The party of the working class became the party of the Coastal elites, disdainfully championing the "middle class" (if it ever existed), whilst willfully ignoring the working class and the working poor.

The battle lines are being drawn now in preparation for 2012. Even the so-called liberal media of MSNBC, Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Joan Walsh and Markos Moulitsas aren't afraid to dogwhistle the nation's first African American President, even to the point of revising history and turning Hillary Clinton into a flaming Progressive beacon of light.

I call bullshit. I echo VCThree.

Step up, show your work, or get the fuck out of here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Longing for the Progressive Dick(tator)

I always knew there'd at least be talk of a primary at the end of this President's first term, if not an actual primary, itself.

A longtime conservative friend of mine once told me that history is instructive, but by no means is it determinative. However in some cases, it is: Every time a sitting President has been primaried, he's won the battle and lost the war.

How many times do I have to spell this out for the benefit of shallow minds?

Johnson was primaried in 1968, and the Democrats lost. Ford was primaried in 1976, and the Republicans lost. Carter was primaried in 1980, and the Democrats lost. Poppy Bush was primaried in 1992, and the Republicans lost.

That's enough instruction to embody a determinative gene.

Besides, notice what happened in each of the above circumstances, when the Democratic President was challenged. In 1968, we ushered in the era of Richard Nixon, whose Cabinet was dotted with closeted Birchers, intent upon yanking the political perspective to the Right. Not only that, we had Watergate, which exposed the rotten core of Richard Nixon's Presidency, but also gave us Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, Lee Atwater and ratfucking.

Politics would never be the same.

Carter's defeat in 1980 (courtesy of Ted Kennedy's primary challenge and alcoholic hubris) is still being felt today - 12 years of Republican rule, which gave us trickledown, deregulation of the financial industry, a scrapping of the Fairness Act, Rush Limbaugh and an introduction to Saddam Hussein.

Another thing that hinders elections is a third party challenge. Again, in 1968, those Southern Democrats and working class people from North and South of the Mason-Dixon Line, who didn't feel comfortable for whatever reason in voting for Richard Nixon, had the Wallace option. Poppy Bush was plagued by Ross Perot, and we all know what happened in 2000 with Ralph Nader and those eminent political sages who championed him. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Michael Moore, Bill Maher and Katrina vanden Heuvel).

Now, it seems that the demagogue, Nader, who relishes referring to the President as an "Uncle Tom", has combined forces with Dr Cornel West, who seems to be evolving (or devolving) daily into a cross between a professional Negro and a token minority at the dinner party of the 21st Century's version of the radical chic, seemingly, to organise a primary challenge to President Obama's leadership.

I'm pretty sure that this whole thing has a lot to do with hubris. Both men are incredibly egotistical, for all West affects a faux humble air and addresses everyone as "brother" and "sister." (Remember that this man is the son of middle-class profesionals, who has spent all of his adult life in the leafy and insulated white privileged communities of Ivy League academia, as far away from poverty as is geographically possible). It also has a lot to do with petty jealousy and prejudice. Where Nader refers to the President as an "Uncle Tom," West openly opines about the depth of the President's "blackness," and impugnes that because he's biracial and has friends and professional colleagues of the Jewish faith, he's not black enough.

For West, the President is as much "the other" as he ever was for the Teabaggers, but in reverse.

Nader, on the other hand, is all over the place. We know that in the past and even in the present, he's heaped praise on Ron Paul, he of the euphemistic "property rights" meme. Now, he's praising Sarah Palin as a "conservative populist."

Of course, this whole thing is destructive, and if it gains momentum, will only serve to serve up the country on a plate to 40 years of corporate Republican rule, the real end of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and a back to the future that was the late 19th Century reign of the robber barons.

But Nader and West are wealthy men, no matter how many miles West travels in his custom-made poverty bus, paid for by who knows who.

The scary thing is that this just might gain momentum, considering the abject intellectual shallowness, laziness and inability to think critically exhibited by various tranches of the so-called Progressive Left, which likes to think of itself as being the intellectual superiors of their Teabagging brethren on the Right.

Consider a recent article in their corporate news Bible, The Huffington Post, which reported that an icon of theirs, ex-Senator Russ Feingold, stated in strongly-worded terms that he categorically opposed a primary challenge to President Obama. One of the vapid commentators on that rag openly stated that he/she was totally in agreement with Ralph Nader ... until he/she read that Feingold was opposed to the attempt, so now he/she agreed with Russ.

I can only say ... what the fuck?

Since when did the so-called educated demographic stop thinking for themselves and follow the fashion of their favourite political idol? This is the sort of thing that is redolent of the adolescent's crush on a rock or sports star.

As numerous non-celebrity bloggers from the pragmatic Left, whose feet are firmly planted in reality and who understand the machinations of government and that politics isn't necessarily a beautiful thing to behold, have repeatedly emphasized: a lot of the blame the President cops could actually be laid firmly at the feet of Congress - and, in particular, the Congressional Democrats. After all, it was Russ Feingold, himself, along with Harry Reid, who implored the President to delay a vote on repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy until after the Midterms. That worked out so well, didn't it?

In point of fact, the way the Progressive Left totally ignores the Legislative branch of government and the equal power it wields in relation to the President's executive brief, leads one firmly to believe that they'd like nothing more than a Leftwing dictator, for all the imaginary power they invest in the person of the President.

It just ain't so, and TaNehisi Coates, writing in The Atlantic, nails the agenda behind Nader's and West's ultimate motives. Please note Coates's last word on this (my emphasis). It's highly prescient and scarily thought-provoking:-

Despite the claims of working on behalf of the poor, I'm forced to wonder if any of this would be happening had Obama returned a few phone-calls and put in some face-time. The presidential fetish on exhibition here, paired with a non-critique of Congress, the non-recognition of the need to build a more left-leaning electorate is amazing and anti-democratic. Nothing better evidences that than seeing Nader, a man who evidently believes Obama an "Uncle Tom for the corporations," turn around and praise Sarah Palin for her "conservative populism."

This isn't progressive. It's personal. And it's reactionary.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Word to the Whiners

It's ironic that this song was out around the time the Democratic Party imploded the first time. That was before most of this generation of whiners was about, so they wouldn't remember. What's even more oxymoronic is that some of these kidults are even getting elected to fairly important positions in state Democratic party setups.

Great. Fine. Peachy keen and dandy. I'm all for boy wonders, but when you elect someone to a ranking position in the party structure, the last thing you expect them to do is whine and moan and bitch about the person who occupies the highest position in your party - namely, the President.

The last thing you'd expect someone in this position of authority to do is purse his lips, jut his chin in the air, cross his arms and stamp his feet, refusing to engage with anyone who tries to reason with him that the constant onslaught of incessant Obama criticism of every little thing is self-destructive. Not just to the President, but to the Party and supporters, themselves.

How the hell does anyone expect to encourage people to vote and to vote Democratic, if all they hear is a constant, pejorative whine about everything the President does or doesn't do? I mean, who would want to vote for a person who's so bad and shoddy?

The operative in question refuses to recognise that he's the best secret weapon the Republican Party has. He's actually doing their work for them. He openly admits that he doesn't talk to ordinary people - "just activists and party operatives." And even though he's a Southerner, he wouldn't touch the South with a barge pole, because it's a well-known fact that "down there," they "spit on anyone" resembling a Democrat.

And then, the piece de resistance of this child's rejoinders comes when someone with some sound common sense reminds him that what we're seeing now in the Republican Party didn't happen overnight. It's the result of 40 years of hard and slow work, building a base bottom up.

It's long-term.

Mr EmoProg replies with a whine that he's been working for long-term change too. He started with Dean and Kerry.

Hang on ... Dean and Kerry?

Like seven years ago?

Seven years is batshit.

Seven years on from when the Republicans first started their dirty work, there was a popular Democratic President in the White House and a Democratic Congress. Did they get disheartened? Four years on from that, they had a Republican in the White House, endorsed by the unions and the votes of a demographic which became known as the "Reagan Democrats."

And 12 years of awful Republican rule ensued, which put us on the Road to Hell we're navigating now. That was still long enough to yank the country firmly enough to the Right.

Did I mention that the Democrats complied with this? Of course, they did. The Republicans started demonising "Liberals," so the Leftwing branch of the Democratic Party started referring to themselves as "Progressives" - ne'mind "progressivism" was originally a Republican concept.

The Republicans used Jimmy Carters abortive attempt to free the hostages in Iran as evidence that the Democrats were weak on defence, and they backed that up eight years later with a famous clip of the Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis looking like Secret Squirrel crawling around in a tank. Dukakis provided their Chief Ratfucker, the late Lee Atwater with more cannon fodder about the Democrats' perceived weakness on crime with this little gem:-

And then, there was the little matter of Democrats being morally weak, when the Crown Prince of Progressivism was captured on film being snuggled by his girlfriend who was young enough to be his daughter.

In case, young Mr EmoProg was too young to recognise or remember this incident, Gary Hart was the Democrats' great Progressive hope for President, just like Johnnie Reid Edwards was 20 years later; and both were scuppered for the same reason.

Working long-term, too, Sonny Jim, doesn't mean running around and handing out leaflets every four years for whatever Democrat you think might be the next Progressives' wet dream. It means starting, BOTTOM UP. Starting small. The PTA or dog-catcher, then the town council. It means years and years of engaging with people you think spit on you, engaging on their level and not in a condescending way. Who the hell listens to anyone who condescends? People want to bop a fist on the nose of such supercilious bastards. Working long-term means learning to speak the language of your target audience and showing them that you're no different from what they are.

It's not so difficult. If they're afraid that universal healthcare is "socialised medicine," then ask them if they'd like to have a doctor's appointment and not pay a fee on the day, or ask them if they had to go to hospital, how would they like NOT to see a bill? (Of course, your hard bit is going to be explaining how taxes would have to be raised to accommodate that, but if you get them to see that universal healthcare might actually improve their plight, you've scored an important point.)

Long-term, too, is voting for McGovern, when you really weren't all that turned-on by the man, knowing that he was going to suffer a rout; voting for Carter twice; voting for Mondale and Dukakis and Clinton, and clinging onto hope for Gore when you know that election was fucked through the combined chicanery of the Bush Machine in Florida, Ralph Nader and the celebrity dumbasses who promoted him, and - ultimately - the Supreme Court. And long-term is listening to what candidates say and not projecting your political wants and desires on what you perceive to be their tabula rasa. That's not smart. In fact, that's downright immature.

And long-term is not worrrying about who the hell is going to be President and why he's not as Leftwing as you'd like him to be. It's this simple message: If you want a more liberal Democratic President, you need to elect a more liberal Congress.

That's where the hard work comes in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remember the Working Classes?

When I was growing up in a Democratic kitchen, my parents made the difference between Democrats and Republicans abundantly clear.

Keep in mind that this was in the 1960s, and I was a small child, just starting school, when Kennedy was elected. Before I knew the real difference between Democrats and Republicans, from a child's perspective, I had always thought that Democrats were the good guys and Republicans were the bad ones. Democrats had John Kennedy, who was handsome, Lyndon Johnson, who looked like a nice man, and Hubert Humphrey, who was always smiling. They also had Harry Truman, who looked a lot like my favourite uncle, and FDR, whose picture still hung over the piano in my parents' living room.

Republicans, on the other hand, looked mean. Some of them looked like they'd been born sucking sour lemons. Barry Goldwater always looked angry, and people whispered it about that if he won the 1964 election, we'd all be in jackboots (not that I knew what a jackboot was at the time). As for Richard Nixon, he was the only person I ever saw whose very appearance on a television screen, made my father's face turn puce and caused him to shout and scream out any manner of four words and accusations at the television set, the nicest of which was "crook."

But finally, when I was about ten or so and asked my parents the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, I was told that the Republicans were for rich people and businessmen; the Democrats were for the working people. The working classes.

Then, sometime in the early 1970s, when I was old enough to cast my first vote for George McGovern, the working classes got sort of tossed aside. All of a sudden, people talked about the middle classes and have done ever since.

This morning, when the President pushed back at the Republicans' assertion that his demand for the restructuring of tax codes and the elimination of tax loopholes, the so-called Buffet Amendment, was straight-out class warfare, he did so in defence of the middle classes, who've spent decades suffering.

True. Very true.

But where are the words for the working classes? I know the President has spoken about them before. His compromise which he effected at the end of last year - the one about the two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts that all of the EmoProgs, the Professional Left and a fair few spineless Democratic cravens in the Congress (Yes, YOU, Peter Fuck-the-President DeFazio!) whined and stomped about - was effected and achieved with more than a few benefits designed to help the poor and the working poor.

The Democrats have always been the party of working people. As my Democratic daddy used to say, if you have to work to live, you're working class. I'll bet a lot of so-called middle class people today are in that same situation; and whether or not they came from working class roots, if they support the Democratic Partym they ought to embrace the fact that they work to live and that the Democrats work for them.

Well, they should. I'm not so certain about this lot on Capitol Hill. The only working people about whom they seem concerned are themselves and their families; but we put them there, and we need to reclaim the notion that they work for us. And if they don't, they get primaried and replaced with people who really do want to work for the working man.

Forget about the corporate Blue Dogs, unless they can be scared into realising what the Democratic Party stands for; forget about the insular, lily-white, affluent, elitist and ueber Left Progressives. Most of them are a hop, skip and a jump away from neocon mode. (Another thing, my dear old dad was fond of saying was that if one moved too far to the Left, one found oneself on the Right. We have Rick Perry, David Horowitz, Huey Newton and William Kristol as proof enough of that).

We need to remind our elected Democratic officials exactly what the Democratic Party represents.

Here's a hint, and a good piece of musical inspiration:-

So ... When Is a Racist Not a Racist?

I guess I feel vindicated. I certainly should feel vindicated enough to jump onto my chair and shout out, "See! There you go! I told you so!"

But I don't like to gloat.

You see, a couple of years ago, I started calling out no less than Bill Maher on some remarks, which I thought to be pretty racist, concerning the President. In fact, I had been more than a little perturbed with Maher for sometime, because more than anyone, Maher continuously pointed to the President's race - not some of the time, but all of the time. Each week, the subject of the President's race entered into the general conversation on Real Time, if only in passing - as if it were an issue, not for the people whom Bill was addressing at the time (his studio and television audience), but moreso for Bill.

In the same way, he never ceased and never ceases to bring Sarah Palin into the discourse as well. Especially when there's never been any real reason to discuss her at all, you can bank on Bill bringing up the topic of Sarah Palin.

But the President's race and Sarah Palin's antics are always mentioned in the context of comedy, as Bill's always been at pains to tell us.

He's a comedian. He tells jokes. So, as far as Bill is concerned, that gives him sufficient right to liken the President of the United States to an ineffectual, bumbling and elderly black man, or to infer that the President doesn't measure up to what Bill's assessment of real blackness means - i.e., one hard gangsta mothafucka with a concealed weapon under his jacket and another natural one down below. Funny haha. Not.

Since a comedian commands the traditional jester's role of speaking truth to power, this status also grants Bill the right of referring to Sarah Palin as a "dumb twat" on his television show, whilst referring to her by the cruder equivalent during his live stand-up.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that my emotions regarding Sarah Palin run the gamut from hatred to abject loathing, but I take more than just a little offence at any man openly referring to any woman by the c-word or even the lesser t-one, whether it's John McCain referring to Cindy or Bill making Sarah Palin jokes.

Because, you see, that's what they are: jokes.

And that excuses everything. Anything goes, as long as it's a joke.

Like Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann sharing a snigger about the women claiming they were raped by Julian Assange. I mean, that was hilarious. In fact, according to Moore, it was "hooey."

Because I've been calling the racist card on Bill Maher since he regularly started referring to the President as "Barry," (something I'd only heard old, white, racist Teabaggers do), I've been subject to some fine and dandy verbal abuse by the self-appointed Billbots. Many even told me that there was no way Bill could ever be racist - first, because Bill regularly dated African American women, and secondly, because ... well, because Progressives just aren't racist. They simply can't be.

Other, less strident, Bill fans just chalk his remarks up as "oh, that's just Bill. You know, he's an equal opportunity offender."

But the key is in the offence. I am a white Southern woman, and I can tell you that almost as much as any African American can hear a racial dogwhistle, a Southerner can as well - and that includes liberal Southerners (yes, Yankess, we do exist) as much as the Haley Barbour variety. And I was offended by those remarks.

I was equally offended by Bill further referring to the President as a "pussy," saying he had no backbone, calling him weak, basically using the most emasculating language possible, apparently not cognizant of the long and tragic tradition in American culture of emasculating the black man, a practice that dates back to slavery, when black males were only counted as basically being 60% of a white man's worth.

Now, either Bill Maher is a racist or he's suffering from the worst case of white privilege I have yet to see.

Probably both, I'd say.

But you can imagine my feeling of vindication when the super-blogger Angry Black Lady, whom I read regularly, happened upon Michael Moore (who describes himself as a "comedian") trying a bit of unguarded comedy with the ladies of The View, trying to explain his frequent virulent and just downright mean criticism of the President.

Moore, in that huckster-fuckster-aww-shuckster folksy faux Will Rogers manner, sets the scene for explaining why he's just so disappointed in President Barack Obama's performance thus far. He channels his good buddy Bill Maher, even quotes him, in reasoning that "he voted for the black guy, but the white guy showed up."

So, gee, it's not, you know, Mike's fault. It's the President's faulty genes.

ABL gives a reply to that that's absolutely masterful, and it's the sort of reply we all should be giving these wankspittles who pass their prejudices under the guise of a jolly good laugh:-

So, the black part of Obama is the gangster part, and there’s some internal struggle going on and the white side is winning?

I’m sick of this shit. I’m the daughter of a mixed-race couple, and I cannot even express how much this infuriates me.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this, but for now I have only one question: What the fuck?

It’s not a joke. AND IT’S NOT FUCKING FUNNY.

You owe black people and President Obama an apology, Mr. Moore.

You know, I've often heard it said that clowns or comedians or whatever you want to call them, are often deeply unhappy and deeply unpleasant people. I also know that comedy, or satire, as they like to describe their particular genre, often is used as a means of the comic getting his true message across - as I said, in a "funny haha" way. But this schtick resonates with some people.

My head's all over the place with this one. Their remarks offend me as a person, and they conflict me. On the one hand, are they exhibiting so much self-loathing of themselves as to assume ignorantly that a white President would necessarily be lamestream (to quote a well-known sage) whilst a black President would be President Badass by virtue of his melanin tone? Or are they simply pandering in the style of the radical chic? Were they part of the too-cool-for-school bunch who voted for Barack Obama simply because it would enhance their own brand and street cred to be seen to vote for the "black guy," so that now, when the politically fashion-conscious radical chic deem it mete to criticize, whine, moan and complain about anything the President thinks, says or does as inadequate, they do it in order to keep in with the in crowd?

When the Esquire contributor, Charles Pierce, can write his reaction to the 2010 State of the Union speech, with an optional soundtrack to accompany the article, and that soundtrack is the theme from "Shaft," when Pierce can only make pejorative references to this President in terms of his being an over-priced and underperforming basketball star, it's easy to see beyond what their ilk might describe as clever wit and glimpse the soupcon of racism in the tone.

There are so many ways you can dogwhistle.

And to prove I'm not alone, and just another batshit crazy Southern lady assailing the liberal icons that are Moore and Maher, Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones, hears those selfsame dogwhistles. Bless him, he even goes as far as (rightly) linking these men to another fat man with an attitude, Rush Limbaugh, yet another who draws a skewed analogy between the President and the fictitious detective, John Shaft.

"Did they think they were voting for Shaft?" Maher and Moore wish they had, and Limbaugh thinks they did. The difference is that Limbaugh doesn't seem capable of discerning between Obama and the black monsters of his own fevered imagination, while Maher and Moore are depressed that Obama doesn't embody the stereotype.

What Limbaugh, Moore and Maher all have in common is a common, reductive expectation of what a "black man" is supposed to be—aggressive, belligerent, intimidating—and Obama doesn't fit the bill. All three are embracing a paternalistic social tyranny of trying to define the acceptable limits of people's behavior based on their racial background, something that still happens even in America even if you end up being president of the United States. If you're president, though, it's much easier to just brush your shoulders off—dealing with those kind of expectations when you're an average person is considerably more difficult. Especially when the "liberals" are the ones saying stuff like this.

Drum alludes to the paticular type of patronising racism (easier to disguise) prevalent amongst certain parts of the Left and described by the anti-racist activist and writer Tim Wise. It's the same sort of concern troll behaviour so many knee-jerk liberals espoused when dealing with 1970s Affirmative Action appointees. I lived through that era and I not only saw that behaviour, I experienced it. (Being female often meant you were an Affirmative Action appointee too).

TaNehisi Coates, writing about Moore's faux pas in The Atlantic, drives the message home with a hammer (and well, he should):-

If you paid more attention to Obama's skin color, than to his speeches, the voluminous amounts of journalism noting his moderation, his two books which are, themselves, exercises in moderation, then you have chosen to be ignorant.

You are now being punished for that ignorance. No one should feel sorry for you. Try not being racist.

But this is exactly what these men, and many like them, did. They voted for the black guy for no other reason than it was cool to do so. It validated their self-worth and their own credentials as liberals or Progressives or whatever they want to call themselves. Never mind the fact that Maher favours the death penalty and Moore refuses to employ union labour on his film crews (despite showing up at the fashionable protest gigs to present himself as a union supporter). Supporting the first black Presidential candidate from a major political party, enhanced their own particular brand. And now that it's most fashionable for the radical chic to denigrate anything and everything about this President, Moore and Maher are lending their loud voices too.

Moore could show up with his cameras and his platitudes to the Wisconsin union protest, but he didn't show up in Detroit on Labor Day, like Jimmy Hoffa, imploring, urging, demanding that union members get their asses to the polls in 2012 to take their America back from the Tea Party corporate tools. And I never expected Maher to mention Troy Davis on his program Friday evening.

It's the basest sort of racism which assumes a person's behaviour is determined by his racial or ethnic background. Limbaugh is Limbaugh, and he's been getting away with this crap for twenty years. Hell, it's expected that he behave this way; but as Kevin Drum said, it's pretty shocking to encounter this sort of attitude coming from the Left, especially when the Left, collectively, holds itself to a higher moral standard and never ceases to remind the Right that they are better educated - and, therefore, better behaved - than their brethren on the Right.

Whether it's Moore longing for a black man's black man, or Maher whining about President Sanford and Son or Charlie Pierce assigning the President the role of the stereotypical "bad mothafucka" big D dick (as in detective) or even poor Joan Walsh's resentment of black people even considering themselves to be part of the Democratic race, it would be all too easy for me to assign such exhibitions of racism as indicative of the common ethnic background shared by all these people.

But I won't.

I just think it's time that we all start doing what ABL, TaNehisi Coates and Kevin Drum have done: call out the racism we see on our own side of the political spectrum. Racism doesn't recognise Right or Left, and there's no rule - not even an unwritten one and certainly not a Bill Maher New Rule - which says that racism isn't existent on the political Left.

All of the people listed above are living proof that it does.