Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year of the Cockroach

If nothing else, let it be said that the Presidency of Barack Obama proved one precise thing: That the United States is not a post-racial country. More importantly - as 2011 revealed - racism is as rampant on the Left side of the political spectrum as on the Right. More subtle, perhaps, and with a decidedly different flavour, but it's there all the same.

Add to racism, misogyny, as well. We're all familiar with the Religious Right's war on women - the efforts to curtail and then to make illegal abortion, efforts in some states to make all sorts of contraception illegal, personhood initiatives. It seems, in some instances, people who identify with the Left can live with those things, if it meams getting rid of Barack Obama. A small price to pay, surely.

No one likes being labelled a racist. Not even known or exposed racists like being fingered as one. But for the longest time, the Progressive Left have seen themselves above that sort of thing, to the extent that many confidently asserted that racism simply does not exist on the Left.

And the Barack Obama was elected.

In the United States, we are ill-served by our political media. They are populated by known hacks (Halperin, Fineman), trust fund babies whose careers were bought for them (Katrina vanden Heuvel), soccer moms with furrowed brows (Joan Walsh), social climbers (Arianna Huffington), failed lawyers with an axe to grind (CenkyStank and Gigi Greenwald), ex-sportscasters with an ego the size of Brooklyn Bridge and a maturity level the size of an amoeba (Keith Olbermann) and assorted comics with a bathroom desire to be taken seriously as political pundits (Bill Maher). Not to mention the Boys' Brigade and their Troop Leader (Adam Green, Chris Hayes and Scout Leader Michael Moore). And let's not forget the hootin'n hollerin' version of Southern Rush, Ed Schultz.

If you've ever lived in a place infested by cockroaches, you know how quickly they can appear. The Professional Left, who serve as "interpreters" or spokesmen for the liberal political media have proven themselves to be veritable cockroaches infesting the Democratic electorate ever since the election of Barack Obama in 2008.

Almost immediately, Arianna Huffington led the fray, complaining about every undertaking the Administration proposed from January 2009. The Cabinet wasn't up to Her Majesty's liking, especially the appointment of Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary. Almost immediately, The Huffington Post built a narrative of Geithner as the traitor who would ill-serve not only the President but also the public in general. From there, her complaints continued. Her reporters - wet-nosed puppies who'd be pounding the beat on bake sales in parochial papers, learning their trade - were encouraged to quote shady "anonymous sources" who "knew the minds" of various Cabinet members/advisors etc who were being targeted as inadequate to Progressives' demands.

Then the ubiquitous name-calling of the President began. To Huffington, the President became "Nowhere Man." But the real damage started in the run up to the Midterms, when Huffington trolled the country, passing the meme that Obama was just not into the Middle Class. She was still preaching this mantra even at the beginning of 2011.

Huffington was a powerful voice for Progressives. I say "was," because she never really was one, only except to the extent where she could make a swift buck. I always questioned why the media and the liberal political commentary media took for granted her Damascene conversion, literally overnight, from virulent neocon to ueber Progressive. "Shallow" is not descriptive enough of their mental facilities in questioning such a volte-face.

But since Huffington sold her rag to AOL and assumed the mantra of a media moghul, herself, becoming a veritable corporate whore in addition to the media whoredom she dominated so well, her rag has become legion with nothing but anti-Obama rhetoric; and her lily-white staff resemble the privileged end of the Young Republicans.

Ask yourself if anyone presenting themselves as a spokesman for the 99 percent, would be seen, promoting herself and her editor, pallin' around the society end of Los Angeles in the toyboy's latest boy toy:-

The 2010 Midterms were the start of the great cockroach invasion. We all know what happened when the foghorn tones of Ed Schultz commanded the Progressive sheeple not to vote.

But the two most revealing pejoratives to come out of the past year, concerning the Professional Left, were the open misogyny and racism.

2010 ended with Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann descending into fits of shits and giggles over the claims of the women allegedly raped by Julian Assange. Basically, both men - who both appear to have severe issues regarding women anyway - dismissed the womean as irrelevant and their claims as "hooey." You can read a brilliant account of their on-air exchange, complete with transcript on Melissa McEwan's Shakesville site here.

If that's not enough, 2011 ended and 2012 began with Glenn Greenwald's cheap shot joke about the President raping a nun. This came about as a result of Greenwald being questioned by another lawyer on Twitter regarding inaccurate and deliberately misleading remarks he made regarding the NDAA bill. Instead of answering the questions posed, Greenwald did his usual party piece of slinging ad hominem and punching down, offended that a mere member of the public should question his opinion. This then descended to the point where he made a frightfully disgusting joke, for which neither he nor any of his associated minions at Salon deigned to apologise.

That's another thing about the Professional Left. They have each others' backs to a point where it's practically incestuous. When various tweeters on that social networking site then alerted Greenwald's editor at Salon, Joan Walsh, to what was said and demanded that she or Salon respond in kind to what was an insidious remark, Walsh, instead whined about all the hate trolling coming her way about "someone she was asked to denouce" and then announce she was blocking those people.

Another trick of the Professional Left, all those who deal in the social networking sites. They pretend they want to interact with their readers or followers, but once a person with no claim to fame of influence disagrees with their opinion, they first resort to ad hominem (Walsh always implies that anyone who doesn't see her point of view is mentally deficient - "get help" - whilst people like Olbermann or Greenwald insult people's intelligence with words like "moron") and then they block. Hey, if we don't see you, you're not there. (Hold that thought).

Walsh has run into problems, herself, this year, when she got into a tussle with African American bloggers on Twitter, for having deliberately misinterpreting Ismael Reed's remarks about the Democratic base. to the extent that Walsh actually blurted out the infamous remark about resentingn black people who say they are the President's base. You can read all about that encounter here, here and here.

Walsh was like a stereotypical harridan from that point. A low point in discourse (but not as low as admitting her resentment of black people) was Walsh tweeting that all people who were vociferous supporters of the President were nothing more than GOP trolls paid by Andrew Breitbart. She even referred to the President's supporters as "Obamalovers" (a favourite term used by resident Salon bully and race-baiter Glenn Greenwald and a euphemism for another word).

The irony of the Breitbart reference came during Weinergate, when Joan's polemic, accusing Breitbart of doctoring "evidence" in order to smear Anthony Weiner, actually in the end validated Andrew Breitbart as a journalist. Go figure.

But Walsh's racism was really brought to the fore in the latter part of this year - hers and that of two other Salon scions, David Sirota and Gene Lyons. It all started with Melissa Harris Perry's seminal opinion piece entitled "Black President, Double Standard: Why White Liberals Are Abandoning Obama."

In the article, Harris-Perry compared the President's performance with what Bill Clinton, the last Democratic President and the one currently being revised in history by various Progressives as a great white hope, achieved, and concluded:-

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.

More than any other place in the blogosphere, Salon erupted with a flurry of blogposts, decrying Harris-Perry's conclusion. Salon, let it be said, has been the favoured rabbit hutch of disaffected PUMAdom for the past three years. No less than wannabe Ninja fighter David Sirota weighed in with an invective, likening Harris Perry and the President's supporters to the Ku Klux Klan (I'd provide a link, but the article has since been taken down by Salon). Then veteran Clintonista, Gene Lyons, a product of the University of Virginia when UVa was all male, all white and all rich, produced the most racist, sexist piece of tripe ever to be published by a so-called Progressive publication, wherein he implied that Harris-Perry attained her academic position by racial intimidation and her position as political analyst on MSNBC via her good looks. You can read this piece of garbage here.

But the piece which sparked a subsequent response by Harris Perry was an overly-long and rambling article in response to Harris Perry's original work, by none other than Joan Walsh, wherein she dismissed Harris Perry's arguments as divisive and insignificant and smugly and patronisingly referred to Harris Perry as her "professional friend." You can read Walsh's special bit of dog-whistling here.

Walsh's article, wherein she basically challenged her "professional friend" to prove that racism on the Left exists, elicited an almost immediate response from Harris Perry. Please. When a person of colour identifies racism, listen. When a woman cries sexism, respond. To ignore either thing, is to cease immediately identifying yourself as either liberal or Progressive. Harris Perry's response was measured, but sharp:-

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. In other words, a plaintiff did not need to prove that anyone was harboring racial animus in their hearts, they just needed to show that the effects of a supposedly race neutral policy actually had a discernible, disparate impact on people of color. The doctrine of disparate impact helped to clear many discriminatory housing and employment policies off the books.


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.

And, ultimately, the absolute kickdown to Walsh's assertion of friendship with Harris Perry:-

Which brings us to a second common strategy of argument about one’s racial innocence: the “I have black friends” claim. I was shocked and angered when Salon’s Joan Walsh used this strategy in her criticism of my piece. Although I disagree with her, I have no problem with Walsh’s decision to take on the claims in my piece. I consider it a sign of respect to publicly engage those with whom you disagree. I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We’ve eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way. Watching Walsh deploy our professional familiarity as a shield against claims of her own bias is very troubling. In fact, it is one of the very real barriers to true interracial friendship and intimacy.

Racism showed itself, again when Michael Moore brought Bill Maher into the argument by quoting him, saying that when he voted for the President, he voted for the black man, but the white man showed up. Needless to say, there was no apology forthcoming from either Moore or Maher. They chose to ignore the fact that such a disgusting thing had been said at all, although it's not the first time Maher has indulged in racial stereotyping and race-baiting and disguised it as comedy.

It was left to Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Serwer to respond to Moore's and Maher's assumptions.

Coates called out their ignorance:-

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.

Serwer actually made a direct comparison in the racism of Maher and Moore to that of Rush Limbaugh and concluded:-

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.

Moore and Maher have graduated from race-baiting, which was largely ignored or excused as "comedy" by the Professional Left; now they've moved onto a more perfidious meme - exhorting peole not to vote. They've effectively given up on the President. Maher repeatedly whines about President Obama not exhibiting any real Democratic policies, which is, of course, a blatant lie. But people such as he depend on low-information voters on the Left to hang on his every word. What he's actually doing is something of which the late Lee Atwater would be proud. It's the evolution of dog whistling language. "Community schools" and "enforced busing" have now become "no Democratic principles" and "no backbone."

In 2011, for the Professional Left, racism became the new black.

And in addition to advising people not to vote, we've got the Cenks and the Greenwalds, encouraging people actually to abandon the President and throw in their lot with Ron Paul. For the low-info voters on the Left, Paul's the one who'll legalise pot (so they can smoke enough to become really low-info voters) and bring all the troops home (and discharge them to mass unemployment); for the better-off of the Professional Left, sure they know a Paul presidency would mean the end of Social Security and other welfare net programs, as well as public education and a woman's right to choose. But as Greenwald put it, sacrificing Social Security was enough so that no more Muslim babies be killed by an evil Obama drone. And, really, racism engendered by the Drug Wars is far more pernicious than anything Ron Paul said in any of his newsletters.

The answer as well to an uncomforably close association with assorted Klan members, Stormfront troopers, survivalists, Truthers and general misogynists is simply to look the other way. If you refuse to see it, it's just not there.

I dread 2012. I dread the election. I am, by nature, a pessimist, and I dread what fighting a two-front war as a Democrat will mean. I want something done, though, with the Professional Left. I want someone of caliber -and the PragProgs are firing the salvoes of a small band of resistance fighters - to call out these clowns for the underminers they are. Their racism and their misogyny have been exposed. Fight them with it.

Time for the Professional Left to be confined to the woodwork ... with their friends.


  1. Emilia,

    Ratfuckers and Cockroaches are apt descriptions of many on the PL. Thanks for telling it like it is. These people will do/say/write anything to advance themselves and their careers. Those on the left who suck up to them and look to them for guidance need to realize that it doesn't matter to them who controls the WH and Congress, or what they do, because the impact of their odious policies will have little impact on their lives/lifestyles, but they will have a big impact on the lives/lifestyles of their sycophants.

  2. I agree, something needs to be done about these people trying to depress the Democratic vote. At least we know that engaging them in serious debate doesn't work. I believe Schultz is the most salvageable. His problem is that he's not smart, very emotional and says the first thing that comes to mind. There's still hope for Walsh and vanden Heuvel also