The Watering Hole, Monday, July 13, 2015: What Should Be Done About The Confederate Flag?

Charleston Conservative Examiner Kyle Rogers posted a column claiming Lynyrd Skynard fans were “outraged” after the band’s sole remaining original member, Gary Rossington, announced they would no longer display the Confederate Flag at their performances saying that they didn’t want to offend anyone. Since the author of that article referenced a CNN appearance by Rossington it’s safe to assume that part of the story is accurate. As for the rest? Well, it’s clear the author is not a journalist. He writes, “However, there is a growing outrage among fans. Many say they have attended Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts for decades, but will never buy a ticket again. Twitter and Facebook have exploded with condemnation. Many are now calling the band a “fake,” who just own the right’s to the original band’s name.” He does not include any examples, however. Nor does he provide any links to this so-called “outrage.” Nor does he know the difference between plurals and possessives or how to use the apostrophe correctly. But he is clearly upset that the Confederate Flag is being rejected once again.

And why shouldn’t it be? I’ve been trying to find what the justification for continuing to fly that flag is. I read a lot that it represents “Southern Pride” and “Southern Heritage,” but I’ve been having a hard time finding reliable definitions of those terms. I found this from a Texas Progressive who claims that this heritage is based on white supremacy. And considering that it took a century for black people to even have civil rights because of opposition from the former states of the Confederacy, and considering that many Southern states STILL don’t want black people to vote and have said as much, it’s hard to see anything noble about the Southern Cause. A pro-General Lee Civil War buff, Joe Ryan, opened his excellent timeline of debates in Congress that led to the Civil War with teh assertion that it was caused by Racism, “plain and simple.” I have not had the opportunity to research this further, but the author of this article says that many Northerners did not feel it was possible to live with black people, and actually wanted the slaves to be free but to stay in the South. He says that had more Northern Members of Congress supported the Abolitionists and spoken up about how to resolve the issue of ending Slavery, the war might have been avoided. I honestly don’t know what the truth is on that subject. But one thing that is indisputable is that the Confederate States of America fired upon the United States of America, and their flag is the flag of Traitors. It does not belong on the public property of the United States of America. Despite all the hysteria from the right (including Conservative Democrats), we are not looking to ban the flag outright. Our primary goal at this point is to eliminate the Confederate Flag from public property, except inside museums. I’m conflicted on allowing an exception to any actual Confederacy Museums our govt maintains. If there are any, a small replica of it on the front yard sign would be okay. But not an actual flag flying from a pole. Not on public property.

As for flying it on private property, I’ll fully support your right to do so when you admit to me that it stands for White Supremacy and Enslavement of Black People, because that is historically undeniable. I’m not at all sure what the “pride” and “heritage” of the South is that the flag is supposed to represent. If it’s all about manners and hospitality then, yeah, but only toward white people. Jim Webb, who wants to be the Democratic nominee for President, but who will likely get no further than the short list of VP running mates, thinks the talk of taking down the flag is an attack on “Southern White culture.” Some wavers of the Rebel Flag, like the KKK and Neo-Nazi groups, freely admit that’s why they fly it. I just want any other citizen who flies it to publicly admit they’re doing it for the same reason. Then I’ll exercise my First Amendment rights and tell them what idiotic assholes they are. And, yes, I’m prepared to die for saying it. As a nation, we need to stop treating every opinion as if it’s a valid one, worthy of respect. Even mine if you find no factual basis in it. But an opinion on what to do with the Confederate Flag (General Robert E. Lee said it belongs in a museum) means nothing if the person holding it believes Slavery had little or nothing to do with the Civil War, or that it was just a side issue. Because that is not an opinion based on facts.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to ridicule racist assholes who still fly the Confederate Flag, or anything you else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: #KeepItDown

Saturday morning, Bree Newsome took matters into her own hands and removed the Confederate flag — a flag that celebrates a heritage of racism, slavery, and treason — from in front of the South Carolina State House.

Newsome and others calling themselves “concerned citizens” released a statement explaining, “Deciding to do what the SC Legislature has thus far neglected to do, the group took down the symbol of white supremacy that inspired the massacre, continued to fly at full mast in defiance of South Carolina’s grief, and flew in defiance of everyone working to actualize a more equitable Carolinian future.”

The flag was soon replaced, but the image of Newsome climbing that pole and removing it is indelible.

This is our daily open thread — Discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, June 20, 2015: Blame Anything But Racism

By 1852, the State of South Carolina was fed up with the Government of the United States and voted to secede from the Union. They forbore exercising the right of secession they claimed “in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States.” That was from the first sentence of South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession. They felt that Slavery was one of their “domestic institutions” and that the refusal of the Northern States to return runaway slaves, as actually required by the Constitution, constituted a breach of the agreement of the original thirteen colonies to be governed under it. So they declared their Independence in much the same manner (and at times quoting) as the Colonies did in our famous Declaration of Independence. (Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Nicholas Cage stole it once and pinned the theft on another guy.) There is no question that Slavery was a part of the Southern Heritage they defend to this day. And to defend Slavery is to defend the idea that some people, in particular black people, are less than human and can be treated morally and legally as property. That heritage is represented to this day by the Confederate Flag, in one form or another. (The “Stars and bars” come in various forms. One was the official National Flag, while another variation formed the Battle Flag.) To many of us, when you proudly display the Confederate Flag, you are insisting that the South was right on Slavery and the North was wrong. This is why the South has the reputation it does for being the home of racists. That does not mean, nor does anyone in the North truly believe, that everybody in the South is a dyed-in-the-wool racist. It does mean that racists can live in the South and not be bothered over their views.

So when a young white supremacist decided to callously murder nine unsuspecting, unarmed black citizens in one of the most famous landmark black churches in American history just because they were black, and for no other reason, the conversation ought to include the subject of racism, and why it is so acceptable to so many people in the South. (Whether or not examples of racism can be found in other parts of the country is completely irrelevant and beside the point. The discussion needs to be about the openly accepted racism in the South.) But conservatives are trying to divert from that topic and blame anything but racism as the reason Dylann Storm Roof killed all those people. People who hadn’t done a thing wrong to him. People who let him sit among them before he told them, “You have to go.” Once pictures of him wearing flags of the white-ruled nations of South Africa and Rhodesia went public, there was no doubt in any right-thinking person’s mind that this massacre was motivated by racial hatred. So it should come as no surprise that Conservatives reject the racism motivation and cling to their guns and bibles, to borrow a phrase.

[NOTE: FTR, what I am about to write I fully intended to write before I sat down to watch Friday night’s Bill Maher show. I didn’t get the idea from him any more than he got his idea from me.]

“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” [President Obama] said at the White House. Besides the clearly displayed racism shown in the massacre, guns are another issue the Right Wing refuses to discuss openly and fairly. But we can get to what the National Rifle Association (NAMBLA) has to say another time.

And quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after four black girls were killed in the bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala., 52 years ago, he said the lessons of this tragedy must extend beyond one city and one church. He cited Dr. King’s words that their deaths were a demand to “substitute courage for caution,” and urging people to ask not just who did the killing but “about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.”

It seems Dr. Martin Luther King’s niece and Fox News Channel contributor, Alveda King, would disagree. [NOTE: Full disclosure/confession/cry-for-help. For reasons surpassing all logical thought, Alveda King decided to follow me on The Twitter. I’m guessing after I questioned her there she’ll be re-thinking that decision. Cool.] She made a truly bizarre leap of logic to conclude that the Charleston Massacre was linked to abortion. You heard me right. Abortion. Okay, maybe you didn’t hear me. Maybe you heard a voice in your head you thought was mine. You should get that checked. And Alveda King should get hers checked, too. Is there something they’re serving in the green rooms at Fox that makes their contributors come out and say bat shit crazy things on live television?

There is no doubt at all that this massacre was motivated solely by racism. None. Zero. But Rick Perry cautions us to wait, we don’t have all the facts. It may turn out drugs were involved. You heard me right. Drugs. (Maybe the drugs are why you can hear me. I know that’s why I can hear you.) That’s after he “misspoke” and called the massacre an “accident”.

Sweater vest aficionado and Presidential Delusions-Filled former Senator Rick Santorum believed it was an attack on our religious liberty, even though at the time he said that it was known this was a purely race-motivated attack. US Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham, currently running for First Lady, sat down with other women on The View to stress the shooting was an attack on Christianity (it most certainly was not), though he seemed to express doubts about whether or not race had anything to do with it (it most certainly did).

Fox & Friends invited Bishop E.W. Jackson who jumped to the conclusion that because this happened in a church, it’s clearly an attack on Christianity. They completely ignore the comments the killer made prior to opening fire on almost everyone in the church (reloading several times) and cold-bloodedly telling one survivor that he was letting her live so she could tell everyone what happened. Which she did. And she said he did it because they were black, and for no other reason.

Also believing the motivation was unknown, SC Gov Nikki Haley emphasized the fact that the shooting took place in a house of worship, without mentioning the racism openly displayed by the killer. NRA Board Member Charles Cotton even went so far as to blame Pastor and SC State Senator Clementa Pinckney for the dead saying his opposition to guns prevented them from being saved. The leaders of Gun Owners of America, father-son duo Larry and Erich Pratt, also blamed Rev Pinckney.

But none of these people on the right want to blame the murders on Racism. Some allow that it may or may not have been a factor (Yes. It clearly was. The killer himself said so to the person he let live so she could tell us why he did it.), but they always reach for something else to blame. And the only logical reason I can think of for why they do it, is because deep down, they don’t want to admit they feel the same way Dylann Storm Roof did. They sympathize with Roof’s racist rantings, but they can never say so publicly. Others probably will. (I’m guessing Rush Limbaugh is going to cross the line on this one sooner or later.) Because they don’t want the South’s history with Slavery and their undying support of it, their view of it as one of their domestic institutions, to come under scrutiny again.

South Carolina still proudly flies the battle flag their army followed when they killed more US Soldiers than any other army in our nation’s history. Maybe we should reconsider our decision to stop them from seceding. And they can take all those people who think racism isn’t a problem with them. The United States will recognize the birthright citizenship of any SC citizen who wishes to remain here in the states. Racists need not apply.

UPDATE: The Perry campaign insists that from the context, it’s clear Governor Perry meant to say “incident,” not “accident.”

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about Racism or any other topic you want, in case that one is a little too uncomfortable for you.

Sunday Roast: This Week in *facepalm*

640px-Picard-facepalm

I can’t…I just can’t…

 

First up:  Joe Scarborough!!

“I’ve already said at some point, I want to get back into service, public service, and hopefully I can do it while a Republican’s at the White House,” Scarborough told rightwing talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

*cough* dead intern *cough*  Please proceed, Joe.

Next:  Unidentified racist USC fuckwit!!

In the photo, the woman can be seen using a red marker to list ““reasons why USC WiFi blows.”

Topping her list was the offensive racist slur [n*ggers], followed by “incompetent professors,” “ratchets,” “overpopulated campus,” and “parking.”

I hope Mummy & Daddy haven’t wasted too much money on little precious’s party weekends.

Lastly:  Kansas to ban welfare recipients from living the high life!!

According to the Kansas “Successful Families Program“, an eligible family of four in a “high cost/high population” area would be eligible for $497 in cash assistance per month in addition to receiving food stamps.

With that windfall, future recipients would be banned from using those funds to go on cruises, use them to pay for tattooing or body piercing, pay for psychics, or go to spas to get massages or manicures.

Additionally, funds may not be used in casinos, jewelry stores, video arcades, lingerie shops or any sexually oriented retail business, or to pay bail-bondsmen.

Because it’s not enough to treat families on TANF like they’re moronic children; the state has to grind the humiliation into their bones with the heel of its boot.

You know, I was going to call this post “This Week in Fuckery,” but I didn’t want it to be fifteen pages long — so I only chose three items.  You can thank me for my thoughtiness by liking the post, and leaving an insightful comment.  Or snark…rudeness — okay rudeness is acceptable too, but it has to be witty.  ;)

This is our daily open thread —  Hit me with best your shot.

Sunday Roast: Full Circle?

Stephen Fry discusses the power of language in our seeming quest to destroy “the other.”

I had a facebook “friend” who would respond to some of my posts in the most vile manner, and I asked her why she was being so vicious and aggressive.  She said she just didn’t think Liberals were moral people, so she didn’t really care about their [my] feelings.  WOW.

Like he says, once you dehumanize someone else, it’s possible to do just about anything to them — and it’s absolutely true.

This is our daily open thread — Be careful out there, people.

 

 

 

The Watering Hole: October 26 – 5 signs racism still rules politics (and much of this country)

Salon, by David Sirota

The double standards that exist in this country in regard to President Obama — and really, other people of color — is just crazy-making.  David Sirota has an article out pointing out just five examples, but there are SO many more.  Read his whole article at the link above.

1. Joe Biden Is almost never called a socialist or a Marxist.

I know, right!  I don’t remember any president in my lifetime being called “socialist.”  Joe Biden is on the ticket with the President, but people aren’t railing against him as a socialist.

Despite a Senate voting record and presidential policymaking record that align him with moderate Republicans from a mere decade ago, Obama is regularly derided as a socialist, a communist or a Marxist. By contrast, Obama’s own white running mate, Joe Biden, has as liberal — or at times even more liberal — a voting record as Obama, but (save for the occasional Newt Gingrich outburst) is almost never referred to in such inflammatory terms.

2. Romneycare is Obamacare, yet the latter is criticized.

It’s all fun and games until the black guy does it.  Then we’re dooooooomed!

Nonetheless, under the first African-American president, the very same healthcare model the GOP championed is now being held up by the GOP as a redistributionist boondoggle.

3. A white president would never be criticized for these statements about Trayvon Martin.

After the incident, Obama said “When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together.”

How dare the President speak compassionate words after a tragedy?  And who does he think he is, saying anything about any possible investigation?

4. America would neither ignore nor laugh off a young black male relative of Obama publicly fantasizing about violence against a presidential candidate.

Oh my god, Fox would never talk about another topic.  EVER.  The nerve!

As I reported last week, Romney’s son, Tagg Romney, cheerily riffed on his fantasies about committing an act of violence against a sitting president of the United States…if a young black male relative of Obama went on a radio show and publicly said he wanted to “jump out of your seat (and) rush down to the stage and take a swing” at Mitt Romney” — it would be an instant national outrage, replete with headlines about an imminent race war and Romney’s desperate need for beefed-up personal security.

5. If one of Obama’s teenage daughters was unmarried and pregnant, it wouldn’t be considered a “private” matter.

Oh wait, Fox would stop talking about an Obama male relative wanting to take a swing at Romney for this.  Ohhhh, just imagine the glee with which they would throw around terms like “ho,” “baby daddy,” and “welfare queen wannabe.”

When Sarah Palin was put on the Republican ticket in 2008, Bristol Palin’s pregnancy did not initiate a national discussion about the issue of teen pregnancy, unprotected sex or promiscuous fornication outside of wedlock. Instead, conservative leaders insisted it was off-limits as a topic…

Of course, the Obamas, knowing that this hypothetical daughter was pregnant, would never have exposed her to such treatment, because they would have politely declined a VP offer — because they have class — and because they don’t have access to white privilege.

There is a shameful ugliness in this country.  Electing Barack Obama as President in 2008 didn’t cause it, but it sure brought the racism many Americans had hidden so well — even from themselves — to the surface.  I, for one, am no longer willing to simply be embarrassed for these people, while saying nothing.  I will look them in the eye and say, “I don’t know if you’re a racist, but what you just said was a racist/bigoted statement.”  I’ll be willing to discuss why something is racist or bigoted, and how that sort of thing divides us as a country and as human beings, but I will not hang around for blustering denials or counter-accusations of racism — no matter who I’m speaking to. I will simply walk away, because I won’t have that sort of person in my life — no matter who they are.

The hate is not going away because we laugh at their ignorance and their stupid signs, but enough of us eject that sort of person from our families and circles of friends, it might have an effect.  Enlightened ones are always welcome back.

This is our daily open thread — yeah, I haz a rant.

An Open Letter to Obama Haters

I found this open letter on Facebook, with a link to Democratic Underground, but with no attribution.  I’ve posted it in full, with no changes.

I think it has an excellent message for those who cannot reconcile themselves to the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

To your distress, for most of the rest of your life, you will bear this:

That Barack Obama, whether re-elected or not, will always be President.

He will always be the man from a mixed race background that became the President of the US, he and his wife will be welcomed throughout the world by nations and their leaders, the most influential members of the arts and sciences will be their acquaintances and companions.

He will be regarded and honored as the President who entered office during a deep recession and two wars and turned the country around.

You will always justify your lack of achievement on the unfairness of every system, your lack of success on the government or regulation, and your failure to accomplish anything in a country where impoverished immigrants with limited language skills are succeeding around you on the liberals or the communists or the elites.

The small satisfaction you garner while spouting derisive comments here only exists in your self-delusion and is a pale comfort compared to the reality that exists around you.

You can try to salve your bitter existence with theories of international Kenyan plots or document fraud, whatever.

But that is your future.

Your world will always be limited by your small-mindedness, your associates only those that are as poorly adapted to the world around them, your accomplishments non-existent and your life a bitter existence.

It’s time to move on.

In your journey into denial, you’ve already sacrificed your conscience and whatever claim to character you had.

Your pretense at a deity derived morality is mocked by your myopic hatred of the ‘other’.

Your concept of patriotism is waving a child’s flag on the sidelines as others defend your liberty.

Bush 41 and spouse are living into their nineties, the Obama’s will too. You’ll see them at the inaugurals, your TV will tell you of their lives and that of their daughters, of their successes and their trips and the books they write and their accolades.

Make it easy on yourself.

Take a deep cleansing breath and just let go, make the best of your situation.

Whether re-elected or not, he will always be the 44th President of the US, and your children and their children will read of him in their history books, the first black man elected president of the US.

If not re-elected, he will be healthier and wealthier than he is as President, but he is willing to make that sacrifice for you.

You still live in a free country made more safe and prosperous by your President, and he, the First Lady and their children will always have you in their prayers. ”

Taking America forward instead of taking America back.