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.

The Watering Hole, June 15, 2015: Where Do They Get These Dicks?

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch (A project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement), we learned this weekend of several dicks for which Society, frankly, has no good use. These are people who, despite any position of prominence they may have previously held, hold viewpoints your normal person with an IQ in the three-digit range (such as you, Dear Readers) would call “dickish.” Let me elaborate a little.

Rick “Dick” Perry
The former Governor of Texas, best known for being an idiot of the highest magnitude despite the brainiac birth control glasses he’s taken to wearing lately, is claiming that President Obama lacks executive experience to properly deal with ISIS/ISIL/IS/Assholes. And Rick Perry does? These aren’t children fleeing oppressive regimes in Central America, Dick. These are well-armed maniacs willing to die for a myth not that far removed from the one you believe. You both claim to worship the same God, although by different names. You just show that love differently, especially in whom you choose to execute and how. Absent from your cogent analysis, besides analysis, is the fact that the problem of ISIS was created by people who think just like you. It takes a big Dick to complain that Obama doesn’t have a solution to a problem your predecessor and think-alike created. If President Bush/Cheney couldn’t prevent it from happening, what makes you think President Obama should be able to?

Richard “Dick” Land
You might remember this Dick from his days as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, until he claimed the Obama Administration had no interest in Justice for Trayvon Martin but just wanted to “gin up the black vote.” They have since found themselves someone else to perform his duties, so it’s a wonder to people like me who can think critically why anyone would consider his viewpoint worth hearing. Uncritical Thinker Sandy Rios In The Morning wanted to know, so she invited Dick on her program. Dick is really afraid of Teh Gays.

Land blamed such trends on “a broad cultural assault on biblical values through the media, through entertainment [and] through MTV,” specifically calling out the “gay and lesbian, bisexual community” for its “sustained campaign” to “propagandize” Americans.

Evangelizing is also propagandizing, but that’s beside the point right now. If you’re going to bash the LGBT community because the Bible tells you so, then why are you not also calling out all adulterers and fornicators that the same Chapter of the Bible tells you to equally bash? Why is it only the LGBT folks you fear? And it is fear. Why them and not the others? You never mention businesses being allowed to not do business with adulterers, or young people having sex out of wedlock. These things don’t seem to instill the fear in you that gay people do. I have a personal theory about people like you, who worry so much about what gay people are allowed to do. Although there is ample anecdotal evidence that people such as yourself are secretly gay, my theory is different. I think that you’re worried not about being anally penetrated by a man, but that you won’t find the experience as unpleasant as you’d expect. And this would force you to rethink your worldview. And you’re afraid of what the results might be, so you don’t ever want that to be a possibility. And you think that can’t happen if gay people were just made to go away and never show themselves to you. Well, that ain’t gonna happen, Dick. And neither are you going to be anally penetrated by a man. Unless you want one to. We won’t stop you.

Rick “Dick” Wiles
People like this Dick scare me a little. It’s not just that they seem to earnestly believe the nonsense they spew about the End of the Word coming, but that they’re not the only ones, and they have followers who believe the same insane nonsense. That the Bible predicts how the world will end, and that we are approaching those End Times. What fascinates me about this silliness, is that there is a sharp disagreement over the Logistics of how this Rapture thing will unfold, to the point where Dick got his Program chopped off by the station owners who went with the Competing Theory.

On Wednesday, fanatical End Times radio host Rick Wiles kicked off his radio program with a long attack on what he claims is the false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture, which is the idea that Christians will be taken up to Heaven before the world descends into war, famine, and chaos prior to the return of Christ.

Wiles was outraged that this view is widely held among conservative Christians today, but the real target of his wrath was the board of directors of Christian radio station KATB in Alaska, which voted to stop broadcasting Wiles’ radio show just three days after it began airing on the station because he preached against this doctrine.

But it is Wiles who will have the last laugh, he declared, when Russia invades Alaska as God’s judgment upon America for homosexuality.

“All I can say to the KATB board of directors is you guys will be the first people to see the Russian soldiers moving across the Bering Strait to invade the continental U.S.A. and bring judgment to this country for becoming a land of sodomites,” Wiles said. “Don’t worry. You will be raptured before World War III begins, right?”

A couple of things, Dick. As I told the other Dick, there are other things that have been going on since the country’s founding that violate the same Chapter of the Bible you cite as justification for your views, but God’s never done anything about that. Also, invading Alaska would be stupid, as Canada would immediately get involved to defend its borders, and the land invasion would do nothing but get troops killed. And Putin may be crazy but he’s not stupid. I also don’t think he cares enough about marriage equality to invade us to stop it. I’m pretty sure the United Nations isn’t going to let him get away with that. Nor would the people of Alaska. You think these people who openly talk about secession don’t believe they can take care of themselves? You’d be better off skipping Alaska, keeping a blockade above the Pacific Northwest, and invading the State of Washington, where they’re all happily stoned. Lastly, I honestly don’t know how Conservatives can claim to be followers of an obvious Liberal like the character Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as portrayed by the very white American actor, Jeffrey Hunter, who came back (as foretold in Revelations) to command the USS Enterprise.

Michael “Savage” Weiner
In case you didn’t know, professional misanthrope Michael Savage’s real last name is Weiner. I do not know, nor do I care, if he has legally changed his last name to Savage, but that is certainly his DBA name. Michael Savage. Sounds so masculine, so macho, so not-at-all compensation for being beaten up continuously in school for having the last name Weiner. I’m guessing it was immigrants who administered most of the beatings, as The Weiner has a serious grudge against them. He wants them deported, every single one. After expressing his love for Sen Joseph McCarthy, The Weiner said we should work out a deal with Russia to build Siberian internment camps where we could send all these deported people. Except it wouldn’t work, Weiner. Because Russia would just train them all, put them in uniform, and send them in to invade Alaska where, quite frankly, they wouldn’t care what happened to them, because they’d become the problem of the Independent Country of Alaska.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Dicks or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 12th, 2013: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Twenty-five years ago this month, I went to the Women’s Health Pavilion in Dobbs Ferry, NY, to have my tubes tied.

Wayne and I were planning to get married in October that year, and had decided that, since neither of us felt that we had the temperament to raise children, having my tubes tied was the best route to go. I had been on the Pill off and on for about 10 years, and didn’t want to be exposed to its possibly harmful side effects anymore.

Even back then, as a fully-grown 32-year old adult, at a facility which catered to both happily pregnant women and unhappily pregnant women and teens seeking abortions, the doctors assumed, despite my protestations, that I might change my mind. They insisted that I have the type of tubal ligation which could be undone, even though they admitted that this procedure was more painful than the no-going-back type (they were definitely right about the pain!) That was the first time in my adult life that a decision about my body and reproductive choice was forced upon me by others.

That seems like ages ago now; but it also seems like ages ago (instead of a mere 17 months) that I began writing about the Republican War on Women (see here, here, and here), and in the meantime the suppression of women’s rights by Republicans just keeps getting worse.

This year, the main spotlight has been on Texas, where it took two “Special Sessions” of their legislature to pass a strict anti-abortion bill that couldn’t get passed in their regular legislative session. The only good thing that resulted from this extended knock-down drag-out fight was that it made a political star of State Sen. Wendy Davis, whose tenacious example and amazing filibuster brought thousands of Texans and millions of American women together in support of both Wendy and women’s rights.

Since then, however, more states have jumped on the he-man-woman-haters-club bandwagon. North Carolina’s Republican Governor Pat McCrory, after promising during his campaign that he would not sign any new abortion regulations, went ahead and did so. Then, adding insult to injury, he offered women protesting outside of his mansion a plate of cookies.

After that, Iowa is now contemplating a bill banning what’s called “telemedicine abortion”, where the doctor can prescribe the abortion pill to a woman online rather than in the doctor’s office.

And most recently, despite the legislation’s failure to pass in Georgia’s legislative session, Governor Nathan Deal(R) “vowed to use his executive power to enact it anyway.”

Lastly, getting back to Texas:

On the final day of the second session, state Sen. Eddie Lucio (D) — the only Senate Democrat who supported the recently approved omnibus anti-abortion bill — filed a measure to require women to complete a mandatory adoption certification course before they may seek an abortion. Lucio has suggested he will attempt to keep pushing that measure during the third session.

It’s hard to find a current answer to ‘how many states now have strict anti-abortion laws?”, but according to answerbag.com (from 2010):

Thirty-eight states have laws that prohibit abortions after a specific point in the pregnancy, except in cases where the late-term abortion might save the woman’s life or protect her health. Sixteen states have laws in effect that do not allow for late-term abortions.

And, according to religioustolerance.org:

At least 16 states still have pre-1973 anti-abortion laws on the books even though they are clearly unconstitutional and nullified under Roe v. Wade.”

Will the attack on women’s reproductive rights ever end? When will Republican women wake up and realize just how much Republican men despise them, want to keep women second-class citizens, and will do anything to control their reproductive health and rights? And when will male Democrats grow a collective pair and denounce Republican men as the ignorant, greedy, hate-filled, misogynistic bullies that they are?

This is our daily open thread — What’s on your mind?

Texan Jim Hightower on Gov. Rick Perry

From Raw Story:

On his radio show yesterday, progressive radio host Thom Hartmann spoke with populist Texas writer Jim Hightower about Gov. Rick Perry and the troubling tale of Cameron Willingham, a man who was “almost certainly” innocent, yet still was put to death.

“This guy really puts the goober in gubernatorial,” Hightower quipped.

“This man, who claims to be a man of religion and morality, seems to have no conscience at all about doing some rather ugly things,” Hightower said.

The Watering Hole: Thursday, September 1, 2011: “Rick Perry wants to get all up in your uterus and take a picture.”

From Raw Story:

Filling in on the Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday night, Tulane professor and MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry took Texas Governor and GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry to task for supporting “government so small that you don’t even notice it” on the one hand and the inconsistency of supporting the Texas sonogram law on the other.

Harris-Perry said that Gov. Perry “wants the government to be so small that it doesn’t provide a social safety net, that it doesn’t support you when you grow old and retire and need health care. That’s big government and he wants to set us free from those shackles …So, Rick Perry’s version of small government conservativism means government so small it’s not there to help you.”

“Rick Perry wants to make the government so small you don’t event notice it …unless you’re a lady. In which case, Rick Perry wants to make the government so big that it can control the pregnancy of any given woman in Texas. On nearly every other issue, Rick Perry wants government to be practically non-existent. He wants government to be nowhere near you as a citizen. Not even if you want it or need it. But on this one issue, on the issue of abortion, he wants government to be right there with you. Handing your doctor a script, whispering in your ear, that you should be ashamed of yourself. Rick Perry wants to get all up in your uterus and take a picture.”

The Texas sonogram bill requires women to get a sonogram at least 24 hours before getting an abortion. It also requires doctors to describe the fetus to the woman. Critics of the Texas sonogram law, as Raw Storyreported in March, say “the bill is really about shaming women into deciding against terminating a pregnancy.”

The video is from MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show. This episode, being hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry, can be viewed here.

So… What do you think? What is it about the GOP that wants SMALL government when it comes to programs that help American citizens, and creating a social safety net for the most vulnerable citizens among us, but BIG government when it comes to what you do in your bedroom, and what you discuss with your doctor. What IS that?? Is that the role of government?

This is our Open Thread.  What do you think?  Speak Up!

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Nick AndersonHouston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
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