The Original Torture Memos

FLASH: Idaho State Sen. tables bill mandating the torture of Idaho youth en masse. No, srsly:

Coeur d’Alene Sen. John Goedde, chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday to require every Idaho high school student to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and pass a test on it to graduate from high school.

When Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked Goedde why he chose that particular book, Goedde said to laughter, “That book made my son a Republican.”

[...]

“It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements,” Goedde said after the meeting.

Christ.  Extended stress positions and waterboarding would be infinitely more humane. Have you no decency, sir?

Related: Ayn Rand – The Comic.

IOKIYAR to Infinity.

Ok, so I know IOKIYAR is (and has been for ages) SOP in DC. Still, the manner in which the Village took Rosengate oh-so seriously (and turned it up TO ELEVEN) but is now suddenly backpeddling re: The Nuge’s semi-coherent call for Obama’s assassination (gosh, campaign surrogates sure do say the darndest things!*) is especially galling.

Steve M. breaks it down:

 [T]he press will shrug off Nugent because the press has been in denial for years about just how insane right-wingers are. No matter what angry, extreme, menacing, paranoid thing right-wingers are up to, the press is always looking for signs that it’s all just a silly phase, all just the work of a few outliers.

Mainstream journalists don’t want to admit that the vast majority of people in the right-wing base agree with every word Nugent said.

They certainly don’t want to believe that there’s any genuine connection between what Nugent said and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney! Such an upstanding, responsible man! (Never mind that Romney has done the gang initiation and become one of the right-wing crazies. Never mind that his campaign actively sought out Nugent’s endorsement.)

The press acknowledged that Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke remarks were extreme, and mocked Santorum surrogate Foster Friess. But now it’s Romney we’re talking about — the guy who reassures the press that the GOP is perfectly safe and responsible. Unless Romney picks a Palinesque running mate, no one in the press is ever going to believe that any right-wing extremism has anything to do with him — or his voter base, even though what Nugent said precisely captures that base’s thinking.

I don’t believe the Beltway is starting to fall for Romney like it did McMaverick (tire swing!) But without question Village refs are far more easily worked by sharp-elbowed wingnuts than by progressive interests. Plus, Mittens’ rep as a flag twisting in the political winds perversely appeals to reflexively cynical Villager scorn for anything that resembles sincerity & passion (oh so savvy!)

Which is (sadly) good news for Mitt Romney and bad news for those who appreciate reality that is unobstructed by the fuzzy view from the bottom of some stenographic wanker’s highball.

*Politico may titter at wingnut incitement of violence towards members of the US Federal government — including POTUS — but the Secret Service sure doesn’t.

Today In The Annals of Stupid Backlash Tricks

Flash: Aggrieved Daily Caller Ex-College Republican thumbsucker (is there any other kind?) has a megasad cuz his bike was stolen (if stats hold true, by a blackity-blackblack black kid!), causing him to boldly and ham-fistedly declare:

“I am Derbyshire! (Burp.)”

Roy Edroso:

Judge must be over 30 by now, but apparently he’s never been robbed before, because this has caused him to turn against all black people, and to relinquish the “white guilt” that once made him watch Norman Jewison movies.

Perhaps sensing that even ordinary racists would be disgusted with his whining, Judge invents wimpy liberal friends beside whom he can look butchly Politically Incorrect. Unfortunately, this is how the gentleman essays to roll:

Hearing the kumbaya song from my liberal friend, I immediately thought of a phrase Piers Morgan had recently used…

I think Jesus just carried his Smirnoff Ice into the next room.

Also: Trigger-happy Bernie Goetz wannabe George Zimmerman decides the only way to set the record straight!!!1 (and help pay mounting legal bills) is to resurrect teh Geocities, express his sincere gratitude to the proud supporters who vandalized a black cultural centre on his behalf, & implicitly (if perhaps inadvertently) give the side-nod to Koran-burning Fla Islamaphobe icon Terry Jones.

(Oh, and, as per a Zimmerman family proxy, apparently Holder totally <3s the NEW BLACK PANTHERS, because he’s, well, not Derbyshire, if ya catch my meaning).

Sheesh.

If white people were black people (and vice versa) we’d have a deluge this AM of self-righteous black folks tut-tutting on teh cablez (‘this is why you can’t have nice things’, etc).

Thankfully (for white folks), structural racism isn’t a zero sum game.

Not at all.

Update: Gosh, Judge sure didn’t display all that much ‘guilt’ prior to his recent purported epiphany:

Now, if you read Judge’s past writings, his white guilt does not seem to have exerted an especially strong pull:

no one would have the guts to tell the truth. It was not Asians or whites or Indians who were wilding in Georgetown. It was black teenagers. Illegitimacy and fatherlessness in black urban areas like Washington, D.C. has created an entire class of youth who have been weaned on gangster culture and have absolutely no impulse control. …

That was the old, encumbered-by-white-guilt Judge writing. I’m a little frightened of the new version.

Also, this previous  ZOMG EPIPHANY from Judge, re: why it’s ok — nay, absolutely vital — for decent Christian cycling enthusiasts to passionately hate pro-choice women (shorter: babiez > bitchez).

h/t Steve M.

Meet the NEW New Civil Rights Movement (Fox News Stylez)

Hey, remember when Faux News used to merely employ dog whistles in its race-baiting wingnut agit-prop?

Good times.

Now they rock Les Paul Customs plugged into Marshall stacks that go to eleven (TO ELEVEN):

A Fox Orlando affiliate decribed Neo-Nazis as “a civil rights group” on a television broadcast and online. The group of Neo-Nazis, known as the National Socialist Movement, has been conducting armed patrols of the streets of Sanford, Florida, the town where Trayvon Marting was shot dead.

The Fox Orlando affiliate, WOFL, aired a shockingly uncritical report of the group’s activities. The Fox reporter introduced the group by saying, “There’s another civil rights group in town.” She also conducts an interview with the group’s leader, Jeff Schoep, without challenging any of his claims about the nature and mission of the group. Watch it (via Little Green Footballs):

Related: Pam Spaulding (h/t) has screen caps galore re: FAUX35’s wacky White Power jamboree (to ELEVEN).

Obama’s Citizenship & Race: Separated at Birth?

It never ceases to amaze me how eager some white liberals are to divorce race from political analysis when it comes to Obama. Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler (who seems to have settled nicely into his blogospheric role as the curmudgeonly Luddite uncle who refuses to replace his black and white TV with a flat-screen plasma because, goddammit, a 10″ Zenith was good enough for Al Gore back in college) has been relentless in his contention that wingnut animus towards the 2nd blackest president ever is simply par for the course when you’re a Dem. Even Birtherism is merely a burden that anyone with a ‘D’ following their name must bear.

Brendan Nyhan approvingly quotes:

Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler objects to the liberal conventional wisdom that, as the New York Times put it, “It is inconceivable that this campaign [birtherism]… would have been conducted against a white president”:

We think it was a remarkable statement because somewhat similar campaigns already have been conducted against white candidates. A somewhat similar campaign was conducted in 1988 against Candidate Michael Dukakis, for instance. After that, strains of the same ethnic/nativist cards were played against Candidate Kerry in 2004.

Somewhat similar except, well, they aren’t — unless one can recall a protracted disinformation campaign against either individual questioning their bloody American citizenship (rather than, eg, their patriotism, a more common line of attack faced by the left) that managed to drive the news cycle for well over 3 years. Nyhan himself acknowledges that Obama’s “unique” life circumstances have driven the way conspiratorial attacks are framed, before trying to use Chester A. Arthur as a counterexample of a white president who also faced baseless attacks on his citizenship. Which is true, except, as again noted by Nyhan, those attacks were framed in the context of Arthur’s Irish identity.

In the 1800s.

(No need to apply, natch.)

So, um, yeah,  nativist attacks against a member of a marginalized ethnic group clearly prove that race isn’t really a factor when it comes to Birtherism.

Look, no matter how many counterarguments are offered, one shouldn’t discount the fact that Obama’s ethnic identity affects the tone and tenor of attacks being leveled against him, and how said attacks are received by the general public (without twisting one’s contentions into Gordian-like contortions, that is). From the beginning, race has influenced how we frame this issue (much like Clinton’s identity as an ex-’60s radical boomer fed into the still-lingering divide of an America embroiled in the Culture Wars, or W’s class background and swaggering anti-intellectualism shaped how he was portrayed and perceived, both by supporters and detractors). To point that out isn’t to label any and all critics or criticism racist (though, obviously, some are), but, again, to try and properly contextualize.

Political opportunists jump on any and all opportunities; for some, Obama’s racial identity presents an all-too-tempting opening for baseless attacks that, if leveled against, say, Ronald Reagan or Jimmy Carter, would hold no traction.

On a less analytical note, it’s frustrating to be constantly lectured about what is and isn’t ‘racist’ by those who, quite frankly, have no lived experience with racism, merely in abstract. For many of us, this isn’t an intellectual exercise. When we see Obama’s citizenship in question on a mass scale, we recall all the myriad times some cluelessly earnest soul has asked us where we’re from originally (because apparently dark skin in a normatively white culture instantly screams ‘other’), an all-too familiar suspicion that, through Birtherism, has now been magnified to ridiculous proportions.

Yes, based on past history, any Dem holding the keys to the Oval Office would likely be subject to a dishonest scorched earth smear campaign by the GOP and associated right-wing partisans. But that doesn’t mean Birtherism is simply par for the course. Obama is being attacked because he’s a Democratic POTUS and because he’s a scary person of colour with a funny name.

It’s not an either/or proposition.

(x-posted)

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Two Minutes Hate for Turkey (Hiss! Spit!)

by matttbastard

Via John Cole:  The Murdoch Street Journal sounds the battle cry as Outer Wingnuttia declares war on the declining Turkish Republic (the biggest BFF breakup since Paris & Nicole deleted each other from their respective Sidekicks):

Israeli special forces and their commanders were apparently shocked to find their boarding attempt on the Mavi (“Blue”) Marmara met with violence. They should not have been. I have no doubt that the Turkish “peace activists” aboard the ship regarded Israeli troops as something akin to the second coming of Hitler’s SS.

To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness.

***

The obvious answer to the question of “Who lost Turkey?”—the Western-oriented Turkey, that is—is the Turks did. The outstanding question is how much damage they’ll do to regional peace going forward.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Hitler (mea culpa, Godwin) threw a hissy fit because brave IDF commandos risked life and limb killing 9 Turkish (one with dual 14th Amendment citizenship — thank gawd Mr 4 shots to tha dome ain’t a Real American) jackboots armed to the teeth with a makeshift arsenal (assuming one discounts conspiracy theories re: old photo datestamps) that would make Dennis the Menace proud:

From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreparable and deep scar,” Abdullah Gul said in a televised speech on Thursday, as thousands gathered in the streets of Istanbul to pay their respects to the humanitarian activists killed during the raid.

The raid “is not an issue that can be forgotten… or be covered up… Turkey will never forgive this attack,” he said.

Wah wah. That’s what you get for deliberately provoking a midnight Israeli commando raid on an aid vessel in international waters.  I mean, come on — a boat full of  humanitarian activists (some of whom wore Islamic garb and ZOMG SCARY MUSLIM TERRORIST LYNCH MOB!!11) purportedly armed with a weapons cache that looks like the rusty contents of my late grandfather’s toolshed. 

Clearly they were asking for a muscular response, much like those calculating Freedom Rider agitators who, via scary negro commie tactics, fiendishly forced brave white Alabama citizens to vigourously defend Jim Crow with baseball bats, iron pipes and bicycle chains (aka, a REAL lynching).

Seriously, though — what’s the big fucking deal about a little collective punishment and a huge-ass diplomatic clusterfuck?

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Rand Paul Parties Like It’s 1964

by matttbastard

Belated congratulations to newly-minted Kentucky GOP Senate candidate and latest Tea Party ubermensch of the moment Rand ‘Son of Ron’ Paul, for defeating the establishment candidate with Chuck Norris round-house kicks a well-fought insurgent primary campaign. 

Why, It’s enough to make those who should know better prove once again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no, they really don’t know any better

Regardless, it’s nice to see that, after 40 long years, the pro-pot/anti-choice hater of all things federal (hissssss) has bravely reopened the segregation debate (h/t Think Progress):

INTERVIEWER: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

PAUL: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that.

INTERVIEWER: But?

PAUL: You had to ask me the “but.” I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners—I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant—but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership. But I absolutely think there should be no discrimination in anything that gets any public funding, and that’s most of what I think the Civil Rights Act was about in my mind.

Oopsie.

Oh, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ain’t no party like a Tea Party (victory!) party. At a country club. A members-only country club.

Populism: yr doin it wrong.

Update: And thus began the damage control:

“I believe we should work to end all racism in American society and staunchly defend the inherent rights of every person.  I have clearly stated in prior interviews that I abhor racial discrimination and would have worked to end segregation.  Even though this matter was settled when I was 2, and no serious people are seeking to revisit it except to score cheap political points, I unequivocally state that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
 
“Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws.”
 
“As I have said in previous statements, sections of the Civil Rights Act were debated on Constitutional grounds when the legislation was passed. Those issues have been settled by federal courts in the intervening years.”
 
“My opponent’s statement on MSNBC Wednesday that I favor repeal of the Civil Rights Act was irresponsible and knowingly false. I hope he will correct the record and retract his claims.”
 
“The issue of civil rights is one with a tortured history in this country. We have made great strides, but there is still work to be done to ensure the great promise of Liberty is granted to all Americans.”
 
“This much is clear:  The federal government has far overreached in its power grabs.  Just look at the recent national healthcare schemes, which my opponent supports.   The federal government, for the first time ever, is mandating that individuals purchase a product.   The federal government is out of control, and those who love liberty and value individual and state’s rights must stand up to it.”
 
“These attacks prove one thing for certain:  the liberal establishment is desperate to keep leaders like me out of office, and we are sure to hear more wild, dishonest smears during this campaign.”

Yes, how dare the “liberal establishment” draw conclusions based on, er, what Paul himself said, or (apparently) didn’t mean to say, or meant to say more clearly, were it not for him being transfixed at the time by Rachel Maddow’s clear-eyed lesbian gaze.

Regardless, for some reason, Weigel and Yglesias both do their damndest to try and turn a blind eye to Occam’s Razor without getting slit all Un Chien Andalous stylez, but Aimai ably puts the honest, rigourous, “(g)libertarian principles!!1one” canard to bed once and for all:

Here’s the thing: segregation at lunch counters didn’t exist because individual privately owned businesses were determining for themselves that they would not serve black people. They relied on the local government to enforce this discrimination. Otherwise it would have been possible for non whites to sue white businesses for physical assault. Just because something isn’t statutory doesn’t mean that it isn’t taking place with government aid. A truly libertarian stance on the Civil Rights Act that wasn’t covertly conservative/racist would be to argue that the government must withdraw all legal aid, police help, and rights to sue for damages from discriminatory businesses *and then* leave the business free to discriminate. As I said below, on one of Steve’s threads, and as Atrios and others have pointed out when the government liscences a buisiness it performs all kinds of functions for that business that are paid for by all taxpayers, regardless of race, class, creed, and sex. To allow a business to partake in taxpayer paid benefits like firemen, police, social security, medicare, etc…while refusing to serve taxpayers is absurd. The line between public and private property is guaranteed by government action and its something we all pay for and no private business has the right to take our money and then refuse service to us.

Buckley and other wealthy conservatives were conservatives because it was the party of christianity, property, racism and classism. They were and remain revanchistes who use the language of libertarianism because they (and many of their followers) think it washes them of the ugly term bigot and racist since it appears to put the argument on a higher intellectual plane. Rand Paul (and others) explicitly argue that it is their libertarian principles, rather than their personal racist or sexist inclinations, that lead them to certain inescapable economic and political conclusions. But, of course, this is absurd. Modern day American libertarians pick and choose among their principles all the time–Mr. Paul is opposed to a woman’s right to choose whether and when to carry a pregnancy to term but I bet if you ask him he will be opposed to men being forced to pay child support for children they have fathered.

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