Strange Days (I give ’em a ‘B’ for ‘buh?!’)

by matttbastard

Michelle Malkin responds to the news that PA McCain volunteer (and College Republican) Ashley Todd, who claimed on Thursday to have been attacked by a big scary black Obama supporter, made the whole damn thing up (ZOMGWTFBBQ NO WAIS!):

Final lesson: Trust your instincts. Use your brains. Stop jumping every time Drudge hypes something in Armageddon-sized font.

You know there’s something really, really wrong with everything when Michelle freakin’ Malkin (who, it should be noted, was instantly skeptical of Todd’s dubious tale) calls bullshit on a right-wing smear, assumes the voice of reason and makes sense.

Insert preferred cliche re: blind squirrels and stopped clocks here.

Related: More from Jay Bookman, Pam Spaulding, and Renee Martin, who addresses the alltoofamiliar ugly racial subtext behind Todd’s fallacious claim.

Sez Martin:

The black man is the convenient scapegoat, because he has been constructed as a violent savage by society. As the mother of two black sons, the degree to which this social construction has been used to uphold the purity of white women, while resulting in the death of black men, enrages me.

Some will say that we should not judge Todd too harshly and that perhaps she is suffering from a mental disability, but the fact remains that what she did was purposeful and it was racist. Disability aside, her choice in creating a tale of a vicious black male attacker was not accidental.

[…]

The black male rapist is exactly what society expects, and the idea that a black man is not born naturally desiring to possess the white female is viewed as fantastical by some. The fact that Todd thought that adding sexual assault to her complaint would increase her believability proves the degree to which this construction has been accepted.

[…]

Whatever mental health issues Todd may or may not have, she was successful in initially being believed because of the social expectations that have been attached to both…white women and black men.

Also check out Keith Olbermann, who explores the role played by local McCain campaign officials in hyping the story to local media outlets (h/t Pam):

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Petition for the immediate release of Esha Momeni

by matttbastard

Via For Esha, the One Million Signatures Campaign has started a petition calling for the immediate release of imprisoned graduate student and womens rights advocate Esha Momeni:

To: His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi,

His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei,
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi,

We, the undersigned, have heard with great alarm of the arrest in Tehran, on Wednesday October 15, 2008, of Esha Momeni, a graduate student in film and communication at California State University, Northridge. This arrest was made by Tehran traffic police on the pretext that she had made an illegal turn, but we have since been informed that she has been transferred to Section 209 of Evin Prison and kept in solitary confinement.
We wish to make clear that at no time has Ms. Momeni been involved in any activities contravening the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. She had returned to Iran for an extended visit mainly for the purpose of seeing family and friends, and also in order to carry out research related to her MA degree at California State University, Northridge. Ms. Momeni, a women’s rights defender and a volunteer of the California branch of a grassroots campaign called the “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws”, decided to make her Master’s thesis project a personal exploration of the shared experiences of everyday Iranians. This included interviews with some members of the Campaign. The activities of the Campaign are peaceful and merely aimed at reforming the Iranian laws in areas that discriminate against women; the Campaign has no political objectives.
Those who are privileged to know Ms. Momeni are fully aware of the sincerity and passion for justice which she brings to the promotion of a truer image of Iran outside the country, and we are therefore dismayed that she should have been arrested and detained despite not having engaged in any unlawful activities.
We, the undersigned, therefore demand Ms. Momeni be released immediately and without conditions so that she can return to complete her education. In addition we urge you to:
1.Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Esha Momeni;
2.Assure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment necessary in light of her medical condition (kidney stones);
3 Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Iran.
Yours sincerely

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Please add your voice here. Make sure to take note of the caveat offered by For Esha:

We request you not to sign petitions organized by organizations other than the One Million Signatures Campaign. While such petitions may mean well, they often contain inappropriate language and factual errors and as such are more likely to endanger Esha than help bring about her release.

And please forward the official petition to as many people as you can.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Getting Used to a Black President – Melissa Harris-Lacewell

by matttbastard

ForaTV:

Political scientist Melissa Harris-Lacewell examines how Barack Obama may affect Americans’ conceptualization of race and the Presidency, should he be elected to the position.

Full video here.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

PSA: Free Esha Momeni

by matttbastard

Update: Be sure to sign the official petition calling for Momeni’s release.

Change For Equality:

Esha Momeni, women’s rights advocate and a member of the Campaign from California was arrested on Wednesday October 15, 2008, while on a visit to Tehran. Momeni who is a photographer and graduate student was arrested in an unusual and illegal manner after being pulled over on Moddaress highway, by individuals who identified themselves as under cover traffic police on the pretense that she had unlawfully passed another vehicle while driving. Esha was arrested and taken to Section 209 of Evin Prison, managed by the Intelligence and Security Ministry.

Prior to her transfer to Evin, security officials searched her home and seized property, including her computer and films which were part of her thesis project. The security officials had an arrest warrant and court permission to search the home and seize property.

While Esha’s friends and colleagues were insistent about announcing the news of her arrest immediately, based on requests from her family this news was announced with delay. Security forces had promised Esha’s family that she would be released quickly if news of her arrest was not published.

Esha’s parents went to the Revolutionary Courts today, on the fifth day of her arrest, to follow up on the case of their daughter. Court officials told the Momeni family that they should not come to the courts again, and that their questions will not be answered until the investigation of Esha’s case comes to a close.

Esha Momeni is a graduate student at the School of Communications, Media and Arts at California State University, Northridge. Esha had come to Iran two months ago to visit with her family and to work on her Masters thesis project, focused on the Iranian women’s movement. To this end, she had conducted video interviews with members of the One Million Signatures Campaign in Tehran.

Women’s rights activists object to the unusual manner in which Esha was arrested, as well as the irresponsible treatment of her family members by security forces. Further they strongly object to the unjustified and unwarranted arrest of this women’s rights defender.

A weblog in support of Esha pressing for her release has been established, which includes interviews with her professors… . The weblog as well as the site of the Campaign, Change for Equality, will continue to provide news on developments about Esha’s case. Take a look at the blog For Esha.

Take action now–please write to the following contacts:

* Leader of the Islamic Republic, His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, The Office of the Supreme Leader, Shoahada Street, Qom, Islamic Republic of Iran, Faxes: + 98.21.649.5880 / 21.774.2228, Email: info@leader.ir / istiftaa@wilayah.org / webmaster@wilayah.org;
* President, His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.649.5880, E-mail: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir;
* Head of the Judiciary, His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, Ministry of Justice, Park-e Shahr, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: +98.21.879.6671 / +98 21 3 311 6567 / +98 21 3 390 4986, Email: Irjpr@iranjudiciary.com / info@dadgostary-tehran.ir;
* Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Manuchehr Motaki, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdolmajid Keshk-e Mesri Av, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98.21.390.1999, Email: matbuat@mfa.gov;
* Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran, His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani, C/o Office of the Deputy for International Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, Panzdah-Khordad (Ark) Square, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827
* Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 7330203, Email: mission.iran@ties.itu.int;
* Ambassador Mr. Ahani, Embassy of Iran in Brussels, avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 15 A. 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 39 15. Email: iran-embassy@yahoo.com.

– [express] concern at the arrest of Esha Momeni, and [urge] on the authorities to treat her humanely in detention, and protect her from torture or other ill-treatment;

– [ask] the authorities to ensure that while in detention she is granted immediate and regular access to her family, a lawyer of her choice, and any medical treatment she may require;

[express] concern that her arrest was apparently in connection with her peaceful activities in support of equal rights for women in Iran and in the context of her graduate research;

– [urge] the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally if she is not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and brought to trial promptly and fairly

h/t Vanessa @ Feministing (via Feminist Daily News); more from CNN, DKos, Melissa Wall, and David Blumenkrantz. Also see this article on the 0ne Million Signatures Campaign, written by Momeni in 2007.

Previous Change for Equality PSAs:

Background: More on the still-ongoing One Million Signatures Campaign for Equality from Change For Equality (more here) and Ms. Magazine.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add your name.

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Update: Be sure to sign the official petition calling for Momeni’s release.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Three Challenges for the Planet – Jeffrey Sachs

by matttbastard

ForaTV:

Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs outlines what are, in his view, the three greatest challenges to peace the world will face over the next several years.

Complete video here.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

More Cobblestones on the Road to Hell

by matttbastard

Here in the Great White North, accountability is out and banality is in as The Nuremberg Defence seems to be enjoying a resurgence in respectability.

CBC News:

The actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of three Arab-Canadian men in Syria, a federal inquiry has concluded.

“I found no evidence that any of these officials were seeking to do anything other than carry out conscientiously the duties and responsibilities of the institutions of which they were a part,” former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci concluded in his report, made public Tuesday, 22 months after the inquiry began.

The probe focused on whether the detentions of Abdullah Almalki, Muayyed Nureddin and Ahmad El Maati resulted from the actions of CSIS, the RCMP and the department of Foreign Affairs and whether Canadian consular officials acted appropriately in the cases.

“It is neither necessary nor appropriate that I make findings concerning the actions of any individual Canadian official, and I have not done so,” Iacobucci wrote.

More from The Toronto Star:

The Iacobucci report concludes that all three men were detained and suffered mistreatment that amounted to torture as defined in the United Nations convention banning torture.

El Maati, Almalki and Nureddin were, separately, detained and imprisoned in 2001, 2002, and 2003 respectively while travelling in Syria.

All were interrogated and, Iacobucci concluded, tortured at the same Syrian military prison as Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian who was deported by U.S. authorities to Syria.

El Maati was also sent to Egypt where Iacobucci accepts he underwent further torture.

The men claimed their interrogators relied on information that could only have been gleaned from Canadian authorities, and that Canadian security and police agencies were complicit in their mistreatment.

But Iacobucci stops well short of indicting the Canadian officials for complicity.

And what do the Little Eichmanns in Canada’s New Government™ have to say about the matter?

Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day declined to apologize, telling reporters, “This government can’t take responsibility for processes in place under a previous government.”

He claimed the procedures and “deficiencies” identified in this and the previous Arar inquiry have been “vastly improved,” and suggested that if the reforms his government had made were in place at the time, the incidents might not have occurred.

But Day did not single out any agency or officials for blame. He pointed to the Iacobucci report which said people were carrying out “conscientiously” the duties of their institutions.

“It’s more a case of good people acting with deficient procedures and deficient policies.”

“Justice, truth, the value of a single human being”? Pfft–go back to your September 10th fantasy world, Haywood, and tell it to Jean and Paul. Partisanship über alles.

Related: Almalki, Nureddin and El Maati discuss how their lives have been upended by their horrific experiences, along with the sense of betrayal felt thanks to the (indirect!) actions of Canadian government officials; Amnesty International Canada condemns the inquiry, warning that the probe “extended secrecy to everything, not just the national security concerns” and, as a result, “[excluded] the suspects and public from the proceedings in their entirety“. The 544 page public (read: heavily redacted) version of the Iacobucci whitewash report is available here (PDF)

Update: More from Alison @ The Beav

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Spot the Logical Fallacy (Or, How Colin Powell Stopped Being Every White Conservative’s Token Non-Threatening Black Friend)

by matttbastard

I’ve never heard of this Gordon Campbell asshat before today, and, judging by his totally satirical depiction of Colin Powell as Benedict Arnold in blackface, that is something to be thankful for.

Quoth Mr. Campbell:

“No sane person would question his patriotism toward the United States or even the Constitution and the principles of democracy… .  But his support of such things as affirmative action and Roe v. Wade placed him too left of center for the bulk of the GOP electorate… .

“”The only reasonable explanation for such a public political “about-face” in the midst of this important election is that Colin Powell, perhaps understandably, wishes to see someone who looks like himself in the White House… .

“It’s my opinion that General Powell has based his endorsement of Barack Obama on the color of his skin, not his qualifications, his experience or the content of his character.”

Just so we’re clear, Campbell freely admits that Powell’s “support of such things as affirmative action and Roe v. Wade placed him too left of center for the bulk of the GOP electorate”.  Indeed,  John McCain has stated that he supports neither affirmative action nor Roe v. Wade, and his running mate, in addition to supporting the overturning of Roe, opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest.  Yet, for some reason, rather than putting two and two together (ie, Powell, much like McCain-supporting dissident Democrat-turned-Independent Joe Lieberman, chose to endorse the candidate who he believes best represents his ideals, regardless of partisan affiliation), this observation instead inexplicably leads Campbell to conclude that “[t]he only [emphasis mine] reasonable explanation for such a public about-face…is that Powell…wishes to see someone who looks like himself [ie, a fellow neeegro] in the White House”.

Which, in turn, forces yours truly to surmise that the only reasonable explanation for Campbell’s painfully contorted reasoning (to say nothing of the FRICKIN’ BLACKFACE CARTOON–SWEET BABY JESUS!) is that he’s a cross-burning, sheet-wearing bag of racist douche who vigorously masturbates to Mein Kampf every night before bed.  One would have to be insane (or, at the very least, unreasonable) to conclude otherwise.  There is no alternative.

h/t Paul the Spud @ Shakesville

Related: More Powell-inspired Party of Lincoln outreach to teh black community from George Will, Pat Buchanan, and RedState (h/t Think Progress).  Also see Renee, who asks an obvious question: “Why is it that whites who have been voting for white people since the US became a country were not engaging in racial solidarity voting, and a black man endorsing another black man is?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

That didn’t take long…

by matttbastard

Aannd here we go —as expected, former Secretary of State (and Republican) Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama:

(h/t Petulant for the vid)

Already some pro-American residents of Outer Wingnuttia have declared that Powell is only voting for Obama because they are both scary neegros. Which, according to airtight wingnut lawjick [sic], makes Powell a big fat RAAACIST!!!!11 jerk. (Wingnut lawjick [sic] also apparently dictates that USING BLOCK CAPS BUTTRESSES YOUR POINT!!!)

"Hang on--I've nearly found some support for my argument..."

Still, in all seriousness, there is admittedly some substance to Realipundit’s carefully-crafted “big fat racist jerk” thesis. Racial solidarity would certainly help explain why well-known GOP soul brotha Chris Buckley, along with a number of other prominent chocolate-coated Obamacons, are also wearing ‘Team Obama’ t-shirts in public–and why Powell famously stumped for Alan Keyes in 2000.

So, does this mean (apparently) prominent Democratic something-or-other Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild broke partisan ranks to support McCain out of racial solidarity, too?

*cough*

Related: Colin Powell is a big fat socialist jerk, too (h/t skdadl @ BnR):

Partial transcript:

We can’t judge our people and hold our elections on that kind of basis. Yes, that kind of negativity troubled me. And the constant shifting of the argument, I was troubled a couple of weeks ago when in the middle of the crisis the campaign said ‘we’re going to go negative,’ and they announced it. ‘We’re going to go negative and attack his character through Bill Ayers.’ Now I guess the message this week is we’re going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there’s nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying les, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that I don’t think is accurate.

“[T]axes are necessary for the common good” = not pro-American. Go back to Northern Virginia where you belong, hippie!

Update: Donovan McNabb fanclub president Rush Limbaugh puts down the pill bottle long enough to once again prove how so not racist he is (or isn’t).

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

“Real” and “Unreal” Americans

by matttbastard

Well, looks like we’ve finally established where one of those anti-American domestic strongholds that Palin mentioned the other day are located: the Obamabot enclaves of Northern Virginia!

Think Progress:

On MSNBC this morning, McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer asserted that “real Virginia” does not include Northern Virginia:

I certainly agree that Northern Virginia has gone more Democratic. … But the rest of the state — real Virginia if you will — I think will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.

MSNBC host Kevin Corke gave Pfotenhauer a chance to revise her answer, telling her: “Nancy, I’m going to give you a chance to climb back off that ledge — Did you say ‘real Virginia’?”

But Pfotenhauer didn’t budge, and instead dug a deeper hole.

Real Virginia, I take to be, this part of the state that’s more Southern in nature, if you will.

Thorpe ended the segment noting that Pfotenhauer was appearing via satellite from Northern Virginia. “Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior policy adviser for the McCain campaign, joining us from Arlington, not really Virginia.” “Alright, I’m just gonna let ya– you’ll wear that one,” Corke responded.

Ok. Real Virginians don’t support Obama. Gotcha.

But then there’s this, straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak):

My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.

Socialism–totally un-American, natch. So is all this simply boilerplate campaign rhetoric, or is there a more disturbing subtext at play? Adam Serwer looks at the historical context of the ‘socialist’ smear as it relates to POC (h/t Jill):

Conservatives, now and in the past, have turned to “socialism” and “communism” as shorthand to criticize black activists and political figures since the civil-rights era. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X as written by Alex Haley, Malcolm recalls being confronting by a government agent tailing him in Africa, not long after his pilgrimage to Mecca. The agent was convinced that Malcolm was a communist. Malcolm spent years under surveillance because of such bizarre suspicions. Likewise, J. Edgar Hoover spent years attempting to link Martin Luther King Jr. to the communist cause. King, for his part, welcomed everyone who embraced the cause of black civil rights, regardless of their ideological ties. This included communists and socialists, but the idea that a devout man of God like King saw black rights as a mere step in a worldwide communist revolution was absurd. Malcolm was a conservative. King was a liberal. To their enemies, they were simply communists.

The feeling that black-rights activists were part of a front for communism and socialism was widespread. Jerry Falwell famously criticized “the sincerity and intentions of some civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Farmer, and others, who are known to have left-wing associations.” Falwell charged, “It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed.” For the agents of intolerance, things haven’t changed much. On October 9, a McCain supporter told the candidate that he was angry about “socialists taking over our country.” McCain told him he was right to be angry.

The right wing continues to link the fight for black equality with socialism and communism. At the website of conservatism’s flagship publication, National Review, conservatives like Andy McCarthy argue whether Obama is “more Maoist than Stalinist,” and National Review writer Lisa Schiffren explicitly argued this summer that Obama must have communist links based on his interracial background. Schiffren mused, “for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics.”

[…]

John McCain is no George Wallace, and a direct comparison may not be what [John] Lewis intended. Rather, Lewis was expressing concern that the McCain campaign’s rhetoric could lead some of their supporters to conclude that violence is the only rational response to an Obama victory.

Also keep in mind some of the highlighted right-wing sentiments from this post as Billmon repeals Godwin’s Law, once and for all (h/t pogge @ BnR):

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

[…]

I’ve been following politics for going on 35 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Republican candidate publicly refer to his Democratic opponent as a “socialist” — not even while hiding behind a cardboard cutout like “Joe the Plumber”. This from a man who told the entire nation on Wednesday night that believes an obscure nonprofit group is “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

Likewise, I don’t think there’s ever been an American vice presidential candidate who explicitly referred to entire regions of the United States as “pro-American” — with the clear implication that other regions are something less than “pro-American.” Not since the Civil War, anyway.

We’ve crossed some more lines, in other words — in a long series of lines that have made it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party and an explicitly fascist political movement. And John McCain and his political handlers appear to have no moral compunctions whatsoever about whipping this movement into a frenzy and providing it with scapegoats for all that hatred, simply to try to shave a few points off Barack Obama’s lead in the polls.

To call this “country first” only works if you assume your opponents (and scapegoats) are not really part of that same country. And we all know where that leads.

As Colbert King put it in Saturday’s WaPo, “[t]ell a rabid audience that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists” (as Palin has done), imply that Obama is friendly with people out to destroy America (as she also has done) and what do you expect?”

DJ rewind:

Powerful elements of the Republican Party and the conservative “movement” aren’t just preparing themselves to go into opposition, they’re preparing themselves to dispute the legitimacy of an Obama presidency — in ways that could, if taken to extreme, lead to another Oklahoma City.

Rhetoric–yes, mere words, Senator McCain–can have consequences.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers