Do You Believe in Magic?

by matttbastard

Carmen D puts the latest iteration of the “Magic Negro” controversy in broader context by revisiting an old post of hers on the original source of the conservative meme, a 2007 LA Times op-ed by author (and OG Vast Left Wing Conspirator) David Ehrenstein:

Ehrenstein seems to think that Barack Obama is perceived to be safe by ‘white America’. No way, it’s not that simple. The hard truth is that for many in America, particularly in the middle of the country and in parts of the south, there is no such thing as a non-threatening black man. We don’t hear about hate mail or death threats endured by Obama and his family. But don’t you think those threats are coming at a rate only the great Hank Aaron might comprehend?

I am so sick of individual black people judging the ‘blackness’ of other black people. It is simply a waste of time and energy that we, as a community, can ill afford.

Word–I’m also sick of that special breed of conservative white pundit and pol who eagerly latches on to anything negative (or that can be spun as ‘negative’) black people say about/to each other. Bloviating leeches like Rush Limbaugh, Paul Shanklin, Chip Saltsman, et al have apparently managed to convince themselves that conveniently subcontracting their racism to a dusky proxy (and/or disingenuously hiding behind the ‘satire’ bulwark) automatically absolves them of any personal responsibility for their actions. Well, we have already witnessed the logical political consequences of the GOP’s willful disregard for minority voters.

Their loss (literally).

To once again quote Oliver Willis, “[wingnuts] say things like this and honestly can’t see what the problem is.” Case in point: according to Think Progress, “more than 18 hours after the news about Saltsman broke, not a single Republican official has condemned his actions.” [Update: Mike Allen reports that current RNC Chair Mike Duncan, who is fighting hard to stay on top of the Grand Old heap, has wisely thrown Saltsman under the bus.]

Oh well. Political marginalization is a small price to pay for a little bit of innocent fun at the expense of oversensitive PC types who can’t appreciate “light-hearted political parodies” from a “conservative” perspective. Besides, there’s always the so-called Oogedy-Boogedy wing to keep the Republican Party solvent south of the Mason-Dixon while it (and those who slavishly adhere to its underlying political philosophy) languish in the wilderness for the foreseeable future.

Update 2: The Caucus reports:

[F]ormer Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail message, “This is so inappropriate that it should disqualify any Republican National Committee candidate who would use it.”

Yep, that muffled gurgling noise you heard was the death rattle of Saltsman’s RNC campaign.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Stepping Away From the Dick-Snark

by matttbastard

D-Day:

There’s a top-rated diary on Daily Kos right now entitled Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape. Somebody explain to me how the CIA isn’t doing functionally the same thing.

Also make sure to check out Echidne and my CFLF co-blogger Kathy for more on the women whose concerns (which, it should be noted, were not broached even in a cursory manner by the Washington Post) have almost been universally silenced by the disturbingly jovial snickering (in hindsight, yours truly is, unfortunately, not innocent in this regard, either).

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Fatten the Lambs UPDATE: Israeli Airstrikes Kill At Least 155 in Gaza

by matttbastard

Following up on this post from a couple weeks ago, Reuters reports that Israel has finally opened the border to Gaza, allowing vital humanitarian aid to enter the Hamas-controlled occupied territory:

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said he ordered Gaza crossings opened for essential humanitarian supplies in response to numerous requests from the international community.

The deliveries could ease tensions that might have led to military action to end rocket attacks, though in the past Israel has allowed Gaza to resupply with vital goods before launching assaults.

Which, according to Haaretz, once again appears to be the case:

On Sunday, the prime minister will hold a series of consultations ahead of a possible military action in the Strip. No major move will apparently be made until these discussions have concluded.

In statements Thursday, senior security officials were unwavering. “Anyone who harms Israeli citizens and soldiers will pay the price,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

[…]

Israel is planning a relatively short operation that will cause maximum damage to Hamas “assets.” The defense establishment says the operation would not necessarily limit itself to stopping rocket launches and that during the operation, daily massive rocket launches can be expected. Hamas might fire rockets with a range beyond the 20 kilometers it has used so far.

[…]

The sources warned that an Israeli ground operation would result in many civilian casualties in Gaza, especially in the refugee camps.

So. Allow aid to flow, then (reluctantly) cash in a blood debt by liquidating civilians Hamas assets. A cynic might say that the lambs are being fattened before the slaughter.

Update 12.27: And so it begins:

At least 155 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli aerial bombardment on Hamas security installations.

Israel launched air attacks across the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday, threatening that further operations would be carried out later in the day.

Witnesses reported heavy damage as at least 30 missiles were fired on the targets.

Emergency services said that at least 200 people were also wounded.

[…]

The Israel army released a statement saying “terrorist installations” were hit and that all Israeli pilots returned unharmed.

The operation against the Hamas is “only just beginning,” Avi Benayahu, an Israeli military spokesman said.

h/t Sylvia/M

Update 2: Laura Rozen:

I asked former Israeli peace negotiator Daniel Levy, currently in Israel, why, while recognizing the pressure on the Israeli government to do something about the rockets from Gaza hitting southern Israel the past weeks, did Israeli officials choose to strike Hamas security facilities at midday when they were full of people, with high loss of life and almost certain dramatic escalation of the conflict? “I do not fully understand why they went for such a disproportionate escalation,” Levy writes. “My guess: a combination of electioneering and misplaced wishful thinking that this will push the Arabs/world to intervene and downsize Hamas on terms favorable to Israel ….[This] won’t happen – certainly not in a sustainable way. By the way, Hamas probably thinks this will cause intervention on terms favorable to themselves – also misguided (though less so; long term, this helps Hamas is my guess).

Also via Rozen, Haaretz: “Hamas chief vows third Intifada has come”:

Hamas Political Leader in Damascus Khaled Meshal threatened revenge attacks after a series of Israel Air Force attacks left at least 230 dead and hundreds more wounded in Gaza, saying “the time for the third Intifada has come.”

Meshal issued a call to Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out suicide attacks against Israeli targets and to attack Israel Defense Forces soldiers.

“This Intifada will be peaceful for the Palestinians but lethal for the Zionist enemy,” Meshal said, adding that this ‘new Intifada,’ will “rescue Gaza and protect the West Bank.”

[…]

A Hamas spokesman on Saturday vowed the group would not surrender in the face of IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip, and that Israel would not break its “resistance to the occupation.”

The spokesman added that Hamas would not “raise a white flag” of surrender and would respond with all means available at its disposal.

Well. That should suit certain hardline quarters in (what is likely to be) Israel’s next government just fine.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

More Conservative Minority Outreach

by matttbastard

Chip Saltsman doesn’t seem to have any illusions about who the RNC base is (hint: rhymes with “spite”):

RNC candidate Chip Saltsman’s Christmas greeting to committee members includes a music CD with lyrics from a song called “Barack the Magic Negro,” first played on Rush Limbaugh’s popular radio show.

[…]

The CD, called “We Hate the USA,” lampoons liberals with such songs as “John Edwards’ Poverty Tour,” “Wright place, wrong pastor,” “Love Client #9,” “Ivory and Ebony” and “The Star Spanglish banner.”

Several of the track titles, including “Barack the Magic Negro,” are written in bold font.

That last bit was a thoughtful touch.  Always make sure to highlight the race-bait, just in case the implications are too subtle for especially dense RNC bigots.  Again, why bother blowing a dogwhistle when an airhorn will suffice?

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When ‘Soft Power’ Isn’t So Soft

by matttbastard

I hope you’ll excuse me if I refrain from opining at length or in explicit detail about this amusing little nugget currently smoldering in the slow holiday news cycle. Am loath to trigger the unwelcome attention of relentless sp@mbots. Instead, a quote from The Matrix (just make sure to invert the colour scheme so that it makes more sense in context):

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Now, I know that the US is apparently bound and determined to import the Anbar Model to Afghanistan at any cost, but is this really the *cough* tribal awakening that Gen. Petraeus had in mind–“pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos”?

Gotta second Jesse Walker:

I look forward to the dueling Reichian and Foucauldian interpretations of this approach.

Related: Megan Carpentier and Spencer Ackerman analyze the CIA’s novel chemical inducement strategy from a feminist perspective and whip out the expected cock jokes. What? C’mon, it’s Jezebel. Dick-and-fart feminism is their bread and butter. Although I suppose one could argue that even for a Gawker Media affiliate going below the belt like that is merely plucking *ahem* low hanging fruit to increase page views (see what I did there? Eh? Eh? Ok, I’ve had more than enough broad penis humour for one day.)

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“It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.”

by matttbastard

Apologies for getting to this a bit late:

More from ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson here, here and here.

Also blogging on this:

(Special thanks to Sylvia/M for link assistance)

Related: Rep. John Conyers responds:

“I am deeply disturbed by the reported incidents in Algiers Point, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina,” said Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, and chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

Algiers Point residents, Conyers continued, “allegedly shot randomly at African Americans who had fled to the area escaping the effects of the storm. Several injuries and deaths were reported. I am particularly concerned about accounts that local police fueled, rather than extinguished, the violence.”

Also see Color of Change, which has started a campaign asking  “Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, and the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate” the attacks.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Motes and Planks, Holiday Edition

by matttbastard

Oh noez! Teh Pope iz gunna eatz me!

The Emperor Pope seriously needs to be checked for an irony deficiancy:

“Let us think of those children who are victims of the industry of pornography and every other appalling form of abuse, and thus are traumatised to the depths of their soul.”

Benedict said Catholics had to ”do everything in our power to put an end to the suffering of these children.”

Sez Pam Spaulding:

Everything in his power? Can he not afford a plane ticket to send Cardinal Law back stateside to face the music? Or what about [allowing] those children without a home to be adopted by loving, qualified same-sex couples? Just asking.

Now now — we should be grateful Ratzi didn’t blame it all on the gender-destroyers.

Small favours.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Dear Conservative Party of Canada

Stop fucking lying:

“Our objective is to get a majority of senators in the Senate who support reform. That is our objective. Once reform is passed, everyone will be standing for elections,” [a Conservative Party aide] told reporters at a background briefing yesterday.

“Our government will continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate,” Harper said in a statement that accompanied the list of appointees.

“If Senate vacancies are to be filled, however, they should be filled by the government that Canadians elected rather than by a coalition that no one voted for,” he said, referring to the Liberal-NDP coalition agreement that was signed before Harper sought prorogation of Parliament earlier this month to avoid a confidence vote.

Despite the overwhelming ignorance of a majority of Canadians, we do not ‘elect’ a government; we elect a Parliament by voting for local candidates who, if successful, become Members of Parliament, followed by the formation of a government–which may or may not represent the  party that had a majority of its MPs elected to Parliament.  If a group of MPs (say, a coalition of opposition MPs who represent a majority of seats in the House of Commons) can gain the confidence of the House, they have every right to form a government, regardless of election results.  You know this, and yet you continually lie (yes, lieEd Broadbent sure called it earlier this month) in the process of stating your case as to why you should remain in power.

By now it should be more than apparent that you could give a flying monkey fuck about anything (including the welfare of the nation) apart from clinging to power and furthering your radical right-wing agenda by any means necessary. But what’s truly sad is the fact that, during the course of their report, Tonda MacCharles and Bruce Campion-Smith apparently felt that correcting a blatant falsehood was unnecessary.  When the press colludes with the PMO to spread disinformation, even unwittingly, is there any wonder why the people of Canada are so ignorant of the democratic process?

Look, I know that Goebbels is said to have once famously (and  perceptively) quipped that if you “repeat a lie a thousand times it becomes truth”; but one would hope that our nation’s elite would have higher standards with regards to whom they are channeling their PR strategy through.

With vexation and disgust,

matttbastard

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SIR – You Are a Privileged Wanker

by matttbastard

One of the Economist’s byline-free journamalists has a bug up his or her ass over the concerns some uppity women and negros (remember: no intersection betwixt the two) have expressed about the gender and racial composition of President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed cabinet, resulting in the following dubious (if all-too-familiar) conclusion:

A feminist group (or an African American group) that announces it’s run out of grievances is a group that doesn’t matter anymore. It has to find something awry with Mr Obama. And it has to beat the drum about that if it will pressure the president-elect’s team to choose more women and minorities for subcabinet posts and lower-level jobs. This isn’t a subtle game being played, but it’s striking that not even the first black president gets a few points when it starts.

Economist, audit thyself. Seriously– a small cottage industry has been built around the perpetual irony-free whinging of (mostly) straight, white menz on how feminazis and race hustlers are never satisfied with dining on stale crumbs casually brushed from the table of power. The two instances in question merely provide a convenient pretext for some lazy hack to once again gird themselves with tissue-thin conventional wisdom and climb aboard a post-identity hobby-horse, all because their little pseudo-meritocrical fortress may be breached by an aggrieved (oh-so-aggrieved) horde of dusky, menopausal barbarians at the gates. The nerve!

DJ rewind:

A feminist group (or an African American group) that announces it’s run out of grievances is a group that doesn’t matter anymore. It has to find something awry with Mr Obama.

Subtle gamesmanship? Hardly. Someone must have misplaced their dogwhistle and instead opted for an air horn.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers