Facts vs. Narrative, Utoya Edition

by matttbastard

Norwegian journalist Magnus Nome was in the good ol’ US of A when self-styled counterjihadist crusader  Anders Breivik decided to escalate his murderous fantasies about Eurabian conquest from Outer Wingnuttia into the real world.  Thankfully, CNN, Fox News et al were ready to provide informed, accurate, up-to-the-minute coverage of events on the ground:

The news coverage over the following days taught me a lot of interesting new ‘facts’ about the innocent nation of Norway.

1. Apparently we don’t lock our doors at night. Wrong. We do.

2. There is no public debate about immigration. Wrong. Immigration generally, and Islam specifically, have been high on the agenda for more than a decade.

3. We’re all white. Wrong. Norway has become an increasingly diverse society since the early 1970s: almost a third of Oslo now has non-Norwegian origin, more than one in ten being Muslim.

4. Owning a gun is practically illegal. Wrong. Hunting and sport shooting are popular recreational activities, and Norway ranks high in gun ownership.

5. The Utøya victims were all white, and the terrorist did not kill any Muslims. Wrong. The victims reflected a diverse Norwegian society. Several of the dead were Muslims, several were of African or Middle Eastern ancestry. This information was available. It is extremely disrespectful to airbrush them out of the story to make it more coherent.

As they say, read the whole damn thing, especially if everything you know about Norway — and about Anders Breivik & far-right nationalism in Europe — was learned via teh cablez.

Image: apgroner, flickr

PSA: Support the Uniting American Families Act of 2009

by matttbastard

Immigration Equality:

Great News! Rep. Jerrold Nadler plans to reintroduce the Uniting American Families Act on Feb. 13!

You can make the bill a success by convincing your Representative to support the bill from Day One. Reintroducing the bill with as many cosponsors as possible will show powerful momentum for the rights of gay and lesbian binational couples!

Please call your Representative and ask them to be an original cosponsor of the “Uniting American Families Act of 2009”

It’s easy!

  1. Find out who your U.S. House Representative is.  Go to http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm, enter your address, and you will be provided the name of your U.S. Representative.
  2. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202)224-3121 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.
  3. Tell your representative’s staff:

I am calling to ask Representative ________________ to be an original cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2009.  To cosponsor, he/she must contact Rep. Jerrold Nadler who is the lead sponsor.

The U.S. government discriminates against gay and lesbian binational couples by not allowing us to sponsor our foreign-born life partners for immigration.  Because of this, we face the terrible choice of separating from the person we love or leaving our country.  As Americans, we should not have to choose between family and country.  Please ask Rep. _________________ to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 by reaching out to Rep. Nadler before February 12.

Thanks for asking your member of Congress to celebrate love this Valentine’s Day by cosponsoring UAFA!

h/t Sarah J

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Missouri State Senate Panel Report Blames Abortion For Influx of Undocumented Workers

by matttbastard

UPDATE: My bad — this story is actually from 2006. Not to say that’s any comfort, since, as Ann notes in comments, both Tom DeLay and Mike Huckabee have since repeated the spurious claim that abortion causes illegal immigration. END UPDATE

Via Jill and Sylvia/M (by email), McCain’s consolation prize has further affirmed its right-wing bona fides:

A Republican-led legislative panel [in Missouri] says in a new report on illegal immigration that abortion is partly to blame because it is causing a shortage of American workers.

The report from the state House Special Committee on Immigration Reform also says that “liberal social welfare policies” have discouraged Americans from working and have encouraged immigrants to cross the border illegally.
The statements about abortion and welfare policies, along with a recommendation to abolish income taxes in favor of sales taxes, were inserted into the immigration report by Rep. Edgar G.H. Emery (R), the panel’s chairman.

[…]

“You don’t have to think too long. If you kill 44 million of your potential workers, it’s not too surprising we would be desperate for workers.”

[…]

“The lack of traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work.”

Hey, at least they didn’t blame Satan; that’s a small purple post-partisan victory of sorts.

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About That Latest McCain Campaign Flail

by matttbastard

Re: the (illegally) manufactured half-assed October November Surprise currently popping a slow news day, Marc Ambinder (!) breaks it down:

Republicans think anti-immigrant forces are going to be rallied by attacking a middle aged woman in her fifties? This is what’s going to swing independents back to McCain? Reminding people (a) of an actual human face on the receiving end of anti-immigration policies and (b) that the Democratic candidate is personally affected by a complicated issue facing many American families?

Actually, I don’t think the McCain campaign, which, thus far, has been taking a hands-off approach to the smear, believes this blip will be an eleventh hour game changer.  As I said before, issue #1 is still the economy, stupid.  Sure, they might swing a few soft votes in OH, PA and FL.  But I believe the primary motive behind this and other recent over the top accusations against the Obama campaign is to stir up the GOP base in anticipation of making a comeback in 2012.

The notion that this last-minute flail will have a significant effect on the polls is, as Ambinder notes, ludicrous.  Instead, it is merely the latest addition to the increasingly unhinged narrative of fraud, radicals, and socialism to justify losing: not because of Obama’s superior ground game, nor the fact that McCain has run what has been possibly the worst presidential campaign since, um, Kerry ’04.  Rather, all the weeping and gnashing of teeth seems purposefully designed to stir up resentment and class-based grievance, once again positioning the white working class electorate against the darkies, illegals and the poor (to say nothing of the liberal elite boogeyman), with the first black president (who, if you hadn’t noticed, has a scary foreign-sounding name) serving as the ultimate living, breathing wedge issue.

The right is trying to start the culture war all over again, utilizing, as Henry Farrell put it, the mechanisms of Nixonland in the hope they can salvage the flagging fortunes of the current GOP power structure.

Buckle up kids–the next four years are going to be a wild fucking ride.

Related: In response to a passage in Nedra Pickler’s AP report indicating that the information on the immigration status of Obama’s paternal aunt had been leaked to AP by federal officials, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. has penned the following letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (h/t Taylor Marsh):

Dear Mr. Chertoff:

I was startled to read in today’s Associated Press that a “federal law enforcement official” has leaked information about an immigration case involving a relative of Senator Obama. Even more troubling, the AP reports that it “could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved,” a very disturbing suggesting indeed. This leak is deplorable and I urge you to take immediate action to investigate and discipline those responsible.

I note that this is not the first leak of law enforcement information apparently designed to influence the coming Presidential election — in recent weeks law enforcement sources leaked information about an alleged investigation of a community services organization, a leak that the Department of Justice informs me has been referred to the Department’s Office of the Inspector General and Professional Responsibility.

Such leaks are deeply harmful to the political process, and the American people expect and deserve better from their government and its law enforcement agencies.

Sincerely,
John Conyers, Jr.

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“The only reason to call that…a ‘demographic winter’ is if you’re overly focused on which babies are being born.”

by matttbastard

Kathryn Joyce on anti-choicers, European xenophobia, and the “The Demographic Winter”.

More here and here.

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More on the Demographic Winter

by matttbastard

Fern in comments:

Well, it’s sad to see this creeping into Europe, but there’s always been a strong streak of racism among the fetus fetishists in North America: ‘Too many of Them and not enough of Us are breeding.’

Yup. Peel off the “innocent unborn” rhetoric and a lot of ’em are simply selling good ol’ fashioned white nationalism under the noble guise of saving Western Civilization from imminent collapse. Of course, for anyone who doesn’t fit the proper socioeconomic/ethnic standard, reproduction should be considered a privilege, to be strictly *ahem* regulated by those who claim to always support Life™ (except when they don’t).

‘We’ must make sure we’re only loading our quivers with proper arrows–and don’t get any funny, Feminazi-inspired thoughts about betraying your country and your biological destiny by putting on your shoes and leaving the kitchen, ladies.

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The Demographic Winter

by matttbastard

The latest issue of The Nation features a disturbing cover story by Kathryn Joyce on how the American religious far-right is tapping nativist insecurity in Europe to take its made-in-the-USA anti-choice message global.

A sample:

The imminent demise of Europe is a popular prediction these days, with books such as Catholic scholar George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral, Melanie Phillips’s Londonistan, Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept and Pat Buchanan’s Death of the West all appearing since 2001. The 2006 film Children of Men sketched a sterile, dystopian world thrown into chaos for lack of babies (though with less blatant antiabortion implications than the Christian allegorical P.D. James novel on which it was based). The media increasingly sound the alarm as Eastern European countries register birthrates halved since the last generation. And on February 11, the Family First Foundation, a profamily group in the same movement circles as [Steve] Mosher and [Christine] de Vollmer, released a documentary dedicated to the threat: Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family.

What was a conservative drumbeat about Europe’s death has become mainstream media shorthand, complementing ominous news items about Muslim riots in France; Muslim boycotts in London; Muslim “veil” debates in Denmark; and empty European churches transformed into mosques, with calls to prayer replacing church bells. Evangelical luminary Chuck Colson, head of the vast Prison Fellowship ministry and a close ally of George W. Bush, espoused a conspiracy theory in which he construed an Islamic Council of Europe handbook for Muslims trying to keep the faith abroad as a “soft terrorism” plot for takeover. The late Oriana Fallaci lambasted Europe’s transformation into a Muslim colony, “Eurabia.” And in a recent political match in Switzerland, a campaign poster depicted a flock of white sheep kicking a black sheep out of their pasture, “For Greater Security.” The refrain is that the good-faith multicultural tolerance approach of the Netherlands has been tried and has failed, which is arguably a few polite steps from Mosher’s summary of the problem: that Muslim immigrants are simply “too many and too culturally different from their new countries’ populations to assimilate quickly…. They are contributing to the cultural suicide of these nations as they commit demographic suicide.” Or, as he declared while rallying a gathering of profamily activists last spring in Poland, “I want to see more Poles!”

Or more Russians, or more Italians, as the case may be. The fever for more “European” babies is widespread. The last two popes have involved themselves in the debate, with John Paul II pronouncing a “crisis of births” in 2002 in an anomalous papal address to Italy’s Parliament and Benedict XVI remarking on the “tragedy” of childless European couples and beatifying an Italian peasant woman for raising twelve children.

At the national level, in 2004 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered a “baby bonus” of about $1,000 to parents who had a second child, and Russia, which has a history of pronatalist policies, including its 1980s-era “motherhood medals,” sweetened the offer to its citizens with several birth initiatives for hesitant couples, including an $8,900 award to families who produce a second child and a stipend of 40 percent of salary to women who leave work to become stay-at-home moms. One Russian province made novelty news worldwide with its Day of Conception on September 12, when residents of Ulyanovsk got time off work to “conceive a patriot” for the country. Prizes for successful delivery nine months later include refrigerators and cars. The theme is present enough in the popular consciousness that a Swedish underwear company cashed in on the anxiety with a provocative ad campaign featuring a cast of Nordic men wearing EU-type lapel pins, commanding Swedes to Fuck for the Future and Drop Your Pants or Drop Dead.

The nativist motivations for such campaigns move beyond the subliminal at times. Elizabeth Krause, an anthropologist and author of A Crisis of Births: Population Politics and Family-Making in Italy, tracked that country’s population efforts over the past decade and found politicians demanding more babies “to keep away the armadas of immigrants from the southern shores of the Mediterranean” and priests calling for a “Christian dike against the Muslim invasion of Italy.” The racial preferences behind Berlusconi’s “baby bonus” came into embarrassing relief when immigrant parents were accidentally sent checks for their offspring and then asked to return the money: the Italian government hadn’t meant to promote those births.

The American Christian right, increasingly seeking influence abroad, has recognized that this anxiety over shifting national identities creates fertile terrain for spreading its ideology of traditional sexual morality as a quick fix for a postmodern age.

Related: Chris Hedges has more on the “creeping Christian chauvinism [that] has infected our political and social discourse” and how “[t]he public denigration of Islam, and by implication all religious belief systems outside Christianity, is part of the triumphalism that has distorted the [US] since the 9/11 attacks.”

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Bigmouth Strikes Again

by matttbastard

Hey Moz–go stuff yer gob with the “I was misquoted” bollocks, mate. Listen to Billy re: the first rule of holes, k? You were caught on tape soul-kissing the spirit of Enoch Powell; drop the writs and embrace your latent nativism, you fucking wanker.

h/t Nunc Scio

Update: Yolanda Carrington takes a stroll down memory lane re: Moz’s longtime flirtation with fascism, highlighting his by-now familiar response to criticism:

Morrissey’s pattern is predictable: When challenged about his wink-wink nudge-nudge comments and actions, Morrissey protests that he isn’t racist and that he is being set up by his accusers. When he’s playing around with the lives of people of color, it’s no big deal; it’s only when he feels he’s under attack and needs to defend himself does he gets serious about racism. It’s the same old pattern that we stateside people of color have seen time and again, this time on the other side of the Atlantic.

Via Racialicious.

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