Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Call

Via Steven D at the Frog Pond, comes this lovely story.
A man beat an Army reservist in front of a Morrow Cracker Barrel, yelling racial slurs at her as he kicked her in the head, Morrow police said. The assault happened in front of the woman’s 7-year old daughter, who stood there, crying, witnesses told police.

Morrow police arrested Troy Dale West of Poulan after reviewing a video surveillance tape and talking to customers. He was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and cruelty to children.

The woman and her daughter were leaving the South Lake Plaza Drive restaurant last Wednesday about 7:30 p.m. as West was heading inside, Capt. James Callaway of the Morrow Police Department said.

The restaurant doorway nearly struck the woman’s daughter, prompting her to tell West, “Sir, you almost hit my daughter with the door, could you please be careful,” Callaway said.

West responded, telling the woman that she needed to watch her daughter and then began yelling racial slurs at her and kicking and punching her in the head, Callaway said.

Witnesses told police the woman kept telling West that she was an Army officer.

“She kept saying, 'Sir, I’m a United States soldier, don’t do this,’ ” Callaway said.

Takes a real man to do that. Take your pick, beating up a woman in public, beating up a black woman in public, beating up a black woman in public in front of her seven-year old daughter. There's a great message to send to our young black women: shut the hell up or you will get it shut up for you.

I'm personally waiting for the Wingers to suppose this is somehow Obama's fault too, after all as Tim at Balloon Juice keeps brilliantly putting it,

Barack Obama stripped millions of Americans of their right to not have a black President.
And millions of Americans are pissed off about that. So this U.S. Army Reserve soldier just had to get her ass kicked, you see.

Welcome to post-racial America.

Golden Rules

Gold hit an 18-month high today as the U.S. dollar slipped further.
Spot gold remained sharply higher at $1,017.65 an ounce into late New York dealings, compared with $1,005.90 on Tuesday. Wednesday's high of $1,020.50 an ounce was last reached in March 2008.

In New York, December gold finished $13.90 higher, a 1.38 percent gain, at $1,020.20 an ounce on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract reached a high at $1,023.30 an ounce, unseen since July 2008.

Gold's rally to levels unseen in 14 months primarily resulted from heavy U.S. dollar selling against the euro.

"Gold's rise is related to the weaker dollar, which is a function of risk aversion coming out of the market. We had strong dollar buying for months because of the credit crisis. As financial markets give every impression of stabilizing, that is unwinding. A byproduct is much higher gold prices,'' said HSBC metals analyst and senior vice president, James Steel.

The precious metal could be building up for an assault on its previous all-time high above $1,030 an ounce, set in March 2008 in the spot market, traders said. U.S. gold is eyeing the $1,033.90 per ounce prior record high on gold's continuation chart.

If the economy is doing so well (another happy-face Wall Street analyst type says we're in a V-shaped recovery) then why is the smart money not on our money, but assets like gold, a place where people turn to in bad financial conditions?

Something's not adding up here, of course, and the answer is that we've got a lot of problems coming.

Orly? Ya Rly!

Birther Queen Orly Taitz just got served, literally and figuratively.

U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land delivered a stinging rebuke to unofficial Birther leader Orly Taitz in a tour de force order throwing out yet another of Taitz's lawsuits today. And he warned Taitz that she could face sanctions if she submits any "similarly frivolous" (read: birther-motivated) filing.

Taitz has filed multiple "birther soldier" lawsuits, in which a member of the military claims he or she does not have to follow deployment orders because President Obama is illegitimate.

The 14-page order, which you can read in full here, throws out a complaint by Army Capt. Connie Rhodes, who cited "conscientious objections" to serving under the "de facto president," Barack Obama. It was first reported by the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia.

Land, of the Middle District of Georgia, begins his order by outlining Taitz's MO, noting that "counsel has managed to fuel this 'birther movement' with her litigation and press conferences, she does not appear to have prevailed on a single claim."

Then he turns to tearing apart the complaint of the moment:

First, Plaintiff's challenge to her deployment order is frivolous. She has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as President of the United States. Instead, she uses her Complaint as a platform for spouting political rhetoric, such as her claims that the President is "an illegal usurper, an unlawful pretender, [and] an unqualified imposter."

The judge lambastes Taitz's logic, writing: "Unlike in Alice in Wonderland, simply saying something is so does not make it so."

Silly Judge, Obama was born on Apokalips. He's really Darkseid.

What, that makes more sense than Orly Taitz's crap.

What Digby Said

Today's episode: The Village Discovers Racism Still Exists.
I agree that it is akin to what happened to Clinton and others in the past, but the fact is that attacks on liberalism (certainly since 1968) are intrinsically concerned with race. In fact, America's long standing unwillingness to create a decent program of social insurance --- the fundamental cause of the various progressive movements --- is tied to the fact that many white Americans just didn't want their tax dollars to go to racial minorities. Now, many white Americans today may not make that direct connection (I would argue that plenty of them do) but the underpinning of the ongoing American antipathy to expansion of the safety net has many of its roots in racism.

Yes, racism has diminished and it has certainly changed its outward character. But it is one of the foundational principles upon which anti-communism, anti-socialism and anti-liberalism were built. It's baked in to one degree or another and it's no surprise that the dittoheads who have organized their lives for the past few decades in opposition to liberalism are particularly agitated by the election of a black president. It's all part of the same tapestry of fear and loathing that brought them to the teabaggery in the first place.
To support this, count the number of conservatives who thought spending $3 trillion plus and counting on unending war in the Middle East was a bad idea. Hell, most of them want us to either greatly expand the Afghan war, start a new war in Iran, or both. It's only intolerable liberalism if a Democrat spends money that might be used on minorities and helping Americans, rather than shiny bombs used for "helping" non-Americans.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Nobody likes being accused of racism, especially actual racists.

End Of Daze

Dave "Birtherwatch" Weigel continues to document the atrocities for the Washington Independent, today's find is that one-third of New Jersey conservatives believe Obama might in fact be the anti-Christ. On, but it gets worse:
- Twelve percent of McCain voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Twenty-one percent are not sure.

- Fourteen percent of Republicans think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Fifteen percent are not sure.

- Eighteen percent of “conservative” voters think Obama is the Anti-Christ. Seventeen percent are not sure.

The big surprise here–the group of voters most likely to think Obama is the Anti-Christ are … Hispanics, who solidly backed Obama in 2008. Only 58 percent of them say, for sure, that their president is not Satan come to wreak havoc here on earth.

If these questions were being asked about Bush in say, 2003, it would have been the end of the universe for anyone involved in the silliness. But in 2009, the President being the Son of Satan is a legitimate voter concern.

I weep for the people in this country. I truly do.

Max Baucus Returns, Part 6

As Max Baucus rolls out Baucuscare in the WSJ this morning, the pushback is already apparent from both the left and the right. The Republicans want nothing to do with it, but it's becoming increasingly problematic that the Baucus plan is going to be nothing more than a mandate for forcing millions of Americans to buy insurance.

A 2008 study by the Urban Institute found that more than 10 million young adults ages 19 to 26 lack health insurance coverage. For many of those people, health-care reform would offer the promise of relatively inexpensive individual policies, which do not exist in many states today.

The trade-off is that young people would no longer be permitted to bet on their good health: All the reform legislation before Congress would require individuals to buy at least minimal coverage.

Another bill will be introduced Wednesday by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will offer in it a proposal to keep premiums manageable: a bare-bones catastrophic policy that would protect young people from financial calamity while providing basic preventive care.

Drafting young adults into any health-care reform package is crucial to paying for it. As low-cost additions to insurance pools, young adults would help dilute the expense of covering older, sicker people. Depending on how Congress requires insurers to price their policies, this group could even wind up paying disproportionately hefty premiums -- effectively subsidizing coverage for their parents.

An array of Democratic senators continued to complain Tuesday about the affordability of reform, insisting that the final package should include much larger tax credits to help people cover the cost of insurance premiums.

"I want to make clear that in its current form I cannot put my support behind the Finance bill -- it will not have my vote," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.).

In part, young adults are uninsured because they are less likely to work for employers who offer coverage; they may not qualify for public programs such as Medicaid; and even the skimpiest private insurance plans may be too expensive alongside hefty student loan payments and credit card debt.

But some young people -- nicknamed the "young invincibles" -- are also likelier than other Americans to assume that they won't need health insurance or to decide that they'd rather spend their money on other things.

To discourage that attitude, the Finance Committee bill would fine individuals who do not purchase coverage. An early draft of the proposal set the penalty at $750 or $950 per year for single people, depending on income. But according to various insurance experts, even the least expensive plan under the bill could cost more than $100 per month, making it cheaper for people to pay the fine than to buy insurance.

The problem is not that the penalty is too onerous. The problem is that this plan does nothing to make insurance more affordable for anyone, period, and I mean nothing. Folks who get sick under these catastrophe plans are still massively underinsured. If the Dems are really going to send billions to the insurance company's coffers and offer the same underinsured nightmare "barely legal" coverage as exists now, the Dems are going to get ravaged in 2010 and 2012 and rightfully so.

A bad plan is worse than no plan, and right now Baucuscare is that bad plan.

Dems Get Snowe Jobbed

Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe is picking up her bipartisanship ball and taking it home, apparently annoyed that she is not being feted as Queen Of All Health Care Reform by Obama and company. Pitching a fit, she just can't bring herself to support anything short of the Olympia Snowe Health Care Reform Act of 2009.

Senate Democrats are going to have to move forward on healthcare without a single Republican supporter after Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she could not back the Finance Committee’s bill.

Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) failed to win any Republican backer despite weeks of intense negotiations behind closed doors to strike a deal.

Snowe (Maine), who was one of three Republicans who backed the $787 billion economic stimulus package, was being lobbied heavily by the White House, and some centrists view her refusal to strike a deal with Baucus as troubling. But concerns about how the plan would be paid for prompted her to back away in the hours before its release.

“I do have concerns and I’m not sure they can be addressed before he issues [legislation] tomorrow,” Snowe said.

Faced with the prospect of having to pass legislation without Republican votes, Obama’s chief political adviser David Axelrod met with Senate and House Democrats on Tuesday to stress the importance of party unity on healthcare reform — a message most directly aimed at centrists who now are critical to its passage.

Democrats control 59 seats in the Senate. Without a single Republican vote, they would be forced to advance healthcare using a budgetary maneuver that requires only a simple majority.
As I said time and time again, not a single Republican was ever going to vote for robust, affordable health care reform that the Democrats could take credit for. It was laughable to think that Republican centrists like Snowe or her Maine colleague Susan Collins would ever cast a yes vote on an issue that would doom the Republicans to back-bencher status for years, and it was stupidity to even pursue it for this long. Too much time has been wasted, and it has resulted in 59 votes, not 60 if Sen. Kennedy was still with us. That's directly the fault of this idiotic and quixotic effort to get Republicans on board with a plan they will never support in any way, shape, or form.

To reconciliation it is, then. Pass a real plan, with the public option. No need for caving now. Get it done, and to hell with the Republicans in Congress.

A Warning For Whom?

I'm not sure if this Calderone/Allen article in Politico is a warning to the Wingers that the media is getting tired of their antics, or if it's a warning to the media that the Wingers are going to determine the news cycle and the media better get with the program or else.
The right-wing media’s single-minded focus on a handful of targets over the past months and its success in pushing those stories into the mainstream have underscored the sharp divide between traditional news organizations and the bloggers and talk show hosts aggressively pursuing an ideological agenda on-line and on TV and radio.

From birthers to tea parties to town halls and ACORN, the scandal-plagued anti-poverty group — not to mention President Obama’s speech last week to school children and the background of former White House aide Van Jones — issues initially dismissed or missed entirely by the national media have burst, if only fleetingly, onto the national agenda after relentless coverage on Fox News, talk radio and in the blogosphere.

“If it wasn’t for Fox or talk radio, we’d be done as a republic,” Glenn Beck declared Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends.” Beck, who’s aggressively pushed the Van Jones and ACORN stories, told the morning show hosts that he plans to devote his hour-long, top-rated 5 p.m. show to new undercover tapes of ACORN employees.

Last week, Big Government, a site run by conservative Andrew Breitbart, showed videos of undercover stings in three ACORN offices, where journalists posing as pimps and prostitutes were instructed by employees on how to skirt legal restrictions on housing. The tapes got big play on The Drudge Report—where Breitbart has worked—and right-leaning news outlets and commentary shows. But only after the Senate voted to cut off federal funding to ACORN on Monday did the story get more attention in the mainstream media.

ABC "World News" anchor Charles Gibson seemed caught off guard by the ACORN tapes on Tuesday when he told Chicago radio hosts Don Wade and Roma that he hadn't heard of them, in a clip flagged by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. Gibson added that "maybe this is just one you leave to the cables."

I'm leaning towards the latter. The Wingers are pretty pissed that the Village isn't playing ball 100%. It turns out there are lengths to which the traditional non-FOX media will not go to, and this story does seem to be a rather bold warning that the Village better snap to it or get left behind.

On the other hand, it does take the Village to turn one of these Winger outrage/apoplexy stories into a national scandal. When the Village does play ball, you get Van Jones and Jeremiah Wright. When it doesn't, you get Sonia Sotomayor and Rep. Joe Wilson. It's clear however that the Wingers want the Village on board and on board now, and for the rest of Obama's term at minimum. After all, they have a lot of crazy to spread. The Village, for its part, is finally beginning to see that these guys have no off switch on their derangement towards Obama, and they are getting increasingly uncomfortable in being involved in this little war, sensationalism or not.

But the Village has been making this bed since '94.

A Question Of Race In America

Two stories in the last 24 hours have brought the question of race in America to the forefront once again. First, Jimmy Carter believes racism is a factor in the attack on President Obama.
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African American," Carter told NBC in an interview. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans"

Continued Carter: "And that racism inclination still exists. . . . It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

The 39th president also predicted that Obama will be able to "triumph over the racist attitude that is the basis for the negative environment that we see so vividly demonstrated in public affairs in recent days."

Second, a white student in St. Louis was attacked on a bus by two black students, the incident captured on the bus's camera, but school officials now say the attack was not racially motivated.
A student on a Belleville West High School bus was beaten for his choice of seat, not because he was white, according to a witness and police.

"The incident appears now to be more about a couple of bullies on a bus dictating where people sit," said Belleville Police Capt. Don Sax, who originally said Monday's attack may have been racially motivated.

D'Vante Lott, 16, said he was on the bus and witnessed the attack by the two black students.

The victim walked onto the bus, looking for an open seat, but students kept turning him down, as D'Vante said happened often with this student.

But Monday, the victim apparently tired of asking for a seat, D'Vante said, moved one student's book-bag off a seat, and just sat down.

The student next to him then started hitting the victim for moving his bag, D'Vante said.
Both these incidents raise uncomfortable questions (especially at 7 AM on an average Wednesday morning.) Not every attack involving people of different races in America involves racism. Some are more obvious, some more subtle, some are blatant, some are misconstrued.

But it's the reaction by the Wingers to these two news items that is very telling. Wingers don't believe there's any racism towards Barack Obama, and in fact many of them believe that saying that attacks against the President are racially motivated in any way are in fact proof that those who do are racist themselves. Meanwhile, the bus fight in St. Louis is in fact prima facie evidence that President Obama himself is responsible for a massive anti-white crusade in America's streets, as Publius points out at ObWi.
Let me echo Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher and Conor Friedersdorf in condemning the utterly shameful and race-baiting exploitation of yesterday's school bus incident. I'm not big on writing posts that start "Rush Limbaugh did outrageous thing X today...", but this is an exception.

And it's not just Limbaugh. It's also Malkin, and Gateway Pundit, and Drudge, and Tom Maguire. Though Limbaugh takes the cake:

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now. You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering[.]

So here's the basic dilemma. On the one hand, there's nothing ambiguous about this. It's straight-up George Wallace-style race-baiting. It's an intentional attempt to stir racial prejudices.

Limbaugh & Friends took a random fight and immediately tried to pin it on Obama (some less directly than others). And after the police quickly backed off claims that it was racially motivated, the corrections either didn't come or were merely one-liner updates inappropriate to the gravity of the previous charges.

But even if it was racially motivated, what on earth does Obama have to do with it? The answer is nothing other race. The only goal here was to stir up racial resentment and then pin it on Obama. I'm sorry, but this is infuriating. We shouldn't be putting up with this in 2009.

But here's the thing -- there's no way to win. If you ignore it, they get to race-bait. If you cause a big stink about it, it will have the effect of putting racial tensions in the news. And that's exactly what they want, because it hurts Obama.

The reaction to this is very much blatant and horrifying. We're to the point now where 250 days into Obama's term and the Wingers are openly trying to pin every single possibly racist incident on Barack Obama, claiming he is personally and single-handedly responsible for racial animosity in this country.

The message is crystal clear, that Obama is a threat to whites in America, and he should be treated as such. We've gone straight to full, pedal-to-the-metal racism here in just a matter of months. I've been warning for some time now that this would only get worse, and now we've got El Rushbo, Malkinvania and company so far over the line that they can't see it.

They want war, open and bloody. And there are those who are willing to take up arms for this disgusting cause, and have the willingness to use them.

Things have gotten a hell of a lot more dangerous this week in America.


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