Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Call

Dave Neiwert chucks a metal hand covering right into the faces of America's Tea Party, daring them to respond to the NAACP's report that yes, the Tea Party is racist.

Cue the right-wing wailing and gnashing of teeth: The NAACP has now fully backed up its accusations of racism within the Tea Party movement with a meticulously documented report on the Tea parties' multifarious connections to racists and various far-right extremists.

The report, "Tea Party Nationalism," looks at the relationships and differences between the six major Tea Party organizations -- FreedomWorks Tea Party, 1776 Tea Party, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet, and Tea Party Express -- and the various ways that each group has established connections with, and empowers, outright racists and white supremacists, as well we far-right "Patriot" extremists of various stripes.

"In these ranks, an abiding obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate is often a stand-in for the belief that the first black president of the United States is not a 'real American.' Rather than strict adherence to the Constitution, many Tea Partiers are challenging the provision for birthright citizenship found in the Fourteenth Amendment," write authors Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, which produced the report for the NAACP.

The heart of the report is the section titled "Racism, Anti-Semitism and the Militia Impulse, which includes some previously overlooked facets of the movement and revealing details:

-- James von Brunn, the white supremacist who killed a Holocaust Museum guard last year, posted on Tea Partner Express partner websites.

-- Mark Williams, former chairman of the Tea Party Express, not only wrote racist screeds, he made death threats against President Obama,

-- Billy Joe Roper, a member of the ResistNet Tea Party who also happens to be the founder of the overtly racist White Revolution organization, indulging in "Nazi glamorization" with his eulogy for William Pierce, author of The Turner Diaries, the notorious race-war blueprint.

We also get "profiles of troubling Tea Partiers," including Roan Garcia-Quintana, a South Carolina Tea Party member who the report says belongs to the largest white nationalist group in the country; Karen Pack, another Tea Party member the report says is linked to the Ku Klux Klan; and Clay Douglas, a Tea Party member from Arizona the report says has pushed "militia-style 'New World Order' conspiracies" and "hard core anti-Semitism."

The report is pretty damn extensive and thorough.  It will of course be completely dismissed as proof that the only racism in America comes from African-Americans by the right, but the evidence is overwhelming.

So yes, I have a problem with some elements of the Tea Party.  I choose to respond by not voting for them.

Have a nice evening.

Instances Of Racism Still Dog The GOP

Honestly, what is it with racist Republican assholes forwarding stupid racist jokes to people in e-mails?  Do you not think somebody might point this stuff out?  Evan McMorris-Santoro:

Virginia Beach is the biggest city in Virginia, and the hometown of the state's current Republican Governor, Bob McDonnell. Now it's also home to the latest example of a racist email forward destroying a prominent conservative's political credibility and possibly career.

As the progressive Blue Virgina blog reported Monday -- and I independently confirmed from one of the recipients Tuesday -- Virginia Beach Republican Party chair Dave Bartholomew forwarded a racist email comparing African Americans to dogs. The email, subject line "my, dog," consists of a racist parable about African Americans and welfare. In the first 24 hours since the email came to light, Democrats condemned Bartholomew and he resigned his position with the Republican Party.

Reading the text of the joke (let's just say the punchline involves by comparing a dog to an African-American, it's easy to get the dog a welfare check, which is racist awesomeness on multiple levels) I have to honestly believe that Dave Bartholomew here thought A) it was really funny and B) thought it was honestly inoffensive.

And that's just it, clearly it never occurred to this guy that any of it was racist.  Why would a white male in Virginia actively think about what qualifies as racism?  There's no reason for him to.  No filter there, no alarm bells, no warnings.  Just, hey this joke is funny.

A large chunk of racism is people honestly not thinking about what racism qualifies as.  granted, some of it is deliberate hatred, but most of it is never having been told that this behavior is unacceptable...because you've never been called on it before.

That's the kind of thing you blame on culture.  Most of us are pretty thick-headed when it comes to doing or saying things that offend other people.  When you've grown up all your life hearing and seeing things that do offend you, you become more aware of your own actions.

When you've not experienced that, you're not as aware.

I'm not justifying his actions here.  They really are quite breathtakingly racist and ignorant.  I'm just explaining where this ignorance comes from, and that's never being called out for being ignorant and offensive.

We still have a long way to go in this country.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

There's something about Megan McArdle relying on Dodd Harris relying on NewsBusters to "fact-check" Rachel Maddow in a breathless quote block demanding a retraction and making veiled legal threats about a public defamation case, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Something about truth getting on it boots while the lie is already all over the intertoobs and I'm sure Glenn Beck getting a pass is involved as well.

I'll figure it out.

Right Message, Wrong The Hell Messenger

MoDo The Red rails against The Stupid (which I always appreciate) but it's a bit like the river complaining about the ocean when she goes after the women of the Tea Party reveling in ignorance.

You struggle to name Supreme Court cases, newspapers you read and even founding fathers you admire? No problem. You endorse a candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat who is the nominee in West Virginia? Oh, well.

At least you’re not one of those “spineless” elites with an Ivy League education, like President Obama, who can’t feel anything. It’s news to Christine O’Donnell that the Constitution guarantees separation of church and state. It’s news to Joe Miller, whose guards handcuffed a journalist, and to Carl Paladino, who threatened The New York Post’s Fred Dicker, that the First Amendment exists, even in Tea Party Land. Michele Bachmann calls Smoot-Hawley Hoot-Smalley.

Sharron Angle sank to new lows of obliviousness when she told a classroom of Hispanic kids in Las Vegas: “Some of you look a little more Asian to me.”

As Palin tweeted in July about her own special language adding examples from W. and Obama: “ ‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

On Saturday, at a G.O.P. rally in Anaheim, Calif., Palin mockingly noted that you won’t find her invoking Mao or Saul Alinsky. She says she believes in American exceptionalism. But when it comes to the people running the country, exceptionalism is suspect; leaders should be — as Palin, O’Donnell and Angle keep saying — just like you.

In Marilyn’s America, there were aspirations. The studios tackled literary novels rather than one-liners like “He’s Just Not That Into You” and navel-gazing drivel like “Eat Pray Love.” Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” paired cartoon characters with famous composers. Even Bugs Bunny did Wagner.

But in Sarah’s America, we’ve refudiated all that. 

Well Maureen my dear, while you have a point about Sarah and Christine and Sharron...frankly I don't give a damn, because your own vapid columns attacking Obama for his lack of bipartisanship or going after him for actually paying attention to the First Amendment or for not being black enough or not being friendly enough to the Village press or for being too intellectual played right into the very themes that the Tea Party has been using against Obama for the last year plus, and before that as the far right (which they still are.)

So if you're asking why they are celebrating inchoate anger and blithering ignorance, ask yourself why you so thoroughly attacked a President who chooses to use intelligence, logic, and reason.

I have no sympathy for you.  You helped make this mess.  Own up to that, at least.

Bubble And Squeak Time

Austerity rules Britannia, as Finance Minister George Osborne announced the full, brutal extent of his austerity cuts.

Britain said on Wednesday it would cut half a million public sector jobs, raise the retirement age and slash the welfare state as part of the biggest spending cuts in a generation.

After months of bitter negotiations, Conservative finance minister George Osborne confirmed he would press ahead with almost all the spending cuts he had outlined in a June budget.

Capital spending, however, he said would be 2 billion pounds higher per year than originally planned because of the difficulty of getting out of contractual obligations.

"Tackling this budget deficit is unavoidable. The decisions about how we do it are not. There are choices. And today we make them. Investment in the future rather than the bills of past failure. That is our choice," Osborne told parliament.

"Well we'd cut even more, but we actually have contracts, so as soon as those are up, we'll cut back on that spending too."   Oh, and that would be the equivalent of cutting 2.5 million government jobs here in the US.  I sure hope Britain's private sector feels like hiring, because otherwise their unemployment rate just shot through the roof.

What Britain is doing now is what the Tea Party wants for the United States, make no mistake about it.  Neo-Hooverism for all!

Turn On The Lights, Watch The Roaches Scatter, Part 28

Hey mortgage banks?  Let the Foreclosuregate lawsuits begin!

Bank of America Corp. and its Countrywide Home Loans unit were accused of racketeering in a lawsuit filed by two Indiana residents claiming that perjured affidavits were used to foreclose on their home.

Dwayne Ransom Davis and Melisa Davis filed the complaint yesterday in federal court in Indianapolis. Their lawyer, Irwin Levin, confirmed the filing in a phone interview. The filing couldn’t be independently verified.

“The defendants and their cohorts engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity in which they routinely and repeatedly prepared perjured affidavits in order to rapidly churn foreclosures,” the couple said in the complaint. 

And a whole hell of a lot more of these are coming, folks.  Good ol' racketeering charges.  How delightfully old school, too.

The Davises accuse the lenders of using “robo-signers,” people who sign affidavits attesting to facts underlying foreclosures without actual knowledge of those facts, to push through paperwork to take their home in Knightstown, Indiana.

While the borrowers aren’t asking the court to reverse their foreclosure, they’re seeking compensatory damages tripled under federal racketeering laws, as well as class action, or group, status to sue on behalf of anyone whose home was allegedly taken since October 2006 under similar circumstances.

Levin said the group might include hundreds of thousands of people.

The case is Davis v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., 10-cv-01303, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (Indianapolis). 

Oh my.  Now things are getting good.  The lawyers smell blood in the water and BofA has about 30 metric tons of chum around its neck and is sinking fast.  And they'll soon be joined down there by a number of other banks I'm thinking.

Epic Which Would-Be Witch Is Which Win

Christine O'Donnell:  not a witch.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark on the other hand...

EPIC WIN. (h/t Josh Marshall)

The Son Of The Ghost Of The Zombie Of ACORN

BooMan flags down this story from the Houston Chronicle involving voter intimidation in Texas's largest county by a group calling itself "True the Vote".  Harris County's early voters in minority precincts found themselves facing a gauntlet of "concerned citizens" in order to vote. 

Last month, True the Vote alleged that the integrity of the Harris County voter roll was under attack and took credit for uncovering flawed registration forms submitted by a nonprofit group called Houston Votes. Harris County Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez referred the matter to the county prosecutor.

DeLeon said the county clerk's office received 14 complaints of alleged voter intimidation at 11 voting locations on Monday, the first day of early voting for the Nov. 2 general election. Birnberg said his office forwarded about two dozen complaints to the county attorney's office.

"In any election year you get one or two over-zealous poll watchers, but this was a pattern throughout minority early voting precincts," Birnberg said. 

"We hope it can be resolved by government authorities pointing out to these folks that they not only are acting undemocratically but blatantly illegally."

A total of 26,051 people voted at early polling locations Monday. That figure compares with 8,545 on the first day of voting for the 2006 gubernatorial election. Monday's total was more than triple the number from four years ago, but was not a record, DeLeon said.

"Obviously this election in Harris County, Texas, is important, not just because we're the largest county in Texas but also because of how it might affect the overall results," said O'Rourke of the county attorney's office. "It's our duty to investigate the complaints."

The good news is that early voting is getting increasingly popular in states.  The bad news is that minority voter intimidation has now become a month-long ordeal in some places.  Let's not forget that the warehouse storing Harris County's electronic voting machines just happened to be destroyed in a fire in August, and of course that means that on Election Day, voters will face long lines as all the destroyed machines can't possibly be all replaced on time and the number of voting precincts will have to be cut, making it difficult for everyone to be able to vote.

Voters are now taking advantage of early voting, but I don't think anyone expected turnout for early voting to go up in Harris County, especially in minority precincts.  Certainly the Tea Party backed "True the Vote" folks didn't.

Good for Texas.  Folks, if no-excuse early voting is available in your state, by all means take advantage of it.

Ginny, Would You Lose My Number

Apparently last week Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginny called Anita Hill and asked her to apologize, out of the blue, as "an olive branch".  Anita Hill apparently decided where that olive branch needs to be stuck.

Anita Hill, whose accusations of sexual harassment almost derailed Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' high court nomination, has no plans to apologize for the charges she made nearly two decades ago.

The response from Hill, now a law professor at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, comes after a message left for her over the weekend by Thomas' wife, Virginia, who requested an apology.

Really? After what, 19 years you're doing this, out of the blue? And you're doing it at her work?  That's awesome.

"I certainly thought the call was inappropriate," Hill said in a statement to CNN issued by Brandeis. "I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony."

In a statement to CNN, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas said: "I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended."

According to a source at Brandeis who spoke on condition of not being identified, the message left over the weekend said:

"Good morning, Anita Hill, it's Ginni Thomas. I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology some time and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband. So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did. OK, have a good day."

Umm...what I want to know is why everyone's taking Ginny Thomas at her word that she called Anita Hill out of the blue as an olive branch and not that this is the Washington equivalent of Lindsey Lohan drunk dialing Paris Hilton to tell her she slept with her boyfriend.   Granted, I guess there's some sort of style guideline against the papers using "Absolutely Fabulous" as a reference to what happened, but c'mon...this sounds like a classic case of drunk dialing to me.

There's definitely something going on here.


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