Tuesday, August 31, 2010

@SarahPalinUSA: Closet Socialist!

Today’s pearls of wisdom from the Half-Term Governor Extraordinaire, on the occasion of Pres. Obama’s Oval Office Address announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq:

As always, I’m here to provide the Sarah-to-English translation for the uninitiated. Quoth Gov. McQuitter:

Obama’s speech tonight may make you dig out your old Orwell books so rewritten history can be deciphered, depending on who is given credit for the Iraq surge.

Now, I may be giving Sarah a bit too much credit here, but I believe she’s preemptively accusing Pres. Obama of rewriting history in tonight’s speech, and, therefore, literate Palinites (ahem!) will want to refer to their favorite George Orwell books – 1984, perhaps, or maybe Animal Farm or Homage to Catalonia (nah, that last one’s probably a bit too obscure for them) – so as to familiarize themselves with common Orwell themes. Like, for instance, doublethink:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself -- that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.

Or newspeak:

Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

Okay, so, anyway, this, apparently, is what she’s suggesting Pres. Obama will do in tonight’s speech – if, that is, he fails to give proper credit for the “surge” in Iraq. Credit for the “surge,” presumably, is supposed to go to George W. Bush (you know, they guy who said Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and had operational links to al Qaeda – that George W. Bush). Never mind the fact that there is sharp disagreement over whether the “surge” itself – that is, the significant escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq beginning in early January 2007 – actually had a positive effect there; the real question is whether the Ex-Governor really wants to go around citing George Orwell in the first place.

Because Orwell was, or became later in life, the very thing that Sister Sarah so vehemently abhors: A socialist.

But you don’t have to take my word for it; Matt Yglesias has done the work for us:

[H]ere’s Orwell on socialism from “Why I Joined the Independent Labour Party”:

I have got to struggle against that, just as I have got to struggle against castor oil, rubber truncheons and concentration camps. And the only regime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist regime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer — that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.

I have put the personal aspect first, but obviously it is not the only one.

It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it. For perhaps ten years past I have had some grasp of the real nature of capitalist society. I have seen British imperialism at work in Burma, and I have seen something of the effects of poverty and unemployment in Britain. In so far as I have struggle against the system, it has been mainly by writing books which I hoped would influence the reading public. I shall continue to do that, of course, but at a moment like the present writing books is not enough. The tempo of events is quickening; the dangers which once seemed a generation distant are staring us in the face. One has got to be actively a Socialist, not merely sympathetic to Socialism, or one plays into the hands of our always-active enemies.

In “Toward European Unity”, written after the war, he explained that “a Socialist United States of Europe seems to me the only worth-while political objective today.”

(Note that the emphasis is in the original post by Matt.)

Heh. Socialism is “the only worth-while political objective today.” So said George Orwell, Sarah Palin’s go-to guy on politics.

Sarah Palin, pallin’ around with socialists!

Well, anyways, thanks for the tip Gov. McQuitter!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time for Self-Refudiation: @SarahPalinUSA Goes Full-Metal Bigot

Really, it was bound to happen. Staring down the end of another long hot summer of right-wing craziness – last year it was the health-care-town-hall insanity; this year it’s mosques and gay marriage – it was just bound to happen. Right-wingers have been race-bating so long, skirting right up to the edge of common decency and beyond … you had do know that one of ’em was going to lose it; that one of ’em was going to embrace his or her Inner Bircher and go full-on racist.

Enter “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger, a self-professed advice-giver/relationship specialist with a PhD in … physiology? Anyway, last week “Dr.” Schlessinger went on a now-infamous rant all full of n-wordy-goodness, explaining to an African American caller who was offended by her white husband’s friends’ racist remarks that black folks are just too darn sensitive about race; that African American comics on HBO (that, apparently, being the gold standard of African American culture to “Dr.” Laura) use the n-word regularly, so it’s okay for a right-wing white radio host to do the same … and ultimately telling the caller, “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

Yeah. Um. Sure. It’s only Two-thousand-friggin’-ten. If you’re in an interracial relationship you’d better expect to face racist interrogations by alleged friends of your spouse. So, suck it up!

Of course, even the usually unapologetic “Dr.” Laura quickly realized she’d taken a long walk off a short pier, career-wise; so, she came back the next day, metaphoric tail between her legs, saying:

I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the “n” word all the way out - more than one time. And that was wrong. I’ll say it again - that was wrong.

So she acknowledged she was wrong to say the n-word, but she stood by the rest of her rant – including her comments to the effect that African Americans are too sensitive about race and that if you marry “outside your race” you should expect to face a racial inquisition every time you get together with your spouse’s friends.

Hey, “Dr.” Laura, 1967 called. It wants its racially charged dinner party back.

Meanwhile, “Dr.” Laura’s apology tour continued earlier this week when she appeared on Larry King’s show on CNN. Once again, she said she felt bad that she’d offended people, but nonetheless reaffirmed her view that African Americans are too sensitive, and she went on to tell King she intends to leave her radio program at the end of the year to “regain [her] First Amendment rights.” Oy. Because, you see, conservatives have the First Amendment right not to be criticized for the insanely stupid things they say. Got it?

Anyway, you’d expect “Dr.” Laura to have become a pariah on the right, especially after the Breitbart/Palin/Tea Party wing of the Republican Party spent the entire summer insisting they’re not racists while calling anyone who criticizes them … racist. After all, if they really want to prove their racial neutrality, their “color blindness” as they like to say, you’d think Sarah’d get out her Big Book of Refudiation and throw it at the n-word-spewing, interracial-marriage dissing “Dr.” Laura. Right?


Allow me to translate from Palin-Speak to English: “Dr. Laura – don’t retreat, reload. ([Schlessinger] Step[ped] aside [because] her First Amend[ment] [rights] ceased [to] exist [thanks to] activists trying [to] silence [her] [and that] ‘isn’t American, [and it’s] not fair’).” I’m not sure who Palin was quoting when she said “isn’t American, not fair”; maybe it was the voices in her crazy-scary right-wing head.

But, so, between opposing the construction of the Park 51/Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan – which necessarily means she equates all Muslims with the 9/11 attackers (and that folks, is the very definition of racism) – and endorsing “Dr.” Laura’s views on race and interracial marriage, what else can you say about the Half-Term Wonder? She’s finally showing her true colors (pardon the pun); she’s finally putting down the dog whistle and shouting out loud: I’m a bigot and I’m proud of it!

Glad we got that cleared up.

Garland Jeffreys’ 1973 tribute to New York City, “Wild in the Streets,” also included on his 1977 album, Ghost Writer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

@SarahPalinUSA, Finding Racist Extremism on the Right Is Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Hey, ex-Gov. Palin, we’re starting to see a trend here.

We’ve talked before about the planned Cordoba House Islamic center in New York City (here, here and here), which Fox News and the shrieking right like to call the “Ground Zero Mosque” – even though it’s neither at Ground Zero nor a mosque – but it’s worth revisiting if only because it has proven to be a veritable bottomless pit of right-wing histrionics. It’s the gift that keeps giving, so to speak, if the gift you’re looking for happens to be Islamophobic lunacy.

And speaking of lunacy, few conservatives plumb the depths of crazy quite like one Pamela Geller, the wild-eyed banshee of right-wing Muslim-bashing. Ms. Geller, you may recall, believes that al Qaeda “is Islam” and once nearly swooned when a guest on Sean Hannity’s propaganda show said that moderate Islam “doesn’t exist.” Not surprisingly, she also has a big problem with Cordoba House:

The Ground Zero mosque is an offensive insult, it’s a stab in the eye. I have no problem with mosques across the city. But we’re talking about history, and Islamic history, of building triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands.

“A stab in the eye”? That’s a little melodramatic, even for Pamela Geller.

But if you think Pam’s a bit, well, nuts when it comes to Islam generally and to the Cordoba House in particular, wait’ll you get a load of her partners in crime – John Joseph Jay and David Yerushalmi. These two are worse than the worst parody of right-wing hate and paranoia. But don’t take my word for it; here’s the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch on Mr. Jay:

Nobody on the far right, it seems, has been able to surpass Geller for anti-Obama epithets with a Muslim-bashing twist. She has called the president “a third worlder and a coward” who is anxious to “appease his Islamic overlords.” On another occasion, she wrote that Obama “wants jihad to win.” But now a founding board member of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) — a group founded by Geller, apparently to act as an umbrella for the SIOA [Stop the Islamization of America] she co-founded — is doing his best to be even more vitriolic than her. His rants, coupled with his apparently close relationship to Geller, cast new doubt on Geller’s already extremely doubtful claim to be a reasonable critic of Muslims and Islam generally.

According to the Daily Kos, AFDI board member John Joseph Jay recently has posted a series of truly vicious anti-Muslim rants — apparently without the benefit of a capital letter function on his computer. “if islam kills non-believers as a matter of religious doctrine, then why should muslims expect to be free of retribution in the name of those islam kills?” he wrote. “why should muslims get a free pass? if it is right for muslims to kill non-believers, then why is it no less right for the rest of us to kill muslims?”

In another screed, the Daily Kos said Jay wrote: “there are, friends, no ‘innocent’ muslims. they obey. and they obey the dictates of the koran on jihad. and, they obey the commands of local clerics. in this, they have no choice. because, friends, there is no ‘free will’ in islam, one obeys the dictates of allah.”

Um, what? Pamela Geller’s associate in the stop-the-mosque nonsense advocates genocide? And yet Ms. Geller is a regular guest on Fox News. Whoa.

But, it seems that Mr. Jay wouldn’t be satisfied with anti-Muslim genocide. Nope. He’s apparently looking for all-out revolution here at home:

Last month, Jay expanded on his advocacy of violence against Muslims to include people in positions of power. He commented on his blog about a magazine article regarding America’s “ruling class” as follows: “friends, if you wish to retain and preserve individual virtue, you are going to have to kill in order to do so. if we are to excise the ruling class, it will be with violence. they used violence to attain their privilege, they use it nakedly in the form of the s.i.e.u. [an apparent reference to the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union] and black panther thugs in elective politics to maintain it, they contemplate relocation camps to preserve it. … buy guns. buy ammo. be jealous of your liberties. and understand, you are going to have to kill folks, your uncles, your sons and daughters, to preserve those liberties.”

I’m going to have to kill members of my own family? That’s taking the old “Tree of Liberty” thing a bit too far, don’t you think?

And then there’s Ms. Geller’s lawyer, David Yerushalmi, whos helped Geller’s “American Freedom Defense Initiative” organization place anti-mosque ads on New York’s public transportation system. Says Charles Johnson:

This is a good time for some background information on Pamela Geller’s associate David Yerushalmi, who is an advocate for criminalizing Islam itself and imposing 20-year sentences on practicing Muslims. Yes, really.

He’s not simply anti-Muslim, though; Yerushalmi also wrote a now-infamous article titled “On Race: A Tentative Discussion, Part II,” in which he advocated a return to a pre-Bill of Rights Constitution, and the restriction of voting rights to white male land-owners. Again … yes, really.

Here’s a lengthy article at Talk To Action on the bizarre views and causes of David Yerushalmi: Anti-Semitic White-Supremacist Orthodox Jew Tries To Ban Islam In US.

Yerushalmi has deleted as much evidence of the “On Race” article as he could; he removed it from the Internet Archive and the Google cache, and put his entire website behind a registration wall. But here’s a PDF that contains the full article, and it’s as ugly and twisted a piece of racism as anything I’ve ever seen. Yerushalmi opens by calling Islam “an evil religion,” and “blacks … the most murderous of peoples.”

A quote:

There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote. You might not agree or like the idea but this country’s founders, otherwise held in the highest esteem for their understanding of human nature and its affect on political society, certainly took it seriously. Why is that? Were they so flawed in their political reckonings that they manhandled the most important aspect of a free society - the vote? If the vote counts for so much in a free and liberal democracy as we “know” it today, why did they limit the vote so dramatically?

Well, at least Yerushalmi only wants to criminalize the practice of Islam, as opposed to actively killing practitioners of the faith. But really. These are the folks supposedly respectable Pamela Geller hangs out with.

More to the point, this is the true nature of the opposition to Cordoba House. They’re not people who worry about the feelings of 9/11 victims and their families. They’re not people who are themselves pained by the idea that an Islamic center would be built in the vicinity of Ground Zero, nor are they people who really believe Ground Zero is sacred ground. They’re just haters, plain and simple. They hate Muslims, and, if Mr. Jay and Mr. Yerushalmi are any indication, they democracy and they hate African Americans too.

But there’s no racism on the right, eh, Ms. Palin?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Uh, @SarahPalinUSA, Looks Like You’ve Got Another “Tea Party American” to “Refudiate”

Well, our good friend the Half Term Governor may find this interesting. It seems that while a federal judge in Arizona recently enjoined the worst aspects of that state’s infamous S.B. 1070 – the law that requires local law enforcement to ask for proof of citizenship or alien status whenever they stop someone whom they “reasonably believe” might be in the U.S. illegally – Arizona Tea Partiers are more fired up than ever. Witness this, a planned August 15, 2010 rally in the border town of Hereford:

The organizers of the event describe the even this way:

The United Border Coalition Tea Party Rally’s purpose is to show support for Arizona and its rights to enforce the ‘Immigration Laws’ that the Federal Government won’t. SB1070 is a common sense law that enables Arizona to enforce federal law on illegal immigration.

Which might sound prosaic enough, were it not for this:

Local AZ Carpooling Coordinators:

Phoenix: Chris Flowers (Click to contact)

Tuscon: Tony Venuti (Click to contact)

Because as it turns out, this Tony Venuti – one of the apparent organizers of the United Border Coalition Tea Party Rally – has some rather interesting (one might say, repulsive) views on race in modern day America. Take it away, Tony:

The Abomination and the Abolishment of Slavery

To all of the Black/Negro professionals athletes and media star, I say the following
….where would they have been without that abomination slavery…..think about it…..I know it hurts…but still…where would you be….

African leaders THEMSELVES are co-conspirators of this abomination called Slavery. We will convince you that you should……you must..

Stay down, we will take care of you, you are the leg to which we stand.

just make sure you know WHO is BUTTERING your bread….Yes as my mouth is Wattering in success, I’m Buttering your bread please don’t forget that I enable you.

Yes, that’s right. Mr. Venuti thinks that African Americans benefited from slavery, because without it they would never have come to America and become … wait for it … professional athletes and media stars! Plus, Mr. Venuti says, “African leaders” are trying to convince African Americans to “stay down” and are “enabling” … what, exactly? Poverty? Discrimination? The lack of equal opportunities? Mr. Venuti’s rambling tract doesn’t quite clarify that point.

But wait, there’s more:

Again, Whitey’s think about it….give yourself some credit…..If those poor souls, the first slaves, the true victims, if they were to come back to witness ..
first hand, generations ahead, the 2 minute time clock of the Super Bowl or the NBA Championship watching one of their own,… 10 score forward,…. make the grade…
what do you think great, great, great, great grandfathers thoughts might be? Don’t know…well perhaps …talking story…..

So, um, African Americans are responsible for the two minute warning? So, who’s responsible for the rule that says the half can’t end on a defensive penalty, huh? That’s what I want to know.

But so, anyway, Mr. Venuti’s on a roll:

Open your eyes “White America”….it is inability to face these questions and to talk about the bitterness we all feel from both sides of the racial issue.
The racial issue is simple…I’m more concerned with Human Relations we are all failing at…and in this “Error of Obama” notwithstanding,

We are risk of losing the very nation that we struggled to become…overnight…..and we did it to ourselves…

.wake up…Black and White America

Look at all of the Black/Negro professionals athletes and media stars….where would they have been without that abomination slavery…..think about it…..

I know it hurts…but still

Think about it!

Well, sir, I am thinking about it. I’m thinking about the fact that you keep saying African Americans, whom you call “Negroes,” should be thankful for slavery. And the more I think about it, the more my brain hurts. Please make it stop.

Anyway, here’s the thing. Sarah Palin likes to say that “Tea Party Americans” have been “falsely accused” of racism, but I’m having a hard time seeing how Mr. Venuti – one of the organizers of next week’s United Border Coalition Tea Party Rally – isn’t treading on the same racist ground over which Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder waddled back in 1988. It’s really simple, my fellow white folks: If you try to excuse slavery by saying it was good for black folks, you’re a racist. And that, Ms. Half Term Governor, is something worthy of “refudiation.”

(By the way, a major tip of the old helmet to my good friend, Jesus’ General, who brought Mr. Venuti’s work to my attention via Twitter.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Political Carnival: Sarah Palin’s pants are on fire

Via partner The Political Carnival: Sarah Palin’s pants are on fire

Friday, August 6, 2010 at 5:19 PM by GottaLaff

Pants on Fire!

Via Ben Smith, it seems Former Half-Gov Fabricata McFibLips is blahblahblahing that “Democrats are poised to allow [the] largest tax increase in U.S. history” by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Wrong:

Palin’s main defense was the absence of any clear proposal from President Barack Obama or congressional Democrats stating an intention to limit the increase to wealthy taxpayers. But PolitiFact noted in a rebuttal posted today, “Obama has indeed published his proposals in some detail — at least twice, in the annual budget documents that the White House releases.”

Visit The Political Carnival for the rest of the story

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I’m Sure @SarahPalinUSA Will Refudiate Judge Walker’s Ruling, But Just Let Me Enjoy the Moment …

From Chris Geidner:

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California today issued its decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8. The ruling is a blistering opinion that pulls together all of the developments of the three-week trial in a striking decision finding that the amendment violates both the Equal Protection and the Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Chris has a link to the Court’s written decision and lots of excellent anaylsis.

Twenty-three years I’ve been a practicing lawyer. I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of my profession than I am today.