Tag Archives: Republicans

Calling bullshit

I’ve been laughing for two days. That conservative nimrod Andrew Breitbart and the PR wing of the Teapublicans, Fox News, got caught with their pants down on this Shirley Sherrod thing.

They ran with an edited video, a specialty of Breitbart’s, and then, alluva sudden, it turned out their “interpretation” of the edits was spectacularly wrong.

Of course, the NAACP and the Obama administration get black marks for this too. In typical, knee-jerk, liberal fashion, they caved to the great conserverati and blasted poor Shirley to kingdom come. Cost her her job, one she was imminently qualified for.

Ben Jealous, the NAACP president — to his credit — called Sherrod and apologized. The Obama administration? Well, the president agrees with his Agriculture Secretary’s boneheaded decision to force Sherrod out, proving once and for all that it is led by the nose by the conservati.

Here’s the thing: what Sherrod was doing in that video was having the conversation about race that we all need to be having. The one the administration can’t be bothered with, and the one the conservarati don’t think is necessary. Unless you’re a minority. White people, of course, are just the poor, downtrodden victims of the liberal drive to destroy the true American (read white) culture.

Honestly, man, there is no white culture, unless you count collecting guns and whining that they pay too much taxes in a country with one of the lowest tax rates in the world. Just about everything else about white “culture” came from somewhere else, somebody else, some other culture.

But this is not rocket science. The conservarati and their deluded followers would have us believe there is no racism anywhere. They’d have to be trying to convince us of that if they have the gall to say there’s no racism in the Tea Party.

That’s why Breitbart and Fox are after the NAACP, pretty much the same way they went after ACORN and killed it (although every investigation exonerated ACORN and we learned that Breitbart’s pimp video was bullshit too).

They’re all pissed off because the NAACP passed a resolution (which, incidentally, won’t be completely official until and unless its board passes it in October) that condemned racist elements in the Tea Party and called on its leaders to do so as well.

As usual, the conservarati lied about what the resolution said, thus creating a false controversy that my colleagues have dutifully kept in the spotlight. Contrary to what you may have heard, the NAACP did not call the Tea Party racist. It simply pointed out racist elements, you know, like the Tea Partiers who carry big posters of the president with a bone through his nose.

I’m beginning to believe, though, that these throwbacks to the Jim Crow era may really believe that the things they do and say aren’t racist. Take Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams and his ridiculously stupid “letter” from Jealous to Abe Lincoln, in which he has Jealous complaining that emancipation means the “coloreds” actually have to work to get their wide screen TVs in every room.

Williams thought he was being cute. But he was really just being a jackass. And now this Sherrod thing — damn, even RedState’s Erick Erickson says it’s a load of crap.

But not the president. He’s behind AgSec Tom Vilsack and his uninformed decision to have his people force Sherrod to resign.

Chalk up another wasted opportunity. Here’s what Sherrod was doing. In her speech, one she’s actually delivered several times, she talks about the first time she had to work with a white farmer who was in danger of losing his farm. Now, Shirley and her husband Charles are also farmers, and back in the 1960s, they joined with a bunch of other black farmers to create a land trust called New Communities to help black farmers do what they do — farming. So Sherrod had a lot of experience, several decades worth, helping black farmers in rural area (in her case Georgia) deal with the institutional racism that kept them from getting the help they needed and that white farmers and corporations got all the time.

But one day 24 years ago, she was assigned to a white farmer, Roger Spooner. In her speech, she talks honestly about her own racism — and how it nearly derailed her efforts to help the Spooners. But she wised up and got them the help they needed, saving the farm.

What she’s doing in this speech is using personal experience to teach about changing attitudes, about stepping outside ourselves and looking at a much larger picture, in this case, once that included a white farmer in rural Georgia. It’s called a “teaching moment,” and Shirley Sherrod uses that moment well.

But then come the racists who don’t think they are, bound and determined to soil the NAACP and wrecking Shirley Sherrod’s career in the process. “This isn’t about Shirley Sherrod,” whined Breitbart on CNN.

Yeah, it is, Andy, you fucker. You made it about her by presenting what she was doing in a way you damn well knew was wrong. But that didn’t stop you, because you have made it your life’s goal to obliterate humanity from the United States of America. What a pitiful, despicable goal that is.

And how much better you’d be — we’d all be — if you realized this was another teaching moment, one in which you’d learn something.

But he won’t. None of those assholes will. Erickson, while admitting Breitbart had screwed up, nevertheless defended what the jackass was trying to do — prove that black people are racists too and that those aforementioned poor, downtrodden white people are constantly being called racist simply because they are angry that black people get all the breaks.

Like hell.

Here’s what I’m hoping for — I’m hoping that my colleagues finally get it this time that we need to be calling bullshit on this crap. We cannot continue to give these fools precious airtime to spread their vicious lies, and it doesn’t matter if they’re self-styled conservative website publishers like Breitbart, batshit insane congresscritters like Michelle Bachman or Fox Fucking News, which has been beating the racism drum for months now with no one daring to call them on it.

That needs to be all over. Conservatives have good ideas. But they don’t bother with that. Instead they instill fear and loathing in the populace by promoting complete distortions like the tale of Shirley Sherrod. It’s time my colleagues let go of the idea they have to present “both sides” to be fair. When one side believes completely insane things, you’re not being fair. You’re stupidly elevating insanity to the level of reason.

This country used to know that. But since my colleagues have, for the most part, abandoned their obligation to get to the truth and tell that out of some fear of offending the lunatics, very few of us know it now. Instead, when we turn on the television or read a newspaper we hear Jon Kyl, the other crazy senator from Arizona (what is it with that state anyway?) saying that cutting taxes for the rich isn’t spending money so it’s OK if that increases the deficit that the conservarati are absolutely apoplectic about if it has anything about helping people who need help.

I am so fucking sick of hearing the talking heads blather on with their spin-laden talking points on every goddamn cable television show. They don’t say a damn thing that means anything, and yet, there they are, again and again and again and again.

And Shirley Sherrod lost her job. But it’s not about her. It’s about killing real freedom and hitting the knees of this country with iron bars.

Oh, right. It’s the people we should be concerned with. The white people. Particularly the rich ones. And they must be Christian, and no gays allowed.

Shirley isn’t one of the “real” Americans, you know. She’s just a lazy black woman who’s worked her whole live for justice and learned somewhere along the way that justice for all really means all.

That’s something the conservati can’t accept. Damn them for it. They need to get their heads out of their own asses and live up to their (for now) false creed of being “for the people.”

The fall of the American empire

This country is fucked up, man. I’ve seen a lot in my rather lengthy years here, and I’ve never seen it like this. I know, I know, there’s some song out there that says something about “Every generation thinks it’s the last,” or some such. I hate that fucking song. And yeah, we’ve been pretty fucked up before. The Civil War comes to mind. But tell me when we’ve ever before had this harmonic convergence of stupidity, cowardice, cruelty, corruption, hatred, lies and obstruction. You can’t do it, because we’ve never had it.

And that’s just Congress. Never mind the corporations, the Tea Party, the militias, the states, religion and, of course, the people who create those monstrosities.

Maybe it has something to do with the bird we picked to symbolize our greatness, the bald eagle. Magnificent bird, but awfully lazy. They won’t leave their evening roost sites, usually on cliffsides, if there’s not enough wind because they’d rather not flap those enormous wings. And they’d much rather whack you over the head with those wings and steal the fish you just caught than catch one themselves. Ben Franklin was right about the wild turkey. Not a very attractive bird, true, but industrious and not a mugger.

Something needs to happen, and soon, before we end up crushed and broken like the Roman Empire, shattered into tiny pieces and living in a modern version of the Dark Ages.

But what the hell can we do? We elect people we think will do the right thing, and as soon as they get into office they become the same old politicians. And why not? They know which side of the bread has the butter, man, and it ain’t us.

So on this July 4, Independence Day, maybe we oughta be thinking about what kind of country we want.

Now, I know what kind of country I’d like to live in, and I’ll bet it’s pretty similar to the one you envision. But there’s an awful lot of folks out there who don’t share our dreams and hopes. But maybe they would, if only they could cut through the bullshit and understand the truth about who we are and where we come from.

Online, we largely talk to ourselves. While it’s good to know there are others as distressed as we are about the current state of affairs, we get nowhere in terms of making change happen. So start talking. Talk to your family, your friends, your coworkers. Let them see how you feel about things, not your strident ideological viewpoint, because they really don’t give a good goddamn about that. They only care about how they feel, which is why the Teapublican conservarati are so fucking successful. They play on feelings — on the scariest of feelings. But most of what the conservarati want us to fear is made up shit, or maybe exaggerated shit at best.

I don’t want to live in a world where I’m terrified to leave my house or frightened of a terrorist attack that is bound to strike where I am at that time or the coming takeover of our government by a hostile enemy. I know that bad things could happen at any time, and I know that the hostile enemy that is trying to take over our government is the very group that pretends to be the only ones who can save us. That’s a common movie plot, people. We oughta be able to recognize it by now — and that includes your family, friends and coworkers.

Michael Steele, the Republicans’ attempt to prove they aren’t a bunch of racist bastards, is a freaking idiot. And a liar. Or maybe he really believes his lies, I don’t know what’s in that guy’s head. He said last week that Afghanistan was the “war of Obama’s choosing,” that “this is not something United States had actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

Christ, Steele, on what fucking planet? And yet, my friends, can you even imagine how many people out there now believes exactly that.

Steele forgot, apparently, that it was George W. Bush who started that war after 9/11. Of course, Bush too quickly forgot about it, preferring instead to wage a real war of choice in Iraq. Just a few short months after he started that war, loudly declaring we’d smoke al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden out of the caves where they hid, he was telling reporters he didn’t think much about bin Laden, that bin Laden didn’t concern him. Of course not. He was working on what had been his plan all along — the invasion of Iraq.

Is that the kind of country we want? Where our leaders can’t make up their minds what the fuck they’re doing and blatantly lie about it?

Do we want a country where the party with the majority in Congress repeatedly caves to the minority on important issues they were elected to address? I know I didn’t cast my ballot for Barack Obama in 2008 so we could still keep prisoners at Gitmo who have not been charged and probably tortured, or conduct electronic surveillance on anybody we choose, American citizen or no, just because.

I don’t want a country, in fact, whose people think torture is OK. Waterboarding. It wasn’t an unknown technique when we suddenly learned we were doing it. It has a long and ugly history, and for that entire history it’s been labeled torture. Right up until George W. Bush admitted we did it. Then suddenly it was just a “harsh interrogation technique that some consider torture.” Really? Fuck that. Waterboarding is torture.

Actually, watching our government implode is torture. Watching Teapublicans get everything they fucking want in a bill and still refuse to vote for it is torture.

These guys started out Obama’s administration saying they wanted it to fail. They’re doing a great job of making sure that happens. Is that the kind of country we want? I don’t think so.

And it’s only gonna get worse, I tell you. We’re on a rapid slide to a catastrophic failure, and we’re getting awfully close to the point of no return. Think it’s bad now? Put the Republicans back in power in Congress. Or elect more Blue Dog corporate slave Democrats. See what happens then.

The Republicans want a government that caters to the rich, that makes them more powerful than they need to be. They don’t give a shit about you and me, and they especially don’t give a shit about the poor or anybody not white. Except Michael Steele, apparently, and maybe Alberto Gonzales.

That’s why they go on and on about socialism and Nazism and terrorists and Muslims and immigrants. It’s why they destroyed ACORN. It’s why they’re doing everything they can to save BP and nothing to save the Gulf Coast.

And a lot of people who are not completely destitute or unemployed buy into their crap. Know why? Because they still cling to something that was never true — that elusive American Dream of someday being one of the rich guys.

Not gonna happen for most, because what they don’t understand is that to become one of those guys you have to sell your soul, or not have one to begin with.

I don’t want to live in a soulless country. It sounds to much like late Victorian England, with debtors prisons and despicable orphanages and health care provided by Jack the Ripper types if you can get it at all.

No, I want a country that cares about its people, not its profits. I want a country that sees despair and bends to lift it, that educates its children in the ways of science and history, that encourages innovation and invention and gives those children the means to create.

Instead, though, we have a country that devalues education, cuts funding and then wonders why China is leaping ahead of us economically.

We have a country that values killing people more than it values saving lives by keeping our own infrastructure in good repair.

Some Republican last week lamented that our economy was going the way of the Roman Empire, blaming Obama and Democrats for that, naturally. He was half right. Our economy is collapsing, but it’s 30 years of conservative fuckery that’s cutting the legs out from under it.

How quickly we forget. Obama entered his presidency in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and Republicans have screwed up every single thing he’s tried to fix it.

It was going to be a long, hard road anyway, but now it’s gotten longer and perhaps impossible to travel.

I’m angry as hell at the Republicans for that, and angry too at Obama and the Democrats for letting them do it, for not countering their scary rhetoric.

So if they’re not gonna do it, we have to. Not just to ourselves, but to everyone. It’s our last chance to turn this ship of state around. It’s hard work, and it will take a long, long time.

But the alternative is just too painful to even imagine.