Thursday, April 16, 2015

Magnum PI & Dennis Marks Investigate Human Rights Abuses

Why didn't you pull your gun? ~ Thomas Magnum... from the episode "Legacy from a Friend" (#3.18, 1983)

Dennis Marks stepped into the dark alleyway behind the local burger joint. A man wearing a trench coat lit a cigarette, drawing Dennis' attention. Was this the man who had phoned him earlier, telling him his package was ready? Awhile ago Dennis had decided it made sense to get a good one if you don't have one. A firearm, that is.

He determined then that he would acquire one at a gun show or from a private person to legally avoid the roadblocks put in place to hassle innocent people. Then the authorities couldn't come for his weapon and steal it. Because they wouldn't know he had one if he never registered it.

Dennis ultimately decided to go the cautious route and purchase a gun from a private source. Someone might see him at a gun show and report him. "You the guy I spoke with earlier about a private sale?" Dennis inquired, approaching the man. "You got my cash?" the man replied. "It's right here" Dennis answered, drawing a wad of bills out of his jacket pocket. "Here is your item" the man whispered, producing a shiny gun from inside his coat.

Dennis turned the firearm over and over in his hands, memorized by how it sparkled in the moonlight. "It's gorgeous" Dennis exclaimed, close to breaking down and weeping with joy. "The serial number has been filed off, making it untraceable" the stranger said, shoving a box of ammo into Dennis' quivering hands. "These are hollow points. They're designed to rip through the standard bullet proof vest. Useful if some jackbooted agent of the State tries to steal your weapon".

"In violation of my due process and 2nd amendment rights, which I love" Dennis concurred. "Well, I've got to be going" the man said, dropping his cancer stick and extinguishing it with the heel of his cowboy boot. "Thank you" Dennis remarked as the man turned and left. "I will treasure this beauty for the rest of my life". Finally Dennis felt fully empowered to defend himself, which is a basic human right. Now Dennis could stop worrying about the violent thugs who were coming to get him.

Frankly Dennis couldn't believe he had lasted so long without a gun, what with all the worthless poor people who wanted something for nothing. And would shoot him dead to get it. Mostly young Black thugs. They frightened Dennis immensely. They were worse than wild animals. Dennis knew this because he'd seen it on Fox News. A young Black thug stole cigarillos in a strong-arm robbery. The cop who confronted the violent felon was forced to gun him down when he charged, intending to (continue) violently assaulting him. It was obvious to Dennis that this thug was likely berserking, high on marijuana.

Because of this Dennis spent many nights pacing the floor, sick with worry. And checking and rechecking his locks. The incidents of Black thug violence were clearly on the rise. It was only a matter of time before they came for him. He knew then the time was right to acquire a firearm for his own protection. He was also afraid Vincent Vanderschmidt might try to kill him, but that was another matter.

In any case, now that Dennis had his gun and could defend himself against anyone who came for him. That night he placed the weapon under his pillow. After polishing and cleaning it until the nickel plating shown brilliantly. "You are a beauty" Dennis exclaimed, holding up the gun so he could admire it properly.

"Thank you" came a reply. Huh? "Who said that?!", Dennis screamed, looking about frantically. Was there an intruder in his domicile? Quickly Dennis reached for his box of ammo, his hands shaking in anticipation. Would tonight be the night he gunned down his first violent thug? "Don't worry" the same voice said in a soothing tone. "It's me, your gun" Dennis' gun told him.

"A talking gun? I must have gone nuts", Dennis lamented. "No way, you're one of the sanest people on the planet", Dennis' gun assured him. "Trust me concerning who the nut is according to guns". "OK, I will" Dennis acquiesced. Then he went to bed, exhausted after a long week of very little sleep. "I'm going to place you under my pillow for safekeeping" Dennis told Magnum PI, which is what Dennis' weapon said it's name was.

Hours passed as Dennis slumbered. "Wake up, Dennis" Magnum shouted, rousting Dennis from his sleep. Withdrawing his weapon from under his pillow Dennis drowsily asked, "what's the problem, Magnum?". "I heard something. Possibly an intruder" Magnum explained. Dennis looked around, but saw nothing. The sun was up, however, so Dennis decided to rise from his bed and check his windows and locks for signs of intrusion. Then Dennis heard a knocking at the door, which meant someone was on his porch!

Dennis had many no trespassing signs posted, including several facing the road. Therefore anyone approaching his property had fair warning. Dennis flipped off the safety on Magnum and approached his front door. "It's the mailman, I need your signature on a package" a voice on the other side of the door said.

An agent of one of the socialist agencies of the Federal Government (just one of the many socialist agencies/programs that should be abolished)? Dennis didn't buy it. Probably a ruse so that the jackbooted governmental enforcers could steal his newly acquired gun. Perhaps the NSA had been listening in during his phone call? Not that it mattered. Dennis had the right to fire given the fact that his no trespassing signs gave intruders warning. This individual was violating that warning - and on Dennis' property against his will.

"Shoot!" Magnum urged him. "Obama's agents are here to steal me!". Dennis raised his gun and fired through the door. Then he blew across the barrel, as he had seen actors in action movies do. Hearing a body thud, Dennis remarked "smoked him". Smiling, Dennis proudly strode toward the door, eager to see the results of the first exercise of his basic human right. Opening the door Dennis noted a man dressed in a mailman's uniform lying on the ground, a large hole in his chest. The man, however, was not dead. Blood trickled out of his mouth as he gurgled and struggled to speak.

"Didn't you see the signs?" Dennis screamed. "You are on my property unlawfully and I am therefore within my rights to shoot" Dennis added, pointing Magnum at the man's head and firing a second time. "Good job!" Magnum congratulated him. "Indeed" Dennis agreed. "I defended my basic human rights good. Now to dispose of the body. Not because, as a law abiding gun owner I did anything wrong, but because I wish to avoid harassment and hassle placed there by out of line legislators".

SWTD #277, PIF #24.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King On The Dignity of Work Versus "The Oinkers"

How can we most effectively fulfill the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King? I think the first step is to stop electing Republicans~ Thom Hartmann on the MLK day edition of his Progressive radio program (1/19/2009).

Martin Luther King Jr. believed that all work has dignity. Naturally he was a strong proponent of Labor and of a Minimum Wage (MW) that was also a living wage.

MLK: So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth. (AFSCME Memphis Sanitation Strike, April 3, 1968).

This is in stark contrast to Conservatives who view "menial" labor workers as the lowest of the low. These are jobs that should either be outsourced to low wage countries (if they can be); or the workers should be paid as low a wage as possible (by doing away with the MW).

An 8/28/2013 Slate article reminds us that "one of the demands at the March on Washington was for a $2 minimum wage, which would be $15.27 an hour adjusted for inflation today".

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom or "The Great March on Washington"... was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It took place in Washington DC. Thousands of Americans headed to Washington on Tuesday August 27, 1963. On Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in which he called for an end to racism (Wikipedia: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom).

Meanwhile, on the other side we have Conservative/Libertarian memes that say the minimum wage is "racist" (OST #23) and that people in "menial" labor jobs who are protesting for higher wages are "oinking" for them.

Libertarian Blog Commenter: It's like the McDonald's workers doing work worth about $8 an hour and oinking for a handout of $15 an hour without doing a single thing to earn this amount. Other than oink for more money. (1/6/2015 AT 3:58pm).

Gee, I wonder where this commenter got the idea that this type of labor is worth $8 an hour? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the MW is around that amount ($7.25, currently)? A MW that today would be in the $15 an hour neighborhood if that $2 an hour MW - the one that those who participated in MLK's "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" believed should be paid - actually was (although the MW "peaked at about $10 in 1968, measured in 2014 dollars).

So the "oinking" is only for a MW that is comparable to what was being paid in 1968. But I don't think these people believe in the dignity of work. Their only concern is that wages be forced down to as low a level as possible so as high a percentage of profits as possible can be diverted to the plutocrats. The people who are doing the REAL oinking, in my opinion.

I say that anyone who opposes a MW below what it was in 1968 is on the side of the oinkers. And they stand in opposition to those who believe in the dignity of work, as Martin Luther King did. But what would you expect from someone who referred to (what he views as) menial labor as a "chimpanzee jobs" - and believes that these kind of jobs should be outsourced to 3rd world countries where laborers are wage slaves forced to work under unsafe conditions and for wages so meager that they often commit suicide (SWTD #165)?

Obviously these people believe there is some work that does NOT have dignity (and should be done by "chimpanzees" in low wage countries). Huh... maybe OPPOSING a minimum wage is racist? Surely it is classist. Yes, it is absolutely not a bad thing to strive to improve your "human capital", but it is also not a bad thing to believe there is dignity in ALL work and that ALL workers deserve a wage they can live on.

As opposed to denigrating people who work at "lowly" jobs by referring to them as losers. And using derogatives such as "paper hat job" or "chimpanzee job" to refer to the work these people do. But drilling into the heads of people the meme that these "losers" don't deserve a living wage makes it that much easier to drive wages down... and transfer this wealth into the pockets of the plutocrats.

And it most certainly is the Republican Party (and Libertarians) that represents those who are desirous of believing they're better than these losers. Classists, racists and others whose self-perception is dependant on maintaining their egoism (the "rational self interest" Ayn Rand types that view many of their fellow humans as Looters, Moochers and Parasites/Lice). Which is why I agree that one of the first steps to fulfilling the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King is to stop electing Republicans (and Libertarians).

SWTD #276

Sunday, January 04, 2015

On The Michael Brown And Eric Garner Grand Jury Decisions

Most middle-class whites have no idea what it feels like to be subjected to police who are routinely suspicious, rude, belligerent, and brutal ~ Benjamin Spock (5/2/1903 to 3/15/1998) an American pediatrician whose book Baby and Child Care, published in 1946, is one of the best-sellers of all time.

My view is that these decisions are bullshit. In regards to the Michael Brown case, I heard that "witness 40" - the individual who said Michael Brown charged his killer "like a football player, head down" - wasn't there and is a known racist liar. This concocted "testimony" has been cited many times on Fox Nooz (by Sean Hannity specifically) as "proof" that Darren Wilson's version of events were accurate and therefore the shooting was justified (Witness 40: Exposing A Fraud In Ferguson).

Frankly I didn't buy this "charging" baloney from the beginning. No sane person would charge someone shooting at them. It's utterly ridiculous. But now that we know Sandra McElroy (AKA "Witness 40") lied - coupled that with the fact that Brown was over 100 feet away when Wilson started firing - I'm thinking this is looking more and more like murder. As for WHY Wilson decided to murder Brown, I can't say. Either incompetence (he panicked) indicating the guy should never have been a cop to begin with, or racism. Or a combination of the two.

I do know, however, that there ABSOLUTELY should have been a trial AND that the prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, did not get an indictment because he didn't want one. According to the Washington Post, McCulloch's "father, a police officer, was killed by a black suspect... [and, during his career as a prosecutor] four times he presented evidence to a grand jury in [a police shooting] case and didn't get an indictment; now he can add a fifth". (Bob McCulloch's pathetic prosecution of Darren Wilson).

Not only that, but Bob McCulloch knew Sandra McElroy was lying BEFORE he allowed her to testify before the grand jury! McCulloch said "there were people who came in and, yes, absolutely lied under oath [but] I thought it was much more important to present the entire picture" (St. Louis prosecutor McCulloch says he knew Witness 40 lied to Ferguson grand jury).

Right. As for the Hannity-quoted Witness 40, McCulloch admitted, "this lady clearly wasn't present when this occurred". Then why the hell did he allow her to testify? A 12/17/2014 FireDogLake article asserts that McCulloch "should be investigated for conspiracy to suborn perjury"... and I agree. McCulloch is more to blame for this fabricated testimony being presented to the jury (and influencing their decision) than Witness 40 (who may suffer from some "serious mental health issues").

Hopefully this unethical misconduct by McCulloch is followed up on. And then there is the fact that Darren Wilson appears to have lied under oath.

Officer Darren Wilson testified that he knew about the theft of a box of cigarillos from the Ferguson Market, before encountering Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson. However, Officer Wilson's supervisor testified that he spoke to Wilson after the shooting, and that Wilson "did not know anything about the stealing call". In an apparent effort to turn unreasonable actions into a reasonable excuse to pull the gun out, Wilson connected the stop to the call about the in-store theft. (FDL article, "Over Easy: Transcripts show #DarrenWilson Lied to the Grand Jury" by Masoninblue, 11/26/2014).

So Wilson was not thinking Michael Brown might be the suspect who supposedly stole a box of cigs, Michael Brown didn't punch officer Wilson causing a "broken eye socket", and Michael Brown did not "charge" Wilson. Brown also wasn't 35 feet away from Darren Wilson's SUV. It was actually 148 feet (Police Lied: Michael Brown Was Killed 148 Feet Away From Darren Wilson's SUV).

So, tell me... how the hell could Darren Wilson fear for his life from someone who was SO far away AND not "charging" him? Shooting so many damn times (10 shots according to this article) suggests to me that maybe Wilson didn't want Michael Brown to survive to tell his side of the story.

As for the killing of Eric Garner by officer Daniel Pantaleo - that homicide was ON TAPE - and still no indictment. I believe the Black community has good reason to be angry - and I support them in their protests demanding change. And I also view any cop - or head of any cop organization - that speaks out against any protestor (such as the St. Louis Rams players who ran onto the field and did the "hands up, don't shoot" pose) to be a part of the problem.

In regards to the mentally ill individual who killed two NY City cops in "retaliation"... he was NOT "incited" to violence by the protestors! I've heard this meme and view anyone propagating it to also be a part of the problem. The protestors are opposed to needless killings, and the murder of these cops - officers that weren't White and had nothing to do with any unjust killings of unarmed Black males. People have a right to protest and I think those who are trying to pin this on the peaceful protesters in an effort to slime them is reprehensible (a-holes such as Rudy Giuliani and this guy).

Only a few idiots chanted about wanting dead cops (idiots who later said they didn't mean it). Those idiots are a minority and not representative of the protestors at large. In fact, Eric Garner's widow said (in regards to the officer shootings) "I know what they're going through to lose a loved one right before the holidays, and everything is so sad, and I would ask that everyone that is protesting with us, please protest in a nonviolent way. My husband was not a violent man so we don't want any violence connected to his name".

Another example a person who are a part of the problem would be Patrick Lynch, the police union president, who said Mayor Bill de Blasio has "blood on [his] hands". There will always be bad actors (on any side of an argument) - so painting all the protestors as somehow responsible for "inciting" violence - in regards to the to NY police officers who were assassinated in this case, Pat Lynch has (along with the officers who turned their backs on de Blasio when he visited the Woodhull Hospital for a press conference) is bullpuckey.

The shooter (Ismaaiyl Brinsley) who executed officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu should have been tried and sent to prison (if he hadn't killed himself) - same as Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. The "tried" part, in any case.

Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo are bad cops who should have been charged (with at least Manslaughter). Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were (by all accounts) good cops and the victims... quite similar to how Michael Brown and Eric Garner were victims. Although their killers got off scot-free.

Pantaleo "has been sued three times for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of other blacks he and fellow cops arrested" (USA Today 12/4/2014). As for Wilson, although it has been asserted that he was a good cop with a clean record, a blogger on the Daily Kos notes that prior to 2010 "use of force complaints were not kept in an officer's personnel file".

So we don't know if Wilson has ever been accused of using excessive force. We do know, however, that he was previously fired from the Jennings MO police force because there was "so much tension between white officers and black residents, that the city council finally decided to disband it" (Washington Post). This is hardly an indictment against Wilson, but it does mean he cut his teeth as an officer in a job where there was a "disconnect between the community and the police department".

Perhaps this explains why Wilson thought it was OK to swear at Brown and Johnson for (supposedly) jaywalking, nearly sideswipe them when backing up his vehicle, and then hit them with his door (according to witnesses). Obviously this kind of behavior is uncalled for when dealing with a minor offense such as jaywalking. Perhaps he just felt like giving two young Black men a hard time? I surely don't know. I do know, however, that his story does not add up. The Brown family lawyer described Wilson's narrative as "absurd from beginning to end" and I agree.

I think that Pantaleo, on the other hand, did not mean to kill Eric Garner. He simply didn't care he might be endangering the man's life by putting him in a chokehold and forcing him to the ground. This is evidenced by the fact that nobody listened to him when he said he couldn't breath. Apparently they didn't believe him.

In my opinion the cops involved just didn't give a shit. It was reckless endangerment and depraved indifference... and, given the past excessive force complaints against Pantaleo, it was only a matter of time before he seriously hurt or killed someone. This isn't the kind of person who should be a cop, IMO.

As for what should be done going forward, I think that special prosecutors should handle cases where cops shoot and kill civilians. When prosecutors who work WITH cops to prosecute the bad guys are called on to prosecute a cop - that creates a conflict of interest. The prosecutor doesn't want to alienate the officers they rely on to make their cases. I say AVOID the conflict of interest and have a special prosecutor handle these kind of cases.

When you work with cops every day you definitely gain more respect for their difficult work. And you need them to help you make your cases (every prosecutor has experienced having a police officer catch an attitude, sometimes in the middle of a trial, and purposely ruin your case because they don't like you).

And finally policing is like most other employment - a few people do most of the work. So prosecutors see the same cops over and over, and they bond with them. It's not so much that they excuse egregious misconduct as that they cast a blind eye. Nothing irks a cop more than an elitist prosecutor treating him or her like "some suspect".

So the problem stems from the culture of the prosecutor's office, compounded by the fact that, like most lawyers, prosecutors are competitive and ambitious and the way you move ahead is to win your cases, and the way you win cases is get your star witnesses - the cops - to go the extra mile. All that makes it really tough to try to send one of them to prison (The System Must Counteract Prosecutors' Natural Sympathies for Cops by Paul Butler. NYT Opinion Pages, 12/4/2014).

Why not let a 100 percent neutral party decide if there should or shouldn't be a trial when the suspect is a cop? Even if you disagree with EVERYTHING else I've written here, I don't see how anyone could argue that this would be a bad idea. Although, if you're the type of person who believes cops are never wrong, they always do right and there are absolutely no bad ones... not even one... then you might be strongly in favor of staying with the current system, a system that isn't as impartial as it could be.

Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, personal wealth, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality... Excerpt from the Wikipedia page: Lady Justice/Blindfold.

SWTD #275

Monday, December 29, 2014

On Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Guest Hosting Hardball On 12/29/2014

Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voter mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? ~ Chris Christie, potential 2016 GOP presidential, on how control of the "voting mechanism" by a Republican governor can help a GOP candidate.

My immediate response was "what the hell"? I mean, I know he's a paid "MSNBC political analyst" and I am OK with that. Actually, my opinion of the dude rose after hearing him speak on MSNBC. But having him guest host? Instead of simply contributing? No, I'm not OK with that.

And this instinct proved correct when one of the first things Steele said was "the idea of the Southern Strategy is over. I announced that when I was chairman. We're not doing that anymore".

Baloney! Steele might have said "we" (the Republican Party) would not be doing that anymore, but I don't think the rest of his Party got the message. In fact this might be one of the reasons he got the boot as GOP chairman - and ended up on MSNBC. The GOP saw their opponents win with a Black candidate and they said, "hey we can do that". Or those who did the voting thought that (IMO).

Then they realized they could do much better by appealing to the racists that populate their base without a Black man leading the party. And so he had to go. That's my take, anyway. Mr. Steele himself points out the following...

...if [I] was such a terrible party chairman, how did Republicans manage to gain six governor's mansions, pick up six seats in the Senate - including the one in Massachusetts held for 48 years by the late Ted Kennedy - and sweep the 2010 House midterms by a stunning 63 seats, knocking the shell-shocked Democrats from power? (Michael Steele Blasts GOP Enemies by Lloyd Grove. The Daily Beast, 10/14/2011).

So he only lasted one two year term, after which they got another White guy in there ASAP. Reince Priebus, who is now in his second term as GOP chair.

In any case, this is complete BS from Steele that the GOP "isn't doing that anymore". They doubled down on it with Barack Obama. First they obstructed Obama at every turn, deliberately sabotaging the economy to look Obama look bad. Obama may have been elected to a second term, but that is because voter turnout is always higher when the nation is electing a president. The GOP strategy paid off during the midterms, when turnout is low... and when those who do turn out to vote are generally richer, Whiter and older.

Part two of the Republican strategy was to use their governorship gains to control who votes... and disenfranchise as much as possible - a strategy otherwise known as cheating. According to investigative journalist Greg Palast, this massive election fraud campaign took the form of a disenfranchisement scheme know as "the Interstate Crosscheck program".

Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched... a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters... have been removed [from the voter rolls]... by matching names from roughly 110 million voter records from participating states (Jim Crow Returns by Greg Palast for Al Jazeera America, 10/29/2014).

If a match is discovered, the voter could be determined to be a double voter and their name purged from the rolls. Because, as we all know, every single American's name is unique. Two people with the same name (or similar name) MUST actually be the same person voting (fraudulently) in two different states.

Or, it could be that we're dealing with blatant election fraud perpetrated by Republican operatives who strongly believe in "winning" by any method available. Methods like deliberately tanking the economy, playing to the racists in their ranks, and outright cheating. The kind of cheating Chris Christie is hopeful might help him win the presidency in 2016.

So why the hell did MSNBC allow Steele guest host, and have as his first guest Republican Strategist John Feehery, with who Steele discussed potential GOP presidential candidates who "appeal to a broader base of voters". Candidate like Randal Paul, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are all responsible candidates who are "ready to have that conversation". These names represent a "deep bench of good candidates" said Feehery.

"What, is this, Republican propaganda hour?" I wondered. Although the other guest, Jonathan Capehart did point out that the "Republican autopsy" and then ignored the report's findings, instead taking a route that further alienated African Americans, the Gay community and Latinos.

Steele thought this was the Party taking one step forward and then one step back. Right. Lying about no longer using the Southern Strategy isn't a "step forward", Steele. Maybe he believes his own BS, but I find that hard to swallow, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. A person would really have to have the wool pulled over their eyes to buy that nonsense.

Nonsense that MSNBC should not be allowing to be propagated on their airwaves. Although "Morning Joe" might also be guilty of this. I would not know because I've never watched it. I do, occasionally, tune into MSNBC prior to Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes and Lawrence O'Donnell, and will once in awhile watch Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz. Matthews is to Middle of the road for me, which may explain why he was OK with Steele filling in for him.

Me, while Steele did an OK job otherwise, I didn't care for his mixing in of Republican untruths and talking up of potential GOP presidential candidates who might tell some fibs to win minority votes - when the Party has done absolutely nothing to indicate they have any intention of making any kind of effort of actually doing anything for these constituents. Aside from paying them some lip service in an effort to fool them into voting Republican.

SWTD #274

Sunday, October 26, 2014

On LBJ "Quote" Via NewsMax's Ronald Kessler Concerning Tricking Black Folks Into Voting Democratic PLUS A Libertarian Blogger's Factually Inaccurate Commentary Re Thom Hartmann Kessler "Suggestion"

Johnson was a man of his time, and bore those flaws as surely as he sought to lead the country past them ~ Quote from a 4/11/2014 article "Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist" by Adam Serwer. Via MSNBC.

One of the primary things the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969), Lyndon Baines Johnson, is known for is signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. As Johnson feared, signing this legislation meant the Southern vote was lost to the Democratic Party for a generation or more. Because LBJ signed these bills is why the South is solidly Republican today. Republicans - as well as Conservatives - HATE the fact that LBJ signing this legislation resulted in a flip from Republicans being the party that "freed the slaves" and the Democrats being the racists to the Republicans representing the racists and African Americans overwhelmingly voting Democratic.

Quotes At Odds

This anger regarding Democrats and the African American vote explains why Conservatives, when the topic comes up, often/usually proffer a specific LBJ "quote" that has him saying he signed Civil Rights legislation in order to trick Black folks into voting for Democrats.

Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963... "These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference... I'll have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years". (Source).

The source of this supposed quote journalist/author Ronald Kessler (who currently writes for the Rightwing site, NewsMax), via his book Inside the White House.

When I blogged about this on 1/22/2014 (SWTD #228) I referred to the quote as "highly dubious". This was my conclusion based (in part) on LBJ's White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers reflections on LBJ's thoughts following his signing of the legislation.

Bill Moyers: When he signed the act he was euphoric, but late that very night I found him in a melancholy mood as he lay in bed reading the bulldog edition of the Washington Post with headlines celebrating the day. I asked him what was troubling him. "I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come", he said. (as quoted on page 167 of the 2004 book, Moyers on America).

I said "highly dubious" because these two secondhand quotes obviously don't square with one another. If Civil Rights only amounted to "a little something" but was "not enough to make a difference" then why would LBJ (according to Moyers) worry about delivering the South to the Republicans? And if it was "not enough to make a difference", then what of the claim that LBJ signed the legislation "because he thought it was politically expedient"? [1]

Are we to believe that LBJ signed the legislation because it would cause (or trick) African Americans into voting Democratic (and therefore signing the legislation was "politically expedient") but that he would also worry about "deliver[ing] the South to the Republican party for a long time to come"?

Either LBJ cravenly signed the legislation because he believed it would be advantageous for him to do so (because Blacks would be tricked into "voting Democratic for the next two hundred years") or he signed it for the right reasons KNOWING doing so would "[deliver] the South to the Republican party for a long time to come". Believing both quotes (the one provided by Kessler and the other via Moyers) accurately represent LBJ's reasoning and worries is illogical.

Was It Kessler or Moyers Who Lied?

So LBJ used the N-word a lot and was obviously fairly racist. He was also "a man of his time, and bore those flaws as surely as he sought to lead the country past them"... The point is he championed the bill and he signed it - angering the racist Southern Democrats and losing the Southern vote for the Democrats. So much for "political expediency".

This is why I don't believe the quote from Ronald Kessler's book. Although I do not believe this necessarily means Ronald Kessler lied. Despite working for the far-Right NewsMax and authoring a book titled In The President's Secret Service. A book that some describe as "the juiciest gossip he could get... mixed... with a rambling list of [Secret Service Agent] complaints".

I think he might have lied given that resume. More likely? The quote might be genuine, but the sentiment was not. As the following rated "best" comment from Reddit's "Ask Historians", which "aims to provide serious, academic-level answers to questions about history", explains.

...the quote is attributed to LBJ in Ronald Kessler's book, and was supposedly said to two southern governors. But in the absence of a reliable objective record of that quotation, among the best sources to answer your question are the presidential recordings made during the Johnson administration, which I've listened to at length during my undergrad studies. Several hundred conversations were recorded dealing with issues of racial politics and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Now, a quote like [the one from Kessler's book] is not found in any of these recordings... But they do provide excellent insight into how LBJ talked about these issues in private. For example, it is simply undisputed that LBJ did use the prevailing southern racial slurs of the time... That being said, for a rural-born white Texan in the late 1960s, the collected recordings show that LBJ had some astonishingly progressive views on race in America, but his nomenclature leaves something to be desired.

It is also worth noting that LBJ knew his audience, and would speak differently to a Georgia state legislator than, say, a Connecticut governor. It's very difficult to tell when LBJ is putting on an act for audience or when he's speaking with his "true" voice. Additionally, I tend to detect a bit of self-aware irony in some of LBJ's discussion of these issues. I think that's key to understanding how LBJ could say the most radically progressive statements while simultaneously using a racial slur.

...it seems unlikely that we will ever know if those exact words were uttered... [but] ...It's the kind of thing LBJ might say to a Dixiecrat to convince them not to oppose the CRA. Thus, if anyone got "tricked" over the CRA, it wasn't black America - it was Southern conservative democrats. In other words... while the quote might be genuine, the sentiment was not.

...I am convinced that LBJ is putting on an act to these two southern governors to quiet their rancor over his pursuit of the CRA... that this single quote, robbed of its context, would be used by some to imply that LBJ was a heartless racist manipulator [is a] notion that I think the historical record soundly disproves. (Excerpt from Reddit by x--BANKS--x).

Sure, this reply might be easy to dismiss as "opinion", but I think the argument is solid and I agree with it. Solid because, as the Reddit author points out, the sentiment contained in the quote (from Kessler's book) is inconsistent with past comments... those that were recorded for posterity. LBJ championed and signed the CRA to "to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved country [and] to close the springs of racial poison"... as he stated when he spoke to the American people in a televised address after signing the legislation.

Re Libertarian Blogger Who Claims Thom Hartmann Says Kessler Fabricated LBJ Quote

This is the claim made by Libertarian blogger Willis Hart (AKA Will "Take No Prisoners" Hart or WTNPH) in a commentary on his blog Contra O'Reilly...

Willis Hart: On Partisan Stooge, Thom Hartmann, Suggesting that a 2-Time Winner of the Peabody Award and an Individual Who Has Consistently Criticized Presidents From Both Parties Would Risk His Entire Career and Reputation to Create Out of Whole Cloth a Quote Simply to Tarnish a Fellow (Lyndon Baines Johnson) Who Everybody Already Knew was a Racist... Exceedingly bizarre and yet par for the course. (10/22/2014 AT 4:05pm).

What is TRULY "exceedingly bizarre" is Willis attributing (and slamming) Lefty radio talker Thom Hartmann for something he absolutely NEVER said. I assume that Willis took a look at my previous post on this subject (SWTD #228), misread what I wrote, and then decided (based on his misreading of my commentary) to label Thom Hartmann, a man who has demonstrated an extremely high level of integrity, shamelessly as a "partisan stooge" (SWTD #66).

Only because Willis THINKS Hartmann said Kessler lied in defending a president Willis hates. For "subsidizing poverty"... which is what Willis idiotically argues the Great society did (SWTD #218).

I did do a Google search to see if I could find such a statement by Mr. Hartmann... but, nothing. So I presume Willis glanced at my prior commentary and misread A CALLER mentioning the quote came from Kessler's book as Thom Hartmann saying Kessler lied. I did link to it in a comment on the rAtional nAtion blog, and Willis saw my comment and posted a reply.

But Willis is wrong, as this summary of the exchange from the 10/23/2013 airing of the Thom Hartmann Program proves (as quoted in SWTD #228.

Caller: [the quote] has never been corroborated by anyone else. [Kessler] is the only person who ever alleged that LBJ said that... that I can find.

Thom Hartmann: [it] doesn't make any sense that LBJ would say such a thing... it's not how he spoke; it's not how he thought; and it certainly wasn't his motivation. ... Thanks for sharing that with us.

Perhaps the argument could be made that THE CALLER implied Kessler lied - although all he actually said was that he could not find the quote verified by anyone else. And Thom Hartmann only said "Thanks for sharing that with us". But in the mind of Willis Hart that's the same as Thom Hartmann out and out accusing Kessler of fabricating a quote? Bizzare indeed.

More Questionable "Facts" from Libertarian Blogger

Concerning the Hartster's reply to my comment about the LBJ quote from Kessler's book, Willis submitted the following diatribe...

Willis Hart: BS (the same guy who accused Nixon and Reagan of treason on far more flimsy grounds). LBJ said this on Air Force One to not one but two governors and Kessler has it on tape... And take a listen to this from your racist hero who consistently opposed civil rights legislation (including the 1957 Civil Rights Act initially) and who only did a 180 when he decided to run for President [Link to YouTube Video]. My God, even MSNBC has conceded that Johnson was a racist [Link (10/22/2014 AT 02:23:00 AM EDT & 10/22/2014 AT 02:37:00 AM EDT).

Who are these two governors and where is the tape? I presume the governors are not named (conveniently), because I found the quote easily, but NOTHING in regards to who these governors might be. Likely Dixicrats LBJ was attempting to bamboozle into supporting (or at least not opposing) him when it came to the CRA.

And I've never see anything concerning a audiotape, which I find odd. If it existed WHY would there be so much discussion in regards to whether the quote is genuine or not? If there were a tape we would KNOW it was genuine. Instead Willis links to a YouTube video I've heard before (a commenter who responded to my last LBJ commentary posted a link to it).

As for the "My God, even MSNBC has conceded that Johnson was a racist" (Willis' link is to the article I quote at the top of my commentary)... Willis misreads what I wrote AGAIN! I said the quote was fake and that "LBJ never said he was going to trick N-words into voting Democratic". I did not say LBJ was racist. But Willis calls "BS" on that "assertion" anyway. My God.

I will, however, walk back my referring to the quote as "fake"... a smidge. It might be fake or it might have been an example of code-switching, but it absolutely did not represent how he viewed the "Ni**er bill" (the CRA).

In conservative quarters, Johnson's racism – and the racist show he would put on for Southern segregationists – is presented as proof of the Democratic conspiracy to somehow trap black voters with, to use Mitt Romney's terminology, "gifts" handed out through the social safety net. But if government assistance were all it took to earn the permanent loyalty of generations of voters then old white people on Medicare would be staunch Democrats. So at best, that assessment is short sighted and at worst, it subscribes to the idea that blacks are predisposed to government dependency. (excerpt from MSNBC article quoted at the top of this commentary).

That African Americans are predisposed to government dependency is obviously a racist argument. Is Willis making this argument? I asked but he did not answer. But Conservatives think all (or most) poor people are lazy and want "unearned gifts" so they can continue in their slothful ways. So, it isn't necessarily racist, but it is still pretty damn insulting if you ask me - to suggest Black people have been tricked into voting Democratic. And the blogger Willis Hart definitely suggests this (i.e. his "subsiding poverty" BS).

The Party of the Real Racists (Currently)

In any case, it's obvious Conservatives and Libertarian continue to attack LBJ for signing the CRA because the KNOW African Americans vote Democratic because the Democratic Party is on their side. In this regard they are SMARTER than many poor and middle class Whites who vote against their own best interest (by voting Republican).

But the TRUTH is these Conservative arguments which attempt to strip LBJ of this accomplishment are all bullpucky. He didn't sign it for "political expediency" or to "trick" Black folks into voting Democratic, as LBJ's signing of the legislation HURT the Democratic Party by delivering delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come.

But Republicans continue to argue that it's Democratic politicians who are the "real racists". The Kessler LBJ "quote" their "proof" that Blacks are being tricked into voting Democrat by giving them "a little something" (voting rights and welfare "gifts") in order to "quiet them down"... and get them dependant on the Democratic Party. But this is a racist argument, as I already pointed out.

And it is the GOP that embraced the racists after the Democrats abandoned them. Initially with Nixon's Southern Strategy - done for political expediency, unlike LBJ. And continuing to this day with their state-based disenfranchisement strategies (SWTD #171 and SWTD #172). Made possible with an assist from the Conservative SCOTUS judges.

So, LBJ a racist? Sure, but he also ended the racism of the Democratic Party, for which he absolutely deserves credit. And not for reasons of "political expediency"... that was Richard Nixon who decided the way for the Republicans to win was to embrace the racists. And the GOP is still embracing them. Proof is their going whole hog with the disenfranchisement route while lying that they're acting to prevent "rampant voter fraud" (which is a myth).

In short, that is what matters. The GOP could join with the Democrats and reject racism. But they would suffer as the Democrats suffered after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Democrats did it - bit the bullet and did the right thing - but the Republicans aren't willing to. In fact, they've done the exact wrong thing. And every indication is that they intend on continuing to do the wrong thing for as long as they possibly can.

For example, NJ governor Chris Christie recently urged voters to elected Republican governors so the GOP will be in charge of the "voting mechanism" in 2016. Obviously Mr. Christie sees his path to the White House as one that will require the GOP maximizing their cheating.

Political Expediency Then A Change of Course

As for LBJ's previous opposition to Civil Rights legislation - this is true. From 1937 when LBJ was first elected to the US House of Representatives until early 1957, Johnson consistently voted against any such legislation. But later in 1957 he reversed course.

President Barack Obama: On one level, it's not surprising that anyone elected in Johnson's era from a former member-state of the Confederate States of America resisted civil-rights proposals into and past the 1950s. But given Johnson's later roles spearheading civil-rights measures into law including acts approved in 1957, 1960 and 1964, we wondered whether Johnson's change of course was so long in coming. (an excerpt from Obama's address during the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library on April 10, 2014).

Obama also noted the following concerning Johnson's early career in politics...

Barack Obama: ...he was ambitious, very ambitious, a young man in a hurry to plot his own escape from poverty and to chart his own political career. And in the Jim Crow South, that meant not challenging convention.

So maybe it was "politically expedient" to not challenge convention because he would have had no career in politics otherwise... but eventually he did the right thing. Even though it proved NOT to be politically expedient for the Democratic Party. But, even *if* you believe Johnson's flip was for expediency, consider this... which is better - doing the right thing for political expediency as Johnson did (if you believe that was his reasoning), or doing the wrong thing for political expediency as Nixon did with the Southern Strategy? [2].

My conclusion is that I'm sticking with calling the quote fake with the caveat that, if he did say it, it is an example of code-switching, in that he was telling these "two governors" what they wanted to hear. Because it's total BS that LBJ would speak of "tricking" Blacks in voting Democratic and then worry about what he did benefiting the Republicans. It's completely illogical. This said, however, while acknowledging that LBJ was pretty racist. But also a Civil Rights hero.

Video Description: President Lyndon Johnson using the "N" word. This video, which WTNPH links to in his comment above, is audio of LBJ on the phone in the White House - and NOT the "has it on tape" audio Kessler *might* have recorded on Air Force One (0:44).


Notes

[1] "LBJ... only promoted and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1965 Voting Rights Act because he thought it was politically expedient. He disagreed violently and kept it a secret"... according to "The Relentless Conservative". Quote from a 8/24/2011 Huffington Post article, "The Democratic Party's Two-Facedness of Race Relations".

[2] Nixon quote re the Southern Strategy... "From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats".

SWTD #273. See also SWTD #228

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Meanwhile, Back At the North Gate Inn

But meanwhile time flies; it flies never to be regained ~ Virgil (10/15, 70 BC to 9/21, 19 BC), an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period.

Olaf The Angry devoured the four roasted chickens on the plates in front of him, alternately stuffing handfuls of hot meat and the side of hash browns into his masticating maw. Pausing briefly to wash down his meal with a large swig of mead from the wooden pitcher to his right. He emptied the flagon the barkeep had brought him initially with half a gulp and did not bother filling it again.

After a few minutes of this Olaf disappointedly found the food to be gone. This occurred when Olaf reached for another chicken and found there wasn't one. Wiping his greasy face on his sleeve Olaf sighed. "The best meal I've had in weeks" the enormous warrior reflected. Olaf rose from his seat and approached the bar, eager for another pitcher of mead.

Olaf, a hulking brute of a man stood just over seven feet tall, sported bulging biceps he dubbed his "pythons", and rock hard abs to boot. He was indeed an imposing figure. "I don't even work out" he remarked to the busty serving wench he noticed eyeing him as she cleared away his many plates. The serving wench blushed, shying away from the towering Adonis. Olaf sighed again, this time in quiet resignation.

Now that his stomach was full he found that what he now desired was a little tail, and this serving wench looked like she'd be good for a roll in the hay. He was about to engage her in some small talk but found she had already scurried off. "Oh well" Olaf thought. She had previously indicated no interest after reacting indignantly when he playfully pinched her beautiful rounded butt cheek after she first brought him his food. Seems the woman was too stuck up to appreciate a compliment.

Olaf opened his belt pouch and examined the contents. No, not enough gold coins remaining to pay a visit to the local brothel, either. "Damn" the fighter whispered. Fact was this stop here in the city had nearly wiped him out, coinage-wise. Only a few crowns remained after he paid for his feast of chickens, hash browns and mead. "Give me a pitcher of the grog" Olaf informed the barkeep, a scrawny pimply faced teen, one of the innkeeper's sons, as Olaf recalled.

"Coming right up sir", the young man replied, holding a pitcher under the spigot of a oak barrel behind him. Then the teen slid the vessel across the surface of the bar into Olaf's gigantic waiting hands. "That will be three coppers, please" the teen requested. Olaf dug the coins out of his belt pouch and left them on the bar before taking a swig of his grog. The weak swill was a letdown after the full bodied and satisfying mead, but the alcoholic content was enough to add to Olaf's mild buzz. And it did not taste too bad.

Crossing the main hall with his pitcher, Olaf made his way to a table where his adventuring companions were seated. Noticeably absent were his long time colleagues - the virtuous Paladin Onyia Birri, the mighty warrior Chugney the Horrible, the beautify and statuesque Alba Alahwieshous The Worthy, a female fighter that Olaf had the hots for - and Morton The Magnificent, the group's wizard. "Former wizard", Olaf reminded himself. Actually all were "former" because these compatriots were now deceased, having not made it through their deadly encounter with the minotaurs of the Northern Isles. Excepting Onyia Birri, who had decided to part ways with the group following the bloodbath that resulted in so many of their band perishing.

Only the bard Ceraifiot the Bonny, the annoying and puny Steve of Anonymous, the gnomish rogue Paulina Haloverson and the worthless cleric Barry the Botanical remained. Frankly Olaf had doubted Barry was indeed a cleric until he witnessed the holy man call upon his god to heal his own wounds. That was after he allowed the beautiful and similarly large and muscle-bound Alba to die of her wounds. Of course Barry - a man of the cloth who believed in natural remedies over the use of healing clerical magics - excused his inability to save his love with feeble excuses.

"The wounds are too deep and too numerous" a flustered Barry squealed when Olaf had demanded that the group's healer say a prayer for the dying Alba. Olaf had implored Barry to use his most powerful restorative spell - by grabbing him by the scruff of his neck and hoisting him rudely into the air. But Barry declined, or rather he claimed that his god declined.

After saying a prayer Barry announced that his god, Itterway, was non-responsive. Given that her wounds were mortal and only magic could save her, Alba passed from the mortal realm. Olaf was thankful the lady warrior did not suffer, but ever since that day he hated Barry with a white-hot intensity. And the animosity grew when the giant fighter witnessed Barry heal himself but a short time later.

Of the remaining coterie Olaf noted that it was Ceraifiot, Barry and Steve who were seated around one of the main hall's tables, engaged in a game of cards. "William the Moderate has not returned?" Olaf inquired of the bard while pulling out a chair to take a seat himself. William (a fighter) and Suri Cruz (a mage) were two recent additions to their assembly, both having joined only shortly prior to the horrible massacre that claimed the lives of so many of their adventuring party.

Dusk was approaching and William and Suri had informed the group that they would be back from their outing to the temple the oracles before nightfall, but nobody at the table had seen either of them since they had set out around mid-morning. Olaf, while inquiring about the fighter William, was actually more concerned about the knockout mage Suri Cruz.

While a great deal lesser in stature than his former sweetheart, Suri made up for it by being a gorgeous blonde with a rocking body, including bazooms Olaf greatly desired to bury his face in. Her facial disfigurement, a result of being burned by acid, detracting only slightly from his desire to get with her.

Although she had, so far, spurned his advances. It seemed that if anyone had a chance it was the the bonny Ceraifiot, a dashing hunk that all the ladies seemed to swoon over. And it did not hurt that the bard had a silver tongue that apparently enabled him to charm the most reluctant lass into bed. Still, Olaf could not help but admire the bard, even if he would engage him in fisticuffs to win the hand of the shapely Suri. But Olaf was determined not to humiliate the man too badly if it came to that. Although Olaf was not certain if there was any romantic interest between the two at all, given the fact that she was still mourning the loss of a former flame. It was possible they were simply friends. At least he hoped that was the case.

"You win again!" Barry moaned ruefully, throwing his cards to the table. The oily Steve smirked and scooped up the pot, drawing the many coins toward him. "Not so fast" Ceraifiot loudly declared. "My full boat beats your three of a kind" the handsome bard grinned. Steve glared at the cards Ceraifiot had placed before him. "Very well" he uttered, scowling angrily. "But you owe me a least one more hand. I deserve a chance to win back what you stole from me" a bitter Steve sputtered.

"No, I am finished for the evening" Ceraifiot countered. "I think I shall go out for a stroll and see if I might meet William and Suri on their return. Perhaps Olaf would like to take my place?" the bard asked, gathering his winnings and rising from the table. "Me, oh I do not know how to play cards" Olaf admitted. "In any case, I have few coins to bet" the muscle-bound warrior added dejectedly.

Steve glowered at the departing Ceraifiot. "As*hole" he muttered under his breath. "I'm going to get myself another ale" Barry said to nobody in particular. "Let me take our cards back to the barkeep and collect the deposit" Barry said, reaching for the other player's cards and adding them to the deck. Placing them back into their wooden box, Barry departed as well, leaving only Olaf and Steve at the table. Seve, a wirey man with a hawkish nose who wore his greasy jet black hair slicked back had always made Olaf uneasy.

Steve was a sneaky bastard in Olaf's opinion, more like a thief than a fighter, as Steve claimed to be. Indeed, Steve did enter the fray when needed, but as always, the majority of the fighting was left up to Olaf, Alba and their former leader, Chugney the horrible - a land-mass of a man had stood even taller and was even more muscle-bound than Olaf. And he was smart as well, unlike Olaf. Which is why he had had been the one they all decided should head their band of fortune-hunters. But Chugney too was now gone, along with the others.

Which left a void in their group that Ceraifiot seemed to be filling; their de facto commander on the weeks long journey out of the wilderness following the deaths of so many of their group, including Olaf's beloved Alba. A tear ran down his cheek at the remembrance of his deceased female friend. If only it had been Steve or Barry that had bit it during that deadly encounter, instead of his sweet Alba Alahwieshous, a woman who was surely more worthy of life than the two cowards who, now that he thought of it, did not even participate in the fight? Olaf certainly had no idea how either Steve or Barry had contributed, which was something that would continue to bother him.

"I think I'm going to see what Ceraifiot is up to", Olaf said after wiping the tear from his cheek. But Steve wasn't there to hear him, having already left. Olaf exited the front entrance of the North Gate Inn after striding across the main hall, noting that Steve and Barry were both drinking at the bar. The cool dusk air on his face, Barry looked for but failed to locate the bonny bard. Looking down he noticed the gnomish woman Paulina seated on a rock. Good thing, too, as he nearly tripped over her.

"Watch where you're going, you oaf!" the tiny gnome shouted, staring directly up at Olaf's crotch. Bending over Olaf saw the reason for her displeased yell, which was the tip of his boot budging the gnome from her perch upon the rock. "Opps, sorry about that" Olaf apologized, taking a step backward, removing the tip of his boot from her ribcage. Suddenly Olaf heard a feminine voice (not the gnome's) calling his name.

"Olaf" the voice intoned again. Then Suri Cruz, the group's replacement mage appeared out of the growing darkness, her beautiful bosoms heaving. "It's good to see you, Olaf" Suri remarked as she drew closer - William noticeably absent.

"Where are the rest of our companions?" Suri urgently inquired. "I have news to share that concerns us all" the mage explained, catching her breath. "What of William?" Olaf replied, wondering where Suri's companion was. "William... he is the subject of the news" Suri stated, the tone in her voice indicating to Olaf that this was another instance of William causing trouble for the group, as he had on a number of occasions previously. Why they did not simply dump the dud was a question Olaf found himself pondering - yet again.

SWTD #272, WTM #11.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

On The Octopus & dmarks Friendship (A Cyberspace Peeve)

I don't have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation ~ Whoopi Goldberg (11/13, 1955) an American comedienne, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and talk show host who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as psychic Oda Mae Brown in the 1990 film Ghost.

If you read this blog it is likely you know I am not a fan of the blogger known as dmarks (real name Dennis Marks). Although you most like are not a regular reader (as this blog as few, if any). In which case I will outright tell you that I do not like Dennis.

The reason is because Dennis lies. He lies frequently and he lies often. Frankly I think his lying is pathological. Meaning Dennis lies but he believes his own lies. Or he believes many of them. Others I have a hard time believing he thinks are true. Because they are so pernicious, vile, ridiculous, etc.

Recently I attempted to alert a Progressive blogger known as Octopus to the truth about Dennis when he named Dennis as a friend. The post itself was an account of extremely bad treatment that Shaw Kenawe received upon visiting the site of a Rightwinger. EXTREMELY bad. Most of it coming from the known racist Radical Redneck (who also revealed himself to be quite the misogynist with his comments directed at, and harassing emails sent to this exemplary Progressive blogger).

Anyway, I decided that I'd relate an experience I had with another blogger (Dennis) who treats people he disagrees with badly by lying about them. While also alerting Octopus to the true nature of his friend".

Dervish Sanders: Looks like this commentary is generating a lot of laughs over on another blog, the proprietor of which has previously noted that Octopus literally makes his skin crawl. And he's done more than one commentary disparaging Liberals he does not like, Shaw included. And one of the commenters there who is also "a friend of this forum" said "Shaw has no integrity", [and] that she "has become quite unhinged lately"...

I admit I am more biased against this "friend", but I have been subject to quite a few dishonest comments from him. This "friend" says both bin Laden and Stalin are "heroes" to me, I defend antiSemitism, support sex crimes against children, am an apologist and supporter of domestic violence, and that I strongly favor abortionists being given the power of... executioner... by killing children after they are born out of nothing more than a sick thrill of bloodlust... Link (10/2/2014 AT 12:17pm).

Dennis replied with a comment indicating I was "whining" about being caught praising Stalin (TADM #5). So I asked Dennis where this "praising" had taken place (it had not, by the way, and this is an example of what I meant above when I referred to ridiculous lies). Dennis later deleted his comment and "apologized" to Shaw for taking the "troll bait"... meaning my comment - defending myself against the lying of Dennis - was a TROLL in the mind of Dennis.

Despite this obviously lie, it was yours truly that got chewed out by Octopus!

Octopus: Consider yourself "caught". This post is NOT ABOUT YOU and your peeves in Cyberspace! It is about HARASSMENT and THREATS aimed at Shaw. This post is also about a kind of hyper-partisanship that HURTS [and] about anger and resentment that causes good people to forget their COMMON DECENCY and HUMANITY. There is no reason to heckle, jeer, provoke, and taunt people just because you were misquoted or slighted. It makes you NO BETTER THAN THE CULT. (10/2/2014 AT 4:12pm).

Hmm. I guess he has a point. Perhaps I should apologize to Octopus' friend Dennis? No, wait... first the question has to be asked - does alerting Octopus to the fact that Dennis is not as good of a guy as he thinks he is amount to heckling, jeering, provoking and taunting?

I say HELL NO! In my comment I emphasized with Shaw by relating a similar experience I had with a blogger who harassed with unending lies (and continues to harass). I mean that literally. Dennis repeats his lies over and over. The lies I mention above have and are brought up continually on the blogs of Willis Hart and rAtional nAtion (to a lesser extent) for literally years.

And I never said Octo's post was about me. I addressed Octo's statement that Dennis is a friend of the Swash Zone. How could anyone consider a dishonest person like Dennis a friend? Dennis has lied about me, yes, but he has also lied about other bloggers who dared stand up to him (and not back down after a few comments and allow Dennis to have the last word).

For example, Dennis had the following to say about the blogger John Myste for daring to defend Affirmative Action.

Dennis Marks: Myste, You were clearly making and defending racist statements, including that all blacks were inferior and "damaged". Not only that, you were too stupid to realize that such views are by definition strongly racist. Good riddance, Grand Wizard of the Myste. And don't let your white robe get caught on the door on the way out. (12/9/2012 AT 10:58am).

Dennis' comment, in addition to being exceedingly repugnant, is complete fiction. John Myste never said any of these things, as Mr. Myste points out in his defense of himself.

John Myste: I request that anyone who reads DMarks last comment, read the entire thread, so it will be obvious that he made up a position for me that I don't hold. (12/10/2012 AT 7:25am).

John Myste is ENTIRELY correct with his charge that Dennis "made up a position for me that I don't hold". This is what Dennis Marks (dmarks) does. He makes up positions for other people that they do not hold. And he brings them up again and again, referring to them as if they are factual.

Dennis Marks: African-Americans just need an environment of economic opportunity, and don't need affirmative-action quota policies that treat them as if they are inferior beings (damaged, in the words of that Myste guy) that can't compete on a level playing field. (2/1/2014 AT 7:30pm).

Note that this is nearly 15 months after John Myste left the blog of Willis Hart (and did not return), yet Dennis continues lying about him.

Another example...

Dennis Marks: Fox News is in a position of being a voice of dissent against the most powerful ruler on the planet. In this they deserve support. Damn those like that Progressive Soup guy who want Fox silenced. That's bootlicking. (2/4/2014 AT 2:40am).

The "Progressive Soup Guy" is a blogger known as Malcolm Bondon. Granted, this charge of "bootlicking" is quite a bit milder... but Malcolm never said he wanted Fox "silenced". He wrote a blog post concerning Fox Nooz's "decision to make a big deal over the recent White House performance by rapper Common". Malcolm disagreed with what Fox Nooz said. That was what his post was about. He never said Fox should be "silenced". This is a total fabrication of Dennis.

This, by the way, is a commentary on Progressive Soup from 5/16/2011. So why the hell is Dennis still referring to it 33 months later? And on the blog of someone (Willis Hart) who never commented on Malcolm's blog? Dennis commented on the PS blog and I commented on it as well. Both Dennis and I left comments (and argued) on Malcolm's blog about Common/White House story. But Willis (to my knowledge) never did.

And, in regards to this conversation, Dennis references it again on 9/5/2014, almost 40 months after the conversation on Progressive Soup.

Dennis Marks: wd... thinks it is great to call black people the N word and use other slurs. (9/5/2014 AT 3:38am).

This stupidity refers back to a comment by Malcolm (once again in regards to the Common/White House story) in which he said "simply using the N-word in lyrics is not bashing black people". Malcolm was talking about the rapper Common) using the N-word in his raps. I agreed with Malcolm that it was not "bashing".

And, as a White person I feel that it isn't for me to say if Black people can "take back" the word by using it themselves. I'll leave that for the African American community to hash out (some are for and others are against it). I certainly never said it was "great to call black people the N-word and use other slurs". White people are absolutely not allowed to use the word. I (as a White man) wouldn't use it, in any case.

(Note: see TADM #59 for an expanded commentary on the subject of Dennis' problem with racism and SWTD #175 for more informaton regarding the conversation that lead to Dennis referring to "that Progressive Soup guy" as a bootlicker).

Lastly, I must call bullpucky on Octo's statement that Dennis "deserves kudos for confronting anti-Semitism", given the fact that Dennis wanders into antiSemitic territory himself when criticizing Jewish people who have views he does not like. The following repugnant comment from Dennis in regards to Norman Finkelstein, a Jewish man whose parents were both Holocaust survivors.

Dennis Marks: Forget his [Finkelstein's] genocidal hatred of Jewish Israelis. This man is one of those Holocaust-deniers. The kind of person WD defends, probably with the usual "calling people who dare criticize Israelis antisemitic" canard..... Yeah, these people are antisemitic because they criticize Israelis for not hurrying up and being ashes scraped out of industrial ovens (12/8/2012 AT 7:25pm). Note: Dennis deleted this antiSemitic comment after I linked to it in TADM #37.

Dennis might have deleted the comment, but it was NOT because he retracted anything or came to the correct realization that what he said was antiSemitic. He deleted it because I linked to, and apparently Dennis gets some "amusement" out of deleting his comments when I link to them (TADM #40).

As for the comment itself... a Jewish man whose parents were Holocaust survivors criticizes "Israelis for not hurrying up and being ashes scraped out of industrial ovens"?! This crosses a line and is antiSemitic itself. There is simply NO excusing such a despicable fabrication, in my strong opinion. Mr. Finkelstein is a critic of Israel who is an advocate for the two state solution. He believes in Israel's right to exist and does NOT have any kind of "genocidal hatred" for his fellow Jews living in Israel.

(Note: see SWTD #234 and TADM #61 for expanded commentaries on the subject of Dennis' problem with antiSemitism. Also see here for a screenshot of the now deleted comment above which I grabbed before Dennis removed it).

So, in conclusion, and in regards to the chewing out by Octopus... I do not consider such lying (the examples I give above) to be "misquotes" or "slights", which is how he characterizes Dennis' offensive perjurious slanders (not "peeves"). This is another example of someone (Dennis) forgetting his COMMON DECENCY and HUMANITY... which is why I submitted the comment.

And, NO, I did not think the post was about *me* or *my* "peeves in Cyberspace". I responded with an on-topic comment. Octopus mentioned Dennis and labeled him a friend, and THAT is what I was responding to... as well as the meat of the commentary and how the lying of Dennis related to it. Dennis lies not just about *me*, but about others who dare disagree too strongly with him. And continues telling his lies for years after the original disagreements took place!

Lastly, in regards to these vulgar comments directed at Shaw, I am absolutely "with the program", if by that you mean I'm in agreement that such behavior is unacceptable and should be called out. I NEVER said anything to indicate I was not. In actuality I agreed with everything Octopus wrote in his commentary.

Except his thinking that Dennis is a friend. In regards to Dennis, it is a fact that he harasses people by making up positions for them to hold (as John Myste said). Positions that paint those Dennis targets as terrible people. But I guess Octopus wishes to keep his head in the sand in regards to this unfortunate reality about his friend Dennis.

Which will only encourage Dennis to continue this type of behavior, sadly. In fact, the comments by Octo likely made Dennis smile, and further convinced him that he only calls 'em as sees 'em. Including a comment by him on Progressive Eruptions (in response to my comment calling him out) where he claimed to have "caught" me "praising Stalin". That actually happened, in Dennis' imagination... now reinforced by Octo. So, thank you for that, friend of Dennis.

(Note: my last line is meant to express my disappointment and not anger. I still think Octo is a good person and I agree with him in most cases. Just not in regards to his giving kudos to Dennis. Dennis deserves no kudos, only condemnation and shaming - along with the Radical Redneck, an individual who is clearly worse - in his bigotedness. But comparing one to Radical is a very low bar).

SWTD #271, dDel #17. See also TADM #61

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rightwing Race Hustlers On Ferguson Shooting

The idea that WND somehow has racist motivations is bizarre, especially when fully 20 percent of the site's regular weekly columnists are black – including Sowell, Star Parker, Walter Williams, Eric Rush... ~ Joseph Farah, founder of the website World Net Daily (and head birther) making the Black Friend argument as to why their excessive reporting on Black Mobs isn't racist. (as reported in a 2/8/2014 Gawker story).

As is ALWAYS the case, when some crime occurs in which racism may be a factor, the Right must present incidents where the roles are reversed (AKA "The Fallacious Flip"). As those who follow the news know, a White Ferguson MO cop shot and killed an unarmed Black teenager. So guess what? You probably already know. The Right finds a case in which a Black cop shot and killed a White teen.

Proof that racism wasn't a factor in the Ferguson shooting, right? Whether it was or wasn't I do not believe is clear, but I think at least some (if not many) of the protestors believe it was... and for good reason (it's called "institutional racism"). Whatever the truth is (whether or not racism was a factor), it certainly strikes me that the number of shots fired might have been excessive (the 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot 6 times).

Although CNN reports "dueling narratives in Michael Brown shooting", and, after reading the story, I can report that the witnesses accounts are at odds with one another in key areas. So an investigation is definitely needed, and no conclusions should be jumped to until it is complete.

I do, however still believe there is a problem in general with cops shooting - or by some other method killing - unarmed suspects (a police killing via a choke hold for example). And MANY of the examples of this ARE of a White cop killing a Black victim, so there is cause to believe that race may be a factor (in general and not necessarily in regards to this case). And there is also the fact that a majority of the Ferguson MO police are White, while the community they are policing is majority-Black.

But the Ferguson community protests in regards to problems of (White majority) cops using excessive force (which is how they view this case) - and the problem of the police force not being racially diverse - is spun by WND as lies serving an agenda of the "Leftist Media"... as usual. This time WND reports on fellow racist Limbaugh's take on the subject...

Rush Limbaugh: There's a mindset out there, and the way it works in situations like this [is] only people of color can be victims. A white person can never be a victim. It just can't happen. That's not permitted, that's not allowed because it isn't the case. The whites are the oppressors. They're the majority. In the liberal worldview, every majority is an oppressor... They're all oppressors. The minority is always the victims, and the victims are with whom we should always sympathize, no matter what. And the victims are permitted to do anything precisely because they're a minority... They're outnumbered. The evil majority does horrible things to the minority. And so the minorities... [are] always victims. And so anything they do is justified and we must try to understand the rage.

But in the current climate in the United States, a black person can never be the oppressor and a white can never be the victim. And that's how you have a corrupt or perverted news business in Salt Lake City, refusing to identify a black cop who may have shot an innocent person. That destroys the whole picture we've been creating here for centuries. That could totally destroy the image that we've been trying to concoct... (Rush Limbaugh comments via World Net Daily, 8/20/2014. "Black cop kills White Man, Media Hide Race" by Joe Kovacs).

The Media was "hiding" the race of the Black cop who shot the White teen? The WND article notes that "Utah's Desert News reported the police chief saying the officer is not white [and] The Salt Lake Tribune noted, the officer involved was not white". Seems pretty clear to me that they said the cop wasn't White. And it did come out that the cop wasn't Hispanic or Asian or whatever. But two papers saying the cop wasn't White (info that came from the police chief) amounts to the Media "hiding" the cops race? Right.

What this REALLY amounts to, IMO, is (yet more) racism from the Right. As well as opportunism. An opportunity to shamelessly attack the "Leftist Media". This time with bogus claims of hiding the fact that the cop was Black. Similar to what happened with George Zimmerman, that he was "White" was info that came from the cops. In both cases the media reported what the police told them!

As for the rest of Limbaugh's racist tirade, it is complete BS, of course. A White person can be a victim, but Whites ARE the oppressors. They're the majority (police force in Ferguson is mostly White, while community they are policing is majority Black) and we also have a long history (that began with slavery) of racism... against Black people.

Yeah, racist Whites like Limbaugh and those at the Black-mob-obsessed WND find that history inconvenient and work hard to deny that our past influences our present. But it *is* our history. So, no, a Black person can't be an oppressor. A minority can belong to an organization that sometimes acts as an instrument of oppression (the police), but this does not make them an "oppressor", but simply an instrument of the organization (in this case the police) that acts as oppressors for the White majority (again, it's called "institutional racism").

And there is also the fact that the police are becoming increasingly militarized, and what this points to, I think, is a mentality that says excessive force is what is necessary. I mean, another issue that concerns me is the police killing of pet dogs when those pets react to the police busting down doors (sometimes the wrong ones) to arrest people. And surely that has nothing to do with racism.

In any case, a minority is NOT "permitted to do anything precisely because they're a minority". And this "image that we've been trying to concoct" that Limbaugh refers to is REALITY. And YES, the "Leftist media" does NOT want that "image" destroyed, you lying racist tool!

So, in conclusion, I'd say that we definitely have a problem of police using deadly force not as a last resort, but drawing their guns and shooting to kill when they shouldn't be drawing their guns at all, or, if they do, shooting to wound. Racism may be a factor (and I believe it sometimes is), but if it was a factor in the Ferguson shooting is not known.

And I believe it probably won't be a factor in the investigation. Only the question of whether or not the shooting was justified will be asked. But, as you can see from the Limbaugh spin as reported by WND, the Right misses no opportunity to inject race into a news story. Injecting it via false accusations against the Left of "playing the race card" and "concocting" a history of racism for the United States.

"Concocting" being code for reporting the reality of the situation. A reality the Right wishes to deny because it aides THEIR concocted narrative regarding their racism being a "fair and balanced" reporting of the facts. "Facts", that when it comes to WND, often include the violence of "Black mobs".

A 2/8/2014 article from the blog Gawker by Adam Weinstein says that WND is battling Google for "its right to be racist". According to the article, Google "has accused WND of using hate speech and has threatened to block ads on the news site over its use of the term black mobs in news stories and columns.

Yeah, no kidding. As a subscriber to the WND newsletter, I noticed this some time ago. Google cites a figure of 670 "Black mob" stories and bases it's objection on it's AdSense policies against using "derogatory racial or ethnic slurs to refer to an individual or group". Although, over how long a period of time the article does not say. Still 670 is a big number... and kudos to Google for calling out WND. And Google, being a private company, does not have to respect WND's "free speech rights".

.........................

Something else the Right likes to complain about in these situations is when Black leaders show up on the scene to offer their support and assistance. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, in doing so, are "race baiting", they say. The Reverend Sharpton, I should note, went to Ferguson and discussed the problem of the police force not being racially diverse. His solution was for more Black voters to show up on election day.

Catching the end of his MSNBC program the other day, I saw Mr. Sharpton note the fact that when it was time to elect Mr. Obama a second time, Black turnout was high. But for the next election - one which also had local officials like the chief of police on the ballot - turnout was pathetic (2 percent, if I remember correctly). Sounds like good advice to me and certainly NOT "race hustling". Advising the Black community to vote, that is (which is a good way to at least begin to curb the institutional racism problem).

"Race husting", IMO, is a term used by White racists, or "right-wing white-grievance mongers" who are "stoking racial tension for cash" (wording as per a 7/23/2013 Salon article). People like Limbaugh... and organizations like WND (even given the fact that they have "Black friends") are real "race hustlers", and I think the evidence overwhelmingly shows this to be true. It isn't the Black leaders or Black MSNBC personalities who "race bait", but the racist right and race hustling and racist-pandering Rightwing media.

Video: Ferguson Cops Busted? New Video Seems To Show Brown Paying For Cigarillos (0:42) Link. (H/T to Shaw Kenawe of Progressive Eruptions for pointing me to this story & video from Crooks & Liars).

SWTD #270. See also TADM #56.