Sunday, June 30, 2013

Crackers Offended By Liberal Scoundrels Playing The Race Card (Pointing Out Their Racism)

The dehumanization of Rachel Jeantel - the laughter, the disbelief - is rooted in the same attitude that causes people to treat unarmed black kids with suspicion, to follow them around subdivisions for no good reason ~ Justin Peters writing for Slate; as quoted in his article, "Rachel Jeantel Gets the Trayvon Martin Treatment", 6/28/2013.

In a post from 6/28/2013 a politically "Independent" blogger said "Liberal scoundrels" are guilty of "always playing the race card". Was he talking about the George Zimmerman murder trial? It isn't clear, as his post was too short to be able to tell... the title was "On Liberal Scoundrels" and the "body" was "Always playing the race card" (that's it. One sentence). But despite the brevity of the post, I'm going to (confidently) guess YES, the post had something to do with the George Zimmerman case.

The reason my guess is confident it that, previously Mr. Hart (the "Independent" blogger) said he believed there is no way (in his mind) that any race-based profiling took place when George Zimmerman eyed Trayvon Martin with suspicion and decided to stalk him...

Willis Hart: far from being some sort of bigot, Mr. Zimmerman actually volunteered his time tutoring disadvantaged black kids... And Zimmerman is 1/8th black himself (in other words, he's 4X more black than Elizabeth Warren is Native-American), and part Mestizo. ("Stand Your Ground, Chumps", 5/19/2012).

Is there any truth contained in the Hartster's comment? I have read that Zimmerman is Hispanic on this mother's side, but, other than that, I couldn't confirm any of Will's other "facts". I don't know if Zimmerman "volunteered his time tutoring disadvantaged black kids". I asked Willis for a link but he never provided one. I Googled for an answer but could only find people making the same claim on message boards. We do know, however, that Zim's dad is a racist, and we know that a co-worker of Middle-Eastern descent says GZ "racially targeted him and bullied him".

It is my strong opinion that racial prejudice was a factor in GZ deciding to stalk Trayvon Martin. So we know that Zim's dad is absolutely a racist and Zim himself probably has some racial prejudices. As for Willis Hart? In my opinion people who complain about Liberals playing the "race card" may be racist themselves. They object because they they don't like hearing the truth. As the authors of the book Playing the Race Card point out "the term itself is a rhetorical device used in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism".

Also, (in another post), Willis refers to the 19-year-old black female Trayvon was speaking with on the phone when GZ was stalking him as, "that fat black girl". Her name is Rachel Jeantel, and although I'm thinking Willis probably isn't a racist, he surely is an insensitive judgmental dick... with at least a modicum of racial biases (played the "race card" on you! How do you like that Hart? Am I a "scoundrel"?). (see update #2 below re Willis Hart and racism).

Not wanting to be judged probably explains why "that fat black girl" didn't want to testify. Willis describes her as a "adversarial witnesses". But Will's unkind words (WHY go there Mr. Hart?), are mild when compared to others. I'm referring to an individual who calls himself Radical Redneck. This racist dumbass is someone I encountered on the Right-wing blog Who's Your Daddy (WYD). If you've visited Sue's blog you've probably encountered the proprietor of WYD, Lisa. It was there I was informed by Kid that "Tea party people are the most non-racist, non-violent people on the planet".

I disagreed, and that was BEFORE Radical Redneck commented. Now, I don't know if RR is a Tea Partier, but (whatever the case may be), his comments don't reflect well on Conservatives in general. Or maybe just the types that Lisa's blog attracts (RR is a "follower" of Lisa's blog).

Following is an excerpt of my conversation with RR, so you can judge for yourself [I added portions in brackets to clarify. Also, the discussion began with another topic, which is why this discussion starts with RR referring to me; he was referring to what I said in regards to a different topic]...

Radical Redneck: DS [Dervish Sanders] sounds like a cartoonish copy of that dullard state's witness [Rachel Jeantel] at the (soon to be acquitted - yahoo!) Zimmerman trial. And to celebrate I will unload a dozen or two boxes of steel tipped into these excellent targets! [Link is to a Trayvon Martin shooting target]. (6/28/2013 AT 10:13am).

Dervish Sanders: *Silence* [I did not reply and had no intention of doing so].

Radical Redneck: Free george zimmerman. Trayvon Martin made the choice to go back and teach the "Crazy Cracker Ass" a lesson for following him. That's where he made his fatal mistake. ... Sounds like Trayvon was just being cockey and showing off because he had his Crazy, fresh mouthed, wise assed, girlfriend on his cell phone. We all have the right to defend ourselves and this is clearly a case about that. ... It's my feeling that Trayvon pursued George and George had no choice. ... And now that we know Treyvon was a racist, where is the liberal outrage? Liberal rule #1, only white people can be racists. WHO used Racist language Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin? ...does "Crazy Assed Cracker" come to mind. (6/29/2013 AT 5:55am).

Dervish Sanders: Yes (in our society, at least) only White people can be racist. Because of our history of oppression of minorities. The N-word is a lot worse than "cracker", which I don't find offensive at all. It does not prove Trayvon was a racist (a ridiculous assertion). Also, don't forget George profiled Trayvon and used a racial epithet to describe him (I believe he called him a "coon").

Trayvon was the one being followed and he did not deserve to be murdered for it! George had a CLEAR choice to not use his gun (he shouldn't even have had it). If George goes free it will be a miscarriage of justice. You can't STALK someone and then claim self defense when the person you're stalking fights for their life. It's completely insane. (6/29/2013 AT 8:50am).

Radical Redneck: Lisa, please, please, please tell me this is you creating a disgracefully idiotic cartoon character. Tell me this doesn't actually exist! The fringe characters on South Park aren't half the cartoon of this epic imbecile. In case this freak is real: listen dickhead, Michele Obama will walk on her hind legs before George Zimmerman gets convicted of anything. Once he's righteously freed he can go about suing the leftist shitbag media that reported deliberately fraudulent and edited material about him trying to get the negroes to kill him. Zimmerman will be a righteously free and rich man soon. (6/29/2013 AT 11:05am).

(Then the Radical Racist says something nasty about Jerry Critter which I have excluded. Follow the link if you are interested).

Dervish Sanders: I'm a real person, but are you? Talking about Michelle Obama walking on her hind legs sounds very much to me like a cartoon version of a racist. Most racists realize racism is largely out of fashion now-a-days and they (at least) try to hide their racism... but not you! If you're a real person (and not a cartoon), you MUST be a member or admirer of the KKK... am I right or am I right? (6/29/2013 AT 11:25am).

Radical Redneck: ...The last time I checked being a racist wasn't a crime in the USA, but who knows, maybe that changed since Dumbo was elected. (6/29/2013 AT 12:13pm).

Radical Redneck: [quoting Dervish Sanders] Talking about Michelle Obama walking on her hind legs sounds very much to me like a cartoon version of a racist.

Wow! You immediately associate a person's blackness with an inferiour animal! You are one foul racist fuck! You are 1,000 times worse than Paula Deen on her worst day! Wow! Proving that you are a cartoon. If you weren't you'd at least try to hide your hideous self-loathing anti-white racism. Do you have a picture of the First Sasquatch's tail affixed to your ceiling (with Gorilla Glue)? Zimmerman is going to walk. And soon after will be rich (almost as rich as I'm getting selling these)! [Link to the Trayvon Martin shooting targets again.] (6/29/2013 AT 1:07pm).

That ended my involvement in the conversation... I do not believe I shall respond again. Neither Kid (the individual who says Tea Partiers are the most non-racist people on the planet) nor Lisa (the blog proprietor) said a damn thing, and it has been 3 days since RR started spewing his racist bile on this thread.

Someone calling himself Crabby Old Man said "Zimmerman did what anyone with an ounce of brains would have done", and the Radical Racist commented a few more times. In one comment he called Michelle Obama (Moochie) the "First Wookie" and in another he referred to Rachel Jeantel as a "bimbo". So, attacking Rachel's intelligence is something Willis Hart and the Radical Racist have in common (don't tell me that Willis wasn't implying Rachel Jeantel is stupid).

I watched her testimony, and thought her manner of speaking was odd, but that did not cause me to conclude she was a dullard. I did a Google search and discovered that Rachel speaks three languages (Haitian Creole, Spanish and English). The article doesn't say that English wasn't her first language, but I'm guessing that must be the case, as that would explain her "cringe-worthy often difficult-to-understand diction" (rearranged quote). IMO someone who can speak 3 languages must be pretty smart.

But biased individuals like Radical Racist and Willis Hart judge her with minimal information (watching her testify) and judge her based on their biases. RR is clearly a hard-core racist; the absolute worst humanity has to offer in this regard (an 8 or 9 on a 10 point scale), while the Hartster's biases concern judging people based on their appearance and speaking abilities (if Willis has any racial biases I'd say they are minimal, but not non-existent).

For the record I must say that I would not judge my biases (racial or otherwise) to be zero, as I believe everyone has some (it is human nature, I believe); but I definitely would judge mine to be less than Mr. Hart's. And I'd also say my biases are quite insignificant when compared to those of Radical Redneck. And, although I am a White guy, I certainly possess no racist feelings that could be described as "hideous self-loathing anti-white". Absolutely none at all.

Finally, I'd like to explain what I meant when I agreed with RR when he said it is "Liberal rule #1" that "only white people can be racists", and why I don't find Trayvon's use of the word "cracker" offensive (at all). I subscribe to the theory that says White people can't be victims of racism because racism = prejudice + power. In short the theory says racism is a tool those in power use to keep minorities oppressed. Non-whites can be prejudiced, but they can't be racist. But I didn't go into the nuance of the theory in my discussion with RR because I doubt his tiny brain would be able to comprehend it.

But, that Black people can't be racist because they have no power... that's just a theory/another way of looking at the racism issue. It has a lot of validity, IMO, but, strictly speaking (and according to the dictionary definition of racism) Black people can be racist. Mostly I agreed with RR about Liberals thinking Blacks can't be racist was to see how he'd react (and I was not disappointed). However, in regards to Trayvon's use of the word "cracker", I genuinely believe it was not racist at all; in explanation as to why this is the case, I present to you the following excerpt from the Wikipedia website...

An author writing for the political organization "Government Of Democracy" says... [the] prosecution grilled Rachel Jeantel for not finding the word cracker offensive [but] the etymology (origin) of the "Cracker" (Craka) word usage... derived from slavery. It was refer to those who enjoy to crack the whip on black slave backs. ... After slavery, its usage kept on as referring to those who love being hard on black backs. These days it may be used in examples of (but not limited to) people that may profile/stalk blacks in stores, streets, etc... (found under Wikipedia/Cracker/Examples of usage).

In conclusion I say, just like there is no evidence that marijuana being found in Trayvon's system isn't evidence that he was a drug-crazed berserker (i.e. he fought with GZ because he was under the influence), his use of the word cracker is also not evidence that Trayvon was racially motivated (in defending himself against a stalker). There is far more evidence that GZ did some race-based profiling (in my strong opinion), despite the fact that Martin family lawyer Daryl Parks is now saying "It's not about racial profiling" but that GZ profiled Trayvon "criminally". This is a mistake, IMO... especially given the fact that the prosecution has been arguing the opposite up to now.

The horribly racist remarks from Radical Redneck remind me of what GZ's dad said in his e-book concerning who the "real racists" are. Of course the "real racists" are Black people! That is what RR is saying in his comment concerning Trayvon's use of the word cracker. It isn't a word I'm offended by or believe to be "racist" (I have the same opinion as Ms. Jeantel regarding the word).

Also, I must say I find the attacks and judging (by both RR and Willis Hart) on Rachel to be repulsive. Though RR's judging is FAR more repulsive. He beats Willis Hart in that department by a country mile, although I don't believe Willis has any reason to be proud of that fact. (Also, so the hell what if she can't read cursive? Nobody uses cursive anymore... except to sign their names).

Updates
[9/12/2014] In regards to Elizabeth Warren "lying" about her (possible) Native American heritage... I addressed this controversy in a 9/14/2014 post titled "Dennis Marks Frying Up Old Bones In Canardo Oil Re Elizabeth Warren Native American Controversy" (TADM #57).
[5/18/2015] I have reconsidered what I said in this commentary about Willis not being racist. I now believe he is quite racist. See my commentary, "Race-baiting Libertarian Blogger Joins The Filthy Scum Of White Society" (SWTD #281) for my reasoning behind this decision.

Video: WND author and certified racist creepy-ass cracker Ben Crystal's "comedy" routine (with canned/fake laughter)...

SWTD #173, wDel #31.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Disenfranchise & Dilute Is Repub Strategy To Win Future Elections

...how did Republicans keep their House majority despite more Americans voting for the other party - something that has only happened three times in the last hundred years, according to political analyst Richard Winger? Because they drew the lines ~ Adam Serwer, Jaeah Lee, and Zaineb Mohammed writing for Mother Jones; excerpt from their 11/14/2012 article article "Now That's What I Call Gerrymandering!".

As I discussed in SWTD #171, the Republican Party plans to continue to use restrictive voting laws to disenfranchise voters and tilt elections in their favor. They'll continue to rely on the Whites with racist attitudes, the homophobes, the misogynists who want to restrict a woman's right to choose, and the wealthy who think their taxes are too high (in addition to the laws already on the books restricting voting privileges). There have been calls for reforms that could attract other voting blocks, but the current relied-upon blocks don't support such reforms (which is why they won't be made).

But the votes of White with racist inclinations, homophobes, misogynists and greedy rich dicks isn't enough to tip elections in their favor any longer. Barack Obama being twice elected even when unemployment was high has them quite worried. They were so sure Romney was sure to win for that reason (unemployment being what it was). The new strategy (as evidenced by recent events), to rile up their base via fake scandals (Fast & Furious, Benghazi, IRS targeting Conservative groups, etc) could help them in the 2014 midterms and in 2016 if Hillary Clinton decides to run for POTUS (rest assurred Benghazi will be used against her), but what about elections even further in the future?

Enter the Conservatives on the Supreme Court and their recent gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Now the Red states previously forced to clear any new legislation restricting voting privileges can disenfranchise as they see fit. Not that they haven't been doing that already... but now the nine "preclearance states" can suppress away without the federal government stepping in and telling them NO.

Previously I mentioned how Texas is rushing to pass new voter restrictions. In addition to Texas 5 other states moved immediately to enact further restrictions, as a 6/27/2013 article from Think Progress reveals...

Less than 48 hours after the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [Shelby County v Holder, 6/25/2013], 6 of the 9 states that had been covered in their entirety under the law's "preclearance" formula have already taken steps toward restricting voting.

The five other states are Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia. Alaska, Arizona and Georgia - the other three of the nine "preclearance states" - have not announced any plans to enact new voter suppression laws. So, who believes the Conservatives on the Supreme Court did not do this with the intention of helping out the Republican Party by enhancing the ability of Republican officials in the (now former) preclearance states to disenfranchise voters? I sure as hell do not.

I should point out that, given that Chief Justice John Roberts plus Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito all voted to disenfranchise minorities, CLEARLY I believe they are all racist bigots. No, strike that. I actually haven't looked into it. I don't know which justices are bigots and which aren't (although Scalia is clearly a homophobe). No, this is just another tool in the Repub's election-stealing toolbox. A tool six of the nine states that previously needed preclearance (before changing their election laws) are now planning on turbo-charging.

Another tool in the Repub election-stealing toolbox is gerrymandering, which "is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts". This is a tool the Repubs took advantage of following the 2010 census and the Republican-retaking of the US House and state Congresses.

Mother Jones says (in the article I quoted at the top of this post) that "after Republicans swept into power in state legislatures in 2010, the GOP gerrymandered key states, redrawing House district boundaries to favor Republicans". That is how the Repubs won big in the House. They probably would have retained the majority, but it would have been smaller if not for the gerrymandering, and, as the political website Impact points out...

...redistricting has served as a potential form of disenfranchising voters in 2012. Redistricting is the process of "redrawing" districts to separate voters who would typically be in the same district. This action is usually targeted toward minority-dense areas in hopes of separating the number of voters who would typically vote for progressive representatives.

Remember that, after Mitten's loss, the Repubs conducted an "autopsy" that concluded the problem was a lack of inclusiveness? The RNC even issued a report, calling it the "Growth and Opportunity Project". In this report they laid out a plan that included "extensive outreach to women, African-American, Asian, Hispanic and gay voters". Then they said no actual policy changes would be made; the "outreach" would be of a "messaging" nature only.

FYI, "messaging" is code for deceptive propaganda. What the RNC meant (if you decode the "messaging" BS) is that they didn't do a good enough job fooling people into thinking the entire purpose for their existence isn't to further enrich the plutocrats.

No, the Repub strategy to win elections going forward won't be to appeal to more people and thus win their votes, but to disenfranchise (prevent from voting entirely) and dilute Democratic votes (break up areas that traditionally vote Democratic by redrawing district lines so Republicans outnumber Democrats). This explains how the Republicans retained control in the House (in the 2012 elections) when the Democrats GOT MORE VOTES.

Writing for the Washington Post, Ezra Klein points out that "Democrats got 54,301,095 votes while Republicans got 53,822,442. That's a close election (48.8%-48.5%), but it's still a popular vote win for the Democrats". How did they do this? They gerrymandered new districts ensuring Republican candidates victory.

Ezra Klein: What saved Boehner's majority wasn't the will of the people but the power of redistricting. As my colleague Dylan Matthews showed, Republicans used their control over the redistricting process to great effect, packing Democrats into tighter and tighter districts and managing to restructure races so even a slight loss for Republicans in the popular vote still meant a healthy majority in the House.

What remains to be seen is if this strategy will work. If Congress can rejigger the rules for clearing the nine states that were covered by section 4, then pass legislation making the new rules law, then we can stop the coming (enhanced) voter suppression in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. But that would take bipartisan support. The act got bipartisan support the last time it was reauthorized by president bush in 2006, but that was BEFORE the Tea Party infiltration of our government; both on the state and federal level.

Currently there are 47 Tea Party Caucus members in the US House (not counting Michele Bachmann, who is retiring) and 5 US Senators in the Tea Party Senate Caucus (see here for a complete list of Tea Party Caucus members of the 113th Congress).

According to Chief Justice Roberts, the formula applied to the 9 preclearance states "violates the sovereignty of the affected states under the U.S. Constitution" and that "Congress could pass a new version, but it would have to reflect current conditions. A 6/26/2013 article from The Hill says House Republicans James Sensenbrenner Jr. (WI) as well as Steve Chabot (OH) and Sean Duffy (WI) are urging colleges to "join him in bringing the law back to life". But will Tea Party Congresspersons cooperate or attempt to derail their efforts?

The Democratic Representative from Georgia and civil-rights icon, John Lewis says he is "deeply concerned that Congress will not have the will to fix what the Supreme Court has broken". Yeah, me too. And, even if another formula is concocted, legislation is drafted and passed, and the president signs it... all the disenfranchisement tools in the Repub toolbox remain intact. Things won't be as bad as they probably will be if Section 4 isn't restored, but the rules governing who is allowed to vote will remain FAR from being fair.

Further Reading
[1] So the Voting Rights Act Is Gutted - What Can Protect Minority Voters Now? by Steven Hill, The Atlantic 6/25/2013.
[2] Gerrymanders, Part 1: Busting the Both-sides-do-it Myth by Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium 12/30/2012.

SWTD #172

Thursday, June 27, 2013

White Power Conservatives Very Happy With SCOTUS Ruling Giving States Go Ahead to Disenfranchise Minorities

The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected. To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another, and he that has not a vote in the election of representatives is in this case ~ Thomas Paine (2/9/1737 to 6/8/1809) an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain; as quoted in "Dissertation on First Principles of Government" (pub. 1795).

An anonymous commenter (not a sock puppet of mine) said I should "check out this exchange in RN's comment section". "RN" is shorthand for an individual who refers to himself as rAtional nAtion. He thinks he's rational because he subscribes to the Ayn Rand nonsense that individuals acting in their rational self interest aren't greedy as#holes... which is how everyone else on the planet would describe people who follow Ayn Rand's sick Objectivist ideology.

So I checked it out and found a discussion that concerned the (wrong/racist) SCOTUS decision (Fisher v. University of Texas 2013) that we need "tougher scrutiny of Affirmative Action Plans". A commenter who calls himself dmarks (actual name: Dennis Marks), cheered, proclaiming that this ruling was a "victory for those who want progress toward equal treatment, diminished racial bias, and level playing field".

Then the discussion turned to the (wrong/racist) SCOTUS decision (Shelby County v. Holder 2013) to allow states to disenfranchise minorities if they please (minorities that vote Democratic in large numbers). Again Dennis cheered. He SAYS he cheered because restricting the right ability of the people to vote will weed out "fraudulent voters [including] illegal aliens, felons... [and] those who vote in multiple districts. [As well as] those who choose to vote Acorn-style with [a] fake name".

To this I say bullpucky. People who pay attention to the subject of voter fraud know it is extremely rare, and that the much more serious problem is election fraud. For those of you who don't know what the distinction is: Voter Fraud is when individual voters cheat (as per Dennis' examples). This, as we know, if very very rare. Election Fraud is when the officials in charge of running the elections cheat. Examples of this type of election theft include things like hacking vote machines (or servers tabulating votes) to change the totals, as well as the institution of restrictive voting regulations that "discourage" people who are legally entitled to vote from doing so.

This "discouragement" includes tactics like voter caging, challenging voters at the polls (thereby causing them to have to use a provisional ballot, which is a type of ballot that frequently isn't counted), and by deliberately causing long lines in the hope that people will give up or have to leave (because their presence is required by their employer, for example).

So that they can engage in this kind of discouragement of voting by minorities and other groups (like educated people) that tend to vote Democratic is why the Repubs want restrictive voter laws, NOT to deal with "fraudulent voters". We ALL KNOW this, so Dennis is simply lying. This is why the SCOTUS struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 4 is "the provision of the landmark civil rights law that designates which parts of the country must have changes to their voting laws cleared by the federal government or in federal court". Section 4 covered the states that have a history of disenfranchising minorities (Shelby County v. Holder 2013).

And, as the shenanigans leading up to the last election PROVE, these states are still at it. We have not entered a post racial society, despite the election of the first African-American president. Fact is, the election of Barack Obama has enraged the racists in the Republican Party. Also, and this is crucial in understanding why the Repub Party is now the party of the racists, the Repubs are EMBRACING them. The racists may be a minority, but the Repub Party at large has decided to use them to further their goals.

This tactic came sharply into focus with the ascendance of the Tea Party. The racists who were dumbfounded when the White candidate lost to the Black candidate in 2008 came out in force and joined the Tea Party protests. Although they waived their racist signs (and guns) and spewed their racist rhetoric, others in the Tea Party strongly denied they existed. I visited a Right-wing blog recently, and was informed (by a Conservative with the ID of "kid") that "Tea party people are the most non-racist, non-violent people on the planet".

Kid said it was Southern Democrats who opposed Civil Rights and voted against it in 1964. And, even though Lyndon Johnson (the Democratic president at the time) signed the legislation, it is the Republican Party that we should actually be thanking for the passage of Civil Rights legislation. OK, so Kid has a valid point. Southern Democrats did oppose Civil Rights. Wikipedia notes that 199 Democrats voted for Civil Rights, but 112 voted against it (and that most of the NO votes were from Southern Democrats)... Among Congressional Republicans, 163 voted YES, while only 41 voted NO.

Then Kid tells me that Lyndon Johnson "had" to sign the bill. I suppose that case could be made, as the numbers existed that, if Johnson vetoed the legislation, Congress could have overridden his veto. LBJ may have been a bigot, as bloggers like Willis Hart like to point out, but he did sign the bill and does receive credit. But this is only one of the reasons why Black Voters cast their ballots in favor of Democrats in overwhelming majorities. The primary reason they do is because, after the Democrats abandoned the racists and began advocating an end to bigotry and racism, the Southern Democrats left the Democratic fold for good (previously they had made their displeasure with the less-bigoted Northern Democrats known when they tried to break away and form their own party, the Dixiecrats).

But after the passage of Civil Rights, the Southern Democrats had had enough. This time, however, instead of forming their own party, they accepted an invitation from Richard Nixon to join the Republican Party. Nixon, seeing that the Democrats didn't want them anymore, decided he would get the racists voting Republican. This goal was achieved using a tactic Nixon and Republican Senator Barry Goldwater dubbed the "Southern Strategy". Nixon's Southern Strategy was wildly successful... the vast majority of the racists who formerly voted Democratic switched over to the Republican Party, where they remain TO THIS DAY.

Which brings us to the recent SCOTUS decision to get rid of section 4, and the aforementioned discussion on the rAtional nAtion blog I previously mentioned. The Republicans, who are STILL employing Nixon's Southern Strategy, are seeing the beginning of the end of the effectiveness of it. It isn't working anymore because the racists are old and dying off. That is why they have to cheat so much to win. But the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama has proven that even the voter suppression techniques they employ aren't enough any more.

This is why the Conservative justices on the Supreme Court decided to "stick a dagger into the heart" of the Voting Rights Act and jettison section 4. Yes, they said Congress could restore section 4 if they came up with a new formula to apply to states seeking to be exempted from it, but surely Roberts knew our Congress is so dysfunctional (thanks to House Repubs) that the likelihood of that happening is slim.

The purpose is CLEAR... to pave the way for more restrictive voter restrictions. The undeniable goal here is to disenfranchise enough minority (and other Democratic-leaning groups) and swing elections in favor of the Republicans. But Republicans strongly deny that this is the case, as evidenced by this exchange on the ironically titled rAtional nAtion blog...

Anonymous: At a time when restrictive voter laws are being passed in State Houses and challenged in the courts, for the Supreme Court to say Sec. 4 [of the Voting Rights Act] is outdated, is another example of conservatives denying reality.

dmarks: I spent some time looking for it on my own after reading [the anonymous] comment... and found nothing other than the fact that the supposedly suppressed ethnic group actually voted in much larger numbers the last time.

Dervish Sanders: They voted in larger numbers for two reasons: [1] The superiority of Barack Obama's get out the vote effort over Mittens, and [2] In the states that tried voter suppression tactics such as reducing available vote machines and voting hours... which lead to LONG lines and hours and hours of waiting... the people got MAD and decided to not give up and go home like the Repubs wanted (although some had to or they would lose their jobs).

rAtional nAtion: Perhaps you could provide a link to a reputable and unbiased source that supports your assertion Anon. I know I would like such data and suspect dmarks would as well.

Dervish Sanders: You wouldn't. Articles describing the disenfranchising tactics and laws employed by the Repubs in the last election are numerous and easy to find. One could only not find them if they specifically did not look for them... or if one considered ANY reporter or commenter these facts to be "far left", which is something Dennis FREQUENTLY does. So why bother? Dennis finds the information he wants to find. Any information that does not conform to what he THINKS the truth is - it is "far left" (and then he INSISTS that he's talking about the "far left" as measured from the Middle, and that he is the only one qualified to do the measuring). He should just be honest with himself and admit that he's very happy about this victory for White Power (i.e. Republican power).

[Note: RN has comment moderation enabled and none of what I wrote above was approved for publication on his blog].

You see what they are doing, right? It's complete and total denial (willful or knowing; you be the judge). The restrictive voting laws are to protect against (virtually non-existent) voter fraud and NOT due to their desire to suppress the vote (yeah, right). Because the electorate is becoming less racist, less homophobic, and less White, the only way Republicans can win elections going forward is to seriously ramp up the suppressionary tactics. Question is, is this indicative of the last gasps of a dying party, or will the White Power Republican Party succeed in moving us toward the oligarchic form of government they desire; one where only the right kind of people are allowed to vote?

As pointed out in the SCOTUS majority Opinion in the bush V. Gore case (this would be the case in which the SCOTUS stole the election for GWb), the Constitution contains no guarantee of a Right to vote for US citizens...

The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral College. (In Search of the Right to Vote By Victoria Bassetti, Harper's Magazine October 2012).

So, apparently a state could dispense with presidential elections entirely and directly appoint the electors of it's choosing. They could, but they won't, because they know the people would rise up in protest. So, in order to get the electors they want, they only suppress the votes of people who might vote the "wrong way". That way the people won't rise up, because people only tend to care about injustices when they are the victims of those injustices. Take away the ability to vote for a small number (enough to flip an election) and the people will remain largely apathetic.

Undoubtedly this is the strategy. But will (or for how long) will it work? Now that the Voting Rights Act has been gutted, we shall see. Already several states are rushing to pass new voter suppression laws... as reported by The Raw Story on 6/25/2012...

Officials in Texas said they would rush ahead with a controversial voter ID law that critics say will make it more difficult for ethnic minority citizens to vote, hours after the US supreme court released them from anti-discrimination constraints that have been in place for almost half a century. The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, declared... "with today's decision, the state's voter ID law will take effect immediately. Photo identification will now be required when voting in elections in Texas".

Immediately following the announcement Greg Abbott shouted, "White Power!". OK, I admit he didn't. But he was probably thinking it. Texas Republicans are worried because the state is turning purple (and may even go blue). Texas is currently the only state that is majority minority and still voting Republican. Personally I believe section 4 of the Voting Rights Act should apply to all 50 states, given that other states on covered by it did pass (or attempt to pass) laws restricting voting "rights" leading up to the 2012 election.

How do you think this is going to play out? Will Congressional Dems and reasonable Republicans get together and pass some legislation rejiggering (and restoring) section 4, or will they be blocked by the obstructionists who view this as a means by which the plutocratic dinosaur party can remain competitive?

Video: Paul Weyrich (now deceased) explains how Republican can win elections with only the support of a minority of the people (0:32).

Update 10/26/2014: Dennis has deleted all his comments from the thread on the rAtional nAtion blog this commentary references. See TADM #50 for more on Dennis' obsession with the "old bone" debunked Acorn conspiracy theory.

SWTD #171, dDel #10.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Regarding Marijuana-High Drug-Crazed Berserking

If you want to fight a war on drugs, sit down at your own kitchen table and talk to your own children ~ Barry Mccaffrey (dob 11/17/1942) a retired United States Army general and 4th Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (under Bill Clinton, 2/29/1996 to 1/4/2001).

There is a FAR Right blogger who calls himself dmarks, but his actual name is Dennis Marks. I've mentioned Dennis a number of times before on this blog. Why? Because this guy is the most deluded Right-winger I've ever encountered.

Every time I encounter some of his inane rantings they frequently leave me beyond astounded. Usually he posts his idiotic remarks on blogs where he knows he is safe; that is, places where the chance is low he'll get any pushback. Perhaps I have some form of OCD in this regard, but it bothers me when his patently false and frequently absurd comments stand and receive no rebuke at all. This is why I've dedicated a series of commentaries on my blog to do so (rebuke Dennis' insanity).

Today I feel compelled to defend Trayvon Martin, the innocent unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by George Zimmermann on 2/26/2012 in Sanford FL. Zimmerman is guilty (in my opinion) of either second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. Whatever the verdict, it should definitely be one of these two options; Zimmerman should not get off because the killing was "self defense", which is what his lawyers will argue, as his lawyers have "waived his right to a stand your ground pretrial immunity hearing".

Neither the stand your ground (bad law) nor self-defense applies in my opinion, as Zimmerman pursued Martin after the 911 operator told him not to. A self-described "Moderate" (or "small l" Libertarian) named Willis V. Hart previously said he believed Zimmerman should be charged with "reckless endangerment or manslaughter". But the possibility remains that Zimmerman is innocent (in his mind). This thought he expressed in a commentary posted to his blog on 6/18/2013...

Willis Hart: There are two possibilities here, I believe. Either Mr. Zimmerman was getting the shit kicked out of him and pulled the gun in self defense, or he had the gun out with an intent to kill (as the state is now asserting) and decided to let this Martin kid beat on him a bit first. To me, the former seems much more plausible and for that reason alone I still have serious reasonable doubts... at least when it comes to second degree murder - manslaughter maybe not as much. (6/18/2013 AT 7:44pm. "On the George Zimmerman Trial").

OK, so "not so much", but still, the Hartster thinks there is a possibility Zimmermann could be completely innocent and the shooting was "self defense". Me, I think he's guilty and should be convicted. 2nd degree murder or possibly manslaughter. Getting off on self-defense would be a travesty of justice. Dennis, however, thinks Trayvon had it coming. Or, Trayvon is at least partially to blame. Following is Dennis' reply to Willis' post (and this reply is the reason why I authored this commentary)...

Dennis Marks: Zimmerman was an armed neighborhood watch guy spoiling for a confrontation, and Martin was a drug-crazed berserker (a felon who should have been behind bars). A true Battle of Stalingrad: both bad guys. But one of them killed the other. (6/18/2013 AT 8:14pm).

Dennis is right about Zimmerman, but 100 percent wrong about Martin. The "drug crazed" comment is due to the fact that marijuana was found in Trayvon's system. But the judge wisely told Zim's lawyers that evidence could not be introduced at the trial. According to a commentary I read on Newsvine, "Mark O'Mara, Mr. Zimmerman's lawyer, argued that Mr. Martin's drug use could have made him aggressive and paranoid, which the defense said might have prompted him to attack Mr. Zimmerman". However, this assertion is false because "such an argument is contradicted by medical evidence, which shows that marijuana tends to reduce aggression".

But Dennis is fervently anti-marijuana. In his mind we should continue our failed drug war, and even expand it. Dennis thinks it would be a good idea to lock up casual users, including people never even charged or convicted of a crime involving drug possession.

CBS News says "Martin was suspended by Miami-Dade County schools because traces of marijuana were found in an empty plastic baggie in his book bag", but that "Martin did not have a juvenile offender record".

But Dennis thinks Martin should have been "behind bars". Because being suspended from school for suspicion of drug use is enough to brand someone a "felon" and lock him up... in Mr. Marks' deluded imagination. Now, Trayvon was only 17, and therefore his marijuana use was illegal, even if there had been a measure passed in FL decriminalizing it (there hasn't).

Me, I'm in favor of legalization of marijuana, and believe it should be regulated and taxed like alcohol. These regulations would include an age under which use would not be permitted. But I'm not going to brand Trayvon a felon for something he was never even charged with, let alone convicted of. That's lunacy, but it's lunacy right up Dennis' alley. Also, many people share Dennis' lunacy when it comes to marijuana. The judge, knowing this information would be highly prejudicial, disallowed it.

This is a decision I strongly agree with. Dennis is exhibit one when it come to condemning someone of a crime because they've used marijuana. I wonder if he believes teenage consumers of alcohol are "bad guys". In my opinion this is just normal teenage rebellion and experimentation. MANY teens (at least occasionally) partake in drugs or alcohol. Does Dennis believe they should all be in prison? Maybe just the Black ones. Yes, I think racism may have something to do with Mr. Marks' statement. Perhaps he says they are both "bad guys" because Trayvon was Black and Zimmerman is mixed race (White on his father's side and Hispanic on his mother's side)?

Thanks to an e-book released by Zim's dad, "Florida v. Zimmerman: Uncovering the Malicious Prosecution of my Son, George", it is now confirmed that the father Robert is a HUGE racist. A 6/15/2013 HuffPo article describes a chapter in his e-book in which Zim Senior identifies the "true racists"...

HuffPo: In the chapter, "Who Are The True Racists"... Zimmerman uses words like "pathetic", "self-serving" and "disgrace" when describing the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and Martin's funeral director, among others. He says he believes they are promoting a racist agenda in the United States and around the Martin case.

You can be assured you're dealing with a racist-in-denial when the (White) subject identifies Black people (and groups) as the "real racists". These people are the worst kind of racists, IMO. At least KKK-type racists are upfront and admit their prejudices. People like Zim's dad deny it while making absurd accusation that it's REALLY the Blacks who are racist.

And this is what causes me to wonder if racism did not play a part in the Trayvon Martin Shooting. Given the racist views of dear old dad, might not George have been influenced by those views? Remember George used a racial slur during his 911 call, referring to Trayvon as a "coon"? Some voice experts said he didn't, but given this info about his dad, I'm not 100 percent convinced. I listened to the tape and, to me, it sounds like Zim used the racial slur.

And this e-book put out by Zim's dad (in which he tells us who the "real racists" are) is reminiscent of Dennis' and HIS past comments regarding the "racism" he is most concerned with... which would be racism against White people. Dennis frequently rails against the "racism" of Affirmative Action (a policy that is actually designed to make up for past racism). Not only that, but Dennis slanders those who defend Affirmative Action by calling those people racist! He actually referred to one commenter (John Myste) as a "Grand Wizard" and - when John Myste said he was leaving Willis Hart's blog - Dennis said, "don't let your white robe get caught on the door on the way out". (TADM #62).

This is what in-denial racists like Robert Zimmerman and Dennis Marks do! They accuse others of racism (Black people and others who disagree with them). So if you ask if it is possible that George shares or was influenced by his dad's views... I say YES, it is very possible. And would Dennis be calling Trayvon a "drug-crazed berserker" and a felon (even though he was never charged or convicted) if Trayvon were White? I'm not sure, but I certainly think it is a strong possibility.

I say "I'm not sure" because Dennis is very strongly opposed to marijuana use, so MAYBE he'd be saying the same thing if Trayvon were White... but given his penchant for focusing on racism against White people, I doubt it quite a bit.

In closing I'm going to cite a comment I read on the Huffington Post site (in response to the article I previously linked to)...

HuffPo Commenter: What the Zimmermans do not seem to grasp is one doesn't need to be a racist to behave in a racially biased manner. His son behaved in a racially biased manner by profiling Trayvon... In the first 5 seconds of his call to police he made an assumption that Trayvon was up to no good and that he was on drugs. What is this assumption based on? What would lead George to assume that Trayvon was on drugs... was Trayvon weaving and falling down? Tearing his clothes off or yelling incoherently? No. What George said was "it's raining and he's just walking around looking about".

This is what Dennis is doing. He says Trayvon should have been in prison and is a "bad guy" because he used marijuana. Sure, Dennis is biased when it comes to people who use marijuana. That much is very, very obvious. But there is also an element of racial bias at play here as well, IMO. I think there is plenty of evidence to support this charge. Agree or disagree?

See Also
[1] Apparently, the "Real Racists" Are... Anti-Racists? by Jamelle Bouie, The Nation 7/27/2012.
[2] Dennisism #7 Violent Felon (TADM #56). dmarks redefines the term "violent felon" so that it somehow applies to Trayvon Martin, an individual who was never convicted of any felonies and (in my opinion) never proven to have assaulted George Zimmerman. 9/2/2014.

2/11/2016 Update: "Nice racial slander", Shaw Kenawe says in response to a 7/19/2013 dmarks comment in which he quotes an article included as part of a post on RNUSA concerning protests that took place after the George Zimmerman trial verdict. The quote is "officers gave orders to disperse. At that point, groups of people took off running and began attacking and robbing pedestrians", and (concerning this sentence) Dennis writes "honoring Trayvon Martin by acting like him, I see". Yeah, I gotta agree with Shaw here.

SWTD #170, dDel #9, wDel #30.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The First Rule Of Murder Club

Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club ~ Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt). A quote from the 1996 film Fight Club.

"You must swear on your life that none of the secrets of the Murder Club will be revealed", a stern looking William Hartenbaum informed his friend Dennis Marks. "Screw that", Vincent Vanderschmit (AKA Voltron) objected. "If you breath a word of this to anyone I'll personally cut off your ding-a-ling. You'll be like that Theon Greyjoy character on Game of Thrones".

"Don't worry guys" Dennis assured his friends. "I want to get my hands dirty. And if you let me there is no way I can squeal, as I'd be implicating myself". William wasn't sure he agreed with what Voltron said about cutting off privates, but he let it go, seeing as Voltron was their de facto leader.

Dennis was referring to the three friends' murder club. Normally the three members only went after worthless bums that wouldn't be missed, but their new target gave Dennis cause to think back to another unsolved disappearance. "Johnny MooMoo went missing almost two years ago now and nobody knows what became of him", Dennis remembered when William told him they were planning on going after Cliff Thesage.

"Voltron killed Johnny MooMoo and Russ and I helped dispose of the body", William confirmed. "We'll do the same to Cliff", a smirking Voltron said. "But that won't get rid of the shelter", Russ Teafeur disagreed, referring to the fact that Cliff Thesage was only a member of the committee that took over the day-to-day operations of Johnny MooMoo's homeless shelter after he vanished without a trace.

"No, but if we take out enough vagrants I think they'll get the message and stay away" William said, explaining his plan. "Offing Cliff isn't necessary to the plan at all. It's just something Voltron and I decided to do for fun. By the way, it's going to be me that kills him Dennis. You can do as many bums as you want, but Cliff is mine".

"Fine by me", Dennis agreed. "So long as I get to kill some worthless hobo with my bare hands, I'll be more than satisfied". "Well then, welcome to the club", Voltron said, slapping the new member heartily on the back. The four friends then went their separate ways, agreeing to meet up later that evening. "I'll bring the ski masks", William said as everyone departed. "The rest of you bring your usual weapons".

Later that evening the club members met up at their usual location, a secluded clearing in the woods on the property of Slade Leeds. Slade and William were both members of The Higher Ordered Person's Society, although Slade had no clue when it came to all the murdering William was engaged in.

"Our recent encounter with that Dervish degenerate gave me an idea", William said pulling an item out of a shopping bag and holding it up for everyone to see. "A taser" Voltron said, chuckling. "I heard about your encounter with that Liberal think tank scum", Voltron remarked, still laughing. "We had the last laugh", Dennis countered, clearly upset. "He may have tased Tony good, but now he's in the slammer". "Right", William agreed. "But Tony's partner Smurf Jones told me he was suspended after slamming Dervish's head into the ground during the arrest. Apparently, due to a prior concussion Dervish is now in a coma".

"G*d damn it!" an agitated Dennis complained. "I heard about that, and certainly hope it doesn't mean Dervish is going to get off". "Me neither", William agreed. "I heard the think tank Dervish works for is filing a lawsuit against Tannis Protection", William said, referring to the private security firm Tony Hawkins and Smurf Jones worked for (a private security firm given the contract To serve and Protect after the Emergency Financial Manager laid off all the city's police officers).

"It would be travesty if Dervish got rich on top of getting off", Dennis proclaimed. "On the other hand he may be a vegetable for the rest of his life, although I'd prefer he was sent away for a long time and a considerable amount of taking it up the ass", a worried William reasoned. "But enough of this discussion, now we must get on to why we are gathered here this evening".

"That is to initiate Dennis into the Murder Club", Voltron said, interrupting William. "I thought we were going to off that Cliff punk", Dennis confusedly chimed in. "Yes, we'll get to that, but first we need to pop your cherry. Voltron, Russ and I need to be sure you won't wuss out, so we'll ease you into it with a lower value kill", William advised his cohort. "I don't know if I appreciate the lack of confidence, but I'm still game" Dennis replied.

"OK then, it's agreed" a pleased William concluded. After that the four piled into William's pickup truck and they headed back to town. Pulling into a parking garage of a high-rise structure owned by Voltron they switched vehicles, departing minutes later in a dark van with mirrored windows. Two blocks from the homeless shelter William eased over to the curb. "I'm going to park here and we'll wait while Volt picks our target", William instructed Dennis and Russ. "I'll call you using my disposable cell phone when I'm ready" Voltron said, exiting the vehicle and quickly walking away.

About 20 minutes later the call came. William answered his disposable cell. "Time to take out the trash", he heard Voltron say in his ear. "I'm headed back toward the van. OK, now I've turned right and am going east on Pacific", Voltron said, informing William that he was following a target. William started up the van and drove toward the shelter, turning east on Pacific as Voltron instructed.

"There he is", Russ whispered, spotting their hoodie-wearing friend. "I see him" William confirmed, slowing down the vehicle. Voltron looked back, saw the van and started walking faster, catching up to a disheveled looking woman in her 30s or 40s. As William pulled up alongside the homeless woman Voltron quickly covered her mouth with a white handkerchief.

The woman struggled briefly before her eyelids fluttered and closed. Russ slid open the van's side door as Voltron scooped up the woman's limp body and stepped inside. Russ quickly slid the door shut and they sped off. "Chloroformed her", Russ said, answering the question Dennis was about to ask.

SWTD #169, PIF #19, Murder Club #2.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

House Republicans Using Fake IRS Scandal To Defund Affordable Care Act

...this is the beginning of a generational battle... "Repeal ObamaCare" is going to be the battle cry for Republicans for the next 20 years or longer ~ Thom Hartmann (dob 5/7/1951) an American radio host, author, entrepreneur, and progressive political commentator. His nationally syndicated radio show has 2.75 million listeners a week. From 2008 to 2011, Talkers Magazine rated Hartmann the most popular liberal talk show host in America... an excerpt from hour 2 of the 6/29/2012 broadcast of his radio program... the day after the SCOTUS decision upholding most of the ACA (8:08 to 9:47).

On 6/5/2012 I authored a commentary titled, "Tea Party Groups Allowed To Hide Donors Real IRS Scandal". In this commentary I explained that the IRS "targeting" Conservative groups was not an Obama Administration scandal, but a Republican scandal, as Republican groups were applying for 501c4 tax exempt status, getting it (none were denied), and then politicking when the law forbids it. 501c4 status is for groups engaged exclusively in social welfare. If they wanted to politick they SHOULD have applied for the 527 tax exempt status. Under both 501c4 and 527 designations your group will be exempt from taxes. The difference is that under 501c4 status your donors remain anonymous, while under 527 status donors must be disclosed.

Conclusion? The Tea Party groups that applied for 501c4 status LIED to get it. They politicked in violation of the law and SHOULD have received extra scrutiny (or been "targeted"). The REAL scandal was that they were ALL approved! The reason they wanted 501c4 status and not 527 status was so they could HIDE THEIR DONORS. Karl Rove did just that with his two groups: one a SuperPac and the other a 501c4 that accepted donations anonymously and then re-gifted the money to the SuperPAC. Because the SuperPAC couldn't accept donations without disclosing who they were from, but the LAUNDERED money from the 501c4? Those donors remained secret.

Today I'm going to fill you in on the SECOND way in which the IRS scandal is actually a Republican scandal. House Republicans are going to cut the IRS budget so the Affordable Care Act cannot be implemented... or it's going to make it a hell of a lot more difficult, at least.

Following are some experts from a 6/15/2013 Associated Press story by Stephen Ohlemacher titled, "IRS scandals threaten funding for health care law". My commentary will follow each excerpt...

Stephen Ohlemacher: Mounting scandals at the Internal Revenue Service are jeopardizing critical funding for the agency as it gears up to play a big role in President Barack Obama's health care law. Obama sought a significant budget increase for the IRS for next year, when the agency will start doling out subsidies to help people buy health insurance on state-based exchanges. Congressional Republicans, however, see management problems at the IRS as an opportunity to limit the agency's funding just as it is trying to put in place the massive new law.

My Response: The scandals are Republican in nature, as I just pointed out. But does the "Liberal Media" mention this? No. I had to do a specific Google search to pull up those stories when I was researching the article I mention above. The vast majority of people who read this AP story will automatically assume the "scandals" are the "targeting" of Conservative groups and denying/delaying their 501c4 status, which most readers will believe they should have been granted posthaste (even though they should have all been rejected). Also, the wasting of taxpayer money on lavish conferences and parody "training" videos (more on that later).

SO: Republicans have been fighting the health care law ever since Democrats enacted it in 2010 without a single GOP vote. Unable to repeal the law, some Republicans hope to starve it by refusing to fund its implementation. The IRS scandals are giving them a timely excuse.

Me: The last time the House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act was 5/16/2013, and that was the 37th vote! The Washington Post says, "the vote was 229 to 195, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting for repeal. The Democrats were Mike McIntyre NC and Jim Matheson Utah". Shame on these Democrats. And shame on the Republicans for wasting taxpayer money in a pointless exercise, as the repeal won't be taken up by the Senate, would be voted down there if it were, and would be vetoed by the president if it got to his desk. And there is also the fact that the Supreme Court ruled the ACA constitutional (with GWb-appointed chief justice Roberts among those in the majority).

SO: Last month, the IRS was rocked by revelations that agents had targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when the groups applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. A few weeks later, an Inspector General's report said that the agency had spent lavishly on employee conferences during the same time period. From 2010 through 2012, the IRS spent nearly $50 million on employee conferences. In 2010, the agency used money that had been budgeted to hire enforcement agents to instead help pay for one conference that cost $4.1 million, according to the watchdog's report.

Me: Note that the IRS was "rocked" by these particular revelations and NOT by revelations that ALL the Conservative groups that applied for the 501c4 status were approved when they shouldn't have been (because they were politicking), and that these groups are using the status to HIDE their donors. The "Liberal Media" is doing a bang-up job of covering that story, aren't they? Not.

As for the report from the Inspector General that said the IRS "spent lavishly on employee conferences", not so says US News & World Report. A 6/12/2012 article titled, "What Was so Lavish About the IRS Employee Conference?" says "tax experts and lawyers who have been professionally involved in reviews and in setting up conferences say evidence of wrongdoing is slim". One quoted expert says, "you want them to be conducting training conferences at a time like this...". Another expert says that a "$4 million outlay for a three-day national convention would not be out of line for a national conference for more than 2,600 senior managers".

The article goes on to give other examples of how the IRS spent less on conference related items than is typical in the private sector. Yes, those "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" training videos were lame and embarrassing, but again, according to a tax lawyer cited in the article, "the IRS has a big training challenge, and you want to see them addressing it in a creative and out-of-the-box way". Although the videos were "dumb", the tax lawyer concludes that "you can't fault them for trying".

In any case, the IRS director during the time they spent "lavishly" on conferences was Doug Shulman, a Republican bush appointee. Shulman was director of the IRS from 3/24/2008 to 11/9/2012. It was also during this time period that Conservative Tea Party goups were "targeted". And, while it was not Shulman who directed the "targeting" of the Tea Party groups, it was another Republican IRS manager (in the Cincinnati office) who did so.

The individual, whose name has not been revealed, says "he and an underling set aside Tea Party and Patriot groups because the organizations appeared to pose a precedent that could affect future IRS filings". According to Rep. Elijah Cummings the IRS manager "is a conservative Republican working for the IRS". Cummings correctly concluded, "I think this interview and these statements go a long way toward showing that the White House was not involved in this".

The person who resigned, "acting" director Steven Miller, wasn't in charge at the time. By the way, Miller was only an acting director because Senate Republicans have refused to confirm anyone to fill the position permanently under Obama. Republican obstruction in not confirming an IRS director chosen by the President is another aspect of the scandal which is being completely ignored by the media.

SO: "For years Republicans in Congress have made repeated attempts to stop and slow down the Affordable Care Act. This is just the latest attempt to put up roadblocks to implementing the law", White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said.

Me: Exactly. If only Democrats would go on the offensive instead of saying saying things like... "based upon everything I've seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on". No Rep. Cummings, the case is NOT solved! We need 501c4 reform so Conservative groups (any group really, but Conservative ones in particular) cannot abuse the designation and use it to hide donors and launder political donations.

SO: Democrats in Congress say they are growing tired of Republican attempts to repeal a law that has survived a review by the Supreme Court and whose main champion — Obama — won re-election last year. "The American people will see over the next six months the lengths the Republicans will go to destroy the implementation of the Affordable Care Act", said Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. "I'm sad about it, it's awful", McDermott added. "But sometimes in a democracy people have to learn the hard way, and the American public is going to learn".

Me: What the American public should learn is that they need to vote out as many of these obstructing Republicans as possible and return the House to Democratic hands. I am beyond tired with these Republican shenaggians, endless obstructing and fake scandals.

SWTD #168

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Troubling Attacks on Edward Snowden From The Left

...there's nothing surprising about the reaction to this week's disclosures about the National Security Agency's unprecedented surveillance program. In our cult-of-personality society, that reaction has been predictably - and unfortunately - focused less on the agency's possible crimes against the entire country than on Edward Snowden, the government contractor who disclosed the wrongdoing ~ David Sirota (dob 11/2/1975) an American liberal political commentator, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, Democratic political spokesperson and radio host based in Denver. Quote from his 6/14/2013 article, "Snowden deserves our Sympathy".

The following is an excerpt from the 6/13/2012 broadcast of Current TV's The Young Turks, which I edited for brevity and clarity. Host Cenk Uygur and guest Daniel Ellsberg (the Vietnam war-era whistleblower who released the Pentagon_Papers) discuss Edward Snowden...

Cenk Uygur: How similar is your case and the cases of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning?

Daniel Ellsberg: I feel a great identification with them, despite the fact that we have different backgrounds and were different ages when we made our disclosures. Bradley Manning was 22, and I give him credit at having arrived at that [decision to become a whistleblower at such a] young age. I think we all faced the same problem.

Basically we saw we were working for a government that was lying to the people and was acting illegally and unconstitutionally in various ways. Whether we would live up to our oath to support the Constitution or to our promise to keep secrets to a boss, even when those secrets involved criminality. We chose the Constitution. Unfortunately that is pretty rare, so I feel considerable identification with both of them.

Cenk Uygur: So, Daniel, how do you answer the people who say these guys clearly broke the law, so obviously they should go to jail?

Daniel Ellsberg: That is a complicated legal question. Regarding Edward Snowden, there is a law against divulging communications intelligence information, regardless of what your motive is. There is no element of motive in that law, 18 USC 798, which I was not charged with and Bradley was not charged with. I would say he [Snowden] did break that law, and that raises the question... can it be criminal to release secrets that are protecting criminal or unconstitutional behavior?

That has never been tested in any court case. It has never gone to the Supreme Court. I would like to see that tested in court. Not that I want to see him [Snowden] on trial, particularly. But that is the issue that would be raised there.

Cenk Uygur: Yes, interesting. To me what's even more interesting is the different reactions throughout those different years.

Daniel Ellsberg: None of them were different in the beginning. I was called a traitor as much as either of those people [Bradley Manning & Edward Snowden]. I'm struck by the fact that... I am receiving some favorable comments from some surprising people than I've had for 20 or 30 years... in the context of using me as a foil against Bradley Manning or Snowden. "Ellsberg good, Manning bad". "Ellsberg good, Snowden bad". I don't accept that at all.

I think we have people who, after the exposures of the last 10 and 20 years, are pro-whistleblower in general, just against the current whistleblowers. I think that's true of... people like Tom Friedman and David Brooks. Overall FOR whistleblowing, but not for these guys. If Edward Snowden was not right to put out this unconstitutional behavior, a blatant violation of the fourth amendment, I wonder what these people would say would be reasonable whistleblowing? You can't get more classic whistleblowing than that.

Possibly, the next step will be the revelation that they are not just looking at meta data... I feel sure - I can't prove this, I haven't seen the documents; no one has outside the NSA - but I feel sure they are collecting and keeping all of the content of all digital communication (all telephone, everything else)... big brother is collecting everything. We don't have the proof of that yet...

These people are heroes to me... Dianne Feinstein doesn't know treason, the Constitution does not define it as that. It is a slander for her to say so. What it shows is that our system of oversight has failed. That is true under both Republicans and Democrats. For high level Democrats to be denouncing Snowden instead of focusing on what he has revealed shows that the structure of checks and balances has disintegrated, and that means that our democracy is very much in question. This is perhaps a chance to get some of that back. That means putting pressure on people like Diane Feinstein.

[End transcript of the 6/13/2012 Current TV broadcast of The Young Turks]

I end my transcript when the show goes to commercial (although there was some stuff near the end that I cut out). After returning from commercial Ellsberg seems to suggest the NSA may be listening/reading our electronic communications without a court order. According to him, they can "Google it" or the equivalent at any time, and they have "blackmail capability" for "every journalist, every Congressperson [and] every judge".

I'm not sure about that. Ellsberg says it will take another Snowden to give up the documents that would prove his allegations are accurate, because without documents the people will believe whatever the government tells them. As proof he cites the case of NSA director James Clapper, who lied to Congress when asked by Senator Ron Wyden (in a 3/12/2013 United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing), "does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" and Clapper responded, "No, sir".

Chenk postulates that there is no chance of rolling back the surveillance state. A member of the panel (which he introduced after the break) agrees, and notes that public opinion is on the side of allowing this to continue. That, or they are indifferent. So, no chance. Not while most of the public is either apathetic or on board for whatever reason. Repubs because they're so afraid of the terrorists or Dems because they trust the current occupant of the White House.

Yes, those on the Left are lining up behind President Obama. In the article I pulled my opening quote from David Sirota notes that "plenty of Obama loyalists — many of whom criticized the Bush administration for much less invasive surveillance — took to Twitter to berate Snowden as an attention-seeking traitor". What I've found is that the Obama apologists have also taken to their blogs to condemn and malign Snowden and defend the administration.

Several Liberal blogs I comment on are bashing Snowden (and Glenn Greenwald) and defending what Daniel Ellsberg calls a blatant violation of the 4th amendment. And they say Ellsberg is a hero but Snowden is a "character-disordered con-man", and that the fact that he ruined his life to disclose this wrong-doing is proof that "he has a demonstrated callous disregard of people without conscience or remorse [and that his] chest-thumping grandiosity is the ego food of a narcissist".

So Ellsberg was definitely right about people saying "Ellsberg good, Snowden bad". The comment I just quoted is from a Lefty. The point made on the blog the previous hyperlink connects to is that Snowden fled to Hong Kong and may have disclosed "secrets" to the Chinese. Perhaps there is something to those criticisms. We don't know what he's telling the Chinese. They also note that he is (supposedly) a Libertarian Ron Paul supporter. I've heard that as well, but I say it's irrelevant.

I agree with the commenter who wrote, "Whatever Snowdon's personality traits, whatever his motivation... we do need to be concerned about government power and it's intrusion into our personal lives". Absolutely. My electronic communications are my "papers" and the government does not have the right to seize them (and store them in gigantic data processing centers), even if they are get a (secret) court order (from a secret court) before reading or listening to the content. They're only able to read or listen to my "papers" using that warrant because they previously seized them (with no warrant).

I've seen the old Ben Franklin quote cited many times in connection with the Edward Snowden case, which is "they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety", and I agree it is extremely applicable. The Left criticized the Repub's who defended bush when he illegally wiretapped American citizens, but now that it's a Democratic president doing it, they're OK with similar unconstitutional behavior? I must say I'm disappointed in my fellow Liberals.

SWTD #167

Friday, June 14, 2013

Post 45: A Sleeping With The Devil Meta Commentary

A star-studded turkey, Movie 43 is loaded with gleefully offensive and often scatological gags, but it's largely bereft of laughs ~ Rotten Tomatoes reviews the 2013 American independent anthology black comedy film co-directed and produced by Peter Farrelly.

Welcome to the 166th Sleeping With The Devil post. As of today my blog has been in existence for 7 years, 4 months and 9 days. I call this commentary Post 45 because this is my 45th post of 2013. The significance of 45 is that 45 posts is the most I have ever published in a single year. In 2012 I published 44 posts. The year after (last year) I only published 20 posts.

Other bloggers may publish far more commentaries, but I try to write only posts of significance. Posts where I state my position and make my case backed up by the facts. I do not cut and past large sections of articles by professional authors and journalists, although I may (from time to time) reference these articles and use excerpts, I try to keep the quoting to a minimum. I also try not to revisit the same topic too often, instead including everything I have to say on a topic in one post (which explains why they usually run a little long).

Now, before you say "wait I minute, I've seen posts where you transcribe lengthy sections of dialogue from TV news programs or radio shows"... Yes, I have done that, but those aren't cut and paste jobs. I actually transcribe what I've heard on programs like the Thom Hartmann radio program (5 times) or The Young Turks (as broadcast on Current)(3 times).

Regarding The Young Turks and Al Gore's Current TV, I've heard that the channel's new owners, Al Jazeera, will be jettisoning the current programming and replacing everything with their own content sometime in August. That will be six hours of programming that I watch (almost) every week day gone... which will be disappointing.

But back to discussing my blog... in addition to commentaries from a Progressive prospective, you may have noticed a number of fictional stories. Some have told me that I should move away from the stories as they don't attract readers and generate comments. And while it is true that these kind of posts (fictional stories) frequently receive absolutely no comments, so do my political commentaries. Actually, the political commentaries do sometimes receive a comment or two, and, in addition, Blogger reports that they get more hits. With the exception of a story I titled "The Famous Actress & The Scene Featuring Full Frontal Nudity".

That one gets a lot of hits for an obvious reason (even though it was published way back in October of 2011). I chose the title of the post with that in mind. Although I suspect people searching for "famous actress full frontal video" and arriving at my blog LEAVE a short while later, possibly feeling deceived. That's OK, because when I think about that I laugh a little. By the way, that post was part of a continuing storyline I call "Senior Fellow at the Progressive Ideology Foundation". That storyline is just one of a total of FIVE, which I have summarized below... in order of how many entries each has (in doing so perhaps I will attract some attention to one or more of them and generate some comments?)...

[1] Senior Fellow at the Progressive Ideology Foundation (18 entries) This narrative details my exploits as a Senior Fellow at a progressive think tank. Other characters include my adversaries, most of whom are continually seeking to do me harm. Please look to the sidebar for links to the 18 (as of the publishing of this post) entries. I currently have another entry in the works that will be published soon. The individual posts can also be brought up by clicking the label "Ridiculous".

[2] The Adventures of William the Moderate (6 entries) A story that follows the escapades of the morally bereft eponymous character. Set in a Dungeons & Dragons type universe, the last entry ended with a cliffhanger. Another installment is in the works and will be published later this month (most likely). The individual entries can be found listed in the sidebar under their own heading (The Adventures of William the Moderate) or via the label "William the Moderate".

[3] The Inceptrix (5 entries) The "Inceptrix", as explained in the most recent installment, is like a cross between the movies Inception and The Matrix. According to the Morpheus-type character I am very much like Neo, the savior of humanity. Although it is possible I am completely nuts. Click the link Inceptrix to call up all the stories in this series, or locate the list located in my sidebar.

[4] Messages (2 entries) Only 2 entries so far, but I have been working on a third, which looks like it's going to be a two parter. According to what is said in these stories, there is a possibility that they may be true! Given that there are currently only two entries, I have not yet created a scrollbox for my sidebar... but I plan to, as I have a lot of additional ideas for further entries... or expect that further far-fetched events may occur in the future that I plan to report here if and when they occur.

[5] The Bald Frog (2 entries) I'm not sure about the title of this one. I may change it later on. There is also no scrollbox in my sidebar for this story, as there are only two entries, the last one published on 5/14/2011. The current 2 entries can be found via the "bald frog" label. This was going to be a "Wind in the Willows" type fable featuring frog characters who run for political office (the title character becomes a candidate for pond vice president). I do have a third entry that is partially written. Whether or not I complete it is questionable, as I'm not sure where this story should go.

OK, so that wraps up the summary of all the fictional stories I've written for this blog. A total of 32 posts out of 166, or approximately 20 percent of all the posts published on this blog. So, if you don't like them or think I shouldn't do them if I expect to generate the traffic and comments I claim to want? I've decided I don't care, and that taking that advice would not lead to more traffic or comments. I like writing the stories so I'm going to continue writing them (and, as I already said I have several more in the works).

Finally, in regards to this "meta post", how incredibly boring, right? Yes, that may very well be true, but if you're a person who reads but does not comment... to you I say "stuff it". If you have an opinion please let me know. I want comments, be they positive or be they negative. Of course I'd prefer the positive ones, but I'll take the negative ones as well. In fact, the negative ones can be quite enjoyable, unless the person comments anonymously and just writes "you suck" (or words to that effect). Nice to know I offended someone, but some more details regarding exactly why I suck would be appreciated.

Anyway, I think I'll create a "meta" label the next time I author a meta post (that way I can link the two). That will most likely be when I reach 200 posts. That day is currently 34 posts in the future, or 1.4 posts per week... if I want to make it to 200 by the end of the year. My current rate of post composition is very close to 2 posts per week. Right now I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to keep that up, so whether or not I make it to 200 this year is not currently known. We shall see.

By the way, if you want to leave a comment in regard to this post and how much you think it sucks, be my guest. Although I'd prefer you do so while signed in with your Blogger account. Why not stand behind your insults instead of taking the chicken route? Don't be afraid, like I said earlier I welcome negative comments. But if you're reading this and liking it (not this particular post, perhaps, but maybe other ones), I'd also appreciate a comment. The anonymous option is available (and I have no plans on disallowing this commenting method), so you can use it if you don't have a Blogger account. If you do have a Blogger account it would be nice if you'd sign in first.

If you do comment, that is, which I'm sure you won't. I predict that this post will get one comment at most. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it gets zero, as it is (as I already pointed out) boring and rambles on and on. So, congratulations if you've made it this far... the end is near. Now all you have to do is compose a comment. A few words are all that is necessary... heck, I'll be satisfied with one word. All you have to do is write "yes" if you like my blog or "no" if you don't like it. That isn't hard at all, now is it? And face it, you've already wasted quite a bit of time reading to this point (if you are in fact still reading). You can't spare a few more seconds to leave a one-word comment? If you've read this far but decide not to comment I say FU.

OK, I take that back. Maybe I appreciate readers even if they don't comment? I can't decide. On one hand I like the idea of people reading and don't need the validation of actual responses, as I'm not someone yearning for adulation, but on the other hand... screw you. That's not quite as bad as FU, but still I think you are deserving of some harsh words... for depriving me of a comment AFTER reading what I took the time to write. But you probably stopped reading a LONG time ago, or never even started reading. That is the most likely scenario. But in the off chance that you are still reading... how about a comment?

SWTD #166