Welcome to the Republican National Convention: “This Is How We Feed Animals”

Yep, the mood in this joint is electric. Sure is…

Every four years when the Republicans hold their convention and trot out their handful of Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other people of color, what is the message they are seeking to convey to America?  “Look!  We have a few.   But not too many.”

And they know their place.   When they forget there are ways to remind them where and what it is.

Why do Republicans get rapped as being a party that accommodates bigots?

This is why: An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to Talking Points Memo.

RNC officials ejected the two attendees and confiscated their credentials and issued an apology to the camerawoman, but didn’t identify who they were and which state delegation they were with.

Don’t fall for the okie-doke. A bigot attending a Republican National Convention? That’s about as usual as fleas at a dog show.

 Patricia Carroll, the CNN camerawoman who was assaulted with peanuts and called an animal by two attendees at the Republican National Convention, told Journal-isms on Thursday that “I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised at all.”

CNN’s Patricia Carroll became the story instead of filming it.

 Carroll, who agreed to be named for the first time, said she does not want her situation to be used for political advantage. “This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue,” she said by telephone from Tampa.

Carroll said no one took the names of the attendees who threw peanuts at her Tuesday on the convention floor and told her, “This is what we feed animals.” She alerted fellow camera operators, producers and CNN security. The head of the delegation — she was not certain of the state — told her the perpetrators must have been alternates, not delegates.

 But Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. “This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” she said. “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.

 Carroll noted of the Republican convention, “There are not that many black women there.”

 “I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Carroll added. “No, it doesn’t feel good. But I know who I am. I’m a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people. . . . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’re gone further than we have.”

 The person(s) was an invited attendee. If you invite a guest to a party you’re holding and they exhibit boorish behavior such as urinating on your neighbor’s roses, vomiting on their sidewalk or defecating in their driveway, you’re kind of responsible.

Party conventions are staged and scripted events designed to put the party in the best possible light. Some racist jerkwad (who hopefully was liquored up) throwing peanuts at a Black camerawoman and screaming, “THIS IS HOW WE FEED ANIMALS” doesn’t exactly conform to that hoped for goal.

That’s why the lame attempts to wave away the ugliness of this incident by  Republicans falls flat.  I wonder if those two troglodytes know how lucky they are?  Do they know how close they came to having both of their bitch asses beat to death?   Maybe because Black folk have taken it for so long some White men feel free to let their redneck flag fly and just say and do whatever the hell they want to any Black  person that wanders into range.   Maybe because we’ve been so peaceful and tolerant and forgiving they believe we will always be that way.

Catch the wrong brother or sister at the wrong time in the wrong mood at the right time and that might be your butt.   Next thing you know you’re waking up in the emergency room.   If you wake up at all.

I don’t know Patricia Carroll, but I feel like I want to defend and fight for her.

The Threat Within: Racists In The Ranks

White supremacists have infiltrated the U.S. military.

If you missed hearing about this , blame it on the mainstream media’s inability to walk and chew gum at the same time, but this is an incredibly scary story that has surprisingly been ignored by much of the press obsessing over the Republican coronation of Mitt Romney in Tampa this week.

Death threats against the life of the president are not unusual (and especially not this president), but when the threat to the Commander-In-Chief comes from U.S. soldiers that isn’t just news, it’s scary as hell.

Four Army soldiers based in southeast Georgia killed a former comrade and his girlfriend to protect an anarchist militia group they formed with the intention of overthrowing the U.S. government and killing the president, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors in a civilian court in Long County, near the sprawling Army post Fort Stewart, said the militia group of active and former U.S. military members spent at least $87,000 buying guns and bomb components. They allege the group was serious enough to kill two people — former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year-old girlfriend, Tiffany York — by shooting them in the woods last December in order to keep its plans secret.

The prosecutor said the militia group had big plans. It plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state’s apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia’s goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president.

“This domestic terrorist organization did not simply plan and talk,” prosecutor Isabel Pauley told a Superior Court judge. “Prior to the murders in this case, the group took action. Evidence shows the group possessed the knowledge, means and motive to carry out their plans.”

Prosecutors said the group called itself F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready. Pauley said authorities don’t know how many members it had.

Prosecutors say Roark, 19, served with the four defendants in the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and became involved with the militia. Pauley said the group believed it had been betrayed by Roark, who left the Army two days before he was killed, and decided the ex-soldier and his girlfriend needed to be silenced.

Burnett testified that on the night of Dec. 4, he and the three other soldiers lured Roark and York to some woods a short distance from the Army post under the guise that they were going target shooting. He said Peden shot Roark’s girlfriend in the head while she was trying to get out of her car. Salmon, he said, made Roark get on his knees and shot him twice in the head. Burnett said Aguigui ordered the killings.

Pauley said Aguigui funded the militia using $500,000 in insurance and benefit payments from the death of his pregnant wife a year ago. Aguigui was not charged in his wife’s death, but Pauley told the judge her death was “highly suspicious.”

She said Aguigui used the money to buy $87,000 worth of semiautomatic assault rifles, other guns and bomb components that were recovered from the accused soldiers’ homes and from a storage locker. He also used the insurance payments to buy land for his militia group in Washington state, Pauley said.

The president was targeted, but so was America.

As alarming as the idea of domestic terrorism and murder carried out by active duty soldiers is, it is notable that the charges were filed by Georgia prosecutors and not the U.S. military which dropped charges against the four for the slayings of Roark and York.    Military officials need to explain why.

The arrests of these soldiers comes a few days after reports of how the the armed forces was slowly coming to realize they have been infiltrated by White supremacists looking not to serve their country, but receive military training in order to bring about RAHOWA (racial holy war).

They call it “rahowa” – short for racial holy war – and they are preparing for it by joining the ranks of the world’s fiercest fighting machine, the U.S. military.

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and skinhead groups encourage followers to enlist in the Army and Marine Corps to acquire the skills to overthrow what some call the ZOG – the Zionist Occupation Government. Get in, get trained and get out to brace for the coming race war.

If this scenario seems like fantasy or bluster, civil rights organizations take it as deadly serious, especially given recent events. Former U.S. Army soldier Wade Page opened fire with a 9mm handgun at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, murdering six people and critically wounding three before killing himself during a shootout with police.

Page, who was 40, was well known in the white supremacist music scene. In the early 2000s he told academic researcher Pete Simi that he became a neo-Nazi after joining the military in 1992. Fred Lucas, who served with him, said Page openly espoused his racist views until 1998, when he was demoted from sergeant to specialist, discharged and barred from re-enlistment.

While at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, Page told Simi, he made the acquaintance of James Burmeister, a skinhead paratrooper who in 1995 killed a black Fayetteville couple in a racially motivated shooting. Burmeister was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2007.

No one knows how many white supremacists have served since then. A 2008 report commissioned by the Justice Department found half of all right-wing extremists in the United States had military experience.

Wade Michael Page: Neo-Nazi, ex-military, murderer.

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security released a report documenting the looming threat of far-right extremism and the surge in violence over the past four years when the lunatic fringe of the Right lost their minds over the election of Barack Obama among other factors as the Southern Poverty Law Center noted in 2009 after the DHS report was issued.

A new intelligence assessment by the Department of Homeland Security warns of extremist recruitment fueled by the faltering economy, the election of Barack Obama and fears about Latino immigration — factors the Southern Poverty Law Center has previously cited as underpinning the growth of hate groups and extremist activity.

The report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” also warns of the recruitment of military veterans to extremist groups — an issue that the SPLC has investigated and urged the Pentagon to address.

The department’s report, dated April 7, was distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country to aid them in combating potential rightwing terrorism. The SPLC cited the same factors as contributing to extremist activity in its “Year in Hate” report issued in February. That report found the number of hate groups in the United States had grown to 926 — a 54 percent increase since 2000.

“This Homeland Security report reinforces our view that the current political and economic climate in the United States is creating the right conditions for a rise in extremist activity,” said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups. “As did the rise of the militia movement in the 1990s, this increases the threat of domestic terrorism.”

This is what domestic terror by extremists with military experience looks like.

The dead Sikhs murdered by Wade Page would agree right-wing domestic terrorism is real despite attempts by overly touchy Republicans to debunk the DHS report.  It has been proven to be scarily accurate in its forecasting.

What was Page besides a White supremacist bigot? Ex-military, and he’s not the only one.  We remember two others by name of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols and the madness they unleashed on Oklahoma City.

I can’t fathom why mainstream conservatives are playing hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil about the clear threat posed by the far right-wing fringe, but they need to expend less energy railing against the DHS report and more recognizing the genuine threat posed by the Neo-Nazis and White supremacists who have traded in their swastikas and hoods for military uniforms and combat boots.

Reconsidering “Miller’s Crossing”

“Look into your heart.” “Look at this bullet.”

What makes a great gangster movie?   It has to have great actors, sudden bursts of violence, style, a terrific director, memorable, iconic characters you can pull for (or against).

But what it absolutely positively must have is great dialogue so when you’re throwing lines everyone knows what movie you’re talking about without naming it.

YOU CAN ACT LIKE A MAN!

 It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!

Just don’t go busting my balls, Billy, okay?

You wouldn’t kill me in cold blood, would ya?
No, I’ll let ya warm up a little.

Don’t wait for it to happen. Don’t even want it to happen. Just watch what does happen.

 If you want me to keep my mouth shut, it’s gonna cost you some dough. I figure a thousand bucks is reasonable, so I want two.

Any true aficionado of the gangster genre should be able to name all six of these fabulous flicks, but for the amateurs, I’ll name them:  The Godfather, The Godfather Part II,  Goodfellas, White Heat, The Untouchables and Miller’s Crossing.

Miller’s Crossing?   Yeah, you read that right, yegg.  Miller’s Crossing is the third movie by the Coen Brothers and my favorite.    Fargo and No Country For Old Men won the awards and Raising Arizona put them on the map and True Grit made more money, but Miller’s Crossing is my go-to movie when I’m in the mood for some Joel and Ethan Coen madness.

And I like it every bit as much as any of those four better known films.  As much as  I like Fargo, I have to be in the mood for Marge Gunderson and her weirdly dark world.  No Country For Old Men would be a strong contender for the best from the brothers, but man, does that ending leave me cold.    Yes, yes….I know it’s faithful to Cormac McCarthy‘s book, but things that work well in print fall flat on-screen and boy, does that unsatisfying ending quality.

Vera makes being a bad girl look good.

There are only a select few films I can watch repeatedly and pick up something new in each viewing and this is one of them.   You almost have to pick up the subtleties and nuances of the knotty plot and to keep up with the double and then a triple-cross.    Miller’s Crossing can be laugh-out-loud funny one moment and graphically violent the next.  As Tom Reagan, the nominal hero who’s on nobody’s side  but his own, it’s certainly the best role Gabriel Byrne ever had and  Marcia Gay Harden as Vera is knows how to wrap men around her finger to get what she wants. Jon Polito’s Johnny Caspar is an ambitious schemer with a strange sense of “ethics.”   J.E. Freeman is  scary good as the  menacing Eddie Dane.  John Turturro personifies cunning and cowardice as the unethical and unscrupulous Bernie  Bernbaum.    Albert Finney nails the part of Leo, the political boss who runs things until his wish to protect Bernie, Vera’s brother against Tom’s advice sparks a deadly gang war with Johnny Casper.

Nobody has ever sniveled, blubbered and begged for their worthless life the way Bernie does.    You almost want to  kill him just so he’ll shut up.

   I’m… I’m… I’m just a grifter, Tom. I’m… I’m… I’m… I’m… I’m an nobody! But I’ll tell you what, I never crossed a friend, Tom. I never killed anybody, I never crossed a friend, nor you, I’ll bet. We’re not like those animals! This is not us! Th… th… this is some hop dream! It’s a dream, Tommy! I’m praying to you! I can’t die! I can’t die… out here in the woods, like a dumb animal! In the woods, LIKE A DUMB ANIMAL! Like a dumb animal! I can’t… I can’t… I CAN’T DIE OUT HERE IN THE WOODS!… like a dumb animal. I can’t… die!  I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart! I’m praying to you! Look in your heart…

A great movie builds a world, populates it with colorful characters and invites you to live there for a few hours.   Miller’s Crossing looks like it could be any crime-ridden city in the Roaring Twenties, but its such a stylized world it feels like there’s never been anyplace like it.  Maybe its Barry Sonnefeld’s cinematography and maybe its Carter Burwell’s evocative score, but mostly it’s that dialogue.   It sounds like something David Mamet might have written, but it only sounds like he did.   In real life people are never as interesting as the ones that speak Mamet fluently.     While the hard-boiled dialogue suggests Mamet, the actual inspiration  comes from novelist Dashiel Hammet’s  The Glass Key

What is this movie about?   Mostly the usual topics  you would expect.  Tough guys.  Crooked cops.  Dames that don’t need white knights.  Double-crosses.  Triple-crosses.  A good bad guy whose on everybody’s side, but nobody’s side, but always his side.  Bosses that think they’re smart but are prone to get outsmarted.  None too subtle hints of conflicted alliances,  hidden agendas and questionable sexual orientations.    It’s funny, layered, dense, and never boring even for a minute.

But  it’s also about a guy named Tom who knows how to play all the angles and his hat.  That hat is almost a character all by itself.  It certainly gets a lot of good lines.

The Coen brothers have built a reputation for  making movies that aren’t like what anyone else is doing.   From the way their movies look to the way their characters act, Miller’s Crossing is an underrated entry in their filmography.   It didn’t win any awards or make much money when it was released in 1990.   Squeezed between Raising Arizona and Barton Fink, its been mostly ignored by audiences, but if they’re fans of the Coens, they won’t make that mistake.   It’s an entertaining and involving film that requires attention be paid, but it rewards the viewer with a different take on the gangster film genre, but stack up quite nicely with its better known cousins.

Mitt Goes Birther On Barack

 Mitt the Thug

There’s a strong suspicion that Mitt Romney is something of a wimp. The biggest fear about what a Romney Administration would be like is just who would be pulling the puppet president’s strings and how far up his ass would the hand go?

Nothing about this guy screams “I’m my own man and I’m in charge.” Mitt wants to be president so bad there’s virtually no previous position he won’t abandon, no butt he won’t kiss and nothing he won’t say or do if there’s the possibility of winning a Republican vote.

Speaking at a rally in Michigan, Mitt went past the chaste hand holding he had done with Birthers like Donald Trump and went all in as opened wide for a big, deep and wet French kiss with extremism.

“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” Romney said as the crowd laughed with knowing approval, “They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”

Yeah, he went there. That place where the likes of Trump and Orly Taitz are. That place where Obama is the Manchurian Candidate who wasn’t born in the U.S.A and has no legitimate claim to the presidency. The Mitt threw out some cultural warrior red meat to the rubes in Michigan and they gobbled it up.

Quickly, the Right Wing Spin Machine chugged into action and harrumped, “Why so serious? It was all just a joke “ while Mitt claimed he wasn’t referring to the president. Uh-huh. And you probably think those are raindrops falling on your head too.

Maybe Mitt wanted to remind the base he’s the White Guy in the race. Wouldn’t surprise me since he’s pulling a zero percent in Black support. He might as well go all in with playing to the wingnuts.

Mitt doesn’t speak a single word he hasn’t been programmed to say and he knew how that crack about birth certificates would go over.  Like a big, stinky fart.  As calculated and scripted as presidential campaigns are only a fool would think Mitt didn’t know exactly how his “riffing” would go over.

The audience didn’t laugh at the limp attempt at humor. They laughed because Mitt said what they already think. Obama is one of them, not one of us.

Poll after poll show a majority of Republicans don’t believe Obama was born in the United States. If this is supposed to be a joke about the president, y’all need to spread the word to the rest of your peeps who are taking this very seriously. They don’t seem to get the joke.

So much for Mitt talking shit about Obama running an “angry and hateful” campaign. He just went full-blown Birther on the President of the United States.

Todd Akin thanks Mittens for now saying the second stupidest thing this month

“Yeah, I’m a bad-ass.”

Mitt gave a handjob to the likes of Trump, Arpaio and Orly Taitz, whom all report to experiencing a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction with his little joke. Romney just invited the Birthers to join him for the clambake/cross burning in Tampa next week. They can all sit around the fire and talk about how all these foreigners need to voluntarily exit the country with Obama going first.

Mitt embracing the cranks on the extreme Right makes them a little more credible and himself much less.

Whatever the reason, Romney just forfeited any claim that it is President Obama that is waging an “angry and hostile ” campaign. He should take his magic underwear and go home to New Hampshire, Utah, Massachusetts, or whatever other state his six homes are in. He doesn’t deserve to add a seventh in Washington, D.C.

Turning My Daughter Loose on the World (Good Luck, World!)

Today was a special day wasn’t it?     You start college next week at Wright State and we moved you into the dorm.   I was already proud of you, but now I’m proud of your mom as well.   She only squirted a few tears over the whole thing and they were so quick and quiet I never even noticed.

It’s hard to let my little girl go, but it would have been harder if you had stayed.   You wanted to work a summer job and couldn’t find one.  You were miserable and spread the misery around the house like a bad smell.   Most mornings you wouldn’t poke your head out of your bedroom until noon.  There was no place you had to be so why not lie in bed watching Law and Order: SVU reruns and bad morning television?

That’s all over now.  Your days will be spent in a classroom listening intently to lectures, being baffled by math and bored by history,  furiously scribbling notes, tapping on your laptop and spending all my mother@*%$# MONEY!   Good thing I never planned on retiring anyway.    I’m sure it’s going to be great working nights into my seventies.

It’s going to be hard walking around the house missing the sight of you and your new umblical cord–sorry–your phone glued to your hand from dawn to dark and the joyous sound of you yelling at maximum volume at your brother for eating all the Nutri-Grain bars.  I won’t miss the television blaring with an endless symphony of bleepity-bleep-bleeps whenever you watched Love and Hip-Hop.   Now you can entertain your roommate with your moods, your temper tantrums and lousy viewing taste (the poor thing).

It’s going to be quite an adjustment from having your own bedroom and living with three other people to splitting a dorm room in half and sharing a bathroom with your roomie and the two girls in the next room.   I hope nobody is too much of  a slob.   I lived with a bunch of guys when I was in the military and that was an adjustment, but then I slept in the same room with my two brothers.  It’s always just been you and when you were in a bad mood you could retreat to the closed door of your bedroom and your own evil thoughts.

Now you’re going to have to take a walk instead.   Either you’ll learn not to get pissed off so easily or you’ll find all-news ways to blow off steam.    Your roommate is not going to take your attitude with the shrug of the shoulders we learned to respond to it with.

But seriously, this marks you taking one giant step closer to achieving your dreams and I could not be happier for you.   We aren’t losing a daughter.  Wright State is gaining a Drama Queen.

This is the hardest part about being a parent.  We watched over you like a protective mama and papa bird for 18 years knowing eventually you would have to try your wings out and see how high and far they carry you.  No matter how much we want to protect you we know we have to let you go.  We only hope you don’t crash to earth.

Everything we put in your head about life and what you should demand from it and from yourself is about to be put to the test.   Whatever decisions you make about what course your life takes; whether or not you start drinking or experimenting with drugs or having sex or who you allow to be your friend is all on you and how you decide and the choices you make will define you from here on out.   We’ve taught you most of the things you need to make yourself a happy, smart and motivated young woman.   You’ll have to fill in the rest of the blanks yourself.

I hope you study hard, get good grades, achieve your goals and graduate on time so you can get a job and start paying back that money you owe us from that certain unmentionable incident if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Just kidding.  You don’t have to pay us back.   Not until you make some money and start paying taxes.   Then I’m coming for your income tax refund so don’t make any plans for it.

We’re going to miss you,  Imani.   The silence of your absence is a poor replacement for the noise you fill our lives with.  The distance between our home and your college is not that far, but far enough that it feels like you’re on the other side of the moon.  Your mom is keeping a stiff upper lip.  Your brother won’t say it (mostly because he didn’t say much when you were here), but he’s going to miss you.  Especially since it means until we get the kitchen remodeled and buy that dishwasher, that’s what his main job is.

Home is the place where when you show up at the door, they have to let you in.   I am looking forward to your bringing the noise when you come home for a visit.

That’s going to take some getting used to.  Home is now where you lived instead of where you live.   I suppose every mama and papa bird feel that way when the nest gets a bit emptier.

I love you, baby.   Part of me is happy for you and another part is sad for me because while you’ll always be my little girl, the reality is you passed “little” a long while ago and you’re a lot closer to being your own woman than you are my little girl.

My love is your love always,

Dad

Has Todd Aiken Screwed the GOP With “Legitimate Rape?”

McCaskill may have found the one Republican she can beat.

Normally, no one but a political junkie would pay much attention to a Missouri Republican candidate for the Senate has to say about abortion.   What Todd Akin sad was far from normal.   Even for experience campaign observers  Akin’s candid response left their jaws crashing to the floor.

First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“Legitimate rape?”   Rape is an ugly crime of hate and violence.  What’s almost as ugly is how pigs like Akin trivialize it to exert their moral authority over a woman’s body.  

Akin’s ill-considered remarks set the race in Missouri on its ear and Republicans in full-blown panic mode as Democrats pounced on the gaffe.   The Republican National Committee said it would not provide funds for Akin’s attempt to unseat Claire McCaskill,  the vulnerable incumbent for control of a Senate seat the GOP desperately wants to wrest from the Democrats.     The calls for Akin to quit the race began almost immediately.

Akin is telling anyone who will listen that he’s in the race, but he’s running out of listeners. Today, even Sean Hannity said he needs to quit.

The G.O.P. needs to pick up four seats to retake the Senate and Claire McCaskill in Missouri is one of the most vulnerable Democrats out there. She was losing to all the Republican challengers before Akin won the primary. They can find a replacement with no sweat, but if Akin hangs on, with the national money drying up, McCaskill could hang on.

That wouldn’t make Karl Rove or the Kochs very happy. The elephant stampede from Akin isn’t because he’s a stupid asshole, but because he might screw up Mitch McConnell’s wet dreams of becoming Senate Majority Leader. Politics trumps decency. Same as it always was.

Bad boy. He’s gotta go.

The Republicans are hoping Akin will drop out and allow them to replace him. Probably with someone not as stupidly insensitive about rape, but likely better at hiding it.

Unless Akin drops out, McConnell could stay in the minority.

Which isn’t to say he doesn’t have his defenders   “This is an effort to try to direct attention away from…Claire McCaskill, who has been supportive of Planned Parenthood – an organization that’s been under investigation for criminal activity,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said.

Akin’s candidacy got an unexpected boost from Democrats who poured a million dollars into ads attacking the GOP favorite, businessman John Brunner and a second challenger backed by Sarah Palin.

It was a political calculation to want the weakest and least electable Republican to run again a vulnerable Democrat. McCaskill was losing to all three of the Republicans in the primary and chose to boost the candidacy of Akin, the one she was losing to by the smallest margin.

If Akin wins the strategy will blow up in the face of McCaskill and the Democrats. If she wins because she suspected or hoped Akin would screw himself, then it was a brilliant move. Either way, she had to choose from the best of nothing but bad options. She chose the least worst one.

at the end of the day, Todd Akin is still a Republican. Akin’s idiocy gives McCaskill something she didn’t have a few weeks ago–an opening and a classic screw-up she can exploit. Akin’s repugnant views are being condemned by the GOP not because they find his view so repulsive. They don’t and his ignorant views aren’t out of the Republican mainstream, but they’re afraid Akin staying in will blow one of their best shots for a Senate pick-up.

You won’t find Mitt Romney or any other national GOP leader saying jack about that because that would mean they would have to accept blame for supporting this babbling fool in the first place–the way Paul Ryan did after Akin won the primary.

“Todd Akin has been a great asset to the House Budget Committee,” Ryan said in a joint press release last November with fellow House leaders, including NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, and Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan. “His principled approach to fiscal responsibility is exactly the kind of leadership America needs and I appreciate his hard work.”

The Democrats may have given Akin a boost, but it was Republicans who gave him their support. He’s their boy and their problem.

 

The Mau-Mauing of the President

“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America.”  — Mitt Romney

As a public service here is a clarification for Mittens:

THIS is an Angry Black Man just before he pops a cap in your ass.

THIS is not an Angry Black Man:

Romney’s ravaging of the president had the effect of angering MSNBC contributor Toure.  “That really bothered me,” he said. “You notice he said anger twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama, the ‘otherization,’ he’s not like us.”

“I know it’s a heavy thing, I don’t say it lightly, but this is ‘niggerization,’”

The focus here is on the wrong issue. It isn’t that Obama is angry and full of hate. He’s not.  That’s some old bullshit from Romney and he should either explain how the president is angry and hateful or retract his remarks, because it sounds like he’s blowing a dog whistle that a Black man is always on the verge of snapping and going off.

That isn’t even close to describing Barack Obama. As shit gets hotter, he gets cooler. You can’t come off as a Angry Black Man and get very far in America. Samuel L. Jackson has raised it to an art form, but he’s an actor playing a part. And he loves to golf. What’s Whiter than golf?

Unless your fear is Tiger Woods is a covert Black militant.

“I’m so mad. Boy, am I angry! Grrrr…”

The Angry Black Man is a stereotype. Right next to the Angry Black Woman rollin’ her neck and gettin’ all loud up in your face.

Romney has never run against a Black person for political office.  We can pretend the rules are the same, but they aren’t.  If you are a heterosexual White male,  if you are competing against a woman, a homosexual or a minority you have to take extra care not to lapse into stereotypes.

Perhaps he didn’t mean to lapse into racial coding, but suggesting the president is running a campaign of anger and hate and not supporting the accusation is a dog whistle.  Mittens demonstrated during his appearance before the NAACP, his awkwardness around Blacks.   Then again, Mitt doesn’t seem like he’s comfortable around anyone not White, wealthy and Mormon.

Romney blurted out something that plays to White fears without anything to support it. He tried to Mau-Mau the mild-mannered Barack Obama into Malcolm X. That is what Toure was upset about. He just put it across in terminology that surprised and outraged some White folks.

Black folks just shrugged and said, “Word.”

Mitt thought he was being fierce in putting Barack in his place. He just looked shrill and a bit desperate.    That’s what right-wing White men always say when they don’t know how to debate with a Black man. “You’re angry! You have anger issues! It’s an impotent little debating trick they pull so they can reassert their Alpha Male status.

Romney knows poll after poll shows Obama blows him away when it comes to likability. He’d be better served by trying to make himself more likeable than trying to make Obama less.

Your Vote Won’t Count If You Can’t Vote

If you’re able to vote this November you won’t be making Republicans very happy.

In 2011, The Brennan Center for Justice released a report that depending on your political perspective either angered you because it exposed how the Republican push for stringent new voter I.D. laws would lead to suppression of the Black vote or scared the hell out of you if you were planning to vote Democratic in 2012.   I downloaded and read the report and I was left with this conclusion:

Even if you want to vote in November, you may not be able to.   And it might make all the difference in determining who the next president is.

State governments across the country enacted an array of new laws that could make it significantly harder for as many as 5 million eligible Americans to vote. Some states require voters to show government-issued photo identification, often of a type that as many as one in ten voters do not have. Other states have cut back on early voting, a hugely popular innovation used by millions of Americans. Still others made it much more difficult for citizens to register to vote, a prerequisite for voting.

These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, elderly, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election and beyond.

Republicans have railed against the Brennan Center’s report on voter disenfranchisement. They have sneered that the report was underwritten by George Soros, their favorite wealthy boogeyman on the Left. What they can’t do is debunk the findings that widespread, systematic voter fraud is a myth, right between Bigfoot and Narnia.

Disenfranchising Black voters is a plan of the Republican Party to little-by-little and bit-by-bit, stand the concept of voting as a right on its head and turn it into a burden of proof for minorities in a way not seen since the bad old days of poll taxes and literacy tests.

Proponents of reforming the voting process seem blind to the fact that all of these seemingly neutral reforms hit poor and minority voters out of all proportion. (The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that while about 12 percent of Americans don’t have a government-issued photo ID, the figure for African-Americans is closer to 25 percent, and in some Southern states perhaps higher.) The reason minorities are so much harder hit by these seemingly benign laws has its roots in the tragic legacy of race in this country. They still work because that old black man, born into Jim Crow in 1940, may have had no birth certificate because he was not born in a hospital because of poverty or discrimination. Names may have been misspelled on African-American birth certificates because illiterate midwives sometimes gave erroneous names.

It’s true that the most egregious methods of minority vote suppression from the 19th century—the poll tax, the literacy test, the white primary—have disappeared. And we know (and can take some solace in the knowledge) that the worst of these indignities have not been recycled in the 21st century, in part because of the protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But a look at the history of voting rights in this country shows that the current state efforts to suppress minority voting—from erecting barriers to registration and early voting to voter ID laws—look an awful lot like methods pioneered by the white supremacists from another era that achieved the similar results.

Jimmy Crow is flying high again, thanks to the GOP.

The battle between the GOP and the Obama campaign is being waged in key places such as my home state:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against Ohio’s top elections official in a dispute over the battleground state’s law that restricts early, in-person voting during the three days before Election Day.

 The lawsuit filed in Columbus comes after a series of election law changes cleared the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature and were signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Obama’s campaign and Democrats argue that the law unfairly ends early, in-person voting for most Ohioans on the Friday evening before the Tuesday election, while allowing military and overseas voters to cast a ballot in person until Monday.

 The state doesn’t track its early voters by party, so the stats don’t show exactly how much Obama might have benefited from early voting in Ohio. But both parties are sure he did.

 An extended voting period is perceived as benefiting Democrats because it increases voting opportunities for those harder to reach for an Election Day turnout — Hispanics, blacks, new citizens and poor people.

Is it a coincidence that most of these new voter i.d. laws are in states with concentrations of Black and Latino voters and those states went for Obama in 2008? Like hell it is!

“It’s tragic that in the 21st century, 2012, we have voter suppression going on,” Sen. Nina Turner (D-OH) said. “Jim Crow has been resurrected, making repeat performances in the south and has packed his bags and moved north, in Ohio, in particular.”

Before state legislatures start enacting laws to cut the chances of someone trying to commit voter fraud, shouldn’t they prove how wide-spread the problem actually is?

The Republicans are building bridges where there’s no rivers. They are committing a fraud against Black, Latino, the elderly and the young because they aren’t voting “the right way.”    It’s a throwback to Jim Crow disenfranchisement and it’s voter suppression and it’s led by and masterminded by Republicans trying to deny American citizens their right to vote.

Voter fraud IS a fraud. It is a mirage.

What's behind the GOP's interest in voter fraud? This guy.

What’s behind the GOP’s interest in voter fraud? This guy.

Voter fraud—the foundational premise for controversial new voter-ID laws—is far more rare in the U.S. than ID proponents would have us believe. The Department of Justice doesn’t even compile figures of how many people have been convicted of fraud in the last decade, and says prosecutions have focused on tampering by election officials and local politicians, not on voters themselves. A New York Times investigation found that between 2002 and 2005 only 96 people were indicted for federal election-related crimes, and 70 of them were convicted. Of those, 41 were campaign employees and government officials, and just five were voters who cast multiple ballots.

The Republican Party has declared war on the Black vote and they aren’t being subtle in their attempt to suppress and disenfranchise Blacks. I find this contemptible. Requiring people to go out and buy I.D. to vote is nothing but a modern-day poll tax.   Nobody has claimed there is no voter fraud. Only that there is no measurable impact of it swinging an election and the burden of proof is on those who support restrictive voter I.D. laws to show that it has. They haven’t. They can’t.

It’s important to establish in the debate of voter suppression vs. voter fraud there is not an equal preponderance of evidence. The research and the facts are firmly on the side of systematic voter suppression.   There is far more ammunition for that side of the argument.

We are less than 90 days away from the election and there will be thousands of eligible voters in 2008 who will find they are ineligible in 2012 due to the unnecessarily partisan actions of Republicans officials.

They say they want a clean election. They never said anything about it being a fair election.

Republicans don’t want to win on the merits of their candidates. They want to rig the game to give them an unfair advantage. They have the power to do so and they’re doing it. If they have to screw over millions of Americans in the process, they’d better bend over and crack a smile, because they are going to get screwed and they’re get it good and hard.

President Clinton sees the scheme, but President Obama is the target.