One Nation, Divisible

 

Just when you think the establishment GOP couldn’t sink any lower…

Republican senators Johnson, Lankford propose making Juneteenth a federal holiday and dropping Columbus Day

In response to bipartisan efforts to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and James Lankford have proposed eliminating a different federal holiday “in exchange.”

The choice?

Columbus Day.

“We support celebrating emancipation with a federal holiday but believe we should eliminate a current holiday in exchange. We chose Columbus Day as a holiday that is lightly celebrated, and least disruptive to Americans’ schedules,” Johnson, of Wisconsin, said in a statement Wednesday.

Johnson and Lankford of Oklahoma will be seeking to amend a bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday.

This is the “Republican” response? What happened to all of that standing athwart history stuff?  This isn’t standing athwart; it’s running over with a steamroller.  What could possibly be conservative about this?

Johnson said adding to the number of federal holidays would give federal workers an additional day of paid leave and increase the government’s costs. He called his amendment a “counter-proposal that does not put us further in debt.”

Oh this.  Gotcha.

The further we get from the civil war and slavery, the more enflamed we become by it.

In the continued undoing of e pluribus unum, The NFL makes its contribution.

NFL will play Black national anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ before each Week 1 game

Starting with the nationally televised regular-season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 10, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem, will be performed before every Week 1 kickoff, before “The Star-Spangled Banner,” according to a person familiar with ongoing discussions. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because plans have not yet been finalized and announced by NFL officials.

I’ll freely admit my ignorance that there even is a “Black National Anthem.”  I also don’t know the American Indian, Hispanic, or LGBTQWERTY national anthems either, but I’ve a feeling I’ll be educated on that soon enough.  And as for the “White National Anthem,” would that be The Star Spangled Banner?  Serious question I’m afraid.  I’ve no idea if we are still one country anymore, or if we’ve already spun off into our identity groups fighting over the spoils.

The George Floyd effect may turn out to be the most socially significant movement in American history, not the least because it seems to be effectively ending US history.  When everything that happened the day before yesterday becomes verboten, and we no longer even aspire to be one country, what holds us together?

Something to think about this July 4th; when greater and greater numbers of the nationality formerly known as Americans look at the flag and think, “not my country,” and “not my independence day.”  Of course, this is a wave of hysteria and the tide could well break  and thing return to something close to normal, but the longer it goes on, the more we’re looking at a new normal, when everyone has their own independence day, holidays, and carefully nurtured grievances.

Happy Independence Day.  I hope the next one is better than this one, or that there simply is a next one.

 

Is there a limit to what we must give up?

On the radio last week (or the week before-time moves differently in 2020), I heard a talk show host make the argument that because of racism, white people are just going to have to give up some things.  He was referring specifically to Confederate flags at NASCAR, but it could include the myriad cancelling’s that the Twitter Red Guards have instituted in the past few weeks since George Floyd’s death.  There was some self-canceling as well. Tina Fey, creator of 30 Rock requested that three 30 Rock episodes be removed from streaming because of blackface episodes. The creator of Scrubs also requested that three of their episodes be removed due to blackface episodes.  This of course is as we’ve always suspected; blackface always comes in threes.

These are mini-tragedies since none of these episodes were racist and actually handled the entire blackface issue in show (spoiler-it’s NOT OK!).  But what really got me in the gut was the removal of the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode of Community.

The 21st Century has not been kind to the venerable television format of the sitcom.  Partially, it’s because the format is just tired.  Since the 1950’s almost every possible permutation has been done; and then done again…and then again, and again, and again.  Also as a general rule, TV writers and creators have not gotten any smarter or more creative. So a show like Community, when it premiered in 2009, was quite a revelation.  Not in ratings of course, but in tight writing, quirky characters, and good laughs.  Think of it, a sitcom that was actually funny.  Believe it or not, that used to actually be a thing.

The actual episode wasn’t of course about race, Advanced Dungeon’s and Dragons, as Wikipedia described the episode, was about…

“The episode is introduced in flashback, narrated by a female narrator who explains the plight of Neil, a student at Greendale who had hoped that the stigma of teasing and name-calling from other schools would not carry over to Greendale. However, he soon became known as “Fat Neil”, causing him to become very depressed. Jeff observed his change and tried to cheer Neil up by feigning interest in Neil’s favorite pastime, Dungeons & Dragons. When Neil gave Jeff all his Dungeons & Dragons books, saying that he didn’t need them any more, Jeff worried that Neil had become suicidal. Jeff worked with the rest of the study group to invite Neil to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons with them to cheer his spirits. The group specifically did not invite “Pierce the Insensitive”, worried that Pierce would tease Neil.”

So it’s an episode about depression, told through the gameplay of Dungeon’s and Dragons, years before shows such as Critical Role began integrating a D & D game into episodic television, and it was done brilliantly, combining both the round-the-table gameplay with the actual story being told through the game.  It was easily in the top 10 Community episodes, and now it’s gone.

But wait you ask, what about the blackface?

Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) shows up dressed as a Drow, or Dark Elf.  Get ready, here it is!

 

So for that, we lose this episode to the memory hole.

So it’s not blackface at all, but a character cosplaying an imaginary species that doesn’t exist. But who has time to figure out what’s offensive and what isn’t?  Ban it all!

Since all of the episode-vanishing, statue vandalizing, history vanquishing, and imaginary noose hysteria has nothing to do racism or solving any racial issue, my prediction is that no racial issue gets solved no matter what you throw off the ship.  Even burning the entire Western canon isn’t going to satisfy a mob, either a real torch bearing one or a twitter one, because a mob can’t be satisfied, they’re a mob.

Rush’s Conversation with The Breakfast Club was a Waste of Time

In what I would call a surprise move, Rush Limbaugh informed his audience today that he had pretaped a conversation with the popular Radio Show, The Breakfast Club. Of course the killing of George Floyd in the annals of popular outrage over police killings of unarmed Black men is an unusual one in that unlike most others, there is only one side.  This isn’t a Michael Brown situation, in which the details of the killing were disagreed with.  With Floyd, everyone knows what happened, no one is arguing about the details, no one is arguing that Floyd asked for it, and everyone agrees that it was horrible and deserves justice.

So naturally the country had the worst rioting in years.

What to make of a situation in which the country is united, yet also tearing itself apart?  Given the odd unity of the country on George Floyd, and Rush’s own disgust with the crime as expressed on his show last week, he took the initiative to reach out to the show with the largest Black radio audience to…what?  Seek common ground?  Honestly I don’t know what he hoped to accomplish but it did make for fascinating radio.  The full transcript is here, but I do have a few comments on some of the points that were gone over.

First a general observation; The Breakfast Club maintained a low level of hostility towards Rush throughout the interview while Rush clearly was trying to reach out with a “come let us reason together” type of attitude.  However there seemed to be no reciprocation of that.  Just a hat tip for negotiators, the person who reaches out puts themselves in a position of weakness.  Here is a good example:

DJ ENVY: You talk about peacefully protest, right? And you were very opinionated about Colin Kaepernick when he was peacefully protesting, right? And now people are saying, “Oh, they’re not peacefully protesting.” This is the same thing Colin Kaepernick was kneeling for that the world was so upset about and the world said he’s taking it too far and he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is exactly the reason why he was kneeling and protesting…

RUSH: Look, I – (crosstalk)

DJ ENVY: And looked at us like, yeah, I’m doing it and what?

RUSH: Guys, I’m trying to tell you, I’m all with you, I’m a thousand percent with you on this. This is why I wanted to talk to you because I know that there are — you know, we all have preconceptions that we live under and biases that we live under, and I wanted to reach out to you guys specifically, you were the ones that I was told to speak to, that this is intolerable. Now — but — (crosstalk)

I have to admit, Rush didn’t come out looking good in this exchange, particularly with the easy bait of Kaepernick dangling before him.  Anyone who had actually listened to Kaepernick knew that his “taking a knee” was about rejection of the country, not any particular list of social justice grievances.  He said it himself, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…”  For Kaepernick, it was always about America (or Amerikkka as he might spell it).

The other, and in my opinion more troubling issue was the total lack of similar vocabulary.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I have a question for you. I want to know. How are you gonna use your privilege as a white male to combat this prejudice. You got a direct line to Donald Trump. (crosstalk)

RUSH: No, wait a minute, I don’t buy into the notion of white privilege. See, I think that’s a liberal —

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You’re being —

RUSH: That’s a liberal — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You’re being delusional.

RUSH: — political construct right along the lines of political correctness. It’s designed to intimidate and get people to shut up and admit they’re guilty of doing things they haven’t done. I don’t have any white privilege — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Do you know what white privilege is? White privilege is that what happened to George Floyd would not have happened to a white man.

RUSH: If what happened to George Floyd had happened to a white man we probably wouldn’t have even heard about it.

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Huh?

DJ ENVY: We definitely would have heard about it. You definitely —

RUSH: You think so? If George Floyd — if George — if George — (crosstalk)

DJ ENVY: — be killed by –(crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: Yeah, I would like to — (crosstalk)

RUSH: I don’t think — if George Floyd — (crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: Rush, there’s a lot of instances where this does happen and we don’t hear about it. There’s a lot of times that there’s no video that exists and then people are — police officers lie and they say this is what happened, just like we’ve seen it happen so many different times where fortunately there was video. There’s a lot of cases that won’t make it.

RUSH: I think – (crosstalk)

ANGELA YEE: That don’t go viral. (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Never hear about it, that never make it to TV, that never make it to social media because there is no phones, there is — (crosstalk)

RUSH: I think you misunderstood what I said, guys. I said if George Floyd were white, we wouldn’t have heard of this. And if the same thing had happened to him, we wouldn’t have heard about it, it wouldn’t be — you know, we — (crosstalk)

It’s clear The Breakfast Club cannot conceive of a situation in which an unarmed white person is killed by the police and it go unremarked, “White privilege is that what happened to George Floyd would not have happened to a white man.” 

But what does actual data reveal?

The Washington Post has a database of police shootings and it reveals data that goes against the narrative.  For example:

In 2019, 9 unarmed black people were killed by the police.

In 2019, 19 unarmed white people were killed by the police

Does anyone know any of their names?  Yet I’m sure if you presented those figures to Charlemagne Tha God, he simply wouldn’t believe you, so his entire definition of White Privilege, based on this radio interview, is false.

Even if Rush had confronted The Breakfast Club on the actual data, I don’t think it would matter.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time real data or facts have mattered, but it definitely doesn’t matter if you don’t even bother to bring it up.   Rush needn’t have bothered.  There was never going to be any dialogue.  The Breakfast Club would have been happy to accept Rush’s surrender, but they weren’t interested in having a conversation.

 

The Racialization of COVID-19: The Hardest Hit

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we could expect to see many more stories linking race and coronavirus, and boy oh boy, did the dam break!  I collected a few of my favorites.

Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc on Black People Across the United States

I hardly ever see the word “wreaking” in print so this caught my eye immediately.  The gist of this article is that “Black people make up a disproportionately large percentage of new positive Covid-19 cases and deaths in major cities all over the United States.” 

It did mention something I had mentioned a few weeks ago, an early rumor that black people were immune.

“There are a number of reasons why Black people and other people of color in the city are at increased risk for not only contracting the virus but also dying or experiencing severe symptoms from it, Knight says. There was early misinformation floating around that Black people couldn’t contract the virus…”

Outcry over racial data grows as virus slams black Americans

This AP story does the usual hardest hit lines before almost, but not quite, edging into conspiracy theory territory, “Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the AP it would be “indefensible” if the federal government was concealing any testing and treatment data.”

But the most interesting thing I learned from this story is that the Associated Press has a”Race and Ethnicity Team.”  So what’s a race and ethnicity journalist team supposed to write about when the story is about a virus?  Well there is a template…

Why Black Americans appear to be more affected by COVID-19

This Yahoo video is a step by step of the template I noted a few weeks ago.

Whiteness to blame

Memories of Oppression

Lack of Basic Medical Care

Frightening statistics

Dire Predictions

Apparently most of modern journalism consists of fill-in-the-blank.  That would explain a lot…

Coronavirus map shows Illinois zip codes, COVID-19 cases

ABC 7 in Chicago breaks down virus deaths by zip code, which in segregated Chicago, is almost the same as breaking them down by race.

More than half of the COVID-19 cases in the city of Chicago are African Americans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and city health officials announced Monday.

According to data from the city, African Americans compose 30 percent of the population, but make up 52 percent of the city’s COVID-19 cases. African Americans also make up 72 percent of the city’s deaths from COVID-19.

“This is a call to action moment for all of us,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “When we talk about equity and inclusion, they are not just nice notions. They are an imperative that we must embrace as a city.”

I don’t get what “inclusion” has to do with this, but clearly “equity” is a call for more non-black deaths by virus.  And speaking of non-blacks…

“The death rate right now in the cases that have been reported for non-Latinx deaths in Chicago is seven times the death rate as its for white non-Latinx,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, director of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

That’s a great sentence right out of the Newspeak handbook that’s designed to be as confusing as possible. Nowhere are “Latinx” deaths mentioned.  I find that interesting that so far, no one cares about that.  I expected to see by now some interest and articles about how COVID-19 is hitting Hispanic or other ethnicities.

There is certainly no mention of Asians.  That seems a subject you can’t touch with a 10 foot social distancing pole.

 

Coronavirus: Minorities Hardest Hit

In retrospect, I wonder why it’s taken so long to see an article like this.  From Propublica comes this:

Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients.

I think there must be a template document for articles like this in which [Crisis of the Day] afflicts [identity politics fill in] at a greater rate than that 21st Century supervillain, white males (boo! hiss!).  This does seem to have elements that I’ve seen a hundred times before:

Rich whites are at fault.

The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.

Government brings back painful memories of oppression.

Then, when the shelter-in-place order came, there was a natural pushback among those who recalled other painful government restrictions — including segregation and mass incarceration — on where black people could walk and gather.

Because of racist lack of basic medical care…

As the disease spread at a higher rate in the black community, it made an even deeper cut. Environmental, economic and political factors have compounded for generations, putting black people at higher risk of chronic conditions that leave lungs weak and immune systems vulnerable: asthma, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. In Milwaukee, simply being black means your life expectancy is 14 years shorter, on average, than someone white.

The reasons for this are the same reasons that African Americans have disproportionately high rates of maternal death, low levels of access to medical care and higher rates of asthma…

Frightening racist statistics!

In Michigan, where the state’s population is 14% black, African Americans made up 35% of cases and 40% of deaths as of Friday morning. Detroit, where a majority of residents are black, has emerged as a hot spot with a high death toll. As has New Orleans.

Illinois and North Carolina are two of the few areas publishing statistics on COVID-19 cases by race, and their data shows a disproportionate number of African Americans were infected.

Dire Predictions!  Although to be fair, that characterizes virtually any article having to do with the coronavirus, but when it comes to minorities, is even more dire!

“It will be unimaginable pretty soon,” said Dr. Celia J. Maxwell, an infectious disease physician and associate dean at Howard University College of Medicine, a school and hospital in Washington dedicated to the education and care of the black community. “And anything that comes around is going to be worse in our patients. Period.

Period!

Although the article does ultimately make the reasonable point that demographic data, including race, is important in determining how and who is at risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks virulent outbreaks and typically releases detailed data that includes information about the age, race and location of the people affected. For the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has released location and age data, but it has been silent on race. The CDC did not respond to ProPublica’s request for race data related to the coronavirus or answer questions about whether they were collecting it at all.

And as we all know, when America catches a cold, black people get the coronavirus.

Experts say that the nation’s unwillingness to publicly track the virus by race could obscure a crucial underlying reality: It’s quite likely that a disproportionate number of those who die of coronavirus will be black.

After all, the real disease is racism.

“We declared racism as a public health issue,” said Kowalik, the city’s health commissioner. “It frames not only how we do our work but how transparent we are about how things are going. It impacts how we manage an outbreak.”

And because of distrust, and racism, the “community” doesn’t trust or listen to Public Health instructions.

Knowing which communities are most impacted allows public health officials to tailor their messaging to overcome the distrust of black residents.

“We’ve been told so much misinformation over the years about the condition of our community,” Royal, of the NAACP, said. “I believe a lot of people don’t trust what the government says.”

Because…Tuskegee Experiment.

And of course businesses are forcing their people of color employees (POCE) to put themselves at risk.

Police and inspectors are responding to complaints received about “noncompliant” businesses forcing staff to come to work or not practicing social distancing in the workplace. Violators could face fines.

“Who are we getting these complaints from?” she asked. “Many people of color.”

Here that?  Many!

And in keeping with the Ta Nehsi Coates era…

“When COVID-19 passes and we see the losses … it will be deeply tied to the story of post-World War II policies that left communities marginalized…”

You guessed it, redlining!

With this basic template, you could plug just about any public issue into it and get pretty much the same causes and the same effects.  Expect to see more and more stories like this in the media.

TV Show Pitches: Black History Month Edition

A few years ago, I wrote about a science fictionTV show pitch about Space Pirates, and sure enough, I actually got a show very similar to my description in The Expanse.  Since then, I’ve had several show idea’s that have bubbled around the old noggin.  I’ve not yet started to write them down (until now), but I’ve pitched them to various friends and acquaintances with; shall we say; mixed results.  I don’t care though.  I did get The Expanse on the air.

And also, it is Black History Month, and I’ve been meaning to jot something down about that ever since the last Black History Month. However the idea I’ve been mulling over is real history, so I don’t want to go with that until I’ve double checked my real history.  In the meantime, here’s something that is both Black related and History related, although maybe more history adjacent than actual history.  So here are two TV show pitches that should appeal to The Woke (which seems to be a requirement these days to get on the air):

 

Working Title:  Blacklander (this title needs work)

Genre:  Fantasy, Romance

Hot Take:  Outlander meets Roots

Premise:  I wrote a review for the show Outlander a few years ago.  The premise of that show is that a World War II nurse ends up going back to the 16th century via magical Druid stones.  She meets a dashing Scottish rogue, falls in love, yada yada yada.  My idea is for 21st century Medical resident at a Virginia hospital, while leaving work after a late shift has her car hit by magical lightening (there is a lack of magical Druid stones in Virginia), goes off a bridge into a river, and when she swims to the surface finds herself in pre-Civil war Virginia, where she is promptly arrested by a slave patrol hunting a female runaway slave.

The medical resident, we’ll call her “Claire” for now, is taken back to the plantation that the runaway slave was from.  The overseer recognizes that this isn’t the same person who ran away, but pretends that she is, otherwise the slave patrol will just sell her and the plantation will be out a slave.

Crying hysterical Claire, who thinks she’s going crazy, turns out to be worse than useless at actual slave work, but when one of the slave kids drown at the river, she uses CPR to resuscitate him.  This divides the slaves.  Half think she’s a witch, and half thinks she’s a great healer.  This firestorm winds up at the Master’s house, where the master is angry at the overseer’s deception, and intrigued by the medical possibilities.  The mistress of the plantation is ill with an undiagnosed disease which Claire easily diagnoses putting her at odds with her real doctor.  They argue over medical matters during which the doctor, although disagreeing with her diagnosis, is astonished by her apparent medical knowledge.  He offers the Master of the plantation a deal to take her on as assistant (these kind of transactions with skilled slaves were common at the time), ostensibly to train her to provide medical treatment to the slaves, but really to pick her brain about her medical knowledge.

So an unlikely friendship is formed.

Naturally a proper romance requires multiple suitors for the lady fair.  Chicks dig options.  So we have:

The doctor, with the dead wife.

The noble slave who’s back is scarred by multiple whippings (just like in Outlander).

The landowner’s son, who is the wily evil option.

Set in the 1850’s just before John Brown’s raid and the Civil War, Claire has the foreknowledge to change history.  In Outlander, that Claire found a deterministic universe, in which nothing she did made a difference.  In Blacklander, our Claire will find out she can change things.

Twist:  The runaway slave that the slave patrol was hunting winds up in the 21st Century

Twist:  By the end of season one, Claire’s car is found in the river, confusing the locals.

 

And know for some lighter fare…

Working Title:  Toby’s Heroes

Genre:  Comedy, Steampunk?  Whatever Wild, Wild West was?

Hot Take:  Hogan’s Heroes meet…also Roots

Premise:  A few years ago I wrote about TV producer Kenya Barris (the creator of Black-ish) pitching a new diverse woke version of Bewitched. Although that show is still in development hell the idea of rubbishing through sitcom history and redoing the shows with a mostly black cast seems scrapping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to originality, but with enough diversity, you don’t need originality or creativity, diversity is our one and only value.

So if it’s that easy then let me pull Hogan’s Heroes out from sitcom history, set it during the Civil War, and have the “prisoners” actually be slaves on a plantation who are secretly helping the Union Army during the war, either by running sabotage missions, or helping run freed slaves and Northern spies and sympathizers through their underground railroad.  And why shouldn’t they have an underground tunnel system under the plantation?  Let’s see, a bumbling, vainglorious plantation owner, his wife, who is secretly having an affair with “Toby,” an overseer who “see’s nothing,” and occasional visiting Confederate troops, all seem to add up to woke hilarity.  Yes I know those two don’t usually go together, but that’s’ why I’m suggesting Hogan’s Heroes as the template rather than some of the more bland family sitcoms.

OK there are two good TV show pitches.  As usual, I only very humbly ask for producer credits and a percentage of the gross.  Let the racial healing begin!

 

Never Trumpers Being Good Allies to The New York Times

A recent story that was covered heavily by the conservative media but not covered by the regular media at all was the leaked transcripts from a New York Times employee town hall in which the executive editor of the Times, Dean Baquet, laid out how the Times set the narrative for news coverage in the country by orienting their news room to go full Russian Collusion.  It was great fun for a while…

“We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.”

Winning two Pulitzers for fake news is nothing I would brag about, but then, I don’t work at the Times.

“But then came the Mueller report, with special counsel Robert Mueller failing to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to fix the 2016 election. “The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet continued. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?””

So when your narrative collapses, what to do?

Now, Baquet continued, “I think that we’ve got to change.” The Times must “write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions.”

The headline controversy, it appears, was a preview of a new 2019-2020 New York Times. If Baquet follows through, the paper will spend the next two years, which just happens to be the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, building the Trump-is-a-racist narrative. (Baquet added, almost as an afterthought, that the Times will “continu[e] to cover his policies.”)

That the Times is, rather than reporting news, setting up narratives, is no surprise to most people on the right.  I didn’t bother to write anything about it because, hey, it’s business as usual.  What isn’t business as usual is that this time the Never Trumpers are helping out.  Last week there were two Never Trump articles published that were pushed by MSNBC.

The first, It’s time to create a conservative ecosystem that doesn’t welcome racists by Tim Carney.

“Conservatives ought to make it a priority to fight for the fundamental dignity and equality of racial minorities who have been denied that dignity and equality. It will require overcoming decades of injustice, and so won’t happen quickly. We won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits, but that’s not the point. Conservatives will be able to take solace in the fact that we’re fighting the good fight and pissing off the racists.”

Although “pissing off racists” is all well and good, even Carney admits, “we won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits.”  So you can fight the good fight, join with the left to call conservatives racist, and then…what?  Get called racist yourself for your troubles?

Of course it’s not often that MSNBC devotes a segment to a Washington Examiner article, but Morning Joe did just that.  If you have the time, you should watch it.

A day later, the most never Trumpie writer imaginable, David French, published his contribution, My Fellow Republicans Must Stand Against the Alt-Right Virus Infecting America.  At this point, decrying the “alt right” is one of about four or five articles that French writes on rotation at National Review. However this time French got to play at the grown up table, since the piece ran in Time.

And once again, Morning Joe dedicated a whole segment to David French’s hysteria against a segment of the population that is an internet only phenomenon, and is so tiny it doesn’t show up in polling.  Again, I recommend a watch, if only to catch French’s hysteria.

Not only are Carney and French helping The New York Times waste another two years of coverage on their 1619 Project rather than actually reporting news, it’s all going to turned against Republicans, which of course is Carney and French’s goal too.  Any party that would reject Evan McMullin as a serious candidate must be burned to the ground, and what better way to do it in 21st Century America than with the torch of racism?

 

Get Out Of My Country: POC Edition

Back in the days of my youth, there used to be a fairly popular saying among the Archie Bunker class, “America, Love it or Leave it!”  It was generally directed against anti-war types, hippies, and meatheads of various sorts, including recent immigrants who decided to make it a personal mission to bitch about every aspect of their new home.  Clearly there is no actual place to exile native born American citizens, although I’ve long suggested a plan to offer to buy out their American residency and send them on their way.  Even at a price of a couple of hundred thousand dollars per miscreant, it would be money well spent to reduce the general annoyance level of the country.

These fond remembrances came back to me after President Trump’s recent tweet to “The Squad,” The Democratic House’s Scooby gang of meatheads, Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib.

I had written about Ilhan Omar before since I regard her as the most dangerous one of the quartet.  Pressley, I hadn’t even known was part of this little Legion of Doom until Trump started tweeting about the Squad.  AOC on the other hand, is, on balance a net plus for the GOP.  Her goofy statements provide lots of clicks on right leaning websites and her ability to push the entire Democratic Party to the left, tweet by tweet, helps make the entire party look like crazy town.  Of course, that’s a double edged sword.  I seem to recall someone else who rode their twitter account all the way to the White House…

Since there is a media consensus that Trump’s tweets are racist, there is no point in trying to contradict that.  They decide, you shut up and take it.  Of course, to me, the issue wasn’t about race at all, merely the ignorance of telling native born American citizens to go back to their country.  If he had just directed it Omar, it would have been an accurate tweet.  And frankly, I wish Omar would go back to her country.

To the left/Democrats/mainstream media however, any insult directed to a “person of color” is racist simply based on the color of the person the insult is directed to, not the actual content of the insult.  A racial insult can now be race free!

Ah, progress…

By that ridiculous standard, that makes Trump’s tweet against Pressley and Omar “racist” since after all, they’re Black.  But with Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez, it’s a bit more complicated.  Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian, which according to the US Census makes her White. Ocasio-Cortez is Puerto Rican, and claims mixed ancestry, but who’s to know?  It’s unlikely she’ll be as dumb as Elizabeth Warren and submit to a DNA test.  Just going by the eyeball test though, if her last name were Italian, French, or Greek we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.  There is no paper bag test applied to people claiming to be “people of color.”  If it were, you would need to be at least this brown to ride this ride:

Person of Color Test

Person of Color Test

Instead, we have this term, People of Color, who’s purpose seems to be to separate everyone in the world from a couple of hundred million White people.  In fact, quite a few Caucasians seem to qualify as people of color not by virtue of race or skin tone, but by some sort of amorphous layer of oppression. You can even be a European from Spain or Portugal, where you are considered white, but once in the US, you would magically become, “a person of color.”

In popularizing that term, someone, somewhere, thought it would be useful to have a term that separated the rest of humanity from a certain type of white people.  There are human beings (the People of Color) and then there are some strange oppressive Orc like subspecies; white people.  The term and its use have no cultural or phenotypical purpose; the purpose is political; to demonize a small segment of the human race as the Kulaks of planet Earth.

It might be useful to start fighting back on this term, since it’s been allowed to grow like kudzu for years, and is becoming more and more important in separating “them” from “us.”  Who is “them” and who is “us” is becoming more and more important in multicultural America .

The Reparations Gambit

I have been waiting for this ball to drop for a long time.  I thought maybe that 2014 would be the year that the Democrats would pull the electoral ripcord on the reparations issue, but they seemed to drop the ball on it and suffered in the elections accordingly.  Then in 2016 I thought Hillary would pull reparations out of her purse (it was right beside the hot sauce) and close the enthusiasm gap among black voters.  But she was so confident that she couldn’t lose that she decided it could stay in her purse.  Like Trump was really going to beat her?  After all, once you pull the reparations card, it’s out for good.  You can’t change your mind and stick in back in your oversized purse.

But now the issue is out, and it looks like 2020 will be the first Presidential election year (and forever more) that reparations become a real political issue. According to The New York Times, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Julián Castro have all come out in support of some type of reparations.  They are rather vague on the details and price tag, but eh, it’s still early, and besides, those sorts of details are not very important or at least no more important than details and price tag for a “Green Deal.”

By the time we get to the nomination, some form of reparations will be part of the candidate’s agenda and part of the Democratic Party platform.  And it can join the other trillion dollar promises, like Medicare for all, Green Dreams, Universal Basic Income (UBI), Universal Daycare, Free College, and the hundreds of other spending fantasies.  However unlike the other high dollar promises, reparations promise to be eternally racially divisive.

Just what this country needs.

To be fair, slavery reparations do have the tug of moral authority to them.  In a perfect world, I would support them myself. A great evil was done and there should be some sort of compensation for it. However it’s 150 years later. There is no one alive that was a slave, and the practicalities of coming up with a fair and just system to compensate their descendants seem pretty daunting.  I’ve thought long and hard on this subject myself and have yet to figure out a way, or have read of any such plan, that would be workable and just.

Never has the devil been more in the details of a policy than in reparations.  If Abraham Lincoln’s Freedman’s Bureau had been allowed to continue its work, and the newly freed slaves had gotten their 40 acres and a mule, this issue would have been one and done.  But now, who do you compensate?  If, for example, you have theoretical reparations of a $50,000 credit, to be applied to either college or home down payment (the two gateways to the middle class), do you give it to the man, his, son, or his son (assuming all living)?  Should it be given to the oldest living relative in a family, or the youngest?  Or do you just give it to every descendant of slaves from now on?

Of course, that means Barrack Obama, Colin Powell, or Kamala Harris would be entitled to zero reparations since none of them are descendants of American slaves. What about Malia Obama, the President’s daughter?  Would she get half of reparations? And how would you determine eligibility?  There are probably a lot of African Americans who would have a great deal of difficulty laying their hands on all of the documentation necessary to prove ancestry from the slaves freed in 1865.  So would you just go by skin color? Self Identification? DNA?  Imagine, Rachel Dolezal being eligible for reparations. Or imagine the millions of white people with sub-Saharan ancestry thanks to DNA testing, who want their piece of the reparations pie.  If the one drop rule is good for the goose…

But in a way, the very difficulty in figuring out the right policy is a feature, not a bug.  It’s more useful as an issue than an actual policy. And with the added benefit of being racially divisive, it’s the perfect issue for Democrats to run on in 2020.

And every election thereafter.

 

Jussie Smollett’s New Martyrdom

I’ve had a fascination with hate hoaxes, ever since I followed, and was fooled by, the OG of racial hate hoaxes, Tawana Brawley. The key element of believability (at least in those innocent times) was who would actually do that to themselves?  She has to be telling the truth.  I mean, who writes racial slurs on their bodies and covers themselves in feces?  After a long, publicity laden story, it turned out that Tawana Brawley did.  As memory serves, I was genuinely shocked at that revelation. But the Tom Wolfe novel come to life that describes the entire sordid tale is still a well-known story and is still the template for numerous racial hoaxes over the years.

However once the cherry is busted on the idea that people will do damn near anything to claim the mantle of righteous victim, these stories become a predictable source of entertainment.  In fact a few years ago I wrote a post summarizing some of the best (IMHO) hate hoaxes for the year.  Two from the list come to mind as hoaxers that were really willing to go the distance to pull this off:

Charlie Rodgers (Charlie is a girl), an ex-college basketball star who made the false claim that she was raped by attackers who carved anti-gay slurs into her.  Under the slightest bit of police investigation, the story fell apart and wonder of wonders; she actually got jail time for it.  But I direct you to the dedication she showed to her craft:  she actually carved anti-gay slogans into her own skin.  That’s dedication to the cause.  I’m not into giving awards or rating these hoaxes, but if there was a Tawana Brawley award for willing to go the distance to pull off a hoax, I believe Ms. Rodgers would make the short list for that.

But why, you may ask, not the winner?  Could there be another candidate with similar dedication?  You’re darn right!  May I present, Morgan Triplet.  She was determined to have the best presentation at the University of California-Santa Cruz Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues by announcing she was a victim of rape, a real one.  As reported:

“Prosecutors said Friday that Triplett allegedly placed two ads on Craigslist, one requesting someone to shoot her in the shoulder with a small caliber gun in exchange for sex. The second ad was a request for someone to punch, kick and bruise her in exchange for sex. In the ads, placed in the Santa Cruz County region of Craigslist, Triplett also stated that she would not file charges.”

That’s definitely being a good sport about the whole thing.”

 

And then we come to Jussie Smollett…

The story sounded fishy from the start Two MAGA guys, who watch Empire and actually know who Jussie Smollett is, hang around Chicago at 2 AM during the polar vortex on the off chance that Smollett would leave his apartment in the middle of the night to get a Subway sandwich.  Then when finding him, they…punch him a few times (I’ve never been clear on that), place a clothesline (the “noose”) around his neck, and then leave?  As highly improbable as that story sounded, I guess it was still barely possible.

Except for that “noose.”

For future observers of the racial hate hoax scene, if there is a noose involved, the story is fake.  Lynching and nooses are an overwhelming part of being woke in America.  There is a noose around every corner, and every gun shop or Trump rally is stocked with nooses, ready to go.  In real life, the bulk of the 3,500 or so African Americans who were actually lynched were done by the 1960’s.  But as a symbol, the Noose is just as vibrant as it was a century ago.  In fact, Smollett even hosted a documentary about lynching.  It’s clear he has noose on the mind.

As of this writing, Smollett is still proclaiming his innocence, or perhaps with a bit more clarity, his victim-hood.  Whether his evolving legal situation eventually requires him to publicly fess up or not, my guess is that won’t matter to the many people who still believe him, and any future confessions won’t matter.  Tawana Brawley still has her believers after all.  But even more so now than in Brawley’s time, this is an age in which narrative is more important than truth. At a certain level of wokeness hate hoaxes are not just OK but necessary in order to reveal a greater “truth.”  Or as Dan Rather might have put it, fake but accurate.