April 14th, 2013

Let Me Tell You Why That's Bullshit

The Whole Shooting Match

Yesterday, I wrote about the inherent goofiness of Senator Chris Murphy asking Rupert Murdoch to cancel broadcasting the NASCAR Sprint Cup yesterday because it was being sponsored by the NRA.  My stance was that it was just a stupid publicity stunt because so many other groups advertise during shows and no one complains about them (especially during things like the Obamacare debate), so singling out the NRA was unfair.

This swiveled a spotlight on the race.  Whether you agree with the NRA or not, there is an anti-gun bias in the media, one that existed long before all these massacres started.  Unfortunately, this is making a lot of people jump to conclusions.

Let's start with the broadcast of the race itself.  Shortly after the race began, people on the Internet were saying that Fox changed the name of the race.  Because of the NRA sponsorship, it should have been called the NRA 500.  Instead, commentators and onscreen graphics referred to it as the Texas 500.

Now, don't hype about 1st Amendment rights.  This is actually typical of Fox.  Just last week, they broadcast the Martinsville Race, which was sponsored by STP motor oil.  Fox did not once refer to it as the STP Gas Booster 500 Race, they referred to it as the Martinsville Race.  So, no, it doesn't look like Fox was hiding the sponsorship away (they probably would have "remembered" it for a few hundred thousand more dollars, if you know what I mean.  And I THINK you do).

How about coverage?  AP and ESPN didn't refer to it as the NRA 500.  But a search of their previous coverage shows they only refer to it by location, not by sponsor.  So they are being consistent as well.

For those of you worried about a conspiracy, though, here's a little reassurance -- the USA Today did, in fact, refer to the race as the NRA 500.  No snark or anything, they stated it very matter of factly.

Yes, there is bias out there.  But not everything is bias.  All I'm saying is take a deep breath before you start worrying about censorship.

When The Hunted Become The Hunter

People misunderstand the source of discrimination.

People like to think that it's just simple ignorance.  And that the problem can be solved intellectually and emotionally.  Show the people discriminating that the people they are oppressing are just like them and/or have feelings that can be hurt, and the discriminators will see the error of their ways.  Their eyes opened by enlightenment, they will stop being discriminatory.

The problem with this is it creates false expectations.  Such people believe discrimination is only perpetrated by the dominant segments of society.  Minorities of any kind, be they racial, gender, sexual, religious, whatever, would never discriminate, because they already know how terrible it is, and this awareness means they will never subject anyone to such hurtful behavior like they have lived.

It is only relatively recently we have seen empirical evidence how misguided this is.  As gay rights and gay marriage have picked up steam, gays have found themselves facing an unusual opposition -- the black community.  When gay rights advocates were organizing sit-ins and other forms of peaceful protest, several spokespeople for the black community bitched long and hard about how the gay rights movement was stealing "their" protest methods, like anyone has a monopoly on affecting positive social change.

The black community in general seems opposed to the concept of homosexuality.  As recently as a couple of months ago, I read an op-ed piece by a black man on the subject of gay marriage, basically saying that gay marriage was not a equal rights issue because of the nature of identification.  Gays can pass for straight and not be discriminated against, but a black man can't pass for white and will always be discriminated against, and that logic was good enough for him to dismiss calls to legalize gay marriage.

I'm not sure where the resistance comes from, and frankly I don't care where it comes from.  All I care about is that a group of people not only see nothing wrong with discriminating based on socially defined criteria, but they are more than happy to be exploited by the very Establishment they organized to fight.

Here in Illinois, the question of gay marriage has been gaining steam.  Lots of people among the voting populous are cool with it.  Enough so that a bill was introduced and approved in the state Senate this past February that would recognize gay marriage in Illinois and all the rights that go with it.  Momentum was on our side, and it looked like it had an excellent chance of passing and being signed into law.

And then, the African-American Clergy Coalition got involved.

The black clergy has long been used as a political prop here in Illinois.  ComEd used them to lobby for a bill enabling them to raise their rates.  AT&T used them to lobby for a bill.  The mortgage industry used them to lobby against a bill to toughen up on lenient home loans.  And the black clergy can't wait to show they have political power, even if it means putting themselves on a leash to do it.

The AACC is the latest iteration of selling out a political base.  They are the new kids on the block in politics, but they have money.  And money equals power in politics.  The group has gotten $72,000 so far.  All the money came from the National Organization For Marriage.  You will recognize them as the same group of Mormon-backed, white-bred bigots who got Proposition 8 passed in California.  The group decided to reach out to the black community to reinforce their social segregation.  Churches are the safest bet because they can lobby and not worry about losing their tax-exempt status.  They also don't really need to spend much on ads and such because so many parishioners listen to the pastors.  Of the $72,000 received by the AACC so far, only $11,250 has been spent on radio attack ads opposing the gay marriage bill.  The obvious question is, what is the rest of the money buying besides loyalty?

By the way, for those of you bristling at my wondering if the money is being funneled elsewhere, it's a reasonable question to ask.  The AACC's political action committee paid Bishop Larry Trotter of the New Century Fellowship International and Bishop Lance Davis of the New Zion Christian Fellowship Covenant Church $1,000 each for "clergy consulting."

As a result, this group of black people who have become a wholly owned subsidiary of the white Establishment they fought for decades has cooled the momentum of gay marriage here in Illinois significantly, to the point where, as the bill gets ready for the next debate to clear the next hurdle, it's no longer looking like such a sure thing that it will pass.

Screeching Weasel famously sang that, sooner or later, we become what we hate.  It's sad to think that discrimination is wrong unless you agree with it, then you will funnel money and effort into supporting something you never should.

I quote Pogo -- "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

It's Blowing Peace And Freedom, It's Blowing You And Me

Times are changing.

And the Republicans refuse to get with the program.

A little while ago, GOP Senator Rob Portman announced he supported gay marriage.  Other GOP'ers started doing so.  And some of the old guard decided to try and stop it.  Newt Gingrich, who never met a cause he could rally around, started urging the party faithful to support gay marriage.  Then Rick Santorum, who has his own problems, started acting as The Voice Of The Conservatives again, saying that gay marriage was a trend and if they didn't resist, it would bite them all in the ass.

The new generation is threatening to usurp control of the party from the old guard.  Mark Rubio and others of his ilk are wagering that they can not only keep around the people who ran off when Mitt Romney went asshole on civil rights, but that more will come in as well, and that those numbers will be enough to put a candidate that won't be humiliated in an election against Hillary or whoever.

However, the old guard doesn't want to let go.  Not only do you have Santorum and Ayn Rand Paul courting the conservative base, but the RNC recently had a meeting, and voted to reaffirm the marriage is between one man and one woman thing (I wonder if this makes them a terrorist group.  An email was sent to Army officers stating that two anti-gay marriage and anti-gay rights groups, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, were considered domestic hate groups).

Come on, guys.  Join the century of the Pacific.  It's quite nice here.
Let Me Tell You Why That's Bullshit

Magical Drop

I hate Bill Maher.  I regard him as a Constitutional opportunist who will change that mighty document if it suits his ends but will be the first to use it as a shield when his big mouth gets him in trouble.

So when I find myself actually agreeing with him (or him agreeing with me, whatever), I have to run a series of tests to make sure I haven't slipped into the Bizzarro Universe or something.

Maher has always described himself as a Libertarian, but now, he's turning his attention to two self-identified Libertarians -- Paul Ryan and Ayn Rand Paul.  And those of you who think I'm laying it on Paul a little thick, Maher says that Paul is a Randroid, too.  "Libertarianism morphed into this creepy obsession with free market capitalism” based on Atlas Shrugged.  "Her book has a strange appeal to people who are kind of smart, but not really."  "New rule:  libertarians have to stop ruining libertarianism.  Or at least do a better job of explaining the difference between today's libertarian and just being a selfish prick."

Randroid is having some trouble with this, and his newest shot in the foot occurred earlier this week.  Randroid went to Howard University as part of the Republican Establishment's "Reach out to minorities because we are screwed without them" strategy.  Howard University is predominantly black and is one of the best schools for learning history.  Hearing this, I reflected on Randroid saying the civil rights laws never should have been passed and thought, "This should be hecka fun."

Randroid was about to start speaking when a student unfurled a banner that said, "Howard University does not support white supremacy."  The student was walked out, and Randroid tried to wave it off.  But he was clearly rattled, knowing he was facing a hostile audience.  How rattled?  He forgot the name of the first popularly elected black US Senator, Edward Brooke.  This is especially funny because Brooke graduated from Howard University.  Randroid also told the gathered students that the NAACP was founded by black Republicans, who pretty much reacted with a resounding, "DUUUUUUUUUUH!!!"  That's the problem with acting like you are the smartest person in the room -- oftentimes, you're not.

Randroid's stance on the R's and where they stood with minorities was pretty much copypasted from last month's "Trump The Race Card" panel at CPAC.  The message candidates had to get on was this:  Republicans believed in abolition of slavery and weren't racist in the 19th century.  We're not talking about now, we're talking about then.  Okay, let's talk about then.  Lincoln was adamant that, by abolishing slavery, he was NOT saying blacks were equal to whites.  He went out of his way to make sure everyone knew.  It was a political move to piss off the South, it had nothing to do with what was right.

Randroid also claimed that the R's didn't lose black support because of their embracing racist policies in the 1980's, despite RNC chair Ken Mehlman apologizing for the Southern Strategy in 2005 (which was still being employed in the last two elections, I might note).  What cost the R's support from blacks wasn't Reagan announcing his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  The place's ONLY claim to fame is it was the site of civil rights murders.  It wasn't Newt Gingrich in the 1990's saying he would build emergency prisons and advertise longer sentences on "MTV and rap radio."  It wasn't even Randroid's old dad, Ron Paul, who was getting rich endorsing newsletters warning readers of the coming "race war."  Nope, none of that had anything to do with it.

So what did it?

The New Deal programs the D's cooked up in the 1930's.

"I think what happened during the Great Depression was that African Americans understood that Republicans championed citizenship and voting rights but they became impatient for economic emancipation.  African Americans languished below white Americans in every measure of economic success and the Depression was especially harsh for those at the lowest rung of poverty.  The Democrats promised equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance while Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible -- the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets."

Uh, excuse me, Randroid?  Blacks by and large couldn't vote back then.  It was WHITE PEOPLE who voted for those government assistance programs.  And Dwight Eisenhower, who ran on the Great Society platform, was offering all kinds of government assistance during his run, but he only got 39% of the black vote in 1956.  Nice try, but you fail.  So take your Mitt Romney talking points and get the fuck out of Dodge.

Randroid just barely scored the win in the RNC straw poll, Rubio is close behind, and he's not working as hard as Randroid and his compatriots like Santorum.  If this keeps up, Randroid will get a set number of votes based on people who always vote for that bullshit, but the new generation of people like Rubio with squash him like a grape.

And I'll be laughing my ass off.