I gotta admit, I haven't been all that enthused about following the 2016 presidential electoral campaigns. As I've said before, I'm not getting paid to engage in full-time punditry. But it doesn't take a pundit to realize that Ted Cruz's presidential aspirations are a classic case of showboating and attention whoring.
Let's face it - a presidential campaign is perhaps one of the best ways of grabbing some well-needed spotlight time if you want to be somebody on the Beltway scene. Just ask Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and a bunch of others who clawed their way towards the brass ring back in 2012. There's plenty to gain from being "that guy who ran for president back in 2016" just so long as you don't slice your own campaign into the weeds.
As to why Cruz's presidential aspirations will wind up unfulfilled, it's not the citizenship issue that'll trip him up (unless he's revealed to be Stephen Harper's Manchurian Candidate). Like our esteemed current president, Rafael Edward meets all of the important qualifications: he's over 35, he's lived in the U.S. for over 14 years and his dear mum was a U.S. citizen when he was born, in spite of his dad being a commie canuck.
A long while ago, I said Ralphy was a shoe-in for the 2016 presidential candidacy. That doesn't mean he'll be a shoe-in for the actual Oval Office job.
Poor Ralphy might be the darling of the birther/Tea Party set, but the rest of the GOP world just isn't feeling him:
First, Cruz doesn’t have enough support from party bigwigs. To win the Republican or Democratic nomination, you need the backing of at least some of the party apparatus. At a minimum, your fellow party members shouldn’t hate you. Otherwise, you end up getting the Newt Gingrich 2012 treatment. That is, you get pounced on the moment you’re seen as a threat to win the nomination.
If we’re ever in a world where it looks like Cruz could win the nomination, you’ll very likely see such pouncing. You can read article after article about how Cruz has isolated himself in the Senate. It got so bad that he recently had to apologize to his Republican colleagues.
And the Cruz hatred doesn’t stop at the edges of the Senate cloakroom. Influential party actors dislike him, too. I can’t remember another Republican who united Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jennifer Rubin and Thomas Sowell in opposition.
Ralphy's previous showboating has put him at odds with many of the establishment players within the GOP. Being the political equivalent of a firebrand evangelical preacher packs the pews full of far-right conservatives looking for that old time religion, but at the end of the day, the GOP establishment picks moderates who won't scare the mainstreamers with their talk of fire, brimstone and damnation, but have just enough fire to avoid being called a weak RINO by their peers. It's all a balancing act, you see.
Which is why your chances of seeing Ted Cruz being sworn into office on January 20, 2017 are about as remote as Jon Huntsman's.
But pissing off the GOP establishment isn't the only reason why he might walk away from his 2016 campaign empty-handed. The fervent pursuit of ideological purity for appearance's sake tends to create a lot of moral and ethical casualties along the way. To wit, Ralphy's begrudging move towards Obamacare:
The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- a law he has been on a crusade to kill.
"We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said.
Asked whether he would accept the government contribution available to lawmakers and congressional staffers for their health care coverage through the ACA, Cruz said he will "follow the text of the law."
"I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress because (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats didn't want to be under the same rules as the American people," Cruz said, before repeating: "I believe we should follow the text of the law."
That's right, the same man who was captured on video calling Obamacare a "trainwreck" had no other choice but to buy a ticket and climb aboard, hoping that his supporters and the general public would have the common decency to forgive him (or at least forget).
To sum things up, you can expect Rafael Edward Cruz to run in the 2016 primary, but don't expect him to become the preferred choice of the GOP establishment and consequently, their favored front-runner for the election. Personally, my money's on Jeb Bush - established pol, plenty of name recognition and deep down, America loves its dynasties.
Take it from someone who does this punditry stuff for a living:
If Cruz were in the position of someone like Rubio or even Rick Perry, I'd be more bullish. But he's not nominee material at all.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) March 25, 2015
So yours truly decided to create an open thread for general commenting. Why?
All blog posts are closed to commenting after five days, unless otherwise specified by the blog owner. This is to prevent the comments sections of older blog posts from being inundated with spam or posts that are in violation of the House Rules.
The above was intended to keep the idiots and assholes among us from spamming the comments section while nobody's looking. Unfortunately, it also gives off the appearance of stifling debate. Just an unintended consequence of protecting blog-goers from the slings and arrows of stupidity.
In contrast to 99.999% of the regular posts here at DDSS, the Open Thread comments will remain open. Forever. At least that's the plan.
Everything else concerning the House Rules apply. Don't want everyone getting carried away, now.
- Alternet's Sam Adler-Bell interviews Robin DiAngelo on the concept of "white fragility" and how terms like "white privilege" and "entitlement" are losing their effectiveness in the white mindspace. Witness DiAngelo succinctly explain the origins of white fragility and how feelings of superiority are cultivated in the first place:
RD: Exactly. And white fragility also comes from a deep sense of entitlement. Think about it like this: from the time I opened my eyes, I have been told that as a white person, I am superior to people of color. There’s never been a space in which I have not been receiving that message. From what hospital I was allowed to be born in, to how my mother was treated by the staff, to who owned the hospital, to who cleaned the rooms and took out the garbage. We are born into a racial hierarchy, and every interaction with media and culture confirms it—our sense that, at a fundamental level, we are superior.
And, the thing is, it feels good. Even though it contradicts our most basic principles and values. So we know it, but we can never admit it. It creates this kind of dangerous internal stew that gets enacted externally in our interactions with people of color, and is crazy-making for people of color. We have set the world up to preserve that internal sense of superiority and also resist challenges to it. All while denying that anything is going on and insisting that race is meaningless to us.
One of the best quotes in the interview, IMHO.
- Strong Towns has a series of articles on American suburbia as a glorified ponzi scheme and the growing costs of maintaining this far-flung infrastructure. Yours truly will hopefully have a post on gentrification and suburbia's changing demographics later on.
- In post-racial America, blatant, naked discrimination takes more subtle, insidious forms. For instance, Mother Jones' Marc Bookman shows how virulent racism affects how the gears of the justice system turns for minorities. To wit:
...nearly eight years after Kenneth Fults was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murdering his neighbor Cathy Bounds in Spalding County, Georgia, one of the trial jurors made a startling admission under oath: He'd voted for the death penalty, he said, because "that's what that nigger deserved."
In 2005, a former prosecutor in Texas revealed that her superiors had instructed her, if she wanted to strike a black juror, to falsely claim that she'd seen the person sleeping. This was just a dressed-up version of the Dallas prosecution training manual from 1963, which directed assistant district attorneys to "not take Jews, Negroes, Dagos, Mexicans, or a member of any minority race on a jury, no matter how rich or how well educated."
As the clock wound down on Osborne's appeals, a former US attorney general, a former Georgia chief justice, and former President Jimmy Carter (previously the governor of Georgia) all spoke out against the execution. They had heard the allegation by another one of Mostiler's clients, a white man named Gerald Huey, that Mostiler had told him, speaking of Osborne, that "that little nigger deserves the chair."
a transcript from the trial of Derrick Middlebrooks, a black defendant who was so troubled by the racist talk that he asked the judge to dismiss Mostiler as his public defender: "He indicated to me that he wouldn't—he couldn't go up there among them niggers because them niggers would kill him," Middlebrooks said. "Now personally I don't know if he meant anything really by it. But I find it, you know, kind of hard to have an attorney to represent me when he uses those type of words. It doesn't help my confidence in my attorney."
This is nothing new, aside from the fact that things like these are being aired out for all the world to see.
- Gawker's David Graeber talks about Ferguson and how a perfect storm of institutional racism and policing for profit has culminated into a system that essentially harvests its own captive citizenry while keeping them locked in a permanent state of underclassdom.
- Abagond talks about segregation academies and their legacy. A few of the commentators are also discussing how integration has possibly done more harm than good for the black community (which is something I'll talk about at a later date, as well).
Pictured above is the treacherous Marxist Usurper in Chief, Baraq Hussein Superallah Obama al-Kenya, palling around with his "bestie" and fellow dictator, Supreme Leader Kim Jong "Make-em Say" Un, in an undisclosed location.
- Putin's back, baby! Turns out he was just in bed with the flu. Even authoritarian ex-KGB types get sick every once in a while. He should be glad he didn't come down with a sudden case of polonium poisoning.
- Say "goodnight" to the grand white Christian experiment. White, non-Hispanic Christians are no longer a majority in 19 states. By the 2040s, the white majority in the U.S. will vanish altogether.
- Fresh-faced senator and presumptive shoe-in for the "who's ready to become a GOP presidential candidate 2016" sweepstakes Tom Cotton recently led the effort to undo the White House's efforts to not start any more Middle Eastern conflicts. The Iranian government, POTUS and the rest of America reacted in shock and disdain.
Now let's see what an Army veteran has to say about Tom Cotton:
“I would use the word mutinous,” said Eaton, whose long career includes training Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2004. He is now a senior adviser to VoteVets.org. “I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.” Eaton certainly had stern words for Cotton.
“What Senator Cotton did is a gross breach of discipline, and especially as a veteran of the Army, he should know better,” Eaton told me. “I have no issue with Senator Cotton, or others, voicing their opinion in opposition to any deal to halt Iran’s nuclear progress. Speaking out on these issues is clearly part of his job. But to directly engage a foreign entity, in this way, undermining the strategy and work of our diplomats and our Commander in Chief, strains the very discipline and structure that our foreign relations depend on, to succeed.” The consequences of Cotton’s missive were plainly apparent to Eaton. “The breach of discipline is extremely dangerous, because undermining our diplomatic efforts, at this moment, brings us another step closer to a very costly and perilous war with Iran,” he said.
“I think Senator Cotton recognizes this, and he simply does not care,” Eaton went on to say. “That’s what disappoints me the most.”
- The recent hubbub over Selma has besmirched the delicate sensibilities of the city's most stalwart Confederates, prompting a valiant defense of the grand southern tradition and the peculiar institution it nurtured and supported:
“The people in the south – the white people, who were being abused – organised a neighbourhood watch to try to re-establish some order,” he said of the nascent Klan. Slavery in the south was “a bad institution”, he said, but possibly “the mildest, most humane form of slavery ever practiced”.
“If you look at the wealth created by the slaves, in food, clothing, shelter, medical care, care before you’re old enough to work, care until you died, they got 90% of the wealth that they generated,” he said. “I don’t get that. The damn government takes my money to the tune of 50%.”
You know what the scariest thing about this is? A mainstream conservative pundit like Glenn Beck can clean this up and totally roll with it nearly word-for-word and no one in his listening group would bat an eyelash.
- Because the great state of Alabama largely finds the idea of same-sex marriages to be an absolute affront to the natural order of things, a gay couple's having second thoughts about leaving their substantial estate to the University of Alabama.
And how much were they intending to leave behind? A cool $15 to 18 million.
- Because the GOP largely finds the idea of helping the undeserving poor to be an absolute affront to how the natural order of things should be, it's unveiling a budget that cuts a $100 million chunk out of the SNAP program.
And remember, if you call yourself a "Man of God" and think it's totally OK to ask your congregation for a cool $65 million so you can buy yourself a new private jet, then you probably need to have another pastor sit with you while you re-read the Holy Bible cover to cover.
The fine chap in the above photo is one Jeffrey Leehoust Williams, recently arrested in connection with the recent shooting of two of Ferguson's finest. Now, gunning after law enforcement in response to the massive injustice that was the Michael Brown saga isn't something that's advocated here at DDSS or anywhere else, for that matter. Let's just say that aside from breathing a sigh of relief over said officers being alive and relatively well, there wasn't much sympathy to be had around these parts.
With that said, here are some of the facts behind the shooting, courtesy of St. Louis County prosecutor and possible Alcoholics Anonymous attendee Robert McCulloch:
- Turns out Williams wasn't gunning at the cops, after all. Williams was reportedly involved in a separate altercation towards the end of the demonstrations. He admitted firing the shots, but claimed he was aiming at someone else. That "someone else" remains unknown at this point...
- As a result, Williams is only being charged with first degree assault and not attempted murder.
- McCulloch claimed information from "members of the public" led to the arrest. Aside from that, it's unknown precisely how Williams was found to be the suspect.
- Police retrieved a .40 handgun whose bullets matched the casings left behind by the shooter, presumed to be (and self-confirmed as) Williams.
- Williams apparently had a prior conviction for receiving stolen property. It's unknown how he managed to get access to a gun.
But here's the big question that many in the Ferguson protesting community have been asking:
Has any of my protest family seen this guy at any of demonstrations cuz I haven't #FergusonShooting pic.twitter.com/Col2L8cLgu
— Sass-N-Class (@christy_shantel) March 15, 2015
Never seen Jeffery Williams a day in my life since I came out on 8/13/14.
— Miles Baévis (@keenblackgirl) March 15, 2015
Looking at this guys photo and I've never seen him. In passing or a protest.
— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) March 15, 2015
Asked 4 protest regulars if they've ever seen/met Jeffrey Williams. Their text responses: "No" "Hell no" "Nope. No" "Never"
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) March 15, 2015
So no one knows who this guy is, where he came from and whether he was really a part of the protest. Most of the well-known figures involved in the protests agree that he wasn't a regular.
If shooter was a regular protestor in #Ferguson there would be pics & vids of him posted all over Social Media. Yet nobody recognizes him.
— Delonte (@Delo_Taylor) March 15, 2015
Nope. No one knows who he is and how he came to be.
Why is this important? Because in light of massive levels of police misconduct in this and other departments throughout the U.S., most people tend to have...trust issues...when it comes to police information. No one's taking the circumstances surrounding the shooting and Williams' arrest at face value.
For all anyone knows, Jeffrey Williams could have been an elaborate scapegoat or, worse, a convenient plant whose actions would have done damage to the ongoing protests and destroyed its message.
In the meantime, there's plenty of questions being asked:
@mattdpearce @deray So it was a drive by? Was he the driver? Did anyone witness the vehicle on top of the hill?
— #MIKEBROWNCOVERUP (@mikebrowncover) March 15, 2015
How did McCulloch know #JeffreyWilliams was in a vehicle? Officers didn't say anything about a vehicle following the #FergusonShooting.
— #MIKEBROWNCOVERUP (@mikebrowncover) March 15, 2015
I want to stress this over & over. Using a handgun in the #fergusonshooting makes no sense. The range is extreme. pic.twitter.com/9NfdDAJVHF
— Andrew Westmoreland (@drewwest_press) March 15, 2015
Look at the distance from eyesight between where protesters were and police. Tightly packed pattern with a .40 at that range is unheard of.
— Andrew Westmoreland (@drewwest_press) March 15, 2015
Russian president Vladimir Putin's last known whereabouts. The Appalachians are wonderful this time of year...
- Where's Putin? Who knows? Maybe he took a page from Mark Sanford's book and went on a "hiking trip." After all, presidential side chick Alina Kabaeva recently gave birth to a bouncing baby girl, although Swiss authorities claim there's no proof he ever paid a visit.
- Pando's Mark Ames (nee NSFWCorp) offers a quick reminder of the racist origins behind "Right to Work" legislation. From Ames' previous piece on the same subject:
Those hearings revealed that the anti-FDR "convention" that Vance Muse put on, through his "Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution"— which featured guests of honor like Gerald L K Smith, America’s leading anti-Semite and godfather to the modern American Nazi movement — was financed not only by Confederate sponsors like Texan Will Clayton, owner of the world’s largest cotton broker, but also reactionary northeast Republican money: the DuPont brothers, J. Howard Pew of Sun Oil, Alfred Sloan of General Motors... That unholy alliance of Northeastern and Confederate plutocrat money financed the first serious attempt at splitting the Southern Democrats off by exploiting white supremacism, all in order to break labor power and return to the world before the New Deal — and to the open shop.
Incidentally, Vance Muse’s northern donors — DuPont, Pew, Sloan — were the same core investors in (and board directors of) the first modern libertarian think-tanks of the 40s and 50s, including the Foundation for Economic Education. DuPont, Pew and Sloan funds also seeded the American careers of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard, among others. In other words, Vance Muse’s funders built the first layer of the libertarian nomenklatura that Charles Koch later took control of — no surprise, since Koch outfits are credited with making the Michigan "right to work" law possible.
To the average industrialist in search of fatter bottom lines and cheaper labor, unrepentant bigots like Vance Muse are useful tools. All you have to do is stir up their feelings about those blacks and browns and they'll do whatever you ask of them, just as long as it accomplishes knee-capping the "other" even at the expense of their own well-being.
- It's been a while since the right wing had a "vast left-wing conspiracy" to catch vapors over. So when it was discovered that former Secretary of State and likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton not only exclusively used a personal email account instead of a government account and pole-axed over 30,000 emails associated with that personal account, you knew the right finally had another juicy Clinton scandal to work themselves silly over.
Yes, using your personal email for your State Dept. gig smacks of a complete lack of accountability and, if it were anyone else, grounds for termination. But when you step back and think of all the potential controversies that could have surfaced, this one seems a bit weak in comparison.
Meanwhile, some sources say Valerie Jarrett blew the whistle over Email-gate because of how the Clintons seemed to be dissing the current Commander-in-Chief.
- Jarvis DeBerry drops a little Dr. Seuss on presumptive presidential fodder Bobby (nee Piyush) Jindal.
- Sure, the Department of Justice wasn't able to stick Darren Wilson in a can, but it did crack open the proverbial hamper and aired out the city of Ferguson, Missouri's dirty laundry. And because of the DOJ's findings, several high-ranking city officials have resigned, including the city manager and police chief.
Meanwhile, St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle has launched an effort to recall the city's current mayor. This is the same guy who, months prior to Michael Brown's death, staunchly championed privatizing large portions of Ferguson's law enforcement services.
The DOJ revealed a city (and numerous others like it) as little more than a naked cash-harvesting program using captive residents as a semi-renewable revenue stream. Yours truly will have more on this soon.
- Jeremy Clarkson discovers there are consequences for punching people not named Piers Morgan. How this affects the future of one of the world's most popular television series remains to be seen.
And by the way, John McCain, the next time you and your friends in the Senate try to undermine the president's authority and foreign affairs acumen, you might want to come up with an excuse a bit more substantial than "I sign lots of letters."
There's a lot I could say about this. Like how racism is far from dead and will likely never die. Or how many corners of mainstream society still harbor prejudicial thoughts about minorities, but at least have the decency to keep them out of earshot of polite society. Or how an organization founded in the very heart of the Confederacy in antebellum times still perpetuates the same attitudes and beliefs that were present at the time of its foundation.
I could talk about all of that. Instead, I'll just pull a quote from a segment of Larry Wilmore's Comedy Central show, The Nightly Show:
“They also kicked the fraternity off campus, so don’t worry, you won’t be seeing any more of those frat boys - until they’re your congressmen.”
Imagine all the crazy shenanigans Trent Lott got up to during his time in Sigma Nu, except no one thought enough to capture it all on Double 8 film.
And that's the thing. No matter what the University of Oklahoma does to people like Parker Rice, these guys will inevitably land in places and positions of power and prestige, where their actions and beliefs will invariably shape and mold the processes and systems our society deals with on a regular basis.
Could you imagine Parker Rice on a Senate subcommittee deciding the fate of an education or healthcare initiative? I can and it's a scary feeling.
So while everyone pats SAE and OU on the back for performing the damage control required of them by their PR departments, keep in mind that you might be seeing some of these people again in another 10 or 15 years. I suggest you start jotting down names and committing them to memory.
Anyone who's bothered to read through this blog knows how I feel about gun ownership. In my opinion, there's no stark black-and-white or good/bad about it - it's your intent and the level of responsibility you take in owning one that defines whether it's a good or bad thing to own one.
On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of open carry, if only for the following reason:
Last but not least, one has to be careful not to get sucked into the "cowboy/tough guy" image that comes with certain aspects of gun ownership. For some, having the ability to end someone's life in an instant is the ultimate rush and it's one that often leads them to adopt cavalier attitudes and to do stupid things and take idiotic risks that they otherwise wouldn't have taken had they not had instant death in the palm of their hands.
Sadly, a lot of open carry advocates are prone to take a cowboy/tough guy stance whenever someone challenges them on the necessity of what they do, constitutional issues notwithstanding, even when confronted by law enforcement:
Which is where the double standard comes in. Law enforcement officials have shot unarmed people for much less, yet here are several LEOs conversing with a guy who's openly armed and near a school, no less. Considering the spate of school shootings in recent years, it's no wonder why administrators would be a bit on edge around a guy who's supposedly exercising his 2nd Amendment rights.
John Crawford III was shot for examining a BB gun in a Walmart. Could you imagine a person of color being given the same sort of leeway as the person in the video was afforded?*
*Speaking of which, the last time black men open carried in significant numbers, it provoked a fear response in an entire state legislature.
Pictured above is the treacherous Marxist Usurper in Chief, Baraq Hussein Superallah Obama al-Kenya, currently engaged in a vile act of vanity in preparations for Oscar night. Off-screen, the First "Lady" of the American Republic prepares a calorie-laden macaroni casserole while torturing a patriotic Real American with a single arugula leaf.
More and more haters are climbing out of the woodpile for our esteemed president. Just ask Rudy Giuliani, would-be/could-be/shouldn't-be contender for the 2016 presidential elections, who recently expressed doubts over POTUS's love of country and all it stands for, for better or worse. Meanwhile...
- The Great State of Alabama officially apologizes for mistaking an elderly Indian man for a really skinny black guy. You know how these things are and, well...they all look alike sometimes. Fortunately for Sureshbhai Patel and family, the Indian government has brought to bear tremendous pressure upon the state on their behalf, resulting in the offending officer's swift dismissal and arrest. Meanwhile, the black community looks on in envy.
- Police shootings are kinda getting out of hand. You shouldn't be shot 16 times in your own bed for grabbing your wallet. At least the victim got a $3 million settlement out of it.
- As it turns out, the conservative PACs that benefited most from Citizens United have been lining their own pockets by fleecing their donors:
Let’s say Ronald Reagan is still alive and someone starts the Re-Elect Ronald Reagan To A Third Term PAC. Because people love Reagan, let’s suppose that conservative donors pony up $500,000 to help the organization. However, the donors don’t know that Ronald Reagan has nothing to do with the PAC. Furthermore, the real goal of the PAC is to line the pockets of its owner, not to help Ronald Reagan. So, the PAC sets up two vendors, both controlled by the PAC owner: Scam Vendor #1 and Scam Vendor #2. Let’s assume it costs $50,000 to raise the half million the PAC takes in. Then, the PAC sends $100,000 to the first company and $100,000 to the second company to “promote Ronald Reagan for President.” Each of the companies then goes out and spends $1,000 on fliers. The “independent expenditures” that show up on the FEC report? They’re at 40%. That’s because the FEC doesn’t require vendors to disclose how much of the money they receive is eaten up as overhead. The dubious net benefit that Ronald Reagan receives from an organization that raised $500,000 on his name? It’s $2,000. On the other hand, the net profit for the PAC owner is $448,000. Is that legal? The short answer is, “It’s a bit of a grey area, but, yes, it is legal.”
I'm not surprised. This is what happens when you open the floodgates to every grifter and con artist on the block.
- Dinesh D'Souza continues to fight for America's freedoms using the power of Twitter. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
And remember folks, a little rioting is healthy for the soul. Unless you happen to be black, then it's a mug's game for thugs or, as buyers of commemorative "I Am Darren Wilson" sweatshirts would say, "a good day for a good shoot."
I'll admit - I've been out of the loop these past few months. A lot of things have happened and there's a lot of ground to cover, but playing catchup, let alone keep up with a fast-paced news cycle that has a life expectancy shorter than Michael Sam's NFL career, takes time and effort. But I'll do my best, which leads me to ISIS.
Or IS. Or Islamic State, as it seems to be called at the moment. According to the mainstream media, it's a terrorist group that's shaped up to be the worst thing that's happened to the world since...well...this happened.* According to Gary Brecher, Pando Daily's (and formerly NSFWCorp's) very own War Nerd, it's just a collection of sullen Sunni Arab combatants who weren't happy about winding up on the losing end of the latest rounds of sectarian warfare. Sorta like the various Confederate revanchists who weren't happy about the dream of the southern planter class going up in smoke.
See that analogy? IS reminds us of a lot of things. The most recent antics of IS reminded Chauncey DeVega of a little thing that most good Americans have worked hard to studiously ignore, which is the lengthy reign of terror suffered by black Americans all throughout the post-Reconstruction and pre-Civil Rights era. Domestic terrorism, even under the guise of white anti-federalism as expressed by the likes of Timothy McVeigh, isn't really called that. That's a title generally reserved for leftist groups and people of Middle Eastern persuasion or non-Christian religious mores.
The people who were responsible for the 4,743 officially counted lynchings that occurred between 1882 and 1968 - good, upstanding Christian Americans one and all - wouldn't have considered themselves "terrorists," nor are they referred to that anywhere other than the occasional comment on a black-oriented blog. Make no mistake - those acts were every bit as much terrorism as the act of hurling two fully-loaded jets into the tallest skyscrapers New York City had to offer. Both acts were designed to instill sheer terror in those watching or even hearing about them.* The main difference is that 9/11 was designed to strike terror into the heart of all Americans. With few exceptions, the average lynching struck terror in the heart of minority groups who weren't fortunate enough to have their rights as citizens and human beings respected.
It's that comparison that apparently drew the ire of the War Nerd:
For people like Chauncey’s fans or Moyers’s admirers, nothing that happens outside the US matters at all. Only our sins are important. So a man burned alive in the Syrian desert becomes nothing but an excuse for a sermon on American History X, because only America matters, only America’s sins are real.
Brecher's beef lies with how, along with Bill Moyer, DeVega seemingly discounts Muadh al Kasasbeh’s death in favor of expounding on America's own flaws and ills. It's something that many of the more conservative types accuse liberal minded folks of doing - gleefully pointing out how America's just as bad as the bad guys it fights. It's no wonder this apparent failure to acknowledge this act and its ramifications in the broader geopolitical world in favor of domestic navel-gazing somehow struck a nerve:
Try imagining Chauncey or Bill minimizing an IDF phosphorus bombing in Gaza the way they trivialize this IS pyro video. Phosphorus burns people alive just as horrifically as kerosene, but would Moyers or de Vega trivialize Palestinian kids burnt alive with phosphorus by saying, “Remember the KKK! We’re just as bad!” Never. Because everyone would scream, quite rightly, that they were trivializing the IDF’s atrocity.
But both these fools spend thousands of words trivializing IS snuff movies, because…ah, it’s too stupid to paraphrase, but it goes something like this: “The US is the root of all evil, so IS is only acting out because it’s a victim. We did something bad to it somehow.”
If Brecher thinks DeVega is minimizing terrorist actions overseas by throwing up comparisons to lynching, then he should probably step back and consider this from the perspective of the average black person, a person unencumbered by the sectarian shit-kicking antics of a dying terrorist group in a land beset by sectarian strife and international intervention, but sorely affected by an entire institution seemingly sanctioned to commit a much quicker and more solitary form of lynching.
To the average black person on the street, the doings of IS pale in comparison to what they've directly and collectively experienced at the hands of America's own oft-acknowledged terrorist groups, with plenty of ongoing help from state institutions that continue to instill terror in black Americans to this day.
To say that DeVega gives few damns about what the IDF does to Palestinian children because what the NYPD does to young black Americans by far and large somehow overshadows the former is...well...a damn sight moronic in its own right, as DeVega himself points out. As for the distress over how lefty liberals are loath to go all-in on IS-bashing, Moyer's biggest fear is how it might lead to a renewed occupation effort by U.S. forces - the very thing that many on the left had fought tooth-and-nail against during the salad days of Iraq.
I respect the War Nerd's work, as it offers a no-bullshit perspective of current events (which is why I enjoyed NSFWCorp in the first place) and the occasional no-holds-barred takedown of some of the more egregious assholes who've somehow managed to actually get paid for their fluff work (I see you, Jen Percy). But he's off-base on this one. Even the commentariat over at Pando's calling foul.
* That's right Mack, just crack open the hornet's nest with your bare fist.
If you're anything like yours truly and walked in on the ending segment of this year's State of the Union address, here's your chance to see it again in its entirety.
The White House recently broke tradition by releasing the full text of the speech to the public shortly before the address. Of course, there's also an official transcript of the full address available on the White House website.