No one wants a festival of ideas to turn into a cozy chat among like-minded friends. That’s pointless.
But also utterly pointless is the notion that Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, might have something new or valuable to offer.
That’s why it was a thoroughly lousy idea for the New Yorker magazine to offer a high-profile perch — an onstage interview by top editor David Remnick — at next month’s annual festival to the deposed Svengali.
There is nothing more to learn from Bannon about his particular brand of populism, with its blatant overlay of white supremacy.
While we’re at it, there is also nothing more to learn from the die-hard Trump voters in what I’ve called the Endless Diner Series — the media’s recidivistic journeys to the supposed heartland to hear what we’ve heard a thousand times before about blind loyalty in the face of all reason.
There is also nothing more to learn from proven dissemblers, like Kellyanne Conway, who keep being invited onto the top news shows to shamelessly spout whatever falsehood serves the Trumpian moment.
Yes, it’s time, well past time, to stop lending the media’s biggest and most prestigious platforms to this crowd of racists and liars.
Shut them down — not because of ideology or politics, but because there is no news value there.
Rudy “9-11” Giuliani, one of the very worst mayors the city of New York has ever suffered through, makes a living these days partly by going on cable news to spew racist nonsense. His most recent rant is disgusting, even by his previous standards. When even a center-left establishment newspaper like the New York Times editorializes against Rudy G’s fact-free assertions, and hate-mongers like Rush Limbaugh are supportive, hmmm…
For a nation heartsick over the killings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the ambush murders of officers by a gunman in Dallas, here comes Rudolph Giuliani, bringing his trademark brew of poisonous disinformation to the discussion.
In his view, the problem is black gangs, murderous black children, the refusal of black protesters to look in the mirror at their “racist” selves, and black parents’ failure to teach their children to respect the police.
“What we’ve got to hear from the black community,” said Mr. Giuliani, in a Sunday morning talk-show appearance that seemed to double as a lecture to black America, “is how and what they are doing among themselves about the crime problem in the black community.” He added, “We wonder, do black lives matter, or only the very few black lives that are killed by white policemen?”
Here’s a better question: How, we wonder, will the country ever get beyond its stunted discourse about racialized violence when people like Mr. Giuliani continue to try to change the subject? Those who remember Mr. Giuliani as the hectoring mayor of New York know what he has to offer any conversation on race and violence — not a lot. In case you’re unconvinced, here is what Mr. Giuliani on Sunday said he would tell a young son, if he were black: “Be very careful of those kids in the neighborhood and don’t get involved with them because, son, there’s a 99 percent chance they’re going to kill you, not the police.”
Mr. Giuliani’s garbled, fictional statistic echoes a common right-wing talking point about the prevalence of “black on black” violence in America. Homicide data do show that black victims are most often killed by black assailants. (They also reveal that whites tend to be killed by whites.) This observation does not speak to the matter of racist policing and police brutality. Killings of the police have, mercifully, been on the decline during the Obama presidency. But unwarranted shootings by police officers remain a persistent problem, ignored for generations, exploding only now into the wider public consciousness because of bystander videos that reveal the blood-red truth.
There is Mr. Giuliani’s ludicrous suggestion that black people don’t know they need to be careful around cops, or somehow are complicit in their brutalizing. Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, and Philando Castile, in a St. Paul suburb, were posing no threat when they were shot. (Far from being ignorant of the ways of the police, fearful black parents long ago learned to impart the advice that Mr. Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said she gave her son: “If you get stopped by the police, comply. Comply, comply, comply.”) Eric Garner, on Staten Island, was unarmed and outnumbered by the officers who swarmed and smothered him.
In 1999, when Mr. Giuliani was New York’s tough-on-crime mayor, Amadou Diallo reached for his wallet and was cut down in a hail of police bullets. Patrick Dorismond was minding his own business on a Manhattan street in 2000 when Mr. Giuliani’s undercover officers confronted him and shot him dead. In one of the disgraceful acts of his or any mayoralty, Mr. Giuliani smeared the victim’s reputation and released part of his juvenile police record, as if to suggest that he deserved to be murdered.
A Friendly Spotted Pig Is Smarter than Rush Limbaugh
The vulgar pig-boy loved it, predictably:
Well Rudy Giulani tried the truth on CBS this morning, and he’s catching hell. He’s catching hell for things he said on TV yesterday. He’s catching hell for going after the squeegee guys again. He’s catching hell for stop don’t frisk, or frisk don’t stop, whatever. He’s catching hell for the broken windows policy. He’s catching hell for everything he ever did because he said — and I’m paraphrasing here, I don’t have it right in front of me. He said: if black lives really mattered, then they would be concerned about all the black lives lost in inner cities like Chicago that result from black crime. But I don’t think that Black Lives Matter cares about any of that, so, and he went on to call them an inherent racial or racist organization by virtue of their title, Black Lives Matter. If you’re going to start segregating things like that, doesn’t it make you racist. Now they’re coming after Rudy full-throttle, full-throat, but he made an accurate statement.
Gee, thanks, Rush, for your insight into the Republican mindset.
Rudy Giuliani’s reign of error is part of the underlying problem, to be fair.
Terrence Cunningham, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, who appeared on the same show, was quick to dismiss Mr. Giuliani’s comments. “I wouldn’t make that connection,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say that it’s Black Lives Matter that put a target on those police officers,” Mr. Cunningham continued, adding, “Unfortunately, I think, you know, people have really polarized this issue. If we really want to work towards solutions, we need to work together.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who also appeared on the show, suggested that Mr. Giuliani was partly to blame for the rift.
“He actually presided over one of the most discredited areas and periods of policing in the City of New York,” she said, “which is, in fact, responsible for a lot of the tension that exists between police officers and people in African-American communities.”
EUGENE O’DONNELL: It is important to say Rudy Guiliani is in a special category. This is a person that made a study out of the most divisive, inflammatory rhetoric with the African-American community, and sadly, is a two term mayor. So we’re not talking about crazy people speaking in the recesses of social media or somebody saying, you kill one of us, we’ll kill two of you in a crowd, we’re talking about somebody who every time he speaks on race hits a new low. I’m not even an African-American, I find one of the things — because I know his playbook — that I find particularly offensive is when he pretends to be talking to the African-American community when he’s really talking at the African-American community, and has nothing to say to them. He poisoned race relations in New York City almost irreparably. We’re trying to get a handle on this. He is one of the most extremist, divisive people, I think I remember when he contemplated running for Senate against Mrs. Clinton, I believe the poll showed the African-American community, he had zero percent. David Duke would have 1 percent. That’s the kind of mayor he was. And people who saw him in action — we can talk about how he destroyed the police profession as a labor mayor — but people of good faith should be calling this guy out. And what’s scary is — we have people running for high office here. If they said what they’re saying out loud on Facebook as cops, they’d be terminated tomorrow morning.
Rudy Giuliani is in the class of professional Trolls On Television that I try to ignore, along with his fellow grifters like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, et al. The odds of any of these losers ever winning a plurality of delegates in a presidential election is extremely slim, in fact, the odds of any of them winning a majority of voters in any state is implausible, and yet they have made careers for themselves appearing on television news programs, spewing bile regarding the political topic du jour.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been on a tear since Sunday, turning himself into a B storyline as he offers what you might call unvarnished takes on race and crime in America amid the tension in Ferguson, Mo. It started with a “Meet The Press” panel, when he told a black panelist that white police officers wouldn’t be in black communities if “you weren’t killing each other.”
And he hasn’t let up while a grand jury has decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting and heated protests have followed.
Giuliani isn’t a stranger to racially charged rhetoric, dating back to his time as mayor, but these recent comments were striking even to one of Giuliani’s biographers who was quite familiar with the former mayor’s past rhetoric on these issues.
“Some of this stuff has struck me as a little over-the-top even for him,” Andrew Kirtzman, a former journalist and now a vice president at Global Strategy Group, who wrote a 2001 book about Giuliani, said in a phone interview. “But this is the man who when asked what he had done for the black community in New York, back in the 90s, he said, ‘Well, they’re still alive to begin with.'”
“I used to look at our crime reduction, and the reason we reduced homicide by 65 percent is because we reduced it in the black community,” [Giuliani] said. “Because there is virtually no homicide in the white community.”
Uh, yeah, virtually no homicide in the white community. I went to the FBI’s website, and at random, picked the year 2000 to look at homicide statistics, a year when Giuliani was still Mayor of NYC. I’m not asserting that 2000 was or was not a typical year, but, what a surprise, plenty of incidents of white on white crime.
FBI Homicide Statistics by Race 2000
So when Giuliani bloviates:
“When the president was talking last night about training the police, of course, the police should be trained,” he said. “He also should have spent 15 minutes on training the [black] community to stop killing each other. In numbers that are incredible — incredible — 93 percent of blacks are shot by other blacks. They are killing each other. And the racial arsonists, who enjoyed last night, this was their day of glory.”
he’s just talking out of his ass. 85% of the reported homicides of whites were committed by other whites, btw. Does that mean the president should lecture the white community to stop killing each other too?
Blind Willie McTell is perhaps most famous nowadays for his song “Statesboro Blues,” most likely titled after the city he grew up in. Although McTell was somewhat well-known on the blues circuit during the 1920s and 1930s, most folks who know this song today know it because of the Allman Brothers. Their version is electric and extended. McTell played a fluid twelve-string and the occasional slide. He live for sixty years and played throughout the southern United States in a style of picking known as Piedmont—named after the region of the Carolinas it originated in. While Bob Dylan was recording songs for the album eventually known as Infidels, he recorded his song “Blind Willie McTell.” A masterpiece of a song from a man who has many such songs to his name, Dylan’s work is about much more than the blues singer Willie McTell. It is an angry message transmitted via Dylan from an angry god. Even more, it is about a people & a nation that continues to suffer what Abraham Lincoln…
Mad Men finally began Season 5 after a seventeen month hiatus, and opening the first episode was an incident fairly closely based on fact, and resonating with the current Occupy Wall Street movement. From the New York Times Archive, May, 28, 1966:
More than 300 poor people and antipoverty workers picketed the Madison Avenue headquarters of the Office of Economic Opportunity yesterday, demanding more money for city programs, but they received only a pelting by water bombs apparently thrown by irate office workers.
You have to be a subscriber to read the whole article (or be able to go to a library, how quaint). Here’s a few paragraphs I ran OCR1 on:
Shortly after the demonstration began, a series of handprinted signs were taped to the inside of the second-story windows of 285 Madison Avenue, half a block away. The building is occupied almost entirely by the Young & Rubicam advertising agency.
The signs read: “If’ you want money, get yourself a job”; “You voted for Lindsay, see him”; “Support your local police–no review board,” and “Goldwater ’68.”
A container of water was pitched out of one of the windows of the building, splashing two spectators.
Later, two demonstrators were hit by water-filled paper bags thrown from the building. One of the water bombs struck James Hill, 19 years old, of 224 York Street, Brooklyn, who then slipped and fell to the pavement. He was not hurt. The other struck 9-year old Mike Robinson of 777 Fox Street, the Bronx.
Mrs. Esmé Robinson, the boy’s mother, and several other angry women immediately went up to the sixth-floor offices of Young & Rubicam, from which several onlookers said they had seen the water bombs thrown.
But a secretary in the office said:”That’s ridiculous, they didn’t come from this floor. This is the executive floor. That’s utterly ridiculous.”
“Don’t you call us ridiculous. Is this what Madison Avenue represents?” shouted one of the women.
“And they call us savages,” exclaimed Mrs. Vivian Harris, another of the women.
The women were invited to the second floor to meet with Frank Coppola, the Young & Rubicam office manager, who apologized for the incident. He told them:
“We have 1,600 people in this building, and I can’t control all of them. I’ve ordered all the windows closed and I have men patrolling all the floors to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Why is Pat Buchanan paid to spout his nonsensical opinions on television? Makes no sense that even in these politically correct times such an unmitigated racist is afforded a national platform. But he is.
If you go to Pat Buchanan’s website, you will come to an introductory page that says in big letters, ‘right from the beginning.” Of course, this has a double meaning, indicating a position on the right of the political spectrum, but also right in the sense of correct, or opposed to “wrong.” Taken together, the words indicate that the “right” is the “right” position, and that therefore, Pat Buchanan is right and has been right all along (something Mitt Romney, perhaps, cannot say).
Pat Buchanan, who believes minorities have inferior genes, and that women are “less equipped psychologically” to succeed in the workplace, has always been an outspoken and polarizing figure.
Shirley Sherrod, another victim of the viciously evil Rethuglican Party.
Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department Georgia Director of Rural Development, says she is a victim. A victim of poor reporting and, as she contends, clear bias and racist coverage from both Andrew Breitbart and Fox News.
“When you look at their reporting, this is just another way of seeing that they are (racist),” Sherrod told me about Fox in a lengthy interview Tuesday night. “But I have seen that before now. I saw their reporting as biased during the Bush Administration and the Clinton Administration.”
Sherrod was forced to resign on Monday after a portion of a taped speech she gave last March was posted at Breitbart’s Biggovernment.com.
In the edited tape, she spoke about how she had not initially helped a white farmer as much as she could have in 1986 when he was going to lose his farm. In the posting, Breitbart made it appear as though the story had occurred during her time as a federal official and not 24 years ago when she worked for a non-profit organization.
Breitbart also did not include the entire context of the speech, in which she later explained that she learned from the situation and ended up helping the farmer, Roger Spooner and his wife. Both Spooners spoke out several times Tuesday to support Sherrod and voice that they would have lost their farm if not for her help.
By the end of the day Monday, she was forced to resign.
Sherrod, 62, said her first reaction was shock that, after a career working for civil rights and as the daughter of a father murdered by racists, she would be seen in such a terrible light.
“To have people say that I was such a racist was unbelievable,” she said of the fallout from the video and Fox coverage. “My whole life, if you look into what I have done, my father was murdered in 1965. If you look at all of us, we all hurt with that and we got involved into the movement and channeled our effort into good, instead of hating.
“I am getting hate calls and e-mails at this point. I got one call last night at my house at 12:30 a.m. that said ‘you lost your job, good for you’ and ‘bitch’ There are people out there who will believe that I am a racist person, even though the story is getting out there.”
Ms. Sherrod was fired as soon as Breitbart opened his mouth, lied. Of course, Breitbart is still invited on network television to spew his garbage as often as he can think of something to spew. You’d think that such a repeated prevaricator wouldn’t be entitled to a national platform, but as the phrase goes, What Liberal Media?
and Greg Sargent adds from the Department of No Duh
She said Fox showed no professionalism in continuing to bother her for an interview, but failing to correct their coverage.
“I think they should but they won’t. They intended exactly what they did. “They were looking for the result they got yesterday,” she said of Fox. “I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person.”
Christopher Hitchens is not fooled by Mel Gibson’s publicists – Gibson has been a seething racist for most of his career.
We live in a culture where the terms fascist and racist are thrown about, if anything, too easily and too frequently. Yet here is a man whose every word and deed is easily explicable once you know the single essential thing about him: He is a member of a fascist splinter group that believes it is the salvation of the Catholic Church.
This schismatic crackpot sect is headed by Mel Gibson’s father, Hutton Gibson, a nutty autodidact with a sideline in Holocaust denial. During the controversy over The Passion of the Christ, Gibson junior said that he had never heard anything but the truth from his father. I have some of old man Gibson’s books on my shelf, including his self-published classics Is the Pope Catholic? and The Enemy Is Still Here!, which essentially accuse the current papacy of doing the work of the Antichrist. My favorite sample of his prose style is the following: “Our ‘civilization’ tolerates open sodomy and condones murder of the unborn, but shrinks in horror from burning incorrigible heretics—essentially a charitable act.” He attacks the late Pope John Paul II for having said, in one of his “outreaches” to the Jewish people, “You are our predilect brothers and, in a certain way, one could say our oldest brothers.” Hutton Gibson’s comment? “Abel had an older brother.” I don’t think that there’s much ambiguity there, do you? Like many ultra-conservative Catholics, the Gibsons, père et fils, have never forgiven the Vatican for lifting the charge of deicide against the Jews in 1964.
Nor have they forgiven the British Isles for breaking away from Rome during the 16th-century Reformation and destroying the monopoly of Holy Mother Church. In a series of ultra-violent propaganda movies, from Braveheart to The Patriot, Gibson has represented the English as a generally foul tribe. Those of us who have English descent can of course laugh this off as the writhings of a thwarted theocracy (combined in this case with some symptoms of a colonial inferiority complex), but the historic connection of the Catholic right with European fascism is not so amusing.
There are some contemporary musicians who value humanity more than dollars.
A coalition of music groups has announced that its members will boycott all performances in Arizona to protest a tough new anti-immigration law there, and it has urged fans to sign a petition demanding the revocation of the legislation, which it calls “an assault on the U.S. Constitution.” Enlarge This Image
The campaign, called the Sound Strike, has been organized by Zack de la Rocha, the lead singer of the rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, and is endorsed by English-language rock and rap performers like Massive Attack, Kanye West, Conor Oberst, Sonic Youth and Joe Satriani. But the signatories also include Spanish-speaking reggaetón artists and Los Tigres del Norte, perhaps the most popular and influential exponent of Mexican regional music in the United States.
In comments published in Spanish on the Los Tigres del Norte Web site, the group said that the law, which is scheduled to go into effect in late July, had already created a climate of hostility against Hispanic residents of Arizona. “We’ve had occasion to travel there twice since it was approved, and you can feel a chilly climate from the moment of arrival at the airport,” said Jorge Hernández, the group’s lead singer and accordion player.
Even before the Sound Strike was announced, some Spanish-language performers had already canceled shows in Arizona or decided to skip the state during tours planned for this summer. According to a report in the music-industry publication Billboard this month, the rap and reggaetón artists Wisin & Yandel and Pitbull, and the Mexican regional music performers Jenni Rivera, Espinoza Paz and Conjunto Primavera, none of whom are listed on the Sound Strike manifesto, had earlier taken that action
Cypress Hill Juanes Conor Oberst Los Tigres del Norte Rage Against the Machine Cafe Tacvba Micheal Moore Kanye West Calle 13 Joe Satriani Serj Tankian Rise Against Ozomatli Sabertooth Tiger Massive Attack One Day as a Lion Street Sweeper Social Club Spank Rock Sonic Youth Tenacious D The Coup
We are calling for fans of music the world over, who recognize that this is one of the most important struggles for civil and human rights of our generation, to stand with us and refuse to lend their economic support to the state of Arizona until this unjust law is revoked.
We can also put some much needed pressure upon the Obama Administration to use his executive branch authority to prevent the implementation of this unjust law:
Mr. President, please take action!
We are asking you to do everything within your power to protect civil rights in Arizona. Throughout our nation’s history, there have been times when the federal government has had to take swift action to stop states from shredding bedrock Constitutional protections and to ensure the safety of targeted minorities.
Arizona’s new law is an assault on the US Constitution and and an affront to the civil rights that were earned by generations who came before us. When states disregard the Constitution, when they sanction mistreatment of communities, it is the imperative of the Executive Branch to take the lead in defending the U.S. Constitution.
While we wait for Congress to act, we implore you take necessary and appropriate action to ensure that our brothers and sisters in Arizona do not continue to suffer.
————– ESPAÑOL ————–
Esto es un llamado a nuestros fans por todo el mundo, cual reconocen que esta es una de las mas importantes luchas por los derechos civiles y humanos en nuestra generación, que se unan con nosotros y que se rechazan a dar su apoyo economico al estado de Arizona hasta que esta ley sea revocada.
Tambien podemos presionar a la Administración Obama que utilice su autoridad Ejecutiva para prevenir la implementación de esta ley injusta:
¡Sr. Presidente, por favor toma acción!
Te pedimos que utilices todo tu poder para proteger los derechos civiles en Arizona. A lo largo de la historia de esta nación, ha habido momentos donde el el gobierno federal ha tomado acciones rapidas en poner un alto a estados que han querido eliminar protecciones constitucionales y garantizar la seguridad de minorias discriminadas.
La nueva ley de Arizona es un attaque a la Constitución de los Estados Unidos y un insulto a generaciones pasadas que lucharon para obtener los derechos civilies. Caundo los estados ignoran la Constitución, cuando autorizan el maltrato de comunidades, es el imperativo del Poder Ejecutivo a tomar la iniciativa en la defensa de la Constitución de EE.UU.
Te imploramos que tomes la acción necesaria y adecuada para asegurar que los derechos constitucionales sean respetados y garantizados de nuestras hermanas y hermanos en el estado de Arizona.
Ezra Klein is too eager to accept Rand Paul on his word that the Senatorial candidate is not racist:
It’s safe to say Rand Paul’s first few days as the Republican nominee for the open Senate seat in Kentucky are not going well. When you can’t answer the question “Should [the] Woolworth lunch counter have been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no,” it’s fair to say you’re off-message.
Over at Right Now, Dave Weigel offers up the generous and, I think, correct interpretation of Paul’s opposition to the parts of the Civil Rights Act that desegregated private businesses. “Paul believes, as many conservatives believe, that the government should ban bias in all of its institutions but cannot intervene in the policies of private businesses.” And Weigel is right that this is not an unknown belief among conservatives: I’ve had this argument with some of my libertarian friends, and libertarians occasionally have this argument among one another.
So I take Paul at his word that he’s not a racist. What he is, however, is an ideological extremist. He is so categorically opposed to public regulation of private enterprise that he cannot even bring himself to say that the Woolworth lunch counter should’ve been desegregated. Instead, he falls back on the remedies of the market: “I wouldn’t attend, wouldn’t support, wouldn’t go to,” a private institution that discriminates, he told Rachel Maddow. But he would let them discriminate. And in the segregated South, that would’ve been a perfectly viable business model for many, many very important institutions.
but I am of the mind that if something walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and defends the rights of ducks to discriminate against non-ducks, than they are a duck. In other words, Rand Paul would be happy if American apartheid returned, and slaves became 3/5 of a person again. Despicable.
Phoenix – Don’t be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.
I don’t buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.
What’s new here is not the politicians’ fear of a xenophobic “Teabag” uprising.
What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote – and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.
Sounds plausible, if even more disturbing than the outright racism offered as a reason. However, as cynical as this is, it is par for the course for the Rove wing of the GOP. Win at any costs. Despicable.
In 2008, working for “Rolling Stone” with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters . . . directed by one Jan Brewer.
Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer’s command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.
That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you’re not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: After all, they give their names and addresses.
So I asked Brewer’s office, had she busted a single one of these thousands of allegedly illegal voters? Did she turn over even one name to the feds for prosecution?
No, not one.
Which raises the question: Were these disenfranchised voters the criminal, non-citizens that Brewer tagged them to be, or just not-quite-white voters given the Jose Crow treatment, entrapped in document-chase trickery?
The answer was provided by a federal prosecutor who was sent on a crazy hunt all over the Western mesas looking for these illegal voters. “We took over 100 complaints, we investigated for almost two years, I didn’t find one prosecutable voter fraud case.”
Mark Olmsted wants the workers of Arizona to help solve Arizona’s harsh new law by going on strike. I’d move, if it were my family. If Arizona wants to institute ethnic cleansing, and “white-out” their state, let em.
The Arizonans who support this measure — and they appear to be a majority — need to understand the economic consequences of their ignorance. Undocumented workers who use false social security numbers have wages withheld that they never get back — a net gain to state and federal coffers. They pay sales tax. They buy food and clothes and cars and pay rent, creating thousands of jobs. They keep labor costs down, doing twice the work at half the pay that most native Americans get. The send millions back home, much of which is re-spent in border cities and during visits, buying American goods and services, not to mention keeping real human beings out of poverty.
These workers need to give Arizona what it wants. They need to go on strike, even go home for well-deserved vacations or visit other states. Arizona needs to see what happens when you remove crucial organs from the economic body. The rest of us need to boycott Arizona completely — conventions, visits, even driving through. These people need to understand that hate has a very steep price. The law should be repealed — but by the same voters who demanded its passage in the first place.
This doesn’t mean the status quo is tenable. Of course we need comprehensive immigration reform. But as long as voters keep responding to propaganda that illegal aliens are sitting around collecting welfare (see the California gubernatorial campaign) the politics of moving forward are untenable for either party. Politicians won’t act if voters punish them for it. The voters must find out the hard way that their jingoistic nativism misreads the economic impact of migrants completely. Only then will they reward politicians for enacting sane immigration policy.
I’m not going to Arizona until this law is repealed, not that it matters much. We had planned to visit relatives there, but that trip has been put on hold. What a ridiculous and crazy situation!
Backers of the ethnic cleansing law in Arizona claim that nationwide calls for boycotts of Arizona won’t amount to much. Maybe they will, or maybe they won’t, but this won’t be so easy to laugh off.
The Mexican government warned its citizens Tuesday to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of a tough new law that requires all immigrants and visitors to carry U.S.-issued documents or risk arrest.
Why should this worry Arizona? Because Arizona is heavily dependent (PDF) on the tourism industry. From the state’s tourism board 2008 annual report (the last year they have available):
The total (direct and secondary) impact of the Arizona travel industry in 2008 was 310,000 jobs and $10.2 billion earnings.
The results of this study, as in the past, demonstrate the economic importance of Mexican visitor spending to Arizona’s economy. Close to 23,400 wage and salary jobs in Arizona at eating and drinking establishments, retail establishments and other spending-related sectors are directly attributable to Mexican visitor spending. Through local purchases of supplies by businesses and the spending of income derived from visitor-related jobs, these visitors generated almost 7,000 additional jobs in Arizona in 2007-08. These jobs account for a total income of $837.24 million and $3.61 billion in sales.
That’s over 30,000 jobs in the tourism trade alone, that Arizona xenophobes have put at serious risk.
With Arizona’s international visitorship decimated, the state now must rely on domestic visitors — many of which come from liberal California, where cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are seeking official boycotts of the state. Late Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), leader of the California State Senate, also proposed a statewide boycott of Arizona.
Indeed, according to a 2008 report on domestic visitors (PDF) by the office of tourism, 34 percent of all visitors to Arizona came from California. The next largest contributor, Texas, lagged far behind at 5 percent. Liberal Washington, New York and Illinois constitute another 11 percent of the total.
I’d encourage any business that has contracts with Arizona residents to reconsider. The boycott of South Africa over their racist policies took a few years to bring down apartheid, but it was ultimately successful. Bigots of Arizona take note.
Franks was speaking with blogger Mike Stark about civility and the public discourse. Unprompted, the congressman started reflecting on the African-American community, and his belief that African Americans may have been better off under slavery than in a legal system that allows legal abortions.
“[I]n this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say ‘How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.’ And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul.
“And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”
Franks added that he can sometimes say things that are “intemperate,” but added, “I don’t want to hide from the truth.”
Yeah, well, Congressman, your facts are erroneous, and you are a embarrassment to your party, and state, and country. Wonder what the racial composition of Arizona’s second district is? Seems like there would be some black voters in Phoenix suburbs, no?
Discussing civility and outrageous language, Franks wandered into a tangent in which he wound up declaring that “far more of the African American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.” Where, exactly, did he get that idea? Because, as he also explained, “half of all black children are aborted.” (The Centers for Disease Control, which compiles abortion statistics, actually estimates that 33 percent of pregnancies end in abortion for black women.)
Abortion-rights opponents like to compare abortion and slavery; the Dred Scott vs. Sandford case is often seen on the right as the 19th century equivalent of Roe v. Wade. Still, the comments caught the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“To compare the horrors and inhumane treatment of millions of African Americans during slavery as a better way of life for African Americans today is beyond repulsive,” said Stephanie Young, a DCCC spokeswoman. “In 2010, during the 2nd year of our first African American president, it is astonishing that a thought such as this would come to mind, let alone be shared. The next time Congressman Franks wants to make assumptions about what policies are ‘best’ for the African American community, he should keep them to himself.”
I’m glad I’m not the only who was bothered by this statement uttered by President Clinton1
But the part of the interview that worries me comes next, when President Clinton said,
“While I have devoted my life to getting rid of racism, I think this [health care] is a fight that my president and our party — this is one we need to win on the merits.”
This statement required a double take. President Clinton said that he has devoted his life to getting rid of racism? And no one challenged this assertion?
President Clinton has a very checkered past involving racial innuendo, stereotypes, and racialized political strategies. When he first ran for President in 1992 Bill Clinton attacked hip-hop artist Sister Souljah during his speech to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. He likened her to former Klansman David Duke. After the 1984 and 1988 defeats of Democratic candidates, Clinton knew he needed to signal his independence from Jesse Jackson and the racially progressive wing of the Democratic Party. His unprovoked attack on Souljah was part of that active distancing. But, Clinton’s strategy was complex. During that same election, he also appeared on the Arsenio Hall show where he played the Saxophone. Clinton has always been masterful at both embracing and pushing away from black communities, black voters, and black interests based on his own political needs at the moment
Clinton used welfare reform and crime legislation to cement his position as a moderate “new” Democrat. Clinton’s policies made life substantially more difficult for poor black mothers and led to the incarceration of tens of thousands more black men. Repeatedly during his presidency Clinton found his way to the center by ignoring the material needs of black communities. He refused to fight for his nominee and law school friend Lani Guinier who was viciously and inaccurately labeled a “quota queen.” And when his wife was battling Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination last year, President Clinton’s own voice sounded shrill in precisely the same ways as some of Obama’s current opponents.
Despite his office in Harlem and his efforts in Africa, I am unconvinced by President Clinton’s assertion of a lifetime commitment to battling racism.