Free Markets, Free People
Katherine Zernike at the NYT writes about a just released “study” by the NAACP which is entitled, “N.A.A.C.P. Report Raises Concerns About Racism Within Tea Party Groups".
I know, I know – knock you over with a feather, no? And the timing? Perfect. Just before the mid-terms, a chance to label the opposition racist. Not that anyone would see through the attempt or anything.
I’ve scanned the “study” and wasn’t particularly impressed with the level of “truth” I found. For instance, here’s an example of an assumption of racism not evident at all in the situation, but somehow the NAACP managed to dig it out:
Shortly after the Seattle and Denver protests, on February 19, 2009, a stock analyst for a cable television network, Rick Santelli, let loose a five-minute on-air rant from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Yelling “This is America!” he attacked the home mortgage rescue plan the Obama administration had unveiled the day before. It was “promoting bad behavior,” he argued, by rewarding the “losers” who took on more debt than they could afford. Santelli said that Obama was turning America into Cuba, and called for a capitalist “Chicago Tea Party.”
An unstated racial element colored Santelli’s outrage over the Obama administration’s home mortgage rescue plan. During the years leading up to the housing crisis, banks had disproportionately targeted communities of color for subprime loans. Many of the so-called “losers” Santelli ranted about were black or Latino borrowers who’d been oversold by lenders cashing in on the subprime market. Their situations were worsened by derivatives traders, like Santelli, who packaged and re-packaged those loans until they were unrecognizable and untenable.
Don’t you love that “unstated racial element” assertion? Because that’s precisely what it is. Santelli’s remarks were not something anyone I know interpreted as “racist”. It was a cry against government intervention in an area where it doesn’t belong. His “this is America” resonated not because everyone thought he was talking about blacks and Latinos, but because freedom means the right to both succeed and fail. “Promoting bad behavior” was a shot at government, what it had done (and enabled) and was then considering bailing out.
Another portion goes into trying to tar the entire Tea Party movement with various characters that have apparently shown up at events. A “this guy knew this guy who was acquainted with this guy who is an anti-semite” type of inuendo that is supposed to show, one supposes, that there is underlying racism and anti-Semitism at the base of every Tea Party movement. For instance:
Also on the platform that day was the band Poker Face, playing music, providing technical back up, and receiving nothing but plaudits from the crowd. The band, from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, already had a reputation for anti-Semitism. Lead singer Paul Topete was on the public record calling the Holocaust a hoax, and writing and performing for American Free Press–a periodical published by Willis Carto, the godfather of Holocaust denial in the United States.
My guess is that the crowd giving “nothing but plaudits” had no idea who Poker Face was and, unless the band did anti-Semitic songs, had no one awareness of the lead singers absurd position on the Holocaust.
And then this damning bit of “evidence”:
In preparation for Tea Party protests held on July 4, 2009, national socialists and other white supremacists created a discussion thread on Stormfront.org, the largest and most widely accessed of the many white nationalist websites. While highlighting the distinction between themselves and the majority of Tea Partiers who were not self-conscious about their own racism, one person argued, “We need a relevant transitional envelop-pushing flyer for the masses. Take these Tea Party Americans by the hand and help them go from crawling to standing independently and then walking towards racialism.”
Or said another way, unlike the NAACP, the white supremacists assumed the “Tea Party Americans” weren’t racist and needed their help in becoming so. In essence the attempt by the NAACP is to give a litany of white supremacist organizations and torturously try to link them to the Tea Party – with the inevitable slip ups like that above where, in fact the supremacists neatly contradict their premise.
And of course there’s irony. In one portion of the “study” the NAACP goes after Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs as a dangerous “Islamaphobe”. She’s cited as a very important cog in the Tea Party movement. Of course Geller is Jewish which sort of injures the “Tea Partiers are anti-Semitic” canard but never mind that. How about this instead:
With leaders like Geller, it is not surprising to find language on a ResistNet Tea Party website that denigrates an entire grouping of people because of their faith. “We are at a point of having to take a stand against all Muslims. There is no good or bad Muslim. There is [sic] only Muslims and they are embedded in our government, military and other offices…What more must we wait for to take back this country of ours…”
We have an entire “study” dedicated to denigrating an entire grouping of people as “racist, anti-Semitic, nativist and homophobic”, but the NAACP is a bit upset that Geller isn’t a fan of Islam.
Anyway, you get the drift. Read it if you want too, but you’ll find very little light and a whole bunch of tenuous nonsense that is excruciatingly void of real facts. Certainly not at all unexpected nor surprising.
Two responses I found interesting came from Project 21 members – a black conservative organization:
Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli, "This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to mobilize support for their policies through fear. Even though Obama’s policies are harmful to the black community, tragically, they seek to manufacture blind loyalty to the President by scaring them about the opposition. As a frequent speaker at tea party rallies nationwide, I know the movement has nothing to do with race and everything to do with toxic liberal policies."
"As a black man, I scorn and resent this never-ending assault on the morals of all black people by the NAACP," said Project 21 member Oscar Murdock, who took part in the Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. "In spite of being an organization that was correctly established to procure and preserve rights for a people to whom rights and dignity were being denied, the NAACP has descended into a group that is a disgrace to the humanity of the very people it was created to elevate. It is now only a bigoted and politically biased blight among organizations."
I’d almost bet that these folks will soon be called “Oreos” or “Uncle Toms” by members of the organization which sponsored this smear job.
According to the NYT, Obama’s MTV appearance wasn’t as “light” as those who proposed it hoped it would be and essentially he was on the defensive for most of it.
I didn’t watch, so I can’t say, however if true, it simply validates the overall feeling of frustration and dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs. He was hit with a question of unemployment and DADT. Probably the most interesting, at least to me, was this:
A graduate student, citing Arizona’s immigration law and the opposition to an Islamic center in New York, said race relations in the country seem to have deteriorated since the idealism inspired by Mr. Obama’s election, and he asked, “What happened?” Mr. Obama said racial progress has been fitful throughout history, and “oftentimes misunderstandings and antagonism surfaces most strongly when economic times are tough.”
What has “race” to do with either Arizona’s immigration law or the Ground Zero Mosque? Seriously – if those coming across our border and wanting to build a mosque next to where Islamic extremists killed 3,000 Americans were lily white, would it change the argument?
If they were white Muslims would everyone say, “oh, well, never mind – build your mosque where ever you want”?
If those coming into our country illegally were blond haired and blue eyed, would the prevailing consensus be, “hey, that’s fine, no problem”?
No. It wouldn’t. This is more of the left’s attempt to create the narrative that any opposition to radical Islam or illegal immigration is based in race hatred. Would I guess that’s probably the case for a small minority? Sure. But is it the case for the vast majority?
Consider the questions I’ve asked and whether or not you’re concerned because the majority of those coming across our border are Mexican or because they’re doing so illegally. Or whether your opposition to the GZM is based in race hatred or the inappropriateness of the attempt to build such a structure representing the religion of the zealot killers next to the site of those they killed?
Certainly there is still some work to do in the area of race relations – but it is not at all helpful to try to invent it where it really doesn’t exist. Of course you can’t call your opponents “Nazis”, “brown shirts” or “racists” if you don’t do the groundwork first, can you?
Welcome to post-racial America:
CYNTHIA TUCKER, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Well I think it may help the Democrats in some races this time, Chris, because some of the Tea Party candidates are so extreme. But there is another issue. There is, as Norah said, a whole lot of voter anger, discontent out there. We haven’t talked about the elephant in the room, and I don’t mean the Republicans: race. Changing demographics. Fear of a white minority.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: That’s so interesting.
TUCKER: Obama’s election has suddenly made many white Americans aware of the loss of a white majority.
MATTHEWS: That’s so interesting.
TUCKER: That’s what this crazy summer has been all about. Anti-mosque construction. Anti-immigrant ravings. It, that fear is very difficult for Obama to overcome.
As Noel Sheppard asks, then how do you explain the fact that 43% of “white America” voted for Obama or that he had 78% approval rating in January 2009 according to Gallup?
And, of course, it couldn’t be the rotten economy, the promise that the trillion dollar stimulus would fix it when it actually seems to have made it worse (or at least had no effect), or that the government took over car companies, has proposed trillion dollar deficit budgets as far as the eye can see, rammed an unpopular health care law down our throats and has seen no leadership whatsoever out of the White House could it?
Nope – it’s all about losing the “white majority” isn’t it?
An amazing conclusion that could only be cobbled together by a professional race baiter. And another in a long line of excuses tendered to explain the massive unpopularity of the liberal agenda.
Seriously if he’s not bright enough to know the difference or pretends not to, why pay attention to him?
The Rev. Walter Fauntroy, the non-voting delegate who represented the District of Columbia from 1971 to 1991, called on African-Americans to organize a "new coalition of conscience" to rebut the rally scheduled for Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial featuring Fox News pundit Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux — I meant to say the Tea Party," Fauntroy told a news conference today at the National Press Club. "You all forgive me, but I — you have to use them interchangeably."
Well, Rev. Fauntroy, if you do, you’re intellectually dishonest or just not very bright and, frankly, a run of the mill race baiter.
Here’s the diff, Rev. You’d be welcome at Saturday’s rally as a concerned American regardless of the color of your skin. The same can’t be said about any KKK rally, can it?
The fact that he feels compelled to say ignorant and inflammatory things like that says a lot more about the Rev. than those attending the rally.
"I don’t want you to think I’m angry," Fauntroy said. "[But] when this right-wing conservative exclusionary group comes to highjack our movement, we have got to respond. And I’m looking forward to that Coalition of Conscience, in defense of jobs and freedom for women."
Yeah, because none of those in DC on Saturday would defend jobs and freedom for women, would they? Especially the females and unemployed among them.
Hey, Rev — the race card is dead. You and those like you who have played it at every turn and make outrageous claims like comparing a rally of concerned Americans to the KKK have killed any cache it had left.
It doesn’t work anymore.
Instead, things like I’m writing now – ridicule – are the standard response. You deserve it. It should be heaped on you. Along with a huge helping of scorn. You’re like a little kid who holds his breath and stomps his feet and says the most hateful thing he can because things aren’t going his way.
And I’ll bet, after tarring all those Americans at the rally with your wide racist brush, that you’ll claim to be a Christian too, won’t you? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Does everything have to be about race today?
Juan Williams, who I have always thought was a somewhat sane liberal, had this to say about the Missouri vote on health care while speaking with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday":
WILLIAMS: Look, I think this is, and as far as the Missouri vote, you get 70 percent inside an echo chamber of older white people, no not in St. Louis not in Kansas City, saying, "Oh yeah, we don’t like a requirement that everybody has to have healthcare even though the hospitals in Missouri say it’s gonna drive up our costs, everyone is just going to run to the emergency rooms when they have their accidents."
Sort of stunning isn’t it?
Well, because a bunch of old white folks in an "echo chamber" decided they didn’t care to be forced into a system they didn’t want, so it really doesn’t mean anything.
He goes on to make it worse:
WALLACE: What happened to respect for democracy?
WILLIAMS: I have tremendous respect for democracy, but as Ted Olson…
WALLACE: The proposition was on the ballot…
WALLACE: …and 71 percent voted in favor of it.
WILLIAMS: That’s who’s energized. The unions didn’t participate and they didn’t get out there…
WALLACE: Well, that’s their problem, isn’t it?
It is indeed. But using Williams argument, the last presidential election doesn’t mean anything because the side that voted for Obama was "who’s energized" at that time. But this is the first time I’ve seen “who’s energized” as a basis of dismissing the result.
This is how the left writes you off. They categorize you, make up nonsensical claims about legitimacy or illegitimacy, try to make it about race or pseudo-rights and then dismiss the result.
That, in a nutshell, is why they’re going to get shellacked in November. And they haven’t a clue as to “why”. They think you dumbass white folks, or tea partiers or angry white men or grouchy senior citizens don’t know what you’re talking about. So you turn out, after being duped in the “echo chamber” and go through your preprogrammed vote. Thus they, and their vote, are irrelevant.
It is an amazing bit of self-delusion, but there you have a perfect example found in the words of Juan Williams.
So much for "post-racial".
I’m sure you’ve been watching the goings on for the last few months – the race baiting, the Black Panther case – or lack thereof – the NAACP calling the Tea Party "racist" with little or no proof, the "journolist" appeal to call those on the right "racist" in order to blunt criticism of Obama and finally, the Shirley Sherrod case.
Essentially, both sides need to take a breath. But even with a breath, it is clear that there is nothing "post-racial" about the climate in this country. Ben Smith’s take:
The America of 2010 is dominated by racial images out of farce and parody, caricatures not seen since the glory days of Shaft. Fox News often stars a leather-clad New Black Panther, while MSNBC scours the tea party movement for racist elements, which one could probably find in any mass organization in America. Obama’s own, sole foray into the issue of race involved calling a police officer “stupid,” and regretting his own words. Conservative leaders and the NAACP, the venerable civil-rights group, recently engaged in a round of bitter name-calling that left both groups wounded and crying foul. Political correctness continues to reign in parts of the left, and now has a match in the belligerent grievance of conservatives demanding that hair-trigger allegations of racism be proven.
Yeah, heaven forbid that proof be demanded – in the past all it’s taken is yelling “racist” and the deed is done. Now suddenly, proof of the word is demanded? Outrageous.
But to the bigger point – if this is a ‘national conversation’ about race, I’d sure see it when we’re yelling at each other. The absurdity of all of this has gotten beyond amusing. It’s now destructive.
“I thought we were going to move beyond this,” said Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative historian of race and a Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who called the current racial climate “a catastrophe.”
“There’s a kind of heightened racial consciousness that’s very worrisome. It’s not good for us, it’s not good for the very fabric of American society,” she said, objecting in particular to the claims of racism against the tea party movement.
Yup – I think there were a lot of us who hoped we were beyond this. But for some, racism and race is big business. Take Jesse Jackson. In fact take Jesse Jackson recently on the LeBron James kerfuffle. It was he who made the comparison to plantation owners and slaves. Nothing the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers had said that remotely reminded anyone of someone talking about a “runaway slave” as Jackson portrayed it. But Jackson’s mind is focused on one area and one area only – everything is racial to him, even a business disagreement.
While there may be plenty to criticize in the way Dan Gilbert handled the situation and what he said about James, but to an impartial observer, it had nothing to do with race. It was a tantrum by an owner who felt this particular players hadn’t played up to his potential in the playoffs and blasted him. But “plantation owner” and “runaway slave”? Give me a freakin’ break.
One of the things I said would help sooth racial tensions was the passing of my parent’s generation – they may have been the “greatest generation” because of WWII, but there was a lot of bigotry within that generation as well (my parents being a very interesting exception). Now I’m of the opinion that a lot of this will begin to cool when the generation of race hustlers, like Jackson, and race baiters, like Al Sharpton, meet their reward.
It’s a pity really – this should be old news. We should be watching documentaries about this and shaking our heads sadly.
Instead, we have a new 21st century race war going on. And I believe much of the blame falls on the Obama administration and Holder’s DoJ.
Regardless though, it’s pitiful.
he NAACP and a certain Democrat have, this week, alleged the Tea Party (in whole) is racist.
In the case of the NAACP, it is a story much like private unions – an organization that was once very relevant trying to maintain its relevance and becoming more marginal and hysterical as a result.
In the case of Representative Shelia Jackson-Lee (D-TX), it’s the usual – pure, unadulterated and stultifying historical ignorance. In Jackson-Lee’s case, she addressed the NAACP saying:
And I thank you professor very much. I’m going to be engaging you with those very powerful numbers that you have offered on what the tea party recognizes, uh, or is recognized as. Might I add my own P.S.? All those who wore sheets a long time ago have now lifted them off and started wearing [applause], uh, clothing, uh, with a name, say, I am part of the tea party. Don’t you be fooled. [voices: "That's right.", applause] Those who used to wear sheets are now being able to walk down the aisle and speak as a patriot because you will not speak loudly about the lack of integrity of this movement. Don’t let anybody tell you that those who spit on us as we were walking to vote on a health care bill for all of America or those who said Congresswoman Jackson-Lee’s braids were too tight in her hair had anything to do with justice and equality and empowerment of the American people. Don’t let them fool you on that [applause]….
A history channel documentary about the period puts it very succinctly:
As Meredith Jessup points out at Townhall:
Yes, the Klan removed their "sheets" and Sheila Jackson-Lee was SO outraged, she decided to run for public office… on their party’s ticket.
It’s time to stop allowing the revisionist history that has been so much a part of the Democrats attempt to disassociate themselves (with, unbelievably the NAACP’s help) from their sordid, racist past. Just remember, Bull Conner, Orville Faubus, Lester Maddox and George Wallace weren’t Republicans – and the last member of the US Congress who wore the sheets Jackson-Lee denounces was the Democratic Senator from West Virginia, Robert Byrd.
The only racists I see out there are those who falsely accuse others of it out of malicious desire to silence their political opponents by again playing the race card where it doesn’t belong. And that would include the NAACP and Ms. Jackson-Lee.
ake Tapper brings us today’s QoD from none other than our "post-racial" president while being interviewed in South Africa. The quote pertains to al Qaeda’s operations in Africa and in particular the bombings in Uganda.
"What you’ve seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."
Per Tapper, White House aides explained that as “an argument that the terrorist groups are racist." Not just generally racist, but their racism is aimed at blacks:
Explaining the president’s comment, an administration official said Mr. Obama "references the fact that both U.S. intelligence and past al Qaeda actions make clear that al Qaeda — and the groups like al Shabaab that they inspire — do not value African life. The actions of al Qaeda and the groups that it has inspired show a willingness to sacrifice innocent African life to reach their targets."
So what the hell was Iraq? Who were the suicide bombers there? And when the AQ operatives flew the planes into the World Trade Center, how many were “African” and how much “innocent African life” was sacrificed to reach their targets.
This is absurd. Al Qaeda is an equal opportunity killing machine. If they have a prejudice it is against all things western and all things non-Muslim. Their method of operation is to use those locally they can recruit and, if necessary to import fighters. But anywhere they’ve ever operated that haven’t given a rip about “innocent … life”. In fact, their violence against innocents in Iraq was their undoing.
I can’t tell you how uninformed and, frankly scary it is to think our top leadership actually believes this stupidity. Al Qaeda has a single purpose – to see their distorted, violent and totalitarian brand of Islam conquer the world. And they will use anyone or kill anyone who will either advance that goal or stands in its way.
To pretend that they are merely another in a long line of racist groups and their racism is aimed only at Africans is to essentially say these people know nothing about the real al Qaeda, their history or their goals. And that, folks, should scare the living hell out of you.
That’s about the nicest thing I can say about Courtland Milloy’s screed in the Washington Post. Entitled "Tolerance of white militias exemplifies the racial double standard", Milloy tries his best – which is none to impressive – to whip up a little racial hatred and divisiveness.
His two tools to lend credibility to his poorly constructed argument are the Southern Poverty Law Center, which sees a right wing conspiracy and racial hatred behind every corner, and a special Chris Matthews did – Chris Matthews – on Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia.
Matthews special was entitled "The rise of the new right", but there’s nothing especially new about the SMVM. It has been around since at least 2002 and their website openly announces ("On line since 02/02/02").
Apparently the SMVM also saw some potential problems in perhaps, oh I don’t know, 9/11? And it existed through most of the Bush presidency which, one would guess, would mean race has nothing to do with their existence or they’re wildly colorblind and just didn’t know that George Bush was a cracker.
Maybe Obama is just being savvy by not coming down hard on the militia. As Potok said, "There’s a huge amount of anger, and what we are really lacking at this moment is a kind of spark." In an apparent attempt to defuse the tension, Obama does such things as supporting a U.S. Supreme Court decision crippling D.C.’s gun control law and then signs a bill that allows visitors to national parks to carry guns.
Potok, of course, is with the SPLC and while he certainly is correct in pointing out there is a “huge amount of anger”, the implication that it is racially based and found solely on the right is simply unsupportable. MIlloy is also obviously one of those who believes that only government should have guns.
And speaking of double standards, Milloy somehow forgot to mention the Obama DoJ’s decision not to prosecute a well-known black militia, the New Black Panthers, for obvious (it’s on film) voter intimidation in Philadelphia during the last presidential election.
He finishes with this:
Still, gun advocates keep him in their sights. They show up outside presidential town hall meetings brandishing firearms. When a young black man, identified only as Chris, showed up at one such event with a rifle strapped to his back, white protesters cited him as proof that race had nothing to do with their contempt for Obama.
But they missed the point.
Had the black rifleman showed for, say, Ronald Reagan’s "states’ rights" speech in Philadelphia, Miss., back in 1980, they might still be dredging the Pearl River for his remains.
Really? From Philadelphia, MS to Philadelphia, PA – we’ve come a long way haven’t we Mr. Milloy. If this is the best you can muster to keep the fires of racial hatred stoked, it’s going to be a long, cold winter for you, isn’t it?
Someone apparently had an extra bowl of Cheerios this morning:
Syrian President Bashar Assad said Israel’s attack on the Gaza aid flotilla has increased the chances of war in the Middle East, in a BBC interview on Wednesday. Assad said that Syria was working to prevent a regional war but he added that there was no chance of a peace deal with the current Israeli administration, which he called a “pyromaniac government”.
The rhetoric keeps ratcheting up as if various Arab factions are trying to talk themselves into testing Israel again. It’s been a while, but the in the past the results have been uniformly bad for the Arab nations.
But there has been a recent change. Turkey is now talking tough as well. And, add in Iran’s attempt to ingratiate itself with the Arab world and suddenly it’s a little different ballgame.
Turkey’s inclusion against Israel in the rhetorical wars now being waged has encouraged many Arab pundits to hail the Turks and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as the much awaited “leader” of the movement against Israel. One writer hailed him as “more Arab than the Arabs” while criticizing Arab leaders as too passive.
There have been huge pro-Turkey rallies in Gaza, Beruit and Damascus. Recently, text messages from viewers displayed on Al-Jazeera TV during a June 4th Erdogan speech in Konya, some of which said: “Erdogan, you are king of the Arabs,” and “Son of the sultans, you have restored the glory of the Ottomans.”
Hizbullah considers Erdogan the new rock star of anti-Israeli leadership, and some Gazans are naming their children after him.
What Turkey and Erdogan have apparently managed to do, according to one writer, is bring those who have rejected Hamas and Hizbullah because of their Iranian ties on board in a unified “Islamic” effort to confront Israel:
“Unlike the Palestinians and many Arabs who support Nasrallah, large groups had yearned for a leadership unconnected to Iran or the new jihadi Shi’a… They rejected Hamas and accused the Palestinian jihad movement of being an instrument of Shi’ite Iran. Now Turkey has emerged to compensate for the incapacity of the leaders of the Arab regimes.
“Erdogan [has emerged as a figure] whose portrait can be displayed in homes, on billboards, and on cars. When all is said and done, the integration into the resistance movement of those who [had] hesitated is now being achieved through the gate of Islam.
Turkey seems to have finally rejected the west and put to rest its desire to be a part of it. Although it retains NATO membership, it appears to have no further interest in the EU. Turkey also appears to be again casting its eyes in the direction of its past glory – the Ottoman Empire. Certainly it isn’t pretending it would again rule over all of its former territories, but Turkey seems to feel it could be a major if not the major influence in the area of the Middle East. One sure way to work toward that goal is to take on Israel.
While it publicly claims it is still a secular nation ruled by secular institutions, this latest situation with Israel and Turkey’s reaction are all Islamic and designed to appeal to the Islamic world in general and the people of the Middle East specifically.
This is one of the conflicts that is brewing on the horizon. It is a new twist in a very old situation. But it promises real trouble if not addressed and defused quickly.
Of course, that will take leadership, not apology tours. I’m not sure that the US is up to the job. And I think the reason we’re hearing all this from Turkey now is they sense that is the case.