May, 2017 archive
Leonard Pitts, Jr., explores the deep hypocrisy of “thoughtful conservatives.”
Worse, for all the disdain with which they regarded them, “thoughtful” conservatives were never above trying to co-opt the energy the rowdies brought to the table. There was no conspiracy theory too bizarre, no rhetoric too hateful, no tax pledge too restrictive, no Alaskan governor too loony, no reality show host too coarse, mendacious or incompetent, that they could not make common cause in pursuit of power.
Which offers an interesting context to news that House Speaker Paul Ryan was pointedly snubbed last week by a group of eighth-graders. Students from South Orange Middle School in New Jersey were on a field trip to Washington, D.C., when they were offered a chance to take a picture with Ryan, often posited as the most thoughtful of thoughtful conservatives.
Dozens of them declined. The reason, as student Matthew Malespina explained to The Washington Post: Ryan is a man “who puts his party before his country.”
Some observes have huffed that, had this happened to Barack Obama, it would have been called “racist.” Which is laughable, given that Obama spent eight years being snubbed in ways great and small, usually for reasons far less substantive than the one Malespina gave.
Do please read the rest.
Extra Credit Discussion Question:
Is “thoughtful conservative” an oxymoron? Defend your position.
Burgers are served at a Burger King, subs are served at a Subway, pizzas are served at a Pizza Hut, so, logically, what must be on the menu here?
Meanwhile, Josh Marshall tries to make sense of the backchannel to Russia and comes to this conclusion (follow the link for his extended discussion of why he so concluded):
Solomon Jones wrtes about the recent killings in Portland, Oregon, in which two men were knifed to death as they tried to protect to teenagers from a ranting racist. Jones points out that there is a question forever unasked about such events in the United States:
The second more troubling fact is this. White supremacists such as Christian who engage in terroristic acts don’t face the same question posed when the perpetrator is a religious minority or a person of color.
Who radicalized him?
You can follow the link for his answer.
Mine is that (the existence of) racism and racists is so common in the U. S. that no explanation is needed.
Elie Mystal wonders why persons and the press aren’t noticing. A snippet:
The Trump administration ALREADY has a worse record on civil rights than anybody since Woodrow Wilson. But because the president doesn’t tweet about it, and because his most famous bigoted policy — the Muslim ban — has so far been stymied by the courts, people act like Trump’s been net-neutral on race.
Well, some white people act like that, at least. I’ve actually been asked the question “what has Trump done that’s so bad on race” (by white people, of course). Not dumb, Trump-voting, “I have a problem with Japanese people wining a race on Memorial Day” white people. But by educated whites who seem to just not notice (or care?) that the chief law enforcement officer in the country is trying to use his office to fight a race war against urban communities.
If there is a federal policy that protects minorities from people like Trump’s dad, Trump is going to try to dismantle it. I think that’s worthy of attention, regardless of whether Trump is colluding with Russia to stamp out civil rights in this country.
Racism appears to be okay again, just like it was when I was a young ‘un.
Now police are searching for the driver of a pickup that witnesses say intentionally ran over Kramer and his 19-year-old friend, Harvey Anderson, during a confrontation at the campground off Donkey Creek Road early Saturday.
Both victims are members of the Quinault Indian Nation, which fears the deadly crime may have been racially motivated: Witnesses said the driver could be heard shouting racial slurs, the tribe contends.
Lee Camp explores how our contemporary robber barons create artificial scarcity so as to make themselves richer and the rest of us poorer.
Share the politeness.
News outlets report that the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office says in a news release that Shawn Perkins was a passenger in a car with the two teenage girls on Monday. Authorities say Perkins allowed the 15-year-old girl, who was sitting in the back, to handle his handgun. The weapon discharged, hitting the 16-year-old driver in the back.
What’s most striking about this is that charges have been filed.
One wonders what keeps this from being yet another “tragic accident” in which a “gun discharges” all on its ownsome. Inquiring minds want to know.
It’s really not difficult to recognize racist behavior in oneself or others. All one must do is open one’s eyes.
Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do. Learn how to use GNU/Linux and its plethora of free and open source software to get stuff done with computers.
It’s not hard; it’s just different.
When: Monthly TWUUG meeting on the first Thursday of the month (June 1, 2017).
Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.
Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.
In a thoughtful article in The Charlotte Observer, mulls the the implications of “freedom from.” I’m not sure that I agree with everything he says–certainly not his reflexive retreat into bothsiderism, when it is one side that relies on the politics of fear and division, whereas the other side, with some few exceptions spurns them–but I do recommend his article to your attention.
Here’s a snippet (I’ve italicized the phrase “freedom from” for the sake of clarity where I thought it appropriate):
Ours, however, has always been a culture that places a high priority on individual freedom – and, over the last several decades, pressures from both the left and the right (note the bothersiderism–ed.) have steadily weakened the ties that bind us together. Freedom from traditional sources of authority and moral truth. Freedom from the responsibility to contribute to what our Constitution calls the general welfare. These are but a few examples.
I’m not suggesting that the expansion of individual freedom has been a bad thing. I am suggesting that it has come at a cost, which we are only beginning to appreciate. A society in which the greatest good is a citizen’s freedom from will cease to function as a society in any real sense of the word and, instead, become a collection of disconnected individuals who, either by design or by default, have as little to do with one another as possible.
Der Spiegel parses Angela Merkel’s speech about the relationship between Europe and the Trumpled States of America. They ask and attempt to answer four questions. Here’s one question and answer (emphasis in the original–follow the link for the rest):
On the eve of Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe, heads of state and government around the world were eager to put on a veneer of harmony. That effort, though, is over — and Merkel is one significant reason why. Since Trump’s victory last November, many see the German chancellor as the leader of the free world and her appearance on Sunday was a sharp break with the careful Trump-related rhetoric she had thus far employed. To be sure, she reminded him in her congratulatory message after he won the election of the values that form the basis for the trans-Atlantic relationship, but she had nevertheless consistently sought to emphasize commonalities rather than divisions. Merkel’s comments on Sunday are a turning point because she cast doubt on past convictions — and provided a clear indication that she is losing hope that she can ever work constructively together with Trump. Or — a slightly different interpretation — she is now willing to express those doubts that have been building for some time. Either way, she did so in a manner which was, for her, unusually blunt.
In related news, Josh Marshall attempts to understand the change in tone by Europe’s leaders. Here’s the crucial bit (emphasis added):
Trump’s speech alone is likely a sufficient explanation. But I suspect there’s an additional element. Most of the major European and NATO leaders had already met Trump in Washington – Merkel, May, Gentiloni, Trudeau and others. But I suspect in meeting as a group, over a more extended period and in a context specifically focused on Europe and NATO there was a further realization that what they are watching from across the Atlantic is no act. Indeed, Trump appears more impulsive and erratic in person than on TV. Rather than growing into the job he’s growing into the role of aggressor.