“What? No, I think he looks just fine! He always looks fine!”
This will undoubtedly be called a partisan post, and when it is, I will be ticked off. It is not partisan to object to outright lies. It is partisan to ignore and accept lies according to who the liar is. This is the bind the news media has placed itself in, and a brilliant, throbbing example occurred during President Obama’s last press conference.
Discussing his concerns about state voter ID laws, Obama said,
“We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote. It traces directly back to Jim Crow and the legacy of slavery, and it became sort of acceptable to restrict the franchise. . . . we are the world’s oldest continuous democracy, and yet we systematically put up barriers and make it as hard as possible for our citizens to vote….This whole notion of election-voting fraud, this is something that has constantly been disproved. This is fake news.”
Wait, by “this is fake news,” was the President really announcing that what he just said was fiction? That would be very impressive, and a great new standard: imagine if the news media did that, and flagged their misleading stories! But I’m pretty sure that he was trying to make us believe what isn’t true, and a falsehood that supports the phony narrative that efforts to ensure the integrity of elections are really racist plots. Explicates John Fund:
“All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting. Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption…In 2012, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., of election officials from more than 60 countries; they convened there to observe the U.S. presidential election. Most were astonished that so many U.S. states don’t require voter ID…. [O]ur neighbors require voter ID. Canada adopted voter-ID requirements in 2007 and saw them reaffirmed in 2010; they have worked smoothly since, with almost no complaints. Mexico’s “Credencial para Votar” has a hologram, a photo, and other information embedded in it, and it is impossible to effectively tamper with it. …Britain is painfully learning that it too must take steps to restore confidence in its elections. Sir Eric Pickles, a former Conservative cabinet minister, warned earlier this year, in a government-commissioned report titled “Securing the Ballot,” that voter fraud had been allowed to fester in Muslim communities because of “politically correct over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion.” Sir Eric said that the authorities were in a “state of denial” and were “turning a blind eye” to fraud cases. Last month, Theresa May’s government responded to the problem. It announced that “endemic corruption” meant that voters in certain areas will now have to show photo identification. The government may even require people to prove their UK citizenship before granting them the right to vote.”
Today Harper Lee’s “sequel” to “To Kill A Mockingbird” is officially released, though reviews have already been published. The big story is that the new novel’s now grown “Scout” discovers during the civil rights upheavals of the 1950s that her father and hero Atticus Finch is a racist, had attended a Klan meeting, and is prone to saying things like …
“Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world?”
The new Atticus is providing ammunition to those who enjoy tearing down American heroes and icons. Finch is perhaps the most revered fictional lawyer in American culture, admired by the public as well as the legal profession. The American Bar Association named its award for fictional portrayals of lawyers in films and literature after Finch, whose pro bono defense of a wrongly accused black man in a bigoted Alabama town forms the central conflict of Lee’s classic. Burnishing Atticus’s reputation further was the beloved portrayal of the character, reputedly based on the author’s father, by Gregory Peck in the Academy Award winning film adaptation. Peck received the Award for Best Actor as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and as a civil-rights activist often stated that he admired Finch over all his other roles. In 2003, American Film Institute voted Finch as the greatest hero in American film.Wrote Entertainment Weekly, “[Finch] transforms quiet decency, legal acumen, and great parenting into the most heroic qualities a man can have.”
Atticus, however, has had his detractors through the years, notable among them the late Monroe Freedman, a habitual iconoclast and contrarian who wrote two law review articles declaring that Finch was neither hero nor a particularly admirable lawyer. He wrote in part: Continue reading
The Trail of Tears, just one of those pace-setting civil rights initiatives by President Andrew Jackson, father of the modern Democratic Party.
With my head swathed in ice and restraints, trying to stem the explosion (I have vacated the house of all other living things), I note this, which I happily was unaware of until a few hours ago, from a history of the Democratic Party, on a new Democratic National Committee web site .
“For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers’ rights, and women’s rights.”
Health care? Okay. Social Security? Obviously. Workers’ rights? A closer call, but sure. Women’s rights? Sold, though literally none of these can be traced back to 1812. Nobody was thinking about health care until the 20th Century. Worker’s rights became an issue in the late 19th. Social Security wasn’t a twinkle in any Democrat’s eye until the 1930’s, and the Democratic Party wasn’t very concerned about women’s rights until the 20th century either.
But can the Democrats claim 200 years’ support of civil rights? Absolutely not. To claim this is beyond mere lying, and reaches Orwellian proportions as an effort to re-write history. It is also blatant misinformation, clearly designed for the uneducated, the historically ignorant, the gullible or the stupid—you know, most people—or it was written and approved by members of this group who built the DNC site. Let’s be unequivocal: The Democratic Party did NOT lead the fight for civil rights for “more than 200 years.” No historian believes this or has written this. It is a complete, nonsensical, made-up, silly piece of dishonest puffery: Continue reading
It is interesting that Attorney General Eric Holder would choose to become the point man for a partisan effort by the Obama administration to demonize new voter qualification measures in 14 states. Holder is an embarrassment, credibly accused of lying to Congress in its efforts to get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious fiasco, and justifiably regarded by objective observers as incompetent even before his claim that the botched and deadly gun-smuggling operation went on under his nose without his cognizance, because, you know, he doesn’t read his e-mails. There are many viable theories why President Obama hasn’t yet asked Holder to leave, all plausible, all disturbing: Obama really thinks he’s doing a good job; Obama is being loyal to a loyal employee to the detriment of the nation; Obama is too passive an executive to fire anybody; Obama is afraid of backlash if he fires his highest-ranking black appointee; and my personal favorite, Holder may be horrible, but he’s not as horrible as the last Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, whom Bush refused to fire. Also inexcusably.
It is possible that Holder’s speech equating reasonable reforms to limit the opportunities for voter fraud with voter suppression was calculated as a way to ingratiate himself to left-leaning media critics whose support he will surely need as the Fast and Furious noose tightens. It is possible that his argument that the measures are aimed at minorities and the poor is part of Team Obama’s electoral strategy to divide the country—further—along lines of economic status, race and ethnicity. It is even possible that he is sincere. No matter: it is an unjustifiable argument. Continue reading
Worse than Joe "You Lie!" Wilson; worse than Allan "The Republicans want you to die!" Grayson. Will anyone say so?
Many Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have specifically stated in the past that they have no interest in budget-balancing issues, and that their primary and over-riding objective is to keep government money flowing to their neediest constituents. That’s a narrow and irresponsible position, but defensible if your view of the duty of elected representatives is that they are only advocates for the voters who elect them, and not bound by any obligation to national welfare as a whole. Even if one accepts this approach (shared by many in the Tea Party), it does not excuse executing that advocacy by stirring up race hatred with diatribes attributing monstrous and unjustified motivations to political adversaries.
In other words, it doesn’t excuse slanderous comments like these about the Tea Party and its adherents, issuing like flaming vomit from the uncivil mouth of Rep. Andre Carson:
“This is the effort that we are seeing of Jim Crow. Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second class citizens. Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me… hanging on a tree. Some of them right now in Congress right now are comfortable with where we were fifty or sixty years ago. But it’s a new day with a black president and a Congressional Black Caucus.”
“The Biz of Baseball” discusses a historical document proving that even as Jackie Robinson was preparing to make his color barrier-shattering debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, an internal committee examining the race issue for Major League Baseball was arguing that integrating the teams at the time would be a mistake. Author Maury Brown concludes:
“As the 1946 steering committee document shows, there were those at the highest level of the sport that saw African-American players as beneath the quality of their White counterparts, and that they saw the influx of African-American fans as something that would lower franchise values. Take that in, as baseball takes credit for being at the front of the Civil Rights movement.”
Major League Baseball is engaged in just such a credit-taking exercise now, as it prepares to host its annual ” Civil Rights Game, “an exhibition between the Cardinals and Reds in Cincinnati. Continue reading
Listening to Glenn Beck disparage Theodore Roosevelt is a little like listening to Ed Wood, auteur of the deathless classic, “Plan Nine From Outer Space,” condemning John Ford as an unimaginative hack.
At his uproariously received speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Beck, the libertarian talk-show host, flamboyant TV showman on Fox and current Tea Party hero effectively racked up cheap applause by pulling a quote out of Teddy’s “New Nationalism” speech and deriding it. Beck didn’t analyze and critique the speech, of course, because that would have required a discipline of scholarship and a rigor of intellect that he simply does not possess. He simply quoted this section… Continue reading
There are so many people who escape our notice despite great deeds and remarkable lives. One of those who had escaped mine was Lester Rodney, who died this week. He was an Ethics Hero. He was also an American Communist. Continue reading