Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Philomena and The Book of Mormon




Dame Judi Dench is an actress of fascinating ability.  She can play everything from the head of a spy agency to a little old lady.  Her latest movie “Philomena” has her playing the latter role with great sensitivity, depth and flair, and she does it while suffering from the real-life disability of age-related macular degeneration.

The Book of Mormon” (now on national tour) came to Denver this past month.  It is a send-up of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has received numerous honors.  When it opened on Broadway in 2011, it was awarded the Tony for Best Musical.

Both of these shows deserve acclaim for their creativity and entertainment value, but they also should receive notice for their political posturing.  “The Book of Mormon” leaves you with the notion that followers of the LDS faith are sexually na├»ve and cloistered in their understanding of national and international events.

That perspective created a powerful political theme leading up to the 2012 Presidential election.  Even now, one leaves the theater thinking, “Thank God one of those people didn’t become President of the United States!”

“Philomena” is a story about a personal search for reconciliation.  It deserves critical acclaim, but like “Julie and Julia” it takes a perfunctory swipe at Republicans, characterizing supporters of the Reagan presidency as homophobic.

Americans take these theatrical conventions in stride and without comment.

It’s just those with a more humanist view who are left wondering, “Why must these anti-Republican sentiments be so prevalent in American entertainment?”



Monday, November 18, 2013

Healthcare Messaging


Hugh Hewitt’s blog contains the Weekly Column from Clark Judge.  It covers Republican plans for reforming healthcare.  There are just four components:

--Mobility

--Equality

--Tort Reform

--HSA

How simple is that?  We have four straightforward ideas that are easy to communicate and relatively easy to implement.

Mobility means allowing insurance policies to be sold across state lines.  A policy approved in Maryland could be sold to people in Colorado.  Competition comes to healthcare!

Equality means evening out the tax treatment between employer-sponsored and individual policies.  Leveling the playing field!

Tort Reform means changing the legal system to reduce incentives for high-dollar medical liability suits.  Medical malpractice premiums go down!

HSA means continuing the ability for Americans to directly fund their own health expenses.  Healthcare becomes an IRA!

Yes, Republicans have four simple reforms contained in four simple ideas.

I don’t mean to sound like a rabble rouser, but Republicans should commit these four reforms to memory and spread the word!

UPDATE 11/19/2013:
After further thought, I think the slogan should be "Legality! Equality! Mobility! (and HSAs)."  That has an 8 beat cadence to it (if you pause after the "Mobility!") and puts things in their proper order.  Making healthcare legislation conform to the Rule of Law must be the first priority (to include tort reform), and then should come the leveling of the playing field between individual and employer policies.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

White House Down


 
White House Down” is now available on DVD, and it allows us to witness a plot against the president of the United States.  The bad guys have aspirations for nuclear conflagration and huge financial gain.

They just have to get past Channing Tatum.

The film has similarities to the “Die Hard” series, and Channing Tatum takes on the physical characteristics of a Bruce Willis.  The action is intense!

But that’s not why this movie gets a mention in Anti-RepublicanCulture.  It’s because of the political aspect that nobody notices.

Not one critic (not The Hollywood Reporter, not Richard Roeper, not RogerEbert.com) sees the use of politics in the movie.  Nobody notices that the bad guys are characterized in a particular way.

The movie features “right wing” terrorists, a corrupt Speaker of the House, and Jamie Foxx as the heroic POTUS.  If you are paying attention, you might see a connection to Republicans, to John Boehner, and to president Obama.

Utilizing entertainment as a vehicle to characterize Republicans as the “bad guys” is a non-issue.  (Yes, I know, if Islamists were the bad guys, CAIR would be all over it.)

But Republicans cast as bad people?  Not a problem.

The political use of entertainment in America is not at the level we see in the indoctrination of Palestinian children, but it might be getting there.  (See my post on “Julie and Julia” for additional references.)

In the meantime, our culture tells us to move on.  Nothing to see here…


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

News at The Denver Post


Karen E. Crummy, investigative reporter for The Denver Post

Today is Election Day in Colorado.  We are voting on education measures, and it’s a partisan issue.  Republicans favor school reform while the Democratic Party wants to enhance the current system through additional taxation.

The Denver Post has a front-page story that illustrates how “news” is portrayed here in Colorado.  The story is by Zahira Torres, Karen Crummy and Nancy Lofholm.


Financial backers who want school districts to adopt the anti-union, pro-voucher and school- choice model set by Douglas County have fanned out to other parts of Colorado, donating to candidates who are promising similar results.

Among the key donors are businessmen C. Edward McVaney, Ralph Nagel and Alex Cranberg. They have contributed more than $200,000to school board races for the Douglas, Jefferson, Greeley-Evans, Mesa Valley and Thompson school districts.

Colorado Springs real estate developer Steve Schuck has not directly donated to school board races this year but served as a host for a fundraiser to elect a slate of candidates in Jefferson County.

Schuck says he, McVaney, Cranberg and others are purposely focusing contributions where there is the possibility of reform.

"We do try to target (areas) where we think we have the greatest chance to have the maximum impact," he said.

Schuck and Cranberg were members of the host committee for a fundraiser held by JeffCo Students First in support of Republicans Julie Williams, Ken Witt and John Newkirk, who are vying for seats on the board of Jefferson County Public Schools. The fundraiser at the home of Greenwood Village businessman and voucher supporter Brian Watson helped the charitable organization, which is not required to disclose its donors, raise $30,000 for the three candidates.

The three candidates opposing the Republicans have been endorsed by the Jefferson County Democrats and have the support of the teachers union. Tonya Aultman-Betteridge, Jeff Lamontagne and Gordon Van de Water each received more than $8,000 from the Public Education Committee, a small-donor committee of the Colorado Education Association.

Ami Prichard, president of the Jefferson County Education Association, said the local teachers union did not put any money into the races early on but expects to in the final push.

Prichard said she was disheartened by efforts to turn the race into a partisan battle.

"It's really sad that people are using the school board to make a political statement," Prichard said.

In 2003, Schuck; Cranberg, CEO of Aspect Energy; and McVaney, co-founder of software company J.D. Edwards; were instrumental in getting pro-voucher candidates elected to the Colorado Springs District 11 school board.

Schuck said electing candidates who are pro-vouchers and school choice are the "primary objectives" in every board election, but that "each of us goes his or her own way" when it comes to districts.

"We've learned that we've got to be strategic where we put our resources," Schuck said.

Douglas County remains the key battleground with Cranberg and Nagel, the president of Top Rock LLC, bankrolling the campaigns of Meghann Silverthorn, Doug Benevento, Jim Geddes and Judi Reynolds.

Campaign finance records show that an expenditure committee heavily financed by the American Federation of Teachers has spent extensively on candidates Julie Keim, Ronda Scholting, Bill Hodges and Barbra Chase.

In the Thompson School District in Loveland, four candidates endorsed by the local Republican Party have raised $33,000. McVaney and Nagel have donated $26,000 of that money.

The five candidates who are not part of the slate collected $15,000. Donors to some of the candidates included the Public Education Committee, which gave more than $1,800.

Janice Marchman, an incumbent, said she worries that some of the Republican-backed candidates have suggested that Thompson could model its reforms after the efforts in Douglas County.

"I don't know that Thompson can handle Douglas-style education reform," Marchman said, citing higher numbers of English learners and children in poverty.

Robert Rumfelt, co-founder of Liberty Watch, a group that pushes for limited government, said his organization did not get the response it hoped for when it submitted a petition asking trustees to change the way the district interacts and negotiates with the teachers union.

Rumfelt, who supports the conservative slate of candidates, said donations from McVaney and Nagel should not be an issue in the race.

"The guys that run for the union slate, they just get money," Rumfelt said. "So, if there are people who are successful and share values of the conservative candidates, I don't see that that is a problem."

McVaney and Nagel have also contributed $26,000 to a group of candidates running as a conservative slate in the Greeley-Evans School District.

In Mesa County Valley School District 51, the conservative candidates and their supporters have made no bones about the fact that, if elected, they would follow Douglas County's policies. They don't like teachers unions and say they are only one seat away from gaining the majority on the school board.

Democrats "are petrified we are going to push for vouchers and more charter schools," said Linda Gregory, president of the Mesa County Republican Women and a board member of Freedom Colorado, a Tea Party group.

Former Grand Junction Mayor Jim Spehar, whose wife is a teacher and development coordinator in Mesa District 51, said the efforts by conservatives to win school board elections have gone too far.

Spehar said he has seen the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party turn what, by law, is supposed to be a nonpartisan election into an overtly partisan battle with the aid of outside money.

The Mesa Valley candidates running as a conservative slate have raised $24,595.Of that, about $21,000 came fromMcVaney and Nagel.

The candidates not aligned with the conservative cause have raised a total of $33,157. Most of that has come from local donors, including a few Republicans and the Mesa Valley Education Association.

Note how the story is used to characterize Republicans in a negative light.  Republicans have “gone too far.”  They have attended a fundraiser that “is not required to disclose its donors.”  They have turned the election “into an overtly partisan battle with the aid of outside money.”  They “don’t like teachers unions.” They use the school board “to make a political statement” and that’s “really sad.” 

This is a “News” story in The Denver Post.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Starting To Get It


Lee Habeeb, VP of Content for Salem Radio Network

National Review has an article today by Lee Habeeb (h/t Hugh Hewitt).  The article is about story-telling and boils the problems of the Republican Party down to an issue of “messaging.”

This post is titled “Starting to Get It” because Mr. Habeeb points out that Republicans are (gasp!) unpopular.  In our culture, they are cast as “the bad guys.”

I’m sure many who read Mr.Habeeb’s article will simply frame it as another Republican rant.  But the idea that our culture sees Republicans as “the bad guys” is the salient point.

In an earlier post about the elegance of Democratic Party messaging, I brought up this issue in the context of simplicity and repetition.

The Democratic Party pushes The Themes over and over, and reassures its adherents, “You have high ideals, but dislike of Republicans is what makes you popular.”

Story-telling might be good messaging.  Being consistent and repetitive is what engenders power.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Media Research Center

 
 


The Media Research Center operates under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(Yes, that is the type of organization the IRS wishes to suppress.)  As it happens, the Media Research Center (MRC) was founded in 1987, before the current ideological shift in the IRS.

L. Brent Bozell, III (a nephew of William F. Buckley) started the venture.  That’s interesting, as well as this fact: While the MRC often promotes conservative principles, Mr. Bozell says he is not a Republican.

All this is by way of introduction to an MRC study that is out today.  It analyzes the slant of the evening newscasts for ABC, CBS and NBC in covering the partial shutdown of the American government.  The three networks had 124 stories covering the shutdown, from October 1 through October 15.  Here is the significant finding:

Of the 124 full stories and brief items about the shutdown or the pending debt ceiling deadline, 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides, and none specifically blamed Democrats.


The article has a chart and some anecdotal information, but the conclusion is about polling data.  Each of the three networks conducted polling of the American public and found that Americans blame Republicans for the problems of our government.

ABC, CBS, and NBC let Americans know this is what is "right and natural."


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Looking at You Differently


An open letter to my Democratic Party friends:

I am looking at you differently these days.  Yes, I still consider you a friend, but I don’t understand what you are doing.

Here is a concern: You are attracted to organizations that teach you I am a racist.  The “accepted truth” is that because I am a Republican, I want to hurt people with dark skin tone.

Let me put that in perspective.  Perhaps you have a gay son or daughter, and attend a church that teaches that your child is therefore a sinner.  You are taught one thing, yet you know another.

Why do you support an organization teaching principles you know are false?

Another concern is the toleration of government pressure against people of differing ideology.  Why are you comfortable with the use of the IRS for political reprisal?  To me, that seems insensitive and obtuse.

Lastly, because I am a Republican, I suffer dehumanization.  Without a second thought, our culture thinks of Republicans as “mean-spirited, risky extremists.” And lately, the rhetoric has been ratcheted up.  We are now characterized as terrorists, arsonists, murderers and worse.

Again, I see your quiet acceptance and wonder, “What is the attraction for you?”

And more to the point: “Am I really your friend?”


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Always Trying to do the Right Thing


AP Photo by Brennan Linsley at Boulder Municipal Airport, 9/14/2013
The Democratic Party cultivates the notion that it is always “trying to do the right thing.”  The photo above is of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, along with U.S. Senators Mark Udall (on the left) and Michael Bennet (on the right).  The left shoulder of Representative Jared Polis and the chin of Representative Ed Perlmutter are also shown in the photo.

This is a picture of Colorado politicians expressing concern for victims of our recent floods.  Please note that they are all members of the Democratic Party.

America’s cultural understanding that the Democratic Party is always trying to do the right thing is a huge advantage in the world of politics.  It vests moral authority in the Democratic Party, and works to shield affiliates of the Democratic Party from scrutiny.

Here’s a recent example:


The Atlantic Wire covers the story, showing that Time Magazine displays its content differently, depending on whether it is for American consumption or world consumption.  Should we be concerned about the motives of Time?  Not when Americans believe:

            Time Magazine is always trying to do the right thing.

How about the unusual scrutiny of Tea Party organizations by the IRS?   What about the DOJ looking the other way when Colorado citizens violate federal marijuana statutes?  It’s helpful when Americans know:

            Federal agencies are always trying to do the right thing.

With the recent war crimes in Syria, should actors like Ed Asner be concerned about their anti-war message and presidential policy?  Not when they know:

            Hollywood is always trying to do the right thing.

What about a liberal arts college covering up a racism hoax?  Should we worry that colleges are not teaching students the right lessons?  Not when we think:

            School administrators are always trying to do the right thing.

Consider the recent recall of a couple of Democratic Party state senators in Colorado.  Some think the recall was based on a “betrayal in leadership.”  However, the legislators involved do not see it that way.  They believe their Democratic Party ideology is more important than representing the views of their constituents.  Angela Giron and John Morse are confident in knowing:

            They are always trying to do the right thing.

American culture affords the Democratic Party wide latitude because the Democratic Party is accomplished at delivering this narrative.  Our media, the entertainment industry, government agencies and those politicians supporting the Democratic Party relish the power.  Jesse Jackson, Jr., Anthony Wiener, John Edwards, and even Melowese Richardson know their personal problems don’t matter, because:

            They are always trying to do the right thing.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Denver Post Outrage


William Dean Singleton, Publisher of The Denver Post, at the American Society of News Editors Convention in Washington, DC (April 3, 2012).  Photo by Carolyn Kaster

The Denver Post published an editorial on Saturday (9/6/2013) expressing outrage over the recall elections being held in Colorado this week.  The headline was “Recall elections are an unhealthy trend.”  The complaint is that Democratic Party lawmakers being recalled “did not engage in malfeasance, commit crimes or ethical violations.”

The Denver Post knows what Colorado voters should do: “We hope they’ll see the greater good in rejecting the recall as a tool to solve policy disagreements.”

A year ago, The Denver Post had an opinion on another recall election.  In Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker was being recalled for enacting a law that ended collective bargaining rights for most state workers in Wisconsin.

Here The Denver Post placed a different characterization on the election.  The headline was “A ray of hope in Wisconsin recall election.”  The election suggested “a willingness of the public to stand by candidates who make hard choices.”

In 2012, The Denver Post saw recall elections as “a ray of hope” but in 2013 they became “an unhealthy trend.”

Why the change of heart?  What might cause the editorial board of The Denver Post to see one recall election as “good” and another recall election as “bad?”

UPDATE 9/11/2013:
Despite the lecture from The Denver Post, voters recalled both Democratic Party politicians yesterday.  This is despite the Democratic Party having a 5:1 spending advantage in the election.  Dave Kopel explains the outcome.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE 9/11/2013:
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz characterizes our recall election as "voter suppression, pure and simple."  The Denver Post editorial board says the election "closes an ugly chapter in Colorado's political history."

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Droit du Seigneur



John McWhorter has an intriguing article in The Wall Street Journal today.  It is coming to us on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Mr. McWhorter is a professor at Columbia University and writes a column for Time magazine.  He is a linguist.

If you are not sure what that’s all about, please check out his TED lecture from earlier this year.  Or even better, see yesterday’s post on Miley Cyrus at the New Republic.  John McWhorter can change the way you think.

His article in The Wall Street Journal discusses how we should honor Dr. King’s dream.  As background, he shows how “The Dream” has been co-opted by our culture to place Americans with dark skin tone in a position of eternal indignation; where they think of themselves as “underdogs with a bone to pick.”

Mr. McWhorter is showing us what a “conversation on race” looks like.

In contrast, we will not see that point of view reflected in today’s speeches.  Instead, we will see classic objectification and further evidence of African Americans being held in the Democratic Party’s Droit du Seigneur.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Democratic Party and Mike Coffman

 

Congressman Mike Coffman is up for re-election in 2014.  He represents our 6th Congressional District here in Colorado.

Mike is a veteran, and has served in both the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps.  He is distinguished by having resigned his position as State Treasurer of Colorado to serve a tour of duty in Iraq from 2005 to 2006.

He was elected as Colorado's Secretary of State in 2006, and then elected to the House of Representatives in 2008.

The 6th CD in Colorado is "competitive," and Andrew Romanoff is the Democratic Party candidate.  The advertising supporting Mr. Romanoff will not be engaged in enhancing his image.  Rather, it will work to denigrate Congressman Coffman, portraying him as a bad person.  In marketing parlance, these are "negative ads."

This post will chronicle the advertising that is done against Mike Coffman during the 2014 campaign.  Let's get started!

June 2013 - This is an ad released on Spanish-language radio stations. It is sponsored by the House Majority PAC and tells us about Rep. Coffman's sinister intent. The Spanish-speaking announcer says Congressman Coffman intends to deport 800,000 young people who just want to achieve the American dream:


August 2013 - This ad, sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters, characterizes Rep. Coffman as a person who is unreasonable, keeps his head in the sand, and holds extreme views:


August 2013 - A second ad from the League of Conservation Voters criticizes Rep. Coffman  for holding extremist views, being in the pocket of "Big Oil" and denying climate science:


UPDATE 9/3/2013:
Steven Hayward at Power Line explains the 97% consensus claim made by LCV.

September 2013 - A third ad from the League of Conservation Voters continues the "He's a Denier!" characterization:


October 2013 - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee begins a radio ad campaign against Mike Coffman.  Here's the script:

(Doorbell rings).

(Male VO): Hello, Congressman Coffman here, just in from Washington.

(Female VO): Uh.  Hi.  Aren’t you supposed to be doing something about that shut down?

(Male VO): I’m here to talk about what I’m doing these days.  First, I’m working hard to take away your new health care benefits.

(Female VO): What?  Congressman Coffman !?!

(Male VO): That’s right.  We’ll put the insurance companies back in charge of your health care.

(Female VO): You’ve got to be kidding me.

(Male VO): Oh we’re dead serious -- so serious that we shut down the government over it.

(Female VO): Congressman Coffman -- that’s just irresponsible.  And, well… reckless.  Oh, and what happens to your health care?

(Male VO): Oh, don’t worry about me.  Voted myself taxpayer-funded healthcare for life!  So I’m taken care of, but thanks for your concern.

(Door slams shut).

(Female VO): Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, www.dccc.org.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.


June 2014 - The VoteVets Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization chartered to focus on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf of veterans and their families.  While billing itself as non-partisan, VoteVets.org is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.

It has released this ad which characterizes Representative Coffman as being insensitive to veterans.


While the ad says that Mike Coffman "voted against troop pay," it fails to note that the vote came on the National Defense Authorization Act, which covers diverse social issues such as Marriage and Civil Rights as well as the overall budget for national defense.

Characterizing Mike Coffman as being anti-military is a stretch, but the Democratic Party shows how it is done.

September 2014 - CounterPAC tells us Mike Coffman takes political contributions from unknown sources, that might include Russian oil billionaires, Too-Big-to-Jail Wall Street Bankers and a Chinese Casino Owner!


September 2014 - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee teaches us that Mike Coffman is a threat to women.


October 2014 - Erica Payne and the Agenda Project use the outbreak of Ebola to demonize Republicans.  The ad flashes a picture of Mike Coffman (at 44 seconds from the beginning) and warns us that Republicans are killers.


October 2014 - The Andrew Romanoff campaign continues the "War on Women" narrative against Congressman Coffman.


November 2014 - Mike Coffman wins re-election 52% to 43% over challenger Andrew Romanoff.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's The Culture, Stupid!


January 21, 2008 photo of Bill Clinton by Tami Chappell / Reuters

James Carville coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid” for the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.

The phrase comes to mind in the wake of the personal devastation we see from political confrontation with the Democratic Party.  Tuffy Gessling and Mark Ficken are casualties at the 2013 Missouri State Fair.  Paula Deen is a victim of the Democratic Party’s pursuit of racial politics.

In each case, the operative phrase is, “It’s the culture, stupid!”

Byron York’s analysis of the Missouri clown incident is revealing.  He points out how President Bush was depicted as a chimpanzee and a clown.  Prize-winning books were written about President Bush being assassinated.  Bill Maher remains a staple on HBO, not despite his vitriol against the former president but because of it.

It doesn’t get any clearer than that: Anti-Republican culture dominates our United States of America.

Just ask a rodeo clown.

UPDATE 8/14/2013:
Michelle Malkin has 10 images that support Byron York's thesis, complete with the tag line, "Lighten up, buttercups."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Republican Grand Gullibility


2011 picture of Trayvon Martin posted from The Daily Caller

 Earlier this week president Obama conducted a press conference on what he called “The Trayvon Martin Ruling.”  He spoke of how “There are very few African American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.”  He emphasized that “…the violence that takes place in poor black neighborhoods around the country is born out of a very violent past in this country.”  He concluded by calling for all of us to do some “soul-searching.”  He suggested that we should “convene a conversation on race.”

I am one of those “old white guys” who was around in the 1960s.  I was raised in California, but ended up in Valdosta, Georgia.  I remember being cautioned to be careful in the “dark section of town.”  I remember being shocked to see the “Whites Only” signs.  I remember walking along the street and being conscious of people with dark skin tone looking at me as if I were going to harm them.  I wanted to exclaim, “Don’t judge me by the color of my skin!”

I am also a Vietnam veteran.  I remember wearing a uniform through airports and feeling the same sense of being an outsider.  My presence was inappropriate to many of the traveling public.

Our President’s sense of being treated with suspicion is familiar to me, as well as every other human being.  We all have experiences where we feel uncomfortable in public situations.  The feeling is so common that our entertainment industry frequently uses it as a theme.  Who hasn’t seen one of the “Shrek” films that romanticize the travails of a lovable ogre?

So what do we make of the President’s call for “a conversation on race.”  Republicans want to support the idea.  We all want to remove any stigma attached to those like the lovable Shrek.  It’s a sign of our Grand Gullibility.

In 1829, Mary Howitt published a poem titled “The Spider and the Fly.”  The first line of the poem is “'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly.”

Keep that in mind as you contemplate “a conversation on race.”  The Democratic Party teaches Americans that Republicans are racists.  The Party does it by inference, claiming that members of the Democratic Party are not racists, yet racism is a chronic problem in our American culture.  We are left to contemplate the question, “If Democrats are not racists, which political group could possibly be the problem?”

The Party also claims that its members are uniquely subjected to racism, as evidenced by the fact that nine out of ten American voters with dark skin tone tend to vote for the Democratic Party.  There is no other American identity group so strongly aligned with a political party.  The odds are thus about ten to one that individuals with dark skin tone are attracted to the Democratic Party, which puts them in direct conflict with Republicans.

Given that “a conversation on race” is intended to drive home the idea that Republicans are racists and want to harm people with dark skin tone, what possible good could come from this “conversation?”

Maybe it will expose The Reality.

“The Reality” is this: Racism in America is a political construct.  It is meant to strengthen the Democratic Party by teaching its members to hate the opposition party.  It is unseemly, but it works.

Here is a thought experiment to help better understand the issue:

If nine out of ten Americans with dark skin tone voted for Republicans, could the Democratic Party still teach that Republicans are racists?  Would people believe that Americans with dark skin tone are inherently racist?  (I imagine this would bring an end to the “raaaaacism” industry immediately!)

Also, what if I head on down to the office of the Clerk and Recorder and register as a Democrat?  Will I still be considered a racist?  (Since there is no racism within the Democratic Party, I will be immediately exonerated.  With the stroke of a pen, I am cured of my affliction!)

These examples might show how racism is used in America as a political weapon, but there is still a problem.  Republicans don’t seem to be capable of embracing the obvious.

We are skipping down the street to the melody of "La Vie en Rose."  Our Republican "Grand Gullibility” still defines us.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Week

 



The Week is a news magazine that highlights issues of the world in a concise and compelling fashion.  It is brought to us through the efforts of Felix Dennis (pictured on the right) and William Falk (on the left).

The individual in the middle is Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times.

One of the standard features of The Week is its “Best Column” format.  It devotes a page to “Best columns: The U.S.” and a page to “Best columns: Europe.”  It highlights two or three articles with the implicit guarantee that these are the important issues of the past week.

In its current issue (June 7, 2013), The Week features an article by Charles M. Blow of The New York Times.  The title of the excerpt is “The GOP’s ‘slavery’ insult.”

This is what The Week published:

Why do Republicans keep on “comparing blacks who support the Democratic candidates to slaves?” asked Charles M. Blow.  In the GOP’s “Democratic plantation” trope, blacks vote for Democrats only because Democrats take money from white people and give it to black people in the form of goodies like welfare and food stamps.  It’s “the highest level of insult,” implying that unlike other voters, African-Americans are too stupid and lazy to make informed decisions about politics.  To serve as safe mouthpieces for this slur, Republicans keep looking for black conservatives with a bomb-throwing rhetorical bent.  The most recent example is E.W. Jackson, an extremist nut whom the GOP nominated to run for lieutenant governor of Virginia.  Jackson has attacked gays as “very sick,” said liberalism has been “far more lethal to black lives” than the Ku Klux Klan, and dredged up the Democratic plantation analogy, saying, “We’re going to the slave market voluntarily today.”  When Republicans nominate black candidates of this type, who is their intended audience?  It’s certainly not the 95 percent of black voters they think of as shiftless slaves.


Mr. Blow teaches Americans that Republicans think of black voters as “shiftless slaves.”  The Week tells us this is what America needs to know.

Allen West could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE 7/4/2014:
Felix Dennis died on June 22, 2014 from throat cancer.  He was 67.

Photo of William Falk by Chester Higgins, Jr. of The New York Times.  Photo of Felix Dennis from his Web site.  Photo of Charles Blow by Damon Winter of The New York Times.


Friday, April 19, 2013

The Elegance of Simplicity



The Power Line blog asks a rhetorical question, “Why aren’t more voters repelled by the constant parade of vulgarity, hate and violence that characterizes modern liberalism?”  They point to demonstrations at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

Power Line’s question is provocative, but it has an easy answer.

Here in America, liberalism is practiced by the Democratic Party, and it is easy to become a Democrat.  You don’t need to learn any difficult policy prescriptions or constitutional issues.  You simply have to believe in your feelings, and hold to one guiding sentiment:

I have high ideals and I dislike Republicans.

Consider the elegance of that conviction.  It is a kind of “homage to self esteem” for adults.  You know you are better than others because you are idealistic and keep a sharp focus on your central animus.

There is similar orthodoxy in other cultures.  In a totalitarian environment, your high ideals might be vested in a particular leadership figure and your hatred directed at another country.  Alternatively, your high ideals could be associated with religious fervor and your hatred directed at those who practice a separate religion.

These feelings are universal characteristics of the human condition.  They have been with us forever, and will always bring an attraction to those political/religious movements that adopt this simple structure.

UPDATE 5/17/2013:
Peggy Noonan and Kim Strassel have articles in today's Wall Street Journal that look at the impact of the idealism of the Democratic Party on our culture.  Americans are starting to pay attention.

UPDATE 5/24/2013:
Peggy Noonan and Kimberley Strassel press their insistence for an independent investigation of actions by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trompe-l'oeil

 
Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Foreign Policy has an article on a museum exhibit in Berlin, Germany.  The article is by Benjamin Weinthal and covers the story of the Jewish Museum Berlin and its exhibit “The Whole Truth…everything you always wanted to know about Jews.”

This is controversial.

Ilana glazer writes about it, as does Bill Glucroft.  What’s the controversy?  Our culture tells us we are beyond anti-Semitism, yet the reality might be different.

Here is another picture:



Sean Hannity featured a group of conservative men and women on his 4/9/2013 television show.  What was controversial about that show?

You be the judge.

These types of events are newsworthy because they deal with the unexpected.  The viewer in each instance is asked to make an assessment about what he or she is seeing.  Is it necessary?  What’s the reality?  Is there a sinister motive involved?

The unique quality of trompe-l’oeil is that what you see must be assessed.  It cannot be dismissed.

Let’s celebrate the courage of the Jewish Museum Berlin and the “Hannity” show.  Our culture teaches us that the world is settled; that when we see anti-Semitism in the Middle East and elsewhere, we must accept it.

Isn’t it refreshing to see people advocate that we don’t have to accept it?


Monday, April 1, 2013

The Face of Voter Suppression


Melowese Richardson, “The Face of Voter Suppression in America”

Melowese Richardson is an election judge in Hamilton County, Ohio with 25 years of experience.  She has just been indicted by an Ohio grand jury for voter fraud.

What’s important to understand is that while Ms. Richardson has been accused of voting multiple times for President Obama, she does not believe this is fraudulent activity.  As an election judge, and a protector of our democratic freedoms, she believes the principle of “one person, one vote” does not apply to her.

Where would she get that idea?

She seems to have been taught that her actions are necessary in the fight against Republicans who want to hurt Americans.  She is simply doing what is right and natural.

And where might she get that point of view?

Here is a video of yesterday’s Easter Sunday sermon presented by Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC.  Ms. Harris-Perry teaches us that Republicans actively engage in voter suppression, and that photo identification of voters is a sinister activity.

Here are her remarks:

It may not be an election year, but that does not mean we can rest in our constant vigilance to protect the fragile and increasingly endangered health of our democracy.  Yes, folks, “This Week in Voter Suppression” is back, with a vengeance.  The Nation magazine’s Ari Berman reports that in the first quarter of 2013, states around the country have proposed 55 new voting restrictions.  The suppression-proposing states include Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

But the worst offender this week was Virginia, where Governor Bob “Trans-Vaginal” McDonnell signed a new suppression law that will likely cost the state more than $7 million and disenfranchise more than 850,000 eligible, legal voters.  His tool of choice, like that of most of the states, is the entirely unnecessary government-issued photo ID and because you followed our “This Week in Voter Suppression” series here on MHP in 2012, you already know that these laws are a solution to a problem that does not exist.

You also know these restrictions have a clear, disparate impact on the poor, the physically disabled, the elderly, college students, and black and Latino voters.  These laws do not protect the integrity of democracy.  They undermine it.  These laws undermine the basic precept of a healthy democracy: That to live in a democracy is to have the right to govern, not just to be governed; to rule, not just to be ruled; to be heard, not silenced - and here is the big one - to live without fear that winners take all.

You see, democracy is unique, powerful and enduring, not because it serves the interest of winners.  I mean, totalitarian regimes do that.  Democracy’s special claim on world history is that it protects the rights and interests of the losers as well.  Winning an election is not the same thing as staging a coup.  Democracy is for losers because it ensures that winners don’t take all.  They can only take their share.  But it also ensures that the less powerful have a stake, a voice and an equal capacity for self-governance.

We the people means all of us, which is why, on Thursday, President Obama signed an executive order creating a special commission designed to protect our ability to cast a vote and have a voice.  It’s just in time, because the threats to our votes are very real.

Do you sense the characterizations?  Republicans are anti-democracy and want to hurt the disadvantaged.  Their “tool of choice”: Voter Suppression.

Melowese Richardson believes it is legitimate to vote six times in order to achieve the necessary fairness for democracy in America.

Melissa Harris-Perry is sympathetic.
 
UPDATE 5/23/2013:
John Fund highlights another instance of voter suppression, this time on a much larger scale:
Lois Lerner, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations
 
UPDATE 8/14/2013:
Melowese Richardson has been convicted of voter fraud and sentenced to five years in prison.  In addition, 94 election workers at 16 precincts (all but one of these precincts supervised by Democratic Party election judges) have been excluded from working future elections.

UPDATE 8/28/2013:
In Minnesota, two women are charged with double-voting.  Although a federal crime, this is typically not prosecuted by the DOJ.  (Melowese Richardson was convicted of a state crime, not a federal crime.)  For our current federal government, this is not a problem, at least if you vote the "right way." 

That appears to be the defense of Farhiya Dool and Amina Hassan in Minnesota.  Their friends say they simply made an honest mistake.  Their attorney says she finds it "offensive" that these women have been criminally charged.

When the Constitution and the rule of law are considered "offensive" in America, what could possibly go wrong?

UPDATE 3/24/2014:
J. Christian Adams points out that Eric Holder will not bring charges against Melowese Richardson, even though federal law makes it a felony to vote more than once for President.  Mr. Adams characterizes our United States Department of Justice as "facilitating a culture of brazen criminality."

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Disparate Impact

 

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Report is a weekly program that covers news events in an analytical format.  The 3/24/2013 broadcast had a segment on President Obama’s nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor.

In the discussion, Jason Riley, editor of Political Diary brought up “disparate impact” as a theory of racial discrimination.  Here is his explanation:

Adherents of disparate impact believe that statistics can be used to prove discrimination. They sort of worship at the altar of racial parity in outcomes. Blacks are 13% of the population? They should be 13% of dentists and 13% of the freshman class of UCLA or 13% of the firemen. And if they're not, then legal action should be taken, and discrimination can be shown on that basis alone.


That’s a powerful concept.  If a policy is in place and it produces disparate outcomes (regardless of how race neutral that policy might be) it is deemed “discriminatory” and action must be taken. 

We see multiple case studies on this effect at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

If “disparate impact” has achieved legitimacy with issues of race, can it achieve legitimacy on issues of politics?  Consider the situation of people with dark skin tone.  In the United States, the odds are ten to one that a given adult from this group is affiliated with the Democratic Party.  “Disparate impact” in matters of race is thus a measure of disparate impact on the Democratic Party, with race being used as a proxy.

Does it make sense to contrive public policy to favor a political party, regardless of the subterfuge?

Maybe.  It is (of course) what politics is all about, but to hide behind a veneer of racial pretense seems awkward.