Relaxed Gun Laws Mean Black People Can Get Guns Too!?

This Kansas City Star op-ed, while using Black Lives Matter language, makes the claim that pro-gun legislators only think of rural white hunters, and don’t consider that lax gun laws mean that Black people can get guns to murder with.

“White legislators do not care that black men in Kansas City and St. Louis can kill easier because of the laws passed in Jefferson City.”

Sigh.

Now I Know Who Mary Fallin Is

Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma, gained my notice by expressing this extremely creative history of Oklahoma at the Republican National Convention:

Governor Mary Fallin

“The history of my great state of Oklahoma offers a great example of pursuing the American Dream. It was built and settled by pioneers movibe west to seek better lives. During the Great Land Run of 1889, thousands of families rushed to put a stake down on empty plots of land. They built tent cities overnight. They farmed the land and they worked hard. And, in 1897, eight years after the land run, a handful of adventurous pioneers risked their own money — not the federal government’s money — to drill Oklahoma’s first oil well, the Nellie Johnstone. By doing so, these early-day pioneers changed the future and Oklahoma forever and today Oklahoma is one of the nation’s key energy producers and job creators. President Obama wants us to believe that Oklahomans owe that success to the federal government — to the Department Of Energy,to the EPA, to the IRS, or maybe even to him. Mr. President, we know better. As we say in Oklahoma, that dog won’t hunt.”

I recommend the following party game: have someone read this statement aloud (or play the youtube video!). Everytime Fallin says something that is TOTALLY MADE-UP AND/OR OBSCENELY OFFENSIVE, everyone takes a shot. The first person to black out loses.

Who’s the Bigger Fraud?

From the AP:

The numbers suggest that the legitimate votes rejected by the [Voter ID] laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent. Thousands more votes could be in jeopardy for this November, when more states with larger populations are looking to have similar rules in place.

So… doesn’t that indicate that Voter ID laws in fact perpetrate greater fraud than the “fraud” they’re supposedly fixing? Isn’t preventing someone from voting some sort of crime?

Just some thoughts.

Also from the article:

A Republican leader in Pennsylvania said recently that the state’s new ID law would allow Romney to win the state over President Barack Obama.

Huh. YOU DON’T SAY.

“Conservatism Is a White People’s Movement”

John Derbyshire, recently fired from the National Review, a popular conservative magazine, for being too racist (yeah, I guess it is possible), is now finally free to say what he really thinks.

And this loudly-self-proclaimed Conservative has a thing or two to say. On a white supremacist blog he now writes for.

Conservatism. . .is a white people’s movement, a scattering of outliers notwithstanding.

Always has been, always will be. I have attended at least a hundred conservative gatherings, conferences, cruises, and jamborees: let me tell you, there ain’t too many raisins in that bun. I was in and out of the National Review offices for twelve years, and the only black person I saw there, other than when Herman Cain came calling, was Alex, the guy who runs the mail room.

Nail on the head. But why is this?

[C]onservative ideals like self-sufficiency and minimal dependence on government have no appeal to underperforming minorities—groups who, in the statistical generality, are short of the attributes that make for group success in a modern commercial nation.

Oh, I see.

He deliberates what name to give to himself and other “true” non-establishment conservatives.

I actually think “White Supremacist” is not bad semantically. White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with. There have of course been some blots on the record, but I don’t see how it can be denied that net-net, white Europeans have made a better job of running fair and stable societies than has any other group.

Haha, history just “came up with” colonization, imperialism, and genocide! How about that! And whites just happened to benefit from it. What a beneficial coincidence for John Derbyshire.

Normally, I wouldn’t want to participate in making such people’s voices louder than they already are. I choose to highlight occasional instances, like this one, to remind complacent people that overt RACISM STILL EXISTS. And in very prominent places.

Not to mention all the less in-your-face kinds. But that’s what I usually talk about on this blog anyway.

“Saving” Babies from the Horrors of an African Childhood

Let us join Nancy French in congratulating herself for saving a baby from the horrific prospect of being raised in Africa. French wrote an article entitled I’m a White Republican Raising a Black Child: Deal With It to raise awareness about how awesome she is.

When I hear this self-congratulatory rhetoric around transracial and/or international adoption, I always pause and think. The self-congratulations typically come from middle, upper-middle, and upper-class heterosexual white families who have adopted a child who is of color and/or born in another country. There is typically lots of applause from other whites for their “good deed”. The assumption being that a middle-to-upper class white upbringing must be superior to other kinds of upbringing, and that by allowing a normally-inferior individual into the white club, a meritorious act has taken place. This is part of what is called the White Savior Complex. It is a relic from colonialism, when whites felt it was their mission to spread across the planet and “improve” the “backwards” races. The colonial mindset is still very present with us, as when this author insinuates adventurism with phrases like: “poverty stricken African tribal area” and their savior status by rescuing a “starving, abandoned girl” from such a terrible place. As I recall from grade school, Africa is actually broken up into political units known as “countries”, but French is kept very busy letting the world know about her good deeds that she can hardly be expected to know unimportant details about insignificant parts of the world.

Then I start to wonder about the big picture. French’s adopted daughter has a biological mother and father. Where are they? Why are they so poor? Why couldn’t they keep their child? Do they have rights? Isn’t there any value to the culture she was born into and taken away from? Why are so many African nations “poverty-stricken”? How are the world’s dominant countries implicated in this poverty?

I just happened upon an article about the struggles of Congolese mothers against the backdrop of political violence: A Congo Mother Survives Cannibalism to Save Her Children: Why Her Photo Matters. Interestingly, the article notes that much of the conflict was instigated by European colonists. Now mothers have to protect their children from cannibalism. If only French could adopt even more African children.

The right to raise your own children is a fundamental human right, and a pillar of the Reproductive Justice movement. Yet it is easier for white Americans to reframe themselves not as colonialists with serious responsibilities to other countries we have impoverished, but as pure, loving saviors who just want to help the children. Do we really have a right to take these children that trumps our responsibility to ensure that all mothers enjoy the right to raise the children they birthed?

Obviously, I am not the first one to have these thoughts. I would recommend further reading, starting with these articles:
The Lie We Love
Black Kids in White Houses
All Your Children Are Belong to Us

Another question that just popped into my head: If French’s daughter had instead grown up in Ethiopia and tried to immigrate to America as an adult to find a better life (the better life that French hopes to offer her by raising her), would French support her access to American residency? Or is it only by fulfilling French’s need to have another child that her daughter earns her right to live in America?

The Racism Trayvon Martin’s Murder Has Cracked Open

Those following the Trayvon Martin murder case, in which an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a neighborhood vigilante who has not been charged with any crime, have probably observed that the case seems to draw white racism out into the open.

For example, someone in Michigan altered a lighted traffic sign to say “Trayvon a n—–“.

Martin’s dead body was subjected to drug tests, whereas the murderer, George Zimmerman, was not subjected to similar tests.

Neo-Nazis, paradoxically worried about the safety of whites in Sanford, Florida, have organized armed white supremacists to patrol the streets in search of, appartently, blacks angry over this injustice. Fox News originally reported that they are a “civil rights group”.

On Fox News, Geraldo Rivera suggested that Martin is partially to blame for his own death for being black and wearing a hoodie in public.

On a wider scale, a poll found that people who identify as Republican and/or white are more likely to think this injustice is receiving too much publicity.

As the parents of young black men are forced to have “the talk” about the realities of racial prejudice in America, one white Republican, a very angry one at that, is seeking to get out a different message to young men, one just for whites and Asians: stay away from black people, except rich ones, whom you will need to prove you aren’t racist.

No, I am not exaggerating John Derbyshire’s stance. In fact, his published words are so racist that even the conservative publication National Review fired him over this article.

His article includes such pieces of wisdom as “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally,” “Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians,” and “The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.”

He also informs racists on tactics to superficially paste over their racism: “You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs [intelligent and well-socialized blacks]. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.”

I hear constantly from whites about how racism isn’t a big deal, isn’t really a factor any more, is just an excuse used by people of color not to achieve, etc. RACISM IS A BIG DEAL. In Martin’s case, RACISM KILLS.

Criminalizing the Poor Is Good Politics

Uh, hello, even Fox News can tell this is a bad idea:

Nearly two dozen states are considering plans this session that would make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And Wyoming lawmakers advanced such a proposal this week.

Driving the measures is a perception that people on public assistance are misusing the funds and that cutting off their benefits would save money for tight state budgets — even as statistics have largely proved both notions untrue.

…The issue has come up in the Republican presidential campaign, with front-runner Mitt Romney saying it’s an “excellent idea.”

Of course the millionaire thinks it’s okay to invade the privacy of people in desperate situations and treat them like criminals for being poor.

There’s a word for that: classism.

Statistics indicate that people who receive public assistance are no more likely to use drugs than the general population. Budget analysis shows that testing is so expensive, and so few people actually fail the test and get kicked off assistance, that it costs much more than it saves. Additionally, there is a trend of these laws getting ruled unconstitutional in court.

So why would Republicans still support bills that discriminate pointlessly, add cost to state budgets, and will probably get declared unconstitutional?

Because they are counting on the existence of stereotypes about the poor, and that this discrimination will win them short-term political points.

Huzzah!

Some state politicians have tried to add in drug testing for state legislators, who receive even more money from the government than recipients of public assistance. None of these measure have been adopted or seen the same kind of vigorous support as drug testing for the poor. Huh.

Return of the ‘Welfare Queen’

John Blake has something insightful to say about racially-coded language in presidential campaigns at CNN.

He discusses Reagan’s “welfare queen” myth and how subsequent presidents and president-wannabes have used language that is “colorblind” on the surface – insofar as it doesn’t explicitly refer to people by the name of their race – but yet uses commonly understood code-words for race. So politicians can still appeal to that (rather large) racist vote while still reserving plausible deniability for the not-so-racist vote.

By the 80s, it was pretty hard to be an electable candidate for major office and still be openly racist. So racists or racist-panderers had to find some sort of middle ground. And that ground was first broken by the “welfare queen” image, what Blake describes as the “lazy African-American woman who refuses to get a job and keeps having kids”.

Several Republican presidential wannabes have gone right back to tread this well-worn ground, still depending on the false but commonly-held notion that the majority of public assistance recipients are black. Both Santorum and Romney have criticized people who depend on “entitlements” or “somebody else’s money”. Of course, clearly Gingrich has taken it to the max with his “food stamp president” comment and his talk of abolishing child labor laws and putting “poor” children to work in the schools that they should rather be attending.

Other people have already analyzed this well. Check out:

The Crunk Feminist Collective

Jason Eastman at Sociological Images

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite at the Washington Post

When the Tea Party Controls Your School Board

Interesting things happen when local Tea Party affiliates infiltrate your school board:

  • They implement racial and economic segregation in one of the most integrated school systems in America: Wake County School District in North Carolina. (With the financial backing of a wealthy Libertarian.)

You may recall that we have former Tuscon School District Superintendent Tom Horne (supported by his local Tea Party) to thank for this mess.  His legacy is being dutifully carried forward by current Superintendent John Huppenthal, “who threatened to withhold millions of dollars if TUSD didn’t terminate the nationally acclaimed [Mexican-American studies] program immediately.”

Then Tuscon school administrator Lupita Garcia comes out and actually says: “This country is called America, okay? And they study US history. If you were to go back to Mexico… you would study Mexican history.”

  • They remove mention of racial minorities and critique of wealthy whites from history books in Tennessee.

Here is some of their actual curriculum criteria:

“No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership.”

Also:

Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds, the [coalition of Tennessee Tea Party’s] lead spokesman during the news conference, said the group wants to address “an awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

  • And how can we forget that last year, Tea Party affiliates in Texas attempted to edit out the word “slavery” from their textbooks and replace it instead with the term “Atlantic Triangular Trade“.

Some Conservatives Kindly Took the Time out of their Day to Broadcast to the World that They Are Racist & Islamophobic

Newt Gingrich helpfully informed the confused world that there need be no more concern about the Palestinians displaced and mistreated by the Israeli state, because Palestinians don’t exist.

Remember, there was no Palestine existing as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. We’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places.

He went ahead and renamed these 11 million non-people, “a group of terrorists that are firing missiles every day.”

Somebody go tell all those confused fake Palestinians with their totally fake grievances! My Palestinian friends are going to be pretty surprised to hear that they don’t exist, but that they nevertheless spend their days firing missiles!

Fun fact: Israel as a state didn’t exist until 1948. Does this mean that Israelis are an “invented people” too?

In related news, The Learning Channel (TLC) is running a reality show about 5 Muslim families in Michigan called “All-American Muslim”. EVERYBODY PANIC!

The Florida Family Association, for one, is panicking.

The Learning Channel’s new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.

Wow. They don’t even address how many of the people featured on the show don’t even exist, because of their fake Palestinian roots.

The FFA has started a boycott campaign to erase this threat of tolerance and diversity from television. Lowe’s has enthusiastically jumped on board, saying that “there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you [the FFA] brought to our attention.”

I would love to hear a more thorough explanation of exactly why that is. No really. I’m sure it would be fascinating.

The FFA kindly provides a list of companies that have dared to continue advertising, even after they were warned that the show depicts MUSLIMS. I recommend taking time out of your day to support those companies or send them a note of thanks.

Assess the danger level yourself:

“Patriarchal, Racist & Mean-Spirited” Law Temporarily Blocked in Florida

Florida’s brand new Tea Party-approved law requiring all food stamp and other public assistance applicants to pass a drug test before accessing aid has been temporarily blocked. It seems Federal Judge Mary Scriven was concerned it violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure.

Before signing the law, [Governor Rick] Scott made several references to people on welfare using drugs at a higher rate than the general population. Maria Kayanan, of the ACLU in Florida, called the law “patriarchal, racist and mean-spirited.”

Pre-judicial block, while the law was in operation, over 99% of applicants passed their tests. (6,968 out of 7,000)

This Tea Party-approved measure is estimated to cost the Florida government $178 million a year.

Sounds like a small-government, cut-wasteful-spending, fiscal-conservative type of measure to me. That’s why I’m certain it has nothing to do with poor-bashing, stereotypes, or racism. Just the cold hard facts!

It’s not like we need myths about the good-for-nothingness of the poor to prop up the solid truth of our tots meritocratic capitalist economic system.

Oh, and FYI, Gov. Scott founded the company, Solantic, that has the sole government contract to do this testing.

Politician Blames College, Marijuana for her Brush with Same-Sex Pedophilia

Linda Wall is running for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates as an Independent. She would like you to focus on her qualifications for office, such as her strong anti-gay and ex-gay credentials, and not pay too much mind to her little “mistake”: that one time when she sexually molested a female middle school student while she was a gym teacher.

You see, she was under the influence of “college” and “marijuana”, and, well, now she’s a Christian, and we all know Christians never molest children or have same-sex orientations. So your daughters are safe around her now. She even alludes to this incident on her campaign website:

[W]hen I went away to Longwood College, I allowed liberal professors to destroy my Judeo-Christian upbringing. I guess one could say I became the “prodigal daughter”. But when my rebellious years came to a close I knew it was the Lord that I needed.

I mean can you really blame her after what she must have went through? She added: “You do that out of college sometimes. Some people do, some people don’t.”

Yeah, some people (statutorily) rape children out of college, some don’t. Six of one, half dozen of the other, ya know? And now that she has done time fervently lobbying to restrict gay’s and women’s rights, we can all forget about this, right?

As an aside, I would like to offer a helpful tip for confused news reporters: statutory rape of a child is NOT a “lesbian affair”, as I have seen reported in several headlines. It is child molestation, aka pedophilia. I know it is easy to confuse consenting relationships between grown adults with one adult taking advantage of a child in their care, but with some deep thinking I’m sure you’ll be able to sort out the difference.

Previously, Wall had admitted that she “was in the lifestyle for a decade“. Perhaps in penance, she has spent much time in recent years working on criminalizing LGBT people by guaranteeing that gay sex remains a state crime (except when she commits it, apparently), preventing gay people from obtaining legally-recognized unions, protecting gay-bashing as *not* a hate crime, and making sure Virginia schools Don’t Say ‘Gay’, like a similar law in Tennessee. In her thorough witch hunt, she personally uncovered “the homosexual agenda”:

“When I started investigating this thing, I saw that there was definitely an agenda out there to indoctrinate children into homosexuality. … There is no gay gene, people aren’t born homosexuals, so the only way to get people in the lifestyle is to recruit them. That’s how you spread your agenda.”

Well, she’s one to know, as she clearly did little recruiting herself when she was “in the lifestyle”. But she’s Christian now, so it’s all cool.

The Face of the Modern Day Harriet Tubman

FL Rep Allen West

This man is Republican Florida Representative Allen West. Here is what he has to say these days:

You have this 21st-century plantation that has been out there, where the Democrat Party has forever taken the black vote for granted. And you have established certain black leaders, who are nothing more than the overseers of that plantation. And now the people on that plantation are upset, because they have been disregarded, disrespected, and their concerns are not cared about.

So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.

I’m not sure what any of this means. An “Underground Railroad” that leads to a “sense of sensibility”? West has made a career of expanding American empire, supporting our invasion of other nations, and subjugating citizens of foreign nations. So could someone explain to me what this man has in common with Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who literally, physically, personally helped scores enslaved Africans escape the South and liberated hundreds more in the Civil War? And went on to become a woman’s suffragist to boot, while establishing charity organizations to assist liberated blacks?

How does this compare to a man like West, who has publicly defended war criminals found even by our slanted court system to have unjustly murdered civilians in US-occupied Iraq?

How many people has he actually, physically removed from bondage into real, literal freedom?

He describes black Democrats as “plantation bosses”. I think while making political hay out of his perceived ability to safely attack black Democrats based on their shared race, he does a grave injustice to the memory of people who, like Tubman actually grew up on slave plantations.

Watch him actually say the words:

Equality Does Not End at Gay Marriage

Kenyon Farrow, ex-Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice, wrote an amazing article recently. It dives more deeply into the meanings of New York’s passage of marriage equality and its effects on future politics.

He points out that, “[m]any progressive queer activists have long argued that the marriage equality movement is fundamentally a conservative movement,” and goes on to write:

If the same-sex marriage advocates, straight or queer, can use a family values framework, then what is to stop large-scale incorporation of gay and lesbian identity into social conservative logics, especially if LGBT people who desire to have their relationships (which is to say, sexuality) defined by the norms of the mainstream, can continue to demonize people whose bodies and sexualities have always been seen as deviant (black people, street-based urban queer communities, non-monogamous couples, transgender and gender nonconforming people, etc.)? Many of the gay donors who raise money, even for LGBT equality organizations, are “progressives” only because of marriage, and actually do not support most of what the rest of us would call a left agenda (single-payer health care system, collective bargaining, public education, and end to massive imprisonment, reproductive justice, etc.).

Farrow also asks the question: “What does it mean when so-called progressives celebrate a victory in large part won by GOP-supporting hedge fund managers, Tea Party funders and corporate conglomerates—the oft-spoken enemies of progressive causes?”

I’ve been wondering myself. The day after the passage of New York’s marriage equality legislation, the New York Times ran this photo:

NY gay marriage signing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed a same-sex marriage bill into law late Friday in his office at the State Capitol. Photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times.

Not the most progressive-looking crowd. And the accompanying article was quite illuminating.
“[T]he billionaire Paul Singer, whose son is gay, joined by the hedge fund managers Cliff Asness and Daniel Loeb” were successfully lobbied by Governor Cuomo’s aids to “cut six-figure checks to the lobbying campaign that eventually totaled more than $1 million.”

The article adds:

[B]ehind the scenes, [legalizing same-sex marriage] was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

When it comes to brass tacks, I personally do not trust financiers, social or fiscal conservatives, or the organizations of wealthy white gays to have my interests at heart. For a host of reasons, in this specific instance, and as Farrow points out, a specifically conservative instance, our goals may match. But I can imagine few other times they will. I think plenty of non-marriage relationships are valid and should not be treated as less-than because they do not involve 2 married individuals. I think everyone should have access to things like health care, not just the spouses of well-off gay workers. I think single parent households still deserve community approval and support. And I think trans and gender non-conforming people need more support in combating discrimination and archaic laws that prevent their access to basic human needs such as housing, health care, and dignified work.

I don’t want the government to define acceptable relationships and genders. I want the freedom to be me, I want to contribute usefully to society, and in return I want society to protect me from indigence should American capitalism fail me.

Soon, Very Soon, We Can Finally Criminalize Being a Woman of Reproductive Age

The latest in anti-woman rhetoric, from Louisiana’s governor Bobby Jindal:

Jindal said he was proud to help make his state one that supports a “culture of life,” adding that women will soon be treated similarly to criminals who are read their rights after an arrest.

“When officers arrest criminals today, they are read their rights,” he said, according to a report by Louisiana paper The News-Star. “Now if we’re giving criminals their basic rights and they have to be informed of those rights, it seems to me only common sense we would have to do the same thing for women before they make the choice about whether to get an abortion.”

Fittingly he signed HB 636, which mandates that clinics offering abortion post signs listing “women’s rights” when it comes to abortion, at the First Baptist Church of West Monroe. Interestingly, this list of rights doesn’t include any information about women’s right to choose abortion, such as that it is protected by federal law, that choosing abortion is a private decision between a woman and her doctor, different abortion methods available, and any funding options.

You can find a copy of the bill here.

Jindal said, “There were nearly 9,000 abortions performed in our state last year alone, and that is an awfully humbling statistic. What that tells me is much, much, much more work remains to be done so that everyone is choosing life in our state.”

He also pontificated about how women “deserve to know their legal rights and the protections already afforded to them under the law,” yet the language of the bill and the rest of his speech make it clear that he does not believe this. He has already decided what choice he wants every woman facing unwanted pregnancy to make, and he is only interested in providing information that will induce women to make the choice he wants. The only “women’s right” he is interested in is forced birth. This cynical appropriation of the language of the women’s rights movement to flimsily patch over his true interest of whittling away our rights makes me nauseous. And to do it at a church of a religion whose leadership lobbies hard for the subjugation of women… wow.