Friday, July 03, 2015

Professional Left Podcast #291

ProfessionalLeft

"The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it."
-- Edward R. Murrow


Links:




Thursday, July 02, 2015

Donald Trump Is The GOP


Otherwise bright professional people seem shocked that Donald Trump is doing as well as he is. 

Which is weird.

Because if you have watched the GOP dumbspiral down, down, down for the last 40 years from anyplace other than inside the Beltway bubble, Trump making a strong early showing is a perfectly logical next step.  He is Crazy Uncle Liberty with money: a braying moron, invincibly confident in his own racist and impregnably ignorant opinions. 

And yet, somehow, Jonathan Chait is mystified that "conservative leaders" would rally to his defense (emphasis added):
Why Are Conservatives Defending Donald Trump?

By Jonathan Chait

It is not politically significant that Donald Trump would claim to be running for president, that he would say something flamboyantly ignorant, or that he would “surge” to “second place” in polls by using his name recognition to get into double digits in a splintered field. What is significant and genuinely disturbing, not to mention poisonous to the Republican Party’s electoral interests, is the fact that conservative thought leaders feel compelled to defend Trump’s nativist ramblings.  And not just bottom-feeding outlets like the Daily Caller and Breitbart, either. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes in Politico that Trump “has a point.”...
Do I think that Trump will emerge as the nominee?  Of course not.  The crackpot right-wing billionaires who own the GOP will eventually bulldoze Jeb(!) into the lead and, eventually, they'll take him into a back room and explain to him what a super duper idea it would be to pick a government-gutting Scott Walker-type cipher as his VP.  The Base will grump and grumble a little, but eventually they'll do whatever Fox News tells them to do.

But now is the time for dreaming, and when the wingnut Base dreams their batshit little dreams, they sound just like Donald Trump at full boil.   

And if Mr. Chait's software is really so scrambled that he can't identify Rich Lowry as just another bottom-feeding Conservative hatemonger, well then I believe we have located the source of his confusion.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday Morning Comin' Down



"The Second Hundred Years" Edition



This was a week of miracles piled on historical moments moving so whipcrack fast it was hard to take it all in, so it is right and proper to set aside the soul-sucking bothsiderburgers which the Sunday Gasbag Cavalcade serves up in favor of spending your time and emotional energy celebrating so many Progressive victories coming back-to-back.

As such, I will keep it brief.  Just a note to ask that you be attentive in the coming weeks and months to the strategy which the Party of Jefferson Davis is now deploying to contain their little white supremacy problem: a pawn sacrifice.

Sure, yeah, the American Swastika sucks and it's high time to haul it down.  Hey, maybe it's even time to consider rechristening some of our roads and bridges which are currently named for the Confederacy's most famous general (David Brooks "The Robert E. Lee Problem"):
Lowering the Confederate flag from public properties is thus an easy call. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Southern heritage and Southern life without choosing one so enmeshed in the fight to preserve slavery.

The harder call concerns Robert E. Lee. Should schools and other facilities be named after the great Confederate general, or should his name be removed and replaced?
And after much backing --
The case for Lee begins with his personal character. It is almost impossible to imagine a finer and more considerate gentleman.

As a general and public figure, he was a man of impeccable honesty, integrity and kindness. As a soldier, he displayed courage from the beginning of his career straight through to the end...
and forthing ---
The case against Lee begins with the fact that he betrayed his oath to serve the United States. He didn’t need to do it. The late historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor demonstrated that 40 percent of Virginia officers decided to remain with the Union forces, including members of Lee’s family...
-- Mr. Brooks magnanimously arrives at the same conclusion reached by most non-Dixiecrats generations ago:
My own view is that we should preserve most Confederate memorials out of respect for the common soldiers. We should keep Lee’s name on institutions that reflect postwar service, like Washington and Lee University, where he was president. But we should remove Lee’s name from most schools, roads and other institutions, where the name could be seen as acceptance of what he did and stood for during the war.
Well, bully for him!  And thank you, Mr. Brooks, for tracing the outlines of the real battlefield.

Because while Conservatives are now willing sacrifice a scrap of cloth and perhaps even the names of a few public buildings to provisionally acknowledge that America's record on race and civil rights from, oh, let's say (just to pick a number), 1861 until, say, 1962 was pretty terrible...

...they are all loudly and conspicuously silent about the fact that the core ideology of the Confederacy -- the hate and terror which the American Swastika represents -- has been processed and refined and forged into a Ring of Electoral Power which has been handed down generation after generation like a family heirloom right up to the present day.

So while we apparently can all now get together and call for the furling of a flag and the rechristening of some roads and schools, what shall we say about the cultural movement and electoral strategy which has been carefully mortared together out of that hate and denial?  Where do men like Mr. Brooks stand on the issue of  modern day Republican -- a Reagan, let us say, or a Nixon -- gathering up the dark and terrible power inherent in that reverence for the South's bloody, toxic past for use as a present-day licence to print money and battering ram to drive the worst people in America into elected office?

Because as every modern day member of the Conservative brain caste knows damn well, we don't really have a "Robert E. Lee Problem".

But we sure as hell do have a "Harvey LeRoy 'Lee' Atwater Problem" (from The Nation)
Exclusive: Lee Atwater’s Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy

The forty-two-minute recording, acquired by James Carter IV, confirms Atwater’s incendiary remarks and places them in context. 
Rick Perlstein November 13, 2012
So where do men like America's most famous Spokesmodel for Humility and Morality stand on this issue?  The one which has been the single most important and morally depraved component of their entire political movement for their entire adult lives?

Funny you should ask.

Here is Mr. Brooks from 2007 in the New York Times, jettisoning all pretext of modesty and humility and back in full Weekly Standard mode, up on his hind legs and berating anyone who would dare suggest that the modern Republican Party has a little problem with racism:
History and Calumny

Today, I’m going to write about a slur. It’s a distortion that’s been around for a while, but has spread like a weed over the past few months. It was concocted for partisan reasons: to flatter the prejudices of one side, to demonize the other and to simplify a complicated reality into a political nursery tale.

The distortion concerns a speech Ronald Reagan gave during the 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., which is where three civil rights workers had been murdered 16 years earlier. An increasing number of left-wing commentators assert that Reagan kicked off his 1980 presidential campaign with a states’ rights speech in Philadelphia to send a signal to white racists that he was on their side. The speech is taken as proof that the Republican majority was built on racism.
...
Over the course of the next few days, Mr. Brooks  has his ass absolutely sawed off and served up on the good china pretty much everyone who dwelt in the sunny lands beyond the Fox News bubble and could wield a keyboard and
Bob Herbert:
The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”

Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”

Reagan apologists have every right to be ashamed of that appearance by their hero, but they have no right to change the meaning of it, which was unmistakable. Commentators have been trying of late to put this appearance by Reagan into a racially benign context.

That won’t wash. Reagan may have been blessed with a Hollywood smile and an avuncular delivery, but he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.

Everybody watching the 1980 campaign knew what Reagan was signaling at the fair. Whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans — they all knew. The news media knew. The race haters and the people appalled by racial hatred knew. And Reagan knew.

He was tapping out the code. It was understood that when politicians started chirping about “states’ rights” to white people in places like Neshoba County they were saying that when it comes down to you and the blacks, we’re with you.

And Reagan meant it. He was opposed to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the same year that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were slaughtered. As president, he actually tried to weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He opposed a national holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tried to get rid of the federal ban on tax exemptions for private schools that practiced racial discrimination. And in 1988, he vetoed a bill to expand the reach of federal civil rights legislation.
...
Paul Krugman:
So there’s a campaign on to exonerate Ronald Reagan from the charge that he deliberately made use of Nixon’s Southern strategy. When he went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1980, the town where the civil rights workers had been murdered, and declared that “I believe in states’ rights,” he didn’t mean to signal support for white racists. It was all just an innocent mistake.

Indeed, you do really have to feel sorry for Reagan. He just kept making those innocent mistakes.

When he went on about the welfare queen driving her Cadillac, and kept repeating the story years after it had been debunked, some people thought he was engaging in race-baiting. But it was all just an innocent mistake.

When, in 1976, he talked about working people angry about the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks at the grocery store, he didn’t mean to play into racial hostility. True, as the New York Times reported.

The ex-Governor has used the grocery-line illustration before, but in states like New Hampshire where there is scant black population, he has never used the expression “young buck,” which, to whites in the South, generally denotes a large black man.
...
And my own, humble, four-part effort here ("A Rose for Bobo: Part 1") which includes link to a buncha other vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers of the Left, including the late Steve Gilliard:
...
Which demonstrates, if nothing else, the true, sad state of American journalism: that a deceased and relatively obscure blogger named Steven Gilliard is still a vastly more vital, thoughtful, passionate and powerful writer from inside the Narrow House than is the allegedly-living New York Times columnist named David Brooks.

And which, in the end, leaves nothing left standing to debunk or refute.

Indeed all of the above would be an embarrassingly one-sided exercise in bouncing the rubble of where Bobo’s career used to be were it not for this simple fact: Bobo still works for the NYT.

Punching most days so desperately far out of his intellectual weight class that he can barely climb up the Big Boy stairs into the ring, Bobo nonetheless continues to punch clock every damned day on the most valuable piece of real estate at the New York Fucking Times.

He worked for them last year.

Works for them this year.

Will work for them next year.

And through the smoke of Hellfire prose tearing his idiocy to flinders, this became the part of the story-behind-the-story which began to fascinate me.

End Part 1 of 4.

Click here for Part 1
Click here for Part 2
Click here for Part 3
Click here for Part 4
And after all of that rain of "Hellfire prose"?

Nothing.

No correction.  No emendation.  No apologies.  No penalty for continuing to peddle these horrific lies.

Instead, like virtually every other Conservative in America,  when confronted with the blunt and irrefutable history of modern Conservatism, Mr. Brooks just turns around and runs away.

Deny, deny, deny and move into the next thing.

Well, the next thing has arrived as next things always do, and rather than daring to refight the battle of Saint Reagan and the Southern Strategy, these days, like virtually every other Conservative in America, Mr. Brooks opts to just skip completely over the last half century of American history and talk about the safely long ago and far away.

So what has any of this to do with the Sunday Mouse Circus?

Because it brings me around at last to this almost unnoticed quote from none other than Mr. Newton Leroy "Advocate of civilization, Definer of civilization, Teacher of the rules of civilization, Arouser of those who form civilization, Organizer of the pro-civilization activists and Leader (possibly) of the civilizing forces" Gingrich himself on Meet the Press, which sums up everything awful about the whole wretched weekly carnival of Beltway navel-gazing and radical denialism better than almost anything (emphasis added at no additional charge):
CHUCK TODD:

Are you comfortable with the flag the way it is now? You know, it is modeled, it is the original Confederate flag, just with the Georgia seal on it, the way it's modeled.

NEWT GINGRICH:

I think that may well be changed now that people are into a new cycle. But let me tell you what I think is crazy. It's crazy for Amazon to come along and say, "Here is an educational game about Gettysburg, which is used widely in schools to teach people to think." And by the way, it has a Confederate versus an American flag, and therefore they've taken the game out of Amazon. Now there's a point here however we begin to get towards Orwell's memory hole, in which we try to hide from the past. I think it's one thing to say you should not have a symbol which is very offensive to a large part of your population, it's another thing to say, "Let's erase our history and pretend it never occurred."

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON:

Well look.

CHUCK TODD:

So what is that balance?
...
The fact that the entire Republican Party has long since moved into a gated Assisted Living Community in the lowest circle of Orwell's Memory Hole is what makes this little moment so rare and wonderful.

The fact that no one thought to mention that Newt Gingrich has been the Nancy Faust of the wingnut racist dog-whistle pipe-organ since he rose from the swamps of Georgia --


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

-- is what made it art.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Crazy Snake Continues To Swallow Itself


The fight over which Republican gets to run for Disgraced Wingnut Congressman and One-Time Future Savior of the GOP, Aaron Schock, keeps getting funnier.  From the State Journal-Register:
The special primary elections to pick major-party candidates to replace former Republican U.S. Rep. AARON SCHOCK in the 18th Congressional District are just more than a week away.
So perhaps it wasn't a surprise that an opponent would find fault after a news conference last week at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce office in Springfield to announce endorsements of state Sen. DARIN LaHOOD, R-Peoria, by that group and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
MIKE FLYNN, a Quincy native and now a resident there who has lived in the Washington area for 20 years and who founded the website biggovernment.com with ANDREW BREITBART, criticized the endorsement.
"If you love big bank bailouts, loved the (BARACK) OBAMA stimulus, love corporate welfare for big defense contractors, and loved Obama's executive amnesty, then evidently, you should vote for Darin LaHood," Flynn said in a prepared statement aimed at what his campaign indicated were chamber policies. "If you're for limited government, lower taxes, free market competition, and securing the border first, then it's clear: You should vote for me."
ROB ENGSTROM, senior vice president and national political director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who was at the endorsement event, later responded: "Mike Flynn's comments are confusing, given that he actively sought the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's endorsement on May 18. In doing so, he affirmed that he supports the U.S. Chamber's mission, which is to advocate for American free enterprise.
"Washington has enough politicians who say one thing in private and do another in the public arena," Engstrom continued. "The fact is that Mr. Flynn's nonexistent campaign isn't gaining any traction, and he is getting desperate."...
Shine on you crazy diamonds!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wow


Brother Charlie Pierce sums up the reaction at our house to Barack Obama taking America to "chutch", as my former grandmother-in-law, a grand lady of the AME church, used to say:
...
So when the president got to that part when he recited "Amazing Grace" -- with spontaneous arpeggios from the organist! -- it seemed to me that he had gone a long way to summoning up at last the whole point of electing him president in the first place. He grabbed every live wire, unafraid. He went off on a riff about the Confederate flag that talked about how it represented to the people at the ceremony something more than heritage. (This got the organist and the guitarist going again.)

"The cause of slavery was wrong. The imposition of Jim Crow after the civil war, the resistance to civil rights for all people, was wrong...By taking down that flag, we express God's grace...We're guarding ourselves not just against racial slurs, but against calling Johnny back for a job interview, but not Jamal. We search our hearts when we consider laws that make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote...By doing that we express God's grace.

"We talk a lot about race. There's no short cut. We don't need more talk...It would be a disservice to Reverend Pinckney if we were to slip back into a comfortable silence...My liberty depends on your being free, too."
No president has spoken like that on this country's original sin since Lyndon Johnson told the Congress we would overcome and, before that, since Lincoln. This eulogy, this moment, is why the country elected this guy twice. And anyone who stands up and talks about how he "politicized" this funeral is going to have to account for all that applause, and for how the organist and the guitarist kept getting overcome by the Spirit, and they're going to have to account for the moment in which he sang "Amazing Grace," off-key but with the fervency of a prophet. No president, ever. Not like that.
...

Professional Left Podcast #290

ProfessionalLeft

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."
-- Albert Camus


Links:
  • Anthea Butler: The decision to forgive is rooted in faith. The desire to forget is rooted in racism. 




Sometimes The Good Guys Win


This may be the only time I link to Mr. Andrew Sullivan without exasperated comment.  But today is the day the Supreme Court said that all Americans can to marry who they love, and that have the absolute right to have that marriage recognized no matter where they live.  This is a cause for which Mr. Sullivan and many others have been fighting hard for a very long time and against very long odds and I am so very glad for him and for all Americans who have been cheated out of this basic human right for so long that this day has finally come.

...
I think of the gay kids in the future who, when they figure out they are different, will never know the deep psychic wound my generation – and every one before mine – lived through: the pain of knowing they could never be fully part of their own family, never befully a citizen of their own country. I think, more acutely, of the decades and centuries of human shame and darkness and waste and terror that defined gay people’s lives for so long. And I think of all those who supported this movement who never lived to see this day, who died in the ashes from which this phoenix of a movement emerged. This momentous achievement is their victory too – for marriage, as Kennedy argued, endures past death. 
I never believed this would happen in my lifetime when I wrote my first several TNR essays and then my book, Virtually Normal, and then the anthology and the hundreds and hundreds of talks and lectures and talk-shows and call-ins and blog-posts and articles in the 1990s and 2000s. I thought the book, at least, would be something I would have to leave behind me – secure in the knowledge that its arguments were, in fact, logically irrefutable, and would endure past my own death, at least somewhere. I never for a millisecond thought I would live to be married myself. Or that it would be possible for everyone, everyone in America. 
But it has come to pass. All of it. In one fell, final swoop. 
Know hope.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Setting a Place for Elijah


They would not listen, they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will.


-- Don McLean, Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)
I commend to your attention Ta-Nehisi Coates' excellent article in the Atlantic entitled "What This Cruel War Was Over -- The meaning of the Confederate flag is best discerned in the words of those who bore it."  Mr. Coates is a strong and eloquent writer whose command of the subject of race + culture + history is incomparable.  His facts will always be accurate and I can count on him to eschew off-ramping away from America's actual, painful history in favor of some gauzier, more comforting fairy tale,

But I would like to spare a few words to describe what Mr. Coates is doing.

You see, every few months for as long as I can remember, something terrible or cyclical or trivial kicks off another national 'round-and-'round of denial as Confederate Regime dead-enders find one occasion after another to roll out their armies of revisionists and apologists and distractionists -- 
In an angry call to arms just a block away from the site of the Charleston massacre, former New Black Panther Party chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz told a group of about 200 African American Charlestonians that they need to “finish the mission” of killing “slave masters” and their families
-- and just-plain-trolls to explain why the Civil War wasn't what it was, why Jim Crow wasn't what it was, why their idolatry of "heritage" should outweigh anyone's discomfort over seeing the American Swastika flying on government land and why the last 50 years never happened.

And then, ritually, we on the Left wearily pull history back off the shelf and once again lay out, clearly and carefully, why everything that comes pouring out of the Confederate Regime dead-enders' mouths is the filthiest kind of lie.

This is the national service Mr. Coates has so ably performed this week:
...
Roof’s belief that black life had no purpose beyond subjugation is “sick and twisted” in the exact same manner as the beliefs of those who created the Confederate flag were “sick and twisted.” The Confederate flag is directly tied to the Confederate cause, and the Confederate cause was white supremacy. This claim is not the result of revisionism. It does not require reading between the lines. It is the plain meaning of the words of those who bore the Confederate flag across history. These words must never be forgotten. Over the next few months the word “heritage” will be repeatedly invoked. It would be derelict to not examine the exact contents of that heritage. 
This examination should begin in South Carolina, the site of our present and past catastrophe. South Carolina was the first state to secede, two months after the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was in South Carolina that the Civil War began, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. The state’s casus belli was neither vague nor hard to comprehend:
...A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
In citing slavery, South Carolina was less an outlier than a leader, setting the tone for other states, including Mississippi...
Here is Howard Fineman explaining for the millionth time that the Southern Strategy was a real thing that really happened and is happening still:



Here is Paul Krugman, pulling on the same oar:
Yet racial hatred is still a potent force in our society, as we’ve just been reminded to our horror. And I’m sorry to say this, but the racial divide is still a defining feature of our political economy, the reason America is unique among advanced nations in its harsh treatment of the less fortunate and its willingness to tolerate unnecessary suffering among its citizens.

Of course, saying this brings angry denials from many conservatives, so let me try to be cool and careful here, and cite some of the overwhelming evidence for the continuing centrality of race in our national politics.
...
...
“Many issues of the Civil War are still being debated today,” said Brag Bowling of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which led the push to get that proclamation in Virginia. That seems extremely depressing, as if we were Serbs stewing about what the Turks did at the Plain of Blackbirds in 1389.

Actually, a national discussion of Civil War history sounds fine — as long as we could start by agreeing that the whole leaving-the-union thing was a terrible idea. In the proclamations, it generally sounds as if everything went swimmingly until the part where the South lost and grudgingly rejoined the country.

Virginia has been making big leaps lately in the category of general craziness. We all remember the Legislature’s heroic work in passing a bill to protect Virginia citizens from having microchips planted in their bodies against their will. And that the sponsor said he was concerned the chips could be a “mark of the beast” that would be used by the Antichrist at the end of days.

Confederate History Month was promoted by former Gov. George Allen, who was fond of Confederate flag-décor and suffered from a sense of history so imperfect that he did not discover his mother was half-Jewish until he was 54. Allen’s proclamation celebrated the Civil War as “a four-year struggle for independence, sovereign rights and local government control,” with such cheer that you would really think the fight was all about zoning.
...
 And here, for the record, is a snip of one one of my own humble contributions to the genre (from 2010):
A Brief History of Sham



The Conservative History of These United States

Chapter 1: From the Big Bang through 1964 -- When everything was awesome.

Chapter 2: The 1980s -- Reagan and Jesus single-handedly destroy the Commies and Evil Big Gummint with tax cuts. (In the interest of being Fair and Balanced, this chapter includes end-notes on a crazy, discredited Leftist theory that the Commies are actually stronger than ever. That Reagan raised taxes more than any other President ever. And that Reagan left us with bigger deficits than ever.)

Chapter 3: January 20, 2009 -- The Kenyan Usurper destroys American.

Chapter 4: 2012 -- 
talk to the hand
-- A New Hope.
Sigh.

What is enervating is not merely that Conservatives lie, constantly, and about almost everything: it is that they lie so fucking in-comp-e-tent-ly.

This is because they long ago became a cult, living inside a hermetically sealed bell jar, forever rebreathing Rush Limbaugh’s beer farts and regurgitating RNC talking points back and forth into each other mouths.

Like the slaveholding goons out of whose cultural Petri dish they crawled, they have built themselves an impenetrable welter of self-referential, self-deluding, self-aggrandizing lies behind which they hide: People who claim to know (with an Absolute Caps+LOCK Categorical Authority that only comes from a steady diet of Glenn Beck's ass pudding) the Secret Motives behind every Liberal thought and opinion and the secret Marxist plots and conspiracies behind the Kenyan Usurper's every "seemingly" Centrist move...are the same people who clearly haven't got the first fucking clue about their own movement's ridiculously well-documented history, leadership or ideology.

Dixiecrats? I think I ate there once. Loved the shrimp.

The Southern Strategy? Is that some sweet NASCAR move?

Lee Atwater? Who ‘dat?
[As aside -- on the subject of why anyone would believe that the institution of Slavery was the proximate cause of the Civil War -- I apparently need to re-print this every few months, just to keep it handy (with emphasis scattered in here and there by me in a fit of Liberal trickery):
Well, the Vice President of the Confederacy sure thought so (From three years ago…)
Until I finally realized that the hard-core Modern Conservative is simply not curable by facts and reason, I used to keep a copy of the “Cornerstone Speech” handy. It is the perfect Anti-Second Inaugural: one of the most famous public declarations of Confederate ideology and intent, delivered by the Vice President of the traitorous CSA himself -- Alexander H. Stephens -- on March 21, 1861.

I kept it on hand as an easy and instant rebuttal to grubby, little wingnut revisionist who wanted to blat on about the abstraction of “state’s rights” being the real cause for the Civil War, and not the concrete and evil manifestation of Original American Sin that was slavery.

Stephens obligingly laid that ridiculous notion to rest over 140 years ago when he said:

“The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution—African slavery as it exists amongst us—the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact.

…”
The long dead and unlamented Stephens could not possibly have been any clearer: These were butchers, terrorists and fascists who were fighting for their right to remain unapologetically malevolent and to reap the substantial economic and psychological windfalls of their evil system forever.

But what makes the speech an epic American tragedy is how its loathsome themes have remained a clear and constant refrain for the same people, fighting for some mutation of the same cause, with the same fervor almost a century and a half later.

It is, for [Modern Conservatives], always a crisp, pre-battle dawn on the Plaines of Meggido, Georgia.
“I was remarking that we are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new.”
And God is always on their side of their filthy enterprise.

“They [The North] were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.”


“With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator.”
The President of the Confederacy also certainly thought so (From Jefferson Davis’ address to the Congress of the Confederate States of America, Montgomery, April 29, 1861.):
... "In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the well-being and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. "Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented form about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man."
And from Mississippi --
"...Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. ..."
-- to Alabama --
"...Years ago I was convinced that the Southern States would be compelled either to separate from the North, by dissolving the Federal Government, or they would be compelled to abolish the institution of African Slavery. ..."
-- to Texas --
"...In all the non-slave-holding States, in violation of that good faith and comity which should exist between entirely distinct nations, the people have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. ..."
-- all the Confederate states for some reason felt obliged to prominently mention Slavery in their Declaration of Causes of Seceding States.
-- End of Aside.]
In this sense, the Right really hasn’t changed much in the last,few decades, except that amplifiers and exploiters like Hate Radio, Regnery Press, the Moonie Times, Fox News, a dozen wingnut welfare “think tanks” and a whole tribe of political grifters and prostitutes have figured out how to generate record profits by turning the age-old demagogic trick of telling ignorant, hateful nutjobs that ignorant, hateful nutjobism is actually noble and patriotic...into a multi-billion dollar business empire.,,

In Charleston, the ground will be opened nine times, nine caskets will be lowered, prayers and farewells will be offered, and the ground will be closed again.  Laying to rest these nine murdered citizens will be over in a matter of days, and so, on this sad occasion it is also proper to ask why, 150 years after the end of our American Civil War, has it been impossible to lay to rest the lies and madness which led to the murder of those nine Americans?

The answer, sadly, is that our current political system and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of professional politicians, pundits and think-tankers and the self-regard of tens of millions of our fellow Americans all still depend on the ongoing cultivation of those lies and that madness.

Which is why, year after year, very little changes.  Sometimes, after a national tragedy such as the one we witnessed in Charleston, the needle will budge a little, but not very much.  And that is how history usually moves: a little, but not very much.

Which is why, in addition to voting and otherwise materially supporting good causes, each time something terrible or cyclical or trivial kicks off another national 'round-and-'round of denial, it will always be our duty to set a place at the table, read the words and open the door in the hopes that one day better days will come inside and stay for good.

The Search For Nimrata Randhawa-Haley's Birth Certificate Begins*


Longtime readers know that I have gradually come to the conclusion that looking-with-alarm at what batshit poison Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levine** are vomiting on any given day is a mug's game. The only way to break the death-grip of the calamitously insane Right is by focusing what little fire we have on their political and media enablers in the Fake Center.  That is the way around their Maginot Line.

However, today I think it is instructive point out Magda Goebbels Ann Coulter's comments on   Confederate News Network to show shows just how fast they will drop a not-one-of-us house on any otherwise-loyal Republican stooge who dares to cross the Party of Jefferson Davis.

Sure, she would like to think that Governor Haley is one of the good ones (From Talking Points Memo) --
...though, I really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican.
-- but in light of her stunning betrayal of the True Flag of The Transvaal White Jebusland, Josephine McCarthy Ann Coulter now has serious questions about Governor Haley's, um, pedigree:
During an appearance with Kennedy on Fox Business Network, Coulter said that the deadly shooting at a history black church in Charleston "had nothing to do with the Confederate flag." And she lamented that that Americans do not understand the history of the Confederate flag.

She then said that many media outlets, such as MSNBC, got the flag's history in South Carolina wrong, noting that the flag first went up at the capitol in 1962 under a Democratic governor and legislature to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civil War.

Coulter then took a shot at South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who on Monday called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds.

"I’m appalled by –– though, I really like to like Nikki Haley since she is a Republican. On the other hand, she is an immigrant and does not understand America’s history," Coulter said.
As Phyllis Schlafly shambles towards the grave and a very unpleasant meeting with her Maker, Mary Matalin is poised to take over her job as Dowager Gorgon of the Party of Jefferson Davis.  When that happens, Ms. Coulter stands ready to step into the position of Vice Gorgon, which means that one of Roger Ailes' on-air tit-shaking shoutycrackers can slip into Ms. Coulter's job as Regional Sales Manager for Racism and Bile.

And everybody moves up.

*Corrected thanks to @Nyckname.

**Corrected