Myth debunked


The number of people employed by the federal government has shrunk under the Obama administration.

It was the summer of 1966. Lyndon Johnson was in the White House and the Great Society was roaring. In August, the federal government had 2,721,000 employees.

Now it is the fall of 2013. There are complaints from Washington about a bloated federal government. Another Democrat, Barack Obama, is president.

In September, before the government shutdown, the government had 2,723,000 employees, according to the latest job report, on a seasonally adjusted basis. That is the lowest figure since 1966. Until now, the lowest figure for the current century had been 2,724,000 federal employees in October 2004, when George W. Bush was seeking a second term in the White House.

Now, the federal government employs exactly 2 percent of the people with jobs in this country. In 1966, the figure was more than twice that, 4.3 percent.

All these figures, by the way, are for civilian jobs. Members of the armed forces are not counted. If they were included, the contrast would be even sharper. In 1966 the Vietnam War was going on, and around 2.6 million people were on active duty. This year the figure is around 1.4 million.

 

I’ve tried to make this point several times here, so I’ll let someone else do it more eloquently than I could


Radically Wrong: Misstated Threats – Terrorism isn’t an American-Muslim Problem

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

blog-muslimprofiling-500x280-v01None. Zero. That’s the number of fatalities or injuries from terrorist acts by American Muslims over the last two years, according to a recent report from the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. Here are some other numbers from the report worth noting: In the United States in 2012, there were nine “terrorist plots” by American Muslims—only one of which led to violence. Of those nine plots, only 14 suspects were indicted. Separately, six suspects were indicted for support of terrorism.

Terrorism is not a “Muslim” phenomenon. Indeed, last year, the author of the report called terrorism by American Muslims “a minuscule threat to public safety.” Yet far too many policymakers assume the opposite is true, and too many policies are predicated on the false and bigoted assumption that Muslims are more likely to engage in terrorism than other Americans. The numbers above show how false the premise is. So why are we willing to undermine civil liberties, target an entire religious community, and devote countless resources to this “minuscule threat?”

The answer: a widely debunked “theory” on describing the “process” that drives people to become terrorists. This “theory” is based on the mistaken notion that adopting “radical” ideas (which, under the theory, includes religious beliefs) is a dangerous first step toward committing terrorist acts. Countering terrorism, the thinking goes, begins with countering “radicalization.”

Although it’s been refuted, the “theory” continues to drive policy. Recent Congressional Research Service reports cite it, and the White House issued a plan to counter violent extremism based on it. While the White House deserves some credit for using more careful language and for emphasizing the need for community engagement, it still perpetuates the notion that “how individuals are radicalized to violence” is something we can and should study and understand. And the number of agencies, task forces, working groups, and committees across government that are engaged in the White House’s plan is, well, staggeringly high.

Not surprisingly, when flawed theory drives policy, implementation of the policy is flawed too. If counterterrorism officials believe that adopting radical beliefs is a necessary first stage to terrorism, they will obviously target religious communities and political activists with their enforcement measures.

Take for example, the practice of “preventive policing” by which law enforcement doesn’t focus on crime, but rather tracks legal activities. It has a real and negative impact on individuals: the FBI conducts “assessments” or uses informants, conducts interviews, and surveils people based on their ideas or religious beliefs, or whether they are a certain religion, race, or ethnicity rather than information suggesting they might be involved in criminal activity. Preventive policing also affects entire communities. Through “domain management,” the FBI monitors and tracks entire religious, ethnic, and racial communities based on false stereotypes that ascribe certain types of crimes to entire minority communities. Targeted groups include Muslim- and Arab-Americans in Michigan, and also African-Americans in Georgia, Chinese- and Russian-Americans in California, and broad swaths of Latino-American communities in multiple states.

The FBI has increasingly relied on another tactic based on this flawed theory: the agent provocateur. Remarkably, most of the nine terrorist plots carried out by American Muslims uncovered in 2012 involved informants and undercover agents. According to a recent investigation, undercover agents and informants have targeted “Muslims who espouse radical beliefs, are vocal about their disapproval of American foreign policy, or have expressed sympathy for international terrorist groups”—otherwise known as First Amendment-protected activity. The investigation shows that these targets are fairly unsophisticated and “clearly pose little real threat” on their own. With all essential materials (like money and weapons) coming from government agents and informants, these plots are more manufactured by the government than interdicted.

It’s also clear that preventive policing won’t be tied to an empirical analysis of where significant violence occurs. According to West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center, violent acts by far-right extremists significantly outnumber those by American Muslims, but have been virtually ignored by policy makers (though the report has its own problems). While there have been multiple congressional hearings on so-called radicalization of Muslims, there have been none on political violence emanating from the Far Right.

When we implement law enforcement practices that say those who hold “radical” political ideas or religious beliefs, for instance, are dangerous, we could all be in danger. What’s a “radical” idea or belief? It’s one that “reject[s] the status quo.” It’s not hard to imagine that almost all of us hold some “radical” beliefs, which is why it’s not surprising that so many groups come under government suspicion. Anti-government militiamen, misfit anarchists, PETA, Greenpeace, and the Catholic Worker have already been targeted. Who’s to say the group you belong to won’t be next.

Congratulations America!


capital

You’ve done your job and done it magnificently! You said no to the haters and doubters among us; those who preferred division to unity and common purpose and interest.  Too many of us wanted to point fingers at evils that didn’t exist or at groups of people who are just like us except in gender or skin color or religious belief or the lack thereof.  We too quickly threw off the mantle of our own innate divinity and instead embraced hatred and rancor.  Somehow, through all that…..we overcame.  Now that we have done what we are supposed to do as a Nation….make Obama do what he’s supposed to do as a President.  Hold him to his promises, make sure you call his attention to mistakes in decisions or errors in policy; push your local elected officials to do the same.  Your ballots are just the first step in this process called democracy.  It doesn’t end with the election of any one official, it is an on going process.  Choose the high ground of civility in the national discourse; don’t give in  to the forces of darkness, hatred and FoxNews. This is only the beginning.  Celebrate it but move on to the real work at hand of re-building America or if you like, improving it. At some point in the very near future…I’d like to think at the end of this week, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and get busy.  For now, enjoy the moment.

Obama-Biden-sworn-in-for-second-term

America’s gun culture has gone wild


I am an owner of firearms and the holder of a concealed carry permit for the state in which I reside, but the recent national discussion on guns has me convinced those who oppose any and all gun legislation are mildly racist and vehemently insane. President Obama has been forced by recent events to make a statement about the need to have some sort of regulation regarding gun ownership and you’d think he was instituting martial law and  the sky was falling.  As a result of a very tepid response by the Obama administration, we’ve got Americans walking around looking like Rambo with clothes on

Utah shopper carrying an AR-15 in a local mall

Utah shopper carrying an AR-15 in a local mall

but let’s not equivocate here, the issue of the 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms is couched,  steeped in  blatant racist rhetoric that is being resurrected because America finds itself with a black president at the helm.  That’s not to say 2nd amendment types haven’t always been rabid about their desire to have unlimited access to firearms; just ask members of the Reagan and Bush I administration who took stands against the gun lobby after people were slaughtered by those who owned lethal weapons while the gun proponents demanded the government give their weapons of mass destruction a pass when it came to public/governmental scrutiny.

The pro-gun rhetoric has taken a life of its own.  Charlton Heston proclaimed to Michael Moore in the latter’s film ‘Bowling for Columbine’ that guns were responsible for more killings in America because of the country’s ‘mixed ethnicity’.  It’s hard to tell if he means mixed ethnicities kill more people than non-mixed ethnicities or mixed ethnicities have to be killed because they are mixed ethnicity and thus a threat to non mixed ethnicities. Heston’s very public pronouncement about what ails our country almost a decade ago has been repeated more recently by the Ann Coulter, who said  using equally coded language as Heston that ‘gun crime is a demographic problem’ which again raises the ugly specter of a divisive America under its first black President.  They are the heart of the 2nd amendment supporters….folks like Coulter and Heston before her have their pulse on the majority of gun owners who feel their need to own guns is for protection from ‘ethnicities’ and demographics that are different than their own.

There were some who tried to sugar coat the issue of gun control, trying to remove the racially divisive language of the Coulters, et.al…The chairman of Gun Appreciation Day went so far as to say slavery may never have happened in the United States if African-Americans had owned guns.  What Larry Ward fails to recognize is there would have been no 2nd amendment if there wasn’t slavery, for as is pointed out here, the 2nd amendment was a by product of white southerners fears of black insurrection in states that legalized slavery.  In other words, the 2nd amendment was ratified to enforce slavery and the fears of whites of a ‘demographic’ problem are at the heart of gun ownership.

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that.

In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state.  The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

Thus, the 2nd amendment was crafted to allow white southerners limitless access to firearms irrespective of federal government regulation to arm their ‘slave patrols’ and keep people, black people enslaved. It was not then meant to be inclusive of any but a white gentry class and most gun owners even today are more than a little suspect of people of color who embrace the notion of free access to firearms.

The alarm bells being rung by 2nd amendment advocates ring hollow when they make the point the 2nd amendment is a part of a holy notion of the Constitution that firearm ownership is nothing short of divine…..when in fact it is nothing short of subversive and was intended as an instrument of slavery. Not many raised the specter of the 2nd amendment as a tool to oppose Bush II era assaults on citizenship rights; to have done so would have been met with cries of treason and resisted in the most strident of ways, however, a black president, leading a revolt against gun ownership is viewed in much the same way as a slave leading a revolt against slavery, especially at a time when the firearm industry is perhaps more profitable than the agricultural industry of an agrarian South of the 18th or 19th century.  It is very easy to match the imagery of that time to this with an African-American in the White House.

But America is indeed a violent country, is there any doubt about that and that too has spurred the gun debate so that now the dastard peoples of color aren’t black they are immigrants; they aren’t slaves they are  terrorists, and the rationale for unlimited gun access is just as vapid now as it has ever been.  Indeed, too many Americans are dying from handguns.  Why anyone would advocate armed guards, administrators and teachers in schools is irrational……even trained armed guards can commit lapses that could lead to disastrous results.  In Michigan a trained firearms instructor left his unloaded hand gun in a bathroom for an unspecified time and one can only ask what are the risks for the uninitiated.  When I first read that news two things immediately leapt to mind; why was his firearm unloaded and why was it not on his person?  If a trained firearms instructor could make such a egregious mistake what are the expectations for one not so well trained?  But such examples don’t deter 2nd amendment types; this type of news is too easily dismissed and forgotten.

As in all things that deal with race, we have an aversion to deal with it except in the most tangential terms; preferring to sweep it under the rug entirely.  People with mental health issues, psychiatric, domestic or medical problems should not have access to firearms.  Gun shows and other dealers should institute instant background checks with a data base that is updated as quickly as people are entered in the “system” and people who use firearms in a violent crime should bear the full force of the law and be ‘brought to justice’. (Now you can interpret the brought to justice part any way you want!)  Magazine capacities can be discussed and negotiated but I’m certainly averse to having anyone walking around with two 30 round mags strapped to his/her semi-automatic long gun in plain view of people just to make a point of the right to own firearms….such displays are immature, sophomoric and  might prompt me to draw my  concealed weapon in fear of my life with no obligation to retreat, nay the right to stand my ground!  Can you not see how far this thing can go?  America, fix this!

Glen Greenwald’s definition of terrorism is right on the money, really


He nails it and has nailed it for some time.  This is what he says

I’ve often written that Terrorism is the most meaningless, and thus most manipulated, term in American political discourse.  But while it lacks any objective meaning, it does have a functional one.  It means:  anyone — especially of the Muslim religion and/or Arab nationality — who fights against the United States and its allies or tries to impede their will.  That’s what “Terrorism” is; that’s all it means.  And it’s just extraordinary how we’ve created what we call ”law” that is intended to do nothing other than justify all acts of American violence while delegitimizing, criminalizing, and converting into Terrorism any acts of resistance to that violence….

it’s not remotely criminal that the U.S. attacked Iraq, spent 7 years destroying the country, and left at least 100,000 people dead.  To even suggest that American officials responsible for that attack should be held criminally liable is to marginalize oneself as a fringe and unSerious radical.  It’s not an idea that’s even heard, let alone accepted…..

The U.S. repeatedly tried to kill Saddam at the start of the Iraq War, and — contrary to Obama’s early pledges — has done the same to Gadaffi in Libya. NATO has explicitly declared Gadaffi to be a “legitimate target.”  But just imagine if an Iraqi had come to the U.S. and attempted to bomb the White House or kill George Bush, or if a Libyan (or Afghan, Pakistani, or Yemeni) did the same to Obama.  Would anyone in American political circles be allowed to suggest that this was a legitimate act of war?  Of course not:  screaming “Terrorism!” would be the only acceptable reaction.

I applaud Greenwald’s courage in taking a stand against the very obvious racist application of the terrorist term.  It’s use is meant to conjure up images of a ‘clash of civilizations’ where no such clash exists.  When one hears the term it can only mean one thing, the destruction of the values that we hold so dearly by Muslims who want to impose Sharia law on an unwitting population.  Quite frankly it is demagogic, designed to elicit a fear and loathing response that it’s hoped will drive America to systemically oppress a group of people based on their race and religion.  I renew my call for all good people of conscience to reject such grandstanding and bigoted behavior and to call it what it is, just like Greenwald, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 

Stick and Carrot diplomacy


The wingnut “right” does have a place in American politics.  If one is perceptive enough you can vaguely see an outline of the foreign policy objectives of Washington spewing from the mouthpieces of right wing pundits/racists. Despite the apparent “hate” relationship between the present occupant of the White House and those on the vociferous “right” the pundits of insanity, plunder and racism give government an idea of just how far it, government, can go in its never ending battle for empire and dominion. It is not necessary for diplomacy or policy to be carried out in just the same way the racist homo/Islamophobes express but it probably comes close.  Case in point, Sean Hannity’s latest imperialistic diatribe.

With rising gas prices and a stagnant economy, Hannity’s solution of taking over another country’s natural resources because we can most likely strikes a chord in the minds of many a besieged listener who wants to settle scores with the Islamic/Muslim hordes they’ve so assiduously been warned about this last decade.  Current Washington probably has entertained the same ideas while former Bush administration officials said as much when making their case for war with Iraq.  The Obama administration on the other hand, supposedly carries a carrot not a stick, unlike its predecessor.  It must have the appearance of  remaining true to the kinder, gentler prescription for diplomacy, hence this from the Secretary of State, Clinton.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying their countries risked “sinking into the sand” of unrest and extremism unless they liberalized their political systems and cleaned up their economies.

Speaking at a conference in this gleaming Persian Gulf emirate, Mrs. Clinton recited a familiar litany of ills: corruption, repression and a lack of rights for women and religious minorities. But her remarks were striking for their vehemence, and they suggested a frustration that the Obama administration’s message to the Arab world had not gotten through.

Secretary Clinton, taking a page from the wingnuts, makes many in the Middle East who are victims the cause of their victimization.  Lest one forget, there were no WMDs in Iraq which was invaded after a decade long blockade that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; Gaza is an outdoor prison camp, with the West Bank merely an enclave within the modern state of Israel with no territorial sovereignty or integrity and the second largest recipient of US aid is a 30 year long dictatorship.  Notice the tone of the above article.  Words like “vehemence” and “frustration” are designed to send signals that unless things change diplomacy may give way to something harsher.  Let’s not forget that in the 80s Saddam Hussein was Washington’s leader of choice for Iraq, but only 20 years later encouraged and cheered on his execution.  That shouldn’t be lost on the leaders of oil producing countries that serve an insatiable American public the oil which fuels the American economy.  Hannity’s arrogant bluster and frustration regrettably is probably  an outline for future American policy.

Obama, the enabler


Picture of Rudy Giuliani

Image via Wikipedia

Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, flew to Paris to speak in support of an Iranian exile group there — one that’s been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and that very act of appearing before such a group is a felony under US law.  What’s amazing is Mukasey and Ridge, former Bush appointees in high cabinet level posts should have known that yet completely disregarded the illegality of their act.  That it is illegal is clearly established by the US Departments of State and Justice and material support has been even more narrowly defined to include ‘not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a “foreign terrorist organization” for its benefit’. A former presidential candidate, and secretaries of Homeland Security and Justice Department took a trip to Paris to address an organization on the US Dept of State’s terrorist list, and in doing so committed a felony and you don’t think for a minute they didn’t have the approval of the current administration?  How can one account for the fact that these individuals have not been indicted for clear criminal behavior were they not acting on behalf of the Obama Administration?  Once again, we have the spectre of a US administration walking back on laws it has either signed on or weighed in in a manner reminiscent of the Bush administration with the result that it could have deleterious effects on American interests before the international court of opinion.

The Rethuglicans caught lying again


But not before enough people have believed them.  Racism is insane, inhumane and should be a war crime, and I say that being a racist.  I have to deal with my irrational hatred of groups of people on a regular daily basis where I am, but having said that there isn’t even the slightest bit of empathy from me for people who were stupid enough to believe this bit of thuggery from the right.

Even Andrew Card formerly of  the Bush White House said, the rumors proclaimed by the wingnut audio/video philes don’t pass the ‘sniff test’ unless what you want to smell is the odor of bigotry.  The opposition towards Obama is not principled, please don’t believe that lie either….  It is grounded in hatred for a black president with a strange sounding name whose father was African and possibly Muslim and a white mother who was a “n” lover and procreated with him…something “white America” and especially white males have feared and tried to stop since the beginning of time….if time for you revolves around the beginning of this Republic.

To specifically address today, any of the points of contention, regarding the numbers in the Presidential entourage, ships protecting him and other issues of logistics  from the homophobes of the right is pathetic and laughable when such questions impact presidential security.  Let’s not forget such questions were an anathema during the Bush years when we were fighting the phony war on terror, and enough to get one called a traitor for potentially endangering the life of the president.  Yet today, these questions are the grist of today’s media stars.

The fact that such a bald faced lie comes so soon after Rethuglican victories in the House means the wish of Mitch O’Connell, making Obama a one term president no matter what the cost,  is indeed the agenda of that misdirected, racist and homophobic party.  However, the underlying question for me is can you trust your money, the future an commitment of your country,  to a Party that relies on rumor and innuendo from the Press Trust of India in their opposition to the commander and chief of the United States?  If you buy that then, caveat emptor.

The Insanity Defense-America has lost its mind


It’s not often I read something that strikes such a chord in me  than articles such as this but it’s spot on in describing the sickness that has infected the body politic of today’s America.  How else can you account for a Time Magazine cover story that details militias arming themselves to fight their nation that’s at war…something that would be unheard of during the time the nation spent at war under a Bush presidency.  Steven Thrasher calls the nation out however and says such seditious talk is possible today because of who is president, and the business about government spending as the reason for the Right’s new found opposition to big government is baloney as well for voices of protest were mute while Bush spent the government into the biggest recession since the Great Depression

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel…..

As with other forms of dementia, the signs weren’t obvious at first. After the 2008 election, when former House majority leader Tom DeLay suggested that instead of a formal inauguration, Barack Obama should “have a nice little chicken dinner, and we’ll save the $125 million,” black folks didn’t miss the implication. References to chicken, particularly of the fried variety, have long served as a kind of code when white folks referred to black people and their gustatory preferences—and weren’t many of us already accustomed to older white politicians making such gaffes? But who among us sensed that it was a harbinger that an entire nation was plunging into madness?

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was a nonprofit that organized voter drives and worked for improved wages and housing for poor, mostly non-white Americans. And because of who they organized, they became public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of certain people not so thrilled with black folks registering to vote in large numbers.

Obama had once defended ACORN in a voting-rights case (as co-counsel alongside the Justice Department and the League of Women Voters). An ACORN offshoot was one of many Get-Out-the-Vote enterprises employed by his primary (but not general) campaign. The group’s members did the same kind of community organizing that Obama had done as a young man. But throughout the 2008 election season, there was a concerted campaign to whip up hysteria about ACORN, and by November 2009, Public Policy Polling found that more than a quarter of Americans (and an outright majority of Republican voters) believed that ACORN had stolen the election for Obama.

This was, of course, after the classic bit of Nixonian “rat-fucking” pulled off by a prankster named James O’Keefe.

O’Keefe, a veteran at creating videos to make blacks look greedy and stupid (look for “Taxpayers Clearing House” on YouTube), spent the summer driving around the country with his accomplice, Hannah Giles, making videos in ACORN offices asking for advice about avoiding tax troubles with prostitution money. You’ve no doubt seen the images of O’Keefe dressed as a ’70s pimp. But O’Keefe had carefully edited his tapes and left out, for example, that he was decked out in college preppie clothes, not pimp-wear. At least one ACORN office threw him out, and at least two knowingly played along with his ruse. (The San Diego office called the cops after he left, and the Philadelphia office filed a police report.) The upshot was that after his edited tapes became public, Congress quickly voted to strip ACORN of all federal funds. The organization effectively went out of business before the bill could take effect or be thrown out in court.

O’Keefe has maintained he was “absolutely independent” in his project. But in September 2009, the Voice reported that he’d been funded by billionaire conservative Peter Thiel and the Leadership Institute, the same outfit that funded young Grover Norquist and Karl Rove. That revelation fell on deaf ears, however, and to this day, media outlets perpetuate O’Keefe’s claim that he was operating without backing.

O’Keefe got further help when his tapes were pushed by BigGovernment.com, which is run by an underhanded blowhard named Andrew Breitbart.

Months later, O’Keefe was arrested by the FBI in a bizarre prank at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, in which he was either attempting to plant a wiretap or, in his explanation on Breitbart’s website, just trying to find out whether her phone system worked to help her constituents reach her. (Yeah, that was a good one.)

This summer, Breitbart picked out another black target with another selectively edited video, this one of a USDA employee named Shirley Sherrod. His editing so mischaracterized Sherrod’s words and intent that the fallout, in the words of Frank Rich, “could not only smear an innocent woman but make every national institution that touched the story look bad. . . . The White House, the NAACP and the news media were all soiled by this episode.”

But, hey, politics is hardball, right? We’ve had rat-fuckers like Breitbart and O’Keefe around forever (the founding fathers were certainly not immune to dirty tricks in their day). What’s different this time, however, is just how easily the lies and distortions of the rat-fuckers are being soaked up by the damaged crania of this country’s drooling white masses. What sort of senility is softening up the frontal lobes of America’s palefaces that they can’t see through the black-hatred of a wanker like Breitbart?

Out West, meanwhile, as home prices dropped faster than a burst piñata, an easy scapegoat was found: Mexicans. Long the scourge of aging white folks, who don’t seem to understand the economics behind their cheap groceries, immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and other sweltering southern destinations became enemies of the American Dream.

Suddenly, it was open season on brown-skinned fruit pickers and seamstresses. Arizona passed S.B.1070—a law that would force its residents to carry identity papers with them at all times. Jurisdictions around the nation are salivating to copy suit.

Back East, meanwhile, we have our own brown-skinned devil: the Muslim. When an imam who had done diplomatic work for the Bush administration put together plans to build the Muslim version of a Jewish Community Center a few blocks from Ground Zero (but farther away than an off-track betting joint, a strip club, and the very financial institutions that had detonated the economy), white people freaked out.

At Landmarks Preservation Commission meetings, white housewives from Staten Island suddenly took a great interest in preserving mid-19th-century cast-iron façades and the architecture of Daniel Badger—all to try to keep New Yorkers from taking swimming lessons in the same building where Muslims would have a place to pray. They argued that Muslims could never understand the impact of 9/11 (even though more than 20 Muslims were killed that day) and could never understand the concept of Ground Zero being holy ground (as if a building that would contain prayer services was somehow less holy than an outlet for betting on horses or stuffing dollar bills into G-strings).

But by now, those sorts of distinctions are nearly impossible to make for a white mind so cluttered by decay. Race was always a tough one for white people to deal with, but now the backflips some people are doing over it requires a scorecard.

There may be no better example than Laura Schlessinger and the great white outpouring of support following the bizarre flameout of her radio show.

It all started with the most incomprehensible of happenings: that a black woman would, out of all reason, call the Dr. Laura show seeking advice.

The sister called Schlessinger to ask how to handle her white husband’s white friends, who sometimes say racist things that she’s uncomfortable with, including using “the N-word.”

Schlessinger almost immediately went to, “A lot of blacks voted for Obama simply ’cause he was half-black.”

She told the caller not to “NAACP” her by taking her out of context.

She said “nigger” is fine to say because “black guys use it all the time.”

She then wrote the caller off as having a “chip on [her] shoulder” and declared, “We’ve got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever.”

She told the caller that if “you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor” (i.e., you even question that your husband’s white friends say “nigger” to you in your house), “don’t marry out of your race.”

The caller, Schlessinger thought, was suffering from “hypersensitivity—which is being bred by black activists.” Her discomfort with the word “nigger,” Schlessinger said, was just another “attempt to demonize whites hating blacks.”

The reaction from white America, who clearly had not remembered to take their thorazine that morning, was overwhelming: Who, if not Laura Schlessinger, should say “nigger” with impunity?

Schlessinger announced on Larry King Live, however, that in order to “regain” her First Amendment rights of free speech, she would be canceling her show.

Constitutional experts are still trying to parse that one.

Sarah Palin then rushed to Schlessinger’s, side, Tweeting in her inimitable style, “Don’t retreat . . . reload!” Palin, we can only assume, wanted Schlessinger to utter “nigger” as often as she wanted.

Perhaps the two of them, having both quit their jobs, can get together and put on a road show, opening with “Zip Coon” and finishing with a rousing rendition of “Carry Me Back to Ole Virginny”?

On February 19, 2009, not a month into Obama’s presidency, Rick Santelli—a former hedge-fund manager—had a meltdown on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange while broadcasting for CNBC. Santelli was incensed not that the government was bailing out the multimillionaires who had run giant financial institutions, but that assistance would also be going to help out ordinary people who found themselves defaulting on their home mortgages. Calling such folks “losers,” he said, “How many of you want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

He then added that he was not only mad as hell, but wanted to do something about it: “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I’m gonna start organizing.”

Suddenly, other angry (and obviously very confused) white people began organizing their own “tea parties” and, from the start, had to defend themselves from charges that there was more than a little racial component to their movement.

Few were really surprised, for example, when Tea Party Express President Mark Williams turned out to have penned a letter that could have been written in the worst decades of Jim Crow: “We Coloreds have taken a vote and decided that we don’t cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us Colored People and we demand that it stop!”

And it turns out that the “grassroots” modern tea party effort has been largely funded by the Koch brothers, reactionaries whose combined oil wealth places them just behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as America’s wealthiest men. The brothers have given some $100 million toward the Tea Party’s astroturf call to arms.

“This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them,” a former Koch associate told The New Yorker. “They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.” And in primaries across America this year, the Kochs have gotten one hell of a return on their investment. After decades of pouring money into think-tanks, the billionaire brothers now have an ally no institute fellow could ever match: a scared, angry white mob that votes.

And what a mob. White folks used to shy away from candidates who e-mailed pictures of a woman being fucked by a horse, didn’t they? Can you just see the scene down at the Republican Party headquarters: “Well, except for sending out those e-mails of horse-fucking, other e-mails of nigger jokes, and also fathering a love child, this guy Carl Paladino is just our kind of guy!”

Finding Rick Lazio not crazy enough, white New Yorkers nominated Paladino for governor by a margin of almost two to one.

Sure, Lazio had made an effort. He’d gone after the “Ground Zero Mosque” like a good race-baiter, but he just isn’t in Paladino’s mouth-frothing league. “Crazy Carl” is threatening to take a baseball bat to Albany (and our Tom Robbins explained last week how Carl’s looney ravings are an empty act).

Now, try, if your cortex is not too far gone, to reel things back a couple of years. Imagine, if you can, Barack Obama surging in polls in 2008 if it were known he’d sent out e-mails of a white woman getting it from a horse, revealed that he had a 10-year-old love child, and was threatening to take a baseball bat to federal employees. It’s really impossible to conjure up, isn’t it?

That—right there, more than anything—demonstrates just how much the white brain has become Swiss cheese in the last couple of trips around the sun.

A close second place: the really crazy white shit happening down in Delaware, a state that never really caused much trouble (except for unleashing Joe Biden on us) until it nominated one-time witch Christine O’Donnell, who is so batshit crazy she makes Sarah Palin sound perfectly reasonable.

By now, just about everyone has seen the precious moment in MTV’s 1996 Sex in the ’90s when O’Donnell made this monumental discovery about masturbation: “If he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?” Fourteen years later, it doesn’t really seem to be dawning on the still-unmarried O’Donnell that she’s not “in the picture” and might never be. But that, apparently, isn’t going to stop her waging war against the sex lives of everyone else.

Again, only white lunacy explains it: Neither O’Donnell nor Paladino is a fringe candidate. O’Donnell has a difficult, but not impossible, chance to become a U.S. Senator. Paladino may yet become New York’s next governor. (He’s already polling ahead of Andrew Cuomo among likely male voters, who are generally white and clearly stark raving mad.)

Is there any hope? Can the white mind be cured? And what—other than a massive lobotomy—can salvage it? It’s hard to imagine a cure when, at this point, the patient doesn’t seem to realize that he’s sick. Rush Limbaugh, for example, has declared that it’s black Americans who have a problem. The “black frame of mind is terrible” because of unemployment, and, equally important, because of “Tiger Woods’s choice of females,” he has said. What was that about a pot and a kettle?

Obama’s Treasonous Praetorian Guard


This last incident of a breach of security during an Obama appearance wouldn’t be so suspicious if it was an isolated incident perhaps but it follows an even more suspicious incident that happened during candidate Obama’s campaign and amidst a growing number of threats against the President which have reached astronomical proportions.   Someone within the President’s detail should be held accountable. I’m talking about the husband and wife  pseudo “socialite” team that wrangled their way in to a state dinner at the White House two days ago.  It doesn’t help matters that they were  accompanied by a film and make up crew to the very first gate at the White House and yet by all accounts the Secret Service still did not follow proper procedures when they allowed the two to continue on to another check point whereby they were subsequently cleared for admission to the State dinner.   How can you account for such obvious lapses of security with the President’s security in the Secret Service?  Is this normal, post 911?  Post Fort Hood?  It’s almost as if someone inside the  organization is screaming for the next crazed kook to seize the opportunity they’re being given  to take a shot at the President.  Our fellow countrymen have shown there are many who would like that opportunity.  It appears President Obama has surrounded himself willingly and unknowingly with people who really don’t have his best interest at heart, and who may in fact mean him serious bodily or political harm.  He should do himself a favor and start an entire house cleaning of his Secret Service detail.