Liberal bloggers as a gated community

2007-Jun-23

I think our Liberal bloggers are getting a bit ahead of themselves, for instance, Chris Bowers of MyDD (one of the best):

The Democratic Party is in the midst of a severe electoral crisis. Right now, we only control the US House, the US Senate, the majority of Governorships, the majority of state legislatures, and we lead in only seven out of the eight top-tier matchups in the 2008 general election.

This was in the criticism of a southern white Democrat consultant, “Mudcat” Saunders who was criticising fellow Dems for ignoring the rest of country:

I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the “Metropolitan Opera Wing”. These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance.

So he was being a bit, um, harsh, and he caught hell for it. But I think he had a hell of a good point. The “elite” Liberal bloggers (and there are a small handful who get most of the traffic) are being awfully arrogant if they try to take credit for Democratic gains in the last election. The Dems (assisted as they were by the bloggers) did not win. The Republicans lost it as they lost their base, disgusted by the obvious corruption and incompetence of the Republican leaders. And if Dems make further gains in the next election it will again be due largely to the continuing corruption and incompetence of the Republicans, not the skills (however great) of the bloggers, and certainly not due to any abundance of courageous actions of the Democrats in the Senate and House…

As we celebrate our President having approval ratings descending through the twenties, we might want to note that the Senate and House, now under Democratic control, have approval ratings far, far lower, now down to 14%.

The Democrats have shown fear and cowardice, failing to follow the wishes of the electorate by ending the war and reining in the Presidency. And the Democratic bloggers, once Liberal and Progressive, now merely Democratic, have (as I noted before) started to lose their edge, and are now trying to take the route they feel is safe (support any corporate Democrat instead of holding them to account) instead of showing the courage to push them by supporting those who support Progressive policies.

Taking the safe route instead of pushing is what got the Democrats in Congress approval ratings of 14%, and doing the same will not help the reputations or power of the bloggerati either.


Illegal Immigration and Liberals: a Typology

2007-Jun-22

Nativist Zenophobic Liberal – Wants to provide his family with food AND clothing AND shelter instead of having to choose just one.

Limbaugh Liberal – “Anybody who disagrees with me is a racist!”

Limousine Liberal – Owns a business that will benefit financially from cheap labor. Wants to replace his uppity black landscaper who wants a living wage with a brown one who will take much less, but keep his Liberal cred by still hiring a “minority”.

Latte Liberal – Wants to remove all borders because if he loses his crappy job he can always go back and live in Mommy’s basement.


Screw DailyKos

2007-Jun-04

I used to think that DailyKos was one of the best things that happened to the Net, a force that would allow the netroots to push the Progressive movement to become once again a means to make a difference for the good in America.

That was before Kos became popular and got a taste of power and decided he could decide who is worthy to appear in the debates:

So is there really a point to having Gravel, in between advocating English as an “official” language and promoting his right-wing flat tax, sit on the debates doing nothing but attack other Democrats?

Sorry, Kos, but Mike Gravel, in his few years in the Senate, accomplished more to stop a war than you or all your Neo(ie: fake)-Liberal presidential candidates combined. When Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, showing government deceiving the public about our involvement in Vietnam, and was about to be “put to the torch“, Grevel published the papers in the Congressional Record, guaranteeing public access. And Gravel single-handedly filibustered against the draft for five months until Nixon conceded and the draft ended, without which there could soon be no more Vietnam War.

Any of our current presidential candidates in the Senate could have done the same. If they had the courage. But they don’t. And Kos is trying to protect his favored candidates–the spineless–from criticism from someone who had more backbone than any or all of them put together.

So, Kos,you and your Kossacks can dismiss him as a flake, and mischaracterise his positions, but after reading what you and yours have to say about him, and reading his positions, I trust and respect him now more than you. Trying to denigrate critics as insane and trying to silence them is the sort of tactic that Karl Rove would use, not someone who wants to give the people a voice against the powerful.

All organizations, once they gain some power, lose their ideals and allow themselves to become co-opted by that power, and themselves become the establishment that needs to be confronted. I just hoped that Kos could have resisted temptation a while longer.


Playing the Race Card: Black vs Brown

2007-Jun-02

The Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration had a novel tactic in getting Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court confirmed. They tried to push the claim that anyone who opposed him could only be motivated by racism: “blue-state liberals against a modest Italian-American”.

Playing the race card by using false accusations of racism to defend a morally suspect political agenda worked so well for the Bush Administration that the fake liberals have been using it to justify their support for the Bush Neo-Con agenda of illegal immigration, by implying that any criticism of amnesty is racist.

When dealing with the Bush Administration (and all too often the Democrats who support them), it is safe to assume that whenever they hurl an accusation, they are trying to distract attention from the fact that they are guilty of whatever they are accusing others of. And the same goes here. If they are claiming it is racist to oppose the cheap labor corporate proponents of illegal immigration, it is more likely that the illegal immigration they encourage is serving the interests of racism, not ending racism.

Who wins and who loses through illegal immigration?

The biggest winners are employers of iillegals. First, they get the cost savings of cheaper labor. Second, they can now pay everyone less for the same job, since those who got fired and replaced by illegals must now accept lower wages in order to work, as the wages of all workers doing that job are reduced to what the lowest paid workers will accept. And once certain jobs are performed mostly by illegals, benefits (such as medical or pension benefits) are reduced or eliminated, job safety standards can be ignored, and unionization becomes impossible when strikers can always be replaced by an infinite supply of scab laborers. And those cost savings give corporate criminals an incomparable competitive advantage over employers who obey the laws. As long as employers know they will suffer no sanctions, the advantages of employing illegals over Americans are truly amazing.

The next winners are the illegals themselves. As I outlined previously, illegals can leverage the first world wages here against the third world cost of living of their extended families to get a strong competitive advantage over their neighbors back home through remittances.

So who loses? Blacks, first and foremost, as I noted before. The question is why would Liberals, Democrats let it happen? Why would Democratic politicians let Blacks, their most loyal supporters, slide into oblivion by supporting handing their jobs off to illegal immigrants?

Well, because that’s what happens every time a new wave of immigrants enters the country. White Liberals dump Blacks just as eagerly as white Conservatives do.

This time around part of it is crass political number crunching. Hispanics now outnumber Blacks and if Democrats can curry their favor and a majority of their votes, they may be able to make up for losing the votes of all the white racists in the South after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, especially since all those white racists voting solid Republican means Blacks really have nowhere else to go, so Dems can give them lip service and then abandon them with impunity.

And the dirty little secret…despite Democratic gloating that on the immigration issue Republicans are split between corporatist Republicans (“amnesty!”) and racist Republicans (“fence!”), Democrats have just as bad a split. Only on the Democratic side the corporate Dems and the racist Dems are the same damn Dems. But the racism is different.

When my Ex was young she went to summer camp, and when she returned her best friends refused to play with her. It seems that Blacks get tans too, and she was now a shade darker than her playmates, so she was too dark to be able to play with them. Republican racism is very simple. Everything is just black or white. But Democratic racism is complex, all shades of brown and gray. But with every wave of this “nation of immigrants”, the new immigrants always turn white but Blacks still end up at the bottom. Because each wave uses blacks as the spring board to step on to climb their way up the ladder:

IN 1971, THE Amsterdam News, New York City’s oldest African-American newspaper, published a cartoon by Melvin Tapley that gave vent to a uniquely black ambivalence toward immigration. The cartoon portrayed a downtrodden black figure crouched on the ground, labeled “US Folks,” a double entendre for “us folks” and “U.S. folks.” A chain of other figures, representing Spanish Americans and the foreign born, climb on the back of the crouched black figure, to pluck fruit off the tree of opportunity. Tapley had no illusions about the struggles of these immigrant minorities. Although he portrays them as getting ahead on the backs of blacks, immigrants too must climb over the wall of prejudice, and they reach only the lowest branches on the tree of opportunity.

The accompanying editorial read as follows:

News from the Census Bureau that Spanish-speaking Americans are now able to earn higher incomes than Blacks will not come as a surprise to many of us.

Since our arrival here in 1619 as slaves, Black Americans have watched millions of European immigrants arrive and within a short time hold jobs and reach levels of incomes Blacks were not allowed to attain.

In fact, during the early part of the century the hordes of Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, German, Scottish, Greek, Spanish, and other European immigrants frequently replaced Blacks as longshoremen, street-car motormen, construction workers, jockeys, blacksmiths, and able-bodied seamen. Outright, rank racism, and discrimination were the tools by which Blacks have been deprived of work over the decades.

The cartoon and editorial reflect a long strand of black thought, which regards immigrants and immigration with an ambivalence verging on resentment and bitterness. This should come as no surprise. As Lawrence Fuchs reminds us: “In 1883, when Emma Lazarus, a daughter of immigrants, wrote the impassioned words ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ the Supreme Court undermined the last of the civil rights laws passed by Congress following the Civil War.”3 And 1965 — the year these rights were finally restored — also marked the beginning of a massive influx of immigrants from every part of the world who were thrust into competition with blacks for jobs and opportunity. The crowning irony is that most of these immigrants would not be here, but for the black protest movement that led to immigration reform abolishing the national origins quotas that had chocked off flow of immigrants from nations outside of northern and western Europe.

Let me throw down the gauntlet: my challenge is to think about immigration from the standpoint of this black figure, crouched on the ground as others pluck fruit off the tree of opportunity. Dare we also read the immigration literature — the celebratory narratives of immigrant progress and triumph against adversity — from the point of view of “the man farthest down,” to borrow a phrase from Booker T. Washington?

When white “liberals” speak of immigration, they do it from a long history of themselves using it to give themselves advantage at the expense of others. It’s time they started to think of the wider context of who is being hurt as well as who they can obligate for future political favors. They have no basis for their self-righteousness. The effects of their racism are just as deep and lasting as that of the more honest racist on the other side. It’s time they faced up to it.