By Doug Porter
For too long, too many white Americans have viewed racism through the lens of the South. Once again, current events are proving once again this particular brand of fear and hatred runs much deeper in the national psyche than Jim Crow laws.
Two recent media reports about immigration–always a lightning rod for fear of the ‘other’– illustrate the point here. Then there’s the festering sore of state-sanctioned violence directed at people of color and now the push-back about how somehow making videos of people being brutalized is causing crime.
Congressman Paul Ryan is about to take over as Speaker of the House of Representatives. There’s been deal making galore going on as Rep. John Boehner heads out the door. A long-term budget agreement has emerged, something inconceivable just a few weeks ago. Suddenly, a large number of deficit hawks are willing to vote for a $120+ increase in federal spending.
But there was one particular promise the incoming speaker made to the Republican rebels of the right. It involved a promise to not even consider immigration reform…as long as that Black Guy is in the White House.
From the National Review:
Paul Ryan has signed off on a letter promising restless members of the House Freedom Caucus (HFC) that he won’t bring immigration-reform legislation to the House floor while President Obama remains in office. The letter, obtained exclusively by National Review, formalizes pledges that Ryan made last week in a closed-door meeting with select members of the HFC who were skeptical of his promise to maintain an “open” and “inclusive” relationship with the caucus. Specifically, it extracts Ryan’s word that he will not bring up comprehensive immigration reform “so long as Barack Obama is president” and, as speaker, Ryan will not allow any immigration bill to reach the floor for a vote unless a “majority” of GOP members support it.
Alabama representative Mo Brooks wrote the letter and will enter it into the Congressional Record on Tuesday morning. He says his intention was to record the pledges Ryan made in the meeting and earn Ryan’s confirmation that the record was accurate, so he could vote for the Wisconsin Republican in good conscience come the congressional-floor election that will determine the next speaker.
Only Genuine Refugees Need Apply
Lee Fang recently reported at the Intercept on San Diego County’s own billionaire bad boy, who’s funding people engaged in a campaign to scare Americans about all the Ay-rabs coming to steal your crucifixes. He’s Robert Shillman, a wealthy donor to conservative causes who lives in Rancho Santa Fe.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at FrontPage Magazine, has argued that the only “genuine refugees” are “Christian and non-Muslim” and that the U.S. should not accept any Muslims from the conflict in Syria because those fleeing the region “are not victims, they are perpetrators.”
Greenfield, who has published over a dozen articles this year about the dangers of Syrian refugees, explained on an Internet news program in September that the Obama administration is “really eager to find new undocumented Democratic voters anywhere it can” and that religious charity groups assisting Syrian refugees are simply out to make money from the crisis. “If you’re a 90-year-old Haitian who is HIV-positive, they will roll out the red carpet for you,” Greenfield claimed, as he explained the Obama administration’s approach to immigration.
Raymond Ibrahim, another Shillman Fellow at FrontPage, has argued that Western nations “should only accept Christian refugees” because Muslim refugees are merely escaping “chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion, Islam.”
Shillman is also a donor to ACT! for America, a group led by Brigitte Gabriel. In a recent appearance on Newsmax TV, Gabriel said her grassroots network is working to prevent the settlement of Syrian refugees in America.
The story goes on and on, but the point is obvious. Religion may be part of this campaign, but when asked to cite specifics, these hate mongers are a quick to play the skin card.
Sitting While Black
A video of brutality so egregious that even mainstream media outlets are giving it front page play made the rounds yesterday and today.
South Carolina Deputy Ben Fields was called to classroom to remove a student who refused an order to go to the main office.
Eighteen year old Niya Kenny, the student who shot the six second video, was also arrested.
From WLTX TV:
“I was crying, screaming and crying like a baby,” says Kenny. “I was in disbelief.”
“I know this girl don’t got nobody and I couldn’t believe this was happening,” Kenny explained. “I had never seen nothing like that in my life, a man use that much force on a little girl. A big man, like 300 pounds of full muscle. I was like ‘no way, no way.’ You can’t do nothing like that to a little girl. I’m talking about she’s like 5’6″.”
Kenny says her classmate was not participating and was asked to leave the room by her teacher. When she refused an administrator was called in and asked her to leave. She refused and Officer Fields was called in, asking her the same thing.
The deputy involved –who has a history of violent incidents towards black people– has been suspended, and the FBI has been asked to conduct an independent investigation.
My point here is that this is just the latest in what seems like a never-ending stream of videos.
Some in law enforcement and a great many more on the right end of the political spectrum are now trying to argue that holding the police to constitutional standards endangers the public.
San Diego’s police chief Shelly Zimmerman says that body-cam videos and even images from private security cameras are not for public consumption. She fears the public can’t be trusted not to go out and create disturbances over official (mis) conduct, like shooting somebody.
Crime is going up, according to James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of increased concern about police behavior — and fear of appearing in “viral videos.”
The New York Times editorial board disagrees:
This kind of public scrutiny is all to the good, given the damage police brutality has done to African-American communities for generations and the corrosive effect it has on the broader society. Yet the peeling away of secrecy on these indisputably unconstitutional practices is now being challenged by politicians who want to soft-pedal or even ignore police misconduct while attacking the people who expose it or raise their voices in protest against it. This trend is like something straight out of Orwell.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey — the increasingly desperate presidential candidate who is going nowhere fast — took this posture on Sunday when he accused President Obama of encouraging “lawlessness” and violence against police officers by acknowledging that the country needed to take both police brutality and the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement seriously.
The president is absolutely right. This movement focuses on the irrefutable fact that black citizens are far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police. The more the country ignores that truth, the greater the civic discord that will flow from it.
Today’s examples of immigration, refugees and law enforcement malfeasance are all related to one thing: Racism.
One more item…
Let Me Count the Reasons Why
The Union-Tribune profiled newly declared mayoral candidate Gretchen Newsom, and now we know all the reasons why she can’t possibly defeat incumbent Kevin Faulconer.
There is no denying that Newsom is a long shot, and I covered many of the challenges she faces yesterday. But it ain’t over ‘till it’s over.
Faulconer campaign consultant Jason Roe and University of San Diego political scientist Carl Luna were called to testify about her shortcomings.
Roe said the Democrats may be planning to run a second candidate, mentioning former City Councilman Ed Harris and former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher as possibilities, to prevent Faulconer from getting the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff in November.
Luna, the political scientist, said party leaders should have chosen one strong candidate months ago to challenge Faulconer, saying the mayor was not unbeatable and that a well-organized effort could have succeeded.
Where do I even start with this stuff? I can only wish the Democratic party was this organized. Ever heard of of herding cats?
“Democrats” aren’t planning; they’ve been beating the bushes. (Ed Harris said ‘no,’ by the way). Party leaders couldn’t “choose.” They might have waved money as they begged local politicos to fall on their sword, but (so far) there were no takers.
Which brings me to the obvious. If a Democrat is going to beat the incumbent, an outsider running actually starts to make sense. And San Diegans do have a history of voting for women with an independent streak running for office…
At about 5:30 this morning, a switch flipped somewhere in the ether.
Since that time I have received –no kidding– thousands of emails dating back to June 2012 sent to my Free Press address. (They’re still coming in as I write this.)
Some emails made it through over the past three and a half years. It’s obvious now that many did not. Some were notifications from social media, some were people trying to communicate with me about stories, and some were hate mail. I feel humbled by the quantity of mail people sent me and angry about the fact they weren’t acknowledged.
To all of you who’ve ever sent me a (non-press release) note and not received a response, I sincerely apologize.
I’m going to try and find some answers in the next couple of days. And if there are no obvious fixes, I’ll go get another Gmail address not tied to the SDFP server.
On This Day: 1951 – The National Labor Council formed in Cincinnati to unite Black workers in the struggle for full economic, political and social equality. The group was to function for five years before disbanding, having forced many AFL and CIO unions to adopt non-discrimination policies. 1975 – Bruce Springsteen was simultaneously on the cover of “Time” and “Newsweek.” This was the first time this happened for a rock star. 1994 – The Justice Department announced that the U.S. prison population had exceeded one million for the first time in American history.
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