Monday, October 18, 2021

A culture of "casual bigotry" comes back to bite "Chucky".

 


I guess you all heard about John Gruden by now. Or Chucky as he has been affectionately known as throughout the years. He was exposed as a fraud when some of the e-mails  that he sent to another "good ole boy" disparaging blacks, women, and just about everyone else who doesn't look like they do surfaced recently. 

Folks on the right say that he was canceled. I say, on the other hand, that he was held accountable for his actions. That's how this works. The guy coaches in a league where almost 60% of the players are black, and like so many others in the billion dollar cash cow called the National Football League, he holds a reprehensible and Neanderthal world view of others.

The NFL now wants us to believe that they have looked into the some 650,000 e-mails and given them the the Captain Renault business: There is nothing to see here. Give me a break!

This article from Shalise Young is all of use right now.

"The NFL got what it needed: Sunday.

After a week in which the public started to really see what the league is, to get a glimpse of just how slimy its underbelly truly is, it needed Sunday.

Because once Sunday arrived, enough fans who may have been mildly appalled at the racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, exploitation, and the NFL's lead counsel doing favors for the president of at least one team, turned their attention to the games.

They may have even gotten an early start consuming the league's product, those who were masochistic enough to endure Jaguars-Dolphins from London. There were fantasy teams to follow and wagers to make, and just the seemingly insatiable desire so many have to tune in. 

Some of those people might not have been appalled at all, so they wanted Sunday to arrive so they could have their games, have their respite. There were fans last year hollering that NFL players and other athletes had to play games to entertain them during COVID lockdowns; it's highly unlikely the contents of the emails we've seen even moved them.

Reality tells us the NFL's power brokers are among them.

Individuals in the highest reaches of the country's most profitable sports league being racist isn't really news, not to anyone paying attention. This country is so accepting of anti-Black sentiment that Jon Gruden was still allowed to coach last Sunday after the report of his racist email to then-Washington executive Bruce Allen disparaging NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith's intelligence and appearance in truly 1920s fashion

It wasn't until more of Gruden's emails were made public — the ones where he circulated semi-nude photos of Washington cheerleaders, expressed disgust with the NFL hiring the first female official in its history as well as the drafting of an openly gay player, and went after commissioner Roger Goodell using an anti-gay slur for the crime of trying to protect players from traumatic brain injury — that he got to resign, once again showing the privilege of being a white man in the NFL, getting to dictate his own departure.

Then things got worse, or at least should have, for the league and its vaunted shield. On Thursday night, the New York Times published emails between Allen, the Washington Football Team president, and Jeff Pash, NFL lead counsel, in which Pash made a nominal fine handed down to Allen's team for lying on the injury report disappear, waved off the growing allegations of workplace toxicity in Washington, expressed anger over the NFL hiring a Black woman to be a league lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and yukked it up over Allen trying to cut a player's salary.

Pash, one of the most powerful people in league offices, still has a job as of this writing. The NFL has even defended Pash's interactions with Allen.

On Friday, the Associated Press published a story citing a source "familiar with the investigation" who claimed none of the other 650,000 emails under review as an extension of that deep dive into Washington's workplace culture contain the kind of bigotry expressed by Gruden and Allen.

To which we say: Bull. Crap.

Writ large, given the emails we have seen and the other things we know, there is no doubt that there are more emails showing how the league's decision makers really feel.

It is their — meaning white men of means — league, and they are loathe to let anyone who isn't into their league. Bringing even one person into the fold that isn't one of them is unacceptable. Allen groused about having to even interview non-white candidates for head coaching positions.

But Sunday came, which is all the NFL needed. Too many media outlets, some of them in bed with the league and profiting off the games, will do just what it hopes and by Sunday night won't mention the week where the league was revealed for what it truly is, will spend Monday happily rehashing highlights from Week 6 games.

Some of us are still appalled. Some of us hope whoever is slowly leaking these emails keeps going. Some of us are still angered by what's happened, the league's cowardice in continuing to protect men of ill will, disgusted that it is 2021 and in too many corners, including a league that would not be the multi-billion juggernaut that it is without the talents of Black athletes, the buffet of bigotry we saw still exists and in some ways is celebrated. 

Some of us skipped this Sunday's games." [Source]

No lies detected. 

 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

"Catastrophic failure" in Rutherford County, Tennessee.


For those of you wondering why it's important to teach critical race theory in higher institutions of learning (notice I wrote in higher institutions of learning), please read this article about what has been taking place in the state of Tennessee with mostly poor juveniles  of color.

It's mind-boggling and scary that this could be happening in our country. And yet, given what has been taking place over the past few years, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. For instance, if someone had told me 20 years ago that America is ripe for a coup, and that one was almost carried out, I would have told them that they're crazy. 

But sadly, here we are. And things that seemed crazy in the past, have us all afraid for our future.  


*Image from MSNBC


Sunday, October 03, 2021

Caption Sunday.

 

 

I need a caption for this picture.  

Sunday, September 26, 2021

No one left to fight for democracy.


 Make no mistake field hands, democracy is dying. And if it is in fact dying, why is the democratic party " so complicit in its demise? 

This is the exact question writer Luke Savage asked in a recent piece in The Atlantic. 

"If you’ve followed recent Democratic messaging, you’ll have heard that American democracy is under serious attack by the Republican Party, representing an existential threat to the country. If you’ve followed Democratic lawmaking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the threat is actually a rather piddling one. The disconnect, in this case, isn’t attributable to Democratic embellishment, but to inexcusable complacency.

In his first address to Congress, last month, President Joe Biden established three basic themes—each one invoked in a language of crisis and political urgency: “The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” When it came to the third, Biden was both pointed and emphatic, tying the events of January 6 and the broader effort to delegitimize November’s election to a wider crisis of democracy. “Congress,” he declared, “should pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send them to my desk right away.”

Biden is far from the only Democratic leader to have made the connection. In urging the Senate to pass H.R. 1, which would improve voter access and election security, Senator Chuck Schumer (hardly anyone’s idea of a firebrand) said in March that state voter-restriction laws “smack of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head once again.” He went as far as warning that “if we don’t stop these vicious and often racist actions, Third World autocracy will be on its way.” Schumer hasn’t been shy about naming an antagonist, either, citing a “concerted, nationwide effort to limit the rights of citizens to vote” and even declaring that “we won’t let [Republican-controlled legislatures] create a dictatorship in America.”

Granting some room for hyperbole, these dire pronouncements aren’t entirely misplaced. As of March 24, researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice had logged some 361 bills containing provisions that seek to restrict voting—a 43 percent increase from about the same time in February. Many involve the usual suite of suppression methods introduced under the auspices of fairness and transparency (expanded ID requirements, banning same-day voter registration, limiting the use of mail-in ballots, etc.), and one in Arizona even aspires to give the state legislature the authority to override the certification of future presidential-election results by simple majority vote. A recording recently released by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, meanwhile, makes more or less explicit that Republican operatives plan to use every tool at their disposal to defeat the renewed push for expanded voting rights, despite its widespread popularity.

Suffice it to say, a concerted right-wing effort really is under way to limit popular democracy and suppress votes. So what are Democrats doing about it? In a legislative sense at least, a cogent and comprehensive response is already in the works, in the form of the two bills cited by Biden in his congressional address. If realized, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 1 (also known as the For the People Act) would constitute the most sweeping acts of democratic reform undertaken in decades. The latter alone would establish automatic national voter registration, independent redistricting commissions for House seats to prevent gerrymandering, expanded mail-in voting, and a number of new measures to reduce the overbearing influence of organized money.

Neither currently seems likely to become law, however. Rhetoric about autocracy notwithstanding, some liberal lawmakers are quietly threatened by aspects of the legislation. A few Black representatives in the South, for example, worry that independent redistricting commissions may cost them their seat. And some establishment figures reportedly fear that more democratically structured contribution rules will embolden left-wing primary challengers propelled by small donations. Senator Joe Manchin, meanwhile, has reiterated his opposition to H.R 1 on the deeply spurious grounds that any prospective voting-rights legislation ought to pass with bipartisan support—a DOA line of reasoning even when it comes to the watered-down version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that Manchin himself is proposing.

The single greatest obstacle, though, has to do with the rules governing the Senate, and whether Democrats are ultimately willing to match their language of urgency with a strategy even remotely proportional to it. Due to the chamber’s filibuster rules, most legislation requires 60 votes to pass—an impediment that effectively empowers lawmakers representing only a tiny sliver of the electorate to block policies they dislike at will, including those designed to make American democracy fairer and more inclusive. (Especially frustrating, as the voting-rights expert Ari Berman has pointed out, is that Republican-controlled legislatures face no such supermajority requirement when passing legislation designed to restrict the vote—a kind of “asymmetric warfare” in which those working to preserve minority rule have a majoritarian advantage.)

Although Biden has mused about the idea of reforming the filibuster, he has ruled out its elimination. Manchin, predictably enough, is resoundingly allergic to the idea of change, while his fellow conservative Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ironically stated her emphatic support for H.R. 1 within days of dismissing filibuster reform in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Schumer, for his part, says that “everything is on the table” when it comes to passing voting-rights legislation, and he has, like Biden, made some noise about at least modifying the filibuster." [More of article here] 

But "noise" is not action. Schumer and other democrats always seem to make a lot of "noise" (they love the cable news cameras) but there is never any action. Just talk. 

One of the reasons that Joe Biden's poll numbers has been tanking is because a lot of progressive and young democratic voters are getting tired of all the talk.  That, and the so-called spirit of bipartisanship that Biden et al are always talking about. Biden's numbers were way up when he became president because a lot of Americans thought that he was going to correct some of the wrongs of the past four years, and put a leash on Mitch McConnell and his extreme right-wing agenda. 

I'm sad to have to announce that it has not happened. And what has transpired over the past year is more of the same: A radical power move by the minority to control the majority. 

Sadly, with the help of a weakened and delusional democratic party, it seems to be working.   



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Testiclesgate.


 America has a huge testicles problem,  and I mean this in the most respectful way possible. 

You know that you have regressed as a society and a culture, when a semi washed up rapper's clueless words concerning the most serious pandemic of our lifetime is being tossed around and represents perfectly the zeitgeist of our era. 

May heaven help us all. Nicki Minaj was being mentioned more by "serious journalists" and cable and news pundits than the leaders of countries such as North Korea and France. (Both  of these countries, by the way, were in the news for far more serious reasons than those dumb misinformed statements by the rapper.) And she has the nerve to be pissed off. If you ask me this has done wonders for her career. It's PR gold. 

The poor leaders of Trinidad had to issue an official statement about the rapper's cousin's declarations. (No reports of swollen balls.) And the White House had to deny a claim that she was invited to the White House to talk about the vaccine. Nicki, of course, is hitting back. She is saying that they did in fact reach out to her, and it is the White House that is misinforming the public. Folks, trust me, I did not have a Nicki Minaj Joe Biden feud on my 2021 bingo card.  This is just nuts! Pun intended. 

We shouldn't be surprised that this is where we are in America, and that the race to the bottom continues. We elected a washed up game show host with zero shame and serious mental issues to be our president. Why should anything else surprise us?  

Now, incredibly, some folks actually found time out of their daily lives to march on the CDC on behalf of Nicki and her outlandish claims. 

"A group of anti-vaccine protesters recently rallied outside the Centre for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, shouting slogans referencing Nicki Minaj‘s recent controversial tweets about the coronavirus vaccine.

“Nicki Minaj told the truth to me. Fauci lied to me,” protesters were filmed chanting outside the CDC. Local television station CBS46 reported one of the protesters saying, “We are here because the CDC has been lying to us for so long”.

Initial coverage of the rally suggested that those protesting were Nicki Minaj fans encouraged by her misinformation-laden comments. But Insider reported earlier today (September 17) that the protesters are part of a fringe political group called the Black Hammer, capitalising on the media attention surrounding Minaj’s tweets. The group is a self-described “anti-colonial organisation that exists to take the land back for all Colonised people”.

Black Hammer also took responsibility for organising the protest on their Twitter, telling followers they would be outside the CDC as they were “fed up with the way the media is portraying Nicki Minaj”.' 

Hold on America, we are almost there. Just brace yourselves for the fall.  


   

  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Caption Monday.

 

 

This took place on 9/11, when the president and other former presidents were doing more dignified things to acknowledge that solemn day.  

Give me a caption for this picture.  

Monday, September 06, 2021

? of the day


 On this Labor Day, when we put an emphasis on work, my question of the day is this: What do we have to work on the most to build a more perfect union? 

I have some thoughts, but I need yours.  

Sunday, August 29, 2021

It's not a "hoax."

 


I'm thinking about the folks in Louisiana this morning. Today is exactly 16 years since Katrina devastated the state's largest city, and now, here we are again. Ida is on her way to leave her mark on that storm ravaged region.   

It's amazing to me that folks on the right still believe that climate change is all a hoax. (I guess I shouldn't be surprised. These same people believe that you can cure COVID by shooting yourself up with a worm drug used for horses.)  I'm here to tell you folks, it's not. I am no scientist. There are folks who read this blog on a regular basis who can play inside baseball with the best of them when it comes to the complexities and complications of the actual science behind this phenomenon.( I see you Pilot X) I'm not one of them. But I have eyes, and I have common sense, and I can tell you that it doesn't take a rocket scientist or an aircraft pilot to be able to tell you that the earth is changing in some scary ways. 

The West Coast of America is almost out of water. There are devastating fires in California and other states out West every year. Tornadoes and floods are getting more intense. And in certain parts of Europe they experienced the hottest months they have recorded in decades. There is more. The polar ice caps are melting, global sea levels are rising, humidity is increasing, the ocean is getting hotter, snow covers are melting earlier.... and on and on it goes. You get the picture. 

If you still don't believe that climate change is real, read what the Prime Minister of Greece had to say after devastating wildfires ripped through his country earlier this month.

 "Everything needed to change in order to minimise the effects of the climate crisis, he told parliament on Wednesday during a debate on the wildfires and criticism of the government's response to them.

Dealing with the crisis "is forcing us to change everything; the way we produce agricultural products, how we move around, how we generate energy and the way we build our homes," he said.

Part of a succession of blazes that struck southern Europe during a summer heatwave, the Greek fires scorched more than a quarter million acres of pine forest, with the island of Evia and areas of the Peloponnese, including near the archaeological site of the ancient Olympics, also hit.

Mitsotakis told lawmakers an earlier public apology for the disaster was also a call for action to become better at tackling such phenomena." 

It's going to take more  than the words of a European Leader to make us start taking this as serious as we should. You would think that one disaster after another would spur us into action. Clearly we are too selfish for that. The behavior of some when it comes to this COVID-19 pandemic is proof of that.

Let's keep the folks of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast regions in our thoughts. And let's start seriously thinking about where we go from here when it comes to climate change. We will be doing this all against the backdrop of Ida proving to us, once again, that climate change is real. 

*Pic from time.com


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Caption Sunday.

 


 I need a caption for this picture.

Pic from Palmbeachpost.com


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

? of the day.


The question of the day is this:

Who do you blame most for the s**tshow in Afghanistan right now?

Here are your choices.

A. George W. Bush. (Sent troops there in the first place.) 

B. Barack Obama. (Didn't get them out)

C. Donald Trump. (Legitimized the Taliban and freed thousands of their soldiers.) 

D. Joe Biden. (Bungled the withdrawal of American allies and Afghan interpreters.)

E. The Afghan people themselves. (They didn't even put up a fight. And maybe they were never going to.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The replacement theorists.


I stumbled on the following article written for Yahoo News by Wajahat Ali  the other day, and I think it's important that I share it.

If you have already read it, please indulge me while a share a little knowledge with your fellow field hands. 

"The hoods are off, and Republicans are embracing the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

If you’re dismissing this as fear-mongering or click-bait, you probably missed Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and renowned adulterer, espousing replacement theory rhetoric on Fox News earlier this week while talking to host Maria Baritromo, who always has time to offer a platform to dangerous conspiracy peddling. Speaking about Mexican immigrants coming to America during the pandemic, Gingrich said the “radical left” wants to “get rid of the rest of us” and would “love to drown traditional, classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law.”

He wasn’t talking about Donald Trump, notorious for being historically ignorant and profoundly incurious, but about those of us with darker skin, who are never seen as “traditional” or “classic” or “real Americans.” Gingrich, a craven political opportunist, parroted the talking points associated with “the great replacement” theory, also known as “white genocide,” which stipulates the white race and “Western civilization” are in dire threat of being weakened and ultimately usurped by immigrants of color, Muslims, feminists, and gays.

This nefarious international scheme is allegedly masterminded by a cabal of secretive and powerful Jews, who are perpetual supervillains in conspiratorial narratives. One of the main leaders of this alleged “deep state” is George Soros, the Hungarian-born, Jewish American billionaire and Holocaust survivor, whom Fox host Tucker Carlson accused of trying to hijack and remake American democracy and the Washington Times alleged was on a “quest to destroy America.” Before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump said “a lot of people say” that Soros was funding the “caravan” of undocumented immigrants and Middle Easterners that he warned was about to invade America.

Terrorist Robert Bowers shared Trump’s fear. He proceeded to kill 11 Jewish people in a synagogue, whom he believed were helping the “invaders.” The replacement theory inspired terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who killed more than 50 Muslim “invaders” in New Zealand. Tarrant’s violent act in turn inspired terrorist Patrick Crusius, who killed 21 people in El Paso, Texas, seeking vengeance against “Hispanic” invaders.

Despite or because of the international bloodshed caused by this hateful conspiracy, conservatives including Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene have embraced it as a political opportunity.

Gingrich was something of a pioneer here, jumping on the anti-sharia bandwagon in the summer of 2010, right before the midterm elections, as he geared up for his failed 2012 presidential bid. That manufactured threat, which became the template for the right’s anti-critical race theory crusade today, imported conspiracy theories and talking points created by white nationalists in Europe who warned about a Muslim “demographic explosion” that threatened to transform white, Christian Europe into “Eurabia.”

Hate has now become intersectional and global, with the Europeans’ American counterparts raving about how CRT or Sharia Law or Marxism will replace the Constitution, destroy American values and teach children to hate white people.

Although the phrase “the great replacement” was coined in 2010 by French author Renaud Camus, who refers to immigrants of color as “colonizers” and “Occupiers,” it’s not an original concept. In 1995, US neo-nazi David Lane warned about governments making white people into an “extinct species” in his subtly titled three-page White Genocide Manifesto. He also created the “14 word” white supremacist slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller’s white nationalist ideas were in part inspired by Jean Raspail’s 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, beloved by white nationalists around the world, that depicts how savage Indian refugees ultimately swarm and overwhelm France. Bannon has recommended the book as a dystopian warning, and Miller promoted the book and other white nationalist talking points to a Breitbart reporter when he was a Senior Advisor in the White House.

Bannon has also recommended conservatives learn from another fan of the replacement theory: Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who praised Trump in 2017 for “thinking precisely as we do when he says ‘America First,’” and who Bannon has praised for being “Trump before Trump.”

What did Orban do that makes him a model worth emulating for conservatives in the United States? He transformed Hungary’s once promising democracy into a one-party state where he filled the government and judiciary with political apparathicks, attacked the press and political opponents, abused his power to enrich himself and his cronies, promoted anti-semitic conspiracy theories against George Soros, and constructed a 109-mile high-tech, razor-wire border fence with Serbia.

Orban mobilized his base into giving up their freedoms by promising he will protect them and their Hungarian heritage from Muslims, refugees, and immigrants of color, and protect them from what he says are “political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.” Instead, he says, “We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.

No wonder Tucker Carlson, who has openly promoted the replacement theory on his show and is beloved by white nationalists for mainstreaming their talking points, applauded Orban’s policies. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention that Carlson, an American journalist, decided to host his top-rated cable news show from Hungary’s capital, Budapest, where he spent a week acting like a paid lobbyist, propagandist, and hype man for Orban and his Fidesz party.

Carlson told his viewers, “if you care about Western civilization and democracy and families and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by the leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here right now.”

Carlson aired a fawning interview with Orban, giving him a platform to promote his ethno-nationalist policies, which Orban rationalized as defending Hungary’s national identity, “culture,” “tradition,” “language,” and “original inhabitants” from Muslims, liberals and other invaders allegedly opposed to freedom and Western civilization.

“Who’s freer?” Carlson asked. “If you’re an American, the answer is painful to admit.”

What’s actually happening in Hungary is a blueprint for autocracy, and that’s the end game for America’s Republican party, which is now a counter-majoritarian and counterfactual force. Trump administration senior advisor and anti-immgration zealot Stephen Miller made that crystal clear while addressing the Young America Foundation’s 43rd National Conservative Student Conference in Texas earlier this week.

In a 40-minute speech you can watch here if you’re a glutton for punishment, Miller echoed Orban and Carlson’s paranoid victimhood, manufactured grievances and racial anxiety of a white demographic terrified of losing power as he cited “stopping illegal immigration” as conservatives’ “highest priority.” There was no mention of the pandemic, income inequality, or climate change. Instead, Miller bragged about stopping refugees from making it to America and suspending the H1-B program that allowed skilled workers, like my father, to legally come to this country and achieve the “American Dream.”

Miller told the young students that liberals have forced them into a “battle none of us wanted,” because “they” want power “to dictate your lives and to change our country into something most of us wouldn’t recognize.” He wants liberals to “just leave the country alone and let America be America,” which to him means a Muslim Ban, undocumented kids separated from their parents in cages, a crowd chanting “send her back” when referring to a US Congresswoman, and ignoring the existence and rights of LGBTQ people.

Pointing to a bleak future, Miller created an absolutist framework and exhorted young conservatives to “fight back” and defend their “heritage: "The stakes in this game are the survival of the country. Those are the stakes. It’s that stark. That black and white. It’s that fundamental. The country survives or it does not.”

The young students gave him a rousing standing ovation at the end of his speech.

This is the Republican Party’s end game, a fight to the death that they hope will lead to an authoritarian regime like Orban’s Hungary. They have not been deterred or moderated by electoral defeat. Insead, they are growing ever more radical, weaponizing and embracing racist ideas, like the replacement theory, and planning future insurrections building on their failed first attempt on Jan. 6." {Article here}