Tag Archives: birther movement

Bigot of the Week Award: October 19, Jason and Tommy Thompson (with a dash of Linda McMahon)

19 Oct

Bigot of the Week

This week the Wisconsin Senate campaign of Republican Tommy Thompson hit a new low. At an RNC fundraiser Thompson’s son Jason, campaigning for his father and for Mitt Romney, decided to inject a little racism into things.

[Let’s] send President Obama back to Chicago—or Kenya.

REALLY? Are the Republicans still hooked on the racist themes of birtherism? Have they no real issues to run on? Jason Thompson offered a nonpology saying that his boss and his dad were irritated with him and he is sorry if anyone was offended. Nice way to avoid responsibility for the actual racist words you said. Tommy Thompson, meanwhile, has denied that his son actually said anything offensive, despite the ample online evidence of him uttering those very words. Not too big a shock from a man who has also violated a campaign pledge to stick to issues but consistently points out his opponent’s, Tammy Baldwin’s, sexual orientation–nothing like good old racism, homophobia, and misogyny coming from the Republicans.

Not wanting to be left behind, Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon dished out some crazy this week too. (Thanks to my friend Jennifer Carey for this dishonorable mention.) Trying to pretend she’s pro-choice while placating her far-right base, McMahon argued against asking religious hospitals and employers to provide contraception. Dancing around the issue, she managed to create a whole new phrase: “emergency rape.” Nobody’s quite sure what she meant or how it differs from other GOP constructions like legitimate, honest, easy, or forcible rape. But of course words don’t have to mean anything as long as they get you votes.

Hero of the Week Award: August 31, Chris Matthews

31 Aug

Hero of the Week

What a pleasant surprise to have another mainstream journalist receive this week’s HWA. Regular TSM readers know that I have little patience for the pablum and apologetics that most networks peddle as news, straining so hard to be “fair” that they invite lunatics and hatemongers to “balance” facts. Lately, however, the media seem to have realized their jobs again, from the many news outlets actually calling out Ryan and Romney for their outright falsehoods to Soledad O’Brien‘s recent refusals to let her interviewees get away with bending the truth.

This week it was MSNBC’s Chris Matthews who stood up to the Republican deception and obfuscation engine. In an on-air conversation with Prince of Darkness, oops! RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Matthews interrupted him to call out his party’s race baiting. Referring to Mitt Romney’s wink-and-nod birtherism during a speech in Michigan, Matthews said,

That cheap shot about “I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate” was awful. You are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is your side is playing that card.

Priebus quickly became defensive and tried to move on. When he accused the President of “European” policies — a standard GOP talking point to make Obama seem foreign — Matthews stopped him cold.

You mean the fact that every president we’ve had has tried to offset the economic cycle with stimulus going the other direction is somehow European? […] What does that have to do with Europe and this foreignization of the government? You’re doing it now. Saying that he’s influenced by foreign influences.

After a heated exchange, the interview ended. Priebus later accused Matthews of being an Obama mouthpiece and — ironically — of being “the biggest jerk in the room.” He’s tried hard to paint Matthews as a fool and a bully, not realizing that his rubber and glue game isn’t working. Matthews, in turn, stands by his words.

There come times when the passion should be reflective in the tone. There are a couple issues like peace and war, and race relations — this is, deeply, not something we should be revisiting in the 21st century. It isn’t even covert any more, its overt. Race is the San Andreas Fault in this country, and this is dividing this country along racial lines.

So true, Mr. Matthews. So sadly true. Thank you for calling it out and for refusing to apologize for simply doing your job.

Celebrating Rosa Parks, December 1

1 Dec

Celebrating Rosa Parks

December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks helped to set the Civil Rights Movement in motion when she refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger.  Parks’ courageous action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott; this boycott lead to a national struggle to end segregation and discrimination of public services, since the American people basically ignored Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

For those that don’t know or remember what segregation looked like, here is a quick synopsis which provides a horrifying glimpse into how we, as a nation, treated African-Americans:

While operating a bus, drivers were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and black passengers by assigning seats. This was accomplished with a line roughly in the middle of the bus separating white passengers in the front of the bus and African-American passengers in the back. When an African-American passenger boarded the bus, they had to get on at the front to pay their fare and then get off and re-board the bus at the back door. When the seats in the front of the bus filled up and more white passengers got on, the bus driver would move back the sign separating black and white passengers and, if necessary, ask black passengers give up their seat.

Segregation clearly did not even qualify as separate but equal, as defined by Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896.

We need to remember Rosa Parks and the myriad other civil rights heroes, for the struggle to eradicate racism is far from over.  It was just last year the Tea Party in its infinite insanity produced the birther movement, demanding President Obama’s birth certificate.  My hope is that for all of us that are working to eradicate racism, we take action. We insert ourselves in conversations, we strive to make our black brothers and sisters more visible by ensuring we see black people in positions of power!

My Reaction to Troy Davis: Racist America

23 Sep

Ella Baker

When I heard that Georgia had executed Troy Davis, despite the heroic efforts of many, including President Jimmy Carter, I was in disbelief. My heart ached and all I could think of was now we have another black mother’s son dead. Of course, this made me reflect on the Civil Rights hero, Ella Baker.

Baker was one of the most influential players in the civil rights movement. Baker’s grandparents were slaves and she would hear stories from her grandmother about slave revolts. After finishing college and graduating valedictorian, she moved to New York and started her life’s path of social justice. Baker fought for civil rights alongside others such as, W.E.B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King. She was also a mentor to our Rosa Parks. Baker’s influence touched the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Baker and another hero of my mine, Howard Zinn, were two of the SNCC’s highly revered adult advisors. Baker remained an activist until her death in 1986.

We still have so far to go regarding full racial equality.  You have no further to look than the current Tea Bagger/Birther movement as evidence of that.  Somehow I expected more of my nation at this point in history.  I expected much more progress on issues on race, gender, and LGBT issues.

I leave you with the lyrics to Ella’s Song, written by one of my personal heros, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock:

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons
Is as important as the killing of white men, white mothers’ sons

That which touches me most is that I had a chance to work with people
Passing on to others that which was passed on to me

To me young people come first, they have the courage where we fail
And if I can but shed some light as they carry us through the gale

The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on
Is when the reins are in the hands of the young, who dare to run against the storm

Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me
I need to be one in the number as we stand against tyranny

Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot, I’ve come to realize
That teaching others to stand up and fight is the only way my struggle survives

I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard
At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

Bigot of the Week Award: April 29

29 Apr

Bigot of the Week

Wow! Talk about an embarrassment of riches this week.  Of course, all of the “birthers” get a dishonorable mention this week, with a special shout out to Orly Taitz and Donald Trump.

Oklahoma’s Republican controlled House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment eliminating Affirmative Action in state government.  But wait! It gets worse.  Sen. Sally Kern (R) said “blacks” just don’t work as hard as whites:

… minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.

We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.

I would say that Sen. Sally Kern most certainly earns this week’s BWA.  Click here to read the full article.

Where’s the Placenta?

27 Apr

Kill the Birther Movement

Yes, I just read the NYT article that the White House Released the Long Form of President Obama’s Hawaii Birth Certificate.  Will this be sufficient to quell the blatant racist bigots?  What’s next? Will Trump (“the blacks love me”) and the other bigots demand testimony from a hospital nurse or the doctor that delivered him? I’m actually disappointed that President Obama caved in to these bigots, albeit I understand why.

I worry about a country that focuses on Obama’s birth certificate rather than the false promise of the morally bankrupt John Boehner creating new jobs–where are they? I worry about a House of Representatives efforts to protect the wealthiest of the wealthy in our country rather than ensure that people have health insurance, or that women have access to health care, via Planned Parenthood.  I worry that the “Tea Party” has corrupted a national conversation and made us look and feel like a country that is in desperate need of an elephant size dose of Haldol.

As we wait for the next embarrassing attack from right wing conservatives, let us now hope the “birther movement” is now dead.  Click here to see the full NYT article.

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