Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Celebrating the Confederacy is like Germans Celebrating Hitler's Birthday

So, I was looking at the new video recommendations on my YouTube account, and one of the videos was Southern Secession and the Liberal Mind by a writer I've sometimes agreed with named The Southern Avenger. Whereas I've agreed many times with him in the past on his analysis of various political issues, this video blog of his could not be more wrong, more ugly, and just so full of the ignorance of the American Civil War, that it's just not funny.

In his video, he explains that northerners who criticize southern celebrations of confederate heroes, or loving remembrances of the Confederacy are ignorant of the "heritage" of the country, and do not appreciate how Southerners feel about their history. My brief description won't do justice to the full video, but in essence, he defends people who have "confederate pride" as simply historically informed individuals who don't want us to forget our history.

That is why he is wrong. Every argument with people who celebrate the south's part in the civil war eventually gets to the mention of slavery. If you argue the civil war with any of these confederate pride types, one of the first arguments that you will hear is that "Slavery wasn't quite as nasty as it was made out to be... You need to realize that the winners of the war got to write the history... The war was about unfair taxes, not about slavery..."

All of these arguments were promoted in the above video, but I've heard them before from other people. The people who make these arguments are just wrong, and they are wrong because they are not informed by history. The irony is that the very writings of Jefferson Davis betray the notion that the war wasn't about slavery. The Confederate papers, The Constitution of the Confederacy, and the writings of the leaders of the confederacy are very weak on taxes and economic issues, and verbose on slavery and abolitionists.

The reason that the people who celebrate the confederacy always have to avoid the issue of Slavery, and try to downplay it by lying about it's role in the war is simple. If it were not for slavery, there would never have been a civil war, and in order to make the confederacy more palatable to people who actually appreciate freedom, the ugly side of the confederacy has to be covered up, and more emphasis must me made on the alleged conservative and family values of the people who were called Confederates. Unfortunately, in doing this, historical facts are forgotten, propaganda is used, and the Southerners showing pride in their beloved history end up being more like Germans who try to celebrate the Nazis as a cherished part of their national heritage.

Yeah, I used the N word. Tough! I know that it's usually the death knell for an argument, but hear me out, because it will all make sense when my article is complete.

The writings of the Confederacy

Take the address to the confederacy that Jefferson Davis gave at Montgomery on April 29, 1861. You will note that the words, "Tax" and "Tariff" do not appear at all, nor does any language pertaining to money or finance. What does appear frequently, however, is "slavery". The entire speech is all about slavery and it's preservation. The rest of the speech concerns preparing for war against the north, which destroys the idea that the Confederacy was seeking peaceful coexistence, and trying to avoid war.

If Secession was not about racism or slavery, then why would Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens have written "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."? (From his Cornerstone speech, March 21, 1861)

If Secession was not about Slavery, then why would the constitution of the Confederacy, as well as the constitutions of Confederate states like Alabama, look pretty much just like the Constitution of the United States, with the only real differences being sections that protect slavery, and prohibit emancipation of slaves by the government?

The reality of "State's Rights"

To really grasp the utter idiocy of modern people defending the honor of the south and the Confederacy, let's look at the reality behind the so-called "State's Rights". As we know, State's Rights was the argument that the south used as a reason for breaking away from the Union. We also heard this "State's Rights" argument rear itself during the civil rights era, personified in the likes of former Alabama Governor George Wallace. Modern supporters of the confederacy will often still refer to States Rights when arguing for more respect for southern pride and the preservation of southern heritage (respecting the confederacy).

What kind of things constituted the rights that states were asking for? Essentially, the reality of state's rights seems to be that a state should be allowed to violate the rights of minorities and people whose views are less popular than the views of white protestant conservative Christians. I reach this conclusion by simply looking at the things that the south has traditionally done in defiance of the north.

  • When your state wants to allow guys in white sheets to murder black people or white people who help them, and not prosecute any of them, that's your state's right.
  • When your state wants to allow lynchings, and willfully obstructs the federal government from conducting a criminal investigation of a lynching, that's your state's right.
  • When your state wants to prevent black people from enrolling in college to get an education, and your governor personally blocks the way to the admissions office to stop black people from enrolling in a state college, which their family's tax dollars paid for, that's your state's right.
  • When your state wants to segregate black people and white people the way that Saudi Arabia and Iran segregate men and women in their society, that's your state's right.
  • When your state's public buildings and many businesses have 3 types of restrooms -- men, women and "black", which both black men and women have to share, that's your state's right.
  • When your state gerrymanders voting districts so that black neighborhoods deliberately have poorer representation (or no representation), that's your state's right.
  • When your state actively prevents black voters from voting, by having different standards that apply only to black voters, that's your state's right.
  • When your state allows a 14-year-old black boy to be abducted in broad daylight with plenty of eyewitnesses, then be beaten to death beyond recognition by his well-known abductors, and the trial of his killers is manipulated so that they not only get away with it, but boast of their guilt afterward, and still go unpunished, that's your state's right.
  • When your state allows a church to be bombed, which kills four young children, and local law enforcement doesn't cooperate with the FBI's investigation, and it takes decades for the killers to be arrested and prosecuted, that's your state's right.

That's the stark reality of so-called state's rights. It's just a smokescreen for saying what, in plain English, would be too ugly to admit -- that you want states to be allowed to violate the constitutional rights of certain groups of citizens, plain and simple. Whenever you hear the phrase "state's rights" being bandied about by the jokers who are arguing for revision on the civil war, or trying to white-wash the racist history of America, just tell them that you understand, and fling a few of the above bullet-points at them. If it doesn't leave them speechless, it will certainly provoke their anger, and soon enough, their inner Klansman will become too obvious.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The NFL Saves Boobies

My girlfriend is a Football fan, so this Sunday morning, she was surfing the television for games to watch, and noticed something weird. All the players on the channel she stopped to watch either had pink wristbands, pink chinguards, pink socks, pink shoes, or a combination of several of these things. Then, she changed the channel, and there were two totally different teams, with scattered patches of pink on their persons. She changed the channel, and there were more pink-speckled Football players from yet two more teams. This was such an astounding and strange thing that she had to call me over to be an eyewitness, or to at least let her know that she wasn't hallucinating. It was like suddenly, the most manly sport on TV had gone all metro-sexual. I didn't notice that the cheerleaders were using pink pom-poms, probably because that's normal for women.

My reaction was "WTF?!"

"It's breast cancer awareness month," she said. Now something made sense. But this was still a ridiculous event to watch. In my liberal anti-corporate mind, I thought of the scene from Office Space, where a chain-restaurant manager chews out a female employee for not wearing enough flair on her uniform (Flair is decorations, usually on pin-on buttons, which are worn on work uniforms to advertise or put slogans into customers' heads). I pictured the corporate owners of the NFL standing their players and coaches and other workers in line, and saying something like "Now Mr. Jones, who writes a lot of our paychecks, has made a lot of donations to various funds for breast-cancer research, and wants you all to show him that we're all behind his favorite cause..."

Then I realized that this was football. I then considered how the pitch was most likely made. "You all like boobies... at least most men do. Boobies are great. But boobies are in danger from cancer, and Well, we all need to help save the boobies so that we can continue to enjoy them, and so your sons can enjoy them when they grow up." Following that, players began to discuss how they were going to show support. "I like squeezing boobies with my hands, so I'm gonna wear pink gloves!" "I like putting them in my mouth, so I'm wearing a pink chinstrap and mouth-guard!" Nobody understood the guy who decided to wear pink shoes, though...

I wouldn't be making fun of this if it wasn't made so painfully obvious that it's breast cancer awareness month, and that the NFL was supporting it. It's like the whole NFL decided that a freak show was the way to show support for Breast cancer. They somehow need to make their support look as visible as possible. Someone must have convinced them that merely donating money and holding a press conference to announce their donation was not enough, and that pink shoes and gloves were a much better way to do it. It's just such a totally American thing to do, too -- make a painfully-obvious, overly-overt, visual demonstration of your stance -- Wave a flag, paint your face, shout a slogan, be a walking, talking advertisement, so that nobody could possibly misunderstand you... or take you seriously.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Tea Party: Stupid, White, Racist and All American... And damn proud of it!

I recently spent a few days conversing with the retards that call themselves the Tea Party. I learned many fascinating factoids from them. For example, did you know that President Obama is following the exact same path that Hitler did to taking over Nazi Germany? Did you know that Nazis are actually liberals/, because National Socialism contains the word Socialism, and that means that they were closer to being liberal communists? Did you know that Obama and the liberal left are out to kill off all the old people, the disabled, and have already taken over 50% of the nation's economy? Were you aware that the Health Care Bill recently passed by Obama and the House, is a socialist takeover of the healthcare system?

All of these interesting factoids were bandied about by people who really knew what they were talking about. They got their information from the most trusted news and information sources -- Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and other Pundits. Not one of the people I talked with had any need to read what was in the health care bill -- Their favorite pundits simply knew what was in it, and they didn't read it, themelves, either. It seems that all of the amazing facts about Obama and the Health care reform bill did not get sourced at all from the text of the bill, or from anything that the democrats said. After all, going right to the source text of the bill itself would be a futile effort, you see, because everyone knows that the democrats wouldn't let us read what the bill is really about. So the actual text of the bill is "hidden", and what we get to see is a phoney bill that looks all nice and non-theatening, when we go to the Government's website.

My encounter with these geniuses from the Tea Party started when I started hearing news on TV and radio about the Tea Party's reaction to the bill's passing. Many people were accusing the Tea Party of being racists. African American senators, like John Lewis (D, Georgia), were called niggers and spat upon by angry protestors. This was witnessed by Capital Hill police officers, who arrested some of the protestors for assault. I went to You Tube, and searched for videos and found this.

I also found a series of videos and slide shows that showed images of signs carried at Tea Party Rallies. but the above video sort of encapsulates it all very well. I made a couple of comments, and went away to do work.

Then the email started pouring in. Apparently, I angered a few Tea party people, and we soon started discussing things. From my years of dealing with right wing luantics and religious nut-jobs, as evidenced in my blog, I've learned a few things about how these people think and where they get their facts, and I basically presented them with a few messages to confirm that they were the same kinds of retards that I usually deal with on the far right. I actually have a couple of friends who are tea party members. We don't talk much about politics, but I occasionally hear a few things that suggest that they have far-right views which would make them less friendly if we had any honest discussion on actual issues, and I pointed out actual facts to them, which clash with their insane political beliefs. I also have a similar problem with most of my family -- a white Irish Catholic family who all moved into the boondocks and became avid fans of Fox News. One thing I know about both family and tea party friends is that underneath their hatred and anger is a deep seated racism. My dad and brothers have been using the "N" word (you know, "Nigger") since I was a kid.

Whenever far right wingers discuss "how America is being ruined", they almost instantly and automatically invoke Illegal Immigrants and Black people, with occasional references to Jews. The Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis that started a couple of years ago, for example, was blamed by many right wing pundits, on illegal immigrants. There's a good reasn that Illegal Immigrants can't be the cause of the mortgage crisis, though. No lending institution would risk lending to someone who is not documented. It is virtually impossible for anyone that entered the country illegally to get a loan from a bank, because the first thing they get asked is if they are US citizens, and for a social security number. There were a lot of hispanics involved in the sub-prime crisis, but not illegal ones. See, in the bizarro world of the far right, hispanic = illegal alien. When I mention my hispanic co-workers in conversation with my right wing parents, for example, the first question out of their mouths is "Are they illegal immigrants?"

The discussion inevitably turns to comparisons to Nazis, Communists, socialists, and monsters of all types. One of the dumbest statements that I keep hearing from far right wingers, religious nuts, and Tea Party People is that Democrats are just like Nazis. This is an interesting thing, because Nazis were right wingers, historically, and democrats are left wingers. In the bizarro world of neoconservatives, though, words are redefined and turned topsy-turvey. You will always hear these Teabaggers say "Nazi is a concatenation of National Socialism" (Sorry, they would never use a big word like "concatenation", much less spell it correctly), therefore, the Nazis were socialists, therefore they were liberals.

Even if you try to explain it to them, they will pooh-pooh all the actual facts you give them and write you a strange revisionist history. For Example:

  • "actually the Nazi's were Socialists, the word Nazi stood for National Socialist Party or Nat'i Nazi' for short. Obama, an admitted Communist and currently acting Socialist embraces Socialist ideals. He has seized the banks, industry, and spent tax payer dollars faster than all the Presidents combined in the last CENTURY. He and his party have destroyed this country inside of two years."
  • "You are wrong! If you studied Nazism you would find that a leader comes in promises the moon takes of the country and turns it into Nazism Germany."

I love hearing this crap from the far right, because there is no source, except for possibly Conservapedia, that will back up their version of the facts. Let's do a short comparison of Nazis, Republicans, and Democrats, to see who is closer.


  • Liberal Ideology
  • Generally not favorable toward militarism, big business, or religion
  • Supports homosexuals
  • Pluralistic (Not pro or anti any particular religion)


I'm talking about facts that virtually all history books, in any country will agree on. It's only these far right people saying that nazis were liberals. No actual historical experts will make that claim. When you do not properly source your information, and just uncritically take the words of a pundit that you like, for granted, you make yourself intellectually lazy. It's just dumb to never bother to check facts.

What's even more annoying is their claim that republicans and conservatives in general, as well as the tea party, are not racist. Really? Perhaps the reason that there are so few African American people and Jews in the republican party is that there's just too many white people crowding them out. Yeah, yeah, that must be it. There must be a good explanation why African American Republicans have dwindled from nearly 20% in the 1950s to just under 10% today.

Perhaps the problem is that the Republican party has not really tried to reach out African Americans, and often treats African American members as second-class party members. Perhaps most conservative white people in the USA are still resentful of the civil rights act of 1964, and fearful of black skinned people because most cop shows portray them as gangsters.

Or perhaps most conservative white people really are just racists deep down inside. After all, you can still hear the occaisional rant against Jews being uttered by Christian Fundamentalists. I've documented that here, here, here, here, and here.

Conservatives have a real problem with their way of expressing themselves, because a lot of what they have to say concerning race, religion, science, history, and other topics show a fundamental lack of actual knowledge of the subjects, but also are explained by them rather sloppily and insensitively. I mean, take a look at this article by Pat Buchanan written on the eve of President Obama's victory. I mean the guy literally says that slavery was the best thing that ever happened to African Americans! He may have meant well, but it came out like a stream of steaming liquid-crap; They have a way of complimenting and cherishing African Americans that comes off more like fear and loathing dressed up in an evening gown.

Now to the subject of whether or not the Tea party is Racist. They are not, by definition. Their Party's description of it's values clearly make it just a conservative anti-tax group. However, the rhetoric of their speakers and some of their supporters is most definitely racist. This is due to poor policing by the group's leadership. Instead of telling the people who attend their rallies with guns and confederate flags or racist slogans to please go away, they have embraced them, because they care more about the bottom-line -- membership numbers and donations. It's their own undoing. The leadership of the party has done nothing to discourage the racists in their membership, and it comes off to us as a sort of passive approval of racists. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the membership's attitude towards racists is to show you these two video clips. This first clip clearly shows idiots with racist signs and comments being allowed to be part of the rally, and there is no criticism of them from the rest of the group. This video clearly shows a man doing nothing but holding a sign up that says "Public Option Now", and he is chased, has objects thrown at him, and required 6 cops to keep the angry crowd from beating him up. in short, they behave like a mob of Brown-Shirts.

That the Tea Party would not even question the racists, but chase the guy with the pro-healthcare reform slogan away, is very telling of the makeup of the group. More telling than their official position as stated on their website. The membership does have a large degree of racists in it. The party's platform, as stated, is not racist -- The leadership and the members are simply morons, as you can clearly see in the clips. The ideas promoted by the party are simplistic and idiotic. It's no wonder that they're being shown for what they are.