Tag: column

Hillary supporter Jessica Valenti plays the “vote for someone that looks like you” card

Jessica Valenti, a Hillary Clinton-supporting columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, effectively called for Democrats to vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman:

When it comes to women in politics, the United States is pretty much the pits. Women make up half the population in this country but hold less than 20% of congressional seats and comprise less than 25% of state legislators. The numbers for women of color are even more dismal.

On the world stage, the US ranks 72nd in women’s political participation, far worse than most industrialized countries – and with numbers similar to Saudi Arabia’s. A United Nations working group late last year called attention to this disparity in a report that found massive discrimination against women across the board, an “overall picture of women’s missing rights”.

And so it seems strange that at a time when the country has the opportunity to elect the first female president, the idea that gender might be a factor is considered shallow in some circles.

Valenti, for all intents and purposes, effectively said the truth about Hillary’s presidential campaign: many, but not all, of Hillary’s supporters are supporting her because she’s a woman. I think that’s just as sexist as a Bernie Sanders supporter saying that he or she is supporting Bernie because he’s a white male and/or Jewish, something that virtually no Bernie supporter believes. I’m not supporting Bernie because of race, gender, religion, etc. (in fact, I’m a white male atheist), but because my political ideology closely lines up with that of Bernie.

One would only need to look to Wisconsin for a couple of real-life examples of how destructive this style of race and gender-baiting politics truly is. In a 2012 Democratic primary for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, Elizabeth Coggs called for voters in a Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly primary that year to “vote for someone who looks like you”, a reference to the fact that Millie Coby, a black woman, was running against Sandy Pasch, a white Jewish woman, in the Assembly primary. Both Coggs and Coby lost their primaries. Additionally, five of the seven members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court are female, yet Wisconsin’s highest bench is probably the most right-wing government institution in the entire country. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is ridiculously corrupt (outside political groups have had considerable influence on re-writing ethics rules for Wisconsin Supreme Court justices), hyperpartisan (the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with Republican Governor Scott Walker on every major case they’ve ruled on since Walker became governor), and even violent (in one instance, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser put liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold).

It’s pretty clear to me that Hillary Clinton and her supporters think that it’s a valid crime for a white man like Bernie Sanders to stand up for progressive values and seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Advertisements

Yes, anti-Muslim bigotry is un-American

Charles Blow, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote this column about how anti-Muslim bigotry that has become prevalent in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in the aftermath of the Paris attacks is un-American. Last time I checked, “Anti-Muslim is Anti-American”, the title of Blow’s column, is trending on Twitter, and I strongly encourage reading Blow’s column.

He’s right…opposing an entire religion is an un-American ideal.

Republican presidential candidates, most notably Donald Trump and Ben Carson, have gone all out in recent days to pander to the lowest common denominator in American society, bigots, in order to support their crackdown on an entire religion. Trump has supported closing mosques (Islamic places of worship) and creating a national registry of Muslims. Carson has publicly compared Muslims to rabid dogs. What Trump, Carson, and other Republicans are supporting is absurd and offensive. Proposals to crack down on Islam from Trump and other Republican candidates blatantly violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and comparing Muslims to rabid dogs is downright offensive. Even worse, what Republicans like Trump and Carson are saying is eerily reminiscent of the rhetoric that Nazis used to justify their hatred of Jewish people in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Not all Muslims are members of an Islamic fundamentalist terror group like ISIS, al-Qaeda, or Boko Haram. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Muslims here in America live peacefully and regard those Islamic fundamentalist jihadists as barbaric militants who don’t represent their view of Islam. We should embrace religious freedom in this country, not crack down on it.

 

Right-wing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Christian Schneider claims that Russ Feingold is worse than a child molester

Christian Schneider, a right-wing columnist for the right-wing Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, compared Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), who is running for his former U.S. Senate seat, to child molester and Ashley Madison member Josh Duggar in this column:

Of course, Feingold’s (Badger Pledge) isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Typically, all of a campaign’s money is spent a month before election day — all of a candidate’s ad buys are complete and campaign literature has been printed. (Further, with YouTube and social media, traditional television ad buys are becoming less and less relevant.) What if a third-party group runs an ad with two weeks to go, while the actual campaigns are broke? Who is coming after them — the Russ Feingold Collection Agency?

Instead, Feingold is simply following the old campaign trick of a candidate trying to show strength in an area that represents his greatest weakness. In the past few months, reports have shown that Feingold has been living a double life that would make Josh Duggar cringe; despite decades of railing against money in politics, Feingold himself commanded a political action committee that has raked in millions from special interest groups.

(emphasis by Monona Grove (WI) school board member and Cognitive Dissidence blogger Jeff Simpson)

While money in politics is a serious problem, and politicians in both major parties are guilty as sin of being part of the problem and/or being hypocritical about it, comparing Russ Feingold to a child molester like Josh Duggar is absolutely absurd. What Schneider did was basically claim that using a political front group as a benchwarmer for political operatives is somehow worse than child molestation. While big-money politics is a very serious problem in this country, child molestation is absolutely repulsive.

Schneider’s bizarre comparison between Feingold and Duggar reminds me a lot of disgraced former Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) spokesman Graeme Zielinski comparing Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s legal defense in the first John Doe investigation to the legal defense of serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

It’s bad enough that Russ Feingold has had to deal with borderline anti-Semitic remarks by DPW Chairwoman Martha Laning (trust me, Laning wouldn’t have complained about Feingold’s last name if his name were a more common last name like Smith or White), who has been trying to sabotage Feingold’s campaign. It’s even worse that the right-wing corporate media in Wisconsin is making unbelievably offensive remarks comparing Feingold to a child molester.

I urge people to contact Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial page editor David Haynes at dhaynes@journalsentinel.com and call for the Journal-Sentinel to fire Christian Schneider over his offensive remarks about Russ Feingold.

Chicago Tribune columnist Kristen McQueary wants a Hurricane Katrina-style event to rid Chicago of black people

Kristen McQueary, a far-right columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently wrote a column calling for Chicago to be hit with a natural disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed New Orleans, Louisiana and the surrounding area 10 years ago this month, in order to wipe out what she considers to be Chicago’s problems.

While McQueary, to my knowledge (I haven’t been able to read her column due to the Tribune’s website not working properly), didn’t explicitly call for cleansing of black people in Chicago, it’s evident from her mentality that she thinks that ethnic minorities, especially black people, are what she considers to be Chicago’s problems. In fact, when Katrina devastated New Orleans, it caused New Orleans’s black population to decline, caused New Orleans’s white population to increase in percentage, and made the black people who remained in New Orleans far worse off than they were prior to Katrina. These changes made New Orleans, as a whole, smaller, wealthier, and whiter, however, the people of New Orleans didn’t individually become wealthier because of Katrina, and many people in New Orleans live without running water and electricity nearly ten years after the storm passed. Natural disasters are something I’d never wish on anyone or any place.

McQueary has received a ton of criticism on Twitter over her column, and she deserves every bit of it. Her column is a textbook example of coded white supremacism. In fact, McQueary’s column is leaving me wishing that there was a Joe McCarthy-like figure on the left who’s willing to expose white supremacists in the far-right corporate media in this country.

Kate Murphy whines about cold indoor spaces in New York Times piece on air conditioning

Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have a war on air conditioning in America.

Kate Murphy, a Houston, Texas-based journalist for The New York Times, recently wrote a column on air conditioning, in which she complained about indoor spaces that she thinks are too cold because of what she considers to be excessive air conditioning in places like offices, courtrooms, movie theaters, coffee shops, and department stores:

IT’S summertime. The season when you can write your name in the condensation on the windows at Starbucks, people pull on parkas to go to the movies and judges have been known to pause proceedings so bailiffs can escort jurors outside the courthouse to warm up.

On these, the hottest days of the year, office workers huddle under fleece blankets in their cubicles. Cold complaints trend on Twitter with posts like, “I could preserve dead bodies in the office it’s so cold in here.” And fashion and style bloggers offer advice for layered looks for coming in and out of the cold.

Why is America so over air-conditioned? It seems absurd, if not unconscionable, when you consider the money and energy wasted — not to mention the negative impact on the environment from the associated greenhouse-gas emissions. Architects, engineers, building owners and energy experts sigh with exasperation when asked for an explanation. They tick off a number of reasons — probably the most vexing is cultural.

[…]

Commercial real estate brokers and building managers say sophisticated tenants specify so-called chilling capacity in their lease agreements so they are guaranteed cold cachet. In retailing, luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are kept colder than more down-market Target, Walmart and Old Navy. Whole Foods is chillier than Kroger, which is chillier than Piggly Wiggly.

While Murphy has a few valid points in her piece, such as wasted energy associated with air conditioning, greenhouse gas emissions associated with air conditioning, and luxury retailers using more air conditioning than low-end retailers (which is what I like to call chill inequality), I hate hot places and hot spaces with a passion. During the summer months here in the east-central part of Illinois, it can get extremely hot outside, and I would feel very uncomfortable for months on end without air conditioning. I have air conditioning in my bedroom, and that’s where I’m the most comfortable in the summer months. The only reason why I don’t set the temperature lower on my window air conditioner than I have it now (75°F) is because my parents would complain about me running up the power bill if I set the air conditioner temperature lower.

I’m shocked that a Texan like Kate Murphy would complain about air conditioning, given how excessively hot Texas can get during the summer months.

Penn State Professor Sophia McClennen delivers brilliant response to Rush Limbaugh smear attack

Sophia McClennen, a professor at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), wrote this piece for Salon magazine, in which Professor McClennen talked about how Steven Colbert’s style of comedy during his tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report brilliantly mocked conservatives who (figuratively) wrap themselves in the American flag by constantly talking about their patriotism.

Obviously, Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing misogynistic talk radio shock jock who is best-known for his infamous remarks in which he called attorney and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” on his nationally-syndicated radio program The Rush Limbaugh Show, was not happy after reading Professor McClennen’s column, so he called her a “professorette” on his radio program and whined about how he couldn’t “escape these professors and these lies and all this crap that’s in the media about everything that’s so-called wrong with America”.

Professor McClennen wrote a pair of responses to Limbaugh’s sexist smear attack against her at Salon magazine and at the progressive website DailyKos. In her DailyKos diary, Professor McClennen called out Limbaugh for claiming to love America but hate a majority of American citizens:

This leads to another persistent flaw in Limbaugh logic: How can you claim to love your country, yet hate so many of its citizens? It turns out that people of color, women and folks who vote with the “Democrat Party” are all part of the very same nation that Limbaugh professes to love. And yet, he seems to have a never-ending ability to spit bile at his fellow citizens, constantly hurling invectives at those with whom he disagrees. Professorette? (His term for me.) Infobabe? Feminazi? And we can’t forget Limbaugh’s treatment of Sandra Fluke. […]

I want to make three points about this.

First, Professor McClennen’s piece about Colbert’s character on The Colbert Report is certainly not a pack of lies and crap about everything that’s wrong with America. It’s a factual and very informative piece about how Colbert parodied right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others in the corporate media in order to gain a large following among the left in this country and how Colbert fought to redefine what patriotism means in this country.

Second, for Limbaugh to publicly call Professor McClennen a “professorette” is flagrantly sexist. “Professor” is a gender-neutral term, and for Limbaugh to use the term “professorette” to describe a female college professor implies that female college professors are somehow inferior to male college professors, which, at least in my experience, is certainly not the case. I attended a small junior college in the east central part of Illinois on a part-time basis for a few years before dropping out, and, even though my college experience was horrible (mostly because I wasn’t interested in attending college at all), every professor who taught one or more courses I took, regardless of whether it was taught by a man or a woman, taught their courses exceptionally well.

Third, as someone who is a left-wing nationalist and damn proud of both America and my progressive political views, I believe in a different kind of patriotism than right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and so on do. Right-wingers in this country believe in the “wrap-self-in-the-flag” kind of patriotism, in which they talk about how great America is while they support policies that are turning America into a third-world country, such as free trade agreements like NAFTA, deregulation of the banking industry, and cuts in government spending on things like education and social safety net programs. On the other hand, I believe in a kind of patriotism simply known as making America exceptional. I believe in raising taxes on the wealthy, protecting and expanding the social safety net, providing affordable health care to the American people, providing a better public education system for future generations, repealing free trade agreements, protecting the American economy, protecting and enacting regulations to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, raising the minimum wage, granting equal rights to all Americans, ensuring that all American citizens who are of age are able to vote in free and fair elections, and protecting the civil liberties of the American people, among other things. I don’t believe in all of that because I hate America, I believe in that because I love America and want to make this country an exceptional place to live!