Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jim Crow 2.0: Are Republicans Just Exploiting Their White Southern Base?

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 5:52 AM

An interesting article in The Root by Kai Wright argues that the revolts we're seeing at town hall meetings aren't really about health care. They're simply about reigniting Southern white racial fears that have lingered for decades.

The world is obviously changing, and that's freaking working class whites out. Their jobs, their homes, their ability to provide for their families -- it's all become very tenuous, which produces a natural anger. And since rage tends to be irrational, they're willing to see anyone as the cause of their woes.

But instead of providing policies that might assuage these worries, the Southern aristocracy -- in this case Republicans -- are doing their best to fan these fears. Take Senator Bob Corker. At a town hall meeting last week, his constituents spoke of forced abortions and euthanasia and a federal government out to get the white man. None of this is true, of course. But you didn't hear Corker say it. Though insurance reform is designed to help the very poor, rural people he was speaking to, Corker's against it. So better to let them think it's an evil plot, perpetuated by a black president, than admit he'll do nothing for them.

It's a strategy that goes back to Jim Crow and through the Southern strategies of Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes. Get whitey worried about a rising black man, and he'll entirely forget his own interests. "The Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow," said Martin Luther King. "And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man."

It's not much different in many parts of the South today. Except this time, senators like Corker can afford to be more subtle, because the party's official mouthpieces are doing the dirty work for him. Writes Wright:

Feeling poor, white and out of sight? It's because that black guy's trying to reshape America without you. Get him! Fox's Glenn Beck said it best: "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America, and they're all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations." And Rush Limbaugh: "The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation's wealth and return to it to the nation's quote, 'rightful owners.' Think reparations. Think forced reparations."

Monday, August 17, 2009

New York Times Gets to the Bottom of the Death Panel Fantasy

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 5:17 AM

The same people who went nuts over Terri Shiavo are doing their best to make sure more cases like hers arise
  • The same people who went nuts over Terri Shiavo are doing their best to make sure more cases like hers arise
It seemed a rather smart and worthy service to provide seniors. Under new health reform rules, the government would pay for the elderly to have a session with their doctors. They could ask questions and decide what medical treatment they wanted should they become too incapacitated to make those calls down the road.

It's called a living will, and it's designed to prevent things like the Terri Shiavo case. Instead of forcing relatives to guess or sue each other over whether a loved one should, say, remain on life support, it would allow people to provide instructions beforehand, so everyone is sure of their wishes.

But in these days of Our First Negro President, when the conservative fringe is prepared to believe anything sinister involving the government, it somehow became a plot to kill old people. Sarah Palin warned of death panels. Senators like Tennessee's Bob Corker refused to tell the wingnuts they were wrong, believing their misguided heat would help Republicans. And Goobers swarmed town hall meetings, denouncing socialized medicine though many of them receive Medicare.

Yet these rumors weren't started by some guy with a bomb shelter in hill country. As the New York Times discovered, they were started by the same people who sabotaged the last round of reform -- entities like the Moonie-owned Washington Times and American Spectator magazine. In other words, those buying into the propaganda are getting it from the traditional shills of the health care industry.

We thought you'd want to know.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Help Wanted: Federal Government Has Openings for Death Panel Members

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 3:38 PM

Be the first to apply to one of Sarah Palin's new death panels.
  • Be the first to apply to one of Sarah Palin's new death panels.
The United States government expects to have hundreds of new openings for death panel members beginning this fall. Job entails deciding which elderly/handicapped should live or die under new health care initiative. May also include forcing abortions on unsuspecting mothers and being mean to Sarah Palin's youngest child.

Employment includes no specific education or experience requirements, but previous work in insurance, banking or serial murder a plus. Successful candidate should be callous, capable of chuckling ominously, and has never enjoyed an episode of Golden Girls. Must love socialism and eradicating white people who are strict constitutionalists. Must also possess reliable transportation and euthanasia equipment -- i.e. syringes, guillotine, hydrochloric acid, etc. Ideal vocation for people who honk at old guys for driving too slow.

Send resume, blood oath, and a letter of reference from either Satan or Nancy Pelosi to:

Barack Hussein Obama
c/o White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 50200

Health Care Rally at Centennial Park

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 2:39 PM

If you're looking to raise hell on health care -- but don't want to do it in a crowd filled with cases studies on inbreeding -- a rally for reform will be held tonight at Centennial Park from 4:30-6. From the press release:
The Tennessee Health Care Campaign is organizing the event to highlight how the current health care system is not working for working Tennesseans, or for small businesses that employee so many. And, to reaffirm that most Americans want and will benefit from health insurance reform. The group also wants to expose the recent "swift boating" and "mock" spontaneous mob uprisings as misplaced fear and anger. The majority of Americans who want reform and members of Congress and the President acting on voters' demands are not the problem.

Nazis Are Making a Huge Comeback!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 5:38 AM

It seems that if you haven't been called a Nazi lately, or been the subject of a Nazi-related reference, you're just not anybody these days. As political tensions heighten, more and more people are invoking the once forbidden Nazi slur as a way to demonize their enemies. Above you'll find the great Rush Limbaugh comparing the Democratic Party to World War II Germany, and below you'll find yesterday's comments from you, our dear Pith readers: "The Chriztian Reich, it must be very sad to live in a place where one has to deal with nutcases like this everyday." "'But some congressmen are fighting back by getting unions to provide security.' Sounds like mini-Godfathers and their enforcers. Or little Hitlers and their Brownshirts." "Good to see you support thuggery. We now know you support the brownshirts." Our question to you: Is the old Nazi slur a little out of line? And if not, shouldn't people be showing more originality with a few Stalin references on occasion?

Nissan Says It's the Leader in Hyper-Efficient Cars

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 5:06 AM

The Nissan Leaf, expected to get 367 mpg, should hit showrooms in 2012
  • The Nissan Leaf, expected to get 367 mpg, should hit showrooms in 2012
Taxpayers likely breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week when GM announced that it was close to manufacturing the Chevy Volt, a hyper-economy car that will get an estimated 230 mpg in the city. It seemed as if GM had finally cast aside its traditional strategy of big engines and bad design to embrace the modern era.

But Smyrna automaker Nissan doesn't seem worried. If you believe its hype, Nissan has actually created a better car that will sell for a fraction of the price. The Nissan Leaf will get an estimated 367 mpg in the city, and should come in at a price considerably lower than the Volt's $40,000 tag.

Unfortunately, neither car seems perfect. The Volt will only go 40 miles before it needs a battery recharge (though it gets another 300 if you rely on its internal generator). The Leaf only gets 100 miles before a recharge. That means that neither would seem to satisfy the primary car needs of a normal family. But at least both companies are on the forefront of creating a more fuel-efficient auto.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nashville's Tent City Makes the Wall Street Journal

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 2:21 PM

You may recall our story from last September, when reporter Brantley Hargrove took a look at Nashville's Tent City, an encampment for the homeless above the Hermitage Avenue bridge. At the time, officials were about to vacate the area, citing violence and health concerns. That plan was later reversed, since removal would merely push the homeless back on the streets.

Tent City still stands today. And according to The Wall Street Journal, that makes Nashville something of a leader among cities that accommodate such encampments, rather than dispersing residents with no where else to go. The paper also has an arresting photo gallery here

Is It Morally OK to Punch Out a Town Hall Protester?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 5:20 AM

One could argue that the teabagger protests at town hall meetings are a very good thing. An active citizenry is engaged in vigorous protest, getting in the face of their congressmen, and generally unleashing some red-blooded fury on people who have sold their ass to the highest bidder for years. These things have become so raucous that politicians are now afraid to meet their constituents. Is not fear-induced humility within our political class also a very good thing? But some congressmen are fighting back by getting unions to provide security. At a Missouri meeting, one protester was punched out by a service workers member. Could this too be a very good thing? It's one thing to exercise your 1st Amendment rights. But it's another to stop everyone else from exercising theirs. And when you're largely yapping gibberish -- euthanasia? socialism? -- does this not violate moral law? You know, the one against acting like an asshole in public? Take a gander at the video above from a meeting held by Congresswoman Kathy Castor of Florida. Can you imagine a little old lady trying to get through this crowd? And since it's a sin to scare little old ladies, does one not have a moral obligation to remove whomever's doing the scaring by any means necessary?

Friday, August 7, 2009

When Waste is Not Waste When it Helps Bob Corker

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 5:45 AM

The cash for clunkers program is one of those beauty-in-the-eyes-of-the-beholder things. To advocates, the $4,500 subsidy for trading in your gas guzzler stimulates auto spending and therefore jobs and the economy. To detractors, it's little more than another bailout program designed to pimp car buyers, auto dealers and Detroit (see Ron Paul video above). So you would think Tennessee Senator Bob Corker would fall decidedly in the latter camp. The former moderate has become the senator from Wall Street, railing about everything from autoworker wages to opposing consumer protection for mortgages and credit cards. Which is to say he's not exactly a champion of the little guy. He's also been a prominent critic of automakers, and has railed in lockstep with the GOP about government waste. So why does Corker favor tripling the cost of the clunker program? There's something in it for Bob. Car dealers may not be huge hitters in cities like Nashville and Memphis, but they're captains of industry in the small towns where Corker gets much of his support. And the clunkers program is wildly popular among dealers, who've taken a beating in the recession. Corker can't afford to piss them off, lest he create influential enemies in his rural base. That would be bad for Bob. Moral of the story, boys and girls? Waste is only waste when someone you don't know is getting the benefit.

Why Did We Hire McNeely, Pigott & Fox in the First Place?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 5:25 AM

McNeely Pigott & Fox executive on his way to a City Council meeting
  • McNeely Pigott & Fox executive on his way to a City Council meeting
I once met a guy who did commercial window instillation. He had a two-tiered system for bidding on contracts. When it involved a private company, he offered his everyday low price. But when it was a government bid, he doubled it -- and still won. That's because his competitors couldn't resist tripling their bids. That conversation came to mind when I heard about Nashville PR firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox ripping off taxpayers for nearly a half-million dollars. Its original contract with Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency (MDHA) was a $75,000 deal to propagandize on behalf of the Music City convention center. But through lax oversight, larcenous billing, and a keen sense of knowing a mark when it saw one, the agency managed to run that tab to $458,000. Until it was unceremoniously caught. The money went to conduct opposition research, monitor blogs, send out emails, planting stories in The Tennessean, etc. In other words, it was largely work a college marketing student could have done for 100 bucks and a bucket of Buffalo wings. But while it's easy to castigate McNeely, Pigott & Fox as thieving little bastards -- because they are -- this one rests entirely on MDHA and Mayor Karl Dean. There's little doubt they felt the need to propagandize on behalf of the convention center, since the project barks like an unfed dog. In the end, the city will likely spend $1 billion traveling a worn path of failure. And when you can't win on ideas alone, better to drum up artificial support. But even if this seems unethical, it was also unnecessary. You see, taxpayers are spending even more money on an in-house propaganda arm. That would be the Nashville convention bureau. With 60 employees and a demonstrated gift for fabricating arguments, we're already subsidizing an arm of government to shill for this dog. Think of it as having your bank account looted once, then hiring McNeely, Pigott & Fox to clean out whatever pennies remain.

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