Posts tagged ‘Stephen Colbert’
We live in odd times when folks who see racism are called racists. Some people, mostly conservative, follow the logic of Stephen Colbert which goes something like this: “I don’t see race. The only reason I know I’m white is people tell me I am. The only reason I think you’re black is people tell me you are.” Hence anyone who brings up race as an issue must be the only one thinking about it and must be therefore the real racist. If we are honest we acknowledge that we don’t live in a post-racial society, whatever that is, and that the election of the first black President of the United States only made matters worse. Just like the chunk of cheese brings out the mice, the elevation of a black, albeit ethnically complex man to the top job brought out the racists in full force. Since the 1960’s the language that bigots use has for the most part changed because society simply will no longer tolerate n*gger this and n*gger that. The language is a bit more subtle and the racism in some ways more pervasive and harder to pin down and stamp out than it used to be. The fact is in 2012 there are times to play the so-called race card. However, not every dispute involving a person of color comes down to racism. To be credible, we need to learn when to play the race card.
When to Play the Race Card — GOP to Embrace Hispanics and Continue to Ignore Blacks
What have we heard repeatedly in the aftermath of the recent election? The GOP lost the election because they are blind to the changing demographics of America. Every once in a while a pundit will refer to “people of color”. More often the comment is that Hispanics who are “hard-working” need to be embraced by the Republican party. They are a growing demographic. Excuse me? So by implication, we’re back to the same old stereotype of blacks not being “hard-working”, the old saw of shiftless and lazy, to quote Sarah Palin, “shucking and jiving”. Who needs a “growing demographic” when there is a full-grown demographic already ripe for the picking? Where is the wake up call in the Republican party to actively pursue the black vote?
About the only worthwhile moment in Mitt Romney’s campaign was when he spoke in front of the NAACP. He didn’t play games. He didn’t pander. When he referred to “Obamacare” he got booed. So what? He actually treated the audience like adults who could agree or disagree with him. In fact he seemed more comfortable talking to this audience which he viewed as a lost cause for votes than he did talking to some of the folks whose votes he thought he could get.
Allen West and some other conservatives have talked about the new plantation where Democratic benefactors enslave their black voters with promises of handouts. How many times do they deliver that message to black audiences? I’d suggest close to never. It can’t be done you say. Tell that to Bill Cosby who years ago told black audiences that they needed to clean up the dysfunction in their communities. Some blacks were offended while others cheered. It was a dialogue that needed to happen. It needs to happen on a regular basis. Who better to push that conversation than conservatives whose claim to fame is self-sufficiency? Again, not telling the story to white audiences but to black ones.
Conservatives say liberal politics has failed the black community. Fine, then step in and tell a different story to this constituency and win them over. It’s easier just to ignore them, isn’t it? Leave them to rot because they can’t be reasoned with. That is tacit racism at its most destructive.
When Not to Play the Race Card — Obama’s Enemies Attack Susan Rice
UN Ambassador Susan Rice went on a series of Sunday morning gab-fests shortly after the September 11 murder of diplomat Chris Stevens and lied about the nature of his murder. Now before my liberal friends burst a blood vessel, there are innocent lies and there are malicious lies. I happen to believe that Susan Rice repeated talking points that had been sanitized as they traveled from the CIA through a bunch of bureaucrats and eventually into her hands. I do not believe her intention was to deceive. To the extent that a lie is something contrary to the truth, she lied. Unwittingly lied, but lied nonetheless. Enter, stage right, Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain who call for Rice’s head on a platter. McCain says that if she is named as Hillary Clinton’s replacement for Secretary of State, he will block the appointment.
What are several pundits saying now? They say the “optics” of this are very bad. They say in the aftermath of an election where the GOP appeared tone-deaf to minorities they are now persecuting a black woman. I say screw the “optics”. This is the kind of charge that discredits legitimate claims of racism. The folks who are attacking Susan Rice don’t like Obama. It is as simple as that. They want to turn the tragedy of Benghazi into a scandal that irreparably damages the President. Already we’ve heard “what did he know and when did he know it” regarding security problems at the consulate. Susan Rice is nothing but a pawn in the game of Obama’s enemies. It is unfortunate that her outstanding career hangs in the balance but it has nothing to do with her being a woman or being black. She actually shares something with the white, penis owning Governor of New Jersey who has been attacked recently by conservatives: guilt by association with Obama. It is as simple as that.
Racism in America did not magically disappear when Obama got elected. Far too many blacks and whites don’t trust or like each other for reasons entirely juvenile and ignorant. We can only hope to bridge the chasm between the races by talking honestly about how to lift all of us together from our hardships. Accusations of racism where none exists only serve to keep the goal of racial harmony out of reach. Similarly, talking about blacks as if they were a monolith incapable of being persuaded, a group only worth judging from a distance, snuffs out any hope for positive change.
It is a sad observation that sometimes it takes a comedian to open our eyes to the truth. Last night, Comedy Central’s two resident political comedians, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart weighed in on the latest GOP temper tantrum over Barack Obama rightfully celebrating the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s capture and killing, using that achievement in a campaign ad and correctly pointing out that opponent Mitt Romney might not have gone after bin Laden.
One of Obama’s supposed offenses is “spiking the football”, gloating in an unseemly way about the bin Laden killing. Of course, the GOP would know nothing about such behavior. On The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert punctures this myth in one dead-on comment:
Presidents don’t spike the football. You do an endzone dance on an aircraft carrier even if you never found the football.
But it was Jon Stewart and his crack research team on The Daily Show who culled enough video to permanently put to rest any claim the GOP has for righteous indignation. Stewart deflates the GOP two prong attack of Obama’s supposed braggadocio and the terrible offense of conjecturing what Romney might have done.
For those not wanting to watch the videos, the points are:
- Bush spiked the football before the game had even started. (Echoed by Colbert.)
- Ed Gillespie was outspoken in condemning the President for conjecturing what Romney would have done. Ed said in 2004 “If Kerry had his polices in place today Saddam would not only be in Baghdad but in Kuwait.”
- A 2004 GOP campaign ad: “How can Kerry protect us when he doesn’t understand the threat?”
- Obama has repeatedly given credit to those who actually did the dangerous work. “We killed Osama bin Laden.”
- At the 2004 GOP convention, George Pataki, an Obama critic, kissed Bush’s ass. “George Bush protected our country.” Mmmm George Bush did? Or did the soldiers? Why didn’t Pataki give proper credit?
- Adding to the pile on, is criticism that Obama dissed Romney in front of a foreign visitor. In 2004 Bush disses Kerry in front of Iraqi Prime Minister.
- And the bottom line truth of the matter: GOP is just pissed they couldn’t run the current Obama ad.
Stewart allows for the possibility that the Obama campaign ad lacks some decorum. Fred Kaplan on Slate makes no such apology.
Two new investigative reports—a book by Peter Bergen, Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, and an article by Graham Allison in the May 7 issue of Time—thoroughly rebut that notion. [of a no-brainer decision].
Far from the no-brainer that Romney depicts, the secret, high-level discussions leading up to the raid were fraught with intense debate and uncertainty—and Obama’s final decisions, on both whether and how to attack, went against some of his top advisers’ recommendations.
Vice President Joe Biden revealed a few months ago that he had urged Obama not to mount the assault. Bergen and Allison report that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joined him in the dissent—and they explain why.
In the weeks leading up to the decision, a group of counterterrorism officials, after conducting a “red-team” exercise of what could go wrong in such an attack, estimated that there was only a 40 percent chance Osama Bin Laden was actually in the compound. The CIA put the odds at 60 percent. Bergen quotes Michael Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, as telling the president that “the circumstantial case of Iraq having WMD was actually stronger than the circumstantial case that bin Laden is living in the Abbottabad compound.”
Once Obama decided to attack, an equally weighty debate took place over how to go about it. Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and widely known at the time as “Obama’s favorite general”), recommended dropping a few dozen 2,000-pound bombs from a B-2 bomber. Others favored going in with missile-carrying drones.
Others, however, advised sending in SEAL Team Six, noting that an aerial attack might kill lots of civilians—perhaps even some in neighboring houses—and, in any case, would preclude certain knowledge that the strike had actually killed Bin Laden. Obama sided with the advocates of the far riskier raid.
Gates, still skeptical of the whole business, had been CIA director Stansfield Turner’s executive assistant back in 1979, when President Carter ordered a raid to rescue American hostages in Iran—then watched the operation go down in flames, along with his presidency, when the Delta Force’s helicopter crashed.
Struck by Gates’ concerns, Obama ordered Adm. William McRaven, the special-operations commander organizing the raid, to throw in two additional helicopters for backup. It was a good thing he did, since one of the assault choppers crashed outside the compound. via Barack Obama’s decision to go after Osama Bin Laden: how the president overruled his advisers in ordering the assassination – Slate Magazine.
Kaplan’s headline puts it succinctly: Barack Obama Killed Osama Bin Laden. Period.
When the news came down today that the Iowa caucus results announced earlier this month were bogus, Republicans across the country were outraged. Tallies from eight precincts are hopelessly lost. Santorum is as of today, the winner of the caucus but we’ll really never know who won.
George Will said, “This is a travesty of justice!”
Erick Erickson cried, “Voter fraud such as this cannot stand!”
Andrew Breitbart exclaimed, “It’s a Catholic conspiracy against the Mormons!”
Rush Limbaugh belched, “This, my friends, is just another nail in the coffin of a free America, hammered in by socialist saboteurs.”
Well, actually none of those quotes are real. I made them all up. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be a single Republican upset that the Iowa caucus resembled an election in a banana republic or perhaps Afghanistan or Iraq. No outrage or finger-pointing. Just an “oh well, maybe Santorum really won, maybe he didn’t.”
Remember this in November when the GOP screams voter fraud upon Obama’s reelection.
I am making history today by offering a limited endorsement. This endorsement only extends to the South Carolina primary but make no mistake, this endorsement is sincere.
This Saturday I am urging all primary voters in South Carolina to vote for …
Yes, you read that right. Earlier this week, comedian Stephen Colbert made the point that he could not get on the presidential ballot in South Carolina even if he wanted to. Deadlines have long since passed. But he made the equally valid point that Herman Cain, despite dropping out of the race, cannot get off the ballot. So with a wink and a nod, Colbert suggested that a vote for Cain is a vote for Colbert.
I am fully with Colbert on this one. It’s time we made South Carolina a true protest vote. A vote for Cain/Colbert is a statement that:
- We are tired of this clown car masquerading as serious contenders for the presidency and
- We are disgusted with what the Citizens United decision has wrought, where money equals speech and corporate and lobbyist interests now have the biggest voice.
Using his, wups, I mean Jon Stewart’s Super PAC money, Colbert has launched several ads in South Carolina to get his point across including the Cain as Colbert vote initiative.
Citizens of South Carolina, go out on Saturday and vote for Herman Cain knowing that a vote for Cain is a vote for Colbert and a vote for Colbert is a vote to stop the insanity!
When I awoke Friday morning I did not expect to spend the better part of the morning watching a congressional hearing on migrant farm workers. Call me ignorant but the topic held zero interest for me. While eating breakfast, my wife alerted me that one of my favorite satirists, Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” would be testifying to Congress, in character. This was a potential train wreck that I just could not resist watching. To my surprise, I was fully drawn into the hearing with Colbert’s appearance ending up only incidental to the attention I gave.
So for starters, Colbert’s presence was effective at the most base level. It caused me to watch and learn something I would otherwise have ignored. Secondly, by Colbert playing his faux Conservative role to the hilt, he highlighted the most ignorant aspects of conservative social policy. One of his best lines was “I don’t want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.” He closed with “I trust that following my testimony, both sides will work together on this issue in the best interests of the American people as you always do.” The digs were a pleasure to watch as the idiot Congressional panel looked at him dumbfounded. One Democratic Congresswoman from California is seen reading her smart-phone. Republican Congressman Steven King looks on not the least bit amused. Some pundits from both the right and left were apoplectic. Congress had jumped the shark by inviting Colbert, snorted MSNBC’s Chuck Todd. Some accused Colbert of trivializing the plight of migrant farm workers. The only thing Colbert trivialized, and rightfully so, is the posturing bull crap that passes for the legislative process in Washington.
After a few Congressmen asked Colbert dumb questions to which he supplied dumb answers, California Congresswoman Judy Chu gave Colbert a chance to get serious and he finally did.
When asked why the plight of immigrant farm workers interested him, Colbert replied that he is always interested in those without power. In a nation supposedly guided by Christian principles such as caring for the least of our brothers, why do we allow immigrant farm workers both legal and illegal to be taken advantage of? Why do we encourage “illegals” to work our farms but then yell and scream about how they should be deported?
Personally it incenses me that in a country with a real unemployment rate of about 15% that farm owners are hiring illegal aliens and not hiring unemployed Americans. This brings us however to the crux of the problem. Are we Americans so snobby that there are certain jobs that we simply will not do? When a “Take Our Jobs” program was announced in order to attract legal immigrants and citizens to farm work, only six people wound up permanently employed. The argument then goes, with no Americans willing to work the fields, farms will go under if they do not employ willing labor and that willing labor is substantially illegal.
When Mexicans come to this country to work, and not to attack us, we end up looking xenophobic when we protest their presence here. Yet it is equally true that we must control our borders. We must, in the best interests of our country employ our own people. There are few easy answers and the easiest answer is one that no one seems to want to enforce, particularly the GOP. That answer is to demand better working conditions and wages from farm owners and substantial penalties for hiring illegal immigrants. I believe for the right money, Americans will do any job you give them. As long as farm owners and the rest of corporate America insist on cheap labor, we will reap what we sow.
In 2002, the Sesame Street character Elmo “testified” before Congress on school music programs. It wasn’t the least bit controversial. Perhaps that is because unlike Stephen Colbert, Elmo didn’t shine a light on our nation’s hypocrisy and our government’s inanity.
There is so much about Sarah Palin to find offensive. Her fans are so entrenched that she can do no wrong in their eyes. I have discussed many times in the comments section of the blog one particularly distasteful aspect of her persona, the way she shamelessly exploits her special needs child. What I get in response from her tireless defenders is that I am the one exploiting this child to make political attacks against Sarah. So I was pleased to find an eloquently written letter on the web today. This letter comes from the mother of a special needs child and she did a much better job than I could ever do of calling Sarah out.
I am the mother of a 16 year-old girl with severe intellectual disabilities. I am disturbed by Mrs Palin’s insincere comments when she speaks out for individuals with developmental delays. I watched The Colbert Report last night, and I have never been more proud to call myself a fan of Stephen Colbert.
But also, as a mother I wonder what is in Trig’s future.
If his Down Syndrome does not severely effect his ability and he is able to read, he will read his mother’s autobiography and learn that she questioned if she could love him. He will read interviews that his mother considered even for a split second to terminate her pregnancy, he will become aware that many consider his mother a hero for not terminating her pregnancy – thus knowing that among her fans he is considered beautiful but somehow a burden.
She needs to start treating him quietly as a child who will grow into a man. She needs to learn to advocate for him and not allow him to be a victim of satire when it suits her and a victim of discrimination when it can get her attention.
And she needs to stop using him as a political prop. A child with such needs should surely not be hauled around half-naked in front of flash photographers to promote a book tour, or be routinely referred to in speeches for applause lines. It’s unseemly. But then so much about this person is.
After I read this, I wanted to find this woman and give her a hug. You see, the “hero card” that Sarah plays with respect to Trig, how courageous Sarah was not to terminate the pregnancy, sends the exact opposite message from the one a true advocate of the disabled would send. As the mother above points out, if you view your child as a burden, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. There is no nobility in Sarah keeping Trig. She was supposed to have kept Trig. Had she placed him (or terminated him) it would have been a sign of her weakness as a human being, perhaps a forgivable weakness but a weakness just the same. You don’t get points for doing what you are supposed to do.
The mother also mentions a segment on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” where Stephen Colbert takes Sarah to task for her junior high school cheat notes written on her hand and the “retard” hypocrisy she exhibits for attacking White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel but giving Rush Limbaugh a pass for the same behavior. Apparently, so long as satire is involved (and in Rush’s case there was no satire), it’s ok to use the word “retard” according to Sarah. So Stephen Colbert invites us all to declare:
Sarah Palin is a f*cking retard.
It’s just satire right?