Thursday, April 24, 2014

Confederate "Heritage" Month 2014, April 24: Calhounite militia rancher holds forth on the problems of "the Negro"

The rightwing/FOX News poster boy for the last week or so has been Cliven Bundy, the pore Christian white feller who's bein' threatened by the nasty fedrul gubment just because he's been mooching off public land for the last 20 years or so and refuses to pay a dime of the fees he owes us.

Things got a tad more complicated when Adam Nagourney did some actual reporting from the scene where militia-nut Patriot Militia white guys want to gun them down some federal agents to prove whut gud Amercans they are (A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side New York Times 04/23/2014):

Most of all, Mr. Bundy, 67, who was wearing a broad-brimmed white cowboy hat against the hot afternoon sun, recounted the success of “we the people” — gesturing to the 50 supporters, some armed with handguns and rifles, standing in a semicircle before him — at chasing away Bureau of Land Management rangers who, acting on a court order, tried to confiscate 500 cattle owned by Mr. Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his herd on public land since 1993. ...

He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Joan Walsh discusses this development in Roger Ailes owns Cliven Bundy now: How dumb opportunism became a right-wing nightmare Salon 04/24/2014:

Where to begin? "They never learned how to pick cotton?" Or "are they better off as slaves?" Or … take your pick.

Surprise! Sean Hannity’s hero, whose cause has been embraced by Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Rand Paul of Kentucky along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, turns out to be an old-time Republican racist, the kind that even Jonathan Chait recognizes, and Fox News and the GOP have a problem.

Until now I’ve ignored Bundy because he’s an extremist and a freak, and even Glenn Beck has denounced him. I was reluctant to use him against the GOP. But as he’s gotten support from the likes of Paul and Perry, two respected 2016 candidates, plus regular backing from Hannity and Nevada Sen. Heller, he’s become a huge problem for the right.

The welfare rancher has grazed his cattle for free and owes the government more than a million dollars, but to his admirers he’s leading an American insurrection. “This is the beginning of taking America back,” Shawna Cox of Kanab, Utah, told the New York Times. From whom? Shawna doesn’t have to say.
I'm eagerly awaiting Bob "the Daily Howler" Somerby's scolding of Walsh's wicked wickedness for daring to suggest there was anything the slightest bit racist about what this fine Christian patriot white man said. How do you know he wasn't trying to give helpful advice to The Negro, huh, huh, answer that! What, can you read minds or something? Bad, bad libruls!!

I don't believe I've yet quoted the estimable Chauncey DeVega in this years Confederate "Heritage" Month posts. So let me remedy that glaring omission now. He is speculating on the following: Updated: Who Will Be the First Black Conservative to Defend Cliven Bundy's Racism? Answer. Kira Davis, Handkerchief Head, Butt Kissing, Boot Licking, Black Conservative WARN 04/24/2014. As the title suggests, he isn't really fond of African-American conservatives who give cover to white racism.

This is nothing that the Republican Party invented in the last few decades, putting black conservatives like Ben Carson or Herb Herman Cain out in the public eye to recite justifications and excuses for white racism. [Update: My heartfelt, abject apologies to the late great columnist Herb Cain for that unforgivable typo!] It's actually a stock part in the world of bigotry and has been for a long time.

The ur-crackpot political group in the US, the Anti-Masonic Party, relied on testimony from people who were or claimed to be former Masons to describe the horrors perpetrated by the Masonic orders. Anti-Catholic groups relied on Catholics or ex-nuns or whatever. And, of course, "anti-Communist" far-right groups like the John Birch Society as well as more respectable Republican Party types of earlier decades loved to have former Communists testify to the threat of Communism. Former left radical David Horowitz has been working that same schtick for decades on the wingnut welfare circuit. Even the anti-Semitic fabrication from the Russian czarist secret policeThe Protocols of the Elders of Zion purported to be a secret document written by Jewish conspirators.

DeVega writes, "Allen West is a leading contender here. There is no claim, however miserable, racist, and inaccurate that he will not support. West is an African-American mercenary for the White Right." He doesn't expect Clarence Thomas to weigh in right away, but thinks he "may one day cite Bundy in a Supreme Court decision that further overturns voting rights for people of color."

He explains further:

As I wrote here, there is nothing new or surprising about Bundy's racist remarks about how African-Americans were better off under slavery. Such specious claims are standard Right-wing talking points.

The nobility of black servitude, and how freedom ruined African-Americans, is not a lie that is advanced only by white conservatives. Black conservatives are the tip of that spear: they are human chaff whose sole purpose is to advance the agenda of the White Right by systematically denying the reality of white racism.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, who now has his name attached to a recent prominent discussion over white racism, also discusses Moocher Bundy in Cliven Bundy Wants to Tell You All About 'the Negro' The Atlantic 04/24/2014:

Enslaved black people were, with some regularity, beat with cowhide whips, tongs, pokers, chairs, and wooden boards. Nails were driven through their palms, pins through their tongues. Eyes were gouged out for the smallest offense.

When people like Cliven Bundy assert the primacy of the past it is important that we do not recount it selectively. American enslavement is the destruction of the black body for profit. That is the past that Cliven Bundy believes "the Negro" to have been better off in. He is, regrettably, not alone.
White racism is alive and well. And it's riding a straight-up segregationist movement right now known as the Republican Party.

And since I'm making up for my recent lack of Chauncey DeVega quotes, his first blog reaction to Bundy's now-famous pronouncement on The Negro (Barack Obama's S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Must Have Tricked and Manipulated Him: Cliven Bundy, White Racist Right-wing Darling, Theorizes About the Mysterious Ways of 'the Negro' WARN 04/24/2014) observes:

The seditious, treasonous, "patriot" Cliven Bundy, he who is fighting against federal "tyranny", all the while sucking on the government tit and threatening violence against the United States government, has shown us his true face. ...

Bundy's statements are not novel or outliers: they are standard, mainstream, Republican, Southern Strategy infused, post civil rights era, talking points.

I would not be surprised if there is a segment on Fox News arguing that Barack Obama is somehow responsible for Cliven Bundy's racism. ...

White conservatives believe that they are victims of a "liberal" conspiracy. They preach a mantra of "personal responsibility" while working very hard to avoid any responsibility for their own racist deeds, words, behavior, or policies.

Sean Hannity and other members of the Right-wing propaganda machine have made Cliven Bundy into a hero.
And I cannot not quote this gem: "Once more, white supremacy has profoundly damaged the thinking processes of white people--especially those of conservatives in the Age of Obama."

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