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October 01, 2005

Comments

Without debating any of the specifics at the moment, and willing to stipulate that some of the comments are, at best, quite over the top, is it possible nonetheless that a number of your quotes are, however, merely the products of great sensitivity and outrage, rather than concious "playing the race card," in what you clearly indicate you believe is an intentionally hypocritical, manipulative, way? Is it not possible that many deeply tan people people might be a great deal more sensitive about racial issues than you, even to the point of being "over-sensitive" in some cases, but, you know, for understandable reason? And the same with engaging in outrage at their perception, however accurate or inaccurate -- that their reaction might actually be entirely honest, and not the sort of thing that is the entire point of your post to condemn?

And I'm not arguing that honest outrage and deep sensitivity to racism, perhaps even over-sensitivity at times, are responsible for all your quotes above. But, you know, what do you think are the odds are that some of them are, Charles?

"Yes, progress has been made, but there’s a long way to go."

I'm very glad we can at least agree about that.

i'm sure i missed your section detailing the wingnuts' "oh, just look at them" responses.

it alienates and divides and polarizes

coming from someone who just spent 1000 words describing the evils of one side? boo fnin hoo.

Money quote:

the poisonous idea of a conscious conspiracy of neglect against poor minorities.

Just because something isn't a conscious conspiracy doesn't mean it isn't real, nor a real problem.

No wonder people were pissed off. I'm white and I was horrified and mad about, among other things, mostly black people being turned back at the bridge to Gretna. As well as the post hoc justifications for that idiocy.

Just a coincidence that the sheriffs were largely (if not entirely) white and the trapped people were largely black. Expect no heated rhetoric in response to that situation.

Damn, even Shep Smith was overheated on the air about such a situation.

To be fair, I think the Bush administration just ignored the plight of the people of New Orleans for two reasons: One, it wasn't an election year, and Two, the people who were stuck in New Orleans were mostly the very poor, and the Bush administration has long shown its utter indifference to the very poor. That most of the very poor were also black is indicative of the long-term ingrained racism in the US.

Hilzoy already offered an example of how individual elements of the reaction to the plight of the people in New Orleans were inspired by racism. You didn't appear to have anything much to contribute to that thread: and this does appear to be simply your contribution to that thread greatly expanded.

"merely the products of great sensitivity and outrage, rather than concious "playing the race card," in what you clearly indicate you believe is an intentionally hypocritical, manipulative, way"

This could be true as long as one is willing to discount:

1) All the white Americans the whole world saw on T.V. risking their lives to rescue the many black people.

2) The outrage that white-left America quickly displayed towards the Bush administration. (Atleast half the voters in the country aren't racist.)

3) The immediate outpouring of money from white Americans going to help people from New Orleans who are mostly black.

4) White Americans immediately opening up thier homes and cities around the country to help those left homeless by the hurricane. Those racist red-state southern towns like Dallas, Houston and Atlanta.

If we are willing to discount the obvious actions of white Americans then perhaps the race card wasn't being played.


Professor Abel Bartley chimed in in the very next paragraph:
There's definitely a racial component. You would not expect to see white Americans spend four days without food or water with the press covering it every day and every minute and there be no response from the federal government.
A disgusting and unprovable hypothetical by the academic, but he wasn’t the only one trotting it out.
If this is a "disgusting and unprovable hypothetical," then I take it you believe it is wrong, correct? Your assertion is, therefore, that you would expect to see white Americans spend four days without food or water with the press covering it every day and every minute and there be no response from the federal government.

I'm trying to figure out how to read your objection otherwise. Did I get it wrong?

I'm trying to figure out how to read your objection otherwise. Did I get it wrong?

Perhaps the better word is unknowable, Gary. You can't prove the hypothetical to be right or wrong, which is the problem with the statement in the first place.

As a white southern male I immediately discounted the MSM news. I think what was racist was to believe black people resorted to the type of behavior the MSM was depicting. To believe reports that anymore than a handful of black people were commiting crimes and causing trouble probably stems from ones own racial prejudices. New Orleans is a great town with great people, the many people who assumed otherwise have their own set of issues.

Now, ask me about black leadership in America? Yes, they play the race card often. Black southern Americans? They are busy working and trying to build a good life just like the rest of us.

She might as well have just said "the Bush administration let black people die."

I'd be interested to hear how the logical leaps necessary to get to this conclusion differ from those necessary for a critic to declare that the response to Katrina overtly racist.

On the one hand we have: the vast majority of those stranded without aid were black, therefore the response was slow due in some part to racism.

On the other hand we have: the vast majority of those stranded without aid were black, therefore Brazile is saying people were allowed to suffer and die because of their race.

Martin Luther King adopted a strategy that appealed across-the-board and across racial lines.

I'm not sure what you mean by this. The FBI surveilled him as a subversive. He wrote one of his most influential tracts from jail (and he wasn't there on a DUI charge). He was widely despised by the architects and the beneficiaries of the Jim Crow regime. His opponents eventually killed him. This is appealing "across-the-board"?

What you could say is that MLK's strategy appeals across-the-board today, as applied to events forty years ago. Even that would be dubious, as I personally know rank and file Republicans who call MLK's birthday "take a n*gger to work day" (or something similarly despicable, my recollection of all but the most incendiary word is fuzzy), and certainly his views on the Vietnam War and poverty would earn him a "moonbat" label had he not been martyred all those years ago. I wonder what you would think of MLK's rhetoric and strategy as applied to the current administration's policies.

AAA: To believe reports that anymore than a handful of black people were commiting crimes and causing trouble probably stems from ones own racial prejudices.

Where, did you see mainstream news reports claiming that it was anything more than a handful of people committing crimes and causing trouble? I got my news from the networks, from NPR, and from the internet, and I saw nothing of the sort. What did I miss?

Now, ask me about black leadership in America? Yes, they play the race card often. Black southern Americans? They are busy working and trying to build a good life just like the rest of us.

The two not being mutually exclusive, of course, which is a good thing since there are some black southern Americans up there on Charles' list of "galling and dishonest" accusations.

GREAT article! It is striking to see these black racists with their contrived wounds and ridiculous quotes in one place!

You have taken some ideas that I put forward on my own site and went a few steps further into the analysis.

My soul is sick of this nonsense. I don't want my four year-old son to grow up paying pennance for something he didn't do. I don't want my black neighbor's child growing up expecting a handout for atrocities he never experienced.

It would be best for BOTH boys if we truly embraced equality - not section 8 lala-land.

Ah yes: those self-inflicted wounds.

I've already blown up over this, and Hilzoy is much more to the point, I will just re-cite Donna Brazile's op-ed in the WaPo. Given that she is responding the very same Bush speech that is excerpted in the beginning of the NPR segment, she must be incredibly diabolical to write that she"could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast." and then dis the administration on NPR.

Indeed. The injustices that blacks have inflicted and continue to inflict against whites in our society have become unbearable. We cannot rest until the scales are finally righted.

I don't want my four year-old son to grow up paying pennance for something he didn't do.

I assume you are raising him to be an atheist...

I wonder what you would think of MLK's rhetoric and strategy as applied to the current administration's policies.

Oh, Bird would hate MLK if he were alive and well today. Can you imagine the speech Martin Luther King would have delivered in response to...

...okay, insert Bush administration crime-of-your-choice. I know I'd want to hear them all: and I know what Charles Bird would have to say about them.

Co-opting Martin Luther King is kind of like co-opting opposition to slavery: it costs nothing to say that a radical moonbat 39 years dead was a great man. There is no political cost involved now in saying you oppose slavery, and virtually none in saying you support Martin Luther King. Actually acting to overturn profitable and widely-accepted institutions which are intrinsically wrong, or actually supporting pacifist, left-wing, grassroots opposition to government in the present day - that's tougher.

To correlate: Katherine, if slavery were still current, would write lengthy, well-documented, essays showing precisely where the wrongs of slavery lie and how slavery is supported by the Bush administration even while Bush makes pretty speeches claiming he opposes it. Charles Bird would write lengthy, passionate denunciations of Amnesty International for criticizing slavery in the US, saying when challenged that of course he thinks slavery is wrong, but AI shouldn't be allowed to say these things about the US.

Update, correction: 37 years dead. April 4, 1968.

I met middle class moms and dads (I didn't sell in upper income areas), poor-as-dirt welfare queens . . .

Were they "poor-as-dirt" or were they "welfare queens?" Do you know what a "welfare queen" is supposed to be?

Phil, Jes, this one is not worth the candle, and subsequent ones probably won't be either. Anyone who describes a summer job of 90 days of door to door sales in South Carolina as "a boot-camp, total-immersion experience in southern culture" and then thinks that this experience has also granted him the insight into New Orleans culture and history is not a good candidate for persuasion. Especially when they cite the fact that NOLA has had "uninterrupted string of black mayors for 27 years" in a post decrying the use of the race card. Save it for a real post.

lj, you have a point.

Can someone set up a post correlating to this one on Hating On Charles Bird? Or shall we just assume that the post now there on his initial "race-baiting" comment correlates to this one?

I should add, this is not to dis Southwestern as a bad company, but the key apparently is "not to linger where you are not wanted but to find those homes that are happy to welcome you in." Thus, talking to the "dirt-poor welfare queens" was ideally an under a minute task, and talking to the god-fearin' folk was where one's bread was buttered. Nothing wrong with that, as I'm not demanding a salesman spend more time on people who are not interested in buying, but the idea that this presents a balanced picture of Southern culture is pretty laughable.

Charles Bird mentions that it has been over four decades since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. That is true, but the Civil Rights Act did not immediately ring in an era of universal civil rights for all. It did create a legal framework in which civil rights violations could be litigated and, given enough time and money, civil rights could be enforced for all.

As to the pace at which civil rights has dawned upon each American community I can't say exactly. I can, however, make an analogy to the pace of school desegregation.

Brown v Board of Education was decided in 1954. This created a legal framework in which each segregated school district might be sued and forced to integrate. The pace of lawsuits was such that my school system was ordered to desegregate begining with the 1969-70 school year. The school distict then refused to operate public schools under such conditions, a secondary flurry of lawsuits was launched and reached its predictable conclusion in time for school to begin in October of 1969.

The district's response was to close the schools formerly attended by black students, and, with the aid of a fleet of school busses, consolodate all the students in the formerly whites only schools. When I entered junior high in 1974 there was a fleet of mobile homes behind my school to serve as temporary classrooms to accomodate the crush of students. I can't say whether their use reflected the unuseable condition of the formerly equal buildings in which black children were educated, the political poisin of bussing white children into black neighborhoods, or some other possibility.

The state of race relations among the students was tense in that junior high school. Threats of rioting caused the school day to end prematurely several times each year. During my time we were spared such violence, but the year after I graduated a close friend was swept up in it and recieved a beating (1976).

By 1976 I was in high school, where race relations were copacetic (despite the incident that year mentioned above). It did seem that black students were vastly under-represented in classes reserved for kids who were considered smart and bound for college.

What I hope that I have illustrated is that it took more than two decades from the Brown decision to both integrate the schools in my town and achieve a degree of racial harmony in them. This may not have meant an end to all racism in that school district, but the preconditions had been met.

By analogy, when Mr. Bird says that it has been more than 40 years since the civil rights act, I read that as roughly 15 years since the act has been widely enforced and its immediate aftershocks have been weathered.

Ah yes, all those neutral, non-inflammatory, non-racially-charged comments at the Corner (as well as Bill O'Reilly, and sundry conservative bloggers and commenters leaping to embrace the "looters" meme) are no more relevant than that the National Review was arguing *for* segregation to the bitter end, lamenting it long after, and advocating/defending it in South Africa, because blacks were simply not civilized enough and needed to be ruled for everyone's good by whites, nor the mere coincidence of the House of Regnery's long and wide support for the same, and persistent conviction that the "white race" is doomed by declining birthrates...

Kind of like Bill Bennett saying that it was Jesse Jackson who was the worst racial polarizer in the country - not, oh, say, the police in Cincinnati or NYC who keep shooting unarmed black citizens and getting off with at worst a slap on the wrist.

Oh wait, I forgot: IOKIYAR.

[in full expectation of being banned for this, since as we all know, it's a worse sin to point out that someone holds with evil policies than to hold with evil policies, so long as no Anglo-Saxon epithets are involved in the latter.]

Can someone set up a post correlating to this one on Hating On Charles Bird? Or shall we just assume that the post now there on his initial "race-baiting" comment correlates to this one?

Done! (Actually, as soon as I saw this post I suspected we might need some overflow.) Here's the link--if anyone wants to explain why the trackback url never works, I'm all ears.

bellatrys: banned? for that? hardly.

Oy. It's the Amnesty thing all over again. Charles, when you have a disagreement with someone, and both you and he have had some legitimate reasons to be upset but both are exaggerating, do you find it is generally more productive to write lists of what's wrong with the way the other person is behaving, or try to acknowledsge and deal with his legitimate grievances?

You acknowledge that racism is a problem yet your main action is to suggest that the black community get better leaders. But is that either the worst thing going on here, or the thing you are in the best position to change?

You mentioned King. You probably know that there were riots in a lot of cities the night he died.

What those rioters were doing was a lot worse than what anyone said in response to Katrina. It wasn't just words; people were beat up and killed, neighborhoods burned. And it was a complete betrayal of everything King had tried to do. So there were a lot of speeches denouncing them and calling for law and order, understandably.

But those angry lectures didn't stop any riots. This speech did. And no doubt part of the reason it worked was that they knew it was by someone who'd had his brother murdered, and that he and his murdered brother had done more than most white politicians for civil rights--not nearly enough, especially in the early years, but there was an honest effort that had strengthened with time.

It probably also helped that the night after he asked for nonviolence from them, he made a speech that repeated that plea but also denounced "another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions, of indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons the relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and the schools without books and the homes without heat in the winter."

Trying to do something about people's legitimate grievances does not imply acceptance of their illegitimate grievances or the means by which they try to get those grievances addressed. It's right in itself. It's also a show of good faith that makes your argument much more likely to succeed.

Some of those speeches go too far. Some I actually agree with. But the main problem with what happened in New Orleans isn't that some black leaders made inflammatory speeches about it, and the main problem with race in America today isn't that people harshly criticize the Bush administration in racial terms or that "New African American leaders are needed".

(I don't think Bush is personally racist at all btw. I think he may be clueless or indifferent about racism, and that his policies are worse for black people than white people. See, e.g.: Texas criminal justice system.)

This is a myopic post about racism that springs from thinking chained to partisanship rather than any concern regarding facts.

No doubt, there are many over the top statements as quoted above. Some of it is the bitter product of being victimized by past racism. Frankly, if you had any awareness about racism, you would understand why that happens.

There was also plenty of appalling remarks by non-blacks that could fairly be ascribed to some degree of racism. But for some reason, Charles only sees one side of an issue, and then pretends that a one-sided view and analysis counts for much.

And there's always my candidate for most repellant comment after Katrina:

"The American black population has been the prototype for an entire race of people being turned into a group of dependents of the government. And these people you saw at the Convention Center, the people who were trapped there -- trapped, I'm using that word very loosely -- screaming 'we want help, we want help', for four or five days, yet they didn't bother to even try to help themselves. Unfortunately, in this country the Democrat party, the same party that fought a civil war to keep slaves, filibustered a hundred years to prevent the implementation of civil rights, has now completed the reenslavement of blacks by turning them into passive, totally dependent economically, and for the common sense to walk out of the way of a hurricane, on the government."

You acknowledge that racism is a problem yet your main action is to suggest that the black community get better leaders. But is that either the worst thing going on here, or ,the thing you are in the best position to change?

Is this a standard for posting and commenting here that everyone should follow?

Hell yes.

Charles:

Obama has it right: The disaster in New Orleans didn't happen because of racism; it happened because no one--not at the local, state, or Federal levels--stepped up to adequately fend for the poor who were unable to fend for themselves. All the rest is static and blather.

"Perhaps the better word is unknowable, Gary. You can't prove the hypothetical to be right or wrong, which is the problem with the statement in the first place."

Charles, if you recall, Congress passed a law, and Bush flew back from Texas to sign it in the middle of the night, in order to keep a single white woman from being without food and water.

Is this a standard for posting and commenting here that everyone should follow?

No. Commas should be followed by a space, never preceded by one. Other than that, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Slartibartfast,

Possibly I have misunderstood Katherine's comment. She appears to be making the statement that he should only comment on topics that he can change.

Is that the standard for commenting and posting at this blog?

Now I am also curious is this what I can expect if I continue to comment here:

No. Commas should be followed by a space, never preceded by one.

If that is also a standard for behavior, then please don't bother with a reply.

Possibly I have misunderstood Katherine's comment. She appears to be making the statement that he should only comment on topics that he can change.

No, I think it's likely that she's suggesting that there are more direct things to be done than complain about it in comments. Like maybe change your own party, or change parties. Not saying I agree with these, or even that that was her point, but there are alternate, more likely interpretations here.

You're pretty much free to say anything you want in comments, provided you're not in violation of the posting rules. That's my position, anyway.

Katherine said 99% of what I wanted to say, but here's one small point in response to Charles' failure to see what role racism played in people being left to suffer and die:

The readiness of those in charge to believe the worst rumors about violence by black residents of N.O. in the aftermath of the flooding, and the media's amplification of those rumors with no confirmation whatsoever, slowed and stopped rescue efforts. It was racism that made white people ready to believe those rumors and white media willing to spread them.

It was racism that motivated the sheriff of Gretna to block evacuation of black N.O. residents by way of the bridge between the two cities. It is racism that motivates the citizens of Gretna to support and defend his action.

These are specific actions of specific white people, symptoms of racism, that cost lives.

I'm going to leave aside the historical and institutional racism that has created such an enduring link between poverty and being African-American, the housing segregation that relegated so many poor and black residents of N.O. to the low-lying, most vulnerable neighborhoods.

AAA,

I don't think that Katherine's comment was meant to suggest that Charles could only comment on topics that he could change, but rather that when criticizing something, Charles tends to emphasize specifically those factors which are outside of his control and to ignore those which aren't. But I suppose I could be wrong, and if so I hope Katherine will correct me.

As for Slarti's response, that was what we call "humor". If you intend to continue to comment here, I think it would be in the interest of all concerned if you had some familiarity with the use and recognition of it. There will be a test.

I'm just curious as to what Republicans think of William Bennetts comment that:

"If you abort every black baby in America, the crime rate would go down."

Is this a typical conserative republican position?

Cassini, be fair. While I don't think the context is as exculpatory as some folks do, there is a larger context to that comment.

Gromit:

I read the whole statement. I was just curious what Republicans think about it,
thats all.

Understood, Cassini. I just think the whole statement should be represented, in case anyone here hasn't read it, and might take Bennett to be endorsing such a measure. And, again, the fact that he's playing devil's advocate doesn't excuse the underlying assumptions involved.

Speaking purely for my ownself, I find myself largely in agreement with this frothing right-wing lunatic.

I really dont find it surprising that a right wing conservative would link blacks with crime.

I've heard variations of this argument many times. In the minds of these people, black males are irresponsible, violent, drug addicted, alcholic,lazy, oversexed animals that are a threat to white society and need to be tamed and locked up to keep them under control.

Bill Bennetts theory is nothing more than the latest chain in this link of thought.

"If you abort every black baby in America, the crime rate would go down."

Is this a typical conserative republican position?

and

[in full expectation of being banned for this, since as we all know, it's a worse sin to point out that someone holds with evil policies than to hold with evil policies, so long as no Anglo-Saxon epithets are involved in the latter.]

and

"If you abort every black baby in America, the crime rate would go down."

Is this a typical conserative republican position?


I have to say I have totally turned unsympathetic to those who sling charges of racism. Especially if I am being lectured to from Japan, for goodness sake. And really most of the rest of the world, for that matter. Do the Chinese condemn U.S. racism as well?
Or Koreans? or the Hutus? or Saudi Arabia? or Serbia or Sudan or Zimbabwe? or Mexico? I couldn't care less.

Of course, if I were not a typical racist conserative republican I would realize that it is all the fault of the Jew neo-cons, after all!

Whoops, preview, preview.

"I have to say I have totally turned unsympathetic to those who sling charges of racism."

I tend to find that when being charged with something, that it's best to react to the actual specfics of the charge. An alternative policy of deciding in advance that I'm always innocent and right strikes me as not more useful than knowing I'm always guilty and wrong.

I also tend to find, when dealing with other people, that deciding that, because they are frequently annoying, they are always wrong, isn't per se a useful algorithim for determining the truth of what they've said.

One might almost say that suggesting otherwise is to recommend a course of going through life making decisions and evaluations based upon irrationality and hurt feelings.

But that may be unfair; perhaps deciding that one is incapable of unconscious or conscious racism is the wiser way to go.

One might almost say that suggesting otherwise is to recommend a course of going through life making decisions and evaluations based upon irrationality and hurt feelings.

I think that you are criticizing me, but maybe the problem is that this is what the TV news and newspaper coverage is all about: irrationality and hurt feelings.

I'll try to put up a "feelings" kind of comment later, from a racist republican point of view. But if as reported, the poor people had to resort to cannibalism, I assure you that I am against that, even if President Bush doesnt care about black people.

heck, i wrote a long comment but i cant read the floppy disk that it is on, so here in short form is a specific objection had:

...slavery is supported by the Bush administration even while Bush makes pretty speeches claiming he opposes it.

this is either ignorant or dishonest. if you look up the Sudan Peace Act or initiatives against human trafficking, you would understand how insulting these types of comments are. but repeat them over and over, then most people actually will believe that President Bush is for slavery.

DaveC: I don't see anyone saying that all conservatives, or all Republicans, or all anyone, are racists. And (you probably know this, but just in case) LJ is from -- oh no, I've forgotten which state in the deep south, but one of them.

Nor, for what it's worth, has anyone here really stuck up for the view that Bush doesn't care about black people.

I could be missing something, though.

(And: nice to hear from you.)

I think that you are criticizing me, but maybe the problem is that this is what the TV news and newspaper coverage is all about: irrationality and hurt feelings.

I'll try to put up a "feelings" kind of comment later, from a racist republican point of view.

Dave, if you're a guy in pain -- and, boy, I've been there eight ways from Sunday, whatever the heck that means -- I'm not sure that's actually the problem, and I'm not sure I want to be arguing with you. It certainly wasn't my intent to be criticizing you.

Um, if you're looking for a denunciation of Randall Robrinson's kooky comment, I commented on that a month ago. I assume you're not trying to claim that nuttiness has some relevance to... well, I don't know what, but anything?

Do the Chinese condemn U.S. racism as well?

Yep. Hypocritically, but they do.

I tend to find that when being charged with something, that it's best to react to the actual specfics of the charge. An alternative policy of deciding in advance that I'm always innocent and right strikes me as not more useful than knowing I'm always guilty and wrong.


OK, prove to me the specifics of the charge that the US is more racist than:

Japan
China
Korea
Thailand
Singapore
Myanmar
India
Malaysia
Pakistan
Indonesia
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Jordan
Libya
Sudan
Ethiopia
Rwanda
Congo
Zimbabwe
South Africa (now)
Iran
Germany
France
Sweden
Norway
Serbia
Bosnia
Albania
Mexico
Brazil
Egypt
Syria
Cuba
Greece
Turkey
Armenia
Cyprus
Yemen

Just pick a few of those countrys and show me how why the US is so much more racist and horrible than they are.

Another question to offend and possibly get some response: Who is hotter? WWII Korean sex slaves or the contemporay Burmese and Thai sex slaves?

And yes I know, LJ is from Mississippi, and to tell the truth, I have been trying to tweak him into considering whether the US with all its flaws is more racist than Japan or if it is a case of simply not having that many different people of different races.

Another question to offend and possibly get some response: Who is hotter? WWII Korean sex slaves or the contemporay Burmese and Thai sex slaves?

What response, exactly, were you attempting to provoke?

DaveC: who has made the charge that the US is more racist than these countries?

What response, exactly, were you attempting to provoke?

I think that there is evil and yes racism in all societies, but it is easier to ignore in the more homogeneous countries. I think the US is easier to criticize because there are so many ethic /racial /gender conscious groups.

"OK, prove to me the specifics of the charge that the US is more racist than...."

Well, no, because I don't believe the charge is true.

Dave? I think you'll find it's hard to find other than wackjobs to sign up for that, you know?

Except that you don't seem to know, so please take some good sign from this, please?

Pretty please?

I just got back from class, so a quick comment as a placeholder. I wasn't sure if the Japan line was a tweak, so I just let it lie. I'll try to respond this pm with something that I hope will help move the discussion forward.

What response, exactly, were you attempting to provoke?

Doh, and Jes. who thinks our govts policies against chattel slavery in Africa and sex slavery worldwide don't count.

This is not a liile deal. And while I acknowledge that the Clinton admin started some of these policies, Bush has put a lot more (unappeciated) effort into actually making them have consequences.

DaveC, I really apologize for the confusion. It was entirely my fault for not being clearer. My final paragraph in my comment here was harking back to slavery in the US prior to 1854, and was a half-sarcastic reference to the way many people use "the evils of slavery" as a rhetorical device, and making use of the evil of slavery as a rhetorical device myself. I did not intend to imply that Bush supports slavery, nor that any of his supporters support slavery. I was, in that paragraph, using "slavery" metaphorically for "torture", which I hoped was clear, and which evidently wasn't. I can't say I didn't intend to cause offense, but I certainly didn't intend to cause that kind of offense.

Thanx all, it's late and I am less and less coherent but I think of hearing Dennis Prager saying that Germany had the most advanced civilization in terms of philosophy, music, technology, science, etc. and look what happened.

Now in the US, there is a cacaphony of interest groups, races, ethnicities, etc, and it seems like they all are condemning our way of life, but I dont buy into that. There is going to be some kind of "something"ism as long as humans exist.

I think that there is evil and yes racism in all societies, but it is easier to ignore in the more homogeneous countries. I think the US is easier to criticize because there are so many ethic /racial /gender conscious groups.

You do realize that China and Burma, to pick two of your previously mentioned countries, are some of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries on the planet right? [China in absolute terms, Burma relative to its size.] And trust me, their racism is plenty vicious enough, it's just that it often flies underneath Western radar.

Hey Dave C. I certainly have done my share of tweaking, so please don't take any of this as having any anger behind it.
When the Katrina thread began, I contributed, largely because I was paying quite a bit of attention to the story, and I have some familiarity with New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I can't remember everything that I wrote, but I'm pretty confident that I posted not on racism, but on descriptive facts of the situation.

As I noted in an earlier comment, I don't think there was much discussion here about the reported looting and lawlessness. In hindsight, I remember thinking that if you aren't going to distribute supplies to people, you are going to have to assume that stores are going to get broken into, but I don't know if I posted anything like that. I'm pretty strongly agree with the notion of tipping point, and if you have people break into a Walmart or a pharmacy to get supplies, I think that people are going to begin to consider the possibility of breaking into stores for non essentials.

When the discussion began to turn to racism, I tried to use the pronoun 'we' as a way of conveying that I bear a responsibility for what I think is racism. I don't believe I called out any particular group. When it began to emerge that reports of looting were overblown, the tenor of the discussion shifted and my own feelings did as well. While some people chose to bash the MSM for making mistakes, I felt (and still feel) very disturbed that I accepted the reports as true. I am not sure if I would have been more disbelieving if it were reports of looting in some other, white majority city, so I can't say for certain, but the fact that the possibility remains is disturbing. Here, I basically accepted it as a given that lawlessness would be the norm.

Thus, as a first pass at answering you, I do think that there are problems with racism in America and I think the blame extends to all of us. That not might make you too pleased, but it's not the case that I am blaming you, I am blaming us, if that makes any difference. As was mentioned, I grew up in Mississippi in the 70s and 80's and I have been thinking back, wondering if there was anything that I should have done, any stand that I should have taken. Should I have chosen a different career, should I have remained in Mississippi? So the feeling of guilt that I have personally is rather strong and in discussing that, if you have believe that those guilt feelings were me accusing you and other people living in America as if I were judging you to the exclusion of myself, my apologies

I'm also assuming that you feel that because I have chosen to live in Japan, I can't really say anything about problem. I certainly have my blind spots when it comes to Japan, but I think that I understand the problems the country has with racism and nationalism and I've mentioned them occasionally on this board. I haven't given massive details because the topics haven't really allowed for long involved comments about Japanese culture.

But more than that, it is not really that I went around the world and chose the country that was the least problematic in terms of cultural problems and decided to make my life there. I came here once, decided to move on to other things, met my wife and ended up back here. So the fact that I live in Japan has very little to do with conscious choices.

You may be zeroing in on the fact that I have noted that I am considering taking Japanese citizenship, so therefore, you may argue I do not have the moral standing to discuss racism in the US, having considered my US citizenship to be something not worth keeping. But that decision (which has not been made yet) depends not simply on rejecting the US and accepting Japan, but on what I think I and my family will be doing 30, 40, or even 50 years in the future.

You might be feeling that because I don't deal with social problems in Japan, I don't have the standing to discuss problems in the US. Well, I do work on social problems here, but the work is primarily on local problems and there is the added problem of an outsider coming here to tell Japanese how to solve their problems. Debito Arudo is a good friend of mine, and I've supported his efforts, but there is a finite limit to the amount of time and effort that one can devote to things like this. If you feel that because Japan is a homogenous country, they don't have the problems that the US has, that is not correct. Racism is a problem (google Zainichi or Ainu frex) and they have problems that are similar to racial problems but are not based on race (google burakumin) as well as a serious problem with sexism (imho) There is always the psychological possibility that I chose to move to Japan in order to give up the power to change things so that I could claim that it's not my fault, and there is probably some truth there, but it is hard to imagine me carving out a life in Mississippi that would have been as satisfying as the one here.

So, in conclusion, I'm sorry if you felt that I was singling you, or people on the right, or Republicans, or Americans and feeling that I was without sin. My feeling about responsibility is best summed up by a story told by a famous judo player who spoke of the time he and a friend had gone out and missed curfew during a high school judo camp. His teacher confronted the two of them and slapped them both for breaking the rules. The teacher then instructed them to slap him as hard as he had hit them, because he was their teacher and thus equally responsible for their actions. Until we realize that there is an equal measure of responsibility that has to be addressed, we will always face the problems caused by class, wealth and race.

I should also add that I saw that Charles accepted my apology in Hilzoy's earlier thread, which suggests that he hasn't read my comments here. If he does get past them, I would apologize here if in my zeal to express my strong disagreement with what he wrote, any of my comments crossed the line towards personal attack.

Hypocritically, but they do.

There's a whole slew of issues on which China is hypo-critical of the US, from prison conditions to criminal justice to the death penalty to treatment of children to poverty. It's hard to take any of it seriously, other than the parts that are obviously true. Certainly they're not speaking from any particular place of moral authority on any of these issues.

I think that there is evil and yes racism in all societies, but it is easier to ignore in the more homogeneous countries.

For me it's easier to ignore racism, and other evils, in countries of which I am not a citizen, or a sponsor, and in which I do not live. And which do not assert claims of moral leadership of the planet.

I think the US is easier to criticize because there are so many ethic /racial /gender conscious groups.

I'd like to see some kind of empirical proof for the factual premise.

You might feel puffed up to reflect on the fact that the US is less rascist than Yemen or Libya. I can't see any point in this standard, I suppose because I'm a snob in that I expect better of us than of anyone on your list. To my mind, there are two points to consider: (1) Objective: that is, how are we doing in comparison to how we could be doing and (2) Relative: how are we doing relative to other developed members of our family, the Anglosphere. I notice that your list did not include Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the UK. None is perfect, of course, but surely these countries are much better benchmarks.

Just to make you feel better, DaveC, I will make the following statements, which you may quote back at will:

(a) I do not believe that DaveC was responsible for the federal, state, or local response to Hurricane Katrina, and therefore do not believe that any criticism of those responses is criticism of DaveC;

(b) it is my opinion that Bush is less morally repugnant than either Stalin or Hitler;

(c) the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was more effective than I would expect the federal response of the government of Bangladesh to be to a storm of similar impact in Bangladesh.

Feel better?

coming from someone who just spent 1000 words describing the evils of one side?

Who cares what side, cleek. The race card is insidious, as are baseless accusations of racism. In these modern times, being called racist is only slightly less serious than being called a wife beater.

On the one hand we have: the vast majority of those stranded without aid were black, therefore the response was slow due in some part to racism.

On the other hand we have: the vast majority of those stranded without aid were black, therefore Brazile is saying people were allowed to suffer and die because of their race.

Why should either hand be true, Gromit? Hurricanes hit Florida, Mississippi and Texas hard this year, and all three states have substantial black populations. Why should New Orleans have been singled out by so-called racists?

What you could say is that MLK's strategy appeals across-the-board today, as applied to events forty years ago.

It may not have been across-the-board at the time, but the fact is that it was eventually. It was a formula that worked.

Oh, Bird would hate MLK if he were alive and well today.

A Karnak Award, Jes, and add sloppy reasoning to boot. Who knows how I would react to MLK if he were alive today because it's a useless hypothetical, a hypothetical just as pernicious as the ones used by Bartley, Giles and Brown.

Co-opting Martin Luther King is kind of like co-opting opposition to slavery:

Rubbish, Jes. MLK was an American, a national hero (with his own holiday) who spoke to all Americans, not just the ones you agree with. I have every right to use his words, just as any American does who abides by the message he conveyed 42 years ago. I find it revolting that you would deny me that.

Charles Bird would write lengthy, passionate denunciations of Amnesty International for criticizing slavery in the US, saying when challenged that of course he thinks slavery is wrong, but AI shouldn't be allowed to say these things about the US.

More mindreading and stupid reasoning. To put it directly, I fully condemn your statement, Jes.

Given that she is responding the very same Bush speech that is excerpted in the beginning of the NPR segment, she must be incredibly diabolical to write that she"could not have been prouder of the president and the plan he outlined to empower those who lost everything and to rebuild the Gulf Coast." and then dis the administration on NPR.

You don't know that she said "they let us die" on that pre-recorded Friday Morning Edition segment after Bush's Thursday night speech, LJ. Prior to Bush's speech, Brazile was brutally harsh on the Bush administration for its slow response, and NPR wasn't the only place where she articulated her criticisms. Who knows exactly when she spoke to Juan Williams with her "they let us die" thing, but my guess is that she said it prior to Bush's Thursday night speech. I welcome what she wrote in the WA Post, but it doesn't cancel out the repulsive words she spoke earlier. She owes Bush an apology.

Nothing wrong with that, as I'm not demanding a salesman spend more time on people who are not interested in buying, but the idea that this presents a balanced picture of Southern culture is pretty laughable.

What is laughable is you telling me what I know and don't know about the South (shades of Juan Cole when someone has different opinions than his about the Middle East), and then telling me how I should have sold my wares out on the bookfield, LJ. What's next, playing the game of Whose CV is Bigger? Or perhaps you can tell me again about your expertise for hearing words spoken on tapes. BTW, I did accept your apology before reading this thread, not that it matters whether I read it beforehand or not. That was that thread and this is this.

Were they "poor-as-dirt" or were they "welfare queens?" Do you know what a "welfare queen" is supposed to be?

Both sometimes and yes, Phil, using this definition. They weren't the welfare queens as Reagan described them. In my experience, these were the moms who dropped out of school, chose not to find jobs, sought to extract as much as possible in welfare benefits, and had passels of kids because of AFDC checks. Some did OK, and others lived in squalor.

do you find it is generally more productive to write lists of what's wrong with the way the other person is behaving, or try to acknowledsge and deal with his legitimate grievances?

Katherine, you're becoming an expert at missing my points. Legitimate grievances exist notwithstanding the race card being thrown down, but those who engage in this form of race mongering are doing a disservice if they want to make progress with those grievances. Are you seriously advocating that the means don't matter? That it's OK to smear and engage in dishonest discourse as long as the cause is noble? That sounds to me like many liberals' complaints about torture, that our cause in Iraq may be noble (bringing peace, freedom and democracy) but the means toward that end stink.

Hilzoy, I agree with you that radio guy Mark Williams was odiously repellent.

Who knows how I would react to MLK if he were alive today

We know how you react to outspoken critics of the Bush administration. We can fairly safely predict that Martin Luther King, were he alive today, would be an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. It's not a Karnak award, Charles, given your past record in attacking people who oppose Bush's policies, and your behavior attacking black critics of Bush in the post which sparked this thread.

MLK was an American, a national hero (with his own holiday) who spoke to all Americans, not just the ones you agree with.

He certainly spoke to all Americans. But significant numbers of them were never listening and still don't listen now. Such as those who supported the war in Vietnam, and who still claim now that the US was right to spend fifteen years and several million lives in achieving, what King so eloquently described:

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. link

To put it directly, I fully condemn your statement, Jes.

To put it directly, Charles, if I'd written "torture" instead of "slavery", you could hardly condemn my statement: you've done exactly what I said you did. "Charles Bird would write lengthy, passionate denunciations of Amnesty International for criticizing [torture by] the US, saying when challenged that of course he thinks [torture] is wrong, but AI shouldn't be allowed to say these things about the US."

The difference is: there is currently no political cost whatsoever in the US to saying you oppose slavery, or allying yourself with those long dead who opposed it at such a high cost. There is considerable political cost among right-wingers in saying you oppose torture, and in allying yourself with those, very much alive, who are opposing torture now.

Charles Bird: Why should either hand be true, Gromit?

I'm not sure either is true. You asserted one of them to be true, and not the other (if I have mischaracterized your take on Brazile, please let me know). They both start with the same premise and employ the same logic, yet, for some reason, you arrive at two entirely different conclusions.

Prior to Bush's speech, Brazile was brutally harsh on the Bush administration for its slow response, and NPR wasn't the only place where she articulated her criticisms. Who knows exactly when she spoke to Juan Williams with her "they let us die" thing, but my guess is that she said it prior to Bush's Thursday night speech. I welcome what she wrote in the WA Post, but it doesn't cancel out the repulsive words she spoke earlier. She owes Bush an apology.

No, you owe Donna Brazile an apology. You quoted her words, then inserted your own editorial comments, then proceeded to argue with your comments, not her words. Insofar as Donna Brazille identifies with the people of New Orleans who were stuck in the Superdome and the convention center, and insofar as a more competent government response could have saved lives, "They let us die" should not be terribly controversial. The antecedent of "they" is explicitly "the government", and the antecedent of "us" is, as best I can tell, the poor residents of New Orleans, per Brazile's comments. But you are linking Brazile's comments to race, despite the fact that she explicitly disavows the racial argument and focuses on poverty instead. You justify this link based on the editorial decisions of Juan Williams and his producer, not anything Brazile said in the story.

Jes, you're being totally unfair to Charles. He's has shown himself to be capable of criticizing Bush, and agreeing with others' criticism of Bush, when he believes it is called for. You or I may disagree with him about when it's called for, but it's ridiculous to say that since MLK would be criticizing Bush, Charles would therefore be criticizing MLK.

AI shouldn't be allowed to say these things about the US

CB's complaint about AI is not that they criticize the US full stop, but that they focus on US wrongdoing excessively and unjustifiably. Agree or disagree, but don't mischaracterize it.

your behavior attacking black critics of Bush

This is outrageous in its implications and IMO does not belong on this blog. There's plenty of room for honest disagreement with Charles without turning him into a white-sheeted strawman.

"We can fairly safely predict that Martin Luther King, were he alive today, would be an outspoken critic of the Bush administration."

Perhaps, though MLK and Farrakhan famously disagreed about all sorts of things. Beside which you seem to be interested in an attack on Charles Bird rather than engaging his point--that smearing the race card all over things isn't good for racial relations and can be counterproductive to getting beneficial things done.

Indeed, kenB. If we truly wanted to be politically correct, we'd dispense criticism regardless of the race of those being criticized; to do otherwise is still racism, only a different flavor.

"They let us die" should not be terribly controversial. The antecedent of "they" is explicitly "the government", and the antecedent of "us" is, as best I can tell, the poor residents of New Orleans, per Brazile's comments.

Don't you think the word "let" is relevant to your analysis? What do you think was meant by the use of that particular word?

As I said in a previous thread, I think people on the right are taking Brazile's comment too literally. First of all I'd echo Gromit's caution that what we're hearing is an edited version of her statements stuck into a story on race, so we have no way of knowing what the original context was; but even with the info we have, it seems to me, based both on her words and her tone of voice, that she was attempting to portray the emotional reaction of the people in that community, rather than making a straight-up accusation.

kenB: but it's ridiculous to say that since MLK would be criticizing Bush, Charles would therefore be criticizing MLK.

How is it ridiculous? Let us suppose MLK to be alive today. We have, then, a man with a track record of outspokenly opposing the Vietnam war and the US atrocities committed in the course of that war. That alone, were he not safely dead, would make right-wingers vilify him today. We have a man who has a habit of speaking up against the US government's institutional racism. Charles has demonstrated in this very post that he really, really doesn't like people who do that. I see no reason to suppose that MLK would have amended his politics to such a vast degree since 1968 that Charles could find MLK even tolerable. I doubt if it's a stretch to assume that MLK would be one of those people speaking out against the horrors of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib: and Charles Bird occupies his time as a blogger not in speaking out against the horrors of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, but - whenever he does reference them - in lashing out at those who presume to criticize the US for those horrors.

kenB: CB's complaint about AI is not that they criticize the US full stop, but that they focus on US wrongdoing excessively and unjustifiably.

CB's complaint about AI is that they focus on the US's wrongdoing fairly and thoroughly, which fairness and thoroughness he characterizes as being excessive and unjustified. He was unable to explain which of the US's wrongdoings AI ought to have omitted from its annual report on the US in order to make it less excessive, or which item in that report was unjustified, and has spent far more blogging-time criticizing AI for criticizing the wrong-doings of the US than he ever has on criticizing the wrong-doings of the US himself.


Sebastian: Perhaps, though MLK and Farrakhan famously disagreed about all sorts of things.

Do you really imagine that Martin Luther King would have approved of the disenfranchising of thousands of black voters in Florida, the invasion of Iraq, the illegal imprisonment of so many prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and other gulags, and the torture of prisoners? If so, can you please outline, with citations from MLK's writings and speeches, exactly what has given you that impression?

Slarti: If we truly wanted to be politically correct, we'd dispense criticism regardless of the race of those being criticized

That would be why Charles criticized white people for racist comments in the wake of Katrina?

Oh, wait. No, he didn't.

outspokenly opposing the Vietnam war and the US atrocities committed in the course of that war. That alone, were he not safely dead, would make right-wingers vilify him today.

Some right-wingers, quite possibly. Charles in particular, I'm not ready to grant you.

CB's complaint about AI is that they focus on the US's wrongdoing fairly and thoroughly, which fairness and thoroughness he characterizes as being excessive and unjustified.

Perhaps in your mind this is a "fact"; to me it looks much more like an "opinion".

He was unable to explain which of the US's wrongdoings AI ought to have omitted from its annual report on the US in order to make it less excessive,

Don't know the details of this reference, but your framing of the question doesn't necessarily get to the heart of the complaint -- the language used and the relative prominence of the items were also factors.

has spent far more blogging-time criticizing AI for criticizing the wrong-doings of the US than he ever has on criticizing the wrong-doings of the US himself

Are you saying that one can fairly extrapolate a blogger's views based on his/her selection of topics? You may get some argument on that count even from bloggers on your side.

We have a man who has a habit of speaking up against the US government's institutional racism. Charles has demonstrated in this very post that he really, really doesn't like people who do that

If this is the message you take from Charles' post, then there's really no point in further discussion.

kenB: are you saying that one can fairly extrapolate a blogger's views based on his/her selection of topics?

Don't you think so? It would be unfair, certainly, to characterize an individual blogger's views based on what they choose not to blog about. There are a vast number of possible topics, and the fact that a blogger has not written on a topic does not necessarily mean they do not have an opinion about it.

But the topics a blogger does choose to write about, and the direction they take to discuss them, must give us some idea of their views, no? Charles Bird is inspired to write about Guantanamo Bay following AI's report on the US. His inspiration takes him in the direction of passionately criticizing Amnesty International for criticizing the US. I do think it's possible to figure that for Charles, unjust imprisonment and torture is something he gets less worked up about than he does than when someone criticizes the US for committing unjust imprisonment and torture.

Were the multiple posts complaining about Amnesty International an odd freak, it would unfair to use them to characterize him, but Charles is fairly consistent, as here, in attacking those who attack the actions of the Bush administration, rather than in attacking the actions of the Bush administration. AI was just one example.

I certainly don't want to get into this food fight, but Chas, since you said

What is laughable is you telling me what I know and don't know about the South

Unfortunately, your invocation of your 90 days of door to door book selling in South Carolina has been the only experience you have cited to claim that you know the South. Even then, it is in broad brush terms. I contrast this with Hilzoy's careful citing of her life experience when she has a point to make. You said:

By walking into peoples' living rooms and sitting at kitchen tables and talking about those things, I got invaluable glimpses into peoples' lives and saw plentiful, eye-opening helpings of southern American life. It was really the perfect job for a would-be politician.

Thus, experience is not a way of trying to understand the situation, it is a shortcut to invoking an understanding so as to put forward your views. I am sure you are not going to understand why this is a problem in a discussion list, but it is, because rather than trying to understand fundamental causes, your experiences are simply factoids to be cited in support of whatever policy you seem to prefer.

You've cited no life experience that suggests to me that you know anything about New Orleans, yet you claim that your views are correct because you wrote 'one of the most heavily-sourced posts on Katrina in the entire blogosphere'.

Unfortunately, you take any suggestion of a lacuna on your part as mind reading and ignore it or worse, claim it as a personal attack. This is not to say that all comments concerning your posts are disinterested attempts to seek the truth, but when taking an opportunity to discuss your life experiences (in a separate thread), you give us broad platitudes based on 90 days in South Carolina. If you would care to present why I am wrong about your knowledge of New Orleans, I would certainly try to take that into account, but I have not seen word one about your experiences. I can tell you that visiting homes of 1, 5, 15 minutes at a time is a lot like examining individual leaves on a tree and then claiming that you know everything important about that tree and therefore, you know everything important about trees in general.

It does not help matters that you are not very thoughtful in your assertions. For example, you state, at the top of this post.

The hurricane revealed quite a few things, one of them being that society can break down easily and quickly under the right (or wrong) circumstances.

But assuming that you agree that the MSM vastly overreported looting and lawlessness, then society did not break down "easily and quickly" did it. I'm not going to suggest that you wouldn't extend your thesis to a white majority town, but it appears that you haven't really given any careful consideration to why society broke down around precisely the fault lines it did.

kenB and Gromit state my objections to your interpretation of the Brazile quote quite succinctly. That you have become the enforcer for who gives Bush an apology or not, yet the whole point that you have no idea of the context (and that you then invoke other comments by Brazile without giving any citation) doesn't seem to faze you in the least. I also agree with kenb that Jes is getting a bit hyperbolic, but she is only picking up the rocks that have already been thrown around here. Chas is the most recent person to "extrapolate a blogger's views based on his/her selection of topics..."

I believe that the reaction to Chas is a lot like the reaction to Bill Bennett's comments. There is an explosion and a lot of anger initially, which that (ideally) gets aired out. But after the recriminations die down and we dig deeper, and start to think about underlying reasons, you start to realize that there is a complaint to be made and you would very much like the person to actually understand why it is a problem. Thus, you want to tell Bennett that the problem is not dealing in the realm of hypotheticals, but that he casually, as if it required no proof at all, made a genetic argument connecting blacks and crime. I like this Eugene Robinson op-ed, especially the last line, which is
I have a thought experiment of my own: If we put our racial baggage on the table and talk about it, we'll begin to take care of a lot of unfinished business.

Unfortunately, Chas, your mind and the baggage therein is hidden behind a curtain of Karnak awarding mechanisms, and (at the risk of getting a Karnak myself) it is hidden even to you. I realize that an absence of self awareness will probably be taken as a personal attack, but I don't see any other explanation for what you write.

kenB: are you saying that one can fairly extrapolate a blogger's views based on his/her selection of topics?

Jesurgislac: Don't you think so? It


After applying your own stated logic I can only conclude that you hate America.

The topics that you comment on and the comments that you make related to said topics leads to only one possible conclusion. You hate America.

Based on your own logic you can't now claim that you only hate America since Bush has been president. You haven't posted any comments related to that topic so it obviously isn't relevant.


AAA: Don't you think the word "let" is relevant to your analysis? What do you think was meant by the use of that particular word?

When you see a person dying and you have the resources to keep that person from dying, but, whether through malice, through negligence, or through indifference, you fail to provide the assistance needed to keep that person from dying, then you let that person die. What part of this do you dispute?

I dispute all of it.

Please cite one instance were it is documented that someone sat there and actually watched another die and chose not to provide aide.

Turning someone away is not the same as knowing that they are about to die and doing nothing.

In your application we could easily claim that you are "letting" people around the world die as you sit in front of your computer wasting whatever resources you possess that may help them.

You may claim that it's not your responsibility, but that would just mean that you have a cold callous heart.

After applying your own stated logic I can only conclude that you hate America.
You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

Incidentally, POTUS != America. To insinuate otherwise is close to intellectual treason, and is certainly a severe case of intellectual laziness. What is it Sam Vimes said? Mankind's greatest weakness is its tendency to bend at the knee?

AAA: I dispute all of it.

Please cite one instance were it is documented that someone sat there and actually watched another die and chose not to provide aide.

"...whether through malice, through negligence, or through indifference..."

Turning someone away is not the same as knowing that they are about to die and doing nothing.

There is a point where you are responsible for your own ignorance. When you are the head of FEMA, or the head of Homeland Security, it is your job not to just misplace thousands of people, especially when all you need to do to find them is to turn on your television. When you are the President of the United States, it is your job to realize when your subordinates are making a complete mess of their duties, and to either set them straight, or to replace them with someone competent in a timely manner before their incompetence costs lives. Yet this president seems to revel in his own lack of awareness.

In your application we could easily claim that you are "letting" people around the world die as you sit in front of your computer wasting whatever resources you possess that may help them.

You may claim that it's not your responsibility, but that would just mean that you have a cold callous heart.

How is responsibility irrelevant here? When you sign up to head a police force and then authorize them to keep evacuees from moving from their squalid hell-hole of a refuge, when you accept the nomination to head FEMA or DHS, then sit on your hands for days, or misallocate resources, or freak out and curl up into a fetal position, or whatever Brown and Chertoff did while the media was screaming at them to DO SOMETHING, you bear a greater burden of guilt than the guy who argues about politics on the internet while children die of disease in Africa. Not saying that I, as a spoiled first-worlder, bear no responsibility for the evils we both visit on the world and fail to ameliorate, but there is something of a difference. I'm not displacing someone more helpful or effective from a position of power, at the very least.

Instead of being annoyed here at CB's indiscriminate invocation of the "race card," I've waxed incandescent, but, you know, in a bipartisan sort of way, at "Hating on Charles Bird." (a href="http://jackmormon.blogspot.com/2005/10/few-of-many-reasons-that-race-card.html">Link)

I dispute all of it.

But you have to admit, the special effects they did for the Katrina overflys were pretty damn good. Were the people on the rooftops green screened actors or computer generated?

AAA: After applying your own stated logic I can only conclude that you hate America.

I quite like the US - and am sorry that its current policy on treating all tourists as criminal suspects means I can no longer visit; and while I wouldn't say, indiscriminately, "I like Americans" I like many Americans I've met and admire many Americans I never had the privilege of meeting. George W. Bush is not one of them.

You would be right in concluding, however, that I hate much US foreign policy; find the current electoral system in the US either laughable or terrifying (you know, I was raised in a country which believes in counting every damn vote, three times if necessary, to establish exactly who the voters chose, and it was a shock I'm still not quite getting over to discover that the US system amounts to a handwaving "Ah, it's about right - let's not bother counting the rest"); and was appalled by the ghastly and ineffective response, local, state, and federal, to Hurricane Katrina.

We know how you react to outspoken critics of the Bush administration. We can fairly safely predict that Martin Luther King, were he alive today, would be an outspoken critic of the Bush administration. It's not a Karnak award, Charles, given your past record in attacking people who oppose Bush's policies, and your behavior attacking black critics of Bush in the post which sparked this thread.

You're still mindreading, Jes, because your premise that you know how I "react to outspoken critics of the Bush administration" is both sweeping and flawed. The illogic and bad reasoning flow from there.

To put it directly, Charles, if I'd written "torture" instead of "slavery", you could hardly condemn my statement: you've done exactly what I said you did.

You couldn't be more wrong, Jes, and if you continue to write that I support torture and mistreatment, you will be called a liar, especially since I've repeatedly made my views against torture and mistreatment clear on this board. You can play in Hypothetical Land all you want, but don't expect me to play that silly game. Leave me out of it, because all you're doing is using that slimy tactic to distort and mischaracterize me.

You're also agonizingly and factually wrong when you say that I believe that "AI shouldn't be allowed to say these things about the US". They can say whatever they goddam well feel like, but they are not exempt from criticism when this global organization makes America-centric, out-of-perspective pronouncements.

You asserted one of them to be true, and not the other

No, I didn't. Brazile asserted one of them to be true, and I challenged that assertion.

No, you owe Donna Brazile an apology. You quoted her words, then inserted your own editorial comments, then proceeded to argue with your comments, not her words.

Me owe Brazile an apology? Who are "they" and who are "us", Gromit. The context of "they" was the federal government, and the context of "us" was that Brazile was part of the poor black community in New Orleans. Did "they" let these people die? "Let" was just as powerful as "they" and "us", and "die" isn't very far behind. She was the one who said those irresponsible words, and she is accountable for them.

First of all I'd echo Gromit's caution that what we're hearing is an edited version of her statements stuck into a story on race, so we have no way of knowing what the original context was...

A fair point, ken. Juan Williams is responsible for setting the context of the story, and we don't know what else Brazile may have said in the interview.

Thus, experience is not a way of trying to understand the situation, it is a shortcut to invoking an understanding so as to put forward your views.

Oh, so you do want to play the game of Whose CV is Bigger. I'll pass, since it's just a deflection anyway. Since I've never had an abortion, I can't talk about abortion, no? By your double standards, since I haven't shot an M-16, I'm not qualified to write about national defense. Since I've only spent a few weekends in NYC, I also shouldn't write about Giuliani or Bloomberg. And so forth. FTR, my experience is not limited to three months in South Carolina, but I'm not going to do your dance.

Charles: because your premise that you know how I "react to outspoken critics of the Bush administration" is both sweeping and flawed.

Your most passionate and lengthy posts about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were, at quite some length, passionately critical of those criticizing these vile places. You have written nothing as passionately critical of the Bush administration for setting up Guantanamo Bay as you wrote, at some length, about Newsweek or about Amnesty International.

If you don't like that, well, take your own medicine: you "can say whatever you goddam well feel like" but why should you be exempt from criticism when you publicly inveigh against Amnesty International far more harshly than you have ever inveighed against the Bush administration?

Oh, so you do want to play the game of Whose CV is Bigger. I'll pass, since it's just a deflection anyway. Since I've never had an abortion, I can't talk about abortion, no? By your double standards, since I haven't shot an M-16, I'm not qualified to write about national defense. Since I've only spent a few weekends in NYC, I also shouldn't write about Giuliani or Bloomberg. And so forth. FTR, my experience is not limited to three months in South Carolina, but I'm not going to do your dance.

I apologize that you took my desire for clarification of your experience about New Orleans as a personal challenge. I have no desire to have you do a dance, and will certainly evaluate your writing based on whatever facts I know. However, to claim that making assertions about what you think is mindreading when you either don't want to or can't explain what experiences inform your opinion is a tad hypocritical. I will also point out that your complaints about problems on the state and local level with the Katrina response suggest no knowledge of the local situation, merely a penchant for Google. Nothing wrong with this, as you can, by viewing various sources, arrive at conclusions that might be missed up close. However, your jigging between that idea and your insistence that you have some experience to support your assertions looks more and more like St. Vitus' Dance.

. . . the US system . . .

There is no "the US system," Jesurgislac. There are many thousands of local systems. Which I'm sure you know.

Charles Bird: No, I didn't. Brazile asserted one of them to be true, and I challenged that assertion.

So, it is your claim that Brazile attributed the slow governmental response to racism, an accusation which you say you challenged, yet you simultaneously claim that you did not accuse Brazile of making charges of racism? What?

Who are "they" and who are "us", Gromit.

Good question.

From the comment to which you are responding: The antecedent of "they" is explicitly "the government", and the antecedent of "us" is, as best I can tell, the poor residents of New Orleans, per Brazile's comments.

Charles Bird continues: The context of "they" was the federal government, and the context of "us" was that Brazile was part of the poor black community in New Orleans.

No. I'm pretty certain I pointed this out on the other thread, but I'll say it again: she talks about the government, not any particular level of government, and she talks about the poor, not the poor subdivided into racial categories. You are manufacturing the additional details, and attributing them to Brazile because she, like so many of those stranded victims of Katrina, is black and because she, unlike President Bush, is a Democrat. It is certainly possible she meant something more specific than what she said, but there is no context to justify such an extrapolation.

Did "they" let these people die?

Yes. The government let those people die.

"Let" was just as powerful as "they" and "us", and "die" isn't very far behind. She was the one who said those irresponsible words, and she is accountable for them.

Yes, she is accountable for the words she said, which is fine, because they are entirely defensible. What she is not accountable for is the words you are putting in her mouth.

"Yes. The government let those people die."

And only someone who doesn't understand what it is like to work for the government would make such a stupid comment.

Then enlighten me, AAA. How would being on the government payroll change my views of the government's culpability in the deaths of stranded evacuees?

However, to claim that making assertions about what you think is mindreading when you either don't want to or can't explain what experiences inform your opinion is a tad hypocritical.

LJ, I didn't give you the Karnak Award. Jes was the deserving recipient for lolling around in Hypothetical Land, making grand and unsupportable conclusions about how she thought I would respond if MLK were still alive.

I will also point out that your complaints about problems on the state and local level with the Katrina response suggest no knowledge of the local situation, merely a penchant for Google.

Google was hardly used at all in my Katrina post, LJ. In fact, of all the sources used, the most were taken from NO Times-Picayune. Another misimpression by you. Perhaps there was a misimpression by me that you actually had a desire for clarification about my experiences in the South, but I couldn't discern that from the tenor of your comments. But if you have factual issues pertaining to the Katrina post which weren't flogged to death there, then go to town. Or perhaps you really do want to revisit your defense of the now disgraced Eddie Compass for his substandard leadership as NO police chief. Personally, I'd rather move on.

why should you be exempt from criticism when you publicly inveigh against Amnesty International far more harshly than you have ever inveighed against the Bush administration?

Yet Hilzoy gets defended for that very thing, Jes. More double standards, and another straw man from you. Seriously, you must be writing about some other fella with the same name as me. I wrote three posts on AI, two of which took AI to task and one which criticized the Bush administration. I've also written multiple other posts criticizing the Bush admistration, including in this very post. You are continuing to demonstrate that you don't know what the hell you are talking about.

Phil: There is no "the US system," Jesurgislac. There are many thousands of local systems. Which I'm sure you know.

I do, actually. It's one of the many problems the US has in attempting to run decent elections - that whether or not your vote is counted depends very much on your zip code.

Charles, if you're convinced that you would have admired Martin Luther King if he were alive today, rather than denouncing him for playing the "race card" as I think this post of yours strongly suggests you would, well, there's evidently nothing I could say to convince you otherwise. I know of no other black, strongly left-wing, strongly pacifist, outspoken critic of the government whom you do admire: it's interesting that the one you claim you could admire is safely dead and not actually around to speak out against the Bush administration's inaction with regard to New Orleans.

Look Bird Dog, Jes simply does not understand Pres Bush. She thinks that he is FOR slavery and she is ignorant of what the Sudan Peace Act accomplished because there are still problems in Darfur. Likewise she is ignorant of, or doesnt acknowledge the various initiatives against human trafficking (specifically sex-slaves). There hasnt been much support for these initiatives from liberals, who theoretically should be most likely to give support to tis kind of thing, so unfortunately the Bush admin has dropped the ball because there is no political pay-off, and this is causing problems with our so-called friends like Saudi Arabia.

"There hasnt been much support for these initiatives from liberals"

Wha??

"so unfortunately the Bush admin has dropped the ball because there is no political pay-off"

Bush won't do what's right because liberals aren't supporting him enough? Double wha???

DaveC: I thought I'd explained (and I thought you'd read and understood) here.

Look, Pres Bush is a politician. He tried to make the case against human trafficking in a State of the Union speech, which is a pretty big deal, but he got basicly zero support or acknowledgement. He took the risk of alienating Saudi Arabia, which he did, and now is catching heat for backing off on sanctions against S.A..

But when you look at the whole deal, statisticly nobody in America, liberal or conservative, cares about sex slavery anyway. And neither does Jes, or she would have realized that Bush tried to do something about it but failed for lack of support.

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