Visual source: Newseum
Last week we saw quite a few African-American bloggers and writers offering critiques of birtherism and race. The salient point is that the tradition of attacking the citizenship rights of African-Americans extends from slave codes to state-wide bans on black residence to black codes to debt peonage to literacy tests, to felon disenfranchisement. You literally can trace attacks on black citizenship from the very origins of American citizenship itself, up into the present day. …
…when broad sections of this country foolishly follow a carnival barker in the ugly tradition of attacking black citizenship rights, when pundits shriek that Obama's successes are simply the result of the misguided largess of white people, they undermine our most intimate war. They undermine the notion that someone familiar to that kid on the corner could legitimately reach the highest levels of the country, that someone like that kid's Aunt could be the First Lady. They undermine this country's social contract, and the "hard work pays" message of my parents. And to that we object.
For if they will not take as legitimate a magna cum laude from their highest institutions, if they will not accept a man who tells black kids to cut off the video games and study, who accedes to their absurd requests one week, and slays their demons the next, who will they accept? Who among us would they ever believe?
Ann Coulter proves she hasn't gotten any smarter in the 10 years since she said the U.S. should invade Muslim countries and convert all the civilians who aren't killed in the attack to Christianity. She hasn't gotten any funnier either.
In this all civilized men and women agree: Torture is condemned by American law, international law and by the pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2005 it was condemned by Congress at the instance of, among others, Sen. John McCain. Now, the same apologists who applauded President George W. Bush's authorization of torture—and make no mistake, waterboarding is torture—are working to stain this great triumph. They argue that but for their barbaric treatment of detainees through 2003, we would never have found our man.
Paul Krugman says key indicators indicate that the economic recovery may be sputtering:
And it wasn’t much of a recovery to start with. Employment has risen from its low point, but it has grown no faster than the adult population. And the plight of the unemployed continues to worsen: more than six million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, and more than four million have been jobless for more than a year.
It would be nice if someone in Washington actually cared.
There is no excuse for not beginning to end these wars one at a time, at vast savings in lives and billions in tax dollars. This is Obama's moment of opportunity. Let the hawks in the Pentagon and the Republican Party call for endless war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama can campaign on ending two quagmires, and on breaking the momentum of the long war on terrorism that some propose. Indeed, the Democratic National Committee, even before the weekend mission against Bin Laden, passed without dissent a resolution by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) calling for a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan starting this summer.
Cal Thomas drones out the oil-company line. Remember when I was editing you, Cal? Never use the same boring construction twice in the same sentence.
Gordon Adams has some defense spending suggestions for Leon Panetta, including:
The defense budget could actually be cut by $1 trillion, or 15 percent below current projections over the next decade, and there is a wealth of proposals for how to do it, starting with those from the president’s own fiscal responsibility commission, the Rivlin-Domenici debt task force and the report by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul.
Ed Quillen said that in his hometown of Salida, Colorado, there wasn't a lot of interest in Osama bin Laden's departure from this earth because it isn't going to change anything:
We will not close Guantanamo. We will not dismantle the Homeland Security Administration. Our government will not eliminate warrantless wiretaps, nor those secret National Security Letters.
We will not open roads that have been closed on account of "security," and we will not reopen facilities like dams and power plants that were closed to the public after 9/11.
You will still run the risk of being groped and probed if you want to board an airplane, and you will still need to provide all manner of identification for routine transactions.
We will still be at war in Afghanistan and Iraq and at whatever we're at over Libya. We will still owe trillions in debt from these wars as we borrow even more money.
Jack Lessenberry writes that in Michigan there is one group which does not agree that raising taxes is political suicide: the voters.
Ari Paul wonders if Sandy Pope can revive the Teamsters:
There was a time when the Teamsters called the shots in the hauling industry. (Recall the joke, How many Teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb? Twelve. You got a problem with that?) Now the 1.4 million–member union has shed its street-fighting image and is focusing its efforts on Washington in hopes that legislative action rather than shop-floor organizing can force giants like FedEx into unionization. But as Pope tells it, Hoffa, elected president in 1998 and re-elected twice, betrayed the positive aspects of his father’s storied presidency—the mobilization of the membership and the founding of viable pensions—and is unable to confront the corrupt elements that led to Hoffa Senior’s downfall
Consider the following scenario. A group of Irish republican terrorists carries out a bombing raid in London. People are killed and wounded. The group escapes, first to Ireland, then to the US, where they disappear into the sympathetic hinterland of a country where IRA leaders have in the past been welcomed at the White House. Britain cannot extradite them, because of the gross imbalance of the relevant treaty. So far, this seems plausible enough.
But now imagine that the British government, seeing the murderers escape justice, sends an aircraft carrier (always supposing we've still got any) to the Nova Scotia coast. From there, unannounced, two helicopters fly in under the radar to the Boston suburb where the terrorists are holed up. They carry out a daring raid, killing the (unarmed) leaders and making their escape. Westminster celebrates; Washington is furious.
What's the difference between this and the recent events in Pakistan? Answer: American exceptionalism. America is subject to different rules to the rest of the world. By what right? Who says?
A Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial says the Republican-pushed bill requiring voters to show a photo I.D. is a bad idea, not least of all because some 440,000 voting-age Minnesotans have no driver's license or state-issued identity card.