Us behaving like Them: We liberals keep playing our Ku Klux Klan card!


A great figure jumps a large shark: Harry Belafonte has played a great and important role in modern American history.

We’re not talking about his film and music careers. We’re talking about the deeply admirable, important role he played in the civil rights movement.

Belafonte was there in real time, in very major ways. Being part of that movement was a dangerous thing. Like the others, he accepted the danger.

God bless Harry Belafonte for the wide range of things he did!

That doesn’t mean he can’t be wrong. And jeez! In this morning’s New York Times, he too is reported jumping the shark through his use of the glorious Klan card.

Tomorrow, New York will almost surely elect Bill de Blasio as its next mayor. For better or worse, this is from the lead news report in today’s New York section:
GRYNBAUM AND BARBARO (11/4/13): It was a stark contrast to the valedictory message and cheering crowds that dominated Mr. de Blasio’s day on the trail, where he received ovations at a church in Harlem and from unionized teachers at the Waldorf-Astoria.

But by day’s end, Mr. de Blasio’s usual discipline had been disrupted not by a foe, but by a longtime supporter, the actor Harry Belafonte, who made unexpectedly caustic remarks when introducing the Democrat at church.

Mr. Belafonte, 86, referred to the Koch brothers, Charles and David—the wealthy industrialists who have generously supported conservative causes—as “white supremacists,” adding: “They make up the heart and the thinking in the minds of those who would belong to the Ku Klux Klan.”

Mr. de Blasio said later he disagreed with Mr. Belafonte’s characterization, but Mr. Lhota quickly issued a stern rebuke, demanding that the Democrat denounce the actor’s comments.
At least he only inducted two people into the Klan. Last week, Alan Grayson put hoods on tens of millions of people, all in one loud, stupid action!

Is it just our imagination, or is our team spending a lot of time jumping the shark through use of our much-adored race cards? And by the way:

Are we the only living people who have actually read about the things the Klan actually did?

Our team has been jumping the shark a great deal, playing our much-beloved race cards. If you think we aren’t doing that, you’re living in quite a dream.

Some people do these things because they can’t help it. Presumably, other people are playing these cards from less glorious motives.

It’s an ugly, nasty, unintelligent game, a game in which We play like Them.

Tomorrow: Salon rides again!


  1. Well, if we are going to bring it up, might we at least explore Belafonte's assertion? Does The Daily Howler now demand we agree with him by rote? Didn't MLK believe that the real injustice in America was based in economics, and would we have stood for what people like the Koch Brothers are doing to our system a few years ago? Does Paster Bob ever consider the racist outrage that is the Tomism of Thomas on the Court? Nope, for The Paster, with his "To Kill a Mockingbird" take on race in the south, all that was over a long time ago. But is it?

    1. Bob must be hoping he can pull a "Dennis Miller" career move.

    2. Was everyone who MLK, Jr. criticized a member of the KKK? Was everyone who enforced/exacerbated economic injustice a member of the KKK?

    3. Anon10:08

      Its like the Ellen Degeneres show - when her cast members were almost saying "come out already ! "

      The blogger has been a Zell Miller for ever - but alas the phone call for Roger Ailes isn't coming.

      Until then, he has to content himself with baying at successful liberals with sanctimonious hate. He is as hateful as they come - Coulter and he are soul mates - always flirting with the edge of acceptable public discourse that spews hate.

    4. Interesting that you define a caution against comparing political opposition to the KKK as being "hate" and navigating the outer periphery of "acceptable public discourse".

      The former action is far more pejorative.

    5. "Interesting that you define a caution against comparing political opposition to the KKK as being "hate" and navigating the outer periphery of "acceptable public discourse"."

      Par for the course for Somerby's nutcase commenters!

      You'll soon be called a hater yourself Cecelia, for even mentioning it!

      Meanwhile, JoshSN's pointed rejoinder to Greg's "point" will go unremarked. Well, OK, I'll remark:

      Josh, you have shown once again why Greg will always be regarded as a useless fleshbag.

    6. Anonymous @ 10:08

      Are you suggesting Somerby had a career in which a Miller like "move" would be noticeable?

    7. Has anybody noticed that

      "At least he only inducted two people into the Klan."

      is subject to a gotcha! ("Zimmerman wasn't told to stay in his vehicle")

      Belafonte DID NOT SAY (at least in the quote above) that the KOCH brothers are Klansmen. His sentence is a bit opaque and only seems to be saying that their thought process is what leads people to join the Klan.

    8. Anon@ 1:33

      Klan member, Klan mindset. What's the difference. Only some troll living in a post journalistic society would notice such a distinction.

      "We liberals! When we aren’t claiming that people belong to the Klan,...." BOB. Next post.

      Grayson, Belafonte, plus We Liberals. At least he indicted all of "you people."


    9. Anon11:49am,

      I've been called a hater and a racist for taking any conservative position you can think of.

      I've been told the only reason I am a Republican is that southern racist Democrats (aka KKK members) all fled to the Republican Party during the Civil Rights Era.

      Just yesterday, I watched Joy Reid on MSNBC say the same thing about northern Reagan Democrats going for The Gipper because they didn't like black and brown people getting "stuff".

      I've been called a racist for not wanting certain guns banned. A racist for being for a Voter ID law. A racist for wanting abortion to be restricted by trimester. A racist using a racist dog whistle when criticizing the IRS, a racist when defending the Tea Party.

      And this is just from Martin Bashir...

      Seriously, you cannot take a conservative position and not be called a racist by blog-board denizens and talking heads.

      I take it in stride, and agree with Somerby that my side is no stranger to these sorts of polemics.

      I just try to do the best I can do, keep listening, and re-evaluate always.

      That's all any of us can do.

    10. Anon at 11:49 raises a interesting point, just what are the uses of a USEFUL "flesh bag?" No doubt, another one of Pastor Bob's flock trying to purge the sins of we uncivil liberals. Beyond that, Josh's reply is evasive through nonsense. I think it went unremarked upon because you need to be a useful flesh bag to follow it. What DID go unremarked up is the legacy of racism people like Bob, with their "To Kill a Mockingbird" take on racism in the south, won't go near. Think about being a black American and living in a country where arrogant whites replaced Marshall with Thomas. It puts the horrible abuse poor widdle CeceliaMe has gone through into context. The sad thing about Bob's cluelessness is that he's not completely wrong: dumb liberals do play the race card out of pure laziness. That doesn't mean white racism has vanished from the land, and that it isn't related to creeps like the Koch Brothers.

    11. "That doesn't mean white racism has vanished from the land"

      Useless fleshbag = a person who can only fight strawmen.

  2. Republicans who exploit racism claim that it no longer exists; liberals call them out on it. Is this playing the same game? I think Somerby understands that racism is what keeps rank-and-file Republicans supporting the plutocratic policies that are actually against their own material interests (although I may be mistaken about his understanding). I am still waiting for his explanation of the correct way to address this situation.

    1. Oppose the Koch brothers without equating them with the KKK. It distorts the truth and trivializes the atrocities committed by the KKK, much as referring to Hitler or the Holocaust does. Bob is invoking Godwin's law.

    2. Racism and xenophobia motivate only some rank-and-file Republicans, Certainly abortion and gay marriage drive some to the polls.

      For example, see:

    3. I doubt that you can address anything with anyone you view in this sort of light.

      Maybe if they weren't also Americans. As it stands there is not enough emotional distance.

  3. I would cut Harry Belafonte some slack here. He was involved in the Civil Rights movement from the beginning and participated in the March on Washington with Dr. King. The Koch brothers are about as bad as anyone can be. - E

    1. "The Koch brothers are about as bad as anyone can be."

      So, say literally *anything* about them, even if it's nonsense, and that's AOK!

      They're as bad as Hitler -- worse, maybe!!

    2. I would cut Belafonte some slack too.

      The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America. Public welfare is a secret plot to attract rural blacks and Puerto Ricans to Eastern cities to vote for Communist causes and getting a vicious race war started.

  4. So let's see. Bob started his rant about KKK when Grayson said some rather inflammatory things in a fundraising newsletter. (Lordy! That never happens!)

    Then he continues it because Harry Belafonte made some rather inflammatory remarks that de Blasio quickly distanced himself from.

    Bob uses these two incidents to lecture "liberals" not to cast such aspersions on "tens of millions of people."

    And what is the title of this post, based on the remarks of two "liberals"?

    "We liberals keep playing our Ku Klux Klan card!"

    So I guess it's OK to tar all "liberals" with a broad brush, but just horrible and awful when it happens to "conservatives."

    1. "So I guess it's OK to tar all "liberals" with a broad brush, but just horrible and awful when it happens to "conservatives."'

      Actually, the verdict was that when liberals do this they are being "ugly, nasty, and unintelligent" like "THEM" [conservatives]

      You think YOU have problems! Either way, I can't win...

    2. Yes, but how odd that Bob so seldom talks about "THEM"

      He can't do that, because that would mean giving up repeating right-wing talking points. Which is pretty much all this blog is any more.

    3. He talks about "them" all the time.

      We are the standard for what "the children" ought not be.

      What's more, he's often right.

  5. Please stop the trolling, just ban the trolls so that discourse becomes possible.

    1. That is a request to Bob Somerby to ban trolls.

    2. Requests to ban trolling add nothing to discourse. They usually come from people who never have anything to say but have a 50% chance of some experience with poverty.

    3. I second this. Please ban the trolls. They are distracting and make it unpleasant to be here.

  6. OMB (Salon Rides Again)

    We look forward to the next installment. May we humbly suggest:

    Us behaving like Them: We bloggers keep playing our Stalinist card!

    Us do like such headlines!


    1. Yes, and won't life on this blog be just grand when Bob gets to preach to his tribe, and they get to discuss all his glorious wonderfulness without all us purged and pogromed "trolls" interrupting with our own thoughts?

    2. Oh, do you have thoughts?

    3. Yes, they have thoughts. Something about teaching hypocrites a lesson for hypocritically criticizing the other side while acting like the other side.

      Wait. That's wrong.

      For hypocritically criticizing his side while acting like his side. hypocritically criticizing his side while acting like the hypocrites who criticize his side.

      No, no... Oh, hell...they just want him to shut it.

    4. Cecelia, you wrote an eloquent piece of commentary earlier
      about being victimized by accusations of racism by Martin Bashir for opinions you hold but which we are sure, Bashir never personally heard you express.

      We mention this because we want to make it clear we do not consider the comment to which we respond, which was a reply to a comment of ours, to be the least bit racist.

      You comment, however, is indicative of some persistent state of mind. It's symptoms are continued repetition of a false impression held despite repeated efforts to correct that impression. We do not concern ourselves with which side BOB takes. We are concerned that he does exactly the same thing he criticizes while leveling his criticism.


    5. KZ, I was being facetious that it was just Bashir who leveled all this.

      I don't consider myself victimized. If there's harm done it's in the trivialization of a frame of mind that has truly made many victims.

      It's not that I don't understand what you say is your reason for plaguing a blog you could easily ignore.

      It's not that I refuse to accept your argument that you'd still be here were Somerby solely focusing on the Bill O'Reilly.

      I can't accept this crap. It's simply not believable.

    6. Cecelia,

      If BOB was solely focusing on Bill O'Reilly nobody would be here. If he keeps primarliy focusing on Amanda Ripley a good many people people may feel the same way.

      You say we are plaguing this blog yet you and most of the other small group of BOBfans have yet to substantively refute a single thing we have said.


    7. That's hogwash, KZ. I've refuted the crap you wrote about Somerby not having accurately portrayed O'Donnell's treatment of Cruz (Somerby's only conjecture being about premeditation), and others have shown you how your claims in Rippley blogs do nothing to disapprove the critique.

      You just tried to make another mountain from a molehill on the blog about Prof. Rank abandoning traditional analytical methods in order to make squishy claims.

      You are a smart guy, but since your estimation of yourself is directly proportional to your need for control, you are a troll.

      You admittedly aren't here to debate ideas, but to reveal some character flaw in the blogger. You're here, as well, to be sand in the ice cream for people who find this man insightful, with significant things to say.

      People will always resist bully zealots like you. Go punish someone else for the temerity of not being you, and for enjoying someone who is not you.

      You aren't the righteous counter to Lee Atwater...Karl Rove, etc, and this blog isn't some campaign ground.

      You aren't a combination of Diogenes and Alinsky.

      Grow the hell up.

    8. Yes, name-calling and wishing that people with ideas other than your own and those of your brilliant leader would "go away" are just the height of both maturity and security, Cecelia.

      Sorry, but if people who come here to challenge the conventional wisdom of the Bob Tribe are certainly here to debate ideas.

      And dissent is something you can't handle.

    9. Anon10:08am: "And dissent is something you can't handle."

      The majority of post here differ with my political views, including Somerby's on everything but the decline of our intellectual and cultural chattering class.

      I think I can live nicely with and even enjoy a lot of dissent.

      You? Not even a little.

    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    11. Sorry to have missed your Tuesday a.m. reply to my Monday afternoon response Cecelia. I see you still applauding yourself for your attempt to cover a bald face BOB prevarication over O'Donnell. I don't consider your failure to recognize that O'Donnell didn't attempt to mislead about Cruz's statement when he put the statement verbatim on the screen a substantive refutation. I consider it further evidence of your cheerleading for BOB and failure to accept a fact put in front of you. And the comments by others saying my comments in the Ripley series do nothing to disprove BOB's critique of Ripley are meaningless. I don't make the comments to prove Ripley is right. I make them to show BOB is doing what Ripley is doing; distorting education statistics to further a narrative.

      KZ (Bully boy of Doom)

    12. Whether O'Donnell meant to mislead is conjecture. Somerby expressly said that we could take his theory on that "for what it's worth".

      Somberby also quoted O'Donnell as saying that they would put the quote on the screen.

      Somerby ccurately expressed what happened. Cruz issued a "mild rebuke" of Klayman, O'Donnell inaccurately summarized the Cruz statement before reading it to his audience.

      O'Donnell never corrected his misstatements but went immediately to Karen Finney after reading the quote.

      In the context of your declaring that you have never received substantive pushback for your "dissent" here, don't then characterize me as "congratulating" myself for pointing out the ways in which you have been countered.

      If anyone here has the mentality for patting their own back on how clever and adorable they are, it's you.

      That facility comes with a troll.

  7. Bob, no other blogger would allow such trolling. It should be intolerable to allow yourself to be viciously insulted, especially when the point of your writing is to point out and shame such insulters.

    No matter, I will not bother ever reading the comments from here but will read the blog posts.

    1. Bob is bigger than that. No one is bigger than Bob.

    2. "Bob is bigger than that. No one is bigger than Bob."

      How does it feel to be able to say that derisively and know too that you're counting on it in order to stay here and insult him?

  8. Bob, please ban the trolls. It may not bother you, but it distresses me to see you maligned for performing a public service with your blog. It also makes it hard to find the interesting remarks of your regular readers, those people who have not made it their life's work to drive you off the internet.

    1. Do I ever agree. The concerted rottenness of these trolls, who are obviously few, is really a serious problem.


  9. Joseph Cannon at Cannonfire recently posted about the negative attention Russell Brand received from Liberal bloggers after saying on TV that we should be more aggressive about pursuing social justice. I think Bob is receiving that same sort of attention, for trying to be even-handed instead of hewing to some liberal party line. These complaints that he is a Republican wannabe or a conservative in disguise who a remarkable lack of understanding about what conservatives believe.

    Was Bob arguing that Romeny should be elected? Was he calling for an investigation of Clinton over Benghazi? Did he ask to see Obama's birth certificate? Did he state that FEMA was keeping non-union electricians from helping out during Sandy? Has he been claiming that Obama wants to take away citizen guns? Not a word. He has been arguing for basic fairness and factual truth in the media when discussing current events, and he has been urging liberals not to become propagandists in the same manner as conservatives, because that is incompatible with our values. He has been urging us not to hate our political opponents because that too is incompatible with our values as liberals. If we adopt the methods of those we oppose, we become them.

    This was a split during the 2008 presidential election -- between those who wanted to elect Obama by any means possible and those who did not want to be as dirty as Republicans have been in past elections. Those of us who resisted that were called ugly names, like Republican shill and paid disinformationist, when we expressed our feelings on certain blogs. Now it is happening here too. I don't know if our trolls are conservative or liberal, but they do not understand the views expressed by Somerby and shared by many of his longtime readers. I do not want to be "liberal" is being such means adopting the ugly tactics of people who I am ashamed to be associated with.

    For an example, think of Jon Favreau fondling the life-size statue of Hillary Clinton, the claim that Bill Clinton is racist because he referred to Obama's opposition to the Iraq war as a "fairy tale," and the sliming of Ferraro. I am ashamed that liberals behaved that way in the name of winning an election, and I think voices that argue for sanity, civility, and intelligence are crying in the wilderness of this win-at-all-costs mentality.

    The Kochs are conservative and their audience is conservative -- calling those conservatives people with a KKK mentality is unhelpful when we need to work with them in congress and hope to present ourselves as a worthy alternative at the polls.

    1. Excellent comment.


  10. You think it's possible to "work with" conservatives in Congress?

    That's adorable.


  11. What I find amazing and horrifying about the complete demonization of the Koch brothers is that they've done nothing at all wrong. They run an honest business that provides employment to thousands and produces useful products. They pay their income tax, and plenty of it. They donate a great deal of money to worthy causes, such as health care and the arts. They haven't committed crimes. They haven't been unfaithful to their wives. They haven't told lies. The haven't committed racist acts. Their only "questionable" activity is donating some money to conservative causes.

    Despite their estimable behavior, the Koch brothers have been made into demons by liberals. Many liberals seem all too ready to hate someone, based on any feeble excuse. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that many of today's liberals constitute a hate group.

    1. The Koch's pay their income tax, and plenty of it? And you know this how?

      Their "questionable" activity is to plow millions of dollars into astroturf organizations to influence elections city, country, state, and federal. They do this in part to keep their tens of millions in federal subsidies coming and to keep their tax rates low.

      Of course, for you, the people who pick your pockets are heroes, and the people who object to the influence of money on elections are a hate group.

      Go figure.

      But at least the Koch's don't cheat on their wives. 'Cause they told you so, right?

  12. This is a pretty interesting Op-Ed from the NYT.

    It's a little fluffy, and the policy position as moral definer thing always surprises we Bible-belt types, but it's a nice and needed piece.