The endless need to take the bait!


Karen and Lawrence rage against the crackers: How should we progressives react to the lesser breed?

On Monday night, Lawrence O’Donnell and Karen Finney responded with a good solid dose of outrage. At the end of a segment about Sunday’s “Million Veterans March,” O’Donnell almost played tape Michael Ashmore, 24, of Hooks, Texas.

In the end, Lawrence didn’t play the tape; it simply contained too much poison. This exchange ended the segment:
O’DONNELL (10/14/13): Karen Finney and Dorian Warren, I actually have more pieces of video. I just—I don’t want to play it. I mean, I wanted to use enough to get this conversation going but I am conflicted about how much light we shine on this horrible thing. But you know, it is a poison that we got to be aware of.

FINNEY: Well, but I think, you know, I mean, these people knew what they were doing—

O’DONNELL: Yeah, that’s right!

FINNEY: I mean, that Confederate flag not only has a racial intention, but also it represents a time in this country when we were divided. That’s what they are doing.

O’DONNELL: Karen Finney and Dorian Warren, thank you both very much.
Lawrence didn’t play the tape of Ashmore holding his Confederate flag. He was concerned about how much light we should shine on this horrible poison.

Everybody gets to decide if they believe a single word Lawrence said. We couldn’t help noting that Finney went straight to “they” when she spoke about one guy, that one guy with his two flags.

These people knew what they were doing, Finney masterfully said. That same night, Rachel Maddow was able to tell us what Ashmore himself had been thinking!

People from Stanford are able to do that with people who come from Hooks. Meanwhile, everyone who lives in Hooks is aware of that fact.

Just to help you recollect, this is who that guy with the two flags was, or so said the Washington Post:
BUI (10/14/13): Michael Ashmore drove 24 hours from Texas for the march. The 24-year-old former Marine served four years in Afghanistan and said his disability benefits stopped about a week ago.

Ashmore says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and is "living one day at a time" without his disability check.

Politicians, Ashmore said, "just need to get their priorities straight and look out for everybody else instead of themselves.”
Question: Are you able to "pity the poor immigrant," even on a provisional basis?

On Monday night, we were struck by the way a gang of upper-class elites couldn’t wait to land on the head of a guy whose thinking they couldn’t know, a guy who says he has PTSD. A guy whose disability check has been cut off.

Who the heck is Michael Ashmore? We’d have a better shot at telling you who O’Donnell and Finney are.

To his credit, O’Donnell paid much more attention to the pathetic remarks of Larry Klayman, the money-chasing, sue-the-world founder of Judicial Watch. At the start of his segment, O’Donnell played tape of Klayman’s remarks at the Million Veterans March, which 200 people attended.

Finney took Klayman’s bait. In our view, this is the reaction of an entitled elite, a foolish climber who flatters herself by calling her program “Disrupt:”
O’DONNELL (10/14/13): In the spotlight tonight, the Obama haters. At a protest at the closed World War II memorial Sunday, tea partier and founder of Freedom Watch, as you just heard in the last segment, Larry Klayman knew exactly how to please that crowd.

KLAYMAN (videotape): We are now "ruled," quote-unquote, by a president who bows down to Allah...I call upon all of you to wage a second American non-violent revolution to use civil disobedience and to demand that this president leave town, to get out, to put the Koran down, to get up off his knees and to figure and simply come up with his hands up.

O’DONNELL: Joining me now is Karen Finney, host of MSNBC’s weekend show "Disrupt" and Dorian Warren, associate professor of political science and public affairs at Columbia University. Karen Finney, your reaction to what we just heard?

FINNEY: I mean, it was absolutely disgusting. But you know, Lawrence, here is the problem. Many of us have been saying for a very long now that this kind of racism has become, and this kind of open, blatant disrespect for this president, has become far too commonplace, frankly, since he became president. I mean, that is just but one example and it was obviously a very extreme example, but we have heard this.
First question: Why was this “absolutely disgusting?” Why wasn’t it “moronic?” When people like Finney take the bait in that predictable way, they transfer enormous power to world-class hustlers like Klayman.

We assume that Klayman does not believe the brainless things he said. But you empower such people when you take the bait, failing to say what they actually are:

Money-grabbers who take advantage of the world’s most gullible people.

Second question: In what way were Klayman’s inane remarks an example of “racism?” Finney went straight to the all-purpose bomb—and as she continued, she seemed to explain what she meant:
FINNEY (continuing directly): And why hasn’t anyone on the Republican side, just kind of similar to what your folks in the last segment were saying, where were the people to stand up and say, “You know what? You’re going too far. This is wrong.” This is, you know— And there is a level of acceptable racism against Muslims. That is part of what he was, you know, spewing because as Colin Powell has said, “So what if he is Muslim?” He is a Christian. But even if he was, why would that be a bad thing?
Why would that be a bad thing? Pathetically, Klayman was telling those people that Obama is a secret Muslim. Would it imaginably be a bad thing if Obama were saying he was a Christian in public, but secretly bowing down to Allah in private?

Imaginably yes! It could be bad, at least in a Hollywood movie.

What did that handful of people think about Klayman’s remarks? We have no idea. But Larry Klayman is a hustler who has long taken advantage of the most clueless among us. One such person may be Ashmore, or not! Like Lawrence, Finney and Maddow, we have no idea what goes on in Ashmore’s head.

News flash: Lawrence O’Donnell isn’t suffering from PTSD! After Harvard, he made his way to Hollywood, where he took advantage of millions of people with his silly TV scripts.

Lawrence didn’t serve in the army, receives no disability checks. We’ll guess that he was running the rubes with a bit of feigned outrage on Monday, a bit like what Klayman did.

Finney went to UCLA, a very strong point in her favor. Earlier this year, she offered a non-apology apology after sneering about the “crazy crackers” over in tea party land.

Comically enough, she complained about “the hateful language” the crackers were using! This is the way her foolishness played on Fox News’ Special Report:
BAIER (1/30/13): A political analyst on MSNBC arguing that Republicans are using hateful rhetoric on immigration issue was forced to apologize for using what many consider a racial slur. Tuesday Karen Finney, a former Democratic National Committee communications director, said this talking about the GOP.

FINNEY (videotape): The other thing that these guys know is that those crazy crackers on the right, if they start with their very hateful language, that is going to kill them in the same that they learned at their little retreat that let's not talk about rape.

BAIER: Many people took to Twitter to call her out, saying "cracker" is a pejorative and racist toward whites. Finney tried to explain, saying, quote, "Apologize if anyone offended. Not mean as racial, alliteration, like cuckoo crazy or cracked crackpots."

We report, you decide.
Too perfect! According to Finney, those crazy crackers on the right had been using their hateful language!

Is “crazy cracker” a racist term? No, it’s a term of class denigration—a denigration offered with ease by the finer people, people like us, when they find themselves confronted by the lesser breed from Hooks.

Finney was eager to take the bait from Lawrence this Monday. If we had to guess, we’d guess Lawrence was faking it about his conflict and rage.

But every time these fiery people take the bait from people like Klayman, they accomplish two tasks:

They drive up their own cable ratings. They also transfer power to Klayman, who made moronic remarks.


  1. OMB (BOB does MSNBC. BOB is MSNBC)

    "Everybody gets to decide if they believe a single word Lawrence said."

    Everybody gets to decide if they believe a single word BOB says as well.

    "These people knew what they were doing, Finney masterfully said. That same night, Rachel Maddow was able to tell us what Ashmore himself had been thinking!"

    Of course BOB, covering MSNBC on the same topic in an earlier post was able to tell us O'Donnell was "pretending" when he said he misplaced a sheet with a statement from the office of Senator Ted Cruz. Then Somerby, without a link or quote told us what Senator Cruz's statement contained. It mildly rebuked Klayman said BOB. Then, like Ripley allegedly omitted data on Poland, Somerby omitted to tell us the statement from Cruz's staff was displayed on our TV screens as O'Donnell had requested when "pretending" to misplace it. And guess what? The statement did not mildly rebuke Klayman. It did not mention his name. BOB the mind reader told us O'Donnell had "pretended" he misplaced the statement so he could lie about what was in it.

    I am not defending O'Donnell. I am agreeing with Lindy, who a few days ago suggested some rest for BOB.

    Zarkon, From the far Planet Doom (Never visited by D.K. Goodwin)

    1. Not only that, but excuse my critical thinking skills. This guy Ashmore's back story just don't add up. He's 24? If he enlisted at age 18, then he went through Marine basic and spent four of the next five and a half years in combat in Afghanistan?

      And he's now disabled with PTSD, his benefits are cut off, and he drove 24 hours from Texas with his own Stars and Bars to wave around to participate in a protest rally with 200 other people?

    2. "They also transfer power to Klayman, who made moronic remarks."

      Yep, any ol' crackpot can get to say anything as moronic as they want, and we should all remain silent, lest we "transfer power" to Larry Klayman.

      They either didn't teach logic very well at the Ivy League university Bob attended, or he didn't learn.

    3. "Ol crackpot" is the point, Socrates.

    4. I see. "Crackpot" is a forbidden word. But "moronic" is not.


      But back to KZ's point, he caught Bob advancing his narrative with a blatant lie, just has he has accused others of doing for lo these many, many years.

      What say you about that?

    5. Your constant pointing out hypocrisy does not advance the conversation.

      Is our press corps broken? Yes or no, details or general thesis.

      Is that not a more interesting question than "is Bob broken?"

      Step into the light and try to help our culture get better.

    6. No, your instinctive use of the term "ol' crackpot" when referencing Klayman speaks directly to the point of why he should be ignored.

      As to the charge from TDH's own little Screwtape, O'Donnell, on his show, stated that Cruz had issued an non-apology...apology...and then did not follow up with the quote,

      Even if Lawrence was being sarcastic about Cruz NOT EVEN making a non-apology apology, why would you call Somerby having taken him literally, as being a "lie"?

    7. The real question is what to do about racism, which Bob appears to recognize actually exists (I think). It's actually not clear what he thinks should be done, except possibly ignore all references to it. Doesn't this validate the Right's claim that it no longer exists? (except maybe anti-white racism).

    8. Skeptonomist, I'm not sure what you mean by 'ignore all references to it" since the blogger has referenced some news-making charges of racism.

    9. He has "referenced" them only to dismiss them. Every one of them. And immediately.

      And FYI, Bob's "given power to him" is from an old Lenny Bruce riff. It isn't even original.

  2. A brilliant extended paraphrase of Greg Gutfeld's "The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage."

  3. It's been my experience that the desultory meaning of "cracker" changes with the race of the person using the epithet.

    If you're being called one by a white person, they mean hick/redneck (versus the educated sophisticate calling you that).

    Used by a black person it means the same as "white bread"-- clueless, bland, suburban (to their street-smart, savvy coolness).

  4. As a white guy with direct experience with "crazy crackers" (including a few relatives), Karen Finney is absolutely right.

    1. About crackers, or about "hateful language"?

    2. Speaking of hateful language, can you point out the Bob post where he blasted Ted Cruz for calling his Republican Senate colleagues "Nazi appeasers"?

      Which of course would be calling Obama and his Democratic Senate colleagues, "Nazis."

      And this from the well of the Senate.

    3. It was more of a comparison with Nazi appeasers, boilerplate political stuff for many years now. Lord, how much of it did we get from Democrats and Republicans leading up to the Iraq War. Probably some said it about Syria, too.

      I don't think its any "outrage" that Cruz made that analogy but does cast some doubt on the notion that he's so brilliant.

    4. Anon8:52am, a point was aptly made that media liberals both bait their own side toward anger and alienation, and take that same lure when it's cast by conservatives (Klayman).

      I accept that within the context of this blog, conservatives media and Republicans in general are the touchstone of Somerby's "what we shouldn't be", and often agree, and even when I don't, I still enjoy the intelligent, ethical, and often poignant offerings.

      I suggest that you appreciate the guy for what he offers and quit feeling bummed over what he doesn't.

      There's more than enough here for our gratitude.

    5. There are sins of ommission and sins of commission, Cecelia. Bob does both.

      Not only does he excuse and dismiss every single allegation of racism that hits the news, he ignores "hate speech" spoken from the well of the Senate.

      And on top of that, he invokes the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he fights his very selective battle against "hate."

    6. Anon10:28pm, bloggers are always selective. They blog on things that are of importance to them.

      Within the context of debating their conclusions, it's "good manners" to accept that your host has his own priorities.

      Dr. Martin Luther King is this country's premier example of the triumph of love over hatred. It is not out if bounds to use his example when discussing enmity.

    7. It is, however, well out of bounds to use his example, then violate it. Repeatedly.

      Got a big word for you to look up, Cecelia. "Hypocrisy."

      Your pseudo-intellectual posturing aside, you apparently have no idea what it means or how to recognize it when in practically slaps you in the face on this blog on a daily basis.

      But then, such are the ways of good members of the tribe who have long ago ceded their critical thinking skills to their guru.

    8. I know what it means enough to know that calling someone a hypocrite is not the same thing as a persuasive argument that they are wrong.

    9. Apparently, you do not.

      I am arguing that Somerby is guilty of the very things he is quick to condemn his favorite targets.

      Someone far more eloquent than I expressed it in terms of "specks" and "beams" in the eye.

      In other words, your hero can't have it both ways. He can't condemn a lack of civility in others while giving no indication by his very example that he would know what civility is.

    10. Anon5:46pm, try as you might to convey the notion that you can't both call Lawrence O'Donnell a horrible person AND suggest that M!K did right, yours is a faulty argument.

      It is certainly within the bounds of commonsense that I can revere a man won a nation of skeptics and critics over with love AND harshly call out the wolves in sheep's clothing on my own side.

    11. Oh, so now Lawrence O'Donnell is "on my side"?

      And it would help if you and the guy who does your thinking for you these days would do more than pay lip service to "revering" Martin Luther King.

      If you are going to condemn others for not following his example, then you should follow it yourself. And this is something that both you and Somerby lack the moral character to do.

    12. I have no problem stating that I lack that moral character.

      Mr. Somberby exercises this credo with his opponents.

      That is the reason for your chagrin about his blog.

      However, my not illustrating it does not logically preclude me from admiring it. From arguing against comments that it's a philosophy that is of little use in today's inflamed climate, or against the notion that it wasn't the pre-imminent impetus for change in that era.

      My lack of character doesn't preclude me from disagreeing with Lionel about the tenor and legacy of King's love, nor in feeling amused at the change in tenor here that Lionel caused among commenters on this topic.

  5. When you stop blaming both sides as you've done over the last year or more, that is when I will re-start to take you seriously once again. The Tea Party Radicals who should be charged with sedition for taking our country on the brink of economic disaster and who are going to do it once again in January, are treated with nothing but silence for what they did. They cost this country and all of us $24B in lost revenue and almost 1 percent in GDP growth in the 4th qtr. Food inspections went undone; the EPA work lay dormant; wik recipients:poor women and kids suffered; interest rate on Treasuries increased. Nice Job, Brownie (Cruz, Lee, Palin, Boehner, Gohemert; Bachmann; the remaining 16 Senators and 142 House Seditionists who pulled this aimless, desperate, sick stunt and for what purpose but to destroy our government) And, all you can do Bob is write another column about MSNBC (and I usually agree with what you say especially about Matthews, Lawrence, etc.) but not this time!

  6. From AnonymousOctober 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    one correction:

    "are treated with nothing but kid gloves by you for what they did"

  7. And just like clockwork, as soon the crisis is averted and everyone is still trying to catch their breath, the coffin opens and out crawls Simpson-Bowles - everywhere, it seems - with their catfood recommendations that everyone now seems to agree is just what the doctor ordered. I smell a rat.

  8. Over the weekend we had the opportunity to see both sides, the Obama "haters" who protested peacefully in Washington DC and the Obama voters who cleaned out those Walmarts in Louisiana when their food stamp card limits were not in effect. (When the system went back on line they left a big mess.) No one in their right mind thinks the guy with the flag or any of the people in DC are worse for the country than the Walmart Obama-ites.

    I wish the TV talking heads would drop the word "crisis." It does upset many people.

    1. So how do you know they were Obama voters?

      After all, Louisiana voted 58 percent for Romney.

    2. You must not hve seen the video on CNN. Very black crowd of Walmarters. Even in Louisiana Obama Romney didn't get much of the black vote. There weree 2 black policewomen who appeared to be looting the shoe shelves b until they encountered the CNN camera.

    3. The social impact of the Tea Party or those protesters is minuscule. They get so much commentary because it offends the elites that ordinary Americans aren't cowed into submission totally. The mentality and behavior in the Walmart episodes have destroyed cities; people flee from that.

    4. So every single one of these "looters" were black? You know that for a fact?

      Of course you don't. But you've got your blatant racism to keep you warm and help you imagine things when your mind can't comprehend the real world.

      That's what allows you to say the "social impact" of a bunch of people who put the entire global economy on the brink of ruin is "miniscule" while the real threat is people who took undeserved advantage of a computer glitch for two hours in two small towns in Louisiana.

    5. That was a pretty black crowd at those Walmarts and that behavior is serious and has serious social impact in the US, all over the US. If the political and media elites focused on that behavior, it would be a good thing. No, they yadda-yadda-yadda about 100-200 protesters including a guy with a Confederate flag, all of which was a well controlled, peaceful event of free speech.

    6. What was visible in those Walmart episodes impacts US standing in the world, for sure. Our biggest asset is social stability. That's why the wealthy from all over the world want to own a piece of the US. Tea Partiers have no impact on the social stability of the US. But what you saw in those Walmart videos and what you read/hear about in the news about shootings in Chicago, Atlanta, etc. and the bankruptcy of Detroit --- the global economy is watching and wondering how far that will be allowed to go.

    7. Gawd, you're a racist puke! Sorry if Bob finds that offensive, but I don't know what else to say.

      Except for this: Welcome, Bob, to your new audience of racists who will eat up every word of your continuing apologies and denial of racism.

      Your series of pointless, intellect-free Zimmerman/Martin posts, replowing the same ground over and over, has elicited just this sort of response, and you are stuck with it.

    8. Anonymous 10:17
      You're just an anonymous poster on the internet so I don't mean to say that your personal mentality has a huge impact harming black people. IOW, you are not important, sorry to say! I don't mean that maliciously.

      The collective mentality and the elitist harping on racism has been very bad for black people. Very beneficial to some black people, of course. This person Karen Finney is a black person, I gather? Yes, she has benefited. The whole crowd at MSNBC like to use black people for "content" material. People like Robert Redford spout a little about "racism" to have something to say in interviews when he wants to promote his movie.

      Black people as a whole are harmed by all this. The Zimmerman-Martin case harmed black people. There will be more segregation, de facto segregation, which is at least as effective as the other kind of segregation.

      There was an opportunity for black people but it was squandered by a lot of wrongheadedness. As of now, the wrongheadedness can't even be correct and things will get worse and worse for blacks as they are being replaced by immigrants. Do you not see that happening? The low level jobs going to immigrants?

    9. You mean immigrants like my great-grandfather who took a very low-level job building railroads?

    10. No, I mean low level jobs like loading mulch into the car at the local garden center, fast food jobs, garden/landscape jobs. Moving up to roofers and window/door installers. Flooring installers. These are all pretty much immigrant jobs now where I live.

    11. @10:17 AM --

      Somerby correctly pointing out the press mis-treatment of the martin/Zimmerman case (er, "pointless, intellect-free Zimmerman/Martin posts") causes racists to visit this site!


    12. Yeah, and what about those four minutes?


    13. Anon 4:44
      A lot of folks here are always going to pretend they don't know about the 4 minutes. Heck, Obama, Holder and the whole mainstream media pretended they didn't hear about the 4 minutes.

    14. Well, what about em?

  9. "How should we progressives react to the lesser breed?"

    Since sound reason, logic, and explaining reality don't work, let's go with contempt.


    2. Bob's contempt is for the media, which, whether Fox, MSNBC or MEMRI, tries to damn "the other" by picking out the most foolish, ignorant comments anyone might make, and make a big deal of them.

      Ashmore isn't an elected representative of anyone, not even a 3 person non-profit. Making a big deal about his actions is foolish. It's going after low-hanging fruit. There are PROBLEMS in the world, but if Lawrence O'Donnel can't find anyone more important than a guy with PTSD to pick on, Lawrence O'Donnel is one of the PROBLEMS.

  10. As a larger critique, I get this post, though I doubt that Lawrence O'Donnell speaks for a liberal "tribe." (Given his ratings, any tribe he might speak for has to be awfully small.) Mostly, though, it seems to me unfair of Bob to ask Karen Finney, a black person, to respond to Klayman's remarks, especially when Klayman was speaking at an event also featuring a former vice-presidential candidate of the Republican party and a current Republican senator wielding great influence: "Why was this “absolutely disgusting?” Why wasn’t it “moronic?” Spoken like a white person with little imagination for what it might be like to be black.

    My Virginia grandmother would have had her mouth washed out with soap (literally) for using words like "cracker" or "redneck," not to mention the n-word (interesting that the last really has too much charge to type). Manners do matter, civility does matter. But even Miss Manners (of whom I am a fan) recognizes that different situations call for different behaviors, that different people have different investments in exchanges, that the dinner table and the public square are different arenas of discourse, that terrible rudeness is very hard for polite people to handle well. My grandmother was white and privileged (in the ways of a small Virginia city of the 1890's-1916, when she left for NYC). But even if she would never have spoken it, she would have been thinking the "c-word" if she'd lived to hear the likes of a Klayman, and I think she'd have forgiven Karen Finney her indiscreet use of the word, given the moment, when the nation (the world) was on the verge of catastrophic default on the national debt because of the violation of legislative norms (manners!) by a minority that is continually buoyed by the likes of Klayman, Confederate flag-wavers (whatever their personal histories and motives), hate-mongering former vice-presidential candidates....

    So let's get down to it. Race is, and has long, been used (was invented as a notion) by plutocrats in order to keep divided people who actually share common interests with one another against said plutocrats. It would be nice if MSNBC were attuned to this fact. Dream on. Karen Finney probably is (on some level) and is maneuvering as best she can in MSNBC plutocrat world. As a black person, she might be given a little space for a visceral reaction. (Good manners call for giving her that space.)

    1. I think "good manners" call for you to be less rambling, self-indulgent, and irrelevant. (That opinion didn't spring from any gracious southern relatives, but from my don't-suffer-fools-lightly non-stereotype southern ones).

      Karen Finney doesn't need this condescending claptrap.

    2. Physician, heal thyself, Cecelia.

      It would be hard to find on any blog combox a more condescending, self-impressed, self-indulgent and irrelevant poster than you.

      And now you have the gall to call for good manners after authoring such an ad hominem? Because you lack the intellectual ability to address what mch actually said?

      But please. Continue. Complete your hypocrisy by whining some more about how rude "others" are to you.

    3. Actually, I'm so arrogant as to think that you're full of shit too.

    4. Tsk, tsk, Cecelia. Where are your manners? Or are manners to be practiced only by those whom you and Bob see fit to set standards for?

    5. Nailed it, Anonymous at 10:21 AM.

    6. CeceliaMc, as someone who grew up in NYC/NJ, I'm pretty good at distinguishing a certain style of straight talking, which I enjoy and am quite comfortable with (in fact, I miss it a lot after years of living in New England), from know-it-all bullying.

    7. Absolutely, Anon10:44am, only a child would fall for the suggestion that it is never appropriate to lose one's patience with vacuity.

      Particularly, since the tactic of calling such impatience antithetical to an esteem for MLK, is biscuit-eating concrete contrivance.

    8. Mch, you wouldn't appreciate straight talking (or straight thinking) if it came with your visage on the cover.

    9. CeceliaMc, you've got a narrative going: mch is vain and self-indulgent as well as much less intelligent than you. Let's say that's true: still, try addressing her arguments rather than attacking her person. You're reminding me why I stopped reading the comments or commenting here for a while. Frankly, Lionel's comments are less offensive than yours, in comparison to which his seem merely misguided.

    10. That's not a narrative, mch, two of those things are obvious truth.

      You might not be vain.

      Moving on, how does one address what you loosely call an "argument", that within the context of Finney bemoaning hate speech, it's okay for her to use a racial epithet because she's black.

      It's "good manners" not to hold her to the same standards of consistency (not to mention maturity) that we would demand from our own children, because assumptions and excuses must be made about Finney and her ability to cope with what we assume life has handed her.

      Let me suggest that this isn't an "argument" but an exercise in the sort of noblesse oblige that uses Finney as an object for condescension in order to suggest that her critics were racially insensitive to object to her remark.

      Which makes her a puppet to both your ego and your intellect.

    11. CeceliaMc, you seem to have little feel for give and take or nuance. If someone disagrees with you, out come your insults.

      Personalizing my point of view in the midst of otherwise anonymous commenting, so other commenters might have some idea of where I'm coming from, is not in itself an argument, to be sure. But your jump from my suggestion that Finney, as a black person, be given a little space for error (something Bob wants us to do for the person waving the Confederate flag* -- I never suggested it was okay for her to use the term she used, but rather the opposite) and your ad hominem charges ("noblesse oblige" and "puppet to both your ego and your intellect" -- but at least I "might not be vain"!) -- well, there's no line of argument there, either. If it makes you feel good to insult people in your sledge-hammer way, have at it.

      Btw, I think I wouldn't characterize "cracker" as so much a racial as a class epithet, even when used by blacks. But unpacking together usage of derogatory terms would require some tolerance of nuance and, yes, some manners....

      *I believe it was in reply to one of your comments in an earlier thread that I agreed with you that Ashmore (I think that's his name) deserves our pity.

    12. Bob made a very clear point on the media's punching-down treatment of the confederate flag waver based upon an account of him written in the Washington Post.

      On the other hand, you regale us over the bad manners of holding a political strategist accountable for her words, based upon nothing more than references to your gracious southern relatives and your assumptions concerning her race.

      Yes, that's both condescending and opportunistic.

      The term cracker is a racial epithet (not necessarily racist) in that it relates pejoratives based partly on skin color.

      The "unplucking" bit would require nuance in that it would require that you have an understanding of the difference between "racial" and "racist".

      It would also require the good ole commonsense of understanding that if one decries hate speech while simultaneously calling people names, one can rightly expect some push back, no matter one's melanin level...

      Requirements that seem to be beyond you.

    13. For the record, my southern grandmother was not from the class or region of Virginia that your word "gracious" might suggest. (My grandmother's mountain accent was so thick that, on visits to Richmond, she sometimes had trouble being understood, and when she moved to NYC in 1916, she had to learn to lose her accent so she could do simple things like shop for "Arsh" potatoes or "kinnels.") Virginians, like other southerners and other people generally, can be raised to have good manners without being from or of any elite.

      And who suggested Finney shouldn't get some push-back? Not me. I said she should be given some room for her error, and evoked manners in that context. (Specifically Miss Manners' notion of manners, which is both sophisticated and simple: showing respect and caring for other human beings.)

      What's that advice about bullies? Just ignore them and walk away?

    14. Well, it's nice to know that when you were arguing thatgood manners dictate that we give a black person a little space for a visceral reaction towards a guy who had yet to wave a confederate flag when Finney used the crackers weren't suggesting that it was bad manners not to do that.


    15. I meant to note: yes, I typed "racial" when I meant "racist." But instead of generously observing for me that distinction, perhaps even by assuming it was one I understood, you chose instead to insult. So much for polite conversation or debate.
      I also meant to note, when I said my grandmother was from a relatively privileged background, you seemed to take that to mean she was from an elite white background (Virginians are very sensitive about so many gradations -- one reason my grandmother was glad to leave that world). I simply meant she was relatively privileged because she was white and not poor (by the standards of her rural, early 20th c. rural Virginia world).

    16. I missed your comments about the relative privilege of your grandmother and have used the term gracious only in the sense of gracious southerner trope.

  11. Let's get down to it: Bob has become a not very subtle apologist for white racism. If the white racism is coded slightly, it's not racism. If it's obvious, then the real villain is the "tribal leftist" who doesn't ignore it. Remember the old saw of about all it takes for evil to flourish? Bob is pushing some pretty creepy bait himself here, and it's advisable not to take it. On a promising note, few do anymore (Bob has badly miscalled the recent history of Obama and his conflicts) and it mostly serves to give comfort to the conservative types who only want to talk about the minor offensives ( did he say CRACKER?) of black bigotry anyway. Sad.

    1. We now have Lionel here, providing some evidence that THD underestimates how much 'racism' is out there.

    2. Bob has dug himself deep in the hole of his own false narrative and can't figure out that the first step in getting out is to stop digging.

      During the whole rodeo clown tempest, Quaker in the Basement asked the $64,000 Question:

      "Has there ever been an allegation of racism you found credible, Bob?"

    3. Greg, Bob did spend twelve years teaching in inner city schools. How much time have you spent doing that? Your accusation that Bob is "an apologist for white racism" should probably be supported by more than just a substance-free rant, especially given what we know about Mr. Somerby.

    4. Right, 9:16. Despite the evidence of every, single time race comes up in this blog, it's to bash some MSNBC host for seeing it where it "obviously" according to Somerby, can't possibly exists.

      And of course, Bob can't be an apologist. Why? Because some of his best former students were black.

    5. AC/MC, discounting your suggestion that a blog commenter, who you couldn't ID in a police lineup, is an indication of anything, TDH has never suggested it is unaware of racism.

      On the contrary. The point has often been expressly made that race, racism in our country has been if such consequence that it borders on sacrilege when it's used as an all-purpose characterization and appellation.

      The demand here is that racism be treated more seriously and less trivially.

      You can disagree on what should be a case-by-case basis, or with this outlook in general, but it's unfair and inaccurate to accuse the blogger of being insensitive to such issues.

    6. So is Bob's point that conservatives are too stupid to understand they are being insensitive to a whole race of people?
      Never thought of that, but since they know nothing about math, science, and economics, maybe they know nothing about history too.
      Nice posit, Bob.

    7. Thanks again for explaining what Bob really, really means. Apparently, he lacks the communication skills to convey his meaning clearly to us "rubes" but he always has you to come clean up his messes.

      "TDH has never suggested it is unaware of racism."

      And how would he go about that? By saying, "I am aware of racism". Well, duh.

      But maybe the proof of how he treats issues of racism is in the pudding.

      Bob never fails to discount and dismiss every single allegation of racism, to the point of apologizing for it and claiming that the perp said no such thing.

      Every. Single. One.

    8. Yes, Robert. That seems to be Bob's point. And like our "Marine" from Texas with the highly dubious backstory, since conservatives are too stupid to realize they are being insensitive, then they aren't really being insensitive.

      Instead, the fault lies with those who take offense and find it clearly offensive.

    9. Robert, he may think that we're too stupid to fullly reckon such concepts, but my money would be on his considering us too invested in certain types of myths and illogical thinking.

      Either way should be enough to keep your particular interest.

    10. Actually, Anon11:11, he's telling you not to be so misguided as to also engage in poor reasoning.

    11. Anon10:50am, that's a self-referential argument. You're assuming that it WAS racism and that Somerby excused or ignored that "fact".

      Somerby explained why he discounted the remarks as being "racist".

      You'd do better by backing up your claim that that they were racist.

    12. "You'd do better by backing up your claim that that they were racist."

      It's always easier to shout at the messenger (Somerby), ridicule those who take the message seriously (yourself, me, others?), or latch on to "the kind of commenters this sort of thing attracts" (Lionel, supposedly), than it is to actually back up a claim.

    13. Anon1:04pm, looks like it would be even easier to find a blogger who you didn't find to be a stealth Republican...abettor of racists...hypocrite...liar...and poor judge of what's truly important...

    14. Cecelia, at the risk of your head exploding, go to the incomparable archives, type in "racism" and read for yourself how, in every case where racism is alleged, Bob merely repeats Fox News talking points.

      Every. Single. Case.

      And that, dear child, is the point.

    15. Why not put up salient counters to his points, that aren't self-referential and buzzword laden?

      My assumption here is complimentary in that it implies that you are able to issue more than complaints and tropes.

    16. Cecelia, dear child, every single time Somerby goes on one of this "There go the liberals throwing the R Word around" rants as he dismisses the latest allegation of racism, his combox is filled with "salient counters to his points."

      Including this very combox.

      You can disagree with those "salient counters" all you are to. After all, opinions are like butts.

      But please don't be so dishonest as to say they don't exist.

    17. Actually, Anon 3:22, Bob also dismissed charges that Finney had been racist, and please point me to the arguments making the case that being called Muslim and a Muslim sympathizer by Larry Klayman is an example of some national racist threat rather than the garden variety muckraking hate-baiting of a verified crank.

    18. There WERE no charges that Finney's use of the term "cracker" was racist. So Bob merely swatted a fly that didn't exist.

      But he did quite clearly charge her -- along with a whole lot of other people he couldn't name -- with "class denigration."

      Since you are too lazy too look it up for yourself, here it is:

      "Is “crazy cracker” a racist term? No, it’s a term of class denigration—a denigration offered with ease by the finer people, people like us, when they find themselves confronted by the lesser breed from Hooks."

    19. Cecelia, Klayman wasn't sitting at the end of the bar in a dark saloon spouting his nonsense.

      He was an invited speaker at a political rally in the nation's capitol that also featured the sitting U.S. Senator at the very heart of the shutdown/default debacle as well as a former candidate for Vice President.

    20. Actually, the twitter followers Bob quotes Baier as referencing, did make that charge against Finney.

      Bob's charge more accurately defines the term cracker. That the termis often considered racist is why he asked the question.

    21. So that makes Klayman a legitimate threat to the country, Anon4:18pm?

      That he was an invited guest of a 200 vet march, and spoke after two opportunistic pol's with the bad judgment of being there, means we should take him more seriously?

    22. But Cecelia! Under the logic of Somerby, unless we know exactly what Finney meant by "cracker" we are engaging in mind-reading to say she is guilty of "class denigration" of which he continues to convict all "people like us."

      And who said Klayman is a "legitimate threat to the country"? My Gawd, you used to be pretty good at deflection. Now you're just plain silly.

      That the organizers of this event could only scare up 200 "vets" -- including the poor guy with the Stars and Bars who despite no visible of support somehow got there from Texas -- is of course utterly beside the point.

      They saw fit to give Klayman the podium and the mike, along with a sitting U.S. Senator and a former candidate for Vice President certain to draw media attention.

      No, Larry Klayman is certainly not a legitimate threat to the country. But the bigotry that came out of his mouth certainly is.

    23. No, Anon4:55pm, Bob's logic was that Larry and Karen don't really know why a PTSD soldier waved a confederate and marine flag around at a rally.

      He knows what "crackers" means.

      Actually, O'Donnell and Finnegan suggested Klayman was emblematic a threatening racism toward the president.

      You know the crank vs serious threat thing...that the blog was about...

      The vet march organizers have roundlyaccused both Cruz and Paling of hijacking the rally.

      I'm not sure about your logic that Klsyman is both not a threat and s threat, unless you're arguing that he's no more a threat than hatred has ever been.

      You should convey THAT truism to national television hosts who try to escalate their audiences into thinking otherwise.

    24. Umm, Cecelia? You can pretend all you want that the Stars and Bars is some sort of race-neutral symbol, but after years of debate over this very thing, you'd only be showing your willful ignorance.

      But of course, the meaning of "cracker" is crystal-clear -- because you say so, of course.

      You see, Cecelia, this is what happens when a person who KNOWS she's right all the time lacks both the intellectual curiosity and the mental capabilities of Forest Gump to see the world around her, not as she has created it in her own image and likeness, but how it actually is.

      And now we got the "vet march organizers" accusing Cruz and "Paling" of "hijacking the rally."

      My dear child, do you know how these rallies are organized and how the organizers hope to attract crowds with them?

      Star power, dear child.

      And actually, when you get down to it, the fact that the guy and gal who are the darlings of the Tea Party movement can't scare up a crowd of more than 200, AND both get upstaged by Larry Klayman and a flag-waving idiot claiming to be a Marine who spent 4 of his 24 years in combat in Afghanistan may be the real news here.

    25. This comment has been removed by the author.

    26. I know the press release that the vet organizers put out.

      I know that you can't logically calll me incurious and unquestioning and then chide me for NOT making assumptions.

      I've taken Finney at her word that she was not using a racist appellation. I stop at the notion that it was merely alliterative. Still more leniency to a former Democratic strategist than you've shown to a PTSD vet.

    27. Overall, I agree with TDH, that it is untruthful and unproductive to resort to calling conservatives, tea partiers etc racists. There is an avoidance of the actual bogus, quasi fascist substance of their positions, policies that the mega rich should get even richer at the expense of the poor and middle class, that bloated military spending be increased even further, etc. This isn't racism, it's more class war type of thing.

      Clarence Thomas, Benjamin Carson, Herman Cain, Alan West, Ward Connerly, Thomas Sowell, JC Watts, Mia Love, Tim Scott, and more are all accepted by and are part of the right, theTea Party, whatever.

      What actually is racism? We sure did have it in an institutional form, but now there are civil rights laws. My point above was that Lionel sure seems to be a racist, and that he might be indicative of how there are a lot more like him, and that THD might underestimate that factor.

  12. There is an easily recognized racist who is a regular commentator at this site.
    We all know who this person is.
    Lionel, I'm looking at you.


    1. Which is why I can't understand why that troll is continually fed by other commenters. Pinata Effect, I suppose.

    2. Yes. Best to ignore racism and ignorance. What could go wrong?

    3. Nice strawman, Robert. Addressing racism and ignorance without feeding Lionel can be accomplished.

  13. Anonymous 10:22
    I think you miss the point of these Somerby posts entirely. That's an interesting internet phenomenon that people frequent sites where they become comfortable.

    1. Oh, I have no doubt you feel very comfortable here.

    2. This question then is directed to Bob.
      How "comfortable" are you with Lionel's comments?
      Very comfortable?
      Somewhat comfortable?
      Very uncomfortable?


    3. You're assuming he takes Lionel's bait.

    4. I know you think you're getting teacher's attention, Cecelia. But here's a newflash for you. Somerby doesn't read his own combox.

    5. Guess I'll just have to settle with being right.

    6. Irishguy, I'd rather be self-righteous that I'm correct in believing in someone else, than to be a misguided critic.

    7. One thing is a virtual certainty: your equating getting in the last word with being right.

    8. CeceliaMe has been a good example for us of the New Right Right Moron. She has almost no grasp of anything happening in the world, but loves the civility bone and won't let it go like the dumb dog She is. Alas, Right civility is not a subject She's interested in going near.
      Paster Bob rather oddly misses a connection to his relevancy days: such people came of age during the Impeachment Battle, when the traditional norms of civil and legislative decency were thrown aside. As The Paster has pointed out MANY times, short term loss for the right, long term win for the right (with the Media's help), longer term disaster for the country with the victory/installation of George Bush. Everyone is wondering how we got a Republican Party full of yahoos who don't give a shit about anything but themselves, you can walk it pretty clearly back to the "if it feels good, do it" Impeachment. Since the Daily Howler took up the good book, however, such obvious lines are invisible, and only Leftish Journalists bare moral responsibly for much of anything. In short, he's nuts, and he got the most basic elements of Election 2012 wrong. It will be fun to see how he does this time.

    9. Not only the civility bone, but the false equivalency civility bone that counts the sins from "our side" to be far worse than any sin the "other side" could commit.

      Klayman calling Obama a Muslim? No big deal. O'Donnell calling that bigotry? An outrage.

      I gave up trying to predict the future a long time ago, but there is an element to the "short term loss" this time that was missing in the Impeachment debacle.

      The Tea Party wing is already primarying (if that is a verb) the Republican House and Senate incumbents, and will likely replace some of them with utterly unelectable Christine O'Donnells and Todd Akins all in the name of ideological purity.

      Rachel Maddow had a segment in which she warned her viewers not to presume the Tea Partiers have learned a damned thing from this.

      And yes, we are getting the same thing now that we've always gotten from them. George H.W. lost because he wasn't conservative enough. Bob Dole lost because he wasn't conservative enough. John McCain lost not only because he wasn't conservative enough, but he muzzled Sarah Palin. And Mitt Romney lost because he wasn't conservative enough.

      So the excuse this time? They lost because of all these non-conservatives like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner who refused to see the shutdown and default through to its bitter end and bring Obama to his knees.

      And Somerby has completely missed all of that.

      Instead, readers of this blog got a steady diet of bad liberal punditry and bad elected official answers to "obvious" questions, while the Tea Party was getting the mother of all butt-kickings.

  14. One could make the case that our country doesn't fear freedom of expression.

  15. What does being on disability, having PTSD, or having served in Afghanistan have to do with this, though? I've met people in one or more of all three groups, and none of them have waved a flag that specifically symbolized a movement of pro-white-supremacist government, directly outside the home of the first black president of the US.

    Part of Bob's problem is that he is unable to differentiate between disgust for an *action*, and disgust for the *person*, based on the apparent claim that MLK Jr. would never decry the *actions* of segregationists - a dubious claim, given that MLK famously denounced the words of white *moderates* who claimed that he was moving too fast, referring to them as the "Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom".

    Ironically, he simultaneously attacks the character of people who point out rather obvious displays of racism, calling the people making such claims "bad", "crazy", There's a pretty large faction that tends to view the term "racism" as some sort of devastating video-game super move, something that renders you a ravenous savage beast. Get over it. It's a character flaw, and an obnoxious one, but nothing more than that. And if people who are called racist often were to do some introspection, rather than throwing a temper tantrum, they'd likely find themselves facing the charge less as time went on.

    1. The confederate flag does not symbolize a "pro-white-supremacist government" to the people who display it.

    2. Whenever people object to my wearing my swastika pendant, I explain that I'm a big fan of the Training Air Wing of the Finnish Air Force. Then I tell them that "jew-bastard" is a term of affection.

      This sinking in yet?

    3. "People" didn't display the confederate flag in question.

      One man did and you have his words linked expressing his feelings.

      Speaking of being manipulated, I just hope the country can survive this national affront until the cable channels get their ratings data.

    4. CeceliaMc,

      And in my hypothetical "people" didn't display a swastika. One fictive person did. Are you really having trouble with this analogy?

      And I see you're still confused about the relevance (or lack thereof) of the flag-waver's "feelings."

      As for cable channels, check out an MSNBC panel where there are more excuses for the flag than outrage. Go here:

      As for the left, read the diaries at, where the feeling is less outrage than satisfaction at the small turnout that still managed to give itself a black eye.

    5. No, deadrat, we're talking about the people in this march.

      You can't conclude that "nobody bothered to confront Ashmore" and all that this implies and that the confederate flag is the perfect symbol for this group, and then suggest that the flag symbolism is only...a symbol....for this particular type of thinking. That you aren't suggesting that Ashmore and the vets are actual confederates, (although you argue that they have called for what would be a coup), but that the flag is the perfect representation of their metaphoric confederate selves... you know....confederacy without the gray uniforms and those pesky calls for war...

      Being a metaphorical confederate is not an improvement on being the real thing.

      It's hyperbolic nonsense based upon little more than assumptions and guilt via being mad as hell at the president.

      As for cable tv, Ashmore has been featured prominently there for days. And the satisfaction that you reference at Daily Kos would be the direct result of that coverage.

    6. Cecelia Mc,

      OK, let me spell it out for you.

      Swastika pendant is to Confederate flag as
      My fictional self is to Ashmore as
      Fictional observers of my pendant are to the Hundred Vet Marchers as
      My claims about the Finnish Air Force are to Ashmore's claims about his flag

      Clear now?

      I usually don' t have much trouble following your train of thought, but your 9:55P comment is a muddle.

      That nobody could be bothered to confront Ashmore implies at least that the Confederate flag did not strike anybody as out of place.

      The Confederate flag is only a symbol. And an apt one for the particular type of aggrieved parties we saw and heard at the Hundred Vet March. I can find no argument other than assertion that this statement is somehow unreasonable.

      Your words from "That you aren't" to your last ellipsis isn't a sentence. I don't know what you're trying to say.

      I'm sorry, but being a metaphorical confederate is a vast improvement on being a real Confederate.

      I'm open to some argument beyond assertion that I'm being hyperbolically nonsensical or even nonsensically hyperbolic. I'll await that.

      I don' t have cable. Probably because I don't have a TV, so I have to rely on the internet. I assume that Ashmore has been "featured prominently" on cable, and from your claims, I would have expected outraged commentary at MSNBC. And at kos. It's not there. So what are you talking about?

    7. It's not a mere assertion that it's unreasonable to conclude that the vets were fine with the flag because there's no video tape otherwise, it's commonsense.

      It's also commonsense that you can't impugn an entire organization or crowd based upon the doings of one man.

      Evidently, even some of the talking heads at MSNBC have made you unhappy by voicing this logic.

      Were I to suggest that you had the mindset of a Nazi, I'm glad to know that you would take comfort in the fact that It was a metaphorical comparison because you had yet to gas anyone. I doubt that sentiment would hold true for many people.

      You use the reading comprehension thing as your all-purpose retort to whoever is countering you. If you have that much trouble with being understood perhaps some of that credit goes to you.

      Don't argue that the flag has an unmistakable meaning and then suggest that such feeling don't matter anyway, when countered with the expressed meaning Ashmore gave to the flag.

      Don't argue that the vets obviously felt comfortable with the flag and then say it's not a matter of their feelings when countered by MSNBC guests.

      And lastly don't characterize your own arguments as being more than assumption and assertion driven in the face of the actual words of the vet org and the vet with the flag.

      I'm willing to spot you on the biscuit eating dumb assertion that the vets take on the president and the handling of their monuments renders them spirit brothers with Johnny Reb, I draw the line at your pretending that you've done anything more fact based than saying "because I say so".

    8. CeceliaMc (@2:24A),

      Sorry, but an appeal to "commonsense" is no more than mere assertion.

      Sorry, but the crowd saw nothing wrong with the flag's symbolic message and the matching message of the speakers they cheered. Where's your "commonsense" now? I noticed that the organizers of the Hundred Vet March were quick to distance themselves from Palin and Cruz as soon as those two turned up losers in their quixotic attempt to damage the country. Not a word about Ashmore and his flag. What does your "commonsense" tell you about that?

      The talking heads I watched in the MSNBC clip I watched didn't voice your "logic." As one speaker says, this "permeates their rhetoric." I cited this discussion panel because the outrage was missing.

      I have no idea where you're going with the "mindset of a Nazi." Let me return to my fictional swastika pendant. People would be rightly upset with me for wearing it, although I assume none of them would think that I'd gassed anyone. Do you even know what you're talking about?

      I find most people have little trouble understanding my comments. Most of the time I find you among them. But when you say, for instance, that I equate protesting a President's actions with sedition, then you're clearly not reading for comprehension.

      Perhaps I shouldn't say that the flag has an unmistakable meaning. But it has a clear meaning to all but mistaken ignoramuses. Perhaps, ignoramuses like Ashmore if we're to take his post hoc rationalizations at face value.

      I'd say the rally is clear evidence of the participants comfort with the flag. I understand you want me to able to read minds before I conclude that. Nothing I've said was "countered by MSNBC guests" in the clip I watched.

      The Hundred Vet March org has said nothing about the flag. Now that their political alliance proved a disaster, they want to distance themselves from the losers. The actual vet with flag ended up doing something larger than his confused interiority. I'm still not criticizing him personally.

      Even assuming that biscuit-eating is dumb, the HVM participants aren't spiritual brothers of the traitors of the 1860s because they disagree with the President and the handling of the closures of the monuments (which are not theirs, by the way; they're everybody's). That status obtains from their hearty approval of the tactics of delegitimizing a Constitutionally-elected President, demanding that he surrender with his hands up as though he was a criminal at war against them, and the call for a revolution against legitimate authority. That you can't tell the difference between the two reasonings leads me to believe that you're not reading my comments for comprehension.

    9. deadrat, I'm wondering how it is that you can comprehend my statement to you about metaphorical confederates and spiritual brothers of confederates, to the point where you aver that both are better than being actual confederates, and yet plead confusion over the same analogy using nazis.

      I also wonder how it is that the vets are to be assumed guilty of supporting Ashmore by virtue that there's no proof that they didn't, and upon your own interpretation of Klayman's speech.

      Laying aside that Klayman called for nonviolent, civil disobedience and for the president to surrender the office and "resign", if you're going to indict 199 people on the actions of one man, isn't the burden of proof on you?

      Your saying that the org should have disavowed a fellow vet in the crowd, in the way that they did two politician-speakers, is just another way of your setting the terms and then pronouncing them guilty for not meeting them.

      As for MSNBC, you're the one who said that they made more excuses for the flag than showed outrage about it. Excuses generally are things that mitigate culpability. Ashmore's in fully comprehending the flag's dire history. The vets in being guilty by association.

      Lastly, it is hyperbolic to denounce a call for non-violent, civil disobedience, and for the president to resign, as being seditious and of the mindset of the Confederacy.

      There have been calls for the president to be arrested for expanding the NSA wiretapping program and for drone strikes, yet I can't think that any reasonable person would consider that an attempt to overthrow the govt of the United States.

      You've tried to have it all ways here. Get some perspective, and by all means, start paying attention to your own damn reading comprehension skills.

    10. CeceliaMc,

      For the Confederate flag to be an apposite symbol of the teahadists, they do not have to adopt the entire agenda of the CSA, just as one may be judged to have a Nazi mind-set without operating gas chambers. I don't know how to make that any clearer. It's just a symbol, more or less appropriate, depending on your point of view. You've twisted yourself into a rhetorical pretzel to deny the relationship.

      I don't assume that the attendees at the HVM are guilty of supporting Ashmore. I'm looking at their own behavior during their own rally. And Klayman's speech doesn't require any interpretation except to excuse it for what it is. I'm not indicting anyone. I don't see a crime here, so the burden of proof isn't set to such high standards. All I'm saying is that the HVM's actions and failure to act have made the Confederate flag is an appropriate symbol for their sentiments expressed and approved at their rally.

      I don't see that I've set any unfair terms. If you've been misrepresented in a public and objectionable way, then it's reasonable to object publicly. And the HVM organizers did object to one public association, the one with Palin and Cruz. I doubt their sincerity since I think they merely wanted to disassociate themselves from two political losers in the shutdown/default fight. But be that as it may, they took no steps to disavow another public representation at the rally. Somehow you think it's unfair to draw any conclusions from that.

      The MSNBC panel (It was with Chris Hayes.) expressed views consonant with mine: the flag is an appropriate symbol for the movement, it's the responsibility of the organization to check its message, labeling the movement as "neo-Confederate" is a rhetorical bridge too far. All I was pointing out was that the demeanor the panel didn't contain any of the outrage I expected from your comments.

      Who's called for the President's arrest for expanding the NSA wiretapping program? He got the law changed to make it legal, so I doubt there have been many such calls. But perhaps I missed some. Just to make the comparison fair, please name someone from a political faction that has a caucus in the Congress who has called for such an arrest.

      I'm not denouncing anyone for exercising their free speech rights.. I'm not indicting anyone. I don't think anyone is attempting to overthrow the government. I'm making a limited statement about the appropriateness of a symbol. And that's the only way I've tried to have it. That you think I've done more than that suggests that the reading problem is yours.

    11. Actually, you're not making a limited statement against the vets, you're making a very hyperbolic one that contains all sorts of implications.

      The fact that you can use the confederacy in such a way is on the level of Michael Ashmore's minimalization of that time and that particular sort of thinking.

      I think it's part and parcel with the dumbing down of our national discourse with the corresponding amping up of absurdly partisan rhetoric.

      This Vet organization doesn't have a caucus in congress, but you've certainly lumped them in with the Tea Party based upon little more than your own stipulations and despite their statements to the contrary.

      You've done this because they are angry at the president and clapped at an inflammatory speech. You've broadbrushed them and lumped in with a group you detest, but you've not accused them of committing a crime, no, just abetting the fomenting actual violence on the president.

      Well, yes, that is an indictment. That is a very inflammatory charge. So let's not pretend that this just some abstract observation you are making about kindred spirits. You've been doing something far more unfair and inflammatory than that.

  16. Part of Bob's problem is that he is unable to differentiate between disgust for an *action*, and disgust for the *person*,

    AnonymousOctober 18, 2013 at 10:20 PM -- I think you are failing to differentiate between disgust for action and disgust for some ambiguous symbol.

    You're disgusted about a single Confederate flag. Yet, that flag was a mere symbol. You have no evidence that it symbolized racism to the man holding it.

    But, where's your disgust when a bunch of anti-Tea Partiers called a Tea Partier a n****** and beat the s**t out of him?

    1. Most symbols have a commonly understood meaning. They have to if they're gonna do their work as shorthand. People can have private symbols, attach private meanings to well-understood symbols, and have their own motivations for employing any symbols. But the Confederate battle flag is not an "ambiguous symbol." It stands for a polity that embraced sedition, treason against the United States, a race-based apartheid as complete as the Afrikaners' and enforced by both local statute and extrajudicial terror in defiance of national law and principle.

      You may wish to excuse its use, claiming that the flag stands for states rights, southern tradition, and defiance of imposed central authority. But those rights, traditions, and defiance all served and are subsumed by its historical meaning. Besides, we already have a flag that symbolizes resistance to tyranny. It says "Don't tread on me."

      We're adults here. If you want to spell out the word "snot," feel free. Same with "nigger." And there's videotape of the incident you cite involving a scuffle between a man named Gladney and two SEIU members in St Louis in 2009 at a town hall meeting about health care. It's hard to tell who or what started things, but Gladney is walking around afterward talking to videotapers and police. He appears unharmed. It turns out Gladney was indeed a participant in teahadist rallies, but it's unclear that the people he fought with had any idea that he was a teahadist. The two SEIU members were arrested on the spot and later acquitted of misdemeanor assault.

      I'm pretty much all out of disgust right now. Is it OK with you if I don't waste any on this particular event?

    2. Here's a letter Michael Ashmore wrote defending himself.

      He pretty well goes along with the cognitive dissonance about the flag's history that I've generally heard from older folks through the years.

      What he writes about himself doesn't seem to comport with the WP's blurb on him either.

      I would suggest that it's "adult" to put Ashmore in perspective.

      I hear condemnations of the other vets there based upon the fact that there's no video tape of their confronting him. However, I can't conclude that a lack of video tape in an amorphous crowd is enough evidence to prove that everyone was okay with this symbol.

      I don't think that this should be enough to taint a bunch of vets as being racists, any more a sighting of a Hamas flag at an Occupy Wall Street camp is enough to cast the sentiments of the vast majority of the people there. At the most, though there may be a small subgroup within the larger cohort who find Hamas more sympathetic than Likud, you cannot come to any conclusions about the broader group.

      You can think what you wish about the TeaParty movement, and there's enough of a history there for everyone to have some basis for their opinion. But it's superfluously ridiculously opportunistically wrong...and immature...for media members to jump to these sorts of conclusions, to do this sort of strum and drang, and to broadbrush these particular people based upon this man. It's ludicrous of them to wax endlessly hyperbolic in broadbroad brushing, in a sense, our entire national life with him.

      The Vets who organized this march released a statement distancing themselves from Palin and Cruz, and implied that they had horned their way into the festivities. Significantly, they did not do the same with selected speaker Klayman and his sentiments.

      And they didn't denounce a guy in the crowd who had shown up from Hooks, Texas, though the media made him their frontman.

      Good for them. They shouldn't have to play that game.

    3. Most symbols have a commonly understood meaning.

      I disagree, deadrat. Take the name, "Tea Party". To me, the name symbolizes all sorts of good things, such as honest government, civil liberties, effective use of governmental power, etc. To many, the name symbolizes bad things.

      I'm unsurprised that you have no disgust for Gladney's attackers. But, I think that if the situation were reversed, you'd still be more disgusted with the Tea Party. That is, supposed a single, possibly unhinged, individual had an offensive flag at, say, an Occupy demonstration. And, supposed it was reported that a couple of Tea Partiers had called a black man a n***** and beat the s**t out of him. I think you'd be disgusted with the Tea Party behavior, not the guy with the flag.

    4. The name "Tea Party" symbolizes "GOP".
      It's a name change only. The name was changed when George W. Bush's record of failure became so obvious, even the GOP couldn't make excuses for him.

    5. Yup, DeLay Republicans rebranded.

    6. DAinCA,

      I'll step out of character and not quibble about whether a name ("Tea Party") is a symbol. Let's go with that arguendo. To you the name "symbolizes" honest government, but as I've pointed out many times, you're an abyssal ignoramus. The name "Tea Party" stands for a resistance to tyranny in general and to unfair taxation in particular. That's because the name refers to the Boston Tea Party, a well-known historical event. That's how the teahadists understand it and mean it to be understood. You can tell by their fondness for tri-cornered hats and their slogan "Taxed Enough Already." Get it? TEA?

      I'm unsurprised that you're unsurprised at my lack of disgust for the Gladney incident. But that's because, as usual, you're not paying attention. If you were, you'd know that I like to base my judgments on evidence. (A stance I highly recommend to you, by the way.) Gladney and a couple of SEIU members got into a scuffle. I can't tell who started it, but it's clear from the videotape that no one got the snot beaten out of him. The union guys were arrested, tried, and acquitted. "Suppose it was reported" is good enough for you, though. And I'm unsurprised by that.

    7. Cecelia Mc,

      Oh, dear: strum and drang. What is that? Stressful guitar playing?

      Ashmore is apparently feeling some heat, but this really isn't about him personally. And for me, it's not really about whether anybody or everybody at the Hundred Vet March were racists. It's that the Confederate flag is the perfect symbol for the teahadists, a group of the ignorant manipulated to believe that their grievances are so large and so unjust that redress is impossible under our system of government.

      Ashmore says that the Civil War was about more than slavery, and he's right. It was also about secession, sedition, and treason. It was about the destruction of the Union bound by the Constitution that these vets took an oath to uphold. That Ashmore waved a symbol of slavery at the home of a black family is really just an ironic aside.

      You're right to insist that it's wrong to brand the participants as racists. I watched the videotape of Klayman's speech. And I noted that his audience is notably silent during his anit-Muslim remarks. But they cheered his demand that Obama resign and come out of the White House with his hands up.

      These are vets? People who once swore to uphold the Constitution and respect the Constitutionally-elected Commander-in-Chief? The Confederate flag is the perfect symbol for this group of the gullible. Just as holding the country hostage to default is the perfectly-matching tactic of the people manipulating them.

    8. "You have no evidence that it symbolized racism to the man holding it."

      This is the lamest excuse of all. The Stars and Bars are the battle symbol of an armed insurrection that sought to dissolve the United States of America in favor of the systematic chattel slavery of an entire race of people.

      When a person of that race takes offense at a person waving that clear symbol, you have no more right to tell that person not to be offended than you do of telling a Jewish person not to be offended by the waving of a Nazi flag.

    9. deadrat -- "I like to base my judgments on evidence."

      Me too. I have no evidence that the Confederate flag meant to Ashmore what it means to you. On the contrary, Ashmore's explanation (confused though it was) tended to indicate that it had quite a different meaning to Ashmore.

      AnonymousOctober 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM says Jews ought to be offended by a Nazi flag. I'd say all Americans ought to be offended by the Nazi flag. However, liberals might or might no be offended, depending on who does the waving.

      E.g., Israeli news sources reported yesterday Again: Arabs Fly Nazi Flag Near Road

      This story was picked up by conservative sites, but it's being ignored by liberal media.

    10. deadrat, No, it's not equivalent of "secession, sedation, and treason" for veterans to catcall the U.S. president, protest his actions, and think that he/she is a polecat more suited to jail bars.

      They didn't swear an oath to not loudly snd roundly express their feelings for him forever.

      I don't happen to agree with the sentiments expressed in their clapping, but your sort of lumping them in with everyone from teaparty members to Jefferson Davis that is the essence of overwrought strum and drang.

      Get a grip.

    11. DAinCA,

      If you think you base your judgments on evidence, then you're living in complete denial, not least of your history of comments here.

      Ashmore picked up a symbol of secession, sedition, and treason and waved it around at a public rally. What Ashmore thought he was doing may make a difference to those who seek to judge Ashmore for his various personal failings. I'm not interested in that game. No one at the rally thought to say, "Hey! That's inappropriate at a veterans rally that in part celebrates the First Amendment of our Constitution. Refurl the stars 'n bars and stop acting like an asshole." Just as no one interrupted Klaymann to say the same thing about his anti-Muslim screed. In fact, they cheered the suggestion that the group overthrow the government and that Obama leave the White House with his hands up. In the most non-violent way, of course.

      No one thought the Confederate flag was inappropriate at the rally because it was in fact the perfect symbol for the rally.

      The rest of your comment confuses me. Aren't you one of those who thinks that we shouldn't tar a whole group of people for the offensive symbolic protestations of a few? Did the PA put up the flag? Or was it an errant and angry Palestinian Ashmore? Aren't you one of those who thinks we should hold judgment in abeyance because people get to use symbols based on their idiosyncratic understandings. Could it be that the Palestinian who flew the flag meant to signal no more than resistance to Israeli occupation of his land?

      And sure the story was picked up by the faux outrage machine of the right. The news media (what you call the "liberal media") didn't run with the story because the strain of antisemitism that runs through the Arab world isn't news and hasn't been since the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem collaborated with the Nazis.

    12. Cecelia Mc,

      And here I thought I was just ribbing you about a typo. You evidently really think the phrase is "strum and drang." Even funnier I suppose. And for God's sake, I'm not accusing anyone of "sedation."

      No disagreement with policy is sedition. The Supreme Court even allows military personnel on active duty to declare openly their desire to impeach their Commander-in-Chief. Those no longer in uniform have even more latitude under the First Amendment. My personal opinion is that those who have worn the uniform disgrace their service by indulging in or tolerating the lies and personal invective heard at the Hundred Vets Rally. But that's just my opinion and is neither here nor there.

      Now if you go back and try reading my comment for comprehension, you'll find nothing that conflicts with the paragraph above. What I said was that the Confederate flag was the perfect symbol for this group, manipulated into believing that their grievances are so dire that the overthrow of the government and the "surrender" of the President is required. This is the definition of sedition.

      Speech differs from action, and symbols differ from the things they represent. So I"m not maintaining that anybody at the Hundred Vets March did anything illegal or that anyone there is a modern-day Jefferson Davis. I'm just saying that the Confederate flag is an apposite symbol for the teahadists, which is why its presence went unremarked by those in attendance.

      Far from being "overwrought," this seems a circumscribed and reasonable conclusion.

    13. I'm afraid not, deadrat.

      It's not even a reasonable conclusion that the group is "teahadist".

      I suppose if you can conclude that since we don't know if anyone in crowd confronted Ashmore, that they must approve of him, it's a small jump in reasoning to suggest that the confederate flag suits this group WIThOUT making them neo-confederates (and all that this implies). It would certainly comport with the conclusion that they are calling for the arrest of the president without having concluded that he had committed a crime.

      However, that's poor reasoning, no matter how you try to mediate it with the word "manipulated" or by saying their actions are not "illegal".

    14. Cecelia Mc,

      Larry Klaymann, ur-teahadist, addresses the crowd. Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz address the crowd. Are you gonna tell me that Sarah Plain isn't a teahadist? Ted Cruz is a member of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus, fercryanoutloud. Who did you think these people are? Socialists?

      And, yeah, I don't think it's much of a jump to conclude that if nobody confronted a guy at the rally waving a Confederate flag, then it must not have inspired much opposition.

      I'm having a little trouble parsing your comment about neo-confederates. Yes, I think the flag is the perfect symbol for this group, and no I don't think this means they thereby support the repeal of the 13th Amendment.

      I'm not trying to "mediate" my reasoning at all. I don' t think the group was "manipulated" to adopt the flag. It's a natural fit. I said they were manipulated into their absurd narrative of grievance. And I mentioned that their actions aren't illegal to emphasize the symbolic nature of the flag.

      Perhaps I'm just missing your point.

    15. The vets have put out a statement saying differently.

      But then what do they know...

    16. Cecelia Mc,

      If you invite grifters and hucksters over for dinner, don't come whining to me when your silverware is missing.

      Did Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, not to mention Larry Klaman, just crash this event? Or were they invited?

      And now that the EpicFail I've been calling the Hundred Vets March has taken a justified beating, the organizers profess to be shocked at the message of their event. The same message they themselves solicited ahead of the rally and the very message they cheered during the rally.

      Instead of trying to throw some anonymous "local organizer" under the bus, it's time they stood up and owned the HVM.

    17. Can anybody explain to me how a call for the president to surrender and leave the White House with his hands up be a call for non-violent, civil disobedience?

    18. That's been misreported.

      Klayman actually calls for Pres. Obama to "figuratively" come out with his hands up.

      If you listen to the speech here, you'll hear him say it at 1:26

      He's asking him to figuratively surrender and resign.

      I call upon all of you, I call on all of you to wage second American non-violent Revolution, to use civil disobedience and to demand that this President leave town, to get up, to put the Koran down, get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up. I call upon all of you on November 19th, I call upon the country and the world, to occupy Washington. I want all of you to be there, in the millions.

      Come here and demand the resignation of Obama and other leaders who have subverted the interests of our country. I don’t care what political party they are they all must be held accountable. So that you the people will see justice, you the people control will our fate, and together, we will bring freedom back to this country.

    19. Ah, only to "figuratively come out with his hands up."

      That makes it so much better.

      Hint, Cecelia. Words have meaning. And weasel words don't make violent imagery any less violent.

      And how interesting that you now are trying to morph Klayman from a complete idiot who said such incredibly stupid things that the organizers of the rally disavowed him into the latest champion of non-violent civil disobedience.

    20. Actually, "figuratively" may not mitigate the concept of the president surrendering his station and resigning, but it most certainly does your suggestion of violence.

      Particularly when coupled with calls for civil disobedience.

      Larry Klayman is a bonafide nut case, but he did not imply violence in his remark.

    21. "figuratively come out with his hands up" does not even "imply" violence?

      Oh good grief, Cecelia.

      Tell me, Cecelia. Who "comes out with their hands up" figuratively or otherwise, and under what circumstances?

      Or try this: I figuratively wish to blow your brains out and leave them all over the figurative sidewalk, and do the same to your figurative parents and figurative children if you have any.

      No implication of violence, is there? After all, I said "figuratively".

  17. Call me self-indulgent, CeceliaMc, but some thoughts as the Red Sox have just won the AL pennant. (Hey, I'm a Yankees' fan through and through and have special affection for the Tigers, but my children and their partners, all living in NYC now, are celebrating the Red Sox win, and I can't complain. A lot to like in today's Sox, except the Dumptser, who has been notably absent anyway. As for Cardinals over Dodgers -- meh.) So, I've been reading Craig Wilder's Ebony and Ivy today. You want a rich feel for how deeply entrenched our nation's existence in slavery and exploitation of native peoples? (Book doesn't take us chronologically so far as to exploiting, e.g., Chinese laborers to build our railroads.) Read it. Amazing book.

    Weirdly, and with dangers, sports (not discussed at this site -- curious) an arena for working a lot of things out, even as the plutocrats exploit it all as best they can.

    Meanwhile, is global warming an enabler of WS extending into November?

    Boston Strong! (I love Big Papi! Me, a die-hard Yankees fan!)

  18. Papi back on the juice?

  19. Well, it is obvious that TDH readers fell for the bait, just as Bob accused
    Karen and Lawrence of doing. Six score comments and more, streaming in since Wednesday and still going strong.

  20. Seeing the confederate flag flown in the (rural) upper midwest makes me sad. I see kids at the high school who plaster the symbol to a truck where their last name tells me they are actually descended from people who fought on the Union side.

    You want to tell them to go read the names on the base of the statue on the courthouse lawn- they'll find their own surname. If they walk INSIDE the courthouse and look up, they'd find those same names on land records in the huge deed books that we don't use anymore.

    They can adopt any "cultural symbol" they want, but they should do so with some awareness that it is not their own.

    1. In my opinion if you adopt a symbol you make it your own no matter how your antecedents felt about it.

      In all likelihood these kids don't fully understand the symbolism behind the confederate flag.

      It's merely a symbol of noncomformity to these kids. As it is, unfortunately, to many people.

    2. CeceliaMc,

      I guess I get a pass on my swastika pendant. Eläköön Suomen ilmavoimien!

    3. So now you're suggesting that all symbols fare equallly in history.

      Time, distance, and narrative create no disparity in their cultural relevance or meaning.

      Yet again, that is absurd reasoning.

    4. CeceliaMc,

      Are you having a bad day or am I just not explaining myself clearly? Where do you get the idea that I'm making a universal statement about all symbols through history?

      If you adopt a well-understood symbol to "make it your own," that doesn't change the meaning except possibly in your own head.

    5. Taking the risk that CecliaMc may not get the last word (in which case, the world will fall apart, and Clytemnestra will rise from her grave):

      "In all likelihood these kids don't fully understand the symbolism behind the confederate flag.

      It's merely a symbol of noncomformity to these kids. As it is, unfortunately, to many people."

      Yeah, just unfortunate that ignorance. But Trayvon Martin's ignorance of so much in the world is unforgivable.

    6. So your point is that the confederate flag has well understood meaning, and you're backing that up by saying that it has a well understood meaning...

      However, if I mention that Ashmore articulated what it meant to him, you'll say that his feelings have no relevance because the flag well understood meaning (though Ashmore didn't' entirely understand that.)

      Similarly, you'll argue that it's obvious that the vets felt comfortable with this symbol, but when told that's an assumption, you'll say that such things don't matter because we can conclude that these guys are confederate soul mates via the nature of their grievance.

      Well, thank you for having it six ways to Sunday, and for backing it up with nothing greater than you said so.

    7. mch,

      Get back to me when you learn the difference between something that's forgivable and something that's exculpating in a court of law.

    8. Cecelia Mc,

      Do you want me to run through US history from the Civil War to the civil rights movement? Are you seriously saying that you think the Confederate flag is ambiguous? Go here:

      After the fact, Ashmore tries to justify his attachment to the Confederate flag. For him it "doesn’t represent hate, racism, or diversity." (Diversity?) It represents love for his country. Which country is that? The one people fought to destroy fighting under his precious flag? OK, so he's a confused ignoramus who's had a hard life. My criticism isn't aimed at him, and I'm not accusing anyone of his unholy trinity of hate, racism, and diversity. (Diversity?) As you'll recall, both my target and my trio are different.

      I can't know what was in the mind of everybody at the Hundred Veteran March any more than I can know how sincere Ashmore is in his Facebook apologia. But if people stand by at a political rally while someone waves a flag that celebrates historical sedition, and if those same people cheer seditious remarks by invited speakers, I don't think it's unreasonable to conclude that the symbol and the sentiment match. YMMV and evidently does.

    9. mch,

      Perhaps this is just the day for me to be slow, but what does Clytemnestra have to do with CeceliaMc's responses? By this reference, who's Agamemnon and who's Iphigenia?

      And for that matter what was Martin ignorant of and what does his ignorance have to do with Ashmore's?

    10. deadrat, My history may be faulty but I don't recall the South issuing the proclaimation that it's sons engage in civil, non-violent disobedience against the North, as Klayman did.

      They may have adjured Lincoln to come out of the White House with his hands out and "resign", as Klayman did, but my memory is of history book rhetoric that voiced more dire demands.

      Goodness knows The likes of Klayman referencing MLK and Gandhi is ironic, but not enough to make me ever discount the notion that he's about as close to the confederacy in his sentiments as Al Sharpton is to MalcombX.

    11. CeceliaMc,

      Don't go all literal-minded on me. None of the HVM participants have called for the repeal of the 13th Amendment or the occupation of the Fort Sumter National Monument. That doesn't mean the Confederate flag is not an apposite symbol for teahadists.

      What will it take to convince you? Teahadist calls for secession? Done. Go here:

      What will it take to convince you? Does the Ted Cruz have to change his name to Jefferson Davis?

    12. Uh huh.

      Well, look who should have been waving the confederate flag then.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.


      It's interesting that you are now defining the Confederacy in the way so many older Southerners do.

      You know... Where that little thing about slavery is rather incidental.

    15. Ah yes. The "false equivalency" game. Lawrence O'Donnell said something extremely stupid on the McLaughlin Group nine years ago, so that means there was a broad "liberal" movement afoot for secession following the re-election of George W.

    16. Actually, more people than Lawrence argued for it, if you'll read all the links.

      It's interesting to read a history of secessionist movements. They didn't all happen in the south.

      Of course, this comparison of Confederacy as being primarily about things other than slavery doesn't work any better when argued by your side.

    17. Sorry to disabuse you of this notion, but there was only one secessionist movement that actually moved beyond a few people bloviating.

      Tell us where that one occurred.

    18. If a bunch of vets can be considered "spiritual brothers" of Confederates simply for a guy showing up with a Confederate flag at their rally and lclapping at Klayman, bloviating is enough.

      Remember, deadrat said he isn't calling the vet org actual secessionists/confederates, merely spiritual ones.

    19. You talk of the "organizers" and the "vet org" in the abstract. Who exactly are they? And why are they trying so hard to distance themselves from this particular rally?

      Because it flopped?

    20. CeceliaMc,

      The Confederate flag isn't just some archaic symbol of the Confederacy. I know you'd like to restrict its meaning to that unfortunate misunderstanding of the 1860s, and I know you'd like to require people to advocate the repeal of the 13th Amendment before the flag has any relevance them. But your contortions on this matter run into some hard facts.

      The Confederate flag is the symbol not only of a war of sedition, secession, and treason, a war that ended in 1865. It's also the symbol of southern resistance to the terms of the defeat, a rearguard action that lasted from the end of Reconstruction to well past the 1960s civil rights movement. The Confederate flag was incorporated into two state flags in use today (Mississippi and Arkansas), and one (Georgia) that was changed only in 2001. Through the '80s and '90s, the Confederate flag flew above state capitols in South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama.

      The founders famously were unwilling or unable to come to some agreement to end slavery. So the institution was sanctioned and incorporated into the Constitution, although the name of the institution was left unmentioned. Thus the issue of slavery and its protection generated their own politics and political rhetoric. Both the politics and the language survived the Civil War and are with us today.

      In no particular order, these include nullification, the right to secession, resistance to Constitutionally-authorized majoritarianism, delegitimizing the federal executive, (both its chief office and its chief office holder), the claim that federal authority poses an existential threat, and the view that this threatening authority is foreign to the life and culture of those who confront it.

      You can find all of these elements in today's teahadist movement. Which is why I say the flag is the perfect symbol for them. This truth of this assertion does not require that teahadists be confederates, real or spiritual. That's your spin, just as the word "spiritual" is yours. It's a wonder you don't get vertigo.

    21. deadrat, thanks very much. I appreciate the challenge and I always enjoy your clarity.

      I've learned some things. Thanks, again.

    22. CeceliaMc,

      I've re-read my 7:11P comment, mostly because I just love the sound of my own voice, but it now seems a tad snarkier than it needed to be. Thanks for ignoring that. When we disagree, I always find your commentary a worthy challenge.

    23. I enjoy snark when it's done well, Deadrat.

      I'm sure I'll be on your case about something or another very soon.

  21. There is an element of younger people who do not relate to the Confederate flag not as a pro slavery or pro segregation symbol but rather as an expression of general rowdy rebellion. In some cases as representing a hedonistic anti authority lifestyle.

    "Cracker" is a "class" slur as well as a racial slur. It seems to show up rather frequently on liberal message boards. Sadly, the Boutique Liberal is too self absorbed to recognize how that might play to non tribal political bystanders- those who as a rule ultimately decide elections. Arbitors of racial sensitivity so evolved as to have license to use their own slurs while looking down on those they judge. It stinks of arrogance and hypocracy.