Thursday :: Sep 29, 2005

This 'Morals' Things Isn't What It's Crackered Up To Be!

by pessimist

I'm surprised (no, not really!) that this story isn't getting more coverage, for it exposes the basic hypocrisy that is the main motivator of the Republican Party.

Many blogs, including The Left Coaster, have covered the inherent prejudice of the Republican Party toward blacks in particular, and the non-wealthy in general. We've regularly been reminded that the race riots of the 1960s played a major role in driving blue-collar Democrats into the spider's web that is the Republican Party.

As practiced most blatantly by Republicans such as Lee Atwater (who in a previous career as a professional recording musician performed with blacks and continued to do so every chance he got after he took up politics), the Race Card is the ultimate trump to keep these disaffected ex-Democrats in line.

It is played every chance that arises. For instance, many of us have recently received scurrilous emails asserting the most outrageous behaviors at the hurricane evacuation shelters, as if all blacks perpetrated them. Such is the legacy of the late Lee Atwater and his ilk.

Hard on the heels of the charges of racism over the delayed FEMA response to the damage Hurricane Katrina caused in mostly-black New Orleans, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Education and gambling-addicted morals hypocrite Bill Bennett has managed to insert both feet into his mouth simultaneously:

Conservative Radio Host Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou Could Abort Every Black Baby In This Country, And Your Crime Rate Would Go Down"...

Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host ... Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that
if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
Bennett's remark was apparently inspired by the claim that legalized abortion has reduced crime rates, which was posited in the book Freakonomics (William Morrow, May 2005) by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. But Levitt and Dubner argued that aborted fetuses would have been more likely to grow up poor and in single-parent or teenage-parent households and therefore more likely to commit crimes; they did not put forth Bennett's race-based argument.
Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."

That roaring silence deafening you by its absense is the response of the American Bu$hCo media.

Had Bill Bennett been a Democrat, and talking about eliminating the tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for Katrina and Rita Relief, would we be able to hear anything over the ensuing clamor?

Except for the speak-no-evil-about-Republicans American media, the outraged reactions were swift:

Dean Calls on Republican Leadership to Repudiate Bill Bennett's Racist Remarks

"Are these the values of the Republican Party and its conservative allies? If not, President Bush, Ken Mehlman and the Republican Leadership should denounce them immediately as hateful, divisive and worthy only of scorn. This kind of statement is hardly compassionate conservatism; rather, Bennett's comments demonstrate a reprehensible racial insensitivity and ignorance.

"Bill Bennett's hateful, inflammatory remarks regarding African Americans are simply inexcusable. They are particularly unacceptable from a leader in the conservative movement and former Secretary of Education, once charged with the well being of every American school child. He should apologize immediately.

"As Americans, we should focus on the virtues that bring us together, not hatred that tears us apart and unjustly scapegoats fellow Americans."

Senator Demands Bennett Apology for Remark

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and other Democrats on Thursday demanded that former Education Secretary William Bennett apologize for remarks on his radio program linking the crime rate and the abortion of black babies. Reid, D-Nev., said he was "appalled by Mr. Bennett's remarks" and called on him "to issue an immediate apology not only to African Americans but to the nation."

Rep. Raum Emanuel, D-Ill., said in a statement, "At the very time our country yearns for national unity in the wake of hurricane Katrina, these comments reflect a spirit of hate and division."

Bennett Should Apologize for Racial Remarks
Racist comments hurt all Americans, regardless of their ethnicity

Bruce S. Gordon, President & CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), today said former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett should apologize for racist comments made yesterday on his call-in radio show.

“In 2005, there is no place for the kind of racist statement made by Bennett. While the entire nation is trying to help survivors, black and white, to recover from the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it is unconscionable for Bennett to make such ignorant and insensitive comments. I am personally offended and angry that Bennett felt he could make such a public statement with impunity. The owners of the Salem Radio Network, which airs Bennett’s program, should also apologize.”

William Bennett Defends Comment on Abortion and Crime
'Book of Virtues' Author Says Hypothetical Remark Was Valid

Bennett was secretary of education for President Ronald Reagan and is considered one of the Republican Party's big brains. But this week Democrats and some Republicans seemed to also question if Bennett's mouth is of size as well.

Democrats expressed outrage, ranging from demands for an apology to requests that the Federal Communications Commission suspend Bennett's show.

"Republicans, Democrats and all Americans of good will should denounce this statement, should distance themselves from Mr. Bennett," said Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill. "And the private sector should not support Mr. Bennett's radio show or his comments on the air."

"I'm not even going to comment on something that disgusting," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. "Really, I'm thinking of my black grandchild and I'm going to hold (off)."

In the interest of fairness - a concept alien to the Republicans who dominate our media - I'm going to allow Bill Bennett to dig himself in deeper - er, to answer his critics:

'Things That People Are Thinking'

Bill Bennett is vehemently denying he is a racist and defending his willingness to speak publicly about race and crime. In an interview with ABC News, Bennett said that anyone who knows him knows he isn't racist. He said he was merely extrapolating from the best-selling book Freakonomics, which posits the hypothesis that falling crimes rates are related to increased abortion rates decades ago. "It would have worked for, you know, single-parent moms; it would have worked for male babies, black babies," Bennett said.

The author of The Book of Virtues, answering a caller's question, took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is upBennett responded that the comments, made Wednesday on his ... show, had been mischaracterized and that his point was that the idea of supporting abortion to reduce crime was 'morally reprehensible'.

On the Wednesday edition of his radio show, Bill Bennett's Morning in America, syndicated by Salem Radio Network, a caller raised the theory that Social Security is in danger of becoming insolvent because legalized abortion has reduced the number of tax-paying citizens. Bennett said economic arguments should never be employed in discussions of moral issues.

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," Bennett said. He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

On his show Thursday, the anti-abortion Bennett said he was "pointing out that abortion should not be opposed for economic reasons any more than racism ... should be supported or opposed for economic reasons. Immoral policies are wrong because they are wrong, not because of an economic calculation."

Oh? Economic calculations are the EEGs of the GOP! Without the agitated cogitation over how to increase the abundance of the Almighty Bankroll for the elite membership of the Topper Cla$$, what would the Republican Party have to live for? Is that not why the Southern plantation owners stole their workforce from more primitive climes? Is that not why they extorted increased representation in the House of Representatives through the contrivance of 'representing' such impressed servants - who otherwise weren't considered important or worthy enough to participate in the government that allowed their captivity - as if every five such counted as three?

US Constitution, Article I, Section 2:

... Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding ... three fifths of all other Persons.

This situation was legally corrected after the costliest war in American History, fought over limiting the geographic expansion of corrupted power and political influence that such wealth sought, but the concept and desire for it didn't die with the end of that conflict.

Racism in America is all about reestablishing the conditions of that antebellum time and place whether or not one owned slaves, for only the select few benefitted from forced labor:

The standard image of Southern slavery is that of a large plantation with hundreds of slaves. In fact, such situations were rare. Fully 3/4 of Southern whites did not even own slaves; of those who did, 88% owned twenty or fewer.

Whites who did not own slaves were primarily yeoman farmers. Practically speaking, the institution of slavery did not help these people. And yet most non-slaveholding white Southerners identified with and defended the institution of slavery. Though many resented the wealth and power of the large slaveholders, they aspired to own slaves themselves and to join the priviledged ranks.

In addition, slavery gave the farmers a group of people to feel superior to. They may have been poor, but they were not slaves, and they were not black. They gained a sense of power simply by being white.

This is the same motivation behind otherwise 'powerless' people being successfully stimulated by the Republican Party since 1968. You may be poor (because we keep cutting your earning power), but you aren't on welfare (presented as the federal government enslaving blacks through economic means though they 'didn't earn it'), and you aren't black ('nuff said). Give us the power, and we will protect your Caucasian priveleges from those who would take them from you (read: non-whites).

Such an approach to 'conserving' a social structure that long ago ceased to have any validity, and has been kept barely alive since 1865 through any and all artificial means, is bound to generate reaction, and some of that reaction will be extreme:

Bennett's Book of Cracker Virtues
A Texas Trained Philosopher Speaks the White American Mind

Taking a page from his Book of Cracker Virtues, Texas-trained philosopher William Bennett this week performed a little thought experiment where genocide by means of abortion might be used to bring down the crime rate.

Of course it is appalling how Bennett's mind plays around with the souls of black folk, one moment imagining a whole peoples aborted, but such is the nature of the souls of white folk, flying right through the concept of genocide without noticing the horrific criminality in that.

This condition can be applied to Iraq and Afghanistan and the 'War on Terra', among many other things.

But I digress.

In Bennett's concept of the American crime rate, of course, genocide never counts. Neither does theft of labor. With these two great and obvious categories of crime dismissed, the souls of white folk may then be quite easily imagined to have worked their way to Democracy in America by means of honest trade, fair elections, and saintly patience, never bothering no one, and only occasionally dismayed by inappropriate displays of ingratitude.

The logic of the club is how W. E. B. Du Bois once punned it. And everywhere one looks, that logic holds like double epoxy. Of course, the USA Senate is the ultimate club in both senses of the term, with its predictable traditions of genocide, labor theft, war, and today's nominee as Supreme Court Chief Justice who need not even bother to produce his work product as understudy to a civil rights bashing attorney general.

Or how about those grand juries? About half of white America is cheering the Travis County Grand Jury for yesterday's indictment of the House Majority Leader. But where was anybody last month when that same Grand Jury no-billed a white police officer who shot an unarmed Latino in the back? That killing wasn't even considered a tiny bit criminal. And that story barely made state news. But politicians taking money from Sears? My god, that sounds like a felony for sure.

So anyway, thanks again Bill Bennett for teaching your Intro to Cracker Virtues class again this Fall. Your instructions serve as an indispensable refresher course to the criteria of educational excellence that continue to dominate the definition of American intelligence. And your civics of justice remind us what the heart of the American system sounds like as it continues to make such a small world of us all, from Biloxi to Baghdad alike.

Just because the outrage comes from the extreme, does that mean that the reasons for that outrage are invalid? Unless that outrage comes from the Topper extreme of the Republican Party, the answer for Republicans clearly is 'YES'. Just check out the comment threads on this site and any other progressive site on the Internet if you doubt me.

I really hope that those who would rise to the defense of the indefensible realize something. As wage-slaves themselves, they will never raise enough capital to 'own' their own wage-slaves and 'earn' enough to rise above their current station in life. That is restricted to those who already have that honor.

There comes a time when one has to look at one's dreams and evaluate their continued pursuit. Are the benefits worth the costs? If not, such activities must cease in favor of those that remain necessary.

It is no different at the national level. Is the pursuit of reestablishing a form of slavery - which will benefit only about 1% of the population - a worthy cause for someone not already included in that category?

Of course not. But as long as people willingly accept the delusion that they have a slim chance of doing so, they are susceptible to the blandishments of the neocon-men of the GOP, and the commonweal of the nation will arrive at the place that George Washington tried to warn about as he left public life:

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

So there is your choice, America. Will it be a Thelma and Louise-style dive into the dustbin of history following the mad Bu$hCo/PNAC plan, or will sanity emerge in time to effect a rescue and return the nation to good health?

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