Perhaps aiming to show instead of tell, a Missouri House Republican leader literally silenced the president of the Missouri NAACP — as he attempted to testify against a bill that would gut protections against workplace discrimination at a public hearing on Monday night.
Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel was speaking against a set of bills that he described as “an expansion of discrimination.” Chapel wasn’t hyperbolizing. Currently, under the Missouri Human Rights Act, a plaintiff must prove that their race, religion, sex, or age was a “contributing factor” to their termination.
Under Springfield Republican Rep. Kevin Austin’s bill, the burden of proof would be raised so that the plaintiff’s race, religion, sex, or age is a “motivating factor.” In other words, if you’re fired just because you’re Black that’s good old fashioned discrimination. If you’re fired because you’re Black and get to work late, while your white co-worker isn’t fired for arriving late, that’s not discriminatory wrongful termination. The bill also caps the amount of money people could receive if they were able to prove they had been discriminated against. So, it’s pretty fair to call it an expansion of discrimination.
In a video of the exchange, which you can find below, Chapel testified that he was “dismayed” that universities, schools, and businesses had testified on behalf of the bill and were therefore “all united in favor of expanding discrimination.”
Committee chair Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, saw all of this discrimination talk as irrelevant to bills pertaining to discrimination. So, he instructed Chapel to “contain [his] speech to speaking on the bill.” Chapel responded, “Oh, but I am, because this is nothing but Jim Crow. Because this is nothing but Jim Crow. You cannot legalize discrimination on an individual basis and call it anything else.” So, Lant did what any white lawmaker would do when an African American leader of the nation’s largest civil rights organization indicts racism: by cutting off his mic.
Lant “allowed” Chapel to speak for a few more seconds before he interrupted Chapel, and said, “thank you for your testimony, sir.” Chapel replied, “I’m not done,” and Assistant House Minority Leader Rep. Gina Mitten, a St. Louis Democrat, pointed out that witnesses had five minutes to speak, which Chapel hadn’t been given. Lant once again said Chapel wasn’t “speaking on the subject.” Chapel said, “I am speaking on the subject.” Mitten tried once again to step in for democracy, imploring “I would ask you to please allow,” Chapel to finish speaking. ” Lant replied by saying if there was “no other witness that would like to speak I will cancel this hearing.” A silenced Chapel got out of his seat. Mitten then asked if she could ask Chapel questions. Not surprisingly, Lant said, “no ma’am, you may not.”
In a statement released after the hearing, Mitten wrote, “Jim Crow is alive and well in Missouri and Rep. Lant just proved it.”
As usual, the Left has its workers-collective-manufactured panties all up in a bunch over Henry Kissinger. This time, the furor is over rumors that Hillary Clinton may be seeking an endorsement from the former Secretary of State.
But, to be fair, for many people, Henry Kissinger just can’t do anything right these days…or for the last four decades. If it’s not one thing, like backing a coup against the democratically elected Chilean government and ushering in a brutal dictatorship and cutting-edge torture techniques, or extending the Vietnam War by five years, or secretly bombing Cambodia and Laos, it’s another thing, like green-lighting the invasion of East Timor, which killed over 100,000 people, or wiretapping his political opponents, or supporting Pakistan’s military dictatorship, which killed between 200,000 and 3 million Bangladeshis.
We learn more and more about Kissinger’s accomplishments all the time. Earlier this month, newly declassified documents showed that Kissinger was even more supportive of the Argentine dictatorship than we knew. He didn’t merely ignore the government’s killing and/or disappearing as many as 30,000 people between 1976 and 1983; when he visited Argentina for the 1978 World Cup, as a guest of junta leader General Jorge Videla, he lauded the government for doing “an outstanding job in wiping out terrorist forces.” This praise, according to National Security Council official Robert Pastor, was “the music the Argentine government was longing to hear.”
And on Wednesday, the CIA released 2,500 previously classified President’s Daily Briefs (PDB) from the administrations of Nixon and Ford, both of which Kissinger served.
So, stay tuned for more revelations and more left wing hysteria. The good news is that some cooler heads are trying to prevail, and are making the bold case that Clinton’s wooing of the social butterfly of a war criminal would not be a “big f***ing deal,” to quote Joe Biden on the Affordable Care Act.
Let’s take a look at some of their most persuasive points.
1. The guy is a monster but…
Michael Cohen, known on Twitter as speechboy71, opens his article “How Democrats Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Still Hate Kissinger,” by saying, “Let me make one thing clear at the outset of this piece: I consider Henry Kissinger to be, morally speaking, a monstrous figure.”
Much like the phrase “I’m not racist but,” signals that a racist statement is soon forthcoming, Cohen’s condemnation suggests that a defense is imminent.
He cites Kissinger’s “backing of the Nixon administration’s illegal bombing campaign in Cambodia and the invasion of the country in 1970, along with his support for right-wing coups in Latin America and anti-Communist leaders in sub-Saharan Africa and the Far East, have deservedly defined his sordid legacy. And that’s not even counting perhaps his worst act while in public office—his actions in 1970 in support of the Pakistani genocide of Bengals in what is today Bangladesh.”
But Cohen goes on to say, “Why should we care about the foreign policy legacy of a guy who hasn’t held public office in 40 years? Well, it seems that in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, being pro- or anti-Kissinger has become a foreign policy litmus test for Democrats.” What gives, Dems?
2. Criticism is also monstrous.
Cohen notes that “the outcry among American liberals” over rumors of Clinton’s Kissinger-courting “was significant.” He deems the “antipathy” from the Left as “completely understandable,” and yet, simultaneously, “more than slightly outsized.” What is totally inappropriate and uncalled for, it should go without saying, is verbal lashing of any sort, especially the ones to which Clinton was subjected. As if we needed any reminding, Cohen takes us on a stroll down a dark and twisted memory lane: “Back in February, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was lacerated by her then-rival Bernie Sanders for saying she considered Kissinger a friend.”
Cohen, is wrong, actually. Clinton in no way referred to Kissinger as a friend. The #HumbleKissingerBrag Clinton dropped during the Feb. 4 New Hampshire debate was professional, not personal: “I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time.”
Sanders did not strike back right away. Nebbish predator that he is, he waited until the next debate in Milkwaukee to pounce: “Secretary Clinton… talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country.”
Of all the sexist “violence” Bernie and his bros unleashed against Hillary Clinton, this ranks among the worst. If Hillary were a man, would Bernie have had the chutzpah to denounce…Henry Kissinger?
3. We’re all on the monster spectrum.
Cohen cautions us against judging Kissinger for his war-crime tendencies. After all, we’re all on a spectrum and lots of other political figures have dabbled in human rights violations. With a couple million deaths under his belt, Kissinger is, of course, especially prolific. But, Cohen writes, Kissinger “is hardly the first U.S. foreign policy figure with an odious past.” Cohen then goes through a who’s who list of powerful people with bloodied hands:
“The Eisenhower administration routinely supported anti-communist dictators… John F. Kennedy tried… to have… Fidel Castro assassinated and supported a coup attempt in South Vietnam that led to the death of the country’s president… Lyndon Johnson… initiated the U.S. war in Vietnam that ultimately led to the deaths of more than 1 million Vietnamese… Jimmy Carter, urged on by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, began American arms shipments to the Afghan mujahedeen, with the clear goal of bloodying the nose of the invading Soviets and prolonging the conflict. The Reagan years saw support for the contras in Nicaragua and a right-wing government in El Salvador under which death squads massacred thousands of civilians.”
This is true. And yet… a bit apples and oranges in a few different ways. On a technical level, five of the six examples offered by Cohen are presidents, not the major foreign policy makers. Also, the whole “routinely support[ing] anti-communist dictators” is hardly unique to the presidency of Eisenhower. It was kind of a Cold War thing.
Sure, Eisenhower, LBJ, JFK, and Reagan all have some blood on their hands. You know what else they have in common? They’re dead. And, with all due respect to the dead, ghosts aren’t as easy to find and prosecute as the full-bodied, still-living Henry Kissinger. The human rights violations committed by our dearly departed lack the urgency of those committed by a man who has never apologized for a single crime against humanity and yet continues to be revered, respected, quoted, awarded, published, and invited to conferences, lecture halls, and fabulous parties.
4. You need to check your monster-dar, fam.
What Michael Cohen seems most outraged by, ironically enough, is the lack of outrage at people who are way worse than Kissinger.
All of this is not to say it’s wrong to loathe Kissinger. Indeed, I count myself among those who view him with contempt. But there are far worse people to get upset about when it comes to endorsing—and counseling—Clinton, many of whom have escaped the wrath of liberals now up in arms over her alleged outreach to the former secretary of state.
What’s odd is that nowhere in the entire piece does Cohen point to anyone “far worse,” who has or might endorse Clinton. You’d think this would be a good thing to include.
5. The guy is a war criminal but Clinton isn’t seeking his endorsement
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky chose a headline so cavalier it makes Cohen’s look like it was written by a relative of a desaparecido: “Clinton Has Not Sought Henry Kissinger’s Support. But So What if She Had?”Tomasky wants readers to know there isn’t that much truth behind the rumor about Clinton’s seeking a Kissinger endorsement. “First things first: A source close to the Hillary Clinton campaign tells me that there has been no outreach to Henry Kissinger.” Like Cohen, Tomasky includes the obligatory “I get it. This guy has his issues” disclaimer about Kissinger. Using the whimsical tone that befits discussions of human rights violations and genocides, Tomasky writes:
Granted, Kissinger occupies a, ah, unique position. He’s a war criminal. Not convicted of course, but in my view and the view of millions. And although he has never faced the bar of international justice over East Timor or Chile or his sabotaging of the Paris Peace Talks, he is very careful about where he travels and lives with the ignominy of knowing that when The New York Times posts his obituary, there are going to be some well-earned negative adjectives in the very first paragraph.
This guy’s got some major negative adjectives coming to him… once he’s dead.
6. Endorsements! Good god, y’all! What are they good for?
Throughout the primary season, smearing Bernie Sanders and his supporters established itself as a full-fledged media industry. Sanders, we were told, was an egomaniacal, sexist, old white man on a delusional and quixotic campaign promoting pie-in- the-sky policies like single payer health care, free college tuition, viewing Palestinians as people, and not destroying the planet. Exerting his male privilege, he bullied Hillary Clinton into nominally opposing a secretive, Frankensteinian trade agreement. He even forced her to embrace a $15 federal minimum wage with a sexist condescension that far outweighs the material benefits that would be reaped by women who make up the majority of the minimum wage work force.
In his Utopian quest, Sanders was more than happy to drag down the Democratic Party and thwart history, by opposing the candidate who could become the first female president of these United States. And he recklessly strung along an army of all white ‘Bernie Bros’ and some white women who had internalized misogyny. There were, simply put, no people of color who supported Sanders. It was that simple.
Little did we know, the media was actually pulling its punches. Once Hillary won the nomination and Vermont senator graciously and enthusiastically endorsed her, the gloves really came off. In a display of shameless schadenfreude, the media gleefully mocked Sanders supporters for being emotionally weak and cognitively damaged. If they wanted to hang around with the cool crowd, they had to remove their aluminum foil antenna from their heads, lick off their patchouli, and sit in the back, silent, hands-folded, and listening to the winners. Stinky, crazy, loud-mouthed losers, needed to get in line, sit down and shut up, immediately.
The media’s “Mean Girls” style contempt isn’t just for Bernie or Busters or Stein supporters. It’s for anyone who is, ever has been or ever might be one. Curiously, the criticism is much harsher than anything we see hurled at people supporting Trump… you know… the fascist whose potential presidency makes not supporting Clinton such an act of lunacy.
Let’s take a look at some schoolyard bullying and berating techniques the media is using that will do little to distinguish Democratic Party shills from you know who.
1. Ridicule people in pain.
Slate editor, Jeremy Stahl, was the schoolyard terror, lobbing Sanders supporters for being sad. In his piece, “Photos of Angry, Sad, Horrified Bernie Sanders Supporters During His Convention Speech”, Stahl compiled nine photos (none of which he took, as he’s more of a curator). Two of the selected photos have the same bummed out white guy and three of them have the same very sad white gal. There there was no shortage of photos of people of color with the Sanders Team in Philly (I know because I was there). But when your strategy is ridicule, why waste time on research?
And Stahl more than makes up for this with the witty descriptions he inserts under the photos such as, “Just please take me home now. I want to go home,” “poor souls,” “I mean, nobody died,” or my personal fave, “[Insert Celine Dion lyrics here.]” This blunt object hit piece wacks anyone who felt low watching their candidate officially leave the race, especially knowing that the DNC had employed dirty tricks to defeat him.
I’ve been having a great time at the RNC. I took my photo with Herman Caine, Sean Hannity, and, as of this afternoon, got to interview Info Wars host Alex Jones on the street! I must say, his skin looked great. And I now know why: he had just been given a moisturizing Turkish Dorean facial, which consists of comedian Jimmy Dore spitting Ice Tea in your face after you try to crash a live broadcast of The Young Turks.
Jones rolls thick and deep, surrounded by an entourage of dudes who look like they’ve booby-trapped their homes in preparation for a government invasion of their houses and at least one man who is an actual shofar-playing, born again Christian, with who I had spoken days before. Yet I was able to talk to Jones as he and his crew walked down the streets. And I wasn’ even wearing my “Make America great again,” camo hat. Here is our exchange, presented without further commentary.
Katie Halper: Are you enjoying yourself?
Alex Jones: I like standing up against tyranny
KH: Where is the biggest threat of tyranny coming from?
AJ: From our globalists that are running our government into the ground.
KH: And between Hillary and Trump?
AJ: Or, there’s no choice, Trump all the way.
Shofar-Player: Hillary’s a witch, she’s into witch craft, she’s a jezebel. We all know who she is.
Come in person but if you can’t watch the livestream here.
The Katie Halper Show Live has been called the best thing ever in the history of Wednesday-night Brooklyn talk shows in front of an intergenerational audience. Every first Wednesday of the month, Halper, her co-host Gabe Pacheco, and engineer in chief Reggie Johnson bring you an audience version of their show. This month’s show features journalist Rania Khalek, associate editor at The Electronic Intifada and co-host of the weekly podcast Unauthorized Disclosure, as well as Felix Biederman and Will Menaker from Chapo Trap House, which some call a podcast, but I call a movememnt. Laugh, Learn, think, get woke, check your priv, fall in love, whatevs, over drinks and food at the lovely Brooklyn Commons Cafe. It’s totally free!
Call me sentimental but I’m a sucker for anniversaries. Take, for example, May 23 2008, when then Senator Hillary Clinton was asked if she was going to drop out of the primary race, given the Senator Barack Obama’s lead in delegates. During an interview with the editorial board of the South Dakota newspaper The Argus Leader Clinton expressed frustration with the way she was being pressured to suspend her campaign. I should add that I don’t find this part of her response inappropriate:
I don’t know I don’t know I find it curious because it is unprecedented in history. I don’t understand it and between my opponent and his camp and some in the media, there has been this urgency to end this and you know historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery.
But things took a turn for the worse when the editorial board asked, “You don’t buy the party unity argument?” to which she responded:
I don’t, because again, I’ve been around long enough. You know my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere around the middle of June. We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. Um you know I just I don’t understand it. There’s lots of speculation about why it is.
Now this may seem like a Joycean or Woolfean stream of consciousness. But buried in it is the following argument:
First of all, I’m not gonna drop out now because it’s May and my husband Bill Clinton didn’t secure the nomination until June in California. Speaking of June and California, by gosh, dontcha know, it was that very month and in that very state when then Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Democratic presidential candidate was shot and killed. So, let’s be honest, my opponent could be taken out any second. And I have to be ready to go to the convention so I can defeat the Republican nominee. It’s really the patriotic thing to do. You’re welcome.
I’m not a presidential historian, but I think it’s safe to say that this was an unprecedented use of the potentially-looming-assassination-of-your-opponent-to-justify-staying-in-a-race. While innovative and trailblazing, murdered-Kennedy-dropping is impolite. It’s impolitic. It’s bad etiquette. It’s the presidential equivalent of wearing white after Labor Day or to another woman’s wedding. Except, I would argue, it’s way worse in that instead of violating a dress code, it exploits the national tragedy that was the murder of Senator Robert Kennedy.
As I was scrolling through Twitter on Wednesday night, I came across a curious statement from Roseanne Barr.
Now, I knew that Roseanne Barr, the funny, often smart and often liberal comedian, actor and star of the TV show Roseanne had what I would characterize as extremist, hawkish and not very nuanced or rational views on Israel. It’s funny because Barr was once extremely critical of Zionism and Islamophobia. I thought she was a PEP, or Progressive Except on Palestine, who blindly supported Israeli policies.
I didn’t know she was in the business of diagnosing Jews.
So, I responded by pointing out that several very Jewy Jews were secular, i.e. not religious, and would not, presumably, have physical reactions to hearing Sacred Words. Some of these Jews are Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, Baruch Spinoza, the influential rationalist 17th century Dutch philosopher, and Theodor Herzl, the Austro-Hungarian journalist considered to be the founder of modern political Zionism.
After Hillary Clinton won four out five states Bernie Sanders released the following statement:
The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That’s why we are in this race until the last vote is cast. That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.
Call me crazy, but if I had to boil this down into a nugget of a take away, I’d say something like, “Sanders vows to stay in the race!” or “Sanders will campaign all the way to the Convention,” or “Sanders will push progressive values and platforms.”
But that’s not the dominant narrative among pundits or headlines.
“It is fair to say that this Democratic contest is effectively over.” – Rachel Maddow on MSNBC
[something similar to what Maddow said that I can’t remember but saw and it was the same idea.] – Lawrence O’Donnell.
“Bernie Sanders’ campaign just dropped a major hint that the race is over.” – Headline, by Matt Yglesias at Vox.
“Bernie statement admits he’s no longer in this to get the nomination.” – Molly Ball, Atlantic political writer, on Twitter.
“Bernie Sanders Surrenders Nomination Fight While Congratulating Clinton On Primary Wins.” –Politics USAheadline.
“Bernie Sanders Campaign Just Conceded Nomination Fight, Congratulates Clinton” – Liberal America headline.
“Bernie Sanders Shifts Focus From Nomination to Influencing Presidential Race.” The Wrap, headline.
Maybe Sanders is reprioritizing. But that’s kind of not the point. The point is what much of mainstream media chooses to prioritize through its framing and coverage. Why, for instance, if Sanders explicitly states that he will stay in the race until the Convention, are the headlines and hot takes focusing on something that is speculative. The media too often deliver speculation as prophecy, declaring some candidates certain comers and others clearly doomed. Sanders has surpassed their predictions and the public expectations they instilled.
The media should at least pretend they aren’t invested in showing Sanders as a lost cause. And they should pretend to be interested in reporting on what Sanders is actually saying. They can posit that Sanders, by not mentioning a victory strategy, really has chosen to stay in the race to push the Democratic Party to be more progressive. But shouldn’t they start by reporting what they actually know? And then decode its significance? Don’t skip over the newsworthy story, which is that Sanders is going to keep on keeping on.