Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

This week's theme at the messy cross-section of race and politics in America is fear.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.

-- Eric Hoffer, the Longshoreman Philosopher (1902 - 1983)

Fear of Brown People in General

* Oliver Willis and Atrios rap Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) for calling Miami a "Third World Country". Because of all the brown people. The modern GOP must sincerely want to lose all future elections in coming decades since brown people, as evidenced in the recent elections, like to vote. The Latino vote increased by 37% in the 2006 election over 2002. Read more at BlueLatinos.org.

* Rep. Steve "Not the Rev. Martin Luther" King (R-IA) believes that the nation's homicide rate is mostly driven by the illegal brown invasion from the South to the tune of 12 Americans a day. No actual stats to back that up. It's just a funny feeling he has deep inside. Source: CarpetBagger Report

* "Nowhere in Congress are relations between Republicans and Democrats as publicly nasty as the House Intelligence Committee,"according to CNN. Well, now there's a new sheriff in town: Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), former Border Patrol agent, Vietnam war vet and helicopter gunner. His appointment is called "historic" and "an important step" by a major Hispanic civil rights organization, National Council of La Raza.

Fear of Black People in General

* Police Brutality roils NYC, angers black bloggers -- and sickens African-Americans in general. Terrence Says compares police brutality to terrorism and also offers a good round up of bloggers, all black men, on the NYPD killing of Sean Bell. Just a question: when was the last time we heard about a white person being shot 50 times by police? When is that much force ever justified against an unarmed person? When exactly will the double standard discontinue?

Fear of Certain Specific Black People

* The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Rep. Maxine Waters' PAC donate big dollars to Dollar Bill Jefferson in LA-02. Too bad they are afraid to support a superior candidate -- Karen Carter, who might actually work a little harder for New Orleans' recovery. Skeptical Brotha, Jack and Jill Politics, MyDD and others are among those writing about the story.

* Wingnuts try to turn Obama to Osama by using his middle name "Hussein". Expect to see more of this. Crooks and Liars has the story.

There's more...

Pelosi Makes the Right Move On Harman

It looks like Jane Harman will not become the chair of the House Intelligence committee:Because Pelosi is kicking Jane Harman off the Intelligence Committee. Harman is, of course, Jewish and very rightwing on Israel.

So now Nancy, whose views on Israel aren't very far from Harman's (although she is decidedly in favor of negotiations and the two-state solution) is a Peretz enemy. Today he actually compares Nancy to Bella Abzug (in my opinion, a compliment) which is a terrible slam coming from Peretz because Abzug was, oh the humanity, a liberal Jew who was a moderate on Israel.

Why am I telling you all this. I'm telling you this because everyone needs to know that Marty Peretz and his neocon buddies in the media are now all going to be bashing Pelosi nonstop. Pelosi will get attacked viciously for this, but it is the right move. It isn't the right move because Harman is extremely right-wing on Israel. There are two other major pressing reasons that Harman should not be the chair. The first is that Harman is under investigation for illegally trying to use AIPAC in order to become the chair:Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government. The second reason is that the Democratic chair of the Intelligence committee should not be supporting Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Here is Harman defending the program on Fox News last year:HUME: And outline, if you will, your concerns about those briefings.

HARMAN: All right. Well, first of all, the program we were briefed on in a very closed environment in the White House, with no staff present, on a basis that we could not discuss it with anyone, was basically a foreign collection program. I still support that program. And I think the leak of that program to The New York Times and maybe elsewhere compromises national security... Harman is a Blue Dog, but that should not disqualify anyone from holding a committee chair. She is also not a wingnut. Outside of issues relating to national security and foreign policy, where she clearly is a neocon, she is basically a run of the mill Democrat--perhaps even in the liberal mainstream. However, the credibility of the new Democratic Congress is at stake here, and we can't have Democrats illegally winning committee chairs through lobbyist influence so they can support unconstitutional wire-tapping programs on Capitol Hill and on Fox News while accusing the New York Times of treason. Harman's seat, CA-36, is not key to our majority in the House, and anyway it is a very blue seat where she survived a strong primary challenge this year from Marcy Winograd.

Democrats won this election largely on a rejection of Bush's foreign policy and on the impact of corruption / unethical behavior in several key districts. Harman, unfortunately, sports both of those negatives. She could very well have an illegal relationship with AIPAC in an attempt to increase her own influence, and she supports one of the overtly illegal portions of Bush's foreign and national security policies. Given this, I think it was not only absolutely correct for Pelosi to deny her the Intelligence chair, and to remove her from the committee altogether, but that it was almost certainly the best thing Pelosi has done over the past ten days. Democrats need to make it loud and clear that we will not have the same relationship with lobbyists that the Republican majority had, and that we are in fact willing to stand up to Bush's foreign and national security policies. This accomplishes both of those goals in one fell swoop.

Pelosi is going to get hammered by some segments of the press for doing this. I think we need to support her decision both loudly and clearly. We are not going to be able to drain the swamp all at once, but as with LA-02, this is a step in the right direction. It should be recognized and applauded.

Update: It would appear that there are serious concerns about about the potential replacements for Harman as well. That is not acceptable either. It is going to take a long time to drain this swamp. Ugh.

Harman v Hastings: Blue Dogs to make their move

If you thought Hoyer v Murtha was ugly - well, like Al Jolson said...

The latest (new readers start here) is that the Blue Dogs are coming out of their kennels in force to support Harman in her battle to get the HIC chair over crooked former judge Alcee Hastings, Pelosi's choice for the job.

(According to the piece, Hastings

has support from the Congressional Black Caucus and from a large number of the left-leaning House Progressive Caucus.

The CBC I knew about: but the CPC? Is this pressure from Pelosi, or a racial thing, or what?)

There's more...

CQ on Hastings/Harman

Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for...

A further indication from an apparently nonpartisan source that strife between (very broadly) the mods and the lefties in the Dem House party after its expected win may have already gathered a deal of momentum.

From one of the few bits of the Congressional Quarterly site that is outside the pay wall, Jeff Stein (National Security Editor, no less) takes on the dispute over whether Harman or Hastings should get the HIC chair.

There's more...

Pelosi is safe - CBC not so much - in leadership stakes

There's been fair amount of imaginative talk (as here, for instance) based on the Chuck Todd morning line on the Dem leadership-to-be.

Let's leave aside the clearly delusional notion that, under his Scenario II, a narrow Dem House win, the netroots will step forth to champion a Rahmbo bid for the Speakership. (That he put forward the notion might be thought to invalidate everything else he says. But, like I said...)

Shorn of the netroots nonsense, Todd's offering is this:

Will, say, 220 House Democrats stay united and elect Pelosi speaker, or will enough conservative House Democrats break and elect a compromise Democrat as speaker? Even the threat of Democrats peeling off and working in collaboration with the Republicans to do so might be enough to encourage a serious challenge to Pelosi inside the Democratic caucus.

There's more...


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