Klayman Announces Lawsuit Shows Racism

Larry KlaymanYou would know I was being ironic if I wrote, “Those subhuman blacks are such racists!” But if I were a conservative, well, you would have to assume that I was serious. I know this sounds like an extreme example, but conservative lawyer Larry Klayman was over at that bastion of sanity WorldNetDaily Friday, Time to Act on Obama’s Ebola-Gate. Basically, it is about yet another of his useless and costly lawsuits. But apparently, Klayman just can’t help himself because, you know, he’s a bigot.

There is, perhaps, nothing that a modern American conservative believe quite as much as “reverse racism.” They think that there is no racism in America because there are no laws that stop people from doing particular things because of their race. But they also believe — contrary to their first claim — that there is racism, and it is against whites for people even claiming that the other kind of racism exists.

Here is the money quote — the one you would know was ironic if I wrote it:

Does anyone doubt that former Alabama Gov George Wallace was a racist, after he banned blacks from attending the state’s university in the 1960s? So too can anyone refute that Obama’s not even temporarily banning West Africans from entering the United States is also as least de facto racism, as this high risk caper puts whites and others at risk at the expense of not even temporarily “inconveniencing” his fellow Africans. Wallace and Obama are both despicable and both to be condemned to the trash heap of history for their actions.

I’m not going to break the whole thing down — much less the rest of the article with such priceless quotes as, “But I am not a racist, and neither are you!” I just want to focus on three little words: “his fellow Africans.” Really?! Obama is an African? That’s amazing. It is now the sixth year of Obama’s presidency, and people on the right can still not accept that he is an America. He is still that inscrutable “African” who managed to trick a lot of the “real” (white) Americans to vote for him. It is a shockingly racist statement. Since Obama is black (whatever that is supposed to mean), he sides with his “fellow Africans” and against “whites and others.”

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch noted:

Klayman argues that Obama had declined to enact a ban on travelers coming from West Africa not because medical and disease experts have advised against such a move, but because the president is “a reverse racist whose actions, not just with regard to Ebola but across the board, are skewed toward feathering the nest of ‘his’ people, and calculated to harm the rest of us if not destroy the entire country.”

I also like how Africa is a single place in the minds of conservatives. It isn’t 20% of the land area of the world with 47 countries. I guess this goes along with the school district that wouldn’t allow two Rwandan children to enter school because of Ebola concerns. You know: it’s the “dark continent”; how could anyone tell one region from another — much less one nation from another! I mean, Rwanda is only 2,600 miles from the closest country with Ebola. But that’s just “I’m an ignorant American” syndrome. It isn’t racism.

I’ve only said it once, so let me repeat it: Larry Klayman is a bigot. But he has lots of support. If you have a strong stomach, you can read through some of the comments. One person claimed that his lawsuit wouldn’t work, “Crooked judges would rather see themselves and their families die of Obola, than allow discovery on Obola’s forged documents.” Another has it all figured out, “Obama WANTS half of America to die. WHY? CONTROL.” And another gave the obligatory shoutout to the conservatives’ newest authroitarian BFF, “I notice that Russia is clamping down, and Putin is right to do it.” (I can’t actually find any indication that this is true.)

What bugs me is that I’m sure Klayman is no kind of social pariah. That is something that the upper reaches of our society have lost sight of. Norms are enforced by people paying a social price for breaking those norms. But going around publishing racist comments about the president don’t disqualify him from being at all the good parties. I don’t know, but given that it wasn’t for Andrew Breitbart, why would it be for Klayman? The one good thing about this is that you don’t have to read the future Fall of the American Empire because you get to watch it in real time.

H/T: Digby

No Obamacare Change Will Impress Conservatives

Ramesh PonnuruRamesh Ponnuru now works at Bloomberg View, which goes along with my theory that any smart conservative will eventually end up with a good job at a mainstream news outlet because there are so few conservative writers who aren’t totally insane. But while I like him and think he often has really insightful things to say about American politics, he is usually just a conservative who can’t see beyond his limited worldview. Take, for example, his article today, Sorry, Obamacare Is Still Unfixable.

Earlier this year, I wrote, Ramesh Ponnuru Obamacare Warning to Conservatives. That was in reference to his article warning that Obamacare was not about to “implode.” But I criticized him for implying that conservative complaints about Obamacare were substantial. They aren’t. And to be honest, I don’t see that Ponnuru’s complaints are either.

In today’s article, he attacked the plan of Senators Mark Warner and Mark Begich to add “copper” plans to Obamacare. These would be plans with low premiums and high deductibles. Ponnuru says that such plans might hurt Obamacare, “That migration could, however, make the exchanges less stable by reducing the amount of money that healthy people are putting into them through their premiums.” It’s possible, but given the conservative tendency to always assume the worst about Obamacare and always be wrong, it is hard to take the “could” complaint very seriously.

But Ponnuru’s complaint especially annoys me because what Warner and Begich are doing is trying to appease conservatives. It is conservatives, after all, who are always yelling about how “catastrophic insurance” is the solution to all our problems. But once such things are on the table, they complain about high deductibles. Indeed, Ponnuru complains about the ridiculously high deductibles in the current “bronze” plans. And I agree: it’s terrible. And I don’t like the idea of “copper” plans. I wanted and continue to want a more liberal plan. The current plan is extremely conservative. Democrats are working to make it even more conservative. And the reaction by conservatives is that moves in their direction are no good. Because, let’s face it, Obamacare will never be any good. There is no “replace” of Obamacare; conservatives just want to kill it.

This brings up an issue: is healthcare in the United States better under Obamacare than it was before? I think the answer to that is clearly and resoundingly, “Yes!” That should be the question for conservatives like Ponnuru, just the same as it is for liberals like me. It shouldn’t be, “Is Obamacare better than whatever solution you have in your head?” I’m not saying that Ponnuru is being disingenuous, but it is just too easy for people (Like me!) to get lost in theoretical-land and not deal with the world as it is.

Ponnuru ended the article in a way that makes me even less keen. He wrote, “An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this month found that only 36 percent of the public favors Obamacare.” That’s true, but hardly relevant. People don’t even know what Obamacare is. It is just that the word “Obamacare” has been vilified like the word “liberal” — and by the same people. No change to Obamacare will make “Obamacare” popular. Even if it was reformed to consist only of tort “reform” and huge tax cuts for the wealthy, conservatives wouldn’t like it because it has “Obama” in the word.

I am sure that Ponnuru knows this. So the end of his article is nothing but conservative propaganda. And more generally, but to a lesser extent, that’s true of the whole article. Ponnuru is better than this. Sadly, the conservative movement is not.

Bad Climate News and the Need for a Predator

CaribouOver at Vox this morning Brad Plumer reports, São Paulo Is the 7th Largest City in the World. And It’s About to Run Out of Water. It is experiencing “the worst drought in eight decades.” It really is bad: the city’s reservoirs are down to 5% of their capacity and there have been intermittent and widespread water outages. The proximate cause is that the region has received only 40% of the rainfall it normally does and the water utility had refused to implement water rationing, preferring anemic “free market” measures.

As for the more substantive reasons for the drought, Climate Central points to global warming and deforestation, which of course are related. Right now, here in California, we are in a similar situation. And in our case, it seems to be all global warming. Historical correlations between temperature in precipitation in the vast majority of the United States is negative — and it is particularly so here in California.

My concerns about global warming has always been focused on rainfall. The evil irony is that a warmer world will produce more rain, but it does so primarily over the oceans. So there are potentially devastating effects on agriculture, and those effects are going to harm the United States a lot. As for California, I won’t be surprised at all if in a hundred years, it is a ghost state because we just don’t have the water to support 38 million people. But I’m surprised that São Paulo is being so affected. It is on the edge of a forest and close to the coast. But that’s the thing about all the carbon we’ve pumped into the atmosphere — it is an experiment we are conducting on the planet, and we have little idea just how it is going to work out in its specifics.

CaribouMeanwhile, Andrea Thompson at Climate Central reported, Hot News: 2014 On Track to Become Warmest Year. It follows from an announcement by the National Climatic Data Center that following September being the warmest on record that we are “likely” to see 2014 be the warmest year. Even if the last three months are just as warm as the average of the years 2000 – 2013, it will tie with the warmest year.

But it is madness that we are even talking about this. Forget 2014. The warmest year on record: 2010. Second warmest: 2005. Third warmest: 1998. This last one is the only non-21st century year on the list of the ten warmest years on record. I’m again reminded of the caribou. The lack of wolves caused the species to get over-populated in Newfoundland. The caribou were so successful that they were destroying their habitat and starving, so wolves had to be reintroduced.

We need some wolves, but not to keep our population in check. We need wolves to keep our global capitalism in check. I’m not saying that we need to harm the economy. We are not turning a blind eye to global warming because the people or even the capitalists generally want that. We are doing it because there is one industry that has a huge incentive to stop us from doing anything about global warming: the fossil fuel industry. And they have enormous resources to create doubt. So yes, we are destroying the planet because about ten thousand people all over the world want to hang onto their current profits, which are almost all dependent upon externalities.

Any individual human would behave better. The current conservative line on global warming would be seen as irrational in an individual. Consider a man who said, “Unless you can prove to me that I’m going to die before my children are grown, I’m not going to buy any life insurance!” And the same conservatives who say we can’t do anything about global warming unless we know, also say that they must be allowed to carry a gun with them at all times just in case. I understand the philosophical thread: conservatives don’t believe in collective action. But the fact remains that we all have far more to worry about regarding global warming than we do lone gunmen. (Or black helicopters!)

America Is Afraid of Everything

Cable Hysteria - US vs Canada

This image comes from Digby, Exceptionally Hysterical. What it shows is the coverage of yesterday’s shooting at the Canadian Parliament. On the left is CNN with, “Terrified Capital.” I’m sorry: “TERRIFIED CAPITAL.” On the right is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with, “Soldier Dies After Parliament Hill Attack, Gunman Also Shot Dead.” Stark difference.

What’s sad is that if I had only told you the headlines, you would have known: the first was from some American outlet. Even right now, The New York Times headline is, After Shooting, Fear and Anxiety Take Over Ottawa. And you would have known that the second headline was from some other country where they still report the news. Right now, the CBC headline is, Ottawa Shooting: A Day of Chaos Leaves Soldier, Gunman Dead.

I have a message for my fellow Americans: stop being such pussies. Constantly flying into fits of terror does not make us look tough. It makes us look like frightened children. As Russell Saunders noted yesterday, “As of this writing, the number of patients diagnosed with Ebola in the United States can be counted on one hand, and the number who have died on one finger.” Is there no threat too small that we won’t freak out?! If Malia gets a paper cut, will the headlines read, “BLOOD FLOWS IN THE WHITE HOUSE”?

The situation in Canada is pretty clear. There was a violent person who the Canadian government already knew about. He killed a man, which is sad in a general sense and a tragedy for those close to him. And now the violent man is dead. It doesn’t mean planes are heading for our skyscrapers. No black helicopters coming. No Ebola epidemic.

But you know what? There are 10,000 germs on every square inch of your skin! What’s more, every year, over two million children under the age of 5 die of diarrheal diseases. If I were you, I’d get to the bathroom fast. Not only can you vigorously wash your hands over and over again, it will also hide you away so that the rest of the world won’t have to see what cowards Americans are! This is why we spend on our military just under what the rest of the world combined spends: because we are terrified of a fair fight. Because we are the few, the arrogant, the pussies.

Here’s Johnny!

Johnny CarsonOn this day in 1925, the comedian Johnny Carson was born. When I was a kid — a little kid, because my parents were, well, permissive — I liked him well enough on The Tonight Show. Unlike the adults who watched the show, I liked it more when there were guest hosts. Two of my favorites were David Letterman and David Brenner. But I thought that Carson was funny. I enjoyed watching his show. Of course, I remember thinking that Bob Hope specials were so funny and when I’ve had a chance to see them as an adult, I’ve been horrified. (The movies are just fine.)

But Carson did tell one of the funniest jokes I have ever heard. It involves our current governor who just so happens to have been our governor then. In case you didn’t know it, Brown had a reputation for being, well, very California. People referred to him as “Governor Moonbeam.” Having told you that, I will just quote from last year’s birthday post:

The Democratic National Convention was going on. Jerry Brown had run for president and he came in a distant third. But he was still an important presence at the convention. Carson said (more or less), “A reporter ask Brown if it bothered him that a lot people thought he was a new age hippy. And Brown responded, ‘Well, you give good karma out, you get good karma back.'” Okay, that’s a solid joke. But it died. Carson got nothing from the audience. So he ad libbed, “How about: he said it while meditating on ten pounds of raw liver?” I died. To this day, I think it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. No one agrees with me. I guess you had to be there.

Carson started doing magic as a young man. He continued with it through college before thinking better of it. But he clearly never lost his interest as you could see on the show where he often booked magicians — often even good ones. And of course, there was my absolute favorite part of his show, Carnac the Magnificent. The best part of this clip is when Carnac says that he needs quiet and Ed McMahon says, “You’re getting a lot of it tonight.”

I could give you an overview of Carson’s rise to fame, but there really is nothing more boring than than the stories of people who worked in radio and the early days of television. It is always the same, “He did one thing here and then he moved and did a different thing there and then he was at yet another place doing yet another thing.” It ends with, “And in 1962, he reluctantly took over The Tonight Show.” And he did the show until 1992 when they gave it to Jay Leno. Leno, you may recall from the early days of Late Night With David Letterman. That was when Leno worked as a comedian. By the time he took over The Tonight Show, Leno was working in another medium that I could never quite figure out. Carson, on the other hand, could always make me laugh. Here’s a parody of Columbo that I rather like:

Happy birthday Johnny Carson!