Home > Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Lies > No, They’re Not Equivalent

No, They’re Not Equivalent

April 26th, 2014

After hyping Cliven Bundy for more than a week as being some kind of outstanding folk hero, conservatives were sent scrambling into damage control mode when Bundy suddenly started spouting rather racist comments on camera. Most of them loudly condemned what Bundy said—good for them!—but they are complaining even more loudly that liberals are taking advantage of the situation, unfairly smearing conservatives and the Republican Party in general.

One tack is to complain that liberals get away with such statements all the time, and are never criticized in the media when they go racist. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer:

[W]hat I find fascinating as the chief spokesman for Republican Party is when a guy with a problem with cattle grazing and discussion about the size of government and overreach of the federal government makes a comment, every reporter calls the Republican National Committee asking for comment. But yet when similar incidents happen time and time again on the left, there is zero coverage, absolutely zero.“

”Just this week Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democratic governor of Illinois, president’s home state, made anti-Semitic Jewish and black comments and there was zero discussion until last night when CNN picked it up,“ he continued. ”But, the rest of the national media, a sitting Democratic governor does anti-Semitic comments that were offensive to Republicans and blacks and there was no coverage. So, while I’m willing to call out time and time again anyone who uses inappropriate language and RNC has gotten — time and time again we’re asking from student council elections to county officials … but when similar instance have happened on the left – zero, zero, zero coverage….

His key example is Democratic (kudos to Spicer for getting the adjectival correct!) Gov. Pat Quinn, who, according to Spicer, “made anti-Semitic Jewish and black comments.” These are supposedly more or less equivalent to Bundy’s comments.

So let’s see if this is true. What comments did Quinn make?

Umm, actually, he made no such comment. The incident being reported was about a tweet made by his campaign staff, in the campaign’s Twitter account (separate from the governor’s). So, what was the racist, anti-black, and anti-Semitic tweet?

“If Rauner is willing to throw his own money away like this, what’s he going to do when he gets his hands on ours?” http://t.co/a1vAS0cChl

Umm… doesn’t seem really racist. Who is Rauner? A white Republican candidate running against Quinn. But hey, maybe the article is totally racist. The tweet does not endorse the article, just quotes from it, but I suppose it could be considered and implied endorsement. Click on the link, and you’ll find an article in the Chicago Sun-Times written by Neil Steinberg, which contains the quote. The quote is the last sentence in the article. So, what’s the article about?

The article is a scathing criticism of a woman named Hermene Hartman, a woman who publishes a periodical for the African-American community. According to Steinberg, Hartman was given $51,000 from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, and, allegedly, wrote a glowing piece about Rauner in exchange for the money.

It’s certainly a serious charge, albeit one of relatively minor importance. But how is that anti-black, and anti-Semitic?

It is because of this part of the article, in the first three paragraphs:

“The machine,” political guru Don Rose said, years ago, “could get 30 percent of the black votes for George Wallace over Martin Luther King.”

Though we don’t have to raise hypotheticals. When the actual Dr. King actually did bring his open occupancy marches to Chicago, there was no shortage of black aldermen willing to rise in City Council and denounce King as an unwelcome outsider, their strings pulled by Richard J. Daley.

Let me be clear: As a general rule, individuals will sell out the interests of their groups in return for personal benefit. It isn’t just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they’d be the last to go.

Ah! OK, there’s the Jewish connection. If you read conservative comments, the conclusion is that the emphasized statement above from the article is saying that blacks are like Nazis, and the whole thing is anti-Semitic.

Umm, really? First of all, Steinberg did not say that black people are like Nazis, but rather that in any community, you will find people who will sell out their own, as some Jews did in WWII. And, sadly, it did happen—some Jews did indeed collaborate with the Nazis (examples here, here, and here).

What, exactly, is anti-black and anti-Semitic about that? It’s a scathing indictment of one woman and allegedly some unspecified others, but not of black people in general. The writer is careful not to label this as only a black issue. And while pointing out that Jewish Nazi collaborators existed is not exactly the most politic thing to do during Passover, it is not false, either.

So, what do we have here?

On the one hand, Cliven Bundy, which most of the conservative community was hyping as a hero to their cause, giving him massive coverage and a national platform few every enjoy, standing in front of a camera and saying that “Negroes” who got abortions and “put” their young men in jail never learned to “pick cotton” and would be happier as slaves. When asked later if he really meant that, he repeated it.

On the other hand, you have, not even the Democratic governor of Illinois, who is little-known and not highly-praised, but a campaign staffer for the governor, tweeting a quote from an article which was not racist at all, but in the opposite end of the article, a statement was made which said that every community including the African-American community has sell-outs, and used Jewish collaborators from WWII as an example.

Yeah, I totally see why it’s reasonable to be outraged at how the national media did not treat these two stories in a similar fashion.

This is what happens when you delve into claims of equivalency made by conservatives when they get all defensive: the truth is nothing like they portray it to be. They just lie, and hope that nobody looks too closely at their claims.

Categories: Right-Wing Hypocrisy, Right-Wing Lies Tags: by
  1. Matthew
    April 26th, 2014 at 20:49 | #1

    Your final sentence is a perfect summation of republicans and the conservative right in American politics.

    “They just lie, and hope that nobody looks too closely at their claims.”

    This is why I hate the Republican Party and conservative ideology. They lie and lie and lie. And by doing it so much and so often they have poisoned the whole political process in the usa.

  2. Luis
    April 26th, 2014 at 21:04 | #2

    Matthew:

    One way they do that is to keep the lies coming, strong and fast. I’ve seen this innumerable times on discussion panels, where they bring up either vague or little-known innuendo to “prove” their point, citing two or three things every minute or so that they speak. This means of spreading falsehoods has two advantages: (1) by being vague or citing little-known factoids, the chances that someone else on the panel can refute them is slim to none; and even if someone can do that once in a while, (2) the rapid-fire laying down of such falsehoods makes it very difficult for anyone to refute everything, or even more than a small chunk of it. And if someone begins to do that, just pivot into another lie.

    Sadly, many of these people probably don’t even think that what they are shoveling is even a lie—there’s a grapevine of email and web sites which propagates this stuff, and people who spread these things probably never bother to actually check them out, but instead repeat them blindly. Kind of like the creationist community and their claims against evolution and modern cosmology (against which, the scientific community has made a really great website).

  3. Troy
    April 27th, 2014 at 01:57 | #3

    People want to believe easy, self-serving lies rather than hard truths.

    Carter attempted to preach a realistic philosophy and 50.8% of the electorate liked Reagan’s message more.

    Evangelical christians teach we are the special creations of a loving Father God who supernaturally protects and fortifies us, while science just says we are the agglomeration of billions of years of DNA transcription errors and that the meaning of life is to reproduce and then die to make way for the next generation.

    We need a colossal amount of redistribution in the US; Japan is maybe not so bad off (at least Tokyo isn’t as bad off, don’t know about the rest of the country all that much). But the 1% has got ~50% of the electorate to defend them from the predations of leftist shared-wealth ideologies.

    Even the term ‘leftist’ alone sends 50% of the population looking for the smelling salts.

    Thing is, there’s not enough farmland here for everyone to have 160 productive acres like Bundy has — 160 acres for every household in the US would require us finding farmland with the area of TEN TIMES the “lower 48″ surface area.

    Not that we all need to be farmers, but with labor of this country being gutted due to NAFTA and automation:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=yGL

    red line is 1/6 of the workforce age 15-64

    blue line is total manufacturing + information + military employment, showing we’re off 17M jobs from the trend we had in the 1980s.

    Japan’s depopulation story this century makes for different dynamics. I am hopeful it will be more positive for people, though the economic transition from youth-oriented (like it was in the go-go 1960s ~ 1990s) to elderly-oriented is not going to be easy or smooth.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LFWA24TTJPM647N

    is Japanese age 15-24.

  4. Troy
    April 27th, 2014 at 02:07 | #4

    That last graph looks dire, but adding Germany in red:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=yGM

    Japan and Germany have roughly the same land area, so that adds some perspective on how overcrowded Japan became in the 20th century.

    That they managed to more or less win that century economically is a testament to their collective work ethic and luck in being at the right place at the right time.

    Per that graph, there’s no shortage of young people in Japan in the absolute sense, so Tokyo and the other major urban centers will still be able to import what they need.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=yGO

    shows 15-24 young adult has fallen from 1/5th the population in 1970 to 1/10th now.

    Seems like that’d be good for their employment prospects, outside of youth areas like teaching etc.

  5. Troy
    April 27th, 2014 at 10:25 | #5

    now I’ve gone completely off topic here!

    I’m a big fan of athome.co.jp and they’ve just improved their commercial search feature:

    http://www.athome.co.jp/rent/03/

    allowing me to find this store space in Shibuya:

    http://www.athome.co.jp/jr_03/dtl_4827591701

    First floor, adjacent to the Apple store, $7000/mo!

    30m2 might seem cramped for my own store, but my shopping concept is to do a catalog-like import shopping experience, with a try-before-you-buy sampling policy, kinda like FBC but with better choices (according to me – if you’re going to pay to import, why import crap?).

    $233/day doesn’t seem out of line for such a high-traffic location.

    5-10 sales a day to cover the rent more or less ($100+ orders, ~20% net margin)

    Then again 30m2 is pretty tiny I guess. But the location!

    90m2 out in Hibarigaoka is $9000/mo:

    http://www.athome.co.jp/jr_03/dtl_6954224622

    I’m much more confident of this working with a presence in the heart of Shibuya vs. the heart of Hibarigaoka, though marketing to only foreigners in Japan is a tough business I’d guess.

  6. Matthew
    April 27th, 2014 at 10:30 | #6

    Just for kicks I visited info wars. It was hilarious. The coments are epic. How the usa gets back to reality I have no idea.

  7. Luis
    April 27th, 2014 at 10:35 | #7

    Matthew: Hoo! I just visited there too, forgot about that place. It’s like swimming in The Crazy, isn’t it?

    Troy: Yeah, the search there is pretty good. Not as slick as Zillow in the US though.

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