Posts Tagged ‘liberals’

“[Maxine Waters] is one of the most self-serving, hate-filled, race-obsessed politicians in America. [And] the Democratic Party doesn’t just embrace her. It kneels at her feet.” — Michelle Malkin

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has been in the news of late, due to accusations of ethics violations being leveled against her and investigated by the House Ethics Committee. While formal charges have yet to be announced, she is accused of inappropriately using her influence to get favorable treatment (i.e., a $12 million bailout in TARP funds) for minority-owned OneUnited Bank, where she and her husband just happened to have substantial investments. (It seems that the bank had been heavily invested in Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, so it was hit REAL hard when the government “intervened” in those corporations in 2008.) What’s more, her husband was once on the bank’s board of directors.

This isn’t the first time Waters has aided businesses with links to her family, either, to their mutual benefit. A 2004 L.A. Times article claimed that her relatives — e.g., son Edward and daughter Karen — profited to the tune of over $1 million (over 8 years) from Maxine’s connections. She indignantly denies any wrongdoing in all cases, of course. (She even manages, in this latest case, to turn it around and imply racism by President Bush’s administration.) But, that’s not the focus of this post.

Maxine Waters speaking from a podiumI don’t know about you, but I didn’t really know much about Congresswoman Waters. Sure, I knew she is Black, quite liberal, outspoken, and influential. But, beyond that, she’s never really been on my radar before. Now she is, and I’ve found out a few things that give me a much better idea of who & what she is.

Before being elected to Congress in 1991, Ms. Waters served for 15 years in the California State Assembly. While there, she campaigned for divestment of state pension funds from the then-apartheid nation of South Africa. A noble cause. Since being elected to the House of Representatives for California’s 35th District, Waters has… well… not done much of benefit. Sure, as a good liberal, she fights for “social justice” and housing and education issues, etc. But many of the bills she tends to sponsor or vote for (e.g., Obamacare; the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009) and other things she gets in the news for (e.g. the debate over King Drew Medical Center; the current ethics hearings) do more damage, in my opinion, than good. (She was one of thirteen (i.e., one-third) Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members to vote against the DISCLOSE Act, but only because she/they couldn’t stomach the NRA exemption.)

Five years ago, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Los Angeles honored Maxine Waters with the Martin Luther King Legacy Award. Are you kidding me?! Based on what I’ve read/seen of how Waters and her fellow race-baiters in “black leadership” (e.g., Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) have co-opted MLK’s name and twisted his dream, I daresay Rev. King shook his head in dismay & exasperation when he looked “down from above” on that award banquet.

In order to get a better feel for Representative Waters’ attitudes and positions, let me bring a few issues and events to your attention.

During the 1992 riots that devastated so much of the 35th District in South Central Los Angeles, the livelihoods of thousands of Waters’ constituents were ruined by looting and arson. Did Waters publicly condemn the violence or take the rioters to task? On the contrary, she tried to defend the criminals by renaming & reframing what happened.

If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable.” So, what did she call it? A “rebellion… a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration.”

In case that wasn’t enough justification, Waters added some pathos with statements such as:

There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes. Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but the atmosphere was such that they did it. They are not crooks.”

Look, I understand there’s something about getting caught up in a “mob mentality”, but people still have free will whether or not to participate. Does Ms. Waters believe that two wrongs can make a right? If so, then how does stealing TVs (or shoes), raiding liquor stores & local markets, setting fire to stores & cars, and other riot-related crimes help one “deal with”, let alone correct, injustice? Did any of it benefit Rodney King? Does the insertion of a “race factor” make it excusable? Why didn’t she stick up for the many Koreans whose shops were ransacked and/or destroyed by rioters? (Perhaps she did so later, but it obviously wasn’t her first instinct.) I don’t get it, but maybe it’s just that “progressive logic” I don’t understand….

Waters is also of the ilk that believe nefarious conspiracies have been perpetrated by certain governmental parties upon her “people”. For example, she believes that the drug epidemic in urban America can be blamed on the CIA who (apparently) created the problem by encouraging drug use in the inner cities. No matter that Blacks are not the only ones affected by the drug epidemic. (And make no mistake — being Black trumps all in Waters’ mind.) No matter that there is no rational explanation for why the CIA would do such a thing. No matter that this theory was exposed as a hoax by the Washington Post, L.A. Times, and New York Times, among many others. Waters still clings to this ridiculous theory because it fits with her philosophy of minorities (particularly Blacks) being forever victimized by the powerful and more privileged.

If I never do anything else in this career as a member of Congress,” she vowed, “I’m going to make somebody pay for what they’ve done to my community and to my people.”

Then, there is Waters’ support for escaped cop-killer Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Olugbala Shakur), a former leader of the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army. Chesimard didn’t just shoot NJ State Trooper Werner Foerster once; she shot him again at point-blank range to finish the job. That was in 1973, and Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison for Foerster’s death, plus armed robbery and other felonies. She escaped in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba, where Fidel Castro gave her political asylum. Congress passed a resolution urging her extradition to America. But, Rep. Waters took it upon herself to personally write Castro to plead for extended asylum for Chesimard. She even had the gall to compare Chesimard to Martin Luther King, claiming “She was persecuted as a result of her political beliefs and affiliations.”

No, Maxine! Chesimard is a dangerous militant who shot a man in cold blood (among other crimes). She deserves to be thrown back in an American high-security prison. Better yet, give her the death penalty. But, Castro took pity on poor, persecuted Ms. Chesimard, and she still lives in Cuba to this day. Meanwhile, there have been several extradition pleas, and in 2005 the FBI classified her a “domestic terrorist” and began offering $1 million for assistance in her capture. Sadly, she has become somewhat of a folk hero to the hip-hop community — partly because of her “cause,” partly because of her being the step-aunt of the late Tupac Shakur. But, I digress…

Maxine Waters speaks out

Maxine Waters speaks out (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oh, yeah. Is it any surprise that Rep. Waters thinks Castro is the bees knees, too?

Here is what Michelle Malkin wrote about Waters 10 years ago:

This is a woman who danced the electric slide with Crips and Bloods gang members, and then noted in her official biography that ‘Many young people, including those in the hip-hop music community, praise her for her fearless support and understanding of young people and their efforts at self-expression.’

This is a woman who visited the home of Damian Williams, the infamous thug who ‘expressed himself’ by hurling a chunk of concrete at white truck driver Reginald Denny and performing a victory dance over the innocent bystander.

This is a woman who rose to power by badmouthing the white ‘Establishment,’ and then shamelessly abused it to secure an ambassadorship to the Bahamas for her husband -– a former pro football player and car salesman whose main qualification was having traveled to the island for a vacation.

This is a woman who repeatedly excoriates ‘the white press’ whenever negative stories about black politicians appear.”

Not much has changed, apparently.

Of course, Waters includes many liberal/progressive causes in her repertoire, as well. She consistently votes for human embryonic stem-cell research and against anything that would ban or otherwise restrict any form of abortion. She is for anything that furthers the gay agenda. She never met a bailout or stimulus package she didn’t like. She supports any legislation backed by the climate change alarmists. She has an aversion to free-trade agreements. She loves gun control and the idea of suing makers & sellers of guns. Open borders and looser immigration policies are just fine by Ms. Waters. The AFL-CIO gives her a 100% pro-union voting record. Like many of her fellow “progressives”, Waters appears to have an affinity for socialistic policies, having expressed, for example, her desire to nationalize all U.S. oil companies. You get the picture, right?

Not surprisingly, Waters is also an outspoken anti-war critic. As chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus, she has been on the frontlines not only pushing for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq but making accusations against President Bush and trying to get V.P. Cheney impeached for supposed “false statements” about the war.

The president is a liar. Dick Cheney, the chief architect of the Big Lie, is not only a liar, he is a thief.”

What do the Beltway watchdogs think of Representative Waters? The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) listed her among the corrupt members of Congress in its 2005, 2006, & 2009 reports. She has an affinity for earmarks, too. The Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month. Why, specifically? Waters tried to get federal funds earmarked for the “Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.”

Maxine Waters glares at someone

Glaring Maxine Waters (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Maxine Waters is a powerful player in Washington, with extremely few in her own party willing to take her on, particularly when there’s an opportunity for her to play the race card. Joe Lieberman tried it. He once expressed some “reservations about affirmative action” and gave “tentative support to school vouchers” (which would benefit minority children, by the way). Fairly moderate positions, all in all. When Lieberman got put on the 2000 Democratic ticket for V.P., Ms. Waters demanded to know why she hadn’t first been consulted on the matter and insisted that Lieberman “explain” himself before the black caucus of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). As a result, Lieberman effectively backed off from his earlier statements in order to get the support of Waters and her compatriots. That is, he was bullied into submission.

Whether Congresswoman Waters is found guilty of the current ethics charges or not, let’s be clear. This woman is the epitome of black racism & elitist progressivism in American politics. She has been peddling her race-baiting garbage and double standards in & from the House for nearly 20 years, and she needs to go.

My next couple posts continue a theme begun in my earlier posts regarding Larry F. Sternberg’s book Why Jews Should NOT Be Liberals (2001, rev. 2006). If you haven’t read them, please do; then come right back here.

Liberals love to quote statistics that demonstrate great differences in income between classes in the U.S. The fact that statistics actually show increasing improvements — e.g., almost one-third of poor families in 1975 had moved to the top brackets by 1991 (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas report) — doesn’t stop them from complaining that the system only works for a lucky (or corrupt) few.

Thomas Sowell in his office

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell in The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy
points out another argument used by liberals to emphasize class differences. There is a class of people, the “benighted,” that require the superior wisdom of the “anointed” to carry on with their lives. Whatever their problems may be — poverty, irresponsible sex, crime, inability to rise above their inborn status — are all caused by society and therefore must be remedied by society, and not through individual efforts. There is increasing recognition among thinking and perceptive black Americans, such as Sowell, that one of the results of all of the myriad of welfare programs has been to create a “dependent class” that is easy prey for those politicians regarded as the benevolent grantors of government’s largess.

Judge Robert Bork writes that modern liberals think in terms of groups, not individuals. A free society such as America will always produce disparities in success and achievement, but liberals appeal more to class envy, rather than truly encouraging individual effort….

In making their case, liberals, either purposely or not, attempt with some success to pit class against class in this country. By grouping people into classes, such as black, Hispanic, gay, poor, or females, liberals seek to create an antagonism for one group against all others who seem to be doing better than they are. Bork writes that envy shapes our political culture, and the thrust of the liberals is to bring down the more fortunate instead of encouraging those below to rise to higher levels.

Liberals, who on the one hand are great defenders of individual liberty when it comes to satisfying any personal desires, seem to forget that we as individuals are members of a group only by someone’s definition. There are good and bad within any group. One of the big mistakes in trying to solve problems through government action is that people are not treated as individuals, but rather, are included as members of a group whether they like it or not. The result is that because there are such great differences between people, one cannot apply the same remedy to all and expect successful outcomes.”

I wish Sternberg had given a nicely illustrative case in point here. Oh, well…

Judaism recognizes that there are differences in people, in their status in life and their incomes, but stresses that they all must be treated with equal justice. “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favour the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15) The notes to Soncino Pentateuch make the point that [neither the poor nor the rich shall be given special favors when he is in the wrong]….

Certainly the implication of this is that each case must be considered on its own merits, each person as an individual, regardless of his status in life. Justice requires no less than this. No mention is made of classifying people in groups, other than to describe them in general, but there is to be no special treatment for them because of their being so described. The notion that members of one class owe something to those of another class is so contrary to Judaism that it is amazing that the idea has not been more strongly challenged by our Jewish leaders.”

Note the middle of that last paragraph. Sternberg indicates that it isn’t the classifying of people in groups for descriptive purposes, per se, that is objectionable. No harm in that, really, as long as they are fair groupings and non-pejorative descriptions. The problem is when people are given “special treatment” — and in a one-size-fits-all manner, even when inappropriate — because of the group they have been assigned to. In the next post, Sternberg (and we) will look at why this should be particularly alarming for Jews.

Have you ever been a member of a group (e.g., Boy Scouts, Democratic Party, teachers’ union), or do you self-identify with some group (e.g., skeptics/ agnostics, Christians, political conservatives)? I suspect the answer is, “Yes, several.”

diverse group of people

Multi-ethnic, possibly mult- other stuff, group of people

Now, have you ever seen or heard someone from your group — or, at least, whom outsiders associate as part of your group — saying/doing something stupid, repugnant, or otherwise embarrassing? Yeah, me too.

Sometimes the offending party is someone who holds to the same ideas & principles as you and the rest of your group and who is normally a “fine, upstanding member.” But, something just sets them off on this particular occasion and you wish they would just shut up and go home. Or, maybe, it turns out the individual has a particular vice or, er, shortcoming that suddenly gets some attention. Once in awhile, though, there is some far-xxxxx radical or idiot or nutjob who is singled out by the media and gives your whole group a bad name. I hate when that happens. (OK, ok, I “strongly dislike” when that happens. Don’t want to be labeled a “hater”.)

For me, as far as the first type goes, it might be someone like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. I don’t follow either of them closely, but I’ve read at least one book by each, and when I hear/read them or about something they’ve said, I generally agree. Their styles occasionally grate on me, but we’re basically on the same page on most things. But, once in awhile, they will say or do something that will make me cringe that was, shall we say, tactically unwise, at best. (At least in the way it was phrased.) For example, Limbaugh’s addiction to prescription drugs or Coulter’s remarks about the 9/11 widows “enjoying” their husbands’ deaths. Groan!

As for the second, more radical type, I think of people like the “Christian” militia group who are currently in the news, or the Westboro Baptist Church whose members are always showing up & getting on camera with their signs & placards that says stuff like “God Hates Fags!” (I’m not Baptist, but I’ve known quite a few, and none of them were hatemongers like this crowd.) Now, I may actually agree on a couple very basic points with both of these two groups — uh oh, I’m in trouble now — but their rather extremist views (especially on certain topics) and activities are not something I can agree with or, in good conscience, condone. I’m sure other examples come to your mind, as well.

But, of course, the media love to jump on it, the bloggers eat it up, and those who hold opposing positions to yours will paint your whole group with the same broad brush. It’s frustrating and sometimes makes you want to scream, “I’m not one of them! I don’t hold that view, so don’t lump me in with those morons!”

I was trying to think of what an equivalent example might be for someone who is “on the other side of the aisle” from me politically, theologically, philosophically, etc. It’s not easy, especially when there are so many far-Lefties in both federal government and the news & entertainment industries embracing, literally and figuratively, Communist dictators like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. Is the “average” Democrat or liberal as disturbed by this as I am?

One possible example is those more “reserved” homosexuals who are exasperated by some of the antics of the “flamers” and more in-your-face activists. Another possibility is when one of the “New Atheists” (e.g., Christopher Hitchens or Sam Harris) makes some incredibly scathing comment about the evils of religion or mocks & impugns some revered religious person. (On politics, I actually agree with Hitchens on a lot, while we are diametrically opposed on many (most?) theological/philosophical issues.) I know some atheists and agnostics that just shake their heads or roll their eyes at such provocative and, yes, judgmental comments. Any other examples you all can think of?

I guess what I’m getting at, here, is that we all need to be careful. Next time you are tempted to latch onto some wingnut’s comments or actions and accuse his/her broader ideological “community”, if you will, of being totally likeminded, take a step back. (Unless, of course, there is plenty of other evidence indicating that’s the case.) Remember how you have felt in a similar case and refrain, or at least temper or qualify your own remarks and conclusions. Or, to put it another way, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I’ll try to do the same.

…Still Stinks! (with apologies to Bill Shakespeare)

OK, I admit it. I reeeaaallllyy don’t like ACORN. Sure, many of their causes seem good on the surface: helping people get loans and affordable housing, helping them get out to vote, lobbying for better wages and healthcare, etc. It is their far-Left ideology, which naturally informs just how they try to accomplish these goals, which is the problem. (Fixing street lamps is OK, though.) And that would be bad enough, if it weren’t for the corruption, deception, and generally questionable activity that many in the ACORN family are apparently guilty of.

Fake ACORN logo

ACORN Logo (not the real one, of course)

ACORN’s spokesman says, “[W]e are starting to win some vindication on the facts.” I don’t know about the mismanagement charges, but I’m pretty sure the evidence of voter registration fraud is strong, and it has been going on for years. And we all saw or heard the ACORN reps telling the undercover couple how to get housing assistance and skirt federal tax laws while running their new brothel of underage Salvadoran girls. Hard to deny that. (I think all of the ACORN employees from the videos have been fired.)

Of course, we have to be careful not to paint them all with too broad a brush. I am willing to grant there may be some individuals, even groups, within the ACORN network who are as appalled (or nearly so) as I am at the unethical behavior that some of their cohorts have demonstrated.

That being said, certain comments were made in this article (and elsewhere) that reminded of something I have touched on before. When caught and confronted with doing something they shouldn’t, certain types of people — individuals and groups — immediately turn accusations back on the accuser. In this case, the ACORN organization (or, at least, certain people within it) was revealed to be doing and condoning some rather serious things that were illegal and unethical. Regardless of any questions about the confidentiality of the recordings — isn’t that supposed to be for the protection of the “client”, anyway? — or whether the “pimp” was wearing a “pimp suit” — if he wasn’t, wouldn’t that work in his favor? –, the accusations appear pretty well-substantiated that they are, indeed, guilty of those things. As a result, ACORN was publicly embarrassed (though, perhaps not as much as they should have been) and they lost a lot of public and government support.

So, what do they do? ACORN’s spokespersons and other advocates point the finger at those mean right-wingers who caused the problems by shedding light on what they were doing. This is accompanied by counter-allegations against the specific individuals — in this case the undercover journalists, who are accused of felonious filmmaking and conservative propagandist editing — and, of course, the requisite comparisons to McCarthyism. (Not surprisingly, racism is among the accusations, too.) It reminds me of the kid whose parents discover drugs in his room and confront him about it. First thing he does is to lash back at his parents for “snooping” and violating his privacy. They, of course, were in the right, and he was guilty of wrongdoing.

As usual with these things, I wonder what ACORN’s leaders/spokespersons would have said if the people that exposed them were of a center-left leaning….

I attribute this sort of reaction by ACORN (and others) to 1) a lack of a strong moral base, including the disposition to put ideology over ethics; and 2) the ever-present abdication of personal responsibility. “[T]hese range of attacks do damage to your brand and your good name.” Right. And the rampant fraud & corruption, among other things, had nothing to do with it.

So,… as previously reported, the ACORN affiliates are supposedly going their own ways and under new names. For example, we now have:

  • Chicago-based ACORN Housing becoming Affordable Housing Centers of America.
  • California ACORN becoming Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
  • New York ACORN becoming New York Communities for Change.

Other affiliates will follow, though some (e.g., Maryland ACORN) have simply ceased operations. But, rumor has it ACORN proper may be trying the same renaming/rebranding tactic before long.

However, according to the article, “while their names are different, most groups have kept the same offices and staff.” But, insists the leader of the housing group (both old & new versions), “We really have no relationship with ACORN whatsoever.” Really? The breakaway groups also claim they now have “tougher ethics rules and better management…. [W]e’ve put reforms in place and what you saw on the video can never happen again.”

I’m sorry. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt. But, the complex interconnectedness of the ACORN network, its history of unethical behavior, and the far-Left agenda all make me just a bit too skeptical. A nice, fresh name and revamped playbook ain’t gonna cut it. In fact, the phrase that comes to my mind is, to quote the President, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”

UPDATE 3/20/2010: The NY Times has now published an article discussing this subject. Here is an excerpt that exemplifies what I was saying above:

Bertha Lewis, the chief executive of Acorn, said in an e-mail message that her organization’s problems were the result of “a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right-wing attacks” reminiscent of the McCarthy era.

“Our effective work empowering African-American and low-income voters made us a target,” she said. “And the videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to a rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress.”