Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

March 20, 2010

What a Surprise: Racism at Tea Party Rally

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:18 pm

Any of you Tea Party types want to defend this? Any of you want to repudiate it?. I’ll be eager to see how many of you oh-so-vocal commenters are suddenly silent in the face of it. Or express some kind of denial. Silence equals complicity.


March 19, 2010

From Forbes: "The Misinformed Tea Party Movement"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 7:42 am

I’ve enjoyed my dialogue with the Tea Party because it’s given me an opportunity to confront them with their ignorance and see how they react (usually with more, crude, barely literate, ignorance, judging by the cowardly anonymous commenters) .). How to you deal with people so resolutely close minded. Well, you could pity them but that’s difficult because they’re generally so cruel and crude to others, like the guy with Parkinson’s Disease they ridiculed in the video linked to in my last post.

Or you could try to confront them with the facts that demonstrate their ignorance as Forbes conservative columnist Bruce Bartlett does in this startling piece of reporting on actual Tea Partiers’ embarrassing ignorance on the issue they claim for their own: taxes.

Here’ s just a sample of the ignorance a sampling of Tea Party demonstrators demonstrated just last weekend in their sad, sparsely attended “March on Washington”. And remember this comes from a well-known conservative columnist in a well known conservative media outlet:

“Tea Partiers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.

As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama’s stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800.”

Read it Tea Partiers, See if you don’t feel a little ashamed at your fellow TPers’ gross misinformation about your big issue. Are you guilty of the same ignorance? Perhaps if some of you who know how, would read–and research–rather than spew spittle-flecked slogans you might learn something.

What I can’t understand is how any intelligent person would want to be associated with this kind of ignorance.

I’m just here to help lead you back to the real world so you won’t regret making a spectacle of yourselves with your misinformation and your association with one of the most egregiously ignorant movements in American politics. It’s a service! Someday you’ll thank me.

March 18, 2010

The True Spirit of the Tea Party: Mocking a Sick Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:10 am

I hope all you Tea Partiers will use the comments section to repudiate

March 11, 2010

The Tea Party, "The Southern Strategy" and Race

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:06 am

The best recent elaboration of a relationship I’ve discussed recurrently here—race, the “Southern Strategy” and the racism that shows up in Tea Party commenters–can be found here.

For those Tea Partiers whose knowledge of history is, shall we say, circumscribed, here’s his adumbration of the relationionship beten the Tea Party and the race-based Southern Strategy:

“The insistence that the tea party movement is more about taxes, big government and personal freedoms is partly true. And many tea party people honestly believe it. But if you dig below the surface into the details underlying these banner themes, it’s not difficult to find that, yes, it’s about taxes — taxes on the rich to finance the extravagant lives of layabout welfare queens, or big government “ramming health care down our throats” as a means of slavery reparations to African Americans, and personal freedoms being stripped away by a liberal fascist Nazi who wants to give money and handouts to minorities in the form of health care subsidies and mortgage relief. You know, typical Nazi behavior. If I had a dollar for every Nazi who wanted to funnel government cash to immigrants and minorities…

It’s the subtext that gurgles just below the surface of these three topics that composes the tea party version of the Southern Strategy.

Developed by Republican strategists like Harry Dent and Pat Buchanan during the rebuilding of the GOP in the post Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act era, the Southern Strategy’s goal was to win over southern whites by demonizing blacks using subterfuge, dog whistles and coded language. As I mentioned last week, the late Republican mastermind Lee Atwater described the use of the Southern Strategy as being all about the use of “abstract” issues that imply race without explicitly using direct racial epithets or even the words “black” or “white.”

Atwater described some of the abstract issues of his era as “forced bussing” or taxes, and framing these issues in a way that subconsciously fuels white resentment towards blacks, and serves to coalesce white votes around Republican candidates. After all, Republicans will readily admit that trying to win over black voters has been a lost cause since LBJ, so why not exploit that loss by playing to white racial bias and thus locking down larger chunks of the white vote?”

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has made this link, as I have done so repeatedly. And I’m not the only one who has experienced first hand the proof in the form of barely coded, sometimes unashamed racist commenters. I really urge you to read the whole essay, you might see what the Tea Party and its enablers will look like in the perspective of history–and whether you want to be associated with it. Writer Bob Cesca makes the case that the true, barely-hidden ideology of grievance the Tea Partiers express is based on race. it’s not that they dislike Government so much. They sure seem to like Medicare: how many Tea Partiers have responded to my appeal for them to act on their ant-Government principles and pledge to refuse Medicare? Come on, Tea Partiers, it would reduce the deficit too! What’s that you sayyou don’t want to go about without health care insurance?

No the evidence of their inaction suggests they just dislike government when it seeks to help people not like them, the minorities they stereotype for instance.

Don’t believe me? Cesca reprints a typical comment he got to an earlier post on the subject from a typical Tea Partier (who sounds just like the commenters to my posts. I’m going to reprint it in full and ask you Tea Partiers out there (and their enablers) if you’d find anything here you wish to repudiate. If this is the kind of person you want to be in bed with, politically. If I don’t hear any repudiations, I’ll assume that this is how you think. (I know the barely literate style is how your write):

“The Tea Party is NOT about race, it is about me paying taxes to support every non contributing individual that has the ability to pro create. It is not my/our fault that the majority of NON contributors are minority. It is not my/our fault some refuse to learn English, thereby limiting their employment opportunities. Hell, the whole race thing is nothing but bullshit for losers such as Garafolo and yourself to capitalize on. Rest assured Booby Boy we no longer give a damn about what you think do or say The main reason the Tea Party exists is Obama’s Marxist/Socialistic COMMUNISTIC leanings that will ultimately cost me, part of the 50% that pays taxes, as opposed to the 50% that DON’T PAY!! An ideology that will transform this Country into a third world nation. Try having some honest debate Booby and you might gain cred. Until then you’re shining Garafolo’s shoes. Sounds to me like you may be an immigrant yourself with an axe to grind. Is that the case Booby? If so you can always go home! Careful moron that light you’re looking at is a train not the end of the tunnel……”

Yes, the Tea Party has certainly elevated political discourse in America. My sympathy to those who for either idealogical or opportunistic commercial reasons will be stained forever by association with them.

March 5, 2010

Christoph Waltz's Phony Nazi Cartoon Doesn't Deserve an Oscar

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 5:37 am

I’m sure he’ll win, because the members o the Academy are, for the most part, so ignorant of history (as attested to by giving the Oscar nomination to the loathsome production of The Reader last year). But that’s not the point.

The point is that everybody is hailing Waltz’ performance as if he had created a super, super sophisticated SS character–sophistication we’re supposed to be in awe of, a new kind of intellectual-friendly Nazi. But in fact this sophistication is about as convincing as Snidely Whiplash. It is only excusable if you can believe (and I’d like to believe) Tarantino (whose work I often admire) was mocking the Hollywood SS cliche. But if so I don’t think that’s why Waltz got the nomination. I think he got it because the Oscar voters in their ignorance bought its bogusness as if it were something real.

What’s worse is that it plays into one of the oldest, most misbegotten myths about the genocidal SS (they were in charge of the Final Solution): that they were somehow an elite, intellectual corps of esthetes compared with the other, more crude Nazis. We’re almost encouraged to admire him by the movie, he’s so (supposedly) charismatic and deeply complex and clever.

Please. I’m sure he’s a fantastic actor. I can’t blame him for doing a good job with the part that was written for him, but the part is a lame ahistorcal farce. The SS were crude, bloody mass murderers, not sophisticated esthetes. The Oscar voters seem to be imprisoned by some Hollywood version of the Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to confronting Nazi evil. Thus the nomination of the repellent Reader and now Waltz. They want to make absolute evil something they can understand and accept–relate to–through their impoverished vocabulary of film cliches. Sorry, evil of this magnitude cannot be contained or explained by such stunted impostures.

February 28, 2010

Times Plagiarist Uses Jeff Jarvis-isms to Defend His Practice in "The Age of Blogs"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 3:45 pm

You may have seen that The New York Times has suffered another plagiarism episode, this one on the part of one of its “Dealbook” financial bloggers. What was different about this one was the spin the admitted plagiarist put on his act. The vigilant Times-watch blog picked up this quote from the plagiarist, one that first appeared in the Greenwhich Time newspaper:

“I don’t know what to tell you,” the plagiarist said, “Things move so quickly on the Web that citing who had it first is something that is likely going away, especially in the age of blogs.”

He also is quoted thus: :

“For instance Dealbreaker and other blogs report on a lot of stories, but I don’t think anybody has ever cited them as being first with a particular scoop. I’ve had it happen to me a bunch of times at The Post and it really didn’t bother me because most readers just don’t care. They don’t read bylines and they don’t care about whether one paper cited a website or another paper in their stories.”

What struck me is that though media guru Jeff Jarvis is by no means an advocate of plagiarism, the new plagiarist defense is essentially to mouth Jarvis-like platitudes about how everything’s different in the brave new world of blogs and that information wants to be free and the story is no longer the unit of the new age of the web journalism with its “content-farms” ,and those poor souls who develop information into a story, i.e. connect the dots, not just throw them at the screen, don’t have any right to any proprietary feelings about what they craft.

Crediting people for their work is “going away” the plagiarist tells us, “readers don’t care” about by-lines so what’s the point of not stealing, right?

This guy has a brght future as a new media guru.

An Interesting Comment on Comments

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 2:48 pm

One of the first and best lessons about journalism, is one I learned from Nat Hentoff and the late Jack Newfield at the Village Voice. (Newfield spent decades crusading to get child-poisoning lead out of the paint in New York City public schools and housing before getting a strict law passed. You know the kind of evil regulation that represents tyranny to the Tea Partiers) )

Just keep at it, they’d say. Don’t let them of the hook. It’s not really my style or practice, I tend to jump from one subject to another but every once in a while I do find something to pre occupy me.

I haven’t felt that way about anything for a whle as I do, for instance about the Tea Partiers, the new Know Nothngs of our time.(look it up, Tea Partiers) the more you criticize them the more you learn about them, specifically how much in favor of the Consitution they supposedly are, until you use your First Amendment rights to criticize them. That’s one thing blogging allows: you can pursue a subject over time–not just in one story–pursue something until you’ve nailed it.

And I’ve made a point of a running commentary on blog commentary as well since it seems such a toxic social dynamic in the blogosphere as a whole. Anonymous abusive commenter cowards may not realize in what contemt theyre held in wdening circles of the blogosphere. I’m proud to have done my part.

Still, I don’t know if I agree with what Prof..Jeffrey Weintraub wrote in his blog about comments.Sure the can be so ignorant and repulsive they can mamke you e think human nature, nonetheless I think they’re very revealing, especially the ones by anonymous abusive cowards who can’t help showing the ugly, twisted mask of fear and hatred beneath their anonymity. But others, like Weintraub disagree. And it would probably good for some commenters to see how others see them, not just me.

So here’s his opening:

” Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Why I have never been tempted to activate the “comments” feature on my blog
Perhaps I’m being unfair or excessively finicky to say this, but my impression from reading blogs for almost a decade is that, as a general rule, the “comments” threads on most blogs tend to be dominated by junk that is useless at best–and often worse than that, since it’s common for them to fill up with mindless ranting and vituperation. There are occasional exceptions, and some blogs with well-established constituencies even manage to generate intelligent discussions in the “comments” threads. But, even for those blogs, keeping things from getting out of hand usually requires persistent and draconian policing of the “comments” to weed out postings and posters that go over the line (trolls, obsessives, bigots, conspiracy theorists, outright loonies, and so on). That strikes me as more time-consuming than it’s worth, though I can appreciate why other bloggers might feel differently.”

Something to keep in mind.

Who Are the "Tyrants"?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 8:23 am

An extremely thoughtul piece by NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen which discussed how journalists should cover the Tea Partiers claim of “impending tyranny”. I’m not sure I agree completely with him that an objective journalist needs to say how ridiculous the claim is, but the discussion and comments are valuable and thought provoking.

In fact, it is the Tea Partiers who the ones who seek to impose a kind of tyranny by seeking to crush dissent from their views. For all their reverence for the Founding Fathers, respect for the First Amendment right of free expression (something quite important to the Founding fathers)–even if it is vigorously critical free expression, like the Revolutionary War anti-tyranny pamphleteers–seems to have escaped them. As soon as they see anything critical of them, they want to see it banned.

Shame on them. I guess we’ll see if anyone is craven enough to cave to them.

February 26, 2010

How Many Children Will Develop Autism Because of Tea Party Hatred of Federal Regulation?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 1:13 pm

I hope all you Tea Partiers out there read this Nicholas Kristof column in the Times.

Read the whole thing. But there are two key quotes, one about a new study by a professor of pediatrics at one of America’s leading hospitals which strongly suggests exposure to toxic chemicals in the first trimester can cause autism inducing brain injury in a fetus. This is not, by the way the old vaccine controversy. As I said take the time to read the study’s provenance.

The second quote is this:

“Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey is drafting much-needed legislation that would strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act. It is moving ahead despite his own recent cancer diagnosis, and it can be considered as an element of health reform. Senator Lautenberg says that under existing law, of 80,000 chemicals registered in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has required safety testing of only 200. ‘Our children have become test subjects,’ he noted”

80,000 chemicals. 200 tested. The rest “tested” on children and fetuses. Okay Tea Partiers tell me how much you oppose Federal regulation. Would you rather we not even test the 200 chemicals? Federal Regulation is evil in your world view. You’ve succeeded in demonizing everything the Federal government does (except torture) that lawmakers are scared to do anything that might increase vigilance over children’s health if it can be damned as “Federal regulation” Even if it might mean protecting your future child or that of a family member or friend’s child from autism.

But what the hell, those Tea Parties were fun! You guys are really really powerful You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Your hostile ignorance (see Ron Radosh’s recent PJM blog post about the “communist” White House books “scandal” ,oughtif you want to see your ignorance on display) and your control over the cowardly Republican Party (except maybe Scott Brown, who seems like an independent human being) is almost guaranteed to block testing for potential autism-trigger chemicals. Congratulations for saving the Republic. Think how you’ll feel when someone you know suffers the consequences of your callousness.

But I hope that when you meet a family dealing with autism you will tell them proudly of your role in blocking any further “Federal Regulation”. Don’t hide it. Tell them: “I did my part to make sure potential autism-trigger chemicals wouldn’t be tested for. It’s Federal regulation after all! Aren’t you glad.”

In case any of you are interested in the consequences this attitude, I received just yesterday a note from my friend Lauren Thierry whose beautiful son suffers from autism and who has become an activist and made a powerful short film about what it’s like to be the parent of an autism spectrum child.

She recommended a new book and I’ll just quote what she said:

Gravity Pulls You In: Perspectives on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum is now available at My favorite is the essay “Is There Anything Else We Should Know?” on page 181. But that’s not really why I am recommending it. In all of the wonderful 33 essays and poems, mothers and fathers raising children on the autism spectrum explore their lives in the context of autism’s own special gravity. I made a documentary film about a similar subject, called “Autism Every Day.” But even then I knew I could never tell the whole story in less than an hour. And, as a writer long before I was a filmmaker, I knew that honest words in the slapping up against the silence in one’s own head could be more powerful than the “distractions” of a film on the same subject, where one must watch the chaos and then try to comprehend — through sound-bites, not soliloquies — what these parents are trying to say.”

Since you constantly proclaim your family values, Tea Partiers, since you’re SO concerned about future generations, the debt etc., let’s see if you can muster some concern for future generations and the threat of autism. Put aside your indiscriminate and ignorant horror at Federal regulation and contact Sen. Lautenberg’s office to see how best you can support his bill. Think of other people, rather than your own self interest, your freedom from the tyrannical toxic chemical testing Federal government for a change.

"Bob Dylan: Messiah or Escape Artist?"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 12:55 pm

That’s the question I ask in this review essay in the new Jewish Review of Books a new journal well worth the attention of Jews and non.

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