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Makes Census to Me...

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Bob K
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25 posted 06-27-2009 03:53 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Mike,
  
         “Playing the race card” is your phrase.  I would enjoy hearing your definition of the term.  I hear it as a conservative catch phrase which is used whenever a reference is made to past or current mistreatment of minorities because the minorities were not in a position successfully to resist politically.  The rejection of the possibility of any legitimacy is often done dismissively or with contempt by offering first an overdone or ridiculous first clause, coupled with the contemptuous dismissal following behind, as in

quote:


The chant of "You're just against me or him or her because I or we or they are black and not because my hands were around his throat while he was being choked to death" is tiresomely
overused but has found renewed life since the election.




     Having set up a debatable and unlikely conclusion supported by contempt and a made up example, it now appears possible to make comments that have some validity based on race.  Even those places where there is justification to the statements (for example, “You want to point out all of the lies he made on the campaign trail?” where clearly a candidate’s lies, misstatements and misrepresentations should be addressed), when clumped together with statements that make use of charged racial language and innuendo lose creditability due to their company.

quote:


If Obama had lost, it would have certainly been because he was "black" and not because he was nothing more than a glib talker with nothing more than community organizing and two years congressional experience behind him. You don't like his policies? It's because he's black. You speak against ACORN? It's because they are black. You want to point out all of the lies he made on the campaign trail? You're prejudiced.




     In fact, I could have cared less about ACORN when I responded to Mike’s mention of “The Race Card.”  I wasn’t thinking of them at all.  I was thinking of the number of challenges the Republicans had issued against minorities, especially blacks, during elections over the past ten years or so, and the number of times they’ve made concerted effects to cull blacks from the voting rolls.

     I thought about the number of times they tried to do this especially in black precincts as opposed to white precincts, and I thought about the difficulty they have made in allowing blacks and other minorities to vote.  This has been the case apparently in Florida, in New Mexico, in Michigan and in Ohio that I’ve read about  in articles by Greg Palast that I’ve previously referenced.  Many of the voter irregularities that ended up being attempted in those states began with Republican assaults on the Census process, and I’m afraid that we may be seeing more of the same here, with more of the same attacks on the people that the Republicans have spent much of the last fifty years trying to disenfranchise, the poor, the sick, the minorities, the children.  It makes me heartsick to see it.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven

Balladeer
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26 posted 06-27-2009 05:06 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What does playing the race card mean, Bob? Try OJ, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpeton...they can describe it much better than I. Jackson and Sharpeton have made nice personal fortunes by employing it.

Your republican bias theory really doesn't hold a lot of water. Before Obama, you had to look very hard to find blacks in prominent positions in the  democratic party or the government when democrats ruled. They had no Connie Rice or Colin Powell, for example. They paid a lot of lip service to blacks  but little on substance but then that's fodder for a whole new thread.
Denise
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27 posted 06-27-2009 06:25 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

What about the outrageousness of the Justice Department dropping the case against the New Black Panther thugs who harassed and threatened voters and poll workers in Philadelphia, even with video and eyewitness testimony? They were simply admonished not to do that at a polling place again! It sure helps to have friends in high places, I guess. Racism is okay in this instance, I suppose.
Bob K
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28 posted 06-28-2009 12:21 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


quote:


What does playing the race card mean, Bob? Try OJ, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpeton...they can describe it much better than I. Jackson and Sharpeton have made nice personal fortunes by employing it.




     But Mike, you were using it as part of your argument.  You are responsible for defining your terms, aren't you?
Pointing at other people and saying they [in]can[/i] describe it doesn't actually  take responsibility for the use of the term in an argument now, does it?  Just because they [in]can[/i]  describe it, doesn't mean that they actually have described it at all.  Nor does it mean that whatever definition they might offer is the one you agree with.

     Near as I can tell, it only means that you haven't answered the question.  In order for me to talk about with you sensibly about something you call "the race card," you're going to have to tell me what that thing is in terms that both of us understand.  I'm not dumb, I am willing to admit flaws on my own part, those flaws that I see in the Democratic party position and difficulties I have with President Obama.  You and others who have seen me write have seen me do so.  I ask that you simply explain what "the race card" is clearly, so I can understand it and so that other folks can understand it; and to bear with whatever difficulties I have in getting this and in understanding it.  In the end, I may not agree with you, but I do want to understand you and the thinking around this notion.  It's something that I've been hearing for years and it makes little sense to me at all.

quote:
    

Your republican bias theory really doesn't hold a lot of water. Before Obama, you had to look very hard to find blacks in prominent positions in the  democratic party or the government when democrats ruled. They had no Connie Rice or Colin Powell, for example. They paid a lot of lip service to blacks  but little on substance but then that's fodder for a whole new thread.




     I was very specific about my Republican bias comments.  You changed the subject to Black office holders rather than Republican suppression of the black vote, and didn't address the comments I did make.  Let me address the comments you did make, however, because, while the Republican party has not in the last perhaps 75 years been much of a haven for working class  or poverty level folks of any sort and blacks (people of color these days, perhaps) have seldom risen out of that group, the Republicans have been active in seeking folks for high appointive office and for major responsibility.  For that I believe they (and you, Mike) deserve great credit.  The offices that you mention are of course appointive offices, and I suspect that it may be difficult for the Republican base to support a person of color for a major elective office.  That is only a supposition on my part, and perhaps an unfounded one.

     In fact, I believe that the Democratic Party's history with  race has been very poor overall.  I think I've been over this with you before.  The Democrats remained in power for a very long time through a sort of devil's bargain with the Dixiecrats, and by not so covertly supporting segregation in the South.  I think this is one of the great shames not only of the Democratic Party, but of the United States as a whole as well.  But right now, I feel a special responsibility as a Democrat to that history.  We as Democrats have a lot to make up for.

    I am pleased to say that the party broke with the Dixiecrats over the Civil Rights act in 1968.  This is one of the many reasons we lost that election.  The entire south, pretty much en masse either became Republican or went with Wallace, who openly supported segregation.  When the Wallace party withered, many of his folks became Republicans as well.

     The Republicans, which till that time had been a center right party, began its slide to the far right.  A lot of the more moderate voices in the Republican Party died off or were discarded.  Even today, some Republicans in are nostalgic for those grand old days of yesteryear.  I remind folks of Trent Lott's speech of last year or the year before.

     A fair number of those Republicans are former Democrats.  This speaks well for nobody.  And there are plenty of fairly racist Democrats as well.  I think that everybody has a bit of it simply rooted in the sense of who are people who are like my family and who are people who aren't like my family that a kid acquires when growing up.

     That opinion could get me shot some places, I'm fairly sure.  I know it did when I brought it up a long time ago in social work school.

     I would put it to you, Mike, that if you believe that there aren't many prominent black Democrats, that you haven't looked at the Democratic national conventions to see how many black folks are there.  These are the same folks who are powers in the national, state, county and local party structures.

     You might try comparing that to the Republican party conventions.

     If you get a chance, you might try responding to my comments about Republican attempts to exclude blacks from the election rolls in the states I mentioned.

     Also, how are things going on any actual convictions on any of the stuff about ACORN?  Has ACORN been found guilty of any wrongdoing?  If so, where might I read about it?

Sincerely,  Bob Kaven

P.S.  I hope you're feeling much better, Mike.  My trip had to be extended, but you were much on my mind and I was rooting for you.
Denise
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29 posted 06-28-2009 09:04 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Why is ACORN requesting space to train new census employees, LR? What would that training consist of? That sounds a bit more involved than just "helping to get the word out" about the importance of completing the census.
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30 posted 06-28-2009 09:57 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Actual ACORN convictions, Bob? The cases are still in court. Honestly, do I expect to see any? Not really. They have Obama, their previous training manager in their corner along with a congress majority that loves them and, in no small way, owes the democratic electoral success to their efforts. It would take on hell of a judge to go against that lineup, and there seems to be a real lack of those kinds these days.

Does that mean they are not guilty? I suppose so, in the same way OJ did not butcher two other human beings.

Why did I bring up the race card? Simple. Throughout the whole thread up to that point, nothing was mentioned about race or anything regarding it. LR saw fit to get the "African-American" comment in there (along with Palin, who also had no relevence in the thread) and I saw it as nothing more than injecting race into the conversation and I responded in the way I did. Nothing more...

I appreciate your well-wishes, Bob. Disagree on things as we may, and take little pot shots at each other as we may , I consider you a good friend and I appreciate your concern.
Ron
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31 posted 06-28-2009 12:23 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Why is ACORN requesting space to train new census employees, LR?

They're not, Denise. They're offering space. Which is also not the same as doing the training.

quote:
... owes the democratic electoral success to their efforts.

I don't think it would be a stretch, Mike, to suggest the Congressional majority owes its electoral success, not to ACORN, but to the Republicans.
Local Rebel
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32 posted 06-28-2009 02:41 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Why did I bring up the race card? Simple. Throughout the whole thread up to that point, nothing was mentioned about race or anything regarding it. LR saw fit to get the "African-American" comment in there



What I said:

quote:

It gives me a bit of comfort Mike -- to see people squirm at the notion of Acorn conducting a census -- it's almost how cynical and wary of the process those African Americans were that all but refused to talk to my mother.



Okay Mike... that was 'the race card' -- now was it a King?  or a Queen?  an Ace? Explain it?  Did it trump something you wanted to play?  

How does mentioning the fact that African Americans my mother was trying to survey were skeptical and wary of the process amount to 'playing' the race card? Give me a break Mike.

quote:

It would take on hell of a judge to go against that lineup, and there seems to be a real lack of those kinds these days.



Well Mike, Federal judges only have to worry about 'that lineup' (the one the American people voted for) if they do something impeachable -- so unless they run off to a foreign affair in Argentina without telling anyone (at taxpayer expense) they should be quite capable of calling the shots as they see fit.  Do you think the Supreme Court is shaking in it's robes?

quote:

(along with Palin, who also had no relevence in the thread)



Yes, Palin's comments have relevance to the thread Mike -- because they are related to Chaffetz's own tunnel-vision view of America.  An endemic problem in the Republican ranks.

Of course Chaffetz real objective -- since he already knew that the Census Bureau has to handle the Census -- was in fact just an offering to the base -- something for them to chew on -- a dig at Acorn, a dig at Obama -- something else for Bachman to make a fool of herself over.


Denise
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33 posted 06-28-2009 09:19 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Sorry Ron, I misread the piece.

So why are they offering to lend the space for training of census workers, and why are they offering to help identify job candidates? I think the Census Bureau did just fine in the past with recrutiment and training without their assistance.

I think the problem some people have this time with the census is in moving the oversight of it strictly from the Commerce Department to the White House. It's just seen as another power grab. No matter how he wants to dance around the issue, he put it under his oversight, making it vulnerable to politics.
Local Rebel
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34 posted 06-28-2009 09:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

We've also received some non-ACORN-related questions about the census, having to do with allegations that the White House plans to interfere with the process. When Obama nominated Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire to be secretary of commerce in February, some groups complained that he was no friend of the Census Bureau, having resisted an increase in its funding in the 1990s. Those objections prompted assurances from the administration that senior White House aides would oversee the agency. But those assurances in turn triggered Republican cries that the White House was trying to politicize the census-taking process. Gregg withdrew as a nominee, citing the census as one of his concerns, though the administration had clarified that it didn't intend to run the headcount out of the White House. It said it would simply work with the agency's director, a practice for which there is ample precedent. In March, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said:

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt, March 2009: The president wants to ensure that the census conducts a fair and accurate count. ... The census director will report to the Commerce secretary. Like in every census under Democratic or Republican administrations there will be interest in Congress and at the White House in this national priority.

Census spokeswoman Lowe further told us that the White House "has not proposed any organizational change. Given the scope and scale of the operation, in any census there is additional interest on behalf of the White House, as well as status updates, participation in promotional events, etc. The Census Bureau remains under the umbrella of the Department of Commerce."



http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/is_acorn_providing_workers_for_the_2010.html
Denise
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35 posted 06-28-2009 09:54 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yes, LR, I know what they are saying. I'm just not buying it though.

And this also comes as a big surprise:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/25/conyers-abandons-plan-probe-acorn/?feat=home_headlines
Local Rebel
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36 posted 06-28-2009 11:13 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

It isn't what you're shopping for!
Denise
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37 posted 06-29-2009 11:01 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No, it's not, LR. I've never cared much for bologna.
Local Rebel
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38 posted 06-29-2009 09:16 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Perhaps you've just had too much WND Spam!
Bob K
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39 posted 06-29-2009 10:26 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

quote:
Denise:

I think the problem some people have this time with the census is in moving the oversight of it strictly from the Commerce Department to the White House. It's just seen as another power grab. No matter how he wants to dance around the issue, he put it under his oversight, making it vulnerable to politics.



     My understanding is that the census, far from being apolitical, has tended to be highly political historically.  I believe LR mentioned the original census counted Blacks as 3/5ths of a white person when coming up with population densities.  This meant also that the slave states were over-represented in congress, since I'm trying to be clear here.  It was one of the compromises that several southern states demanded before they were willing to join the Union.

     More recently, the clashes between Democrats and Republicans has been pretty loud over census issues.  Who is and who should be a citizen has been one of the key issues, and it's often fought as a battle on immigration.  New immigrants to this country have very often voted with the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party knows this and takes a more generous stance toward immigrants.  The Republicans have taken the opposite tack for a reverse set of reasons.

     The pro-immigration tactics have gone back at least as far as Aaron Burr and New York City politics.  New York City politics, at least for some of that time, were national politics.

     If I'm not mistaken, the political version of this issue showed itself over the last census by  the Democrats asserting that a well handled statistical estimation would probably be more accurate than an actual head by head count, and that we should go with that (quite possibly true).  And the Republicans countered by saying that the constitution demanded an actual head count and that nothing else was acceptable (I don't know if this was true, but it's not a bad debating position to take).

     This essentially worked itself down to the basic positions I mentioned above.  The Democrats thought they could get more Democratic Representatives if things were counted their way, and the Republicans thought they could get better Representation if things went for them.  The Republicans won.  There was a lot of redistricting around the country and a strong Republican surge, not only because of people's agreement of Republican thinking at that time, but also because of the redistricting process as well.

     I believe, therefore, that the census is highly political; and that to imagine that it isn't or that there has been a time in the past the it wasn't is probably a way of making history more mysterious than its mysterious self already is.  That last sentence was way too complicated.  I'm sorry.

     About the phrase "the race card."

     At some point I think it would be useful to talk about it if we can get some ground-rules down about how to talk about it honestly without stigmatizing people and yet also  retaining some degree of respect and decorum.

     This thread has enough freight on it already, but I'd like to know if anybody else would be interested in a discussion on "the race card," what we think it means and what use we make of it and other people make of it.

     If nobody's interested, we need not pursue it further.  And if only one part of the political spectrum joins in, I'm afraid nobody learns anything.

     Thoughts?

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
 
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