Tarkanian’s Racist Rhetoric

The Nevada Independent article on the Nevada Senate primary race indicates how this might be a referendum on Donald Trump if Perpetual Candidate Danny Tarkanian  has his way.  However, the portion of Trumpism to which Tarkanian the Lesser is clinging most vociferously is one of the least attractive — good old fashioned racism and xenophobia.

“He also laid out his priority on immigration policy, saying he supported the president’s effort to build a wall along with border with Mexico, and wanted to see an end to chain migration, expressed opposition to the concept of birthright citizenship and expansion of the E-verify system used to root out undocumented workers from the labor pool.

“I do not think that anyone who came to our country illegally should be provided with the greatest gift our country has to offer — citizenship,” he said.” [NVIndy]

There are several items to unpack from this mashup of racist rhetoric.  And it is racist.  Do I see any reference to securing the northern border?  No. This is all about that southern border, the one we share with Mexico. The one over which at the present time we have a net zero immigration from Mexico.  However, as we all know this argument isn’t about net migration statistics — it’s about the US becoming entirely too brownish. Too many phone centers offering instructions and information in Spanish, too many Spanish speaking people in the supermarket, too many Hispanic people holding jobs, having children, buying houses, and sending their kids to school. Too many monolingual white Americans “feeling uncomfortable.”

One of the inferences deserving of additional notice is the concept Tarkanian introduces of the Gift (of living in America) or (applying for American citizenship.)  There isn’t much difference between this concept and the less attractive version, “I got mine now you try to get yours sucker.”

Lost in this version of the immigration issue is the notion that immigrants bring their gifts to the United States.   Einstein was an immigrant.   Accepted not every immigrant is an Einstein, however, if a person happens to be putting yogurt on the breakfast cereal or in the blender with some fruit — perhaps a nod to Hamdi Ulukaya might be in order. He’s the Kurdish ex-sheepherder who popularized Chobani.  Using Google today?  Thank another immigrant Sergey Brin.  And by the way, should one be clad in the most popular American article of clothing — denim jeans — thank another immigrant Levi Strauss.  At this point one the right wingers bluster something like “we’re not talking about those kinds of people, we’re talking about — you know, the ‘others.”

There are at least a couple of ways to perceive this rebuttal. First, as a bit of good old fashioned racism — “they” are brown skinned, Spanish speakers… and, secondly ‘they’ are ‘working class.’  Read: Less than a bonus to American society.  Except as reported last summer and fall, there were vegetables rotting in California fields because of a lack of experienced farm workers to harvest them.  Growers offered higher wages, and there were still shortages of farm workers with the expertise to know what to pick and when to pick it.   Just a few hours ago the Ventura, CA newspaper was asking a grower about the recent crop report, his response:

“I wouldn’t say that it’s been a good few years, but it’s been OK for us,” Tamai said. “I would just say that it’s getting more difficult (and) it’s getting more expensive to grow in the county. It’s pretty pricey here, and there’s always a fight for enough labor.”

Thus much for the immigrant farm workers, (and retail clerks, and restaurant workers, and hotel maids, and pool service workers, and home health aides, and medical technicians, and delivery drivers….) not being a ‘bonus’ to the American way of life.  Unfortunately, the only way to rationalize the idea that immigrants are a “burden’ is to see them as non-productive human beings, instead of witnessing and recognizing the economic value of their work, and appreciating the value of the cultural additions they bring to the country.  There’s nothing new about this contemporary rendition of the old Know Nothings who decried Irish and German migrations.  The era, the languages, and the clothing may change, but it’s the same old racist rant.

Another point in Tarkanian’s disturbing comments needs a mention:  We do have a `14th Amendment,” for a reason.  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the State in which they reside..”

That’s all persons.  And if Tarkanian the Lesser is calling for the end of the 14th Amendment he might need to come to the understanding this means African Americans, who were to be made citizens not only of the US but also of the states which formerly allowed chattel slavery.   There’s usually a stammer or two from advocates of abolishing the 14th Amendment about merely modifying the Amendment when this point come up. Modify it how?  The devil is indeed in the details, and one of the details involves how one perceives babies.   Advocates of amending the Amendment often cite “abuses relating to anchor babies.”  The term itself in inherently offensive.

“Children are widely seen as innocent and pure … yet there is an unspoken racial element there, for children of color are all too often pictured as criminals or welfare cheats in training,” said Haney Lopez, author of “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked The Middle Class.”

Dog whistle is a term used to describe coded language that means one thing in general but has an additional meaning for a targeted population.

The racializing of children of color is “the ignoble tradition that finds voice in the phrase ‘anchor babies,’ which tarnishes even the tiniest infant with the stain of being one of ‘them,’ the dark and dangerous who invade our society,” Haney Lopez said.” [NBC]

We could do without the epithets like ‘anchor baby’ and related emissions from the racist bull horns.  Or we might ask: Does Tarkanian the Lesser think infants are tiny nefarious invaders?”

Sadly, there is an audience for Tarkanian’s racist campaign rhetoric.  They are white, they are frustrated, they are racists, and they will applaud his rantings.  They will vote for him because he will say aloud what they’ve been thinking — Mexicans are drug dealers (as the Chinese were characterized more than a century ago) — Mexicans are a burden to society (as the Irish were a century and a half ago) — Mexicans are filling up our neighborhoods (like the Eastern European Jews and Italians of the early 20th century).

Racial revanchists have been among us since time out of mind — however, it would be nice to get through one election cycle without a blatant reminder of their proximity.

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Breadcrumbs: Russian Names to Watch

The following is a reference list of Russian names which keep popping up in published reports of Russian money filtering in to American election coffers:

Leonard Blavatnik

Viktor Vekselberg

Andrew Intrater

Alexander Shustorovich

Simon Kukes

More, as this project continues.

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Heller’s Money

Senator Dean Heller is leading in one category.  He’s leading in the Money From Leadership PAC’s race collecting a total of $314,750 from those entities. ( OS, 9/30/17 report)

From the Department of Absolutely No Surprises, he reported taking in $414,867 from PACs associated with the Securities and Investment industries.

The next FEC filing deadline is January 31, 2018 at which time we can start tracking the trends of Senator Heller’s fund-raising, and see if he maintains his lead in the Leadership PAC money race.

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Timeout for Sandberg

Given the policy from the WH to deport any person not of the WASP persuasion,  and to remove protection for those from El Salvador who fled persecution, this moment from Carl Sandberg:

I ASKED the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an
accordion.

Thank heavens for the Sandberg website, I’d recommend visiting it often in these times.

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Breadcrumbs (2) The Russian Connection

This from Politico September 27, 2016

“RUBLES: FEC documents show Russian oil magnate Simon Grigorievich Kukes gave more than $150,000 to Donald Trump’s campaign and joint fundraising committee, Ashley Balcerzak reports for Open Secrets. Currently, he is CEO at NAFTA Consulting, a firm that advises American and Russian oil and gas companies, and sits on the board of on-demand software company Leverate. Kukes has also contributed to former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter Elizabeth Cheney’s campaign for Wyoming’s congressional seat. His resume includes head of Yukos, ousting President Vladimir Putin’s enemy Mikhail Khodorkovsky; president and CEO of Russia’s Tyumen Oil Company; general director of Lukoil subsidiary ZAO Samara-Nafta; and partner at New York-based oil and gas company Hess Corporation.”

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Breadcrumbs: Notes on Russian donations to American politicians

Dallas Morning News: December 15, 2017

“McConnell surely knew as a participant in high level intelligence briefings in 2016 that our electoral process was under attack by the Russians. Two weeks after the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement in October 2016 that the Russian government had directed the effort to interfere in our electoral process, McConnell’s PAC accepted a $1 million donation from Blavatnik’s AI-Altep Holdings. The PAC took another $1 million from Blavatnik’s AI-Altep Holdings on March 30, 2017, just 10 days after former FBI Director James Comey publicly testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s interference in the election.”

I’m poking around into the FEC reports for 2016, and some reports from 2017.  This really isn’t a “blog post” in the standard sense.  It’s more like a log of information from the poking.

I just find it interesting that McConnell accepted the Blavatnik donation AFTER he’d been briefed on Russian interference.

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Watching Circling Wagons and Flighty Chickens

The wagons are circling.  The panic thermometer is rising.  The GOP is behaving like panicked chickens with a fox in their midst.   House Republicans are trying to sabotage  any meaningful investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in the Judiciary Committee  and by the House Intelligence Committee. [LAT]  Senators of the Republican persuasion are covering themselves in ignominy (and not just a little bit of hypocrisy) as Senators Grassley and Graham want to launch a criminal investigation into British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. [BI]

Meanwhile the Diversion, Distraction, and Delusion of the administration is on full display as the GOP/Trump haul out the long debunked “Cllinton foundation investigation” and the….wait for it….Clinton E-mails.   It can’t be too long before the Republicans start investigating Benghazi again.  In short, this is a very limited amount of ammunition being expended as the hordes (of investigators working for Special Counsel Mueller) press against the castle walls.

First, I’m noticing that there is nothing new on offer.  There is absolutely nothing new about investigating the Clinton Foundation, a charity with some of the highest ratings granted by those organization which track such things.  The charges were bogus to begin with, the “linkages” so tenuous that only great leaps of faith (and fevered conspiracy dreams) can make them whole, and the topic has been done to death.  The Emails?  They aren’t missing, they aren’t important, and they too have been overcooked in the fevered imagination of right wing Republicans.

Secondly, the attack on the former member of British intelligence is too obvious.  Let’s allow the participants to speak for themselves:

“Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.”

The criminal referral does not pertain to the veracity of the dossier’s claims and “is not intended to be an allegation of a crime,” a press release from the committee says. [BI]

Regarding his distribution of information…” we might interpret this to refer to statements Steele may or may not have made to members of the press?  Frankly, it isn’t clear.  And then there is that press release — “...is not intended to be an allegation of a crime…”   So, the Senators are not “alleging” any crime took place but they’d like the Department of Justice to investigate to see if there might be one?  Somewhere, anywhere,  anything. Please!  Further, what do we make of “The criminal referral does not pertain to the veracity of the dossier’s claims,” other than we (the GOP) don’t want to touch the substance of the assembled memos with a barge pole but we will gleefully attempt to sully the reputation of the person who shared the information with US law enforcement officials.

Aside from being gratuitous and almost silly, the “referral” on Mr. Steele sounds like GOP attempting to argue that instead of investigating the person who tried to burn your house down the authorities should be investigating possible criminal charges against the person who called the fire department.

There will be a steady drumbeat of GOP talking points,  most of which are as old as the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s rendition of Dream Lover, some of which are manufactured from the whole cloth by which the GOP would veil the antics of a failing, flailing, presidency.

Meanwhile, this nation is no closer to answering some truly crucial questions:

(1) By what means did the Russians attempt to interfere in US elections?  Are those means still being employed today?

(2) What steps should be taken by US election officials to protect our physical election systems and databases from interference in future elections?

(3) What assistance can and should be made available from the Federal government to state and local election officials so that future attempts to interfere are prevented?

 

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