Tuesday, January 26, 2021

030 The Erickson Report for January 21 to February 3, Page 3: Two Weeks of Stupid, Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

030 The Erickson Report for January 21 to February 3, Page 3: Two Weeks of Stupid, Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

That last item tees up the first of our Outrages, whith is yet another example of how we are uninformed, malinformed, and misinformed by our majpr news media.

In reporting on the deal and a plan to open a US consulate in Western Sahara, Reuters, ABC News, AP, and Politico all used some variation of the term "territorial dispute" to describe what's been happening there. Reuters and AP also described the Polisario Front as, respectively, "a breakaway movement" and "an organization pressing for the territory's independence," as if Western Sahara had always been part of Morocco and they want to secede.

Get it straight, people: This is not a "territorial dispute." This is not a secessionist movement. This is people denied their right to self-determination, first by the Spanish and then by the Moroccans with the help of the US and the passivity of the UN, an oppressed people who are resisting an invasion and foreign occupation.

You may think they are foolish, you may think it's pointless to continue and they should give up and just accept whatever deal Morocco offers them, just as some think about the Palestinians and Israel, you may think that, but at least do not buy the bull in the major media.

Because it's an outrage.


Okay. This past week saw the annual federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And there is one thing about it that infuriates me every year. Every year, without fail, every year, regular as clockwork, every year we are treated to the spectacle of rightwingers, reactionaries, and the rest of the bozos and bigots declaring how omigosh wasn't he so amazing and oh, yes, we believe in, we share, his dream and oh my yes, we do, we really really do, honor his memory.

And I am freaking sick to death of it. Sick to death of the transparent, grinning, smug hypocrisy of people who would have been among those who reviled King when he was alive, who would have applauded Bull Conner's fire hoses and dogs, who today revile, condemn, and tear gas those protesting continuing inequality and police violence and who think that smarmily quoting a line about judging people by "the content of their character" once a year covers all their sins.

The FBI - the FBI - tweeted out a picture of a monument at the reflection garden at the FBI headquarters in Virginia graced by King's words that "the time is always right to do what’s right.”

The FBI - the agency that the day after the famous "I Have a Dream" speech wanted to, quoting a memo from FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief William Sullivan, mark MLK as “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation,” and to “use every resource at our disposal to destroy him.”

The FBI - the agency that harassed him, spied on him, wiretapped him, the agency that, having obtained proof of his having affairs, anonymously sent him an audio tape with a letter calling him a "filthy, abnormal animal" and trying to blackmail him into committing suicideThe FBI - the agency whose director J. Edgar Hoover feared the rise of what he called a "Black Messiah" and for years strove to undermine and discredit black activists of all types, that FBI - now has the gall to claim to be inspired by King's words.

And they are hardly alone.

This year we got among others, Kayleigh McEnany, RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, Melania Trump, former Vice President Mike NotWorthAFarthing, former Senate Majority Leader Fishface McConnell, Lindsey Grahamcracker, and Ted Ooze all proclaiming what an inspiration King is to them.

More than that, there is and has been for at least 10 years a damn industry among the right to twist the words and message of Martin Luther King into the service of racism, classism, and elitism, rightwingers cherry-picking his words and deleting their context to claim King was actually one of them.

The very sort of people who would have been relieved by if not outright applauding his murder are now trading on his legacy for their own selfish interests, trying, as a columnist at the Michigan Advance wrote, to make him not only colorblind but raceless, sent not to challenge whites but to forgive them, join hands, and sing.

They ignore the true radicalism of his message, not just the radicalism of active nonviolence, the power found in stubbornly demanding what is right, the power found in simply stubbornly refusing to back down, the embracing of, as King put it, "peace is not the absence of tension. It is the presence of justice," not just that.

But the radicalism of the program, of the commitments, of the ideas he proposed, of the vision he advanced. A vision not only of racial justice but of economic justice, such that he once said that "if we are to achieve a real equality, the US will have to adopt a modified form of socialism," that is, a democratic socialism.

We forget that the last major campaign of his life was the Poor Peoples March, the reason he was in Memphis was to support a sanitation workers strike, and in the speech he gave the night before his murder he urged his Black audience to take their money out of white banks and put it in Black banks.

So I don't want to hear it. I don't want to hear a single damn rightwinger saying "let freedom ring" or anything at all about a "dream," claiming to honor the - the term is particularly apt here - whitewashed version of Martin Luther King while by their actions they spit on the real man and his legacy every other day of the year. They do not have the moral standing to invoke his name or anything else about him.

And it is a profound outrage when they do.

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