It’s Still Not Safe to Read The Nation

Update I (below):

I thought it was safe to read The Nation again, since election season is over. I was wrong.  I know. People tried to warn me–those who couldn’t bear to turn away from the luridness of liberalnews porn–that the insipid “now the real work begins” trope was gaining steam. So I resisted. For a day. And then, someone tweeted out that Katha Pollitt had a new column. That was it. I was sucked into the vortex.

Truth be told, I’m with Katha on this:

After all, if you can hold people solely responsible for their problems, you can ignore them, deprive them, even hate them.

LOVE it. Katha and me, finally two feminists on the same page. Multiracial solidarity at last. Yeppers. Maybe this Democratic victory thing isn’t going to be so bad after all. Y’know. We can hold Liberals’ feet to the fire together. Maybe warm up a bit of brandy to toast each other while we’re so close to that fire, holding feet up and all.

But wait. Right before she makes that awesome point, she says this:

The logical corollary of “You’re on your own” is “You’re your own damn fault.” Americans in general are keen on seeing social problems in terms of individual weakness—look at how we demonize fat people, as if the reason so many are overweight is just a lack of willpower. But that mindset is particularly part of the right-wing DNA.

She, my feminist ally of righteous liberal persuasion–points out that it was “rightwing DNA” that turned the “we’re all in this together” mindset into the “You’re-your-own-damn” fault mindset.

It’s true: the Romney/Ryan crowd does do that with that durn 47% who want handouts. And binders full of women. And rapey-guys like Richard Mourdoch and Todd Akin. The conservative white guys who don’t give a hoot about anyone else do that.  Sheesh.

Glad no one in the Democratic Party does that. You know, that thing, where victims get blamed. Because it would embarrassing and hypocritical—you know—if someone in the Democratic party, say, blamed Black men for being AWOL, or missing from the lives of their children, or were told to buck up and get a job. Right? And that would be, as Katha says, from rightwing DNA. Right.

Fast forward to 2:30 to get to the serious condemnations quickly.

“Too many fathers are AWOL.” “Too many fathers are missing from too many lives and too many homes.” Hm. I’m wondering if any of that has to do with a ramped up drug war, expanded and exploited under this Democratic Administration? 3 strikes laws? Racial profiling?

Again: 1 in 3 Black men can expect to go to prison. 1 in 9 Black men is in prison. Mortgage Foreclosures. Massive unemployment.

“You’re your own damn fault.” Rightwing DNA. Right.

The irresponsible fathers trope apparently is really popular among the Democratic Party folks. Remember Chief Advisor Robert Gibbs on how the murdered 16-year old kid of Al-Qaeda #2 Anwar Al-Aulaqi should have gotten a more responsible father? You don’t? Well, here it is. Starts at 2:00. Gibbs’ response at 2:40:

Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki should have gotten a “far more responsible father.” “You’re your own damn fault.” Rightwing DNA. Right.

How about another? Remember our buddy Bobby Gibbs? Dispenser of “more responsible father” wisdom? Remember his comment about “The Professional Left” and how crazy they are and ought to be drug tested? Here you go (couldn’t find the original clip, but I thought this analysis by Alyona on RT was on point).

The professional left. Reflecting the hopes for change of that part of the crowd that voted in dear POTUS in 2008. “You’re your own damn fault.” So…does that make the Democratic Party hypocritical? Or rightwing? You pick.

“We’re all in this together.” Really. The Dems and Feminists are in this together? Under the ACA act which gave us health insurance negotiated and mediated by the private, for-profit insurance companies, POTUS enshrined the Hyde Amendment in the ACA. Why didn’t feminists complain about the severe and legalized restricting funding for abortions back in March 2010?

As Matt Stoller, apparently a white privileged anti-feminist man, pointed out:

Obama is the president who insisted that women under 17 shouldn’t have access to Plan B birth control, overruling scientists at the FDA, because of his position ”as a father of two daughters.” Girls, he said, shouldn’t be able to buy these drugs next to “bubble gum and batteries.” Aside from the obvious sexism, he left out the possibility that young women who need Plan B had been raped by their fathers, which anyone who works in the field knows happens all too often.

I didn’t hear Katha, whose primary concern is reproductive rights—from which all other rights, including economic rights, apparently stem—complaining about this remarkably misogynist policy.  Maybe I missed it.

Pollitt asks:

Of all the divisions between the candidates in this election, perhaps the deepest was over whether, as President Obama put it, we are all in this together. Do we believe in solving our problems by sharing them… Or do we believe, with Mitt Romney, that each of us is on his or her—maybe especially her—own?

In which way can we interpret the Democratic platform as one in which “we are all in this together” when more than a thousand Muslim* men have been detained, incarcerated, pre-emptively arrested without evidence, placed in solitary confinement, extradited from UK when their “white” counterparts are allowed a free pass? How is the deportation of 1.4 million people from the US a victory for minorities?  How is the Democrat White  House-led separation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants from their US born children a sign of anything other than “you’re your own damn fault”?

I’m not a religious person, so I’ll skip the quotidien mantra about the ways in which the Democrats have eviscerated so many segments of the population, I’ll just link to my first response to Pollitt herself, Emily Hauser and a couple others on Safe States, Democratic Achievements, and Election Day victories.

Pollitt lists a number of social policies passed under the Democrats. And some of them are good (if they exist): progressive taxes, low-income grants, infrastructure, scientific research. But these policies are good for those who get to live. For those who do not have to live in fear of being beaten, tortured, jailed, bombed or droned to death.

Maybe at the end of the day, that is the difference between Pollitt and myself. I’m absolutely in favor of economic and social improvements that enhance the lives of those who struggle.  But in our society, where extra-constitutional murder and assassinations and solitary confinement and incarceration are literally everyday occurrences, life is a privilege. Not a right. A privilege. And I’m unwilling to accept that as a policy position from liberals or progressives or Democrats. Or Republicans. Except that the Republican’s political platform doesn’t fool liberals.

Try as I might, I’m fundamentally unable to appreciate those improvements by forgetting about the heinous ways by which we assault brown and black populations—in the US and internationally. And for liberals, ultimately, those two facets are constantly pitted against each other. Well, hey, but we can marginally lower our payroll taxes, yeah! And…well, yeah, the same party that helps the lives of SOME of the vulnerable…their Prez kinda kills people arbitrarily (or maybe not…but we’ll never know cause we can’t see the evidence). And, at the end of the day, not much help was meted out to the living as it was.

Here are some events that have occurred since Tuesday, when the great victory for Liberals occurred:

3 Yemenis were killed by drones within 12 hours of Obama’s re-election.

The US sent a drone into Iranian airspace.

The families of Pakistani drone victims are infuriated by Obama’s re-election.

I understand that neither Pollitt nor her liberal or feminist pals give a good goddamn about foreign nationals, or black or brown men (or women who have a myriad of other issues as a result of heinous Democratic policies) in the US. That’s fine. But it’s the hypocrisy of it all that is so galling.

People who claim to be feminists should care about what happens to women—and men of color–in all of their dimensions—reproductive, social, physical and psychic. But the list of people who count as deserving, for liberals and feminists in the US, doesn’t include Muslim women–in the US or in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, whose lives and bodies and communities are torn apart because a Black Democratic President and his liberal Democratic cronies. It’s fine to be angry with the Republicans for being indifferent-but I’d much rather that the same critics be as honest about their own indifference.

That way I get to know exactly who my allies and adversaries are, and I don’t waste time wondering why if someone claims to be a “feminist,” they only seem to care about one dimension, applied to a small segment of a population—those who fit their image of who “deserving” women and men are.

Katha and I probably won’t be sharing that brandy after all.

****************************

*This number has been corrected from a previous version, which stated that “thousands of men are detained…” My previous reference was to Muslim and undocumented Latino men, who together would have numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but I’ve revised for clarity.

Update I: Several examples of Liberals holding Democrats’ Feet to the Fire:

1. Mother Jones has a photo retrospective that illustrates how much Barack Obama Loves Kids, Chairs, Fedoras, Pirates, and Nancy Reagan.

2. Here’s an article by Tom Junod about how much Barack Obama loved 16 year-old Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki. To paraphrase Mother Jones: Awwwwww. h/t/ @byroncopley57

3. Here is a link to a clip where POTUS sheds a tear. As Mother Jones tweeted:  “Obama tears up thanking young volunteers. Their accomplishments will be greater than his. Awwww.: bit.ly/S2inxP

4. Here is The Nation journalist Jeremy Scahill take on photogalleries and weeping.  Scahill is an accomplished national security reporter Middle East issues and war. Perhaps a sign of hope for The Nation. or Twitter.

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Progressives, Truth-telling, and Human Rights Issues

Revised version:

Thanks to Glenn Greenwald’s mentions of my Jan. 6 post on this site, and thanks to the readers who stopped by, as well as to those who left comments.  After watching the Greenwald-Pollitt bloggingheads clip that aired yesterday, my concerns from that post remain. I want to respond to a couple of points:

First, Greenwald asks for Pollitt’s response (19:24; Pollitt’s answer at 22:10) to my argument that the war on terror viscerally impacts men and women of color and their children. In fact, I argue that it has eviscerated significant segments of the Iraqi civilian population, the reproductive systems of women, and Afghan population, as well as citizens and foreign nationals who are Muslim/Middle Eastern/South Asian (MEMSA) in the United States. I insisted these were not insignificant side issues, and that progressives and Democrats have the privilege of not having to be affected by them.

Pollitt’s response: “If she is right, then Black people and people of color would be voting for Ron Paul in droves. Are they?” She clarifies that she said that “Leftish women and people of color” were silent, not that every person was silent. Fair enough to the second point. But to her first response—she assumes the very thing that is under question, namely whether folks –white or non-white—should vote for Paul.  I can be right without African-Americans or Latino Americans or other citizens of color deciding to vote for Ron Paul.  In fact, Ron Paul’s candidacy is a moot issue, and even if it weren’t, I do not  want to suggest that folks should vote for Ron Paul. What I would like, however, is to engage in some serious truth-telling of the variety that Arthur Brisbane and NYT might want to pursue one day:

President Obama didn’t offer a racist presidential campaign in 2008. But he did promise to expand the number of troops he sent to Afghanistan; he was on record as being against gay marriage; against the constitutional protections of privacy (signing up for the renewal of FISA while on the campaign trail, giving telecomm corporations immunity for collaborating with the government); in favor of the 2006 renewal of the USA Patriot Act (which he renewed again last year); in favor of the death penalty (although he wanted to reform it); in favor of immigration reform (on the order of a guest worker system), and in favor of closing Guantanamo (briefly creating the impression that he wanted to extend civilian trials to detainees), and in favor of the protection of reproductive rights–a promise that he’s broken.

Once in office, President Obama continued to send US troops to decimate Iraq and Afghanistan, even with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate until the mid-term elections. That is not a compromise; it is an assertive, decisive uncompromising action.  This Administration, the Department of Homeland Security worked actively to promote to deport nearly 400,000 migrants from the US annually for the past three years.* The claim that he is a feminist or liberal does not ring true when we examine the current President’s refusal to make the “morning after” pill available over the counter, or when we look at the abortion restrictions in the 2010 healthcare bill. The Healthcare program that was endorsed and passed under the current Administration is a spin-off of the Romney health-care plan in Massachusetts, and which includes a penalty against those citizens who are poor but not too poor.  These are not feminist acts. These are not anti-racist acts. These are not liberal acts.

I’m not sure that Pollitt understood the basis of my comments in my Jan. 6 post. My frustration emerged from what appears to be an accepted distinction between the rights of US nationals and those of “international Others.” Those Others include foreign nationals in our midst (from Gitmo detainees, the tortured, and undocumented migrants) and international populations who’ve been the victims of US-led wars. Not only does there appear to be divergence, but among progressives, there seems to be a prioritization of the rights of US nationals at the expense of international Others.

The war on terror, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (where we still have 15,000 “contractors”/troops), should be on every single feminist and liberal and progressive table where politics are being discussed (e.g., Democratic fundraisers, Occupy movements across the country, etc.).  The question of due process for US citizens (white, African American, Latinos or other populations), but also for foreign nationals are crucial—whether they are or aren’t MEMSA’s.

Civil protections such as due process, habeas corpus, the right to a trial, right against warrantless search and seizure, are not only political safeguards: they are protections for folks who are vulnerable to violence or exploitation. When such states or organizations can act against vulnerable populations (whether US minority communities or Muslim foreign nationals) by removing these, then the extinguishing of civil protections becomes a human rights issue—regardless of national borders.  If so, then we have moral—not just political—but moral obligations to international populations. Greenwald, describes a similar mandate from Martin Luther King’s 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech:

King notably added another reason why he felt compelled to prioritize issues of war: “another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission.” As he put it: “ This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances.” (my emphasis) If only that award were similarly understood today. His essential point was that nothing good could possibly happen in America so long as it continued on its path of warfare and bombing and invading foreign countries, and it was therefore necessary to prioritize protests against the war on at least equal footing with every other issue.

Like Martin Luther King in 1967, I don’t think we can trade in the human rights of foreign nationals for the rights of US nationals (and lucky for us, under the current Administration, we don’t really have to make this choice anymore)—not without a seriously blighted conscience about the fates into which we force international Muslim populations.  I’m going to end this post with a quote from Hannah Arendt, one of my favorite philosophers, but I will talk about this division in a new post tomorrow.

Once they had left their homeland they remained homeless, once they had left their state they became stateless; once they had been deprived of their human rights they were rightless, the scum of the earth.” Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), ch. 9.

*The earlier version of this post incorrectly reported 46,000 deportations of migrants. In fact, 46k represents the number of parental deportations of migrants who had US born children, from the six month period of Jan-June 2011, according to Seth Wessler, who reported the original story in Colorlines.

Pollitt’s Perplexity about Pundits on Ron Paul

Revised:

It may be time to stop reading the Nation even earlier than March of this election year. Katha Pollitt engages in a serious distortion of Glenn Greenwald’s position (among others) that we need to pay attention to politicians such as Ron Paul, who are raising questions about President Obama’s continuation of the same policies as GW Bush. Somehow, despite Greenwald’s umpteen ad nauseam disavowals, this point is equated—no, identified –with “support for Ron Paul.” Pollitt also muses on the fact that she hasn’t seen a lot of “leftish white women and people of color” who have supported Paul, but if they do, they are staying pretty quiet about it.

Note, first of all, the old-school-lefty sweeping style of lumping all people of color with “leftish white women.” Women of color can’t have their own category–because they’re too complex and unruly with all their different identity-politic distinctions (y’know: Latina, African-American, Asian, Asian American, South Asian, African, Indigenous, Mestiza, etc.), and so at least “people of color” can address them all in one big sweep. Also, the unwieldiness of mentioning them distinctly will cut into the too-important and limited space of the Nation’s columns.

I can hear the talkback now: Q: What is it with those identity politics anyway? Can “they” just put them aside for the purposes of political solidarity? A: NO. No, “we” can’t. To be fair, that question was not articulated by Pollitt, but by plenty of other libs/progs NEVER in print but often in semi-private and casual conversations. That publicly unspoken question speaks to one of the problems with Pollitt’s post. She may not be speaking for “people of color,” but she’s certainly using “their” collective silence to make a point about the sycophancy of white male pundits in relation to other strange white men.

I wonder why Pollitt needed to point out “people of color” have not supported Ron Paul publicly. Does “their” absence on the Ron Paul platform somehow reaffirm her point about the (white?)“mancrush” for Ron Paul? It may appear to do so, but it’s a strawmancrush. People of color may not have spoken out because they have not reason to support Paul, true. Or they may not articulate support for his anti-war positions because they don’t want to be associated with Paul, given his questionable past positions on race. Or they may fear, as Glenn Greenwald points out repeatedly, that speaking in support of a stance will be CONFLATED with support for the politician. Still, a number of commentators, black and white, have pointed to the troubling policy decisions made or continued under the Obama Administration (and that are only being raised by one political candidate–a libertarian Republican–during this election season). Cornel West has been raising questions about Obama’s policies, as have Paul Krugman and Greenwald. Glenn Loury has recently raised some urgent questions about Ron Paul’s economic proposals to return to the gold standard and eliminating the Fed–EVEN as he points to the fact that Paul is our only anti-war candidate. As Corey Robin points out, a very sad fact for us on the left, because politicians on the left are not raising them.

But HERE FOLKS! I am a brown woman (in case my bio didn’t clue you into that), and I am downright livid at policies passed during the Obama administration (which a number of folks will attest that I anticipated before the 2008 election), which are even worse than expected. I am as livid with progressives who affect a casual? studied? indifference to the Administration’s repeated support for warrantless wiretapping (remember Obama’s vote during the 2008 election season when he took a break in campaigning to return to Washington to vote for the renewal of FISA; for his support of the Justice Department’s withholding of evidence (and even habeas corpus) from detainees on grounds of national security; his commitment to indefinite detention (NDAA was not the first time it’s arisen. We saw his support in the gesture to move Gitmo detainees to a federal prison in Illinois—with only a casual suggestion that they might receive civilian trials—only to watch it die quickly under even modest resistance. Guantanamo is still open with detainees languishing); the expansion of troops into Afghanistan in the first part of his term; the unceasing drone attacks in Pakistan, etc.

Does that mean that I am a fan of Ron Paul? No. Do I admire the fact that he’s articulating an anti-war platform? Yes, but very cautiously and very sadly, given his other questionable positions. As Corey Robin points out, folks who are anti-war have only Paul to look to. And in part, we have only Paul to look to, because of “white leftish women” like Katha Pollitt, who says,

“I, too, would love to see the end of the “war on drugs” and our other wars. I, too, am shocked by the curtailment of civil liberties in pursuit of the “war on terror,” most recently the provision in the NDAA permitting the indefinite detention, without charge, of US citizens suspected of involvement in terrorism. But these are a handful of cherries on a blighted tree.”

Really? Half a million Iraqi civilians dead? Dozens of Pakistani children dead because of drones (or more. We are not allowed to know)? The reproductive systems of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi women decimated by decades of US-led chemical warfare ? The curtailment of civil liberties of legal residents (and not merely citizens) in the US? The indefinite detention of tens of thousands of migrants, documented or otherwise? Those migrants include Latinos, South Asians, Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims from other parts of the world–detained not just for migrating without papers, but for merely being suspected of terrorism and held without charges, without lawyers, without family knowing, without judicial review–without a way out. These are what an anti-war position would resist. Seriously? Pollitt believes these are cherries on a blighted tree?

Apparently the last time Pollitt checked, women were half the population in the United States. Last time I checked, women were half the population in the parts of the world that the US is decimating. I’m going out on a limb, but I’m guessing that they care about their reproductive systems being trashed. They probably also care about their children dying. I’m wondering what Pollitt thinks about the ripping apart of migrant parents from their children–by deporting at least 46,000 of them* under the Obama Administration? My understanding is that these children all had parents. And apparently those parents cared about them.

This is what Pollitt thinks are trivialities to neglect in the 2012 elections? Pollitt is extremely worried about the world of Ron Paul, in which “there would be no environmental protection, no Social Security, no Medicaid or Medicare, no help for the poor, no public education, no civil rights laws, no anti-discrimination law, no Americans With Disabilities Act, no laws ensuring the safety of food or drugs or consumer products, no workers’ rights.”

How does Pollitt feel about Obama’s initial support of the Tar Sands Pipeline? About helping bailing out Wall Street bankers using the millions of dollars that could have been spent to keep poor folks from losing their houses through robo-signings of foreclosure papers, or helping save the pensions of long time auto workers? About Democrats voting to spend trillions of dollars to send US men and women to war in which they lose their minds, if not also their limbs, and then come home to inadquate medical care, if any, and to perpetual unemployment? Is she really trustful of an FDA that can barely regulate pharmaceutical drugs?

I expect much more of presidents who dismiss their constituencies’ outcries for a return of constitutional safeguards such as habeas corpus, due process, judicial review, congressional approval before engaging in invasions, who want an end to the drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. I expect much more from folks who claim to be progressive and engaged in these outcries during the reign of George II, but have no interest in speaking publicly about the continuation of these same outrages under Obama’s rule (Let’s face it: that’s what it is: a move to increasing autocratic rule, and the most recent signing of NDAA can make no other point).

But like Ross Perot in 1991 (whose third-party candidacy created the space to challenge NAFTA) and Ralph Nader in 2000 (who raised questions about corporate politics and party complicity), the presence of Paul is raising serious questions about some elephants in the room. How do we expect solidarity among folks of color when the cost-benefit analysis is played out by pitting the issues that concern white folks and some US folks of color against issues affecting international populations or other US folks of color, as Pollit does in her column?

Here’s another question: why must I make this claim as a woman of color? As a South Asian woman? As a migrant? Why can’t I make this claim as a US citizen, pure and simple? Why can’t I make this claim simply as a progressive? Somehow that pisses me off. The collective indifference of thousands of progressives, even in OWS, to the minute attention paid to those foreign policies that don’t take an enormous leap of imagination to see the deaths, the bodily and psychic harm, the mutations that result from chemical warfare, that have affected hundreds of thousands of PEOPLE of COLOR. Yes. And I am a “People of color” making this point. For better or worse, Ron Paul is noticing it. I don’t care what his motivations are (again, I AM NOT SUPPORTING HIS CANDIDACY. Glenn: maybe you should have put your alerts in all-caps, like I did). He is raising the questions.

In general, I tend to agree with old-fashioned Southern liberals (Ann Richards, Molly Ivins, Jim “armadillo guy” Hightower), etc. Southern libertarians or anything elses, less so. So, I’m not surprised by Paul’s primitive and bass-ackwards views on affirmative action, race, gay rights, women. But then again, I don’t expect much of libertarians, in the same way that I expect little of conservatives or neo-liberals. And I am pleased when they raise an issue to which I am sympathetic.

For other pundits who insist that holding Obama to such difficult standards is racist, since after all Bill Clinton was a neo-liberal white president who engaged in some pretty dubious domestic and foreign policy in the first term and still got re-elected by Democrats: I have news. I was pissed in 1996. And there was the same lesser-of-2-evils guilt tripping that revolved around gathering support for the “centrist” incumbent. The Clinton Administration was the harbinger of some pretty serious human rights violations, as I see it: The 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, 1996 Welfare Reform Act (PRWORA), and the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsiblity Act (IIRIRA), the “3 Strikes” (1994 Crime Act). All of those are crucial pieces of the road to indefinite detention and the eradication of civil liberties for US people of color. But we had the same guilt-trip in 1996 that we had in 2000, 2004, 2008, and again today: We have to do a cost-benefit analysis to see how “we” (read White Leftish Women and Men, and some segment of “People of Color”) stand to lose more personal benefits if we vote for the “worse” of 2 evils than for the “lesser” of 2 evils. It is always interesting to see how “we” couch the vote for the lesser of 2 evils in terms of how it will help “Other people” (even as it mostly helps us assuage our consciences and ensures that our status quo will not get worse.

Essentially, Pollitt’s column comes down to this: We want solidarity among liberals and progressives—but only on terms determined by WHITE leftish women and a segment of white men and some people of color. So it’s fine to be critical of President Obama and other Democrats. But DON’T suggest that a Republican–a conservative Libertarian–might raise a substantial issue that puts the libs/progs in an awkward spot. Especially NOT during Election Year. We can forgive a Democrat who’s continued a war that has killed and maimed Arabs, Muslims, poor folks of color who are NOT citizens of this mighty White-serving country (and killed and maimed thousands of US soldiers, too), but don’t funk with Pollitt’s reproductive rights. Certainly Obama has not expanded access to reproductive options to women without healthcare. I’m completely in support of the rights of middle- & upper-class white women to have abortions, but I’m also in support of the ability of US poor women & women of color, along with international women of color (poor or otherwise) to have access to reproductive health as well. Drones in Pakistan and chemical warfare in Iraq (yes, I know—Obama has “withdrawn” US troops from there—but only b/c Iraq wouldn’t let the US stay), and remaining in Afghanistan doesn’t exactly enhance access to reproductive rights for women. Nor does it facilitate clean air, water, or an unpolluted environment.

Here’s my other question: Why does this have to turn into a “guilt by association” debate? Why can’t we discuss the questions that are being raised as serious and important questions, rather than referendums on voters’ or pundits’ moral character? I don’t have to like Ron Paul (and why do we need to LIKE our politicians?). I don’t have to have dinner with him. He doesn’t need to be a friend. He is raising the questions that every other liberal and progressive and feminist (yes, including you, Katha) should be raising and forcing the Democrats to address. As Greenwald has pointed out, these issues only become outrage-worthy when the Republicans are spearheading human rights violations, because it gives the libs and progs a lever by which to claim political superiority. The silence on the Democrats’ record of human rights violations is deafening. And they’re more than cherries on a blighted tree. They’re dead bodies on the blighted conscience of Americans.

*An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported 46,000 deportations of migrants. In fact, 46k represents the number of parental deportations of migrants who had US born children, from the six month period of Jan-June 2011, according to journalist Seth Wessler, who reported the original story in Colorlines.