Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Normal Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Raw Story had the story yesterday about Bill Finlay at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention claiming (video below)

Manufacturing racism for political purposes is a big business in the USA, and manufactured racism has been used to hurt the Tea Party from Day 1. There’s no doubt in my mind that if Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today the liberal left would spit in his face because he would be such a threat to their political agendas.

We are the people who practice Dr. King’s dream. It is the Tea Party where people are not judged by the color of their skin, and it’s Tea Party Americans who believe that character still counts.

So today, I am officially announcing that the Tea Party is taking Martin Luther King away from the liberal left.  And to you race-baiting promoters of division and hatred, you’re not getting him back until you renounce your shameful skin-color politics and start practicing the politics of character.

In his book "Why We Can't Wait," Reverend King maintained "Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic."

So Reverend King advocated what has become known as "affirmative action." However, while Wild Bill is not terribly significant, on the same day as his statement, Rush Limbaugh remarked

I mean, given all this controversy out in Hollywood, showing up here on Martin Luther King Day could be seen as an act of disrespect.  What I'll do is just fall back on the idea I had no idea, the staff didn't tell me again that this was a celebrated Monday holiday, and I've got history on my side.  I don't take too many Monday holidays.  Besides, Dr. King wanted everybody to work.  That's what separates him from the modern-day Democrat Party. 

In 2014, then-Senator John Walsh (D-MT) introduced the Bring Jobs Home Act, which was supported by every Democratic Senator but which fell short of the 60 votes needed to end the GOP filibuster. According to Bloomberg News, it

would have denied U.S. companies a tax deduction for the costs of moving out of the country and provided a tax credit for companies bringing operations home. It wouldn’t have affected the trend of companies moving their legal addresses to other countries through transactions known as inversions.

Senate Democrats in 2012 had introduced a nearly identical bill, which fell because only two Republicans voted for it.  No one recalls Rush Limbaugh promoting the legislation nor any legislation which would create jobs.

Limbaugh also is opposed to increasing the minimum wage, arguing in August, 2013

To a lot of people, what I'm going to say next and what I did start to say with Sean is the first time that they've heard any of this.  The people who say, "Hey, $7.25 is unfair! That's not fair. They need at least $10, $15. It isn't fair," don't have any idea how the market works. They're not taught how the market works -- and if you don't like $7.25 an hour, then go work somewhere else.  If you're not qualified to earn more than that, then go get qualified.  That's how things work.

That doesn't sound like Dr. King, who commented "We know of no more crucial civil rights issue facing Congress today than the need to increase the federal minimum wage and extend its coverage." Congress responded, raising the minimum wage the following two years, from $1.25 in 1966 to $1.40 in 1967 and $1.60 the following year.  When Dr. King spoke in 1967, the $1.25 was worth $6.05 in constant/1996 dollars; at $7.25 in 2014, it is now worth $4.82 in 1996 dollars.

A year ago in his State of the Union Message, President Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour (the level to which he himself raised it for workers on new federal contracts). A bill to that effect was blocked in the U.S. Senate with every Democratic Senator (except Majority Leader Reid, for procedural reasons) and only one GOP senator voting for it.

As with his support for affirmative action and increasing the minimum wage, so too did Dr. King oppose militarism, the massive divide between rich and poor, and practically everything else Rush Limbaugh and the Repub Party promote. Aside from the movie Selma to add a little, largely inconsequential, twist to Martin Luther King Day in 2015, it was the same old, same old, with Repubs claiming Reverend King while fighting everything he stood for.

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