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Rush Limbaugh Offers Plan For Trump To Steal Election

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Right-wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has been busy this week helping to build up a conspiracy theory about the increased use of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, which has the potential to set off national chaos as votes are counted in the 2020 election.

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Rush Limbaugh Smears Harris With Myth About Her Ancestry

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Rush Limbaugh has joined the bizarre right-wing chorus questioning whether Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), the Democratic candidate for vice president, is authentically a Black American, due to her reported descent from an Irish-born slaveholder in Jamaica — an analysis that is both factually wrong and morally repugnant on multiple levels.

On Monday's edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, the host read an article from right-wing site PJ Media by Senior Editor Tyler O'Neil titled "Joe Biden Alienated Black Voters by Picking Kamala Harris." (Both Limbaugh and O'Neil are white.)

Limbaugh then went on to his own discussion of Harris' ancestry:


From the August 17, 2020, edition of Premiere Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Now, "why" — you're asking, "Why would Kamala Harris alienate Black voters when, all intents and purposes, she appears to be Black?" Well, there may be this little ditty.

Dinesh D'Souza had been looking into Kamala Harris, and he had a tweet a couple of days ago. "The privilege Kamala Harris has enjoyed throughout her life was built on the backs of 200 Black slaves, forced to work on five plantations by her ancestor Hamilton Brown. I've yet to hear any sympathy from the kleft for these Black lives, which evidently don't matter at all."

But apparently, her — look, this is not "apparently," we've all known it. Those of us who have studied Kamala Harris, those of us who looked into her background, we know she's not African American. She doesn't have slave blood, she's not down for the struggle. She's not — none of that. She doesn't have any attachment, like Obama didn't.

Obama didn't have any direct attachment to the struggle. He didn't have any direct attachment to Selma, even though he went there, tried to make it look like he did. She doesn't, either. In fact, her family was wealthy in Jamaica, and they owned slaves.

If this language seems at all familiar, it is because Limbaugh said similar things about former President Barack Obama, whose father was from Kenya. Limbaugh said in 2012, for example: "He wasn't down with the struggle. He doesn't have slave blood. You know all that."

As for Limbaugh's assertion that Harris' reported ancestry discredits her credentials as being part of the Black American experience, this requires a lot of nerve given the well-known history of white men sexually assaulting slave women and children who were conceived as a result.

PolitiFact discussed an essay written by Harris' father Donald Harris, a retired economics professor, tracing his ancestry to Hamilton Brown, an Irish plantation owner in Jamaica in the early 1800s, and his son also named Hamilton Brown. The outlet explored the social status of Black Jamaicans in the immediate post-emancipation period as barely changed from slavery itself.

It seems possible that Kamala Harris is as likely a descendant of a slave-owner as she is an enslaved person. Jessian Prince, who the family tree identified as Miss Crishy's mother and would therefore be Kamala Harris' great-great-grandmother, is listed on birth and death records as a "labourer." Almost always, [author Tom] Zoellner said, laborers in Jamaica at that time were "people of African extraction who were the children and grandchildren of enslaved people who had been freed in 1838."

From 1834 to 1838, the term "labourer" meant "apprentice" — "basically a paid slave," Zoellner said. After emancipation, "the energy of planters was now to be directed towards converting a former slave labour force into a permanent plantation labour force," according to the government. "From the perspective of the planters, it was the same rider on the same mule, cantering towards the same destiny."

During Harris' presidential run last year, Snopes also wrote about the accusations regarding her family tree. After reviewing the sparse historical records, the site nevertheless concluded, "That particular branch of Brown's family tree derived just as much from an enslaved woman, whose identity may well be lost to history, as it did from Brown himself."

Even if it is the case that the Harris family ... are descendants of Hamilton Brown, those who seek to attack or undermine Sen. Harris for the wrongdoing of a man who died almost 200 years ago should first gain a better understanding of the often complicated, traumatic histories of black families in the United States — and tread much more carefully.

As an example of how this discussion might affect Black families in the United States, Limbaugh also credited this discussion to right-wing commentator Dinesh D'Souza, who had previously stated on the August 11 edition of Fox News' The Ingraham Angle: "Kamala Harris seems to be descended less from the legacy of, let's say, Frederick Douglass, than she is from the legacy of the plantation itself."

D'Souza may have said quite a bit more than he realized, however, by invoking the name of the great Black American abolitionist Frederick Douglass — whose own biological father was known to have been a white man, possibly either his first or second owner, before Douglass himself later escaped to freedom. Douglass also wrote extensively on the topic in his first two memoirs: "For thousands are ushered into the world, annually, who—like myself—owe their existence to white fathers and, most frequently, to their masters, and masters' sons. The slave woman is at the mercy of the fathers, sons or brothers of her master. The thoughtful know the rest."

D'Souza was not alone in thinking this was some kind of real point, however. Fox News host Mark Levin, on his BlazeTV show the same day, had claimed that Harris' "ancestry does not go back to American slavery. To the best of my knowledge, her ancestry does not go back to slavery at all."

This claim was immediately met with the appropriate combination of ridicule and serious debunking:

Clarification (8/17/20): The language in this piece has been updated for clarity.

Republican Reaction To Kamala Reveals Same Old Pathologies

What was for most Americans a moment of inspiration — the ascent of Sen. Kamala Harris, a woman of African and Indian descent, to a national party ticket — has instead provoked paranoia and rage on the Republican right. Along with the usual petty insults spat by President Donald Trump, his minions in the media are returning to their habitual obsessions of nativism, racism and misogyny.

It is a repellent and buffoonish spectacle, but it is unlikely to make any impression on voters who don't already share Trump's narrow, delusional worldview.

In the barrage of confused attacks on Harris, there is much to be learned about the psychopathology of the far right. So-called conservatives have little interest in the senator's actual record in public office or views on substantive issues, only in assaults on her background and character. Somehow, they miss the irony of calling her "nasty" while they launch hundreds of these vicious broadsides.

From Rush Limbaugh and Joe Pagliarulo, we hear the insinuation that Harris somehow used her sexuality to rise to the political pinnacle she now occupies. They're just "putting it out there," as Pagliarulo smarmily intoned, but why bother? Only someone very stupid would believe that a romantic relationship that concluded decades ago elevated Harris from the district attorney's office to statewide office in California, a seat in the United States Senate, and then her party's vice presidential nomination. Life and politics obviously don't work that way.

The only reason to "put it out there" is to detract from Harris' impressive achievements, with the kind of innuendo that is never inflicted on men. These Trump toadies dismiss the Access Hollywood tape, the Jeffrey Epstein photos, the Stormy Daniels affair, and the multiple credible rape and assault allegations against their idol -- yet they're troubled by those dates that Kamala Harris once had with the mayor of San Francisco. (Let's not even delve into Limbaugh's own problematic personal life, which is colorful in all the wrong ways.)

From former George W. Bush administration flack Ari Fleischer, and sundry other self-styled white experts on African American affairs, comes the suggestion that Harris is somehow not truly Black (or at least not Black enough). Those old racial dog whistles were blown when Barack Obama first ran for president, too, because his mother was white and he grew up in the home of his white grandparents. Does anyone believe that Fleischer — a ludicrous figure on his best days — knows what will "excite" Black female voters, as he put it?

African Americans supposedly won't embrace Harris because her father was from Jamaica and her mother from India. Indeed, according to the pardoned felon and provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, Harris is really white because one of her ancestors was a white slaveholder.

Again, this is a profoundly idiotic jape. Where would Kamala Harris' paternal forebears have originated other than Africa? She is an American of African descent. And how many other Black Americans, like Harris, have a white slaveholder somewhere in their ancestry? Many millions, surely, and like them, that fraction of her lineage is tiny.

The plain truth is that like so many Americans, Harris is proud of the ethnic variety in her background. And like many Black Americans of mixed heritage, she has chosen to identify strongly with the Black community throughout her life. It isn't a contradiction but represents what David Dinkins, the first Black mayor of New York City, likes to call "the gorgeous mosaic."

The unappetizing tableau of Republican race baiting wouldn't be complete without a reversion to "birtherism" — in this case, fake concern over Harris' eligibility for the presidency based on her parents' immigration status at the time of her birth. Desperate for clicks, Newsweek dredged up a right-wing law professor to claim that she just might not pass constitutional muster. It's a feeble argument, fully consistent with the professor's unimpressive, highly ideological resume. But is anybody surprised that the falsehoods flung at Obama for years are now aimed at the next person of color nominated for national office?

I'm not.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Rush Limbaugh Revives Crude Sexist Smear Against Sen. Harris

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is widely seen as a leading choice to be Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's running mate. As Biden moves closer to announcing his running mate, Rush Limbaugh revived a smear against Harris that implies that she advanced her career by dating a prominent politician.

Limbaugh has launched sexist attacks on Democratic politicians, family members, and aides for decades, frequently tying the attacks to personal relationships and marriages. This was particularly true of Hillary Clinton, for example.

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