The Jesse Helms building-naming controversy

This makes way too much sense to be part of a nonsensical issue:

But a U.S. courthouse? Named for the man who made a sport of blocking qualified nominees from serving on the federal courts? Say it isn’t so. For the last decade or so of his Senate career, Helms blocked every single nominee from North Carolina to the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, as well as many slated for the U.S. district bench.

What makes even less sense is why Renee Ellmers would reanimate this embarassing and divisive issue now, when there are a lot more important fish to fry. She's either trying to build cred with the wrong crowd, or she's being manipulated by elements who want to divide us even more. Whatever the case, here's a few words from the "for" camp:

Sen. Helms started his career as a newspaperman and retired before the age of the Internet, with its instantaneous spread of rumors and lies disguised as facts. He held on to a belief in ultimate fairness that he shared in a personal letter to Coretta Scott King on April 8, 1986. “I am myself a public figure whose ‘image’ has been remade by the media and others, as you put it, ‘according to their own biased agenda.’ No doubt this will continue after my death when public papers relating to my life and career will be subject to public scrutiny…”

Yeah, that good old Internet, which allows us to dig up juicy tidbits like this one:

Helms' assault on King, which prompted a scathing denunciation from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), came as the White House was putting out word that President Reagan intends to sign the measure, even though the administration once had opposed it.

Helms had hardly begun his attack on the bill when Senate leaders of both parties, including Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the conservative chairman of the Judiciary Committee, filed a cloture petition to shut off debate and bring the bill to a vote, perhaps as early as Wednesday.

When asked if his attack on King would cause him political trouble in North Carolina, where he faces a tough race for reelection next year, Helms said bluntly, "I'm not going to get any black votes, period."

That one statement alone should keep Helms' name off any government building, period.

And as to the activities of the Helms Center itself, one of the frequent contributors to their foreign policy propaganda editorials is none other than Roger Noriega (no relation), who worked (works?) as a lobbyist for the Honduran junta that overthrew a Democratically-elected government:

“The current battle for political control of Honduras is not only about that small nation,” Mr. Reich testified in July before Congress. “What happens in Honduras may one day be seen as either the high-water mark of Hugo Chávez’s attempt to undermine democracy in this hemisphere or as a green light to the spread of Chavista authoritarianism,” he said, referring to the Venezuelan president.

Mr. Noriega, who was a co-author of the Helms-Burton Act, which tightened the United States embargo against Cuba, and who has recently served as a lobbyist for a Honduran business group, declined to comment for this article.

After the June 28 coup, President Obama joined the region in condemning the action and calling for President Zelaya to be returned to power, even though the Honduran president is an ally of Mr. Chávez, America’s biggest adversary in the region.

But Congressional aides said that less than 10 days after Mr. Zelaya was ousted, Mr. Noriega organized a meeting for supporters of the de facto government with members of the Senate.

Frankly, not only should Noriega's attempts to build a cabal within the U.S. Senate be investigated by DoJ, so should the Helms Center.


Sick to my stomach

I've been working on this diary since late morning, bouncing from one link/source to another, and a surprising number of pro-Helms articles are either hosted on or linked from White Supremacist websites.

Time for my second hot shower of the day.

Please sign the petition to stop this bill

There is a lifetime of hateful comments by Helms to dig up and we are going to have to send you through a car wash to get you clean by the time you're done, Steve. The only upside I can see is that perhaps we could invent some new drinking game and take a shot whenever someone brings up a new nugget of hate uttered by Helms...

In the meantime, anyone who would like to stop this insanity and make sure no federal building is named for Helms, please sign our petition. We intend to take it to the Senate and/or House floor if we have to. Helms is the last thing NC needs to commemorate:

Katy Munger,
Progress North Carolina Action

Lead, follow or get out of the way....


And by the way, please skip the wax cycle. After a few days it dries out and starts to itch like crazy. :)