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State reps deny charge of lewd behavior in a public park

by Eric Ferguson on September 3, 2015 · 0 comments

State Rep. Tim KellyState Rep. Tara MackThe first couple paragraphs of the Pioneer Press’s story sum it up:
 

A Dakota County sheriff’s deputy allegedly caught two Minnesota lawmakers “making out” in a parked car last week, according to law enforcement reports and court records, but the lawmakers say that accusation is “completely false” and a “lie.”
 
State Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, and Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, were issued citations for causing a nuisance on Aug. 25.

 
So the gist is a park ranger, rangers being deputies of the Dakota County sheriff, approached their car for being double-parked. He said in his report they Mack and Kelly were “making out” and Mack’s pants were “unzipped and pulled down”. Both legislators say the deputy is lying, and that they met there to exchange documents about an Owatonna-based health plan.
 
My first reaction was actually to think about the news stories of recent years about police fabricating their reports or covering up misbehavior, so I can’t dismiss the possibility the legislators are right. Wait, I’m handed this story about to two elected officials — of the opposing party — and representing swing districts — and my reaction is something other than cackling with glee? Well, I don’t cackle generally, but it’s more a matter of trying to apply the same skepticism I would if these were two DFLers. My next thought after treating the Mack and Kelly’s claim as plausible is to wonder where the body cam or dash cam video is. What we have however is the deputy’s word, and there’s a balance to be struck between the need for police to be trusted when they report something, and the fact some abuse that trust. So I’m not believing the legislators; just admitting the chance they’re telling the truth pending more evidence.
 
Of course, to be skeptical the other way, why would they meet in a park to exchange documents? I get why politicians might have grown leery of email, when every passing thought becomes public record to be searched by people who mean you ill, but still, wouldn’t handing off documents be a matter of attaching them to an email? OK, maybe they’re only in hard copy, or maybe they aren’t real, or maybe that was an alibi constructed after the fact. The most skepticism-inducing claim however is that the deputy is lying.
 
Yes, police lie sometimes, but usually not about a misdemeanor. Cover-ups normally happen when a suspect has some inexplicable injuries. Or when the suspect’s suspicious activity is something like walking through his own neighborhood, or driving through a white neighborhood while persistently failing to be white. Did the deputy want to endanger the political careers of the two people in the car? He probably had no idea who they were. So why would he make up something about people who attracted his attention by being double-parked allegedly? “Allegedly” because Kelly apparently is disputing that too. However, both were factually wrong when they asserted the information on their charges was released illegally. The Pioneer Press’s tipster may have had whatever motive, but those are public documents.
 
The implication of the allegations is that Kelly and Mack are having an affair, and we don’t know that yet. I’m guessing it’s true, but I’m actually feeling no schadenfreude over the possible repercussions to their marriages. This has to be painful on a personal level. These are Republicans, but I can think of others where I’d greet such news with the thought “glad it happened to one the legislature’s biggest a__holes” and yes, I do think in underscores instead of letters. I’ll seek help when I’m ready. Seriously, I don’t take any pleasure in it. The fact they’re ideologically hidebound on almost all policy matters doesn’t mean I wish them ill.
 
That’s not to say I’m unaware of the political implications, because these are both committee chairs. Both districts are purple and should have been winnable anyway, but obviously just became more winnable. Usually incumbents make the strongest candidates, but sometimes incumbents are so weakened that their parties would be better off replacing them as nominees, and that just might be the case here. Mack was the rumor mill’s pick to replace US Rep. John Kline, who just announced today that he’s not running for reelection. That seat is deep purple, and without an incumbent, becomes a top DFL pickup opportunity, so to have a MNGOPer who was being groomed for the seat screw up just now is a big deal.
 
Before making the “family values” hypocrisy charge, I wanted to see that this was actually the case. Pretty much, I don’t. Yes, each had an abortion bill during this year’s session. But otherwise, Kelly actually opposed the gay marriage ban amendment. Mack made mention of her faith being important to her in the introductory video before her speech at last year’s CPAC. I heard her mention there and in the video on her web site that her husband is pastor, but her speech was the basic conservative ideological pabulum — Obamacare is bad, liberal professors are indoctrinating students, etc. So in being holier-than-thou legislators, neither of them is exactly Tim Miller or Mary Kiffmeyer.
 
Is it fair to have their political careers ruined by a tryst? I actually don’t want to see them bounced from office for an affair (I made a deliberate choice to avoid using photos that include their family members, even though most politicians use family in campaign materials — this is probably bad enough without me piling on). I want Mack and Kelly to be bounced because they’re terrible on policy on health care and transportation respectively, though if they’re lying about the deputy lying, that would be good reason to bounce them too. And if they’re right that the deputy lied, I expect them to come around on the issue of police accountability. If they don’t start giving serious consideration to other people’s claims that the police fabricated their charges, then I’ll call them hypocrites.

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MN-02: John Kline will not seek reelection

by Dan Burns on September 3, 2015 · 1 comment

271_19344293946_1831_nMakes my day, and I know I’m not alone.
 

Republican Rep. John Kline announced Thursday he won’t seek re-election in 2016, after serving in Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district since 2002…
 
Kline’s announcement Thursday didn’t say why he had decided to step down, but he is 67. He scheduled a call with reporters later in the day.
(CBS Minnesota)

We’ll have plenty more about this. Just getting the great news out there, far and wide, for now.
 
Addendum: I’m passing along this, from Daily Kos, with useful numbers on recent district outcomes for big races. And this, from mnpACT!, speculating on who all might be running to replace him (in addition to the current candidates, Democrats Angie Craig and Mary Lawrence). State Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington), who is mentioned in the latter, is my pick for Minnesota’s most obnoxious legislator, and him on the general election ballot should make it easy pickings for our side. So, Run Pat Run!
 
Addendum 2: More from Kline himself.
 

On a call with reporters shortly after the announcement, Kline was relaxed and candid, saying it was “just kind of time” to move on, and emphasizing the work he still has left to do in Congress over the next 16 months, including the passage of a package to reform the No Child Left Behind K-12 education law.
 
Kline also made clear that his decision was not made due to health concerns, or worries that he might not win re-election in 2016. He explained that “it’s been a lot of years of me being in Washington,” adding that his grandkids had grown up in a “blink of an eye.” Kline was elected to Congress in 2002, and turns 68 this Sunday.
 
The seven-term congressman also acknowledged that his decision was partly motivated by the imminent end of his chairmanship of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the apex of his influence in Congress. (House committee chairmanships are limited to three terms.) “It’s time to let someone else have a shot,” he said.
(MinnPost)

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Why Congress will Pass Immigration Reform This Year

by Invenium Viam on September 3, 2015 · 0 comments

immigration reform

In June, 2013, the US Senate passed an immigration bill (S.744) on a vote of 68-32. Sixteen Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for what was heralded at the time as an historic measure that “… would clear the way for millions of undocumented residents to have a chance at citizenship, attract workers from all over the world, and devote unprecedented resources for security along the U.S.-Mexico border.” (Politico)

 

The Senate bill was the product of intense cloakroom arm-twisting, weeks of floor debate, and private backroom deals cut on unrelated legislation by the ‘Gang of Eight’ — a group of four Democrats and four Republicans — led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Their efforts amounted to a full-court press to produce legislation that could actually pass the Senate, something an earlier bill had failed to do six years earlier, in 2007.

 

Senator Schumer said at the time, “The strong bipartisan vote we took is going to send a message across the country, it’s going to send a message to the other end of the Capitol as well. The bill has generated a level of support that we believe will be impossible for the House to ignore.”

 

Speaker of the House John Boehner then did the impossible and ignored it for the next two years.

 

Fast forward to June, 2015. Dark horse candidate Donald Trump has taken on the GOP establishment and is riding a wave of nativist sentiment among conservatives young and old across the country, including a sizeable chunk of feral Libertarians and wild-eyed Tea Party folks, while leaving feckless conservative and low energy heir-apparent Jeb Bush eating Trump’s table scraps.

 

Trump quickly became a nuisance in Establishment circles. But the real story is that The Donald® has already proven Major Stinky Intolerable to the K Street boys and their many, many East Coast paymasters.

 

So what’s the GOP Establishment gonna do about it? They gotta do something. After all, why have those g*dd@m shills Boehner and McConnell on monthly retainer, if not to protect your interests when you need them? For the kinda money they’re raking in, they should be wearing satin dresses and lipstick.

 

Trump’s campaign is threatening to burn the party to the ground, and the GOP Establishment knows it. So they’re in big time fire-fighting mode. When fighting a fire you take away the fuel, you take away the heat, or you take away the flame — or some combination of the three. By passing immigration reform, they’ll take away the primary fuel of Trump’s campaign and most of the flame.

 

The other reasons for passing immigration reform are:

 

  1. It will give the GOP rank-and-file something to show constituents in 2016. And they badly want something to show voters, because right now they’ve got bupkis. GOP Congressmen hate having to tap-dance on the stump. They’ve had to tap-dance a lot lately.
  2. The GOP party leadership learned a lesson from Romney’s 2012 Ass-kicking, even if elected leaders in Congress remain studiously uneducated. Immigration reform will give the eventual GOP presidential nominee a fighting chance to peel away some of the Hispanic vote. They can put immigration reform behind them as a done deal and concentrate on social issues among Hispanics, which is where they get the most traction. Without at least 50% of the Hispanic vote, whoever gets the GOP nod will be digging a dry hole from the start and the party and their funders might just as well set fire to a billion dollars.
  3.  The Establishment candidates can distance themselves from the Tinfoil Hat Wing of the GOP, whose candidates talk wild crazy talk about things like deporting 11 million undocumented workers, who comprise some 70% of the agricultural workforce, or building a 1600 mile wall along the southern border with armed guards and guard-posts every quarter-mile at a cost of — what? — $10-12 billion a year? —  in what amounts to the ultimate gated community.
  4. They can show some heart in defending the children of illegal immigrants who were born and raised in the US and maybe claim some humanity.
  5. Politically, it’s a safe bet with 70% of voters wanting Congress to pass immigration reform including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers.

Boehner and McConnell are just waiting for word to come down from the Forty-fifth Floor: Cut the deal. Expect a bill to pass before the holiday break.

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Saint Paul City Council elections Wards 4-7

by Dan Burns on September 3, 2015 · 0 comments

Saint_paul_mnPart 1, covering Wards 1-3, here. I’m getting my information on who all is running here. Here is a map of the wards. DFL endorsements here. This article about the races, from the Pioneer Press, is recent and interesting, including what some candidates think of the possibility of taxpayer funding for a soccer stadium.
 
Ward 4
 
– Here are Tom Goldstein’s website and Facebook page.
 
– Incumbent Council President Russ Stark is DFL-endorsed. Website here, FB here.
 
Ward 5
 
The DFL did not endorse.
 
– The incumbent is Amy Brendmoen. Here’s her Facebook.
 
– Here are David Glass’s website and Facebook.
 
– The Independence Party endorsed Dave Sullivan-Nightengale.
 
Ward 6
 
– Incumbent Dan Bostrom is DFL-endorsed. Here’s his Facebook.
 
Kevin Bradley is a “small government” type, though I did not notice the term “libertarian.” Here’s his Facebook.
 

– Here’s Ed Davis’s website.

 

Ward 7
 
– This is an open seat, but only DFL-endorsed Jane Prince will be on the ballot. Here’s her Facebook.
 

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plannedA few items.
 

Though (Laura) Browder’s arrest was a daycare issue, it is part of a larger problem. Women make up nearly 50 percent of America’s workforce and 40 percent of household breadwinners, yet they have few of the protections mothers in other rich countries enjoy. America is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t offer guaranteed paid paternity or maternity leave to workers. Only 12 percent of U.S. workers reportedly have such coverage, but it is usually a benefit provided through employer insurance.
 
At least seven in 10 mothers with children younger than 18 were in the workforce in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. Yet, America is quite hostile toward its working mothers. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of momsrising.org, says part of the problem is that most policymakers can’t relate to the issues moms face. More than 80 percent of the 114th Congress is male, a figure Rowe-Finkbeiner says explains why lawmakers don’t see childcare access as an urgent issue.
(AlterNet)

The most glaring hypocrisy of most of the people in the anti-choice movement is how the whole “culture of life” philosophy stops at the moment of delivery. That’s glaringly apparent in the latest attacks on Planned Parenthood for “selling baby parts,” or in actuality facilitating the donation of fetal tissue from abortions, when the patient requests it, for medical research. That medical research is increasingly jeopardized as Planned Parenthood and other groups curtail their role in donations…
 
So all the non-fetus people out there who are sufferers and potential sufferers of the numerous diseases researchers are using fetal tissue to combat—Parkinsons, macular degeneration, various cancers, spinal cord injuries, and AIDS and Ebola. Your life and your health doesn’t count. Not any more than the life of the woman whose body is nothing more than a vessel for sacred fetuses. Same goes for the millions of people who didn’t get hepatitis A, German measles, chicken pox, and rabies because they got vaccinated—vaccines developed with fetal tissue.
(Daily Kos)

There’s a map here that shows how average distance to abortion providers has been increasing as clinics are shut down.
 

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sanders“This is really about how you put the numbers together to secure the nomination. As some of you might recall, in 2008 I got a lot of votes but I didn’t get enough delegates. And so I think it’s understandable that my focus is going to be on delegates as well as votes this time.” Hillary Clinton 8-28-15

 

At the Democratic National Committee meeting in Minneapolis last Friday, senior Clinton campaign officials told the media that Hillary has already secured one-fifth of the pledges needed to win the party’s nomination — some 440 “super-delegates” — which includes current and former elected officials, committee officeholders, and other party dignitaries.

 

At the time, I thought: ‘So it looks like Bernie Sanders is going to have an uphill battle for the nomination.’ Of course, we already knew that. But then my daughter called to ask if I thought Sanders had a real chance of beating Hillary. I explained a little bit about how machine-politics works and how Clinton has a lot of friends and allies who owe her favors, who have cut deals, etc. There are a helluva lot of Clintonites out there with a lot of muscle.

 

“Dad, I think you might be wrong.”

 

Some background is in order. My daughter is thirty-one. We’ve been talking politics for more than fifteen years. In my family, we bleed politics through generations. She has never once told me in all those years that she thinks I’m wrong.

 

“How so?” I asked her, somewhat unsettled.

 

“Everyone I know under the age of thirty-five is supporting Bernie Sanders.”

 

More background: my daughter grew up in Minnesota, she took undergraduate degrees in northern California, and now lives and works in Portland, Maine. She is gregarious and has lots of friends across the country. Not to mention that for her generation social media connections are simply second nature. When she says everyone, she means lots of people she’s connected to in one way or another. “Everyone?” I asked her. “Everyone,” she told me.

 

I did a quick review in my head of what little empirical data I could muster about the Sanders supporters I’d seen. At the Minnesotans For Bernie kick-off meeting, I remembered noticing that at least half the attendees were under 40. (The graying of the DFL is an issue that has nagged me for some time). Photos from the Sanders rally in South Minneapolis show attendees were clearly weighted toward the young. Other photos and web clips I’ve reviewed since our conversation show a lot of under-40 folks in attendance at town halls, rally’s, etc.

 

“That’s very interesting,” I said, a conversational signal to say more.

 

“Dad, what you have to understand is that we’re the ones working minimum wage jobs for our livelihoods. Everyone I know who works for minimum-wage is working at least a job-and-a-half. Nobody can live on $7.50 an hour working just 40 hours. I work two-and-a-half jobs. (True). And I get paid decent money. (Also true). I know people in their thirties who are still working at McDonalds. And if you’re like me and have a good job that requires an advanced degree, you’ve got crushing school debt. We’re the ones who are being told Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for us. We’re the ones who are putting off having children, or deciding not to even have children. We’re the ones who are being told we can’t expect to have the same living standards as our parents. We’re even being told that our generation might be the first one in history whose average life-span will go down! Everyone I know is disgusted by the status quo in Washington and says they’re sick of it. We’re voting for Bernie Sanders.”

 

In other words, I thought, she’s talking about a generational mandate for change — which could make 2016 a transformational election year. In a transformational election, the old regime is turned out and a new regime is installed. Both Hillary and the super-delegates she touts represent the old regime. And while she may be able to count as many as 440 super-delegates firmly in her pocket (doubtful), usually pledges of support only count for the first ballot. If she fails to capture a majority vote on the first ballot, she could see significant support fall away on the second and any subsequent ballots.

 

While it’s too early to tell whether a generational insurgency among millennials is forming or not — after all, we are talking about a generation that failed to show up at the polls in 2010 and mostly failed to show up in 2012 — there is clear evidence that it might be. Last July, YouGov released the results of a poll that showed Sanders’ support among voters 18-29 is statistically equal to Clinton and only a few points behind in the 30-44 age group. Where support for Sanders drops off significantly is among older voters ages 45 and up. But it appears that Clinton’s support in those upper age brackets is as much about name-recognition as anything else. In other words, Sanders has room to grow his support among the older crowd as he elucidates his policies and garners momentum, while Clinton is clearly failing to inspire younger voters. It’s worth mentioning that millennials haven’t been conditioned by media to fear the socialist boogeyman the way the older generation has.

 

If millennials are truly weary enough, disgusted enough, with the failure of government to deal effectively with the issues that directly affect their lives — including pocketbook issues and even whether they choose to have children or not — then a generational insurgency could be in embryo. The old regime of a two-party struggle for ideological supremacy — which has created government shut-downs, gridlock, and the lowest approval ratings in history — will be displaced. A new regime and political order will replace it. If 2016 in fact proves to be a transformational election year, it will favor the dark horse candidate from either party. Voter sentiment on both sides of the aisle seems to favor political outsiders at the moment.

 

Recent polls show Sanders ahead in New Hampshire and within striking range in Iowa. A one-two punch in the early primaries could send Hillary reeling into Super Tuesday with her campaign bleeding both momentum and support in the crucial months just ahead of the national convention. Hillary Clinton and the machine-democrats who support her may be looking at two prime movers of electoral politics in 2016 that neither she nor they can control: a left-wing insurgency (which I predicted in Part Two and which has since proved out) and a generational mandate for change.

 

Bernie Sanders has a foot firmly planted in both. That alone could be energy enough to win him the nomination and to propel him into the White House. It really all comes down to whether millennials show up.
 
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mccollumRep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) is showing some serious integrity, here.
 

In a letter to the State Department officials (two weeks ago), the Minnesota Representative said that the deaths of Nadim Nowarah and Mohamed Odeh, in May of 2014, demonstrated the “brutal system of occupation that devalues and dehumanises Palestinian children.”
 
The two Palestinian youths, aged 16 and 17, were killed when Israeli troops assaulted a peaceful protest outside the West Bank city of Ramallah during the Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of Palestinian forceful displacement by Zionist in 1948…
 
McCollum urged State Department officials to determine whether the killing of the teens was in violation of the Leahy Act.
 
The Leahy Act is a US human rights law that prohibits the State and Defence departments from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity.
(Mint Press News)

This has more detail. She’s not talking about summarily cutting off all U.S. military aid to Israel, though arguably people should be.
 

A viable Palestine/Israel two-state solution will not, in and of itself, immediately fix all that ails the Middle East. But it is far and away the foremost element, and there is little chance of things really improving without it. (Economic benefits would also be massive.) But there are those whose paranoid megalomania seems to render them unable to conceive of “solutions” that don’t involve mass slaughter, or at least the ever-present threat thereof. Such people have no business in governance, but far too many have often been there.
 

One key element of neocoward “thinking” on Iran is being overlooked. Currently, neocons are guaranteed to go down in the history books in a very, very negative light. As they see it, the great minds of their time – namely, themselves – deserve far better, and if millions, including thousands of U.S. troops, are killed in Iran, it’s a price well worth paying, in order to ensure that future generations are taught to regard the likes of Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol with suitable reverence.(In their demented, megalomaniacal heads, of course a war with Iran will ultimately be a glorious triumph. Just like Iraq.) Words fail me, in trying to really get across what loathsome, despicable failures as human beings we’re dealing with, here.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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Wild rice harvesting with an added purpose

by Dan Burns on August 31, 2015 · 0 comments

ricing000694JPGActually, two added purposes, both laudable. One is Native Americans’ efforts to assert their treaty rights, and another is to block land use for inappropriate, to say the least, endeavors like tar sands oil pipelines.
 

When Ojibwe tribal members (last Thursday) harvest rice outside reservation boundaries without a required permit, it will mark the latest chapter in Minnesota’s long history of treaty conflicts.
 
This time, however, the fight may go far beyond fish and wild rice.
 
Tribes believe the 1855 treaty they plan to put to the test today gives them the right to hunt, fish and gather in a large area of northern Minnesota. They argue those rights should also give them a say in any land use decisions that might affect natural resources — on or off reservation land.
 
That would include decisions about proposed oil pipelines in northern Minnesota, which they’re trying to stop.
(MPR)

On Thursday, rice gatherers were handed, pretty much at the last minute, a DNR permit that they didn’t want and don’t believe that they need. On Friday, they pushed it a little harder, and there were reports that could lead to citations.

 
Tar sands production is currently under a lot of downward pressure. Which is good, but there’s no reason to believe that Enbridge will halt its plans. Accomplishing that will take more.
 

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Make America White Again

by Invenium Viam on August 29, 2015 · 0 comments

The Donald“Hopefully, he’s going to sit there and say, ‘When I become elected president, what we’re going to do is we’re going to make the border a vacation spot, it’s going to cost you $25 for a permit, and then you get $50 for every confirmed kill,’ ” said Jim Sherota, 53, who works for a landscaping company. “That’d be one nice thing.” Alan Blinder, New York Times, August 21, 2015

 

While beltway pundits continue to argue about the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency, and whether he has a real shot at the nomination, I’m convinced that his campaign is both legitimate and likely to win the nomination.

 

And while beltway pundits continue to be shocked — shocked! — at Trump’s broad appeal across the electorate, as well as his Teflon®-coated non-stick exterior for surviving statements that would’ve sunk any other GOP candidate you care to mention, I was convinced early on that Trump had tapped into a rich vein of voter discontent that crosses demographic lines including party, region, religion, political affiliation, and others.

 

However, I needed to wait for affirmation.

 

What is now clear is that Trump has tapped into the closeted racism of the American public, which does in fact cut across many demographic groups.

 

He has pierced a deep vein of powerful conviction among millions of Americans that white culture and white supremacy has been a prime mover in what made America great and that white supremacy is key to “making America great again.”

 

At the same time, Trump’s newly found constituency suffers from deep misgivings about this nation’s future. The demographic trends towards a pluralistic society revealed in the 2010 census, with the Hispanic population nearly doubling in the 2000-2010 decade from 27.3 million to 50.5 million — now equalling about 16 percent of the total population — produced a shockwave in Republicans circles, as did the earlier election of a black president in 2008. More recently, the announcement last July that the Latino population in California now exceeds the white population, making California the first fully pluralistic state in the nation with no ethnic majority, has amplified fears among Trump’s followers that America’s white majority will soon simply be another among several ethnic minorities. Finally, the Black Lives Matter movement has added to their sense of confusion and disequilibrium. Why are those blacks acting up again?

 

Trump has tapped into the clandestine feelings of millions of Americans that the country was stronger and better off with a pre-eminent white majority and white power structure. They believe that an America trending toward ethnic pluralism is an America in decline. Brilliantly, he has named his constituency of closeted racists the “silent majority,” which accords with a cherished belief among those folk that most other people think the way they do, but are unwilling to show it and get labeled racist.

 

The first clue as to the nature of his popularity came on the heels of The Donald’s® campaign announcement, when he denounced the Mexican government and denigrated the Mexican people. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. […] They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

 

Newspapers across the country condemned that statement and political pundits declared his candidacy DOA.

 

But the pundits were wrong. Not only did Trump’s campaign dodge a case of SIDS, it took off. Within days he was leading in the polls and wearing a baseball cap with the words “Make America Great Again.” That dog-whistle statement is simply a transparent rendering of “Make America White Again.”

 

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FrankenTrump

by gregladen on August 29, 2015 · 1 comment

FrankenTrump-590x369The Republican Party and its handlers, including the right wing talk radio jocks such as Rush Limbaugh, and the bought-and-paid-for media such as FOX news, did not create the Tea Party. Michele Bachmann and a few others did that.* But once the Tea Party got going, mainstream conservative Republicans, including and especially leaders in Congress, went right to bed with it. The Tea Party gave Republican strategists an easy way to garner votes and support. This was especially easy to do because America decided to elect an African American president. Make no mistake. The Tea Party is pro-white, anti-everybody-else, and having an African American Democrat as president made defining issues and shaping rhetoric trivially easy.
 
It is a mistake to think that the Tea Party comes with a set of positions on various issues. It does not. Yes, the Tea Party tends to be libertarian, conservative, and so on and so forth, but really, it is philosophically inconstant and mostly reactionary. This has been demonstrated over and over again, as President Obama embraced various issues that were previously held by prominent Republicans, and those policies were immediately opposed. Because they were the policies of the Black President. The merit of a policy had nothing to do with opposition against it. They were President Obama’s issues, therefore the Tea Party was against them. And since the Republican Party was so rapt with the Tea Party, the GOP was against them.
 
This worked well. It gave the Republicans massive victories in a gerrymandered Congress. It meant that absurd excuses for leaders won elections, or if they did not, lost by only a few percentage points, when they should have been largely ignored by the populace.
 
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