Sunday Reads

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Good Afternoon!

The U.S. Virgin Islands gave Hillary Clinton all of their seven delegates and one super delegate for the Democratic Convention. Clinton should have the nomination sewed up by Tuesday after the New Jersey polls close.  The lead over Senator Bernie Sanders was commanding.  Remember, we will be there with a live blog on Tuesday night watching Herstory be made.  Be sure to join us!!

Hillary Clinton scored a sweeping win in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday, picking up all seven pledged delegates at stake as she inched tantalizingly close to the Democratic nomination.

She is now just 60 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to advance to the November general election.

The party said Clinton won 84.2 percent of the vote, while Bernie Sanders earned 12.2 percent. Under Democratic National Committee rules, a candidate must win at least 15 percent of the vote to be eligible to receive delegates.

The gadfly senator continues to display narcissism and should be disabused of his grandiose idea that the majority of voters, Democrats, or super Delegates consider him fit for office.  The press is finally beginning to describe him as delusional butslide_485178_6661708_free continues to provide him with a public platform given that his supporters are showing up at events where violence and intimidation eventually occur.  Among the many things Sanders appears completely devoid of knowledge is the idea of a “contested convention”.  

Bernie Sanders urged news organizations on Saturday to hold off on declaring a victor in the Democratic presidential race following Tuesday’s primaries and vowed to soldier on to the party’s convention in July.

Sanders comments come as his rival, Hillary Clinton, is poised to effectively clinch the nomination following the close of the polls Tuesday in California, New Jersey, and four other states.

But the Vermont senator insisted that the delegate count is fluid. And he expressed confidence that he could persuade some “super delegates”— the party leaders who are not locked into voting for a particular candidate — to peel away from Clinton in the “six long weeks” before Democrats gather in Philadelphia.

“Now, I have heard reports that Secretary Clinton has said it’s all going to be over on Tuesday night. I have heard reports that the media, after the New Jersey results come in, are going to declare that it is all over. That simply is not accurate,” Sanders said at a news conference here.

Sanders then added, with emphasis, that the “Democratic National Convention will be a contested convention.”

bloom-county-is-back-splashHe is the very definition of a sad, old man these days. Sanders truly needs to think about how he will be remembered, if at all, in the future and what kind of legacy he thinks he’ll be leaving with his brief foray into the national spotlight.

Clinton appeared on “This Week” this morning .  I’m linking to the full transcript here in case you missed it.  Clinton is clearly focused on the Republican nominee.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your supporters have been pretty fired up in the last couple of days as you’ve been taking it to Donald Trump and you also step it up, using words like “demagogue” and “dictator.”

Have you concluded that the best way to beat Donald Trump is to be a bit more like him?

CLINTON: No, not at all. I laid out in my speech in San Diego the crux of my concerns and my case against him on foreign policy and national security.

And a lot of what he says plays into what I consider to be a very divisive and dangerous view of the world. And I think it’s important that we call it for what it is.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve also said that he’s temperamentally unfit to be president and, in that speech, you said you’re going to leave it to the psychiatrists to explain his affection for tyrants.

Are you suggesting that he’s mentally unstable?

CLINTON: Well, no, I’m suggesting exactly what I said, that he’s temperamentally unfit. He doesn’t really have ideas. He makes bizarre rants and engages in personal feuds and outright lies.

He does apparently seem to have very thin skin and I think that those kinds of attributes, that temperament, is ill-suited for someone to be our president and commander in chief.

And he’s already, as I recited in my San Diego speech, on record on so many issues that run counter to what Democrats, Republicans alike over many decades have thought was in America’s interests in accordance with our values.

And that, to me, is cause for concern.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s the biggest danger coming from his temperament?

CLINTON: I think he engages in so much scapegoating and finger-pointing and he is someone who doesn’t tell the truth. He doesn’t seem to be bothered by the constant inherent contradictions.

I said that he had said that he would not mind having other countries have nuclear weapons, including Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia. He said he didn’t. A lot of news outlets, of course, easily pulled up the video of him saying all of that.

His unpredictability, his putting everything in highly personal terms has rattled — and that’s the word President Obama used — has rattled our closest allies, has caused a lot of serious concern around the world, because people are not used to seeing anyone, a Republican or a Democrat, running for president, who is so loose with the truth, so divisive and so dismissive of very legitimate concerns about safety, security, our values and who we are as a nation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, he said several times over the last few days that he thinks you should be going to jail over the e-mail issues and on “Face the Nation” he’s just given an interview to John Dickerson, where he said he would look at this when he becomes president. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I would have my attorney general look at it because everyone knows that she’s guilty. Now I would say this, she’s guilty but I would let my attorney general make that determination. Maybe they would disagree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your response?

CLINTON: Well, it’s a typical Trumpism. And I don’t have any response, you know; when he attacks me, I am not going to respond.

But I think it is in keeping with his very vicious public attack against the judge, the federal judge, who is hearing the case against so-called Trump University, a judge who has an impeccable record as a prosecutor, who actually spent, as I’m told, nearly a year in hiding because of threats from criminal drug cartels against his life, who was appointed first by the Republican governor of California, Governor Schwarzenegger, then appointed by a Democratic president, President Obama, because of his extraordinary legal record.

And what Trump is doing is trying to divert attention from the very serious fraud charges against Trump University, that have basically been confirmed by some of the highest officials who worked with him.

So this is typical. He does have that thin skin and, you know, Judge Cureil is as American as I am and certainly as American as Donald Trump is. And Trump’s continuing ethnic slurs and rants against everyone, including a distinguished federal judge, I think makes my point rather conclusively.

bernie-sanders-clueless-298x437Trump continues to insult every one while trying to pander.  This week we learn that the women working for his campaign earn less than than the men.

Donald Trump has paid men on his campaign staff one-third more than women, while Hillary Clinton has compensated men and women equally, according to a Globe analysis of payroll data for both campaigns.

Trump’s campaign staff is also far less diverse than that of his likely Democratic opponent. Only about 9 percent of his team are minorities, compared with nearly a third of Clinton’s staff.
The Globe analyzed the payroll for both campaigns for April, the most recent month with publicly available data. The snapshot provides clues as to how the aspiring Oval Office occupants might fill a White House team, and to what extent they include people with diverse viewpoints in the inner workings of their organizations.

In an election that is already focused on gender — including Clinton’s quest to be the first female president and Trump’s accusations she is playing the “woman card’’ — the payroll differences stand out.

This story slays me. It’s probably one of the most typical Trump moves we’ve seen to date in the election.  Trump used a picture of a random black family to show that he does have support from the African American community.  The family is incensed.

At a Friday afternoon rally in California, Trump sought to highlight his support from minorities.

“Look at my African-American over there,” he shouted.

He seems to have made things worse, with many noting that his phrasing implied ownership over the man.

One of the major hurdles for Donald Trump to win the presidency is his deep unpopularity among non-white voters. A recent survey found Trump is viewed unfavorably by 86% of black voters and 75% of Latinos.

Trump’s comments about the African American man came after reiterating his belief that a federal judge should be disqualified from presiding over the Trump University fraud case because of his “Mexican heritage.” (The judge was born in Indiana.)

This morning on Twitter, Trump was back at it, highlighting the support of an African-American family.

The father has made it clear that the family does not support Trump.resize

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, the parents in the photo — Eddie and Vanessa Perry — said they are not Trump supporters. They aren’t endorsing or publicly supporting anyone. Eddie Perry called Trump’s use of the photo “misleading” and “political propaganda.”

Clearly, Trump has gotten away with so many lies and he is such a disturbed person that he thinks he can do anything and get a way with it.resize (1)

I’d like to point out the artist of the next few pictures who takes pictures of candidates and turns them into clowns.  They’re pretty funny.  Will Espada has done a great job with all the Republican candidates. Go take a gander at the others.

So, I wanted to end with another Hillary story.  This is about Hillary and the Pride movement.   Clinton has written a think piece for CNN on her policies and hopes for the community.

So the stakes in this election are high. And even if we do prevail against the open bigotry of Donald Trump, we’ll still have our work cut out for us.
We need to pass the Equality Act, to ensure full federal equality for LGBT Americans.
We need to continue to fight discrimination at all levels of government and in all 50 states, as I did at the State Department, where we strengthened the department’s policies on anti-discrimination, worked with global advocates and other stakeholders in encouraging countries to decriminalize same-sex relationships and supported policies that extended benefits and additional protections to LGBT individuals.
And we need to tackle the intersectional pressures that make life even harder for many of our fellow human beings. In particular, acts of violence against transgender women of color continue to be reported at an alarming rate. It’s an emergency, and we need to treat it like one.
This issue is important to me. As secretary of state, I fought to make it possible for transgender Americans to have their true identities reflected on their passports.
And as president, I’ll fight for the rights of transgender people, because no one should be harmed or mistreated for being who they are.
Not long ago, I met a mom from New York named Jodie Patterson. Her youngest child, Penelope, was uncomfortable early on acting, dressing or being treated like a girl. “I don’t feel like a boy,” Penelope said. “I am a boy.”
So Jodie let him be who he knew he was. Today, he’s a happy little boy named Penel who loves soccer and karate. But Penel’s mom worries about his future. She dreads how he will handle puberty, and whether kids in school will be kind or cruel. And she wonders how he will find his place in the world, when there’s so much hostility toward people like him.
Kids like Penel are why all of us do what we do. They are why we fight for an America where every child is supported and loved for who they are, and nothing stands in the way of what they can become.

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Today, I celebrate the fact we will have our first woman candidate for President on a major party ticket within a few days. Tomorrow, it will be up to each one of us to see that President Hillary Clinton becomes a reality and that Donald Trump is sent back to the Trust Fund Farm.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Remember, this is an open thread!!!


Saturday Reads: Let the Record show that Donald Trump is a textbook Misogynist and Racist

31C71AEC00000578-3473482-image-a-31_1456945973359Good Afternoon!

It seems we’re finally getting a few journalists to investigate the appalling human relations history of Donald Trump and his well-documented racism and misogyny. The Republican party is lamenting this  because he’s their official standard bearer now. They would love to continue using code words instead of blatant bigotry. The rest of us better hope and pray that a few of the lemmings stop long enough to read up on  the man that is prepared to lead them over the precipice.  There is absolutely nothing redeeming about him.

I’m going to focus on some fairly long and intense investigations of Trump’s treatment of women as well as the astounding role that white identity politics is playing in this race.  None of these links are easy to read but every one should read them and share them.

Donald Trump’s campaign cannot stop attracting white supremacists.  Last week, David Duke argued that he would make a great Vice President candidate and “life insurance.” It’s very difficult to ignore that politics of “whiteness” and white resentment is an essential part of the Trump campaign.  (H/T to Jslat for this great link.)

But then, there’s the liberal commentator Jonathan Chait’s recent essay at New York Mag, “The Real Reason We All Underrated Trump,” in which he openly wonders whether Republican voters who’ve fallen for Trump are “idiots”:

“Most voters don’t follow politics and policy for a living, and it’s understandable that they would often fall for arguments based on faulty numbers or a misreading of history. … As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped.” 

It’s telling that Chait finds it easier to imagine that huge swaths of Republican primary voters are childlike and naive, rather than folks who quite rationally dig Trump’s direct appeals to their interests — their racial interests. Among Trump’s most notorious policy proposals is a moratorium on Muslims entering the country. He has called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” Maybe we should concede that these declarations are not incidental to his appeal among his supporters, but central to them. Calling them “idiots” posits that they’ve been duped, when perhaps Trump is saying precisely what they want to hear.

When Trump’s supporters aren’t being written off as intellectually incapable of knowing a huckster when they see one, their motivations are often ascribed to their being “working class.” But the working class today is nearly 40 percent people of color — and among people of color, Trump is profoundly unpopular. His coalition is nearly entirely white. Even the class part of the “working class” narrative is inaccurate; Trump’s supporters are wealthier than most Americans, and have higher incomes than supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The “working class revolt” explanation for Trump’s rise is overstated — and it can be a useful dodge to avoid talking about explanations involving racial grievance.

There have been outlets and pundits this election cycle who’ve shown they’re willing and able to dig into the role that racial grievance plays in How Trump Happened. Others haven’t, and continue not to. And that’s a problem.

The one thing that both the Sanders campaign and the Trump campaign have done for those of us that can see intersectionality of gender identity, sexual preference, religion, and race with justice, jobs, and opportunity is demonstrate that we have a serious cjones08082015problem in this country.  White, christian, male grievances are on display in each of those campaigns to the detriment of discussion of  actual issues. White straight male privilege shouts, screams, and violates everything that this county built on the idea of a melting pot based on representative democracy, and the idea of liberty and justice for all.

Trump’s treatment and characterizations of women should’ve been an automatic disqualifier for any political candidate. We’ve seen elected officials lose elections for all kinds of incredible comments about rape, women’s reproductive organs, and the role of women in society.  Donald Trump’s misogyny is part of his overwhelming appeal to white men who resent women.

Whiteness has always been a central dynamic of American cultural and political life, though we don’t tend to talk about it as such. But this election cycle is making it much harder to avoid discussions of white racial grievance and identity politics when, for instance, Donald Trump’s only viable pathway to the White House is to essentially win all of the white dudes.

cjones09122015This is piggybacking on Trump’s racist and bigoted comments on Mexicans, Muslims. and Black Americans.  Trump holds special contempt for women.  (The first two cartoons come from the mind and pen of claytoonz.com .)

Republican frontrunner and presumptive nominee for president Donald Trump once said that “smart women” act “feminine and needy” but that on the inside, they’re “real killers.” It is, he advised men, “one of the great acts of all time.”

On Friday, CNN pointed out that the description comes from Trump’s chapter on women from his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback.

“The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers,” wrote the erstwhile reality TV star. “The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naïve or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye — or perhaps another body part.”

Trump has taken heat for his sexist attacks on women over the years from comedian Rosie O’Donnell — who he called “fat,” “disgusting” and “a dog” — to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who the candidate said was unfairly “aggressive” with him in a televised debate and then accused her of being on her period.

The Boston Globe went after Trump’s behaviors in the Beauty Pageant Business and the resulting stories are horrifying.  This is a good summation of the evidence by The Daily Mail.

It begins with the recollections of a pin-up model named Rhonda Noggle. 

Noggle joined Trump in his limousine with a group of scantily-clad girls as they left the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room.

Upon hearing the ‘bimbos’ and the ‘gold diggers’ comments, Noggle decided she’d had enough.

‘I told him I would rather be with a trash man who respected me than someone who was a rich, pompous ass,’ she told the Globe.

‘And I got out. And I took a cab ride home.’

Trump, in an interview with the Globe, denied he had ever made the comments and doesn’t recall Noggle getting out of the car.

As the Globe put it, ‘Noggle’s assertion of sexist behavior by Trump foreshadowed allegations of misogyny, racial bias, and sexually aggressive behavior that would roil this brief and fractious deal – Trump’s debut in the pageant business in which he would in time become a major player.’

You can read the Globe’s April 17th expose at this link. It is amazing to me that stories of unwanted fondling and harassment actually were the basis of the only business where he’s had success. 0811wassermancolor

Trump’s involvement in the calendar model competition came at a time when his reputation as an eligible New York ladies’ man was at its peak. He was between his first and second marriages, and his personal life was regular fodder in the New York tabloid gossip pages. Two years earlier, he had been featured on the cover of Playboy magazine.

The case of American Dream Enterprise Inc. v. Donald Trump, et al. — told through hundreds of pages of court records, several sworn depositions, and in nearly two dozen interviews — shows a darker side of Trump’s playboy image.

It foreshadows a reputation for sexism and misogyny that sticks with him nearly 25 years later, in his presidential bid, in which coarse descriptions of women and perceived sexist comments have left him with extraordinarily high unfavorable ratings among women.

The foray into the Calendar Girls pageant, however, also ushered in Trump’s interest in the business of entertainment. He later bought the Miss Universe pageant and gained national renown for his reality show, “The Apprentice.”

“I don’t believe there would have been an ‘Apprentice’ if there wasn’t a pageant first,” said Jim Gibson, a consultant and longtime pageant host who guided Trump into the pageant business and eventually to the Miss Universe event. “That got him in the higher hierarchies of the television business. And it did exactly what Donald wanted to do: It built his name.”

4221396001_4801061240001_4801034125001-vsThe coverage of Trump’s records of sexual harassment is well-documented in The NYT’s feature article “Crossing the Line.”  It will bring back every horrible memory of every woman trying to earn a living and it will bring on every horrible nightmare every parent has of the kind of treatment they never want hoisted on their daughters.

Donald J. Trump had barely met Rowanne Brewer Lane when he asked her to change out of her clothes.

Donald was having a pool party at Mar-a-Lago. There were about 50 models and 30 men. There were girls in the pools, splashing around. For some reason Donald seemed a little smitten with me. He just started talking to me and nobody else.

He suddenly took me by the hand, and he started to show me around the mansion. He asked me if I had a swimsuit with me. I said no. I hadn’t intended to swim. He took me into a room and opened drawers and asked me to put on a swimsuit.

–Rowanne Brewer Lane, former companion

Ms. Brewer Lane, at the time a 26-year-old model, did as Mr. Trump asked. “I went into the bathroom and tried one on,” she recalled. It was a bikini. “I came out, and he said, ‘Wow.’ ”

Mr. Trump, then 44 and in the midst of his first divorce, decided to show her off to the crowd at Mar-a-Lago, his estate in Palm Beach, Fla. “He brought me out to the pool and said, ‘That is a stunning Trump girl, isn’t it?’ ” Ms. Brewer Lane said.

Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” he told a female contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Rosie O’Donnell, he said, had a “fat, ugly face.” A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? “Disgusting,” he said.

But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters.

Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey have documented a life long obsession with and oppression of women by Trump.  Read it and prepared to be angry.

Documenting all of the horrible things that Trump has said about women on Howard Stern led Chris Hayes to tell Michael Steele that he really would love to read each one and ask each Republican on his show if it represents his beliefs and the beliefs of the Republican Party.  The Stern comments are a case study in misogyny.

Donald Trump’s rise toward the Republican nomination has been fueled, in part, by his candid and often crude style — more Howard Stern, say, than Mitt Romney.

And the roots of Donald Trump’s rhetoric come, in fact, in part from The Howard Stern Show. Trump appeared upwards of two dozen times from the late ’90s through the 2000s with the shock jock, and BuzzFeed News has listened to hours of those conversations, which are not publically available. The most popular topic of conversation during these appearances, as is typical of Stern’s program, was sex. In particular, Trump frequently discussed women he had sex with, wanted to have sex with, or wouldn’t have sex with if given the opportunity. He also rated women on a 10-point scale.

“A person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10,” he told Stern in one typical exchange.

Women make up a majority of the American electorate, and any of dozens of Trump’s remarks would be considered a severe blow to most candidates for public office. Trump has, in the Republican primary, proven largely immune to the backlash that the laws of gravity in politics would predict, but there are also suggestions that he has a deep problem with some women voters: 68% of women voters held an unfavorable view of Trump in a Quinnipiac poll released in December. In a Gallup poll also released in December, Trump had the lowest net favorable rating out of all the candidates among college-educated Republican women. And should he win the nomination, his comments are sure to become ammunition for Democrats against what they have long cast as a Republican “war on women.”

Trump has a history of making crude remarks toward women. He reportedly said of his ex-wife Marla Maples, “Nice tits, no brains,” and more recently, he has called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and a “lightweight” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever” during the first GOP debate.

It’s really hard to believe that one of the two major political parties can elect such an Donald-Trump-tweet-Hillary-Clintonincredibly flawed, hateful, misogynistic, racists, and bigoted candidate.  It is said that parts of  the Republican Party are still trying to draft an independent candidate.  The problem is that it’s not because of Trump’s statements towards women, people of Muslim faith, or people of racial and ethnic minorities.  It’s because some of the things he says are seen as too liberal, to dove like, and not really ‘evangelical christian’ enough.  This means they’re fine with the misogyny, bigotry and racism.

Two central figures in the draft talks are Kristol, who edits the Weekly Standard, and Erickson, a talk-radio host. While Kristol acts as a lone operator and has huddled privately with Romney and other Republicans, Erickson leads an organized group with former Senate staffer Bill Wichterman and others called Conservatives Against Trump, which has been meeting regularly for months.

Coburn, known for his fiscal conservatism, and Sasse have been atop the group’s recruit list for some time. Wichterman is among those who have reached out to Coburn. Friends of the 68-year-old former senator said he is listening but is unlikely to pull the trigger, in part because of health concerns.

Earlier this spring, Kristol had his eyes on Mattis, who is revered by conservatives for his public break with the Obama administration. The general, now a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, met for several hours in mid-April with Kristol, Wilson and GOP consultant Joel Searby at the Beacon Hotel in Washington to go over how a campaign could work.

But soon after, Mattis backed away from the idea because he wasn’t ready to risk politicizing his reputation with a campaign that had little hope for success, according to two people familiar with his deliberations who requested anonymity to discuss those conversations. Mattis declined through a spokesman to be interviewed.

Kristol then reached out to Romney asking for a meeting to ask for his assistance. The two met May 5 at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Washington where they talked about possible contenders. Kristol detailed their discussion the next day to The Washington Post, which irked some Romney associates.

When asked this week to comment on further developments, Kristol declined.

“These conspiracies for the public good are time and labor intensive!” he wrote in an email. “In any case, things are at a delicate stage now, so I really should keep mum. Suffice it to say that serious discussions and real planning are ongoing.”

Potential candidates include a newbie Senator from Nebraska who is really a horrifying person all in his own right.   Sasse is an ideologue with some fairly strange ideas . c9a0fb89b7e82e00791282a6e5ae83ce

So what is a “Ben Sasse,” and how did he arrive at this wrong conclusion?

Sasse was elected to the Senate in 2014. In that cycle of Establishment vs. Tea Party Senate primaries, it was unclear in Nebraska which candidate, Sasse or former state Treasurer Shane Osborn,represented which side. It was such a muddle that FreedomWorks, one of the original national Tea Party organizations, switched its endorsement to Sasse after originally endorsing Osborn, prompting theresignation of one of its vice presidents. Since coming to the Senate, Sasse has amassed an arch-conservative’s voting record. He was recently the lone dissenting vote against a bill to combat opioid abuse, which he believes is a state- and local-government issue.

We’ve talked that the general election will get very ugly because it’s obvious that Trump is not shy about playing all the cards in his deck of hate.  I hope this kind of information continues to get out to the public.  Given Trump’s disapproval among women, women will be behind Hillary.  There is very little chance that his racist comments and ability to attract white nationalists will appeal to any racial minority.  This is the deal, however.  Whatever are we going to do with those white men and the few hangers on among them?  It’s not easy to ignore the privileged class.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

As always, this is an open thread.  Please share everything and anything!!!


Monday Reads: The Politics of Racial Resentment

70be8b3b676fe82c31d068e36e166187Good Morning!

I started writing this post in the morning. I have a feeling it’s going to take me awhile to pull it together so I should probably add a Good Afternoon just for good measure.

I was a small child during the early 1960s.  My father was an avid newspaper reader for the two daily editions of our local newspaper and the newspaper read around the state of Iowa.  That would be the Des Moines Register. I grew up watching Huntley & Brinkley around the dinner table.  It’s probably why I’m still a bit of a news hound even though journalism is not my calling.  Two things really influenced my childhood.  The first was the TV images  of the Vietnam War with the nightly news coverage of body counts and footage of jungle warfare.  The other was the incredible, horrible film of angry white people and police as the Civil Rights Movement spread across the South. I doubt that  I will ever forget watching hoses turned on children my age.

I was fortunate that I spent most of my weekends in Kansas City and a lot of my childhood travelling the country and the world.  It opened me to new experiences and different people and I soon craved more than any white, small city suburb offered. It’s actually why I resent the gentrification of New Orleans.  I do not want my Bywater neighborhood to reflect the cultural ennui of Minnetonka or the new Williamsburg.

Like most Midwestern cities, my town practiced Jim Crow by building interstates and railroad tracks to deter racial mixing. There were white_slavery_2also unspoken laws about where to go and where not to go.  By the time I got to high school and the school integration SCOTUS case took hold, it was obvious that I had grown up in place where there was just a different version of Jim Crow.  The faces of ugly, angry white Nebraskans aren’t all that different from ugly, angry white Mississippi folk. We moved across the river to Nebraska when I was 10. So, we traded small town Iowa for the sterile burbs of Omaha.

In many cities, these dividing lines persist to this day — a reflection of decades of discriminatory policies and racism, but also of the power of infrastructure itself to segregate.

Look at racial maps of many American cities, and stark boundaries between neighboring black and white communities frequently denote an impassable railroad or highway, or a historically uncrossable avenue. Infrastructure has long played this role: reinforcing unspoken divides, walling off communities, containing their expansion, physically isolating them from schools or parks or neighbors nearby.

[How race still influences where we choose to live]

Research, in fact, suggests that American cities that were subdivided by railroads in the 19th century into physically discrete neighborhoods becamemuch more segregated decades later following the Great Migration of blacks out of the rural South.

Racism has been rotting down there at the roots of our nation since the first mercantilists hit the shores of the “new” world. It came talking-about-race-moving-toward-a-transformative-dialogue-7-728with the first white Europeans and has stuck around.  Just when you think we’ve progressed, we experience a backlash that shows exactly how deep those rotten roots have dug. I’ve written frequently about the Southern Strategy and how Republicans have played the racial resentment card to build a base that lets them enact their scorched earth approach to government. We’ve discussed how much of this has come to a head since the election of our current President who, at best, is a slightly right of center, establishment black man. What’s really struck me recently is how the cult of Trump and the cult of Bernie both display the incredible nature of white privilege.

Trump’s followers display naked racial resentment to a level we’ve not seen in some time.  It’s translated itself into the Republican Party as a sidebar to “small government” and  “state’s rights”. Racial Resentment has been a useful tool for the rich because it serves their goal of drowning the Federal Government in the bathtub.  They’ve managed to frame any civil rights movement–recently to include GLBT rights–as an example of special privileges. Their real goals are to deregulate industries and destroy the central parts of the tax base thus enriching their donor base. Here’s a brief literature review of the concept of racial resentment from an academic paper linked in this paragraph.

There are a number of different measures of the new racism—including symbolic racism, modern racism, and racial resentment—but all share a common definition as support for the belief that blacks are demanding and undeserving and do not require any form of special government assistance (Henry and Sears 2002; Kinder and Sanders 1996; Kinder and Sears 1981; McConahay and Hough 1976). We focus on Kinder and Sanders’ (1996) concept of racial resentment because it is assessed by questions that have appeared in a number of American National Election Studies (ANES) and is the form of new racism most accessible to empirical scrutiny by political scientists.

Kinder and Sanders (1996) date the emergence of white racial resentment to the urban race riots of the late 1960s, a time of growing black political demands. In their view, resentment was fueled by the subtle racial rhetoric of a series of presidential candidates including George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. According to Kinder and Sanders, these political figures helped to create a new form of racial prejudice in which black failure was not the fault of government but rather caused by blacks’ inability to capitalize on plentiful, existing opportunities. They conclude that “A new form of prejudice has come to prominence … . At its center are the contentions that blacks do not try hard enough to overcome the difficulties they face and they take what they have not earned. Today, we say, prejudice is expressed in the language of American individualism” (1996, 105–106). They label this new form of prejudice racial resentment.

Racial resentment is measured with either a short scale comprised of four items or a longer version made up of six items that tap the notion that blacks don’t try hard enough and receive too many government favors (Kinder and Sanders 1996). Respondents are asked to agree or disagree with all six, or the first four, of the following statements: (1) “Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.” (2) “Over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve.” (3) “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.” (4) “Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.” (5) “Government officials usually pay less attention to a request or complaint from a black person than from a white person.” (6) Most blacks who receive money from welfare programs could get along without it if they tried.” Items 2, 4, and 5 are reverse scored in the final resentment scale. The first four of these items appear in the Henry and Sears (2002) symbolic racism scale, illustrating the empirical overlap between different versions of the new racism.

McConahay and Hough (1976) argue that new racism items such as those in the resentment scale provide a socially acceptable way of expressing general racial prejudice that was detected in earlier times by agreement with overtly prejudicial statements. From this perspective, racism could be assessed with a range of statements, not only those that reflect a sense of resentment, as long as they assess prejudice without doing so in a blatant fashion. In contrast, Sears (see Henry and Sears 2002) argues that symbolic racism is specifically defined by the combination of antiblack affect and traditional values such as individualism reflected in agreement with items in the resentment and symbolic racism scales. Kinder and Sanders concur with Sears and regard agreement with statements that chastise blacks for insufficient effort and a lack of individualism as an expression of racial prejudice.

There are differing opinions on whether the belief that blacks are undeserving of government assistance constitutes prejudice, regardless of whether this prejudice can be detected across a broad range of beliefs and actions in agreement with McConahay, or more narrowly in beliefs about a lack of black individualism as argued by Sears, Kinder, and colleagues. Concerns about the prejudicial nature of racial resentment arise, in part, from evidence of the tight link between measures of new racism and racial policy attitudes but not other forms of overt prejudice (see for example, Bobo 2000; Sidanius et al. 2000; Sniderman and Piazza 1993; Sniderman et al. 1991; Stoker 1998). The powerful connection between new racism and racial policy raises two central concerns: First, are the items that refer to government assistance in the racial resentment scale responsible for the link between resentment and policy attitudes because they both measure opposition to government assistance, as Schuman (2000) and others (e.g., Sniderman and Tetlock 1986) have claimed? Second, do new racism measures influence racial policy because they convey an ideological preference for smaller government and a belief in individual effort that has little or nothing to do with racism (Sniderman et al. 2000)? If the answer is yes to either one of these questions, the racial resentment scale faces a serious challenge as a measure of prejudice. We address the first concern briefly and then turn to address the second in greater detail because, in our view, it poses a far more serious threat to the validity of the racial resentment concept.

Consider Schuman’s (2000) concerns first. He suggests that some items in the racial resentment scale are so close to racial policy that they simply assess opposition to government intervention on racial matters and have little or nothing to do with prejudice (see also Sniderman and Tetlock 1986). For example, one question in the original six-item resentment scale asks whether blacks could get along without welfare assistance if they tried. This is uncomfortably close to a direct assessment of government welfare policy. Likewise, the statement concerning government officials paying more attention to black people could also be read as an assessment of government racial policy. Omitting these two items does not, however, undermine the powerful influence of racial resentment on racial policy (Kinder and Sanders 1996). Moreover, when Henry and Sears (2002) stripped the four remaining resentment questions of any reference to government treatment or assistance—for example, by removing the words “without any special favors” from the question that refers to the success of other minority groups—the combined scale (along with additional similar items) retained its strong link to white racial policy views. These findings suggest that racial resentment is more than a simple assessment of racial policy

general-lee-car-junkerThe paper is worth reading to get an understanding of the concept and if racial resentment is ideological.  I recommend reading it.

Anyway, what got me started thinking about all of this was one comment Sanders made over the weekend and this display of appalling racism by children in Wisconsin who obviously are connected to Trump-supporting families. This latter is the overt type of racism and racial resentment that we’ve seen coming from the Republican side of the political spectrum.

White high school soccer fans chanted, “Donald Trump, build that wall,” at a group of black and Latina players from an opposing team last week in Wisconsin.

Some of the players from the Beloit Memorial girls varsity soccer team walked off the field during the game Thursday at Elkhorn Area High School after they were taunted with racial slurs and the pro-Trump chant, reported WISC-TV.

“They came off the field and weren’t able to finish the game because they were too upset and distraught over what happened to them,” said coach Brian Denu. “One of the girls was cradled in the arms of one of our assistant coaches for a good 15 to 20 minutes.”

Denu said the chant came from a small group of Elkhorn students, but he said it greatly upset his players.

“Those are just words you’ll never be able to take back from those kids and an experience that you wish you could take back,” Denu said. “It was really disturbing for them.”

Elkhorn school officials said they were investigating the “inappropriate/offensive comments,” which they attributed to “a student or two.”

These actions are generations removed from the screaming, angry white people that met Ruby Bridges at the steps of her school.  It’s also several generations removed from the kid in my American Government Class in my very white small school District in Omaha whose parents transferred him because there were black people all over Benson High School.  My government teacher checked the distribution at the time.  They were transferring entire grades of students from one school to the other so some veneer of integration existed but barely. This meant it was possible to go about your classes without attending class with any one that you hadn’t gone to school with before the integration order.  Also, the school only had a bout 16% black students transferred in so they were definitely a minority.  So, we’ve gone from 60s and 70s kids to this which seems worse given the context of all the progress we’re supposed to have made towards a “more perfect union”.

However, pernicious white privilege hiding racist frames exists in leftist white progressives. This is what has really shocked me more than the overt Trump Supporter Racial Resentment politics. No place is this more obvious than in BernieBros.  Once again, Bernie Sanders explained away Southern Democratic Primary voters not providing him with any type of victory because they’re more “conservative”.  This completely discounts the large role that Black voters play in the Democratic Parties and elections around the South.

On ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, host George Stephanopoulos asked Bernie Sanders about his campaign strategy at this stage of the race. The Vermont senator, making an oblique reference to his message to Democratic superdelegates, presented himself as a “stronger candidate” than Hillary Clinton. It led to an interesting exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: She’s getting more votes.

SANDERS: Well, she’s getting more votes. A lot of that came from the South.

Trayvon-Martin-protests-i-010I had one local BernieBro mansplain to me that Hillary and her supporters were “misleading” blacks. I was then told to grow up after I basically stated that African American Voters are not children   So, at first I’m a misleading whore, then childlike. So, there’s the one two punch of white male privilege right there. Here’s the exact tweet and the link to the original tweet by Paul Krugman.

It’s blacks in the South and elsewhere who are mislead, asshole, thanks to shitheads like you & neolibs.

I also got this retort this morning on FB from another local BernieBro reacting to the Krugman tweet.

“Anyone who doubts that there is a strong conservative element among Southern democratic voters is simply not paying attention.”

My reply follows.

“Not simply paying attention to the demographics of Southern Democratic primary voters and recognizing that overwhelming minority population.”

These are local BernieBros btw.  They’re not isolated from the South or from Black people in the traditional northern/midwestern sense of redlining.  How is it that left of center democrats are not caught up in the resentment factor but still show such appalling ignorance of their own white privilege?  Also, what is the deal with understating the political role of Southern Blacks? I’ve been active in Democratic Races here in Louisiana. You have to be pretty damn blind to not see the racial mix of the party.  All of my local pols are black right up to my Congressman.

Here’s the New York version of the same story line.

I’ve tried, at least in public, to avoid the term Bernie bro. I understand why the many women and people of color who are supporting Bernie Sanders for president feel erased by it. I can see why lefty white men feel maligned by the implicit suggestion that they are rejecting Hillary Clinton out of sexism rather than idealism.

Nevertheless, the term gets at a particular flavor of sneering condescension that some of his acolytes show toward many women—and, I have to assume, many people of color—who are skeptical about Sanders. If you want to see what I am talking about, I invite you to watch this clarifying moment from a proxy debate between Clinton supporters and Sanders supporters that I took part in on Saturday.

Here’s the bottom line that illuminates an offending exchange.

It is hard for me to imagine Tasini speaking that way to a white man. Some might disagree, and there’s probably no way to quantify precise varieties of belittlement. All I can say is that I think many women will recognize it.

Some recent, further analysis by Steve Benen writing at MaddowBlog is close to my own in this post. I was happy to find this after I’d started this post which is why I guess I should say Good Afternoon again.

The result is a provocative rhetorical pitch from Team Sanders: Clinton may be ahead, but her advantage is built on her victories in the nation’s most conservative region. By this reasoning, the argument goes, Clinton’s lead comes with an asterisk of sorts – she’s up thanks to wins in states that aren’t going to vote Democratic in November anyway.
Stepping back, though, it’s worth taking a closer look to determine whether the pitch has merit.
First, it’s worth appreciating the fact that “the South,” as a region, includes some states that are far more competitive than others. Is there any chance of Alabama voting Democratic in the general election? No. Is there a good chance states like Florida and Virginia will be key battlegrounds? Yes. In other words, when talking about the region, it’s best to appreciate the nuances and not paint with too broad a brush. Indeed, even states like North Carolina and Georgia could, in theory, be close.
Second, there’s an inherent risk in Team Sanders making the case that victories in “red” states should be seen as less impressive than wins in more liberal states. After all, some of the senator’s most lopsided successes have come in states like Utah, Kansas, and Idaho, each of which are Republican strongholds. (Similarly, Clinton has won in some traditional Democratic strongholds like Massachusetts and Illinois.)
But perhaps most important is understanding why, exactly, Sanders made less of an effort to compete in the South. The New York Times reported last week on the campaign’s strategy headed into the Super Tuesday contests in early March.
Instead of spending money on ads and ground operations to compete across the South, Mr. Sanders would all but give up on those states and would focus on winning states where he was more popular, like Colorado and Minnesota, which would at least give him some victories to claim.
 
The reason: Mr. Sanders and his advisers and allies knew that black voters would be decisive in those Southern contests, but he had been unable to make significant inroads with them.
It’s a key detail because it suggests this has less to do with ideology and more to do with race. The notion that a liberal candidate struggled in conservative states because of his worldview is inherently flawed – Sanders won in Oklahoma and Nebraska, for example – and according to the Sanders campaign itself, skipping the South was necessary, not because the right has statewide advantages in the region, but because of Clinton’s advantage among African Americans.
Sanders wasn’t wrong to argue on ABC yesterday that “a lot” of Clinton’s lead “came from the South,” but it’s an incomplete description. It downplays Clinton’s success earning support from one of the Democratic Party’s most consistent and loyal constituencies: black voters.

Benen–see my bolded sentence above–makes the same argument as I.  It’s less about ideology and more about race. It’s very hard to argue that it’s not a form of racism if you’re discounting the participation of a huge swath of the population basically by refusing to acknowledge one key demographic trait; race.

This all comes as a part of America seems to be coming to the realization that we actually have a race relations problem.  A recent Gallup poll findings show some  increasing concern but low priority.

  • 35% of Americans are worried a great deal about race relations
  • Number has more than doubled in past two years
  • Race relations still ranks low among issues causing worry

This study indicates that while concern is stronger among liberals and Democrats, it is not enough to put the issue on the top of the priority policy list.  I have noticed that you see very few white Democrats–other than those residing in the South–that spend much time talking about the obvious attacks on the Voting Rights Act and the necessary steps to correct it.  In fact, when you looked at the case of Arizona—where the Act may have influenced the availability of voting machines–you basically had BernieBros accusing the Hillary Campaign of cheating rather than figuring out the obvious reason for the issues.

Jonathan Chait takes a stab at analyzing the strong black preference for Clinton. He chalks it up to the pragmatic nature of most

By Jamie Lynn Chevillet /Journal & Courier-- Joe Daubenmier holds a sign giving his opinion at Tea Party 3 hosted by the group Citizens in Action held on the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge in Lafayette on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

By Jamie Lynn Chevillet /Journal & Courier– Joe Daubenmier holds a sign giving his opinion at Tea Party 3 hosted by the group Citizens in Action held on the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge in Lafayette on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

African American voters.

The Democratic primary is a reprise of the classic purity-versus-pragmatism conflicts that periodically break out in both parties. Purists (on the left and the right) cast voting in morally absolute terms. They believe a hidden majority of the electorate shares their preferences, and a sufficiently committed, eloquent, or uncorrupted leader could activate that majority. Sanders is a classic proponent of this worldview. He has portrayed conservatism as simply a false consciousness constructed by big money and a biased news media, and something that would, in an uncorrupted system, be reduced to 10 percent of the public or less. Pragmatists read the electorate much more pessimistically. They recognize that the other side votes, too, and, having lowered expectations of what is possible in the face of a divided country, recognize that progress will be incremental and weighed down by compromise — sometimes with truly odious forces. That is the history of even the most spectacular episodes of progress in American history. Abraham Lincoln, who was holding together a coalition of voters that included supporters of slavery, refused to support abolition until the very end. Franklin Roosevelt needed the votes of southern white supremacists, and had to design social programs to exclude southern black people in order to pass them through Congress.

No community in the United States is more aware of the power of its enemies than African-Americans. For most of American history, the franchise itself was denied to black voters, who leveraged their precious vote for whatever they could. That did not mean holding out for politicians who would treat them as equal human beings, but merely supporting the less-bad party. In the first half of the 19th century, writes Daniel Walker Howe, “wherever black men had the power to do so, they voted overwhelmingly against the Democrats” — despite lacking anything like a racially egalitarian party to support. The emergence of the Republican Party in the middle of the century provided a vehicle for African-Americans to exercise more leverage. When neither party offered any positive inducement, as they deemed to be the case in 1916, black civic leaders stayed neutral.

I have read a large number of twitters and the facebook comments of black voters.  I can only imagine how it feels to be either described as easily misled or as racist because you want to take away white privilege simply to achieve civil rights. It’s about removing special privileges not gaining them.

Again, I just try to listen and learn. I’m fortunate that I live and seek out situations where I can increase my understanding.  Race relations are high on my priority list because I am a Southern Democrat living in a majority black city who knows that we just all need to work together to get our country to a place where we all have the ability to succeed.

So, this did take a large amount of time and print.  I’ll turn the discussion and post over to you for the day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today.


Monday Reads: Here we go again

12809656_10153257291792352_1600803200710685432_nGood Morning!

I had quite the weekend.  It was so hectic I managed to miss a wedding because I got the dates totally confused.   I’m trying to undo some of my karma this morning and that’s definitely going on the list. I’m so scatter brained these days I don’t even feel like me at times.  I had friends in from NYC and lots of Hillary work to do. It’s just been super crazy here.

Most everyone knows that the New Orleans Hillary peeps–including me–have been making phone calls to GOTV. We’ve had all kinds of stuff going on on the ground related to actually getting people to the polls. I’ve not gotten any calls from the other side but several folks showed up for a march around the French Quarter for Bernie.  As you probably know, our city is like 60% black.  There might have been 100 or so people in the march.  I only saw white faces there.  This continues to be sadly telling.

However, I can tell you about the time I’ve spent with the Hillary campaign this last few weeks. I’m so proud of the diversity of her supporter base.  I was on the phone yesterday and there were two of us aging boomers in the room. Both of us were women.  One white. One black. The diversity of the young supporters was amazing and there was a good size group. There were two Asian Americans, a Hispanic, three young black women, a young white woman and a black man. I know that many were from the GLBT community too. They were all millennials, so don’t believe it when they say there are no young people supporting Hillary.  She has a rainbow of them right down here in New Orleans.  I also spent the evening talking to Dr. Son in law who is a strong Hillary supporter along with Dr. Daughter.  As you know, Dr. Daughter had a Japanese Grandmother and Dr. Son-in-law’s family hails from the Bengal region of India. Both are avid Hillary supporters.

BB mentioned the stages of grief.  I’m pretty sure folks I know in the Sanders camp are somewhat stuck between denial and anger.  The South Carolina primary should’ve been a wake up call for the narrowing path to victory for their candidate.   The Team fighting here for Hillary on the ground definitely matches these kinds of numbers.Miguel

A bruising, nearly 48-point loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina on Saturday night dramatically narrowed the path forward for Bernie Sanders, raising serious doubts about his ability to win the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

South Carolina will widen Clinton’s delegate lead, which stood at one after her Nevada win on Feb. 20. But more significantly, the contest here demonstrated that the Vermont senator has failed to make any headway at all with African-American voters in the South. Even with 200 paid Sanders staffers on the ground and nearly $2 million in television spending, Clinton swept the black vote by a 5-to-1 ratio, according to exit polls. Among black voters 65 and older, Clinton won by a stunning 96 percent to 3 percent.

“When we stand together, there is no barrier too big to break,” Clinton said at her victory rally in Columbia, where, for the first time on a 2016 election night, she took the stage without Bill or Chelsea Clinton by her side. “Tomorrow, we take this campaign national.”

Now, heading into Super Tuesday, when 11 states will cast ballots on March 1, Sanders will face possibly insurmountable contests in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia, all states with sizable black populations in which he has not invested as much time or money.

“Delegates determine the presidential nomination, and I don’t see a path for Sanders to get there,” said Jeff Berman, a consultant to the Clinton campaign who ran Barack Obama’s 2008 delegate strategy.

Running through a best-case scenario for Sanders, Clinton operatives said they expect Sanders could win Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont — states tailor-made for the democratic socialist because they hold caucuses, are predominantly white, located in New England or have a history of electing progressives.

But even if Sanders manages to pull out significant wins in all five, the delegate math will make it difficult for Sanders to catch up: They represent only one-third of the delegates up for grabs on Tuesday. And the Clinton campaign has invested heavily in states like Colorado and Minnesota in order to limit Sanders’ margins.

Sanders’ operatives said they are looking beyond Super Tuesday, to the friendlier terrain of Kansas, Nebraska and Maine to deliver them wins. But by then, Clinton operatives predicted, it could be too little, too late to close the delegate gap.

 

krewe hillary swagBB has been insistent that Mass. will go for Hillary.  It seems that recent polls back her up.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton holds an eight-point lead over Bernie Sanders in a new poll of Massachusetts Democratic primary voters, suggesting that the Vermont senator needs to attract significant support during the final push to eke out a much-needed win in Tuesday’s Massachusetts presidential primary.

Clinton draws 50 percent of the vote, while Sanders picks up 42 percent and eight percent remain undecided, according to the Suffolk University poll released Sunday. The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I expect record turnout to continue with the nation’s Black voters because they know what’s at stake.  The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act is a not something trivial.  This will not go away.  Here in Louisiana and in New Orleans, turning out the Black vote is important.   The community is coming together for Hillary as she stands as the symbol and the promise of continuing President Obama’s legacy.  This is something not lost on any of us that were active in 2007 and 2008 from either the Clinton or Obama Camps.

As voters in South Carolina’s Democratic primary cast ballots that would ultimately lead to a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton deployed surrogates in an attempt to expand that winning strategy to Louisiana.

Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stumped for Clinton in Louisiana, hoping to increase turnout among black voters.

That bloc proved key to Clinton’s win in South Carolina. There she picked up 86 percent of the African-American vote, according to ABC News exit polling data.

Nutter was in Baton Rouge Friday (Feb. 26) to host a round table discussion with business leaders before campaigning with Landrieu at Dillard University.

Foxx, who joined the Obama administration in 2013, spent Sunday touring African-American churches in New Orleans.

There’s still one HUGE deal.  The Donald and his goosestepping followers really trouble me. There are two things that have popped up that are just beyond the pale.  Let’s start with this one: 12795310_10207586747399152_76255253964693655_n

Don Trump Jr. said he would happily pay for some of his father’s black critics to leave the United States.

The Republican presidential candidate’s son appeared Monday morning with his brother, Eric Trump, on “Fox and Friends” to discuss the “Super Tuesday” primary elections and the concerted attacks on their father by his GOP rivals.

And then there’s this one. His earpiece made him all confused about not knowing about David Duke and his association with the KKK.  This guy blames every one and every thing for his own damned ignorance, I swear!

Donald Trump on Monday blamed a poor earpiece for sparking a misunderstanding over white nationalist David Duke’s support of the GOP presidential front-runner.

“I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece they gave me,” he told hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show.

“I sit down and I have a lousy earpiece provided by them,” Trump continued. “You could hardly hear what [CNN anchor Jake Tapper] was saying.

“What I heard was ‘various groups.’ I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It’d be very unfair disavowing a group if they shouldn’t be disavowed.”

Trump waved off questions about Duke during a Sunday morning appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He repeatedly told Tapper he is unaware of the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard’s background and stances.

The outspoken billionaire on Monday lashed out at CNN for ignoring his multiple rejections of Duke’s support over the weekend.

“I’ve disavowed David Duke all weekend long on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s obviously never enough,” Trump said. “I disavowed David Duke the day before in a major news conference.

12798958_10101603023909336_5483709449666623779_nEven the ever Trump-fellating Joe Scarborough thought this gaffe was a bit off. 

They weren’t hard questions to answer.

“Do you condemn David Duke? And the Ku Klux Klan?”

A simple “yes” would have worked. But on Sunday, Donald Trump swatted away the easy answers and instead feigned ignorance about the KKK and its most infamous Grand Wizard. The Republican frontrunner’s failure to provide what should have been a simple answer has raised even more disturbing questions about the man who is on course to lock down the GOP’s nomination for president.

The first question is why would Trump pretend to be so ignorant of American history that he refused to pass judgment on the Ku Klux Klan before receiving additional information? What kind of facts could possibly mitigate a century of sins committed by a violent hate group whose racist crimes terrorized Americans and placed a shameful blot on this nation’s history?

Why would the same man who claims to have “the world’s greatest memory”say “I don’t know anything about David Duke” just two days after he condemned the former Klansman in a nationally televised press conference? And with that amazing memory, how could Donald Trump have forgotten that he himself refused to run for president as a Reform Party nominee in 2000 because “Klansman” David Duke was a member of that same party?

These are questions that have no good answers for a Republican Party on the verge of nominating a man who sounds more like a Dixiecrat from the 1950s than the kind of nominee the GOP needs four years after losing Hispanics by 44 percent, Asian-Americans by 47 percent, and black Americans by 87 percent.

anthony foxx and hillaryAs I said, ask any black voter in the South and you’ll hear exactly what’s at stake. Women, minorities, and the GLBT community do not want to go back to the kind of American that Trump’s voters represent because we all know what that means. Will the Republican Party really implode?  How far can Trump go in the General and what will he say and do once he faces former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?  This is Philip Rucker and Robert Costa writing at WAPO.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said: “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

More splintering came late Sunday when freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who has been a vocal Trump critic, declared on Twitter that if the reality TV star is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate — a conservative option, a Constitutionalist.”

12799370_10207103252433397_7610076389051235349_nWith all Trumps’ issues, I agree with Amanda Marcotte on this one.  He’s not less crazy than the Cruz and Rubio boys.  I recommend reading her latest just for the linky goodness.  She’s documented some pretty unpalatable stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I like Trump — I hate him with the passion of a thousand burning suns — or that I want him to be president. But yes, I think he should win the Republican nomination. He’s run the best campaign, one that speaks to what Republican voters want to hear, and, by that measure, he deserves to win the nomination, so that Hillary Clinton can wipe the floor with him in November.

This is not a popular opinion, and not just with the establishment Republicans who can’t help acting like the main problem with Trump is he puts his dirty shoes on the couch. The common wisdom in most of the media — conservative, mainstream and liberal — is that a Trump nomination would be a ruinous thing, a blow to both the Republican Party and the political system as we know it. To which I can’t help but say, “So what?”
 I don’t agree with Trump supporters on, well, almost anything, but I can’t help sharing in the pleasure they take with the way that Trump’s very existence exposes the smarmy two-faced hypocrisy of the modern Republican Party. Modern conservatism is built on a base of protecting men’s dominance over women, white people’s dominance over people of color and rich people’s dominance over everyone else, but it’s generally considered impolite to say so bluntly. Instead, it’s standard for Republicans to pretend that policies obviously designed to screw people over are meant to help.  That puts journalists in this terrible situation of having to pretend that Republicans mean well, since it’s generally considered impolitic to call someone a liar.
Trump doesn’t play that game, at least not as much, and it is nakedly obvious that this, and not his actual beliefs and policies, is what angers many of his detractors. Take, for instance, Jonah Goldberg of the National Review on Fox News recently, complaining that Trump is “completely overturning what the Republican reset was supposed to be about after 2012, which was this idea that it was going to be a more consistently conservative but more inclusive and nicer toned party.”
“And instead it’s going to be a less conservative but meaner toned and less inclusive party,” he added.

To which I must again say, “So what?” People who value kindness and inclusivity already have a party. They’re called the Democrats.

12803006_1718058728406271_183103720682307753_nI can certainly attest to that down here in the Mississippi River melting pot of America called New Orleans.  The line’s in Hillary speech that got the most applause for the night were just about that.  Our country is a great country  but unless is kind and inclusive of all its peoples, we’re not being the sort’ve of country that’s the shining beacon on a hill.

So, you’re seeing pictures of the folks working for Hillary here in New Orleans. I added one of the Honorable Anthony Foxx for good measure.  I see lots of YOUNG people with energy, smiling faces, and enthusiasm!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Be sure to holler out about the upcoming primaries in your states!  I know we’ve got lots of Sky Dancers out there ready to vote for Hillary this week and this month!!!


Lazy Saturday Reads: Media Belatedly Begins Vetting Bernie

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Good Morning!!

Before I get started, I want to thank Delphyne for posting the above photo on Facebook. I just couldn’t resist it. Now to the news of the day.

After his big win in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders is finally beginning to get some serious vetting from the media. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.

Last night, this story popped up at The New York Times: FEC Tells Sanders Campaign That Some Donors May Have Given Too Much. The FEC found more than 100 “small contributors” had given more than the legal limit of $2,700 to Sanders’ campaign. It’s not a huge deal according to the Times, but to me it seems to be part of a pattern of dishonesty on the part of the Bernie’s campaign.

Here’s a more critical take on this story from the Daily News Bin: FEC launches inquiry into hundreds of “excessive” contributions to Bernie Sanders campaign.

In what the FEC has titled “Excessive, Prohibited, and Impermissible Contributions” to the Bernie Sanders campaign, it lists nearly a thousand contributions from hundreds of donors, some of them repeat offenders. Sanders is accused of failing to provide adequate detail on who the contributors are beyond their names, which campaigns are required to make their best effort to do under federal law. The FEC is also informing Sanders that he “may have to refund the excessive amount” if he can’t adequately explain where all the money came from….

The FEC report also accuses the Bernie Sanders campaign of widespread “incorrectly reported” reimbursements for travel purposes and other costs. Sanders has been warned that if he cannot explain the stunningly long laundry list of violations, “failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action.” Read the full FEC report.

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Then there’s this from the Wall Street Journal: Sanders’s Record, Filings Show Benefits From Super PACs, Links to Wall Street Donors.

In nearly every speech, Bernie Sanders reminds voters that he doesn’t have a super PAC, doesn’t want money from Wall Street and rejects establishment politics.

Yet the Vermont senator has benefited from at least $1.5 million in backing from super PACs and from political groups that don’t have to fully disclose their donors, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission….

He may not have formed one of his own, but Mr. Sanders is getting help from National Nurses United for Patient Protection, a super PAC that gets its money from the nation’s largest nurses’ union, with nearly 185,000 members.

The union doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but a spokesman said the super PAC money comes exclusively from members’ dues. Representatives from the union have frequently joined the senator at events and this week launched a bus tour across South Carolina ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 primary. At an Iowa campaign stop, Mr. Sanders thanked the group for being “one of the sponsors” of his campaign.

In a five-minute video posted online by the nurses union in October, Mr. Sanders said he was “honored” to have the union’s support and highlighted his work on its members’ behalf.

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The rest of the article provides details on Sanders’ fundraising from big donors to the DSCC, which has supported in his House and Senate campaigns.

“He was just like any other senator hobnobbing with lawyers and lobbyists from DC,” said Rebecca Geller, a Washington attorney who attended with her husband, a financial services lobbyist. Ms. Geller, who has donated to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said Mr. Sanders was happy to take photos with her family. “My kids have fond memories of him hanging out by the hot tub.”

In addition, Sanders’ claims in debates and other forums are getting more fact checking and scrutiny. Here’s one example from The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: Bernie Sanders’s claim that Hillary Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies.’ This is refeering to the exchange in which Sanders claimed that Clinton said that Obama’s proposal to talk to Iran’s leaders without preconditions was troubling. Kessler:

Some arguments never die. For readers who may not recall a pivotal exchange between then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, here’s what Clinton and Sanders are arguing about.

In a debate on July 24, 2007 hosted by CNN, a question came to the candidates from YouTube:

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

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Obama took the question first and answered emphatically yes:

I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.

Now, Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire. And the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them and they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we had the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward.

And I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them. We’ve been talking about Iraq — one of the first things that I would do in terms of moving a diplomatic effort in the region forward is to send a signal that we need to talk to Iran and Syria because they’re going to have responsibilities if Iraq collapses.

They have been acting irresponsibly up until this point. But if we tell them that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force, we are in a position to say that they are going to have to carry some weight, in terms of stabilizing the region.

Closeup of ginger cat lying on old book near spectacles on books background

Closeup of ginger cat lying on old book near spectacles on books background

Then Clinton responded, saying that before any such high-level meetings, diplomatic groundwork first would be necessary:

Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are.

I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration.

And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy.

And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

As president, Obama took the path that Clinton had recommended.

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During the PBS debate on Thursday night, Sanders tried to explain away his no vote on a comprehensive immigration bill that was sponsored by Ted Kennedy and supported by most Democrats. Matt Yglesias responded at Vox: What Bernie Sanders told Lou Dobbs in 2007 about why he opposed the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill.

In Thursday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders briefly exchanged words over his vote against the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that John McCain and Ted Kennedy wrote and that both Clinton and Barack Obama supported, while Sanders and most Republicans plus some Democrats were opposed. Sanders cited as his motive opposition to the bill’s guest worker provisions, which he said were bad because a Southern Poverty Law Center investigation had likened conditions in existing agricultural guest worker programs to slavery.

It’s interesting to compare this with what he said about the bill at the time on Lou Dobbs’s show. Dobbs, for those who’ve forgotten, was a business news broadcaster who refashioned himself as a somewhat Trump-esque anti-immigration, anti–trade deal populist in the mid-aughts.

If you watch the interview you’ll see that Sanders isn’t particularly interested in working conditions for guest workers and he’s also not narrowly focused on the H2 programs the SPLC report was about — he also talks about H1 programs for skilled workers that, whatever their flaws, are clearly not slavery.

Dobbs is opposed to the whole idea of “amnesty,” which Sanders was not, but Sanders also doesn’t argue with Dobbs about it. Sanders doesn’t really say anything about the costs and benefits to immigrants themselves — whether that’s people who’ve been living illegally in the United States or potential future guest workers — one way or another. His focus is on the idea that “what happens in Congress is to a very significant degree dictated by big-money interests” and that “I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are now.”

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Finally, Sanders got himself in some hot water at the Black citizens’ forum in Minneapolis yesterday. Politico reported on the meeting and Twitter went nuts.

Sanders criticism grows pointed at black community forum

MINNEAPOLIS – A warm, welcoming African-American crowd grew increasingly frustrated with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday evening, complaining that he’s too scared to talk about specifically black issues.

Sanders was here for “A Community Forum on Black America,” introduced by the local congressman, Rep. Keith Ellison, one of Sanders’ only two endorsers in the House, But unlike many of the packed rallies that have greeted Sanders in other parts of the country, neither the folding chairs nor the bleachers in the gym here at Patrick Henry High School were full….

Questions from a panel and the crowd drilled down on felon voting rights — which Sanders said he strongly supported restoring — but turned to environmental racism and reparations for slavery, with demands for more exact answers about actions the candidate for the Democratic nomination would take if he was elected president.

The tension quickly rose over his 40-minute appearance, with moderator Anthony Newby repeatedly calling for “specific redress.”

“I know you’re scared to say ‘black,’ I know you’re scared to say ‘reparations,’” said Felicia Perry, a local entrepreneur and artist on the stage. “Can’t you please specifically talk about black people?”

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Sanders responded:

“I said ‘black’ 50 times,” he said. “That’s the 51st time.”

But, Sanders said, the issues at hand are more about economics than race.

“It’s not just black,” he said. “It’s Latino. In some rural areas, it is white.”

WTF?! Could this guy be any more tone deaf? Even though he has to know he needs black voters to win Southern primaries, Sanders just can’t break away from his obsession with Wall Street billionaires and income inequality to see that racism is a separate though related issue that affects how people fare in our culture.

You can read about the exchange in a little more detail in this CNN article: Bernie Sanders faces frustrated crowd at race forum in Minneapolis. The story ends with this interesting description of the chaos:

The forum finished inconclusively when activist Clyde Bellecourt commandeered the microphone to talk about issues relating to Native Americans being what he called “completely forgotten” by the federal government.

His statement drew on for several heated and emotional minutes as moderators asked him to get to his question and Bellecourt declared, “If you have to carry me out of here, carry me out of here!”

Sanders rose from his chair, thanked the crowd and scurried offstage.

Sanders simply doesn’t understand racism. As a white person, I can’t claim a deep understanding either, but at least I get that racism is a powerful force keeping Black people down and the problem won’t be solved by breaking up big banks or raising taxes on the wealthy and middle class to pay for free college and single payer health care.

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Sanders’ tunnel vision on the income inequality issue blinds him to the systemic effects of racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice, which interact with economics but cannot be solely explained or remedied by economic policies.

This attitude goes along with Sanders’ odd statement at the debate when he was asked what he would do about systemic racism. From USA Today:

The African-American community lost half of their wealth as a result of the Wall Street collapse, says Sanders. When “you have unbelievable rates of incarceration,” which leaves children without their parents, “clearly we are looking at institutional racism” and an economy in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, he says. Race relations would be better under a Sanders presidency, he says, because he’d create millions of jobs for low-income kids “so they’re not hanging out on street corners.”

How does Bernie expect to pull in Black voters when he claims he would do better on this issue than the first Black American president and when he characterizes Black kids as “hanging out on street corners.” Good grief. Kids hang out on street corners in my middle class town and the even wealthier communities nearby. Kids in cities tend to do that.

Bernie just doesn’t get it, and he doesn’t even seem able to tailor his message to groups whose votes he desperately needs.

What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend!


Wednesday: Banjoville, Georgia. A microcosm of Trump Nation.

Good Afternoon

This little section of delight in the North Georgia Mountains…I’ve spoken before of the cross-section of folks who live and breed in the town of Banjoville. Simple kinds of folk, why the sign welcoming people to our county states as much:

 

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I’ll give them the “Scenic Beauty” but as far as the “Friendly People” …that is open for debate.

I’ve noticed the Trump situation has made the bold hateful comments more mainstream. it is acceptable and standard and now common place to find this shit among the facebook pages of the typical Banjoville resident.

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(One of those comments is written by a superintendent of schools…more on that later in the post.)

But there is something more to it than all this hate, which is deep seated in the back mountain town mentality that populates so much of the nation. The Trump Nation. It is a nation that would never support a Cruz or Rubio, because when it comes down to it…they have Latino blood.

There was a tweet I saw yesterday that sums the whole thing up perfectly.

 

Yes, when it all comes down to it, White always wins.

And this is what I see everywhere I go in Banjoville.

A White Right Wing Christian Hate that is prejudice against any and all who is not “one of them.” Living in a town like that is hell. My family has experienced the discrimination first hand many times. To this point I bring you the reason for this post. The Trump Nation embodied in Banjoville, what does this mean for society.

We live in a town where the Sheriff’s Office is so blatant about their total embrace of the practice of Separation of Church and State. This is the painted image that greats you as you walk into the Sheriff’s Office:

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It is a picture by an artist, Beth Sweigard, known for painting fetuses and a sad Jesus…

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….or Jesus at the Jewish Peoples’ Wall…

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When I first saw that Patriotic Jesus poster in the sheriff’s department, I immediately thought about that other spectacular artist…Jon McNaughton.

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Yeah, he is the artist who immortalized Clive Bundy above as some kind of western hero for the nation….

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You want a real laugh, take a look at the gallery of patriotic work here jonmcnaughton. com /patriotic/

I’ve seemed to have gotten carried away there, I need to get back to the Banjoville Sheriff Dept.

Everywhere you look there is proof that the Sheriff is a holy man, even a plaque that states he has been to church more times than any other man alive on the planet. ( I kid you not.)

Tell me that a person who is not a “real” Christian will have a equal chance at justice in that building. (The color of their skin goes without saying…back before the State of Georgia forcibly frightened all the immigrants out of town, the officers made most of their arrest by stalking the Spanish Sunday Mass up at the Catholic Church…and pulling over any car leaving the church.)

How about the fine Doctors in the area? Who proudly display their affiliation in The Oathkeepers…Oh yeah, we even have one who is a leading authority member of the affiliation. How does this affect his service to the public…the entire public. (Well, I guess since he is in private practice that is not a legitimate question, but if he is the only doctor your insurance plan accepts what then?)

Then you have the teachers and administrators at the schools, counselors who are partial to the local Banjoville White Christian. Coaches who are prejudice against players… teachers who will penalize a student if they are the wrong” color or even the wrong Christian faith. (Y’all remember Catholics are a no go as well.) This is not something made up…this really happens and it effects the future lives of students.

This is the view of a Trump Nation from my little Banjoville. The hate and bitterness is nothing new, it is just becoming bolder in its execution.

Now he’s hooked the Christian conservatives: Accept it, Donald Trump’s not fading — even more on the right are buying his snake oil – Salon.com

Donald Trump might actually be able to pull it off. A new, nationwide poll from CNN/ORC shows that Trump’s lead in the Republican polls has grown even stronger going into the Iowa caucus, which kicks off the primary season. He’s reached 41 percent support amongst Republican voters, which is more than double what his closest contender, the even more ridiculous Ted Cruz, has. Even more startlingly, Trump’s supporters seem more assured of their votes than the supporters of any other candidate. It seems Trump might do what seemed to be impossible: Overcome the resistance of party leaders to grab the nomination.

[…]
…things are looking a lot better for Trump than anyone could have predicted. Part of the issue is that his closest contender, Ted Cruz, hasn’t made the progress he clearly thought he would at this late stage.

Mea culpa time. I’ve long thought that Ted Cruzhad a strong chance of knockingTrump out of the race, and that Cruz would either win the nomination or at least winnow it down so that Rubio could sneak up and grab it. In my own defense, the theory was pretty sound. I argued that Christian right voters would move away from go-nowhere candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson and coalesce behind a single candidate. It seemed that Cruz, who is an even nastier bully than Trump but speaks fluent evangelical-ese in a way that Trump can’t master, was well-positioned to suction up those Christian right voters.

The evangelicals did abandon the smaller candidates but, in a somewhat surprising twist, they flocked to Trump. Cruz’s once robust support amongst evangelicals is plummeting. He now has only 20 percent of the evangelical vote, whereas Trump has 37 percent of their support.

And now Jerry Falwell Jr. is endorsing Trump. This is doubly huge because Cruz used Liberty University, which Falwell is the president of, as the stage to announce his run for presidency. But such is the Trump-momentum that Cruz is getting left behind even by those whose support he thought he could count on.

Trump’s ability to win over evangelical voters is the surest sign yet that his campaign will not collapse as quickly as every predictive model imaginable suggested it should. Prying Christians off Trump should have been easy! He’s been married three times and literally cheated on his first wife in a church. His attempts to pretend he cares about religion have been limp and unconvincing, and yet, his base of support with evangelicals is only getting stronger.

The best explanation for why comes from Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism, who points out that “evangelicalism isn’t especially concerned with beliefs, nor has it ever has been.”

“Whether it’s Prohibition and communism, dancing and divorce, or abortion and gay marriage, evangelicals’ pet causes have changed radically over the decades,” he adds. “The issues themselves have only ever been important as a boundary marker, a way to delineate Us from Them.”

Trump fails comically to convince anyone he’s ever even cracked a Bible, he is the master at the “us vs. them” narrative. It turns out this is actually all the majority of Christian conservatives needed. All that stuff about Jesus and family values was merely window dressing. All that really matters is being told that people like them are better and more worthy than other people, and whoever can do that the most effectively — turns out that’s Donald Trump – will beat out the competition.

The us vs them….no that is not the right way…it is more like I said above, Trump pulls this “he is one of US” or “they are not one of us”… is more like the wording to me. One of Us being the key phrase. Us being only White Caucasians, accepting Jesus as your Savior kind of Christian, Us.

 

Anyway, that is my observations of Trump supporters, for another look, take a gander at this: The Return of the Middle American Radical An intellectual history of Trump supporters.

Trump not only got Jerry Falwell yesterday… Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. endorses Trump – The Washington Post . He also got: Sheriff Joe Arpaio to Endorse Donald Trump in Iowa – First Draft. Political News, Now. – The New York Times and today: Donald Trump wins John Rocker’s endorsement | www.ajc.com

A long read here: How Trump Happened – WSJ.com

However, I think the reason Trump happened is because of the media’s lack of calling Trump out for his racism, sexism, and every other thing the bigoted asshole has done.  Of course the Media isn’t only to blame. I think the corporate powers are a YUUUUGGGEE part of the problem too.

Watch this interview from The Young Turks that touches on the media and corporate sponsors.

Oh, the other points of the interview are very well taken, but y’all get the message here.

Just take a look at the headline from The Washington Examiner: Why can’t Donald Trump handle Megyn Kelly? | Washington Examiner

WTF is that?

Maybe I am being sensitive?

Although the article is not as bad as the headline makes it…

This feud has gotten ridiculous. Republican front-runner and businessman Donald Trump is now threatening to boycott the upcoming GOP debate if host Fox News doesn’t remove Megyn Kelly as a moderator.

I don’t usually like the argument that takes the form of, “if candidate can’t stand up to X, how can they stand up to the Islamic State?” But I do wonder how Trump will be able to handle anyone as president if he can’t take the sort of pointed questions about his weaknesses that originally soured him on Kelly.

It all started last August at the first GOP debate, when Kelly asked Trump about the New York businessman’s comments toward women in the past. The question was one of the most memorable of the debate, and prompted Trump to later claim: “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes … Blood coming out of her wherever.”

Kelly has recently poked fun at former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Trump, and hosted National Review editor Rich Lowry, whose magazine has come out against the Republican front-runner.

And here we are. This insignificant back and forth has caused Trump, for the fourth time this cycle, to threaten to boycott a debate. Trump said he would boycott two CNN debates if CNN President Jeff Zucker didn’t donate money to charity. He also threatened to pull out of the CNBC debate if the format wasn’t changed (rival Ben Carson made a similar threat as well).

This makes Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti’s statement all the more relevant: “Donald Trump is just trying to build up the audience for Thursday’s debate, for which we thank him.”

Trump is unlikely to actually boycott the debate and host his own town hall for rival networks, as he has claimed he would do. But if he has no plans to actually do this, his ongoing comments and actions toward Kelly are troubling.

How will Trump handle a hostile press if he is president? We know the press will be more harsh toward a Republican president, and that the press is especially hostile toward Trump, so will he just shut them out? And does Megyn Kelly, on a right-leaning network, really need to be public enemy number one to the Trump campaign?

I realize that this, like everything Trump does, is for attention, but it ultimately brings into question his ability to handle adversity and criticism.

That and imagine his fat sweaty fingers on the button of our nuclear arsenal.

Trump: ‘Obviously’ I Was Joking About Shooting People And Not Losing Votes

“It Was Like a Fascist Rally”: Sikh Protester Ejected From Trump Event Speaks Out

On Cruz and Rubio, Jesus thumping there way to Iowa:

Ted Cruz’s Evangelical Gamble – The New York Times

Rubio presses ‘Judeo-Christian values’ in Iowa | TheHill

Cruz’s Constant References to Jesus Drive Millions to Atheism – The New Yorker

Other links…

Trump Said He Bought Windows From China Because America’s Were Too Expensive – The Daily Beast

The Progressive Policy Donald Trump Just Embraced | ThinkProgress

Donald Trump endorses an idea liberals love: letting Medicare negotiate drug prices – Vox

Noam Chomsky Says GOP Is ‘Literally A Serious Danger To Human Survival’

As Donald Trump and Ted Cruz Soar, G.O.P. Leaders’ Exasperation Grows – The New York Times

Well what do you expect when you have GOP politicians like these:

Maine Gov. LePage: Bring back the guillotine

Racist, bigoted Facebook posts from top schools official can’t be tolerated

Leaked Documents Undermine Official Story Of Flint Water Crisis | ThinkProgress

 

In other news:

Denmark approves controversial refugee bill allowing police to seize asylum seekers’ cash and valuables | Europe | News | The Independent

Is the Oregon Standoff Over Yet?

Ammon And Ryan Bundy Arrested In Oregon; One Militant Dies In Shootout With Law Enforcement | ThinkProgress

After Bundy Arrest, Remaining Militia Says They Will Continue Occupation And Are Prepared To Die | ThinkProgress

Eyewitnesses Give Conflicting Accounts Of How Rancher Was Killed In Standoff

Christie ‘Glad’ That ‘Thin-Skinned’ Trump Skipping Fox News Debate

 

That is all, more updates and links in the comment section below.

This is an open thread y’all….


The Three R’s: Religion, Racism, and Republicans

Klansmen file into an Atlanta church in 1949 to attend Sunday evening services

Klansmen file into an Atlanta church in 1949 to attend Sunday evening services

 Good Thursday Afternoon!!

Christmas is just a week away; and, I’ll be honest, I’ll be glad when it’s all over. Of course there’s still New Year’s to deal with, but then we can get back to “normal,” such as it is. But will life ever feel truly normal to me again?

This morning I was thinking back over the devolution of the Republican Party during my lifetime. The first president I remember was Dwight Eisenhower. He was boring and he led the way for future GOP leaders in bringing religion into the public sphere; he initiated the “national prayer breakfast,” added “under God” to the pledge of allegiance, and “In God We Trust” to our currency. He formed a close relationship with the Rev. Billy Graham, who served as an adviser to Eisenhower’s campaign and his administration. However, he did preside over a healthy economy and improvements in America’s infrastructure.

The next Republican president was Richard Nixon. Nixon was also close to Billy Graham and Graham was a regular in Nixon’s White House. He continued Eisenhower’s prayer breakfast “tradition.” He began the overtly racist “Southern strategy” in order to attract Dixiecrats to switch parties; and thus Nixon began the politics of resentment and hatred of “the other” that dominate the GOP today.

Church-and-State

Gerald Ford was religious, but didn’t try to impose his beliefs on the rest of us, but his Democratic successor Jimmy Carter was a “born again Christian” whose public religiosity may have encouraged Republicans to continue linking politics and religion.

Ronald Reagan was apparently not deeply religious, but he attracted support from the growing religious right groups and often talked publicly about God and Christianity, especially after he was shot in 1981. Once again Billy Graham was a fixture in the White House and Reagan used religion as a political tool.

In 1982, Reagan supported a constitutional amendment to allow voluntary school prayer. A year later he awarded the Rev. Billy Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom and proclaimed 1983 the “Year of the Bible.” He called on Americans to join him: “Let us take up the challenge to reawaken America’s religious and moral heart, recognizing that a deep and abiding faith in God is the rock upon which this great nation was founded.”

Reagan also used racism, of course. He even announced his run for the presidency with a speech supporting “states rights” in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were murdered because they were trying to register African American voters in 1964. William Raspberry in the Washington Post in 2004:

It was bitter symbolism for black Americans (though surely not just for black Americans). Countless observers have noted that Reagan took the Republican Party from virtual irrelevance to the ascendancy it now enjoys. The essence of that transformation, we shouldn’t forget, is the party’s successful wooing of the race-exploiting Southern Democrats formerly known as Dixiecrats. And Reagan’s Philadelphia appearance was an important bouquet in that courtship.

I don’t accuse Reagan of racism, though while he served, I did note what seemed to be his indifference to the concerns of black Americans — issues ranging from civil rights enforcement and attacks on “welfare queens” to his refusal to act seriously against the apartheid regime in South Africa. He gets full credit from me for the good things he did — including presiding over the end of international communism. But he also legitimized, by his broad wink at it, racial indifference — and worse.

His political progeny include Trent Lott, who got caught a while back praising the overtly segregationist 1948 presidential candidacy of Strom Thurmond, and, I suspect, many Lott soul mates in the current Republican congressional majority.

Today’s Republican majority in the House and Senate is probably far more racist (as well as right wing “Christian”) than the one Raspberry referred to in 2004.

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George H.W. Bush and his son George W. Bush continued the Republican tradition of race baiting and using right wing fundamentalists–who had by then grown very influential in politics–to get votes.

When George W. Bush was in the White House, I couldn’t imagine this trend could actually get worse. But here we are today in a presidential race in which all of the GOP candidates are campaigning on hate and fear of “the other” and using fundamentalist religious beliefs to fan the flames.

 The leading Republican candidate for president Donald Trump has actually said in a primary debate on national TV that as president he would kill the families of suspected terrorists in order to prevent attacks, and not many media talking heads have expressed shock about it.

Trump wants to round up 12 million undocumented immigrants, put them on buses and drop them off at the Mexican border. He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. and he thinks he can shut down “parts of the internet” to keep potential terrorists from using it.

Another leading candidate, Ted Cruz, said on Tuesday night that as president he would “carpet bomb” any place where ISIS holds territory. Cruz is the favored candidate of fundamentalist “Christians.”

Both Trump’s and Cruz’s proposed actions would constitute war crimes.

Religion

The other candidates are horrible too. For example, Chris Christie has now said twice on national TV that he would shoot down a Russian plane that entered a no-fly zone.

How have we come to this? I can see the progression in my lifetime. What can we do to break the stranglehold of right wing religious extremism and intolerance on the Republican Party? The only thing I can think of is to elect Democrats to the White House, Congress, and State Houses. If we don’t, we’re on the road to fascism.

Interesting Reads for Thursday

A crazy article from the WaPo: ‘Unfriending’ Trump supporters is just another example of how we isolate ourselves online.

Think Progress: Trump Answers Question About Affordable Child Care By Mocking The Questioner.

CNN: Putin praises ‘bright and talented’ Trump.

WaPo: Pentagon chief’s use of personal email will prompt Senate review.

ABC News: Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli Arrested for Securities Fraud.

NYT: Fact Checking Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio on Immigration.

Politifact: Ted Cruz misfires on definition of ‘carpet bombing’ in GOP debate.

ABC News: Carly Fiorina Digs in on Claim That General’s Retirement Was Due to Obama Dispute

Christian Science Monitor: Why are non-Muslim women wearing the hijab?

ABC News: AP Interview: McConnell Suggests New Look at Patriot Act.

NBC News: Criminal Charges to Be Brought Against Enrique Marquez, Ex-Neighbor of San Bernardino Shooters.

Kevin Drum: Strike Two for Pair of New York Times Reporters.

I posted about this guy awhile back. The Cut: Millionaire Cleared of Rape Charge After Claiming He Tripped and His Penis Fell Into Teen.

The Atlantic: Lessons From the Mistrial in the Freddie Gray Case.

What stories are you following today? Or are you just too busy getting ready for the upcoming holidays? Either way, have a terrific Thursday!