Nel's New Day

September 18, 2021

Constitution Day Caps Week of Constitutional Abuses

Yesterday was Constitution Day, the 244th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution ratification, and many people wish the Republicans would read the document they claim to follow. For example, the youngest representative in the U.S. House, North Carolina’s 26-year-old Madison Cawthorn, ranted on Newsmax against the possibility of restricting air travel in the U.S. for those who are unvaccinated. He called it “a constitutional violation because you have a constitutionally predictive right to free restricted travel within the United States of America.” MSNBC’s Brian Williams responded:

“Perhaps you are wondering as we did, who’s going to tell him? We checked the constitution, no mention that we could find of airlines, increase legroom, tray tables, carry on bags, peanuts, none of it.”

Cawthorn wants the government to control private business, long opposed by the GOP.

Encouraging insurrectionists, 26-year-old Cawthorn admires Hitler and called for “bloodshed” earlier this month in reference to the September 18 white supremacist rally in at the U.S. Capitol. Still lying about DDT being the real U.S. president because of an evidence-free “stolen” election, Cawthorn also claims his governor Roy Cooper lost the election although Cooper defeated his opponent by 250,000 votes. Insurrectionists arrested in the January 6 attack on the Capitol are “political prisoners,” according to Cawthorn, and he plans to “try and bust them out.” The transcript of his remarks.  

Today, far-right Matt Braynard, a former campaigner for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) in 2016, organized the rally, “Justice for J6,” to protest treatment of over 600 insurrectionists, 63 of them in jail, who the group calls “political prisoners.” These are the people who broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and attacked lawmakers and law enforcement, wounding and killing them, in an effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election, thus keeping DDT in the White House. This group is part of a large number of Republicans who think the insurrectionists on the right didn’t harm a large number of people at the Capitol and didn’t vandalized the place while calling the atttackers “tourists.” In 2017, Braynard created a one-issue literary magazine, glorifying a far-right ultranationist Japanese 17-year-old who assassinated a legislator and chair of the Japan Socialist Party at a televised election debate, Braynard compared the killer, Otoya Yamaghuchi (left with samauri sword), to George Washington.

Despite DDT’s strong support for the rally to defend the charged January 6 “being persecuted so unfairly,” the event brought only about 450 people to Washington. Unlike “J6,” today’s rally had a high level of security and no current lawmakers present to encourage the participants to violent action. Because of the arrests regarding January 6, many people were afraid of another performance; those who wanted violence would have been disappointed because the leader pushed a non-violent protest. Hundreds of officers from eight agencies were present, and the congressional halls were almost completely deserted. Long line of trucks parked along Third Street served as security baricades. DDT wasn’t there to deliver rants encouraging the small group to attack the Capitol. People on the far-right called the event a “trap,” accusing the government of luring them to Washington for arrest.

DDT’s legislative supporters found the rally an embarrassment, avoiding it in speech and participation although a few far-right 2022 candidates handpicked by DDT came to speak. Even Rep. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who gave a fist pump to the January 6 crowd, didn’t attend. Republicans struggle with DDT’s leadership: they want him to turn on the base, but he alienates the general electorate when he does.

The current time is particularly bad for the GOP because of the revelations in Robert Costa and Bob Woodward’s book Peril, describing the debacle of DDT’s last days in the White House. Details in that book have taken the media away from President Joe Biden’s struggle with evacuating Afghanistan last month. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s overwhelming win thus far—63.5 percent to retain him with 85 percent of the vote counted—has caused more problemsfor DDT supporters, especially because of the strong similarity between DDT’s policies and those of the losing candidate, Larry Elder. Newsom partially won because he made the election about DDT.

Author Jason Miciak wrote a humorous description of the rally for Political Flare under the title, “The ‘Justice for J16’ Rally Was a Complete and Total Failure, With Cops Outnumbering Protestors”:

“We suppose that it’s just not as much fun if you cannot ransack the Capitol, threaten to hang various people, wear horns, and break windows to get in. Without any of that stuff, well, you’re not much more than a BLM protest, peacefully asking for a redress of grievances. What white person wants to do that?”

A Supreme Court justice used the day before Constitutional Day to lambast the Supreme Court, saying:

“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch, and we may have become the most dangerous.”

He continued:

“When we [go beyond longstanding limitations], and we begin to venture into political, legislative or executive branch lanes and resolving things that are better left to those branches—where people actually have some input and some opportunity to participate in the electoral process as to who those leaders are. Those of us, particularly in the federal judiciary with lifetime appointments, are asking for trouble.”

Thomas, a Catholic, was among the majority in retaining the Texas vigilante law against abortion until it could be legislated and has called on the overturn of Roe v. Wade, extending abortion rights. Legal experts and political commentators are criticizing Thomas for blasting courts when they do exactly what he does. Keith Boykin, a CNN commentator whose law degree comes from Harvard, said:

“Clarence Thomas didn’t seem too worried about ‘destroying our institutions’ when he cast the deciding vote to make Bush president in 2000 or to gut the Voting Rights Act in 2013 or when he sat silently from 2017-2021 as Trump trashed our institutions.”

Thomas’ personal political actions includes speaking at the far-right Heritage Foundation and using Supreme Court facilities to meet with the Foundation’s staff and interns. His activist wife, Ginni Thomas, praised the demonstrators for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) on January 6 who later attacked the U.S. Capitol in their attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Calling himself an originalist or “textualist,” Thomas keeps trying to persuade he follows the exact wording of the Founding Fathers but says oral arguments “almost never” changed his mind.

Another justice might be in trouble this week when FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about what Charles Pierce calls the “shake-and-bake investigation” by the FBI into Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation in 2018. The FBI cover-up is an 11-year-old Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the FBI said limited their abilities in the investigation. The FBI claimed the MOU blocked them from further investigation without specific directions from the White House.

According to an examination by The Guardian of the 2010 MOU, signed by then AG Eric Holder and then White House counsel Robert Bauer, doesn’t make this restriction. DDT’s White House did not have control over process parameters on any investigation. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has been birddogging unresolved issues surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation, including the magical disappearance of his heavy personal debts.

The Kavanaugh hearing comes this coming week after four Olympic gymnasts testified before the same committee about how the FBI ignored their information about sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. A 2012 Summer Games gold medalist McKayla Maroney said:

“[The FBI] allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue. What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?”

The four young women testified that FBI not only ignored their allegations in 2015 but also lied about their testimony and covered up the evidence. A few months before the 2016 election, former Director James Comey was busy announcing a new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. In 2018, Nassar was convicted on multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors and was sentenced to a federal penitentiary for the rest of his life. [U.S. gymnasts: Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols – Saul Loeb, AP]

May 11, 2021

Arizona’s ‘Fraudit,’ Lies about ‘Stolen’ Election Continue

California has a $75+ billion surplus while Gov. Gavin Newsom is the object of a recall because he went to a dinner with lobbyists during a block on gatherings a year ago; it’s the sixth attempt in two years. He plans to give bonuses to the state’s residents next year. Will these people vote against him?

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her House leadership position because she won’t agree that the election was “stolen” from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT); McCarthy said he is doing it because “unlike the left, [Republicans] embrace free thought and debate.”

Rhode Island’s Gov. Dan McKee may also be history after he canceled a fundraiser co-hosted by a DDT supporter; he said:

“I do not like Trump…he is dishonest, divisive, and his ‘Big Lie’ is a threat to our democracy.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the GOP is dead without DDT; his disowning of DDT after the January 6 insurrection was short-lived

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) wants to have both sides, but he also wants to unify the party with GOP policies. Republicans have no policies except supporting DDT and opposing Democrats—it’s their platform. Then they take credit for popular laws that they unanimously voted against.

Cancel culture” is the only GOP comeback, and Republicans don’t know what it means. Today, Bob Baffert, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit, used the expression because the horse failed its drug test. Baffert is suspended from Churchill Downs, pending an investigation, and he whined about losing his due process. At least four other horses trained by Baffert have been found with drugs in the past three years. Medina Spirit makes the 29th violation noted in Baffert’s career.  

The insurrectionists won: they succeeded in continuing the false narrative of a “stolen” election.

Republicans lie to the world about the “peaceful” insurrection and the “stolen” election, but they also lie to other Republicans about DDT’s polling in core battleground districts: his unfavorable were 15 points higher than favorable, almost double.

Nowhere, however, has DDT World become more ridiculous than in Arizona. Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone blamed the “Senate Republican Caucus’ audit of the Maricopa County votes” for “[jeopardizing] the entire mission of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office,” according to the Arizona Republic. The GOP senators demanded “certain routers,” causing a “significant security risk to Sheriff’s Office law enforcement data” if they are released. Another danger is the demand for “passwords to the county’s ballot tabulators used on Election Day at voting centers” to have “administrative access to voting machines.” County Attorney Allister Adel has told the Senate ballot-count fraudit liaison, Ken Bennett, the county has no more passwords beyond what it has released. Penzone stated:

“Access to this information would adversely affect the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office ability to protect critical evidence, data shared between law enforcement agencies, protected private information and individual passwords, all of which could be used to the detriment of citizens and law enforcement infrastructure.”

Penzone wrote that the move “puts sensitive, confidential data belonging to Maricopa County’s citizens—including social security numbers and protected health information—at risk as well.” GOP Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers agreed, stating problems with the routers would “cripple County operations and cost as much as $6 million.” Chris DeRose, a Republican Arizona election law attorney, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed that “no good can come” from the Senate’s efforts. 

Not satisfied with the third ballot recount in Arizona (making it the fourth count) by a private company who believes the election was “stolen” from DDT, QAnon conspiracy theorists want to invalidate all state election results since 2018 and immediately remove all elected officials. The citizens filing the lawsuit will then take over those elected positions—with no election. Among the group “We the People,” a common QAnon term, are a losing GOP candidate in 2020 and a prospective one for 2022.

One independent observer, Elizabeth Howard from Brennan Center, was permitted into the facility by a judicial order. She wrote:

“The point doesn’t have to do with election integrity based on procedures I witnessed. The procedures are drastically different from professional and effective procedures in use across the country by election officials. For instance, when counters are supposed to count ballots, the ballot is placed on a spinning turntable.

“Ballot counters are tasked with watching that ballot as it whizzes by, checking for marks for two races, marking the tally before the next ballot comes whizzing by them. It also allows for multiple instances where the counters’ tally sheets don’t match. In a normal post-election procedure where you are reviewing individual ballots, there would be a fair bipartisan official that agreed on how to count individual ballots. That’s not what we’re seeing at the colosseum. That’s another concern along with the fact they continue to change the procedures that are in use.”

Despite the $15 an hour frauditors are paid, only one-third of the counting tables are occupied. Tables spend between six seconds and 20 seconds or more on each ballot, and half the counters don’t do anything because of the time between batches of ballots.

One Republican senator who voted for the procedure is now disgusted with choosing auditors with “preconceived notions” and a focus on pursuing conspiracy theories. He said:

“There’s not even a perception of independence.”

Another GOP state senator, also voting for the current recount, now suffers buyers’ remorse. He said:

“It makes us look like idiots. Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point.”

No, it’s just embarrassing to be a Republican state senator.

The Arizona clown show has become a joke throughout the world, and Republicans know it. Many of them just want the ninjas to leave. Georgia wants the circus show next, and Michigan and Wisconsin are considered the fraudits after that.

Investigative reporting reveals the foundation for the “big lie” about a stolen election was started in a Texas airplane hanger soon after the GOP 2018 losses. Behind it is Russell Ramsland Jr, a Republican businessman selling such bizarre products as technology beaming light into the human bloodstream for disease cures. Unsuccessful in his own congressional run, Ramsland held meetings on electronic vote manipulation for challenging election results. His funding came from Republicans whose wealth came from the oil, gas and fracking industries.

The project began with locating losing candidates, such as wealthy real estate developer Don Huffines who lost his second run for the Texas legislature. Huffines met James “Trey” Trainor III, a DDT-appointee for the Federal Election Committee, for advice in challenging his loss, but Huffines decided not to pursue a case against the election. Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) was the second subject. He complained to state AG Ken Paxton, but nothing came of it.

By 2019, Ramsland was spreading the lie about U.S. election software originating in Venezuela and massive voting manipulation. By 2020, he added the evidence-free claim about the Spain-based election technology firm Scytl, “housing all of our votes … in an insecure fashion.” The next claim listed a server in Frankfurt, Germany as the location. Raumsland gave a two-hour briefing to seven members of the House Freedom Caucus and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell information for his movie about alleged election fraud.

DDT started to spread these claims as a cover for his possible election loss later in 2020. After DDT’s loss, Ramsland and his associates continued briefing right-wingers such as Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and DDT’s conservative lawyer Sidney Powell who had been in Rumsland’s loop for two years. Raumsland’s lies continued to be the source for burgeoning cases thrown out of court for months.

A major falsehood appeared from Raumsland’s misunderstanding of “errors”: he translated “ballot has been reversed” as evidence of tampering when it actually meant the ballot was spit out and the voter had to feed it back into the machine. Officials said that claims in his report were baseless. A hand recount in one county Raumsland considered highly problematic showed the original count was off by only 12 votes out of 16,000 ballots. DDT is still using that country as his proof of how the election was rigged. 

DDT’s Department of Homeland Security called the 2020 election the “most secure in American history,” but one-third of the U.S. population believe fraud caused DDT to lose—almost half of those thinking it was from hacked machines. Although many people believe the election was stolen, Ramsland’s organization was the font of inaccurate information shaping public perception. Florida’s “hanging chads” in 2000 had led to paperless touch-screen voting machines, cheaper but open to hacking and lacking any paper trail.

The lies will continue until Republicans revolt against DDT–and they won’t. 

January 30, 2021

Marjorie Taylor Greene: Voice of the GOP

When wealthy heiress and QAnon believer Marjorie Taylor Greene decided to run for the U.S. House, she moved to the deep red and more impoverished district in northwest Georgia. Former Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called her a “future Republican star,” former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) used her endorsement during her second campaign in January 2021 before she lost to Raphael Warnock, and House GOP whip, Steve Scalise (LA), wanted to talk about with her about her goals after she was sworn in. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA) put Greene on the Education Committee.

McCarthy and other GOP House leaders had opposed Green in her primary because of her offensive comments about Blacks and Jewish donors to Democrats, but Greene surged ahead in the primary because of her support from radical politicians DDT’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his wife Debbie, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) through the Freedom Caucus. The National Republican Campaign Committee spent thousands of dollars helping Greene get elected in the general election.

Greene claims to be the “voice of the people.” With Greene as the voice of the GOP, the Republican base—denying methods of preventing COVID-19—thinks it can obtain power through threats, violence, smears, and horrifying falsehoods promoting domestic terrorism with no accountability: 

In January 2019, Greene liked a comment that “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In a speech posted on Facebook, Green asked for Pelosi to be executed for treason—with no mention of a trial—because “she’s a traitor to our country.” She also liked posts about executing FBI agents, accusing them of being in the “deep state” against DDT.

Almost two years ago, asked her about the Iran deal:

“Now do we get to hang them ?? Meaning H & O [President Obama and Hillary Clinton] ???”

Greene responded:

“Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.”

In a Facebook post, now removed, Greene promoted the false “Frazzledrip” accusation that Clinton and a top aide, Huma Abedin, participated in a satanic ritual with the murder and mutilation of a child and drank its blood.

About the far-right attacks on the U.S. Capitol, Greene falsely said “Antifa/BLM terrorism” and Democratic politicians stoked the insurrection, specifically “accomplices” such as Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), VP Kamala Harris, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and called for them to “be expelled.” She also claimed, “The Antifa/BLM terrorism [is] funded on ActBlue.”

In her belief that “none of the school shootings were real,” including the 2012 Sandy Hook attack leaving 20 children and six adults dead, Greene called the 2018 mass shooting at Florida’s Parkland high school a “false flag.” She called the shooting survivor David Hogg, now an activist, “#littleHitler” and claimed he was a “bought and paid little pawn” and actor. According to a video, she trolled the 18-year-old for at least two minutes, calling him a “coward” and accusing him of being paid by billionaire George Soros. Other “false flags,” according to Greene, are the mass shootings at Las Vegas and the New Zealand mosque.

Before her election, Greene prepared a White House petition in January 2019 to impeach Pelosi for “crimes of treason,” accusing her support of the so-called “sanctuary” policies of “serving illegals and not United States citizens” and attacking her for her lack of support for DDT’s border wall.

About the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville (VA) killing one person and beating many others, she said it was an “inside job” to “further the agenda of the elites.” She also accused Democratic Party leaders of running a human-trafficking and pedophilia ring, partially run out of a Washington, D.C. pizza place.

In late 2018, Greene claimed Rothschild family-funded space lasers cause the recent disastrous wildfires. She also claimed that the attacks on 9/11 killing over 3,000 people in the U.S. was a hoax, President Obama is a Muslim, and the Clintons are murderers, specifically referencing John F. Kennedy Jr’s deadly plane crash in 1999. And she stated the “deep state” used a body double for Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she died.

Vice has a long list of Greene’s conspiracy theories.

Greene (above right) wore a “Trump Won” mask, (poorly) to be sworn into the 117th Congress, immediately announced she was filing for articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden, and called CNN the “enemy of the American people.” With DDT’s loss leaving the QAnon community in disarray, Greene has taken up the mantle of leadership.

Democrats denounce her, and some, including Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), plan a resolution to expel Greene from the House. Reps. Nikema Williams (D-GA) and Sara Jacobs (D-CA) also plan a resolution to censure Greene and call for her resignation. Jacobs said the Capitol is unsafe with Greene there:

“We saw on January 6th what can happen when elected leaders use their positions of public trust to encourage and incite violence.

Gomez said his Democratic colleagues are being fitted for bullet-proof vests, partly because GOP lawmakers try to sneak guns onto the House floor.

Rep. Alexander Ocasio-Cortez said she and some of her colleagues “don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.” She added that “white supremacist sympathizers are at the core of the Republican caucus in the House.”

Rep. Cori Bush has moved her office away from Greene for the safety of herself and her staff: Greene refused to wear a mask while berating Bush and her staff while supporting violence against politicians and “antagonism” directed toward Bush.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asked for additional security resources because “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.” She said:

“We have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.”

GOP lawmakers are staying quiet, but concerned GOP centrists fear the brand of Greene and QAnon for the GOP will be a catastrophe. The image of Republicans as only insurrectionists and conspiracy theorists may get publicity, but it won’t appeal beyond a small, hardcore base. McCarthy finally said he will “have a conversation with her” and called a House GOP leadership meeting on Wednesday after postponing a scheduled one on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Greene is bragging about DDT praising her.

After McCarthy flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with DDT, Dr. Jason Johnson said:

“Kevin McCarthy … basically says that the majority of America that I actually want to serve is an America that wanted to kill Mike Pence. The majority of the America that I want to serve is an America that wanted to kill Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that wanted to hang Ilhan Omar, that wanted to kill Ayanna Pressley. He is saying those are the kinds of people he wants to represent. … Politicians can choose their constituents. John McCain in 2008 said I don’t want people up here voting for me because they think Barack Obama is a Muslim. [Putting Greene on the Education Committee is] like putting Jeffrey Dahmer to babysit your kids. It’s insane, but that’s who they seem to think that America’s going to be going forward.”

Pelosi said Greene’s appointment giving her the ability to shape federal education policy is “appalling, really beyond the pale.” In an opinion piece, Karen Tumulty wrote:

“The sad thing is, the Republican embrace of people like Greene and its tolerance of what she represents show the party no longer recognizes a line between what is and isn’t acceptable. They have made their bargain, and now they are stuck with it.”

The QAnon community thinks DDT will return as president on March 4, the original inauguration date before the 20th Amendment changed the date to January 20 in 1933. The belief came from members of the sovereign citizens movement who believe they have the right to pick which laws they will obey. They think a 1871 law creating a government in Washington, D.C. secretly made the U.S. a corporation owned by foreign interests and did away with the Founding Fathers government. To these people, DDT will become the 19th U.S. president because every president since 1871 has been illegitimate.

Protecting conspiracy theorists, Fox pundit Tucker Carlson ridiculed the idea that QAnon is dangerous and denounced their critics as a “mob of censors, hysterics and Jacobin destroyers.”  On her show, Laura Ingraham agreed, accusing Press Secretary Jen Psaki of cracking down on all conservatives when she discussed attempts to share information to “disrupt violent extremist networks.”

Greene’s constituents may be less enchanted with their newly-elected representative after learning about her penchant for physical threats and her deranged conspiracy theories. Her campaign had kept to vague generalities about anti-socialism and pro-American. The question is how far they are willing to sink into Greene’s destruction of their Republican party.

Don’t know anything about QAnon? Here’s a beginner’s guide.

While Republicans continue to threaten democracy, the U.S. has over 600,000 new COVID-19 infections in the past four days and another 15,000 deaths from the coronavirus—or more.

October 29, 2018

DDT: Week 92, Part II – Jamal Khashoggi, GOP’s Promotion of Violence

The tragic events in the U.S. have taken front and center over the vicious murder of U.S. resident and WaPo reporter Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabians in their Turkish embassy, but the Saudis continue to contrive a number of explanations for the horrific event since October 2, 2018.

Robbie Gramer, Diplomacy/National Security Reporter, tweeted a “tongue-in-cheek” sequence of events listing Saudi’s “official” positions since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to get papers so that he could marry his fiancé:

  • He’s not dead; he left the consulate; we have evidence.
  • OK, he has disappeared.
  • OK, he may be dead.
  • OK, he’s dead but we didn’t do it.
  • OK, he’s dead, but it was a rogue group who worked for us.
  • OK he’s dead and we did it, but it was only because a 1 vs. 15 fight broke out.

That tweet is ten days old, and more has happened since then:

  • OK, so we thoroughly cleaned and painted the embassy, but we’re tidy.
  • OK, one of the killers dressed up like him and wandered the streets to confuse people.
  • OK, it was premeditated, but rogue officials did it.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) keeps trying to cover up what he called a “cover-up” while Jared Kushner orchestrates DDT’s responses to the innocent man’s torture, dismembering, and murder.

Other events since Gramer’s tweet:

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam (MBS) called his BFF Jared Kusher to ask, “Why the outrage?”
  • Turkish police found an abandoned Saudi consulate car in Istanbul.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin uncanceled his attendance at an economic conference in Saudi so that he could hobnob with MBS.
  • Foreign investors sold off $4 billion from the already faltering Saudi stock market, causing it to drop five percent before it slightly rose today.

Both Canada and France plan to continue their arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and DDT continued to insist on the sales that must be approved by Congress. He has kept escalating the number of jobs for his yet non-existent arms deal—from 40,000 six months ago to over one million jobs now. DDT fabricated over one million jobs in an industry that currently has 355,000 jobs, 0.5 percent of the total U.S. labor force if the number includes every job connected to the sale or production of airplanes, tanks, bombs, and services for the entire U.S. military. The Saudis have signed commitments for only $14.5 billion in U.S. weapons, not $110 billion, since DDT was inaugurated, but no contracts have been signed. Congress may pass the sales, but the jobs won’t last: Saudi Arabia plans to start manufacturing its own arms. The U.S. won’t get Saudi money, but DDT and his businesses will.

In a piece called “It Takes a Village to Make a Hate Crime,” Dan Doubet wrote about the events leading up to the slaughter of innocent people at a place of worship last weekend. The suspect gave his reasons which were directly related to the GOP and right-wing hysterical conspiracy theories about invasion from poor people, mostly women and children, fleeing the violence of Honduras.

  • The GOP Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate, Scott Wagner, called George Soros a “Hungarian Jew” who has a “hatred for America” and a menacing conspirator in his opponent’s reelection bid.
  • Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) reiterated the Soros’ myth as a “fact” on Sunday’s Meet the Press, and host Chuck Todd not only failed to correct his lie but also compared it to the Democrat’s factual statements about the Koch brothers.
  • Meghan McCain, the daughter of former POW prisoner and Arizona senator, compared the bombs sent to a dozen U.S. leaders to Republicans being “heckled at restaurants.”
  • Kellyanne Conway, DDT’s counselor, blamed “antireligiosity” for the killing in the synagogue because late-night commedians are “making fun of people who expresses[sic] religion.” She compared this hate crime toward Jews to the hate crime toward blacks in a South Carolina, also calling it anti-faith. No one on Fox & Friends questioned her analysis of a hate crime toward a specific religious or ethnic group. (Her husband, George Conway, tweeted a quote from a WaPo op-ed by Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter: “This president will never offer comfort, compassion or empathy to a grieving nation. It’s not in him. When questioned after a tragedy, he will always be glib and inappropriate. So I have a wild suggestion: Let’s stop asking him. His words are only salt in our wounds.”
  • Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that DDT is merely “showing contrast.”
  • DDT continues to blame the media and uses it as an excuse for not limiting his violent language:

“I’d have a much different tone frankly if the press was evenhanded. If the press was fair, I’d have a much different tone all the time. But I’m fighting the media, I’m fighting – the media is not being honest and I’m fighting that lack of honesty so I have to have that tone. Otherwise I’ll never get my points across, we’ll never get what we have to get across, and we are making America great again.”

Conservative Max Boot describes the “tone” that DDT continues to use that brings out violence in his followers:

“Trump calls Democrats ‘evil’ and ‘crazy.’ He accuses them of being ‘treasonous’ and ‘un-American.’ He claims they are in league with MS-13 gang members. He says they are trying to open our borders to criminals and to turn America into Venezuela—a bankrupt socialist dictatorship. He denounces the media as ‘the enemy of the people.’ He applauds a congressman who assaulted a reporter and calls for his political opponent to be locked up. He singles out minorities such as Waters for opprobrium, and he promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that hold George Soros responsible for everything from the Central American caravan to protests against Brett M. Kavanaugh.

“When Trump talks about ‘globalists’” the far right hears ‘Jews.’ When Trump says there were ‘fine people’ on both sides in Charlottesville, the far right hears official approval….

“And Trump continues his incendiary rhetoric even after the tragic consequences have become clear. On Friday, after a pro forma denunciation of political violence, Trump laughed as a group of black conservatives at the White House chanted ‘Fake News!’ He echoed their chants of ‘Lock him up!’ about Soros. Hours later, he presided over a rally in Charlotte, where supporters chanted ‘CNN sucks.’ Asked by reporters whether he would tone down his hateful rhetoric, he defiantly replied, ‘I could really tone it up.’ Asked if he bore any responsibility for what is happening, he answered, ‘There’s no blame. There’s no anything.’”

One GOP congressional members admits the GOP connection to white supremacy. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), known for his bigotry and enamored with Austria’s far-right party founded by a former Nazi SS officer, said:

“If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans.”

The former leader of this neo-Nazi party called “Freedom Party,” Heinz-Christian Strache, was forced to resign after the discovery that he led a fraternity using a songbook joking about murdering Jewish people. King, who also endorsed a Toronto mayoral candidate who promoted a book calling for the “elimination” of Jewish people, is expected to win his upcoming election for the ninth time although his conservative newspaper has endorsed his opponent for the first time. The Sioux City Journal wrote that King “holds up this district to ridicule.”

The uncle of DDT’s anti-immigrant strategist Stephen Miller, retired neuropsychologist Dr. David Glosser, again repudiated his nephew’s practices:  “It is absolutely unacceptable to utilize hatred, bigotry to advance your political ends. This is a shallow, shabby expression of ambition. It’s poisonous to the country, destructive to society, and a complete repudiation of your own background and your own past.”

Miller grew up in a Jewish family. His mother’s family escaped the anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia during the 1900s when they immigrated to the United States.

Over 35,000 people from Pittsburgh signed an open letter to DDT asking him to not come to the city until he denounced white nationalism and stops targeting minorities. Yet DDT insisted on going to the city tomorrow as the funerals of the 11 slaughtered people begin. Pittsburgh’s mayor asked DDT to come later because of sensitivity issues and the lack of security resources for both him and the people attending the funerals, but DDT ignored all these requests. He plans to go where and when he’s not welcome.

DDT continued to attack three recipients of the pipe bombs in his rallies since the explosives were sent. When asked about toning down his rhetoric, he said, “Rallies are meant to be fun” and that “You have to go on with your lives.”

Even Fox network is tired of his attacking a caravan far away that may never get to the border. In response to adding 5,200 military members on the Mexico border by the end of the week with more in the future in addition to the 2,000 National Guard members, Shep Smith accused DDT of exploiting the people fleeing violence for political gain in the election eight days away.

“Tomorrow the migrants, according to Fox News reporting, are more than two months away, if any of them actually come here. But tomorrow is one week before the midterm election, which is what all of this is about. There is no invasion. No one’s coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

DDT displays his insensitivity, his promotion of killing by covering for Saudi Arabia, and his inciting violence, for example today tweeting that the media is “the true Enemy of the People” and attacking opponents. He won’t stop.

December 3, 2017

How Far Can Republicans Sink?

Filed under: Religion — trp2011 @ 10:35 PM
Tags: , , , ,

The reports of sexual assault have filled the news, and Democrats are going into the problem head on while the GOP (Grand Old Perverts) are running away. It’s the shiny object keeping people from paying attention to the disastrous tax bill passed by the Senate and headed back to the House while Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) continues his lies and alienates reasonable leaders in other countries with his bigotry—the past week a focus against Muslims. And Roy Moore is most likely headed toward Washington as the new senator from Alabama. The world will know after the special election on December 12, nine days away.

Last year’s presidential election changed the perspective in the United States toward leadership. Eighty percent of Christian evangelicals voted for an alleged pedophile, and the trend continues with Moore. A survey at end of November shows that 39 percent of registered evangelical Christian voters are more likely to support him after they hear that he may have sexually abused a 14-year-old girl, dated teenage girls when he was in his 30s, and groped women in his office. Only 28 percent says that his behavior makes them less like to vote for him. Sixty-four percent of evangelicals say that they support him over a Democrat. In Alabama, 35 percent of the state are white evangelical Protestants and 58 percent of the state GOP.

Moore is running a campaign rife with fraud. His wife Kayla published a letter supposedly from 50 pastors endorsing her husband. At least four of them said they wanted their names removed from the letter, and others didn’t live in Alabama. Dozens of other evangelical pastors have signed a letter that declares him “not fit for office.”

The stories go far beyond his sexual assault, dating teenage girls, and groping. People who lived in his town knew that he was banned from a mall and the YMCA because he harassed the girls there. An Alabama police officer was assigned to watch him at local high school football games. Her task was to keep him from harassing the cheerleaders.

The recent unabashed GOP support for candidates like Moore and DDT demonstrates the shift in evangelical approach. The party has long proudly supported “family values,” but they have lost their Christian approach toward goodness to vote for policies. Even in 2004, “values voters” who said they prioritized character embodying Christian values such as kindness, honesty, and forgiveness voted for George W. Bush’s policy positions. In a survey following the election, 23 percent referenced personal characteristics of candidates whereas 44 percent talked about their opposition to abortion and LGBTQ rights. That percentage increased to 58 percent among evangelicals by 2015 who held high priorities for social and cultural goals no matter the quality of the candidate. Those who want “religious freedom” also want to remove secularism and diversity from the nation. Seventy-two percent thought in 2015 that too many laws about moral standards have been removed and want to keep the United States a “Christian nation.” Last year almost half of white evangelical Protestants described Democrats as a serious threat to the nation.

Moore fits the evangelical view of what the United States should be. He blames the 9/11 attacks on the legalization of abortion and LGBTQ rights, stating that the Supreme Court recognition of marriage equality is worse than the 1857 Dred Scott decision declaring that blacks were property and not citizens. In addition to rejecting LGBTQ rights and abortion, he denied the existence of evolution and opposes women voting and running for office. He wrote that it is a moral obligation to never vote for a woman to hold public office. It also criticizes a woman’s right to vote.

The evangelical philosophy of marrying young women is taught in homeschooling with the phrase “14-year-old girls courting adult men.” Part of Vaughn Ohlman’s career was speaking at home-school conventions about his retreat for families to arrange child marriages. Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson said that men should marry 15- and 16-year-old girls because 20-year-olds are too old to be molded. Another term for evangelical approach to a male selecting and grooming young girls is predation. Roy Moore represents a Christian fundamentalist problem.

Fundamentalist Christians leadership has a record of protecting GOP sexual predators. Family Research Council president, Tony Perkins, covered for Ohio state Rep. Wes Goodman (R) after his sexual encounters with other men, at least one of them allegedly not consensual. Documents indicate that he sexually assaulted a young man at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. in 2015 while employed by the Council for National Policy (CNP), a somewhat-secretive umbrella organization for prominent conservative leaders from across the country. Goodman has since resigned after an “inappropriate interaction” in his legislative office that GOP Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger deemed consensual. The legislator’s position included virulent opposition to LGBTQ rights; Perkins promised the teenage boy’s stepfather that “this will not be ignored nor swept aside. It will be dealt with swiftly, but with prudence.” Two months later Goodman was running for office. Perkins did suspend his membership with CNP but isn’t answering questions.

Approximately 30 sources, mostly college-aged men, reported inappropriate advances such as unwanted sexting, photos of his body, and hot tub invitations. One news source reported that Goodman targeted “young men he met through conservative circles who were too intimidated to publicly complain.” They feared for their own careers if they reported his undesired sexual advances.

Although the future looks dark at this time of year, a column by conservative Ross Douthat gives a light at the end of the tunnel. According to sociologist Christian Smith, younger evangelicals will “invent evangelicalism anew” because they were “betrayed by older pastors who insisted on the importance of moral character and then abandoned these preachments for the sake of partisanship — revealing their own commitments as essentially idolatrous.” Baylor professor Alan Jacobs goes farther when he predicts that young people will stop identifying with evangelicalism and move on to less radical philosophies. An “evangelical crackup” may come from pitting anti-Trump Southern Baptist Russell Moore “against the nationalist evangelicalism of a Jerry Falwell Jr. or Robert Jeffress.”

A common question about Republicans is how low can they sink. The possibility seems bottomless. After saying that he believed the allegations against Moore, that he was unfit to serve in public office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now tacitly supporting him.

“The people of Alabama are going to decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate. It’s really up to them. It’s been a pretty robust campaign with a lot of people weighing in. The president and I, of course, supported somebody different earlier in the process. But in the end, the voters of Alabama will make their choice.”

Despite McConnell’s call on Moore to drop out of the race, Moore continues to say that Democrats and the media are making all the women are lying about what he did to them. He claims that LGBTQ people are orchestrating a campaign against him, and conservative outlets are smearing the women. The polls have been up and down for Moore, but polls have proved to be sometimes unreliable since the advent of DDT. One poll gives Moore a six-point lead over his opponent, Doug Jones, whereas another one puts Jones three points ahead.

The Alabaman argument for supporting Moore is to stop abortion. Conservative Jonathan Last wrote that his election will “set back the pro-life cause of years.” It will be an “albatross” for the GOP, and Democrats can use him to take over both chambers in 2018. According to Last, “the chances of Moore hurting the broader GOP caucus in a catastrophic way next year outweigh the chances of that one vote being make-or-break for abortion during the next four years.” (The winner of the December 12 election will be up again in 2020 because he is finishing Jeff Sessions’ term.)

Voting for DDT already increased the rot in the GOP; voting for Moore would increase the decay. Last asks if there is any limit to what a GOP candidate would do to stop votes—and stop the putrefaction. He concludes:

“If you care about the actual impact of supporting Moore—rather than preening in public about how you want people to view you—you start by looking in the mirror and thinking about the next compromise you’ll be asked to make.”

Nine more days until Moore’s election date. We’ll see then whether people in Alabama continue the destruction of the GOP.

May 10, 2017

Jason Chaffetz: Epitome of the GOP

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:10 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) may be almost gone, but he will live on as the epitome of the GOP leadership. Vinson Cunningham describes some of his characteristics, and photographer Bill Clark captured a representative image.

Chaffetz seemed like an independent person last October when Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) revealed his privileged sense of depravity by talking about indiscriminately  grabbing “pussy.” In response, Chaffetz seemed to take the high road when he rescinded his endorsement of DDT:

“My wife and I, we have a fifteen-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person.”

At that time he also had much more to say about the “awful place” the nominee had put the country in and his “abhorrent and offensive” language, but his position about DDT lasted only two and a half weeks before the 180-degree turned Chaffetz into a DDT supporter. His excuse was that Hillary Clinton was “that bad.” As House Oversight chairman, he has focused for years on trying to make Clinton’s life miserable in endless Benghazi inquisitions. None of the expensive endeavors turned up any illegal action, but Chaffetz isn’t through. Returning from re-election this past January, Chaffetz opened an investigation into Clinton’s emails, hoping for criminal charges, and Comey’s firing inspired him to expand the scope of his search for something—anything—that might be illegal in Clinton’s private server.

Faced with unconstitutional conflict of interest charges for DDT, Chaffetz mentally shrugged his shoulders and said, “He’s already rich. He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.” Pushed to investigate the $400 million deal between Jared Kushner’s family and the Chinese, Chaffetz said:

“I don’t see how that affects the average American and their taxpayer dollars. Just the fact that a staff person’s family is making money? It’s not enough.”

Chaffetz referred to “these other little intrigues about a wealthy family making money” as “a bit of a sideshow.”

Soon after DDT’s inauguration, Chaffetz proposed a bill that would allow Republicans to sell off public lands. A bipartisan backlash caused him to say that he was withdrawing the bill because his constituents objected. That was February 2. Eight days later the bill was referred to a subcommittee.

During public appearances during “Trumpcare”s first attempt this year, Chaffetz maintained that people could pay for their health care if they didn’t buy a new iPhone. First, the cost of an iPhone won’t pay for health care. But then came the discovery that Chaffetz’s $738 iPhone—and its services—came from campaign funds. This would be illegal if he used it for person business, but he hasn’t answered any questions about whether he does. Then came his attack on Rosie O’Donnell after Chaffetz’s Democratic opponent for 2018, Kathryn Allen, raised over $200,000 in just two days.

Another part of Chaffetz’s history is his failure to become a Secret Service agent. He claimed that he was rejected because he was too old, but then-Assistant Director Edward Lowery sent an email saying about his application, “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out. Just to be fair.”

The kitchen apparently got too hot for Chaffetz at an April town hall meeting in his home Utah district. The people who attended scolded him for not investigating administration corruption, including DDT’s appointment of Michael Flynn for national security adviser. Chaffetz whined about how his constituents in his deep red district were there only to “bully and intimidate” him and called them “paid protesters.” Then he said he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2018 and might even leave Congress before then. Chaffetz claimed that he wanted to return to the private sector and be with his family. “I started poking around to see what I might be worth and what sort of possibilities are there,” he said in an interview. And then he avoided Congress and his constituents by a month-long leave after foot surgery. Distancing himself from DDT at this time could let him run for governor or even president in 2020.

The House was so desperate for votes on their cruel “repeal and replace” health care bill that Chaffetz showed up on an expensive metallic scooter to cast his vote denying tens of millions of people the same health insurance that he will keep. His district is in the top ten of districts with the most people relying on the Affordable Care Act. Clark’s photograph perfectly presents the GOP cruelty of a “repeal and replace” vote for ACA in the House with the slick, gleeful Chaffetz framed against marble walls and elaborate chandeliers.

With Clinton in the White House, Chaffetz could have stayed gleeful while the Fox network filmed him constantly leading highly visible investigations about Clinton’s conflicts of interests and abuses of power. Like many other Republicans, Chaffetz hasn’t figured out how to work in a government controlled by the GOP. They are accustomed to dealing with opposition in a world where they preen in front of the cameras as victims; they don’t know what to do when the opposition comes from within. Even worse for the Republicans is that the corruption comes their own party—and much of it from their own president.

Stephanie Mencimer writes: “Jason Chaffetz is so ambitious that his last name is a verb.” She explains that “to Chaffetz” means to throw a former mentor under the bus to move ahead, something that people such as presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. and House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Other Republicans carry Chaffetzing farther. DDT claimed that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, had come to DDT asking for Comey’s firing, but people familiar with the occurrence said that DDT summoned the two of them to the White House after he decided to fire Comey. They followed his orders, and DDT tried to put the blame on them when the scheme backfired.

According to over 30 White House officials, however, DDT had become increasingly furious about Comey’s appearing in public, especially to talk about Russian involvement in U.S. politics, especially during the past week. The Washington Post has provided extensive information about events leading up to the firing and such questions as why Sessions was involved in the firing when he recused himself from anything dealing with Clinton’s emails, the ostensible reason for the firing, and Russia, the probably reason behind the firing.

The firing and the GOP support behind him reflects how Chaffetz views his job—that he has sworn allegiance to the Republican party over any loyalty to his country. The question is how long the Republicans will continue to support DDT over their country’s best interests. In an analysis of senators’ responses, only 12 of them actively defended DDT for the firing while another fifteen said that DDT’s actions raised concerns about a lack of information or the timing of the firing. Another 21 senators were vague, likely waiting to see which way they should jump after the dust settles. This is the congressional body responsible for confirming the replacement for Comey. Much to DDT’s amazement, the Democrats were overwhelming angry about the firing because of its apparent intent to stop the investigation into his relationship with Russia.

DDT’s possible business dealings with Russia may be the major issue that emerged from Monday’s Senate hearing and Comey’s firing. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper if he had any “concern” about a DDT business interest in Russia. Clapper’s ultimate answer upon being pressed is that he could not comment on that question “because that impact an investigation.” That was an open hearing; the Judiciary Committee may pursue the question in closed meetings.  Thus far, there is a murky background to DDT’s Russia business interests that he has denied.

Basically, Chaffetz well represents the Republican leadership—cruel, self-centered, hypocritical, cowardly, dishonest, ignorant, and loyal only to those who can give him something. We’ll watch him to see where he pops up next.

July 6, 2016

‘Political Correctness’ – Just Being Nice

“Political correctness” is a term initiated in the 1793 Supreme Court case Chisholm v. Virginia upholding the rights of people to sue states. Justice James Wilson wrote in his opinion that people, rather than states, hold the most authority which makes a toast given to the United States” is not “politically correct.” He preferred the greater accuracy of “People of the United States.”

For almost 200 years, the term was largely obscure until conservatives co-opted the term in the 1980s for their personal political gain by using the phrase for a leftist conspiracy that infiltrated the higher education system. For decades, people argued about being “politically correct” in teaching and language in university classes.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, political correctness was highlighted in the first GOP debate after Fox network Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump about his verbal sexist attacks against women. He was ready with an answer:

“I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people, and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either.”

The audience applauded, and other GOP presidential candidates adopted the tactic. Erica Hellerstein and Judd Legum wrote:

“The term “political correctness,” particularly in the Republican presidential primary, does not have a specific definition. Rather it functions like a Swiss army knife—it is the answer to every kind of issue that a candidate might confront. It’s a “get out of jail free card” for bigotry, sexism and lying.”

Dr. Warren Blumenfeld wrote:

“The political Right coined the terms ‘political correctness,’ ‘politically correct,’ and ‘PC’ as pejorative rhetorical ploys to intimidate, discredit, and outright dismiss the statements, policies, and actions of the progressive Left generally, and more specifically, to inhibit anyone from thinking critically and challenging societal inequalities.”

Trump and his surrogates use the term the most. The candidate complains that he can’t even use the word “thug” without criticism. Corey Lewandowski has been fired from Trump’s campaign but still defends the candidate, describing the accusation of anti-Semitic content of Donald Trump’s tweet using the Star of David, Hillary Clinton, images of $100 bills, and the word corruption “political correctness run amok.”

In the past, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former GOP presidential candidate, blamed political correctness on 9/11 and used it for collecting email addresses. Ben Carson tweeted that we should “#StoPP funding political correctness and Planned Parenthood.” Asked what they have in common, he said that “political correctness” is making people amoral. Carson also said tried to connect political correctness and his opposition to Obamacare and accepting Syrian refugees. Criticized for saying that a Muslim should not be president, a statement that violates the U.S. Constitution, Carson said, “Political correctness is ruining our country.”

The opposition to political correctness (aka civility) is supported by 68 percent of people in the U.S.—81 percent of Republicans. Even 62 percent agree that “a big problem this country is being politically correct.” GOP candidates know these high figures and play on them in order to avoid any difficult topics. It’s all in the repetition.

In today’s News-Times (Newport, OR), Gilbert Schramm provides his take on “political  correctness”:

Like most Americans, I was horrified by the shooting in Orlando—and by Trump’s response. He immediately tweeted, “We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.” Wait, “political correctness” wasn’t the cause of the shooting; political incorrectness was the cause.

Obviously, if you subject any group to unrelenting bigotry and hate-speech, some unstable person will eventually act on the lies and hatred they have been fed. It doesn’t really matter whether the hatred in Orlando came from a radical Christian, Jew, or Muslim, extremist fundamentalists from all three religions can have equally ugly attitudes about the LGBT community.

To truly understand Orlando, you need to understand the systematic conservative attack on the term political correctness. Nothing defines what the modern Republican Party has become more clearly than its misuse and abuse of this term: Trump and his supporters take an obscene pride in mocking it.

This is truly puzzling. In general usage, “ correct” means right, and “incorrect” means wrong. Why do they reverse our traditional values and language and pretend that the term is an insult?

Through American history, as progressives fought for women, religious, ethnic and racial minorities, they developed new language that reflected their concern for equal rights. The whole idea of political correctness was to improve communication, to reduce conflict, and to be more civil. Not a bad idea.

In creating a better language to express American values, there was sometimes a silly notion that re-labeling problems simply made them go away. Some bigots may have used the new terms insincerely. Some good people may have been unfairly criticized for not keeping up with the changing language. But true progressives not only amended their language, they did other concrete things to rectify the scars caused by institutional racism.

Affirmative action was necessary to help correct the deep institutional disadvantages left by centuries of racism. The GOP has been attacking affirmative action for years by arguing that it constituted “reverse racism.” This is an absurd argument. Its very existence proves that those who use it don’t truly understand the lasting damage left by the real racism.

Then there is the term “colorblind.” Just recently, a Trump spokesman complimented Trump for being “colorblind.” Colorblindness is not vision enhancement; it is a vision deficit that removes a whole dimension of nuance.

So when you hear terms like political correctness, reverse racism, or color-blindness, you are hearing someone who doesn’t understand racism, bigotry, or gender bias at all, and who likely doesn’t care. Yet in spite of conservative efforts to turn the truth upside down, being politically correct (right) is better than being politically incorrect (i.e., just wrong and offensive).

The Trump attitude that “correctness is a bad thing has now spread from opinion to facts. His casual attitude towards facts is noteworthy—in most of what he says he just doesn’t have much use for the truth. For him, it’s right to be wrong.

Trump’s abuse of the term political correctness may have more to do with the “political” part than with correctness. After all, he has won so far by disclaiming any past experience as a politician. Republicans believe that the existence of governments is only excused by the fact that total anarchy is just a tad bit worse. Progressives, on the other hand, feel that government can play a positive role. History has repeatedly proven the progressives to be right.

If GOP conservatives don’t believe that government can make life better, they should leave governing to those who know it can do some good.

Meanwhile, they should stop turning the truth (and our very language) upside down. Corruption of language leads to corruption of thought. That corruption makes it possible to believe that suppressing the vote protects democracy, that there is something called “legitimate rape,” that more guns will make us safer, that gun-free zones attract violence, and other GOP nonsense.

Whatever mild annoyance has been caused by politically correct language, the carnage in Orlando is a stark example of the alternative.

Republicans brag that Donald Trump is honest because he says what he thinks. They seem to admire him for calling undocumented Mexicans “rapists” and stating that sex appeal is responsible for a woman’s success. Zeba Blay wrote:

“To yearn for the opposite of the ‘politically correct’ is simply to yearn for the ability to be comfortable, to maintain the right to trivialize issues that affect people’s lives…. Using “politically correct” as an insult or dismissal is emblematic of an inability to approach difficult conversations with the complexity they demand. Being uncomfortable or annoyed is not a good enough reason to dismiss every conversation that hinges on social justice, as if actual social justice were the worst thing in the world.”

Political correctness is accepting Spanish-language messages on service lines, not telling racist jokes at work, and being less demeaning to women. It’s a way of showing sensitivity toward others, especially those who have been invisible or expected to be submissive. Conservatives don’t like it because it’s hard work. They just want to say what they think—and what they think can be very unpleasant.

Noted author and illustrator Neil Gaiman said, “I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase ‘politically correct’ wherever we could with ‘treating other people with respect’, and it made me smile.” It makes me smile too.

March 14, 2016

GOP Platform—Not My Problem, No

Conservatives tend to care only for themselves. Asked about the importance of health care for all, they respond, “But then I can’t find a doctor.” According to conservatives, suffering for anyone else is “not my problem (NMP).” Questions showing how conservatives take no responsibility for anyone except for their personal, selfish needs with conservatives’ responses:

Birth Control: Do you know that birth control keeps women from having unwanted pregnancies? “NMP.”

Abortions: Do you understand that more unwanted pregnancies mean more abortions? “I’m pro-life.” What about women who have children they can’t afford? “NMP.”

Food Stamps: Do you realize that forcing women to have children they can’t afford means they need food stamps and Medicaid? “I cut spending on those because I’m fiscally responsible.” But that means children have no medical care and go hungry. “NMP.”

Crime: What about children growing up in poverty who turn to crime? “I live in a gated community so NMP.”

Minimum Wage: What about millions of people forced to live in poverty because of low wages even if they work 60 hours or more each week? “NMP.”

Food Stamps Again: What about people who have to rely on food stamps because of low wages? “I cut spending on those because I’m fiscally responsible–NMP.”

Immigration: Do you know that building a wall along the entire border would such up taxpayer money and not even work? “NMP.”

Families: Don’t you understand that deporting parents away from their children is cruel and inhumane. “NMP.”

Racism: What about the anti-Latino rhetoric increasing racial tensions and violence against innocent people? “NMP.”

“War on Drugs”: Do you understand that the so-called “war on drugs” does no good while it puts millions of people in prison for smoking a plant? “NMP.”

Racism Again: What about the effect of these laws to put Blacks in jail more often and for longer times than Whites? “NMP.”

Gang Violence: And what about the devastation of black communities that contributes to poverty and gang violence? “NMP.”

Health Care: Do you care that repealing Obamacare would talk health care away from over 20 million people? “NMP.”

Pre-existing Conditions: Are you aware that Obamacare stops insurance companies from denying health care to sick people? “NMP.” And kicking people off insurance if they get sick? “NMP.”

Pro-Life: How can you be pro-life and not care about people dying from lack of insurance. “NMP.”

Heroin: Do you realize that the white communities will have the same experiences because millions of Whites are using heroin? “That can’t be true. We need to change the laws (ala Koch brothers)! They aren’t criminals—they victims and deserve our compassion and help! Spare no expense!”

When the conservatives took over both congressional chambers 14 and a half months ago, they bragged that they were going to move the country forward. Instead, they’ve created more gridlock.  The policy of”not my problem” is accompanied by “hell, no!”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) promised a “Year of Ideas,” with legislation aimed at poverty and health care. The chamber has been in session for 154 of the 431 days since the GOP Congress took over. As in the past few years, legislation previously dominated by name changes for buildings can’t even manage that any more: nine GOP members fought naming a post office after national treasure and poet Maya Angelou, calling her a “communist sympathizer.” The House did manage to delay regulations for brick kilns.

The GOP Senate has 298 House-passed bills awaiting action while it spent four weeks on an energy efficiency bill that isn’t finished. Opioid legislation was passed with no funding, and individuals stalled bills for criminal justice reform and Flint’s water crisis—in this case GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.  It also made the policy of NO quite clear by rejecting the constitutional directive to consider any nominee for the Supreme Court. President Obama came out with six possible appointments, three of them women. That number has been cut in half as conservatives trash professional careers.

One of those who disappeared is Jane Kelly, heartily endorsed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for the 8th Circuit Court. Grassley described Kelly, unanimously confirmed for her present position in 2013, as “a forthright woman of high integrity and honest character” with an “exceptionally keen intellect.” That was before an ad funded by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) smeared her for defending constitutional rights guaranteeing all people accused of a crime “the assistance of counsel for his defense.” A public defender in 2005, Kelly represented Casey Frederiksen, on child pornographer who was later convicted of killing a five-year-old girl. Although Kelly did not defend Frederiksen for this murder, the ad uses this murder to inflame people.

JCN began a Judicial Confirmation Network during the Bush administration to help confirm George W.’s nominees. The name changed in 2010 to prevent President Obama’s nominees after the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. It has a seven-figure advertising budget to keep Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and vulnerable senators up for election from allowing a nominee to be considered as well as a six-figure campaign targeting Democrats. JCN has also hired a team of ten researchers from America Rising to locate information keeping any nominees from going to the Senate.

Not satisfied with its continuation of congressional malfunction and trying to wreak the same for the Supreme Court, Congress has decided to ignore the country’s budget—the first time since the system began in 1974. This after bitterly complaining about Democratic inaction several years ago. Both the House and the Senate have decided that they will not have hearings on the president’s budget or allow administration officials to testify about it. This decision came before they even saw any budget. This stupidity follows the 14-month refusal to act on a nominee to head up the Treasury Department’s terrorism section. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the Banking Committee, explained the reason for the wait: he faced a primary challenge and couldn’t approve any Obama nominee.

The NMP and NO economic stagnation policies for 99 percent of people in the U.S. have led to widespread poverty and misery. It’s the conservative “me me me” philosophy that trashes long term greater good for short term personal profit. Now the establishment Republicans can’t understand why Donald Trump is in the lead. The word “demagogue” is freely tossed around—even applied to President Obama. Users of this term need to consult their dictionaries: it refers to “a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using arguments based on emotion rather than reason, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

GOP consultant Alex Castellanos may have said it best:

“If our self-indulgent Republican party establishment had really wanted to prevent a takeover of the GOP, they should not have gorged on political power while they failed to do anything to prevent the decline of the country. Our leaders could have led. They could have done more than say ‘no’ to Democrats while offering no alternative.”

President Obama followed up this analysis when by connecting the Trump phenomenon to “a notion that everything I do is to be opposed; that cooperation or compromise somehow is a betrayal.” This, he said, made “an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive.” Tomorrow will show how much Trump is thriving when five states hold their primaries. If he does, the GOP will be—well deservedly—suffering.

trumpprotest-missouri2This is what happens to a non-violent protester at a Trump rally. And it may get much worse. Trump supporters have called for a “militia” supposedly to protect voters against so-called “violent far-left agitators.” “The Lion’s Guard” calls on people to “provide security protection to innocent people who are subject to harassment and assault by Far-left agitators “ and be “willing to forcefully protect people if need be.” Members are already asking for “uniform suggestions.”

While Trump invites violence, he calls for pledges.  As Saturday, he told his audience to repeat after him:

“I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12thfor Donald J. Trump for president.”

He then promised that “bad things” would happen to them if they broke their pledge.

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Donald Trump’s campaign is reminiscent of Germany in the 1930s as he asks for violence and demands people to swear that they willl vote for him. All this came from the GOP that decided on a platform of NMP and NO.

 

September 7, 2015

Good News, Bad News from Labor Day, 2015

Republicans love to blame the Democrats for destroying the coal industry, but conservatives are the people who decimated the economy in the South through their eradication of the unions. For a century, union organizers were shot, beaten, and stabbed in their fight to get reasonable pay and safe conditions underground, but now the last union mine in Kentucky has been closed. Younger workers took their wages for granted, and now not one working miner belongs to a union, the only protection that mine workers have had.

Conservatives curse the unions but fail to realize that they are responsible for the rise of the middle class.

union_density_middleclass 2

union_density_inequality 1

High income inequality has correlated with low union membership for over 100 years in the U.S. As union membership shrinks, money and power shift upwards. Data from 2010 show that all workers make more money in a pro-union state.

workers do better

Today is Labor Day, established as a federal holiday 121 years ago to celebrate labor. Oregon declared it a holiday 17 years earlier. If you have today off, thank unions. If you are working today, thank unions for other benefits such as shorter work weeks, weekends off, expanded health care through employer-provided health insurance, and the end of child labor except within religious groups. Unions also brought paid vacation, breaks, sick leave, Social Security, overtime pay, worker’s compensation, and more. If you don’t have these benefits, thank the Republicans.

In some states, union attacks brought “right-to-work” laws, which block collective bargaining for higher wages, better benefits, and protections. The “freedom” created by these laws gives corporations and the wealthy the “right-to-underpay” and “right-to-cheat” employees. In Wisconsin, the latest state to adopt this law, “right-to-work” will cause workers and families to annually lose between $3.89 billion and $4.82 billion. Workers in “right-to-work” states make $1,560 less per year than in states without the law. Women in union jobs earn $212 per week—30.9 percent—more than women in non-union jobs. The gender wage gap is also smaller for women in unions, 88.7 cents for every dollar a man makes compared to 78 cents for all workers. Men in union jobs make $173 more per week than non-union workers.

President Obama celebrated this year’s Labor Day by mandating all 300,000 government contractor employees be granted seven paid sick days per year starting in 2017. That leaves another 44 million workers without paid sick leave because the United States is the only developed nation without a paid sick leave policy. The president’s executive order adds to other orders that move toward higher minimum wage and equal pay for men and women.

Other good news comes from the job market. Republicans swore to bring jobs back when they were elected in masses, but they’ve done nothing to help workers. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he would reduce the unemployment rate to 6 percent by 2016 if he were elected in 2012. Right now, it’s 5.1 percent after 66 consecutive months of private sector job growth—13 million jobs—during President Obama’s six and a half years in office. Many of these jobs came from the health care job growth after Republicans called the ACA the “job killing health care law.”

The bad news comes from the loss of wages for everyone except the top echelon. Oregon is an example of this: in the past 35 years, the bottom income bracket has lost 30 percent of income in the state while the top 1 percent gained 88 percent of the income. Republicans refuse to increase the federal minimum wage, one-third lower when adjusted for inflation than in the 1960s. They also consider the Keystone Pipeline bill a “jobs bill” although it employs only 4,200 people for one year while wiping out other permanent jobs by taking over and destroying land. The GOP’s “Hire More Heroes Act” to employ veterans doesn’t count veterans as employees so that companies with more than 50 employees can avoid the ACA mandate to provide health care. Up to one million workers would lose health insurance with the redefinition of “full-time employment” as 40 hours a week in the GOP’s “Save American Workers Act.”

Another piece of bad news is the growing divergence between salary and productivity. During the 25 years prior to 1973, wages and productivity grew together, but between 1973 and 2014, hourly wages went up 8.7, adjusted for inflation, and productivity increased by 72.2 percent. The change is a major reason for the rapidly growing income inequality during the past 40 years as payment for employees went to owners of capital. Workers generate the income but don’t get an increase in hourly pay. The last four years has been worse as worker productivity increased by 21 percent while wages rose only 2 percent.

wages by bracket

Republicans claim to support a “trickle-down” economy but instead push an economy that is “gush-up.” Unregulated free-market capitalism is a “winner-take-all” wealth over the common good, and billionaires buy politicians and design education and health systems to control the bottom 99 percent of people in the United States. The average CEO earns 204 times what average workers earn, and two-thirds of the poor in the United States—68 percent—have jobs.

Hedge fund billionaires are not required to pay their fair share of taxes receive awards yet are praised. For example, John Paulson, noted for “Outstanding Contributions to Society,” got $3.7 billion by conspiring with Goldman Sachs to create risky subprime mortgages. He used other people’s money to bet against his sure-to-fail financial instruments. As U.S. wealth grew from $52 trillion to over $83 trillion between 2007 and 2014, six million more children were forced onto food stamps. Forty percent of households are food-insecure while 40 percent of the food in the United States is wasted.

Despite the decreasing unemployment rate, taxpayers fund the movement of many jobs overseas while technology eliminates others. Kodak once employed 145,000 people to do the same photo processing that Instagram does with 15 workers. Three-fourths of faculty at colleges and universities are now “adjunct” instructors, paid a pittance for part-time work. One-fourth of these teachers, almost 20 percent of college and university faculty, are forced into food stamp or other public assistance programs to survive.

Republicans claim that they want to return to the 1950s, and economically this would benefit almost everyone. In 1956, the GOP platform supported an increase in the minimum wage, an expansion of Social security, adequate coverage for the unemployed, better housing, and health care for all. “Government must have a heart as well as a head” and “America does not prosper unless all Americans prosper” were included in the GOP belief system. According to the GOP platform, “President Eisenhower’s administration brought the highest employment, highest wages, and the highest standard of living ever experience in any country.”

Today’s GOP portrays people on unemployment as leeches, but the GOP of 1956 called for “providing assistance to improve the economic conditions of areas faced with persistent and substantial unemployment.” Republicans in the 1950s also wanted to strengthen “the rights of labor unions” and protect “the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively.”

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower looked forward to today’s GOP when he wrote:

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are…a few…Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

He may have been right.

August 22, 2015

GOP Discouraged, True Conservatism Disappearing

Filed under: Politics — trp2011 @ 9:13 PM
Tags: , ,

Last weekend, I searched for some missing papers in my office. My method of doing this is to clean files, shelves, anyplace that has papers. It was a productive day: I filled a huge recycling can, and I found a couple of clippings on conservatism.

The first one is from Eugene’s Register-Guard on New Year’s Day 2005 after George W. Bush was Time’s “Man of the Year.” (Actually, the RG got it wrong because Time finally changed the term to “Person of the Year” in 1999.) Bush’s selection may not have been an honor; Vladimir Putin received the same “honor” three years later.

To quote the editorial:

“Conservatism used to be about the past. Conservatives resisted change, valued traditions and defended institutions. A Conservative foreign policy resisted foreign entanglements, while a conservative domestic program aimed for small government and balanced budgets.

“Bush’s conservatism is about the future, and about provoking change. Conservative disdain for the nation’s secular institutions, excepting the military, is palpable—schools, the media, the courts, the executive agencies of government and others are regarded as needing to be torn down and rebuilt. A conservative foreign policy has become one that is assertive, muscular and unilateral. A conservative domestic policy is one that favors tax cuts without regard to deficits.

“The new conservative vision of America’s place in the world is being tested in Iraq. Bush believes American power can bring about a democratic transformation in that country, creating an example that would ripple throughout the Middle East. It’s an ambitious project, and in 2004 it didn’t go as well as its architects hoped. Bush’s new conservatism is being tested at home as well as the federal government attempts to simultaneously sustain large tax cuts, steep increases in spending and record deficits…

“Politics will never be the same.”

Even a Democratic president hasn’t been able to change some of these problems in the United States.

The second piece came from 2004. Mark Oberzil of Forest Grove (OR) wrote the following:

I am a conservative. I believe in staying solvent and out of debt.

I am a conservative. I believe in keeping my nose out of other people’s business, their nations and their bedrooms.

I am a conservative. I believe in conserving our assets and our resources — our air, our land, our water. Accordingly, I don’t support or engage in wastefulness, inefficiency or lavish excesses.

I am a conservative. I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Therefore I support appropriate government spending on such things as infrastructure, schools, social welfare and crime prevention, because in the long run it’s cheaper and more effective.

I am a conservative. If I am attacked, I respond appropriately and conservatively. I do not swat mosquitoes with dynamite.

I am a conservative. I don’t deal falsely or prematurely with facts.

I am a conservative. I understand the purposes of various institutions. It is the job of government to govern, the job of religion to address spiritual needs, and the job of business to secure profits by producing needed goods and services. I do not confuse these institutions.

I am a conservative. I understand my position in the world and that my opinions are not the only valid ones.

I do not have an exclusive claim on what is right, good or patriotic, and those who disagree with me are not automatically evil traitors.

What’s really weird, though, is that I’ve always thought these things…

… but now everyone calls me a liberal!

A more recent letter to the Eugene Register Guard from conservative W.K. O’Connor, “How conservatives can gain respect”:

“A few thoughts after being subjected to the Aug. 6 dog-and-pony debate by Republican presidential contenders:

“When conservatives abandon efforts to prevent women from having abortions; stop refusing to expand Medicaid (might help the poor — can’t have that); stop pounding on deporting illegal immigrants (bigotry toward Latinos); show some semblance of social conscience by giving back what they’ve taken from food stamp and nutrition programs for poor single mothers and elderly people by closing a tax loophole for billionaires (horrors!); halt their blatant, continuing war on minority voters by taking voting rights from millions of people who have voted for 30, 40 or 50 years (the most elemental right in a democracy); cease lying about global climate change; quit supporting private ownership of guns nobody needs, and stop stripping schools of funds they need for education — not to mention their blatant racism and homophobia — then I would respect them.

“That may make me sound like a liberal. I’m not.

“But the Republican Party my family grew up with doesn’t exist anymore, being now driven by religious wackos who subvert the Constitution.

“Our democracy is in decline and is being driven further into oblivion by a billionaire oligarchy. Unless the people stand up and restore some sanity, we’re simply accelerating the process.

“’Ours is a problem in which deception has become organized and strong; where truth is poisoned at the source; one in which the skill of the shrewdest brains is devoted to misleading a bewildered people’” — American journalist Walter Lippmann.”

Connor isn’t alone in his disgust for the GOP. Approval rating for the Republican party has gone down nine points since January to 32 percent, just two-thirds of the 48 percent approval of the Democratic party. Republicans brought down the rating with their drop from 86 percent approval in January to the current 68 percent who see their own party positively.

Republican rating poll

 

By 53 percent to 31 percent, the Democratic Party is viewed as “more concerned with the needs of people like me” than the GOP. The Democrats hold a 16-point lead on governing in an honest and ethical way (45 percent to 29 percent). The blue part is ahead in ability to handle these areas as well:

  • Environment (a margin of 53% to 27%)
  • Abortion and contraception policies (50% to 31%)
  • Education (46% to 34%)
  • Health care (46% to 36%)
  • Foreign policy (41% to 38%)

If true conservatives disagree with the leaders of the Republican party, they need to take it over in the same way that the Tea Party hijacked the GOP over a decade ago.

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