Posts Tagged ‘Republican Party’

On the Koch Brothers & the Liberty Amendments…

More in-depth HERE

DJ Blendz note: Trump, come get your man
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A candidate for New York State Senate has sparked a firestorm in Harlem after telling NBC 4 New York’s I-Team he was planning to hand out “Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons” at a campaign event in the primarily black community.

Jon Girodes, the Republican candidate for New York’s 30th District in the November election, used the racially stereotypical food reference in an email to the I-Team during an exchange about a disputed real estate deal.

“Ps I’m hosting an event in Harlem which will be in front of the state building in a few weeks. We will [donate] Kool Aid, KFC and watermelons to the public on 125th street in Harlem. Please join us to help the community,” he wrote.

Girodes, who is making his second run for the 30th District senate seat and headlined his campaign website with an image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said there was nothing offensive about his planned event.

“What I think is anyone who gives free food to people is doing them a favor,” Girodes told the I-Team. “Get a bunch of people who say it’s offensive and let me go into their neighborhood and give it out for free and see if they take it.”

While Girodes offered no further details of his planned event, it was met with outrage in Harlem.

“It’s racist. Whoever he is, I think he should go back in whatever hole he crawled in and have a great life,” Tyrone Nero said in an interview on 125th Street.

“It’s more than an insult and anybody with any sense would see that’s pathetically racist and insulting,” added community member Scott Randolph.

Near Girodes’ headquarters on 153rd Street, there was more disbelief.

“That is so stereotypical,” said passerby Jose Paulimo. “It is very offensive.”

Democratic New York State Sen. Bill Perkins, Girodes’ opponent in the November election, was also stunned by the email.

“I think it’s important to out [Girodes’ remarks] not just to denounce him but to set a tone in this neighborhood and in this city that this type of offense does not go unchallenged,” said Perkins.

Amid the investigation into Girodes’ comments, the I-Team received a second complaint about a real estate deal involving Girodes.

Nancy Bandiera said she recently gave the politician a refundable $750 deposit to rent his luxury apartment on 42nd Street. But when she backed out of the deal, he kept her money.

“I’ve lost the money, and there is no way to contact him anymore,” Bandiera said, showing the I-Team a long text-message conversation with Girodes in which she tried to get her money back. “He is a liar. He’s so disgusting.”

Girodes denied he has taken money from Bandiera or anyone else in apartment rental deals and called himself a victim.

“I was not involved in any scam. I am involved in it as of the people that are trying to scam me,” he said. “I’m the biggest victim ever.”

Girodes, who ran unopposed in the recent primary and only garnered 4 percent of the vote in the 2014 race, is a Republican outsider. He’s not backed by the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee or the party establishment in New York City.

“We are not supporting him. He’s not a real candidate,” one senior GOP official told the I-Team.

Girodes’ campaign website and social media pages were taken down after the I-Team started its investigation.

1981 interview in which Republican consultant ‘lays out how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves’

Truth through cartoons via Mark Fiore

Well, I guess the Republicans are done saying that Trump is just a novelty who will fade once the voting starts. Many candidates tolerated Donald Trump and tried to “rise above” his awful statements by pretending he wasn’t a serious threat. Remember when Ted Cruz called Trump “terrific” and said, “I think he speaks the truth?” Cruz isn’t saying that anymore.

If the Republican establishment wants to block The Donald, they better think of another plan besides pushing a candidate who has won just one state and whose cutting edge campaign tactic is resorting to dick jokes. The Republican Party has created a beast they can’t control. I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about the people who are supporting him and voting for him. Funny how years of
trafficking in veiled and not-so-veiled hate, racism and fear can actually come back and destroy your party.

I hope this is just a traumatic upheaval in the Republican Party and not one that makes it all the way to the White House. (Tactically, it’s probably the best thing for Hillary and the Democratic Party, but this resurgent demagoguery makes me nervous as hell.) Enjoy the cartoon and if you haven’t already, please become a Patron– you can help support political animation, go behind-the-scenes and snatch up prints, originals and other goodies!

Uhhh…your party’s been bat-shit crazy, Mr. Graham. But thanks for pointing out the obvious.

DJ Blendz note: What a ‘winner’ we have here. He should run for President. Oh, wait a minute.. we already have one just like him!

Speaking on the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, made an unbelievably racist remark at a town hall on Wednesday:

These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. These types of guys, they come from Connecticut and New York. They come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue that we got to deal with down the road.

The comment, surfaced by Get Right Maine, plays on clear racial overtones by using names typically attributed to black culture and rap, and suggests that black people are outsiders, criminals, drug dealers, and rapists that take advantage of young, white women. (This racial trope in the war on drugs goes back to at least the late 19th century and early 20th century, when local, state, and federal lawmakers pushed drug laws by suggesting that minority people would lure and harm young white women with drugs.)

Studies show white and black Americans use and sell drugs at similar rates, although African Americans are much more likely to be arrested for drug possession. So there are simply no statistics to back the governor’s implications.

>Via<

Ted Cruz never says anything good just once — when he finds a line or a joke that gets applause, he repeats it over and over. And one of his big crowd-pleasers at the moment is this little ditty about the Islamic State: “We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!”

In front of audiences that want to know who’s going to be most ruthless in fighting those terrible terrorists that are terrifying us, it never fails. And it reflects prevailing Republican sentiment, which says that ISIS hasn’t been defeated only because Barack Obama is weak, and with the application of enough force, this problem can be solved.

Just last week, I praised Cruz for being nearly alone among the Republican candidates (Rand Paul joins him in this) in realizing the pitfalls of nation-building. He has said repeatedly that it’s a bad idea for us to go in and occupy a place like Syria in the hopes that we can create a thriving and peaceful democracy there, and that if we were to depose Bashar al-Assad, the vacuum created by his departure would likely be filled by a theocratic regime. But Cruz’s apparent willingness to entertain the idea of unintended consequences obviously has its limits.

Does Cruz actually want to drop nuclear weapons on places where ISIS is operating? That’s what’s implied by the bit about sand glowing in the dark, but he’d never cop to that. How about carpet-bombing? After all, part of the difficulty with fighting ISIS from the air is that they control cities full of civilians. The American military doesn’t lack for ordnance; we could level those cities if we wanted. But doing so would mean thousands and thousands of civilian casualties, killing the very people we’d be claiming to want to save. That’s not only morally abhorrent, it would be extremely likely to produce the kind of hatred towards America that helped Al Qaeda thrive, helped ISIS replace Al Qaeda, and would help the next terrorist group take ISIS’s place.

In an interview Wednesday with NPR, Cruz got asked about this problem, and put his finely honed evasion skills to work. Asked by host Steve Inskeep whether he wanted to “flatten” cities where ISIS is located, Cruz said, “I think we need to use every military tool at our disposal to defeat ISIS.” Inskeep pressed him: “You can flatten a city. Do you want to do that?” Cruz responded, “The problem with what President Obama is doing” is that he’s too soft, noting that in World War II we didn’t worry about the welfare of the German people, we just fought. “FDR carpet-bombed cities,” Inskeep noted. “Is that what you want to do?” Cruz answered, “I want to carpet-bomb ISIS.”

Now perhaps President Cruz’s powers of persuasion would be so extraordinary that he could convince ISIS to leave the cities it controls, where its members sit amongst the innocent civilians it’s oppressing, and march out to the desert so we could more efficiently carpet-bomb them. But I doubt it.

Of course, Cruz is hardly the only presidential candidate offering absurdly simplistic ideas about how to solve this problem. But one might think that the destruction we could wreak upon civilian populations in the Middle East would be a matter of particular concern given our recent history. Estimates of the civilian casualties in the Iraq War range somewhere between 165,000 and 500,000, but conservatives seem convinced that all that suffering and death had nothing to do with the rise of ISIS, and repeating it would be regrettable but not produce any blowback. It appears to be gospel on the right that the people in countries we’ve invaded or bombed are so understanding and forgiving that none of that matters to them; those who become radicalized only “hate us for our freedoms.” Which doesn’t explain why ISIS doesn’t hate Japan or Costa Rica or Switzerland just as much, since in those countries they also have freedoms.

Perhaps we have trouble understanding what it’s like to have a foreign army bombing or occupying your country because it’s been so long. We haven’t had such an army on our soil since the War of 1812, and though we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and then 60 years later on 9/11, those were events confined to a single day. So we can’t seem to grasp the kind of resentment and even hatred that an extended military campaign can foster, no matter how noble the ideals of the country that sent the army carrying it out. When the Bush administration assumed we’d be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq (as Dick Cheney put it), they simply couldn’t contemplate that Iraqis might not be excited to see us rain down bombs, destroy their infrastructure, and then occupy their country, even if they didn’t like the dictator they were living under.

Grasping that requires empathy and a little imagination, neither of which is in good supply in the GOP these days, let alone among its presidential candidates. It’s the luxury of running for office that you can make all problems sound simple, pretend that you can carpet-bomb a city and kill only the bad guys and not the people living there, and act as though strength and resolve are all you need to solve problems. The scary thing to contemplate is that someone like Ted Cruz might actually believe his campaign rhetoric, and put it into action if he became president.

Full article @ DK

This is something that should not slip by lightly. The video above is of a roomful of Republican voters interrupting the speech of a Republican Senator and presidential candidate with a standing ovation at the news that the Republican House Speaker has been forced to resign.  It is hard to watch this outburst of joyful anger (or angry joy?) without wondering: what in the world is going on with the Republican party?  Why would news of the humiliating resignation of John Boehner spark an immediate Republican celebration?

Mr. Boehner certainly was unpopular with his own Republican voters. The day of his resignation a WSJ/NBC poll found that “some 72% of Republican primary voters said they were dissatisfied with the ability of Mr. Boehner and GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell to achieve Republican goals.”  But that phrase – failure “to achieve Republican goals” – is remarkable.  As a very good “Abbreviated Pundit Round-up” details today, John Boehner and the Republicans overall never had the votes to impose Republican policies.  As Phillip Bump notes, the only “compromises” Boehner made “have been between reality and fantasy.”  

Indeed, it is notable that when conservative writer Erick Erickson writes a column titled “Why John Boehner Had To Go,” he can’t actually name or describe anything Boehner did wrong – only arguing vaguely and nonsensically that Boehner (somehow) held his own Republican party “in contempt.”  

When forced to explain this supposed “contempt,” numerous Republicans (even presidential candidates) list not only Boehner’s (non-existent) failure to stop Obamacare, but also his supposed enabling of Obamacare.  As Mike Huckabee explained, “When people sent [Republicans] here, they didn’t send them to give the president more power on Obamacare[.]” Think about that: after total legislative obstruction, a government shut-down, more than 50 votes to repeal Obamacare, an ensuing presidential election, two Supreme Court lawsuits, and other pending litigation – – Republicans are livid with the belief that John Boehner has worked with the President to strengthen Obamacare.

No sane political observer could think that.  So, what gives?  As Jonathan Chait explains, we are witnessing a sort of collective Republican denial where they cannot accept that they are not the ruling party, not the “deciders” (to use a former president’s phrase):

To understand the pressures that brought about Boehner’s demise as an ideological split badly misconstrues the situation. The small band of right-wing noisemakers in the House who made Boehner’s existence a living hell could not identify any important substantive disagreements with the object of their wrath. . . . The source of the disagreement was tactical, not philosophical. Boehner’s tormentors refused to accept the limits of his political power. . . .
This discontent runs much deeper and wider than Boehner. . . Boehner had the misfortune of leading, or attempting to lead, his party in an era when it had run up to the limits of crazy, where the only unexplored frontiers of extremism lay beyond the reach of its Constitutional powers…

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Via CN

It is really not too hard to figure out Donald Trump. The man is having fun.

What we have witnessed so far is a demonstration of how a billionaire megalomaniac and narcissist has fun: having secured a national stage, he runs around and says whatever he pleases, even if it is blatantly obnoxious. If he gets positive feedback, he does it all the louder. If he gets negative feedback, he turns into a bully, which he also sees as fun.

If his alliance with Fox “News” doesn’t work out, maybe he will buy his own network. If the Republican Party spurns him, he will no doubt start his own political party. He can afford it and, again, it’s a lot of fun. By the way, while Trump is having fun many of the rest of us don’t find him funny at all. Indeed, it’s a serious question whether Mr. Trump’s good time will, in the end, encourage him to become a dangerous demagogue.

If explaining Donald Trump isn’t all that difficult, explaining why millions of people applaud him is more of a challenge. And it is, after all, millions. There are roughly 219 million Americans who are qualified to vote, but only approximately 146 million are registered to do so. Of those registered, 29 percent are signed up as Republicans, or about 42 million people. According to a Aug. 4 CBS poll, Trump has a favorable rating among 24 percent of that number, or about 10 million people. We can assume that this is a low number, given it only counts presently registered Republicans and not independents.

There is a lot of speculation over why these people like Trump. Here are the typical reasons given:

—“Trump has found support from Republican voters looking for a successful businessman to jumpstart an economic renaissance.” This sort of sentiment is seconded by the opinion that, because he is a rich businessman, he must know how to “generate jobs.” Of course, this is an illusion. Most businesspeople operate within economic pockets and know little about “the economy” as a whole. Many of them get rich not by creating jobs but by eliminating them through mergers and downsizing operations.

—He is not a Washington insider, he has never worked in Washington or been “stained by political life.” This is a very questionable asset. Government is a bureaucratic system with well-established rules. The notion that Mr. Trump can come into such a system and “revolutionize” it without causing chaos is fantasy.

—Trump “is a fighter” and “people want a fighter.” He tells it like it is and has no time for “political correctness,” of which most people are allegedly “deathly tired.” In other words, there is a subset of the population who don’t like minority groups or their demand for respect. They don’t like feminists and their concerns about women’s rights. They don’t like immigrants and the notion that the government should treat them like human beings. Trump has become their champion because he says what they believe, which, of course, passes for an assumed truth: all of this “political correctness” is an anti-American attack on traditional values.

Many of these Trump supporters are oblivious to the fact that they themselves are descended from both legal and illegal immigrants who had to fight the prejudiced sentiments of people just like them to become accepted citizens. That presents an almost laughable picture, except their sentiments are also very scary.

The Permanently Disaffected

These sentiments are really the surface emanations of a crowd phenomenon that has deeper meaning and persistent historical roots. In all societies, one finds the chronically disaffected, frustrated and resentful. Their numbers may go up or down according to economic and social circumstances, but they never go to zero.

In the U.S., this statistically permanent set of disaffected citizens seems to find itself most comfortable amidst the ultra-conservative right, with its hatred of “big” government and its resentment of just about any taxation. All of this is melded to national chauvinism and exceptionalism. Of late this minority has become quasi-organized in what is known as the Tea Party movement.

A Gallup poll conducted in October 2014 suggested that 11 percent of voting-age Americans are “strong supporters” of the Tea Party movement. If we use the 219 million figure given above, that comes to 24 million Americans. There is certainly an overlap here with the 10 million avid followers of Donald Trump.

What this means is that Trump, in his narcissistic pursuit of recognition, has tapped into a subgroup of the population that includes the permanently dissatisfied. He can rally them and perhaps bring them together into a bigger movement of, say, 20 to 25 percent of the population. But he can never satisfy that element’s essentially nihilistic grumbling.

In other words, Trump is playing with fire and at some point he will have to wake up to just what sort of monster he has by the tail. Then he will have to decide: is he just out for fun or does he want to go the route of the demagogue?

The American people are not immune to demagoguery. In fact Fox “News,” on the air 24/7, has made a lot of money showcasing demagogues of one sort or another. Bill O’Reilly might be the most well known of the lot.

These people have had their predecessors, particularly during the Great Depression, such as Father Charles Coughlin, a Detroit-based Catholic priest who ended up supporting fascist principles. His radio broadcasts had tens of millions of listeners. And then there is Joe McCarthy, etc.

Donald Trump certainly has the qualifications to join the long list of history’s demagogues: good speech-making abilities, no problem with playing fast and loose with the facts, and an affinity for the crowd, which energizes him. For him it also seems to be a lot of fun. For the rest of us it is just another aspect of living under the old curse of interesting times.