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Contrary to the narrative establishment republicans would like us to believe, Donald Trump’s rhetoric actions and campaign isn’t that different from your average republican politician. If you examine some of his most offensive remarks and tactics you’ll find a lot of other republican politicians who’ve said or done something very similar.
During Trump and Sectary Clinton’s 2nd debate, Trump invited 4 of the women who claimed to have some kind of sexual encounter with former president Bill Clinton. Trump sat them in the audience in an attempt to rattle Secretary Clinton and maybe gain some kind of edge over her. Establishment republicans claimed to be disgusted by this but the hypocrisy is too obvious to ignore.
In 2013 President Obama was set to deliver the first State Of The Union address of his second term. Republican Congressman Steve Stockman chose to invite 1970’s has-been racist rocker Ted Nugent as his guest. Nugent called the president a “sub-human mongrel” in an interview a few weeks prior to the address. In that same interview he hinted at an assassination attempt if Obama won. In another interview he said Obama and Hillary could “suck the end of his machine gun”. The Secret Service took his comments very seriously and went to interview him in person to see if he planned to put any of his threats into action. Right after the election was over Nugent said “pimps hoes and welfare babies got their president”. Knowing all of this republican congressman Steve Stockman thought it was a good idea to invite Nugent as his special guest. And surprisingly none of Stockman’s republican colleagues came out against this. None of them tried to stop him (which Speaker of the House John Boehner could have done), none of them tried to distance themselves from him or anything like that. It was extremely disheartening to see Republicans treating this as a joke while the people who protect the president with their lives were rightfully concerned.
I know republicans are trying their hardest to distance themselves from Donald Trump right now, but we shouldn’t let this kind of political cowardice and opportunism go without any kind of acknowledgement. Their newfound outrage over Trump making misogynist comments bragging about his ability to sexually assault any woman he wanted, shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone. He’s been talking like that for decades. In a Howard Stern interview he was asked if he respected women. Trump thought about it for a minute then said probably not. And that’s just one small example out of mountains of public easy to find evidence confirming his disrespect for women.
So when republicans begin to act outraged by the next Trump scandal (and we all know they’ll be another), please look at them with a heavy dose of skepticism.
US Congressman Lou Barletta is the latest republican calling for the impeachment of twice elected President Barack Obama. During a conservative talk radio interview Barletta said “President Obama wouldn’t survive an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives”. Barletta went on to say “the President is ignoring the Constitution, ignoring the law, and ignoring the checks and balances outlined in the Constitution.” He also said he believes there are enough votes in the house to impeach the president.
Since the beginning of President Obama’s first term in office we’ve heard the word “impeachment” from a lot of republican lawmakers and conservative pundits (see video clip at the bottom of page). I’ve heard this so many times that I’ve become desensitized to the weight and gravitas the word once held. Talks of impeachment use to be reserved for matters of extreme seriousness. Now it’s just another word republicans use to stir-up their base and capitalize on the far right’s hate and disdain for our TWICE ELECTED president. The problem is, the people they are pandering to aren’t realizing how disingenuous Barletta and others like him are. The hate they have for our TWICE ELECTED President Barack Obama blinds their ability to see logic. I almost can’t blame them because the right wing media money machine bombards them daily with a ton of misinformation and outright lies. Congressman Barletta’s comments aren’t unique by any means. Almost every single republican in the House and Senate have threatened or entertained the idea of impeaching President Obama at one point, but none of them are serious… and I can prove it. Here’s a small sample of quotes from republicans about President Obama:
Ted Cruz – “The president’s lawlessness and disdain for our constitution puts all American’s in grave danger.”
Michelle Bachman – “President Obama abuses power, assaults the constitution, declared war on business and energy, spends recklessly, creates divisiveness, and rules by executive order.”
Senator John Cornyn – “Under President Obama, inconvenient or unpopular legal requirements have repeatedly been swept aside by executive fiat”
Senator Orrin Hatch – “The president has put our entire economy in jeopardy in order to serve his own political interests.”
Grover Norquist – “Obama does everything by executive order. He’s made no effort to work with Congress”.
Represenative Kerry Bentivolio – “Who is going to stop Obama from everything that he’s doing against our constitution? Impeachment would be a dream come true if I could find the evidence.”
Senator Tom Coburn – “The administration is lawless and incompetent, and getting perilously close to impeachability.”
Congressman Farenthold – “What message do we send America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and he is found innocent?”
Rep Bob Goodlatte & Jonathan Turley – Obama ignores the constitution. The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he’s not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He’s becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid.
Notice how no one ever gives details on any specific laws that they think the president has broken. All they have are vague accusations and meaningless rhetoric. Conservatives and conservative media should ask themselves, are there legitimate reasons beyond partisan politics to have a discussion about impeaching the president. But something as rational as that seems like too much to ask for with them. Instead they engage in debate asking HOW can they impeach the president.
Law makers in both houses have a responsibility to uphold the law and balance the power of the executive branch. If they think the president is breaking laws and not following the constitution they are duty bound to start the process of impeachment. If they honestly believe everything they are saying about president Obama then they can’t say I would vote to impeach but I know it won’t pass the senate. The oath of office they all took does not allow them to ignore acts of treason and high crimes committed by the president just because it may hurt them politically. That would be an abdication of duty and it would make them just as guilty as they claim the president to be. Republicans hold the majority in the house. If they felt their reasons were just, they’d bring the issue to the floor for a vote. But they’re not going to do that because they know they have NOTHING. They know the president isn’t guilty of anything. When you see them on FOX or hear them on talk radio calling for impeachment, it’s all a performance. They get an opportunity to bash the president which makes the base happy. The more outrageous their rhetoric is, the more attention they get. They get invited for Hannity and Glen Beck interviews. They get their name in the paper. It’s a chance to raise their political profile. Even if they lose their office, they can make a lot of money within the conservative media money machine (books, radio show host, speaking engagements, lobbyist, think tank advisers, tv punditry, etc.). The incentives to engage in this type of behavior and practice this type of politics are huge. They are putting personal gain ahead of what is right for the country. The democrats aren’t perfect by any means but they have never been careless with words as powerful as impeachment. While George W Bush was president the democrats always showed respect for his title even when they may not have respected the man. Yes, there were a few democrats who talked about impeaching President Bush, but it was a very small minority and they actually had good detailed reasons for that discussion. Some dems wanted to press criminal charges against Bush and his administration, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (the most powerful democrat at that time) got her fellow democrats to move on and focus on fixing the economy. That’s what real leadership and integrity looks like. More times than not democrats are the party who puts the countries interest above their own. The republicans in office right now have forgotten how to do that.
So, to all of the conservatives reading this blog post right now, I just gave you a sure-fire way to test your party’s elected officials truthfulness (especially in congress). If they are constantly screaming impeachment and saying President Obama is lawless, ignoring the constitution, and taking freedoms away, then they need to back it up with action. Tell them to take it to the floor of the house for a vote or shut the hell up.
I get a ton of angry rants and comments every time I blog about race. Most of those comments are vile and insulting so they never pass our moderation process. I refuse to let anyone post hate-speech on my blog. Besides being vile and insulting, these comments and commenters have another thing in common. They all lack a clear and basic understanding of what racism is. This lack of understanding impairs their ability to take part in an open honest dialogue about race in an intelligent well-informed non-combative manner. In this blog post I want to help those who fit into that category learn a few things that will help them remove the wall of defense, and open them to receive a perspective they have learned to reject. Shouting past each other or only talking to those who already agree with us impedes progress which leads to racial resentment, racial tension, and increases the polarization on issues of race. So here are 20 things to keep in mind when commenting on race.
1. Black police can racially profile and violate the civil rights of other black people just like white officers can. Black people are just as prone to believe racial stereotypes about their own race as some white people are. Most of these stereotypes are reinforced by the media because they’ve been floating around as fact since the first slave stepped foot on American soil.
2. Having a black friend does not exclude you from being racist. It does not excuse your discriminatory or racist behavior. It does not absolve your comments from scrutiny when they contain ambiguous racial undertones. And it most certainly does not give you a pass to perpetrate and regurgitate hate speech. Donald Trump is a serial offender when it comes to this tired trope. “I’m not racist. Some of my best friends are black”.
3. Racism and discrimination are not the same. Racial Discrimination is a process that makes arbitrary distinctions, exclusions, or restrictions that are based on things like race or ethnic origin. This process intentionally rewards one group at the expense of another.
Racism is a construct or a belief that someone’s race can determine the limits of that person’s individual achievement, which leads to the belief that one race is superior and has the right to rule the others.
4. Someone can use racial slurs without being a racist person. But those who use racial slurs are much more likely to be racist. For example; in an argument you say things you don’t really mean. You may tell someone you hope they die in the middle of an argument. Does that mean you’re a murder? No.
5. Believing racial stereotypes can negatively effect your interactions with black people. For example; if you run a business and need to hire new employees and you believe black men are more likely to be violent than white men, you’re going to be less likely to hire a black man to fill your open positions. This happens on a subconscious level and numerous studies have proven this to be true. This is also reflected in pay disparity among races, higher unemployment numbers for minorities, job promotions, interview callbacks etc.
6. Yes, black people can be racist against white people, but a black persons racial bias has little negative effect on whites. I say this because white people are in a position of power, and black people aren’t. Whites have much more wealth, they are in charge of every major corporation, and they have much more political power. If they are racist, they have the power and means to turn their racist views into discrimination and racial oppression. Slavery and Jim Crow has produced an inherent distrust when it comes to the way black people interact with whites. However, that does not excuse any black person who has racist beliefs, but it’s important to know that black racism and white racism are not equal or the same in any way.
7. There is no such thing as “reverse racism”. Racism is racism no matter where it comes from.
8. Pointing out racism and acknowledging it’s existence does not make the person pointing it out a racist.
9. The term “playing the race card” is offensive and diminishes the existence of real racism. It is also detrimental to any dialogue about race. Ignoring it’s existence does not make it go away.
10. Calling someones comments racist, and holding them accountable for their hate-speech is not fascism or a war against free speech. You have the right to say whatever you want because it’s protected by the first amendment. But I have the right to be offended and voice my opinion about your hate-speech as loud and often as I like. If you have a job that puts you in a position of power, or a job in the public eye, your employer has the right to protect their interest and end your employment if your hate speech jeopardizes the success of their business.
11. When talking about one specific person who is racist and happens to be white, it does not mean you’re talking about every white person. Therefore the ubiquist phrase “not all white people are racist” is unnecessary.
12. Civil rights organizations and civil rights leaders have made and continues to make this country a better more equal place for everyone. Not just minorities. The work they do should be respected. The leaders who are in the public eye are human and will make mistakes just like any other man. Their ambition, mistakes, and shortcomings does not make their work any less noble, it does not disqualify them from fighting against racism, and it certainly does not disqualify them from making us aware of injustice when it occurs.
13. Words and phrases like “thug”, “taking back our country”, “the race card”, “pimp”, “welfare queen”, “food stamp president”, “lawless”, “race hustler”, “race baiter”, “ghetto”, “uppity”, “makers & takers”, and “the race card” are used as dogwistles to those who have racist views and beliefs.
14. You don’t have to be black to join the NAACP, and historically black colleges welcomes students of all races, not just blacks.
15. All black people do not share the same views on race and racism. Our opinions are just as varied as any other group of people. But the racism we’ve all experienced has put us in a position to recognize it much faster than others who have not experienced it. The effects of racism and proof of it’s existence can be found in statistical data collected by the government and organizations who study institutionalized racism. For example, the arrests and incarceration rates of black men vs white men. Access to health care, interest rates, credit, the home market, the job market, access to education, etc all show intentional disparities.
16. It is not racist to want to see more diversity in movies and tv shows with an all white cast. It’s normal to want to see people who look like you in the programs you watch. Calling for more diversity does not mean we believe the creator, director, or producer is racist or intentionally excluding minorities. Most of the time casting all whites is done unintentionally and once they become aware, it gives them a chance to rethink their casting process and opens the show to a much broader audience.
17. The intent of racial discrimination is not needed to produce a racial or discriminatory outcome. For example; a republican can support new voter id laws with the intent of hurting democrats in an election. His intended outcome is to win elections, but the unintended outcome is the decreased participation of black voters. Any laws designed to negatively effect a specific minority group is wrong and racist no matter the intent.
18. The election of Barack Obama does not mean racism is over in the United States. It does mean some of the limitations that race put on minorities have been broken, but the pieces of the broken limitations are still very visible and can be put back together very easily.
19. Some of the opposition and hate thrown at President Obama is driven by racism and intolerance. Some of it is subtle and subconscious, and some of it is direct and obvious. Acknowledging this fact isn’t some left-wing conspiracy to make republicians look racist, and it isn’t something democrats invented to use as an excuse when the president gets criticized. We’re barely 50 years away from Jim Crow and segregation. Those who grew up in the segregated south are still alive. Whites who championed segregation, the police who sicked dogs on and beat black people with clubs for marching and asking to be treated equal, political figures who constructed laws that made black people 2nd class citizens are still alive. I’m sure some of those people have realized the error of their ways and have changed their racist views, but it would be ludicrous to think that the beliefs that lead to Jim Crow all vanished with the signing of the civil rights act. So those who refuse to admit or even discuss the racial opposition to this president are either ignorant or completely detached from reality. I feel I have to say this again and be very clear because I know someone is reading this thinking “everyone who dislikes the president isn’t racist”. I AGREE!!! THAT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!!! JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE THE PRESIDENT DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE A RACIST!!!! I wrote that in all caps because defensive reactionary statements like “not all whites…” keeps us from advancing the conversation past that point.
20. We overcome racism, stop discrimination, and end racial stereotypes by having open honest conversations about it. Not just with people we already agree with, but people who see things from a different perspective. I wish people would stop being so afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, or afraid to say what they really think for fear of being attacked. If you make a statement that I believe is racist, and I tell you why I think it’s racist, that is not an attack, and shouldn’t make you defensive and nasty when you reply. I have numerous examples of this saved in my “comments that failed moderation” folder. If it weren’t for the hate-speech and foul language I’d post a few, but I created a comment policy and I plan to follow.
I hope all of this will help those who read my blog and feels the need to call me a racist every time I write about racism. You’re never too old to learn something new. If you disagree with anything I’ve written I welcome your input because you may teach me something I didn’t know. But if you try to post comments with derogatory language or a long tirade attacking me, I will not allow your comment to get posted, and I will not respond to anything you’ve written. So writing those long tirades will be a total waste of your time. If you’re not sure what may get your comment booted, take a look at our comment policy. If you include your email address when leaving a comment, I will give you a chance to modify the language and repost it if there are mod issues.
Conservative media and the GOP crowned their newest hero over this past week, and his name is Cliven Bundy. Mr Bundy is a Nevada rancher who had a very tense armed standoff with government officials trying to collect money he rightfully owed to the US government for 20 years worth of grazing fees that he refused to pay. Fox News and every single conservative media outlet rushed to Mr Bundy’s side very quickly because they saw an opportunity to exploit the situation and feed it to their base as big bad Obama government persecuting a hard working man who’s done nothing wrong. Casting Mr Bundy as a “maker” instead of a “taker”… which is ironic because Mr Bundy is so obviously a “taker” but I’ll explain that a little later in my post. First let’s go over the facts about the situation and the man at the center of it.
1. Mr. Bundy has been grazing his cattle on government owned land for 20 years without paying the proper fees that ALL ranchers have to pay. Accumulating for the past 20 years these fees add up to approximately $1 million. When normal American’s duck taxes and refuse to pay their bills, they get liens, repossessions, court judgments, and property seized. If a bank repossess someone’s home and the occupant refuses to leave, the bank will show up with an armed Sheriff and they will drag you out and arrest you for not complying.
2. Instead of handling this tax/fee dispute in court, Mr Bundy goes on Fox News and makes a call for armed anti-government militia men to come to his ranch with their guns to help him in an armed confrontation with the Bureau of Land Management so he can continue to steal from the government with no consequences.
3. When the government officials from the Bureau of Land Management came to seise Mr Bundy’s cattle for the 20 years of nonpayment and trespassing on government owned land they were met with heavily armed militiamen who watched Fox News and listened to Sean Hannity’s and Mr Bundy’s call for assistance. They had snipers pointing sniper rifles directly at law enforcement. Everyone who came to Bundy’s ranch had guns pointing at law enforcement… and here’s the unbelievable part, NO ONE GOT ARRESTED. Not one person was put in handcuffs.
4. Mr Bundy makes easily confirmable lies in numerous interviews but all of conservative media decided to ignore these warning signs that this man is dishonest and is misrepresenting himself and his situation. One of the biggest lies was about how long his family owned the ranch. He told Fox and all the others that his family has been on that land since the 1800’s, when county records clearly state that his family only purchased the land sometime in the 1980’s.
5. Mr Bundy says in an interview that he doesn’t recognize the authority of the United States government. Then he holds a victory rally and brings a state sheriff on stage to berate him for 20 minutes while the crowd cheers him on. He tells the sheriff and every other county sheriff in the country that they need to “disarm government bureaucrats” and if they couldn’t do the job then the citizens need to take-up arms against them just like he did. This was his third public on air call to violence… armed violence against law enforcement. The sheriff on stage listened to all of this and did nothing.
After going over the 5 factual points I’ve made, please tell me how anyone could see this man as a hero. Everything he’s done is supposed to be the stuff that conservatives are against. He doesn’t pay his debts. He does not follow the law. He shows contempt for law enforcement. He lies very easily. He wants the government to provide free grazing land for his cattle. He makes anti-American statements and says he does not consider himself as part of America. All of this and somehow conservative media loved this man. Can you imagine if a black man went on television calling for armed assistance to settle a dispute with the government? If a group of black men pointed guns and sniper rifles at law enforcement? Everyone knows exactly what would happen if Bundy was black.
Then Mr Bundy does an interview with The New York Times and decides to share his views on “the Negro”. I won’t paraphrase because you need to read his entire statement:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro. I recall driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.” – Cliven Bundy **video of him saying all of this is at the bottom of this page**
Yes, that was a direct quote. Mr Bundy’s comments are not only uninformed and blatantly racist… they are horrible, they are vile, they are disgusting, they are ignorant, moronic, vulgar, crass, imbecilic, dumb, idiotic and completely indefensible. What sane person with a working brain wonders if “the negro” was happier being a slave? Who thinks like that? And he has the nerve to talk about black people being on government assistance when he’s been receiving government subsidized grazing fees for 20 years and even with the huge government subsidies that only charges him 25% of the fair market price for grazing cattle, he can’t even pay that. I almost can’t blame him for thinking that black people are all on welfare, all living in government housing, all from single parent homes, all unemployed or in jail. He believes this because Fox News, conservative pundits, conservative media, Tea Party & GOP legislators are constantly pushing those false racist views. That’s why they have embraced people like Bundy over and over again. Remember Ted Nugent? He’s the no talent has-been “rockstar” that the Tea Party and conservative media embrased even after making racist and violent comments about the president. He called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” in an interview. After Nugent learned that Obama won the election he said “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America.” Nugent told a CNN reporter that either Americans can vote Obama out of office or he can suck on my machine gun. Even after making these idiotic comments and violent threats republican congressman Steve Stockman invited Ted to attend the President’s State of the Union address as his guest. Ted even campaigned for Texas GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott. You are the company you keep.
Remember the Duck Dynasty guy? Phil Robertson made some really stupid racist remarks in an interview saying that black people were happy and singing picking cotton during segregation until the government came along with civil rights and gave all blacks welfare. After making those blatantly racist comments conservative media, the Tea Party, and the GOP all rallied around him and he became their hero. Again, you are the company you keep.
Remember George Zimmerman? He shoots and kills an unarmed teen after racially profiling him. Fox and conservative media rallied around Zimmerman… especially Hannity. A man that killed an unarmed teen became a hero to them. Then after the trial was over and he got acquitted Fox and conservative media was shocked and surprised when Zimmerman’s ex wife had to call 911 because he threatened her and her dad with a loaded gun. Since the Trayvon trial Mr Zimmerman has had 4 different incidents with law enforcement. Again, you are the company you keep.
I’m pointing out Ted Nugent, George Zimmerman, and Phil Robertson because it’s becoming a pattern for conservatives to hero worship these racist assholes. When it happens over and over again you can’t ignore it or say those are coincidental isolated incidents. The racism has become a very visible part of the conservative movement. Cliven Bundy is just the latest in a series that will keep repeating itself. Next month I’ll be blogging about the new conservative hero that turns out to be racist and all of conservative media will be shocked and surprised again… and again… and again. It’s sad that this keeps happening in 2014. I have friends who are republican and I know this kind of racialized politics makes them sick. I’m sure there are other republicans who are just like them but their party has been hijacked by the extremist and co opted by a huge billion dollar money making conservative media machine. Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck are destroying the credibility and electability of real conservative legislators who do not agree with the nuts, but feel they have to go along with it to stay in office. That’s good news for democrats, but bad news for anyone trying to legislate and govern. Conservative media keeps talking about a “post-racial” America, while proving over and over again we are far far from it.
As some of you may know, I love a good facebook debate about politics. I have a smart and very diverse group of friends in terms of race, ideology, and political affiliation. I didn’t know how rare that was until I read a Reuters poll a few months ago that revealed 40 percent of white Americans and 25 percent of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race. If you’re one of those people whose social circle lacks diversity, I implore you to critically examine your life and the circumstances (conscious or subconscious) that led you to have such a limited view when choosing your friends. I know you’re asking what the hell does any of this have to do with the government shutdown. Well let me explain. This morning I posted something on facebook about Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s cunning political prowess which is evident in how he’s dealing with the less cunning republicans lead by Ted Cruz (yes Ted Cruz, not John Boehner. That’s not a typo). My best friend Shante’s boyfriend Doug read my facebook post and left a comment. We have differing views on who and what caused the government shutdown so of course a lively facebook debate ensued. If you read the full debate you’ll see why it’s important to have friends who aren’t exactly like you because they may help you see something from a different perspective that you wouldn’t have otherwise. I think I kinda sorta got Doug to admit I was right about who caused the shutdown but I did understand why he thought there was a problem with exemptions. Anyway, here’s the debate (my comments are in red):
Doug: They are all corrupt! The gov shutdown is because the senate refuses to remove a 72 percent subsidy for federal employees and exemption from health care for themselves. At the same time the GOP is making backdoor deals to exempt themselves also. They are all liars n covering there own self interest at the public’s expense.
Me: We could argue the “they are all corrupt” trope a thousand times over but the real reason we’re at a shutdown is because House Republicans have tried to pass through legislative back channels an anti-Obamacare provision that they have failed to move either through House votes the 41 times they’ve attempted to repeal the ACA (Obamacare), through the Supreme Court, which upheld the law’s constitutionality, or through the election of 2012 when Mitt Romney advocated defunding Obamacare over and over and lost. It’s a law, and by attaching its defunding to a budget, the GOP is sidelining the legislative process. The 72 percent subsidy wasn’t even brought up until the day of the shutdown. Before that they were asking for a full repeal of the law. And when they saw that wasn’t going to happen they changed their demand to a 1 year delay plus a laundry list of other demands they failed to pass legislatively. I’m all for assigning blame equally when it’s due but this government shutdown is purely the fault of the far right tea party republicans.
Doug: Partially correct! Yes they have tried to defund. Yes its law. We agree! Yet, against the law itself the administration has changed it 12 times giving perks to whoever speaks the loudest. The final bill sent by house only ask, why are all these groups being exempted if we are mandated. Those changes were added after the supreme court ruled. How can anyone defend a lawmaker imposing a law on us that does not apply to them. Its in the details. This law wasn’t even about healthcare. That was the bait to get the vote. Its the single largest shift in power to the executive branch in history. Its a bad bill but suits the need at the moment. It was lies! U cant keep ur doc( or wont be able to in three years) and its not cheap and affordable. Thats not republican or democrat. Thats just whats happening. Very few that can be trusted on either side. I appreciate your opinion though. You very informed which most people arent.
Me: We switched from arguing the cause of the shutdown to the merits of the arguments of the reason the shutdown happened. So I’ll take that to mean you agree that the Senate is not the cause afterall . I understand your concerns with the ACA and I also understand why you think there are problems with exemptions. But I think it’s too soon to make leaps and assumptions. If the law is horrible and does everything opponents are predicting then it will die under it’s own weight. But those who are actively working to undermine it (tea party republicans) just because they do not like the man in the white house is wrong.
I want to say a big thank you to Doug for helping me post something new this week. I wanted to post something about the shutdown and the Affordable Care Act but just hadn’t took the time to write it yet. So again, thanks Doug. 🙂
*All blog graphics are created by me and can be found at http://sociallyurban.com/graphics/
When President Barack Obama won reelection in 2012, he made a number of promises that captivated progressives and made us all hopeful once again. We all knew these were very big ideas and would not come easy at all, but when the President has the will of the people on his side and a crumbling economic structure where only a few benefit, then of course these factors would make things much easier. Ideas like gun control, marriage equality, income equality, immigration reform, health care reform etc. Under any other circumstances I’d be crazy or embarrassingly naive to think we’d get anywhere with such a lofty progressive agenda. But the more I think about it, all of those things should be easy. They should be a given really. Think about it… mandatory enhanced background checks for all gun purchases is supported by 90% of the American people. Marriage equality is supported by 60% (and rising more every day). An increase in minimum wage has 80% support. Immigration reform has the support of 55% favoring a legal pathway to citizenship. Sixty percent of the American people either fully support Obamacare (aka The Affordable Care Act) or think the bill isn’t liberal enough (those who still favor the public option which was dropped from the bill to get it through the house). Every one of those lofty progressive ideas that the President spoke about in his speech has support from a majority of the American people. Something is wrong here. Something is definitely wrong here. We’re supposed to live in a democracy where the president and elected officials are chosen by the people to carry out the wishes of the people. So if you have a situation where a majority of the people overwhelmingly support something, but that something still does not come to pass, we need to ask ourselves why the hell not. This is a question I’ve been struggling to make sense of for quite some time. How can you have the will of the people support something, and a majority of the senate support something and still it does not come to pass?
I’m a lover of politics but ultimately I’m a lover of information. I love history and science and finding out how things work. I love reading obscure historic biographies and watching every history channel special about past wars and presidents. As I began to write this blog I remembered something about World War II that helped me understand how elected officials can completely ignore the will of the people over and over again and still remain in office. I know it sounds crazy right now but let me explain. During WWII Japanese Emperor Hirohito and his military generals devised a propaganda campaign of massive proportion. They relentlessly drilled into the minds of their civilian and non civilian population that the Americans were complete savages. Every single day they were told stories of the Americans coming into villages raping women, decapitating babies, dismembering kids, drinking the blood of the people they kill after torturing them, and whatever else the regime’s sick sadistic minds could make up that would put the fear of god in them. They did this because it made their army fight till the death and it made the Emperor look like a protector. But one very unintended consequence of this type of propaganda says a lot about human nature and how what was intended to strengthen through manipulation can end up weakening and leading to a huge downfall. Ok, so the Japanese people heard and believed all these horrible stories about Americans and American soldiers. When our army finally reached the shores of Japan and started to make their way through the villages, they were not there to harm civilians. We knew about the Japanese propaganda so we printed up thousands of pamphlets in Japanese telling them that our soldiers were not there to kill or hurt them and if they surrendered peacefully no harm would come to them. But of course they did not believe us. They were bombarded with horror stories about us for two straight years so to them an American soldier was the devil incarnate. When it became clear that they were losing the war and they saw US soldiers coming to their village, the parents would slit the throats of their children and then slit their own. To them this was the only way of saving their children from the devil. They’d rather die by their own hand so they could make it quick and relatively painless than be tortured, dismembered, decapitated, raped, etc. Village after village the same thing happened over an over no matter what the soldiers tried to do to let them know we meant them no harm.
This small piece of WWII history helped me understand why the will of the people can be ignored time and time again without an all out revolt. We’re Japanese villagers. We’ve been conditioned. We’re fearful and therefore powerless. The president wants to raise the minimum wage and has the complete support of the people. Every working person in this country can agree that a person working a full time job should not be in poverty. But that’s the way it is right now. Full time job working everyday of the week and still does not make enough to feed their family. Wall Street seeing a huge upswing, major corporations making record profits, CEO’s getting millions in bonuses and instead of using all those profits and bonuses to pay the people who work for them a fair wage, they use it to buy politicians, to lobby the people we put in office so they can keep their huge profits and keep paying their workers shit. These lobbyist get political pundits and “so called” journalist to tell the electorate that a raise in minimum wage would kill jobs. And people are so afraid of losing their low paying crappy job that they start to believe the propaganda. Never mind that what these so called experts and pundits are saying does not make sense. A company making record profits can’t afford to pay their workers a living wage? If that’s true they should go out of business. If they are that close to the edge then that’s not a healthy company. We need to stop separating ourselves into republicans or democrats, or white or black, or native or immigrant… those are really just labels that help the fear machine push out more and more lies and more and more propaganda. We have the numbers, we are the majority, we have the power so it’s about time we start acting like it. We’ve all seen the gap in income disparity grow larger and larger and yet we’ve done absolutely nothing NOTHING to fix it. Our president wants to raise the minimum wage. The American people want to raise the minimum wage. Why isn’t it happening? Are we going to take responsibility and support this until it’s law or are we going to be like Japanese villagers in WWII waiting to slit our throats to avoid an even worse fate?
FACTS FOR NONBELIEVERS:
The next time someone tells you that raising the minimum wage would kill jobs and slow the economic recovery, here are some hard facts that proves those statements to be false.
Among the 50 largest low‐wage employers:
- 92 percent were profitable last year
- 78 percent were profitable for the past 3 years
- 75 percent are earning higher revenue now than before the recession
- 63 percent are earning higher profits now than before the recession
- 63 percent have a higher operating margin (a measure of profitability) now than before the recession
- 73 percent have higher cash holdings now than before the recession
These facts and figures were researched by the National Employment Law Project (PDF). They killed a very old Republican talking point that low wage jobs were the heart of small businesses. This study found that the majority of America’s lowest‐paid workers are employed by large corporations, not small businesses, and most of the largest low‐wage employers have recovered from the recession and are in a strong financial position.
Last week in my “Bad Week For Obama” blog I discussed three current “so called” scandals that the white house is trying to deal with. The IRS debacle, the Department of Justice wiretapping issue, and the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Honestly I thought all three of those scandals would fizzle and fade away from mainstream media. I knew Fox wouldn’t let these issues die so that part I expected. But mainstream media and even liberal media are still leading their broadcasts with all three of these stories every day. I’m not saying that these issues aren’t important, but they aren’t half as big as everyone is making them out to be. Especially Benghazi. That’s the one that drives me crazy because I don’t understand why an argument over talking points has garnered all this attention. I thought President Obama took all the steam out of that story during the second presidential debate. Romney thought he had a sure-fire trump card that would definitely score him major points but President Obama threw it right back at him and ended up making Romney look like an uninformed opportunist. For some reason Republicans never learn from their mistakes and seem incapable of moving away from issues and political maneuvers that have failed and in some cases failed miserably. Two very good examples of this is Benghazi and the repeal of The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The House and the Senate can’t seem to get anything done or even bring bills to the floor for a simple up or down vote, but that hasn’t stopped them from voting on the repeal of Obamacare 45 times. They know each time this will fail but they still do it over and over again. Common sense would tell anyone that there’s zero chance of Obama signing a bill that would undo his biggest piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act is the most important part of his legacy. Hell, it even has his name in the title (lol). It seems as though everyone has caught scandal fever when it should have been just a 24 hour bug.
I can’t blame everything on Republicans because the White House continually makes bad decisions which makes small missteps into huge epidemics. Their number one problem is rolling-disclosure. Leaking small pieces of information here and there day by day keeps these scandals in the news. They’ve done this with Benghazi, the IRS thing, and the DOJ’s wiretaps. I just blasted the Republicans for not learning from their mistakes, but the White House has the exact same problem. I wish President Obama would have taken charge of the IRS issue as soon as they became aware of it. They should have been the one to bring this to the public’s attention. That would have taken 90% of the steam out of the GOP’s argument. But instead his staff and advisers decided that “plausible deniability” would somehow protect him and limit his exposure without risking his political capital… so they didn’t tell him. That works well in business but it never works in politics. Especially when you’re the president. Maybe this time they’ve finally learned that lessen and they’ll stop giving Republicans ammunition.
This has not been a good week for our president… stating the obvious I know, but he’s taking heat from all sides, both left and right. Some of it is warranted but most of it only exist in the minds of republicans or manufactured within the 24 hour news cycle to raise a ratings slump that’s been stagnant and/or lagging ever since the presidential election ended in November. I hate to see the President on the ropes like that so I’m going to break it down and help him out a bit (like he’s going to read my blog or solicit my advice lol).
Late Friday evening a story leaked out accusing the IRS of unfairly targeting right-wing groups who filed for nonprofit status. After the story broke the IRS released a statement acknowledging the unfair targeting and extra scrutiny these applications were getting. President Obama held a press conference to address this issue and told the press that they were launching an investigation, and he was very emphatic about finding out who was responsible and promised to deal with them accordingly. I’m a very liberal democrat (surprise surprise) and I’m not a fan of the Tea Party (an even bigger surprise) but wrong is wrong. Anyone at the IRS who had anything at all to do with this should be fired and prosecuted in a criminal court. President Obama also said that he had no prior knowledge of this happening until the day before the story leaked, and it’s pretty obvious that he had nothing to do with the IRS placing extra scrutiny on the right-wing groups applications. Common sense would tell anyone that the White House and President Obama had absolutely nothing to gain by delaying nonprofit 501c applications. He’s extremely intelligent and pragmatic so he would never risk his presidency for something as stupid and insignificant (relatively speaking) as this . But the republicans haven’t figured this out yet. They’ve alluded to cover ups of mass proportions all week on any media outlet that will give them airtime. Normally this wouldn’t be such a huge deal. Admittedly the IRS was wrong and they should take responsibility for letting this happen and be punished. But the far right-wingers want to make this all about President Obama and they’ll continue to feed these delusional theories to their base buffet style as long as they keep eating it up. So the quicker the president resolves this situation the better. He needs to wrap the investigation up ASAP and be brutal quick and indiscriminate with the firings of some top IRS officials and do it in a very public way. When dealing with political scandals whether they are real or manufactured, perception is everything. Republicans rarely deal in reality so you have to beat them at their own game. PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING. Start demagoguing the hell out of every press conference when these guys start to come for you. So, that’s my advice on the IRS issue. On the scandal scale it gets a 2 out of 10 (10 being Watergate or the Iraq war, and 1 being Jimmy Carter lusting in his heart lol).
The second scandal is a lot more serious and actually merits even more attention than it’s already getting. Earlier in the week the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration did this without a warrant, without honoring the First Amendment, and contrary to normal procedure where they could have asked the Associated Press to cooperate and if they declined then they could take it court and let a judge decide. Prior to this incident that is the way the DOJ has handled similar situations in the past. This story troubles me the most, and it’s the most confusing issue I have with President Obama. I voted for him twice thinking he wanted to do things a lot different from his predecessor. Obama promised me and everyone who voted for him a more transparent government. Then he does a 180 and instead of walking back some of the civil liberty infringements of George Bush’s Patriot Act, he adds to it with things like warrantless phone taps on law abiding citizens, increasing the number of DRONE attacks, and assassinating secret targets without telling congress and without any due process. For most of his first term in office he wouldn’t even acknowledge that the drone attacks were coming from us. That doesn’t sound transparent to me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I think the President is doing a great job as commander in chief, and I don’t regret voting for him at all. But when it comes to foreign policy and protecting civil liberties I am extremely disappointed in that part of his administration’s agenda. So here’s my advice to the president about this. First of all he needs to do some restructuring at the Justice Department. He needs to take the DRONE attack program away from the CIA and give this responsibility to the military. The CIA is a covert organization so they really can’t be transparent about their operations, and they do not answer to Congress so that means no oversight. The Military handles these types of things best because they have to get orders, show results, and notify Congress of their actions. My second piece of advice pains me because I like Attorney General Eric Holder, but like I said before, perception is everything. President Obama needs to replace Holder with someone else, preferably someone outside of his circle of close friends and advisors. Someone who is passionate about progressive ideas and an advocate for civil liberties. Eric Holder was great at his job, but someone’s head has to roll and roll quickly.
It will be interesting to see how the President will handle all of these situations being thrown at him all at once. I have complete faith in him as a leader because he’s been overcoming major obstacles all his life. So far he’s risen to meet every set back head on and always comes out unscaved as the victor. I’m not even going to talk about Benghazi because he’s already won that argument. The republicans just don’t know yet. When will they learn that It’s going to take more than the GOP to tarnish this man.