Tag Archives: Republicans

Coates: Donald Trump and his Supporters Are White Supremacists

A lot of people will object to the title of this post. I will be told to take the post down. I will be told to modify the title or to change what I say in the post.

Nope.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is correct, and his presentation is brilliant. Watch the following interview (in two parts) and read his book We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy.

Chris Hayes is correct to point out that the historical source of Coates title is critically important and deeply disturbing (this is something we’ve talked about here in the recent past). He is incorrect, as Coates points out near the end of the second segment, that there will be a future in which we debate the relative merits of the Trump vs the Obama presidency. I have no idea what possessed him to day that (I see Hayes slip into the false balance mode now and then when he’s tired, maybe that’s what he did there for just a moment).

On the book:

“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”

But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.

Republican Fast Food Pusher Andrew The Putz Puzder Not In Labor

As the Republican led US Senate has voted to confirm (or deny) the party leader’s cabinet picks, they’ve done a poor job, approving, for example, people who have acted in direct opposition to the areas of government they are expected to serve, or in some cases, being abjectly incompetent. The Republicans in the Senate were not vetting the nominees. Some of the Democrats were, but even there, we saw failures of conscious.

The Senators need to be reminded that the critical choices made by the Trump administration tend to be poor ones. Look, for example, at the first NSA choice. General Flynn was caught engaged in acts that were at least unethical and annoying, if not downright illegal and, worst case scenario, treasonous. Why would we expect the Trump administration to had better choices to the Senate for their approval?

"This would have been really bad." Former fictional Secretary of Labor, Leo McGarry.
“This would have been really bad.” Former fictional Secretary of Lbor, Leo McGarry.
I’m pretty sure the Republicans in Congress have no clue what “advice and consent” means or what the Constitution says, or history says, about this.

The total number of Senators voting for each of Republican President Trump’s nominees is less than usual, with many, sometimes most, Democrats voting against the various and often very unqualified nominees. The Democrats who did vote for these individuals will be held to account over coming years, especially those who voted for Tillerson, and others who may ultimately be linked to currently developing scandals.

But now we have an interesting development. One of the most awful choices ever put forth for a high cabinet post ever, in any government by any president — equal to in level of insult and injury to the Betsy DeVos nomination which Congress narrowly approved — was Andrew Puzder as labor secretary.

The public outcry about putting this particular fox in charge of that particular hen house should not have exceeded the outcry against Tillerson or the others, but the general public and, certainly, Trump’s Republican Congress, appear not to understand too much about what happens in government and why it is important. But an attack by Oprah, armed with withering truth, seems to have mattered. Outrage over Puzder’s misconduct in business and personal life, some of which could be an embarrassment even to the Trump administration and to Republicans generally, was too much.

Moments ago, Puzder made a move we wish so heartily that Republican Donald Trump’s father had done years ago: he withdrew just in the nick of time.


By the way, have you read Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by former actual good Secretary of Labor Robert Reich?

America was once celebrated for and defined by its large and prosperous middle class. Now, this middle class is shrinking, a new oligarchy is rising, and the country faces its greatest wealth disparity in eighty years. Why is the economic system that made America strong suddenly failing us, and how can it be fixed?

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 4.05.55 PMLeading political economist and bestselling author Robert B. Reich presents a paradigm-shifting, clear-eyed examination of a political and economic status quo that no longer serves the people, exposing one of the most pernicious obstructions to progress today: the enduring myth of the “free market” when, behind the curtain, it is the powerful alliances between Washington and Wall Street that control the invisible hand. Laying to rest the specious dichotomy between a free market and “big government,” Reich shows that the truly critical choice ahead is between a market organized for broad-based prosperity and one designed to deliver ever more gains to the top. Visionary and acute, Saving Capitalism illuminates the path toward restoring America’s fundamental promise of opportunity and advancement.

Republican Donors Might Run A Third Party Candidate

They even have a short list of candidates. Unfortunately, the only available copy of the secret internal report on running a third party candidate has the list blacked out (see above).

According to Scott Bland at Politico:

Conservative donors have engaged a major GOP consulting firm in Florida to research the feasibility of mounting a late, independent run for president amid growing fears that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination.

“All this research has to happen before March 16, when inevitably Trump is the nominee, so that we have a plan in place,” a source familiar with the discussions said. March 16 is the day after the GOP primary in Florida…

The document, stamped “confidential,” was authored by staff at Data Targeting, a Republican firm based in Gainesville, Fla. The memo notes that “it is possible to mount an independent candidacy but [it] will require immediate action on the part of this core of key funding and strategic players.”

This, of course, would guarantee that both the Republican candidate, probably Trump, and the independent candidate, would lose. So, it is a kind of apoptosis.

Here’s the thing. Why would they do this? Why would the Republican Party build up a power base linked to a philosophy, then, when the ultimate candidate emerges, who represents that philosophy of hate and fascism comes to fore, bail?

One possibility is that the importance of corporate control of the President is the central guiding force for strategy. After all, we are talking about unspecified “donors.” Those donors are not concerned with the political philosophy of the candidate, just that the candidate be controlled.

It is interesting to compare this effect across the two parties. One could say that Clinton is more the corporate candidate and Sanders is not. But, Democrats are not actually (despite pernicious rumors the contrary) destroying sanders or planning to put him down. A lot of Democrats, including many in power, like Sanders. But when an insurgency candidate (which, it seems, is defined as not, or less, bought and paid for) comes along in the Republican party, the Programmed Party Death Button is seriously considered. The parties really are not the same.

I wouldn’t expect anything to come to this if it is a real effort to get a particular candidate to win. But if this really is an effort by the Republicans to put themselves down, then the chances of a third party run may be much higher, because it doesn’t have to work. It just has to break everything.

Harry Potter and the 2014 Election

The Potter Metaphor

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first in a series of books that are metaphorical of the central theme of politics and society in the Western world. Voldemort represents purity of race and racism, the good Witches and Wizards of Hogwarts represent the struggle of self aware consensus around the idea of fairness. The key protagonists — Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, together with a few others — succeed because of the diversity in ability they collectively represent.

One of the key moments in J. K. Rowling’s book is the solution of the potions challenge on the way to the hidden room containing the Sorcerer’s stone. There are several challenges and problems, and each one is met by a different protagonist. Harry has the ability to make Hagrid reveal his poorly kept secrets, so among other things the three students find out how to control Fuffy, the giant three-headed hound. He is also a skilled Seeker, and can thus grab the flying key. Hermione is the one that notices the trap door. Ron for all his failings is a master at Wizard Chess. The theme here is obvious. The three students often fail to understand each other and often do not see eye to eye, but by combining their different strengths and working together, they accomplish what no individual Witch or Wizard could do. The part about the potions challenge is a notably extreme case of this.

Voldemort and his death eaters, and the Slytherin such as Draco Malfoy and his father, as well as Snape, resent the half breeds and muggle-born. They wish to see those who are not pure removed from their society, by any means. The historical fact that Voldemort himself is a halfbreed, a thinly veiled reference to Hitler’s Jewish connections, is beside the point. But it is the muggle-born Hermione who solves the potions puzzle using a Muggle capacity rarely found in Wizards. Wizards, we are told by Rowling, have magical minds, not logical minds. Among the Muggles we find those like Hermione, who probably spent hours with brain teaser books as an eight year old, who are capable of solving complex logical problems, problems that seem impossible but in fact have only one solution. When Hermione and Harry reach the potions challenge, where drinking all of the liquids but one will cause a horrible outcome, but that one potion will open the next door, her Muggle mind comes into play. Harry does not understand how Hermione has solved the problem, but he trusts her with his life.

It is very unfortunate that this scene was left out of the movie version of the story, even though it is alluded to after the fact. As far as I can tell, the scene was never shot (correct me if I am wrong). To me, this is a key message in Rowling’s book. The fact that it was not transferred into the movie version, and that commentary on the book vs. movie differences tend note it but do not lament it, is a bit disappointing.

Death Eaters, Good Witches and Wizards, Republicans, and Democrats

Ask yourself, what is the message of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, other than racial purity and a high degree of intolerance? There is only one, revealed by Voldemort himself, and others including the Sorting Hat, in a few places throughout the story. The only thing that really counts is power. There is no good and evil. Just power.

That is a simple message, easy to understand. You don’t have to be smart, or learned, or thoughtful, to get this point. It may be untrue, but if you say it enough times, and live by it, it becomes true to the faithful. Professor Quirinus Quirrell is a prescient example of how this can play out, that character written almost as though Rowlings had a crystal ball allowing her to see the future of politics in the four largest Anglophone countries. Quirrell is like a working class Tea Party faithful. It does not matter how much pain he will suffer to serve his master, he will remain faithful, and he will keep repeating the message, and in this way, he will continue to believe the message.

Now ask yourself, what is the central theme for the the rest of the Witches and Wizards? There really isn’t one. I’ve alluded to consensus, and there is that. Fairness too, a theme we see played out, naturally, in the sports related manifestation of the greater metaphor, on the Quidditch field. But really, they are all over the place. They vary greatly in approach, what they think is important, what they are good at, and what they like to do. They are like Democrats.

Rowling’s three main protagonists, Harry, Hermione, and Ron, have differences that could and occasionally did interfere with their camaraderie. They couldn’t be much more different in background, proclivities, and abilities. Harry is rich, Ron is poor. Harry and Ron are not particularly intellectual, Hermione is an egghead. Harry throws himself into danger, the others are more cautious. And so on. Often, they annoy each other. This is seen in the early days of their relationship and comes to a head later in the series more than once. But when a task that requires multiple approaches is set before them, they manage to succeed by using these differences. Their power does not come merely from fetishizing power, it comes from piecing together a battery that is stronger as a whole than the sum of its parts. Again, they are like Democrats.

The 2014 Election

During the 2014 election, and this has happened before, many Democrats ran against their leader, President Obama. A Republican strategy would have been different. Keep the message clear; our leader is the greatest ever and we are all on the same page.

A large scale, if imperfect, overhaul of the country’s health care insurance system was badly needed and totally undoable, yet President Obama did it. Democrats fell into the trap of over acknowledging the imperfection, and many with other important agendas (like addressing climate change) decried the health care reform effort as a distraction. Well, the Affordable Care Act certainly is imperfect, and climate change action may have suffered from the distraction, but Republicans would not have used these points a razor to cut their own wrists. Democrats did. Democrats acted like Harry, Hermione and Ron over-bickering and failing to get through the challenges set to keep them from the Sorcerer’s Stone. Had the three young wizards acted like Democrats usually act, Voldemort would have succeeded in his plan to seize power before the second book was written. Had Democrats, in the 2014 election cycle, acted like Rowling’s characters actually did (fictionally) act, this may not have been a midterm washout.

What Democrats Need To Do

Democrats need to be more thoughtful about when they go about the important business of eating their own young. American politics has a two-stage configuration, conveniently divided by Primary Day. Before Primary Day we fight within parties, and after Primary Day we fight between parties. Or at least, that is the theory. But that is not how Democrats often do it. With a simple message that is usually not muddled at any stage during this process, Republicans can be in lockstep as they advance their political agenda (gaining power). Democrats see this as a deficit. There is no real conversation in the Republican party. A small number of loudmouths yell out the marching orders and everyone marches. The few who do not are fallen upon and devoured quickly. Democrats recognize that this approach does not solve problems. Republicans recognize that this approach wins elections.

What Democrats need to do is to take a page — one page — from the Republican playbook. They need to recognize what it takes to win elections, and go win some. This does not mean failing to have the conversation, failing to try to solve problems. It can be accomplished, rather, by doing a better job at dividing up the process into its proper stages. Democrats have compensated for their failure to come together the day after Primary Day by getting very good at the technical aspects of getting out the vote, that sort of thing. But Democrats who don’t think the Republicans won’t figure this out and get just as good at it are deluded. Having a great database and a great call center to get out the vote is necessary but not sufficient over the long term. Democrats have refined the medium, now they must refine the message.

Today is the day after election day, and we see Democrats already fighting about what went wrong. That is probably helpful, that is an important conversation to have. Democrats need to shift quickly into fighting about the solutions to our nation’s and our world’s real problems (at the local level too) and pretty quickly start fighting about who to put up for election next term. Fight and bicker and whinge but try to keep the conversation productive. Then, on Primary Day, put on the marching boots and the big girl and boy pants and all head in the same direction and act like a team. No, don’t act like a team, be a team. If your favorite candidate and your favorite issue failed to emerge as everyone else’s favorite, acknowledge that you are not the only person on the planet, suck it up, and get on board. It only seems like our election cycles go on forever. In truth, it is only a few months between Primary Day and Election Day. Everything you do that is off course during those months is self harm. Stop doing that.

Then, win.

Then, start up again with the bickering and consternation, conversing and cajoling, until the next cycle. Rinse, repeat. The Democratic Party represents a larger share of the American Public than does the Republican Party, yet it is not in the majority. This is not because Republicans win more. It is because Democrats lose more. Stop doing that.

GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer

People are getting mad.

GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer Confronts Park Service Ranger at WWII Memorial: You Ought to Be ‘Ashamed’
On Wednesday afternoon at the Word War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) confronted a female U.S. Park Service Ranger as she was preventing non-veteran tourists from entering the temporarily-closed park due to this week’s government shutdown. “How do you look at them and deny them access?” Neugebauer asked the unidentified ranger. “I don’t get that.” In his breast pocket, he carried a small American flag.

“It’s difficult,” the ranger responded.

“Well, it should be difficult,” the congressman shot back.

“It is difficult,” she reiterated. “I’m sorry, sir.”

“The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves,” Neugebauer insisted.

“I’m not ashamed,” the ranger replied.

A few onlookers got involved in the conversation, including one federal employee wearing a bike helmet. “This woman is doing her job, just like me,” he told the congressman. “I’m a 30-year federal veteran. I’m out of work.”

“Well, the reason you are is because [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid decided to shut down the government,” Neugebauer said to the man.

“No, it’s because the government won’t do its job and pass a budget,” the onlooker said before the congressman turned and walked away.

“The House did its job,” another onlooker chimed in. “It passed appropriations; the Senate hasn’t.”

The Texan Republican was one of many House GOP members who voted to pass a government funding bill that would also delay the implementation of Obamacare. Senate Democrats and the White House would not agree to those terms, resulting in no budget and the shutting down of non-essential government functions.

Got it here.

There is a call for an ethics violation investigation against Neugebauer.

I, for one, welcome our new female overlords

This is the year of the woman in the US Congress and elsewhere, despite the best efforts of some to make sure that the opposite happened.

This is the year in which the Right Wing carried out the most anti-woman campaign ever since suffrage, or at least, so it would appear, along with a continued attack on non-hetero persons. A defining moment in this campaign occurred in February, when the Republican controlled House carried out a nearly comical hearing on women’s reproductive rights. Continue reading I, for one, welcome our new female overlords

Why do Republicans always want to regulate things?

A while back, in a land far away, something bad happened at a pair of clinics in Pennsylvania, and some people died there. It was pretty horrible. The clinics did not have qualified staff, charged for procedures that were illegal, made millions of dollars on abusing their patients and the system. Pretty much everything that happened at those clinics that shouldn’t have happened was illegal or against existing regulations. The owner of the clinic and others were arrested and charged with several crimes. The system failed in letting this happen, but succeeded in eventually noticing and doing something about it. The clinics ran in poor areas and for this reason may have been under the radar of the MWJS. Continue reading Why do Republicans always want to regulate things?