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“No Room For Misinterpretation”: Donald Trump Warns Of Diseased Immigrants Coming Across The Border—Adds Insult To Injury

This afternoon, future United States President Donald Trump released a statement intended to clarify his remark that illegal immigrants from Mexico are “rapists.”

Trump is unhappy that people are interpreting his statement to mean that he believes all illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists, when he merely intended to say that some of them are rapists.

Trump, who has publicly speculated that vaccines can cause autism, added that immigrants are responsible for bringing “infectious disease” into America.

Trump’s press release began: “I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech.”

The speech, he said, was “deliberately distorted” by the media and to prove it he included an excerpt of his remarks so that readers could see for themselves how they have been taken out of context.

When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) send its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

“What can be simpler or more accurately stated?” Trump asked. “They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc…On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it.”

Trump then noted that Mexican cartels bring heroin, cocaine “and other illicit” drugs into America via immigrants, and, “Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world.”

About those vaccines: since at least 2012, Trump has claimed that vaccines and autism are linked.

During a Fox and Friends appearance to promote his cologne, “Success,” in 2012, Trump said, “I’m all for vaccinations, but I think that when you add all of these vaccinations together and then two months later the baby is so different…” Trump said, adding this was “a theory” but anecdotally, “It happened to somebody that worked for me recently. I mean, they had this beautiful child, not a problem in the world, and all of a sudden they go in and they get this monster shot. Then all of a sudden the child is different a month later. I strongly believe that’s it.”

So that’s it.

Anyway, in the event that you’ve been slumbering unaware since Trump’s June announcement, his remarks about illegal immigrants have resulted in a mass exodus of businesses in the Trump Inc. orbit. Univision, a Spanish-language TV network, announced they would no longer air Trump’s beauty pageants; Macy’s pulled all Trump branded products; NBC dropped Trump’s show, The Apprentice. Trump has filed suit against Univision, for $500 million, and threatened legal action against NBC.

“I have lost a lot during this Presidential run defending the people of the United States,” Trump said in the Monday statement. “I have always heard that it is very hard for a successful person to run for President.”

Well, now he knows.

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Immigration | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Why Does The Senate Honor A White Supremacist?”: It’s Time To Ditch Richard Russell For Bob Dole

As I write these words on Monday, the South Carolina State Senate is poised to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds entirely. These developments in the Palmetto State and elsewhere are all positive, and of course it’s high time for them. But Confederate battle flags on capitol grounds do not constitute the most conspicuous symbolic tribute to white supremacy in our political-architectural landscape.

No, the symbol I have in mind isn’t to be found in Columbia or Montgomery or Baton Rouge or Jackson. It’s right here in Washington, 2.6 miles from where I sit typing these sentences.

Hey, United States Senate: What in the world are you still doing with a building named in honor of Richard Russell?

As I trust you know, Richard Brevard Russell was a senator from Georgia from 1933 until his death in 1971. In his day, he was respected and revered. When you read about him you often read sentences like “the Senate was Russell’s mistress, his true and only love”; and indeed he never married, bore no children, and seems to have spent his waking hours thinking almost exclusively of how to bring honor and dignity to what we’ve long since stopped calling the world’s greatest deliberative body.

And sometimes, he did bring honor upon that body. His chairmanship of a special joint committee into President Truman’s firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur is considered a model of deliberative bipartisanship. It was a highly sensitive time that carried a Seven Days in May kind of whiff about it—MacArthur wanted to invade China and enjoyed a huge popular following. It was an easy situation to demagogue, and Russell did not. So yes, he did good.

But: He was a racist and a segregationist who, precisely because of the esteem in which he was held high even by Yankees for other reasons, may have done more to hold back civil rights and integration in this country than any other single individual, including Strom Thurmond and anyone else you care to name. Thurmond wrote the initial draft of the infamous 1956 Southern Manifesto, the resolution signed by Southern senators and House members stating their support for segregation and their refusal to obey Brown v. Board of Education. But Russell rewrote a lot of it and was a key or even the key figure in rounding up the votes against civil rights legislation.

He was a white supremacist—not a cross-burning white supremacist, but a white supremacist all the same. Does that sound harsh? Well, here (PDF) is something Russell said while campaigning in 1936, when his opponent was accusing him of supporting New Deal programs that would promote integration: “As one who was born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old South, with six generations of my forebears now resting beneath Southern soil, I am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives within her borders.”

He opposed every piece of civil rights legislation that came his way. In fact, he had participated in his first anti-civil-rights filibuster the year before that 1936 election, when he helped block an anti-lynching law. He helped block another anti-lynching law in 1938. After the war, according to political scientist Robert D. Loevy in his To End All Segregation, Russell was the leader of the Southern bloc. Want to understand how committed he was to that position? In 1952, he could have become part of the Democratic Party’s Senate leadership structure. But going national in that way meant, as he knew, that he would have to soften his views on race. He refused.

On and on and on like this we could go. But here’s all you really need to know. In 1964, after his party finally succeeded in leading the push for civil rights legislation, what did Russell do? Decide to change a little? Throw in the towel just a bit? Nope. He refused to attend the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. And his racial views never changed.

He died in 1971, and they named the building after him the next year. Such were the times that his racism could be contextualized as an understandable and forgivable flaw. Maybe it’s still understandable, given the time and place of his birth and rearing. But it’s no longer forgivable to such an extent that one of only three Senate office buildings has to bear his name,

The other two Senate buildings, incidentally, are named after completely honorable men whose escutcheons carry no such stains. Everett Dirksen was a tad conservative for my tastes, but as the Republican leader in 1964, he did go along with LBJ and Senate Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield in support of civil rights. And Democrat Phil Hart of Michigan was one of the great public servants of his time. Yes, his politics were my politics, but it was his sense of honor that most defined him. He once learned that an aide in his Detroit office was taking a little honest graft. Aghast, Hart called a Detroit newspaper reporter to give him the story; to bust himself. The reporter didn’t run with it, telling Hart that no one would believe a Phil Hart-corruption story in the first place. This is what made his colleagues decide immediately that the new office building that was going up in the mid-1970s should be named in honor of their cancer-stricken colleague.

Sorry, a racist who spent 30 years making sure black children went to inferior schools and black adults couldn’t vote doesn’t deserve to be in their company. The Senate must change the name. But…to what?

Sitting where I do on the ideological parking lot, I turn naturally toward a figure like Hubert Humphrey. He was a giant of the Senate, and I rather like the symbolism of erasing a racist’s name and replacing it with the Senate’s most forward-thinking and courageous integrationist.

But I’ll tell you what. Let’s not make this a partisan thing. So I say, give it to a Republican. How about the Robert Dole Senate Office Building? He’s not exactly my dish of Kansas corn on a number of issues, but by cracky, as a young member of the House of Representatives, he voted for the civil rights bill in 1964. And then of course there was his later work on civil rights for the disabled. That’s reversal enough of Russellism for me. And he’s still alive, and it would be a nice thing for him, and into the bargain the Senate could make up for that shameful slap it administered to Dole’s face three years ago over that UN disabilities treaty.

Mitch McConnell, get on it. You once worked for a great moderate Republican, John Sherman Cooper, one of the few Southerners who voted for the civil rights bill. Harry Reid, this ought to be a no-brainer for you. Senators Pat Leahy, Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand—you feel proud giving out your Washington address to your constituents? Somebody make a play here. Try to keep pace with South Carolina, will you?

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, July 7, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Civil Rights Act, Confederate Flag, White Supremacy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Palpable Authenticity”: The Non-Clinton Alternative For Democrats

Is Bernie Sanders the political reincarnation of Eugene McCarthy? I doubt it, but let’s hope he makes the Democratic presidential race interesting.

I don’t know if front-runner Hillary Clinton shares my wish, but she ought to. I’m not of the school that believes competition for competition’s sake is always a good thing. But Sanders has an appeal for younger, more liberal, more idealistic Democrats that Clinton presently lacks. If she competes for these voters — and learns to connect with them — she will have a much better chance of winning the White House.

Sanders, the Vermont independent and the only self-described socialist in the Senate, drew packed houses during a weekend barnstorming tour of Iowa. The 2,500 people who attended his rally in Council Bluffs were believed to be the largest crowd a candidate from either party has drawn in the state. This followed last week’s triumph in Madison, Wis. , where Sanders packed a 10,000-seat arena with cheering supporters — the biggest event anywhere thus far in the campaign.

At the same time, Sanders is rising in the polls. The latest Quinnipiac survey showed Clinton with a 19-point lead in Iowa, 52 percent to 33 percent. As recently as May, Clinton had a 45-point advantage.

Comparisons have been made to McCarthy, the Minnesota senator whose opposition to the Vietnam War galvanized support on college campuses and stunned the Democratic Party establishment. McCarthy’s showing in the 1968 New Hampshire primary — he received 42 percent of the vote — helped lead incumbent Lyndon Johnson to pull out of the race.

But let’s not get carried away. A lead of 19 points is a problem any politician would love to have. Sanders’s numbers had nowhere to go but up, and Clinton’s nowhere but down. What’s safe to say at present is that Sanders — not Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb or Lincoln Chafee — has become the non-Clinton alternative for Democrats who, for whatever reason, are suffering some Clinton fatigue.

One thing Sanders has going for himself is palpable authenticity. He is the antithesis of slick. To say there’s nothing focus-grouped about the man is to understate; one doubts he knows what a focus group is. “Rumpled” is the word most often used to describe him, but that’s not quite right; it’s not as if his suits are unpressed or his shirttails untucked. He’s just all substance and no style — which, to say the least, makes him stand out among politicians.

Clinton, by contrast, has always struggled to let voters see the “authentic” her rather than the carefully curated, every-hair-in-place version her campaigns have sought to project. Part of the problem, I believe, is that women in politics are held to an almost impossible standard; no male candidate’s wardrobe choice or tone of voice receives such microscopic scrutiny. But she also distances herself by campaigning as if she’s protecting a big lead — which she is — and wants to avoid offending anyone. Last, when asked her favorite ice cream flavor, she replied, “I like nearly everything.” What, vanilla lovers were going to abandon her if she had said chocolate?

Sanders’s main appeal, however, is that he speaks unabashedly for the party’s activist left. He is witheringly critical of Wall Street, wants to break up the big banks, proposes single-payer health care and promises to raise taxes. He voted against the 2003 invasion of Iraq; Clinton, then a senator, voted for it but now says that she made a mistake.

Eight years ago, Barack Obama made opposition to the Iraq war his signature issue and rode it to victory in Iowa and beyond. Will lightning strike the Clinton machine twice?

Not the same kind of lightning, surely, and not in the same manner. Obama is a uniquely gifted politician whose appeal went beyond the issues. He was able to make voters believe not just in him but also in themselves and their power to reshape the world. And as the first African American with a legitimate chance to become president, he gave the nation a chance to make history.

This time, Clinton is the candidate with history on her side. The fact that she could be the first woman elected president is not enough, by itself, to win her the nomination. But it does matter. She, like Obama, offers voters the chance to feel a sense of accomplishment.

And nothing about Clinton’s past remotely compares with the millstone of Vietnam that weighed LBJ down and ultimately caused him to give up. I just don’t see a McCarthy scenario brewing — or an Obama scenario, either.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, July 7, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“The Inevitable Unhinged Danger And Terror”: Coming Next To The South Carolina Statehouse Grounds; The Klan

On July 18, the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan—“The Largest Klan in America!” according to the group’s website—are holding a rally on the South Carolina statehouse grounds to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag.

The group is protesting “the Confederate flag being took down for all the wrong reasons,” says James Spears, the Great Titan of the Pelham, North Carolina chapter of the KKK. “It’s part of white people’s culture.” One does wonder what Spears thinks the right reasons would be.

Despite the KKK’s abhorrent beliefs, it has a right to assembly and hold a rally on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds because groups cannot be excluded because of their ideology, according to Brian Gaines of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, which oversees reservations.

Yet the KKK is not solely a group of white individuals in hooded cloaks who spew a vile ideology of hatred of African Americans and other non-whites (it’s pretty anti-Semitic, too). It is a group that has repeatedly inflicted physical terror for generations upon those it hates. The concern is not primarily its ideology of hatred and white supremacy, but the fascist terrorism it inflicts upon those it despises.

As an African-American male I have learned to accept that some people just will not like me or may judge me negatively because of the color of my skin. This is an unpleasant part of life. You cannot remove all the bigots and racists from the world. We all have an equal right to live, but what must always be considered unacceptable is inflicting physical violence and terror upon those you hate.

The KKK is far more than a hate group, and its racist propaganda extends beyond hate speech and into what is known as dangerous speech—a form of hate speech that clearly seeks or at least has the clear potential to incite violence.

Susan Beseech, the director of the Dangerous Speech Project, in her paper, “Countering Dangerous Speech: New Ideas of Genocide Prevention,” (PDF) writes that “by teaching people to view other human beings as less than human and as mortal threats, thought leaders can make atrocities seem acceptable—and even necessary, as a form of collective self-defense.”

When Spears was asked about his thoughts on Dylann Roof’s terrorist attack on Emanuel AME Church that killed nine African-American worshipers, he said, “I feel sorry for the boy because of his age and I think he picked the wrong target. A better target for him would have been these gang-bangers, running around rapping, raping, and stealing.”

According to Spears, the problem was not the killing of African Americans, but Roof’s decision to kill African Americans in a way that would draw so much unwanted attention. Roof could have easily chosen to kill black “gang-bangers” and much of this hassle could have been avoided, according to a Great Titan of the KKK.

And before Roof began his killing spree he said to one of his victims, “I have to do it. You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.”

There should be no ambiguity that Roof and the KKK not only use a dehumanizing hate speech that presents African Americans as mortal threats to “white culture,” but also feel justified in using force to create terror within the black community.

The danger posed by this ilk is more than theoretical or emotional.

Internationally, the discussion regarding dangerous speech and possible legislative applications has progressed much further than in America. The catalyst for the conversational shift from loathing but allowing hate speech to exploring ways to prevent dangerous speech has begun due to acknowledgement of the impacts of leaders of mass social movements in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and other mass atrocities disseminating ideologies of hatred to spur their followers to act, cow bystanders into passivity, and justify their crimes.

In America, the KKK is the embodiment of this threat. Yet disturbingly, the group’s continuing presence in our society, and its primary targets of abuse—African Americans, who have historically been legally dehumanized by the state—results in America being less alarmed by the Klan’s presence despite knowing about the terror it and like-minded individuals inflict.

According to a recent report (PDF) by Alabama’s Equal Justice Initiative, 3,960 African Americans were lynched from 1877 to 1950 in 12 states, all in the South. Additionally, despite the magnitude of this report it would be incredibly difficult to record all the other killings and injuries that the KKK and other racist gangs have inflicted upon African Americans. The numbers reach into the hundreds of thousands by most estimates.

To many Americans, the KKK seems to be a relic of the past, but a reduction in terror is not a removal of danger. In April, three Florida Klansmen were arrested for plotting to kill an African American man. And since the Charleston shooting on June 17, African-American churches have been set ablaze at a rate reminiscent of the 1960s and prior. None of these has specifically been connected to the Klan, but Klansmen and church-torchers slink out of the same fetid swamps.

In response to the race-driven attacks inflicted upon African Americans, some people feel inclined to deflect blame or present non-sequitur statistics such as crime in black communities to downplay the impact of these actions, while also dehumanizing black Americans.

This perpetuates a vicious cycle of abuse toward black Americans, as the rest of society finds illogical justifications for ignoring terrorism.

Eventually, as a society we will have to accept that black lives matter even if that results in a dismantling of notions of white supremacy. Anything else is a tacit endorsement of a society that condones dehumanizing propaganda and the inevitable unhinged danger and terror that will befall certain segments of society.

In less than a month, the largest chapter of the KKK will hold a rally on government property to express its disapproval of the removal of a flag that represented a treasonous American faction. To many Americans the rally will represent bigotry, racism, and hatred that we would like to move beyond. To African Americans it will represent a continued terror that condones and encourages the killing and maiming of black life, the burning of black churches, and various other forms of intimidation.

An unwillingness to recognize this danger and explore solutions can no longer be the status quo of American society.

 

By: Barrett Holmes Pitner, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | African Americans, Ku Klux Klan, South Carolina | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Donald Trump Is A Complete Lunatic On Immigration”: But He’s No Crazier Than Much Of The GOP

Through the power of his bizarre brand of charisma, Donald Trump has moved from the sideshow to take up residence in the main tent of the GOP circus. And in the process, he’s bringing all kinds of interesting issues to light. Even as he is getting dropped by one corporate partner after another (how America will survive without its Trump-branded mattresses is a mystery), he has moved toward the front of the Republican pack, at least for the moment. And while I’m guessing he’s surprised that the backlash to his remarks on immigration has been so intense, Trump’s repellent views can help us understand the issue and why it divides Americans the way it does.

In case you missed it, during the free-style spoken-word performance that was his announcement speech, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In the days since, he has not backed down. While most Republicans haven’t rushed to his defense, he got help from National Review editor Rich Lowry, who wrote in what I guess we could consider a refreshingly candid piece in Politico that “there was a kernel” in Trump’s remarks “that hit on an important truth,” which is that Mexican immigrants “come from a poorly educated country at a time when education is essential to success in an advanced economy.”

As it happens, the truth is that immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, regardless of what Trump or people like Bill O’Reilly might have you believe. But Trump exposes a particular line of thinking that we don’t usually hear from politicians, even as they know it exists and often seek to pander to it in subtle (or not so subtle) ways.

Most of the discussion about immigration is about policy. Are we spending enough on border security? Do we want to build more fences? Can we get the E-Verify system working better? Should undocumented immigrants get a path to citizenship, and how would it work? While all these question are laden with the values we bring to them, they’re essentially practical.

Then there’s the more fundamental question of how we think about immigration, which is where Trump comes in. At its heart, the question is this: Is immigration good or bad?

Pretty much every Democratic politician, and even most Republican ones, would answer that immigration is good. This is a country that was built by successive waves of immigration from all over the world. America is a land blessed in natural resources and with oceans that have kept foreign invasion to a minimum, but the real reason we have led the world in so many areas is that we’re a magnet for immigrants who continually remake the country. Our dynamism — economic, cultural, scientific, and in so many other areas — has always been a product of the fact that we are a society built on constant immigration.

That’s both because of who immigrants are and how they change the nation once they arrive. People who are willing to leave the place, people, and language they know in order to seek out a better life for themselves and their children are always going to be the kinds of people we want. They’re risk-takers, they’re entrepreneurial, they’re hard-working, and they’re willing to defer immediate gains for long-term success. And when you throw people from diverse backgrounds together, you get a country that is always changing, expanding, and progressing, with new foods, new music, new ideas, and new ways of looking at the world.

That’s the pro-immigration perspective. The other perspective fears that they might be criminals, that they’ll drain our resources, and that they’ll make it harder for native-born Americans to find work. And most of all, it doesn’t want our society to change, no matter where its own grandparents may have come from.

You can value immigration and still want to keep it limited, of course. If you asked the Republican candidates to explain their views, this is where almost all of them would say they come down. They want immigration, it just needs to be more tightly controlled.

I have no reason to doubt that this is what they sincerely believe. But they also know that their constituents don’t all feel the same way. Lots of them just want to shut the door.

A Pew poll from last month asked people whether they thought that “Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing, and health care,” or that “Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.” Republicans preferred the first statement by 63-27, while Democrats chose the second statement by 62-32.

If that’s an accurate reflection of a fundamental distaste for immigrants — not just undocumented immigrants, but all immigrants — among the Republican electorate, it means the politicians who lead their party aren’t reflecting their views. That’s true even if the policy solutions Republican candidates propose are extremely hard-line.

Then along comes Donald Trump, who is willing to say forthrightly what a lot of people believe, that Mexicans (currently the largest immigrant group) are a bunch of no-good dangerous criminals, and we need to just keep them out, full stop. The fact that so many corporations are treating him like he has the plague shows that it’s one thing to advocate conservative policies on immigration, but rejecting the fundamental premise that immigration is good is something few want to associate themselves with.

But more than a few Republican voters like what they hear. Knowing Trump, he probably won’t stop saying it.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; The Week, July 6, 2015

July 8, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Immigration | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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