mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“The Dawn Of The Resistance”: Chicago Shows Americans Will Not Take Trump’s Outrageous Nonsense Lying Down

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The organized protest in Chicago that led Donald Trump to cancel a planned rally Friday may someday be remembered as the dawn of the resistance.

Trump has fueled his campaign’s rise with the angriest and most divisive political rhetoric this nation has heard since the days of George Wallace. No one should be surprised if some of those Trump has slandered or outraged respond with raised voices.

The Constitution’s guarantee of free speech applies to everyone, Trumpistas and protesters alike. Trump said over the weekend that he wants demonstrators who gate-crash his rallies to be arrested, not just ejected; he vows that “we’re pressing charges” against them. Someone should educate him: Peacefully disapproving of a politician and his dangerous ideas is not a crime.

Trump seems not to understand that demonstrators have the legal right to protest — and that a candidate for president of the United States has no countervailing right not to be protested. I’m talking about nonviolent demonstrations, of course — but nonviolent does not necessarily mean quiet, timid or small.

On Friday, thousands of Trumpistas gathered in the arena at the University of Illinois at Chicago for one of the candidate’s set-piece rallies. They knew what to expect from Trump — the bragging about the size of his lead in various polls, the dissing of rivals “Little Marco” Rubio and “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, the ranting and raving about immigration, the repeated vow to “make America great again.” They might have anticipated that a few demonstrators would briefly interrupt the proceedings, giving Trump the opportunity to strut and preen in alpha-male splendor as he ordered security to “get ’em outta here.”

But what no one fully realized until too late was that the crowd had been infiltrated by hundreds of highly organized protesters. As this circumstance became clear to Trump’s supporters, tension mounted. The demonstrators held their ground, knowing they had as much right to be there as anyone else.

Aware that the demonstrators would do something but unsure of what that might be, Trump canceled the event. Announcement of the decision drew a big cheer from the protesters — and a howl of frustration from Trump supporters, who expressed their displeasure with epithets and shoving. Three people were injured in the skirmishes that ensued.

Trump later groused that “troublemakers” and “thugs” had violated his free-speech rights. But consider what he tells his audiences: Mexican immigrants are rapists, foreign Muslims should be barred from entering the country, the United States should reinstitute torture for terrorism suspects and “go after” their families. He has the absolute right to say these things. But those who believe in the hallowed American values of openness, tolerance, decency and the rule of law have the absolute right to say “No!”

Earlier that day, there were 32 arrests in demonstrations against a Trump rally in St. Louis; a large group of protesters had gathered to confront the candidate and his supporters. At almost every Trump event these days, in fact, at least a few individuals rise to protest — and face the rage of the crowds, which Trump stokes rather than soothes.

These protests are important because they show that Americans will not take Trump’s outrageous nonsense lying down. The hapless Republican Party may prove powerless to keep him from seizing the nomination, but GOP primary voters are a small and unrepresentative minority — older, whiter and apparently much angrier than the nation as a whole.

There is a school of thought that says, in effect, do not push back against the bully. Those who take this position argue that protests only heighten the sense of persecution and victimhood that Trump encourages among his supporters. And the net effect may be to win him more primary votes and make it more likely that he gets the nomination.

I understand this view, but I disagree. I believe it is important to show that those who reject Trumpism are as passionate and multitudinous as those who welcome it. Passivity is what got the GOP into this predicament in the first place; imagine how different the campaign might be if so many Republicans who abhor Trump hadn’t meekly promised to support him if he became the nominee.

Protests show the growing strength of popular opposition to Trump. They may not embolden Republicans to take their party back at the convention in Cleveland. But vivid displays of outrage might help energize voters to come out and reject Trump in November. That might be the last line of defense.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Non-Violent Protests | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“There Aren’t Two Donald Trumps”: The Only Trump We Need To Care About Is The One Totally Unqualified To Be President

Remember when then-Sen. John Edwards ran for president on a platform of two Americas, one rich and one poor? Former Presidential contender Ben Carson has offered a variation on that theme: two Donald Trumps, one bombastic and one thoughtful.

Last week, Carson endorsed Trump’s run for the presidency, throwing his weight behind the billionaire’s rise to the Republican nomination. In his endorsement speech, Carson said, “There are two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on the stage, and there’s the one who is very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully, you can have a very good conversation with him.” Carson was also insistent that the country would soon start to see more of this other side of Trump.

It’s a great theory, but one that is very much untrue.

After the insults that Trump hurled at him during the campaign, Carson’s support for him is a bit surprising. Perhaps he’s angling for a role in a potential Trump administration or perhaps he’s just not ready to step out of the limelight now that his campaign is over. Maybe he saw an opportunity for the front-runner to carry his ideas forward– according to The Hill, Trump said Carson will have a “big part” in his campaign.

Whatever the reason, Carson’s message appears to be part of a new strategy on Trump’s part to combat criticism that he’s not serious, thoughtful or of the right temperament to be president. The event with Carson came on the heels of a Republican debate that some described as “subdued” and Trump’s performance during it as “measured” and “restrained.”

It’s useful for Trump that he’s finally realized he has an image problem. It’s interesting that his campaign may be acknowledging that even if its current tactics propel Trump forward to the nomination, they won’t play well in the general election.

But the two Donald Trumps message is just smoke and mirrors. There aren’t two different versions of Trump. For those who take the leadership of the country seriously, running for president is an awesome opportunity and a serious business. If the cerebral side of Trump existed, we would have seen it before now because that is what making your case to be leader of the free world demands.

If there were two Donald Trumps, he wouldn’t have based his campaign on racist rhetoric and vague policy proposals. If there were two Donald Trumps, his campaign events wouldn’t inspire protest and violence. If there were two Donald Trumps, his ascendance wouldn’t be threatening to divide the party he’s called his own. There truly only is one Donald Trump, and he’s the one we’ve been seeing all along. He’s the one that should never be president.

 

By: Cary Gibson, Government Relations Consultant with Prime Policy Group; Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, Donald Trump, GOP Primaries | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Yuuuge Media Failure”: The Press Was Wrong, And Remains Wrong, About Donald Trump

The system failed. That’s what they say about the establishment Republican party, such as it is. For me, there is a logical progression from Newt Gingrich’s harsh revolution to the present moment. The tea party brought Donald Trump to the 2016 dance with its angry outsider rhetoric. Six years ago, the tea party whipped up a frenzy that Trump has furthered with every passing day as the Republican primary front-runner.

Count me out of mourning for the Republican party. This is the party that produced Richard Nixon, a vicious spirit, schemer and liar. Please don’t tell me about China, or I’ll bring up Vietnam and Cambodia. This is the party that gave us George W. Bush by one Supreme Court vote over the popular vote. The Iraq War was the longest, and for what? It has tied the Middle East up into knots and power vacuums. This is the war nobody won. Bush left messes for his successor, Barack Obama, to clean up for eight years, not to mention junking good will from our allies and military morale.

This is the party that has given us hundreds of members of Congress that, to a man, oppose reproductive rights for girls and women. There’s only one Republican woman defined as a pro-choice moderate: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. One. This is the party that gave us Clarence Thomas. Need I say more?

But there are tears that another system failed, a system just as central to democracy. Despite great debate coverage, the press has failed and fallen down on the job of covering Trump, and I’ll tell you how. First they – we – snidely covered him as head of the “clown car,” assuring readers and viewers that he could never win the nomination despite his strong poll numbers from the start. That was a strong chorus from friends and foes alike. Don’t worry, nobody could take him seriously as a standard-bearer.

I belong to this tribe, some of my best friends are journos, but I did not share this complacency. I had actually watched Trump’s reality show, “The Apprentice,” with a reluctant respect for his deal-making and character judgment. Like him or not, he is a formidable player. And, clearly, the climate was just right for him. Now the confessions and apologies are coming up for air, from white male pundits who never saw Trump’s swath coming. Like a lifeguard who misses a tidal wave coming to shore. I won’t name names, but I will say the reason for this short-sightedness is that the media viewed Trump through the spectacles of our own class privilege.

For my part, I wrote that Trump might be a “textbook demagogue” fully ahead of the wave. And I give him credit for vociferously criticizing the Iraq War, which may be part of his populist appeal. He is the only candidate to decry that foreign policy folly, except for his fellow populist, Sen. Bernie Sanders. To me, the scary thing is that he wasn’t even the worst in the Republican line-up. I’d take him over Jeb Bush any day, or the other Floridian, Sen. Marco Rubio, the pretty darling of the pundits.

Winds of white working-class anger were blowing out there, at Trump’s rallies, but not taken seriously enough as a force. Now that we people in the press have sobered up, I fear that pendulum is swinging the other way, and the press is taking Trump too seriously. Conservative pundit Kathleen Parker wrote this in Sunday’s Post: “Trump is still terrible for the country, and therefore the world.” In Monday’s Post, Fred Hiatt tore into Trump as a narcissist, a bigot and yes, a demagogue. So now the clown is being demonized.

Here in the world’s oldest democracy, let’s let the party decide without undue hysterics from the establishment media. Yes, the press is compensating for reading the winds so wrong when the stakes are so high. But it happens all the time.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Mainstream Media, Press | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Outsourcing Constitutional Responsibilities”: Senate Republicans Will Ignore Court Nominee, But RNC Won’t

Any day now, President Obama is expected to announce his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, and the political battle lines have already been drawn. On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans remain committed to a partisan blockade, unlike anything ever seen in American history, that calls for the rejection of any presidential nominee, regardless of qualifications or merit.

But while the Senate’s Republican majority intends to ignore the White House’s choice, the Republican National Committee intends to do the opposite. The Associated Press reported this morning:

The Republican Party is launching a campaign to try to derail President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, teaming up with a conservative opposition research group to target vulnerable Democrats and impugn whomever Obama picks.

A task force housed within the Republican National Committee will orchestrate attack ads, petitions and media outreach…. The RNC will contract with America Rising Squared, an outside group targeting Democrats that’s run by a longtime aide to GOP Sen. John McCain.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said his attack operation would “make sure Democrats have to answer to the American people for why they don’t want voters to have a say in this process.” Priebus added that the White House is poised to “break with decades of precedent.”

Republicans, the RNC chair went on to say, are “going to vet that person and put their real record on display.”

At face value, most of the RNC’s rhetoric is plainly laughable. Obviously, no one is trying to deny voters a role in the process – voters are the ones who elected President Obama (twice), giving him the authority to act. It’s equally obvious that the “decades of precedent” talking point is brazenly untrue, as even some Senate Republicans have been willing to acknowledge.

But just below the surface, there’s something even more ridiculous going on.

For example, the RNC is going to have a tough time pitching their opposition to the unnamed nominee as sincere and principled if the party launches its partisan war against him or her before knowing who the nominee is. There’s an important difference between, “This is a horrible choice,” and “We have no idea who the choice will be, but we’re sure it’ll be horrible.”

It’s the sort of posture that leads more to eye-rolling than meaningful debate.

Perhaps more importantly, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent raised an overlooked detail.

Ideally, of course, [the vetting of the nominee] is what would happen if the Senate were to hold hearings on that person. But that might afford the nominee a chance to directly respond to his or her Republican cross-examiners in a high profile setting (as opposed to only having Democratic groups mounting all the pushback, which of course they will also do, once there is a nominee). Direct exchanges between the nominee and Republican Senators, alas, might reflect well on that person. And so the only “vetting” and examination of the nominee’s “real record” will be undertaken through the RNC and associated GOP-aligned groups.

That’s not meant as sarcasm. It’s the actual Republican party-wide position right now.

Quite right. Under the American political process, the Senate is supposed to oversee the formal vetting of a Supreme Court nominee. In 2016, however, Senate Republicans don’t want to – so they’re outsourcing the vetting to the Republican National Committee.

What should be done by senators and officials – people who are ultimately accountable to the public – will instead be done by partisan operatives.

There is no precedent for anything like this in the American tradition. Senate Republicans and the RNC evidently don’t care.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Republican National Committee, Senate Republicans, U. S. Supreme Court, U. S. Supreme Court Nominees | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Nobody Wins A Trade War”: Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders Are Promoting Dangerous Protectionism

As different as Donald Trump and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are, they have one important policy goal in common. It’s a dangerous goal, one that elites in both parties must counter, before a new public consensus is formed and grave damage is done to the economy.

Both Trump and Sanders are, at their heart, protectionists. They both believe in tariffs and other obstacles to prevent foreign-made goods from competing with American-made goods, and keep foreign worker salaries from driving down Americans’ pay. Trump is the most direct and vocal about it, calling for tariffs as high as 45 percent against China. Sanders has yet to call for a specific tariff, but he’s called for repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Eliminating NAFTA would restore tariffs that ranged up to 25 percent and lead to other measures that hinder trade between countries.

At first glance, it seems like a great idea to raise tariffs to protect American workers from globalization. But nearly all economists say that protectionism is a beast that will gore us if set loose. Protectionist measures by the U.S. will lead to reprisals by other countries and the tit-for-tat escalation of tariffs in a trade war will likely lead to a global depression (as it did in the 1930s). And even when protectionism is successful in boosting wages, it boosts consumer prices even faster, so most workers are no better off.

All this is generally accepted by leaders and advisers in both the Democratic and Republican parties. But the downside of protectionism is complicated and not well understood by the public, whereas the call for tariffs and border-closings (Trump’s Mexican wall) is simple and emotionally resonant. Hence the problem: In political communications, it’s well known that if a falsehood is not promptly and effectively countered by respected senior public figures, it tends to become accepted as true by the public at large, regardless of the damage it may cause.

This time, the public will not accept that so-called free trade alone will restore rising standards of living and breathe new life into the American dream. Most working Americans, all except those at the top, have seen their standard of living erode over the past 30 years, and “trust me” is no longer an adequate response. That’s why insider candidates – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others associated with the failed status quo – are doing poorly, and outsider candidates are drawing far more support than expected.

To prevent a protectionist insurgency from wrecking the economy, the candidates who represent mainstream economic thinking need to do better. They need to offer more than a reminder of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. Unfortunately neither party is well positioned to do this. Clinton has the albatross of NAFTA hung firmly around her neck, since her husband championed it while president. And until very recently, she’s been a strong supporter of the latest proposed trade treaty, the Trans-Pacific Partnership – which is pushed by President Barack Obama and supported by a wide range of Democrat-aligned pundits.

At the same time, those in the Republican mainstream have either ignored stagnant wages, or they’ve blamed them on excessive taxes and red tape. That has convinced enough voters to date. But Americans have been tugging on their boot straps for several decades now without effect, and they are not inclined to believe that if they only tug a little longer or a little harder they will be themselves lifted up. Just as Clinton is not well positioned to be credible on this issue, neither is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has made much of his fortune by eliminating American jobs. The public senses this. That’s part of the reason Romney’s broadside against Trump had so little effect.

If Democrat and Republican elites intend to stave off a wave of protectionism, it’s time for some serious public discussion of alternatives that can meaningfully help ordinary working Americans and their families. The possibilities fall into three categories: The first involves investments that boost American productivity directly, like education and infrastructure. The second category requires steps that boost American incomes directly like radically expanding the earned income tax credit or strengthening unions. The third category involves measures that reduce what workers have to pay out-of-pocket in order to live, so that stagnant wages go further. These measures include tax-shifting (reducing the employee share of the payroll tax, for example), making higher education free (as it is in of the developed countries we compete against) and government-matching of employee contributions to retirement plans, so employees don’t need to save as much of their income.

Most of these ideas are anathema to conservatives, and many are considered outside the range of legitimate ideas that serious Democratic thought leaders can safely discuss in public. But a trade war and the jingoism that goes with it might be even more distasteful and is almost certainly more damaging. It’s time for elites of both parties to begin discussing the undiscussable, if for no other reason than to avoid worse.

 

By: David Brodwin, Cofounder and Board Member of American Sustainable Business Council; U. S. News and World Report, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Protectionism, Trade Agreements | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: