mykeystrokes.com

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

“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

“What Ben Carson Doesn’t Get”: If Obama Wasn’t ‘Black’ Before, He Certainly Is Now

Today’s column is for the benefit of one Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carson.

He shouldn’t need what follows, but obviously does. No other conclusion is possible after his interview with Politico a few days ago.

The subject was Barack Obama and what the Republican presidential contender sees as the inferior quality of the president’s blackness. “He’s an ‘African’ American,” said Carson. “He was, you know, raised white. I mean, like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but … he didn’t grow up like I grew up…”

Carson, the son of a struggling single mother who raised him in Detroit, and sometimes relied on food stamps to do so, noted that Obama, by contrast, spent part of his childhood in Indonesia. “So, for him to claim that he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

Lord, have mercy.

Let’s not even get into the fact that the man questioning Obama’s racial bona fides once stood before an audience of white conservatives and proclaimed the Affordable Care Act “the worst thing that has happened in this country since slavery.” Let’s deal instead with Carson’s implicit assertion that to be authentically black requires being fatherless and broke, scrabbling for subsistence in the ‘hood.

If a white man said that, we’d call it racist. And guess what? It’s also racist when a black man says it. Not to mention, self-hating and self-limiting. Carson denies the very depth and breadth of African-American life.

By his “logic,” Kobe Bryant, who grew up in Italy, is not black, Shaquille O’Neal, who spent part of his childhood in Germany, is not black, Miles Davis and Natalie Cole, who grew up in affluent households, were not black and Martin Luther King Jr., child of middle-class comfort and an intact family, was not black. According to him, they were all “raised white.”

Here’s what Carson doesn’t get: What we call “race” is not about neighborhood, class or family status. Though the African hostages upon whose backs this country was built shared certain common approaches to music, faith and art, race ultimately isn’t even about culture. Martin Luther King, for instance, was an opera buff; it’s hard to get further from “black” culture than “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

No, race is something Europeans invented as a tool of subjugation. The people who came here from England, France and Spain did not initially see themselves as “white,” after all. They declared themselves white — that is, a superior species of humanity — to justify in their own consciences the evil things they did to the people they took from Africa. Similarly, those Africans knew nothing about “black.” They saw themselves as Fulani, Mende, Mandinkan or Songhay. “Black” was an identity forced upon them with every bite of the lash and rattle of the chains.

In other words, to be black is not to share a common geography, class or family status, but rather, the common experience of being insulted, bullied and oppressed by people who think they are white. Want to know if you’re black? Try to rent a house in Miami. Try to hail a cab in Times Square. Try to win an Oscar in Hollywood. You’ll find out real quick.

And there is something spectacularly absurd in the fact of Barack Obama being criticized as “not black” by a Republican. Think about it: In the unlikely event he somehow managed to live the 47 years before his presidency without being insulted, bullied and oppressed by people who think they are white, Obama has sure made up for it since. Members of Carson’s party have called him “boy,” “uppity” and “ape” and have gone to extraordinary and unprecedented lengths to block him from doing … anything.

So the good doctor can relax. If Obama wasn’t “black” before, he certainly is now.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald: The National Memo, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016 Posted by | African Americans, Ben Carson, White Conservatives | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Utter Nastiness Of Ted Cruz”: What Sets Cruz Apart Is The Malice He Exudes

When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) last month mocked Donald Trump’s “New York values,” it wasn’t entirely clear what he was implying.

This week we got a clue: For Cruz, “New York” is another way of saying “Jewish.”

At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the Republican Iowa caucuses winner, was asked about campaign money he and his wife borrowed from Goldman Sachs. Cruz, asserting that Trump had “upward of $480 million of loans from giant Wall Street banks,” said: “For him to make this attack, to use a New York term, it’s the height of chutzpah.” Cruz, pausing for laughter after the phrase “New York term,” exaggerated the guttural “ch” to more laughter and applause.

But “chutzpah,” of course, is not a “New York” term. It’s a Yiddish — a Jewish — one. And using “New York” as a euphemism for “Jewish” has long been an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

I followed both Cruz and Trump this week at multiple campaign events across New Hampshire. It was, in a sense, a pleasure to see them use their prodigious skills of character assassination against each other. It was demagogue against demagogue: lie vs. lie. Both men riled their supporters with fantasies and straw men.

But there were discernible differences. Trump owned anger. Cruz, by contrast, had a lock on nastiness. Trump is belligerent and hyperbolic, with an authoritarian style. But while Trump fires up the masses with his nonstop epithets, Cruz has Joe McCarthy’s knack for false insinuation and underhandedness. What sets Cruz apart is the malice he exudes.

Cruz jokes that “the whole point of the campaign” is that “the Washington elites despise” him. But Cruz’s problem is that going back to his college days at Princeton, those who know him best seem to despise him most. Not a single Senate colleague has endorsed his candidacy, and Iowa’s Republican governor urged Cruz’s defeat, then called his campaign “unethical.”

Ben Carson, who rarely has a bad word to say about anybody in the GOP race, accused Cruz of “deceit and dirty tricks and lies” this week after the Texan’s campaign spread the false rumor during the Iowa caucuses that Carson was quitting the race. Two former rivals who also appeal to religious conservatives, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum (who endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida), have questioned Cruz’s truthfulness, too.

Sarah Palin, whose support for Cruz in 2012 helped get him elected to the Senate, this week denounced him after a Cruz surrogate accused her of accepting payment from Trump to back him. She, too, accused Cruz’s campaign of “lies,” a “dirty trick” and “typical Washington tactics.”

Cruz, in Nashua, slashed back at his onetime benefactor: “It seems if you spend too much time with Donald Trump, strange things happen to people.” Somebody in the crowd shouted “Fire Palin!” and the audience cheered.

The Iowa secretary of state, a Republican, issued a statement before the caucuses accusing Cruz’s campaign of “false representation” because of a mailing to voters charging them with a “voting violation” and assigning them and their neighbors phony grades.

After Cruz’s caucus-night skullduggery — a campaign email to supporters and a tweet by a Cruz national co-chairman suggesting Carson was quitting the race — his response continued the deception. Though he apologized to Carson, he said that “our political team forwarded a news story from CNN” and “all the rest of it is just silly noise.” But CNN said nothing about Carson dropping out.

After Trump, in his overblown way, accused Cruz of stealing the election, Cruz replied, righteously, that “I have no intention of insulting him or throwing mud.”

No? He accused Trump of “a Trumpertantrum.” He said Trump as president “would have nuked Denmark.” He said Trump “doesn’t have any core beliefs.” He mischaracterized several of Trump’s positions, saying “he wants to expand Obamacare,” that “for his entire life, 60 years, he has been advocating for full-on socialized medicine” and that Trump favors “amnesty” for illegal immigrants and “wants to deport people that are here illegally but then let them back in immediately and become citizens.” He speculated that Trump may have “billions” in loans and said the concept of repaying loans is “novel and unfamiliar to Donald.”

The misrepresentation isn’t limited to Trump. In a single speech in Nashua last week, he mischaracterized things said by, among others, Jimmy Carter, Chris Wallace, guests on Sean Hannity’s show, Atlanta’s mayor, Rubio and, of course, President Obama.

I asked the Cruz campaign Thursday evening to substantiate several of these claims. After this column was published online Friday afternoon, the campaign provided citations that didn’t back up what Cruz had alleged. Unsurprising: Cruz’s purpose is not to inform but to insinuate.

 

By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, February 5, 2016

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, Donald Trump, New York Values, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Carson’s Campaign Meets With Alleged Organ Smuggler”: No Questions In Polls About Iowans Opinions Of Organ Smuggling

Two days out from the Iowa Caucus, most campaigns spent time with voters. Ben Carson’s team spent time with a man who has been accused of being a human organ smuggler.

Carson’s campaign touted the meeting in a press release on Saturday announcing that General Bob Dees, the campaign’s Christian-crusading chairman, had met with Hashim Thaci, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo. The meeting allegedly highlighted the “special relationship between the Republic of Kosovo and Iowa,” according to the press release, largely predicated on the recent opening of a Kosovo consulate in Des Moines.

“Having served in Kosovo during my U.S. Army career, I was honored to represent Dr. Carson and the campaign, and delighted to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Thaci,” Dees said in the statement. “I look forward to seeing even greater cooperation between Kosovo and the United States, and Iowa is the perfect state to be the bedrock of that relationship.”

If his excitement wasn’t enough, Carson himself also shared some thoughts on the meeting.

“Kosovo’s history is a testament to the resiliency of its people,” Carson said. “This new consulate also demonstrates that when the United States and its NATO allies commit to the fight for peace and liberty, it can have profound effects for victims of violence and oppression. All Americans should be proud to see this vibrant relationship that has developed between Iowa and Kosovo, and I look forward to seeing this friendship and cooperation grow in the years to come.”

The press release somewhat conveniently neglects to mention that Thaci, was named as the head of an Albanian group which smuggled drugs, weapons and human organs through Eastern Europe, according to a 2010 Council of Europe inquiry into organized crime.

According to a report from The Guardian on the two-year inquiry, Thaci allegedly headed up a network that operated criminal rackets prior to the Kosovo war in the late 1990s. He is accused of having used “violent control” over the heroin trade in the region and individuals within his inner circle were accused of taking captives across the Albanian border after the war, killing them and taking their kidneys to be sold on the black market.

Thaci, in his capacity as a co-founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was also accused of ordering killings from a professional hit man responsible for at least 11 contract murders. The KLA was also linked to as the culprit in an alleged organ trafficking case in 2008 during which organs were allegedly taken from impoverished victims at a clinic in the region. A 2003 United Nations report named the KLA as being responsible for the abduction of hundreds of Serbians, many of whom had their organs extracted and died.

When asked about whether the campaign knew of Thaci’s past criminal activities, Carson’s communications director Larry Ross seemed confused.

“The campaign wasn’t aware that prior to his positions in government, Mr. Thaci served in the Kosovo Liberation Army,” Ross first told The Daily Beast.

“Just as Dr. Carson’s life story involves redemption from anger, one’s past doesn’t have to dictate or determine one’s future.” It’s unclear if that applies to people who steal organs as well.

When pressed about specifically whether the campaign was aware of the organ smuggling allegations, Ross reversed course.

“My response should have read: The campaign WAS aware that prior to his positions in government, Mr. Thaci served in the Kosovo Liberation Army,” Ross said in an email.

According to a newly released Des Moines Register poll, Carson is at 10 percent in Iowa behind Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, following a calamitous drop in his numbers as 2015 drew to a close.

While the numbers don’t look good for the former neurosurgeon, there were no questions in the poll about Iowans opinions of organ smuggling.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, January 31, 2016

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, Iowa Caucuses, Organ Smuggling | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Biggest Threat To Carson’s Campaign”: Low-Information Candidate Worried About Low-Information Voters

On Wednesday afternoon, Ben Carson told Wolf Blitzer that his biggest threat in the presidential election isn’t Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, the two candidates who happen to be beating him right now.

No, Carson, whose poll numbers have dropped so far that he could grab a toboggan and slide down them into irrelevance, thinks the biggest barrier to his victory is “the fact that people sometimes are not well educated.”

Back in October, when Carson was in second place, he was doing much better among voters without a college degree than he is doing today with any voters.

“They don’t have a clue what you’re talking about,” Carson, who was once described by his former campaign manager as “just living in an alternative universe,” said, “and yet these are people who vote … I implore people to really inform yourself about who the candidates are, inform yourself of what their positions are.”

Ben Carson — a very good neurosurgeon who reportedly doesn’t understand foreign policy even though people keep trying to explain it to him over and over — for example, believes that free college will destroy our nation; that pyramids were used to store grain instead of dead bodies; that the minimum wage is good or bad; that Muslims shouldn’t be president; that it is okay to take a break from your presidential campaign to sell copies of your book; that gun control helped the Nazis; that people in mass-shooting situations should yell, “Hey, guys, everybody attack him!“; that prison turns people gay (“So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”); that spending a lot of money to raise money is a great idea; that Hamas is pronounced “hummus”; that New Hampshire is actually pretty far away from Vermont; and that “Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

Hopefully this list will inform voters of who Ben Carson really is — and inform Ben Carson that the biggest threat to his campaign is actually the fact that he just isn’t a very good candidate.

 

By: Jamie Fuller, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, January 27, 2016

January 28, 2016 Posted by | Ben Carson, GOP Presidential Candidates, Voters | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: