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“Backlash Notes, Cruz Edition”: Climbing On Board The Same Old Twentieth Century Law-And-Order Bandwagon

Ever since the virtual strike of cops in New York and Baltimore in conjunction with protests against police shootings of unarmed African-Americans, I’ve been concerned that on the brink of potential bipartisan action on criminal justice reform we’d see a 1960s-1970s style backlash fed by vote hungry conservative politicians. The recent spikein some forms of violent crime after decades of gradually declining rates struck me as likely to create some ugly racial dynamics as well, or at least “buyer’s remorse” among conservatives for police or criminal justice reform.

With his usual lack of inhibition, Donald Trump was first to get in touch with his inner Frank Rizzo, arguing that even if police were unjustly targeting African-Americans it was important to “give back power to the police” to deal with the “crime wave.”

Now Trump’s buddy Ted Cruz is climbing on board the same old twentieth century law-and-order bandwagon after the shooting of a police officer in Houston (as reported by TPM’s Allegra Kirkland:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested President Obama bore some of the blame for Friday’s fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Houston, Texas. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Cruz told reporters that “cops across this country are feeling the assault” thanks to the “vilification” of law enforcement by administration officials, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“These are brave heroes who risk their lives keeping us safe,” Cruz said. “And I do think we’re seeing the manifestation of the rhetoric and vilification of law enforcement, of police, that is coming from the president of the United States and it’s coming from senior officials.”

Cruz’s comments come just days after Harris County deputy Darren Goforth was shot 15 times while pumping gas at a Houston Chevron station. No motive has yet been found for the killing, but the alleged shooter, Shannon Miles, has been charged with capital murder.

Local authorities, including Harris County Sherriff Ron Hickman, believe Goforth “was a target because he wore a uniform.”

Cruz suggested President Obama’s condemnation of the fatal shootings of unarmed black teenagers in cities including Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland helped to inflame anti-cop sentiment.

There you have it: express concern about the police shooting black people without cause and you are inciting cop-killers. Yet in the same breath Cruz accuses Obama of inflaming “racial divisions.”

Yeah, it’s feeling mighty 1970 out there.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Post, September 2, 2015

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Law and Order, Police Shootings | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“We Did What We Could”: With Suffering All Around Us, Some Lessons Are Learned Too Late

In December 2001, my father sent his first-ever Christmas card to me.

He even signed it, “Love, Dad.” Unprecedented. Throw some tinsel on my head and watch me sparkle like a snow globe; that’s how happy I was.

Dad came from the “show, don’t tell” school of parenting. He supported his family and shoveled the snow from the walkway before any of us were out of bed. His love was to be understood.

His postscript on that 2001 card made clear that despite the arrival of his one-time-only Christmas greeting, nothing had changed.

“I got a card from the wife of a man I used to work with,” he wrote. “She was at the church when you spoke, and she said you were the best they ever had. Don’t get the big head.”

What he didn’t mention was that he had attended my speech, too, delivered in the church of my childhood. He also skipped the part about how he had grinned through the whole darn thing.

Each December, I pull out Dad’s Christmas card and prop it up on my desk. He’s been gone for six years now, and the sight of his cramped handwriting makes him feel a little less far away. His admonishment about this head of mine is a reminder that in his own way, he loved me very much.

I spent way too much energy wishing my father would just come out and say it. Well into my version of adulthood, I’d end every phone call with, “I love you, Dad.” His response: “Yep.” Sometimes he’d mix it up by saying, “OK.”


Once in a while, I’d push back. “A-a-a-a-nd you love me, too?” His response every time: “Well, if you already know it, there’s no need for me to say it.”


When he finally wrote “Love, Dad” on that card, there was no victory. It was his second Christmas without my mother, and his heart was broken. How I longed for the days when Mom was still around and Dad’s “yep” was code for what he meant to say. Some things we learn too late.

This has been a long year for many Americans. Even if our own lives bobbed along without incident, it was hard to ignore the suffering of those around us. We did what we could. We attended funerals and hospital rooms, wrote checks and volunteered, worried ourselves sick and bowed our heads in prayer. Some of us smiled for no reason, and strangers felt a little less alone.

This Christmas season, the tragedy in Newtown, CT, altered the holiday for all but the most hardhearted among us. One minute we were shopping for stocking stuffers; the next minute we were trying to remember to breathe. Twenty young children and six adults who risked their lives to save them were dead. What? What? It was that horrible, that unbelievable. We never will be the same.

And yet, Christmas came.

Now the new year barrels toward us, a force of promise and uncertainty. May we welcome it with gratitude that we are here to greet it.

As I write this, snow is threatening to bury our house here in Ohio. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend spent the morning on cellphones, trying to reschedule canceled flights home. Halfheartedly, I try to hide my joy.

They are in a hurry, but I’m old enough to be on the other side of that impatience. All of our family was happy and healthy this Christmas. I know that kind of luck runs out.

I also know that my daughter’s heavy sighs mean only that she is young, with plans that did not include two more nights with her mother. I will not misread her signals, nor will I complain. Her love is understood.

For that, we can thank her grandfather for a lesson once learned too late.


By: Connie Schultz, The National Memo, December 26, 2012

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Guns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Tasteless Craziness”: Gun In Campaign Ad For Gabby Giffords’s Seat Is Unconscionable

It was a little too close for comfort when the political action committee of former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin used crosshairs in ads to “target” Democrats for defeat. A number of lawmakers had received death threats during and after the vote on healthcare overhaul, and when Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while she was meeting constituents at a shopping center, the threats became scarier. While it appears that Giffords’s shooter was motivated not by ideology but simple craziness, the episode doesn’t excuse the tastelessness of using gun-related imagery in connection with the democratic elections process.

Palin’s ads, however, were done before Giffords was shot. What can explain the judgment of the Move America Forward Freedom PAC, which sent out an E-mail depicting the district’s GOP contender holding an assault rifle?

According to NPR, which broke the story, the PAC said, in backing Republican Jesse Kelly:

While we applaud the former Congresswoman’s recovery, this race is not about Gabby Giffords. We want to give the people of Arizona a new voice that reflects their values.

What values are those—that guns are the way to resolve conflicts and win elections? That if the Democrat, Ron Barber, wins the race, he better watch his back? The E-mail is even more offensive because Barber, who was an aide to the former congresswoman, was injured as well in the January 2011 assault.

Kelly, who faces Barber in a special election Tuesday for the seat, is complaining, too, about having the assassination attempt used against him for political purposes. Democrats have been showing a tape of Kelly calling Giffords “a hero of nothing,” a comment that sounds horrific when heard in the context of her near-death from the shooting. But the comments were made before Giffords was shot.

Said Kelly to reporters:

To try to exploit a tragedy to win a special election is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s exactly what they’re doing.

Point taken. But using an image of a candidate with an assault weapon is distasteful in any campaign. In the race to succeed Giffords, it is unconscionable.


By: Susan Milligan, U. S. Newss and World Report, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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