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“Adding Insult With Significant Physical Injury”: The 2016 Campaign Joke That’s No Longer Funny — Just Violent

Let’s be honest: We’ve all been kind of enjoying watching Donald Trump, even if the prospect of him becoming the next president makes many of us shudder in horror.

But as he continues to lead in national polls, Trump’s campaign is giving us all another reason to pause: As of late, physical violence has been following the candidate on the campaign trail, and leaving those who dare challenge his offensive remarks and policy positions shaken up at best, banged up and bruised at worst. The common thread among those attacked by Trump’s goons (both hired and not): They’re all Latino men.

On Thursday, while Donald Trump was signing a GOP loyalty oath, promising to back the winning Republican presidential nominee and not run as an independent should he lose the party’s nomination, one of his security guards ripped a sign away from protesters outside Trump Tower in New York City and then hit a protester in the face after the man attempted to retrieve the sign.

The large blue banner read, “Make America Racist Again,” a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

In news video footage, the protester who was hit, Efraín Galicia, is seen chasing after the security guard. As Galicia attempts to take back the sign, the guard turns and hits him in the face.

“These men are acting just like their boss, Donald Trump, pushing Jorge Ramos from Univision out,” Galicia said of the guards. “This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country, and we’re going to stop him.”

“The Trump campaign said that the security team member on Thursday was ‘jumped from behind’ and that the campaign would ‘likely be pressing charges,’” The New York Times reports.

This week’s strong-arming follows an August incident in which journalist Jorge Ramos was physically removed from a Trump campaign event by a security guard — who appears to be the same man who struck the protester outside Trump Tower.

When Ramos attempted to ask Trump a question about immigration, without being acknowledged to speak by The Donald, Trump told him to sit down and “Go back to Univision.” Later, Trump said he was not a bully, and Ramos “was totally out of line.”

In the most physically violent example of what Trump and his campaign have wrought, two of the candidate’s supporters in Boston allegedly beat and urinated on a homeless Latino man, after which one of the attackers reportedly told police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

The survivor of the assault, a 58-year-old man who had been sleeping on the street, had his nose broken and chest and arms beaten by the suspects, two brothers who were leaving a Boston Red Sox game.

Adding insult to significant physical injury, Trump’s immediate comment on the attack was callous and cruel. The Boston Globe reports:

Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame … I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

Later, he tempered his original statement, claiming on Twitter that he “would never condone violence.”

Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect. I would never condone violence.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2015

He “would never condone violence,” Trumps says, but he would, and has, proposed deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, stripping citizenship rights from the American children of undocumented immigrants, and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out immigrants, refugees, and political asylum seekers fleeing poverty and violence in their countries. He has also said he would bomb nations in the Middle East and take their oil by military force. But, again, he “would never condone violence.”

While Trump himself has not put his hands on anyone, his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants, his choice of words, which dehumanizes Latino immigrants as “illegals,” and his responses to the violent altercations occurring in his name make him responsible.

What began as comical media fodder that has kept us smiling in disgust during the start of the long 2016 presidential campaign season has devolved into violent hate with bodily consequences. And with five months to go until the GOP primaries begin, Americans should be worried about how politics, sometimes described as the civilized exertion of power, is turning into a blood sport.


By: Matt Surrusco, The National Memo, September 4, 2015

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Latinos, Physical Violence | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Sinvergüenza”: Trump, Bush Don’t Care That ‘Anchor Baby’ Isn’t ‘Politically Correct’

The idea that pregnant women are crossing the Mexican border in droves in an effort to make their babies American citizens is mostly untrue, so it’s fitting that this week’s debate over the so-called problem has already morphed into a less substantial dispute over the term “anchor babies.” Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and several other GOP candidates used the term this week, prompting objections from those who say it’s a slur. “Children are widely seen as innocent and pure … yet there is an unspoken racial element there, for children of color are all too often pictured as criminals or welfare cheats in training,” Ian Haney López, author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, told NBC News.

Unsurprisingly, the man who kicked off his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists has no problem with the term. At a press conference on Wednesday, Donald Trump snapped at a reporter who said it’s offensive. “You mean it’s not politically correct, and yet everybody uses it?” he said. “I’ll use the word ‘anchor baby.'”

Also unsurprisingly, Bobby Jindal was quick to side with Trump in the controversy du jour. He told Fox News on Thursday that people are “too politically correct” and “too easily offended,” adding, “The real issue here — yeah, I’m happy to use the term — but the reality is the real issue here is we need to secure our border.”

Jeb Bush also doubled down on his decision to take a slightly more Trump-esque tone. On Thursday, Bush got testy when a reporter asked if he regrets referring to “anchor babies” in a radio interview on Wednesday. “No, I didn’t. I don’t! I don’t, regret it!” Bush said. “Do you have a better term? You give me a better term and I’ll use it. Don’t yell at me behind my ear, though.” He dismissed the suggested phrase “children born of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.” as too clunky and noted that he merely said they’re “commonly referred to” as “anchor babies.” “I didn’t use it as my own language,” Bush said.

“From the depths of my heart, I look at someone like Jeb Bush, who really should know better and that all I can think of is the Spanish term, sinvergüenza, which means somebody who is completely without shame to attack children this way,” Representative Linda Sanchez, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told NBC News.

As the New York Times recently noted, “anchor baby” isn’t the only derogatory term making a comeback in the 2016 race. During the 2013 immigration debate there was a push for media outlets and politicians to stop using the “I-word,” yet there was a question about “illegals” in the first GOP debate, and the preferred term “undocumented immigrants” has not caught on with Republicans.

Still, not everyone is embracing “anchor baby.” When asked about the issue in a CNBC interview published Thursday, Marco Rubio took the opportunity to show he’s more compassionate than his rivals on the immigration issue. “Well, these are 13 million — those are human beings,” he said. “And ultimately, they are people. They are not just statistics. They are human beings with stories.”


By: Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, August 21, 2015

August 22, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Immigrants, Jeb Bush | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Beware Of Voting Based On Fears Stoked By Politicians”: Ebola, ISIS, The Border; So Much To Fear, So Little Time!

If there’s a pandemic or crisis that we should really be worried about, it’s this relentless election-time fear-mongering.

If you’re not afraid, you are clearly not paying attention. So much to be fearful of, so little time!

If there is a pandemic to be actually worried about, it’s the pandemic of fear as we approach the midterm elections. Election time almost always is a time for fear-mongering, but this particular season seems to be more so than in the past.

Ebola, a horrific disease for sure, is surely threatening all the people of the United States, despite the tiny number of people who have contracted it while treating people who actually have it. However, the fear of Ebola has infected vast numbers of Americans who will never have the opportunity to come into contact with someone who actually has it. But be afraid!

ISIS, the more common name for the so-called Islamic State, is a threat to everyday Americans. After all, I heard it on Fox News! Although this group of barbaric and inhumane humans is having a tough time conquering the geography they actually inhabit, their real goal is to come after us. And they will do so by simply walking across our Southern border with Mexico, because, you know, that border is so porous and unprotected.

Which brings us to undocumented people in this country. You should be afraid of them too!  They’ll take your jobs (never mind that you don’t want to do the burdensome and humble jobs they are willing to do)!  They are only here to reap the rewards of the American safety net (such as it is) and thereby raise your taxes.

And in a sleight of hand mindboggling in its absurdity, politicians are combining these three fears into one by getting you exercised over ISIS terrorists coming into the United States from Mexico, infected with Ebola. All because this president (who has presided over more deportations in his first term than George W. Bush did in his entire presidency) refuses to take these fears seriously, as does the entire Democratic Party.

And just for good measure, why don’t we add on our fears about race? It’s interesting, isn’t it, that these Ebola-infected ISIS terrorists are only a threat from our brown-skinned Southern border, not from the white-skinned northern border with Canada?  White people, after all, just couldn’t be this bad. The tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent reaction to it, only underscores the threat of a non-white population that is seething with anger and ready to get back at the white population that oppresses them. So much to be afraid of here.

Religion is not immune from fear-mongering either. The famous New England preacher Jonathan Edwards is perhaps most noted for his “sinners in the hands of an angry God” sermon, in which he had people collapsing out of fear of a God who dangles them over the burning fires of hell, held by a spider web-thin strand of hope. One gets the impression that God would take great delight in letting them go. Modern religion is no different. Many conservative religionists believe that “they” are coming to get us, to force their secular beliefs on us, and win the so-called War on Religion.  Much of the evangelical church seems bent on raising their members’ paranoia and anxiety about the culture that is hostile to them. And it sure does fill the coffers on Sunday morning.

Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It is indeed the human being’s natural and appropriate response to danger. Jews were right to fear the Nazis. Bicycle riders are prudent to fear being clipped by a passing car. The unemployed have a right to be anxious about the ravages on their families exacted by their unemployment. Americans have a right to fear over-zealous and unwarranted surveillance by the NSA.

Oddly, though, Americans are not fearful enough when it comes to real threats. Humans seem to be the only species that fouls our own nest, perfectly willing not to fear the environmental calamity our present course of inaction will surely wreak on the entire world, unless we reduce our carbon emissions, or entirely deny the science that foretells it.  Smokers (I am one) seem entirely willing to live with the danger of self destructive behavior, in hopes of escaping its devastating consequences. Racism, income inequality, and a rising political and financial oligarchy threaten the very existence of American democracy, yet we are paralyzed when it comes to talking honestly about these issues.

But fear of something that is not actually a threat is not rightful fear, but rather paranoia.  Feeling under attack may be a great way to raise money in churches and political races, but it’s a terrible way to solve the problems that actually face us. But in order to discern the difference between things that rightly should be feared, and those that shouldn’t, we need to be willing to talk about our fears and face into them. Which brings us to FDR’s first inaugural speech assertion that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  Indeed.  Nothing may actually threaten America more than our own fears.

Perhaps the worst fallout from all this is that when we are gripped by fear, we usually make terrible decisions. Like in elections. All of us should be going to the polls to vote this week. It is the most important civic duty we have as citizens, and in some ways, it’s the our only shot at changing things for good. But beware of voting based on the fears stoked by politicians for their own political gain — on both sides. It’s a terrible way to make the important decisions about whom to vote for.

And know this:  No politician is going to take away your fear and anxiety. If you’re already fearful about contracting Ebola, finding an ISIS terrorist at your door, or the anxiety you feel when you encounter a person of color, you won’t find any relief on the day after the election. That’s work you and I have to do for ourselves, every day. We need to separate trumped-up fears from the legitimate ones.  The state of the nation and the state of humankind may depend on it. Now that’s something to be fearful about.


By: Gene Robinson, The Daily Beast, November 2, 2014

November 3, 2014 Posted by | Ebola, Fearmongering, Midterm Elections | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Gosh, Can You Imagine?”: Scott Brown Sees Mitt Romney As An Ebola Repellent

Ordinarily, candidates for major public offices get better as campaigns progress. The improvements tend to be organic – politicians do more interviews, make more appearances, deliver more speeches, and answer more questions, and the process hones their skills. Practice makes perfect.

Scott Brown, however, is one of those rare candidates who defies the odds. As the only politician in the country who’s run in three separate U.S. Senate campaigns in four years, one might assume he’d be the sharpest and most pitch-perfect candidate in America.

And yet, the Republican is arguably getting worse. Brown has gone from suggesting terrorists will strike by sneaking through Mexico with Ebola to arguing that Mitt Romney could stop Ebola with his amazing Romney-esque talents.

Scott Brown told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade Friday that Ebola wouldn’t be a problem for America if Mitt Romney had won in 2012.

“Gosh can you imagine if Mitt was the president right now?” Brown said. “He was right on Russia, he was right on Obamacare, he was right on the economy. And I guarantee you we would not be worrying about Ebola right now and, you know, worrying about our foreign policy screw ups.”

Clearly, all of our assumptions about candidates getting better with practice need to be revised. Brown’s on-air comments may position him to lead the Mitt Romney Fan Club in whichever state Brown ends up living in next, but they’re not the words of a sensible political observer.

The pitch itself defies rational thought. Even putting aside the substantive inanity, Brown isn’t supposed to be running out playing the role of Romney surrogate, making the case for the failed candidate’s alleged greatness; Brown is ostensibly running his own campaign – in a state Romney lost.

But even putting that aside, Romney wasn’t right about Russia. It’s hard to say whether Romney was “right on Obamacare” given that Romney created the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act before deciding he no longer liked his successful accomplishment. We know with certainty, however, that Romney wasn’t “right on the economy.”

As for the notion that Romney could have stopped Ebola, I’d love hear more about the former one-term governor’s expertise in infectious diseases.

It seemed the politicization of Ebola couldn’t get more ridiculous. Scott Brown found a way.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 20, 2014

October 21, 2014 Posted by | Ebola, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Cruz Channels The Base on IS”: Unfocused Rage Confused With Patriotism

To the casual reader of headlines, what most distinctively characterizes Sen. Ted Cruz’s typically loud rhetoric on the IS challenge and what to do about it is his bizarre focus–which NH Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown has also picked up on–on the Mexican border rather than Syria or Iraq as the most important theater of operations against IS.

But in a perceptive piece last Friday, Peter Beinart looked a little more carefully at how Cruz talks about the IS threat and discovers he represents a POV–which he calls “militaristic pessimism”–that favors military strikes without any real political strategy for–or even interest in–dealing with the situation in Syria and Iraq:

Like George W. Bush before them, McCain and Graham are militaristic optimists. They want America to bomb and arm its way toward a free, pro-American Middle East. Cruz is a militaristic pessimist. He mocks the Obama administration’s effort to foster reconciliation “between Sunnis and Shiites in Baghdad” because “the Sunnis and Shiites have been engaged in a sectarian civil war since 632.” Notably absent from his rhetoric is the Bush-like claim that Muslims harbor the same desire for liberty as everyone else. Instead of mentioning that most of ISIS’s victims have been fellow Muslims, Cruz frames America’s conflict in the language of religious war. “ISIS right now is the face of evil. They’re crucifying Christians, they’re persecuting Christians,” he told Hannity.

Notice the difference. When Sunnis kills Shiites, Cruz shrugs because there’s been a sectarian divide within Islam since 632. But when Muslims kills Christians—another conflict with a long history—Cruz readies the F-16s.

In this respect, says Beinart persuasively, Cruz probably best represents the views of the GOP “base:”

With his combination of military interventionism and diplomatic isolationism, Cruz probably better reflects the views of GOP voters than any of his potential 2016 rivals. According to polls, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to see ISIS as a threat to the U.S. and to back airstrikes against it, but less likely to support arming Syria’s non-jihadist rebels. As Republican strategist Ford O’Connell recently told The Hill, “Ted Cruz is probably most in line with the Republican base in the sense he doesn’t want to have a discussion of Syria versus Iraq. He wants to dismantle and destroy ISIS. Period.”

More than a decade after the invasion of Iraq, this is where the GOP has ended up. Ted Cruz wants to kill people in the Middle East who he believes might threaten the United States. And he wants to defend Christianity there. Other than that, he really couldn’t care less.

There’s an old military saying (variously attributed to Marines or special forces troops, and dating back to the Catholic Church’s 13th-century campaign of extermination against the Albigensians) that probably describes this POV even better than “militaristic pessimism:” It’s “Kill em’ all and let God sort ’em out!” It’s a monstrous but ever-popular sentiment that’s highly appropriate for a political party where unfocused rage is often confused with “patriotism.”


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, September 23, 2014

September 24, 2014 Posted by | ISIS, Middle East, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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