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Out of all the people to worry over after the Trump-bomb hit last Tuesday, some folks are wringing their hands over the plight of the 'white working-class,' and what the Democratic party might have done to woo them away from voting for a man who makes David Duke blush.
Even one of our own party's candidates in this election couldn't resist sending out sweet-nothings of regret to the wwc into the miasmic air of the 2016 postmortem.
Without a tinge of self-consciousness that he's not actually a true member of the Democratic party, Bernie Sanders, nonetheless, anguished openly this week about what he claims is the inability of Democrats to "talk to white working-class."
Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders
In an interview on 'CBS This Morning' Sanders insisted that Hillary "...should have won the election by 10 percentage points. The question is why is it that millions of white working class people who voted for Obama turned their backs on the Democratic Party?Ē
The first answer to that question is that, obviously, Trump was a different candidate than Romney and McCain. He had a lurid and prevaricating campaign appeal which would have been an anathema to his republican predecessors. I'm not talking about the types of campaign rhetoric that came from Sanders during the primary that Hillary's 'Wall Street connections' meant that she couldn't or wouldn't represent the working class. Whatever the truth is about Hillary and that nebulous campaign meme, 'Wall Street connections' couldn't be all that important to anyone who voted for this ruthless capitalist who's demonstrated nothing but antipathy to the people who've worked for him over the entirety of his privileged life.
Trump appealed to the insecurity of some white Americans who have been convinced their share of the nation's economic benefits are being unfairly threatened by blacks, immigrants, and anyone else who dare assert their rightful role in our country's economy. The often-bigoted, demagogue left no dog-whistle behind as he promised to restore these psychologically-displaced souls to their assumed place of prominence in society.
Of course, Hillary Clinton ran a different campaign than Sanders or Trump, but she also ran a markedly different one than Barack Obama. Hillary certainly did reach out to the working-class in her campaign. While white working-class voters may well have questioned her embrace of the Obama economic record, Hillary also enmeshed her own economic proposals with a pragmatic, yet populist appeal which echoed the progressive bent of the rival Sanders and O'Malley campaigns.
In an August address in Warren, Michigan Hillary outlined her economic plan and views:
"...there are common-sense things that your government could do that would give Americans more opportunities to succeed," she said. "Why donít we do it? Because powerful special interests and the tendency to put ideology ahead of political progress have led to gridlock in Congress."
As solid and compelling as that appeal may have been, candidate Clinton went even further. Hillary took a leap ahead of her opponents (and history) and offered a full and unapologetic voice to the needs and concerns of the black community. Most notably, in a historic speech in Harlem, the first for any presidential candidate, Hillary directly challenged the white community to accept that a majority of black lives and livelihoods have consistently lagged far behind white American's opportunities, successes, and well-being, and that white economic gains had often come at the expense of their black counterparts.
"We face a complex set of economic, social, and political challenges," Hillary spoke. "They are intersectional, they are reinforcing, and we have got to take them all on. So itís not enough for your economic plan to be break up the banks. You also need a serious plan to create jobs, especially in places where unemployment remains stubbornly high. You need a plan to address the generations of underinvestment and neglect."
If there was one message the white working-class got from Hillary in this campaign, it almost certainly was that black lives were going to matter in her presidency. Hillary challenged white Americans to acknowledge their economic successes and take heed of those who have been left behind in the recovering economy. More importantly, Hillary insisted that white Americans should recognize and appreciate the role race plays in the failure of the black community to fully benefit from the economic recovery.
"For many white Americans," Hillary said, "itís tempting to believe that bigotry is largely behind us. That would leave us with a lot less work, wouldnít it? But more than half a century after Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind."
That seemingly obvious reasoning should be commonplace in our political debate, but these truths have been overlooked throughout our nation's history. Black economic gains have always lagged behind those of white Americans, certainly not just during the Obama administration. In the present economy, blacks have experienced the slowest economic recovery of any group of Americans.
from 2015, Phillip Bump at WaPo:
In 2014, a Pew Research Center report found that only whites had seen their wealth rise during the Obama economic recovery:
"White households' median wealth ticked up to $141,900 in 2013, up 2.4% from three years earlier... Net worth for black households dropped by a third during that time to $11,000. Hispanic families experienced a 14% decline in wealth to $13,700.
There's no question that the Obama recovery has not been as robust as those of his predecessors. Both Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, respectively, saw far more dramatic economic gains than Obama has managed, his peers' admittedly experiencing much less severe recessions than he had to overcome.
Arguably, black Americans are deserving of the most attention when considering the effects of 'economic anxiety' over the pace of recovery, but some politicians and others have reverted at the end of this election to handwringing over the economic condition of folks who have, overall, reaped the lion-share of any vestiges of recovery from the record lows that marked the Bush recession. It's not hard to imagine whose needs, interests, and concerns will struggle to take precedence in the next economic debate.
I understand the need of politicians to pander to the people they wish would vote for them. That's mostly what's happening with the focus of politician's concerns, perversely, falling on those folks whose financial gains make up almost all of whatever can be regarded as Pres. Obama's economic success story.
But it should be remembered, with admiration and regard, that our Democratic nominee for president in 2016 put those whose lives have actually been hardest hit by our economy at the very forefront of her campaign.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Nov 16, 2016, 03:25 PM (10 replies)
Jennifer Epstein @jeneps 3m3 minutes ago
Posted by bigtree | Sun Nov 6, 2016, 11:26 PM (4 replies)
Hillary Clinton @HillaryClinton
They did it! 108 years later and the drought is finally over. Way to make history, @Cubs. #FlyTheW -H
Andrew Harnik @andyharnik 6h6 hours ago
@hillaryclinton reacts as the @Cubs win the World Series after her final campaign rally of the day at Arizona State University
Ruby Cramer @rubycramer 6h6 hours ago
Hillary, after her rally tonight in Tempe, Ariz., flying the W with trip director (/diehard Cubbie) @muconn! Photos by the great @andyharnik
Liz Kreutz @ABCLiz 7h7 hours ago
Hillary Clinton's reaction when the Cubs won the World Series. (Photo by @andyharnik)
Posted by bigtree | Thu Nov 3, 2016, 06:56 AM (10 replies)
The images and footage of workers at Trump's Doral hotel/golf course tops the most despicable stunts of his in this election.
I have no way of knowing if the praise Trump directly elicited from the workers who spoke in that press appearance was genuine and not coerced, but that's the thing. There's an automatic question of coercion; a question of whether these folks working for Trump outside of his campaign feel their jobs may be at risk if they refuse to participate in his praisefest.
Ali Vitali @alivitali
The entire thing has a Dickensian creep to it, not to mention the cheesy, Trumpworld backdrop. Is this a presidential campaign or an infomercial?
This was about promoting Trump enterprises, shoring up his brand, hoping to insulate his family business from the toxicity of his campaign by making it look like he's all inclusive. What I see are minority workers in a subservient role being exploited by their megalomaniac boss, using his presidential campaign to generate and attract business to his personal enterprises.
...Brad makes a good point here:
Bradd Jaffy @BraddJaffy 53m53 minutes ago
This answer = particularly revealingóconsidering Trump summoned the media to Trump Doral this amó2 wks till Elex Day http://nyti.ms/2eBssHN
Bradd Jaffy @BraddJaffy 3h3 hours ago
Tues: 'Trump Doral' FL golf resort event
Wed: 'Trump Int'l Hotel' DC event
2 weeks till election ó GOP nominee is promoting his properties
Bradd Jaffy @BraddJaffy 45m45 minutes ago
Today's (Wed.) DC hotel ribbon cutting marks Trump's 32nd event at a Trump property since his campaign began
Posted by bigtree | Tue Oct 25, 2016, 12:08 PM (10 replies)
...Trump is everything the republican party stands for and aspires to. What the millions watching the debate saw last night was the unvarnished version of republican party politics completely taken apart by Hillary Clinton.
Republicans might have been better served by someone who blurred the truth about their politics and agenda, like Congress regularly does, but Trump was more than willing to present the ugly side of the right wing in the debate. What republicans are left with is a radioactive political brand on everything Trump supported and defended in his ignorant bliss.
That, coupled with a presumptive President Clinton solidifying her position in the opposition, made for a convincing and compelling portrait of a national leader with a responsible agenda. With the republican party still unable to separate from their toxic nominee, their own most prominent source of opposition looked like little more than a bad joke on that debate stage; hypocritical, bitter, and profane.
It shouldn't be forgotten how every mechanization and manipulation republicans worked for almost a decade to be a thorn in candidate Clinton's side in this very election (looking at you Benghazi and Wikimail) were firmly laid to rest by Hillary in this final debate opportunity for Trump.
There was only one adult on stage last night; viewers witnessed only one person mature enough and prepared to be president. Hillary owned that contest and is well-poised to bring together millions of Americans to support her in the next one.
Posted by bigtree | Thu Oct 20, 2016, 09:06 AM (4 replies)
Ethan Klapper @ethanklapper 12h12 hours ago
Trump to go after Clinton's health tomorrow http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/19/us/politics/melania-trump-bill-clinton.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share Ö
...I don't believe there will ever be a ceiling to the idiocy coming from the Trump campaign and their candidate. Every time I think I've heard the worst from them, they manage to come up with something even more unbelievably stupid.
For tonight's debate, Trump plans to highlight Benghazi, Kenya, and Hillary's health. It actually hurts to try and understand such a ludicrous and almost juvenile strategy... that is, until you realize most of the Trump campaign is being run and promoted by the two-bit entertainer, himself. There's none of the sly pretense in Trump's politics that establishment GOP pols use to lubricate their political initiatives.
He clumsily exposes the banality behind their manipulations and waves it all around like a perfect fool in his hysterical campaign, providing an easy target for anyone with half a mind for what has been the totality of the republican political agenda throughout the past eight years; Kenya, Benghazi prominent among those.
In tonight's debate Trump will most assuredly destroy any political benefit of the invented scandals republicans labored for years to make relevant in this very election against Hillary Clinton. That's why so many prominent republican pols have shied away from his candidacy. He's screwing the pooch. Giving away the store. Dropping them in it.
We're not done handing Trump's ass back to them. This planned attack on Hillary's health tonight is one more opportunity for the public to see the naked ugliness that undergirds republican politics. Let the sideshow begin.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Oct 19, 2016, 10:10 AM (7 replies)
...every outrage they ignored or dismissed to support Trump in this campaign. THIS is what outrages them, above all else?
How likely is it that they didn't already know of the depths of Trump's vulgarity and abusiveness toward women? How is it they missed the rape charges; the sexual assault charges and settlements; the endless stream of vulgarities Trump committed to Twitter...?
Does this uprising of theirs mean all of the rest of Trump's nonsense was acceptable to them?
Or, could it be they've really been embarrassed and appalled, all along, that Trump is their standard-bearer and were just waiting for a seminal moment like this AH video to galvanize their opposition and fall in behind the rest of the civilized and mature world in denouncing the serial misogynist?
Tell you what, I'm not here to shield Trump supporters too stupid and craven to stand up to this loser from the consequences of their reckless politics. Republicans compromise our values like this every day. Pretending to care now is far too late, and too little, to redeem their hollow party.
Oh, and good luck changing horses this late in the contest...
Andrew S. Ginsburg @GinsburgJobs 2h2 hours ago New York, NY
It is too late for the GOP to rid itself of the Trump stench http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hot-mic_us_57f85ea9e4b0b6a4303277b6?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 Ö via @HuffPostPol
The GOP has limited, if any, options to replace Trump on the ballot and they all depend on him actually choosing to quit. But regardless of what happens, it cannot cleanse itself of his stench. At last not yet.
Donald Trumpís Comments About Groping Women Are The Least-Surprising Thing Ever
Posted by bigtree | Sat Oct 8, 2016, 10:03 AM (3 replies)
There was a record debate audience, and I'll bet even more people will tune in to the next one just to watch Trump weasel, squirm, and fail.
Think about how he's spent his public career in entertainment flaunting his wealth and posing as the king of the world. That has to grate on countless Americans struggling to make ends meet. I mean, most folks likely accepted that his self-inflating nonsense was just bad theater, but it's a sobering affront to imagine he could be in direct control of the levers of our government and democracy.
He could say and do whatever he pleased on teevee... who out there in the real world really gave a damn? But, he's stepped into an arena where WE are in control. That's delicious, irresistible opportunity to put this braggart in his place; give him a taste of the rejection he's been dishing out for decades with impunity.
Posted by bigtree | Wed Sep 28, 2016, 10:26 AM (4 replies)
. . . this is an essay/article I wrote on September 10, 2006. I'll stand this up here today against whatever Cheney is still babbling about.
Stirring Up The Dust At Ground Zero
by Ron Fullwood September 10, 2006
"I will show you fear in a handful of dust." -- T.S. Eliot
Is there anything more repugnant than hearing bin-Laden's taunting words so close to the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks? I don't mean the latest video he sent Bush to amp up the president's fear and smear campaign. I'm not thinking of the grainy shots of bin-Laden greeting his accomplices out in the open air of his mountain refuge.
Bush has been practicing his new protection scheme this past week with a series of speeches in which, as the explainer-in-chief, he's been methodical and zealous in his elevation of Osama bin-Laden; carefully reciting the most offensive and threatening of the terrorist's statements and dispatches. Beginning in the second in his series of speeches, Bush chose the moment right after he had remarked on the "flood of painful memories" and the "horror of watching planes fly into the World Trade Center", to amplify bin-Laden's gloating remarks that the attack was "an unparalleled and magnificent feat of valor, unmatched by any in humankind." On Sept.11 he'll travel to New York's 'Ground Zero' looking for a pile of rubble and a bullhorn to elevate himself and talk down to us from some lofty perch.
Bush is desperate to revive and re-animate the demoted specter he had called his "prime suspect" in 2001. "I want justice," Bush had said then. "There's an old poster out WestÖ I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.' Six months after the attacks, however, he simply turned away from his 'hunt' and acted as if he didn't care anymore about catching him. Our forces had Bin-Laden cornered at Tora Bora, and then, he was allowed to escape into the mountains. "I don't know where he is," Bush replied when asked why the terrorist hadn't been caught. "I-I'll repeat what I said, Bush sputtered, "I am truly not that concerned about him."
It's five years from the date of the attacks, and Bush has finally found cause for concern. His party is poised to lose their majority in the House and, possibly, in the Senate. Voter opposition to Bush's occupation in Iraq has pulled his republicans down in the polls and threatens to take away the power that enabled him commit the troops to Iraq and keep them there. The specter of Osama bin-Laden is the only wedge Bush has to rally his dwindling base and convince voters that his party should be allowed to continue to lord over the authority they squandered in the five years since the attacks.
It's strange to hear Bush bring up bin-Laden. Bush has barely mentioned the terrorist since he claimed to be unconcerned about his whereabouts. In fact, the Senate went ahead and unanimously passed a Democratic amendment this week which restored the Pentagon's bin-Laden unit charged with finding the terrorist that Bush just up and closed without offering an alternative strategy or effort. In Bush's updated, 'National Strategy for Combating Terrorism' that he references in his speeches, Osama bin-Laden is mentioned only once, in a reference to his 'privileged upbringing'. Dredging up all of the offensive rhetoric from bin-Laden now is designed to re-inflate those emotions that were so raw right after the horror unfolded; that uncertainty and anxiety which made Americans fold in the face of his consolidation of power.
Bush's own initial reaction to the terrorist attacks on 9-11 was a mix of paranoia and bluster as he cast the fight as a defense of 'freedom' that he said the attackers wanted to 'destroy'. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other," he declared in an address to a joint session of Congress. In his statement at the signing of the "anti-terrorism," Patriot Act, in October 2001, six weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, President Bush claimed that the measure would counter the threat of enemies that "recognize no barrier of morality and have no conscience." He sought to assure that the measure "upheld and respected the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution." He ends his statement with a pledge to enforce the law with "all of the urgency of a nation at war."
However, the President neglected to tell us which war he was referring to. The anti-terrorism measure was cobbled together in a few short months to take political advantage of the urge in Congress for a legislative response to the terrorist attacks, despite the president's claim that the bill was "carefully drafted and considered." It was a direct assault on the liberty, privacy, and free expression of all Americans.
From that document came a flood of legislative 'remedies' that would take advantage of the administration's blanket excuse of 'national security' that they and their minions in Congress draped over every stalled piece of legislation that could be remotely tied to their 'war on terror'.
But, their transparent politicking with their new anti-terror tools had nothing at all to do with catching the perpetrators they said were responsible for the 9-11 attacks. Their hunt became eclipsed by the violence their Iraq diversion had produced. Iraq became a terror magnet, just as Bush had planned. Instead of just "fighting them over there", our occupation had the effect of producing more individuals with a grudge who would do our troops, our interests, and our allies harm.
No amount of saber-rattling at Iran, showdowns with North Korea, or escalation of troops in Iraq to further prop up the crumbling Maliki regime can substitute for bringing bin-Laden to justice. Five years on the loose has made the terrorist into an inspiration for others who have been provoked by the mindless collateral killings by the U.S. in Bush's dual Mideast occupations. Yet, Bush has decided to elevate bin-Laden even more in his speeches and remembrances leading up to the 9-11 commemorations.
In Bush's radio address for Sunday, he speaks of a 'solemn occasion' and proceeds to muddy it up with more of bin-Laden's taunts. The president advances the terrorist's call for a Caliphate as he bids us to "hear the words" of the terrorist. "Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks, "A great step toward the unity of Muslims and establishing the righteous Caliphate," Bush tells us. "Al Qaeda and its allies reject any possibility of coexistence with those they call "infidels."
Hear the words of Osama bin Laden," Bush says about his partner. In their respective protection schemes, both use the extreme violent reactions of the other to justify their self-appointed roles as saviors and protectors of their followers. Both are counting on their words to elicit fear among their minions and their foes alike, but, Bush is playing bin-Laden's surrogate in this latest promotion; elevating the terrorist to a political equal, looking to give bin-Laden's words a place in our commemorations; hoping Americans will focus on the barbarity and zeal of the attacker rather than his own inability to suppress and capture him.
So, Monday, in his 9-11 commemoration tour, Bush will return to Ground Zero, looking for rubble and a bull horn to elevate his made-up role as protector-in-chief. But, the residents there have gone on with their lives, removed the debris, and paved over the hallowed ground for politicians to come and preach, and for others, to pray.
All that is left in that city of the tragedy of September 11 are survivors and memories; and dust; the scattered remains from those pernicious, poisonous mountains of dust that exploded from the towers as they fell. The dust of the humanity of innocents and terrorists alike co-mingled with the debris, hovering for an eternity before it fell down upon the city; memories and the past inextricably mingled in the miasmic haze.
Bush can do nothing this September 11 except stir up settled dust from that hallowed ground; stirring up resentments and recriminations, deliberately soiling his immaculate cloak. He will not be there to unify our nation, as it had come together on its own right after the attacks. He's coming to Ground Zero with bin-Laden's specter on his sleeve, looking for a political lift out of his swaggering militarism.
He will be looking to widen the divide that he's been nurturing since he ascended to power between those who have resisted his imperious grab for false authority in the wake of the violence, and those who still believe that he's protecting them with his blustering militarism and assaults on our own civil liberties.
However, there is no pile of rubble and humanity left in New York, or anywhere else, that Bush can stand on and bullhorn his way back into the nation's confidence. Some of the disturbed dust has revealed a shameful, reckless indifference to catching bin-Laden, as those individuals in the top echelons of our government who were responsible for directing our nation's defenses ignored the myriad of reports coming from the agents in the field. His 'War on Terrorism' has been nothing more than a scam unleashed against the liberties of blameless Americans, and his collateral military campaigns have had a unifying effect among those combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan who would resist his swaggering imperialism and consolidation of power.
Bush spoke of "vigilance" at the end of his radio address. "With vigilance, determination and courage, we will defeat the enemies of freedom," he says, "and we will leave behind a more peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren. That's an amazing contradiction to his own strident use of our nation's military to overthrow and occupy two sovereign nations in his term. It's a load of hubris from Bush, who has pledged to continue the occupation of Iraq "as long as he's president", and has bequeathed the disaster to "future presidents.'"
Abraham Lincoln spoke of our responsibility to vigilance at a debate in Edwardsville, Illinois, on September 11, 1858:
"While the people retain their virtue and vigilance," he said, "no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years."
We must resolve ourselves to vigilance against Bush's campaign to divide Americans into those who support his terror policies that he regards as patriots; and those who resist his imperious assaults on our civil liberties, diversion of forces and resources to Iraq, and his failure to catch the perpetrators defined in the very authorization that he claims gives him the power to ignore our nation's laws and our Constitution, that he portrays as traitors.
"By the frame of the government under which we live," Lincoln said, "these same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief; and have, with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals."
Come, November we must hasten the return of our democracy to our hands. No amount of fear-mongering from Bush and his murderous specter should be allowed to stand in the way. Bush should not be allowed to dictate our future to us, using the voice of this terrorist's violence.
Posted by bigtree | Sun Sep 11, 2016, 10:02 AM (1 replies)
Hillary made one of the most visionary choices ever in defining her candidacy on such a personal and socially conscious level.
'Stronger Together' is the perfect response to Trump's divisive rhetoric. It confronts the bullying and threats with a firm resolve to unite, and invites Americans to move forward together against the obstruction and self-interest which is the hallmark of the republicans' cynical political racket.
Trump presents us with the opportunity to face the heart of the republican wall of opposition to progress, head on, by keeping what unites us at the forefront of our political efforts. It's a brilliant strategy - a strong rebuke to trump republicans, and a perfect rallying point for a political movement.
Ruby Cramer @rubycramer Jan 25
What @HillaryClinton believes, and has for nearly 50 years:
Posted by bigtree | Wed Aug 10, 2016, 05:47 PM (4 replies)