Monday August 31, 2015

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by P. David Gardner

The Republican Party has a huge public relations problem on its hands. But it's one of their own making, and the problem threatens to completely obliterate the Party if it cannot find its way out of the muck and mire that it has so heartily embraced even to this day.

The problem? It's the Republican Party's under-the-table yet quite apparent open acceptance and promotion of racism.

Racism is not by any means confined to the Republican Party. It is unfortunately everywhere one turns, and the ugliness of it follows no specific politics or religion. However, nowhere else than the Republican Party has it been on such blatant display than in this year's Presidential election cycle.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, the current leader in the polls, has eagerly stoked the fires of racism, and it has struck a chord in many blatantly overt and even in-the-closet racists, who have risen to the call and exposed the ugly side of humanity in their rush to get Trump to the throne.

The Donald's strenuous efforts at promoting racism have not gone unnoticed, and he recently received a hearty endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan.

Other Republican candidates have rushed to distance themselves from the fallout, yet they continue to spout policies that clearly have their roots deep in racism, led mostly by their support of anti-immigration moves and the reversal of citizenship rights, but also include taking away from women the power to choose abortion over childbirth.

The Republicans have long underestimated the power of minorities, ignoring their needs and desires in favor of enriching their own as they shape the policies that the nation turns on.

But minorities, even white ones, are not stupid. They know when they are being gleefully crushed beneath the dirty boots of racism.

And that presents a huge problem for the Republican Party. There are so many minority voters in the United States now who are actually showing up on Election Day and exercising their power to cast ballots, all despite the Party's continuing efforts to disenfranchise them through crazy-making gerrymandering, voter registration and voting restrictions, and outright and devious lies to discourage them from voting at all.

How does a political party reverse decades of discrimination? Apparently by doubling down on their efforts to protect their own interests.

And that will be the Party's ultimate downfall.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.

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by P. David Gardner

If you can find anyone foolish enough to take the bet, it's no doubt that you could make big money by betting on what most any Republican candidate will stand for.

Hmm, let's see:

  • Outlawing abortion at any stage and taking full control of women's bodies ... check.
  • Prohibiting and revoking any existing same sex marriages ... check.
  • Sending troops into the Middle East to "clean things up" and secure the steady flow of cheap oil to the States for decades to come ... check.
  • Trashing the successful Obamacare program and replacing it with an ill-defined for-profit system of "health care" that benefits one of their biggest donors, the health insurers ... check.
  • Further invading the right to privacy of any and all American citizens ... WHAT?!?

In a not quite surprising move, Presidential candidate Jeb Bush today proclaimed that if he were elected to the highest office in all the land, he would immediately move to ensure that the National Security Agency (NSA) be able to more easily collect even more data from private citizens and, presumably, companies to combat all those "evildoers" that mean their bottom line ... err, America ... harm.

A devout believer in further extensions of the Patriot Act, Bush summarily dismissed claims by civil libertarians that the Act violated the rights of citizens.

"There's a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job," Bush said. "I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way."

Unfortunately, the definition of the term "evildoers" seems to shift a lot in the Republican mindset. Today it's terrorists, tomorrow Democrats?

Bush also assured voters that he would send ground troops into Eastern Europe in response to Russia's incursion into various countries in the region, saying that Russian President Vladmir Putin needed to learn that his "adventurism" must come at a price ... that price being American ground troops to mix it up with Russian troops, apparently.

So there you go, straight from the horse's mouth. You can have no doubt about it. The Republican's best chance at election next year is Jeb Bush, and he promises to make all our lives a living hell.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.

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by P. David Gardner

Republican firebrand Donald Trump has become quite the glittering anomaly in the “Rush to the Throne 2016.” But don't think for a minute that it's not by design.

Though Trump was quick to declare an authoritative “win” at the first Republican Debate last week, many conservative political pundits seem to agree that The Donald is actually on his way down. He's been deliberately abrasive from the start, careening erratically from insulting one group to the next, all the while claiming that he's being “politically incorrect,” which he believes is what the people really want.

There is no doubt that his antics are entertaining. They make for good sound bites and video clips, and it keeps him in the forefront of the daily news cycle, which is his intent.

But by insulting conservative bastion Fox News, Trump has now alienated what could have been his most valuable ally. Fox News, as deluded as its hosts are, expertly commands the viewpoints of its viewers like so many mindless minions, and once you get on the network's bad side, it's all downhill from there.

The GOP, bristling at his refusal to agree to endorse the eventual winner of the Primary, is hard at work behind closed doors, trying to figure out how to rope this wild steer and bring him to pasture. They let loose the beast from hell, and he will not be tamed.

So is Trump positioning himself as an Independent? Or is he still there just to make the other candidates seem mild and quite reasonable by comparison?

Only time will tell.

One thing's for sure: Trump's megalomania is being massaged daily, which must satisfy his ego to some extent. But like any true megalomaniac, Trump's needs and desires can never be fully satisfied, so we are no doubt in for a continuing wild ride on this roller coaster we call The Road to Election.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.

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by P. David Gardner

Anyone who's been on the Internet and its many forums for any length of time knows that once you whip the Nazi references out from the lint-filled bottom of your pockets, it's all over.

This fact was amply demonstrated on Saturday when 2016 Presidential contender Mike Huckabee, desperate for poll numbers, apparently decided to stop at nothing in his quickly souring bid for even a mere blip on the media radar.

Speaking to Breitbart News, favored mouthpiece of out-of-touch conservatives seeking a soft response to their outrageous viewpoints, Huckabee said, "This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

Doubling down, Huckabee added, "This is the most idiotic thing, this Iran deal. It should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people. I read the whole deal. We gave away the whole store. It's got to be stopped."

Apparently he didn't real the "whole deal" or he would have seen much more than he's alluding to in his statement.

Response by angered Democrats came swiftly and quite predictably.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said "Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable. Mike Huckabee must apologize to the Jewish community and to the American people for this grossly irresponsible statement."

The Anti-Defamation League referred to his Holocaust reference as "completely out of line and unacceptable."

MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "If you've been to Auschwitz, if you've been to Birkenau, if you've been to any of these places where people were killed and you see the piles of glasses, the piles of hair, the piles of shoes and the piles of clothes ... And every bit of their humanity that had to be stripped away, handed over as they went and burned to their deaths among other things, it's really not a good comment to say."

2016 Presidential contender Hillary Clinton had a few choice words to say as well.

"Comments like these are offensive, and they have no place in our political dialogue," she said. "I am disappointed and I am really offended personally. I know Governor Huckabee. I have a cordial relationship with him. But I find this kind of inflammatory rhetoric totally unacceptable. One can disagree with the particulars of the agreement to put a lid on the nuclear weapons program of Iran – and that is fair game. But this steps over the line, and it should be repudiated by every person of good faith and concern about the necessity to keep our political dialogue on the facts and within suitable bounds."

Twitter and other social media outlets went practically afire Sunday with responses from hundreds of people who took Huckabee to task for his off-the-cuff and irresponsible Holocaust reference.

President Obama himself on Monday responded appropriately, saying that "When you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention, and maybe it's an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it's not the kind of leadership that's needed for America right now."

Huckabee, for his part, stands firm in his views, and has not backed down nor apologized for his outrageous statement.

"I wish the president would say that it's ridiculous to make a nuclear deal with a government that holds Americans hostage, sponsors terror, funds attacks on Israel, and who openly and repeatedly promises to destroy both Israel and the United States," Huckabee said on MSNBC's Morning Joe program. "That is ridiculous. And dangerous."

Personally, I find Huckabee and many other Republican candidates ridiculous and dangerous. With their generous use of irresponsible rhetoric, they not only bring out the very worst in American politics, they anger the world, which views them as unstable and unsuitable for the highest office in the United States. And makes us all look like utter fools.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.

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by P. David Gardner

As the carny-like sideshow that has become Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential bid continues to unfold like an onion left to rot in the field, one might be tempted to consider that Trump is not really a sincere contender for The Leather Throne.

Indeed, many serious news organizations have now placed coverage of Trump's stump at a lower level, relegating it to "not the front page" unless something really newsworthy happens.

Yet many so-called news web sites will continue to put Trump's antics on their front pages. That clickbait is just so alluring because it assures them of more views and, more hopefully, some real income.

The Huffington Post even made it a big deal to announce that it was going to continue coverage of Trump's bid, but on its Entertainment and not Political pages. It's the rough equivalent of "Look at meeeee! Aren't I smart and cool for doing this (and letting you all know about it at the same time, thereby gaining me some sweet karma points)?"

And Trump's competitors for the Republican primary have reacted to his often outrageous antics, trying desperately to distance themselves, as if mere association irrevocably taints their own chances for election to the highest office in all the land.

But I personally believe that it would be a grave mistake indeed to ignore Trump in the vast and ever expanding field that is the Republican race for President. One thing he is not is a buffoon. He is a smart man, though he may not seem to act the part when he's stumping, and should not be dismissed outright. To do so would be a potentially dangerous move because of his wide appeal to a growing segment of the population.

There are at least three theories surrounding Trump's bid for the White House. What you choose to believe is up to you, of course, but consider these, if you will.

Theory 1: Trump was planted by the Democrats to keep people from voting Republican. Though for the life of me, I cannot see this as a viable Democratic tactic that anyone in the party would take seriously.

Theory 2: Trump was planted by the Republicans (perhaps even Karl Rove or Dick Cheney, or perhaps the Koch brothers themselves) to make even the most radical serious Republican contender appear "normal" by comparison, thus assuring folks on the edge that you'd better vote for one of them, lest Trump turn the White House into a looney bin. This theory seems to me to be quite likely.

Theory 3: Trump seriously believes that he has a shot, fueled by his pulsating megalomania and urgent need for staying in the media spotlight. And to me, this theory holds the most creedence, which makes his run all the more dangerous, as it brings out all the racists and haters to the fore.

The question remains: Is Donald Trump a "shiny" distraction, or a deadly serious issue with which to contend? His antics do appeal to some demographic in the nation, as recent polls show, and many people appear to believe the things he is espousing and align themselves with him.

One thing's for sure, I don't want to let the "media" decide that for me.

P. David Gardner is a long time writer and reporter, as well as a graphic designer and photographer. And he creates terrific web sites too. For more details, see pauldavidgarder.com.



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