Category Archives: Campaign 2016

This is how genocide starts

This was reprinted from Firebrand Left. As that website is no longer up and running, I found it on the Way Back Machine. I think we are past three and have reached five.

Over the past few days, I have been spending some time over at a pro-Donald Trump Facebook group. While I have found a lot of things I have heard Donald Trump say to be upsetting, frightening or just plain confusing, nothing I have heard him say comes even close to what his supporters say. They say the United States Constitution is “outdated.” They do, support the Second Amendment but the rest was written by people who did not have to deal with modern-day terrorism. This is how they justify hating Muslims. Islam, they say, is not a religion but a political ideology.

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This is not helpful for any real conversation but that is not the real problem. While I do not think it is appropriate to define 1.6 billion people this way but that is not the real problem either. The problem is not even that anti-Muslim rhetoric makes gives the extremists more ammunition to use against us or that it makes it harder to fight terrorism. The problem is that when you start defining this way, we are taking the first step towards genocide. That’s not the America I think we want to live in.

You may be thinking, “That’s pretty extreme.” It is but there is something that people do not realize about genocide. If you look at the phenomenon across centuries and continents, you will see genocide follows a predictable pattern. From Armenia and Germany to Rwanda and Sudan and then to Cambodia, there are ten steps all of these genocides follow. They are (per Genocide Watch):

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Discrimination
  4. Dehumanization
  5. Organization
  6. Polarization
  7. Preparation
  8. Persecution
  9. Extermination
  10. Denial

We are hovering somewhere between step one and three. We have not quite gotten to the point of actual discrimination but there are measures that have passed or considered to ban Sharia law in all but 16 American states. Who is behind all of this? A number of high profile Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have spearheaded the “anti-Sharia” movement.

This belief, that Americans need to be protected from Muslims, has been advanced by the Trump campaign. HIs famous promises to build walls along the Mexican but not Canadian border and to ban entry by Muslims advance the cause of racism and Islamophobia. We need to be protected from what we see as “them.” Americans are Christian (and sometimes Jewish). That’s the ‘us.” Muslims are not true Americans who pay their taxes, love their families and serve in our military, they are outsiders to be feared and demonized.

Trump and his supporters point out the recent attacks throughout Europe, in Orlando and in New York and New Jersey. They do not mention the fact that the gunman in Orlando was born in New York nor do they talk about the Oklahoma City bombing by a United States born terrorist or the multitudes of shootings by Americans. No one was talking about religion when they looked at the massacres in Sandy Hook, Columbine or at 101 California Street. We are not being killed in mass numbers by Muslims coming into the country. We are too busy killing ourselves.

The problem with the people who think, and my feeling is that they really believe the things they are saying, that we are facing an existential threat. Adolph Hitler really believed that the world was engaged in an epic battle for survival against the Jews.  When people say things like, “there are no good Muslims and bad Muslims…” they are reading right out of the Nazi Germany playbook:

This is not what this country is all about. We cannot become complicit to the mentality that is promoted by the Trump supporters. We are better than that. I hope.

Photo by Gage Skidmore 

My Current Problem with Bernie Sanders

bernie sanders catFor most of the time I have known about Bernie Sanders, I liked him. Last year I wrote this about him. Now i just find him annoying. Never mind that he practically wrote and starred in a political ad for Donald Trump when he called Hillary Clinton “unqualified to be president.” Never mind that he just seems like an old guy yelling at kids to get off their lawn. Never mind a lot of things. I am mad about his hypocrisy. He claims to be purer than the driven snow but I am not so sure.

For most of his campaign, the narrative he has pushed has been that Hillary was winning only because of the shady super delegates. Democratic party insiders who are accountable to no one and have it in against Bernie. This is where we have problem number one. I am not sure how I feel about  the super delegate system but given Bernie’s top strategist’s role in creating the Democratic super delegate system, watching them rail against it seems disingenuinous at best and hypocritical at worst. You can read about top Bernie strategist Tad Devine’s role in creating the system here.

But wait, there’s more. For months this was the narrative, that Bernie was winning the popular vote and losing the super delegate count. Except that is not true. Hillary is far ahead in the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.

Including caucus results, Clinton leads Sanders by almost 2.4 million raw votes, 9.4 million to just more than 7 million, according to The Green Papers.

You can read the full piece, “Bernie Sanders Is Even Less Competitive Than He Appears.” So, now that the fallacy that Bernie has the “will of the people” his campaign is changing gears. Now that they see their only path to the nomination as wooing the super delegates that have committed to Hillary, they are going to spend the summer doing that. Personally, after hearing them whine about the system their people designed for months only turn to it when it serves them could be the worst kind of bullshit I have ever heard.

PS. I still think it sucks that Bernie doesn’t care about helping down ballot Democrats. That’s just douchie.

No one who runs for office in the United States is “un-American”

 

This is the tattoo I have above my left butt cheek. It is the donkey from the DNC.

This is the tattoo I have above my left butt cheek. It is the donkey from the DNC.

I recently posted a comment on my Facebook wall about how I have friends who like Bernie

Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio Donald Trump, Ted Cruz… basically, I have friends who like all of the candidates. If you know anything about me, you should know that I do not have any kind of ideological requirement for my friends.

My point of the post — other than to say I am supporting Hillary Clinton — was to ask people to start treating each other better. I mean, I am going to vote for whichever Democrat gets the nomination but we should be at least civil to each other during the primary process. Continue reading

Mr. Scarborough, you’re earning your “RINO” title

English: American cable news host and former U...

English: American cable news host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Joe Scarborough,

Your piece this morning in Politico was interesting and informative but not in the way you intended.  You gave Governor Scott Walker some tips for how he should respond to the silly questions he has gotten on evolution and President Obama’s faith and patriotism.  Your critics on the right think your time in New York City and on MSNBC have moderated your political ideology.  You just aren’t the firebrand you were in Congress. You’ve been drinking the progressive Kool Aid on set and have lost touch with your party.  Underscoring my point is the fact that all of your responses made perfect sense to me — a liberal Democrat.  You suggested this:

1. Do you believe in evolution?  “I believe those who try to set up a false choice between God and science are wasting their time. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I believe in both.”

2. Do you agree with Giuliani on the president’s patriotism?  “Mayor Giuliani can speak for himself. I believe this president loves his country even if his policies are dangerously misguided.”

3. Do you believe the president is a Christian?  “He says he is. Why don’t you take him at his word?”

All of those answers look perfectly reasonable and you are right, these are sideshow questions aimed at tripping candidates up.  The problem?  The base to which your party needs to appeal wants to hear that President Obama is a Muslim who hates America.  Did you know that a quarter of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth?  This may be a horrible thing to say but I would be willing to bet those people live in red states.  Your party doesn’t seem to like science.  That’s not an opinion (and that isn’t a terrible thing to say).  This is why Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called to offer his support to Mayor Giuliani.

As a Democrat, I like seeing Republicans do things that make them look petty, mean and/or stupid.  I also write satire so it makes my life easier.  As an American, however, I would like to see a real debate about the issues that face our country.  These questions don’t get us there but then again, I am not voting in the Republican primaries.

Sincerely,

Alyson

My thoughts on Giuliani’s comments can be found here.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/scott-walker-2016-elections-115409.html#ixzz3SZdpccxZ