Sunday, August 23, 2015

'Anchor Babies' & Walls: Toxic GOP Debate Clouds Real Issues

Did you read Daniel Politi's article about members of the crowd at Donald Trump's rally in Mobile, Alabama repeatedly yelling out "White power!" during his appearance on August 21st?

Other reporters in attendance at the Friday night event from other media outlets, including one from DailyKos, also heard the phrase yelled out multiple times during Trump's speech.

For the conservative-leaning readers who read this blog, audio of that phrase being yelled out was clearly caught on tape and posted on Youtube, click here and give it a listen if you suspect some kind of progressive-leftist media trickery. 

Many people on both sides of the political fence in this country have been wondering when the novelty of Donald Trump's toxic blend of reality TV showmanship, racist immigrant bashing and rambling substance-free speech is finally going to wear out - fortunately there are signs that the curtain is being pulled back to reveal just what the little man behind the control panel pulling the levers is really all about.     

How Trump's immigration policy would hurt the U.S. economy
Like the fact the fact that Trump's ludicrous proposal to round up and deport every illegal immigrant in the U.S. would come with an astronomical price tag and actually cost the economy $1.2 trillion in tax revenue and consumer spending.

George Stephanopoulos made media headlines today when he exposed the vacant reactionary rhetoric behind Trump's delusional anti-immigration policies during a live interview on ABC's "This Week" earlier this morning.

When repeatedly pressed for specifics, Trump couldn't explain how the estimated $400 to $600 billion needed to construct a wall thousands of miles across the southern border of the U.S. and arresting, processing and deporting millions of immigrants and their families would be paid for by American tax payers.

Trump's vague assurances that his magical "deal making" abilities will somehow miraculously solve any problems are starting to come off like some old carny huckster trying to peddle a miracle cure-all potion in a bottle.

It may earn him cheers from the conservative caucus voters in sparsely populated red states like Iowa in the short-run, but when held up to the scrutiny of facts and truth; it's exposed for what it is - total B.S. intended to distract voters from the real Republican agenda designed by the secretive conservative billionaire rainmakers like the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

That agenda ain't new either.

Another GOP legislator brought to you by ALEC
Remember when former Florida Republican state legislator Rachel Burgin (pictured left) introduced a resolution back in fall of 2011 calling on the federal government to reduce corporate taxes but forgot to delete the ALEC mission statement at the top of the document she copied word for word from the ALEC Website?

As Alex Seitz-Wald reported on in 2012
 "As the government transparency group Common Cause reports, “Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph.” Apparently no one noticed until this week. While it’s no secret by now that conservative lawmakers in state capitals everywhere have used ALEC’s legislation to tear down environmental and labor regulations, curb voting rights, and coordinate a business-friendly agenda nationwide, it’s rare to see it on display so clearly."

Rachel must've skipped ALEC's "Substituting ALEC's Model Legislation For Your Own 101"

In more recent days, the leading GOP candidates are further fracturing their divided party and alienating the Latino voter base they need to win the White House in 2016 by spending their time arguing about the right to use the inherently racist term "Anchor Baby" to describe the children of immigrants born in the U.S. as they trip over each other trying to "out-Trump" one another.

Bobby Jindal's mother was three months pregnant with him when his parents came to this country from India, so he's got no business calling anyone an 'Anchor Baby'.

Don't get me wrong, it's important for both mainstream and more independent media to call people like Trump out for exactly who they are, but my sense is that Trump has already been given huge amounts of free national media exposure when it's already common knowledge that his campaign, political platform and his candidacy are nothing more than a self-serving platform intended to increase his own brand.

Civilians searching rubble after Saudi air strikes in the Yemen capital of Sanaa
Sadly, with so much of our mainstream American media focus given over to the meaningless extremist conservative rantings and concocted policy debates of the leading Republican presidential candidates, it's unfortunate that far more important and substantive humanitarian issues are being pushed to the proverbial back burner.

Like the growing humanitarian crisis going on in Yemen right now.

The same Republican candidates who seized on intentionally-edited "sting" videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the costs of fetal tissue samples to pontificate on the sanctity of unborn fetuses (the same candidates calling for ACTUAL babies of immigrants to be deported...) seem remarkably silent on how they might address the children who actually are being killed as a result of a combination of months of relentless air strikes by the Saudi air force, and the disease, infection and hunger caused by Saudi blockades of Yemeni coastal ports that are preventing much-needed fuel, medical supplies and food from reaching the Yemeni people.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend you take some time to read Matthieu Aikin's gripping piece in Rolling Stone entitled, 'Yemen's Hidden War'.  

Aikin hired smugglers to get into Yemen where he spoke with the Shiite Houthi rebels who, back in March, seized control of this country of 27 million people located just below Saudi Arabia on the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

He also toured cities and villages across the war-torn landscape of Yemen with locals and representatives from Doctors Without Borders; virtually the only humanitarian aid group left on the ground in Yemen to deal with the estimated 1.25 million civilians displaced as a result of the escalating war.

Over 3,700 Yemenis have been killed since this civil conflict with regional implications began; including for example, 19 civilians who were sitting in their vehicles in line to get desperately needed gasoline at a gas station in the city of Sadaa when a Saudi plane bombed the station, incinerating the people in their vehicles.

Results of civilian air strikes in village of Sabr [Photo - Reuters]
Or the village of Sabr located about 30 minutes outside Sadaa where a Saudi air strike on June 3rd destroyed eight houses and killed 51 civilians; 36 of them children - as Aikin reported, there were no actual Houthi rebels in the village.

To put those 3,700 deaths in perspective an estimated 2,996 people (including 19 hijackers) were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

 Just think about the U.S. response to those deaths from 911.

After years of American involvement in the costly ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan it's understandable that U.S. citizens have grown weary of American involvement in the seemingly endless conflict gripping the middle east.

But as Aikin's Rolling Stone article illustrates, the complexities of the civil war crisis in Yemen are staggering; and also a direct result of the destabilization of power that took place in the mid-east region when the 2nd Bush administration decided to invade Iraq.

Surely if the mainstream American media was devoting even a fraction of the attention being given to a divisive self-serving charlatan like Donald Trump to the crisis in Yemen, it might help to push for wider demands to an end to Saudi air strikes on civilian targets, UN intervention to prevent a humanitarian crisis and the channeling of more charitable aid from Americans.

Americans who would be moved to give if they were made more aware of what's actually happening in what Aikin calls the "Hidden War".

For the time being, mainstream American media seems more interested in the endless cycle of toxic soundbites from a field of Republican presidential candidates who don't seem to be talking about the substantive difficult-to-solve issues affecting most Americans.

Typified by Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal cutting off state Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood clinics even though those clinics in Louisiana don't actually provide any abortion services to women.

An essentially meaningless gesture justified by a video that was recorded under false pretensions and intentionally edited to misrepresent what Planned Parenthood actually does that will simply make it harder for impoverished women in Louisiana to access basic health services like cancer screenings.

Or, to quote Shakespeare, "Sound and fury, signifying nothing."

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