Tag: interview

Why I can no longer support Alan Grayson

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) physically assaulted Edward-Issac Dovere, a reporter for POLITICO, at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia earlier today.

Earlier this year, I endorsed Alan Grayson for the U.S. Senate seat that is up for election this year in Florida, and in 2014, I included Grayson on my bucket list of political figures that I’d like to meet in person. However, I am officially pulling my endorsement from Grayson, and, if I were to write an updated bucket list of elected officials and/or other political figures that I’d like to meet in person, Grayson’s name would be nowhere to be found on such a list.

It is a known fact that Lolita Grayson, Alan Grayson’s ex-wife, has repeatedly accused Alan Grayson of abusing her. Now, we have documented footage of Grayson abusing a member of the press. I will admit that I have given Alan Grayson too much of a benefit of the doubt when it comes to the domestic abuse allegations that his ex-wife has leveled against him. However, I cannot reasonably give Alan Grayson the benefit of the doubt any longer when it comes to his track record of abusing others. The Alan Grayson that is currently on the campaign trail is not the highly-effective progressive and the most electrifying man in American politics that I have long admired Grayson as. Instead, the Alan Grayson that is currently on the campaign trail is a thin-skinned bully and an abuser who doesn’t electrify any reasonable person.

Physical abuse of any kind should NEVER be tolerated. In fact, I call on the U.S. House of Representatives to begin expulsion proceedings against Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida.

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STRAW POLL: 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin Democratic primary

Recently, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for…well, being the kind of presidential candidate who appeals to white male bigots like himself. These are Duffy’s actual words, as quoted by the progressive website ThinkProgress:

There’s a viewpoint that says, ‘I can fight for minorities, and I can fight for women,’ and if you get that, you make up a vast majority of the voting block and you win. And white males have been left aside a little bit in the politics of who speaks to them.

It is inherently clear to me that Duffy is supporting Donald Trump because he is a loud-mouthed bigot who would destroy America and everything that this great country stands for if elected. Duffy’s congressional district, while gerrymandered to make it a lot easier for him to win re-election, is not a total Republican stronghold, and Trump’s style of politics don’t play well at all in the Upper Midwest.

Unlike what I’ve done for races in the 3rd and 6th congressional districts of Wisconsin, where I’ve endorsed progressive-minded Democrats in contested primaries, I’m going to do something different for the contested primary in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I’m going to conduct a straw poll for the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination are, in the order in which they will be listed on actual primary ballots and in the straw poll, Mary Hoeft of Rice Lake and Joel Lewis of Wausau. Here’s the straw poll:

The straw poll, which is completely non-binding, will be open for voting until 10 P.M. CDT on July 31, 2016 (the polling program I use does not allow me to geoblock the poll outside of the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin). The actual primary, which is open to voters in the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin who choose to vote in the Democratic primary, is August 9th. The winner of the real Democratic primary will face the winner of the Republican primary, also held on August 9th, between Duffy and Donald Raihala, in the general election on November 8th.

Donald Trump acts like an arrogant fool on Feherty

It’s not an everyday thing for Golf Channel to air political programming, but they recently aired an interview of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The interview was conducted by former professional golfer and Golf Channel/NBC on-course golf announcer David Feherty (last name pronounced FAIR-et-ee) for the interview show Feherty.

I watched the interview so you didn’t have to, and let’s just say that, if one were to judge someone by how they act around people that they like (Feherty wore Trump socks  while interviewing Trump), let’s just say that Trump is an arrogant fool, because that’s how he acted around Feherty.

When Trump was asked by Feherty how his presidential bid was doing, Trump touted favorable poll numbers and claimed that he hadn’t spent any money on his campaign yet (in reality, he’s spent nearly $62 million on his campaign so far). When Trump was asked by Feherty whether or not he thought of himself as an asshole, Trump touted favorable poll numbers. When Feherty listed a number of adjectives that me and other critics of Trump use on a regular basis to criticize him, Trump responded by saying, “but other than that, they like me.” Trump even went as far as to call his real estate properties “presidential”.

Oh, and Trump made a shockingly offensive statement during the interview. Trump said that racial profiling was “necessary”. Racial profiling is, in the 21st century, very common in America, and it contributes to racial tensions in America in a big way. Racism and racial profiling is never necessary, and it is always inappropriate.

Even when he’s around people that he likes, Donald Trump is an arrogant fool who only cares about himself and his ego.

Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright offend women who support Bernie

AUTHOR’S NOTE: From this point forward in the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, “Hillary” refers to Hillary Clinton, and “Bernie” refers to Bernie Sanders.


This is really one of those times where, admittedly, I wish I had a female co-blogger to help push back against the offensive remarks by some of Hillary’s supporters towards women who support Bernie.

If you’re wondering what I was referring to in the above paragraph, I’m referring to recent remarks by women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, both Hillary supporters. In both cases, offensive remarks were made about women who support Bernie.

Steinem went on the HBO show of Bernie backer Bill Maher (YouTube video here, Steinem’s remarks about Bernie supporters begin at the 3:50 mark) and claimed that women who support Bernie are only doing so to meet men:

The feminist icon made an alarmingly sexist remark on “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday night, suggesting that young, female supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders only support him because dudes do, too.

Steinem was discussing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders. When Maher noted the Vermont senator’s popularity with young women, Steinem responded with her theory that women get more “radical” as they get older.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” she said.

I’m not going to comment on Steinem’s theory about men becoming more conservative, and women becoming more liberal, as they get older, since I’ve not seen any scientific study on that matter. However, what I will say is that women who support Bernie are not doing so because they want to meet men. After all, if they did, I’d probably have a girlfriend by now (in reality, I don’t have or want a girlfriend). Women who support Bernie support him because they share and support many of his values and ideas, such as restoring good government, making college truly affordable, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, and significantly reducing health care costs.

Not to be outdone by Steinem, Albright claimed that women who support Bernie are going to hell:

Former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright attempted to shame young women voters at a Hillary Clinton campaign event on Saturday, repeating her now-famous line: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

[…]

The 78-year-old diplomat, who served in the Bill Clinton White House, complained that some young women “don’t understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton.”

In my opinion, Albright’s remarks were even worse than Steinem’s remarks for one reason. To claim that women who don’t support a particular candidate are going to hell and saying that they have to support a particular candidate is basically a way of saying that you don’t believe in democracy, without actually saying that. Democracy is about choosing between political candidates, not forcing someone to support a particular political candidate.

While women make up approximately 56-58% of the Democratic primary and caucus electorate nationwide due to the institutional gender gap in American politics, you cannot completely run on shaming women into supporting a female candidate and win nationally, even in a Democratic primary or caucus. The Democratic Party cannot be seen as being condescending towards women who don’t see eye-to-eye with the party elites, or we’ll end up with a President Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or some other Republican.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz launches condescending attack on pro-choice millennials

Ladies and gentlemen, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has, once again, insulted a large segment of her own party’s electorate. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders supporters. I’m talking about millennials who support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, including the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz was asked a beltway media-type question about whether or not she thought there was a generational divide in regards to enthusiasm for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign among female Democratic voters. Wasserman Schultz didn’t directly answer the question (apparently because she’s supposed to remain neutral in the Democratic presidential race, although she’s not been truly neutral) and decided to launch a political attack against the future of her own party:

Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.

I’m a proud millennial who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I am deeply offended by Wasserman Schultz’s offensive remarks. Us millennials are not stupid, lazy, or complacent. Us millennials strongly believe in democracy and civic engagement, most of us are very progressive on many issues, and most of us regard protecting women’s rights to be very important. There are three Democratic candidates running for president, and all three of them are strongly pro-choice when it comes to reproductive health issues.

I think that it’s past time for Debbie Wasserman Schultz to leave politics altogether and let the future of the Democratic Party lead the way on protecting women’s rights and many other important political issues. It’s clear to me that Wasserman Schultz has a deep-seeded bigotry towards young people.

Bernie Sanders forces Donald Trump to flip-flop on raising wages

For all of Donald Trump’s bluster about the Clintons, there’s one presidential candidate that Trump is truly scared of, and his last name isn’t Clinton:

Bernie (Sanders) has consistently maintained that Trump supporters are working class people who are taking out their grievances on minorities and others, rather than addressing the rigged political and socio-economic system that has let them down. Bernie has for some time been saying that Trump is a demagogue who does “what demagogues do … scapegoating others.” And Bernie has asserted that his message of economic justice would resonate with those voters, and he could peel away many Trump supporters.

But on CBS Face the Nation last week he seems to have struck bone.

“This is a guy who does not want to raise minimum wage,” he said of Trump. “In fact, he has said that wages in America are too high.”

Trump responded to Bernie exposing Trump’s big weakness with the white, working-class voters he’d need to win a general election for president by…you guessed it…flip-flopping on raising wages:

Make no mistake about it, white, working-class voters are going to decide the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton has virtually zero appeal to white, working-class voters, so she’d lose badly to Trump. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is an ardent economic progressive who can appeal to white, working-class voters left behind by both a Democratic establishment that openly attacks them and a Republican Party that is hell bent on destroying their livelihoods.

Bill Goldberg shoots on Donald Trump, says that Trump and Vince McMahon are “off their rocker”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In American professional wrestling parlance, a “shoot interview” refers to an unscripted interview that is not part of a professional wrestling storyline.


Former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg, whose real name is William Goldberg, recently did an impromptu shoot interview with TMZ, in which he sharply criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by comparing him to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon and saying that both Trump and McMahon are “off their rocker”:

Bill Goldberg says he lost all respect for Donald Trump back in 2010 — saying he’s still pissed about the way he was fired from “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

[…]

“I respected him a lot before he fired me,” Goldberg told TMZ Sports.

There’s more … Bill says Trump is basically the same person as WWE honcho Vince McMahon — “They’re both kind of off their rocker.”

You can view a video clip of Goldberg’s TMZ shoot on Trump here.

This reminds me a lot of longtime professional wrestling promoter and manager Jim Cornette’s 2010 shoot on then-U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon (R-CT), the wife of Vince McMahon and a former WWE CEO, in which Cornette blasted Linda and the Republican Party in one of the greatest rants of all time. While Goldberg didn’t go as far as Cornette did in criticizing a political figure, Goldberg’s remarks give you a general idea of how much of a horrible person Trump is.

To my knowledge, Goldberg has not endorsed a presidential candidate.

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

Why President Barack Obama’s use of the N-word is acceptable

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following blog post includes quotes that contain racist epithets.

The right-wing corporate media in this country is manufacturing yet another, for lack of a better term, non-scandal scandal over something involving President Barack Obama. This time, it’s over Obama’s use of a six-letter racial epithet that begins with the letter “n” in an interview by comedian Marc Maron.

Here’s what Obama said while being interviewed by Maron:

Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.

You can listen to a podcast of the full Maron interview of Obama here.

I firmly believe that the president used the N-word in an appropriate context. The underlying message of what the president was saying was this: Just because one removes racial epithets from their vocabulary doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t a racist anymore. There are many people in this country who don’t use racial epithets (at least not in public), yet hold prejudiced views of ethnic minorities.

The president isn’t the only Democratic elected official to have used the N-word in such a context. One person who has used the N-word in an appropriate context who I can think of off of the top of my head is Melissa Sargent, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly. Sargent, a white woman who grew up in an interracial family, wrote this op-ed, in which she talked about having racial epithets directed at her when she was a child, for a Madison, Wisconsin-based newspaper last year.

Here’s the part of Sargent’s op-ed where she used the N-word in what I would consider to be an appropriate context:

I grew up in Madison. I have two brothers and a sister. One of my brothers and my sister were adopted; they are African-American.

We did all the normal things that kids do around Madison. We played in the park, went to the beach, and rode our bikes. When it came time to go to school, we naturally walked there together. When I was in fourth grade, our mom made us all matching outfits to wear on the first day of school so my brand new first-grade sister would feel more connected to us. We were proudly marching arm-in-arm, wearing our Hawaiian print shirts when I started hearing the catcalls: “Nigger-lover, nigger–lover, nigger-lover.” As a child it was hard to comprehend why they were mocking me. The words were beyond my years, but I could feel the hatred in their voices.

That was just one of many times I witnessed this kind of treatment toward my family. I knew then that my brother and sister, and their future children, would have a much different experience in the world than I.

The rest of Sargent’s op-ed was about fear institutional racism in this country; the op-ed was written not long after Michael Brown, a black teenager, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri.

Sargent was quoting racists who used the N-word to verbally attack her and her family, which is what I consider to be using the N-word in an appropriate context. The message that Sargent was conveying is that she has been subjected to overt racism because her parents adopted black children.

Make no mistake about it, the Southern Strategy is absolutely disgusting and, to this day, the modus operandi of most Republican politicians. However, when the late Lee Atwater, a far-right Republican political consultant who ran George H.W. Bush’s winning 1988 presidential campaign, used the N-word while describing the evolution of political messaging used by right-wing politicians in this country in an anonymous interview by political scientist Alexander P. Lamis, it was technically in an appropriate context.

Here’s what Atwater said about the Southern Strategy in his 1981 interview by Lamis, which was uncovered by The Nation magazine in late 2012:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968, you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”

(slight grammar edits mine)

While I despise Atwater and his racist style of politics, what he said is right. In 1954, politicians could get elected in many parts of the country, especially in the South, but also in many other places across the country, by using the N-word and other forms of overt racism to appeal to white racists. By 1968, using the N-word in political messaging was considered disqualifying for major party politicians in much of the country (although it was still considered acceptable in many parts of the South), and racist politicians resorted to using dogwhistles like “states’ rights” in order to defend racist policies. Technically speaking, Atwater used the N-word in an appropriate context, since he was talking about political messaging that racist politicians used in the mid-20th century.

Usually, using the N-word and other racial epithets are considered highly inappropriate and racist. However, if one is having an intelligent conversation about racism, and uses the N-word in the context of an intelligent conversation about racism, then it can be, depending on exactly how it’s used, considered appropriate to use the N-word.

John Kasich is nothing like Elizabeth Warren

John Kasich, the virulently anti-middle class Republican who happens to also be the Governor of Ohio and a possible presidential candidate, went on CNN’s State of the Union political talk show and did two things that set me off. First, he bragged about being a part of the late 2000’s financial meltdown that destroyed this country’s economy (Kasich was the managing director of the Columbus, Ohio office of the Lehman Brothers investment bank until Lehman Brothers went bust). Second, he claimed that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a staunch supporter of protecting consumers and a staunch opponent of “too big to fail” financial institutions, is like him.

You can watch Kasich’s remarks here.

While Warren has zero interest in running for president, there is a night-and-day difference between John Kasich and Elizabeth Warren.

John Kasich has a decades-long track record of opposing labor unions, workers, the middle class, economic strength, and common sense. As a U.S. Representative, Kasich built a very conservative voting record, including demonizing welfare recipients and helping to enact Bill Clinton’s plan to gut the social safety net in this country. As a businessman, Kasich ran the Lehman Brothers office in Ohio’s largest city until Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and the American economy began to collapse. As Governor of Ohio, Kasich tried to bust Ohio’s public employee unions, but Ohioans firmly rejected his anti-worker and anti-middle class policies at the ballot.

Elizabeth Warren, on the other hand, is a champion of the middle class, economic strength, and common sense. Warren, who is the Paul Wellstone of our generation, has fought for more regulations on our nation’s financial institutions in an attempt to prevent another economic collapse like the Great Recession. Warren understands how income inequality, in which the wealthiest few percent of people in this country have the vast majority of the country’s wealth, is hurting our economy and destroying what little of our country’s middle class remains. Warren has also stood up to members of both major parties in this country in opposition to free-trade deals that undermine our nation’s sovereignty, such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

John Kasich is nothing like Elizabeth Warren, and he should quit trying to take credit for Warren’s work to make America a better place to live.