Wednesday July 29, 2015

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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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by P. David Gardner

To watch the conservative talking heads and Republican politicians, especially the 2016 Presidential candidates, speak of President Obama's 3-year-in-the-making and groundbreaking deal that he and Secretary of State John Kerry brokered with Iran, along with the cooperation of diplomats from the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany ... well, it's quite the show.

And it really shouldn't be.

The deal, now being battered about in the media by angry conservatives, is quite the rational and correct one, yet each opponent predicts doom and gloom. No one should trust Iran to keep their end of the bargain, they say. Obama should have sent them in instead to broker a "better" deal, though the specifics of just what a "better deal" would actually be has yet to be defined. Congressional conservatives are currently seeking to gain a 2/3rds majority to overturn the deal, and all are licking their lips in anticipation of the fight.

In Obama's interview on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show on Tuesday, Obama outlined some of the reasons the deal should go through. He was quite rational as usual, and amply demonstrated his command of the English language in arguing his points.

Reactions in the media, on the other hand, range from the simplistic to the outright outrageous.

House Speaker John Boehner vows that he will do "everything possible" to stop the deal from going through, citing his belief that the deal is a horrible one for citizens of the United States.

"While the president's Iran deal may have been applauded at the United Nations," Boehner said, "I think he faces serious skepticism here at home, Let me just assure you that members of Congress will ask much tougher questions this afternoon when we meet with the president's team, because a bad deal threatens the security of the American people."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Kerry,"From my perspective, Mr. Secretary, I'm sorry ... I believe you've been fleeced."

He went on to further state that he believes that the agreement allows Iran to eventually develop a nuclear bomb.

Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker promises that he may have to bomb Iran on the first, or maybe second, day of his presidency.

There is outrage in Israel as well. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will only settle for "total capitulation." He complained that under the current deal, Iran will have a working nuclear weapon in 10 or 15 years, yet earlier he told his own people that Iran was months, perhaps weeks, away from having the bomb. You think he'd be just a little pleased at pushing the deadline forward so dramatically, but apparently not.

So is this the best deal we can get?

Obviously, many people do not like the deal and will seek to scuttle it at their earliest opportunity, but it's just a bit unclear as to why it seems a bad deal to them, other than the fact that it's Obama who brokered it. Others believe that the deal is a good one, because of the intensive monitoring program that Iran has agreed to for the next 10 years to ensure that they cannot develop or otherwise obtain nuclear weapons.

On The Daily Show, Obama cited the historic deal brokered between the United States and the U.S.S.R. during the cold war. Had conservative politicians of the time stood firm and blustered about as we see today in our conservative press and political figures, the world may well have been destroyed in the 1950s. Instead, cooler heads prevailed and a peace deal was brokered that kept the world from the brink of destruction in balls of poisonous fire.

This deal, Obama said, is much the same.

Diplomacy is the key, not the unyielding drawing of lines in the sand. If we make that kind of standoff a reality, nuclear war in the Mideast will quite likely erupt, and sooner rather than later.

Time will tell whether opponents of the deal will win and prevent it from going through. One can only hope that this time, cooler heads will prevail once again.

How can you help? you may wonder. Let your Congressmen know how you feel, and do it now. The problem in Washington today is of our own making, whether we like to admit it or not. We, the common citizens, are so busy with the intricacies and difficulties of our daily lives that to think of acting on a national level seems quite impossible.

And because we are silent, the looneys dominate the press and, more importantly, the ears of the government. The radical conservatives don't mind telling Congress how they feel, and so the politicians in Washington, operating in a near public vaccuum, begin to believe that the majority is speaking to them, telling them to start wars and bomb the hell out of Iran. No one else is speaking up to say otherwise, or at least not enough to counter the sheer lunacy that dominates American politics these days.

So, speak up!

To see President Obama's interview on The Daily Show, click here.

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

You know, it's times like these when I think, "I really should take a moment to grieve for the sorry state of humanity." But then I find that I can only merely shake my head at the utter stupidity of some people, and wonder how they actually managed to figure out how to run for office and even get elected.

Take human specimen Patrick Rushing, for instance. This once little-known man, the mayor of a small city just outside of Spokane, WA, has become quite the conversation topic of late.

Rushing decided, in some wildly irresponsible moment of what he may have figured was great and thoughtful mirth, to post the following to his Facebook page:

"Gorilla face Michelle, can't disagree with that," Rushing penned. "The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL."

Brain to fingers: disconnect.

And so the man has spoken the words that the world will briefly remember him by. And reactions have been predictably swift, most people calling for his resignation due to his racist statements. But Rushing is adamant that he is in fact NOT a racist, and insists that he will not step down.

As the greasy gears of the world's news cycle are wont to do, they will grind on and Rushing will soon be forgotten as something better will no doubt come along to dominate the front pages of the country's news organizations, and he will fade into some level of obscurity, secure in the knowledge that he did at least get his 15 minutes of fame. Chances are good, though, that he will end up resigning in the end, or be recalled by the more sensible populace of his city.

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

Looks like the Donald bit off just a bit more than he can chew ...

Continuing to hammer at those pesky rapist Mexicans, Trump posted his 140-character or less opinion to Twitter on a Mexican drug lord's recent escape from a Mexican prison.

"El Chapo and the Mexican drug cartels use the border unimpeded like it was a  vacuum cleaner," Trump tweeted gleefully, "sucking drugs and death right into the U.S."

Trump made another tweet a few hours later upped the ante:

"The joke around town is that I freed El Chapo from the Mexican prison because the timing was so good w/ my statements on border security," the Trumpster tweeted.

Trump's postings were meant to bolster his opinions on Mexicans, but had one of those "unforseen consequences." El Chapo (or one of his minions, or really anyone in the world who owns or hacked the Twitter account) saw Trump's tweets and handed down a reply heard 'round the world. Translated roughly from Spanish, the tweet read:

"Keep fucking around and I'm gonna make you swallow your fucking words...”

Trump immediately tucked tail and ran to the FBI, asking them for protection.

You know that saying, Donald: "If you can't stand the heat ..."

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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