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Republican Politicians Can’t Deal With The Public On Their Own, Admits Prosper Group Corporation

“At The Prosper Group, we’ve helped clients from Scott Walker to Ben Sasse to Americans for Prosperity interact better with their audiences.”

It sounds like a straightforward pitch for a political consultants, until you stop to consider what would prevent politicians like Scott Walker and Ben Sasse, or a political action group like Americans for Prosperity, from interacting effectively with their audiences.

Rephrase this pitch, and it reads like this: “Before we came along with our expert advice, politicians like Scott Walker and Ben Sasse, and PACs like Americans for Prosperity weren’t doing a very good job interacting with the people they claimed to serve.”

prosper group corporation

The pitch of the Prosper Group is an admission that Republican politicians and GOP interest groups are out of touch with American culture, and need help translating their alienating ideas into a more palatable form. This isn’t what happens with a true grassroots political organization that’s built itself up from an authentic movement of committed voters. Grassroots organizations are in touch with what’s happening on the street because they’re powered by the people they’re supposed to serve. They don’t have an “audience”. They’re idealistic people working to take care of their own problems.

The Prosper Group lists Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Tom McArthur, the New York State Republican Party, the Indiana Republican Party, and the Faith and Freedom Coalition. All of these Republican politicians and special interest groups have found themselves to be so out of touch with voters that they needed special help in learning to talk like regular folks.

How does the Prosper Group help out-of-touch Republican politicians communicate with voters? This week, the people at America Leads, a Super PAC set up to funnel shadowy money from financial elites to prop up the Chris Christie for President campaign, is hiring the Prosper Group Corporation to place a bunch of advertisements on Facebook.

Yes, that’s the kind of idea the people at the Prosper Group can come up with to help GOP candidates who don’t understand what voters are going through: Slap a bunch of commercial messages up on social media sites. Is that the kind of interaction you’re looking for from political leaders?

The NeoNazi Supporters Of Donald Trump

When I wrote last week that Donald Trump reminds me of Adolf Hitler, I mentioned the racist violence that Trump has inspired, but didn’t touch on Trump’s growing group of supporters from the ranks of Americans who explicitly celebrate the ideology and brutality of Hitler and the Nazis. It’s not difficult, though, to find neoNazis campaigning for Trump.

Rocky Sudayha, leader of the American Nazi Party writes of Donald Trump: “Americans of ALL races are FED UP with this ILLEGAL ALIEN INVASION — so he says that he’ll BUILD a WALL to keep them out! CHEERS!”

From the Stormfront neoNazi web site come statements like these:

“It would be refreshing to have someone like him as pRESIDENT.” – CelticRok

“As long as he’s pro-2nd Amendment, pro-border control (ideally, anti-anchor baby and pro-deportation), pro balanced budget (zero deficit), and pro zero debt, he’ll get my vote.” – NoMoreWhiteGuilt

“Trump will prevail where Hitler failed.” – Vikaryan

“Trump is THE ONLY OPTION in this election and he has a damn good chance of taking it. Not voting for Trump will just leave the door open to cuckservatives and liberals. This may be the last chance America gets to do something pro-white in the polls.” – Tundra

“Trump can and will be beneficial to nationalism in the U.S. because he is getting people excited about protecting and defending White culture. Some time down the road another person or event will happen that will get Whites to make the switch to national socialism but for right now this is the best we have.” – Defend Our Homeland

nazi trump fourth reich

From the ProWhiteParty blog: “Trump inspire a large number of White people, who haven’t voted for years, to vote for him in 2016.”

From the editor of the American Resistance white supremacist web site: “This could be the last chance whites have to vote for a president who could actually do something useful for them and for their country.”

Donald Trump doesn’t openly embrace support from neoNazis, white supremacists, and members of the KKK. His program of racist nationalism, however, is just what American Nazis have been demanding for decades. Most of Donald Trump’s supporters aren’t open white supremacists, and would never appear in public wearing a swastika, but they do support Trump’s agenda of using ethnic minorities as scapegoats for all of America’s problems.

What’s most worrying is not the rise of Donald Trump in itself, but the substantial number of American racists who are assisting his rise to power. Donald Trump currently enjoys a larger number of supporters than any other Republican presidential candidate. The Republican Party’s enthusiasm for institutionalized racism, nationalist devotion to “The Homeland”, outlandish techniques of torture, and aggressive militarism haven’t reached the level seen in Nazi Germany, but we should be wary of any leader who capitalizes on hatred and anger to lead our country in that direction.

You Say Potato, And I Say Pontiff…

You say super hero…

super heroes book

… and I say saint…

book of saints

… and a Bible isn’t anything but a comic book with more words.

Has More Immigration Led to Higher Crime in the United States?

Graph: Immigrants as a Share of the U.S. Population and the U.S. Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 population

Chart: Immigrants as a Share of the United States Population and the U.S. Property Crime Rate per 100,000 people, 1980-2013

Nope.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and Uniform Crime Reports.

Someone tell Donald Trump.

Ben Carson Unable To Craft Coherent Iran Policy

Last night, the Ben Carson for President campaign posted a message on Twitter, saying: “You can do something right now to stop Iran from obtaining the power it needs to threaten the free world. Write Congress RT #NoDeal”

ben carson no deal iran

It’s a well-established tradition for Republican presidential candidates to freak out about Iran.

Early in 2012, Mitt Romney warned that “the Iranians are making rapid progress toward obtaining the most destructive weapons in the history of the world.” Three and a half years later, that “rapid progress” still hasn’t brought the Iranians even one nuclear bomb for testing.

In 2007, John McCain said that Iran was so close to obtaining nuclear weapons that the only solution was war: “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!” he sang. Eight years later, we haven’t had to go to war against Iran at all. The deadly urgency turned out not to be so urgent after all.

Yet, Republicans are still trying to convince us that Iran is on the verge of attacking America with a first generation nuclear weapon. It’s like a foreign policy End Times conspiracy theory, with the GOP trying to convince us, year after year, that this time, their prophecies of an imminent attack from Iran are sure to be accurate.

So, it’s no surprise that we now have Ben Carson rattling the same old saber, warning that, just like four years ago, and eight years ago before that, Iran will soon attack Israel and the United States unless we “do something” drastic right now. But, what is this “something” Ben Carson wants us to do?

Carson wants Americans to write letters to Congress saying that there should be no agreement to the deal (read it) that will:

– deprive Iran of most of the centrifuges it needs to enrich uranium
– reduce Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent
– establishes inspection and reporting measures to ensure compliance, with access to previously undisclosed locations throughout Iran’s nuclear supply chain
– include an agreement that “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”

ben carson pointsWhat Ben Carson never explains is how blocking a deal that secures a permanent commitment from Iran to never develop nuclear weapons, and cripples the infrastructure required to do so, will “stop Iran from obtaining the power it needs to threaten the free world.” Does Carson think that Iran will be prevented from developing nuclear weapons simply by not engaging in diplomacy?

The truth is that Ben Carson has no plan for how to deal with Iran. Ben Carson has no plan for stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Ben Carson has developed no alternative to the agreement secured by the Obama Administration.

All that the Ben Carson for President campaign has been capable of producing is a quick, off-the-cuff statement written on the day that the agreement with Iran was secured. Carson wrote, “The Iran deal announced today with fanfare and another heaping dose of false hope is almost certain to prove an historic mistake with potentially deadly consequences. A careful review of the 100-plus pages is in order to fully understand the lengths to which the negotiators were willing to stoop to secure a deal at any cost with the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and a regime dedicated in word and deed to bringing Death to America. Without anywhere anytime surprise inspections, a full accounting of Iran’s past secret nuclear arms pursuits, elimination of Iran’s uranium stockpiles and the lifting of any sanctions only upon verification of Iranian compliance this is not a good deal, but a recipe for disaster and the first fateful step toward a frenzied nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

The Carson for President campaign then quickly deleted this statement from its web site. Ben Carson wasn’t willing to stand by this statement, and he hasn’t come up with an alternative proposal yet.

Ben Carson offers America nothing when it comes to international diplomacy. He has no experience negotiating with former leaders or working with foreign policy. Carson’s lack of experience and inability to craft a coherent foreign policy plan may have served him well as a TV personality on Fox News, but it won’t serve the American people well if Carson is given access to the power of the Oval Office.

Do Native-Born Americans Work More Than Immigrants? Do White Anglo Immigrants Work More than Non-White and Hispanic Immigrants?

Here at Irregular Times and elsewhere in forums of political debate in the Unites States, right-wing commentators have been fond of insulting immigrants. One line of their argument declares that immigrants come here to this country so they can be lazy and soak up benefits while lounging around in blissful unemployment.  Lately, I’ve heard particular ire directed toward non-Anglo, non-white immigrants.  If only the “good” white immigrants were allowed in greater numbers while the “bad” Latino, African and other dark-skinned immigrants were kept out, then America could get back to work, they say.

This is what I’m told. This is the story. Why don’t we stop telling stories and check the facts?

The facts, courtesy of the latest release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • The labor force participation rate of immigrants to the United States is 66.0%.
  • The labor force participation rate of native-born American citizens is lower, at 62.3%.
  • The labor force participation rate of black non-Latino immigrants is 71.1%.
  • The labor force participation rate of Asian non-Latino immigrants is 63.8%.
  • The labor force participation rate of Latino immigrants is 63.9%.
  • The labor force participation rate of white non-Latino immigrants is only 59.5%.

IRS Filing Reveals: Level the Playing Field Entirely Funded by Tycoon Peter Ackerman

As the successor to Americans Elect, a political corporation called Level the Playing Field has been making legal and public relations moves to change access to presidential debates and change the rules for voting.  These are preludes for plans to run a candidate for President of the United States in 2016 that it has simultaneously confirmed and denied.

There are signs that the Level the Playing Field corporation is planning a ramp-up this fall, including a website registration…

Level the Playing Field website reads Coming Soon in August 2015

… and given the history of Americans Elect and Unity08 (Americans Elect’s predecessor), we can expect Level the Playing Field to depict itself as a popular movement of some sort.

A search of IRS registration materials for Level the Playing Field, however, reveals that the following are the complete sources of funding for the political corporation through June 30 2015, the last available date:

  • September 2014: $618,621. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • October 2014: $20,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • November 2014: $60,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • December 2014: $80,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • January 2015: $45,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • February 2015: $75,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • March 2015: $95,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • April 2015: $106,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • May 2015: $355,000. Source: Peter Ackerman.
  • June 2015: $38,500. Source: Peter Ackerman.

That’s $1,493,121 in funding since Level the Playing Field was incorporated a year ago.  Every penny has come from Peter Ackerman, who made hundreds of millions of dollars as the right-hand man of Junk Bond King Michael Milken, the Wall Street big money investor who went to prison for 2 years for insider trading.

If it is like Americans Elect and Unity08, Level the Playing Field will purchase and deploy stock footage of citizens waving flags in an apparent movement.  The money reveals that Level the Playing Field is actually the movement of one very wealthy individual.

I Am A Liberal. That’s Why I’m Joining The Republican Party.

Yesterday, I explained the depth of my concerns about the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. I also promised, at the end of the article to provide you with what Donald Trump never does: A specific plan for dealing with the problem.

I’m going to register to vote as a member of the Republican Party so that I can vote in the Republican presidential primary for the candidate who is in second place behind Trump.

There isn’t a single Republican presidential candidate right now that I would feel good about voting for – not even among the minor outlandish Republican candidates who have little chance of ever even getting on the ballot. However, my primary goal in the 2016 presidential election is to prevent Donald Trump from gaining the White House. Donald Trump’s bigotry and anger are so out of control, and so far outside the realm of reasonable leadership, that they pose a serious threat to the survival of our democracy. If I have to join the ranks of the Republican Party to put the breaks on his growing movement of Anglo-American nationalism, that’s what I’ll do.

donald trump angryCurrently, I’m registered as a member of the Green Party, but Jill Stein the only significant candidate, and she is campaigning much more lethargically than she did in 2012. So, my vote won’t make a big difference there.

Joining the Democrats as an insurgent against the party establishment feels like a dangerous route to take, because the Democratic Party pays just enough lip service to some of the liberal ideals that I hold that I would run the risk of being co-opted, as I fear I was when I served as a member of my state’s official Democratic Committee back in the first years of this century.

My ideals are 100 percent in reverse of what the Republican Party stands for in its platform and in its everyday campaigning. But, as I see it, that prevents me from being co-opted as a member, and enables me to stand out more dramatically.

As a member of the Republican Party, I’ll have the chance to speak to true Trumpists, and not just to complain to people who already understand that Donald Trump’s politics are dangerously close to those of the Nazi Party.

Not participating in the primary election in my state doesn’t seem like a reasonable reaction to the threatening clouds gathering under Trump’s bloated ego. The Republican Party is the place where I can make the most difference.

And now, as the first part of enacting the plan, I will do another thing that Donald Trump never does: I will admit that I could be wrong, and listen to your criticisms of the flaws in the plan. How could it be better? Should I abandon it before it’s too late? What alternative ideas do you have?

Overdue National Organization for Marriage disclosure shows deep unpopularity of anti-gay Movement

It was apparent in 2009 that almost all of the money used to oppose marriage equality in a Maine ballot initiative in Maine that year came from outside the state.  86.4% of the $1,193,323.83 raised by Stand for Marriage Maine in the 3rd Quarter of 2009 came from just four sources:

1. The Knights of Columbus
2. The National Organization for Marriage
3. Focus on the Family
4. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

For the 5 years since its huge influx of cash, the National Organization for Marriage has fought repeatedly to prevent the names of its donors to this anti-gay movement from being revealed.  Why?  The answer became clear when finally, the state of Maine compelled NOM to release the complete itemized list of donors to its effort. As you can see here in the filing, they are:

  1. Benjamin Brown of Michigan: $200
  2. Richard Kurtz of Maine: $50,000
  3. John Templeton of Pennsylvania: $300,000
  4. Terrence Caster of San Diego: $300,000
  5. Sean Fieler of New York City: $1.25 million
  6. Knights of Columbus: $140,000

That’s it from the itemized list.  Five individuals and one Catholic advocacy organization.  That’s the entirety of the anti-gay “movement” that propped up the Maine movement against gay marriage.  Only one individual who actually lived in Maine contributed to the effort; more than 90% of NOM dollars for the effort came from out of state.

This is why the National Organization for Marriage wanted to keep the list hidden.  In a deeply embarrassing fashion, it reveals how unpopular the 2009 discriminatory push against same-sex marriage really was.  NOM could find only six supporters willing to contribute significant dollars to the effort.  In contrast, the group favoring same-sex marriage equality gathered far more contributions, from actual people actually living in Maine.

The story has a positive ending.  When the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t convince its literal handful of donors to bankroll a continuing effort to stifle marriage equality in Maine, Mainers came out to the polls in 2012 and voted to legalize same-sex marriage.  As of the date of the publication of this article, the state of Maine has not yet been hit by a hurricane or crumbled into the ocean as a result.

Donald Trump And Adolf Hitler

I was originally going to write this article about just one specific topic: Donald Trump’s attempts to censor journalist Jorge Ramos. However, once I started to write, I began to see a disturbing larger picture.

The more I learn about Donald Trump, the more he reminds me of Adolf Hitler.

I know, that sounds like a rash thing to say, but take a moment to consider Trump’s behavior.

Let’s start with the Ramos incident yesterday. At a press conference yesterday, Jorge Ramos from Univision was recognized and began to ask a question about Trump’s promise to deport millions of people from the United States if he is elected President. Trump didn’t like the question, and so interrupted Ramos and signaled for a security guard to evict the reporter from the room.

“He didn’t like my question and when he didn’t like my question then he motioned so the one security guard would come where I was and then threw me out of the press conference,” said Ramos in an interview afterwards. “As journalists, we have to denounce… the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump.”

Extreme behavior, indeed. Presidential candidates don’t have a history of forcefully ejecting reporters from press conferences. Jorge Ramos wasn’t threatening Donald Trump with anything other than a request for information. In Trump’s world, just asking for an explanation is intolerable. Trump is a bully who uses his power to silence others.

It’s going too far to say that just any old powerful bully is like Adolf Hitler, of course.

So, let’s consider the content of the question Jorge Ramos attempted to ask. Donald Trump doesn’t want to limit the eviction of Latinos to just one journalist. He’s got a plan to deport millions of children with American citizenship, just because of the Latino heritage of their parents. “They have to go. We either have a country, or we don’t have a country,” Trump says.

Of course, we do have a country. Our country is defined by its Constitution. Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution makes the standard of citizenship in the United States very clear: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” If you’re born here, you’re a citizen. Donald Trump wants to take that constitutional right away from Latino citizens of the United States.

There are superficial similarities between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler. Trump’s use of wild, angry gesticulations and shouting at the podium to whip up audiences of his supporters is straight out of Hitler’s playbook.

Donald Trump As Adolf HitlerThe anger of Donald Trump is infectious too, in a frightening way. Hitler could never have risen to power without his brownshirts, gangs of Nazis who went out and delivered intimidation and violence on the streets. Donald Trump has among his followers those who would become his own version of the brownshirts, including a man in Boston who brutally attacked an Hispanic man, and justified the violence by saying “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” When Trump heard about the attack, he told reporters, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

Passion among his followers has led some people to begin shouting “White Power” at Trump campaign events.

This kind of violent nationalism, the idea that a country can be made great by abusing people of a certain ethnicity, is classic Hitler. Just as Hitler targeted the Jews, Trump has selected Latinos as an ethnic minority as a scapegoat responsible for every problem in the United States. Trump says he can’t even talk about other policies until a gigantic wall is built along the southern border of the US to keep Latinos out.

Just as Adolf Hitler’s followers used an elaborate system of conspiracy theories to accuse Jews of doing everything from hoarding wealth to drinking the blood of German children, Donald Trump’s followers are spreading their own hateful mythology to justify Trump’s extreme plans to deprive Latino Americans of their rights.

Prime among these is the belief that illegal border crossings from Mexico are an increasing problem, when, in fact, for the last eight years, border crossings have been in decline. There is no crisis of illegal immigration.

Yet, Trump supporters spread wild stories about immigrants from Latin America flooding across the border, and then being coddled by border patrol agents who have been allowed to grow too soft. Just yesterday, a Trump supporter from among our own readers tried to convince us that when people who cross the border illegally are deported, they are sent back to their countries of origin aboard cushy luxury airplanes, all paid for by American taxpayers. It’s not true. There is no evidence that any such thing is taking place.

Evidence isn’t needed for these conspiracy theories, because they feel right to Trump followers, just as wild tales of bloodthirsty Jews felt right to pro-Nazi Germans. Donald Trump encourages these untrue stories, and even lashes out against people for marrying Mexican citizens, as if U.S. citizenship is polluted by Latino genetics.

Comparing a political leader to Adolf Hitler is an extreme thing to do, and it shouldn’t be done lightly. However, when a political leader uses tactics and ideology akin to that of the Nazis as tools for gaining more power, it’s our responsibility to speak out about what’s going on.

To be fair, Donald Trump is not calling for the mass killing of Latinos. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler didn’t begin his political career by calling for the mass killing of Jews. Violent extremist nationalism doesn’t begin with giant book burnings. It begins with the kinds of tactics that Donald Trump is using to gain support from angry Republican voters.

These tactics are something that Trump should be familiar with, given reports from Trump’s ex-wife that he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches on a bedside table.

It has been said by many people that we don’t really need to worry about Donald Trump, because he’s just a clown whose political support can’t be sustained. People said the same kind of things about Adolf Hitler in the beginning.

I don’t want to look back, years from now, and have to admit to myself that I didn’t speak out against Donald Trump’s hateful extremism early enough. I believe that the American people can take effective action to nip Trump’s anglo-American nationalist campaign in the bud, before it can do lasting harm.

To that end, I have a plan… More on that tomorrow.

Africa Doubter Challenges the World: Show Me a Single Marvel of Africa. What Can You Show Him?

“Where are these marvels? ONE.”

“GIVE me ONE astonishing marvel produced by Africans, Somalians, Ethiopians, Kenyans..whatever (IQ is about the same on AVERAGE). Is that difficult to answer? I guess so. Because if it was not….you would had already providing a list of marvels!!”

So challenges Frank, who believes that Africans “perform very poorly in EVERY place you find them” and that “I have researched African achievements..there is none. Unless you consider achievements murder, rape, Aids, corruption, tribal warfare, slavery (yes!!)…

Frank has agreed to this standard I laid out for a challenge:

“To counter your claim that Africans are lowlifes in ‘every’ circumstance, all that has to be shown is one positive performance by an African. They abound.”

Frank’s explicitly agreed-to standard for a marvel of Africa is relatively low — at the standard of a Nobel Laureate in science or above.

Help me satisfy Frank’s challenge.  In the comments section to this post, please name (and post a link to a source documenting) African achievements.

All we need is ONE marvel of Africa in order for Frank to lose the challenge.  At this point, a reasonable person would admit he is wrong, apologize, and change his mind.  I invite you to observe Frank’s actual behavior and compare it to this reasonable standard.

But of course, there is far more than ONE marvel of Africa, and let’s not simply respond to a naysayer.  Let’s celebrate what’s good.  Let’s document the marvels of Africa.  Please share them in the comments section below.