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Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
March 30, 2019

Buttigieg: racist behaviors cannot be excused because they can be connected to economic issues

So many false memes floating out there all of sudden since his polling numbers have taken off (3rd in Iowa for example zero to 11 percent in a month or so) People take snippets and pull quotes (see here for instance https://www.democraticunderground.com/128733687 of a Twitter troll trying to do just that and Wonkette slapping them down) and try to turn it into some binary, simplistic misrepresentation or phoney 'gothcha' moment that dismisses even moderately deep thought and does nothing to advance our party in terms of drilling down to not only root problems, but intelligent solutions to those very problems as well. It turns into a food fight that does a disservice to everyone, not just Buttigieg.

Buttigieg: “I don’t want this to slide into the idea that some of these racist behaviors can be excused because they can be connected to economic issues.

How Democrats can defeat Trump and his ugly ideas, according to Pete Buttigieg



Plum Line: There’s a genre of half-baked punditry which holds that working-class whites supported Trump in part because they perceive immigrants as a threat to them, economically or culturally. Indiana is a major Trump state. What’s your perception of the view of immigrants in Trump country?

Buttigieg: You might have followed this widely publicized case involving a small-business owner from Granger, the next community over, very conservative. This guy was an important part of the community, undocumented, went in for an annual ICE visit and didn’t come back out. The fiercely protective response came mostly from white members of the community who were conservative and largely voted for Trump, but did not view what he was talking about as going against somebody like Roberto, who they loved. Yes, you have a lot of people in my part of the country who feel we’re spending too many resources on immigrants, even though that’s inaccurate and immigration subsidizes us. But it doesn’t necessarily apply to people you actually know and meet and see.

Plum Line: We’re seeing a rise in white nationalism and serious anti-immigrant fervor in some parts of the country, and also globally. Are you going to be addressing this in a comprehensive way? It occurs to me that the 2020 Democrats should go bigger on these issues.

Buttigieg: Absolutely. We need to recognize 21st-century threats. Cybersecurity, climate security and security in the face of white nationalism are all clear and present security threats that folks on the other side of the aisle either refuse to acknowledge or decline to do anything about. It’s extremely important for Democrats to very vocally talk about those threats.

Plum Line: How do you view white nationalism as a policy problem?

Buttigieg: In the narrow tactical sense, it’s something we need to stay ahead of and monitor the way you would any kind of violent radical movement from abroad. There’s a deeper phenomenon going on. As we see dislocation and disruption in certain parts of the country, from rural areas to my home in the industrial Midwest, and in the economy, this leads to a kind of disorientation and loss of community and identity. That void can be filled through constructive and positive things, like community involvement or family. And it can be filled by destructive things, like white identity politics. This is one thing well-intentioned job training programs often miss: If we’re not attending to that, then making sure somebody’s income is steady or replaced after their place in the economy is disrupted, that’s not really enough.

Plum Line: Can you talk about your broader sense of the role that this type of economic vulnerability plays in creating the conditions for the kind of communitarian collapse that creates an opening for sentiments like white nationalism to flourish?

Buttigieg: I don’t want this to slide into the idea that some of these racist behaviors can be excused because they can be connected to economic issues. But I do think it’s easier to fall into these forms of extremism when you don’t know where your place is. There’s this very basic human desire for belonging that historically has often been supplied by the workplace. It’s been based on the presumption of a lifelong relationship with a single employer. This isn’t just a blue-collar phenomenon. We’ve come to be pretty reliant on the way that your workplace explains who you are. That’s breaking down. That doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing thing, provided that there are alternate sources for community, identity, and purpose. In South Bend, we focus a lot on enlisting people in the project of the city itself. The sense of belonging can be very powerful, and we’re very fragile without it. It’s not accidental that some areas that have seen the most disruption in our social and economic life are those that are most likely to produce a lot of domestic extremists.


Pete Buttigieg Is a Political Star. You Just Don't Know It Yet.



Socialism vs. Capitalism. Buttigieg sidesteps this false choice: Like Elizabeth Warren, he believes in capitalism “as long as there’s a strong rule of law around it.” He’s said that “the biggest problem with capitalism is the way it has become intertwined with power… the growth of business is eroding our democracy. Capitalism without democracy is Russia.” Buttigieg is conscious of his youth in this regard, and points out “we’re dealing with a whole [older] generation that was really shaped by a Cold War environment where socialism was treated as the same thing as communism. And the opposite of that was democracy and capitalism. So to be for socialism was to be for communism and against democracy and capitalism. Now you see how these things are really shaking loose from each other in a lot of ways. They’ve become unbundled. The big question is what you prioritize, and I prioritize democracy. People are trying to make sense of the distance between socialism in Canada, say, and Denmark versus Venezuela. And the answer is democracy.”

“Economic anxiety” and the rise of white nationalism. This is perhaps where Buttigieg is at his most eloquent, turning a venomously and now murderously divisive issue into an opportunity for growth. The Post’s Greg Sargent tweeted of his interview with Buttigieg that “he talks about race and the economy in a way that gets beyond the tedious ‘LOL but economic anxiety’ versus ‘not everyone in Trump country is racist’ debate.” In his recent Morning Joe interview, Buttigieg connected white nationalism to the rise of AI and automation to national service, the military, marriage, and career-hopping in 90 seconds.


Immigration. Buttigieg is staunchly pro-immigrant. He wants to roll back Trump’s policies and raise immigration caps across the board, but he also manages somehow to embrace possibilities for reconciling that position with the right wing’s obsessive and baseless xenophobia: “You might have followed this widely publicized case involving a small-business owner from Granger, the next community over, very conservative. This guy was an important part of the community, undocumented, went in for an annual ICE visit and didn’t come back out.

“The fiercely protective response came mostly from white members of the community who were conservative and largely voted for Trump, but did not view what he was talking about as going against somebody like Roberto, who they loved.
“Yes, you have a lot of people in my part of the country who feel we’re spending too many resources on immigrants, even though that’s inaccurate and immigration subsidizes us. But it doesn’t necessarily apply to people you actually know and meet and see.”


March 29, 2019

Pete Buttigieg 3/28/2019 Inforum at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (video)

Midwestern mayor Buttigieg wows progressive Dems in San Francisco


Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay major presidential candidate, took his campaign Thursday to San Francisco — a heartland of progressive gay politics — but said he is running “not to be a candidate for the LGBTQ community alone, or for any one group,’’ but to speak to all Americans.

“I’m proud of who I am, I am proud of my husband and our marriage,’’ said the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Ind., whose spouse, Chasten, sat nearby as he addressed reporters here prior to a sold-out speech before hundreds at the Commonwealth Club. “It might just be the most normal thing in my life.’’ His husband, Buttigieg said, will have a role in his upstart campaign for the White House because he is “somebody who’s passionate about education, passionate about family ... and his story is part of my story.’’

When asked how he will get past what many believe could be his greatest hurdle in running for the presidency — his status as a married gay man — Buttigieg told POLITICO, “I don’t know how it plays in San Francisco. But I can tell you I came out, during a reelection campaign, in Indiana, while Mike Pence was the governor. And I wound up winning reelection by 80 percent."

Buttigieg was greeted by a rousing standing ovation, whoops and cheers from the audience in the progressive bastion of San Francisco, the hometown of fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, who served as district attorney in the city before becoming the state’s attorney general.

Asked about competing with Harris, Buttigieg said, “I don’t think I’m running against any individual, especially when there’s like 20 of us. I admire a lot of the people in this process, but each of us has a different message.’’


March 29, 2019

Intellectual potted plant Don Jr. on AOC: '3 weeks ago didn't know the three branches of government'

Can he just fuck right off!


Erika Ryan

Ahead of Trump's rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Don Jr. told the crowd that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "three weeks ago didn't know the three branches of government"
March 28, 2019

WaPo Op-Ed: America has already had a gay president


“If elected, you would be the first openly gay president of the United States,” Stephen Colbert said to Pete Buttigieg after the mayor of South Bend, Ind., declared his candidacy. While the characterization of being openly gay or “out” is relatively new, the fact is the United States has already had a gay president whose contemporaries knew it: James Buchanan. Indeed, the United States has also had a gay vice president and, maybe more surprisingly, a gay senator from Alabama.

If students taking U.S. history classes are taught anything about Buchanan, they learn that he was “our only bachelor president.” How quaint. But, by using euphemisms, we falsely educate students — indeed all Americans — about the realities of this country’s history. We also distort how and why Buttigieg’s sexual identity matters today.

Before becoming president in 1857, Buchanan openly lived with William Rufus King, who at various times served as senator from Alabama, ambassador to France and, finally, Franklin Pierce’s vice president. They met in Washington as young politicians, and lived together on and off for more than 16 years until King’s death from tuberculosis in 1853. Buchanan’s biographer, Jean H. Baker, believes that his relationship with the Southerner King partially explains why this Pennsylvanian was a “doughface,” a northerner who did not oppose slavery. Indeed, Buchanan explicitly urged the Supreme Court to deliver an expansive ruling in the Dred Scott case — which denied freed slaves American citizenship and forbade Congress from regulating slavery in U.S. territories — and lobbied Congress to admit Kansas as a slave state.

How do we know Buchanan and King were a couple? In 1844, after King assumed his posting in Paris, Buchanan wrote a letter to a friend, complaining about being alone and not being able to find the right gentleman partner:

“I am now ‘solitary and alone,’ having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them. I feel that it is not good for man to be alone; and should not be astonished to find myself married to some old maid who can nurse me when I am sick, provide good dinners for me when I am well, and not expect from me any very ardent or romantic affection.”

March 28, 2019

Stacey Abrams predicts female or minority candidate will prevail as Democratic presidential nominee


Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who narrowly lost her race for governor in 2018, said Wednesday she believes a woman or a minority candidate will win the Democratic presidential primary next year and said she is considering her own bid. Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Abrams said the country needs to “start evolving what the face of leadership looks like.”

Her comments come amid speculation that she is being considered as a running mate for former vice president Joe Biden, a white male, who appears on the cusp of announcing his candidacy.

A Biden spokesman last week dismissed rumors of “a pre-cooked ticket” as false, and during Wednesday’s interview, Abrams said she and Biden had talked but that serving as his running mate “was not the core issue.”

Appearing later Wednesday morning on ABC’s “The View,” Abrams said she is “open to all options,” including her own White House bid.

“I do not know if I’m running. I’m thinking about everything,” Abrams said. She suggested that if she runs for president, it would not be with the aim of winding up as someone else’s choice for vice president. “I think you don’t run for second place,” Abrams said.



Why The Joe Biden-Stacey Abrams Rumors Won’t Go Away

Abrams is testing her message nationally and plotting her next steps, and Abrams and Biden aides’ denials aren’t quieting the rumors of a team-up.


What is Stacey Abrams going to do next?

It didn’t take long, after Abrams’ work to expand Georgia’s Democratic electorate translated to a near-miss campaign in the state’s gubernatorial election, for that question to loom over the early phase of the 2020 Democratic primary for president. The intrigue went into overdrive with a tweet suggesting she might seek the nomination herself, and with her team insisting that nothing, including a run for the US Senate seat occupied by Georgia Republican David Perdue, is off the table. On Wednesday, she did another round of TV to say again: Her options are open.

The possibility, though, that people are most obsessing over right now: whether or not she’s going to team up with Joe Biden. Rumors of Biden and Abrams talking about a joint ticket at the start of a potential Biden presidential campaign have been rampant over the last week, after the two met for lunch. Aides to both have publicly denied that a “grand plan” exists.

But the whispers haven’t died out. Two sources familiar with the matter say that, no matter what others say, Biden’s team has pitched Abrams on the idea of being Biden’s running mate at the outset of a 2020 campaign. Those sources said the idea was brought up to attract high-level operatives and donors. Neither source was aware of Abrams’ response, nor whether she was currently considering the proposition. Abrams on Wednesday told CBS News that she and Biden “talked about a lot of things,” but the vice presidency “was not the core issue.”

March 28, 2019

Brunei to punish gay sex and adultery with death by stoning


A new law which comes into effect from next week will punish homosexual sex and adultery with death in the small southeast Asian kingdom of Brunei.

Beginning on April 3, any individuals found guilty of the offenses will be stoned to death, according to a new penal code. The punishment will be "witnessed by a group of Muslims."

The country's strict new laws were announced in 2014, and have been rolled out gradually. The latest phase of implementation, including the brutal new provisions, was quietly announced on the Brunei attorney general's website on December 29, 2018.
Human rights groups were quick to express horror at the penal code, which will also order amputation as a punishment for theft.

"Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei's move to put these cruel penalties into practice," Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International, said in a statement.


March 26, 2019

Vanity Fair: Who the hell is Pete Buttigieg, and how is he polling in third place behind Bernie? 11%

Buttigieg Boomlet?: Mayor Pete Is Suddenly a Hot Commodity in Iowa


For a 37-year-old mayor of a small city in Indiana, Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy is lifting off with startling speed, suddenly omnipresent on Twitter and Facebook but also on cable-news channels where Buttigieg’s smarts and charisma have made him an unlikely media star. The Buttigieg boomlet appears to be having an effect: while the South Bend mayor remains virtually unknown nationally, his profile is rising quickly in key early-voting states. Incredibly, the most recent Emerson University poll in Iowa, released Monday, puts Buttigieg in third place in the Democratic primary field with 11 percent.

Buttigieg, a candidate with a grab bag of admirable qualities for a Democrat—youthful, Midwestern, military vet, Harvard grad—still lags behind frontrunners Joe Biden (25 percent) and Bernie Sanders (24 percent). But now he’s nosing out Kamala Harris (10 percent), Elizabeth Warren (9 percent), and O’Rourke (5 percent). That’s an impressive jump, considering when Emerson last spoke to Iowa voters in January, Buttigieg was polling at 0 percent. “We’ve seen growing interest,” Iowa state party chairman Troy Price told NBC News on Sunday. “Iowa caucus-goers and Iowa Democrats are interested in what he has to say and want to hear more.”

Notably, Buttigieg’s appeal straddles a few unusual categories. While 18-to-29-year-old voters are overwhelmingly pro-Sanders, with 44 percent gunning for the Democratic socialist, Buttigieg comes in second, with 22 percent. He also attracted a significant portion of Iowa voters who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic caucuses (tying with Warren at 15 percent), as well as 8 percent of those who voted for Sanders that year. “If Buttigieg is able to maintain his momentum, his candidacy appears to be pulling from the same demographic of young voters as Sanders, and that could become a problem for Sanders,” suggested Spencer Kimball, the director of the Emerson poll.

It remains too early to tell whether Buttigieg can maintain this momentum going into the debate season. But he certainly appears to have cross-categorical appeal. Buttigieg speaks the language of the heartland and the identity-politics progressives, while balancing centrist sensibilities (keeping some aspect of private insurance, for instance) with Twitter-friendly galaxy-brain policy proposals (like packing the Supreme Court). If he can stay on the radar of an easily distracted media without any obvious gaffes, the Buttigieg boomlet may have staying power.

March 26, 2019

Robert Mueller and the collapse of American trust

The reaction to AG William Barr’s Mueller letter reveals a disturbing truth about America.


Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report has not resolved all of the disputes surrounding Donald Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 election. But the reaction to it has revealed one of the ways in which American politics is deeply and profoundly broken.

Democrats have responded to Barr’s summary by calling the attorney general’s impartiality into question (not entirely without reason). Leading members of Congress have raised the alarm about “very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department” and are pushing for the full release of Mueller’s report and for Barr to testify under oath.

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have responded by blasting “the biased media” for spreading “a collective scam and fraud.” The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), even called for investigations into the FBI’s investigation itself, to see if the bureau’s pursuit of Trump and his allies was in any way improper.

A quick gander at social media shows this polarized reaction from partisan politicians is reflected in their parties’ respective media surrogates and rank-and-file voters. There’s not even a pretense of neutrality: Everyone is reading what they want into Barr’s letter, establishing a reality in which their side is right and the other side is making things up.

Barr’s document is particularly vague on some points, an ambiguity heightened by the fact that no one weighing in — from either side — has read the full report. But even the most unequivocal report would be subject to the deeper forces: the death of the neutral arbiter.


much more at the main link at the top

March 26, 2019

If Trump's Border Wall Becomes Reality, Here's How He Could Easily Get Private Land for It

A law is supposed to protect property owners from lowball offers by the government when it takes land through eminent domain. But a letter shows how simple it is for officials to eviscerate what is already a pretty toothless law.


On March 15, President Donald Trump vetoed Congress’ attempt to stop him from declaring a national emergency to build a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico.

His construction plans still face court challenges. But if the effort survives, you can expect this to happen in the near future: The federal government will begin seizing private land to build the wall, a process known as eminent domain.

It’s a fundamental power, laid out in the Fifth Amendment. The government can take your land to build public works, but it has to pay you “just compensation” — the amount that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller to purchase the property.

But the federal power to seize land contains none of the landholder protections commonly found in state and local jurisdictions. The federal government rarely loses its bid to take land. Under a special procedure, federal officials can file a Declaration of Taking that results in a court granting immediate title to the land. Bulldozers can roll the next day. The only fight, essentially, is over how much money the property owner will receive.


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