Sister Souljah Redux

Ira Lacher: We need Joe Biden to speak before Donald J. Trump succeeds in making “law and order” the number 1 issue of the 2020 election. -promoted by Laura Belin

If there ever were a need for a Sister Souljah moment, it’s now.

In 1992, Bill Clinton, locked in a  tight race with President George H. W. Bush, blasted the rapper known as Sister Souljah for urging blacks to kill whites in retaliation for the death of Rodney King at the hands of Los Angeles police, who were acquitted of any crime. Speaking to the Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the Democratic nominee from Arkansas repudiated her comments as incendiary.

“If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black,’ and you reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech,” Clinton told the group, referring to the then-leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Does a presidential nominee's choice of running mate matter?

Dan Guild sees Joe Biden’s choice as influenced by Bill Clinton’s counter-intuitive but “phenomenally successful” pick for vice president. -promoted by Laura Belin

After weeks of speculation, Joe Biden has made his choice: Kamala Harris. He wasn’t late. As the table below shows, his announcement was actually a little earlier than most by a day or two.

Will it matter? Political scientists have studied the matter and usually concluded no. I think the answer is more nuanced than that. 

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Deaths of despair in Clinton, Oelwein, and elsewhere

John Whiston reflects on several books about industrial decline and the social dislocation that has accompanied it. -promoted by Laura Belin

A friend emailed me the other day, a friend I worked with forty years ago at a plywood mill in Bonner, Montana. We pulled veneer on the green chain, very heavy repetitive work. He asked me to talk with his 30-something son, who might be having some legal problems. So, I spent about an hour in conversation with this young man.

His was familiar story, very much what I’d heard as a lawyer in Iowa for 25 years. I learned he had graduated high school with few skills. While his father and grandfather had been able to go to work at the Bonner mill with good wages, medical insurance, a pension, and a strong union, the mill had closed. He then described a few experiences that seemed to fit in a small way with a whole constellation of symptoms that I had seen in my working-class clients: unemployment, underemployment, injuries, illness, disability, substance abuse, terrible credit, family issues, run-ins with the law.

I now suspect that the underlying problem is a profound despair. Granted, not every working-class person displays this despair, but it appears in an increasing portion. Their despondency bleeds out into their families and communities and affects us all.

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Throwback Thursday: Chuck Grassley on Bill Clinton's impeachment trial

“We are here because the President did wrongful acts, and he admits that,” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said in February 1999, when explaining his votes to remove President Bill Clinton from office.

It’s a far cry from the statements he released in September, accusing U.S. House Democrats of “searching for any reason to impeach President Trump since his inauguration because they couldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election.”

With prospects growing that the Democratic-controlled House will vote out articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, it’s worth revisiting in detail how Grassley approached the Senate’s last impeachment trial.

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Steve King implies Clintons should be executed

Ed Fallon discusses yet another offensive meme posted on Steve King’s Facebook page. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m not prone to cliches, but I can’t get this one off my mind: You can’t teach an old dog a new trick. Witness hapless U.S. Representative Steve King (R-Eighteenth Century), who despite public chastisement by fellow House members for his comments in support of white supremacy, was again unable to conceal his propensity to think outside the sanity box.

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Bill Clinton's biggest "accomplishment"

Editor’s note from Laura Belin: Conservative dominance of talk radio is a major problem, and likely has contributed to declining Democratic performance in mid-sized cities and rural areas since the mid-1990s.

Do you realize how embarrassingly rare it is for a progressive voice to be heard on the so-called “public” airwaves? Unless I’ve missed something (and I hope I have), the Fallon Forum is the only progressive political talk show on commercial radio anywhere in Iowa.

That’s not only sad and wrong, it’s dangerous. Our airwaves have been sold off to a shrinking handful of corporate giants. As a result, traditional radio listeners are inundated 24-7 with a steady diet of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and their ilk.

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