Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Thanks to a reporter, we know Tipton won’t condemn Trump’s sympathy for white supremacists

Monday, August 21st, 2017

This is why you need regional reporters who will hold elected officials accountable.

Realvail.com’s David O. Williams wanted to report the thoughts of his area Congressman, Scott Tipton, on Trump’s handling of the recent actions by Neo-Nazis. So he called his office last week, and here’s what he reported.

Williams noted in a post that Tipton had been “careful not to criticize the president, tweeting: ““Neo-Nazis are abhorrent & only try to drive America apart. We must stand up to racism, antisemitism & hateful rhetoric wherever we see it.”

Williams: I asked a Tipton spokeswoman for the congressman’s thoughts on the president’s handling of the situation, including his comments Tuesday that demonstrated sympathy for neo-Nazi, white supremacist and KKK protesters, calling some “very fine people.” I also wondered if there should be a federal law banning the use of Nazi and other white supremacist logos, the way there is in Germany.

But she referred to his original tweet, saying, “Those are his feelings on the situation, period.”

Colorado Republicans Gardner, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman all pushed push back directly against Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.

Although he called Trump’s Access Hollywood sexual assault comments “appalling,” Tipton steadfastly supported Trump and refused to outright condemn his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric during the campaign, instead trying to link his Democratic opponent — former state Sen. Gail Schwartz — to Hillary Clinton.

Obviously, this is a grain-of-sand contribution to the national and local debate about Trump and the local reaction to him. But it’s a grain that would never exist unless a reporter created it.

Can conservatives and progressives trust journalism for the sake of fighting “fake news?”

Friday, May 19th, 2017

To fight fake news in a bipartisan way, Republicans and Democrats need to find it in themselves to trust professional journalism, while reserving verification rights.

We need to agree that the role of journalists is to enforce truthfulness as a basic ground rule for civic discourse, while advocates reserve the right, of course, to disagree with the conclusions of journalists.

So it kills me that conservatives, like Colorado State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), won’t accept respected journalistic fact checkers as arbiters of fake news.

But maybe there’s a road to compromise in liberty advocate Ari Armstrong’s thoughtful definition of fake news that he articulated last month–much of which I agree with.

Armstrong and I diverge from the thinking of most journalists on the definition of fake news, because we both define fake news based on the content of the news story, not its source. In other words, we both agree that a fake news story could come from the Washington Post, Brietbart, BigMedia.org, PeakPolitics.com, or TheFreePatriot.org.

If you define fake this way, you allow conservatives, who might hate the Washington Post, and progressives, who might hate Breitbart, to agree on a starting point to discuss how to address the fake news problem. So I accept the idea that any outlet could produce fake news partly for sake of compromise with conservatives.

But how could someone like me, who has such respect for journalism, possibly agree that the New York Times could be a potential source of fake news? Because, as Armstrong points out, a credible news outlet like the Times will go to great length not to make errors and to correct them quickly. So if it makes a mistake, and produces a fake news item, its fake news will likely be ephemeral fake news.

But even if we accept that any news source can produce fake news, we need a practical way for liberals and conservatives to agree on a definition of fake news.

This definition has to rely on arbiters, rather than an individual’s own case-by-case assessment, as proposed by State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and, in part, by liberty-advocate Ari Armstrong, because just like in any competition, partisans need referees to judge the game, in this case, to assess the facts.

That’s why it’s so unfortunate that most conservatives won’t name journalistic entities that can help us referee the facts. By doing this, they are rejecting the role of professional journalism in society.

Both Armstrong and Neville have rejected the Fake News Pledge, which is a promise not to post fake news on Facebook. It defines fake news as a story “deemed false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet.” It also must “packaged to look somehow like news.”

That definition could snag an article from the Times, but as a practical matter, it’s unlikely that a fact checker like Factcheck.org will find a factual error in a New York Times article before the Times corrects the error.

So I think the Fake News Pledge’s simple definition should work for conservatives and progressives.

But who’s optimistic? With Donald Trump’s constant berating of mainstream media as “fake news,” how could Trump followers ever accept journalists as arbiters of facts, especially given that everyday Republicans in America don’t seem to. The Pew Research Center reported this month:

Today, in the early days of the Trump administration, roughly nine-in-ten Democrats (89%) say news media criticism keeps leaders in line (sometimes called the news media’s “watchdog role”), while only about four-in-ten Republicans (42%) say the same.

That’s not encouraging for the prospects of Republicans accepting the Fake News Pledge and the role of journalist fact checkers as arbiters of fakeness. And it’s bad news, no matter how you look at it.

Contrary to blogger’s claim, reporter sought comment and clarification and utterances of any kind

Monday, May 8th, 2017

In a blog post April 29, ColoradoPolitics.com reporter Joey Bunch criticized Western Wire, a news service backed by the oil and gas industry via the Western Energy Alliance, for a post that, Bunch wrote, “left an impression” that last Saturday’s climate protests were canceled due to snow.

Bunch reported:

The article goes on to cite a Facebook post about the event in Colorado Springs being cancelled. The story, however, makes mentions of Denver, including a forecast of 12 inches of snow in the metro area, but never says whether its event is cancelled or a go.

I e-mailed [Western Wire reporter] Johnson to ask about the “Denver-area climate marches” the article refers to, and why an industry site is doing a weather story and sending it out to reporters who might be thinking about covering the event.

He replied that the story specifically cites the Colorado Springs event. “And where exactly in the story did we dissuade reporters from going?” he wrote about the story e-mailed to reporters.

The Western Wire article failed to mention the Colorado Springs march was moved to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. beginning at Colorado Springs City Hall.

Many advocates would cry and wail about Bunch’s post in anonymous tweets, but to his credit, Western Wire’s Matt Dempsey responded directly in a post titled, “Our Friend Joey Bunch Missed The Mark.” He claimed Bunch “missed the point of our reporting entirely.”

I agree with Bunch that Dempsey’s post created the impression that the Denver demonstrations were at least threatened with cancellation, if not cancelled. But Dempsey claims in his post that he had actually wanted reporters to attend the rallies. “After all, the giant snowstorm that hit Colorado highlighted the supreme irony of the anti-fossil fuel activists’ campaign,” wrote Dempsey in his blog post. And he pointed out that Western Wire’s post linked to updated information about the Colorado Springs rally.

But I can’t figure why Dempsey concluded his post this way:.

It also makes us wonder why Joey didn’t just ask for a clarification in his email, instead of seeking comment for a critique of our story. Western Wire, like any other news outlet, is open to readers asking for clarifications or corrections. But that’s not what happened here.

The question to Joey is: Why not?

This is funny because Bunch sought (and got!) a comment from Western Wire. He’s a reporter, not a reader who might seek a correction or clarification. He asked for Western Wire’s thoughts or utterances of any kind–including clarifying variety. That’s what journalists do when they send you an email with questions and an explanation of what they’re doing.

Bunch provided me with the questions and background information that he emailed to Western Wire prior to writing his story. Here it is.

Did you guys try to confirm that with anybody yesterday? You really come away from your story thinking the thing was cancelled. I’m going to blog about the event, and it’s a side note that an industry wire service was seemingly dissuading reporters and attendees from going the day before. I’m not sure what the point of a weather story on Western Wire was all about.

But Dempsey says Bunch should have followed up again, if necessary, to determine Western Wire’s intentions. Dempsey told me, via email:

Our point is that Joey made a bad assumption by asserting that the Western Wire news story suggested the event was cancelled, and that somehow by posting it online and emailing it that we were discouraging reporters from attending.

Instead of trying to understand what the story actually said, he was in a rush to get comment for a rebuttal story of his own.

Following his story we felt a need to weigh in through a commentary piece. Our aim was to be respectful while still making our point.

Bunch is more worried about the journalism practiced at Western Wire.

“I’m not offended at all by Matt Dempsey’s opinion of me, and I don’t know any reporters who are taking it seriously,” Bunch emailed in response to my request for a comment. “I’m not. It’s the disregard for journalistic principles of fairness and accuracy in both blogs that bothers me as a person who’s been doing this for 30-something years. It doesn’t speak well for Western Wire as a news source or the Western Energy Alliance, if it continues to stand behind it.”

Dempsey continues to stand behind his post, maybe not understanding how serious it is to claim a journalist didn’t do the most basic aspect of his job–when in actuality it seems Dempsey didn’t do his by not giving Bunch the info he needed.

Don’t steal my liberal flag

Friday, November 25th, 2016

If you read longtime Colorado writer Ari Armstrong, you know he swims in conservative circles, but he’s frustrated with liberals and conservatives. He’s an outspoken proponent of abortion rights and drug legalization, for example, but he also opposes, generally, progressive government do-good programs. He doggedly tries to apply a logical philosophical framework to the stuff he advocates.

So you’re not surprised to find him as the author of the book Reclaiming Liberalism: And Other Essays on Personal and Economic Freedom.

Armstrong is uber uncomfortable with the current conception of “conservatism” and “liberalism,” as he should be, because he’s caught in the middle, or on the right side of the middle.

He writes that liberals and conservatives lack a “logical coherence of beliefs about ideology or policy,” and they “often engage in ad-hoc rationalization rather than true reasoning about their beliefs.”

He bemoans conservatives who ”pragmatically embrace a huge array of statist measures,” and he wants to create a version of “liberalism” that fits his own ideology, a liberalism that would mostly reflect the logic of libertarianism, without a libertarian’s “animosity” toward bare-bones government. But, still, minimal state intervention is essentially his litmus test for acceptable policy.

So he wants to steal my liberal flag and fly it himself, leaving me in the lurch, like he is now.

But I’m more or less happy with the internal logic of “liberalism,” as it’s broadly understood today—as a utilitarian set of policies that promote opportunity for individuals. (I’d tweak liberalism to be more statist and less politically correct and identity driven, but I’m broadly ok with it.)

Liberal policies shouldn’t always maximize personal freedom, because as a practical matter, this would come at the expense of liberty and opportunity for all, especially the disadvantaged.

From Armstrong’s perspective, liberalism today is inconsistent, favoring nasty restrictions on individual liberty in some cases (gun regulations, smoking bans, welfare, minimum wage, corporate restraints) while standing up for them in too few (abortion rights, speech, press).

But the core flaw with Armstrong’s readable, clear, and challenging book of essays (highly recommended) is that, as long as you accept that government should have any power at all, and Armstrong is willing to allow government to “protect individual rights,” liberalism and conservatism, even as defined by Armstrong, will never be completely logical philosophically. They will both require inconsistencies.

In fact, at the end of the day, as a practical matter, a guy who’s as free thinking as Armstrong won’t ever be satisfied with the rational basis for groupings of policies (liberalism or conservatism) advocated by politicians who have to deal with the real world.

Bottom line, my advice for Armstrong is to give up trying to reclaim liberalism. He should chill out and  accept his position as an outlier, a rogue in the conservative shark tank. Or better yet, he should jump out of the infested water and join me in my liberal tent. He’s welcome there.

Colorado GOP chair appears to side with those who think Trump doesn’t need magic number of delegates to win on first ballot

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

Former Fox 31 Denver political reporter Eli Stokols writes that GOP operatives see Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination if he gets close to the magic number of 1,237 delegates.

Colorado GOP Steve House appears to agree, according to Stokols’ post yesterday:

When the convention opens in Cleveland in mid-July, roughly 200 delegates will arrive as free agents, unbound by the results of primaries or caucuses in their states. Trump’s campaign is confident they can win as many of them as they must in order to get to 1,237 on the first ballot.

“Trump has to get to 1,237, but there’s a lot of talk about, ‘What is the real number?’” said another RNC member. “Whatever half the uncommitted number is, that’s probably a reasonable number.”

“I think a lot of people think if he gets within 50 to 100 [of 1,237], he’ll be able to carry it,” said Steve House, Colorado’s GOP chairman and an unbound delegate already being courted by the Trump and Cruz campaigns.

House hasn’t said how he’d vote, but he validates the point that Trump has a serious shot a locking up the nomination during the first round of voting at the GOP national convention in Cleveland, even if he doesn’t arrive with all the delgates he needs.

This is a substantial departure from the narrative you hear most often in the news, that Trump has to have the full 1,237 going in to win on the first ballot.

Breitbart should state that Woods likes Trump, making her involvement in pro-Cruz shenanigans unlikely

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Breitbart’s Julia Hahn reports that four Colorado lawmakers, who are members of Ted Cruz’s “Colorado Leadership Team, voted against a 2015 bill that would have created a presidential primary in Colorado.

Trump has said the absence of a primary or caucus vote helped Cruz trounce Trump in the race for Colorado delegates. And Hahn’s story implies that Cruz supporters in Colorado’s legislature might have been working to squash Trump as early as last year, when they voted against a bill establishing open primary that might have benefited Trump.

“Social media posts, along with Cruz’s campaign website, reveal that Sen. Ted Cruz supporters in the Colorado Republican Party were responsible for crushing an effort to give Colorado the ability to vote in a state primary…The four Republicans who voted against the initiative were Sen. Kevin Grantham, Sen. Kent Lambert, Sen. Laura Woods, and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.”

The trouble with this conspiracy theory is that Woods is actually factually on record as saying Trump is one of her top two favorite presidential candidates. As such, Woods is the only elected official in the state to affirmatively say she likes Trump.

Woods “narrowed the field” after watching the GOP prez debate in Boulder, and she concluded that her “favorites are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump” (here at 25 min, 50 seconds).

Later, Woods “liked” a Facebook post by The Conservative Update, which stated:

‘Like’ if you would vote for Donald Trump if he were the 2016 GOP nominee.

So if Woods was secretly in the tank for Cruz last year, when she voted against the presidential-primary bill, she, at a minimum, had a change of heart after being wowed by Trump at the Boulder GOP debate. But, more likely, she voted against the prez-primary bill for other reasons.

In any case, Hahn should update her post with the fact that Woods praised Trump and said he was one of her favorite candidaates along with Cruz, before she jumped on the Cruz boat.

Bartels’ blog: Smart PR? A partisan problem? A new kind of journalism?

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

When political reporter Lynn Bartels left The Denver Post last year for a communications job at the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office, it appeared she’d left journalism.

But it turns out, maybe not completely—depending on your definition of journalism.

As the communications director for Colorado Republican SOS Wayne Williams, Bartels is writing a blog with some of the same types of stories that you saw her write at The Post and, before that, at the Rocky Mountain News.

Titles of recent Bartels posts, for example, include: “Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser,” “Back by popular demand! Sarah Moss’ State of the Union bingo!,” “More babies! Colorado politicos celebrate!,” “OnSight Public Affairs’ holiday card is outta site,” “Wayne Williams: Colorado secretary of state and good Samaritan,” “Secretary of State Wayne Williams outlines agency’s goals, achievements at SMART act hearing,” and “Sen. Cory Gardner, ‘our environmentalist,’ addresses CACI.”

Some of this is good PR for Williams and his office. Some of it is human-interest journalism. Some of it is soft political reporting.

Regardless, it’s quickly become part of Denver’s journalism mix, in the era of disappearing reporters and starved political junkies.

And Bartels’ blog comes with a caveat that most other blogging flaks in the world can only dream of, “The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of the office.”

When she started her new job, Bartels explains, she told her boss, “The Post and the Rocky used to have people assigned to the Secretary of State’s office. And they don’t have that anymore. It’s just part of generic government. Some of this stuff you’re just not going to get promoted, if you don’t promote it yourself.” He signed off on the concept.

But why all the posts that have nothing to do with the SOS office?

“When I started, someone from the Secretary of State’s office said, ‘This is going to be solely about the Secretary of State’s office, isn’t it?’ And I said, ‘No, who would read it?’ And Wayne burst out laughing and said the same thing.”

So for those of you who might hate the idea of Bartels doing Christmas-card stories on the taxpayer dime, she makes a good PR case for it, I’d say. And hey, her blog is featured number one on the list of “costumer favorites” on the Colorado SOS home page.

Bartels blog could possibly be a model for how PR at a state agency could compensate, in an itsy bitsy way, for diminished journalism.

But you run into trouble when a state-sponsored blog is used for partisan purposes. Or even if it’s perceived that way. That’s yuck bad.

Bartels acknowledged the problem with, “If the secretary of state were Scott Gessler, people would be blowing a rod.”

As it is, Bartels says one of her posts was used by a Democratic candidate for fundraising (without Bartels approval or knowledge, she says). A handful mention candidates, giving them a de facto PR boost.

Bartels wrote a partisan-looking post Jan. 12 titled, Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser. This post is basically a GOP fluff piece, going out of its way to name Republican candidates and saying “at times” Senate President Bill Cadman is “pretty close” to being as funny as Bill Murray.

But if you look at her blog, it’s clear Bartels, who says she’s a Republican herself, isn’t blatantly pushing Republicans over Dems (outside of her boss). She’s written favorable posts about Democrats Sen. Kerry Donovan and former Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, for example. Still, I think Bartels should stay away from mentioning candidates, potential candidates, and highly partisan stuff.

As for breaking news, one of Bartels’ tweets broke a story about a GOP candidate entering the governor’s race. One blog post broke news about the death of a well-liked Republican consultant.

“If I wanted to break political news on that blog, I could break it a lot. It’s not my goal,” she says, adding she’s too busy anyway. “I could have broken the Jon Keyser story, but I didn’t.”

“I’ve used the blog to promote our office, to promote county clerks, to promote things that we’re doing,” Bartels says, adding that the blogging results in long hours for her. “The county clerks love it.”

“If groups invite Wayne to speak, I’ll write something,” she said. (But I’m guessing fewer Democrats than Republicans will want to hear Williams.)

It makes you wonder, are PR folk pitching stories to Bartels, like they did when she was at The Post?

Not really, she tells me, sounding a little vague.

“Hey, I’ve got to take this call,” Bartels said, ending our conversation. Some things never change.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that a Republican used Bartels’ blog post for fundraising purposes. It was actually a Democrat, according to Bartels. 

GOP critic fires back: Is the Colorado Republican Party trying to hide something?

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Some Colorado Republicans aren’t happy about the state vice chair’s request that fellow Republicans stop publicly dissecting the work of State Chair Steve House “word-by-word, line-by-line in an effort to demonstrate his incompetence (at best) or corruptness (at worst).”

In a sharp response to GOP Vice Chair Derrick Wilburn’s Dec. 28 open letter, longtime Republican activist Marilyn Marks asked Wilburn for specifics about why her scrutiny of House should be curtailed.

“My over-riding question here—Did I write something inaccurate, or untrue?” asked Marks in a letter to Wilburn. “Or are you objecting to my writing true statements that the party does not like seeing published?”

Marks: “I see party officers here acting with irrational emotion because they are criticized for false financial reporting, financial mismanagement, flawed election processes, disparate application/violation of bylaws, and poor personnel decisions. If the criticism is unfounded, then answer it with facts. If the criticism is valid, then remedy the problem—don’t attempt to just shoot the messenger. If I am wrong, tell me where I’m wrong on the facts I allege. I make plenty of mistakes. I’ll correct errors immediately if you point them out.”

After being challenged on Facebook by Marks and others, Wilburn wrote in another post:

Wilburn: “Steve House is our boy. Whether I like it, you like it, Juan Valdez or Pope Francis likes it or not is moot. He’s carrying the baton on the final lap of this race. Watching closely is fine and good, but for Republicans to be actively sticking our feet out in an effort to trip him, I would argue, is counter-productive. When we show up at his speeches, record them, then post onto the internet with commentary that’s something we’d expect from ColoradoPols – we’re doing COPols’ job for them. The old ‘with friends like this who needs enemies?’ comes to mind. This is not helpful.”

Wilburn’s comments come after years of upheaval within the Colorado Republican Party, as it has slowly lost power in the state, as chronicled not just by liberal ColoradoPols but all media outlets in the Colorado.

Grassroots GOP activists claim that Republican Party mismanagement, in addition to unprincipled candidates, backed by powerful but clueless establishment interests, are the root cause of the GOP’s problems.

Other Republicans argue that GOP activists and GOP base voters in Colorado, who take ardent conservative stands on an array of issues, are out of touch with mainstream Colorado opinion. These so-called liberty activists, they argue, scare off the swing voting bocs, like Hispanics and women, needed to win elections in this state.

 

A Colorado governor who fought bigotry–and won in the end

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

During WWII, the U.S. government forced Japanese Americans  from their homes on the West Coast and moved them to interior states. Kansas Gov. Payne Ratner, reflected the opinions of many governors when she responded at the time with, “Japs are not wanted and not welcome in Kansas.”

With at least 22 Republican governors saying they’ll try to keep Syrian refugees out of their states, Denver University’s Seth Masket wrote a blog post yeserday reminding us of this and pointing out that Colorado Governor Ralph Carr “stood out” among his fellow governors at the time and declared that the forced relocation of the Japanese Americans under Executive Order 9066 was unconstitutional. He also welcomed them to Colorado.

Masket didn’t mention Hickenlooper, who has welcomed Syrian refugees, but the loose parallel between the two Colorado governors isn’t lost on anyone reading Masket’s post, titled “The governor who didn’t give in to fear … and paid a price for it.

Masket: “Obviously, the relocation of American citizens of Japanese ancestry is not the same as accepting refugees from another country,” writes Masket, who’s an Associate Professor of Political Science at DU. “But there are clear parallels, particularly in the political incentives governors are confronting. It’s not just that it’s easy to demagogue against foreign invaders; it’s that it’s sometimes politically risky not to. The governors refusing to take in Syrian refugees today may or may not know Ralph Carr’s name, but they have surely imagined his fate, and they don’t want the same for themselves.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Masket cites the Principled Politician, former 9News reporter Adam Schrager’s much-acclaimed biography of Carr. The book shows the respect Carr has now, in hindsight, even though his stance during WWII ended his political career.

I asked Schrager, who retweeted Masket’s post, about the similarities–or lack thereof–between Carr’s stance and the situation today.

Schrager: There are some similarities and some differences with the Syrian refugee situation as it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison, primarily because the “refugees” in question in 1942 already lived in the U.S. They simply weren’t citizens, and as students of Executive Order 9066 will point out, even citizenship did not matter to President Roosevelt and, at that time, to the U.S. Supreme Court, which originally upheld the de facto jailing of American citizens of Japanese descent in addition to those who weren’t.

The other major difference between the times is that Gov. Carr was basically alone in his stand. Nowhere in the country at that time do you find a politician of equal stature both agreeing to help the U.S. government “win the war” by housing/incarcerating people of Japanese descent as well as defending the Constitutional rights of Americans citizen with that heritage to remain free. One of the things that’s always struck me about Gov. Carr is how lonely he was, going against friends and relatives, who didn’t understand where he was coming from. As inflammatory as some may believe the rhetoric is today, consider that Wyoming Gov. Nels Smith said in 1942, “If anyone of Japanese descent were sent to his state, they’d be found hanging from every pine tree.” (Source: http://www.heartmountain.org/lifeincamp.html)

In today’s situation, while there are a number of politicians who are “refusing” to allow Syrian refugees into their states, there are also a number who are more accepting.

The major similarity is that, in both times, state leaders, must have known then and currently know now, they really have no authority in this area. It’s the federal government which determines immigration policy and politics aside, there’s really not much a state can do to stop a resettlement inside its borders. Sure, they can try to stop funding, but courts at the highest levels of our country have determined that even illegal immigrants are entitled to emergency care, education, etc. From reading the sentiments of 1942 leaders, including people like Earl Warren, there’s no doubt in my mind they were legitimately afraid and their comments reflect that. However, a sober approach and a conversation with their states’ respective attorneys general, would have alerted them to the realization they were powerless to stop what the federal government was proposing.

My gut reaction when I heard about this actually surrounded a couple of other situations in recent history, both of which I have little knowledge of, but I think might prove to be a more direct correlation to the topic of Syrian refugees, but even they don’t seem to fit exactly. The first also dates back to World War II when the federal government actually created Prisoner of War camps throughout the interior of the country to house mostly German and Italian soldiers captured overseas. I wonder how communities back then reacted to that.

The second and maybe slightly more relevant surrounds the resettlement of the Hmong, also largely here in the Midwestern part of the country, after the Vietnam War. Again, I have no direct knowledge of any type of xenophobia related to that situation, but I’d imagine—even though in that case you had people who had fought with us—I’m guessing there were fears of welcoming people who looked like those we had spent years fighting to communities.

In his blog post, Masket quotes Carr:

“The Japanese are protected by the same Constitution that protects us. An American citizen of Japanese descent has the same rights as any other citizen… If you harm them, you must first harm me. I was brought up in small towns where I knew the shame and dishonor of race hatred. I grew to despise it because it threatened [pointing to various audience members] the happiness of you and you and you.”

 

 

Trump puts media spotlight on immigration policies of Colorado politicians, like Coffman

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Reflecting yesterday on Donald Trump’s recent pledge to deport, cattle-car style, each and every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America–and then expedite the return of the “good ones”– the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent called on reporters to extract detailed plans from the herd of Republican presidential candidates regarding their positions on immigration.

Indeed, one hopes that the moderators of the upcoming GOP debate will see an opportunity in Trump’s cattle car musings: why not ask all the GOP candidates whether they agree with him? And if not, where dothey stand on the 11 million exactly? Remember, Mitt Romney’s big “self-deportation” moment came at a GOP primary debate…

The point is that eventually, we’ll need to hear from all the GOP candidates as to what they would do about the 11 million — beyond vaguely supporting legal status, but only after some future point at which we’ve attained a Platonic ideal of border security. Trump may have just made it more likely that this moment will come sooner, rather than later. One can hope, anyway.

It’s a good idea and has direct application here in Colorado, where Republicans, like Rep. Mike Coffman, continue to slide by journalists with vague and shifting statements about immigration.

Like Trump, Coffman has said he favors some sort of “legal status” for adult undocumented immigrants, but it’s not clear whether he’d boot out everyone first, and then allow the good apples to return–or if he’d skip the cattle-car phase and grant “legal status” to the immigrants here.

Either way, would he wait for seamless border security? And what’s good enough, when it comes to the border?

And then, assuming the border is sufficiently seamless, and whether he chooses the cattle-car or no cattle-car opition, does Coffman really want t0 create an underclass of millions of noncitizens in America, with no voice in government? Would we be looking at good old fashioned taxation without representation? What rights (voting?) and responsibilities (military service? taxes?) would be denied? Even Helen Krieble, a Colorado resident who first proposed the cattle-car option, advocates giving a political voice to undocumented immigrants through citizenship.

Details, details. I wouldn’t want to go there either, if I were Coffman–because he’d get bitten by both progressive and conservative sharks. But that’s not a problem for journalists who should be asking him the questions.