Republican version of a press conference

Attorney General William Barr invited the press to ask him questions Thursday morning about the Mueller report. The final question got to the heart of the problem: Reporters didn’t get to read the report first.

“Do you think it creates an appearance of impropriety for you to come out and sort of, what appears to be spinning the report before the public gets a chance to read it?” Ryan Reilly of HuffPost asked, referring to the decision the Trump administration made to hold a news conference about the Mueller report before it was even released to Congress for review.

“No,” Barr replied curtly. He then walked away, ending the news conference.

When you have a job description for someone to be political pimp for a fake president this is, after all, what you get.

Chamber of Commerce = right-wing extremists with the biggest budget in the USA

In 1912, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was created at the behest of President William Howard Taft as a business counterweight to the growing labor movement.

To say it was a success is an understatement. While organized labor has languished, the Chamber has become the single largest lobbying organization in the country. According to Open Secrets, a site that tracks political lobbying and spending, during the past 18 years the Chamber has spent three times more than any other organization on behalf of industry – $1.2 billion versus $351 million by the No. 2 lobbying group, the National Association of Realtors.

This is of great interest in the context of the Chamber’s opposition to the new fiduciary rules for retirement accounts, requiring brokers to put savers’ interests ahead of their own. Opposing the fiduciary standard may be pro-Wall Street, but it’s anti-small business.

So I decided to do a bit of digging to find out where the Chamber’s advocacy pits it against broader business interests. What I found was that the Chamber is at odds with the interests of some, if not most, of its membership in three other areas: climate change, minimum wages and tobacco.

Examination of other positions leads to the conclusion that the Chamber isn’t so much an advocate for industry as much as it is a conservative think tank.

On climate change, consider that 94 percent of Chamber campaign contributions went to candidates who were climate-change deniers…

Not surprisingly, this has provoked a considerable backlash. In 2009, Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, left the Chamber over its position on climate change. Yahoo left for the same reason in 2011. Athletic apparel powerhouse Nike resigned from the Chamber’s board, though it remained a member in order to press the organization to alter its positions. More recently, Nike joined with 100 other companies to support President Barack Obama’s proposed regulations on carbon emissions…

Ignoring those companies opposed to the Chamber’s stand on climate change is easy. Why? Money, of course. A third of the Chamber’s revenue comes from just 19 companies, many of them in the energy industry.

The case of pharmacy giant CVS Health is also instructive. In 2014, it became the first big drug-store chain to remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from its stores — the reasoning being that it’s in a business related to health care. The following year, after reports that the Chamber was working around the world to fight antismoking measures, CVS decided to drop its membership.

Another schism between the Chamber and most of its membership is over the minimum wage. The Washington Post reported that leaked documents from Republican pollster Frank Luntz showed that 80 percent of business owners supported raising the pay floor…

The Chamber is opposed to a higher minimum wage…

When an organization chartered to represent nation-wide interests deliberately chooses to ignore the needs and wants of the whole class premised in that charter it deserves to be dissolved.

Should that include Congress as well as the Chamber of Commerce?

Thanks to my favorite Recovering Republican.

Milestone: most American children under 1 are now minorities

U.S. minorities now represent more than half of America’s population under the age of 1, the Census Bureau said, a historic demographic milestone with profound political, economic and social implications.

“2011 is the first time the population of infants under age 1 is majority minority,” said Robert Bernstein, a Census Bureau spokesman.

The latest statistics — which also count the national population younger than 5 as 49.7% minority in 2011, an increase from 49% in 2010 — portend a future of a more racially diverse America, with new and growing populations playing more important roles politically and economically in years to come, analysts say.

Like other analysts, Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey Institute and professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, isn’t surprised at the trend. “We’ve known it was going to come, but the question was what year the “crossover point” would happen, he said…

Johnson sees the trend as an opportunity for more Americans to embrace diversity. More children are going to be exposed to a more diverse group of classmates, and that will affect attitudes and outlook…

Mention it that way to your friendly neighborhood Tea Party commissar. Then, duck and run!

Jeff Passell, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center, called the Census numbers “a cumulative effect of 35 to 40 years of immigration” bringing large numbers of Latinos, Asians and other immigrants into the United States.

He said the Hispanic population in particular is very young, much more concentrated in child-bearing years, and has a higher fertility rate than the white, non-Hispanic population. Lately, he says, there are a lot more births among native Hispanics in the United States than new Hispanic immigrants, a “cumulative effect” of immigration. Also a cumulative effect of poor education, machismo and religion-based culture.

Michael White, professor of sociology at Brown University, said the rise of minorities fits into a longer-term evolution of the U.S. population…truly a “melting pot,” he said.

White says it’s hard to say how the changes will affect politics and that one can’t assume that ethnic patterns will determine voting patterns. Local economic issues, for example, will evolve differently in different states and cities, and there are economic benefits of having a younger population, he said.

Ain’t he naive? Aside from essential economic issues, cultural divisions that reflect class assignment by ethnicity and color – he makes no mention of the traditional WASP leaders of American conservatism and their even more bigoted cousins in the Tea Party.

Wander through the comments following this CNN article. If you thought you didn’t live in a racist nation you’re in for a sad awakening. The semantics range from patent leather rationales for bigotry to straight-up racism. The more things change, the more some fools fight harder to remain the same.

Anglos become minority in Kansas county

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

U.S. communities are changing complexion as ethnic diversity grows in the American heartland. Though not new in California, Arizona, Texas or Florida, the change of demographics is a bit more surprising in southwest Kansas.

Finney County, Kansas, is one of six counties across the nation that became majority-minority between 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau recently announced. The agency defines majority-minority as a county where more than half the population is made up of a group that is not single-race, non-Hispanic white.

Nearly 10 percent (309) of the nation’s 3,142 counties were majority-minority as of July 1, 2008.

“Why there?” people ask Tim Cruz, former mayor of Garden City, Kansas, the largest town in Finney County. And then, “How do you all get along? It’s just another melting pot you know,” Cruz says. “It makes it nice to have those different cultures. And sure they’re different — we have to understand what they celebrate and why they do it…”

At the Alta Brown Elementary School, the native language of about half of the 409 students is something other than English…

Much of the United States is looking more like Garden City. New census figures show more than one-third of the people in the United States are non-white and a staggering 47 percent of the population under the age of 5 are a minority…

For many immigrant residents, life in Kansas, even working at the meatpacking plants, is much better than where they came from. But Cruz wants the immigrants to know, in his words, that “the American dream is much greater.”

“We catch them trying to tell their kids they don’t need to go to college because this is a good life,” Cruz says. “We have to help educate them saying, ‘No, there is even a better life than doing this and your kids can get to do that.’ ”

Ethnic diversity can be a dynamic that produces as much friendship and knowledge – as hatred. That decision is usually predicated on the behavior of those in power before the immigrant swell threatens entrenched political power.

That behavior doesn’t often offer more than a token of equality. The good will of the best of those in place is required to build harmony.