January 3, 2012

Before the Iowa Caucuses: Romney Leads, Paul Surges, Gingrich Plummets

More than 100,000 Iowa residents are expected to gather in their communities tonight to participate in the first caucuses in the nation to begin the process of picking a Republican candidate for president. The New York Times compared tonight’s statewide events to “pulling the trigger on the starting pistol for the 2012 campaign.”

Six candidates are vying for the party’s nomination. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is considered the front-runner. Although Romney has spent millions of dollars on negative ads against Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House, Romney spent the last days before the caucus attacking President Barack Obama and not mentioning his Republican rivals. Gingrich was the front runner in the race until early December when Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), the only woman in the competition, accused him in a nationally televised debate of taking $1.6 million in lobbying fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gingrich said he wasn’t lobbying; he was consulting a “historian.” Bachmann, who has lagged in the polls, told the New York Times on caucus day there could be “a miracle” and that she might actually win. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gained in the polls in the past few weeks and is said to be among the top three candidates alongside Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Still plugging away despite a precipitous fall in the polls is Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

In addition to the allegations that he was profiting from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises that played a role in the low-quality mortgage scam that was a major factor in the 2008 economic collapse, Gingrich has a scary, l’etat c’est moi political platform. He promised, among other things if he becomes president, to defy U.S. Supreme Court rulings that he didn’t agree with, abolish lower courts, and allow judges to be impeached, subpoenaed even arrested by U.S. Marshals if their rulings were deemed “anti-American” by the Gingrich administration, meaning himself.

Paul, on the other hand, has gained support and a surge in the polls, placing him second to Romney, because of his anti-war stance and his recent criticism of the National Defense Authorization Act. “Little by little, in the name of fighting terrorism, our Bill of Rights is being repealed…” Paul said in The Nation. “The Patriot Act, as bad as its violation of the 4th Amendment, was just one step down the slippery slope. The recently passed [NDAA] continues that slip toward tyranny and in fact accelerates it significantly… The Bill of Rights has no exemption for ‘really bad people’ or terrorists or even non-citizens. It is a key check on government power against any person. This is not a weakness in our legal system; it is the very strength of our legal system.”

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January 4, 2012

Oh How the Republican Race Has Changed After Iowa Caucus

In the weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucus, the unofficial start to the 2012 campaign season, the race appeared to be between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich for the Republican Party candidacy.

But if the Iowa Caucus is to be used as a measuring stick, there appears to be a surging candidate for that top spot in Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania Senator finished in second, by only eight votes, to Romney and well ahead of Texas Rep. Ron Paul, in third, and Gingrich, in fourth.

Paul, who was hoping for a breakout victory, had a disappointing showing but told his supporters to “be ready and raring” according to an article by The Washington Post.

The remaining candidates whose names have been mentioned in this race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Backmann finished fifth and sixth. Following the caucus, Backmann announced she was suspending her run for this election on Wednesday morning in a press conference and Perry has retreated to Texas to reassess his campaign according to an article by CBS News.

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said in her press conference.

Next up for the Republican candidates will be New Hampshire on January 10. According to an article by Huffington Post, Santorum shouldn’t see the kind of support he saw in Iowa. Romney however according to CBS News holds a commanding lead.

Going into the caucus Gingrich held a 2.4 lead over Romney as of January 2 in the latest Real Clear Politics polls. Paul was in third and Santorum in sixth. Only time will tell how this caucus will change the layout of the polls.

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January 11, 2012

Romney Puts Distance Behind Him After New Hampshire Caucus

All signs leading up to the New Hampshire Caucus on January 10, pointed to Mitt Romney running away from his Republican rivals. Even with attacks from the rest of the Republican candidates aimed at him, Romney still came out on top Tuesday night and is now in the drivers seat of the Republican Race.

Romney pulled in 39.3 percent of the votes with Ron Paul in a distant second with 22.9 percent. The remaining candidates finished in the following order: Jon Huntsman (16.9 percent), Newt Gingrich (9.4 percent), Rick Santorum (9.4 percent), Rick Perry (.7 percent).

In the latest Real Clear Politics poll Romney has become the front runner with a 10.6 point lead over Gingrich, followed by Santorum, Paul, Perry and Huntsman.

Following Tuesday night’s caucus, candidates arrived in South Carolina to prepare for the next caucus, one that could be foreshadowing of the Republican candidate.

“If Romney can win South Carolina, he’s probably going to be the nominee,” Gingrich said in a New York Times article. “He has so much money. If he also has the momentum, it’s going to be very hard to stop him.”

Awaiting Romney in South Carolina leading up to the January 21 caucus are intensified attacks from his rivals all of which Romney says will fall flat, addressing Perry and Gingrich by name on Wednesday according to The Wall Street Journal.

Unlike the fall out from Iowa’s caucus, there doesn’t appear to be any of the remaining six candidates deciding to drop out yet and Perry who is sitting in a distant fifth doesn’t feel Romney has it in the bag yet.

“If Mitt’s thinking he’s got it in the bag, he’s in for a surprise,” said the Texas Governor in the Times. “I’m the outsider who’s willing to step on some toes.”

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January 18, 2012

Newt Gingrich Loves Indian Killer Andrew Jackson

There’s a saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, a historian, hasn’t forgotten the past; in fact, he’d like to repeat it. Particularly Andrew Jackson’s “kill thine enemy” approach.

At the umpteenth Republican debate in front of a packed audience at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on January 16, Gingrich conjured up the spirit of Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, as a model for the way the U.S. should approach its “enemies” today.

“We’re in South Carolina,” Gingrich told the crowd, as if they needed to be reminded of where they were. “South Carolina and the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabred by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear cut idea about America’s enemies: Kill them!” The crowd roared its approval.

Although Gingrich’s spiritual journey has taken him through a cafeteria of Christian variations from Lutheranism to being a Southern Baptist to his current status as a Catholic, there is no sign of Christian forgiveness or mercy in his appropriation of Jackson’s attitude toward “enemies.”

Jackson, historians and just about every American Indian in the universe will recall, was the architect of the Indian Removal Act, America’s legalization of ethnic cleansing. He signed the legislation on May 28, 1830. The Indian Removal Act resulted seven years later in the removal of 46,000 Indigenous Peoples from the lands east of the Mississippi, and opened up 25 million acres of land “to white settlement and to slavery,” according to PBS. The area was home to the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole nations.

In a speech six months earlier, Jackson laid out his policy for ethnically cleansing the Indians from their homelands. Hanging over the heads of Indian nations that resisted removal was the not-so-thinly-veiled threat of genocide “by destroying the resources of the savage.” But Jackson saw removal as an act of “humanity and national honor.” “Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character,” Jackson said. “Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for awhile their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.”

While Gingrich aspires to emulate a man who advocated genocide and ethnic cleansing for the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, he’s not the only actor on the national stage to hold Jackson as a model. Last spring just before Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R.1540, military commission prosecutors in the course of making their case that providing aid to the enemy is a war crime under military jurisdiction, compared the Seminole Indians to terrorists and cited Andrew Jackson’s murderous actions against the Seminoles as a justification and precedent for prosecuting Al Qaeda “suspects.”

H.R. 1540 was approved by the Senate on December 1, 2011, and signed into law by President Obama on New Year’s Eve. It gives the president power to seize “suspected terrorists” anywhere in the world, including American citizens on U.S. soil, and keep them locked up indefinitely without charge or trial.

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‘Not Very Much?’ Mitt Romney’s $374,000 in Speaking Fees Would Go Far in Indian Country

Filed under: News Alerts,Politics — Tags: , , , , — ICTMN Staff @ 8:09 pm

In South Carolina on Tuesday, in a moment of candor he surely regrets, Mitt Romney told a television reporter that “I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.” (A version of the clip is below.)

Although Romney has repeatedly declined to release his tax returns, he did file a personal financial disclosure as is required by all who are seeking the Presidential nomination. According to that filing, Romney was hired to give nine speeches and was paid a total of $374,327. The least he made for a speech was $11,475, paid by Claremont McKenna College, and the most was $68,000, paid on two different occasions.

Romney’s detractors and pundits on the left have been quick to point out that, to the vast majority of Americans, Romney’s speaking revenues are hardly “not very much.” The average American household makes $49,445 annually, according to the latest U.S. Census data; Romney’s speaking fees are more than seven times that amount.

For American Indians, the $374,000 figure is even more striking: It’s ten times the average household income of $37,348. (Source: 2009 American Community Survey.)

Romney is not the only public figure who gets paid a lot to speak. Many will recall how his competitor Newt Gingrich responded, just a couple of months ago, when asked about income from lobbying. “I did no lobbying of any kind, period,” Gingrich said, according to TheHill.com. “For a practical reason—and I’m going to be really direct, OK? I was charging $60,000 a speech and the number of speeches was going up, not down.”

Neither Gingrich nor Romney made the cut for a feature on the highest-paid speakers compiled last year by The Huffington Post—that list was topped by Bill Clinton ($150,000-$450,000 per speech) and also included Tony Blair ($250,000), Rudy Giuliani ($270,000), Alan Greenspan ($250,000) and Larry Summers ($135,000).

Click here to view the embedded video.

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January 23, 2012

Does Gingrich Supporter Shout ‘String Him Up’?

In a video released shortly after Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary with 40 percent of the votes, people are questioning the words one Gingrich supporter is shouting. Some believe the support is saying “String Him Up” in reference to President Barack Obama.

The video clip below is an excerpt of Gingrich’s speech following the announcement of his win where he is talking about Obama. The supporter in question can be heard around 0:10. It’s a little unclear if the supporter shouts the racially charged phrase or not.

But Indian Country Today Media Network is interested in your thoughts.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Gingrich Wins SC Handily, Now For Florida

In the end, the South Carolina primaries on January 21 weren’t even close. Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker ran away, in a state he has felt was a must win, with 40 percent of the votes.

Mitt Romney, the Republican primary leader going into South Carolina holding a 14.8-point lead, came in a distant second with 27.8 percent of the votes.

According to Real Clear Politics latest poll, the win helped Gingrich close that gap a little as Romney now holds a 7.5-point lead.

Rounding out the South Carolina primaries were, Rick Santorum in third with 17 percent of the vote, Ron Paul in fourth with 13 percent and Rick Perry, who pulled out of the race before the primary, and the other category accounting for 1.8 percent of the votes.

Next up for the 2012 Republican hopefuls is Florida, which will hold its debate tonight. The primary voting will be January 31, and with the top three candidates all notching a win so far on the primary trail, this could give one of them a second win.

As the candidates prepare for the debate and the rounds in Florida, all of them will be faced with the hurdle of housing—an issue all to familiar with Indian country.

According to an article by The Washington Post, Florida’s economy rests heavily on housing and has been hit considerably since the bubble burst.

Where do the candidates stand on the housing situation?

Romney was quoted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal as saying “I think the idea of helping people refinance homes to stay in them is one that’s worth further consideration. But I’m not signing on until I find out who’s going to pay and who’s going to get bailed out, and that’s not something which we know all the answers to.”

A caution that is one thing Romney shares with his GOP counterparts, when it comes to improving the housing situation according to The Post.

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January 26, 2012

Gaming Mogul Sheldon Adelson Pumps $10M Into Newt Gingrich’s Presidential Bid

Sheldon Adelson, the multi-billionaire casino mogul behind the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and the eighth wealthiest person in America with a net worth of $21.5 billion, according to the Forbes 400, has made two $5 million donations to a political action committee (PAC) backing Newt Gingrich. The super PAC Winning Our Future is run by the former House speaker’s aide Rick Tyler.

Campaign finance experts told The Huffington Post that Sheldon’s $10 million contribution is among the largest known political donations in the history of the United States.

Adelson donated the first $5 million at a critical point for Gingrich, who was entering the South Carolina Republican primary after finishing fifth in New Hampshire. Gingrich won South Carolina with 40.4 percent of the vote. Adelson’s money to Winning Our Future helped finance the 28-minute video with American LP that used Mitt Romney’s tenure as founder, investor and chief executive officer at Bain Capital as ammunition against his GOP rival and former Massachusetts governonr, accusing him of being a “predatory vulture capitalist” while at the helm of the private equity firm. The ad details how Bain plunged numerous companies into debt or bankruptcy, purging hundreds of employees of their jobs, while taking out millions in fees.

Click here to view the embedded video.

The second $5 million contribution helped cover the costs of another anti-Romney ad by the super PAC to air in Florida leading up to the state’s Republican primary January 31. The advertisement rails against Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan, comparing it to the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The ad alleges Romney “invented government-run health care,” and features video clips of him referring to himself as a “moderate Republican” with “progressive” views, reported TampayBayOnline.com.

Whether the hefty contributions will influence Gingrich’s political decisions should he take office remains up for debate. Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign finance watchdog group Democracy 21, said that when any candidate is indebted to a single donor for so much money, “it opens the door to corruption and influence peddling,” reported ABC.

But Card Player spoke with Dr. Kenneth Fernandez, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, who said Adelson’s donations are unlikely to “have any real influence” on Gingrich’s policy decisions should he get the presidential nomination due to heavy scrutiny on presidential candidates.

Adelson, who built the iconic Venetian hotel and its sister resort in Macao, and an ardent supporter of Jewish causes, strongly promotes legalized gambling. But the son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants opposes online gaming, because he believes underage gambling can’t be prevented. Nevada is currently working on internal controls to address age verification strategies, reported Card Player.

Adelson is no stranger to supporting conservatives with a hand in gaming. For instance, he has made donations to Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, who supported the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, reported Card Player.

Nonetheless, Adelson reportedly doesn’t expect anything in return from Gingrich. “Sheldon doesn’t need anything from anybody,” said George Harris, a Las Vegas restaurant owner and former political consultant who worked for Adelson for years and ate lunch with him daily, reported ABC.

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Newt Gingrich Wants to Colonize the Moon

Every American Indian, First Nation and other indigenous group has names for the moon.

But forget about Winter’s Younger Brother (Choctaw), Moon of the Strong Cold (Cheyenne) and When Snow Blows Like Spirits in the Moon (Arapaho), which only cover the January moon anyway. The Abenaki, Algonquin, Anishnaabe, Apache, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Coctaw, Comanche, Cree, Creek, Haida, Hopi and a host of other American Indian tribes have a different one for each month, according to Western Washington University Planetarium’s website.

Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has come up with an overarching name: 51st State, America. Slap that on the list of Sh*t Newt Gingrich Says.

“By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” he told raucously cheering constituents in Florida, in an area known as the Space Coast, where the U.S. shuttle program was recently discontinued. “We will have commercial, near-earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing and are designed to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines in the 1930s, because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching.”

And, given that colonization has worked so well here on Earth, he will not be satisfied with just a moon base.

“By the end of 2020 we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time,” Gingrich continued, “because I am sick of being told we have to be timid, and I’m sick of being told we have to limit ourselves to technologies that are more than 50 years old.”

Don’t believe it? Hear for yourself.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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March 2, 2012

Obama Will Need Indian Votes to Be Reelected

The price of gasoline at the pump is skyrocketing and is expected to flatten the upward trend on the stock market charts, thus maybe even stalling the economic recovery from the Republican recession of 2009 and 2010. In a strange twist, this is making many millionaire and billionaire stockholders happy. Why? Because President Obama will get the blame, and perhaps if we are in an economic nosedive come election time, Obama will be defeated.

I have an elderly friend whom I visit regularly. He’s well along in retirement but stays in his office which is like the control room of an ICBM launch site with computer equipment of all sorts. He is solidly in the right wing of the Republican Party. When I praise American industry for the amazing recovery of General Motors to the top of the world market from the depths of bankruptcy only three years ago, he is not pleased. And especially with Chrysler Corporation’s return to competitiveness from years of pedestrian design, trash pile reliability, and negative sales, one would think that my friend would be ecstatic. No way….and why? Because both of these American corporations were beneficiary to Obama’s bail out strategy, especially his firing of their top management and replacement with proven talent of his choice. In addition, Obama’s negotiators placed a third of the ownership of General Motors in the hands of the United Auto Workers union in payment for their retirement and insurance benefits that went down the drain in the near demise of the corporation. Nevertheless, Obama rightly claims much credit for his administration in this recovery, and a whole bunch of rust belt jobs survivors hail him as their savior.

Leading the GOP attack is Newt Gingrich, the Guru in the traveling circus that is the slate of Republican candidates shredding each other for the party’s nomination to take on their political piñata, Barak Obama. Gingrich says that the General Motors and Chrysler corporations should have been allowed to go into bankruptcy and work their way out through the process of reorganization. Problem is that there was no source that would have invested in those losers after they proved their ineptness and stiffed so many investors and Unions in getting to the sorry state they were in. Reorganization and refinancing would have taken too much time, and they likely would have gone down anyway.

Nevertheless, the slow recovery of the overall economy and the slow pace of employment recovery, in the minds the Republican Right, justify their hatred for the President, and camouflage their racism in trying from the day of Obama’s inauguration to discredit him and destroy him. Indeed, they don’t say it outright, but it is written all over them: “Get that nigger out of the White House,” where in their minds he should never have been allowed to enter in the first place.

Two years ago, I read an article by Dr. Carlos Dews, author and professor of English literature, titled “The Nigger Show.” He wrote, “I first heard this expression used to describe the Obama administration during a visit to my hometown in East Texas during the early summer of 2009. I understood what the epithet meant: Our minds are made up, the president lacks legitimacy, and there is nothing he can do that we will support.”

The mighty one-percenters may even suppress their greed and force a downturn in the economy to embarrass and defeat the President, so great is their hatred for him. So it is that even against any of the clowns that have entertained America since the Iowa crap-shoot, a second term will be no shoe in for President Obama. Despite the continued signs of economic and employment recovery, slow but steady, he will have a tough campaign against the big Super PACs.

Indian country has a proven friend in Barack Obama, and it’s in our interest to work for his re-election in November, whether or not he chooses to apologize to our people for past treatment at the hands of the European colonizers.

Charles “Chuck” Trimble was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association in 1969, and served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1972 to 1978. He is retired and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. His website is IktomisWeb.com.

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