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Why I love Jon Stewart May 13, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Politics.
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Is there anything better than catching conservative pundits in outright contradictions? Well, if you said bacon, you’re right. But still, conservative catching is still pretty high on my list.

And this is why I love this clip from The Daily Show, and why I love Jon Stewart in general. Sure it’s easy to call out pundits when they blurt out boldfaced lies, but it’s harder to truly dissect their rhetoric and expose their hypocritical beliefs. And this is exactly what Stewart does in the following clip, and may I say, he does it to perfection.

Even if you’re a conservative, please enjoy this video and admit that Stewart got them all.

Not Emmer May 3, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Politics.
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Remember that guy Tim Tebow? And remember how I said I would like to see anyone else picked in the draft? Well, I have a new name to add to the Do-Not-Pick list:

Rep. Tom Emmer.

And while the state gubernatorial election is not the same as the NFL draft, I have the same animosity for Emmer that I did for Tebow. Basically it comes down to this: Minnesota, don’t pick Emmer.

I’m still not sure who would be the best candidate to take over Tim Pawlenty’s spot, but after reading this story it became quite clear who I don’t want.

Emmer is a far right-wing Republican who apparently hopes to crush health care reform and almost secede from the union by nullifying all federal law unless approved by a two-thirds majority in the Minnesota state legislature. This same man called the new Arizona immigration bill a “wonderful first step.”

Oh yeah, and Sarah Palin supports him whole-heartedly.

What more reason do we need not to elect him?

Emmer represents the kind of crazy far-right politics that have made the GOP cannon fodder for comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. We don’t need another late-night joke running our state.

Minnesotans it’s up to you to decide who will be our next governor, but please, let’s make sure it’s Not Emmer.

Regressive, racist law April 28, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Politics.
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By now I am sure you have all heard of the controversial new immigration bill in Arizona that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last Friday.

There have been many outspoken critics and supporters of the law, and I am here to add my name to the former.

This is a regressive and racist law that effectively legalizes racial profiling and will lead to nothing more than harassment and increased anti-Hispanic sentiment. Gov. Brewer and other supporters of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a law to exist in a country that has forever prided itself on justice and equality for all individuals.

Despite what Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin say (and yes Sean, I did read it), this bill, though perhaps indirectly, does indeed permit racial profiling.

A law enforcement officer is required to make a “reasonable attempt…to determine the immigration status of a person” during “lawful contact” with any individual “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

Now the “lawful contact” portion of that section, Sean would argue, dispels the rumor that racial profiling is part of the law because a law enforcement officer would already need a reason to stop the person before inquiring about their immigration status. However, regardless of how it may be defined under state law, in actuality, “lawful contact” takes many forms. Any law enforcement officer can make “lawful contact” with any individual they determine to be loitering (perhaps just waiting for a bus), driving erratically (swerving to miss a pothole), or generally acting suspicious (wearing a hood).

“Lawful contact” is a joke. Police officers can stop whomever they want, and can come up with any reason for doing so. They don’t always do so with insidious intent, but they do. And that’s the honest truth.

So our focus then should be on the truly demeaning and racist part of this legislation that says a law enforcement officer can ask for proof of immigration status “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

Tell me what “reasonable suspicion” that a person is illegal could possibly exist without being racist or at the very least, prejudiced.

Would the fact that a person speaks Spanish be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I happen to speak Spanish, and I’m a white man born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Would the fact that they are Hispanic be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I think it would then be reasonable to suspect law enforcement personnel of being racist. Remember that whole “judging people by the color of their skin” thing? Yeah, we call that racism here.

Or would the fact that a person seems hesitant to talk to police be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I think if law enforcement officers were allowed to harass me based on racist and prejudiced perceptions, I would be hesitant too.

The very fact that this law was even passed at the state level is astounding. Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, not the state. According to New York Times article which surveyed legal scholars who know much more than I, many of them think the law is actually unconstitutional. So congrats Arizona legislature, you have just broken federal law (kind of like illegal immigrants do).

As with any political issue I am open to hearing the opposing arguments, but I refuse to believe that the outcome of this law will be anything but the persecution of Hispanics and other minority groups based directly on race, language, and culture.

I also have no doubt that this law will achieve its goal of reducing Arizona’s illegal immigration population. But doing so at the cost of civil liberties is just plain wrong. This law is a regressive step in terms of civil rights and an outrageous affront on equality in this country.

I support all my fellow opponents of this law (including St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman) and call on each and every one of you to do something to speak out against this terrible injustice.