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According to this article, the protests continue in Charlotte, NC, but that the violence has gone down. That’s a welcome sign for Charlotte-Mecklenburg in the aftermath of the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.

According to the article, “Protesters flocked to Charlotte for a third straight night Thursday in the latest sign of mounting pressure for police to release video that might resolve the different accounts of the shooting death of a black man. There were contentious moments between demonstrators and police, but it was a far cry from the looting and destruction that was seen Wednesday night. Local officers’ ranks were augmented by members of the National Guard carrying rifles and guarding office buildings against the threat of property damage.”

While that’s definitely a step in the right direction, it isn’t definitive proof that Charlotte-Mecklenburg will soon be quieted down. I wish it was but it’s just a good first step.

Last night was relatively peaceful compared with Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s because “Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts signed documents Thursday night for the citywide curfew that runs from midnight to 6 a.m.” State troopers were also brought in to help with crowd control.

That means North Carolina didn’t make the same mistakes that Jay Nixon made in Ferguson, MO or that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made in Baltimore, MD.

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Thanks to his attorney’s statements, Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s side of the story is getting out. Tom Kelly, Officer Yanez’s attorney, is getting word out that there’s much more to the story than what’s been told thus far, saying “The shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun”, adding that Mr. Castile “was not following the directions of the police officer.”

This investigation is just getting started, meaning that they’re just starting to connect the dots. Still, it’s clear that a significant portion of the early reporting didn’t tell the whole truth. I suspect that we still aren’t getting everything but the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together a bit better.

One thing, though, that’s clear is that Gov. Dayton’s initial statements on the Philando Castile were ill-advised. That’s when he said “Would this have happened if those passengers would have been white? I don’t think it would have. I’m forced to confront — and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront — this kind of racism exists, and that it’s incumbent upon all of us to vow that we’re going to do whatever we can to see that it doesn’t continue to happen.”

It was always known that Diamond Reynolds’ account wasn’t the final word. It was dramatic. It showed part of the story. It was never going to be the final word on what happened. It’s been known that Gov. Dayton’s statements would quickly proven as ill-advised.

Gov. Dayton should’ve waited. Had he done so, he might’ve learned this:

An audio clip purporting to capture the moments just before Castile was stopped by Yanez seems to indicate that the officer believed he and Reynolds ‘looked’ like suspects in a robbery.

“I’m going to stop a car, I’m going to check ID’s,” the officer can be heard saying in the recording, obtained by KARE 11. “I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery.”

The officer then tells dispatch he believes the driver looks like one of the suspects because of his ‘wide set nose’. Less than two minutes later an officer screams that shots have been fired and that it’s a ‘code 3’. The license plate mentioned by police in the recording matches the plate of the car Castile was driving, and the location the officers give to dispatch matches where the traffic stop took place.

It is not yet clear what alleged robbery the officer in the recording was referring to.

In light of the fact that there is audio indicating that the stop was happening because the officer thought the car was used in a robbery, it isn’t difficult to think that Officer Yanez was worried for his safety. Couple that with the claim that Officer Yanez told Castile not to move. If it’s proven that Officer Yanez issued that command and that Castile didn’t obey Officer Yanez’s order, that’s a potentially explosive situation.

It’s time to consider the possibility that this tragedy wasn’t about racism but that it might’ve been about a potentially dangerous situation and a motorist who didn’t obey a police officer’s commands.

We’re told constantly that #BlackLivesMatter wants justice for the young black men who’ve been shot by police officers. If only that were true. Unfortunately, it isn’t true. When Diamond Reynolds said “Today is not only about justice and getting justice, but it’s about all of the families that have lost people”, what she hinted at was that she wanted revenge as if killing police officers would even the score.

It won’t. And even if it ‘evened the score’, it wouldn’t bring healing at a time when healing is badly needed. Evening the score is counterproductive. Unfortunately, it’s exceptionally tempting, too.

Then Ms. Reynolds said “This thing that has happened in Dallas was not because of something that transpired in Minnesota. This is bigger than Philando. This is bigger than Trayvon Martin. This is bigger than Sandra Bland. This is bigger than all of us.”

That sounds like she’s keeping score. I’m not trying to paint Ms. Reynolds as a hater. I’m trying to highlight the difference between justice and revenge. What’s needed is for both sides to take a deep breath. If it’s appropriate, it’s time to forgive. Most importantly, it’s time to stop seeing people as part of a group.

Whether we’re talking about minority communities or police officers, we’re dealing with communities that feel under siege. It’s like we’re living our lives on a powder keg. That’s no way to live. The only thing that’s likely to happen is for someone to light a match.

This past week, we’ve seen protests led by pastors. Far too often, these pastors spoke words of bitterness, which is a very human reaction. What’s needed is for those pastors to set aside the instinct to be angry. It’s time for them to lead their congregation away from that anger.

While trying his best to put out the fire caused by his tweet calling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rep. Winkler’s attempt at damage control is pathetic at best. Based on his quote in this article, Rep. Ryan Winkler doesn’t think people should judge him by words he said were made in haste:

Asked if he believes his use of the term on social media will hurt his future political career, he said: “I don’t know. I hope people judge people on the merits of what they do in public office and not on the firestorm of a term that is used hastily but with no malintent.”

The thing is that most of Rep. Winkler’s statements are flippant, spur-of-the-moment comments. Few of his statements are thoroughly thought through. Few of his statements are taken seriously in terms of policy. That type of statement is part of his hit-and-run tactics of communicating. (Some might say he’s better at agitating than at communicating.)

Still, that isn’t the most cringe-worthy statement in the article. This is:

Winkler, who had been considering a bid for secretary of state, has called off his plans. He said it was a decision he made before “Uncle Thomas” started trending on Twitter and making headlines around the country, although not one he had voiced publicly.

I can smell the stench from that BS in St. Cloud, which is amazing considering it was made in St. Louis Park, more than 50 miles away.

The reality is that Rep. Winkler’s tweet ended Rep. Winkler’s bid for higher office in the future. I don’t think Rep. Winkler hates minorities, though I agree with much of what Michelle Malkin wrote in this article:

This Ivy League-trained public official and attorney relied on smug bigotry to make his case against a Supreme Court justice who happens to be black. “Uncle Thomas” wasn’t a typo. Denigration was the goal, not an accident. It was a knowing, deliberate smear.

While I don’t think Rep. Winkler hates people of color, I think he’s been exposed as a less-than-serious politician who lives by the code ready — fire — aim.

Rep. Winkler can now join Tarryl Clark in living in anonymity after supposedly being the DFL’s rising star.

Last week’s fiscal cliff deal brought reality crashing down on some unsuspecting people’s heads, according to this delightful, tongue-in-cheek column by Joseph Curl.

Using quotes from a comment thread on DemocratUnderground, Curl’s article shows how uninformed some Democrats were about President Obama’s tax increase. This is a perfect illustration of how uninformed they were:

Some in the thread argued that the new tax, or the end of the “holiday,” which makes it a new tax, wouldn’t really amount to much. One calculated it would cost about $86 a month for most people. “Honeycombe8,” though, said that amount is nothing to sneeze at.

“$86 a month is a lot. That would pay for … Groceries for a week, as someone said. More than what I pay for parking every month, after my employer’s contribution to that. A new computer after a year. A new quality pair of shoes … every month. Months of my copay for my hormones. A new thick coat (on sale or at discount place). It would pay for what I spend on my dogs every month … food, vitamins, treats.”

I’d like to welcome these fools to the Democrats’ middle class squeeze tax increases. This tax increase isn’t likely to change Honeycombe8’s voting habits. I’d be stunned if it did. Still, the Democrats, starting with President Obama and including Sen. Reid and Nancy Pelosi, can’t fight their tax increase fever. With that trio of ideologues, it’s always about ideology, It isn’t about what’s best for America.

Last week, I wrote a 2 part series about how the DFL isn’t the party of the people anymore. (See here and here.) DC Democrats are just as out of step with the people as the DFL is here in Minnesota.

Here’s another dose of reality for the left:

The Twittersphere was even funnier.

“Really, how am I ever supposed to pay off my student loans if my already small paycheck keeps getting smaller? Help a sister out, Obama,” wrote “Meet Virginia.” “Nancy Thongkham” was much more furious. “F***ing Obama! F*** you! This taking out more taxes s*** better f***ing help me out!! Very upset to see my paycheck less today!”

Though the Democrats’ anger is sky-high, that hasn’t led to clear thinking:

Of course, dozens of posters on DemocraticUnderground sought to blame it all (as usual) on President George W. Bush. “Your taxes went up because the leaders need to dig us out of this criminal deficit hole we are in which has been caused because taxes were too low during the Bush years. Everyone has to help by spreading the wealth around a little. Power to the correct people!” posted “Orinoco.”

This is typical Democratic stupidity. Spending has skyrocketed during the Obama administration. Economic growth has lagged, thanks directly to President Obama’s policies. Revenues have dropped because he’s attacked industry after industry.

Let’s repeat this fact: these deficits are the direct result of President Obama’s policies. The ACA is killing jobs by giving small businesses who employ fewer than 50 people an incentive to not hire additional workers. The EPA is killing jobs, too. Last year’s regulations have led to 98 coal-fired power plants to either close their doors or to announce their shutting.

There’s just one thing to say to people who were foolish enough to vote for President who now are upset that he’s raised their taxes: You bought it. Now you’re paying for it. You’re getting what you deserve.

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It’s obvious that Ryan Winkler is either the most ignorant, loud-mouthed DFL legislator or he’s totally dishonest. Rep. Winkler tweeted this during Thursday night’s speeches:

First time tuning in to RNC. Romney speech seems fine but it occurs to me GOP wants to go back to Founders: white, male property owners.

I believe Rep. Winkler when he said that Thursday night was his “first night tuning into the RNC” because he doesn’t have a clue about the racial and ethnic diversity within the GOP. Chuck Todd appreciates the GOP’s diversity:

Anyone who watched this convention knows that the GOP is filled with tons of talented newcomers and that there’s tons of diversity within this group of newcomers. Brian Sandoval and Susana Martinez wowed crowds with their speeches. That they’re Hispanic just adds to their appeal with the general public. Add them to Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, the first governors of Indian descent, and it’s pretty obvious that the GOP is a principled big tent political party.

That’s before talking about soon-to-be US Senator-Elect Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. That’s before talking about rising rock star Mia Love, who should defeat Jim Matheson in Utah’s 4th District.

Had Rep. Winkler paid attention to the delegates in the hall, he would’ve seen a hugely diverse crowd. It’ll be difficult for the Democrats to be more diverse than the GOP’s delegates.

The TEA Party has helped grow, not to mention energize, the conservative movement. They’ve attracted men and women into the movement. Apparently, the TEA Party’s principles of limited, constitutional, government resonates with people of all ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds.

Rep. Winkler hasn’t figured it out that ABM’s charicature of the TEA Party doesn’t match reality. The Left’s charicature of the TEA Party isn’t even close to reality.

When it comes to the national stage, the so-called party of diversity are more like the Neanderthal Party. Their image of the GOP is severely outdated.

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Last week, Republicans jumped all over Michael Steele for getting drawn into the artificial Rush controversy. I thought it was a disgusting sight, frankly, because we were attacking a great spokesman for the Republican Party. Granted, he made a mistake but it wasn’t the type of mistake that deserved calls for him to step down as RNC Chairman.

Today, I found Patrick Ruffini’s post on the subject. Here’s the part of Patrick’s post that I most enthusiastically agree with:

Michael Steele made a tactical mistake in getting drawn into this argument, but I still want him to be a successful RNC Chairman. Steele was elected Chairman as a fresh face and a reformer, a basic orientation the Republican Party will need to embrace in 2010. He remains one of the most compelling public faces of the party. If I were a Democrat, I would rejoice if Michael Steele were somehow made less relevant. Moreover, his challenge of the party’s blind support for incumbents, conservatives’ #1 frustration with the RNC, is probably more relevant to his leadership as Chairman than his Rush comments.

AMEN Brother Patrick!!! It’s time we figured out that Michael Steele’s unwillingness to just blindly support traitors like Benedict Arlen is exactly the right mindset for the RNC to adopt at the time when that mindset is needed most. It’s time that the GOP became the party who supports people who best embody conservative principles. More importantly, it’s time the GOP morphed into the party that won’t support the Arlen Specter and Linc Chaffee types.

It’s also important that we keep Michael Steele around for his prioritizing outreach to minority communities. The GOP has a chance to make longterm inroads with the various minority communities. Let’s be clear about this: I’m not suggesting that we abandon our conservative principles. Quite the opposite. It’s time we put a greater emphasis on sharing our conservative principles with minority communites.

Our goal should be to expand the GOP into every part of America. That’s the basis for the 435 District Plan.

As enthusiastically as I agree with Patrick’s earlier opinion, I passionately agree with him on this:

Taking a step back, and it’s easy to see why the Obama team must be rejoicing. Some of the Republican Party’s most charismatic and influential voices are being attacked…from within. Conservatives appear flailing and divided, embroiled in controversies against the leading talk show host, the party chairman, and one of the party’s rising stars.

I could deal with the “flailing and divisive” narrative if it were aimed at public embarrassments, like Bunning, or against more expendable, transactional pols, people whose removal would not hurt the cause and in fact could help it. We should be highly vigilant, however, when the attacks are aimed at people who would be significant public scalps for the Democrats, and who are not easily replaced.

The sooner that Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Michael Steele are the image that the GOP projects, the sooner we’ll return to being a truly national majority party. None of these political figures are flawless but they each appeal to demographic groups where the conservative message is routinely rejected without the people giving it a second thought. If we want to have a truly national party, we need to appeal to every demographic group.

I suspect that many of the attacks against Michael Steele are disgruntled, formerly entrenched, staffers who now find themselves looking for employment. Similarly, I suspect that many of the attacks against Rush that originate within the GOP are coming from blueblood Republicans who don’t know a thing about main street conservatism other than it isn’t country club conservatism.

If we want to move forward, it’s important that we hold our fire on influential people like Bobby Jindal and Michael Steele. Having them play significant roles in today’s GOP is nothing but a net positive.

That’s the biggest reason why I agree with Patrick Ruffini.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The end is coming quickly for Roland Burris. The Wednesday edition of the Chicago Tribune is asking for Sen. Burris’ resignation:

The benefit of the doubt had already been stretched thin and taut by the time Roland Burris offered his third version of the events leading to his appointment to the U.S. Senate. It finally snapped like a rubber band, popping him on that long Pinocchio nose of his, when he came out with version four.

Let’s see if we have it right: Burris had zero contact with any of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s cronies about his interest in the Senate seat being vacated by President Barack Obama— unless you count that conversation with former chief of staff Lon Monk, and, on further reflection, the ones with insiders John Harris, Doug Scofield and John Wyma and, oh yeah, the governor’s brother and fund-raising chief, Robert Blagojevich. But Burris didn’t raise a single dollar for the now ex-governor as a result of those contacts because that could be construed as a quid pro quo and besides, everyone he asked refused to donate.

The story gets worse with every telling.

Enough. Roland Burris must resign.

By the time that the story broke that Sen. Burris had tried raising money for ousted Gov. Blagojevich, the envelope had been pushed too far already. It’s time we said what’s on everyone’s mind: Why did Rod Blagojevich pick Sen. Burris? He’s a man of few recent qualifications. He’s run and lost his most recent attempts for elective office.

The most likely reason why Blagojevich picked Burris is because he was just about to launch a massive PR campaign. Blagojevich picked Burris at least in part because of skin color. Simply put, Blagojevich knew that Harry Reid wouldn’t deny an African-American the seat formerly held by President Obama.

After all the fuss, Roland Burris is today’s version of a dead man walking. His political life is essentially over. It’s time for him to slide into retirement so he can become a hero of the Nutroots.

Good riddance.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The day Harry Reid said that they wouldn’t seat Rolad Burris to replace President-Elect Obama in the Senate, I predicted that the political fallout would be so high that they couldn’t carry it out very long without paying a steep political price for it. Charles Babington says it best in this AP article:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Democrats who thought they could push away Roland Burris misjudged the racial fallout, underestimated public reaction and wound up on shaky legal ground.

The blunders began when the Democrats, including President-elect Barack Obama, insisted they would not seat Burris as the Senate’s only black member because the appointment came from a governor accused of trying to sell Obama’ former seat. On Wednesday, they all but admitted being outflanked by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, praising Burris and suggesting he soon will be a senator.

This outcome was predictable from the instant that Bobby Rush stood up at Gov. Blagojevich’s press conference where Gov. Blagojevich announced Burris as Obama’s replacement. In fact, I said at the time that it was a brilliant political move on Blagojevich’s part.

I don’t think that the Democrats suffered any lasting damage because of this incident. Rather, I think this is just another indicator of Sen. Reid’s incompetence. I think it’s proof that Sen. Reid’s political instincts are second to just about everyone’s.

Instead of focusing on Burris and racial issues, Sen. Reid thought he could reject Burris on the grounds that Gov. Blagojevich was corrupt. It’s apparent that Reid misunderestimated Gov. Blagojevich’s willingness to fight. Gov. Blagojevich essentially played chicken with Reid and Reid caved.

Check out this collection of brave-sounding predictions that didn’t come true:

Top Democrats’ response was quick and nearly unanimous: Burris would never be seated because of the governors’ misdeeds.

“Anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative” and “will not be seated by the Democratic caucus,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his top deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Obama said, “Senate Democrats made it clear weeks ago that they cannot accept an appointment made by a governor who is accused of selling this very Senate seat.”

Senate Democrats are famous for being blowhards. They’re also incompetent. Now that the entire world knows that they run the show in Washington, they won’t get away with blaming Republicans when things go wrong. They won’t get away with it because there won’t be enough Republicans around to blame.

Let’s see how ugly it gets now that the Democrats have the spotlight all to themselves.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

It’s safe to say that Dave ‘Mudcat’ Saunders isn’t part of Barack Obama’s target audience. That’s why Sen. Obama does poorly with blue collar workers. This article highlights why Sen. Obama will have a challenge in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Virginia.

“Sometimes they remind me of another bunch from Chicago, the Blues Brothers: they seem to think they’re on a mission from God.”

He is scathing about the reliance on registering new voters. “If that’s how he runs his campaign, he is going to lose. I’d rather bet on those who voted before. When he stands up and says that I’m gonna get 30 per cent more black voters, I’m gonna get 30 per cent more of my people to turn out for me, what is Joe Six-Pack thinking?”

Mudcat suggests that John McCain could win Michigan while holding Ohio and Florida. And, unless Mr Obama changes course, “he ain’t gonna win Virgina either”.

While the media swooned during Sen. Obama’s trip, I kept saying that European types weren’t who he needed to win over. I kept saying that Sen. Obama needed to start making a connection with blue collar workers. Frankly, I don’t think he’s capable of making that connection.

I’ve always been skeptical of candidates that base their victories on dramatically increasing voter turnout with a specific group. President Bush’s 2004 vote total was dramatically bigger than 2000 because he increased his turnout within a number of groups. Across the country but especially in Ohio, Georgia and other Bible Belt states, additional attention was focused on church-going African-Americans and with blue collar workers.

President Bush focused on the Hispanic vote in the desert southwest, helping him flip New Mexico from blue to red. President Bush kept Pennsylvania close by focusing on culturally conservative Catholic voters. That’s who he focused on in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, too. President Bush also focused on security issues, which helped win over the Security Moms cohort, too.

The Bush-Rove plan was to increase turnout of many different groups by noticeable amounts, thereby not leaning heavily on one group. Compare that with the Obama campaign’s reliance on dramatically increasing turnout of campus liberals, high income liberals and African-Americans. That’s a narrow list of groups. That’s also putting alot of high expectations on those groups.

This paragraph is why I think Sen. Obama’s strategy will backfire:

Along with his Confederate flag bedspread, the stag heads on his walls, his preference for profanity over punctuation, he would horrify what he calls the “northeastern elitist, Metropolitan Opera wing of the Democrats.”

It’s safe to say that Mr. Saunders is a fan of either Howard Dean or John Kerry. I’d bet good money that he’d get along just fine with John Breaux or Zell Miller. Those aren’t the type of folks that Sen. Obama can count on to turn out en force this November. In fact, I’m betting that they’re the people that McCain’s campaign is targeting.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative