Thursday, August 17, 2017

Trump's Race To The Bottom

Donald Trump's inner circle isn't even bothering to hide its open support for white supremacists anymore.  They simply don't care because they know Republicans won't lift a finger to stop him. Anyone who does won't have a political career.

President Trump’s personal lawyer on Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.”

The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted the Confederate general Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” — was a reference to comments Mr. Trump made earlier this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town.

“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”

The contents of the email are at the heart of a roiling controversy over race and history that turned deadly last weekend in Charlottesville, where white nationalist groups clashed with protesters over the planned removal of a statue of Lee. An Ohio man with ties to white nationalist groups drove his car through a crowd, killing one woman and injuring many others, authorities say.

In a fiery news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Trump blamed “both sides” for that violence. He said many of those who opposed the statue’s removal were good people protesting the loss of their culture, and he questioned whether taking down statues of Lee could lead to monuments of Washington also being r

His words were widely criticized in Washington but were praised by white supremacists, including a former Ku Klux Klan leader.

Mr. Dowd received the email on Tuesday night and forwarded it on Wednesday morning to more than two dozen recipients, including a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and journalists at Fox News and The Washington Times. There is no evidence that any of the journalists used the contents of the email in their coverage. One of the recipients provided a copy to The New York Times.

You’re sticking your nose in my personal email?” Mr. Dowd told The Times in a brief telephone interview. “People send me things. I forward them.” He then hung up.

The email’s author, Jerome Almon, runs several websites alleging government conspiracies and arguing that the F.B.I. has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists. He once unsuccessfully sued the State Department for $900 million over claims of discrimination.

Mr. Almon’s email said that Black Lives Matter, a group that formed to protest the use of force by police against African-Americans, is being directed by terrorists. Mr. Almon blamed the group for deadly violence against police last year in Texas and Louisiana.

The email’s comparison of secessionists to the nation’s Founding Fathers echoes an early Confederate rallying cry, said Judith Giesberg, a Villanova University historian and editor of The Journal of the Civil War Era. Washington’s face appeared on Confederate money, she said, and secessionists were eager to place their rebellion in the context of the American Revolution.

“The first states to secede drew a straight line back to the Revolution,” she said in a telephone interview. “They said they were the inheritors of this revolutionary tradition that traces back to Washington.”

Mr. Almon listed several reasons Lee is no different from Washington. “Both rebelled against the ruling government,” the email reads, adding, “Both saved America.”

Mr. Almon, who is black, said in his email to Mr. Dowd that the protesters should “go back to the ghettos and do raise their children and rebuild places like Detroit.”

Jerome Almon has been in the Sunken Place for a while now.   But notice that "Black Lives Matter are terrorists" is a standing theme with this regime.  It really won't be long before Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions act on that.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Confederate Commonwealth Of Bevinstan

Trump needs to resign.  KY GOP Gov. Matt Bevin needs to join him.

Gov. Matt Bevin appeared to change his position Tuesday on moving the statue of Jefferson Davis — the president of the Confederate States of America — from the rotunda of the state capitol building in Frankfort. 
While campaigning for governor in 2015 he said the Davis statue should be removed, and that “parts of our history are more appropriately displayed in museums, not on government property.” However, in a radio interview Tuesday morning he said that he absolutely disagrees with attempts to remove confederate statues, calling it the “sanitization of history.” 
In a press conferencelater that day, Bevin denied that statement, saying, “I said ‘revisionist history.’ Again, ‘sanitize’ is your word.” The governor also said that he never supported removing confederate monuments from government property, comparing this “dangerous precedent” to that of genocidal movements of the past. 
When you look at what people like a Pol Pot did, or a Stalin did, or a Hitler did, one of the first things you do is you remove any semblance of culture and of history, you try to be revisionist,” said Bevin. “You look what people are doing with ISIS, with the destruction of any kind of history of a different culture when they move into a new territory. I think it is a very dangerous precedent to pretend that your history is not your history.” 
Sen. McConnell had also come out in support of moving the Davis statue in 2015, but unlike Bevin, his spokesman Robert Steurer told IL that the senator still stands by his statement. 
Brad Bowman, the spokesman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, issued a statement expressing support for moving the confederate statues in Frankfort and Lexington: “We are not sanitizing history. We are standing against racism, hate and bigotry. This issue rises above politics. We owe that to every Kentuckian.” 
In the same press conference on Tuesday, Bevin also said that it was important to call out any bigotry, whether it comes from a white nationalist or “if it comes from a Black Lives Matter person.” 
There should be no tolerance of people that are intolerant of other people as it relates to their race — in this case is what we’re talking about, supremacy of either side of the equation,” said Bevin. “The people can pretend there’s not two sides. There’s people that are as hateful of people based on their color on all sides of the color spectrum. It’s unacceptable, unacceptable.”

Bevin's twin false equivalence arguments, that 1) removing Confederate monuments is "erasure of history" that only tyrants and terrorists do, and that 2) Black Lives Matter and other groups standing up to white supremacists are just as violent somehow, are both part and parcel of the white supremacist playbook.  The goal is to normalize these views and it's yet another example of Republicans moving to demonize their political opponents for daring to oppose them.

Why Gov. Bevin would make these demonstrably false arguments especially given Donald Trump's awful behavior is beyond my comprehension other than to lead one to believe that Bevin too sympathizes with white supremacist traitors who lost a civil war 150 years ago over the continuation of slavery.

As such, I expect his swift resignation from his office in Frankfort.

This won't happen of course, but this is another direct effect of Trump's garbage: other Republicans are copying his racist nonsense.

How many will continue to get away with it?  The worse the Kentucky Democrats are saying is that we need to "rise above politics".

That's not going to cut it, guys.

Hope And No Change With Trump

After the disaster that was Hurricane Scaramucci blew through the White House last month, it looks like long-time Trump loyalist Hope Hicks will be named as the Trump regime's new Minister of Propaganda.

President Donald Trump has struggled to find staff that will work with him. Famously, he blew through a communications director Anthony Scaramucci in less than two weeks. Perhaps that is why he’s decided to name longtime loyalist Hope Hicks to the post.

The Daily Caller cites a White House insider that revealed 28-year-old Hicks has accepted the position. The former model has stayed close to Trump’s side, though largely out of the spotlight. She has been doing “strategic communications” for Trump since entering the White House, according to her Twitter biography.

Hicks drew criticism in July after it was disclosed that her salary is equal to the senior-most aides in the White House, despite having little experience.

Hicks previously worked for Trump and was named among the top 30 under 30 by Forbes.

GQ's Olivia Nuzzi profiled Hicks last year, Trump's personal press secretary, who had zero political experience (like her boss!) and found herself thrust into the role, is extremely reclusive and has remained so while the professionals all have fallen by the wayside for not being sufficiently loyal to Dear Leader.

Hicks's big job in politics started—not that long ago—with a comparatively tiny gig in Trump Tower. In 2012, two years after she'd graduated from Southern Methodist, Hicks was working for a New York PR shop when she was dispatched to help one of the firm's major clients: Ivanka Trump.

At the time, Trump's daughter was expanding her fashion line, and Hicks was enlisted to pitch in—and even do a bit of modeling, appearing online in a practical mint-colored dress, black clutch, and heels, all from the Ivanka Trump collection.

Hicks grew close to Ivanka and began dressing like the heiress, who seemed worthy of the emulation. Ivanka was that rare female corporate leader who is also kind to other women, and she affected an air of competence that seemed to temper the boorishness of the Trump brand. Conveniently, as Hicks ingratiated herself to Ivanka, she won over The Donald as well—helped by the eager-to-please disposition she'd displayed since childhood.

In Greenwich, Connecticut, as a kid, she was an athlete and a model who—after appearing in a Ralph Lauren ad—told a local magazine she intended to be an actress. By high school she was swimming, rowing, and captaining the lacrosse team. (She'd go on to play on SMU's club team.) Kylie Burchell, Hicks's lacrosse coach, recalled her as one of the only players to abide by a no-alcohol policy. “I think the girls were annoyed at her a little bit,” she said. “She was trying to be a leader. She was showing by example what to do.” She wasn’t always so earnest, however. In her senior yearbook, she mistakenly attributed the words of Eleanor Roosevelt—“The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams”—to Jimmy Buffett.

That Hicks, a pretty young lady from a tony town, would gravitate toward PR after college might have seemed obvious. Warranted or not, the PR Girl has become a kind of stereotype—the land-bound stewardess of the aughts. A profession thought to require little more than the ability to walk in a pair of Louboutins and harass people via e-mail. But the sorority-girl caricature wasn't what Hicks had in mind, or in her pedigree. In addition to her father, Paul, who directed PR at the NFL and now works for the D.C. power firm Glover Park Group, both of Hicks's grandfathers worked in public relations.

After meeting Matthew Hiltzik, a New York PR shark, in 2011, Hicks landed a job at his firm. It was here that she began working with Ivanka, putting her in the orbit of The Donald, who was quickly impressed. “I thought Hope was outstanding,” Trump told me, recalling his decision to tell Hiltzik that he was poaching Hicks to work for him. In Trump's telling, Hiltzik was powerless to deny him what he wanted. “I wouldn't say he was thrilled,” Trump told me, “but, you know, we give him a lot of business.” (Hiltzik says the parting was amicable all around.)

So Hicks joined the team at Trump Tower in October 2014, without any idea her new boss intended to become president. Or that she had just signed on to his campaign.

Now the "PR girl from Connecticut" is more than happy to manage Trump's messaging machine just a day after Trump sided with neo-Nazi white supremacists in Virginia.  And she's more than happy to still work for the man.

It tells you everything I need to know about her and the rest of Trump's employees.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Last Call For The Man We Warned You About

I've been around for a few decades, growing up in the Reagan years, high school in the Poppy Bush Desert Storm era, and college and entering the workforce during the Clinton years and the dot com bust and I've never been under the illusion that presidents could fix everything.  Dubya showed me they have limitations, and that the best outcome is somebody who truly cared like Obama, that's as good as we're going to get.

But I've never been party to a person in the Oval Office who I considered a sworn enemy.  Dubya was a jackass and I started this blog to help make sure he wasn't succeeded by a Republican, and I went through Obama's highs and lows, but I never felt that the person in the White House was irredeemable garbage.

Then Trump came along and kept proving me wrong on a daily basis, and today is the day I became despondent about the future of my country, this planet and myself.

The man in the Oval Office is an unapologetic white supremacist-enabling bigot narcissist of the worst order.

President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.

Never has he gone as far in defending their actions as he did during a wild, street-corner shouting match of a news conference in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and “Trump/Pence” signs.

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth,” David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, wrote in a Twitter post shortly after Mr. Trump spoke.

Richard B. Spencer, a white nationalist leader who participated in the weekend’s demonstrations and vowed to flood Charlottesville with similar protests in the coming weeks, was equally encouraged. “Trump’s statement was fair and down to earth,” Mr. Spencer tweeted.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a Democrat, wasted little time in accusing the president of adding to the divisions that put an unwanted spotlight on the normally peaceful college town.

“Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists came to Charlottesville heavily armed, spewing hatred and looking for a fight,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “One of them murdered a young woman in an act of domestic terrorism, and two of our finest officers were killed in a tragic accident while serving to protect this community. This was not ‘both sides.’”

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. The National Economic Council chairman, Gary D. Cohn, and the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis,” Mr. Trump told reporters, who interrupted him repeatedly when he seemed to equate the actions of protesters on each side.

He spoke of “very fine people on both sides.” And of the demonstrators who rallied on Friday night, some chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, he said, “You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest.”

This is a man who openly defends neo-Nazis in the most insidious manner, by equating them to those who oppose them.  It's a tactic long-used by these scumbags, one as old as America itself, an equivocation that empowers hate by normalizing it.

And now we have somebody in the White House doing it openly and brazenly, with no regard for anyone but himself.

We have seen the face of evil.  I thought Bush Senior was a bad man who occasionally did good things, I thought his son was led astray but that he never truly hated the country, he just looked the other way too often and let the David Dukes and Richard Spencers of the world in the door.

Trump put them in his goddamn White House staff.  He is an evil man, and anyone who thought that somehow Clinton would be worse needs to have a good, long talk with the shreds of their own conscience and with the ghosts of their tattered credibility.

Donald Trump is an evil man.  Full stop.  If you wondered how the people of Germany became lost to the Third Reich following World War I, you are living it right now as an American.

Trump Watches The Trump Watchers

If Trump has his way, the Department of Justice will be doing just that.  In the regime's latest authoritarian move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is requesting information on 1.3 million internet visitors to an anti-Trump website accused of aiding the organization of dozens indicted on felony rioting charges while protesting Trump's inauguration in January.

The Department of Justice has requested information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against President Trump, the Los Angeles-based Dreamhost said in a blog post published on Monday. 
Dreamhost, a web hosting provider, said that it has been working with the Department of Justice for several months on the request, which believes goes too far under the Constitution.

DreamHost claimed that the complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website, which was involved in organizing protests against Trump on Inauguration Day. 
“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in the blog post on Monday. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”

When contacted, the Justice Department directed The Hill to the U.S. attorney's office in D.C. The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment but provided the filings related to the case.

The company is currently challenging the request. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday in Washington. 
“In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website,” the company’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian, said in a legal argument opposing the request.

Yeah, this seems like a textbook case of First Amendment rights being willfully violated in order to support the government's case that clearly violates...First Amendment rights.

This is not what democratically elected leaders do, this is what authoritarian tyrants do.

How long before Trump demands the information on anyone who has visited one of the news sites of the companies that employ the media figures he openly views as his enemies?  How do the people claiming that white supremacy views must be protected as political free speech/vile speech still support the regime after this?

The answer's pretty clear, and it's clearly ugly.

Hunting The Mythical Swing Voter

Over at the NYT Upshot, Nate Cohn argues that not only does the Trump 2016 voter who voted for Obama in 2008 and/or 2012 exist, but that there were enough of them to decisively help the GOP to near total power since 2010, including shifting the 2016 Rust Belt swing states into the red column. Who are these voters?  Angry, white, without a college degree, and they blame Obama for failing them.

THEY HAD SOURED ON MR. OBAMA Just 29 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump voters approved of his performance, and 69 percent disapproved. Similarly, 75 percent said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Only 15 percent believed the economy had improved over the last year, and just 23 percent said their income had increased over the last four years. 
THEY LARGELY BACK THE TRUMP AGENDA The Obama-Trump voters generally support Mr. Trump’s key campaign pledges on immigration, police, infrastructure spending, trade and the environment. This isn’t too surprising: Surveys conducted long before the 2016 election showed that a large share of white working-class Democratic-leaning voters backed the conservative-populist position on these issues. 
THEY’RE NOT NECESSARILY RELUCTANT TRUMP VOTERS Among those who voted in the 2016 primary (65 percent of the Obama-Trump vote), 54 percent of Obama-Trump voters reported backing Mr. Trump in the Republican presidential primary, according to the C.C.E.S., a sign that many of them are pretty strong and consistent supporters of Mr. Trump. Only 9 percent supported another Republican, less than the share that supported Mrs. Clinton or Bernie Sanders. 
Taken together, the data indicates that Mr. Trump had considerable and possibly unique appeal to an important slice of Democratic-leaning voters. Mr. Trump adopted a platform tailored to white working-class Democrats. In doing so, he neutralized many traditional Democratic lines of attack against typical Republicans like Mitt Romney. Many of these voters backed him in the primary and seemed to prefer his brand of populism, suggesting they probably would have backed Mr. Trump no matter which Democrat he faced. 
MANY NOW CONSIDER THEMSELVES REPUBLICAN-LEANERS A Pew Research Center panel study found that fully 18 percent of white working-class voters who leaned Democratic as late as December 2015 reported leaning Republican by December 2016. That timing is significant: It implies that these voters continued to tilt toward the Democrats all the way until the 2016 campaign. 
Similarly, the C.C.E.S. found that 45 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Republican-leaners in their postelection study. 
The voters who both voted for Mr. Trump and say they lean Republican have probably taken a big step toward becoming consistent Republican voters. They seem relatively difficult for Democrats to lure back. 
RACIAL RESENTMENT WAS A BIG FACTOR Using this and other data, political scientists have argued that racial resentment is the strongest predictor of whether voters flipped from Mr. Obama to Mr. Trump, and the biggest driver of Trump support among these voters. 
Yes, racial resentment is the strongest predictor of the Obama-Trump vote in this survey data. White, working-class Obama voters with racially conservative views were very likely to flip to the Republicans. For example, Mrs. Clinton won just 47 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who disagreed with the idea that “white people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.” In contrast, she retained 88 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who agreed that white people have certain advantages. 
Nonetheless, voters with high racial resentment did not necessarily represent the preponderance of the Obama-Trump vote, because Mr. Obama had already lost nearly all such voters by 2012. To take the prior example: 49 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump supporters at least somewhat disagreed with the notion that white people had certain advantages. 
MANY REMAIN PERSUADABLE The C.C.E.S. found that 26 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Democrats in their postelection study, while 35 percent were Republicans and 37 percent were independents. Including those independents who lean toward a party, Republicans led by a wider margin of 45 percent to 30 percent. Even so, that’s a significant share who continue to identify with the Democratic Party despite voting for Mr. Trump. 
Democrats were probably still winning a lot of these voters in 2016. The results speak for themselves to some extent. Jason Kander lost his Senate race in Missouri by just three percentage points, even as Mrs. Clinton lost by 20 points. Even Democrats who didn’t run ahead of Mrs. Clinton over all — like Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin or Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania — nonetheless ran far ahead of Mrs. Clinton in traditionally Democratic, white working-class areas.

Cohn adds that the Democrats now have to decide how much of their resources they need to dedicate in order to win at least some of these voters back, because until they do, Cohn says, the Democrats are effectively done.

It's an argument made by others, mostly in support of Bernie Sanders, but Cohn goes further to say that the Dem problem is systemic and Sanders would have lost to Trump as well.

The problem with that is when you believe the issue is systemic, the solution has to be systemic too.

What that means is that Cohn is strongly suggesting that in order to be competitive, Democrats have to make a sea change to attract voters that harbor no small amount of racial resentment. Trump was able to leverage that resentment into massive distrust of the Obama administration and Democrats in general.

The problem is that this will come at a cost, and the cost will be borne by black, Latinx, and Asian voters and candidates.  I've said before that this path is suicidal for the Dems and so far Trump is making it incredibly easy to make the Democrats be the party of inclusiveness in comparison by simple dint of Trump's overwhelmingly awful racism, if not open support of white supremacists.

Whether or not the Democrats will do the right thing remains to be seen.  Making the gains Cohn says that the Democrats need at the expense of non-white Democratic voters is something that I wouldn't put past the party, but that leaves us in a "what is the greater good" scenario that only threatens to leave the GOP gains over the last seven years as locked in, allowing even greater damage to civil and voting rights.  If those GOP gains continue through another presidential cycle and 2020 state redistricting battles, the Dems could be wiped out.

So what do we do as liberals and Democrats here other than continue to vote and support the party?

The answer is right now, I don't know.  The normal political discourse in America is shattered.  And that terrifies me more than Trump does.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Last Call For Hatred Unleashed

Yeah, I know today's coverage has been all about Charlottesville and the nasty neo-Nazi problem we have in the country and in the White House, but it bears repeating that the FBI and DHS warned the White House of white supremacist attacks back in May and Trump hasn't lifted a finger.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in May warned that white supremacist groups had already carried out more attacks than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years and were likely to carry out more attacks over the next year, according to an intelligence bulletin obtained by Foreign Policy. 
Even as President Donald Trump continues to resist calling out white supremacists for violence, federal law enforcement has made clear that it sees these types of domestic extremists as a severe threat. The report, dated May 10, says the FBI and DHS believe that members of the white supremacist movement “likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year.” 
The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which attracted hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other members of the so-called alt-right, sparked violent clashes over the weekend. A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed by a car that drove into a crowd of people protesting the rally. 
James Alex Fields Jr., the driver of the vehicle that struck Heyer, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. 
Since the outbreak of violence over the weekend, President Trump has been heavily criticized for not condemning racist groups. “We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST,” he tweeted
The FBI, on the other hand, has already concluded that white supremacists, including neo-Nazi supporters and members of the Ku Klux Klan, are in fact responsible for the lion’s share of violent attacks among domestic extremist groups. White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” reads the joint intelligence bulletin. 
The report, titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” was prepared by the FBI and DHS. 
The bulletin’s numbers appear to correspond with outside estimates. An independent database compiled by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute found that between 2008 and 2016, far-right plots and attacks outnumbered Islamist incidents by almost 2 to 1.

I take that back, Trump did lift a finger to do something about the white supremacist threat in America: he directed federal law enforcement to ignore it.

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters. 
The program, "Countering Violent Extremism," or CVE, would be changed to "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

Now begins the bloody harvest as America reaps the whirlwind that Trump helped to sow.

The Revenge Of Both Sides

The Wall Street Journal editorial board bravely reminds us that while Nazis are bad, bad people who caused at least one death in Charlottesville....

The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the white nationalist movement led today by the likes of Richard Spencer, David Duke and Brad Griffin. They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others.

...maybe those Nazis had a point about the evils of political correctness and diversity!

The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions.

Sigh.  Always gotta punch some hippies.  Steve M has more.

Trump set the gold standard on "both sides" over the weekend, and again, what the neo-Nazi assholes really wanted was white America openly questioning whether or not diversity is worth it anymore if it leads to violence from white supremacists.

That's exactly what we're getting, and it's happening on purpose.  It's being driven by Trump, and being driven by a reason. Jeff Sessions and the GOP in Congress will work to enable it.  It's the same story we've seen before: weaken the federal government to the point where efforts fail, then "re-examine whether the effort is worth taxpayer dollars".

"We have to take a serious look at diversity" is code for "We have to end the civil rights era."

Take that to the bank.

Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The reaction from the neo-Nazi scumbags to the deadly terrorist violence they carried out in Charlottesville over the weekend?  Hey, it's a win for us thanks to Trump.

It was a deadly weekend of rage-fueled street battles. And after the violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., leaders of white nationalist groups claimed success.

“It was a huge moral victory in terms of the show of force,” said Richard B. Spencer, the far-right figure who had come to Charlottesville to speak at Saturday morning’s “Unite the Right” rally.

The declaration from Mr. Spencer, in an interview late Saturday, was typical of the man who has rhetorically elbowed his way into the national conversation with his use of Nazi language and his unalloyed contention that America belongs to white people.

And indeed, the demonstrations in Charlottesville were perhaps the most visible manifestation to date of the evolution of the American far right, a coalition of old and new white supremacist groups connected by social media and emboldened by the election of Donald J. Trump.

Yet it is by no means clear what the demonstrations mean for the future of this movement and what, if any lasting effect, they will have. Will the overt displays of racism return the extreme right-wing to the margins of politics, or will they serve to normalize the movement, allowing it to weave itself deeper into the national conversation?

I understand the rhetorical question here, but it's one that needs to be directly asked of Donald Trump this morning.  These awful people count the weekend as a win because Trump condemned violence "on many sides" on Saturday.  That's exactly what his allies in the white supremacist movement wanted, and he gave it to them.

We achieved all of our objectives,” Matthew Heimbach, a founder of the Nationalist Front, a neo-Nazi group that bills itself as an umbrella organization for the white nationalist movement, said in an interview Saturday. “We showed that our movement is not just online, but growing physically. We asserted ourselves as the voice of white America. We had zero vehicles damaged, all our people accounted for, and moved a large amount of men and materials in and out of the area. I think we did an incredibly impressive job.”

Jason Kessler, a Charlottesville conservative and the main organizer of Saturday’s rally, has been fighting for months against the City Council’s plan to remove a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park, which once bore Lee’s name.

Although he is a relative newcomer to the white nationalist movement, Mr. Kessler is well known in his hometown. He has attacked the city’s status as a sanctuary for immigrants and has waged a public battle against Wes Bellamy, the black vice-mayor of Charlottesville and one of its city councilmen.

For weeks, a flier for the Unite the Right meeting made its way around the internet. It featured Pepe the Frog-styled soldiers bearing Confederate battle flags, and promised featured speakers like Mr. Spencer and Michael Hill, president of the Southern pro-secession group League of the South.

And why wouldn't they be thrilled?  Actual, literal white supremacists giving Nazi salutes and chanting Nazi slogans being falsely equivocated to Black Lives Matter and the Left is what they've wanted for years, and that's exactly what Trump did Saturday.

Compare that to Charlottesville's mayor, Michael Signer, who called these assholes and Trump out for their roles in the death of Heather Heyer.

Trump has surrounded himself with white supremacists like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, and as at absolute minimum they need to be fired.  Maybe that will happen soon, but I doubt it.  We've seen Bannon in particular in trouble before, only to be saved by Trump focusing his anger on somebody else who has "failed" him in some way as Bannon's allies outside the White House promise retaliation if Bannon is fired.

Of course the core problem remains Trump and the tens of millions who voted for him knowing full well that he had tied himself to white supremacists, and had no problems supporting him up until this weekend.

Those are the people who are the real problem.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Last Call For The Battle Of Lexington

Here in Kentucky, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray is signaling that the awful events in Charlottesville this weekend will be the catalyst to accelerate his own plans to remove two Confederate monuments in the middle of town.

The mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, is taking action to remove two Confederate-era monuments from his city's former courthouse after the deadly clashes in Virginia. 
Mayor Jim Gray revealed his intention Saturday after the attack in Charlottesville. He said he planned to announce it this week, but the incident prompted him to declare his intentions earlier. 
Violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters left three people dead in Charlottesville, including a woman killed when a driver plowed into a group of counterprotesters. Dozens more were injured. 
In a series of tweets, Gray said that he will ask the the city council to support his petition for removal of the monuments to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission on Tuesday. 
The statues of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge are on the grounds of Lexington's former courthouse, which is set to become a visitor's center
John Hunt Morgan served in the Mexican-American war, and fought for the Confederacy until his death in 1864. John C Breckinridge, who was the 14th Vice President of the US, owned slaves. 
In a tweet, Lexington's mayor said "we cannot let them define our future."

Good for Mayor Gray, who if you recall ran against Rand Paul in 2016 for the US Senate.  Gray lost by 14 points, but he's still Mayor of Lexington, and it's about time that he made this move. I'm hoping the City Council will back him on this, after this weekend I would hope that backing would be unanimous.

Hopefully GOP Gov. Matt Bevin won't interfere, especially since Bevin has long called for the removal of the statue of Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky Capitol Building, and I have vowed never to set foot in Frankfort until that reminder of slavery is gone. I haven't yet, but maybe, just maybe, that monument to barbarism will come down as well.

Meanwhile In Propaganda This Week...

Trump is on Week 2 of his vacation, but if you're wondering if he's busy or not, he's got his hands full with new Trump campaign ads naming Democrats and journalists as "the President's enemies".

These Enemies of Dear Leader must be dealt with by the People, because they are Enemies of the People as well.  Join us in defeating our Enemies today!

Unless of course you're supporting those enemies.

It will not go well for you if you do, citizen.

Sacasm aside, Trump is naming American citizens as his enemies in a campaign ad that's being run more than 3 years before the next presidential election.  On top of that he's taking credit for his predecessor's economy, which he repeatedly blasted as a failure in 2016.  Democratically-elected leaders don't do that. Autocratic dictators do that.

But this is where America is in 2017.
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